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THE CHARTER
OF THE
ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON.

[p.5] “GEORGE THE FOURTH by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, To all to whom these Presents shall come greeting :

Objects of the Society

Whereas several of our loving subjects are desirous of forming a Society for the advancement of Zoology and Animal Physiology, and the introduction of new and curious subjects of the Animal Kingdom; and having, subscribed and expended considerable sums of money for that purpose, have humbly besought Us to grant unto them, and to such other persons as shall be elected as hereinafter mentioned, our Royal Charter of Incorporation, for the better carrying on the same : Now therefore know ye, that We, being desirous to encourage so laudable an undertaking, have, of our special grace, given and granted,

Incorporation

And We do hereby give and grant, that our right trusty and entirely beloved Cousin and Councillor Henry Marquis of Lansdown, our right trusty and well beloved George Lord Auckland, and our trusty and well beloved Charles Baring Wall, Esquire, Joseph Sabine, Esquire, and Nicholas Aylward Vigors, Esquire, and such others as shall from time to time be appointed and elected Fellows of the Society in manner hereinafter directed, and their Successors, shall for ever hereafter be, by virtue of these presents,

Corporate Name

One Body Politic and Corporate by the name of ‘The Zoological Society of London,’ for the purpose aforesaid, and by the name aforesaid, to have perpetual succession,

Common Seal

and to have a Common Seal, with power and authority to alter, break and renew the same at their discretion ; and by the same name to sue, and be sued, to implead and be impleaded, and answer and be answered unto, in every Court or Place of Us, our Heirs and Successors.

Power to purchase lands, &c., not exceeding at the time of purchase the yearly value at Rack Rent of £2,000 in the whole.

And we do constitute and appoint, that the persons hereby incorporated, and their successors, shall be for ever able and capable in the law to purchase, receive and possess to them and their Successors any Goods and Chattels whatsoever, and (notwithstanding the statutes of Mortmain) to purchase, hold and enjoy to them and their successors any Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments whatsoever, not exceeding at the time or times of purchasing such Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, respectively, the yearly value at a Rack Rent of Two Thousand Pounds in the [p.6] whole.

First five fellows of the Society named.

And We do hereby declare and grant that they the said Henry Maquis of Lansdowne, George Lord Auckland, Charles Baring Wall; Joseph Sabine, and Nicholas Aylward Vigors, shall be the first Fellows of the said Society;

Any three or more of them shall, on or before the 29th of April 1829, appoint other Members of the Society.

and that they or any three or more of them shall, and may, on or before the twenty-ninth day of April One thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, under their respective hands in writing, appoint such other persons to be Fellows, Honorary Members, Foreign Members, and Corresponding Members of the said Society, as they may think fit. And We do further declare and grant, that for the better government of the said Society, and for the better management of the Concerns thereof, there shall from the date of these presents, henceforth and for ever, be a President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Council of the said Society ;

The Council consist of 21 Fellows

and that such Council shall consist of twenty-one Fellows of the said Society, whereof the President, Treasurer, and Secretary shall be three.

First President, Treasurer and Secretary named.

And We do further declare, that the said Henry Marquis of Lansdowne shall be the first President, the said Joseph Sabine the first Treasurer, and the said Nicholas Aylward Vigors the first Secretary.

First fellows, or any three of them, may appoint a Council.

And that they the said Henry Marquis of Lansdowne, George Lord Auckland, Charles Baring Wall, Joseph Sabine, and Nicholas Aylward Vigors, or any three or more of them, shall, and may, under their respective hands, appoint such other discreet persons, being Fellows of the said Society, to be Members of the said Council, as they shall think fit, nevertheless so that the number thereof shall not exceed twenty-one.

First Council to continue until April 29, 1829.

And We do further declare, that the aforesaid President, Treasurer, and Secretary hereby appointed, and the Council to be appointed as aforesaid, shall continue in such their respective offices until the twenty-ninth day of April One thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine.

The Fellows or any eleven of them, shall, on the 29th of April in every year, remove, by ballot, five Members of the Council, and elect five other Fellows in their room. And also, remove or re-elect any other person who may have been elected during the year in the place of one dying or resigning.

And We do further direct, that the Fellows of the said Society, or any eleven or more of them, shall and may, on the said twenty-ninth day of April one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, and also shall and may on the twenty-ninth day of April, or as near thereto as conveniently may be, in every successive year, assemble together at the then last or other usual place of meeting of the said Society, and by method of Ballot remove from the then present Council five of the persons of whom it shall be composed ; and also shall and may by the like method of Ballot elect five other persons, being Fellows of the said Society, into the Council, in the room and stead of those so removed, who, together with the persons not so removed, shall form the Council for the then next ensuing year; and also shall and [p.7] may in like manner remove any other person from the said Council who may have been elected as hereinafter is provided, in the place of one dying or resigning, and in like manner may either elect another Fellow of the said Society in the room and stead of the one elected as aforesaid, or re-elect the one so elected.

The Fellows or any eleven of them, may elect from amongst the Council a President, Treasurer and Secretary for the ensuing year.

And also that the Fellows of the said Society, or any eleven or more of them, shall and may, at the time and in manner aforesaid, by the like method of Ballot, elect from among the Members of the Council, when formed and elected in manner aforesaid, one person to be President, one person to be Treasurer, and one person to be Secretary of the said Society, for the year next ensuing.

The Council or any five of them, may, within three months, fill up any vacancy in the Council occasioned by death or resignation.

And We do further declare and grant, that in case of the death or resignation of the President, Treasurer, or Secretary, or of any other Member of the Council for the time being of the said Society, the Members for the time being of the Council of the said Society, or any five or more of them (the whole having been duly summoned), shall and may from time to time, within the space of three Calendar Months next after such death or resignation, or as near thereto as conveniently may be, by method of Ballot elect some other person being a Fellow of the said Society, to supply the place of such President, Treasurer, or Secretary, or other Member of the Council so dying or resigning ; and the person so elected shall be and remain a Member of the Council of the said Society, and President, Treasurer, or Secretary, as the case may be, until the next Annual General Meeting of the said Society ensuing such election.

President to appoint six Members of Council to be Vice-Presidents for the ensuing year.

And We do further will and declare, that the President for the time being so soon after his appointment as conveniently may be, shall and may nominate and appoint any number of persons, being Members of the said Council, not exceeding six, to be Vice-Presidents of the said Society for the year ensuing ; and in case of the death or resignation of any person so appointed, he shall and may nominate and appoint any other person, being a Member of the Council, in the room or stead of the person so dying or resigning, for the remainder of the year then ensuing.

Fellows, or any eleven of them, to have the power of electing and removing Members at General Meetings.

And We do further declare and grant, that from and after the said twenty-ninth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, the Fellows of the said Society, or any eleven or more of them, shall and may have the power from time to time, at the General Meetings of the said Society, to elect by method of Ballot such persons to be Fellows, Honorary Members, Foreign Members, and Corresponding Members of the said Society, and such Fellows, Honorary Members, [p.8] Foreign Members and Corresponding Members to remove from the said Society, as they shall think fit.

Council, or any five of them (the whole having been summoned), to appoint and remove Officers and Servants.

And We do further declare and grant, that the Council of the said Society for the time being, or any five or more of them (the whole having been duly summoned), shall and may from time to time nominate and appoint such persons as they shall think proper, to be Officers and Servants for carrying on and executing the necessary concerns of the said Society; and such Officers and Servants to remove as they shall see occasion;

Council, or any five of them, to make Orders and By-Laws—and to alter, suspend, or repeal the same.

and also shall and may have power, according to the best of their judgment and discretion, to make and establish such Orders and By-Laws as shall appear to them useful for the regulation of the said Society, for the management of the Estates, Goods, Lands, Revenues, and Businesses thereof, and for fixing and determining the times and places of meeting of the said Society, and also the times, place, and manner of electing, appointing, and removing all Fellows, Honorary Members, Foreign Members, and Corresponding Members of the said Society, and for regulating and ascertaining as well the rights, privileges, and advantages, as the qualifications of persons to become Fellows, Honorary Members, Foreign Members, and Corresponding Members of the said Society respectively, and also the sum and sums of money to be paid by them respectively, whether upon admissions or otherwise, towards carrying on the purposes of the said Society ; and the same Orders and By-Laws from time to time, as they may see occasion, to alter, suspend, or repeal, and to make such new Orders and By-Laws in their stead as they shall think most proper and expedient, so as the same be not repugnant to these Presents, or the Laws of this our Realm.

Notice of By-Laws to be made, altered, or repealed to be publicly given at a General Meeting. To be suspended for 3 months in the Meeting-room, and confirmed by ballot by eleven or more Fellows at the next General Meeting after notice as aforesaid.

Provided that no By-Laws to be made, or alteration or repeal of any By-Law shall be considered to have passed and be binding on the said Society until notice of such By-Laws or such alteration or repeal of any By-Law shall have been publicly given at a General Meeting, nor until the same shall have been hung up in writing in some conspicuous place in the common Meeting-room of the said Society during the space of three calendar months, nor until the same shall have been confirmed by method of Ballot by the Fellows of the said Society, or any eleven or more of them, at the next General Meeting of the said Society, to take place after such notices shall have been given as aforesaid.—In witness whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made Patent. Witness ourself at our Palace at Westminster this twenty-seventh day of March in the tenth year of our Reign.

“(By Writ of Privy Seal.)
“SCOTT.”

To improve readability on the webpage, summary captions—in small italics—have been inserted throughout the text of the Charter. These captions were shown in the margin of the source book, and are not part of the text of the Charter itself. Text from Zoological Society of London, The Charter, By-Laws and Regulations of the Zoological Society of London (1896), 5-8. (source)


See also:
  • Zoological Society of London - Early history, celebrating its centenary, from 1929 article in The Times.
  • 27 Mar 1829 - event description for Royal Charter granted to Zoological Society of London.
  • 27 Apr 1828 - event description for opening of Zoological Society of London.
  • The Zoo: The Story of London Zoo, by J. Barrington-Johnson. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for London Zoo History.

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

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