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St John's College O.53 (James 399)

John Henley, Two historical and lexicographical manuscripts. English, 1752 and undated

John Henley, of St John's College (1692-1756): two manuscripts attributed to 'Orator Henley', now bound together.

  1. 'What was the beginning of Masques in England - and of the Meening and origin of Carnevols', 12 Jan. 1752. Rough notes, heavily corrected.
  2. A dictionary of synonyms, Perish - Systematical, no date but around 1750.
Supplementary information 

200x180 mm. [ii]+30+12 fos; 203 fos (197-203 blank). College bookplate (nineteenth century) inside front cover. The first item was formerly Phillipps MS 10579 (lot 269, sale of 1893), and was presented by Herbert Somerton Foxwell, Fellow of St John's, in 1893 (donation plate inside original front cover). There is also an inscription inside this cover: 'NB This with about 30 other MSS I bought at a sale - the product and hand writing of the celebrated Orator Henley, and that were the notes of his celebrated lectures.' This may refer to the sale of Henley's papers in June 1759 (see Henley's article in DNB). The second was purchased by Donald MacAlister, Fellow of St John's, from J. E. Cornish of Manchester, in October 1893, and subsequently presented to the College (see letter from Cornish to MacAlister, 6 Oct. 1893, tipped in to face the above inscription: 'with respect to the authorship of the MS the late Mr Thomas Kerslake of Bristol told me that it was in Orator Henleys handwriting'.)

Autograph, the first item in a sprawling hand, the second far neater. Paper. Original cardboard and paper covers, rebound as one volume in quarter leather by Wilson, late nineteenth century; spine title: 'MSS of Orator Henley'.