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in 1720. At the prices of that day the sale produced no less a sum than £8852.
The Arundelian cabinet of cameos and intaglios, now so famous under the name of ‘ The Marlborough Gems,’ was offered to the Trustees of the British Museum for sale, at an early period in the history of the institution. The price asked by the then possessor, the Duchess Dowager of NORFOLK, was £10,000. But at that time the funds of the nascent institution were inadequate to the purchase.
It afi’ords conspicuous proof of the marvellous success which had attended Lord Aacunnn’s researches to find that the remnants, so to speak, of his collections retain an almost inestimable value, after so many losses and loppings. They are virtually priceless, even if we leave out of view all that is now private property.
When the Arundelian MSS. were transferred, in the years 1831 and 1832, to the British Museum, their money value—for the purposes of the exchange as between the Royal Society and the Museum Trustees—was estimated (according to the historian of the Royal Society) at the sum of £3559. This sum was given by the Trustees, partly in money, and partly in printed books of which the Museum possessed two or more than two copies. The whole of the money received by the Royal Society was expended by its Council in the purchase of other printed books. So that both Libraries were benefited by the exchange.
It may deserve remark that a somewhat similar transfer had been contemplated and discussed during the lifetime of the original donor. The project, at that period, was to make an exchange between the Royal Society and the University of Oxford. The University induced EVELYN
to recommend Lord Henry HOWARD to sanction an exchange of such MSS. ‘as concern the civil law, theology, and other scholastic learning, for mathematical, philosophical, and such other books as may prove most useful to the design and institution of the Society.’ But at that time, after much conference, it was otherwise determined.
The heraldical and genealogical books belonging to the original AKUNDEL Library were given, at the date of the first transfer of the bulk of the collection to the Royal Society, to the Heralds’ College. They still form an important part of the College Library, and they include valuable materials for the history of the family of HOWARD.
THE COLLECTOR OF THE HARLEIAN MSS.
‘A son] supreme, in each hard instance tried,
T/ze HARLEY Family—Parliamentary and Qflcial Career
ROBERTHARLEY was the eldest son of Sir Edward HARLEY, Book I, Chap. V.
of Brampton Bryan, in Herefordshire, by his second wife, T", C0,. Abigail, daughter of Nathaniel STEPHENS, of Essington, in Gloucestershire. He was born at his father’s town-house LEM" M55in Bow Street, Covent Garden, in the year 1661.
The HARLEYS had been a family of considerable note in grills?" Herefordshirc during several centuries. Many generations of them had sat in the House of Commons, sometimes for
boroughs, but not infrequently for their county. Sir Edward
Root 1. sided with the Parliamentarians during the Civil Wars. He , fillet}, was, however, one of those moderate statesmen who, in the if words of a once-celebrated clerical adherent and martyr of "I" “58- their party, Christopher Lovn judged it ‘anill way to cure the body politic, by cutting off the political head.’ In due time he also became one of those ‘secluded members’ of , the Long Parliament who published the ‘ Remonstrance ’ of 1656, and who were then as strenuous—though far less successful—in opposing what they deemed to be the tyranny of the Protector, as they had formerly been in opposing the tyranny of the King. Sir Edward HARLEY promoted the restoration of CHARLES THE Sacoun, and sat in all the Parliaments of that reign. He distinguished himself as a. defender of liberty of conscience in unpropitious times; and he won, in a high degree, the respect of men who sat beside him in the House of Commons, but were rarely counted with him upon a division. The first public act of Robert HARLEY of which a record has been kept is his appearance with his father, in 1688, at the head of an armed band of tenantry and retainers, assembled in Herefordshire to support the cause of the Prince of ORANGE, when the news had come of the Prince’s arrival in 'I‘orbay.
$332; In the first Parliament of WILLIAM and MARY Robert rm HARLEY sat for Tregony. To the second he was returned
by the burgesses of New Radnor. The first reported words of his which appear in the debates Were spoken in the course of a discussion upon the heads of a ‘ Bill of In- . demnity.’ ‘ I think,’ said he on this occasion, ‘that the King in his message has led us. He shews us how to proceed for satisfaction of justice. There is a crime [of which] Grey’s God says, He will not pardon it. ’Tis the shedding of
time, innocent blood. A gentleman said that the West was “ a
shambles.’ What made that shambles? It began in law. It was a common discourse among the Ministers that “ the King cannot have justice.”’ The debate on the Bill of Indemnity of 1690 may be looked upon as, in some sort, the foreshadowing of a long spell of political conflict, in which Robert HARLEY was to take a conspicuous share. Twenty seven years afterwards the strife of parties was to enter on a new stage. Some of the men who acted as the political Mentors of the new member of 1689-90 were to live long enough to clamour for his execution as a traitor, and, on their failure to produce any adequate proof that he was guilty, were to console themselves by insisting on his exclusion from the ‘ Act of Grace ’ of 1717.
HARLEY won his earliest distinctions in political life by assiduous, patient, and even drudging labour on questions of finance. During six years, at least, he worked zealously as one of the ‘Commissioners for stating the Public Accounts of the Kingdom.’ In parliamentary debates on the public establishments and expenditure he took a consider~ able share. As a speaker he had no brilliancy. His usual tone and manner, we are told, were somewhat listless and drawling. But occasionally he would speak with a certain pith and incisiveness. Thus, in November, 1692, in a discussion on naval affairs, he said—‘ We have had a glorious victory at sea. But although we have had the honour, the enemy has had the profit. They take our merchant ships.’ Again, in the following year, when supporting the Bill for more frequent Parliaments, he spoke thus :-—‘ A standing Parliament can never be a true representative. Men are much altered after they have been here some time. They are no longer the same men that were sent up to us.’
Of the truth of that saying, in one of its senses, I'IARLEY