Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

“I

debate. Burleigh began to wonder "lewd excuses" are inadmissible. what Essex was driving at; Essex was pray God Jo. Bentley keep touch in not less puzzled by the conduct of Bur- amending the building, whereof I stand leigh. Bodley seems to have been such the more in doubt for that I am in. a good servant that each statesman formed he maketh that which was feared the alliance of the proposed Sec. naught a great deal worse with his retary with the other. Hence the poor very unrightly daubing, which I trust ambassador found that two supports Mr. Brent or Mr. Gent will cause him are not always so strong as one, for he to forbear, or else I will forbear to him lost the prize.

his wages.”

Meanwhile he is desHe was sorely disappointed; but re- patching many other missives, written solved, he tells us,

in a different tone, to scholars, book

sellers, and notabilities in all parts of to possess my soul in peace all the res

the kingdom, soliciting help. He is disidue of my days .. to set up my staff at the Library door in Oxon; being

covered in London turning over the thoroughly persuaded that ... I could contents of the bookshops by Archbishnot busy myself to better purpose, than op Usher, who is likewise engaged on by reducing that place (which then in

behalf of the Library of Dublin Univerevery part lay ruined and waste) to the

sity. He receives, too, from time to public use of students. For the effect

time, books fệom the energetic John ing whereof I found myself furnished,

Bill, the bookseller, who is rummaging in a competent proportion, of such four kinds of aids, as, unless I had them all

in the shops of Europe-in Rome, Padthere was no hope of good success: for ua, Florence, Venice, Milan, Frankfort, without some kind of knowledge, as Paris, and elsewhere. All the books well in the learned and modern purchased in this way he invoices and tongues as in sundry other sorts of

barges “in dry fats" to Oxford. And scholastical literature; without some

on the 8th of November, 1602, the Lipurse-ability to go through with the charge; without great store of honor

brary is opened with a stock of about able friends to further the design; and 2,500 volumes, in those days a fairly without special good leisure to follow large collection. such a work; it would but have proved Bodley was now to get his reward. a vain attempt and inconsiderate.

He was a vain man: his relations acSo we find this successful diplomatist

cused him of this when he left his esat a new and entirely different busi

tate to the Library instead of to them: ness. He superintends the refitting of

but if they spake unkindly, they spake Duke Humphrey's chamber: approves

truly, for we gather traces of it in his a design for a fine new roof, plans and

letters. Working for the Library with designs shelves and desks. He inter

the best and noblest intentions in the views builders, carpenters, and carvers.

world, he yet had no desire to share the Had he lived in this age and in Ameri

credit with others. He was “utterly ca he would have earned a good salary

against it” that only the principal as a "hustler.” He is often "put in a

donors should be mentioned in a sugdump" by the slowness and incapacity gested list of benefactions, because to of his workmen. He continually be- omit any name at all would be invidseeches the librarian James to hurry ious; and to publish a complete list was them up; if the work is in arrears,

not worth while. Also, although many

1 “Reliquiæ Bodleianæ;" collected by Hearne.

2 "Reliquiæ Bodleiance.”
3 "Ibid.” But a Register of benefactors
LIVING AGE. VOL. XVII,

887

has been kept, and is probably complete, excepting the donation of Cromwell, “the usurper," which is not entered.

men had approved of his labor, and had given assistance, yet "the ordering and plotting of all things, and the bulk of all the burden for matter of cost and otherwise," was and would be his alone. He would not assume the deserts of other men's bounties; nor would he consent to have his share of the work minimized or forgotten. The fact that what honors he got were deserved is some excuse for the desire to get them. In 1603 he was knighted, being one of the 237 who had received the accolade by the time James the First reached the south. In the following year he obtained, a grant for his institution to be called "The Library of the Foundation of Thos. Bodley, Knight," with license to the University to purchase land in mortmain for its maintenance. He became known and respected as a man of learning. His opinion on the Cogitata et Visa was sought by Bacon; and he gave it, "reputing it to be a token of your singu. lar love, that you joined me with those of your chiefest friends to whom you would commend the first perusal of your draught." Furthermore, James the First, who visited the University in 1605, and again in 1610, was complimentary and promising. "Sir Thomas Bodley," he said, jockin' wi' more than usual deeficulty, "should be Sir Thomas Godly." Perhaps with more seriousness the British Solomon "declared that if he were not a king, he would be an University man," or a captive, chained up in Bodley's as the books were. He promised that the Founder should take what he listed from the royal library, but in the end gave little more than his own works, voto majora fideque munera. They were borne to the Library with the ceremony befitting such an occasion. The Vice-Chancellor led the way for twenty-four scarlet-robed doctors and "a mixed multitude of others." The Library Keeper Rous received the pro

cession, made a "verie prettie speech," and placed the treasures in archivis with "a great deal of respect." Poor Bodley did not live to take part in this function, which happened in 1620. The promised gift never gratified his longing eyes; but he could not have been disappointed, for he knew the king's character too well to rely on his word. He had dedicated his catalogue to Henry, Prince of Wales, "whereof I do think you may have more hope." Dedications to his Majesty were common enough, and so far as he could hear nothing came of them.

Although he had come to know Carlyle's "goose goddess," commonly called Fame, his work still went on. He "had not in vain been, for the best twenty years of his life, a diplomatist." The original collection of 2,500 volumes was soon reinforced by gifts, largely the results of his solicitations. Burleigh, Raleigh, Cotton, Sir Thomas Roe, and Sir Kenelm Digby zealously aided him or followed his example. The finest volumes in the Exeter Monastic Library were sent to Oxford. William Herbert the Earl of Pembroke, the "dark W. H." of Shakespeare's Sonnets, gave 250 volumes of Greek MSS., the greater part of the famous library of Francesco Barozzi. Archbishop Laud despatched agents to Germany to buy the treasures which the wars were rapidly dispersing, and to the East to acquire Oriental MSS. The product was a connection of about 1,300 MSS. in more than twenty different languages.

While busy with the productions of the past, Bodley had his eye on the future. In 1610 he negotiated, "after many rubs and delays," the extraordinary covenant with the Stationers' Company, entitling the Library to receive a copy of every book published in the kingdom. To point to this result is to indicate as clearly as we can hope to do the ability, shrewdness, and

foresight of the man. But how can we adequately convey an idea of the extent of his labors? Perhaps by say. ing that in 1610 the lack of storage necessitated the erection immediately of the first part of the great quadrangle now forming the main building of the Bodleian. And perhaps that which best shows his love for his undertaking is the bequest of considerable estate for salaries, repairs, and new books when he died in 1613. His friends were too hurt by this last result of his "drunkenness with the applause and vanity" of his Library to remember other sterling qualities. We must not pass them over. He was what we are wont to think a typical Englishman: confident in spirit, even sanguine and sometimes obstinate; not ungenerous personally, but greedy enough in his capacity of Founder; apt and thorough in business with a masterly grasp of detail, and of enormous and untiring industry; in short, a hard man of the world, withal tactful even to subtlety and so genial and cultured that his unyielding nature was hidden, as a rock is by moss. Did not history tell us this we might imagine it from the shrewd, hard-featured portrait which hangs in the Bodleian-the portrait of a man of affairs rather than of a librarian or bibliophile.

The Civil War did the Library little or no damage. It suffered nothing at the hands of the Royalists; and when Oxford capitulated to the Parliamentary Army in 1646 General Fairfax at once set a guard over it, and presented besides the valuable Dodsworth collection of 160 volumes on the national, local, family, and monastic history of England. Cromwell also gave the remainder of the Barozzi Library, some volumes of which had been retained by Pembroke. The famous library of John Selden was nearly lost. According to Anthony Wood it was the intention of the great Parliamentarian to be

queath it to the Bodleian. At some time or other, however, he desired to borrow certain MSS. The statutes forbade the Librarian to accede to the request. Charles the First had before made a similar attempt, and had graceSelden fully received a like answer. could not expect to fare better, but he took offence and left his library to the students of the Inner Temple, provided they found a building to contain it. The condition not being observed, Selden's executors handed it over to the Bodleian; meanwhile eight chestfuls of the Registers of Abbeys and other MSS. relating to the history of England had been lost in the fire at the Temple. In all, the accession amounted to more than 8,000 volumes. They were stored in the new west wing, "the Selden end," an addition which had been found necessary by 1630, so rapidly had the Library grown since the erection of the east wing by the Founder.

During the eighteenth century the Bodleian saw some dark times. The truth is that from 1701 to 1859 the Librarians were inattentive and ill paid, with no other policy than the comfortable one of "letting things slide." Dr. Hudson, Librarian from 1701 to 1719, seems to have been a very dilatory person indeed. His sub-librarian lays the black paint on most thickly. This was Thomas Hearne the antiquary, an irascible critic, who apparently passed his life capering on hot cinders. He had a positive genius for vituperation, and was constantly hurling at his enemies such choice and elegant phrases as "a pert jackanapes,” “a vain, proud, emp. ty fellow," and "an illiterate, mean silly, trifling, and impertinent fellow."

He describes Hndson in similar terms; "The Dr. hath been of a loose, profilgate, and irreligious life . . . the family of the Harrisons he has married into now is good for just nothing, be

rears

ing as stingy (if it can be) as himself." : bishop. In 1734 he presented a colThis unedifying extract raises the sus- lection of 4,800 MSS. especially rich picion that Jack was scarcely better in historical and topographical matthan his master; and further evidence ter. So munificent a gift would sureconfirms it, showing that the Library ly put energy into any librarian, how. was unfortunate at this time in its ever slack. It did nothing of the chiefest officers. Bowles, Fysher, and kind. The MSS. were left to shift Owen, the successors of Hudson, were for themselves, in cupboards-in tenesimply easy-going and neglectful but bris, to use the phrase which got Mr. John Price (1768-1813) must surely Hearne into trouble in Hudson's time. for ever be regarded as an example of And in tenebris many were allowed to all that is bad in librarianship. During stay until Mr. Henry Coxe took office his tenure the growth of arrears was in 1860. In the early years of the nineterribly rapid. Donations came in; teenth century, Lord Sunderlin gave the he could not help that.

But pur

best books from the collection of his chases were discouraged, possibly brother Edmund Malone, the Shakesas the easiest means of keeping ar- pearian critic. Other donations in

down. Several little stories cluded the fine libraries of Richard go to show that readers were nothing Gough and of Francis Douce; and more nor less than nuisances. There 40,0001 from the Rev. Robert Mason. being an enormous demand for Cap. Such benefactions, and others which tain Cook's Voyages, when pub- we have not space to mention, with the lished in 1784, Price promptly loaned receipts under the covenant with the the Library copy (a gift of George the Stationers Company, have built up a Third) to the Rector of Lincoln College, Library which is great in every sense of kindly telling him "that the longer he the word. In the importance of its inkept it out the better, for while it was dividual treasures it ranks nearly first known to be in the Library, he was per- among the collections of the world. Its petually plagued with inquiries for it!" Oriental MSS., Biblical codices, and Another good example of his happy-go- Rabbinical literature are unrivalled; in lucky way of conducting affairs is re- materials for English history it is parcorded in his own handwriting. He ticularly rich; and its series of Greek loaned a portrait to Professor Joseph and Latin editiones principes is unques. White in 1806, receiving in exchange a tionably one of the finest. “The oldest written promise to return it. On this public library in Europe" has also be. precious document appear the follow- come one of the largest. It passed ing remarks:

from a corner of St. Mary's to a small

room, thence to Duke Humphrey's, Mem. Not returned, June 24, 1807.

gradually annexed the buildings of the Nor as yet, Oct., 1808, J. P.

main quadrangle, the Radcliffe Camera, And never to be retd.

and finally the basement of the Ashmo.

lean. The date of the last pathetic note is not

At the present moment about given; and why the portrait was “never

600,000 volumes and 30,000 MSS., beto be returned" is a mystery.

sides prints, coins, seals, and other Despite the indifferent management,

curiosities, are at the disposal of its donations, as we said, kept coming in. students. And lastly it must be noted

that in the matter of organization it is The most important was that of Dr. Richard Rawlinson, the nonjuring

deservedly reputed. Although

rapid growth has continually threat• Hearne's “Diary," vol. lviii.

ened “unhandiness," hard work, good

now

cataloguing, business spirit, and liberal regulations have made its resources more accessible than those of any other library in Europe. This business spirit is responsible for a curious contrast. The Camera Radcliffeiana or Bodleiana contains a select library for students; is the receptacle of the modern literature of some subjects; is fitted up in convenient style; and unlike the Bodleian proper, where artificial light is not used, is open until ten o'clock in the evening. Here there is an atmosphere of labor, the office-like aspect of the tables urges one on to work; it is the home of the nineteenth-century student. The medieval student, or so The Nineteenth Century and After.

THE PARLIAMENTARY MACHINE.

or

In a very remarkable letter to the Abbé Sieyes, the Emperor Napoleon took occasion to express his idea of the proper sphere of activity of a legislative chamber. "No one," he said, "can have greater respect for the independence of the legislative power than I; but legislation does not mean finance, criticism of the administration, ninety-nine out of the hundred things with which in England the Parliament occupies itself. The legislature should legislate i.e. construct grand laws on scientific principles of jurisprudence, but it must respect the independence of the Executive as it desires its own independence to be respected." This very suggestive passage cannot be too constantly borne in mind by those who are concerned in criticising English Parliamentary institutions. For no such criticism can possibly be effective without a due perception of the fact that before you judge a machine you must have a clear perception of the work it

we fancy, is to be found "in the heart of learning, under the shadow of the mighty Bodley, where the odor of the moth-scented coverings of the books is fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid the happy orchard." Countless subtle influences unite to arouse the purest and noblest emotions-architectural beauty, mellow and soothing, ancient, heavycarved furniture, fine portraits, the outlook on the groves and greensward of a beautiful garden, the quiet privacy of the alcoves, the accumulated associations of three centuries. "C'est la poésie même de l'étude rendue présente et comme palpable." Ernest A. Savage.

is expected to perform. Yet the warning is now especially needed. Never before perhaps have British institutions been subjected to so much depreciatory examination as they recently have been. Almost everything in its turn is, we are told by somebody or other, characterized by a conspicuous absence of efficiency; and it was, therefore, not to be expected that Parliament would escape at least some condemnation. It has, in fact, been censured not a little for its unbusinesslike methods, and its legislative sterility is becoming almost a commonplace of politics. It will, therefore, be not without interest to inquire how far these complaints are justified, to what causes this alleged parliamentary impotence is due, and whether a remedy can be found.

That the dissatisfaction with the present state of things in Parliament has some ground for its existence can hardly be denied. It is apparent, in the first place, that the output of legislation has

« VorigeDoorgaan »