Charles Townshend, Viscount Townshend (1674–1738)
Letter to Vice-Chancellor Thomas Sherlock
London, 20 September 1715
This unassuming letter of just two sentences informed the University that King George wished to give them Bishop Moore’s collection. A Cambridge man himself (of King’s College) who had known Moore while he was Bishop of Norwich, it was known as early as May that Townshend had persuaded George to give the books to Cambridge, but this formal announcement was delayed until September. The price paid, according to a treasury order dated 24 October, was £6450 (6000 guineas); this order reached the University Archives by sheer luck, having been purchased as part of a batch of Exchequer records (at £8 a ton) by a London fishmonger in 1840. For a full transcription of the letter, click “Extended captions”.
Whitehall 20 Septemb[e]r 1715
I have received this morning His Majesty’s commands to acquaint you that for the incouragement of learning, and as a mark of His Royall Favour he gives to the University of Cambridge the Library of the late Bishop of Ely. It is with great satisfaction I send you
Dr Sherlock Vice Chanc[ellor] of Canbr[idge]
this notice, which I desire you will communicate to the Heads of Houses and Senate.
I am with the greatest truth and respect, your most obedient humble servant
[in another hand] Read and Published in full Convocation of Regents & non Regents 22d September 1715