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daughters, Sarah Sloank, married George Stanley, of Poultons, in Hampshire; the younger, Elizabeth, married Lord Cadogan. By the representatives of those co-heiresses the large inheritance was eventually enjoyed.
A subsequent codicil of 1751, added nine other Trustees, five of whom were distinguished foreigners. Among the four English names are those of John Hampden ('twentyfourth hereditary lord of Great Hampden,' and last lineal male descendant of that famous stock) and William Sotheby.
Th»closiho The declining years of a man to whom had been given, not only unusual length of days, but an unusual span both of bodily and of mental vigour, so that he remained in the rank of busy men until he had passed his eightieth year, were necessarily days of seclusion. He had enjoyed not only the honours* and the comforts, but the troop of friends which should accompany old age. Yet a man who reaches the age of ninety-two must needs lose the friends of his maturity, as well as the friends of his youth. Sir Hans Sloane, in the old Manor House of Chelsea, had something of the experience which made a famous statesman of our own day, who was loth to leave the stir of London life, say—with a sigh—' I see all the world passing my windows, but few come in.'
His chief recreations, in those latest years, lay in the continued examination of the stores of nature and of art which never palled upon his capacity of enjoyment, and in the regular weekly visit of a much younger man, who was
* Besides those distinctions which I have noted already, he had been requested, in 1730, by the University of Oxford, to allow his portrait to be placed in the University Gallery. In 1733 his statue, by Rysbraeck, was placed in the Botanic Garden at Chelsea.
very conversant in the busy world without; who could.talk, Boo* I,
and talk well, alike upon public events, upon the novelties The'"' of science, and upon the gossip of the coffee-houses and the
clubs. This friend of old age was George Edwards, a f,LOAKI!
D ° Museum.
naturalist of considerable acquirements, and the author of some Essays on Natural History which are still worth reading.
Sloan K's mental vigour long outlived his power of bodily locomotion. For years he could move from room to room, or on very bright days from room to garden, only by the aid of an invalid chair. In other respects, his health gave a weighty sanction to the counsel which he had been wont to give, not infrequently, in lieu of an invited but superfluous prescription. 'I advise you/ he would say, 'to what I practice myself. I never take physic when I am well. When T am ill, I take little, and only such as has been very well tried.'
The end of a bright, abundant, and most useful life, came at the beginning of the year 1753. On the tenth of January, George Edwards found him rapidly sinking, and suffering greatly. On the eleventh he found him at the point of death. 'I continued with him,' he wrote, 'later than any one of his relatives. But I was obliged to retire—his last agonies being beyond what I could bear; although, under his pain and weakness of body, he seemed to retain a great firmness of mind and resignation to the will of God.' He was buried at Chelsea, in the same vault in which, twenty-eight years before, he had buried his wife.
This indefatigable collector had continued to enrich his Svsopticai. Museum with new accessions as long as he lived. We have Thksloan* the means of estimating its growth—as regards mere num- * usn!M" bers, of course—by comparing a synoptical table drawn up
Hookt, in 1725—for the purpose of showing to certain grumblers TmiP' what had been the nature and aim of those avocations which o°TM«E" hftcl delayed the completion of the Natural History of Sloane Jamaica—with another table drawn up by his Trustees immediately after his death.
The comparison of numbers shows that the twenty thousand two hundred and twenty-eight coins and medals of 1725 had grown, in 1752, to thirty-two thousand. Other antiquities had increased from eight hundred and twentyfour to two thousand six hundred and thirty-five. The minerals and fossils had increased from about three thousand to five thousand eight hundred and twenty-two specimens. The botanical collection which, in 1725, had numbered eight thousand two hundred and twenty-six specimens, together with a Hortus Siccus of two hundred volumes, had become in 1752 twelve thousand five hundred specimens, with a Hortus Siccus of three hundred and thirtyfour volumes. The other natural history collections had increased on the average by more than one half. The details are as follows:—
5. Medals and Coins . . . 32,000
6. Antiquities . . . .1,125
7. Seals, &c 268
8. Cameos and Intaglios . about 700
9. Precious Stones . . . 2,256 8.] 10. Vessels Of Agate, Jasper, &c. 542
11. Crystals, Spars, &c. . . 1,864
12. Fossils, &c 1,275
13. Metals and Mineral Ores . 2,725
14. Earths, Sands, Salts, &c. . 1,035
15. Bitumens, Sulphurs, &c. . 399
16. Talcs, Mica:, &c. . . . 388
17. Shells 5,843
18. Corals, Sponges, &c. . . 1,421
19. Echini, Echinites, &c. . . 659
20. Asterisk, Trochi, &c. . . 241
21. Crustacea .... 363
22. Stella Marine . . . 173
23. Fishes, and their parts . . 1,555
24. Birds, and their parts . 1,172
25. Vipers, &c 521
26. Quadrupeds .... 1,886
27. Insects 5;439
28. Anatomical Preparations, &c. 756
29. Vegetables .... 12,506
30. Miscellaneous Things . . 2,098
31. Pictures and Drawings, framed 310
32. Mathematical Instruments . 55
On the 27th January—sixteen days after Sir Hans' death —about forty of the Trustees named in the Will met at Book i, Chelsea, to confer with the Executors. Lord Cadogan pro
t^kp duced the Will and its Codicils. By these, should the
ITTM". "s bequest and its additions be accepted, the manor house and
Slcah* land, together with the collection in its existing state
MlSEl'M. ° . D
and arrangement, would be given to the Public. This, said Lord Cadogan, will save the hazard and expense of removal. Mr. William Sloane then informed the Trustees that the Executors had thought it prudent temporarily to remove the medals of gold and silver, the precious stones, gems, and vases, to the Bank of England, in order to ensure their present safety.
The Earl of Macclesfield was then placed in the chair. A synopsis of the contents of the Museum was read by Mr. James Empson, who had acted as its curator for many years. Mr. Empson was appointed to act as Secretary to the Trustees, and a form of Memorial to be addressed to the King, in order to the carrying out of the trusts of the Will, was agreed upon.
The Memorial had—eventually—the desired effect. It led, in the course of the year 1753, to the passing of an Act of The Act Parliament—26 George II, chapter 22—which is entitled An Act for the purchase of the Museum or Collection of Sir Hans Sloane, and of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts, and for providing one General Repository for the better reception and more convenient use of the said Collections, and of the Cottonian Library, and of the additions thereto.
The Act recites the tenour of the testamentary dispositions made by Sir Hans Sloane. It also recites that a provisional assent had been given by his Trustees to the removal of his Museum from the Manor House of Chelsea 'to any proper place within the Cities of London and Westminster, or the suburbs thereof, if such removal shall be judged most advantageous to the Public'