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Book in, behalf of the Trustees, was borne—it need not be said Hwtoit how ably—by men of no less mark than Sir Robert Harry M'utm, Inglis and the late Earl of Derby, then Lord Stanley. H^llistm One °^ the best results of the appointment of that Committee of 1835-36 was the opportunity it gave to Mr. Baber and to Mr. Panizzi of advocating the claims of the National Library to largely increased liberality on the part of Parliament. The latter, in particular, did it with an earnestness, and with a vivacity and felicity of argument and of illustration, which I believe won for him the respect of every person who enjoyed (as I did) the pleasure of listening to his examination. I do not think that anybody in that Committee Room of 1836 thought his arguments a whit the weaker for being expressed by 'a foreigner.' But it chances to be within my knowledge that pressure was put upon Mr. Hawes, as a conspicuous member of the Committee, to induce him to put questions to a certain witness with the view of enabling that witness to attack the Trustees for appointing a foreigner to an important office in the Museum. The ludicrous absurdity of an objection on that score—in relation to a great establishment of Literature and Science—was not, it seems, felt in those days as it would assuredly be felt in the present day. The absurdity did not strike the mind of Mr. Hawes, but, to his great credit, he steadfastly refused to admit of any impeachment in the Committee of a choice which he believed had been most fitly made in all other respects.*
* I was myself present at an interview (in Lambeth), when the most urgent influence was used with Mr. Hawes to induce him to attack Mr. Panizzi's original appointment as an 'Assistant-Librarian'; and I heard him express a strong approval of it, on the ground of the obvious qualifications and abilities of the individual officer—though himself sharing the opinion that in such appointments Englishmen should have the preference.
It is more than probable that the ability which Mr. Boo*in, Panizzi had displayed in the Committee Room of the Hi*tm"' House of Commons, as well as the zeal for our national 0FTHE
honour which he had shown himself to possess, had some- Undebsi* thing to do in preparing the way for the promotion which awaited him within a few months after Mr. Hawes' Committee made its final report to the House. But his labours in the Museum itself had certainly given substantial and ample warrant for that promotion—under all the circumstances of the case—as will be seen presently.
Amongst the duties entrusted to Mr. Panizzi after his Me.
. . . Panizzi's
entrance (m 1831) into the service of the Trustees as an APPOINTextra Assistant-Librarian, was the cataloguing of an extra- Keepetm-tm ordinary Collection of Tracts illustrative of the History of P"'* °*D the Prench Revolution. He had laboured on a difficult BooKS task with great diligence and with uncommon ability. In 1835, a Committee of Trustees reported, in the highest terms, on the performance of his duties, and concluded their report with a recommendation which, although the general body of Trustees did not act upon it, became the occasion of a very eulogistic minute. Two years afterwards, the office of Keeper of Printed Books became vacant by the resignation of the Reverend Henry Hervey Baber, who had filled it, with great credit, from the year 1802.
The office of Senior Assistant-Librarian in that Department was then filled by another man of eminent literary distinction, the Reverend Henry Francis Caky, who, as one of the best among the many English translators of Dante, is not likely to be soon forgotten amongst us. Not a few Englishmen of the generation that is now passing away learnt in his version to love Dante, before they were able to Book III, Chap. II. History Of THE Museum Under Sir II. Ellis.
read him in his proper garb, and learnt too to love Italy, as Cary loved it, for Dante's sake.
Mr. Cary was the grandson of Mordecai Cary, Bishop of Killaloe, and the son of a Captain in the British Army, who at the time of Henry Cary's birth was quartered at Gibraltar, where the boy was born on the sixth of December, 1772. He was educated at Birmingham and at Christ Church, Oxford. It was in his undergraduate days at Christ Church that he began to translate the Inferno, although he did not publish his first volume until he had entered his thirty-third year, and had established himself in * the great wen' as Reader at Berkeley Chapel (1805). Cary's 'Dante' soon won its way to fame. Among other blessings it brought about his life-long friendship with Coleridge and with the Coleridgian circle. He now became an extensive contributor to the literary periodicals. In 1816, he was made Preacher at the Savoy. In 1825, he offered himself to the Trustees of the British Museum as a candidate for the Keepership of the Department of Antiquities in succession to Taylor Combe. That office was given, with great propriety, to Mr. Edward Hawkins, who had assisted Mr. Combe, and had, in fact, replaced him during his illness. But Mr. Cary had met with encouragement—especially from the Archbishop of Canterbury—and kept a bright look-out for new vacancies. In May or June, 1826, he wrote to his father that he had learnt that the office of AssistantLibrarian in the Department of Printed Books was vacant. It had been, he added, held by a most respectable old clergyman of the name of Bean, and Mr. Bean was just dead. Within a week or two, Mr. Cary was appointed to be his successor. By a large circle of friends the appointment was hailed as a fitting tribute to a most deserving man of letters.
The homely rooms in the Court-yard of the Museum Book to,
. Chap. II.
allotted to the Assistant-Keeper of.the Printed Book Depart- History
ment were soon the habitual resort of a cluster of poets. The Museum
faces of Coleridge, Rogers, Charles Lamb,* and (during vs"TMb"1
their occasional visits to London) those of Southet and of Wordsworth, became, in those days, very familiar at the gate of old Montagu House. Coleridge had always loved Cart, and when the charms of long monologues, delivered at the Grove to devout listeners, withheld him from visits, the correspondence between Highgate and Bloomsbury became so frequent and so voluminous, that he is said to have endeavoured to persuade Sir Francis Freeling that all correspondence to or from the British Museum ought to be officially regarded as ' On His Majesty's Service,' and to be franked, to any weight, accordingly. But those love-enlivened rooms were, in a very few years, to he darkly clouded. Cart lost his wife on the twenty-second of November, 1832, and almost immediately afterwards—so dreadful was the blow to him—' a look of mere childishness, approaching to a suspension of vitality, ufeofH.F. marked the countenance which had but now beamed with <^rt'hl.^s
Son, vol. ii,
intellect.' Such are the words of his fellow-mourner. p-198
Part of Mr. Cart's duties at the Museum now necessarily fell, for a few months, to be discharged by Mr.
* It was in the old rooms in the Court-yard of Montagu House that Charles Lamb enjoyed the last, I think, of his ' dinings-out.' A few days after his final visit (November, 1834) the hand of Death was already upon him. Cary, before writing the well-known epitaph, wrote some other graceful and touching lines on his old friend. They were occasioned by finding, in a volume lent to Lamb by Cary, Lamb's bookmark, against a page which told of the death of Sydney. They begin thus :—
'So should it be, my gentle friend,
Panizzi, who, in tlie preceding year, had been appointed next in office to Cary. The circumstances of that appointment have been thus stated by the eminent Prelate who made it:—
'Mr. Panizzi was entirely unknown to me, except by reputation. I understood that he was a civilian who had come from Italy, and that he was a man of great acquirements and talents, peculiarly well suited for the British Museum. That was represented to me by several persons who were not connected with the Museum, and it was strongly pressed by several of the Trustees, who were of opinion that Mr. Panizzi's appointment would be very advantageous for the institution. Considering the qualifications of that gentleman, his knowledge of foreign languages, his eminent ability and extensive attainments, I could not doubt the propriety of acceding to their wishes.'
When that appointment was made, Mr. Panizzi had already passed almost ten years in England. The greater part of them had been spent at Liverpool, as a tutor in the language and literature of Italy. Born at Brescello, in the Duchy of Modena, Mr. Panizzi had been educated at Reggio and at Parma; in the last-named University he had graduated as LL.l). in 1818; and he had practised with distinction as an advocate. Part of his leisure hours had been given to the study of bibliography, and to the acquisition of a library. But lie was an ardent aspirant for the liberty of Italy, and, in 1820, narrowly escaped becoming one of its many martyrs. After the unsuccessful rising of that year in Piedmont, he was arrested at Cremona, but escaped from his prison. After his escape he was sentenced to death, lie sought a refuge first at Lugano, and afterwards at Geneva. But his ability had made him a marked man. Austrian spies dogged his