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Warren, Rev. E. B., Marlborough
Tanner, J., Mudeford House, Christ
, Rev. E. W., Beechingstoke
THE FOLLOWING INSCRIPTION
May success and prosperity attend the inhabitants of the County of Wilts, who, though late, having contributed their efforts and their means towards the investigation of their ancient Mother, are about diligently to exert themselves for the rescue of the numerous and valuable relics of antiquity with which Wiltshire abounds, from the injuries of the ignorant and mischievous, and especially of Time, the great destroyer, and for their preservation to future ages by literary and pictorial description; by the aid of which the Present may be connected with the Past, and the manners, habits and usages of both compared together; whence may result gratitude to that All-good and Almighty Being, who has shed the light of true Religion, and the advantages of various science, upon the present age.
MULTORUM MANIBUS GRANDE LEVATUR ONUS.”---OVID.
GENERAL ACCOUNT OF THE INAUGURAL MEETING.
The first Meeting of this Society was held at the Town Hall, Devizes, on Wednesday, October 12th, 1853. It was very well attended; from two to three hundred persons, including many of the neighbouring Gentry and Clergy, being present in the morning; and about two-thirds of that number, at the Conversazione in the evening: the Dinner which intervened, having been attended by upwards of fifty gentlemen.
At Twelve o'clock the company began to assemble; and after a short examination of the Museum, temporarily formed in an adjoining apartment, they proceeded to the Assembly Room; when on the motion of Mr. SOTHERON, M.P., the Most Honourable the Marquis of LANSDOWNE was called to the Chair. His Lordship offered a few words in accepting the post, and then called upon the Rev. W. C. Lukis to read the Report of the Provisional Committee, which he did as follows:
“Before proceeding to the further business of this day, it is the duty of the Provisional Committee of the Wilts Archæological and Natural History Society to state to the meeting the steps by which they have attained to their present position, and to request the sanction of the Members of the Society to the measures which up to this time they have undertaken on their own responsibility.
The first impulse to the present movement, was a proposal made by Mr. Britton in the early part of the year 1852 to dispose of his collection of Books, Drawings, &c., relating to Wiltshire, either to some gentleman connected with the County, or to a public Society established at some one of its principal towns. Mr. W. Cunnington, to whom we must all confess ourselves deeply indebted, lost no time in communicating with some of the principal nobility and gentry, and was successful in organizing a Provisional Committee, and in obtaining the sum of £100 for this special purpose. Negotiations were immediately opened with Mr. Britton, and the whole of the Collection alluded to passed into the hands of the Provisional Committee for the sum of £150; the terms of pur
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chase being arranged by Mr. John Taylor, of Gower Street, a gentleman well acquainted with the value of literary property. It consists of a large number of original drawings of Salisbury Cathedral, and other ecclesiastical edifices in the county (some of which are now destroyed); of illustrated copies of Mr. Britton's own works relating to Wiltshire; and of large gatherings of extracts from newspapers, &c., made by him through a long series of years. In addition to these may be mentioned the unique Celtic cabinet containing models of Stonehenge and Avebury, together with a considerable number of Books, MSS., &c., relating both to those remarkable monuments, and to others of a like kind in different parts of the world.
“It is hoped that a Collection so useful to the Antiquary and the Topographer, may serve as the nucleus of a Repository, into which may flow by degrees, a much larger number of curious and interesting objects, illustrative both of the Natural History and Archæology of the County.
“ The next step of the Provisional Committee was taken on Nov. 5th, in last year. It was then
It was then resolved, that having secured Mr. Britton's Collection, an endeavour be made to form a Society for the purpose of establishing a Museum and Library, and for the promotion of all objects connected with the elucidation and study of the general Topography of the County of Wilts.
“In pursuance of this object a request was preferred to the Mayor and Corporation of Devizes for the use of a portion of the Town Hall for the purposes of the Society, and for the deposit of the collection. This permission was most readily conceded; and the Committee proceeded accordingly to invite a meeting of the principal gentry of the County, which was held on the 4th of January last; when it was resolved that the Provisional Committee should have
power to add to their number; that they should make the necessary arrangements for the formation of the Wilts Archæological and Natural History Society, and that a meeting of gentlemen interested in the subject should be held about, or soon after, the following Easter.'
“It is unnecessary to enter at any length into the subsequent proceedings of the Provisional Committee. It may be sufficient to appeal to the favorable results which have hitherto attended their efforts. Many unforeseen hinderances have occurred which have delayed the Inaugural Meeting till the present time. Many objections had to be combated relating to the locality of the Museum and Collection, but there has been evinced on the whole an earnest desire in every part of the county to co-operate in the design; and up to this time 140 persons have enrolled themselves members of the Society which it is proposed this day to inaugurate.
“Having now laid before the meeting a summary of their proceedings, it only remains for the Provisional Committee to