The Colonial Office 194 Series

by Olaf U. Janzen, Professor of History
Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Corner Brook, Newfoundland
A2H 5G4

What are the CO 194 papers?
For historians engaged in research into the history of Newfoundland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the CO 194 papers are perhaps the single most important series of primary materials. Despatches and their enclosures (i.e., supporting documentation) that were sent to the Board of Trade and to the Secretary of State from the civil administrators at Newfoundland were assigned to this series. This is where researchers will find petitions, reports, complaints, and representations relating to the fisheries, trade, and defence. This is the series where researchers will find "Answers to the Heads of Inquiry" (annual reports based on a series of questions called "Heads of Inquiry"), the annual "States of the Fishery," etc. Vols. 1-20 includes correspondence with the Board of Trade, 1696-1782; vol. 21 is a "Miscellaneous" volume for 1730-1793; Vols. 22-279 comprise correspondence with the Secretary of State, 1702-1909. The originals are today housed in Kew, England at the The National Archives of the UK (known as the Public Record Office until it was joined together in April 2003 with the Historical Manuscripts Commission). However, the series has been microfilmed in toto, so that copies on microfilm may be found in many places, including the National Archives of Canada, the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Centre for Newfoundland Studies in the Queen Elizabeth II Library of Memorial University of Newfoundland; copies of the volumes up to and including 1836 are also found in the Ferriss Hodgett Library of Grenfell Campus (though we shall gradually acquire more reels as this finding aid project evolves). In a very few instances, documents have also been transcribed in full; these are indicated with the words "see transcript" or "see complete transcript" and can be examined simply by clicking on the designated link. There is, however, no substitute to examining the original or microform copy of the original, and users of this finding aid should understand that where such transcriptions are provided, they should be used with caution.

Incidentally, those engaged in research into early modern Newfoundland may find a new finding aid to another set of manuscripts useful as well. The Colonial Secretary's Letterbook comprises "fair copies" of orders, proclamations, trial transcripts, memoranda, and letters relating to the day-to-day activities of the governors of Newfoundland from 1749 onwards. These manuscripts overlap to some degree with the CO 194 papers, but many of the documents in the Colonial Secretary's Letterbook (such as court transcripts) can be found nowhere else.

Some words of warning -- and a request for assistance
The project is far from complete, and will only include those volumes held in microform at Grenfell Campus (which, at the moment, only go as far as the mid-1830s). Users of the Finding Aid should also be warned that errors inevitably appear in spelling or in deciphering names and references in what are often near-to-illegible script. Signatures in particular are often very difficult to decipher, with the result that many times we were simply unable to identify the author of a document, or we guessed; for this we apologize. Should you wish to make suggestions, offer corrections, or just provide a comment, we would be very grateful if you would contact Dr. Olaf U. Janzen so that the necessary changes can be made.

Acknowledgements
What we post here could not have been achieved without the assistance of a legion of students over the years; some worked on this as part of the course requirements for History 3110, "The History of Newfoundland to 1815," while others were hired to work on the project with the support of small university-administered employment grants during the summer months. Thanks should also go to Wallace MacLean; it was he who encouraged us to publish these Finding Aids on the Internet so that they would become as widely accessible as possible.

Finding aids are available thus far for the following volumes:

Newfoundland - Original Correspondence - Board of Trade

CO 194, Vol. 1 (1696-1697) CO 194, Vol. 2 (1700-1703) CO 194, Vol. 3 (1703-1706)
CO 194, Vol. 4 (1707-1710) CO 194, Vol. 5 (1711-1716) CO 194, Vol. 6 (1716-1720)
CO 194, Vol. 7 (1720-1725) CO 194, Vol. 8 (1725-1730) CO 194, Vol. 9 (1730-1735)
CO 194, Vol. 10 (1735-1740) CO 194, Vol. 11 (1740-1742) CO 194, Vol. 12 (1743-1751)
CO 194, Vol. 13 (1751-1757) CO 194, Vol. 14 (1757-1760) CO 194, Vol. 15 (1761-1764)
CO 194, Vol. 16 (1764-1766) CO 194, Vol. 17 (1764) CO 194, Vol. 18 (1767-1773)
CO 194, Vol. 19 (1774-1776) CO 194, Vol. 20 (1780-1782) CO 194, Vol. 21 (1730-1793)
 
Newfoundland - Original Correspondence - Secretary of State
CO 194, Vol. 22 (1704-1710) CO 194, Vol. 23 (1709-1805) CO 194, Vol. 24 (1706-1743)
CO 194, Vol. 25 (1748-1752) CO 194, Vol. 26 (1762-1765) CO 194, Vol. 27 (1765-1767)
CO 194, Vol. 28 (1768-1769) CO 194, Vol. 29 (1769-1770) CO 194, Vol. 30 (1770-1772)
CO 194, Vol. 31 (1773) CO 194, Vol. 32 (1774-1775) CO 194, Vol. 33 (1776-1777)
CO 194, Vol. 34 (1778-1779) CO 194, Vol. 35 (1780-1784) CO 194, Vol. 36 (1785-1786)
CO 194, Vol. 37 (1787; Misc., 1783-1786) CO 194, Vol. 38 (1788-1789) CO 194, Vol. 39 (1795-1797)
CO 194, Vol. 40 (1798-1799) CO 194, Vol. 41 ("Promiscuous Papers", 1771-1798) CO 194, Vol. 42 (1798-1800)
CO 194, Vol. 43 (1801-1803) CO 194, Vol. 44 (1804-1805) CO 194, Vol. 45 (1805-1806)
CO 194, Vol. 46 (1807) CO 194, Vol. 47 (1808) CO 194, Vol. 48 (1809)
CO 194, Vol. 49 (1810) CO 194, Vol. 50 (1811) CO 194, Vol. 51 (1811)
CO 194, Vol. 52 (1812) CO 194, Vol. 53 (1811-12) CO 194, Vol. 54 (1813)
CO 194, Vol. 55 (1814) CO 194, Vol. 56 (1815) CO 194, Vol. 57 (1816)
CO 194, Vol. 58 (1816) CO 194, Vol. 59 (1817) CO 194, Vol. 60 (1817)
CO 194, Vol. 61 (1818) CO 194, Vol. 62 (1819) CO 194, Vol. 63 (1820)
CO 194, Vol. 64 (1821) CO 194, Vol. 65 (1822) CO 194, Vol. 66 (1823)
CO 194, Vol. 67 (1824) CO 194, Vol. 68 (1824) CO 194, Vol. 69 (1822-24; some material going back to 1816)
CO 194, Vol. 70 (1825) CO 194, Vol. 71 (1825) CO 194, Vol. 72 (1826)
CO 194, Vol. 73 (1826) CO 194, Vol. 74 (1827) CO 194, Vol. 75 (1827)
CO 194, Vol. 76 (1828) CO 194, Vol. 77 (1828) CO 194, Vol. 78 (1829)
CO 194, Vol. 79 (1829) CO 194, Vol. 80 (1830) CO 194, Vol. 81 (1831)
CO 194, Vol. 82 (1831) CO 194, Vol. 83 (1832) CO 194, Vol. 84 (1832)
CO 194, Vol. 85 (1833) CO 194, Vol. 86 (1833) CO 194, Vol. 87 (1834)
CO 194, Vol. 88 (1834) CO 194, Vol. 89 (1834) CO 194, Vol. 90 (1835)
CO 194, Vol. 91 (1835) CO 194, Vol. 92 (1835) CO 194, Vol. 93 (1835)
CO 194, Vol. 94 (1836)    
  CO 194, Vol. 151 (1857) CO 194, Vol. 152 (1858)

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last updated: August 12, 2011

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