[ocr errors]





Book II. class of documents of which the donor's own Collection was Book-*** mainly composed—the materials, namely, of Continental LOVERS AND history. Amongst the earliest purchases of 1832 was BENEFAC- a curious Venetian Portolano of the fifteenth century. In

d. the same year a large series of Irish Manuscripts, collected MAN MSS. by the late John HARDIMAN, was acquired. This extends ArcuÆ0- from the Egerton number"74' to 214'; and from the

same Collector was obtained the valuable Minutes of Debates in the House of Commons, taken by Colonel CAVENDISH, between the years—so memorable in our history—from 1768 to 1774.* 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 RODD. 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 AUGMENTA- British Museum who have become its benefactors by aug

mentation, as well as by faithful guardianship, to follow it in exactly the same track. Charles LONG, Lord Farn

borough, bequeathed (in 1838) the sum of two thousand Lord Farn- eight hundred and seventy-two pounds in Three per cent.

Consols, specifically as an augmentation of the Bridgewater


BOROUGH, 1838.

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

[ocr errors]


Egerton Mss. 1704-1756. Ib. 1758

fund. Lord FARNBOROUGH's bequest now produces eighty- Book II, six pounds a year; Lord BRIDGEWATER's, about four hundred and ninety pounds a year. Together, therefore, they yield five hundred and seventy pounds, annually, for Beneracthe improvement of the National Collection of Manuscripts.

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 in 1850. In 1857, the important historical collection, 1704-1756. known as 'the Bentinck Papers,' was purchased from Tycho 1772. 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 Pope 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 Egerton MSS. papers, amongst which are notable some Venetian Relazioni; * papers of Cardinals Carlo CARAFFA and Flavio ORSINI; and 1000 some letters of Antonio Perez. In 1869, there was also 2084. obtained, by means of the conjoined Egerton and Farnborough funds, a curious parcel of papers relating to the 1b. 2087early affairs of the Corporation and trade of Dover, from the year 1387 to 1678; together with some other papers 16. 2086 ; illustrative of the cradle-years of our Indian empire.




[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



Amongst the latest accessions obtained from the Bridge

water fund are some MSS. from the hand of a famous LOVERS AND 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 MSS.'sx tux aimed at gaining a sort of celebrity, more enduring than Collection 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. Sorne,
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. NE; Nor were these the only literary bequests and foundations

of the last Earl of BridGEWATER. 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 learnfrom MS. correspondence now before me—are of great



value, and are gladly made available, by their owners for Book II, 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.

Chap. III.



[ocr errors]

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 GREVILLE, the nephew of Sir William HAMILTON, The acquihad collected, in his residence at Paddington Green, a THE noble cabinet of minerals. It was the finest assemblage of MINERALS; 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 of the Mondepartment, by the purchase, for the sum of eleven hundred SZUM ; pounds, of a Collection of British Zoology, which had been formed at Knowle, in Devonshire, by Colonel George III, c. I.] MONTAGU. The Montagu Collection was especially rich in birds.

Nine years later, the Library was further benefited, in the AND OF THE way of gift, by a choice Italian Collection, gathered and Tions of Sie given by Sir Richard Colt HOARE, 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 Rich.

Sir Richard HOARE 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

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



which he cultivated, both as author and as patron, the-in
Britain—too much neglected department of provincial to-
pography. 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
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 DIUS notice. He may be regarded as the first explorer of Assyria.

Sce, Had it not been for his early death, it is very probable that Book III, c. 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. Rich's representatives a Collection of Manuscripts, extending to eight hundred and two volumesSyriac, 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 EL MSS. bequest of Mr. John Fowler Hull-another distinguished



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »