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Y best thanks are due, in the first place, to my
friend Mr George Barnes of the Inner Temple, and when I say that he laboriously made and generously gave me that index of personal names which will add much to the value of this book, it will be seen that I have good cause to be grateful :-also to Mr J. M. Rigg of Lincoln's Inn for having copied (very carefully as I afterwards found) some thirty pages of the manuscript at a time when I was otherwise engaged :—also to Mr James Greenstreet, who has long known the manuscript, for some useful suggestions :=to the gentlemen who have charge of the Public Record Office, more especially to Mr Walford Selby, for many courtesies which have inade my days among the rolls very pleasant :-to Mr Hampshire the Librarian of Exeter Cathedral for a copy of a deed relating to Bracton's place of burial, which he kindly sent to me :—to Mr Melville Bigelow of Boston and Professor Thayer of Harvard for the encouragement given me by friendly letters
from a land where Bracton is at least as well known and at least as highly honoured as he is in England :—and lastly to my friend Mr Frederick Pollock who has been ready always to listen to and generally to answer my questions, and from whom I first learnt to find an interest in the history of law. That the idea of connecting this book with Bracton was due to Professor Vinogradoff of Moscow, I shall explain below, and indeed this will be plain enough from the letter of his, which (by the permission of the editor of the Athenaeum) is here reprinted : but I must add that in 1884 and again in 1886 I had the happiness of talking over his discovery with him.
When I say that I am not satisfied with the form in which the Note Book is here made public, this is no conventional protestation. Down to the last moment I have found so many faults in my own work, that I cannot but believe that there are many yet to be found. Down to the last moment I have been learning many things about the law of the thirteenth century which I ought to have known at the outset. For sins of commission no excuse shall be offered, for none should be accepted; but before I am blamed for having done less than might have been done in the way of collating rolls, giving various readings, making indexes and notes, it will I hope be remembered that this has been a private enterprise. I have often had to count the cost; also to reflect that another day in the Record Office or the British Museum would mean another
hundred miles in the train. So the reader gets no facsimiles of the manuscripts; he gets an index where he should have had a digest, perhaps a translation ; the luxury of cancelling sheets instead of confessing some stupid blunders, has been denied me, and I am sure that there must be more to be learned about Bracton's life than I have been able to discover : at this eleventh, nay thirteenth, hour I find what I believe to be his marks on a roll of King John's reign (Coram Rege Roll, No 18). But as his treatise had lately been edited at the expense of the nation, and as there was no learned society whose business it was to encourage the study of English legal history (for the Selden Society was not yet born nor even thought of), it seemed likely that the Note Book would remain unprinted for many years, unless some one would make such an edition of it as could be made at his own cost and without giving to it all his time. Perhaps I was not the man for the work ; but I have liked it well.
F. W. M.