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of the small band of truth-seeking philosophers, who founded an association which has acquired world-wide renown, and whose members have probably done more than any other body of men to benefit the community by rendering science available for the practical purposes of life.
A few words require to be said with respect to the biographies of some of the Presidents, which may not be thought so full as could be desired; but having devoted much time in search of information respecting them, with generally very indifferent success, I could only arrive at the conclusion, that the subjects of my research were persons who had done little in practical science, and therefore did not enjoy an extended reputation. Happily this remark applies to but two or three of the number; with the rest, the difficulty consisted more in condensing than in collecting the materials at command.
I am well aware that omissions, though not I trust of
any great consequence, will be detected; but without attempting apologies for the sake of conciliating the criticism of the reader, which is his privilege as it is his right, I must remind him, that it was considered more judicious to bring these volumes into a compass of reasonable size, than to extend them to dimensions, which, in these days, could hardly be expected to meet with approval.
It has been deemed advisable to close the history of the Society, with the election of the Duke of Sussex,