This work is part of the "Book-Lovers Library" series which was edited by Henry B. Wheatley (1838 - 1917). Wheatley was a historian, librarian and scholar of repute and editor of the Book-Lovers Library series. Quoted from the editor's "Preface."
"It has been thought that a collection of some of Mr. Blades's Fugitive Pieces would form a
volume acceptable to the readers of the Book-Lover's Library, as a companion volume to that distinguished bibliographer's Enemies of Books. A selection of these papers is now therefore presented to the public in a more permanent form, and an Introduction containing a general notice of Mr. Blades 's life-work has been added."
Quoted from the author's first chapter, pp. 4-5.
". . . Doubtless there is an element of sentimentality in loving a book just because it is old; but the feeling is akin to that which makes all of us interested in knowing who our ancestors were; for, after all, the Shakespeare-works we love and the Darwin-theories we admire would never have existed but for the long chain of books behind them, of which indeed they are but important links. These feelings are natural, and they grow by what they feed on."
"Some such sympathies stirred within me when looking, last spring , upon a photograph of the chained library at Wimborne Minster; and, occasion offering, I paid a visit or two to the grand old church in that interesting town — visits which prompted the present remarks."
"Single books chained in churches were quite common in the Reformation days, and may, even now, be seen occasionally. In this very town of Wimborne a copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs was, in bygone days, chained to a desk in the dissenting chapel, — a rather unusual occurrence, — nor are there wanting records which tell of whole collections, where each volume was chained in its place as it stood on the shelf. Such libraries are, however, now very uncommon, and, with the exception of the remarkable old library in Hereford Cathedral, the writer is not aware of any collection in England approaching in interest and extent that at