Proposed regulations, 1765

What follows below appears to have been copied from the minutes of the Council of the Royal Society (copy also in RGO6/21/72) and was published in 1848 in A History of the Royal Society: With Memoirs of the Presidents. Bar the odd word and the inclusion of an extra clause (clause four in the text below), it is identical to a second copy held by the Royal Society (RS MS372/103) The proposed regulations formed the basis of the regulations that were subsequently drawn up (Two copies held by Royal Society (MS371/3 & MS372/107).


Regulations for the due Execution of the Office of Astronomer-Royal, humbly proposed to His Majesty's consideration.

Whereas the end of the Institution, and continuation of this office, requires a constant, regular attendance of the Astronomer-Royal at the Observatory; it will be necessary that he do bonâ fide reside there; and that he do not accept of any office or employment, the duty whereof to be personally performed by him is incompatible with such bonâ fide residence; and that in case of absence above a few days from the said Observatory, the reason of such absence shall be previously allowed by those who are, or shall hereafter be, appointed Visitors of the Royal Observatory.

2nd. That the Astronomer-Royal and his Assistant shall never be absent from the Observatory both at the same time.

3rd. That no persons be admitted into the rooms of the Observatory, where the instruments are kept, unless the Astronomer-Royal, or his Assistant, shall be present; who are to take special care that no person be allowed to touch or handle the instruments, so as to endanger the spoiling thereof, or doing any damage thereto.

4th. And whereas great inconvenience hath arisen from admitting persons indiscriminately, for money, into the Observatory, whereby several of the instruments have been greatly damaged, and the Astronomer frequently interrupted in the course of his business; therefore, in order to prevent the like for the future: That from henceforth no money be taken from persons who are admitted to see the house or instruments.

5th. That the Astronomer-Royal shall distinctly and faithfully record all his Observations, in books kept for that purpose, and authenticate the same by the subscription of his name at the bottom of every page.

6th. That the Assistant Observer shall keep separate Books of the Observations he shall make, and authenticate the same in the manner above mentioned.

7th. That these Books of Observations shall never be removed from the Royal Observatory upon any pretence whatsoever; but shall remain there for the use of astronomers.

8th. That true and fair copies of the annual Observations made by the Astronomer-Royal, and his Assistant, shall be transmitted within six months after the year shall be elapsed, to the Council of the Royal Society.

9th. That the Astronomer-Royal and his Assistant shall follow such directions in the execution of their offices as, from time to time, shall be given by those who are already, or shall hereafter be, appointed Visitors of the Royal Observatory.