Mr. Hamilton stated that he had received a letter from Dr. Young, of Invercargill, in regard to the bird which was exhibited at the last meeting of the Institute—viz., the celebrated Notornis.
He said the doctor informed him that the owner, Mr. Ross, had kindly consented to make a considerable sacrifice, from his point of view, so that the bird should be retained in the colony. Mr. Ross's patriotism was such that he said if the Institute could succeed in raising £250 he was prepared to accept that amount, so that the bird should remain in
the colony, and he would not seek for a better offer outside. He had already received an offer of a greater amount; than that from another country, and he (Mr. Hamilton) had no doubt that he could obtain a higher price if he put it in the open market. He (the speaker) might be permitted to say that, much as he should like to see the bird added to our Muaeum treasures, he must still adhere to the views which he partly expressed at last meeting—viz., that the capture of another bird—a young female—pointed to the fact that there must be other specimens of the bird still existing; and he thought that, if the members of the Institute felt inclined to raise any money, that money would be better expended in undertaking a private search for living specimens, which should be preserved on Resolution Island.
The Chairman said, no doubt Mr. Ross's offer was a most public-spirited one; but Still it was entirely beyond the means of the Institute to spend so much money in the purchase of the bird. It would be a thousand pities if the bird left New Zealand, and it might be possible to make some public appeal to raise the necessary £250 for the purchase of the bird.
Mr. Hamilton did not for a moment contemplate that the Institute would spend £250, but it could head a public subscription with a substantial amount. However, even if a public subscription were raised, and the Government contributed a certain amount, he still adhered to the views he had expressed on the subject.
The Chairman said they could not do less than send a grateful note of thanks to Mr. Ross and Dr. Young, and he would propose that.
Mr. Melland suggested that the Government should be asked to buy the bird from Mr. Ross, and that Mr. Henry should accompany Mr. Ross on an expedition with the view of seeing if they could catch some live specimens of the bird.
Dr. Benham was quite in agreement with previous speakers in saying that they should not spend so much money on the purchase of the bird. The Institute ought, however, to thank Mr. Ross and Dr. Young for allowing them to have the bird on exhibition for so long a period. It had been a source of great pleasure to themselves, and to a good many people who had come to the Museum to Bee it.
Mr. Smith moved, That the Government be asked to purchase the bird.
Mr. Melland seconded the motion, which was carried.
It was also decided to write to Mr. Ross and Dr. Young, thanking them for the offer they had made in connection with the bird.