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there is a passage which also implies—though it does not expressly assert—that Sir Robert had received from King James a permission to select records, of some kind or other, from the Tower of London, anterior to the qualified permission, above mentioned, given in 1618, to select 'autographs' from the Paper Office;
IV. It disregards that strong implication of a lawful possession—so far as Sir Robert Cotton, individually, is concerned—which necessarily arises out of the fact that at two several periods the Cottonian Library was under the sole control and custody of Crown officials; that it remained under such control for an aggregate period of more than two years; that Cotton's bitter enemies were then at the head of affairs; that in 1030 a Royal Commission was actually issued 'to search what Records or 'other Papers of State in the custody of Sir Robert 'Cotton properly belong to His Majesty, and thereof 'to certify;' and that the existing Cottonian MSS., together with those burned in 1732, were, one year after the issue of that Commission, restored by the Crown to Sir Robert Cotton's heirs;
V. It overlooks the circumstance, vital to the issue now raised, that amongst the MSS. which most indubitably were once Crown property many can still be minutely traced from possessor to possessor, prior to their reception into the Cottonian Library;
And VI. It disregards the fact, hardly less important, that a patriotic statesman conversant both with the arcana of government at large, and with the special arcana of the State Paper Office and Secretary's offices, under King James the First and King Charles the First, might have cogent reasons for believing that some important classes of State Papers would be likely to remain much more truly
and enduringly the property of the English nation if stored Booki, up at Cotton House—even had no 'British Museum' ever url^\ been created—than if stored up at Whitehall. „"g*"T
Inferences and implications such as these are far from amounting to conclusive proof. But most readers, I think, will assent to the assertion that, cumulatively, they amount to a very strong presumption indeed that the stigma which has been impressed on Sir Robert Cotton's memory is both precipitate and unjust. Precipitate it plainly is, for a confident verdict has virtually been pronounced— upon a grave issue,—before hearing any evidence for the accused. Unjust I, for one, cannot but think it, inasmuch as circumstances which at most are but grounds of mere suspicion of the greater offence charged, have been so huddled up with proofs of a minor and (comparatively) venial offence, that readers giving but ordinary attention to the allegations and their respective evidence are almost certain to be misled.
For, undoubtedly, Sir Robert Cotton stands convicted of dealing, more than once, with manuscripts which he had borrowed very much as though they had been manuscripts which he possessed. Mr. Riley's testimony is, on this point, conclusive. An independent witness, Dr. Sedgwick Saunders, the able Chairman of the Library Committee of the Corporation of London, tells me that both the returned MS. of Liber Custumarum, and also that of Liber Legum Antiquorum, bear as unmistakable marks of a claim to ownership on Sir Robert's part, as those of which the return was refused.
To such proofs as these I can myself add a new instance. Archbishop Laud had procured, from the Principal and Fellows of St. John's, the loan to Sir Robert Cotton of a Hook I, Clinp. II. Life And Character Of Sir Robert Cotton.
Archbp. Laud to Sir R. Cotton, MS.Cott. Julius C, iii, f. 232.
certain ancient Beda MS. of great value. Many years passed, and the MS. had not returned to St. John's. The Fellows cast severe blame on their eminent benefactor. Laud had to petition his friend Cotton for the return of Beda, in terms almost pathetic; and he was so doubtful whether pathos would suffice that he added bribe to entreaty. If, he said, 'anything of worth in like kind come to my hands, I will freely give it you in recompense.'
The reader has seen the abounding proofs of that generous furtherance of every kind of literary effort which Cotton gave, throughout life, with an ungrudging heart and an open hand. Sir Robert's openness made his library— noiton to to use the words of an eminent contemporary—the ' Com
Cumden; , - _ ._ ... m1 .
Ms. iiari., mon treasury 01 English antiquities. The reader now 7002, f.396. geeg a|gf) ^e (jrawback. it remains for him to strike a
true balance; and to strike it with justice, but also with charity.
THE CHIEF COLLECTOR AND THE AUGMENTORS
'Death never makes such effectual demonstration of his
Life of Henry, Prince of Wales, son of James I, and virtual Founder of the 'Royal Library.'—Its Augmentors and its Librarians. — Acquisition of the Library of the Theters.—Incorporation with the Collections of Cotton and of Sloane.
Henry, Prince of Scotland, and afterwards of Wales, Dooki, was born at Stirling Castle on the 19th of February, 1594. Lifk Of King James had married Anne of Denmark more than four years before the Prince's birth, but a certain gro- wal1!stesqueness which had marked some of the characteristic circumstances of the marriage in Norway (in 1589) was not without its counterpart among the incidents that came to be attendant on the subsequent event at home. One
Book i, of these incidents is thus narrated in the quaint narrative Li'fe oV of a Scottish courtier who made it his business to chronicle Hiihet, the movements of the Court with newsmanlike fidelity:—
Prince or *
Waies. < Because the chappell royal was ruinous and too little, the King concluded that the old chappell should be utterly rased, and a new [one] erected in the same place that should be more large, long, and glorious, to entertain the great number of strangers' who were expected* to be present at the baptism. The interval demanded for the restoration of this decayed chapel at Stirling entailed an unusual delay between the child's birth and his baptism, but it gratified the King by enabling him to send invitations far and wide. Had all of them met with acceptance they would have resulted in the presence of a cloud of witnesses, such as had rarely been seen in Scotland upon any the most famous occasion of courtly rejoicing. ramcE For the presence of two guests in particular James was Baptism At anxious. He wished to see an ambassador extraordinary Stibliho. from tne Qourt 0f Elizabeth, and another from that of
Henry The Fourth. Henry would not gratify his wish, and the omission was much resented. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was ostentatiously swift to comply, but her willingness was well nigh defeated by one of the common accidents of life. She had fixed her choice on the brilliant Earl of Cumberland, whose love of magnificence was scarcely less prominent than was his love of adventure. He could grace a royal festivity, as conspicuously as he could lead a band of eager soldiers, or a crew of daring navigators. Just as the Earl's costly preparations for his embassy were completed, he fell sick. Some days were lost in the hope of his speedy recovery, but the Queen was soon obliged to nominate the Earl of Sussex in his stead. Sussex had then to make preparations in turn. The day