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Remonstrance, were abbreviated, and others, like the Poor Laws and the Navigation Acts, were omitted altogether.
It was only after resolved to print felt by the editors
The feature of the earlier pages of this compilation which needs chiefly to be defended is the translation of the documents of the medieval period from Latin and Old French. long discussion and much hesitation that it was translations rather than the originals. It was that although it might be indispensable for advanced students to use their documents in the original language, yet it was not possible to expect from large undergraduate classes sufficient training to enable all students in them to make ready use of the original documents. It was desired also to provide for the apparently growing demand for such material in secondary schools. Professor G. B. Adams, who is responsible for the selection and editing of the documents down to 1485, is responsible likewise for the translations of these documents, but in the case of statutes, the official translation in the Statutes of the Realm has been followed with only slight changes. Professor Adams does not presume that all the difficulties of translation have been here, for the first time, overcome, and he will be grateful to those who will call his attention to errors which have escaped him in spite of considerable pains to avoid them.
The problem with regard to the later documents after 1485 has been one of abridgment rather than of translation. The much greater length of the later documents made it impossible to print them in full, and Professor Morse Stephens is responsible for the abridgment as well as for the selection and editing of these later documents. It is as objectionable theoretically to abridge as to translate an original document, but as in the case of the translations the abridgments have been necessitated by practical considerations. A few of the most important documents have been printed in full, but most of them have been cut down in length, either by the omission of less important clauses or by inserting asterisks in the place of legal repetitions.
The most valuable feature of the three well-known volumes of selections made for the Oxford Clarendon Press by Bishop
Stubbs, Mr. Prothero, and Mr. Gardiner are the learned introductions to the documents they have edited. The editors of the present selection did not feel it incumbent upon them to follow this example, for their selection is intended to be used in class along with some recognized text-book. The same consideration which caused them to reject a general introduction explains also the absence of special introductions to the different documents. All that has been done is to give the date, a reference to the original source, and occasionally to former reprints, and in the case of documents earlier than 1485 to the pages in Stubbs's Constitutional History where there is some discussion of the document.
A few words should be given to the want of uniformity in spelling and capitalization. As a general rule this reprint follows the spelling and capitalization of the source from which the document is taken, as indicated at the head of each number. Some of the later documents, such as 264, 265, and 266 preserve the capitalization of the Acts of Parliament exactly as they were printed; others follow the system used in earlier reprints; while others again have been completely modernized. In all cases the originals have been collated, but it was believed to be unnecessary to return in every case to the original spelling and capitalization.
It only remains for the editors to express their great obligations to their predecessors. Such a work as this could never have been successfully undertaken had not the way been prepared by such distinguished scholars as Bishop Stubbs, Mr. Prothero, and Mr. Gardiner. Full credit has been given at the head of each number when any document has been taken from the volumes edited by these three historians, even although their reprints have been carefully collated with the originals and occasional slips corrected. It is hoped that one of the results of using this compilation with undergraduate classes will be to attract attention to the interest and importance of the study of documents, so that more advanced students will turn to the more full and elaborate editions of these distinguished scholars. Their three volumes, however, do not cover the whole field. The Select Charters and Other Illustra
tions of English Constitutional History, arranged and edited by William Stubbs, Bishop of Oxford, only reach to the death of Edward I in 1307; the Select Statutes and Other Constitutional Documents, edited by G. W. Prothero, concern the period from 1558 to 1625, the reigns of Elizabeth and James I; while the Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution, selected and edited by Samuel Rawson Gardiner, deal with the period from 1625 to 1660. For the gaps which lie between these books considerable use has been made of the excellent collection of Documents Illustrative of English Church History, compiled by Henry Gee and W. J. Hardy, but for the most part documents not hitherto reprinted have been selected. In the period covered by Stubbs's Select Charters a number of documents not appearing in that collection have been included, especially such as illustrate the history of law.
Our thanks are due to Messrs. Gee and Hardy for permission to use a few of the translations in their Documents Illustrative of English Church History, and to Professor E. P. Cheyney for a similar permission to make use of translations appearing in the University of Pennsylvania Translations and Reprints. In both cases specific acknowledgment is made at the head of the translations borrowed. We desire to express our thanks also, for assistance rendered in getting this book into form for the press, to Professor G. M. Dutcher, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
GEORGE BURTON ADAMS.
OCTOBER 5, 1901.
Grant of Freedom of Election to Churches.