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OF THE. NEWPORT ATHEM1UM & IECHMICS' INSTITUTE. The Institute was Established in 1841, forthe diffusion of"Useful Knowledge amongst its Members ; and was admitted into union with the Society of Arts 18th of August, 1852. Yol. 1.—No. 3. MARCH, 1864. GfRatis to Members.- NEWPORT, MARCH 1, 186* We can- imagine a more exMlirating pursuit than that of knowledge " under difficulties," and are therefore gratified as we look backwards over the past history of the Newport Athenaeum and Mechanics' Institute, to find that spite of financial embarrasment, commercial crisis in the district, and indifference of members, the Insti¬ tute has not only survived them all, but lived to attain its present truly gratifying position. We do not now propose to enter into an uninter¬ esting statistical review of our past history, but ask our readers to- look back with us some, twenty years, and take a rapid glance over the leading events in connexion with the Athenaeum from that period down to the present time. In 1843, the premises rented by the Athenaeum were at the Town Hall, the library being perched upon the top of two flight of stairs, and the reading room situate next the Town Hall assem¬ bly room, from which it was divided only by the thickness of a walk Both rooms were small and inconvenient,, although, probably at that early period, the space available might on the whole have been sufficient for the purposes for which they were used: frequently, however, say on the occasion of a panorama exhibition, or of a concert in the assembly rooms, the members of the Institution had actually to vacate their reading room, whenever required as a retiring room for the use of the parties engaging the Hall., With such a drawback, we can readily understand that members were slow to join the Institute, and that its affairs were at no time very cheering ; but for fifteen years this state of things continued, till the directors did what they were probably not till then justified in doing ; they negotiated the rental of the well-situated and commodious building in Dock Street, now the property of the Institution, but then belong¬ ing to the Monmouthshire Diocesan Board of Education, and used as a Diocesan School. For aanie time previous to this, the directors were on the qui vive, acknowledging the necessity of a. removal, but powerless to act, until the negoti¬ ations alluded to were completed, when the- locale of the Institution, was changed to its- present situation. The agreement was for a yearly taking, the Directors to have the option , of purchasing at the end of that period, if they saw their way to attain that desirable result; -, and in the eighteenth report of the committee,.. (1859,) we read that " such removal had been attended with the best results, as it will be seen that the number of books circulated from the - library has been much larger, and the attend¬ ance at the reading room more regular than at the rooms formerly occupied at the Town Hall." This was cheering, but it was to be counted on that members would use a room where they were left in quiet enjoyment of the newspaper,, in preference to one where they were at all times - liable to interruption and annoyance ; and glan¬ cing briefly at the events of that period, the only; surprise we can feel is that the. Institution had. not succumbed long before to the many dis-- couraging circumstances with which it had to, contend; for not only, were the Town Hall rooms inconvenient, but trade in the district about, that time (1858-9) was depressed to an unusual extent, a fact that made itself felt, pre-eminently in all local public institutions.. "Hard times" succeeded, when men worked "short time," when bankruptcies were common, trade bad, and money everywhere short; but " times mended " in 1860, and the directors had the gratification of reporting that the deed of transfer of tie ■ property was being prepared by their legal ad¬ viser, and that the greater part of the funds, necessary for the completion of the arrangements "had.been promised." The transfer: was ulti¬ mately carried out, and various improvements, made in the building, and from that time ta the.- present, the progress of the Athenocum has-been.* decidedly satisfactory; in evidence of this we* may content ourselves with pointing out the? gradual but steady increase of membeSyigd the