State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 16 October 1975


The British India Holdings of the State Library of Victoria

The Council of the National Library of Australia has shown, in recent years, a deep interest in building a collection of materials on South Asia that will be of significance to present and future generations of researchers. Characteristic of this interest was the appointment of the former Librarian and Keeper of the Records of the India Office Library, Mr. S. C. Sutton, as a consultant to the National Library at the beginning of 1973. His recently published report, with its broad perspective and sweeping proposals for the development of the National Library collection, is a landmark1. It might not be inappropriate, in view of this publication, to look back to the beginnings of public library acquisitions of materials on South Asia in this country. In so doing a small start will have been made on the now overdue task of systematic description of these early acquisitions.2


The State Library of Victoria, or the Melbourne Public Library as it was formerly called, drew its collection of printed works on South Asia from several sources over the formative period 1853–1880. The earliest and, at the outset, the most important were British and European booksellers. The London bookseller Jean Joseph Guillaume, who had already acted as a buyer for the colony's Legislative Council library and that of the Supreme Court, was the first to be approached with a commission for the Melbourne Public Library.3 The instructions to the bookseller, which included a list of titles, authors and subjects, were the work of the colony's Solicitor-General, Mr. Justice (afterwards Sir Redmond) Barry. Acting on behalf of the Trustees of the Library Barry drew up the instructions and forwarded them to Edward Barnard, the Colonial Agent-General in London, asking him to make a final choice of booksellers and oversee the first shipment of purchases.4
By 1880 the Library had somewhat diversified its suppliers and was conducting an extensive business abroad through several of the largest booksellers in London (James Bain, Bernard Quaritch, Henry Southeran) and through Frederik Muller in Amsterdam. In Melbourne it dealt with almost all the local booksellers as well as buying directly from the public and and at auction. But the major part of the Library's trade had gone to the overseas booksellers, and this was publicly criticised. Barry must have resisted considerable pressure from the local booksellers to place all his orders through them, though he was clearly never averse to extending their share of the Library's trade and in the financial year 1880–1881 a sum of £754.9.11d. was spent locally while £1,005.9.8d. went overseas.5 Responding to criticism that avoidable delays in the transmission of scientific and literary periodicals had diminished the usefulness of such literature to the public (a criticism Barry himself had frequently made to his London booksellers) he arranged that after January 1880 all non-British publications of this type would be bought through local booksellers who claimed they could guarantee a speedier shipment.6 Not satisfied with this new arrangement Barry's fellow Trustees, immediately after his death, cancelled all business with overseas firms.7
‘After careful enquiry and consideration’, D. C. McArthur, Barry's successor as Chairman of the Trustees of the Public Library, wrote in his report for 1881, ‘the Committee have [sic] come to the conclusion that it will be better to make all their ordinary purchases in Melbourne… Purchasing books in England implies leaving a greater latitude to the English agent than the Trustees deem desirable.’8 The Trustees dramatically reduced the European purchases from the 1880–1881 total of £1,005.9.8d. to £137.11.9d. in 1881–1882, while lifting the Melbourne purchases over the same period to £1,177.12.8d.9 This ratio of spending was never thereafter reversed and the influence that overseas booksellers were to have in determining what was acquired by the Library was correspondingly reduced. While it may be unfair to suggest that Melbourne booksellers of the importance of Samuel Mullen and George Robertson had very much less access to European and Indian publications on India than their counterparts
in London it is certainly true that their catalogues in the 1880's and 1890's show remarkably little interest in this area.
It is also incontestable that Barry, over the years, had tied his overseas booksellers to a hard bargain. Not only did he expect them to handle all the Library's exchanges of publications but he also held them to acting as solicitors for, and receivers of, outright gifts to the Library. He would never pay prices higher than those quoted in a rival bookseller's catalogue for an identical item, and wherever possible he wanted second-hand copies in good condition. He managed to induce Bain and Muller, in particular, to make quite extraordinary efforts to close gaps in valued serial publications and to uncover rare works in areas in which he wished the Library to build its reputation (e.g. Shakespeariana, Miltoniana, Bibles, ‘the sources quoted by Gibbon’ collection, books illustrating the arts of printing and binding, etc.). After 1880 such ambitious undertakings were not enthusiastically supported and the Trustees were content ‘to keep the supply of books in each department equal to the requirements of the day’.10 In these changed circumstances it became the responsibility of the Librarian primarily, working within a tighter budget, to place special orders for works which were outside the Melbourne booksellers' regular shipments. In both the 1881 and 1882 Reports mention is made of the Trustees' intention of continuing Barry's practice of obtaining advice from specialists outside of the Library Committee on desirable acquisitions but only in a very few instances does this seem to have been done.


Barry's original order of books for the Library does not separate out the Indian subcontinent for special interest but rather deals with several aspects of its history and culture under headings typical of booksellers' catalogues of the day. Under the heading ‘History’, for example, it requests a copy of James Mill's History of British India specifically.11 Under other headings the requests are more general, revealing that Barry's knowledge of the field was only cursory and that he was obliged to put considerable trust in the discretion of the bookseller chosen to carry out his instructions. Among the languages for which he requests ‘Dictionaries, etc.’, is Hindustani, or as he puts it, ‘Hindostanee’, with the note that it should be ‘the Best’ dictionary available.12 Perhaps unexpectedly Barry lists, under the heading ‘Bibles, etc.’, ‘Shaster’ [sic] and ‘Vedda’ [sic], although without reference to particular texts in either of these broad classes of Sanskrit literature.13
Despite the vagueness of such directions Guillaume and the other booksellers were usually able to interpret them to Barry's satisfaction. It would soon have become clear that Barry's selection of publications on India (usually drawn from catalogues they supplied to him) ran along predictable lines. In the first instance it was based on a substantial classical or Orientalist foundation. This involved subscribing to all the leading Orientalist societies of the day. Current as well as back issues of the journals of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Société Asiatique (which entailed an order of some 79 volumes covering the period 1822–1858), the American Orientalist Society, the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indie and the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft were obtained. So, too, were the monographs of leading British, and to a lesser degree European, Orientalists purchased, though this was not done on a very systematic basis. Many texts and translations of the Indian classical languages were added, usually as monographs, but also in such series as the publications of the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland (London and Paris, 1827–1852), the Sacred Books of the East (Oxford, 1879–1910) and the Harvard Oriental Series (Cambridge, Mass., 1891 +).
Modern Indian languages were treated much less respectfully. Dictionaries, grammars and student readers were purchased in almost every modern literary language of the subcontinent, but with few works of literature in either the original language or in translation. Barry's collecting zeal was applied to Indian editions and translations of the Bible, and translations into at least twenty modern Indian languages as well as into Sanskrit and Pali entered the Library.
The ancient history and archaeology of India, to the extent that it was known and recorded, was eagerly collected. But it was modern, British Indian history that exercised a greater fascination, especially as it was chronicled in an endless stream of military memoirs that were churned out of Indian as well as British presses after the Mutiny in 1857–1858 and the Afghan Wars in 1838–1842 and 1878–1880. The Library did not discriminate against pamphlets in favour of more durable publications, either. Hence there is now a valuable collection of this material, though it was at the time all too rapidly and rather haphazardly bound in series called ‘Indian history pamphlets’, ‘Indian tracts’, ‘Pamphleteer’, ‘Indian pamphlets’ and the like, for its own protection and to swell the number of volumes in the library.
Even more numerous than these eyewitness accounts of battles with the natives of India and Afghanistan were the writings of travellers in and beyond the subcontinent. The Library bought quite heavily in this field, selecting from both current and antiquarian catalogues. It subscribed to the works of the Haklyut Society (1847 +), to the Annales des voyages de la géographie et de l'histoire; collection des voyages nouveaux (later called Nouvelles annales des voyages, de la géographie, et de l'histoire) which appeared in 168 volumes (1808–1814; 1819–1854), as well as to more popular series such as the Home and Colonial Library (1843–1856) and the Traveller's Library (1854–1865). In many instances it was able to obtain valuable editions of the travels in both the original languages and English translations where these had been done.


A second source of acquisitions to the Library, and the most significant so far as the British India holdings were concerned, was official exchanges and donations arranged through heads of government. Once again it was Barry who took the initiative, albeit after a resolution of the Trustees had formally approved it. In January 1854 he wrote to a number of former colonists in London asking them to help supervise the purchases from the London booksellers and also seeking their assistance in gaining more support for the Library.
‘Were you with such of the other Gentlemen to whom I have written, as can make it convenient to do so, to wait upon the Secretary of State, and to represent strongly the Literary Destitution, under which we labour, and the justice of affording such aid, to our struggling commencement to form a National Library it would strengthen the application and if successful, a similar application might be made to the Trustees of the British Museum for a Donation, or did the Regulations prohibit that, for the purchase if allowed, of surplus copies of works of value while it is not impossible that were such an application extended, to the Libraries of the Universities, and Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge or even into private circles it would be attended with success.’14
He followed up this appeal a month later with one directly to the Duke of Newcastle, Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies.15
Though these approaches may have been premature Barry was far from discouraged either by their lack of acknowledgment or by the Secretary of State's reply that ‘he was unable to furnish any books unless payment were made for the same by the Colonial Government.’16 Instead Barry seems to have taken every opportunity to press his cause with an even wider range of officials including representatives of the Canadian, Swiss, Belgian and American governments. The circumstances of his appeal to Lord Canning, the Governor-General of India, are distinctive and the result had wide implications for the future development of the Library.
On 7 July 1857 news of the Indian Mutiny first reached Melbourne and caused considerable concern, especially in official and business circles. The early successes of the Sepoys were reported as ‘a general massacre of the Christians’ in which ‘the barbarities committed on men, women and children’ beggared description.17 In the months that followed Melbourne newspaper readers were treated to lengthy extracts from the English language press in India and Ceylon which stressed the violent activities of the rebels in various northern Indian cities. Some Australian colonists with relatives in
India supplied the newspapers with letters they had received from them, and this brought the tragedy even closer to home.18 With news of the fall of Delhi only recently before them, a call was made by Joseph Wilkie, a member of the Legislative Council, for Victorians to support the Lord Mayor of London's relief fund for relatives of the British killed in India, in the following jingoistic terms.
‘ … The English name has been insulted! The English homes have been desecrated! English wives and children have been murdered in cold blood! The most inhuman atrocities have been committed! And we are now called upon to identify ourselves with the cause of those who have fought for our name; whose blood has flowed on the fields of India in vindication of our national character; whose lives have been sacrificed for our national honour … ‘19
The appeal could hardly have been made at a more opportune time in Victorian history. Between 1857 and 1859 the Chinese population in the colony was to reach a peak of about 40,000 and there were frequent racial incidents on the goldfields, including the serious riot on the Buckland River in July 1857.20 Though it could never be suggested that the Chinese posed a militant threat to the rest of the colonists they were easy scapegoats for the economic frustrations of a sometimes belligerent and racially arrogant majority. The relief appeal, therefore, was certain of strong communal support even if it had not been as well organised by Melbourne's business community, or as enthusiastically endorsed by the Governor and the Legislative Council, as it was.21 Victorians, in fact, contributed the lion's share of the Australian total, while the Australian colonies taken as a whole contributed considerably more than any other part of the Empire.22
Redmond Barry, as president of the Philharmonic Society and chairman of its annual meeting, was among the first citizens of Melbourne to make a public gesture in support of the fund. The day after the Age had carried Wilkie's letter that newspaper was able to report that the Philharmonic Society during its annual meeting had resolved to give a special performance for the benefit of the fund ‘for the sufferers in the Indian Rebellion’.23
But Barry's interest in the fund was soon turned back to his own special concern for the development of the Library. Early in May 1859, plans for a museum attached to the Library were being finalised and Barry needed exhibits to draw the crowds that would ensure, at least in part, that funds would be granted by the Legislative Council in continuing support of the Library. No extension to the Library building had been finalised but Barry went ahead with £2,000 worth of purchases, intending to house them temporarily, with whatever other exhibits he could muster, in the hall and ground floor chambers of the Library.24
In a letter addressed to Sir Henry Barkly, the Governor of Victoria, Barry asked that an approach be made to the Governor-General of India for a collection of armaments used by the ‘native population’ in the Mutiny.25
‘ … In that country [i.e. in India] they will … be esteemed as of little value, while in this they would be highly prized. Such objects placed in the Museum attached to the Library would afford interesting illustration of Oriental National Customs and peculiarities.’26
As a footnote to this request Barry added that the Library would be interested in ‘copies of such works as are published by the Authority of the Honourable East India Company & Her Majesty's Government in India’. He offered no exchange of publications for this favour but instead relied on the influence of Sir Henry Barkly in presenting the request and ‘a recollection of the sympathy exhibited by our people for the sufferers in the Indian Mutiny and the Substantial Contributions for their relief. Fortunately Barkly was more impressed by the request for books than he was for weapons for a museum which, at this stage, only existed on paper. He emphasised, in his covering letter, that the ‘… Melbourne Library is daily rising into an Institution of greatest importance to the Australian Colonies, and I trust that on this account, no less than on the grounds assigned by the Trustees … this application may commend itself to your Lordship's most favourable consideration.’27
Canning complied with the request by
immediately sending 25 volumes of a recently published serial that covered Central Government records selected from the Home, Public Works and Foreign departments over the period 1849–1858. He must have issued an instruction that the Governor of Bombay send a similar gift because soon after 55 volumes of selected Bombay Government records arrived, together with the Transactions both of the Bombay Geographical Society (12 vols. 1844–1846) and the Bombay Literary Society (3 vols. 1819). At roughly the same time the Calcutta Journal covering the period 1818–1823 arrived in 21 volumes, and the Calcutta Review from 1844 to 1864 in 40 volumes came in stages over the next few years. Barry was evidently very heartened by these first ‘international’ gifts to the Library, as he was by a donation, received at about the same time, of one hundred ‘rare and costly volumes presented by the Emperor of the French [Napoleon III]’.28 He sent, in return, a gift of fifteen pamphlets printed in Australia, with a gentle reminder to the Governor-General of India that the collection of native arms for the museum had not yet arrived.29 Similar parcels of Australian works were then prepared for the Swiss and American Consuls to be delivered for use in the Public Libraries of Berne and Washington.30 Clearly Barry intended to exploit fully this now promising means of enlarging and embellishing the Melbourne Public Library.


It would be quite wrong to see in Barry's interest in the arms of the Indian Sepoys or in his support for the British, without much regard for the Indian, sufferers in the Mutiny an unduly hostile attitude to non-European peoples and their cultures. Certainly Barry saw little in common between the present condition of his own society and that of primitive or Oriental societies. Each had its own ‘National Customs and peculiarities’, as he phrased it. Though it was essential to Barry that judgments be made about the achievements that lay behind such distinctive developments it was not at all inevitable that they should be totally adverse to societies other than the British. His own respect for the Bible as ‘sacred history’ and ‘the most ancient records now extant amongst us’ as well as his exuberantly professed love of the literature of Greece and Rome were conditioned by a knowledge that they were the productions of societies less technologically and artistically advanced than his own. Additionally there was now the evidence of Comparative Philology to show that Greek and Latin were part of an Indo-European family of languages and the widely held view that the common homeland of the Aryan people (those who spoke the earliest form of the Indo-European language) was in Central Asia.31
Barry was not fully in support of some of the conclusions reached in Comparative Philology. He begged to differ, in Melbourne, with Max Müller of Oxford on the origin of the Aryans. Resting his argument on the topographical evidence of the Bible and the climatology of the Himalayas he concluded that their home was in Kashmir.32 Yet he did accept, from his readings in this field, that important advances in historical and ethnological understanding could be made through the systematic comparison of languages. He personally tried to instigate a research project on Aboriginal languages as early as 1866. The project sought to elucidate ‘the general laws of Philology which may govern many, if not all, the language or dialects spoken in Australasia’.33 Though the project collapsed in its early stages it is indicative of a serious interest he shared with many of his time in societies culturally distant from his own, trying to draw them into new intellectual patterns that could accommodate their apparent diversity and complexity.
Barry also accepted that comparison was the key to understanding the origins and development of racial differences in styles of art and in technology. In August 1879 he wrote to Sir Garnet Joseph Wolseley, the British High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief of the Cape of Good Hope, asking him whether he could arrange for a sample of the arms of ‘the warlike natives of the Zulu-land’ to be sent to Melbourne. In this letter he referred to the gift of Indian arms he had received twenty years previously and indicated how he saw their value.
‘They form examples of certain of the
offensive arms in use amongst the people of the north and centre of India much more instructive than illustrations in books especially in one particular the handles of the sabres are so small that it is impossible for an European of ordinary stature to get his hand into the basket handle: Yet those slender men who wielded them were the formidable Cavalry of the Sikhs.'34
The Zulu arms were to be deposited in what Barry called the ‘Ethnotypical Museum’, an institution whose title does not seem to have survived much beyond the lifetime of Barry and appears to have already been something of an embarrassment when the Museum's printed catalogue appeared in 1878.35 Barry's use of this title is nowhere fully explained, but in a letter he wrote on the collection of artifacts from Oceania he was slightly more detailed and referred to the work of Owen Jones, an authority on art appreciation.36
‘These [“ … Arms and Weapons of every kind, Clothings, Implements, Culinary Domestic, employed in fishing manufacture and other occupations — ornaments of all kinds for the person, house, vessels or employed in Religious Exercises, with the names of each of the materials of which made — birds skins feathers fishbones teeth”] assist in the Researches pursued to establish the derivation of Races widely dispersed over the large area of the Southern Ocean propelled manifestly from different sources of origin, they afford examples of the primitive and imperfectly developed efforts in art, such as it is in its simplicity and rudimentary state, distinctive to an attentive observer such as Owen Jones and they help to establish Ethnological and Ethnographical principles and to fix types of National or Specific Styles of decoration.’37
In summary Barry's interest in the Indian arms collection was characteristic of the ethnological enquiries of his day. To the extent that these were most frequently racial in their focus and condescending in their tone, Barry shared their prejudices. The simplicity and arbitrariness of the connections that were established between physical appearance, mental qualities and aspects of the history and culture of non-European peoples have rendered the value of their conclusions as slight. Yet in their genuine concern for accurate field research, their attempted comprehensiveness, and their respect for the need for conservation, their work was not entirely vain.


Not until December 1870 did Barry return to giving specific attention to the Library's holdings on British India. The previous twelve months had been very important ones for the Library, having seen its incorporation and government enacted by the Victorian legislature on 29 December 1869. But it was not this development that specifically motivated Barry's interest in substantially extending the collection. Instead it seems to have been a part of efforts Barry was making to have graduates from the University of Melbourne (of which he was Chancellor) qualify for positions in the Indian Civil Service.38 Authority for holding the I.C.S. examinations locally, or for accepting the Melbourne Arts degree strengthened by additional courses in Oriental languages and literatures as equivalent to the I.C.S. examination, was sought from the Secretary of State for India in London. Barry held out the hope that when a Chair of Hebrew and Oriental Literature was established at the University, and appropriate subjects taught by this professor made compulsory for intending candidates for appointment to the Civil Service, permission would be given for the Governor of Victoria to nominate from among the candidates one ‘native-born youth of the country’ to the Indian Civil Service each year, and perhaps to ‘the Civil Service of China and Japan also’.39 He did not see any difficulty in attracting students into such subjects, not only because some wealthy Melbourne citizens had indicated their intention of establishing a Hebrew Scholarship, but also because ‘there may be good reasons to believe that the increase of population in the Australasian possessions of the Crown, and extension of commerce with the Asiatic nations, will tend to hasten the necessity for supplying means for acquiring a systematic and philosophical knowledge of the languages of those races’.40
In putting these suggestions before the Secretary of State for India, the Duke of Argyll, Barry probably felt he was leaving a
wide margin for negotiation on a final decision. He seems not to have been prepared for the abrupt and uncompromising rejection his suggestions received, not so much from Argyll personally, but from the Civil Service Commissioners. Although the introduction of public competitive examinations for the Indian Civil Service had not resulted in the continued recruitment of the English gentleman ruler favoured by the Civil Service Commissioners and others, the Commissioners showed a real unwillingness to look much beyond the English and Scottish universities for possible candidates.41 In addition the Secretary of State for India had been petitioned from India by Indian political associations in 1868 to hold the examinations simultaneously in that country as well as in England.42 The answer in that case had been a firm refusal, though the Government did offer to give nine scholarships a year for Indians to travel to England where they could prepare for the examination. But a year later even this offer was withdrawn. It would hardly have been possible, in these circumstances, to offer simultaneous I.C.S. examinations in Melbourne, or to accept the University of Melbourne's graduates without further examination into the I.C.S. In meeting with this refusal Barry had little pressing evidence to support his idea of making an appointment to the University's staff in the field of Oriental languages.43 Nevertheless he regarded it as a matter of consequence that the Public Library should have sound holdings in this field and he requested works on comparative grammar and Philology, Sanskrit grammar and literature, and an extended range of publications from the departments of the Government of India.
The instructions Barry gave to Augustus Tulk, the Librarian, in this matter have been preserved in a folder labelled ‘Notes from Trustees 1870–1871’ in the Public Record Office, Melbourne, and as this folder is the only remaining collection of correspondence between Barry and the Librarian it is an invaluable source of information on the day-to-day running of the Library at that time. Many of the notes in this folder are orders for books for the Library made after Barry had reviewed a bookseller's catalogue. The note and the catalogue, it would appear, were usually taken from the Supreme Court to be delivered to Tulk at the Library. Here Tulk would check Barry's orders to see that they were not duplicating works already held by the Library before a final order was placed.
Barry's note to Tulk on 1 December 1870 followed a familiar pattern.
‘Have you the following works on Grammar and Philology [?] Burnouf, Grimm Teutoria, Lassen, Pott's Language of Gypsies, [Pott's] Proper Names, [Pott's] Etymological Researches, Philological Society Transactions, Rask, Rosen, Royal Society of Literature, Monboddofs] Origin of Language.’
Then, presumably referring to a different section of the bookseller's catalogue, it listed under the heading ‘Sanskrit’, the following seven authors of grammars of Sanskrit, together with four of the earliest translations of Sanskrit literature into English.
‘Bopp 1827. 32, Colebrook[e] 1805, Car[e]y 1806, Forster 1840, Wilkins 1808, Wilson 1841, Yates, Bhagavadgita by Wilkins 1785. Sakuntala by Wilkins 1787, Hitopadesia [sic] by Sir W. Jones 1779, Halhed Gentoo Laws by order of Warren Hastings.
The second part of Barry's note began with a further request.
‘Make out if you please a list of works which it is desirable to get from the Gov[ernor] Gen[eral] of India, the Govfernor] of Madras, the Gov[ernor] of Bombay, the Gov[ernor] of Ceylon.
I will write a letter to each today to be forwarded throfugh] the Cfhief] Secretary] and the Governor.
The works we want are continuations of those reports we already possess on various subjects with such others as you can suggest.'
Barry then listed alphabetically subjects on which he felt the Library should have official publications.
‘Agriculture, Banking, Barracks, Botany, Canals, Chincona, Coal, Codes of Law, Coffee, Cotton, Commerce, Docks, Education, Exploration, Ethnology, Finances, Geology, Health, Horsebreeding etc., Indigo growth of, Internal Communication, Irrigation, Land Tenure,
Laws, Maps, Meteorology, Minerals and Mining, Natural History, Opium, Population, Photographs published by Departments — Survey, etc., Quinine, Regulations of the different branches of the Service, Railroads, Reports of Departments, Silk, Steam Communication, Survey, Taxation, Tea growth of, Timber, Trade, Translations of ancient and modern works of Asiatic languages, Vegetable products of export, War and Warfare.'44
Such an extensive range of particular subjects went far beyond the kind of general knowledge of India that was expected of intending I.C.S. officers. This was intentional since Barry was as much concerned with developing the trade and industry of Victoria as he was with the placing of graduates in imperial service. In reporting the granting of this request and the receipt of the additional gift of books, pamphlets and maps from India Barry noted that the gift furnished ‘a body of information of the most authoritative and trustworthy nature, on the history and policy of British India, abounding also with instructions as to the best mode of prosecuting many profitable industries, capable of being practised with success in this country [i.e. Australia]’.45


Barry's letter to the Governor-General and those to the Governors of Bombay, Madras and Ceylon yielded an enormous return. Lord Mayo sent off a parcel of 486 volumes, pamphlets and maps, Sir William Fitzgerald 147 items from Bombay, Lord Napier 55 items from Madras, and Sir Hercules Robinson 20 items from Ceylon. In return Barry proudly offered copies of the Library, Museum and National Gallery annual report, together with whatever other official publications he could muster. It was far from being a balanced exchange and this became increasingly evident as the years passed by and the ‘exchanges’ from India continued to be presented to the Library on a grand scale. The table below summarises only a part of the total gift. It is taken from those annual reports of the Library which included statistics on donations.
Year Number Of Volumes Number Of Pamphlets
1881 103 215
1882 73 283
1883 71 364
1884 72 311
1885 63 314
1886 67 267
1887 79 327
1888 35 303
1889 54 289
1890 26 367
1891 42 274
1892 56 188
1893 56 237
1894 88 262
1895 73 317
1896 30 401
1897 42 315
1898 65 288
1899 65 302
1900 307
1901 76 91
1902 no statistics given
1903 74 99
1904 79 133
1905 98 141
1906 102 135
1907 266 127
1908 219 94
1909 242 107
1910 219 280
1911 167 31
1912 203 385
1913 269 119
1914 193 101
1915 137 133
Total 3,504 7,907
The whole range of official publications held by the State Library cannot be properly described in a short space. Chronologically they extend from the first donations in 1859 through to the 1930's, with the most amply supplied period being that from 1870 to 1918. They include serial publications relating to all the territories of British India.46 Unfortunately it is rare to find complete series of the longest running publications, as it is in the main British libraries. Nevertheless the Library does have quite extensive holdings which make it
an important, if unexpected, location of materials for the study of British India.47
In concluding this outline of the sources of the Library's British India holdings it should be noted that a small section of it was raised through the donation of books by residents of Victoria. Mostly such donations came from former officers of the Indian Army or their families. Colonel T. B. Hutton who donated 33 volumes of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1888 is a good example of the former, while Major Charles Pasley, the eldest son of a distinguished engineer in the Indian Army, and the donor of a small library of books that included some of his father's writings, is an example of the latter.
The thrust of Barry's answer to some of his more parochial critics was that the Library's design was as a ‘Public Library of reference, consultation, and research, which ought to be characterised by a comprehensiveness which would stamp it not merely as national, but universal’.48 And while Barry's defence may have sounded empty to some of those most offended by the vast space in the Library given over to Latin and Greek authors, or even by the much smaller space given to Sanskrit, Persian and Tamil authors, there were those in Melbourne town who were not unsympathetic to Barry's efforts to create an institution which would command international respect.49 To the extent that the Library was the result of Barry's deliberate planning it was the product of a legal and rather conventional mind, though it had been quickened to a degree by contact with the Aboriginals of Victoria, and the investigations of the infant studies of Comparative Philology and Ethnology. The Library was, inevitably, a nineteenth century library and its British India holdings reflect not only this fact but are also concrete evidence of the entrepreneurial zeal of the first Chairman of its Board of Trustees.
John Dunham University of Melbourne


I would like to especially thank A. L. Basham, professor of Asian Civilizations at the Australian National University who drew my attention to the value of the Library's holdings; S. Hammond, dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, for creating the opportunity for me to undertake this research; and Miss Ramsay, Miss M. Anthony and Mr. R. Anderson of the State Library of Victoria for their generous encouragement and assistance.


S. Sutton, South and South East Asia A Policy for the National Library of Australia (Canberra, 1974).


The only bibliographical studies of South Asian materials held in Australian libraries are:
Australian National University Library, A Catalogue of Sanskrit Epic Literature in the Australian National University Library (Canberra, 1973); K. McPherson and L. Brennan, ‘Source materials on India held in Western Australia: an initial survey’, Centre for Asian Studies (W.A.) Bulletin, vol. 4, 1967, pp. 10–27; National Library of Australia, Indian Periodicals and Newspapers Holdings at 31st December 1969 (Canberra, 1970). A bibliography of official Indian serial publications, 1858–1947, held in the State Library of Victoria is at present in preparation.


Jean Joseph Guillaume, ‘bookseller & publisher & professeur de langues’ as he is described in the London Post Office's Commercial and Professional Directory for 1853 (p. 835), supplied his own printed catalogues of the works purchased from him in 1854 and 1857. His son, F. Guillaume, continued this practice and several of the catalogues issued between 1860 and 1861 are in the Library bound together in a volume with the cover title Catalogue of P.L. No. 15, 16, 17 1860 and catalogued under the title Catalogue of Books recently added to the Public Library [1857, 1860–61] (London, 1857–61).


Barry to Edward Barnard, 5 December, 1853, MS Melbourne Public Library Trustees' Letter Book 1853–1860, pp. 4–22. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


Report of the Trustees of the Public Library, Museums & National Gallery of Victoria, with the Reports of the Sectional Committees for 1881, and a Statement of Income and Expenditure for the Financial Year 1880–81 (Melbourne, 1882) p. 9.


Barry to James Bain, 8 January, 1880, MS Melbourne Public Library President of Trustees' Letter Book, 1879 to 1884, p. 117. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


McArthur to James Bain, 6 January, 1881; McArthur to Bernard Quaritch, 6 January 1881; McArthur to Frederik Muller, 6 January 1881. MS Melbourne Public Library President of Trustees' Letter Book, 1879 to 1884, pp. 272–275.


Report of the Trustees … for 1881 … and a Statement of Income and Expenditure … 1880–81 (Melbourne, 1882), p. 10.


Ibid, p. 9.


Report of the Trustees … for 1880 … and a Statement of Income and Expenditure … 1879–80, pp. 7–8. In this connection Geoffrey Blainey's comment on the character of McArthur seems particularly relevant. ‘As a squire in the Heidelberg hills, leader of Melbourne's bankers, first chairman of the Associated Banks and commercial confidante of Melbourne politicians and merchants, McArthur was inclined to see Melbourne as the hub of the universe.’ Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5: 1851–1890 (ed. Douglas Pike), Melbourne, 1974, p. 122.


Barry to Edward Barnard, 5 December, 1853, MS Melbourne Public Library Trustees' Letter Book 1853–1860, p. 19. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


Ibid, p. 15.


Ibid, p. 11.


Barry to Sir W. àBeckett, Alexander Mollison, Adolphus John Duerdin, Charles Hotson Ebden, 17 January, 1854, MS Melbourne Public Library Trustees' Letter Book 1853–1860, p. 27. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


Barry to Duke of Newcastle. 20 February, 1854, loc. cit. pp. 28–29.


The Catalogue of the Public Library of Victoria, Volume 1 (Melbourne, 1880), p. viii.


Age, 8 July 1857.


See, for example, Age, 24 September and 26 September 1857. Also of interest is the pamphlet of Dr. J. Berncastle, The Revolt of the Bengal Sepoys, printed in Sydney in 1857. It has been bound in volume 2 of ‘Indian History Pamphlets’ in the State Library of Victoria's collection.


Age, 19 January 1858.


See Geoffrey Serle, The Golden Age. A History of the Colony of Victoria 1851–1861 (Melbourne, 13), ch. 11.


Argus, 26 January 1858; also the same on 29 January for the Prahran committee's first meeting, 2 February for St. Kilda's committee, and 10 February for the East Collingwood committee. The Legislative Council voted £25,000 for the appeal on 3 February 1858.


Argus, 3 June 1858.


Age, 20 January 1858.


The Catalogue of the Public Library of Victoria, volume 1 (Melbourne, 1880), p. xii.


Barry's interest in the arms had apparently been stimulated by reports of the implementation of the Arms Act which required that only those persons who held a special licence granted by the Government could henceforth carry fire-arms. See Thomas R. Metcalf, The Aftermath of Revolt India 1857–1870 (Princeton, 1965), pp. 305–306.


Barry to Sir Henry Barkly, 9 May 1859, loc. cit., pp. 233–234.


Barkly to Lord Canning, 13 May 1859, MS Governor's Letter Book, 1857–1868, vol. 2, pp. 70–71. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


The Catalogue of the Public Library of Victoria, volume 1 (Melbourne, 1880), p. x.


Barry to Sir Henry Barkly, 22 October 1860, loc. cit., letter no. 157.


Minutes of meeting of Trustees, 17 April 1860. in MS Trustees' Minute Book 1853–1870 Library Minute Book 1870–1883, p. 51, Library Council of Victoria, Melbourne. I wish to thank Mr. K. Horn, the State Librarian of Victoria, for his assistance in obtaining permission from the Library Council for my access to these records.


See J. W. Burrow, ‘The Uses of Philology in Victorian England’, in Ideas and Institutions of Victorian Britain (Essays in honour of George Kitson Clark), ed. Robert Robson (London, 1967); pp. 180–204; T. Burrow, The Sanskrit Language (London, 1965), p.9ff.


‘Kashmere, where great elevation converts the southern heat into perpetual spring and where nature has exerted all her powers to produce plants, animals, and man in the greatest perfection. No spot on the whole earth unites so many advantages. In none could the human plant have succeeded so well without care. This spot, therefore, seems to unite all the characters of Paradise, and to be the most appropriate situation in Asia for the birth-place of the human race.’Lecture on the History of the Art of Agriculture, delivered before the Melbourne Mechanics' Institution, Friday May 1 1840 by Redmond Barry (Melbourne', 1854), p. 10.


Intercolonial Exhibition, 1866, Vocabulary of Dialects Spoken by Aboriginal Natives of Australia, (Melbourne, 1867), p. vi. It may be of interest to note in this context Barry's general interest in Aboriginals' welfare. ‘In the early years of Melbourne’, Peter Ryan writes, ‘Barry became unofficial standing counsel for the Aboriginals. He laboured as hard and as earnestly upon their cases, often capital matters, as he did upon his other briefs, though he rarely, if ever, received a fee for such services. His interest in the Aboriginals was general and lasted all his life. Though he accomplished for them little of practical value, his open-minded and unprejudiced approach was in advance of that of many even of the most liberal of his contemporaries.’ (Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume 3, 1851–1890 (ed. Douglas Pike), Melbourne, 1969, p. 113). In England the early development of Ethnology, with its heavy dependence on Philology, had a similar foundation in the humanitarian work of the Aborigines Protection Society. See J. W. Burrow, ‘Evolution and Anthropology in the 1860’s: The Anthropological Society of London, 1863–71’,Victorian Studies, vol. VII, 1963, p. 143 ff. I am grateful to Mrs. Pauline Rule of the Department of Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne for drawing my attention to this parallel.


Barry to Sir Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 4 August 1879, in MS Letter Book President of Trustees 1879 to 1884, p. 19. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


Catalogue of the Objects of Ethnotypical Art in the National Gallery, published by direction of the Trustees of the Public Library and Museums of Victoria (Melbourne, 1878). The Preface to this catalogue does not explain or even use the term ‘ethnotypical’ but instead prefers ‘ethnological’. Pescott writes that the ethnological exhibits attached to the Industrial and Technological Museum were transferred to the hall on the north side of the main entrance to the Public Library in 1899 to be supplemented by a collection made in Central Australia and given the title ‘Australian Ethnological Museum’ (R. T. M. Pescott, Collections of a Century. The History of the First Hundred Years of the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, 1954, pp. 93–94).


In the margin opposite the reference to Jones Barry's note has the title of Jones' book The Grammar of Ornament(London, 1856).


Barry to Commodore Wilson, R.N., 15 July 1880, MS Letter Book President of Trustees 1879 to 1884, pp. 206–208. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


J. W. T. Manners Sutton to Chancellor of Melbourne University, 12 October 1869, MS Governor's Letter Book, vol. III, 1868–1875, pp. 68–69. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


The Melbourne University Calendar for the Year 1869–70 (Melbourne, 1870) p. 170. See also Barry to Sir George Verdon, 30 January 1871, MS Letter Book Redmond Barry 1870 to 1872, pp. 191–200. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


The Melbourne University Calendar for the Year 1869–70 (Melbourne, 870), p. 170.


See Bradford Spangenberg, ‘The Problem of Recruitment for the Indian Civil Service during the Late Nineteenth Century’, Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 30, 1971, pp. 341–360. Spangenberg says that ‘even in the earliest years of competition (1855–58), the success of seventeen Irish students, including young men from Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway universities, was regarded as a dangerous omen’ (p. 245).


Anil Seal,The Emergence of Indian Nationalism: Competition and Collaboration in the later Nineteenth Century(London, 1968), p. 137. Seal quotes Argyll as writing to Lord Mayo as saying that the India Council was ‘violently opposed to the Scholarships scheme and … jealous of its possible revival’. (Fn. p. 137).


Geoffrey Blainey, writing the centenary history of the University of Melbourne in 1957, could point out that even till that year there had never been an appointment made to the University's staff in the field of Oriental languages (A Centenary History of the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1957, p. 22).


This list was modified, after discussion with Tulk, and the following subjects were added: Administration, Cinnamon, Crime, Forests, Health, Lighthouses, Oil, Rice, Sugar, Tobacco. Others were dropped, namely: Chincona, Coal, Codes of Law, Docks, Horse breeding etc., Opium, Quinine, Regulations of different branches of the Service, Railroads, Taxation, Tea growth etc., and War and Warfare. See Barry to Viscount Canterbury, 3 December 1870, MS Trustees' Letter Book 1869–1873. Public Record Office, Melbourne.


Report of the Trustees of the Public Library, Museum and National Gallery of Victoria 1872 (Melbourne, 1872), p. 6. Barry explained the value of anexchange of publications with a similar reference to its impact on business. ‘Exchanges of State papers, statistical and other publications, will doubtless assist in making our fellow-countrymen resident in them more familiar with the inducements presented by Victoria for visitors seeking restoration of health or the expansion of commercial relations’ (ibid).


For anyone not familiar with the vastness of this literature see Teresa Macdonald, Union Catalogue of the Serial Publications of the Indian Government 1858–1947 held in Libraries in Britain (London, 1973). An earlier bibliography containing non-serial as well as serial publications is Frank Campbell, Index-catalogue of Indian official publications in the Library, British Museum (London, 1900?)


Serials in Australian Libraries — Social Science and Humanities. A Union List (3rded. Canberra, 1968–1974) is not a reliable guide to the State Library of Victoria's holdings.


The Catalogue of the Public Library of Victoria, volume 1 (Melbourne, 1880), p. xxx.


See David McVilly,' “Something to Blow About”? — The State Library of Victoria, 1856–1880', La Trobe Library Journal, volume 2, no. 8, 1971, pp. 81–90; also, by the same author, ‘The Acquisitions Policy of the State Library of Victoria, 1853–1880’, ibid, pp. 57–63.