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year, by the bequest of Hugh Tuonas. In 1721 purchases were made from the several libraries of Thomas GREY, second Earl of Sramroan ; of Robert PAYN ELL, of Belaugh, in Norfolk; and of John Roaaaras, first Earl of Rannoa.
Lord Oxroru) died on the 21st May, 1724, at the age of sixty-three. WANLEY records the event in these words: ‘ It pleased God to call to His mercy Robert, Earl of Oxeoan, the founder of this Library, who long had been to me a munificent patron.’
When eondoling with the new Earl upon his father’s death, SWIFT wrote to him :—‘ You no longer wanted his care and tenderness, . . . but his friendship and conversation you will ever want, because they are qualities so rare in the world, and in which he so much excelled all others. It has pleased me, in the midst _of my grief, to hear that he preserved the greatness, the calmness, and intrepidity, of his mind to his last minutes ; for it was fit that such a life should terminate with equal lustre to the whole progress of it.’ It is honourable alike to the man who was thus generously spoken of, and to the friend who mourned his loss, that the testimony so borne was a consistent testimony. The failings of HARLEY were well known to SWIFT. In the days of prosperity they had been freely blamed; and face to face. When those days were gone, the good qualities only came to be dwelt upon. To the unforgiving enemy, as to the bereaved son, SWIFT wrote about the merits of the friend he had lost. ‘I pass over that paragraph of your letter,’ said BULINGBROKE, in reply, ‘whieh is a kind of an elegy on a departed minister.’
When the Harleian Library was inherited by the second Earl of Queue (of this family) it included more than six
thousand volumes of Manuscripts, in addition to about fourteen thousand five hundred charters and rolls. By him it was largely augmented in every department. He made his library most liberally accessible to scholars; and when, by a purchase made in Holland, he had acquired some leaves of one of the most precious biblical manuscripts in the world—leaves which had long before been stolen from the Royal Library at Paris—he sent them back to their proper repository in a manner so obliging as made it apparent that his sense of the duties of collectorship was as keen as was his sense of its delights. At his death, on the 16th of June, 1741, the volumes of manuscripts had increased to nearly eight thousand. The printed books were estimated at about fifty thousand volumes, exclusive of an unexampled series of pamphlets, amounting to nearly 400,000, and comprising, like the manuscripts, materials for our national history of inestimable value.
The only daughter and heiress of the second Earl, Margaret, by her marriage with William, Duke of PORTLAND, carried her share in a remnant of the fortunes of the several families of Cavanmsn, HOLLES,fllld HARLEY, into the family of BENTINCK. The magnificent printed librarywhich formed part of her inheritance was sold and dispersed. It was of that collection that JOHNSON said, ‘It excels any library that was ever yet offered to sale in the value as well as in the number of the volumes which it contains.’
The Manuscripts were eventually purchased by Parliament for the sum of ten thousand pounds. With reference to this purchase the Duchess of PORTLAND wrote as follows, in April, 17 53, to the Speaker of the House of Commons :—‘ As soon as I was acquainted with the proposal you had made in the House of Commons, in relation to my Father’s Collection of Manuscripts I informed my
Mother [the then Dowager Countess of Oxroan] of it, who has given the Duke of PORTLAND and me full power to do therein as we shall think fit.
‘Though I am told the expense of collecting them was immense, and that, if they were to be dispersed, they would probably sell for a great deal of money, yet, as a sum has been named, and as I know it was my Father’s and is my Mother’s intention that they should be kept together, I will not bargain with the Publiek. I give you this trouble therefore to acquaint you that I am ready to accept of your proposal upon condition that this great and valuable C01lection shall be kept together in a proper repository, as an addition to the Cotton Library, and be called by the name of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts.
‘I hope you do me the justice to believe thatI do not consider this as a sale for an adequate price. vBut your idea is so right, and so agreeable to what i know was my Father’s intention, that I have a particular satisfaction in contributing all I can to facilitate the success of it.’
If it were possible to give, in few words, any adequate view of the obligations which English literature, and more especially English historical literature, owes to the Collectors of the Harleian Manuscripts, there could be no fitter conclusion to a biographical notice of Robert HARLEY. IIere, however, no such estimate is practicable. Nor, in truth, can it be needed in order to convince the reader that ‘ some tribute of veneration’—to use the apposite words which J oun son prefixed to the Harleian Catalogue—is due to the ardour of the two HARLEYB for literature; and ‘to that generous and exalted curiosity which they gratified with incessant searches and immense expense; and to which they dedicated that time and that superfluity of fortune
which many others, of their rank, employ in the pursuit of contemptible amusements or the gratification of guilty passions.’
Nora 'ro CHAPTER V.
EXTRACTS FROM THE STUART PAPERS, REFERRING TO
1. [1717 P] A document which, could it be recovered, would go far towards clearing up some of the uncertainties which exist as to Lord Oxford’s intercourse with the Pretender and his agents, subsequently to the death of Queen Anne, was seen by Sir James Mackintosh among the Stuart Papers acquired by George the Fourth. It was afterwards vainly searched for by Lord Mahon, when engaged upon his History of England, from the Peace of Utrecht. It is still known only from the cursory notes made by Mackintosh, and referred to by a writer in the Edinburgh Review in these words: ‘ During Oxford’s confinement in the Tower there is a communication from him to the Pretender, preserved among the Stuart Papers, ofl'ering his services and advice; recommending the Bishop of Rochester as the fittest person to manage the Jacobite afi'airs,—-the writer himself being in custody; and adding that he should never have thought it safe ‘ to engage again with His Majesty if Bolingbroke himself had been still about him.’
2. 1717. September 29. Bishop ATTERBURY to Lord MAR. :—
‘ Your accounts of what has been said here concerning some imaginary differences abroad have not so much foundation as you may suppose. At least, if they have, I am a stranger to it. The result of any discourse I shall have with [the Earl of Oxford P] will be sure to reach you by his means. You will, I suppose, have a full account of affairs here from his and other hands.’
3. [1717 P] The same to the same.
‘ Distances and other accidents have, for some years, interrupted my correspondence with [the Earl of Oxford P] but I am willing to renew it, and to enter into it upon a better foot than it has ever yet stood, being convinced that my so doing may be of no small_'_conseqnenee to the service. I have already taken the first step towards it that is proper in our situation, and will pursue that by others as fast as I can have opportunity; hoping that the secret will be as inviolably kept on your side as it shall be on this, so far as the nature of such a transaction between two persons who must see one another sometimes can pass unobserved.’
4-. 1721. ‘ Among the same papers,’ says the Reviewer quoted on the previous page, ‘ there is a letter from Mrs. Oglethorpe to the Pretender (Jan. 17, 1721), containing assurances from Lord Oxford of his eternal respect and good wishes, which from accidental circumstances he had. been unable to convey in the usual manner.’
5. 1722. April 14. THE PRETENDER [to Lord Oxronn P]
‘ If you have not heard sooner or oftener from me, it hath not, I can assure you, been my fault. Neither do I attribute to your’s the long silence you have kept on your side, but to a chain of disappointments and difficulties which hath been also the only reason of my not finding all this while a method of conveying my thoughts to you, and receiving your advice, which I shall ever value as I ought, because I look upon you not only as an able lawyer but a sincere friend. This will, I hope, come soon to your hands, and the worthy friend by whose canal I send it will accompany it, by my directions, with all the lights and information he or I can give, and which it is therefore useless to repeat here.’
6. 172°. April 16. Tim Panrssnnn to A'r'rnnnnar.
‘ I am sensible of the importance of secrecy in such an affair, yet I do not see how it will be possible to raise a sufficient sum, or to make a reasonable concert in England, without letting some more persons into the project. You on the place are best judge how these points are to be compassed, but I cannot but think that [the Earl of Oxford P] might be of great use on this occasion. [Lord Lansdowne P] is to write to him on the subject, and I am confident that if you two were to compare notes together you would be able to contrive and settle matters on a more sure and solid foundation than they have hitherto been.’
7. 1722. In a report made to the Earl of Mar by George Kelly, one of his emissaries employed in England, it is stated that on the delivery, by Kelly, of Mnr’s letter to Atterbury, the prelate asked the messenger if he had anything to say, in addition to the contents of the letter, and that he replied (in the jargon of his calling): ‘ It is a proposal for joining stocks with the Earl of Oxford, and taking the management of the Company’s business into their hands.’ Atterbury, according to this story, required a day’s deliberation, and then told Kelly that he was ‘resolved to join both heart and hand with the Earl; and not only so,