'One of the Most Remarkable Things in London': A Visit to the Lord Treasurerís Library in 1713 by Samuel Molyneux
Paul Holden (notes)
Between December 1712 and April 1713 Samuel Molyneux (1689-1728) witnessed at first hand some of the finest antiquarian collections in London, Oxford and Cambridge. For the benefit of his learned uncle he described what he saw in seven meticulously written letters, later transcribed into a copy-book and now held in Southampton City Archives. Amongst some of the collections he viewed were those still in the process of being accumulated by the connoisseurs Robert Harley and Sir Hans Sloane ─ which, along with the Cotton library, later formed the basis of the British Museum collections. This article looks specifically at Molyneux’s visit to the Harleian collection which took place shortly before 18 February 1713.
SCA D/M 1/3. Watermark evidence would suggest that the copy-book was produced c. 1724. The manuscript is incomplete, the pages being foliated 30-43, 58-63, 77-112, 118-159 and dated London 20 December 1712, 14 February 1713, 18 February 1713, 28 February 1713, 15 April 1713 and Harwich 20 April 1713. A transcription of the whole manuscript will be published by the London Topographical Society in 2011.This section of the manuscript is reproduced by kind permission of Southampton City Council.