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Book Ii, for public use, he adds the proviso—' in such manner as Early they (the Trustees) shall think most likely to answer the "J*TM",TM public benefit by me intended.' He had a love for the MoiEcit. 0ld Manor House at Chelsea, and contemplated, as it seems, with some special complacency, the maintenance there of the Collections which had added so largely to the pleasures of his own fruitful life. But he was careful not to tie down his Trustees to the continuance of the Museum at Chelsea, as a condition of his bounty. They were at liberty to assent to its removal, should the balance of public advantage seem to them to point towards removal.
Chelsea was in that day a quiet suburban village, distant from the heart of London. As the site of a Museum it had many advantages, but it was, comparatively and to the mass of visitors and students, a long way off. The Trustees assented to a generally expressed opinion that whilst the new institution ought not to be placed in any of the highways of traffic, it ought to be nearer to them than it would be, if continued in its then abode.
One of the first places offered for their choice was the old Buckingham House (now the royal palace). It was already a large and handsome structure. The charm of its position, at that time, was not unduly boasted of in the golden letters of the inscription conspicuous upon its entablature—
'S/c siti Icetantur lares.' E.imim.], its prospects, as described not very long before by the Burkingh.ni, late ducal owner, 'presented to view at once a vast town, si.r'wiimJy. a palace, and a cathedral, on one side; and, on the other sides, two parks, and a great part of Surrey.' Its fine gardens ended in 'a little wilderness, full of blackbirds and nightingales.' Yet it was close to the Court end of the town. But the price was thirty thousand pounds.
Bookii, needful to make considerable alterations in order to adapt E^ly' the building to its new uses. This outlay increased the eventual cost of the mansion, and of its appliances and fittings, to somewhat more than twenty-three thousand pounds. The adaptation, with the removal and re-arrangement of the Collections, occupied nearly five years. It was not until the beginning of the year 1759 that the Museum was opened for public inspection. When removed to Bloomsbury, it was but brought back to within a few hundred yards of its first abode.
cojMtm-- We have seen that according to the plan for the governMi-seb"** ment °f the institution which Sloane had sketched in his Trust. Codicil of July, 1749, there would have been a Board of Visitors as well as a Board of Trustees. But, by the foundation Statute, enacted in 1753, both of these Boards were incorporated into one. Forty-one Trustees were constituted, with full powers of management and control. Six of these were representatives of the several families of Cotton, Harley, and Sloane, the head, or nearest in lineal succession, of each family having the nomination, from time to time, of such representatives or 'Family Trustees,' when, by death or otherwise, vacancies should occur. Twenty were 'Official' Trustees, in accordance, so far, with Sloane's scheme for the constitution of his Board of Visitors; and by these two classes, conjointly, the other fifteen Trustees were to be elected.
The Official Trustees were to be the holders for the time being of the following offices:—(1) The Archbishop of Canterbury, (2) the Lord Chancellor, (3) the Speaker of the House of Commons, (4) the Lord President of the Council, (5) the First Lord of the Treasury, (6) the Lord Privy Seal, (7) the First Lord of the Admiralty, (8 and 9)
Book Ii, day, as a cultivator of experimental science. Some magEai!ly netic apparatus of his construction and gift was placed in "hebhtwh tne Museum soon after its opening, and attracted, in its MusmjK. jay, much attention. He received the appointment after a keen competition with the more widely-known physician and botanist, Sir John Hill. The first three 'Keepers of Departments' were Dr. Matthew Maty, Dr. Charles Morton, and Mr. James Empson. Dr. Knight retained his post until 1772.
Maty and Morton succeeded in turn to the office of Principal Librarian, and their respective services will have a claim to notice hereafter. Empson had been the valued servant and friend of Sir Hans Sloane. He is the only officer whose name appears in Sloane's Will. He had served him as Keeper of the Museum at Chelsea for many years.
There is, in one of the letters of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, an amusing account of an initiatory meeting of the original Trustees, held prior to their formal constitution by Parliament. It is marked by the writer's usual superciliousness towards all hobbies, except the dilettante hobby which he himself was wont to ride so hard. 'I employ my time chiefly, at present,' he wrote to Mann, in February, 1753, 'in the guardianship of embryos and cockle shells. Sir Hans Sloane valued his Museum at eighty thousand pounds, and so would anybody who loves hippopotamuses, sharks with one ear, and spiders as big as geese. . . . We are a charming wise set—all Philosophers, Botanists, Antiquarians, and Mathematicians—and adjourned our first meeting because Lord Macclesfield, our Chairman, was engaged in a party for finding out the Longitude.'