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It will not be deemed a very blameable digression to advert to the fame of Richard of Bury, a nati e of the same town with Dean Sudbury, and celebrated for his love of books*. This illus, trious person, the preceptor of Edward III. and the friend and correspondent of Petrarch, was consecrated Bishop of Durham, November 9, 1333. He formed a prodigious collection of books, and read them with insatiable avidity. In his curious treatise, entitled PhiLOBIBLON,' he suggests the proper means of furnishing a library t. His description of the
University-man; and if it were so that I must be a prisoner, if I might have my wish, I would desire to have no other prison than that library, and to be chained together with so many good authors et mortuis magistris."
(Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1676, p. 177.)
* The first public library at Oxford was erected in Durham College, where Trinity College now stands, by Richard of Bury, who was Lord High Treasurer of England and Bishop of Durham in the time of Edward III.
+ “ Philobiblon Richardi Dunelmensis, seu de amore librorum et institutione bibliothecæ tractatus pulcherrimus. Editio secunda, opera et studio T.J. (Thomæ James) Novi Collegii in alma Academia Oxoniensi. Oxon. 1599." In the preface to this work, he acknowledges himself ecstatico quodam librorum amore potenter abreptum.". The eagerness, with which he explored and brought to light volumes of great value, is thus expressed : “ Delicatissimi quondam libri, corrupti et abominabiles jam effecti, murium fæcibus cooperti et vermium morsibus terebrati, jacebant
exanimes ipso ipso æternitatis gremio inter tot illustres animas sedem mihi sumo cum ingenti quidem animo, ut subinde magnatum me misereat qui felicitatem hanc ignorant.”
volumes, which he had amassed, is highly interesting : “ These are masters, which never use the rod or the ferula ; they are void of choler, or resentment; they are not under the influence of money. If you approach them, they do not fall asleep; if you inquire for them, they do not conceal themselves; if you go astray, they murmur not; if you be ignorant, they know not how to ridicule and sneer at you *.
exanimes ; et qui olim purpurâ vestiebantur et bysso, nun cin cinere et cilicio recubantes oblivioni traditi videbantur, domicilia tinearum. Inter hæc nihilominus captatis temporibus magis voluptuosè consedimus, quàm fecisset medicus delicatus inter aromatum apothecas, ubi amoris nostri objectum reperimus el fomentum. Sic sacra vasa scientiæ ad nostra dispensationis provenerunt arbitrium : quædam data, quædam vendita, ac nonnulla pro tempore commodata." (VIII. p. 30.)
What the Roman Emperor Julian said of himself may be pronounced of this prelate: “ Some are fond of horses, others of birds or wild beasts ; but, with regard to myself, an extraordinary desire of possessing books has been infixed within my heart from my childhood.” (Epist.)
*" Hi sunt magistri sine virgis et ferulis, sine cholera, sine pecunia. Si accedis, non dormiunt ; si inquiris, non se abscon
non obmurmurant, si oberres : cachinnos nesciunt, si ig. nores.” (Philobiblon, I. p. 9.) He seems to have been of the same opinion with Heinsius the keeper of the library at Leyden, who was wont to say of himself, that he no sooner came into his library than he bolted the door, excluding all the vices of which idleness was the parent.'-" In quá simulac pedem posui, foribus pessulum obdo : Ambitionem autem, Amorem, Libidinem excludo, quorum parens est Ignavia, Imperitia nutrix; et in
He might have addressed them with singular propriety,
Salvete, aureoli mei libelli,
Before the dissolution of their monastery, the monks of the Church of Durham were abundantly supplied with books. The north side of the cloyster, from the corner opposite the churchdoor to that which is next to the dormitory, was well glazed. In every window divided into three compartments were three pews or cells called • carrols,' each monk having one appropriated to himself. To these they occasionally retired, and there employed themselves with exemplary assiduity in their studies and private devotions ; in reading, copying manuscripts, illuminating and embellishing missals, and various other works of ingenuity and art. These pews or cells were finely wainscotted, and very close and compact, except on the foreside, which was carved so as to admit light through the doors. Opposite to them, against the wall of the Church, were fixed the shelves and cases full of books, which were at all times accessible to the monks. At the time of the Reformation, the printed books and manuscripts were removed from the north-cloyster to an apartment near the chapter-house; and, in 1628; the Dean and Chapter in a great measure rebuilt the room, and restored many ancient volumes which had long been left in a state of neglect.
* Traité des plus belles Bibliotheques de l'Europe, p. 119.
On the south-side of the cloysters was the frater-house, or refectory. This fabric retained the narne of the Petty Canons' Hall, until Dean Sudbury caused his new library to be erected in it's place. Consistently with that discretion, which invariably regulated his conduct, he ordered by his will that, if the building should not be completed before his decease, his executor should pay out of his personal estate all such sum or sums of money as should be necessary for the finishing thereof, according to such form or model or in such manner as he should direct.'
This library, though not to be compared with that of Augsburg in which Jerome Wolfius was accustomed to spend whole days, gathering flowers and fruits, and which was replenished with as many
volumes as there are stars in the firmament,' comprises a valuable treasure of ancient and modern literature, beside a choice collection of Greek coins and medals. Would it not tend to facilitate the acquisition of learning, if Catalogues were printed of the books and manuscripts placed in the different Libraries of the Universities of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as in the other repositories of literature in the United Kingdom, on a plan similar to that which has been executed by the direction of the Governors of the Hospital and Library in Manchester founded and endowed by Humphrey Cheetham, Esquire ? *
* In 1696 Dr. Comber the Dean, with the assistance of Mr. Miller the Precentor, began to arrange the books in the new library.
In 1699, a complete set of the Latin classics in 8vo, cum notis variorum, was purchased; the books were properly arranged, and catalogues of them drawn up. Among those, whose contributions are recorded in a register kept for that purpose, we find the names of Cosin Bishop of Durham, of Barwick, Sudbury, Montagu, and Dampier, Deans of Durham, and of several prebendaries. The reverend Philip Fall, who held the fourth stall, presented the library with his own account of Jersey, and with a large collection of musical tracts. Many ancient Greek coins were given by Sir George Wheler, and some very curious medals and coins by Mr. Morris, rector of Aldborough in Yorkshire. Mr. Dibdin, in his late splendid • Bibliographical Decameron,' has drawn up an account of several of the rarities of this library, MSS. and printed, including under the latter head, a specimen of Wynkyn de Worde,' even to Mr. D. himself previously unknown. It is entitled, “ The Rote and