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Revised Constitution and By-Laws of the Raleigh Female Benevolent Society,
Adopted July 23d, 1823. With the Reports of the Society, from Its Commencement:

Electronic Edition.

Female Benevolent Society (Raleigh, N.C.)

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(title page) Revised Constitution and By-Laws of the Raleigh Female Benevolent Society, Adopted July 23d, 1823. With the Reports of the Society, from Its Commencement
Raleigh Female Benevolent Society
13 p.

Call number Cp361 R168 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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[Title Page Image]

Adopted July 23d, 1823.
Reports of the Society,


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        ARTICLE 1. This Society shall be located in Raleigh, and shall be called "The Raleigh Female Benevolent Society."

        ART. II. The object of this Society shall be to raise a fund to be applied to the following purposes; to the relief of aged widows and other distressed females who may be considered fit objects of charity; to provide employment to such females as are able and willing to work, and who cannot meet with employers; to give articles of cloathing to orphans and other destitute children; to promote the education of poor children, and cause them to be instructed in some of the most useful domestic employments; to promote order and industry amongst the poorer classes of society, and to discourage idleness and vice as far as practicable.

        ART. III. Any female paying one dollar and continuing to pay this annual subscription regularly, shall be considered a member: ten dollars paid, to constitute a member for life--no member to withdraw from the Society without giving notice in writing, to the Board of Directors, three months previous to an annual meeting.

        ART. IV. On every anniversary of the establishment of the Raleigh Female Benevolent Society, a Sermon shall be preached by some Minister selected for that purpose, and a collection then made in aid of the funds of the Society.

        ART. V. The business of the Society shall be managed by a Board of Directors, consisting of twenty Managers, of which the First Directress, Second Directress, Treasurer, and Secretary, shall be Members; the whole to be elected by ballot annually, on the Monday succeeding the annual Sermon.

        ART. VI. Whenever the funds of the Society will permit, a suitable person shall be chosen, (and a reasonable compensation allowed for her services,) to teach such children as are destitute of friends, (or other necessitous children whose parents are desirous that they should receive instruction) useful and domestic employments, reading, &c.

        ART. VII. Any five Managers, with the First or Second Directress, shall form a quorum for the transaction of the ordinary business of the Society.

        ART. VIII. The general Board shall meet monthly, on the last Monday in the month, at 10 o'clock, A. M.

        ART. IX. It shall be the duty of the First Directress, and in her absence of the Second, to preside in all meetings, give

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the casting vote in all balloting, to receive and decide on all recommendations, and to regulate all disbursements.

        ART. X. The Secretary shall be required to keep a record of the proceedings of the Society at its annual meetings, (and of the Board at their several meetings) in a book provided for the purpose.

        ART. XI. It shall be required of the Treasurer to keep a regular account of all expences and disbursements; to make Reports to the Board when called for, and to furnish Annual Reports. No money to be paid by the Treasurer, but under a warrant signed by the First or Second Directress.


        I. To effect the objects contemplated by the Society, the Board of Directors shall furnish itself with Wool, Cotton. Flax, &c. in order to furnish employment to the beneficiaries of said Society.

        II. The young Members of the Society, shall, (when called on by the Directresses) give their aid in teaching the rudiments of learning to such children as are under the care of the Board of Managers.

        III. It shall be the duty of the Managers to enquire out fit objects of benevolence, and to give to such persons a note to the First or Second Directress, containing a statement of her necessities, and pointing out the means of relief best adapted to her case. Each Manager shall receive and examine the work done by the individuals whom she has recommended, and give to such persons warrants on the Treasurer for the money due to them.

        IV. The balloting for Managers to be conducted by means of a list, prepared for the purpose, of twenty-five names, from which twenty Managers shall be chosen for the ensuing year. The names selected to be put into a basket prepared for the purpose; the ladies having the greatest number of votes to be considered as duly elected. Two inspectors to be appointed from the company present, to superintend the balloting.

        V. It shall be considered a duty of the Managers who consent to serve, regularly to attend at the periods stated--namely, the last Monday in every month. To enforce this, it is deemed necessary to impose a fine of 50 cents for non-attendance, unless a written excuse be forwarded to the Board when in session.

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All annual subscriptions in arrear, and all fines incurred, will be regularly collected.

        VI. The monthly meetings of the Board of Managers shall be opened with a portion of Scripture, and a prayer by some Member of the Board.

        VII. A committee shall be appointed (three months previous to every annual meeting) to invite, in rotation, the Ministers of different persuasions, to preach an annual Sermon.

        VIII. It is considered pernicious to morals, and contrary to good order, to see children running from house to house, begging for themselves, or their parents; in order to discourage this species of mendicity, the members of this Society will not relieve such beggars, without a note from one of the Managers--unless such petitioner be a way-faring stranger.

        IX. The distribution of the raw materials, and the trouble of receiving them when manufactured, shall devolve on the Managers in different sections of the City--Such Managers being required to give in a regular account of these transactions, and the work itself, to the Treasurer at the next monthly meeting which occurs in course.

        X. It shall be the duty of the Society, through the agency of the Managers, to limit the giving out of work to those persons who are really necessitous. It is in direct opposition to the 1st Article of the original Constitution, and to the primary intention of the persons who first laid the plan of this Institution, to furnish work, except to such persons as are designated in the said Article.

        XI. Two Managers shall attend in rotation every Thursday evening at 4 o'clock, at the School, to examine the children as to the progress they have made in scholastic and religious knowledge, and in work. Also, that the ladies performing this duty shall report thereon, and name such scholars as are most deserving of notice, whether for work, reading, information, or general good conduct. These reports to be entered by the Secretary in a Book provided for the purpose, in order that those most distinguished through the year, may have a small gratuity awarded them, as encouragement for their perseverance in well-doing.

        XII. No subject unconnected with the interests of the Society, shall be introduced during the hours appointed for the transaction of business.

        Resolved, That the Constitution and By-Laws, thus amended by a Committee appointed at the last annual meeting, shall be printed for the benefit of the Society.

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Of the Managers and Treasurer of the Society, read at the Annual
Meeting, July, 1821.

        The Managers of the "Raleigh Female Benevolent Society," desirous that the object and plan of their Association should be generally known, and especially to those who have contributed means to the furtherance of their Institution, beg leave to submit for the information of the public, a short statement of its funds for the preceding year. They regret that their means, have been so limited, (until very lately,) that comparatively little good has been done; but even that little convinces them of the practicability of their scheme. They trust, that owing to the liberality of some of their friends, the germ of a future Orphan Asylum has been formed, which will ere long be carried into useful operation. The great utility of providing poor females with work, is already perceptible. During the past year, 195 lbs. of raw materials have been manufactured under the management of the Society, by the poor women of the city--$141 78 being expended in payment; thus throwing small sums into circulation among them, and in some degree obviating the necessity for private charity.

        The Managers are sorry to report, that individuals have been found, who refused the work offered, either from a false pride, or other motive equally unwarrantable; but such instances have been rare, and whenever they presented themselves, have been uniformly discountenanced. Were no other benefit to accrue except distinguishing the idle from the industrious, the Managers conceive that one great end has been attained; they, however, hope for much more beneficial effects. Trusting that another year will justify their most sanguine expectations, they are determined to persevere in what they believe to be an useful undertaking.


Money received from Annual Subscribers, 44 00
Life Subscriber, 10 00
Donations, 412 50
Sales, 105 45
Total Receipts, 571 95
Total Expenditures, 159 95
Remaining in the Treasury, 412 00

        The quantity of Cotton received by donation or purchase during the preceding year, has been 220 lbs. of which 132 lbs. have been manufactured, and 88 lbs. now remain in the hands of the Managers. There has been received also, by donation or purchase, 63 lbs. of Wool, of which 51 lbs. have been manufactured, and 12 lbs. now remain with the Managers.

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        The Managers having now laid before you, the Constitution of their Society, the state of its treasury, and their opinions on its situation and utility, feel themselves irresistibly urged to trespass yet a few moments on your patience, while they express their grateful sense of the liberality of certain gentlemen in the city; who, with hands "open as day to melting charity," have poured into the scantily provided Treasury of the Society, solid, and in some instances, munificent mementos of their approbation and kind wishes. May the blessings of the orphan and the destitute widow rise up as a memorial of their goodness to Heaven! and may the God of Benevolence reward them!

        In the name of the Society, and of those unfortunate beings who are the objects of its care, we offer to all who have assisted us, our grateful thanks.

Of the Managers and Treasurer, read at the Annual Meeting,
July 29th, 1822.

        The Managers of the "Raleigh Female Benevolent Society," beg leave to present to the members of the Society, and the public, to whose liberality they feel themselves much indebted, the following brief report of their proceedings for the year ending July 30th, 1822.



The Raleigh Female Benevolent Society, in account with Catharine A. Devereux, Treasurer.

DR.   CR.  
To money left in the Treasury at the last annual meeting, $412 00 By Cash p'd for 4 shares Bank stock, $380 00
Donations, 154 00 By Cash p'd for tuition, 63 80
Annual Subscriptions, 49 00 By Cash p'd for raw materials, 152 79
Fines, 5 25 By Cash p'd for spinning, 271 43
Articles sold, (the work of the beneficiaries of the Society) 403 00 By Cash p'd for weaving, 121 10
    By Cash p'd for knitting, 26 20
Articles sold, of the Managers, 2 25 By Cash p'd for weaving fringe. 12 45
Money collected in Church, 34 00 By Cash p'd for various other work 22 80
Dividends on 4 shares in Newbern Bank, 32 00 Cash given in charity, 37 00
  $1091 50   $1086 57
  1086 57    
Remaining in the Treasury, $4 93    

        There are several small debts due to the Society, which amount to $26.

        There have been manufactured by the beneficiaries of the Society, 55 pair of socks and stockings; 725 yards of cloth. of which 195 yards are woollen,

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and the rest cotton; 638 yards fringe; and 32 shirts--made in the school. Also, 2 counterpanes.

        Of these articles, the Managers have now on hand, 22 pair of socks and stockings; 215 yards of cotton, and 63 yards of woollen cloth; 1213 yards of fringe; and 6 shirts. Also, 55 lbs. of spun yarn, of which 11 lbs. have been prepared for fringe; 6 lbs. for knitting, and 4 lbs. for darning. Also on hand, 2 counterpanes.

        The funds of the Society have been considerably increased by additions to the number of subscribers, and the liberal donations of benevolent individuals. The Managers have been enabled to employ a greater number of poor persons than heretofore, and thereby to extend the sphere of their influence, and to ameliorate the condition of the city poor in general.

        They have also established a School for the education of poor female children, on a more permanent and extensive scale than was before in their power. Last year the School was held only two days in the week, and attended principally by the members of the Society; but there is now a very competent teacher employed to instruct the children during five days in the week, to whom the Managers have engaged to pay $200 per annum. The number of regular week scholars is 26--many more attend on Sunday. The children are taught, not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but all kinds of plain work, and are thus enabled to repay, by their industry, some part of their debt to the Society, while they are acquiring that knowledge which may rescue them from poverty, and render them useful and respectable in the humble sphere in which it has pleased God to place them.

        In doing so much for the good of the beneficiaries of the Society, the Managers have found that the increased funds of the Society are barely adequate to the expenses, and feel themselves, therefore, obliged still to solicit from all benevolent persons, their mite towards the funds of the Society. That this Institution has been already productive of much good, is confidently believed; but the seed is only beginning to germinate. Time and the warm beams of encouragement, are still necessary to rear the tender plants. Conscious of the purity of their motives, and incited to perseverance by their partial success, the Managers are determined to adhere to their plan, trusting that God will bless their efforts, and put it into the hearts of their fellow-citizens to patronize this work of love.

        To "the young gentlemen of the Association," the Managers desire, in the name of the Society, and of the children belonging to the Charity School, to offer their grateful acknowledgments for their late liberal donation. The children of the School are now present, clothed in dresses purchased with the gift of their benevolence. May the comfortable appearance and

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innocent pleasure of these grateful recipients of their bounty, prove a rich reward for their kindness, and be as the refreshing dew to their hearts, nourishing (for their own happiness and the good of others) those gentle and purifying feelings which are ever the inmates of the heart that yields to the influence of "melting charity."

Of the Managers and Treasurer, read at the Annual Meeting,
July 28th, 1823.

        Three years have now elapsed since the formation of this Society, and its plan has been tested by the beneficial result of its operations. Let not those whom science has enlightened, or who are raised by wealth above the humble recipients of their bounty, disdain the "simple annals of the poor," or turn a deaf car to their claims.

        The Managers, in making their annual Report, trust that no one will impute to them ostentatious motives in the details which they deem it their duty to lay before the public, or in persisting in the farther prosecution of a plan which has for its objects the benefit of a necessitous portion of the community, amidst which they live. Let not the coldly cautious say, that this "labor of love is unavailing," for the Managers gratefully acknowledge, that through the blessings of Providence, much good has been done by the means afforded them.

        The Managers beg leave, through this medium, to state the real and regular objects of the bounty of this Institution, whose claims none can do away, for they are imperious, and merit to be heard.

        Aged Females, some of whom are advanced to that period of existence when the "years are drawn high" in which life has no joys, "for they have no pleasure in them." To age, and consequent infirmity, that relief has been extended, which its desolate condition required from the hands of benevolence. Without the means of support, without friends, surely the aged have a sacred claim upon charity. To use the words of a pious writer on this subject. "They are like the sea-weed, floating, though fixed on the bottom of the ocean, too loose to sink, too fast to be removed, until the hand of time plucks them up by the roots, and casts them on the shores of eternity."

        2dly. The Widow's weeping claim all will allow who feel for suffering humanity. Is there any who will disallow it? For few there are, who, in themselves or friends, have not had

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cause to sympathise with the widow and the fatherless. He who was her earthly stay, is gone, and she is left to the world's cold charities. Perhaps sickness is added to penury, and it may be, that a numerous offspring look up to her for bread. To these unfortunates, the hand of benevolence cannot fail to be extended. They are relieved from present want: are furnished with employment; and their children "are snatched as brands from the burning." Perhaps the good effects do not stop here, for so mercifully is the cup of life mingled, that the sufferings, bodily and mental, which the bereaved widow has endured, have been the means of bringing her to the Throne of Grace. where, throwing her wants, her cares, her expectations upon God, she has trusted in his mercy to inspire the hearts of her fellow-mortals to relieve her. May the means never be wanting to assist such objects of benevolence.

        3dly. Indigent Females, who have families, and who are compelled to labor hard for subsistence. These have been furnished with employment, and promptly paid for their services. and thereby enabled to assist their husbands in the performance of a sacred duty. Too frequently it happens, that the companions of these necessitous females lay not their hands to the laboring oar, or perhaps their united exertions may not be adequate to provide the positive necessaries of life. Let those who are surrounded by the comforts, nay, luxuries of life, enter into the "cheerless hut of poverty," and they cannot then withhold their mite from a Society calculated to alleviate the difficulties of these children of calamity.

        The Education of Poor Children is a very important object with this Society. This branch of it has already produced good fruits, where all before was barren and unprofitable. To the children themselves, the advantages are incalculable, and the community will be fully remunerated for its charitable contributions by the improved morals, industrious habits, and regular conduct of these youthful objects of benevolence. A considerable number of children have been taught useful employments, and have been instructed in the common rudiments of learning. They have been taught what will be of advantage to them in time, and still more precious lessons which will point the way to eternity! An able and efficient instructress has been engaged, on the resignation of the one heretofore employed, and the Managers trust, that her knowledge and care will be advantageously exerted in the situation she has accepted. Still further to promote this plan, so replete with importance to the rising generation, an article has been added to the By-Laws, which imposes on the Managers the duty of visiting the School weekly in rotation, to mark the progress of the children

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in work and in scholastic and religious knowledge, and to report thereon. Many children who have received the first rudiments of education from charity, have become "shining lights" in the world, both for talents and piety. The Managers dwell with peculiar feeling on this branch of their subject, hoping that their exertions, "like bread cast on the waters, will return after many days," and that the children's children, of the rising generation, may find blessings in the opportunities thus afforded. It is true the good wishes of the Managers are circumscribed by their funds, but the seed is sown, and they trust to Providence for its increase. The hearts of parents must feel for these objects of attention, and surely a blessing will rest upon the endeavours to bring innocent beings from the "miry clay" of ignorance to the open path of knowledge. The Saviour of mankind disdained not these tender objects, for "he took them in his arms and blessed them."

        It has been observed of this Society, as of others constructed on a similar plan, that the Managers ought to discriminate, so as to bestow the largest portion of their favor on the most deserving. To this they can only answer, that the most deserving may not be the most necessitous and although evil may previously have been committed, yet who shall say what has been resisted. The Managers have the happiness to believe, that some have embraced habits of industry, which this Society has furnished them with the means of acquiring, who before trod the path which leads to destruction. They had erred, and were conscious of it, and have sought a refuge from guilt and woe, in constant employment and reformed habits. They have wept in contrition, and have exulted in the means of returning from the now detested paths in which they formerly walked. Let not this he deemed obtrusive, nor let the virtuous shrink from contemplating the present, and reflecting on the past situation of these unfortunate beings. Perhaps no mother's precepts or example taught them the way of truth--no "Benevolent Society" supplied the place of maternal care, and thus they "erred and were deceived." Let it ever be remembered who has said, that "there is mere joy in Heaven, over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons."

        The following is the Treasurer's Report, and a statement of work done during the past year, and of articles still on hand. Until these can he disposed of or until the dividend on their Stock becomes due, the Managers, as will be seen, have no funds at their disposal. The principal of the Bank Stock they wish to reserve untouched, lest at any time their resources should fail, for want of charitable contributions; this they

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hope will not happen, where the general situation of the citizens is such as to permit the exercise of benevolence.



The Raleigh Female Benevolent Society in account with C.A. Devereux, Treas'r.

DR.   CR.  
To money left in the Treasury at the last annual meeting, $4 92 By cash paid for raw materials, $45 379
    By cash paid for Spinning, 240 839
Annual subscriptions, 92 By cash paid for Weaving Cloth & trimming, 112 74
Donations, 55    
Collection in Church, 31 40 By cash paid for Knitting, 66 80
Dividend on Bank Stock, 32 By cash paid for Sewing, 29 314
Fines, 2 By cash paid for Salary of Schoolmistress, 181 25
Articles sold, (the work of the Managers and of the beneficiaries of the Society,) 623 By cash paid for Repairing School house, 34 20
Premium from the Agricultural Society of North-Carolina on a piece of Linen Diaper, 10 Articles purchased for the purposes of the Society, and donations to the indigent, amounting to 146 40¼
  $850 33   $856 91¼
    Expended beyond the funds received 6 58¼
      $850 33


        The Society has received in donations 50 lbs. of wool, and 40 lbs. of Cotton, and there has been manufactured, under the direction of the Managers, six hundred and seventy-eight yards of Cloth, which has been made up in the following articles:

        Note.--It will be observed by the Treasurer's Report that the Managers have expended $6 58¼ more money than received; which is now due the Treasurer. There are some debts unpaid, which will more than balance what is owing by the Society.

        Having thus presented a detailed view of the objects and the operations of the Society, the Managers would be happy to add, that their resources were commensurate with the claims on the Institution. It will be seen by the Treasurer's Report, that this is not the case, and that in consequence of the work on hand, they have been compelled in some instances, to withhold

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employment. Most earnestly and respectfully do they solicit their fellow-citizens to aid them in the business before them; their time, their attention, they will cheerfully give, trusting to others to share with them the burthen of pecuniary contribution necessary to render their endeavors fruitful.

        The Managers can make no more powerful appeal to the generous feelings of the benevolent, than is presented in this simple statement of the objects and the labours of the Society. They would fain keep alive the hallowed flame which burns on the altar of Christian benevolence, and intreat those around them to aid in sustaining the brightness of its blaze.

        The Managers would do violence to their own feelings and trample on the claims of departed worth, if while congratulating themselves in the review of the past year, upon the many bright spots in the retrospect, they did not advert with sensations of the deepest regret to the melancholy event which has deprived their of their late Secretary--a loss which affects not the Society a one, but the community also, and one which will be long and deeply felt by the rich and the poor, by the grave and the gay. Dwelling with the feeling of mournful and tender recollection on her virtues, the Managers would recommend her as an example to the younger members of the Society, and would say to them with an attachment allied to that of maternal solicitude, "Go and do thou likewise."

Female Benevolent Society,
FOR 1823.


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