The Leveller Tracts Project


(From the “Art of the Levellers”)

I have been working on “The Leveller Tracts Project” on and off for the past five years. As we are getting close to its completion here is a summary of what is available to date (June 25, 2015).

Because I am working with 17th century political pamphlets which are old and in poor condition, and because the microfilm and now PDFs made from them are also sometimes very poor quality, there are literally thousands of illegible words and characters which need to be checked agains the facsimiles of the originals and corrected. Volume 4 (1647) for example had 2,011 illegibles. To assist me I engaged a philosophy grad student, Ross Kenyon, to help decipher the hardest to read parts.

In the first instance I put the uncorrected HTML files online and then as we corrected them they were added to the OLL proper. So far we have 6 of the 7 volumes (plus an Addendum volume) online here. The volumes still in production only have images of the title pages and bibliographic details so far:

We now have three corrected volumes online in the OLL proper:

Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics (1638-1660), 7 vols. Edited by David M. Hart and Ross Kenyon (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2014-15). Online.

Once all the volumes have been corrected we plan a second revised edition of the collection. This will consist of the following improvements and changes:

  • titles in the Addenda will be merged into the other volumes so all titles are in chronological order
  • every title will have a date and ID number based on the Thomason Tracts Catalog
  • there will be a facsimile of the original title page
  • every title will have a brief bio of the author and a description of its contents

For further information about the Levellers and our collection of their writings, see: