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Victoria, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith.
Eo Our right trusty and well-beloved John Emerich Edward Baron Acton, greeting.
WB])ttttl$ We did, by Warrant under Our Royal Sign Manual, bearing date the second day of April one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine, and by subsequent Warrants, authorize and appoint Our right trusty and well-beloved Councillor John, Baron Bomilly, Master or Keeper of the Rolls and Records in Chancery, together with the several Noblemen and Gentlemen therein named, or any three or more of them, to be Our Commissioners, to make inquiry into the places in which Documents illustrative of History or general public interest belonging to private persons are deposited, and to consider whether, with the consent of the owners, means might not be taken to render such Documents available for public reference.
^.OU) fettOto pt, that We, reposing great trust and confidence in your zeal, discretion, and ability, have authorized and appointed, and do by these Presents authorize and appoint you the said John Emerich Edward Baron Acton, to be a Commissioner for the purposes aforesaid, in addition to and together with the Commissioners whom We have already appointed by the above-mentioned Royal Warrants.
Given at Our Court at St. James's, the Twenty-fourth day of July one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two, in the Thirty-sixth year of Our Reign.
By Her Majesty's Command.
H. A. BRUCE.
John Emerich Edward Baron Acton, additional
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 papers 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 18/2, 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, 1,3/5 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 (jeorge 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 1,200/. last year instead of 1,000/. 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 Rev. 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 Report 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, Burt., Sir Charles Bunbury, Hart., 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 Cheddcr; 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 Ormonde, 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 Buccleueh, 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. Beamont, 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 A thole, 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 Facetiae, and anecdotes of historical characters which are remarkable. Dr. Stuart's account of this collection will appear in the next Report of the Commission.
Mr. Monro and Mr. Thorns, 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 500/. per annum. The Report of Mr. Monro and Mr. Thorns 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.