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large number of splendid examples having been received from India. In the birds of Africa, of Brazil, and of Northern Europe, also, the Museum was already exceptionally well-stored.
The special value of the Ornithological Collection undoubtedly showed that it had been more elaborately cared for than had been some other parts of natural history. But the extent and richness of the bird gallery, even at this period, is not to be ascribed merely to a desire to delight the eyes of a crowd of visitors. For scientific purposes, a collection of birds must be more largely-planned and better filled than a collection of mammals, or one of fish. In birds, the essential characters of a considerable group of individual specimens may be identical and their colours entirely different. Besides the numerous diversities attendant upon age and sex, the very date at which a bird is killed may produce variations which have their interest for the scientific student.
The number of species of reptiles was in 1836 about six hundred, illustrated by about one thousand three hundred specimens. This number was much inferior to that of the Museum at Paris, but it exceeded by one third the number of species in the Vienna Museum, and almost by one half the then number at Berlin.
The species of fish amounted to nearly a thousand, but this was hardly the fourth of the great collection at. Paris, although it probably exceeded every other, or almost every other, Continental collection of the same date. Of shells, the Museum number of species was four thousand and twenty-five (exclusive of fossils), illustrated by about fifteen thousand individuals. This number of species was at par with that of Paris; much superior both to Berlin and to Leyden; but it was far from representing positive—as dis
tinguished from comparative—wealth. There were already, in 1836, more than nine thousand known species of shells.
It was further shown in the evidence that, even under the arrangements of 1836, the facilities of public access equalled those given at the most liberal of the Continental Museums, and considerably exceeded those which obtained at fully four-fifths of their number.
Among the many services rendered to the Museum by Dr. GRAY, one is of too important a character to be passed over, even in a notice so brief as this must needs be. The large bequest in Zoology of Major-General HARDWICKE grew out of a stipulation made by Dr. GRAY, when he undertook, at General HARDWICKE’s request, the editorship of the Illustrations (y‘ Indian Zoo/qqy. A long labour brought to the editor no pecuniary return, but it brought an important collection to the British Public in the first instance, and eventually a large augmentation of what had been originally given.
In March, 1849, the course of inquiries pursued by Lord ELLESMERE’s Commission led to a new review of the growth of the Natural-History Collections, and more especially of the Zoology. It applied in particular to the twelve or thirteen years which had then elapsed since the prior inquiries of 1835-1836. The statement possesses much interest, but it is occasionally deficient in that systematic and necessary distinction between species and specimens which characterised the evidence of 1836. In brief, however, it may be said, that in the eight years extending between June, 1840, and June, 1848, twenty-nine thousand five hundred and ninety-five specimens of vertebrated animals were added to the Museum galleries and storehouses. Of these, five thousand seven hundred and ninety
seven were mammals; thirteen thousand four hundred and fourteen were birds ; four thousand one hundred and twelve reptiles; and six thousand two hundred and seventy-two were fish. The number of specimens of annulose animals added during the same period was seventy-three thousand five hundred and sixty-three: and that of mollusca and radiata, fifty-seven thousand six hundred and ten.
These large additions comprised extensive gatherings made by DYSON in Venezuela, and in various parts of North America; by GARDINER and CLAUSEN in Brazil; by Gossn in Jamaica; by GOULD, GILBERT, and Srarnauson, in Australia and in New Zealand ; by HAR'l‘WEG in Mexico; by Gounor in Columbia; by Vaaaaxux and SMrrn in South Africa; by Faxzaa in Tunis; and by Brunens in Chili and in some other parts of South America.
Of the splendid collections made by Mr. HODGSON in India, some more detailed mention must be made hereafter.
Meanwhile, on the Continent of Europe, political commotion had seriously checked the due progress of scientific collections. Britain had been making unwonted strides in the improvement of its Museum, at the very time when most of the Continental States had allowed their fine Museums to remain almost stationary. In mammals, birds, and shells, the British Museum had placed itself in the first rank. Only in reptiles, fish, and crustacea, could even Paris now claim superiority. Those classes had there engaged for a long series of years the unremitting research and labour of such naturalists as CUVIER, DUMERIL, VALENCIENNES, and Minna-EDWARDS; and their relative wealth of specimens it will be hard to overtake. In insects, the Museum Collection vies with that of Paris in point of extent, and excels it in point of arrangement.
Boon III, Chap. 11. HISTORY or run Musacll un'mm Sm H. Burs.
Not less conspicuous had been the growth of the several Departments of Antiquities. And this part of the story of the Museum teems with varied interest. Within a period of less than thirty years, vast and widely-distant cities, rich in works of art, have been literally disinterred. In succession to the superb marbles of Athens, of Phigaleia, and of Rome, some of the choicest sculptures and most curious minor antiquities of Nineveh, of Calah, of Ereeh, of Ur-ofthe-Chaldees, of Babylon, of Xanthus, of Halicarnassus, of Cnidus, and of Carthage, have come to London.
The growth of the subordinate Collections of Archaeolog has been scarcely less remarkable. The series of ancient vases—to take but one example—of which the research and liberality of Sir \Villiam HAMILTON laid a good foundation almost a century ago, has come at length to surpass its wealthiest compeers. Only a few years earlier, it ranked as but the third, perhaps as but the fourth, among the great vase-collections of Europe. London, in that point of view, was below both Naples and Paris, if not also below Munich. It now ranks above them all; possessing two thousand six hundred vases, as against two thousand at Paris, and two thousand one hundred at Naples."E
Another department, lying in part nearer home—that of British, Mediaeval, and Ethnological Antiquities—has been almost created by the labours of the last twenty years. The ‘ British’ Museum can no longer be said to be a misnomer, as designating an establishment in which British Archwology met with no elucidation.
' Birch, Ancient Pottery, vol. i, pp. 209, 210.
INTRODUCTION TO BOOK III(Oontimwd):——GROWTH,
‘Whntever be the judgment formed on [certain contested] points at issue, the Minutes of Evidence must be admitted to contain pregnant proofs of the acquiremente and abilities, the manifestation of which in subordinate otlire led to Mr. Puuizzi's promotion to that which he now holds under circumstances which, in our opinion—— formed on documentary evidence—did credit to the Prinripal Trustees of the day.’—R|tronr or run. Cmnussiouzns APPOIRTID r0 lNQL'lltl-I inro nu; Manna:uzsr or Tm: Bni'risii Mrser ilelJ)
‘ in consideration of the long and very valuable services of Mr. Punizzi, including not only his indefatigable labours as Principal-Libmrinn, but also the service which he rendered as architect of the new Btflllan-RDOIB, the Trustees recommended that he should he allowed to retire on full salary after a discharge of his duties for thirty~four years.‘
HANHAID'S Parliamentary Debate: (27 July, 1866).
77m rllusemn Buildinys.——T/ie New Readiny-Room and ifs His/0ry.—T/1e House of Commons’ Commillee of 1860: —Fun‘lier Reorganization of fire Deparlmenls—Sum— wary of tile Growl/i of the Collections in file years 1856-1866, anal q/“z‘lieir increased Use and Enjoyment by fire Public.
No ouns'rron connected with the improvement of the British Museum has, from time to time, more largely engrossed the attention, either of Parliament or of the Public at large, than has the question of the Buildings. On none