THIRTY years ago, when I first studied the papers of Sir William Trumbull in the Berkshire County Record Office, it was a particular pleasure to discover that amongst the Downshire Manuscripts which derived from his years as English ambassador at the Porte were a number of Turkish documents. Through the kindness of the County Record Office staff at the time, I was able to obtain photocopies of the documents, and the suggestion was also made that a handlist might be compiled. Unfortunately, the Trumbull manuscripts, both 'old' series and Additional, were only on deposit at Reading, and it was at about this time (the exact date I now disremember) that their then owner placed severely restrictive conditions on their use by historians. Any further photography of the Turkish documents, together with plans for their future publication, was out of the question. The draft handlist and the photocopies already in my possession, together with the other results of my study of Trumbull's embassy to the Porte, were obliged perforce to remain unpublished. More than a quarter of a century elapsed before the sale of the Downshire Manuscripts and their purchase on behalf of the nation at last rendered them fully accessible to disinterested scholarship.
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