Monthly Archives: November 2018

Resource: Journals of the House of Lords

As a follow up to my previous post on the Journals of the House of Commons, a list of freely available volumes of its companion,  the Journals of the House of Lords. Truth be told, this is a far less interesting record than those of the Commons, being mainly procedural. I haven’t found a great deal to do with debtors, save for the occasional mention of a petition, and the nodding-through of the various relief bills. That said, there’s pages of testimony concerning a private bill for divorce, so there may be some substantive material within, or at least some good gossip.

British History Online has volumes 1 to 39, covering 1509 to 1793, and volumes 62 to 64, for 1830 to 1832, in well transcribed text. The Parliament website hosts volumes for 1997 on. Below are links for volumes 40 to 65, 1794 to 1833, save for three missing volumes. After 1833, the number of digitized volumes is very sparse indeed.

Apparently, a complete run up to 1835 is available on the proprietary ‘Parliamentary Papers’ database. But as is always the case for such collections, the interface is appalling, the curation sloppy, and without academic affiliation it is difficult to access.

Vol. 40, 1794-1796: Google Books
Vol. 41, 1796-1798: Google Books
Vol. 42, 1798-1800: Google Books
Vol. 43, 1801-1802: Google Books
Vol. 44, 1802-1804: Google Books
Vol. 45, 1805-1806: Google Books
Vol. 46, 1806-1808: Google Books
Vol. 47, 1809-1810: Google Books
Vol. 48, 1810-1812 : Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 49, 1812-1814: Google Books
Vol. 50, 1814: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 51, 1817: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 52, 1818-1819: Google Books
Vol. 53, 1820. Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 54, 1821: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 55, 1822: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vols. 56 & 57, 1823 to 1825, not found.
Vol. 58, 1826: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 59, 1826-1827: Google Books
Vol. 60, 1828: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek
Vol. 61, 1829, not found.
Vol. 62, 1830: British History Online.
Vol. 63, 1830-1: British History Online.
Vol. 64, 1831-2: British History Online.
Vol. 65, 1833: Bayerische Staatsbibliotek

An Index to volumes 53 to 64: Google Books

Resource: Journals of the House of Commons

William Blake said, “Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public RECORDS to be True.” And I am bemused that I spend so much time sorting out ‘high’ texts, like the statutes, when my interests and sympathies are very much with the ‘poor, unfortunate’ debtors lying in prison or sheltering in the sanctuaries. Again, Blake: “For the facts are such as none but the actor could tell.”

But official records can contain, however refracted, a great many traces of the plebian world. For example, the twenty relief acts passed between 1712 and 1812, that released thousands of debtors from prison, produced, in the pages of the London Gazette, lists of these prisoners, giving names, places of residence and trade. A goldmine of social historical data, allowing the historian to build up a picture of the indebted population across a century.

Parliamentary records also preserve traces of the life of commoners, notwithstanding the obstacles to reporting, a desire to keep governance shrouded, the priviledging of grandiloquent performances and the distorting lens of supplication to, and investigation by, higher authorities. With relief acts being passed on average twice a decade, and many more proposed but not passing, the Journals of the House of Commons contain a wealth of information relating to the politics of debt: many debates on legislation, two investigations of the sanctuary of Southwark Mint, in 1705 and 1722, and countless petitions of debtors from prisons all over the country, campaigning for release from prison.

But as with the statutes, the Journals of the House of Commons are strewn about the internet, the digitization and transcription of varied quality and the metadata just chaotic. So I present here the fruits of hours of googling, a nearly complete set of the Journals for the ‘long eighteenth century’, from the restoration of 1660 to the reforms of the 1830s.

Volumes 1 to 12, from 1547 to 1699, are available in hand-transcribed text as webpages from British History Online, and an almost complete set of volumes from 1835 (vol 90) to the present day, with numerous indexes, can be found as PDFs on Parliament.uk. For the eighteenth century, a complete run can be found on Google, and for the early nineteenth, most volumes (7 missing) can be found through Google, the Bavarian State Library and British History Online. Note also that historic accounts from Hansard are now online as part of the official Parliament website, dating back to Hansard’s origins in 1802, skimpy coverage at first but ever more comprehensive as the nineteenth century runs on. And an important supplement to these volumes are ‘Grey’s Debates of the House of Commons‘, in 10 volumes covering 1667 to 1694, all online in hand transcribed text courtesy of British History Online.

v.8, 1660-1676: via Google.
v.9, 1677-1687: via Google.
v.10, 1688-1693: via Google.
v.11, 1693-1697: via Google.
v.12, 1697-1699: via Google.
v.13, 1699-1702: via Google.
v.14, 1702-1704: via Google.
v.15, 1705-1708: via Google.
v.16, 1708-1711: via Google.
v.17, 1711-1714: via Google.
v.18, 1714-1718: via Google.
v.19, 1718-1721: via Google.
v.20, 1722-1727: via Google.
v.21, 1727-1732: via Google.
v.22, 1732-1737: via Google.
v.23, 1737-1741: via Google.
v.24, 1741-1745: via Google.
v.25, 1745-1750: via Google.
v.26, 1750-1754: via Google.
v.27, 1754-1757: via Google.
v.28, 1757-1761: via Google.
v.29, 1761-1764: via Google.
v.30, 1765-1766: via Google.
v.31, 1766-1768: via Google.
v.32, 1768-1770: via Google.
v.33, 1770-1772: via Google.
v.34, 1772-1774: via Google.
v.35, 1774-1776: via Google.
v.36, 1776-1778: via Google.
v.37, 1778-1780: via Google.
v.38, 1780-1782: via Google.
v.39, 1782-1784: via Google.
v.40, 1784-1785: via Google.
v.41, 1786: via Google.
v.42, 1787: via Google.
v.43, 1787-1788: via Google.
v.44, 1788-1789: via Google.
v.45, 1790: via Google.
v.46, 1790-1791: via Google.
v.47, 1792: via Google.
v.48, 1792-1793: via Google.
v.49, 1794: via Google.
v.50, 1794-1795: via Google.
v.51, 1795-1796: via Google.
v.52, 1796-1797: via Google.
v.53, 1797-1798: via Google.
v.54, 1798-1799: via Google.
v.55, 1799-1800: via Google.
v.56, 1801: via Google.
v.57, 1801-1802: via Google.
v.58: – not found.
v.59, 1803-1804: via Google.
v.60, 1805-1806: via Google.
v.61, 1806: via Google.
v.62, 1806-1807: via Google.
v.63, 1808: via Google.
v.64, 1809: via Google.
v.65, 1810: via Google.
v.66, 1810-1811: via Google.
v.67, 1812: via Google.
v.68, 1812-1813: via Google.
v.69, 1813-1814: via Google.
v.70, 1814-1816: via Google.
v.71, 1816: via Google.
v.72, 1817: via Google.
v.73, 1818: via Google.
v.74, 1818-1819: via Bavarian State Library.
v.75, 1819-1820: via Google.
v.76, 1821-1822: via Google.
v.77: – not found.
v.78: – not found.
v.79, 1824-1825 via Bavarian State Library.
v.80: – not found.
v.81, 1826: via Google.
v.82, 1826-1828: via Google.
v.83, 1828: via Google.
v.84, 1829: via Google.
v.85, 1830: via British History Online.
v.86, part 1, 1830-1831: via Google.
v.86, part 2, 1831: via Google.
v.87: – not found.
v.88: – not found.
v.89: – not found.

Indexes:

Index for 1547-1659.
Index for 1667-1697.
Index for 1697-1714.
Index for 1714-1774.
Index for 1774-1800.
Index for 1801-1820.