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Annual meeting of the Southern Historical Society.

A large audience assembled in the hall of the House of Delegates Thursday night, October 30th, 1879, in attendance upon the annual meeting of the Society.

Rev. Dr. H. A. Tupper opened the meeting with a most appropriate prayer.

The annual report of the Executive Committee was then read by Dr. J. William Jones, Secretary.

Seventh Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the Southern Historical Society.

We cordially greet the members of the Society assembled in annual meeting, and report that we have had during the past year most gratifying evidences of a growing appreciation of the importance and value of our work.

Material for our archives

has been steadily coming in from friends all over the country, while the courtesy of the War Department has enabled us to secure invaluable material which had hitherto been inaccessible. The value of our collection is attested by the fact that both Northern and Southern historians have been consulting it; a distinguished European historian has avowed his purpose of coming to Richmond in order to avail himself of our archives; and the “War Records” office at Washington has had copyists at work for months on important reports, headquarter books, and other original material in our possession and not in their collection.

But we still appeal earnestly to friends of the cause of truth everywhere, to send forward at once to our office everything which may throw the slightest light upon any part of the story of our great struggle for constitutional freedom; and where persons have material which they are not willing to part with, we beg that they will let us have it as a loan, so that we may secure copies both for our office and the War Department.


Our monthly (Southern Historical Society Papers) has been regularly issued, and we have assurances from every quarter that there is a growing appreciation of their value among all who take interest in the vindication of the truth of history. A number of the [587] leading officers of the United States army, and some of the ablest military critics in Europe, as well as prominent Confederates in every State of the South, have spoken in high terms of our Papers, The press generally has echoed the sentiment of the New England Historical Register, that “no library, public or private, which pretends to historical fulness, can afford to be without these volumes,” and of the London Saturday Review, that they “contain a mass of information relative to the late war, without a careful study of which no historian, however limited his scope, should venture to treat any fragment of that most interesting story.”

But one of the most emphatic tributes to the value of these publications was contained in a letter from a distinguished Prussian officer, who, after seeing our Papers, avows his purpose of suppressing the first volume of his History of the civil war in America, and writing it over again.

Our relations with the Archive Bureau at Washington

have continued to be of the most cordial and pleasant character. The Secretary of War, the Adjutant-General, Colonel R. N. Scott, who has charge of the compilation of the records; General Marcus J. Wright, who is agent for the collection of Confederate reports, &c.; Mr. A. P. Tasker, who is keeper of the Confederate archives and has charge of the copying, and indeed all of the officers and clerks of the Department, have shown a cheerful alacrity in affording us every facility desired, and it has been to us a pleasure to reciprocate in every way in our power their kindness.


We regret that we cannot realize our hopes of last year, that we should be able to report at this time that the obligations of the Society have all been fully met. Our receipts have met the expenses of the current year, but they have fallen off (owing chiefly to the sickness of our most efficient agent, which deprived us of his services for the larger part of the year) considerably from what they were last year, and we have been unable, therefore, to liquidate our old debt which has lapped over from year to year.

The following summary will show our receipts and disbursements from October the 29th, 1878, to October 29th, 1879:

Cash on hand as per last report$138 70
Received from membership fees, subscriptions and advertisements,4,995 88
Total funds$5,134 58



Paid Geo. W. Gary for printing$1,392 75
Paid W. E. Simons & Brother, for binding445 00
Paid for clerk, stationery and miscellaneous office expenses718 78
Commissions to Agents961 93
Postage, expressage and telegrams277 81
Paid Secretary on account of salary for past and current years1,338 31
Total$5,134 58

We still owe--

Geo. W . Gary$1,465 55
W. E. Simons & Brother532 02
 $1,997 57

This debt, we repeat, has lapped over from previous years, and may be fully accounted for by the statement that in the years 1876 and 1877 we paid for the single items of stereotyping, printing the Confederate roster, and the extra cost of the large number of pages and extra copies of our Papers, the sum of $4,505.86--i. e., if we had run the Papers for 1876 and 1877 on the basis of the cost of publishing them in 1878 and 1879, we would have paid every dollar of our liabilities and had a surplus of $2,508.29.

It should be remembered, too, that out of our receipts from the Papers we have had to meet not only the cost of their publication, but all of the expenses of the Society as well, and that we now have on hand back volumes worth at least $5,500 (every one of which can be disposed of in the course of time), and stereotypeplates for nearly the whole of the first year, from which we can reprint ad libitum.

But we desire especially to call attention to the fact that beginning and continuing our publication during the worse years for such an enterprise the country has seen, we have not only been able to issue regularly our Papers, but to make them a most important auxiliary towards accumulating in our archives material which could readily be sold in the market for thousands of dollars, but which is of priceless value for the purposes for which our Society was organized.

We have thought it due alike to the Society and to the Committee to give these details; and we are happy to be able to add that we have made an arrangement by which in the future the Papers will be published without risk of indebtedness to the Society. But [589] the debt of $1,997.57 ought to be promptly met by special donations, so that the Papers may not longer have to carry this burden.

In conclusion, we would express our growing conviction of the importance of an enterprise which has for its object the vindication of as pure a cause as was ever submitted to the arbitrament of the sword, and the furnishing of the material for a true history of as noble a band of patriot heroes as ever marched or fought “in all the tide of time.”

By order of the Executive Committee.

J. William Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society.

General Early, President of the Society, explained that Father Ryan, of Mobile, had first promised to make the oration on this occasion; that his physicians having forbidden him to use his voice, he had promised to send an original poem (telegraphing as late as Monday that it would certainly be here); and that the poem had failed to come by some unexplained cause. General Early submitted a few remarks as to the value and importance of the work of the Society.

Dr. J. L. M. Curry submitted the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the past success of the Society, its valuable work in securing the preparation and publication of historic documents, its influence in vindicating truth and correcting erroneous opinions at home and abroad, make its support more important than ever before, and we commend it and the Historical Society Papers to the confidence and patronage of all our late associates, and of all who wish the truth of history to be scrupulously preserved.

Dr. Curry sustained his resolution in an earnest and eloquent speech, which was frequently interrupted with applause.

Major Stiles made a strong and very forcible appeal to the audience to take life-memberships and relieve the Society of its burden, which was enthusiastically applauded.

The Secretary said that while it was exceedingly important to raise the amount named at the earliest possible moment, yet a plenty of new subscribers would enable them to work through.

There was a good deal of enthusiam in the meeting.

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