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vast mass of discordant matter, it was often a difficult talk to collect the treaties which belonged to any particular nation, or to adjust the stipulations which related to any specified subject.

In the following collection, I have preserved a chronological order, while I have brought together the. treaties which at various times have been formed with each different nation. Without any strong motive of choice, I began with Russia, in the north ; I regularly proceeded to the south of Europe ; 1 diverged afterwards to Africa and Asia; and ended finally in America. I flatter myself this arrangement will be found commodious. To the treaties, which belong to each particular country, and which form a distinct head, I have prefixed a chronological index of prior treaties, for the purpose of tracing a principle of connexion, and shewing where those preceding conventions may be found. The usefulnefs of this prefatory index will be acknowledged by those, who having been engaged in much study, or in much business, have felt the happiness of knowing where to lay one's hand on the thing that the pressure of the moment required. But, the brevity which I prescribed to myself, did not allow me to swell this prefatory index with the mention of every agreement, either for the hire of troops, or the performance of temporary ftipulations. I was directed by my notions of utility, either in publishing some treaties, or in not mentioning others. The public, whose convenience I have endeavoured to promote, and to whose opinion I respectfully submit, will ultimately determine whether, in making this selection, I have been directed by judgment, or by caprice.

The first treaty which was ever published in this nation, by authority, was the treaty with Spain, in 1604, which was conducted by Sir Robert Cecil, the first Lord Sulisbury, with such wonderful talents and address. No treaty was printed, without authority, during any preceding period. It had been extremely dangerous for pri


vate persons, in the reign of King James, in the former, or in the subsequent reign, to have published treaties with foreign Powers; because to have done this had been considered as meddling with matters of state, and punished as an infringement of prerogative. The treaties of Charles I. were published by authority. Cromwell made many treaties, because he was anxious, like John IV. of Portugal, to procure the recognition of other Powers: but, I doubt, whether he lived to publish them. The reign of Charles II. was fruitful in treaties, which were printed by authority, often singly, and sometimes collectively. The four treaties of Breda were published by the King's special command *, in 1667.' A collection, comprehending seventeen treaties, beginning with the Commercial Treaty with Spain, in 1667, and ending with the Algerine treaty in 1682, was printed by direction of Lord Sunderland, the secretary of state, in March 1684 t. Such had been the smallness of this impression, or such the demand for it, that this useful code was reprinted in 1686. The falutary practice of publishing by authority what was so neceffary to be known, which had been begun by King James, was continued by King William, and by his royal successors.

It was however in King William's councils, that it was first determined to print authoritatively the Public CONVENTIONS of Great Britain with other Powers I. It was owing to that determination, that the reign of Queen Anne saw the publication of Rymer's Foeder A.

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* By the affigns of J. Bill and C. Barker, the King's printers, 40, 80 pages.

† By the assigns of J. Bill, and H. Hills, and T. Newcomb, the King's printers. London, 1685, 410, 269 pages.

1 The warrant, empowering Thɔmas Rymer to search the public repositories for this great design, was dated on the 26th of August 1693. This warrant was renewed on the 3d of May 1707, when Robert Sanderson was appointed his afiiftant. And, on the 15th of February 1717, Sanderson was continued the single conductor of this laborious undertaking. A 3


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The first volume, commencing with the documents of the year 1201, was published in 1704 ; the twentieth volume, ending with the papers of 1654, was given to the world in 1735.

As historiographer these were not the only labours of Rymer : he left an unpublished collection, relating to the government and history of England, from the year 1115 to 1698, in fifty-eight volumes *, which the prudence of the house of peers directed to be placed in The British Museum, with the Cottonian manuscripts. Of men who have done great public services, we naturally wish to know something of the origin and the end. Thomas Rymer was born in the north of England; was educated at Cambridge ; and, intending to make the law his profession, he entered himself a student of Gray's Inn. He first appeared as a poet and a critic in 1678; when he published Edgar, an heroic tragedy, which had scarcely preserved his name; and Reflections on Shakespeare, in 1693, which have drawn on him Warburton's indignation. On the decease of Shadwell, the great Mac Flecnoe of Dryden, in 1692, who, at once, celebrated King William's birth, as Laureat, and recorded King William's actions, as historiographer, the laurel was placed on the brow of Tate, and the pen of historian was delivered into the hand of Rymer. While collecting The FOEDER A, he also employed himself, like a royal historiographer, in detecting the falfhood and ascertaining the truth of history f. He lived to publish


* There is a list of this great collection in the seventeenth volume of the Fædera : and see Ayicough's Catalogue of the Museum MSS. vol. i. N° 4573—4630.

+ He published, in 1702, his first letter to Bishop Nicholson: “Wherein, as he says, King Robert III. of Scotland is, beyond all dispute, freed from the imputation of bastardy.” He soon after published his second letter to Bishop Nicholson; “ containing an historical deduction of the alliances between France and Scotland : whereby the pretended old league with Charlemagne is disproved, and the true old league is ascertained.” After his decease, there was published, in 1714, a small treatise “Of the Antiquity, Power,


fifteen folio volumes of the public conventions; and from his collections Sanderson published the sixteenth volume in 1715. Rymer finished his useful career in December, 1713, and was buried in the church of St. Clement's Danes. Yet, after all his labours, he is ofteneft remembered for his critical Itrictures on Shakespeare: for, fuch has been the singular fortune of this illustrious poet, that whoever has connected himself with his name, either as commentator, panegyrist, or detractor, has been raised up by the strength of his pinions, and will be carried through the expanse of time by the continuance of his flight.

Robert Sanderson, who had thus been Rymer's coadjutor, continued the Fædera after his death. The seventeenth volume, which is the most useful of the whole, because it contains an Index of the persons, of the things, and of the places, that this and the sixteen preceding volumes comprehend, he published in the year 1717. The eighteenth volume, which was republished with the Castrations, he published in 1726; the nineteenth in 1732, and the twentieth in 1735. Sanderson, who was usher of the court of Chancery, clerk of the chapel of the Rolls, and fellow of the Antiquary Society, died on the 25th of December, 1741.

A new edition of the first seventeen volumes was published in 1727, by George Holmes, with collations and amendments. Holmes was born at Skipton, in Yorkshire; he became clerk to Petyt, the keeper of the records in the Tower, about the year 1695; he continued almost fixty years the deputy

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and Decay of Parliaments.” And in the same year," Some Translations from Greek, Latin, and Italian Poets, with other Verses and Songs, never before printed. By Thomas Rymer, late Hiftoriographer-royal.” Thefe tranflations, verses, and fongs, not being fumcient to make a volume in 12mo. were published with Curious Amusements; by a Gentleman of Pembroke hall in Cambridge.



keeper; and, on account of his knowledge and his industry, he was, by the recommendation of lord Hallifax, who was then chairman of a committee of the House of Lords, appointed to methodize the records, on the death of Petyt, with a salary of £. 200 a year. This he enjoyed till his decease, in 1748, at the

age of eighty-seven.-Such were the able and industrious men to whom we owe the Federa, a work which is at once infinitely useful, and highly honourable to the British nation.

The booksellers at the Hague published a third edition of the Fadera in 1739, having contracted the twenty volumes into ten. In this edition the documents are translated into French, and printed in the opposite column; and some other papers of less usefulness are added. With De Bure, I am inclined to consider this edition as the best; because, with equal accuracy, it contains more matter in less space. Thus much with regard to those collections of treaties, which were published by authority.

The reign of Queen Anne first saw a collection of treaties, which was published by private individuals, without authority. Two volumes appeared in 1710, which began with treaties of very early date, but of no validity, and comprehended docuinents rather hiftorical than diplomatic. A third volume was added, in 1713, without greater regard to selection, arrangement, or precision. And when these treaties were republished by the London booksellers, in 1732, a fourth volume was added, containing such additional documents as recent events had produced. In 1772, two small volumes of treaties were published, beginning with the grand alliance, of 1689, and ending with the declarations of 1771, which concluded our dispute with regard to Falkland INards. A supplemental volume was added in 1781, comprehending public papers,

from 1495 to 1734, some of greater and some of less value. These treaties were republished in

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