Original Correspondence : America and West Indies : Selections (CO5/111-245) : 1770 - 1784.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .G7C6A4C6S5
Category: Great Britain
Creator: Great Britain. Colonial Office.
Description: 5 microfilm textual records (16 volumes) ; 35 mm
            Records precede the development of the Colonial Office, created in 1854, and contain records in the offices of the Board of Trade and the Secretaries of State which held responsibility for British colonial matters at different times until 1782; thereafter, responsibility was held by the Home Office until the War and Colonial Department was created in 1801.  The Original Correspondence, or in-letters, are those sent from the colony to Great Britain, and are one of 6 groups of documents pertaining to a colony.  The others are:  Entry Books (out-letters from Britain), Acts, Sessional Papers (printed proceedings of local legislatures), Government Gazettes (official government newspapers), and Miscellanea.  Apart from the first 285 volumes, the records have been classified under the names of colonies or regions, for example; Carolina (Propriety) is volumes 286-292.

From 1768 to 1782 responsibility for the American colonies, including the West Indies, came under the care of the following:  the Earl of Hillsborough (1768-72), the Earl of Dartmouth (1772-75), Lord George Germain (1775-82), and Welbore Ellis (Feb.- 8 Mar. 1782).  The secretaries of state were assisted by under-secretaries of state.

This material is a transcription of originals produced by the Library of Congress of selections from the Colonial Office 5 series, and The Loyalist Collection holds 5 of the total 15 reels produced from those transcripts which focus on the American Revolution.            
            The American selection of documents (1770-1784) focuses on the years of the American controversy culminating with American independence from Britain. It contains the records of British officials responsible for the American colonies which during this period was the secretaries of state, with their American officials, usually the governor or commanders-in-chief, as well as associated writing between public offices relating to the colonies, and of others such as military officers and merchants.  It contains a variety of types of documents, many as enclosures to the correspondence, and though its focus is on the original thirteen colonies in eastern America (now part of the United States); as a by-product, it also includes areas that had direct connections or relations, such as Nova Scotia and the West Indies. The documents provide a fuller understanding of the issues during this period and covers general topics such as government and politics, diplomacy and foreign relations, military and war, maritime matters, the law, loyalists, trade and commerce.

Detailed Contents and Arrangement:

Volume 111 
Military Correspondence - British Generals (Aug. 1783-Jan. 1784) 
Mostly correspondence of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces, General Guy Carleton, with the secretaries of state that relates chiefly to the situation of the military and loyalists at the end of the American Revolution.  Specific examples of subjects include:  the military situation in New York; plight of the Loyalist refugees; state of the British army; the situation of Loyalist troops; transport conditions; embarkation from New York; prisoner release; plans for Nova Scotia; the situation in the Bahamas; activities of the American Congress; state of affairs in Connecticut and treatment of the Loyalists.
Volume 140
Intercepted Letters (1775-76, 1780-82)
Substantial collection.
Volume 160
Legal material regarding the Boston Tea Party and other legal matters (1774-1781)
Mostly correspondence of the secretaries of state with the attorney general and solicitor general related to questions of law in the British Atlantic colonies.  Aside from documents related to the political protest in Boston by the Sons of Liberty (Dec. 1773), some other topics included are piracy and privateering, restoring peace, islands in the West Indies, Quebec - legislative council and Catholic military force, civil government on the Penobscot River (in present-day Maine), Admiralty, prisoners of state,  and rights in the new colonies.
Volume 175 (163)
Correspondence of the Colonial Officials:  New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Virginia (1774-1783)  
1. New Hampshire (1776-1777):  Contains correspondence from Sir John Wentworth (governor of New Hampshire, 1766-75), concerning briefly the situations at New Hampshire and the Boston area, and his own, written from Boston, Halifax, New York and Newport (Rhode Island).
2. Massachusetts Bay (1774-1776, 1780):  Mostly correspondence from Lt. Governor Oliver and Governor Hutchinson concerning the situation at Boston and the evacuation to Halifax, also a list of presents to Indians (natives).
3. New York (1778-1783):  Mostly correspondence between the secretary of state and Governor James Robertson relative to maritime matters, such as trade, duties, customs, prizes; and the military situation with the loyalists, New York and the south (1781), for example, Virginia.
4. New Jersey (1763-1776):  Mostly correspondence of the secretary of state with William Franklin (governor 1763-76), out of New York for the period 1780-1782, much of it relating to loyalists; also includes, for example a situation report, intelligence, and an answer to a French declaration. 
5. Virginia (1782):  Contains correspondence of the secretary of state with Lord Dunmore, (governor of Virginia, 1771-75), concerning a proposal for the conquest of Louisiana.
Volume 176
Correspondence of the Colonial Officials:  Southern Provinces, North Carolina, South Carolina (1778-1782)
1. Southern Provinces (1780-82):  See Virginia above, also memorial from Carolina merchants.
2. North Carolina ((1778-79):  Mostly correspondence out of New York between Josiah Martin (governor of North Carolina (1771-75) and the secretary of state concerning his personal situation.
3. North Carolina - Affairs Attended by Governor Josiah Martin (1780-82):  Concerns the state of affairs in Carolina, and with the loyalists.
4. South Carolina (1778-82):  Mostly correspondence between the secretary of state and Lt. Governor Bull concerning the military situation and affairs at Charles Town (Charleston) and the province; includes also for example, a list of names of inhabitants that signed an Address to General Clinton, and relating to thefts of blacks, and the possibility of a southern campaign (1778, 1781).
Volume 177
Peace Commission (1776-1778)
Commissioners include Richard Lord Viscount Howe and William Howe and relates to the attempt at a peace by the British; includes for example, orders and instructions; proclamations to - rebel leaders, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and progress reports, as well as subjects relative to captures, hardships of merchants, and postal problems.
Volume 178
Peace Commission (1779-1782)
Correspondence of the secretary of state with the Peace Commissioners, which included Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot; includes orders and instructions; state of negotiations; political, military and trade situation in the Carolinas; as well as topics of salt, loyalists, French activities in the West Indies; and Virginia and Maryland merchants.
Volume 179
Heath - Burgoyne Correspondence (1777-1778)
Bulk of the correspondence is between Major-General William Heath at Boston, commanding the Eastern Department, and Lt. General Burgoyne concerning the British military prisoners taken at Saratoga under Burgoyne, and their treatment.  It includes a Report of Events that happened to the Convention Troops upon arrival at Cambridge, and communication between Burgoyne and various British Generals and officials.
Volumes 180 - 181
Peace Commission (1778)
Records of the Commissioners:  Earl of Carlisle, William Eden, Gov. George Johnstone and afterward Sir Henry Clinton.  Contains correspondence of the secretary of state, the President of Congress, Superintendent of Port (New York), and Admiral Gambier; besides documents providing a situation report on the progress of the peace process, includes material pertaining to military situation in the North and in Georgia, loyalists, port trade and exportation, shipping, prizes, ports, and  merchants.
Volume 182 - 184
Miscellaneous Military Correspondence (1778-1781)
Volume 243
Entry Book of Despatches to Commanding Officers (Dec. 1770- Oct. 1783)

Originals: The original records are held by the National Archives in London.
Archival Ref. No.: TNA (formerly PRO) CO 5/111-245.
Finding Aids:

Online: See full guide to this collection of CO 5 Selections transcribed by the Library of Congress electronically from Proquest.

Online Related Material: Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies. The State Papers Colonial are the accumulated papers of the British colonial secretaries of state relating to colonial affairs from the 16th to the 18th century. This series details papers relating to Colonial America and the West Indies for the period 1574-1739. Most documents come from CO 1 and CO 5. Summaries of each document is given; choose volume/years of interest, then search topics.

Electronic Finding Aid Record: CO 5 Selections (1770-84). Document List.pdf
Privateering in Colonial Office 5.pdf
Guide to British Public Record 5.pdf

See the catalogue for more Colonial Office (CO 5) records.

Part Of: Microfilmed collection forms part of: Colonial Office Records: Class 5 Files (C.O. 5) Part Five, The American Revolution, 1772-1784, originally microfilmed by University Publications of America.
Other With: