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Series consists of correspondence of the Governor-in-Chief of Lower Canada and, after Union, of the Province of Canada, with the British Minister at Washington, as well as correspondence of the Governor General of the Dominion of Canada (after 1867) with the British Minister at Washington. The series includes: pre-Confederation despatches from the British Minister at Washington, 1812-1866; post-Confederation despatches from the British Minister at Washington, 1867-1909; drafts of despatches to the British Minister at Washington, 1804-1914; and entry books of letters received from the British Minister at Washington, 1799-1840. During the period prior to 1867, each Governor or Lieutenant Governor, as a representative of the Crown in and for the colonies of British North America, undertook certain responsibilities for external relations and was obliged to maintain a close degree of co-operation with the British Minister at Washington. Filing practices demonstrate that the despatches were considered as communications with colleagues. Records in this series document the relationship between the Governor-in-Chief and the British Minister at Washington. Lieutenant Governors in other provinces corresponded on their own account and the records of that relationship are found in other colony-specific series within this fonds. From 1867 until the early 20th century, Canada's close relationship with the United States gave the Governor General the responsibility, unique in the Dominions, of being a diplomatic representative for Canada in her relations with the United States. The circumstances of this position required the Governor General to exchange correspondence with the British Minister at Washington, as well as to represent Canadian interests in international negotiations. As his role was always that of an Imperial Officer, not a representative of the Canadian government, the Governor General was not required to represent the views of cabinet. The nature of his position, however, required a close degree of co-operation with the various British representatives in Washington.
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Copyright belongs to the Crown.
In order to protect the fragile originals, many records in this series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation. The microfilm must be used for consultation and copying rather than the originals. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series descriptions.
Finding aids that relate to the contents of specific sub-series are described in the entries for those lower levels. See also the finding aids cited in the fonds-level description. Although they were prepared many years ago according to an arrangement schema which has been superseded, those finding aids continue to have descriptive value for records in this series. (Paper)
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