When we announced our intention of publishing Notes and Queries, we expressed a hope that it would become every body's Common-place Book—a repertory in which reading men would make Notes for the use of their brethren "of any elucidation of a "doubtful phrase or disputed passage— any illustration of an obsolete custom hitherto "unnoticed—any biographical anecdote or precise date hitherto unrecorded—any "book or any edition hitherto unknown, or imperfectly described"—which they might stumble upon in the course of their inquiries.
How completely our hope has been realised, what an accumulation of materials on almost every branch of historical and literary research has been garnered up in the pages of Notes and Queries by the kindness of our friends, we record with pride and thankfulness.
At the end of every successive half-year we have endeavoured to make these materials available by adding to every volume a copious Index. But Time soon renders unavailing the means we use to defeat his influence. A search through our separate Indexes has become a work of time and trouble; and therefore, when we determined to bring our First Series to a close on the completion of the Twelfth Volume, we at the same time resolved to make the literary riches accumulated during the first six years of our existence permanently and easily available, by the publication of a complete Index. We felt bound thus to help, as best we could, those who had so kindly and so constantly given us their invaluable assistance.
That Index is now before them. It is not a mere throwing together of the twelve separate Indexes which have already been published. It is a new and enlarged Index, based upon its predecessors. That it is a perfect Index, we will not insist, for who ever saw an Index which might be so described? but how complete it is, a glance