the testator's death; power was given to the Museum Boo* n, Trustees to sell, also after a certain interval, the landed estate bequeathed for the purchase of manuscripts, should it be p'"TM^*"" deemed conducive to the interest of the Library so to do; Benkfacand an additional sum of five thousand pounds was given to the Trustees for the further increase of the Collection of Manuscripts, and for the reward of its keeper, in lieu of the residuary interest in the testator's personal estate.

On the 10th of March, 1832, the Trustees resolved that umuiaof the yearly proceeds of the last-named bequest should be (printed in paid to the Librarians in charge of the MSS., but that their Sry p"'^" of ordinary salaries, on the establishment, should be diminished 1835'6) by a like amount.

The Manuscripts bequeathed by Lord Bridgewater Chamactm


comprise a considerable collection of the original letters of
the Kings, Queens, Statesmen, Marshals, and Diplomatists, Msl5:
of France; another valuable series of original letters and
papers of the authors and scientific men of France and of
Italy; many papers of Italian Statesmen; and a portion of
the donor's own private correspondence. The latter series
of papers includes, amongst others, letters by Andres,
D'Ansse de Villoisin, the Prince of Aremberg, Auger,
Barbier, the Duke of Blacas, Bodoni, Boissonade, Boupland,
Canova, Cuvier, Ginguene, Humboldt, Valckenaer, and
Visconti. Some of these are merely letters of compliment.
Others—and, in an especial degree, those of D'Ansse de
Villoisin, of Boissonade, of Ginguene, of Humboldt, and of
Visconti—contain much interesting matter on questions of
archaeology, art, and history.

The earliest additions to the Egerton Collection were And Of The made by the Trustees in May, 1832. In the selection of k*KaTMln MSS. for purchase the Trustees, with great propriety, have """/n882 given a preference—on the whole; not exclusively—to that

Book [I,
Chap. III.
Lovers AND

The Hardi-
Kan MSS.
On Irish
Logy And

AugmentaTion Oi Lord BridoeWatkr's Gift By


Lord Farn



class of documents of which the donor's own Collection was mainly composed—the materials, namely, of Continental history. Amongst the earliest purchases of 1832 was a curious Venetian Portolano of the fifteenth century. In the same year a large series of Irish Manuscripts, collected by the late John Hardiman, was acquired. This extends from the Egerton number'74' to '214'; and from the same Collector was obtained the valuable Minutes of Debates in the House of Commons, taken by Colonel Cavenmsh, between the years—so memorable in our history—from 17G8tol774* In the year 1835, a large collection of manuscripts illustrative of Spanish history was purchased from Mr. Rich, a literary agent in London, and another large series of miscellaneous manuscripts—historical, political, and literary—from the late bookseller, Thomas Rodd. From the same source another like collection was obtained in 1840. An extensive series of French State Papers was acquired (by the agency of Messrs. Bartiies and Lowell) in 1843; and also, in that year, a collection of Persian MSS. In the following year a curious series of drawings, illustrating the antiquities, manners, and customs of China, was obtained; and, in 1845, another valuable series of French historical manuscripts.

Meanwhile, the example set by Lord Bridgewater had incited one of those many liberal-minded Trustees of the British Museum who have become its benefactors by augmentation, as well as by faithful guardianship, to follow it in exactly the same track. Charles Long, Lord Farnborough, bequeathed (in 1838) the sum of two thousand eight hundred and seventy-two pounds in Three per cent. Consols, specifically as an augmentation of the Bridgewater

* These form the Egerton MSS. 215 to 262 inclusive.

fund. Lord Farnborough's bequest now produces eighty- Bookii, six pounds a year; Lord Bridgewater's, about four Book-1 hundred and ninety pounds a year. Together, therefore, AN" they yield five hundred and seventy pounds, annually, for Bi»"'-TMcthe improvement of the National Collection of Manuscripts.

In 1850 and 1852, an extensive series of German Albums —many of them belonging to celebrated scholars—was acquired. These are now ' Egerton MSS. 1179 ' to '1499/ inclusive, and ' 1540 ' to '1G07.' A curious collection of papers relating to the Spanish Inquisition was also obtained in 1850. In 1857, the important historical collection, not-ms. known as 'the Bentinck Papers,'was purchased from Tycho 1772.708 Mommsen, of Oldenburgh. In the following year, another series of Spanish State Papers, and also the Irish Manuscripts of Henry Monck Mason ;—in 1860, a further series of 'Bentinck Papers;'—and in 1801, an extensive collection of the Correspondence of Pope and of Bishop Warburton, were successively acquired.

To these large accumulations of the materials of history were added, in the succeeding years, other important collections of English correspondence, and of autograph MSS. of famous authors; and also a choice collection of Spanish and Portuguese Manuscripts brought together by Count Da Ponte, and abounding with historical information. To this an addition was made last year (1869) of other like Egcrtonsiss. papers, amongst which are notable some Venetian Relazioni; 2J4''"064papers of Cardinals Carlo Caraffa and Flavio Orsini; and a om_ some letters of Antonio Perez. In 1869, there was also obtained, by means of the conjoined Egerton and Farnborough funds, a curious parcel of papers relating to the /*.2087early affairs of the Corporation and trade of Dover, from 2°"' the year 1387 to 1678; together with some other papers 74.2088; illustrative of the cradle-years of our Indian empire. 1

Book n, Amongst the latest accessions obtained from the BridgeBook-1 water fund are some MSS. from the hand of a famous P°bl^ AND English poet of the last generation. These have now an Bmmao- additional, and special, interest in English eyes, from a recent lamentable occurrence. The pen of a slanderer has

[ocr errors]

Mss'iHTim aimed at gaining a sort of celebrity, more enduring than Collection anything of its own proper production could hope to secure, by attempting to affix on Byron and on Augusta Leigh— after both the great poet and the affectionate sister have lain many years in their several graves, and can no longer rebut the slander—the stain of an enormous guilt. Some, however, are yet alive, by whom the calumny can, and will, be conclusively exposed. Meanwhile, the slanderer's poor aim will, probably, have been reached—but in an unexpected and unenviable way.

'The link

Thou foimest in his fortunes, bids us think
Of thy poor malice, naming thee with scorn.'

Very happily, the calumniating pen was not held in any
English hand.

Much more might, and not unfitly, be said in illustration of the historical and literary value of those manuscript accessions to the National Library which, in these later years, have accrued out of the proceeds of Lord Bridgewatkr's gift. Enough, however, has been stated, to serve by way of sample.

OtherBe»i- j,jor were f^ese the only literary bequests and foundations


Lokd 0f tue last Earl of Bridgewater. He bequeathed, as heirWatei.' looms, two considerable Libraries, rich both in theology and in history—to the respective rectors, for ever, of the parishes of Middle and of Whitchurch. These, I learn— from MS. correspondence now before me—are of great value, and are gladly made available, by their owners for Bookii, the time being, to the use of persons able and willing to Boo*. profit by them. He also founded a Library, likewise by p°"J'c8AI'D way of heirloom, at Ashridge. B«»»iao

Whilst the National Library was thus being gradually improved, both by increased liberality on the part of Parliament and, far more largely, by the munificent gifts of individuals, other departments of the Museum had not been neglected.

Charles Greville, the nephew of Sir William Hamilton, The Acquihad collected, in his residence at Paddington Green, a tnoble cabinet of minerals. It was the finest assemblage of Mweraui; its kind which had yet been seen in England. For the purchase of this Collection Parliament made a grant, in the year 1810, of thirteen thousand seven hundred and twentyseven pounds.

In 1816, a valuable accession came to the zoological °»TM»Mowdepartment, by the purchase, for the sum of eleven hundred 8eum • pounds, of a Collection of British Zoology, which had been ^hBTMi formed at Knowle, in Devonshire, by Colonel George IU'cIJ Montagu. The Montagu Collection was especially rich in birds.

Nine years later, the Library was further benefited, in the t" way of gift, by a choice Italian Collection, gathered and *'°cNSHop Sm given by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, of Stourhead; and, in the way of Parliamentary grant, by the acquisition of the collection of manuscripts, coins, and other antiquities, which had been made in the East, during his years of Consulship at Baghdad, by Claudius James Rich.

Sir Richard Hoare was not less distinguished for the taste and judgment with which he had collected the historical literature of Italy, than for the zeal and ability with

« ElőzőTovább »