By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Book-Collector - A General Survey of the Pursuit and of those who have - engaged in it at Home and Abroad from the Earliest Period - to the Present Time
Author: Hazlitt, William Carew, 1834-1913
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book-Collector - A General Survey of the Pursuit and of those who have - engaged in it at Home and Abroad from the Earliest Period - to the Present Time" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

at http://www.eBookForge.net


A General Survey of the Pursuit and of those who
have engaged in it at Home and Abroad from
the Earliest Period to the Present Time







[Illustration: Key to the Characters in the 'Field-day at Sotheby's.']

1 Mr. G. S. Snowden     11 Lord Brabourne        21 Mr. Dykes Campbell
2 Mr. E. Daniell        12 Mr. W. Ward           22 Palmer's boy
3 Mr. Railton           13 Mr. Leighton          23 Dr. Neligan
4 Mr. J. Rimell         14 Mr. E. W. Stibbs      24 Mr. C. Hindley
5 Mr. E. G. Hodge       15 Mr. H. Sotheran       25 Earl of Warwick
6 Mr. J. Toovey         16 Mr. Westell           26 Mr. Molini
7 Mr. B. Quaritch       17 Mr. Walford           27 Mr. H. Stevens
8 Mr. G. J. Ellis       18 Henry                 28 Mr. F. Locker-Sampson
9 Mr. J. Roche          19 Mr. Dobell            29 Mr. E. Walford
10 Mr. Reeves           20 Mr. Robson





SEVERAL monographs by contemporary scholars on the inexhaustible theme
of Book-Collecting have made their appearance during the last twenty
years. All such undertakings have more or less their independent value
and merit from the fact that each is apt to reflect and preserve the
special experiences and predilections of the immediate author; and so
it happens in the present case. A succession of Essays on the same
subject is bound to traverse the same ground, yet no two of them,
perhaps, work from the same seeing point, and there may be beyond the
topic substantially little in common between them and the rest of the
literature, which has steadily accumulated round this attractive and
fruitful subject for bookman and artist.

During a very long course of years I have had occasion to study books
in all their branches, in almost all tongues, of almost all periods,
personally and closely. No early English volumes, while I have been on
the track, have, if I could help it, escaped my scrutiny; and I have
not let them pass from my hands without noting every particular which
seemed to me important and interesting in a historical, literary,
biographical, and bibliographical respect. The result of these
protracted and laborious investigations is partly manifest in my
_Bibliographical Collections_, 1867-1903, extending to eight octavo
volumes; but a good deal of matter remained, which could not be
utilised in that series or in my other miscellaneous contributions to
_belles lettres_.

So it happened that I found myself the possessor of a considerable
body of information, covering the entire field of Book-Collecting in
Great Britain and Ireland and on the European continent, and
incidentally illustrating such cognate features as Printing Materials,
Binding, and Inscriptions or Autographs, some enhancing the interest
of an already interesting item, others conferring on an otherwise
valueless one a peculiar claim to notice.

My collections insensibly assumed the proportions of the volume now
submitted to the public; and in the process of seeing the sheets
through the press certain supplementary Notes suggested themselves,
and form an Appendix. It has been my endeavour to render the Index as
complete a clue as possible to the whole of the matter within the

As my thoughts carry me back to the time--it is fifty years--when I
commenced my inquiries into literary antiquities, I see that I have
lived to witness a new Hegira: New Ideas, New Tastes, New Authors. The
American Market and the Shakespear movement[1] have turned everything
and everybody upside down. But Time will prove the friend of some of

In the following pages I have avoided the repetition of particulars to
be found in my _Four Generations of a Literary Family_, 1897, and in
my _Confessions of a Collector_, 1897, so far as they concern the
immediate subject-matter.

W. C. H.

_October 1904_.


[1] See the writer's _Shakespear, Himself and his Work: A Study from
    New Points of View_, second edition, revised, with important
    additions, and several facsimiles, 8vo, 1903.



     The plan--The writer's practical career--Deficiency of a general
     knowledge of the subject--The Printed Book and the Manuscript
     independent branches of study--The rich and the poor
     collector--Their relative systems and advantages--Great results
     achieved by persons of moderate fortune--The Rev. Thomas
     Corser--Lamb and Coleridge--Human interest resident in
     collections formed by such men, and the genuine pleasure
     experienced by the owners--A case or two stated--The Chevalier
     D'Eon--The contrary practice--Comparatively early culture in the
     provinces and interchange of books--Lady collectors--Rarity of
     hereditary libraries--The alterations in the aspect of books--The
     Mill a fellow-labourer with the Press--A word about values and
     prices--Our social institutions answerable for the difference of
     feeling about book-collecting--Districts formerly rich in
     libraries--Distributing centres--Possibility of yet unexplored
     ground--The Universities and Inns of Court--Successful
     book-hunting in Scotland and Ireland--Present gravitation of all
     valuable books to London.

A MANUAL for the more immediate and especial use of English-speaking
inquirers is bound to limit itself, in the first place, mainly to the
literary products of the three kingdoms and the colonies; and,
secondly, to a broad and general indication of the various paths which
it is open to any one to pursue according to his tastes or
possibilities, with clues to the best sources of intelligence and
guidance. The English collector, where he crosses the border, as it
were, and admits works of foreign origin into his bookcase, does not
often do so on a large scale; but he may be naturally tempted to make
exceptions in favour of certain _chefs-d'oeuvre_ irrespective of
nationality. There are books and tracts which commend themselves by
their typographical importance, by their direct bearing on maritime
discovery, by their momentous relation to the fine arts, or by their
link with some great personality. These stand out in relief from the
normal category of foreign literature; they speak a language which
should be intelligible to all.

It must be obvious that in a restricted space a writer has no scope
for anecdote and gossip, if they are not actually out of place in a
technical undertaking. Yet we have endeavoured to lay before our
readers, in as legible a form as possible, a view of the subject and
counsel as to the various methods and lines of Collecting.

Such an enterprise as we offer, in the face of several which have
already appeared under various titles and auspices, may at first sight
seem redundant; but perhaps it is not really the case. A book of this
class is, as a rule, written by a scholar for scholars; that is all
very well, and very charming the result is capable of proving. Or,
again, the book is addressed by a bibliographer to bibliographers; and
here there may be, with a vast deal that is highly instructive, a
tendency to bare _technique_, which does not commend itself to many
outside the professional or special lines. It was thought, under these
circumstances, that a new volume, combining readability and a fair
proportion of general interest with practical information and advice,
was entitled to favourable consideration; and the peculiar training of
the present writer during his whole life, at once as a _litterateur_
and a practical bookman, encouraged the idea on his part that it might
well be feasible for him to carry the plan into execution, and produce
a view of a permanently interesting and important subject in all its
branches and aspects, appealing not only to actual book-collectors,
but to those who may naturally desire to learn to what the science and
pursuit amount.

One of the best apologies for book-collecting, and even for the
accumulation of fine books, is that offered by McCulloch in the
preface to his own catalogue. The writer takes occasion to observe,
among other points and arguments: "It is no doubt very easy to
ridicule the taste for fine books and their accumulation in extensive
libraries. But it is not more easy than to ridicule the taste for
whatever is most desirable, as superior clothes, houses, furniture,
and accommodation of every sort. A taste for improved or fine books is
one of the least equivocal marks of the progress of civilisation, and
it is as much to be preferred to a taste for those that are coarse and
ill got up, as a taste for the pictures of Reynolds or Turner is to be
preferred to a taste for the daubs that satisfy the vulgar. A man
acts foolishly, if he spend more money on books or anything else than
he can afford; but the folly will be increased, not diminished, by his
spending it on mean and common rather than on fine and uncommon works.
The latter when sold invariably bring a good price, more perhaps than
was paid for them, whereas the former either bring nothing or next to

McCulloch's maternal grandfather was possibly the book-lover from whom
the eminent political economist inherited his taste.

In common with the Manuscript Document and the Autograph Letter, the
Written Book forms such a vast department of inquiry and study, that
it would be undesirable, and indeed almost impracticable, in a volume
of limited extent on book-collecting, to include the consideration of
any collateral subject.

The broad facts regarding our national collections of MSS. are
sufficiently well known, no less than the principal repositories in
which they are to be found and consulted, and the individuals who have
signalised themselves from time to time as owners of this class of
property on various scales or on various principles. Nearly everybody
with any claim to culture is familiar with the names of Cotton,
Arundel, Harley, Lansdowne, Birch, Burney, Egerton, Hardwicke, and
Stowe, in connection with precious assemblages of monuments in the
National Library; Parker, Tanner, Fairfax, Ashmole and others at
Oxford or Cambridge; Carew at Lambeth, and a succession of private
enthusiasts in this direction, either independently or in conjunction
with the printed side--Dering of Surrenden, Le Neve, Martin of
Palgrave, Duke of Buckingham, Sir Thomas Phillipps, Libri, Lord
Ashburnham, Heber, and Bright.

In the case of MSS. it is equally true with printed literature that
the interest and value depend on circumstances, and are liable to
changes and vicissitudes. They may be classified into countries,
periods, and subjects, and their appreciation depends on their
character even more than on their mere rarity. An unique MS. may
possibly be quite worthless. A comparatively common one may command a
good price. How numerous soever the ancient copies of Chaucer's
_Canterbury Tales_ might be, another coming into the open market would
still be an object of keen competition; and where importance is
coupled with scarcity or uniqueness, of course the latter feature
lends a high additional weight to the matter, and multiplies

We must, however, in justice to this branch of the topic and to our
readers, refrain from further pursuit of the discussion of it, as its
adequate treatment would absorb a monograph to the full extent as
ample as the present, and such a Manual is in point of fact a
desideratum--one, too, which the improved state of bibliographical
knowledge would assist in rendering much more satisfactory than was
formerly possible.

The _Rolls of Collectors_ by the present writer afford a convenient
view of the different classes of society in the now United Kingdom,
which from the outset to the present day have created, during unequal
periods of duration, more or less noteworthy centres of literary or
bibliographical gatherings, from the Harley, Roxburghe, Heber, or Huth
level to that of the owner--often not less to be admired or
commended--of the humble shelf-ful of volumes. Here names occur
associated with the most widely varied aims in respect to scope and
compass, yet all in a certain measure participating in the credit of
admitting to their homes products of intellectual industry and
ingenuity beyond such matter as Family Bibles, Directories, Railway
Guides, Charles Lamb's _Biblia-a-Biblia_, and sixpenny or threepenny
editions of popular authors, which constitute the staple decorations
of the average British middle-class household in this nonagenarian
nineteenth century.

So early as the time of the later Stuarts, a movement seems to have
commenced both in England and Scotland, not only in the chief centres,
but in provincial towns, for the education of the middle class, and
even of the higher grade of agriculturists, who sent their children to
schools, and at the same time, in the absence of circulating
libraries, improved their own minds by the exchange of books, as we
perceive in contemporary diaries and correspondence; and Macaulay
doubtless overcolours the ignorance and debasement of the bulk of
society about the period of the Revolution of 1688, apparently in
order to maintain a cue with which he had started. The Diary of John
Richards, a farmer at Warmwell in Dorsetshire, 1697-1702, is an
unimpeachable witness on the other side; it is printed in the
_Retrospective Review_, 1853.

It was about the same date that we find even in Scotland a project for
establishing throughout the country, in every parish, Reference or
Lending Libraries, and some pamphlets on the subject have come down to
us; but we hear nothing more about it. This was in 1699-1702, just
when the indefatigable John Dunton was sending from the press his
multifarious periodical news-books for the benefit of the more
literary sort in South Britain.

The Circulating Library in the United Kingdom in its inception was
intended more particularly for the better-to-do class, and even to-day
its tariff is hardly compatible with very narrow resources. Perhaps
the earliest effort to bring literature within the reach of the
working-man was Charles Knight's scheme of "Book-Clubs for all
Readers," mentioned in a letter to him of 1844 from Dickens.

A remarkable change in the fortunes and tactics of the collector has
arisen from one in our social institutions. The book-hunter of times
past, if he was a resident in the provinces, and worked on a more or less
systematic and ambitious scale--nay, if he merely picked up articles from
year to year which struck his fancy, relied, as he was able to do, on
his country town. Thither gravitated, as a rule, the products of public
and private sales from the surrounding neighbourhood within a fairly wide
radius. If a library was placed in the market, the sale took place on the
premises or at the nearest centre; there was no thought of sending
anything short of a known collection up to London. The transit in the
absence of railways was too inconvenient and costly. These conditions,
which long survived better possibilities, naturally made certain
headquarters throughout the kingdom a perfect Eldorado and Elysium, first
of all for local enthusiasts miles round, and later on for metropolitan
bargain-seekers, who made periodical tours in certain localities at
present as barren as Arabia Petræa.

The principal points appear, so far as existing information goes, to
have been in the North: Newcastle, York, Sheffield, Leeds; in the
Midlands: Birmingham and Manchester; in the West: Plymouth, Exeter,
and Bristol; in the South: Chichester; in the East: Norwich, Yarmouth,
Colchester, Bury, and Ipswich. It was at Chichester that the poet
Collins brought together a certain number of early books, some of the
first rarity; his name is found, too, in the sale catalogues of the
last century as a buyer of such; and the strange and regrettable fact
is, that two or three items, which Thomas Warton actually saw in his
hands, and of which there are no known duplicates, have not so far
been recovered.

East Anglia during a prolonged period was peculiarly rich in holders
and seekers of the Old Book, both manuscript and printed. It formerly
abounded in monastic institutions, affluent county families, and
literary archæologists. We may mention Lord Petre, the Hanmers of
Mildenhall, the Herveys of Ickworth, the Bunburys of Bury, the
Tollemaches, the Freres, the Fountaines, Sir John Fenn, Martin of
Palgrave, Dawson Turner, and the Rev. John Mitford. It was the same,
as we take elsewhere occasion to show, in the West of England, in the
Midlands, in the Northern counties, and in the South of Scotland. The
absence of ready communication with the metropolis and the relative
insignificance of provincial centres kept libraries together. Their
owners, while the agricultural interest was flourishing, had no motive
for sale, and the inducement to part with such property was far less
powerful, while the competition remained limited.

In Kent: Canterbury and Maidstone; in Surrey: Guildford, Croydon,
Kingston, and even Richmond, may have helped to supply local
requirements to a certain extent. But the Sydneys of Penshurst, the
Oxindens of Barham, the Lee-Warlys, the Barretts of Lee, the Evelyns
of Sayes-Court and Wootton, and others among the gentry of these and
the adjacent shires, probably filled their shelves in principal
measure from the London shops during their periodical visits to the
metropolis for various purposes.

Even in later times the suburbs of London, and now and then such
localities as Woolwich, Reading, Manchester, Shrewsbury, Salisbury,
Wrexham, Conway, Keswick, and Dublin have yielded a prize or so, owing
to the dispersion of some small library in the neighbourhood on the
premises. Otherwise one may prospect the country towns all over the
three kingdoms nowadays, and not see anything save new stock and
penny-box ware. Even the provincial centres are, in general, sterile
enough; but the rural districts are dried up. Every species of
property seems to drift to London.

The Bristol houses, Kerslake, Jefferies, George, Lasbury, often came
across rarities; but it is so no longer. The West has been threaded
through. If there is a section of England where some good things may
yet linger, it is, we should say, in Staffordshire, Lancashire, and
Shropshire, to which might perhaps be added Worcestershire.

The seats of our two ancient Universities, and cathedral cities
generally, have not yielded such ample fruit to the explorer, perhaps
because there has always been a species of magnetic attraction, by
which any spoils of the kind are drawn into the local libraries and
museums. A graduate of Oxford or Cambridge, a canon of this or that
church, a loyal dweller in Winchester or Lincoln, possesses or
discovers a rare volume, and his impulse, if he does not keep it
himself, is to bestow it on his place of residence or education.
Whatever happens, the stranger coming to hunt in these preserves
arrives only in time to learn that the stall or the shop has given up
some unique desideratum a day or two before, and is referred to the
librarian of the college, or to the buyer at such an address, if he
desires to inspect it, which, if his aims are simply commercial, be
sure he does not. The aggravation is already sufficient!

At the same time, the Universities and Inns of Court have been from
time to time the homes of many famous book-collections. Robert Burton,
Anthony Wood, John Selden, Sir David Dundas, Mr. Dyce, Dr. Bliss, Dr.
Bandinel, Dr. Coxe, Mr. Bradshaw, are only a few select names.

In the same way there was a time, and not so distant, when Edinburgh,
and even Dublin, yielded their proportion of finds, and the Duke of
Roxburghe and General Swinton, David Laing and James Maidment,
obtained no insignificant share of their extremely curious and
valuable stores from their own ground. Now the Scotish amateur and
bookseller equally look to the great metropolis for the supply of
their wants, and the North Country libraries are sent up to London for
sale. The capital of Scotland has lost its ancient prestige as a cover
for this sort of sport, and is as unproductive as an ordinary English
provincial town.

From an acquisitive standpoint the locality signifies no longer. The
game is up. The three kingdoms have been well-nigh ransacked and
exhausted. The country town is as bare as a bird's tail of anything
but common-place stuff, bought in the London market, and (if any
dweller in a distant city is simple enough to order it from the
unsophisticated vendor) charged with a good profit and the freight up.
Naturally the provincial dealer, if he stumbles on a gem or two in an
accidental way, takes care that it is sold in no corner, unless it be
at the corner of Wellington Street in the Strand. He considers that
the value may be a matter of doubt, and he leaves it to gentlemen to
decide between them how much it is worth. Do you blame him?

It is a frequently debated point whether at home in Great Britain the
feeling for books, in the collector's sense, is not on the decline;
and, indeed, the causes of such a change are not far to seek. The
acute pressure of business among the wealthy mercantile class, which
principally contributes to the ranks of book-buyers, and the decrease
of resources for such luxuries among the nobility and clergy, might be
sufficient to explain a shrinkage in the demand for the older and
rarer literature in our own and other languages; but there is another
and even more powerful agency at work which operates in the same
direction, and is adverse to the investment of money in objects which
do not appeal directly to the eye. The _bibliophile_ discovers, when
he has expended a small fortune (or perhaps a large one) in the
formation of a library, that his friends evince no interest in it,
have no desire to enter the room where the cases are kept, do not
understand what they are told about this or that precious
acquisition, and turn on their heel to look at the pictures, the
antique furniture, or the china. This undoubtedly wide-spread
sentiment strikes a very serious blow at a pursuit in which the
enthusiast meets with slight sympathy or encouragement, unless it is
at the hands of the dealers, naturally bound for their own sakes to
keep him in heart by sympathy and flattery. Doubtless the present
aspect of the question might have become ere now more serious, had it
not been for the American market and the extension of the system of
public and free libraries.

But, on the other hand, while enormous numbers of books are sold under
the hammer year by year, there must be an approximately proportionate
demand and an inexhaustible market, or the book trade could not keep
pace with the auctioneers; and, moreover, we may be in a transitional
state in some respects, and may be succeeded by those whose appetite
for the older literature will be keener than it ever was.

The complaint of a superabundance of books of all kinds is not a new
one. It goes back at least to the reign of Elizabeth and the age of
Shakespeare, for in 1594, in a sermon preached at Paul's Cross, a
divine says:--

     "There is no ende of making Bookes, and much reading is a
     wearinesse to the flesh, and in our carelesse daies bookes may
     rather seeme to want readers, than readers to want bookes."

No one should be too positive whether it is to the rich or to the poor
book-collector that the romantic element chiefly or more powerfully
attaches itself. It has been our lot to enjoy the acquaintance of both
classes, and we hesitate to pronounce any decided opinion. There is
the unquestionable triumph of the man with a full purse or an
inexhaustible banking account, who has merely to resolve upon a
purchase or a series of purchases, and to write a cheque for the sum
total. He is no sooner recognised by the members of the trade as a
zealous enthusiast and a liberal paymaster, than offers arrive, and
continue to arrive, from all sides. He is not asked to take any
trouble; his library is an object of solicitude to everybody who has
anything to sell; the order on his bankers is all that his humble
servants desire. He finds himself, after the lapse of a decade or so,
the master of a splendid collection, without having once known what it
was to get disagreeably warm or anxious in the pursuit of a volume, to
deliberate whether he could afford to buy it, or to submit to the
ordeal of attending an auction, one of a motley throng in a fetid
atmosphere. All these trials he has been spared; he has collected with
kid gloves.

On the contrary, a good deal may be said in favour of the amateur of
moderate fortune, who by personal judgment slowly accumulates an
important and enviable assemblage of literary monuments, like the Rev.
Thomas Corser, who spent £9000 during a lifetime on books, which
realised £20,000, and would now bring thrice as much, and perhaps
even more; and in that of men such as Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, who had to pause before they laid out a few shillings in
this way. The history of Lamb's books is more humanly interesting than
the history of the Huth or Grenville library; as chattels or furniture
they were worthless; they were generally the poorest copies
imaginable; but if they did not cost money, they often cost thought;
they sometimes involved a sacrifice, if the price was in the high
altitude of a sovereign. In the case of Lamb, the sister's opinion was
sought, and the matter lay ever so long in abeyance before the final
decision was taken, and Lamb hastened to the shop, uncertain if he
might not be too late, if the person whom he saw emerging as he
entered might not have _his_ book in his pocket. Here was payment in
full for the prize; the coin handed to the vendor was nothing to it;
Lamb had laid out more than the value in many a sleepless night and
many an anxious calculation. Lamb, although he probably never bound a
volume of his own in his life, or purchased one for the sake of its
cover, could grow enthusiastic over his favourite _Duchess of
Newcastle_, and declare that no casket was rich enough, no casing
sufficiently durable, to honour and keep safe such a jewel.

Collectors of the abstract type looked, and still look, at the essence
or soul--at the object pure and simple. A book is a book for a' that.
It may be imperfect, soiled, wormed, cropped, shabbily bound--all
those things belong to its years; let it suffice that there is just
enough of the author to be got in glimpses here and there to enable
the proprietor of him in type to judge his quality and power. That is
what such men as Lamb wanted--all they wanted. A copy of Burton's
_Anatomy_, of Wither's _Emblems_, or Browne's _Urn-Burial_, in the
best and newest morocco, was apt to be a hinderance to their enjoyment
of the beauties of the text, was almost bound to strike them as an
intrusion and an impertinence--perchance as a sort of sacrilege--as
though the maker of the cover was seeking to place himself on a level
with the maker of the book. Nor are there wanting successive renewers
of this school of collector--of men who have bought books and other
literary property for their own sake, for their intrinsic worth,
irrespectively of rarity and price. A relative of the writer devoted a
long life--a very long one--to the acquisition of what struck him as
being curious and interesting in its way and fell within his
resources, which were never too ample; and in the end he succeeded in
gathering together, without much technical knowledge of the subject, a
fairly large assortment of volumes, not appealing for the most part to
the severer taste of the more fastidious and wealthier amateur, but
endeared to him at least, as Lamb's were, by the circumstances under
which they came to his hands. Each one had its _historiette_. This
gentleman represented, as I say, a type, and a very genuine and
laudable one, too. I admired, almost envied him, not in his
possession, but in his enjoyment of these treasures; they were to him
as the apple of his eye. When I speak of him as a type, I mean that
the same phenomenon still exists. In a letter of 1898 from the extreme
North of England there is the ensuing passage, which strongly
impressed my fancy: "Ever since I had a house of my own--nearly twenty
years--I have been a collector of books on a humble scale. . . .
Still, by being continually on the look-out for 'bargains,' I have
managed to gather between three and four thousand volumes together,
chiefly of a poetical nature." Now, to my apprehension, the present
aspect of the matter touches a higher or deeper chord than that
reached by the owner of the most splendid library in the universe; for
all this Heliconian harvest signified personal search and personal

We do not always bear in mind that the rare books of to-day were the
current literature not merely of, but long posterior to, the period of
their appearance. They suffered two kinds and stages of deterioration
and waste. While they remained in vogue among readers and students,
they necessarily submitted to a succession of more or less indifferent
owners, who regarded without much concern objects which it was in
their power to replace without much difficulty. The worst day dawned,
however, for our ancient literature, especially that of a fugitive or
sentimental class, when it had ceased to be in demand for practical
purposes, and was not yet ripe for the men, in whose eyes it could
only possess archæological attractions. Independently of destruction
by accidental fires, a century or two of neglect proved fatal to
millions of volumes or other literary records in pamphlet or
broadsheet form; and as tastes changed, the mill and the fire
successively consumed the discarded favourites of bygone generations,
just as at the present moment we pulp or burn from day to day
cartloads of old science, and theology, and law, and fiction, and ever
so much more, preparing to grow unique.

The Mill has been as busy as the Press all these centuries on which we
look back. It has neither eyes nor ears, nor has it compassion; it
unrelentingly grinds and consumes all that comes in its way; age after
age it has reduced to dust what the men of the time refuse in the
presence of something newer, and, as they hold, better. The printers
of each generation, from those of Mainz downward, lent themselves, not
unnaturally, not unwisely, to subjects in the first place (by way of
experiment) which were not costly, and secondly to such as appealed to
contemporary taste and patronage. We find under the former head
Indulgences, Proclamations, Broadsides, Ballads; under the second,
Church Service Books of all kinds, succeeded after a while by certain
of the Classics. The impressions long remained limited; and continual
use and subsequent neglect accomplished between them the task of
creating the modern bibliographical and bibliomaniacal schools.

Even in Anglo-Saxon times the ferocity of warfare and the ravages of
invasion on invasion, coupled with the scanty diffusion of literary
taste, destroyed many of the monastic libraries. But, which is
stranger and less excusable, even down to the second half of the
seventeenth century, down to Aubrey's day, the greatest havoc
continued to be made in this way alike among printed books and MSS.,
the latter being used for all sorts of utilitarian purposes--even as
bungs for beer-barrels. In our own period it is immeasurably sadder
and more astonishing to learn that, besides the losses arising from
casual conflagrations to public and private libraries, the old
vandalism is not extinct, and that nothing is sacred in its eyes, not
even the priceless muniments of a cathedral church.

What must the aggregate have become, if such a process had not been
steadily in operation all these centuries! And, even as it is, the
dispersion of old libraries, like those of Johnson of Spalding and
Skene of Skene, encourages the waste-paper dealer to believe that the
end is not yet reached. The frequenter of the auction-rooms of London
alone has perpetually under his eyes a mountain of illegible printed
matter sufficient to overload the shoulders of Atlas.

Bibliomania has as many heads as the famed Briareus; but it seldom
lifts more than two or three at once. Perhaps it would be impossible
to name any variety of fancy which has not at some time entered into
the pursuit which we are just now attempting to illustrate. The love
of the book without regard to the binding, or of the binding
irrespectively of the book; the fashion for works with woodcuts, of
certain printers, of certain places, of certain dates; the
establishment of a fixed rule as to a subject or a group of subjects,
taken up collectively or in succession; a limitation as to price or as
to size, for a candidate for admittance to some cabinets may not
exceed so many inches in altitude; it must go back to the century
which produced it, to be rewritten or reprinted, ere it may have a

It is said of the elder Wertheimer that, when some one expressed his
astonishment at the price which he had given for an item, and even
insinuated his want of wisdom, he retorted pleasantly that he might be
a fool, but he thought that he knew greater ones than himself.

Do we not under existing conditions view with too uncharitable
sentiments the marvellous good fortune of the book-hunters of the last
century, at the very outset of a revival of the taste for our own
vernacular literature? Does it not seem tantalising to hear that
Warton the historian could pick up for sixpence a volume containing
_Venus and Adonis_, 1596, and seven other precious _morçeaux_, off a
broker's counter in Salisbury, when the British Museum gave at the
Daniel sale £336 for the Shakespeare alone? What a thrill passes
through the veins, as we read of Rodd the bookseller meeting at a
marine store-shop on Saffron Hill, somewhere about the thirties, with
a volume of Elizabethan tracts, and having it weighed out to him at
threepence three-farthings! Our space is far more limited than such
anecdotes; but they all strike us as pointing the same moral. If one
happens on a Caxton or a quarto Shakespeare to-day for a trifle, it is
the isolated ignorance of the possessor which befriends one. But till
the market came for these things, the price for what very few wanted
was naturally low; and an acquirer like George Steevens, Edward
Capell, or Edmond Malone was scarcely apt to feel the keen
gratification on meeting with some unique find that a man would now
do, seeing that its rarity was yet unascertained, and even had it been
so, was not likely to awaken much sensation.

Low prices do not alone establish cheapness. Cheap books are those
which are obtained by accident under the current value. In the time of
the later Stuarts, Narcissus Luttrell found from one penny to sixpence
sufficient to satisfy the shopkeepers with whom he dealt for some of
the most precious volumes in our language; and a shilling commanded a
Caxton. The Huths of those days could not lay out their money in these
things; they had to take up the ancient typography in the form of the
classics, or large-paper copies of contemporary historians, or the
publications of Hearne.

We do not know that the celebrated Chevalier D'Eon was singular in his
views as a collector in the last century. He bought in chief measure,
if we may judge from a document before us, what we should now term
nondescripts, and in the aggregate gave a very handsome price at a
London auction in 1771 for an assemblage of items at present
procurable, if any one wanted them, at a far lower rate. There is not
a lot throughout which would recommend itself to modern taste, save
the _Cuisinier François_, and perhaps that was not in the old morocco
livery considered by judges as _de rigueur_. We append the
auctioneer's account entire, because it exhibits a fair example of the
class of book which not only Frenchmen, but ourselves, sought at that
time more than those for which we have long learned to compete, and
which were then offered under the hammer by the bundle, if not by the
basketful. For £8, 4s., a hundred and twenty-five years ago, how many
quarto Shakespears could one have acquired?

        _Bought of Baker & Leigh_.

                                                              £  s. d.

Catalogus Librorum MSS. Angl. et Hibern                       0  7  6
Index Librorum Bibliothecæ Barberinæ, 2 vols.                 0 10  6
Reading Catal. Lib. in Collegio Sionensi                      0  4  0
Le Long, Bibliothèque Hist. de la France                      0  9  0
Voyage Literaire de deux Religieux Benedictins                0  5  0
Histoire de Demelez de la Cour de France                      0  2  6
Memoires sur le Rang entre les Souv. de l'Europe, &c.         0  2  6
Discours Politiques sur Tacite, par Josseval                  0  2  0
Dictionnaire Mathematique, par Ozanam                         0  5  0
Dictionnaire Practique du Bon Menager de Campagne,
    par Liger, 2 vols.                                        0  6  0
Leland agt. Bolingbroke's Study of History                    0  2  0
Mutel's Causes of the Corruption of Christians                0  1  0
Bindon on Commerce                                            0  2  6
Essay on Money, Trade, War, Banks, &c.                        0  1  0
England's Gazetteer, 3 vols.                                  0  7  6
Halifax's Advice to a Daughter                                0  1  0
Tresor de la Pratique de Medecine, 3 vols.                    0  4  0
Seneque de la Consolation de la Mort                          0  1  0
Tacite (la Morale de) par Houssaie                            0  1  6
Tite Live reduit en Maximes                                   0  1  0
Gracien l'Homme Universel                                     0  1  6
L'Ecole de l'Homme                                            0  2  6
Memoire pour diminuer le nombre de Preces                     0  1  6
Receuil des Edits                                             0  1  6
Le Secret des Cours, par Walsingham                           0  1  6
Receuil de Maximes pour Institut. du Roy                      0  1  0
Callieres de la Science du Monde                              0  1  0
Traités des Interests des Princes' & Souverains de l'Europe   0  1  0
Sciences des Princes, par Naudé, 3 vols.                      0  5  0
Etat present du Royaume de Danemarc                           0  2  0
Memoires de l'Empire Russien                                  0  1  6
Memoires & Negociations Secrettes de diverses Cours de
        l'Europe par M. la Torre, 5 vols.                     0  7  6
Memoires pour Servir a l'Histoire de Corse                    0  1  6
Memoires Militaires sur les Anciens, 2 vols.                  0  2  0
Histoire Generale de Suisse                                   0  2  0
Memoire du Card. Richelieu, 5 vols.                           0  5  0
La Vie du Card. Richelieu, 2 vols.                            0  4  0
La Vie de Mons. Colbert                                       0  1  6
Voyage de Grece, Egypte, &c.                                  0  2  0
Voyage du Mont du Levant                                      0  1  6
Lettres du Card. Richelieu                                    0  1  0
Lettres d'un Turque a Paris                                   0  1  6
Lettres Persanes, par Montesquieu                             0  3  0
Le Passe Tems Agreable                                        0  1  6
Essai Politique sur le Commerce                               0  2  0
Theorie de l'Impot                                            0  2  0
Histoire du Systeme des Finances, 1719 & 1720, 6 vols.        0  6  0
Histoire du Commerce, par Huet                                0  2  0
Le Vrai Cuisinier François                                    0  1  6
Dictionnaire Neologique                                       0  2  0
Relations de quelques Religieux, 6 vols.                      0 10  6
Reflexions sur l'Edit                                         0  1  0
Several lots of Pamphlets, 1s. each                           0  4  0
Five Pamphlets, at 6d. each                                   0  2  6
                                                             £8  4  0

  _Jan. 12th, 1771._

                       Recd. the contents
                           For Baker and Self,
                                 GEO. LEIGH.

The neglect of our early literature continued, as we have said, down
to the second half of the eighteenth century. Prior to that time, all
the information at our command tends to show that collectors almost
uniformly restricted themselves to the books current in or about their
own time, as we find even Pepys asking Bagford to secure for him, not
Caxtons or Elizabethan books, but items which we should now regard
with comparative or absolute indifference. While some insignificant
trifle, which had happened to go out of print, was sought with
avidity, while editions of the classics and Continental writers, long
since converted to waste paper, were objects of keen rivalry, the most
precious examples of ancient English and Scotish typography and poetry
were obtainable for pence.

A very interesting side to the subject before us is the share
claimable in it by the fair sex. In our two _Rolls of Book-Collectors_
we have included the names of several ladies, who in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, as well as in the earlier part of the
present, established a title to rank among possessors of libraries in
a larger or smaller measure. Two of the most prominent names are
probably those of Miss Richardson Currer, of Eshton Hall, Yorkshire,
and Mrs. Rylands of Manchester, the latter not only the acquirer of
the Althorp treasures, but of a most valuable body of books, ancient
and modern, in augmentation of them. This feature in the annals of
collecting is the more to be borne in mind, in that it has in recent
days declined almost to disappearance, and may be said to be limited
to a few gentlewomen, who pursue special studies, like the Hon. Alicia
Amherst and Mrs. Earle, and bring together for use or reference the
works illustrative of them.

A study of the writer's _Rolls of Book-Collectors_, which embrace over
two thousand names, will satisfy any one that the hereditary or
transmitted collections in this country are very few, if we limit
ourselves to libraries of note, and do not compensate for the long
catalogue of old libraries which have been dispersed even in our own
time. Are there really more than the Miller and the Huth, unless we
add the Spencer or Althorp, kept intact and amplified, yet in the
hands of a stranger? Book-collecting by individuals is, then, mainly a
personal affair, which begins and ends with a life. The continuance
even of the two libraries above mentioned in private hands cannot be
regarded as otherwise than precarious and terminable; the fourth
succession of Miller has just expired in an unexpected manner, and the
destiny of the Britwell treasures is problematical. Rumour has long
since pointed to the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh as the ultimate

In a volume of moderate compass, professedly addressing itself in a
special manner to English collectors, the consideration of foreign
literature must of necessity be a secondary and incidental feature and
element, although it may be quite true that our countrymen and
countrywomen look so frequently aside, as it were, from the literary
productions of their own soil to study those of other lands. In Great
Britain we may be said to be much more cosmopolitan in our
book-collecting tastes than many of our contemporaries on the
Continent of Europe, Germany perhaps excepted. In France, Spain,
Portugal, Italy, and elsewhere, the demand is almost exclusively for
native authors; but the Germans, Americans, and ourselves take a
pride, and a just one, in being more catholic and broad: we see the
advantage, no doubt, and no doubt we reap the fruit, of such a policy.
At the same time, in a monograph of limited scope it is obviously
impossible to embrace even a general view of the enormously wide range
which is before any one who crosses over from his own country to add
to his English possessions even a select collection of books in
foreign languages; and we have confined our efforts in this direction
to an indication of such typical or special works (principally French)
as are usually sought by people in these islands, who resort more or
less to the Continental market. Even prominent Anglo-French amateurs
like Mr. R. S. Turner and Lord Ashburton are found keeping within
certain classes of literature, and certain copies recommendable by
their _provenance_, binding, or graphic peculiarities.


     Spoliation of public libraries in past times--Denouncers of the
     robbers of books--Schedule of public libraries in the United
     Kingdom--View of the chief features of some of these--Cathedral
     libraries--Public libraries on the Continent and in
     America--Early English books in foreign collections--Difference
     in the constitution of public collections--Private
     libraries--Their classification--The writer's _Rolls of
     Collectors_--The Harleian Library--The idea borrowed from
     abroad--Formation of a new English School of Collecting--The
     Roxburghe sale in 1812--Richard Heber and his vast library--His
     services to literature--His scholarship--The Britwell Library.

IT hardly falls within the province of a manual for the book-collector
to dwell on the character and relative merits of the purely public
libraries at home and abroad, or even on the bibliographical
possessions of private personages which are not available for
purchase. Recent experience, however, teaches us that we are not
entitled to count any longer on the intact preservation of the books
of any individual or family, as the sale by auction has almost become
fashionable. At any rate, there can be no harm in introducing a few
remarks on this aspect and branch of our subject, particularly seeing
that the effect of throwing on the market thousands of rare books,
which were once thought to be hopelessly unattainable, has contributed
to improve the prospects and opportunities of purchasers.

The spoliation of public libraries at home and abroad is an aspect of
the question or subject neither very agreeable nor very flattering. In
England and other parts of the Empire, within the last century,
numerous examples have occurred where valuable or unique books have
been stolen or mutilated. The national collection in Great Russell
Street has perhaps suffered the least, and whatever may be said about
the system on which it was formerly conducted and managed, sufficient
care seems always to have been exercised to guard against depredators
of various kinds. So far as is publicly known, petty thefts of
articles more or less easily replaceable are all that we have to
regret. It is notorious that the Bodleian has lost several important
volumes, and no one will probably ever arrive at any definite
information of the extent to which the libraries at Cambridge and the
other minor collections at the sister Universities of Oxford,
Edinburgh, and Dublin have been pillaged and impoverished.

It has been the same all over the Continent. The Bibliothèque
Nationale at Paris, and many of the leading provincial libraries of
France, have been robbed wholesale in former times, and in some cases
annihilated. One has only to read the observations and evidence of M.
Achille Jubinal accompanying a (then) inedited letter of Montaigne
(8vo, Paris, 1850), to form an idea of the ravages which have been
made through neglect of officials and dishonesty of visitors; and what
must the fact be in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere? The
denunciations against robbers of books and libraries date, however,
from the remotest period, and were at first highly necessary as a
means of safeguarding the treasures of monasteries and churches. Isaac
Taylor, in his _History of the Transmission of Ancient Books to Modern
Times_, 1875, p. 246, prints an anathema of this kind: "Whosoever
removeth this volume from this same mentioned convent, may the anger
of the Lord overtake him in this world, and in the next to all
eternity. Amen." Let the energetic explorers who have transferred so
many hundreds of such MSS. to the Vatican and the British Museum look
to it; and what are His Holiness and the Trustees in Great Russell
Street but palpable accessories after, if not before, the fact! A
common peril hangs over them all.

A visit to a library such as the British Museum or the Bodleian, or
even to those of some of the Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, is apt
to instil a feeling of reverential affection for the founders and
benefactors of such institutions; the existing functionaries seem to
withdraw into middle distance, and one enters into communion with the
spirits of the departed.

From the private collector's point of view these great public
libraries are mainly serviceable for purposes of reference and
comparative study. These storehouses of bibliographical and literary
wealth may be classified into--

(i) National or quasi-National Collections:--
The British Museum
Guildhall Library
South Kensington Museum (Dyce and Forster and General Fine Art Collections)
Society of Antiquaries
Dr. William's Library, Gordon Square
Chetham Library, Manchester
Spencer-Rylands Library, Manchester
University Library, Cambridge
University Library, Edinburgh
Advocates' Library, Edinburgh
Signet Library, Edinburgh
Hunterian Library, Glasgow
Trinity College, Dublin

The British Museum readily divides itself, of course very unequally,
into the Printed Book and Manuscript Departments, and each of these
has been periodically enriched by large donations or purchases _en
bloc_, the former more especially by the gift of the Grenville books,
and the latter by the Cottonian, Harleian, Lansdowne, Stowe, and
Hardwicke MSS. The Bodleian would fall far short of what it is, had it
not been for the bequests of Tanner, Selden, Burton, Crynes, Gough,
Malone, and Douce, and so with the University Library at Cambridge,
which owes so much to Bishop Moore's books, and Trinity, Dublin, to
Archbishop Marsh's.

(ii) College Libraries:--
Sion College
Dulwich College
Eton College
Winchester College
Stonyhurst College
St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw
Cambridge Colleges
Oxford Colleges

Sion College preserves a few items of the rarest and most precious
class--Shakespeare's _Lucrece_, 1594, Barnfield's _Affectionate
Shepherd_, 1594, the _Phoenix Nest_, 1593, Drayton's _Matilda_,
1594, and others; but a few specified in the old catalogue have
disappeared. Many of the most valuable volumes bequeathed by Edward
Alleyn to Dulwich are now among Garrick's books in the British Museum,
or among Malone's at Oxford, _by conveyance_; but a few yet remain.
Eton College Library contains a small number of early printed books
(including Caxton's _Book of Good Manners_) and the unique copy of
Udall's _Ralph Roister Doister_. At Winchester they have a volume or
two of very rare poetical tracts of Elizabeth's and James I.'s time.
Stonyhurst is solely remarkable for MSS. and printed works of Robert
Southwell and other Romish writers.

Of the subordinate libraries at Oxford and Cambridge the treasures are
innumerable. Those which belong to the printed department are very
fully registered in special catalogues and by Hazlitt, except,
perhaps, the very recent legacy to Trinity College, Cambridge, of the
library of the late Mr. Samuel Sandars, rich in early English
typography, and the result of life-long researches.

Outside these fall the Royal Library at Windsor, which includes the
unique perfect Æsop, and one of the two books on vellum (the
_Doctrinal of Sapience_) printed by Caxton; the Archiepiscopal one at
Lambeth, rich in rare early printed books and MSS., and the Chetham
and Rylands foundations at Manchester, the latter comprehending the
Althorp treasures _en bloc_. Humphrey Chetham also established the
Church Libraries at Turton and Gorton, bibliographical notices of
which have been printed by Mr. Gilbert French, 4to, 1856; and a few
strays from the Chetham collection will be incidentally mentioned

A reference to the writer's _Collections_, where such facts are not
matters of familiar knowledge, will show that the majority of this
section is more remarkable for the possession of a few rarities, or
even unique items, than for a systematic representation of classes and
periods. Yet some are very strong in specialities: Christ Church,
Oxford, in music; Magdalen, Cambridge, in early English books
(Pepys's); Corpus, Cambridge, in MSS. (Archbishop Parker's); the
Bodleian, in Shakespeariana, early popular books, Elizabethan poetry,
&c. (Malone's, Douce's, Selden's, Burton's), and so forth.

(iii) Cathedral Libraries:--
St. Paul's, London
Canterbury (Christ Church)
York Minster and Chapter

At Lincoln there was formerly the precious Honeywood bequest,
improperly sold to Dibdin for 500 guineas; but the library still
contains about 5000 volumes, to which the Dean and Chapter make
additions from time to time; and there is a paid custodian, who is one
of the minor canons. York Minster and Chapter are rich in early
typography and Yorkshire books. The Cathedral library is under the
charge of a canon as librarian and a vicar-choral as sub-librarian,
who receive no salary. It is open to the public on three days in
summer and on two days in winter in each week. There is no fund for
the support or improvement of the library, except the interest of £400
and a few voluntary subscriptions. Hereford possesses a remarkable
assemblage of chained volumes. To the present group most properly
appertains the library at Westminster Abbey, founded by Lord-Keeper
Williams, while he was Dean of Westminster.

(iv) Public Libraries on the Continent or in America:--
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
French Institute (the gift of the late Duc d'Aumale), Chantilly
Vatican Library, Rome
Royal Library, Naples
Medicean Library, Florence
St. Mark's Library, Venice
Royal Library, Turin
Imperial Library, Vienna
Imperial Library, St. Petersburg
Royal Library, Berlin
Library of Electors and Kings of Bavaria, Münich
Library of the Dukes and Kings of Saxony, Wölfenbüttel
Landerbibliothek, Cassel
Public Library, Hamburg
Public Library, Göttingen
Public Library, Zürich
Archiepiscopal Library, Eichstadt
Archiepiscopal Library, Salzburg
Archiepiscopal Library, Worms, &c.
Plantin Museum, Antwerp
University Library, Upsala
Royal Library, Copenhagen
Lenox and Carter Brown Libraries, New York

The two last named, as it may be at once concluded, are principally
English and Anglo-American in their character. Our collectors do not,
as we are aware, by any means restrict themselves to the literature of
the mother country so exclusively as their Transatlantic
contemporaries; and for them therefore it becomes of importance and
interest to acquire through catalogues a familiarity with the contents
of the leading assemblages of foreign and classical literature in
Continental hands. But there are very few of the great public
libraries abroad which have not casually or otherwise acquired English
books, and those of the rarest description. At Göttingen they have,
from an auction at Lüneburg in 1767, the _C. Merry Tales_ of 1526; at
Cassel, Marlowe's _Edward II._, 1594; and at Hamburg the Elizabethan
edition of _Blanchardine and Eglantine_, 1597, all unique or most
rare; and this is only by way of instance or sample. The Huth copy of
Shakespeare's _Sonnets_, 1609, was obtained from Zürich.

The private amateur does well if he keeps before him the salient
features connected with his pursuit from this point of view. It is to
be deeply regretted that the Government of the Netherlands did not
take steps to preserve intact the Enscheden collection at Haarlem, in
the same manner that that of Belgium did the Plantin heirlooms.

The late Mr. Quaritch narrated an amusing and characteristic anecdote,
commemorative of his participation in the Enscheden sale, where the
agent of the British Museum waited till the morning to bid at the
table for the _Troy-Book_, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1502, and he
bought it privately over-night of the auctioneer.

There is, it must be noted, a fundamental difference in the
constitution of public libraries in Great Britain and America as
compared with those on the Continent. The latter, if they do not
restrict themselves, in principal measure, to the literature of their
own country, or at least tongue, very seldom go far outside those
limits otherwise than by accident or for works of reference. On the
contrary, the English and American collections are cosmopolitan, like
those who have formed them. At the British Museum a volume in
Icelandic, Chinese, Hawaian, or any other character is welcomed nearly
as much as one in the vernacular. In Germany, at all events at Berlin
and Vienna, English books of importance are recognised. But at the
Bibliothèque in Paris it is not so. The French collect only the
classics and their own literature, just as they ignore in coins all
but the Greek and Roman and national series.

Within their own lines, however, it is wonderful, looking at all the
political convulsions which the country and capital have undergone,
what vast treasures remain in France--treasures of all epochs and in
every class, from the rise to the fall of the monarchy, from volumes
written for the Carolingian, if not Merovingian kings, to volumes
bound for Marie Antoinette.

Some interesting and instructive notices of our own public libraries,
and of a few private collections of former times, may be found in the
later volumes of the _Retrospective Review_.

The two _Rolls of Collectors_ before mentioned are capable of making a
not inconsiderable volume; but they are classifiable in groups and
periods, and certain individuals may be taken as the central figures
in the successive onward movements. Our immediate concern is with
printed monuments, and consequently we do not hearken back beyond the
men who witnessed the introduction of typography. Nor does there
appear, while the purchasing power of money for literary possessions
or the book-closet was high, to have been any _esprit de corps_ or
emulation tending to constitute schools or _côteries_, and to raise
certain books or series to an artificial standard. Men at first
acquired at random what happened to fall in their way; booksellers
there were few or (except at London or in the Universities) next to
none; and auctions were long unknown. Except for topography and the
classics, there was, down to the middle of the eighteenth century, no
active competition. The bulk of the Harleian Library was probably
obtained without extravagant outlay, though not without labour and
time; not those divisions which we should now prize would be the most
expensive, unless we include the manuscripts for which Lord Oxford had
even then to pay a price.

We have drawn the line where it appears that the principle of forming
libraries, in the modern sense of the word, commenced in this
country. Down to the Harleian epoch, when the Continental system began
to influence us, the shelf of books which we observe in many old
prints was the limit of nearly all collectors: not necessarily of
their resources, but of their views and of the feeling of the time.
Men acquired a handful or so of volumes, which came into their hands
by gift or otherwise; from the absence or paucity of public
institutions there were few individuals of any culture whatever
without a few books besides the family Bible and _Pilgrim's Progress_;
but such a colossal accumulation as was formed under the auspices of
the second Lord Oxford, and still more that of Richard Heber, was as
undreamt of as the vast and multifarious contents of the building in
Great Russell Street as it now exists. A study of early correspondence
and other sources of original information on the present point will be
found to corroborate such a view of the average private collection in
these islands anterior to the last century.

It was not till many years after the dispersion of that noble Harleian
memorial of generous ardour among the public and private collections
of England and the Continent (Dr. Johnson in his letter to Sir F.
Barnard, 1768, says that many books passed direct into the
_Bibliothèque du Roi_ at Paris), that the Shakespeare revival led to
an inquiry, on the one hand, into the literature connected with the
Elizabethan period, and on the other to a partial discovery of how
much of it had perished. That epoch may be regarded as the true
Hegira from which we have to date the modern annals of collecting; the
antecedent time was in a sense pre-historic, for the most precious
remains of our national literature were unheeded and uncalendared; the
means of forming a comprehensive estimate of the printed stores in
actual existence were yet latent or unknown, and the almost undivided
attention of students and purchasers was directed to the ancient
classics and foreign typography. It must be conceded, we think, that
whatever the importance of those branches of inquiry may be, the cause
of British letters is more closely and permanently bound up with our
own classics and the products of our own soil; and we repeat that the
movement which first gave a stimulus to a sort of revolt from the
Continental school and to the formation of a native one was the
persuasion, on the part of a few scholars, that something more was to
be done towards popularising the plays of Shakespeare and his more
eminent contemporaries, and elucidating their writings by the help of
those who lived amid the same scenes and habits of thought and under
the same institutions.

Leigh Hunt used to speak to me of having attended the great Roxburghe
sale in 1812 just for the sake of gaining an idea of what such an
affair was. It was, no doubt, a fine collection which the noble owner
and his predecessors (particularly John, Earl of Roxburghe in the time
of Queen Anne) had acquired, mainly in the preceding century, at very
moderate prices; and the result must have been highly satisfactory to
the estate. But many things have happened since then; the Heber
Library, the most extensive, most valuable, and most ill-fated in its
realisation: the grandest and proudest bibliographical monument of the
nineteenth or any other century, has been completed and scattered; and
yet to-day, if the general reader were asked, he would probably be of
the belief that the first rank was due to the earlier personage and
collection. There is somehow a prestige about the Roxburghe sale which
time seems incapable of weakening; yet in comparison with its
successor it was a mere handful; and in fact the accumulations even of
Harley, the second Earl of Oxford, vast and precious as they may have
been, were not equal in magnitude or in value to those of Heber, of
whom the most surprising and most interesting trait is his conversance
with the interiors of so many of his treasures; nor should we ever
forget his generosity in lending them to literary workers. The Rev.
Alexander Dyce, who so ably edited our elder dramatists and poets,
could never have accomplished his projects, if Heber had not come to
his assistance with the rare, or even unique, original editions.

We have taken elsewhere an opportunity of recording the probable
obligation under which we all lie to Heber for his offices in
prevailing on the Government under the Regency to arrange the
so-called gift to the country of the library of George III. What an
inestimable boon and advantage it would have been, had he left us his
own magnificent gatherings, with the liberty of exchanging duplicates!
To how many a subsequent collection would such a step have been the
deathblow or rather an insuperable bar! The Britwell and Huth
libraries would have been robbed of half their gems, and the Daniel
sale could not have proved the singular _coup_ and sensation which it
was, had the Heber element been absent.

The flyleaves of an enormous proportion of Heber's books are found
enriched by his scholarly and often very interesting memoranda; they
usually bear a stamp with BIBLIOTHECA HEBERIANA, but never an _ex
libris_. That distinction the accomplished owner resigned to minor
luminaries. The notes are always pertinent and occasionally numerous;
and the pages of the sale catalogue, of which we have no fewer than
thirteen parts, are lifted above mechanical common-place by the
curious and varied matter interspersed from this source, as well as to
a certain extent from the pen of John Payne Collier, who edited the
early poetical and dramatic portions, and attended the auction to
secure some of the rarest old plays for his friend the Duke of

Heber had, in the course of a not very prolonged life (he died at
sixty), absorbed by degrees mainly all that fell within his reach,
both at home and abroad; and he acquired much which never came to
England, but was warehoused at Antwerp or elsewhere on the Continent,
pending future arrangements, which he did not live to make. The
library is said to have cost £150,000, and to have fetched about a
third of that sum. As the owner had built it up from the ruins of
others, so some more recent collectors found there their opportunity.

A good deal of interesting information about this once conspicuous
figure in book-collecting circles may be found in Dibdin's
_Reminiscences_. Heber seems to have inherited some shares in
Elliott's brewery at Pimlico, and a residence within the precincts.
How far this fortune contributed to enable him to devote so large an
amount to the purchase of books and MSS., we hardly know; it was said
that he derived advantage from the slave trade, but perhaps this was a
calumny. At any rate, there was trouble which saddened his later

Mr. William Henry Miller of Craigentinny bought nearly the whole of
the early English poetry, and made the Britwell Library what it was
and is; and George Daniel of Canonbury carried off, at what might have
then seemed exorbitant prices, the Shakespeare quartos, to have the
enjoyment of them for thirty years, and then leave them as a valuable
inheritance to his family; for his death just occurred, when Henry
Huth had begun to compete more courageously for this class of books,
and when the National Library was in a better position to offer tall
figures for really vital acquisitions. It was in 1864, and the
struggle for the quartos and a few other prizes was principally
between the British Museum, Mr. Huth, and Sir William Tite.

At the present moment the Britwell collection is probably, on the
whole, the finest private library in the kingdom; the founder of it
was a solicitor in Edinburgh, whose name already meets the eye as a
purchaser in 1819, when the Marquis of Blandford's books were sold at
White-Knight's, and it passed by bequest to the Christy family, in
whose hands it now remains.

Had it not been for Heber and for the bibliophobia which prevailed,
when his possessions came to the hammer in 1834, it is doubtful
whether Miller of Craigentinny could have achieved the extraordinary
_coup_, which he did by transferring to his own shelves at one swoop
the harvest of a lifetime--a lifetime almost dedicated to a single


     The Huth Library--Special familiarity of the writer with
     it--Seven influential collectors of our time--The great
     dispersions of old-established
     libraries--Althorp--Ashburnham--Johnson of Spalding--List of the
     other leading collections, which no longer exist.

DURING a long series of years it was my special good fortune to see
nearly every week the late Mr. Henry Huth, and to learn from him many
particulars of the sources from which he had derived some of his fine
and rare books. We made Mr. Huth's acquaintance not long after the
enrichment of his library by the sale of George Daniel's collection in
1864; and that, with his very important acquisitions when Mr. Corser
died, and his early English poetry came into the market soon after,
constituted the backbone or stamina of the new-comer. Mr. Huth did not
collect on a large scale during a great length of time; he made his
library, or had it made for him, chiefly between 1854, when he bought
his first folio Shakespeare at Dunn-Gardner's auction, and 1870. Once
or twice his health and spirits failed, and he was always more or less
desultory and capricious. We saw him one afternoon, when he shyly
mentioned that he had at last taken courage to order home the Mazarin
Bible, which Mr. Quaritch had kept two years after giving £2625 for
it at the Perkins sale, and then sold to Mr. Huth for £25 profit. He
did not show the book to us, for he had not opened the parcel, and
confessed that he was rather ashamed of himself. A very curious
circumstance was that one of the Rothschilds, who had been nibbling at
the copy, called at Quaritch's a day or so later, and was of course
vexed to find that he had been anticipated. Huth necessarily bought in
every case, like Addington and Locker, at the top of the market, for
he waited till the books were shown or sent to him; he never searched
for them. Condition governed his choice a good deal; he was fond of
Spanish books, his mother having been a Spaniard, and of early German
ones, being a German on his father's side. He took the classics and
Americana rather hesitatingly, and there is no doubt that the old
English literature interested him most powerfully, as it was most
fully represented on his shelves. The folio volume of black-letter
ballads, knocked down to his agent at the Daniel sale for £750, was
regarded by him with special tenderness; but we think that its real
history was unknown to him. He was not aware that it was only a
selection by Daniel from a much larger number obtained by Thorpe the
bookseller from a private source, suspected to have been a person in
the employment of the Tollemaches of Helmingham Hall, near Ipswich.
Thorpe parted with the bulk to Mr. Heber for £200, and the latter, in
sending the vendor the money, declared how conscious he was of his
extravagance, and asked whether he had been so fortunate as to secure
"the inheritance of the Stationers' Company!"

A far more extensive collection, though of later date, came some years
afterward into Mr. Huth's possession; it consisted of three hundred
and thirty-four sheet ballads of the Stuart period, which had formed
part of a larger lot bought at a house-sale in the West of England for
fifty shillings. Some went to the British Museum, some elsewhere; Mr.
Huth's share cost him £500!

The Huth catalogue is a disappointing production, owing to the
circumstance that a good deal of useful information was suppressed,
and the opportunity was not taken, where expense was the least object,
to furnish an exhaustive account of the books. It is singular that the
Grenville and Chatsworth catalogues were spoiled much in the same way,
and that Lord Ashburnham's own privately printed account of his books
is a thousandfold inferior to the auctioneer's one.

The Duke of Roxburghe, Mr. Heber, Mr. Grenville, Mr. Daniel, Lord
Spencer, Mr. Miller and Mr. Huth were seven personages who exercised
on the printed book-market in their time (to say nothing of MSS.) a
very notable influence, particularly Heber. One might add the names of
Mr. Jolley, Mr. Bright, and Mr. Corser, who severally between 1810 and
1870 made their competition sensible and raised the standard of prices
for many classes of old English books. It was said in 1845, when the
Bright Library was dispersed, that the advance in realised values led
some collectors to relinquish the pursuit. The formation, not only of
such a library as that of Heber or Harley, but that of Corser or
Daniel or Bright, will be in the future a sheer impossibility from the
absence of the means of acquiring in many branches so large a
proportion of the rarer _desiderata_. To gather together a collection
of books on an extensive scale may always remain feasible; but the
probability seems to be that assemblages of literary property outside
mere works of reference will show a tendency to distribute themselves
over a more numerous body of owners, including the public repository,
which year by year removes a certain body of rare books of all kinds
beyond the reach of competition. The Bright episode was to a
considerable extent a duel between Mr. Corser and the British Museum.
But Mr. Miller and Lord Ashburnham, and (it may be added) Mr. Henry
Cunliffe of the Albany, were also in the field; and two years prior,
Maitland in his _Account of the Early Printed Books at Lambeth_, 1843,
already takes occasion to animadvert on what he terms the puerile
competition for rarities, which had then set in.

Miss Richardson Currer, of Eshton Hall, Craven, Yorkshire, whose
extensive and valuable library came to the hammer in 1864, was one of
the most distinguished lady-collectors of the century. There is a
privately printed catalogue of the books, of which two editions
appeared in 1820 and 1833. Miss Currer was a competitor side by side
with those already named for a certain proportion of the literary
treasures which were in the market in her time. The late Lady
Charlotte Schreiber confined herself to a few subjects, of which
playing-cards were one; but both these personages have been eclipsed
in our immediate day by Mrs. Rylands, who conceived, as a tribute to
the memory of a deceased husband, the princely design of founding on
the theatre of his commercial success a grand literary monument, of
which the Spencer books should be the nucleus and central feature.

One of the greatest surprises of our time in a bookish way was not the
sale of the library at Althorp, which had been rumoured as a
contingency many years before it occurred, but its transfer by the
purchaser to Manchester. We were all rather sorry to learn that the
climax had at length been reached; the sacrifice was doubtless a
painful one on more than one account; but it was presumably
unavoidable, and the noble owner was encouraged by numerous
precedents: the fashion for selling had quite set in then. I visited
Althorp in 1868 for the purpose of examining some of its treasures. I
remember the room, and the corner of it where the largest private
collection of Caxtons in the world was kept, and the glass case which
enshrined quite a number of Elizabethan rarities. His Lordship mounted
a ladder to get me one or two of his Aldines printed on vellum. He
showed me a delightful old volume of tracts, bound in a vellum
wrapper, some absolutely unique, which his grandfather had bought,
and a copy of the romance of _Richard Coeur de Lion_, 1509, which
came out of a poor cottage in Lincolnshire. That former Lord Spencer
once did a _gentlemanly_ act in handing Payne the bookseller a _bonus_
of £50, on finding that a volume he had had from him was a Caxton.
Alas! the spell is broken. Althorp was its library, and that has left
it for ever! _Sic transit gloria._

In the wake of the Spencer books have followed those of the late Earl
of Ashburnham, whose representative had previously disposed of his
father's coins and of some of the MSS. The remainder of the latter
still await dispersion or a purchaser _en bloc_.

The Ashburnham printed books included a considerable number of Caxtons
and Wynkyn de Wordes, the _St. Albans Chronicle_ and _Book of
Hunting_, &c., printed at the same place, and many distinguished
rarities in the foreign series of ancient typography; but first and
foremost the Perkins copy of the Gutenberg or Mazarin Bible on vellum,
which realised £4000, being £600 in excess of the figure given by the
buyer. There was also the Bible of 1462 on vellum, which fetched

But the prevalent characteristic of the collection was an ostensible
indifference on the part of the nobleman who formed it to condition.
There were several fine books and interesting examples of binding; but
the absence of any definite plan and of judgment was conspicuous
throughout. Circumstances aided the immediate proprietor in his
project for converting the property into cash, and the prices reached
were, in the cases of the early printed volumes by Caxton and others,
simply unprecedented, looking at the sorry state of the copies
offered. The catalogue (sooth to speak) was not very carefully or
scientifically prepared, and when the important lots were put on the
table, the company had, as a rule, some serious deduction to make from
the account printed by the auctioneers. The noble vendor did not see
anything unbecoming in attendance to note the prices of lots during
the earlier stages, and did not disguise his gratification when a book
brought a heavy profit. Yet twenty years ago it was almost accounted a
disgrace for an ancient family even to part with its heirlooms. In
those cases, when want of the money cannot and is not pleaded, the
proceeding seems all the stranger and the more discreditable. The late
Lord bought at the right time, and his son sold at the right time. The
prices realised were not merely high, but outrageous. Yet, after all,
prices are a figure of speech and a relative term. To a wealthy
Manchester manufacturer a thousand pounds are nothing more than four
figures on a piece of paper instead of one or two, and the sole
difference between £1000 and £2000 is the substitution of one numeral
for another.

It was known, in a few cases, what the noble owner had given for the
articles. His _Jason_, printed by Caxton, cost £87 _plus_ commission,
and produced £2100. The _Merlin_ of 1498 was bought for 30 guineas,
and realised £760. A little French volume by Jean Maugin, _Les Amours
de Cupidon et de Psiche_, 1546, was carried to £60, having been
acquired for half-a-crown. Certain other antecedent quotations were
left far behind, as in the _Canterbury Tales_ of 1498, which at
Dunn-Gardner's sale in 1854 brought £245, and now went up to £1000,
and in the Antonius Andreas of 1486, which was thought worth £231, as
probably the earliest volume issued in the City of London.

There was a notable drop in the biddings for the imperfect copies of
Chaucer from Caxton's press, and a host of items went for next to
nothing, which in an inferior sale would have realised far more. It is
ever so; and of course there was half a century's interest on the
outlay. Still what an intense pleasure beyond money it had afforded
the nobleman who formed it! And let us think, again, to how long a
succession of holders the same beautiful or rare book has been a
friend and a companion, a source of delight and pride!

It was remarked in the room that the present Earl had enlarged his
father's possessions only to the extent of ONE VOLUME (No. 2748), for
which he gave £4, and which yielded him £7. He had no right to
complain so far.

Concurrently with the Ashburnham episode in 1897, there came upon us
all, like a shell, the extraordinary report, which proved too true,
not only that the representative of Johnson of Spalding had
determined to part with the valuable library preserved in the house
since at least the time of the Stuarts, if not of the Tudors, but that
Mrs. Johnson had actually called in a local clergyman to select what
books he deemed worthy of being sent up to London for sale, and had
committed the residue to a local auctioneer. _The catalogues were
partly distributed before the books were added_, and very few
booksellers were even aware of the matter, till the sale was over. Not
more than three or so, and a few private persons, were present; the
volumes were made up in parcels and only one mentioned, and the
bidding did not exceed two or three shillings a lot. Supposing 2000
items, comprised in 100 bundles at 3s. each; the grand total would be
£15! Blades quotes the library as containing seven Caxtons, and the
late Mr. Henry Bradshaw thought it worth while to pay a visit to
Spalding to make notes, which he very kindly communicated to us. One
of the purchasers at the sale offered me two of his minor acquisitions
for £30. Although the library included a proportion of desirable
articles, many of the books were esteemed so worthless that the
acquirers removed the _ex libris_, and left the rest behind them!

Some of the Caxtons in the public library at Cambridge have belonged
to the Johnson family, and are supposed to have been formerly
presented to it by those of Spalding. They were acquired in the
earlier half of the reign of Henry VIII. by Martin Johnson at the
then current prices--from sixpence to a shilling or so; and a stray
or two from the same collection, long prior to the dispersion of 1897,
has occurred in the auction-rooms. I have to mention in particular the
_Spalding Chartulary_, sold in 1871. But a few still remained on the
old ground, and fortunately five were bound up together in one volume,
which was not comprised in the wretched _fiasco_ and anti-climax. This
precious collection was offered to Mr. Jacobus Weale, while he was
still curator at South Kensington, for £20, and declined, because, as
an officer of a public institution, he could not accept it at that
price, and was unable to pay the real value. Two, _Curia Sapientiæ_,
by Lydgate, and _Parvus et Magnus Cato_, have since been acquired by
the British Museum, with five excessively rare specimens of the press
of Wynkyn de Worde. The National Library did not require the _Reynard
the Fox_ or the _Game of the Chess_.

The Spalding case was as unique as some of the books themselves. The
owner seems to have been grossly ignorant of their value, as well as
wholly indifferent to the property as heirlooms.

Except as a matter of record and history, the collector need not so
greatly concern himself with all those libraries which have been
scattered, and yet he finds it desirable to refer to the catalogues,
if they were publicly sold, in order to trace books from one hand to
another, till they return into the market and find a new
owner--perhaps himself. One might fill a volume with a list of all
the sales which the last forty years have witnessed; but, taking the
principal names, let us enumerate:--

Auchinleck (Boswell)
Bolton Corney
Fraser of Lovat
Hamilton Palace
Henry Cunliffe
Johnson of Spalding
Makellar of Edinburgh
Middle Hill
Osterley Park
Sir David Dundas
Sir John Fenn
Sir John Simeon
Syston Park
William Morris (residue after private sale)

Within these broad lines, which do not include libraries privately
acquired by institutions, such as the Dyce, Forster, and Sandars, or
by the trade, which is an almost daily incidence, are comprehended a
preponderant share of all the important books which have come to the
front since the earliest period, of which there is an authentic

For we have to recollect that many of the persons whose possessions
were dispersed only in our time were buyers a century or more ago, and
had from Osborne, at what still appear to our weak minds provokingly
low prices, his Harleian bargains. By the way, he kept them a
tolerably long time. Did some one help him to find the money, or did
he pay it by instalments? Seriously speaking, it was rather a white
elephant. One of the most notorious private transactions in the way of
sales of books _en bloc_ was that by the Royal Society in 1873 of the
printed portion of the Pirkheimer Library, presented to it by Henry
Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the first president, and originally purchased
by his ancestor, the celebrated Earl of Arundel, in 1636.

The dispersion of the Harleian Library doubtless gave an impetus to
the revival in the eighteenth century of a taste for book-collecting;
but of course a large proportion of the purchases from Osborne himself
was on the part of buyers who parted with their acquisitions, and of
whom we have no further record. But the Osterley Park and Ham House
collections, the latter still intact, owed many indeed of their
greatest treasures to this source. In 1768 Dr. Johnson, who had had a
leading hand in the compilation of the Harleian Catalogue, and had so
gained a considerable experience of the bearings of the matter, as
they were then understood, addressed a long and interesting letter to
the King's Librarian on the subject of the public collections of
Europe and other bibliographical particulars.

Of the libraries above mentioned, the Sunderland, Syston Park (Sir
John Thorold), and Hamilton-Beckford collections owed their chief
importance to early typography, _editiones principes_ of the classics,
and bindings. Among the Blenheim books were a few miscellaneous
rarities in the English class. Of Beckford's volumes many contained
his MSS. notes.

The Surrenden (Dering family), Stourhead (Sir Richard Colt-Hoare), and
Hartley libraries were historical and topographical. In the Inglis,
Dunn-Gardner, and Osterley Park (Earl of Jersey) catalogues we
encounter, among a good deal that is more or less commonplace, the
rarest ancient typography, poetry, and romances.

We next approach the larger and more important Private Collections of
books, which are more or less of a permanent and hereditary character,
and which we have to content ourselves with admiring at a distance or
otherwise according to circumstances. We cannot enumerate the holders
of a few volumes or so up and down the country. The names of which we
think are Devonshire, Bute, Bath, Dysart, Bridgewater (Earl of
Ellesmere), Britwell, Huth, Aldenham (H. H. Gibbs), and Acton (or
Carnegie). The Duke of Fife is believed to possess some curious books
inherited from Skene of Skene. The Duke of Northumberland owns a few,
and a few are in the possession of Lord Robartes at Llanhydrock, near
Bodmin, Lord Aldenham, and Mr. Wynn of Peniarth. All these centres
affect the book-collector in one of two ways: in showing him what
exists, and in showing him now and then what he is never likely to
obtain. For in these repositories there are actually certain things
which have never been offered for sale, and of which the most
indefatigable research has failed to bring to light other examples.
Such is not the case, however, with Lord Acton's library at Aldenham
Park, near Bridgnorth. That is a collection made by a scholar for
scholars; it is wonderfully extensive and complete in its way, and it
were much to be desired that it should be preserved intact. It
commercial value is, relatively to its extent, inconsiderable.

The collections at Chatsworth and Devonshire House (including the
books of Henry Cavendish and many of those of Thomas Hobbes)
principally consist of early printed literature, English and foreign,
and old plays; of the latter the Kemble dramatic library formed the
_nucleus_, Payne Collier filling up at the Heber and other sales many
important _lacunæ_. The late Duke ill-advisedly engaged a foreign
gentleman to compile his catalogue, and the result is most
unfortunate. Besides the Henry Cavendish and Hobbes elements, a few
very valuable items came from the old library at Bolton Abbey,

The Althorp heirlooms, now removed to Manchester, have been
familiarised by the catalogues of them printed by Dibdin; but there
are hundreds of precious volumes which he has overlooked, and of which
some account is given in the present writer's _Collections_ from the
books themselves. An idea of the Dysart and Britwell libraries is to
be gathered from Blades's _Caxton_, Dibdin's _Ames_, and Hazlitt's
_Collections_. Of the possessions in this way of the Marquises of Bath
and Bute we gain only casual glimpses from the same sources. Payne
Collier and Hazlitt have made the Bridgewater House library fairly
well known. The Huth one is elsewhere referred to, and of Lord Acton's
a sale catalogue of a portion was prepared some years since, as well
as a bibliographical account; but the former was suppressed, and the
latter remains incomplete and in MS.

Of Lord Aldenham's collection (Early English Literature, Bibles,
Classics, MSS., &c.) there is a privately printed catalogue, 1888, and
there is also one of the late Mr. Locker-Lampson's literary


     Classification of collections--Origin of the taste for
     books--Schedule of topics or branches of inquiry--Each separately
     considered and the authorities cited--Ancient typography--British
     history and topography--Liturgies--Books of Hours--The _Imitatio
     Christi_--_Pilgrim's Progress_--Books of Emblems--Books of
     Characters--Books printed before the Great Fire, at Oxford,
     during the Civil War and Interregnum, &c.--Monastic and patristic
     writers--English devotional and other books printed
     abroad--Froschover's Zürich Bible of 1550--Other Bibles--The
     French Bible of 1523-28--Minor specialisms.

AS books, in a manuscript or printed shape, are far more numerous and
varied than any other species of property, and are also more largely
sought for purposes of direct study and instruction, there exists the
greater difficulty in attempting to advise collectors as to the line
which it is best, wisest, or safest to embrace.

The class of persons who engage in this attractive pursuit are:--

  (i) Pure amateurs, without any eye to the financial question.
 (ii) Specialists of more than a single kind.
(iii) Students.
 (iv) Speculators.
  (v) Miscellaneous or casual buyers.

The normal amateur starts, in general, without any well-defined scheme
before him. He has seen in the hands of a friend, perhaps, a curious
book; and the notion takes possession of him, rather stealthily, yet
rather languidly too, that it might be a "nice" thing to have
oneself--that or such another. The spirit of collecting, like a
delicate germ, is at first easily extinguished; but an incident as
trivial and fortuitous as the one just suggested has ere now
constituted the _nucleus_ and starting-point of a large library. It
may, indeed, be a favourable symptom and augury when a man begins
circumspectly and deliberately; he is more apt, other circumstances
favouring, to prosecute his scheme to the end, and to prove a valuable
friend to the trade.

We have mentioned that the Specialist may be of more than one sort. He
may, in short, be of ten thousand sorts; and the Student, after all,
may be bracketed with him; for both equally devote their exclusive
attention to a prescribed class of works or branch of inquiry for a
more or less definite term.

The subjects which principally engage the notice of specialists are:--

Ancient Typography (including Xylographic works).
English, Scotish, and Irish History.
English Topography.
English Genealogy and Family History.
Liturgies and Prayer-Books.
Books of Hours.
Roman Catholic books.
English books printed abroad.
Voyages and Travels.
Irish Literature.
Scotish Literature.
Early illustrated books.
Modern illustrated books.
French illustrated books.
Books of Emblems.
Books of Engravings.
Early English Poetry.
Early Romances.
Early Music.
Spanish Romances.
Italian Romances.
Dantesque Literature.
Cromwell Literature.
Civil War and Commonwealth tracts.
Editions of the _Imitatio Christi_.
Editions of the _Pilgrim's Progress_.
Occult Literature.
Educational books.
Caricatures in book form.
Miracles and phenomena.

There is probably not much of consequence to be suggested outside this
calendar from which an intending collector may make his choice. Each
of the topics indicated is, for the most part, susceptible of being
subdivided and subdivided again.

_Ancient Typography_ is not only a large, but a difficult and costly
field. It is, notwithstanding, a not unusual circumstance for a
beginner, and not a rich one, to start by making himself master of a
few examples of our first printers; and this arises from the fact that
among the remains in such a line of collecting are pieces of no high
interest or character, and copies whose condition does not attract the
riper connoisseur. At the same time it arises from the feeling of the
period which witnessed the dawn of the art, that a heavy percentage of
the output of the printers of all countries amounts to little more
than typographical curiosities, which may be substantially possessed
in the form of an example of moderate cost. The novice generally
selects books and tracts of foreign origin, and of a theological or
technical complexion. Perhaps he goes further--even so far as to
discard his earlier purchases; perhaps he does not. It is a matter of
taste and money. If he does not seek the finest and rarest specimens,
especially in the English series, it is not too much to say that £500
spread over a career would suffice to procure one a fair
representation in which Fust and Schoeffer, Gutenberg, Mentelin, and
Caxton might appear in the form of a leaf--possibly a damaged one. Yet
there would be a chronological view in actual originals of the art of
printing from the commencement in all countries. We go for our facts
on this subject to Panzer, Hain, Brunet, the British Museum Catalogue,

_British History_ and _Topography_ are alike departments which can
scarcely be regarded as specialities without questionable fitness. For
when we survey the catalogues of those who have professedly restricted
their aim to these two ranges, and reflect that all such collections
are, by the light of bibliographical authorities, more or less
tentative and imperfect, we are brought to the conclusion that there
would be, in a thoroughly exhaustive treatment of the matter, less
left outside than could be found within. Of the divisions which
present themselves above so much is capable of being drawn into the
two other series. Numerically an assemblage of ancient and modern
books in these classes would be by possibility immense. But the
attendant outlay, unless certain signal rarities were included, or it
was deemed necessary to comprise all the poetical relics with a
historical or a topographical side, ought not to be relatively so high
as that on the preceding category, particularly if the acquirer were
satisfied here and there with trustworthy reproductions of
three-and-four-figure items. From £1000 to £1500 will go a long way in
supplying a collection with that qualifying proviso; without it, four
times the amount would barely cover you. The Hartley and Phillipps
catalogues should be consulted, as well as Upcott and other older

_Liturgies_ form one of the tastes and objects of pursuit of persons
who have left behind them the fancies of their novitiate, and possess
the means of purchasing a description of literature which is
abnormally costly, and might prove more so, were the buyers more
numerous. The editions of the Prayer-Book fall under this section, and
are almost innumerable, being tantamount to _Annuals_, and of many
years we possess more than one issue.

The printed _Books of Hours_ might, from their extent, as regards
subordinate variations arising from the different uses and occasional
changes in portions of the ritual, constitute in themselves a life's
study and absorb a fortune. There is great disparity in their
typographical and artistic execution, no less than in their commercial
value. A tolerably full description of the series occurs in Brunet,
Lowndes, Maskell, the British Museum Catalogue, and in those of the
principal collectors on these lines. Of those adapted to English or
Scotish uses there is an account in Hazlitt's _Collections_; but we
may look in the early future for an exhaustive monograph from the pen
of Mr. Jacobus Weale.

The British Museum is singularly rich in editions in all languages of
the _Imitatio Christi_, having enjoyed the recent opportunity of
supplying wants from an enormous collection sold by public auction _en
bloc_. The Offor Catalogue is considered an authority on the
_Pilgrim's Progress_ and other works of Bunyan; but the National
Library contains a large proportion of these books, and the Huth
Catalogue and Hazlitt's _Collections_ must not be overlooked.

The authorities just cited, the Corser Catalogue, and the publications
of the Holbein Society, will prove useful guides to any one desirous
of studying the EMBLEM Series, which was some time since in marked
request, but has sustained the customary relapse, and is what
booksellers term rather _slow_ just now. Our own literature is not
particularly wealthy in these productions; there is nothing of
consequence beyond Whitney, Peacham, _The Mirror of Majesty_, 1618,
Wither, Quarles, and Harvey (_School of the Heart_). But if the
collector goes outside the national frontier, he meets with works of
this class in even bewildering abundance in regard to number, variety
of type and treatment, and degree of artistic and literary merit.
Moreover, among the works of this species just enumerated as of
national origin, four of the six were more or less heavily indebted
to the Continent; the Whitney was printed at Leyden, and Wither,
Quarles, and Harvey did little more than write English letterpress to
sets of foreign plates.

_Books of Characters_, of which perhaps Earle's _Microcosmography_,
1628, is the most familiar, have attracted attention from more than
one of our book-fanciers; they constitute a somewhat extensive series,
and we gain a fair _aperçu_ of it in the catalogue of the library of
DR. BLISS, of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, 1858. It was Bliss who
reprinted Earle in 1811, and inserted a bibliography of publications
on similar lines.

The above-mentioned gentleman also lent himself to two other paths of
collecting: one suggested by local associations, and consisting of
works printed at Oxford, the second dealing with those which appeared
just prior to the Great Fire of London in 1666.

One of Bliss's Oxford friends, DR. BANDINEL, Bodley's librarian, made
it his speciality to bring together as many of the fugitive
publications as possible relative to the Civil War Period and the
Commonwealth, and MR. JOHN FORSTER did the same. The Bandinel
Catalogue, 1861, is an excellent guide on this ground, although it is
almost unnecessary to state that it is very incomplete. The best and
most exhaustive assemblage of the literature of the Troubles and
Interregnum (1640-59) is the descriptive list of the King's pamphlets
in the British Museum formed by Thomason the stationer.

The interest and profit attendant on the study of the monastic and
patristic writers, who may be said to be less strictly national and
more cosmopolitan than those of later schools, are, as a rule, casual
and slender for the merely literary consulter or peruser, supposing
the rather extreme case, where such a person is sufficiently
courageous and robust to engage in anything approaching a serious
examination of these families of books. The authors were true
enthusiasts, labouring to their lives' last thread in some obscure
cell or dim closet, where pride of authorship, as we may feel and
enjoy it, there was none, when beyond the walls of a convent or those
of a native town their names were unknown, their personality
unrecognised. Except to the theologian or ritualist how repellent and
illegible this mass of printed and manuscript matter must ever seem!
How deficient in human sympathy and pertinence! These treatises, so
erudite, so prolix, and so multifarious, were composed by men
(Universal, Irrefragable, or Seraphic Doctors), and after a certain
date by women too (Angelical Sisters), who had no knowledge of the
world, of society, of human nature, or of real philosophy. Yet they
were, and long remained, the class of literature most cultivated, most
studied, and most multiplied; and to this hour, notwithstanding the
destruction of millions of them, they abound in our national,
cathedral, and college libraries, and in private collections dedicated
to that particular side of inquiry and learning. In the booksellers'
catalogues we sometimes meet with examples, which are recommended to
the curious buyer by their illustrations of conventual life, and their
exposure of those vices which a state of celibacy is calculated to
promote in both sexes. The chained book is not an uncommon feature in
the ancient ecclesiastical repositories, and even in certain churches;
and apart from the Scriptures, it almost invariably enters into the
department of early divinity or polemics.

Whatever may be thought of this branch of the theological library,
there is an undoubted market for it, or some portions of it, as stocks
are kept both here and abroad, although on a more restricted scale,
perhaps, than formerly. It is extremely probable that, if any one who
was learned enough and dexterous enough should make a decoction of all
the uncountable folios which exist up and down the globe, the result
might be a single volume of not very ample dimensions, affording its
share of insight and edification.

The call on the part of a narrow coterie of churchmen for the Catholic
literature of the sixteenth and succeeding centuries, more especially
the books produced at Continental presses, necessarily resulted in the
rapid inflation of the value, while it brought to light from
numberless recesses a vast assemblage of works previously undescribed
and unknown. Many of these works were produced at obscure localities
in France and the Netherlands; but Paris, Douay, Brussels, Antwerp,
Mecklin, Tournai, Bruges, Ghent, Breda, are responsible for a
majority. Besides the purely religious publications, quite a large
number of secular books, and those of permanent and striking interest,
owed their origin to the same region, particularly to Amsterdam, the
Hague, Middelburg, Dort. The source of all this foreign production was
mainly either the employment of Englishmen and Scots abroad on
military service, or their residence there in exile or for other
purposes. Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and even Poland, lent their
presses to the British author; the scarce tracts by James Crichton
(the Admirable) proceeded from Milan or Venice. We know what important
centres for English controversial divinity and political
pamphleteering were Geneva, Basle, and Zürich, and the last-named
place is particularly associated with the name of Christopher
Fröschover, printer of the Bible of 1550. A distinct feature in this
vast body of Continental typography connected with us is the curious
and often unique light which it incidentally throws on the lives of
our countrymen and countrywomen, segregated by their employments or
opinions from their compatriots at home, and obliged to resort to
printers ignorant of the language which they committed to type. A
tolerably exhaustive estimate may be found of this branch of the
subject by a reference to the _General Index_ of Hazlitt's COLLECTIONS

To the Duke of Sussex's Catalogue, and those of Lea Wilson, George
Offor, Francis Fry, William Maskell, W. J. Loftie, W. J. Blew,
Farmer-Atkinson, Lord Ashburnham, and the Rev. W. Makellar of
Edinburgh, we must go for the means of bibliographically estimating
the editions of the Scriptures and the Prayer-Book; and the Huth and
Caxton Exhibition Catalogues should be consulted. The ordinary English
and American collector seldom goes beyond English, French, German, and
Latin Bibles. Of all these, not even excepting the Fust and Gutenberg
or Mazarin, the original impression of the Scriptures in French,
published at Paris and Antwerp in six volumes between 1523 and 1528,
is by far the rarest; and the next place or rank is perhaps due to the
German one, printed at Zürich in the same number of volumes, 1527-29,
of which an imperfect copy is in the Huth Library. The Mazarin Bible
has grown rather commoner of late years. It is certainly much more so
than Coverdale's English one of 1535 in a perfect state, or Tyndale's
New Testament of 1526. It is a point about it not generally known,
that the extant copies on vellum and on paper differ.

For History, Genealogy, Topography, and well-nigh all other branches
of human science, the student finds himself referred to the
Middle-Hill Library, now in course of gradual dispersion; but this is
far richer in the manuscript than in the printed book department. He
may also profitably consult the catalogues of Mr. Hartley and Mr.
Tyrrell (City Remembrancer), of whom the second collected largely on

Mr. Bolton Corney, Mr. Grenville, and Mr. Jadis made voyages and
travels, books relating to America, and the first-named literary
_adversaria_, distinct features in their enormous aggregate of

Information on early English poetry and the drama may be sought in the
catalogues of Sykes, Perry, Caldecott, Heber, Chalmers, Jolley,
Wolfreston, Way, Daniel, Corser, Collier, Frere, Bliss, Bright,
Mitford, Ouvry, Bandinel, Halliwell-Phillipps, and of course Huth.

Mr. Brook Pulham concentrated his attention on the writings of George
Wither, Mr. Bragge on works illustrative of Smokers and Tobacco, and
Major Irwin on the occult and supernatural.

Mr. Henry Pyne during a long series of years made an extensive
collection, restricted to English books dated prior to the year 1600,
and as a rule, it must be added, to the commoner class of


     Voyages and travels--Their strong American interest--Maryland and
     Pennsylvania--New Plymouth--Sir John Mandeville--Columbus and
     Vespucci--Early medical literature--Harvey and the circulation of
     the blood--Occult literature--Phenomena--Technical works--The
     paddle-wheel--Books printed in a special
     advertisements--General or miscellaneous collections--Omnivorous
     buyers--Richard Heber, Sir Thomas Phillipps, James Crossley--A
     moral deduced--Most interesting types of collector--Advantages
     connected with restriction to personal tastes or wants--Dangers
     of emulation and servility--Mr. Quaritch's _Dictionary of
     Collectors_--Various sorts of genuine collector.

VOYAGES and Travels have always engaged a large share of attention and
study, and comprise the central and very interesting feature of almost
the entire body of early Americana, dealing with the discovery and
colonisation of that continent. This part of the subject before us has
received, owing to recent political occurrences, a further development
in the direction of Africa. To the purely American collector, who of
course takes in Canada, his own literary heirlooms are unexceptionally
material; and if he works on a comprehensive principle, he admits
every item relevant to the series, however costly and however
individually trivial. An Englishman, as a rule, is content with
typical or representative examples. The late Mr. Huth long remained
unpersuaded that books of this character were _desiderata_.

There can be no doubt, however--and Mr. Huth concurred so far from the
outset--that there are certain Anglo-American works which are, so to
speak, indispensable to a library of any pretensions. For instance, it
must not be without such capital productions as those written or
published in elucidation of the history of the New World by Drake,
Cavendish, Hakluyt, and Purchas; or such, again, as contribute to
throw light on the settlement of New England and the progress of the
Pilgrim Fathers. This group of literature has grown within the last
twenty years almost unattainable by the less opulent bibliophile; its
commercial value has risen to four times that to which the previous
generation was accustomed. The most signal feature in the whole series
is, however, out of the pale of commerce. The precious manuscript
found at Fulham Palace in 1896, giving a detailed account of the
settlement of New Plymouth, has by a graceful international act been
restored, as it were, to its fittest home, although many of us in Old
England would have, no doubt, preferred to see it deposited in Great
Russell Street.

There is another source of association with the mother country which
commends to the notice of many, not exclusively American in their
tastes or objects, the literary memorials of Maryland and
Pennsylvania, so intimately associated with the English families of
Calvert and Penn. There is no rarer volume among the first
Anglo-American monuments than Hariot's _Virginia_, 1588, which is
worth from £100 to £120.

Among the favourite books of travel are Sir John Mandeville's
_Voyages_, of which there are ancient editions in English, French,
Italian, and German, and which is being constantly reproduced with the
quaint illustrations. The narratives of Pinto, "prince of liars," and
Bruce are gaining increased credit and confidence. Leo's _Description
of Africa_, in the English version of 1600, has a map already showing
the source of the Nile in an inland lake. The labours of the Hakluyt
and Geographical Societies have conferred respectively great benefits
on the cause of discovery and verification.

In the famous _Letter of Columbus_, 1493, in its various forms, the
_Mundus Novus_ and _Paesi Retrovate_ (1507) of Vespucci, and a few
other leading publications, there is a recognised interest regardless
of the countries of origin.

We owe to the entrance into the lists of sundry members of the medical
profession a temporary emergence from oblivion and respite from the
waste-basket of what the booksellers describe in their catalogues as
"Rare Early Medical." There is no doubt that among these obsolete
publications may be detected many curious points and many evidences of
former acquaintance with supposed latter-day inventions or ideas. A
prominent feature in the series is Harvey's Latin treatise on the
circulation of the blood, of which he was the (rather late British)
discoverer. But, on the whole, the group of early works dealing with
medicine and surgery is of questionable interest outside the purely
practical range as a comparative study, and those which treat of
anatomy and other cognate topics are in the last degree gruesome. They
are the antipodes to the _belles lettres_.

_Occult Literature_ is susceptible of a division into several classes
or sections: Religious Cults, Necromancy, Magic, Second Sight,
Divination, Astrology, Palmistry, of which all have their special
literatures and bibliographies. Major Irwin recently sold an extensive
series of works on these and kindred topics. Cornelius Agrippa,
Ashmole, Bulwer, Lilly, Partridge, Gadbury are among the foremost
names of older writers in the present categories. But for the faiths
and worships of antiquity which may be ranked in the first order of
importance and solid interest, we chiefly depend on modern books, such
as Payne, Knight, Inman, Davies, Forlong; and there is quite a small
library on that branch which touches on theosophy and similar
speculations--all having a common source in the grand principle of
Agnosticism. Further information will be found collected on this and
the topics which we notice below in Hazlitt's _Popular Antiquities_,

For those who are interested in Portents, Phenomena, _Lusus Naturæ_,
Murders, Earthquakes, Fires, there is the catalogue of MR. NASSAU,
1824. The British Museum has in recent times grown more complete in
the same direction. The founders and earlier curators of the
institution appear to have regarded such _nugæ_ as beneath the dignity
of a national library; but in fact the information which they, and
possibly they alone, convey, is frequently of historical,
biographical, or topographical relevance.

There has been a rather marked tendency to a rise in the value of a
section of technical publications which deals with the earliest
notices in English literature of such subjects as Electricity, the
Microscope, the Steam-Engine, the Paddle-Wheel, and the Telephone, and
the books identified with these subjects are now commanding very high
prices. An uncut copy of Thomas Savery's _Navigation Improved_, 1698,
where the principle of the paddle-wheel is discussed, fetched at
Sotheby's in June 1896, £16, 15s.

This is a somewhat fresh departure, but it is not an unsound or
unreasonable one, and the series is limited. An almost invariable
incidence of these artificial figures is to draw out other copies, and
then the barometer falls.

The name of MR. EYTON is identified with copies of books printed on
vellum or on some special paper, not unfrequently for his own use or
pleasure; and this gentleman's catalogue is serviceable to such as
desire to follow his precedent, of which the modern _Edition de Luxe_
is an outgrowth. Eyton would have proved an invaluable friend to
Japanese vellum, had he belonged to a later decade of the century.

The CHAP-BOOK, which dates from the reign of Elizabeth, and was sold
for a silver penny of her Highness, becomes less rare under the
Stuarts, and common to excess at a later period down to our own days.
A large proportion of this species of literature consists of
abridgments of larger works or of new versions on a scale suited to
the penny History and Garland. Pepys was rather smitten with those
which appeared in and about his own time, and at Magdalen, Cambridge,
with the rest of his library, a considerable number of them is bound
up in volumes, lettered _Penny Merriments_ and _Penny Godlinesses_
respectively. The Huth Collection possesses many which were formerly
in the Heber and Daniel libraries. All these productions share the
common attributes of very coarse paper, very rough cuts, and very poor
type. They are interesting as eminently _folk-books_--books printed
for the multitude, and now, especially when the article happens to be
of unusual importance and rarity, worth several times their weight in
gold. Two catalogues of Chap-Books and Popular Histories were edited
by Mr. Halliwell for the Percy Society in 1848-49.

In the present writer's bibliographical works, to which there is a
General Index, will be found an account of all that have come into the
market between 1866 and 1892. Thousands upon thousands have
unquestionably perished.

The most fascinating member of the Chap-Book series is undoubtedly the
_Garland_--not so much a volume by a given author, such as the _Court
of Venus_ (1558) and Deloney's _Garland of Good Will_, 1596, as a
miscellany by sundry hands. The next earliest of these collections
known to us at present are the _Muses' Garland_, 1603, and _Love's
Garland_, 1624. Those in Pepys's library at Cambridge are of much
later date, yet of some no duplicates can be quoted, so vast has been
the destruction of these _ephemerides_. Of the Pepysian Garlands a
certain proportion are reprints of older editions or repositories of
songs and ballads belonging to an anterior date, and here and there we
meet with lyrics extracted from contemporary dramatic performances.

Besides Pepys, Narcissus Luttrell the Diarist displayed a taste for
fugitive and popular publications, and the copies acquired by him
eventually found their way, for the most part, into Heber's hands,
whence they have drifted in large measure either into the British
Museum or the Miller and Huth collections. Numerous unique examples of
the popular literature of his own day, again, are preserved among
Robert Burton's books in the Bodleian.

Allied to the chap-book are the broadsides of various classes,
including the Ballad, popular and political, the Advertisement and the
Proclamation. So far as we know, the second division exhibits the most
ancient specimen in our own literature, and is a notification on a
single leaf by Caxton respecting Picas of Salisbury use. This
precious relic, of which only two copies are recorded, appeared about
1480. It must have been soon after the introduction of printing into
London and Westminster that resort was had to the press for making
public at all events matters of leading importance; but we do not seem
to possess any actual evidence of the issue of such documents save in
isolated instances till toward the end of the century, and they are
chiefly in the shape of indulgences and other ecclesiastical
manifestos, circulated in all probability in the most limited numbers
and peculiarly liable to disappearance.

The Ballad proper cannot be said to be anterior to the closing years
of Henry VIII., subsequently to the fall of Cromwell, Earl of Essex,
when the composition relative to that incident printed in the
collections appeared, and was followed by the series preserved in the
library of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and reprinted in the
writer's _Fugitive Tracts_, 1875. From the time of Elizabeth onward
the broadside in its varied aspects grew abundant, and served as a
substitute for newspaper notices, so long as the press remained an
insufficient medium. The British Museum and Society of Antiquaries
possess large collections of this kind. Lord Crawford has printed a
catalogue of his _Proclamations_, and in the writer's _Collections_,
1867-92, occur thousands of these ephemerides arranged under what
appeared to be their appropriate heads.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the sheet _format_
lent itself largely and conveniently to teachers, quack doctors,
astrologers, announcing their addresses, qualifications, and terms, no
less than to the official, municipal, or parochial authorities, and to
private persons who desired to give publicity to some current matter
by the exhibition of the placard on a wall or a church door. There was
yet another purpose which the broadside was made to serve:
prospectuses of schemes and reports of companies' or societies'
proceedings. The purely temporary interest of such publications
accounts for their survival in unique examples and even fragments.

There is a general notion that the _Harleian Miscellany_ and the
_Somers Tracts_ represent between them a very large proportion of the
extant pamphlets and broadsheets published during the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. But, as a matter of fact, they do nothing of
the sort. Even in or about 1695 William Laycock of the Inner Temple
drew attention to the unsuspected importance of these fugitive
publications in his printed proposal for buying them up by a public
subscription; but even in the National Library, with all its immense
accumulations, and in Hazlitt's _Collections_, many thousands of items
are probably deficient; while the two sets of books above mentioned
contain a very slender percentage of the whole--in fact, mere
representative selections.

There have been men who coupled with a general plan a speciality or
two. For instance, Dyce, who laid a collateral stress on
_Shakespeariana_; Ireland, who made himself strong in Leigh Hunt and
Hazlitt; Crossley, who had a peculiar affection for Defoe; Bliss, who
collected books of characters and books printed at Oxford or just
before the Great Fire of 1666; Bandinel, who was smitten by the charms
of the Civil War literature; Corser, whose bibliographical sweethearts
were Nicholas Breton and Richard Brathwaite; and Rimbault, who had
two, Old Music and Old Plays. Mr. G. L. Gomme is similarly situated:
anthropology and folklore are his foibles. It goes without saying that
the Shakespearian and dramatic student, from Sir Thomas Hanmer
downward, has usually made a stand on the literary remains and works
tending to illustrate their own labours; but of course the relevance
may be direct or indirect, and in the latter case the specialist is
found to cast his net surprisingly wide.

Specialism, whether on the principle of personal taste or of
particular studies, has manifest advantages in an age where the
multitude and choice of books are so bewildering, where of every work
of any sort of value or interest a man may have, not a single
edition--all that in a majority of instances was once available--but a
hundred or a thousand in all sorts of sizes and at all sorts of
prices. With the discontinuance of the older paucity of literature,
the facilities for lodging within a modest bookcase a coterie of
literary favourites have sorrowfully decreased, and a collector finds
it imperative to draw the line more and more rigidly, if he does not
care to fall into one of two perils--excessive outlay or excessive
bulk. For we have not, as regards the former, to go very far before we
incur a serious expense, if it happens that the run is on the rarer
English section or on what constitutes a picked library of the French

Of the miscellaneous group there are graduated and varying types. The
omnivorous accumulator, especially where he does not insist on
condition or binding, is the dealer's idol. In the forefront of this
class stand _facile principes_ Richard Heber and Sir Thomas Phillipps,
for the reason that they bought everything--whole libraries and
catalogues at a swoop. Yet both these distinguished men have to be
placed on a distinct footing from the normal promiscuous buyer, such
as Thomas Jolley, Joseph Tasker, Edward Hailstone, Edward Solly, and a
legion of others, to whom anything in the guise of a book was a sure
bait, and who spurned Evelyn's motto: "_Meliora retinete_." Ascending
a step or two higher, we come to the men who repudiate specialism as
narrowing and troublesome, and who impose on themselves no restraint
save perchance in the direction of theology, science, and _arcana_.
They stop peremptorily at the _belles lettres_. Singer, Mitford,
Bliss, Bandinel, Forster, Cosens, Ireland, Crossley, Sir John Simeon,
were more or less of this school. At a still greater altitude we meet
with a yet stronger tendency to draw the line at character or
condition, and there occur to us the names, under the former head, of
Capell, Malone, Douce, Bright, Chalmers, Collier, Ouvry, Bolton
Corney, David Laing, E. F. Rimbault, Halliwell-Phillipps, Frederick
Locker, W. H. Miller, Henry Cunliffe, R. S. Turner, and Henry Huth.
From the same point of view, nearly in the clouds are discovered a
small knot of fastidious _dilettanti_, who purchase a volume in the
same spirit as they might do a picture or a piece of majolica; and of
this minority Sir Andrew Fountaine, Sir David Dundas, and Samuel
Addington may perhaps be accepted as types.

The most interesting, and it may with permission be added, intelligent
type of book-collector, however, seems to be that where, after a
certain measure of preparatory thought and training, one confines
acquisitions for permanent ownership to volumes for which the acquirer
has a genuine personal relish. In general, the principle of forming a
library on this wholesome basis would be found not only more useful,
but more economical, since the rarest and costliest articles are by no
means, on the whole, the most interesting or the most instructive. In
any case, the inconsiderate emulation by one collector of others, who
may have different objects and perhaps ampler resources, is a course
to be avoided. Even here there is more than a single source or ground
of inducement to purchase. Setting aside the mere book of reference,
which has to be multiplied to suit various exigencies, there may be
said to be three classes of literary property which rationally appeal
to our sympathy: (i) the volume which commends itself by its
intrinsic value and charm; (ii) that which has grown dear from
lengthened companionship and possibly hereditary link; (iii) and that
which, unimportant so far as its internal claims and merits are
concerned, bears on its face the evidence of having once belonged to a
favourite of our own or a world's hero.

One persuasive argument in favour of adopting the miscellaneous or
typical course in the choice of a library is the rapid growth of the
difficulty of meeting with the rarer items in all important
specialities. It is the general plan on the part of every follower of
particular lines to commence, very often casually, by bringing home
from time to time a few volumes on a certain topic, or in a given
class of literature, or by one or two of a school of writers; and such
a proceeding succeeds tolerably well, till the owner makes discovery
of volumes positively essential to his object, and unattainable save
by a heavy outlay--perchance not even to be had at any price. It is
nearly always the _lacunæ_ for which we yearn; one or two of our
richer friends have them, and we have not. What we possess anybody can
get in a morning's walk; we find that we have travelled a long
distance, and have come to an _impasse_. It is very seldom indeed that
a man is satisfied with the cheaper and commoner articles in a series,
if he is aware of the existence of those which just constitute the
corner-stones of such a collection as his.

On the contrary, by the process of sampling or picking out here and
there, now and again, a book or a set of books which chance or
circumstances may throw in our path, we may gradually acquire a
caseful of most desirable specimens, against which it is out of the
question to raise any charge of incompleteness, where incompleteness
is the governing aim. Book-buying under these conditions is a humour.
We are at liberty to take or leave. Because we conceive a fancy for a
work by this or that author, we feel under no obligation to
accommodate every scrap which he has printed, or which his friends or
followers have penned. The object of our personal selection suffices
us; and there perhaps we begin and we end. It is our humour.

The auctioneers' and booksellers' catalogues of the present day supply
an instructive demonstration of the gradual withdrawal from the market
of many thousands of articles, in Early English literature more
particularly, which at one time seemed to be of fairly frequent
recurrence. They have been taken up into public collections all over
the world; and the very few copies, not to speak of unique examples,
which time had spared, are beyond the reach of the private purchaser
of to-day. We have only to study with attention the Heber and other
leading records of former libraries existing in this and other
countries to become convinced that the facilities for acquiring an
approximately complete library of the rarer books grow narrower year
by year.

There is, I submit, far too prevalent a tendency in collectors to
follow suit, to attach themselves to leaders of temporary fashions. I
plead for a greater independence of opinion, where the taste is in any
reasonable measure cultivated and developed, or, again, where an
individual knows what pleases himself. By all means, if it happens
that he does not admire Shakespeare and Bacon, Sydney and Jonson,
Dryden and Pope, Byron and Shelley, Scott's novels or Lamb's _Elia_,
let him leave them alone, and make his own free choice, even if it be
to go in for _John Buncle_, the _Adventures of a Guinea_, or
Luttrell's _Letters to Julia_. There is always the room for hope that
he may quit those pastures after a time and seek more fruitful ones.
What is important and desirable, however, is that each person should
be his own caterer. Schools are only useful where some writer of real
genius has been neglected or overlooked, or been boycotted by the
press, and attention to his works is only a fair service to him, or a
becoming, if tardy, tribute to his memory.

Apropos of the increasing difficulty of obtaining certain old books
noted above, the extensive scale on which reproductions of original
editions of Early English literature have of recent years been made is
certainly a boon to literary inquirers, since the presence of such
reissues in our circulating libraries, if we do not choose to buy
them, tends at every step in many branches of work to help us, and to
render our undertakings more complete. It frequently occurs that
volumes and tracts, which are of very slight literary or intrinsic
value, contain valuable allusions and illustrations, which we might
miss in the absence of available copies. It is worth while to take in
one's hand even some puerile trifle by the author of _Adonais_, if one
is not obliged to buy it or asked to become the possessor. One feels a
curiosity to glance for a moment at a volume which, we are constantly
assured in the catalogue, the writer did his utmost to obliterate; and
we sometimes wish that he had fully succeeded.

Any of us, taking in his hands the series of _English Book-Collectors_
in course of issue by Mr. Quaritch (Nos. 1-12), will perceive without
difficulty, if he go no farther, the two distinct camps, so to speak,
into which the collecting fraternity may be, and is, broadly divided
and classifiable. You have, on the one hand, the men who followed
their personal taste, and amused their leisure in late years after a
busy life by purchasing such works or such descriptions of literature
as appealed to them and fell within their resources; again, the
scholar or investigator who assembled round him what illustrated his
studies, not merely with an aim at emulating others; or, once more,
the gentleman of fortune, who evolved from his school-day acquisitions
a feeling or a passion for higher things, and made it the business of
his maturer time--even made it his career--to carry out on a scale and
on lines dictated and governed by circumstances the predilection
formed in boyhood. On the contrary, there are for our consideration
and instruction the libraries which owed their existence to less
interesting motives, to the vague and untrained pursuit of rare and
expensive books and MSS., on the judgment of others in rivalry of
others, and the enterers into the field of competition with a
practical eye and a financial side-look. Of all these great divisions
there are varieties naturally arising from personal character; but of
the collector pure and simple of the older school, that type, we avow,
most warmly and potently attracts us which limited itself to the small
and unpretentious book-closet, with just those things which the master
loved for their own sakes or for the sakes of the donors--where the
commercial element was wanting, and where the library was not viewed
in the same light as railway or mining stock. It is a famous principle
to invest money prudently and well; but happy is he who is wise enough
to keep his library within narrow limits, and rich enough to leave it,
such as it may be, out of the category of realisable assets.

Mr. Quaritch's project possesses in our eyes the incidental merit of
providing us with personal accounts in a succinct form of many of the
past proprietors of English and American libraries, and enables us to
see at once how varied and fortuitous were the conditions under which
the task was begun and accomplished, with what different measures of
success and financial means; and in what a preponderance of instances
it was an individual rather than an hereditary trait. Broadly
speaking, we recognise two varieties of collector from all time: the
one who confers his name on a library, and the other whose library
confers a name on him.

Even the family of genuine book-lovers--neither virtuosos nor
speculators--presents more than a single type to our notice. We have
the student who takes a subject for treatment, and forms a small
gathering of the literary material necessary for his purpose, shooting
it back perchance into the market, his immediate task accomplished.
There is the man like Coleridge, who regarded the volumes which fell
in his way as casual and welcome visitors, of whom he asked questions,
or who answered his, and whose margins gave themselves up to his
untiring habit of registering whatever occurred to him, before the
passing--possibly borrowed--volume went on its way again. There is
Lamb, who was less addicted to annotating his acquisitions, but who
gave them a permanent home, if they had come to him _jure emptionis_,
and were of the elect--not presentation--copies, cold and crude,
thrust into his hand by some well-meaning acquaintance. There is
Edward Fitzgerald, dissimilar from all these, yet so far cognate that
he bought only the books which struck him as worth reading, if not
turning to some practical account. Nor should we in strict fairness
refuse admittance within this highest circle even to such as Selden,
Burton, Pepys, and others who might be easily enumerated, who may
have been little more than curiosity-hunters, but who had a genuine
relish for pieces of old popular literature, the greatest rarities in
the language inclusive, when there was barely any competition for
them. The man of the old school, who ransacked the shops and the
stalls, and even attended the auction, may have been a faddist and a
superficial student; but his was an honest sort of zeal and affection;
there was no vanity or jealousy; and we meet with cases where one
collector would surrender to another an acquisition which the latter
happened to have missed, and to want very badly indeed. So Isaac Reed
gave up to George Steevens Marlowe's _Dido_, and so George III.
enjoined his agent not to bid for him against a student or a scholar.

I have not yet quite done with this aspect of the matter. I have to
speak of the personages who have thought fit to impose on themselves a
chronological or a financial limit, who drew the line at a given year,
or would not go beyond a certain figure. Mr. Henry Pyne laid down 1600
as the latest date which he would admit, and rarely exceeded a
sovereign or two for a single article (Dr. Doran gave me to understand
that fourpence was _his maximum_). It may appear strange to suggest
that the higher the sum paid for a book (assuming it to be worth the
money), the slighter the risk grows of the purchase proving
pecuniarily unprofitable. Yet at the same time outlay on a library is
a relative term, and one individual may account himself as frugal in
expending £30,000 in the course of a lifetime, as another may do in
expending £300. The late Earl of Ashburnham bought in chief measure
during the forties and fifties, when the reaction from the bibliomania
still more or less sensibly prevailed, and considering his Lordship's
position and resources, he was not much more lavish than the
above-mentioned Mr. Pyne, or indeed any other amateur of average
calibre, while he was to the full extent as genuine a follower of the
pursuit for its mere sake as anybody whom we could name--as the Duke
of Roxburghe, Mr. Heber, Mr. Corser, or Mr. Crossley.

In my _Rolls of Collectors_ I specify a type under the designation of
_Book-Recipients_, and I instance such cases as Dickens and Thackeray;
but in fact there are many who would never go in pursuit of anything
of the kind beyond a work of reference, and whose utmost exploit is
the payment of a friendly subscription. The only title to admittance
into my category of such doubtful enthusiasts is the sentimental
enhancement of value arising from the transformation of the margins of
a common-place volume into a repository for manuscript remarks or
graphic embellishments, which may send it back into the market some
day a three-figure item in a catalogue.

In attempting to indicate in a sort of tentative manner the
publications to which a private collection might be advantageously and
comfortably limited, one does not contemplate the shelf or so of mere
works of reference, which have to be obtained even by such as are not
amateurs in this direction, and, moreover, there is an obvious
difficulty in prescribing for persons of infinitely varied ideas and
prepossessions. Now, as to volumes for reference, the class and extent
of course depend on individual requirements, and the books outside
this radius are apt to be subject in their selection to local
circumstances, since a man associated with a district or county
naturally contracts a sympathy with its special history or its
archæological transactions, as well as any miscellaneous monographs
relating to particular places or celebrated persons. With such
specialities and preferences we cannot presume to interfere; but, as a
rule, the aggregate body comprised in them need not be large or very
expensive, and in catholic or general literature it becomes almost
surprising when we have taken the pains to winnow from literary
remains of real and permanent interest the preponderant mass, of which
the facilities for occasional examination at a public library ought to
suffice, how comparatively slender the residuum is.


     The safest course--Consideration of the relative value and
     interest of books in libraries--The intrinsic and extrinsic
     aspects--Consolation for the less wealthy buyer--The best books
     among the cheapest--A few examples--Abundance of printed matter
     in book-form--Schedule of Books which are Books--Remarks on
     English translations of foreign literature.

WHEN we inspect a great library, filling three or four apartments
lined with cases, the first impression is that the possession of such
an assemblage of literary monuments is a privilege reserved for the
very wealthy; and to some extent so it is. But certain elements enter
into the constitution of all extensive accumulations of property of
any kind, whether it be books, prints, medals, or coins, which
inevitably swell the bulk and the cost without augmenting in anything
approaching an equal ratio the solid value. Not to wander from our
immediate field of inquiry and argument, the literary connoisseur,
starting perhaps with a fairly modest programme, acquires almost
insensibly an inclination to expand and diverge, until he becomes,
instead of the owner of a taste, the victim of an insatiable passion.
He not merely admits innumerable authors and works of whom or which he
originally knew nothing, but there are variant impressions, copies
with special readings or an unique _provenance_, bindings curious or
splendid; and nothing at last comes amiss, the means of purchase

Yet, at the same time, he does not substantially possess, perhaps,
much more than the master of a _petite bibliothèque_, on which the
outlay has not been a hundredth part of his own. A considerable
proportion of his shelf-furniture are distant acquaintances, as it
were, and those acquisitions with which he is intimate are not
unlikely to prove less numerous than the belongings of his humbler and
less voracious contemporary.

Even where the object and ruling law are strict practical selections
of what pleases the buyer, the range of difference is very wide. One
man prefers the modern novelists, prose essayists, or verse writers; a
second, collections of caricatures and prints in book-form; a third,
topography; a fourth, the occult sciences, and so forth. I offer no
objection to these partialities; but I entertain an individual
preference for volumes chosen from nearly all branches of the _belles
lettres_, each for its own sake. I do not vote of necessity in all
cases for a book because it is rare, or because it is old, or because
it is the best edition; but I do not think that I should like any
scholar my friend to have the opportunity of pointing out to me (as he
would, wouldn't he?) that I lacked any real essential, as the child
tried to satisfy Longfellow that his shelves were not complete without
a copy of the undying romance of Jack the Giant-killer.

It cannot fail to strike any one opening such books as Bacon's _Sylva
Sylvarum_ or Markham's _Way to Get Wealth_, for how comparatively,
indeed absolutely, small a consideration it is possible to obtain two
works so brimful of interest and curiosity on all subjects connected
with gardening, agriculture, and rural pursuits or amusements. But
both these works long remained--the Bacon yet does so--outside the
collector's pale and cognisance, and the real cause was that they were
alike common; they had been the favourites of successive generations;
edition upon edition had been demanded; and the survival of copies was
too great to suit the book-hunter, who aims at shyer quarry.

Take again, as a sample, a noble old work like the English Bayle, five
substantial folios; it was a question of more than a five-pound note
to become the master of a good, well-bound copy; one in morocco or
russia by Roger Payne twice that amount could once scarcely have
brought down; and now it is _articulo mortis_. The connoisseur finds
it too bulky, and he hears that its matter has been superseded. At any
rate, it is no longer the _mode_, and the mill begins to acquire
familiarity with it. Let the taste return for such big game, and
copies will be as Caxtons are. Most part of the editions will ere then
have been served up again in the form of cheap book-drapery.

The _ne plus ultra_ of interest and respect seems to us to centre in
such collections of books as those of Samuel Pepys, Narcissus
Luttrell, the Rev. Henry White of Lichfield, and Charles Lamb, where
the volumes reflect the personal tastes of their owners, and are, or
have been, objects to them of personal regard. What is to be thought
or said of the man who simply buys works which happen to be in the
fashion for the moment, and for which he competes with others as wise
as himself, till the prices become ridiculous? English and American
millionaires acquire specimens of early typography, poetry, binding,
or what not, because they hear that it is the thing to do. One
gentleman will give £100 more for a copy, because he is credibly
informed that it is three-eighths of an inch taller than any other
known; and a second will take something from the vendor on the
assurance that no library of any pretensions is complete without it.
This sort of child's-play is not Book-Collecting. The true book-closet
and its master have to be kinsfolk, not acquaintances introduced by
some bookseller in waiting. Humanly speaking, the poor little
catalogue made by Hearne of his own books and MSS. comes nearer home
to our affections than those of Grenville and Huth.

In speaking and thinking of real books, it is necessary again to
distinguish between articulate productions of two classes--between
such a work, for example, as Defoe's _Robinson Crusoe_ and such an one
as Thoreau's _Walden_, or between Gibbon's _Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire_ and Sir Thomas Browne's _Urn-Burial_. The present is an
enterprise directed toward the indication to collectors of different
views and tastes of the volumes which they should respectively select
for study or purchase. There are millions who have passed through
life unconsciously without having read a book, although they may have
seen, nay, possessed thousands. Those which might have been
recommended to them with advantage, and perused with advantage, were
too obscure, too dull, too cheap, too unfashionable. It is of no use
to read publications with which your acquaintances have no
familiarity, and to the merits of which it might be a hard task to
convert them. But, as we have said, we want space to enter into these
details, and we can only generalise bibliographically, repeating that
literature is broadly classifiable into Books and Things in
Book-Form--Specimens of Paper, Typography and Binding, or counterfeit
illusory distributions of printer's letter into words and sentences
and volumes by the passing favourites of each succeeding age--what
Thoreau call its "tit-men."

We might readily instance masterpieces of erudition or industry which
leave nothing to be desired in the way of information and safe
guidance, and which, at the same time, do not distantly realise our
conception of Books--real _bonâ fide_ Books. They may be the best
editions by the best binders, or they may be antiquarian periodicals
or sets of Learned Transactions, reducing much of the elder lore
cherished and credited by our ancestors to waste-paper; we feel that
it is a sort of superstition which influences us in regarding them;
but we fail to shake off the prejudice, or whatever it may be, and we
hold up, on the contrary, to the gaze of some sceptical acquaintance
a humble little volume in plain mellow sheep--say, a first Walton, or
Bunyan, or Carew, nay, by possibility a Caxton or Wynkyn de
Worde--which a roomful of perfectly gentlemanly books should not buy
from us. It may strike the reader as a heresy in taste and judgment to
pronounce the four Shakespeare folios of secondary interest from the
highest point of view, as being posthumous and edited productions. But
so it is; yet Caxton's first impression of Chaucer's _Canterbury
Tales_, if we were to happen upon it by accident, is a possession
which we should not be easily persuaded to coin into sovereigns, and
such a prize as the Evelyn copy of Spenser's _Faëry Queen_, 1590, with
the Diarist's cypher down the back and his note of ownership inside
the old calf cover, is worth a library of inarticulate printed matter.
So, again, Aubrey, in his _Miscellanies_, _Remains of Gentilism and
Judaism_, _History of Surrey_, and _Natural History of Wiltshire_,
presents us with works very imperfect and empirical in their
character--even foolish and irritating here and there; but between
those undertakings and such as Manning and Bray's or Brayley and
Britton's _Surrey_ there is the difference that the latter are
literary compilations, and the former personal relics inalienably
identified with an individual and an epoch.

It is the same with certain others, ancient as well as modern writers.
Take Herodotus, Athenæus, and Aulus Gellius on the one hand, and
Bishop Kennett's _Parochial Antiquities_, White's _Selborne_, Knox's
_Ornithological Rambles in Sussex_, or Lucas's _Studies in
Nidderdale_ on the other. All these equally tell you, not what some
one else saw or thought, but what they saw or thought themselves, and
in a manner which will never cease to charm.

There are works, again, which, without professing to entertain for the
authors any strong personal regard, we read and re-peruse, as we admire a
fine piece of sculpture or porcelain, an antique bronze or cameo, as
masterpieces of art or models of style. We are perfectly conscious, as we
proceed, that they are not to be trusted as authorities, and perhaps it
is so on the very account which renders them irresistibly attractive.
Some of the most celebrated literary compositions in our language are
more or less strongly imbued with the spirit of partisanship or a leaven
of constitutional bias; yet we like to have them by us to steal
half-an-hour's delight, just as we resort sometimes to alluring but
dangerous stimulants. We have in our mind, not volumes of fiction, not
even the historical novel, but serious narratives purporting to describe
the annals of our country and the lives of our countrymen and
countrywomen. We take them up and we lay them down with pleasure, and it
is agreeable to feel that they are not far away; and they will not do us
greater harm, if we combine an acquaintance with their deficiencies and
faults as well as with their beauties, than the fascinating associates
with whom we exchange civilities in the drawing-room or at the club, and
with whose haunts and opinions we are alike unconcerned. Of the romances
under the soberer names of history, biography, and criticism, which
abound in all the literatures of nearly all times, we are at liberty to
credit as much or as little as we choose; but in how many instances we
should regret to lose, or not to have inherited, these; and the personal
partiality which constitutes the blemish here and there equally
constitutes the merit.

What makes us return again and again to certain books in all
literatures, forgetful of chronology and biographical dictionaries?
What draws us irresistibly for the twentieth time to works of such
different origin and character as Herodotus, Cæsar, Aulus Gellius,
Browne's _Urn-Burial_ and _Religio Medici_, Pepys's _Diary_, Defoe's
_Robinson Crusoe_, Boswell's _Life of Johnson_, and a handful of
authors nearer to our own day? Is it not their breadth, catholicism,
and sincerity? Is it not precisely those qualities which no sublunar
systems of computing time can affect or delimit? If we take
successively in hand the _Odyssey_, the _Arabian Nights_, the
_Canterbury Tales_, _Don Quixote_, _Gil Blas de Santillane_, and
_Robinson Crusoe_, do we without some reflection realise that between
the first and the last in order of production thousands of years
intervened? Most of the romances of chivalry and the _Faëry Queen_
strike us as more antiquated than Homer, assuredly more so than
Chaucer. The secret and the charm seems to lie in the fact that all
great books are pictures of human nature, which is and has been
always the same; and we are able to account in a similar manner for
the stupendous popularity of such works as the _Imitatio Christi_ and
the _Pilgrim's Progress_. Above all things, they are strictly _bonâ
fide_. They are no catch-pennies.

We find ourselves with hundreds, nay, thousands of other books at our
elbow or at our command, living in communion with half-a-dozen minds.
We read our favourite books, and when we have reached the end of our
tether, we recommence as if we were in the Scilly Islands, and there
were no more obtainable or permissible. We never wax tired of conning
over Bayle St. John's _Montaigne the Essayist_, Thoreau's _Walden_,
Howell's _Venetian Life_ and _Italian Journeys_. _Cuique suum._ We
have known those who never let the sun set without dipping into
Burton's _Anatomy of Melancholy_, or who have some pet volume with
which they renew their intimacy every year, as Francis Douce did with
_Reynard the Fox_. There must usually be an unconscious sympathy in
these cases, a pleasing revelation of extended identity, as if these
other productions were what we should have liked to claim as our own,
and as if we felt we should have said the same things and thought the
same thoughts, if they had been ours.

It is the same with some parts of some writers' labours, to be had
separately, as _Hamlet_, _As You Like It_, _A Midsummer Night's
Dream_, _The Merry Wives of Windsor_, _Macbeth_, and the _Merchant of
Venice_; and with a few detached or select compositions to which one
has to thread one's way in a larger volume: a few songs scattered
through the early dramatists and lyrists; Gray's _Elegy_; Tennyson's
_May Queen_ (without the sequel), and _Locksley Hall_ and _In
Memoriam_ (missing the tags).

In the present aspect of our inquiry, _Famous Books_ and the _Best_
are by no means convertible terms. There are such, it is true, as fall
under both categories: the Hebrew Scriptures, Homer, Herodotus,
_Arabian Nights_, _Canterbury Tales_, Montaigne's _Essays_,
Shakespeare, Gibbon. Famous literary compositions at different levels
or in their various classes are Boccaccio's _Decameron_, Ariosto's
_Orlando Furioso_, Aretino, Spenser's _Faëry Queen_, Rabelais,
_Pilgrim's Progress_, La Fontaine's _Tales_, Rousseau's _Confessions_,
_Tristram Shandy_, _Candide_, _Don Juan_; and even among these how
fair a proportion depends for its value and fruitfulness on the
student? And, again, on his training. For we are aware of readers who
prefer Bunyan to Spenser, others who place Sterne, Voltaire, and Byron
before both, and not a few who have emerged with profit and without
pollution from the perusal of the labours of Rabelais and Aretino.
There is a literal deluge of moral and colourless works, on the
contrary, from which even the average modern reader comes away only
with an uncomfortable sense of waste of time and eyesight.

Of printed matter in book-shape there is no end. The mass grows day
by day, almost hour by hour. Yet the successful candidates for
admission to our inner circle of publications of all ages and
countries, which so far meet on common ground in being provided with a
passport to succeeding times requiring and recognising no critical
_visè_, increase in numbers slowly, O so slowly! It would be
presumptuous and unsafe to attempt to discount the ultimate verdict on
many now popular names; but it is to be apprehended that, looking at
the much more numerous body of writers, the calls to immortality will
hereafter be in a relatively diminishing ratio. The influences and
agencies by which certain schools of thought and work are artificially
forced to the front are too often temporary, and their life is apt to
be, Hamadryad-like, conterminous with that of their foster-parents. It
has been my lot to witness the rise, decline, and evanescence of
groups of authors and artists, whom it was almost sacrilegious to
mention even with qualification. Adverse criticism was out of the
question for any one valuing his own repute.

How various all the afore-mentioned standard or permanent books are,
and still in one respect how similar! Similar, inasmuch as they or
their subject-matter are surrounded by an atmosphere which preserves
them as in embalmed cerements. In strict truth, there may be some
among the number which are far indeed from being individually
important or costly, while others in a critical sense have long been
entirely obsolete, or perhaps never possessed any critical rank. It
does not signify. Their testimonials are independent of such
considerations. Many, most of them, are on ever-living topics; many,
again, in their essence and material properties are sanctified and

I find myself possessed by a theory, possibly a weak and erroneous
one, in favour of such a book, for instance, as Johnson's _Lives of
the Poets_, as Johnson published it, with all its imperfections, with
the full consciousness that improved editions exist. For the original
output represents a genuine aspect of the author's mind, prejudices
inclusive; and I am not sure that, had he lived to bring out a revised
and enlarged impression, I should have looked upon it as so
characteristic and spontaneous; and the same criticism applies to a
number of other productions, dependent for their appreciation by us
not upon their substantial, so much as on their sentimental, value.

What is not unapt to strike an average mind is that, with such a
caseful of volumes as my cursory and incomplete inventory represents
and enumerates, how much, or perhaps rather how little, remains behind
of solid, intrinsic worth, and what a preponderance of the unnamed
printed matter resolves itself into _bric-à-brac_, unless it amounts
to such publications, past and present, as one is content to procure
on loan from the circulating library or inspect in the show-cases of
our museums.

Happy the men who lived before literary societies, book-clubs, and
cheap editions, which have between them so multiplied the aggregate
stock or material from which the collector has to make his choice!
There are occasional instances where co-operation is useful, and even
necessary; but the movement has perhaps been carried too far, as such
movements usually are. Our forefathers could not have divined what an
unknown future was to yield to us in the form of printed matter of all
sorts and degrees. But they already had their great authors, their
favourite books, their rarities, in sufficient abundance. It was a
narrower field, but a less perplexing one; and from the seeing-point
of the amateur, pure and simple, our gain is not unequivocal.

I shall now proceed to draw up an experimental catalogue of works
which appear to possess a solid and permanent claim to respect and
attention for their own sakes, apart from any critical, textual, or
other secondary elements. Others without number might be added as
examples of learning, utility, and curiosity; but they do not fall
within this exceedingly select category:--

Æsop's _Fables_.
    # In a form as near as may be
      to the original work.
Antoninus, _Itinerary_.
_Arabian Nights._
_Arthur of Little Britain._
Ashmole's _Theatrum Chemicum_.
Aulus Gellius.
Bacon's _Sylva Sylvarum_.
Bacon's _Essays_.
Bayle's _Dictionary_, in English.
Bidpai or Pilpay [so called], _Fables_ of.
    # A genuine English text.
Boccaccio's _Decameron_.
Boswell's _Life of Johnson_ and _Tour in the Hebrides_.
Bradbury's _Nature-printed Ferns and Seaweeds_.
Brand's _Popular Antiquities_.
    # Latest recension, _not_ Ellis's.
Browne's _Religio Medici_.
Browne's _Urn-Burial_.
    # The latter reminds us of
      Lamb's style, allowing for difference
of time.
Browne's _Vulgar Errors_.
Browning's _Early Poems_.
    # A moderate volume would
      hold all worth perpetuation.
Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_.
Burton's _Anatomy of Melancholy_.
    # A book of academical cast,
      abounding in quaint conceits and
      curious extracts; full of false
      philosophy and morality.
Butler's _Hudibras_.
Byron's _Scotish Bards_.
Byron's _Childe Harold_.
Byron's _Don Juan_.
Cæsaris _Commentarii_.
Carew, Thomas, _Poems_.
Cervantes' _Don Quixote_, by Jervis, 2 vols. 4to.
Chappell's _Popular Music_.
Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_.
Chronicles (English) Series of.
    # Including Froissart and
      Monstrelet, with the original illuminated
      illustrations to former.
Cicero, _De Senectute et De Amicitiâ_.
    # In the original Latin.
Cobbett's _Rural Rides_.
Coleridge's _Table-Talk_.
Cotgrave's _French Dictionary_.
Couch's _British Fishes_.
Coventry, Chester, Towneley, and York Mysteries.
Cunningham's _London_, by H. B. Wheatley.
Defoe's _Robinson Crusoe_.
Delany, _Diary and Correspondence_.
Diogenes Laertius.
Dodsley's _Old Plays_.
Douce's _Illustrations of Shakespeare_, 2 vols.
Dunlop's _History of Fiction_.
Sir H. Ellis's _Original Letters_, three series.
George Ellis's _Specimens of Early English Romances_.
Elton's _Specimens of the Classic Poets_, 3 vols. 1814.
    # Elton's versions of portions
      of Homer appear to be superior to
      Chapman, and to make it regrettable
      that he did not complete the work.
_Epinal Glossary_, by Sweet.
    # For the earliest English extant.
Evelyn's _Diary_.
Evelyn's _Sylva_.
Fairholt's _Costume_, 1860.
Fielding's _Tom Jones_.
Fox's _Book of Martyrs_.
Fournier's _Vieux-Neuf_, 1877.
Gayton's _Festivous Notes on Don Quixote_.
_Gesta Romanorum_, in English.
Gilchrist's _Blake_.
Gilpin's _Forest Scenery_.
_Golden Legend_, in English.
Goldsmith's _Vicar of Wakefield_.
Goldsmith's _Citizen of the World_.
Grimm's _Popular Stories_.
Hakluyt's _Voyages_.
Harleian Miscellany.
Hearne's _Diary_, 2nd edition.
Rawlinson's _Herodotus_.
Herrick's _Hesperides_.
Holland's _Heröologia_, 1620.
Homer, by Chapman.
    # But better in the original.
Hone's Popular Works.
    # An original copy.
Horace, _Satires and Epistles_, by Keightley.
_Horæ Beatæ Mariæ Virginis._
    # A printed edition for the engravings.
James Howell's _Letters_.
Howells' _Italian Journeys_.
Howells' _Venetian Life_.
_Hundred Merry Tales_, 1526.
Hunter's _New Illustrations of Shakespeare_.
Hunter's _Historical Tracts_.
Hunter's _Account of New Plymouth_, 2nd edition.
Irving's _Scotish Poetry_.
Johnson's _Lives of the Poets_.
Johnson's _Rasselas_.
    # For the sake of its story, not of the book.
_Junius, Letters of._
Keightley's _Mythology of Greece and Italy_.
    # Some of the matter anticipated
      by Sir T. Browne in his _Vulgar Errors_.
Keightley's Histories of Greece, Rome, and England (last editions).
Knox's _Ornithological Rambles in Sussex_.
Lamb's _Elia_.
Lamb's _Letters_.
Lamb's _Adventures of Ulysses_.
Lamb's _Rosamund Gray_.
Langland's _Piers Ploughman_.
Latimer's _Sermons_.
_Lazarillo de Tormes_, in English.
Le Houx, _Vaux de Vire_, in French.
Leland's _Itinerary_ and _Collectanea_, 1770.
Le Sage's _Gil Blas_, IN FRENCH.
Lord Lindsay's _Lives of the Lindsays_.
    # See that passage where the
      opinion of James, Earl of Balcarres,
      is quoted in regard to the
      duty of men to leave behind them
      some trace or record of their
      mind. Edit. 1849.
Lockhart's _Life of Scott_.
Lodge's _Portraits_.
    # An early edition.
Lovelace's _Poems_.
Lucas, _Studies in Nidderdale_.
Lysons, _Magna Britannia_, 6 vols.
Lysons, _Environs of London_, 2nd edition.
Malory's _Morte Arthur_.
Montaigne's _Essays_, IN FRENCH.
Morris's Works on Birds, Birds' Eggs, &c.
Nürnberg Chronicle, 1493.
    # The Latin text. As a very early picture-book.
Olaus Magnus.
    # Original Latin, with the woodcuts.
    # Partly as in all appearance
      a favourite in some shape with our Shakespeare.
_Paston Letters._
Pennant's _Tours in Wales and Scotland_, and _Journey to London_.
    # On account of their personality. You know that much is
      obsolete, and other men have improved
      on them; but there is somehow the same charm.
Pepys's _Diary_, by Wheatley.
Percy's _Reliques_.
Phillips's _English Dictionary_.
Photii _Bibliotheca_.
Plato's _Dialogues_.
    # Perhaps the French version by Cousin is preferable.
Plinii _Epistolæ_.
Plutarch's _Lives_.
_Popular (Early) Poetry of England_, 4 vols.
_Popular (Early) Poetry of Scotland and the Border_, 2 vols.
Poets. _Select British Poets_, 1824.
    # Includes ample selections from writers hardly worth possessing
      in a separate shape, including many even great and
      distinguished names.
Poets. _Corpus Poetarum Latinorum et Græcorum._
    # The same remark applies.
Randolph's _Plays and Poems_.
_Retrospective Review._
_Reynard the Fox_, in English.
Richardson's _Clarissa_.
_Robin Hood Ballads._
Scot's _Discovery of Witchcraft_.
Selden's _Table-Talk_.
Shakespeare's _Works_.
Shakespeare's _Library_, 6 vols.
_Songs of the Dramatists._
Southey's _Commonplace Book_.
Southey's _Select Letters_.
    # More especially for his delightful letters to children.
Spence's _Anecdotes_.
Spenser's _Works_.
Sterne's _Tristram Shandy_.
St. John's (J. A.) _Manners and Customs of Ancient Greece_, 1842.
    # A lifelong labour, and most delightful and instructive work.
St. John's (Bayle) _Montaigne the Essayist_.
St. John's English version of Saint Simon.
Stow's _Annals_.
Stow's _Survey of London_, 1720.
Strutt's _Costume_, by Planché.
Suckling's Works.
Swift's _Gulliver_.
Sydney's _Arcadia_.
Tennyson's _Lyrical Poems_.
    # A judicious one-volume selection preferable.
Thoreau's _Walden_, 1854.
Thorne's _Environs of London_.
Tottell's _Miscellany_.
Virgil, _Bucolics_ and _Georgics_, by Keightley.
Voltaire's _Candide_, in French.
Voltaire's _Philosophical Dictionary_.
Walton's _Angler_.
Warton's _English Poetry_, 1871.
Walpole's _Letters_.
Wise's _New Forest_.
    # Best edition for engravings.
White's _Selborne_, 1st edition.
Wodroephe's _Spare Hours of a Soldier_, 1623.
Yarrell's _British Birds_.

How passing rich one would be with all these, and no more--rich beyond
the greatest bibliomaniacs, and beyond the possessors of the rarest
and costliest treasures in book-form! Turn over the pages of the most
splendid catalogues, and how few one would find to add! Nor would all
the before-recited productions appeal to all book-lovers. There are
many who would excuse themselves from admitting Rabelais. Some might
not particularly care for the works of foreign origin. Some might be
courageous enough to avow an indifference to Milton and Spenser, and
even a dislike to Bunyan. Still the rule holds good, we think, that
all our chosen authors or books have more or less powerful
credentials. There remain to be added Books of Reference, as we have
pointed out, curiosities, and this or that person's specialisms.

From a strictly practical point of view, the language and sense of any
great writer, ancient or modern, may be as well, nay, better,
appreciated in a volume bought for a trifle than in a rare and
luxurious edition, where the place and time of origin, the type, the
paper, and the binding are adventitious accessories--almost
_impedimenta_--and the book itself a work of art like a picture or a
coin. But with either of the latter it is different, for there the
canvas or the metal is an integral portion of the object. For
instance, take the better parts of Tennyson. Is it not sufficient to
read them in a modest foolscap octavo? Do we require external aids?
The poet is his own best illustrator, and if we purchase a pictorial
edition, we are apt to find that the author and the artist are at
variance in their interpretations.

Translations are always to be carefully avoided by all who can more or
less confidently read the author in the original language. We have yet
to meet with a version, whether of an ancient or of a modern classic,
which is thoroughly appreciative and satisfactory. The majority are
utterly disappointing and deceptive. It is in the transfer of the
idiom and costume that the difficulty and consequent failure lie. No
one who merely knows at second hand Homer, Herodotus, Plautus,
Terence, Horace, Virgil, Montaigne, Le Sage (a metonym for _Gil
Blas_), Cervantes, La Fontaine, Dumas, Maupassant, Balzac, can have
had an opportunity of forming an adequate and just estimate of those
authors. You might nearly as soon expect a Frenchman to relish Butler
or Dickens in their Parisian habiliments.

Such a fact--for a fact it undoubtedly is--opens to our consideration
a very large and a very grave problem, since the very limited extent
to which the English public is conversant with Greek and Latin, and
with even the Latin family of modern languages, makes the admission
that so many works of the highest importance and interest are only
properly and truly readable in their own tongues tantamount to one
that they are not properly and truly readable at all.

Of all forms of translation, the paraphrase is perhaps the worst, so
far as an interpretation of the original sense goes, but not the most
dangerous if we know it to be what it is, and do not look for more
than a general idea of the meaning and plan of the author. To be
practically serviceable, an English version of any classical or
foreign work should be literal, and with the literalness as idiomatic
as may be; and if the text to be rendered is in verse, the English
equivalent should preferably be in verse without rhyme or in prose.
The object to be attained in these cases is a transfer of the
conceptions, notions, or theories of writers from languages which we
do not understand to one which we do; and therefore the best
translator is he who has absolutely no higher aim than this, and does
not aspire to make his task a stalking-horse for his own literary

There is scarcely an end of the various schemes adopted to convey to
us intelligibly and successfully the sentiments and conceits of
ancient authors as well as of those of other countries, and, all
things considered, a _literal_ version in prose appears to present the
fewest disadvantages, for it disarms the translator of the temptation
to poetical flights and metrical ingenuity, and brings us nearer to
the man and the age to be immediately and primarily studied.

At best, a translation is an indifferent substitute for the book
itself, as it was delivered to the world by some renowned hand, or
even by some personage whose individuality is stamped, as in the case
of the _Imitatio Christi_ or the _Essays_ of Montaigne, on every
sentence indelibly and untransferably, and seems part of the very
Latin or French type. An amusing instance occurred in which a
gentleman, having heard of the fine style of A Kempis, bought as a
present to a friend a copy of the latest English translation! And it
is equally futile to look for the essence and spirit of the great
Gascon writer in the pages of Florio or Cotton, both of whom, though
in unequal measure, to the exigencies of diction or an imperfect
conversance with the dialect in which Montaigne wrote sacrificed
precious personal idiosyncrasies.

The majority of the popular and current versions of the classics are
unsatisfying and treacherous, because they have been executed either
by under-paid scholars, like Bohn's Series, or by persons who have had
a tendency to put themselves in the place of their author.

We may not be very willing to part with our old favourites, such as
Chapman's _Homer_, Florio's _Montaigne_, North's _Plutarch_, Shelton's
_Don Quixote_, Urquhart's _Rabelais_, and Smollett's _Gil Blas_; but
it is to be feared that they must be prized as curiosities and
rarities rather than as interpreters and guides. If a thoroughly
reliable library of classical translations, on as literal a plan as
possible, could be formed, it would be a real boon to the public--it
would be what Bohn's Series ought to have been. Of course, in the
department of translation there are two leading divisions--the ancient
and the modern classics; and for much the same reason that a story or
a _jeu d'esprit_ seldom bears transplanting from one soil to another,
both these branches of literature are apt to suffer when they change
their garb. Almost every man who writes is influenced by dominant
environments, whether he be Greek or Roman, or Oriental, or modern
European of whatever nationality; and his mere expressions or sense
rendered into a foreign tongue are usually like a painting without a
background or an atmosphere. We may range over the whole field from
the most ancient times to the most modern, and the same thing
manifests itself. Open before me is an illustration which will answer
the purpose as well as any other, in the shape of Muirhead's version
of the _Vaux de Vire_ of Jean le Houx. At page 105 we have the
following stanza:--

    "Lorsque me presse l'heure,
     Je retourne au logis;
     Ma femme est la qui pleure,
     Ainsi qu'il m'est aduis,
     Et me dict en cholere:
     'Que fay ie seule au lict?
     Est il seant de boire
     Ainsi jusqu'à minuict?'"

Mr. Muirhead translates thus--

    "When late the hour appears,
       Returning to my home,
     My wife is there in tears,
       As I hear when I come.
     She greets me testily:
       'I lie a-bed alone:
     Do you thus shamelessly
       Carouse till midnight's gone?'"

The same kind of paraphrastic dilution runs through the volume; nor is
Mr. Muirhead wholly to blame. The original is idiomatic and terse, and
he could not find exact equivalents in numerous cases. _Ab uno disce
omnes._ But what a privilege it becomes to be able to dispense with
interpreters! My admiration of these festive _chansons_ arises from my
appreciation of them in their native costume and diction. The Knight
of La Mancha was of my opinion herein, for he likened a translation to
a piece of Flemish tapestry seen on the wrong side.

A corollary which naturally suggests itself to my mind is that if a
familiarity--say, even with Latin and French alone--is expedient on no
other account, it is eminently so on this one; and the mastery of the
inner sense of a great and famous writer constitutes an ample reward
for any expenditure of labour and time in acquiring the language in
which he wrote, in making yourself as nearly his countryman as you
can. I remember a saying, which may have been a wicked epigram, that
the only book in Bohn's Classical Library worthy of purchase or
perusal was a version of one of Aristotle's works which a gentleman
had executed _con amore_ and presented to the publisher.

A voluminous and not very well known body of literary material
consists of foreign translations of contemporary English pamphlets of
a historical or religious character, from the time of Henry VIII. to
the Revolution of 1688, covering the entire Stuart period. They cannot
be said to be of primary consequence beyond the proof which they
furnish of the interest felt abroad in passing transactions in this
country, even in such incidents of minor moment as the trial of
Elizabeth Cellier in 1680 for an obscure political libel, and the
occasional value which they have acquired through the apparent loss of
the English originals. We have, for example, a French account of a
London ferryman, who, under pretence of conveying passengers across
the river, strangled them (1586); a second, of the misdoings of a
minister at Malden in Essex (1588); and a third, of the execution of
two priests and two laymen at Oxford in 1590, the last existing also
in Italian, but none of them known in English.


     Transmission of ancient remains--The unique fragment and unique
     book--Importance of the former--The St. Alban's Grammar-School
     find--A more recent one or two--Mr. Neal's volume--A tantalising
     entry in a country catalogue--_The Hundred Merry Tales_--Large
     volumes only known from small fragments--Blind Harry's
     _Wallace_--Aberdeen and other Breviaries--The Oxenden Collection
     of Old English Plays--The idyll of _Adam Bell_, 1536--John
     Bagford: his unsuspected services to us--Ought we to destroy the
     old theology?--Other causes of the disappearance of books--Unique
     books which still preserve their reputation--Rare books which are
     not rare--Books which are rare and not valuable--Ratcliff, the
     waste-paper dealer, who had a collection of Caxtons--The
     bystander's manifold experiences--Narrowness of the circle of
     first-class buyers--The old collector and the new
     one--Speculative investors.

LOOKING at the imperfect and unconsecutive condition in which much of
our most precious early literature has been received by us, we are apt
to reflect to how narrow and close an accident we owe two classes of
existing remains: the unique book and the unique fragment. Of course
to term a volume or production unique is a perilous business; the
bookseller and the auctioneer may do so _ex officio_; an inexperienced
amateur may resort to the term as a pleasant and harmless
self-deception; but no responsible writer or critic dares to pronounce
anything whatever unique without an emphatic _caveat_. We have
personally known cases where a publication by one of the early
printers was first introduced to notice, and created a sort of
sensation, as a mutilated fragment rescued from the binding of another
work; this revelation brought to light, after an interval, a second of
a different issue; anon at some auction occurred a perfect copy; and
now the poor damaged worm-eaten leaves, once so reverently and so
tenderly regarded, awake no further interest; the mystery and romance
have vanished; and when we examine the book as a whole, we do not find
its merits so striking as when we strained our eyes to decipher the
old binder's pasteboard.

The FRAGMENT is really an unusually and more than at first credibly
important feature in the elder literature. It may be taken, after all
deductions for occasional discoveries of the entire work, to be the
sole existing voucher for a terribly large section of the more popular
books of our forefathers, just as the Stationers' Register is for
another. But it is far more than one degree trustworthier and more
palpable; for it is, like the _torso_ of an ancient statue, a
veritable part of the printed _integer_ and a certificate of its
publication and former existence. Many years ago there was a great
stir in consequence of the detachment from the binding of another
book--Caxton's _Boethius_--in the St. Alban's Grammar-School of a
parcel of fragments belonging to books by Caxton; these are now in the
British Museum. In the Huth Catalogue are noticed several relics of a
similar kind; and indeed scarcely any great library, public or
private, is without them. They may be accepted as provisional
evidences. A rather curious circumstance seems to be associated with
one of the Huth fragments--three leaves of Thomas Howell's _New
Sonnets and Pretty Pamphlets_. The relic once belonged to Thomas
Martin of Palgrave, and includes two leaves of signature D, which are
deficient in the Capell copy of this work at Cambridge. The latter is
described as a quarto; but it would be interesting to discover that
from the fragment the text could be completed. The inconvenience
attending the examination of rare books in provincial libraries is
very great and serious.

A copy of Statham's _Abridgement of the Statutes_, printed at Rouen
about 1491, and bound in England, had as flyleaves two sheets of
Caxton's _Chronicles of England_, possibly some of the waste found in
Caxton's warehouse after his death.

There is a weird fascination about a newly found fragment of some lost
literary composition. Only a few months since, in a copy of Cicero's
_Rhetorica_, printed by Aldus Manutius in 1546, in the possession of
Mr. Neal, quite a number of pieces of wastrel were disclosed on the
removal of the covers, and among them portions of English metrical
effusions of the period (for the volume must have been bound here). We
view this _treasure trove_ wistfully and indulgently; there it is; no
mortal eye had fallen on it in the course of three and a half
centuries; and how can we be expected to judge its value or quality
by the ordinary standard--on an ordinary critical principle? It has
come to us like an unlooked-for testamentary windfall. We are not to
look at it in the mouth too curiously or fastidiously, or we deserve
to have lost it; and it is the very same thing with scores of remains
of the kind, brought to light in various directions and ways from
season to season, and (to the utmost extent of my power and
opportunity) chronicled by me on my accustomed principle.

When I was younger by some thirty years, I received the catalogue of a
provincial bookseller, and was sanguine enough to suppose that I
should become the happy master at the marked price (7s. 6d.) of No.
2084, which ran as follows:--

     "Pynson and others--Specimens of Early Printing, comprising
     _Twenty Leaves of the Ballad of Robin Hood, &c. &c._, taken from
     the cover of an old Missal."

No time was lost in giving the order; _but the lot was sold, and the
proprietors did not even know who had bought it_. I comforted myself
as the fox did. Yet such is the frailty of one's nature, that one
cannot refrain, after long, long years, from sentimentalising over it.
There is something so taking in the notion of a tattered,
semi-illegible, unappropriated fractional relic, not a trunk even; it
fascinates us like a coin of which the legend is almost beyond
identification; there is mystery behind it; we may be on the track of
a discovery which will help to make us famous.

We have all heard of the _Hundred Merry Tales_, rescued by Mr.
Conybeare in the early years of the century from another book, of
which the fragments assisted to form the covers, and how the treasure
was prized till a complete copy occurred in a Continental library and
dispelled the charm. It was pointed out many years ago by the present
writer (_Old English Jest-Books_, 1864, i., Additional Notes) that
Scot, in his _Discovery of Witchcraft_, 1584, quotes the story from
this miscellany of the miller's eels, and enabled us, before the
Göttingen copy was brought under notice, to complete the text, which
is almost undecipherable in the Conybeare (now Huth) one.

The fragmentary state by no means restricts itself to literary items
of insignificant bulk. For, as we see, a potential factor in the
creation of rare books has been a vast temporary popularity, succeeded
by a prolonged period of neglect. The result is before us in the
almost total evanescence of thousands of books extending to hundreds
of pages. Look at Blind Harry's _Wallace_, a large volume, first
printed in folio about 1520; a few leaves are all that remain of the
_editio princeps_; and others have totally vanished. Many of us are
familiar with the tolerably ample dimensions of the service-books of
various uses in the English Church; and yet those of Aberdeen,
Hereford, and York survive only in fragments or _torsi_; and the
modern reprint of the first was formed from a combination of several
imperfect originals. A similar fate has all but overtaken such
excessively popular works as Coverdale's Bible, 1535, and Fox's
_Martyrs_, 1563, an absolutely perfect copy of either of which I have
never beheld.

Henry Oxinden, of Barham in Kent, was the earliest recorded collector
of old English plays, and bound up his 122 dramatic possessions in six
volumes before 1647. He has left a list of them in his manuscript
common-place book. Tears almost steal into our eyes as we read the
titles: the _Hamlet_ of 1603, the _Taming of the Shrew_, 1594, _Ralph
Roister Doister_. Of the first we know well enough the history to
date: two copies, both imperfect. The second exists in the unique
Inglis, Heber, and Devonshire example; it is mentioned in Longman's
Catalogue for 1817, from which it was purchased by Rodd, and sold to
Mr. Inglis; it is reputed to have once belonged to Pope. The remaining
item survives in the titleless copy at present in the library of Eton
College, to which Mr. Briggs presented it in 1818, not on account of
the association of Udall the author with that seminary of learning,
but, curiously enough, by mere accident.

Among Bagford's collections there is a single leaf of an otherwise
unknown impression of Clement Robinson's _Handful of Pleasant
Delights_, a 1565 book only hitherto extant in a 1584 reprint. This
precious little _morçeau_ altogether differs, so far as it goes, from
the corresponding portion of the volume now preserved in the National

Let me insist a little on the instructive progress of knowledge in one
or two cases. A fragment of a small tract in verse by Lydgate, from
the prolific press of Wynkyn de Worde, was proclaimed as an
extraordinary and unique accession to our literary stores some eighty
years since; it was called _The Treatise of a Gallant_, and had been
taken from the covers of a volume of statutes in the library at Nash
Court. Some time after, a complete copy of another impression turned
up, and ultimately a third, quite distinct from either of the previous
two, was discovered in a volume of marvellously rare pieces sold by a
Bristol bookseller to the late Mr. Maskell for £300, and by him to the
British Museum. Take another case connected with the same press. A
piece entitled _The Remorse of Conscience_, by William Lichfield,
parson of All Hallows, Thames Street, who died in 1447, leaving a
larger number of MSS. behind him than Lamb once humorously made
Coleridge do, long enjoyed the reputation of being a solitary
survivor; but at present the world holds four, two recovered from
bindings, and a third titleless, and all, in fact, more or less
dilapidated by unappreciative or over-appreciative handlers. Last, not
least, the delightful idyll of _Adam Bell_, of which we were so glad
on a time to follow the Garrick exemplar, is now proved to have been
in type in the reign of Henry VIII.; and a piece of a pre-Reformation
issue luckily preserves enough to show how, even in a production
probably sold at a penny, it was thought worth while to alter a
passage where the Pope was originally alluded to.

There are instances where we are deprived of the gratification of
beholding so much as a morsel of a book sufficient to establish its
former existence in hundreds, if not thousands, of copies. Of the
_Four Sons of Aymon_, from the press of Wynkyn de Worde, 1504, not a
vestige has so far accrued; yet it once existed, as it is expressly
cited in a later issue. So it is, again, with Skelton's _Nigramansir_,
printed by De Worde in 1504, which was actually seen by Weston the
historian in the hands of Collins the poet, and with _Peter Fabyl's
Ghost_ (the Merry Devil of Edmonton) from the same press.

We are accustomed to associate with the black-letter fragment the name
of JOHN BAGFORD, who, in the closing years of the seventeenth and
beginning of the next century, distinguished himself by the zeal with
which he collected typographical specimens and memorials. In Bagford's
day, the relative value of old books was scarcely at all understood;
there was no adequate discrimination between the productions of Caxton
and his immediate successors and those of living or recent printers;
and, again, which was more excusable, volumes by early divines or by
writers of established repute were more generally sought than those by
schools of poetry and fiction, which at present command chief
attention and respect. If we turn over the pages of an auctioneer's
catalogue belonging to that era, we perceive, side by side, items
estimated at about the same figure, of which many have become worth
perhaps even less, while a few have left their former companions
immeasurably behind, and one or two rank among the _livres
introuvables_. Those were the days when the classics were preserved
with the most jealous care, and acquired at extravagant prices, and
when our vernacular literature, from the introduction of typography
down to the Restoration, was an object of attention to an extremely
limited constituency, and could be obtained for a song.

The Bagford collection of title-pages and fragments formerly
constituted part of the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum,
but has been chiefly transferred to the printed book department of
recent years. It resembles a Typographical Cemetery, a charnel-house
of books crowded together without respect to their subject-matter or
their literary rank: the leaf of a Caxton, another of a valueless
legal treatise, the title-page of _Romeus and Julietta_, on which
Shakespeare founded, as the phrase goes, his own play, and a
broadsheet preserved entire, there being no more of it. But Bagford,
who helped Dr. Moore, Bishop of Ely, and perchance Lord Oxford, to
some of their rarities, does not stand alone. He had many followers;
but the scale of operations diminished as the orthodox collector
multiplied and prices rose. Sir John Fenn, editor of the _Paston
Letters_, whom we have named above, was a disciple, however, and
Martin of Palgrave was another. Many years since, for a proposed new
_Biographia Britannica_ by Murray of Albemarle Street, the present
writer collected all the known particulars of Bagford himself, who
spent his last days in the Charterhouse. His episcopal client or
patron died in 1714.

Before we condemn these biblioclasts, let us recollect one thing. It
is not so much that they have rendered books imperfect by the
abstraction of leaves or title-pages, as that they have actually
preserved the sole testimony for the existence of hundreds of books,
tracts, and broadsheets of which we should have otherwise known
nothing, amid the wholesale destruction of early literature, which was
not arrested till the close of the last century, and still proceeds in
a modified form and degree. Not many years since the _Troy-Book_
printed by Caxton was discovered hanging up in a water-closet at
Harrogate; a portion had disappeared, but the remainder was secured,
and was sold to a dealer in Manchester for thirty guineas. It must be,
and is, Bagford's apology that he sacrificed to his typographical
scheme material which was almost universally neglected, and for which
there might seem, two hundred years ago, scarcely any prospect of a
future call. Yet, oddly enough, this very person was one of the
pioneers, by his labours and example, in bringing back a taste for the
older English school; he appeared at a juncture when sufficient time
had elapsed for the destruction by various agencies of a vast
proportion of the products of the press; but until the fashion, which
he and others set, had begun to spread, it remained unknown how much
was reduced from its original volume, and how much had perished. We
have the less pretence for censuring the biblioclasts of the past,
who could only use the eyes and experience of their own epoch, when
instances are reported from time to time of the same ruthless
practices even by those who might have been expected to know better;
and there is more than one way of viewing the present notorious
tendency to exterminate the old theology on the plea that it is
worthless, since a generation may arise which will upbraid us for
having converted to pulp this part of our inheritance, till it comes
at last to survive in a stray leaf here or a mangled fragment there.
An altogether different quarter from which a result conducive to the
shrinkage or disappearance of copies of early works has arisen is the
print-collecting movement, involving the devastation of the
innumerable volumes which contain portraits, frontispieces, and other
engravings, and the more than incidental risk of the consignment of
the unvalued residue to the waste-basket; and it may be mentioned that
within our personal knowledge hundreds upon hundreds of scarce old
books have been destroyed by editors, lexicographers, and other
literary workers, to save the trouble of transcribing extracts. It
might be impossible to exhaust the variety of ways in which an
extraordinarily large body of publications of former days has been
reduced or raised to the position of rarities of graduated rank.

After all these ages, all the indefatigable researches which have been
undertaken for profit or for pleasure, all the libraries which have
been formed and dispersed, true it is that the Unique volume, which of
course enjoys its designation only till a second copy is producible,
still survives in such abundance, that one, if it were otherwise
feasible, might form a library composed of nothing else. Does it not
become curious to consider to what lottery, as it were, we owe
them--owe their arrest just at the dividing line between living and
lost literature? Whatever may be the cause, we have hitherto failed to
trace duplicates of the metrical _Ship of Fools_, 1509, _Queen
Elizabeth's Prayer-Book_, 1569, Watson's _Teares of Fancie_, 1593,
_Venus and Adonis_, 1593, 1599, and 1617, and of _Lucrece_, 1598.
Copies of these later productions must have found their way to
Shakespeare's country at the time. Malone met with the _Venus and
Adonis_ of 1593 at Manchester in 1805, and another collector with that
of 1594 in the same shire; and the Florio's _Montaigne_ of 1603, the
only volume with the poet's autograph yet seen, was long preserved at
Smethwick, near Birmingham. It was at Manchester, too, that the copy
of the _Tragedy of Richard III._, 1594, came to light as recently as
1881. Several of the works of Nicholas Breton and Samuel Rowlands
survive in isolated copies. Upwards of a century has elapsed since a
medical man picked up in Ayrshire in 1788 an assemblage of quarto
tracts belonging to the ancient vernacular literature of Scotland and
to the parent press of Edinburgh; and not a whisper has been raised to
suggest the existence of a second copy of any of them, which is to be
regretted so far, as some are imperfect. During years on years, the
authorities at the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, kept this
inestimable relic in a cupboard under the stairs. In the find at
Lamport Hall, Northamptonshire, thirty or forty years since, there
were items upon items utterly unknown. It was the same at the
Wolfreston sale in 1856. It goes without saying that among the Heber
stores the uniques were barely numerable; and many yet preserve their
reputation as such. Mr. Caldecott, Mr. Jolley, and Mr. Corser were
lucky in falling in with scores of tracts of the first order of
rarity. No one has beheld the double of the _Jests of the Widow
Edith_, purchased by Lord Fitzwilliam for £3 10s. at West's sale in
1773, and formerly Lord Oxford's; and the citation of the last name
prompts the remark that many a book in the Harleian Library still
awaits recovery, assuming the description in the catalogue to be
correct. On the contrary, there are serious warnings to enthusiasts
not to rely too implicitly on the reputation of a volume for
uniqueness or high rarity in view of such phenomena as the occurrence
within a short period of each other at the same mart in 1896 of two
copies of the first edition of Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_, printed
by Caxton. Here was a case where the publicity afforded to these
matters brought out a second example, which the owner found to be
worth a small estate.

The writer's publication, _Fugitive Tracts_, 1493-1700, 2 vols., 1875,
very aptly and powerfully illustrates the present bearings of our
subject. Of the sixty pieces there reproduced, two-thirds appear to be
unique, and only four are traceable in the Heber Catalogue. Yet many
of the items are of historical or biographical importance, and were,
in fact, selected from a much larger number with that view; which
seems to be tantamount to a recognition of the truth, that, enormous
as is the total surviving body of early English and Scotish
Literature, it represents in some sections or classes only a salvage
of what was once in type, or, to speak more by the card, of what we
have so far been able to recover.

There are rare books which, paradoxical as it may seem, are not rare.
Take, for example, Burton's _Anatomy of Melancholy_, 1621; the first
folio Shakespeare, 1623; Milton's _Lycidas_, _Poems_, _Paradise Lost_,
_Paradise Regained_, in the _editiones principes_; the works of the
minor poets, Suckling, Carew, Shirley, Davenant; Walton's _Angler_,
1653; Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_, 1678; the Kilmarnock Burns, 1786;
and many first editions of Wordsworth, Lamb, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson.
Every season swells the roll of existing copies. On the contrary,
Spenser's _Faëry Queen_, Books i.-iii., 1590, and Milton's _Comus_,
1634, are authentically scarce, the former especially so in fine
state; and the same may be predicated of Lovelace's _Lucasta_ (the two
parts complete). But the real meaning of the rarity of the other books
above specified--and the list might be readily enlarged--is that,
although the copies are numerous enough, the taste for capital
productions has increased within a few years out of proportion to the
recovery of new or unknown examples.

We are finding frequent occasion to cite works of foreign origin,
which are more or less habitually taken up into our own collections by
miscellaneous or general buyers; and there is among these one which
forms a signal illustration of the fallacy of uniqueness. It is the
Gutenberg or Mazarin Bible. Scarcely a library of the first rank
occurs here or elsewhere without offering a copy; and we are persuaded
that at least forty must exist, either on paper or on vellum,
throughout the world. The book occupies the same bibliographical
position as the first folio Shakespeare, the first edition of Walton's
_Angler_, and the first Burns; it tends to grow commoner, yet, so far,
not cheaper.

There are other books which, as it may be more readily understood, are
rare without being valuable, and of which such of the commercial world
as has it not in its power to expend large amounts on individual
purchases, naturally seeks to make the most. It was almost amusing,
some time since, to note the entries in some of the booksellers' lists
under "Black Letter," "Gothic Letter," "Rare Law," "Curious Early
English," and so forth; and the names of Caxton, Wynkyn de Worde, and
other ancient printers were freely introduced to help off a rather
lame foreigner, who was alleged to have been professionally associated
with one or the other of them. If the bookseller knows the book-buyer,
it is highly requisite that the latter should study what he is going
to buy.

Illustrations are not wanting of the loss of untold treasure through
a medium more fatal than any other--through exhaustive popular demand.
Entire and large impressions of books, pamphlets, and broadsides have
succumbed, not to the sacrilegious hand of the spoiler, but to the too
affectionate, and not too cleanly, fingering of the multitude of men
and women who read and then cast the sources of entertainment away. If
we remember that certain of the Bibles ordered to be kept in churches
for general use chiefly survive in crumbling fragments, or at best
woefully dilapidated copies, we cease to be surprised at the easy prey
which more fugitive compositions have formed to a succession of
careless and indifferent owners. The illiterate inscriptions on many
books, which have thus become valuable, point to the hands through
which they have passed, and tell a story of prolonged neglect, too
often culminating in appropriation to domestic requirements.

It is, anyhow, perfectly undeniable that of the miscellaneous early
literature of all countries, the proportion which exists is in very
numerous instances no more than a simple voucher for the work having
passed the press. A single copy has formerly occurred or occurs
fortuitously, and no duplicate can be cited. This is the position of
thousands of volumes, and of many it is the chief merit.

Infinitely numerous are the strange tales, sometimes drawing up the
moisture into the mouth, sometimes sufficient to make one's hair
rigid, of books of price hung up for use at country railway stations,
or employed by a tobacconist to wrap up his pennyworths of snuff, or
converted by a lady of quality into curl-papers. What has become of
the Caxtons sent over to the Netherlands in the last century by a
confiding English gentleman their owner, for the inspection of a
nameless Mynheer his friend, who, when he was invited to restore them,
lamented their disappearance in a fire?

There was beyond a question an epoch, and a prolonged one, when the
mill shared with household demands an immense quota of the cast-off
literature of these islands. One of our early collectors of Caxtons,
Ratcliff, whose books were sold in 1776, acquired his taste (one in a
thousand) through his vocation as a chandler or storekeeper in the
Borough. We may surmise how his Caxtons came to him, and at what

These episodes appertain to the romantic and speculative aspect of
book-collecting; but they really have another side. Here, at a time
when the first-fruits of the English press were unregarded, we find a
man of Ratcliff's status acquiring thirty Caxtons. He lived just to
see a rise in their value, yet a very slight and fluctuating one; for
at last he went into the open market and purchased a few lots at
West's auction in 1773, and the Caxtons thus obtained re-sold after
Ratcliff's death in one or two cases at a lower rate. He had inflated
the market; the competitors were not more than two or three. But the
time was soon to come when such persons could no longer afford to hold
this kind of property--when it became fashionable for dukes and earls
and men of large property to make our early typography an object of
research; and so it continued down to the present time, till the
agricultural depression arrived to create another organic change, and
to direct these, as well as other costly luxuries, into new channels.
Not the chandler, or the Government official, or the private gentleman
of modest means, but the great manufacturer or the merchant-prince
entered on the scene, and wrested from the landowner his
long-cherished possessions. The West and Ratcliff sales (1773-76) were
the two golden opportunities, however, of which the advisers of George
III. wisely availed themselves to purchase volumes at what we have
been taught to consider nominal prices; and there they are in the
British Museum to-day, a recollection of one of the better traits in
the character of that prince. When we say that the market for Caxtons
in 1776 was beginning to expand, we mean that the day for getting such
things for a few pence or a shilling or two had gone by. Here, for
example, are some of the quotations from the Ratcliff auction:--

                                             £   s.  d.

Chronicles of Englande, fine copy, 1480      5   5   0
Doctrinal of Sapyence, 1489                  8   8   0
The Boke called Cathon, 1483                 5   5   0
Tullius de Senectute, in Englyshe, 1481     14   0   0
The Game and Playe of Chesse                16   0   0
The Boke of Jason                            5  10   0
Legenda Aurea; or, the Golden Legend, 1483   9  15   0

These figures make even some of those in the West auction, 1773,
appear by comparison rather extravagant. For his Majesty's agent at
the latter gave as much as £14 for the romance of _Paris and Vienne_,
from the Caxton press, 1485. True, it seems to be unique, and might
to-day require its purchaser, if it were for sale, to have £500 in his
pocket or at his bank to secure it. Yet strange events still continue
to happen from time to time. Not Caxtons nor Shakespeares, but
excellent books which command prices in the open market, are yet
occasionally given away.

A case occurred in Lincolnshire about a year ago, when a library of
some 2500 volumes was sold by an intelligent provincial auctioneer _al
fresco_ in the dogdays, and put up in bundles, nearly all of which
were knocked down at the first bid--_threepence_. Say, 150 lots at 3d.
per lot = £1 17s. 6d. for the whole. There must have been an _entente
cordiale_ among those in attendance, the gentleman in the rostrum

These instances of misdirection, which have been in times past more
numerous than now, although two of the most recent and most signal
have occurred in the same county (Lincolnshire), inevitably tend to
the destruction of copies, and so far illustrate our remarks on the
causes of the gradual disappearance of books during former periods.

There are, however, circumstances under which prices are depressed by
collusion, as where a first folio Shakespeare was knocked done for £20
in an auction-room not five hundred miles from Fleet Street; or by an
accident, as when the original _Somers Tracts_, in thirty folio
volumes, comprising unique _Americana_, fetched _bonâ fide_ under the
hammer only £61. A single item was re-sold for sixty guineas, and
would now bring thrice that amount. What a game of chance this book
traffic is!

Imperfect Books, as distinguished from Fragments, constitute a rather
complex and troublesome portion and aspect of collecting. They are
susceptible of classification into books--(1) Of which no perfect copy
is known; (2) Of which none is known outside one or two great
libraries; (3) Of which even imperfect examples, as of a specimen of
early typography or of engraving, are valuable and interesting; (4) Of
which copies are more or less easily procurable. It is only the last
division at which an amateur of any pretensions and resources draws
the line. With the other contingencies our keenest and richest
book-hunters and our most important public collections have been and
are obliged to be satisfied. When it is a question of a unique, or
almost unique, Caxton, Wynkyn de Worde, or Pynson, or quite as much of
a volume from the London, St. Albans, Tavistock, York, or Edinburgh
presses, what is to be done? The object, no doubt, _laisse à desirer_;
but where is another? This sentiment and spirit operated twice, as we
have elsewhere noted, within three months in 1896 in the case of two
incomplete copies of the first edition by Caxton of Chaucer's
_Canterbury Tales_. But for the defective copy of a common book some
find an apology and a home: they cannot afford a better, or they
require it for a special purpose. The upshot is, that for every old
volume there is a customer, who is pleased with his acquisition
according to his light; and we have met with such as seemed disposed
to view the missing of damaged leaves as negative evidence of
antiquity and genuineness.

The bystander who has had the benefit of as long an innings as the
present writer, witnesses perpetual changes and vicissitudes of
sentiment; and from one point of view, at all events, the minute
details, into which the too generally despised bibliographer enters,
are valuable, because they present to us, in lists of editions of
authors and books published from age to age, the astonishing evidence
of mutable popularity or acceptability. There is a feature, which is
almost amusing, in the ideas and estimates expressed of many works by
our earlier antiquaries, when we look to-day at their position and
rank. If we turn over the pages of Hearne's _Diary_, for instance, we
constantly meet with accounts of literary curiosities and rarities,
which we regard with different eyes by virtue of our enlarged
information, while thousands of really valuable items--valuable on
some score or other--go there unnoted, although copies of them must
have passed through the sales, even more frequently than at present.
The close of the nineteenth century has brought these matters to a
truer level. We are better able to gauge the survival of books and

Even in the sometimes tedious enumeration of editions of early books
bibliography confers a sort of benefit, for it demonstrates the
longevity in public estimation and demand of a host of books now
neglected, yet objects of interest and utility to many successive

We have seen so many cranks and fancies successively take possession
of the public. Early typography; early poetry and romances; books of
hours; books of emblems; Roman Catholic literature; liturgies; Bewick;
Bartolozzi; the first edition (which was sometimes equally the last);
books on vellum, on India-paper, or on yellow or some other bizarre
colour or material, debarring perusal of the publication; copies with
remarkable blunders or with some of the text inadvertently
omitted--all these and a legion of others have had their day; and to
some of them it happens that they drop out of view for a season, and
then reappear for a second or third brief term of life and favour; and
therefore, it being so, who can have the heart to blame the parties
that in the exercise of their vocation make hay while the sun shines?
There is one personage, and one alone, who makes it whether or no,
summer and winter, to wit, the auctioneer; his commission is assured;
on what or from whom he gets it he cares not. He cheerfully leaves the
adjustment of accounts to gentlemen outside.

The circumstances under which a new departure takes place, often
without much previous warning, in the book-market, and disturbs the
calculations of holders of certain classes of stock, are infinitely
varied. The bibliographical barometer is surprisingly sensitive, and
the slightest change of fashion in the older literature, and even in
those sections of the more recent which embrace acknowledged rarities,
is instantaneously felt. In some branches of collecting, and where the
prices of commodities are such as to exclude all but a knot of wealthy
amateurs, the entrance of a new-comer on the ground makes a vital
difference, especially if the market is in need of support from
existing wants having been supplied; and if one goes about a little,
one hears men whispering in corners and questioning who the stranger
is, and for what he is likely to prove good. Should he be a strong
man, that is, in purse, you will soon perceive, if you keep your eye
on the auction-room, another strong man buying at all costs against
all comers just the articles which commend themselves to the first
_dramatis persona_. He buys nearly everything; they are for him alone,
unless there are two in the field concurrently, and then one may be
conveniently played off against the other. A small field it is!

And this interesting commercial strategy is always going on, while the
objects of pursuit continually vary. The dealer looks after, not his
own desiderata--for he has none--but those of his immediate clients.
In a large business a man is likely to have many; but the class which
repays study, which turns sovereigns into bank-notes for him, is not a
numerous one. Half-a-dozen first-rate customers keep a shop open even
in the most fashionable and expensive thoroughfare. The late Joseph
Lilly leant during his last years mainly on one. A collector of the
stamp of Mr. Hartley was almost sufficient to support such an
establishment as Newman's in Holborn or Toovey's in Piccadilly. You
might pass the latter, or both, day after day and week after week, and
not see a soul enter or leave the premises; all was done by
correspondence and flukes and a few real good buyers in the
background. Mr. Quaritch in London or M. Fontaine in Paris will clear
more in an afternoon by the change of hands of two or three heavy
items than a small dealer, even if he is unusually lucky, will do in a
twelvemonth out of thousands of petty and troublesome transactions. It
is not particularly unusual for a big firm to sell at one sitting four
or five thousand pounds worth of property. There are others which have
not sold as much during the entire term of their career, and never

The works which enjoy their turn of public favour are generally
recognisable in the catalogues by the type in which they are set
forth; and any one who has stood by and witnessed all the changes of
the last thirty or forty years observes periodical phenomena in the
transfer of typographical honours from one school of authors, or one
group of subjects, to another. The most recent auctioneers' catalogues
reflect the sentiment of the day in lavishing capitals on trifles from
the pens of more or less ephemeral modern writers, and registering
with corresponding brevity much of the old English literature, which
a few years since was in the ascendant. A rare volume of Elizabethan
verse or prose halts after an insignificant brochure by Lamb, Dickens,
or Thackeray, which the respective authors would have judged scarcely
worth preserving, to which their indifference, in point of fact,
constitutes the cause of scarcity and consequent appreciation.

So it was once upon a time, to be sure, with the Caxton, the quarto
Shakespeare, the ballad, the penny black-letter garland, and many
another article which we now hold so precious. The man who could
secure Caxtons and Shakespeares for pence, was he happier? Why, no;
for he simply followed the market and nobody was envious. He lifted
his acquisition off the counter or stall for the best of all
reasons--because he fancied it--nay, because he intended to read it
when he reached home.

A plea from the absolute collector's point of view--I fear, a weak and
false one--is occasionally advanced for books which were formerly in
fashion and favour; for example, Sylvester's _Du Bartas_, the Platonic
romances, Townley's French _Hudibras_, and a hundred--a thousand--ten
thousand more. It is thought to be worth while to have a few of these
deposed idols to show to your friends when they visit you, that they
may join in a homily on changes of taste. Perhaps it would suffice to
compare notes through the medium of some _Censura Literaria_, or
Beloe, or Collier. With most people space is a consideration, with a
few, money; and an incidental and passing reflection need not be so
costly in either way. For that reason such works as I have indicated,
and a few others similar to them, are apt to prove serviceable and

The periodical reinforcement of the ranks of the book-collecting
world, in the higher latitudes at least, is obviously imperative, as
individuals do not usually commence investments of such a kind till
they are well on in life and have put by a fortune, or at all events
retired from business. Some purely accidental matter directs attention
to a line of bibliography which appears attractive and important; the
money is there, and the expert will undertake the rest. It is not the
interest of those engaged in the business to be critical; they are
merely executive agents. But the demand for the costlier rarities and
curiosities is so narrow, that the fresh aspirant is soon the central
object of attention to the few who can provide him with what he
imagines he wants. As a rule, where a man has no personal knowledge,
and finds that he is gradually becoming a milch-cow for the trade, the
hobby is not of long duration; it is only where the buyer can control
and check the vendor that satisfactory relations are likely to
continue, perhaps for years, perhaps for a lifetime. There is ever a
tendency, on the part of the bookish commissariat, to strike the iron
too hard.

It does happen here and there that collectors are enabled to make
their own prices for their acquisitions either by extraordinary
reputation for judgment and by virtue of a well-known name, or by the
fact of being carried by our common lot beyond earshot of their good
fortune, or, once more, by the force of peculiar circumstances. As an
almost inexorable rule, the stocks of dealers are coldly regarded, and
even those of William Pickering and Joseph Lilly were allowed to drop,
so that, in the latter instance more particularly, some real bargains
were obtained. Yet, on the contrary, the books thrown on the market
after the retirement of F. S. Ellis and the death of James Toovey went
capitally, partly because they were supported by Mr. Quaritch (rather
glad perhaps to get rid of his two confrères). Then, more recently,
the collection formed by Mr. Warton brought quite unexpected figures,
and we feel justified in adding, figures sometimes scarcely warranted
by the property. These instances, and this other aspect of the
subject, strengthen our contention that the whole affair from
beginning to end is a sort of lottery, a type of gambling. If those
who enter into the fray do so with their eyes open, and do not object,
who should?

But assuredly the most egregious case in modern times of the absolute
despotism of name and ownership over all other considerations was that
of the portion of William Morris's library submitted to public sale in
December 1898. The books themselves were, as a rule, below mediocrity
in state, and could not have well possessed for the new acquirers even
that special interest and value which Morris recognised in them as
aids to his artistic and literary labours. Yet the prices realised
were beyond anything on record, and were simply absurd. There seemed
to be a violent struggle on the part of three or four competitors to
secure these treasures at any cost, and they did so. Let the very same
copies recur, and in the hands of a person of inferior celebrity, and
the shrinkage will probably be serious. The direct association was
dissolved when the lots were adjudged to the highest bidders, and here
the highest bidders were high indeed.

To the speculative investor in literary property what can we have to
say? He works with his eyes opened to their widest possibility of
expansion, and carries his fortune or success in his hands. No doubt
there are occasional flukes for him; but, generally speaking, the
greatest have been for collections formed and dispersed without any
view to profit, where the state of the market has accidentally
favoured the owner, or there was some nimbus round the name.

Before you set about forming a library, you should consider in what
sort of atmosphere, of your own or your friends' creation, it is
likely to be sold hereafter. You ought almost to be able to calculate
how celebrated you will die.


     Early English literature--Absorption of the rarer items by public
     libraries or by America--Future of collecting--Poetical writers
     of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries--Fruits of a long
     neglect--Want of discrimination among private buyers--Necessity
     for a better training or sounder advice--Remarks on our early
     literature--Small proportion of high-class authors--Safe and
     unsafe investments--Condition of copies--Writers whose works are
     of mysterious rarity--Nicholas Breton--"Three-halfpenny
     ware"--Paucity of great names in the post-Restoration period down
     to our own--Foreign works belonging to the English series: their
     chief places of origin--English presses--Typographical
     vicissitudes of London--The Scotish Series--Scotish presses--The
     Irish Series--Irish presses--The Irish Stock--The List of Claims,
     1701--Anglo-American literature and early American editions of
     English Classics--The American Colonial group of books--The _Bay
     Psalm-Book_, 1640--The volumes of Statutes printed at Boston,
     Philadelphia, and New York--Sources of information on
     Anglo-American bibliography--Caution against impatience and

THE entire range of the earlier English and Scotish romantic,
poetical, and even historical literature embraces so many items, which
are either unattainable from their rarity or their cost, if they
happen once in a lifetime to occur, that it may be said to be ground
almost closed against the ordinary private buyer. Articles which are
to be seen by the hundred in the priced catalogues of libraries
dispersed twenty or thirty years since with fairly moderate figures
attached to them, have, owing to severer competition from America as
well as at home, either for public or private purchasers, trebled or
quadrupled in value. With the more modern literature, of which the
positive scarcity does not warrant this great inflation, we may
reasonably look for a fall; but in the case of volumes which are
really rare, it is hard to see how the chances of collectors can be
improved in the future. The upshot will be, that they must be
satisfied with smaller fish or modify their lines; for of old and
elderly books of intrinsic value and interest there is a plentiful
choice. With regard to a considerable body of Early English volumes,
which formerly appeared in the catalogues of Thorpe, Rodd, the elder
Pickering, and others, it is to be said that the fewness of survivors
was not appreciated, and half-a-dozen public or closed libraries have
absorbed them all.

It exemplifies the remarkable revolution in feeling and taste when we
turn over the pages of one of William Pickering's catalogues--that for
1827--and observe a perfect set of the four folio Shakespeares,
1623-85, marked £105, while a large-paper series of Hearne's books, or
of some standard edition of the classics in morocco, cost more;
whereas at present the Hearnes and the classics are barely saleable at
any price, and the dramatic volumes might be worth twenty times more
than they brought seventy years since.

The poetical writers of the Tudor, Elizabethan, and Stuart eras have
had, in a commercial sense, two or three reverses of fortune. From the
period of publication down to the last quarter of the eighteenth
century they were to be bought at prices little beyond waste paper, so
soon as the original interest in them had subsided. The editors of
Shakespeare--Pope, Hanmer, Theobald, Warburton, Capell, Steevens,
Malone, Farmer, and Reed--awakened a sort of new interest in the
subject, just in time to save the slender salvage of a century and a
half's neglect or indifference from the mill and the kitchen-fire; and
their example led to others coming upon the ground, such as West,
Major Pearson, the Duke of Roxburghe, Lord Blandford, Lord Spencer,
Bindley, and Heber, whose motives were primarily acquisitive. In or
about 1833 a strong reaction set in, and prices fell till 1842-45,
when the Bright and Chalmers sales, and the more sensible competition
of the British Museum, again restored confidence and strength to the
market. Since that time, our old poets have not, on the whole,
suffered any marked decline, and the most recent revival is in their

The Americans, it seems, call for first editions, and they have not to
call twice, though they may be required to pay smartly. This new
ticket owes its origin to the usual agency. One or two Transatlantic
book-lovers gain the information from some source that this is the
real article, that if you want fine poetry you must go to these
fellows--not exactly Shakespeare and Spenser, for they had heard of
them before--but to Gascoigne, Sydney, Herrick, Carew, Suckling,
Lovelace, and the rest of the company; and above all, if you desire to
enjoy their beauties and appreciate their genius fully and absolutely,
you are referred to the _editio princeps_--not that which the author
corrected and preferred, but the one in morocco extra, which your
bookseller recommends to you.

It is by no means that we seek to ridicule or discourage the pursuit,
but we want and wish to see a more healthy and discriminating spirit
among buyers. Let intending collectors devote a reasonable time to a
preparatory study of the subject and survey of the field and then they
will perhaps accomplish better results at a lower cost. Let them, once
more, not be in too violent a hurry. The abundance of transmitted
writings in a metrical shape only proves more conclusively the
familiar fact that it is as easy to compose verses as it is difficult
to compose poetry. The long succession of authors who fall within the
category of poets has received an extent of editorial care and
illustration in the course of the century, however, which argues the
prevalence of a more favourable opinion of their merits. The names
which are at present commanding chief notice are those which have
always been esteemed: Shakespeare, Fletcher, Beaumont, Jonson, Daniel,
Drayton, Wither, Sir John Davis, Herrick, Carew, Lovelace, and
Suckling; and among the Scotish bards Drummond takes the lead. The
most singular feature about the matter is that, in the presence of all
kinds of critical editions, the demand is not for them, but for the
originals. The mission of the modern recensor comes to an end when, by
a stupendous amount of research and erudition, he has emphasised the
characteristics and gifts of a writer. Then the amateur steps forward,
and expresses his readiness to give any price for the good old book,
undisfigured by notes and emendations!

It is perhaps fruitless to attempt to turn the tide of common
sentiment, and gentlemen must be permitted to choose their own money's
worth. They may think and say that they want the volume as it left the
author's hands, not diluted and overlaid by commentators. Granted, it
is a product of the time, even though the author did not see the
proofs, and the printer could not always decipher the MS. But then
comes the larger and more general question: How much of the better
class of early verse-writers are worth reading? The present deponent,
without being conscious that he is very hyper-critical, states the
deliberate result of actual examination and perusal when he affirms
that of the minor poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
save perhaps Randolph, the productions of enduring value and interest
could be brought within the compass of a moderate volume.

It would be eminently unwise for any one who treats his library as an
investment to yield to the existing tendency to exorbitant prices for
the later poets and playwrights, as the rise is due to ephemeral
causes, and the demand, for the most part, is not likely to exhaust
the supply.

If the truth may be told, the literature of past ages in all
countries, and nowhere more so than in England, is, in proportion to
its immense extent, excessively barren of high-class writers or
written matter. Each generation of collectors discovers this fact at
last; but it discovers it for itself. We disdain to profit by the
experience of our precursors, just as the little girl insisted on
learning at her own cost how foolish it was to do a certain thing.
Because there are a few highly interesting catholic publications, your
amateur must be absolutely complete in the series. If it seems
expedient to possess an example or two of ancient typography, he ends
by doing his best to accumulate every example in the market. There is
more than a probability that the service-books of the Romish Church
have their archæological and literary value: _ergo_, he orders every
one which he sees advertised, albeit the differences are substantially
far from momentous. He understands that some very curious volumes
illustrative of ritualism and the various holy orders were printed
here or abroad, and he proceeds to drain the booksellers' shelves
throughout the universe of every bit of sorry stuff answering to this
description. There are a dozen or so of Collections of Emblems,
English or foreign, which are supposed to throw light on passages in
Shakespeare and other authors; this is sufficient leverage for the
concentration under the unfortunate gentleman's roof of a closely
packed cartload.

Seriously and bibliographically speaking, there is a fairly wide
difference and disparity among the old editions of the poets and
romancists; and there are, and always will be, a distinguished
minority, of which the selling prices may be expected to remain firm.
Such men as Shakespeare, Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Chapman,
Massinger, and among the lyric group Barnfield, Watson, Constable,
Wither (earlier works and _Hallelujah_), Carew, Herrick, Suckling, and
Lovelace, are to be viewed as standard and stable.

Then in the Scotish series there is permanence in Lyndsay, Drummond,
and Burns. But, on the contrary, the minor, more obscure, or commoner
productions must be carefully distinguished and circumspectly handled
by those who do not desire or cannot afford to throw away their money.
The names above cited are themselves very unequal; some, like Breton,
Churchyard, Whetstone, Barnfield, Watson, and Constable, are sought,
and will ever be sought, by reason of their peculiar rarity; and, save
in a sentimental way, no one would probably dream of placing Beaumont,
Chapman, Wither, and some of the rest on a par with Shakespeare,
Fletcher, and Massinger. There has been, however, a tendency to force
on the notice of book-buyers, _faute de mieux_, many writers whose
productions are neither rare nor of the first class--Heywood, Dekker,
Webster, Ford, and Shirley--and to bracket them commercially with
authentic _desiderata_ either on the score of merit or of scarcity. Of
the three former, the most difficult pieces to procure are the Civic
Pageants. Nearly all Ford's and Shirley's works, except the _Echo_ of
the latter, 1618, are classable among common books even in the first

Again, condition is a postulate which begins to assert itself in the
book-market. Poor and bad copies are eschewed by many or most of those
who are willing to pay handsomely for fine specimens; and the worst
type of indifferent exemplars is the sophisticated volume, which can
be manipulated by experts to such an extent that even a person of
considerable experience will now and then be at fault. The American
collector grows more fastidious every day, and discovers blemishes
which we on this side of the water try to tolerate, if the article is
rare or we badly want it. Our Transatlantic friends, however, are more
inexorable, and go so far as to return purchases not answering the
description in the auctioneer's catalogue to their English

We have instanced above two or three writers whose works command
excessive prices mainly by virtue of the paucity of surviving copies,
seconded by a faint and indirect literary interest; but we see that
the list is open to extension. During the last half-century and upward
the publications of Nicholas Breton have fetched sums, when they have
occurred, totally incompatible with any intrinsic value; with some few
exceptions they belong to the category of "three-halfpenny ware," as
Chamberlain the letter-writer styles such things in his correspondence
with Sir Dudley Carleton; half-a-dozen or so out of forty and more
are undoubtedly curious and illustrative; but Mr. Corser and one or
two other collectors made a speciality of the author. It is only the
other day that Sir John Fenn's copy of Breton's _Works of a Young
Wit_, 1577, recorded by Herbert in his _Typographical Antiquities_,
and the only perfect one known, occurred at an auction and fetched
£81! A fine book it was, too, with the blank leaf at end. Doubtless,
the reason for the evanescence of Breton's literary labours is to be
sought in their estimation by many, besides the letter-writer above
quoted, as barely more than waste paper. Verily, their substantial
worth is barely tangible.

Speaking from a connoisseur's rather than from a reader's point of
view, when we leave behind us the pre-Restoration writers of Great
Britain and Ireland, we do not encounter much difficulty in a
commercial sense, if we consider the length of time and the almost
innumerable names, excepting Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_, Swift's
_Gulliver_, Defoe's _Robinson Crusoe_, Goldsmith's _Vicar of
Wakefield_, and a few early Byrons and Shelleys, unless the buyer
schedules among his _desiderata_ the earlier Anglo-American
literature. For as we draw nearer to our own day, items which were
thought to be superlatively uncommon, including sundry pieces by
Tennyson and Browning, have failed to maintain their reputation for
scarcity, as any one might have foreseen that they would do. The
preposterous prices paid for some copies have brought out others, and
the ultimate supply will probably exceed the demand.

Even where an English collection may not enter the Continental lines,
but preserves its national character, there are numerous classes of
books of foreign origin and from foreign presses, which are fairly
entitled to consideration and admittance. These publications embrace
not merely religious and controversial literature, but a large and
important body of material for English and Scotish biography and
history, and for the elucidation of Irish affairs. Every season brings
to light some new features in this immense series, which is, of
course, susceptible of a classifying process, and may be ranged under
such sections as we have above indicated, besides a considerable
residue which falls under the head of poetry and typography, the
latter constituting a branch of the History of English Printing, and
the former being worthy of notice as embracing some of the rarest
metrical productions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which
owed their issue from presses in Germany and the Low Countries to
various agencies, but chiefly to the exigencies of foreign military
service by English and Scotish officers during the English operations
in the Netherlands under Elizabeth and during the Thirty Years' War.

The foreign sources of English books, or books written by or about
English, Scotish, and Irish folk, have been--

The Hague

It is always to be borne in mind that these adjuncts at the foot of
title-pages in troubled periods are not unfrequently fictitious; and
we have elsewhere equally shown that Greenwich and Waterford are names
appended to early controversial works of which the writers desired to
conceal the real parentage.

Of English presses it might seem almost superfluous to speak; but in
fact the typographical fortunes of London have experienced their flux
and reflux. At first we find the City itself in sole possession of the
industry and privilege; then Westminster came; thirdly, Southwark. Of
the provincial places of origin, Oxford appears to have been the
foremost, and was followed at intervals by York, Cambridge,
Canterbury, Ipswich, Worcester, and other centres, of which some
preserved their reputation down to comparatively recent times, while
Oxford and Cambridge of course remain important and busy seats of
printing. Beverley, Nottingham, Derby, Northampton, Bristol,
Birmingham, Gateshead, and Newcastle-on-Tyne have never been more than
occasional sources of literary production, and certain towns, such as
Lincoln and Gainsborough, are only known from local or small popular
efforts; there is an edition of _Robin Hood's Garland_ with the
Gainsborough imprint. One or two publications purporting to have been
executed at Sherborne in Dorsetshire belong to the firm of William
Bowyer of London.

There was a distinct centralising tendency at a later period, by which
the English metropolis absorbed the principal share of work, and it
was followed, owing to economical causes, by a reaction which we know
to be at present in full force, and which has restored to the
provinces, but to new localities, Bungay, Guildford, Bristol, no less
than Edinburgh and Aberdeen, an appreciable proportion of the custom
of the London publishing houses; nor is it unusual to send MSS. abroad
for the sake of the advantage accruing from cheaper labour. We not
long since secured this boon in Scotland; but Scotland has grown as
dear as London.

The SCOTISH SERIES is a difficult and costly one to handle. The early
vernacular literature of that country has suffered from two classes of
destructive agency, neglect and fanaticism, to a greater extent than
England, and the disappearance of the more popular books and tracts
has been wholesale. The attempt on the part of a collector, however
rich and persevering he might be, to form a complete series of
original editions of the poetical and romantic writers of North
Britain, could only be made in ignorance of the utter impossibility of
success. The late David Laing abundantly illustrated this fact in his
numerous publications, and further evidence of it may be found
throughout the bibliographical works of the present writer.

The old Scotish presses were Edinburgh, Leith, St. Andrew's, Glasgow,
Stirling, and Aberdeen; but a large proportion of the literary
productions of Scotish authors, including much of the historical group
relative to Mary Queen of Scots, proceeded from foreign places of
origin, where the writers had settled or were temporarily resident.

The principal channels through which we have in modern times augmented
our information of their products are the catalogues of Fraser of
Lovat, Boswell of Auchinleck, the Duke of Roxburghe, Pitcairn,
Constable, Chalmers, Maidment, Gibson-Craig, David Laing, and the Rev.
William Makellar, the last a cousin of Sir William Stirling Maxwell of
Keir, and a collector from 1838 to 1898.

A purely IRISH LIBRARY would inherently differ both from one limited
to English or to Scotish books. There is no early typography or
poetry, no works printed on vellum, no masterpieces of binding. The
collectors in that part of the empire have always been few in number,
and in fact Irish books have been chiefly collected by persons who
were not Irishmen, nor even residents in that country. It used to be
the case that, where a book was remarkably successful in England, the
Dublin booksellers reprinted it, and, as these reproductions are
generally scarcer than the originals, doubtless in limited numbers.

The series consists of a handful of books and tracts of the
Elizabethan and Jacobean periods (1570-1625); of publications relative
to the Civil War (1644-48); of others relative to the Commonwealth and
Jacobite troubles (1650-90); of literary illustrations of the state of
Ireland under the Houses of Orange, Stuart, and Brunswick or Hanover,
and of modern days. The bibliographical writings of Sir James Ware are
usually quoted and consulted for the literature within his time, but
they have become almost obsolete. The two other works of reference for
amateurs and students are those by Charles Vallancey (_Collectanea de
Rebus Hibernicis_, 1786-1807, 7 vols.) and Charles O'Conor (_Rerum
Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres_, 1814-26, 4 vols.).

But we have to go to more recent authorities to discover that the
typographical productions of Ireland in the first decade of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries comprise a few books of the
greatest rarity and one or two of which no copies are at present
known. On the other hand, certain Elizabethan volumes, purporting to
have proceeded from Irish presses, are generally believed to have an
English origin, while others with German imprints of a later date
(second half of the seventeenth century) are absolutely proved to have
been clandestinely executed at home.

A very fair and comprehensive idea of the salient features in the
present series may be gained from the Grenville and Huth catalogues
and from Hazlitt's _Collections_ (General Index). Considerable stress
is laid by collectors on a large-paper copy with the _Decisions_
filled in in MS., the Memorandum, &c., of the _List of Claims_, 1701,
in connection with the Irish forfeitures. But in fact a copy of this
work is always available, when any one wants it, which is seldom

There was no _regular_ printing here till the beginning of the
seventeenth century, although one or two Marian tracts falsely purport
to have come from the Waterford press. Dublin had a printer, John
Frankton, who worked from 1601 to 1620 or thereabout, and produced
many books, tracts, and broadsheets, some not yet recovered; the city
also boasted a Society of Stationers in 1608, and many volumes
appeared at London "Printed for the Partners of the Irish Stock,"
referring to the Plantation of Ulster. The places in Ireland itself,
where the art of typography was pursued, were Dublin, Cork, Waterford,
Drogheda, Kilkenny, and Belfast (as in the section just dismissed).
But the rarest articles in the earlier series emanated from London or
from Continental presses, the writings of Nicholas French and
Cranford's _Tears of Ireland_, 1642, taking a prominent rank in the
latter category.

The leading collectors on Irish lines have been Sir Robert Peel, Mr.
Grenville, Mr. Huth, Mr. Bradshaw, Canon Tierney, Mr. Shirley, and
Bishop Daly.

In the English series I have supposed the admission of a certain
number or proportion of foreign books, which are of catholic interest,
and have acquired a standing among many classes of collectors whose
bias is principally national. But there are two other series of very
unequal extent, importance, and costliness, which more directly appeal
to the buyers of these islands, namely, the earlier Anglo-American
literature belonging to the Colonial period, and the American
reproductions of the favourite books of Lamb, Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt,
Thackeray, and others in the present century. The latter category
enters into the department of curiosities, and has yet to acquire
bibliographical importance. In one or two cases, works issued at home
in numbers have been published in the States in book-form prior to
their appearance here. This happened with the _Yellow-Plush
Correspondence_, reprinted direct from _Fraser's Magazine_ at
Philadelphia in 1838, and curious as the writer's earliest separate
publication. These papers were not collected in England till 1841.

The products of the Colonial period include all the books emanating
from American presses between 1640, the date of the _Bay Psalm-Book_
at Cambridge, N.E., from the press of Stephen Day, and the Declaration
of Independence. There has been a disposition to treat the whole of
this output of printed matter with a special tenderness and reverence
on political grounds; but it obviously is of a very mixed and unequal
character, and, as time goes on, there must be a continuous winnowing
process, and a consignment to oblivion of a vast assortment of the
dullest theology and of political _ephemerides_. There will always
remain a rich heirloom to our American kinsfolk and ourselves of
historical nuggets in the shape of narratives of the fortunes and
careers of the Pilgrim Fathers, their experiments in statecraft, their
religious trials, their early superstitions and strange intolerance of
personal liberty in a land chosen by its settlers for liberty's sake;
and of course there is a section of literary products appertaining to
the New World, namely, ritualistic ordinances, liturgical manuals, and
collections of statutes, which derive what one is bound to term an
artificial interest from the local circumstances, or, in other words,
from the place of origin. A theological treatise, a Bible, a volume of
prayers, or a law-book, published in England in the second half of the
seventeenth century, may be worth from sixpence to a sovereign; if it
bears the imprint of Boston, Cambridge (N.E.), New York, Philadelphia,
or New London, its value may be computed in bank-notes. The _Laws of
Massachusetts_, 1660, was lately sold for £109, and the _Papers
Relating to Massachusetts Bay_, 1769, for £8, the latter in boards.
The reason (so far as there is any) for this inflation is twofold: the
patriotic sentiment which leads American amateurs to desire the oldest
and most precious typographical and historical monuments of their
country, and, secondly, the perhaps less justifiable enthusiasm of
some Englishmen for books which, as they may plead, are the offspring
of the States while they were still English settlements. A copious and
fairly contemporary view of the extensive family of works belonging to
the earlier Anglo-American library may be found in the bibliographies
of Stevens, Sabin, and Harrisse, and in the Grenville, Huth, Lenox,
and Tower catalogues. There is not only no line of collecting which is
more difficult and more costly than the present, but none which,
within the last twenty years, has, so far as first-rate rarities are
concerned, more seriously advanced, even inferior copies of certain
books fetching at times five times as much as good ones did in the
seventies. Just lately the call appears to come from the other side of
the Atlantic. There are two or three new bidders. That is sufficient.


     The Modern Side--Words of advice--The place and functions of Free
     Libraries--Coleridge and Byron period--Unhealthy state of the
     market--The Dickens and Thackeray movement--Fashions in books--A
     valuable suggestion--Slight actual demand for costly modern
     productions--Two often make a market--Effect of time in settling
     value--Forecast of the durability of a few names--A large-paper
     copy of Byron's poems, 1807--Cheap literature not a modern
     invention--The published price noted on the face of early
     volumes--An episode--Practical buyers not to be considered
     collectors--The first edition considered from editorial and other
     points of view.

IN the acquisition of modern books, far greater caution is requisite
than in that of the older literature, since the output is so enormous,
and the changes in taste and depreciation in value so rapid and so
capricious. The Free and other Circulating or Reference Libraries
throughout the country must prove of immense service in superseding
the necessity of purchasing volumes of temporary interest or of
expensive character; and the average collector will, and does, find
that a certain number of dictionaries of various kinds, and of works
which happen to be favourites, suffice to exhaust his space and
resources. The Free Library is an undoubted boon in two ways: in
enabling us to read or consult books which we do not care to buy; and
again, in affording us an opportunity at leisure of judging whether
such and such a volume merits more than a passing notice and perusal.
The sole method of arriving at this information is to take the
publication home. Even where shelf-room and funds are forthcoming,
there is slight danger of any large percentage of recent literature
being added to the stores of a judicious householder. To read, perhaps
only to skim, and return, will be the general rule.

It is inexpedient to lend oneself too exclusively to a period or a
school; for even where one has to study for a purpose a particular
class of authors, or a particular subject or group of subjects, the
local institution is at hand to help one; and the cheap reproductions
of the writings of the earlier centuries, erring, as they do, on the
side of indulgence, place it in the power of individuals of modest
means to have at their elbows a representative assemblage, not
necessarily a cumbrous one, of the literature from Chaucer to the
present day, so that they may form a comparative estimate of the
intellectual activity and wealth of successive ages, while, at the
same time, the Greek and Latin authors are procurable in a collective
shape, if they desire to compare notes and satisfy themselves on the
obligations of the moderns to the ancients.

It amounts to this, that the Free Library is an agency which should
save us to a very material extent from actually acquiring books which
are not worth holding; it is not only a medium for reference, but for
testing and winnowing. But for the select private bookcase it is not,
or ought not to be, a substitute.

The Free Library is in its infancy and on its trial. In course of time
the spread of education and the force of experience will confer on it
better governing bodies, and better governing bodies will guarantee
better curators. The actual generation of librarians, or so-called
librarians, is the product of inefficient committees of control and
selection; and the worst part is that some of these gentlemen receive
salaries which would almost enable their employers to secure the
services of qualified officers.

I am not personally of the opinion that those institutions are an
unmixed blessing. For already there was a marked tendency to a decline
in the taste for collecting among the middle classes in the United
Kingdom, available resources being devoted to other outlets more
generally acceptable to families; and the facilities afforded by the
Free Library virtually amount to each individual parishioner being
enabled, without appreciable cost, to possess books on a far larger
scale than if he had a collection actually his own. The unfavourable
operation of this state of affairs is twofold: it injures the literary
market, and it promotes superficiality of study in the case of books
which should be owned, not borrowed, to be thoroughly mastered and

The range of choice, which embraces the writers of the modern school
in prose and verse, is both wide and difficult. During many years past
the number of authors within these lines has been continually on the
increase, yet, while merit and value may be questions of opinion,
there can be no serious or legitimate doubt that the output of
literary work of high character is not greater than it was, if indeed
as great. In the course of a quarter of a century many popular names
have either fallen or faded out of remembrance, alike of authors who
belonged to antecedent generations, and of those who have enjoyed a
transient and artificial celebrity, and have come and gone, as it
were, under the eyes of their immediate contemporaries. With the
advantages offered by lending libraries, it appears to be imprudent on
the part of any one who cannot conveniently form an extensive
collection of modern books to buy on the recommendation of the press
or the trade new favourites; for literary acquisitions are
unfortunately apt to occupy space, and, save in very exceptional
cases, to deteriorate in value. Even the original editions of the
later works of Tennyson are not in great demand, and the high figures
realised by one or two of his early productions are explainable in the
same way as those given for Byrons and Shelleys.

The Modern Side of collecting is classifiable into numerous branches,
according to the point of departure, as some differ in their view of
what is modern from others. If we have to lay down a dividing line,
however, we should make it comprehend the last decade of the
eighteenth century, when many of the writers who were the
contemporaries of our immediate foregoers began their literary

Then, again, there are two branches of the later literature: the more
recent writers themselves, and the reproductions, as I have noted, of the
writers of former periods; and the extent to which the edited collections
have been carried places it within the power of many who so desire to
specialise on a certain line, and to deal representatively with the rest.

The specialist who proposes to himself as a field for his activity the
Coleridge and Byron period, or who, again, confines his efforts to the
writings of one or two of that set, has his work before him. Generally
speaking, the first editions, which are those usually desired, are not
uncommon; but there is almost always a _crux_, an _introuvable_, for
which the not altogether blameable dealer puts on the screw, and
charges more than for all the remaining items. Bohn's _Lowndes_ yields
a fair account of this family of literature; and Alexander Ireland,
Richard Herne Shepherd, and others have bestowed vast pains on drawing
up monographs on Coleridge, Hazlitt, Hunt, Shelley, Lamb, Keats,
Browning, Tennyson, and the rest. It is difficult to foresee what the
final upshot may be; probably, when fabulous prices have drawn forth
from their hiding-places additional copies of many of these latter-day
objects of keen pursuit, the market will fall and the craze will
subside. It is a purely artificial and spurious one.

A second group, to whose books a collector may reasonably and
conveniently confine his attention, consists of the poets and
prose-writers who are still, or who were till lately, among us; and a
fairly numerous body of matter falls within this class, as we may
judge from a glance at the names which present themselves in the
publishers' and booksellers' lists. In selecting the contemporary
school, there is the undoubted advantage that you can institute a
comparison between the book and its author, and that you may fall in
with him at dinner, in a drawing-room or in a shop, and congratulate
him or solicit an explanation of some fine but obscure passage; and
should you also be literary, he has the opportunity of exchanging
compliments with you. The old dead writers receive praise and offer no

During a series of years there was a notorious run, which, as usual,
became indiscriminate, on first editions of the writings of Dickens,
Thackeray, and other foremost men of the period, eclipsing, as it
seemed, even the demand for the earlier English classics, till the
auctioneers and booksellers in their catalogues underlined at a
venture every _editio princeps_, though it might be the last as well
as the first, and, whether or no, a book of no mark. But the
enthusiasm has at last contracted itself within narrower and more
intelligent limits, and is restricted to productions which rank as
masterpieces or are special favourites, and then all postulates have
to be satisfied, all bibliographical minutiæ have to be studied. It
is impossible to foresee how far this latest compromise may last; but
whatever it is, there must always be some novelty to keep the market
going, and bring grist to the mill. The world of fashion comprehends
books as well as bonnets and dresses; but the literary section is a
humble one by comparison, and is in few hands. Every fresh _mode_ has
somewhere its starter, and it usually prevails long enough to suit the
purposes of the trade, when it makes way for its successor.

If one had the ordering of these strategical devices, one would
imagine that the true policy was to buy up a given class of books,
procure the insertion of a clever article or two in the press,
extolling their merits and lamenting the public ignorance and neglect,
and then launch a Jesuitically constructed catalogue devoted to such
undeservedly disregarded treasures. But we may have been forestalled.
Who knows?

The less current and every-day literary ware appeals to a more or less
narrow constituency. There is a proverb, "The wool-seller knows the
wool-buyer;" and it has to be so in books. There are volumes which, if
they do not from their character or price suit one of a circle of
half-a-dozen collectors, with whose means and wants the whole trade is
generally familiar, are exceedingly likely to suit nobody outside the
public libraries at public library prices. So much is this the case,
that many booksellers do not think it worth their while to publish
catalogues, and content themselves with reporting to the most probable
purchaser fresh acquisitions. With certain very special and costly
rarities _two_ often make a market.

Time will perform its habitual office or function for us and our
successors of separating from the multitudinous accumulation of modern
published or printed matter such portion as, on deliberate inquiry and
scrutiny, appears to be of permanent value. There is no doubt that
much will be thrown aside; but the _residuum_ which will bear the test
of dispassionate judgment must prove considerable in itself, and also
when taken into account as an appendix to the record left by preceding
generations of writers. There may be certain authors and authoresses
whom our descendants will like to have by them, even though they may
no longer exert a sensible influence on literature and thought, just
as we prize many of the older schools and types for characteristics
and allusions which strike us as curious or entertaining; and soon, as
decade follows decade, and the twentieth century has well opened, men
and women, who were our grandsires' contemporaries, will seem through
the lengthening vista almost as remote as they were from the Stuart
epoch with its Elizabethan and Shakespearian traditions.

It is useless and invidious to particularise, and, besides, when one
has drawn up a list of names, which are more or less obviously
ephemeral, one cannot be certain as to the rest. Some must live; some

The astonishing demand for the first editions of our modern poets and
novelists has, as was generally anticipated, subsided, and in some
cases almost ceased; and it is extremely doubtful whether the taste
will ever assume again the same unhealthy proportions. For one result
of the matter has been to make it perfectly clear that copies of
Byron, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Lamb, Dickens, Thackeray, Tennyson,
and so forth, exist in much greater plenty than was at first supposed,
though very little reflection should have sufficed to establish the
fact as an eminent probability; and all that was needed to draw them
from their resting-places was the series of paragraphs in the press
conveying to holders how valuable their property had unexpectedly
become. Shall we not have more copies of Shelley's poor little
brochure of 1810 offered for sale ere long, as well as of Thackeray's
_Exquisites_ and _King Glumpus_?

At the same time, while we insist that the survival of means of supply
is too large, and the market too limited, to sustain the extravagant
quotations of recent years, there will ever remain persons prepared to
give generous prices for absolutely first-class examples of the best
modern authors. There must be no qualification, nothing secondary,
nothing dubious; and with these provisos, we do not venture to predict
that the competition might not become keener than ever. The same
experience will result here and there, whenever a book forming a
desideratum in more than one cabinet occurs for sale, and is perhaps
the first copy which has been offered. At Sotheby's in June 1896,
Shelley's _Oedipus Tyrannus_, 1820, it is said, was carried under
these circumstances to £130. It was, we believe, one of two copies,
picked up by a well-known amateur for fourpence each. On another
account--its perfectly immaculate state in boards--a large-paper copy
of Byron's poems, 1807, was thought by Mr. Edward Huth not too dear at
£105. It had been acquired by a London bookseller in exchange for one
in morocco from a correspondent in Yorkshire, the latter receiving the
bound book (which cost the vendor £27) and £18 difference, so that
there was a profit on the transaction of £60. Seriously speaking, the
purchase was extravagantly dear, for the book on large paper is at all
events not scarcer than on small. One of the most signal incidents,
however, in modern auctioneering annals was the sale of MSS. copies of
the _Endymion_ and _Lamia_ of Keats in the poet's handwriting for
£1000, and the subsequent offer to the purchasers at that figure of a
large advance for their bargain. These two items are printed, and the
written copies were those employed by the printer, as upon the first
leaf of each MS. were the directions as to size. They were in the
familiar round schoolboy hand, and presented occasional corrections.
We heard a suggestion that there might have once, at all events, been
a duplicate copy in existence. If the lots were worth the money, what
would the manuscript of _Venus and Adonis_ or _Hamlet_ fetch?

The mischief which proceeds from the advertisements through the press
of sensational sale prices is not one for which either the buyers or
the sellers are responsible. It is due to the notorious circumstance
that very few persons are able to discriminate accurately between an
important item in an auction or elsewhere, and another submitted to
their approval, ostensibly and professedly identical, but actually
very different. A certain familiar type of bookseller will tell you
that a copy of such or such a work fetched £50 under the hammer last
week, but that he can let you have his--same edition, same date, same
nearly everything--for fifty shillings. Of course it is no such
matter; yet the bait is often swallowed, and the poor (or possibly
rich) fish caught.

The relatively cheap literature of the present day has been thought to
be a revival rather than an invention. We meet with tracts published
in the reign of Elizabeth with the express notation of the price of
issue, namely, one penny. The _Book of Common Prayer_, 1549, was to be
sold at 2s. 2d. unbound, and 4s. in paste or boards. The ordinary
amount charged for a tract extending to thirty or forty pages, and for
a quarto play, was 4d. or a groat. The first folio Shakespeare, 1623,
cost the original purchaser 20s.; Percival's _Spanish Dictionary_,
1599, appears to have come out at 12s. There are lists of
advertisements attached to publications of the later Stuart era
showing that a large variety of popular productions brought the
printer or stationer twopence or a penny. A curious little edition of
_Coffee-House Jests_, 1760, bears the imprint:--

    "Drogheda. Printed for the sake of a Penny:
     Sold in Waterford, Cork, and Kilkenny."

But throughout these statistics, which are capable, of course, of
infinite augmentation, we have to keep before us the difference in the
value of money, and the purchasing power of the same amount in other
and more practical directions; and it follows that the printed matter
offered to-day for threepence or sixpence had no real parallel in
former times, and that the absolutely cheap book is a product of
modern facilities for manufacture.

The published price not unfrequently presents itself at the foot of
the title on books of the late seventeenth and earlier eighteenth
centuries. The simplicity of some individuals who are ranked among
occasional or casual buyers was illustrated many years since by a man
going into a shop in Fleet Street and putting down eighteenpence in
payment of Hubert's _Edward II._, 1721, in the window. The bookseller
explained to him that his price was 5s. "But," insisted the customer,
"look at the title-page; it was published at 1s. 6d." "Then you had
better go to the publisher," observed the other, replacing the volume.

Book-collecting seems scarcely to concern very closely those who
regard the pursuit from a severely practical point of view, or in the
aspect of absolute intrinsic importance. It is true enough that one
may form, not only a library, but a remarkably extensive one, of
books of reference and study; but this does not quite answer to the
idea of a bibliophile--in fact, it is little more than the digestion
into book-form of a mass of learning and useful information. Again,
if, without embracing such classes of volumes, we limit ourselves to
those which, as we express the matter above, are positively important,
we of course find on our shelves all the capital authors, ancient and
modern; yet how many we should have to reject which are accounted
indispensable to a choice cabinet! And such is apt to be more
peculiarly the case in a selection formed on Anglo-French lines, as
anybody may readily judge by examining a catalogue of this kind, where
pages and pages are occupied by irritating trifles of no solid
pretensions whatever, not even those evident in personal or heraldic

The general rule may be applied to our modern books, that, whatever
they may be for purposes of instruction or entertainment, they seldom
represent the outlay, and still more rarely a profit upon it when the
day arrives for realising. During some time past we have witnessed the
rise and fall, or at least disappearance from the front rank, of
individuals and schools of individuals whose writings no amount of
friendly support in the press was capable of propping up beyond three
or four seasons. It is not that some of them may not hereafter, like
our older authors, return to notice and currency; but they will suffer
that intermediate period of neglect which has been experienced by
well-nigh all our greatest names in letters. There is for literature,
in common with its buyers, an earth, a purgatory, and a heaven--or
something else. The public cannot keep pace with the vast and unbroken
succession of literary produce, and the favourites of the day pass
over to neutral ground, with very few exceptions, when their honeymoon
has expired, to await the deliberate verdict of posterity on their
merit and their station. To the investor for a more or less immediate
return, however, they are precarious possessions, unless the market be
carefully watched. The wealthy and absolutely uncommercial amateur
disregards these risks and these counsels; and he is in a sense to be

The question of the First Edition is not limited to any era of
literary history and production, and the call for this class of book,
at first (as usual) rather unreasoning, begins to be more critical and
narrow. The author to be thus honoured by his posterity must have a
certain bouquet and vogue. He must be a Shakespeare, a Jonson, a
Herrick, a Burton, a Defoe, a Bunyan, a Burns, or (if we cross the
sea) a Molière, a Montaigne, or a Cervantes.

With the first edition in some bibliographical schemes is associated
the Best One. The possessor of both may pride himself on being able to
show the earliest and latest state of the writer's mind, what he
originally conceived, and what he decided to leave behind him as his
_ultimum vale_. For the most part, however, first thoughts are treated
as better than second, and it may actually be the case that, alike in
ancient and modern books, the too fastidious and wavering ancient
poet, or playwright, or essayist has done himself in maturer years an
injustice by blotting the fresh impulses of his noviciate. It is a
case, perhaps, where the public is entitled to intervene, and taking
the two readings, deliver its award--always supposing that the text is
that of a man worth the pains, and, again, that both versions are the
language of the author, not that of the editor. It is obvious that, as
a matter of literary and scientific or technical completeness, the
last edition of a work is the most desirable; but it is particularly
the case with volumes endeared by personal associations, such as
Gilbert White's _Selborne_, that one prefers the text as the author
left it, even if one has to be at the pains to consult a second
publication for up-to-date knowledge. The present point is one to
which I have adverted in an earlier place.

Apart from the collector, the first and the best impressions of
writers of importance, whose texts underwent at their own hands more
or less material changes, are necessarily an object of research to the
editor or specialist who has dedicated his attention to such or such a
study; and he is apt to pursue the matter still further than the
amateur, who does not, as a rule, esteem the intermediate issues. It
is this feeling and need which have led, since critical and
comparative editions came into fashion, to the accumulation by their
superintendents of an exhaustive array of titles and dates, with hints
of the most remarkable various readings; and the cause of
bibliography has gained, whether, in drawing together the series, the
book-hunter or the literary worker be the pioneer. From the editorial
and bibliographical points of view a complete sequence of the writings
of our more distinguished and durable authors is generally
practicable; but of excessively popular or favourite books, even of
the Elizabethan era, it is imperfect. We refer to such cases as the so
far unseen second impression of Shakespeare's _Passionate Pilgrim_ and
the ostensible disappearance of the original quarto of _Love's Labor's

Two questions connected with the present part of the subject before
us, now better understood and managed, were under the old system, so
far as we can ascertain or judge, permitted to remain in a very loose
and vague state. We allude to the law of copyright and the revision
for the press. Prior to the institution of the Stationers' Company and
the existence of a Register, the sole protection for authors and
publishers was by the grant of a privilege or a monopoly for a term of
years; yet even when registration had become compulsory, and was
supposed to be effectual, spurious editions constantly found their way
into the market, while books of which the writers might desire, on
various grounds, to keep the MSS. in their own hands, found their way
into print through some irregular channel. Such was the case with
Shakespeare's _Hamlet_, 1603, and (in a somewhat different way) with
the third edition of his _Passionate Pilgrim_, 1612; and we perceive
that of Bacon's _Essays_ during some years two parallel impressions
were current without ostensible interference or warrant. There are
frequent instances in which authors state that their motive in
hastening into type was the rumour that a surreptitious and inaccurate
text was threatened, as if there was no legal power to prevent such a
class of piracy.

The correction of proofs by early writers, if we except books of
reference, and those not without qualification, was evidently very lax
and precarious. The entire body of popular literature, the drama
included, offers the appearance, when we investigate examples, of
having been left to the mercy of the typographers, and the faulty
readings of old plays are more readily susceptible of explanation from
the fact that we owe their survival in a printed form as often as not
to the clandestine sale of the prompters' copies to the stationer. The
editors of our dramatists have consequently found it an extremely
laborious task to restore the sense of corrupt passages, and have
sometimes abandoned the attempt in despair. Not a few of the pieces in
the last edition of Dodsley come within this category; and we may
signalise the unique tragedy of _Appius and Virginia_, 1575, as a
prodigy of negligent and ignorant execution on the part of the
original compositor. But to the same cause is due our still remaining
uncertainty as to the true reading of numerous places in Shakespeare

Our collectors, however, are not particularly solicitous to study the
present aspect of the matter, and the hunter for First Editions is by
no means likely to care an iota about the purity of the text, but may
be more apt to congratulate himself on the ownership of the genuine
old copy with all the errors of the press as vouchers for its
character. Who would exchange a second _Hamlet_ of 1604 for a first
one of 1603, simply because the former happens to contain as much
more, and the latter is little better than a _torso_?

The long uncertainty and insecurity of authors' rights, whatever may
be thought of the present position of the matter, led at a very early
date to the adoption of such safeguards against plagiarism as it was
in the power of specialists, at all events, to impose. Some time after
its original publication in 1530, we find John Palsgrave, compiler of
the _Eclaircissement de la Langue Françoise_, prohibiting the printer
from giving or selling copies to any one without his leave, lest his
profits as a teacher of the language should be prejudicially affected;
and so it was that preceptors often reserved the right of sale, and
dealt direct with buyers, and in one case (only a sample) a treatise
on Shorthand by Richard Weston (1770) is delivered to purchasers at
eighteenpence on the express condition that they shall not allow the
book to leave their own hands or premises.


     Our failure to realise the requirements of Illustrated Books--The
     French School--La Fontaine's _Contes et Nouvelles_,
     1762--Imperfect conception of what constitutes a thoroughly
     complete copy--The Crawford copy--Comparative selling values of
     copies--The _Fables_ of the same author--Dorat--La
     Borde--Beaumarchais--Contrast between the English and French
     Schools--Process-printing--The _Edition de Luxe_--Its proper
     destination and limit--The Illustrated Copy--Increasing
     difficulty in forming it--Unsatisfactory character of the
     majority of specimens--Analogy between the French taste in books
     and in _vertu_--Temper of the foreign markets--The Anglo-American
     collector--The Parisian _goût_--The famous mud-stained volume of
     tracts in the British Museum--Foreign translations of early
     English tracts.

OF the _Illustrated Book_, the _Illustrated Copy_, and the _Edition de
Luxe_ we have spoken a few words elsewhere.[2] These are three forms
of competition, which represent as many sources of danger and
disappointment to the inexperienced. When we refer to illustrated
books we of course signify books with woodcuts and other graphic
embellishments from the earliest period, such as the Block Books, the
_Game and Play of the Chess_, the Caxton _Æsop_, the _Nürnberg
Chronicle_, 1493, the _Poliphilo_, 1499, the _Ship of Fools_, 1497,
and the _Dance of Death_; collections of Portraits and Views; down to
the productions of the modern school, and comprising the popular
abridgments of Crouch or Burton, of which an idea may be gained from
the list printed at the end of Bliss's _Reliquiæ Hearnianæ_, 1857, and
the cheap editions of romances and story-books brought out by sundry
stationers at prices ranging from threepence to a penny in the closing
years of the seventeenth century. In the English series, independently
of the woodcuts which incidentally occur in the books printed by
Caxton and his immediate successors and the _Emblem_ series, there are
Roeslin's _Birth of Mankind_, by Raynald, 1540, Braun's _Civitates
Orbis Terrarum_, Gemini's _Anatomy_, 1545, Godet's _Genealogy of all
the Kings of England_, 1563, Saxton's _Maps_, Holinshed's
_Chronicles_, 1577, Harington's _Ariosto_, 1591, Holland's
_Baziologia_, 1618, and _Heröologia_, 1620, the various works
illustrated by Pass, Elstracke, Hollar, Barlow, and others, Vicars's
_England's Worthies_, 1645, Ricraft's _Survey of England's Champions_,
1647, and other publications by Ricraft with engravings, till we come
down to the pictorial histories of England by Bishop White, Kennett,
and Rapin and Tindal, Pine's _Horace_, and Buck's _Views_. No doubt
among these there are interesting specimens for the respective
periods. It is noticeable that in the Holinshed of 1577 the
illustrations are frequently repeated without regard to the context.
The engravings by Hollar and Barlow are the most pleasing. But the
_Basiliologia_, 1618, is the rarest book in the whole range of this
class of literature. Pine's _Horace_, even in the first edition,
1733, with the _Post Est_ reading, is common enough; and it has been
found uncut. So far as we are concerned, we should prefer it in the
original morocco. As a text it is of no account.

Coming lower down, we may specify or emphasise a few _chefs
d'oeuvre_, such as Hogarth's Prints in the first or best states,
Turner's _Liber Studiorum_, Sir Joshua Reynolds' Graphic Works, and
Lodge's _Portraits_. But we are neither so wealthy nor so advanced as
our French and German neighbours in this direction, and the former may
be affirmed to stand alone in the possession of a class of books with
engravings germane to the national genius and to the feeling and
spirit of the time which produced such masterpieces in their way. Of
works illustrated by copper-plates, that by Roeslin on Midwifery,
1540, above-named, seems to be the first in chronological order; but
both this and the Gemini of 1545 probably owed their embellishments to
foreign sources.

Our own country is probably weakest in this department; many of the
engravings in our early literature are direct copies from the German,
Dutch, or French masters; the names of some of our leading artists are
those of foreigners; and we have comparatively little to show of
strictly original work till the last quarter of the eighteenth
century, when we may place our national efforts side by side with
uninterrupted Continental series from the middle of the fifteenth. We
are also poorly provided with books of reference enabling amateurs to
form an idea of the extent of the field and of the relative
practicability and costliness of given classes or lines, whereas the
foreign collector enjoys the advantage of many excellent and fairly
trustworthy manuals. We want a General Guide to English Illustrated
Literature, which should exhibit its sources and inspiration, and the
epochs and schools into which it is divisible.

Of course, it stands with the present description of literary
monuments as it does with the normal book. An enterprise which should
aim at being exhaustive would prove excessively serious in point of
outlay, and would hardly be so satisfactory as one either on a
miscellaneous or a special principle.

Meanwhile, it is desirable that statements offered in catalogues of
various kinds should aim at accuracy as far as possible. It is
singular what a vitality resides in errors when they have been pointed
out by experts, and ought to be recognised. The auctioneers seem to
keep the type of certain notes standing, as they are repeated in
catalogue after catalogue without any other gain than that of
misleading such as know no better. One familiar acquaintance of this
class is the _dictum_ that the copper-plates in Hugh Broughton's
_Concent of Scripture_, 1596, are the earliest of the kind executed in
England, although they had not only been preceded by the prints in
Harington's _Ariosto_, 1591, but by those accompanying the _Birth of
Mankind_ by Roeslin, 1540, and the _Anatomie Delineatio_ of Thomas
Gemini, 1545.

The average collector, who possesses tolerable judgment, and has the
authorities at his elbow, cannot go far astray if he buys what pleases
him among the ordinary books of medium price, and may acquire examples
of every period and place of origin, as opportunities arise. Or he may
limit himself to early German, Dutch, Italian, or French books with
woodcuts, to the French illustrated literature of the eighteenth
century, to volumes with engravings by Bewick, Stothard, or
Bartolozzi, or to modern works with proof-plates, etchings, and other
choice varieties. It is literally impossible to fix any _maximum_ or
_minimum_ of cost in this case; so much depends in graphic
publications on niceties of difference; and a law prevails here
analogous to that which governs the Print, that is to say, that a more
or less slight point of detail vitally affects values. Let us take
such a familiar instance as Lodge's _Portraits of Illustrious
Personages_. One may have a copy in Bohn's Libraries for a dozen
shillings; and one may give seventy or eighty sovereigns for a
large-paper copy with india proofs of the four-volume folio edition of
1821. On the whole, the twelve-volume quarto book is almost
preferable, as in the folio there is the disadvantage of three volumes
having copper-plates and one (the fourth) steel engravings, and the
quarto is obtainable for £20 or £25 in morocco.

Very few of the English portraits in the engraved series antecedent to
Lodge are trustworthy, as this branch of specialism was not properly
studied and understood down to the present century, and even the heads
executed by Houbraken are not unfrequently apocryphal. Such a
criticism applies less to royal personages than to private
individuals, of whom the painted likenesses were apt, after the lapse
of years, to be not so easily identifiable.

We have excellent monographs on Bewick and Bartolozzi by Mr. Hugo and
Mr. Tuer respectively; and there is the delightful biography of
Stothard by Mrs. Bray, 1851, with profuse illustrations of his various
artistic productions and progressive style. Many of the scarcer
examples of Bartolozzi have been imitated. To the collector who limits
his interest to artists in book-shape, the first editions on large or
largest paper of the _Birds_, _Quadrupeds_, and _Select Fables_ of
Bewick are most familiar and most desirable. Stothard is seen to
advantage in the engravings to Ritson's _English Songs_, 1783. Much of
his work lies outside the mere library. For a general view of that
branch of the subject, Jackson and Chatto's _Treatise on Wood
Engraving_, 1839, may be recommended, so far as the printed book is

We do not dwell on the modern illustrated literature, which demands
less study, and offers few features of interest, especially that
produced at home. Too large a proportion of it, however, whatever may
be the origin, is indifferent in quality and permanent worth.
Publications are at present, like other commodities, prepared with a
main eye to sale; the sense of pride and honour on the part of the
producer is dulled; he manufactures in gross. There are the showy
volumes of Yriate on Venice, Florence, and other subjects, with
letterpress written apparently to accompany blocks and plates in the
publisher's warehouse.

Perhaps, if we seek something more elevated and creditable, it will be
in certain periodicals conducted on higher lines than those to which
the ordinary publisher has from financial exigencies to be bound; and
of these there are several both in France and England--nay, in Italy,
in Australia.

The Illustrated Book, as we are familiar with it here, affords
innumerable examples of varied treatment, as the school of design and
the public taste differ or fluctuate from century to century, from age
to age, and even from season to season. We do not speak of the cheaper
literature in this class, accompanied by engravings so intolerably
poor as to disarm criticism, but to the higher efforts of the artist
to respond to the author, and to appeal more directly to the eye. In
this country, however, we have not so far been so fortunate, or
otherwise, as to attain the Continental ideal of what the graphic
portion of a literary performance should be; and the question is
intimately associated, particularly in France and among foreign buyers
of the French school, who are numerous in all parts of the world, with
that of binding, inasmuch as a volume possessing pictorial
embellishments of whatever kind must fulfil all requirements in that
respect no less than in the outward vesture, and what may be termed
the complemental book-plate.

One of the eighteenth-century French productions which answers most
thoroughly to the just foregoing description, is the "Fermiers
Généraux" edition of the _Contes et Nouvelles_ of La Fontaine, 2 vols.
8vo, 1762. The ordinary copies of this work, of which the whole charm
lies in the meretricious plates by Eisen (for the text is inoffensive
enough), are distinguished by the presence or otherwise of two or
three plates in a particular state, those left as originally printed
being preferred, because they offer certain unconventional details
subsequently modified. But, in fact, to make a perfect exemplar of the
work, to satisfy the demand of a rigid connoisseur, you have to
combine features in the shape of proofs before letters and vignettes
taken off separately, besides extra engravings by other artists not
strictly belonging to the edition, until you have a complete album of
_bijoux indiscrets_, and in the old French morocco by Derome or
Bozerian a £200 lot. The Earl of Crawford's copy, which was to have
been sold at Sotheby's in July 1896 (No. 493 of catalogue), was a
masterpiece of this description; but it was withdrawn. It has since
been sold to another noble lord--the Earl of Carnarvon.

A copy of the normal _decouvert_ type of the _Contes et Nouvelles_,
1762, may be had, according to condition and binding, for between £10
and £50. It has been said of the extra plates to the _Contes et
Nouvelles_ of La Fontaine that their rejection as part of the
published work ought to be a matter neither of surprise nor of
regret, for they are not only flagrantly indecent, but are poor and
unsatisfying from an artistic point of view. Another favourite edition
of the _Tales_ is that with the plates by Romeyn de Hooge, 1685, 2
vols. 8vo; but you must have it on fine paper in old morocco.

Looking at the illustrated editions of the _Tales_ generally, the
plates, except the charming head and tail pieces, do great injustice
to the text, which the author can hardly have foreseen the possibility
of being deformed and discredited by such forced and exaggerated
constructions of his meaning.

The edition of La Fontaine's _Fables_ by Oudry, 4 vols. folio,
1755-59, is almost equally sought by connoisseurs, though on somewhat
different grounds. Some copies in one of the plates, where there is a
tavern sign, have on the board a lion rampant. In the Bibliothèque at
Paris is a copy on largest paper bound for Marie Antoinette with
original decorations by Oudry himself on the covers; it is only a
single book out of thousands which they have there, yet it might make
a day's sale, and a remunerative one, in Wellington Street in the
Strand! Boccaccio, 5 vols. 8vo, 1757, with plates by Eisen, Gravelot,
and others, enters into this series; it is not an uncommon book, and
is found with a French and an Italian text, of which the former is
generally preferred. It is necessary to secure a copy in all respects
faultless. But far more important and relatively costly are the
_Baisers_ of Dorat, 1770, printed on _grand papier de Hollande_, with
the title in red and black, and, above all, Laborde's _Choix de
Chansons_, 1773, always a dear publication when the state is right,
and excessively difficult to obtain with proof plates; the Magniac
copy was bought by Mr. Quaritch at Phillips's a few years since for
upwards of £200, and sold by him, we believe, to Lord Carnarvon.
Another copy, with the plates in unlettered proof state, is marked
£250 in Pearson & Co.'s Catalogue, 1897-98. _La Folle Journée_, by
Beaumarchais, with engravings of the same period and character, is
also a charming production, and commands a good price.

The minutiæ into which the enthusiasts for the graphic French
literature produced in the closing years of the ancient régime permit
themselves to enter is rather bewildering to a novice or an outsider,
and certainly asks as much study as it can well be worth. The
cultivation of the pursuit has naturally brought into existence a
small library of monographs, of which that by Cohen is one of the best
known and the most frequently quoted. There is an equal degree of
difference between the pictorial features of books produced in England
and on the Continent during the past and the present centuries. In
France there still reigns the spirit of enterprise conducive to the
execution of high-class work; but among ourselves it is painful to
contemplate the decline, not of power, but of encouragement, and the
unhealthy tendency to a style of illustration which will not probably
be very creditable to the country in retrospect. A collection of
modern illustrated works of mixed origin may well dispense, except by
way of sample and contrast, with much of the fantastic and
preposterous creations of some of the latter-day masters.

The _Edition de Luxe_, the _Large_, _Larger_, and _Largest Paper_, the
copy on yellow paper, blue paper, writing paper, on _papier de
Hollande_, _de Chine_, or _d'Inde_, or on Japanese vellum, the very
limited impression, are among the fancies and demands of the
omnivorous past. A short study of the supplement to Bonn's _Lowndes_
and of Martin's _Privately Printed Books_ will suffice to show that
not only a library, but a tolerably extended one, might be formed of
these classes of literature exclusively; and indeed the thing has been
more than once actually done. Utterson, Halliwell, Laing, Maidment,
Eyton, Turnbull, and others have contributed to leave to us a
voluminous inheritance of now rather neglected and undervalued
curiosities of this kind. But even here the discriminating collector
may still advantageously pick out items worth buying and holding, for
in the case of every artificial _furore_ the good, bad, and
indifferent are apt to rise and to fall together, while it is reserved
only for the first to experience a revival--the Revival of the

The Illustrated Copy is an indefinite quantity as to character and
importance or estimation, since no two correspond. Nearly all those
which have been formed are more or less unequal, even where there has
been no regard to cost, and every care has been exercised in the
selection of objects; for there is a chronic tendency to become
complete. But so far as the normal undertaking of this class is
concerned, we usually perceive a few desirable and appropriate prints
or drawings as a sort of _pièce de resistance_, and the remainder is
made up anyhow. Even such a book as the Pennant's _London_ in the Huth
Collection strikes us as unsatisfactory on the ground stated; there is
a share of merit in the choice of embellishments; there is also too
considerable a residuum of comparative rubbish; and if it is so here,
the reader may judge how the matter stands with illustrated books of
the ordinary stamp made up for sale. There is one remark to be
offered. The really fine prints and other similar productions are too
valuable to treat in this way, as they would necessarily render the
work, when it was ready for the client, too expensive. A Pennant, for
example, exclusively composed of first-rate material, and tolerably
representative in regard to names and localities, would be worth
thousands of pounds. The time for securing prizes for this purpose at
a moderate figure has gone by. The catalogues advertise copies
"extensively and tastefully" illustrated with hundreds or thousands of
portraits and views; and the bidding or demand, as the case may be, is
carried to £20, £50, or £100. Our advice is, Not to touch. It is
preferable to have a few chosen examples in a portfolio.

It is not always that the Illustrated Copy is restricted to
engravings and other works of art. Autograph letters enter into the
plan, and facsimiles of title-pages or other cognate and more or less
relevant objects. One of the most recent enterprises of this nature--a
Boswell's _Johnson_--cost the actual possessor about £10,000; it was
extended to forty-two volumes, and aimed at having a token of some
kind of every one mentioned in the text. So we advance. It was deemed
a piece of extravagance when, forty or fifty years ago, the late Sir
William Stirling-Maxwell expended about £1000 in forming an
illustrated copy of his own _Cloister Life of Charles V._

The Nature-printing, Autotype, Photogravure, Collotype, and other
processes strike us as hardly falling within the category here
contemplated, although that they are material accessions to our
resources is undoubted. They are the fruit of a combination between
nature and mechanical science; their fidelity for portraiture and
technical purposes may be granted; but they do not realise the notion
of artistic embellishment or interpretation, nor are they capable of
rendering with anything approaching truth the more delicate and subtle
touches of the miniaturist.

The _Edition de Luxe_ is dilettantism _in extremis_. It is a movement
which seems to rest on a false theory and basis. It should have
limited itself to _nugæ literariæ_, to _bagatelles_, which no mortal
sought to read, and which might be harmlessly printed on any material,
of any latitude and longitude, in any type, or else to graphic works
where the luxury would more comfortably and more suitably make itself
manifest in illustrations varied and duplicated to whatever extent it
pleased the issuer, or was calculated to gratify his clients. But to
apply the principle to books so essentially appealing to practical
readers as Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, and others, was an unfortunate
step and precedent, which has thrown on the market a large amount of
stock not easily moved even at a heavy discount on the published

Merely looking at the _bibliophile_ pure and simple, and shutting our
eyes to those phases of book-collecting, where the principle or sole
aim is educational or religious, we incline to the conclusion that
foreigners, and above all the French, are less practical than
ourselves, and lay far greater stress on sentiment.

The French, and we may perhaps add the Anglo-French school of
book-collecting, works on lines which to a normal lover of books must
at first appear rather mysterious and strange, if not absolutely
irrational. The closest analogy which it is in our power to suggest is
the almost parallel sentiment and policy in regard to other branches
of inquiry--china, furniture, numismatics. The Frenchman and his
English disciple have no respect whatever as _collectionneurs_ for
substantial value, and agree in ignoring everything, good, bad,
indifferent, outside a prescribed limit.

The temper of the foreign markets, especially the French one, is so
essentially different from that of England, that it demands an almost
life-long study of the subject to comprehend the true principles by
which they are guided and influenced. In what we are just now urging,
we must of course be understood to allude to the _amateur_ pure and
simple,--in fact, if it may be said without offence, to the virtuoso.
There are foreign book-collectors, as there are English, who seek
copies of works within their lines, whatever those lines may be, for
the sake of information and reference. The collector has no such aim.
He aspires to make himself master of so many items answering to
certain inexorable postulates laid down by the experts in such
matters. His taste has happened to take a bibliographical direction
and shape; it is hardly a literary one; and the objects of his
pursuit, instead of being pictures, prints, antiquities, gems, or
coins, are things in book-form.

Monsieur and his British satellite cultivate exclusively what is
French, just as in the numismatic department Monsieur will only buy
French coins or Franco-Italian ones, or the money of Monsieur's direct
ancestors, the Greeks and Romans. It is the same principle throughout;
and the undoubted fact is before us that, if the article to be sold is
right in all respects, the price is marvellous. One can understand a
high appreciation of some superb or unique example of ancient
typography, of a book which has belonged to a famous person, or of a
manuscript like the _Bedford Missal_ or the _Hours_ of Anne of
Brittany. One can understand, again, the enthusiasm for an unrecorded
old poem, romance, or play, for a production by an eminent author
supposed to have perished, or for a precious relic such as the Manesse
MS., presented by the German Emperor Frederic to the library at
Heidelberg, from which it had been taken by the French during the wars
of the Revolution. But the Parisian _goût_ is less intent on such
matters than on flimsy and effeminate specialities. A copy of a book,
it does not signify how valuable intrinsically it may be, is worth
nothing in the eyes of _Monsieur_ and _Monsieur d'Angleterre son ami_,
unless it is in a particular vesture, with a particular _ex libris_,
and of a particular measurement in _millesimes_. _MM. les amateurs_
reject not merely calf, but that vellum wrapper and that stitched
paper envelope so dear to us English--so dear that when one of us has
given hundreds of pounds for a book thus clothed, rather than commit
it to a binder, we employ him to make us a case for the gem. The
volume of tracts which Charles I. borrowed of Thomason the stationer,
and let fall in the mud, what could Monsieur do with it? Absolutely
nothing. But the British Museum cherishes the relic, and would not on
any account, we solemnly believe, suffer the stains to be removed.
They are the credentials, the link between the king and ourselves.

On the subject of French books in regard to their bindings we shall
have more to say below.


[2] _Four Generations of a Literary Family_, 1897, ii. 371.


     The extrinsic features in
     books--Autographs--Inscriptions--Various classes of them and of
     interest in their subject-matter--The Henry VIII. _Prayer-Book_
     of 1544--Some account of it--Gabriel
     Harvey--Spenser--Evelyn--Milton--Hypothetical _grands
     prix_--Classification of
     inscriptions--Examples--Dramatists--Poets--Jonson, Massinger,
     Drayton, Wycherley, Killigrew--Mere signatures--Shakespeare's
     copy of Florio's _Montaigne_, 1603--The Earl of Essex's copy of
     Drayton's _Eclogues_, 1593--Humphrey Chetham--Strays from his
     library--Beau Nash as a collector--Sir Joshua Reynolds--William
     Beckford and his _Vathek_--Foreign autographs and memoranda--A
     whimsical note in a copy of Shakespeare's _Passionate Pilgrim_,
     1599--Interesting MS. matter in a copy of Stow's _Survey_,
     1633--Pepys's binder--Dr. Burney and his verses in _Sandford and
     Merton_--Napoleon and Josephine--The Lutheran Testament given by
     the latter to General Buonaparte--A charming presentation copy
     from Josephine of Voltaire's _Henriade_--What makes the interest
     in autographs--Ineptitudes--The reviewer's copy--Latter-day
     vandalism--Arms on books--Prefaces and

WHAT may be treated as the casual accessories of books of nearly all
periods and countries--the autograph inscription testifying to the
ownership or signalising a gift from one possessor to another--have
manifold and diversified elements of interest and attraction. These
features offer a graduated scale of importance, just as it happens.
The question depends on the donor, or the recipient, or the article
given and received; and where all these combine to augment the charm
and to complete the spell, the issue is electrifying. No more
impressive corroboration of this truth could well be desired or
produced than the Henry VIII. _Prayer-Book_ of 1544 on vellum, from
the Fountaine Collection, with the MSS. notes and autographs of the
King, the Princess Mary, Prince Edward, and Queen Catherine Parr. It
fetched about 600 guineas at Christie's in 1894.

In the _Bibliographer_, _Bookworm_, and his own _Collections_, the
writer has formerly assembled together notices of all the most
remarkable examples of English books, both printed and in MS., with
inscriptions, _marginalia_, and other records of prior and successive
possession, brought within his reach during more than thirty years
past. There are not unreasonably people who may not see in an ordinary
copy of a volume much tangible interest, yet who are prepared to
recognise the value, and even importance, of one with the autograph
and memoranda of some illustrious personage, of some great warrior or
statesman, or of a famous man of letters, artist, or sculptor. The
accidental and secondary feature in the work takes precedence of the
rest; he pays for the sentiment and association. The direct human
interest resident in such a relic is apt, in the opinion of many, to
surpass that of the finest binding; for one has here the very
characters traced long ago by the holder; one can imagine him (or her)
seated at the table engaged in the task of leaving to the times to
come this memento. The book is the casual receptacle; perchance in
itself it is of inconsiderable worth; but the manuscript accessions
are as an embalmment and a sanctification. The copy is not as others;
it has descended to us as a part of a precious inheritance, of which
the mere paper and print are the least significant; we are to approach
and touch it reverently, as if the individual to whom it appertained
were standing by, to reprove an ungentle hand and take back the

It would be barely possible, were it of essential use, to schedule all
the existing presentation or annotated copies of books in our own and
other literatures, but we shall here make an effort to offer a general
view of what is intended, and what may in some instances become
attainable by watching opportunities:--

Monastic or collegiate literature.
Editions of the Bible.
Editions of the New Testament.
Editions of the Prayer-Book.
Royal Books:--
    (i) With autograph notes by the owner.
   (ii) With inscription by the giver.
  (iii) With both.
   (iv) In binding identifiable with a royal personage.
Books which possess the signatures of noble or illustrious
      individuals, politicians, statesmen, soldiers.
  The same categories apply.
Books with literary inscriptions:--
    (i) Presentation copies with author's inscription.
   (ii) With his inscription and additional matter by him.
  (iii) With inscription by recipient.
   (iv) With autographs and MSS. notes by both.
Foreign books:--
  Monastic and mediæval.
  With MS. matter of historical or genealogical interest.
  Books from royal or noble libraries.
  Books of literary interest.

Monastic inscriptions are generally limited in their interest to
casual light shed by them on personages connected with the institution
or on some local circumstance.

Of royal books, genuine and otherwise, the number has had a tendency
to increase through the successive dispersion of old libraries
everywhere, combined with the additional facilities for gaining access
to those which still remain intact. The Henry VIII. _Prayer-Book_ on
vellum is the only copy known in any state of the edition of 1544, and
may not have been publicly issued with this date.

Some of the royal memoranda are of signal interest and curiosity. On
the back of the title, under the royal arms, the king himself says:
"Remember thys wrighter wen you doo pray for he ys yours noon can saye
naye. Henry R." At the passage: "I have not done penance for my
malice," the same hand inserts in the margin: "trewe repentance is the
best penance;" and farther on he makes a second marginal note on the
sentence: "thou hast promysed forgyveness," . . . "repentance beste
penance." This was a sort of family common-place book. Inside the
cover Prince Edward (afterward Edward VI.) writes: "I will yf you
will." The volume, which contains other matter of great historical
value, appears to have been given by Henry VIII. shortly before his
death to his daughter Mary; for on a small piece of vellum inside the
cover he has written: "Myne owne good daughter I pray you remember me
most hartely when you in your prayere do shew for grace to be attayned
assurydly to yr lovyng fader Henry R." The Princess subsequently gave
it to her stepmother, Catherine Parr, and it has a motto and signature
of that lady's second husband, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, the Admiral.

The old king, we observe, grew rather nervous about the future just at
the last, and he at all events admitted that there was room for

A companion volume and monument was the copy of the Sarum _Horæ_ of
1520, printed on vellum, in the second portion of the Ashburnham sale.
This precious book belonged to the Parr family, including the mother
of Queen Katherine Parr, and at any rate contained an inscription in
the hand of the Queen's brother, and of those of members of the Carew,
Vaux, Tailboys, Nevill, and other families, besides being in beautiful
condition; and the same library yielded a second copy of _Hours_,
1512, which had passed through the hands of Henry VIII. himself, as
attested in one place by his autograph memorandum: "Pray yow pray for
me your loving cousin Henry Rex." Such relics appear to bring back
before us the dead players on the human stage, divested of all but
their more redeeming characteristics.

In the British Museum we have the _Great Bible_ of 1540 on vellum,
which enters into the present category by reason of its association
with the same prince, though in a different way. On the reverse of the
fly-leaf occurs: "This Booke is presented vnto your most excellent
highnesse by youre loving, faithfull, and obedient subiect and daylye
Oratour, Anthonye Marler, of London, Haberdassher." Truly a gift
worthy of a king; and there it remains, a precious link with the past
and a splendid memorial of the citizen of London who laid it at his
sovereign's feet.

Propriety and sympathy of costume go very far indeed to establish and
augment the estimation of printed volumes with manuscript tokens of
former proprietorship. The collector who chooses this field of
activity has to weigh the correlation and harmony between the volume
itself and the individual or individuals to whom it once appertained.
We have usually to content ourselves with the interest resident in an
autograph, with or without further particulars; it is a book, perhaps,
which formed part of the library of a distinguished Elizabethan or
Jacobean writer or public character; but, if it were not, its worth
might be nominal. Again, the book is possibly one of great value, and
exhibits an early autograph and MSS. notes; it would be better without
them. Find the copy of _Venus and Adonis_, 1593, given by Shakespeare
to Lord Southampton, the poet's copy of the _Faëry Queen_, 1590-96,
Sir Fulke Greville's copy of Sydney's _Arcadia_, 1590, or a book of
Voyages belonging to Drake or Raleigh, and it is worth a library, and
a good one too. The nearest approach we have yet made to this kind of
combination is the first folio Montaigne and the original edition of
Lord Brooke's works, 1633, with the signature of Jonson, and the
Spenser of 1679 with the notes of Dryden, unless the _Paradise Lost_,
1667, with Milton's presentation to a bookbinder at Worcester be

We must not omit in the present connection the copy of the prose
story-book of _Howleglas_, given in 1578 with others by Edmund Spenser
to Gabriel Harvey. But an almost equally covetable possession was the
copy just referred to of Milton's _Paradise Lost_, 1667, which
occurred only the other day at a sale, where it was, as too often
happens, mis-described, and brought £70. It bore on a small slip
inlaid in a fly-leaf: "For my loving ffreind, Mr. Francis Rea, Booke
binder in Worcester these," and on another piece of paper: "Presented
me by the Author to whom I gave two doubl sovereigns" = £4, nearly as
much as the poet had for the copyright. The story of the book is
unknown to us; it seems eminently likely that the first memorandum was
written by Milton; but whether it belonged to a wrapper forwarding the
gift, or to a letter accompanying it, is problematical.

Rea of Worcester must be the same individual who is described as
having re-bound in June 1660 the Jolley and Ashburnham copy of
Higden's _Polychronicon_, printed by Caxton, 1482; but there an
earlier owner, Richard Furney, calls him "one Rede of Worcester."

At Trinity, Cambridge, there is the edition of Spenser, 1679, with a
memorandum on the fly-leaf by Jacob Tonson, testifying to the MSS.
notes in the book being by Dryden, and at Wootton formerly was the
_Faëry Queen_, 1596, John Evelyn's cypher in gold down the back of the
cover and seventeen lines in his autograph on the fly-leaf.

Among our dramatists, Ben Jonson is conspicuous by the number of
copies of his own performances which he presented to royal and noble
personages or to private friends. Of three gift-copies of his
_Volpone_, 1607, one has an inscription to John Florio, the other to
Henry Lambton of Lambton. The almost unique large-paper one of
_Sejanus_, 1605, in the Huth Collection, was given to the poet's
"perfect friend," Francis Crane. In the Museum are the _Masque of
Queens_ and the _Masque of Blackness and Beauty_ offered to the queen
of James I. But of Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, and many
others, we have not a single memorial of this kind. Of Massinger there
is one: the copy of his _Duke of Milan_, 1623, received from him by
Sir F. Foljambe. In the case of Taylor the water-poet, the nearest
approach to anything of the sort is the MS. note of the recipient of a
copy of his Works, 1630.

Of two equally prominent poets of the same epoch, Daniel and Drayton,
the latter seems to have had a partiality for inscribing his autograph
in presentation copies of his books, while of Daniel in this way we do
not recollect to have met with a single example.

Very engaging, on account of its manly and cordial tone, is the
autograph epistle by Sir Richard Fanshawe accompanying an extant copy
of his translation of Guarini's _Faithful Shepherd_, 1648. The whole
production may be seen in the Huth Catalogue (p. 633), where we
inserted it as a favourable sample of this kind of poetry or verse.
The lines are headed: "To my deare friend Mr. Tho. Brooke with Pastor
Fido before an entended voyage," and commence:--

    "This to the man I most affect I send,
     The faithfull Shepherd to as true a friend.
     There on each page thou'lt tenderest passion see,
     But none more tender than my own for thee."

The volume belongs to the series of memorials, which we possess in not
too ample abundance, of the regard entertained by men of letters of
former days for each other, or for their intimates, and ranks with the
priceless copies of his own books presented by Jonson to some of his
distinguished contemporaries. If he, or any one else, made gifts of
such things to the greatest of them all, every trace of such an
incident has apparently disappeared.

Rarity of occurrence is not by any means an imperative feature in
influencing or determining the value of inscriptions. No examples are
probably more abundant than the books of Izaak Walton, either with an
ordinary note of presentation, or with MSS. notes in the writer's
hand, if not with both; yet they invariably command a liberal price
from the admission of Walton by common acknowledgment into the select
circle of literary men, whose works we love for the sake of the

The following inscription in contemporary MS. occurs on the reverse of
the Old Testament title to a Cranmer's Bible of 1540: "Thys byble ys
John Crogdens, Cytyzen and merchant taylor of London, dwellynge in
Wattlynge Street at y^e syne of Y^e Whyte Horse, 1550."

Occasionally more or less curious personal traits or family clues are
yielded by the memoranda on fly-leaves. A Latin Testament of 1563
bears: "e libris Thomæ Northcote e dono Joh. Rolle Armig. de
Stephenstone in agro Devoniensi;" a copy of Jewell's Sermons, 1583,
has "John Willoughby, 1591," and "Amor vincit omnia." In the Savile
copy of Sir Thomas More's Works, 1557, we read: "de dono H. Savile
anno 1600; found by Mary Savile, Dec. 12, 1635, amongst other books at
Metheby: for my daughter Mary Savile."

If the reader will cross over with us into Scotland for a moment or
so, we will introduce him to a very interesting relic in the shape of
a Latin Aristotle of 1526, in which a Cistercian monk of Kinloss
Abbey, Andrew Langland, has enshrined two metrical compositions from
his own pen; an epitaph on the Regent Murray, and an epistle to
Joannes Ferrerius, Professor at Kinloss, 1542, and continuator of
Hector Boece. The epitaph is dialogue-wise between the Bishop of
Orkney, who was absent from the funeral, and Ferrerius, who attended

At the sale of the library of the Duke of Leeds, a large-paper copy of
Wycherley's _Miscellany Poems_, 1704, apparently given by the poet to
Lord Treasurer Danby, produced the outrageous price of £46. A far
more interesting example was that which he presented to Mistress Mary
Twysden, as noticed in the _Bibliographer_. A more important souvenir
was the Latin Testament given by Pope to Bolingbroke in 1728
(Christie's, April 3, 1895, No. 339); and a yet stronger sympathy must
be felt with the Juvenal and Persius, 8vo, Amsterdam, 1684, which once
belonged to T. Killigrew, and subsequently to Pope, whose English
version occupies the interleaves, if the description given by Wake of
Derby be correct, as the book itself we have not seen.

We approach a different class of consideration when we leave behind us
the more or less factitious and artificial attractions of early
bindings and autograph memoranda, and pass to books which owe their
extrinsic interest to a mere signature, as in the case of the copy of
Florio's _Montaigne_, 1603, which belonged to Shakespeare, and
possesses his autograph on the fly-leaf, and of which the
_provenance_, as stated by Madden in his pamphlet, 1838, favours the
authenticity; and again, in that of Mr. Collier's copy of Drayton's
_Shepheard's Garland_, 1593, which bears on the title-page the
signature of Robert, Earl of Essex.

There quite casually fell into our own hands a copy of one of
Archbishop Usher's books, a stray from Manchester, with "Humfrey
Chetham's Booke, 1644," on fly-leaf, and with it came a MS. on vellum,
also formerly Chetham's, of the _Stimulus Conscientiæ_ in English
verse. They long lay in a garret at Pennington Hall, Leigh,
Lancashire, the seat of the Hiltons, with whom Chetham was intimate,
if not connected.

We meet with a surprise now and then, as when such a work as the
English _Reynard the Fox_ of 1681-84 carries on its face a proof of
the prior ownership of Beau Nash: "Rich. Nash Arm. Bathoniæ, 1761,"
but it is quite natural to find the autograph of Sir Joshua Reynolds
accompanying a series of French plates illustrative of the _Odyssey_,

In old books, and in new ones too, there are inscriptions and
inscriptions. We are all familiar with the scrawl of the clown, who
has handed down to us his unconsecrated name on the title-page or
fly-leaf of some volume of ours otherwise irreproachable. Just a step
above him is your fellow who writes some objurgatory _caveat_ against
the malappropriator, and brings the Almighty without scruple into the
witness-box, in case any varlet should make free with his property:--

    "Hic liber est meus,
     Testis est Deus;
     Si quis me quærit,
     Hic nomen erit."

    "Will. Morsse, 1678."

Of the whimsical entries in old English books the diversity is
endless. On the fly-leaf of a copy of Roger Edgworth's _Sermons_, 4to,
1557, occurs: "Bryen O'rourke his hand and writting by fore God and
man." A singular application of the Holy Scriptures presents itself in
a couple of _IOU_'s written by James Haig of Prettisides in Longwood,
co. Wilts, on the back of the title to a New Testament of 1584. There
is a curious, almost pathetic form of this habit of writing in books,
practised from very early days down to our own, when we may easily
remember how Lamb and Coleridge used to fill the blank leaves of a
work of common interest, as it kept passing to and fro like a
messenger, till the worth of the manuscript matter left that of the
printed far behind indeed. In a mild kind of way this sort of thing
was already going on in the sixteenth century. A copy of the English
version of the _Paraphrase_ of Erasmus on the New Testament, 1548,
passes similarly between two Tudor-period intimates, and there is
this: "Mr. Dunes, I woulde wish you to peruse V. chapter of Marke, and
there you shall finde great comforte to your soules health. Thus fare
you well in the Lorde. Wyllyam Byrde."

In the copy of Shakespeare's _Passionate Pilgrim_, 1599, bound up with
an early edition of _Venus and Adonis_, a former owner represents with
perfect justice, that although he gave three-halfpence for the two
volumes in one, a corner of a leaf was defective; and there has been
furthermore a profound arithmetical computation that if this gentleman
and his heirs or assigns had invested the amount in good securities,
the capital at this moment would have reached the vicinity of £1000.
In a copy of Stow's _Survey_, 1633, which once belonged to Sir Thomas
Davies, Lord Mayor of London in 1676, we encounter a memorandum on the
fly-leaf: "I pray, put in the loose leaues Carefully. John Meriton.
For Mr. Richardson, bookbinder in Scalding Alley." Richardson bound
for Pepys. In an odd volume of _Sandford and Merton_, which fell in
Dr. Burney's way, and which he gave to his daughter--Johnson's "little
Burney"--he wrote:--

    "See, see, my dear Fan,
     Here comes, spick and span,
     Little Sandford and Merton,
     Without stain or dirt on;
     'Tis volume the second,
     Than the first better reckoned;
     Pray read it with glee,
     And remember C. B.

    "April 18, 1786."

Beauty has been said to depend on Variety, and so we ought not to
object to examples selected from widely different sources.


_From the original Water-colour Drawing by Thomas Rowlandson,
in possession of Messrs Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London_]

Horace's _multa renascentur_ comes into our mind when we stumble on a
remark by Wodhull the collector in an _Acta Apostolorum_ printed at
Oxford in 1715: "In May, 1810, Mr. Leigh, auctioneer, told me that a
copy of this edition had lately sold for £20, observing, 'these are
the times to sell books, not to buy them.'" A more notable man,
William Beckford, appears in a copy of the original French _Vathek_,
1787, as the second person of the drama by reason of the written
matter referring to him, and being in the hand of M. Chavannes of
Lausanne. The note occupies the whole of the available space on the
title, and is as follows:--"A la demande de M. Beckford je me suis
chargé de corriger son Manuscrit et de le faire imprimer à Lausanne.
M. Beckford en quittant Lausanne se hata de le faire imprimer à Paris
au Prejudice de l'Imprimeur de Lausanne, et je dus menacer M. Beckford
de mettre dans les papiers son infidelité . . . et M. B. se hata de
dedomager l'Imprimeur pour éviter la publicité."

So far as books with the autographs and MSS. notes of men of the
modern school, such as Byron, Coleridge, Lamb, and Shelley, are
concerned, the opportunities for securing specimens have certainly
grown more numerous. We have already in the places specified above
furnished many illustrations of this section, and they might be
readily extended.

In the foreign department there is a perfectly inexhaustible store of
material under a variety of heads: evidences of ownership and descent,
biographical suggestions, historical links and side-lights, dated
armorial _ex libris_. In 1869 the author met with a thick 4to volume,
including the Cologne edition of the _Legenda Sancti Albani Martyris_,
printed about 1475, on the fly-leaf or cover of which was a list of
contents made in 1475; and in the Hopetoun copy of the _Ethica_ of
Aristotle the original owner had established the place of printing,
otherwise unspecified, by a MS. note, dated 1469, in which he stated
that the book was presented to him by its typographer, "Johannes
Mentelin Argentin."

In a copy of the works of Petrarch in Latin, folio, 1501, occurs on
the title: "Liber Antonij kressen juris vtriusq. doctoris emptus
venecijs ligatus nurenberge Mcccccv;" and the noble old volume (now in
the British Museum) is accompanied by a memoir of Kressen, printed
about 1600, of uniform size, with a splendid portrait of the
interesting Nüremberger.

A copy of the Vulgate of 1484 commands attention from the presence of
a coeval MS. note pasted on the first leaf: "Hec Biblia est Petri
Dominici Boninsegnis qui a fratre Cosmo empta fuit Anno MCCCCLXXXU.
xviii. die Februarii." A Latin _Horæ_ of the fifteenth century
contains on a fly-leaf the ensuing little family story: "Ces Heures
apartiennent a Damoyselle Michelle Du Derè Femme de M. Loys Dorleans
Advocat en la Court du Parlement et lesquelles luy sont echeués par la
succession de feu son père M. Jehan Duderè Conseiller du Roy &
Auditeur en sa chambre des comptes 1577. Amour & Humilité sont les
deux liens de nostre mariage." A St. Jerome's _Epistolæ_, printed at
Mainz about 1470, is accompanied by the dated book-plate, 1595, of
Christophorus Baro à Wolckhenstain.

In the French series the number of interesting items from a personal
or historical point of view, if not both, is of course great,
although, as a rule, French collectors have been rather sparing as
annotators of their literary possessions. In a copy of De Bure's Sale
Catalogue, 1786, now in the Huth Library, occurs a peculiarly striking
exception, however, in the shape of a MS. note in the handwriting of
Louis XVI., only three years prior to the fall of the Bastille,
"Marquer les livres que je desire pour moi."

In the Duke of Sussex's Library was a New Testament in French
presented by Josephine before her second marriage to Napoleon. She had
inscribed on the spare leaf preceding title: "Au General Bonaparte ce
Testament Lutherain est presenté de part la veuve Beauharnois," and
below occurs in the illustrious recipient's hand, _Buonaparte_. An
association fully as historically and personally significant
appertains to the Voltaire's _Henriade_, 1770, in one of the volumes
of which the to-be Empress writes: "Donné part Madame la Viscontesse
de Beauharnois: pensez à elle, aimez-la, n'oubliez jamais qu'elle est
vôtre amie la plus attachée." Was this an oblation at the same shrine?
But this is a slight digression, warranted by the twofold circumstance
that all these examples have belonged to English collectors, and are
of a class quite as interesting to us as to those with whom they are
more immediately associated by origin. The same may perhaps be said of
the MS. sold in London in 1899, formerly belonging to two persons so
widely different as Marie Antoinette and Robespierre, of the latter of
whom it possessed the autograph. The interest seemed to centre in the
signature of the Revolutionary leader.

The interest and respect with which the presence of handwriting in
books is regarded are indefinitely varied. But the preponderance of
worshippers is no doubt on the side of those who have shone in the
_belles lettres_ and in society. Sovereigns, unless it be Frederic the
Great or Napoleon, Mary of Scotland or Marie Antoinette, generals,
politicians, professional men, do not go for much. The competition is
for the poet, the novelist, the newsmonger, or some _enfant terrible_,
whose autograph is rare to excess. To be on thoroughly good posthumous
terms with collectors, one has no need to have been respectable,
sober, benevolent, or pious; these are rather in the nature of
draw-backs; but one must have possessed a strong personality. That is
the secret. Personality. Schedule the illustrious of the past on this
guiding principle, and you cannot err. Men and women without
infirmities, without vices, why, ask any dealer of repute and
experience, and he will tell you that there is no call for their
signatures or for their correspondence. They have too much character
in one sense and too little in another. An autograph of Dick Turpin or
Claud Du Val would be worth a dozen of Archdeacon Paley or even of
Archbishop Tillotson.

The autograph collector certainly forms a separate _genus_. He does
not buy books. He does not affect MSS. where they exceed the limits of
a fly-leaf or title-page entry. We are accustomed to criticise Master
John Bagford unkindly because he stripped the volumes of their titles
and then cast them away. But he lived a long while ago, when the value
and rarity of many of these things were not so generally understood,
and there were not customers all over the Old and New Worlds as many
as one can tell on one's fingers to take an early book, if it was
offered to them. Even now it not seldom happens that an exceedingly
interesting signature or note accompanies an item worth only so much
per lb., and your connoisseur in the autograph surrenders all but his
portion to its destiny. Who can gainsay him? He shrugs his shoulders;
he is no bookworm; he wants autographs alone.

Exceptions to the governing principle arise, however, and sometimes
they are recognised, sometimes not. The most beautiful examples for
internal condition, binding, even intrinsic interest, are occasionally
sacrificed to this Procrustes--this case-hardened Bagford of our own
day. Not so long since we remarked as a treasure beyond our purse a
copy of Donne's _Sermons_, with a brilliant portrait of the author,
and a long inscription by Izaak Walton presenting the volume to his
aunt. It was in the pristine English calf binding, as clean as when it
left Walton's hands _en route_ for his kinswoman, and such a
delightful signature. What has become of it? It is sad even to commit
to paper the story--one among many. An American gentleman acquired it,
tore the portrait and leaf of inscription out, and threw the rest
away! Why, forsooth, should he keep a folio volume against his
inclination? He left that to whomsoever it might chance to fall--a
mangled corpse!

It is not peremptorily necessary, however, that there should be
witness in black on white to the prior holder of a literary _bijou_;
for the external evidence may prove abundantly adequate to the
satisfaction of the most sceptical. A binding is quite capable of
serving as a voucher and guarantee for the _provenance_ of a printed
book or manuscript, provided that all the links in the chain are
sound. The Prayer-Book of Queen Henrietta Maria, the _Fables_ of La
Fontaine with the arms of Marie Antoinette as Dauphine, an
unquestioned Grolier or Maioli, and still more such a bibliographical
phoenix as that volume bound in gold of Lady Elizabeth Tyrrwhit's
_Prayers_, formerly belonging to Queen Elizabeth, which the late Sir
Wollaston Franks purchased at an incredible price and presented to the
British Museum--these, and many more, speak for themselves. Yet where
a royal or noble personage is not in the case, when it is only some
Shakespeare or some Milton who is concerned, let us preferably have
the written internal passport. We would barter all the books which we
have indicated for the Florio's _Montaigne_ with the poet's signature
on the fly-leaf, albeit it is in no better a covering than its
Shakespearian jacket of shabby old calf.

More than one volume in the earlier range depends very
disproportionately for its interest on the preliminary matter in the
form of a Preface or Dedication. In _Prefaces, Dedications, Epistles_,
1874, the writer drew attention to this point, and furnished a
considerable series of such _prolegomena_ in illustration of the
fact. But there are cases, of course, where the inscription is of a
piece with the book, as in Davenant's _Madagascar_, 1638, where the
poet wrote and printed on the leaf following the title: "If these
Poems live, may their Memories, by whom they were cherish'd, _End.
Porter, H. Jarmyn_, live with them."

The Imprimatur, or License to the Printer, occasionally supplies a
curious literary or biographical side-light. That to Davenant's play
of the _Witts_, 1636, runs: "This Play, called the WITTS, as it was
Acted without offence, may be Printed, not otherwise, 19 Ianuary,
1635. Henry Herbert;" and before Blount's _Jocular Tenures_, 1679, we
find: "I well knowing the Learning and industry of the Author, do
allow the Printing of this Book. Fra. North." Once more there is Sir
Isaac Newton's _Principia_, 1687, with "Imprimatur. S. Pepys."


     Materials on which books are printed--Early popular works printed
     on vellum--The _edition de luxe_ again--Binding of
     books--Earliest method and style--Printers who were also
     binders--Superiority of morocco to russia and calf--Influence of
     climate and atmosphere on bindings--Character of old English
     bindings--Charm of a Caxton or other precious volume in the
     original covers--A first folio Shakespeare in old calf--Our
     latter-day literature compared with the old--Splendour of the
     liveries of books in the libraries of France under the ancient
     régime--Disappointment at the interiors of well-bound volumes
     explained--The author plays a subordinate part--The Parisian
     book-binding Code--The difference between the French and
     ourselves--The original publisher's boards--The Frenchman's
     _maroquin rouge_--A suggestion to collectors--Bibliographical
     _simulacra_--Do not touch!--Sentiment finds a place in England in
     regard to the treatment of old books--Thoughts which a book may

IT may be necessary to introduce a few words about the material on
which the Printed Book has at various times been brought before its
readers, or at least its purchasers. The oldest European fabrics
employed for books of this class (not MSS.) were paper and parchment,
the latter very often prepared with very slight care, but the former
of remarkable strength and durability. The cost must have been at
first very onerous; but impressions of ancient volumes were usually
limited. By degrees, fine vellum, alike conspicuous for its delicacy
of quality and beauty of tone, was introduced, and became fashionable
among the patrons of literature in Italy and elsewhere during the
Renaissance. No such luxurious mode of presenting the type and giving
full effect to the work of the illuminator, which so constantly formed
a feature and a charm in the productions of the presses of the
Continent of Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries has ever
since been found possible. It is rather singular that not merely
classical authors and other _editiones principes_ received this
sumptuous treatment, but even such books as grammars and theological
treatises. A copy of the _Grammatica_ of Alexander Gallus (or _De
Villâ Dei_) was lately offered for sale by auction, and realised £23;
it was printed on vellum of excellent character and colour about 1480.

A visit to the galleries where the show-cases are ranged at the
British Museum in intelligible order, is by no means the worst method
of arriving at an introductory or general acquaintance with this
aspect of the matter. For there examples of printing on parchment or
vellum in all countries from the earliest period are conveniently
grouped together. The National Library is fairly rich in treasures of
the present class, partly owing to the two facts, that it has
inherited a good deal from the old royal collections and the Grenville
one, and that it was already in the field when prices were more
consistent with the financial resources of the institution. Among the
productions on vellum here to be found are the Gutenberg, and Fust
and Schoeffer, Bibles (1455-62); the Psalters of 1457 and 1459; the
Cicero of 1465; the Livy of 1469; the _Book of St. Albans_, 1486; one
of the two known Caxtons on vellum (the _Speculum Vitæ Christi_,
bought of Mr. Maskell in 1864); the Sarum Missals of 1492 and 1497;
the Great Bible of 1540; and the Works of Aquinas, in seventeen folio
volumes, formerly belonging to Pope Pius V. and Philip III. of Spain.
A curious episode is connected with the last item. In the time of
Panizzi the copy was offered for sale, and the Museum commission
(£300, we believe) was topped; but the book occurred again, and was
acquired by Coventry Patmore, who presented it to the establishment,
where he had for many years been an officer.

On the whole, there is no doubt that the English, and much more the
Scotish, printers employed this costly and durable substance far more
sparingly than those of the Continent. Of many no specimens whatever
have descended to us; and the circumstances render it improbable that
we shall hereafter add sensibly to our stores in this direction. In
the case even of the Romish service-books, printed on paper, it is a
matter of common knowledge among book-lovers that the _Canon Missæ_,
which was subject to exceptional wear and tear, is usually on vellum.

In our own language, works which we are accustomed to view as
essentially popular were occasionally struck off (in a few copies, no
doubt) on parchment. There is the edition of _Helyas, Knight of the
Swan_, printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 1512, of which only one copy
remains, and the metrical version of the _Ship of Fools_, from the
same press, 1509, of which an unique copy is in the National French
library. Let us recollect, too, the Scotish Boece of 1536, the Great
Bible of 1539, and the Tudor Prayer-Book of 1544.

Except paper, parchment (called in some old documents _parthemen_),
and vellum, there are no substances which can be said to boast any
degree of antiquity, so far as European literature is concerned. We
have, as is sufficiently well known, many others of comparatively
modern introduction, which tend to impart to the editions or specimens
for which they are employed a special value and curiosity. Such are:
(1) Whatman's hand-made paper; (2) Dutch paper (_papier de Hollande_),
of which there are cheap and worthless imitations; (3) China paper;
(4) India paper; (5) Japanese (so-called) vellum; (6) tinted paper;
(7) writing paper; (8) motley paper or paper of different colours; (9)
silk; (10) satin.

The _edition de luxe_ has consumed in its time an enormous total of
some of these descriptions of receptacle for literary products. The
lovers of the Select in Books, who more commonly regard their
possessions as _vertu_ rather than as vehicles of instruction or
amusement, not unnaturally prefer something which the ordinary
purchaser cannot procure, or at any rate does not seek. The fancy
appears to be, for the most part, worse than futile, unless it is that
books with engravings sometimes gain by being taken off on one or
another of these materials; although in practice illustrations are
found to be just as apt to come out well on ordinary paper of good
quality as on spurious vellum. It was not unusual in the last century,
in Mexico and in South America, to print on silk even ordinary works;
it may have been possibly found cheaper than paper. Satin is purely

Certain books occur of various dates, such as the _Livre de Quatre
Couleurs_, printed on paper of various shades or colours, either for
some passing reason or as a mere matter of fancy. A modern jest-book
appeared not long since, harmoniously executed on motley paper in a
motley binding--a humorous conceit!

It is sufficiently remarkable that neither the Printing nor the
Book-binding industries ever erected themselves into societies or
guilds, as did the representatives of so many trades far less
important in the nature as well as the influence of their products.
All the early typographers, at all events from the sixteenth century,
were members of the Stationers' Company, and the investiture of books
in liveries of different kinds became the function of an unprivileged
and unchartered body, of which our knowledge is on that account even
more limited and imperfect than it would otherwise have been. It is
only through occasional and casual notices in correspondence or
diaries that we hear of those who bound volumes for the older
collectors, and we have to wait till we come down to the Harleian
era, before we find artificers of this class in possession of a
recognised calling and competent staff. Three employments, which have
long been independent and distinct, those of the printer, stationer,
and binder, were therefore at first and during a prolonged period in
the same hands and under the same roof.

Anterior to the introduction of printed books, the literary product or
record was either rolled up (_volutus_) or stitched, with or without a
wrapper; and hence, when there were no volumes in the more modern
acceptation in existence, there were rolls. We do not agree with the
editor of Aubrey's _Letters_, &c., 1813, where, in a note to a letter
from Thomas Baker to Hearne, he (the editor) remarks that the term
_explicitus_ was applied to the completion of the process of unfolding
a roll: it always signified the termination of the labour of the
scribe, and even in early printed books occurs in the form _explicit_
to convey the same idea on the part of the printer.

The most ancient binders were the monks, who stitched together their
own compositions or transcripts, or, when the volume was more
substantial, encased it in oaken boards, which a subsequent hand often
improved and preserved by a coat of leather. But laymen were
occasionally their own binders, as we perceive in the note to Warton's
Poetry,[3] where a "Life of Concubranus" in MS. is said to have been
bound by William Edis, afterward a monk at Burton-on-Trent, while he
was a student at Oxford in 1517.

At Durham and Winchester there were notable schools of art of the
present class in the Middle Ages, and specimens occasionally occur,
though rarely in good state. A very fine Winchester piece of work was
sold in 1898 among William Morris's books (No. 580), and all over the
country and abroad, even down to the present time, the inmates of
religious institutions occupy themselves with the same industry on a
less ambitious scale, and with infinitely less artistic and
picturesque results.

When Barclay wrote his English paraphrase of Brandt's _Stulltifera
Navis_ about 1508, it almost seems as if the type of connoisseur, who
understood the outside better than the interior of a book, was already
in evidence, for the writer says:--

    "Still am I busy bookes assembling,
     For to have plentie it is a pleasaunt thing
     In my concept, and to haue them ay in hand:
     But what they meane do I not vnderstand. . . .
     Lo in likewise of bookes I haue store,
     But fewe I reade, and fewer vnderstande,
     I folowe not their doctrine nor their lore,
     It is ynough to beare a booke in hande."

In Barclay's English _Ship of Fools_, 1509, it is stated that at that
time damask, satin, and velvet were employed as luxurious materials
for the covering of books, and it seems to have been usual to draw a
curtain before the case in which they were preserved. Showy or gay
bindings were approved, especially where the owner was not a reader,
but, to quote the Latin text, was "Viridi contentus tegmine libri."

The formation of Book-binding into a distinct employment and
organisation must have preceded any explicit evidence of the fact. The
gradual increase in the output of literature of all kinds from the
days of Elizabeth necessitated the surrender to an independent craft
of the envelopment of volumes in various liveries, more especially
when the French and Italians had set the fashion of elaborate
ornamental patterns and rich gilding. Already in the time of Edward
VI. the tariff chargeable for certain quasi-official publications,
such as the Bible and Book of Common Prayer, was fixed by Government,
and at a later date scales of prices for binding in different styles
or materials were periodically printed. That of 1646 is reprinted
entire in the _Antiquary_ for 1886.

The most usual styles were plain brown sheep or calf without any
lettering, a publisher's label inside the volume sometimes supplying
the latter deficiency, and communicating to a shelf of books an aspect
far from picturesque; but vellum or parchment of varying consistence
was also a favourite and inexpensive mode of covering the contents of
a library. Morocco and russia were later innovations, and the former
is not unusually found altogether free from decoration or gilding and
with a lettering, probably abbreviated and obscure, on the back. Very
sumptuous examples alike of calf and turkey leather binding
frequently present themselves, either executed for ordinary persons,
or without any note of the original owner; many are more or less
successful copies of Continental models, such as the Lyonnese calf,
the Grolier and Maioli pattern; but in general our ancestors seem to
have been satisfied with the paned sides and floriate back, unless
heraldic accessories intervened to usurp the space occupied by the
lateral ornament or (as in some of John Evelyn's or his sovereign's
books) a gilt ornamental cypher formed the dorsal embellishment.

A visit to some old church or parish, or even cathedral, library
nowadays may afford a notion of the external aspect of the early
book-closet of the English student or amateur. The glass case is
conspicuously absent; the shelf on which the volumes are ranged has to
our eyes a ragged, slatternly look; and nothing can well be more
opposite to modern taste. Yet the feeling for the printed matter
between the two covers or behind the paper label was more genuine, may
be, and more practical when a handful of volumes, reflecting the
personal predilections or requirements of the owner, gradually
accumulated, and the acquisition did not amount to a pursuit, much
less to a passion and a competitive race.

The professional binding of books in our country, whether they had
been actually produced here or had been purchased abroad, was at the
outset almost exclusively executed by printers, who must have had a
special department to carry out this branch of work. We hear of the
site of Dean Colet's original school having been a bookbinder's, and
of the teaching establishment occupying the upper part of the
building. The usual style of binding appears to have been the covering
of stamped leather, of which such a rich store of examples still
survives, and which was copied from the German and Low-Country models.
For weightier books oaken boards frequently served as a foundation, on
which the leather was laid. Our sovereigns and nobility employed
Pynson, Berthelet, Raynes, and other typographers to clothe the
volumes which formed their libraries, before the more luxurious and
splendid fashion was introduced of investing them in richly gilt calf
bindings, with or without armorial cognisances, and these were again
superseded by the adoption of the Continental taste for Levant morocco
(_maroquin de Constantinople_).

Down to the time of the earlier Stuarts the binding department more
than probably remained part of the printer's functions, and calf or
sheep was the usual material employed. Thomas Vautrollier, however,
the Elizabethan typographer, who carried on business in the Black
Friars, and who adopted the _Anchora Spei_ as a device on his
title-pages, seems to have occasionally bound copies of his own
publications in morocco with the same symbol on the covers in
gold--perhaps to order; and Lyonnese calf was another style in favour
at the same date. Some highly preserved specimens of the latter have
descended to us.

Another of the earlier essays in England in the direction of morocco
bindings appears to have had in view as a model the Grolieresque style
of decoration. A copy of a Latin Bible printed at Venice in 1537, and
presented in 1563 by the Earl of Arundel to Sir William Petre, bears
the crest of the Fitzalans, a white horse, on sides enclosed in a
painted design, the compartments filled in with a dotted pattern. But
examples of the same or a similar class are by no means uncommon. A
copy of a very common volume, Knolles's _History of the Turks_, 1638,
was sold among the Morris books in 1898 at a high price on account of
the very charming red morocco binding, richly gilt, with the unusual
feature of side-panels filled in with dotted scrolls.

Early Continental collectors more usually than our own registered not
only the place and date of purchase on the fly-leaf or title-page, but
the circumstances attendant on the binding, as we find in the volume
of tracts elsewhere mentioned, put into their existing covers in 1469,
in the nearly coeval assemblage of tracts formed and bound by Udalric
Ellenbog in 1476, and in the Latin _Petrarch_ of 1501, bound for
Antonius Kressen of Nürnberg in 1505, now in the British Museum.

The middle-period schools of collectors and binders, who displayed a
preference for morocco over russia and calf, were assuredly wise in
their generation. Much of the russia has perished, or is perishing
fast, under a variety of deleterious agencies; and the more modern
calf, at least, does not bear its years well. But morocco, at first
more expensive, withstands infinitely better and longer the incidence
of social life. What noble sets of books, as well as single volumes,
have almost crumbled away in damp country-houses, sometimes relegated
to the garret or the stable by the intelligent and highly-educated
proprietors, while others have fallen a prey to gas and dust in town.
These sources of injury and natural ruin no material can of course
long resist; and, the foreigner often enjoying the advantage of a less
impure atmosphere, and not usually aiming at a larger collection than
may be necessary as chamber-furniture, his acquisitions are apt to
come down to us in a more contemporary state, although we grant that,
where certain postulates have been fulfilled, we have shown our
capability of presenting to a distant age an assemblage of the ancient
literature of our own and other countries as immaculate as when it
changed hands over the counter in Tudor or in Stuart times.

Binding and Bibliography, no less than literature, are in opposite
lobbies as regards the character of the objects which one sees
submitted to periodical competition. The taste in books has undergone
revolutionary changes; the volumes on which early owners lavished
extravagant sums have too often become _per se_ waste paper; and it
consequently happens that a catalogue devoted to an account of such
relics of the past has to register titles and names which play a
subordinate part in the matter, and are, as it were, merely useful as
a means of identification.

While a large number of splendid examples of binding in russia and
morocco have been produced in Great Britain, there has scarcely been
at any time a school of binding analogous to those which France, and
even Italy, have known, each with its distinctive and recognisable
characteristics; nor have we attained in the liveries of our books to
the same splendour and beauty of decoration, or to an equal degree of
historical or personal interest.

A large number of fine examples present themselves in our sale-rooms
here, formerly ornaments of some of the noble collections formed in
different parts of Germany; too often they show traces of neglect, yet
occasionally they have preserved their pristine beauty and freshness
almost unimpaired. They are, for the most part, of the very favourite
class, where the oaken boards constitute a receptacle or foundation
for an encasement of leather (frequently pigskin) stamped with some
beautiful historiette on either side, and carrying the date and other
particulars of origin and ownership. We meet with numerous specimens
from time to time of the libraries of the Electors of Saxony and
Bavaria in this picturesque and becoming raiment.

There should be by right, and with advantage, as distinct an
intellectual spirit or element of thought in the binding as in the
writing and printing of a book. A man who traces on the covers and
back of a volume lines, curves, circles, crescents, scrolls, and
other figures without harmony and without significance--in other
words, without _mind_ or _esprit_--is no true artist, but either an
unskilful copyist or a rude beginner. Different schools naturally
adopted new ideas of the beautiful or the elegant; some of our most
ancient patterns were scriptural or mathematical; the age ruled the
prevailing taste and fashion, and everything in and out of Nature has
had its turn and its day. Then, again, nationality goes for something:
the Frenchman is fond of his _lis_ and the Scot of his thistle.

Artistic and historical book-covers have more than a special and
technical importance, inasmuch as they contribute to enrich a pursuit
which might otherwise become more limited in its interest than it is.
For gay or splendid bindings assist in bringing the Book, manuscript
or printed, within the category of antiquities or curiosities, where
it awakens sentiments in the breasts of persons, neither literary nor
bibliographical in their tastes, akin to those which they entertain
for a specimen of old furniture or old porcelain; and so indeed we see
entire libraries, which are little more than assemblages of triumphs
of the binder's art and agreeable memorials of prior ownership. A once
rather famous emporium in Piccadilly was known as the Temple of
Leather and Literature, because the extrinsic was supposed to govern;
and the same point is illustrated by the enormous difference in
pecuniary value between copies of many old works in morocco and in
more humble garb. Here Dress makes the book no less than in the song
it is said to make the man. So it was with the three independent
libraries of _Mesdames de France_, daughters of Louis XV. Each of
these ladies had her favourite hue in morocco, with the royal arms on
the sides; for Madame Adelaide it was red, for Madame Sophie, citron,
and for Madame Victoire, green or olive. The ornamental details of
early bindings, especially those of Continental origin, embrace nearly
every section of natural history: beasts, birds, fishes, insects,
flowers, and fruit, and endless varieties of geometrical lines and
curves. A Spanish New Testament, printed at Venice in 1556, even
presented on its sides what were described in the Ashburnham Catalogue
as "richly gilt raindrops." Among flowers we most frequently meet with
the rose, the daisy, the lily, and the tulip.

Many varieties of form in connection with the gift of books to friends
or patrons formerly subsisted, apart from the autograph note inside
the volume. We have adverted to the Grolier group of bindings and
certain other allied types perhaps borrowed from Grolier, and the
practice was followed, though on a very limited scale, in England,
where the token in all cases was mainly confined to the title or
fly-leaf, and consequently enters into a distinct category. A very
unusual example of presentation occurs in a copy printed on vellum of
Voerthusius' _Consecrationis Augustæ Liber Unus_, printed at Antwerp
in 1563, where the centres of either side of the volume are occupied
by an inscription in gold letters to the Archbishop-Elector of

Of the Grolier examples which have descended to us--and possibly the
greater part has done so--we possess two or three types as regards the
mode of registering the proprietorship; the books occur with and
without the autograph: "Jo. Grolierij Lugdunensis: et Amicorum," which
generally occurs at the end, and with variant mottoes: "Portio mea
Domine sit in Terra Viventium," "Spes mea Dominus et verbo ejus fidem
habeo," and "Æque difficilior." He was a noble patron of learning, and
on the title of a volume on Music, printed in 1518, dedicated to him,
appear his arms and the motto, "Joannes Grolierius Musarum Cultor."

To the same school belongs the equally well-known Maioli, with the
similar method of establishing his claim: "Tho. Maioli et Amicorum;"
Cristoforo Beneo of Milan ("Questo libro e de Christophore Beneo de
Milano e soi Amize"); Antonio Maldonado, of whom a volume of Petrarch
has on the upper cover the name of the poet, and on the reverse, "D.
Antonio Maldonado," with a shield enclosing five fleurs-de-lis; and
Penelope Coleona, with flowering vases heightened in silver, and her
initials at the foot of the book.

This is, of course, a most fascinating and covetable class of
possession, and the difficulty of procuring genuine specimens of the
Henry Deux and Diane de Poitiers bindings, and of all the other
sumptuous and artistic productions of a like character belonging to
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, has naturally suggested to
certain ingenious persons the desirability of counterfeiting them. The
Maioli bindings have long been subject to this treatment and abuse;
but at present almost every other book which offers itself in a fine
state of preservation is suspicious from a wholesale system of
forgery, which has more or less recently been introduced with
considerable success, and culminated in an entire sale at a leading
auction-room of a library almost exclusively composed of such

Of the genuine old English bindings, the usual materials are vellum or
parchment and sheep or calf. All these may be, and in general are,
ostentatiously plain; but they are, on the contrary, susceptible of
being rendered in the highest degree ornamental. Nothing is more
agreeable to the eye, and even the touch, than an old book in
contemporary gilt calf, with arms on the sides, or in the original
vellum wrapper, or, again, in the plebeian _mutton_.

The two former modes of treatment may, as we have said, be developed
to any extent in the direction of tooling and gilding; the sheep has
to be left unadorned--_simplex munditiis_.

What can we desire more characteristic and harmonious than a Caxton,
uncut and in oaken boards, or even in a secondary vesture of vellum,
like the Holford copy of the _Life of Godfrey of Bouillon_? Or than a
volume of Elizabethan poetry or a first Walton's _Angler_, in the
primitive sheep, as clean as a new penny, like the Huth examples of
Turbervile, 1570, and Walton? The purest copy of the first folio
Shakespeare we ever saw was Miss Napier's, in the original calf, but
wanting the verses. It sold at the sale for £151, and subsequently for
over £400. There exist such things as Laneham's _Letter from
Kenilworth_, 1575, Spenser's _Faëry Queen_, 1590, Allot's _England's
Parnassus_, 1600, and Davison's _Poetical Rhapsody_, 1611, in the
pristine vellum wrappers; and one of the Bodleian copies of
Brathwaite's most rare _Good Wife_, 1618, is just as it was received
280 years since from the stationer who issued it. Would any one wish
to see these remains tricked out in the sprucest, or even the richest,
modern habiliments?

Among ourselves in these islands we commonly prize and preserve (even
in a leathern case) a highly preserved specimen of Tudor or Stuart
binding; and there are instances where to exchange the old coat for a
new one, however magnificent or (so to speak) appropriate, is not
merely sacrilege, but absolute surrender of value. A copy of the first
folio Shakespeare, of a Caxton, of Spenser's _Faëry Queen_, in
unblemished primitive clothing, could not be re-attired without making
the party convicted of the act liable to capital punishment without
benefit of clergy.

Besides the methods and kinds of binding above mentioned, there are
others of a metallic and a textile character. We find volumes clothed
in bronze, silver, silver-gilt, gold, and embroidered silks, the last
variety usually associated with the Nunnery of Little Gidding, without
absolute certainty of correctness so far as the claim set up on behalf
of that institution to be an exclusive source of such products goes.
Mr. Brassington has furnished in his well-known work examples of all
these more or less exceptional and luxurious liveries. In the most
precious metal the most celebrated specimen is the _Book of Prayers_
of Lady Elizabeth Tirrwhyt, 1574, formerly belonging to Queen
Elizabeth, and ascribed to the Edinburgh goldsmith, George Heriot.
Next in point of rarity to gold comes bronze; silver and silver-gilt
are comparatively frequent; and the embroidered style is only uncommon
where the execution and condition are unimpeachable, as in the case of
a few in our public libraries. The most ordinary books found within
embroidered covers are small editions of the Common Prayer and Psalms;
and they are almost invariably in a dilapidated state. Gilding books
was usually considered at a later epoch, at all events in France, part
of the business of a binder, and so perhaps it may have been in the
case of Dubuisson, who flourished about the middle of the last century
at Paris; yet we observe on his ticket attached to an exquisitely gilt
copy of an almanac for 1747, in red morocco of the period, simply
"Doré par Dubuisson," as if that portion or branch of the
work only had been his.

Some curious episodes have ere now occurred in connection with sets of
books, or even works in two or three volumes, in historical bindings,
or with a remarkable and interesting _provenance_ of another kind. It
was only at the sale of the last portion of the Ashburnham Library
(1898), No. 3574, that the third and fourth parts of Tasso, _Rime e
Prose_, 1589, bound together by Clovis Eve for Marie-Marguerite de
Valois Saint-Remy, was acquired by a French firm through Mr. Quaritch,
the purchaser having already secured at the Hamilton Palace sale the
first and second portions, also in one volume, in the same binding,
and the set still wants Parts v.-vi., so that it will demand a small
fortune to effect a perfect reunion.

It is hazardous to discount the durability and permanence of our best
modern bindings of English origin, and to answer our own question,
whether hereafter they will be appreciated in the same way as those of
the old masters here and abroad. Yet we think that we can offer a
valid and persuasive reason why we shall fall short of former ages in
this handicraft. The feudal conditions and atmosphere, which go far to
win our regard or arrest our attention in the case of the older
binders and their work, have vanished, and can never revive. It is
with the book from this point of view as it is from that of the
autograph inscription or signature; both are extensions of the owner's
personality; and what a personality it was! Those who follow us at a
distance may find reason to think and speak differently; but we can
at the present moment scarcely realise the possibility of our
latter-day literature acquiring a pedigree and an incrusted fragrance
such as belong to works, however dull and worthless in themselves,
from the libraries of Grolier, Maioli, De Thou, Peiresc, or Pompadour.
There is a sort of sensation of awe in taking up these volumes, as if
they had passed through some holy ordeal, as if they had been
canonised. It is not the piece of dressed leather with its decorative
adjuncts which casts its spell over us: it is the reputation of the
courtly patron of learning and art; of the statesman and soldier who
sought a diversion in the formation of a library from severer
employments; of the prince who loved to gather round him such
evidences of his taste, or to lay them at the feet of _a chère amie_;
of the licentious but superb Lady Marquise, who vied with her king in
the magnificence of her books, as she did with his consort in that of
her toilette--it is this which exercises upon our imagination its
ridiculous yet unalterable sway.

It is impossible to avoid the discovery, if we take for the first time
a survey of a library chiefly conspicuous for the splendour of its
bindings, how almost invariably we are disappointed by the contrast
between the exterior and the contents. It would probably be far from
easy to fill a small case with examples where a really valuable book
was enshrined in a covering of corresponding character. It is our
ordinary experience to meet with some obsolete nondescript classic, or
some defunct theological treatise of alike infinitesimal worth, in a
sumptuous morocco garb, bestowed on it by the author as a compliment
to his sovereign, or by the sovereign as an oblation to his mistress.
In those princely establishments for which such things were destined
and reserved, it was necessary that all the constituent features
should correspond in external grandeur, the costumes of the great
folks themselves, the furniture, the decorations, the equipages, the
dependents, the book-bindings.

The remarkable changes of taste in books cannot be more powerfully and
decisively exemplified than by the thousands of volumes which have
descended to us in all languages and many branches of literature in
liveries once only a subsidiary feature in the eyes of the possessors
or acquirers, and at present often the sole title to regard and the
sole object of competition. The work has become mere printed paper;
but it is perhaps not less covetable as a triumph of bibliopegistic
art, than as a memorial of the distinguished or interesting personages
through whose hands it has passed to our own. The book, alas! has
degenerated into a vehicle for external accessories. We are asked to
admire, not the quality of the text or the style of the writer, but
the beauty of the type, the splendour of the ink, and the elegance of
the initial letters, on the one hand; on the other, the excellence of
the leather, the brilliance of the gilding, the ingenuity and skill of
the design, and the curiosity of the _ex libris_. But this has to be
kept well in mind. It is the binding which constitutes the supreme
feature of importance and attraction. A second copy in shabby attire
may plead in vain its merits of production; but it fares as ill as a
person of the highest respectability who labours under the misfortune
of being badly dressed.

There is no point of distinction on the part of our own countrymen
more marked and enduring than the very qualified allegiance which they
give to the Parisian book-binding code. It is true enough that in
England we admire not merely the old French School, but the modern
one; but our loyalty and liking are by no means unreserved. A
Frenchman, in nine cases out of ten, will not, in the first place, buy
any book that was born out of France, any more than he will buy an
article of furniture or china, or a coin, emanating from a less
favoured soil; nor will he willingly acquire even a volume of native
origin in any state but the orthodox morocco; but his first impulse
and act, if he does so under protest, is to strip and re-clothe the
disreputable article, and have it put into habiliments worthy of the
_cabinet choisi_ of Monsieur.

Now, we have had, and no doubt have still, on this side of the Channel
certain heathens in the likeness of collectors who, no matter how
perfect and how fresh, and how suitable, the original jacket, commit
the heinous offence of following the Continental mode, and in such a
way thousands of lovely examples, transmitted to us as heirlooms from
our ancient families, have been sacrificed. But let us congratulate
ourselves that we have among us many who know better, who will not
even let the binder desecrate a faultless copy of Tennyson, Byron,
Shelley, or Keats in the publisher's boards.

This is, however, not exactly an analogy. The analogy arises and grows
possible when we compare such writers as Montaigne, Molière,
Corneille, or again, certain of the Elzevir series, with our
corresponding foremost names. If we meet with the latter in vellum or
in sheep, we only too gladly preserve them as we find them, provided
that the outward garb is irreproachable. Of how many gems do we not
know, in all the peerless glory of their pristine life, tenderly
ensconced in morocco envelopes. Let them never be acquainted with
another existence! Let no binder's unholy hand come near them! Let
them be exhibited as historical monuments.

On the other hand, if we could oblige Monsieur to comply with this
law, he would be _désolé_; for it is not the matter which
makes the book; it is the _maroquin rouge_.

Even in England, where we are more robust in our taste, the true
collector is not a reader. He may buy a cheap book now and then; but
he hands it to the cook when he has perused it. Such things are
outside his category; they are for those interesting creatures the
toiling million. His possessions or _desiderata_ are not vehicles of
instruction; they are far too valuable; they are objects of ocular and
sensuous indulgence equally with china, paintings, sculpture, and
coins. They are classable with bric-à-brac. You have an opportunity of
appreciating the quality of the paper or vellum, the type, and the
binding. The merits of the author are reserved.

It is better, if a gentleman leans a little to the practical side, and
chooses to admit literature for actual reading, to have two cases, one
for Books, the other for Bibliographical _Simulacra_. For it is not
for one till he has graduated to lay his prentice fingers on a tome in
the pristine _mutton_, or to endanger the maidenhood of a Clovis Eve,
a Padeloup, or a Derome, which you must handle as if it were the
choicest and daintiest proof medal or etching. Why, one has to bear in
mind that he is not dealing with a mere ordinary source of
intellectual gratification and improvement, but with a mechanical
product perfect in all its parts. Let him come gloved, and his friend
the owner will bless him.

Between a book bound in its original cloth or paper boards, and one in
its rich vesture of morocco or russia, there is a contrast similar to
that between a woodland and a park. In the one case, at a distance,
perhaps, of fifty or even a hundred years from the period of
publication, we hold in our hand a volume precisely in the state in
which it passed from that of the contemporary salesman to the
contemporary buyer; and not a stain nor a finger-mark save the
mellowing touch of time is upon it anywhere. Let us look at the
description in a sale catalogue of such a rarity as Lamb's _Poetry for
Children_, 1807, "in the original grey boards, with red labels," or a
copy of the first edition of Fielding's _Tom Jones_, absolutely uncut,
and in the bookseller's pristine covers, or, better still, of the
first part of the first edition of Spenser's _Faëry Queen_, 1590, in
the Elizabethan wrapper! It is not the mere circumstance, let it be
understood, of untrimmed edges which makes the charm; many a book or
pamphlet occurs as innocent of the binder's knife as the lamb unborn,
and highly desirable it is too; but to render an example of this class
complete, its authentic outward integument in blameless preservation
is as essential to its repute and its marketable worth as the presence
of the claws is held to be in the original valuation of a fur of fox
or beaver.

No educated eye can regard with indifference a more or less
interesting volume clothed in a becoming livery by an accomplished
artist either of other times or of these. If it is an ancient vesture,
with the credentials in the form of a coat of arms, an _ex libris_, or
a signature, or all of these, handed down with it to us, we appear to
be able to disregard time, and feel ourselves brought within touch of
the individual who owned it, of him who encased it in its lavishly
gilt leathern coat, and of the circle to which it was long a familiar
object, as it reposed unmolested in a corner of some _petite
bibliothèque_ or study during generations--if the subject of which it
treated had to be handled, a vicarious copy in working raiment doing
duty for it. For it is not a book in the ordinary acceptation of the
word; it is a _souvenir_ of the past, a message and a voice from
remote times, ever growing remoter, or an _objet de luxe_, a piece of
literary, or rather bibliographical, dandyism. In any case, its
identity is to be preserved and held sacred.


[3] Hazlitt's edition, 1871, iii. 193.


     English and other national binders--Anonymous bindings--List of
     binders--The Scotish School--Mr. Quaritch out-bidden--The vellum
     copy of Boece's _Chronicles of Scotland_--Most familiar names in
     England--Embroidered bindings ascribed to the Nuns of Little
     Gidding--Provincial binders--Edwards of Halifax--Fashion of
     edge-painting--Amateur binding--Forwarding and finishing--A
     Baronet-binder--French liveries for English books--Bedford's
     French style--Incongruity of the Parisian _goût_ with our
     literature--List of French binders--Ancient stamped leather
     bindings of Italy, Flanders, and Germany copied in
     France--Ludovicus Bloc of Bruges--Judocus de Lede--Rarity of
     early signed examples in France--André Boule (1508)--Enhancement
     of the estimation of old books in France by special bindings--The
     New Collector counselled and admonished--What he is to do, and
     where he is to go.

THE English School of Binding brings before us a roll of names borne
by artists of successive periods and of varying merit, from the last
quarter of the fifteenth century to the present time. That it is by no
means exhaustive is due to the circumstance that in the case of many
of the older, and some of the more recent, masters, there is no clue
to the origin in the shape of an external inscription on the cover, as
we find on foreign works, or in that of a ticket or a signature. As it
so frequently happens with old pictures, the style of a binder was
often, indeed generally, imitated by his pupils or successors, and we
are apt to mistake the original productions for the copies, unless we
engage in a very close study of minute details.

In the English, Scotish, and Irish series it is equally true that the
preponderance of bindings are unidentified. The monastic liveries, in
which so many venerable tomes have come down to us, were executed
within the walls of the buildings which held the books, and had
perhaps produced them; and analogously most of our early printers were
binders of their own stocks, as well as of any other works brought to
them. We may incidentally remind the reader that one practice on their
part was to utilise waste as end-papers or pasteboard, and to that
circumstance we are indebted for the recovery of numerous
typographical fragments belonging to publications not otherwise known.
That Pynson, Julian Notary, John Reynes, and others executed
book-binding outside their own productions seems to be proved by the
existence of much early literature of foreign origin with English
end-papers and covers. In fact, till the Stationers' Company made the
sale of books or printed matter a separate industry, the typographer
was his own binder and vendor.

The bibliopegist, as an independent artificer whom we are able to
identify, dates from the seventeenth century. We have already
mentioned Francis Rea or Read of Worcester as flourishing in 1660.
John Evelyn seems to have employed some one who executed good work in
morocco, and in better taste than that done for royalty at the same
period; yet we cannot be sure that he did not carry the books abroad
for the purpose. Pepys had in his service a binder named Richardson,
whom he mentions in the _Diary_, and who is otherwise known. A copy of
Stow's _Survey_, 1633, passed through his hands; it is in the original
calf; and he was merely engaged to repair it, as appears from a
memorandum inside the cover.

Of authentic names of later English binders, considering the
incalculable amount of work done, the number is extremely limited. If
we tabulate, we find only:--

Samuel Mearne.
    # Bookbinder to Charles II.
Elliot & Chapman.
    # The Harleian binders.
Robert Black.
    # About 1760.
Edwards of Halifax.
Richard and Mrs. Wier.
Roger Payne.
Roger Payne and R. Wier.
    # The binder of the Psalter
      of 1459, formerly in the
      Sykes collection, and
      bought by Quaritch at the
      Perkins sale for £4900.
Charles Hering.
H. Walther.
Fargher & Lindner.
H. Faulkner.
C. Kalthoeber.
Charles Lewis the Younger.
Charles the Younger.
J. Mackenzie.
C. Murton.
Charles Smith.
F. & T. Aitken.
J. Wright.
Hayday & Co.
J. Clarke.
Clarke & Bedford.
Francis Bedford.
Roger De Coverly.
Henderson & Bissett.
McLehose of Glasgow.
Robert Riviere.
    # The business is carried on by grandsons.
Cobden Sanderson.
R. Montague (1730-40).

This represents not only the entire assemblage and succession, so far
as England is concerned, but covers Scotland and Ireland; and several
of the names are obviously those of foreigners. The Scotish artists,
if, as there is no absolute reason to doubt, a large number of early
books were clothed on the spot, possessed much taste and originality,
and some of them have descended to us in a pristine state of
preservation with the lavish gilding as fresh and brilliant as when
they left the workshop. We may fairly consider, looking at the
intimate relationship between Scotland and France in former times,
that a certain proportion of volumes of Scotish origin were bound
abroad, just as Americans at present send over their books to England.
Coming down to more recent days, the two names chiefly associated with
Scotland are C. Murton and J. Mackenzie, neither of whom attained
special celebrity.

But it is to be more than suspected that all important work in this
direction was long executed out of Scotland--either in London or in
Paris. The time came, however, when the Scots acquired a school and
style of their own, and all that can be pleaded for it is, that it is
manneristic and peculiar. Of recent years heavy prices have been paid
for first-class examples, which are of unusual rarity. Messrs. Kerr &
Richardson, of Glasgow, bought over Mr. Quaritch at the Laing sale in
London at a preposterous figure (£295) a copy of one of Sir George
Mackenzie's legal works simply for the covers; it was offered by the
purchasers afterward to the underbidder, who quietly informed them
that he had come to his senses again.

There is no reason why the magnificent copy on vellum of Boece's
_Chronicles of Scotland_ (1536), which occurred at the Hamilton sale
in 1884, should not have received its clothing of oaken boards covered
with gilt calf at home.

The most familiar names to English ears are perhaps those of Roger
Payne, Charles Hering, C. Kalthoeber, Charles Lewis, Francis Bedford,
Robert Riviere, and Zaehnsdorf. The genuine Roger Paynes in good state
are very scarce and equally desirable. Hering excelled in russia and
half-binding. Lewis bound with equal excellence in brown calf and
Venetian morocco, and was largely employed by Heber. Bedford had two
or three periods, of which the last was, on the whole, the best; he
was famous for his brown calf, but made it too dark at first, instead
of allowing it to deepen in colour with time. Riviere could do good
work when he took pains; but he was unequal and uncertain.

Charles Lewis had been preceded by another person of his name, who is
noticed in Nichols's _Anecdotes_ (iii. 465) as dying in 1783, and as
of Chelsea. This personage was held in high esteem by his clients, and
was very intimate with Smollett the novelist, who is said to have had
Lewis in his mind, when he drew the character of Strap in _Roderick

Fashions in binding, which occupy a distinct position, are the
embroidered covers in gold, silver, and variegated threads, executed
both abroad and in England, and of which many examples are ascribed to
the Nuns of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire; and velvet, silk, and
metal bindings, which exist in sufficient abundance, and usually occur
with marks of original ownership, lending to them a special value.
Much depends in all these instances on the character of the work and
the preservation of the copy; and each book has to be judged on its
own merits. A considerable proportion of indifferent specimens are
constantly in the market.

The Little Gidding bindings are made additionally interesting by the
apparent connection between them and John Farrer of Little Gidding,
who had a principal hand in producing a volume on Virginia entitled
_Virgo Triumphans_, of which there were three issues, 1650-51, the
last of which has the map by Goddard in two states, one bearing the
inscription: _John Farrer, Esq., Collegit_. And the other: _Domina
Virginia Farrer Collegit_. It is highly probable that the material for
the book-covers worked by the Nunnery were obtained by the Farrers
direct from Virginia. But it may be well questioned whether the holy
ladies did more than the decorative and finishing stages.

The early provincial school of English binding is chiefly remarkable
for the productions of Edwards of Halifax, who, with his two sons,
James and Thomas, held a prominent rank in the book-trade at Halifax
and in London in the last and present century, and whose name is also
recognised as that of an enthusiastic amateur. It was at the sale of
the private library of James Edwards in 1815 that the celebrated
_Bedford Missal_ occurred. The bindings of Edwards present nothing
very extraordinary; but many of them have painted edges or sides,
sometimes executed with great care and skill. A copy of the _History
of Halifax_, with a view of the place thus given on the leaves, is a
favourable illustration of a practice which was formerly carried out
on an extensive scale, and of course with very unequal results. A
brisk demand arose a short time since for this branch of ingenuity;
but it has probably ere now subsided, having been in response to a
call for the artist by one or two collectors. Of course, the prices
advanced instantaneously to high-water mark, from the certainty that
the craze was ephemeral.

But the school of Edwards of Halifax probably borrowed the idea from
earlier men, who had occasionally decorated the edges of books in this
way, and we may instance Samuel Mearne, bookbinder to Charles II., by
whom a copy of North's _Plutarch_, 1657, was clothed in a richly gilt
morocco vesture, the leaves gilt and painted with flowers. Mearne also
introduced what is known as the cottage-roof pattern.

There are two fashions in the costlier department of binding which
have recommended themselves to adoption by some connoisseurs in this
country, and to which we do not find it easy to reconcile our taste:
the investiture of old English books in Parisian liveries and their
treatment by our own binders in the French style. Both courses of
proceeding strike us, we have to confess, as equally unsatisfactory.
There is an absence of harmony and accord between the book and its
cover, like dissonant notes in music. At the same time, Bedford was
fairly successful in copying the French manner for foreign works, and
his productions of this class are very numerous.

The practice of clothing English volumes in foreign liveries was
occasionally followed in early times. Messrs. Pearson & Co. bought at
Paris some years ago a lovely copy of Queen Elizabeth's Prayer-Book,
1590, in a richly gilt contemporary French, perhaps Lyonnese, calf
binding. The work was executed for an Englishman resident abroad, more
probably than for a local collector. But these instances are rare. One
of a different character occurred to our notice in a copy of Whitney's
_Choice of Emblems_, printed at Leyden in 1586, and still preserved in
the old Dutch boards--old, but not coeval.

Of amateur binding all countries have had their examples to show, and
here we do not intend the limitation of the artist to a particular
pattern and material chosen by his employer, such as the Hollis plain
red morocco, or the Duke of Roxburghe's half-morocco with marbled
paper sides for his old plays, but the conduct of the whole process
under the owner's roof, as in the case of Robert Southey, whose first
wife attired many of her husband's books in cotton raiment, and led
him to speak of them as his Cottonian library; or, nearer to us, in
that of Sir Edward Sullivan, who devotes himself to the finishing
stages of any volumes belonging to friends or otherwise, when the
article has been "forwarded" in an ordinary workshop. Sir Edward
tools, gilds, decorates, and letters, and subscribes or inscribes
himself _E. S. Aurifex_. Specimens of his handicraft occur fairly
often in the market; as to their merit, opinions differ. But after
all, there is a _soupçon_ of gratification in having a Baronet to your
binder; and we understand that Sir Edward is complaisant enough to
accept commissions outside his personal acquaintance.

A second essayist in the same way, who has become almost a member of
the vocation, is Cobden Sanderson, who bound several books of ordinary
character and moderate value for William Morris, and whose merit, if
the prices realised for the lots in the auction be any sort of a
criterion, must be extremely high. The present writer and many others
carefully examined the volumes, and failed to see any justification
for the enthusiasm awakened in at least two competitors.

Specimens occur also now and then in the market of the beautiful
morocco bindings executed by another and (as some think) superior
amateur, Mrs. Prideaux. A copy of Arnold's edition of Wordsworth's
_Select Poems_, 1893, bound by this lady in Levant morocco, with
elaborate gold tooling on back and sides--only one small octavo
volume--is priced in a catalogue of 1898 at £12, 12s.

The Parisian differs from us islanders in these particulars _toto
cælo_. There is an utter and hopeless incompatibility. His
predilection is for morocco _in genere_; he estimates it not only
above russia (_calf_ is hardly in his dictionary), but above even the
choicest vellum encasement to be procured or conceived; but on
_maroquin rouge dentellé_ or _aux petits fers_ from some
pre-revolutionary workshop he is hobbyhorsical to a pathetic extent.

The most celebrated French binders are carefully enumerated by the
latest authorities in their chronological order, but there is a
difficulty in respect to many of them analogous to that encountered by
the inquirer on English ground, since the names of several even of the
best period are unknown, and the productions are accordingly classable
only under their styles or their early owners.

A good deal of the finest French work is attributed to the two Eves,
whose _chefs d'oeuvre_ must, and can easily, be distinguished from
the tolerably frequent imitations put into the market from time to
time, some probably nearly coeval with the original examples. Prior to
the Eves, however, France had more or less skilful artists in this
line of industry. In the Frere sale at Sotheby's in 1896 occurred a
copy of Philelphus _De Liberorum Educatione_, printed by Gilles
Gourmont in 1508, in the original stamped leather covers, with the
name of André Boule on the sides. Under Francis I. we find the names
of Estienne Roffet, _dit le Faulcheur_, as "Relieur du Roy," and also
with that of Pignolet. The initials _G. G._ occur on a volume of 1523
in Messrs. Pearson & Co.'s catalogue, 1897-98, No. 679; they are
probably those of Gilles Gourmont above mentioned. In 1528, according
to his edition of _Meliadus de Leonnois_, Galliot du Pré was
sworn binder to the University of Paris. In the imprint of his edition
of _Lancelot du Lac_, Paris, 1533, Philippe le Noir describes himself
as one of the two sworn binders of the same University; and we gather
elsewhere that François Regnault was then the other.

When we reach the seventeenth century, greater facilities naturally
arise for identification of artists. One of the earliest directly
associated with his own labours was Le Gascon (1620-60), followed by
the Boyets (1650-1725), Louis de Bois (1725-28), Augustin du Seuil,
(1728-46), and Andreau (binder to the queen of Louis XV.). From the
commencing years of the eighteenth century, in addition to the binders
just enumerated, there is a fairly consecutive series, who worked for
the court and the public: Padeloup, the two Deromes, Douceur (who was
much employed by Madame de Pompadour), the two Bozérians, Le Monnier,
Tessier, Dubuisson (famous for his gilding), Simier, Thompson of
Paris, Capé, Duru, Chambolle, Lesne (who printed in 1827 a didactic
poem on his craft), Trautz, Bauzonnet, Marius-Michel, and Lortic.

Agreeably to the experience in every other department of skilled
labour connected with book-production, the French obeyed here the
early influence of Italian and German taste, and the germ was
Teutonic, as in Spain it was Moorish. The stamped leather bindings,
mainly common to Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, &c., were largely
copied in England for the royal and noble libraries of the Tudor era.
In some of those executed abroad, the artificer, as we have seen, was
accustomed to place his name or initials very conspicuously outside
the cover. Ludovicus or Lodewijk Bloc, for instance, who flourished at
Ghent or Bruges at the close of the fifteenth century, usually signs
and claims his work in an elaborate inscription. Two specimens bear:
_Ludovicus Bloc ob Amorem Christi librum hunc recté ligavi_. Jodocus
de Lede adopted a similar method of commemoration.

In the case of foreign books, especially those of French origin, the
presence of a pure and unblemished morocco binding by a recognised
artist, coupled with the armorial cognisance or _ex libris_ of some
famous amateur and the binder's ticket, which is equally _de rigueur_,
enhances the commercial importance of a volume or set of volumes
beyond calculation, and has its only analogue in the stupendous
figures paid for the Sèvres soft paste porcelain of the true epoch,
when all the necessary conditions are happily united and fulfilled.
Nothing is more striking than the immense disparity between a book in
the right sort of garniture and in the wrong one, or, again, in the
true covers with some ulterior sophistication in the shape of added
arms, restored joints, renovated gilding, and a hundred other
subtleties difficult to detect. The case is on all fours with a
specimen of unimpeachable Sèvres contrasted with another of which the
porcelain dates back beyond the painting and the gold. A French book
in old morocco by Derome, Le Gascon, or some other esteemed artist,
with its credentials and pedigree above suspicion, may fetch £50 or
double; the identical production in old calf or in modern morocco or
russia will not bring the price of the binding; all the magic is in
the leather and the ticket. It is not a literary object, but an
article of _vertu_. There is probably no description of Continental
books which has so greatly risen in value during the last thirty years
as the illustrated publications of the last century, provided always
that they conform to the very exacting requirements of a Parisian
exquisite. Above all, they must be of the statutory tallness and
breadth, and in the livery by bibliographical injunction and usage

No more impressive exemplification of the difference between a book or
set of books in the French series, in the _right_ and in the _wrong_
state, could be afforded or desired than the edition of Molière, 1773,
which in contemporary morocco may be worth £100, and in calf or any
other ordinary dress a five-pound note. But after all, a still more
signal case is that of Laborde's _Chansons mises en Musique_,
published in the same year, which, even in thoroughly preserved
contemporary calf, brings under the hammer in proof state nearly
£200, while in modern morocco it is rather dear at a quarter of that

The extreme rarity of pure and genuine specimens of the work of the
earliest foreign binders--nay, of our own--has naturally produced a
large inheritance of imitations of varied character and degree. There
is nothing to save the amateur from deception but the same kind of
training which qualifies collectors in other departments to
distinguish what is true from what is false. A man who proposes to
himself to make Bindings a speciality, cannot do better than graduate
by studying the most trustworthy and contemporary guides on the
subject in different literatures, and then we should send him on a
tour round the great public and private libraries of Great Britain and
the Continent. This, of course, applies only where the undertaker is
in thorough earnest, and wishes to spare himself a good deal of
expense and a good deal of mortification. Illustrated catalogues are
of very indifferent value, especially those of auctioneers, which too
often offer the result of sophistication so cleverly disguised that to
an inexperienced eye the repair is not palpable. If one goes in search
of _desiderata_ to the trade, let it be to the dealer who knows his
business and charges his price, but who supplies the article, and not
to the empiric, who charges a price and does not supply it, for the
excellent reason (among others) that this party does not know a fine
binding when he sees it--or a spurious one.

In curiosities generally it is the safest plan for a private collector
to place himself more or less in the hands of the highest firms in the
particular line which he selects, provided that he is not one of a
hundred thousand, and is a mile or two ahead even of professional
experts. Then, wherever he goes and whatever he buys, he is always
armed _cap-à-pie_. To him, to him solely, are the lots almost as
precious as the purse of Fortunatus; he alone it is who may fall in
with Caxtons, Clovis Eves, Rembrandts, Syracusan medallions, for a
song, and carry them home without a qualm.

A curious case, unique in its way, of what may be characterised as
perverted ingenuity, occurred at a public sale in November 1897 at
Sotheby's rooms. It was, in the words of the catalogue, "A Remarkable
Collection of Magnificent Modern Bindings, Formed by an Amateur;" but
the salient feature was--in fact, the ruling one, with one
exception--that the whole of the specimens represented imitations of
ancient work and of historical copies of early books. The interiors
were authentic; they had simply served as the medium for carrying out
a rather whimsical, not to say foolish, project, and the hundred and
ten lots, destitute of any conspicuous or genuine interest, probably
yielded very much less than the cost of their counterfeit liveries.

The present volume is not a treatise on Binding, and we can merely
indicate the general bearings of this branch and aspect of
Book-Collecting, on which several useful, and some very sumptuous and
beautiful, monographs have appeared of recent years. An amateur cannot
do better, for purposes of reference, than secure a copy of Mr.
Quaritch's _Catalogue of Bindings_, 1888, which includes particulars
of all the principal works on the subject, English and foreign, and
one of Zaehnsdorf's _Short History of Bookbinding_, 1895, with
illustrations of processes, and a glossary of styles and terms used in
the art. Mr. Wheatley and Mr. Brassington have also produced
monographs upon it.

In America, during many years past, there has been a laudable effort
to establish a national taste and feeling in this direction; for
collectors in the States formerly made a general rule of sending their
books either to London or to Paris for treatment. The institution of
the Grolier Club of New York nearly twenty years since was a step in
the direction of independence, and its _Transactions_ form an
interesting and creditable series. The Club printed a catalogue of its
library of early typographical examples in 1895, with facsimiles of

The modern French school of literary architecture unites in the type,
the paper, the illustrations such a remarkable degree of taste and
feeling, combined with economy of production, that in England there is
no present approach to what may be termed the _ensemble_ of a volume
placed in the market by our neighbours. This style of book-making asks
of course age to mellow it, and perchance the materials employed may
not bear the test of time and manipulation by successive owners, like
the old eighteenth-century work. But as they emerge from the workshop,
and stand upon the shelves or in the case, their aspect is decidedly
agreeable, while half a roomful of them are to be had for the price of
a Clovis Eve or even a first-rate Padeloup. Very much, on the
contrary, we are apt to conceive a dislike for that unwieldy imperial
_format_ which some of the Parisian _libraires editeurs_ affect, and
which perhaps occupy the same place in French literature of the day as
our detestable English _editions de luxe_.


     Aids to the formation of a library: (i.) Personal observation;
     (ii.) Works of reference--Rarity of taste and
     judgment--Dependence of some booksellers on want of knowledge in
     their clients--Trade catalogues--Principal modern books of
     reference criticised--Those for the (i.) Bibliography; (ii.) for
     the Prices--Unsatisfactory execution of _Book Prices Current_,
     &c.--The British Museum Catalogue of Early English
     books--Obsolete authorities--Their unequal demerit--British
     Museum _General Catalogue_ and Mr. Quaritch's _New General
     Catalogue_--The former not implicitly trustworthy--Source of the
     value of the latter--The labours of Sir Egerton Brydges, Joseph
     Haslewood, and others--Tribute to their worth--_Bibliotheca
     Anglo-Poetica_--The Heber Catalogue--Its magnitude and immense
     value and interest--Where Heber obtained his treasures--His
     library the most splendid ever formed in any country--Its
     absorption of all preceding collections--And the vital
     obligations of every succeeding collection to it--The Grenville
     Catalogue--George Daniel--His fly-leaf _canards_--Collier's
     _Bibliographical Catalogue_--Corser's _Collectanea_--Unequal
     value of the posthumous parts--The Huth Catalogue--Testimony to
     its character--Several monographs--Lord Crawford's
     Broadsides--Lists of the College libraries at Oxford and
     Cambridge--Catalogues of the Dyce and Forster Bequests to South
     Kensington--Halliwell-Phillipps's _Shakespeariana_--Blades's
     _Caxton_--Botfield's _Cathedral Libraries_--A new catalogue of
     the Althorp-Rylands books in preparation--Mr. Wheatley's scheme
     for cataloguing a library--Redundant cataloguing
     exemplified--Differences in copies of the same book and
     edition--French books of reference--Brunet, Cohen, Gay--Special
     treatises on Playing-cards, Angling, Tobacco: Bewick, Bartolozzi:
     Tokens, Coins and Medals, and Americana--Tracts relating to
     Popery--The Printing Clubs and Societies--Errors in books of
     reference liable to perpetuation--Heads of advice to collectors
     of books with supplements, extra leaves, &c.

THE two principal aids to the formation of a library, great or small,
general or special, are Personal Observation and Works of Reference.
The first is obviously an uncertain quantity, and may be restricted to
an ordinary mechanical experience, or may comprise the finest
commercial and literary instinct. We have had among us ere now
amateurs who possessed the highest qualifications for assembling round
them gratifying and valuable monuments of their taste and judgment,
with the harmless satisfaction of feeling tolerably sure that the
investment, if not a source of profit, would not form one of serious
loss. This is a fair and legitimate demand and expectation; but such
characters are far rarer than the books which they collect; and if it
were otherwise, the large industry which lies in the purchase and
re-sale of literary property could not exist. The buyer whose
knowledge is in advance of that of the salesman is a party whom Mr.
---- and Mr. ---- and the remainder of the alphabet pharisaically
admire, while they privily harbour toward him sadly unchristian
feelings and views.

The second and remaining auxiliary, the Book of Reference, has become
a wide term, since it has so enormously developed itself, and formed
branches, so as to constitute a library within a library, and to call
for its own bibliographer. So far as the current value and general
character of literary works are concerned, all the older authorities
are more or less untrustworthy, and the same is to be predicated of a
heavy proportion of auctioneers' and booksellers' catalogues, where
the first and sole object is to realise the maximum price for an
article. The system pursued by the former class of vendors of late
years renders it far more hazardous to bid on the faith of the printed
descriptions, and there is, in fact, greater danger for the novice in
the elaborate rehearsal of the title and the accompanying fillip in
the shape of a note (usually erroneous) than the good old-fashioned
plan of setting out the particulars briefly--even illiterately; for in
the latter case the burden of discovering the exact truth is thrown on
the customer or acquirer. We must say that few things are less
satisfactory than trade-catalogues with certain honourable exceptions,
which it might be invidious to particularise; and the book-buyer has
to depend almost exclusively on his own discernment and the
bibliographers. Of what he reads in the catalogues he may believe as
much or as little as he likes.

Nothing could be more ungracious than to speak disrespectfully of the
publications of those laborious and earnest workers who have preceded
us, and who for that very sufficient reason did not know quite so much
as we do. We admire their industry, on the contrary, their taste and
their devotion; we buy their volumes because it is pleasant to have
them at our side; and ever and anon we dip into this one or that, and
meet with something which had escaped us. Seriously, however, they
are, on the whole, not merely of slight use, but of a misleading
tendency. For the gods of our forefathers, Ware, Tanner, Ames,
Herbert, Oldys, Dibdin, Brydges, Watt, Park, Haslewood, the compilers
of the _Bibliotheca Grenvillana_, _Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica_, and
_Biographia Dramatica_, and scores besides, before and even since, we
have substituted others, assuredly more complete, perhaps constructed
on truer and more lasting principles. We have on our shelves (i.) for
the _Bibliography_, the Heber, Collier, Corser, and Huth catalogues
(1834-80), and the writer's own _Collections_ (1867-1903),
_Bibliographica_ and the _Transactions of the Bibliographical
Society_: (ii.) for the _Prices_, _Book Prices Current_ and _Book
Sales_. Unfortunately the two latter undertakings are little better
than mechanical transcripts from the auctioneers' extremely
treacherous catalogues by outsiders. The peculiar class of information
purporting to be supplied by such catalogues is often in need of some
qualifying criticism or admonition, which it is not easy, if possible,
for any one not on the spot and behind the scenes to offer. No mere
reference to the catalogue after the event is capable of initiating
one into these _arcana_; and the same has to be said of the quotations
in the ordinary periodicals. This is a species of employment for which
there must be either a long training or a unique instinct.

_Book Prices Current_ and _Book Sales_ cannot be trusted as an
authority or a guide by any person who does not approach them with a
certain measure of experience. Where an editor cites a common and
comparatively worthless volume as selling for a high sum, and omits to
mention that on the title there is a valuable autograph, the mischief
is obvious; and this and allied forms of error are habitual. Such
empirical attempts do more harm than good.

The Account printed by the Trustees of the Early English books in the
British Museum is not without its value, although it is almost
everything that it ought not to have been; and there are several
monographs of importance dealing with special items in public or
private collections. It is to be hoped that in course of time we may
see a creditable catalogue of the Britwell Library, and that the
Spencer books at Manchester will be done over again by a competent
hand. If money is expended on these objects, it is distressing to find
that the task has been confided to a gentleman whose best credentials
are his personal acquaintance with the owner.

We do not add to existing authorities: (i.) for the printers, Ames,
Herbert, and Dibdin, or (ii.) for general information Lowndes's
_Manual_ by Bohn and his coadjutors, because we are afraid that there
is almost greater danger of being misled by them than being helped or
enlightened. Both Ames and Herbert, however, we emphatically pronounce
conscientious, and accurate in the highest degree in their respective
days; but these days were long ago, and the present state of knowledge
has rendered a considerable proportion of their texts obsolete and
unreliable. Dibdin has certainly added to Herbert, but he has not, on
the contrary, in all cases faithfully reprinted him; if his book had
been as great an advance on his predecessor as Herbert's was on Ames,
it would have been a treasure indeed. A new Lowndes is said to be in
the hands of a syndicate. I know nothing about it; but I shall rejoice
if it should prove worthy of the subject, and as unlike Lowndes or
Lowndes by Bohn as possible. I labour, however, under the gravest
apprehension that it will prove one of those undertakings which will
just be advanced enough to block the right book without being
relatively anything approaching even to an English Brunet. At least
five-and-twenty annotated copies of Lowndes must exist. Will the
promoters deem it necessary to acquire or to borrow them? Probably
not. There must be thousands of additions and corrections in the
writer's alone. It is estimated that the enlarged Lowndes contains
about 10 per cent. of the literature which ought to find a place, not
reckoning the earlier English books, tracts, or broadsides, and that
of that proportion about 7½ per cent. are misdescribed. The anecdote
of Pope and the wag who retorted to his habitual exclamation, "_God
mend me!_" "It would take less to make a new one," appears to apply in
the present case.

The original Lowndes in 1834 was a poor affair; but Bohn's recension
twenty years or so later was by comparison a still poorer one, for
there was the opportunity, in the presence of innumerable discoveries
and a large body of new bibliographical material in various shapes, of
rendering the new edition a really creditable performance. The name of
the publisher, however, was a sufficient guarantee for this not being
the case, and where the second impression is superior to the first, is
where Bohn happened to have an interest in mentioning certain works,
or information was communicated to him by others.

The sole comfort for us is, that Brunet has passed through five
editions, and yet remains deplorably imperfect and inaccurate.

There are three prominent publications, each in its way of signal
value and merit: the British Museum and Bodleian Catalogues of Printed
Books, and Mr. Quaritch's New General Catalogue. The two former, of
course confine themselves to the contents of the respective libraries;
they are consequently far from exhaustive. They have been compiled by
human beings; they are consequently far indeed from faultless. They
express, as a rule, no opinions, and of commercial estimation very
properly take no cognisance. But the Oxford collection has always been
differently situated from the National Library in not having any
adequate means of purchasing deficiencies, while it is rich in its own
very interesting way by reason of bequests of unique value, making it
the possessor of numerous priceless volumes not to be found in Great
Russell Street or anywhere else. The Quaritch Catalogue (including the
_Typographical Supplement_, 1897), a noble monument to the energy and
courage of the _grand marchand_ whose name it bears, is a good deal
more than even a bookseller's advertising medium on a large or the
largest scale. It is, in fact, a literary performance; and it is an
open secret to whom we owe it. The collector, apart from the question
of purchase, will find it replete with useful, instructive, and
trustworthy information, so far as bibliography is concerned.

The highly honourable and equally laborious publications of Sir
Egerton Brydges, Joseph Haslewood, Thomas Park, E. V. Utterson, and
others, if they are of minor substantial value to us at present,
demonstrate the keen appetite for bibliographical information and
anecdote in the first quarter of this century. The _Censura
Literaria_, extending to ten octavo volumes, passed through two
editions, and, in common with other similar works, till recently
commanded a heavy price. That they have fallen into neglect is due to
the necessity, on the part of buyers and sellers of early literature,
of studying only the latest authorities.

At the same time, from a literary point of view, the _Restituta_ and
_Censura Literaria_ (2nd edit. 1815) of Brydges, and many members of
the same group and period, will always be worth consulting, and will
be found to yield a vast store of interesting and instructive matter.

Such works may at present be sterile enough, but yet we are bound to
recollect on their behalf that on their first appearance they were
revelations and pioneers. It is where a book at the outset is behind
the knowledge of the day, or indeed rather not in advance of it, that
it seems to be disentitled to respect.

Not only have more modern labours superseded the Brydges, Park,
Haslewood, and other series, which till of late years held the market
firmly enough, but the Rev. Dr. Dibdin, whose sumptuously printed and
illustrated productions long remained such prime favourites at heavy
prices, both at home and in the United States, has been overtaken by a
general neglect, and the Americans, who were once so enthusiastic and
generous as bidders for these books, will at present scarcely agree to
acquire them at a fifth of their appreciation in the height of the

Many of the gems which have passed through the hands of successive
owners are known to have once formed part of the _Bibliotheca
Anglo-Poetica_, a famous--almost historical catalogue of old
literature on sale in 1815 by Longmans, when that firm dealt in such
commodities, and imported largely from the Continent in response to
the keen and hungry demand on the part of the school created by the
Roxburghe sale and the Roxburghe Club, Heber its greatest disciple and
ornament, Heber a colossus in himself. Many are the traditional
anecdotes of the wonderful bargains which Longmans' agent secured for
his principals in all sorts of places, whither he resorted in quest of
prey--of the romances in folio in the virgin stamped Spanish
bindings, which they might have worn since they lay on the shelves of
Don Quixote or the Licentiate, brought for sale, as it were haphazard,
to some market-place in Seville or Valladolid in wine-skins. But the
contents of the above-mentioned _Bibliotheca_ were purely English. It
was a small but choice assemblage of old poetry formed by Mr. Thomas
Hill, otherwise Tommy Hill, otherwise Paul Pry, which he offered to
Longmans on the plea of failing health, and for which the purchasers
elected, looking prophetically at his moribund aspect, to grant him an
annuity in preference to a round sum. Mr. Hill's apprehensions,
however, were premature, as the transaction had the effect of
restoring his spirits; and the booksellers scored rather
indifferently. How pleased they must have been to see him coming for
his pension year after year!

Even the outrageous prices asked for the articles, of which the
condition was ordinarily poor, could not have brought Longmans
anywhere near home; and the catalogue was expensively printed. Yet one
would like, very much indeed like, to put down thirty golden
sovereigns for _Shakespeare's Sonnets never before imprinted_, 1609,
and fifty for Anthony Munday's _Banquet of Dainty Conceits_, 1588. The
Rev. J. M. Rice obtained the latter in 1815; it was sold at his
auction in 1834 for eighteen guineas, and when it next occurred among
George Daniel's books in 1864, was bought by Mr. Huth against Sir
William Tite for £225. The _Sonnets_ of 1609 would at present be
worth £250. As regards the bulk of the lots, however, one might almost
read shillings for pounds. Sir Francis Freeling had an interleaved
copy, in which he entered acquisitions. Through his official
connection with the Post-Office he procured many prizes from the
country districts. Dick of Bury St. Edmunds stood him in good stead.
What Dibdin euphemistically christened the _Lincoln Nosegay_ was a
second pair of bellows applied about the same date to the reddening
flame of bibliographical ardour. It was a descriptive list of certain
books which the Doctor had prevailed on the Dean and Chapter of the
Cathedral to sell to him for five hundred guineas, and which he
divided between Mr. Heber and Lord Spencer. The collection was part of
the benefaction of Dean Honeywood, and it was a shameful betrayal of
trust. Our cathedral libraries still retain a host of treasures,
notwithstanding all this sort of pillage; and the dim religious light
which is shed around lends an air of sanctity to the spot sufficient,
one might have thought, to arrest the hand of the marauder.

This was the height of the Bibliomania. Dibdin had in 1811 brought out
his work so called. Perhaps it was hardly wise so to accentuate the
passion on paper. He lived to publish the _Bibliophobia_.

The _Bibliotheca Heberiana_, in thirteen parts, 1834-36, which in its
realisation showed a strong revulsion, or at least a marked decline,
from the cometary period, 1812-25, is the most stupendous assemblage
of literary treasures and curiosities ever brought together by an
individual in this country. Heber was a scholar and a reader of his
books; he has made memoranda on a large number of the fly-leaves; and
these have been occasionally transferred to the catalogue, of which
the Early English poetical portion, a singularly rich one, was edited
and annotated by John Payne Collier. In using the Heber Catalogue, its
mere extent and diversity ought to suffice as a warning that the
prices are not in the least degree trustworthy; the classics and some
of the early typography went pretty high; and the Early English books
were only saved from being given away by the active competition of Mr
W. H. Miller, who secured nearly everything of account at very
moderate figures, and by the commissions held by Collier for the Duke
of Devonshire, who bought the rarest of the old plays. The British
Museum was scarcely in evidence there. It was enjoying one of its
periodical slumbers.

The poetical section of the library embraced not only the lion's share
of all the rarest books of the class offered for public sale in
Heber's time, but an immense assortment of articles which he acquired
privately from Thorpe, Rodd, and others, of whom he was the infallible
resource whenever they fell in with books or tracts or broadsides
which he did not possess, or of which he perhaps possessed _only one

It was not merely that Heber distanced all that went before him or
have succeeded him, so far as the extent and variety of his
collections go, but that with his insatiable acquisitiveness he
combined so much of the bibliographer and _litterateur_. It was fairly
easy for certain men with more limited means and views, such as
Malone, Steevens, Douce, Brand, Chalmers, Bright, Bliss, Laing,
Bandinel, Turner, Locker, Corser, and a legion more, to pose as judges
of the merits of their possessions; but how comparatively little was
theirs to grasp! In the case of Heber the range of knowledge was
immense; and he was equally at home with all departments and all
periods. He had his modern side and his interest in current affairs,
and a scholarly insight into the vast literary and bibliographical
accumulations which it was his bent and pride to form, beyond any one
whom we can call to mind. We do not include in this sort of category
the Harley, Roxburghe, Grenville, Spencer, Blandford, Ashburnham, and
Huth libraries, whose owners were collectors pure and simple.

Of the Grenville Catalogue, as an independent work, it is less usual
to think and speak, because the library which it describes has long
formed part of the British Museum, and very few are now living who can
remember it under the roof of its excellent founder in Hamilton Place.
The books have now during some years constituted an integral part of
the New General Museum Catalogue; there is scarcely any department of
literature in which they did not contribute importantly to enrich and
complete the national stores. But Mr. Grenville was particularly
strong in early typography and Irish and English history.

The catalogue of Mr. George Daniel's singular and precious collection,
disposed of in 1864, was an ordinary auctioneer's compilation; except
that many of the owner's MSS. notes written on the fly-leaves were
introduced by way of whetting the appetites of competitors; and to say
that a vein of hyperbole pervaded these remarks is a mild expression;
they emanated, we have to remember, from an accountant. The books,
however, spoke for themselves. The printed account of them, viewed as
a work of reference, must be read _cum grano salis_--_cum multis
granis_. The sale was the starting-point of a new epoch and school in
prices. Nothing of the kind on so extended a scale in that particular
way had so far been seen before.

Collier's _Bibliographical Catalogue_, 1865, is an enlargement of his
Bridgewater House Catalogue, 1837, without the illustrations. The two
volumes are full of curious and readable matter, and as they usually
deal with the _libri rarissimi_, we have to accept the accounts and
extracts in the absence of the originals. To many this may be
indifferent; to a few it may be a serious drawback, since, rightly or
wrongly, the fidelity and accuracy of the editor have been more than
once called in question. Mr Collier's book, however, is merely
serviceable as a guide to the character of the works described; he
does not offer an opinion on the selling values, nor does he always
render the titles correctly. One signal fault distinguishes the
undertaking from what may be regarded as a commercial point of view;
and it is the refusal or failure to recognise the momentous changes in
the bibliographical rank of a number of books through the discovery
between 1837 and 1865 of additional copies. Like most of us when we
are advanced in life, he thought more of what was true when he was
young, than of what was so at the time of writing.

The _Collectanea Anglo-Poetica_ of the Rev. Thomas Corser, in eleven
parts, of which some were posthumous, constitutes a very proud
monument to the memory of an accomplished clergyman of limited
resources, who during the best part of his life devoted his thought
and surplus money to the acquisition of one of the richest assemblages
of Early English Poetry ever formed by any one, as he succeeded in
obtaining many works in this extensive series not comprised even in
the Heber Catalogue. Mr. Corser bought much privately; but he was
largely indebted for his bibliographical good fortune to such sales as
those of Jolley, Chalmers, Bright, and Wolfreston (1844-56). Of his
catalogue as an authority and guide the value is unequal; the portions
edited by himself are excellent and exhaustive, but it is not so with
those which Mr. James Crossley superintended. A complete copy of the
sale catalogue is a _desideratum_ for the follower in this gentleman's
footsteps; but he would have to spend more money than Mr. Corser did
by some thousands.

Of the Huth Catalogue, 1880, we can only say that it is a splendid
gathering in a comparatively short period of various classes of books
obtained from the sales in London and elsewhere, and from private
sources, and selected on account of condition and interest rather than
with a view to completeness. In its character it is emphatically
miscellaneous; but is very strong in Early English literature, owing
to the opportunities which the founder enjoyed through the dispersion
in his time of so many fine libraries of that class, especially those
of Daniel and Corser, and perhaps we may add of George Smith the
distiller. But there was scarcely any sale here or on the Continent
from which Mr. Huth was not enabled to add to his stores. He was a
very rich man; but he was not a book-hunter, and he was both
inconsistent and capricious. He had, in fact, no definite plan, and
took each purchase on its own merits. His Catalogue, which he did not
live to see completed, is unusually free from errors, but not quite so
much so as he anticipated and desired. Nevertheless, it will always be
an useful guide and an honourable memorial.

Several monographs, dealing in a brief or cursory way with an entire
library, or more fully with a section of it, may be noticed. The
Ashburnham hand-list, 1864, now (1897-98) supplemented by the sale
catalogue; the Chatsworth Catalogue, which does not include the books
at Devonshire House, and Lord Crawford's catalogue of his Ballads and
Broadsides. There are special accounts of several of the College
Libraries at Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Hartshorne's _Book
Rarities_, 1829, a disappointing yet suggestive volume. We ought to
remind the reader that the catalogue of Trinity, Cambridge, embraces
Capell's _Shakesperiana_, and that there are separate hand-lists of
Malone's and Douce's books at the Bodleian, of the Dyce and Forster
bequests at South Kensington, of the Society of Antiquaries'
Broadsides, and of the Shakespearian treasures formerly at Hollingbury
Copse. We have two editions of Blades's book on Caxton's press,
Maitland's two Lambeth Catalogues, Botfield's _Cathedral Libraries_,
and Edmond's Lists of the Aberdeen printers, 1886.

It is eminently likely that of the Rylands-Spencer library we shall
have in the fulness of time a new catalogue, superseding Dibdin's
publications, and of course embracing all the personal acquisitions of
Mrs. Rylands, apart from the grand Althorp lot. In the capable hands
of Mr. Duff it ought to turn out well.

In the _Book Lover's Library_, Mr. H. B. Wheatley has dedicated two or
three volumes to the topic of forming and cataloguing a library. The
object of these technical undertakings is clearer, perhaps, than their
general utility; for, as a rule, a man likes to follow his own plan,
and scarcely two normal collections of the average kind resemble one
another, or are susceptible of similar treatment. The idea broached by
Mr. Wheatley was, of course, not a new one. Gabriel Naude, librarian
to Cardinal Mazarin, and subsequently keeper of the Royal Collection,
printed a sketch of what in his opinion was necessary to constitute a
library, and this our Evelyn put into an English dress in 1661, and
dedicated to Lord Clarendon. The plan of Naude was naturally that of a
Frenchman accustomed to extensive assemblages of literary monuments,
and was not suited to the English taste, unless it might be in the
case of a rich nobleman, to whom space and cost were alike
indifferent. It was not likely to meet with adoption even by Evelyn
himself, of whose acquisitions we know enough to judge that he
followed his own personal sentiments rather than professional or
technical advice. It rarely occurs that in the less ambitious types of
library there are any bibliographical details likely to prove
serviceable to the public; and the extent of knowledge gained by the
owner in the course of his own experience should suffice to qualify
him to become, where time is presumably not an object, his own
cataloguer. For all that can be required is a hand-list on the scale
of the Douce or Malone separate catalogues, where a title seldom
occupies more than a single line. Plentiful illustrations of our
meaning will be found by any one who opens the Grenville or Huth
Catalogue, and perceives the wide discrepancy between the essential
information and the descriptive and critical accounts. The primary
motive in drawing up a view of the contents of ninety-nine libraries
out of a hundred is the facilitation of reference, combined with an
excusable personal pride; but a great deal of repetition and
redundancy and useless expense are incurred by the literal transcript
of the titles of books more or less familiar to all who are interested
in them.

A very heavy proportion of the Early English entries in the Huth
Catalogue are duplicates of those in the writer's _Collections_, and
the same would be the case if the long-expected book on the Britwell
heirlooms were to make its appearance. It would be, to a large extent,
_bis cocta_.

In a private catalogue detailed explanation is required in the
interest of bibliography, only where (i.) the owner happens to possess
an unrecorded book; or (ii.) an unknown impression; or (iii.) a
variant copy. Defects in important items should be particularised; in
others the word _imperfect_ is sufficient; and it is best to indicate
from what source they have come to the immediate repository. Take a
few instances:--

     Reynard the Fox, 1st edit. The Inglis copy. Folio, W. Caxton,
     Westminster, 1481.

     Hannay (Patrick), Poems. The Huth copy. 8vo, London, 1622.

     Holinshed (Raphael), Chronicles, 2 vols. The Sunderland copy.
     Wants the plan of Edinburgh Castle. Folio, London, 1577.

     Shakespeare (W.), Plays, 1st edit. The Napier copy, wanting the
     verses. Folio, London, 1623.

The notation of differences in copies of the same book, even if it is
not one of supreme value, is always apt to be useful. Of literary
comment the supply is discretionary, so long as it is new, pertinent,
and interesting. The transfer to the catalogue of any inedited
manuscript matter on the fly-leaves or margins, or of any proprietary
marks, is eminently desirable.

For French literature, which is so largely collected in England, the
_Manuel du Libraire_, &c., of Brunet, 7 vols. 8vo, 1860-78, with the
works of Cohen and Gay, is the standard authority. The two latter, so
far as they go, are more exhaustive than the _Manuel_, which is nearly
as incomplete as our Lowndes, and not much more accurate. A new
edition has been mooted; it is a clear _desideratum_. For value Brunet
is scarcely more serviceable than its English analogue, and the book
is, curiously enough, particularly unsafe in such a field as the
French books of former times, where so much depends on factitious
conditions barely intelligible to an ordinary English or American

Two books which perhaps equally appeal to the English and Continental
collectors are those just mentioned: Cohen, _Guide de l'Amateur de
Livres à Gravures du XVIII^th siècle_, 5^me ed. 8^o, 1886-90, and
Gay, _Bibliographie des Ouvrages relatifs à l'Amour, aux Femmes, au
Mariage, et des Livres Facétieux_, 3^me ed. 12^o, 1871, 6 vols.
Both, but especially the first, are essential for guidance in the
choice of a class of publication of which the innumerable variations
and the artificial prices necessitate the utmost caution on the part
of an intending buyer.

There are, in fact, no topics to which an amateur or student can
direct his notice or limit himself where he will not have been
preceded, so to speak, by a path-finder; nor does the narrowness of
the range always ensure brevity or compactness of treatment, since the
Schreiber _Playing Cards of all Countries and Periods_, which to a
certain extent enter into the literary category, occupy in the Account
by Sir A. W. Franks three folio volumes; but a satisfactory view of
the subject is to be gained from the works by Singer and Chatto,
1816-48. As a rule, editors of this class of publication are more
modest and compressed. There are the bibliographies on Angling by J.
R. Smith and Westwood; on Tobacco, by Bragge (1880); on Dialect books,
by J. R. Smith (at present capable of great expansion); on Bewick, by
Hugo; on Bartolozzi, by Tuer; on Tokens, by Williamson and by Atkins;
on Coins and Medals, by a numerous body of gentlemen specified in a
section of the writer's _Coin Collector_, 1896. In the English and
American series are the well-known volumes by Henry Stevens and by
Sabin, and the sumptuous catalogue of the early Laws and Statutes by
Mr. Charlemagne Tower. In the Chetham Society's series, Mr. Jones,
late Chetham's Librarian, printed an elaborate list of all the old
English books and tracts relating to Popery.

There are many ways in which compilers of works of reference are in
danger of perpetuating mistakes as to books, where they rely on
secondary authorities. No account of an old book is, in the first
place, entitled to credence unless it has been drawn up by the
describer with the book itself before him; and when it is considered
that not one individual in ten thousand can even then be trusted to
copy what is under his eyes, and that there are, and always have been,
those who have thought fit to exercise their ingenuity by falsifying
dates and other particulars, there cannot be much room for surprise
that our bibliographies, and those of every other people, are partly
made up of material which never existed. Errors are heirlooms, of
which it is hard to get rid.

The extent to which rare books are multiplied, as regards varieties of
impression, by misdescriptions in catalogues, is remarkable and
serious, and the bibliographer is not unfrequently confronted with
statements of his ignorance of copies in sales of which he has not
thought it worth while to indicate the true facts. But it is our
individual experience that it is impossible to be too minute in
pointing out snares for the unwary, and indeed for all who work at

The Club or Society for the communication to members, and through them
to the public generally, of literary and archæological material
previously existing only in MS. or in unique printed copies, was at
the outset very restricted in its zone and its scope; but, in spite of
the circumscribed interest felt by general readers in the more
abstruse or obscure provinces of research, the movement, at first
confined to scholars and patrons of literature, at length became
universal in its range and distribution. There is no country
pretending to culture without several of these institutions. In Great
Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland,
they have long abounded. They have rendered accessible an enormous
body of inedited or unknown material for history, archæology, and
biography; and after all deductions for indiscretion and dilettantism,
they may be pronounced the medium for having shed new and precious
light on well-nigh all branches of human science. To the
book-collector they appeal less in a possessory sense than as works of
reference. Where they enter into his plan is in the practice, which
some of them have followed, of striking off on vellum or other special
substance half a dozen copies, which from their _presqu' uniquity_
(this is as good a phrase as _rarissime_) have ere now bred
unchristian sentiments among competitors for the _bijoux_ in the
_belles lettres_. The book-hunter's motto is _Pulchra quæ difficilia_;
he reverses the common saying.

There is so far no exhaustive Guide to the Club literature, but the
supplementary volume to Bohn's _Lowndes_ contains a fairly complete
view of it down to 1869. The additions since that date have been
incessant and almost innumerable. The British Museum General Catalogue
registers them all under the mediæval heading of _Academies_.

It is right and necessary that the inexperienced collector should be
put on his guard against the reprehensible and dishonest practice of
some professional vendors in advertising or offering for disposal
books of which the leaves are not entirely genuine, which are
deficient in supplemental matter recognised as part of the work, or
whose bindings are sophisticated in a manner only capable of detection
by a connoisseur or a specialist. There are wily persons who
systematically and habitually insert in their catalogues items which
they have acquired with the distinct proviso that they were defective,
and have naturally acquired at a proportionate price. The forms of
deception are infinitely various; but the leading points demanding
attention and verification are apt to be:--

The Frontispiece.
The Portrait.
The Half-title.
The Errata.
Supplement or Postscript.
Starred pages.
Extra sheets inserted.
Extra Plates.

The intending purchaser must take care to satisfy himself that there
are no facsimile or reprinted leaves, no catchword erased to cancel a
deficiency, no mixture of editions, and no wrong or re-engraved
portrait or frontispiece, or false date inserted or inconvenient one
erased; and that the copy has not been unskilfully cleaned. It is
_caveat emptor_ indeed.

The most surprising pains are undertaken by certain persons to mislead
the collector who is not very much indeed on his guard, and who yearns
for the possession of some current prize. A case lately occurred in
which the well-known copy of the scarce portrait of Milton, with the
famous verses beneath it, attached to the first edition of the _Poems_
in 1645, had been actually split and laid down on old paper to make it
resemble the original print, and in the same way a plate belonging to
Lovelace's _Lucasta_, 1649, representing Lucy Sacheverell, being
frequently deficient, and making a good deal of the value of the book,
has been ere this soaked off from the modern reproduction in Singer's
_Select Poets_, and "lined" to communicate to it the aspect of a
genuine impression mounted.

Other forms of deception and danger lie in the exact reproduction of
ancient or early books, not always with any mischievous or fraudulent
intention. Such a piece of _superchèrie_ as the _History of Prince
Radamanthus_, professedly re-printed from a unique copy by Wynkyn de
Worde, or the _Life and Death of Mother Shipton_, dated 1687, and
actually issued in the latter half of the last century, are scarcely
apt to impose on any but the most unobservant. It stands differently,
however, with the _Declaratioun of the Kings maiesties intention and
meaning toward the lait acts of parliament_, 1585, republished in 1646
in facsimile: with Marlowe's _Ovid_, originally printed in 1596, and
repeatedly brought out without any change in the text down to 1630:
with Sir John Hayward's _Life of Henry IV._, 1599, similarly
reproduced, and (in French literature) with the eighteenth-century
edition of the works of Rabelais, purporting to have come from the
Lyons press in 1558. These difficulties require on the part of buyers
one of two things: an experienced eye or a trustworthy counsellor. The
version of Ovid's _Elegies_ by Marlowe in a re-issue of no value is
constantly sold for the right one, suppressed by authority, although
Dyce, in his edition of the poet, 1850, points out the differences.
One has to study not merely the external characteristics of an old
book, but the paper, water-mark, type. It is scarcely conceivable that
the reprint by Pepys of the _Order of the Hospital of St.
Bartholomew_, 1557, could be mistaken for the genuine impression; the
paper and type alike betray it.

A curious and long-lived misapprehension prevails respecting certain
works from the press of Thomas Berthelet, at the foot of the
title-pages of which we find the date 1534; but the latter forms part
of the woodcut in which the letterpress is enclosed, and was retained
in publications posterior to the year named, and the same is, to a
slighter extent, the case with Robinson's _Reward of Wickedness_,
where the figures 1573 occur at the end within an engraved border
employed for other purposes, the particular production by one of the
guards set over Mary, Queen of Scots, having probably appeared some
years after.


     Fluctuations in the value of books--The prices of books
     comparative--Low prices adverse to the sale of books in certain
     cases--Great difficulty in arriving at the market-price of very
     rare volumes--Influence of the atmosphere--Reflections on the
     utility and prudence of collecting--The collector, as a rule,
     pays for his amusement--The classes which chiefly buy the dearer
     books--Bookselling a speculation--The question of
     investment--Runs on particular kinds of books or particular
     subjects--Quotations of prices realised to be read between the
     lines--Careful consideration of certain problems essential to
     security of buyers--The bookseller's point of view--Books which
     are wanted, and why--Capital publications and universally known
     authors--Tendency to estimate earlier and middle period
     literature by its literary or artistic qualities--Collectors in
     the future--Interest in prices current--Some notable figures--The
     most precious books of all countries--Two imperfect copies of
     Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_ bring £2900--Henry VIII.'s own copy
     on vellum of a volume of Prayers, 1544, with MSS. notes by him
     and his family--Lady Elizabeth Tirrwhyt's _Prayers_, 1574, bound
     in gold--_Book of St. Alban's_, 1486, and _Chronicles of
     England_, printed at St. Alban's--The _Lincoln Nosegay_--American
     buyers and their agents--Composition of an average
     auction-room--An early example of a book-lottery.

THE fluctuations and revolutions in the mercantile value of old
English books present phenomena to our consideration of an instructive
and occasionally of a tantalising character. No one has the power to
foresee what future changes time may bring forth. It is the fashion
with the vendor to force a purchase on his client, because, says he,
this book cannot recur for sale, or this class of books is rising; but
that is a _façon de parler_, nothing more. We are apt to sigh over the
times when unique Caxtons could be had--ay, in our grandsires'
time--for less than £20. In the sixteenth century twenty pence paid
for them. But let us recollect that our estimation of an article
depends on its cost so largely. What we acquire cheaply we hold
cheaply. Should we have heard of many of our great modern collectors
had old quotations survived? We have known personally one or two who
would not dream of taking a volume at a low price; you had, as it
were, to adjust it to their meridian. They failed to perceive how
anything could be worth having if it was to be secured for a song. A
hundred-dollar author might be barely admissible; a dollar man would
be a disgrace to the collection.

As regards the strange vicissitudes of the tariff for second-hand
books prices, there is an illustrative note from Robert Scott, the
celebrated dealer, to Pepys, dated June 30, 1688, where he offers his
customer four books for 34s., namely:--

Campion and Others' "History of Ireland"      12   0
Harding's "Chronicle"                          6   0
Sir John Pryce's "Defensio Hist. Brit."        8   0
Barclay's "Ship of Fools" [1570]               8   0

The value set on the second and fourth items would now, if they were
poor copies, be vastly in excess of the figures named by Scott; but
for the other two a bookseller of the present day might not expect
much more than Pepys was asked more than two hundred years ago.

The anecdotes of bargains picked up from day to day at the present
time are plentiful, and (except for the fortunate finder) exasperating
enough. But if we go back to a period when there were no auctions, no
organised book depôts, no newspapers, no railways and other such
facilities, and men lived practically in separate communities, there
can be no feeling of astonishment that our own early literature, like
that of all other countries, has descended to us in an almost
inconceivably shrunk volume. Books, and more especially pamphlets and
broadsheets, were acquired, and, after perusal, flung away. There were
not only no booksellers, in our sense, but down to the seventeenth
century no systematic book-buyers. The library, as we understand the
term and the thing, is a comparatively modern institution. Even the
products of the Caxton press, very early in the next century, had sunk
in commercial value to almost nothing; they were procurable for pence,
nor did they acquire any appreciation till the reign of George III.
and the rise of a new school of collectors, amongst whom we have to
reckon the King himself.

It is not unusual to hear cases of cheap books having been acquired by
the normal buyer in the open market. A friend tells you that he has
bought such or such a volume of a dealer--perhaps a specialist in
that line--a positive bargain; he was not very keen on purchases just
at the moment, but he could not resist this. It may be so; but it is
exceedingly problematical. If we were to inquire into the facts, one
might, nay, one would almost certainly, find that the specialist had
secured the item over all competitors at a recent auction, and had
added his own profit. If he had not been present, the item would not
have brought half. He was deemed rash by his _confrères_ for giving so
much. Of course there were two in it; but the under-bidder was, maybe,
a second private enthusiast, who had gone to the full extent of his
ideas or resources. Where, then, is the bargain?

The more or less artificial quotations at first-class auctions partly
arise, no doubt, from the preference of certain private buyers for
dispensing with the middle-man in the person of the bookseller. They
do not object to employ him as an agent, and often enable him to
secure their _desiderata_ against all comers; but they somehow
distrust him as an independent valuer of what he may offer over the
counter; and this is, we fear, usually attributable to their
diffidence of their own judgment and experience. There is a prevailing
idea--it may be a prejudice--that in the salerooms an article fetches
its worth and no more, and that you save the relative profit. You may
or you may not. In the majority of cases, where the actual purchaser
has no practical knowledge, and his resources are ample, the saleroom
is a dearer market than the shop, if the property offered is that of
an eminent person and is of high character; and even in obscurer sales
bargains of any moment are only to those who are experts and are on
the spot.

The prices or market values of the older and rarer books form a
debateable ground, on which those interested will probably never
arrive at anything approaching unanimity; and the reason or part of
the reason seems to be that the actual realised figure depends on so
many considerations, of which the mere character of the article put up
for sale is not invariably the most influential. There is no species
of weather-glass more sensitive than the bibliographical one; it
responds to the slightest change in the commercial temperature, and
must be carefully watched and studied by all who either seek to sell
at a profit or to buy without the risk of serious loss on eventual
realisation. Two books belonging to the same edition, bound in the
same style by the same person, are they not one as good as the other?
By no means necessarily so. Setting aside the extrinsic features which
confer arbitrary value on literary property, one of the copies may
have the start of the other, if it is something then in active or
general demand; one may occur when the trade has a glut of stock, or
has exhausted its credit at the auctioneer's; one may belong to a
"genuine" collection, while the other may labour under the suspicion
of being "rigged." Place them side by side; there does not appear to
be sixpence between them, yet under the hammer one lot may fetch
twice as much as the other.

This, it may be fairly argued, tells against the wisdom and security
of laying out money by collectors of moderate resources on such
doubtful investments; but look in whatever direction you please, and
you will encounter similar phenomena. The buyer of coins, china,
pictures, or any other curiosities, meets with an identical
experience. Immense sums are lost in these recreations by one class to
provide livelihoods, and very handsome livelihoods, too, for thousands
and tens of thousands year by year. Sometimes the amount is not
serious to the individual, or he can afford it; occasionally it is

Prices fluctuate, and their fluctuation is apt to be deceptive. It is
not merely the article which has to be considered, but the atmosphere
in which it was sold. No one can be sure that he has secured a bargain
till he sells it. At the Beckford sale the Thuanus copy of Buchanan's
_Poemata_, 1579, fetched £54; a year or two later it was offered at
£18, and in 1897 it occurs in a catalogue at £42. A rare theatrical
item in the Mackenzie sale produced £62, 10s. In another in 1897 a
second copy formed part of a bundle which brought 14s. At the Laing
sale Beza's _Confession of Christian Faith_, in Italian, 1560, said to
have been the property of Mary Queen of Scots, was carried to £149.
After being kept by the purchaser many years, it realised during the
current year £52. The _éclat_ which accompanied these books on their
original realisation was absent, or was no more than a tradition. Some
judged the Queen of Scots volume very dear even at the lower
quotation. We saw it knocked down, and such was our own judgment.

These samples we adduce for the advantage of ordinary purchasers of
literary property, whose estimation principally depends on its
_provenance_. There is an inherent proneness to shrinkage of interest
and value in the hands of any one who is not equally celebrated, or is
not going to become so.

Even an approximately accurate appreciation in a commercial sense of
books of various classes can only be reached by one who is behind the
scenes, who can feel the pulse of the market, and who follows the
incessant changes in its temperature and feeling. It is absurd for a
simple amateur, who passes his time in a study or an office, to
attempt or presume to instruct us on this subject. He knows what he
has given for his own library, and what some of his friends have given
for theirs, and he reads the accounts in the papers of periodical
sales. But it is a widely different affair, when one sets about the
task, intrusted to this or that individual by a friendly publisher or
editor-general, in a scientific manner; and it is only under such
circumstances that one realises, or can render intelligible to others,
what prices actually mean and are, how much they depend on perpetually
modifying and varying influences, and how little the quotations found
in works of reference are to be trusted. The turns of the book-market
are as sudden and strange, as delicate and mysterious, as those of a
Bourse; and the steadfast and keen onlooker alone can keep pace with
them--not he always; the wire-pullers are so many.

How, then, shall collectors of books, for example, protect themselves?
They cannot. It is their diversion, their by-play; their time and
thought are engaged elsewhere in business, where it is their turn to
reap the fruit of special study and experience, and they hand over a
percentage of this to the caterer for their pleasure. The whole world
is, in other words, perpetually intent on gathering and distributing;
we are, every one of us, buyers and sellers, not of necessaries only,
but of luxuries and amusements.

Coming to the more immediate point, men nowadays, in the presence of a
severe and almost homicidal competition for subsistence, have to
devote their whole attention to their chosen employment, and have the
most limited opportunities of ascertaining or verifying values as
submitted to them by experts in the book-market; they have Lowndes,
which is almost worthless, and _Book Prices Current_, which is, of
course, more contemporary, but must be read between the lines; and the
extreme difficulty of judging what is worth having, and how much
should be given for it, has led to that frequent habit of collectors
favouring a particular dealer, or, as an alternative, pursuing a
policy highly unpleasant to dealers by acquiring direct from the
salerooms. Fortunately for booksellers the latter plan does not suit
busy men, and it is just that class, especially the merchant and the
stockbroker, the solicitor and accountant, who are their best clients.

The trade has its sorrows and trials; but it cannot be a very bad one
when we see how many live out of it, if they do not often make
fortunes. The fact is, that the motives for buying books are almost as
infinitely multifarious as the books themselves, and there exists not
the volume for which the customer will not arise, if the holder can
wait; and this customary incidence accounts for the familiar aphorism
that booksellers accumulate stock, not money--an aphorism to which the
exceedingly rare exceptions prove the rule.

Putting it differently, bookselling outside the current literature is
a form of speculation which varies according to the class of
investment which the stockholder selects; and it is quite necessary to
bear in mind the nature and tendency of the business in order to more
clearly appreciate the uncertainty of prices, and how utterly
impossible it must ever be for any ordinary book-buyer to rely on his
purchases as a representation of value. If he does not view the matter
in that light, or chooses to let the instruction or pleasure derived
from his acquisitions become a set-off against the outlay, it is very
well; what he or his heirs get for the property is in that case all

We dwell a little on this aspect of the matter, because we are quite
aware that in purchasing books many persons look at the ulterior
question, and even demand of the vendor how much the article is likely
to bring when or if re-sold. Such a contingency usually limits itself
to cases where a volume is secured for a special and temporary object,
or where funds are restricted and the fancy is purely personal.

Apart from these considerations, there are other influences always at
work to render the book-market uncertain and insecure. Collectors who
have no fixed plan or aim are apt to follow the precedent set by such
as have, or are supposed to have, one, and this obviously tends to
create a run on particular subjects or authors, till the call is
satisfied, or the _coterie_ grows sensible of the inexpediency of
proceeding any further. A revolt from a fad naturally gluts the market
with the discarded copies, and the latest vendors have to bear the
brunt. Such is not an occasional incidence, but one continually in
progress among a certain _quota_, and a large _quota_, too, of the
book-buying public, who let others judge for them, instead of judging
for themselves.

It cannot be treated as otherwise than an ordinary and reasonable
_sequitur_ that prices which are purely artificial are also arbitrary
and precarious. The quotations which are to be found in such a
publication as _Book Prices Current_ are at best a bare record of
facts; but with such a record at his elbow no man who does not possess
a fair amount of knowledge and judgment would be safe in his figures.
It would be little better than plunging. Still less is it of any use
to rely on the reports in the press, which are frequently inaccurate,
and in nine cases out of ten are the work of inexperienced persons.

The careful and discerning observer of these problems (for such they
indeed are) discovers that the high prices for books, which the trade
is never tired of citing as an encouragement to its connections, are
almost invariably associated with conditions which are adventitious or
accidental, and which scarcely ever comprise benefit to a living
individual. A man must be truly exceptional, phenomenally above
suspicion, bedridden with an incurable complaint, to disarm the
scepticism of the wary buyer under the hammer; it is the property of
the departed which is preferred; for the result cannot help him, and
he is not at hand to reserve lots. So recently as 1896, there was an
exception to the prevailing rule; but it was one rather in appearance
than in reality. We allude to the FRERE sale at Sotheby's. Now, we
repeat that this was merely an ostensible departure from ordinary
experience; and what we mean is that the most valuable portion of the
library was that which once belonged to another and antecedent person,
Sir John Fenn, and that these items had been long known to exist, and
were _desiderata_ for which public and private collections had
hitherto thirsted in vain. No wonder, then, that there was a dead set
at them, the living owner _maulgre_.

The booksellers are apt to complain nowadays of their inability to
move or place items with which they cannot give a certificate of
character. It will not always suffice to allege that they have
realised a great deal of money heretofore, as vouched by Lowndes; they
must carry with them some definite recommendation; they must exhibit
remarkable allusions; they may be written by an ancestor or namesake
of the buyer in view; at all events, if they are not by a good author,
they must be on a good subject. Their interest must be (1) personal;
(2) local; or (3) topical. There is a drift on the part of collectors
of the purer type toward accredited and certified securities--toward
recognised writers. Established character goes for more than mere
rarity. The trade can always place fine copies of authors who have
made their personality standard: Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare,
Sydney, Jonson, Milton, Butler, Swift, Thomson, Goldsmith, Miss
Burney, Dr. Johnson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott, Charles
Lamb, Shelley, Keats, Thackeray, George Eliot. If to the more
fastidious or self-diffident amateur an excessively rare item is
introduced without credentials, it is in danger of being rejected; the
same principle applies to certain foreign writers, such as Cervantes,
Montaigne, Molière, Corneille, La Fontaine. But in almost all these
cases the demand is not for collected or library editions, or even for
first copies of everything coming from the pens of those writers.
Chaucer has to be served up in the types of Caxton or De Worde or
Pynson; Spenser is only sought in quarto and octavo; Shakespeare
means the four folios and certain quartos, and the Poems in octavo;
the leading aim in Sydney is the _Arcadia_ of 1590; Jonson is just
admissible in folio (the right one), but is preferred in quarto; by
Milton we mean the _Comus_, _Lycidas_, _Poems_, _Paradise Lost_ and
_Paradise Regained_ in the original issues. Butler is only represented
by his _Hudibras_; Swift by his _Gulliver_; Defoe by his _Crusoe_
(some must have all three volumes, although the first is worth nearly
all the money); Thomson by the _Seasons_; Goldsmith by the _Vicar of
Wakefield_; Miss Burney by one or two of her Novels in boards; Dr.
Johnson by his _Rasselas_; Scott by the _Waverley_ series with uncut
edges, and so forth.

The actual current appreciation of old books seems to be, to a large
and increasing extent, in the ratio of their literary or artistic
attraction; and under the second head we comprise typography and
wood-engraving; and we think that we could establish that, as a rule,
the highest bids in modern days are for something of which the
reputation or importance, or both, are a matter of tacit
acknowledgment and acceptance. A merely _curious_ volume may fetch
money; but it must be something beyond that to make the pulse beat
more quickly and form a record.

Two considerations govern and recommend such a course--those of
commercial expediency and of space. There is not much probability that
in the time to come book-buyers will arise to renew the traditions of
the Harleian and Heber libraries, or even of such vast heterogeneous
assemblages of literary monuments as those formed by Sir Thomas
Phillipps, James Crossley, Joseph Tasker, Gibson-Craig, and a few
others. The feeling is more in favour of the French view--small and
choice; and there is no doubt that, as a rule, the sale of a
collection should not occupy more than three days. Beyond that time
the interest flags and prices are apt to recede.

At the same time there has always been, and will be, a powerful
curiosity in the direction of knowing or hearing what certain rare or
superlatively important books occasionally bring. The feeling is
rather more general than might be imagined, for it extends to those
who are not collectors, yet like to see how foolish other people are,
or, again, store up the information, in case they should have the good
fortune to meet with similar things in their travels. When one thinks
of the extraordinary casualities which have brought to light
undescribed works or editions, and continue to do so year by year,
there is no reason to despair of completing ourselves in due course in
many and many a direction. The tendency in prices of late has
certainly been favourable to books which are at once rare and
admittedly important; and we have said that the latter feature and
quality appear to be weightier than mere unfrequency of occurrence.
For instance, any given number of copies of such comparatively common
volumes as the first folio Shakespeare, the first _Faëry Queen_, the
first _Paradise Lost_, Herrick, Beaumont and Fletcher, will present
themselves in the market and command steadily advancing figures; it is
the same with Pope and Dryden in a measure, and with some of the more
eminent moderns. The literary _éclat_ stimulates the biddings.

Those works which represent the maximum value during recent years have

(i.) The earliest examples of printing, at all events in book-form;
_Missæ Speciales_, and other smaller books executed by Gutenberg
previous to 1455, or at all events to the Bible ascribed to that date;
Gutenberg's Bible, otherwise known as the Mazarin Bible, 1455,
re-issued by Fust and Schoeffer in 1456; the Psalters of 1457 and
1459, designed for the Cathedral and Benedictine monastery of Mainz
respectively; the _Chronicles_ of Monstrelet on vellum; _Lancelot du
Lac_ on vellum, 1488; the Sarum _Missal_, 1492, 1497, 1504; Caxton's
two _Troy-Books_, two _Jasons_, _Arthur_, _Speculum Vitæ Christi_ and
_Doctrinal of Sapience_ on vellum, _Canterbury Tales_ and other
separate works of Chaucer, _Paris and Vienne_, &c.; _Book of St.
Albans_, 1486, and other works printed there, 1480-1534; Tyndale's
_New Testament_, 1526; Coverdale's _Bible_, 1535; Boece's _Chronicles
of Scotland_ on vellum, 1536; the Huth Ballads; Montaigne's _Essais_,
1580; the same in English, 1603, 1613; Spenser's _Faëry Queen_,
1590-96; Constable's _Diana_, 1592; Bacon's _Essays_, 1597, 1598;
Shakespeare's _Venus and Adonis_, _Lucrece_, 1st quartos, _Sonnets_,
and the collected _Plays_, 1593-1623. (ii.) Shelton's _Don Quixote_,
1612-20; first editions of Daniel, Drayton, Lodge, Watson, Barnfield,
Breton, &c.; Milton's _Comus_, 1637, _Lycidas_, 1638, _Paradise Lost_,
1667; Walton's _Complete Angler_, 1653, Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_,
1678, and any other capital or standard authors of the seventeenth
century, particularly Lovelace, Carew, Suckling, down to Locke's
_Essay on the Human Understanding_, which, though a common book, has
lately grown a dear one by sheer force of companionship.

There seems a disposition to look more indifferently on volumes which
have no certificate or passport. Secondarily, as in the case of
Florio's version of Montaigne, items are admitted as hangers-on and
interpreters of great authors.

The last copy of the _Faëry Queen_, 1590-96, offered for sale, an
extraordinarily fine one, brought £84, of _Robinson Crusoe_, £75. The
British Museum paid for the _Book of Common Prayer_, 1603, a year
earlier than any edition so far described, £175. It was obtained by
the vendor from a sale at Sotheby's, where its liturgical interest was

The question of prices in all these cases is involved in equal
uncertainty and difficulty. The second Psalter of 1459 brought at the
Syston Park sale £4950. Mr. Quaritch still holds it (1897), and asks
£5250. The British Museum possesses both impressions. This was the
highest figure ever reached by a single lot in this country.
Gutenberg's Bible follows, copies on vellum and paper having produced
from £1500 to £4000; the vellum copies are deemed more valuable, but
of those issued by Gutenberg himself we seem to have only examples on
paper. The Huth copy of the latter type, from the Sykes and H. Perkins
libraries cost its late owner £3650. Mr. Grenville for his gave £500.
As we have already remarked, the book has a tendency to become
commoner. The Ashburnham Fust and Schoeffer Bible of 1462 brought
£1500; at the Comte de Brienne's sale in 1724, where Hearne refers to
the "vast prices," the Earl of Oxford gave for the same book £112.

The _History of King Arthur_, printed by Caxton, 1485, for which Lord
Jersey's ancestor gave £2, 12s. 6d. about 1750 to Osborne, was carried
at the Osterley Park sale in 1885 to £1950, the British Museum
underbidding; while the _Troy-Book_ in English from the same press
fetched £1820; and at the dispersion of a curious lot of miscellanies,
apparently derived from Darlaston Hall, near Stone, Staffordshire, an
imperfect, but very large and clean, copy of the first edition of the
_Canterbury Tales_, by Caxton, was adjudged to Mr. Quaritch at £1020,
a second one, by an unparalleled coincidence presenting itself at the
same place of sale a few months later, only four leaves wanting, but
not so fine, and being knocked down at £1800 to the same buyer. The
Asburnham Chaucers and other works from the same press were (with one
or two exceptions) so poor, that it was surprising that they sold
even so well as they did.

We descend to relatively moderate quotations when we come to the
Daniel (now Huth) Ballads in 1864 (£750); the £670 and £810 bidden for
the Caxton's _Gower_ at the Selsey sale in 1871 and the Osterley Park
sale in 1885 respectively; the £600 paid for the _Book of St. Albans_,
1486, wanting two leaves, in 1882; and the £420 at which Mr. Quaritch
estimated the _Troy-Book_ of 1503. The price asked for the original
MS. of the _Towneley Mysteries_ in 1892, £820, strikes one as
reasonable by comparison.

But amounts which we venture to think unduly extravagant have of late
years been obtained at Christies's rooms for certain books, such as
Lady Elizabeth Tirrwhyt's _Prayers_, 1574, bound in gold, and said to
have belonged to Queen Elizabeth (1220 guineas);[4] Henry VIII.'s
_Prayers_, 1544, printed on vellum,[5] and enriched with notes by the
King, the Queen, Prince Edward, and Princess Mary (610 guineas, as
above mentioned); and a third folio Shakespeare, 1663-64, with both
titles, but represented as being almost unique in that state, £435.
What a contrast to the old prices! Even in our time and memory, the
first folio could be had in fine state for £50 or £60, the second for
£5, 5s., the third for £50, and the fourth for £5, 5s. George Daniel,
we are informed by his representatives, gave about £220 for his first
Shakespeare to William Pickering, and Mr. Corser kept his 1632 book in
his dining-room at Stand Rectory among the commoner volumes, although
it was a fine copy. A middling set now fetches £600 or thereabout.

The earlier standard both for English and foreign rarities was
undoubtedly much lower. In Osborne's Catalogue for 1751, the _Toledo
Missal_, described as the scarcest volume in the world, was valued
only at £35. In the Heber, and even in the Bright sale, from £10 to
£25 secured some of the greatest gems in ancient English literature.

At the Frere auction at Sotheby's, 1896, however, the realisation of
the Fenn books beat every record, considering that the copies were
generally so poor; and it was hard indeed to see where the value was
in a Herbert's Ames accompanied by an extra volume of typographical
fragments, of which many were mutilated and many were worthless

The _Book of St. Albans_, 1486, as it is usually designated, has
descended a little from its original rank as a first-class rarity
owing to the successive discovery of unknown copies. The romance
connected with the acquisition of the Grenville one has been more than
once printed; but the _Chronicles of England_, from the same press,
especially on vellum, maintains its reputation for the utmost rarity,
although there were two impressions; and the same may be said of the
issues by William of Mecklin, Caxton, and Gerard de Leeu, all and any
of which could not, if complete, fail to command very high prices even
on paper.

£4900 for the second edition of the Mainz Psalter, 1459, appears (as
we have observed) to be the largest sum ever paid in this country for
a single work; and the vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible follows,
£900 behind; at least at the price of £4000 it fell to Mr. Quaritch at
the Ashburnham sale in 1897. But for the _Manesse Liederbuch_, a
thirteenth-century MS. of national ballads, carried away by the French
from Heidelberg in 1656, and found among the Ashburnham MSS., the
German Government practically paid in 1887 £18,000. What may be termed
a bad second was the Duke of Hamilton's Missal, sold to the German
Government in 1887 for £10,000; but that also belongs to the
manuscript class.

It must be an absolute truism to state that at the present moment the
American is a material factor in influencing the book-market. He is
less so, perhaps, in the sort of way in which he assisted the
booksellers of a bygone generation in reducing or realising their
stocks; but he has come to the front more than ever as a competitor
for the prizes. There was a day when countless Transatlantic libraries
were in course of formation; but they are now fairly complete, and,
moreover, they have the means at hand, not formerly available, of
filling up the gaps at home.

Our American kinsfolk have undoubtedly become masters of an almost
countless number of bibliographical gems, and have been content to pay
handsomely for them. We do not hear of any sensible reflux of old
books from the States, but that might happen hereafter under the
influence of financial depression. At the same time, there is perhaps
nothing on the other side of the Atlantic which is not represented in
duplicate here, unless it be in an instance or two, as, for example,
the perfect Caxton _Morte Arthur_, 1485; and even those volumes, which
are of signal rarity, are almost without exception in repositories
accessible to all.

Returning for a moment to the commercial aspect of our present topic,
the Transatlantic acquirer at any cost makes the fixture of high, even
ridiculous, prices for certain books impossible. Beyond the _maximum_
there is a higher _maximum_ still. Who would have dreamed of a first
edition of Burns, although uncut, bringing, as it did just lately
(February 1898) in an Edinburgh auction-room, £572, or a sixpenny
volume on Ploughs by one Small, £30, because it bore on the title,
_Rob^t. Burns, Poet_, in the great man's own hand, as well as a
holograph memorandum attached to flyleaf? In the case of the
Kilmarnock Burns of 1786 the sole excuse of the purchaser was its
uncut state, for it is a comparatively common book. It was acquired by
Mr. Lamb of Dundee, a hotel-keeper, of one Mr. Braidwood for £60. A
second copy in paper covers, also uncut, exists; but the general
condition is not so good.

There are in London and other English centres, however, American
export and commission agents, independently of those houses which make
shipments to the States a collateral branch of their business. It has
been the cry, ever since we can recollect, that our cousins were
draining the old country of its books, and yet the movement
continues--continues with this difference, that the Americans have now
plenty of ordinary stock, and are more anxious to limit their
acquisitions to rarities. The number of public and private libraries
has become very considerable; the most familiar names are Lenox,
Carter-Brown, Tower, and Pope, the last the purchaser of the _King
Arthur_ printed by Caxton in 1485, and formerly in the Harleian and
Osterley Park collections. There is an occasional reflux of
exportations, and we should like to hear one day of the _Arthur_ being
among them.

One not very pleasant aspect of American and other plutocratic
competition has been to convert most of the _capital_ old English
books from literature into _vertu_. What else is it, when two
imperfect Chaucers bring £2900, and a Walton's _Angler_, £415, and
where for the second and third folio Shakespeares persons are found
willing to give a profit on £500 or £600?

The Transatlantic buyer, or indeed the buyer at a distance anywhere,
has no option in employing an agent on the spot to acquire his
_desiderata_, and he is practically in his hands. So long as your
representative is competent it is well enough, and on the whole the
American agencies in London are, we think, both that and
conscientious. But the frequenter of the salerooms cannot fail to note
a very unsatisfactory aspect of this business by proxy, where an
inexperienced amateur with a well-lined purse employs an almost
equally inexperienced person to act on his behalf--that is to say, one
who is a bookseller by vocation, but who enjoys no conversance with
bibliographical niceties. His principal consequently scores very
poorly by buying _wrong_ things at the _right_ prices; but if he is
satisfied, who need be otherwise? And his error, if his property is
not realised in his lifetime, never comes home to him! Nevertheless,
to buy with other people's eyes and judgment is not, after all, the
best form; all that can be pleaded for it is, that it is the sole
resource of the individual who has no time to devote to the practical
side, or who, if he has, distrusts his own knowledge; and as
everything has its compensation, such are the customers on whom the
trade mainly leans. If the amateur expert were to be too much
multiplied, the professional bookseller would inevitably be a grave

Those are in the safest hands, perhaps, who are in their own. But in
the case of books, as of all analogous property, the next best thing
to acting for oneself is to employ a high-class dealer, or, if the
line is very special, one who enjoys a reputation for conversance with
the particular branch of inquiry. Where a collector who does not
possess personal knowledge, and takes into his service a bookseller
who is not much more informed, or who has not studied certain classes
of literature, it is bound to be an exemplification of the blind
leading the blind, and one, at all events, unless he has a very long
purse, falling into the ditch.

Under any circumstances, it is unquestionably beneficial to any
private buyer to take some pains to arrive at at least a general
knowledge of values, as well as of the bearings and extent of the
field which he may choose. He should not be a puppet in the hands of
his representative, if he can help it. Where he cannot, he is apt to
buy in one sort of market and to sell in another. Not the worst policy
is to hand a commission to one's strongest opponent, if he will or can
take it. It disarms him. But some firms dislike agency, as the profit,
though sure, is often so narrow, particularly where the person
employed is a specialist in the line, and would have given for
purposes of re-sale in the ordinary way twice or thrice as much as the
item fetches, his personal opposition withdrawn. Hence it is not
unusual among commission-agents at book-sales to charge, not on the
price realised, but on the figure given by the client. The latter
authorises his representative to bid up to £10 for this or that lot;
it drops at £2; the fee for buying it is a percentage, not on the
lower, but the higher amount. A commission of £6 was given by the
present writer for a volume of John Leland's Tracts; it dropped at
2s.; his agent charged him 10s. brokerage.

Some hand their orders direct to the auctioneer, and this may be done
within certain limits; but if the practice becomes too habitual, the
dealers retaliate by bidding against the rostrum. "All is fair in love
and war."


[4] Now in the British Museum by the munificence of the late Sir
    Wollaston Franks (Department of Antiquities).

[5] Said to have been purchased for Lord Amherst.


     Foundations of bibliography--Commencement of advertising books
     through catalogues and lists at end of other
     publications--Classes of literature principally in demand--Origin
     of sales by public competition--A book-lottery in 1661--The
     book-auction in London makes a beginning--The practice extends to
     the provinces and Scotland (1680-95)--First sale-catalogue where
     Caxtons were separately lotted (1682)--Catalogue of a private
     library appended to a posthumous publication (1704)--Mystery
     surrounding the sources whence the Harleian Library was supplied
     with its early English rarities--An explanation--Indebtedness of
     the Heber Collection to private purchasers on a large scale--Vast
     additions to our knowledge since Heber's time--The modern
     auction-marts--Penny and other biddings at auctions--An average
     auction-room--Watching the Ashburnham sale--The collector behind
     the scenes--Key to certain prices--The Frost and the
     Boom--Difficulty of gauging quotations without practical
     experience--The _Court of Appeal_--The Duke of Wellington pays
     £105 for a shilling pamphlet--A few more words about the Frere
     sale in illustration of the Boom and something else--The Rig.

THE earliest method of communication between holders and vendors of
books and probable buyers of them related to the issue of new works,
or, at most, to such as were not out of date. Maunsell's celebrated
folio, of which he was not apparently encouraged to proceed with more
than certain sections, and which did not comprise the subjects most
interesting to us, came out in 1595 in two parts, and was,
notwithstanding its imperfect fulfilment, the most comprehensive
enterprise of the kind in our language down to comparatively recent
times. These matters usually took the form of notices, accompanying a
published volume, of others already in print or in preparation by the
same firm. No possessor or observer of old English books can fail to
have met with such advertisements; but, as we have said, they limit
themselves, as a rule, to current literature and the ventures of the
immediate stationer or printer. To some copies of Marmion's
_Antiquary_, 1641, we find attached a slip containing an announcement
by Thomas Dring of old plays on sale by him at the White Lion in
Chancery Lane, and inserted posterior to the issue of this particular
drama, which does not bear Dring's name; and we all know the list of
dramatic performances appended to _Tom Tyler and his Wife_, 1661, and
probably emanating from Kirkman the bookseller, where we discern items
belonging to an earlier period--of some of which we know nothing
further. This catalogue, the material for which Kirkman had personally
brought together by the expenditure of considerable time and labour,
was re-issued in 1671, and from about that time Clavell and other
members of the trade circulated periodical accounts of all the
novelties of the season, but almost entirely in those classes which
seem to have then appealed to the public: Law, Science, and
Divinity--just the sections with which Maunsell in 1595 began and

The absence of the machinery supplied by the auction long
necessitated a practice which not only survived sales by inch of
candle and under the hammer, but which still prevails, of disposing of
libraries and small collections _en bloc_ to the trade, and the
dedication by the particular buyer of a serial catalogue to his
purchase. Executors and others long possessed no other means of
realisation; the Harleian printed books were thus dispersed; and even
those of Heber, almost within our own memory, engrossed the resources
of two or three firms of salesmen. The conditions under which a
library was accumulated in former days were not less different than
those under which it passed into other hands; the possibilities of
profit were infinitesimal; a heavy loss was almost a certainty. But
then men bought more generally for the mere love of the objects or for
purposes of study. The speculative element had yet to arise.

Evelyn, in his famous letter to Pepys, August 12, 1689, speaks of Lord
Maitland's library as certainly the noblest, most substantial, and
accomplished, that ever passed _under the spear_. This was within two
decades or so of the commencement of the system of selling literary
effects by auction. We are aware that in the Bristol records of the
fourteenth century the trumpet, introduced from France, is mentioned
as a medium for the realisation of property in the same way; and there
was the much later _inch-of-candle_ principle--a perhaps unconscious
loan from King Alfred's alleged time-candles, which are referred to by
his biographer Asser--a work suspected of being unauthentic, yet on
that account may have none the less suggested the idea to some one.

Abroad the _trumpet_ or the _cry_ appear among the commercial states
of the Middle Ages to have been the usual forms. In the particulars of
a sale of galleys by auction at Venice in 1332,[6] the property was
cried beforehand on behalf of the Government, and the buyer, till he
paid the price reached, furnished a surety. This process was known as
the _incanto_; and it is curious enough that in the sale-catalogue of
Francis Hawes, Esq., a South Sea Company director, in 1722, the goods
are said to be on sale _by cant_ or auction. But the modern Italian
still speaks of an auction as an _asta_ (the Roman _hasta_). Some of
these types are illustrated by Lacroix in his _Moeurs et Usages_. In
France they anciently had the bell and the crier (the Roman _præco_).

In London, firms of commercial brokers long continued to hold their
sales of goods by inch of candle; but the Roman practice seems to have
survived down to comparatively modern days in Spain and Portugal, if
not in France and Italy. In 1554, Junius Rabirius, a French jurist,
published at Paris, with a metrical inscription to Henry II. of
France, a Latin treatise on the origin of _Hastæ and Auctions_, in
which he enters at some length into the system pursued by the
ancients, and still retained in the sixteenth century by the Latin
communities of Europe. This is probably the earliest monograph which
we possess on the present branch of the subject. It is a tolerably
dull and uninforming one.

Some of us are aware by practical experience how deplorably tedious a
normal modern auction under the hammer is, although it extends only at
the utmost from one to five or six in the afternoon. But, like some of
the Continental sales of to-day, the old-fashioned affair spread, with
a break for refreshment, over twice the space of time, and was
conducted, previous to the introduction of the hammer, by _inch of
candle_. This system was somewhat less inconvenient than it at first
sight strikes us as being, since the property was lotted to a much
larger extent in parcels and bundles, and the biddings were apt to be
comparatively fewer. Another way of saying that the early auction
appealed less to private than to professional buyers, and not merely
in that, but in every aspect. The same remark still applies to the
dispersion of all miscellaneous collections of secondary importance,
unless an amateur chooses to compete for a dozen articles, which he
does not want, for the sake of one, which he does.

The steadily accumulating volume of literary production in the
seventeenth century inspired two successive movements, which we regard
to-day as peremptory necessities and matters of course, but which, so
long as books were scarcer, and the demand for them correspondingly
restricted, failed to strike any one as likely to prove popular and
advantageous. These movements were the second-hand department and the
auction-room. It is a sufficiently familiar fact that during the
reign of Charles II. both sprang into existence, although among the
Hollanders the usage of putting up books to public competition had
commenced three-quarters of a century prior; but in 1661 there do not
appear to have been any facilities for disposing of libraries or
collections, as in that year John Ogilby, the historian, arranged to
sell his books--the remainder of his own publications--through the
medium of a lottery. It was within a very brief interval, however,
that the sale by auction is shown to have become an accomplished fact.
The earliest of which an actual catalogue has come down to us is that
of Dr. Lazarus Seaman, sold by Cooper in 1676; but there were in all
probability anterior experiments, and side by side with the auctioneer
grew up the professional ancestor of the Thorpes and the Rodds--the
men who supplied Burton, Drummond, Evelyn, Pepys, Selden, and many
more, with the rarities which are yet associated with their names. The
system of selling under the hammer in its various stages of
development and different ramifications is not an unimportant factor
in our modern social and commercial life; it did not require many
years from its introduction into the metropolis to recommend it to the
provinces and to Scotland; and we possess catalogues of libraries or
properties dispersed in this manner at Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham,
Cambridge, Edinburgh, and elsewhere in the last quarter of the last
but one century; and in one case at least of this kind of property
being offered at a fair.[7] Occasionally, as in the case of Secondary
Smith, 1682, a precocious feeling for the early English school reveals
itself; but, for the most part, the articles accentuated by the
old-fashioned auctioneer are foreign classics, history, and
theology--the literary wares, in fact, in vogue. Annexed to the
_Memoirs of Thomas_ (or _Tom_) _Brown_, 1704, is a very unusual
feature--a catalogue of his library.

Within about five-and-twenty years of the supposed starting-point of
the auction, the modern practice of the London auctioneer being
engaged to conduct sales in the country, even in important provincial
towns, seems to have fairly commenced, for in 1700 Edward Millington
of Little Britain sold at Cambridge the library of Dr. Cornwall of
Clapton in Northamptonshire. In the preliminary matter attached to the
catalogue, Millington remarks that "he always esteems it a privilege
to exercise his lungs amongst his friends."

A glimpse of the method of collecting by the Hon. John North, one of
the sons of Lord North of Kirtling, and born in 1645, is afforded by
his brother and biographer, Roger North, who says that he gradually
accumulated, commencing about 1666, a large collection of books,
principally Greek, and generally bought them himself, spending much
time in company with his relation in booksellers' shops, and not
objecting to possess duplicates, if other copies in better condition
were found or were presented to him by friends. Mr. North flourished
during the halcyon days of the classics. The literature of his own
country probably interested him little. North, however, was so far a
true book-lover, inasmuch as he sought what pleased himself.

It affords a pleasanter impression of the pursuit when one perceives
individuals of all ranks and callings buying themselves personally,
either at the book-shop or the saleroom, in the selection of their
periodical acquisitions. The marked copies of the older auction
catalogues are distinguished by the names of some of our most eminent
collectors, but at present gentlemen prefer to give their commissions
to their booksellers from want of leisure or other motives.

I have alluded to the sale by auction of Dr. Seaman's library in 1676,
which took place at his house in Warwick Court, Warwick Lane. The
address to the reader, presumably by Cooper, commences:--

     "It hath not been usual here in England to make sale of Books by
     way of Auction, or who will give most for them: But it having
     been practised in other Countreys to the Advantage both of Buyers
     and Sellers; It was therefore conceived (for the Encouragement of
     Learning) to publish the Sale of these Books this manner of way."
     The Catalogue is not divided into days, but the fifth condition
     says, "That the Auction will begin the 31st of October,
     punctually at Nine of the Clock in the Morning, and Two in the
     afternoon, and this to continue daily until all the Books be
     Sold; Wherefore it is desired, that the Gentlemen, or those
     deputed by them, may be there precisely the Hours appointed,
     lest they should miss the opportunity of Buying those Books,
     which either themselves or their Friends desire."

In 1682 Thomas Parkhurst, in offering for sale the libraries of
several eminent men, announces that the catalogues might be had
_gratis_ at the Bible on London Bridge (his place of business as a
bookseller), and he takes occasion to introduce (perhaps for the first
time) that courageous form of statement so popular to this day among
the fraternity as to the collection being the finest ever sold or to
be sold, and the opportunity by consequence being one which would
never probably recur.

But the present writer does not enter minutely into this branch of the
subject, which Mr. Lawler has made his own.

It has always been, and must always remain, a mystery whence the
Harleian exemplars of a large number of unique or almost unique
volumes belonging to the early vernacular literature of Great Britain
were obtained. In some cases they are traceable to anterior owners and
catalogues; but a considerable residue first come to the front here,
and the explanation seems to be that the practice of registering
unregarded trifles, as they were then deemed to be, in large parcels
was necessarily fatal to individuality and to the survival of clues.
To a certain extent the same disappointment awaits us in more recent
days, till, in fact, the demand for old poetry, romances, and plays
made the few extant copies objects of interest to the trade
sufficient to entitle them to prominence in their lists and in those
published by the auctioneers. It may have been the catalogue of Joseph
Ames, 1760, which was among the earliest to raise such items to the
dignity of separate lots, thought by the purchasers at the time worth
a shilling or two; but the noted sale of Mr. West in 1773 is entitled
to rank as the foremost in those days, where the books and tracts,
long since discovered to be represented by one or two accidental
survivors, and grown dearer than gold a hundredfold, began to draw
figures indicative of increased curiosity and appreciation.

The most eminent of the earlier race of auctioneers in London, who
confined their attention to properties belonging to the fine arts,
were William Cooper, a man of considerable literary taste and culture,
whom we have seen disposing of Dr. Seaman's books in 1676; Edward
Millington, Robert Scott, and John Dunton, of whom we know more than
of his predecessors and contemporaries through his publications, and
especially his _Life and Errors_. Commercial rivalry and jealousy
arose among the members of the fraternity before the institution had
grown at all old, and complaints were also made against
gentlemen-bidders. In the preface to the catalogue of a French
library, where he takes occasion to animadvert severely on his
contemporary and confrère Scott, Millington refers to the third
condition of sale, requiring all buyers to give in their place of
abode, "to prevent the inconveniences that have more or less hitherto
attended the Undertakers, and also the Purchasers, by reason that
several persons, out of Vanity and Ostentation, have appeared and
bought, to the damage and disappointment of the Parties they outbid,
and have not been so kind to their own Reputation, or just to the
Proprietors, as to pay for and fetch them away." This was in 1687.

It seems to have been a considerable time after the first institution
of the auction before a fixed place of business was appointed for the
sale of literary and artistic properties consigned to a particular
party for realisation. We find taverns and coffee-houses much in
request for this purpose during the former half of the last century.
The library of printed books and MSS. belonging to Thomas Britton,
"small-coal man," were sold about 1720 at Tom's Coffee-House, and
about the same date portions of Thomas Rawlinson's stupendous
collections, of which the dispersion extended over a dozen years, came
to the hammer at the Paul's Head Tavern in Carter Lane.

It is improbable that any early auction catalogue of consequence has
disappeared, and looking at those which we have, say, from the outset
to 1700, we at once perceive the comparatively limited business
transacted in this direction during a lengthened term of years, and
the numerous instances where a not very considerable catalogue
embraces three or four properties. Collections were, as a rule, made
on a smaller scale prior to the Harley epoch.

The practice of publishing booksellers' and auctioneers' catalogues,
rudimentary as it was at the outset, succeeded by the more systematic
descriptive accounts of public and private collections, gradually
extended the knowledge of the surviving volumes of early literature,
and laid the foundation of a National Bibliography. We shall probably
never fully learn our amount of obliged indebtedness to Richard Heber,
who in his own person, from about 1800 to 1833, consolidated and
concentrated an immense preponderance of the acquisitions of anterior
collectors, and with them gained innumerable treasures, which came to
him through other channels. His marvellous catalogue must have proved
a revelation at the time, and to-day it is a work of reference at once
instructive and agreeable.

What must strike any one who has attentively considered the Heber
library, even if it is not a case of having had the catalogue at his
elbow, as I have, in a manner, all his life, is the presence there of
so large a number of items of which no trace occurs in earlier lists,
and of which no duplicates have since presented themselves. It is
perfectly marvellous how Heber accumulated the vast bibliographical
treasures brought to light, and of which his catalogue is the record
achievement; he must have been not only indefatigable in his own
person, but must have furnished encouragement to many others, who met
with rare books, to afford him the first refusal.

On the other hand, hundreds of early English books and tracts which
this indefatigable and munificent of collectors never succeeded in
obtaining, items and authors whose titles and names were hitherto
utterly unknown, have within the last two generations come piecemeal
into the market, to delight alike, yet in a different way, the
bibliographer and the amateur. The accidental and almost miraculous
survival of literary relics of past ages is curious on account of the
purely casual manner in which they present themselves from season to
season, as well as from the strange hands in which many of them are
found--often persons of obscure character and in humble life, who have
one, two, or half-a-dozen books of which all had somehow eluded the
researches of every collector. Cases are known in which a single
article has come to light in this manner, a unique publication of the
Plantagenet or Tudor era, maybe in sorry state, maybe just as it left
the press two or three centuries ago, but anyhow a monument and a

The almost exclusive sources of intelligence on these questions are
the correspondence of the period, a portion of which is printed in the
volumes of 1813 devoted to Aubrey's Collections, and another in
Nichols's _Anecdotes_. There we perceive that Lord Oxford was indebted
for many rarities to John Bagford and other private purveyors of
printed books as well as MSS. In a letter of 1731 to Hearne, his
Lordship mentions his impression that he had forty-two Caxtons at that
date. He seems to have possessed seventy-three examples of Wynkyn de

With respect to some of the college libraries at Oxford, Cambridge,
and even Dublin, it is easier to arrive at the facts, so far as they
go, or, in other words, many of the rare and important acquisitions of
those institutions came to them at a period anterior to what may be
termed the bibliographical era, and were often contemporary gifts from
the authors of the volumes or from early owners of them.

The value of the auction became manifest at a comparatively early
date, when a clear demand for certain descriptions of literary
property had set in, particularly when the formation of the Harleian
library was in progress. In 1757 the representatives of Sir Julius
Cæsar, Master of the Rolls under James I., proposed to sell his MSS.,
and eventually negotiated with a cheesemonger, who offered £10 for the
collection as waste paper. Paterson, the auctioneer, fortunately heard
of the affair, dissuaded the family from it, and prepared a careful
catalogue of the articles, by which he realised to the owners £356.
Take another case. In 1856 the Wolfrestons decided on parting with a
lot of old books and pamphlets which an ancestor had collected under
the Stuarts, or even earlier, and would, as one of them informed us,
have gladly accepted £30 for the whole. But they were sent to
Sotheby's, and realised £750.

On the other hand, instances are by no means unknown, in spite of what
the auctioneers may assert, where it has suited a bookseller to give
for a library or a parcel of books a sum at all events sufficient to
tempt the owner, who has always before his eyes, in the case of a sale
under the hammer, a variety of risks and draw-backs, which an
immediate cheque, even for a lower amount, at once removes.

After all, the book-lover must, as a rule, be satisfied with the
pleasure attendant on temporary possession.

Of the houses which lend themselves in our own day, and have done so
during the last hundred or hundred and fifty years, to the incessant
redistribution of literary acquisitions, and have gradually reduced an
originally rather rudimentary principle to a sort of fine art, so much
has been written by a succession of gentlemen interested in these
specialities that we could hardly add much that was new, or treat this
aspect of the topic without repeating others or ourselves.

A point which merits a passing mention, however, is the history of the
bidding at these scenes of competition. It has been remarked as a
singular circumstance that in the seventeenth century penny biddings
were usual; but it was the silver penny of those days, and we have to
remember the higher purchasing value of money. Twopenny and threepenny
advances succeeded, and although these have long ceased in London,
they yet survive in the provinces, where the lots are less important.
Some of the principal houses now decline even sixpence, a shilling
being the _minimum_ offer entertained. The twopenny bidding still
prevailed in 1731, as a priced copy of the sale catalogue of Robert
Gray, M.D.,[9] shows. An offer of threepence is still not unknown in
the provinces, as we have intimated above in our notice of an episode
in Lincolnshire--not the Spalding one, but a second about the same
point of time.

One of the not least interesting and curious aspects of the auction
system is the diversity of motives inducing owners to part with their
property. A study of the title-pages or covers of catalogues admits us
ostensibly to the confidence of this or that collector. We should not
otherwise become aware that some fairly obscure gentleman or lady was
leaving his or her actual abode, that Balbus was changing the
character of his library, that his friend so-and-so, owing to a
failure of health, had found it necessary to settle in a more genial
climate, or that "a well-known amateur," of whom we never heard
before, was selling his duplicates. What does it signify? Literary
acquisitions, in common with everything else, are constantly passing
from one hand to another. Of course, if the last proprietor is
deceased, if it is an executor's affair, it is just as well to
mention the fact, as it places the operation on a clearer footing,
and there is little, if any, suspicion of nursing; but with ordinary
lots of books, where the party or parties interested may be living, it
seems preferable to describe the objects of competition purely and
simply as so many items for sale. The reason for the step is
immaterial, more especially as there is a proneness to receive the one
tendered, if not with indifference, with incredulity.

A singular entry in one of the sale catalogues of Edward Jeffery, of
Warwick Street, Golden Square, under 1788, is a property described as
"the _lounging_ books of a gentleman," in the near vicinity of which
we come across "the Parliamentary and constitutional library of a man
of fashion."

Of course, where a famous or capital assemblage of literary treasures
is for sale, it is quite proper and expedient on every account to
connect with it the name on which it confers, and which may even
confer on it, distinction. But it is different when Mr. Jones is
changing his lines, or Mr. Brown is removing into the country or out
of it, or the executors of the late Mr. Robinson have given
instructions for the submission of his effects to the hammer.
_Qu'importe?_ Who cares?

The composition of an average auction-room, where the property is
miscellaneous, is a curious and not unedifying study. One beholds a
large, closely-packed room, where the atmosphere is not too
salubrious, and yet the names which the auctioneer proclaims as those
of the buyers are not numerous, are not even in all cases the names of
persons present. The reason is that booksellers or their
representatives often attend sales for the sake of watching the market
or of noting the prices, and are on the spot when a lot occurs which
suits them, or for which they have a commission. It is not perhaps too
much to say that if the company should be reduced by 75 per cent. the
quotations would remain unaltered, for a certain proportion are
dummies beyond a moderate figure, and a certain proportion never open
their mouths. The latter are spectators, or proprietors, or
individuals whose biddings are given from the rostrum by proxy. An
experienced dealer will probably guess for whom the salesman or his
clerk is acting, and will be guided by such a hint in his own course
of proceeding.

Where the goods on sale are of a prevailingly low standard, the scene
varies in compliance with the circumstances, and the purchasers' names
in the priced catalogue are almost without exception the names of
booksellers, who make their account by going in for heavy lots and
rough stuff--an excellent vocation thirty years ago, but now a fairly
forlorn hope and quest. The bargain is no longer to the man who can
buy for a shilling and sell for a pound, but to him who has the
courage and means to buy for fifty pounds what he can sell for five
times fifty by virtue of his knowledge and connection.

To watch carefully and studiously a big sale such as that of the
Ashburnham library, of which two out of three portions are now
scattered, is a bibliographical, if not a commercial, education in
little. We attended in person throughout, and observed with interest
and profit the curious working, unappreciable to those not practically
versed in books, and acquainted with the result only through
paragraphs in the newspapers. A spectator with some preparatory
training could see how and why certain lots fetched such and such
abnormal figures; and a leading agency in this direction was the
unfortunate employment--unfortunate for himself, not for the owner or
the auctioneer--by a leading buyer of an agent who had to win his
purchases from men stronger than himself. Thus the Caxton's _Jason_,
instead of bringing perhaps £1000, ran up to more than twice that sum,
while, if it was re-sold under different conditions, it might not even
reach the lower amount. Still more striking were the offers for such
things as the first English edition of More's _Utopia_ (£51), a volume
which has repeatedly sold for a couple of guineas; while, on the other
hand, a handsomely bound copy of Bourrienne's _Memoires_ in ten
volumes went for 11s., and other ordinary works in proportion.

The names in the booksellers' ledgers and in the auctioneers'
catalogues as buyers of old or scarce literature are not by any means
necessarily always the names of collectors. They are often those of
middlemen, through whose hands a volume passes before it reaches its
ultimate destination--passes in many cases from one of these channels
to another. This is, of course, another mode of saying that the number
of actual book-holders on their own permanent account is comparatively
limited, and so it is. A call on the part of two or three persons for
a particular class of work or subject immediately puts the whole trade
on its mettle; everything directly or indirectly connected with the
new topic is bought up or competed for with extraordinary and abrupt
eagerness; the entire fraternity is bent on supplying the latest
demand; and prices rise with proportionate rapidity to an extravagant
height. The market consists of a couple or trio of individuals, who
might be insensible to the excitement which they have occasioned if it
were not for the offers from all sides which pour in upon them from
day to day; and in a season or so it is all over; quotations are as
before; and the running is on something different. Books of Emblems,
Catholic Literature, Gardening and Agriculture, Occult Sciences, Early
Poetry, Old Plays, Americana, Bewick, Cruikshank, the modern
novelists, have all had their day. But the cry and the want are
largely artificial. The customers are few; the caterers are many. Such
a criticism applies only to the rarer and costlier _desiderata_.

The characteristics and frequent surprises of auction figures largely
proceed from the pressure brought to bear from without by bidders who
are in the background, who often possess slight bibliographical
knowledge, and whose resources enable them to furnish their
representatives with generous instructions. These competitors are
usually restricted to prominent sales, where the capital items are
numerous, and the name of the proprietor is that of a departed
celebrity, or at all events, where certain copies, whether of
manuscripts or printed books, are submitted to public competition
after a lengthened period of detention in the hands of the late
holder. The Ashburnham sale (now completed) afforded abundant proof of
the influence on the market of a collector who began to form his
library before many of us were born, and who succeeded not only in
securing many treasures at present almost beyond reach, but in doing
so at fairly moderate prices. But even when the late Lord Ashburnham
went to what was in his time considered an extreme figure, he or his
estate generally gained. For example, his _Parzival and Titurell_,
1477, which cost Mr. Quaritch £30, and was sold to his Lordship for
£45 or less (Lord Ashburnham did not object to a discount), was
reacquired by the former for £81, and the set of Walton's _Angler_,
which is understood to have cost £200, realised four times that

The auction mart, where literary property of all kinds changes hands,
possesses its slang vocabulary, and knows alike the _Frost_ and the
_Boom_--not to mention the _Fluke_. In the notices which occur in the
press the public sees only one side, only the high quotations. The
public are of course, as a rule, destitute of bibliographical
knowledge, and so is the normal journalist. He marches into the room
after some sale, asks for the priced catalogue, scans the pages, and
makes notes of the highest figures, which are as often as not
misprinted by him in the organ by which he is employed. He does not
say that a lot which was worth £20 went for £2, or that one which
would usually fetch £2, brought £20 by reason of some mentioned
technicality, because he does not know. A man who has devoted his life
to the study of books and prices is aware that there are occasions
when very ordinary property realises silly prices, and that there are
others when the rarest and most valuable articles are given away.
Sometimes, again, the company is not _unanimous_ enough, and a
sovereign's worth may go for more than a sovereign, or, if there is
perfect friendship among those present, a first folio Shakespeare may
drop at a dozen pounds; but then there is, you know, _the court of
appeal_, which reassesses the amount to be finally paid. Not
invariably. We have our very selves not so long since, on a hot
Saturday afternoon, sat at the auctioneer's table, and made nearly a
clean sweep of a library of old English plays, where the maximum bid
was eighteen pence, and there was a buzz through the room when one, no
better than the rest, was accidentally carried to 14s.

But to the artificial inflation of prices in our salerooms there is
more than one side and one key. There was not so long since an
instance at Christie's, and a second at Sotheby's, where the high
quotations were entirely due to the competition of a so-called
interloper, who bade, as he thought, on the judgment of the room, and
was signally handicapped. Again, something has ere now been carried to
a prodigious figure owing to an unlimited commission inadvertently
given to two agents. The old Duke of Wellington once gave £105 in this
way for a shilling pamphlet, and even then the bidding was only
stopped by arrangement. However, of all the miraculous surprises, the
most signal on record was one of the most recent--the Frere sale at
Sotheby's in 1896, already alluded to, where the prices realised for
books in very secondary preservation set all records and precedents at
thorough defiance. The phenomenon, if it could be referred to any
cause, arose from the peculiar atmosphere and surroundings; it was a
_bonâ fide_ old library, formed partly by the Freres of Roydon Hall,
Norfolk, and partly by their relative Sir John Fenn, editor of the
_Paston Letters_, and a rather noted antiquary of the eighteenth
century. It was all straight and fair, so far as one could see; there
was no "rigging," and the competition was simply insane. A portion of
the Paston Correspondence struck us as cheap by comparison at £400; it
was that which was offered at Christie's some time since, and bought
in at about the same figure.

There were one or two singular errors in the catalogue. An Elizabethan
edition of Sir John Mandeville's Travels was ascribed to 1503 and the
press of Wynkyn de Worde, and the Tylney Psalter, belonging to the
fifteenth century, was stated in a note by a former possessor to be
of the age of Richard Coeur de Lion. One of the most unaccountable
blunders in an auctioneer's catalogue which we can call to mind was
the description of a Sarum service book as a grammatical treatise. But
solecisms of various kinds are periodical. A German book is said to be
printed at Gedruckt, and a copy of Sir John Mandeville in Italian is
entered as _Questo_, that being its compiler's frugal method of giving
the title (_Questo e il libro_).

One striking feature in the Frere sale was that it was only a part of
the library, and that not the part which the auctioneers'
representative saw at Roydon. Some further instalments occurred at
another saleroom a few months later; and perhaps there is yet more to
come. But in a bibliographical respect the dispersion proved of
interest, as many of the items, formerly Sir John Fenn's, had remained
imperfectly known and described; and it was not absolutely certain
that they survived.

An element in the modern auctions which is patent to all fairly
conversant with such _mysteria_, and has become one not less
indispensable than normal, is what is commonly known as the _Rig_. A
Rig is a sale which departs or declines from the strict line of _bona
fides_ so far as not to be precisely what the forefront of the
catalogue avouches it, and by one or two houses it is discountenanced.
Nevertheless it exists, and will continue from the nature of things to
do so; and we observe in the very opening decade of auctions, in the
very infancy of the system, a trace or germ of this commencing
impurity or abuse. For some of the catalogues, so far back as 1678,
purport to register within their covers the libraries of certain
noblemen or gentleman "and others" (_aliorumque_, in the Latin diction
then so much in favour), and so it has been ever since. When we go to
the rooms and lift up our voices, we do not always know whose property
we are trying to secure; nor, if our own judgment is worth anything,
does it greatly signify.


[6] Hazlitt's _Venice_, 1860, iv. 431.

[7] The library of James Chamberlain, sold at Stourbridge Fair in 1686.

[8] See _Catalogue of Early English Miscellanies formerly in the
    Harleian Library_, by W. C. Hazlitt, 1862.

[9] See besides, _Hazlitt's Memoirs_, 1896, chaps. vii, viii, ix; and
    Hazlitt's _Confessions of a Collector_, 1897, p. 150 _et seq._


P. 5. Of the public collections in England, those of Humphrey, Duke of
Gloucester, at Oxford, of which very little remains, and of Sir John
Gyllarde, Prior of the Calendaries' Gild in Bristol (founded before
1451), appear to be the pioneers. For the latter the Bishop of
Worcester is said to have provided, in 1464, a receptacle or building;
but the collection was destroyed by fire in 1466.

P. 5. _Illuminated MSS._--A great store of information is capable of
being collected on the subject of the embellishing and finishing
processes which MSS. underwent when the scribe had done his part.
Among the Paston Letters occurs a bill from Thomas (the) Limner of
Bury St. Edmunds to Sir John Howard, afterward Duke of Norfolk, in
1467, for illuminating several books, and we have also one of Antoine
Verard of Paris, "Enlumineur du Roy," in 1493 for similar work
executed for the Comte d'Angoulême by artists in the printer's

P. 7. _Circulating Libraries._--There was a library of this class at
Dunfermline in 1711 and at Edinburgh in 1725. When Benjamin Franklin
came to London, there was nothing of the kind. A bookseller named
Wright established one about 1740, and it was kept up by his
successors. Sion College was limited in its lending range to the
London clergy.

P. 9. Add the Le Stranges of Hunstanton to the East Anglian

P. 9. _Kent as a Hunting-ground for Books in Old Days._--Flockton of
Canterbury it was who once sold Marlowe's _Dido_, 1594, for 2s. He was
a contemporary of William Hutton, the Birmingham bookseller. This may
have been the very copy which formerly belonged to Henry Oxinden of
Barham, near Canterbury, and passed in succession into the hands of
Isaac Reed, George Steevens, the Duke of Roxburghe, Sir Egerton
Brydges, and Mr. Heber. The price charged by Flockton, however, was
fairly extravagant in comparison with that given by John Henderson,
the actor, for the copy which subsequently belonged to J. P. Kemble
and the Duke of Devonshire--fourpence--probably the original published

P. 10. _Bristol Houses._--Add _Strong_. Strong's catalogues for
1827-1828 are now before me, and describe 10,000 items. No such stock
has been kept at Bristol since. Jefferies had in former days some very
remarkable books on sale--Caxtons included; and Kerslake and George
could shew you volumes worth your notice and money, whoever you might
be. Now, alas! you have to leave the city as empty as you entered it.

P. 18. _Loss of Old Books._--The fate of a heavy percentage of our
earlier books--of the earlier books of every people--is curiously and
mournfully readable in the illiterate bucolic scrawls, doing duty for
autographs and inscriptions, which tell, only too plainly, how such
property slowly but surely passed out of sight and existence.

P. 19. _Old Libraries._--Add Fraser of Lovat, Boswell of Auchinleck,
and Fountaine of Narford.

P. 25. _Rolls of Book-Collectors._--Rather say 5000 names.

P. 29. _Spoliation of Libraries._--A precious volume of early English
tracts was not very long since offered at an auction, which had been
stolen from Peterborough Cathedral, and another, which constituted one
of the chief treasures of Sion College.

P. 32. The bulk of the books of Mr. Samuel Sandars were left to the
University Library, Cambridge, which has since acquired those of the
late Lord Acton.

P. 33. _Lincoln Cathedral Library._--Besides the Honeywood books sold
to Dibdin, the Dean and Chapter have suffered others to stray from
their homes. A notice is before me of one, a large folio on vellum,
containing tracts of a theological complexion, chiefly by an Oxford
doctor, Robert of Leicester, which was presented, as a coeval
inscription apprises us, by Thomas Driffield, formerly Chancellor of
the Diocese, in 1422 to the new library of the cathedral.

P. 34. _Provincial Libraries._--Of the books at Bamborough Castle, a
catalogue was printed at Durham in 1799. Some of the books at York
Minster appear to have been gifts from Archbishop Mathews. At
Colchester they are fortunate in possessing the library of Archbishop

P. 35. Marlowe's _Edward II._, 1594.--Possibly obtained by the
Landgraf of Hesse during his visit to London in 1611. This is
mentioned by me in my _Shakespear Monograph_, 1903.

P. 37. _Private Libraries._--In the case of private collections, we
have to distinguish between those of an ancestral character,
insensibly accumulated from generation to generation without any fixed
or preconcerted plan, and such as have been formed by or for wealthy
individuals in the course of a single life, if not of a few years, on
some general principle, with or without an eye to cost. Under either
of these conditions the motive is usually personal, and the ultimate
transfer in some instances to a public institution an accident or

P. 38. _Harleian Library._--The taste of the Harley family for books
dated from the time of Charles I. Sir Robert Harley, of Brampton
Castle, is credited with the possession of "an extraordinary library
of manuscript and printed books, which had been collected from one
descent to another." The house was besieged and burned in 1643, and
these literary and bibliographical treasures probably perished with
it. But his grandson, the first Earl of Oxford, restored the library;
and we all know that the second earl, who survived till 1741, elevated
it to the rank of the first private collection in England, while he
unconsciously sacrificed it to the incidence of a languid and falling

P. 42. Mr. William Henry Miller of Craigentinny was originally a
solicitor in Edinburgh.

P. 65. _Books of Emblems._--Besides those described is the translation
executed by Thomas Combe, and licensed in 1593, of the _Théâtre des
Bons Engins_ of Guillaume de la Perriere, of which no perfect copy of
any edition had been seen till the writer met with one of 1614 among
the Burton-Constable books.

P. 103. _Books Appreciable on Special Grounds._--Among these
are--Pennant's _Tour in Scotland_, 1769, and White's _Selborne_, 1785.
Everybody is aware that there are better works on Scotland than
Pennant's, and better accounts of birds, those of Selborne included,
than White's. But we desire the two heirlooms, as their authors left
them, pure and simple. We prefer not to have to disentangle the two
pieces of eighteenth century workmanship from the editorial and
artistic improvements which have overlaid them. A much-edited writer
becomes a partner in a limited company without a vote. His pages are
converted by degrees into an arena where others commend him above his
deserts, or what might have been his wishes, while here and there he
finds a commentator, whose aim is to convince you how superior a job
he would have made of it had it been left to him.

P. 109. _Translations._--It is remarkable that Aulus Gellius makes the
same complaint as is embodied in the text, about the lame versions of
Latin writers from the Greek.

P. 117. Howell's _New Sonnets and Pretty Pamphlets_.--The Huth
fragment seems as if it would complete the unique, but imperfect,
Capell copy.

P. 119. _A Hundred Merry Tales._--Besides the Huth mutilated copy and
the Göttingen complete one (of 1526) there is a fragment at the
Birthplace Museum, Stratford. I saw it there, but did not note to what
impression it belonged.

P. 122. _Four Sons of Aymon_, 1504.--A fine copy is offered at 15s. in
a catalogue about 1760. Of the _Famous history of the vertuous and
godly woman Judith_, 1565, all that is so far discoverable is that it
is a translation in English metre by Edward Jenynges. A title-page,
preserved among Ames's collections at the British Museum, is copied by
me in _Bibl. Coll._, 1903, pp. 210-11.

P. 125. _Destruction of Books._--Untold numbers of volumes have also
been sacrificed to the accumulation of material on special lines. Tons
of the _Annual Register_, _Gentleman's Magazine_, _Notes and Queries_,
and the like, have been lost, if it be a loss, in this way. A few
pages, maybe, are all that survive of a book, and when the library of
the specialist is sold, the rest shares the same fate at the hands of
an unsympathetic purchaser.

P. 126. _Unique copies._--The play of _Orestes_, 1567, came to light
at Plymouth about forty years ago with an equally unique issue of one
of Drayton's pieces. Of such things the present writer has met in the
course of a lengthened career with treasures which would make a small
library, and has beheld no duplicates.

P. 128. _Fragments._--The Fragment has within the last twenty or
thirty years come into surprising evidence, and in my latest
instalment of _Bibliographical Notes_, 1903, I have been enabled to
supply numerous deficiencies in existing records even of modern date
from a variety of sources not ostensibly connected with Bagford, Fenn,
or any other culprit of this type, shewing that the process of
disappearance was in universal operation, and that mere chance
arrested it here and there just in the nick of time.

P. 128. _Capital Books._--It is perhaps not unfair to add that
although Milton's _Poems_, 1645, is not a rare book, it is eminently
so in an irreproachable state, to say nothing of such a copy as the
Bodleian one presented by the poet himself, which one of the earlier
officials, a Dr. Hudson, thought might be thrown away without
detriment to the library.

P. 171. _Early Prices of Binding._--The books or pamphlets issued at
one penny, that is, a silver penny of the day, were usually stitched
or sewn.

The edition of the _Book of Common Prayer_, 1552, was sold, bound in
parchment, at 3s. 4d., and in leather, paper boards, or clasps, at 4s.
But in the next impression, it being in contemplation to suppress
certain matter, the price was to be reduced in proportion.

P. 183. There has been recently added to Cohen's work a companion one
on the French illustrated literature of the nineteenth century.

Books like Bewick's _Birds and Quadrupeds_, and indeed all works of
the modern side in request, are best liked in the original boards with
labels inviolate.

P. 191. _Cloister Life of Charles V._--The Keir illustrated copy was
long at Leighton's in Brewer Street, while the late Sir W.
Stirling-Maxwell was known as Mr. Stirling.

P. 198. _Henry VIII., Prayers_, 1544.--This exists in later
impressions in English, and of the date 1544 in Latin.

P. 200. _Special Copies._--To the list given may be added the
extraordinary volume of tracts formerly in the possession of Edmund
Spenser and Gabriel Harvey, a MS. note in which throws an entirely new
light on the earlier life of Spenser, as first pointed out by me after
my purchase of the book at an auction, where its importance was

P. 205. _Shakespear's Copy of Florio's Montaigne_, 1603.--In my
_Monograph on Shakespear_, 1903, I have adduced new evidence in
support of the authenticity of this and other signatures of the poet.

P. 206. _Books with MSS. Notes._--There is yet another category of
remains among the older literature of all countries, and it is that,
in which an acknowledged judge or master of a subject, though himself
perhaps a person of no peculiar celebrity, has rendered a copy of some
book the medium for preserving for future use matter overlooked by the
author or editor or correcting serious errors, and the lapse of time
exercises its influence in the appreciation of such _adversaria_. A
living scholar may be capable of going far beyond his predecessors in
enriching margins and flyleaves; but there is the caveat that he is
our contemporary. The privilege of the grave appertains to the man who
laid down his pen ever so long ago. We may know much more than
Langbaine or Oldys about the drama, and than Johnson or Malone about
Shakespear; yet, depend upon it, their notes are more wanted than

P. 208. _Autographs in Books._--In his copy of Slatyer's _Palæalbion_,
1621, the poet Earl of Westmorland wrote on a flyleaf: "Solus Deus
Protector Meus. W. Ex dono Danielis Beswitch servi mei fidelis, 1654."

Among his books Robespierre possessed a MS. Account of the Glorious
Achievements of Louis XIV. with illustrative drawings, and did it the
honour of attaching his autograph--an operation seldom so harmless.

P. 218. _Books on Vellum._--The _Horæ_ of the Virgin in the ancient
impressions on vellum are commoner than those on paper, though, as
the late Mr. Huth quietly observed to me, the vellum copies may be
more desirable.

The material, on which the Gwynn and Methuen copy of _Helyas_, 1512,
was printed, was unusually coarse, and this criticism applies to other
early English books taken off on that substance. They are a powerful
contrast to the Italian productions of the same class.

P. 232. A good deal of information has gradually accumulated respecting
the Venetian school of binding; but undoubted examples of early date
remain singularly scarce. See my _Venetian Republic_, 1900, ii. 663, 728.
The older school of French binding resembled that of the finer porcelain
of Chantilly and Sèvres, where on a choice piece of the Louis XV. period
are found, side by side, the separate marks of maker, painter, and

P. 244-5. _English Binders._ Add:--

Edmond Richardson of Scalding Alley.
Matthews. (Binder of the Hibbert, Wilkes, Gardner, and Huth copy of
    Shakespear, 1623.)
Hayday. (Worked for W. Pickering.)
J. & J. Leighton. (This firm still does business in Brewer Street.)
Douglas Cockerell.
J. Larkins.
Miss Prideaux.
Sir Edward Sullivan.

R. Montague (1730-40), bookseller, publisher, and binder, had a place
of business in 1732 at the corner of Great Queen Street, Drury Lane,
and in 1740 in Great Wyld Street. He undertook to gild and letter
books at his customers' own houses. John Bancks of Sunning was his
journeyman. It was the late Mr. Huth who expressed to me the opinion
that Bedford's brown calf should have been left to acquire a natural

P. 248. _Books with Painted and Goffered Edges._--I have seen volumes
belonging to the first quarter of the sixteenth century with the
leaves goffered and ornamentally inscribed; but the painted edge, as
we know it, was then already in existence in Italy, and the most
eminent artists did not disdain to execute this kind of embellishment.
One family at Belluno long possessed numerous examples enriched by the
hand of Cesare Vecellio. See my _Venetian Republic_, 1900, ii. 728.
The major part of a sale at Sotheby's a year or so ago consisted of
books treated on this principle by the owner; and the commercial
result was not joyous.

P. 253. _French and other Binders._ Add:--

Brodel Ainé et fils.
Bisiques. (Famous for his Turkey leather.)
L. Muller. (Thouvenin's successor.)

The house of Marius-Michel combined binding and gilding. Among the
Rothschild MSS., now in the British Museum, is a Boccaccio bound by
Thomas Berthelet before 1552 for the Protector Somerset. It is in gilt
calf with the motto: _Foy povr Debvoir_.

P. 263. The catalogue of the Early English Books in the British Museum
was mainly the work of Mr. Eccles, a late member of the staff. A new,
enlarged, and much improved edition by Mr. Pollard is in progress.

P. 271. That fairly familiar term, _Unique_, has been very badly
entreated. A late eminent auctioneer, who was not shy of using it,
tried to bring into vogue the variant form, _Uni Que_.

P. 274. _Huth Catalogue._--My copy is full of corrections, the text
abounding with errors, some of a very serious character. The late Mr.
F. S. Ellis was the responsible editor, and omitted at his discretion
much interesting matter.

P. 275. _Bibliographical Works of Reference._--One of the best is
Dickson and Edmond's _Annals of Scotish Printing_, 1890. The Rylands
Catalogue proved a _fiasco_.

P. 298. Of course the notification in the press of a signally high
price at an auction for a really important lot overwhelms the vendors
with inquiries and offers--offers of similar treasures, which are
extremely the reverse.

P. 307. Mr. Robert Hoe acquired the bulk or whole of Mr. Pope's books
after his death, including the Caxton _Arthur_, 1485, and this
gentleman continues to buy some of the most important items which
occur for sale in London.

After all said, much as we at home here in Britain need to be better
instructed in the art of Book-Collecting, our American cousins are
still farther from having completed their education in this way--a few
have not commenced it, I fancy. It is not generally realised in
England that the American collector of loftier range is a type
entirely distinct from the normal book-collector, whose limit is
quickly reached. Those who buy books in the United States are by no
means all Hoes and Morgans.

P. 311. _Early Catalogues of old Plays._--I should have added the so
often quoted one annexed to the _Old Law_, 1656.

P. 314. _Inch of Candle._--This practice survived down to modern
times both in France and England in the disposal or transfer of real

P. 315. _Lazarus Seaman._--This gentleman was a member of the Assembly
of Divines, and at one time chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland. He
held the living of All Hallows, Bread Street, and became Master of
Peterhouse, Cambridge. But he lost his clerical preferment at the
Restoration, and chiefly resided in his later days in Warwick Lane,
London, where he died in 1675.

P. 317. _Book Auctions._--It is at present, I believe, at the
discretion of the auctioneer to postpone a sale, when the company is
too small to promise a satisfactory result, yet I have known one
carried out when not more than two influential bidders were present.
In a catalogue of 1681, however, there is a proviso that at least
twenty gentlemen must attend.

P. 323. It is a powerful exemplification of the contrast between old
times and ours, that Mr. Pierpont Morgan is credited with having
acquired forty Caxtons at one swoop.


P. 5, l. 8, for _depends_ read _depend_.
P. 7, l. 3, for _Warm Well_ read _Warmwell_.
P. 9, l. 8 from foot, for _Oxendens_ read _Oxindens_.
P. 31, l. 8, read _Dr. Williams's Library, Gordon Square_.
P. 35, l. 4 from foot, read _The late Mr. Quaritch narrated_.
P. 40, l. 14, read _the second Earl of Oxford_.
P. 54, l. 5 from foot, read _such as the Dyce_.
P. 54, l. 6, read _Auchinleck (Boswell)_.
P. 107, l. 22, read _St. John's (J. A.)_.
P. 107, l. 26, read ---- _(Bayle) Montaigne the Essayist_.
P. 114, l. 4 from foot, read _Malden_.
P. 120, l. 3, read Oxinden.
P. 145, l. 3, read _eighteenth century_.
P. 152, l. 15, read _which falls_.
P. 155, l. 3 from foot, read _Makellar_.
P. 156, l. 2 from foot, read _sixteenth and seventeenth centuries_.
P. 160, l. 12, read _Stevens_.
P. 168, l. 20, read _twentieth century has well opened_.
P. 180, _bis_, read _Basiliologia_.
P. 181, l. 4 from foot, read _we may place_.
P. 210, l. 14, read _Derè_.
P. 221, l. 2 from foot, read _Concubranus_.
P. 245, l. 11, read _Charles Lewis the younger_.
P. 251, l. 3, read _genere_.
P. 262, l. 13, read 1867-1903.
P. 277, l. 21, read _Inglis copy_.
P. 283, l. 20, read _last century_.
P. 297, l. 5, read _the right one_.
P. 300, l. 3, read _Watson, Barnfield_.
P. 303, l. 21, read _descended a little_.
P. 322, l. 4 from foot, read _Nichols's Anecdotes_.
P. 323, last line, read _W. C. Hazlitt_.
P. 325, l. 6, read _priced copy_.
P. 326, l. 4, read _to describe_.
P. 326, l. 12, read _books of a gentleman_.
P. 332, l. 10 from foot, read _eighteenth century_.
P. 333, l. 5 from foot, read _bona fides_.


[10] Owing to circumstances for which neither the writer nor the
     printers are responsible, some sheets were worked, before the
     corrections had been carried out.


ACTON, LORD, 57-58
Adam Bel, 121
Addington, S., 45
Advice in the formation of a catalogue, 277
Advice in the formation of a library, 275-276
Advice to collectors, 255-256, 282
Aldenham, Lord (H. H. Gibbs), 56-57, 58
Alexander de Villâ Dei (Ville Dieu), 217
Alleyn, Edward, 32
Althorp Library, 48
Amateur binding, 249-250, 340
American laws, bibliography of, 279
American libraries, 34, 36, 341
American literature, 72-73
American market, 13, 36, 70-72, 145, 151, 158-160, 213, 257, 304-307
American reprints of English books, 158
Amherst, Hon. Alicia, 25
Anathema against book-thieves, 30
Ancient bindings, 209-210
Anglo-American literature, 158
Anglo-French collectors, 27, 173, 192-194
Anne, Queen, 39
_Arthur, Romance of_, printed by Caxton, 301, 305
Arundel Books and MSS., 4, 55
Ashburnham Library, 5, 47, 49-51, 275, 328, 330
Ashburton, Lord, 27
Aubrey, John, 19
Auctions, 141-142, 310 _et seqq._, 5, 323, 342
Auctions, catalogues of, 318, 332
Auctions, provincial, 315
Aulus Gellius, 104, 337
Autographs in books, 195 _et seqq._
Autographs in French books, 210-211
_Aymon, Four Sons of_, 338

BAGFORD, JOHN, 24, 122, 322
Baker, Thomas, 221
Ballads, 45, 78
Bamborough Castle, 336
Barclay's _Ship of Fools_, 222
Bargains, 20, 287
Barnard, Sir F., 38
Barretts of Lee, 9
Bay Psalm Book, 159
Bayle's Dictionary, 94
Beckford, W., 56, 208-209
Bedford Missal, 248
Bewick, W., 184
Bibles, 68-69, 199, 204, 223, 299-301, 304
Biblioclasts, 123-124
Bibliomania, 19-20
Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, 29, 38
Biddings, low, 324-325
Binding, 220 _et seqq._, 338, 340
_Blanchardine and Eglantine_, 35
Blenheim Palace library, 43
Blount's _Jocular Tenures_, 215
Bolingbroke, Lord, 205
Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire, 57
_Book of St. Albans_, 303
Book-Clubs, 7, 257, 280
Book-collecting centres (old), 33
Book-lovers, 15-17, 88, 94
Book-market (1810-1870), 46
Book-recipients, 90
Book trade, 293
Books of reference, 262-263
Books, which are books, 94-108
Bradshaw, Henry, 52, 158
Breton, Nicholas, 80, 149-151
Bridgewater library, 56, 58, 272
Bright, B. H., 5, 47
Bristol, 335
Bristol booksellers, 10, 336
British Museum, 4, 31, 42, 53, 121, 263, 270, 341
Britton, Thomas, 320
Britwell Library, 25-26, 41-43, 277
Brooke, Thomas, 203
Brown, Tom, 316
Brydges, Sir Egerton, 335
Bunburys of Bury, 9
Burneys, the, 208
Burns, R., 305
Bury, 8-9, 335
Bute, Earls and Marquises of, 56

Calendaries' Gild at Bristol, 335
Cambridge, 10-11, 30-33, 65, 77, 201, 275, 316, 336
Capell's _Shakespeariana_, 275
_Capital_ books, 296, 338
Carew MSS., 5
Carleton, Sir Dudley, 151
Catalogues of libraries, 46, 57-58, 310
_Caveat Emptor_, 282
Cavendish, Henry, 57
Caxton, W., 21, 24, 77, 201, 232, 301, 328
Cervantes, 113
Chained books, 34
Chamberlain, John, 150
Changes of taste, 135, 139
Chap-books, 76
Characters, books of, 65
Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_, printed by Caxton, 5, 301, 306
Cheap literature, 111
Chetham, Humphrey, 33, 205
Church libraries, 33
Circulating libraries, 6-7, 335
City Companies, 200, 204
Civil War tracts, 65
Classification of libraries, 59-91
Colchester, 336
Coleridge, S. T., 15, 207
Collections, English, 54
Collectors of MSS., 4-5
Collier, John Payne, 41, 57, 270
Collins, William, 8
Colonial (North American) literature, 158-160
Combe, Thomas, 337
Commission system, 307-309
Concubranus, 221, 343
Continental libraries, 34
Cooper, William, 319
Copper-plates, 182
Copyright, 176
Correction of the press, 177
Corser, Rev. Thomas, 14, 47, 273
Cotton, Sir Robert, 4
Counterfeit bindings, 256
Crawford, Earl of, 274
Crichton, James, 68
_Cuisinier François_, 22
Cunliffe, Henry, 47
Currer, Miss Richardson, 25, 47-48

Daniel, George, 20, 42, 45-47, 272
Daniel, Samuel, 20, 28, 45-47
Davenant, Sir W., 215
Davies, Sir Thomas, 207
Day, Stephen, printer at Cambridge (N.E.), 159
Dedications, 214-215
D'Eon, Chevalier, 21-24
Derings of Surrenden, 5
Destruction of books, 18, 125, 338
Devonshire, Duke of, 41, 57
_Diane de Poitiers_ bindings, 231
Dickens, Charles, 7
_Dilettanti_, 82
Doran, Dr., 89
Dorat, 187-188
Drayton, Michael, 202, 205, 338
Driffield, Thomas, 336
Dryden, John, 201-202
Dulwich College, 32
Dunfermline, 335
Dunton, John, 7, 319
Durham and Winchester bindings, 222
Dyce, Rev. A., 40, 54, 79

EARLE, Mrs., 24
Earliest productions of the press, 18
Early English literature, 144 _et seqq._
East Anglia, 9, 335-336
Edge-painting, 248
Edinburgh, 335
_Edition de Luxe_, 191
Edwards of Halifax, 244, 248
Elements of interest in books, 296
Elizabeth's (Queen) Prayer Book, 249
Elizabethan literature, 143 _et seqq._
Ellenbog, Udalric, 226
Elliott's Brewery at Pimlico, 42
Emblems, Books of, 64-65, 337
English and foreign presses, 67-68, 153
English binders, 201, 208, 220 _et seqq._, 242, _et seqq._, 340
English books abroad, 35
English collectors, 4-5, 8-9, 11, 14-16, 54-58
English lists of, 244, 246
English presses, 153-154
English series, 149
Enscheden collection at Haarlem, 35
Ephemeral schools of writers, 173
_Esprit_ in binding, 228
Essex, Robert Devereux, Earl of, 205
Evelyn, John, 9, 312, 315
Eves, the two, 251

FANSHAWE, Sir R., 202
Farrer of Little Gidding, 247
Fenn, Sir John, 9, 123, 151, 295, 332
Fictitious imprints, 153-154
First editions, 174-176, 178
FitzGerald, Edward, 88
Flockton, bookseller at Canterbury, 335
Florio, John, 202, 205, 214, 339
Foljambe, Sir F., 202
Foreign liveries for English books, 249
Foreign presses for the same, 153
Forster, John, 54, 65
Fountaine Collection, 196, 336
_Four Sons of Aymon_, 122, 338
Fragments of books, 115-119, 122, 338
Franklin, Benjamin, 335
Franks, Sir Wollaston, 214
Fraser of Lovat, 336
Free libraries, 7, 161-163
French binders, 234, 236, 238, 251, _et seqq._, 341
French list of, 252
French books, 186-187, 192-194
French collectors, 22, 192-194
French taste in collecting, 36
French works of reference, 278
Frere sale, 295, 332
Freres, The, 9

George III., 40
Gilding of books, 234
Goffering, 340
Gold binding, 214
Grenville, Thomas, 15, 46, 271
Grolier bindings, 226, 230-231
Grolier Club, 257
Guarini, B., 203

Ham House, 55
Hanmer, Sir Thomas, 80
Hanmers of Mildenhall, 9
Hardwicke MSS., 4
Harleian Library, 4, 37-38, 40, 55, 312, 318, 321-322, 337
Harleian Miscellany, 79
Harvey, Gabriel, 201
_Hasta_, 312-313
Hawes, Francis, 313
Hazlitt, W., 80, 158, 165
Hearne, Thomas, 21, 135, 221
Heber, Richard, 4-5, 38, 40-43, 46, 81, 267, 269, 270-271, 321, 335
_Helyas_, 1512, 340
_Henri Deux_ binding, 231
Henrietta Maria, 214
Henry VIII., 196, 198, 339
Heriot, George, 234
Herveys of Ickworth, 9
Hesse, Landgraf of, 336
Highest prices realised for books, 299-304
Hill, Thomas, 268
Hoe, Robert, 341-342
Hogarth, 181
Honeywood bequest to Lincoln, 33, 336
_Horæ_, 63, 199, 210, 339
Howard, Sir John, first Duke of Norfolk, 335
Howell, Thomas, 337
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, 335
_Hundred Merry Tales_, 1526, 35, 338
Hunt, Leigh, 39, 80, 158, 165
Huth, Henry, 6, 15, 21, 25, 41-46, 64, 274, 341
Hutton, W., 335

Illustrated Books, 178 _et seqq._, 278, 339
Illustrated copies, 189-191
_Imitatio Christi_, 64, 111
Imperfect books, 134
_Incanto_, 313
Inch of candle, 314, 341
Inglis library, 54, 56
Inns of Court, 11
Irish collectors, 158
Irish presses, 157
Irish series, 156-158

Jermyn, Henry, 215
Johnson, Dr., 38, 55, 103, 339
Johnsons of Spalding, 19, 51-53
Jolley, Thomas, 81
Jonson, Benjamin, 202
Josephine, the Empress, 211
Jubinal, Achille, 29
_Judith, History of_, 1565, 338

Kentish collectors, 9
Killigrew, T., 205
Kinloss Abbey, 204
Kirkman, F., 311
Knight, Charles, 7
Kressen, Anton, of Nürnberg, 210

Lamb, Charles, 6, 15, 88, 139, 158, 207, 209, 240
Lambeth Library, 5
Lambton, Henry, 202
Langbaine, Gerard, 339
Langland, Andrew, 204
Laycock, W., 79
Lee-Warlys, the, 9
Leigh, George, auctioneer, 24, 208
Le Houx, Jean, 112-113
Le Neve, P., 5
Le Stranges of Hunstanton, 335
Levant morocco, 225, 250
Libraries, Cathedral, 33
Libraries, College, 31
Libraries, Foreign, 34
Libraries, National, 31
Libraries, Provincial, 336
Libraries compared, 15-17, 38
Lichfield, William, 121
Limited market for rarer books, 138
Lincoln Cathedral, 33, 336
_Lincoln Nosegay_, 269
Lincolnshire, two give-away sales in, 133
Little Gidding bindings, 247
Liturgies, 63, 68
Locker-Lampson, F., 45, 58
Longleat library, 56
Lost books, 120-128, 130, 133
Louis XV., 230
Louis XVI., 211
Lounging Books of a Gentleman, 1788, 326
Lovelace's _Lucasta_, 129
Luttrell, Narcissus, 21, 77
Lydgate's _Troy-Book_, 35-36
Lyonnese calf, 225, 249

M'Culloch, J. R., 3-4
Maidment, James, 11
Maioli bindings, 231
Maitland, Lord, 312
Malone, Edmond, 21, 339
_Manesse Liderbuch_, 304
Manuscript Notes in Books, 206, 339
Manuscripts, 4-5
Marie Antoinette, 36, 187, 211
Marler, Anthony, 200
Marlowe, Christopher, 35, 89, 284, 336
_Maroquin de Constantinople_, 225
Martin of Palgrave, T., 5, 9, 123
Massinger, Philip, 202
Materials in which books have been bound, 223 _et seqq._
Materials on which books have been printed, 137, 216-220, 339
Mazarin or Gutenberg Bible, 44-45, 69, 300-301
Medical literature, 73
Mentelin, Johann, 209
_Mesdames de France_, 230
Middle-Hill Library, 80
Millers of Craigentinny, 42-43, 337
Millington, Edward, 316, 319
Milton, John, 201
Miscellaneous collectors, 80
_Missæ Speciales_, 299
Mitford, Rev. John, 9
Modern side in collecting, 161 _et seqq._
Molière, 254
Monastic binding, 221
Monastic writers, 66
Monographs, 279
Montague, R., 340
Montaigne, 29, 101, 106, 109, 111, 200, 339
Moore, John, Bishop of Ely, 123
More, Sir T., 204
Morgan, Pierpont, 341-342
Morocco bindings (early), 223, 253
Motives for selling libraries, 325
Murray, Regent, 204

NAPOLEON, 211-212
Nash, Richard, 206
Newcastle, Duchess of, 15
Newton, Sir Isaac, 215
Norfolk, Duke of, library given to Royal Society, 55
North family, 316
Northcote family, 204

OBSOLETE books of reference, 263-265, 266-267
Occult Literature, 74
Ogilby, John, 315
Oldys, W., 339
Old-fashioned English libraries, 38
_Orestes_, 1567, 338
Osterley Park library, 55, 301
Over-production of books (former), 13
Oxford, 4-5, 11, 30-32, 65, 77, 114, 153, 275, 335
Oxford Harleys, Earls of, 37-38
Oxindens of Barham, 9, 335

Parkhurst, Thomas, 318
Parr family, 199
_Parzival and Titurell_, 330
Paston Letters, 332
Patmore, Coventry, 218
Paul's Head Tavern in Carter Lane, 320
Pennant, Thomas, 337
Pepys, S., 24, 33, 76-77, 208, 215, 284, 286, 312, 315
Peterborough Cathedral, 336
Petre, Lord, 9
Petrarch, 209-210
Phillipps, Sir T., 5, 81
Picas of Salisbury use, 77
Pilgrim Fathers, 72, 159
Pirkheimer Library, 55
Plantin Museum, 35
Playing-cards, 279
Plymouth, 338
Pope, A., 205
Porter, Endymion, 215
Prices of books, 20-21, 170-171, 285 _et seqq._
Prices of binding, 171, 338
Prideaux, Miss, 250, 340
Provincial bindings, 247
Provincial booksellers, 8-11
Psalters of 1457 and 1459, 299-300, 304
Public libraries, 29-36
Pyne, Henry, 70, 89-90

QUARITCH'S catalogue of bindings, 1888, 257
Quaritch's General catalogue, 255-256

Randolph, Thomas, 147
Rarities in early English series, 149
Rawlinson, Thomas, 320
Rea or Rede, Francis, bookbinder, 201
Reed, Isaac, 89, 335
Reference books, 165, 259 _et seqq._, 292
Reference libraries, 7
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 3, 206
_Richard Coeur de Lion_, 1509, 49
Richards, John, a Dorsetshire farmer, 7
Richardson, Edmond, 208, 340
Rig, the, 333-334
Rimbault, Dr., 80
Risks of realisation, 140-142
Robert of Leicester, 336
Robespierre, 211, 339
Rodd, Thomas, 20
Rolle of Hampole, Richard, 205
Rolls of collectors, Hazlitt's, 6, 25, 37, 86, 90, 336
Romish literature, 67
Roxburghe, John, Earl of, 39
Roxburghe Library, 11, 39, 40, 46, 335
Royal books, 198-200
Rylands, Mrs., 25, 48

SANDARS, SAMUEL, 32, 54, 336
Sanderson, Cobden, 250
Savile family, 204
Schreiber, Lady Charlotte, 48
Scotland, 7, 11, 19, 149, 204
Scotish binders, 244-246
Scotish collectors, 11, 19, 155, 204, 229, 336
Scotish presses, 155
Scotish series, 149
Scott, Robert, 319
Seaman, Lazarus, 315, 317, 342
Separation of sets of books, 235
Service-books, 63, 148
Shakespear, W., 13, 20-21, 22, 35, 38, 80, 100, 170, 205, 207, 214,
    233, 275, 302-303, 339
_Ship of Fools_, 222
Simeon, Sir John, 81
Sion College, 32, 335
Skene of Skene, 19
Slatyer's _Palæalbion_, 1621, 339
Smith, George, 274
Smith, Richard, 316
Smollett, T., 246
Solly, Edward, 81
_Somers Tracts_, 79
Southey's _Cottonian Library_, 249
Spanish binding, 230, 267-268
Special collections in public libraries, 33
Special copies of books, 200
Specialists, 60 _et seqq._, 79-80
Spencer, Lord, 49, 271
Spenser, Edmund, 128, 201, 233, 241
Spoliation of public libraries, 29, 336
Steevens, George, 89, 335
Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W., 191, 339
Subjects or Lines, choice of, for libraries, 59-91
Sullivan, Sir Edward, 250, 340
Superabundance of books, 13
Surrey collectors, 9
Swinton, General, 11
Sydneys of Penshurst, 9

Technical treatises, 75
Thomason the stationer, 65, 194
Thomas Limner of Bury, 335
Thorold, Sir John, 56
Thorpe, Thomas, 45
Thought or mind in binding, 228
"Three-halfpenny ware," 150
Tite, Sir W., 43
Toledo Missal, 303
Tollemaches, the, 9, 45
Tom's coffee-house, 320
Tonson, Jacob, 201
Translations, 109-114, 337
Turbervile, George, 233
Turner, Dawson, 9
Turner, J. M. W., 181
Turner, R. S., 27
Twopenny biddings, 325
Twysden, Mary, 205
Types of collectors, 88-91
Tyrrwhitt, Lady Elizabeth, 214

UNIQUE BOOKS, 338, 341
Unique English books abroad, 35
Universities, 10-11, 65, 77, 336
Usher, Archbishop, 205

_Vaux de Vire_, 112-113
Venetian school of binding, 246, 340
Venice, 34
Verard, Antoine, 335
Vocabulary of auctions, 330
Voyages and travels, 70

WALTON, Isaak, 203, 213, 233
Warton, Thomas, 8, 20
Weale, Jacobus, 53, 64
West of England, 10, 336, 338
Westminster Abbey, 34
Westmorland, Earl of, 339
White, Gilbert, 108, 337
Williams, Lord-Keeper, 34
Willoughby family, 204
Wodhull, Michael, 208
Wolfreston books, 323
Wycherley, W., 204-205
Wynns of Peniarth, 57

ZÜRICH, 34-35


Edinburgh & London

Transcriber's Notes:

1. Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

2. Errata have been applied.

3. Corrections:

Page 98, "procelain" changed to "porcelain"
Page 234, "Dorè" changed to "Doré"
Page 239, "desolè" changed to "désolé"
Page 252, "Prè" changed to "Pré"
Page 335, "d'Angouléme" changed to "d'Angoulême"
Page 340, "Sévres" changed to "Sèvres"
Page 341, "Ainè" changed to "Ainé"
Page 350, "Moliere" changed to "Molière"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book-Collector - A General Survey of the Pursuit and of those who have - engaged in it at Home and Abroad from the Earliest Period - to the Present Time" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.