1824: 5 George 4 c.60: An Act to carry into Effect the Will of Richard Payne Knight Esquire, so far as the same relates to a Bequest by the said Richard Payne Knight, of a Collection of Coins, Medals and other valuable Articles, to the British Museum, and to vest the said Collection in the Trustees of the said British Museum, for the Use of the Public.
[17th June 1824.]
Whereas by an Act of Parliament made and passed in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Second,
[26 G. 2. c. 22. §4.]
intituled “An Act for the Purchase of the Museum or Collection of Sir Hans Sloane, and of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts; and for providing one General Repository for the better Reception and more convenient Use of the said Collections, and of the Cottonian Library, and of the Additions thereto;” it was amongst other things enacted, that certain persons in the said Act named and their successors, and also certain other persons in the said Act named and their heirs, as in the said Act particularly described,should be Trustees for putting the said Act in execution;
and it was by the said Act further enacted, that the said Trustees thereby appointed should be a Body Corporate in deed and in name, and have succession for ever,by the name of “The Trustees of the British Museum,” and should also have full power, capacity, and ability to purchase, take, hold, and enjoy, for the purposes of that Act, as well goods and chattels, as lands, tenements, and hereditaments, as in the said Act is more particularly mentioned and set forth, with such powers and under such directions as are therein expressed:
[Will of R. Payne Knight, Esq. June 30, 1814;]
and whereas Richard Payne Knight, deceased, late of Stonebrooke Cottage in the parish of Leintwardine, in the county of Hereford, and of Soho Square in the parish of Saint Anne, Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, Esquire, by his last Will and Testament, bearing date the thirtieth day of June in the year one thousand eight hundred and fourteen, gave and bequeathed all his Coins and Medals, and all Wrought or Sculptured Articles in every kind, of metal, ivory, and gems or precious stones, together with all Descriptive Catalogues of the same, and all Drawings or Books of Drawings of every kind which should be found in the gallery or western room of his House in Soho Square, to the British Museum, on condition, that within one year after his decease the next descendant in the direct male line, then living, of Richard Knight of Downton, the Grandfather of the said Testator Richard Payne Knight, should be made an Hereditary Trustee, with all the privileges of the other Family Trustees, to be continued in perpetual succession to his next descendants in the direct male line, so long as any should exist; and in case of their failure, to the next in the female line; and also upon condition that all duties and other expenses attending the taking possession of and removing the said Articles should be paid out of the funds of the said Museum:
[who died April 29th, 1824.]
And Whereas the said Richard Payne Knight departed this life on or about the twenty-ninth day of April now last; and the said goods and chattels so given and bequeathed by the said Richard Payne Knight to the said British Museum, being a Collection of great curiosity and value, have been transferred by the executor of the said Richard Payne Knight to the Trustees of the said Museum, and have been removed to the said Museum: And Whereas it is expedient that the further condition in the Will of the said Richard Payne Knight should be complied with and effected, and that Thomas Andrew Knight of Downton Castle in the said county of Hereford, Esquire, being the next descendant in the direct male line of the said Richard Knight, the grandfather of the said Richard Payne Knight, should be an Hereditary Trustee of the said Museum, with all the privileges of the other Family Trustees, to be continued in perpetual succession to the next descendants in the direct male line of the said Richard Knight, so long as any shall exist; and in case of their failure, to the next in the female line: may it therefore please your Majesty that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same,
[Thomas Andrew Knight, Esq. added to the Trustees of the British Museum, with perpetual succession to his descendants;]
That from and after the passing of this Act, the said Thomas Andrew Knight, being such Descendant as aforesaid, shall be added to and associated with the Trustees for the time being of the said British Museum, as an Hereditary Trustee of the Museum, with all the Privileges of the other Family Trustees of the said Museum, with perpetual Succession to his next Descendants in the direct male line, so long as any shall exist; and in case of their Failure to the next Descendants in the direct Male Line of the said Richard Knight; and in case of their Failure, then to the next Descendants in the Female line of the aid Richard Knight.
[and shall be deemed Hereditary Family Trustees.]
II. And be it further enacted, That the Trustee hereby appointed, and every Person hereafter becoming a Trustee by virtue of such Succession as hereinbefore is mentioned, shall be deemed and taken to be an Hereditary Trustee of the said Museum, with the Privileges of the other Family Trustees of the said Museum, and shall severally have the like Powers and Privileges in all respects in the Execution of the Trusts reposed or to be reposed by the said recited Act or any other Act in the Hereditary Trustees of the said British Museum, as are or shall be by the said Acts or any of them given to the Hereditary Trustees therein named or described.
[Bequest of R. P. Knight vested in the Trustees of the British Museum in Perpetuity.]
III. And be it further enacted, That from and after the passing of this Act the said Goods and Chattels so given and bequeathed by the said Richard Payne Knight as aforesaid shall be vested in the Trustees for the Time being of the said British Museum sad their Successors, in Perpetuity, for the Purposes of the said Act of the Twenty sixth Year of the Reign of His Majesty King George the Second.
Source: Butterworths Statutes of the United Kingdom, 1824.