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Assistant-Keeper of the printed portion of our National Book in.
T -l nr /-. I 11- • - Chap.V.
Library. Mr. Grenville showed his estimate in a con- Tm elusive and very characteristic way. He had earnestly JTM" supported (in the year 1835) the proposal of a Sub-corn- £""TM" mittee of Trustees that Mr. Panizzi's early services—more #,•„„,„„/ especially in relation to the cataloguing of what are known, ^"j^'' at the Museum, as 'the French Tracts/ but also as to other »ui>»equent labours—should be substantially recognised by an improve- .<=«.' 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«w» afterwards visited the Museum; and I well remember the ^^TM"" 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 very 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- cmcc*.
- , . . STANCES
books will learn without surprise that a conversation Which between Mr. Grenville and Mr. Panizzi, in Hamilton G'a"tmtm Place, was the prelude to his noble public gift of 1846. TM,T^,,°" That conversation took place in the autumn of 1845. He, ommm in the course of it, assured Mr. Panizzi (by that time at the head of the Printed Book Department) of his settled ^"^ purpose, and evinced a desire that his Library should be ota"> preserved apart from the mass of the National Collection, Ohmo 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
Boo* in, evident relief of mind, 'Well, so much the better.' Long
T^p uftenvards, when visiting Mr. Panizzi in his private study,
It««" ne askpd the question—' Where are you going to put my
omMtiiL. ooolcs? I see your rooms are already full.' He was taken
LllUST. •> J •111",
to the long, capacious, but certainly not very sightly, ' slip,' contrived by Sir R. Smirke on the eastern outskirt of the noble King's Library. 'Well/ was the Keeper's reply, Pim, he«- '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.
Tmmcm- Mr. Grenville died on the 17th of December, 1846.
ii°M*V* On the day of his death it chanced that the present writer was engaged on a review-article about the history of the Museum 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 in, intercourse with the Collector himself, and to whom belongs The a part of the merit of the gift, would be an impertinence. 0F°3" In his report on the accessions of the year 1847, Mr. JTMTMJ Panizzi wrote thus :—'It would naturally be expected that one of the editors of the "Adelphi Homer" would lose no A"onirror opportunity of collecting the best and rarest editions of the *°"C°'TTH" Prince of Poets, Jesop, a favourite author of Mr. Gren- bo°"
Ville, occurs in his Library in its rarest forms ; there is no Grf.»tu.lk
I IHII V R Y
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 Azzoguidi'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 Tales by Caxton, but the only copy known of an hitherto undiscovered edition of the same work printed in 1498, by Wynkyn De Worde. Of Shakespeare's collected Dramatic AVorks, the Grenville
Book in, Library contains a copy of the first edition, which, if not
Cliap.V. . .11
Th« the nnest known, is at all events surpassed by none. His
strong religious feelings and his sincere attachment to the Established Church, as well as his knowledge and mastery 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
Panizzr. t|ie press 0f QCENTELL at Cologne, in 1525, when the trans
Report, 10 * ° <
the </i.«u«! lators were obliged to interrupt the printing, and fly to
iw, pu.im. 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 Ue 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
account is given of a colony which had been founded by his R°°* i".
°' J Cliap.V.
family namesake, Sir Richard Grenville. Th*
'Conversant with the Language and Literature of Spain, as well as with that of Italy, the works of imagination by writers of those two countries are better represented in his Library than in any other out of Spain and Italy; in some branches better even than in any single Library in the countries themselves. No Italian collection can boast of such a splendid series of early editions of Ariosto's Orlando, one of Mr. Grenville's favourite authors, nor, indeed, of such choice Romance Poems. The copy of the first edition of Ariosto is not to be matched for beauty; of that of Rome, 1533, even the existence was hitherto unknown. A perfect copy of the first complete edition of the Morgante Maggiore, of 1482, wa3 also not known to exist before Mr. Grenville succeeded in procuring his. Among the Spanish Romances, the copy of that of Tirant lo Blanch, printed at Valencia1, in 1490, is as fine, as clean, and as white, as when it first issued from the press; and no second copy of this edition of a work professedly translated from English into Portuguese, and thence into Valencian, is known to exist except in the Library of the Sapienza, at Rome.
'But where there is nothing common, it is almost depreciating a collection to enumerate a few articles as rare. It is a marked feature of this Library, that Mr. Grenville did not collect mere bibliographical rarities. He never aimed at having a complete set of the editions from the press of Caxton or Aldus; but Chaucer and Gower by Caxton were readily purchased, as well as other works which were desirable on other accounts, besides that of having issued from the press of that printer; and, when possible, select copies were procured. Some of the rarest,