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Halifax and Lansdowne Tracts

5,500 items

These tract collections were deposited in the Library in 1918 by the School of Oriental Studies in exchange for oriental collections.

The Halifax Tracts

(c.3,500 items originally in 145 volumes)

The Halifax Tracts were bought by the London Institution as lot 1748 at Sotheby’s sale of the library of Gorge Montague Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (1716-71) on 21st November 1806. They cover the period 1559 to 1749, including many originally collected by Walter Yonge, M.P. (1581?-1649) and the Royalist supporter Fabian Philipps (1601-90), mostly relating to the Civil War.

The Lansdowne Tracts

(c.2,000 items in 247 volumes)

The Lansdowne Tracts were bought by the London Institution as lot 1051 at Sotheby’s sale of the Bibliotheca Lansdowniana Pt. II on 5th May 1806. They cover the years 1679-1776 and have a double link with the College. William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne (1737-1805) was a friend of Jeremy Bentham and Etienne Dumont, Bentham’s friend and translator, had added many items to these tracts whilst he was employed as tutor to Lord Lansdowne’s sons. They deal with France and Belgium, as well as economics, politics, law, history and theology c.1589-1780. The Belgian collection had originally been begun by Gilbert Affleck, M.P. for Cambridge, in the early 18th century.