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wards, the arm that penned this letter was stretched out,— still and rigid.
The Prince was seized with sudden illness on the 10th Of October, five days after its date. The first appearances were such as are wont to follow upon a great chill, after excessive exercise—to which HENRY was always prone. In spite of much pain and some alarming symptoms, he persisted in removing from Richmond to St. James’ on the 16th, in order to receive the Elector Palatine, soon to become the husband of his sister. Within very few days it was apparent that his illness was of the most serious nature. He left his apartment at St. James’ on the morning of the 25th, to hear a ' sermon at the Chapel Royal. The text was from the fourteenth of Job, ‘Jllan, Mat is born qf a woman, is of slmrt conlinuance.’ Afterwards he dined with the King, but was obliged to take his leave, being seized with faintness and shivering fits. These continued to recur, at brief intervals, until his death, on the evening of the sixth Of November. Almost the only snatch Of quiet sleep which he could obtain followed upon the administration of a cordial, prepared for him in the Tower by RALEon, at the Queen’s earnest request. It was not given until the morning of the last day.
HENRY died calmly, but under total exhaustion. For many hours before his death he was unconscious, as well as speechless. The last words to which he responded were those of Archbishop ABBOT:—‘ In sign of your faith and hope in the blessed Resurrection, give us, for our comfort, a sign by the lifting up of your hands.’ HENRY raised both hands, clasped together. It was his last conscious act.
Here, to human ken, was a life all seed-time. The harvest belonged to the things unseen. Contemporaries who had treasured up, in memory, many of those small matters which serve to mark character, were wont sometimes to draw contrasts between the prince and his brother. And many have been the speculations—natural though unfruitful—as to the altered course of English history, had HENRY lived to ascend the throne. One fact, observable in the correspondence and documentary history of the times, will always retain a certain interest. Some of those who were to rank among the staunchest opponents of CHARLES were men who thought highly of Han ar’s abilities to rule, and who held his memory in affectionate reverence.
HENRY had died intestate. The library which he had purchased from the Executors of Lord LUMLEY fell to the disposal of the King. The greater part of it went to augment the remains of the old royal library of England, portions of which had been scattered during JAMES’ reign, as well as before it. By that disposal of a collection, in which the prince had taken not a little delight during his brief possession, he became virtually, and in the event, a co-founder of the British Museum.
The library remained at St. James’ under the charge, for a time, of the prince’s librarian, Edward Waion'r. The relics of the royal collection at Whitehall were then in the keeping of the eminent scholar and theologian, Patrick YOUNG. Eventually they too were brought to St. James’, and YOUNo took the entire charge. It was by his exertions that the combined collection was augmented by a valuable part of the library of Isaac Casaunon. It was to his hands that Sir Thomas Ron delivered the ‘Alexandrian Manuscript’ of the Greek Bible, the precious gift to King CHARLES of Cyril Lucaa, Patriarch of Constantinople.
YOUNG survived until 1652, but he was deprived of his
office in 1648. In that turbulent time the library narrowly escaped two perils. Some of the soldiers of the triumphant party sought to disperse it, piecemeal, for their individual profit. Some of the leaders of that party formed a scheme to export it to the Continent for a like purpose. It stands to the credit of a somewhat fanatical partisan—Hugh PETERS, one of the many men who are doomed to play in history the part of scapegoats, whatever their own sins may have really been—that his hasty assumption of librarianship (1648) saved the library from the first danger. A like act on the part of Bulstrode WHITELOCKE, in the following year (July, 1649), saved it from the second. Probably, it was at his instance that the Council of State made or designed to make it aPublic Library. Four years afterwards,WnI'rELO0KE held at Stockholm a curious conversation with Queen Christina about its manuscript treasures, of some of which, he tells us, she was anxious to possess transcripts.
Under the Commonwealth, the librarianship had been combined, first with the keepership of the Great Seal, and then with an Embassy to Sweden. Under the Restoration, it was held in plurality with an active commission in the Royal Navy. CHARLES II, however, caused some valuable additions to be made to the library. Of these the most important was the manuscript collection which had belonged, successively, to John and Charles THEYER. The sum given was £560. The collection came to St. James’ Palace in 1678. It was rich in historical manuscripts and in the curiosities of mediaeval science. It embraced many of the treasured book-possessions of a long line of Abbots andPriors of Llanthony,* and the common-place-books of Archbishop Cannes.
’* That Llanthony, in Monmouthshire, the purchase of which in the
At CHARLES THE Snconn’s death the number of works in the royal collection had increased to more than ten thousand. No doubt, in that reign, the books could have brought against their owner the pithy complaint to which PETRARCH gave expression, on behalf of some of their fellows, at an earlier day : ‘ Thou hast many books tied in chains which, if they could break away and speak, would bring time to the judgment of a private prison. . . . . They would weep to think that one mam—ostentatious of a possession for which he hath no use—should own a host of those precious things that many a passionate student doth wholly lack.’
No true lover of books, for their own sake, indeed, was ever to possess that rich collection, until it passed into the ownership of the nation. Its entail, so to speak, as a heirloom of the Crown, was cut off, just as it was about to pass into the hands of the one English King who alone, of all the Monarchs since Csannns THE FIRST, cared about books. That it should pass to the Nation had been proposed by Richard Bau'rmcr, when himself royal librarian, sixty years before the proposal became a fact. ‘ "l‘is easy to foresee,’ said BENTLEY, ‘how much the glory of our Nation will be advanced by erecting a Free Library of all sorts of books.’ In his day, he saw no way to such an establishment, otherwise than by transfer of the royal collection.
There is a reasonable, perhaps it might be said a strong,
present century gave rise to so singular a. chapter in the history of Landor, and whose charms, in retrospect, prompted the lines—
‘ Llanthony ! an ungenial clime,
probability that when BENTLEY gave expression to this wish, at the close of the seventeenth century, he was unconsciously reviving one among many projects for the public good which had been temporarily buried in the grave of Prince HENRY. For under the Commonwealth, the Library at St. James' had been ‘Public’ rather in name than in fact.
When the time came, the number of volumes of the Royal Collection which remained to be incorporated with the Museum of SLOANE and with the Library of Sir Robert COTTON was somewhat more than twelve thousand. The number of separate works—printed and manuscript together—probably exceeded fifteen thousand.
Amongst the acquisitions so gained by the nation the first place of honour belongs to the Codem Alemana'rz'nus. It stands, by the common consent of biblical palzeographers, in a class of manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures into which only two or three other codices in the world can claim to be admitted. Of early English chronicles there is a long series which to their intrinsic interest as primary materials of our history add the ancillary interest of having been transcribed—sometimes of having been composed—— expressly for presentation to the reigning Monarch. Here also, among a host of other literary curiosities, is the group of romances which John TALBOT, Earl of Shrewsbury, caused to be compiled for MARGARET of Anjou ; and the autograph Basilica”, wn'tten for Prince HENRY. Among the innumerable printed treasures are choice books which accrued as presentation copies to the sovereigns of the House of TUDOR, beginning with a superb series of illuminated books on vellum, from the press of Anthony VERARD of Paris, given to HENRY THE SEVENTH. For large as had been the losses sustained by the original