Page:Alumni Oxoniensis (1715-1886) volume 1.djvu/13

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Alumni Oxonienses : Preface.

manner I have further added from my own MS. collection (see page v.) all the calls to the Bar of Oxford men from 1715 to 1886, as well as the Parliamentary services, during the same period, of the members of the University. As I have found it difficult with these additions to keep pace with the printer, my friend, Thomas J. Hercy, Esq., late of Cruchfield, Berks, has most kindly offered to undertake for me the Parliamentary department, with which no one is more qualified to deal, and to render me in other respects all the assistance in his power.

Although the enumeration of these sources of information may not appear formidable on paper, it represents no ordinary amount of the very closest work. Nay, more, it really represents the actual compilation of several distinct and carefully-arranged collections all rolled into one—for the lists of Barristers, of Members of Parliament, of Degrees, and of extracts from the Gentleman's Magazine, have all been independently compiled, and are each of them works complete in themselves, none of which have as yet been published.

I do not, however, it should be clearly understood, profess to offer exhaustive annotation. I have but touched the fringe of the subject, or laid, as it were, the foundation on which others can now build. With these lists placed in their hands, it is in the power of all to do something, to add—'if only a stone'—to the structure which many hands will raise. It will be, I believe, a labour of love with many a son of 'Alma Mater' to help in the gradual perfection of Oxford's roll of fame.

To the clergy I specially and confidently appeal for their assistance in this matter. They can render most valuable help by supplying the full names of their predecessors in their respective livings, the dates of their induction and of their death, any available particulars of their University and subsequent careers, and copies of the inscriptions, where such exist, erected to their memory.

To facilitate and encourage this work, I am issuing a special edition, interleaved for annotation, and have further numbered the names for convenience of reference. Annotations or corrections may also be sent direct to myself, by whom they will be gladly welcomed. Nor do I limit this invitation to notes on Oxford men, for I am anxious to secure at the same time notes on members of the sister University, especially on those in Holy Orders. The time may come when the united College Registers of Cambridge will similarly see the light, and these notes will then be of the greatest use.

I have, as yet, devoted myself to perfecting my collections in their manuscript form; but it was not with the selfish object of keeping them on my own shelves that I began these laborious compilations. It has been throughout my hope to see them eventually in print, and to feel that I have conferred on my fellow genealogists, and, indeed, on students in general, a benefit for all time. The publication of this work is my first step towards the accomplishment of that end. I have striven to render this book worthy of the subject with which it deals—to make it an indispensable work of reference, second to nothing of the kind. A golden opportunity presents itself; it may not occur again. If it is welcomed by those for whom it is written—the scholar, the genealogist, and the man of letters—if they show their interest in the work by giving me their cordial support, rather than, as is too often the case, by an envious holding aloof, I shall be encouraged to place at their disposal the choicest treasures of my collection. If, on the other hand, my efforts meet with a feeble response, they will have themselves alone to thank, and the stores of information which might at length be made available to the public, will remain in private hands.

I cannot, however, but believe that my offer will be accepted in the spirit it is made, and that I shall be thus enabled to publish, not only my existing collections, but even others in addition. There are symptoms of awakening interest in work of this character. Of the well-intentioned but unfortunate attempt of the Inner Temple to issue a volume of its admission entries, the less said the better, for the first edition was called in almost as soon as it was issued, and though a larger and corrected edition subsequently appeared, it ought to have shared the same fate, so grievous are the errors it contains. The praiseworthy enterprise of the benchers deserved a better success. It is pleasant to turn from this ill-fated effort to two Oxford College registers, that of Magdalen, edited by that veteran Dr. Bloxam, and that of Exeter, by the Rev. Charles William Boase, M.A. To these will shortly be added that of Wadham, which is now being prepared for press by the Rev. R. B. Gardiner. My thanks are due to each of these three editors for solving points of difficulty which have occurred in

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