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design in hand; the collector designing then only for His Majesties use that then was: His Majesty having occasion for a pamphlet, could To where compass the sight of it but from him, which His Majesty having perused, was very well pleased with the design, and commanded a person of honour to restore it with his own bands, and withal, expressed his desire of having the collection continued. This was the great encouragement to the undertaker, who had otherwise desisted prosecuting so difficult and chargeable a work, which lay a heavy burden upon himself and his servants for above twenty years.
To prevent the discovery of them, when the army was northwards, he packed them up in several trunks, and by one or two in a week, sent them to a trusty friend in Surry, who safely preserved them; and when the army was westward, and fearing their return that way, they were sent to London again, but the Collector durst not keep them, but sent them into Essex, and so according as they lay near danger, still by tinely removing them, at a great charge, secured them, but continued perfecting the work.
And for a farther security to them, there was a bargain pretended to be made with the University of Oxford, and a receipt of a thousand pounds, given and acknowledged to be in part for them, that if the Usurper had found them out, the University should claim them, who had
greater power to struggle for them than a private man.
All these shifts have been made, and difficulties encountered to keep the collection from being embezeld and destroy'd; which, with the great charges of collecting and binding them, cost the undertaker so much, that he refused four thousand pounds for them in his life time, supposing that sum not sufficient to reimburse
That what is asserted in the above paper, as far as relates to the University of Oxford, is true, appears evident, from a letter from Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, the original of which is preserved in the Museum.
Barlow was keeper of the Bodleian Library, from which situation he was removed to the See of Lincoln. He was a friend of the person who collected these Tracts, to whom he addresses the following letter:
My Reverend Friend,
I am about to leave Oxford (mg dear mother) and that excellent and costly collection of bookes which have so long beene in my hands : now I entreat 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 compass it. It is such a collection (both for the vast number of bookes, and the exact method they are bound in,) as none has, nor possibly can have, besides yourselfe. The use of that collection might be of exceedinge benefitt to the publique (both church and state) were it placed in some safe repository where learned and sober men might have accesse to, and the use of it. The fittest place for it (both for use and honor) is the King's, Sr. Tho. Bodleies, or some publique library, for in such places it might be more safe and usefull. I have long indeavoured to find benefactors, and a way to procure it for Bodleies library, and I doe not despaire but such a way may be found in good
Your affectionate friend and brother,
Oxon. Feb. 6,
By this letter we learn, that the collector was a clergyman, and his name Thomason; for the direction, which is preserved, is, " For the Reverend G. Thomason.
These." It appears, that after an interval of a few years they came into the possession of the King's Sta
tioner, for there is preserved, in the Museum, the copy of an order of Privy Council, authorizing Anne Mearne, relict of Samuel Mearne, his Majesties Stationer, to dispose of them as she might think fit. " At the Court at Whitehall,
the 15th of May, 1684. By the Kings most excellent Ma'y and the Lords of his Mat“ most Honble Privy Councill.
The humble peticon Anne Mearne, relict of Samuell Mearne, his Ma" Stationer, lately deceased, being this day read at the Board, setting forth, That his Ma'y was pleased, by Si Josepla Williamson, the Secretary of State, to command the petitioners husband to purchase a collection of severall bookes, concerning matters of state, being above thirty thousand in number, and being vniformly bound, are contained in two thousand volumes and vpwards, and that by reason of the great charge they cost the pet" husband, and the burthen they are upon her selfe and family, by their lying vndisposed of soe long, Therefore most humbly prayes his Ma“ leave to dispose of the said collection of bookes, as being a ready way to raise money upon them, to support her selfe and family: His Ma'y in Council was graciously pleased to give leave to the Pet' to dispose and make sale of the said bookes as she shall thinke fit.
Beyond Beyond this period I have not been able to trace them, and must therefore content myself with the general information communicated by Mr. Gough, in one of the volumes of his Topography, that they were purchased by his present Majesty, and by him presented to the Museum.
It is painful to add, that the following volumes were missing from this collection when presented to the Museum. This is hardly to be wondered at, when it is considered, through what various hands and accidents they passed. I subjoin, however, a particular description of the lost volumes, to give an opportunity to those, in whose hands they may happen to be, to restore them to their fellowes.
No. 6. Containing Juvenals Satyrs, translated by Sir Robt. Stapylton.
No. 57. 1. Magazine of Honour. 2. The Book of Praises from the Hebrew, 3. Seasonable Sermon for Unseasonable Times. A. Tears of Ireland.
5. Eugenius's Tears for Gr. Britain's Distrace tions.
6. Anglicus Peace or no Peace,