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and of a certain Solomonic dissatisfaction ? the times : “My father, in the time of The two writers of modern times, both Queen Mary, being noted and known to pre-eminently sympathetic towards the be an enemy to Popery was so cruelly past, who have best described this some threatened and so narrowly observed by what melancholy and disillusioned frame those that maliced his religion, that for the of mind are both Americans : Washing- safeguard of himself and my mother who ton Irving, in two essays in the “Sketch- was wholly affected as my father, he knew Book”—The Art of Bookmaking and no way so secure as to fly into Germany, The Mutability of Literature, and Na- where after a while he found means to call thaniel Hawthorne, in many places, but over my mother with all his children and notably in that famous chapter on The family whom he settled for a time in Wesel · Emptiness of Picture Galleries in “The in Cleveland. (For there, there were many Marble Faun."
English which had left their country It is perhaps best not to make too for their conscience and with quietness great demands upon our slender stock of enjoyed their meetings and preachings.) deep emotions; not to rhapsodize too From thence he removed to the town of much; or vainly to pretend, as some trav- Frankfort where there was in like sort elers have done, that to them the collec- another English congregation. Howbeit tions of the Bodleian, its laden shelves we made no longer tarriance in either of and precious cases, are more attractive these two towns for that my father had than wealth, fame, or family, and that resolved to fix his abode in the city of stern Fate alone compelled them to leave Geneva.” Oxford by train after a visit rarely exceed- Here the Bodleys remained until such ing twenty-four hours in duration.
time as our Nation was advertised of the Sir Thomas Bodley's Library at Oxford death of Queen Mary and the succession is, all will admit, a great and glorious of Elizabeth, with the change of religion Institution, one of England's sacred places; which caused my father to hasten into and springing as it did out of the mind, England. heart, and head of one strong, efficient, In Geneva young Bodley and his and resolute man, it is matter for rejoicing brothers enjoyed what now would be with every honest gentleman to be able called great educational advantages. to observe how quickly the idea took Small creature though he was, he yet atroot, how well it has thriven, by how great tended (so he says) the public lectures of a tradition it has become consecrated, and Chevalerius in Hebrew, Bersaldus in how studiously the wishes of the founder in Greek, and of Calvin and Beza in Divinall their essentials are still observed and ity. He had also “ domestical teachers,” carried out.
and was taught Homer by Robert ConstanSaith the Prophet Isaiah, “ The liberal tinus, who was the author of a Greek deviseth liberal things; and by liberal Lexicon, a luxury in those days. things he shall stand.” The name of On returning to England Bodley proThomas Bodley still stands all the world ceeded, not to Exeter, as by rights he over by the liberal thing he devised. should have done, but to Magdalen,
A few pages about this “ second where he became reading man ” and Ptolemy” will be grudged me by none graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1563. The but unlettered churls.
next year he shifted his quarters to He was a West Countryman, an excel- Merton, where he gave public lectures lent thing to be in England if you want on Greek. In 1566 he became a Master backing through thick and thin, and was of Arts, took to the study of Natural born in Exeter on the 2d of March, 1544— Philosophy, and three years later was a most troublesome date. It seems our Junior Proctor. He remained in resifate in the Old Home never to be for long dence until 1576, thus spending seventeen quit of the religious difficulty—which is years in the University. In the lastvery hard upon us, for nobody, I suppose, mentioned year he obtained leave of abwould call us a "religious" people. Little sence to travel on the Continent, and Thomas Bodley opened his eyes in a land for four years he pursued his studies distracted with the religious difficulty. abroad, mastering the French, Spanish, Listen to his own words; they are full of and Italian languages. Some short time
after his return home he obtained an Bodley's description of the state of the introduction to Court circles and became old library as lying in every part ruined an Esquire to Queen Elizabeth, who seems and in waste was but too true. to have entertained varying opinions about Richard of Bury, the book loving Bishop him, at one time greatly commending him of Durham, seems to have been the first and at another time wishing he were donor of manuscripts on anything like a hanged--an awkward wish on Tudor lips. large scale to Oxford, but the library he In 1588 Bodley married a wealthy widow, founded was at Durham College, which a Mrs. Ball, the daughter of a Bristol man stood where Trinity College now stands, named Carew. He survived her, and, hav- and was in no sense a University library. ing no children, a good bit of her money The good Bishop, known to all bookremains in the Bodleian to this day. hunters as the author of the" Philobiblon,' Blessed be her memory! Nor should the died in 1345, but his collection remained names of Carew and Ball be wholly for- intact, subject to rules he had himself laid gotten in this connection. From 1588 to down, until the dissolution of the monas1596 Bodley was in the diplomatic service, teries, when Durham College, which was chiefly at The Hague, where he did good attached to a religious house, was put up work in troublesome times. On being for sale, and its library, like so much else finally recalled from The Hague, Bodley of good learning at this sad period, was had to make up his mind whether to pur- dispersed and for the most part destroyed. sue a public life. He suffered from having Bodley's real predecessor, the first betoo many friends, for not only did Burleigh getter of a University library, was Thomas patronize him, but Essex must needs do Cobham, Bishop of Worcester, who in the same. No man can serve two masters, 1320 prepared a chamber above a vaulted and though to be the victim of the rival room in the northeast corner of St. Mary's ambitions of greater men than yourself is Church for the reception of the books he no uncommon fate, it is a currish one. intended to bestow upon his University. Bodley determined to escape it, and to When the Bishop of Worcester (as a matmake for himself after a very different ter of fact he had once been elected Archfashion a name, ære perennius.
bishop of Canterbury--but that is another I resolved thereupon to possess my soul in story, as Laurence Sterne has said) died peace all the residue of my days, to take my in 1327, it was discovered that he had by full farewell of state employments, to satisfy his will bequeathed his library to Oxford, my mind with the mediocrity of worldly living but he was insolvent! No rich relict of that I had of mine own, and so to retire me from the Court.
a defunct Ball was available for a Bishop But what was he to do?
in those days. The executors found
themselves without sufficient estate to Whereupon, examining exactly for the rest of my life what course I might take, and hav: pay for their testator's funera! expenses, ing sought all the ways to the wood to select ever the first charge upon assets." They the most proper, I concluded at the last to set are not to be blamed for pawning the up my staff at the Library door in Oxford, library. A good friend redeemed the being thoroughly persuaded that in my soli: pledge and despatched the books, all, of affairs I could not busy myself to better pur course, manuscripts, to Oxford. For some pose than by reducing that place (which then reason or another Oriel took them in, and, in every part lay ruined waste) to the publick having become their bailee, refused to use of students.
part with them, possibly and plausibly It is pleasant to be admitted into the alleging that the University was not in a birth-chamber of a great idea destined to position to give a valid receipt. At Oriel be translated into action. Bodley pro- they remained for ten years, when all of ceeds to state the four qualifications he a sudden the scholars of the University, felt himself to possess to do this great bit animated by their notorious affection for of work: first, the necessary knowledge sound learning and a good "row," took of ancient and modern tongues and of Oriel by storm and carried off the books "sundry other sorts of scholastical litera- in triumph to Bishop Cobham's room, ture ;" second, purse ability; third, a where they remained in chests unread for great store of honorable friends; and, thirty years. In 1367 the University by fourth, leisure.
statute ratified and confirmed its title to
the books and published regulations for manuscripts with such vivacity that the their use, but the quarrel with Oriel con- little room in St. Mary's could no longer tinued till 1409, when the Cobham Library contain its riches. Hence the resolution was for the first time properly furnished of the University in 1444 to build a new and opened as a place for study and library over the Divinity School. This reference.
new room, which was completed in 1480, The Librarian of the old Cobham forms now the central portion of that great Library had an advantage over Mr. reading-room so affectionately remembered Nicholson, the Bodley Librarian of to-day. by thousands of still living students. Being a clerk in holy orders before the Duke Humphrey's Library, as the new days when, in Bodley's own phrase, room was popularly called, continued to already quoted, we “ changed ” our relig: flourish and receive valuable accessions ion, he was authorized by the University of manuscripts and printed books belongto say masses for the souls of all dead ing to Divinity, Medicine, Natural Science, donors of books, whether by gifts inter and Literature until the ill-omened year zitos or by bequest.
1550. Oxford has never loved CommisThe first great benefactor of Cobham's sioners revising her statutes and reformLibrary was Duke Humphrey of Glouces- ing her schools, but the Commissioners ter, the youngest son of Henry IV., and of 1550 were worse than prigs, worse perhaps the most "pushful” youngest son even than Erastians, they were barbarians in our royal annals. Though a dissipated and wreckers. They were deputed by and unprincipled fellow, he lives in his- King Edward VI., " in the spirit of the tory as the “good Duke Humphrey” be- Reformation,” to make an end of the cause he had the sense to patronize Popish superstition. Under their hands learning, collect manuscripts, and enrich the Library totally disappeared ; and for universities. He began his gifts to Ox- a long while the tailors and shoemakers ford as early, so say some authorities, as and bookbinders of Oxford were well sup1411, and continued his donations of plied with vellum which they found useful
in their respective callings. It was a hard for the use and ease of students, and a singufate for so splendid a collection. True it lar ornament of the University. is that for the most part the contents of the The letter does not stop here, but my Library had been rescued from miserable quotation has already probably wearied ill-usage in the Monasteries and Chapter- most of my readers, though for my own Houses where they had their first habita. part I am not ashamed to confess that I tions, but at last they had found shelter seldom tire of retracing with my own hand over the Divinity School of a great Univer- the ipsissima verba whereby great and sity. There at least they might hope to truly notable gifts have been bestowed slumber. But our Reformers thought upon nations or universities or even muotherwise. The books and manuscripts nicipalities for the advancement of learnbeing thus dispersed or destroyed, a pru- ing and the spread of science. Bodley's dent if unromantic Convocation exposed language is somewhat involved, but through for sale the wooden shelves, desks, and seats it glows the plain intention of an honest of the old library, and so made a complete end of the whole concern; thus making Convocation, we are told, embraced room for Thomas Bodley.
the offer with wonderful alacrity, and lost On the 23d of February, 1598, Thomas no time in accepting it in good Latin. Bodley sat himself down in his London From February, 1598, to January, 1613 house and addressed to the Vice-Chan- (when he died), Bodley was happy with cellor of his University a certain famous as glorious a hobby-horse as ever man letter :
rode astride upon. Though Bodley, in
one of his letters, modestly calls himself Sir,-Altho' you know me not as I suppose,
a mere smatterer,” he was, as indeed yet for the farthering of an offer of evident utilitie to your whole University I will not be he had the sense to recognize, excellently too scrupulous in craving your assistance. I well fitted to be a collector of books, have been alwaies of a mind that if God of being both a good linguist and personhis goodness should make me able to do thing for the benefit of posteritie I would shew ally well acquainted with the chief cities some token of affiction that I have ever more
of the Continent and with their bookborne to the studies of good learning. I know sellers. He was thus able to employ my portion is too slender to perform for the well-selected agents in different parts of present any answerable act to my willing disposition, but yet to notify some part of my Europe to buy books on his account, desire in that behalf I have resolved thus to which it was his pleasure to receive, his deal. Where there hath been heretofore a rapture to unpack, his pride to despatch public library in Oxford which you know is in what he calls “ dry-fats "—that is, apparent
by the room itself remaining and by weather-tight chests—to Dr. James, the your statute records, I will take the charge and cost upon me to reduce it again to its
first Bodley Librarian. Despite growing former use and to make it fit and handsome and painful infirmities (stone, ague, dropwith seats and shelves and desks and all that sy), Bodley never even for a day dismay be needful to stir up other mens benevolence to help to furnish it with books. And mounted his hobby, but rode it manfully this I purpose to begin as soon as timber can to the last. Nor had he any mean taint be gotten to the intent that you may be of of nature that might have grudged other some speedy profit of my project. And where
men a hand in the great work. The more before as I conceive it was to be reputed but a store of books of divers benefactors benefactors there were, the better pleased because it never had any lasting allowance was Bodley. He could not, indeed—for for augmentation of the number or supply of had he not been educated at Geneva and books decayed, whereby, it came to pass that attended the Divinity Lectures of Calvin when those that were in being were either
and Beza ?-direct Dr. James to say masses wasted or embezzled, the whole foundation came to ruin. To meet with that inconven- for the souls of such donors of money or ience, I will so provide hereafter (if God do not books as should die, but he did all a poor binder my present design) as you shall be still assured of a standing annual rent to be he opened and kept in a very public place
Protestant can do to tempt generositydisbursed every year in buying of books, or officers stipends and other pertinent occa- in the Library a great Register Book, consions, with which provision and some order for taining the names and titles of all benethe preservation of the place and the furniture
factors. Bodley was always on the lookof it from accustomed abuses, it may perhaps in time to come prove a notable treasure for
out for gifts and bequests from his store the multitude of volumes, an excellent benefit of honorable friends; and in the case of