Online: All or some of the documents have been digitised; see Finding Aid section. The Loyalist Collection holds some, not all, of the records from Colonial Office 42, specifically: volumes 1-51, 315 (Quebec, Lower Canada 1750-1787, 1840); and volumes 315-370 (Upper Canada, 1791-1823). The correspondence includes despatches from senior officials, located in present day Ontario and Quebec, to the Colonial Office in Britain.
Due to the administrative nature of this collection, there is a wide variety of topics found within the despatches. Some of the main subjects includue trade, natives, religion, transportation (eg. navigation and roads), land, fisheries (eg. Labrador and protection of), mining, law (eg. administration of justice), the west (eg. Illinois country, expeditions, exploration, land), natives, military (eg. American revolution, militia, events, troops, administration, fortifications, navy), manufacturing, government (eg. Quebec Act, Legislative Assembly, constitution) and war (eg. Pontiac's War, loyalists, Machias, invasion, prisoners, negotiations).
Information on trade focuses on both imports (such as molasses) and exports (such as lumber), as well as, the fur trade, natives, upper country, free trade with Vermont, liquor, correspondence with the Board of Trade, mercantilism (primarily in relation to French Canadians and natives), smuggling, wheat sales, distilleries, etc. Records relating to land concern, for example, boundary lines with America, surveys, the Seigniorial system, land settlements or claims pertaining to loyalists, reaction to immigration, Native land claims, land grants such as New Hampshire grants, plantations, etc. Religious aspects include the appointment of clergy and bishops (both Catholic and Anglican), the reaction of the Catholic Church to British rule, the establishment of the Church of England, the Jesuits and their struggle for survival in Quebec after British rule, ecclesiastical affairs, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the Moravian group Unitas Fractum,s mission in Labrador. (Researchers interested in the study of religion should see "Religion in CO 42" in the Electronic Finding Aid section below.) Also included in these records is the British reaction towards the Acadians in the 1750’s.
One of the most prominent topics in these records is the government’s interaction with the native population through the Department of Indian Affairs. Documents include correspondence with Joseph Brant (Mohawk Chief) and Sir John Johnson (Indian department official); documents regarding meetings between native groups, trade, native settlements, and disputes/conflicts. Some groups noted in these documents are the Mi'kmaq (Micmac), Six Nations, Mohawk, Shawnee, Delaware, and Cherokee. Particular focus is put on the disputes between native groups and America after the American Revolution.
Note - CO 42 volume numbers in this collection are from the originals and differ from the transcripts at Libraries and Archives Canada known as “Q” Series. If you are using a finding aid which lists the “Q” volume, please see the microfilm shelf list and conversion chart located with the Electronic Finding Aid section (below).