Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/131

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The Colonial Virginian.

125

THE COLONIAL VIRGINIAN.

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL

SOCIETY OF RICHMOND COLLEGE, OCTOBER 13, 1891,

BY R. A. BROCK.

Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen :

The Geographical and Historical Society of Richmond Col- lege, at whose bidding I have the honor to be here, was happy, I trust, in the choice of its designation.

It should be potential in its range of possibilities. It follows, emuluously it seems, other Virginian precursors of enlightenment.

The original title of a dignified body, which I have for years striven to serve, was the Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society. It was organized December 29, 1831, with Chief-Justice Marshall as its first president. It is honored now in a triumvirate of directive officers, whom Richmond values for their excellences. The second of these is your own loved president, the chief herald of the cause of education in our teeming republic. The Hon. Wil- liam Wirt Henry and Colonel Archer Anderson hold the first and third trusts. Since 1870 the essential exponent of our State has been known more simply as the Virginia Historical Society, having relegated then philosophy to the dreamer. It had a predecessor in imposing name more than half a century before the Philosophical Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge instituted at the ambrosial capital of the Old Dominion Williamsburg in the month of flowers May, 1773. I may recur to it again. Does not history repeat itself ? A Virginian proclivity is reasserted in the name of your promising society. Constituted as you are of representatives of quite every county of our own State, and of many of the southern sisterhood ; bouyed with the infectious ardor and activity of youth, why should we not in the results of your devotion hope for a golden fruition in your co-operative and inspiring investigations ?

Devoutly, may the Geographical and Historical Society, in un- limited usefulness, endure as a feature of this beneficent institution, the providence and zeal of whose faculty called it into being !

Virginia has not been unmixedly blessed in the offices of her an- nalist and historian. Doughty John Smith, whilst in the enamored