Prefatory Note

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Institute of Historical Research

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Author

William A. Shaw (editor)

Year published

1952

Pages

3, 4

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'Prefatory Note', Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 20: 1705-1706 (1952), pp. III-IV. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=84768 Date accessed: 23 November 2014.


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Prefatory Note

The Text and Introduction of this Volume were prepared and passed through the Press more than five years ago by the late Dr. W. A. Shaw. The Index is the work of Mr. W. G. Santer, M.B.E., formerly of this Department.

Dr. Shaw was appointed Editor of the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers in April 1895 : and edited five volumes in this series covering the years 1729 to 1745. It was then decided to fill the large gap for the years 1660 to 1728 caused by the fact that a Calendar of the Treasury Papers only for those years, edited by Joseph Redington, had been previously published (1868 to 1889) in six volumes. The first volume of a new series of Treasury Books appeared accordingly in 1904 and at the time of Dr. Shaw's lamented death in April 1943 nineteen Volumes (fn. 1) had been published, some of them in several parts, taking the Calendar down to March 1705. The text of another thirteen volumes, of which the present is the first, continuing the Calendar to the end of 1718, had been wholly completed, and Introductions to the first six of these were also virtually complete : the delay in publication was of course due to the war. It is felt that it will be no more than a fitting conclusion to the labour of nearly fifty years which Dr. Shaw devoted to the service of the Department to issue this material in the form in which he left it : adding only to the six Introductions such purely factual matter as he had himself indicated his intention of supplying. In the volumes to which he left no Introductions no attempt will be made to continue his surveys of the evolution of the Nation's Financial Administration. Apart from any other considerations, these essays, which had grown in the course of years to considerable proportions, are rather summaries of his own conclusions than explanatory introductions to the matter contained in the volumes to which they are prefixed : and the fact that Dr. Shaw carried out these most intricate and discouraging investigations not only with generally acknowledged success but also in an agreeable style and with the greatest interest and zest, is only another reason for deciding not to attempt the continuance of so personal a performance by another hand.

There is, however, one other element in Dr. Shaw's later Introductions which must be continued, namely, the printing of the Accounts of the National Revenue and Expenditure and the Declared Accounts, without which, as he once put it, 'the merely administrative side of the Treasury work would be comparatively meaningless or certainly difficult to follow'. In the earlier volumes of the series — which were inevitably to some extent experimental — the presentation of these supplementary materials was tentative and, unfortunately, incomplete. But gradually a set plan was evolved and in the separately published volume containing the Joint Introduction to Volumes XI to XVII they are assembled for the first time in avowed appendix form under the title 'Appendix of Accounts', an arrangement to which Dr. Shaw thereafter consistently adhered. There was a parallel evolution in their treatment : the highly summarized abstracts of the earliest volumes change, with Volume IX, into slightly abridged transcripts of the originals themselves ; and in the unpublished volumes Dr. Shaw appears to be feeling his way towards a more logical internal arrangement.

It is clearly most desirable that publication of the Declared and other Accounts, which are related to the Treasury Records made available in these volumes, should be continuous and, whatever method of presentation is adopted, comprehensive : and it is hoped therefore to issue in due course supplementary volumes which will both continue their publication for the dates covered by the Calendar and bring in those omitted or inadequately dealt with in Dr. Shaw's earlier volumes.

Public Record Office.
28 April 1948.

Hilary Jenkinson.

Footnotes

1 Excepting Vol. XVII which was waiting on the Binders and did not appear till 1947.


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