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British Documents Related to Colonial America : Royal Proclamations, Privy Council and the Gazette

The American colonies that were under British colonial rule were governed and led by policies of the British. Consequently, research on Colonial America often requires access to British government documents of the period. Some of these documents, such as

Royal Proclamations

Acts of the Privy Council

Through most of the 17th century, the Privy Council was the chief executive body advising and making decisions on behalf of the Monarch. The Privy Council played three chief roles in regards to the colonies:

  • It was the primary channel of communications between the King and the proprietors/governing bodies of colonies as well as the chief executive body charged with managing the colonies.
  • It was the final court of appeal with regard to cases brought by colonial courts as well as the highest recipient of petitions from subjects.
  • It gave or withheld assent to colonial legislation.


Through the 18th century the Privy Council lost power to Parliament and the Cabinet.

London Gazette

Subject Guide

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Nick Okrent
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