British Headquarters Papers : 1747-1783.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .D6G8B7
Category: Military
Creator: Dorchester, Guy Carleton, 1st Baron, 1724-1808.
Description: 30 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            Guy Carleton, the third son of Christopher Carleton, a modest Irish landowner, and Catherine Ball, was born in Strabane, Ireland. He married Lady Maria Howard, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Effingham. In 1742 when he was seventeen, he was commissioned an ensign in the 25th Foot. Three years later he became a lieutenant, and later rose through the ranks of the 1st Foot Guards and the 72nd Foot. James Wolfe succeeded in having him appointed as quartermaster general and engineer for his assault on Quebec, and he led the Royal Americans (60th Foot) in that decisive battle. From 1763 until 1768, he continued his army service, and in that year was commissioned Captain General and Governor-in-Chief of Quebec. In July 1776 he was awarded a knighthood and the estate of Charlesmount in Ireland for his efforts in the defense of Quebec. On 27 June 1777 he tendered his resignation as Governor of Quebec but remained in command until his successor, Frederick Haldimand, arrived in June of 1778. 

Two years later he was recommended by the king to succeed Sir Henry Clinton as commander-in-chief in North America but did not take up his duties in New York until 1782. With the war drawing to a close, one of Carleton's major concerns was to organize the evacuation of thousands of troops, Loyalist refugees and Blacks from New York to Nova Scotia, Quebec and the West Indies. Carleton urged Governor Frederick Haldimand in Quebec and Lieutenant Governor Sir Andrew Snape Hamond and later Governor John Parr in Nova Scotia to grant the Loyalists free land and a year's provisions. With the evacuation complete, Carleton sailed for England in December of 1783, only to return three years later in 1786 as commander-in-chief over all of British North America, as well as Newfoundland, and with the title Baron Dorchester. It was not until 1796 that Lieutenant General Robert Prescott arrived to take office as his successor, even though Dorchester had tendered his resignation two years earlier, and he left Canada for good.   On his return to England, he maintained his military connections, but spent most of his time at his country homes. He died at Stubbings House, near Maidenhead, in his 85th year. After his death, Dorchester's widow burned most of his personal papers.

The commander-in-chief was a British military position that held responsibilities for British land forces in certain regions of British control.  The commander in chief, North America was a singular position from 1754 to 1775; thereafter it was split into two positions:  commander-in-chief, America responsible for troops from West Florida to Newfoundland, and commander-in-chief, Quebec responsible for the defence of Quebec.  During the American Revolution, the commanders-in-chief, America were Lieutenant-General Sir William Howe, Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, and Guy Carleton.  The commanders-in-chief, Quebec were Guy Carleton (twice), and General Frederick Haldimand.            
            The records accumulated at the British Army Headquarters for North America, 1775-1783 contain the correspondence of the commanders-in-chief, including General Thomas Gage, Sir William Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, and Sir Guy Carleton, and their secretaries.  The are also known as the Carleton Papers.  Correspondents included Treasury and War Office, Secretaries of State in England, commanders and officers including George Washington, and governors.  Also includes related documents such as instructions to subordinate officers, with replies; petitions and memorials from loyalists; accounts, receipts and invoices; returns, musters or lists of troops, ordnance and vessels, Loyalists (including black loyalists), inhabitants, prisoners, employees in a department, or promotions; paylists and warrants for pay; reports such as from the coroner; military orderly books, and issues of American newspapers.  Geographic range includes the Atlantic seaboard including Nova scotia and present-day Maine downward to the southern colonies, especially North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Material relates to a vast array of subject matter including:  war and the American Revolution, loyalists, black history and slavery, natives and native affairs, migration, government, military (troops, strategy, Germans, health and hospitals, expeditions, etc.), and diplomacy.  Much insight is gained broadly with respect to diplomacy and military strategy and concerns, but also at a more intimate level drilling down to the places and people the war affected.

Of significance are the pages of the British version of the Inspection Roll of Negroes, also called the Book of Negroes (document number 10427), which is a list of black loyalists in New York City, 1783, intending to go to Nova Scotia with the British at the end of the American Revolution.  (General George Washington had asked for the return of slaves who had left their owners to join the British, as per the peace treaty.  Carleton argued they could not remove the freedom they had given to the black loyalists; however, agreed to have compiled a list of black refugees in case American slave owners demanded compensation for lost property.)  The document is in tabular form and contains the following data:  vessels names and their commanders, where bound, name, age, very brief descriptions (normally - healthy, worn out, stout, thin, ordinary), names of the persons in whose possession they now are, and remarks which includes name and location of former owner or if free born.  The vessels not only went to Nova Scotia (including present-day New Brunswick), but to Quebec, England, Germany, and Jamaica. 

Additional documents precede the Book of Negroes, including Article 7 of the Peace Treaty, and Minutes of the Board of Commissioners for superintending embarkations etc. held between May and July 1783 pertaining to disputes as to whether certain black people could sail to Nova Scotia.            
Originals: The original records are held by The National Archives (TNA), formerly known as the Public Record Office (PRO) at Kew, London.
Archival Ref. No.: (TNA) PRO 30/55; CO 30/55
Finding Aids:

1. Report on American Manuscripts inthe Royal Institution of Great Britain (HIL-MICGDL E267 .G782): The four-volume annotated calendar includes a listing of each document with summary for each and a subject index. The volumes are available on the first two microfilm reels, and in print with The Loyalist Collection books. Subject index is the end of each volume; each volume covers different date ranges.

How to find:  Researchers must use the document numbers, which are found in the margins of the calendar, to locate the document they wish to consult (as the arrangement in the Calendar does not follow the arrangement of documents on the film). Use the microfilm shelf list thereafter to find on which microfilm reel the document number is found; see Electronic Finding Aid section.

2. Online: Searchable database of names, selectively chosen, of loyalists and associated people in the collection is available from Library and Archives Canada.

Electronic: References pulled from the subject index in the 4-volume book noted above pertaining to Black history is available; includes index terms and abstracts. (see Electronic Finding Aid section.)

The Book of Negroes (*Note there were 2 versions, British and American. The Loyalist Collection holds the British version.)

1. The book, The Black Loyalist Directory, African Americans in Exile after the American Revolution, contains data taken from The Book of Negroes, the American version, and is found with The Loyalist Collection books.

2. Online: Available via the Nova Scotia Archives' website, specifically under the main heading African Nova Scotians in the Age of Slavery.  A transcription of the British version is hosted by the site "Black Loyalist".

Electronic Finding Aid Record: Dorchester, Guy Carleton, Papers Shelf List.pdf
Black Experience - Index vol 1 .pdf
Black Experience - Index vol 2.pdf
Black Experience-Index vol 3.pdf
Black Experience-Index vol 4.pdf

Related Material:

Sir Guy Carleton's order book, New York, May 1782-23 Nov. 1783, is found in The Loyalist Collection: War Office:Headquarters Records (WO28 volume 9, printed pages 285a-482).

William Howe Orderly Book 1776-1778 available electronically from the University of Michigan, Clements Library.

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