Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/976

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staff; and the system under which the records are left in local repositories and the staff is centralized. There are of course countries which cannot be brought under either of these formulae. But for the most part it will be found that the second system has prevailed; there are a central office for records of state, provincial offices for legal records and those of local administration, town offices for municipal records, and a staff of archivists depending more or less strictly upon the central office. In England the first system has been preferred; almost all the records that can be collected have been gathered into the central office. In the future, indeed, it is inevitable that collections of administrative records should grow up for each county; but there is at present no means of ensuring their arrangement and preservation. Many towns possess old and valuable collections of municipal archives, and over these also the central office has no control. It would be absurd to affirm that such control is needed for the preservation of the documents; but it is a curious fact that the English government, which has centralized records more freely than any other, should have refrained from establishing any system of administration for records in general. The following article is intended to give a full account of the administration and nature of the records of Great Britain, and brief notices of those of other countries concerning which information is obtainable. It may be noticed that the directory of the learned world published by Triibner at Strassburg under the title M ineroa wlll be found a useful guide to the situation and staff of repositories of records.


The most important repository of English records is the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London, established under the Act 1 & 2 Viet., c. 94. The head of the office is the Master of the Rolls for the time being; and the staff consists of the deputykeefper, secretary, assistant-keepers and clerks, with a subordinate sta .

Until the establishment of this office, the records of the various courts of law and government offices were stored in separate places, mostly of an unsuitable nature, whose contents were inaccessible and unknown. The Tower of London contained the records of the Chancery, which were kept in fair order; the records of the Exchequer were scattered in many places, chief'ly unsuitable; and other collections were almost as unfortunately bestowed: the only attempt to provide a special place of custody was made in the 17th century, when the State Paper Office was set up as a place of deposit for the papers of the secretaries of state. From time to time efforts were made, chiefly by means of committees of the House of Lords, to procure reforms in the custody of documents whose value was well understood. In the reign of Queen Anne, an attempt was made by Thomas Rymer to publish in the Foedera such documents as could be found bearing upon foreign politics; and this drew fresh attention to the question of custody. In 1731 the disastrous fire in the Cottonian Library produced a committee of the House of Commons and another report. But it was not until 1800 that any serious steps were taken. In that year a committee of the House of Commons presented a valuable report dealing with all the public records in repositories in England and Scotland. The result of this committee was the appointing of a royal commission charged with the arrangement and publication of the public records and the control of all public repositories. This commission was renewed from year to year and did not expire until 1837. It fell partly because of internal dissensions, but principally owing to gross extravagance and almost complete neglect of its duty, so far as the arrangement and custody of the records was concerned. The publications sanctioned by it are often badly designed and badly executed; but their most prominent characteristic was their expense. To this commission succeeded the Public Record Office, whose constitution has already been described. The first duty of the new office was the establishment of a central repository into which the scattered collections of records could be gathered; and the preparation of manuscript inventories of the documents so obtained. In 1851 the construction of the central repository was begun; and with the completion of each portion of it further groups of records were brought in. At first only those collections specified in the act of parliament were dealt with; but in 1852 the State Paper Office was placed under the control of the Master of the Rolls, and its contents removed to the Public Record Office. Other government departments in turn transferred to the same keeping papers not in current use; and at present the only important collections of papers not so treated are those of the India Office and the Privy Council Office, which are still kept apart.

The publications of the Record Office are of three kinds: reports, lists and indexes, and calendars. The reports are the annual reports of the Deputy Keeper, and now deal merely with the administrative work of the office; up to 1889 they also contained, in the form of appendices, inventories and detailed descriptions of various classes of records. In the present article these reports are referred to by number. The lists and indexes are either inventories of special classes with more or less detail, or indexes to the contents of certain documents grouped for that purpose; they are here cited by' their number. The calendars are volumes containing full abstracts intended to make the consultation of the original document unnecessary except for critical purposes; they are equipped with full indexes. The contents of the Record Office are classified for the most part under the collections in which they were found. For a general account of the whole, see S. R. Scargill-Bird's Handbook to the Public Records (3rd ed. IQOS). No student can afford to neglect Gross's Sources and Literature of English History from the Earliest Times to about 148 5, wh1ch contains much information as to books and articles based upon English records. We may now turn to the documents themselves, under the following heads:-

EXCHEQUER REco11Ds.—The records of the administrative and judicial sides of the Exchequer (q.'o.) are here described under its several divisions.

(I)UPPER EXCHEQUER,0R EXCHEQUEROF AUDIT.-(a)Lord Treasurer's Remembrancefs Ojice, or office of final audit. The result of the final audit is recorded in duplicate on the Pipe and Chancellor's Rolls. These consist of a solitary (Pipe) roll for 31 Henry I., and a duplicate series extending from 2 Henry II. to 2 William IV. The Record Commission has printed the following rolls: Pipe Rolls, 31 Henry I., 2-4 Henry II., I Richard I.; Chancellor's Rolls, 3 John. The Pipe Roll Society has printed the Pipe Rolls for 5-24 Henry II.

Foreign Rolls or Rolls of Accounts.—These contain the records of the preliminary audit of accounts other than county accounts of the Sheriffs; they run from 42 Edward III. to modern times: closely connected with them are the Enrolled Accounts, which deal with the more important accountants separately. It should be noted that the final audit is not recorded upon either Foreign Rolls or Enrolled Accounts, but must be sought on the Pipe Roll, unless the accountant is found to be quit or to have a balance due to him. The Record Office has published a classified list (No. Xl.) of the Foreign and Enrolled Accounts taken from all the foregoing rolls of audit, but omitting the accounts of Customs and Subsidies. Declared Accounts.-A list (No. II.) of these records with an introduction has been published by the Record Office. The series begins in the 16th century, and from the 17th century is fairly complete.

Originalia Rolls (20 Henry III. to 1837), or extracts from the Chancery Rolls communicated to the Exchequer for its information and guidance. Latin abstracts of the rolls from Henry III. to Edward III. were printed by the Record Commission as Abbreoiatio Rotulorum Originolium (2 vols. folio).

Lord Treasurer's Remembrance/s Memoranda Rolls.-These contain the letters received and issued by the Exchequer and notes of the general business of the department. They run from I Henry III. to 1848. Edward ]ones's Index to the Records contains a few scattered references to them; and many extracts will be found in the notes to Thomas l/ladox's History of the Exchequer.

Judicial.-The only judicial proceedings on the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer's side are in cases connected directly with the revenue. These are enrolled upon the Memoranda Rolls; and for the eriod 35 Charles II. to William IV. there are Order Books. ~ (b) Rings Remembrancefs Ojice, or office of preliminary audit. The most important financial records of this branch of the Exchequer are the class known as “ Exchequer K. R, accounts, &c., ” which comprise vouchers and audited accounts of expenditure. Of similar accounts relating to receipts, the Escheator's accounts have been listed in the 10th Report; but the inquisitions there described as filed with the accounts as vouchers are now kept separately, and are described with the Chancery Inguisitions in the calendars. Accounts and vouchers relating to Subsidies and Customs are at present only described in manuscript (see below under. S1>Ec1A1. COLLECTIONS).

King's Rernernbrancer's Memoranda Rolls (1 Henry III. to I3 Victoria).-These run parallel with those of the Lord Treasurer and to a large extent contain the same matter. Adam Martin's I ndix to Exchequer Records contains a certain number of references to t em.

In the reign of Edward VI., returns were made into the Exchequer by commissioners appointed to take inventories of Church Goods. Volumes of these for several counties are being published by the Alcuin Club (see Mély et Bishop, Bibliographic générale des inventaires imprimés, vol. i. p. 245).

Judicial.-The court of Exchequer on the King's Remembrancer's side was a court of equity held before the lord treasurer, the chancellor of the exchequer and the barons. The usual records of a court of equity, Bills and Answers, Decrees and Orders, Affidavits and other subsidiary documents exist for it. Martin's Index to Exchequer Records contains references to the Decrees and Orders.