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tinue, and new ones to accumulate.’ From the same report may be gathered a precise view of the actual additions, from all sources, during the quinquennium of 18461850. The increase in the printed books, therefore, although it had not quite kept pace with Mr. PANIZZI’s hopeful anticipations in 1852, had actually reached a larger yearly average, during that last quinquennium, than was attained in the like period from 1846 to 1850.
The report from which these figures are taken was made in furtherance of the good and fruitful suggestion that a great Reading Room should be built within the inner quadrangle. Judging from the past, argued Mr. PANIZZI, in June, 1852, ‘ and supposing that for the next ten years from seven thousand to seven thousand five hundred pounds will be spent in the purchase of printed books, the increase
. . would be at the average of about twenty-seven thousand volumes a year, without taking into consideration the chance of an extraordinary increase, owing to the purchase or donation of any large collection. It was owing to the splendid bequest of Mr. GRENVILLE that the additions to the Collection in 1847 reached the enormous amount of more than fifty-five thousand volumes. After the steady and regular addition of about twenty-seven thousand volumes for ten years together, here reckoned upon, the Collection of Printed Books in the British Museum might defy comparison, and would approach, as near as seems practicable in such matters, to a state of completeness. The increase for the ten years next following might be fairly reduced to two thirds of the above sum. At this rate, the collection of books, which has been more than doubled during the last fifteen years, would be double of what it now is in twenty years from the present time .’ At the date of this report the number of volumes
was already upwards of four hundred and seventy thousand. At the date at which I now write (January, 1870), the number of volumes, as nearly as it can be calculated, has become one million and six thousand. On the average, therefore, of the whole period, the increase has been not less than thirty-one thousand five hundred volumes in every year. The Collection was somewhat more than doubled during the first fifteen years of Mr. PANlZZi’s Keepership. During the next like term of years, when the department was partly under the administration of Mr. PANIZZI, and partly under that of Mr. Winter Jonas, it was nearly doubled again. It follows that the anticipation expressed in the Report of 1852 has been much more than fulfilled. Less than seventeen years of labour have achieved what was then expected to be the work of twenty years.
If the other departments of the British Museum cannot show an equal ratio of growth during the term now under review, it has not been from lack of zeal, either in their heads or in the Trustees. Their progress, too, was very great, although it is not capable of being so strikingly and eompendiously illustrated. It has also to be home in mind that the arrears, so to speak, of the Library, were relatively greater than those of some other divisions of the Museum.
At the commencement of Sir Henry ELLIs’s term of Principal-Librariauship,the Natural-History Collections were partly under the charge of Dr. LEACH, partly under that of Mr. Charles KGNIG. Both were officers of considerable scientific attainments. In the instance of Dr. LEACH, certain peculiar eccentricities and crotehets were mixed up in
close union with undoubted learning and skill. In not a
few eminent naturalists a tendency to undervalue the.
achievements of past days, and to exaggerate those of
- Knowle that he died in August, 1815.
the day that is passing, has often been noted. LEACH evinced this tendency in more ways than one. But a favourite way of manifesting it led him many times into difficulties with his neighbours. He despised the taxidermy of Sir Hans SLOANE’s age, and made periodical bonfires of Sloanian specimens. These he was wont to call his ‘crcmations.’ In his time, the Gardens of the Museum were still a favourite resort of the Bloomsburians, but the attraction of the terraces and the fragrance of the shrubberies were sadly lessened when a pungent odour of burning snakes was their accompaniment. The stronger the complaints, however, the more apparent became Dr. Lnacn’s attachment to his favourite cremations.
LEACH was the friend and correspondent of that eminent cultivator of the classificatory sciences, Colonel George MONTAGU, of Lackham. Both of them rank among the early members of the Linnaaan Society, and it was under Lnaon’s editorship that Mouraeu’s latest contributions to the Society’s Transactions were published. MONTAGU’s Synopsis of Britt's/i Birds marks an epoch in the annals of our local ornithology, as does his treatise entitled Testacea Britannica in those of conchology. His contributions to the National Collections were very liberal. But he did not care much for any books save those that treated of natural history. In addition to a good estate and a fine mansion, he had inherited from his brother a choice 01d Library at Lackham, and a large cabinet of coins. These, I believe, he turned to account as means of barter for books and specimens in his favourite department of study. His love of the beauties of nature led him to prefer an unpretending abode in Devon to his fine Wiltshire house, and it was at His Collections in Zoology were purchased by the Trustees, and were removed from Knowle soon after his death. Scarcely any other purchase of like value in theNatural-I-Iistory Department was made for more than twenty years afterwards. After the purchase of the Montagu Collection, the growth of that department depended, as it had mainly depended before it, on the acquisitions made for the Public by the several naturalists who took part in the Voyages of Discovery or whose chance collections, made in the course of ordinary duty, came to be at the disposal of the British Admiralty.
Many of those naturalists were men of marked ability. Of necessity, their explorations were attended with much curious adventure. To detail their researches and vicissitudes would form—without much credit to the writer—an interesting chapter, the materials of which are superabundant. But, at present, it must needs be matter of hope, not of performance.
The distinctive progress of the Natural-History Collections, from comparative and relative poverty, to a creditable place amongst rival collections, connects itself preeminently with the labours of Dr. John Edward GRAY, who will hereafter be remembered as the ablest keeper and organizer those collections have hitherto had. Dr. GRAY is now (1870) in the forty-sixth year of his public service at the British Museum, which he entered as an Assistant, in 1824. He is widely known by his able edition of GRIFFITHS’ Animal Kingdom, by his Illustrations of Indian Zooloyy, by his account of the famous Derby Menagerie at Knowsley, and by his zllanual qf Britiin S/iells; but his least ostensible publications rank among the most conclusive proofs both of his ability and of his zeal for the public service. Dr. GRAY has always advocated the publication—t0 use Mr. CA RLYLE’S Words when under interrogatory by the Museum
or run N/in'au. llisrouv COLLECa-ioss or TllnML'srzuu IN 1836.
Commissioners of ISIS—of ‘all sorts of Catalogues.’ It is to him that the Public owe the admirable helps to the study of natural history which have been afforded by the long series of inventories, guides, and nomenclators, the publication of which began, at his instance, in the year 1844, and has been uneeasingly pursued. A mere list of the various printed synopses which have grown out of Dr. Gnar’s suggestion of 1844 would fill many such pages as that which the reader has now before him. The consequence is, that in no department of the Museum can the student, as yet, economise his time as he can economise it in the Natural-History Department. Printed, not Manuscript, Catalogues mean time saved; disappointment avoided; study fructified. No literary labour brings so little of credit as does the work of the Catalogue-maker. None better deserves the gratitude of scholars, as well as of the general mass of visitors.
Dr. GRAY became Keeper of Zoology in 1840. Four years earlier, he had given to Sir Benjamin HAWES’ Committee a striking account of the condition of that department, illustrating it by comparisons with the corresponding Collections in Paris, which may thus (not without unavoidable injustice) be abridged :—The species of mammalia then in the Museum were four hundred and five; the species of birds were two thousand four hundred, illustrated by four thousand six hundred and fifty-nine individual specimens. At that date, the latest accessible data assigned to the Paris Collection about five hundred species of mammals, and about two thousand three hundred species of birds, illustrated by nearly six thousand specimens. The Museum series of birds was almost equally rich in the orders, taken generally; but in gallinaceous birds it was more than proportionately rich, a