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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As historiographer thefe were not the only labours of Rymer: he left an unpublished collection, relating to the government and history of England, from the year 1115 to 1698, in fifty-eight volumes *, which the prudence of the house of peers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 Refleétions 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 Foedera, he also employed himself, like a royal historiographer, in detecting the falfwood and ascertaining the truth of history t. He lived to publish
* There is a list of this great collection in the seventeenth volume of the Fædera: and fee 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 baftardy.” 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
Robert Sanderson, who had thus been Rymer's co-
A new edition of the first seventeen volumes was
and Decay of Parliaments.” And in the same year, --- Some
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 induftrious men to whom we owe the Fædera, 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 Fædera 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 documents 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 declaracions of 1771, which concluded our dispute with regard to Falkland Isands. 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
1785, arranged in chronological order, and expanded with additional matter ; yet, comprehending something that is useless amongst much that is good. During that active period, from the Revolution, in 1688, to recent times, our several treaties were fingly published, as they were made, with commentaries, which sometimes explained, but oftener obscured them, though the pens of our profoundest scholars were employed, with bishop Hare at their head.
How early foreign nations began to publish their treaties, I am unable to tell. The articles of the twelve years truce, between Spain and the United Netherlands*, which were concluded in April, 1609, were immediately printed by authority. The momentous treaties of the subsequent age were successively published, as they were produced by various events. But the first collection of public conventions, which comprehended the interests of the European nations, was published at Hanover, in 1693, by the illustrious Leibnitz, in two folio volumes, under the title of Codex juris gentium diplomaticus. Leibnitz, who was born at Leipsic, in 1646, raised himself by his genius and his labours to eminence among the high, and died in 1716, at the age of seventy.
During a busy age of frequent negotiation, the pub lic curiosity demanded fresh gratification. In 1700, four folio volumes of National Agreements were published, under the inspection of James Bernard, who was born in Dauphiné; and, retiring into Switzerland and Holland, after the revocation of the edict of Nantz, became professor of philosophy at Leyden, and died in 1718. Thus, in the ardour of the public, and the interests of the booksellers, was laid the foundation of the CORPS UNIVERSEL DIPLOMATIQUE DU DROIT
. That famous truce was printed at Bruffels, by Rutger Velpius, the printer to the court, in 1609, quarto. I have this trad in
Des Gens. The labours of Bernard were expanded and improved by the cares of Du Mont. This vast collection appeared in 1726. Du Mont was also a French refugee, who, after serving in the armies of France, retired to Holland, and became historiographer to the Emperor: after various publications, he died in 1726, having acquired the rank of Baron. The booksellers at Amsterdam, willing to gratify the public taste, and to promote their own gains, found other workmen, when they determined to furnish a SUPPLEMENT to the Corps DIPLOMATIQUE. The celebrated Barbeyrac gave them, in 1739, a large volume, comprehending the ancient Treaties, from the Amphictyonic times to the age of Charlemagne, which he had extracted from the authors of Greece and Rome, and from the monuments of antiquity. This is a work of vast and curious erudition. The performances of Bernard and Du Mont were only the labours of the hand : the volume of Barbeyrac was the elaborate production of the head. John Barbeyrac, who must not be confounded with his uncle Charles Barbeyrac, was born at Beziers, became professor of law first at Laufanne, and afterwards at Groningen, and finished his useful course, in 1747. The booksellers had ikilfully resolved to divide their intended publication into three parts: the first was the historical and chronological collection of Barbeyrac, which has been already mentioned, and which was designed as an introduction to the diplomatic code; the second was properly tie Supplement, being an extension and continuance of the voluminous works of Bernard and Du Mont; and the third part was to consist of the ceremonial of the courts of Europe. The performance of the two last parts was given to Rousset, the historiographer of the Prince of Orange, whefe diligence and where knowledge qualified him eminently for a taik thus arduous and deli
A complete collection of General Treaties must confilt of the following books: ist. Leibnitz's Codex,