Catalogue description War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Emigration Original Correspondence

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Details of CO 384
Reference: CO 384
Title: War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Emigration Original Correspondence

This series contains correspondence relating to British settlement in North America and Australasia, and to Indian indentured labour in the West Indies. Until 1857 it consists of domestic letters alone. The series then ceases and is not resumed until 1872.

Date: 1817-1896

Bound volumes arranged chronologically by country or region and in the early period within the categories 'Offices' and 'Settlers', and subsequently within the following subject headings: Despatches (letters of the governors), Offices (letters of government departments and other organisations) and Individuals (arranged alphabetically). With some case volumes and correspondence with ships surgeons. Each volume with a contents list, or précis of each letter giving name of correspondent, date of letter and subject matter.

Related material:

For other correspondence of the Emigration Commission and its predecessors see

CO 386

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 193 volume(s)
Unpublished finding aids:

For registers of this correspondence see CO 326 before 1850, and CO 428 after 1850. For North America emigration registers see CO 327.

Administrative / biographical background:

A Colonial Land and Emigration Commission was created in 1840 to undertake the duties of two earlier and overlapping authorities under the supervision of the secretary of state: the Colonisation Commissioners for South Australia and the Agent General for Emigration. In 1855 it became the Emigration Commission. The commission's powers were gradually given up to the larger colonies as they obtained self-government, and after 1873 it was responsible only for controlling the importation of Indian labour into sugar-producing colonies. It was abolished in 1878 and an Emigration Department was then set up in the Colonial Office. This department was merged with the General Department in 1894, and abolished altogether in 1896.

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