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First Meeting of the Provisional Committee.

societies; and while the Committees possess an undoubted right to make any alterations in their By-Laws, this right should not be exercised, except in cases of obvious necessity.

Specimens of all the Books and Reports referred to in the By-Laws will be found, in one connected series, in Chap. VII. Section V. with such remarks and explanations as may be necessary to illustrate their practical tendency.




1. A slight review of the By-Laws of the Auxiliary Society, and the observations annexed to them, (See Chap. II. Section III.) will be sufficient to shew, that they are framed with particular reference to the subject on which we are now about to enter. It will be recollected, that the several districts of Southwark were regularly defined, and respectively placed under the care of a Sub-Committee, who were instructed to adopt measures for forming a Bible Association in their district. In order to acquire a perfect knowledge of the plan adopted and pursued, it is only necessary to follow one of these District Committees, and to trace their proceedings until the object was finally attained.

2. Having interested a few serious and active individuals, and secured their co-operation by a clear and simple statement of the design, they were invited to meet the District Committee at a suitable place, generally the house of one of the members. At this, the first meeting of the Provisional Committee, after every requisite explanation had been given, the Chairman (who was always a member of the Auxiliary Committee) asked each individual present, for the names and address of such of his friends and acquaintance in the district as he conceived likely to promote the important design, and to become efficient members of the Committee of the intended Bible Association; strongly impressing on the attention of those present, the importance of moral and religious character in their selection, in preference to any other consideration. Fifteen or twenty names having been thus procured and entered on the Minutes, they were subsequently transcribed into two or three separate lists, which were numbered from one upwards. The following Resolution was then adopted :

"Resolved-That A. B. and C. D. be deputed to wait personally on the individuals comprised in list No. I. for the purpose of endeavouring to interest them in the projected association, and to request the favour of their attendance at the adjournment of this Meeting."

Similar resolutions were then adopted with respect to the other lists, and the respective deputations were furnished with a supply of printed papers for circulation among their friends.

The most useful papers for this purpose are Nos. I, V, & VII, of the Appendix.

Second Meeting of the Provisional Committee.

If any one of the new members appeared qualified to act as Secretary, the following resolution was adopted :—

"Resolved-That E. F. be requested to officiate as Provisional Secretary to this Committee; that he be authorised to get 250 notices printed,* and that he send one timely to each person now present or specified in the lists.”

If none of the new Members appeared qualified to act as secretaries, the above resolution was deferred till the next meeting, and the Auxiliary District Committee continued to issue notices in the mean time.

The meeting then adjourned for a few days.

The interval between the first and second meeting was occupied in spreading information, and soliciting additional personal aid; the co-operation of clergymen and ministers was requested, and their knowledge of character and ability was always found eminently conducive to the progress of the work.

In reference to this primary meeting, it is only necessary to observe, that the individuals engaged should be prudently and cautiously selected.-It is to be presumed that the gentlemen who compose Auxiliary Committees possess an adequate knowledge of the inhabitants of the district, to enable them to select those who are best qualified to fulfil the duties assigned them. The most clear and correct information relative to the object in view, should be diffused at the outset, and every misapprehension be promptly explained.

3. At the Second Meeting, from twenty to thirty individuals usually attended; and the members of the District Committee-who were always assisted on these occasions by one or more of the secretaries of the Auxiliary Society-having answered every objection, explained the principles and object of the institution, and rendered the plan perfectly intelligible to those who were present; the following RESOLUTIONS were adopted:

I. Resolved-That it is highly expedient to form a Bible Association in this parish [or district]; and that it be denominated the Bible Association.

II. Resolved-That the concerns of this Association be under the management of a President, Treasurer, three Secretaries, and a Committee of not less than other persons.

III. Resolved-That A.B., C. D., and E. F. be a Sub-Committee of patronage, and that they submit to the next meeting the names of suitable persons for President and Treasurer.

IV. Resolved-That G. H., I. K., and L. M. be a Sub-Committee, for dividing this parish [or district] into [12, 18, 24, &c. according to the extent


"The next Meeting of the Provisional Committee will be held at the evening of next



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day of

——, at o'clock precisely.


By drawing the pen through the word "Provisional," any surplus copies of this notice may be subsequently used for the Permanent Committee.

Observations on the Minutes of the Second Meeting,

and population] sub-divisions; that they specify, on different sheets of paper, the respective boundaries of each, with the several streets, lanes, &c. comprised therein, and that they submit the same to the next meeting.

V. Resolved-That N. O. be requested to bring to the next meeting a Code of Rules for the government of the intended Association, leaving blanks for the names of the President, Treasurer, Secretaries, and Committee. VI. Resolved-That P. Q., R. S., and T. U. (having previously consented to act,) be proposed to the General Meeting as Secretaries for the ensuing year.

VII. Resolved-That W.X. and Y. Z. be requested to examine and report to the next meeting the most suitable place for holding the General Meeting.

VIII. Resolved-That the following persons be proposed to the General Meeting as Members of the Committee for the ensuing year, with power to add to their number.

[Here the names of those who had agreed to act on the Committee were inserted.]

When a sufficient number of persons to constitute a Committee could not be procured at the Second Meeting, the following Resolution was adopted :—


IX. Resolved-That B. A., D. C., F. E. be a Sub-Committee, to bring to the next meeting a list of persons suitable for committee-men, and who shall have consented to the appointment.

If no particular business demanded attention, the Meeting was then adjourned for three or four days by the following Resolution:

instant, at


X. Resolved-That this meeting do now adjourn to next o'clock precisely, at this house; and that the secretary give timely notice to those who are now present, and such other persons as he may deem suitable.

As these Resolutions involve some measures which materially affect the future prosperity of the Society, the following OBSERVATIONS will not be considered out of place.

1. The Committee being authorised by the Third general Rule to add to their number, it is unnecessary to admit many members in this stage of the proceedings. Every day will increase their knowledge of suitable characters; and it is only requisite to secure the services of a sufficient number of individuals to carry the preliminary arrangements into effect.

II. In reference to the Third Resolution, the clerical head of the parish should always be solicited to fill the office of President: should he decline, a respectable layman should be selected:—and as the Treasurer is Chairman ex officio of the Committee in the absence of the President, an intelligent, prudent, and respectable person should likewise be chosen for this office.

III. In the division of the town, parish, &c. into districts, the observations already offered in Section II. will be found to apply. These arrangements should be made by those gentlemen of the Committee who possess the greatest local knowledge.

Observations on the Minutes of the Second Meeting.

IV. The duty enjoined by the Fifth Resolution is usually fulfilled by the Secretary, who prepares a fair copy of the rules recommended for adoption. (See Section II.)-It is certainly at the discretion of every Association to adopt these or any other regulations; but it is respectfully submitted, that many advantages will result from having one uniform plan of operation throughout the whole system.

v. Few considerations are more important than those connected with the choice of the Secretaries. They should not only be active and zealous, acquainted with the details of business, and interested in the object, but respectable individuals who have a certain portion of time at their own command: they should also possess that degree of talent and influence which may enable them promptly to assist the collectors in any case of difficulty and doubt. The regular and punctual attendance of Secretaries at the meetings of the Committee is of very material consequence :-if they be remiss in the discharge of this duty, the collectors will speedily manifest a similar declension; while their punctuality and judgment will not only encourage the collectors, but strengthen their own hands in the impartial administration of the rules. It may be proper to observe, that from this time the Secretaries act as such, in conducting the preliminary business.

VI. As much of the success which has attended Bible Associations may be ascribed to the tone and spirit which have been excited by the primary General Meeting, too much attention cannot be directed to those preparatory measures which are now under consideration. The place, day, and hour should be selected which appear most accordant with the comfort and convenience of the inhabitants; and it is evident, that the co-operation and harmony, which so particularly characterize this great design, will be most effectually preserved by avoiding every thing partaking of a sectarian aspect. The place of meeting should be central and commodious; and the time appointed, such as not to interfere with the duties and engagements of the labouring classes.

VII. In reference to the Tenth Resolution, great advantages have been derived from a strict adherence to the time appointed for committee-meetings, by which habits of regularity and attention are inculcated and confirmed.

VIII. At the close of every meeting of the Provisional Committee, the Secretary should immediately furnish an active individual of each Sub-Committee, then appointed, with a of the resolution which requires attention; and he should


Third Meeting of the Provisional Committee.

take due care to summon his colleagues, and proceed to the business for which they were appointed. The several SubCommittees, if composed of judicious persons, will find ample time to perform their respective duties within the prescribed period of adjournment: should any difficulty occur, they apply to the District Committee of the Auxiliary Society, whose duty it is to afford them full information and any requisite assistance.

4. At the Third Meeting, the several Sub-Committees presented their respective reports, which, with any necessary amendments, were adopted. The Resolutions to be submitted to the General Meeting were completed, by inserting the names of the President, Treasurer, Secretaries, and Committee.

The sheets of paper, specifying the several sub-divisions of the parish [or district] designed to comprise the Association, having been given in, the O names of two or more members were attached to each, one of whom was appointed Secretary of the district; and these arrangements were regularly entered on the Minutes.

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I. Resolved-That the General Meeting be held at [here specify the place] on the evening of the day of, at o'clock precisely; and that the President be requested by the secretaries to take the chair. II. Resolved-That a circular letter be addressed by the secretaries to the following clergymen, ministers, and other gentlemen, respectfully re questing the favour of their company, to take part in the proceedings of the meeting; and that the assistance of the Committee of the Auxiliary Society to conduct the business be requested.

[Here insert a list of proper persons to be invited as Speakers on the occasion, to` each of whom one of the hand-bills to be adopted by the following Resolution should be enclosed.]

III. Resolved-That the following form of a hand-bill be adopted: viz.

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To include the Co-operation of all Classes in supplying the Poor, particularly of this District, with the Holy Scriptures,

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The Attendance of the Inhabitants, particularly of the Labouring Classes, is earnestly requested.

Suitable Accommodation will be provided for those LADIES who may be desirous of promoting this important design.”

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