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out to the Managers, the necessity of attending to the funds of the Institution in fixing the number of Professors.
The Board of Visitors on receiving the above answer, came to the resolution "that in consequence of their ignorance of the amount of the fund to be set apart for the literary department, the Visitors cannot draw up any detailed plan of the course of studies to be adopted; and that they do not think it necessary to meet oftener than once a month, until they shall have been provided with the information necessary to regulate their proceedings on this subject."
In this state the affairs of the Institution remained till after the passing of the bye-laws, under the act of incorporation, by a general meeting held on the 6th of November, 1810. On the 29th of the same month, the Visitors thought it necessary to lay before the Managers a full and explicit statement of their opinion of the present state of the Institution, and of the steps which appeared to them necessary to be pursued, in order to attain the end desired by the Proprietors, who had entrusted them with the management and inspection of their affairs. To this end they sent them the following......MESSAGE...
"On entering upon the exercise of our office, as Visitors, we mean to give you our sentiments on the present state of the Academical Institution; satisfied, that both boards are alike zealous to complete an undertaking so connected with the true interests of this town and country, and trusting that if we agree, our mutual object will be more speedily forwarded; and if we differ, no harm can result from this private communication.
"The questions which claim our attention at present, are, in what way is it best to expend the money we at present possess; and by what means are we to get more to spend?
"It is, perhaps, fortunate, in one respect, that you have not advanced further in the work, as you will not have been hurried into an expenditure upon the building, wholly incompatible with the real purposes of the Institution. It is certainly an object very desireable, but still we think an object of secondary importance, to have an edifice raised, both ornamental to the town, and convenient, in all respects, for the accommodation of masters and students, in all the depart ments of science, proposed by this board
to be taught in it. Such a building, no doubt, will be beneficial to the town, will form a fine termination to a street, and will probably raise the ground rents, and rents of houses in that quarter; but all this will, we think, depend upon a proviso, yiz. of having a prospect of furnishing the house with masters whose abilities and reputation will attract a number of scholars. Now, men of such character, we insist upon it, can only be had, we may say purchased, in the literary market, by endowments suitable to a laborious, though dignified, and highly responsible station.
"The fees of students will, no doubt, in time, relieve you in part, from the appropriation of your funds to such salaries and endowments, as will, at first, be absolutely necessary to fill your lectureships, or even your elementary schools with proper instructors, and to tempt them from previous settlements, to take part in an undertaking, where, though the prospect may be flattering, the success is problematical. We think it, then, our duty to inform you, that if you suf fer the whole, or nearly the whole of your present funds to be expended, or as we should rather say, dissipated in a pile of brick and mortar, however handsome, or even convenient for the purposes intended, in thus making rooms, without any effort to fill them either with masters or scholars, you will be somewhat in the same predicament of the architect, who built a high house, but forgot the place for the stairs. When Mr. Fox (then a young man) invited his friends to a new and elegant house of his in the country, and they were admiring the beauties of the prospect, all very beautiful, said Charles, but where is the prospect of paying the rent? And it might be said of such a naked building as may be raised with the whole of your present funds, that all was conve nient and well-contrived; but where is the academy? only in the prospectus. Two or three men of eminent talent would contribute more to the success of your establishment, much more indeed, than were your whole plan of building with fine front and double squares, to rise from the ground, like an exhalation, without any expense whatever. What shabby rooms had the elder Monro, and Cullen, and Black to lecture in, but they were crouded rooms: these men made that university. The new college of E
dinburgh is left in an unfinished state, with many thousands mispent upon it, and it may be questioned whether were it completed, the number of students would be much encreased, though they might have superior accommodations. A Boerhaave and a Gaubius were sufficient to make a swamp in Holland the resort of students from all parts of the world. A Hucheson, a Reid, and a Smith rendered Glasgow as famous in another branch of literature. Such men are the only magnets that can draw scholars sufficient to make an academy; but to make such men, there must either be an adequate provision from the fees of students, which in the present case is out of the question; or, there must be an adequate portion of our funds allotted to the endowment and salaries of men fully qualified for their offices, until the time arrive, when a concourse of students may supply a portion of the annual income, and yield the best incitement to the industry of teach
"We, therefore, think it incumbent on the Managers, to get as soon as possible, an exact calculation, subscribed by a creditable and capable architect, of the expense necessary to complete the part of the building already undertaken. It has been said that this part alone will exhaust the whole of the money at present subscribed, and if this be the case, we think, that before the funds are so dissipated, you should enter into some resolution as a record on your books, and a pledge of your intention with regard to the salaries of teachers, and endowment of lectures. Whether it be your intention, af ter beginning where other people end, by a wall of inclosure, which however, serves no one purpose of inclosure, and after having finished two handsome dwellung houses, and several large rooms, whether it be your design to let them out for hire to any schoolmasters who may offer, or, whether now, that there is time for it, to pledge yourselves that a certain portion of whatever funds you have or may possess (say one half or one third) shall be faithfully applied to attract, and to secure proper teachers for the Institution. In doing so, you will, assuredly, show your own foresight, and justify the public expectation. The proprietors, at large, we are satisfied, rely on this being done, and until it be done, we think the
amount of the sums already subscribed, will not be paid up, in the present uncertainty with respect to the proper mode of expending it.
"Were a proper portion of your funds, from this day, to be dedicated, the interest thereon to accumulate, for the sole purpose of forming certain and secured salaries to teachers, you might then have a proper ground for publishing, at an early day, by advertisement in the public papers, or in any other manner, such a recompence for professional talent, as might induce competent men to disengage themselves from their present pursuits and attachments, and give them the necessary time for considering on the eligibility of a removal to a yet infant institution. It must be a considerable premium that will tempt to such a precarious undertaking, men of adequate and approved abilities; for of other applicants, you will, no doubt, have abundance. But we trust to your responsibility and to your conscience, that you never will make the Academic Institution worthless from the beginning, by an early admission of inefficient and inexperienced teachers. We take this opportunity of declaring, as bound by public duty, that as far as may depend upon our choice of masters, professors, or any other officers in the Academic Institution, we shall not suffer ourselves to be influenced by personal favour, affection, or partiality, but shall give our votes, sincerely and honestly, for those who we judge are best able to discharge their respective duties, and promote the general interests of the establishment; and in making this resolution, which we design to enter on our books, we earnestly recommend to the managers, an adoption of the same solemn engagement.
The expence of building this wall was nearly £1000,
"We also think that no time should be lost in writing to those distinguished persons in the several departments of science, either in the different universities, or elsewhere, to point out and recommend from their knowledge such men as they might think properly qualified for our several literary stations. The most eminent men, are, usually, the most liberal; and far from being actuated by litthe jealousies, or any spirit of literary mcnopoly, would rejoice in the opportunity of scattering the seeds of science and learning as widely as possible. Letters thus addressed to men of distinguished literary reputatation convey in themselves a compliment pleasing to them, and would
help to interest them in the fate and fortunes of an infant undertaking. Such men are Mr. Davy of the Royal Institution, Professor Dugald Stewart, Dr. Aikin of London, Richard Kirwan, General Vallancey, Dr. Millar, and we also think a correspondence should be entered into with the Cork Institution, endeavouring, on our parts, by candid and liberal statements to maintain the most friendly intercourse with that Institution, by whose greater experience and perhaps greater interest with men in office, we might receive pecuniary advantage as well as instruction. Be assured we stand in need of instruction and advice in many particulars.
There is a short-sighted, purbliad economy in these matters, which misses it aim, and operates as fatally as the most thoughtless prodigality.
"You ought, we think, to obtain a full knowledge of the amount, and disposi tion of the sum, we believe annually granted by parliament, for the purpose of nas tional education in Ireland. Whether it be placed solely at the disposal of the Dublin Society, how much of it has been already given to certain local institutions, such as the Cork Institution, and whether you have any claim to a part of it in your present state, or only when you become an academy in action, and not merely in prospectu." If the latter, it should be a new reason to quicken your progress to an active establishment. Application ought to be made to the proper officers of the Dublin Society for the purpose of obtaining full knowledge on this subject.
"It would also be expedient to gain the friendship and patronage of some members of parliament of influence, and the speediest and most effectual measures ought to be taken to pre-occupy the minds of such men with impres sions favourable to the Belfast Academical Institution,
"There is, we apprehend, much danger at present, of 'the Belfast Institution slipping out of the minds and memories of the public, and of its friends at a distance; and we think every practicable means ought to be taken by activity on our parts, to revive and give a fresh impulse to a zeal which was certainly once manifested pretty generally, for the formation of such a collegiate academy. To revive zeal is no very easy thing to accomplish. We think the presence of one able and experienced gentleman of literary reputation, to be for some time on the spot, might be productive of much advantage in giving advice, and particularly in communicating something of serious activity in the business, something like the activity that most of us exert for our own personal advantage. This we fear will seldom if ever be effected by stated meetings of boards, or committees of boards attended by a sort of honoura ble compulsion, when we have nothing better to employ ourselves about. As to the means of encreasing our funds, every endeavour should be made to call the attention of the public, and revive a zeal which has lately flagged partly from our own parcimony in some things, and procrastination in others-We think that notwithstanding the high price of tim ber, had a building containing only the necessary lecture-rooms and school-rooms, been carried on with spirit and activity from the time you received your plan, the loss of perhaps a thousand or two would have been amply supplied by having carried the public zeal and encouragement along with you, which has been uspended with the delay of the work, and suspended animation is as hard to revive in the public as in the individual.
"We have thus performed our duty in suggesting what we thought most advantageous to the Academical Institution, and you will perform your duty by taking these suggestions into your considera29th November, 1810. The result of this communication appeared in the following resolutions of the Board of Managers...
"That when the Superintendant shall have entered on his office, he shall be directed to make out an estimate of the expense of the intended work, to enable us to judge what sum may with proprie ty be expended on the buildings.
"That the Visitors be requested to correspond with such gentlemen of lite rary abilities as they judge proper, in order to obtain their advice and assistance, and that they would point out the probable expense attending the filling up the several Professorships.
"That a petition to the Imperial Parliament be prepared, praying pecuniary aid to the Institution.
"That on the first meeting in March a motion will be brought forward, that not more than two-thirdsof the funds be appropriated to the buildings.
"That the Visitors be requested to write to the Secretary of the Dublin Society, to ebtain information of the money granted to them for the purposes of education." In compliance with the Managers' wish, the following message was immediately sent to them by the Visitors, December 12th.
"The Visitors adhering to the principles laid down in their last message, as to the mode of expending the funds, beg leave to recall the Managers' attention to that part of it, in which they require that a certain part of the funds be unalienably set apart for the support of Professors, and they hope that the Managers will be convinced of the necessity of appropriating at least one half of them to that purpose, when they take into consideration the following estimate of the expences attending each Professorship.
"It is the opinion of this Board that an annual salary of £100, and a free house of the value of £50 per ann. will be necessary to induce a man of abilities to settle here as a Professor, and this is to be considered as exclusive of the apparatus and other expences necessary to enable the professor to deliver a course of lec
"It is also the opinion of this Board, that the appointment of the following Professorships is indispensibly necessary to lead to the establishment of a literary institution, in which the education of youth can he completed.
1. Natural Philosophy. 2. Mathematics.
No notice having been taken of this message, the Visitors thought it necessary to repeat their message, in hopes of ascertaining the reason why the Managers treated this important question with so much apparent indifference. On the 20th of December they sent the following mes
3. Logic, Metaphysics and Belles Lettres. 4. Moral Philosophy.
"They also beg leave to inform the Managers, that they have endeavoured to investigate, as far as their means would permit, the channels by which money may be derived from the Dublin Society, and will continue so to do; but that it is impossible to proceed upon that resolution of the Managers, which directs the Visitors to write to men of literary abilities, in order to obtain their advice and assistance, until they are acquainted with the portion of the funds to be appropria ted to the literary departments.
The only notice taken of this message, was the following resolution, entered on the Managers' book, Jan. 1, 1811.7
Resolved, "That the Managers cannot give a decisive answer to this message, until they have received an estimate of the buildings."
Having waited ineffectually for this estimate, till the 17th of January, the Visitors came to the resolution of calling a general meeting of the Proprietors, on the 7th of February, 1811, and sent a notice of their intention to the Managers, conforma bly to the bye-laws. On receiving it, the
This is to be considered as independent of Managers, for the first time, requested a the fees of Students.
To obviate the objection which may occur to the Managers, that the appropriation of one half of the funds will so far lessen the portion necessary for carrying on the buildings as to prevent their being erected; it is suggested that the part of the building now to be raised, may be confined to the centre part of the range in Mr. Soane's plan, already adopted, viz. the part contained between the two small arches or gateways, which will contain sufficient accommodation for the departments of literature now recoinmended, and that the professors and masters may be accommodated with tenorary residences, until our fouds admit of dwelling-houses to be erected, conformably to the original plan.
sage... "The Visitors feel extremely disappointed at the apparent neglect with which their two last messages have been received by the Managers, as they find, on referring to the minutes of the last Board of Managers, that no part of them of immediate importance, except one, has been noticed, viz. the appropriation of some portion of the funds to the literary departments of the Institution, and that this has been deferred without any apparent cause to a distant day, white in the interim such expenses may be incurred, as to render the portion of the funds then to be appropriated so small, as to be totally inadequate to accomplish any extensive literary object. They therefore beg leave to inform the Managers, that unless they come immediately to a full and decisive resolution on this point, which is of pri mary importance, the Visitors will feel it their duty to lay the question before the Proprietors, and to leave the decision to their final tribunal.
conference on the subject, with the board of Visitors; and a deputation of two members of that board in consequence attended the Managers' meeting, Jan. 29th, and la d before them the following resolution of that board...
"That it is the decided and unanimous opinion of the board of Visitors, that a specific part of the funds now in existence, and of whatever funds may hereafter accrue to the Institution, be unalienably set apart for the support of the literary departments."
In consequence of this, the Managers came to the following resolution...
"That on the next day of meeting, a motion shall be made, that not more than two-thirds of the funds be appropriated to the buildings."
On the next meeting, February the 5th, previous to the discussion of the above question, an estimate of the buildings was laid before the meeting, which stated that the expense of erecting the part of the buildings of which the foundations are now laid, would amount to £11602; and that the part of this range which was pointed out by the Visitors, in their message of the 12th December, would cost £3387-in both cases independent of locks, grates and chimneys.
that the Managers concur with them in leaving to that body, the decision of a question so important. In consequence, however, of the delay occasioned by the late conference with the managers they have resolved to postpone the proposed general meeting, till Thursday the 21st of February. In the mean time the Visitors protest against any proceedings of the board of Managers which may tend to dissipate any part of the funds until this question shall have been decided by the general meeting of the proprietors."
At this meeting, the motion just mentioned was negatived; and the following message transmitted to the Visitors...
"The Managers inform the board of Visitors, that they have negatived the abovementioned resolution, in consequence of having received estimates by which they find, that the expense of erecting the centre building only, will exceed the sum proposed to be set apart for the buildings."
In the mean time the Visitors perceiving that the discussion of this question was protracted from day to day, without any hopes of its being decided in the manner which they deem necessary for the welfare, and even the existence of the Institution, gave the Managers notice of their final resolution in the following message...
"The board of Visitors still adhere to the resolution stated to the Managers by their deputation, not only for the reasons declared in the several messages transmitted by them to that board, but because they think that the appropriation of a large portion of the funds for any specific purpose should be decided by the proprietors at large, and therefore persevere in their resolution of taking their opinion on the subject, trusting
Such is the state of the question now before the proprietors. It remains with them to decide what portion of the funds is to be applied to the buildings, and what to be set apart for the endowment of professorships, and for defraying the other expences attending the several courses of lectures proposed to be commenced, or of such of them as may be thought adviseable. If their decision coincides with the opinion of the Visitors, there is every reason to hope that some branches of literature will be commenced as soon as suitable
buildings are prepared for them; and these buildings need by no means be expensive; if, however, they differ, and think that the whole of the funds now in existence should be spent in building, another question still remains to be agitated; how to raise a fund for the payment of those departments of literature, without which, whatever buildings they erect, will be a cause of disgrace to those concerned in it, and of contempt to every one who hears the Institution named.
At a general meeting of the proprietors of the Academical Institution, held in the Exchange Rooms, pursuant to public notice, on Thursday the 21st inst.-Edward May, esq. Vice-President in the chair:
It was resolved, that a specific portion of the funds now in existence, and such as shall hereafter accrue to the Institution, shall be unalienably set apart to the payment of Professors and Teachers.
That one-fourth of the money now in the bank shall be appropriated to the payment of Professors and teachers and other literary and scientific purposes.
Mr. May having left the chair, and Mr. John Gregg having been called to it, it was unanimously resolved that the thanks of this meeting be given to Edward May, esq. for his very proper conduct in the chair.
EDWARD MAY, Vice-President, Jos. STEVENSON, Secretary.