RECORD: Darwin, C. R. et al 1873. Copy of a memorial presented to the Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer [W. E. Gladstone]. Nature. A Weekly Illustrated Journal of Science 9 (20 November): 41.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRd and corrected by John van Wyhe 11.2005, corrections by Sue Asscher 3.2007. RN3


[page] 41

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

[The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions expressed by his correspondents. No notice is taken of anonymous communications.]

Transfer of the South Kensington Museum1

I AM glad to see that an effective opposition is likely to be made to the ill-advised proposal of the Government to place the South Kensington Collections under the control of the fifty irresponsible Trustees of the British Museum.

In common with many other naturalists I had always hoped that the national collections of natural history, when removed to the new buildings in South Kensington, would be freed from the rule of the Trustees and placed under a responsible director. The memorial of which I enclose a copy, and the republication of which would, I think, be opportune at the present juncture, will serve to show that I am by no means alone in believing that such a change would be beneficial to Science.

It would seem, however, that the Government, so far from acceding to our views, have resolved to proceed in exactly the contrary direction, and to increase the power of the Trustees. I can only hope that we may succeed in preventing them from carrying this retrograde measure into effect.

P. L. SCLATER

44, Elvaston Place Queen's Gate, Nov. 17

"Copy of a Memorial presented to the Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer

"To the Rt. Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer

"Sir,—It having been stated that the scientific men of the metropolis are, as a body, entirely opposed to the removal of the natural history collections from their present situation in the British Museum, we, the undersigned Fellows of the Royal, Linnean, Geological, and Zoological Societies of London, beg leave to offer to you the following expression of our opinion upon the subject.

"We are of opinion that it is of fundamental importance to the progress of the natural sciences in this country, that the administration of the national natural history collections should be separated from that of the library and art collections, and placed under one officer, who should be immediately responsible to one of the Queen's Ministers.

"We regard the exact locality of the National Museum of Natural History as a question of comparatively minor importance, provided that it be conveniently accessible and within the metropolitan district.

GEORGE BENTHAM, F.R.S.

WILLIAM. B. CARPENTER, M.D., F.R.S.

W. S. DALLAS, F.L.S.

CHARLES DARWIN, F.R.S.

F. DUCANE GODMAN, F.L.S.

J. H. GURNEY, F.Z.S.

EDWARD HAMILTON, M.D., F.L.S.

JOSEPH D. HOOKER, M.D., F.R.S.

THOMAS. H. HUXLEY, F.R.S.

JOHN KIRK, F.L.S.

LILFORD, F.L.S.

ALFRED NEWTON, F.L.S.

W. KITCHEN PARKER, F.R.S.

ANDREW RAMSAY, F.R.S.

ARTHUR RUSSELL, M.P.

OSBERT SALVIN, F.L.S.

P. L. SCLATER, F.R.S.

G. SCLATER-BOOTH, M.P.

S. JAMES A. SALTER, F.R.S.

W. H. SIMPSON, F.Z.S.

J. EMERSON TENNENT, F.R.S.

THOMAS THOMSON, M.D., F.R.S.

H. B. TRISTRAM, F.L.S.

WALDEN, F.L.S.

ALFRED R. WALLACE, F.Z.S.

"London, May 14, 1866"

1 First published in Darwin 1870.


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