Henry Benjamin Wheatley.

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a book devoted to the formation of libraries
it seems but fair to devote some space to
doing honour to those who have formed
libraries, and perhaps some practical lessons
may be learned from a few historical facts.

Englishmen may well be proud of Richard
Aungerville de Bury, a man occupying a
busy and exalted station, who not only
collected books with ardour united with



24 How to Form a Library.

judgment, but has left for the benefit of
later ages a manual which specially endears
his memory to all book lovers.

He collected books, and often took them
in place of corn for tithes and dues, but he
also produced books, for he kept copyists
in his house. Many of these books were
carefully preserved in his palace at Durham,
but it is also pleasant to think of some of
them being carefully preserved in the noble
mansion belonging to his see which stood
by the side of the Thames, and on the site
of the present Adelphi.

Petrarch was a book-loving poet, and he
is said to have met the book-loving eccle-
siastic Richard de Buryat Rome. He gave
his library to the Church of St. Mark at
Venice in 1362 ; but the guardians allowed
the books to decay, and few were rescued.
Boccaccio bequeathed his library to the
Augustinians at Florence, but one cannot
imagine the books of the accomplished
author of the Decameron as very well suited
for the needs of a religious society, and it
was probably weeded before Boccaccio's



How Men have Formed Libraries. 25

death. The remains of the library are still
shown to visitors in the Laurentian Library,
the famous building due to the genius of
Michael Angelo.

Cardinal John Bessarion gave his fine
collection (which included about 600 Greek
MSS.) to St. Mark's in 1468, and in the
letter to the Doge which accompanied his
gift, he tells some interesting particulars
of his early life as a collector. He writes,
" From my youth I have bestowed my
pains and exertion in the collection of
books on various sciences. In former days
I copied many with my own hands, and I
have employed on the purchase of others
such small means as a frugal and thrifty
life permitted me to devote to the purpose."

The Rev. Joseph Hunter printed in 1831
a valuable Catalogue of the Library of the
Priory of Bretton in Yorkshire, and added
to it some notices of the Libraries belong-
ing to other Religious Houses, in which he
gives us a good idea of the contents of
these libraries. He writes, "On comparing
the Bretton Catalogue with that of other



26 Hoiv to Form a Library.

religious communities, we find the libraries
of the English monasteries composed of
very similar materials. They consisted of

1. The Scriptures; and these always in

an English or the Latin version. A
Greek or Hebrew Manuscript of the
Scriptures is not found in Leland's
notes, or, I believe, in any of the
catalogues. In Wetstein's Catalogue
of MSS. of the New Testament, only
one (Codex 59) is traced into the
hands of an English community of
religious.

2. The Commentators.

3. The Fathers.

4. Services and Rituals of the Church.

5. Writers in the Theological Contro-

versies of the Middle Ages.

6. Moral and Devotional Writings.

7. Canon Law.

8. The Schoolmen.

9. Grammatical Writers.

10. Writers in Mathematics and Physics.

11. Medical Writers.

12. Collections of Epistles.



How Men have Formed Libraries. 27

13. The Middle Age Poets and Romance-

Writers.

14. The Latin Classics.

15. The Chronicles.

16. The Historical Writings of doubtful

authority, commonly called Legends.
Most of the manuscripts which composed
the monastic libraries were destroyed at
the Reformation."

Humphry Plantagenet Duke of Gloucester,
whose fame has been so lasting as the 'good
Duke Humphry,' was also a book-collector
of renown ; but most of the old libraries
we read about have left but little record of
their existence : thus the Common Library
at Guildhall, founded by Dick Whittington
in 14.20, and added to by John Carpenter,
the Town Clerk of London, has been en-
tirely destroyed, the books having, in the
first instance, been carried away by Edward
Seymour Duke of Somerset.

Although, as we have seen from Mr.
Hunter's remarks, there was a consider-
able amount of variety in the subjects
of these manuscript collections, we must



28 How to Form a Library.

still bear in mind that in a large number
of instances the contents of the libraries
consisted of little more than Breviaries and
Service Books. It has been pointed out
that this fact is illustrated by the union of
the offices of Precentor and Armarius in
one person, who had charge of the Library
(Armarium) and its great feeder, the Writing-
room (Scriptorium), as well as the duty of
leading the singing in the church. Many
lists of old libraries have been preserved,
and these have been printed in various
bibliographical works, thus giving us a
valuable insight into the reading of our
forefathers.

When we come to consider libraries of
printed books in place of manuscripts, we
naturally find a greater variety of subjects
collected by the famous men who have
formed collections. Montaigne, the friend
of all literary men, could not have been
the man we know him to have been if he
had not lived among his books. Like many
a later book-lover, he decorated his library
with mottoes, and burnt-in his inscriptions



UK:

How Men have Formed Libraries. 29

letter by letter with his own hands. Grotius
made his love of books do him a special
service, for he escaped from prison in a
box which went backwards and forwards
with an exchange of books for his enter-
tainment and instruction.

Grolier and De Thou stand so pre-eminent
among book collectors, and from the beauty
of the copies they possessed the relics of
their libraries are so frequently seen, that
it seems merely necessary here to mention
their names. But as Frenchmen may well
boast of these men, so Englishmen can take
pride in the possession of the living memory
of Archbishop Parker, who enriched Cam-
bridge, and of Sir Thomas Bodley, who
made the Library at Oxford one of the
chief glories of our land.

Old Lists of Books are always of interest
to us as telling what our forefathers cared
to have about them, but it is seldom that
a list is so tantalising as one described
by Mr. Edward Edwards in his Libraries
and Founders of Libraries. Anne of Den-
mark presented her son Charles with a



30 How to Form a Library.

splendid series of volumes, bound in crim-
son and purple velvet. Abraham van der
Dort, who was keeper of Charles's cabinet,
made an inventory of this cabinet ; and
having no notion of how to make a cata-
logue of books, he has managed to leave
out all the information we wish for. The
inventory is among the Harleian MSS.
(4718), and the following are specimens
of the entries :

" Im'pris 19 books in Crimson velvet,

whereof 18 are bound 4to. and y e

1 9th in folio, adorn'd with some

silver guilt plate, and y e 2 claspes

wanting. Given to y e King by Queen

Ann of famous memory.

Item, more 15 books, 13 thereof being in

long 4to. and y e 2 lesser cover'd over

also with purple velvet. Given also

to y e King by > e said Queen Ann."

Most of the famous private libraries of

days gone by have left little record of their

existence, but Evelyn's collection is still

carefully preserved at Wotton, the house of

the Diarist's later years, and Pepys's books



How Men have Formed Libraries. 31

continue at Cambridge in the cases he had
made for them, and in the order he fixed
for them. In a long letter to Pepys, dated
from Sayes Court, izth August, 1689, Evelyn
gives an account of such private libraries
as he knew of in England, and in London
more particularly. He first mentions Lord
Chancellor Clarendon, to whom he dedi-
cated his translation of Naud6's Advice,
and who " furnished a very ample library."
Evelyn observes that England was pecu-
liarly defective in good libraries : " Paris
alone, I am persuaded, being able to show
more than all the three nations of Great
Britain." He describes Dr. Stillingfleet's,
at Twickenham, as the very best library. 1
He did not think much either of the Earl
of Bristol's or of Sir Kenelm Digby's books,
but he says Lord Maitland's " was certainly
the noblest, most substantial and accom-
plished library that ever passed under the
spear."

1 Narcissus Marsh, Archbishop of Armagh, is
said to have given ^2500 for Lishop Stillingfleet's
Library.



32 How to Form a Library.

In a useful little volume published at
London in 1739, and entitled, A Critical
and Historical Account of all the Celebrated
Libraries in Foreign Countries, as well ancient
as modern, which is stated to be written by
"a Gentleman of the Temple," are some
" General Reflections upon the Choice
of Books and the Method of furnishing
Libraries and Cabinets." As these reflec-
tions are interesting in themselves, and
curious as the views of a writer of the
middle of the eighteenth century on this
important subject, I will transfer them
bodily to these pages.

" Nothing can be more laudable than
forming Libraries, when the founders have
no other view than to improve themselves
and men of letters : but it will be neces-
sary, in the first place, to give some
directions, which will be of great im-
portance towards effecting the design, as
well with regard to the choice of books
as the manner of placing to advantage : nor
is it sufficient in this case, to be learned,
since he who would have a collection



How Men have Formed Libraries. 33

worthy of the name of a library must of
all things have a thorough knowledge of
books, that he may distinguish such as
are valuable from the trifling. He must
likewise understand the price of Books,
otherwise he may purchase some at too
high a rate, and undervalue others: all
which requires no small judgment and
experience.

" Let us suppose, then, the founder pos-
sessed of all those qualifications, three things
fall next under consideration.

"First, the number of books; secondly,
their quality ; and, lastly, the order in which
they ought to be ranged.

"As to the quantity, regard must be had,
as well to places as to persons ; for should
a man of moderate fortune propose to have
a Library for his own use only, it would be
imprudent in him to embarrass his affairs
in order to effect it. Under such circum-
stances he must rather consider the useful-
ness than the number of books, for which
we have the authority of Seneca, who tells
us that a multitude of books is more



34 How to Form a Library.

burthensome than instructive to the under-
standing.

" But if a private person has riches enough
for founding a Library, as well for his own
use as for the public, he ought to furnish
it with the most useful volumes in all arts
and sciences, and procure such as are
scarcest and most valuable, from all parts,
that the learned, of whom there are many
classes, may instruct themselves in what
may be useful to them, and may gratify
their enquiries. But as the condition and
abilities of such as would form Libraries
are to be distinguished, so regard must
likewise be had to places, for it is very
difficult to procure, or collect books in
some countries, without incredible expense;
a design of that kind would be impractic-
able in America, Africa, and some parts of
Asia; so that nothing can be determined
as to the number of books, that depending
entirely upon a variety of circumstances,
and the means of procuring them, as has
been observ'd before.

" As to the second topic, special care must



How Men have Formed Libraries. 35

be taken in the choice of books, for upon
that alone depends the value of a Library.
We must not form a judgment of books
either by their bulk or numbers, but by their
intrinsic merit and usefulness. Alexander
Severus's Library consisted of no more than
four volumes, that is the works of Plato,
Cicero, Virgil, and Horace. Melanchthon
seems to have imitated that Prince, for his
collection amounted to four books only,
Plato, Pliny, Plutarch, and Ptolemy.

"There is another necessary lesson for
those who form designs of making libraries,
that is, that they must disengage themselves
from all prejudices with regard either to
ancient or modern books, for such a wrong
step often precipitates the judgment, with-
out scrutiny or examination, as if truth and
knowledge were confined to any particular
times or places. The ancients and moderns
should be placed in collections, indifferently,
provided they have those characters we
hinted before.

" Let us now proceed to the third head,
the manner of placing books in such order,



36 How to Form a Library.

as that they may be resorted to upon any
emergency, without difficulty, otherwise they
can produce but little advantage either to
the owners or others.

"The natural method of placing books
and manuscripts is to range them in separate
classes or apartments, according to the
science, art, or subject, of which they treat.

" Here it will be necessary to observe,
that as several authors have treated of various
subjects, it may be difficult to place them
under any particular class; Plutarch, for
instance, who was an historian, a political
writer, and a philosopher. The most ad-
visable method then is to range them under
the head of Miscellaneous Authors, with
proper references to each subject, but this
will be more intelligible by an example.

" Suppose, then, we would know the names
of the celebrated Historians of the ancients;
nothing more is necessary than to inspect
the class under which the historians are
placed, and so of other Faculties. By this
management, one set of miscellaneous
authors will be sufficient, and may be



How Men have Formed Libraries. 37

resorted to with as much ease and expedition
as those who have confined themselves to
one subject. In choice of books regard
must be had to the edition, character, paper
and binding. As to the price, it is difficult
to give any positive directions ; that of
ordinary works is easily known, but as to
such as are very scarce and curious, we can
only observe that their price is as uncertain
as that of medals and other monuments of
antiquity, and often depends more on the
caprice of the buyer than the intrinsic merit
of the work, some piquing themselves upon
the possession of things from no other con-
sideration than their exorbitant price."

Dr. Byrom's quaint library is still pre-
served at Manchester in its entirety. Bishop
Moore's fine collection finds a resting place
in the University Library at Cambridge, and
the relics of the Library of Harley, Earl of
Oxford, a mine of manuscript treasure, still
remain one of the chief glories of the British
Museum. How much cause for regret is
there that the library itself, which Osborne
bought and Johnson described, did not also



38 How to Form a Library.

find a settled home, instead of being dis-
persed over the land.

It is greatly to the credit of the rich and
busy man to spend his time and riches in
the collection of a fine library, but still
greater honour is due to the poor man who
does not allow himself to be pulled down
by his sordid surroundings. The once-
famous small-coalman, Thomas Britton,
furnishes a most remarkable instance of
true greatness in a humble station, and
one, moreover, which was fully recognized
in his own day. He lived next door to St.
John's Gate, Clerkenwell, and although he
gained his living by selling coals from door
to door, many persons of the highest station
were in the habit of attending the musical
meetings held at his house. He was an
excellent chemist as well as a good musician,
and Thomas Hearne tells us that he left
behind him "a valuable collection of musick
mostly pricked by himself, which was sold
upon his death for near an hundred pounds,'*
" a considerable collection of musical instru-
ments which was sold for fourscore pounds,"



How Men have Formed Libraries. 39

"not to mention the excellent collection of
printed books that he also left behind him,
both of chemistry and musick. Besides
these books that he left, he had some years
before his death (1714) sold by auction a
noble collection of books, most of them
in the Rosicrucian faculty (of which he
was a great admirer), whereof there is a
printed catalogue extant, as there is of
those that were sold after his death, which
catalogue I have by me (by the gift of my
very good friend Mr. Bagford), and have
often looked over with no small surprize
and wonder, and particularly for the great
number of MSS. in the before-mentioned
faculties that are specified in it." l

Dr. Johnson, although a great reader, was
not a collector of books. He was forced
to possess many volumes while he was
compiling his Dictionary, but when that
great labour was completed, he no longer
felt the want of them. Goldsmith, on the
other hand, died possessed of a considerable

1 Rdiquia Hcarniana, by Bliss, 2nd edition, 1869,
vol. ii. p. 14.



40 How to Form a Library.

number of books which he required,
or had at some time required, for his
studies. "The Select Collection of Scarce,
Curious, and Valuable Books, in English,
Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and other
Languages, late the Library of Dr. Gold-
smith, deceased," was sold on Tuesday, the
i zth of July, 1774, and the Catalogue will
be found in the Appendix to Forster's Life.
There were 30 lots in folio, 26 in quarto, and
1 06 in octavo and smaller sizes. Among
the books of interest in this list are
Chaucer's Works, 1602; Davenant's Works,
1673 ; Camoens, by Fanshawe, 1655 ;
Cowley's Works, 1674 ; Shelton's Don
Quixote ; Raleigh's History of the World,
1614; Bulwer's Artificial Changeling, 1653;
Verstegan's Antiquities, 1634 ; Hartlib's
Legacie, 1651 ; Sir K. Digby on the
Nature of Bodies, 1645 ; Warton's History
of English Poetry, 1774;, Encyclopedic, 25
vols., 1770; Fielding's Works, 12 vols.,
1766; Bysshe's Art of Poetry; Hawkins's
Origin of the English Drama, 3 vols., 1773;
Percy's Reliques, 3 vols., Dublin, 1766 ;



How Men have Formed Libraries. 41

Sir William Temple's Works; and De Bure,
Bibliographic Instructive.

A catalogue such as this, made within
a few weeks of the death of the owner, can-
not but have great interest for us. The
library could not have been a very choice
one, for there is little notice of bindings
and much mention of odd volumes. It was
evidently a working collection, containing
the works of the poets Goldsmith loved, and
of the naturalists from whom he stole his
knowledge.

Gibbon was a true collector, who loved
his books, and he must have needed them
greatly, working as he did at Lausanne
away from public libraries. After his death
the library was purchased by * Vathek' Beck-
ford, but he kept it buried, and it was of
no use to any one. Eventually it was sold
by auction, a portion being bought for the
Canton, and another portion going to
America. There was little in the man
Gibbon to be enthusiastic about, but it is
impossible for any true book lover not to
delight in the thoroughness of the author



42 How to Form a Library.

of one of the noblest books ever written.
The fine old house where the Decline and
Fall was written and the noble library was
stored still stands, and the traveller may
stroll in the garden so beautifully described
by Gibbon when he walked to the historical
berceau and felt that his herculean labour was
completed. His heart must be preternaturally
dull which does not beat quicker as he walks
on that ground. The thought of a visit some
years ago forms one of the most vivid of the
author's pleasures of memory.

Charles Burney, the Greek scholar, is
said to have expended nearly ^25,000
on his library, which consisted of more
than 13,000 printed volumes and a fine
collection of MSS. The library was pur-
chased for the British Museum for the sum



Charles Burney probably inherited his
love of collecting from his father, for Dr.
Burney possessed some twenty thousand
volumes. These were rather an in-
cumbrance to the Doctor, and when he
moved to Chelsea Hospital, he was in



Hoiv Men have Formed Libraries. 43

some difficulty respecting them. Mrs.
Chapone, when she heard of these troubles,
proved herself no bibliophile, for she ex-
claimed, " Twenty thousand volumes ! bless
me ! why, how can he so encumber him-
self? Why does he not burn half? for
how much must be to spare that never can
be worth his looking at from such a store !
and can he want to keep them all ?"

The love of books will often form a tie
of connection between very divergent cha-
racters, and in dealing with men who have
formed libraries we can bring together the
names of those who had but little sympathy
with each other during life.

George III. was a true book collector,
and the magnificent library now preserved
in the British Museum owes its origin to
his own judgment and enthusiastic love for
the pursuit. Louis XVI. cared but little
for books until his troubles came thick
upon him, and then he sought solace from
their pages. During that life in the Temple
we all know so well from the sad reading
of its incidents, books were not denied to



44 Haw to Form a Library.

the persecuted royal family. There was
a small library in the "little tower," and
the king drew up a list of books to be
supplied to him from the library at the
Tuileries. The list included the works of
Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Terence ; of
Tacitus, Livy, Caesar, Marcus Aurelius,
Eutropius, Cornelius Nepos, Florus, Justin,
Quintus Curtius, Sallust, Suetonius and
Velleius Paterculus ; the Vies dts Saints,
the Fables de la Fontaine, Telemaque, and
Rollin's TrailQ des Eludes?

The more we know of Napoleon, and
anecdotes of him are continually being
published in the ever-lengthening series
of French memoirs, the less heroic appears
his figure, but he could not have been
entirely bad, for he truly loved books. He
began life as an author, and would always
have books about him. He complained
if the printing was bad or the binding poor,
and said, "I will have fine editions and
handsome binding. I am rich enough for

1 Edwards, Libraries and Founders oj Libraries^
P "5-



Hew Men have Formed Libraries. 45

that." 1 Thus spoke the true bibliophile.
Mr. Edwards has collected much interest-
ing information respecting Napoleon and
his libraries, and of his labours I here
freely avail myself. Bourrienne affirms that
the authors who chiefly attracted Napoleon
in his school days were Polybius, Plutarch,
and Arrian. " Shortly before he left France
for Egypt, Napoleon drew up, with his own
hand, the scheme of a travelling library,
the charge of collecting which was given
to John Baptist Say, the Economist. It
comprised about three hundred and twenty
volumes, more than half of which are
historical, and nearly all, as it seems, in
French. The ancient historians comprised
in the list are Thucydides, Plutarch, Poly-
bius, Arrian, Tacitus, Livy, and Justin.
The poets are Homer, Virgil, Tasso, Ariosto,
the Telemaque of F6n61on, the Henriade of
Voltaire, with Ossian and La Fontaine.
Among the works of prose fiction are the
English novelists in forty volumes, of course

1 Edwards, Libraries and Founders > p. 136.



46 How to Form a Library.

in translations, and the indispensable Sorrows
of Werter, which, as he himself told Goethe,
Napoleon had read through seven times
prior to October, 1808. In this list the
Bible, together with the Koran and the
Vtdas, are whimsically, but significantly,
entered under the heading Politics and
Ethics (Politique et Morale). 1

Napoleon was not, however, satisfied with
the camp libraries which were provided for
him ; the good editions were too bulky and
the small editions too mean: so he arranged
the plan of a library to be expressly printed
for him in a thousand duodecimo volumes
without margins, bound in thin covers and
with loose packs. "In this new plan
* Religion ' took its place as the first class.
The Bible was to be there in its best trans-
lation, with a selection of the most im-
portant works of the Fathers of the Church,
and a series of the best dissertations on
those leading religious sects their doctrines
and their history which have powerfully

1 Correspondence oe Napoleon I er , IV. pp. 37, -58,
quoted by Edwards, Libraries and Founders, p. 130.



How Men have Formed Libraries. 47

influenced the world. This section was
limited to forty volumes. The Koran was
to be included, together with a good book
or two on mythology. One hundred and
forty volumes were allotted to poetry. The


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