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with the men who had helped to make it, and with the place that it has held in the religious life of the nation. He had gathered great stores of material, and after his withdrawal from public service he enlarged them by steady and persistent research. The History must have reached the stage at which he left it some time in 1894 ; and he had brought it down to the year 1885. He himself believed, as he said in a letter to Mr. Charles Miall, that only one chapter was left to write; and that the task could be finished in a day. But his manuscript, when it came into my hands, was incomplete in many places. Parts of it had not been finally revised ; most of it had not been revised at all. Notes, indicated in the text, were not to be found. And the references to sources and authorities, which he meant to be full, were meagre or missing.
The book could not be published as it was left. But how to deal with the manuscript, and what amount of freedom an editor had a right to exercise, and within what limits he might expand, cancel, or amend, were questions not to be lightly settled.
The editor's function in such a case, so it seemed to me, was to make the book, so far as he could, what the author would have made it, had he lived to finish it ; to fill up gaps, to cut out repetitions, to complete the references, to verify statements and conclusions by the aid of original authorities. And although free use has been made, with due acknowledgment, of the works of other historians, the rule has been to go back, wherever possible, to the quarries from which they took their materials. This is the method that has been followed almost through
But the last two chapters have been added. The
chapter dealing with the institutions and enterprises of Congregationalism my father had asked me to write—why, he did not explain—at a time when he still hoped to finish the book himself. After writing it I felt that the history should not close with a bald catalogue, and that the International Council of 1891 was a real land-mark in the history of Congregationalism, and that it would make a natural and fitting close. Elsewhere, it is not possible to state what has been added to the original. But except in the first two books, there are but few chapters in which some paragraphs have not been inserted. The appendix of authorities is mine, and so is a large part of the notes. Of one thing, however, the reader may be sure, that where opinions are expressed, they are the opinions of the author.
The work has not been done in haste; nor has it been done at leisure. Its difficulties, great in any case, have been increased by distance from the libraries in which alone much of the literature indispensable for the task is to be found. Easier access to the British Museum would have saved many a wasted hour, and would have retrieved many a blunder.
But help has been generously given wherever it was sought. Many of my obligations must remain without individual acknowledgment. But to the Librarians of the Archbishop's Library at Lambeth and of Dr. Williams's Library in Gordon Square ; to Mr. G. T. Shaw, the Master of the Liverpool Athenæum, and to Mr. Cunningham, his assistant, a special debt of gratitude is due ; nor would it be right to leave unrecorded the services of the Rev. T. G. Crippen, the Librarian of the Congregational Library at the Memorial Hall; of Mr. Sydney Robjohns; of my own colleagues, Mr. John Sampson
and Mr. T. H. Graham, of the University Library, Liverpool; and of my secretary, Miss Phoebe Byles, who has saved me from the risk of finding myself in that corner of Purgatory which is reserved for those who publish books without an index.
28th December, 1906.
A. W. W. DALE