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and enduringly the property of the English nation if stored up at Cotton House—even had no ‘ British Museum’ ever been created—than if stored up at Whitehall.
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 Corron’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 ofi'ence 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 Co'r'ron 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 Saunnnas, the able Chairman of the Library Committee of the Corporation of London, tells me that both the returned MS. of Lz‘ber Custumarum, and also that of Liber Leyum Antiguorzmz, 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
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 ROBERr’s openness made his library— to use the words of an eminent contemporary—the ‘ Common treasury’ of English antiquities. The reader now sees also the drawback. 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 snch efl’ectnal demonstration of' his power, ss when he singles out the man who occupies the largest place in public estimation ;--as when he sciles upon him whose loss is felt, by thousands, with all the tenderness of a family bereavement ;—pnts asudden arrest, . . . before the infirmitics of age had withdrawn him from the labours of nsefulness,—- . . . and sends the fearful report of this his achievement through the streets of the city, where it runs, in sppslling whispers, among the multitude)—
Life of HENRY, Prince of Wales, son of JAMES I, and virtual Founder of 2710 ‘Royal Library.’—Its Augmentors and its Librarians. — Acquisition of the Library of Me Thanks—Incorporation with fire Collections of COTTON and of SLOANE.
IIENaY, Prince of Scotland, and afterwards of Wales, was born at Stirling Castle on the 19th of February, 1594. King JAMES had married ANNE of Denmark more than four years before the Prince’s birth, but a certain grotcsqueness 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
BAPTIBI A'l' HUXiOUS.
81 mm no.
of these incidents is thus narrated in the quaint narrative of a Scottish courtier who made it his business to chronicle the movements of the Court with uewsmanlike fidelity :— ‘Because the chappcll 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 unu'sual 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. '
For the presence of two guests in particular JAMES was He wished to see an ambassador extraordinary from the Court of 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 bril_ liant 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 naviga_ tors. 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 fixed for the ceremony in Scotland had to be more than twice postponed, in order to ensure his presence. In all, more than six months elapsed before the babe was really baptized. \Ve will hope that the Court Chronicler exaggerates a little when he tells us that ‘the time intervening was spent in magnificent banquetting and revelling.’ If so, the potations at Stirling must have vied with those of Elsinore.
When the long-expected day arrived (30 August, 1594) the child lay ‘ on a bed of estate richly decored . . with the story of HERCULEs.’ The old Countess of MAP. lifted him into the arms of LENNOX, and by him the babe was transferred to those of the English ambassador who held him during baptism. Then Patrick GALLOWAY, we are told, learnedly entreated upon a text from the 21st chapter of Genesis. ,
The Bishop of ABERDEEN taught, in his turn, upon the Sacrament of Baptism—first in the vulgar tongue and then in Latin—and his discourse was followed by the twenty-first Psalm, ‘sung to the great delectation of the noble auditory,’ and also by a panegyric upon the Prince, delivered in Latin verse, from the pulpit. Then came a banquet, at which ‘six gallant dames ’ had the cruel task assigned them of performing ‘a silent comedy.’ To the banquet succeeded a ‘desart of sugar,’ drawn in upon a triumphal chariot. The original programme had provided that this richly-laden chariot should be drawn by a. lion, for whose due tameness the projector had pledged himself. But to King James a lion, like a sword, was at all times an unpleasant object. He said that it would afi‘riglit the ladies, and that ‘a black-moore’ would be a more safe propeller. Banquet and dessert together lasted from eight o’clock in the evening until three of the following morning.