As the utility of a work of this kind greatly depends on the readiness with which the required incident can be found, considerable care has been taken in the construction of the Index. Framed mainly to facilitate a reference to occurrences, it was judged better to classify many of the entries under general headings, than to index exactly with reference to persons and places. At the same time it will be found that the latter system has not been altogether excluded from the scheme ; for while every event in the text has been entered primarily under the letter where it appeared most natural to place it, many occurrences of importance have two, and even three cross-references identifying them with some locality or individual. It was found that exclusive adherence to either system would lessen the usefulness of the Index as a guide to a collection of facts so numerous and varied as almost to defy classification. Wherever the general headings admitted of entries being made with an exclusive regard to proper names, a sub-alphabetical arrangement has been carried out; in others it was thought that the incident sought for would be sooner seized by simply following the order of occurrence. The single exception to this latter rule occurs under the head “Parliament,” where the entries are too varied and unconnected to permit of the chronological system being applied. With these explanations, the reader may be reminded that an Index at best can only aid the memory, and never supersede it altogether. For an inquirer who has only a vague notion that some occurrence did take place at an indefinite period, but who neither knows where it happened, who took part in it, or any details from which the precise character of the event could be gathered — for such an inquirer no index yet devised can afford much help. The “Annals" Index will be found in some respects even fuller than the text, for in the case of such occurrences as the meetings of Learned Societies, and Annual Festivals, which admitted of only brief entries in the text, it was thought best to confine them to the Index altogether, and show the event there year by year.

The main foundation for a work like the “ Annals” was, of course, the newspaper of the day ; but these watchful recorders of events required to be themselves watched, and even corrected and modified, wherever the passing current of feeling tended to obscure or twist the facts of an occurrence. The reader will see how frequently this has been done by the references made to personal and official records, consisting for the most part of Memoirs, Diaries, Parliamentary Votes and Debates, Diplomatic Correspondence, the proceedings of Learned Societies, and Law Reports. In addition to these, and tending greatly to facilitate the labour of compilation, the volumes most frequently consulted were the comprehensive Date Books of Haydn and Townsend, the useful series of Annual Registers extending over the period, and the Companion to the Almanac so long issued under the careful supervision of Mr. Charles Knight.

The Table of Administrations is designed to assist the reader in following the various political changes noticed in their chronological order in the “Annals.”

December 1868.

J. I.


1835 TO 1868.

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