William Oldys

Andrew Caldwell to Thomas Percy, 18 November 1805; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58) 8:61.

The auction of Prime Sergeant Browne's books came on this day. I stepped in by accident, and looking at No. 55, Langbaine's Dramatic Poets, with MS. Notes by Oldys, observed your name, and dated Northumberland House; I instantly claimed it for you, and request your immediate directions by return of post. Vallance said Sergeant Browne bound this book (half bound) two years ago, and therefore it must be Browne's; he could not get it any way unless you made it a present, and I know you sometimes lent him books, and desired he might get them bound before they were returned. I delivered a message from your Lordship to him about some Spanish books, and his excuse for keeping them was the delay of the binder. This book, from the slight inspection I could give, seems valuable, and I should hardly think you would part with it; however, let me know your commands. The next number, 56, British Theatre, with MS. Additions, perhaps may be yours also. I could not look into that book, but you will declare whether it belongs to you or not. Some people when you lend books can never bear to return them, satisfying themselves with always intending it; but that is very wrong, and no excuse.