Skip to Main Content

State Papers

State papers are records of English policy, foreign and domestic. 

  • The database State Papers Online, 1509-1714, offers access to these state papers:
    • Part I: The Tudors, 1509-1603: State Papers Domestic
    • Part II: The Tudors, 1509-1603: State Papers Foreign, Scotland, Borders, Ireland and Registers of the Privy Council
    • Part III: The Stuarts and Commonwealth, James I- Anne I, 1603-1714: State Papers Domestic
    • Part IV The Stuarts and Commonwealth, James I - Anne I, 1603-1714, State Papers Foreign, Ireland and Registers of the Privy Council
      • Please note that in the database the original papers (manuscripts) are handwritten and can be very difficult to read. The corresponding calendars, however, provide abstracts or summaries of the documents. The calendars are fully searchable, but the original manuscripts are not.
      • Included in State Papers Online is Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII. To get to them, go to "Browse," "Browse Calendar," and scroll down to "Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII" click on the + key, and a list of all volumes will appear.
      • To see key documents, click on "Research Tools" and then "Key Documents." For example, the document "The King's Divorce, 31 May 1527. The Hearing of Henry VII's Petition for Divorce from Catherine of Aragon" is available in this section. (Both the original, very difficult to read manuscript, and the easy to read calendar.)
  • The database Colonial State Papers relates to English activities in the colonies of America, Canada, and the West Indies between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. It consists of:
    • CO 1 (full name - Privy Council and related bodies: America and West Indies, Colonial Papers)  - thousands of papers that were presented to the Privy Council and the Board of Trade between 1574-1757, and which relate to England's governance of, and activities in, the American, Canadian and West Indian colonies.
    • The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: North America and the West Indies 1574-1739. an essential bibliographic tool providing over 40,000 descriptive records. The Calendar covers not only CO 1, but also documents from many other collections relating to the colonial past. 

British Documents on Foreign Affairs

The library holds a large set called British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print. The time period covered is the mid-1800s to the mid 1900s. The books are shelved throughout the library. See this search for a complete list.