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British Parliamentary Papers: Reports of Debates

Reports of Debates

An official source of information on what was said in Parliament did not exist until the 20th century. Until the late 18th century, there was strong opposition to reporting debates in any form. Various early compilations come to the closest to a record of debates before Hansard.

Debates of Both Houses of Parliament

The Journal of the House of Commons, vols. 1-12 (1547-1699) and vol. 85 (1830) and Journal of the House of Lords, vols. 1-20 (1509-1717) and vols. 62-64 (1830-1832) are available at the British History Online site.

Parliamentary or Constitutional History of England from the Earliest Times, 24 vols. London, 1751-63.
Special Collections (Spec J301 .H18 1751)

Sometimes called the Old Parliamentary History.

Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, 36 vols. Printed by T. C. Hansard [etc.] 1806-20.
J301 .H2

Known as Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, after William Cobbett, its original editor. The later volumes were completed by Thomas Curson Hansard.

Dewes, Simonds, Sir. A Compleat Journal of the Votes, Speeches and Debates, Both of the House of Lords and House of Commons, throughout the Whole Reign of Queen Elizabeth [I]. London: Printed for Jonathan Robinson ..., 1693.
Library Annex - Folio J301 .H14 1693b (Reprint ed., Wilmington, Del: Scholarly Resources, 1974.
Microforms (MFilm S1.5 1614:1)
Microforms (MFilm S1.5 664:3)

Dewes, Simonds, Sir. A Compleat Journal of the Votes, Speeches and Debates, Both of the House of Lords and House of Commons, throughout the Whole Reign of Queen Elizabeth [I]. London: Printed by J.S. and sold by Jonathan Robinson ..., 1708.
Microforms (MFilm S278 no. 4526)

Simmons, R. C. and Thomas, P. D. G., eds. Proceedings and Debates of the British Parliaments Respecting North America, 1754-1783, 7 vols. to date. Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus Reprint, 1982-.
E187 .G79 1982

Debates of the House of Commons

House of Commons Journals, 23 vols., 1547-1741.
Special Collections (Spec Folio+ J301 .K3)

Exists from the 16th century except for a brief period from 1584-1601. Not a verbatim report of debates, but minutes of each session and a record of business transacted. Before the 19th century, many reports and papers were printed in full in the Journals. Each volume has an index.

A Collection of the Parliamentary Debates in England, from the Year 1688 to the Present Time. London, 1741.
Special Collections (Spec J301 .H8 1742)

Library lacks some volumes.

The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons from the Restoration to the Present Time, 14 vols. London: Printed for Richard Chandler, 1741-44.
Special Collections (Spec J301 .K2)

Debates and Proceedings of the British House of Commons, 1743-1772.
Special Collections (Spec J301 .K212)

Continues the volume numbering of The History and Proceedings.

Parliamentary Register; or History of the Proceedings and Debates ... during the fourteenth Parliament of Great Britain ... [1774-80], 17 vols. London, 1775-80.
Microforms (Mfilm S 278 no. 11223 v.1-v.17)

Parliamentary Register; or History of the Proceedings and Debates ... during the fifteenth [-seventeenth] Parliament of Great Britain ... October 1780 [-1795/6], 45 vols. London, 1784-96.
Microforms (Mfilm S 278 no. 12542 v.1-v.45)

Parliamentary Register; or History of the Proceedings and Debates ... during the 1st Session of the 15th Parliament - 2d Session of the 16th Parliament, 18 vols. London, 1784-85.
Special Collections (Spec J301 .K215)

Parliamentary Debates, 1803 to date (called “Hansard”).
J301 .K22 1970/1971-1995/1996)
Library Annex (J301 .K22 1812-1970 [some gaps])
Microforms (Mfilm S 277 1900-1905)

The first 12 vols., covering 1803/4-1812, are known as Cobbett’s Parliamentary Debates and from 1829, as Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, after the names of the editors. The Parliamentary Debates consist of several series: 1st series, 1803-1820 (41 vols.); 2d series (“new series”), 1820-1830 (25 vols.); 3rd series, 1830-1891 (356 vols.); 4th series, 1892-1908 (199 vols.); 5th series, 1909-1981; 6th series, 1981 to date. It became an official report (i.e., substantially verbatim) in 1909. The last volume for each session is or includes a general index for the volumes in that session. Beginning in 1909 (with the 5th series), the Commons and Lords Debates, which had previously been published together, were separated. The House of Lords 5th series is still ongoing; the House of Commons 5th series ended in 1981. An index to the Debates of the House of Commons and to the Debates of the House of Lords for the years 1803-1830 is available in the “Government Documents Indices” series of the Nineteenth Century Masterfile database.

Debates of the House of Lords

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords. The History and Proceedings of the House of Lords from the Restoration in 1660 to the Present Time Containing the Most Remarkable Motions, Speeches, Debates, Orders and Resolutions. 8 vols. London: Printed for Ebenezer Timberland, 1742-43.
Special Collections (Spec J301 .J2)
Microforms (Microfilm S278 no. 7881)

Parliamentary Debates, 1803 to date (known as “Hansard”).
J301 .J22 1970/1971-1995/1996
Library Annex - J301 .J22 1909-1969

For notes, see above, under House of Commons.

Subject Guide

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Carol Rudisell
Contact:
Librarian
Reference & Instructional Services Dept.
(302) 831-6942

Subjects:African American Studies, Caribbean Studies, Ethnic Studies, Foundations and Grants, History, Sexuality Studies, Women and Gender Studies

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