Preliminary Guide
To varying degrees, reports of British Arctic explorers were incorporated into the Sessional Papers of the Houses of Parliament, to become inherent components of the Parliamentary Papers. The contents of Sessional Pa pers were not limited to Arctic expeditions but covered the entire gamut of Parliamentary interests and activities, and occasionally bulked more than a hundred volumes annually. "The papers of the nineteenth century number over fifty thousand, and in the bound sets, take up several thousand volumes" (Ford and Ford, 1953, p. vii).

Only 47 papers in this period are known by the writer to concern the Canadian Arctic. Certain subjects recorded in these Sessional Papers warranted broader dissemination outside Parliament. These were printed in larger numbers, and were se parately bound usually in deep ultramarine paper wrappers to become known as Blue Books. These Blue Books "...give information of new discoveries; they are the official records of society; they gather from all quarters illustr ations of the evils which Parliament is asked to remedy; they almost invariably refer to what is novel, and are very often the first authentic accounts published of the actual progress of society, or the formation of those new phases with which it is the duty of legislation especially to deal" (Jones, 1904,  p. viii).

 

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