The American States during and after the Revolution, 1775-1789

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview
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(The following bibliography is divided into two parts, the first treating documentary materials and general histories, and the second giving the special sources for each chapter.)


The documentary sources now in print are extensive but uneven. A few States, such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania, have published small libraries of material, while others have left even their legislative journals untouched. Students should consult Hasse "Public Archives of the Thirteen Original States to 1789" in the Report of the American Historical Association for 1906, vol. II. The fullest guide to manuscript materials, which need not be summarized here, is the findings of the Historical Manuscripts Committee of the American Historical Association in the Reports, indexed under the various States in the general index.

Only a few national collections of documents need be mentioned in a bibliography concerned with State sources. Peter Force "American Archives" ( 9 v. 1837-53) is an indispensable array of papers for the years 1774-76. There are various editions of the journals of the Continental Congress, the best being Issued by the Library of Congress under the editorship of W. C. Ford and later Gaillard Hunt, still incomplete. The "Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 1783-89" ( 7 v.; 1833-34). and Francis Wharton "Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States" ( 6 v.; 1899), are valuable. Jonathan Elliot "Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution" ( 5 v.; 1836-45) also contains the Journals of the Federal Constitutional Convention and Madison's Notes. E. C. Burnett "Letters of Members of the Continental Congress," to be complete in six volumes, of which the first two appeared in 1921-23, throws light on State history.

The New England States as a group have shown more enterprise in publishing documentary materials than any other section. The New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vols. 7, 8, 9, 10, 21, and 22, present legislative records and other sources for the years 1764- 1792 ( 1873-77; 1892-93). Other New Hampshire publications are listed in J. A. Larned, "Literature of American History, A. L. A. Guide" ( 1902), pp. 8, 9. Of value for Massachusetts history are the "Journals of Each Provincial Congress" ( 1838), which contains also the journals of the committees of safety; and Alden Bradford "Speeches of the Governors," with the legislative replies, 1765-75 ( 1818). The Massachusetts Historical Society is publishing the "Journals of the House of Representatives," 1715-23 (4 v.; 1919-23), an enterprise the State should have undertaken long ago. The Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society form a rich mine. Especially to be mentioned are the Jeremy Belknap Papers (2 v.; 1877), the Bowdoin-Temple Papers (2 v.; 1897, 1907), the William Heath Papers (3 v.; 1878, 1904-5), the Jonathan Trumbull Papers (4 v.; 1885-1902), and a first volume of the letters of John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren ( 1917). The "Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut" offer in vol. 15 ( 1890) the legislative records of 1775-6, including the journal of the Council of Safety, and a continuation of these materials is found in three volumes of the "Records of the State of Connecticut, 1776-81" ( 1894-1922). The "Records of the Colony and State of Rhode Island," vols. 7-10 inclusive ( 1862-65), though imperfect, furnish a wealth of matter on Rhode Island 1770-92. For Vermont the two chief sources are the "Records of the Council of Safety and Governor and Council" (8 v.; 1873-80), and the "Vermont State Papers" ( 1823).

Turning to the Middle States, we find papers indispensable to Pennsylvania history for this period in the Pennsylvania Archives, First Series, vols. 4-11 inclusive ( 1853- 55). The papers of the Governors are in vols. 3 and 4 of the Fourth Series ( 1900). In vols. 10-16 inclusive of the Colonial Records ( 1852-53) are the minutes of the Provincial Council 1771-75, the Council of Safety 1775-7, and the Supreme Executive Council 1777-90. The "Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives," vols. 5 and 6 ( 1758-1776) are to be found in large libraries. New York has published the "Messages of the Governors" in ten volumes edited by Charles Z. Lincoln, of which


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