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High Wycombe, in the County of Bucks.
V THE HE Twelfth General Index sums up the work not of six, but of seven and a half
years from January, 1916, to June, 1923. Owing to difficulties due to the War weekly publication was given up in May, 1917, and throughout 1918 and 1919, NOTES & QUERIES appeared once a month and the volumes for those years
contain a whole twelvemonth's correspondence.
That the paper, even when helped by this drastic diminution, still continued to flourish was owing to the steadfastness of its friends, who, in spite of all the un
exampled demands made by those days upon every man's money, energy and time, yet contrived to spare enough of each to keep it going strong. The thin yearly volumes of the end of the war; the names and initials at the foot of the contributions in their columns; their reviews, their imprint, their very advertise ments, must surely always possess for those who use them, a certain eloquence, a special and even gallant significance.
However, the Twelfth Series was destined to face a definite crisis. At the end of 1919, NOTES & QUERIES gladly accepted an offer of help from Lord Northcliffe, vihose father had been an original subscriber in 1849. The paper was transferred to The Times Office in Printing House Square; on April 3, 1920, weekly publication was resumed, and Vol. VII (July-December, 1920) was the normal stout halfvearly. But the vicissitudes of the Twelfth Series were not even here at an end. in 1922 the death of Lord Northcliffe and the consequent changes at Printing House Square caused us to resume our independence, and arrangements have been made by which the future of the paper is assured.
Thirty years ago, writing his Preface to the Seventh General Index, JOSEPH KNIGHT remarks that NOTES & QUERIES " alone almost among periodicals, can claim that its correspondents constitute its complete raison d'être, making and shaping it, supporting it, and profiting by it." The Twelfth General Index amid so many changes-still bears witness to this character.
The last seven or eight years have not failed to take the wonted toll of the makers, shapers and supporters of our little paper, and we mourn sincerely the disappearance from our columns of several honoured names. But such pious remembrances render so much the keener our appreciation of the numerous old. friends remaining to us and of all they give us; and so much the more cordial, too, our welcome to the new recruits who have joined us.
The interest in antiquities and in the other matters with which NOTES AND QUERIES concerns itself, if not actually any keener in those possessing it, seems to grow more widespread than ever before and more independent also of some kinds of ulterior consideration. It would seem strange to everybody now-a-days to cry
How profitless the relics that we cull! or to speak disparagingly of
Mere Fibulae without a robe to clasp;
Urns without ashes, tearless lacrymals. But if romantic sentiment is less pervasive curiosity grows more and more exacting in demand for facts, and criticism more close in scrutiny of evidence. The field of the knowledge of the past continues to show itself inexhaustible; the workers in it can never be too many. From the General Index of yet another Series we turn with confidant expectation to discoveries and discussions of the future in which NOTES & QUERIES may continue to be of service as of old.
20, High Street, High Wycombe, Bucks. June, 1924.