Imatges de pÓgina
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It will, doubtless, have been observed by most persons who have much attended to the matter, that, for the period from the Restoration to the year 1743, the two last mentioned works, that is to say, those of Timberland and Chandler, have hitherto been regarded as a regular and complete collection, and the only regular and complete collection, of the Proceedings in Parliament; and that, as such, they have been introduced into, and enjoyed a distinguished płace in, almost every public and great private library in the kingdom. Therefore, in preparing the present volume for the press, it might natu rally have been expected, that considerable assistance would have been afforded by these works. It is, however, a remarkable fact, which may be verified by a reference to the proceedings of any sin. gle session, that very little assistance indeed has been received from them. To say the truth, a discovery of the extreme imperfectness of these works produced one of the motives which led to the present undertaking. On comparing their contents with those of the au thentic works before enumerated, they were found to be so extremely defective and incorrect, that they could, in hardly any case, be relied upon with safety. In them, King's Speeches are, in numerous instances, either wholly omitted, or very much curtailed. Scarcely any of the Speeches of the different Lord Chancellors, delivered at the opening of the several Sessions, though those speeches generally contain an outline of the state of the national affairs, are preserved. The Journals appear to have been rarely consulted. Scarcely a Motion or Resolution, is given as it stands in those authentic records. Explanatory notes there are none; and, in only one or two instances have the compilers deemed it necessary to favour the reader with information as to the source, whence they have drawn their materials; which would seem, indeed, to have been moulded into the form of volumes for the mere purpose of filling up a chasm in a book-case.

Besides resorting to the above-recited works, recourse has been had to the best historians, and contemporary writers. From Burnet, Echard, Kennet, Oldmixon, Rapin, North, Ralph, Marvell, Reresby, Temple, Walpole, and the Work of the late Mr. Fox, recently published, many Notes, historical and biographical, have been introduced; and, for the sake of connection, a short account of the principal Occurrences, during each recess of Parliament, has, where necessary, been inserted.

By way of Appendix to this volume, is subjoined a Collection of scarce and valuable Tracts, purely parliamentary, taken from the State Tracts, privately printed in the reign of Charles II. and James II.; from the Harleian Miscellany; and from the noble Collections of Lord Somers. Through these, a more lively image of the times is conveyed, than could be received from any general description, from however eloquent a pen it might proceed. From their scarceness, it is impossible that they should, in their separate state, be generally known; and, as the utility of them, when accompanying the Parliamentary History of the times in which they were written, must be manifest to every one, the compiler does certainly consider them as not the least valuable part of his work.

June 24, 1808.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

VOLUME IV.

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22. Message from the King concerning a Dissolution

16. Debate in the Commons, on the Militia Bill

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