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November 30, 1878.
Sir JOSEPH HOOKER, C.B., K.C.S.I., President, in the Chair.
General Boileau, for the Auditors of the Treasurer's Accounts on the part of the Society, reported that the total ordinary receipts during the past year, including a balance of £933 11s. 1d. carried from the preceding year, amount to £5,924 58. 9d., and that the total ordinary expenditure in the same period amounts to £5,008 18. 2d., leaving a balance at the Bankers of £894 2s. 3d., and £22 2s. 4d. in the bands of the Treasurer.
The thanks of the Society were voted to the Treasurer and Auditors.
The Secretary read the following Lists:
Fellows deceased since the last Anniversary.
On the Home List.
Admiral Sir George Back, D.C.L.
Hutcheon Hall, K.C.B.
Cuthbert William Johnson.
ders, D.D., Dean of Peter
On the Foreign List.
Ernst Heinrich Weber.
Fellows elected since the last Anniversary.
John Gilbert Baker, F.L.S. John Hopkinson, M.A., D.Sc.
George James Symons.
Charles S. Tomes, M.A.
On the Foreign List.
Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe.
The President then addressed the Society as follows :
Ar the conclusion of this, the fifth and last year during which I shall have held the most honorable office of your President, I have the gratifying assurance that the communications made to the Society and its publications have in no respect fallen off in scientific interest and value. We have not, indeed, been called upon to undertake during the past year such responsible and time-absorbing duties in behalf of the Government as the Polar, Circumnavigation, Transit of Venus, and other Committees demanded of us during the previous four years;
but some of the results already achieved by those expeditions have been contributed to our publications, and we are in expectation of more. It is also with satisfaction that I can refer to the good attendance at our evening meetings, soirées, and réunions as evidence of the interest taken in our proceedings by the Fellows generally and their friends.
Before proceeding to touch upon some of the advances made in Science during the last few years, I have, as heretofore, to inform you of the Society's condition and prospects, and of those duties andertaken by its Council, for information as to which non-resident Fellows look to the annual address.
The loss by death of Fellows, twenty-one in number, is but little short of last year's rate, while that of Foreign Fellows (six) is twice as great as last year. On the home list is Sir George Back, the last, with the exception of our former President, the venerable Sir E. Sabine, of that celebrated band of Arctic voyagers, which during the early part of the century added so much to our renown as navigators and discoverers. Sir George was further the companion of Franklin and Richardson in that overland journey to the American Polar Sea, in which human endur. ance was tried to the uttermost compatible with human existence, as is related by two of the party in that modest but thrilling narrative which will ever hold a unique place in the annals of geographical discovery. Of our Indian explorers four have been taken away, namely, Major-General Sir Andrew Waugh, for many years Director of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, and shortly afterwards his friend, Col. Montgomerie; Dr. Oldham, for a quarter of a century the Director of the Geological Society of India ; and Dr. Thomas Thomson, my fellow-traveller in the Himalaya, whose report of erplorations in Western Tibet contains the first connected account of the physical and natural features of that remote and difficult country. Lieut.-General Cameron survived but for one year our late Fellow, Sir Henry James, his predecessor in the Direction of the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain. In the Rev. James Booth we have lost a mathematician of high attainments. The Rev. W. B. Clarke, of New South Wales, was the author of many papers on the Meteorology and Geology of the Cape of Good Hope, Australia, and the Pacific. The Rev. R. Main, Director of the Radcliffe Observatory, was for nearly half a century an indefatigable observer. Lastly, Earl Russell, the distinguished statesman, and the earnest advocate, whether in the Government or in Parliament, of every measure for the promotion of scientific inquiry. He it was who, when Prime Minister in 1849, wrote to the then Earl of Rosse, President of the Society, offering to place £1,000 (now known as the Government Grant) on the annual votes of Parliament, if the Council would undertake to apportion that sum among scientific workers requiring aid in their researches.
Of Foreign Fellows our losses are a great Chemist in Becquerel, of Paris, whose election took place upwards of forty years ago; a great Physiologist in Claude Bernard, also of Paris; the father of Mycol and for long the patriarch of Scandinavian Botanists, Elias Fries; a most distinguished Physicist and the recipient of both a Rumford and Copley medal in Regnault; a veteran Anatomist in Weber; and in Secchi, of Rome, an Astronomer of astonishing activity, the author of more than three hundred separate contributions to the science of which he was so great an ornament.
In atters of Finance I may with satisfaction refer you to our Treasurer's Balance Sheets.
It will be in your recollection that Mr. T. J. Phillips Jodrell placed in 1874 a sum of £6,000 at the disposal of the Society, with the view of its being devoted to the encouragement of Scientific Research by periodical grants to investigators whom your Council might think it expedient thus to aid. Shortly after the receipt of this munificent gift, the Government announced its intention of devoting annually for five years £4,000 to the same object, thus anticipating the special purpose which Mr. Jodrell had in view. Thereupon, with his consent, the donation was temporarily funded and the proceeds applied to the general purposes of the Society until some other scheme for its appropriation should be approved. In April last I received a further commnnication from Mr. Jodrell, declaring it to be his wish and intention that, subject to any appropriation of the sum which we might, with the approval of the Society, make during his lifetime, it should immediately on his death be incorporated with the Donation Fund, the annual income in the meantime going to the general revenue of the Society. Upon this subject I have now to state that since the receipt of that letter Mr. Jodrell has approved of £1,000 of the sum being contributed to a fund presently to be mentioned.
I have also to inform you of a cheque for £1,000 having been placed in my hands by our Fellow, Mr. James Young, of Kelly, to be expended in the interests of the Society in such manner as I should approve.
Mr. De La Rue, to whose beautiful experiments I shall have occasion to refer, has presented to the Society both the letterpress and the exquisitely engraved fac-similes of the electric discharges described in his and Dr. Hugo Müller's paper, recently published in our ** Transactions.”
Our Fellow, Dr. Bigsby, has presented seven copies of his “ Thesaurus Devonico-carboniferus” for distribution, and they have been distributed accordingly.
A very valuable addition to our Gallery of deceased Fellows has been the gift by Mr. Leonard Lyell of a copy in marble by Theed of the bust of his uncle the late Sir Charles Lyell, F.R.S., together with a pedestal. This is the best likeness of the late eminent geologist that has been executed, and is in every respect a satisfactory one.
I have the gratification of announcing to you, that through the munificence of a small number of Fellows, means have been advanced for reducing the fees to which all ordinary Fellows in future elected will be liable. That these fees, though not higher than the most economical expenditure on the part of the Society for its special purposes demanded, were bigher than it was expedient to maintain if any possible means for reducing them could be obtained, was not only my own opinion but that of many Fellows. They exceed those of any other scientific society in England or abroad; their amount has
occasionally prevented men of great merit from having their names brought forward as candidates, and they press heavily, especially upon those who, with limited incomes, have other scientific societies to subscribe to. Nor does it appear to me as otherwise than regrettable that so high an honour as Fellowship of the Royal Society, the only one of the kind in England that is limited as to the number annually elected, and selective in principle, should be attainable only at a heavy pecuniary expenditure. It is true that our Fellows receive annually in return publications of great value to Science generally; but these treat of so many branches of knowledge that it is but a fraction of each that can materially benefit the recipient, while their bulk entails an additional expenditure; and now that the individual papers published in the “Transactions" are separately obtainable, the advantages of Fellowship are less than they were when to obtain a treatise on his own subject a specialist had either to join the Society, or to pur. chase a whole volume or a large part of it annually.
It was not, however, till I had satisfied myself that the annual income of the Society, though not ample, was sufficient for its ordinary purposes, that its prospects in other points of view were good, and that the expenditure upon publication was the main, if not the sole, obstacle to a reduction of fees, that I consulted your Treasurer on the subject of taking steps to attain this object.
My first idea was to create, by contributions of small amount, a fund the interest of which should be allowed to accumulate; and when the income of the accumulated capital reached a sufficient amount to enable the Society to take the step without loss of income, to reduce either the entrance fee or annual contribution; and to which fund Mr. Young's gift should be regarded as the first donation.
This proposal was in so far entertained by your Council that they resolved to establish a Publication Fund, and to place Mr. Young's gift to the credit thereof; and further, appointed a Committee to consider and report upon the Statutes of the Society concerning the fees.
The movement once set on foot met with an unexpectedly enthusiastic reception, several Fellows with the best means of forming a judgment, not only approved of it, but offered liberal aid, urging that the reduction of fees should be the first and immediate object, and that if such a course were thought desirable, the means of carrying it out would surely be forthcoming. On this your Treasurer prepared for my consideration a plan for raising £10,000, the sum re. quired for effecting any material reduction; and we resolved to ascertain by private inquiry whether so large an amount could be obtained.
Here again our inquiries were responded to in a spirit of, I may say, unexampled liberality: in a few weeks upwards of £8,000 was given