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The Purchase of Hebrew Books by the English Parliament in 1647

I. Abrahams

<plain_text><page sequence="1">THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. By I. ABRAHAMS, M.A., and C. E. SAYLE, M.A. (Paper read before (he Jewish Historical Society of England on May 18, 1914.) Eastern studies were occupying the minds of several famous English? men in the first half of the seventeenth century, and the London book? sellers of the period did a brisk business in Oriental books. Thus in the catalogue printed for Fetherstone in 1628, pp. 21-25 are filled with the titles of Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Arabic books. In Robert Martin's list of 1633, in an anonymous list of 1637, in Richard Whitaker's of 1645, and Octavian Pulleyn's of 1657, there are also many Hebrew books. Most of these books, as the dealers explicitly state, were imported from Italy. Considering this last fact, it seems curious to find (Cal. State Papers Dom. Series, Charles 1,1640, Apr. 15) a petition to Laud by certain London booksellers, against the importation?"notwithstanding the decree of Star Chamber," for his two years' licence had expired?by one Adrian Ylacke, a Hollander, of u divers bales or packets of books printed beyond sea." Ylacke (or Flack) was heavily fined for his offence (op. cit., p. 370). It was not, however, the trade in foreign books that was objected to, but the trade in books by foreign rivals. The most interesting of these Catalogues was that published by one of the petitioners against Ylacke? George Thomason, in 1647. Thomason belonged to that splendid type of booksellers who are also book lovers. He describes himself modestly as a bibliopole; he might have termed himself with justice a bibliophile. On one particular hobby he spent time and means; he is described as "a poore man" at 63</page><page sequence="2">64 THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY the time of his death in April 1666. The hobby referred to was the collection of tracts issued during the period of the Civil War and Commonwealth, and the marvellous result of his industry is now happily stored in the British Museum. A Catalogue was published in 1908. Well did he earn the lasting gratitude of the nation, but it was for a different service, one connected with our present subject, that he re? ceived the formal thanks of Parliament. Thomason carried on his business in St. Paul's Churchyard, at the sign of the Rose and Crown, and it was from that address that in 1647 (May 21?) he issued the Catalogue printed for him by John Legate. The title-page, which is ornamented by a finely-executed device of a Rose surmounted by a Crown, is in Latin, and runs thus :?? Catalogvs 1 LIBRORUM | diversis j Italise locis Emptorum | Anno Dom. 1647. I A Georgio Thomasono Bibliopola | Londinensi apud quern in Csemiterio | D. Pauli ad insigne Rosae coronatse | prostant venales.H Londini, I Typis Johannis Legatt. | mdcxlvii. Thus Thomason's books, like those of his trade rivals, were im? ported from Italy. The prefatory note, also in Latin, addressed to the benevolent reader, claims that in particular his Rabbinic and Oriental collection was of unique value, that for nine years no such books had been brought from Italy, nor was it likely that so important a lot would be again forthcoming. Thomason cannot be blamed for his inability to foresee that some two centuries after his death the Almanzi collection was to reach the British Museum from Padua. Here is the text of Thomason's Note, which is printed on the inner fly-leaf :? Lector Benevole, Exhibeo Librorum ex Italia deportatorum Catalogum, Theologis, Medicis, Philologis, cpiXoiiovaoiQ, omnibus (nisi fallor) utilissimorum. Sumptui sane non peperci, quo non necessitati tantum, sed et curiositati satis facerem. Hem tibi Rabbinorum, et Linguarum Orientalium M.S. volumina, quot nunquam antea, nusquam alibi ; Seholastieorum Cory phseos, Medicorum Principes, Mathematicorum Historicorum et Philolo gorum primarios : De duobus in Vestibulo te monitum volo. 1. Nullos ex Italia libros ad nos abhinc novennium advectos, hujusmodi in Posterum vix advehendos. 2. Catalogum null? artium habit? ratione imprimendum censui; quo meo consulas quaestui, tuo profectui, totum perlegas. Vale.</page><page sequence="3">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 65 Why Thomason should claim that he was offering the best Italian collection imported within the past nine years is not so puzzling as may at first sight appear. On comparing the 1647 Catalogue with the anonymous 1637 issue referred to above, we find that the two Catalogues are not only in part identical, but the title-page of the earlier Catalogue also bears the address of St. Paul's Churchyard at the sign of the Rose. It obviously emanated from George Thomason, though he is not named on it. The title-page runs:? Catalogvs Librorum in diversis Italise locis emptorum Anno 1636. Quorum facvltatum indicem Sequens Pagina Monstrabit. Qui Londini in Osemeterio Saneti Pauli ad Insigne Rosae Prostant Venales. Londini, Typis Johannis Legat t. m. dc. xxxvii. In this earlier list of 1637 there is one page of Hebrew titles. But in the 1647 Catalogue the Hebrew books fill pages 47-56, and do indeed constitute a remarkably fine collection. Before, however, we follow this Catalogue into the House of Commons, where it was introduced by John Seiden, a word must be said about the page which, in a British Museum copy of the 1647 list (E. 516, 4) precedes the Hebrew books, though the page is missing in the Cambridge copy. This page is the reprinted title page of the Paris Polyglott Bible of 1645. Among the Thomason books, last of the folio entries, stands this Polyglott in ten volumes. It was a beautiful work, it had not long been published, and it must have seemed to Thomason the gem of the collection. Hence Thomason reproduced (with some inaccuracy and in reduced size) the title-page of the Polyglott as a fitting introduction to the Hebrew list. Now this action on the part of Thomason was a remarkable coincidence with what subsequently occurred. John Legate, the printer of the Thomason Catalogue, pos? sessed the well-known Cambridge device, the imperfectly-clad lady, inscribed 4 4 Alma Mater Cantabrigia," with the words, " Hinc Lucem et Pocula Sacra." Legate printed at Cambridge from 1588 till 1609 ; he then moved to London. Thus Legate, as he possessed the Cambridge device, impressed it on the title-page of the Fetherstone Catalogue of 1628, which had nothing to do with Cambridge. But when Legate followed the same course with the Thomason volume, his act was prophetic. For the Thomason Hebrew books did soon find their way to Cambridge. It may be as well to point out in passing that, though the Polyglott referred VOL. VIII. E</page><page sequence="4">66 THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY to duly reached Cambridge with the rest of the Thomason books, the University Library no longer possesses this copy. It was sold some time in the nineteenth century, in view of the fact that a duplicate copy was later presented to the Library as part of the benefaction of Sir Thomas Adams (died 1668). The same thing occurred with the Calasius Bible in 4 volumes (Borne, 1621). The Thomason copy was sold as a second copy had been presented with very much else by King George in 1715. In that year of the royal munificence /to Cambridge, the ministry had to despatch a squadron of horse to Oxford to seize certain Jacobite officers harboured there. It was on that occasion that the Oxford wit remarked that books were sent to Cambridge and soldiers to Oxford, in order to supply the defects of each place; while the one university wanted loyalty, the other lacked learning. The Cambridge retort was that while Tories, such as Oxford harboured, own no argument but force, the Whigs of Cambridge allow no force but argument. Dr. Johnson, as became an Oxonian, admired the retort, but no Cambridge man can honestly deny that Oxford scored in the interchange of compliments.1 If the gift of books to Cambridge in 1715 did not pass without satiric comment, neither did the benefaction of 1647. It is to the earlier incident that we must now return. In May 1647-8 the Houses of Parliament made certain votes which are here reproduced. The first document has been several times reprinted, but must be given here to make the story complete. It is taken from the Commons' Journals, vol. v. p. 512. 1 The Oxford epigram ran : " King George, observing with judicious eyes The state of both his Universities, To Oxford sent a troop of horse; and why ? That learned body wanted loyalty. To Cambridge books he sent, as well discerning How much that loyal body wanted learning." This was answered by Sir William Browne: " The King to Oxford sent a troop of horse, For Tories know no argument but force. With equal skill, to Cambridge books he sent, For Whigs admit no force but argument."</page><page sequence="5">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 67 Die Veneris 24? Marth 1647[-8]. Resolved, &lt;kc., That the Sum of Two thousand Pounds be forthwith advanced and bestowed upon the University of Cambridge, to be employed towards the Building and Finishing of the Publick Library there: And that this Two thousand Pounds do issue, and be paid out of the Estates and Lands of Deans &amp; Chapters: And that it be referred to the Committee for the University of Cambridge, to consider and take care, that this Two thousand Pounds be forthwith raised and issued accordingly. Ordered, by the Lords and Commons, in Parliament assembled, That the sum of Five hundred Pounds be charged upon, and forthwith paid out of, the Receipts at Goldsmiths Hall, unto Mr. George Thomason, Stationer, for buy? ing of the said Thomason a Library or Collection of Books, in the Eastern Languages, of a very great Value, late brought out of Italy, and having been the Library of a learned Rabbi there, according to the printed Catalogue thereof: And that the said Library or Collection of Books be bestowed upon the Publick Library in the University of Cambridge : And the Acquittance or Acquittances of the said George Thomason shall be sufficient Discharge to the Treasurers at Goldsmiths Hall for Payment of the said Five hundred Pounds accordingly : And it is especially recommended to the Committee at Goldsmiths Hall, to take care that present due Pay? ment may be made of this Sum accordingly, that the Kingdom may not be deprived of so great a Treasure, nor Learning want so great an Encourage? ment. And Sir Anthony Irby is particularly appointed to take Care of this Business. The Lords' Concurrence to be desired herein. Ordered, That Sir Anthony Irby do, from this House, take notice, to Mr Tomason of his good Service in his Purchase, and bringing over, from Italy, the Parcel of Books in the Eastern Languages ; and to give him the thanks of this House, for his good Affections therein to the Encouragement of Learning in this Kingdom. Ordered, That Mr Seiden and Mr Lightfoote do take care, that the University of Cambridge may have the said Books ; and that they may be preserved for them according to the printed Catalogue. Ordered, That it be referred to the Committee for the University of Cambridge to consider of some fitting Way of Advance of Means for the Support and Maintenance of Heads of Colleges and Halls in the University of Cambridge, out of Deans and Chapters Lands. We may now turn to the Journals of the House of Lords (vol. x? p. 157). We read the following entry, here for the first time reprinted :?</page><page sequence="6">68 THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY Die Lunae 27? Die Marth. A Message was brought from the House of Commons by John Seidenf Esquire, &amp;e. ; who brought up divers Orders and Ordinances, wherein their Lordships Concurrence is desired:? I. An Order for Five Hundred Pounds, for buying a Collection of Books of Eastern Languages, to be bestowed upon the Public Library of the University of Cambridge. (Here enter it.) Agreed to. Twelve other matters are mentioned, but these do not include the proposed grant of ?2000. On p. 158 :? The Answer returned was:? That this House agrees to the Order for Five Hundred Pounds, for buying a Library for the University of Cambridge: To all the rest, this House will take them into Consideration, and send kan Answer by Messengers of their own. If the Lords' Journals be complete, then the vote of .?2000 lost its way from the Commons. The Lords' Journals make no mention what? ever of it. The usual statement, that the Lords refused the grant, cannot be sustained until some evidence is produced that it was ever proposed for their acceptance. From the Commons' Journal for March 27 (vol. v. p. 515) the inference is clear that the larger grant was never presented. For, in the list of matters carried for concurrence to the Lords by Mr. Seiden, there is no allusion to the ?2000, but only to the ?500 for pur? chasing Thomason's books for presentation to Cambridge. In the Lords' Journals (vol. x. p. 162) occurs the further entry :? It is Ordered and Ordained, by the Lords &amp; Commons in Parliament assembled, That the Five Hundred Pounds appointed, by Order of both Houses of Parliament of Twenty-seventh of this Instant March, to be paid to George Thomason, for a Library or Collection of Books in. the Eastern Languages, out of the Receipts for Compositions at Goldsmiths Hall, by the Treasurers there, be presently paid accordingly, by the same Treasurers, out of the Arrears of the Two Four Months Assessments that were assessed for the Payment of the Scottish Army before Newarhe; and that the Acquit? tance of him the said George Thomason, or his Assigns, to the said</page><page sequence="7">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 69 Treasurers in this Behalf, shall be their sufficient Discharge : And it is further Ordered and Ordained, by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Appointment of Payment of Five Hundred Pounds out of the Receipts for Compositions at Gouldsmiths Hall from henceforth be utterly void. The change was made at the instance of the Commons {Journals, v. p. 518, Lords' Journals, x. p. 161). It was a remarkable application, in actual practice, of the prophetic aspiration that men should turn their swords into ploughshares. The transaction of 1647-8 did not please everyone. A vivacious writer in the Mercurius Pragmaticus of March 28 to April 4, 1648, has very much to say on the subject. He was not too accurately in? formed; he was not clear as to the purpose of the proposed vote of ??2000, which he imagined was contemplated as a grant for the purchase of books, nor was he aware that the larger sum had not been granted at all. Dr. Mullinger {University of Cambridge, iii. 337) suggests that the Lords withheld their assent to the larger sum " having regard to the source from whence the money is taken." The Lords do not seem to have had the matter brought before them at all, as we have seen. But the Mercurius Pragmaticus has much to say as to the theological tendencies of the then House of Commons, and it may well be that, noting a general feeling of the kind suggested by Dr. Mullinger and confirmed by Mercurius Pragmaticus, the Commons did indeed drop their intended raid on the ecclesiastical revenues. The passage in Mercurius Pragmaticus is interesting enough to reprint:? In the meane time it is very requisite, the Pulpit should strike up an Hosanna to the Proceedings of the Houses, while our Saviours ride the Kingdom like Asses or Foales of Asses, toward new Hierusalem; to pull down the Temple for increase of godlynesse and devotion, as they have ruined our famous Universities, yet pretend the advancement of learning. And ther fore it is, that they have Ordered two thousand pounds out of Deanes and Chapters Lands, for the Augmentation of the Library in Cambridge; whereby Scholars are given to understand, they shall have Bookes, though little comfort to use them, when that meanes which was once the incouragement of their Studies, shall bee imployed to set them on worke, but never to reward them, were it not that Knowledge it selfe is a sufficient recompence unto all that seek her. But it will be a hard matter to finde her there con? sidering what learned Tutors and Authors are in request: Alas poore Cam</page><page sequence="8">70 THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY bridge! the jeere of Ignoramus returnes home upon thy selfe now, since thou art damned to Presbytery and six penny Pamphlets. Sure it will bee a Library farre before that heathenish one once of Alexandria, or that Antichristian one now in Rome, or the more prophane one in Oxford, when all the bounty of the Members shall be laid out upon the Paper-worms of this Reformation. Truly, two thousand pounds sound high, among the single-sheeted Authors, the Romance's and Gazetta's of the famous Victories and Exploits of the godly Quixots; it must needs bee a rare Library, when it shall be said, that Will Pryn was brought out of Captivity to be chained among the learned^ and that the Commentaries of Austin, and the Homilies of Chrisostome, were justled out of the Range, to make roome for the more glorious Revelations of three-penny Non-sence in Fast-Sermons, and most empty Treatises; which may serve very well to traine up a New-Modell of junior wise Arts, to condemn all the Ancients to Moths and Cobwebs, till som better generation arise, that wil be able to understand them. Yet I'le assure you the Rabbins of Reformation pretend high toward Learning, and therefore have importuned the Houses to make a purchase of certain Boohes written in Syriach, to bee bestowed likewise on the aforesaid Library/ where, if the Members can spare money you may chance to find Rabbi Isaac, and Rabbi Moyses, led in couples with Rabbi Marshall, and Rabbi Calamy, and the Rabble of Smec, the first Founders of our moderne Pharisies and the primitive Christians of this last seven years Edition. Now if you would know how these ancient Peeces came in request, I heare that Mr. Seiden, a great Admirer of Antiquity (even in my Lady of Kent) is the man that sollicits the business in the behalf of the rest of his Brethren of the Assembly; as being one that is well acquainted with the Tongues, as if hee had been one of the Brick-layers of old Babel, as well as this new ; or had kept holyday among the Synod of Apostles at Pentecost, &amp; bin reserved by providence to sit with ours at Westminst., to keep their tender Consciences from the perplexity of a Confusion of Languages, seeing they are hardly able to find the right way out of a discourse, in their Mother Tongue. There is much more about Cambridge in this suave periodical, but the preceding extract includes all that is relevant to the subject at present before us. It would be attractive to follow out some of his allusions, especially his piquant picture of " Rabbi Marshall and Rabbi Calamy and the Rabble of Smec " being " led in couples " with the older Rabbis whose books the Parliament had purchased. Edmund Calamy (1600 1666) and Stephen Marshall (15941-1655) were two of the five authors of Smectymnuus?a name made up from the initials of the group of</page><page sequence="9">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 71 Cambridge writers (the other three were Young, Newcomen and Spurs towe) who, in 1641, produced this notorious diatribe against the political privileges of Bishops?a diatribe which synchronised with Milton's first pamphlet. Mercurius Pragmaticus was only following contemporary vogue when he made play with Rabbinic phraseology. Immediately on the publication of Smectymnuus?the authorship of which was no secret? Cleveland pretended to find the title mysterious and so exclaimed:? Smectymnuus ! The goblin makes me start. I' the name of Rabbi Abraham, what art ? And with reference to the composite authorship he suggests with more reason than rhyme :? The Sadducees would raise a question Who must be Smec at the Resurrection. ?Masson, Life of John Milton, vol. ii. p. 219. No doubt, however, point was given to Mercurius1 Rabbinic skits by the well-known predilection of Seiden and Lightfoot for Rabbinic studies. Before adding a word as to Selden's part in the transaction, we may spare a few lines to the source whence Thomason derived the books and the nature of the collection. Though it included very few incunabula, it is rich in good Soncinos, Bombergs, Rivas, Bragadinis, di Garas and other prints of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. All the books in Thomason's Catalogue safely reached Cambridge; Seiden and Lightfoot clearly were at pains to see that the volumes paid for were duly delivered. The volumes were well bound in red calf, and it is remarkable that the covers have been so well preserved for the two and three-quarter centuries that have passed since the Italian vendor bound them. Exclusive of Bibles, and a small group of manuscripts, there were, according to the Cambridge list, 63 folios and 94 quartos. Many of the volumes contain more than one item, so that in all the collection contained upwards of 400 distinct works, all in excellent condition. There were besides some 40 volumes in other Oriental tongues. The price paid, ?500, was stiff, but by no means unreasonable. It is indeed difficult to compare prices of books then and now. Hence we venture to cite the following details. It will be seen that the vendor, Faraji, paid high prices for some of the books. The fact that he writes these prices on so many of his purchases argues against his having been a bookseller. On the other hand he seems to</page><page sequence="10">72 THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY have bought en masse in 1643, and sold en masse in 1647, which points to a trading transaction. The House of Commons vote speaks of the Thomason books as " the library of a learned Rabbi," which would again suggest that Thomason (if he supplied that information to the Commons) did not acquire his stock from an ordinary dealer. The Italian vendor, then, followed the not unusual custom of entering on the title-pages of several (though only of a small minority) of his books the prices which he himself paid for them. The following entries will be of interest to the historian of bookselling in the seven? teenth century. The bracketed books are bound within the same covers, and the price seems to have been that paid for the composite volumes. This, however, is not quite certainly the case, for the bindings are Isaac Faraji's. Still as the price invariably occurs on the front page of the first item in each composite volume, it is most probable that the sum paid was for the whole contents. 2 ducats I Tanya, Cremona, 1565. ( Maharil, Sabionetta, 1556. 2 ducats M. Alf alas' Hoil Mosheh and Vayakhel Mosheh, Venice, 1597. {Joseph Samega's Miqrae Qodesh, Venice, 1586. Joseph Samega's Porath Yoseph, Venice, 1590. Joseph Samega's Derekh Yamin, Venice, c. 1606. Anon. Mashbith Milhamoth, Venice, 1606. 3 ducats Pentateuch, Venice, 1642. &lt; S. Duran's Oheb Mishpat, Venice, 1589. 3 ducats j Igaac Cohen&gt;s comm. on Job, Constantinople, 1547. 3 ducats 5 ResPDIlsa Jacob Halevi, Venice, 1614. "J Responsa Mssim Gerondi, Rome, 1545-6. 3 ducats i" ^* -^kabis' Commentary on Canticles, Venice, 1552. ( S. Alkabis' Commentary on Esther, Venice, 1585. i S. Hagiz' Mebakesh Adonai, Venice, 1596. 3 ducats \ S. Hagiz' Debar Shemuel, Venice, 1596. [ Ibn Yahya's Torah Or, Venice, 1606. i S. Levi's Lehern Shelomoh, Venice, 1597. 3 ducats -I J. Uziel's Betho Hauziali, Venice, 1603, [ J. Ibn Rei's Sepher Hammasoreth, Venice, 1607. f Judah Lerma's Comm. on Aboth, Sabionetta, 1554. Orhoth Saddiqim, Prague, 1580-1. 3 ducats \ Verga's Malkhe Yehuda, Lublin, 1616. Sepher Hayyashar (Tarn), Cracow, 1586. Sepher Hammasoreth, Venice, 1607.</page><page sequence="11">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 73 ( Shem Tob's Kether Shem Tob, Venice, 1611. J S. Levi Dibre Shelomoh, Venice, 1596. ( M. Albelda's Reshith Da'ath, Venice, 1583. ( M. Albelda's Sha'are Dim'ah, Venice, 1586. 1R. Jonah's Sha'are Teshubah, Venice, 1544. Pirqe Rabbi Ele'azar, Venice, 1544. Jacob Asheri on the Pentateuch, Venice, 1544. Obadiah of Sforno's Or 'Arnim, Rolognia, 1537. Sepher Hammusar, Constantinople, 1536. Gersonides on the Pentateuch, Venice, 1547. ( Moses Almonsnino's Yede Mosheh, Venice, 1597. ( Moses Almonsnino's Meames Koah, Venice, 1587-8. Sepher Misvoth Haggadol, Venice, 1522. {M. Ibn Gabbai's Tola'ath Ya'akob, Constantinople, 1560. J. di Alba's Toledoth Ya'akob, Venice, 1609. J. di Modena's Midbar Yehudah, Venice, 1602. j S. b. Adereth's Torath Habbayith, Venice, 1607. ( Responsa Maharam, Prag, 1608. David de Pomis' Zemah David, Venice, 1587. ( J. Habib's 'En Israel, Venice, 1625. ?! Modena's Beth Lehern Yehudah, Venice, 1625. [ Modena's Beth Yehudah, Venice, 1635. The name of the Italian vendor has long been known in Cambridge as Isaac Prage or Pr?ge (C. H. Hartshorne calls him Pragius). There is a MS. list of the books in Cambridge (Mm. 4. 1), a list made between the arrival of the books in 1648 and the removal of the Lambeth library in 1662. It may have been made by the University Librarian, Abraham Wheelock, who, though better known for his Anglo-Saxon studies, was an Orientalist of some parts; the Cambridge list is much more accurate and scholarly than Thomason's. Already in April 1624 J. Foorthe (Cam. MS. Dd. 3. 12) wrote to Wheelock urging him to turn Maimonie into Latin. When Wheelock died in 1653, Dr. William Sclater preached a memorial sermon, printed in 1654 under the title "The Crowne of Righteousness." On page 28 may be found a eulogy of Wheelock, a eulogy marked alike by warmth of appreciation and ponderosity of style :? He being so eminent a Linguist, he might have said (without envy, or disparagement to any be it spoken) I thank my God I speak with Tongues more than most of them all; the intricacies whereof he had a faculty, and 4 ducats 4 ducats 5 ducats 5 ducats 5 ducats 5 ducats 5 ducats 7 ducats 8 ducats 10 ducats</page><page sequence="12">74 THE PURCHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY withall a facility both to finde out, and to make pervious, elucidating what was obscure, enucleating what was hard, that as the Jewish Rabbins, so oft as they met with Texts, which were as S. Peter saith of some things in S. Paul's Epistles, Sva-vorjra, hard to be understood, out of which they could not extricate themselves, were wont to shut up all their discourse with this, Elias cum venerit, solvet dubia, Elias shall answer this doubt when he comes; in like sort was he as another Elias to the doubts and difficulties of many, who (being accurate in the Rabbinicall Learning were very well able to judge) gave him this testimony a good while since in print, that scarcely anything, that way, proved too hard for him, for his enodation or decision. We have no means of deciding whether Wheelock was responsible for the MS. list referred to above. At all events it is headed : "Bibliotheea Isaaci Pragensis." In 1667, in an entry to be cited later, the Rabbi is named Isaac Prage. And so he has come down to posterity, though it is not possible that this was his true name. On the outside covers of many volumes, as well as on many of the title-pages, there is stamped or written the name '?i&amp;OQ pJlV, which we ought no doubt to read Isaac Faraji (or Faridji), a not uncommon family name (see refs. in Hebr. Bibliographie, xx. 1880, p. 124, Jewish Quarterly Revieic, xi. 1899, p. 595, entries in Neubauer-Cowley Bodleian Cat., p. 447. An Isaac Faraji is mentioned by I. Davidson in Eccentric Fo?*ms of Hebrew Verse, New York, 1914; he does not seem to be identical with the Isaac Faraji of the Cambridge collection). We know nothing of the history of this Faraji, except that he lived in Italy, and that he bought most of his books in 1643 (he often states that he bought them in the year S^pUN, which corresponds to ^Tfin, a figure which also often occurs in the entries on the title-pages). One other fact we know. A previous author of several of the volumes was Menahem Faraji, nt^D ]2 ^K^S DIU1D, but there is nothing to indicate the relationship between this Menahem and our Isaac. (On the title-page of the Maharil is the name of a former owner, B?K i&gt;"t *]DV? H^D "Q DTOD *6t? *lBDn PIT, if we have read the last word?Marcaria ??aright. The handwriting is quite dissimilar to that of Menahem Faraji). Another point is certain about Isaac Faraji. He did not sell the whole of his library to Thornason. In the third volume of the Jewish Encyclopedia (s.v. Borders) is a facsimile of a bordered title-page of the Soncino Earlier Prophets with Abarbanel, published according to F.</page><page sequence="13">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 75 Seeehi's list of the Soncino prints (p. 39), in Pesaro in 1511. The facsimile is derived from the copy owned by Judge Sulzberger; it cost Faraji 8 ducats. Dr. H. P. Stokes called our attention to the fact that this volume was also among those possessed by Isaac Faraji; like so many of the Cambridge books, it was purchased by Faraji in 1643, as the owner states on the title-page. This copy did not escape from Cambridge to America, for it was never in the former seat of learning. It appears neither on Thomason's list, nor in the MS. catalogue of the " Bibliotheca Isaaci Pragensis." It is obvious that Faraji possessed other books in addition to those disposed of by him to Thomason. Besides the volume referred to above, the Jewish Seminary of New York (as Prof. I. Davidson informs us) owns other Faraji books, while the National Library of Paris also owns such books, bought by Faraji in 1643 (see Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. Ixiii. p. 300). For tractate Berachoth (or was it for the whole set?) of the Cracow edition of the Talmud (1615-16) Faraji paid 5 ducats. It is interesting to note that the Cambridge library does possess a much more recently acquired copy of the Soncino Abarbanel (Ori. b. 202); it bears the signature of Jacob Saphir of Jerusalem, and is of some bibliographical interest. The British Museum possesses two copies, each with the same border as that reproduced in the Jewish Encyclopedia from Judge Sulzberger's copy. But the Cambridge copy, in the greater part identical with the B.M. copies, and certainly printed at the same time, has a different border; the text on the title-page is not the same as in the B.M. and Sulzberger copies. So, too, there are other bibliographical variations in the first few leaves of Joshua. From the leaf marked 6 onwards the identity is exact. In other words there were two distinct settings of the first five leaves, and we are inclined to think on various grounds that the Cambridge copy belongs to the earlier setting. We must, however, deny ourselves the pleasure to enter into other bibliographical details. More important is it to record that the purchase of these books rendered a lasting service to Hebrew learning in Cam? bridge, where, in the latter half of the seventeenth century, a famous band of Christian scholars?headed by Lightfoot, who returned to Cambridge in 1650?pursued Rabbinic studies with zeal and success. To Lightfoot and Seiden had been committed by Parliament the task of supervising the transference of the Thomason books to Cambridge. It</page><page sequence="14">76 THE P?ECHASE OF HEBREW BOOKS BY was clearly Seiden who suggested the purchase and the gift. Though Seiden represented Oxford in the Long Parliament, he had reason for his affection also for Cambridge. In August 1645 he had been offered the Mastership of Trinity Hall, and though he declined the honour, he was not forgetful or ungrateful. About a year before the transaction which has been discussed in this paper the Senate of the University of Cambridge, by a Grace dated April 4, 1647, thanked Seiden for his services with reference to the removal of the Lambeth library to Cam? bridge. This library contained a good handful of Hebrew books, and though they were subsequently returned, they were still in Cambridge when the Faraji collection arrived. The Library also possessed a few Hebrew books from the earlier bequests. Chaderton (Lady Margaret Professor in 1567, Regius Professor of Divinity, 1577) had given the B?mberg Bible of 1518; Theodore Beza presented the Constantinople Polyglott in two volumes in 1582. But it was the Faraji collection that formed the foundation of the Hebrew library at the University. Strange to tell, though Seiden again received the thanks of the Senate in 1648 " pro gemmis orientalibus impetratis," there is no record of a Grace in connection with the great gift from Parliament. But Selden's name was long retained in the solemn Commemoration of Benefactors on the first Sunday in each November. Thus the Commemoration Service for 1667 (preserved in the Registrary) has this entry :? Mr. Seiden (out of his love to Learning) procured for us the Library of Isaac Prage, being a great Collection of Rabbinical Authors and valued at ?500. Subsequently, this was reduced to the mere mention of Selden's name (this is shown by the corrections on the margin of the document just cited). Bradshaw attests that in 1869 John Selden's name was still included. From subsequent revisions of the list of Benefactors, Selden's name was removed. In a suggested form of the Service (Reporter, October 19, 1870) occurs, however, the paragraph :? In 1648 the House of Commons voted the sum of five hundred pounds for the purchase of a collection of Hebrew books, the first which the Uni? versity possessed. This paragraph was not accepted, and it was not quite accurately worded. In the amended proposals (Reporter, April 26, 1871) the</page><page sequence="15">THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT IN 1647. 77 reference to the Commons is altogether omitted. At the present time {Reporter, May 12, 1914) a further revision of the list of Benefactors is being proposed. We welcome the appearance in the new list of the name of Charles Taylor. We would welcome the restoration of the name of John Seiden. [The proposals, for revising the list of Benefactors, were discussed on May 21, 1914, by the Senate of the University of Cambridge. The facts detailed in the paper printed above were summarised tin a speech by Mr. Abrahams {Reporter, June 2, 1914, p. 1079). By a Grace of the Senate, passed on June 12, 1914, John Selden's name was restored in the "Form of Commemoration of Benefactors" {Reporter, June 16, 1914, p. 1209). This happy result will not cause surprise when it is recalled that the Vice-Chancellor for 1914 was Dr. M. R. James.] April 20, 1915.</page></plain_text>