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Committee.-Agenda, or Paper of Business laid before the Chairman.
account, under its several heads; a report of remittances from the Auxiliary Societies; portions of the voluminous correspondence, both foreign and domestic; the consideration of grants, whether of Money, or Bibles and Testaments; reports from the Printers of the progress made, since the last meeting, in printing Bibles and Testaments; and, when requisite, the state of the Depository. No grant of money exceeding 5001. is valid, unless confirmed by the next meeting; and a specification of such grant is inserted in the circular notice of the time of meeting, sent to every member of the Committee. A Book, provided for the purpose, is laid on the table, in which every member who attends inserts his name; and the regularity of his attendance is thus ascertained, in reference to the Ninth rule. The average attendance during the last year was about thirty ;-a fact which is equally indicative of the beneficial tendency of this regulation, and of the interest felt by those gentlemen who devote so much of their valuable time to the Institution.
4. Visitors are admitted to the Committee Room (where seats are reserved for their accommodation) on the introduction of any member, after having inserted their names in a book placed in the hall for this purpose.
SPECIMEN OF AGENDA.
Committee, September 4th, 1820.
1. To read and confirm the Minutes of last Meeting.
3. To read and confirm the Minutes of Printing Sub-Committee.
4. To read and eonfirm the Minutes of the Local Sub-Committee.
5. To read the Cash Account.
6. To read Correspondence requiring Grants. 7. To refer Bills to Sub-Committee of Finance, for examination and payment. 8. To report Contributions and Legacies. 9. To read A. B.'s Letter relative to Chinese Bible. 10. To read C. D.'s Letter relative to Turkish Bible. 11. To read E. F's Letter, relative to Indian Translations. 12. To read the Letters of Foreign Agents. 13. To read Letters of Auxiliary Societies, and other Home Correspondence. 14. To receive Secretaries' Reports of Auxiliary Societies visited. 15. To report Books presented to the Library by G. H. and I. K.
Economical nature of the Establishment.
THE SOCIETY'S HOUSE. 1. This subject cannot be more properly introduced, than by the following extract from the Society's Annual Report for 1816:
“ It now becomes the duty of your Committee to state, that they have recently accomplished an object, which has long been considered as highly desirable, and had at length become absolutely indispensable;—the union of all the Offices of the Society in one Establishment. The inconvenience arising from having the Library and Depository in one place, the Accountant's Office in another, and the Committee Room in a third, had been severely and injuriously felt, both by the Officers and Members of the Society : add to this, that the Officers of the Society had no place of common resort, and were destitute of the accommodations required for the correct and systematic transaction of their business, which has for a considerable time past been progressively increasing, both in complicacy and importance; and the risk and trouble occasioned by the frequent removal of the Records of the Society, now accumulated to an immense mass. In the mean time, the expenses of the Depository, from the commission upon sales of Bibles and Testaments, which, though voluntarily reduced by Mr. Seeley (the Society's Agent) to the lowest rate that justice to his family would allow, had, upon such extensive issues, necessarily arisen to a great annual amount, and formed an additional reason for looking to an Establishment, as a measure of economy, no less than of accommodation.
The offer of suitable premises in Earl Street, Blackfriars, on advantageous terms, afforded the Committee an opportunity of carrying their purpose into effect. When the arrangements, which are now proceeding, shall have been completed, the Society will be in possession of a set of com. modious Offices for carrying on the business in every department, centrally situated, and combining every proposed convenience, at an immediate expense, which, by the annual saving in the Depository, Commission, and other expenses, will be gradually and finally replaced.
Among the accommodations afforded by the Institution in Earl Street, not the least important is that which regards the Society's Biblical Library. The books of which it consists, numerous and valuable as they are, would, there is reason to believe, have been considerably augmented by the liberality of the public, if it had been correctly known what the Society really possessed, and in what respects, therefore, its collection was deficient. In the new establishment, a commodious room is allotted for the reception of the books, where they will be suitably classed and arranged." 2. The Establishment in Earl Street comprises,
1. A large and very substantial Warehouse, attached
to the Society's House, wherein the Stock of Bibles and Testaments is deposited, in the most conve
nient and methodical manner. 11. The Depositary's Office, including that of the Col
lector. 11. The Office of the Assistant Secretary and Accountant.
The Library-its importance and advantages.
IV. The Committee Room.
when detained on official business. VII. The apartments of the Depositary, who resides on,
and takes charge of the Premises. 3. In their Fourteenth Report the Committee observe, —
The Society's Premises are now in complete occupation, and are found to answer, most effectually, the purposes for which they were provided. To those who have had the means of observing how prodigiously the business of the Society had accumulated, and to how great inconvenience and embarrassment the transaction of it was subjected, it must have been obvious that such an Establishment, as that which the Society now possesses, had become indispensably necessary. The Members of the Society will hear, with pleasure, that the change from the former to the present system, so far from entailing an additional expense, has occasioned an annual saving; amounting, in the first year, to about £.300; while it has given concentration, regularity, and despatch, to the business of the Society ; promoted the convenience of its Patrons, Committee, and Officers; and, secured to the Institution that respectability which is due to the magnitude of its concerns, and the extent of its relations, in our own and in foreign countries.”
Of the increased facilities afforded by this important and economical establishment 'to all the operations of the Society, and especially in reference to its domestic concerns, every Secretary of an Auxiliary Society will be a competent judge, if he compare the promptitude and despatch with which all orders and communications are now recognised, with the unavoidable delay which attended the former system.
THE SOCIETY'S LIBRARY. 1. The foundation of this important appendage to the British and Foreign Bible Society was laid at a very early period :
“ It had appeared, for some time, to many friends of the Institution, in a high degree desirable and expedient that copies should be procured (as far as practicable) of all the existing versions of the Holy Scriptures; in order that the Society might not be at a loss for a standard edition, and the means of collation, whenever an occasion might arise for printing an impression on its own account. The first step which was taken in pursuit of this end, is to be traced in a resolution passed on the 3d of December 1804 ; by which it was determined, that of every edition or translation of the Holy Scriptures, or of parts thereof, printed under the auspices of the Auxiliary Societies recommended to send their Reports to the Library.
Society, six or more còpies should be transmitted, to be lodged in its Depository. But as it was foreseen that the operation of this measure would be unavoidably slow, limited, and remote, it was further determined, on the ensuing 17th, that an appeal should be made to the community at large, through the medium of certain daily Newspapers and Periodical Publications of character, soliciting donations of Bibles, Testaments, or portions of the Scriptures, in the ancient or modern languages. The first fruits of this determination were, a munificent present from Granville Sharpe, Esq. of thirty-nine copies of the Holy Scriptures, or certain portions of them, in various languages, together with the Irish and Italian versions of the English Liturgy. Thus the first Chairman of the Society became also the first contributor to its Library *.”.
2. This valuable Collection of Books and Manuscripts has, through the liberality of many individuals, become very considerable, and now consists of about two thousand volumes. The kindness of those to whom the Society is thus indebted, is annually acknowledged in the Appendix to the Report, with a specification of the books presented. By the continuance of the same generosity, the Institution will, in time, possess a compilation of the Scriptures in various languages, as well as of other Biblical works, which will prove of the greatest utility, not only to the Society in publishing different versions of the Scriptures, but to such of the Subscribers as may have occasion to consult them.
3. But there is another source from which the Library has derived no inconsiderable accession, and by which, it is hoped, it will be progressively enriched. It should be the duty of the Committee of every Auxiliary and Branch Society, who have not already done so, to transmit a few sets of their Annual Reports to Earl Street, and to forward ten or twelve copies of every succeeding Report as soon as published. Reference can thus be had, in case of necessity, to those official records which exhibit the actual state of Local Societies at different periods; and the Parent Committee be enabled to form a more correct estimate of its resources, as well as the propriety of any suggested means for reviving or encouraging those Institutions.
Anxious to do every thing in their power to render this Collection complete, the Committee express their sanguine hope “ that the friends of the Society will not relax in their zcal, to add such versions of the Scriptures, and other Biblical works, as may render the Library worthy of the Institution to whose use it is appropriated."
4. Several National Bible Societies on the Continent of Europe, with that of the United States of America, have
• Owen's History, Vol. I. p. 135 & seq.
Officers of the Society.-The President.
followed in this, as in other respects, the example of their British prototype. The language of one of the earliest and most efficient of these Institutions, in its Report for 1819, is peculiarly appropriate, and may well be adopted by all:
“ The Swedish Bible Society's Library has been increased from year to year, by means of donations, in a manner that not only bears the most cheering evidence of the regard and affection which Foreign Societies have for our Institution, but which also exhibits a remarkably grand portrait of the revelation of God's holy Word among all the nations of the world. There is no gazing at this magnificent display of Bibles without feeling astonishment and adoration. They are printed each in their different character and language, but resembling the various strings of a fine-toned instrument: all their voices harmonize in bearing the same record of God the Father, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has sent: or they may be compared to messengers bearing the same good news of salvation throughout the earth, for the gathering together its dispersed kindred, under one Lord and one King. The ancient prophecy is now evidently more and more fulfilling every day ; 'I am found of them that sought me not ;' and the Lord is speaking to the Heathen nations ; and saying, 'Lo, I come.'”
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY. 1. In proceeding to define the duties which appertain to these gentlemen respectively, the just and eloquent remark of the Society's historian forces itself on the recollection of one who has long and frequently witnessed, with admiration, that patience which he longed to emulate, and those exertions in which he could but feebly co-operate :-"There never was an Institution which has exacted from its Committees” and Officers "a larger tribute of time and attention and personal labour, or in which the exacted tribute has been more cheerfully and even zealously paid.” And it may with equal propriety be added, that there never was a Society whose concerns were entrusted to men more competent to their management, or in which the important duties of their office were discharged with greater prudence and discretion.
2. The Officers of the Institution whose services ar egratuitously rendered, are,
1. The President. He is always Chairman of the General Meetings; and also presides at those of the Committee; when able to attend.
Among the many valuable services rendered to the Society by Lord Teignmouth, it is indebted to him for the greater number of its Annual Reports; which furnish an admirable and lucid compendium of its proceedings, while they