America and West Indies: Original Correspondence: New Jersey (CO 5/987-993) : 1762-1779

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .G7C6A4C6N5
Category: Great Britain
Creator: Great Britain. Colonial Office
Description: 2 microfilm textual records (7 volumes) ; 35 mm.
            Colonial Office 5 is an artificial class which was created in the early years of the twentieth century with a reorganization of records in the Public Record Office, London. Following the first 285 volumes, which deal mainly with military and naval affairs, the records are arranged under the names of the colonies.

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 (letter books recording out-going 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 CO 5 records have been classified under the names of American colonies, for example; Carolina (Propriety) is volumes 286-292.

From 1768 to 1782 responsibility for the American colonies came under the care of the following colonial secretaries: 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.

New Jersey was one of the original Thirteen Colonies. The disputed border between New Jersey and New York due to conflicting land claims took place between 1701 and 1765 when it was finally settled by Royal Commission in 1769. At the time of the French and Indian War (1756–1763), the population of New Jersey largely was centered around Atlantic seaports in Elizabethtown (present-day Elizabeth, New Jersey), Newark and Perth Amboy, so the colonial legislature authorized the construction of blockhouse forts in the area of present-day Sussex and Warren counties to serve as a first line of defense in the event of an incursion by the French army and the forces of French-allied native tribes. 

It was the scene of crucial military action during the American Revolution. More than 90 military engagements were fought in New Jersey, including the landmark battles of Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth. On July 2, 1776, the Provincial Congress, meeting at Burlington, adopted a constitution declaring New Jersey independent of British rule. The following month, the legislature elected William Livingston first governor of the new state. But support for revolution was not universal among New Jersey’s citizens, a strong and organized loyalist faction would keep the state bitterly divided throughout the war.

            These volumes cover the correspondence and associated documents received by the colonial secretary of state from the governor of New Jersey. William Franklin was the last colonial governor from 1763-76, which covers the dates for the bulk of this material, as well as Franklin's experience during confinement for his pro-British and loyalist stance until his freedom during a prisoner exchange in 1778, sending him to New York. It pertains to New Jersey and the domestic and international issues affecting the area leading up to and including the American Revolutionary War.


Volume 987, 1762-1767 (UNB Reel 1)

Volume 988, 1768  (UNB Reel 1)

Volume 989, 1768-1769 (UNB Reel 1)

Volume 990, 1769-1770 (UNB Reel 1)

Volume 991, 1771-1772  (UNB Reel 2)

Volume 992, 1773-1775 (UNB Reel 2)

Volume 993, 1775-1779 (UNB Reel 2)

Originals are held at The National Archives in England (TNA).

Archival Ref. No.:

TNA CO 5/987; CO 5/988; CO 5/989; CO 5/ 990; CO 5/991; CO 5/992/ CO 5/993

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