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class of documents of which the donor’s own Collection was mainly composed—the materials, namely, of Continental history. Amongst the earliest purchases of 1832 was a curious Venetian Poriolano of the fifteenth century. In the same year a large series of Irish Manuscripts, collected by the late John I'IARDIMAN, was acquired. This extends from the Egerton number ‘ 74’ to ‘ 214 ’; and from the same Collector was obtained the valuable Minutes 0/ Debates in tire House of Commons, taken by Colonel Cavnnmsn, between the years—so memorable in our history—from 1768 to 1774?k In the year 1835, a large collection of manuscripts illustrative of Spanish history was purchased from Mr. RICH, a literary agent in London, and another large series of miscellaneous manuscripts—historical, political, and literary—from the late bookseller, Thomas From the same source another like collection was obtained in 1840. An extensive series of French State Papers was acquired (by the agency of Messrs. BARTHES and LOWELL) in 1843; and also, in that year, a collection of Persian MSS. In the following year a curious series of drawings, illustrating the antiquities, manners, and customs of China, was obtained; and, in 1845, another valuable series of French historical manuscripts.

Meanwhile, the example set by Lord BRIDGEWATER had incited one of those many liberal-minded Trustees of the British Museum who have become its benefactors by augmentation, as well as by faithful guardianship, to follow it in exactly the same track. Charles Lone, Lord Famborough, bequeathed (in 1838) the sum of two thousand eight hundred and seventy-two pounds in Three per cent. Consols, specifically as an augmentation of the Bridgewater fund. Lord FARNBOROUGH’s bequest now produces eighty- Boom,

G Il-T DY THAT or Loan Fannnoaoucn, 1838.

* These form the Egerton MSS. 215 to 262 inclusive.

. Ch .111. 51x pounds a year; Lord BRIDOEWATER’S, about four Boil. hundred and ninety pounds a year. Together, therefore, L°v""““'“

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they yield five hundred and seventy pounds, annually, for fjsem‘ the improvement of the National Collection of Manuscripts. s.

In 1850 and 1852, an extensive series of German Albums ' —many of them belonging to celebrated scholars—was acquired. These are now ‘ Egerton MSS. 1179 ’ to ‘1499,’ inclusive, and ‘ 1540 ’ to ‘ 1607.’ A curious collection of papers relating to the Spanish Inquisition was also Obtained Ey'rlmmi in 1850. In 1857, the important historical collection, 11041156known as ‘the Bentinck Papers,’ was purchased from Tycho iiiimai MOMMsEN, of Oldenburgh. In the following year, another series of Spanish State Papers, and also the Irish Manuscripts of Henry MONCK Mason ;—-in 1860, a further series of ‘Bentinck Papers ;’—and in 1861, an extensive collection of the Correspondence of Porn and of Bishop WARBURTON, were successively acquired.

To these large accumulations of the materials of history were added, in the succeeding years, other important collections of English correspondence, and of autograph MSS. of famous authors; and also a choice collection of Spanish and Portuguese Manuscripts brought together by Count DA PONTE, and abounding with historical information. To this an addition was made last year (1869) of other like EgrrtonJISS. papers, amongst which are notable some Venetian Relazz'om'; QLHT'ML papers of Cardinals Carlo CARAFFA and Flavio ORSINI ; and My” some letters of Antonio PEREZ. In 1869, there was also 208*obtained, by means of the conjoined Egerton and Farnborough funds, a curious parcel of papers relating to the early affairs of the Corporation and trade of Dover, from the year 1387 to 1678 ; together with some other papers 11,. 2086, illustrative of the cradle-years of our Indian empire. 1

lb. 20872099.

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Amongst the latest accessions obtained from the Bridgewater fund are some MSS. from the hand of a famous English poet of the last generation. These have now an additional, and special, interest in English eyes, from a recent lamentable occurrence. The pen of a slanderer has aimed at gaining a sort of celebrity, more enduring than anything of its own proper production could hope to secure, by attempting to affix on BYRON and on Augusta LEIGH— after both the great poet and the affectionate sister have lain many years in their several graves, and can no longer rebut the slander—the stain of an enormous guilt. Some, however, are yet aliVe, by whom the calumny can, and will, be conclusively exposed. Meanwhile, the slanderer’s poor aim will, probably, have been reached—but in an unex~ pected and unenviable way.

‘ The link
Thou formest in his fortunes, bids us think
Of thy poor malice, naming thee with scorn.’

Very happily, the calumniating pen was not held in any
English hand.

Much more might, and not unfitly, be said in illustration of the historical and literary value of those manuscript accessions to the National Library which, in these later years, have accrued out of the proceeds of Lord BRIDGEWATER’S gift. Enough, however, has been stated, to serve by way of sample.

Nor were these the only literary bequests and foundations of the last Earl of Barneawa'rna. He bequeathed, as heirlooms, two considerable Libraries, rich both in theology and in history—to the respective rectors, for ever, of the parishes of Middle and of Whitchurch. These, I learn— from MS. correspondence now before me—are of great value, and are gladly made available, by their owners for the time being, to the use of persons able and willing to profit by them. He also founded a Library, likewise by way of heirloom, at Ashridge.

Whilst the National Library was thus being gradually improved, both by increased liberality on the part of Parliament and, far more largely, by the munificent gifts of individuals, other departments of the Museum had not been neglected.

Charles Gaavuma, the nephew of Sir William HAMILTON, had collected, in his residence at Paddington Green, a noble cabinet of minerals. It was the finest assemblage of its kind which had yet been seen in England. For the purchase of this Collection Parliament made a grant, in the year 1810, of thirteen thousand seven hundred and twentyseven pounds.

In 1816, a valuable accession came to the zoological department, by the purchase, for the sum of eleven, hundred pounds, of a Collection of British Zoology, which had been formed at Knowle, in Devonshire, by Colonel George MONTAGU. 'l‘he Montagu Collection was especially rich in birds.

Nine years later, the Library was further benefited, in the way of gift, by a choice Italian Collection, gathered and given by Sir Richard Colt Hoaaa, of Stourhead; and, in the way of Parliamentary grant, by the acquisition of the collection of manuscripts, coins, and other antiquities, which had been made in the East, during his years of Consulship at Baghdad, by Claudius James chu.

Sir Richard Home was not less distinguished for the taste and judgment with which he had collected the historical literature of Italy, than for the zeal and ability with

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which be cultivated, both as author and as patron, the—in Britain—too much neglected department of provincial topography. He had spent nearly five years in Italy—partly during the reign of NAPOLEON~—and amassed a very fine collection of books illustrative of all departments of Italian history. In 1825, Sir Richard presented this Collection to the Trustees of the British Museum in these words :— ‘Anxious to follow the liberal example of our gracious monarch GEORGE THE FOURTH, of Sir George BEAUMONT, and of Richard Payne KNIGHT (though in a very humble degree), I do give unto the British Museum my Collection of Topography, made during a residence of five years abroad ; and hoping that the more modern publications may i be added to it hereafter.’ The Library so given included about seventeen hundred and thirty separate works. Sir Richard did something, himself, to secure" the fulfilment of the annexed wish, by adding to his first gift, made in 1825, in subsequent years.

The researches of Claudius RICH merit some special notice. He may be regarded as the first explorer of Assyria. Had it not been for his early death, it is very probable that he might have anticipated some of the brilliant discoveries of Mr. LAYARD. But his quickly intercepted researches will be best described, in connection with the later explorations in the same field. Here it may suffice to say that from Mr. Rica’s representatives a Collection of Manuscripts, extending to eight hundred and two volumes— Syriac, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish—was obtained, by purchase, in 1825, together with a small Collection of Coins and miscellaneous antiquities.

To the Oriental Manuscripts of RICH, an important addition was made in the course of the same year by the bequest of Mr. John Fowler HULL—another distinguished

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