The Friends of the National Library (FNL) raised £ 7.5million for the purchase of the Honresfield Library which was to be auctioned.
Sotheby’s has agreed to defer the sale of the collection, which includes a complete manuscript of Rob Roy from Sir Walter Scott, a group of handwritten poems by Robert burns manuscripts of the Brontë siblings and early editions of Jane Austen’s books.
By writing in the Daily Mail, Charles said there was “crucial importance” in the FNL’s campaign to keep “some of the most treasured manuscripts associated with our greatest authors” in this country.
The prince, patron of the FNL, said: “In this regard, the Honresfield Library is one of the great hidden treasures of 19th century literature, and now that its contents have become available for sale, the Friends of the National Libraries are determined that these manuscripts remain in the country in which they were formed, and whose culture these works have continued to form in turn.
“The gems of this collection are the manuscripts of Sir Walter Scott with The Lay of the Last Minstrel, as well as poems by Robert Burns in his own hand – containing some of his earliest recorded literary works known as the First Commonplace Book – and, of course, the notebooks of Charlotte Brontë.
“For anyone who has ever been moved by the words of these incomparable artists, the idea of reading these manuscripts is exciting beyond words. For the same reason, the idea that they are lost to this country is too horrible to contemplate. “
The auction was due to take place in July and FNL, along with a number of libraries and museums, came together to preserve the collection “to be allocated to UK libraries for the benefit of the public.”
It was collected by Alfred and William Law, brother mill owners who lived in Honresfield, near Haworth.
Charles wrote: “When it is purchased, the collection will be shared among all these libraries, large and small, north and south. I know that I share with so many people in this country a love of literature that is so much a part of our personal and collective stories.
“By giving us words to describe our human experience in all its complexity, literature has really helped make us who we are.
“By saving these invaluable manuscripts for the public, we have the opportunity to ensure that these precious documents of genius will remain in the country where they were created and where they belong. “