of the royal Order
of the Legion of Honor
Receipts and Payments
of the Order
The responses should be addressed
to S.F. M. the Grand Chancellor of
the royal Order of the Legion of Honor.
One should take care to recall the
Division from where the letters
are sent to which one responds.
March 10, 1819
I received the letter that you gave me the honor of writing January
11th. It arrived as I was being attacked by the most violent arthritic
inflammation that I have thus far felt; retained at home and deprived of
movement since this period, I am taking advantage of the first moments
of liberty that I have obtained to assure you that I have not lost sight
of your reclamation [claim for reinstatement?].
I will have the honor of putting it in front of the eyes of Your Majesty
as soon as my health will allow me to solicit him, and as soon as I have
obtained the authorization to present myself before him. Although I have
much confidence in His Goodness, I cannot, Monsieur le Count, encourage
you beyond your current hopes. It will not be for a lack of all of my
efforts if your pretensions are not judged in the most favorable manner.
Please accept, Monsieur the Count, the assurance of my
The Grand Chancellor of the Royal Order of the Legion of
Monsieur the Count Laumond
of the Royal Order of the Legion of Honor
Of the several thousand
noble libraries founded in family houses throughout the British Isles in
the last three or four hundred years, only a few dozen or so may be said
to have achieved a lasting public reputation. Among them the Bibliotheca
Lindesiana is distinguished not only because of the remarkable
collection formed, but because its dispersal began ninety-five years ago
and it no longer exists.
The library’s origins may be said to go back to the late sixteenth
century with the establishment of the Lindsay family at Balcarres in
Fife by Lord Menmuir, whose bibliophilic son David, the first Lord
Balcarres, augmented it to a position of distinction among Scottish
libraries. Its status was severely reduced through succeeding years and
generations until the mid-nineteenth century and the appearance of
Alexander William, twenty-fifth earl of Crawford and eighth earl of
Balcarres (1812-1880, called Lord Lindsay for most of his life). As a
schoolboy he was fired with a bibliophilic if not maniacal passion and
determined to form a great library in which every branch of knowledge
would be worthily represented. By degrees his obsession was controlled
and directed so that, unlike the library of his eccentric contemporary,
Sir Thomas Phillipps (whose desire at one time was to own a copy of
every printed book), the Bibliotheca Lindesiana developed into a
formidable general collection of books with much to offer in all fields
and languages, and with superb strengths in areas of special interest to
its architect and builder.
Early manuscripts and printed books, and bibliographical treasures
generally, continued to accumulate after the death of Lord Lindsay,
while aggregations of importance in astronomy, broadsides, ballads, and
documents of the French Revolution and Napoleonic period were added to
them. In addition to these, the library had strengths in its collections
of Bibles and liturgies, block-books, orientalia, papyri, proclamations,
romances, Scottish printing, and voyages and travel. In the end it
numbered close to 200,000 volumes.
The 1880s also brought economic hardship to the coal and iron industries
upon which the family depended. In 1886 the estate and library at
Balcarres was purchased by Ludovic from a younger branch of the family
(Sir Coutts Lindsay), but in the following year he was forced to raise a
large sum and turned to the books. Two sales occurred in 1887 and 1889
in which the Gutenberg Bible (now at Texas) was sold. A few years later
the astronomy books were presented to the Royal Observatory at
Edinburgh. In 1900 Mrs. John Rylands imitated earlier benefactions to
the library named for her husband at Manchester by purchasing all the
Lindsay manuscripts with the exception of the documents of the French
Revolution. Ludovic’s successor, the twenty-seventh earl of Crawford,
parted with the bulk of the collections to Quaritch in 1924, and much of
the remainder was sold by auction in 1947/48.
The bookplate is a typical armorial of the mid-nineteenth century with
name Bibliotheca Lindesiana below the arms (Lindsay quartering
Abernethy) and the crest and motto above (endure fort: endure boldly).
by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.