The largest group of British government publications owned by the Alexander Library are the papers of Parliament, and among these the largest group by far are the documents emanating from the work of the House of Commons.
The main four divisions of Parliamentary Papers are:
- Journals of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, essentially a record of the daily transactions of these bodies.
- Debates, which are the actual discussions on the floors of both houses.
- Sessional Papers, which include committee reports, minutes of evidence (similar to hearings), financial accounts, and bills.
- Command Papers, non-Parliamentary documents, including reports, royal commissions, treaties, policy statements and various studies which are given to Parliament on the initiative of a government minister. These become part of the Sessional Papers.
The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, 1275-1504 [Rutgers Restricted] provides a full transcription of the original Latin, Anglo-Norman, or Middle English texts and a modern English translation for all surviving official records of the sessions of the medieval English parliament.
The following publications are essential companions to Parliamentary research:
Dod’s Parliamentary Companion.
ALEXANDER STACKS JN500.D6 [1968-2006]
Published annually since 1832, offers much information about Parliament, including biographies of all members.
ALEXANDER PER [1947-2007]
CAMDEN PER [1949-2002]
DANA PER [1955-2003]
This periodical offers excellent scholarly articles on recent and historical issues related to Parliament. The full text of Parliamentary Affairs [Rutgers Restricted] is also available online.
The oldest available comprehensive body of Parliamentary documents, these quasi-official records of the transactions of both houses of Parliament include entries for bills, motions, and votes. For historical purposes, it is important to note that before 1835 many reports and other papers normally found only in the Sessional Papers are included in the Journals in their entirety.
House of Commons
Journals of the House of Commons.
ALEXANDER DOC J301.K2 [1547-1974, microprint]
ALEXANDER DOCM-F Cabinet 32-I [1974/75+, microfiche]
Both microprint and microfiche include indexes. Some full text is included in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) [Rutgers Restricted].
House of Lords
Journals of the House of Lords.
ALEXANDER DOC-FOLIO J301.J2 [Vol. 1, 2, 4, 5-7, 9-13, 34-35, 37, 40-49]
These incomplete holdings span the years 1509-1814.
Classified index to the Journals of the House of Lords, 1833-1863.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.J2 Index
Until 1803, the Debates, supposedly the actual words spoken in sessions of Parliament, are based on unofficial sources such as periodicals, newspapers, private reports, and diaries. Before 1909, the Debates were also not necessarily printed verbatim. It has been suggested that newspaper reports, particularly those of the (London) Daily News and Times, are often more complete, at least until 1909.
Searchable full-text of the Hansard text itself by volume, Lords sittings, Commons sittings and Westminster Hall sittings as well as Written Answers, Written Statements, Lords reports and Grand Committee reports are available at Hansard 1803-2005. The site is not yet complete, but also includes extracted lists of People who are recorded as having spoken, Constituencies, Offices, Acts, Bills and Divisions.
Some full text is included in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) [Rutgers Restricted].
A more extensive collection of links to electronic versions of Parliamentary Debates is available from the Parliament site.
House of Commons
Parliamentary history of England from the earliest period to the year 1803....
ALEXANDER STACKS J301.H5 1806A [36 volumes]
Also known as Cobbett's parliamentary history of England. Covering 1066 to 1803, this is a compilation of many unofficial and incomplete sources and is naturally very thin for the early years.
A Collection of the Parliamentary Debates in England, from the Year M,DC,LXVIII to the Present Time.
ALEXANDER DOC J301.H2 1739 [volumes 3-21 of 24 volumes]
Similar to Cobbett, above, with coverage extending only up to 1763. Volume 20 includes an index to volumes 1 through 20. Full text is included in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) [Rutgers Restricted].
History and Proceedings of the House of Commons....
SPCOL/UA X J301.K2 1742 [incomplete]
Similar to the two above works, and covering 1695-1742. Some full text is included in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) [Rutgers Restricted].
Debates of the House of Commons from 10 October 1667 to 26 April 1694.
ALEXANDER DOCM-F Cabinet 14-F [10 volumes] [sent for cataloging 9/27/2010, Fiche to DTS]
Collected by Anichitell Grey and commonly known as Grey’s Debates. Full text is included in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) [Rutgers Restricted].
Parliamentary Debates (Authorised Edition)
ALEXANDER DOC J301.K22
Contains the 2nd session of the 2nd Parliament through the 3rd session of the 28th Parliament, 1803-1908. Microprint of the Hansard’s official debates of the Houses of Commons. Includes indexes. Full text is included at Hansard 1803-2005.
Times Parliamentary Debates, 1886-1894. House of Commons.
ALEXANDER DOC J301.H45
Covers January 12, 1886 to March 5, 1894.
Parliamentary Debates (Official Report). [House of Commons].
ALEXANDER DOC J301.K22
This and the subsequent title, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons Official Report represent the first real attempts at verbatim accounts of the words said in the House of Commons. The two sets cover 1909-1984 and are indexed by volume and by session of Parliament. They are continued on microfiche for the years 1984-1991 at ALEXANDER DOCM-F Cabinet 32-I. Full text is included at Hansard 1803-2005.
House of Lords
Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords Official Report.
ALEXANDER DOC J301.J22 [1917, 1925, 1944-1971 with gaps]
Full text is included at Hansard 1803-2005.
Times Parliamentary Debates, 1886-1894. House of Lords.
ALEXANDER DOC J301.H44
Covers January 12, 1886 to March 5, 1894.
House of Commons – Eighteenth Century
While earlier documentation does exist, the earliest readily available collection of Sessional Papers is for the eighteenth century. The several collections are very incomplete for many reasons, not the least of which was the 1834 fire in Westminster Palace, where the papers were stored.
Three sets exist: the Abbot Collection, the First Series, and the Scholarly Resources edition of the House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century. The first two are available at Alexander Library; the last, which is an amalgamation of all existing sets, is available at many universities, including New York University and Princeton University.
Sessional Papers. [House of Commons]. [1731-1800]
ALEXANDER DOC J301.K59
4 boxes of microprint including indexes and covering 1731-1800. Essentially this is the Abbot Collection. Assembled through the initiative of Charles Abbot, Speaker of the House of Commons (1802-1817) and published in 1807. The collection is weak for the years before 1760 and many important items are missing from the second half of the century as well. This is still very valuable and represents the major component of any eighteenth-century collection of Parliamentary documents.
Reports from Committees of the House of Commons. [1715-1801]
ALEXANDER DOCM-F Cabinet 8-F and DOCREF J301.K72
This is also known as the First Series and fills in many significant gaps in the Abbot Collection, especially for the years 1714-1760. But, it is a relatively small collection of microfilm. Some full text is included in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) [Rutgers Restricted].
Hansard’s Catalogue and Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1696-1834.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.K62 1953
Another guide helpful in using these papers.
House of Commons – Nineteenth Century to the present
After 1801, sets of sessional papers for the Commons were produced each year.
Sessional Papers. [House of Commons].
ALEXANDER DOC J301.K6
Microprint covering 1803-1979. Indexes included within each session.
Sessional Papers, 1948-1974.
ALEXANDER DOC J301.K6
Official Papers in bound volumes covering 1948-1974. Indexes included within each session.
House of Commons Parliamentary Papers.
ALEXANDER DOCM-F Cabinet 30-F thru 33
Microfiche covering 1978 to the present includes House of Commons Bills, Command Papers, and House of Commons Papers. Indexes included within each session. A Checklist of Bills and Command Papers received for each session is filed on top of Microform Cabinet 32.
In addition to the sessional indexes, there are a number of cumulative subject indexes and guides to the above sets of sessional papers. The following are the most important:
C19: The Nineteenth Century Index [Rutgers Restricted].
Includes indexing of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers for the years 1801-1919.
Indexes of British Parliamentary Papers.
ALEXANDER DOCCOM J301.M4 1997 [CD-ROM installed on Gov. Docs. Workstation]
Covers the House of Commons (1801-1944/5) and the House of Lords (1801-1922). Indexing is by name, by subject, and by session. There are a number of special features, such as supplying biographical information on some of the historical figures whose names appear as witnesses, etc. Unlike previous indexes, indexing includes all the information found in each session’s index. This is the index to use to launch a search in Parliamentary documents. Introduction and tutorial pamphlet at ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.M4 1997 guide.
Subject Catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 1801-1900.
ALEXANDER DOCREF Z2019.C63 1988 [5 volumes]
Published as a guide to the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche set of nineteenth-century papers (which Rutgers does not own), this extensive guide gives official volume and page numbers which correspond to the holdings at Alexander Library.
General Index to the Accounts and Papers, Reports of Commissioners, Estimates, &c., &c. Printed by Order of the House of Commons or Presented by Command. 1801-1852.
ALEXANDER DOCREF and DOC J301.M3 1801-1852a
General Index to the Bills, Reports, and Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons and to the Reports and Papers Presented by Command, 1900 to 1948-49.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.M3 1960
General Alphabetical Index to the Bills, Reports, and Papers Printed by Order of the House of Commons and to the Papers Presented by Command..
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.M5G73a [9 volumes]
1852-1899, 1900-09, 1910-19, 1920-29, 1944-49, 1950-1959, 1959-69.
House of Commons Sessional Papers Index.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.K59 Index [1986-1996]
Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1900-1916: the Foundation of the Welfare State.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.M3 1957
KILMER STACKS JN549.F59 1969
Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1917-1939.
ALEXANDER DOCREF JN549.F6 [also STACKS]
DANA REF JN549.F6
KILMER STACKS JN549.F6 1969
Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1940-1954: War and Reconstruction.
ALEXANDER DOCREF JN549.F62
Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.M3 1953
DANA REF J301.M3 1953
Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1955-1964.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.M3 1970
Breviate of British Diplomatic Blue Books, 1919-1939.
ALEXANDER DOCREF Z2009.V6
Index to Current House of Commons Parliamentary Papers.
ALEXANDER DOCCOM JN682 1991 .I54 [1991+; CD-ROM installed on Gov. Docs. Workstation]
Checklist of British Parliamentary Papers in the Irish University Press 1000-Volume Series, 1801-1899.
ALEXANDER DOCREF Z2019.I73
CAMDEN FOLIO J301.K63A2
This is a guide to the Irish University Press reprinting of a massive number of House of Commons committee reports and other documents. IUP grouped these sets by subject and for each subject series there is a pamphlet guide describing the contents. Although Rutgers does not own the IUP set (New York University and Princeton University do), we have, in addition to the Checklist a number of these pamphlet guides (ALEXANDER DOCREF FOR G78 C73). Both the Checklist and the pamphlet guides give official volume numbers which can be used to access holdings in Alexander Library.
House of Lords
Sessional Papers Printed by Order of the House of Lords....
ALEXANDER DOC J301.J6
Bound volumes cover 1948 to 1972. Microprint covers 1940 to 1970
General Index to the Sessional Papers Printed by Order of the House of Lords or Presented by Special Command, 1801-1859.
ALEXANDER DOCREF & DOC J301.J6 index 1801/59a
General Index to the Sessional Papers: Printed by Order of the House of Lords or Presented by Special Command.
ALEXANDER DOCREF J301.J6 index
Volume 1. 1801-1859, A-H; volume 2. 1801-1859, I-Z.; volume 3. 1859-1870; volume 4. 1871-1884-5; volume 5. 1714-1805.
Manuscripts of the House of Lords: New Series.
ALEXANDER DOC DA25 .M2H8 [12 volumes]
Reprints many Lords Sessional Papers for 1693-1718.
**Note** Before 1900, "printed sets of House of Lords Sessional Papers reproduce the material in House of Commons Sessional Papers to a considerable extent." (Bond, Maurice Francis. Guide to the Records of Parliament, p.132. ALEXANDER DOCREF and STACKS CD1063.B63)
Command Papers derive their name from the fact that they are presented to Parliament by a Government Minister "by Command of Her/His Majesty". The Papers are numbered consecutively and are included within the Sessional Papers. A complete collection of Command Papers and House of Commons Papers (HCPs), beginning with May 2005, is freely available online. The site also holds an archive of many Command Papers, HCPs and other Government papers from before this date. A selection of Papers published prior to that time is available in the Official Documents Archive.
Some authors cite these valuable publications simply by number, without reference to the year or Parliamentary session. For the period 1833 to 1961/62 use Edward Di Roma’s A Numerical Finding List of British Command Papers Published 1833-1961/2 located in ALEXANDER DOCREF Z2009.D5 1971.