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THE object of this Essay is simply to state in an impartial and somewhat detailed way the various changes which the machinery of Government in England experienced between the death of Charles I. and the Restoration. I believe that in a careful study of that period there will be found much material for reflection, and that a closer examination of it will shew that the Commonwealth was not, as it is often treated, a sporadic and eccentric growth, but a natural step in the developement of English political ideas. Owing to limitations imposed by circumstances, I have been compelled to limit my study mainly to the sphere of Central Government.

The materials which have been used are chiefly the ordinary sources of information, which are well known. It is hard to imagine that we shall ever have better authorities for the period than Whitelocke, Clarendon, and Thurloe. But the recent completion of the Calendar of the Interregnum State Papers has rendered public a mass of material which, if it be not entirely new, is most useful as a check upon the Commons Journals (evidently in some cases tampered with) and the contemporary

historians'. And I have also had access to a large miscellaneous collection of pamphlets, mainly of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which has formed a part of the contents of the present Library of the Middle Temple ever since its completion. These tracts have been bound together, apparently, without any regard to chronology, authorship, or subject-matter, and it has not been easy, even with the unfailing and most courteous assistance of the Librarian, to work out any definite results from the process of examination. Nevertheless, it is hoped. that the perusal, however hasty, of 150 volumes of contemporaneous pamphlet literature, cannot have failed to reveal, to a certain extent, the spirit and character of the period.

I desire to express my sincere thanks to Mr John Hutchinson, the Librarian of the Middle Temple, for his boundless patience and kindness in answering questions respecting the Temple pamphlets, and also to Professor Henry Laurie of Melbourne University, for his assistance in reading over the proof-sheets.

In deprecation of clerical errors in references, I desire also to state that the proofs of the following pages have been looked over in Melbourne, where it is not always possible to obtain access to seventeenth century authorities.

1 I have ventured to number the volumes of the Calendar, beginning with the first of the Interregnum Series. The dates endorsed on the Record Office covers are very misleading guides.

The Temple pamphlets are referred to in the foot-notes as "T. P.," with the number and page of the volume.

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