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Document number: 181
Date: Jan 1870
Dating: shortly before Doc no 09610 (19 Jan 1870)
Recipient: BRITISH MUSEUM TRUSTEES
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Royal Photographic Society Coll, National Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 148(h)
Last updated: 17th April 2012

[draft:]

to the honble the Trustees of the B.M

My lords & gentlemen

Understg that y are abt t elect a Successor to the late lamented Mr Coxe in the deptmt of the Assn Antiqs I beg leave to impress upon you state how important it is that your choice shd fall upon a person well acquainted with that difficult but most importt branch of archaeology, the Cuneiform inscriptns the British Museum contains a vast number of broken fragments covered with cuneiform writing, which require to be ^accurately put together, before their the meaning of their Contents can be ascertained and this can only be done by a person thoroughly well acquainted with the Cuneiform mode of writing, and moreover very painstaking & industrious. As I have paid gt attentn to the subject for many years & am acquainted with nearly all that has been publishd on them whether at home or abroad, I can with much confidence recommend to you Mr G. Smith at present ^who has been for some time employed in this departmt of the B.M. as a suitable successor as well suited to fill the place lately held by Mr Coxe He has published several papers on the history of Assyria & Egypt the wars campaigns of the Assn Kings with in Egypt, the materials being drawn from inscriptns in the B Mus wch had been previously undeciphered He is in my opinn as well or better acquainted with the subjt than any person in England with the exceptn of Sir H. Rawlinson and Mr Norris

I have the honor to be
Yr obedt Servt
H. F. T.

[expanded version:]

to the honourable the Trustees of the British Museum

My lords & gentlemen

Understanding that you are about to elect a Successor to the late lamented Mr Coxe <1> in the department of the Assyrian Antiquities I beg leave to impress upon you state how important it is that your choice should fall upon a person well acquainted with that difficult but most important branch of archaeology, the Cuneiform inscriptions the British Museum contains a vast number of broken fragments covered with cuneiform writing, which require to be accurately put together, before their the meaning of their Contents can be ascertained and this can only be done by a person thoroughly well acquainted with the Cuneiform mode of writing, and moreover very painstaking & industrious. As I have paid great attention to the subject for many years & am acquainted with nearly all that has been published on them whether at home or abroad, I can with much confidence recommend to you Mr G. Smith <2> at present who has been for some time employed in this department of the British Museum as a suitable successor as well suited to fill the place lately held by Mr Coxe He has published several papers on the history of Assyria and Egypt the wars campaigns of the Assyrian Kings with in Egypt, the materials being drawn from inscriptions in the British Museum which had been previously undeciphered He is in my opinion as well or better acquainted with the subject than any person in England with the exception of Sir H. Rawlinson and Mr Norris <3>


Notes:

1. William H. Coxe, who died on 18 December 1869 after an illness of 3 years; son of Rev. H. O. Coxe, Bodley's Librarian; Asst. to Birch at the British Museum and, briefly, Prof of Sanskrit at Kings College, London.

2. George Smith (18401876), Assyriologist. He was appointed as senior assistant to Dr Birch. His transliteration and translation (1871) of the Annals of Assur-bani-pal was paid for by WHFT and J.W.Bosanquet.

3. Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet (18101895), orientalist, and Dr Edwin Norris (17951872), orientalist; Secretary, & Librarian, Royal Asiatic Society.