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ment of his own library, as well as of that newly acquired Book I, by the Public. Tmtcol"The Sir Synionds D'ewes of that generation was the ^CIT°*°' grandson of the diligent antiquary and politician who has MIA" MSSbeen heretofore mentioned in this volume as the close colZc^" friend of Sir Robert Cotton, and to whose labours, in a T,oira*»D
twofold capacity, students of our history owe a far better Tort. acquaintance with parliamentary debates, in the times both of Elizabeth and of Cromwell, than, but for him, would have been possible. The grandson of the first Sir Symonds had inherited from his ancestor a valuable library; but its possession had no great charm for him. He was willing to part with it, for due consideration, yet aware that he was under an obligation, moral if not legal, not so to part with his books as to lead to their dispersion.
On that head, the original collector had thus expressed limself in his last Will:—" I bequeath to Adrian D'ewes, ny young son yet lying in the cradle, or to any other of ny sons, hereafter to be born, who shall prove my heir (if jod shall vouchsafe unto me a masculine heir by whom ny surname and male line may be continued in the ages o come), my precious library, in which I have stored up, or divers years past, with great care, cost, and industry, livers originals and autographs, . . . and such [books] s are imprinted; and it is my inviolable injunction and ■ehest that he keep it entire, and not sell, divide, or dissiate it. Neither would I have it locked up from furthering lie public good, the advancing of which I have always udeavoured; but that all lovers of learning, of known irtue and integrity, might have access to it at reasonable ines, so that they did give sufficient security to restore lfely any original or autograph . . borrowed out of the line, . . without blotting, erasing, or defraying it. But Book i. if God hath decreed now at last to add an end to my family The Col- in the male line, His most holy and just will be done! * Tmethab' I" that case, the testator proceeds to declare, it is his Miah Mss. desjre that the library should pass to his daughter and her heirs, on like conditions as to its perpetual preservation, so 'that not only all lovers of learning .... may have access to it at seasonable times, but also that all collections which concern mine own family, or my wife's, may freely be lent .... to members thereof,' &c. Then the testator adds—■ in relation to the last-named clause—an averment that he D'ewm, had 'only sought after the very truth, as well in these pkyjvwi. things as in all other my elucubrations, whilst I searched Hari. (b.m.) amongSt the King's records or public offices.' Wam.kt-8 It having come to Wanley's knowledge or belief, in the
ACCOUNT or nnci ,1 '11 -II 1
THE ACQUI- year 1703, that possibly arrangements might be made to Thtbewm obtain this library, for the Public, from the then possessor, Libeaby. ne wrote to Iiarley in these terms:—' Sir Synionds D'ewes being pleased to honour me with a peculiar kindness of esteem, I have taken the liberty of inquiring of him whether he will part with his library, and I find that he is not unwilling to do so. And that at a much easier rate than I could think for. I dare say that it would be a noble addition to the Cotton Library; perhaps the best that could be had anywhere at present. ... If your Honour should judge it impracticable to persuade Her Majesty to buy them for the Cotton Library—in whose coffers such a sum as will buy them is scarcely conceivable—then, Sir, if you shall have a mind of them yourself I will take care that you shall have them cheaper than any other person whatsoever. I know that many have their eyes upon this wanieyto collection.' 'I am desirous/ he goes on to say, ' to have Ms'un.a. this collection in town for the public good, and rather in a O^'m)63 P"bh'c place than in private hands; but, of all private gentlemen's studies, first in yours. I have not spoken to Boo* I
anybody as yet, nor will not till I have your answer, that Tbecm, you may not be forestalled.'' TMB0'
Harlet welcomed the overture thus made to him, and ",A'*MSS Wanley, on his behalf, entered upon a negotiation which ended in the eventual acquisition of the whole of the D'ewes Manuscripts for the Harleian Collection. Soon , afterwards, Wanley became its librarian.
In the course of this employment he watched diligently for other opportunities of a like sort; established an active correspondence with booksellers, both at home and abroad; and induced Lord Oxford to send agents to the Continent Itistori or to search for manuscripts. But the Earl had soon to meet an eager rival in the book-market, in the person of Lord Sunderland, who in former years had been, by turns, his colleague and his opponent in the keener strife of politics. In their new rivalry, Lord Sunderland had one considerible advantage. He cared little about money. If he succeeded in obtaining what he sought for, he rarely scrutinised ;he more or less of its cost. Wanley was by nature a bargainer. He felt uneasy under the least suspicion that my bookseller or vendor was getting the better hand of rim in a transaction. And he seems, in time, to have noculated Lord Oxford with a good deal of the same eeling. Some of the entries in his diary put this love of triking a good bargain in an amusing light.
Thus, for example, in telling of the acquisition of a valuble monastic chartulary which had belonged to the Bedford Library' at Cranfield, he writes thus :—' The aid Chartulary is to be my Lord's, and he is to present o that library St. Chrysostom s Works, in Greek and Latin, rinted at Paris, for which my Lord shall be registered a enefactor to the said library. Moreover, Mr. Frank will
send up a list of his out-of-course books, out of which my Lord may pick and choose any twenty of them gratis.. . I am also to advise that he is heartily willing and ready to serve his Lordship in any library matters ;. . particularly with [Sir John] Osborne of Chicksand Abbey, where most part of the old monastical library is said yet to remain.' And again, on another occasion :—' My Lord was pleased to tell me that Mr. Gibson's last parcel of printed books were all his own as being gained into [the bargain with] the two last parcels of manuscripts bought of him.' Gibson's protest that he was entitled to an additional thirty pounds was quite in vain.
Of the innumerable skirmishes between librarian and bookseller which Wanley's pages record with loving detail, two passages may serve as sufficient samples:— 'van Hoeck, a Dutchman,' he writes in 1722, 'brought to my Lord a small parcel of modern manuscripts, and their lowest prices,—which proved so abominably wicked that he was sent away with them immediately.' And, in February, 1723:—'bowter, the bookseller, came intrealing me to instruct him touching the prices of old editions, and of other rare and valuable books, pretending that thereby he should be the better able to bid for them; but, as I rather suppose, to be better able to exact of gentlemen. I pleaded utter inexperience in the matter, and, without a quarrel, in my mind rejected this ridiculous attempt with the scorn it deserved. This may be a fresh instance of the truth of Tullie's paradox, " that all fools are mad."'
In the year 1720, large additions were made, more especially to the historical treasures of the Harleian Library, by the purchase of manuscripts from the several collections of John Warbcrton (Somerset Herald), of Archdeacon Battely, and of Peter Seguier (Chancellor of France). Another important accession came, in the same rear, by the bequest of Hugh Thomas. In 1721 purchases "i^v
vere made from the several libraries of Thomas Grev, Th*ColLector or
ieconil Earl of Stamford; of Robert Paynkll, of Belaugh, Tbitubn Norfolk; and of John Robartes, first Earl of Radnor. liianmsv
Ibid., pp. 35, 42,48.
Lord Oxford died on the 21st May, 1724, at the age if sixty-three. Waxley records the event in these words: It pleased God to call to His mercy Robert, Earl of l)K"noT
1 • Lord
)xford, the founder of this Library, who long had been to 0*TMTM. rie a munificent patron.'
When condoling with the new Earl upon his father's eath, Swift wrote to him :—' You no longer wanted his comsp., are and tenderness, . . . but his friendship and conver- voi. xvi,' ition you will ever want, because they are qualities so rare p m l the world, and in which he so much excelled all others. : lias pleased me, in the midst of my grief, to hear that e preserved the greatness, the calmness, and intrepidity, "his mind to his last minutes; for it was fit that such a fe should terminate with equal lustre to the whole progress 'it.' It is honourable alike to the man who was thus mcrously spoken of, and to the friend who mourned his ss, that the testimony so borne was a consistent testimony, lie failings of Harley were well known to Swift. In e days of prosperity they had been freely blamed; and ?e to face. When those days were gone, the good quali!S only came to be dwelt upon. To the unforgiving emy, as to the bereaved son, Swift wrote about the L'rits of the friend he had lost. 'I pass over that paraapb of your letter,' said Bolingbroke, in reply, ' which a kind of an elegy on a departed minister.'
When the Harlcian Library was inherited by the second rl of Oxford (of this fiimily) it included more than six