Valuable materials for a new edition were, however, collected early in the eighteenth century, by William Bessin, a monk of St. Ouen; and these, before the revolution, were preserved in the library of that abbey. Bessin had been assisted in the task by Francis Charles Dujardin, prior of St. Evroul, who had collated the text, as published in the collection of Norman historians, with the original manuscript in his own monastery, to which latter Duchesne unfortunately had not access, but had been obliged to content himself with a copy, now in the Royal Library at Paris. It is to be hoped, that the joint labors of Bessin and Dujardin may still be in existence, and may come to light, when M. Liquet shall have completed the task of arranging the manuscripts in the public library at Rouen. The manuscript which belonged to St. Evroul, and was always supposed to be an autograph from the hands of Ordericus Vitalis himself, was discovered during the revolution among a heap of parchments, thrown aside as of no account, in some buildings belonging to the former district of Laigle. It is now deposited in the public library of the department of the Orne, but unfortunately, nearly half the leaves of the volume are lost. The earliest part of what remains is towards the close of the seventh book, and of this only a fragment, consisting of eight pages, is left. The termination of the seventh book, and the whole of the eighth are wanting. From the ninth to the thirteenth, both of these inclusive, the manuscript is perfect. A page or two, however, at the end of the work, which contained the author’s life, has been torn out.—At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the manuscript was complete; for it is known that, at that time, a monk of St. Evroul made a transcript of it, which extended through four volumes in folio. These volumes were soon dispersed. Two of them found their way to Rouen, where they were kept in the library of St. Ouen: the other two were in that of the abbey of St. Maur de Glandefeuille, on the Loire. A third, though incomplete, copy of the original manuscript was also known to exist in France before the revolution. It formerly belonged to Coaslin de Camboret, Bishop of Metz, by whom it was presented, together with four thousand manuscripts, to the monks of St. Germain des Pres at Paris. But the greater part of the literary treasures of this abbey fell a prey to the flames in July, 1793, and it is feared that the copy of Ordericus perished at that time.
The original code from St. Evroul, was discovered by M. Louis Dubois, whom I have already mentioned in connection with the ruins of Neomagus. He is an antiquary of extensive knowledge and extraordinary zeal. His History of Lisieux, which he has long been preparing for the press, will be a work of great curiosity and interest. The publication of it is for the present suspended, whilst he superintends an edition of the Vaux-de-Vires, or Vaux de villes, of Olivier Basselin, an early Norman