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Booihi, as the folly, of selling by the hands of one public board and Th»' for a few pounds hundreds of acres of ancient and lovely Ofthk"" woodlands, and then presently buying, by the hands of Qmnvillj: another public board, acres of dreary and almost unimproveable barrenness by the expenditure of several thousands of pounds, in order to provide new recreation grounds for 'public enjoyment!'
Of that forestal Chief-Justiceship Mr. Grenville was the last holder. The office had been established by WilLiam The Conqueror. It was abolished by Queen Victoria. One of the chief pursuits of those forty years of retirement which ensued to the founder of the Grenville Library, upon the breaking up of the Grenville Administration of 1806, was book-buying and book-reading. 'A great part of my Library'—so wrote Mr. GrenVille, in 1845—'has been purchased by the profits of a sinecure office given me by the Public' If that sinecure was not and, under the then circumstances, could not have been by its holder's action or foresight, made the means of preserving for public enjoyment such of the ancient forests as, early in this century, were still intact in beauty, and also lay near to crowded and more or less unhealthy towns, it was at least made the means of giving to the nation a garden for the mind. 'I feel it,' continued Mr. Grenville, in his document of 1845, 'to be a debt and a duty that I miioftk, should acknowledge my obligation by giving the Library r owLttij so acquired to the British Museum for the use of the oct.,i8«. ' public.'
Mr. T. I have had occasion, already, to mention that many years
iTM"LLI* before his death Mr. Grenville formed a very high Coume estimate of the eminent attainments and still more eminent
Ksteemiob, public services of Sir A. Panizzi. No man had a better
PAHim. opportunity of knowing, intimately, the merits of the then Assistant-Keeper of the printed portion of our National Boo«ui,
r 1 r Clmp.V.
Library. Mr. Grenville showed his estimate in a con- The elusive and very characteristic way. He had earnestly 0°TM°** supported (in the year 1835) the proposal of a Sub-cornmittee of Trustees that Mr. Panizzi's early services—more Mmutaof especially in relation to the cataloguing of what are known, [^"^dkc'' at the Museum, as 'the French Tracts,' but also as to other »n>»«iuent labours—should be substantially recognised by an improve- »cqq.' ment of his salary. At a larger meeting, the recommendation of the smaller sub-committee was cordially adopted in the honorary point of view, but was set virtually aside, in respect to the 'honorarium.' That latter step Mr. Grenville So resented that he rose from the table, and never sat at a Trustee meeting again. He many times m*«tn afterwards visited the Museum; and I well remember the impression made upon my own mind by his noble appearance, at almost ninety years of age, on one of the latest of those visits—not veiy long before his death. But in the Committee Room he never once sat, during the last eleven years of his life.
The fact being so, Readers unfamiliar with the 'blue- Cucumbooks' will learn without surprise that a conversation
between Mr. Grenville and Mr. Panizzi, in Hamilton of"TM""
Thk Nation Ok Thk
That conversation took place in the autumn of 1845. He, Ge«hviu«
1 t LlHllAHY.
in the course of it, assured Mr. Panizzi (by that time at the head of the Printed Book Department) of his settled "nd
Place, was the prelude to his noble public gift of 1846.
comp. p. 760
purpose, and evinced a desire that his Library should be ^u,e( ^
preserved apart from the mass of the National Collection. »nm. He then remarked, 'You will have a great many duplicate books, and you will sell them,' speaking in a tone of inquiry. 'No,' replied Panizzi, the 'Trustees will never sell books that are given to them.' Mr. Grenville rejoined with an
Booeiii, evident relief of mind, 'Well, so much the better.' Long
Th'it afterwards, when visiting Mr. Panizzi in his private study,
or The'1 'ie asked the question—' Where are you going to put my
Grenmlik books? I see your rooms are already full.' He was taken
Library. * *
to the long, capacious, but certainly not very sightly, 'slip,' contrived by Sir R. Smirke on the eastern outskirt of tlie noble King's Library. 'Well/ was the Keeper's reply,
pian, i,ere- 'if we can't do better, we will put them here; and, as you see, my room is close by. Here, for a time, they will at least be under my own eye.' The good and generous booklover went away with a smile on his genial face, well assured that his books would be gratefully cared for.
Thrrrckp- Mr. Grenville died on the 17th of December, 1846. Mu^m' On the day of his death it chanced that the present writer G'jnvilli was engaged on a review-article about the history of the Collection. ]\[ugeum Library. Ere many days were past it was his pleasant task to add a paragraph—the first that was written on the subject—respecting the new gift to the Public. But an accident delayed the publication of that article until the following summer.
Meanwhile, the final day of the reception of the books— a dreary, snowy day of ,the close of February—was, to us of the Museum Library, a sort of holiday within-doors. Very little work was done that day; but many choice rarities in literature, and some in art, were eagerly examined. All who survive will remember it as I do. To lovers of books, such a day was like a glimpse of summer sunshine interposed in the thick of winter.
To tell what little can here be told of the history and character of the Grenville Library in other words than in those well-considered and appropriate words which were employed by the man who had had so much delightful Book Tit,
intercourse with the Collector himself, and to whom belon gS The
a part of the merit of the gift, would be an impertinence. J"TM"1
In his report on the accessions of the year 1847, Mr. I**TM"* Panizzi wrote thus :—'It would naturally be expected that
one of the editors of the "Adelphi Homer" would lose no A^coukvoi
opportunity of collecting the best and rarest editions of the Cmo!c°1t""
Prince of Poets. Tesop, a favourite author of Mr. Gren- bo°"
Ville, occurs in his Library in its rarest forms ; there is no Grkntule
doubt that the series of editions of this author in that Library is unrivalled. The great admiration which Mr. Grenville felt for Cardinal Ximenes, even more on account of the splendid edition of the Polyglot Bible which that prelate caused to be printed at Alcala, than of his public character, made him look upon the acquisition of the Mosc/ius, a book of extreme rarity, as a piece of good fortune. Among the extremely rare editions of the Latin Classics, in which the Grenville Library abounds, the unique complete copy of Azzooumi's first edition of Ovid is a gem well deserving particular notice, and was considered on the whole, by Mr. Grenville himself, the boast of his collection. The Aldine Virgil of 1505, the rarest of the Aldine editions of this poet, is the more welcome to the Museum as it serves to supply a lacuna; the copy mentioned in the Catalogue of the Royal Collection not having been transferred to the National Library.
'The rarest editions of English Poets claimed and obtained the special attention of Mr. Grenville. Hence we find him possessing not only the first and second edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Talcs by Caxton, but the only copy known of an hitherto undiscovered edition of the same work printed in 149S, by Wynkyn De Worde. Of Shakespeare's collected Dramatic Works, the Grenville Book in, Library contains a copy of the first edition, which, if not
Thi the finest known, is at all events surpassed by none. His
Oftuk" strong religious feelings and his sincere attachment to the
Gbesvillb Established Church, as well as his knowledge and masterv
of the English language, concurred in making him eager to
possess the earliest as well as the rarest editions of the
translations of the Scriptures in the vernacular tongue. He
succeeded to a great extent; but what deserves particular
mention is the only known fragment of the New Testament
in English, translated by Tyndale and Rot, which was in
r,ini"i'8 the press of Qdentell, at Cologne, in 1525, when the transport, in" . . O >
the^M«ai lators were obliged to interrupt the printing, and fly to
lteturns of , .
1847, passim, escape persecution.
'The History of the British Empire, and whatever could illustrate any of its different portions, were the subject of Mr. Grenville's unremitting research, and he allowed nothing to escape him deserving to be preserved, however rare and expensive. Hence his collection of works on the Divorce of Henry VIII; that of Voyages and Travels, either by Englishmen, or to countries at some time more or less connected with England, or possessed by her; that of contemporary works on the gathering, advance, and defeat of the "Invincible Armada;" and that of writings on Ireland;— are more numerous, more valuable, and more interesting, than in any other collection ever made by any person on the same subjects. Among the Voyages and Travels, the collections of De Bry and Hulsius are the finest in the world ; no other Library can boast of four such fine books as the copies of Hariot's Virginia, in Latin, German, French, and English, of the De Bry series. And it was fitting that in Mr. Grenville's Library should be found one of the only two copies known of the first edition of this work, printed in London in 1588, wherein an