Clubs and Societies
Source 3 : Rules and orders of the Edinburgh Society for the encouragement of arts, sciences, manufactures and agriculture
(NLS shelfmark: Ry.1V.g.37)
The Edinburgh Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Sciences, Manufactures and Agriculture was set up by the Select Society in 1755 (source 1 and source 2), but became an independent organisation with its own officers, meetings, and subjects for debate. All members of the Select Society were automatically members of the Edinburgh Society, but additional members were admitted on payment of an annual fee.
As well as debating subjects relating to ‘trade, agriculture and improvement of arts’ in Scotland, the society was active in awarding ‘premiums’, or prizes, for ‘superior merit or industry’.
TO ENCOURAGE genius, to reward industry, to cultivate the arts of peace, are objects deserving the attention of public-spirited persons.
THAT the inhabitants of Scotland may become diligent in labour, and excellent in arts, is the concern of all who indeed love their country.
FOR these good and useful purposes, the EDINBURGH SOCIETY was instituted. The Gentlemen of whom that Society is composed, were sensible that arts and manufactures can never be effectually promoted, unless a spirit of emulation be excited in the various artists and manufacturers; a proper distribution of premiums seemed to them the most reasonable method of exciting this spirit.
THE experience of Ireland has demonstrated the usefulness of such premiums, when wisely directed, and equitably distributed.
THE SOCIETY resolved to follow a plan so happily devised and conducted in a neighbouring nation: A small sum was accordingly raised this year, by the voluntary contribution of the members of the Society; which was appointed to be distributed in premiums to artists and manufacturers of superior merit or industry. With regard to the application of this sum, the Society resolved, That the reward of merit in the finer arts should be honorary; in the more useful arts, generally lucrative.
THE voice of the nation applauds this undertaking; many persons of distinguished judgment and authority have afforded their patronage to it; all wise men appear interested in its success.
AN undertaking so new in this country, so extensive and so complicated, may be
attended with difficulties in the execution; a general plan of its management is therefore submitted to the judgement of the public. Experience may point out the errors in this plan, and the opinion of the public may correct them.
HOWEVER defective the plan of management may be, the intentions of the SOCIETY are unexceptionable; no selfish considerations have diverted its thoughts from the public good; no project of private utility has been reared on this work of national concern.
TO the candid, the liberal, and the lovers of mankind, the SOCIETY makes this address; earnestly intreats their assistance and advice, and shall always glory in their approbation.
IN these publications, exhortations for the assistance of the fund is to be renewed.
Advertisement of the EDINBURGH SOCIETY.
THE Society lately formed in Edinburgh for the Encouragement of Arts, Sciences, Manufactures, and Ariculture (sic), in this country, are to give the premiums annexed to the following articles under the conditions here specified.
For the best discovery in Sciences;
For the best essay on Taste;
For the best dissertation on Vegetation, and the principles of Agriculture;
An honorary premium, being a gold medal, with a suitable device and inscription.
For the best printed and most correct book, of at least ten sheets;
Best printed cotton, or linen cloth, not under twenty-eight yards;
Best imitation of English blankets, not under six; the blankets must be made after the English manner, flowered in the corners, and the size not under 2 ½ yards broad by 3 yards long;
Next best ditto, not under six;
Best hogshead of strong ale;
Best hogshead of porter;
An honorary premium, being a silver medal, with a proper device and inscription.
AND the following articles are intitled to a lucrative premium, as follows, viz.
For the most useful invention in arts, £21
Best carpets as to work, pattern, and colour, £5 5s
Next best ditto, £4 4s
The quantity of Carpet-cloth to be produced by each competitor, must be no less than 48 square yards, altho’ that quantity may be divided into any number of carpets not exceeding six.
Best drawings of fruits, flowers, and foliages, by boys or girls under sixteen years of age, £5 5s
Second best, £3 3s
Third best £2 2s
Best imitation of Dresden work on a pair of men’s ruffles, £5 5s
Best bone-lace, not under twenty yards, £5 5s
THE gainers of either of the two last articles, may have the money, or a gold medal, in their option.
The greatest quantity of white linen rags, £1 10s
Second ditto, £1 5s
Third ditto, £1
Fourth ditto, 15s
Fifth ditto, 10s
THE quantity and value of the rags to be ascertained by a declaration from the Managers of the paper-mills to whom the rags are sold. And all the other articles or samples of those that are very bulky are to be delivered to Mr. Walter Goodall in the Advocates Library, at any time before the first Monday of December next.
THAT the parcels may be distinguished, and yet the competitors names concealed till the preference is determined, each
parcel is to be marked with a motto or device, and some few lines are to be sealed up therein; the producing a copy whereof in the same hand-writing, shall be a proof of the property, when the premiums are to be distributed, and the goods restored.
NO person is to receive a premium for two articles of the same kind.
THE names of the gainers of the prizes are to be published in the News-papers, Magazine, and Almanacks, unless desired to be concealed.
THE SOCIETY proposes these articles as a small specimen of their design, which is to be extended, as their fund increases, to Agriculture, Trade, and Manufactures in all their various branches; and they flatter themselves, that they shall have the concurrence of all lovers of their country in promoting it.
ADVICE and letters, free of postage, addressed to Mr. Patrick Duff Clerk to the
Signet, Secretary to the Managers of the Society, will be carefully considered. And contributions to the fund, delivered to Mr. Adam Fairholm Banker in Edinburgh, their Treasurer, will be gratefully recorded.
CONTRIBUTORS of Two Guineas in a year are members of the Society for that time.
WHOEVER contributes Five Guineas may have their money applied for the encouragement of any of the useful Arts, of Manufactures, or of Agriculture, as they shall direct.
THE EDINBURGH SOCIETY, for improving Arts, sensible that numerous articles of a plan so extensive may escape their observation, intreat Gentlemen, Manufacturers, Artizans, Farmers, Merchants, and all others, to inform the Managers by letters, addressed to Mr. Patrick Duff Clerk to the Signet, their Secretary,
First, What new beneficial arts or business may be introduced into this country.
Secondly, How these begun may be improved or promoted.
Thirdly, What materials, tools, &c. are wanting to bring any of them to greater perfection.
Fourthly, What is the smallest quantity of each article which ought to be the subject of a prize.
Fifthly, In what form this quantity ought to be exhibited.
Sixthly, When is the proper time for examination of each competing subject.
ALL advice will be acceptable, and the names of such correspondents as desire to remain concealed, shall not be inserted in the Managers letter-book
- Why do the members of the Edinburgh Society believe it is important to ‘encourage genius and to reward industry?
- What does the list of ‘premiums’ tell you about the aims and focus of the Society?