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Division of labour essential to success.
addressed to him which appertain to the departments of his colleagues, to whom they should be immediately transmitted for insertion in the proper book, but are subsequently returned to him. For instance :—when the Minute Secretary receives from the Parent Institution an invoice of Bibles and Testaments, he hands it to the Bible Secretary, by whom, and the Depositary, it is compared with the books received, and the particulars entered in the Depositary's Book ;-the Bible Secretary then marks it as "correct, and entered;" signs and transmits it to the Cash Secretary, by whom the British and Foreign Bible Society is credited for the amount in the Leger; and the invoice, signed as “entered," is returned to the Minute Secretary, by whom it is preserved.
By a strict adherence to system, the duties of a secretary become light and pleasant, and occupy considerably less time than may appear necessary for their regular discharge. The proceedings of the Committee should be transcribed into the « Fair Minute Book," as soon as possible after each meeting; and a copy of every Minute requiring attention sent immediately to the party whom it concerns :—an attention to this point, however apparently trivial, will materially tend to the order and regularity of the society. If the secretaries meet, monthly, half an hour before the time appointed for the Committee, it will considerably facilitate the proceedings.
In reference to the XVth By-Law, it may be observed, that “special meetings” should be avoided as much as possible. All the meetings of a Committee are important; but it should only be on extraordinary occasions that the members are specially convened.
x. It will be evident to the reader, that the XVIth By-Law is simply
an extension of the principle laid down in the Eighth general Rule; and which is thus applied to the permanent arrangements of the society. By this division of labourassigning to every separate part its particular and defined duty, and making each responsible for its allotted portion alone—the pressure is equally felt throughout the whole, and no spring in this moral machinery is overloaded ; an intimate knowledge of the specific duty is acquired; and, as this is seen to be essentially requisite to the good order and welfare of the whole, the interest is constantly kept alive. The business assigned to one cannot be delegated to another, without interrupting the general harmony; and, at every monthly meeting, the Committee have a clear view of the separate and combined results of their system.
Appointment of District Committees. In defining the several districts, reference should be had to their comparative extent and population; and the division should be as equal as local circumstances admit. Parochial boundaries, as being generally recognised, afford a tolerably correct idea of the mode to be pursued; although an extensive parish may be advantageously divided, or two or more small ones united in the same district. The number and local convenience of the members likewise deserve consideration in these arrangements; which should be prepared by a SubCommittee, and subsequently revised by the General Comi mittee before they are finally adopted. In every discussion connected with this subject, the ultimate establishment of an Association in each district should be constantly kept in view.
The division having been agreed on, and the boundaries of every district accurately defined on separate sheets of paper and entered on the minutes in numerical order, the District Committees are appointed ; and one of the members of each is nominated as district secretary, to whom the paper containing a specification of the district, the names and address of his colleagues, and a few forms of the “ monthly report,” are handed; and he is henceforward considered as the official organ of such District Committee. To him the secretaries transmit all reports, papers, and other documents for the use of his district; and from him all requisite information is expected relative to its state, and the proceedings of the society within its boundaries.-Considerable advantage will be derived from the frequent meeting of District Committees, especially a day or two previous to the meeting of the General Committee, in order to draw up their monthly report,--a duty which should never be deferred to the last moment. The mode of establishing and organizing Branch Societies and Associations will be detailed in their proper order. .
XI. Although the XVIIth By-Law provides only for the attendance of one or more members” of the District Committee at the meetings of the Committee of the Branch Society or Association, it is very desirable that all the members should, if possible, attend regularly, and thus give the benefit of their countenance and experience to those highly important institutions, with whose actual state they will thus become more intimately acquainted. This is the more necessary in reference to the XVIIIth By-Law; as the “monthly report”—a specimen of which will be inserted in the Vth Section of this chapter-should convey the unanimous sentiments of the District Committee on every subject it embraces.
Advantages of constant intercourse with the Associations.
The advantages derived from this constant intercourse of the members of an Auxiliary Committee with those of their connected Associations, are incalculable. Many of the District Committees may be occasionally strengthened by deputations from the General Committee, as local or temporary circumstances seem to require it: and as all the members of the latter are entitled to attend the Committees of the subordinate societies, this privilege may be rendered a source of benefit and satisfaction.-By the intimate connexion thus preserved and cultivated, the spirit of the system is maintained inviolate ; the identity of plan and operation secured; and information, encouragement, and strength, mutually acquired and communicated.
XI. While the respect which is due to rank, character, and influence, should never be lost sight of, their possessors should be placed in the list of honorary officers, rather than on the Committee, unless they can devote some portion of their time and attention to the regular business of the society. Where this union is rendered subservient to the interests of the cause, no appointment can be more suitable ; but it is undeniable, that nominal strength, in a Committee, is not unfrequently found to be real weakness.-To ascertain, and preserve the number of efficient members, is the object of the XXth By-Law.
x111. In some few Auxiliary Societies the annual subscriptions are collected by the District Committees; and were economy the only guide to be consulted, this plan might be recommended for general adoption. But the importance of collecting regularly, and the difficulty of finding gentlemen who have sufficient time at their command to attend to this business at the precise period, renders it necessary to employ a collector, whose services the Committee can command, and whose interest and duty are equally concerned in exciting him to promptitude and regularity. There are, however, many instances of individuals who have declined subscribing when called upon by a collector, but who have cheerfully given or continued their support, when subsequently called on by their respectable neighbours or acquaintance, who were more competent to give any requisite explanation. In this point of view, the XXIId and XXIII ByLaws have proved, in their practical operation, extremely useful; and the distribution of the annual reports, as provided for by the XXIV th By-Law, affords a favourable
opportunity for extending a knowledge of the cause, and an interest in its success. The circulation of the “ brief view,"
Facility with which Societies may be established.-Provisional Committee.
“ compendium," “ monthly extracts,” and other authorised publications of the Parent Institution, has also been found eminently beneficial on these occasions.
xiv. Although the Committee have no power to make any change in the fundamental rules of the society, they are perfectly competent to make any requisite alteration in those minor laws which regulate their own proceedings. But nothing can be more detrimental to the interests of a Society than the frequent alteration of its rules, which should never take place without the most deliberate consideration, and the consent of at least three-fourths of the Committee.
6. When Branch Societies, or Associations conducted by gentlemen, are established in connexion with an Auxiliary Society, the following additional By-Law may be adopted with great advantage :
“That the presidents, treasurers, and secretaries of the Branch Societies and Gentlemen's Associations in connexion with this society, be ex-officio members of this committee.
THE MODE OF ESTABLISHING AND ORGANIZING AN
1. It has been well observed, in reference to the establishment of Bible Institutions, that “no place, where the blessings of the Gospel are known, needs any thing to engage its inhabitants in this cause, but necessary information about such societies, and an active individual to take a lead in the measure.” So important is the object, so simple the design, and so replete with blessings the whole system, that benevolence and Christianity rejoice over it as one of the most efficient means ever suggested for the improvement and happiness of the human race.
2. When one or more individuals are disposed to co-operate with the British and Foreign Bible Society, and conceive that an Auxiliary Society may be established in the district where they reside, their first business should be, to obtain the concurrence and aid of a few respectable and suitable persons of local influence, and to form themselves into a Provisional Committee; of which one of the most active and prudent members should be appointed secretary. The duties that devolve on this Committee, which should meet at least weekly, and oftener, if convenient, may be thus defined :
Preliminary measures recommended for adoption.
I. To acquaint the Committee of the Parent Society with the measure in contemplation, and the extent and population of the district proposed to be included in the projected society;-and to request a supply of those publications which have been found useful on similar occasions.
11. To adopt means for ascertaining by personal inquiry the state of the district with respect to the want of Bibles and Testaments, and enter the results on their Minutes.-In reference to this subject, it may not be improper to remark, that even if a district be adequately supplied with the holy scriptures, it furnishes no argument against the formation of the intended society, whose sphere of operation, through the medium of the Parent Institution, is co-extensive with the world, the state of which has been already described in Chap. I. Section X. On the contrary, it may safely be presumed, that, in direct proportion to the degree in which the Bible is possessed and studied, will the duty and desire be felt to impart the same blessing to all mankind. Experience, however, has exhibited a melancholy proof, that even in our own country the extent of the deficiency was awfully great ; and as there are numerous individuals whose countenance and support may be given principally on this ground, the investigation is highly important.
III. The Provisional Committee, having received from the Parent Society a supply of those publications which explain and illustrate its design, should lose no time in circulating them with prudence and discretion. The Brief View," and "the Compendium," as containing a condensed summary of its proceedings, may be generally distributed with advantage; and the sheet edition of the admirable letters of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the paper entitled “ Episcopal Testimonies," may also be transmitted to the more respectable inhabitants.* The Annual Reports of the society should be lent to those individuals whose active services are solicited.
iv. To prepare the list of officers and committee.-The individuals selected for president, vice-presidents, and treasurer, should be waited on by deputations from the Provisional Committee, and their consent solicited. The importance of a judicious choice in these appointments, and in those of the secretaries and the committee, has been already adverted to in the two preceding sections, and cannot be too strongly recommended.
v. To draw up an address to be read at the general meeting for the establishment of the society. This should embrace a brief, but explicit view of the nature, design, and proceedings of the Parent Institution, and a statement of the results of the investigation
As all these Papers will be included in the Appendix, the reader will be enabled to adapt his selection to local circumstances.