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Books printed are, however, more encouraging to an enquirer than MSS.; and here may the rarest be, generally, found. Brereton's Relation of Gosnold's Discovery, printed at London, 1602, in 4to., did not engage more than a half minute's attention, because it was known, that our publishing committee for the present volume had obtained a transcript. The information, as to Chr. Levett's Voyage into New England, 4to. London, 1628, of equal diligence, removes the mortification suffered, on being answered, when that tract was asked for, that it was gone to the binders. No little regret must be felt at our numerous deficiencies in works, that would naturally be supposed to be at our command from their comparatively recent publication. At this repository in London the Catalogue (I forget the number of volumes it is contained in, but it must be over fifty folios) shows : “ Adams (Amos) A. M. Pastor of the first Church of Roxbury. A concise historical view of the difficulties, hardships and perils which attended the planting and progressive improvements of New England, 8vo. Boston. London, reprinted 1770.
Bradstreet (Lieut. Col.) Impartial Account of Expedition to Fort Frontenac, 8vo. London, 1759.” Neither of these books are yet in our library.
The most remarkable treasure in the Museum is a Collection of Books and Pamphlets, printed from 1640 to the Restoration, which was the property of George III. Its Catalogue, written by the collector, fills twelve small folio volumes. My attention being drawn, by one of the Keepers in the department, to this, it seemed desirable, on 30 July, to copy the story of this assiduous laborer, which is an appropriate preface to the first volume of these MSS. entitled “Mr. Thomason about his Collection."
“There have been great charges disbursed and paines taken in an Exact Colleccon of Pamphlets that have been Published from the Beginning of that long and unhappy Parlement which begun November 1640 which doth amount to a very greate Number of Pieces of all sorts and all Sides from that time until his Majesties happy Restauracon and Coronacon, their Number Consisting of neere Thirty Thousand severall peeces to the very great Charge and greater Care and Paines of him that made the Colleccon.
The use that may be made of them for the Publique both for the present and after Ages, may and will prove of greate Advantage to Posterity, and besides this, there is not the like, and therefore onely fitt for the use of the Kings Maj’tie.
The wch Colleccon will Necessarily Imploy Six Readers att Once, they consisting of Six Severall Sorts of Paper being as uniformly Bound as if they were but of one Impression of Bookes, it Consists of above Two Thousand severall Volumes all Exactly Marked & Numbered.
The method that hath been Observed throughout is Tyme, and such Exact Care hath been taken that the very day is written upon most of them that they came out.
The Catalogue of them fairely written doe Contain Twelve Volumes in Folio and of the Number aforesaid wch is so many that when they stand in Order according to their Numbers whilst any thing is asked for, and Shewed in the Catalogue, though but of one Sheete of Paper (or lesse) it may be instantly Shewed, this Method is of very greate use and much Ease to the Reader.
In this Number of Pamphlets is Contained neere One hundred Severall peeces that never were Printed on th’one side and on th’other (all or most of wch are on the King's side) wch no man durst venture to Publish here without the Danger of his Ruine.
This Colleccon was so privately Carried on, that it was never knowne that there was such a Designe in hand, the Collector intending them onely for his Maj’ties use that then was, his Maj’tie once having Occasion to use one Pamphlett could no where Obtain or Compasse the sight of it but from him, wch his Maj’tie haveing seen was very well Sattisfied and pleased with the Sight of it, hee comanded a Person of honour (now) neere his Maj’tie that now is, to Restore it Safely to his hands from whome hee had it, who faithfully Restored it together with the Charge his Maj’tie gave him wch was with his owne hands to Returne it to him, and withall Express't a Desire from his then Maj’tie to him that had Begun that worke, that hee should Continue the same, his Maj’tie being very well pleased with the Designe wch was a greate Encouragem't to the Undertaker. Els hee thinks hee should never have been Enduced to have gon through so difficult a Worke wch hee found by Experience
to prove so Chargeable and heavy a Burthen both to himnselle and his Serv’ts that were Imployed in that buisines wch Continued above the Space of Twenty yeares in which time hee Buryed three of them who tooke greate Paines both day and night wth him in that tedious Imploym't.
And that hee might prevent the Discovery of them when the Army was Northward hee Pack’t them up in Severall Trunks, and by one or two in a Weeke hee sent them to a Trusty freind in Surrey who safely preserved them, but when the Army was Westward and feareing their Returne that way hee was feigne to have them sent back againe and othènce Safely Rec'ed them, but durst not keepe them by him the Danger was so greate, but packt them up againe and sent them into Essex, and when the Army Ranged that way to Tripleheath was feigne to send for them back from thence, and not thinking them safe any where in England att last tooke a Ressolucon to send them into Holland for their more safe preservation, but Considering with himselse what a Treasure it was, upon Second thoughts bee durst not venture them att Sea, but Resolved to place them in his Warehouses in forme of Tables round about the Roomes Covered over with Canvas, Continuing Still without any Intermission his Goeing on nay even then when by the Usurper's Power and Com’and hee was taken out of his Bed and Clapt up Close Prisoner att Whitehall for Seaven weekes Space and above bee still hopeing and looking for that Day and time wch thankes bee to God is now come, and there he put a Period to that unparalellid Labour Charge and Paines hee had been att.
Oxford Library keeper (that then was) was in hand with them ab't them a long time, and did hope the Publiq'e Library might Compose them, but that could not bee then Eftected, it riseing to so greate a sume as had been Expended on them for so long a time together.
And if that Trayterous Usurper had taken Notice of them by any Informacon, hee to secure them had made and signed an Acquittance for One thousand pounds acknowledged to be Received in parte of that Bargaine, and have sent that Imediately thither, and they to have Challenged by virtue of that as Bought by them who had more Power then hee had that Collected them to have Contended w'th him
for them by the Power that they and their freinds could have made.
All theis hard Shifts and Exigents hath hee been put unto to preserve them, and preserved they are (by Providence) for the use of Succeeding Ages wch will scarce have Faith to Believe that such horrid and most detestable Villanyes were ever Comitted in any Christian Common Wealth since Christianity had a Name.”
Then follows a letter from Barlow, newly appointed Bishop of Lincoln, who had been the Librarian at Oxford, and was named one of the Trustees, by the will of the Collector, who died 1666, for the preservation of this remarkable parcel of books. It is addressed, “ For ye reverend Mr. Thomason,” the son of the gatherer of this treasure, and seemed worth the transcribing : “My reverend friend,
I am about to leave Oxon (my deare mother) and that excellent and costly Collection of Bookes, which have so longe beene in my hand there. I intreate you either to remove them, or speake to my successor, that they may continue there, till you can otherwise conveniently dispose of them. Had I money to my minde, I would be your Chapman for them ; but the Collection is soe great, and my purse soe little that I cannot compasse it. It is such a Collection (both for the vast number of Bookes, and ye exact method they are bound in) as none has, nor possibly can have, besides
your selfe. The use of that Collection might be of exceedinge benefitt to the publique (both Church and State) were it plac'd in some safe Repository, where learned and sober men might have accesse to, and ye use of it. The
fittest place for it (both for use and honor) is the Kings, Sir • Thọ. Bodlies, or some publique Library ; for in such places
it might be most safe and usefull. I have longe indeavour'd to find Benefactors and a way to procure it for Bodlies Library, and I doe not despaire but such a way may be found in good time by your affectionate friend
THOMAS LINCOLNE." Oxon, Feb. 6, 1676.
Next comes a certificate from the Clerk of the Privy Council, in substance, that his Majesty in Council was
pleased, 15 May 1684, on a petition from Anne Mearne, relict of Samuel Mearne, his Majesty's Stationer, lately deceased, to give leave to dispose of this Collection, and make sale of the said Books as she shall think fit, the petitioner's husband having been commanded by Sir Jos. Williamson, Secretary of State, to purchase the same; and the reasons offered in the petition being “the great charge they cost,” and the burthen on the family “ by their lying undisposed of so long.”
This closing is, surely, disreputable to the character of Charles II, but he had so many heavier sins of ingratitude to the supporters of his father to answer for, that no comment is needed. It would have been agreeable, had the preface pursued the history of the Collection until it came to the possession of George III.
Some of the rare tracts in the Catalogue I think good to give titles of, with the dates marked on them by the gatherer, as the day when he obtained them. Of our Wonderworking Providences the imprint on titlepage is 1654, but Thomason procured a copy nearly four months before the close of 1653, and erased the last figure and substituted a 3. Remembering that this “ History of New England ” bore the date in our copies, and finding, in the General Catalogue, sub voce New England, a History inserted as printed at London the year before, my curiosity was eager to examine it. It instantly appeared to be the identical work of our Capt. Edward Johnson of Woburn, though it was not known in England, that he was the author. Of a few of these works, generally unattainable on our side of the ocean, an abstract of the subjects may be acceptable.
New Englands Tears for Old Englands Fears. Preached 3 in a Sermon on July 28, 1640, being a day of Pubike
Humiliation, appointed by the Churches in behalfe of our Native Country in time of fearful dangers, by William Hooke, Minister of God's word, sometime of Axmouth in Devonshire, now of Taunton in New England. London, 1641. A passage on p. 16 is well adapted to refresh the sensibility of his flock : “ There is no Land that claimes our name, but England, wee are distinguished from all the Nations in the world by the name of English. There is no Potentate breathing, that we call our dread Soveraigne, but King CHARLES, nor Lawes of any Land have civilized us,