Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/109

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

served for twenty years, when a beginning was made towards superseding it by the more elaborate performance of Sir Henry Ellis and Mr. Baber. This catalogue, commenced in 1807, was completed in 1819. The portion executed by Sir Henry Ellis has been severely criticised. It was certainly unfortunate that pastor paganus should have been treated as the equivalent of sacerdos ethnicus, and Emanuel Prince of Peace mistaken for Emanuel King of Portugal. Its virtue, however, of portable brevity, has rendered it so useful a substitute for its colossal successor on those not unfrequent occasions when the wood could not be seen for the trees, that those thus beholden to it will be little inclined to deal hardly with its notorious errors and deficiencies.

Ellis and Baber's catalogue had scarcely been completed ere the need of a new one began to be felt, partly on account of the magnificent donation of the 60,000 volumes and 20,000 pamphlets of the King's Library. Notions of classification were then in the ascendant, and in 1826 the Rev. T. Hartwell Horne, a bibliographer famed for strict method and plodding industry, was engaged as a temporary assistant to carry them out; together with Mr. (afterwards Sir Frederic) Madden, Mr. Tidd Pratt, and other persons of literary ability. Seldom has an undertaking so extensive left so little trace behind it. Mr. Home's assistants ascended to higher spheres, or evaporated entirely, and when called upon in 1834 to report the progress of the previous year, he could only state that he had personally