Some years ago, it was thought desirable to have a general Index made to the Journals of the House of Commons: for if it be not yet desirable to have the laws themselves methodised, it has however been thought desirable to methodise the the history of the proceedings of this branch of the legislature. It was an undertaking of very considerable difficulty, both in consideration of its magnitude, and the variety of matter it embraced. How were fit persons to be selected for it? Competition, in the usual mode, could not have been employed. The legislature could not say to men of letters,---Work, and the best workman shall be rewarded. Who, uncertain of being paid for it, could have devoted his life to so repulsive an employment? The course taken was this:---the work was put into the hands of four men of letters, selected one knows not how, nor by whom, nor why. The work was divided amongst them in such sort that each of them received to his share such and so many volumes, according as he was most in favour. The result has been four indexes instead of one, all of them materially varying in method and completeness, and rendering unavoidable the great inconvenience of consulting four volumes instead of one. If a plan analogous to that employed in the case of architectural works had been adopted, the course taken would have been to advertise a premium for the best essay on the art of index-making, and particularly as applied to the work in question. As a still further security, an index to one volume might have been required by way of specimen; and to him who gave the greatest satisfaction upon both these points, the conduct of the work should have been committed.

RR Book 1 Chapter 15