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Book i, wards, the arm that penned this letter was stretched out,—
Chap. 111. ... , .
Lino* still and rigid.
Prince or The Prince was seized with sudden illness on the 1 Oth of .wales. October, five days after its date. The first appearances Death. were such as are wont to follow upon a great chill, after November, excessive exercise—to which Hknkt 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, 'Man, that is born of a "woman, is of short continuance' 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 Ralegh, 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 Booii, who had treasured up, in memory, many of those small Li« or matters which serve to mark character, were wont some- p^"',„ times to draw contrasts between the prince and his brother. WAIts 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 Henry's abilities to rule, and who held his memory in affectionate reverence.
Henrit had died intestate. The library which he had D,sP08A'
J OF THK
purchased from the Executors of Lord Lumley fell to the Prick's 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 Union Of a time, of the prince's librarian, Edward Wright. The J A M KS* AN D relics of the royal collection at Whitehall were theu in the keeping of the eminent scholar and theologian, Patrick Young. Eventually they too were brought to St. James', and Young took the entire charge. It was by his exertions that the combined collection was augmented by a valuable part of the library of Isaac Casaubon. It was to his hands that Sir Thomas Roe delivered the 'Alexandrian Manu- Roe,Adscript* of the Greek Bible, the precious gift to King Charles PP 335! Bis of Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople.
Young survived until 1652, but he was deprived of his
Book i, office in 1648. In that turbulent time the library narrowly Lot Of escaped two perils. Some of the soldiers of the triumphant Iwl'or Party sought to disperse it, piecemeal, for their individual W«jw, 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 cTMl°r''"' (1648) saved the library from the first danger. A like act co^ciiof on the part of Bulstrode Whitelocke, in the following year P.«mmt' (July, 1649), saved it from the second. Probably, it was at P°«h*'(r.h.) his instance that the Council of State made or designed to White. make it aPublic Library. Four years afterwards,Whitelocke ^*«^<<> held at Stockholm a curious conversation with Queen ChrisP"^"'tm'tuia aD0Ut its manuscript treasures, of some of which, he (Reeve-. 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 Aco-utsitioh additions to be made to the library. Of these the most Thekk important was the manuscript collection which had belonged, Libbaky. successively, to John and Charles Thever. 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 and Priors of Llanthony,* and the common-place-books of Archbishop Cranmer.
* That Llanthony, in Monmouthshire, the purchase of which in the
At Charles The Second's death the number of works in Booki, the royal collection had increased to more than ten thousand. LitE or No doubt, in that reign, the books could have brought "^."'0 against their owner the pithy complaint to which Petrarch wa""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 thee to
the judgment of a private prison They would weep
to think that one man—ostentatious of a possession for <•'"'"'"•
x m fortune.
which he hath no use—should own a host of those precious tilings 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 Charles The First, cared about books. That it should pass to the Nation had been proposed by Richard Bentlet, when himself royal librarian, sixty years before the proposal became a fact. ''Tis 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
'Llanthony! an ungenial clime,
Book i, probability that when Bentlet gave expression to this LirTor wish, at the close of the seventeenth century, he was PR^cKor unconsciously reviving one among many projects for the Wams. 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 th&n in fact. Theulu- When the time came, the number of volumes of the
Poration or Royal Collection which remained to be incorporated with
Library the Museum of Sloane and with the Library of Sir Robert
Coilkc-" Cotton was somewhat more than twelve thousand. The
Tions Ot number of separate works—printed and manuscript toge
Sloane And r r I O
Of Cottoh. ther—-probably exceeded fifteen thousand.
Amongst the acquisitions so gained by the nation the first place of honour belongs to the Codex Alexandrinus. It stands, by the common consent of biblical palaeographers, 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 Basilicon, written 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