The scope of the work of which the first volume is now given to the public is to render accessible in English the substance of the valuable series of transcripts made by the late Mr. W. H. Bliss of documents at Rome illustrative of the relations between England, Scotland, and Ireland, on the one hand, and the Holy See and the Continental Powers, Catholic and Protestant, on the other, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
The transcripts have been carefully collated with the originals, and have been supplemented by some new matter. No pains have been spared to ensure accuracy of translation, and references have been added in footnotes to such documents, printed in other collections of State Papers, as seemed likely to be helpful to the reader.
The sources from which the transcripts were drawn are:—
(i) Drafts and copies of Papal Briefs, preserved either in the Vatican Archives, or in private archives, of which those of the Borghese and Barberini families now form part of the Vatican Archives and Library respectively.
(ii) Correspondence between the Holy See and dignitaries lay and ecclesiastical classed in the Archives as Epistolae ad Principes and Lettere di Principi e Titolati and Vescovi e Prelati.
(iii) The correspondence of the Papal Secretaries of State with the Nuncios and Collectors in divers countries. These documents are classed in the Archives under the head of Nuntiature, and distinguished according to the countries to which they relate. Much of the correspondence translated in the present volume is represented only by drafts or copies, the missives themselves being, it would seem, lost or preserved in private archives.
(iv) News Letters. Besides those in the Archives, there is a specially valuable collection, from the Library of the Dukes of Urbino, in the Vatican Library.
(v) Special collections in the Vatican Archives, such as the Biblioteca Pio, and the Farnese and Tridentine papers; and miscellaneous matter in the Vatican and other Roman libraries, in family collections not open to the public (Archivio Particolare), and in the Archivio di Stato at Naples. (fn. 1)
Documents not described as copies or drafts, or otherwise, are actually or presumably authentic.
The Editor's thanks are due to Mgr. Mariano Ugolini for kindly facilitating his researches on divers occasions, and also to Signor Ranuzzi and to Dr. Herzen for help in certain matters of detail.
J. M. RIGG.
||The list of sources is not exhaustive, but serves to indicate the range of Mr. Bliss's researches. For fuller information as to the contents of the Archives the reader may consult Dr. C. R. Fish's Guide to the materials for American History in Roman and other Italian Archives (Washington, 1911), or Gisbert Brom's Guide aux Archives du Vatican, Rome, 1911.