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Charter and by-laws of the Pennsylvania society for promoting the abolition of slavery online

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Charter and By-Laws



of



THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY

W

for

PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY,

AND FOR THE RELIEF OF FREE NEGROES

UNLAWFULLY HELD IN BONDAGE,

AND FOR

IMPROVING THE CONDITION OF THE

AFRICAN RACE



Philadelphia, Pa.
1916



3/ *J






AN ACT
To incorporate a Society by the name of

THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY

for

PROMOTING THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY,

AND FOR THE RELIEF OF FREE NEGROES

UNLAWFULLY HELD IN BONDAGE,

AND FOR

IMPROVING THE CONDITION OF THE AFRICAN

RACE



Section 1. Whereas — a voluntary society has for
some years subsisted in this state, by the name and
title of "The Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of
Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes unlawfully held
in Bondage," which has evidently co-operated with the
views of the legislature, expressed in the act of this
commonwealth, passed the first day of March, in the
year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and
eighty, entitled, "An Act for the gradual abolition of
slavery," and a supplement thereto, passed the twenty-
ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thou-
sand seven hundred and eighty-eight, entitled, "An Act
to explain and amend an act, entitled an act for the
gradual abolition of slavery."

And whereas this society have lately extended their
plan so far as to comprehend within their intentions
the improving the condition as well of those negroes
who now are, or hereafter shall become, free, by the
operation of the said acts, or otherwise, and their pos-

1



terity; and have, by their petition to this house, prayed
to be created and erected into a body politic and cor-
porate, for the purpose of increasing their ability to be
useful in the several matters aforesaid.

Section 2. Be it therefore enacted, and it is hereby
enacted, by representatives of the freemen of the Com-
monwealth of Pennsylvania, in general assembly met,
and by authority of the same, That the present members
of the said Society, viz. — Dr. Benjamin Franklin et al.:

And such other person and persons as shall be here-
after mentioned, and their successors, be and they are
hereby created and declared to be one body politic
and corporate in deed and in law, by the name style
and title of "The Pennsylvania Society for Promoting
the Abolition of Slavery, and for the Relief of Free
Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage and for improving
the condition of the African Race," and shall have
perpetual succession, and shall be able to sue and be
sued, implead, and be answered unto in all courts of
law and equity, and to make, have and use one common
seal to give authenticity to their acts, deeds, records and
proceedings, and the same at their will and pleasure to
break, alter, change and make anew, and to purchase,
take and hold by gift, grant, demise, bargain and sale,
will and devise, bequest, testament, legacy, or by any
other mode of conveyance, any lands, tenements, goods,
chattels, or estate, real, personal or mixed, or choses
in action, not exceeding at any one time the yearly
value of fifteen hundred pounds lawful money of Penn-
sylvania in the whole; and the same to give, grant,
bargain, sell, demise, convey and assure to others for
the whole or any lesser estate than they have in the
same, in such manner and form as the said Society at
their future meetings hereinafter described shall order

2



and direct; and to apply the rents, issues, and profits,
income and interest of such estate, and the monies
arising from the sales of any parts thereof, to the uses,
ends, intents and purposes of their institution, according
to the rules, orders, regulations, and constitution of the
said society, now in force, or which, according to the
provisions hereinafter made, shall from time to time
be declared and ordained, touching and concerning the
same, as fully and effectually as any natural person or
body politic and corporate within this state, by the
constitution and laws of this commonwealth, can do,
and perform the like things.

Section 3. (As amended pursuant to decree of Court of
Common Pleas No. 3, of Philadelphia County, March
Term, 1900, No. 399.)

And be it further enacted, and it is hereby enacted by
the authority aforesaid, That the officers of the said
Society shall consist of one President, two Vice Presi-
dents, one Secretary, one Treasurer, who shall also be
keeper of the common seal, and so many counsellors
as the said Society shall from time to time think proper
to appoint and elect, and a Board of Managers, composed
of the President, the two Vice-Presidents, the Secretary
and the Treasurer of the said Society and four other mem-
bers of the said Society, all of whom shall be chosen
annually by ballot of a majority of votes of the whole
number of members who shall be present at the Annual
Meeting, which shall be held on the last Fifth day
(Thursday) of the Fourth month (April), in every year,
or at such other time and at such place as the said
Society shall by their rules and orders direct and appoint.

Section 4. (As amended pursuant to decree of Court of
Common Pleas No. 3, of Philadelphia County, March
Term, 1900, No. 399.)

3



And be it further enacted by the authority afore-
said, That the said Society shall and may hold one
Annual Meeting as provided for in section 3 at such place
and hour of the day as they may agree unto in every
year forever hereafter, and may adjourn said Annual
Meeting from time to time, and shall and may hold such
other special meetings as the Society by their rules and
orders shall direct and appoint, and shall and may hold
such other meetings as the President of the said Society
shall think necessary to call, or one of the Vice Presi-
dents of the said Society, at the request of any six mem-
bers thereof shall call, of which special meetings notice
shall be given in two of the public newspapers printed
in the city of Philadelphia, at least ten days before the
time of any such meeting, at any of which annual or
special meetings or adjournments thereof, it shall and
may be lawful for the said Society, or so many of them
as shall meet, by a majority of voices to agree, to ordain
and to establish such by-laws, rules, orders and regulations
as they shall judge necessary for the well-ordering and
governing the said Society and for the well-managing the
affairs thereof; and to fix and ascertain the terms and
conditions upon which new members shall be admitted
to the said Society and upon which former members
may be removed, and to define and ascertain the duties
of the several officers of the said Society, and for want
of obedience in any of the officers of the said Society to
remove and displace them and others to appoint, and
generally to agree to, ordain and establish all such
by-laws, rules, orders, and regulations for the well-
governing of the said Society, for perpetuating a succes-
sion of its officers, and performing the duties they have
undertaken, or shall undertake, as the said Society at
any of their said annual meetings, or special meetings

4



and adjournments thereof, shall by a majority of voices
determine to be right and proper. Provided always,
nevertheless, that no real estate shall be disposed of,
or the right and estate of the Society therein be lessened,
or altered for the less, unless the President, or one of
the Vice Presidents, and at least twelve members shall
be present at such meeting, and a majority of those
present shall agree to the same, and provided also that
all and every the by-laws, rules, orders and regulations
already enacted and made or hereafter to be enacted
and made by the said Society be reasonable in them-
selves and not contradictory to the constitution and
laws of the Commonwealth.

Section 5. And be it further enacted by the authority
aforesaid, That the Constitution of "the Pennsylvania
Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and for
the Relief of Free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage,"
as enlarged at a meeting of the said Society held at
Philadelphia, the twenty-third day of April, in the year
one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and all
rules, orders, regulations and proceedings made and
had by the said Society in pursuance thereof, be and
they are hereby declared to be in full force and binding
upon the said Society, by this act, created and incorpo-
rated, until the same shall be repealed, altered or annulled
at a quarterly or special meeting or adjournment thereof,
to be held in pursuance of this act, as fully and effectu-
ally as if the same to be originally adopted by the said
Society, hereby incorporated and created at one of their
said meetings.

Section 6. And be it further enacted by the authority
aforesaid, That until the next election which shall be
held by the said Society in pursuance of this act, the said
Benjamin Franklin shall be the President thereof, the

5



said James Pemberton and Jonathan Penrose shall be
the Vice Presidents thereof, and the said Benjamin
Rush and Caspar Wistar shall be the Secretaries thereof,
the said James Starr shall be the Treasurer thereof,
and William Lewis, Myers Fisher, William Rawle, and
John D. Coxe shall be the counsellors thereof, and that
all and every the committee and committees hereto-
fore appointed by the said Society for promoting the
abolition of slavery and for the relief of free negroes
unlawfully held in bondage, shall be and continue to
be the officers and committees of the said Society here-
by created and incorporated, and shall report to, and
account with the same, in the same manner, as they
would have done to the former society in case this act
had not been passed.

Section 7. And be it enacted by the authority
aforesaid, That this act shall in all things be construed
in the most favourable and liberal manner to and for
the Society, in order to effectuate the privileges hereby
to them granted; and that no misnomer of the said
corporation in any deed, will, testament, gift, grant,
demise or other instrument of contract, or conveyance
shall vitiate or defeat the same, if the said corporation
shall be sufficiently described to ascertain the intent
of the party or parties to give, devise, bequeath, convey,
or assure to, or contract with the said corporation
hereby created by the name aforesaid. Nor shall any
non-uses of the said privileges hereby granted create
any forfeiture of the same, but the same may be
exercised by the said corporation, notwithstanding their
failure to meet at any of the times herein specified, to
hold their annual elections, the officers elected at any
of the said annual elections, shall continue to hold and
exercise their offices until others shall be duly elected

6



to succeed them, at some future meeting of the said
corporation.

Signed by order of the House,

Richard Peters, Speaker.

Enacted into a law at Philadelphia, on Tuesday, the
eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord, one
thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

Peter Zachary Lloyd,
Clerk of the General Assembly.

Section 8. {Added pursuant to decree of Court of
Common Pleas No. 3, of Philadelphia County, March
term, 1900, No. 399). That it shall be the duty of the
said Board of Managers to conduct all the business of
the said Society (except the sale of real estate), to
receive bequests, to sell securities other than real estate,
and to invest and reinvest and keep invested the funds
of the said Society and to provide all things necessary
to carry into effect the object of the said Society, and
to pay all the expenditures incurred in and about the
premises; and it shall be the duty of said Board of
Managers to meet at least once in three months, to
supply any vacancy therein, to enact rules and regula-
tions for the government thereof, to keep regular
minutes of the proceedings, and the same to exhibit
when required to the said Society, and to make an
annual report to the said Society.

BY-LAWS
Adopted 4th Month 25th, 1901.
Article 1. Members. Any person, 21 years or over,
of good character, desiring to promote the objects of the
Society, shall be eligible to membership in it. To
become a member, his or her name must be proposed
at a meeting of the Board of Managers, or general

7



meeting of the Society, and must then receive a major-
ity vote at a subsequent regular or special meeting of
the Board or of the Society; but no person holding a
slave shall be eligible to membership.

Article 2. Dues. From and after the first day of
First Month, 1902, each member shall pay into the
Treasury one dollar a year on or before the Annual
Meeting; any member who has not made this payment
when the Annual Meeting convenes, shall be disqualified
from voting thereat, and subsequently, upon due notice,
his membership may be suspended by vote of the
Board of Managers.

Article 3. Regular Meetings. Regular meetings
of the Board of Managers shall be held at the time of
the Annual Meeting, and on the last Fifth day (Thurs-
day) in the Seventh, Tenth and First Months.

Article 4. Special Meetings. Special meetings
of the Board of Managers shall be called by the President,
or, in his absence or inability, by either of the Vice
Presidents, and the Secretary shall send written notices
to the members of the Board.

Article 5. Chairman. The President, or, in his
absence, one of the Vice Presidents, shall preside at
each meeting of the Board of Managers, or, if they
shall both be absent, a chairman pro-tem. shall be
appointed.

Article 6. Quorum. Five members of the Board of
Managers shall form a quorum.

Article 7 . Orders. Orders on the Treasurer for the
payment of money shall be signed by the President, or
chairman pro-tem., presiding at the meeting of the
Board of Managers in which the payments were
authorized, and attested by the Secretary of the meeting.

Article 8. Amendments. These BY-LAWS may be



amended at any time by a majority vote of the Board of
Managers; but the change must have been proposed,
in writing, at a previous meeting and notice thereof
sent to each member of the Board of Managers.



LIST OF
Wm. M. Longstreth,
Chas. F. Jenkins,
Robert M. Janney,
William C. Biddle,
Ellwood Heacock,
Alfred Moore,
Thomas P. Bacon,
Anna M. Jackson,
D. Henry Wright,
Susan P. Wharton,
Richard R. Wright, Jr.,
Elizabeth Lloyd,
Mary R. Livezey,
Howard C. Roberts,
R. Barclay Jones,
Walter H. Jenkins,
Joel Borton,
Ella R. Bicknell,
J. Henry Scattergood,
Isaac Roberts,
Henry Ferris,
Abel P. Caldwell,
Chas. Fred. White,
Dr. Chas. H. Gubbins,

Robert Biddle,
Henry Gawthrop,
George W. Mitchell,



MEMBERS.

230 Chestnut Street, Phila., Pa.

Farm Journal, Phila., Pa.

1015 Penna. Building, Phila., Pa.

78 Rcade Street, New York, N. Y.

2027 N. College Ave., Phila., Pa.

618 No. American Bldg., Phila., Pa.

3212 Baring St., Phila., Pa.

215 E. 15th St., New York, N. Y.

727 Walnut St., Phila., Pa.

910 Clinton St., Phila., Pa.

631 Pine St., Phila., Pa.

140 N. 15th St., Phila., Pa.

908 W. Marshall Sl.,Norrislown, Pa.

513 W. Main St., Norristown, Pa.

630 Chestnut St., Phila., Pa.

140 N. 15th St., Phila., Pa.

133 S. 4th St., Phila., Pa.

1839 S. 57th St., Phila., Pa.

648 Bourse Bldg., Phila., Pa.

50 Beekman St., New York, N. Y.

140 N. 15th St., Phila., Pa.

1706 N. Woodstock St., Phila., Pa.

1031 S. 18th St., Phila., Pa.

N. W. Cor. 15th and Race Sts.,

Phila., Pa.
Riverton, N. J.
Swarthmore, Pa.
90S Walnut St., Phila., Pa.
9



Ellwood Roberts,
Frank L. Neall,
Arabella Carter,
Cornelia Hancock,

Elizabeth Powell Bond,
Helen Underhill Wood,
Isadore Martin,
Dr. Henry L. Gowens,
Hugh S. Walker,
William C. Coles,
Benjamin C. Heritage,
Ellis W. Bacon,
Cassandra T. Carr,
Alfred Darnell,
Sarah W. Knight,
Samuel L. Borton,
Theodore Justice,
Claude J. Smith,
Lillian M. Ellis,
Ethel M. B. Roberts,
M. Jennie Garrett,
Rev. Matthew Anderson,
Dr. Jesse H. Holmes,
Rebecca W. Holmes,



Winslow, N. J.
367 Bourse Bldg., Phila., Pa.
1305 Arch St., Phila., Pa.
50 N. Delanoy Place,

Atlantic City, N. J.
6300 Greene St., Germantown, Pa.
ML Kisco, N. Y.
6 No. 42nd St., Phila., Pa.
1636 Walnut St., Phila., Pa.
765 N. 20th St., Phila., Pa.
Moorestoivn, N. J.
Mickleton, N. J.
3603 Baring St., Phila., Pa.
1715 N. 19th St., Phila., Pa.
140 N. 15th St., Phila., Pa.
Somerton, Pa.
Hale Building, Phila., Pa.
W. Clapier St., Germantoum, Pa.
Swarthmore, Pa.
Trooper, Pa.

513 W. Main St., Norristown, Pa.
1519 Bouvier St., Phila., Pa.
1924 S. College Ave., Phila., Pa.
Siva rth more, Pa.
Swarthmore, Pa.



10



EXTRACTS FROM PROCEEDING TO AMEND
CHARTER

In the Court of Common Pleas Number 3, in and for the
County of Philadelphia.

To the Honorable the Judges of the said Court:

The Petition of "The Pennsylvania Society for
promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the Relief of
Free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage, and for
Improving the Condition of the African Race," respect-
fully represents:

That it is a body politic and corporate in the law,
enjoying the rights and privileges of a corporation under *
an Act of Assembly dated December 8th, 1789;

That since the time of the incorporation of the said
Society, it has been engaged in the work for which it
was formed as a beneficial and charitable society;

That the said Society has found itself hampered and
hindered in the prosecution of its work and in the trans-
action of its business;

It therefore has seemed expedient and wise to make
application for an amendment to its Charter.

That at a meeting of the said Society held the 25th
day of First Month (January), 1900, the following
amendments to the Charter were adopted, to wit:

Section 3 of the Charter was amended to read as
follows :

(See section 3 in Charter, page 3)

Section 4 of the Charter was amended to read as
follows :

(See section 4 in Charter, page 4)

The Charter was further amended by adding a new
section thereto to be known as Section 8, and to read
as follows:

(See section 8 in Charter, page 4)
11



Your petitioner is desirous of having the Charter
amended and altered as above set forth and believes
the proposed amendments will be beneficial and lawful
and necessary for the proper accomplishment of the
objects for which said Society was incorporated.

Your petitioner therefore prays your Honorable Court
to grant a decree, authorizing the amendment as afore-
said and that the same shall be deemed and taken to be
a part of the Charter of the said Society, being in sub-
stitution of the section 3 and 4, and the new section 8
being in addition to the Charter as originally granted.

And it will ever pray, etc. „ „ A

Samuel S. Ash,

. Vice President and President pro-tem.

Jos. M. Truman, Jr.,

Secretary.
William S. Ingram,

Treasurer.

Philadelphia County, S. S.

Jos. M. Truman, Jr., being duly affirmed according
to law, doth declare and say that he is the Secretary of
the above-named Society and that the facts set forth
in the above Petition are just and true to the best of his
knowledge, information and belief.

Affirmed and subscribed before me the 22nd day of
March, 1900.

Wm. A. Shayock, Jos. M. Truman, Jr.

Notary Public.

DECREE

And now to wit, this sixth day of April, A. D. 1900, it
is ordered and decreed that the application for the pro-
posed amended Charter shall be filed and notice given
of said application in two daily newspapers, to wit:

12



The Press and North American, and one weekly paper,
to wit: "The Legal Intelligencer" once a week for
three weeks, setting forth briefly the character and
objects of the said amendments, and after due proof
of such notice shall have been made and filed the pe-
titioner shall have leave to apply for decree that the said
amendments to the said Charter shall be deemed and
taken to be a part of the Charter of the said Society.

H. J. M.

In the Court of Common Pleas No. 3, for the County of
Philadelphia, March term, 1900, No. 399.

In re "The Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the
Abolition of Slavery, and for the Relief of Free Negroes
unlawfully held in Bondage, and for the improving the
condition of the African Race."

And now to wit; this 14th day of May, A. D. 1900,
the Court having read and considered the Petition
filed by "The Pennsylvania Society for promoting the
Abolition of Slavery, and for the Relief of Free Negroes
unlawfully held in Bondage, and for improving the
condition of the African Race," for leave to amend its
Charter in the manner set forth in the said petition, and
it appearing to the Court that the alterations and
amendments asked for are lawful and beneficial and
do not conflict with the requirements of the Statutes
or of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, and the
annexed proof of publication of Notice having been
submitted to the Court showing that advertisement
has been made as provided for by law, the Court do
order and decree that the said Petition be and the same
is hereby granted. And the amendments and altera-
tions of the Charter prayed for shall, upon the record-
ing of the same, be hereafter deemed and taken to be a
part of the Charter of the said Society.

13



And sections 3 and 4 of the Charter shall hereafter read

as contained in the Petition for amendment of Charter

instead of the manner in which the said sections read in

the charter originally granted and section 8 shall be

deemed and taken to be a part of the said Charter as set

out in the said Petition. TT T

H. J. M.

Recorded in the office for Recording of Deeds in and
for the City and County of Philadelphia in Charter
book No. 25, page 267.

Witness my hand and seal of office this 14th day of

May, A. D. 1900.

John Virden,

, Recorder of Deeds.

Sections 3, and 4 of the Original Charter
(Previous to amendments in 1900.)
Section 3. And be it further enacted, and it is hereby
enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the officers of
the said Society shall consist of one President, two Vice
Presidents, two Secretaries, one Treasurer, who shall
also be the keeper of the common seal, and so many
counsellors as the said Society shall from time to time
think proper to appoint and elect, all of whom shall be
chosen annually by ballot of a majority of votes of the
whole number of members who shall be present at the
quarterly meeting hereinafter mentioned, which shall
be held on the first Second day of the week (called
Monday) in the First Month (called January) in every
year after the passing of this act, or at such other time,
and at such place, as the Society shall, by their rules
and orders, direct and appoint ; and of such committees,
for carrying into execution the designs of the said
institution, as the said Society heretofore have appointed,
and hereafter at any of their quarterly or special meet-

14



ings shall agree to, and appoint in the manner and form
to be hereafter agreed upon.

Section 4. And be it further enacted by the authority
aforesaid, That the said Society shall and may hold
four quarterly meetings in every year, at such place
and hour of the day as they shall agree unto, on every
the first second day of the week (called Monday) on
every first, fourth, seventh and tenth months (called
January, April, July and October) in every year for-
ever hereafter, and may adjourn the said quarterly
meetings from time to time; and shall and may hold
such other special meetings as the Society by their rules
and orders may direct and appoint, and shall and may
hold such other meetings as the President of the said
Society shall think necessary to call, or one of the Vice
Presidents of the said Society, at the request of any six
members thereof, shall call, of which special meetings
notice shall be given in two of the public newspapers
printed in the city of Philadelphia, at least two days
before the time of meeting; at any of which quarterly
or special meetings, or adjournments thereof, it shall
and may be lawful for the said Society, or so many of
them as shall meet, by a majority of voices to agree, to
ordain and to establish such by-laws, rules, orders and
regulations as they shall judge necessary, for the well-
ordering and governing the said Society; and for the
well-managing the affairs thereof, and to appoint such
and so many committees, consisting of such of their
members as they shall think necessary, to superintend
the different departments of duties already undertaken
by the Society heretofore subsisting, or hereafter to be
undertaken by the Society, hereby established, and to


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Online LibraryPennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition oCharter and by-laws of the Pennsylvania society for promoting the abolition of slavery → online text (page 1 of 2)