10 s. xii. SEPT. 11,. low.] NOTES AND* QUERIES.
' Monocerotis Cornu.' A curious book- let lies before me with this title-page :
MONOCEROTIS CORNV ABREPTVM RESTITVTVM CELEBRATVM
ABERDONIJE MDCCCLXXII. MDCCCXCI. MDCCCVC.
It has this concluding note :
"Of this work only seven copies have been printed :
1. For the Library of the British Museum.
2. do. Faculty of Advocates.
3. do. University of St.
4. do. University of Glasgow. do. University of Aberdeen. do. University of
Edinburgh. 7. For the surviving criminals."
Hereby are suggested three queries for MB. RALPH THOMAS. How would he designate
1. The pseudonym assumed by the authors ?
2. The imprint with a triple date ?
3. A work of which only seven copies are printed ?
The booklet is concerned with the story hinted at in a mysterious Latin advertise- ment which attracted some attention in The Scotsman of 5 Jan., 1891, over the signature of the late Sir William D. Geddes, Principal of the University of Aberdeen :
QUOD BONUM FELIX FAUSTUMQUE SIT.
Cornu ferreum de capite Monocerotis nostri Regii duodeviginti abhinc annis per jocum abreptum, jam redditum est, et in locum pristinum exstat resti tutum.
Satelles igitur Regius excubat ut olim incolumis, quod quidem libens lubens ipublice testari aveo.
GuiA D. GEDDES, Praefectus. Aberdonise, Kalendis Januariis, MDCCCXCI.
N.B. Adjicio rogatus, impensarum summam (non sine hoc indicio) sedecim solidos Anglicos expleturos.
The pseudonym comprises the letters in the full names (Latinized ablatives) of five young men who were students in the Uni- versity of Aberdeen seven-and-thirty years ago. I (and now, alas ! I alone) know these names : the copy in my possession is No. 7. P. J. ANDERSON.
University Library, Aberdeen.
BANK OF ENGLAND : SUSPENSION or SPECIE PAYMENT. In the long history of the Bank the most sensational event, although its effect was soon forgotten, was the sus- pension of specie payment on 27 Feb., 1797. John Francis, the historian of the Bank,
thus describes the scene on that memorable morning :
" At the earliest period of commencing busi- ness, the office was crowded. Bullion was vociferously demanded. The notes of the Bank were eagerly proffered, in exchange for gold. The notice of the previous day was placed con- spicuously in the hall ; but men will not easily see that to which it is their interest to be blind. Officers were in waiting to repress any indecent ebullition of feeling. Copies of the Order in Council were distributed, and the announcement of the suspension of specie payments passed off aa quietly as its nature would allow. To pacify the natural alarm, the following notice was freely circulated, and advertised in all the daily papers."
I am quoting from the 1862 edition of Francis's ' History of the Bank of England.' This edition, little known here, was pub- lished by The Banker's Magazine at New York, with many additional notes, &c., supplied by I. Smith-Homans. Both the author and his editor are guilty of several mistakes in dealing with this single episode. The " notice of the previous day," " the Order in Council," and " the following notice .... freely circulated" are all the one broadside ; and even in quoting it they make a strange jumble of its punctuation, and omit some lines of great importance, so we must assume that neither ever saw a copy. It commences :
Bank of England, February 27th, 1797.
In consequence of an order of His Majesty's Privy Council notified to the Bank last night, copy of which is hereunto annexed.
This precedes the announcement quoted, by Francis, and there follows the " Copy of the Order of Privy Council," which the book identifies as a " resolution."
It is clear that the object of the notice- was to absolve the directors of the Bank from the responsibility of a step so likely to occasion a panic. The Privy Council, on the representation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had directed the suspension of specie payments, and the Bank was only giving effect to this mandate.
This broadside is, I believe, very scarce. Rumour says that the Bank have continually since its issue sought for and destroyed existing copies. Mine is still intact, and it has the additional interest of having been in the possession of George Daniel, whose father, it will be remembered, was cashier there. It occurred as lot 92 in the sale of his library, and was secured by Toovey at a high price. Collier in five lines of description blunders over the date.