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PART 2

Letterbooks of outward correspondence

FOLLOWING the common Nineteenth Century office practice, the Colonial Secretary preserved copies of the more important of his outward letters in letterbooks, and these formed the complement of his inward correspondence series.

After the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor Arthur in 1824 up to the time of W. H. Hamilton's appointment as Acting Colonial Secretary at the end of April 1826, copies of outward letters were kept in a single series of letterbooks (CSO35); after that time a system of differentiation was introduced which provided for a separate series of letterbooks each reserved for letters either addressed to particular officers or dealing with particular subjects. Thus letterbooks were kept for correspondence addressed to: Commissariat, New South Wales; Maria Island Penal Settlement; Sheriff; Principal Superintendent of Convicts (CSO84); Naval Officer; Commandant, Launceston (CSO36); Lieutenant-Governor (CSO37); Surveyor-General (CSO38); Commandant, Macquarie Harbour (CSO43); Manager, Van Diemen's Land Company (CSO45); Inspector of Roads (CSO47); and on such subjects as fell under the headings: Clerical (CSO44); Police; Military. The series against which there is no CSOreference are not amongst the Archives Office's holdings.

Most of these letterbooks do not extend beyond 1841 since, as has been described under CSO8 and subsequent correspondence series in Part 1, copies of outward letters at that time began to be attached to the inward correspondence. Even before this date, where the copy of the outward letter is for some reason unavailable, the substance of the reply is often to be found in the form of a minute by the Lieutenant-Governor or the Colonial Secretary, as an instruction to the Chief Clerk.

After January, 1827 the number of the file containing the inward correspondence and associated papers begins to be quoted in the margin of the copy of the outward letter, so that cross-reference is facilitated. Most of the letterbooks contain their own indexes.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S GENERAL LETTERBOOKS 17 May 1824 - 16 June 1826 4 vols. 20 cm.

CSO35

As indicated under CSO1, copies of outward letters were not as a rule filed with the inward. This applies to the general correspondence records until 1841. Apart from the Lieutenant-Governor's and the Colonial Secretary's minutes of instruction on the inward letters, in a large number of cases, and particularly when the reply was considered of more than normal importance, the outward letters were copied into letterbooks. This series of general letterbooks was the only one kept until c.May, 1826, when the differentiation described in the Introductory Note to this Part was made. The letters in these letterbooks after that time were re-entered in the appropriate letterbooks, some of which are described below (CSO36, CSO37, CSO38, CSO43, CSO44, CSO45, CSO47, CSO84). Each of the volumes in this series except the first has its own index, with entries under the names of individuals and officials, and sub-entries if there is more than one letter.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S "MISCELLANEOUS" LETTERBOOK 1 May 1826 - 5 June 1827 1 vol. 3 cm.

CSO90

This is one of the series which was established in May 1826 to differentiate outward correspondence into categories, as described in the Introductory Note to this Part. It was devoted chiefly to correspondence addressed to private individuals. Since there was apparently no provision made then for correspondence to masters and surgeons-superintendent of convict ships (cf. CSO91), letters to them are also to be found here. From January 1827 the appropriate file number (see under CSO1) begins to be quoted. There is no index.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOKS OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE COMMANDANT, LAUNCESTON 4 May 1826 - 25 January 1841 2 vols. 10 cm.

CSO36

This is another of the series whose establishment is described in the Introductory Note to Part 2 and under CSO35.

The function of the Launceston Commandant was a general oversight of all official matters at the northern port. He had to make regular visits of inspection to the prison, the houses of correction, road parties within fifteen miles, the hospital and the Government school; he prepared and issued clearances for Government and colonial vessels; stores were issued under his authority, and he called for the tenders for those supplied locally. He was a magistrate, and dispensed summary justice to convicts, and had special authority over those employed in the public service.46

The first of these volumes is badly water damaged. Both have indexes as in CSO35, and the series is complete. File references are quoted after January 1827.


COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR 7 May 1826 - 16 June 1832 1 vol. 2.5 cm.

CSO37

This is another of the series whose establishment is described in the Introductory Note to this Part and under CSO35. The letters relate to the Colonial Secretary's official duties, reports on matters referred to him for his opinion, and semi-private affairs as they affect his position. Some letters are addressed to the Private Secretary. There is an index to subjects.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOKS OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE SURVEYOR-GENERAL 4 May 1826 - 15 December 1828 1 vol. 2.5 cm.

CSO38

This is another of the series whose establishment is described in the Introductory Note to this Part and under CSO35. As well as the normal correspondence from the Colonial Secretary on matters relating to land grants, there are included copies of the Lieutenant-Governor's authorities direct to the Surveyor-General to locate land to settlers. The volume includes an index as in the case of CSO35, and file numbers are quoted after January 1827. The series is probably incomplete.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE COLONIAL ARCHITECT 11 May 1826 - 30 August 1827 Part of CSO38

CSO39

This is another of the series whose establishment is described in the Introductory Note to this Section and under CSO35. Most of the letters are addressed to David Lambe, who had acted as Architect alone. John Lee Archer took up the position early in August, 1827, and combined the office with that of Civil Engineer.47 The contents generally concern the construction and repair of public buildings. There is an index to subjects, and file references are quoted after January, 1827.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CIRCULARS SENT TO DEPARTMENTAL OFFICERS 7 December 1827 - 14 July 1835 1 vol. 5 cm.

CSO40

This volume was used to keep copies of circulars conveying instructions on administrative matters common to two or more departments, and includes correspondence addressed to Police Magistrates. File references are quoted, and there is an index to subjects. Although there may have been earlier volumes, the series was discontinued with this.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORESPONDENCE SENT TO THE INSPECTOR OF ROADS 14 December 1827 - 21 March 1835 1 vol. 5 cm.

CSO47

This is another in the series whose establishment is described in the Introductory Note to this Section and under CSO35. Most of the letters are addressed to the Inspector of Roads. The contents concern the organisation of gangs working on the roads including accommodation, punishment, supply of stores etc., and instructions or comments on roads and bridges to be made or repaired. There is an index to subjects and file numbers have been quoted.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOKS OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO DISTRICT POLICE MAGISTRATES 3 March 1828 - 27 July 1840 3 vols. 15 cm.

CSO41

This is a series branched off from one of those mentioned in the Introductory Note to this Part: letters to District Police Magistrates before January 1828 were entered into the series devoted to the Hobart Town Police.48 The circulars to Police Magistrates of CSO40 are not duplicated in this series, which includes as well letters to Justices of the Peace. The subjects documented are all related to the administration of the police system generally, and particular activities in which Police Magistrates took part (e.g., the campaign against the aborigines) are included. The series was discontinued after 24 March 1835, but resumed on 4 January 1836. The series is not complete. Each volume has its own index both to subjects and addressees, and file references are quoted.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE PRINCIPAL SUPERINTENDENT OF CONVICTS 25 April 1828 - 21 September 1829 1 vol. 3 cm.

CSO84

This is another in the series whose establishment is described in the Introductory Note to this Section and under CSO35. Most of the letters are addressed to the Principal Superintendent and relate to the assignment and employment of convicts, granting of indulgences, and rules and regulations relating to the Convict System. There is an index to subjects and file numbers have been quoted.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF MEMORANDA ADDRESSED TO THE BOARD OF ASSIGNEMNT July 1832 - December 1836 1 vol. 1 cm.

CSO88

The Board of Assignment was established by Lieut. Governor Arthur in July 1832 to oversee the assignment of convict servants, to keep registers of all assignments and of all applications for convict servants. Applications were to be addressed to the Police Office.

This volume contains copies of memoranda relating to assignment and the administration of the Board. There is an index to subjects and file numbers have been quoted.


COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO MASTERS AND SURGEONS-SUPERINTENDENT OF CONVICT SHIPS 3 August 1829 - 5 April 1841 1 vol. 5 cm.

CSO91

Although this series did not begin in 1826 (cf. CSO90) it is no doubt one of the group of letterbooks whose origin is described in the Introductory Note to this Part and under CSO35. The bulk of the correspondence relates to the routine observed on the arrival of a convict ship: permission had to be obtained from the Lieutenant-Governor before anyone could land, or before any goods could be unloaded; the Surgeon had to make certain returns concerning the convicts in his charge, and the Master had to report on the voyage. In accordance with the agreements under which the convicts were transported, the Lieutenant-Governor had to certify as to the discharge of their respective duties of the Master and the Surgeon; copies of such certificates are to be found in this series (cf. CSO71). Correspondence of a similar nature is also included concerning the arrival of free immigrant ships. The series was discontinued with this volume. File references are quoted, and there is an index to ships, surgeons, masters and subjects, with sub-entries.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE MUSTER MASTER 30 September 1829 - 17 November 1836 1 vol. 2.5 cm.

CSO42

The office of Muster Master was created by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur in March 1827 on a provisional basis, and was attached to the department of the Chief Police Magistrate. The Colonial Office at first questioned the appointment, but finally confirmed it provided that its expense be lessened by combining it with the office of Assistant Police Magistrate.49

The Muster Master's duties were chiefly to maintain the complicated system of convict records upon which the efficiency of the penal administration largely rested; but it was also his responsibility to keep registers under various categories of the free population of the island. As Assistant Police Magistrate he was expected also to assist in the trial of convict offenders, but this office was entirely secondary to the due discharge of that of Muster Master. A full statement of his duties is to be found on page 6 of this volume.

The letters here copied are chiefly enquiries for the records of convicts under various categories, but there is also important correspondence on the administration of convict records. The series apparently began and ended with this volume, which contains an index to personal names and subjects. File references are quoted.


COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE COMMANDANT, MACQUARIE HARBOUR 22 January 1830 - 10 December 1833 1 vol. 5 cm.

CSO43

Macquarie Harbour was established by Lieutenant-Governor Sorell as a penal settlement for the worst convict offenders at the end of 1821; it was abandoned at the end of 1833. This volume is not the first of the series, but it is the last. The letters relate to the detail of the administration of the station, both generally and with respect to individuals sent there; many letters are orders for goods (office furniture, boats etc.) which were manufactured there. There is no index, but file references are quoted.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ON CLERICAL AND EDUCATIONAL MATTERS 29 March 1830 - 8 July 1841 2 vol. 10 cm.

CSO44

This is part of one of the series whose origin is described under CSO35 and the Introductory Note to this Part. The great bulk of the letters are addressed to ministers of religion (of all denominations), and most of these relate to the building and repair of churches, ministers' allowances, returns of births, deaths and marriages, the establishment of schools and orphanages, and other matters, not strictly either clerical or educational, in which ministers were concerned. File references are quoted, and there is an index to both subjects and addressees.

COLONIAL SECRETARY'S LETTERBOOK OF CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE MANAGER, VAN DIEMEN'S LAND COMPANY 6 March 1826 - 12 July 1828 1 vol. 5 cm.

CSO45

The Van Diemen's Land Company was established in Tasmania by Royal Charter in 1825; it was granted an enormous area of land in the North-Western quarter, and was the biggest single private enterprise in the Colony: as such, it employed a large number of assigned servants, and subjects relating to them are probably the most frequently mentioned in these letters. Others are the adjustment of the Company's boundaries and matters relating more personally to the manager, Edward Curr, who was also a Member of the Executive Council. There is no index, but file references are quoted after January 1827. The series is apparently complete.

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