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volumes or so of select works. If he is miscellaneous in his taste, he may get on pretty comfortably to ten or fifteen thousand, and then his troubles will arise. He has easily got Baker's, and Froissart's, and Monstrelet's Chronicles, because there are modern reprints of them in the market. But if he want Cooper's Chronicle, he may have to wait for it, since its latest form is still the black-letter. True, we did pick up a copy the other day, at Braidwood's, for half-a-guinea, but that was a catch-it might have caused the search of a lifetime. Still more hopeless it is when the collector's ambition extends to the Ladder of Perfection of Winkin de Worde, or to his King Rycharde Cure de Lion, whereof it is reported in the Repertorium Bibliographicum, that an imperfect copy, wanting one leaf, was sold by auction at Mr Evans's, in June 1817, to Mr Watson Taylor for £40, 19s." Such works as the Knightly Tale of Galogras, The Temple of Glas, Lodge's Nettles for Nice Noses, or the Book of Faits of Arms, by Christene of Pisa; or Caxton's Pilgrimage of the Sowle, or his Myrrour of the Worlde, will be long inquired after before they come to the market, thoroughly contradicting that fundamental principle of political economy that the supply is always equal to the demand. He, indeed, who sets his mind on the possession of any one of these rarities, may go to his grave a disappointed man. It will be in general the consolation of the collector, however, that he is by no means the homo unius libri. There is always something or other turning up for him, so long as he keeps within moderate bounds. If he be rich and ravenous, however, there is nothing for it but duplicating the most virulent form of book mania. We have seen that Heber, whose collection, made during his own lifetime, was on the scale of those public libraries which take generations to grow, had, with all his wealth, his liberality, and his persevering energy, to invest himself
with duplicates, triplicates-often several copies of the same book.
It is rare that the private collector runs himself absolutely into this quagmire, and has so far exhausted the market that no already unpossessed volume turns up in any part of the world to court his eager embraces. The limitation constitutes, however, a serious difficulty in the way of rapidly creating great public libraries. We would obtain the best testimony to this difficulty in America, were our brethren there in a condition to speak or think of so peaceful a pursuit as librarymaking. In the normal condition of society there-something like that of Holland in the seventeenth century-there are powerful elements for the promotion of art and letters, when wealth gives the means and civilisation the desire to promote them. The very absence of feudal institutions-the inability to found a baronial house-turns the thoughts of the rich and liberal to other foundations calculated to transmit their name and influence to posterity. And so we have such bequests as John Jacob Astor's, who left four hundred thousand dollars for a library, and the hundred and eighty thousand which were the nucleus of the Smithsonian Institution. Yes! Their efforts in this direction have fully earned for them their own peculiar form of laudation as actually equal to cash." Hence, as the book trade and book buyers know very well, the " almighty dollar" has been hard at work, trying to rear up by its sheer force duplicates of the old European libraries, containing not only all the ordinary stock books in the market, but also the rarities, and those individualities— solitary remaining copies of impressions which the initiated call uniques. It is clear, however, that when there is but one copy, it can only be in one place; and if it have been rooted for centuries in the Bodleian, or the University of Tubingen, it is not to be had for Harvard or the Astorian. Dr Cogs
well, the first librarian of the Astorian, spent some time in Europe with his princely endowment in his pocket, and showed himself a judicious, active, and formidable sportsman in the book-hunting world. Whenever, from private collections, or the breaking-up of public institutions, rarities got abroad into the open market, the collectors of the old country found that they had a resolute competitor to deal withalmost, it might be said, a desperate one-since he was in a manner the representative of a nation using powerful efforts to get possession of a share of the literary treasures of the Old World. In the case of a book, for instance, of which half-adozen copies might be known to exist, the combatants before the auctioneer would be, on the one side, many an ambitious collector desiring to belong to the fortunate circle already in possession of such a treasure; but on the other side was one on whose exertions depended the question, whether the book should henceforth be part of the intellectual wealth of a great empire, and should be accessible for consultation by American scholars and authors without their requiring to cross the Atlantic. But how far money has enabled them to triumph may be known by a brief comparison. It is difficult to know exactly the numerical contents of a library, as some people count by volumes, and others by the separate works in a volume; and even if all should consent to count by volumes, the estimate would not be precise, for in some libraries bundles of tracts and other small works are massed in plethoric volumes for economy, while in affluent institutions every collection of leaves put under the command of a separate title-page is separately bound in cloth, calf, or morocco, according to its rank. The Imperial Library at Paris is computed to contain above eight hundred thousand volumes; the Astorian boasts of approaching a hundred thousand : the next libraries in size in Ame
rica are the Harvard, with from eighty thousand to ninety thousand; the Library of Congress, which has from sixty thousand to seventy thousand; and the Boston Athenæum, which has about sixty thousand.
There are many of smaller size. In fact, there is probably no country so well stocked as the States with libraries of from ten thousand to twenty thousand volumes, the evidence that they have bought what was to be bought, and have done all that a new people can to participate in the long-hoarded treasures of literature which it is the privilege of the Old World to possess. We have heard that, especially in the instance of the Astorian Library, the selections of books have been made with great judgment, and that, after the boundaries of the common crowded market were passed, and individual rarities had to be stalked in distant hunting-grounds, innate literary value was still a superior object to mere abstract rarity, and, as the more worthy quality of the two, that on which the buying power a vailable to the emissary was brought to bear. America had just one small old library, and the lamentation over the loss of this ewe-lamb is touching evidence of her poverty in such possessions. The Harvard Library dates from the year 1638. In 1764 the college buildings were burned, and though books are not easily consumed, yet the small collection of five thousand volumes was easily overwhelmed in the general ruin. So were destroyed many books from the early presses of the mother country, and many of the firstlings of the transatlantic printers; and though its bulk was but that of an ordinary country squire's collection, the loss has been always considered national and irreparable.
It is, after all, a rather serious consideration-which it never seems as yet to have occurred to any one to revolve-how entirely the new States of the West and the South seem to be cut off from the literary resources which the Old World pos
sesses in her old libraries. Whatever light lies hidden beneath the bushel in these venerable institutions, seems for ever denied to the students and inquirers of the new empire rising in the antipodes, and consequently to the minds of the people at large who receive impressions from students and inquirers. Books can be reprinted, it is true, but where is the likelihood that seven hundred thousand old volumes will be reprinted to put the Astorian Library on a par with the Imperial? Well, perhaps some quick and cheap way will be found of righting it all when we have got a tunnel to Australia, and are shot through it by something only a shade less instantaneous than the electric telegraph.
In the mean time, what a lesson do these matters impress on us of the importance of preserving old books! Government and legislature have done little, if anything, in Britain, towards this object, beyond the separate help that may have been extended to individual public libraries, and the Copyright Act deposits. Of general measures we could point out some which have been injurious, by leading to the dispersal or destruction of books. The house and window duties have done this to a large extent. As this statement may not be quite selfevident, a word in explanation may be appropriate. The practice has been, when any furniture was left in an unoccupied house, to levy the duty to exempt only houses entirely empty. It was a consequence of this that when, by minority, family decay, or otherwise, a mansion-house had to be shut up, there was an inducement entirely to gut it of its contents, including the library. The same cause, by the way, has been more destructive still to furniture, and may be said to have lost to our posterity the fashions of a generation or two. Tables, chairs, and cabinets first grow unfashionable, and then old ; in neither stage have they any friends who will comfort or support
them-they are still worse off than books. But then comes an afterstage, in which they revive as antiquities, and become exceeding precious. As Pompeiis, however, are rare in the world, the chief repositories of antique furniture have been mansions shut up for a generation or two, which, after a still larger number of fashions have passed away, are re-opened to the light of day either in consequence of the revival of their old possessors or of their total extinction and the entry of new owners. How the house and window duties disturbed this silent processes by which antiques were created is easily perceived.
One service our Legislature has done for the preservation of books, in the copies which require to be deposited under the Copyright Act at Stationers' Hall for the privileged libraries. True, this has been effected somewhat in the shape of a burden upon authors, for the benefit of that posterity which has done no more for them specially than it has for others of the present generation. But in its present modified shape the burden should not be grudged, in consideration of the magnitude of the benefit to the people of the future-a benefit the full significance of which it probably requires a little consideration to estimate. The right of receiving a copy of every book from Stationers' Hall has generally been looked on as a benefit to the library receiving it. The benefit, however, was but lightly esteemed by some of these institutions, the directors of which represented that they were thus pretty well supplied with the unsaleable rubbish, while the valuable publications slipped past them; and, on the whole, they would sell their privilege for a very small annual sum, to enable them to go into the market and buy such books, old and new, as they might prefer. The view adopted by the law, however, was, that the depositing of these books created an obligation if it conferred a privilege, the institution receiving them having no right
to part with them, but being bound to preserve them as a record of the literature of the age.
If the rule come ever to be better enforced, it will then come to pass that of every book that is printed in Britain, good or bad, five copies shall be preserved in the shelves of so many public libraries, slumbering there in peace, or tossed about by impatient readers, as the case may be. For the latter there need not perhaps be much anxiety; it is for the sake of those addicted to slumbering in peaceful obscurity that this refuge is valuable. There is thus at least a remnant saved from the relentless trunk-maker. If the day of rescuscitation from the long slumber should arrive, we know where to find the book-in a privileged library. It fell to our lot, for instance, to know a man of unquestionable character and scholarship, who wrote a suitable and intelligent book on an important subject, and at his own expense had it brought into the world by a distinguished publisher. Giving the work all due time to find its way, he called at the Row, exactly a year after the day of publication, to ascertain the result. He was presented with a perfectly succinct account of charge and discharge, in which he was credited with three copies sold. Now, he knew that his family had bought two copies, but he never could find out who it was that had bought the third. The one mind into which his thoughts had thus passed, remained ever mysteriously undiscoverable. Whether or not he consoled himself with the reflection that what might have been diffused over many was concentrated in one, it is consolatory to others to reflect that such a book stands on record in the privileged libraries, to come forth to the world if it be wanted. Nor is the resuscitation of a book unsuited to its own age, but suited to another, entirely unexampled. That beautiful poem called Albania was reprinted by Leyden, from a copy preserved somewhere: so utterly friendless had
it been in its obscurity, that the author's history, and even his name, were unknown; and though it at once excited the high admiration of Scott, no scrap of intelligence concerning it could be discovered in any quarter contemporary with its first publication. The Discourse on Trade by Roger North, the author of the amusing Lives of LordKeeper Guildford and his other two brothers, was lately reprinted from a copy in the British Museum, supposed to be the only one existing. Though neglected in its own day, it has been considered worthy of attention in this, as promulgating some of the principles of our exist ing philosophy of trade. On the same principle, some rare tracts on political economy and trade were lately reprinted by a munificent nobleman, who thought the doctrines contained in them worthy of preservation and promulgation. The Spirit of Despotism, by Vicesimus Knox, was reprinted, at a time when its doctrines were popular, from a single remaining copy: the book is violent and declamatory, and it is supposed that its author discouraged or endeavoured to suppress its sale after it was printed. We happen to know an odd anecdote of this book. A traveller who had it in his luggage, passing the Austrian barrier, was, much to his astonishment, allowed to retain it. To his equal astonishment, the book beside it, being Combe on the Constitution of Man, was prohibited— the word " constitution" was sufficient to condemn this profound volume.
In the public duty of creating great libraries, and generally of preserving the literature of the world from being lost to it, the collector's services are great and varied. In the first place, many of the great public libraries have been absolute donations of the treasures to which some enthusiastic literary sportsman has devoted his life and fortune. Its gradual accumulation has been the great solace and enjoyment of his active days; he has
beheld it, in his old age, a splendid monument of enlightened exertion, and he resolves that, when he can no longer call it his own, it shall preserve the relics of past literature for ages yet to come, and form a centre whence scholarship and intellectual refinement shall diffuse itself around. We can see this influence in its most specific and material shape, perhaps, by looking round the reading-room of the British Museum-that great manufactory of intellectual produce, where so many heads are at work. The beginning of this great institution, as everybody knows, was in the fifty thousand volumes collected by Sir Hans Sloane - a wonderful achievement for a private gentleman at the beginning of the last century. When George II. gave it the libraries of the kings of England, it gained, as it were, a better start still by absorbing collections which had begun before Sloane was born those of Cranmer, Prince Henry, and Casaubon. The Ambrosian Library at Milan was the private collection of Cardinal Boromeo, bequeathed by him to the world. It reached forty thousand volumes ere he died, and these formed a library which had arisen in free, natural, and symmetrical growth, insomuch as, having fed it during his whole life, it began with the young and economic efforts of youth and poverty, and went on accumulating in bulk and in the costliness of its contents as succeeding years brought wealth and honours to the great prelate. What those merchant princes, the Medici, did for the Laurentian Library at Florence is part of history. Old Cosmo, who had his mercantile and political correspondents in all lands, made them also his literary agents, who sent him goods too precious to be resold even at a profit. "He corresponded," says Gibbon, "at once with Cairo and London, and a cargo of Indian spices and Greek books were often imported by the same vessel." The Bodleian started with a collection which had cost
Sir Thomas Bodley £10,000, and it was augmented from time to time by the absorption of tributary influxes of the same kind.
The benefactors whose private collections have, by a generous act of endowment, been thus rendered at the same time permanent and public, could be counted by hundreds. It is now, however, our function to describe a more subtle, but no less powerful influence, which the book-hunter exercises in the preservation and promulgation of literature, through the mere exercise of that instinct or passion which makes him what we here call him. What we have already said must have suggested-if it was not seen before-how great a pull it gives to any public library, that it has had an early start; and how hard it is, with any amount of wealth and energy, to make up for lost time, and raise a later institution to the level of its senior. The Imperial Library of Paris, which has so marvellously lived through all the storms that have swept round its walls, was founded in the fourteenth century. It began, of course, with manuscripts; possessing, before the beginning of the fifteenth century, the then enormous number of a thousand volumes. The reason, however, of its present greatness, so far beyond the rivalry of later establishments, is, that it was in active operation at the birth of printing, and received the first-born of the press. There they have been sheltered and preserved, while their unprotected brethren, tossed about in the world outside, have long disappeared, and passed out of existence for ever.
It is a common notion, which has been floated off from time to time, inflated with every variety of rhetorical gas, that, since the age of printing, no book once put to press has ever died. The notion is quite inconsistent with fact. When we count by hundreds of thousands the books that are in the Paris Library, and not to be had for the British Museum, we see the number