Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899

Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899

Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899

Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899

Excerpt

In order to carry out the further work hinted at in the Introduction to their Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1917-1939 it was necessary for the authors to prepare a list of Parliamentary Papers for the nineteenth century, using the same principles of selection as they adopted for that volume. They have received numerous requests from individual workers in various Universities that the publication of this list should not be delayed until further volumes on the lines of the Breviate were completed, but should be made available as soon as possible. This book, and its companion volume, the reprint of Hansard Catalogue and Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1696-1834, is the reply to these requests.

The papers of the nineteenth century number over fifty thousand, and in the bound sets take up several thousand volumes. To these, the Sessional Indexes and the periodic General Alphabetical Indexes must remain the final guides and catalogues. If this were all there were to be said, there would be no need for this Select List. But both Sessional and General Alphabetical Indexes are scarce, few centres have a complete set, many only very broken series, and others few or none. Though they stand up well to ordinary tests, if readers will take pains to learn how to work them, it is not to be expected that indexes to so great a range of documents and subjects, compiled at different dates over a century on somewhat varying principles, should always yield the desired results without disproportionate labour on the part of the searchers. A considerable number of illuminating and valuable reports are not as widely known or used as they should be, while there are some which even experienced workers have difficulty in discovering.

The rich stores of material in these papers have naturally stimulated numerous efforts to make them more accessible. Of the official endeavours, the indexes on particular subjects, such as those to the Reports of Commissioners on Agriculture, 1801-1843, and on Roads and Bridges, 1800-1846, are good examples, but these also are out of print and scarce. 'King's List,' which has been of so much service, is in many ways admirable, save in the vital one--it gives no paper numbers and no volume numbers. For these the reader must go to the Sessional and Alphabetical Indexes; and owing to the difficulties of titling, there are some papers he will have great difficulty in identifying, and a few he will not find at all.

SCOPE OF THE VOLUME

This List does not attempt to reproduce the indexes. With certain exceptions, it includes the reports and all other material issued by committees and commissions or similar bodies of investigation into economic, social and constitutional questions, and matters of law and administration. Excluded by this definition are (1) all papers dealing with foreign policy and diplomatic questions; (2) all papers relating to colonial questions. The first group is already provided for by Temperley and Penson Century of Diplomatic Blue Books, and the second by Adam Ewing , and Munro Guide to the Principal Parliamentary Papers relating to the Dominions, 1812-1911. In any case, from a bibliographical point of view these papers are different from those included in that many of them are not reports of committees of inquiries, but copies of correspondence, dispatches to Governors, Ambassadors, etc. (3) Papers dealing with military and naval matters, whether questions of operations or internal organization; and (4) reports dealing with purely ecclesiastical affairs. (5) Excluded also are statistical returns, routine periodical reports required by Statute, purely factual information papers and technical reports. This List thus includes the papers of inquiries into the whole . . .

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