History or The British

Mary Berkeley, the niece of Swift's frequent corre- Bookii, spondent Lady Elizabeth Germaine; (2) to Lady Savile; Kirlv (3) to Mrs. Elizabeth Pratt. He died on the 10th Feb ruary, 1799. Mvsxv*

Of his successors in the office of Principal Librarian some account will be found in the Introductory Chapter of Book III.



'The Archa?olo<*ist cannot, like the Scholar, carry on liia researches in his own Library, independent of outward circumstances. For his work of reference and collation he must travel, excavate, collect, arrange, delineate, transcribe, before he can place bis whole subject before bis mind

'A Museum of Antiquities is to the Archaeologist what a Itotanic Garden is to the Botanist. It presents his subject compendiously, Bjuoptically, suggestively, not in the desultory and accidental order in which he would otherwise be brought into contact with its details.'—

C. T. Newton, On the Study of Archaology, p. 26.

Sir William Hamilton and his Pursuits and Employments in Italy.The Acquisitions of the French Institute of Egypt% and the capture of part of them at Alexandria. Charles Towneley and his Collection of Antiquities.The Researches of the Earl of Elgin in Greece. The Collections and Writings of Richard Payne Knight.

Book Ii. To the comparatively small assemblage of antiquities Cuuical which originally formed part of the Museum of Courten rTM «!T an(l of Sloane, several additions had been made—besides


Eiplokzhs. t}je coinSj medals, and bronzes of Sir Robert Cotton— prior to the opening of the British Museum to the Public in 1759. Some of those additions were the gift, severally, of three members of the Lethieullier family. Others were the gift of Thomas Hollis, who became a constant bene- Bookii, factor to the Museum almost from the day of Sir Hans Cla«»!cal Sloane's death to that of his own. A*ch*olo


The Lethieullier antiquities had been chiefly gathered ej',ioiii!»sin Egypt. The first gift was made by the Will of Colonel *TM William Lethieullier, dated 23rd July, 1755. And Antiquities the first catalogue of any kind which was prepared for the LethipulBritish Museum, after its acquisition by Parliament, was a LIIKS list of these antiquities drawn up by Dr. John Ward, one Ji^m."' of the Trustees. And here it may deserve remark that for many years after the foundation not a few of the Trustees took a large share in the actual work of preparing the Museum for public use, as well as in the ordinary duties of control and administration. .

To the gift of Colonel William Lethieullier, his cousin, Smart Lethieullier, and his nephew, Pitt Lethieullier, made several additions between the years 1756 and 1770. The last-named of these gentlemen, when receiving, as executor of his uncle, the personal thanks of a Committ ee of the Trustees (February, 1756), for the bequest so made, took the opportunity of augmenting it by the gift of some antiquities which he had himself collected during his residence at Grand Cairo.

But the first large and comprehensive addition in the archaeological department was that made in 1772 by the purchase, by means of a Parliamentary grant, of the Museum of Antiquities, which had been formed during seven years' researches in Italy by Sir William Hamilton, our Ambassador at Naples.

Sir William Hamilton was among the earliest of British Shviluam

° < Hamilton

diplomatists who, by a voluntary choice, turned to good Andum account, in the interests of learning and of the public, the N1

[ocr errors]

Book Ii, opportunities which diplomatic life so frequently offers for Clmmcal amassing treasures of literature and science, and (in many Akcikoio- caseg) for savir them from peril of destruction. In that


Explore. pajn Frenchmen had showed the way many generations earlier.

As far, indeed, as regards a public and national care for matters of the intellect, France is far better entitled to claim a priority in the proud distinction of 'teaching the nations how to live,' than is any other country in the world. It is to her immortal honour that from a very early period, and even in times of sore trouble, her sovereigns and her statesmen have known how to turn public resources to the promotion of public culture, as well as of national power. A man may read in French diplomatic letters of instruction of the sixteenth century orders to collect manuscripts and antiquities, as implements of public education, such as he would look for in vain in parallel British documents of any century at all,—inclusive of the present;—although it is certain that the omission has by no means arisen from the engrossment of our diplomatists in weightier concerns.

In Sir William Hamilton's case the liberal tastes and the mental energy of the individual supplied the defect of his instructions. He set an example which not a few of our ambassadors have voluntarily followed with like public spirit, and with results not less conspicuous.

William Hamilton was the fourth son of Lord Archibald Hamilton, youngest son of James, third Duke of HamilTon, K.G. His mother, Lady Jane Hamilton, was of that illustrious family by birth, as well as by marriage, being the daughter of James, sixth Earl of Abekcorn. He was born in the year 1730.

Towards the close of his career, Sir William would some- Bookii, times say to his intimates, when conversation turned upon Cubical the battle of life: 'I had to begin the world with a great name, and one thousand pounds for all my fortune.' But E"I'L0KKR! the world never used him very roughly. Whilst still a young man (1755) he married Miss Barlow, the wealthy heiress of Hugh Barlow, of Laurenny Hall, in Pembrokeshire. She brought him an estate, in the neighbourhood of Swansea, worth nearly five thousand pounds a year; but it was his happy lot to have married a true wife, not a bag of money. Duclos, who saw much of the Hamiltons in their family circle at Naples in after years, was wont to say, 'They are the happiest couple I ever saw.'

Mr. Hamilton was sent to the Court of Naples in 1764. wn«» The post, in that day, was not overburdened with business. And for some years to come the new Ambassador found the Neapolitan society little to his taste. He was intellectual, and, in the truest sense, an English gentleman. The tone of society at that time in Naples was both frivolous and dissolute. He had to form, by slow degrees, a circle in which a man of cultivated tastes might enjoy social life. The public duties of the embassy could employ but a small portion of his time, and the temper of the man made employment to him a necessary of life. He threw his energies into hard study. And he possessed that happiest of mental characteristics, an equal love of the natural sciences, and of the world of art and of books. He could pore, with like enjoyment, on the deep things of Nature, and on the secrets of 'the antiquary times.' And in both paths, he knew how to make his personal enjoyments teem with public good.

His first labours were given to the exhaustive research of volcanic phenomena. He amazed the fine gentlemen of

« ElőzőTovább »