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The Comisioners apoynted by the genrall Court to order and set]: the afaires of Lancaster
being asembled at John Prescots’ house September ye eight 1657 . . . doe judge meet 10 order and
Conclud as followcth . . . . . . Alsoe that the Select men tak spesiall care for the preseruing and
safe keeping the townes Records. And If they se it need full, that they procure the same to be
writen out fairly into a new booke, to be keep! for the good of posterity.—Lanca.\lcr Recordx.

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AT the adjourned March meeting of the town of Lancaster, 1883, it was voted “ to appropriate five hundred dollars for publishing some of our earliest town records under the direction of the Library Committee; to be prepared by Henry S. Nourse."

The committee thus authorized to oversee the publication now presented to the town, must not omit to testify here to their conviction of the eminent ability and fidelity with which their associate has completed his task, and of the greatness of the debt under which the town has been brought to him by this, as well as by other labors in the same field. They have found that their duty, as aside from his, has devolved upon them little more than a careful reading of his manuscript; while the toil, the care, and the zeal which the matter in hand demanded, and that have been spent upon it, have been expended by him:

"And all for love, and nothing for reward."

It may not be useless for them to remind the town of some of the reasons that gave rise to the resolution under which they were appointed. Among these were the risk of destruction by fire; the wasting material of the originals; the desirableness of supplying imperfections, as far as possible, from other sources; clearing up obscurities by intelligent annotation; and such a multiplication of copies as it may reasonably be hoped and expected will be called for.

They have understood, however, that the work was to be undertaken primarily, not in the interest of the historiographer, but for the use of the town; for its more familiar acquaintance with, and its surer preservation of, its own annals. It is from this consideration that the editor has added some notes which he would otherwise have withheld. Nevertheless they are well aware that these “ Early Records" are not confined for edification to their own townsmen; and that any intelligent person of New England birth may not only behold, as with “ ancestral eyes," therein “ the doings” that are described, but, more or less, the causes also which, from without or within, gave the current of events this or that direction; and see, as in a mirror, the operation of the forces that in this country “ developed local self government, and furnish the basis of our political history.”

It gives the committee pleasure, as well for the name as the convenience of so doing, to consign the printing of this book to a local press.

LANCASTER, March, 1884.

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