MECHANICS' INSTITUTE SOIEEE.
A social reunion of the committee, mem- bers, and friends of the Mechanics' Institnte took place ou Friday evening at the Council Chambers, Sturt-street. Admission was by ticket, and a goodly company assembled, among whom we were delighted to see a large proportion of ladies. The catering for the guests was well managed by Mr Dimant, who loaded thc tables with all the nice things that go to make up a capital toa, after which there was an ample spread of fruits in considerable variety for thc further refection of those pre- sent The good things provided were, as they deserved to be, pretty liberally patronised, a large remainder being after all left in the
hands of thc commissariat.
Tea being over and the tables spread with fruit , Madame O rm, who liad kindly con- sented, as also Messrs D. Oliver, Stoddart, Pope, and one other member of the Ballarat Harmonic Society, to enliven the evening with singing,-went on the platform and gave a song, accompanying herself on the piano. Mr Mülcy then addressed the meeting, and urged thc claims of the Institute upon the sympathy and support of those present and, through them, upon the public generally. Mr 1>. Oliver then sang "Beautiful Venice," and obtaining an- encore, gave " Erin my Country," both songs being very nicely sung
The reverend Mr Potter was then called
on to give an address, and humorously pro- tested against being called upon by the sub-committee to make an impromptu speech ; as, however, he could not make the usual excuse of being unaccustomed to public speaking, he would saya few words. He glanced at the value ot" literary and scientific institutions, und their influence upon the development of a country's pro- gress, reciting some lines from Tennyson's ode to liberty. Mechanics' Institutes were one of the hundred eyes that were con- stantly searching after truth. Our leads of gold might possibly fail, but there was one
lead would never fail-the lead of truth. We should emulate the glorious example of our fatherland, and press on after truth, not losing ourselves in the ways of selfish
faction. We should look at
" Freedom with lips divine, laughing to
The falsehood of extremes,"
and remember that our mission was to pre- serve our liberties pure, to persevere in the investigation of truth, und send down our
names unsullied lo the future, lt should become us to keep the via media, and not to stray into extremes, but seek truth in that way in which God had placed it before us.
Messrs Olivrr, Stoddart, aud Pope, then sang a &lce-"The Fairies,"-after which
Mr Price made a short speech, and ex- cused the sub-committee tm not advertising speakers, that they would be called upon, by remarking that there were so many gen- tlemen Who we ru bo able to apeak, that, in- stead of the subcommittee feeling it neces- sary to issue a programme, they had deemed it necessary to limit each orator to a rigid fiftetn minutes. MrPrieecomplainedof what he called the obloquy cast upon the Institute by some who liad ridicule d the attempt to es tablisn thc Institute (cres of no no.) The In-
stitute was set ou foot, 1st May 1850, and the I first report was made on 1st December fol-
lowing. They had just got a grant of a j site for a building, and hoped soon to be in legal possession of the ground. There
were £100 in hand, the Municipal Council j had promised £100 more, and as soon as | £500 were raised, the Government would | add £500 more, and he hoped the ladies present particularly would urge upon their friends the claims of the Institute to their assistance.
Madame Omi then sang a very bcauti- | ful melody, and the Ut v. Mr. Baird de- livered a shurt address, after which Mr. Blore sang that well-known comic air "The Laird o'Cockpen" amid roars of laughter, and being encored gave a still more comic medley halt' recitation, half singing, which
kef t the auditnee in a merry humor all ¡ the while. Another glee was sting by the three amateurs already mentioned, after which Dr. Allison spoke a few -words and Madame Onn gave another of her pleasant
The Rev. Mr. Bickford was glad to see the Institute showing such signs of pros- perity. Wise people recognised in these institutions powerful auxiliaries to Chris- tian truth, and as our Christian sympathies expanded, so would we app-eciate the value of such Institutions as Mechanics' Insti- tutes, Hospitals and so forth. He looked to the Institutes and Sabbath schools for the future rulers of this country. Our present political condition and excitement showed that we needed good and wise men. Christianity was favorable to the prosecu- tion of scientific enquiry, and he thought that the Christian occupied a vantage ground in the search after truth.
Mr Lister then amused the assembly by reciting a funny "Ladies petition to Dr Boyce."
Dr Kenworthy was then called upon," but declined to go on the platform, and misinter- preting some hisses against the clamor made for his appearance on the platform, addressed himself rather caustically to the supposed in- sulter, of his right to speak when he pleased. Haslam had pictured a madman as one who would put his head into a tin billy to escape annoyance, and he, (Dr Kenworthy) after all he had heard, would pray for a tin billy for his own especial behoof. With regard to the popular notion that here there were no facilities for the prosecution of scientific re- search, he would remark that one of the candles in the chandelier, a rain drop, a bit of the rocks used in forming our roads, a shovel full of the black clay turned up by our miners close by would, any one of them, afford ample materials for months of close and careful study. He was sorry there were some know-alls in Ballarat who tried to ridi- cule the establishment of the Institute ; but they were like the wise-acre of a lawyer who described steam to be a bucket of water in a
state of profuse perspiration, or rather they
were themselves like water in that excited
and evaporating condition. He had already delivered lectures before the Institute, and was ready to do so again, for he put himself at the service of the committee. The £200
in hand was the nucleus of a good round sum, which bc hoped would soon be raised and a building erected for the purposes of the In-
One or two other speakers followed with short addresses, but especially to the point inasmuch as they dwelt upon the necessity and practicability of organising a plan of raising a subscription list, such as should soon place thc Institute upon s satisfactory footing. Messrs Kenyon, Oddie, Youle, Raw, were among these last speakers, and the proceedings closed with votes of thanks to the ladies and to the committee, the whole evening having been spent most agreeably and harmoniously. We have reason to be- lieve that the committee will get up a similar gathering every quarter, and we are of opinion that if they are wise in their generation, they will be careful to mature so excellent a project.