State Papers

The term State papers is used in Britain and Ireland to refer to government archives and records. Such papers used to be kept separate from non-governmental papers, with state papers kept in the State Paper Office and general public records kept in the Public Records Office. When they were written, they were regarded as the personal papers of the government officials writing them, but in 1702, the State Papers Office was established and requisitioned them.

In Ireland, these records were held in a single repository, the Public Records Office. In 1922, this was in two locations, the Bermingham Tower of Dublin Castle and the Four Courts on Dublin's quays. However, the vast majority of records, particularly before 1790, were held in the Four Courts. When the Four Courts was occupied by the anti-Treaty forces of the Irish Republican Army in April 1922, the pro-Treaty forces came under pressure to remove them. Following the assassination of the British Field Marshal, Henry Hughes Wilson by anti-Treaty forces on 22 June, the pro-Treaty IRA came under pressure from Britain to attack the Four Courts or else British forces, still occupying Ireland, would take action. On 27 June, Michael Collins, the leader of the Pro-Treaty forces, gave the order to attack the garrison in what is widely regarded as the opening shot of the Irish Civil War. In the process, most of these records were destroyed. One historian who was in the PRO section of the Four Courts at the time of the bombing, Charles McNeill, is reported as diving for cover and bringing an important manuscript with him in the act that destroyed most other written records of Ireland's British rulers.

The Irish State Paper Office contains papers from the offices of:

  • President of Ireland
  • Taoiseach
  • Oireachtas, i.e. Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann
  • Departments of State

There are papers also from former offices of state, including:

  • King of Ireland
  • Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland relating to Ireland
  • Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
  • Chief Secretary for Ireland
  • Under Secretary for Ireland
  • Irish House of Commons & Irish House of Lords
  • House of Commons of Southern Ireland
  • Attorney-General for Ireland
  • Governor-General of the Irish Free State

The Irish State Paper Office was formerly located in Dublin Castle, while the Irish Public Records Office was located at the Four Courts. In the late 1980s the distinction was abolished and both archives merged and moved to a new National Archives of Ireland in Bishop Street in Dublin.

The National Archives of the United Kingdom is located in Kew, near London. The Royal Archives are kept separately at Windsor Castle.

Other articles related to "state papers, state":

Arthur Haselrig - Authorities
... of State Papers Domestic, 1631–1664, where there are a large number of important references, as also in Hist ... of the Great Civil War and Commonwealth Clarendon's History State Papers and Cal ... of State Papers, JL Sanford's Studies of the Great Rebellion ...
Henry Hobhouse (archivist)
... He was appointed permanent under-secretary of state for the home department on 28 June 1817, and held that office until July 1827, when he retired on a ... He was also keeper of the state papers from 23 May 1826 to his death ... The commission published State Papers of Henry VIII, in eleven volumes quarto, the last appearing in 1852 ...

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