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The great desirability of having a standard in each picture was pressed on the local representatives, even if such standard be only a man introduced standing close against the object photographed, so as to show its size, or a three-foot walking-stick placed against it. Some advocated more elaborate standards or measurements marked on the picture in feet or fractions, and also in metres.
The committee regretted that there had not been more demand for the excellent comparative scale of English and French measures, which has been printed by the Society of Antiquaries, for the purpose of being photographed with any object or building.
Parish Registers were announced as having been well taken in hand by the new Parish Register Society, of which Mr. E. A. Fry is the honorary secretary. A supplemental list of printed and transcribed registers, having been prepared by him, is granted to all societies attending the Congress. Briefly, there were two hundred and forty registers transcribed, more or less completely (some, alas, very incompletely, even dates omitted), and one hundred were in print. The committee considered it gratifying to find that so large a number of registers had been transcribed since the publication of the first report, and probably partly in consequence of that report.
The Ancient Monuments Sub-Committee had little to report. The Society of Antiquaries had appointed a commission, including General Pitt-Rivers, to approach the Government on the subject of reviving and extending the Ancient Monument Act; and, in consequence, the foreign minister has instructed our foreign representatives to ascertain what is done in foreign countries.
Some of the delegates expressed the opinion that if the ancient monuments were treated by a Government department, as they have been in France, Venice, Ireland, and elsewhere, they had far better be left alone. Others also thought that, as a rule, they are better left in the hands of
private owners, who usually have some pride in them. Still, the general feeling of the Congress was that there should be some control exercised by the Society of Antiquaries over work like St. Michael's Tower, St. Albans; the old church of Carfax, etc. It was moved and carried "that some public control should be exercised over the restoration or destruction of such ancient buildings as deserve preservation as historic monuments."
The sub-committee in charge of the Annual Index of Archæological Papers reported that it would be of much more value to students if an index was published of papers printed prior to the first annual issue of 1891. Such an index has been compiled, by Mr. Gomme, from the commencement of the publication of the Royal Society in 1670 to 1885, and the MS. is ready for the printers; but to complete the work the period from 1885 to 1891 must be indexed, and a subject index must be compiled. Mr. Gomme offered to place his MS. at the disposal of the committee if the index be completed and printed by the committee. It was estimated that the complete index will occupy about one thousand printed pages octavo, and that the cost would be fifteen shillings per copy if five hundred copies were subscribed for.
It was proposed that the secretaries of local societies might apply to their members, and induce them to take at least two hundred copies. Mr. Nevill said he was always anxious to spare secretaries of societies, for he knew that they have more generally than they can do, and how everyone is ready to throw extra work on them. Chancellor Ferguson said the free libraries would require the index as part of their stock in trade. Other delegates said the universities and public school libraries would require copies. Another remarked that the American libraries would certainly require them, for the Americans are keen supporters of antiquarian research, and the demand from the United States would probably be greater than from all England. He asked, apparently without receiving an answer, if there were any central American
body or association that could be communicated with on such a matter.
It was resolved that a small committee be appointed for the purpose of ascertaining if there be likely to be a sufficient demand to justify the outlay on the proposed index, and that the sum of fifty-five pounds be placed at their disposal for the purpose. The Congress expressed their very warm thanks to Mr. Gomme for his generosity and liberality for placing the result of so much solid work at their disposal.
The Committee on County and Local Museums making no formal report beyond that the matter was in progress, some delegates said there was no time to lose, as damage is being done through neglect and ignorance, and through curators being degraded by being mere caretakers. Other delegates showed difficulties before the committee, and, as there was no rivalry with the Museum Association, proposed asking the association for suggestions. The matter was left with the committee.
Municipal and other records was a subject brought before the Congress. It was urged that many valuable documents brought together by late Local Government Acts were grossly neglected by their new custodians, and that all corporations should be urged to diligent search among and to index theirs, and above all to keep them in fire-proof safes, important deeds in safes by themselves, and to carefully preserve all seals, maces, etc. The grand work by the cities of Manchester, London, York, and the towns of Norwich, Carlisle, and other corporations in the direction of printing records was alluded to.
The preparation of catalogues of portraits of greater or less historical or genealogical interest was discussed. It was suggested that they should be compiled county by county, and include public and private collections, with the names of the artists to whom they are attributed. Errors, it was fully recognised, will creep in with the names of the subjects and of the artists, but better a record with errors than no record
at all. Mr. Stanley Leighton, M.P., mentioned a portrait that was supposed to be of George Herbert or Baxter, but no one knows which; and declared that no country house knows its own portraits. Chancellor Ferguson praised the practice of men like Holbein, who put the subject's name or arms on the face of the picture. Mr. St. John Hope reminded the delegates that a portrait, worthless as a work of art, worthless as a historical character, might be worth a good deal as illustrating costume, etc., even if the work of the village painter. Mr. Cust mentioned some of his difficulties and experiences in cataloguing and attempts in identifying, and was added to the sub-committee, with whom the matter was left.
The standing committee and sub-committees were reappointed with few changes.
Mr. Nevill's reappointment as honorary secretary was carried by acclamation. In returning thanks, he said he ventured to ask his many correspondents to describe themselves, as "Rev.," "Esq.," "F.S.A.," etc., for there is no time to hunt up titles when work presses, and he sincerely wished they would give their addresses and their names clearly every time they wrote. Bad signatures add a good deal to the labour of honorary secretaries.
Revised January, 1897.
1. Preamble. This Society is instituted to examine, preserve, and illustrate ancient Monuments and Records, and to promote the study of History, Literature, Arts, Customs, and Traditions, with particular reference to the antiquities of Lancashire and Cheshire.
2. NAME, &c.—This Society shall be called the "LANCAshire and Cheshire AntiquARIAN SOCIETY."
3. ELECTION OF MEMBERS.-Candidates for admission to the Society must be proposed by one member of the Society, and seconded by another. Applications for admission must be submitted in writing to the Council, who shall, as soon as possible after the receipt of the application, determine the election or otherwise of the candidate. Each new member shall have his election notified to him by the Honorary Secretary, and shall at the same time be furnished with a copy of the Rules, and be required to remit to the Treasurer, within two months after such notification, his entrance fee and subscription; and if the same shall be thereafter unpaid for more than two months, his name may be struck off the list of members unless he can justify the delay to the satisfaction of the Council. No new member shall participate in any of the advantages of the Society until he has paid his entrance fee and subscription. Each member shall be entitled to admission to all meetings