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Observations on the By-Laws.

XV. The Secretaries shall be, ex officio, members of the Committees of all the Associations connected with this society.

XVI. No new By-Law shall be made, nor any existing By-Law repealed or altered, without one month's previous notice being given, and a copy of the proposed addition or alteration sent to every member of the Committee.


The similarity of these By-Laws, in many essential points, to those recommended for adoption by the Committees of Auxiliary Societies, justifies a reference to the Observations on the latter (See Chap. II. Section III.), for such general explanations as appear necessary. A considerable degree of repetition is inseparable from a work of this nature; and where it can be avoided with a due regard to explicitness, the candid reader of any separate chapter will forgive the additional trouble to which he is subjected. Those peculiar features which distinguish the practical regulations of a Ladies' Branch Society will now be considered.

1. It is highly desirable, for reasons which are sufficiently obvious, that the Committee-meetings of all Female societies should be held in the early part of the day: eleven or twelve o'clock is generally: found to be the most suitable time: and if punctuality of attendance, and strict adherence to the prescribed regulations, be observed, two hours will be found amply sufficient for the transaction of the business. Every member should be furnished, annually, with a Committee-Card (See Specimen No. 10, Seventh Division of this Section); and any further intimation of the regular monthly meetings will be unnecessary. It is the duty of the Minute Secretary to prepare an Agenda, or Paper of Business (See Specimen, Chap. I. Section II.) which is laid, with a copy of the By-Laws, before the Lady who presides.

11. The various Reports alluded to in the Fifth By-Law will be described in a subsequent division of this Section:-their regular presentation at every Committee-meeting is essential to the preservation of order; and in case of any omission, measures should be immediately adopted to prevent its recurrence. The design of this By-Law is two-fold;-first, to obtain a full and faithful representation of the circumstances of every Association; and secondly, to ascertain the precise state of the whole connected institution. These reports, therefore, should receive the most deliberate consideration, and the respective District Committees be prepared to afford any requisite explanation. The causes which have produced any extraordinary change, whether favourable or unfavourable, should be diligently investigated-if any Association appear in a declining state, the most prompt and judicious measures for its revival should be adopted, by the appointment of a suitable SubCommittee for this especial purpose:-where a more than usual degree of success, either pecuniary or moral, has been experienced,

Depository-its nature and advantages.

the means of its attainment should be ascertained and considered, in reference to their more general application;-and, if the slightest deviation from the principles and rules of the Society be manifested, the most decided measures should be taken to correct the evil and prevent its repetition. The Committee, in all their proceedings, should consider themselves the guardians of the interests, the peace, and the character of the united Associations : and, remembering, that "whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it;" press forward in that "more excellent way," by which an evidence is afforded that they are members of "the body of Christ."

III. The Depository should be established in a central and convenient place; and if in or near the house where the Committeemeetings are held, it will be the more desirable. The gentlemen of the Liverpool Bible Society have supplied their Ladies' Branch with eligible premises, for both purposes; and at Plymouth, a suitable room has been procured, at the annual rent of six pounds, which is fitted up as a Depository, and in which the Committee also meet. A sufficient, though not an extravagant stock of Bibles and Testaments, to answer the demands of the Associations, should be constantly kept on hand, and properly arranged; and the Books should be frequently examined, not only to ascertain the correctness of the Stock-list, but to insure their preservation. Another department of the Depository should include an adequate supply of Account-Books, Visiting and Collecting-Books, printed Papers, Forms of the various Reports, &c. for the use of the society and its connected Associations. The Reports of the Parent Institution, and of Auxiliary and other societies, with a connected series of the " Monthly Extracts," constitute a valuable addition to the Dépository. It will save considerable trouble to all parties, if the Bible Secretary of the respective Associations deliver their order for any Bibles and Testaments required, at the close of the regular Committee-meetings; but as many unforeseen circumstances will require attention, the Branch Secretaries should appoint one day, weekly, when they may be met with at the Depository at stated hours.

IV. Although recent personal investigation has established the melancholy fact, that many extensive districts in our own highlyfavoured country are, in a lamentable degree, destitute of the holy scriptures; yet experience has proved, that it is not by gratuitous supply this deficiency can be best remedied. A mass of irresistible evidence has already testified, not only to the ability but the inclination of the labouring classes to aid themselves, and to the superior value attached to that blessing which has been thus obtained, when the mode of procuring it has been opened to them. No instance has, hitherto, occurred, wherein a Female Association in connexion with a Ladies' Branch has required a supply of Bibles and Testaments beyond the amount of money remitted: on the contrary, a

Inexpediency of Special Committees.-Choice of Secretaries.

laudable desire is manifested to contribute in aid of the general design of the Parent Society; and this disposition, it is confidently hoped, will become still more universal. But it should not be concealed, that a degree of lukewarmness has been witnessed, in some quarters, in reference to the Foreign operations of the Bible Society. It has been asked, "Why cannot foreign nations supply themselves; and why should we be required to assist them?" To this inquiry, the Christian will find the best answer in his Bible, and in his own heart: and those who are acquainted with the state of other countries, and especially of Heathen lands, will find in the simple words, " they cannot help themselves," a sufficient, because a true reply. But this subject has been so fully treated in the preceding parts of this work (see Chap. I. Sections X. & XI.), that it is not necessary to enlarge on it in this place. Shall it be said in the nineteenth century, and in a land which owes to foreigners this sacred foundation of its dearest rights and its highest privileges, that they shall now look to her in vain ?-Shall the seas which bound her shores circumscribe the range of her benevolence; instead of fulfilling the gracious designs of her God and Saviour, by bearing to all kindreds, tongues, and people, the evidence of her gratitude, and the charter of our common salvation?" Silver and gold THEY have none;" but never will England refuse to say unto them, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"

v. In a Ladies' Branch Society, as in all kindred institutions, the necessity for special Committee-meetings will seldom occur, if the Secretaries be executive in the discharge of their duties. A moderate exercise of fore-thought will generally enable them to bring forward every subject requiring consideration, at the regular monthly meetings; at which nothing is more likely to insure the punctual attendance of the members, than the avoidance of extraordinary claims on their time.

VI. The privilege conferred on the Secretaries by the XVth By-Law, will be found highly conducive to the interests of the several Associations; and it is very desirable that those officers should avail themselves of it, as far as may be consistent with their more immediate duties. The correct knowledge thus acquired of the system, in all its practical relations, will enable them to conduct the general business with ease and efficacy. If other Ladies properly qualified can be found to occupy this important station, it is recommended that they shall not be selected from among the officers of the united Associations; for although it may reasonably be expected that no undue partiality would be manifested, in the event of such selection, the mere suspicion of its existence would weaken the hands of the Secretaries, and contract their field of usefulness.

When the Rules and By-Laws have been maturely considered and adopted, a certain number of copies should be

Address to the Mistresses of Families.

printed, and two or three sent to each of the members. The names of the Patronesses, Officers, and Committee may be advantageously prefixed; and in some societies the following observations have been appended :

"The RULES and REGULATIONS of the SOCIETY, with the ByLAWS of the COMMITTEE, are forwarded to the Members, in the earnest hope that they sufficiently explain the nature of those interesting duties which are required from them. The purity of

the design can only be maintained by the watchful care of those who are privileged to take an active part in the practical details of the Bible Society; and it is, therefore, incumbent on them to adhere, with scrupulous attention, to the simple nature of the institution, and in the spirit of meekness and comprehensive charity to pursue the object.

6. The circulation, by means of the Collectors, of an Address to the Mistresses of Families, on the formation of a Ladies' Branch Society, has been attended with considerable advantage, in every point of view.

The specimen subjoined will sufficiently explain the nature and design of such a document, which should be prepared at the primary meeting of the Committee:

"MADAM,-We have the pleasure to inform you, that a Society has been recently established, denominated "The Ladies' Branch of the Plymouth, Plymouth-Dock, and Stonehouse Auxiliary Bible Society," which, by a division of the towns and neighbourhood into districts, and the formation of an Association of Ladies in each, proposes to unite the exertions of all Females, whose benevolence may dispose them, to supply every individual who is destitute of the holy scriptures, with copies of the Authorised Version without note or comment, by collecting their subscription of one penny or upwards per week, according to their circumstances. Two Ladies will regularly call for these subscriptions.

"It is hoped that many important advantages will result from this plan of regularly visiting the labouring classes of society: their real condition will be thus correctly ascertained, and opportunity afforded of recommending habits of order, cleanliness, and frugality. But it is to its advantages, with respect to domestic servants, that your attention is more particularly solicited much of our comfort depends upon this class of society; and surely it is of importance to furnish them with those sacred records, which, if seriously perused, will insure their good conduct, while they promote their present comfort and guide them to future happiness. It may be said, that most servants are furnished with Bibles by their masters; but it has been very generally observed, that Bibles thus provided are not so justly valued as those which are purchased by themselves, and thus become a part of their individual property.

66 These observations are respectfully presented to your consideration: and if you approve of them, you are solicited to speak to your servants upon the subject; the regulations of this society not permitting any collector to apply to a servant, except through the medium or by permission of her

Specimens of the Books and Papers.-Minute Books.

mistress. If your servants become subscribers, their subscriptions will be called for, either quarterly, monthly, or weekly, at your pleasure; and in due time, Bibles and Testaments will be delivered to them, either at or under the cost prices, and considerably cheaper than they could be purchased at a bookseller's.

"Donations and free-subscriptions will be thankfully received by the collectors, in order to enable the society to deliver Bibles at reduced prices, or gratuitously to those who are unable to pay the cost price.

Should a consideration of these suggestions, which are respectfully submitted, induce you, Madam, to favour the society with your personal cooperation, as a member of one of the District Associations, your name will be gratefully received. More than 10,000 British Ladies are now engaged in this important and interesting employment, which requires the appropriation of only one hour in the week. Many Ladies of the highest rank and station take an active part in the proceedings of similar societies; and the practical results have more than surpassed the most sanguine anticipations of those connected with the institution: habits of order, sobriety, cleanliness, decorum, and loyalty, have been acquired by the labouring classes; and the general welfare of society has been sensibly and essentially promoted, wherever a Ladies' Bible Association has been established.

By order of the Committee,

A. B.

C. D. Secretaries.'
E. F.

7. The forms of the Books and Papers, and the mode of keeping the accounts, resemble in many particulars those of an Auxiliary Society, which have been minutely described in Chapter II., Section V. Where any difference exists, it will be distinctly pointed out in the subsequent observations.

In all the following Specimens, the entries in Italics, and the amounts of moneys, are to be considered as manuscript.


The rough and fair Minute Books are precisely similar in form to those of an Auxiliary Society. The following specimen, which includes the proceedings of the first and second meetings of the Committee, will sufficiently illustrate the mode of transacting the business.

At a Meeting of the Presidents, Treasurers, and Secretaries of the several Ladies' Bible Associations in the towns of Plymouth, Plymouth Dock, Stonehouse, and their vicinity ;


A. B. in the Chair;

and the following Officers of the respective Associations,

[Here follow the names]

with Messrs.--[here follow the names of the Secretaries of the Auxiliary Society, and that of a gentleman who attended on behalf of the Parent Institution], Visitors.

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