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A Learned and Obliging Society.

The "Society of Science, Letters, and Art" of London,, was referred to in a paragraph of oar Saturday's issue as conferring the degree of Fellowship upon " the principal men of science, letters and art from all parts of the world." ' Without going into the question of the status of this society, or the value of its " Fellowships," etc., there are certain things which may bo observed with advantage. The colonies are especially liable to bo flooded with bogus diplomas, etc. (and not a few instances of this kind have already been brought to light), so that it behoves vis to begin to inquire into tho meaning and tba worth of the letters which are sometimes scon appended to names. Whether this Society is of sterling worth or not is a matter which may be most fairly judged by a consideration of its laws and plan of operations; but we learn this curious fact —that its favours appear to be sown broadcast, a? it were. It is noteworthy that the las', mail brought more than one invitation to be enrolled as a Fellow of theSoc:ety,ourinforinationbekigobtainedfromone who actually received a corresponding invitation, but who declines the honour. It seems that this Society issues notes in the following form :—" We shall be pleased to add your name to the list of Fellows of tho Society of Science, Letters, and Art of London. We are admitting the principal men of science, letters, and art from all parts of the world. With Sir H. V. Goold's compliments." Together with this note is sent a proposal form, which proposal form is already stamped with a signature in fac simile, "Henry V. Goold, Bart.," though the space for the name of the proposed " Fellow" is left blank ! A copy of the " Journal" of the Society is also Bent. On reference to this journal it appears that Fellowship is not

imited to " eminent" persons, but is oxended to those who are merely " engaged in eience, literature, or art, including mime nd the fine arts." Futhermore, it appears hat V Thjegociefcy's gold andsilver medals, ,nd;cßrtiff6ates'bf honour are awarded to aembers distinguished in science, literaure, art,"iand music, -also to those" who are nost active in promoting the interests and.obects.of the.Spaety." Amongthe privileges if Fellowship, this same journal states, are hat the Fellows "shall bo ontitled . . • . to u?e the initials F.S.Sc. (London), md that "Fellows, associate?, and Licentiates by Examination bo permitted to wpar ;6wns and hoods to denote their standing 'n the Society." The journal evidences ;hat tho only necessary qualification for Fellowship is to be. " cnyuytd. in Bcionco, literature or art, including music and the fine arts," .while,, it suffices, to bo merely "interested in" such matters tor ono to be' a member. Not only bo, but it is one of tho "laws" .of .the-Society that V the Council, officers and members of the Society invite" persons co qualified (?) "to becomo candidates" for Fellowphip and membership, suck as shall entitle thorn " to use the initials F.S.Sc. (London) or M.S.S., &c," and to "wear gowns and hooda to denoto.their standing in the Society." It might bo hard to understand the excoeding generosity of a Society which thus seeks to rocognieo merit, save for tho all-important consideration that eortain "guineas" are oxactod in return, oithor in tho shape gf "annual subscription" or of "life subscription "/Jit reduced ratoa; indeed, a lump sumof fivdtirrioe the " annual "subscription ia hold to bo an equivalent for life subscription ; although it is not stated whether or no this poriod of five years is intended to represent the anticipated duration of the life of the Society or that of its follows, members, Ac. Tha laws of the society (by-the-byo, the laws of this" distinguished society" beat a date of only a few months ago, viz,, 10th November, 18Sr>) expressly state that " No member Bhall be allowed to receive any dividend from the funds of the society ;" therefore it appears that persons who aro qualified by being " ongaged in" or evon " intoreated in S.L.A. (it is useless to ropeat tho highsounding words, although tho first two pages of tho cover of tho journal contain thorn no loss than i'ourtoon times, besido other periphrastic allusions thereto) aro ontitled touso initials, and pay guineas ; while tho Society itsolf, in return for thoso things, is ontitlod to receive and retain the guinoas ! On looking through tho lists of Follows, mombors, &c, one Books almost in vain for any "ominont" namop, and as ono may fairly coneludo that the broadcast invitations which have been issued must have been sent to a vast number of such people, thore would be little hazard in assuming that they purposely hold aloof. Nor can this bs wondored at, when tho aims, etc., of the Society are examined. It cortainly jnv/eases hieh aims, among which may bo noted thoso of encouraging science, litoraturo and art by inviting its Follows "to form scientific, literary, and musical circlos of tho Society throughout tho world;" but then its standards aro so low that it can hardly be said to doal with these subjects at all in any true sense. For oxamplo, its " Sonior" examination in Scionco doalß only with tho following obligatory subjects : — Arithmetic, geography, alegobra, and Euclid or book-kooping ! only the elementary departments being touched upon. Its "Art" examinations deal with only tnueic and drawintr. and in theso subjects tho

tests are (if possiblo) even less satisfactory than in the caso of science ; while it is noteworthy that oven thoso examinations, trivial as they are, aro not ossontial to candidates for Fellowship or membership, the being "engaged"or "intotcstod in music (for examplo) being a sufficient qualification, as has been shown, If more woro noedod to evidence the triviality of tho concorns of this society it might suffice to mention that one of the prominent itoms in a rccont meeting was an exhibition of photographs of its niembors ! It was stated in tho paragraph roforrod to that Fellowship was limited to 500. If this wore so.it would upset any suspicion of the society being a money-making concern. By tho laws and the journal of thoSocioty, however, tho only limitation nppoars to fbe as to the number of Fellows who shall bo admitted as "Foundation " Follows. Tho rulo on this subject is us follow* :- "Tho first 1,000 Fellows bo eligible for admiesien as Foundation Fellow. Annual subscription, onoguinoa : Life subscription, five guineas. Whether this means in addition to tho two guinoas and ton guinoas required for admiseion of ordinary Fellows, or is intonded to bo rond as signifying that the first 1,000 Fellows will bo admittod i.t half-price, wo do not pretend to say ; but we read it in th 6 lattor sense, as an extra inducement to persons to join. Tho Society seeme, in short, to be founded on the continental Bystem, by which the right to use magic letters and title 3 usually ts'ociated with degrees can be purchased without sxamination. Such a system, to our mind, can have only an injurious effect upon true science and art—in the colonies certificates so obtained might be used by unqualified persons to impose upon the public as skilled teachers—and if the Society is earnest in its purposoi, and wishes to earn the confidence of the scientific

and' art world, tho sooner it altors its methods the bettor.

The Newmarket waterwor Its will new pushed on to complotion. Tho barque Helena Denny, which arrived yesterday, brought tho plant roquirod for those, as well as for the Rotorua waterworks. In the caso of the latter, it is expected that further plant will bo required.

It is intended to hold a meeting of " unemDloyod " to-morrow morning, at 9.30, at the usual place near Queen-streot Wharf.

An information has been laid against a young man named Joseph Reid, charging him with perjury in a civil case in the Resident Magistrate's Court, in which Arthur Pittar was plaintiff. The accused waa brought before the Police Court to-day, when an adjournmentfora week was granted on the application of Mr Walter Dignan, who appeared for the prosecution. Mr Theo. Cooper has been retained for the defence '

The following are the alternative tenders received by Metsrs Mahoney and Sons for the new Catholic. Church at Ponsonby, according to No. 1 and Ino. 2 designs respectively :—T. Upton, £2 250, £952; Colebrook, £2,080, £986; A. Nelson, £2,058, £895 ; Matthews, £2,578, £89G ; Brabazon, £1,850, £872; Jamieeon, £2,100, £990 ; Hutc'hinson, £2,115, £789; Todd, £2,200, £870 ; Derrin, £1,850, £699; E. J. Matthews, £2,058, £782; Watson, £1,848, £698 10s ; Sakey, £2,250, £SB9.

On the occaeion of the Pakuranga Hunt Club races at Ellerelio on Saturday next, special trains will be run from noon to 3.20 p.m., at a return fare of Is 6d from Auckland. ■ From other stations Saturday return tickets will be issued on Friday and Saturday, available for return up till the Monday following.

fqnsonby Choral Society give a concert. in All Saints' Sunday-school on Thursday next. The programme—an excellent one— appears in this issue.

: The barque Helen Denny mado a good passage of 99 days from Glasgow and arrived in port, all well, yesterday morning. She was in company with tho ship Soukar, which left London 7 days after her, bound for this port, off the Crozets.

The anniversary Eervices in connection with the Mount Eden Baptist Sundayschool was held yesterday. The attendance upon each occasion was large. The service in the morning were conducted by Rev. J. Standing, and in the evening by Rev, G. Johnston (West Coast missionary), An excellent address was given to the scholars and parents by Rev. H. 11. Driver (of Wellington) in the afternoon. On Tuesday, tho tea will bo held at 630 p.m., when addressos will be delivered by Pastor Bray and other ministers attending the late Conference. . ..

An inobriated woman named Mrs McAniny occasioned adisturbance in the Koman Catholic cemetery at Howick yesterday forenoon while an interment was in progress. She was brought up at the Police Court to-day, when the special constable of tho district described the offence, and said that the woman was atthe " wako " on the previous night. Mrs McAniny admitted the charge. The Eench was of opinion that the parties concerned wore not free from blame in respect to the condi tion which the wonun was allowed to get into, and only infl'oted the nominal penalty of 5s and coats. > . ■

His Excellency the Governor has, through his private secretary, written to Mr T. B. Hannaford in reply to the latter's pstition complaining; of the conduct of the Justices who tried the cross actions for asfault in which he and Mr W. G. Garrard were concerned. Sir William Jervois does not Bee his way to interfere, as the matter has already received the attention of the Minister of Juetlce, and he reminds Mr Hannaford that his proper course was to have appealed against the decision of the magistrates at the time,

Mr Matthew Burnett conducted his twelfth Gospel Temperance meeting1 at the Mount Albert Hall on Saturday evening, when a laTge number of persons were present. Mr Garlick presided.. / ■

:A meeting of parishioner? and friends was held in the old sacristy, at 4 p m. yesterday, to device means for clearing off the existing debt on St. Patrick's Cathedral. Hey, Father Costello psosidsd, and Father "KehQe was also present. A number of suggestions were mado, and a Committoo was appointed to report to another mooting convoned for this evening, at which it is hoped there will be a full attendance. " """'

.■ Mr .Matthew Burnett, the temperance evangelist, preached yesterday morning to a largo congregation in St. James's Church, in tho afternoon in tht> Grafton Road Wesleyan Church, a"nd in the evening in the Pitt-street Wesloyan Church, Mr Burnett will give hia farewell address this evening in the Grafton Road Church, and thoso who have not had tho pleasure of hearing him should now embrace the opportunity.

The following memo, was forwarded last week by the Committee of the Auckland Scripture Gif t Association to theChairmao of the New Zealand Baptist Union in session, but, owing to the time of the Union boiner already absorbed by other business, this could not be entertained : -" To the President and delegates of tho New Zealand Baptist Union,* assembled at Auckland: Gentlemen, — He weekday religious instruction of the young. This Association would respectfully call your special attention to thia,-important colonial matter, and the urgent need that exists of some direct means being devised to supply the present blank existing consequent upon the prohibition of Bible-reading in the public. schools of the colony.—Faithfully yours, Alox. 'Thome (Secrotary)f Thomas MeMaster, A, B. Caughey, J. Wiseman, S. Kout (membors of Committee). To tho Editor : Sir,—Will you allow me to explain that tho articles sent to the Whau, and acknowledged by Dr. Young ai from Mrs Peacock and myself, &c, toto the result of subscriptions sent to my care some time ago. As I was prevonted by illijCSi! from laying out tho money, Mrs Peacock kindly relioved me of tho charge, and has spent it on such things as,upon inquiry, seemed most likely to conduco to the comfort of the patients without oncoaching too much on the limited apace providod for their accommodation. —Yours truly, Mary Stkadmax Alms, Bnclosod is a list of tho subscriptions :—Mrs Peacock, £1 ; Miss Campbell, 10a ; Mrs Kelsey, 10s ; Mrs Chambers. 10s ; Mrs Androw Stewart, 10s; "A.M.,". r)3. Collected by Mrs Davi-*, £4; By Mr Fewater, 2s Od. By Mot.srs Champtaloup and Cooper : A Friond, 5s ; "M.K.," £1 ; Mr Witten, 10a; J. Burton, £1 ; " E.G.," us.

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A Learned and Obliging Society. Auckland Star, Volume XVII, Issue 245, 18 October 1886

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