26 SEPTEMBER 1840, Page 14



FOR the evils described in our last week's paper on the Records, neither the Legislature nor the Crown was much to blame. During nearly forty years Parliament voted upwards of ten thousand pounds per annum, thrming in the aggregate almost half mill:0u of money ; and the Crown issued a variety of Commissions, expressly to pro- vide a remedy for the abuses we described. But the Commissioners being lords and gentlemen, many of them overwhelmed by their official duties, and waist's e h bout any practical knewleelee et' busi- ness or of records, tin y feli into the hands of the Record-officials; andathe rtStlit was a series of the grossest jobbing.

The instructions issued to the six successive Commissions* were of a similar and Very jwiielous el:erecter ; directing certain things to be done in a certa:n succession according to their wants: and neces- sity. The first object specified was " to provide for the better ar- rangement and pre servatien of the Records of the kingdom," by methodizing the rolls, &c., and biuding and securing such as wese in danger of being destroyed : the Commissioner,: were next to care for " their more convenient is a, by teeking calendsrs and indexes they were permitt .;I to print the most ancient and vale Ye of such calendars ; and the lest Cell:mission had power to imaass :ether any acnefieiel alto-et:ens teel. refonns could be introa'; e, I ;eta tas: &cora Offices. Let us 'vs how they (sepia:ad vat!, ;:eas a is es tions.

ane exec sins last aae:en:—: the eo aerae, in user, sf •

belt:: n • tts FRA.'st s • RCCiss tS-s •• COWL rang.: even II■• other are in ati s:Xe(!t s; 7


of the ' • H the . torn."

graced ta folded. p Lee to one of the r . to Lf:

in the f: • very •

r (li.arran ed in a reon, val 401,r g • .1 II • sf • t!tat. the tens ltecord, ertsesesi end pub-

lished •

the /nri


. it (lees not appear that the ol I I .anielis- Hemselves to form indexes et ea. '1.11e tee contaie,e a Sill',;!'s! etttab.giu.: "', !eel i,,t eee.ne ese,l may

s.“ S far ".e, Irian ien " of the tediatial :asaaa •,, tae et Sir

sa from the (:hept, ••a it ,.1' ion"; and le: :add thet i Tls :r then colds! neither be .6 nes --see .1, ear

31e.ey ..vithese s ,1:ailer laoelset Rails of' the (sense, of' hav se ay mai dirty state "—" tilt!,,, malt te

ee effect upon their 'ems.

smeleation ()flits: act,: .• sileels foal pert of' the reeerds were " ill a eset dis- 1 with "dust and filth "--" snueeetel and to be in tummy instenecs totella . te, eearranged records ....ere, aceera:na dirty state; that. they es:re not fit is •mm" eoallaelver.'"Flos documents 1.%•-• ;,selitors ()fliee were formsrly aet iat', the ithilds of' the Commis jowls,

odir•i" flSIT:iLl'aq, till 011e lit1.7:11111.

eerit, I '`,01- --nartief,„, the Num', it'//s and

actually di per iipon this re-

lantit:: of' records C;11117,1 .(:( 11a:icons, but a.4 app.:10,1i Ili 1'4%4 the 441,001 Ili I .414;, the third . tio- fifth its i^2.1, awl the in I ; hot the first / st 3., tliV all pat rOtill, 71 • io -swift 1st rmit4 sad // o S rr 1r ,mto:. In /.;o/aking of them, v. it 111,-(1 'II •:1',•14alle them

ist first lost.

whose character nobody could speak to, were removed in 1831 from Westminster Hall to the King's Mews, without the superintend- ence of Commissioners or Keepers, by Irish labourers and common soldiers. Many of them were stolen : the state of the remainder is thus described by Mr. Cotaa who was some years afterwards. employed in removing them front the stables- " The great bulk of those regttrded as Miscellaneous 'Records, whielt com- prised records of all periods from Richard I. to Georg,: IV., were heaped together iii two large sheds or bins in the King's Mews. In these sheds .r,13t; cubit; feet of' national records were deposited in the most neglected:condition, besides the accumulated dust of centuries. All, when these operatimts com- menced, were found to be very damp ; seine were in a state of iuseasratle milles:,st to the stone walls; thsre were numerous refs:swots %stash hal only just escaped entire consumption by vermin; and many were ill till! Lst shgc, of putrefaction. Decay and damp Lad rendered a large quantity so i's';1:;i10 hardy to admit of being touched ; others, particularly those in the tin i, ,ot rolls, were Si) coagulated together that they could not be uncoiled. Sla or seven perfect skeletons of rats were ibund imbedded, and hones of these vermin were generally distributed throughout tlet mass; and, besides furnishing charnel-house for the dead during the first removal of these national record% a dog was employed in hunting the live rats, which were thus disturbed from their nests. It was impossible to prosecute any measure of ;amp:ling whilst the records remained in this position : indeed, a slow prwess tit,r!ivses:lemai rating any portions could not have been endured, even by II strength, or the greatest stlelt of patiettee. 'rho first step tali, tO aivide the mass into surd' and appro.:..hable portions. Accordingly, three Irish labourers, besides superintending :a$istauce, together with tee dog af•wesaid, were employed during a fortnight in removing this deposit nal Mori retools, and placing it in sacks; and nothing but strung stimulants sustained the men in working amongst such a mass Cl putrid filth, stench, dirt, and decomposition. In this removal, nut less tIttn t;c:711y-.11wr buSleell of dust and the mos I III Imiute partieleS or parchment and paper Wtri: collected."

Rare return for 10,000/. per annunt thr more than thirty years to " preserve" the Records!

For the manner in which the Records were dispersed in various insecure buildings, the Commissioners were not in strictness ac- countable, as they had no authority to erect record-offices, or to remove the documents from the custody of their respective keep- ers. But as they had the ear of the Executive and of Parliament— Were appointed to make suggestions—and could speak " as one having authority, and not as the scribes"---they were certainly culpable for making no eflbrt to consolidate the whole in one build- ing, or in several secure and fit repositories, instead of leaving them fur nearly forty years in such lodgings as those in which the Com- mittee of the fOUIld then!.

" Your Committee has seen tt c Pultdc 'Records deposited at the Tower, °eel' a gunpowder•magazine, and co., taons to mm. steam-engine in thtily operation ; at the Rolds, in it chapel where divine service is performed; in vomits two stories under ground at Some 'set I I mac ; in dark anti limit iii cellars at West- minster ; in the stubtes of the late Carlton Ride ; in the ('hapterhonse Westminster Abbey ; in °dices surrounded by and subject to ail the seedients of private dwellings, as ;lie As:;:o,mtation Office and the First Fruits 0:iice."

After these instances, it would be useless to l'atigue the reader with further examples of the conatict of the Commissioners in ful- filling the first duty the State had imposed upon them—that of " providing for the better prmereatiun and arrangement of' the Records of the kingdom." Nor can they plead the excuse of want of means, or of a tenderness in spending money. " The fitting-up of tile most unlit repositories ill Somerset Ilouse," savs the Committee of the House of' Commons, " cost 16,000/. : the migratiens of' the Exchequer Records until they were lodged in the Carlton Rifling-house, cost I0,0001." 31r. ('00 team, the Secre- tary to the last Commission, declares that the " migrations of the Records have cost what would have sufficed to erect MI excelkat Genend Record Office."

Ily the ((Nuts of the commissions, the Commissioners ■vert, per- mitted (not enjoims1) to print certain records, ma' rather cm -'1 " calendars and indexes," limited by the address of th(: Ilium 'ci' of Commons to the " more aneient and valuable." This work of permissien was the only one they attempted to esecute; and that

after a which was certainly without example, and is likely to continue without hid tation.

Accerding to the it iii .ice of the Secretary to the last Commis- sion, the preceding Commi,.sions " nowhere recorded their receipts ;aid payments": " three limslrea and sisty thousand pounds and more passed through their leeds, And there is no trace of it what- ever." Under such a system ef finance no \WV ■SCCIll'at a ieeotlilts can be fawned. Owing to the exertions of Pinsiminton lit Parliament, and to the halefittigable industry of Sir MUMS N f• is, 1 he rettn•ns which the thriller gentleman wrung from the : old Commissioners as they approached their end, have been di- gested by the hitter into a thrm which shows the style in which they did business.

'flu: stun paid for editing and preparing the Records for the press, ' salaries and temporary Wat4t.iS ill Emiglmimuth and SCOthilf ri'0111 I NW to 1830," wa' Time ',AIM [Mid for printing, binding, stationary, soo fir 1:1:1t)13.11; as tlICIT are returns, v.es The sum psid " wages t., tea, Record-ollices only, viz. 1:1631()" the Tower, and the Clial.terhouse, aVestininster, from 1800 to I 830," was C 70,000 The ( Ionunissieners published filly-one volumes, front DIM to 152!) \Odd) am set dowui by Sir IlAuttis

Ntcot.As at a total cost

This total expendit tire upon the fifty-one volumes would give an average of about 4,0;me per veltime tits printing and editing only ; no oriental writing baying been required, hut merely a cerreet trim-. script from documents illremly jim esistenee. Mr. It ma, of the lire, ol 1.0!“;NI N, Stated Oil' COS1 of' printing MO bearding an octavo volturse of 500 pages to be 1:171• sm.; which would enable about thirty volutimu to be printed Air the cost of' une of the Commission- ers.This, however, Nrould be an unfair comparison, since their 2augnaloquens. One of his first steps was to nominate Mr, CooFmt VOIUMCS N%el'0 pliblialied in folio ; the character of the type, in cer- as Secretary, upon the "express condition " that "its da- wn cont,se,tiolis,was peculiar ; and the qualifications for correcting tics should be made in all respects secondary and subordinate to the press, inn' giving such editorial superintendence as might be his professional avocations." " Give Mtn an inch and be will take requisite to scettre the accuracy desirable in a national work, were an ell"—and ComeEa soon proceeded to verify the proverb. peculiar too. But ii ve allow the Commissioners live times the Ile engaged nearly all the gentlemen employed ; they supposing cost tor printing mai boarding paid by the house of Li/Nu:tuts, and they were appointed by the Board, but Mr. (...10emt treating them the very handsome sum of :(()1. for editing, the cost of their volumes aS his clerks, and dismissing them at pleasure,—in hich conduct be

would still be four times what it ought to have been.

is minima. Thy co.,...,i .sioners were supine and ignorant : they Cuenca: to the Public Records we pass over. Ile drew at pleasure appointad a Mr. C \1.1;i a.: their Secretary, and worked under his by, his own draft on the inoney voted by Parliamtat ; he borrowed direeti„ns, or tattier hee:,me mere puppets in his hands; and Ile 10,000/. from the Commissioners' bankers on his own responsibility; took Cart; 61 number—number one. Besides his disbursements tinounting to 7001. or b00/. %%crc made without even secretaryship at a salary oi. 2 10/. a year, he was Keeper of the Chap- tile knowledge of the Commissioners until the audit, aud only three

terhouse, Westimoster, with a salary of 400/. a year ; he was Keeper

of the Augmentation I. eard-ctlice, front the fees of which he de- Parliament in the live or six years of its esistunasi 4s,300/.; but the rived an estimated ioasaiai or 1,0001. a year, though he very seldom annual grant was always absorbed before it v.'as received, and the set lbol in the cce; he was sole editor of three works published by Commission was run in debt upwards of s,000/.. or. takitnr into the Comnassionees, or rather by Inmsell, tor which he was paid; consideration thzit it paid offgreat part of a debt of it. predece:ssors, lieNyas coctlitor of CIL... it ether works, ditto ditto ; and corrector of above 20,000/. 31r. Cooemt mut spote 1..76/. in the puts. the press to various othars. ditto ditto ; and the total amount which I chase of what he called " Pallographical 1. k,' and put them he di s w fsom the Record Commi...siioners (»an. and above his salaries , into Ills private house; where they Ana:Lit:cal so private that they was between ciy,ht end nine thousand pounds. Many payments to were unknown to his coadjutors, who were fiireed to bus- such of

other people ware on a similar scale of liberality.

gross amounts, however large. Mr. CALEy was paid, or paid outlay, there are, in the words of the Rei,ort, " a great many himself, las, as c,sslitot ()fan imbsr, which some poor devil other charges " fbr the Boswell Court establisliment--" for an had traaseribed (inciliss;. most likely, compiled) for 261. G.s. For amanuensis tind clerk for the Secretary ; for repairs at the house in one volume of the Thod/redorant, CALEv, as co(lt)/, v cli Court ; for thz wages of the fiousek., ;per air coals, lights, received 379/.; Mr. I 1.1,1 :.(;tvoicrii, as coeditor, 9701. Hs.; Mr. furniture ; fur coach-hire, cab-hire, truck-hire, boat-hire, poi tage, Ruiz teo, " :GA.' woralt, 12/. 10s.; Mr. JOHN porterage and niesscligers."

DAvms, coinniler of inilkes and tra»scriber Hundred Rolls,"

(the actual 1,v,a1;,) :374/. us. :W.: and the total cost of the volume, purposes; and without any regular itutia,,ity. he away books to all or VhUSe"COpy" was already in existence, and the slightest the value of 1,000/. ; t:,e 01.,Je,2t being ag;,..; the parties to whom dcattlou rivni v, hie:1 wtts a fault, amounted to 4,67(1. Os. 9f./. Mr. they \Vete sent to give evidence ill fat ;1.11' value. Sixteen.

Imixowotirn, fur various coediting-, received from the Corn- hots of the works published lie :ha. ,.1,1 were sold as

missioners between four and live thousand pounds; Dr. ADAM waste paper, hsving iiisome ca. ,:s. had theh- ].1,t sheets torn

CLARKE ;aid 11:s clerk, fir editing part of the Fwd. ra, (a work off to waste them. They v.sfs at , ...11 a pound, and

already pal,li.bed. by book:.ellers,) received between five and six bought by gr6eerS and otla r- wrap up their

thousand 'Lanais; Mr. Pc kr roan as car lit or of the two volumes Wares ; and " in that wa... u.-.., _'1 r. %IMES llaviGi.tiia Ori1m.(biiii, received '2,031 ; the eternal Mr. CALEY BuLLER, " . ...ion all 322/. for " paring s- ' vvi sing tlir the press" • and in five years the As a fittin; :i:.:sh a..count cf the .t. various present SP Paaa,::Avs; received, for labour on one work, Record Conlisis:1.,ss, we may give a suna:.:.sy if upwards of ti,000!.; viz. IntOrir AND

As editor of a new edition of the Rolls of Parliament, at 500/. Voted to the various Commissions pro.: .1:s to • per aimunt that of 1831, so well as can be ascertais ...... .4:360.000 0 0

As editor of die Pariiaimatary Writs 211 Noted to the last C onmassion -1.s.,500 0 0 As a transerils:,r '',357 Debts incurred by the „t the As a eOrrector of the405 press time the Committee rep s,, For abstracts, dits, and calendars 725 ascertained. froar c. i•)3..00 0 0 £6.201 Gross as this wasteful expenditure was, it woull have been more tolerable hail judgment been exet•eised in the selection of ' - 1-

the works, or attention been paid to the correctness of their

oxen it: : but neither one nor the other was d:sidayed. Of the Fos& i'or a part or which one pt rant received upwards of 5,00vt., • br4) II/7%14111s alreally bt...:;.)re the world : there is no doubt that tit! originals. ...J;ich livmmt printed from, more than a century before, were isoi referred to, since in Ii t\ cases the errors of the old eciticii.; Were retained, vvhilst fresh Ono; were added. „ \''111 th' `1;". The volume ealled Caleildarium liolulornin .1),,b'htinut is full `'` " ELI;INCif,UN',1,tS a L:' of defects in the ti 11th) " it does not contain a reference i„ mac even be said to one-twentieth part tn.

to one. tenth,

.• The ('tit, lit Itoll: rnminew-v in 1201 and old in 1183. T1n-v contain grants ot °tikes, honours, and kink, confirmation or gratit.i totindieseoiTnrate. restita• *ions ut' temporalities to bishops, abbots, Sic., comini.sions under the great teal, ticc, the entri:::; on the 1101V'; whilst znost t110,,,.. NrItiell are men- tioned give no iii!inatiation as to the istillis, of the I hit., . old soh :icyP Ii it 11 1 i u c• • ,•

edition of the Stittutes (nine v•olutites, costing

COMplete, emise it unds v.itil the reign of Queen, AN:■E, aini I re of grer.t. importance : aml the index, 1110111,11 consistims, of two tuat It c t I I: 5)11111 tctliit I t wo material points. The tnytu.,114,i0,, • tells the C'.•, 11.1q it Vu pod . voltutic.-) re th inquisitions which were taken on of , soldier thaa an alalavist. r tile deaths of all tenae,i, :u eapite or the Cro‘vti hv a Jur\ , and : state ccl till tbt.v iii I seized. of, bv what services the‘: cc., hill ilittAIEN(;11.\.:\t poses. 1hi elass of records is very frequently consulted. gonarallv , pres-gen I.e. Lit:Zen,: at for the names or the ii., ic.; but this information jA efird%(//y S7//i- 11111SiCal 110:11111..: pre.ued, fir it tvotild huts :iliperseded the necessity of " se:weld:1s." FL'stiv:d-z andi the records. lit these vohlittes of the I uptisithme:: are also in- ' and we now , • at1"1. :11"1 eluded numerous est•heats c hich were not inquisitions upon deaths : of lot e for the art front one,

SO that tbe volumes n'tillire great caution and great skill in their kmmledge, , use, or they will mislead lather than direct. .1t1L1 titis may suffice \veil qualii:ed hint to assume the otli.,

jobbing was equally great some points greater, because more the balance at the L et' the ‘vcek's ..1 us

was supported by the Commissioners; mul he ids') ooninitted va-

The v; !c thing, howevar, is intelligible enough \Olen the matter lions acts of an arbitrary and equivocal kind, which having no re-

1 audits took place in five years. The Commission received from these very works r.s they found necessary. For this private house But a few itcms will convey a more vivid idea of the thing than the Commissioners kindly paid him 70/. a year ; besides which

''But this is not the \vh(de of Mr. Coonmes For his own


As editor of die Pariiaimatary Writs 211 Noted to the last C onmassion -1.s.,500 0 0

be 23,t

For abstracts, dits, and calendars 725 ascertained. froar c. i•)3..00 0 0 £6.201

Set-oil so fa- as know-- . Produce front sioe oL' wen, the old Commission 17 4 Ditto last Commissia 774 3 0

1.297, 0 4

'.702 0 ..„.

;,, ha\ e struckhi i of the

: air, CoovElt tnat toe tsreat. e'apsus , re,:ruit for istrwl,•-duty and he tried to lis! ststing that 0 0 , certaio reei Als, at tlie Tow,. r r Ilat the

..),:1!)0/.) 1101 (.01111111:loners thought tney i!l'tt,'1: :111111 tk, dOCS not eIw.titi,1 a singl..• ate s:atuto, whieli in the earlier period tim I ib I I I 1 herid