Chap. III.



applied exclusively to the Department of Zoology; and that Book III, a sufficient portion of ground should be purchased on the History north side of the Museum as a site for galleries to provide for Mineralogy, and thus also indirectly for Geology. UNDER SIR

A. Panizzi. A convenient site for this department would, in the po opinion of the Committee, be provided by the suggested DRAWING acquisition of additional ground on the north side. A building might there be erected in continuation of the present east wing of the Museum, to contain, on its upper floor, the Mineralogical Collections, and on the lower the Prints and Drawings, with adequate space both for their preservation and exhibition.

In determining the site most suitable for the large addi- Antiquitional accommodation required for this department, the Committee thought it most prudent that the 'Trustees of the Museum should be guided, partly by the greater or less cost of purchasing the requisite amount of ground in different directions, but chiefly by the greater or less fitness of the different portions of ground for the best system of arrangement.





In the same year in which Mr. Panizzi became Principal- INTERNA Librarian (1856), one of the recommendations of Lord ECONO ELLESMERE's Commission-Report of 1850 was carried into effect by the creation of the new office of Superin- Division or tendent of the Natural-History Departments. And the former partial subdivision and reorganization of those 1856-66. departments was, in the following year, carried further by the formation of a separate Department of Mineralogy. In subsequent years, the old Department of Antiquities was, like the Natural History, divided into four departments, namely, (1) Greek and Roman Antiquities; (2) Oriental Antiquities; (3) British and Mediæval Antiquities and Ethnography; (4) Coins and Medals.

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At present (1870), it may here be added, the entire Museum is divided into twelve departments, comprising three several groups of four sections to each. The NaturalHistory group being comprised of (1) Zoology; (2) Palæontology ; (3) Botany ; (4) Mineralogy. The Literary group comprising (1) Printed Books ; (2) Manuscripts; (3) Prints and Drawings ; (4) Maps, Charts, Plans, and Topographical Drawings. Experience has amply vindicated the wisdom of the principle of subdivision. But it is probable that the principle has now been carried as far as it can usefully work in practice.

Increased efficiency and rapidly growing collections brought with them enlarged grants from Parliament. In the first year of Sir A. Panizzi's Principal-Librarianship, the estimate put before the House of Conimons for the service of the year 1856-7 was sixty thousand pounds, as compared with a grant for the service of the year immediately preceding of fifty-six thousand one hundred and eighty pounds. In his last year of office, the estimate for the service of the year 1866-67 amounted to one hundred and two thousand seven hundred and forty-four pounds, against a grant in the year preceding of ninety-eight thousand one hundred and sixty-four pounds.

There had also been, in that decade, a marked degree of increase—though one of much fluctuation, in the number of visits, both to the General Collections and, much more notably, to the Reading Rooms and the Galleries for Study. In 1856, the number of general visitors was three hundred and sixty-one thousand seven hundred and fourteen ; in 1866, it was four hundred and eight thousand two hundred and seventy-nine. But in the ` Exhibition Year' (1862), it had reached eight hundred and ninety-five thousand and seventy-seven, which was itself little more than one-third




of the exceptionally enormous number of visitors recorded* Book III,

Chap. III. in the year of the first of the great Industrial Exbibitions History (1851).

It was during Sir A. Panizzi's decade that the largest UNDER SI number of visitors ever recorded to have entered the Museum within one day was registered. This exceptional number occurred on the · Boxing Day' of the Londoners, 26th December, 1858, when more than forty-two thousand visitors were admitted. Under the old system there had been a dread of holiday crowds, and the largest number ever admitted on any one day, prior to 1837, was between five thousand eight hundred and five thousand nine hundred. That number had been looked upon as a marvel. On the Easter Monday of 1837, twenty-three thousand nine hundred and eighty-five were admitted. Neither then nor on the 1858 ‘Boxing Day' was any injury or disorderly conduct complained of.

The highest number of visits, for study made to the Reading-Roon, prior to 1857, occurred in 1850, when the number was seventy-eight thousand five hundred and thirtythree. The number in the year 1865 was one hundred thousand two hundred and seventy-one, but in the interval it had risen (1861) to one hundred and thirty thousand four hundred and ten. For several years, between 1856 and 1866, the average number of visits for study to the Galleries of Antiquities averaged about one thousand nine hundred annually; those to the Print Room, about two thousand eight hundred; those to the Coin and Medal Room, about one thousand nine hundred.

* Namely, two millions five hundred and twenty-seven thousand two hundred and sixteen visits, which included seventy-eight thousand two hundred and eleven visits to the Reading Room for study.

Book III,
Chap. III.

The rapid growth of the Collection of Printed Books, more especially between the years 1845-1865, which had, as we have seen, resulted from the unremitting labours of Mr. Panizzi, was well kept up, both under his immediate successor, Mr. John Winter Jones, and (after Mr. Jones' promotion to the Principal-Librarianship, towards the close of 1866) by the next Keeper, Mr. Watts. As is well known, the increase of the Library is still more remarkable for the character of the additions purchased than for their mere number. But recent years have afforded no such instance of individual munificence in this department of the Museum as that which will presently call for detailed notice when we record the acquisition (in 1846) of the Grenville Library, nor could any such instance, indeed, be reasonably looked for.

Sir Frederick MADDEN's energetic researches and labours for the improvement of the Collection of MSS. would well merit a fuller account than it is here practicable to give of them. They have been perseveringly and worthily continued by his successor, Mr. Edward Augustus Bond, to whom students also owe the great and distinctive debt of the commencement of an admirable “INDEX OF MATTERS” to the Collection generally. No greater boon, in the way of Catalogues, was ever given within the walls of the Museum, though, as yet, it is necessarily a beginning only. The special labours of Dr. Gray in that sphere, for the Natural-History Collections, comprised the extended advantage of printing and sale. Not less, I hope, will eventually be done for the service of manuscript students. There is the desire to do it, and the means must, sooner or later, follow.


The wonderful growth and development of the Collections of Antiquities in recent years is the special subject of

Chap. III.


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Habak, ii, 14.

the next chapter. That growth derives no small part of Book III, its permanent scientific interest and value from the im- HISTORY pressive way in which it illustrates the teachings of Holy Scripture. Some of the collections amassed in the British UNDER SIR Museum have, more than once, by dint of human vanity, been made to subserve a laudation of the wonderful achievements of Man, rather than of the power, wisdom, and goodness of God; but for the ebullitions of human vanity there is extremely little room when a visitor stands beside the sculptured memorials of that vast empire which the cedars in the garden of God could not hide,' which was Ezek. xxxi,

lifted up in the pride of its height, only to become a com marvel for desolation, so that upon its ruin the fowls of Ha the heaven remain.' When before our own eyes and ears the very stones cry out in the wall, and the beams out of the timber answer them, the man vainest of his science or of his philosophy must needs be led to ask himself: • What hath God wrought?

Some very advanced men of science have become, of late, fond of 'Sunday.evening Lectures' for the instruction of the working classes. That would be a tolerably impressive Sunday-evening Lecture which a competent scholar could give in the Assyrian Gallery of the British Museum.

Here, and now, the recent increase of the Department of Antiquities may be wholly passed over. But to that part of the history of accessions which bears upon the Natural History Galleries some attention must needs be given, by way of continuing our former brief epitome of the improvements made between the years 1836 and 1850.


Of the state of the Department of Zoology, during the earlier part of the decade now more immediately under review, a good and instructive account was given in Pro

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