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AT the time when the magnificent Library, bequeathed to the nation by the Right Honourable Thomas Grenville, was received at the British Museum, viz., in January, 1847, only two volumes, forming the first Part of the Catalogue, and comprising the rarer portion of the books, were published, and of these a very limited number were struck off. The titles of the second Part, or third volume, had been prepared by Messrs. Payne and Foss, but only a few pages were printed at the time of Mr. Grenville's death, which took place on December 17th, 1846. The Trustees ordered this part of the Catalogue to be finished, and it was aceordingly printed and issued in 1848. At this time it was supposed that the three volumes described the contents of the entire collection. Such, however, was not the case; and it was not until after the books had been arranged, (which duty was performed by the writer in 1849 and 1850,) marked, and the entries checked, that it was found that a considerable number of volumes remained undescribed. These were at once catalogued, and, to render them immediately available for the public,
the entries were transcribed and inserted in the interleaved copies of the printed Catalogue.
It has been considered desirable to print these additional titles, forming the third Part or fourth volume of the work, which now represents the whole of Mr. Grenville's munificent bequest. Each title has been carefully compared with the book by the writer of this Preface, and the utility of the Catalogue is increased by the amalgamation of the several Indexes into one General Index. The article, "Civil Wars," in this part of the Catalogue, comprising about five hundred tracts, is the expansion of a single entry in Part II, page 115. This additional fulness of detail is not merely an improvement in a bibliographical sense, but one of great importance for purposes of historical research, as the exactness with which the various tracts are for the most part dated, enables the operations of the contending parties to be traced with extreme chronological precision.
The photograph of Mr. Grenville, printed by the Woodbury permanent process, which forms the frontispiece to the present volume, is from the bust in his library, presented by the Right Hon. Sir David Dundas, one of the Trustees of the British Museum.
British Museum, March 25th, 1872.
W. B. RYE.