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CHARLES MANNERS SUTTON,
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
&c. &c. &c.
When I requested to have the honour of Dedicating this Work to YOU, I anticipated the Courtesy which I should receive.
The Reports, to which the following Observations refer, have been welcomed by the Unanimous approbation of the Country, and are an eminent instance of how much the Public Good may be promoted by the Liberality and the Discretion of Parliament.
I have the honour to subscribe myself, with the highest respect,
Your most obliged,
and most obedient Servant,
Somerset Place, 29th of January, 1828.
Having lately made a GENERAL INDEX
1 In pursuance of two several Acts of Parliament,
—both of which Acts have been continued by an Act,
-a patient investigation of which might have repaid them with useful knowledge.
The contemplation of the general Benevolence of the Kingdom during a succession of Centuries can scarcely, however, be thought by any person to be devoid of interest,—and even the Statesman may be disposed to reflect on the dispositions and apprehensions of men, when he sees that an annual surplus of a Charity, so late as the year 1810, is directed to be set apart “ to accumulate as a provision, for
the event of a National reduction of In· terest.”2
When William the Conqueror had leisure, in 1081, he begun and finished an undertaking, which proves his extensive genius, and does honour to his memory,-it was a general Survey of all the lands in the Kingdom, their extent in each District, their proprietors, tenures, and value,—the quantity of meadow, pasture, wood, and arable land, which they contained,-and, in some Counties, the num
* Rep. XIII. p. 190.
ber of tenants, cottagers, and slaves of all denominations, who lived upon them. He appointed Commissioners for this purpose, who entered every particular in their register by the verdict of Juries, and, after a labour of six years, (for the work was so long in finishing), brought him an exact account of all the landed property of his Kingdom. This monument, called “ DOMESDAY-Book,” the most valuable piece of antiquity possessed by any Nation, is still preserved in the Exchequer. 3
It may be asked, why an instance apparently so foreign to this subject is here introduced ?-I answer, that THE REPORTS to which reference is now made, display such benevolence in a great Nation, as is unparalleled in history,—and, as Humanity is proudly the Englishman's birthright, I am free to think, that those who have laid Human nature under the strongest obligations of Gratitude, are at least as deserving of praise as the man,
3 Hume's Hist. of Engl. vol. i. p. 275.,