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THE Council, on retiring from office, beg leave to lay before the Institution the following Report of the proceedings of the past year, and of the present state of the Society.
Among the events of the past year, the publication of the first volume of the Transactions especially deserves to be noticed. The appearance of this volume is a matter of the greatest congratulation to the members of the Institution, and an era to which all must look back with a high degree of satisfaction. The Council confidently hope, that the present volume is but the first of a series of Transactions, which will appear at regular intervals, and which, in practical utility and sound information on subjects connected with the profession, will be inferior to those of no scientific body in the world. With respect to the present volume, the Council cannot refrain from expressing their satisfaction at the extremely handsome form in which Mr. Weale has brought it before the public.
The Council would also dwell with peculiar satisfaction on the daily increasing interest which is taken in the welfare and success of your Institution; they believe that the time is fast approaching, when a general conviction of the advantage which must result from the periodical meetings of the members of the same profession, will induce all scientific men to unite in advancing the great objects which the original projectors of the Institution had in view, and which the Council has constantly laboured to promote. The numerous contributions which have been recently made to the Library of your Institution, show the anxiety which exists to promote the interests of this
important department, and to supply abundant means for the advancement of scientific and professional knowledge.
The presents received have been numerous and valuable. The maps already published of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland (on a scale of six inches to a mile,) have been presented by His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, (the Earl of Mulgrave,) who has also directed the remaining sheets to be sent as they are completed. There have also been promised to the Institution, by the Master General and the Board of Ordnance, a copy of the Ordnance Survey of England, and by the Lords of the Admiralty, the extensive series of hydrographical charts published under their direction.
The above presents show the estimation in which the Institution is held by various branches of the Government, and in addition to them many other valuable contributions have been made, which appear in the annexed list. The Council particularly request attention to a complete set of the Philosophical Transactions, consisting of one hundred and eighteen volumes, which the President (Mr. Walker) has added to the Library, and in the handsome present from Mrs. Page, of about three hundred volumes of books, with all the papers and plans relative to Civil Engineering, collected by her late husband, Colonel Page, an Honorary Member of the Institution, and also the manuscripts, copper-plates, notes, and other matter, for a work on Inland Navigation, which he had intended for publication. These, with the late President's (Mr. Telford) professional books and papers, have put the Institution in possession of perhaps the best collection in this, or any other country, on the subject of Inland Navigation.
But while so much has been done by others to advance the prosperity and add to the importance of the Institution, the Council trust that Members and Associates will not be wanting on their part, and that they will not fail to contribute such original contributions, before the commencement of, or during the approaching Session, as will prove the interest they take in this Institution. Accounts and drawings of works as actually performed, will be particularly valued, as well as papers of other kinds, and all will enter into competition for the Telford Premiums, which are adjudged to the communications best entitled to the honour it is hoped there will be many such to occupy a conspicuous place in the Transactions, the first volume of which, after delays which have been in a great measure unavoidable, is now ready for delivery.
The Council have omitted no opportunity of endeavouring to procure apartments in Somerset House; hitherto their applications have proved unsuccessful, but the several departments of Government, having in many instances shown their readiness to promote the
interests of the Institution, the Council are not without hopes that their request will ere long be attended to.
The Council regret that so much delay should have occurred in the production of the medals for the Telford Premiums; they have however the satisfaction of stating that the dies have been seen and approved, and that Mr. Wyon has promised to deliver the medals in three or four weeks.
The labours of the Library Committee have been carried on incessantly, and from the attention which has been bestowed on the important object which they have in view, the Council have reason to expect a most interesting report at an early period. A basis catalogue of the Library has been prepared by the Secretary, and will be laid on the table this evening; and the Secretary has made considerable progress with a descriptive catalogue of the Telford Papers.
The addition of corresponding Members, Associates, and Honorary Members, during the last session, is twenty-eight.
The Council have to lament the loss to the Institution of the following Members, deceased:
Monsieur Navier, Honorary Member; Mr. Charles Landale, Corresponding Member; and Mr James Wyld, Associate.
The following gentlemen have resigned:-Mr. A. H. Holdsworth, Corresponding Member, and Mr. William Palmer, Associate.
The increase is therefore twenty-three, and the total number of Members two hundred and fifty-two; they consist of—
The account of the Funds of the Institution is as follows:At the commencement of the last Session, (1836) the balance in the Treasurer's hands was £249. 8s. 3d.; since that period the amount of cash received has been £713. 7s. 4d., making together £962. 15s. 7d.
The amount of cash paid has been £851. 11s. 4d., which, deducted from the former sum, £962. 15s. 7d., leaves a balance now in the hands of the Treasurer of £111. 4s. 3d.
Of the amount expended for the year 1836, the sum of £366. 15s. has been paid for the purchase of £400 Consolidated 3 per Cent. Annuities.
The amount owing to the Institution by sundry Members and Associates is £208. 10s. 6d. up to December 31st last.
There is also a balance, not included in this sum, which has been some years in arrear.
In conclusion, the Council trust that the preceding Report will be received with great satisfaction; they consider that the prospects of the Institution are in every respect most favourable. The finances have steadily improved; a considerable amount of arrears has been brought in; but above all, the attendance at the Meetings has been far more numerous than in any preceding year. The Council are convinced that a general interest in the success of the Institution pervades the whole Society, and that all are united in the determination of advancing the Institution to a very high position in the scientific world.