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exile, and warmly attached himself to Lewis The EighTeenth, to whom, in after years, he became the minister of predilection, as distinguished from that monarch's many ministers of constraint. He had, in his own day, the reputation of being a courtier; but seems to have been, in truth, an honest, frank, and outspeaking adviser. One saying of his depicts quite plainly the nature of the man, and also the nature of the work he had to do :—" If you want to defend your Crown, you musn't run away from your Kingdom.' Those words were spoken in 1815 ; and, as we all know, were spoken in vain.
A statesman of that stamp—one who does not watch and chronicle the shiftings of popular opinion, in order to know with certainty what are his own opinions, or in order to shape his own political 'principles'—rarely enjoys popularity. De Blacas became so little popular at home, that the King was forced to send him, for many years, abroad. At Rome, he negotiated the Concordat (1817-19); at Naples, he advised an amnesty (1822), together with other measures, some of which were too wise for the latitude. In the interval between his two residences at the Court of Naples, he took part in the Congress of Laybach.
The opportunities afforded by diplomacy in Italy and in other countries were turned to intellectual and archaeological, as well as to political, account. He imitated the example of Hamilton and of Elgin, and that of a crowd of his own countrymen, long anterior to either. Since his son's death, the British Museum has, by purchase, entered into his archaeological labours almost as largely—-in their way and measure—as it has inherited the treasures of its own enlightened ambassadors at Naples and at Constantinople.
The Duke died at Goeritz in 1839. Nine years earlier, he had advised Charles X against the measures which Book in,
precipitated that king into ruin; and when the obstinate Otmpkryi
monarch had to pay the sure penalty of neglecting good ^"TM'
advice, the giver of it voluntarily took his share of the ^ITs"'
'He that can endure
The late Duke of Blacas augmented his father's collections by many purchases of great extent and value. His blacas
'"1 a Collection
special predilection was for coins and gems. In that department the combined museum of father and son soon came to rank as the finest known collection, belonging to an individual possessor. It includes seven hundred and forty-eight ancient and classical cameos and intaglios, and two hundred and three others which are either mediaeval, oriental, or modern. The most precious portion of the Strozzi cabinet passed into it, as did also a choice part of the collections, respectively, of Barth and of De La Turbie. The Blacas Museum is also eminently rich in vases and paintings of various kinds; in sculptures, on every variety of material; in terracottas, and in ancient glass. Its 'silver toilet service' of a Christian Roman lady of the fifth century, named Projecta, has been made famous throughout Europe by the descriptive accounts which have appeared from the pen of Visconti and from that of Labarte. The casket is richly chased with figure-subjects. Among them are seen figures of Venus and Cupid; of the lady herself and of her bridegroom, Secundus. Roman bridesmaids, of Book III, indubitable flesh and blood, are mingled with the more Othkj1 unsubstantial forms of Nereids, riding upon Tritons.
Recent Of the men devoted, in our own day, to the enchaining Hugh pursuits of Natural History, few better deserve a compeCumingjhis tent biographer than does Hugh Cuming, whose career, in its relation to the Museum history, has an additional interest for us from the circumstance that his course in life was
partly shaped by his having attracted, in childhood, the
see page 376. Colonel George Montagu, of Lackham.
Young Cuming's childish fondness for picking up shells and gathering plants attracted Colonel Montagu's notice about the time that the boy was apprenticed to a sailmaker, living not far from the boy's native village, West Alvington, in Devon. The elder naturalist fostered the nascent passion of his young and humble imitator, and the trade of sailmaking brought Cuming, whilst still a boy, into contact with sailors. The benevolent and Nature-loving Colonel told the youngster some of the fairy tales of science; the tars spun yarns for him about the marvels of foreign parts. A few, and very few, years of work at his trade at home were followed by a voyage to South America. At Valparaiso he resumed his handicraft, but only as a step (by aid of frugality and foresight) towards saving enough of money to enable him to devote his whole being to conchology and to botany. Seven years of work under this inspiring ambition, seem to have enabled the man of five-and-thirty to retire from business, and to build himself a yacht. But his was to be no lounging yachtman's life; it was rather to resemble the life of an A.B. before the mast. The year 1827 was spent in toiling and dredging, to good purpose, amongst the islands of the South Pacific. When he returned to Valparaiso, the retired sailmaker found that he Bookih, had won fame, as well as many precious rarities in concho- O'thej1 logy and botany. The Chilian Government gave him ^SB"°" special privileges and useful credentials. He then devoted £^TMT two years to the thorough exploration of the coasts extending from Chiloe to the Gulf of Conchagua. He botanized -rf"TM*!m in plains, marshes and woods; he turned over shingle, and Returns preexplored the crannies of the cliffs, with the patient endur- TJritment, ance of a Californian gold-digger, and was much happier T'y in his companions. In 1831, he returned to England, with a modest but assured livelihood, and with inexhaustible treasures in shells and plants, of which multitudes were theretofore unseen and unknown in Europe.
The year 1831 was a happy epoch for a conchologist. The Zoological Society had just gained a firm footing. Broderip and Sowerby were ready to exhibit and to describe the rich shells of the Pacific. Richard Owen was eager to anatomize the molluscs, and to write their biography. Some of the novelties brought over by Cuming in 1831 were still yielding new information thirty years afterwards; probably are yielding it still.
In 1835, Mr. Cuming returned to America. He devoted four years to an exhaustive survey of the natural history— more especially, but far from exclusively, the conchology and the botany—of the Philippine group of islands, of Malacca, Singapore, and St. Helena.
Cuming was fitted for his work not more by his scientific ardour and his patient toil-bearing, than by his amiable character. He loved children. His manner was so attractive to them that in some places to which he travelled a schoolful of children were extemporised into botanic missionaries. The joyous band would turn out for a holiday, and would spend the whole of it in searching for the plants,
the shells, and the insects, with the general forms and appearances of which the promoter and rewarder of their voluntary labours had previously familiarised them. He returned to England with such a collection of shells as no previous investigator had brought home; and with about one hundred and thirty thousand specimens of dried plants, besides many curious specimens in other departments.
His collections had been a London marvel before he set out on his third voyage of discovery. He then possessed, I believe, almost sixteen thousand species, and they were regarded as a near approximation to a perfect collection, according to the knowledge of the time. If the writer of the able notice of him which the Athenaeum published immediately after his death was rightly informed, Cuming nearly doubled that number by the results of his final voyage, and by those of subsequent purchases made in Europe.
Very naturally, strenuous efforts were made to ensure the perpetuity of this noble collection during its owner's lifetime. The history of those efforts still deserves to be told, and for more than one reason. But it cannot be told here. This inadequate notice of a most estimable man must close with the few words which, three years ago, closed Professor Owen's annual Report on the Progress of the Zoological Portion of the British Museum. 'The discoveries and labours of Mr. Hugh Cuming/ he then wrote, 'do honour to his country; the fruition of them by Naturalists of all countries now depends mainly on the acquisition of the space required for the due arrangement, exhibition—facility of access and comparison—of the rarities which the Nation has acquired.' And then he adds a small individual instance, as a passing illustration of the value of Mr. Cuming's lifelong pursuit—'Among the choicer rarities, ... brought from the Philippines in 1840, was a specimen