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Boo*j> Class II.—Primary Accession Collections. iNTRODuc 1757-1831:—



1757. Old 'Royal Library.'

Restored, by Henry, Prince of Wales, in the

year 1609,by the purchase—and incorporation with the remcaowTH Amd nants of an ancient collection—of the Library of John de Lumley, Lord Lumley (Born circa 1530 ; Restored in blood, as Vlth Baron Lumley, in 1547: Died 1609);

Continued by Charles I and Charles II, Kings of

England, &C, from 1627 to 1683; Given to the

Nation by King George the Second in 1757.

This Old Royal Library, although, as above mentioned, it still contains fragments of the more ancient Collection of the Kings of England—and among them books which undoubtedly belonged to King Henry The Sixth, if not to earlier Plantagenet kings—may fairly be regarded as of Prince Henry's foundation in the main. Lord Lumley's Library (which the Prince bought in bulk) contained that of his father-in-law, Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, into which had passed a part of Archbishop Cranmfir's Library. But this conjoined Collection has not wholly passed to the British Museum. It suffered some losses after Prince Henry's death. On the other hand, it had acquired the collection of MSS. formed by the Theyers (John and Charles), in which was included another part of the Library of Cranmer; as I shall shew hereafter.

[See Book I, Chapter 3.J

O1) Book I,

1759. Hebrew Library (Printed and Manuscript) of IktroducDa Costa.

Collected by Solomon Da Costa, formerly of Amsterdam, and chiefly between the years 1720 and 1727; Given by the Collector, in 1759, to the Trustees of the British Museum 'for inspection and service of the Public, as a small token of my esteem, reverence, love, and gratitude to this magnanimous Nation, and as a thanksgiving offering .... for numberless blessings which I have enjoyed under it.' (From Da Costa's Letter to the Trustees.)

A collection, small in extent, but of great intrinsic worth; and very memorable, both as the generous gift of a good man; and as instancing the co-operation (at the very outset) of the love of learning in a foreigner—and a Jew—with a like love in Britons, for a common object; national, indeed, but also much more than national.


1762. The Thomason Collection of English Books and Tracts, Printed and Manuscript.

Collected by George Thomason (Died 1666); Purchased by King George the Third, in 1762,

for presentation to the British Museum.

This Collection—the interest of which is specially but by no means exclusively political and historical— was formed between the years 1641 and 1663 inclusive, and it contains everything printed in England during the whole of that period which a man of great enterprise and energy could bring together by daily watchfulness and large outlay. It also contains many publications, and many private impressions, from printing-presses in Scotland, Ireland, and the Continent of Europe, relating to or illustrating the affairs of the United Kingdom and of the Commonwealth. In his lifetime, the Collector refused £4000 for his library, as insufficient to reimburse his costs, charges, and labour. His heirs and their assigns kept it for a century and then sold it to King George III for £300. It includes many political MSS., which no printer dared to put to press.


1766. The Solander Fossils.

Collected by Daniel Charles Solander (Died

16 May, 1782); Purchased by Gustavus Brander

and by him presented to the Museum (of which he was one of the first Trustees) in 1766.

The ' Solander Fossils '—so called from the name of the eminent naturalist who found and described them—formed the primary Collection on which by gradual accessions the present magnificent collection of fossils has been built up.


1766. The Birch Library of Printed Books and Manuscripts.

Collected by Thomas Birch, D.D., a Trustee of the British Museum (Died 1766), and bequeathed by the Collector.

Book I,
Chap. I.


1772. The Hamilton Vases, Antiquities, and IntboducDrawings.

Collected by Sir William Hamilton (Died 6

April, 1803); Purchasedby Parliament from the Collector in 1772 for £8400.

[See Book II, Chapter 2.]


1790-1799. The Musgrave Library.

Collected by Sir William Musgrave, a Trustee (Died 1799); Acquired, partly by gift in 1790; partly by bequest in 1799.

[See Book II, Chapter 1.]


1799. The Cracherode Library and Museum.

Collected by the Reverend Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, a Trustee of the British Museum (Died 1799), and bequeathed by the Collector.

[See Book II, Chapter 3.]


1799. The Hatchett Minerals.

Collected by Charles Hatchett, and purchased for £700.


1802. The Alexandrian Collection of Egyptian Antiquities.

Collected by the French Institute of Egypt

in 1800; Transferred to the Crown of England by the

Boo* i, terras of the Capitulation of Alexandria in 1801; Given to iNTEODUC- the Museum in 1802 by King George the Third.

[See Book II, Chapter 2.]


1802. The Tyssen Anglo-saxon Coins.

Collected by Samuel Tyssen; Purchased by the Trustees (for £620).


1805-1814. The Townlet Marbles, Coins, and Drawings.

Collected by the Townley Family, and chiefly by Charles Townley, of Townley in Lancashire; and acquired by Parliament, by successive purchases, in the years 1805 and 1814, for the aggregate sum of £28,200. [See Book II, Chapter 2.]


1807. The Lansdowne Manuscripts.

Collected by William Petty Fitzmaurice,

Marquess of Lansdowne (Died 1805), who incorporated in it from time to time parts of the Libraries and Manuscript

Collections of William Cecil, Lord Burghley

(Died 1598); of Sir Julius Caesar (Died 1636); of
White Kennet, Bishop of Peterborough (Died 1728);

of John Strype (Died 1737); of Philip Carteret
Webb (Died 1770); and of James West (Died

1772). Purchased by Parliament for the sum of £4925. [See Book II, Chapter 3.]

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