Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society (30 april 1887)

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This article is a report of the Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society published in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle on 30 april 1887.

Report of the lecture by Dr. J. Ward Cousins about the 18th annual report of the Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society held at the Penny-street Lecture Hall of Portsmouth on 26 april 1887. Attended and seconded by Arthur Conan Doyle.


Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (30 april 1887, p. 2)

Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society

The eighteenth annual meeting of this Society was held at the Penny-street Lecture Hall, Portsmouth, on Tuesday evening, when the chair was occupied by General J. W. Cox, C.B., and the members present included: Captain R. Jackson, R.N., Dr. C. C. Claremont, Messrs. J. Hay, W. Weston, A. Howell, G. Ollis, H. Moncreaff, J. R. Constantine, G. F. Bell, Dr. J. Ward Cousins and Dr. A. Conan Doyle (Hon. Secretaries), &c.

The report of the Council was read by Dr. J. WARD COUSINS, and subjoined are extracts:—

At the close of the eighteenth session, the Council have much pleasure in presenting their report to the members of the Society, and in expressing their hearty thanks to the retiring President (Lieutenant General J. W. Cox, C.B. F.R.G.S.) for the very able manner in which he has presided at the meetings, and the great interest he has taken in all the proceedings of the session. The Council feel assured that the members all regard with great satisfaction the appointment of Dr. A. Conan Doyle as an additional Honorary Secretary, and at the same time they desire to express their appreciation of his valuable services during the past year, and of the active part he has always taken in the proceedings of the Society. During the past year the Society has lost twenty-two members, in consequence of their departure from the neighbourhood The Council also much regret to mention that four of their number, Sir Owen Lanyon, C.B., Major-General T. Mould, Mr. Alderman G. Peters, and Mr. G. F. Mills, have been removed by death. On the other hand, they feel much satisfaction that thirty-nine gentlemen have been elected members, and that the total number now residing in the neighbourhood amounts to 100. The Council desire to express their cordial thanks to those gentlemen wile have contributed papers, and they feel confident that the proceedings of the session have fully sustained the character of the Society. The report also gave a list of the papers read and discussed at the ordinary meetings.

The statement of accounts showed that the receipts had been £102 6s. 11d., the balance left in hand having increased from £11 0s. 11d. to £17 5s. 10d. — The reports were unanimously adopted on the motion of Dr. COUSINS, seconded by Captain JACKSON. — The officers for the ensuing year were elected as under:— President: Mr. J. Hay. Vice-Presidents: Dr. C. C. Claremont, Dr. F. J. Driver, Lieutenant-Colonel C. Mumby, and Mr. Hugh S. Maclauchlan. Council: Dr. W. H. Axford, M.R.C.S., Messrs. H. Percy Boulnois, C. Foran, W. G. P. Gilbert, Dr. Bernard Guillemard, the Rev. A. Halliday, M.A., Captain Jackson, R.N., Mr. H. Moncreaff, Dr. B. H. Mumby, Messrs. George Ollis, R.E.C.S., J. M. Ollis, R.N., and Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. Taylor. Honorary Treasurer: Mr. G. Long, J.P. Honorary Secretaries: Dr. J. Ward Cousins, F.R.C.S., and Dr. A. Conan Doyle. — On the motion of Mr. HOWELL, seconded by Mr. CONSTANTINE, a vote of thanks was passed to the officers. — Dr. COUSINS next proposed thanks to the members of the local Press, to whom, he remarked, they owed the very existence of the Society and the complete records of their transactions, which might some time or other find their way into the library of the new Town Hall. — Dr. DOYLE seconded the resolution, which was agreed to unanimously. — The consideration of the place of meeting of the Society for the next session was then debated, Dr. COUSINS being is favour of their present room, and Dr. DOYLE and Mr. HAY urging a removal to the Victoria Hall or some other equally suitable place easily accessible by tramway. — The PRESIDENT said he feared that unless the Gladstone Buildings changed its name, some sensitive gentlemen would object to their meeting there. — Dr. COUSINS: They must be very hyper-critical, then — The PRESIDENT: Some people are. — Dr. COUSINS said that hitherto they had not had the smallest political element in the Society, and he was certain that they never would while he remained one of the Honorary Secretaries. — It was determined to leave the matter in the hands of the Council. — Mr. HOWELL said that he and several other of the members had consulted as to the difficulties that existed as to their entering into the discussions of the Society, and they were of opinion that the Society might extend its scope. He suggested that national and social problems might be discussed — such as technical education, the simplification of land transfer, manhood suffrage (without being politically treated), colonial federation, free trade and fair trade, and the system of tithes — that to those not using the library the subscription might be reduced, and that ladies might be admitted as members.— Dr. Doyle thought it would be unwise to risk the present good feeling which existed in the Society by the introduction of many of the subjects which had been named. The great secret of their success had been because they had been non-political and unsectarian, and after an existence of 18 years the society showed no sign of decrepitude. If they were in want of papers to read it would be different, but he entirely agreed with the admission of ladies, although he thought that such as Miss Helen Taylor were rather rare. — Dr. COUSINS expressed similar views, and said that he could not for one moment admit that social science was excluded from their society. Ladies were admitted as members of and readers of papers at the British Association, and he was quite of opinion that their little local society should do the same, but he was opposed to reducing the members subscription from a guinea to a half-guinea. — Mr. WESTON feared whether their present attendance of ladies might not suffer from their not liking to come with the gentlemen members, but still he thought that many ladies would be glad to join instead of asking members for tickets evening after evening. Their rules did not at all limit such questions as technical education, but he strongly objected to their being altered to admit many others. — Mr. HAY also favoured the admission of lady members. — Mr. HOWELL intimated that all he had wished was to obtain an expression of feeling on the questions he had named, and as there was an adverse opinion he did not press them. — It was agreed, however, that on the question of admitting ladies the general body of members should be consulted. — Dr. COUSINS proposed a vote of thanks to the retiring President, which was seconded by Mr. OLLIS, and agreed to; and, in response, the PRESIDENT said he was much obliged, but his task had been a very easy, pleasant, and agreeable one, and he hoped it would be equally so to his successor.