He had already published a plan for founding a chartered organization to be known as the Royal Institution of Great Britain, its object being the promotion and extension of science and of useful knowledge, and the application of the same to the common purposes of life. The movement at once received the support of the learned men of England; the nobility and the king appeared as patrons.
The charter was granted in January, 1800, and Rumford was appointed the first manager, to serve three years. He had been living at his house in Brompton Row with his daughter, the countess, who now wished to return to America, and, on her departure, Rumford took up his residence in the rooms of the Royal Institution. It proved to be a perfect scientific Elysium for him, being supplied with every implement for experiment that he could suggest.
The founding of this institution was his crowning work in England. It is still a monument to his genius, practical intellectual activity and to his interest in the diffusion of knowledge. He employed Humphry Davy, then little known, as the first lecturer. Faraday afterwards joined Davy and for thirty-eight years was a lecturer there. These geniuses received small compensation at the beginning of their careers. The institution allowed Davy 100 guineas a year and Faraday 25 shillings a week; both were furnished coal, candles and lodging rooms.
The writer was a visitor at the Royal Institution last year and found it a flourishing organization of great influence. The Duke of Northumberland is president and Sir William Crookes, secretary. Among its professors are Lord Rayleigh, Joseph J. Thomson and Sir James Dewar. The laboratories are splendidly equipped for research work,