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Booknt, Commissioners of 1848—of 'all sorts of Catalogues.' It Hwromi is to him that the Public owe tlie admirable helps to the MustUh study of natural history which have been afforded by the Uhdirsu ]011g series of inventories, guides, and nomenclators, the publication of which began, at his instance, in the year ] 844, and has been unceasingly pursued. A mere list of the various printed synopses which have grown out of Dr. Gray'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.
State Dr> Gray became Keeper of Zoology in 1840. Four years
Natuial earlier, he had given to Sir Benjamin Hawks' Committee a co"°cY striking account of the condition of that department, illusIhtmusisuk trating it by comparisons with the corresponding Collections In 1836. 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 large number of splendid examples having been received Book in, from India. In tlie birds of Africa, of Brazil, and of H»to«
Northern Europe, also, the Museum was already exception
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 »/^«TM«
1 1836, p. 238.
The number of species of reptiles was in 183G 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 nu.,v.m one half the then number at Berlin. (Q-swe-w.
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 disor THE MlsEUM
Under Sib H. Elms.
ch0""1' tinguished from comparative—wealth. There were already, History in 1836, more than nine thousand known species of shells.
It was further shown in the evidence that, even under the arrangements of 183G, 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 Hahdwicke Bkqukstof „rew 0ut 0f a stipulation made by Dr. Gray, when he
Zoology. D I J >
undertook, at General Hardwicke's request, the editorship of the Illustrations of Indian Zoology. 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.
Ofthe" ^n Marcn> 1849, the course of inquiries pursued by Natural Lord Ellesmere's Commission led to a new review of the Coliec- growth of the Natural-History Collections, and more espeOtth* cially of the Zoology. It applied in particular to the twelve i836 4s>u or *mr';een 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 sjiecimens of vertebrated animals were added to the Museum galleries and storehouses. Of these, five thousand seven hundred and ninetyseven were mammals; thirteen thousand four hundred and Book in, fourteen were birds ; four thousand one hundred and twelve Himo»i reptiles; and six thousand two hundred and seventy-two Mutmum were fish. The number of specimens of annulose animals "jTM^1* 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 Gosse in Jamaica; by Gould, Gilbert, and Stephenson, in Australia and in New Zealand; by Hartweg in Mexico; by Goudot in Columbia; by Verreaux and Smith in South Africa; by Erazer in Tunis; and by Bridges 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 com- Check m
11 -111111 p ' • n THB GROWTH
motion had seriously checked the due progress oi scientific O»naturalcollections. Britain had been making unwonted strides in Cq^kctionm the improvement of its Museum, at the very time when °STH*
1 » Continent,
most of the Continental States had allowed their fine Ims-isbs. 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 Milne-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.
Bookiii, Not less conspicuous had been the growth of the several History Departments of Antiquities. And this part of the story of Museum the Museum teems with varied interest. Within a period jy""81" 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 Erech, 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 Archaeology has been scarcely less remarkable. The series of ancient vases—to take but one example—of which the research and liberality of Sir William 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.*
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 Archaeology met with no elucidation.
* Birch, Ancient Pottery, vol. i, pp. 209, 210.