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Sir Henry Savile he even relaxed the rule librarians probably obstructed any such against lending books from the Library, transfer of books. because, as he frankly admits to Dr. Authors seem at once to have recognized James, he had hopes (which proved well the importance of the Library, and to have founded) that Sir Henry would not forget made presentation copies of their works, his obligations to the Bodleian.
and in 1605 we find Bacon sending a copy The Library was formally opened on the of his “ Advancement of Learning ” to 8th of November, 1602, and then con- Bodley, with a letter in which he said: “In tained some two thousand volumes. Two having built an ark to save learning from years later its founder was knighted by deluge, deserve propriety [ownership) in King James, who on
any new instrument the following June
or engine whereby directed letters pat
learning should be ent to be issued styl
improved or ading the Library by
vanced” (Macray, the founder's name
35). The most reand licensing the
markable letter BodUniversity to hold
ley ever wrote, now land in mortmain for
extant, is one to its maintenance. The
Bacon ; but it has most learned and by
no reference to the no means the most
Library, only to the foolish of our Kings,
Baconian philosothis same James I.
phy. We do not get visited the Bodleian
many glimpses of in May, 1605. Sir
Bodley's habits of life Thomas was not
or ways of thinking, present. There it
but there is no diffiwas that the royal
culty in discerning pun was made that
a strenuous, deterthe founder's name
mined, masterful figshould have been
ure, bent during his Godly and not Bod
later years, perhaps ley. King James
tyrannously bent, on handled certain old
effecting his object. manuscripts with the
He was not, we learn familiarity of a schol
from a correspondar, and is reported
ent, “hasty to write to have said, I doubt
but when the posts not with perfect sin
do urge him, saying cerity, that were he SIR THOMAS BODLEY
there need be no not King James he would be an Univer- answer to your letters till more leisure sity man, and that were it his fate at any breed him opportunity.” “Words are time to be a captive, he would wish to women, deeds are men,” is another saying be shut up in the Bodleian and to be of his, which I reprint without comment. bound with its chains, consuming his days By an indenture dated the 20th of amongst its books as his fellows in cap- April, 1609, Bodley, after reciting how he tivity. Indeed, he was so carried away had, out of his zealous affection to the adby the atmosphere of the place as to offer vancement of learning, lately erected upon to present to the Bodleian whatever books the ruins of the old decayed Library of Sir Thomas Bodley might think fit to lay Oxford University “ a most ample, comhands upon in any of the Royal Libraries, modious, and necessary building, as well and he kept this royal word so far as to for receipt and conveyance of books as confirm the gift under the Privy Seal. But for the use and ease of students, and had there it seems to have stopped, for the already furnished the same with excellent Bodleian does not contain any volumes writers on all sorts of sciences, arts, and traceable to this source. The King's tongues, not only selected out of his own
study and store, but also of others that where there was most need. But he was so were freely conferred by many other men's carried away with the vanity and vain-glory
of his library, that he forgot all other respects gifts," proceeded to grant to trustees
and duties, almost of Conscience, Friendship, lands and hereditaments in Berkshire and or Good-nature, and all he had was too little in the city of London for the purpose of for that work. To say the truth I never did forming a permanent endowment of his
rely much upon his conscience, but I thought
he had been more real and ingenuous. I canLibrary; and so they, or the proceeds of
not learn that he hath given anything, no, not sale thereof, have remained unto this day. a good word nor so much as named any old
Sir Thomas Bodley died on the 20th friend he had, but Mr. Gent and Thos Allen of January, 1613, his last days being
who like a couple of Almesmen must have his
best and second gown, and his best and second soothed by a letter he received from the
rom the cloak, but to cast a colour or shadow of someVice-Chancellor of Oxford University con- thing upon Mr. Gent, he says he forgives him doling his sickness and signifying how all he owed him, which Mr. Gent protests is much the Heads of Houses, etc., prayed
never a penny. I must intreat you to pardon
me if I seem somewhat impatient on his i. e. for his recovery. A cynical friend, not
Gent's] behalf, who hath been so servile to much of a friend as we shall see, called him, and indeed such a perpetual servant, that John Chamberlain, was surprised to ob- he deserved a better reward. Neither can I serve what pleasure this assurance gave deny that I have a little indignation for
myself that having been acquainted with to the dying man. “Whereby," writes him for almost 40 years, and observed and Chamberlain to Sir Ralph Winwood, “I respected him so much I should not be perceive how much fair words work, as remembered with the value of a spoon, or a well upon wise men as upon others for mourning garment, whereas if I had gone indeed it did affect him very much.”
before him (as poor a man as I am) he should
not have found himself forgotten.' Bodley was rather put out in his last illness by the refusal of a Cambridge
Bodley did no more by his will, which doctor, Batter, to come to see him ; the
is dated the 2d of January, 1613, and doctor saying, “ Words cannot cure him,
is all in his own handwriting, than he had and I can do nothing else for him." There
promised to do in his lifetime, and I feel is an occasional curtness about Cambridge
as certain as I can feel about anything men that it is hard but not impossible to
that happened nearly three hundred years reconcile with good feeling.
ago, that Mr. Gent, of Gloucester Hall, did Bodley's will gave great dissatisfaction
owe Bodley money, though, as many anto some of his friends, including this afore
other member of the University of Oxford said John Chamberlain, and yet on read
has done with his debts, he forgot all ing it through it is not easy to see any
about it. cause for just complaint. Bodley's brother
The founder of the Bodleian was buried did not grumble, there were no children,
with proper pomp and circumstance in Lady Bodley had died in 1611, and every.
the chapel of Merton College, on the body who knew the testator must have
29th of March, 1613. Two Latin orations known that the Library would be (as it
were delivered over his remains, one, was) the great object of his bounty. What
that of Mr. John Hales, a Fellow of Merannoyed Chamberlain seems to be that
ton, being of no inconsiderable length. whilst he had (so he says, though I take
After all was over, those who had mournleave to doubt it) put down Bodley for
ing weeds or blacks retired, with the some trifle in his will, Bodley forgot to
Heads of Houses, to the Refectory of mention Chamberlain in his. There is
Merton and had a funeral dinner bestowed always a good deal of human nature
upon them, “amounting to the sum of exhibited on these occasions. I will
£100," as directed by the founder's will.
The great foundation of Sir Thomas transcribe a bit of one of this gentleman's grumbling letters, written, one may be
Bodley has, happily for all of us, had betsure, with no view to publication, the day
ter fortune than befell the generous gifts after Bodley's death :
of the Bishops of Durham and Worcester. Mr. Gent came to me this morning as it
The Protestant layman has had the luck, were to bemoan himself of the little regard
d not the large-minded prelates of the old hath been had of him and others, and indeed religion. Even during the Civil War Bodfor ought I hear there is scant anybody pleased, ley's books remained uninjured, at all but for the rest it were no great matter if he had had more consideration or commiseration 15 Winwood's Memorials," III., 429.
events by the Parliament men. “When hopes of the founder. I must be content Oxford was surrendered [24 June, 1646], to say, what all know, that no nobler the first thing General Fairfax did was to library exists in the world than the Bodset a good guard of soldiers to preserve leian, unless it be in the Vatican at Rome. the Bodleian library. 'Tis said there The foundation of Sir Thomas Bodley, was more hurt done by the Cavaliers (dur- though of no antiquity, shines with unriing their garrison) by way of embezzling valed splendor and cutting of chains of books than there “amidst the stars that own another birth” was since. He was a lover of learning in the galaxy of Oxford ; for though I must and had he not taken this special care, not say, being myself a Cambridge man, that noble library had been utterly de- that the Bodleian dominates Oxford, yet stroyed, for there were ignorant senators I may say that to many an English, enough who would have been contented American, and foreign traveler to that to have it so " (see Macray, 101). Oliver city, which, despite railway stations and Cromwell, while Lord Protector, presented trains and the never-ending villas of the to the Library twenty-two Greek MSS. he Banbury Road, still breathes the charm of had purchased, and, what is more, when an earlier age, the Bodleian is the pulsing Bodley's librarian refused the Lord Pro- heart of the University Colleges, like tector's request to allow the Portugal ancient homesteads, unless they are yours, Ambassador to borrow a MS., sending never quite welcome you ; though ready instead of the MS. a copy of the statutes enough to receive with civility your tenforbidding loans, Oliver commended the dered meed of admiration. You wander prudence of the founder, and subsequently through their gardens and pace their made the donation just mentioned.
quadrangles with no sense of co-ownerA great wave of generosity towards this ship-not for you are their clustered foundation was early noticeable. The memories. In the Bodleian every lettered Bodleian got hold of men's imaginations. heart feels itself at home. In those days there were learned men in Bodley drafted with his own hand the all walks of life, and many more that were first statutes or rules to be observed in not learned were endlessly curious. The his Library. Speaking generally, they are great merchants of the city of London wise rules. One mistake, indeed, he instructed their agents in far lands to be made-a great mistake, but a natural one. on the lookout for rare things, and trans- Let him give his own reasons: “I can see mit them home to find a resting-place in no good reason to alter my rule for excludBodley's buildings. All sorts of curiosities ing such books as Almanacks, Plays, and found their way there-crocodiles, whales, an infinite number that are daily printed mummies, and black negro boys in spirits. of very unworthy matters— handling such The Ashmolean now holds most of them; books as one thinks both the Keeper the negro boy has been conveniently lost. and Under-Keeper should disdain to seek
In 1649 the total of 2,000 printed books out, to deliver to any man. Haply some had risen to more than 12,000; viz., plays may be worthy the keeping—but folios, 5,889; quartos, 2,067 ; octavos, hardly one in forty. ... This is my 4,918; whilst of MSS. there were 3,001. opinion, wherein if I err I shall err with
One of the first gifts in money came infinite others; and the more I think upon from Sir Walter Raleigh, who in 1605 it, the more it doth distaste me that such gave £50, whilst among the early bene- kinds of books should be vouchsafed factors of books and MSS. it were a sin room in so noble a library." I not to name the Earl of Pembroke, Arch- “ Baggage-books ” was the contemptu. bishop Laud (one of the Library's best ous expression elsewhere employed to friends), Robert Burton, of the “ Anatomy describe this “light infantry” of literature of Melancholy," Sir Kenelm Digby, - Belles Lettres, as it is now more politely John Selden, Lord Fairfax, Colonel Ver- designated. non, and Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln. One play in forty is liberal measure, Space would be denied me to lengthen but who is to say out of the forty plays this meager list, or even in outline to which is the one worthy to be housed in characterize the chief treasures that have so well fulfilled and transcended the don, 1703.
, See correspondence in “ Reliquiæ Bodleianæ," Lona noble library? The taste of Vice-Chan- volumes in the British Museum on which cellors and Heads of Houses, of Keepers the Bodleian looks with suspicion, and and Under-Keepers of libraries--can any- vice versa. But let sleeping dogs lie. body trust it? The Bodleian is entitled Bodley would not even give the divines by Imperial statutes to receive copies of who were engaged upon a bigger bit of all books published within the realm, yet work even than his Library—the translait appears on the face of a Parliamentary tion of the Bible into that matchless Eng. Return made in 1818 that this “ noble lish which makes King James's Version library" refused to find room for Ossian, our greatest literary possession-permisthe favorite poet of Goethe and Napoleon, sion to borrow" the one or two books " and labeled Miss Edgeworth's “Parent's they wished to see. Assistant” and Miss Hannah More's Bodley's Library has sheltered through “Sacred Dramas” “rubbish.” The sister three centuries many queer things besides university, home though she be of nearly books and strangely written manuscripts every English poet worth reading, rejected in old tongues; queerer things even than the “ Siege of Corinth," though the work crocodiles, whales, and mummies. I mean of a Trinity man, would not take in the the librarians and sub-librarians, janitors, “ Thanksgiving Ode" of Mr. Wordsworth, and servants. Oddities many of them of St. John's College, declined Leigh have been. Honest old Jacobites, nonHunt's “ Story of Rimini,” vetoed the jurors, primitive thinkers—as well as “ Headlong Hall ” of the inimitable Pea- scandalously lazy drunkards and illiterate cock, and, most wonderful of all, would dogs. An old foundation can afford to have nothing to say to Scott's “ Anti- have a varied experience in these matters. quary,” being probably disgusted to find O ne of the most original of these orig. that a book with so promising a title was inals was the famous Thomas Hearneonly a novel.
an “honest gentleman " and a Jacobite, Now all this is altered, and everything and one whose collections and diaries is collected in the Bodleian, including, so have given pleasure to thousands. He I am told, Christmas cards and dinner was appointed Janitor in 1701, and Submenus.
Librarian in 1712, but in 1716, when an Bodley's rule has proved an expensive Act of Parliament came into operation one, for the Library has been forced to which imposed a fine of £500 upon any buy at latter-day prices“ baggage-books” one who held any public office without it could have got for nothing.
taking the oath of allegiance to the HanoAnother ill-advised regulation got rid verians, Hearne's office was taken away of duplicates. Thus, when the third from him ; but he shared with his King Shakespeare Folio appeared in 1664, the over the water the satisfaction of accountBodleian disposed of its copy of the First ing himself still de jure, and though he Folio. However, this wrong was righted lived till 1735, he never failed each halfin 1821, when, under the terms of Edmund year to enter his salary and fees as SubMalone's bequest, the Library once again Librarian as being still unpaid. He was became the possessor of the edition of perhaps a little spiteful and vindictive, 1623.
but none the less a fine.old fellow. I Against lending books Bodley was ada- will write down as specimens of his mant, and here his rule prevails. It is humor a prayer of his and an apology, and pre-eminently a wise one. The stealing then leave him alone. His prayer ran as of books, as well as the losing of books, follows: from public libraries is a melancholy and
O most gracious and merciful Lord God. ancient chapter in the histories of such wonderful in thy Providence, I return all pos institutions. Indeed, there is too much sible thanks to thee for the care thou hast reason to believe that not a few books in
always taken of me. I continually meet with the Bodleian itself were stolen to start
most signal instances of this thy Providence,
and one act yesterday, when I unexpectedly with. But the long possession by such a met with three old manuscripts, for which in foundation has doubtless purged the orig. a particular manner I return my thanks, beinal offense. In the National Library in seeching thee to continue the same protection
to me a poor, helpless sinner, and that for Paris is at least one precious MS. which
nich Jesus Christ his sake. (Aubrey's Letters, I., was stolen from the Escurial. There are 118.)
His apology, which I do not think was of the Dante MSS., or of Bishop Tanner's actually published, though kept in draft, books (many bought on the dispersion of was after this fashion :
Archbishop Sancroft's great library), all of
Archbisho, 1. Thomas Hearne. A.M. of the University which in course of removal by water from of Oxford, having ever since my matriculation Norwich to Oxford fell into the river and followed my studies with as much application remained submerged for twenty hours, as I have been capable of, and having published several books for the honour and credit
nor of many other splendid benefactions of learning, and particularly for the reputation of a later date. of the foresaid University, am very sorry that One thing only remains, not to be said by my declining to say anything but what I but to be sent round-I mean the Hat. knew to be true in any of my writings, and I especially in the last book I published entituled
Ignominious to relate, this glorious foun&c., I should incur the displeasure of any of the dation stands in need of money. Shade Heads of Houses, and as a token of my sorrow of Sir Thomas Bodley, I invoke thy aid for their being offended at truth, I subscribe my to loosen the purse-strings of the wealthy! name to this paper and permit them to make what use of it they please. (Macray, 188.)
The age of learned and curious Merchants,
of high-spirited and learning-loving Nobles, Leaping a hundred and forty years, of book-collecting Bishops, of Antiguaan odd tale is thus lovingly recorded of rians. is over. The Bodleian cannot conanother Sub-Librarian, the Rev. A. Hack
descend to beg. It is too majestical. man, who died in 1874 :
But I, an unauthorized stranger, have no During all the time of his service in the need to be ashamed. Library (thirty-six years) he had used as a cushion in his plain wooden armchair a certain
Especially rich is this great library in vellum-bound folio, which by its indented side, Americana, and America suggests multiworn down by continual pressure, bore testi millionaires. The rich men of the United mony to the use to which it had been put.
States have been patriotically alive to the No one had ever the curiosity to examine what the book might be, but when, after
first claims of their own famous universiHackman's departure from the Library, it was ties, and long may they so continue; but removed from its resting-place of years, some if by any happy chance any one of them amusement was caused by finding that the should accidentally stumble across an odd chief compiler of the last printed catalogue million or even half a million of dollars. had omitted from his catalogue the volume on which he sat, of which, too, though of no hidden away in some casual investment special value, there was no other copy in the he had forgotten, what better thing could Library. (Macray, 388a.)
he do with it than send it to this, The spectacle in the mind's eye of this the most famous foundation of his Old devoted Sub-Librarian and sound divine Home? It would be acknowledged by sitting on the vellum-bound folio for six return of post in English and in Latin, and and thirty years, so absorbed in his work the donor's name would be inscribed, not as to be oblivious of the fact that he had indeed (and this is a regrettable lapse) in failed to include in his magnum opus, the that famous old Register which Bodley great Catalogue, the very book he was provided should always be in a prominent sitting upon, tickles the midriff.
place in his Library, but in the Annual Here I must bring these prolonged but Statements of Accounts now regularly wholly insufficient observations to a very issued. To be associated with the Bodnecessary conclusion. Not a word has leian is to share its fame and partake of been said of the great collection of Bibles, the blessing it has inherited. “ The libor of the unique copies of the Koran and eral deviseth liberal things, and by liberal the Talmud and the Arabian Nights, or things he shall stand."
By Frank Dempster Sherman