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dryness of a chip. This has almost deterred
us from our intention of bundling a few chips
together now and then. But, reflection on
the natural lightness of the article has
re-assured us; and we here present a few to our
readers,—and shall continue to do so from time
to time.

DESTRUCTION OF PARISH REGISTERS.

As the poorest man cannot foresee to what
inheritance he may succeed, through the
instrumentality of Parochial Registers, so in
their preservation every member of the
community is more or less interested; but the
Parish Register returns of 1833 show that a
general feeling seemed to exist in favour of
their destruction. Scarcely one of them
pronounced the Registers in a satisfactory state.
The following sentences abound in the Blue
Book: " leaves cut out," " torn out," " injured
by damp," "mutilated," "in fragments,"
"destroyed by fire," "much torn," "illegible,"
"tattered," "imperfect," "early registers
lost."

Thanks to the General Registry Act of
William the Fourth, all such records made
since 1835 are now properly cared for; but
those prior to that date are still in parochial
keeping, to be torn, lost, burnt, interpolated,
stolen, defaced, or rendered illegible at the
good pleasure of every wilful or heedless
individual of a destructive organisation. Some
time ago Mr. Walbran, of Ripon, found part
of a Parish Register among a quantity of wastepaper
in a cheesemonger's shop. The same
gentleman has rescued the small but very
interesting register of the chapelry of Denton,
in the county of Durham, from the fate which
once had nearly befallen it, by causing several
literatim copies to be printed and deposited
in public libraries. Among other instances
of negligent custody, Mr. Downing Bruce, the
barrister, relates, in a recently published
pamphlet, that the Registers of South Otterington,
containing several entries of the great
families of Talbot, Herbert, and Fauconberg,
were formerly kept in the cottage of the
parish-clerk, who used all those preceding the
eighteenth century for waste paper; a
considerable portion having been taken to "singe
a goose!"

Abstraction, loss, and careless custody of
registers is constantly going on. Mr. Bruce
mentions, that in 1845 he made some copious
extracts from the dilapidated books at
Andover, "but on recently visiting that
place for the purpose of a supplementary
search," he says, " I found that these books
were no longer in existence, and that those
which remained were kept in the rectory-house,
in a damp place under the staircase,
and in a shameful state of dilapidation." The
second case occurred at Kirkby Malzeard, near
Ripon, where the earliest register mentioned
in the parliamentary return was reported to
be lost. " Having occasion to believe that
the statement was not correct," Mr. Bruce
states, " I persevered in my inquiries, and at
length fortunately discovered the book, in
a tattered state, behind some old drawers
in the curate's back kitchen. Again, at
Farlington, near Sheriff Hutton, the earliest
registers were believed and represented to
be lost, until I found their scattered leaves
at the bottom of an old parish chest which I
observed in the church."

Even as we write, an enquiry appears in the
newspapers from the parish officers of St.
Paul's, Covent Garden, addressed to
"collectors " and others, after their own Registers;
two among the most historically important
and interesting years of the seventeenth
century are nowhere to be found.

The avidity and dishonesty of many of these
"collectors," or arch├Žological cockchafers,
are shocking to think of. They seem to have
passed for their own behoof a universal
statute of limitations; and when a book, an
autograph, or a record is a certain number of
years old, they think it is no felony to steal
it. Recently we were interested in searching
the Register for the birth of Joseph
Addison; and at the altar of the pretty little
church of Milston, in Wilts, we were told that
a deceased rector had cut out the leaf which
contained it, to satisfy the earnest longings
of a particular friend, " a collector"—a poet,
too, who ought to have been ashamed to
instigate the larceny. It is hoped that his
executorshis name has been inserted in
a burial register sincewill think fit to
restore it to its proper place at their early
convenience.

Mr. Bruce recommends that the whole of the
Registers now deposited in parish churches,
in rectors' coal-cellars, churchwardens'
out-houses, curates' back-kitchens, and goose-eating
parish clerks' cottages, should be
collected into one central fire-proof building in
London.

Innocent Mr. Bruce! While the great
historical records of this land are "preserved"
over tons of gunpowder in the White Tower
of the Tower in London; while the Chancery
records are feeding a fine, fat, historical, and
uncommonly numerous breed of rats in the
cellars of the Rolls Chapel; while some of
the most important muniments existing
(including William the Conqueror's Domesday
Book) are being dried up in the Chapter-
House of Westminster Abbey, by the united
heats of a contiguous brew-house and an
adjacent wash-house; and while heaps of
monastic charters and their surrenders to
Henry the Eighth, with piles of inestimable
historical treasures, are huddled together upon
scaffolds in the interior of the dilapidated
Riding-School in Carlton Ridecan Mr.
Bruce, or any other man of common sense,
suppose that any attention whatever will be
paid by any person in power to his very
modest suggestion?