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Part 1: Manuscript Minutes, Committee Books and Voting Records of the House of Lords, c1620-1714

Publisher's Note

Part 1: Manuscript Minutes, Committee Books and Voting Records of the House of Lords, c1620-1714

This project brings together four important central sources for the study of parliamentary history, the state and society for the period 1620 to 1714.  Namely:

  • The manuscript Minute books of the House of Lords, 1620- 1716;
  • Proceedings in the Lords Committees, 1661-1741;
  • Proxy Records, 1625-1755;
  • Proceedings of the Committee for Privileges, 1660-1762.

This is the first time that the Committee Proceedings have ever been published and none of these classes have been published in their entirety before.

Whilst the manuscript and (later) Journals of the House of Lords were based on the Minute books they do not cover them exhaustively. Indeed A F Pollard writing in 1914 (Transactionsof the Royal Historical Society, 3rdseries, VIII) described the standard of the editing of the printed journals as "little short of a scandal" and Maurice F Bond in his Guide to the Record of Parliament confirms that it is the manuscript minutes that are "the original central record of proceedings in the House" as these were the notes taken down by parliamentary clerks whilst the events were actually happening. Items included that did not always find their way into the Journals include the texts of some important speeches, notes on voting divisions, Lords present, the stages of bills, judicial business, divisions and tellers, motions and messages form the Commons.

The Lords’ Minute Books are made all the more important by the fact that the Commons’ Minutes were tragically lost in the ‘tallystick fire’ of 1834.

The Proxy Records are registers of proxiesgiven by peers to their fellow peers under Standing Orders. These tie in with the voting divisions in the Minute Books to tell us much about cliques and allegiances amongst the peers.

The Committee Proceedings deal with a wide variety of subjects including special volumes for the Committees on the Popish Plot (1678-1681) and the Trial of the Lords in the Tower (1679-1695) to give but two examples. Verbatim evidence for Private Bills does much to augment our knowledge of the methods of Parliament and the reception of particular bills.

The Committee for Privileges was largely concerned with Peerage claims and its records include the original petitions of claim. Dating from the Restoration of Charles II these records provide evidence of settlements concerning the nobility following the English Civil War.

Taken together these sources detail the opinions of the peers in a period spanning from the last years of James I, through the parliamentary trials and tribulations of Charles I, the Civil War, the Restoration, the Glorious Revolution and onwards through to the end of the reign of Queen Anne. They deal with issues of royal prerogative, finance, religious belief, the composition of the army and navy, the rights of ordinary citizens, the establishment of the Bank of England, local affairs reflected through Private Bills and the Act of Union of England and Scotland.

This detailed guide provides a full contents of reels listing and other background information to accompany the microfilm edition.

We are grateful to H S Cobb, Clerk of the Records, David Johnson and other members of staff at the House of Lords Record Office for their help in the preparation of this project.



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