Literary Institutions
Literary and Philosophical Society


Institute of Historical Research



Eneas Mackenzie

Year published




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'Literary Institutions : Literary and Philosophical Society', Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead (1827), pp. 461-486. URL: Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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THE idea of establishing a society in Newcastle, for the promotion of natural science and general literature, was first thrown out in conversation, at a weekly meeting of a few friends, during the winter of 1792; at the close of which, the Rev. W. Turner was requested, by Messrs. Page and Sorsbie, to draw out a sketch of the arguments for such an institution. This was produced the following week, under the title of "Speculations on a Literary Society;" and having been afterwards circulated in manuscript, occasioned a meeting at the Assembly Rooms, on Thursday, January 24, 1793. This meeting resolved that the formation of a Literary and Philosophical Society was highly expedient, and appointed William Cramlington, Esq. Robert Hopper Williamson, Esq. the Rev. Edward Moises, the Rev. William Turner, Dr. Pemberton, Dr. Ramsay, Dr. Wood, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Murray, Mr. Newton, Mr. David Stephenson, Mr. Thomas Gibson, Mr. Doubleday, Mr. Malin Sorsbie, and Mr. Nicholas Story, to be a committee for drawing up a plan to be submitted to the next general meeting.

This general meeting was held at the Dispensary, on Thursday, February 7, 1793, the Rev. Edward Moises in the chair; when a plan for the formation and government of the proposed society was presented by the committee, and adopted by the meeting, which formed itself into a society, by the name of "The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne."The Society to consist of ordinary and honorary members; the former class to be persons resident in Newcastle and its vicinity, who should each contribute one guinea annually. The meetings of the Society to be held on the evening of the first Thursday in every month; at which religion, the practical branches of law and physic, British politics, and indeed all politics of the day, were deemed prohibited subjects of conversation. The officers now chosen were, President, John Widdrington, Esq. Vice-Presidents, Stephen Pemberton, M. D.; R. H. Williamson, Esq.; John Clark, M. D.— F. R. C. M. Ed.; W. Cramlington, Esq. Secretaries, Rev. W. Turner; Mr. Robert Doubleday. Committee, John Ramsay, M. D.; Mr. Walter Hall; Mr. D. Stephenson; James Wood, M. D. There were 73 ordinary members at the end of the first year.

It appears from the fifth resolution, passed at the first general meeting, that one of the leading objects of the institution was to provide a library for the use of its members, upon all the allowed subjects of discussion at its stated monthly meetings. For this purpose, the committee were empowered to purchase books, under the direction of the general meetings; or, when they should see it to be proper, in compliance with the recommendations of individual members. But it also appears, from the eleventh resolution, to have been the intention of the Society, at some future period, to adopt further measures for the establishment of a general library. In the spirit of this resolution, Mr. Moises, at a meeting of the Society, held Tuesday, December 10, 1793, requested, by a letter addressed to the Rev. W. Turner, the acting secretary, that a committee might be formed for taking into consideration the propriety of immediately attempting such an establishment. The committee, appointed in consequence of this request, held repeated meetings, and, after maturely considering different plans, resolved, that, as the members had agreed to pay their annual subscription of one guinea without any prospect of receiving in lieu of it any personal transferable property, it was most agreeable to the original principles of the association, as well as most simple and free from difficulties, that the library, &c. should always continue to be considered as the undivided property of the general body for the time being; and that every member should be understood to receive a sufficient compensation for his subscription, in the information derived from the stated meetings of the Society, and in the use of the books and the other property so long as he continues a member. The report of this committee was read at the meeting held January 14, 1794, when it was resolved that the same committee should draw up a plan for the management of the proposed library; and that, until the 11th of March next, members might be admitted upon the recommendation in writing of not less than three of the present ordinary members.

At the meeting held February 11, 1794, the committee reported that they had engaged the Billiard-room in St. Nicholas' Church-yard, as a permanent situation for the meetings of the Society, and to be a repository for its books, papers, &c. Towards the latter end of this year, the library became an object of regular resort to the members; and Messrs. Charnley and Bell attended alternately two hours each day, for the delivery and receipt of books.

In 1795, it was proposed by Mr. Kentish to establish a "Repository for Subjects of Natural History;" and circumstances being then peculiarly favourable, considerable progress was made in the collection: but the great expense that would be incurred in pursuing the design induced the society to abandon it. An abortive attempt was made this year to induce a committee of members to undertake the enumeration of the inhabitants of Newcastle and Gateshead, so as to produce an useful document for the medical, as well as the political calculator.

At the anniversary meeting held on March 14, 1797, it was ordered, agreeably to the advice of Councillor Williamson, for securing the property of the Society, that it be vested in trust in the gentlemen of the committee for the time being, during the time of their continuance as a committee. It was also resolved to create a third class of honorary members (not to exceed four in number), with the privileges of ordinary ones. This was for the accommodation of persons having a taste for knowledge, but whose circumstances might not admit their incurring the necessary expenses. During this year, the Society removed into the old Assembly-rooms in the Groat Market, which had been occupied as a linen-warehouse by Mr. George Brown, and next by Mr. Kinloch, dancing-master. The library was now opened on the afternoons of Tuesday and Thursday, from four to six o'clock. Mr. Spence was chosen librarian.

It was resolved, at the anniversary meeting, March 13, 1799, that a new class of members be instituted under the denomination of Reading Members, who should voluntarily relinquish the privilege of attending the general meetings, and voting in the choice of members. Ladies were made eligible into this class. On the death of the librarian this year, Mr. John Marshall, printer, was chosen his successor. In 1801, Dr. Townson, author of Travels in Hungary, &c. assisted in arranging the Society's collection of minerals; and a repository was fitted up for a complete Herbarium of British plants, which Messrs. Winch, Thornhill, and Waugh, engaged to prepare. At the general meeting of the Society held June 2, 1802, it was resolved to establish a permanent lectureship; and that the Rev. W. Turner, the senior secretary, be lecturer to the New Institution. At the subsequent anniversary meeting, a resolution was passed, authorizing any three of the committee, on application from an ordinary member, to grant strangers monthly tickets to the use of the library in the room. At the twelfth anniversary meeting, held March 5, 1805, it was resolved, in the same spirit of liberality, "that subscribers to similar institutions, which should afford an equal accommodation to the members of this institution, be admitted to the rooms without introduction, on producing to the librarian a certificate of their being members of such institutions."

In 1808, an unpleasant and acrimonious dispute took place respecting the connexion that subsisted between the Literary and Philosophical Society and the New Institution. One party contended that this connexion was irregular in its commencement, injurious to the Society in its progress, and that the rights and interests of the members generally required its dissolution. At the following anniversary meeting, March 7, 1809, most of the objections against the lectureship were obviated by resolutions expressly sanctioning the establishment, and limiting the sum to be given towards its support to £50 per annum, which sum was "to be applied to the purchasing and repairing of the philosophical apparatus, and defraying the incidental expenses of the Institution." It was also ordered, that "the library should be no longer used as the lecture-room of the New Institution." Preparations were made, this year, for a depository of the valuable papers that had been read at the monthly meetings of the Society. Mr. Sadler had been previously engaged to arrange the minerals in a scientific manner.

In 1813, the committee made arrangements whereby the library, from the 1st of May in that year, has been kept open from ten in the morning till ten o'clock at night. At the monthly meeting held January 4, 1814, a paper was read, announcing that a few of the members had entered into an engagement to furnish a paper in regular rotation for the monthly meetings, so that the society might never want subjects of enquiry and discussion. At the same time, it was distinctly stated that no discouragement would be offered to the occasional supply of papers from any other quarter.

On February 4, 1817, a special meeting of the committee was hastily convened, when the following minute was entered upon their book:— "The committee having referred to the 7th law of the Literary and Philosophical Society, in which religion and British politics are declared prohibited subjects of discussion,—Resolved, That Mr. Marshall, having printed and published a pamphlet, entitled a 'Political Litany,' in which both the above subjects have been introduced in a manner calculated to injure the reputation and interests of the Society, is no longer librarian to the Society."This strange, but dexterous application of the rule was instantly acted upon; and ten days after, the office of librarian was conferred on Mr. John Hudson, whose punctuality, diligence, and attention, have given great satisfaction to the members.

At the January monthly meeting of the Society, in 1820, the Rev. C. Benson moved that Don Juan, "a profane and licentious poem,"be withdrawn from the library; which, after a long discussion, was carried by 61 to 38 votes. The subject was again disputed at the February monthly meeting, when it was resolved that Don Juan should not be replaced in the library. Several ingenious and argumentative papers were published by members belonging to the contending parties. At the subsequent anniversary meeting, it was enacted, "that in future the control of the Society over the acts of the committee, as far as relates to the removal of books by them ordered into the library, shall only be exercised at the anniversary meeting."

In 1824, the Society, through the exertions of C. Ellison, Esq. M. P. assisted by Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. M. P. and Sir. J. E. Swinburne, acquired the Public Records of the Kingdom, amounting to 50 folio volumes; the continuations to be received as published. And in the following year, William Ord, Esq. M. P. made arrangements for the regular transmission of the Parliamentary Proceedings.

The rapid accumulation of the property of the Society, both real and personal, rendered it imperiously necessary to provide for the security of the object originally intended, and always kept in view by its original founders, viz. "the accommodation of the perpetually changing body of its members, without the risk of the interference of individuals, and its transmission, in an undilapidated, but rather continually improving, state, to the latest posterity. Various attempts had before been made to secure this object, by regular transference from committee to committee, by a charter, and by parliamentary enactment; but insuperable difficulties presented themselves without incurring great expense, and the risk of cramping the future powers of the Society; while every desirable object appeared capable of being accomplished, at a trifling expense, by a simple trust-deed." Accordingly, the committee reported to the anniversary meeting, in 1825, that they had laid a case, embracing the terms of the proposed deed, before that eminent conveyancer, Charles Butler, Esq. who had recommended, that all the real estate should be properly vested in trustees for a term of 1000 years; that the equity of redemption should be vested in the trustees; that new trustees be appointed at a meeting of the company; that all the members (except the trustees) should covenant with the trustees, and the trustees should covenant with five or six of the principal members; that every new member should sign and seal the proposed deed; and that, in case the parties should wish to sell or exchange part of the property, or the institution should fail, regulations should be made to enable the members, or a majority of them, to sell the property. At the anniversary meeting in 1826, it was resolved, "that the draft of a deed of trust be laid before Mr. Williamson for his approbation; and that, if the general principle of it be approved by him, it be brought, with his corrections, before the next general monthly meeting, which shall be duly authorised to fill up the deed with the proper number of trustees."

This rapid historical sketch exhibits the rise of the institution from small beginnings into extensive usefulness and celebrity. At all times, it has numbered amongst its ordinary associates many very highly distinguished characters, whose scientific or literary communications have augmented the public stock of important information; whilst others, whose avocations prevented them from leading the discussions at general meetings, have yet reflected honour upon the Society by their judgement, integrity, and benevolence in active life. (fn. 1) The list of the Society's honorary members presents such an assemblage of talented and eminent men as would impart honour to any body. The great and progressive enlargement of a well-selected library, consisting of above 8000 volumes, has put the Society in possession of a permanent source of information and improvement, and a bond of union among its numerous members; while the easy access given to this valuable collection, both to persons occasionally and permanently resident, has greatly contributed to extend the benefits derived from it. The Society has also had the honour to give rise to the establishment of other useful and kindred institutions, and has frequently excited the laudable and benevolent exertions of the public at large. Let us indulge the hope that a Society, productive of so many invaluable advantages, "will continue to increase and prosper, and, in the same proportion, to diffuse a spirit favourable to knowledge and virtue through many succeeding generations."

The New Institution

(under the patronage of the literary and philosophical society, and of his grace the duke of Northumberland).

The plan of this Institution was first projected by the late Thomas Bigge, Esq. whose ideas were ably stated in a paper, "On the Expediency of establishing, in Newcastle upon Tyne, a Lectureship on Subjects of Natural and Experimental Philosophy." After conferring with the Rev. W. Turner on the subject, this paper was read at the monthly meeting of the Literary and Philosophical Society, held May 4, 1802; and a committee was appointed for the purpose of considering the most probable means of carrying into effect the proposed establishment. At the next general meeting, in June, the report of this committee was presented, and the plan proposed in it adopted. The meeting then unanimously elected the Rev. W. Turner, the senior secretary to the Society, to be the lecturer to the New Institution; and an address to the public, drawn up by Mr. Bigge, was read and ordered to be printed and circulated. On application, His Grace the Duke of Northumberland accepted the patronage of the New Institution, made a donation of £200, and became an annual subscriber. The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Durham also gave a donation of £100; and many gentlemen belonging to the Society subscribed liberally. The lecturer's pupils, as a mark of esteem and gratitude, presented him with a large achromatic telescope by Dolland, and Atwood's machine for elucidating the laws of accelerated and retarded motion. He previously possessed Dr. Rotheram's apparatus, which cost £140. The Society, shortly after, purchased the valuable apparatus of the late Dr. Garnett, which, with the other articles that belonged to the Society, or were afterwards purchased, has rendered the collection of apparatus extensive and valuable.

The New Institution was opened November 16, 1802, by the lecturer reading "A general introductory Discourse on the Objects, Advantages, and intended Plan of the New Institution for public Lectures on Natural Philosophy in Newcastle upon Tyne." This was afterwards printed, by order of the committee of the Literary and Philosophical Society. The lecturer has studied variety in the plan of the courses he has delivered, and also to combine amusement with scientific information. Each course has consisted of from ten to thirty-two lectures, according to the extent and importance of the subjects treated of. The first course, on Mechanics, Hydrostatics, and Pneumatics, was delivered in the library-room in the spring of 1803; which was followed, in the succeeding season, by a course on Electricity and Galvanism, and the Philosophy of Chemistry. The third was a long and interesting course on Chemistry, and its application to the arts; and was followed by a course on Optics and Astronomy, and another on Hydrostatics and Pneumatics, with their application to useful machinery. The seasons in 1812, 1813, and 1814, were occupied by lectures in the Joiners' Hall, on the Adyantages of Natural History, in the three departments of Zology, Botany, and Mineralogy. Several other interesting courses of lectures were delivered in the succeeding seasons; and on October 18. 1824, a series of lectures on Chemistry was commenced in the New Lecture-room in Westgate Street. During this course, the lecturer was ably assisted by Mr. Hugh Pattison.

At the anniversary meeting in 1809, the extent of the Society's patronage of the New Institution was defined, as before mentioned; but the order then made was rescinded at the anniversary meeting in 1824, and the following resolutions passed:— "That the treasurer do continue to appropriate the sum of £50, out of the funds of the Society, to the support of the New Institution; the money so appropriated to be applied as a salary to the lecturer; and that, upon opening the Lecture-room in the New Building, the members of this Society be admitted free to the annual course of lectures. That the subscription for persons, not members, to the course of lectures, be a guinea; that ladies, and all young persons under the age of twenty-one, be admitted at 10s. 6d. a ticket; and that the ticket for a single lecture be 2s. 6d. That the expenses of the lectures be defrayed out of the receipts arising from the admission tickets, and that the balance be paid to the lecturer. That the lectures shall commence in the first week of October in each year, and that the subject of the course be announced at the annual meeting preceding, and inserted in the report,"

The Museum.

During the third year of the Society, as mentioned before, some progress was made in forming an Ornithological collection; but the project was then very prudently abandoned, as tending to retard the extension of the library—an object of much higher importance. The Society, however, continued to accept of mineral specimens, illustrative of the stratification of the coal and lead districts, and of curious fossil phenomena and other interesting mineral substances. At length, their mineralogical cabinet contained several hundred specimens, though very imperfect in every department. The Herbarium, or Hortus Siccus of British plants, was formed by the public-spirited exertions of Messrs. Winch, Waugh, and Thornhill, (fn. 2) who, in 1803, presented to the Society nearly 700 dried specimens, arranged according to the system of Linnæus, as given by Dr, Smith in Flora Britannica. Since then, many foreign specimens have been obtained. particularly a valuable collection of plants from New South Wales, presented in 1811 by Mr. Charles Cockerill, jun. and arranged by Mr. Winch. The latter gentleman has recently presented numerous plants, collected in the north of England and the Highlands of Scotland: and Mr. Adamson has given a large Herbarium of British plants, collected by the late Mr. John Thornhill. In 1820, Major Anderson presented a curious collection of insects from Demarara; and, in 1821, Dr. Clanny, of Sunderland, sent a similar and complete collection of those found at the Cape of Good Hope. In September this year, the Society received from Thomas Coates, Esq. of Haydon Bridge, the munificent present of a Mummy, in high preservation and of great beauty, purchased by himself of an old Arab, at Gournou, the celebrated burial-place of the ancient Thebes, the capital of Upper Egypt. On the lid of the coffin is carved a beautiful female face, the inner case is curiously painted with a great variety of symbolical figures, and there is a scroll of hieroglyphics reaching from below the middle to near the foot of the body. (fn. 3) Mr. Ramsay, the artist, made an accurate drawing of the beautiful external case. It was afterwards placed for security in a glass-case. During eight days, the secretaries attended to shew this curious relic of Egyptian antiquity to the public, when the anxiety to procure tickets of admission from the members exceeded all previous conception. It is computed that ten thousand persons visited the room wherein it was exhibited. It is said that none of the Museums in Paris, London, Edinburgh, or Glasgow, possess a more beautiful or better preserved Mummy, as far as relates to the outer cases.

The museum of natural curiosities collected by the late Marmaduke Tunstall, Esq. of Wycliff, being offered for sale by public auction, by the trustees of Mr. Allan, of Grange, G. T. Fox. Esq. of Westoe, thought it would be creditable to the Literary and Philosophical Society to rescue this celebrated collection from the hammer, and preserve it in its original integrity. As an inducement, he offered to assist in accomplishing this purchase, by lending the money (£500) for two years without interest, but subject to interest after that period: the principal to be repaid at the convenience of the Society. At the general meeting held on August 6, 1822, this liberal offer was accepted: and a subscription was commenced for the purpose of aiding the funds of the Society in the enlargement of the Museum.

For want of proper superintendance, many rare and valuable articles had been purloined, particularly from the cabinet of minerals; but when it became probable that the Museum would be carefully protected, many presentations were made; amongst which was a valuable collection of about 2000 insects, collected and beautifully preserved by the Rev. Dr. Macculloch, Principal of Pictou College, Nova Scotia. When the Museum was opened on November 21, 1825, it contained 27 Mammalia, and 751 birds. These included about 150 species of foreign birds, and 200 of British, making 350 species of birds. There were also about 60 species of Amphibia, a few fishes, about 100 species of the larger insects, shells about 156 species, a few minerals, several Roman antiquities, and various implements and weapons from the South Sea Islands. Since that time, 316 species of fossil shells, and a great variety of other shells, minerals, birds, and natural curiosities, have been presented by different gentlemen, whose names will be recorded in the Catalogue raisonné of the Museum, which is now in the press, under the superintendance of Mr. Fox. But Mr. William Hutton deserves distinguished notice, both on account of the valuable geological collection he has presented to the Museum, and of his eminent skill and ability as a mineralogist.

At the Society's monthly meeting in November, 1825, the hints of the committee on the management of the Museum were read, and, after some modifications, adopted. At the following anniversary meeting, they were reconsidered, and occasioned much discussion. The meeting appeared wishful to open the Museum to strangers, in the same liberal manner as access is given to the library; but the financial embarrassments of the Society formed an insuperable objection to this generous measure, and rendered the following resolution necessary:—"That the Museum be open for inspection from twelve to three o'clock every day; that every member have free admission at all times when the Museum is open; that such members as may choose voluntarily to subscribe half a guinea annually, shall have two transferable tickets, each of which may admit one person once a day; and that persons not members may be admitted at one shilling each, accompanied by a member."

The New Library.

The committee of the Literary and Philosophical Society reported to the annual meeting in 1814, that the intended sale of the premises then occupied by the Society, and their inadequacy to afford much longer any tolerable accommodation for the increasing library and other valuable property, had induced them to look out for more eligible apartments, or for a proper scite for building; but all their efforts to obtain either had been unsuccessful. The report of the following year urged various objections to the suggestion of obtaining either the Concert-room, or the Circus near the Forth, for the use of the Society; and, after mentioning different building-scites that had received a due share of attention, announced that the corporation had liberally granted the ground immediately north of the Girls' School, and adjoining to New Bridge Street, on lease for 21 years, at the nominal rent of 40s. per annum. After the reading of this report, it was resolved, "That an advance of half a guinea be made upon the usual annual subscription, for the term of four years; the whole of the funds arising from this advance to be applied to the exclusive object of providing for the expense of the proposed new building." This advance in the annual subscriptions was limited to four years, because it seemed expedient to allow a certain proportion of the sum to be expended to remain on the building, in the form of a permanent mortgage, it not being reasonable "that the present members of the Society, who have only a life-interest in its concerns, should provide accommodations, free of all burden, for their successors." Considerable assistance was also expected from the donations of opulent and spirited individuals. Two special adjourned meetings of the Society were held this year, for the purpose of adopting measures for forwarding the intended building.

At a special adjourned meeting, held on Tuesday, May 2, 1815, it was resolved, that the committee be instructed to purchase a freehold scite, for a sum not exceeding £1000. But this resolution was rescinded at another special meeting, on September 22d following. As no rapid progress was made in the building scheme, the rooms then occupied were, in 1817, put into a comfortable state; the reading-room was divided from the place of meeting by a permanent screen, containing shelves for books; and gas-lights were introduced.

At the November meeting in 1821, the subject of a New Building was revived, and many arguments were urged against retaining the corporation scite. The difficulty of raising a mortgage on leasehold property—the payment of one year's improved rent, and other charges that might be demanded on renewing the lease—the possibility that the corporation might, at a future period, on political grounds, absolutely refuse to renew the lease on any terms—and, above all, the uncertainty whether the corporation possessed any title to the "King's Dykes," of which the scite in question formed a part—were objections not easily answered. However, in order to lessen their force, a deputation waited upon the corporation, to solicit an enlargement of the term of the lease, provided the Society accepted it: but the request was refused. Amongst the freehold scites that had been in contemplation were,—1st, A scite in Pilgrim Street, a little above the High Bridge, offered by Major Anderson for £1300, but which was intersected by premises belonging to Mr. Clayton, rented at £45, offered at a fair valuation. 2d, Mrs. Chambers' premises in Newgate Street, near the White Cross, price £1400, the materials on which were valued at £250. 3d, The Cross House in Westgate Street, offered for £3000. 4th, A piece of ground above the Cross House, valued at £840. 5th, The premises of the late Joseph Forster, Esq. which might perhaps be procured for £2500. 6th, Mr. Stephen Reed's house in Clavering Place, value £2000. 7th, Mr. Angus' premises in Westgate Street, offered for £3500. The latter scite was generally considered eligible; but as the committee could not venture to make such a purchase, Dr. Headlam and a few other gentlemen purchased the property at their own risk, in order that the Society might have for £1000 a piece of ground 80 feet by 46, with a front looking into Collingwood Street, and to be insulated, This liberal offer was accepted at the monthly meeting held November 6, 1821; and the lease granted to the Society by the mayor and corporation was directed to be returned with thanks.

Immediately after this meeting, the committee advertised for plans, with estimates, of a building calculated to accommodate the Society; to "have a stone front, and a handsome entrance and stair-case at the end fronting the street; on the basementstory, a Lecture Room, with Rooms for the Apparatus and Museum of Natural History, and also apartments (not less than two) to be let to the Antiquarian Society; above, a Library, 80 feet by 40 inside, with a Gallery round. The whole not to exceed £3600." Twelve plans were received and laid upon the table. At the anniversary meeting, March 5, 1822, it was resolved, "That the expense of the building of the New Library shall not exceed the sum of £4000, including the purchase of the old materials of the houses to be pulled down;" and that the erection be conducted by a committee, consisting of Isaac Cookson, Esq. C. W. Bigge, Esq. James Losh, Esq. Dr. Headlam, the treasurer, and four members of the ordinary committee, who afterwards appointed from their own body Messrs. Thomas Hodgson, George Burnett, J. T. Brockett, and William Armstrong.

The building committee, under the influence of the most economical motives, recommended Mr. John Green to be the architect, which election was confirmed by the general meeting in April. (fn. 4) Being restricted to the sum of £4000, all the plans and arrangements were ordered with reference to this sum. As soon as the contracts were concluded, the premises standing upon the scite were taken down, and preparations made for laying the foundation-stone. This ceremony was performed on Monday, September 2, 1822, by His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master of England, assisted by Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. M. P. (acting for Sir J. E. Swinburne, Bart. Provincial Grand Master for Northumberland, and President of the Society) and J. G. Lambton, Esq. M. P. Provincial Grand Master of Durham. His Royal Highness was accompanied to the scite of the intended building by a grand Masonic procession, when the usual ceremonies were duly performed. There were deposited in a cavity of the stone an elegant glass vase and a brass plate. This vessel, 13 inches long by 3 inches diameter, richly cut with pointed diamonds, and strawberry diamonds, rings, and twist, bore the following inscription, under the arms of the Duke of Sussex, which was exquisitely engraved:—" Deposited by his Royal Highness Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, 2d Sept. 1822." The stopper with which it was closed was cut with pointed diamonds, starred, and highly polished: on the bottom of it was engraved, "Presented by' Joseph Price, Proprietor of the Durham and British Glass Works, Gateshead, 1822." The whole was completed with a cap, also richly cut, to correspond with the opposite end. One object of Mr. Price in bestowing such high finishing upon this elegant present, was to afford to posterity a specimen of the height to which the arts of glass-making and cutting had arrived at the time of its deposit; and it must be confessed that the vase was highly calculated to attain his object. In the vase were deposited one of each of the coins of the present reign: it also contained the last report of the Society, a list of the members, and plans and elevations of the intended building. The vase itself was placed in a neat box. On one side of the brass plate was inscribed the titles of the Duke of Sussex, and on the other side the names of the officers of the Society. A spacious scaffolding in the form of an amphitheatre, which was erected on speculation by Mr. Hall, house-carpenter, was filled with spectators, and presented a grand and shewy effect. In the evening, about 300 gentlemen, consisting of Free Masons and members of the Literary and Philosophical Society, dined with his Royal Highness in the large Assembly Room. After this, the erection of the building proceeded pretty regularly.

The building scite being considered too small in extent, Dr. Headlam and his liberal associates offered to accommodate the Society gratuitously with an addition of 45 feet in depth (the addition amounting to 320 square yards), on the condition of paying for the materials of the premises that occupied the ground, and which were valued by Messrs. Burnett and Mackford at £550. The committee accepted this offer, and a subscription was immediately opened to assist in the purchase of the ground. The late Mr. John Ions had contracted to complete the mason-work for £1977; but the building committee soon made many important alterations. The rustic channelling was continued along the east and south fronts, the blocking-course kind of walling was abandoned, and about five feet was added to the elevation of the principal room. These and other deviations from the original plan made a corresponding alteration in the contract of Mr. C. Burnup for the carpentry-work, which he at first engaged to finish for £1129. It was therefore announced, to the anniversary meeting in 1823, that the building would cost "somewhere about £5000;" and a resolution was passed, "That the building committee be allowed to expend an additional £1000 upon the building," The committee next discovered that it would be desirable to possess an additional piece of ground on the south of the building, for which they paid £480. At the end of this ground were premises, which were altered and enlarged, so as to fit them for the residence of one of the servants belonging to the Society. The committee, conceiving that oil-gas might be produced for the use of the Society on moderate terms, also fitted up a capacious gas-house, and purchased expensive apparatus; but, on trial, the scheme failed. In July, 1825, the principal building was reported fit for the reception of the Society's library and other property, which were immediately removed. On Tuesday, September 6, the Society held its first meeting in its new apartments, James Losh, Esq. vice-president, in the chair; when the senior secretary read an Address to the Society, on its Origin, Progress, and Present State, including a Vindication of Public Libraries from the Objections of Dr. Whitaker, by the Rev. J. G. Robberds, which was unanimously ordered to be printed.

At the Society's annual meeting in 1819, it was resolved to continue the contribution of the additional half-guinea, voted in 1815, for four years longer, when it should cease "with regard at least to all those who had been members for eight years;" this being considered "as far as a Society should go, from which posterity is likely to derive so many important advantages, as a compulsory measure upon its members for the time being." But, in 1823, the committee informed the members that it was impossible the Society could be suitably carried on unless the additional half-guinea was made permanent, to which proposition the annual meeting agreed. This addition and the donations constitute the building fund.

At the anniversary meeting, March 7, 1826, the building committee were unable to ascertain, with any degree of precision, the cost of the building, from a strange backwardness in the tradesmen employed to present their accounts. However, the annexed account will be found an approximation to the sum required.

The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, for Building Account.

Lit. and Phil. Society. Donations. Interest Exchequer Bills sold. Borrowed. Amount recd. Law Charges. Corp. Gr. Rent. Excheq. Bills purchased. Interest. Printing. Sundries. Building Scite. Ins. from Fire. Tradesmen's Accounts. Amount paid.
W. Corbett. I. Richardson's Exrs.
£. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. £. £. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. £. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d.
1816 261 19 6 261 19 6 14 12 6 1 200 1 4 2 216 16 8
1817 265 13 0 7 0 2 272 13 2 2 200 1 7 0 0 19 2 204 6 2
1818 261 19 6 9 12 271 12 2 200 202 0 0
1819 253 11 6 22 1 6 275 13 0 1 400 401 0 0
1820 258 16 6 5 2 4 263 18 10 2 200 202 0 0
1821 255 13 6 54 19 6 310 13 0 2 300 302 0 0
1822 239 8 0 441 15 0 41 13 2 600 1322 16 2 3 9 8 0 1000 1012 8 0
1823 267 15 0 672 0 0 39 16 6 400 1379 11 6 400 5 6 0 16 14 1 28 16 996 5 0 1447 1
1824 284 11 0 312 1 6 121 0 2 1900 2000 4617 12 8 77 12 10 1000 72 15 4 2 5 0 36 1 0 480 7 18 8 2299 10 11 3976 3 9
1825 296 2 0 283 9 0 1500 2079 11 0 134 14 8 137 19 2 42 2 6 315 2160 0 0 2789 16 4
1826 309 4 6 57 5 0 1500 1866 9 6 68 2 10 90 0 0 0 6 6 34 10 3 6 15 0 1296 6 5 1496 1 0
2954 14 0 1766 10 6 301 5 11½ 2900 3500 1500 12922 10 295 2 10 13 2900 307 4 8 30 0 7 142 9 1795 14 13 8 6752 2 4 12249 13
Balance 672 17
£. s. d. £. s. d.
Ions (mason-work) 3361 0 0 200 0 0
Burnup (carpenter) 1458 10 11 600 0 0
Nicholson (plasterer) 904 4 0
Archbold (slater) 153 0 9 68 12 10
Marshall (plumber) 267 14 10
Elliott (smith) 100 0 0 300 0 0
Watson (brass & gas works) 50 0 0 550 1 0
Cookson & Co. (iron-work) 172 10 0
Cooksons (plate glass) 100 0 0 154 17 8
Gibson (painter) 160 0 0 200 0 0
Various (tables, &c.) 160 0 0
Green (chimney-pieces) 98 0 0
Jopling (ditto) 21 6 10
Bulman (hardware) 174 15 9
Taylor & Co. (gas apparatus) 51 11 0
Green (architect) 176 5 0 280 0 0
6752 2 4 3010 7 3
Total paid 9048 7
unpaid 3010 7 3
Interest due on the 7th March, 1826 156 0 0
Ditto to Mr. Fox ditto 39 7 6
Finishing yard, and building a very plain arcade say 400 0 0
Purchase of Museum by Mr. Fox 500 0 0
£13154 2

Thus it appears that the donations, (fn. 5) and the additional contribution of half-a-guinea annually, amounted, at the last anniversary meeting, to £4721, 4s. 6d.; and that to finish the building as contemplated (including the purchase of the Museum) will require at least £13,154, leaving a balance of £8433 to be provided for. Of this sum £5500 is already borrowed, and £3000 more must be raised in a similar manner. Now the interest and insurance on a debt of £8500 will require above £85 a year more than the highest sum ever raised in one year by the contribution of the additional halfguinea. But in examining the other accounts of the Society, it will appear evident that affairs cannot be suitably carried on without the income of the institution being considerably augmented.

£. s. d.
* In account, 1822.
Duke of Northumberland 105 0
Bishop of Durham 100 0
Sir C. M. L. Monck, Bart. 100 0
Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. 50 0
Cuthbert Ellison, Esq. 50 0
Trinity House, Newcastle 26 5
Literary Club, ditto 10 10
441 15
In account, 1823.
The Corporation 105 0
Sir J. E. Swinburne, Bart. 100 0
J. G. Lambton, Esq. 100 0
Major Anderson 52 10
New Institution 50 0
Isaac Cookson, Esq. 25 0
John Thomas Bigge, Esq. 21 0
The late Dr. Hutton 20 0
Thomas Davidson, Esq. 10 10
Mr. William Falla 10 10
Robert Ormston, Esq. 10 10
Dixon Brown, Esq. 10 10
Joseph Lamb, Esq. 10 10
Mr. John Bruce 5 5
Rev. John Collinson 5 5
Mr. J. T. Brockett 5 5
Rev. George Newby 5 5
David Hawks, Esq. 5 5
Robert Ormston, jun. Esq. 5 5
Mr. John Murray 5 5
Lieut. Col. Farquharson 5 5
Mr. William Burnup 5 5
John Char. Langlands, Esq. 5 5
Mr. Benjamin Thompson 5 5
Mr. C. N. Wawn 5 5
Mr. William Maving 5 5
Mr. Anthony Easterby 5 5
Mr. Thomas Doubleday 5 5
William Moore, Esq. 5 5
Mr. George Doubleday 5 5
The late Mr. R. Doubleday 5 5
Geo. Townshend Fox, Esq. 5 5
Mr. George Burnett 5 5
Mr. George Anderson 5 5
G. Carr, Esq. St. Petersburg 5 5
John Williamson, Esq. 5 5
Rev. Hugh Salvin 5 0
Messrs. Robson & Henderson 5 0
Rev. Robt. Clarke, Hexham 5 0
Henry Hewitson, Esq. 5 0
Mr. George Arnett 2 2
Ensign Pitts 1 1
Mr. William Garret 1 1
Rev. Luke Ripley 1 1
672 0
In account, 1824.
T. W. Beaumont, Esq. 52 10
Charles W. Bigge, Esq. 50 0
W. Ord, Esq. 25 0
T. H. Bigge, Esq. 21 0
Robert Pearson, Esq. 20 0
Dr. Headlam 10 10
John Adamson, Esq. 10 10
John Davidson, Esq. 10 10
T. W. Carr, Esq. London 10 0
W. Wharton Burdon, Esq. 10 0
William Burrell, Esq. 5 5
John Clutterbuck, Esq. 5 5
Mr. E. Charnley 5 5 0
Messrs. T. & J. Hodgson 5 5 0
Rev. Anthony Hedley 5 5 0
Mr. E. Mackenzie 5 5 0
Mr. W. Boyd 5 5 0
J. A. 5 0 0
Thomas Clennell, Esq. 5 0 0
A. B. Seton, Esq. 5 0 0
Sundry subscriptions, towards purchasing the ground behind the library 40 6 6
312 1 6
In account, 1825.
The Corporation 105 0 0
Thomas Gibson, Esq. 40 0 0
Hon. H. T. Liddell 20 0 0
M. Culley, Esq. Copeland 10 10 0
A. Donkin, Esq. 10 10 0
R. Carr, Esq. Midd. Tem. 10 0 0
J. P. Selby, Esq. 5 5 0
R. Catskin, Esq. 5 5 0
Rev. Edward Otter 5 5 0
Mr. W. Armstrong 5 5 0
R. A. Purvis, Esq. 5 5 0
C. Cookson, Esq. 5 5 0
R. P. Philipson, Esq. 5 5 0
Thomas Jameson, Esq. 5 5 0
Robert Bell, Esq. 5 5 0
David Cram, Esq. 5 5 0
Ed. Swinburne, sen. Esq. 5 5 0
Robert Ingham, Esq. 5 5 0
Carried forward 259 0 0

It was intended that the New Library should be a credit and ornament to the town; but much of the effect desired is destroyed by the situation in which it is placed. Nor is the architecture faultless; though the architect is not to be blamed, as he acted under the varying directions of a committee. The masonry is excellent, and the style of the south front is tolerably chaste and elegant; but the chief front offends against good taste. In architecture, it is a fundamental rule that no ornament be introduced without it has some apparent use: according to this axiom, the pillars at the entrance have no business there, unless it be admitted that the arch above the door requires support. But this is too ungracious a subject to dwell upon. The west side of the basement story contains rooms for the Society's apparatus, &c. and on the east side are a commodious committee-room, and two apartments which are occupied by the Antiquarian Society. A door at the termination of the passage opens into the lecture-room: it is also used for the general meetings of the Society. This room, which will hold about 280 persons, is very badly planned. Persons find it difficult and unpleasant to pass or repass each other; and the apparatus room cannot be approached from the lecturer's table without pressing through the audience. The staircase, which is on the right hand side of the entrance, is ornamented with a fine, but expensive railing. Two Townley vases decorate the first landing: and above the next are five compartments in the wall, that contain casts of the Elgin marbles. (fn. 6) On first entering the large room, its ample dimensions, the noble chimney-pieces, the gallery with its tasteful and elegant railing, and the exquisite plaster-work that surmounts the whole, combine in giving it a grand and sumptuous appearance. But this impression is considerably weakened on a closer examination. The room is imperfectly lighted, though there are fifteen windows above the gallery, whose numerous cross shadows have an unpleasing effect; and the large window below the gallery is partly darkened by two square pillars. Without noticing the form of the roof, which conveys the idea of a dangerous lateral pressure, no person can avoid observing that the deep heavy plaster cornice seems to be supported only by the slender book-comes between the windows; while the cornice below the gallery is exposed to actual injury from moving the books in the top shelf. The marble bust of the late Dr. Charles Hutton, by Chantry, stands at present on one chimney-piece; the bust of Mr. Thomas Bewick, by Bailey, on the other; and an excellent cast from the bust of the late James Watt, presented by his son, is placed upon the table in the middle of the room. The gallery is entered at both sides of the north end by a narrow awkward staircase. Adjoining this end is the Museum, which is 40 feet long and 20 feet broad. It is well lighted by skylights, but is quite insufficient for the purposes to which it is appropriated. The reading room is ornamented by a portrait of the learned Hutton, presented to the Society by Mr. Morton, the able artist by whom it was executed; and a picture presented by Mrs. West. On the whole, this building is certainly inferior to what might have been expected, considering the vast expense of its erection and interior decorations. (fn. 7)

£. s.
Brought forward 259 0
William Fife, Esq. 5 5
Rev. Charles Thorpe 5 0
John Wilson, Esq. Ryton 5 0
Mr. John Anderson 5 0
J. Crosse, jun. Esq. Hull 2 2
Sundry, for purchasing ground behind the Library 2 2
283 9
In account, 7th March, 1826.
Newc. Antiquarian Soc. 21 0
William Losh, Esq. 10 10
Benjamin Sorsbie, Esq. 5 5
Thomas Wilson, Esq. 5 5
Thomas Bell, Esq. 5 5
Rev. J. Collinson, 2d sub. 5 0
Edward Johnson, Esq. 5 0
57 5


The Library of this Society contains near 9000 volumes, which have been selected with great care and judgment; and the number of books on various subjects are, with few exceptions, pretty fairly proportioned, according to their intrinsic and relative value. Such an excellent collection of standard books is an honour and a benefit to the town and neighbourhood; and the committee, in 1823, boasted that "this is the cheapest literary institution in Great Britain." But private societies, as well as national governments, have their periods of folly and extravagance; and from the following statements will appear the impossibility "of ministering upon (the former) moderate terms to that desire for information which pervades so numerous and inquisitive a body. (fn. 8)

The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Ending March Mem. on List. Members paid Subscriptions. Amount of Subscriptions. Fines, Catalogues, &c. Amount recd. Books and Binding. Librarian, Cleaning Expenses, &c. Rent, Taxes, Insurance, Coal, Gas, &c. Tradesmen. Subs. to Dr. Hutton's bust New Instit. Lecturer. Building Account. Amount paid.
£. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d £. s. £. £ £ s. d. £. s. d.
1805 367 342 359 2 0 10 6 0 369 8 0 156 13 6 56 17 8 23 15 5 45 5 0 282 11 7
1806 394 361 379 1 0 13 13 1 392 14 1 206 16 2 58 12 7 24 0 11 22 16 1 75 387 5 9
1807 391 319 334 19 0 12 2 0 347 1 0 260 8 4 61 7 8 27 6 6 44 15 5 393 17 11
1808 398 379 397 19 0 11 7 9 409 6 9 191 15 7 61 8 0 24 8 9 65 14 10 85 428 7 2
1809 423 399 418 19 0 7 8 2 426 7 2 187 9 11 71 10 4 28 1 18 6 7 75 380 8
1810 475 410 430 10 0 8 10 10 439 0 10 225 14 8 67 8 3 36 2 1 34 13 7 50 413 18 7
1811 505 465 488 5 0 8 9 8 496 14 8 284 1 6 69 1 6 31 3 33 7 6 50 467 13
1812 538 457 479 17 0 20 14 11 500 11 11324 12 8 70 2 3 34 6 1 83 10 8 50 562 11 8
1813 543 469 492 9 0 7 10 2 499 19 2 282 9 10 70 15 5 34 13 11 11 9 2 50 449 8 4
1814 536 563 591 3 0 11 9 6 602 12 6 249 18 5 97 17 6 32 15 10 13 3 8 50 443 15 5
1815 565 542 569 2 0 8 11 10 577 13 10 369 12 9 110 7 8 62 18 3 29 10 0 50 622 8 8
1816 542 527 781 14 6 7 3 8 788 18 2 352 1 5 81 12 9 72 11 6 78 10 10 50 261 19 6 896 16 0
1817 523 510 793 16 0 5 14 10 799 10 10 228 13 8 79 9 10 63 5 88 7 6 50 265 13 0 775 9
1818 540 499 785 18 6 21 14 9 807 13 3 292 9 5 164 18 5 60 1 6 52 1 4 50 261 19 6 881 10 2
1819 529 483 760 14 6 23 7 3 784 1 9 308 9 8 128 5 3 71 2 0 53 1 4 50 253 11 6 864 9 9
1820 514 492 774 18 0 46 3 1 821 1 1 276 6 1 126 3 8 67 0 3 132 7 7 50 258 16 6 910 14 1
1821 507 486 765 9 0 31 1 1 796 10 1 257 17 7 155 12 63 14 11 28 3 1 50 255 13 6 811 1
1822 503 456 718 4 0 25 19 2 744 3 2 287 7 10½ 167 0 1 64 6 5 39 1 1 50 239 8 0 847 3
1823 532 510 804 6 0 31 17 5 836 3 5 262 6 5 149 5 5 62 10 11 52 17 10 10 50 267 15 0 855 5
1824 559 542 853 13 0 28 6 5 881 19 5 233 2 6 157 11 2 62 13 0 39 6 50 284 11 0 827 4
1825 630 563 886 14 6 37 14 2 924 8 8 231 15 10 154 12 0 72 18 4 38 0 9 50 296 2 0 843 8 11
1826 691 589 927 13 6 37 8 8 965 2 2 258 1 11 179 12 10 70 17 0 17 10 0 50 309 4 6 885 6 3
13794 7 6 416 14 5 14211 1 11 5728 5 2339 12 11½ 1090 13 1022 0 3 10 10 985 100 2954 14 0 14230 16
Due to the Treasurer 1804, 58 8 11
14152 13 0

By this account, there was £78, 3s. 2½d. due to the Treasurer on March 7, 1826.

It is evident that the extent and arrangements of the new building must entail considerable additional expenses on the Society, beyond those of its mere erection; and, on viewing the subject closely, it must be further confessed, that the incidental and necessary payments will exceed the receipts, without leaving any thing to purchase new books, or to pay off any part of the enormous debt contracted and to be contracted as mortgages upon the building. The following is, perhaps, a pretty near approximation to the permanent annual charge upon the Society:—

£. s. d.
Librarian's salary 120 0 0
Library-keeper's ditto 60 0 0
Lecturer to the New Institution 50 0 0
Keeper of the Museum 30 0 0
Insurance on £3900 9 15 0
Poor-rates and church-cess on £200 rental 32 10 0
Lamp and watch and gaol cess 12 10 0
Gas, coals, and candles 75 0 0
Furniture, repairs, &c. 25 0 0
Printing and advertising 30 0 0
Binding books 25 0 0
Periodicals, parliamentary papers, &c. 110 0 0
Deficiency on building account 85 0 0
664 15 0

Nothing has been set down for librarian's expenses and gratuities, which may probably be paid with cash received for fines. The committee guarantees the curator's salary; but no certain conclusion can yet be formed of the receipts of the Museum, and how far that establishment may be further burdensome. The furniture, repairs, painting, &c. are stated very low; as it is expected the managers will soon begin to practise economy. The £25 allowed for binding will be required to keep the books in repair, and to bind Encyclopædias, Transactions, Reviews, Magazines, Philosophical Journals, and Parliamentary Proceedings. Printing and advertising are stated at £30 only, for the Reports and Catalogues, being now sold, reduces this charge, which will soon be felt as unprecedentedly heavy, a large and very expensive Catalogue of the Library, and another of the Museum, being now in the press. (fn. 9) The deficiency in the building account (see page 479) will probably increase, for one of the mortgagers has already demanded five per cent. for the money lent. Making every reasonable allowance, the permanent charges upon the Society cannot be less than £664 per annum; and as the average annual income, during the last three years, amounted only to £593, there will remain (after adding £20, the rent paid by the Antiquarian Society) an actual deficiency of above £50! It therefore becomes absolutely necessary to raise the annual subscription to two guineas; and, even then, the committee will find its power to purchase new books more than ordinarily curtailed. It may, indeed, happen that an increase of the subscription will not increase the total receipts; in which case, the annual payments would have to be again increased, and consequently the library would lose its former usefulness, and become merely a fashionable lounging place for the opulent classes of society.

The following is a summary of the accounts of the New Institution, for a perpetual Lectureship on Natural and Experimental Philosophy:—

Ending March Donations. Lit. and Phil. Society. Courses of Lectures. Amount recd. Apparatus. Rev. W. Turner, Lecturer. Printing, &c. Librarian, Rent, Taxes, Cleaning, &c. Building. Amount paid.
£. s. £. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. s. d. £. £. s. d.
1803 611 12 50 247 1 6 908 13 6 459 17 9 210 0 0 30 4 6 19 14 10 719 17 1
1804 180 15 10 180 15 10 55 8 10 210 0 0 9 13 6 30 16 1 305 18 5
1805 75 106 10 0 181 10 0 7 4 6 157 10 0 5 9 6 17 11 3 187 15 3
1806 113 12 6 113 12 6 11 15 6 26 18 38 14
1807 97 6 6 97 6 6 157 10 0 11 16 6 19 18 11 189 5 5
1808 85 84 11 0 169 11 0 157 10 0 8 2 6 25 8 2 191 0 8
1809 75 53 17 0 128 17 0 32 12 0 105 0 0 2 19 6 22 5 2 162 16 8
1810 50 98 16 6 148 16 6 70 0 0 5 19 6 19 6 6 95 6 0
1811 50 50 0 0 9 12 0 15 0 0 1 9 0 24 11 50 12
1812 50 50 0 0 13 0 0 28 16 6 5 10 0 20 12 0 67 18 6
1813 50 50 0 0 39 0 8 39 0 8
1814 50 50 0 0 30 4 2 30 4 2
1815 50 50 0 0 38 10 0 38 10 0
1816 50 50 0 0 42 5 0 42 5 0
1817 50 50 0 0 40 18 9 40 18 9
1818 50 50 0 0 33 11 3 33 11 3
1819 50 50 0 0 47 9 0 47 9 0
1820 50 50 0 0 11 3 6 52 5 0 63 8 6
1821 50 50 0 0 34 18 6 34 18 6
1822 50 50 0 0 22 5 0 32 5 0
1823 50 50 0 0 4 0 0 42 5 0 50 96 5 0
1824 50 50 0 0 10 0 0 22 5 0 32 5 0
1825 66 0 6 66 0 6 40 5 10 9 19 6 38 0 2 88 5 6
1826 43 17 10 43 17 10 44 13 10 29 8 4 11 14 0 17 9 6 103 5 8
611 12 1035 1092 9 2 2739 1 2 647 12 5 1181 0 8 114 13 6 728 10 1 50 2721 16 8

In the subscriptions of the last two years are included £7, 12s. for syllabus'. The total sum in the fourth column of payments consists of £462, 3s. for rent; £87, 13s. 10½d. for librarian, taxes, &c.; £124, 9s. 8½d. for cleaning; £6, 6s. for joiner-work; and £47, 17s. 6d. paid to Mr. Hutchinson for repairing the instruments.

The purchase of the Wycliff Museum appears, under existing circumstances, to have been an imprudent act. Stuffed birds are certainly very expensive and perishable articles. Those collected by Marmaduke Tunstall, Esq. cost £5000, and were sold to Mr. Allen, in 1790, for less than £700. At the death of the latter gentleman in 1800, the whole, including considerable additions, was valued at only £300,* which facts shew the rapid depreciation of the value of this species of property. After the purchase of this old collection by the Society, some of the birds fell to pieces in the removal; several recline against the cases, the wires being decayed and broken by rust; and others are losing the natural freshness and brilliancy of their plumage. Two or three specimens are said to be extremely rare and valuable. But this collection cannot be supported and extended without considerable expense. A new building must also be erected for its reception, for the apartment in which it is now kept is already crowded to excess. However, this circumstance was too obvious to have escaped the notice of the projectors of the establishment. At any rate, no blame can be attached to Mr. Fox, who, in this business, was evidently actuated by the most disinterested and public-spirited motives. The sum of £13, 8s. has been received in donations for the Museum; and £19, 3s. 7d. has been paid for insurance and other expenses, to the 1st of March, 1826. At present, there are 76 annual subscribers, of half-a-guinea each, for its support.


1 William Smoult, Esq. was but a short time connected with this institution. He was a native of Newcastle, and educated at the Free Grammar-school here. In youth, he went to the East Indies, where he was distinguished by his abilities and integrity, and was entrusted by his patron, Sir Robert Chambers, with the execution of several important and hazardous undertakings. He was amongst the first institutors of that most respectable literary association, the Asiatic Society. He returned to his native place with a shattered constitution, and died in his house at Queen's Square, Saville Row, on January 17, 1796. At the September meeting of the Society, 1824, his Remarks made during a Voyage and Journey from Bengal to Alexandria, by way of the Red Sea, the Isthmus of Suez, the Monastry of Mount Sinai, Grand Cairo, &c. were read by the senior secretary.
The Rev. Richard Jamieson, formerly chaplain to the British factory at Dantzic, was one of the early associates of this institution. He was accurately and extensively acquainted with the Greek, Latin, French, and German writers, and composed with great elegance in his native language. It is therefore to be regretted that, during an illness that threatened his life, he destroyed many valuable papers. His manners were distinguished by liberality and simplicity, and he enjoyed the friendship of Mr. Spence and Dr. Blacklock. He died on Tuesday, January 26, 1796. Dr. George Chapman, of Libberton, near Edinburgh, inserted in the minutes of the Society an affectionate tribute to his memory.
John Howard, mathematician, the son of Ralph Howard, a private soldier, was born in the garrison of Fort George in Scotland in 1753, but brought up chiefly with his relations at Carlisle. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to his uncle, a cork-cutter, whose tyranny induced him to fly and become a sailor. Disliking a seafaring life, he adopted the profession of a carpenter; and that displeasing him, he became a flaxdresser. Yet, though bred in the lap of ignorance, and exposed to the buffetings of fortune, his ardent and enthusiastic mind supplied every defect and conquered every difficulty. He acquired the elements of an English education, and opening a school in the vicinity of Carlisle, made, by the exertion of his talents, a wonderful proficiency in Mathematics. The venerable Edmund Law, bishop of Carlisle, hearing of his scientific acquirements, became his patron, and entered him to the Grammar-school of that city, preparatory to his removal to college; but Mr. H. having formed an illicit connexion with a poor girl, was obliged to abandon his purpose of entering into the church. His abilities, however, having rendered him popular, he opened a school in Carlisle in the year 1780. The bishop still continued his friend; and, on the accession of his on to the see of Clonfert in Ireland, he prevailed upon him to accept the office of his steward. In this situation he improved rapidly in scientific knowledge, and always spoke with gratitude of the assistance he received from the bishop of Clonfert. In less than four years Mr. Howard quitted the bishop's service, in consequence of an imprudent marriage, and to which most of his subsequent misfortunes may be attributed. In 1786, he returned to Carlisle, resumed the occupation of a preceptor, and distinguished himself by many ingenious communications to the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Diaries. In the spring of 1794, he removed to Newcastle, where he occupied the school-room built by Dr. Hutton in Westgate Street. In the following year, he read an essay to the Literary and Philosophical Society on the construction of the common balance; and Mr. William Armstrong (formerly his pupil) having, in April, 1797, communicated a paper to the Society on the Algorithms of Impossible or Imaginary Quantities, Mr. Howard, who defended such quantities, led a controversy on the subject at several subsequent meetings. In 1798, his long-projected work on Spherical Geometry appeared, which ably supplied a desideratum in Mathematical science. The congratulatory acknowledgments of the friends of science were accompanied by a rapid decline of health; and he died March 26, 1799, at the age of 46 years. He was an indefatigable scholar, a sincere friend, and a placable enemy. His general remarks exhibited a mixture of humour and satire; and his disposition was so sociable, that he frequently indulged in a convivial glass; though he seldom exceeded the bounds of discretion, and never neglected his duties in the school. He versified with facility, but did not aspire to the higher departments of poetry.
The Seventeenth Year's Report of the Literary and Philosophical Society laments the loss of "Nicholas Walton, Esq. who, for many years, filled, with the highest credit to himself, the very important station of Principal Agent for the management of the Estates and Mines belonging to the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich. He was from the first a zealous promoter of the views of this Society, and, on various occasions, contributed very essentially to serve them; particularly by furnishing the Society's Museum with an accurate Section of the Strata of the Lead-mine District through the several counties of Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, and also with a complete set of Specimens of the actual Strata, accurately arranged and numbered, in correspondence with the Section."
Robert Doubleday, who was born in 1753, was the eldest son of an eminent merchant in Newcastle. His parents being members of the Society of Friends, he early acquired those retired, orderly, moral habits, that distinguish this community, and which he retained after he had abandoned their peculiarities. At school he made considerable proficiency in the ancient classics, and acquired a taste for poetic composition. This generated that fondness for reading by which he was distinguished throughout life. His long and attentive study of morals and metaphysics imparted to him a mental perspicuity, and a logical acuteness of intellect on most topics connected with literature, philosophy, or human affairs, greatly superior to most, and surpassed by few of his contemporaries. Notwithstanding the great liberality of his political and literary opinions, yet his unassuming manners, gentle disposition, and cheerful temper, caused his friendship to be generally courted. His influence, therefore, among the influential classes of the town, as well as in the literary and scientific circles, was important and extensive. Being a practical philanthropist, he successfully rendered his friends the instruments for forming many invaluable public institutions; nor did he shrink from occupying any office wherein he could promote their interests. He was 46 years secretary to the Newcastle Dispensary; also to the Lying-in Hospital, and to the Fever Hospital from the period of its first institution. He was likewise chairman of the committee of the Royal Jubilee School, and one of the directors of the Savings Bank. He was peculiarly fitted to the gratuitous discharge of all these offices by his zeal, leisure, and punctual habits. He was one of the founders of the Literary and Philosophical Society, and was chosen one of its first secretaries. He afterwards was annually elected a vice-president. The committee, in lamenting his death in their annual report, speak of him thus:—He was one "whose deep and extensive knowledge on all subjects connected with literature and science, enabled him to fill the chair (as vice-president), to the credit of the institution and the delight of its members. The neat and luminous summaries which he generally gave of the papers which were read at the monthly meetings; the easy and familiar way in which he adverted to the points connected with the subject of them, which admitted of further discussion; and the agreeable manner in which he invited those whom he conceived best qualified to take a part in it, must be fresh in the recollection of all who have been in the habit of attending the monthly meetings, and will not soon be forgotten. Nor was his usefulness confined to our public meetings; the readiness with which he communicated his varied knowledge, and the particularly amiable manner in which he encouraged the inquiries, and promoted the studies of the younger members, by directing their attention to the most standard works on the several objects of their pursuit, joined to his mild and unassuming manners, greatly endeared him to the whole Society, and have caused his death to be lamented by us all. Those, however, who had for many years the pleasure of acting with him as members of your committee, may claim the privilege of expressing more particularly their feelings on the loss which they have sustained. The punctuality with which, so long as health permitted, he attended their meetings, the urbanity with which he presided over them, and checked any heat which might be the occasional consequence of difference of opinion; the judgment which he displayed in the selection of books, and the attention which he always shewed to the interests of the Society, and the judicious management of its funds, have mainly contributed to the efficiency of their services, and to the flourishing state of the institution, whose servants they were."
It is only necessary to add, that Mr. D. being frugal and economical in his habits, always found his means equal to his wants; while his fondness for literary ease prevented him from incurring the cares either of business or of a family. Unaccustomed to manly sports or athletic exercises, his sedentary habits induced occasional nervous attacks. Some time previous to his death, he removed to Gateshead Fell, where he died on Saturday the 11th January, 1823, in the 70th year of his age. The rooms of the Literary and Philosophical Society were shut during the afternoon of his funeral; and most of the committee, and several members of the Society, attended their deceased friend and associate to the grave.
Thomas Doubleday, son of George Doubleday, Esq. nephew of the gentleman mentioned above, and a member of the committee of the Literary and Philosophical Society, has, by the brilliancy of his genius, reflected such honour upon his native town as entitles him to a distinguished notice in its history. His first grand effort, "The Italian Wife," a tragedy, abounds with beautiful passages, and displays great poetic and dramatic powers; while his subsequent tragedy, entitled "Babington," evinces an increased mastery of the passions of terror and pity, and ranks him amongst the first tragic poets of the age. He has likewise contributed some playful and ingenious papers for Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, and very, recently published a pamphlet on the Currency.
William Thomas, Esq. colliery-viewer and land-agent, was one of the earliest and most valuable members of the Literary and Philosophical Society, and, when leisure from his various important avocations permitted, was ever ready to give interest and animation to its general meetings, by his valuable communications, and spirited, but good-humoured remarks. "He took a considerable share in drawing up the Queries on Coal and Coal-mining, which, in the year 1794, were printed and circulated by the Society; and, in May, 1795, he read, by way of Answer to them, 'Remarks on Montague Main Colliery, with a particular Account of the Dykes intersecting it;' accompanying his paper with a Section of the Strata, a Map of the Dykes, and a series of Specimens, arranged in a box. In September, 1796, in consequence of an accident, occasioned by the pricking of an ancient waste filled with water at Slatyford, by which six persons lost their lives, he drew up a very important paper, entitled 'Hints for the Formation of a Plan to be proposed to the Coal Owners, for establishing in Newcastle an Office for recording important Information respecting the Coal Works and Wastes in this Neighbourhood.' Several meetings were held on the subject; but the proposal was coldly received. The paper itself, however, in consequence of the much more extensive mischief produced by the same cause at Heaton Colliery, in 1815, was printed by the Society, in conjunction with a further paper, proposing some legislative interference, by Mr. William Chapman. In 1805, he presented to the Society 'Observations on the Propriety of introducing Roads on the Principle of Coal-waggon-ways for the general Conveyance of Goods; with a particular Reference to shewing the Practicability of a Road on this Principle from Newcastle to Hexham.' It is to be regretted that this paper, the principles of which have since been successfully carried into effect in various places, was not at that time communicated to the public through the press. The measure which he proposed in it, there was every probability that he would then have carried into effect, had not his numerous important private engagements obliged him to abandon it. It is to be regretted that only a rough draught is now to be found: it would otherwise have been only doing justice to his memory to convince the public, by its appearance at this time, that the projects of this kind, which are now so numerous, owed to him the first idea of them." Mr. Thomas' industry was almost unexampled; and the activity, integrity, and judgment he displayed in the management of the various important concerns with which he was entrusted, gained him the esteem and confidence of the numerous individuals concerned. He died at his house in Charlotte Square, on April 20, 1824, in the 66th year of his age.
Amongst the most useful and gifted of the numerous members of this literary association, Mr. Henry Alkinson stands very eminent. He is the son of Mr. Cuthbert Atkinson, of Stamfordham, schoolmaster, and was born at Great Bavington, co. of Northumberland, June 28, 1781. He commenced teaching in his 13th year, in his native parish; but removed to Newcastle in 1808, and, in the year following, became a member of the Society of which he has been so distinguished an ornament. His first communication was a new method of extracting the Roots of Equations, read at the August meeting in 1809; and an elaborate Essay on the Eclipses of Jupiter's Satellites, and on the mode of determining the longitude, &c. by their means, was read at the February meeting following, for which he received the unanimous thanks of the Society. Next year, he produced an ingenious paper, containing a demonstration, of two curious properties of square numbers, which was honoured by the high approbation of Dr. Hutton. Immediately after, he read a paper, demonstrating that no sensible error can arise in the Theory of Falling Bodies from assuming gravity as an uniformly accelerating force. In May, 1813, the Society was gratified by Mr. Atkinson's elaborate Essay upon the Comet of 1811, and a model elucidating its path; and, at the monthly meeting in December following, he produced an Essay on Proportion. In September, 1814, he further favoured the Society with a paper on the difference between the followers of Newton and Leibnitz concerning the Measure of Forces; and, at the October meeting in 1815, he read a curious Essay on the Possibility, and, if possible, on the Consequences of the Lunar Origin of Meteoric Stones. His essay on the Nature and Connexion of Cause and Effect was read at the November meeting, 1816; and, on the extension of the committee at the anniversary meeting in 1817, he was very deservedly chosen a member, and has continued to be reelected every succeeding year.
At the general meeting, November 3,1818, Mr. Atkinson read an Essay on Truth, which was printed in the Newcastle Magazine for 1822. Of this production, Dr. Gillies, author of the History of Greece, speaks thus: "It appears to me to be a piece of able and accurate reasoning, conveyed with equal force and clearness of expression; and the sentiment contained in it entirely coincides with those which I have long entertained on the subject." This industrious writer communicated to the Society, in the following February, "A new Mode of investigating Equations, which obtain among the Times, Distances, and Anomalies of Comets moving around the Sun, as their Centre of Attraction, in parabolic Orbits." On June 6, 1820, he read an essay on the effects produced on the different classes of society by an increase or decrease of the price of corn. At the meeting held May 4, 1824, he presented a paper on the utility and probable accuracy of the method of determining the Sun's Parallax by observations on the planet Mars near his opposition: it has since been published in the Transactions of the Astronomical Society of London. In August following, he read a paper on the true Principles of calculating the Refractive Power of the Atmosphere. This ingenious production was presented to the Astronomical Society in London, in a more enlarged and elaborate form, and occupied the attention of that learned body during three sittings. The Philosophical Magazine and Journal, vol. Ixv. p. 391, in speaking of this communication, remarks, "The reasoning and deductions are founded on acknowledged facts; and hypothesis furnishes no part of the data from which the tables, founded on these investigations are computed. Astronomical observations supply no portion of the materials which form the basis of the computations but all the results are obtained by formulæ depending on optical principles; so that the near agreement of the quantities contained in these tables (when properly collected) with those given by the most approved modern tables of refraction proves that the various formulæ by which these quantities were obtained are founded in nature, as well as happily applied. The atmosphere is divided into a variety of strata, and each stratum has its appropriate formula for determining its share of mean refraction; and when the different portions belonging to the different strata are put together in succession, they constitute such an arrangement of quantities as proceed by a regular gradation, or very nearly so; and nothing but a close examination of the difference can detect that the whole succession has not depended on one continued formula. Besides the atmospheric refractions adapted as corrections for celestial observations, the author has applied one of his formulæ successfully to determine the terrestrial refraction as it has reference to two objects standing in different elevations: so that whether this memoir be considered as a meteorological, geodetical, or astronomical communication, it cannot but be regarded as copious, elaborate, and interesting."
The two first monthly meetings of the Literary and Philosophical Society, in 1826, were occupied in hearing Mr. Atkinson's remarks on the intended Suspension Bridge between North and South Shields, and on Suspension Bridges in general. The part of this able paper relating to the strength and elasticity of iron was read to the Literary, Scientific, and Mechanical Institution, of Newcastle, of which he is also a member. His paper on finding the Roots of Equations is in the Press. Mr. A. has also been a valuable contributor to the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Diaries, and obtained the prizes in the former in the years 1811, 1816, and 1823, and in the latter in the year 1819. But his knowledge is not confined to the subjects above mentioned; for he is tolerably proficient in Chemistry and various other branches of Natural Philosophy. He has also written several papers on moral and metaphysical topics, and is not unacquainted with works of fancy and the lighter departments of the Belles Lettres. He always acts promptly and honestly from the impulses of his own mind, and has therefore experienced much inconvenience and annoyance; though his opinions, both on religious and political subjects, are far from being either extravagant or unfashionable. Mr. A. has recently advertised a course of Lectures on Astronomy, to be delivered in the lecture-room of the New Institution. W. Chapman, Esq. M. R. I. A. civil engineer, &c. has been a distinguished ornament of the Literary and Philosophical Society, first as an honorary, and afterwards as an ordinary member. This gentleman is a freeman of Newcastle by patrimony, but was born at Whitby. His father was of the respectable and opulent family of that name, which has been settled at Whitby for several generations. In common with all the chief people of that town, he was concerned in shipping, and was particularly distinguished for his knowledge in Mathematics and other scientific acquirements, for which he very early in life imbibed a taste. He received a liberal education at different public schools, and, at 18 years of age, had the command of a merchant vessel, in which, during the short period of three years, when he quitted the sea, he had an opportunity of visiting various harbours in different countries, and thereby acquired a degree of knowledge in the proper construction of harbours which few engineers possess. The nature of his favourite pursuits leading him to cultivate the acquaintance of men of talent and genius, he formed a friendship with the late Mr. Watt, Mr. Boulton, and Mr. Wooller, an engineer to the Board of Ordnance, who all strongly advised him to follow as a profession that which he had closely studied as an amusement. He accordingly accompanied Mr. Boulton to Ireland in the close of the year 1783, and was well introduced there, but to no essential benefit, until after he had written a prize essay on the effect of the river Dodder on the harbour of Dublin; soon after which he was appointed resident engineer to the county of Kildare canal, which was carried on under the surveillance of the late Duke of Leinster, the members for the county, and other leading men, who were so well satisfied with the manner in which the works were conducted, as to enter in their journal a resolution expressive of their high approbation, which they ordered to be published in various Irish papers. In the execution of this canal, it became necessary to construct a stone bridge, having an obliquity of upwards of 50 degrees; to effect which, he invented the method of laying the lines of the voissaux at right angles with the direction of the bridge, as described under the head of Oblique Arches in the Fncyclopædia Britannica. At this time, he became a joint overseer with the Duke of Leinster and the Hon. Ponsonby Moore for building a bridge of five arches over the Liffey at New Bridge, in place of one that had been totally carried away by a flood in that rapid river. It being unavoidable to build one of the piers upon a quicksand, the means used in forming and securing the foundation struck the late Lord Perry so forcibly, that he recommended the gentlemen of Limerick to apply to Mr. Chapman to survey and report on the means of effecting a communication from Lough Dery to that city. He next formed a navigation from Lough Erne to Ballyshannon, and from the river Barrow to New Ross. His plans for forming a harbour at Arklow and some other internal navigations were printed at this time, but not executed for want of funds. Having been appointed consulting engineer to the Grand Canal of Ireland, he, with the late Mr. Jessop, the directing engineer, laid out the extension of the Grand Canal from Roberts Town to Tullamore, the dock between Dublin and Ringsend, and the Canal of Communication by the line of the Circular Road. The line of the canal, from near Edonderry to Tullamore, passed through several deep bogs, to the extent of upwards of 30 feet depth; a difficulty which the directors had expended upwards of £100,000 in attempts to overcome, in a very short distance, in consequence of being unacquainted with the subsidence of bogs under superincumbent weight, and the proper art of drainage. The former was ascertained by Mr. Chapman, and the latter pointed out by Mr. Jessop, so that this obstacle was easily and completely overcome. Amongst other important engagements in Ireland, Mr. Chapman, at the instance of the Irish government, surveyed the harbour of Dublin, and suggested the building of a pier from the Clenturf Shore to a due distance from the light-house, and then to turn westwards towards the North Wall, so as to confine the Tidal Water to the channel of Pool Bay. In 1794, the idea of a canal between Newcastle and the Irish Sea being strongly agitated, Mr. C. was induced to return to England, and fix his general residence in Newcastle, where he was employed to survey the projected canal from this town to Maryport, on which his various reports are still extant. This canal, through want of sufficient funds, was never carried into effect; and a portion of it, viz. from Newcastle to Haydon Bridge on one level, failed in passing through the House of Commons. After this, Mr. Chapman became a member of "The Society of Civil Engineers," in London, consisting of Messrs. Watt, Mylne, Jessop, Rennie, and other eminent men. He was next engaged, conjointly with Messrs. Rennie and Mylne and Captain Huddart, in devising the London Docks, and subsequently the southern dock and basin at Hull, with the first-named associate. His employments then and since, in drainages, canals, and harbours, and in reports on numerous public works in all the branches of his profession, in various and distant parts of the island, are so generally known as not to require enumeration. It will, therefore, only be necessary to mention his different publications out of the line of his profession, and a few of his mechanical inventions.
The first was at a very juvenile period, near the close of the revolutionary war with America, and was published without his name, viz. Essays, Commercial and Political, on the real and relative Interests of imperial and dependent States, published for I. Johnson, St. Paul's Church-yard; with an Appendix, on the Means of emancipating Slaves. This work met with favourable notices from all the reviewers.—2. A Treatise, in 4to. with plates, on the various systems of Internal Navigation; published by J. Taylor, Architectural Library, in 1797.–3. Observations on the prevention of a future Scarcity of Corn, 1803, for James Wallis, Paternoster Row.—4. Disquisition on the Political Evils attendant on Extremes in the Price of Bread Corn; with a Description of the Methods used in Europe, Africa, and Asia, for the Preservation of Grain, from the earliest Periods on Record; published as an original Article in No. 5 of the New Quarterly Review for June, 1813.–5. Observations on the Effects that would be produced by the proposed Corn Laws (as injurious to both the manufacturing and landed Interests), 1815, for Richardson, Cornhill.—6. Hints on the Necessity of Legislative Measures for registering the Extent of Workings in the Coal Seams, and preventing such Accidents as arise from Want of that Knowledge, 1815; published by E. Charnley, Newcastle, by order of the Literary and Philosophical Society.—7. Essay, with Plates, on the progressive Improvement in the Manufacture of Cordage; J. Wyatt, at the Repertory of Arts, Hatton Garden.—8. Treatise on the Preservation of Timber from premature Decay; dedicated, by permission, to the Lords of the Admiralty; 1817, for J. Taylor, Architectural Library, Holborn. This treatise contained an economic method of preserving the timbers of ships already built; of the good effect of which a striking instance has occurred in a steam dredging-vessel of 100 tons, built at Shoreham in 1818, which, although frequently closed up for many months, and when in use exposed to the moisture of steam from the boiler, is reported to be still perfectly sound.
Besides the above arduous employment for his leisure hours, Mr. Chapman engaged in the invention of several mechanical improvements, particularly in rope-making, in which he included every practicable plan, whether in an extended rope-ground, or in a building where the strands and ropes were coiled up as they were made, for which he procured a patent. Mr. Chapman's next invention, for which he also obtained a patent, was for an expeditious and easily practicable method of lowering coal-waggons, with their contents, immediately over the hatchways of ships, so as to prevent the great breakage of coals in the usual method of shooting the coals through long spouts. During the existence of this patent, the validity of which was not disputed, no coal company adopted the plan but the owners of Ouston and Fawdon collieries. The term of the patent was, however, no sooner closed, than the system became universal on the Tyne, greatly to the benefit of those who used it, but without any emolument or acknowledgment to the inventor. In 1821, he obtained a patent for a method of transferring coals from keels to the holds of ships, by the intervention of a small vessel between them, containing a steam-engine and necessary machinery. This plan has been adopted by the Marquis of Londonderry; and the transferring vessel (called the Tempest, now lying opposite the lower part of Sunderland) performs advantageously all its destined functions. Other patents have been obtained by him separately, or conjointly with his brother, Mr. Edward Walton Chapman, which, although apparently possessing some advantages, have not been carried into effect. For some inventions Mr. Chapman applied for no patent. One of them is a method of loading coals from keels into ships by stationary machinery, of a simplified and safe principle, because superseding the necessity of engaging and disengaging machinery in the different parts of its process. For the use of this he also contracted with the Marquis of Londonderry, and constructed two of those machines on the Monkwearmouth Shore, below bridge, each of which is capable of loading a hundred tons in an hour. The remaining invention is that of a machine for composing, at one operation, a rope of indeterminate length, from 12 inches girt downwards, upon the principles of Mr. Huddart; which machine has been recently constructed at Willington Ropery on the river Tyne, and is now in use. The confined limits of these biographical sketches preclude the possibility of noticing Mr. Chapman's other inventions, or of enumerating the many ingenious papers he has communicated to the Literary and Philosophical Society.
Some of the distinguished members of this Society have been noticed before, and others will be placed more appropriately in succeeding parts of the work.
We may; however, mention here the great loss which the Society sustained in the untimely fate of Thomas Blaylock, a very valuable and promising member. This well-educated young man was a merchant in Newcastle, and was lost at sea, on his passage to Copenhagen in 1806, in the 25th year of his age. The whole crew, except a boy, likewise perished. In the report for 1807, the committee deeply regret his loss, which "has been painfully felt by them (the Society) at their several meetings subsequent to that unhappy event, which deprived them of his punctual, cheerful, attentive, and judicious co-operation."
2 Nathaniel John Winch, Esq. F. L. S. Honorary Member of the Geological Society of London, and of the Mineralogical Society of Dresden, is well known as a skilful and indefatigable naturalist. By his invaluable labours, the Botanical and Geological History of this interesting district has been greatly illustrated, and a taste diffused for the delightful study of Natural History. See Hist. of Northumberland, vol. i. p. 104.— John Thornhill, the able coadjutor of the preceding, acquired a passion for botanical pursuits early in life, which continued unabated to the latest period of his existence. He was a native of Middleton in Teesdale, and was agent for a landsale colliery at Sheriff Hill for upwards of 20 years. He afterwards removed to Heworth, where he filled the office of parish-clerk during the last ten years of his life. In order to understand the scientific names used in Natural History, he learned himself Latin, and, in the same spirit of unwearied perseverance, overcame other formidable obstacles. He published an excellent work on Grasses, illustrated by dried specimens. Latterly, he turned his attention to geological subjects, and the examination of vegetable petrifactions found in the collieries of this district. He died on August 7, 1826, aged 66 years. His eldest son, John Thornhill, who is the curator or keeper of the Museum, inherits all his father's ardour in the study of Natural History, and, from his present situation, will, no doubt, be able to cherish a taste for this interesting branch of science among many of the intelligent and well-educated youths of this town. Mr. William Robertson, an ingenious member of the Literary and Philosophical Society, from his boyish days has "wander'd many a weary foot," botanizing with the late Mr. Thornhill. He particularly excels in a knowledge of Chryptogamic plants, and also in Marine Aquatics. Richard Waugh, mentioned above, was peculiarly fitted by nature for botanical pursuits; for his quick, penetrating, hawk-like eye, permitted nothing to escape his notice; while, at the same time, he could, with microscopic minuteness, perceive the organization of the smallest objects. He died early in life in 1806.
3 At the monthly meeting of the Society, held January 6, 1824. a letter from M. Champellion, jeune, in France, addressed to Joseph Lamb, Esq. in Newcastle, was read, decyphering, in a great measure, the hieroglyphic paintings on this Mummy. The following is pretty nearly a translation of the legend painted on it, and will be considered as a great curiosity:—"May she be approved by Phre, the Lord of the celestial Gods, and by T—M (Egyptian Mars), Lord of the Worlds. May Osiris, the Supreme Ruler of Amenti (Hades), grant repose to the Lady Tasorpe,— daughter of — (name of the mother), deceased." The name of the mother, though given on the Mummy, is not yet decyphered, nor, what is of more importance, has the time when the lady lived been ascertained.
4 Several of the plans offered possessed great merit; and one was accompanied by the model of a convenient, chaste, and imposing building, which the architect offered to execute, under an undeniable bond, for £5000. But as the committee were determined not to expend more than £4000 on the erection, this proposal was, of course, rejected.
5 These Metopes are certainly not the most happily chosen ornaments for a library; though they might suit the entrance to a picture gallery, or a repository of antiquities. Some squibs have appeared on the subject.
6 Here it is proper to remark, that the workmanship is of the most superior description. Mr. Nicholson has executed the plaster-work with neatness and delicacy; the iron railings by Mr. Elliott shew great taste and skill; and the brass geometrical hand-rail by Mr. Watson is a fine specimen of accurate workmanship. The carpentry-work, by Mr. Burnet, is substantially executed; but, by some blunder, the flooring has been nailed down. It must soon be re-laid, which will be an expensive and inconvenient job.
7 On the first formation of the Society in 1793, Thomas Gibson, Esq. was appointed treasurer, and, in March, 1798, was succeeded by William Boyd, Esq. who discharged the office with great attention and unerring correctness until the anniversary meeting in 1825, when he resigned, and Mr. James Smith became his successor. No account of Mr. Gibson's treasuryship has been preserved; and the committee never ordered a statement of the receipts, expenses, and arrears, to be read to the Society, until the anniversary meeting in 1805, from which time the accounts have been regularly published, and are arranged and exhibited in the following table.
The gross statement of Mr. Boyd's account, previous to this time, stands thus:—
                              MEMBERS ON          RECEIPTS.                    PAYMENTS.
                              THE LIST.                    £.          s.          d.           £.           s.          d.
March 4, 1799               245                  214          7          1          289          3          9
March 4, 1800               254                  241          17        0         199         11          5½
Mar. 10, 1801               269                  222           0          1          207          12        7
March 2, 1802               283                  293          18          2          232          17        5
March 1, 1803               335                  405          10          0          434          12        5
March 6, 1804               354                  359           2          5½          490          16      0
                                                               1736         14          9½        1854         13      7½
March, 1798, Balance from Mr. Gibson   59          9          11          1796          4       8½
                                                               1796          4            8½            58          8       11
8 Printing and advertising, from March, 1804, to March, 1826, for the Literary and Philosophical Society, the Building, and the New Institution, cost £700, 7s. 2d. which sum the committees divided thus:—Hodgson, £618, 16s. 8d.; Walker, £33, 3s. 6d; Mitchells, £29, 12s.; Thompson and Mitchell, £8; Thompson, £6, 9s. 5d.; Humble, £3, 15s. 6d.; Williams, 10s.; Akenheads, nil. The names of John and Robert Akenhead occur in the list of ordinary members in 1799, appended to the sixth year's report.
9 Nichols' Lit. Anec. vol. iii. p. 688. Gent. Mag. vol. lx. p. 959.
Mr. Angus' bill for the Museum is not included in the above account. The sum stated to be due to the architect is a mere guess, the precise terms of his engagement not being known. The other balances due, from the best information that could be obtained, are put down below their actual amount. The flagging and finishing of the yard, and the building of an arcade against the east wall, in which certain Roman antiquities are to be placed, cannot be done in a style corresponding with the principal building for the sum stated.---Richardson's executors have been paid off by borrowing the L.1500 of Miss Airey, at 4 per cent.