And now, having given you a Note, I will add a Query, and ask, Can any one inform me what became of this library, or who were the representatives and heirs of Edward Lee, through whom this MS. may have passed to Mr. Conybeare, or give me any further particulars respecting this Edward Lee?
A person who asks a question in such a publication as yours ought to endeavour to answer one. I add therefore that Mr. Thorpe—no mean authority on such a point—in his Catalogue for 1834, No. 1234, says the E.F. in the title-page of The Life of King Edward II, represents “E. Falkland:” but he does not tell us who E. Falkland was, and it is questionable whether there was any person so named living at the time when the book in question was written. There was no Edward Lord Falkland before the reign of William III. Also, in answer to Dr. Maitland’s Query respecting the fate of Bindley’s copy of Borde’s Dyetary of Health, 1567, in a priced copy of the Catalogue now before me, the name of Rodd stands as the purchaser for eleven shillings.
Nov. 26. 1849
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QUERIES ANSWERED, NO. 3.
A Flemish Account, &c.
The readiness with which we adopt a current saying, though unaware of its source and therefore somewhat uncertain as to the proper mode of applying it, is curiously exemplified by the outstanding query on the origin and primary signification of the phrase A Flemish account.
I have consulted, in search of it, dictionaries of various dates, the glossaries of our dramatic annotators, and the best collections of proverbs and proverbial sayings—but without success.
The saying casts no reproach on the Flemings. It always means, I believe that the sum to be received turns out less than had been expected. It is a commercial joke, and admits of explanation by reference to the early commercial transactions between the English and the Flemings.
I rely on the authority of The merchants mappe of commerce, by Lewes Roberts, London, 1638, folio, chap. 179:—
In Antwerp, which gave rule in trade to most other cities, the accounts were kept in livres, sols, and deniers; which they termed pounds, shillings, and pence of grosses. Now the livre was equal only to twelve shillings sterling, so that while the Antwerp merchant stated a balance of 1l. 13s. 4d., the London merchant would receive only 1l.—which he might fairly call A Flemish account!
The same instructive author furnishes me with a passage in illustration of a recent question on the three golden balls, which seem to require additional research. It occurs in chap. 181:—