Henry Fitz-Patrick Berry.

A history of the Royal Dublin society online

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1 5 degrees ; against it, the index moved 1 8 degrees in
a mile, so that there were more revolutions of the wheel
in going against the tide, and fewer in going with it.
A further trial of the machine was made in July, when
the committee decided that, for want of trials at sea,
they could form no judgment of its use when the
weather was stormy. Telfier was advised to bring it to
the Admiralty in England, where proper experiments
could be made, and the Secretary was directed to draw
up a certificate of the success of the trial here, Telfier's
instrument appearing to answer better than the log-line.
It might be supposed that a Glasgow man could have
had similar trials on the Clyde ; and it must be taken
as a special tribute to the position now occupied by the
Dublin Society that a Scotchman was anxious to bring
out his invention under its auspices.

The volume containing the minutes between the
loth of July 1746 and the 3rd of May 1750 is un-
fortunately not now forthcoming. 1 As it, probably,
contained a record of the negotiations which led up to
the granting of the charter, the story of that important
event in the history of the Society has necessarily to be
omitted here. (See p. 75.)

The newspapers of the day have to be fallen back
on for supplying a few details as to the ordinary work
of the Society. The practice was once more adopted

1 This volume has been missing for nearly a century.



of printing useful suggestions in the form of letters.
" How to make Bread without barm ; also for pre-
serving a large stock of the barm," was the title of
one which appeared in 1746.

During the year 1749, occurs the first mention of
John Nost or Van Nost, who afterwards developed so
remarkable a genius for sculpture. To show his skill
in modelling, he presented to the Society a bust in
clay, from which he was asked to carve a bust in
Italian statuary marble. Van Nost, who had come from
London, where he was born, was then residing in
Jervis street, where he exhibited models in plaster.
He executed for the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick
a statue of William, lord Blakeney, the defender of
Minorca, which once stood in Sackville street, but is no
longer among the public statues of Dublin. Van Nost
also executed the equestrian statue of King George II,
now in St. Stephen's Green. He died in 1780.

On 2 ist March 1749, the Society published the
following notice " The Dublin Society takes this
opportunity to inform the public that they have en-
gaged Mr. John Cam (a Quaker), well skilled in
English husbandry, and making ploughs and carts in
the best manner, to attend gentlemen and farmers in
the country, as an itinerant husbandman, to advise
them in the right way of ploughing and managing
their land for the growth of corn. He will carry with
him some ploughs of his own making, &c. Said Cam
will set out from Dublin on Monday 27th, and will go
to Navan, and so proceed to the rest of co. Meath,
and the counties of Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny, &c.,
where he may meet growers of corn, and instruct
them in the right way of tillage, and thereby save
labour, expense, and time. . . . " A letter of recom-
mendation will be given him from the Society to


gentlemen of the country, and they are desired to give
him a fair opportunity of showing his skill."

The Society also printed recipes for sheep-rot, and
recommended The Country Gentleman and Shepherd's
Sure Guide, by William Ellis, Gaddesden, Hertford-
shire, then being printed by George Faulkner.

From its start, the Society ever evinced a warm
interest in the question of employment for the people,
and on the 29th of July 1749 was printed on its
behalf a list of commodities imported into Ireland,
consisting of such kinds as might be raised or manu-
factured in the country, as rated at the Custom House,
taken at an average for the three years 1744-46. It
was designed to show how much might be done at
home which would afford employment.

Another notice appeared on the 9th of December,
which advocated a method of feeding calves with a
mixture of hay water and a little milk, whereby four
or five calves might be reared in one season with the
milk of one cow only; and on the 8th of May 1750
the Society communicated to the public a letter on a
method of transplanting rape.



SYSTEMS. (1739-1790)

A GREAT stimulus and impetus were now about to
be given to the working of the Society, through the
public spirit and generosity of one of its leading spirits.
Samuel Madden, D.D., son of John Madden, M.D.,
was born in Dublin in 1686. His mother, Mary
Molyneux, was sister of William and Sir Thomas
Molyneux. He succeeded to the family estates in
Fermanagh in 1703, and resided at Manor Water-
house in that county. Madden was ordained, and
became rector of Galloon, and subsequently of Drum-
mully, which was a family living; and in 1729 the
well-known Philip Skelton became his curate, and
tutor to Dr. Madden's children.

On the 1 2th of April 1733, Dr. Madden became
a member of the Society. In 1730 he had propounded
a scheme for the encouragement of learning by a
system of premiums, contributing largely himself.
This was adopted by the University, and the details
are fully explained in a Proposal for the General En-
couragement of Learning in Dublin College, 1731. His
Reflections and Resolutions proper for the Gentlemen of
Ireland as to their conduct for the service of their country
was printed in Dublin in 1738. This work was re-
printed in 1 8 1 6 by Thomas Pleasants, but without the
original preface, the existence of which was denied by
the editor. The backward condition of the country

(From a Mezzotint by Charles Spooner)


was ascribed to the extravagance and idleness of the
people, and a recommendation was made that the farm-
ing population should be taught by instructors who
should travel through the country. He advocated a
system of premiums (earning for himself the sobriquet
of " Premium " Madden), which he brought under the
notice of the Dublin Society, and in 1739 printed a
Letter to the Dublin Society on the improving their
Fund : and the Manufactures, tillage, &c. in Ireland?
Dr. Johnson, who is said to have helped him in his
poem entitled " Boulter's Monument," declared that
Madden's was a name that Ireland ought to honour.
He also appears to have been on friendly terms with
Swift, and he was a member of the Physico-Historical
Society, under whose auspices he undertook, but did
not finish, a history of the County of Fermanagh.
Largely through Dr. Madden's influence, the Charter
of the Dublin Society was granted. He died on the
3 ist of December 1765. The Royal Dublin Society
is in possession of a white marble bust, by Van Nost,
of one who did so much to foster and encourage its

Madden, rinding at the end of seven or eight years,
that the funds of the Society were totally inadequate
to the projects it had in view, and to carrying out the
ends for which the Society had been formed, penned his
momentous Letter to the Dublin Society on the improv-
' ing their Fund, which was published anonymously
in 1739. In it, he considered the necessity of the
fund being augmented, and the best means for con-
tributing to that end ; then, on this being accomplished,
the nature of the methods to be adopted ; lastly, the
special purposes to which the increased fund should
be applied. Madden advocated the application to

1 Haliday Pamphlets, 1739, cxliv, 3.


persons of fortune for contributions, and also the pro-
curing of a charter of incorporation for the Society,
with statutes which would regulate its proceedings, on
the model of the Royal Society. He urged the en-
couragement of certain manufactures, the importing of
which caused the country very serious loss. Thus,
the loss on earthenware was 5000 yearly; hardware
and cutlery, 10,000; saltpetre and gunpowder,
4000 ; threadbone lace, 8000 ; paper, 4000 ;
sugar, 6500 ; salt, 25,000 ; corn, in time of dearth,
100,000. Madden further proposed that the Society
should " take and improve a reasonable number of
acres in different soils and places near Dublin, as an
experimental farm for all points of husbandry ," and
he specially pointed out the advantages to be derived
from encouraging the fine arts. The Letter concluded
with an offer of 130 a year for two years 30 to
be devoted to experiments in agriculture and garden-
ing ; 50 to the best annual invention in any of the
liberal or manual arts; 25 for the best picture, and
25 for the best statue produced in Ireland. The
voting on these several premiums was to be by ballot,
by a majority of two-thirds of the members present.
He further undertook that the writer would continue
his subscription until other larger contributions could
be raised, and would pay it for life when 500 was
procured, " provided the Society apply his little fund
to the views they are directed to with their usual
activity and prudence." Copies of the minutes of the
next few months, dealing with the inauguration of the
Premium Fund, which soon amounted to 500 a year,
will explain the course pursued by the Society in ad-
ministering it.

" 1739, Dec. 13 Dr. Samuel Madden's generous
proposal to enlarge the plan and fund of the Society


was this day laid before the Board by Mr. Prior ;
ordered that the same be considered at the next Board.
Dec. 20 The Secretaries reported, that Rev. Dr.
Madden having settled ^130 per annum during his
life, and having obtained a subscription of near ^500
per annum for the encouragement of sundry arts, ex-
periments, and several manufactures not yet brought to
perfection in this kingdom : Ordered that a Committee
be appointed to consider what manufactures are fit or
necessary to be encouraged with regard to the said
funds : Resolved, that the persons present be of the said
Committee, and that all members have voices. Feb.
14, 1740 Present, Bishop of Dromore, Bishop of
Clonfert (in the chair), Arthur Dobbs, Dr. Weld,
Colley Lyons, Archdeacon Brocas, Dean Copping, Mr.
Prior. This day the Board agreed to publish an ad-
vertisement proposing premiums to be given to such
persons who shall make improvements in any useful
arts or manufacture, and mentioning Dr. Samuel
Madden's proposal for encouraging new inventions in
architecture, and painting, and statuary in this kingdom.
Rev. Dr. Madden, having now reported that the sub-
scriptions obtained by him for promoting arts and
manufactures do amount to near ^900 per annum,
including his own, and as he is going to the country,
he desires to leave the subscription roll with the Society :
Ordered that Dr. Madden be desired to leave the said
subscription roll with the Secretary, Mr. Prior, for the
use of the Board. May 8, 1740 Ordered that the
advertisement hereunto annexed be published in the
newspapers : " The Dublin Society, in order to pro-
mote such useful arts and manufactures as have not
hitherto been introduced, or are not yet brought to per-
fection in this kingdom, give notice that they intend to
encourage, by premiums, annual contributions, or other


methods, any persons who are well skilled in such arts
and manufactures, and will carry them on in the best
and most skilful manner. To carry on this design,
they desire that gentlemen and others who are con-
versant with husbandry, trade or manufactures, and
wish well to their country, will favour them with their
company and advice, that they may be better enabled
to judge what improvements are proper to be en-
couraged, what encouragements are convenient, and in
what manner they may be best applied for the benefit
of the public. A Committee for that purpose will
attend at the Parliament House every Thursday at one
o'clock." May 29, 1740 Ordered that an advertise-
ment be printed proposing rewards to be given to
such persons who shall produce in Dublin next winter,
the best hops, flax-seed, flax, cider, earthenware, thread,
malt liquor, lace, in their several kinds, according as
they are set down in a paper agreed to. June I9th
Ordered : that the advertisements to be printed, for
giving rewards, be revised and altered by Dean Maturin,
Mr. Ross, Mr. Prior, and when the same is prepared
that it be printed, taking notice therein of many other
articles which the Society design to give rewards for
the next year. Nov. 20 Ordered : that Dean
Maturin, Mr. Ross, Mr. Prior, Dr. Weld, Dr. Wynne,
be a Committee to take into consideration the collect-
ing of the subscriptions to Dr. Madden's scheme, and
the premiums that may be proper to be given this year,
and that they meet on Wednesday next at Mr. Prior's
house, at 3 o'clock. Ordered : that the several schemes
of such as expect encouragement, for their improve-
ments or inventions, be laid before them."

At a meeting held on the I5th of January 1741,
claimants attended, and exhibited specimens of their
handiwork, which were the earliest the Society had to


decide on. They included Spanish leather made with
birch bark, lamp-black, blue and white earthenware,
spinning cotton, twilled stockings, Bologna crape,
engines for scutching flax, and a new instrument for
surveying land with expedition. The paintings in-
cluded four in water-colours of the Giant's Causeway,
by Susanna Drury (engraved in 1744), landscapes by
Rosse, Tudor, and Kiverly, and a cattle piece, by
Ashton. Among the sculptures were a chimneypiece,
with boys ; stud of horses in a frame ; and Hercules
slaying a lion (in clay). It was determined that none of
the statuary or sculpture deserved a premium, but a
prize of ^2 5 was voted to Miss Drury for her views of
the Causeway. None of the inventions were allowed
premiums, some not being considered inventions at all,
and the remainder not being of any importance.

In February, a premium was granted to Henry
MacClery, of Waringstown, for flowered damask napkins
made by him in a loom, and in May a sum of 50
was voted to him. A sum of ^25 was given to Michael
Beans for twilled ribbed stockings, which included 1 8
given him for a frame. Both these men entered into
an engagement to carry on the manufacture for seven
years, and to instruct weavers and stocking-weavers
recommended by the Society.

In June 1741, the premium list stood as follows:

Henry MacClery, damask linen, ^70. (He had
produced a piece of damask with Lord Howth's
arms, worked by a boy instructed by him.)

John Roche, Usher street, buttons, buckles, &c.,


Benj. Whitton, Carlow, scythes and shears, ^20.
Alexander Atkinson, instruments for spinning,

weaving, and cutting fustians, 16.
Mr. Gent, Kilkenny, fining flax,


Charles Monaghan and Denis Davis, improving
, ploughs, 5.

Eliz. Roberts and Mary Thornbald, bone lace, 10.
Robert Baker, imitation Brussels lace, 10.

Premiums were ordered to be announced for wheat,
barley, hops, (Irish growth), cider, breaking up ground,
sowing land with wheat, sowing with barley, sowing
with turnips, for manuring the greatest quantity of land
with marl ; with lime, with limestone, gravel and sand ;
the largest quantity of wheat off one acre; greatest
number of fruit trees raised in nurseries ; timber trees
in ditto ; and for planting the greatest quantity of
timber in groves or hedge rows. Watson was to print
in his Almanac the premiums to be offered for 1741-2.

Several members of the Society and a number of
brewers attended at the market house, Thomas street,
on the 2 ist of December, to adjudicate on hops, when
twenty-two candidates presented themselves. The first
premium was awarded to Humphrey Jones of Mullin-
abro, co. Kilkenny ; and the second to Edward Bolton,
Brazil, co. Dublin. The next in order of merit were
Anthony Atkinson, King's co. ; Mr. Lee, Wexford ;
and Samuel Ealy, Ross, co. Wexford. Matthew
Yelverton of Portland, co. Tipperary, won jio, for
having sowed the greatest quantity of land with
turnips. On the I9th of September 1741, 10 pre-
mium was won by Isaiah Yeates, Booterstown, co.
Dublin, for the best barrel of wheat produced at the
market house. To mark the importance attached to
such competitions, the Lord Mayor was present, and
three bakers, specially requested, attended and assisted
in the examination of the wheat. 2200 barrels of it
were sold on that day, and it was observed that all
the corn at the market looked better and cleaner than


it generally looked. From this, it is evident that the
methods employed by the Society in instruction &c.,
had begun to bear fruit. It may be observed that
notices as to Dr. Madden's premiums appeared distinct
from those issued on behalf of the Society.

On the 5th of December 1741, a letter to a
member of the Dublin Society on the manner of scoring
and crimping cod and other large fish, as practised in
Holland and England, appeared in Pue's Occurrences.

When Dr. Madden's premiums for inventions were
adjudicated on in February 1742, Francis Place won
^30 for an engine for beetling linen cloth ; and John
Mooney, King's county, ^20, for a surveying instru-
ment. In sculpture, Mr. Houghton was awarded 15
for his story of Orpbeiis, and Mr. Ranalow 10 for
another piece.

A notice as to premiums for wheat, hops, breaking
up of ground, cider, and planting trees, which were to
be decided by competition, appeared in Pue's Occur-
rences of the 2nd of March 1742 ; claims, affidavits,
&c., were to be sent to Robert Ross, Stafford street,
treasurer ; Dean Maturin, Graft on street, or Thomas
Prior, Bolton street, secretaries. It was also announced
that the Society would publish the names of subscribers
to the premium fund, " so that the public might be
particularly informed to whom they are obliged."
A list of subscribers appeared, and the net produce of
the fund for premiums amounted to ^593, 15^. 6d.

On the 25th of March, the following premiums
were distributed for sowing the greatest quantity of
land, Denis McMahon, Clonina, near Ennis; for the
best pound of thread for lace, the Misses Maclean,
Markethill, co. Armagh, 6 ; Edward Kershaw,
Dublin, got jio for fustian; and Richard Hogarth,
Chamber street, Dublin, ^5 for a Turkey carpet.


On the 1 7th of June, the premiums for timber
trees in nurseries were announced, when it was as-
certained that the following persons had planted

John Magrath, Ross, co. Wexford . 490,600 timber trees

Oliver Anketell, Anketell's grove . 61,750

Mrs. Mary Norton, Arbour hill . 28,000 elms

Charles Shelly, Rathcoffey . . 27,838 timber trees

Archibald Noble, co. Fermanagh . 25,920

Pole Cosby, Stradbally . . . 13,835

Mary Norton . . . .15,138 fruit trees

A letter appeared in Pue's Occurrences on the
1 4th of December as to the crop of wheat, for which
Mr. Yelverton got a premium. On application of the
secretaries, he supplied all details, and his crop was
believed to have exceeded every other crop heard of in
the kingdom, 1 being 618 stone nj Ibs., the produce of
one acre.

At the end of this year, 1742, the number of
members of the Society stood at 98, exclusive of the
Dukes of Devonshire and Dorset, honorary members,
and on the 6th of January 1743, the number of 100
was reached.

The year 1743 opened with a very gratifying
tribute to the work of the Society, and to the estima-
tion in which its labours were held, even by a section of
society which might not be expected to be in sympathy
with its aims and objects. At a meeting of the
Charitable Musical Society, held at the Bull's Head,
Fishamble street, Alderman Walker and others were
deputed to attend and inform the Dublin Society that

1 Arthur Young (Tour, ii. 230), mentions this famous crop, which
he says had been written of in all the books on Husbandry in Europe,
but nobody believed in it. Young explains that Yelverton himself
was deceived; for, having selected and marked out an acre in a
thirty-acre field, his labourers, aware of his intention, secretly put into
it many stocks from adjacent parts of the field.


that body had resolved to place the profit of their
fund, with the profits of a play, at the disposal of
the Society, for the encouragement of husbandry
and agriculture. The Society accepted the trust with
hearty thanks. In pursuance of the resolution of the
Musical Society, it was announced that on the 22nd of
February Love makes a Man, or the Fop's Fortune would
be produced at the Theatre Royal, Aungier street.

During this year ^50 were granted to Maurice
Uniacke, Woodhouse, co. Waterford, for the greatest
number of timber trees (152,640) planted. Thomas
Bacon was appointed printer to the Society in the room
of Reilly, deceased.

On the 2 ist of April 1743 were adjudicated Dr.
Madden's premiums for sculpture, &c., when Mr.
Houghton won ^25 for his "St. Paul preaching at
Athens." The other piece presented was a repre-
sentation of the Deluge by John Matthews, Temple
Bar. A prize of 10 was awarded to Mr. Van
Beaver, World's End, 1 for his " Feast of Bacchus,"
and jio to Mr. Joseph Tudor for a painting.

Great attention was paid to draining and reclaiming
bog, and John Baggot, Nurney, co. Kildare, won ^30
for the former process, and Joseph Fuller, Grangemore,
co. Westmeath, 20 for the latter.

In 1744, George Thwaites and Wm. Brereton
took first and second places respectively as brewers
who made use of the largest quantity of Irish hops in
the year 1743.

Dr. Madden's premiums for lace, &c., were granted
as follows : Anne Casey, " Black Horse," Plunket
street, 10 for bone lace; Elizabeth Roberts, Lazer's
hill, 5. Anne Page, Castle street, 10 for best

1 World's End lane was subsequently called Mabbot street, and
from 1876 Montgomery street.


imitation Brussels lace ; Mrs. Baker and Miss Ray-
mond obtained second prize, ,5. Catherine Plunket,
" Horse Shoe," Thomas street, for best edging, 5 ;
Mary Casey, 3 ; Catherine Ricks (or Riggs), " Crown
and Glove," George's lane, 2 ; Esther Haycock, Or-
mond quay, 10 for best piece of embroidery; David
Davis, Marlborough street, 10 for best piece of black
velvet; John Daly, Crooked Staff, 1 10 for dyeing
black cloth; Thomas Dun, Chamber street, ^10 for
dyeing scarlet cloth. Messrs. Wilson, Sharp & co.,
were awarded .25 for making the greatest quantity
of salt fit for curing fish. ;This firm made 450 tons
at Belfast on the 5th of May 1744. A notice appeared
in Pue's Occurrences that salt made at Glenarm had
been inspected by the Bakers' and Coopers' Com-
panies, and that it was found to be stronger and
cleaner than French salt.

The next industry that occupied the attention of
the Society was that of brewing, and on the 2ist of
March 1745, a party of members and experts met at
the Custom House coffee-house, for ale tasting. A sum
of 6 was awarded to Thos. Byrne, sign of " Brow of
the Hill," Sycamore alley, for the best barrel of ale
made of Irish malt in this case it was of Wicklow
barley ; ^4 to Laurence Casey. For ale brewed with
English malt, Daniel O'Brien, New street, was granted
6 ; Thomas Gladwell got ^4.

An offer of ^5 each was made by Mr. John Darner,
Shroneen, co. Tipperary, to two masters of ships who
would bring from Newfoundland a barrel of cones of
black spruce, with the branches and cones on ; and ^5
each to two masters who would bring from Norway
two barrels of cones of red deal. These were to be at
the disposal of the Dublin Society.

1 Now Ardee street, in the Coombe.


Premiums now began to be offered for such articles
of domestic consumption as blackberry, currant, elder-
berry, and gooseberry wine.

Dr. Madden by no means restricted his bounty in
the manner indicated in his original plan, and he is
found offering 20 for the best stallion imported in
1 744, which was won by Thomas Place, Barrack street.
The horse cost ^57, 15 s. 12 were awarded to Edward
Sims for bulls and heifers.

In the various objects of the bounty of the Society,
nothing that might tend to the welfare of the com-
munity appears to have been forgotten, and the housing
question was even then acute. In May 1745, plans for
building houses with two to eight rooms on a floor
were examined, with the assistance of Mr. Castle, the
eminent architect, when the prize was awarded to
George Ensor, clerk in a surveyor's office.

Hats were the subject of further competition, and

Online LibraryHenry Fitz-Patrick BerryA history of the Royal Dublin society → online text (page 5 of 36)