We are re-trialling State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782 and invite students and researchers to give us feedback. The trial ends on 31 March. Please send any comments to email@example.com. While there is no funding for any of the four parts, your feedback is valuable in assessing priority purchases should funds become available.
What is State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782?
This resource extends Gale’s State Papers Online programme into the eighteenth century. Oxford researchers already have access to State Papers Online I – IV: The Tudors, Stuarts & Commonwealth 1509-1714 (Foreign & Domestic).
State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782 represents the final collection of the State Papers series from The National Archives before the series was closed and replaced by the Home Office and Foreign Office series in 1782. It covers the reigns of the Hanoverians George I (1714-1727), George II (1727-1760) and part of the reign of George III (up to 1782). The resource provides online access thousands of manuscripts relevant for the study of eighteenth century British government of internal and foreign affairs.
The documents provide evidence of the extent and nature of decisions taken by government and, more importantly, who was making those decisions. The records also illustrate the personal style of the secretaries of state who, with the chancellor of the Exchequer, controlled almost the entire life of the nation.
Researchers can examine the different ways in which the three Hanover monarchs conducted the business of monarchy and develop perspectives on the king’s changing role in political and administrative history.
Part I: State Papers Domestic, Military and Naval and the Registers of the Privy Council
This part includes documents on British internal political history during the reigns of the three Georges, including behind-the-scenes accounts of the turbulent events of George I’s reign (the Jacobite uprisings); the development of cabinet government; the ascension of George II and the consolidation of Whig supremacy; the riots surrounding libertarian politician John Wilkes; and the inept handling of the colonies that marred the early years of George III’s reign.
Along with the many internal and external threats to Hanoverian rule, users can also search and browse across a rich range of reports, petitions, and correspondence relating to the general administration and constitution of England; law and order; trade and shipping; and the founding of an empire abroad that extended to North America in the west and the Indian subcontinent in the east.
Part II: State Papers Foreign: Low Countries and Germany
The part documents the relationship of the Hanoverian reign with Flanders, Holland, and Germany, with particular focus on European powers such as the Holy Roman Empire and German states and towns. It also includes the Military Expedition series and the Archives of British Legations.
The papers include correspondence with English diplomats abroad and foreign diplomats in England, original and draft treaties, letters between heads of state, intercepted dispatches and other intelligence, working papers of the secretaries, and material relating to military, naval, and colonial policy.
Part III: State Papers Foreign: Western Europe
Papers in this part include documents relating to France, Dunkirk, Portugal, Spain, Malta, the Italian States and Rome, Genoa, Tuscany, Venice, Savoy and Sardinia, Sicily and Naples, as well as supplementary records of the Levant Company in Aleppo and the Aleppo consulate. It also includes the Royal Letters and Treaties series.
The majority of the papers are those written or received by the Secretaries of State for the Southern Department in the course of British diplomacy and intelligence gathering by British ambassadors and envoys abroad.
Part IV: State Papers Foreign: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey
The papers in this part includes the letters, memorials and treaties pertaining to Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Saxony, Prussia, Russia, Turkey and the Barbary States. It also includes papers sent to the British Secretaries of State from foreign ministers in England, as well as ‘confidential’ and intercepted letters between key figures in international politics.
Part IV covers nations and events at the borders of Europe and European power, from Russia emerging as an imperial force in the North as Sweden’s power declined after the Great Northern War (1700-1721), to piracy and conflict in the Mediterranean, wars and treaties with the Ottoman Empire at the outer reaches of Russia and Austria, and the constant building up of armies and fleets to bolster status and secure territories.
Also of interest:
- Calendar of State Papers, Domestic – Anne [subscription resource]
- Calendar of State Papers, Domestic – William and Mary [subscription resource]
- Eighteenth Century Collections Online [subscription resource]
- 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection [subscription resource]
- 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers [subscription resource]
- History of Parliament: Hanovarians
- The National Archives research guide to state papers
Subscription resources are accessible to staff and students of Oxford University (use SSO for remote access) and Bodleian Library card holders (access in reading rooms).
As a former Assistant Keeper of the Public Records, I spent many years working among these documents, and have used them extensively in sundry publications. I can say with confidence that they are fundamental for most historical, political and philosophical studies of 18th-century Britain and all the countries with which Britain had relations.