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ROYAL COMMISSION ON HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS..
TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
MAY IT PLEASE Your MAJESTY,
WE, Your Majesty's Commissioners, appointed by Your Royal Commission to inquire what påpers and manuscripts are extant belonging to private families which would be useful in illustrating constitutional law, science, and general history of this country, and to which possessors would be willing to give access, respectfully beg leave to submit this, our Third Report, to Your Majesty.
In pursuance of a warrant under Your Majesty's Sign Manual, bearing date 24th July 1872, Lord Acton was added to the Commissioners whom Your Majesty had previously appointed on the 2nd of April and 31st August 1869.
Of the Second Report presented by Your Commissioners to both Houses of Parliament on 7th August 1871, 1,375 copies were printed, nearly all of which have been distributed or sold, and from the favourable reception accorded to that Report it is evident that a large amount of public interest attaches to the operations of Your Commissioners. Copies of the Report were sent, as in the previous year, to the members of the House of Lords and House of Commons, to the owners of manuscripts whose collections were noticed, to the press, and to all persons who had in any way assisted in promoting the objects of the Commission.
Your Commissioners attached to their Second Report an index to that and to the First Report. But, in consequence of the increased importance of their labours, they deem it right to add, for the future an index to each Report, which, it is hoped, will prove useful, and at the same time attest the wide range of subjects embraced by the operations of the Commission. The Index to the present Report, as well as to the Appendix attached to it, will be found at p. 437 of the Appendix.
Your Commissioners regret to notify to Your Majesty that Mr. Wilford George Brett, Secretary to the Commission, died in November last. Mr. John Romilly has been appointed to fill his place.
Your Commissioners are glad to be able to state that the Lords Commissioners of Your Majesty's Treasury, recognizing the value of the operations of Your Commission, granted the sum of 1,2007. last year instead of 1,0001. to defray its expenses. This increased grant has enabled Your Commissioners to enlarge their operations, as will be evident from the Reports of the various inspectors.
In the execution of Your Majesty's commands, Your Commissioners have continued their inquiries on the subjects mentioned in Your Commission, in accordance with the terms of the circular which they issued, inviting the co-operation of all persons having private collections of manuscripts. A copy of this circular will be found in the Appendix, p. 436.
Upwards of 100 collections have been inspected and reported upon during the past year; a result which must be considered satisfactory, when it is remembered that many of these collections are large and extensive. Altogether not less than 280 collections of documents have been examined during the three years Your Commission has been in existence, and larger results might have been anticipated had increased funds been placed at the disposal of Your Commissioners. The confidence reposed in Your Commissioners by the various owners of manuscripts has been most gratifying, and their readiness to assist Your Commissioners deserves public acknowledgment.
Your Commissioners have as in former years conducted their inquiries through inspectors, who have reported on the various collections. Mr. Alfred J. Horwood, Mr. H. T. Riley, and the Rey, J. Stevenson, have continued to act as inspectors for
England : Dr. Stuart and Mr. Fraser, both of the General Register House, Edinburgh, have acted in a similar capacity for Scotland : and Mr. J. T. Gilbert, of the Public Record Office of Ireland, has been employed in that country. In addition to the above gentlemen, the Rev. Professor Brewer has been specially employed, with the sanction of the Lords of Your Majesty's Treasury, to report upon the valuable collection of the Marquis of Salisbury, and Mr. R. B. Knowles has been engaged in examining the manuscripts in England belonging to the Marquis of Bute.
* Each Řeport has, in conformity with the circular of the Commission, been submitted to the owner of the collection to which it refers, who has consented to its publication and circulation under the authority of the Commissioners.
The Reports by these gentlemen during the past year will be found in the Appendix, pp. 1 to 435.
They embrace the following Collections, viz., in
England and Wales.—House of Lords ; Duke of Devonshire, Duke of Northumberland, Marquis of Lansdowne, Marquis of Salisbury, Marquis of Bath, Marquis of Bute, Marquis of Northampton, Marquis of Westminster, Earl of Devon, Earl of Shaftesbury, Earl Delawarr, Earl Fortescue, Earl of Chichester, Earl of Effingham, Lord Gage, Lord Wharncliffe, Lord de L’Isle and Dudley, Lord Bishop of Southwark, Sir H. Bedingfeld, Bart., Sir Charles Bunbury, Bart., Sir Wm. Cope, Bart., Sir P. De Malpas Grey Egerton, Bart., M.P., Sir Edmund Filmer, Bart., Sir Gerald Fitzgerald, Bart., Sir W. H. B. Ffolkes, Bart., Sir H. Gunning, Bart., Sir Thomas Hare, Bart., Sir Charles Isham, Bart., Sir Rainald Knightley, Bart., Sir N. W. Throckmorton, Bart., Whitehall Dod, Esq., C. J. Eyston, Esq., Rev. Francis Hopkinson, LL.D., J. H. Lee, Esq., W. J. Legh, Esq., H. Styleman Le Strange, Esq., T. C. Marsh, Esq., Richard Orlebar, Esq., Miss Othen, F. Peake, Esq., R. Phelips, Esq., Rev. Walter Sneyd, R. E. Egerton Warburton, Esq., George F. Wilbraham, Esq., Matthew Wilson, Esq.; Corporation of Axbridge; Corporation of Berwick-upon-Tweed ; Treasurer of Berwick-upon-Tweed; Corporation of Bridgwater; Downing College and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge; Churchwarden's accounts of Chedder; Corporation of Kingston-on-Thames ; County of Somerset ; Stoneyhurst College; Corporation of Totnes ; City of Wells; Dean and Chapter of Wells; Vicars Choral of Wells Cathedral ; and Dr. Williams' Library.
Scotland.–Duke of Montrose, Marquis of Bute, Earl of Seafield, Earl of Glasgow, Lord Rollo, Sir A. Edmonstone, Bart., Sir P. K. Murray, Bart., James Dundas, Esq., Robert Dundas, Esq., Lieut. Col. W. Ross King, C. H. D. Moray, Esq., John Webster, Esq., R. G. E. Wemyss, Esq.; and University of Glasgow.
Ireland.-Marquis of Orinonde, Earl of Granard ; Historical Memoirs of the Geraldine Earls of Desmond; Rev. M. Molony (Parliamentary History of Ireland by Hugh Howard, LL.D.); the Black Book of Limerick ; and Chief Baron Willes' memoranda on Ireland.
In addition to the above, the following collections have also been examined, viz., those of the Duke of Buccleuch, Duke of Roxburghe, Earl of Selkirk, Lord Blantyre, Lord Buckhurst, Lord Colchester, Hon. Mrs. Hanbury Lennox, Sir H. H. Campbell, Bart., Sir M. Shaw Stewart, Bart., Colonel Carew, W. Dymond, Esq., Colonel Farquharson, Colonel M.Douall, Colonel Rattray, R. Vans Agnew, Esq., W. Beainont, Esq., G. J. H. Drummond, Esq., Andrew Fletcher, Esq., J. G. C. Hamilton, Esq., M.P., J. J. Rogers, Esq., J. Wauchope, Esq.; Corporation of Hythe; St. Catharine's College and Emmanuel College, Cambridge ; Balliol College, Queen's College, and St. John's College, Oxford. Though postponed for the present, the Reports on these collections will be printed next year.
The following noblemen, gentlemen, and public authorities have also consented to allow their manuscripts to be inspected, and arrangements are in progress for their examination in the course of the present year :
The Duke of Argyll, Duke of Athole, Duchess of Sutherland, Marquis of Downshire, Earl of Denbigh, Earl Ducie, Earl of Hardwicke, Earl of Leicester, Lord Arbuthnott, Lord Dormer, Lord Hatherton, Sir W. Fairbairn, Bart., Sir H. Halford, Bart., Sir C. Hamilton, Bart., Sir A. A. Hood, Bart., M.P., Sir H. Hoskins, Bart., Sir Walter James, Bart., Sir T. Lloyd, Bart., M.P., Sir A. Malet, Bart., Sir H. Mildmay, Bart., Sir Arthur E. Monck, Bart., C. M. Berington, Esq., R. Cholmondeley, Esq., James Crossley, Esq., J. J. Hope Johnstone, Esq., L. A. Majendie, Esq., Sackville Stopford, Esq., W. C. Strickland, Esq., Colonel Towneley, Corporation of Colchester, Corporation of Haverfordwest, Corporation of Kings Lynn, Corporation of Pembroke, and Corporation of Tenby.
In the summer and autumn of 1871 fresh communications were addressed to various noblemen and gentlemen, calling their attention to the objects of the Commission, and inviting their co-operation. Four hundred and fifty letters, enclosing copies of the circular of the Commission, were issued. Owing to these communications most of the collections just named were offered for inspection by their owners, and on all hands the utmost readiness was evinced to assist the work of the Commission.
In their Second Report Your Commissioners adverted to the fact that one effect of their operations had been that several collections had passed from private into public hands, and had thus become accessible to the historical student. The authorities of the British Museum have since purchased the important Papers belonging to the Earl of Macclesfield, which were noticed in the First Report. This collection, includes the correspondence of George Stepney during the period he was employed as the King's Commissary and Depuiy in Saxony, and also the correspondence of George Cressett while engaged in negotiations at several German Courts.
Considerable assistance has been rendered in the work of Your Commissioners by the authorities of the Public Record Office. The Deeds and Papers belonging to Lord Wharncliffe have been examined and stamped : several volumes of manuscripts belonging to the corporations of Abingdon and Hythe have been repaired and bound : the Standish deeds belonging to F. Peake, Esq., have been repaired : the binding of the volumes of Papers belonging to R. Phelips, Esq., has been completed : and a large collection of Charters and Papers belonging to Sir Gerald Fitzgerald have been arranged, classified, and catalogued by one of the officers of the Public Record Office. . Among the collections transmitted during the past year to Your Commissioners for examination were those of the Marquis of Northampton, the Earl of Effingham, Lord Colchester, Lord Wharncliffe, Sir Gerald Fitzgerald, J. H. Lee, Esq., Miss Othen, and J.J. Rogers, Esq.
In April 1871 the Earl of Shaftesbury signified to Your Commissioners his wish to present his valuable collection of manuscripts to the Public Record Office; an offer which was gratefully accepted. His Lordship accordingly forwarded to the Rolls House one large chest and three smaller boxes of Papers. These Papers have been arranged and catalogued by Mr. Sainsbury, one of the officers of the Public Record Office. Your Commissioners desire to testify their appreciation of the value of the gift which Lord Shaftesbury has thus generously bestowed on the nation. The correspondence relating to the third Earl, the celebrated author of " Characteristics,” and the letters to and by John Locke, and papers by him, will be found particularly valuable, especially the copy in Locke's hand, with corrections by him, of the first set of Constitutions for Carolina. Mr. Horwood's report on this collection will be found at p. 216 of the Appendix to this Report.
In Scotland Dr. Stuart has recently been engaged in examining the papers of the late Lord Hailes. Besides his own Manuscripts, and collections for his printed works, there is a large and varied series of letters from the leading literary men of the day. Among the writers are Burke, Malone, Jortin, Horace Walpole, Pennant, James Boswell, David Hume, Principal Robertson, Butler Bishop of Oxford, Cook Dean of Ely, Warburton Bishop of Gloucester, Porteous Bishop of London, South Bishop of London, Hind Bishop of Worcester, Newton Bishop of Bristol, Dr. Beattie, Dr. Abernethy Drummond, Principal Campbell, and others. Some of Lord Hailes' Books contain Collections of Facetiæ, and anecdotes of historical characters which are remarkable. Dr. Stuart's
unt of this collection will appear in the next Report of the Conimission. Mr. Monro and Mr. Thoms, the two officers appointed for the purpose, have proceeded with their labours on the papers belonging to the House of Lords under the direction of Sir John George Shaw Lefevre, Clerk of the Parliaments. They have also commenced a Calendar of them. Towards the expenses of these proceedings the Lords of Your Majesty's Treasury have allowed the sum of 5001. per annum. The Report of Mr. Monro and Mr. Thoms for the past year, will be found in the Appendix, p. 1, and attached to their Report are examples of the most interesting Papers. Their Calendar has been carried up to February 1640–41, and the first portion, which is printed in the Appendix, pp. 3–36, embraces the period 1450–1624–5. The Catalogue of the Letters and Papers relating to John Durye's mission to the Continent for the purpose of effecting a pacification between the Lutherans and Calvinists, from February 1630–31 to March 1639–40, and referred to in the last Report, has now been completed.
Lord Colchester submitted to your Commissioners several hundred letters, dated in the years 1801 and 1802, being the official correspondence, with a few exceptions, of the Right Honourable Charles Abbot (afterwards Lord Colchester), while he held office in Ireland, and also for a short time when he became Speaker of the House of Commons. A selection of extracts from the collection, of which only a few letters have been published, is reserved for the next Report.
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The Duke of Northumberland very liberally forwarded to Your Commissioners a manuscript catalogue of his collection prepared by Mr. J. E. Martin, Librarian of the Inner Temple, which is printed at p. 107 of the Appendix. His Grace also forwarded several volumes of abstracts of the more important papers in his collection, with permission to print such as might be thought desirable. Your Commissioners have gladly availed themselves of this permission, and placed the volumes in Mr. Horwood's hands, who has made selections from them, which are printed at p. 45 of the Appendix. The Duke's collection of papers is both large and important. A few of the documents belonging to the 14th and 15th centuries, many to the 16th, and several hundreds to the 17th century. In 1384 is a treaty of truce between Douglas and the Earl of Northumberland. In 1586 is a letter by Walsingham, detailing advice given by Parliament to Queen Elizabeth with regard to Mary Queen of Scots :-important letters and papers in 1586 and 1587, referring to the state of Ireland, some by Sir John Perrot; the whole of the sixth volume is composed of papers relating to the proceedings against Sir John Perrot in 1591 and 1592 :-Border forays in 1596–7;—papers relating to the English settlements in Ireland at the end of the 16th and beginning of the next century.—Notices of Thomas Percy (afterwards one of the Powder plot conspirators), and his brother William :-) paper showing the regulations under which Surgeons were allowed to attend dangerous cases :-A copy of Sir William Monson's account of actions fought between English and Spanish ships from 1585 to 1603:-Letters from Virginia shewing the state of the colony in 1607 and 1611:—A very large number of notes of Star Chamber Cases, temp. James I. and Charles I., giving names and causes of prosecution :- Papers about the New River in 1611;—Copy of a letter by Archbishop Abbott urging the Archbishop of York to severe measures against Recusants ;-Papers shewing the state of the East India Company about 1620;-numerous copies of Kings speeches by James I. and Charles I., and addresses to them by the Parliament, of which inany have been printed :-A long letter describing the landing of the English on the Isle of Rhé in 1627 ;-A poetical Elegy and Epitaph on the Duke of Buckingham in 1628, and a paper of popular charges against him, before his death :-spoliations by the Dunkirk vessels in 1636:much about the Hollanders assertion of their right to fish in our seas, and the King's attempt to induce them to take licenses so to do;-letters about the Spanish money sent to Dunkirk to be recoined ;- the expedition against the Sallee pirates ;—the Spanish and Dutch fleets in the Downs, and King Charles's behaviour towards them ;-Palatine affairs in 1639;—the poverty of the Exchequer and debasement of the Coinage in 1640 :--a copy (certified by Sir John Borough) of the Lords' letter from York, Sept. 25, 1640; and a copy of the letter of the King's Commissioners at York, 21 Oct. 1640, varying from that among the State Papers :Speeches and notes of speeches in Parliament, 1641 and 1642;—many letters of interest during the Civil War; including some about the destruction by the rebels of the Earl of Northumberland's Castle of Wressell;—letters relating to the Restoration, and the ornamentation of London streets at the Coronation of Charles II. :-Petitions for Pardon by some of the rebels :-a petition stating a case of oppression at Nottingham by the celebrated Colonel Hutchinson ;-illness of the Queen in 1663; and two quaint letters about the 'overbearing conduct of King's troops at Marlborough, and their laying waste a Quakers' burial ground :—a letter by Sir William Temple containing his pithy opinion of Holland as a place of residence ;--the pedigree of James Piercy, the claimant of the title of Northumberland ;-notices of the Duke of Monmouth, and many important letters relating to his rebellion in 1685;—News letters in French from Paris in 1693 and 1694, giving foreign intelligence; and some in English in 1693 from London, conveying domestic news.
Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice has commenced his Report on the papers at Lansdowne House, and hopes to continue it in the next Report of the Commissioners (App., p. 125).
The inspection of the valuable collection of papers belonging to the Marquis of Salisbury has been commenced under the superintendence of the Rev. J. S. Brewer; and Mr. Brewer's first Report, embracing a complete list of the Letters relating to the reign of James I., will be found in the Appendix, p. 147. The Cecil MSS., now preserved at Hatfield House, extend from the 14th century to the reign of Charles II. But the most valuable and important portion of the collection embraces the correspondence during the reigns of Elizabeth and of James I. Among the early vellum MSS, is a fine and rare copy of the first edition of Gower's Vox Clamantis, and a tract of Bernard André, poet Laureate to Henry VII. The correspondence during the 'Tudor and Stuart periods contains two unpublished letters of Cardinal Wolsey after his disgrace, a very fine collection of autographs of Elizabeth, of Mary Queen of Scots, of the Lady Arabella Stuart, of the Duke of Anjou, Queen Elizabeth's suitor, and other distinguished personages. Of the letters of less exalted but not less interesting and important public characters, who flourished during the reign of Elizabeth and her successor, may be mentioned the correspondence of Lord Burleigh, and of his son, the first Earl of Salisbury, Lord Bacon, Sir Fulke Greville, the Earl and Countess of Southampton, Lady Rich, Sir Edward Coke, and others. The Marquis of Salisbury is preparing a complete and detailed catalogue of all his papers on the plan of the Calendars of State Papers in course of publication by Your Majesty's Government.
Amongst the manuscripts of the Marquis of Bute, reported on by Mr. Knowles (App., p. 202), there are two small quartos on paper, which are, no doubt, the “Remembrances “ of the labours of Sir [Bulstrode] Whitelocke, in the annales of his life for the instruc“ tion of his children,” the suppression of which is regretted by the editor of “ Whitelocke's “ Journal of the Swedish Ambassy,” in 1653–4, and to which allusion is made by the author of the Memoirs of Whitelocke who writes (1860), “ that a great portion of his “ annals, containing an immense amount of suppressed passages, ... has been lost in " some inexplicable way.” The manuscript is full of interesting details of Whitelocke's private life, and Lord Bute would make an important addition to the literature of the period to which it relates if it should be his pleasure to publish it. Another remarkable manuscript in Lord Bute's possession is a folio containing the accounts of the Masters and Wardens of the Fraternity or Gild of the Holy Trinity of Luton, in Bedfordshire, from the 18th of Henry VIII, to the feast of St. Michael next after the accession of Edward VI., as well as the Court Rolls of the Manor of Luton from the 10th Edward IV. to the 1st of Elizabeth. Intimately connected with this manuscript is the “ Registerium “ sive liber fundatorum, magistrorum, custodum, fratrum et sororum fraternitatis sive “ gilde sancte et individue Trinitatis ac beatissime virginis Marie ecclesie perochialis de « luyton in co'm Bedford,” from 1475 to 1546. It is unnecessary to point out the value and interest of both these manuscripts.
The collection of Manuscripts belonging to the Marquis of Bath is large and extremely valuable. The Report on them is to be found at page 180 of the Appendix. Among the early English works are some by Wiclif in the 14th century, John Alcock and John Morton in the 15th century; poems by Chaucer and Lydgate, and prose and poetry by Richard Hampole and Walter Hylton. A volume in this collection written about the middle of the 15th century contains poems by Chaucer and Lydgate, and the table of contents shows that “ The Flower and the Leaf” was among them; but unfortunately it has now disappeared. In Joshua Barnes's life of Edward III. is an English translation of a poem said to have been composed in Latin by Edward II. while a prisoner, and the commencement of the Latin poem is there given. Here is the poem in French, the original language, doubtless, in which it was written. The collection contains registers of lands and charters of the Abbeys of. Robertsbridge, co. Sussex ; Mayden Bradley, co. Wilts; Cirencester, Glastonbury, and St. Mary de Tama. Two fine copies of Higden's Polychronicon, one of them containing, on a spare leaf, notes of the succession of Bishops of Exeter; and the ancient volume of legal and historical Miscellanies known as “ The “ Red Book of Bath ;" a Chronicle of London, more full than that published by the late Sir Harris Nicolas; a volume containing particulars of persons resident at Calais, temp. Hen. VIII. Extracts from the Privy Council books commencing with the reign of Henry VIII., and Notes in Council by Henry Coventry, temp. Charles II. A short account of the offer by Venice to assist Charles I. in the civil war. Fourteen volumes of news letters from 1667 to 1689. A fine copy of Bellenden's History of Scotland found by Sir John Thynne at the taking of Edinburgh, in 36 Hen. VIII. Copies of State papers relating to the Low Country, temp. Elizabeth. Two large volumes of original letters (from Sheffield Castle) by Queen Elizabeth, her Council, Burghley, Walsingham, Hatton, Leicester, and others; several of which refer to the intended execution of Mary Queen of Scots. A volume of the expenses of Lady Eleanor Bourchier in the last decade of the 14th century, on paper of the same date. Inventories of the furniture, pictures, plate, and personal ornaments, &c. of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, at various places. For lawyers there are ancient copies of Bracton, Britton, and the Early Statutes and Law Tracts; two copies of the Mirror of Justices by Andrew Horne, of the 17th century, and numerous Law Reports from Henry VIII, to Charles II. Treatises on Naval Affairs, on the Common, Civil, and Ecclesiastical Law; and a treatise on the Court of the Earl Marshal. An English translation of a romance by Christine de Pisan by Sir Stephen Scrope, son-in-law to Sir. John Falstaff. Collections by W. Burton, the antiquary for the 17th century. Household accounts of the 16th and 17th centuries. The original of Whitelocke's account of his embassy to Sweden in 1653; a book of his expenses there; and 28 volumes of historical, legal, and miscellaneous papers collected by him. Copies of official letters by Sir Isaac Wake, Ambassador at the Court of Savoy, temp. James I. ;
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