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Charter

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The Society received its Royal Charter in 1825, and this remains its governing instrument, from which the Bye-laws are derived.  It now hangs on the wall of the Council Room.  It reads as follows.

GEORGE THE FOURTH by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting.

Whereas The Reverend William Buckland Bachelor in Divinity Arthur Aikin Esquire John Bostock Doctor of Physic George Bellas Greenough Esquire Henry Warburton Esquire and several others of our loving Subjects being desirous of forming a Society for investigating the Mineral structure of the Earth and having for promoting such investigation expended considerable sums of money in the purchase and collection of books maps specimens and other objects and in the publication of various works the said William Buckland Arthur Aikin John Bostock George Bellas Greenough and Henry Warburton have humbly besought us to grant unto them and unto such other persons as shall be appointed and elected Fellows of the said Society as hereinafter is mentioned Our Royal Charter of Incorporation for the better carrying on the purposes aforesaid Now therefore know Ye that We being desirous to encourage so laudable an undertaking of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion Have willed ordained constituted declared given and granted And by these Presents Do for us our heirs and successors will ordain constitute give and grant that our loving subjects the said William Buckland Arthur Alkin John Bostock George Bellas Greenough and Henry Warburton and such other persons as shall from time to time be appointed and elected Fellows of the said Society in manner hereinafter directed and their respective successors shall for ever hereafter be by virtue of these presents one body politic and corporate by the name of THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON And We do Will constitute and declare them and their successors to be one body politic and corporate for the purposes aforesaid And by the Name aforesaid to have perpetual succession and to have a Common seal with full power and authority to alter vary break and renew the same at their discretion and by the same name to sue and be sued to implead and be impleaded and answer and be answered unto in every Court or place of us our heirs and successors And We do Will constitute and grant that the persons hereby incorporated and their successors shall be for ever able and capable in the Law to purchase receive hold possess and enjoy to them and their successors any Goods and Chattels whatsoever And notwithstanding the Statutes of Mortmain to take purchase hold and enjoy to them and their successors and lands tenements and hereditaments whatsoever not exceeding at the time or times of purchasing or acquiring such lands tenements and hereditaments respectively the yearly value of two thousand pounds in the whole computing the same at the rack rent which might have been had or gotten for the same respectively at the time of the purchase or acquisition of the same and shall have full power and authority to sell alien charge or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property so to be by them acquired as aforesaid and to act and do in all things relating to the said Corporation in as ample manner and form as any other our liege subjects being persons able and capable in the law or any other body politic or corporate in our said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland may or can act or do And We do hereby declare and grant that the number of Fellows of the said Society shall be indefinite and that they the said William Buckland Arthur Aikin John Bostock George Bellas Greenough and Henry Warburton shall be the first Fellows of the said Society and that any three or more of them shall and may on or before the Third Friday in February next ensuring the date of these Presents under their respective hands in writing appoint such other persons to be Fellows and foreign Members of the said Society as are willing to be appointed and as they may think fit And We do further declare and grant That for the better government of the said Society and for the better management of the Concerns thereof there shall be from the date of these Presents thenceforth and for ever a President and Council of the said Society and that such Council whereof the President shall be deemed a Member shall from the date of these Presents until the third Friday in February next ensuing consist of five Members and from the said third Friday in February thenceforth and for ever shall consist of twenty-three Members And we do hereby appoint the said William Buckland to be first President and the said William Buckland together with the said Arthur Aikin John Bostock George Bellas Greenouth and Henry Warburton to be the first Council all and each of the aforesaid Persons to continue in such their respective offices until the third Friday in February next ensuing the date of these Presents And We further direct that the Fellows of the said Society or any eleven or more of them shall and may on the said third Friday in February next ensuing and also shall and may on the third Friday in February or as near thereto as conveniently may be in every succeeding Year assemble together at the then last or other usual place of Meeting of the said Society and by method of ballot remove from the then present Council one-fifth or more of the Persons of whom it shall then be composed And also shall and may by the like method of Ballot elect other persons being Fellows of the said Society into the Council who together with the persons not so removed shall form the Council for the then next ensuing year so that the Members of such Council shall amount in number to twenty-three And also that the Fellows of the said Society or any eleven or more of them shall and may at the time and in manner aforesaid by the like method of ballot elect from among the Members of the Council when formed and elected in the manner aforesaid one person to be President of the said Society for the year ensuing and so many and such persons as they shall think proper to be Vice-Presidents Secretary or Secretaries and Treasurer or Treasurers of the said Society for the year ensuing And also shall and may in case of the death of the President or of any Vice-President Secretary or Treasurer or of any other Member of the Council for the time being of the said Society within the space of two months next after such death or as near thereto as conveniently may be in manner aforesaid elect some other person being a Fellow of the said Society to supply the place of such President Vice-President Secretary Treasurer or other Member of the Council so dying And we do further declare and grant That from and after the said third Friday in February now next ensuing the Fellows of the said Society or any eleven or more of them shall and may have the power from time to time at the General Meetings of the said Society to be held at the usual place of meeting or at such place as shall have been in that behalf appointed to elect by method of Ballot such persons to be Fellows and Foreign Members of the said Society and such Fellows or Foreign Members to remove from the said Society as they shall think fit and also shall and may from time to time nominate and appoint such persons as they shall think proper to be Officers and Servants for carrying on and executing the necessary concerns of the said Society and such Officers and Servants again to remove and renew or restore as they shall see occasion And we do further declare and grant That from and after the said third Friday in February now next ensuing the Fellows of the said Society or any eleven or more of them shall and may have the power to make and establish such orders and bye-laws as shall appear to them useful for the government of the said Society for defining the powers to be entrusted to the Council the President and other Officers thereof and the duties to be performed by such Officers respectively for the management of the Estates Goods Lands Revenues and Business of the Said Society and for the regulating the particular manner of proposing electing admitting and removing all and every the Fellows Foreign Members Officers and Servants thereof for fixing the times and places of the Meetings of the said Society and also the sum or sums to be paid by the Fellows towards carrying on the purposes of the said Society and the same Orders and Bye-laws from time to time as they may see occasion to alter suspend or repeal and to make such new Orders and Bye-laws in their stead as they shall think proper and expedient so as the same be not repugnant to these presents or the Laws of this our Realm And also that the Council or any five or more of the Fellows of the said Society shall have power to move the enactment of any new Bye-laws or the alteration suspension or repeal of any existing Bye-law provided notice of such Motion shall have been delivered to one of the Secretaries in writing and shall have been read from the Chair at two successive Meetings of the Fellows of the said Society but that no such Motion shall be deemed or taken to pass in the affirmative until the same shall have been discussed and decided by Ballot at another meeting summoned especially for that purpose an absolute majority of the Fellows then present having voted in the affirmative In witness whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made Patent

Witness ourself at our Palace at Westminster this twenty-third day of April in the sixth year of our reign

By Writ of Privy Seal

[Signed] SCOTT

Supplemental Charter

Supplemental charter 

Elizabeth the Second

by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith:

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, GREETINGS!

WHEREAS His Majesty King George the Fourth by Royal Charter (hereinafter referred to as ‘the original Charter’) dated the twenty-third day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five constituted a body politic and corporate by the name of ‘The Geological Society of London’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Society’) with perpetual succession and a Common Seal:

And whereas the Society has by a humble Petition prayed that We should be graciously pleased to grant to it a Supplemental Charter:

NOW THEREFORE KNOW YE that We having taken the said Petition into Our Royal Consideration by virtue of Our Prerogative Royal and of Our especial grace, certain knowledge and mere motion have granted and declared and by these Presents do for Us, Our Heirs and Successors grant and declare as follows:

1. The original Charter should be read as if “notwithstanding the Statutes of Mortmain” and “not exceeding at the time or times of purchasing or acquiring such lands tenements and hereditaments respectively the yearly value of two thousand pounds in the whole computing the same at the rack rent which might have been had or gotten for the same respectively at the time of the purchase or acquisition of the same” had been deleted and shall henceforward continue and operate as though it had been originally granted and made accordingly.

2. The Council of the Society may by a resolution in that behalf at any meeting of such Council by not less than two-thirds of the members of such Council present and voting (being an absolute majority of the whole number of the members of such Council entitled to vote at meetings thereof) and confirmed at a general meeting of members of the Society held not less than one month nor more than four months afterwards by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the members voting thereat revoke, amend or add to the original Charter or this Our Supplemental Charter and any such revocation, amendment or addition shall when allowed by Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council become effectual so that the original Charter and this our Supplemental Charter as the case may be shall thenceforward continue and operate as though it had been originally granted and made accordingly. Provided that no such revocation, amendment or addition shall be made which shall cause the Society to cease to be a charity in law. This provision shall apply to the original Charter and this Our Supplemental Charter as revoked, amended or added to in manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent.

WITNESS Ourself at Westminster the fourteenth day of July in the fifty-fourth year of Our Reign.

BY WARRANT UNDER THE QUEEN’S SIGN MANUAL
ALLEN

[SEAL ATTACHED]