Reference numberNLB/1/503
Alternative reference numberNLB/1 p362-386
TitleCopy letter from Michael Foster, to the Right Honourable Henry Matthews, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Home Affairs
Date9 July 1887
DescriptionAs Matthews is aware, the Royal Society recently prepared an address in which they desired to offer Her Majesty, the Patron of the Society, congratulations upon the completion of the fiftieth year of Her reign. The President and Senior Secretary carried the address to Windsor Castle on 27 June and in company with many representatives of bodies of varied character were admitted to the Royal Presence and Her Majesty graciously received the address. On previous occasions the Society had the honour of presenting similar addresses having been admitted to the Royal Presence in a different manner. Foster emphasises that the Royal Society is unique in being the chief scientific body in her Majesty's Dominions representing all branches of natural knowledge and that it has also repeatedly had the honour of being consulted by Her Majesty's Government as the exponent of the views held on scientific matters by Her Majesty's subjects as well as being appealed to by men of science in all parts of Her Majesty's Dominions to make their opinions and wishes in scientific matters known to Her Majesty's Government.

The President and Council feel that they may be rightly jealous of anything which may seem to weaken the privileges of the Society. The loss of the more definite recognition by the Sovereign of the leading Scientific Society in Her Dominions may also be construed by Her Subjects as a depreciation of science itself. For this reason the President and Council has deemed it their duty to call attention to the exceptional manner in which their recent address was received and hope that it may not be considered to form a precedent, and that on future occasions their old privilege of direct approach may be allowed to them.

Foster concludes by providing extracts from Royal Society documents detailing the following meetings with the Royal Presence: petition to Her Majesty Queen Anne, 19 January 1704-5; accession of His Majesty King George II, 19 October 1727; accession of His Majesty King George III, 20 November 1760; encounter with His Majesty King George III for special benefactions, 11 March 1773; accession of His Majesty King George IV, 17 February 1820; accession of His Majesty King William IV, 10 March 1831; addressing Her Majesty Queen Victoria, 5 July 1838. In each instance reference to a particular Journal Book or Council Minutes is provided.
Access statusOpen
Fellows associated with this archive
NA8220Foster; Sir; Michael (1836 - 1907); physiologist1836 - 1907
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