THE Transactions of the Society at eight of its Stated Meetings are recorded in this book, in continuation of a similar record in Volume III.

    Volume IV. will be a volume of Collections, in which will appear several communications that were too long to find an appropriate place in the Transactions. Considerable progress has been made upon it, about one hundred pages being already in plate.

    Among the more important communications printed in the volume now offered to the Society are (1) the Harvard Theses of 1663, with a Note in which Mr. Williamson interprets the mysterious letters used in the Dedication of the Harvard Commencement programme prior to 1781, (2) a Fragment of the House Journal of 1649, with the learned Notes and observations thereon by Mr. Upham and Mr. Goodell, (3) Mr. Matthews’s essay on Hired Man and Help, (4) Mr. Slade’s paper on Henry Pelham, (5) Mr. Edes’s paper on John Davis of York and his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1681, (6) Franklin’s letter condemning the doings of the Boston Tea Party, and (7) the Commission of George I. to the Bishop of London in 1726–27, authorizing him to exercise certain episcopal functions in America. Mr. Gat shows that the portrait of Sir William Pepperrell, by an unknown artist, long in the possession of the Essex Institute, was painted by Smibert; and there are also papers concerning the disbursement of the funds for printing Eliot’s Indian Bible.

    In the following pages will also be found tributes to the memory of Professor Lane, Judge Lowell, the Hon. George Silsbee Hale, Mr. Francis Vergnies Balch, and the Rev. Dr. Joseph Henry Allen; and Memoirs of the Hon. Darwin Erastus Ware, by James Bradley Thayer, of Governor Russell, by Charles Carroll Everett, and of the Hon. Leverett Saltonstall, by the Hon. Joseph Hodges Choate, one of our Honorary Members.

    At the meeting in January, 1898, an amendment to the By-Laws was adopted authorizing the election of a limited number of Corresponding Members. The Society is already much’ indebted to two members of this class,—Judge Williamson and the Hon. James Phinney Baxter,—for valuable aid in identifying for the Index many Indian, and other, names and localities in Maine.

    In the proceedings of the Meeting in April, 1898, will be found the Report of the Committee which raised the Gould Memorial Fund of ten thousand dollars,—an endowment which will keep in perpetual remembrance the services and virtues of our first President.

    The illustrations of this book, comprising four portraits and six fac-similes of rare early documents, have all been engraved by Mr. Elson expressly for the Society, and some of them at the expense of individual members and friends.

    The Index has been made with great care, and it is hoped that the efforts of the Committee to make it full and accurate and a perfect key to the text have been successful.

    For the Committee,

    John Noble.

    Boston, 21 October, 1902.