English Book Collectors
by William Younger Fletcher
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In addition to his other benefactions to the University of Oxford, Archbishop Laud founded in that university a Professorship of Arabic, and endowed it with lands in the parish of Bray, in the county of Berks.

The works written by Laud are but few in number. They are Officium Quotidianum, or a Manual of Private Devotions; A Summary of Devotions; his Diary; and A History of his Troubles and Tryal; together with some smaller pieces, sermons, and speeches. A Relation of the Conference between him and Fisher the Jesuit, by Laud's chaplain John Baily, was printed in 1624. A collected edition of his works, edited by Henry Wharton, was printed in 1695-1700, and a second one in the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology, in six volumes in 1847-49.

Portraits of him are to be found in St. John's College, Oxford, and at Lambeth Palace. A copy of the last portrait, by Henry Stone, is in the National Portrait Gallery.


[Footnote 29: Preface to Weaver's Funeral Monuments.]

[Footnote 30: Macray, Annals of the Bodleian Library, pp. 61-65.]

[Footnote 31: Walker, Letters by Eminent Persons. London, 1813.]

ROBERT BURTON, 1576-1640

Robert Burton, the author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, who is numbered by Dibdin 'among the most marked bibliomaniacs of the age,' was the second son of Ralph Burton of Lindley in the county of Leicester, and was born on the 8th of February 1576. He received the early part of his education at the grammar schools of Nuneaton and Sutton Coldfield. In 1593 he was admitted a commoner at Brasenose College, Oxford, and in 1599 was elected a student of Christ Church. He took the degree of B.D. in 1614. The last-named college presented him with the vicarage of St. Thomas, in the west suburb of Oxford, in 1616, and some years later George, Lord Berkeley, gave him the rectory of Segrave in Leicestershire. The first edition of his famous work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, appeared in 1621. Burton, about whose life little is known, died in his chamber at Christ's Church on the 25th of January 1639-40, 'at, or very near that time,' Anthony a Wood writes, 'which he had some years before foretold from the calculation of his own nativity. Which being exact, several of the students did not forbear to whisper among themselves, that rather than there should be a mistake in the calculation, he sent up his soul to heaven thro' a slip about his neck.' Wood adds that he was buried in the north aisle of Christ Church Cathedral, and over his grave 'was erected a comely monument on the upper pillar of the said isle with his bust painted to the life: on the right hand of which, is the calculation of his nativity, and under the bust this inscription made by himself; all put up by the care of William Burton, his brother.

'Paucis notus, paucioribus ignotus, hic jacet Democritus junior, cui vitam dedit & mortem Melancholia. Obiit viii. Id. Jan. A.C. MDCXXXIX.'

Burton's monument and bust have been engraved for Nichols's History and Antiquities of Leicestershire, and his portrait hangs in the hall of Brasenose College.

Wood gives the following character of Burton:—'He was an exact mathematician, a curious calculator of nativities, a general-read scholar, a thorough-paced philologist, and one that understood the surveying of lands well. As he was by many accounted a severe student, a devourer of authors, a melancholy and humourous person, so by others who knew him well, a person of great honesty, plain dealing and charity. I have heard some of the ancients of Christchurch often say that his company was very merry, facete and juvenile; and no man in his time did surpass him for his ready and dexterous interlarding his common discourses among them with verses from the poets, or sentences from classical authors; which, being then all the fashion in the university, made his company more acceptable.'

Burton left behind him a large and curious collection of books, the nature of which he well describes in his Address to the Reader of his Anatomy of Melancholy: 'I hear new news every day, and those ordinary rumours of war, plagues, fires, inundations, thefts, murders, massacres, meteors, comets, spectrums, prodigies, apparitions, of towns taken, cities besieged in France, Germany, Turkey, Persia, Poland, etc., daily musters and preparations, and such like, which these tempestuous times afford, battles fought, so many men slain, monomachies, shipwrecks, piracies, and sea-fights; peace, leagues, stratagems, and fresh alarms.... New books every day, pamphlets, currantoes, stories, whole catalogues of volumes of all sorts.... Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, jubilies, embassies, tilts and tournaments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, plays: then again, as in a new shifted scene, treasons, cheating tricks, robberies, enormous villanies in all kinds, funerals, burials, deaths of princes, new discoveries, expeditions, now comical, then tragical matters.' He appears to have purchased indiscriminately almost everything that was published.

In his will, dated August 15th, 1639, he gives directions for the disposal of his books:—

'Now for my goods I thus dispose them. First I give an Cth pounds to Christ Church in Oxford where I have so long lived to buy five pounds Lands per Ann. to be Yearly bestowed on Books for the Library. Item I give an hundreth pound to the University Library of Oxford to be bestowed to purchase five pound Land per Ann. to be paid out Yearly on Books.... If I have any Books the University Library hath not, let them take them. If I have any Books our own Library hath not, let them take them.' After bequeathing books to various friends, he directs, 'If any books be left let my Executors dispose of them with all such books as are written with my own hands and half my Melancholy Copy for Crips hath the other half. To Mr. Jones Chaplin and Chanter my Surveying Books and Instruments.'

In addition to The Anatomy of Melancholy, Burton wrote a Latin comedy, entitled Philosophaster, which was acted at Christ Church on Shrove Monday, February the 16th, 1618, and which was first printed in 1862 for the Roxburghe Club at the expense of the late Rev. W.E. Buckley, of Middleton Chaney, the possessor of one of two manuscripts of it which have been preserved.


James Usher or Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, was born in Dublin on the 4th of January 1581. He was the second, but elder surviving son of Arland Usher, one of the six clerks of the Irish Court of Chancery. His mother was a daughter of James Stanyhurst, Recorder of the City of Dublin, who was thrice elected Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Usher is said to have been taught to read by two aunts who had been blind from their infancy. At the age of eight he was sent to a school in Dublin conducted by Mr. James Fullerton and Mr. James Hamilton, two secret political agents of King James of Scotland, who were afterwards made Sir James Fullerton and Viscount Clandeboye. In 1594 he proceeded to Trinity College, Dublin, being the second scholar admitted in the newly opened University, of which he was made a Fellow in 1599. On the 20th of December 1601 he was ordained by his uncle, the Archbishop of Armagh, having first made over his paternal inheritance to his younger brother and his sisters, reserving only a small portion for his support during his studies. On the 24th of the same month the Spaniards were defeated at the battle of Kinsale by the English and Irish, and the officers of the English army determined to commemorate their success by founding a library in the College at Dublin. They collected among themselves about eighteen hundred pounds for this purpose,[32] and Usher, in conjunction with Dr. Luke Challoner, was requested to select the books. For this object, in 1602, he paid a visit to England, where he made the acquaintance of Sir Thomas Bodley, Sir Robert Cotton, Camden, and other distinguished persons. In 1606 he again made a journey to England, this time to buy books for his own library, as well as for that of his college,[33] and for some time he repeated his visits every three or four years. In 1607 he was made Professor of Divinity in Trinity College, which office he held for thirteen years. He was consecrated Bishop of Meath and Clonmacnoise in 1621, and four years later he was raised to the Archbishopric of Armagh and the Primacy of the Irish Church. Usher came to England on a visit in 1640, but he never returned to his native country, for in the next year his residence at Armagh was attacked and plundered by the rebels, and he lost everything he possessed except his library, and some furniture in his house at Drogheda. In consequence of the unsettled state of the country it was thought useless for him to return to his see, and the king therefore bestowed on him the bishopric of Carlisle, to be held in commendam. For some time he resided in Oxford, but that city being threatened with a siege by the Parliamentary forces, in 1645 he proceeded to Cardiff, of which town Sir Timothy Tyrrell, who had married his only child, was governor. Some months later, when Tyrrell was obliged to give up his command, Usher accepted an invitation from Mary, widow of Sir Edward Stradling, to take up his abode at her residence, St. Donat's Castle, Glamorganshire. On his way thither, in company with his daughter, he unluckily fell into the hands of a party of Welsh insurgents, who plundered him of all his books and papers, but these were afterwards to a great extent recovered by the exertions of the clergy and gentry of the country. In 1646 Usher came to London, and found a home in the house of his friend the Dowager Countess of Peterborough, which was situated in St. Martin's Lane, 'just over against Charing Cross.' From the roof of the building he witnessed the preliminaries of the execution of Charles I., but he nearly fainted when 'the villains in vizards began to put up the king's hair,' and had to be removed. Usher was appointed Preacher to the Society of Lincoln's Inn in 1647, and for nearly eight years preached regularly during term-time in the chapel. He had a suite of furnished apartments provided for him in the Inn, 'with divers rooms for his library.' He retired in 1656 to Lady Peterborough's house at Reigate in Surrey, and died there on the 21st of March in that year. On the 21st of the following month he was buried in Westminster Abbey; a public funeral being given him by order of Cromwell, who is said, however, to have left the relations of the deceased prelate to pay the greater part of the expense. Usher formed a large and valuable library of nearly ten thousand volumes, which cost him many thousand pounds. Dr. Richard Parr, his biographer, states that 'after he became archbishop he laid out a great deal of money in books, laying aside every year a considerable sum for that end, and especially for the procuring of manuscripts, as well as from foreign parts, as near at hand.' His library contained a number of rare Oriental manuscripts, which he obtained through the instrumentality of Mr. Thomas Davis, a merchant at Aleppo. Among them were a copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch, a Syrian Pentateuch, and a Commentary on a great part of the Old and New Testaments. From the Samaritan Pentateuch Usher furnished some extracts for his friend Selden's Marmora Arundeliana, and he deposited the manuscript itself in the Cottonian Library. Dr. Walton also found Usher's collection of much use in preparing his Polyglot Bible. Several of the manuscripts which had belonged to Usher were given to the Bodleian Library by James Tyrrell, the historian, who was the Archbishop's grandson. It was Usher's intention to have left his library to Trinity College, but having lost all his other property he thought it right to bequeath it to his daughter, Lady Tyrrell, who had a large family. After his death it was offered for sale, and the King of Denmark and Cardinal Mazarin were both anxious to acquire it; but Cromwell, considering it disgraceful to his administration to allow such a splendid collection of books to be sent out of the kingdom, prohibited the disposal of it without his consent, and it was purchased for the sum of two thousand two hundred pounds, the money being principally contributed by the officers and soldiers of the army in Ireland. It is said that the amount paid for it was much less than what had been previously offered. The books were sent to Dublin and placed in the Castle, with a view that they should form the library of a new College or Hall then projected. They remained in the Castle until the Restoration, when Charles II., in accordance with Usher's first intention, gave them to Trinity College, where they are still preserved. Usher, who is said by Selden to have been 'ad miraculum doctus,' was the author of many works, some of the more important being Immanuel, or the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God (Dublin, 1638), 4to; Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates et Primordia (Dublin, 1639), 4to; Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (London, 1650-54), folio[34]; De Graeca Septuaginta Interpretum Versione Syntagma (London, 1654), 4to; and Chronologia Sacra (London, 1660), 4to. A complete edition of the Archbishop's works, in seventeen octavo volumes, partly edited by Dr. C.R. Elrington, and partly by Dr. J.H. Todd, with an index volume by Dr. W. Reeves, was published in Dublin in 1847-64.


[Footnote 32: Life of Usher, by Dr. C.R. Elrington, prefixed to Usher's works, vol. i. p. 23. Dublin, 1847.]

[Footnote 33: A list of these books, with the prices annexed to several, is still extant in Usher's handwriting, and preserved among the MSS. of Trinity College, Dublin. Ibid., p. 25.]


John Williams, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal and Archbishop of York, was the son of Edmund Williams of Aber-Conway, Caernarvonshire, at which place he was born on the 25th of March 1582. He was first educated at the public school at Ruthin, and later at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was sent when sixteen years of age. While at the university he appears to have indulged in a somewhat reckless expenditure, and Bishop Hacket, who wrote his biography, informs us that 'from a youth and so upward he had not a fist to hold money, for he did not lay out, but scatter, spending all that he had, and somewhat for which he could be trusted.' He was, however, by no means neglectful of his studies, for we are told by Lloyd in his State Worthies, 'that unwearied was his industry, unexpressible his capacity: He never saw the book of worth he read not; he never forgot what he read; he never lost the use of what he remembered: Everything he heard or saw was his own; and what was his own he knew how to use to the utmost.' From the time of Williams's ordination in 1609, his career until the accession of Charles I. was a remarkably rapid and successful one. After holding one or two livings, he was appointed Chaplain to the King and Sub-Dean of Salisbury, and in 1620 Dean of Westminster. On the fall of Bacon, in July 1621, in whose ruin he had taken a large share, he was sworn in as Lord Keeper. Lloyd observes with reference to the manner in which he fulfilled the duties of this post, that 'the lawyers despised him at first, but the judges admired him at last.' Williams was also made Bishop of Lincoln, and allowed to retain the deanery of Westminster and the rectory of Walgrave; in fact the number of preferments he held was so large that Dr. Heylyn remarks that 'he was a perfect diocese within himself, as being bishop, dean, prebend, residentiary, and parson, all at once.' Williams held the post of Lord Keeper until 1626, when he was deprived of his office, and various charges, including one of betraying the King's secrets, were brought against him by Archbishop Laud, his great enemy. He was found guilty of subornation of perjury in defending himself from these charges, suspended from all his dignities and appointments, condemned to suffer imprisonment during the pleasure of the King, and fined ten thousand pounds. Lloyd says 'he suffered for conniving at Puritans, out of hatred to Bishop Laud; and for favouring Papists, out of love to them.' At the meeting of the Long Parliament Williams was released, and having been again received into favour at court, he was translated in 1641 to the Archbishopric of York. During the Civil War he retired to his estate at Aber-Conway, and for some time held Conway Castle for the King. He died of a quinsy on the 25th of March 1650, and was interred in Llandegay church, where a monument was erected to his memory by his nephew and heir Sir Griffyth Williams.

Archbishop Williams was a generous patron of learning, and Lloyd states that 'his pensions to Scholars were more numerous than all the Bishops and Noble-mens besides'; and that he imposed 'Rent-charges on all the Benefices in his Gift as Lord Keeper, or Bishop of Lincoln, to maintain hopeful youth.' He formed a library in his palace at Buckden in Huntingdonshire, which was dispersed or destroyed during his imprisonment,[35] but upon his release he collected another, which he bequeathed to St. John's College, Cambridge, having previously given upwards of two thousand pounds to the college for the purpose of building a new library; and in Bagford and Oldys's London Libraries we find an account of the books which he gave to the library of Westminster Abbey. 'In the great cloister of the abbey,' they write, 'is a well-furnished library, considering the time when it was erected by Dr. Williams, Dean of Westminster and Bishop of Lincoln; who was a great promoter of learning. He purchased the books of the heirs of one Baker of Highgate, and founded it for public use every day in Term, from nine to twelve in the forenoon, and from two till four in the afternoon. The MSS. are kept in the inner part, but by an accident many of them were burnt.' Mr. James Yeowell, the editor of the work, adds in a note that 'Dean Williams converted a waste room, situate in the east side of the cloisters, into a library, which he enriched with the valuable works from the collection of Sir Richard Baker, author of The Chronicles of the Kings of England, which cost him 500l. A catalogue of this library is in Harl. MS. 694. There is also a MS. catalogue, compiled in 1798 by Dr. Dakin, the precentor, arranged alphabetically.'

A portrait of Archbishop Williams is hung in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge.


[Footnote 34: The chronology given in this work is still the standard adopted in editions of the English Bible.]

[Footnote 35: 'After this, hearing his Majesty would not abate anything of his fine, he desired that it might be taken up by 1000l. yearly as his estate would bear it, till the whole should be paid. But that was not granted: Kilvert [the solicitor for the prosecution] was ordered to go to Bugden and Lincoln, and there to seize upon all he could and bring it into the Exchequer. Kilvert, glad of the office, made sure of all that could be found, goods of all sorts, plate, books, etc. to the value of 10,000l., of which he never gave account but of 800l. The timber he felled, killed the deer in the park, sold an organ which cost 120l. for 10l., pictures which cost 400l. for 4l., made away with what books he pleased, and continued revelling for three summers in Bugden-house. For four cellars of wine, cyder, ale, and beer, with wood, hay, corn, and the like, stored up for a year or two, he gives no account at all; and thus a large personal estate was squandered away, and not the least part of the King's fine paid all this while, whereas if it had been managed to the best advantage, it would have been sufficient to have discharged the whole.'—Biographia Britannica, vol. vi. p. 4288 (note).]

JOHN SELDEN, 1584-1654

John Selden, the distinguished legal antiquary, historian, and Oriental scholar, who was styled by his friend Ben Jonson 'a monarch in letters,' and 'vir omni eruditionis genere instructissimus' by Archbishop Laud, was born on the 16th of December 1584 at Salvington, near Worthing, in Sussex. His father was John Selden, a farmer, known as the 'Minstrel' on account of his proficiency in music. Aubrey describes him as 'a yeomanly man of about forty pounds a year, who played well on the violin, in which he took much delight.' Selden was first educated at the free grammar school at Chichester, and afterwards proceeded with an exhibition to Hart Hall, since merged in Magdalen Hall, Oxford. On leaving the university he was admitted a member of Clifford's Inn; but in 1604 removed to the Inner Temple. Wood, in his Athenae Oxonienses, says of him that 'after he had continued there a sedulous student for some time, he did, by the help of a strong body and a vast memory, not only run through the whole body of the law, but became a prodigy in most parts of learning, especially in those which were not common or little frequented or regarded by the generality of students of his time. So that in a few years his name was wonderfully advanced not only at home but in foreign countries, and he was usually styled the great dictator of learning of the English nation.... He was a great philologist, antiquary, herald, linguist, statesman, and what not.' Selden devoted his time rather to chamber practice and to legal researches and the study of history and antiquities than to the more active part of his profession. It is said he wrote his first work, Analecton Anglo-Britannicon, as early as 1607, when only twenty-two years of age, but it was not published until eight years later. The Duello, England's Epinomis, and Jani Anglorum Facies Altera appeared in 1610, Titles of Honour in 1614, De Diis Syris Syntagmata Duo in 1617, and The History of Tithes in 1618, wherein he allows the legal, but denies the divine, right of the clergy to the receiving of tithes. The more important of his later works are Marmora Arundeliana, published in 1628, De Successionibus in 1631, Mare Clausum in 1635, De Jure Naturali et Gentium juxta Disciplinam Ebraeorum Libri VII. in 1640, and Fleta, seu Commentarius Juris Anglicani, an ancient manuscript which he edited and annotated, in 1647. Among his other literary labours are the notes appended to Drayton's Polyolbion. A volume of his Table Talk was published after his death in 1689, and his complete works in 1726, in three volumes folio. In 1621 Selden was committed to prison for having advised the House of Commons to assert its right to offer advice to the Crown, but was released after an imprisonment of five weeks. He first entered the House of Commons in 1623 as Member for Lancaster, and for some years took a very prominent part in its proceedings. During the later disputes between Charles and the Parliament he acted with great moderation, and it is said that at one time the King thought of intrusting him with the Great Seal. Selden subscribed the Covenant in 1643, and was made Keeper of the Rolls and Records in the Tower. In 1645 he was appointed a Commissioner of the Admiralty, and in the same year he was elected Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, an office he declined to accept. Parliament voted him five thousand pounds in 1647 as compensation for his sufferings during the monarchy; but Wood states that 'some there are that say that he refused and could not out of conscience take it, and add that his mind was as great as his learning, full of generosity and harbouring nothing that seemed base.' Although he remained in Parliament after the execution of the King, he almost entirely withdrew from public affairs, and, it is said, refused to write a reply to the Eikon Basilike when requested to do so by Cromwell. Selden died on November 30, 1654, at Friary House, Whitefriars, the residence of Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Kent, to whom it was reputed he had been married. He was interred in the Temple Church, where a monument was erected to his memory.

Selden collected a very fine library, 'rich in classics and science, theology and history, law and Hebrew literature,' of which about eight thousand volumes were eventually added to the Bodleian Library. Selden had bequeathed his books to the Bodleian; but it is said he was so offended with the University for refusing the loan of a manuscript except upon a bond for one thousand pounds, that he revoked the bequest, and left them to the free disposal of his executors. They offered the collection to the Society of the Inner Temple, but as no building was provided for its reception, they carried out the original intention of Selden, and gave it in 1659 to the Bodleian, stipulating at the same time that all the books should be chained, and L25, 10s. was expended for that purpose. There is no doubt, however, that a considerable number of the manuscripts came into the possession of that library soon after Selden's death, and the entire affair is involved in some obscurity. The Rev. W.D. Macray, who, in his Annals of the Bodleian Library, goes very fully into the matter, gives another reason for Selden's displeasure. 'In July 1649,' he writes, 'the new intruded officers and fellows of Magdalene College found in the Muniment-room in the cloister-tower of the College a large sum of money in the old coinage called Spur-royals, or Ryals, amounting to L1400, the equivalent of which had been left by the Founder as a reserve-fund for law expenses, for re-erecting or repairing buildings destroyed by fire, etc., or for other extraordinary charges. This gold had been laid up and counted in Queen Elizabeth's time, and had remained untouched since then; consequently, although some of the old members of the College were aware of its existence, to the new-comers it seemed a welcome and unexpected discovery, especially as the College was at the time heavily in debt. They immediately proceeded to divide it among all the members on the foundation proportionately, not excluding the choristers (who were at that time undergraduates), the Puritan President, Wilkinson, being alone opposed to such an illegal proceeding, and being with difficulty prevailed upon to accept L100 as his share, which, however, upon his death-bed he charged his executors to repay. The Spur-royals were exchanged at the rate of 18s. 6d. to 20s. each, and each fellow had thirty-three of them. But when the fact of this embezzlement of corporate funds became known, the College was called to account by Parliament, and, although they attempted to defend themselves, they individually deemed it wise to refund the greater, or a considerable, part of what had been abstracted. Fuller, whose Church History was published in the year following Selden's death, after telling this scandalous story, proceeds thus (Book IX. p. 234):—"Sure I am, a great antiquarie lately deceased (rich as well in his state as learning) at the hearing thereof quitted all his intention of benefaction to Oxford or any place else." ... And Wood (Hist. and Antiq., by Gutch, ii. 942) says that he had been told that this misappropriation was one reason of Selden's distaste at Oxford.'

Besides the books sent to the Bodleian Library, those relating to law were given to Lincoln's Inn, and some medical works were bequeathed by Selden to the College of Physicians. 'Eight chests full of registers of abbeys, and other manuscripts relating to the history of England,' were unfortunately destroyed in a fire at the Temple; and many volumes also were lost during the interval between Selden's death and their arrival at Oxford.


One of the most zealous and successful collectors of the early part of the seventeenth century was Thomas Howard, only son of Philip, Earl of Arundel, and grandson of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, who was beheaded in 1572. He was born on the 7th of July 1586. In 1595 his father died in the Tower, and by his attainder his son was deprived of his titles and lands. On the accession of James I. the former were restored to him, but the King retained the property. Lord Arundel was created Earl of Norfolk in 1644, and died at Padua on the 4th of October 1646.

After his death his collections were partially dispersed; and in 1666 his printed books were presented, at the instigation of John Evelyn, to the Royal Society by Henry Howard, afterwards sixth Duke of Norfolk, a grandson of the Earl, while the manuscripts were divided between that Society and the College of Arms. In 1831 the principal portion of the manuscripts in possession of the Royal Society were transferred to the British Museum, and the remainder, consisting of Oriental manuscripts, in 1835. They were valued at three thousand five hundred and fifty-nine pounds, and were paid for partly in money, and partly with duplicates of printed books in the Museum collection. A large portion of the Earl's library consisted of the books of Bilibaldus Pirckheimer of Nuremberg, which he acquired during a diplomatic mission into Germany in 1636. Some of the manuscripts, Oldys states, once formed part of the library of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary. The Earl of Norfolk's collections also comprised a very large number of antique marbles, paintings, vases, and gems.

RICHARD SMITH, 1590-1675

Richard Smith or Smyth, who was born in 1590 at Lillingston Dayrell, Buckinghamshire, was the son of the Rev. Richard Smith of Abingdon, Berkshire. He was sent to the University of Oxford, but did not matriculate, and after a short stay there was removed by his parents, and articled to a solicitor of the city of London. In 1644 he became Secondary of the Poultry Compter, which was worth about seven hundred pounds a year. This office he held until the death of his eldest son John in 1655, when he sold it, and 'betook himself,' says Anthony a Wood, 'wholly to a private life, two-thirds of which he at least spent in his library.' He died on the 26th of March 1675, and was buried in the Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, where a monument was erected to his memory.

Smith was an indefatigable collector, and amassed a library of very fine and rare books, many of which had belonged to an earlier collector, Humphrey Dyson. These books came to Smith by marriage.[36] Wood informs us that 'he was constantly known every day to walk his rounds among the booksellers' shops (especially in Little Britain) in London, and by his great skill and experience he made choice of such books that were not obvious to every man's eye.' 'He lived in times,' Wood adds, 'which ministred peculiar opportunities of meeting with books that were not every day brought into public light: and few eminent libraries were bought where he had not the liberty to pick and choose.... He was also a great collector of MSS., whether ancient or modern that were not extant, and delighted much to be poring on them.' Wood also states that after Smith's death, 'there was a design to buy his choice library for a public use, by a collection of moneys to be raised among generous persons, but the work being public, and therefore but little forwarded, it came into the hands of Richard Chiswell, a bookseller living in S. Paul's Ch.-yard, London: who printing a catalogue of, with others added to, them, which came out after Mr. Smith's death, they were exposed to sale by way of auction, to the great reluctancy of public-spirited men, in May and June 1682.' The sale, which commenced on the 15th of May, and was continued day by day the first five days of every week until all the books were sold, took place at 'the Auction House known by the name of the Swan in Great Bartholomew's Close.' It realised one thousand four hundred and fourteen pounds, twelve shillings and eleven pence.[37] A copy of the catalogue, with the prices in manuscript, is preserved in the British Museum. The sums obtained for the Caxtons, of which there were about a dozen, will be interesting to bibliographers. A copy of Godfrey of Bulloyn, which it is stated had belonged to King Edward IV., fetched the highest price—eighteen shillings; and the Game of the Chesse, the History of Jason, and the Eneydos of Virgil sold respectively for thirteen shillings, five shillings and a penny, and three shillings; while no more than two shillings could be got for the Book of Good Manners. A fine copy of the Coverdale Bible realised only twenty shillings and sixpence, and Captain John Smith's History of Virginia went for seven shillings and twopence. The manuscripts also, even for those days, sold at exceedingly low prices.

A very interesting account of the library will be found in an article on English Book-Sales, 1681-86, by Mr. A.W. Pollard, in vol. ii. of Bibliographica. Mr. Smith wrote some learned works which he left in manuscript. A Letter to Dr. Henry Hammond, concerning the Sense of that Article in the Creed, He descended into Hell, written by Smith in 1659, was printed in 1684; and his Obituary, being a catalogue of all such persons as he knew in their life; extending from A.D. 1627 to A.D. 1674, was edited for the Camden Society by Sir H. Ellis, K.H., in 1849.

The manuscript of the Obituary, together with the manuscripts of two or three other works by Smith are preserved among the Sloane Manuscripts in the British Museum. A portrait of him was engraved by William Sherwin.


[Footnote 36: Hearne in his Diary (Oct. 4, 1714) states: 'That Mr. Rich. Smith's rare and curious collection of books was began first by Mr. Humphrey Dyson, a public notary, living in the Poultry. They came to Mr. Smith by marriage. This is the same Humphrey Dyson that assisted Howes in his continuation of Stowe's Survey of London, ed. folio;' and in his preface to Peter Langtoft's Chronicle (vol. i. p. xiii.) Hearne describes Dyson as 'a person of a very strange, prying, and inquisitive genius in the matter of books, as may appear from many Libraries; there being Books (chiefly in old English) almost in every Library, that have belong'd to him, with his name upon them.' Some of his books are preserved in the British Museum.]

[Footnote 37: In an entry in his Diary (Sep. 4, 1715) Hearne says:—'Mr. Richard Smith's Catalogue that is printed contains a very noble and very extraordinary collection of books. It was begun first in the time of King Hen. VIII., and comeing to Mr. Smith, he was so very diligent and exact in continueing and improving, that hardly anything curious escaped him.']


George Thomason, who formed the wonderful collection of Civil War tracts, which was given to the British Museum by King George III., was born at the end of the sixteenth or beginning of the seventeenth century. Nothing appears to be known of his parents. He took up his freedom as a member of the Stationers' Company on the 5th of June 1626.[38] His first publication was a new edition of Martyn's History of the Kings of England, which he produced in conjunction with James Boler and Robert Young in 1628, and he continued to publish books until 1660. He carried on business at the Rose and Crown, St. Paul's Churchyard, and we learn from the Obituary of Richard Smith that he died on April 10, 1666, and was 'buried out of Stationers' Hall (a poore man).' The Rev. George Thomason, who was Canon of Lincoln from 1683 to 1712, is stated to have been his eldest son.

The number of separate printed tracts in the collection which Thomason formed with such unwearied perseverance for twenty years is stated in an Account of it,[39] printed about 1680, to consist of 'near Thirty Thousand several sorts,' together with 'near one hundred several MS. pieces that were never printed, all, or most of them on the King's behalf, which no man durst then venture to publish without endangering his Ruine,' and it is said that these were contained in 'above Two Thousand bound Volumes.' Mr. Falconer Madan, however, in his admirable paper on the Thomason Tracts in Bibliographica,[40] informs us that after going carefully through the collection, and looking at every title-page, he has come to the conclusion that the present number of separate pieces is twenty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-one in print, and seventy-three in manuscript, comprised in about one thousand nine hundred and eighty-three volumes.

All the tracts are arranged in chronological order, and from July 1642 to the end of the collection Thomason has placed the date of issue on every piece when it is not printed on it, and has also endeavoured to supply the place of printing when not given. These notes are sometimes supplemented by others commenting on the opinions of the authors of the tracts. There is a manuscript catalogue in twelve folio volumes, compiled by Marmaduke Foster, and annotated and corrected by Thomason himself.

The collection is not confined to tracts relating to the Civil War and the Commonwealth; it also contains many works on other subjects. Among these is a fine copy of the first edition of Walton's Compleat Angler, which at the present time would realise nearly, if not quite, as large a sum as the amount (three hundred pounds) given by King George III. for the entire series.

The collection, which was commenced by Thomason in 1640, and continued until 1661, was made by him under great difficulties. He was a staunch Royalist, and the books appear to have been in constant danger of falling into the hands of the Parliamentary army. We read in the Account to which we have already referred that 'to prevent the Discovery of them, when the Army was Northwards, he pack'd them up in several Trunks, and by one or two in a week sent them to a trusty Friend in Surry, who safely preserv'd them; and when the Army was Westward, and fearing their Return that way, they were sent to London again; but the Collector durst not keep them, but sent them into Essex, and so according as they lay near Danger, still, by timely removing them, at a great charge, secur'd them, but continu'd perfecting the Work.

'And for a further Security to them, there was a Bargain pretended to be made with the University of Oxford and a Receipt of a Thousand Pounds given and acknowledg'd to be in part for them, that if the Usurper had found them out, the University should claim them, who had greater Power to struggle for them than a private Man.

'All these Shifts have been made, and Difficulties encounter'd to keep the Collection from being embezel'd and destroy'd; which with the great Charges of collecting and binding them, cost the Undertaker so much that he refused Four Thousand Pounds for them in his Life time, supposing that Sum not sufficient to reimburse him.'

And in another account, at one time prefixed to the catalogue of the collection, it is stated that 'not thinking them safe anywhere in England, he at last took a resolution to send them into Holland for their more safe preservation. But considering with himself what a treasure it was, upon second thoughts, he durst not venture them at sea, but resolved to place them in his warehouses in form of tables round about the rooms covered over with canvas, continuing still without any intermission his going on; nay, even then, when by the Usurper's power and command he was taken out of his bed, and clapt up close prisoner at Whitehall for seven weeks' space and above,[41] he still hoping and looking for that day, which, thanks be to God, is now come, and there is put a period to that unparallelled labour, charge and pains he had been at.

'Oxford's Library Keeper[42] (that then was) was in hand with them, about them a long time, and did hope the Publick Library might compass them; but that could not be then effected, it rising to so great a sum as had been expended on them for so long a time together.'

After Thomason's death a trust was appointed under his will to take charge of the tracts, and one of the trustees, Dr. Thomas Barlow, Bodley's librarian from 1652 to 1660, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, had them for a long time in his custody, as appears from a letter addressed by him to the Rev. George Thomason, the son of the collector, dated Oxon, February 6, 1676. He mentions in the letter that he had endeavoured to secure them for the Bodleian Library, and that although he had hitherto failed, he still did not despair of finding a way to do so. He was not, however, successful in his efforts, and King Charles II. appears to have directed Samuel Mearn, the royal stationer and bookbinder, to buy them on his account; it is not known for what sum. It is to be presumed, however, that the King did not find the money for them, for on May 15, 1684, the Privy Council considered and granted a petition from Anne Mearn, widow of Samuel Mearn, that she might dispose of the tracts by sale. She does not seem to have succeeded in doing this, and they appear to have been returned to the Thomason family, for in the year 1745 we find them in possession of Mr. Henry Sisson, a druggist in Ludgate Street, London, who, Richard Gough, the antiquary, was informed, was a descendant of the collector.[43] After some negotiations with the Duke of Chandos for their purchase, they were brought by Thomas Hollis[44] to the notice of King George III., who, through the Earl of Bute, bought them of Miss Sisson in 1761 for the sum of three hundred pounds, and in the following year they were presented by him to the British Museum.

On one of the volumes of the collection are some mud stains, which have an interesting history. The volume was borrowed from Thomason by King Charles I., who was anxious to read one of the tracts in it, and while journeying to the Isle of Wight let it fall in the dirt. Thomason made a memorandum of the circumstance on a fly-leaf of the book, adding the 'volume hath the marke of honor upon it, which noe other volume in my collection hath.'

In 1647 Thomason published a trade catalogue in quarto, consisting of fifty-eight closely printed pages, entitled Catalogus Librorum diversis Italiae locis emptorum Anno Dom. 1647, a Georgio Thomasono Bibliopola Londinensi apud quem in Caemiterio D. Pauli ad insigne Rosae Coronatae prostant venales. Londini, Typis Johannis Legatt, 1647, and in 1648 a selection of works in oriental languages from this catalogue was purchased by order of the House of Commons,[45] who directed that the sum of five hundred pounds out of the receipts at Goldsmiths' Hall should be paid for the books, in order that they might be bestowed upon the Public Library at Cambridge.

Mr. A.W. Pollard, in a note to Mr. Madan's article in Bibliographica, states that Thomason had great difficulty in getting the money for these books: 'On March 28th, 1648,' he tells us, 'the five hundred pounds was ordered to be paid from the arrears of the two months' assessments for the Scots army before Newark; on Sep. 25th it was charged on the composition of Colonel Humphrey Matthews; and on Nov. 16th, Thomason, being still unpaid, was consoled by interest at the rate of eight per cent.


[Footnote 38: Arber, Transcript of the Register, vol. iii. p. 686.]

[Footnote 39: Copies are preserved in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library, and it is reprinted in Beloe's Anecdotes vol. ii. p. 248.]

[Footnote 40: Vol. iii. p. 304.]

[Footnote 41: Thomason was implicated in Christopher Love's plot against the Commonwealth. There are several entries in the Calendar of State Papers which refer to his imprisonment. Mr. A.W. Pollard, the editor of Bibliographica, has given a list of them in a note (vol. iii. p. 298) to Mr. Madan's paper on the Thomason Collection in that publication.]

[Footnote 42: Probably Dr. Thomas Barlow, librarian of the Bodleian Library.]

[Footnote 43: Gough, Anecdotes of British Typography, second edition, p. 699, note.]

[Footnote 44: Memoirs of Hollis, vol. i. pp. 121, 192; vol. ii. p. 717.]

[Footnote 45: Journals of the House of Commons, 24th March 1648.]


Sir Symonds D'Ewes, one of the most eminent of the antiquaries and collectors of the first half of the seventeenth century, was born in 1602. He was the son of Paul D'Ewes of Milden, Suffolk, and Cecilia, daughter and heiress of Richard Simonds of Coxden, Chardstock, Dorsetshire. In 1618 he was sent to St. John's College, Cambridge, but left in 1620, and entered at the Middle Temple, being called to the Bar in 1623. He soon, however, gave up his legal practice, and devoted himself to the study of history and antiquities. D'Ewes was made a knight in 1626, and created a baronet in 1641. He was twice married, and died in 1650. The baronetcy became extinct in 1731.

D'Ewes possessed a very fine collection of manuscripts, which were sold by his grandson to Sir Robert Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, notwithstanding the injunction of D'Ewes, in his will, that his library should not be sold or dispersed. Oldys states that Harley recommended Queen Anne to purchase the manuscripts for a public library, as the richest collection in England next to Sir Robert Cotton's, but that the Queen said, 'It was no virtue for her, a woman, to prefer as she did arts to arms; but while the blood and honour of the nation was at stake in her wars, she could not, till she had secured her living subjects an honourable peace, bestow their money on dead letters.' 'Whereupon,' adds Oldys, 'the Earl stretched his own purse, and gave six thousand pounds for the library.' The manuscripts, together with a list of them, which is believed to have been made by D'Ewes himself, now form part of the Harleian Collection in the British Museum. The manuscript of an Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, compiled by D'Ewes in conjunction with Francis Junius, and several of his diaries are also preserved there. His great work was the Journals of all the Parliaments during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which was not published until 1682.


The celebrated scholar and collector, Sir Kenelm Digby, was born at Gayhurst, near Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, in 1603. He was the son of Sir Everard Digby, who was executed in 1606 for the part he took in the Gunpowder Plot. Sir Kenelm, who was the author of several remarkable works, is described by Lord Clarendon as a man of 'very extraordinary person and presence, with a wonderful graceful behaviour and a flowing courtesy and civility.' He was knighted in 1623. Digby possessed a very fine library, which he formed during his residence in Paris, and he had many of the volumes bound there by Le Gascon and other eminent binders. An earlier library which he collected is said to have been burnt by the Roundheads during the Civil War.[46] When he died in 1665, his library, which was still in France, was claimed as the property of the French king, by virtue of the droit d'aubaine, and it is said to have been purchased for ten thousand crowns by the Earl of Bristol, who died in 1676, and whose books, conjointly with those of another collector, were sold in London in April 1680. A priced catalogue of the sale is preserved in the British Museum; and it is stated in it that the books principally belonged 'to the library of the Right Honourable George, late Earl of Bristol, a great part of which were the Curiosities collected by the learned Sir Kenelme Digby.' It is evident, however, that a considerable number of the volumes which belonged to Digby remained in France, as several are to be found in the Bibliotheque Nationale and other libraries. In a communication to the Library Association of the United Kingdom, M. Leopold Delisle, Director of the Bibliotheque Nationale, gives a list of manuscripts and printed books in that library, which were formerly the property of the collector. One volume, with a very beautiful binding by Le Gascon, is preserved in the Bibliotheque Mazarine. Sir Kenelm presented to the Bodleian Library a valuable collection of manuscripts and printed books which Thomas Allen, his former tutor, had bequeathed to him in 1630. He also gave a considerable number of volumes to the library of Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass., and the following notice of the gift occurs in the works of Richard Baxter:—

'I proposed,' he writes, 'to have given almost all my library to Cambridge in New England; but Mr. Thomas Knowles, who knew their library, told me that Sir Kenelm Digby had already given them the Fathers, Councils and Schoolmen, and that it was Histories and Commentators which they wanted. Whereupon I sent them some of my Commentators and some Histories, among which were Freherus, Renherus, and Pistorius's collections.'

Unfortunately, this first Harvard library was destroyed by fire in 1764. At that time it contained about six thousand volumes.


[Footnote 46: See Article on English Book-Sales, 1676-1680, by Mr. A.W. Pollard, in Bibliographica, vol. i. p. 373.]

RALPH SHELDON, 1623-1684

Ralph Sheldon, who was born on the 1st of August 1623, at Beoley in Worcestershire, was the eldest son of William Sheldon of Beoley and Elizabeth, daughter of William, second Lord Petre. He was privately educated, and at the age of nineteen he paid a visit to France and Italy, and resided at Rome for some time, returning home about 1647, after an absence of four years from his native country. Sheldon appears to have been greatly respected, and Nash, in his Collections for the History of Worcestershire, says 'he was a person of such rare worth and excellent qualities as deserve particular notice. He was a great patron of learning and learned men, and well skilled in the history and antiquities of his country, sparing no money to set up a standing library at Weston. He was a great friend to Anthony Wood, and left him a legacy of L40. He purchased the valuable MSS. of the ingenious Augustine Vincent, Windsor Herald, and Keeper of the records in the Tower, temp. Charles I., which at his death he bequeathed to the Heralds' College, where they are still preserved; and allowed John Vincent his son a yearly pension for many years. He travelled often to Rome, and spent some time there to furnish himself with choice books, coins and medals. In short, he was of such remarkable integrity, charity and hospitality, as gained him the universal esteem of all the gentlemen of the county; insomuch that he usually went by the name of the Great Sheldon.... And for the sufferings which himself and father had undergone in the civil wars, he was nominated by Charles II. one of the gentlemen of Warwickshire, who were to have received the honour of the Order of the Royal Oak, had it been instituted; his estate being then valued at L2000 per annum, the largest of any in the county, except that of the Middlemores of Edgbaston, which was estimated of the same annual value.' The library formed by Sheldon at his manor-house of Weston in the parish of Long Compton, Warwickshire, was a fine one. Among the printed books was a very curious and probably unique copy of the first folio of Shakespeare (now the property of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts), where the concluding passages of Romeo and Juliet, and the opening passages of Troilus and Cressida, are printed twice over at different parts of the volume. This irregularity was discovered by Mr. Sidney Lee, who read a paper on the subject before the Bibliographical Society on March 21, 1898. The library at Weston was dispersed in 1781.

In commemoration of Sheldon's gifts to Heralds' College, Mr. Ralph Bigland, who was created Blue Mantle in 1757, and died as Garter in 1784, caused a handsome canvas to be painted, on which are emblazoned Sheldon's arms, impaled with those of his wife, accompanied by the following biographical notice:—'To the Memory of Ralph Sheldon of Beoley in the County of Worcester, Esquire, a great Benefactor to this Office. Who died at his Manor-House of Weston in the Parish of Long-Compton, in the County of Warwick, on Midsumer Day, 1684, aged 61 years wanting 6 weeks: the Day afterwards his Heart and Bowels were buried in Long-Compton Chancel, in a Vault by those of his Father, Mother, Grandfather, etc., and on the 10th of July following, his Body in a Vault by his Ancestors under our Lady's Chapel, Joyning on the North Side to St. Leonard's Church of Beoley: He married Henrietta-Maria, Daughter of Thomas Savage, Viscount Rock-Savage by Elizabeth his wife, Daughter of Thomas, Lord Darcy, of Chich in Essex, Viscount Colchester and Earl Rivers, but by her had no issue.'

This canvas is still preserved in Heralds' College.

Sheldon compiled A Catalogue of the Nobility of England since the Norman Conquest, according to theire severall Creations by every particular King, with the arms handsomely emblazoned. This manuscript came into the possession of Sir Thomas Phillipps, and formed one of the lots at the sale of his collection in June 1893.


Dr. Francis Bernard was born in 1627. He was a Fellow of the College of Physicians, Assistant-Physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and Physician-in-Ordinary to King James II. He died on the 9th of February 1698, and was buried in the parish church of St. Botolph, London, where his wife erected a monument to his memory.

Dr. Bernard formed a very extensive library, which consisted, 'more especially of that sort of Books which are out of the Common Course, which a Man may make the Business of his Life to collect, and at last not be able to accomplish.'[47] It was very rich in works relating to medicine, and it also contained a considerable number of early English books, among which were about a dozen Caxtons. The collection was sold by auction shortly after Bernard's death. The title-page of the sale catalogue reads:—'A Catalogue of the Library of the late learned Dr. Francis Bernard, Fellow of the College of Physicians, and Physician to S. Bartholomew's Hospital. Being a large Collection of the best Theological, Historical, Philological, Medicinal and Mathematical Authors, in the Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Dutch and English Tongues, in all Volumes, which will be sold by Auction at the Doctor's late Dwelling House in Little Britain; the Sale to begin on Tuesday, Octob. 4, 1698.' A copy of the catalogue, with the prices in manuscript, is in the British Museum. The sale consisted of nearly fifteen thousand lots and thirty-nine bundles of tracts, which realised nineteen hundred and twenty pounds; the expenses of the sale amounting to three hundred and twenty pounds. The Caxtons sold for a little over two guineas. The Dictes or Sayings of the Philosophers and the Knight of the Tower each fetched five shillings and fourpence, the History of Jason three shillings and sixpence, the Histories of King Arthur two shillings and tenpence, the Chastising of God's Children one shilling and tenpence, and the second edition of the Game of the Chesse one shilling and sixpence.

Dibdin says that Dr. Bernard was 'a stoic in bibliography. Neither beautiful binding, nor amplitude of margin, ever delighted his eye or rejoiced his heart: for he was a stiff, hard, and straightforward reader—and learned, in Literary History, beyond all his contemporaries'; and in the preface to the sale catalogue we read that he was 'a person who collected books for use, and not for ostentation or ornament, and he seemed no more solicitous about their dress than his own.' A memorandum book containing notes of his visits to patients, etc., is in the Sloane collection of manuscripts in the British Museum.


[Footnote 47: Address to the reader, prefixed to sale catalogue.]

SAMUEL PEPYS, 1633-1703

Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty in the reigns of King Charles II. and King James II., was born either at London or Brampton in Huntingdonshire on the 23rd of February 1633.

His father, John Pepys, was a citizen of London, where he followed the trade of a tailor, but in 1661 retired to Brampton, at which place he had inherited a property of eighty pounds a year from his eldest brother Robert Pepys. He died there in 1680. Samuel Pepys received his early education at Huntingdon, and afterwards at St. Paul's School, London, where he continued until 1650, in which year he was admitted at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. On the 5th of March 1651 he migrated as a sizar to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he is entered in the books of the College as 'Samuel Peapys,' and where, two years later, he was elected to a scholarship founded by John Smith. He graduated B.A. in 1653 and M.A. in 1660. In 1659 he accompanied his relative, Sir Edward Montagu, afterwards Earl of Sandwich, on his expedition to the Sound, and on his return became a clerk in the office of Sir G. Downing, one of the Tellers of the Exchequer. In 1660 he was appointed Clerk of the Acts of the Navy, which post he held until 1673, when he was made Secretary for the Affairs of the Navy, and in 1684 he became Secretary of the Admiralty, an office he retained until the accession of William and Mary, when he lost his public appointments, and retired into private life. Pepys was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1665, and in 1684 became President. He died at Clapham on the 26th of May 1703, and was buried in the church of St. Olave, Hart Street, London.

Pepys collected a very interesting library, which is now preserved in a fireproof room in Magdalene College, Cambridge. It consists of about three thousand volumes arranged in eleven mahogany cases in the precise order in which Pepys left them. The cases are the identical ones mentioned in his Diary, August 24, 1666:—'Up and dispatched several businesses at home in the morning, and then comes Sympson to set up my other new presses for my books, and so he and I fell in to the furnishing of my new closett, and taking out the things out of my old, and I kept him with me all day, and he dined with me, and so all the afternoon till it was quite dark hanging things, that is my maps and pictures and draughts, and setting up my books, and as much as we could do, to my most extraordinary satisfaction; so I think it will be as noble a closet as any man hath, and light enough—though indeed it would be better to have a little more light.'

This room, Mr. Wheatley tells us in his excellent account of the library in vol. i. of Bibliographica, 'was at the Navy Office in Crutched Friars, and the illustration in the ordinary editions of the Diary shows the position of the cases when they were transferred to the house in York Buildings (now Buckingham Street, Strand).' 'The presses,' he adds, 'are handsomely carved, and have handles fixed at each end; the doors are formed of little panes of glass, and in the lower divisions the glass windows are made to lift up. The books are all arranged in double rows; but by the ingenious plan of placing small books in front of large ones, the letterings of all can be seen. Neatness was a mania with Pepys, and the volumes were evened on all the shelves; in one instance some short volumes have been raised to the required height by help of wooden stilts, gilt in front.'

The library consists principally of ordinary books, but it also comprises some valuable manuscripts, and many volumes from the presses of the early English printers. It contains as many as nine Caxtons, eight Pynsons, and nineteen Wynkyn de Wordes, several of the last being unique. The books printed by Caxton are the Game of the Chesse, Polychronicon, Chronicles of England, Description of Britain, Mirrour of the World, Book of the Order of Chivalry, the first and second editions of the Canterbury Tales, and the Chastising of God's Children. Among the most interesting collections is one of eighteen hundred ballads in five folio volumes; and another of four duodecimo volumes of garlands and other popular publications, printed for the most part in black letter. The volumes are lettered: Vol. 1 Penny Merriments, Vol. 2 Penny Witticisms, Vol. 3 Penny Compliments, and Vol. 4 Penny Godlinesses. In the first volume of the ballads Pepys has written:—'My collection of ballads, begun by Mr. Selden, improv'd by the addition of many pieces elder thereto in time; and the whole continued to the year 1700.' The library also possesses collections of old novels, pieces of wit, chivalry, etc, plays, books on shorthand, tracts on the Popish Plot, liturgical controversies, sea tracts, news-pamphlets, etc.

The most interesting manuscripts are the famous Diary in six volumes, the papers collected by Pepys for his proposed Navalia, and a collection of Scottish poetry, formed by Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, Lord Privy Seal and Judge in the Court of Session, who died in 1586. The drawings and prints in the library are numerous and valuable. Among them are portraits of Pepys's friends, and prints and drawings illustrating the city of London; one of the rarest of these is the large plan of London attributed to Agas, of which only one other copy is known. The library also contains some volumes of music with the title, Songs and other Compositions, Light, Grave and Sacred, for a single voice adjusted to the particular compass of mine; with a thorough base on ye ghitarr by Cesare Morelli. Several songs composed by Pepys are in this collection, one of which, entitled Beauty Retire, was a great success, and the composer was very proud of it. All the books in the library are in excellent condition, and, with the exception of a few in morocco or vellum, are bound in calf. Almost all of them bear Pepys's arms on the lower cover; while on the upper is found a shield with the inscription, SAM. PEPYS CAR. ET IAC. ANGL. REGIB. A SECRETIS ADMIRALIAE. This shield is surmounted with his helmet and crest, and is surrounded by mantling, in which are introduced two anchors, indicating his office. He also used three bookplates—one with his arms, quartering Talbot of Cottenham; a second with his portrait by Robert White, with his motto, Mens cujusque is est Quisque, from the Somnium Scipionis of Cicero; and a third bearing his initials, with two anchors crossed, together with his motto.

Pepys left his library, together with his other property, to his nephew, John Jackson; but in a paper of directions respecting it, preserved among the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, he expresses a desire that at his nephew's death it should be placed in either Trinity or Magdalene College, Cambridge, preferably 'in the latter, for the sake of my own and my nephew's education therein.' In addition to Pepys' collection at Magdalene College, the Bodleian Library contains a series of his miscellaneous papers in twenty-five volumes, together with numerous other volumes which belonged to him, including many curious dockyard account-books of the times of King Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth.[48] These were bequeathed to the library by Dr. Richard Rawlinson, the nonjuring bishop. Mr. John Eliot Hodgkin, F.S.A., of Childwall, Weybridge, Surrey, also possesses some papers which once belonged to Pepys.

Pepys published Memoirs relating to the State of the Royal Navy of England for ten years determined December 1688, in 1690; and a work entitled The Portugal History: or a Relation of the Troubles that happened in the Court of Portugal in the years 1667 and 1668 ... by S.P., Esq., printed at London in 1677, is also attributed to him. His well-known Diary, the manuscript of which fills six small volumes of closely written shorthand, was first deciphered by the Rev. John Smith, Rector of Baldock, Hertfordshire, and was published, with a selection from his private correspondence, by Lord Braybrooke, in two volumes in 1825. It has since been several times reprinted. The last edition, edited by Mr. H.B. Wheatley, F.S.A., published in eight volumes octavo in 1893-96, contains the whole of the Diary, with the exception of passages which cannot possibly be printed.


[Footnote 48: Macray, Annals of the Bodleian Library.]


Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester, was the seventh son of Samuel Stillingfleet of the family of Stillingfleet of Stillingfleet, Yorkshire. He was born at Cranborne in Dorsetshire on the 17th of April 1635, and received his early education in the grammar schools of Cranborne and Ringwood. In his fifteenth year he was admitted into St. John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained a Fellowship in 1653. For several years after leaving college he was engaged as a private tutor, first in the family of Sir Roger Burgoyne of Wroxall in Warwickshire, and afterwards in that of the Hon. Francis Pierrepoint of Nottingham, during which period he was ordained by Ralph Brownrig, the deprived Bishop of Exeter. In 1657 he was presented by Sir R. Burgoyne to the rectory of Sutton, Bedfordshire, and in 1665 the Earl of Southampton gave him the rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn. He was also appointed Preacher at the Rolls Chapel, and shortly afterwards Reader of the Temple, and Chaplain in Ordinary to Charles II. In 1667 he was collated to a Canonry in St. Paul's, London; in 1669 he became a Canon 'in the twelfth prebend' in Canterbury Cathedral; in 1677 Archdeacon of London; in 1678 Dean of St. Paul's; and on the 13th of October 1689 he was consecrated Bishop of Worcester. He died at his residence in Park Street, Westminster, on the 27th of March 1699, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral, where a monument was erected to his memory by his son, with a Latin epitaph by Richard Bentley, who had been one of his chaplains.

Bishop Stillingfleet collected 'at a vast expence of time, pains and money' a very choice and valuable library, which contained a considerable number of manuscripts, and upwards of nine thousand five hundred printed volumes, besides many pamphlets. It is stated that there were over two thousand folios in it, and that it cost the Bishop six thousand pounds. Evelyn in a letter to Pepys, dated August 12th, 1689, writes: 'The Bishop of Ely[49] has a well stor'd library; but the very best is what Dr. Stillingfleete, Deane of St. Paule's, has at Twicknam, ten miles out of towne.' After Stillingfleet's death his library was offered for sale. Entries in Evelyn's diary[50] show that great efforts were made to persuade William III. to buy it, but they evidently failed, as the historical manuscripts were purchased by Robert Harley (afterwards Earl of Oxford), while the remainder of the collection was acquired by Narcissus Marsh, Archbishop of Armagh, who bought the books for a public library in Dublin which he had founded. He is said to have paid two thousand five hundred pounds for them. Stillingfleet, who on account of his handsome person was nicknamed 'the beauty of holiness,' was the author of Origines Britannicae, or Antiquities of the British Churches, and many controversial works. His collected works were printed in 1710 in six volumes folio, and a volume of his miscellaneous works was published in 1735 by his son, the Rev. James Stillingfleet, Canon of Worcester.


[Footnote 49: John Moore, Bishop of Ely, whose library was purchased by King George I., and presented by him to the University of Cambridge.]

[Footnote 50: 'April 29, 1699.—I dined with the Archbishop, but my business was to get him to persuade the King to purchase the late Bishop of Worcester's library, and build a place, for his own library at St. James's, in the Parke, the present one being too small.'

'May 3, 1699.—At a meeting of the Royal Society I was nominated to be of the Committee to wait on the Lord Chancellor to move the King to purchase Bp. of Worcester's library.']


John Moore, Bishop successively of Norwich and Ely, who was born at Sutton-juxta-Broughton, Leicestershire, in 1646, was the eldest son of Thomas Moore, an ironmonger at Market Harborough. He was educated at the Free School, Market Harborough, and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship in 1667. Having taken holy orders, he was collated in 1676 to the rectory of Blaby in Leicestershire; and in 1679, through the influence of Heneage Finch, Earl of Nottingham, who, in 1670, had appointed him his chaplain, he was installed canon in Ely Cathedral. In 1687 he was presented by the dean and chapter of St. Paul's to the rectory of St. Austin, London, and in 1689 he obtained the rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn, which he held with his canonry at Ely until 1691, when he was consecrated Bishop of Norwich. He remained in that see until 1707, in which year he was translated to the more valuable bishopric of Ely. Moore died on the 31st of July 1714, from the effects of a cold which he caught while presiding at the trial of Dr. Bentley, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was charged with encroaching on the privileges of the fellows of that institution. He was buried in Ely Cathedral, where a monument was erected to his memory.

Bishop Moore, who is called by Dibdin 'the father of black-letter collectors in this country,' was a great and generous patron of learning, and formed a magnificent library, which at the time of his death contained nearly twenty-nine thousand printed books and seventeen hundred and ninety manuscripts. John Bagford was the principal assistant in its collection, and in return for his services the Bishop procured him a place in the Charterhouse. The library, which was kept in the episcopal residence in Ely Place, Holborn, where it occupied 'eight chambers,' is mentioned in Notices of London Libraries, by John Bagford and William Oldys, where it is stated that 'Dr. John Moore, the late Bishop of Ely, had also a prodigious collection of books, written as well as printed on vellum, some very ancient, others finely illuminated. He had a Capgrave's Chronicle, books of the first printing at Mentz, and other places abroad, as also at Oxford, St. Alban's, Westminster, etc.' John Evelyn, Bishop Burnet, and Ralph Thoresby also write in terms of high praise of the excellence and great extent of the collection. Richard Gough, the antiquary, states that 'the Bishop formed his library by plundering those of the clergy in his diocese. Some he paid with sermons or more modern books; others only with quid illiterati cum libris'; but there appears to be little, if any, truth in this accusation. Moore, who was anxious that his library should not be dispersed after his death, offered it, in 1714, to Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, for the sum of eight thousand pounds; but the negotiation failed in consequence, it is said, of the Bishop 'insisting on being paid the money in his lifetime, though Lord Oxford was not to have the books till the Bishop's death.' After Moore's decease the collection was sold for six thousand guineas to George I., who gave it, on the suggestion of Lord Townsend, to the University of Cambridge. A special book-plate, designed and engraved by John Pine, was placed in the volumes. At the same time that the king sent these books to the University he despatched a troop of horse to Oxford, which occasioned the two well-known epigrams attributed to Dr. Tripp and Sir William Browne—

'Contrary methods justly George applies To govern his two universities, To Oxford sent a troop of horse;—for why? That learned body wanted Loyalty. To Cambridge he sent books, as well discerning, How much that loyal body wanted learning.'

The reply by Sir W. Browne runs—

'Contrary methods justly George applies To govern his two universities, And so to Oxford sent a troop of horse, For Tories hold no argument but force; To Cambridge Ely's learned books are sent, For Whigs admit no force but argument.'

This is not the only version of these epigrams, but the Rev. Cecil Moore in his Memoir of the Bishop considers it to be the correct one.

Moore's diaries, letters, and private accounts are also preserved in the Cambridge University Library. A volume containing his printed sermons was published in 1715, and a second issue in two volumes in 1724. Both series were edited by the Rev. Samuel Clarke, D.D.

JOHN BAGFORD, 1650?-1716

John Bagford was born about 1650. The exact date of his birth is unknown, and he does not appear to have been acquainted with it himself, for a short time before his death he informed Mr. James Sotheby that he was either sixty-five or sixty-six years of age, he could not tell which. According to the belief of Thomas Hearne, the antiquary, he was born in Fetter Lane, London, and he was no doubt for some time a shoemaker, for in a very curious and entertaining little treatise on the Art of Shoemaking and Historical Account of Clouthing of ye foot, which is believed to have been written by him, and is now preserved among the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum, the writer states that he was brought up to the 'craft of shoemaking.' This trade, however, he soon abandoned for a more congenial occupation, and he became a collector of books on commission for booksellers and amateurs. In pursuance of this work he made several journeys to the Continent, and acquired a great knowledge of books, prints, and literary curiosities. He was specially employed by Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, Sir Hans Sloane, and John Moore, Bishop of Ely, who appear to have greatly appreciated his judgment, diligence, and honesty; and the last-named collector procured him, as some recompense for his services, admission into the Charterhouse. Nothing is known of Bagford's parents, and little of his domestic life, but he appears to have been married, for on the back of a leaf in one of the volumes of his collections we find the following memorandum in Bagford's writing: 'John, son of John and Elizabeth Bagford, was baptized 31st October 1675, in the parish of St. Anne, Blackfriars.' This son seems to have become a sailor in the Royal Navy, for in another volume in the same collections there is a power of attorney, dated April 6, 1713, signed by John Bagford, Junior, empowering his 'honoured father, John Bagford, Senior, of the parish of St. Sepulchre, in the county of Middlesex, bookseller,' to claim and receive from the Paymaster of Her Majesty's Navy his wages as a seaman in case of his death. Bagford, who took great interest in all descriptions of antiquities, was one of the little group of distinguished men who reconstituted in 1707 the Society of Antiquaries. He died, Dr. Birch informs us, at Islington on the 15th of May 1716, and was buried in the graveyard belonging to the Charterhouse.

During his researches for his employers Bagford amassed two great collections: one consisting of ballads, now known as the 'Bagford Ballads'; the other being a vast collection of leaves from manuscripts, title-pages and fragments of books, specimens of paper, book-plates, engravings, bindings, catalogues, advertisements, and various interesting and curious pieces. With the aid of these materials Bagford intended to write a history of printing, and in 1707 he published his Proposals for an Historical Account of that most universally celebrated as well as useful Art of Typography. The work, which was also to contain a history of bookbinding, paper-making, etc., was, however, never published, and it has been often stated that Bagford was quite incompetent to carry out such an undertaking. This may possibly have been the case, for although he was certainly a man of much ability, and possessed an extensive knowledge of books, he had received but little education. Several of his contemporaries, however, held a different opinion, and among them Hearne, who repeatedly expresses in his works his admiration of both Bagford's genius and his collections.

The method of compiling a history of printing from a collection of title-pages appears to be both a clumsy and a costly one, but it seems probable from entries in the diary of Oldys, and from Gough's memoir of Ames, that that bibliographer wrote his Typographical Antiquities with the aid of similar materials.

Bagford has been subjected to very severe censure for mutilating books for the purpose of forming his collection of title-pages. Mr. Blades, in his work The Enemies of Books, accuses him of being 'a wicked old biblioclast who went about the country, from library to library, tearing away title-pages from rare books of all sizes'; and Dr. Dibdin in Bibliomania states that he 'was the most hungry and rapacious of all book and print collectors.' The testimony of Hearne (who knew Bagford well, and who was also amply qualified to judge both of his merits and demerits), however, is very different. He writes: 'It was very laudable in my Friend, Mr. John Bagford (who I think was born in Fetter Lane, London), to employ so much of his time, as he did, in collecting Remains of Antiquity. Indeed he was a man of very surprising genius, and had his education (for he was first a shoemaker, and afterwards for some time a bookseller) been equal to his natural genius, he would have proved a much greater man than he was. And yet, without this education, he was, certainly, the greatest man in the world in his way.... 'Tis very remarkable, that, in collecting, his care did not extend itself to Books and to the fragments of Books, only, but even to the very Covers, and to the Bosses and Clasps; and all this, that he might, with the greater ease, compile the History of Printing, which he had undertaken, but did not finish. In this noble Work he intended a Discourse about Binding,... and another about the Art of making paper, in both of which his observations were very accurate.'

A great number of the title-pages and fragments collected by Bagford are evidently taken from books which could be purchased in his day for a few shillings, many of them probably for a few pence; while it is possible that some may have been salvage from the Great Fire of 1666, when we know immense quantities of books were burnt or damaged. The collections, it is true, contain fragments of the Gutenberg Bible, various Caxtons, and other rare books, but there is no reason to think that these were abstracted from complete copies; it is much more likely that they were odd leaves which Bagford had picked up, while the leather stains on some of the most valuable show that they once formed part of the padding of old bindings. Many of the books were probably acquired by Bagford when he took part in the book-hunting expeditions of the Duke of Devonshire, the Earls of Oxford, Sunderland, and other collectors, who amused themselves every Saturday during the winter in rambling through various quarters of the town in search of additions to their libraries. After Bagford's death Hearne was very anxious to obtain his collections, as he wished to publish 'a book from them, for the service of the public, and the honour of Mr. Bagford,' but much to his chagrin he was forestalled by Wanley, Lord Oxford's librarian, who acquired them for his employer's library, and they formed part of the Harleian Manuscripts, etc., purchased in 1753 for the British Museum. Wanley, however, does not appear to have secured the whole of Bagford's papers, as the Sloane collection contains four volumes of manuscripts and printed matter which belonged to him, and the Bodleian Library possesses some Indulgences which he acquired and gave to Hearne.

The Bagford collections in the British Museum consist of one hundred and twenty-nine[51] volumes, including three of ballads. The manuscript pieces are contained in thirty-six folios; the printed pieces in sixty-three folios, twenty-one quartos, and nine octavos. Among the more important manuscripts are Bagford's Commonplace Book; his Book of Accounts; his Account of Public and Private Libraries; Collections in reference to Printing; Names of old English Printers, with lists of the works which passed through their hands; an Account of Paper; Patents granted to Printers in England; Observations on the History of Printing; Lives of famous Engravers, etc. The collection also contains a large number of fragments of early Bibles, Service Books, Decretals, Lives of Saints, etc. These are almost entirely of vellum, and some of them are as early as the eighth century.

Among the printed fragments is a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible,[52] portions of the Recuyell of the Histories of Troy, the Polychronicon, the Book of Fame, and many other books from the presses of Caxton, Machlinia, Rood and Hunte, Pynson, Wynkyn de Worde, and other early printers, both English and foreign.

The maps in the collection are especially important and interesting, including a very rare one sometimes found in Hakluyt's Navigations and Discoveries of the English Nation, printed in the years 1599 and 1600, and worth at least two hundred pounds;[53] and the even more valuable celestial and terrestrial planispheres by John Blagrave of Reading, which are believed to be unique. There are also some rare documents relating to the Post Office; a number of early book-plates; some fine specimens of English, French, and German stamped bindings of the sixteenth century; several volumes of Chinese, marbled, and other papers; early almanacks; a quantity of engravings of towns, costumes, trades, furniture, etc.; curious advertisements of tobacco, tea, quack medicines, etc.; specimens of fine writing; and many other miscellaneous papers of much interest.

Bagford was the author of a letter on the antiquities of London, prefixed to the first volume of Hearne's edition of Leland's Collectanea; and also of an Account of London Libraries, first printed in 1708 in The Monthly Miscellany, or Memoirs for the Curious. This little brochure was continued by Oldys, and the complete work published by Mr. James Yeowell in 1862. The Essay on the Invention of Printing, by Mr. John Bagford, in vol. XXV. of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, was, Dibdin says, drawn up by Wanley. The collection of ballads has been edited by the Rev. J.W. Ebsworth for the Ballad Society.


[Footnote 51: It is somewhat doubtful whether a few of these belonged to Bagford.]

[Footnote 52: Probably given to Bagford by Michael Maittaire, the collector, who possessed a very imperfect copy of the Gutenberg Bible, which sold for fifty shillings at the sale of his library.]

[Footnote 53: This is believed to be the map alluded to by Shakespeare in Act. iii. Sc. 2 of Twelfth Night, where he makes Maria say of Malvolio: 'He does smile his face into more lines than there are in the new map, with the augmentation of the Indies.']


Thomas Herbert, eighth Earl of Pembroke, who was born in 1656, was the third son of Philip, the fifth Earl. By the deaths of his elder brothers, the sixth and seventh Earls, he succeeded to the title in 1683, and from that time to his death in 1733 he held many of the highest appointments in the State. He was one of the representatives of England at the treaty of Ryswick, and he carried the Sword of Justice at the coronations of William and Mary, Anne, George I. and George II. He was also President of the Royal Society in 1689-90.

Many of the Earls of Pembroke were men of culture and patrons of learning. In 1629 William, the third Earl, gave to the University of Oxford, of which he was Chancellor, a very valuable series of Greek manuscripts collected by Giacomo Barocci, a gentleman of Venice; and in 1649 his brother Philip, the fourth Earl, gave to the same University, of which he was also Chancellor, a splendidly bound copy of the Paris Polyglot Bible, printed in 1645 in nine volumes. These two brothers are 'the incomparable pair of brethren' to whom the first folio of Shakespeare is dedicated. There had been for several generations a library at Wilton House, Salisbury, which Dibdin considered to be one of the oldest of private collections existing; but Thomas, the eighth Earl, added to it so large a number of rare books that it 'entitled him to dispute the palm even with the Lords Sunderland and Oxford.' Maittaire, in his Annales Typographici, calls the library a 'Bibliotheca exquisitissima,' and styles its owner 'Humanitatis politioris cultor et patronus.' Dibdin also states that Lord Pembroke spared no expense for books, and that he was 'a collector of everything the most precious and rare in the book-way.' The library was still further augmented by his successor Henry.

Dr. Dampier, Bishop of Ely, compiled a list in 1776 of the earlier printed works in the library, which Dibdin has reproduced in his Decameron. The books are one hundred and ninety-nine in number, of which one hundred and eighty-eight are of the fifteenth century. The list contains eight Caxtons, eighteen volumes printed by Jenson, and ten by the Spiras. Among the most notable of the incunabula are the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of Durandus, on vellum, printed by Fust and Schoeffer at Mentz in 1459; the Catholicon of Balbus, printed at Mentz in 1460; Cicero de Oratore, printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz at the Monastery of Subiaco in 1465; Cicero's Epistolae ad Familiares, printed by Joannes de Spira at Venice in 1469; and the Bokys of Hawkyng and Huntyng, printed at St. Albans in 1486. The Caxtons are The Recuyell of the Histories of Troy; the first and second editions of The Game of the Chesse; the first edition of The Dictes or Sayings of the Philosophers, Tully of Old Age, Chronicles of England, the Polychronicon, and the Liber Festivalis.


Narcissus Luttrell, who was born in 1657, was the son of Francis Luttrell of London, a descendant of the Luttrells of Dunster Castle, in the county of Somerset. He received his early education under Mr. Aldrich at Sheen in Surrey, and in 1674 was admitted a fellow-commoner of St. John's College, Cambridge. In the succeeding year he was created M.A. by royal mandate.[54] While at the University he presented a silver tankard to his college, which was lost, together with a quantity of other plate, on the 9th of October 1693, for the recovery of which a reward of ten pounds was offered.[55] Luttrell, who, Dibdin says, was 'ever ardent in his love of past learning, and not less voracious in his bibliomaniacal appetites,' formed an extensive library at Shaftesbury House, Little Chelsea, where he resided for many years in seclusion. Hearne speaks of it 'as a very extraordinary collection,' and adds that 'in it are many manuscripts, which, however, he had not the spirit to communicate to the world, and 'twas a mortification to him to see the world gratified without his assistance.' A special feature of the library was the large and interesting collection of fugitive pieces issued during the reigns of Charles II., James II., William III., and Anne, which Luttrell purchased day by day as they appeared. Sir Walter Scott found this collection, which in his time was chiefly in the possession of the collectors Mr. Heber and Mr. Bindley, very useful when editing the Works of Dryden, published in eighteen volumes at London in 1808. In the preface he remarks that 'the industrious collector seems to have bought every poetical tract, of whatever merit, which was hawked through the streets in his time, marking carefully the price and date of purchase. His collection contains the earliest editions of many of our most excellent poems, bound up, according to the order of time, with the lowest trash of Grub Street.' On Luttrell's death, which took place at his residence in Chelsea on the 27th of June 1732, the collection became the property of Francis Luttrell (presumed to be his son), who died in 1740. It afterwards passed into the possession of Mr. Serjeant Wynne, and from him descended to Edward Wynne, his eldest son, the author of Eunomus, or Dialogues concerning the Law and Constitution of England; and a Miscellany containing several law tracts, published at London in 1765. He died a bachelor in 1784, and the library, which had been considerably enlarged by its later possessors, was inherited by his brother, the Rev. Luttrell Wynne, of All Souls' College, Oxford, by whose direction it was sold by auction by Leigh and Sotheby in 1786. The sale, which consisted of two thousand seven hundred and fifty-six lots, commenced on March 6th, and lasted twelve days. It is stated in the catalogue that 'great part of the library was formed by an Eminent and Curious Collector in the last Century, and comprehends a fine Suite of Historical, Classical, Mathematical, Natural History, Poetical and Miscellaneous Books, in all Arts and Sciences ... by the most Eminent Printers, Rob. Steph., Morell, Aldus, Elzevir, Caxton, Wynkyn de Worde, &c. &c. Also a very curious Collection of old English Romances, and old Poetry; with a great number of scarce Pamphlets during the Great Rebellion and the Protectorate.' Various portions of the Luttrell collections were bought by Messrs. Heber and Bindley. The greater part of those purchased by Mr. Bindley were eventually acquired by the British Museum at the Duke of Buckingham's sale in 1849, while those which belonged to Mr. Heber are now to be found on the shelves of the Britwell library. Dibdin informs us that 'a great number of poetical tracts was disposed of, previous to the sale, to Dr. Farmer, who gave not more than forty guineas for them.' Two Caxtons in the sale—the Mirrour of the World and Caton—fetched respectively five guineas and four guineas, and a collection of plays, in twenty-one volumes, by Gascoigne, Dekker, etc., sold for thirty-eight pounds, seventeen shillings.

Luttrell compiled a chronicle of contemporary events, which was frequently quoted by Lord Macaulay in his History of England. This remained in manuscript for many years in the library of All Souls' College, Oxford, but in 1857 it was printed in six volumes by the Delegates of the University Press under the title of A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs from September 1678 to April 1714. He also left a personal diary in English, but whimsically written in Greek characters, consisting principally of entries recording the hours of his rising and going to bed, the manner in which he spent his time, what friends called to see him, the sermons he heard, where and how he dined, and the occasions, which were not infrequent, when he took too much wine. This manuscript is preserved in the British Museum (Add. MS. 10447).


[Footnote 54: Notes and Queries. Second Series. Vol. xii., page 78.]

[Footnote 55: See London Gazette, October 16-19, 1693.]


Sir Hans Sloane, Bart., was born on the 16th of April 1660 at Killileagh, County Down, Ireland. His father, Alexander Sloane, was a Scotchman, who had settled in Ireland on his appointment to the post of receiver-general of the estates of Lord Claneboy, afterwards Earl of Clanricarde.[56] Hans Sloane gave early indications of unusual ability, and as soon as his health, which was delicate, would permit, he came to London, and devoted himself to the study of medicine, and the kindred sciences of chemistry and botany. In 1683 he went to Paris, which at that time possessed greater facilities for medical education than could be found in London. Having taken the degree of Doctor of Medicine in the University of Orange in July 1683, he made a tour in France, and towards the close of the year 1684 he returned to England and settled in London. In 1685 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1687 he was admitted a Fellow of the College of Physicians. His love for scientific research led him to accept the offer of the post of physician to the Duke of Albemarle, who had been recently appointed Governor-General of the West India Colonies. He was also appointed physician to the West Indian fleet. He set sail for Jamaica on the 12th of September 1687, and reached Port Royal on the 19th of December; but in consequence of the death of the Duke, which took place towards the end of the following year, Sloane returned to England in May 1689, bringing with him large collections in all branches of natural history, which he had obtained in Madeira, as well as in Jamaica and other West Indian islands. In 1693 Sloane was appointed to the Secretaryship of the Royal Society, and in 1727 he had the honour of succeeding Sir Isaac Newton as President. His professional career was a very successful one. In 1712 he was made Physician-Extraordinary to Queen Anne, whom he attended during her last illness; and in 1716 he was created a baronet by King George I., who also bestowed on him the post of Physician-General to the Forces. On the accession of King George II. in 1727 he was appointed First Physician to the King. He was elected President of the College of Physicians in 1719, and held the office till 1735. In 1741 he removed his museum and library from his residence in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, to the fine old manor-house of Chelsea, which he had purchased from the family of Cheyne. Here he spent his time in the society of his friends, and in enriching and arranging the treasures he had collected. He died after a short illness on the 11th of January 1753, in the ninety-third year of his age, and was buried in Chelsea church, where a monument was erected to his memory by his daughters. Sir Hans Sloane married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Alderman Langley, and widow of Fulk Rose of Jamaica, by whom he had four children, two of whom died young. Sarah, the elder of the two daughters who survived their father, married George Stanley of Poultons, Hampshire; the younger, Elizabeth, married Colonel Charles Cadogan, afterwards second Baron Cadogan.

A table drawn up by Sloane's trustees immediately after his death shows that, in addition to his splendid natural history museum, his collections comprised between forty and fifty thousand printed books, three thousand five hundred and sixteen manuscripts,[57] and six hundred and fifty-seven pictures and drawings. The coins and medals amounted to thirty-two thousand, and other antiquities to two thousand six hundred and thirty-five. Sir Hans Sloane expressed a desire in his will that his collection in all its branches might be kept and preserved together after his decease, and that an application should be made by his trustees to Parliament for its purchase for twenty thousand pounds, a sum which did not represent more than a fourth of its real value. This application was favourably received, and in June 1753 an Act was passed, 'For the purchase of the Museum, or Collection of Sir Hans Sloane, and of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts; and for providing one general repository for the better reception and more convenient use of the said Collections; and of the Cottonian Library, and of the additions thereto.' The Act further enacted that a board, consisting of forty-two trustees, be appointed for putting the same into execution; and at a general meeting of this body, held at the Cockpit, at Whitehall, on the 3rd of April 1754, it was resolved to accept of a proposal which had been made to them, of the 'Capital Mansion House, called Montague House, and the freehold ground thereto belonging, for the general repository of the British Museum, on the terms of ten thousand pounds.'[58] Although the Act had been passed, considerable difficulty was experienced in finding the purchase-money. When the matter was brought before George II. he dismissed it with the remark, 'I don't think there are twenty thousand pounds in the Treasury'; and eventually it was proposed that the needful sum should be raised by a public lottery, which should consist of 'a hundred thousand shares, at three pounds a share; that two hundred thousand pounds should be allotted as prizes, and that the remaining hundred thousand—less the expenses of the lottery itself—should be applied to the threefold purposes of the Act, namely, the purchase of the Sloane and Harleian Collections; the providing of a Repository; and the creation of an annual income for future maintenance.'[59] Sir Hans Sloane's principal work was the Natural History of Jamaica, 2 vols., London, 1707-25, which occupied him for no less than thirty-eight years.

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