Bruce, John (1802-1869) (DNB00)

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BRUCE, JOHN (1802–1869), antiquary, a native of London, though of a Scotch family, was educated partly at private schools in England., and partly at the grammar school of Aberdeen. Although brought up to the law, he did not practise after 1840, and from that time gave himself wholly to historical and antiquarian pursuits, to which he had already devoted much attention. He took a prominent part in the foundation of the Camden Society, held office in it as treasurer and director, and contributed to its publications : ‘The Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV’ 1838 the first volume of the society's works; ‘Annals of the First Four Years of Queen Elizabeth,’ 1810; ‘Correspondence of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leycester,’ 1844; ‘Verney Papers,' 1845; ‘Letters of Queen Elizabeth and James VI,’ 1849; a preface to ‘Chronicon Petroburgense,' 1849; ‘Letters and Papers of the Verney Family,’ 1853; ‘Charles I in 1646,' 1856; ‘Liber Famelicus' of Sir James Whitelocke, 1858; ‘Correspondence of James VI with Cecil,' 1861; a preface to ‘Proceedings principally in the County of Kent . . . from the collections of Sir E. Dering,’ 1861 ; conjointly with J. G. Nichols’s ‘Wills from Doctors’ Commons,’ 1863; an ‘Inquiry into the Genuineness of a Letter dated 3 Feb. 1613,’ 1864, in the ‘Miscellany; v.7; ‘ Accounts and Papers relating to Mary Queen of Scots,’ conjointly with A. J. Crosby, 1867; ‘Journal of a Voyage . . . by Sir Kenelm Digby,' 1868; ‘Notes of the Treaty of Ripon,' 1869. He was for some time treasurer and vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries, and contributed many papers to the ‘Archæologia,’ among which his ‘Inquiry into the Authenticity of the Paston Letters,' xli. 15, may be especially mentioned. He also printed two letters relating to the affairs of the society in 1852. He wrote occasionally in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ and other periodicals, and was for some years editor of the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine.' For the Berkshire Ashmolean Society he edited a volume of ‘Original Letters relating to Archbishop Laud's Benefactions,' 1811, and for the Parker Society the ‘Works of R. Hutchinson,' 1842, and conjointly with the Rev. T. Perowne the ‘Correspondence of Archbishop Parker,’ 1853. In 1857. he contributed an edition of Cowper’s poems to the Aldine edition of poets. He edited the Calendars of State Papers, Domestic Series, Charles I, 1625-1639, 12 vols. published under the direction of the master of the rolls, 1858-1871, the last volume being completed by Mr. W. D. Hamilton, and in 1867 printed privately papers relating to William, first earl of Gowrie. In 1861 he was appointed by the Society of Antiquaries a trustee of Sir John Soane's Museum. He was a man of a noble simplicity of character, and was much beloved by all who worked with him. He had been a widower for some years before his death, which occurred very suddenly at London, 28 Oct. 1869. His manuscripts deposited in the British Museum are: Catalogue of State Papers in the State Paper Office and the British Museum, and class catalogues of manuscripts in the British Museum, Add. MSS. 28197-28202, and a classified list of the letters of William Cowper, Add. MS. 29716.

[The Times, 3 and 4 Nov, 1869; J. G. Nichols's Catalogue of the Works of the Camden Society, 2nd edit. 1872; Thompson Cooper’s Biog. Dict., supplement; Men of the Time. ed. 1868; Notes and Queries, 4th miss, iv. 443; Catalogue of Additional MSS. in the British Museum.]

W. H.