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Cape of Good Hope Colony: Government Publications: Library Guide: Legislative Council

Guide to the publications of the Cape of Good Hope Colony

1st Legislative Council, 1834-1853

Some Legislative Council papers were published individually, but we have only: Master and Servant : documents on the working of the Order in Council of the 21st July, 1846, being, chiefly, replies to certain questions issued by the Hon'ble the Legislative Council  to resident magistrates, justices of the peace, ministers of the gospel and others throughout the Colony, with a summary of the whole. microfiche GZB 682 ELC.1849.MAST

These published Legislative Council papers are listed in Mendelssohn, Sidney, d. 1917.   A South African bibliography to the year 1925 :   being a revision and continuation of Sidney Mendelssohn's South African Bibliography (1910).    London :   Mansell,   1979-1997. BRB 968 MEND Library holdings are included.

The unpublished Legislative Council papers are in the National Archives, Cape Town. 

Legislative Council, 1854-1910

This Legislative Council was the upper house of the Cape Colonial Parliament.

Legislative Council papers

Series numbers beginning with C were assigned annually for papers printed by order of the Legislative Council. C papers were the fewest and are the scarcest in libraries. The C papers are often short papers, consisting of petitions, returns and similar documents. 

We have a few individual C papers shelved after the individual A papers at G 682 E1. Other C papers were bound in volumes of Legislative Council papers G 682 E1, Appendix I to the Votes and proceedings G 682 E5 or in the Votes and proceedings G 682 C. 

Select Committee reports

Select Committees were appointed by Parliament. The committees consisted of members of Parliament. They would investigate issues of importance, call for evidence from members of the public and publish reports.

The Legislative Council appointed some select committees and their reports were published, sometimes individually, but usually in bound volumes of Select Committee Reports G 682 E4 or Appendix II @ G 682 E3. Early reports had the series number S.C. Later ones had the series number C.S.C. 


The Debates or Hansard (named after the British publisher of debates) are the verbatim records of the proceedings in the Legislative Council. From 1854 to 1884 the Debates were reported in the newspapers: 1854-1869 in the South African Commercial Advertiser, 1870-1875 in the Standard and Mail and 1876-1883 in the Cape Times. The microfilm newspapers may be found in the African Studies Collection. Use the Votes and proceedings of the Legislative Council to establish dates before consulting the newspapers. 

Debates of the Legislative Council, 1885-1909. G 682 D2.

Votes and proceedings

The Votes and proceedings are the preliminary records of the Legislative Council sittings. They include minutes, votes on legislation, lists of papers tabled in Parliament, lists of petitions and bills. Some Legislative Council Votes and proceedings volumes are bound with the House of Assembly Votes and proceedings. A few contain 'C' papers. G 682 C