Having read in the earliest portion of my life the small part of Mr. Hals' Parochial History pub- lished about the year 1750, I entertained from that time a strong desire for seeing the remainder also in print; this desire grew up with my years, in- creased perhaps by an understanding that the manuscript had disappeared, no one seemed to know in what way, and that it might possibly have been destroyed.
At last, the manuscript was recovered by the most justly celebrated Mr. Whitaker, from a book- seller at Exeter, who had retained the papers as a pledge for some debt; from Mr. Whitaker they have come to his son-in-law Richard Taunton, Esq. M.D. who has with great liberality placed them in my hands; mutilated, however, as to the histories of several parishes, from want of care and of attention on the part of the individual holding them as a deposit, although he must have deemed them to be of pecuniary value.
Mr. Tonkin's papers were preserved by his niece Miss Fosse, who died more than fifty years ago, at a place that may now be termed, without of- fence, the village of Michell. This lady must have been the last of Mr. Tonkin's near relations; for, although the property left at her decease could