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by William Roberts
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Transcriber's Note: Some typographical and punctuation errors have been corrected. A complete list follows the text. Words in Greek in the original are transliterated and placed between plus signs. Words italicized in the original are surrounded by underscores.



THE BOOK-HUNTER IN LONDON.



THE

BOOK-HUNTER IN LONDON

Historical and other Studies of Collectors and Collecting

WITH NUMEROUS PORTRAITS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

W. ROBERTS

Author of 'The Earlier History of English Bookselling,' 'Printers' Marks,' etc.

LONDON ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C. 1895



CONTENTS.

PAGE PREFACE xiii

INTRODUCTION xv

EARLY BOOK-HUNTING 1

BOOK-HUNTING AFTER THE INTRODUCTION OF PRINTING 12

FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW 44

BOOK-AUCTIONS AND SALES 98

BOOKSTALLS AND BOOKSTALLING 149

SOME BOOK-HUNTING LOCALITIES 168

WOMEN AS BOOK-COLLECTORS 259

BOOK THIEVES, BORROWERS, AND KNOCK-OUTS 274

SOME HUMOURS OF BOOK-CATALOGUES 293

SOME MODERN COLLECTORS 299

INDEX 323



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE 'HIS SOUL WAS NEVER SO STAKED DOWN AS IN A BOOKSELLER'S SHOP.'—ROGER NORTH Frontispiece

IN A SCRIPTORIUM 2

LAMBETH PALACE LIBRARY 5

ROMAN BOOKS AND WRITING MATERIALS 11

EARL OF ARUNDEL'S BADGE 16

SIR ROBERT COTTON 21

SIR JULIUS CAESAR'S TRAVELLING LIBRARY 22

ARCHBISHOP USHER 26

WOTTON HOUSE IN 1840 28

MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD 29

SIR HANS SLOANE'S MONUMENT 30

LITTLE BRITAIN IN 1550 33

CHARLES, THIRD EARL OF SUNDERLAND 37

LONDON HOUSE, ALDERSGATE STREET, 1808 40

ST. BERNARD'S SEAL 43

MR. AUSTIN DOBSON 45

WILLIAM BECKFORD, BOOK-COLLECTOR 48

GEORGE JOHN, EARL SPENCER 51

JOHN, DUKE OF ROXBURGHE, BOOK-COLLECTOR 52

A CORNER IN THE ALTHORP LIBRARY 53

MICHAEL WODHULL, BOOK-COLLECTOR 57

GEORGE NICOL, THE KING'S BOOKSELLER 60

THOMAS FROGNALL DIBDIN, BIBLIOGRAPHER 63

REV. C. MORDAUNT CRACHERODE, M.A., BOOK-COLLECTOR 65

J. O. HALLIWELL-PHILLIPPS 71

CANONBURY TOWER, GEORGE DANIEL'S RESIDENCE 73

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE 76

LAMB'S COTTAGE AT COLEBROOK ROW, ISLINGTON 77

WILLIAM HAZLITT 78

THOMAS HILL, AFTER MACLISE 79

SAMUEL ROGERS'S HOUSE IN ST. JAMES'S PLACE 81

SAMUEL ROGERS 82

ALEXANDER DYCE, BOOK-COLLECTOR 83

W. J. THOMS, BOOK-COLLECTOR 88

HOLLINGBURY COPSE, THE RESIDENCE OF THE LATE MR. HALLIWELL-PHILLIPPS 91

JOHN DUNTON, BOOK-AUCTIONEER IN 1698 101

SAMUEL BAKER, THE FOUNDER OF SOTHEBY'S 102

SAMUEL LEIGH SOTHEBY 104

MR. E. G. HODGE, OF SOTHEBY'S 105

A FIELD-DAY AT SOTHEBY'S 106

KEY TO THE CHARACTERS IN THE 'FIELD-DAY AT SOTHEBY'S' 107

R. H. EVANS, BOOK-AUCTIONEER, 1812 109

JOHN WALKER, BOOK-AUCTIONEER, 1776 112

STAIRCASE AT PUTTICK AND SIMPSON'S 113

THE LATE HENRY STEVENS, OF VERMONT 115

MR. JAMES CHRISTIE, 'THE SPECIOUS ORATOR' 117

BENJAMIN HEATH, BOOK-COLLECTOR, 1738 123

SPECIMEN OF TYPE OF THE MAZARIN BIBLE 125

A CORNER IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM 127

ALDUS, FROM A CONTEMPORARY MEDAL 129

THE FIFTY-SEVEN ALTHORP CAXTONS 134

FROM 'GAME AND PLAY OF CHESSE,' BY CAXTON 135

SPECIMEN OF THE TYPE OF 'THE BOKE OF ST. ALBANS' 137

SPECIMEN PAGE OF TYNDALE'S TESTAMENT, 1526 138

JOHN MURRAY, OF SACOMB, BOOK-HUNTER 139

TITLE-PAGE OF THE FIRST EDITION OF 'THE COMPLEAT ANGLER' 144

FROM THE 'PILGRIM'S PROGRESS,' PART II. 145

CORNELIUS WALFORD, BOOK-COLLECTOR 152

THE SOUTH SIDE OF HOLYWELL STREET 153

EXETER 'CHANGE IN 1826 154

A BARROW IN WHITECHAPEL 155

A BOOK-BARROW IN FARRINGDON ROAD 158

A FEW TYPES IN FARRINGDON ROAD 159

HENRY LEMOINE, AUTHOR AND BOOKSELLER 161

THE LATE EDMUND HODGSON, BOOK-AUCTIONEER 164

ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD, 1606. FROM THE CRACE COLLECTION 169

THOMAS BRITTON, 'THE SMALL-COAL MAN,' COLLECTOR OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND MSS. 173

DUKE STREET, LITTLE BRITAIN, FORMERLY CALLED DUCK LANE 175

CHARLES LAMB, AFTER D. MACLISE 177

OLD HOUSES IN MOORFIELDS 178

JONES AND CO. (SUCCESSORS TO LACKINGTON) 180

INTERIOR OF LACKINGTON'S SHOP 181

LACKINGTON'S HALFPENNY 182

THE POULTRY IN 1550 184

THE OLD MANSION HOUSE, CHEAPSIDE 185

GILBERT AND FIELD'S SHOP IN COPTHALL COURT 186

E. GEORGE'S (LATE GLADDING'S) SHOP, WHITECHAPEL ROAD 188

MIDDLE ROW, HOLBORN, 1865 195

WILLIAM DARTON, BOOKSELLER 197

INTERIOR OF DARTON'S SHOP, HOLBORN HILL 198

JAMES WESTELL'S, 114, OXFORD STREET 200

SALKELD'S SHOP—'IVY HOUSE'—IN CLAPHAM ROAD 203

JOHN BAGFORD, SHOEMAKER AND BOOK-DESTROYER 204

MR. TREGASKIS'S SHOP—'THE CAXTON HEAD'—IN HOLBORN 205

DAY'S CIRCULATING LIBRARY IN MOUNT STREET 207

PATERNOSTER ROW ON A BANK HOLIDAY 209

JOHN EVELYN, BOOK-COLLECTOR 212

NEWBERY'S SHOP IN ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD 213

CHARLES TILT'S SHOP 221

BUTCHER ROW, 1798 224

CHARLES HUTT'S HOUSE IN CLEMENT'S INN PASSAGE 226

MR. WILLIAM D. REEVES, BOOKSELLER 227

MESSRS. HILL AND SON'S SHOP IN HOLYWELL STREET 231

MESSRS. SOTHERAN'S SHOP IN PICCADILLY 233

HONEST TOM PAYNE 239

HENRY G. BOHN, BOOKSELLER 243

JOHN H. BOHN 244

MR. F. S. ELLIS 245

A CORNER AT ELLIS AND ELVEY'S 246

WESTMINSTER HALL WHEN OCCUPIED BY BOOKSELLERS AND OTHERS 247

JOHN HATCHARD (1768-1849) 252

JAMES TOOVEY, BOOKSELLER 253

JAMES TOOVEY'S SHOP, PICCADILLY 254

BERNARD QUARITCH, THE NAPOLEON OF BOOKSELLERS 256

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S GOLDEN MANUAL OF PRAYERS (FRONT COVER) 262

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S GOLDEN MANUAL OF PRAYERS (BACK COVER) 263

THE FRONTISPIECE TO 'THE LADIES' LIBRARY' OF STEELE 266

ELIZABETH PINDAR'S BOOKPLATE 267

THE ESHTON HALL LIBRARY 269

'EARNING HIS DINNER' 275

THE KING'S LIBRARY, BRITISH MUSEUM 276

'STEALS A BOOK, PLACES IT IN A NOVELETTE, AND WALKS AWAY' 280

'HE HAD PLACED THE BOOK IN HIS POCKET. SOMEONE HAD RELIEVED HIM OF IT' 282

THE LATE HENRY HUTH, BOOK-COLLECTOR 300

MR. HENRY H. GIBBS, BOOK-COLLECTOR 302

MR. R. COPLEY CHRISTIE, BOOK-COLLECTOR 303

THE LATE FREDERICK LOCKER-LAMPSON 312

PORTRAIT BOOKPLATE OF MR. JOSEPH KNIGHT 313

'AN ORDER FROM MR. GLADSTONE' 315

PORTRAIT BOOKPLATE OF MR. H. S. ASHBEE 316

MR. T. J. WISE, BOOK-COLLECTOR 317

MR. CLEMENT SHORTER'S BOOKPLATE 318

MR. A. BIRRELL, BOOK-COLLECTOR 319

FACSIMILE OF TITLE-PAGE, 'PILGRIM'S PROGRESS,' FIRST EDITION 321



PREFACE.

'THE Book-hunter in London' is put forth as a contribution to the fascinating history of book-collecting in the metropolis; it does not pretend to be a complete record of a far-reaching subject, which a dozen volumes would not exhaust; the present work, however, is the first attempt to deal with it in anything like a comprehensive manner, but of how far or in what degree this attempt is successful the reader himself must decide.

The task itself has been an exceedingly pleasant one to the author, and it only remains for him to thank, collectively, the large number of friends and acquaintances who have so cordially favoured him with advice and information on so many points. In only a couple of quite unimportant instances has he experienced anything approaching churlishness. The geniality and courtesy of the book-collector are proverbial, but specimens of a different type are evidently to be found here and there.

As regards the chapter on Modern Collectors, the author's object has been to deal with a representative selection of the bibliophiles of to-day. To aim at anything like completeness in this section of the book would be highly undesirable, having regard to a proportionate representation of the subject as a whole. Completeness, moreover, would be an impossibility, even in a volume devoted entirely to modern men.

The greatest possible care has been taken to prevent inaccuracy of any kind, but whilst freedom from error is a consummation which every author desires, it is also one of which few can boast. The reader will be doing the author a favour by informing him of any mistake which may be detected in the following pages. An omission in the account of Stewart, the founder of Puttick's, may be here made good: he had the privilege of selling David Garrick's choice library in 1823. The author regrets to learn that Purcell (p. 165), a very intelligent bookseller, died some months ago.

'The Book-hunter in London' is the outcome not only of material which has been accumulating for many years past, from published and unpublished sources, but also of a long and pleasant intercourse with the leading book-collectors and booksellers in London, not to mention a vigorous and constant prosecution of one of the most pleasant and instructive of hobbies. The author has freely availed himself of the information in the works of Dibdin, Nichols, and other writers on the subject, but their statements have been verified whenever possible, and acknowledgements have been made in the proper places to the authorities laid under contribution.

W. R.

86, GROSVENOR ROAD, S.W.



INTRODUCTION.

IT would be quite as great a fallacy to assume that a rich man is also a wise one, as to take for granted that he who has accumulated a large library is necessarily a learned man. It is a very curious fact, but none the less a fact, that just as the greatest men have the shortest biographies, so have they been content with the smallest libraries. Shakespeare, Voltaire, Humboldt, Comte, Goethe had no collection of books to which the term library could fairly be applied. But though each preferred to find in Nature and in Nature's handiworks the mental exercise which less gifted men obtain from books, that did not prevent them from being ardent book-lovers. Shakespeare—to mention one only—must have possessed a Plutarch, a Stowe, a Montaigne, and a Bible, and probably half a dozen other books of less moment. And yet, with this poor show, he was as genuine a book-lover as Ben Jonson or my Lord Verulam. Lord Burleigh, Grotius, and Bonaparte are said to have carried their libraries in their pockets, and doubtless Shakespeare could have carried his under his arm.

If all great men have not been book-collectors in the manner which is generally understood by the phrase, it is certain that they have, perhaps without a single exception, been book-lovers. They appear, for the most part, to have made a constant companion of some particularly favourite book; for instance, St. Jerome slept with a copy of Aristotle under his pillow; Lord Clarendon had a couple of favourites, Livy and Tacitus; Lord Chatham had a good classical library, with an especial fondness for Barrow; Leibnitz died in a chair with the 'Argenis' of Barclay in his hand; Kant, who never left his birthplace, Koenigsburg, had a weakness in the direction of books of travel. 'Were I to sell my library,' wrote Diderot, 'I would keep back Homer, Moses, and Richardson.' Sir W. Jones, like many other distinguished men, loved his Caesar. Chesterfield, agreeing with Callimachus, that 'a great book is a great evil,' and with La Fontaine—

'Les longs ouvrages me font peur Loin j'epuiser une matiere Il faut n'en prendre que la fleur'—

hated ponderous, prosy, pedantic tomes. Garrick had an extensive collection on the history of the stage, but Shakespeare was his only constant friend. Gibbon was a book-collector more in the sense of a man who collects books as literary tools than as a bibliophile. But it is scarcely necessary just now to enter more fully into the subject of great men who were also book-lovers. Sufficient it is, perhaps, to know that they have all felt the blessedness of books, for, as Washington Irving in one of his most lofty sentences has so well put it, 'When all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these [the comforts of a well-stored library] only retain their steady value; when friends grow cold, and the converse of intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, these only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived hope nor deserted sorrow.'

It is infinitely easier to name those who have collected books in this vast and unwieldy London of ours, than it is to classify them. To adopt botanical phraseology, the genus is defined in a word or two, but the species, the varieties, the hybrids, and the seedlings, how varied and impossible their classification! Most men have bought books, some have read a few, and others many; but beyond this rough grouping together we shall not attempt anything. One thing, however, the majority of book-collectors agree in, and that is in regarding their own generation as a revolution—they have, as Butler has described it in his picture of an antiquary, 'a great value for that which is past and gone, like the madman that fell in love with Cleopatra.'

Differing in many, and often material, points as one book-collector does from another, the entire passion for collecting may be said to focus itself into two well-defined grooves. A man either collects books for his own intellectual profit, or out of pure ostentatious vanity. In the ensuing pages there will be found ample and material facts in regard to the former, so that we may say here all that we have to say regarding the latter. The second type of book-enthusiast has two of the most powerful factors in his apparently reckless career—his own book-greed, and the bookseller who supplies and profits by him.

'What do you think of my library?' the King of Spain once asked Bautru, the French wit, as he showed him the collection at the Escurial, at that time in the charge of a notoriously ignorant librarian.

'Your Majesty's library is very fine,' answered Bautru, bowing low; 'but your Majesty ought to make the man who has charge of it an officer of the Treasury.'

'And why?' queried the King.

'Because,' replied Bautru, 'the librarian of your Majesty seems to be a man who never touches that which is confided to him.'

There are many varieties of the ignorant collector type. The most fruitful source is the nouveau riche. Book-collecting is greatly a matter of fashion; and most of us will remember what Benjamin Franklin said of this prevailing vice: 'There are numbers that, perhaps, fear less the being in hell, than out of the fashion.' The enterprising individual who, on receipt of a catalogue of medical books, wired to the bookseller, 'What will you take for the lot?' and on a price being quoted, again telegraphed, 'Send them along,' was clearly a person who wished to be fashionable. Another characteristically amusing illustration of this type of book-collector is related by an old-established second-hand bookseller, who had bought at a country sale some two or three hundred volumes in a fair condition. But they were principally old sermons, or, what is worse, theology and political economy. He placed a sample lot outside his shop, leaving the bulk of the stock untouched. The little parcel attracted the attention of a stylishly dressed man, who entered the shop and said, 'I'll take these books, and, say, have you any more of this kind with this shield onto them?' pointing to the bookplate attached, which bore the arms and name of a good old county family. 'That box, sir, is full of books from the same house, and probably every book has the same bookplate, but I have not yet had time to examine them.' 'What's yer figger for them, any way? See here, I start back to Chicago to-morrow, and I mean to take these books right back along. I'm goin' to start a libery thar, and these books will just fit me, name and all. Just you sort out all that have that shield and name, and send them round to the Langham at seven sharp. I'll be round to settle up; but see, now, don't you send any without that name-plate, for that's my name, too, and I reckon this old hoss with the daggers and roosters might have been related to me some way.'

'I remember,' says the Marquis d'Argenson, in his 'Memoires,' 'once paying a visit to a well-known bibliomaniac, who had just purchased an extremely scarce volume, quoted at a fabulous price. Having been graciously permitted by its owner to inspect the treasure, I ventured innocently to remark that he had probably bought it with the philanthropic intention of having it reprinted. "Heaven forbid!" he exclaimed in a horrified tone; "how could you suppose me capable of such an act of folly! If I were, the book would be no longer scarce, and would have no value whatever. Besides," he added, "I doubt, between ourselves, if it be worth reprinting." "In that case," said I, "its rarity appears to be its only attraction." "Just so," he complacently replied; "and that is quite enough for me."'

Another type which borders dangerously near to that which we have been describing is the collector who, not necessarily ignorant, collects for himself alone. The motto which Grolier adopted and acted upon—'Io Grolierii et amicorum'—might have been a very safe principle to go upon in the sixteenth century, but it would most certainly fail in the nineteenth, when one's dearest friends are the most unmitigated book-thieves. But perhaps even the too frequent loss of books is an evil to be preferred to the egoistical meanness of the selfish collector. Balzac gives in his 'Cousin Pons' a vivid delineation of such a person. The hero is a poor drudging music-teacher and orchestra-player, who has invested every franc of his hard-won earnings in the collecting of exquisite paintings, prints, bric-a-brac, and other rare mementoes of the eighteenth century. Despised by all, even by his kindred, trodden upon as a nobody, slow, patient, and ever courageous, he unites to a complete technical knowledge a marvellous intuition of the beautiful, and his treasures are for him pride, bliss, and life. There is no show in this case, no desire for show, no ambition of the despicable shoddy-genteel sort—a more than powerful creation of fiction. A strikingly opposite career of selfishness is suggested by the fairly well-known story of Don Vincente, the friar bookseller of Barcelona, who, in order to obtain a volume which a rival bookseller, Paxtot, had secured at an auction, set fire one night to Paxtot's shop, and stole the precious volume—a supposed unique copy of the 'Furs e ordinacions fetes per los gloriosos reys de Arago als regnicoes del regne de Valencia,' printed by Lambert Palmart, 1482. When the friar was brought up for judgment, he stolidly maintained his innocence, asserting that Paxtot had sold it to him after the auction. Further inquiry resulted in the discovery that Don Vincente possessed a number of books which had been purchased from him by customers who were shortly afterwards found assassinated. It was only after receiving a formal promise that his library should not be dispersed, but preserved in its integrity, that he determined to make a clean breast of it, and confess the details of the crimes that he had committed. In cross-examination, Don Vincente spurned the suggestion that he was a thief, for had he not given back to his victims the money which they had paid him for the books?

'And it was solely for the sake of books that you committed these murders?' asked the judge.

'Books! yes, books! Books are the glory of God!'

Vincente's counsel, in defence of his client, in this desperate strait maintained that there might exist several copies of the books found in his possession, and that it was out of the question to condemn, on his own sham avowal, a man who appeared to be half cracked. The counsel for the prosecution said that that plea could not be urged in the case of the book printed by Lambert Palmart, as but one copy of that was in existence. But the prisoner's counsel retorted by putting in evidence attested affirmation that a second copy was in France.

Up to this moment Vincente had maintained an imperturbable calm; but on hearing his counsel's plea he burst into tears. In the end, Don Vincente was condemned to be strangled, and when asked if he had anything more to urge, all he could utter, sobbing violently, was, 'Ah! your worship, my copy was not unique!'

Cousin Pons and Don Vincente are extreme instances of bibliomaniacs to whom the possession of a book was the supreme happiness of life. The man of Fiction and the man of Fact were at one in this passion of acquisitiveness. Don Vincente was compelled by hunger—mala suada fames—to become a book seller; and if it became a general rule for book-collectors to become booksellers there would, we venture to think, be a very material increase in police-court and, perhaps, criminal cases generally. Mr. G. A. Sala tells us an amusing story of the late Frederick Guest Tomlins, a historian and journalist of repute. In the autumn of his life Tomlins decided to set up as a bookseller. He purposed to deal chiefly in mediaeval literature, in which he was profoundly versed. The venture was scarcely successful. A customer entered his shop one day and asked for a particular book, as marked in the catalogue. 'I had really no idea it was there,' meditatively remarked Mr. Tomlins, as he ascended a ladder to a very high shelf and pulled out a squabby little tome. Then he remained about five-and-twenty minutes on the ladder absorbed in the perusal of the volume, when the customer, growing impatient, began to rap on the counter with his stick. Thereupon Mr. Tomlins came down the ladder. 'If you think,' he remarked, with calm severity, to the intending purchaser, 'that any considerations of vile dross will induce me to part with this rare and precious little volume, you are very much mistaken. It is like your impudence. Be off with you!' A not altogether dissimilar anecdote is related by Lord Lytton in that curious novel 'Zanoni,' in which one of the characters is an old bookseller who, after years of toil, succeeded in forming an almost perfect library of works on occult philosophy. Poor in everything but a genuine love for the mute companions of his old age, he was compelled to keep open his shop, and trade, as it were, in his own flesh. Let a customer enter, and his countenance fell; let him depart empty-handed, and he would smile gaily, oblivious for a time of bare cupboard and inward cravings.

A propos of a literary man turning bookseller, the experiment has often been tried, but it has generally failed. Second-hand bookselling seems to be a frequent experiment after the failures of other trades and callings. We have known grocers, greengrocers, coal-dealers, pianoforte-makers, printers, bookbinders, cheap-jacks, in London, adopt the selling of books as a means of livelihood. Sometimes—and several living examples might be cited—the experiment is a success, but frequently a failure. The knowledge of old books is not picked up in a month or a year. The misfortune which seems to dog the footsteps of many men in every move they make, does not fail to pursue them in bookselling. Some of them might almost say with Fulmer, in Cumberland's 'West Indian' (1771): 'I have beat through every quarter of the compass . . . I have blustered for prerogatives, I have bellowed for freedom, I have offered to serve my country, I have engaged to betray it . . . I have talked treason, writ treason. . . . And here I set up as a bookseller, but men leave off reading, and if I were to turn butcher I believe they'd leave off eating.'

There can be no doubt about the fact that Englishmen as a rule do not attach sufficient importance to book-buying. If the better-class tradesman, or professional man, spends a few pounds at Christmas or on birthday occasions, he feels that he has become a patron of literature. How many men, who are getting L1,000 a year, spend L1 per month on books? The library of the average middle-class person is in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the cruelest possible commentary on his intelligence, and, as a matter of fact, if it contains a couple of volumes worthy of the name of books, their presence is more often than not an accidental one. A few volumes of the Sunday at Home, the Leisure Hour, Cassell's Magazine, or perhaps a few other monthly periodicals, carefully preserved during the twelve months of their issue, and bound up at the end of the year—with such stuff as this is the average Englishman's bookcase filled. Mark Pattison has gone so far as to declare that while the aggregate wealth of the United Kingdom is many times more than it was one hundred and fifty years ago, the circle of book-buyers, of the lovers of literature, is certainly not larger, if it be not absolutely smaller. It may be urged that a person with L1,000 per annum as income usually spends L100 in rent, and that the accommodation which can be got for that amount does not permit of one room being devoted to library purposes. This may be true, but this explanation is not a valid excuse, for a set of shelves, 13 feet by 10 feet 6 inches, placed against a wall will accommodate nearly one thousand octavo volumes—the genius of the world can be pressed into a hundred volumes. An American has advised his readers to 'own all the books you can, use all the books you own, and as many more as you can get.' The advice is good, and it is well to remember that by far the majority of great book-collectors have lived to a ripe old age. The companionship of books is unquestionably one of the greatest antidotes to the ravages of time, and study is better than all medical formulas for the prolongation of life.

The man who has resolved upon getting together a collection of first-class books may not unreasonably be appalled at the difficulties which stand in the way. And what, indeed, it may be asked, will become of the hundreds and thousands of books which are now all the fashion? How many will survive the levelling process of the next half a score of years, and how few will be known, except to bibliographers, half a century hence? The lessons of the past would aid us in arriving at some sort of conclusion as regards the future, if we were inclined to indulge in speculation of this vain character. It will, however, be interesting to point out that of the 1,300 books printed before the beginning of the sixteenth century, not more than 300 are of any importance to the book-collector. Of the 50,000 published in the seventeenth century, not more than perhaps fifty are now held in estimation; and of the 80,000 published in the eighteenth century not more than 300 are considered worth reprinting, and not more than 500 are sought after.

In a curious little book, 'L'An 2440, revue s'il en fut jamais,' published in Paris a century ago, there is a very quaint description of the process by which, in an improved state of society, men would apply themselves not to multiply books, but to gather knowledge. The sages of the political millennium exhibited their stores of useful learning in a cabinet containing a few hundred volumes. All the lumber of letters had perished, or was preserved only in one or two public libraries for the gratification of a few harmless dreamers that were tolerated in their laborious idleness. This pleasant little picture, drawn by M. L. S. Mercier, of the state of things five centuries hence, is in strong contrast to the painful plethora of books of the present day. Dr. Ingleby, the famous Shakespearian scholar, is credited with the idea of establishing a society for the purpose of procuring books which no one else would buy; but this society (the 'Syncretic Book-club') could not have had any success if the vast quantities of unsaleable rubbish which one meets with on every hand are to be taken into account. Doubtless Dr. Ingleby would have included in his scope such books as Lord Lonsdale's 'Memoir of the Reign of James II.,' 1803, which fifty years ago sold for 5-1/2 guineas, but which, within the past few months, has declined to two shillings!

There was a time when even old and unsaleable books had a commercial value. Before the cheapening of paper, a second-hand bookseller had always the paper-mill to fall back on, and the price then paid, L1 10s. per cwt., was one inducement to dispose of folios and quartos which remained year in and year out without a purchaser. The present price of waste-paper is half a crown a hundredweight, so that the bookseller is now practically shut out of this poor market. Indeed, an enterprising bibliopole was lately offering 'useful old books,' etc., at 3s. 6d. per cwt., free on the rails, provided not less than six hundredweight is bought. 'To young beginners,' he states, 'these lots are great bargains'; but whether he means young beginners in literature or young beginners in trade, is an open question. In either case, 'useful old books' at the price of waste-paper are a novelty. There is a certain amount of danger in the wholesale destruction of books, for posterity may place a high value, literary and commercial, on the very works which are now consigned to the paper-mill. Unfortunately, posterity will not pay booksellers' rent of to-day. Just as those books which have the largest circulation are likely to become the rarest, so do those which were at one time most commonly met with often, after the lapse of a few decades, become difficult to obtain. In one of his 'Echoes' notes, Mr. G. A. Sala tells us that, in the course of forty years' bookstall-hunting, he has known a great number of books once common become scarce and costly—e.g., Lawrence's 'Lectures on Man'; Walker's 'Analysis of Beauty'; Millingen's 'Curiosities of Medical Experience'; Beckford's 'Vathek' in French; Jeremy Bentham's works; and Harris's 'Hermes.' Possibly the disappearance of these and many other books may be attributed to certain definite causes. For example, in the early years of this century one of the commonest books at 1s. or 1s. 6d. was Theobald's 'Shakespeare Restored'; but fifty years later it was a very rare book. The interest in Shakespeare and his editors had become quite wide-spread in literary circles, and literature in any way bearing on the subject found ready purchasers.

Just as the disappearance of certain books sends their prices up considerably in the market, so the unexpected appearance of others has just the reverse effect. Until quite recently one of the scarcest of the first editions of the writings of Charles Dickens was a thin octavo pamphlet of seventy-one pages, entitled 'The Village Coquettes: a Comic Opera. In two Acts. London: Richard Bentley, 1836.' So rare was this book that very few collectors could boast the possession of it, and an uncut example might always be sold for L30 or L40. About a year before his death, Dickens was asked by Mr. Locker-Lampson whether he had a copy; his reply was: 'No, and if I knew it was in my house, and if I could not get rid of it in any other way, I would burn the wing of the house where it was'—the words, no doubt, being spoken in jest. Not long since, a mass of waste-paper from a printer's warehouse was returned to the mills to be pulped, and would certainly have been destroyed had not one of the workmen employed upon the premises caught sight of the name of 'Charles Dickens' upon some of the sheets. The whole parcel was carefully examined, and the searchers were rewarded by the discovery of nearly a hundred copies of 'The Village Coquettes,' in quires, clean and unfolded. These were passed into the market, and the price at once fell to about L5. The most curious things turn up sometimes in a similar manner. A little sixpenny bazaar book ('Two Poems,' by Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, 1854) was for a long time extremely rare, as much as L3 or L4 being paid for it when it occurred for sale. Suddenly it appeared in a bookseller's catalogue at 2s., and as every applicant could have as many as he wanted, it then leaked out that the bookseller, Mr. Herbert, had purchased about 100 copies with books which he purposed sending to the mill. Even 'remainders' sometimes turn out to be little gold-mines. The late Mr. Stibbs bought the 'remainder' of Keats's 'Endymion' at 4d. per copy. We do not know what he realized by this investment, but their value for some years has been L4 and upwards.



The subject of book-finds is one about which a volume might be written. Every 'special' collector has his fund of book-hunting anecdotes and incidents, for, where the rarity of a well-known book is common property, there is not usually much excitement in running it to earth. The fun may be said to begin when two or three people are known to be on the hunt after a rare and little-known volume, whose interest is of a special character. To take, as an illustration, one of the most successful book-hunters of modern times, the late Henry Stevens, of Vermont. Until Mr. Stevens created the taste for Americana among his fellow-countrymen, very few collectors considered the subject worth notice. And yet, in the space of a quarter of a century, he unearthed more excessively rare and unique items than the wildest dreamer could have supposed to exist. Books and pamphlets which were to be had for the proverbial old song when he first came to this country quickly became the objects of the keenest competition in the saleroom, and invariably found buyers at extravagant prices. As an illustration, although not an American item, we may mention that when a copy of the Mazarin Bible was offered at Sotheby's in 1847, the competitors were an agent of Mr. James Lenox (Stevens' client) and Sir Thomas Phillipps in person; the latter went to L495, but the agent went L5 better, and secured the prize at the then unheard-of price of L500. At first Mr. Lenox declined to take the book, but eventually altered his mind, wisely as it proved, for although at long intervals copies are being unearthed, the present value of Mr. Lenox's copy cannot be much short of L4,000. During 1854 and 1855 Mr. Stevens bought books to the value of over 50,000 dollars for Mr. Lenox, and on reviewing the invoices of these two years, 'I am confident,' says Mr. Stevens, 'that, if the same works were now' (1887) 'to be collected, they would cost more than 250,000 dollars. But can so much and so many rare books ever be collected again in that space of time?' In December, 1855, Mr. Stevens offered Mr. Lenox in one lump about forty Shakespeare quartos, all in good condition, and some of them very fine, for L500, or, including a fair set of the four folios, L600, an offer which was accepted, and it may be doubted whether such a set could now be purchased for L6,000. Mr. Lenox was for over ten years desirous of obtaining a perfect copy of 'The Bay Psalter,' printed by Stephen Daye at Cambridge, New England, 1640, the first book printed in what is now the United States, and had given Mr. Stevens a commission of L100 for it. After searching far and wide, the long-lost 'Benjamin' was discovered in a lot at the sale of Pickering's stock at Sotheby's in 1855. 'A cold-blooded coolness seized me, and advancing towards the table behind Mr. Lilly, I quietly bid, in a perfectly neutral tone, "Sixpence"; and so the bids went on, increasing by sixpences, until half a crown was reached and Mr. Lilly had loosened the string. Taking up this very volume, he turned to me and remarked, "This looks a rare edition, Mr. Stevens; don't you think so? I do not remember having seen it before," and raised the bid to 5s. I replied that I had little doubt of its rarity, though comparatively a late edition of the Psalms, and at the same time gave Mr. Wilkinson a sixpenny nod. Thenceforward a "spirited competition" arose between Mr. Lilly and myself, until finally the lot was knocked down to Stevens for 19s.' The volume had cost the late Mr. Pickering 3s. It became Mr. Lenox's property for L80. Twenty-three years later another copy was bought by Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt for 1,200 dollars.

In a letter to Justin Windsor, the late J. Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps gave some very curious and interesting information respecting book-collecting in the earlier half of the present century. 'About the year 1836,' he wrote, 'when I first began hunting for old books at the various stalls in our famous London city, black-letter ones and rare prints were "plenty as blackberries," and I have often found such things in unlikely places and amidst a mass of commonplace rubbish, exposed for sale in boxes labelled, "These books and pamphlets 6d. or 1s. each," outside an old bookseller's window, where another notice informed the passer-by that "Libraries were purchased or books bought;" and thus plainly showed how such now indeed rarities came into the possession of an ignorant bibliopole. It was not, however, till about 1840 that I turned my attention to the more special work of collecting Shakespeare quartos, in which, I may say, I have been very successful. It was at one of George Chalmers' sales that I first bought one or two, and after that I hunted for them in all parts of the country, and met with considerable success, often buying duplicates, and even triplicates, of the same edition and play. At one time I possessed no less than three copies of the very rare quarto edition of "Romeo and Juliet," 1609, and sometimes even had four copies of more than one of the other quartos. Not so very long before this period, old Jolley, the well-known collector, picked up a Caxton at Reading, and a "Venus and Adonis," 1594, at Manchester, in a volume of old tracts, for the ignoble sum of 1s. 3d. Jolley was a wealthy orange-merchant of Farringdon Street, London, and entertained me often with many stories of similar fortunate finds of rare books, which served to whet my appetite only the more. But I was soon stopped in my book-hunting career by the appearance all at once on the scene of a number of buyers with much longer purses than my own, and thus I was driven from a market I had derived so much pleasure from with great regret. Some time afterwards circumstances rendered it desirable that I should part with a large number of my book-treasures by auction and to the British Museum; but even then I retained enough to be instrumental in founding the first Shakespearian library in Scotland, by presenting to the University of Edinburgh, amongst other rarities, nearly fifty copies of original quartos of Shakespeare's plays, printed before the Restoration, and to keep sufficient myself of the rarest and most valuable examples.'

Sometimes the notes of a former possessor have a considerable literary interest, as, for example, the copy of Stowe's 'Survey of London,' 1618, presented to the Penzance Library by the late J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, who has written, under date December 24, 1867, the following note: 'This is a favourite book of mine. I like to read of London as it was, with the bright Thames crowded with fish, and its picturesque architecture. . . . I should not have discarded this volume for any library, had I not this day picked up a beautiful large paper copy of it, the only one in that condition I ever saw or heard of.'

As an illustration of the enhanced value possessed by books having notes written in them by their owners, it may be mentioned that when the great Mr. Fox's furniture was sold by auction after his death in 1806, amongst the books there happened to be the first volume of Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall,' which apparently had been given by the author to Fox, who wrote on the fly-leaf this note: 'The author at Brooks' said there was no salvation for this country, until six heads of the principal persons in the administration were laid on the table. Eleven days after, this same gentleman accepted a place of "lord of trade" under those very ministers, and has acted with them ever since.' This peculiarly nasty little note sent the value of the odd volume up to L3 3s. Gibbon, writing in his 'Autobiography' of Fox, says, 'I admired the powers of a superior man, as they are blended in his attractive character with the softness and simplicity of a child,' an opinion which he might have modified if he had lived to read the foregoing note. When Canning's books, for the most part of an exceedingly commonplace and uninteresting character, came under the hammer at Christie's in 1828, the competition was extremely keen for all volumes which bore the great statesman's autograph, and as most of the books contained more or less elaborate indications of Canning's proprietorship, his executors received nearly double the sum which they could reasonably expect. Similar illustrations occur every year at book-auctions.

The idiosyncrasies of collectors might make quite as long a chapter as that of books which have belonged to famous persons, and it is for the same reason that we have to deal briefly with each. It is curious that almost as soon as book-collecting became at all general, the 'faddy' man came into existence. Dr. John Webster, of Clitheroe, who died June 18, 1682, aged seventy-two, for example, had a library which was rich in books of romance, and what was then termed 'the black art'; but Webster was the author of a rare volume on witchcraft, so that his books were his literary tools—just as, a century later, John Rennie, the distinguished civil engineer, made a speciality of mathematical books, of which he had a collection nearly complete in all languages. Dr. Benjamin Moseley's library, which was sold by Stewart in March, 1814, was composed for the most part of books on astrology, magic, and facetiae. The Rev. F. J. Stainforth, whose library was sold at Sotheby's in 1867, collected practically nothing but books written by or relating to women; he aimed to secure not only every book, but every edition of such books. He was a most determined book-hunter, and when Holywell Street was at its lowest moral ebb, this eccentric gentleman used to visit all the bookshops almost daily, his inquiry being, 'Have you any women for me to-day?' Mr. Stainforth, who died in September, 1866, was for many years curate of Camden Church, Camberwell, and was from 1851 incumbent of All Hallow's, Staining, the stipend of which was about L560, and the population about 400. 'Bless my books—all my Bible books, all my hocus pocus, and all my leger-de-main books, and all my other books, whether particularly mentioned at this time or not,' was the prayer of a Scotsman of about a century and a quarter ago, and so perhaps the Rev. Mr. Stainforth thought, if he did not utter occasionally some such petition.[xxix-A]

Half a century ago one of the most inveterate frequenters of book-auctions was a certain Dr. G., of diminutive stature, on account of an awkward deviation of the spine. At that time the appearance of a private purchaser at a sale was a very rare event, and one which, when it occurred, invariably met with a more or less hostile reception from the fraternity. Dr. G.'s first appearance produced a good deal of sensation. The hunchback, it is true, was rather shabbily dressed, but 'l'habit ne fait pas le moine,' and is certainly no trustworthy index to the pockets of the wearer. Excitement reached fever-heat when a Wynkyn de Worde was put up and persistently contested for by the doctor, who ran it up against the booksellers present (some of whom quickly desisted from the fun for fear of burning their fingers), one of whom, far exceeding his commission, obstinately refused to give in until the book was knocked down to him to his own dismay, and the delight and ironical compliments of his colleagues. After this contretemps the doctor had it pretty much his own way; his name was duly entered on the sale catalogue, and his address was known. The next day our bookseller, sobered by reflection, called on the doctor, confessed his sin of the previous day, humbly asked for absolution, and offered him the book at an immense loss on the sale price. 'If you were,' replied the doctor, 'to bring the book at my door for nothing, I would take it with a pair of tongs and drop it into the gutter.' It was a puzzle to everyone what the little doctor did with all his purchases, which were limited chiefly to classical books. At his death, however, it transpired that he bought for the various Universities of the United Kingdom. The doctor's son, a poor curate, entered his late father's library for the first time, and found there a mass of books, which occupied nearly a month in selling, and realized, to his delight, a large sum of money.

The contempt with which Dr. G. received the bookseller's proposal is peculiarly typical of the book-collector. If he cannot obtain what he wants just exactly when he wants it, he does not care about it. The book-collector is doubtless too prone to despise everything which is not quite in his line, forgetting that all branches of literature contribute in some degree, greater or lesser, to the bulk of human knowledge. No man can be universal, even if he had the wealth of a dozen Rothschilds, or the mental vigour and versatility of a hundred Gladstones.

The book-hunter has, however, his good traits, which sometimes require a good deal of finding, it is true. We need not dwell at great length on his apparently unconquerable habit of beating down the prices, for the custom is too well known to require much explanation; but a view of the other side of the picture is only fair. A few years ago a well-known bookseller catalogued a copy of the 'Book of Job' at a very low figure. A wealthy collector, whose purchases were generally closed on the judgment of a distinguished bookman, asked to have the copy sent on approval. It was despatched; but came back within a few days. No explanation was volunteered: when, however, the collector came into the shop a short time after, he was asked why he had returned the book. His answer was to the effect that he could not persuade himself that the illustrations were really by Blake, particularly as the price asked was so low. A week or so after this a distinguished art-critic, hearing of the whereabouts of this copy, asked to have it on approval: in sending it the bookseller enclosed a note to the effect that some doubt had been expressed as to the genuineness of the plates. In a few days came a cheque from the man of art for L10 over and above the catalogue price, and a note to the effect that the illustrations were not only unquestionably by Blake, but in the finest possible state.

Last summer a certain bookseller sold, after some considerable amount of haggling, a very fine Missal for L65, which was L5 less than its catalogue price. A few weeks after the purchaser called and paid the additional L5, explaining that a friend of his had taken a violent fancy to the book, and begged to be allowed to possess it at L70. Another honest book-collector, discovering that he had bought a book considerably cheaper than an example had been sold at Sotheby's, and L2 less than Mr. Quaritch had asked for a similar copy, sent his bookseller a present of a parcel of books to make up the difference in the two amounts.

With these few introductory and perhaps desultory pages, the reader is invited to the more solid feast provided for his delectation in the following pages.

FOOTNOTES:

[xxix-A] Mr. Stainforth's collection ranged over 300 years, and, amid much utter rubbish, there were a few things of considerable rarity, notably one of only three complete copies known of T. Bentley's 'Monument of Matrones,' 1582, formerly in the libraries of Herbert, Woodhouse, Heber and Bliss. It included two autograph letters of the Right Hon. T. Grenville, and realized L63; Anne Bradstreet's 'Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America,' 1650, L12 10s.; and a copy of Dame Juliana Berners' 'Booke of Hauking,' etc., L13. Nearly fifty items appear under the name of Aphra Behn; whilst there are twenty-one editions of Jane Porter's 'Poems,' which realized the grand total of 14s. The library comprised 3,076 lots (representing, perhaps, twenty times that number of volumes), and realized the total of L792 5s.



THE BOOK-HUNTER IN LONDON



EARLY BOOK-HUNTING.

THOSE who have studied the earlier phases of English history will readily understand that the terms book-hunting in England and book-hunting in London are by no means synonymous. The passion for books had manifested itself in various and remote parts of this country long before London had developed into a place of importance; when, indeed, it was battling from without and within with conflicts which seemed to predict complete annihilation. But the growth of London is essentially typical of the growth of the nation, and of the formation of the national character. When it was laying the foundation of its future greatness London had no thought of intellectual pursuits, even if Londoners themselves had any conception of an intellectual life. For any trace of such unthought-of, and perhaps, indeed, unheard-of, articles as books, we must go to localities far remote from London—to spots where, happily, the strife and din of savage warfare scarcely made themselves heard. The monasteries were the sole repositories of literature; to the monk alone had the written book any kind of intelligence, any species of pleasure. To him it was as essential as the implements of destruction to the warrior, or the plough to the husbandman. The one had no sympathy, no connection, with the other, only in so far that the events which transpired in the battlefield had to be recorded in the scriptorium. Although London was a place of importance at a very early stage of the Roman occupation, it was not in any sense an intellectual centre for centuries after that period.



Indeed, it might be laid down as a general principle that the farther the seeker went from London the more likelihood there was of meeting with books. To Northumbria, from the end of the sixth to the end of the seventh century, we shall have to look for the record of book-buying, for during that period books were imported in very considerable quantities; abbeys arose all along the coast, and scholars proportionately increased. In a letter to Charlemagne, Alcuin speaks of certain 'exquisite books' which he studied under Egbert at York. At Wearmouth, Benedict Biscop (629-690) was amassing books with all the fury of half a dozen ordinary bibliomaniacs. He collected everything, and spared no cost. At York, Egbert had a fine library in the minster. St. Boniface, the Saxon missionary, was a zealous collector. There were also collections—and consequently collectors—of books at places less remote from London—such as Canterbury, Salisbury, Glastonbury, and even St. Albans; but of London itself there is no mention.

Scarcely any such thing as book-hunting or book-selling could possibly have existed in London before the accession of Alfred, who, among the several ways in which he encouraged literature, is said to have given an estate to the author of a book on cosmography. Doubtless, it was after the rebuilding of the city by Alfred that, in the famous letter to Wulfseg, Bishop of London, he takes a retrospective view of the times in which they lived, as affording 'churches and monasteries filled with libraries of excellent books in several languages.' Bede describes London, even at the beginning of the eighth century, as a great market which traders frequented by land and sea; and from a passage in Gale we learn that books were brought into England for sale as early as 705. With the reconstruction of London, the wise government, and the enthusiastic love for letters which animated the great Saxon King, the commerce of the capital not only increased with great rapidity, but the commerce in books between England and other countries, particularly from such bibliopolic centres as Paris and Rome, began to assume very considerable proportions. If, as is undoubtedly the case, books were continually being imported, it follows that they found purchasers. By the beginning of the eleventh century there were many private and semi-private collections of books in or near London. The English book-collectors of the seventh century include Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, Benedict, Abbot of Wearmouth, and Bede; those of the eighth century, Ina, King of the West Saxons, and Alcuin, Abbot of Tours; whilst the tenth century included, in addition to Alfred, Scotus Erigena, Athelstan, and St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury.

But it cannot be said, with due regard to truth, that London was in any sense a seat of learning, or a popular resort for learned men, until well on into the thirteenth century. Doubtless many consignments of books passed through the city on the way to their respective destinations.

Edward I. may be regarded as the first English monarch who took any interest in collecting books; most of his, however, were service books. They are mentioned in the Wardrobe Accounts (1299-1300) of this King, and are only eleven in number. These he may have purchased in 1273 in France, through which he passed on his way home from Palestine. But it is much more probable that he had no thought of books when hurrying home to claim the crown of his father. Contemporary with Edward was another book-collector of a very different type, an abbot of Peterborough, Richard of London, who had a 'private library' of ten books, including the 'Consolation of Philosophy,' which he may have formed in London. But quite the most interesting book-collector (so far as we are concerned just now) of this period is Richard de Gravesend, Bishop of London. A minute catalogue of this collection is among the treasures of St. Paul's Cathedral, and has been privately printed. In this case, the price of each book is affixed to its entry; the total number of volumes is one hundred, their aggregate value being L116 14s. 6d., representing, according to Milman's estimate, L1,760 of our present money. Twenty-one Bibles and parts of Bibles were valued at L19 5s. Twenty-two volumes in this collection deal with canon and civil law, four with ecclesiastical history, and about an equal number with what may be designated science and arts, the rest being of a theological character. The entries run thus:

'Tractatus fr'is Dertti'i de proprietatibus rerum. Libellus instructionum. Liber Avicennae. Liber naturalis.'

The two last-named are respectively the highest and lowest priced items in the list—for books of a single volume only—the 'Liber Avicennae' being valued at the very high figure of L5, and the 'Liber Naturalis' at 3s. A Bible in thirteen volumes is valued at L10; and a 'little Bible' at L1. The total value of the property of this Bishop was scheduled at about L3,000.

In spite of civil strife and foreign complications, the taste for literature made great strides during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with the very natural consequence of an increased demand for, and supply of, books. And the curious thing is that book-collecting was gradually passing away from the monks, and becoming exceedingly popular with the laity. 'Flocks and fleeces, crops and herds, gardens and orchards, the wine of the winecup, are the only books and studies of the monks.' The Franciscans, who (like the Dominicans) came to England in 1224, were expressly forbidden 'the possession of books or the necessary materials for study.' When Roger Bacon joined this order, he was deprived of his books. St. Francis himself, it seems, was once 'tempted to possess books'—by honest means, let us hope, although the point is not quite clear—and he almost yielded to the temptation, but finally decided that it would be sinful. The plague of books seems to have troubled this poor saint's soul, for he hoped that the day would come when men would throw their books out of the window as rubbish.



In proof of the theory that laymen at a very early period became book-collectors, the most interesting example which we can quote is that of Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who died in 1315, and who bequeathed his library to Bordesley Abbey, Worcestershire, where it had already been deposited during his lifetime. Beginning with this preamble, 'A tus iceux qe ceste lettre verront ou orrount. Guy de Beauchamp, Comte de Warr. Saluz en Deu. Nous avoir bayle e en lagarde le Abbe e le covent de Bordesleye, lesse a demorer a touz jours les Romaunces de souz nomes; ces est assaveyr,' the bequest recites, with great minuteness, a remarkably interesting list of books. This list ('escrites ou Bordesleye le premer jour de may, le an du regn le Roy Edw{d} trentime quart') is in the Lambeth Library, but it is reprinted by Todd in his 'Illustrations of Gower and Chaucer,' pp. 161, 162. This list is of more than ordinary interest, chiefly because the collection formed by a layman gives us a very good insight into the class of books which the early nobility of England read, or, at all events, collected. Religious books, of course, formed the background of the library, but there were many romances, such, for instance, as those of King Arthur, of 'Josep alb Arimathie e deu Seint Grael,' of 'Troies,' etc. There was also a book 'De Phisik et de Surgie.'

This collection contained between forty and fifty volumes, in which was included pretty nearly the entire range of human knowledge as it then extended. It is well to remember in connection with this bequest that, at the same time, or, more correctly, in 1300, the academical library of Oxford consisted of a few tracts kept in chests under St. Mary's Church.

With the greatest book-collector of this period, Richard de Bury (1287-1345), the author of the 'Philobiblon,' unfortunately, we have little to do, as his book expeditions appear to have been confined almost entirely to foreign countries. He collected books from every source open to him, and wrote of his passion with a warmth of eloquence of which even Cicero might have been proud. His most important book transaction, which comes within the purview of the present volume, relates to the gift by an Abbot of St. Albans of four volumes to De Bury, then Clerk of the Privy Seal, viz., Terence, Virgil, Quintilian, and Hieronymus against Rufinus. In addition to these, the Abbot sold him thirty-two other books for fifty pounds of silver. When De Bury became Bishop this 'gift' troubled his conscience, and he restored several of the books which had come into his possession in a perfectly honest and legitimate manner, whilst others were secured from the Bishop's executors. One of the volumes acquired in the latter manner is now in the British Museum. It is a large folio MS. on the works of John of Salisbury, and bears upon it a note to the effect that it was written by Simon (Abbot of St. Albans, 1167-1183), and another to the following effect: 'Hunc librum venditum Domino Ricardo de Biry Episcopo Dunelmensi emit Michael Abbas Sancti Albani ab executoribus predicti episcopi anno Domini millesimo ccc{o} xlv{to} circa purificationem Beate Virginis.'

The catalogue of the library of the Benedictine monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, in the Cottonian Collection, British Museum, and printed for the first time at length in Edward's 'Memoirs of Libraries' (i. 122-235), is a remarkable list of the most extensive collection of books at that time in this country. It was formed at the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century. This library was well furnished with works in science and history, and particularly so with the classics—Aristotle, Cicero, Lucan, Plato, Suetonius, Seneca, Terence, and Virgil. The extreme probability is that London was the highway through which the greater part of this and other early libraries passed. If, early in the fifteenth century, the book-hunter in London possessed few opportunities of purchasing books, he would have found several very good libraries which were open to his inspection. There was, for example, a very considerable collection in the Franciscan monastery, which once stood on the site now occupied by Christ's Hospital, Newgate Street. The first stone of this monastery was laid in October, 1421, amid much pomp, by the then Lord Mayor, Sir Richard Whittington, who gave L400 in books. It was covered in before the winter of 1422, and completed in three years, and furnished with books. From Stow's 'Survey' we learn that one hundred marks were expended on the transcription of the works of Nicholas de Lira, to be chained in the library, and of which cost John Frensile remitted 20s. One of the chained books, 'The Lectures of Hostiensis,' cost five marks. From another source we learn that a Carmelite friar named John Wallden bequeathed to this library as many MSS. as were worth 2,000 pieces of gold.

Anthony a Wood refers to the oft-repeated charge of the book-covetousness of the mendicant friars, which, in fact, was carried to such an extreme 'that wise men looked upon it as an injury to laymen, who therefore found a difficulty to get any books.' Of the same period, there is a very curious anecdote in Rymer's 'Foedera' about taking off the duty upon six barrels of books sent by a Roman cardinal to the Prior of the conventual church of St. Trinity, Norwich. These barrels, which lay at the Custom-house, were imported duty free.

Neither the book-hunger of the mendicant friars, nor the difficulties which surrounded the importation of books, appears to have militated greatly against the growing passion. We have the name, and only the name, of a very famous book-hunter—John of Boston—of the first decade of the fifteenth century, whose labours, however, have been completely blotted out of existence by the dispersed monasteries. But there were many other collectors whose memories have been handed down to us in a more tangible form, even if their collections of books are almost as abstract and indefinite as that of John of Boston. During the first quarter of the fifteenth century, we have quite a considerable little group of royal book-collectors—Henry IV., Henry V., and his brothers, John, Duke of Bedford, and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. The last-named was undoubtedly the most enthusiastic bibliophile of the four, but whilst his extensive gifts of books to the University of Oxford may be said to have formed the foundation of the library there, they were in the following century destroyed by the mob. A few examples of his gifts are now preserved in the British Museum and at Oxford. His books were estimated at a very high figure, the value placed on 120 of them (out of the total of 600) being no less than L1,000. The memory of the Duke of Bedford's library is best perpetuated by the famous Bedford Missal, or Book of Hours, perhaps the most splendid example of fifteenth-century illustration. It is now in the British Museum, where it has been since 1852. The history of this missal, perhaps the most interesting in existence, is too well known to be dealt with here (see p. 109).

Henry V. was undoubtedly fond of books. Rymer refers to two petitions to the Council after the King's death for the return of valuable books of history, borrowed by him of the Countess of Westmoreland, and of the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, and not returned, though one of them had been directed to be delivered to its owner by the King's last will. The elegantly illuminated copy of Lydgate's 'Hystory, Sege, and Destruccion of Troye,' 1513, in the Bodleian, is doubtless the copy which Lydgate gave to Henry V. At Cambridge there is the MS. of a French translation of Cardinal Bonaventure's 'Life of Christ,' with the note 'this wasse sumtyme Kinge Henri the fifeth his booke,' etc.

Henry VI. does not appear to have cared for books, and it is not surprising, what with wars abroad and excessive taxation, plague and famine at home, that literary tastes received a severe check. We get several glimpses of the dearth of books. In the MS. history of Eton College, in the British Museum, the Provost and Fellows of Eton and Cambridge are stated, 25 Henry VI., to have petitioned the King that he would be pleased to order one of his chaplains, Richard Chestre, 'to take to him such men as shall be seen to him expedient in order to get knowledge where such bookes [for Divine service] may be found, paying a reasonable price for the same, and that the sayd men might have the choice of such bookes, ornaments, and other necessaries as now late were perteynyng to the Duke of Gloucester, and that the king would particular[ly] cause to be employed herein John Pye—his stacioner of London.'

Book-importation by the galleys that brought the produce of the East to London and Southampton had assumed very considerable proportions during the fifteenth century; but the uncertainties which attended it were not at all favourable to its full development. Book-production was still progressing in the immediate neighbourhood of London. At St. Albans, for example, over eighty were transcribed under Whethamstede during this reign, a number which is peculiarly interesting when the degeneracy of the monasteries is remembered. Neither Edward IV. nor Richard III. seems to have availed himself of the increasing plenty of books. The library of the former was a very unimportant affair. From the Wardrobe Account of this King (1480) we get a few highly interesting facts concerning book-binding, gildings, and garnishing: 'For vj unces and iij quarters of silk to the laces and tassels for garnysshing of diverse Bookes, price the unce xiiijd.—vijs. xd. ob.; for the making of xvj laces and xvj tassels made of the said vj unces and iij of silke, price in grete ijs. viid.' These moneys were paid to Alice Claver, a 'sylk-woman.' And again 'to Piers Bauduyn, stacioner, for bynding, gilding and dressing of a booke called "Titus Livius," xxs.; for bynding, gilding and dressing of a booke of the Holy Trinitie, xvjs.; for bynding, gilding and dressing of a booke called "Frossard," xvjs.; for bynding, gilding and dressing of a booke called the Bible, xvjs.; for bynding, gilding and dressing of a booke called "Le Gouvernement of Kinges and Princes," xvjs.; for bynding and dressing of the three smalle bookes of Franche, price in grete vjs. viiijd.; for the dressing of ij bookes whereof oon is called "La Forteresse de Foy" and the other called the "Book of Josephus," iijs. iiijd.; and for bynding, gilding and dressing a booke called the "Bible Historial," xxs.'

The only incident which calls for special mention in the two next short reigns is a law, 1 Richard III., 1483, by which it was enacted that if any of the printers or sellers of printed books—the 'great plenty' of which came from 'beyond the sea'—'vend them at too high and unreasonable prices,' then the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, or any of the chief justices of the one bench or the other, were to regulate the prices.



BOOK-HUNTING AFTER THE INTRODUCTION OF PRINTING.

I.

THE introduction of printing into this country by Caxton during the latter half of the fifteenth century had very little immediate effect on book-collecting. The operations of the press were slow, its patrons few, and its work controlled by one man. The reproduction of MSS. was essentially a slow process, but when these transcriptions were finished, they rarely failed to find a purchaser. Caxton, like Sweynheim and Pannartz at Subiaco, soon learned the seriousness of over-printing an edition. Collectors were few, and the introduction of printing did not very materially add to their number. London, however, soon became a recognised centre of the trade in books, and Henry VII. patronized, in his curious fashion, the collecting of them. He read, according to Bacon, 'most books that were of any worth in the French tongue,' and one of the most commendable actions of this King was the purchase of the noble series of vellum copies of the works printed at Paris by Antoine Verard, now in the British Museum—an act by which he may be said to have laid the foundation of our great national library. The value of books at this period is not without interest; but we must confine ourselves to one or two facts relating to Caxton's books. At his death in 1492, a copy of the 'Golden Legend' was valued at 6s. 8d. in the books of the Westminster churchwarden. From a note by Dibdin, it would seem that the price of Caxtons towards the end of the reign of Henry VII. was as follows:

'Godfray of Boulogne' (imperfect), iis. Virgil's 'AEneid' (perfect), xijd. 'Fait of Arms and Chivalry' (perfect), ijs. viijd. 'Chastising of God's Children,' viijd.

Henry VIII. was undoubtedly a book-lover as well as a book-collector. He established a library at St. James's. But perhaps it is rather as a book-disperser that Henry is entitled to notice in this place. The dissolution of the monasteries is the genesis of book-collecting in London. The first move in this respect is entitled 'An Act that all religious houses under the yearly revenue of L200 shall be dissolved and given to the King and his heirs,' and is dated 1535 (27 Henry VIII., cap. 28, ii. 134). The second is dated 1539. Whatever advantages in a general way the dissolution of the monasteries may have had, its consequences, so far as regards the libraries, which the monks considered as among their most cherished possessions, were disastrous beyond measure. Indeed, we have no conception of our losses. Addressing himself to Edward VI. in 1549, John Bale, afterwards Bishop of Ossory, who had but little love for Popery of any description, writes in this strain: 'Avarice was the other dispatcher which hath made an end both of our libraries and books . . . to the no small decay of the commonwealth. A great number of them who purchased those superstitious mansions [monasteries], reserved of these Library-books, some . . . to scour their candlesticks, and some to rub their boots; some they sold to the grocers and soap-sellers, and some they sent over sea to the bookbinders, not in small numbers, but at times whole shipsfull, to the wondering of the foreign nations. Yea, the universities of this realm are not all clear in this detestable fact. But cursed is that belly which seeketh to be fed with so ungodly gains, and so deeply shameth his natural country. I know a merchantman, which shall at this time be nameless, that bought the contents of two noble Libraries for forty shillings price: a shame it is to be spoken. This stuff hath he occupied in the stead of gray paper by the space of more than these ten years; and yet he hath store enough for as many years to come. . . . Our posterity may well curse this wicked fact of our age, this unreasonable spoil of England's most noble antiquities, unless they be stayed in time.' Fuller, in his 'Church History of Britain,' quotes Bale's lamentation, and adds his own testimony on the same subject: 'As brokers in Long Lane, when they buy an old suit buy the linings together with the outside, so it was considered meet that such as purchased the buildings of monasteries should in the same grant have the Libraries (the stuffing thereof) conveyed unto them. And now these ignorant owners, so long as they might keep a ledger-book or terrier by direction thereof to find such straggling acres as belonged unto them, they cared not to preserve any other monuments. The covers of books, with curious brass bosses and clasps, intended to protect, proved to betray them, being the baits of covetousness. And so many excellent authors, stripped out of their cases, were left naked, to be buried or thrown away. . . . What soul can be so frozen as not to melt into anger thereat? What heart, having the least spark of ingenuity, is not hot at this indignity offered to literature? I deny not but that in this heap of books there was much rubbish; legions of lying legends, good for nothing but fuel . . . volumes full fraught with superstition, which, notwithstanding, might be useful to learned men; except any will deny apothecaries the privilege of keeping poison in their shops, when they can make antidotes of them. But, beside these, what beautiful Bibles, rare Fathers, subtile Schoolmen, useful Historians—ancient, middle, modern; what painful Comments were here amongst them! What monuments of mathematics all massacred together; seeing every book with a cross was condemned for Popish; with circles for conjuring.'

The calamities bewailed in such picturesque language by Bale and Fuller would have been much more serious but for the labours of one of our earliest antiquaries and book-lovers, John Leland. 'The laboryouse Journey and serche of Johan Leylande for Englandes Antiquities geven of hym as a newe yeares gyfte to kynge Henry the viii in the xxxvij yeare of his Reygne,' 1549, is a remarkable publication, of great interest to the book-hunter and the antiquary.

But the fruits of Leland's researches cannot now be fully known, for he was too intent on accumulating material to draw up an adequate inventory. Much that he preserved from destruction is now in the British Museum, and some is in the Bodleian at Oxford. Some of the fragments which he had saved from the general destruction had been placed in the King's own library in Westminster.

The dissolution of the monasteries had among its many effects the creation, so to speak, of a large number of collectors. One of the most famous of the early sixteenth-century collectors, Sir Thomas More, however, died (in 1535) before he could have availed himself of the many treasures scattered to all quarters of the earth.

Dibdin records a bibliomaniacal anecdote which is well worth repeating here, as it shows how More's love of books had infected even those who came to seize upon him to carry him to the Tower, and to endeavour to inveigle him into treasonable expressions: 'While Sir Richard Southwell and Mr. Palmer weare bussie in trussinge upp his bookes, Mr. Riche, pretending,' etc., 'whereupon Mr. Palmer, on his deposition, said, that he was soe bussie ab{t} the trussinge upp Sir Tho. Moore's bookes in a sacke, that he tooke no heed of there talke.'

Henry, Earl of Arundel, was not slow to seize upon the advantages which the dissolution placed before everyone. At Nonsuch, in Surrey, he formed a library, which is described in a biography of him, written shortly after his death, as 'righte worthye of remembrance.' Besides his numerous MSS. and printed books, he acquired a considerable portion of the library of Cranmer, which was dispersed at the death of the Archbishop. His books passed to his son-in-law, Lord Lumley, at whose decease they were purchased by Henry, Prince of Wales, and are now in the British Museum. The Earl of Arundel's books are handsomely bound, and are known by his badge of the white horse and oak branch which generally occurs on the covers.



In Jeremy Collier's 'Ecclesiastical History' (vol. ii. 307) we get a glimpse of book-matters in London in the middle of the sixteenth century. At the end of February, 1550, we learn that the Council book mentions the King's sending a letter for the purging of the library at Westminster. The persons are not named, but the business was to cull out all superstitious books, as missals, legends, and such-like, and to deliver the garniture of the books, either gold or silver, to Sir Anthony Archer. These books were many of them plated with gold and silver and curiously embossed. This, as far as we can collect, was the superstition that destroyed them. 'Here avarice had a very thin disguise, and the courtiers discovered of what spirit they were to a remarkable degree.' Here is another picture of an almost contemporaneous event, equally vivid in its suggestiveness: 'John Tyndale, the translator's brother, and Thomas Patmore, merchants, were condemned to do penance by riding with their faces to their horses' tails, with their books fastened thick about them, pinned, or tacked, to their gowns or clokes, to the Standard in Cheap; and there with their own hands to fling them into the fire, kindled on purpose to burn them.'

As a book-collecting period the sixteenth century, from the accession of Henry VIII.—when books became the organs of the passions of mankind—to the death of Elizabeth, is full of intense interest. The old order had changed; the world itself had made an entirely fresh start. Men and events of the previous two or three centuries were almost as antique then as they are to-day, and perhaps in many respects they were infinitely less clearly understood. As the century grew in age, so the number of book-collectors increased. The hobby became first a passion with the few, and then the fashion with the many. Henry VIII. was perhaps a passive rather than an active collector, with a distinct leaning in favour of beautiful books. His three children, who followed him on the throne of England, were collectors of books, and the majority of their purchases must have been made in London. Many of these books have, at some time or other, drifted from private hands into the sale-rooms, but perhaps the majority of those now existing are to be found within the walls of our public institutions. For example, at the sale of Dr. Askew's MSS., in 1775, a very interesting item was purchased by a Mr. Jackson, a Quaker, and a dealer in wine and spirits, with whom book-collecting was a passion. The MS. proved to be in the handwriting of Edward VI.; it was in French, and dealt with his opinion of his right to the title of Supreme Head of the Church. At Jackson's sale the MS. became the property of the British Museum. As another illustration, we may refer to the copy of the 'Flores Historiarum per Matthaeum Westmonasteriensem,' etc., 1570, in the British Museum (Cracherode Collection) which is the identical one presented by Archbishop Parker (by whose authority it was published) to Queen Elizabeth. It afterwards fell into the hands of Francis, Earl of Bedford, who bequeathed it, with the furniture of a little study, to his secretary. It was subsequently in the possession of Ritson. And yet again, in the Eton College Library, there is a copy of the 'Missale Romanum,' printed at Paris by Hardouyn, 1530, which belonged to Mary, with a sentence in her handwriting; this volume afterwards came into the possession of Mary of Este, Queen of James II., and subsequently into the hands of a London bookseller, from whom it was purchased for fifty-three shillings by Bishop Fleetwood, and presented to the college library. Indeed, a large volume might be compiled on the Adventures of Some Famous Books.

Interesting and important as is the phase of book-collecting which relates to royal personages, it falls into insignificance beside that of men who have achieved greatness through their own abilities. The books collected by Thomas Cranmer, for example, quite overshadow in interest anything which the whole reign of the Tudors could produce. It has been well said that his knowledge of books was wide, and his opportunities for acquiring them unrivalled. Cranmer was a generous collector, for his library was quite open for the use of learned men. Latimer spent 'many an hour' there, and has himself told us that he met with a copy of Dionysius 'in my Lord of Canterbury's library.' We have already seen that many of Cranmer's books passed into the possession of the Earl of Arundel, but many were 'conveyed and stolen awaie.' Cranmer's books have found an enthusiastic historian in Prebendary Burbidge, who has almost rehabilitated the great ecclesiastic's library in the first part of Mr. Quaritch's 'Dictionary of English Book-collectors.' Another book-collector of a very different type was amassing an extensive library at a somewhat later period than Cranmer: Dr. Dee, the famous necromancer, had collected '4,000 volumes, printed and unprinted, bound and unbound, valued at 2,000 lib.,' of which one Greek, two French and one High Dutch volumes of MSS. alone were 'worth 533 lib.' It occupied forty years to form this library. Most of his books passed into the possession of Elias Ashmole—who was another collector with an insatiable appetite—and now form a part of the Ashmolean Museum. Some of Dee's singular MSS. were found, long after his death, in the secret drawer of a chest, which had passed through many hands undiscovered. Reverting for a moment to Ashmole, he himself tells us that he gave 'five volumes of Mr. Dugdale's' works to the Temple Library. And further: 'My first boatful of books, which were carried to Mrs. Tradescant's, were brought back to the Temple.' In May, 1667, he bought Mr. John Booker's study of books, and gave L140 for them. In 1681 he bought 'Mr. Lilly's library of books of his widow, for L50.'

A very distinguished book-collector of the Elizabethan period was Sir Francis Drake, the great Admiral. It did not seem to be at all known that the distinguished naval hero was also a bibliophile until 1883, when the collection of books was brought from the old residence of the Drakes, Nutwell Court, Lympstone, Devon, to Sotheby's. The sale comprised 1,660 lots, representing several thousand volumes, the total being L3,276 17s. 6d. It was especially rich in books and old tracts of the early seventeenth century relating to the English voyages to America, and some of these realized very high figures. Although the library was undoubtedly founded by Drake, it was evidently continued by his descendants. Bacon, Baron of Verulam, was a distinguished book-collector, as the shelves of his chambers in Gray's Inn would have testified. Archbishop Parker, than whom 'a more determined book-fancier never existed in Great Britain,' and Gabriel Harvey, the friend of Spenser, and the object of Tom Nash's withering scorn, were among the most inveterate book-collectors of Elizabethan London. Had Harvey—whose books usually contain his autograph on the title-page, and not a few of which were given him by Spenser—studied his books less, and the proper study of mankind a little more, he might have shown his talents off to a better advantage than in his conflicts with Nash. In the Bodleian there is a set of old tales and romances which Spenser lent Harvey, taking as a hostage, apparently, Harvey's copy of Lucian in four volumes. Harvey had a very poor opinion of such 'foolish' books, but he does not seem to have returned them to their rightful owner. The fire which destroyed Ben Jonson's MSS. undoubtedly consumed many of his printed books, but examples from his library, with 'Sum Ben Jonson' inscribed, are sometimes met with. Shakespeare may have had a library, but we have no evidence that he possessed even a copy of his own plays in quarto. The Elizabethan poets and dramatists were prodigious contributors to the press, but very poor patrons of booksellers. From various sources we get some highly-coloured and unflattering pictures of the typical booksellers of the period. Tom Nash has limned for us a vivid little portrait in 'Pierce Penilesse' (1592), in which he declares that if he were to paint Sloth, 'I swear that I would draw it like a stationer that I know, with his thumb under his girdle, who, if ever a man come to his stall to ask him for a book, never stirs his head, or looks upon him, but stands stone still, and speaks not a word, only with his little finger points backward to his boy, who must be his interpreter; and so all day, gaping like a dumb image, he sits without motion, except at such times as he goes to dinner or supper, for then he is as quick as other three, eating six times every day.'

II.

From start to finish the Stuart dynasty ruled England for close on three-quarters of a century. That book-collecting should have existed at all under it is a marvel. But the hobby no longer depended upon the patronage of courts and courtiers. From the Wise Fool, James I., to the Foolish Fool, the second James, collectors pursued their hobby in London and out of it. James I. began to collect books at a very early age, and a list of his library was published for the first time in the Athenaeum in 1893. It has, however, but little interest to us in this place, for doubtless most of the books were imported into Scotland from the great book centre, Paris. The library which he acquired after his accession to the throne of England is of little consequence, for he was not the person to purchase books when he had the means, and doubtless many of his bookish possessions were gifts. In the library at Eton College there is his copy of Captain John Smith's 'History of Virginia,' 1624, which was rescued by Storer from a dirty bookseller's shop in Derby, and the existence of many others might be traced. It is certain that 'he gave them shabby coverings, and scribbled idle notes on their margins.' Had his son Henry lived, he might have developed into a respectable book-collector. We know for certain that he 'paid a Frenchman that presented a book, L4 10s.'; and that he paid 'Mr. Holyoak for writing a catalogue of the library which the Prince had of Lord Lumley, L8 13s. 4d.' Charles II., like his forbears, was not a book-buyer, and so far as he is concerned we must content ourselves with repeating a little anecdote after Dibdin, who refers to an 'old and not incurious library at Workingham, in Suffolk,' where there was a very fine ruled copy of Hayes's Bible, published at Cambridge, 1674, in two volumes folio; on the fly-leaf it contains the following memorandum: 'N.B.—This Bible belonged to K. Charles IId. and [was] given by him to Duke Lauderdale and sold by auction w{th} y{e} rest of his Books.' In a comparatively modern hand, below, is written in pencil:

'Hark ye, my friends, that on this Bible look, Marvel not at the fairness of the Book; No soil of fingers, nor such ugly things, Expect to find, Sirs, for it was the King's.'



The most distinguished Metropolitan book-collector of the period was Sir Robert Cotton, who began as early as 1588, and who had assistance from such antiquaries as William Camden and Sir Henry Spelman. This library, after being closed on account of the treasonable character of the documents contained in it, passed into the possession of Cotton's son, Sir Thomas, whose house was almost adjoining Westminster Hall. Anthony a Wood gives a curious account of a visit he paid it, when he found its owner practising on the lute. The key of the library was in the possession of one Pearson, who lodged with a bookseller in Little Britain. Wood was 'forced to walk thither, and much ado there was to find him.' This library was removed to Essex Street, and again back to Westminster to Ashburnham House in Little Dean's Yard, where it suffered greatly from a fire in 1731, and what remains of it is now in the British Museum. Sir Thomas Bodley was another collector, but few of his accumulations appear to have come from London. The extraordinary collection of pamphlets got together by Tomlinson, and now stored in the British Museum, is too well known to need more than a passing reference. It is not so generally known that Narcissus Luttrell was a very voracious collector of broadsides, tracts, and so forth. To nearly every one of the items he affixed the price he paid for it. In 1820, at the Bindley sale, this extraordinary collection, ranging in date from 1640 to 1688, and comprising twelve volumes, realized the then large amount of L781.



Sir Julius Caesar, Master of the Rolls under James I., was a book-collector of the right sort, and his box of charming little editions of the classics, with which he used to solace himself on a journey, is now in the safe keeping of the British Museum. Sir Julius was born in 1557, and died in April, 1636; he possessed a fine collection of highly interesting manuscripts, which had the narrowest possible escape from being destroyed at the latter part of the last century. The collection was rescued in time by Samuel Paterson, the auctioneer, and it is now in the British Museum.

Robert Burton (the author of the 'Anatomy of Melancholy') was, like Luttrell, also a great collector of tracts, and his library, now in the Bodleian, is peculiarly rich in historical, political, and poetical pamphlets, and in miscellaneous accounts of murders, monsters, and accidents. He seems to have purchased and preserved a copy of everything that came out. 'There is no nation,' says Johnson, 'in which it is so necessary as in our own to assemble the small tracts and fugitive pieces.' 'The writers of these' frequently have opportunities 'of inquiring from living witnesses, and of copying their representations from the life, and preserve a multitude of particular incidents which are forgotten in a short time, or omitted in formal relations, and yet afford light in some of the darkest scenes of state.' 'From pamphlets,' says the same writer, 'are to be learned the progress of every debate, and of every opinion.' And he compares the impression produced on the mind of him who shall consult these tracts, and of another that refers merely to formal historians, to the difference of him who hears of a victory, and him who sees the battle. Archbishop Laud collected from far and wide. John Selden, like Laud, had a distinct weakness for learned books, and consequently could have found little to satisfy his cravings in London. Selden, when disturbed, put his spectacles into the book he was busy with by way of marking the place; and after his death numbers of volumes were found with these curious book-markers. John Felton, who murdered Buckingham, was also a book-collector in a small way. In Lilly's catalogue for 1863 there was a copy of Peacham's 'Compleat Gentleman,' 1622, with the following on the fly-leaf: 'John Felton, vicessimo secundo die Junii, 1622.'

A few glances, at this point, at the more material phases of book-collecting may not be without interest. The following is one of the earliest bookseller's statements of accounts with which we are acquainted. It was rendered to 'the Right Honourable the Lord Conway,' on May 31, 1638, by Henry Seile, whose shop was at the sign of the Tiger's Head, Fleet Street:

1 Nash's Ha' wee you to Saffron Walden 00 02 06 1 Greene's Arcadia } { 1 Farewell to Folly } { 1 Tullies' Love } These nine Bookes { 1 Lady Fitzwater's Nightingale } were delivered to { 00 10 0 1 Mamilia } your Lordship at { 1 Never too Late } Xs. { 1 Groatesworth of Wit } { 1 Mourning Garment } { 1 Peers pennylesse supplication } {

In a letter addressed to Evelyn by Dr. Cosin (afterwards Bishop of Durham) during his exile, and dated July 18, 1651, we get a delightful glimpse of two book-lovers doing 'a deal.' Mr. Evelyn was apparently a man who could drive a bargain with Hebraic shrewdness. 'Truly, sir,' expostulated mildly the excited ecclesiastic, 'I thought I had prevented any further motion of abatement by the large offer that I made to you. . . . If you consider their number, I desire you would be pleased to consider likewise, that they are a choice number, and a company of the best selected books among them all. . . . There is in your note Pliny's "Natural History" in English, priced at 36s., which is worth L3; Camden's "Errors," priced at 5s. 6d., for which I have seen L1 given; Paulus Jovius at L1, which sells now in Paris at 4 pistoles; and Pol. Virgil at 10s., which sells here for L10; William of Malmesbury at 15s., for which they demand here L30, and Asser Menev, etc., at 14s., which they will not part with here nor elsewhere abroad for L20.'

It is highly probable that the book-market was never so bad in London as during this period; for, in addition to the above illustration, and at about the same time, Isaac Vossius came over to this country with a quantity of literary property, some of which had belonged to his learned father, in the hopes of selling it; but he 'carried them back into Holland,' where 'a quicker mercate' was expected.

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