Connecticut Historical Society.

The charter of incorporation and by-laws of the Connecticut Historical Society, together with a list of the officers, and an address to the public (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryConnecticut Historical SocietyThe charter of incorporation and by-laws of the Connecticut Historical Society, together with a list of the officers, and an address to the public (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 1)
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Prof. JAMES L. KINGSLEY, New-Haven.
Rev. DAVID D. FIELD, Haddam.











THOMAS DAY, Chairman.



The Connecticut Historical Society was incorporated at the
session of the General Assembly in 1825, for the purpose of dis-
covering, procuring and preserving matter relative to the civil,
ecclesiastical and natural history of this State and of the United
States. The society was organized under the charter, soon after
it was granted, with the venerable author of McFingal at its
head; that indefatigable antiquarian, the Rev. Mr. (since Dr.)
Thomas Bobbins, being Corresponding Secretary, and the ac-
complished Professor Doanr, now Bishop of New- Jersey, Secre-
tary of the Standing Committee. Several meetings were held of
the society and of the committee ; by-laws were passed; new
members were propounded and elected ; an address to the public
was published; and contributions of considerable value were
Teceived. Within a year from the first meeting, however, Judge
Trumbull and Prof. Doane removed from the State ; and the
operations of the society were suspended. In 1839, the charter
was revived ; and the society was reorganized under it.

The general and ultimate object of this society is the history
of our state and country. Its functions are three-fold ; the
discovery, the collection and the preservation of the materials of
such history. To do these things most effectively, associated
action is necessary. Association awakens attention and keeps rt
awake ; stimulates effort ; encourages perseverance. An isola-
ted individual may discover a document or become acquainted
with a fact, which, by itself, would be regarded as unworthy of
serious attention, and would consequently be neglected ; and yet,
in connexion with other documents and other facts, it would
supply a chasm in a course of events, and render certain and
consistent what before appeared doubtful and discordant— at
once shedding light upon its concomitants, and being itself illus-
trated by light reflected from them.


There is not a nation on earth that has existed two hundred
years, the sources of whose history are more abundant and au-
thentic than those of our own. Its origin was not in a barba-
rous age ; its first settlers were not savage and ignorant men ; the
monuments of their liberties were not merely traditions and cus-
toms. The very foundations of our civil polity and the frame-
work of the superstructure rest on enduring records. These are
expressed with great precision ; are written in legible characters ;
and come to us in a good state of preservation. The proceed-
ings of all our corporations, from the sovereign power to a school
district, are matters of record ; and all our tribunals of justice
are courts of record. Something more, however, is desirable, if
not necessary, to develope the internal structure and gradual ad-
vance of society ; and the means of supplying this desideratum
are found, to some extent, in almost every family. They exist
in letters and journals ; in entries in the blank leaves of bibles,
almanacs and other books; in wills, deeds, covenants and other
contracts ; in indentures of apprenticeship ; in the proceedings
of public bodies, whether civil or ecclesiastical, whether corpo-
rations or voluntary associations; in maps, charts and surveys;
in the inscriptions on monuments and grave-stones; in articles
of dress, furniture and equipage ; in portraits and other pictures;
in the implements of the husbandman, the tools of the mechanic
and the machinery of the manufacturer ; in coins and paper used
as a currency ; in weapons of war and military standards ; in
Indian relics; in minutes of meteorological observations; in
newspapers and hand-bills ; and in printed books of every descrip-
tion, from the ponderous folio to the ephemeral pamphlet.

But numerous and multifarious as these materials are, they
are scattered over every part of the country ; each is known only
to a few ; and, under ordinary circumstances, they will be disre-
garded by all. The attention of observers needs to be excited
and directed to them. They must also have a tangible object in
collecting and preserving them ; for efforts apparently fruitless,
or not seen to be otherwise, will seldom be made. A general
and permanent repository affords the only effectual means of
preservation — of guarding against " the corrosions of time and
the power of accident." This security may, and as opportunity
is afforded, will be perfected, by publication.

The appropriate objects of the society embrace not only the
annals of the past, but the statistics of our own times. The value

of such enquiries as tend to develope the present condition and
the resources of the country, is now better understood and more
highly appreciated than formerly; but to prosecute them success-
fully and profitably, associated action and a safe and permanent
repository, are peculiarly desirable.

For the accomplishment of its views the society relies not only
upon the exertions of its own members, but confidently appeals
to our citizens generally for their encouragement and assistance.
Let it be borne in mind, that the members are to derive no
private advantage from the operations of the society, but that the
benefits resulting therefrom are exclusively of a public nature.

In the following list, the principal sources of the information
sought by the society, are enumerated. Any of the articles
therein specified will be gratefully received and carefully pre-
served, subject to be withdrawn, if required, at any time, from
the library or cabinet, by the person depositing them.

Manuscripts, Records, Pamphlets, and Books, relative to the
History of this State, and of the United States:

Orations, Sermons, Essays, Discourses, Poems and Tracts,
written, or delivered, on any public occasion, or in reference to
any remarkable character or event; especially, biographical me-
moirs and anecdotes of distinguished persons in this state, or who
have been connected with its settlement or history :

Laws, Journals, Copies of Records, and Proceedings of Con-
gresses, Legislatures, General Assemblies, Conventions, Commit-
tees of Safety, Secret Committees, Treaties and Negotiations
with Indian Tribes, or with any State or Nation :

Proceedings of Ecclesiastical Conventions or Councils, of all
denominations of Christians :

Narratives of Missionaries, Proceedings of Missionary or other
Religious Societies :

Accounts of Universities, Colleges, Academies, or Public
Schools, their origin, progress and present state:

Catalogues of Libraries ; Transactions of Societies for Literary,
Scientific, or Political purposes:

Topographical descriptions of Cities, Towns, Counties, &,c.
with Maps :

Tables of Diseases, Births, Deaths, and Population :

Accounts of Exports and Imports at various periods, and of
the progress of Commerce, Manufactures, and Agriculture:

Meteorological observations of every kind :


Memoirs, Anecdotes and Epistolary Correspondence of emi-
nent Americans, or of others connected with the settlement and
history of America :

Magazines, Reviews, Pamphlets, Newspapers, &c, especially
those of an early date :

All Books, Pamphlets, &c. published within the State :

Original Essays on the Civil, Ecclesiastical and Natural His-
tory of any State, City, Town, &.c. :

Genealogies of Families, especially of the first settlers of the
Colony, brought down to the present time :

Specimens in every department of Natural Science.

All communications for the Society, or Donations to its Li-
brary or Cabinet, are to be transmitted to Hartford, addressed to
Charles Hosmer, Esq. Recording Secretary, and Clerk of the
Standing Committee.

A convenient room in the City of Hartford, central and of easy
access, with suitable cases, shelves and other accommodations,
has been provided ; and the society has recommenced its opera-
tions, under favorable auspices, and with a spirit, which, if
cherished, can hardly fail of success.

1st Act.

At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, holclen at
Hartford, in said State, on the first Wednesday of May, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five :

Upon the petition of John Trumbull, and others, shewing
that in other States societies have been formed for the purpose of
collecting records and other documents connected with the early
settlement of our country, and praying for an act of incorpora-
tion, for the purpose of discovering, procuring and preserving
whatever may relate to the civil, ecclesiastical and natural histo-
ry of the United States, and especially of the State of Con-
necticut :

Resolved by this Assembly, That John Trumbull, Thomas C.

Brownell, Timothy Pitkin, John S. Peters, William W. Ells-
worth, Thomas Day, Thomas Robbins, Daniel Burhans, Thomas
Hubbard, Isaac Toucey, Nathaniel S. Wheaton, George Sumner,
Roger M. Sherman, William T. Williams, Martin Welles,
Joseph Battell, William Cooley, Thomas H. Gallaudet, Thomas
S. Williams, Eli Todd, Walter Mitchell, George W. Doane,
Samuel B. Woodward, Samuel H. Huntington, Samuel W. Dana,
James Gould, Samuel A. Foot, Nathan Johnson, Hawley Olm-
sted, Benjamin Trumbull, and John Hall, and their associates
and successors, be, and hereby are, ordained, constituted and
declared to be forever hereafter a body corporate, by the name of
the Connecticut Historical Society, and by that name they,
and their associates and successors, shall and may have perpetu-
al succession, shall be capable of suing and being sued, pleading
and being impleaded, and also to purchase, receive, hold, and
convey any estate, real or personal, to an amount not exceeding
thirty thousand dollars; and may have a common seal, and the
same may alter at pleasure ; may establish rules relative to the
admission of future members; may ordain, establish, and put
in execution such by-laws and regulations, not contrary to the
provisions of this Charter, or the laws of this State, as shall be
deemed necessary for the government of said corporation.

And be it further Resolved, That the Governor of this State, the
Lieutenant-Governor, and the Judges of the Superior Court,
shall be ex officio members of the Society.

And be it further Resolved, That said corporation shall meet
once a year for the choice of a President, Vice-President, Cor-
responding Secretary, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and such
other officers as may be designated from time to time by the by-
laws of the Society.

And be it further Resolved, That the first meeting of the soci-
ety shall be holden at the State-House in Hartford, at such time
as shall be designated by the Honorable John Trumbull, notice
thereof being previously given in one or more newspapers printed
in Hartford.

Provided nevertheless, That this act of incorporation shall be
subject to be revoked or altered at the pleasure of the General

2d Act.

At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut , holden at
Hartford, in said State, on the first Wednesday of May , in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine :

Whereas John Trumbull and others, at the session of this As-
sembly, held at Hartford, on the first Wednesday of May, 1825,
were incorporated, by the name of the Connecticut Historical
Society, for the purpose of discovering, procuring and preserv-
ing materials for the civil, ecclesiastical and natural history of
the United States, and especially of the State of Connecticut :
And whereas, it was provided by the act of incorporation,
that said corporation should meet once a year for the choice of
a president, vice-president, corresponding secretary, record-
ing secretary, treasurer, and such other officers as might be
designated from time to time, by the by-laws of the society :
And whereas, the persons so incorporated, met in the month
of May, 1825, and accepted said act of incorporation, and
elected the officers mentioned therein, who entered upon the
duties assigned them respectively ; but since the year 1825,
there has been no election of officers in said society, and it is
now a matter of doubt whether the charter of said society is
not forfeited by non-user ; and if otherwise, it is difficult to
ascertain who are now members : And whereas, some valuable
historical materials were collected by said society, while it was
in operation, which have been thus far preserved, but which
are in danger of being scattered and lost, without the care of
this, or some similar institution : And whereas, the objects of
said society are important and worthy of legislative protection
and encouragement : it is, therefore,

Resolved and declared by this Assembly, That the existence of
said society as a body corporate, with the powers and privileges
originally granted thereto, be continued and perpetuated, as
though its officers had been chosen annually since 1825.

Resolved further, That Thomas C. Brownell, John S. Peters,
Wm. W. Ellsworth, Thomas Day, Thomas Robbins, Isaac
Toucey, George Sumner, Roger M. Sherman, William T.
Williams, Martin Welles, Thomas H. Gallaudet, Walter Mitchell,
Samuel II. Huntington, Nathan Johnson, Ilawley Olmsted, David
S. Boardman, Charles Hosmer, Epaphroditus C. Bacon, Erastus
Smith, George R. Bulkley, Edward C. Ilerrick, Noah Porter, jr.,

James L. Kingsley, Leonard Bacon, Nathaniel Goodwin, Charles
Davies, Royal R. Hinman, John A. Rockwell, Thomas B. Butler,
L. P. Waldo, Andrew T. Judson, Henry Barnard, 2d., Elkanah
H. Hodges, shall be deemed the present members of said society,
and shall continue such, subject to the regulations and by-laws of
said society : Provided, that the payment of three dollars as an
admission fee, for the benefit of the society, shall be an essential
qualification of membership ; and no person who has not already
paid such fee, shall hereafter be deemed a member, until such
payment be made.

Resolved further, That Thomas Day be empowered to call
the next meeting of said society, for the choice of officers, and
the transaction of other business, at such place in the city of
Hartford, and at such time as he may designate for that purpose,
giving previous notice thereof, in one or more newspapers
printed in said city.

Provided, nevertheless, that these Resolves, as well as the
original act of incorporation, shall be subject to be revoked or
altered, at the pleasure of the General Assembly.

— —



1. In addition to the officers mentioned in the original charter,
there shall be appointed, annually, seven Vice-Presidents, and a
Standing Committee, consisting of said officers and seven other
members ; all which officers shall hold their offices for one year
and until others shall be elected in their stead. When a vacancy
in any office, by resignation, death, or removal from the state,
shall happen during the year, the Standing Committee may fill the
same for the remainder of the term.

2. The annual meeting of the society shall be held in the
month of May, at such time and place as the Standing Committee
shall appoint for that purpose; they giving previous notice thereof,


in such manner as they may deem proper. Special meetings may
be called by the President, or other senior officer in the society,
on the application or with the consent of three members; public
notice thereof being previously given.

3. The Standing Committee shall have power to manage the
business and concerns of the society, in all cases, except the
appointment of the annual officers and the election of new mem-
bers ; and it shall be their duty to promote the objects of the
society, by such means and in such ways as they may deem
proper. Any three members of such committee may constitute
a quorum for the transaction of business.

4. The Corresponding Secretary shall receive and keep all
communications addressed to or intended for the society ; and
shall conduct the correspondence in behalf of the society.

5. The Recording Secretary shall have the custody of the files,
records and seal of the society ; shall give notice to new members
of their election, and shall furnish them with certificates of mem-
bership ; shall, when directed by the proper officer of the society,
call meetings of the same; and shall keep an accurate journal of
the transactions of the society.

6. The Treasurer shall receive the admission fees, and report
the names of the persons paying the same to the recording secre-
tary ; he shall also receive all other monies due, and all donations
or bequests of money made to the society. He shall pay to the
order of the chairman of the Standing Committee, such sums as
may be required for the ordinary expenses of the society, and
such as the society may otherwise direct to be paid. He shall
keep a true and faithful account of all moneys received and paid
by him, and of the property and debts of the society; and shall,
at the annual meeting in May, render a particular statement, to
be examined and audited by a committee appointed for that

7. Additional members may be chosen by ballot, and by a
major vote, on the nomination of the Standing Committee, at any
legal meeting of the society, at which not less than seven mem-
bers are present. Honorary members residing out of this state,
not at any time to exceed half the number of other members, may
be chosen, in the same manner, at any legal meeting of the soci-
ety ; which last-mentioned members shall not be subject to any
admission fee or tax.


8. All donations to, and deposites with, the society, shall be
entered in a book kept for the purpose.

9. No donation shall be exchanged or disposed of, unless the
society have a duplicate of the same.

10. All deposites left with the society shall be carefully pre-
served, and may at any time be taken by the depositor personally,
or delivered on his written order. But if the depositor shall fail
to take back the same, or give his order therefor, then the same
shall be entered among the donations of the society, and kept as
their other property; unless, at the time of making the deposite,
other conditions shall be prescribed by the depositor.

11. If any person elected as a resident member, shall neglect to
pay the admission fee for the period of three months after he shall
have been notified by the Recording Secretary of his election, he
shall be considered as declining the election.



Online LibraryConnecticut Historical SocietyThe charter of incorporation and by-laws of the Connecticut Historical Society, together with a list of the officers, and an address to the public (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 1)