Imágenes de páginas

by him, on the 27th April, 1652, we learn that 12,000 coins were then in the library.1

Returning to the warrant, one is led to inquire why such orders should be given by the King to Sir Symonds d'Ewes and Patrick Young on the 19th October, 1648, when the coins were actually under the control of the Parliament, and in the custody of their agent, Hugh Peters? Charles I. was then at Newport, released on parole from his prison at Carisbrook Castle, in the Isle of Wight. During the negotiations which took place from the 18th September to the 27th November between the King and the Parliamentary Commissioners, and which resulted in the Treaty of Newport, Charles was allowed to occupy the house of a private citizen in that town. From this house the warrant in question must have been dated, on the 19th October, and it is not improbable that the King then expected to be very shortly reconciled with the Parliament, and again installed in his former power and possessions. In fact, until the famous "Pride's Purge," the Parliament was very well disposed towards a reconciliation with him, and by a vote of the 5th December, 1618, accepted the King's concessions as a ground for proceeding to the settlement of the peace of the kingdom. But after Colonel Pride's exclusion of the forty-one members on the following day, all such hope was at an end. Charles had been seized by the army, and removed from Newport on the 29th November, and on the 30th January, 1649, he was executed, within three months and a half from the date of his signing this Warrant.


'See "Biographia Britannica." Arts. D'Ewes, Whitelocke, Young.


Since writing the above I have, at the request of the Editor, collected all the notices that I can find relative to Charles I.'s collection of coins and medals.

Lilly says that Charles "was well skilled in things of antiquity," and "could judge of medals whether they had the number of years they pretended unto." He acquired, on his brother's death, the cabinet which was founded by Prince Henry.

John Pinkerton, in the third edition (1808) of his "Essay on Medals," remarks, that "Henry Prince of Wales bought the collection of Gorlæus, amounting, as Joseph Scaliger says, to 30,000 coins and medals, and left it to his brother, Charles I." -(P. 10, vol. i.)

It is believed that Charles I. added considerably to this collection, and Horace Walpole (in his "Anecdotes of Painting") states that, upon his accession, he appointed Abraham Vanderdort, a Dutchman, keeper of his cabinet of pictures, medals, &c., at a salary of £40 a year.

There are several copies extant in manuscript of the catalogue which Vanderdort drew up at the King's command, entitled "An inventory of pictures, medals, agates, and other rarities in the privy-garden at Whitehall." The original inventory is said to be in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, but a copy of it, in Vanderdort's handwriting, may be seen in the British Museum, Harleian MSS., No. 4718. A rough list of the King's medals is given on fos. 23-28. A fair copy of this catalogue was lately bought by her Majesty the Queen for the library at Windsor, from the sale of Sir William Tite's collection.

The subsequent history of Charles I.'s cabinet until the Restoration has been noticed in the preceding article; but upon the return of Charles II., he ordered Elias Ashmole to draw up an account of the royal cabinet, as we learn from the following passage in the Memoirs prefixed to Ashmole's "Antiquities of Berkshire," 8vo., 1719, vol. i. p. x. :—

"Soon after this (about August, 1660) he was appointed by the King to make a Description of his Medals, and had them delivered into his Hands, and King Henry the VIIIth's Closet assigned for that purpose."

John Evelyn, in his "Numismata," supplies the next notice,

viz. :

"I conclude this Recension where indeed I ought to have begun, when I mention'd the Great and most Illustrious Persons of England (emulating the most celebrated Cabinets of the

Greatest Princes of other Countries), namely, that Royal Collection of Medals at St. James's, begun by that Magnanimous and Hopeful Prince Henry, and exceedingly augmented and improved by his Brother King Charles the Martyr, from the Testimony of his own Learned Library-keeper Patrick Junius (in his Notes on St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians), Quem locum (speaking of St. James's) si vicinam Pinacothecam, Bibliotheca celeberrima conjunctam: Si NUMISMATA Antiqua Græca, ac Romana; Si statuas & Signa ex Ere & Marmore consideres; non immeritò Thesaurum Antiquitatis & Tapeîov Instructissimum nominare potes, &c. To which add, that of another Learned Medalist, Carolus Primus ille Magna Britanniæ Rex, cæteris Europa Principes omnes hoc possessionum Genere, vincebat; which how at this Day impair'd, and miserably imbezel'd, not only by the Rebels during the late Civil Wars, but even since, thro' the Negligence of others, is of deplorable Consideration; if any hopes yet remain of its revival again to some tolerable degree of Lustre and Repair, we must be oblig'd to the indefatigable Industry of the late Supervisor, the obliging and universally Learned (whilst he lived, my excellent Friend) and lately deceas'd Monsieur Justel; and from hence forward to the no less accomplish'd (in all solid Learning and severer Studies) Dr. Bentley, his worthy successor.

"This for the Books and Manuscripts, among which there are still many Choice and Inestimable Volumes, besides the Famous and Venerable Alexandrian Greek Bible of St. Tecla; but the Medals have been taken away and purloin'd by Thousands, and irrecoverable. Their late Majesties (Charles II. and James II.) had yet a very rich and ample Collection, which I well remember were put in Order, and Methodiz'd by Mr. Ashmole, soon after the Restauration of King Charles the Second, which I hope, and presume may be still in being and to be recovered."(Pp. 246, 7, of J. Evelyn's "Numismata," fol., London, 1697.

However, very soon after the publication of Evelyn's book, the royal collection was irrecoverably lost in the great fire which consumed all that remained of the palace of Whitehall (except the Banqueting House) on Tuesday, 4th January, 1697-8.

The reader may thus trace the history of the ill-fated royal collection from its foundation by Prince Henry, its augmentation by Charles I., and its partial dispersion during the Commonwealth, to its final destruction in 1698.

30th June, 1874.


2 Car. Patin, Famil. Rom.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]


THE above is a copy of an impression from the original die for the reverse of a half-crown of Charles I. The type is a circular garnished shield of arms within a beaded inuer circle. Legend, CHRISTO. AVSPICE. REGNO. Mint-mark, a triangle. This half-crown seems to be Hawkins's Type 3a of the Tower Mint, and the obverse is figured in his Plate xl., No. 483. The date of the triangle mint-mark is given as 1639 by the same authority.

I am informed that this die was, many years ago, found between six and eight feet below the surface of the ground in a street adjoining an old house called the "Bell Stone," in Shrewsbury. It was presented to the Rev. William Gorsuch Rowland, of the same town, and after his decease it was obtained from Mr. Rowland's executors by its present possessor, Mr. Jos. Humphreys, of Dogpole Court, Shrewsbury, who has kindly favoured me with this impression.

[blocks in formation]

Charles I. was at Shrewsbury from the 20th September to the 20th October, 1642, and he erected a mint there for coining his own household plate and that which he had received from the Universities, as we learn from Lord Clarendon's "History of the Rebellion" and Ruding's "Annals of the Coinage."

It therefore seems to me very probable that the die now under consideration was one of those used in the Shrewsbury mint in 1642, and that, as it bears the type of the London mint in the Tower with the 1639 mint-mark, this die may have been taken from London and made use of by the King at Shrewsbury three years later. The fact that dies had been abstracted from the Tower mint for the King's use about this period seems probable from an order of the House of Commons, 5th October, 1642, that the officers of the Mint should be required not to suffer any officer, workmen, or instrument belonging to the Mint, or coining, or graving, to quit their charge, or to be carried from thence, without order from the House.

We have thus, I think, some grounds for believing that several half-crowns of this type were minted at Shrewsbury, although Ruding did not know any method for distinguishing the Shrewsbury coins.


« AnteriorContinuar »