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In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and


An Act to incorporate a Society, by the name of The Massa

CHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. WHEREAS the collection and preservation of materials for a political and natural history of the United States is a desirable object, and the institution of a Society for those purposes will be of public utility :

Be it therefore enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That William Baylies, Esq., Jeremy Belknap, D. D., the Rev. Alden Bradford, Peleg Coffin, Esq., Manasseh Cutler, D. D., John Davis, Esq., Daniel Davis, Esq., Aaron Dexter, Doctor in Physic, the Rev. John Eliot, Nathaniel Freeman, Esq., the Rev. James Freeman, the Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, Isaac Lothrop, Esq., George Richards Minot, Esq., the Rev. John Mellen, Jun., Thomas Pemberton, William Dandridge Peck, the Rev. John Prince, Ezekiel Price, Esq., James Sullivan, Esq., David Sewall, Esq., Peter Thacher, D. D., William Tudor, Esq., Samuel Turell, Dudley Atkins Tyng, Esq., James Winthrop, Esq., Thomas Wallcut, Redford Webster, and William Wetmore, Esq., who have associated for the purposes aforesaid, and have requested an Act of Incorporation, be, and hereby are, formed into and constituted a Society and Body Politic and Corporate, by the name of the MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY ; and that they and their successors, and such other persons as shall be legally elected by them, shall be and continue a Body Politic and Corporate, by that name, for ever.


And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the members of said Society shall have power to elect a President, and all other necessary officers; and that the said Society shall have one common seal, and the same may break, change, and renew at pleasure; and that the same Society, by the name aforesaid, as a Body Politic and Corporate, may sue and be sued, prosecute and defend suits to final judgment and execution.

And be it further enacted, That the said Society shall have power to make orders and by-laws for governing its members and property, not repugnant to the laws of the Commonwealth, and may expel, disfranchise, or suspend any member, who, by his misconduct, shall be rendered unworthy.

And be it further enacted, That the said Society may, from time to time, establish rules for electing officers and members, and also times and places for holding meetings; and shall be capable to take and hold real or personal estate, by gift, grant, devise, or otherwise, and the same, or any part thereof, to alien and convey: Provided, That the annual income of any real estate,

: by said Society holden, shall never exceed the sum of five hundred pounds; and that the personal estate thereof, besides books, papers, and articles in the Museum of said Society, shall never exceed the value of two thousand pounds.

And be it further enacted, That the members of said Society shall never be more than sixty (except honorary members, residing without the limits of this Commonwealth), and that James Sullivan, Esq. be, and hereby is, authorized and empowered to notify and warn the first meeting of said Society; and that the same Society, when met, shall agree upon a method for calling future meetings, and may have power to adjourn from time to time, as may be found necessary.

And be it further enacted, That either branch of the Legislature shall and may have free access to the Library and Museum of said Society.

This Act passed Feb. 19, 1794.


JANUARY MEBTING, 1853. A Committee, consisting of Messrs. Young, TICKNOR, and SHURTLEFF, appointed to revise the Rules and Regulations of the Society, reported the same in a new draft, which was laid on the table, and ordered to be printed under direction of the Publishing Committee.

FebruaRY MEETING, 1853. Ordered, That five hundred copies of the ByLaws, as adopted this day, together with the Act of Incorporation, be printed.



Recording Secretary.

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ARTICLE 1. — The Regular, or Resident, Members of the Society shall be elected from among the citizens of this Commonwealth, and shall cease to be members whenever they cease to be citizens; the Honorary, or Corresponding Members, shall be

; elected from among those persons who are not citizens of this Commonwealth, and shall cease to be members if at any time they become citizens.

ARTICLE 2. — A book shall be kept by the Recording Secretary, which any Resident Member of the Society may at any monthly meeting enter the name of any person, whom he may regard as suitable to be elected a Resident Member ; it being understood, that each member is bound in honor not to make known abroad the name of any person so proposed, while the person proposed may continue to be a candidate. But no nomination of a Resident Member shall be made except by a report of the Standing Committee, and no nomination thus made shall be acted upon at the same meeting to which it is reported.

ARTICLE 3.- Nominations of Corresponding Members may be made by any member of the Society, and shall be entered in the record of the meeting at which each may be made ; but no member shall nominate more than one candidate at one and the same meeting, and no candidate shall be voted for at the same meeting at which he may have been nominated.

ARTICLE 4. — All members shall be elected by ballot, and in balloting for members, the law and custom of our forefathers shall be observed, by taķing the question with Indian corn and beans, - the corn expressing yeas, and the beans nays; but no person shall be deemed chosen, unless there be nine members present at the election, nor unless two thirds of all the members present shall have voted affirmatively. ARTICLE 5. — Each Resident Member shall pay eight dollars

5 at the time of his admission, and three dollars annually afterwards, into the Treasury of the Society, for its general purposes;


but any member shall be exempted from the annual payment if, at any time after six months from his admission, he shall pay into the Treasury thirty dollars in addition to what he may before have paid.

ARTICLE 6. - If any person elected as a Resident Member shall neglect, for one year after being notified of his election, to pay his admission fee, his election shall be void ; and if any

l Resident Member shall neglect to pay his annual assessment for three years after it shall have become due, and have been demanded, he shall cease to be a member. Each person who

, shall be elected a member shall, when notified of it, be furnished by the Corresponding Secretary with an attested copy of this Article and the preceding one, and the Treasurer shall, as cases may occur, report to the Society those persons who have neglected to pay their admission fee' or their annual assessments, as above required.

ARTICLE 7.— Diplomas signed by the President and countersigned by the two Secretaries shall be issued to all persons who have become members of the Society.



ARTICLE 1. — There shall be a Regular Meeting of the Society at noon on the second Thursday of every month, at their rooms in Boston ; and Special Meetings shall be called by either of the Secretaries whenever requested so to do by the President, or, in case of his absence or inability, then by the Standing Committee, or by any five members of the Society.

ARTICLE 2. - At all meetings, the President shall take the chair in five minutes after the time appointed in the notification, and the record of the preceding meeting shall then be, at once, read; after which, at all Special Meetings, the special business for which the meeting was called shall be transacted ; and at all Regular Meetings the order of business shall be as follows:

The Librarian shall make a detailed report of whatever may have been received by him since the last meeting.

The Cabinet-Keeper shall make a similar report.

The Corresponding Secretary shall read any communications he may have received.

The unfinished business, and the assignments of the last meeting, shall be announced by the Recording Secretary to the President, and taken up in their order.

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