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river-embankments, and permit every sort of smoke-belching Booiiii, chimney and eye-killing corrugated-iron-monstrosity to Hi'tobt spoil the view. What the old Duke of Beoford intended Mum** to make a metropolitan improvement, as well as a defence to his own property, has come to be a cause of public detriment,—simply because our legislation, in the year of Grace 1870, affords protection to no kind of public property that is insusceptible, by its nature, of direct valuation in pounds and pence.
The action of the ninth Duke of Bedford was in contrast with that of his predecessor. It was not altogether selfish, since there was an actual abatement of public enjoyment in that step which he was opposing. The Trustees of the British Museum were really compelled to take something from the Public with one hand ;—but, with the other, they gave a tenfold equivalent. Their contention, of course, prevailed against the Duke's opposition.
It may not be intrusive here to mention that it is known that by the present Duke of Bedford very generous and liberal furtherance would be given to new schemes of extension for the Museum, were Parliament, on full consideration, to think enlargement at Bloomsbury the right course to be taken in pending matters. But this subject will demand a few words hereafter.
Pi-anta's energies seem for several years to have been given, almost exclusively, to his Museum duties, in combination (as was perfectly practicable and befitting, under the then circumstances) with his Exchequer Paymastership. But in the closing years of his Under-Librarianship many months were (not less fitly) given to a worthy literary undertaking. He wrote his History of the Helvetic Confederacy towards the end of the last century, and published Book m, soon after jjjg appointment to the Principal-Librarianship. History In the next year he published a supplement to it, under M""tm the title of A View of the Restoration of the Helvetic Tmp"usia Confederacy. The History reached its second edition in 1807.
Based primarily on the great work of Johannes Von Muller, Planta's History of the Helvetic Confederacy is both a very able production and one that is animated by a spirit of patriotism which is wise as well as strong. It was an enduring contribution to the literature of the author's fatherland. After its appearance, his official duties mainly engrossed his attention. He died, full of years and honours, in the year 1827, leaving a son, who, like his father and his grandfather, distinguished himself in the civil service of their adopted country.
Joseph Planta, in his fifty-three years^ of service, had seen the British Museum pass from its infancy into the early stages of its maturity. But it still, at the time of his death, was too much regarded, both by the geueral Public and by Parliament, as, in the main, a place of popular amusement. His next successor saw the beginning of further improvements, such as lifted the Museum upon a level with the best of its fellow-institutions in all Europe. His second successor saw it lifted far above them, in several points of view. And what he witnessed of augmented improvement—when leaving office three or four years ago —was, in a very large measure, the result of his own zealous labours and of his eminent ability.
INTRODUCTION TO BOOK IH (Continued)-.-GROWTH,
'It is expedient that the Trusters should revise the
Rbfobt noil Select Committee On Daman
Internal Economy of the Museum at the time of the death
When Sir Henry Ellis was appointed to be the successor Histoet
* 1 1 or The
of Mr. Planta (20th December, 1827), the British Museum Museum was still composed of but four departments, in conformity Htm",8" Book III, Chap. II. History Of THE Museum Under Sis H. Ellis.
with the organization of 1809. It was publicly open on three days in each week, but only during forty weeks of every year. This was a great improvement of the previous arrangements, as we have seen, under Maty and Morton. But Mr. Planta's most conspicuous improvements lay in the (admittedly more important) direction of access to the Medal, Print, and Reading Rooms. To his administration, students in all these departments were much indebted. Sir Henry Ellis was to witness and to carry out, very efficiently as Principal Librarian, some more extensive modifications of the old system of things; but he, in his turn, was to be quite eclipsed (so to speak) in the character of Museum improver, by his successor in office. And it was, in fact, to the latter that such among the conspicuous improvements of the last twenty years of Sir Henry's official administration as related to the Department of Printed Books—and in no department were the improvements more striking—were pre-eminently due.
Sir Henry Ellis (who has but so recently departed from amongst us) entered the service of the Trustees, as a temporary assistant in the Library, in the year 1800, having had already three years' experience in Bodley's Library at Oxford. When coming occasionally to London during his employment at Oxford he would see Dr. Charles Morton, who had helped to organize the Museum almost fifty years before. The public life of those two acquaintances spread, conjointly, over a period of a hundred and twenty years.*
* Morton died at eighty-three; Planta, at eighty-four; Ellis, at ninety-two. Morton, as we have seen, was known to Sir Hans Sloane. Sloane was already a noted man in the days of Charles the Second; and he also lived to be ninety-two. The joint lives of Sloane, Morton, and Ellis extended over nearly two hundred and ten years.
Labours In Literature or Sir H.
Had it never fallen to the lot of Henry Ellis to render Booriii, to the Public any service at all, in the way of administering Histort and improving the National Museum, he would still have Mosruk earned an honourable niche in our literary history. His gTM"*1* contributions to literature are, indeed, very unequal in their character. Some of them are fragmentary; some might be thought trivial. But very many of them have sterling value. And his archaeological labours, in particular, were Ellm. zealous and unremitting. He began them in 1798. He had not entirely ceased to add to them in 1868. In the closing year of the eighteenth century he was giving furtherance to the labours on British history of Richard Gough. In the sixty-eighth year of the nineteenth century he was still taking an intelligent and critical interest in the large undertakings of Lord Romilly and of Mr. Duffus Hardy, for affording to future historians the means of basing the reconstruction of bur national history upon the one firm foundation of an exhaustive search of our national records.
The fourth Principal Librarian of the British Museum was born at Shoreditch, in London, on the 29th of November, 1777. He was of a Yorkshire family long settled (and still flourishing) at Dewsbury. Henry Ellis was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, and at St. John's College, Oxford, where he graduated B.C.L. in 1802. His first book (but not, perhaps, his first publication) was the History of the Parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, printed in 1798. He became F.S.A. in 1800; one of its Secretaries in 1813; and its Director in 1854. To the Archaologia he was a contributor for more than fifty years. In 1800, he sent to the first Record Commission a Report on the Historical Manuscripts at St. John's. For the same Commission he wrote, in the year 1813, and the three following years, an Introduction to Domesday Book.