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Acts of the Privy Council of England: Colonial Series

Location: Microfiche Cabinet 16, Drawer 10


“The Privy Council was the chief source of executive power in England before the emergence of the cabinet system of government. It developed during the later years of the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547), when the councillors at the King’s side became permanently organized as a “privy council.” Under the later Stuarts the Council declined in power due to the Stuart policy of working primarily with confidential committees within the council. Following the repeal in 1706 of the clause in the Act of Settlement (1701) which would have compelled all business to pass through the full Privy Council, it rapidly lost its political powers to the Cabinet.” (University of Maryland Libraries) This collection is a good source for the study of Colonial America and the Revolutionary War Period. Numerous petitions are included. After 1660, England developed a more defined colonial policy. This collection is a reproduction of the Acts of the Privy Council for the period from 1613 until 1783 (Volumes 1-6).

v. 1. 1613-1680 (1908)–v. 2. 1680-1720 (1910)–v. 3. 1720-1745 (1910)–v. 4. 1745-1766 (1911)–v. 5. 1766-1783 (1912)–v. 6. Unbound papers, 1676-1783 (1912)

Researchers should also consult the Acts of the Privy Council New Series, 1542-1628.

How to search the collection

There is an index at the end of each volume. Each entry in the index has a number (or sometimes several numbers). Use that number to find the document in the microfiche. Sometimes the volumes are divided into parts, so pay careful attention to what part your document number is in. The card and page numbers on the microfiche are not used in finding information in this collection.


There is a detailed explanation of the scope of the collection on the first microfiche. This explanation goes into a great deal of the history of the Privy Council’s interactions with the colonies.

For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

Great Britain -- Colonies -- History -- Sources.

Great Britain -- Colonies -- Administration.

Time Period: 18th Century   17th Century  

Subject keywords: Great Britain - History