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A Book in the Hand: Essays on the History of the Book in New Zealand

Four: Sir George Grey and his book collecting activities in New Zealand

page 46

Four: Sir George Grey and his book collecting activities in New Zealand

Sir George Grey (1812-1898), ca 1880s. ap neg. a13113

Sir George Grey (1812-1898), ca 1880s. ap neg. a13113

page 47

Governor Sir George Grey, along with Dr Thomas Hocken and Alexander Turnbull, is regarded as one of the trinity- of book collectors in New Zealand whose collections became the nucleus of three major institutional libraries. Grey collected books for well over 65 years and created two important personal libraries. The first he gave to Cape Town in 1861; the second to Auckland in 1887.1 He purchased numerous books and manuscripts from catalogues issued by London-based book dealers such as Bernard Quaritch, Willis and Sotheran, and T. & W. Boone. These well-known 19th-century English book dealers supplied him with medieval manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books from the presses of William Caxton and Richard Pynson, rare and scarce editions such as the Biblia polyglotta Complutensis (1514-7), Edmund Spenser's The faerie queene (1590-6), the First (1623), Second (1632) and Fourth (1685) Folios of William Shakespeare, William Blake's America (1793) and Europe (1794), as well as other works covering subjects such as languages, travel and voyages, and natural history.

Grey also obtained books and manuscripts from New Zealand sources, initially during his first term as governor (1845-53) and continuing throughout most of his life. This essay, part of a larger study on Grey as a book collector, focuses on his collecting activities in New Zealand and offers some insight into his local sources of supply, what some of the items were, whether they page 48 were obtained through auction, by presentation, or by purchase (either from a bona fide dealer or an individual), and on some special features of the Auckland Grey Collection.2

Grey's book collecting activities in New Zealand are only small compared with those in South Africa and England, but examining this particular aspect provides a greater understanding of Grey the collector. This focus also adds to our knowledge of the larger and richer picture of the history of book collecting in New Zealand, and enables a better understanding of those individuals who contributed much to New Zealand's intellectual and cultural history.

Buying (and selling) at auction

The earliest known reference to Grey purchasing books in New Zealand is found in an entry dated 21 November 1846 in William Cotton's Journal. It relates specifically to a sale held by Mr Connell of Auckland which included 'A rare and valuable library of about 300 volumes' that Cotton attended with William Swainson.3 Cotton wrote:

[Dodson] had a very good collection of books, tho' very strange ones for a private individual to bring all the way to New Zealand. Mr Wood bought a great number for the Gov. — a good many classics eg. the Quarto Oxford Cicero, a beautiful uncut copy which went for 7/-a vol. . . . There was [also] a beautiful copy of Tyndale's New Testament with woodcuts from the Duke of Sussex library wh[ich] was also bought by the Gov. at £4/10s. And a Bible, a beautiful black letter folio £5/-/. I much coveted both these, especially the last,.. .4

Grey's purchase of these items at the auction is significant. It places him squarely in the traditional 'English' school of collecting with book collectors such as Earl Spencer, the Duke of Devonshire, and Richard Heber, and their collecting of medieval manuscripts, first editions, black letter books, classical works, and the like. The occasion also highlights the availability of such materials in the colony and a desire, at least by some, to purchase them.

The 1552 New Testament is now in the Cape Town Grey Collection. It has an inscription inside: 'The Bible is not dry enough for your Excellency to use at the earliest untill tomorrow', signed 'R. Carpenter, Tuesday morning'.

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Robert Holt Carpenter was an eccentric bookbinder and bookseller resident in Wellington in the 1850s. He bound the New Testament for Grey, and also presented him with a few books including a copy of Oliver Goldsmith's Poetical works (1794), a French language version of the Psalms of David (1729) and a work entided Mesmerist, or, the new school of arts (1845).

Further interest by Grey in book auctions is evident from the existence of three slim catalogues in the Auckland Grey Collection. These catalogues list hundreds of lots of books on consignment from Edward Lumley, a London-based book dealer, that were sold in Wellington in 1848, 1850 and 1851.5 The first two catalogues have markings inside, but not in Grey's hand. The third, of 1851, has marks made by Grey beside 80 of 862 lots. It is not known whether the marks represent an expression of interest by Grey (something which many book collectors do when going through a catalogue and dreaming of those books they would like to own) or whether he actually purchased any of them. It is significant enough to think that he perused at least one of the catalogues and considered it as a source of supply for his collection.

There is no definite evidence that Grey attended auctions himself. The use of someone like Mr Wood was a practical one, especially considering the busy affairs of colonial administration. One auction at which Grey certainly purchased books was a Bethune and Hunter consignment sale held in Wellington in 1852. The consignment was from Henry G. Bohn, the well-established London book dealer who, like Lumley, was also prepared to invest in the small but growing colonial market. Bohn's catalogue was headed 'New, valuable, and most important books' with prices listed as 'those for which similar books are sold by him in London'. With high expectations, the sale was to be held 'on Monday, May 31, 1852, and following days'.6

Of the 859 lots offered Grey obtained 45, for which he paid £59 3s 2d, and the range of titles purchased reflects his wide interests. From the 'Poetry and Fiction' section he bought George Crabbe's Poetical works, Thomas Croker's Popular songs of Ireland and Thomas Percy's Reliques of ancient English poetry for 7s, 5s and 7s 6d respectively. From the section headed 'Foreign Languages', which also contained classical works, he purchased Joseph Frey's Hebrew grammar for 5s, D'Hasendonck's Dutch grammar for 2s, a Henry Francis Cary edition of Dante for 7s, T. F. Dibdin's Introduction to the knowledge of rare and valuable editions of the Greek page 50 and Latin classics for 12s, and Xenophon's Works for 10s. The 'Medicine' section offered him John Sinclair's Code of health and longevity (7s) while from the 'Natural History' section he purchased a 40-volume set of Sir William Jardine's The naturalist's library for 4 guineas. From the 'Biography, History' section he purchased Henry Sidney's The diary of the times of Charles II (12s), Arnold Heeren's Historical treatises (3 guineas) and Nelson's Dispatches and letters (7 volumes, for 35s). From 'Fine Arts' works such as a copy of Debrett's Peerage (1 guinea), an illustrated Don Quixote (15s), a glossary on heraldry (16s), Sir William Harris's Wild sports of Southern Africa (1 guinea) and Alexander Walker's Beauty: Illustrated chiefly by an analysis and classification of beauty in woman (1 guinea) were purchased. From the 'Theology' section Grey obtained works such as Augustin Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible for £4 14s 6d and Richard Laurence's translation of The book of Enoch at 7s 6d. One of the most expensive items was Loudon's 8-volume Arboretum et fruticetum Britannicum , for which he paid 5 guineas and, in what seems a bargain price, he paid 7s 6d for a colour-plate copy of Gilbert White's The natural history and antiquities of Selbourne. This last item is in the Cape Town Grey Collection.7

Six months later Grey purchased books at the joint auction of the collections of lieutenant-governors John Eyre and Charles Enderby. This sale was again organised by Bethune and Hunter and held at the Exchange, Wellington, on 17 November 1852.8 Grey obtained eight books from Enderby's collection, including Barron Field's Geographical memoirs on New South Wales (1825), James Burney's An essay, by way of letters, on the game of whist (1821), Noah Webster's Dictionary of the English language (1832), and William Markwick's The works in natural history of the late Rev. Gilbert White (1802). All eight volumes depict an Enderby provenance, be it bookplates of Charles or his father (Samuel) or (as in Burney's book on whist) Mrs Samuel Enderby's book label. These books are in the Cape Town Grey Collection. The auction catalogue itself is in the Auckland Grey Collection, but unfortunately no indications are given of what Grey paid for these items.

Grey left New Zealand on 31 December 1853 to become governor of the Cape Colony, South Africa. His biographer James Rutherford states that 'Grey's mood in 1853 was that of a trustee winding up the affairs of an estate'.9 As part of the winding-up process, Grey dispersed some 1500 volumes of his own at an page 51
Sir George Grey and his adopted niece, Annie Thorne George, in the drawing room of Mansion House, Kawau Island, ca 1870. ap neg. A3034

Sir George Grey and his adopted niece, Annie Thorne George, in the drawing room of Mansion House, Kawau Island, ca 1870. ap neg. A3034

auction in Wellington on 21 September 1853. The catalogue, 23 pages long and listing 824 lots, contains books that Grey had collected since his days at Sandhurst Military College and others which were acquisitions made during his term (1841-5) as Governor in South Australia.10 More importantly, many were books that had escaped the Government House fire in Auckland in 1848. The variety of titles in the catalogue is once again noticeable.

The 'large quantity of valuable books' up for sale was not, however, Grey's entire library collection and there is evidence that he selected items, culling them into 'keep' and 'not to keep' piles. Significantly, of the 45 titles obtained by Grey from the Bohn catalogue in 1852, 27 are listed in the auction catalogue of September 1853. His ownership of these items, predominantly 19th-century publications, therefore lasted less than a year. A further 12 books obtained from Bohn's 1852 catalogue have been identified in the Cape Town Grey Collection. These include works such as the 1586 printing of Thomas Hyll's A profitable instruction of the perfite ordering of bees , a 1488 Augsburg printing of Chronica Hungarorum, a 1501 printing of Boethius's De consolatione philosophiae , and many medieval Books of Hours. Such works are rare, if not unique, and often costly — factors which help establish at least two criteria used by Grey in his selection process. Another page 52 was that Grey liked books with a good or strong provenance. The Enderby volumes and the Duke of Sussex New Testament mentioned above are certainly in this category. To Grey they were worth keeping, at least until South Africa.

Other books, however, faced further decisions. Grey had also bought from the Bohn catalogue of 1852 Peter Schoeffer's printing of Croneken der Sassen (1492), Aesop's Tabulae (1480), and Virgil's Opera (1472). Presumably he had a particular fondness for these items, because they were excluded from the 1853 sale and kept apart from the collection that he gifted to Cape Town in 1861. They form part of his second library collection that he gave to Auckland in 1887.

The only other evidence of Grey buying at auction is at the much later date of November 1893, not long before his final return to England. The Auckland firm of Samuel Cochrane produced a list of 451 lots, of which some of the books were from the 'Rocklands' library of Justice Thomas Bannatyne Gillies.11 Grey purchased 28 items for £22 13s 5d, including another set of Jardine's The naturalist's library (40 volumes, for £2), A complete collection of state-trials (6 volumes, bound in calf, published in 1730; at £1 5s 6d), Colonel Peter Warburton's Journey across the western interior of Australia (5 s 3d), and James Froude's 12-volume History of England (£1 10s), all of which are in the Auckland Grey Collection.

Private arrangements

Grey's New Zealand correspondents number 600 with a total of some 1600 incoming letters. Many are book-related: individuals requesting information on books, and others who either presented him with their own writings or gave him books for inclusion in his library. This trend accelerated after he formally handed over his library to the citizens of Auckland on 26 March 1887.

On 5 December 1881, Rev. Samuel Neill, The Manse, Thames, wrote, 'Will you do me the pleasure of accepting this book, if you think it worthy of a place in your library.' The book was R. Verstegen's A restitution of decayed intelligence, and Neill continued, 'Though not very old, 1605,1 believe it is now a somewhat rare book. I brought it with me to Auckland intending to have it bound, but Mrs Neill when I told her, thought the old cover would be more in harmony with the torn book.'12 Neill also gave three page 53 more titles to Grey in November 1893. These were the Berlin edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Robert Estienne's 1734 Thesaurus linguae Latinae , and Critici sacri , a 7-volume collection of writings on the Sacred Scriptures printed in 1696. Of the Talmud Neill observed,

This copy of the Babylonian Talamud [sic] is, I believe, the only one in New Zealand, and I give it at the suggestion of the Rev'd Rabbi Goldstein, in the hope that this storehouse of ancient lore perhaps without equal in the world, may be of interest to the Hebrew people in Auckland.'13

Grey's response is worth noting:

My dear Sir,

Your letter regarding the donations you wish to make to the Public Library of Auckland is a most important one and has caused me a good deal of reflection.

I am very grateful for your offer but I think so valuable a gift ought to be made by yourself direct to the Library, so that we may have your name on record as one who has conferred a great and substantial benefit on the Library.

If you choose to ask that the works that you propose to give to the Library should be placed in my collection, that I think would be unobjectionable because they properly belong there, and I shall have had a worthy co-partner in enriching a very valuable class of literature . . . 14

On 10 January 1889 Mr Elijah Tucker of Motueka was spring-cleaning his house. He wrote to Grey: 'I have been turning out the remnants of my library, and among the various political works there are about 3,000 pages quarto of the Free Press and Diplomatic Review.' He also added various pamphlets including The Queen and the Premier and How is the Queen's government to be carried on? Tucker ended his letter: 'I hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken, but as I am about giving up housekeeping I thought the above works were more fitted for a public library than to be scattered abroad.'15 These items are in the Auckland Grey Collection.

Marie Randle of Shag Point, Otago, sent Grey her poems in August 1893. She explained:

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Knowing you take an interest in all matters pertaining to the colony, I am sending you a copy of my book & poems entitled 'Lilts and Lyrics of New Zealand'. The fact of the late Mr Ballance having favourably noticed some of my writings, gives me encouragement to introduce them to your notice.'16

There were many others. William Aldis, Professor of Mathematics at Auckland University College, gave Grey his own work on algebra, Frederick Session's work Moral evils inherent in the war system., as well as works by the prominent mathematician and astronomer Augustus de Morgan.

In May 1865, Judge Henry S. Chapman in Dunedin sent Grey 'three first volumes of the New Zealand Journal 1840, 1841, 1842, being all that I had anything to do with' and a suggestion of where he could obtain other issues. 'When I was in Wellington I got a few pamphlets which I did not previously possess at Carpenter's [the book binder and bookseller referred to earlier] and he told me that he had some of the early volumes of the NZ Journal, and he may possibly have some of date subsequent to those I send.'17 Chapman was responding to what was one of Grey's collecting areas: 'I mention this in case you still desire to collect publications relating to this colony.''18

Charles Brown, resident in New Plymouth, and son of Charles Armitage Brown, the friend of the poet John Keats, was another. In a letter of 18 May 1875, Brown thanked Grey for expressing interest in his father and sent him copies of the London examiner of 1820-1, issues that involved both Brown's father and Leigh Hunt.19

Mrs Sydney Margaret Hamilton, matron of the Auckland Lunatic Asylum, gave Grey copies of books produced by her brother and renowned mathematician, Sir William Rowan Hamilton, as well as a number of issues of the Dublin University magazine. The latter work is important when ascertaining Grey's total literary output. Grey makes a claim that while in Ireland he contributed to its first issues.20 So far his contribution, in what may be his first appearance in print, has proved elusive.

Some other people had a moral obligation to provide Grey with books. One was Edward Jerningham Wakefield, adventurer, writer and politician, who in 1878 supplied Grey with the pamphlet The taxes in New Zealand because Grey had acted as a guarantor towards the cost of printing it. Wakefield, from all accounts page 55 an erratic individual with some brilliance — he once earned £5 for writing Christmas carols and another time was charged with stealing flowers — faced the common problem of all those who produce their own works. He asked Grey, the old hand, for advice on gaining publicity for his publication:

I shall send copies for review to the Editors of the New Zealand Times, Evening Chronicle and Evening Post: but I do not know who the respective editors are, or the strings to be pulled in order to obtain a prominent notice . . . Can you give me a hint what string to pull, and how to pull it?21'

Collecting comprehensively: Maori and Pacific Island languages

That Grey understood the importance of building comprehensive collections is shown by his address to members of the New Zealand Society on 16 September 1851:

Facts which we may observe, and which appear to us to be of little value, or entirely uninteresting, may prove, to the learned of Europe, of the highest possible importance and interest. Combined with other facts previously observed and recorded, they may serve to fill up links which were the only ones wanting to furnish the true clue to some mystery of nature, or to establish some truth which may prove of the greatest usefulness to the human race.... It therefore is, I apprehend, our duty sedulously to collect and record facts and information in each department of science and human learning; carefully abstaining from that foolish pride which would lead us to reject as useless all that our ignorance can neither comprehend nor make use of.22

Grey certainly applied the notion of comprehensive collecting to the field of languages, an area of study that held a lifelong interest. In fact, once his interest in this area was known, books and small pamphlets flowed in. Indeed, even before his presidential address he was collecting language materials relating to New Zealand and the Pacific. He obtained his Māori language materials from both Māori and Pākehā as well as through the natural process of acquisition as a government official. Missionaries, churchmen, and Māori and Pacific Islanders were instrumental in completing the task for him.

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Rev. Robert Maunsell, a trained linguist and able scholar of things Maori, wrote to Grey on 27 April 1849:

For the books you were so kind as to send with the map of New Zealand I am much obliged. I have just looked into them, & much admire those on arithmetic. I hope Your Excellency will remember our wants in the matters of a Maori book of arithmetic, & geography, and maps if possible.23

Maunsell ended: 'My only apology for this long letter is our common subjects of interest in which I am delighted to find that you are going farther than myself. . . .'24 Later, on 21 May 1851, and in what may have been a response to Grey's request for replacement copies after he lost much valuable material in the Government House fire, Maunsell wrote: 'The accompanying is a small collection of songs and proverbs that I have made out of my pages, or from recollection . . . though I suspect that they will find their place already preoccupied in your collection.'25

In August 1863, William Colenso wrote: '[I] send you now, by post, a few of the earlier & scarce publications in the NZ language — which I believe you had not in your library of NZ literature at the Cape.' Colenso's parcel also included an octavo New Testament, printed at Paihia, and bound specially for Governor Hobson, but whose death prevented such a presentation, and 'copies of the first two publications in English printed in NZ — merely because of their being the first'.26

Elizabeth Colenso, the missionary-printer's estranged wife, was also involved in Grey's book-hunting. Her response, 20 years later and from Norfolk Island, gives an indication of what sort of materials Grey was searching for and the lengths that some took to satisfy his requests. It also gives some indication of how hard it was to obtain some of these early language materials. Many of them were not available inside the traditional marketplace, and many, being small, ephemeral publications, faced destruction through much use and/or misuse.

Dear Sir George,

I am very sorry indeed not to be able to do what you wish with regard to a copy of my translation of Wilberforce's allegory of 'The Little Wanderers'. I have not a copy myself nor have I any idea of where one would be likely to be procured. You will I suppose have searched page 57 in the library at Bishop's Court? — and at St. John's College? All my little treasures in the book way & of that sort were scattered to the winds during the Waikato war. I went to England in 1861 & returned in 1867 to find a box I had left in Mr Ashwell's house till I should return — containing my books English & Native etc. was lost. The English books I heard had been distributed amongst the soldiers — & I only got back the 2nd vol. of Hannah More's Miscellaneous Works & the 1st vol. of Leighton's Works — and not one Maori book or pamphlet. It is possible that Mrs Selwyn (The Close, Lichfield) or Lady Martin or Mrs Abraham might have, or know where, a copy could be found. I will send you, in case you have not seen it — a copy of the translation of a tract 'The Man who killed his neighbours', and 'The Teachings of a bed-quilt'. I translated it in 1870 as far as I remember & Sir W[illia]m Martin a year or two later seeing it had it printed in the press at St. Stephen's Taurarua. I also enclose a copy of a translation of a portion of the Rev. Chas. Bridges' 'Scriptural Studies' translated by me at the Waikato & which were carefully & considerably revised & improved by Dr Maunsell & published in 1860. But probably you have them already. Perhaps Mrs Puckey, late of Kaitaia North, or Rev. Joseph Matthews may have a copy of The Little Wanderers as they were at St. John's when it was published & the late Rev. W[illiam] Puckey translated some of them.27

Other book-givers included Bishop William Leonard Williams, with such items as the Māori version of the Book of Common Prayer, Bishop Pompallier, with 'sixteen little works by order of date' that he had printed during his 24 years in New Zealand,28 Rev. Alfred Brown, the publisher W. C. Wilson, and Gilbert Mair.

The names Tamihana Te Rauparaha, Philemon Te Karai, H. M. Tawhai, and Heta Tarawhiti are found inscribed in a few Māori language volumes in the Auckland Grey Collection. They represent the small number of Māori who presented books to Grey. Unfortunately, very little evidence is present to enable any further details of ownership to be identified.

In 1885 Grey tabulated the number of printed Māori language books and manuscripts he had collected: 524 books (13,216 leaves) and 223 manuscripts (5,045 leaves).29 Taking into account duplicate copies and the loss of books over the years, it is still an impressive array that remains a cornerstone of the Auckland Grey Collection.

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The first page of Ko te Katikihama III,the first work printed in New Zealand and one of two known surviving copies. This catechism was printed by Rev. William Yate at Kerikeri in 1830. This publication was certainly in Grey's collection by 1862 because he lent it to Rev. William Williams for consultation, and Williams returned it to Grey on 12 March 1862. gnzm 7

The first page of Ko te Katikihama III,the first work printed in New Zealand and one of two known surviving copies. This catechism was printed by Rev. William Yate at Kerikeri in 1830. This publication was certainly in Grey's collection by 1862 because he lent it to Rev. William Williams for consultation, and Williams returned it to Grey on 12 March 1862. gnzm 7

Collecting Pacific Islands language materials was a natural extension to Grey's collecting Māori language materials. It was also a consequence of his political notion that the Islanders were to become not only Christians but British Christians with a taste for British products.30 He found it necessary to work through various associates, and to that end developed contacts with the missionaries in the Pacific and others who were less directly involved, but who printed and supplied the kind of material he wanted. The mission press at St John's College, Auckland, especially Bishop Selwyn and George A. Kissling, played an important role in this way.

As early as March 1848, Grey was lending 'Polynesian Books' to Bishop Selwyn. In the same transaction Selwyn not only asked for an extension of the lending period for 'The Feejee & Australian publications' so that he could compare them with New Caledonian and Hebridean dialects, but he also responded to what page 59 was obviously an earlier request by Grey. 'With your packet of books you will find copies of all that I have been able to collect; but I am not at present able to give you any information about the languages themselves.'31

Others who responded to Grey in this early period included several missionaries — Walter Lawry who gave Grey some Fijian documents, Thomas Buddle who sent him copies of a Fijian grammar, and John Geddie and John Inglis with a number of New Hebridean publications, including Inglis's own Report of a missionary tour in the New Hebrides. This work presented to Grey is dated 'Auckland, March 7th, 1851'.

In the Cape Town Grey Collection there is an item titled Books wanted in the library of His Excellency Sir George Grey. This twelve-page list, printed as early as 1855, formally identifies the foreign language materials Grey sought for that collection — both specific and general works in languages such as Efik, Yoruba, and Bullom are requested. Research so far in the Auckland Grey Collection has revealed no such equivalent formal 'want' list. In New Zealand Grey adopted a much more informal approach in obtaining language materials by either relying on word of mouth or by direct appeal in letters. He openly asked individuals for works in the various Pacific languages, even to the point of providing desiderata. The following three letters reflect something of the responses he received from his requests. On 18 October 1861 Sir William Martin sent Grey some materials with this letter:

My dear Sir George,

I send what I can find. I am sorry that the specimens of New Caledonian speech are missing. It is possible they may have passed into the hands of Bp. Patteson.

I supply N0.3 of your list & part of N0.4. Also interalia a scrap which may have a value as a 'beginning' of a work viz the first page in the language of Lifu which was printed at the College Press.32

Twenty-five years later, Frederick Langham, chairman of the Wesleyan Mission, at Bau, Sarawak, wrote to Grey as a direct result of talking to a colleague in the field:

Dear Sir,

My colleague The Rev. Mr Webb informs me that you would be willing to include in your collection of South Sea literature any of the books published for the Wesleyan Mission in Fiji.

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I have therefore great pleasure in forwarding a copy of each of our Books now in stock. I am sorry that some of them are not better bound, but beg your acceptance of them as they are.33

The inference drawn by Langham was that Grey was actively collecting in the area. Confirmation that this was the case is found in a similar response that same year from John H. Roberts, president of the Tongan College, Tonga. In a letter Roberts stated, 'having been informed that you are making a collection of the literature and other curiosities of the South Sea Islands, I do myself the honor to forward you a letter in Tongan shorthand written by one of my pupils'. Roberts also included a Tongan dictionary as well as some 'curiosities' such as 'a water stone, the noo or belt of Maafu, a meteorite, a clam pearl, and three hand clubs called kolo by natives'.34

A good indication of the language materials Grey collected are listed in the catalogues he produced with Dr Wilhelm Bleek in Cape Town.35 In total there are some 294 printed books and manuscripts that cover the Papuan, Fijian, Rarotongan, Malagasy (an Oceanic language), Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, Marquesan, Hawaiian, and Dayak languages. Grey continued to add further to the collection during his second residence in New Zealand (1861-8) as governor. Many of these additions are listed in the Auckland Public Library catalogue printed in 1888, and its three supplements.36

Later developments in the Auckland Grey Collection

One of Grey's intentions was to establish a special library that would enable students to prepare themselves for examinations and for their future professions, with a focus on mathematics and classical literature. Grey relied on Professor Aldis and Professor Charles Pond, both of Auckland University College, to do some selecting, while the firm of William Wildman, in the Victoria Arcade, Auckland, supplied the books. Apart from the brief and not so telling note 'Bought from Varty, Bookseller, Q.St' in Grey's own copy of Joseph Butler's The analogy of religion, natural and revealed (1860), the letters and invoices from the firm of Wildman are the only extant evidence of Grey purchasing books from a local bookdealer.37 On 25 June 1890 Grey paid £18 15s 6d for 38 mathematics books; the most expensive was £1 5s for Alfred page 61
The Crucifixion, from a Romanum Missale, illuminated for Charles de Neufchatel (1439-98), Archbishop of Besancon, France about 1464. It is one of six surviving books from the archbishop's library. Grey purchased this masterpiece of liturgical book illumination front a catalogue issued by London booksellers and publishers T. and W. Boone in 1863. Although lavishly described, no price was given, and it was sent to Grey 'on approval'. med ms gI38-9

The Crucifixion, from a Romanum Missale, illuminated for Charles de Neufchatel (1439-98), Archbishop of Besancon, France about 1464. It is one of six surviving books from the archbishop's library. Grey purchased this masterpiece of liturgical book illumination front a catalogue issued by London booksellers and publishers T. and W. Boone in 1863. Although lavishly described, no price was given, and it was sent to Grey 'on approval'. med ms gI38-9

Basset's two-volume A treatise on hydrodynamics, while the lowest priced items included John B. Lock's Dynamics for beginners and Randal Nixon's Geometry and space at 3s 6d each. Less than a month later, Wildman supplied Grey with three more mathematics books at the cost of £3 10s 6d.

Two years later, Grey purchased 147 classical works, amounting to 215 volumes. These works ranged from Antoninus and Aristophanes to Virgil and Xenophon. This list, which cost Grey £54 3s 9d, contained some of those works suggested by Professor Pond. Before the books reached the shelves of the Public Library, Grey also had the entire lot bound in half-calf and cloth. This operation, handled through Wildman, cost an extra £23 8s 3d.

Wildman also supplied other books to Grey. In September 1889 Grey purchased 11 books on travel and seafaring which cost £3 12s 6d. These included Anderson's The Hawaiian Islands , Walpole's Four years in the Pacific , Mrs Thomson's Twelve years in Canterbury , and Melville's Typee, Omoo , and The whale {Moby Dick).

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While American book prices current for 1994 lists various copies of the first edition of Moby Dick as selling between $4,500 and $66,000, Grey paid only 10s 6d for his copy. Almost a year later, Grey was invoiced by Wildman for a further £86 15s 10d. This time a number of periodicals were purchased: Punch, covering 1841 to 1886, 174 volumes of the Edinburgh review, and the Graphic, 1870-87. Other items purchased included a facsimile of William Caxton's printing of Raoul Le Fevre's The Destruction of Troy and a 1688 printing of Garcilasso De La Vega's The royal commentaries of Peru. It is interesting to note that some £28 8s 4d of the total amount went on associated expenses. This was for three cases, zinc lined with iron bands, a London-based agent's fee, freight, insurance, cartage and Wildman's own commission of 2.5 per cent.

Sources of supply that did not have these additional fees were those numerous individuals that plied Grey with letters, tantalising him with some book (or manuscript) that he ought to have in his library. And of course there was almost always a price!

A Mr W. W. Dixon in the Hokianga was one of those who left the valuing up to Grey. In a letter dated 24 September 1882, he began: 'Sir, I have an illustrated copy of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in a very fair state of preservation, in two parts . . . which I am willing to part with. Shall you be disposed to purchase it, I will forward it to your address — and accept what you consider its value.'38 Thomas Edward Donne of Wellington was more subtle. 'I have a literary curio in a volume of Pope's original edition, quarto, 1717 . . . Evidently it belonged to that famous literary resort, the Codham's Coffee House, [and . . .] a copy of the Life & Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, 1766, which I shall be glad to show you at any time you may be in Wellington.'39 These books are not in the Auckland Grey Collection, their absence suggesting that Grey did not take up Donne's offer.

One offer that Grey did accept was from John Davies Enys, station-holder at Castle Hill, Canterbury. After being turned down by the General Assembly Library, Enys offered some manuscripts to Grey in April 1888.40 These consisted of a portion of a journal written by Sir Joseph Banks and a number of letters concerning Captain Cook's voyages, for which Grey paid £30. Enys immediately offered others, including original letters by Sir Humphrey Davy, Samuel Butler, Sir John Herschel, and a signature of the explorer La Perouse. Grey purchased these for a page 63 further £15 but refused Enys's next offer of some 50 books on America that Enys had priced at £60. In October 1890, in preparation for leaving for England, Enys raised the topic of the Americana books again: '. . . I have to part with these books so give you the first offer, as you have been so liberal to me before. Will accept any offer almost which you like to make for them.'41

A perusal of the Auckland Public Library (1888) catalogue or a wander through the collection will reveal very few books on America. Americana was outside Grey's collecting interests; he was far more attuned to the European tradition of collecting medieval manuscripts, incunabula, early English printed editions, as well as following his own bent in the fields of language, scriptural writings, and natural history.

On the pastedown of 68 books in the Auckland Grey Collection is inscribed: 'From George Church to Sir G. Grey.' Church lived in Haslett Street, Auckland, and the range of books Grey acquired from him indicates that he was a bookman of some taste. Some of the books Grey received from him were a copy of Cicero's Philosophicorum pars secunda et tenia (1580), Memoirs of Hon. Sir John Reresby (1735), and Bishop Simon Patrick's Mensa mystica (1684), and a 1648 printing of John Udall's Key of the holy tongue. Others range from John Seller's Practical navigation (1694), Laurence Sterne's Sermons (1796), G. R. Porter's The progress of the nation (ca.1851), to William Cobbett's A new French and English dictionary (1833). There were also books related to New Zealand: Clement Partridge's Theological and metaphysical essays, or Christianity rightly understood (1869), Arthur Clayden's The England of the Pacific (1879), Land regulations of the Province of Auckland (1860), Rev. John Duffus's Phasmata, or visions and ghost stories (1864), and Charles Purnell's Poems (1868). The discovery of two 1891 receipts signed by Church for amounts of £3 and 4s 6d paid by Grey 'for books delivered' suggests that some of the 68 books were purchases rather than outright gifts.42 Unfortunately the trail is far too cold to establish anything definite now.

And finally to Henry Shaw (1850-1928), a book collector in the same tradition of Grey, who also left a sizeable collection to the Auckland Public Library. Some time in the 1880s, Shaw, perhaps hurt by the general depression, established a shop in the city from which he sold hundreds of volumes from his own library. One of his major customers was Grey, and once more the discovery of invoices and receipts proves Grey was purchasing page 64 locally. On 27 February 1888 Grey paid Shaw £8 3s for Wilkes's Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition , a 5-volume set of Dampier's Voyages and Froude's Oceana. On 2 November 1891 Grey bought Champlin's 4-volume Cyclopedia of painters and paintings , Goethe's Faust (illustrated by Mayer), Charnay's Ancient cities of the new world , a 1634 printing of Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the world , and illustrations to George Eliot's Works for £9. Other purchases included d'Urville's Voyages for £1 10s, C. H. Smith's Ancient costume of Great Britain and Ireland (£1 10s), a 2-volume edition of Ovid's Works (£4 10s), and a John Baskerville printing of Joseph Addison's Works for £3.43

There was much contact between these two Auckland bibliophiles and, as expected, there are other books in the Auckland Grey Collection that contain evidence of once being owned by Shaw. These books include Nicholas Jenson's printing of Giovanni Tortelli's Orthographia (1471), the Nuremberg printing of Henricusjerung's Elucidarius scripturarium , (1476), Sir Thomas Herbert's classic Some yeares travels into divers parts of Asia and Afrique (1638), Antonio de Solis y Rivaneneyra's The history of the conquest of Mexico (1724), and Sir George Staunton's Authentic account of an embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China (1797). All of them have inscriptions by Shaw or his recognisable blue 'HS' stamp. Unfortunately, there is no evidence whatsoever on whether these books were purchases or gifts. Shaw, a good bookman, eventually became co-curator of the Auckland Grey Collection in 1913.


During the 19th century England and the Continent were the major centres of the book market, and Grey purchased many more books and manuscripts from established connections in these recognised centres. Yet, as is revealed in this overview of Grey's book collecting activities in New Zealand, there was a surprising richness of book material available locally, and Grey took advantage of the situation. He bought when he could, whether through an auction, book dealers, or from individuals. These local purchases were convenient, cheaper than the prices asked for on the English market, and essential, if, like other book collectors, the book captured 'his eye, his mind or his imagination'.44

page 65

Sir George Grey's position afforded a good opportunity to collect. As governor he attracted more than the usual contacts, many of whom gave him books because of shared interests, or because they wanted to be associated with Grey, and the legacy of the 'governor's gift'.45 As a consequence, presentation copies abound in the Auckland Grey Collection.

The Auckland Grey Collection is exceptional in scope, content, and condition, and is invaluable for those interested in diverse and specialised fields such as philology, art history, palaeography, early printing, early New Zealand history and literature, and Māori-tanga. That many items in the collection were obtained by Grey while in New Zealand is of particular significance, especially to those interested in the history of print culture in New Zealand, for which the collection provides rich opportunities for further study.

1 The Cape Town Grey Collection (some 5200 books and manuscripts) is part of the South African Library. The Auckland Grey Collection (some 15,000 books and manuscripts, plus correspondence) is part of Special Collections, Auckland Central City Library. Unless otherwise indicated all location numbers in these references (including those of the illustrations) are to Auckland Central City Library collections.

2 This paper emanates from a yet to be completed doctoral study on Grey as a book collector. The New Zealand focus has been culled from various 'in progress' chapters. For more general information on Grey's life (1812-98) see James Rutherford, Sir George Grey K.C.B., 1812-1898: A study in colonial government (London: Cassell, 1961); Edmund Bohan, To be a hero: The life of Sir George Grey (Auckland: HarperCollins, 1998); and the entry in The dictionary of New Zealand biography , vol.1 (Wellington: Allen & Unwin, 1990), pp. 160-4.

3 Advertisement, 'Sale by auction', New Zealander, 21 November 1846, p.1, col.2. William Connell's base was the 'Mart, Queen Street'.

4 William Charles Cotton, [Journal of a residence in New Zealand from 6 June 1846 to 22 March 1847], vol.11, pp.119-20. Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, D.L. ref. MS 43 : CY 665-2. Dodson was Rev. James Dodson, and 'Wood' may have been Reader Gillson Wood (1821-95) who, as an architect, surveyor and later Colonial Treasurer, was certainly known to Grey. The Tyndale New Testament, printed by Richard Jugge, had been sold at the first sale of the Duke of Sussex's collection, 1 July 1844. See W. Y. Fletcher's English Book Collectors (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1902), p.12. The black letter Bible is a Bishop's Bible, printed by Christopher Barker, 1585. See

5 Further details on Lumley can be found in Wallace Kirsop's 'Edward Lumley and the consignment trade', in Books for colonial readers: The nineteenth-century Australian experience (Melbourne: Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand in association with the Centre for Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Monash University, 1995), pp.39-58. No information is known on who held the auctions in Wellington. In addition, only the 1851 Lumley catalogue has imprint details: 'Stevens and Co., Printers, Bell Yard, Lincoln's Inn'.

6 Bethune and Hunter, New valuable, and most important books from Henry G. Bohn, 4, 5, 6, York Street, Covent Garden; which will be sold by auction by Messrs Bethune & Hunter, at the Exchange, on Monday, May 31, 1852, and following days ([Wellington]: Printed at the Spectator Office, [1852]).

7 The items Grey purchased from a particular catalogue reflect something of his own taste. What he did not purchase is also of interest, but outside die scope of this paper.

8 Bethune and Hunter, A catalogue of books being the library of His Excellancy [sic] Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, with another collection added, the property of His Excellency Lieutenant-Governor Enderby which will be sold by auction at the Exchange, on Wednesday, November 17, 1852, by Messrs. Bethune & Hunter. ([Wellington]: Printed at the Office of the 'Wellington Independent', [1852]). Both Eyre and Enderby left New Zealand in 1853.

10 Bethune and Hunter, A catalogue of valuable books; a portion of the library of His Excellency Sir George Grey, K.C.B., which will be sold by auction, at the Exchange, on Monday & Tuesday, September 26 & 27, 1853. ([Wellington]: Printed at the Spectator Office, [1853]). The original is in the Cape Town Grey Collection, location number G17a85.

11 Samuel Cochrane & Son, Catalogue ([Auckland, 1893]). An invoice dated 16 November 1893 is bound up with the catalogue.

12 Rev. Samuel J. Neill, letter to Grey, 5 December 1881 (GL:NZ N4(1)).

13 Neill, letter to Grey, 24 November 1893 (GL:NZ N4(2)).

14 Grey, letter to Neill, 24 November 1893 (GL:NZ N4(2)a).

15 Elijah Tucker, letter to Grey, 10 January 1889 (GL:NZ T2 3(2)).

16 Marie Randle, letter to Grey, 24 August 1893 (GL:NZ R1).

17 Henry S. Chapman, letter to Grey, 29 May 1865 (GL:NZ C10(14)).

18 Ibid.

19 Charles Brown, letter to Grey, 18 May 1975 (GL:NZ B30(1)).

20 An undated note by Grey in GNZ MSS 97(7).

21 Edward Jerningham Wakefield, letter to Grey, 29 May 1878 (GL:NZ W6(2)).

22 Sir George Grey, Address . . . to the members of the New Zealand Society as their first president, September 26, 1851 (Wellington: Printed by R. Stokes, 1851), pp.8-9.

23 Robert Maunsell, letter to Grey, 27 April 1849 (GL:NZ M31(3)).

24 Ibid.

25 Maunsell, letter to Grey, 21 May 1851 (GL:NZ M31(7)). Maunsell presented Grey with 62 printed Māori language publications. Forty-four of these are in the Auckland Grey Collection; 18 remain in the Cape Town Grey Collection.

26 William Colenso, letter to Grey, 29 August 1863 (GL:NZ C28(1)).

27 Elizabeth Colenso, letter to Grey, 4 March 1883 (New Zealand Manuscript (NZMS) 942).

28 Bishop J. B. F. Pompallier, letter to Grey, 5 February 1862 (GL:NZ Pi8(7)). Fifteen of the sixteen are still present in the Auckland Grey Collection. The earliest presentation copy is dated 27 May 1850; the last 31 March 1864.

29 Sir George Grey, Polynesian mythology (Auckland: H. Brett, 1885), p.xv. A detailed survey of Grey's printed Māori language books was undertaken during 1997. The collection totals 374 books and 147 volumes of manuscript material (exceeding 9,800 pages. Herbert W Williams's A Bibliography of Printed Maori to 1900 and Supplement. (Wellington: Government Printer, 1924 and 1928) lists 1010 titles, and provided a useful yardstick. The manuscript figure is given by David Simmons, 'The sources of Sir George Grey's Nga mahi a nga tupuna', Journal of the Polynesian Society , 75 (1966), 177-88.

30 For a full explanation see Angus Ross, New Zealand aspirations in the Pacific in the nineteenth century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), chapter titled 'Governor Grey's early Pacific schemes'.

31 Bishop G. A. Selwyn, letter to Grey, [March] 1848 (GL:NZ S16(5)).

32 Sir William Martin, letter to Grey, 18 October 1861 (GL:NZ M27(1)).

33 Frederick Langham, letter to Grey, 15 April 1886 (GL:L3).

34 John H. Roberts, letter to Grey, 26 January 1886 (GL:R18(i)).

35 Sir George Grey, [Catalogue of the Cape Town Grey Collection] Philology. Vol. II, Australia and Polynesia. Part II, Papuan languages of the Loyalty Islands and New Hebrides, comprising those of the islands of Nengone, Lifu, Aneiteum, Tana, and others (Cape Town: Printed at G. J. Pike's Machine Printing Office; Sold by Triibner, London, and F. A. Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1858). Sir George Grey and W. H. I. Bleek, Philology. Vol.11 - Part III, Fiji Islands and Rotuma (with supplements to Part II, Papuan languages; and Pan I, Australia (London: Sold by Trübner; Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1859). Sir George Grey and W H. I. Bleek, Philology. Vol. II-Part IV, New Zealand, the Chatham Islands and Auckland Islands (London: Sold by Triibner; Leipzig: E A. Brockhaus, 1858). [Sir George Grey and W H. I. Bleek], Philology. Vol.11 - Pan IV, (Continuation) Polynesia and Borneo. (London: Sold by Triibner; Leipzig: E A. Brockhaus, 1859). There is also the later, but unreliable, T Hahn, An index of the Grey Collection in the South African Libraiy (Cape Town: Saul Solomon, 1884).

36 Auckland Public Libraiy, general catalogue of Grey Collection [and] Free Public Libraiy (Auckland: H. Brett, 1888). The supplements carry no date but were printed during 1891-3. Grey initally gave the Māori and Polynesian language books and manuscripts to the Cape Town Grey Collection. Exchanges in 1870, 1923, 1985, and 1995 have occurred that have seen almost all of this material return to Auckland.

37 The Wildman (and later, Lyell) invoices are found in GNZMSS 258. For a brief description of this Auckland firm, see Anna and Max Rogers, Turning the pages: The story of bookselling in New Zealand (Auckland: Reed, 1993), p.22.

38 W. W. Dixon, letter to Grey, 24 September 1888 (GL:NZ D11).

39 Thomas Edward Donne to Grey, 1 January 1893 (GL:NZ D12a).

40 John Davies Enys, letter to Grey, 7 April 1888 (GL:NZ E5(1)).

41 Enys, letter to Grey, 28 October 1890 (GL:NZ E5(8)).

42 Invoices dated 28 and 29 October 1891 (GNZMSS 258).

43 Invoices for Grey-Shaw transactions are found in GNZMSS 258.

44 Alfred Pollard in his entry on book collecting in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica Co., 1910), vol.4, p.224.

45 This term is from Wynne Colgan's The governor's gift: The Auckland Public Library 1880-1980 (Auckland: Richards Publishing and Auckland City Council, 1980).