“The Society for promoting the Useful Arts in Scotland” was established in 1821. In 1841 a petition was made to Queen Victoria asking that the Society be Incorporated by Royal Charter. This is the text of the Royal Warrant which resulted in the Society becoming 'The Royal Scottish Society of Arts'. The Charter itself is virtually a translation into Latin of this Warrant.
OUR SOVEREIGN LADY, Considering that an humble Petition has been presented to Her Majesty by Andrew Fyfe, Doctor of Medicine, President, James L'Amy of Dunkenny, Esquire, Advocate, of the the Vice-Presidents, and James Tod, Esquire, Writer to Our Signet, Secretary, in name and behalf of themselves, and of the whole other members of the Society called " The Society for promoting the Useful Arts in Scotland," — setting forth, THAT, in the year 1821, certain of the Petitioners and other persons formed themselves into a Society under the foresaid name or title, under the patronage of Her Majesty's Predecessors, with the view of encouraging the Arts, and also for the discovery of means by which the natural productions of the country might be rendered more available : That the said Society at present consists of upwards of 400 Ordinary, Honorary, and Associate Members ; and the funds of the Institution consist, partly of capital sums yielding an annual return, and partly if annual contributions from members, or of a composition paid by them in lieu thereof : That the said Society has also under its management a fun of L.400 Sterling, given by the trustees of the deceased Alexander Keith of Ravelston and Dunottar, Esquire; the interest arising from which is laid out by the Society in awarding Prizes or Medals for useful inventions: That the said Society extends its benefits to every part of the United Kingdom: That many communications relating to the Arts, and those branches of Science which bear upon the Arts are received and read before the said Society, which, or abstracts of them, are published by the Society: That it is desirable, for the greater safety, security, and facility of management of the affairs of the Society, and of the funds belonging to it, or under its management, as well as for the advancement of the national and patriotic objects for which it has been instituted, that the Petitioners and the other members of the Society, and such other persons as shall in time to come be admitted members thereof, agreeably to the Laws made, or to be made, by the said Society, should be constituted and incorporated into a body Politic and Corporate, or Legal Corporation, by the name and title of "The Royal Scottish Society of Arts," or by such other name and title as should appear to Her Majesty most fit, with perpetual duration and succession, with power of using a common seal, of suing and being sued, of purchasing and enjoying real and personal property, and of making and adopting Laws, or Bye-Laws, for the government of the said Society, with all other usual powers and privileges: And Her Majesty, being satisfied that the objects for which the said Society was instituted, and is now sought to be incorporated, are laudabale, deserving of encouragement, and worthy of Her Majesty's patronage and protection, does therefore ordain a Charter to be passed and expede under the Seal appointed by the Treaty of Union to be kept and used in Scotland in place of the Great Seal thereof formerly used there, Constituting, Erecting, and Incorporating, as Her Majesty, by Her Royal Prerogative, and of Her especial Grace, for Herself and Her Royal Successors, by these presents, Constitutes, Erects, and Incorporates the said Andrew Fyfe, James L'Amy, and James Tod, the Petitioners, and the whole other persons who are now members of the said Society, and such other persons as shall hereafter be admitted Members or Fellows thereof, agreeably to the Laws of the said Society, into one Body Politic and Corporate, or Legal Corporation, for ever by the name and title of "The Royal Scottish Society of Arts," under which name the said Society, in all time coming, shall have perpetual administration of its affairs, and be enabled to direct, ordain, and constitute, in all matters and things belonging to the said Society; and to hold and enjoy, in perpetuity or otherwise, all property, funds, and money belonging to it, or under its management; with power to the Ordinary Members or Fellows of the said Society, or the major part of them assembled at the time, at their ordinary or extraordinary meetings, to administer, direct, ordain, and constitute in all matters and things belonging to and pertaining to the said Society and its government, and the administration of its faculties and moneys: And it shall be lawful to, and in the power of, the said Society, by its foresaid name and title, to purchase, acquire, receive, hold, possess, enjoy, and in perpetuity or otherwise, retain, for the uses and purposes of the said Society, lands, tenements, or hereditaments, of whatever kind, quality, or nature: and to sell, exchange, or dispose of the same; and to grant leases thereof, and to feu out the same for a competent feu-duty: As also to hold, take, receive, enjoy, possess, and retain, for the uses and purposes of the said Society, not only all such sum or sums of money, annual rents, goods and other personal property, as have already been paid, given, received, devised or bequeathed, for the uses and purposes of the said Society, previous to its incorporation, and under the original or former name or names by which it has been heretofore designated, while unincorporated; but also all such sum or sums of money, annual rents, goods, and other personal property, as shall, in time to come, be paid, given, received, devised or bequeathed to, or for the use and behoof of, the said Society, or Body Politic and Corporate, either under the name of names by which the Society had been heretofore designated; or under the name, style, and title hereby granted; and to grant discharges for such moneys, or other personal property, which may have been, or shall be, so paid, given, recieved, devised, or bequeathed, on receiving payment or delivery of the same: And with full powers, also, to the said Society to lend out the money, funds, and effects, already acquired and received, or to be acquired and received, on such security, heritable or personal, to purchase the stock of any of the Incorporated Banks, or other Corporate Bodies, or the Public Funds of the United Kingdom, as may be determined and approved of by the said Society or its Council; Declaring that all charters, dispositions, heritable securities, and all other deeds affecting property, heritable or personal, to be granted to, or by, the said Society, shall be taken to, and granted by, the said Society, in the corporate name and title hereby granted, that is, to or by "The Royal Scottish Society of Arts," without specifying the names of any of the office-bearers or constituent members of the said Society: And all charters, dispositions, or other deeds of conveyance, contracts, discharges, renunciations, acquittances, or other deeds whatever, touching the estate, or the capital of the said Society, granted by the said Society, shall be subscribed by the President, or either of the Vice-Presidents, along with the Secretary or Treasurer, and any one of the Ordinary Councillors for the time, and that all such deeds or instruments shall be equally valid and effectual as if the same had been signed by the whole members of the said Society: And Her Majesty, by these presents, for Herself, Her Heirs, and Successors, Declares and Ordains that all such lands and heritages, and also such sum or sums of money, stocks, funds, bonds, heritable or personal, mortgages or other securites for money whatsoever, as shall, at the date of this Charter, be held, or shall stand secured or vested for the interest or behoof of the said Society, under its former or unincorporated name or names, or in the name of any officer-bearer, or office-bearers, or other person or persons, may and shall continue invested for the purposes of the purposes of the said Society, as now incorporated, until the same respectively can be conveniently called up and reinvested, or transferred or assigned, and duly vested in the saif Society by, and agreeably to, the name, style, and title hereby granted; and that all deeds and other instruments necessary for the conveying and assigning, discharging and reinvesting the same, shall be subscribed and executed in the manner above prescribed; And also, that it shall be lawful to the said Society, under the name and title foresaid, and hereby granted, to sue and sued in all Courts of Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or any of Her Majesty's Colonies, and before whatsoever judges, justices of peace, and other officers, in all actions, processes, and causes whatsoever, in such form and manner as any of Her Majesty's subjects, or any other body, corporate or politic, may or can sue or be sued; and to sue out and execute all manner of diligence, real and personal, by the foresaid corporate name; Declaring hereby, that all citations, notifications, and intimations, in any action, suit, or process, which may be raised or instituted against the said Society, and in any other matter, whic may be left in writing with or for the Secretary of the said Society for the time being, at his ordinary domicile or place of business, shall be sufficient to oblige the said Society to answer to any such action, suit, process, or any other matter; and that all actions and dilligence of the law, at the suit or instance of the said Society, may be brought, instituted, followed forth, and pursued in their said corporate name, or in the name of their Secretary for the time being; And with power to the said Society of having and using a Common Seal, and of changing, altering and renewing the same, from time to time, as the said Society, or major part thereof, assembled at any ordinary or extraordinary meeting, shall deem proper: And otherwise, and in all other things, to act, and do, and proceed, in such manner as the law permits, and as is usual in the case of persons incorporated, and with all privileges incident to such corporations: And Her Majesty, by these presents, grants and declares that the forsaid Andrew Fyfe, President of the said Society, as also the whole other present office-bearers and ordinary councillors of the said Society, shall remain in office, and have full power to act in all matters and things prescribed by these presents, or by the Rules and Bye-Laws of the said Society presently existing, until the said Society or Corporation shall on the second Monday in November of the present year 1841, at the place and hour prescribed by its present Rules, elect a President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, and other office-bearers and ordinary councillors, for the year then ensuing: And further, Her Majesty hereby approves of the existing Rules and Regulations of the said Society; but with power to the said Society to alter or modify the same, or to make such Bye-Laws as they shall see cause, not inconsistent with these presents; all which Bye-Laws, Rules, Regulations, and orders, made or to be made, as aforesaid, shall, until altered, be duly observed, kept, and obeyed; provided that the same are noways contrary to the laws of the Kingdom, and to the general purport and meaning of this present Charter: And Her Majesty for Herself, Her Heirs, and Successors, Declares this Her present Charter shall be, in and by all things, valid and effectual in law, according to the true intent and meaning of the same; and it shall be accepted, interpreted, and understood, in the sense most favourable and beneficial to the said Corporation, notwithstanding any misrecital, defect, uncertainty, or imperfection of the same: And Her Majesty further Wills and Commands, that this Charter do pass the Seal appointed by the Treaty of Union to be kept and used in Scotland, in place of the Great Seal thereof, formerly used there, without passing any other Seal or Register; for doing whereof, these presents shall be, as well to the Director of Her Majesty's Chancery in Scotland for writing the same, as to the Keeper of the said Seal and their deputies, for causing the same to be appended thereto, a sufficient warrant.
Given at Her Majesty's Court at Saint James's this 16th day of August 1841, in the fifth year of Our Reign.
By Her Majesty's Command,
This has been copied from a printing in the Society's Transactions - in the "Edinburgh Journal of Science, Technology and Photographic Art" Vol XV - Part III (April 1941). Any errors in transcription are my own.
Graham Rule - 15th November 2001