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OFFICERS

OF

THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

ELECTED, JANUARY, 1814.

Hon. EGBERT BENSON, LL. D. President.
Hon. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, First Vice-President.
DE WITT CLINTON, LL D. Second Vice-President.
DAVID HOSACK, M. D. Corresponding Secretary.*
JOAN PINTARD, Recording Secretary.
CHARLES WILKES, Treasurer.
JOHN W. FRANCIS, M. D. Librarian.

STANDING COMMITTEE.

WILLIAM JOHNSON, Esq.
SAMUEL L. MITCAILL, M. D.
JOHN M. MASON, D. D.
JOHN MÅKESSON, Esq.
GULIAN C. VERPLANCK, Esq.
PETER A. JAY, Esq.f
ANTHONY BLEECKER, Esq.

* Vice Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller, resigned.
+ Vice Dr. David Hosack, elected Corresponding Secretary.

ANNIVERSARY ORATORS.

1809. Rev. SAMUEL MILLER, D. D.
1810. HUGH WILLIAMSON, M. D. LL. D.
1811. Hon. DE WITT CLINTON, LL. D.
1812. Hon. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.
1813. SAMUEL L. MITCHILL, M. D.

H

COMMITTEE OF PUBLICATION.

FOR VOLUME I.

REV. DR. SAMUEL MILLER,
ANTHONY BLEECKER, Esq. and
John PINTARD.

FOR VOLUME II.

Doctor David HOSACK,
JOHN PINTARD, and
DOCTOR John W. FRANCIS,

DISCOURSE

ON

THE BENEFITS OF CIVIL HISTORY:

DELIVERED BEFORE THE

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

DECEMBER 6, 1810.

BY HUGH WILLIAMSON, M. D. LL. D.

A MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY.

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

December 6, 1310. RESOLVED, that the thanks of this Society be presented to Doctor Hugh WILLIAMSON, for the Discourse delivered by him this day before this Society; and that the Rev. Doctor MILLER, Doctor David HOSACK, and Mr. PINTARD, be a committee to impart this Resolution, and request a copy for publication.

Extract

from the minutes,
JOHN PINTARD,

Recording Secretary.

A

DISCOURSE, &c.

Gentlemen of the Historical Society,
A SOCIETY formed for the purpose of

preserving the history of a nation, while that nation is yet in its infancy, is certainly to be classed among the institutions of modern times. It is not recommended by the practice of our ancestors, or by the venerable rust of antiquity. The several nations who have come into existence, at different periods, on the face of the earth, may have been, for aught they are enabled to tell us, AUTOCHTHONI. They may have sprung from the earth, as the Grecians boasted of themselves; for their origin is sunk in the dark vale of forgetfulness. It was not, as I conceive, that many of the existing nations originated, like the ancient inhabitants of Rome, from a set of robbers, who for that reason had no desire to speak of their ancestors; nor is it clear that the original settlers of every country were unacquainted with letters, and for that reason could not preserve their history; though that in many instances was doubtless the case. It can hardly be questioned, that the sons of Noah possessed a high degree of knowledge. The Chinese and Hindoos at present seem to possess little else than the fragments of their learning. But knowledge at first was chiefly trusted to the memory; and it was safely trusted in that manner when the duration of life was eight or

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