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General Vallancey, four by Sir James Ware ist;* copies of each edition are in the -names well known and highly distinguish- Grenville Library. The first edition of ed in Irish history. of twelve tracts Cranmer's Bible, the printing of which was relating to the history of the Spanish begun in Paris in 1538, and finished in Armada' in the Grenville library, the London in 1539,-the Inquisition having Museum contains only three."*
interposed by imprisoning the printers and Amongst the very numerous typographi- burning the greater part of the impression, cal rarities of a different class from those -is excessively rare in a perfect state; referred to in the preceding extract, which and of Harrison's reprint (1562) only three adorn this collection, are the Mazarine copies are known besides Mr. Grenville's, Bible, Fust and Schoyffer's Bible of 1462, two of which (viz., that in the Baptist LiMentelin's Bible of 1470, Rodt and Ri-brary at Bristol, formerly Dr. Gifford's, chel's Bible, the Complutensian Polyglot, and that in the Bridgewater Library, now the first English Bible, the first edition of Lord Ellesmere's) are imperfect, and the Cranmer's “Great” Bible, and Harrison's third, in the Bodleian, is in a bad condiedition of 1562, the Bishop's Bible of 1569, tion. the Mentz Psalter of 1457, the Milan The Grenville copy of the “ Bishop's Psalter of 1481, the Venice Psalter of 1486, Bible” is said to be “the finest ever the Genoa Polyglot Psalter of 1516, and seen;" † and that of Tyndale's Pentateuch, that of Cologne of 1518, the first French "emprinted at Malborow in the Land of Psalter, the first English Psalter, together Hesse, by Hans Lufft,” (Luther's printer) with that of Archbishop Parker, Tyndale's to be the only perfect copy known."* Pentateuch of 1530, and very many others, The copy already in the Museum wants four both curious and valuable.
leaves ; that which formerly belonged to The Editio Princeps of the Latin Vul- Mr. Tulet, and afterwards to Mr. Heber, gate, printed at Mentz about 1450 (called thirteen leaves ; that in the Baptist Lithe “ Mazarine Bible” from its having been brary at Bristol, the whole of Genesis ; and first discovered in the library of Cardinal that in Sion College, the whole of DeuteroMazarine), was long the subject of fierce nomy. The latter has likewise the marcontroversy amongst bibliographers, some ginal notes cut off, as directed by an act asserting its claims to be regarded as the of Parliament in 1542.I first book ever printed, and others denying Cardinal Ximenes' great Polyglot Bible those claims, on the ground of its extreme -in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Chaldaic beauty of typography and paper, and the was printed at Alcala (Compluti) in 6 vols. consummate finish of its execution, whence folio, between the years 1502 and 1517.” they inferred that it must necessarily have The impression of this work was a very been preceded by inferior specimens of the limited one, so that it is extremely rare. infant art. The discovery, however, of an Mr. Grenville's is a superb copy. authenticated MS. note in a copy belong- The Latin Psalter, printed at Mentz in ing to the Royal Library of Paris, record- 1457, per Joh. Fust et P. Schoeffer, is the ing its illumination, rubrication, and bind- first printed book with a certain date, and ing, as completed in 1456, by Henry Cre- has long been coveted in the British Mumer, vicar of St. Stephen's, in Mentz, went seum-whose trustees, some years since, in far to set that vexed question at rest.t vain offered £600 for a copy in the WurThe Grenville copy is one of five copies temburg Library, the curators of which deknown to exist on vellum. The Latin manded £2000. “ It is a master-piece of Bible of 1462 is the first edition with a cer- typography,” says Van Praet, "whether it tain date; and that of 1470, printed by be regarded as printed with wooden or with Mentelin at Strasburg, is so rare, that it metal types.”' || was utterly unknown to bibliographers until The Polyglot Psalter, in Hebrew, Greek, the appearance of the Crevenna Catalogue.
* Cotton, List of Editions of the Bible .... in The first English translation of the entire English, p. 13. Bible, by Coverdale, printed at Zurich in + B. G., p. 78. 1535, was reprinted in 1550, and reissued
Cotton, p. 2, note.
V "Scarso numero di copie.” Gamba (Biblioteca in 1553, with a new title-page, &c, and of portatile, &c.) The Mac Carthy copy, on vellum, the latter only four copies are known to ex-sold for 6701
|| Catalogue des livres sur velin, tom. i., p. 206. * Panizzi, ut sup., p. 19.
The Mac Carthy copy sold for 5001. Brunet, De † Nodier, Bibliothèque Sacrée Grecque-Latine, Boze, and Nodier, concur in the opinion that it is p. 117.
printed with wooden types.
Arabic, and Chaldaic, published in 1516, express donation, to at least 168,000 voby the learned Justiniani, bishop of Neb- lumes. bio, was intended by him to be merely a specimen of a complete Polyglot Bible
To a similar spirit of munificence in inwhich he had in contemplation, but never dividual donors, the Museum is almost enaccomplished. It is the first Polyglot work tirely indebted for a very extraordinary ever published in the characters appro
collection or rather a series of collections, priate to each language ; but the compilers of pamphlets, amounting in the aggregate of the Grenville Catalogue are in error to 130,000 in number. when they add (probably copying Le Long)
" Wherever pamphlets abound,” says that “it contains the first Arabic ever print- Mr. I. Disraeli," there is freedom, and ed.” That description properly applies to therefore have we been a nation of pamphletthe Septem Hore Canonica, printed at eers.
Of all the nations of Europe, our Fano in 1514.* Brunet has noticedt that country first offered a rapid succession of the Commentary of the learned prelate is these busy records of men's thoughts. not the least curious part of his work. In Their contending interests, their mightier a note on the psalm Celi enarrant, for ex- passions, their aspirations, and sometimes ample, he has introduced a biography of even their follies.”* And certainly the Columbus, which in truth might have been student who is neither too impatient to worse placed. Justiniani himself relates, search for the valuable ore amidst heaps in his Annali di Genoa, that he had fifty of rubbish, nor too scornful to give their copies struck off on vellum, and had pre
due meed of praise to even the humblest of sented them “ to all the kings of the earth, his implements, will acknowledge that for whether Christians or idolaters, without ex- the thorough comprehension of any stirring ception."I The Grenville copy is one of epoch, from the days of Martin Mar-prelate these.
down to those of the Free Church secession, The Polyglot Psalter, printed at Co there is no more useful appliance than a logne in 1518, in Hebrew, Greek, Ethi- full and impartial collection of the fleeting opic, and Latin, is much rarer than Justini- publications which appeared from day to ani's. The Greek Psalter, printed at Ve-day in the very eddy of the strife, and the nice in 1486, is also extremely rare. The poorest and feeblest of which could not fail same remark applies to the English Psal- to bear something of the shape and impress ter, printed by Powel, for Edward Whit- of the time. church, about 1548.
Foremost among these collections, both Archbishop Parker's Psalter was never
in extent and in the importance of the pepublished, and only eight copies are known riod to which it relates, is that formed by to exist. Neither Ames, the historian of George Thomason, a wealthy bookseller, English printing, nor Strype, the biogra- at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's
" pher of Parker, ever saw it. The first Church Yard,” and a common-councilman French Psalter, supposed to have been of the city of London. He was in the printed by Verard, appears to have been prime of life when the “Long Parliament” unknown both to Panzer and to Maittaire. began its memorable sitting. He lived
The Grenville Library likewise contains through the whole of that tremendous a very fine and complete copy of the Biblia struggle, which was to determine for all Pauperum, corresponding with that which time, whether England should look for its Heineckenş describes as the second edition, good government to a series of " fortunate copics of which have obtained large prices accidents," in the shape of wise and pater
We must not extend our notice of the nal monarchs, or to the principle of a repretreasures of this rich collection. It is, as sentative legislature and responsible admiwe have said, the noblest gift the British nistration, a principle liable, indeed, in the Museum has received for nearly a quarter vicissitudes of human affairs, to be corruptof a century, and it carries up the numbered and juggled with, but carrying within itof printed books added to the library, by self the seeds of stern and certain retribu* Panzer, tom. vii., p. 2.
tion to those who abuse it. The worthy + Manual, tom. iii., p. 853.
bookseller was far from seeing all the im1 P. 224. portance of this struggle.
a 0 Idée d'une collection d'estampes, p. 293, et seq. staunch Royalist, and a devout EpiscopaAn excellent summary of the history of these curious
lian. “ Bibles of the poor," will be found in Horne's
He seems to have had great faith in Manual of Biblical Bibliography, pp. 59—62. * Amenities of Literature, vol. iii., p. 300.
the “divinity of kings," but his faith in The collection, in consequence, had to that of prelates was not large enough to undergo many removals and many transmake him approve the practices of Laud, formations whilst it was in progress. At or the decrees of the High Courts of Com- one time, “when the army was northward, mission and Star-chamber. He had a great the books were packed up in trunks, and horror of“ unlicensed preachers,” but for- sent into Surrey; and when the army was tunately none of "unlicensed printing.” in the west, in apprehension of its return If a man not regularly educated for the that way, they were hastily sent back ministry, published a work on theology, or again ; but the poor collector, not daring a sermon, he was more careful to note that to keep them, forwarded them to a friend the author was a cobbler,” “ a leather- in Essex, and soon hearing of the famous seller,” or “a lawyer,” than to examine march to Triploe Heath, again “was feign whether his arguments were sound, or his to send for them back.” He then planned teachings scriptural. But in his lifetime to transmit them to Scotland, but * thinkhe was repeatedly honored with the friend- ing what a precious treasure it was, durst ly notice of John Milton, and at his death not venture them at sea.” And so caused he left a valuable legacy to posterity. tables, with false tops, to be constructed, It
appears to have been in the year 1641, in which he concealed them in his warethat Thomason first formed the idea of col- house, continuing his collection the while lecting the various publications that were without intermission. But even now, these then coming thick and fast from the press. peregrinations were not ended; as a final He began by procuring all those, or very precaution, they were sent to Oxford, and nearly all, which had appeared from the be- a colorable transfer of them to the Univergipning of 1640, when the old controversy sity was effected, in the belief that so powabout church government had started erful a body would be better able to protect into new life, and some few of earlier date.them than a private individual.* And from that period until after the Re- The collector lived till 1666, and is said storation he steadily proceeded with that to have refused £4000 for his books, which “chargeable and heavy burthen, both to he had bound, in strict chronological sehimselfe and his servants that were employ- ries, in 2220 vols., containing probably ed in that busines, wch continued above the 34,000 separate works. They remained at space of twenty yeares, in which time hee Oxford, in the charge of Dr. Barlow, Bodburyed three of them, who tooke greate leian Librarian, and afterwards Bishop of paines both day and night we him in that Lincoln, and thus escaped the perils of the tedious employm! :
“Such exact great fire. Barlow attempted in vain to care," continues the collector," hath been induce the trustees of the Bodleian Library taken that the very day is written upon to purchase them. About 1680, they apmost of them that they came out.” pear to have been bought by Henry Mearne,
But this was not only a work of great * the king's stationer,” at the instance of cost and pains, it was also one of consider- Sir Joseph Williamson, and“ by command able danger. Few men on either side were of his Majesty,” according to Mearne's prepared to accord the “liberty of the widow, who, in 1684, petitioned for leave to press.”
Few even understood what that resell them. They seem, however, to have phrase really meant. But, despite the cen- remained in the possession of Mearne's resorship, many prohibited and many surrep- presentatives until after the accession of titious publications appeared ; and the George III., and to have been considered as a search after them and their authors was sort of domestic grievance and burden, gladsometimes very keen. Hence, even to pos- ly got rid of on the receipt from the king of sess such publications was a matter of £300—less than a thirteenth part of the sum peril; and in the present case the peril was said to have been refused by the collector increased by the preservation and trans- himself. George III. was, it seems, incription of many obnoxious MSS. For duced to purchase them for the purpose of “ in this numb. of pamphletts is contained presenting them to the British Museum, neere one hundred sev’all peeces (in MS.] by the exertions of that lover of literature
most of wch are on the king's side, and of his country, Thomas Hollis, who wch no man durst venture to publish here obtained the acquiescence of Lord Bute;t without the danger of his ruine."
and thus preserved them from the fate * Thomason, note prefixed to his MS. catalogue. * Thomason, note prefixed to his MS.catalogue. lbid.
† Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, p. 121.
which Coleridge tells us attended, in his and Taylor to bear upon the deliberations day, a similar though smaller collection, and struggles of the church and the state, that supplied the chandlers' and druggists' and upon the affairs of daily life. Here shops of Penrith and Kendal for many are also the not uninstructive writings of
their fierce and pertinacious opponents, A celebrated writer--whose genius and from the ponderous Gangræna of a shallow other high qualities are disfigured by a Edwards, with its attendant train of perverse affectation of superciliousness, thirty-five or forty refutations, replies, and manifestly foreign to the natural bent of rejoinders, to that strange utterance from his mind-seems to think the benefit thus across the Atlantic,—“The bloudy tenent conferred upon literature, a very doubtful washed and made white in the bloud of the one. In a recent work he has been elabo- Lamb”—which John Cotton sent to the resrately jocose about the “rubbish-mountains cue of his Presbyterian brethren in Briof the British Museum," and the “huge tain. piles of mouldering wreck, wherein, at the Theological and ecclesiastical controverrate perhaps of one pennyweight per ton, sy may be regarded as the staple of this lie things memorable."
collection, as it is indeed the key-note to But despite these sarcasms, we venture the history of the period. And next to to assert that this collector's plan of pre- the works of this class may be ranked the serving everything, from the surreptitiously extraordinary series of Mercuries, Diurnals, printed notice, scarce as large as one's Intelligencers, Informers, Posts, Scouts, hand, to the goodly tomes of Caryl on Job, Doves, &c., the newspapers and newsletwas really at that period, and for his pur- ters of the period, full of curious informaposes, the best of all possible plans. Had tion hitherto little used, and needing great he attempted to value and select, however care and discrimination in their use, but wisely and comprehensively, we should most which will yet, in competent hands, help certainly have lost much precious informa- to rectify many current mistakes and prejution. As it is, we have such a picture of dices. the national mind, during a great crisis in In the letters, dispatches, and speeches its history, as, in all probability, exists no- of Cromwell, some of which have been exwhere else, and such as no industry and no clusively preserved in the pamphlets of the expenditure could create now with any ap- period, * history has at once its faithful reproach to completeness.
cords, and its triumphal monuments. And The period whose history is thus illus- even the ribald attacks upon the fame of trated, was the age of Milton, of Jeremy that “ king of men,” by the hireling scribes Taylor, of Ussher, of Fuller, of Baxter, of of the Restoration, like the outrages inflictOwen, of Bunyan, of Roger Williams, of ed by their fellows upon his disinterred Eliot (the “ apostle of the Indians,”') and body, have their lesson of profound instrucof many more, the great and excellent of tion. the earth. Here are their works in impres- Nor is poetry without its fitting represions, the proof sheets of which passed sentatives in this assemblage. Besides under their own eyes. Here are the argu- many of Milton's minor pieces in their orimentative and convincing writings of the ginal editions, we have the exquisite lyrics Neys, Burroughes, Goodwins, Vanes, who of Herrick, the thoughtful and devout laid a broad foundation for the ultimate re- poems of George Herbert, the graceful effucognition of liberty of conscience as the in- sions of the accomplished and ill-fated caherent right of all men, and courageously valier, Lovelace, to say nothing of those of stood
up to assert that principle in the un- the courtly and versatile Waller, of “the congenial Assembly of divines, and in the ingenious Mr. Cowley," of the prolific sascarcely less uncongenial Parliament; thus tirist and scape-grace, Major George bringing the lofty speculations of Milton
* Even Mr. Carlyle, with the scorn of the “rub* " The late Sir Wilfred Lawson's predecessor, bish-mountains," and their poor collector, has to from some pique or other, left a large unique [?] make 100 references (direct or indirect) to them, in collection of pamphlets, published from the com- the course of 350 pages of his work. But he mencement of the Civil War to the Restoration, to makes a large portion of these at second-hand, to his buller, and it supplied the chandlers' and drug. “Cromwelliana," which is itself a compilation gists' shops of Penrith and Kendal for many years." from them. A more thorough examination of the - The Friend, vol. iii., p. 55, note (third edition). collection would have furnished him with at least
+ Carlyle, Letters of Oliver Cromwell, with Elu- seven of the Cromwell Letters, which were omiited cidations, vol. i., p. 5 (first edit.).
in his first edition.
Wither,” or of that truer poet than either, the part of the government and legislature though he wrote in prose, honest and love of the day. For it needed but little inable Izaak Walton. The very ballads con- quiry to show that, great and valuable as tained in this collection (about 270 in were these accessions, they were far indeed number), however humble their poetical from constituting a national library worthy merit, are amongst the most curious of po- of the British people. But such did not litical songs, and are real illustrations of prove to be the case, until a very recent English history.
The whole sum granted by parliament There also exists in the British Museum for the purchase of printed books from the a vast collection of books and pamphlets, year 1812, when the first grant was made, published (chiefly in Paris) during the first to the year 1836, when the committee of French Revolution; and, in some respects, the commons, appointed in 1835, presented scarcely less extraordinary than that on the its report (inclusive of the sums already English Commonwealth. The French col- mentioned for the acquisition of the Harlection, brought together at three different grave and Burney libraries, &c., and deperiods, consists of about 4000 volumes and ducting moneys obtained by the sale of cartons, and contains at least 40,000 duplicate books), amounted to 28,3761., or distinct works and tracts (exclusive of du- 1,135l. a year. plicates). The bulk of this collection was The committee above alluded to reported obtained, by purchase, of the Right Hon. to the house that the British Museum deJ. W. Croker.
served “increased liberality on the part of
parliament, both with respect to its estabA third great collection of pamphlets lishment, and also, to a much greater came to the Museum with the library of extent, for the augmentation of the collecGeorge III. Its contents are miscellaneous, tions in the different departments ;” and and amount to about 19,000 distinct pieces. they expressed their confident reliance It includes an extensive series of political “ on the readiness of the representatives of and historical tracts, both English and the people to make full and ample provision, foreign, chiefly published during the eight- for the improvement of an establishment eenth century.
which already enjoys a high reputation in Above 4000 pamphlets, including a great the world of science, and is an object of number on the natural sciences, formed part daily increasing interest to the people of of the Banksian bequest in 1820. A very this country. curious collection of lives, memoirs, funeral In the evidence which had been adduced sermons, and other biographical tracts, before this committee, much was said about 3000 in number, were bequeathed by respecting the great deficiencies in the Sir William Musgrave. Garrick's rich library, especially by Sir Harris Nicolas, collection of English plays, from which by Mr. Robert Brown, the eminent botanist, Charles Lamb compiled his “Specimens of by Mr. A. Panizzi, then extra-assistantthe English Dramatic Poets," was also librarian, and now keeper of the printed added to the Museum Library after the books, by Professor R. Owen, and by Mr. death of his widow.
E. Edwards. The two last-named witBesides these collections, each of which nesses laid before the committee various is preserved apart, there is a miscellaneous lists illustrative of the deficiencies in the collection of pamphlets, obtained, partly Museum library, which were printed in the under the copyright act, partly by purchase, Minutes of evidence : Professor Owen's and partly by donation, which amounts to list, under the title of “ Desiderata in the above 30,000 articles. The aggregate num- zoological department of the national liber of pamphlets, presented or bequeathed, brary,”+ (filling nearly eight folio pages ;) is at least 70,000, independently of those and Mr. Edwards' six lists, under the title in the Grenville Library.
of “ Examples of deficiencies ... in the
library of the British Museum, from an Such repeated instances of an enlightened examination of the catalogues in Oct., appreciation by individuals of the value of 1835,"_viz., in “history--Greek history, a great public library, and of a most liberal in particular—fine arts—architecture, in willingness to aid in the creation of one, particular-German literature-French litewould surely, it might be thought, have
Report, &c. (1836), p. v. roused a spirit of zealous co-operation on # Second Report (1836), pp. 563-570.