Edwards, Arthur (DNB00)

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EDWARDS, ARTHUR (d. 1743), major, for many years the archaeological ally of Dr. Stukeley and Lord Winchilsea (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. xi. 772), was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 17 Nov. 1725 ([Gough], List of Members ofSoc. Antiq. 4to, 1798, p. 4). He died first major of the second troop of horse guards in Grosvenor Street, London, 22 June 1743 (Gent, Mag. xiii. 389; affidavit appended to will). His will of 11 June 1738 was proved at London 13 July 1743, a second grant being made 7 Nov. 1745 (registered in P. C. C, 230, Boycott). Therein he refers to his family merely as 'my brothers and sisters, the children of my father.' The fire of 23 Oct. 1731, by which the Cotton Library was so seriously injured, induced Edwards to make the munificent gift of 7,000l. to the trustees 'to erect and build such a house as may be most likely to presence that library as much as can be from all accidents.' Owing, however, to the protraction of a life interest in the legacy, it did not become available until other arrangements had made its application to building purposes needless (Edwards, Memoirs of libraries, i. 434, 460). It was consequently, in pursuance of the testator's contingent instructions, appropriated to the purchase of 'such manuscripts, books of antiquities, ancient coins, medals, and other curiosities as might be worthy to increase and inlarge the said Cotton Library.' Edwards also bequeathed about two thousand volumes of printed books and their cases; also, his 'pictures of King George the 1st, the Czar Peter, Oliver Cromwell, and Cosimo di Medicis the 1st, with his secretary, Bartolomeo Concini... to be placed in the aforesaid library.'

[Authorities as above.]

G. G.