« הקודםהמשך »
hiin, and he promises to reimburse his correspondent all that he expends for the same.*
These public scribes derived their principal employment from the monks and the lawyers ; from the former in transcribing their manuscripts, and by the latter in drawing up their legal instruments. They carried on their avocation at their own homes, like other artizans; but sometimes when employed by the monks executed their transcripts within the cloister, where they were boarded, lodged, and received their wages till their work was done. This was especially the case when some great book was to be copied, of rarity and price ; thus we read of Paulinus, of St. Albans, sending into distant parts to obtain proficient workmen, who were paid so much per diem for their labour; their wages were generously supplied by the Lord of Redburn.t
The increase of knowledge and the foundation of the univerșities, gave birth to the booksellers. Their occupation as a distinct trade originated at a period coeval with the foundation of these public seminaries, although the first mention that we are aware of is made by Peter of Blois, about the year 1170. We shall have occasion to speak more hereafter of this celebrated scholar, but we may be excused for giving the ancedote here, as it is so applicable to our subject. It appears, then, that whilst remaining in Paris to transact sone important matter for the King of England, he entered the shop of a public dealer in books” for be it known that the archdeacon was always on the search, and seldom missed an opportunity of adding to his library--the bookseller, Peter tells us, offered him a tempting collection on Jurisprudence ; but although bis knowledge of such matters was so great that he did not require them for his own use, lie thought they might be serviceable to his nephew, and after bargaining a little about the price he counted down the money agreed upon, and left the stall; but 10 sooner was his back turned than the Provost of Sexeburgh came in, to look over the literary stores of the stationer, and his eye meeting the recently sold volume, he became inspired with a wish to possess it ; nor could he, on hearing that it was
• Nosti quot Scriptores in Urbibus aut in Agris Italiæ passim habeantur.-Ep. cxxx. See also Ep. xliv. where he speaks of having purchased books in Italy, Germany and Belgium, at considerable cost. It is the most interesting Bibliomanical letter in the whole collection.
| Cottonian Ms. in the Brit. Mus.-Claudius, E. iv. fo. 105, b.
bought and paid for by another, suppress his anxiety to obtain the treasure ; but offering more money, actually took the volume away by force. As may be supposed, Archdeacon Peter was sorely annoyed at this behaviour; and “ To his dearest companion and friend Master Arnold of Blois, Peter of Blois Archdeacon of Bath sent greeting a long and learned letter, displaying his great knowledge of civil law, and maintaining the illegality of the provost's conduct.* The casual way in which this is mentioned makes it evident that the publico mangone Librorum” was no unusual personage in those days, but belonged to a common and recognized profession.
The vast number of students who, by the foundation of universities, were congregated together, generated of course a proportionate demand for books, which necessity or luxur prompted them eagerly to purchase : but there were poor as well as rich students educated in these great seminaries of learning, whose pecuniary means debarred them from the acquisition of such costly luxúries; and for this and other cogent reasons the universities deemed it advantageous, and perhaps expedient, to frame a code of laws and regulations to provide alike for the literary wants of all classes and degrees.' To effect this they obtained royal sanction to take the trade entirely under their protection, and eventually monopolized a sole legislative power over the Librarii.
In the college of Navarre a great quantity of ancient documents are preserved, many of which relate to this curious subject. They were deposited there by M. Jean Aubert in 1623, accompanied by an inventory of them, divided into four parts by the first four letters of the alphabet. In the fourth, under D. 18, there is a chapter entitled “Des Libraires, Appretiateurs, Jurez et Enlumineurs," which contains much interesting matter relating to the early history of bookselling.+ These ancient statutes, collected and printed by the University in the year
Epist. lxxi. p. 124, Edit. 4to. His words are—“ Cum Dominus Rex Anglorum me nuper ad Dominum Regum Francorum nuntium distinasset, libri Legum venales Parisius oblati sunt mihi ab illo B. publico mangone librorum : qui cum ad opus cujusdam mei nepotis idoner viderentur conveni cum eo de pretio et eos abud venditorem dismittens, ei pretium numeravi ; superveniente vero C. Sexburgensi Præposito sicut audini, plus oblulit et licitatione vincens libros de domo venditories per violentiam absportauit."
† Chevillier Origines de l'Imprimerie de Paris, 4to. 1694, p. 301.
1652, * made at various times, and ranging between the years 1275 and 1403, give us a clear insight into the matter.
The nature of a bookseller's business in those days required no ordinary capacity, and no shallow store of critical acumen ; the purchasing of manuscripts, the work of transcription, the careful revisal, the preparation of materials, the tasteful illuminations, and the process of binding, were each employments requiring some talent and discrimination, and we are not surprised, therefore, that the avocation of a dealer, and fabricator of these treasures, should be highly regarded, and dignified into a profession, whose followers were invested with all the privileges, freedoms and exemptions, which the masters and students of the university enjoyed. But it required these conciliations to render the restrictive and somewhat severe measures, which she imposed on the bookselling trade, to be received with any degree of favour or submission. For whilst the University of Paris, by whom these statutes were framed, en. couraged and elevated the profession of the library, she required, on the other hand, a guarantee of their wealth and mental capacity, to maintain and to appreciate these important concessions; the bookseller was expected indeed to be well versed in all branches of science, and to be thoroughly imbued with a knowledge of those subjects and works of which he undertook to produce transcripts. I She moreover required of hin, testimonials to his good character, an efficient security, ratified by a solemn oath of allegiance, and a promise to observe and submit to all the present and future laws and regulations of the university. In some cases, it appears that she restricted the number of librarii, though this fell into disuse as the wants of
* “ Actes concernants le pouvoir et la direction de l'Université de Paris sur les Ecrivains de Livres et les Imprimeurs qui leurs ont succedé comme aussi sur les Libraires Relienrs et Enlumineurs,” 4 to 1652, p. 44. It is very rare; a copy was in Biblioth. Teller, No. 132. p. 428. A statute of 1275 is given by Lambecii Comment. de August. Biblioth. Cæsarea Vendobon, vol. ii. pp. 252-267. The booksellers are called “ Stationarii or Librarii ;" de Stationariis, sive Librariis ut Stationarus, qui vulgo appellantur, &c. See also Du Cunge, vol. vi. col, 716.
† Chevillier, p. 301, to whom we are deeply indebted in this branch of our inquiry.
† Hisi. Lit. de la France, tom. ix. p. 84. Chevillier, p. 302.. $ The form of oath is given in full in the statute of 1323, and in that of 1342, Chevillier.
the students increased. Twenty-four seems to have been the original number, * which is sufficiently great to lead to the couclusion that bookselling was a flourishing trade in those old days. By the statutes of the university, the bookseller was not allowed to expose his transcripts for sale, without first submitting them to the inspection of certain officers appointed by the university, and if an error was discovered, the copies were ordered to be burnt or a fine levied on them, proportionate to their inaccuracy. Harsh and stringent as this may appear at first sight, we shall modify our opinion, on recollecting that the student was in a great degree dependent upon the care of the transcribers for the fidelity of his copies, which rendered a rule of this nature almost indispensable : nor should we forget the great service it bestowed il maintaining the primitive accuracy of ancient writers, and in transmitting them to us through those ages in their original purity.+
In these times of free trade and unrestrained commercial policy, we shall regard less favourably a regulation which they enforced at Paris, depriving the bookseller of the power of fixing a price upon his own goods. Four booksellers were appointed and sworn in to superintend this department, and when a new transcript was finished, it was brought by the bookseller, and they discussed its merits and fixed its value, which formed the amount the bookseller was compelled to ask for it; if he demanded of his customer a larger sum, it was deemed a fraudulent imposition, and punishable as such. Moreover, as an advantage to the students, the bookseller was expected to make a considerable reduction in his profits in supplying them with books; by one of the laws of the university, his profit on each volume was confined to four deniers to a student, and six deniers to a common purchaser. The librarii were still further restricted in the economny of their trade, by a rule which forbade any one of them to dispose of his entire stock of books without the consent of the university ; but this we suspect, implied the disposal of the stock and trade together, and was intended to intimate that the introduction of the purchaser would not be allowed, without the cognizance and sanction of the university. I Nor was the bookseller able to purchase
Du Breul Le Thetre des Antiq. de Paris, 4to. 1612, p. 608. | Idid. Hist. Lit. de la France, tom. ix. p. 84
Chevillier, p. 303.
books without her consent, lest they should be of an immoral or heretical tendency ; and they were absolutely forbidden to buy any of the students, without the permission of the rector.
But restricted as they thus were, the book merchants nevertheless grew opulent, and transacted an important and extensive trade ; sometimes they purchased parts and sometimes they had whole libraries, to sell.* Their dealings were conducted with unusual care, and when a voluine of peculiar rarity or interest was to be sold, a deed of conveyance was drawn up with legal precision, in the presence of authorized witnesses.
In those days of high prices and book scarcity, the poor student was sorely impeded in his progress; to provide against these disadvantages, they framed a law in 1342, at Paris, compelling all public booksellers to keep books to lend out on hire. The reader will be surprised at the idea of a circulating library in the middle ages! but there can be no doubt of the fact ; they were established at Paris, Toulouse, Vienna, and Bologne. These public librarians too, were obliged to write out regular catalogues of their books and hang them up in their shops, with the prices affixed, so that the student might know beforehand what he had to pay for reading them. We are tempted to give a few extracts from these lists.
“St. Gregory's Commentaries upon Job, for reading 100 pages, “St. Gregory's Book of Homilies, 28 pages for 12 deniers. “ Isidore's De Summa bona, 24 pages, 12 deniers. « Anselm's De Veritate de Libertate Arbitrii, 40 pages, 2 sous. " Peter Lombard's Book of Sentences, 3 sous. " Scholastic History, 3 sous. “ Augustine's Confessions, 21 pages, 4 deniers. “ Gloss on Matthew, by brother Thomas Aquinas, 57 pages, 3 sous. “ Bible Concordance, 9 sous. "A Bible, 10 soust."
This rate of charge was also fixed by the university, and the students borrowing these books were privileged to transcribe them if they chose ; if any of them proved imperfect or faulty, they were denounced by the university, and a fine imposed upon the bookseller who had lent out the volume.
This potent influence exercised by the universities over book
Martene Anecd. tom. i. p. 502. Hist. Lit. de la France, ix. p. 142.
+ Chevillier 319, who gives a long list, printed from an old register of the University.