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25:; not mainly, on the eminent political service which he was /
ifxovvc- able to render them.
When these pages shall come from the Press just three hundred years will have elapsed since Sir Robert COTTON’s birth. Our English proto-collector was born in the year 1570. The year 1870 will, in all probability, witness the definite solution of a knotty problem as to the future of the great institution of which he was the primary and central founder.
Co'r'ron may be regarded as the English ‘proto-collector,’ in a point of view other than that which concerns the British Museum. No Library in the United Kingdom can, I think, shew an integral ‘ Collection,’ still extant, the formation of which—as a Collection—wan be traced to an earlier date than that of the collection of the Cottonian Manuscripts. ,;
Whether the BRITISH MUSEUM shall continue to be the great national repository for Science, as well as for Literature and Antiquities, is a question which is fast ripening for decision; and it is one which ought to be interesting to all Britons. It is also, and very eminently, one of those questions of which it is literally—and not sarcastically—to be affirmed that ‘there is much to be said on both sides.’
Personally I have a very strong conviction on that subject. But in treating of it—in the ‘ Postscript’ which closes the present volume—it has been my single and earnest aim to state, with the utmost impartiality I am able to attain, the leading arguments for maintaining the Museum in its full integrity; and also the leading arguments for severing the great Natural History Collections
from the rapidly growing Libraries and from the vast Gal- Boo: I, leries of marbles, bronzes, pottery, medals, and prints. It 3:55:50 is the business of writers to state and marshal the evidence. "°"'
It is the business of Parliament to pronounce the judg
The main epochs in the History of the British Museum afi'ord what may be looked upon almost as a. ‘ table of contents’ to the present volume. And they may be brought under the Reader’s eye in a way which will much facilitate the correct apprehension of the author's plan. I exhibit them thus :—
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE DATES, FOUNDERS, A or wnrcu THE BRITISH MUSEI
1612). [See CLASS II, § 1.]
W CLASS liflonndation Collectior
I. CO'I‘TONIAN MANUSCRIPTS, Corns, MEDA]
Collected by Sir Robert Cotton, Baronet (born in the y Nation by Sir John Cotton in 1700. Augmented dur Arthur Agarde (1615), William Camden (1652 Lambarde (1601), and others; and, after his death, by Sir John COTTON, his descendants; and also by the Printed Libr given in 1738.
II. OLD ‘ ROYAL
Re-founded, or restored, by Henry, Prince of Wa]
Collected by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arunc' England; K.G. (Born in 1586 ; succeeded as XXIIIrd Ear-T 1646.) [See CLASS II, § 33.]
IV. THOMASON TRACTS (Printed and. Manuscri]
Collected by Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford (10' mented by incorporation, at various times, Of the Collectic of the Collections of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (d Rogers (1590), John Stowe (1605), Sir Hen nard (1633), Sir Henry Spelman (1641), E James Ware (1666), William Sancrott, Archbisl guier, Chancellor of France (1696), John Bagford(171
VI. ‘ SLOANE Musnun ’ or NATURAL HISTORY AND or MANUSCRIPTS AND PRINl
Collected by William Courten [known during part of 1642; died 26 March, 1702) ; continued by Sir Ha died 11 January, 1752); bequeathed, by the Continuator, to' payment to his executors, by authority of Parliament, of his Collections—to use the words of his last WiII,—being thi] ‘ tion Of the Glory of GOD, the Confutation of Atheism and ‘ ment Of the Arts and Sciences, and benefit of Mankind, n ‘ and that chiefly in or about the City Of London, where ti ‘ be of most use.’ [See BOOK I, c. 6.]
INCORPORATED by the Act (A.D. 1753) 26 GEO. II, c. 22, entitled, ‘An Act for the Purchase of the lllusennz or Collection of Sir Hans Sloane and (f the Harleian Collection of 3185'. ; and for providing one General Repository . . for the said Collections and for the Cottonian Library and additions thereto ;’
Opened, for Public Use, on Monday the 15th January, 1759; and subsequently AUGMENTED, from time to time, by numerous additional Collections; and, MORE PARTICU~ LARLY, by the following—
Em", Restored, by Henry, Prince Of Wales, in the guts; year 1609, by the purchase—and incorporation with the rem“mm AND nants of an ancient collection—of the Library of John de mum“ Lumley, Lord. Lumley (Born circa 1530 ; Restored in blood, as VIth Baron anlcy, in 1547: Died 1609); Continued by Charles I and Charles 11, Kings of England, 850., from 1627 to 1683 ; Given to the
Nation by King George the Second in 1757.
This OLD ROYAL LIBRARY, although, as above mentioned, it still contains fragments of the more ancient Collection of the Kings of England—and among them books which undoubtedly belonged to King HENRY THE SIXTH, if not to earlier Plantagenet kings—may fairly be regarded as of Prince HENRr’s foundation in the main. Lord LUMLEY’s Library (which the Prince bought in bulk) contained that of his father-in-law, Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, into which had passed a part of Archbishop Granmer’s Library. But this conjoined Collection has not wholly passed to the British Museum. It suffered some losses after Prince HENRY’s death. On the other hand, it had acquired the collection of MSS. v formed by the THEYERS (John and Charles), in which was included another part of the Library of CRANMER; as I shall shew hereafter.
[See BOOK I, Chapter 3.]