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spread with gold and silver ores, and with the most pre- Book I. cious and remarkable ores used in the dresses of men from The' V* Siberia to the Cape of Good Hope, from Japan to Peru; o°°TTMTM and with both ancient and modem coins in gold and silver. ^L0Arilt
The gallery, a hundred and ten feet in length, presented a * surprising prospect.' The most beautiful corals, crystals, and figured stones; the most brilliant insects; shells, painted with as great variety as the precious stones; and birds vying with the gems; diversified with remains of the antediluvian world.
Then a noble vista presented itself through several rooms filled with books; among these were many hundred volumes of dried plants; a room, full of choice and valuable manuscripts; and the rich present sent by the French King to Sir Hans of the engravings of his collections of paintings, medals, and statues, and of his Palaces, in twenty-five large atlas volumes.
Below stairs, some rooms were then shown, filled with the antiquities of Egypt, Greece, Etruria, Rome, Britain, and even America; other rooms and the Great Saloon were filled with preserved animals. The halls were decorated with the horns of divers creatures. 'Fifty volumes in folio,' concludes the enthusiastic bystander who chronicled, for Mr. Sylvanus Urban, the royal visit of 1748, G 'would scarce suffice to contain a detail of this immense Vol xviu, Museum, consisting of above 200,000 articles.' (Ly, Iwj
The Prince of Walks, on taking leave of his host, gave expression to a wish which he did not live long enough to see realised. 'It is a great pleasure to me,' he said, 'to see so magnificent a collection in England. It is an ornament to the Nation. Great honour would redound from the establishing of it for public use, to the latest posterity.'
Plans, more or less definite, of perpetuating those collections for public use had occasionally engaged their owner's thoughts almost from the date of his acquisition of the Museum of William Courten, in 1702. In 1707, he had watched with interest a scheme that had been set on foot for the formation of a Public Library in London by combining the old Royal Collection with the collections of Sir Robert Cotton and of the Royal Society.* But that scheme failed of execution, until, almost half a centuiy later, it was, in the main, revived and carried out as the indirect but very natural consequence of his own testamentary dispositions.
His Will, in its first form, was made at Chelsea in 1748, but was replaced on the 10th July, 1749, by the following codicil:—
'Whereas I have in and by my said Will given some directions about the sale and disposition of my Museum, or collection of rarities herein more particularly mentioned, now T do hereby revoke my said Will, as far as relates thereto, and I do direct and appoint concerning the same in the following manner: Having had from my youth a strong inclination to the study of plants and all other productions of nature, and having through the course of many years, with great labour and expense, gathered together whatever could be procured either in our own or foreign countries that was rare and curious; and being fully convinced that nothing tends more to raise our ideas of the power, wisdom, goodness, providence, and other perfections of the Deity, or more to the comfort and well being of his creatures,
* 'Here axe great designs on foot for uniting the Queen's Library, the Cotton, and the Royal Society's, together. How soon they may be put in practice time must discover.' — Shane to Dr. CJuxrlett, Master of University College, April, 1707 .
than the enlargement of our knowledge of the works of Booki, nature, I do will and desire that for the promoting of these TuT noble ends, the glory of God, and the good of man, my collection in all its branches may be, if possible, kept and ^TM preserved together whole and entire, in my Manor House in the Parish of Chelsea, situate near the Physic Garden given by me to the Company of Apothecaries for the same purposes; and having great reliance that the right honourable, honourable, and other persons hereafter named, will be influenced by the same principles and [will] faithfully and conscientiously discharge the trust hereby reposed in them, I do give, devise, and bequeath, unto the Rt. Hon.
Charles Sloane Cadogan [and to forty-nine other
persons whose names follow,] all that my Collection or Museum at, in, or about, my Manor House at Chelsea aforesaid, which consists of too great a variety to be particularly described, but which are more particularly
described, mentioned, and numbered, with short histories or accounts of them, with proper references, in certain catalogues by me made, containing thirty-eight volumes in folio, and eight volumes in quarto,—except such framed pictures as are not marked with the word " Collection"—to have and to hold to them and their successors and assigns
for ever, upon the trusts, and for the uses and
purposes, . . . hereafter particularly specified concerning the same.
'A.nd for rendering this my intention more effectual that the said Collection may be preserved and continued entire in its utmost perfection and regularity, and being assured that nothing will conduce more to this than placing the same under the direction and care of learned, experienced, and judicious persons who are above all low and mean views, I do earnestly desire that the King, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, H.R.H. William, Duke of Cumberland,
the Archbishop of Canterbury for the time being
[and twenty-eight others, being chieflg great Officers of State] will condescend so far as to act and be Visitors of my said Museum and Collection; and I do hereby, with their leave, nominate and appoint them Visitors thereof, with full power and authority for any five or more of them to enter my said Collection or Museum, at any time or times, to peruse, supervise, and examine, the same, and the management thereof,- and to visit, correct, and reform, from time to time, as there may be occasion, either jointly with the said Trustees or separately—upon application to them for that purpose, or otherwise—all abuses, defects, neglects or mismanagements, that may happen to arise therein, or touching and concerning the person or persons, officer or officers, that are or shall be appointed to attend the same.
'And my will is and I do hereby request and desire that the said Trustees, or any seven or more of them, do make their humble application to His Majesty, or to Parliament at the next session after my decease,—as shall be thought most proper,—in order to pay the full and clear sum of twenty thousand pounds unto my executors or to the survivors of them, in consideration of the said Collection or Museum; it not being, as I apprehend or believe, a fourth of their real and intrinsic value; and also to obtain such effectual powers and authorities for vesting in the said Trustees all and every part of my said Collection, .... and also my said capital Manor-House, with such gardens and outhouses as shall thereunto belong and be used by me at the time of my decease, in which it is my desire that the same shall be kept and preserved ; and also the water of or belonging to my Manor of Chelsea coming from Kensington, . . . and also that the advowson, presentation, Booki, or right of patronage of the Church of Chelsea; to the end Th« the same premises maybe absolutely vested in the said *'M"
Trustees for the preserving and continuing my said Museum ^TM in such manner as they shall think most likely to answer the public benefit by me intended, and also obtain, as aforesaid, a sufficient fund and provision for maintaining and supporting my said Manor House, .... to be vested in
the said Trustees for ever And it is also my will and
desire that all such other powers . . may be added or vested as well in the said intended Trustees as in the Visitors hereby appointed, as shall by the Legislature be thought Authentic most proper and convenient for the better management, ^p'^')kc' order, and care, of my said Collection and premises.' i7,p.i».
Provision is then made, in subsequent clauses of this codicil, for the replacement, by the Trustees surviving, from time to time, of vacancies occasioned by death in the ranks of the Trustees first appointed; and by surviving Visitors of vacancies so occasioned in those of the original Visitors.
In September, 1750, another codicil added to the list of Lm*
1 a Codicils.
Visitors—in order to supply vacancies which death had already wrought—the Earls of Macclesfield and ShelBurne, and the then Master of the Rolls, Sir John Strange, with proviso of succession for the Master of the Rolls of the time being. Sir John Bernard, Sir William Calvert, and Mr. Slingsby Bethel were, in like manner, added to the roll of Trustees. The same codicil excepted the advowson of the Rectory of Chelsea from the bequest of 1749, and annexed it to the lordship of the Manor.
By his marriage with the daughter and heiress of Mr. Langley, an Alderman of London, Sir Hans Sloane had issue two daughters, but no son. The elder of the