24 AUGUST 1850, Page 19

dirEinug5 film tr $1nr TEAL superintendence, and responsibility of completing

and carrying it through yOrtimiffem beneficial to thegipublic; you are the best judge : but if you do cfs, phabetical catalogues aford, and to be inferior to none of them."

general plan and basis of the Catalogue now in sue." Mr. Panizzi who the Keeper on the occasion of laying this magnum opus before them the

but (no doubt, alluding to his expressions on the 12th January 1828) now, or dowu to within a short time, in the library, printed by the cud of 1844." whether he was willing, in his official eapacity, to undertake the conduct, and very pro- whether in the course of the ensuing year ; and of their wish to know prepared with great industry and great talent; they may be very goodper rules; went,:z:Iceibitctionre to give them laiesane tioynonaa unAlipelsy ctohneticitieLese, in the press. Mr. Panizzi expressed his willingness to undertake that or them out fully, remember they must not interfere with a printed catalogue. We any other duty the Trustees might require of him. He was informed have frequently expressed our opinion and determination as to the propriety of in reply, that the Trustees did not 're him to undertake this work; that dete whether you plish in five or si.v years from the commencement, provided that he should

the British Museum does not possess such an alphabetical catalogue is

accounts for his denunciation ofa printed Catalogue, as well as his grounds binding, which would come close upon, if not exceed, 20001., at a prime of preference of a manuscript Catalogue • because the first would have cost of 4/. per copy—though the Trustees fixed it to be sold at 11.! Mr. been a cheek upon him in many ways Catalogue; the latter afforded none. Panizzi wishes to have this volume considered only as an "experiment The

final revision of the Catalogue which he thought it would require ; and printed Catalogue at last, although only the letter A. It is a very beautiful should be placed is other hands, selves placed in a singularly awkward position. Our instructions to you were

remind Mr. Panizzi of their resolutions of the 12th May, and requested him Catalogue of all the books in the Library, up- to the endusofal8"28m inclusive, by

to draw up a plan for the immediate printing of the Catalogue, to be ready the end of the year 1844: we are now beyond the middle of 1841, and this far their meeting of the 15th ; also a copy of the rules which Mr. Baber (pointing to the volume) all the progress you have yet made. If the other

had adopted for entering the titles, and of any additions to or cdter'tinns • If there was a doubt about isny part of them cas rush a doubt has been startedin herhad made in them since he had become Keeper. On the 17th, he was air. PIIIIIZZA favour) Mr. Forshall the Secretary s evidence would fully clear it up. informed of the Trustees' fixed determination to begin the printing of the "Mr. Panizzi," he is speaking in the person of the Trustees, "these rules have bean

possible to fix. The rate of printing he thought uncertain, but probably A report of the iaumber of titles revised and prepared up to that time having stated the number at 60,000, Mr. Panizzi remarks that the labour

was present on that occasion, sorely mortified at the Trustees' firm' ness, following dialogue would appear to represent pretty faithfully an einliodi-

mixing asked, said he did not think it possible, with the proper perform- ment of the feeling on both sides. anee of his other duties, that he should give that superintendence to the 1 Trustees—" Well, Mr. Panizzi, we are very glad to see a portion of the was called to Windsor Castle, and a third died shortly after ; so that July 1841, the first volume, containing letter A, comprised in 467 pages there was only one gentleman left besides Mr. Panizzi, out of the origi- or 114 sheets, was laid before the Trustees. The printing had occupied

accounts for his denunciation ofa printed Catalogue, as well as his grounds binding, which would come close upon, if not exceed, 20001., at a prime of preference of a manuscript Catalogue • because the first would have cost of 4/. per copy—though the Trustees fixed it to be sold at 11.! Mr. been a cheek upon him in many ways Catalogue; the latter afforded none. Panizzi wishes to have this volume considered only as an "experiment The greater progress had been made in that work. It should be mentioned pects that the whole titles of all the printed works in the British Museum here, that in consequence of his promotion over the head of his senior col- will have been arranged in strict alphabetical order." On the 1 1 th March

league, Mr. Cary,'that gentleman retired at Christmas following; another 1840, the first portion of copy was sent to the printer; and on the 24th nal five on whom the Trustees had devolved the superintendence and 1a- 476 days or 68 weeks; being at the rate of less than 11 sheets or 7 hour of the Catalogue. Mr. Panizzi therefore saw in no distant prospect pages per week. The charge for corrections must have been enormous ; that the whole control of the Catalogue must fall into his hands : which the bill for printing alone being 770/. (Q. 5972-5973) besides the paper and The Trustees, however, remained fine; in their determination to have a Trustees must have felt it to be a most costly one. But what was their

PRINTED Catalogue ; and on four several occasions (18th November and conduct to their wilfully disobedient servant ? The minute of the 24th July their minutes resolutions of adherence to that determination. The third is remarkable that no record of any meeting is found among the papers in time, it was in these words—" That the Trustees adhere to their intention th•- Appendix between that time and 7th January 1843. If one might

of printing a useful Catalogue of the books in the Museum Library, on the venture to suppose the scene which took place between the Trustees and

was present on that occasion, sorely mortified at the Trustees' firm' ness, following dialogue would appear to represent pretty faithfully an einliodi- taiued by the learned, literary, and scientific world of Great Britain, from above fifteen years old ; the best plan to adopt for the new one ; the slips offioers of the existing establishment could be devoted to it, and what of titles or entries which could be made per day; the length of time the aoquirements, eminently qualify him as the superintending officer of this to those of the previous eight-volume Catalogue. On the same occasion, Mr. Panizzi reported to the Trustees in these terms—" The Library of the public have a right to expect in such an institution. The work has never been attempted on a scale worthy of the nation ; and, in my humble opinion, :such a work should now be undertaken, and completed without delay, and without regard to cost or time, with the view of rendering it as the first time, stated objections to having any printed Catalogue at all. had been almost thrown away; and he considered it very fortunate that nef December in the same year. "By the end of the year, Mr. Panizzi ex- arat if his inclinations were consulted, the superintendence of the Catalogue we they took information beforehand and very minutely on the various points they had to consider,—such as the state of the existing Catalogue, then or titles of books added since that time, how far they were ready, or what extra assistance it would be necessary to call in to their aid; the number whole operation would consume, &re. : in short, no point on which in- formation was necessary or desirable to them was overlooked. Two plans were submitted to their choice by the Reverend Mr. Baber, the then Keeper of the Printed Books,—both for an Ai,rnsesnesi, the mode of executien : the first (of April 26th) proposing to give the the labour among four (Mr. Panizzi being one of the four) and giving the superintendence to Mr. Baber. With respect to the first plan, Mr. Baber acocanpanied it by a statement recommending Mr. Panizzi as the officer to were delivered to the Trustees at regular intervals, reporting the progress had been done in a year and a half; inferring from that fact, that it would pilation, printing, paper, boarding or binding; the amount of the whole being between 11,000/. and 12,0001., expressly excluding stationery and not more than three sheets octavo per week ; and the extent of the com- 920 in all; to include the supposed 300,000 titles and references, similar useful as possible. It ought to afford all the information that the best al- Books, and Mr. Panizzi was appointed to succeed him. On the 17th November following, only four months after his promotion, Mr. Panizzi, for determined to set about preparing the materials for so great a work. been, to refrain from making too heavy demands on the national purse, revision they would require to fit them for the pres.s ; what force of the CATALOGUE, agreeing entirely as to detailed principles, but differing in whole superintendence to one person ; the second (of May 6th) dividing be employed. " Mr. Panizzf s age, activity of mind, and various literary preferred the second plan, to Mr. Panizzi's great and expressed disap- pointment; and on the 10th of May Mr. Baber was directed "to lose no time in commencing the new Aimitairricat CATALOGUE, and to plaoe the plan in the hands of the gentlemen to be employed, to secure greater uniformity." The work commenced and went on, and reports made. On the 7th of January 1836, the Principal Librarian (Ellis) re- ported, that of 200,000 titles, the number originally estimated, 50,000 not take less than five or six years more to finish it : and he at the same time gave an estimate of the further expense likely to be incurred in com- other extras, and the expense of correction of the sheets, as a thing im- plete Catalogue he estimated at 23 volumes octavo, of 40 sheets each or lfith December 1837, and 12th January and 12th May 1838) recorded in 1841 says simply—" The Trustees conferred with Mr. Panizzi." And It the want of a Catalogue of the books in that immense national repository, Like prudent men, however, and anxious, as they appear always to have work; which employment he would cheerfully accept, and engage to accom- have the assistance of three well-educated young men." The Trustees IT now just sixteen years and four months since the Trustees of the Museum, deeply impressed with a sense of the ,great inconvenience SUS- • Oa the 1st Deoember 1838, the Trustees directed their Secretary to very precise and guarded, that you should prod to pl te printed In July 1837, Mr. Baber resigned his office of Keeper of the Printed BRITISH MUSEUM L/BEARY : THE CATALOGUE HOAX.

cuted with great skill and ability, &c. But, Mr. Panizzi feel our-

book, and does great credit to the printer ; and your part of it also seems ere-

having such a catalogue ; we are not moved from strictly apply the rules, or whether you donut, we musthave a catalogue of the books

on the 31st of December 1844; and that, approving generally the rules which those rules in respect of titles already sufficiently sulg-ect always to the condi- with regard to the time allowed, considering that five years had been al- tioned, and to perform them to the best of his power. Between that time and July following, a new set of rules—the famous XCI—were drawn up ; all the necessary arrangements relative to the printing wore settled ; the form of the sheet changed from an octavo to a small folio (of the size long report, exhibiting the qualities of a good catalogue, and the immense justice to the merit of the execution of the illustrations which he has fur- wish that Mr. Panizzi would be pleased to proceed with the work, upon the general understanding, that their object is to have the beet Catalogue, references included, which can be delivered to them, complete from the press, he has laid before them, they leave to his own discretion the application of tees were very unreasonable in fixing the end of the year 1844 (being ten years and a half from the commencement of the work in May 1834) as the term by which the Catalogue was to be completed. The impression of their having allowed ample time was more likely to be confirmed than which seemed necessary to insure its proper execution. Mr. Panizzi on the 1st of January repeats his willingness to undertake the duties men- of the Parliamentary Blue Books), the size of the volumes (of which there were to be six) fixed at 2.50 sheets or 1000 pages; each page being lation of the preceding Catalogue (about one-third of the whole) was the public is wholly unacquainted with them, and that Appendix itself has not been circulated beyond 100 copies, perhaps not half the number. We nizzi for the formation of a Catalogue of the Printed Books, and acing full nished, the Trustees considering the time, labour, and expense already de- voted to the preparations of a Catalogue, and the urgent deem expressed in tion that the Catalogue be completed as aforesaid."

otherwise by the terms of Mr. Panizzis report of progress on the 11th wished to ascertain whether, tones' tendy with his other duties, he Mt that he could promise that vigorous and constant attention to the Catalogue estimated to contain 50 entries, or 50,000 per velem°, or 800,000 in all. Everything was determined according to the will and pleasure of Mr. Panizzi; and it was not long before he made it be understood that every- thing that had been done from May 1834 up to that time went for nothing, as he boasted afterwards that he had predicted ; so that the whole ex- pense and labour of the recent revision, in addition to that of the compi- to be gone over again, on the pretence that the entries in the old Cata- logue were so bad, so blundering, so inaccurate, that they could never harmonize with those constructed according to the new rules. Poor Sir letter to Lord Aberdeen, of the 16th December, his "regret at observing that the last Catalogue had been represented to the Committee as useless, the history of its preparation, the compliments that had been paid to hint upon it, and challenged any examination, to test its accuracy, utility, difficulties to be overcome in making one ; interlarding his arguments with long quotations from Hyde and Fysher's Catalogues of the Bodleian and Audiffredi's Catalogue of the Casanate Libraries.

details (condensed and abstracted from the important Appendix to the Report of the late Museum Inquiry (ommission) only because we believe pass over the conferences about the rules in which some of the Trustees took part, and proceed to the final instructions of the General Meeting, issued on the 13th July 1889.

reports upon the subject, as well as the various minutes of the Sub-Com- mittees and Committees relative to the same, the House of Commons- ready spent in preparing and revising titles, we do not see that the Trus- and an unfit foundation for subsequent accessions": he recapitulated &c. Mr. Panizzi, on the 12th January 1839, sang his " Io triumphe " in a Henry Ellis felt, as it was natural, deeply mortified, and expressed in a These instructions appear to be clear and precise ;• and We must cut short our narrative, however : we have entered into these "The Trustees, having before them the rules and Mr. Panizzis several "Besolved,—Without undervaluing the principles suggested by Mr. Pa- " L That the work may be completed with the least possible delay; and Catalogue,— pared in such a way as to be resolvable, when required, into a Classed 2. That the materials for the Alphabetical Catalogue should be pre-

rmination ;

letters were only to occupy the same time, (three years,) it would take -seventy-two years to finish it but as several of them are much longer, pro- bably double and treble the size, it seems pretty clear that instead of six years, as we had calculated at the end of last year, we shall have a century to wait, before not we but our grandchildren will see the end of it. What is to be done ?" Panizzi—" Gentlemen, I never concealed from you my conviction that the Catalogue could not be completed in 1844. The rules which were drawn up, which were fully deliberated upon at several meetings, and which were finally sanctioned by yourselves, are the rules by which I am guided in drawing up this Catalogue. The work is now carried on with all possible despatch consistently with correctness. I was bound to do all I could to com- plete it in 1844 if possible, and if not possible, to have it completed as soon as possibk. The public cannot expect more."

The Trustees seem to have been dumbfounded at the cool impudence of this reply : but they might have easily retorted upon him, by remind- ing him of his own voluntary offer, in April 1834, to accomplish the whole inike or six years ; that his ideas then, as well as in 1836, when ex- amined before the House of Commons Committee (Q.. 4832, 4833, 4852,) as to the nature and plans of au4t4;habetical Catalogue, did not differ so much from those of other persons as to draw the Trustees' special attention to them but that whatever these were, they considered that a gross decep- tion liad been practised upon them, when, in the very teeth of their in- structions of July 1839, he had immediately commenced his operations on "the broad male which the volume now before them exhibited : that this was not an alphabetical catalogue at all, but a perfect jumble of alpha- betical and classified arrangement, such as could in no possible way be "resolvable' when required, into a classed Catalogue," as their second instruction directed. And they might then also, with great propriety, have called upon him, before he proceeded one step further, to explain to them upon paper, and in detailed paragraphs, the whole minutim of the plan on which he was now proceeding. But nothing of the kind was done ; the Keeper proceeded with his Catalogue as before, and as he has done ever since, with the silent acquiescence of the Trustees,—thereby enabling him to carry his point of having no printed Catalogue, in which he has fairly succeeded. The pretence, too, of his adherence to the rules having delayed his progress, is mere fudge : the rules are quite as often violated, and multiplied, as they are observed; and one rule in particular (XXII. with regard to Oriental books) is no more attended to than if it had never existed. In the course of the printing of the first volume, the Trustees, who saw the sheets as they were passing through the press, made suggestions and objections as to several entries, all tending to question their unnecessary length ; but they were summarily and at once put down by the Keeper, as matters with which they had no right to in- terfere!

It is amusing to notice the progressive enlargement of Mr. Panizzi's ideas as to the number of titles he had to catalogue. In January 1840, he says—" The grand total is estimated at 330,000. But as there are more entries in the Catalogue than either titles or slips, and moreover, as ac- cording to the rules now laid down," &c., "the total number of entries it is expected, will not fall much short of 400,000." Three years der, (January 1843) he reports in answer to an inquiry by the Trustees, that " the titles are not ready in manuscript, nor anything like it; and instead of 400,000, they will be much more than double.'

On the 27th of June 1844, he calculates that the Catalogue, i f printed, will form forty folio volumes, and would cost 40,0001.; a sum which an- other witness before the Commission (Edwards, Q. 5973) thought would be "money well spent." A week afterwards, viz, on the 4th of July, Mr. Panizzi reports, in answer to the Trustees' inquiry at what period, according to the best calculation he could make, the new Alphabetical Cata- logue would be ready in MS. ?—" that the number of titles being 800,000, (not less, but probably more) to be inserted in the Catalogue as previous to 1839, they cannot be written out, in conformity with the rules now adopted, before the end of 1854." As to books added since 1838, as they are catalogued almost as fast as they are received, these titles are within two or three thousand at most, always written out, and ready for use. But this does not imply that the titles so written out would be also arranged ready for press. In March 1846, we have a still further increase. On that day, in answer to questions by the Trustees, Mr. Panizzi stated "that the Catalogue could be completed by the end of 1854 of all the books which the Museum contains at this time, and will contain up to that period" —[This is an entirely new version of his commission ; hitherto there had never been any question but of a Catalogue to the end of 1838]—" that it would take six years mere, say six years more, to prepare such Catalogue in such a state of revision as might be fit for the press, if it be determined to print it; that, if printed, it would occupy seventy-five volumes, say seventy volumes at any rate ; that it would take one year to correct the press of two 170- lumes ; that it would therefore require thirty-five years to pass the Cata- logue through the press ; and that when completed, and delivered complete to the nation, in 1895, it would represent the state of the .3fuseum Library in 1854 or 1860 as to all the letters of the alphabet." Mr. Panizzi further stated his opinion, that to complete a written Catalogue for the use of the readers in the Museum, without so accurate a revision as would be necessary if the Catalogue were to be printed, would occupy from fifteen to twenty years, according to the rules adopted and acted upon down to this time. Fi- nally, in his letter to Lord Ellesmere, of 19th January 1848, we have a tolerably full development of the Keeper's ideas of a suitable Catalogue for the Museum Library- " No doubt, a good, well-arranged, and well-kept-up catalogue, wholly in


manuscript, s what is wanted in a large increasing library. No page ought to contain more than three entries at first ; these three entries should be at full length, not abridged, but as they stand on the shelf. The pages should be of a moderate folio size, and no more than two additional entries should ever be made in them. There ought to be no more than five entries on a page; when another title, making a sixth entry on a page, the whole leaf should be retranseribed on the original plan. One volume of 700 pages (three entries on each page) would contain 2100. Five hundred such vo- lumes would contain 1,050,000 such entries, with space to increase the whole to 1,750,000." [We should say, 2,100,000, by the additional contrivance of retranscribing the leaf!]

To any one desirous of discovering the mystery of Mr. Panizzi's plan of cataloguing, this last extract will afford the simplest and readiest key.* We have tried it ourselves, and found it to answer perfectly, whatever number of volumes the Library may contain. The Library of the British Museum was estimated to contain 300,000 volumes at the time the pro- pmed new Catalogue was begun. By whom was it so estimated ?—by Messrs. Ellis and Baber, two gentlemen whom experience, derived from

their share in the compilation of the old Catalogue, and long familiarity with books, rendered as good judges as could be desired. The present Keeper was then a subordinate officer, he had been in the Museum only three years, and had no previous acquaintance with either foreign or Bri- tish libraries but as a student—" he had had a liking for bibliography all his life." He was willing, however, to act upon his superiors' estimate of numbers, and volunteered to do the work, in a superior style' in five or six years, as we have seen. Have we any evidence whatever that this estimate was underrated? Not an atom.

Another dodge which this learned Keeper has played off upon the Trus- tees is so glaring, that we cannot conceive how it was not at once seen through: that it has not yet had that fate, seems pretty evident from the use made of it by the Inquiry Conunissioners in their Report. After the publication of the first volume, reports were regularly made from time to time of the progress of the Catalogue ; the sum of which reports was, that from July 1811 to May 1849, they had proceeded from B to F, and of letter G as far as the name Gardiner inclusive. M. Panizzi then said that 500,000 titles had been prepared, and also that he considered somewhere about half the work has been done. (It is not worth while to be nice about trifles with such a man ; but it appears to us that only half of the half had been got through in these six letters.) The Commissioners say (p. 18)—" We find it estimated that there are slips prepared for about half the new Catalogue. Its continuation with the utmost possible ex- pedition consistent with satisfactory execution we consider a primary ob- ject, to which the strength of the department should henceforth be di- rected." And (in page 19)—" With reference to a state of things which we find existing, we unite in deprecating any proposal for entering now on the preparation with a view to publication of a compendious Cata- logue." Had he really got so far as Gardiner, this would have been a cer- tain step in advance. Is it not the fact that all the intermediate letters are precisely in the same state with letter A, which is actually printed, which in its original manuscript state formed sixteen folio volumes and is now seventeen, and some time hence the seventeen volumes of that letter will become twenty or more," according to Panizzi's own statement to Lord Ellesmere? When we come to cross-questions, he relapses into the vague. When the Bishop of Norwich asks him, 22d May 1849, (Q. 9955,) "When is the Catalogue likely to be finished ? " The answer is, "I cannot tell."—" Can you give anything like an approximation to the time ? "— " No, that is matter of experience." It is needless to quote another

sentence. • We conclude this paper with the expression of our thorough convic- tion, derived from a careful examination of the preceding documents, and the collateral evidence elicited by the Commissioners of Inquiry, 1. That the so-called Alphabetical Catalogue is at this moment, for any practical purpose, just as near its completion as on the day when it was commenced, in January 1839. That it never can be printed, is equally certain ; and that the titles cannot be of the slightest use in forming any compendious catalogue, is not less so, (as Mr. Panizzi has frequently told us himself;) as it would be much more troublesome to pick out those that could be employed than to write them over again. 2. That the whole of the money expended upon this Catalogue since May 1834, whatever be the sum—whether fifty, sixty, eighty, or a hun- dred thousand pounds—has been entirely thrown away !

3. That neither the Trustees nor the Commissioners of Inquiry appear ever to have bestowed one hour's time on an examination of this printed portion of the Catalogue, on which so much money and time have been lavished, in order to ascertain its peculiarities, or in what respect it dif- fered from or agreed with other catalogues of large collections. The only and the best excuse that can be made for them, is that suggested by Mr. Forshall, one of the witnesses before the Commission • who, in speaking_ of the famous rules, says—" Rules for a catalogue of Commission; kind are things which cannot be understood by a set of noblemen and gentlemen, without devoting that time and attention which might be much more profitably spent on other subjects."

We shall probably return to this subject before long, and give our readers some further specimens of the sayings and doings of Signor Antonio Panizzi.

• The difficulty of increasing 300,000 titles into 2,100,000 is not so great as some i might imagine; n fact, it is one of the easiest processes that could be devised. Take, for example, two collections of tracts with which every English histories/ reader is quite familiar, the Ilarleian Miscellany and the Somers Tracts. The first consists of ten volumes quarto, and the second of thirteen volumes quarto; both the last editions. They have both full indexes, which renders it very easy to find any tract you wish to refer to. There are 651 tracts in the first, and 959 in the second—or 1610 in the two : divide this 1610 by 23 (the number of volumes)—you have 70 as the average number of tracts in each volume—that is, by this mode of cataloguing, each volume is multiplied 70 times ; besides which, of some single tract reprinted in either of these collections there may be several copies, all of which are separately catalogued. Take for instance the famous pamphlet of Col. Titus against Cromwell, called Killing no Murder, published under the pseudonymous name of William Allen. In this volume of the Catalogue you have it under Allen, William, no fewer than eleven times : when you come to letter K, you will have it, probably with a fuller title, as it appears with an etc. in this first instance; and a refer- ence both to Allen and Titus, but how many times repeated under IC and T we know not—probably thirty-three in all. The same thing happens with all the other great theological, historical, and other collections ; which in a comparatively small number of volumes supply hundreds and thousands of titles. Then the names of authors, if they have ever been written with the slightest variation, even of a letter—if they have been written in Latin, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, English—you have them all, not in sequence with the or between them, but standing separately in capital letters, as if they were different authors. Then we have that "beautiful specimen of bibliography" Academies, 4c., of 68 pages and 136 columns, of 25 titles at least to the column, every one of which has to be repeated once or oftener; 170 or more medical theses of Alberti as President, which must be all repeated under Adami, and 170 other names as Respondents. Any one who looks at these things with half an eye will see at once the facility of making up in this way, not two millions, but ten mil- lions of titles, and the small chance of ever coming to an end with such a catalogue.