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After several years of labor the manuscripts of British Illinois have been collected from over two dozen depositories, have been edited, and are now a part of the growing Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library. Only two volumes are ready for distribution at this time, but the other three or four will appear in a few months. The general introduction to the series is printed in this first volume and a reading of it will give an idea of the character of the whole series:
As in the previous volumes of the Collections, each of these volumes will have its own index, but the last volume will contain a general index of the whole work. In the last volume, also, will be printed the list of documents and such a bibliography as is necessary. As has been the custom, each of the volumes is divided into chapters for the purpose of breaking up that monotony so characteristic of such collections of documents as these. The usual order of arrangement is chronological except in those cases where it was impossible or when the grouping of documents illustrating the same point seemed obviously desirable. The special introduction to each volume will be a study in some phase of Illinois history that is illustrated by the series.
Every effort has been made to secure trustworthy transcripts for publication. Only in a few cases have copies been taken from printed volumes without careful collation with the original. When this former has been the case, the usual reason has been our failure to find a trace of the original.
Those who have made themselves responsible for the correctness of the copies from the larger archives are:
The destruction of the Sir William Johnson manuscripts in the Albany fire has been a serious loss to the series. Fortunately we were in possession of two sets of transcripts which has made it possible for us to print the most important documents. In the preparation of a previous work, Mr. Carter had made many incomplete copies and these had been supplemented by copies of others made for the Illinois State Historical Library. The former copies were made without thought of future publication, and are, therefore, not in such form as is demanded by the standard of these volumes. In the course of editorial work many other documents of the Johnson manuscripts have been noted that should be here printed, but the fire has made that impossible. Many of these manuscripts of Johnson are drafts upon which corrections had been made. We have reproduced the final form of the draft, only occasionally noting the changes.
The names of all who have assisted us in the preparation of these volumes are too numerous to mention and we take this opportunity to express our thanks to them. There are,
however, some whose assistance has been of such a character that a more definite expression of our appreciation seems to be called for. The custodians of archives and historical manuscripts have been universally generous in granting us the use of their material and have placed us under the greatest obligations. For this assistance we wish to express our appreciation in particular to the Most Honorable the Marquess of Lansdowne; the Right Honorable the Earl of Dartmouth; Dr. I. Mines Hays, librarian and secretary of the American Philosophical Society; Dr. John W. Jordan, secretary of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Dr. Thomas L. Montgomery, state librarian of Pennsylvania; Luther R. Kelker, custodian of public records at Harrisburg; Caroline McIlvaine, librarian of the Chicago Historical Society; Miss Lottie M. Bausman, librarian of Lancaster County Historical Society; J. Bunford Samuel, librarian of the Ridgway Library; Dr. Reuben Gold Thwaites, the late superintendent of the Wisconsin Historical Society; Mr. Cyrus H. McCormick; Herbert Putnam, librarian of Library of Congress; Dr. Worthington C. Ford, secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and William C. Lane, librarian of Harvard College Library.
Our gratitude must also be expressed to the following, who have assisted us in our search for manuscripts: The Right Honorable Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice, Professor Charles H. Ambler, Dr. Charles H. Lincoln, Mr. W. V. Byars, Mr. James A. Holden, Abbé L. St. George Lindsay, Abbé A. Gosselin, and Mr. Earl G. Swem.
We are also under special obligations to the Morgan family, who have been of the greatest assistance in our search for letters from their ancestor. The following have been most helpful: Miss Maria P. Woodbridge, Marietta, Ohio; the late Professor M. H. Morgan, Cambridge, Massachu