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Description found in Archives

House of Lords Record Office. Parliament. Constitutional Documents [textual record (some microform)]. 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

20 cm of textual records.
1 microfilm reel.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of copies of key constitutional documents which have been made several times in photostatic or photographic format from the "copy of record" preserved in the House of Lords Record Office. The most complete set is the facsimiles on parchment for five Acts of 1774-1982 and the Proclamation of 1763. These duplicate the photostatic copies for four Acts of 1774-1867. They are complemented by photographic and photostatic copies of the Letters Patent granting Royal Assent to the Act of Union, 1840 and the British North America Act, 1867, and by photographs of the Statute of Westminster, 1931. Copying of other records from the House of Lords has been limited to microfilm of selections from the printed sessional papers (Accounts and Papers), volume LXXV/94. Included in horizontal storage: letters patent, British North America Act, 1867, container 5.

Textual records
Textual records: microform
Microfilm reel B-359
90: Open
Textual records
95: Open, no copying
from 1 to 4
95: Open, no copying
Textual records
95: Open, no copying
95: Open, no copying
Textual records: microform
90: Open
Microfilm reel
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Textual records The finding aid identifies the type of copy and number of pages for each of the various reproductions available here, including a detailed list of negative numbers for the black and white photographs and the color transparencies. The introduction to FA 2050 discusses the official translation of state records, the availability of printed texts and the choice of an optimum text for reference, legal, exhibition or other use. MSS2050 90 (Electronic)

Additional information

As engrossed on parchment, the "copy of record" is the ultimate source when questions arise as to the exact wording of a statute. Royal Assent may be recorded in the words La Reyne/Le Roy le veult inscribed on an Act, or by means of Letters Patent. Until 1851, the texts of statutes were engrossed on parchment sheets sewn into rolls; thereafter, the texts were printed on parchment cut to a standard page size. Letters patent were engrossed on parchment sheets fastened together at their foot by the cord to which the Great Seal was appended. These factors greatly affect the legibility of the texts and the manner in which copying might be effected.

Custodial history
Facsimile copies of six key constitutional documents were presented to the government of Canada in 1982 by the government of Great Britain. Photostatic copies of four of these, plus the 1840 Letters Patent of Royal Assent, had been made in 1966 from the originals in the House of Lords Record Office. A photographic copy of the 1867 Letters Patent of Royal Assent was acquired in 1965 through the Centennial Commission. A photographic copy of the Statute of Westminster was acquired in 1987. Extracts from the printed House of Lords sessional papers (Accounts and Papers volume LXXV/94) were microfilmed about 1954 at the Public Record Office. A photocopy of the Bill for the Quebec Act of 1774 was made in 1971 from the imprint in the Harvard University Library through the courtesy of F W Torrington and Erik Spicer, then Librarian of Parliament.

Location of originals note
The originals are in the House of Lords Record Office, London, England, and with the Harvard University Library, Cambridge, Mass., USA.

Subject heading

1. Great Britain: Proclamation of 1763.
2. Royal Proclamation of 7 October 1763.
3. Great Britain: Quebec Act, 1774.
4. Great Britain: Constitutional Act, 1791.
5. Great Britain: Act of Union, 1840.
6. Great Britain: British North America Act, 1867.
7. Great Britain: Statute of Westminster, 1931.
8. Grande Bretagne: Acte de l'Amérique Britannique du Nord, 1867.
9. Great Britain: Canada Act 1982.
10. Grande Bretagne: la loi de 1982 sur le Canada.


Other system control no.