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retire from the duties assigned to them. But before doing so, they venture to offer a word of suggestion with respect to the future course and prospects of the Society.
“It may first be desirable to point out more specifically its twofold objects: to promote the study both of Antiquities and Natural History. These two may seem at first sight incompatible: but the success which has attended their union in the case of the Somersetshire Society, leads us to believe that both pursuits can be carried on under the same auspices : and even independently of this instance of success, it was considered advisable to adopt this course as being likely to increase the success of our Institution, and to make the contents of our Museum and Library as various and as interesting as possible to a larger number of our members. Besides which, as one of our chief purposes is to collect materials for a County History, it is obvious that so interesting a subject as its Natural History could not with propriety be omitted.
“The success then of our Society under these two great heads, obviously depends not on the attendance at one or two large meetings, but on constant and earnest application to our work. In the department of Antiquities, how large a sphere of operations is
Remains of almost every æra are lying before us, presenting an unexampled field for research. The traces of British, Roman, and Saxon occupation require to be carefully studied and illustrated. The period prior to the Conquest has greater and more interesting remains in Wiltshire than in almost any other county. The theories which have been advocated respecting Avebury and Stonehenge demand investigation. And passing on to a later period, every parish has its own object of interest in its Church or baronial Castle, its domestic Mansion, its Traditions, its peculiar Superstitions, its family History, its Registers, and the very Monumental Inscriptions which, especially in our churchyards, are gradually crumbling to decay. We want a sufficient body of active coadjutors to observe and describe all these. And we may venture to hope that from the resident gentry and the parochial clergy we shall receive ready and valuable assistance. We would especially point out that great service may be conferred upon us by those who will contribute to our Portfolios any drawings of either present or previously existing buildings.
“In the department of Natural History we may hope, also, that the Geologists of our county will assist not merely by communicating new facts, but by adding to the stores of our Museum. The Ornithologist, the Microscopist, the Entomologist, and the Botanist, may each in like manner furnish their stock of information. The smallest contributions, though in themselves of little value, acquire a higher importance when added to those of others.
“To those who are residing in the neighbourhood of this town, the Museum will of course be more particularly useful; and it is
hoped that no unworthy jealousy of this, or that locality, will preclude our friends in every part of Wiltshire, from adding to the Collection which will be gathered within these walls.
“But in a county in which intercommunication is, from various causes, by no means easy, it appears desirable that the interest of our members should be kept up by some cheap periodical publication. “The Naturalist,” and “Notes and Queries will furnish an example of what we would suggest. Almost every day is adding to the stock of local information, which if contributed and embodied in a permanent form, might thus become useful to others.
“It may seem to be urging what would be only of special use to the neighbourhood of Devizes, but which we yet trust may not be without its value to the county at large, if we lay stress on the formation of a Library, in connection with our Museum. It is plain that such an addition is necessary to the completeness of our plan. Topographical, Antiquarian, and scientific pursuits require above all others very expensive books for their prosecution. County Histories and works on Natural History are notoriously of the most costly kind. And many persons are checked at their very first entrance on these branches of study, by being unable to purchase the books requisite for carrying them on successfully. In this case, also, we may venture to hope for contributions from our friends. Many a volume is now lying comparatively useless on the shelves of the owner, which would become of general utility if merely deposited in our Library, without being permanently presented to it. be added, in confirmation of this remark, that this system was adopted with respect to some of the most valuable works in the Library of the Bath Institution.
“It need hardly be pressed on your notice, that, for the prosecution of your designs, some subdivision of labour is imperatively required. It is suggested, therefore, that sub-committees should be formed in each respective department, Antiquarian, Scientific, and Literary. And with the view of obtaining definite local information, we would propose the circulation of a series of questions according to a form to be laid before the meeting, subject, if course, to such additions and corrections as may appear
desirable. "In setting forth this plan for the future proceedings of the Society, we must apologise for its brevity and defects, and express an earnest hope that what is now but faintly delineated may be more boldly drawn out by those who will be deputed in our stead to carry on the design which we have begun. The Provisional Committee here terminate their labours. They have felt many anxieties in carrying on their work to the present point: they hope the meeting will pardon the imperfect manner in which they have fulfilled this trust, and they commend the future welfare of the Society to the good feeling of the county at large."
Sir J. W. AWDRY, Knight, then proposed that the above Report should be adopted.
Mr. NISBET seconded the proposition, which was unanimously adopted.
The RECORDER OF DEVIZES (Mr. H. Merewether) moved the next resolution,—
“That a Society be formed, to be called the Wiltshire Archæological and Natural History Society; and that its objects shall be to cultivate and collect information on Archæology and Natural History in their various branches, and to form a Library and Museum, illustrating the History, natural, civil, and ecclesiastic, of the County of Wilts.” -He expressed great pleasure in assisting, according to his humble ability, in the formation of a Society which would not only be of great local interest, but which would also be instrumental in preserving traditions beyond the limits of the county.
Colonel OLIVIER seconded the motion, and added a few observations on the success which had attended the progress of the proceedings hitherto. The Museum which had already been formed had succeeded beyond expectation, and there was every prospect of its enlargement and establishment.
Rev. J. E. JACKSON, Rector of Leigh-Delamere, then read a code of Rules and Regulations which had been approved of by the Provisional Committee, the adoption of which, for the future guidance of the Society, he then moved.
Mr. H. BUTCHER seconded the motion, and the noble Chairman having put it to the meeting, it was unanimously adopted.
Rev. A. C. SMITH, Rector of Yatesbury, in proposing the next resolution, said that a very few words from him would be sufficient to commend it to their acceptance. They had already heard, by the report of the Provisional Committee, how very valuable was the coīlection of books made by that distinguished antiquary, Mr. Britton-how intrinsically valuable, and also of what additional interest they were to the Society, inasmuch as they particularly related to the antiquities of Wilts. They had also had an opportunity of seeing them in the room adjoining, and it would therefore require no further preface from him in proposing “ that this collection of books, &c., should become the property of the Society." (Cheers.)
Dr. THURNAM seconded the motion, which was adopted.
The Ven. ARCHDEACON MACDONALD said You all know the eminent services which the Marquis of Lansdowne has rendered to this country; and are aware of the high position he occupies in your county, and the great interest he takes in everything concerning it. I have therefore the greatest confidence, as well as the greatest pleasure, in proposing “ that his Lordship be requested to become the Patron of this Society.” (Cheers.)
Mr. HENEAGE, M.P.-I am sure, in his Lordship's presence, I shall best consult his feelings, and also the feelings of all the persons present, by simply saying that his Lordship, from his position in this county, and from his talents and acquirements, is the fittest person we could select to preside over this Society.
The Marquis of LANSDOWNE—This is a motion which I can hardly put to the meeting. I may say, however, that I am extremely happy to accept the office which your kindness disposes you to confer on me, notwithstanding that it is one of which I consider myself unworthy, having but little knowledge of those pursuits, which it is the object of this Society to follow out. At the same time I feel equally flattered by the distinction you propose to confer upon me by electing me as its Patron, although I feel that the office must, in a great measure, be a nominal one. You all know that in these times the real patron of any Society like this, must be the public. If it is well supported by the public it will flourish; and if not, the influence of no individual can give it permanency, (Cheers.) I am glad to be here this day, to see the very general disposition to support the Society on the part of the public, represented as it is by the gentlemen present, and also, I am happy to say, by the ladies, in whose hands the research into subjects of antiquity may be as well prosecuted as in the hands of gentlemen, and who may therefore contribute to the welfare of a Society established now, for the first time, in this county—a county which undoubtedly does afford as much invitation for such an establishment as any county in England, inasmuch as we all know there is not a barrow opened that does not tell its own tale, nor an excavation made which does not reward the industry and enterprise of its conductors. The question that I conceive to be of the greatest importance to you now is, not who shall be the Patron, but who shall be the President; and I do hope you will very shortly place that presidency into the best hands. (Cheers.)
Mr. SOTHERON, M.P.-I have been requested to propose a resolution, upon which, perhaps more than on any other, I think the efficiency of this Society will depend, and I hope in doing so I shall justify your reasonable expectations. I wish I had time, or ability, to express the universal sense of all, who take an interest in this Society, of the peculiar and eminent qualifications of Mr. Scrope for the office of President. (Loud applause.) I might remind you of what Mr. Scrope has written and done. I might mention that, of which most indeed must be aware, namely, that there is hardly any department of the science of Archaeology with which he is not perfectly acquainted, and that in many branches of Natural History ħe holds, not only in this county, but throughout the country, a high and distinguished position. I might also state that there is scarcely any social question whether the parties concerned in it be rich or poor—to which Mr. Scrope has not contributed useful suggestions
of various kinds and in various forms—suggestions sometimes designed to meet the requirements of the moment, and sometimes of a more permanent nature. I might also add of my own personal knowledge, that which is a very great qualification to a President of a Society like this, namely, that amongst the many gentlemen of whose old acquaintance I can boast, as dating back to the days when we were schoolfellows together at Harrow, I know of no one more than Mr. Scrope possessing the qualifications of urbanity, kindness, readiness of eloquence, and other excellent qualities, rendering him peculiarly fitted to preside over such a Society as we have to-day instituted. Without further preface, therefore-regretting that I cannot do it better, but doing it with all my heart-I beg to propose that George Poulett Scrope, Esq., be requested to accept the office of first President of the Society. (Cheers.)
Mr. H. M. CLARKE, in a few words, seconded the proposition, which was put and carried with acclamation.
Mr. SCROPE said—in obeying your command to take the chair as the first President of the Society which you have now established, I feel myself wholly overwhelmed by the unexpected compliment paid me—not in respect of such appointment, for that I was led to expect—but in the far too flattering and favourable terms in which my friend, Mr. Sotheron, has spoken of my qualifications for the office. I regret these encomiums the more, because I feel myself inadequate either to do justice to the duties of the office, or to satisfy my own views in that matter. I can only say, in accepting it-upon the ground merely of the strong interest I feel, and have always felt, in the study of those pursuits which it is the main object of this Society to propagate and encourage—that I must trust to your indulgence to overlook the manifest deficiencies which will show themselves very shortly; and at the same time to request you to be kind enough to allow me one further indulgence before I address myself, at greater length, to the business of the day-namely to permit me to propose a resolution to the meeting for this purpose:
We are honoured to-day with the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of the county: his time is not his own,-it belongs to the public, and is most valuable; and I do not think it is desirable he should be detained during the time which I shall probably consume in reading a very
At the same time you would not wish him to withdraw, without having the opportunity of thanking him for being so good as to take the office upon him, which you have now requested him to fill
. Before I proceed to what has been advertized, rather too prominently, as an “Inaugural Address," I therefore venture to ask you to allow me to propose the thanks of the meeting to his Lordship for his kindness in permitting himself to be nominated as Patron of this Society. (Cheers).
Mr. Joun BRITTON said—It is with very singular gratification I second the motion Mr. Scrope has proposed to you. Ï have had the