COTTON, SIR Robert Bruce, English antiquarian: b. Denton, Huntingdonshire, 22 Jan. 1571; d. London, 6 May 1631. He was educated at Westminster School under the famous Camden; and later at Cambridge. He settled in London, devoting his time to anti quarian pursuits, and employing himself es pecially in collecting ancient deeds, charters, letters and other manuscripts of various kinds, illustrative of the history of England. He was one of the earliest members of the Antiquarian Society; and not only promoted the general objects of that learned association, but also assisted, with his literary treasures as well as with his purse, Camden and other writers on British archaeology. He sat in Parliament under James I and in the first and third Parlia ments of Charles I's reign, his sympathy being against the growing power of the king. In 1629 he was falsely accused of having written an obnoxious political tract, and was thrown into the Tower; yet although he succeeded in establishing his innocence, his library was se questrated, and his death seems to have been partly due to his being deprived of the company of his books. Among his works may be men
tioned, 'Power of the Peeres and Comons of Parliament in Point of Judicature) (1640); 'Cottoni Postuma— Choice Pieces of that Re nowned Antiquary) (1672) ; 'Divers Short Pieces Exposed to Publick Light by J. Howell' (1679) ; 'Speech before the Privy Council touching the Alteration of Coyn' (published in Shaw, 'Select Tracts and Documents,) 1896). Consult Kiffis, 'Robert Bruce Cotton) (in (Biographia Brittanica,' London 1797); D'Ewes, 'Autobiography' (2 vols., ib., 1845); Nichols, 'Progresses of James I' (4 vols., 1828) ; Gardner, 'History of England> (ib.
1883-84). See COTTONIAN LIBRARY.