« ElőzőTovább »
Book ii, cally on a level with the wealthiest connoisseur. When, as in this case—and in a hundred more—such libraries derive much of their best possessions from private liberality, a life BMEfAo ]ike Mordaunt Craciie Roue's has its ample vindica
tion, and the sting is taken out of all such sarcasms as that which was levelled — in the shape of the query, 'In all that big library is there a single book written by the Collector himself?'—by some snarling epistolary critic, when commenting on a notice that appeared in The Times on the occasion of Mr. Cracherode's death.
On another point our Collector was exposed to the shafts of sarcastic comment. He loved a good book to be printed on the very choicest material, and clothed in the richest fashion. The treasure within would not incline him to tolerate blemishes without.—
'Nusquam blatta, vel inquinata charta,
Hie sit qui nitet arte Montacuti,
In Cracherode's eyes, external charms such as these were scarcely less essential than the intrinsic worth of the author. 'Large paper' and broad pure margins are fancies which it needs not much culture or much wit to banter. But now and then, they are ridiculed by those who have just as little capacity to judge the pith and substance of books, as of taste to appreciate beauty in Bookii, their outward form.* Book-1"
The solidity of those three per cents., and the plodding p°TMEc3AI,D perseverance of their owner, were in time rewarded by the vTM"TM
* * TORS,
collection (1) of a library containing only four thousand five hundred volumes, but of which probably every volume —on an average of the whole—was worth, in mercantile eyes, some three pounds; (2) of seven portfolios of drawings, still more choice; (3) of a hundred portfolios of prints, many of which were almost priceless; and (4) of coins and gems—such as the cameo of a lion on sardonyx, and the intaglio of the Discobolos—worthy of an imperial cabinet.
The ruling passion kept its strength to the last. An agent was buying prints, for addition to the store, when the Collector was dying. About four days before his death, Mr. Crachkrode mustered strength to pay a farewell visit to the old shop at the Mews-Gate. He put a finely printed Terence (from the press of Foulis) into one pocket, and a large paper Cedes into another; and then,—with a longing look at a certain choice Homer, in the course of which he mentally, and somewhat doubtingly, balanced its charms with those of its twin brother in Queen Square,—parted finally from the daily haunt of forty peripatetic and studious years.
Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode died towards the close of 1799. He bequeathed the whole of his collections to the Nation, with the exception of two volumes of books. A polyglot Bible was given to Shute Barrington, Bishop
* "Or must I, as a wit, with learned air
Like Doctor Dibdin, to Tom Payne's repair,
Meet Cyril Jackson and mild Craclierode there?
'Hold!' cries Tom Payne, 'that margin let me measure,
And rate the separate value of the treasure'
Eager they gaze. 'Well, Sirs, the feat is done.
Cracherode's Poetoe Principes have won!"
Mathias, Pursuits of Literature.
Book ii, of Durham; a princeps Homer to Cyril Jackson, Dean of Christ Church, dearest friends.
Book.11 Christ Church. Those justly venerated men were his two
The next conspicuous donor to the Library of the British Museum was a contemporary of the learned recluse of Queen Square, but one whose life was passed in the thick of that worldly turmoil and conflict of which Mr. CrachkT»* Rode had so mortal a dread. To the Collector of the
COLLKCTOB . .
Oftiik 'Lansdowne Manuscripts,' political excitement was the congenial air in which it was indeed life to live. But he, also, was a man beloved by all who had the privilege of his intimate friendship.
William Petty Fitzmaurick, third Earl of Shelburne, and first Marquess of Lansdowne, was born in Dublin, in May, 1737. He was the son of John, Earl of Shelburne in the peerage of Ireland, and afterwards Baron Wycombe in the peerage of Great Britain. The Marquess's father united the possessions of the family founded by Sir William Petty with those which the Irish wars had left to the ancient line of Fitzmaurice.
William, Earl of Shelburne, was educated by private tutors, and then sent to Christ Church, Oxford. He left the University early, to take (in or about the year 1756) a commission in the Guards. He was present in the battles of Campen and of Minden. At Minden, in particular, he evinced distinguished bravery. In May, 1760, and again in April, 1761, he was elected by the burgesses of High Wycombe to represent them in the House of Commons. But the death of Earl John, in the middle of 1761, called his son to take his seat in the House of Lords. He soon evinced the possession of powers eminently fitted to shine in Parliament. The impetuosity he had shown on the field of Minden did not desert him in the strife of politics, Bookii, Those who had listened to the early speeches of Put might Btm.'"' well think that the army had again sent them a 'terrible p°^AN" cornet of horse.' So good a judge of political oratory as BmriCwas Lord Camden thought Shelburne to be second only Blonnm,0 to Chatham himself. Oflokd
Lord Shelburne'8 first speech in Parliament—the first, at least, that attracted general notice—was made in support P*euaof the Court and the Ministry (November 3,1762). Within less than six months after its delivery he was called to the Privy Council, and placed at the head of the Board of Trade and Plantations. This appointment was made on the 23rd of April, 17G3. Just before it he had taken part in. that delicate negotiation between Lord Bute and Henry Fox (afterwards Lord Holland) which has been kept well in memory by a jest of the man who thought himself the loser in it. This early incident is in some sort a key to many later incidents in Lord Shelburne's life.
For, in all the acts and offices of a political career, save Shklburke only one, Lord Shelburne was characteristically a lover of tlx. *"TM soft words. In debate, he could speak scathingly. In conversation, he was always under temptation to flatter his interlocutor. In this conversation of 1763 with Fox, ShelBurne's innate love of smoothing asperities co-operated with his belief that it was really for the common interest that Bute and Fox should come to an agreement, to make him put the premier's offer into the most pleasing light. When Fox found he was to get less than he thought to have, he fiercely assailed the negotiator. Lord Shelburne's friends dwelt on his love of peace and good-fellowship. At worst, said they, it was but a 'pious fraud.' 'I can see the fraud plainly enough,' rejoined Fox, 'but where is the piety?'
The office accepted in April was resigned in September, when the coalition with 'the Bedford party' was made. Lord Shelburne's loss was felt in the House of Lords. But it was iu the Commons that the Ministry were now feeblest. "' I don't see how they can meet Parliament/ said Chesterfield. 'In the Commons they have not a man with ability and words enough to call a coach.'
In February, 1765, Shelburne married Lady Sophia Carteret, one of the daughters of the Earl of Granville. The marriage was a very happy one. Not long after it, he began to form his library. Political manuscripts, state papers of every kind, and all such documents as tend to throw light on the arcana of history, were, more especially, the objects which he sought. And the quest, as will be seen presently, was very successful. For during his early researches he had but few competitors.
On the organization of the Duke of Grafton's Ministry in 1766 (July 30) Lord Shelburne was made Secretary of State for the Southern Department, to which at that time the Colonial business was attached. His colleague, in the Northern, was Conway, who now led the House of Commons. As Secretary, Lord Shelburne's most conspicuous and influential act was his approval of that rejection of certain members of the Council of Massachusetts by Governor Bernard, which had so important a bearing on colonial events to come.
Shelburne, however, was one of a class of statesmen of whom, very happily, this country has had many. He was able to render more efficient service iu opposition than in office. Of the Board of Trade he had had the headship but a few months. As Secretary of State, under the Grafton Administration, he served little more than two years. His opponents were wont to call him an 'impracticable' man.