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of the exceptionally enormous number of visitors recorded* Boo* Hi, in the year of the first of the great Industrial Exhibitions History
00 lj. Museum
It was during Sir A. Panizzi's decade that the largest "J'JJ,** 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-Room, prior to 1S57, occurred in 1850, when the number was seventy-eight thousand five hundred and thirtythree. The number in the year 18G5 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.
Booeiii, The rapid growth of the Collection of Printed Books, Histoet 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 18CG) 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 Op 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 the next chapter. That growth derives no small part of Book in,
. ._ . 11* 11 • Chap. III.
its permanent scientific interest and value from the mi- Histori pressive way in which it illustrates the teachings of Holy J,'TM, Scripture. Some of the collections amassed in the British ^d"3'*
r A. Pakizzi.
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 E«k.mi, 'lifted up in the pride of its height/ only to become a comP. marvel for desolation, so that upon its ruin 'the fowls of H,b,k-ii'1*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'/or 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
Growtii Of THE
Natural History CollecTions. 1850-1861.
fessor Owen's Annual Report of 1861. Its most material portions run thus :—
'The proportion of the stuffed specimens of the class Mammalia, exhibited in the glazed cases of the Southern Zoological Gallery and Mammalian Saloon, is in good condition. The stuffed specimens, which, from their bulk, or from want of space in the cases, stand on the floor, have suffered in a certain degree from exposure to the corrosive smoke-dust of the metropolis, the effects of which cannot be wholly prevented.'
The proportion, continues Mr. Owen, of the Collection of Mammalia consisting of skins preserved in boxes, the Osteological specimens, including the horns and antlers, and the specimens kept in spirit, are all in a good state of preservation. The unstuff'ed, Osteological and bottled specimens are unexhibited and restricted in use, as at present located, to scientific investigation and comparison; but it is with difficulty that the special visitor for such purposes can now avail himself of these materials, owing to their crowded accumulation in the Basement Rooms in which they are stored.
'The exhibited Collection of Birds is in a good state of preservation, is conveniently arranged for public inspection, and is usefully and instructively named and labelled. The interest manifested by visitors, and the satisfaction generally expressed in regard to this gallery, indicate the amount of public instruction and gratification which would result from a corresponding serial arrangement and exposition of the other classes of the animal kingdom.
'The stuffed and exhibited selections from the classes of Reptilia and Fishes, are in a very good state of preservation; they suffer less from the requisite processes of cleaning than the classes covered by hair, fur, or feathers.
'Of these cold-blooded Vertebrates the proportion preserved in spirits is much greater than in Mammals and Bookiii, Birds, and, consequently, through the present allotment of Himok space, the majority of the singular specific forms of Reptiles Muteom and Fishes are excluded from public view. Upwards of two "p"f^ thousand specimens in spirits of these classes have been added in the past year to the previously crowded shelves of the basement store-rooms, where access to any individual specimen is a matter of some difficulty, if not hazard. Of the above additions, fourteen hundred and fifty-six have accrued from the donation of the Secretary of State for India in Council. The interest and novelty of the specimens have constrained their acceptance, and the same reason has led to the acquisition of many additions from other sources.
'Amongst them deserve to be specified two specimens of that singular snake, the Herpeton tentaculatum, known for a century past only by a single discoloured example in the Paris Museum; those now in the stores of the British Museum were acquired from Siam, and have served to enrich Zoology with a complete knowledge of the species, through the descriptions and figures by Dr. Gunthkr.
'The following may be also specified, namely, the burrowing Snake from South Africa, Uriec/tis microlepidotm; a new genus of tree-snake, Herpeloreas; a new genus, Barycephalus, of Saurian, from an altitude in the Himalayas of fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea; also two new species of freshwater Tortoise, the Emy* Livinystonii, dedicated to its discoverer in Africa, and the Emys Siamensis. Among the additions to the class of Fishes has been acquired a new genus, Hypsiptera, of the Scomberoid family; with several new species, including one, Centrolophus Brilannicu8, belonging to this country.
'The specimens of the Molluscous classes showing the entire animal, preserved in spirits, and stored in the base