Professor K.G. Davies spent over a decade researching through colonial office records relating to North America, including Canada, from 1770 to 1783, consisting of 570 manuscript volumes and bundles of records, each of them averaging 200 folios in length. He gives here a summary of every document which has survived, whether originating in Whitehall or in the colonies, arranged in chronological sequence. There are seven volumes of these Calendars summarizing 27,410 items. Documents of outstanding interest are printed in extenso, and these appear in fourteen volumes of Transcripts. Broadly a document was chosen for transcription if it describes an important event, illuminates an issue of principle, reveals something which someone wishes to keep dark, is the work of a famous person, or opens a subject which in the editors view has been underestimated or misunderstood. Each volume is prefaced by short introductory statements by the editor.
"Students of the British Empire during the era of the American Revolution can now survey the totality of British official documents, and they can also dip into the collection in detail at strategically selected points. The calendars are complete, informative, and easy to use. The documents excerpted are well chosen, easily related to the whole, and critical for understanding the Revolution ... This series is a scholarly triumph, making available documents never before available except to the manuscript researcher in the British Library. More important, it sets out the documents in such a way that even an undergraduate student can use them efficiently and with ease. This now constitutes the central set of documents for studying the imperial side of the Revolution, and it is an essential building block for any library, undergraduate or research, in which students will do research ... It belongs on the shelves of every serious library. " Choice
Documents of the American Revolution 1770-1783 Discounted Price for Complete Subject Set of 21 Volumes ISBN 07165 20850 £1,600 / $2,750
Somewhat over half of the volumes in the set are concerned with economic questions, reflecting not only the fundamental historical importance of commerce and industry in human affairs, but also the special importance, in the nineteenth century, of the internationally dominant British commercial and industrial economy and of its intimate relationship with the rapidly-expanding economy of the United States, which was basically agricultural and commercial but also increasingly industrial. The bulk of these economic volumes consists of the twenty-two on Commercial Reports; others are on Trade and Tariffs, on Exhibitions, on Agriculture and Industry. The only other large constituent subject of the set is that of American political relations with foreign powers, and above all with Britain. There are also volumes, of a somewhat different kind, on American education, on immigration and naturalization in the United States, on transatlantic postal services, on Samoa, and on social conditions in America, as well as a concluding volume on miscellaneous topics. The volume on education is perhaps of special interest. Further material on cognate American subjects can also be found in other sets of the series, such as those on Canada and Canadian Boundary and on the Slave Trade.
Area Studies United States of America 60 Volume Set Price £7,530 / $12,431 (if volumes are bought individually) Discounted Price for Complete Subject Set of 60 Volumes £6,775 / $11,175
The nineteenth century saw the emergence and full development of a position of
British dominance in East Asia, as well as the first stage of its decline. Based
on trade and the gunboat, it led to a relationship with China and Japan (through
the so-called ‘treaty ports’) which is now commonly called ‘semi-colonial’;
and this in turn, because of the reactions it induced within those countries,
has done much to shape their modern history. The papers presented to parliament
between 1800 and 1900, gathered here by Irish University Press as the second
of its Area Studies sets, provide one of the most valuable collections for studying
this important topic at first hand.
Down to 1833, their theme was the trade carried on by the East India Company
at Canton. The company’s attempts to defend its monopoly from the attacks
of other mercantile interests in Britain led to the production of voluminous
reports, focussing on tea, silk and opium. During the rest of the century (after
the monopoly ended and the Foreign Office became responsible for the conduct
of relations with China) these were supplemented by a further Select Committee
Report (1847) and by reports from consuls: annual ones, giving a detailed account
of current trading and other economic matters (like the development of railways);
and occasional ones, analysing particular features (the organization of the trade
in opium, for example) or describing consular journeys to different parts of
the country. A similar series of reports concerning Japan begins with the opening
of Japanese ports to trade in 1859. Together, these papers provide a wealth of
information on British trade and the economic development of the area.
The framework within which trade was carried on was determined by diplomacy,
backed by force. This led to two wars, the Opium War and the Arrow War, followed
by treaty settlements in 1842-43 and 1858-60, the latter being also extended
to Japan. Both are fully documented in the sessional papers. Thereafter there
was in China a steady extension of the treaty port pattern so established, reflected
in papers on the mechanisms and costs of empire (postal services, consular courts,
maintenance of troops, suppression of piracy), as well as some of its problems
(the Chinese coolie trade, rebellion in China, attacks on missionaries). There
is also material on the colonial development of Hong Kong, plus a great many
translations of Chinese documents, which are of great value to the historian.
Some of these categories apply similarly to Japan, though on a smaller scale;
but Japan’s growing strength brought treaty revision in 1894, which soon
ended the treaty port system there.
Altogether, the collection of papers as reprinted, total fifty-two volumes, of
which ten deal with Japan. In them, the material has been divided by Irish University
Press research staff into logical subject areas, which should make the collection
a good deal easier to use than the chronological arrangement of the original.
Where papers refer to both China and Japan, as several do, because of the close
connection between the two in British policy (for example, the Elgin mission),
they are as a rule given under China, to which the bulk of the material refers.
It should also be noted that the contemporary spelling of Chinese and Japenese
names, as given in the papers, has been modernized for the purposes of this catalogue,
where it seemed necessary, or the reader’s interest, to do so.