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Cortlandt Skinner, Daniel Coxe, and John Lawrence, Esquires, of the province of New-Jersey ; and such other persons as shall be hereafter elected and admitted members of the Corporation erected, and to be erected, by these presents, according to the tenor hereof, and of such bye-laws and constitutions, as shall hereafter be made by the said Corporation, be, and forever hereafter shall be, by virtue of these presents, One Body Corporate and Politic in deed, fact and name, by the name of, “ The Corporation for the Relief of the Widows and Children of Clergymen in the Communion of the Church of England in America," and them by the same name, One Body Corporate and Politic, in deed, fact and name, we do for us, our heirs and successors, fully create, constitue and confirm, by these presents; and Do grant that by the same name they, and their successors, shall and may have perpetual succession, and shall and may, at all times hereafter, be persons able and capable in the law to purchase, take, have, hold, receive, enjoy and transmit to their successors lands, tenements, rents and hereditaments, within our said province of New-York, to the value of One Thousand Pounds Sterling by the year in the clear, above all out-goings and reprizes, in fee simple, or for any other estate, term or interest, whatsoever; and to take, have, hold, receive, enjoy and transmit to their successors, goods, chattels, monies, and effects, but at no one time to exceed the sum of Twenty Thousand Pounds Sterling in the gross, within our said province of New-York; and may and shall, by the name aforesaid, do and execute all things touching and concerning the same, for the benefit, succour and relief of the Widows and Children of such deceased Clergymen, who have been in communion of the Church of England, as shall or may be contributors to the funds of the said corporation, and in such manner, rates, proportions and annuities, as shall be reasonably settled, adjusted, agreed to, and expressed in the bye-laws and regulations, which shall be made, from time to time, by our said Corporation, and their successors. And also, that they, and their successors, by the name aforesaid, be, and shall be forever hereafter, persons able and capable in the law to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered unto, defend and be defended, in all or any courts of justice, and before all or any judges, officers or other persons whatsoever, in all and singular actions, plaints, pleas, suits, causes, matters and demands, of what nature, kind or sort soever. And that it shall and may be lawful to and for them our said corporation, and their successors, forever hereafter, to have a common seal for their use, and in their affairs and business, and the same, at the will and pleasure of them, and their successors, to change, alter, break and make new, from time to time, as they shall think best: And for the well governing and ordering the affairs of our said corporation, we do, for us, our heirs and successors, further grant, that it shall and may be lawful for them, and their successors, to meet together on the first Tuesday after the feast of St. Michael, in every year, and at such other time and times, and in such places, upon such public notice given, as may be fixed and agreed upon by certain fundamental regulations, to be first duly made and enacted, by a majority of our said corporation, and never afterwards to be altered, but by a like majority of the members for the time being: And they our said corporation, being so met, in such number, and agreeable to such notice, as shall be fixed by the said fundamental regulations, shall have full power and authority, from time to time, to make other necessary laws and regulations, and to transact, manage and settle, all such matters and things, touching and concerning the affairs of our said corporation, as they shall be impowered and authorized to transact, settle and manage, by virtue of the fundamental laws and regulations of our said corporation, once duly made and enacted by a majoriiy of the contributors and members as aforesaid. And all the bye-laws and regulations so made, whether concerning the election of officers and servants, or concerning the government, and management of the estate, goods, chattels, revenue, business and affairs, of our said corporation, shall have full effect and force, and be binding upon, and inviolably observed by, all the members of the said corporation, from time to time, according to the tenor and effect of the same: Provided that the same be reasonable in their own nature, and not contrary to the laws of that part of Great-Britain, called England, or of our said
province of New-York. And Further, we do hereby constitute and appoint Richard Peters, of the city of Philadelphia aforesaid, clerk, to be the First President of this our Corporation; and Thomas Bradbury Chandler, doctor in divinity, to be the first Treasurer; and Jonathan Odell, clerk, to be the First Secretary; who shall continue in their respective offices until the First Tuesday after the feast of St. Michael, now next ensuing, and from thenceforwards until one president, one or more treasurer or treasurers, and one secretary be chosen in their rooms, in such manner, and for such term and period, as shall be settled by the fundamental regulations, to be made for that purpose by a majority of the said corporation, duly met and convened. And Lastly, we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, ordain, order and appoint, that the accounts and transactions of the said corporation, legally and properly vouched and authenticated, shall, from time to time, and as often as demanded, be laid before the Lords Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of London, for the time being, or such person and persons as they may, from time to time, appoint for that purpose in America, in order that the said Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of London, for the time being, or such person and persons appointed by them as aforesaid, may ratify and confirm the said accounts, or subject them to such revisal, check and confirmation, as may be thought just and reasonable. In Testimony whereof, we have caused these our letters to be made patent, and the great seal of our said province of New-York, to be hereunto affixed, and the same to be entered on record in our Secretary's office, in our city of New-York, in one of the books of patents there remaining. Witness our said trusty and well-beloved Cadwalader Colden, Esquire, our Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of our said province of New-York, and the territories depending lhereon in America, at our Fort, in our city of New York, by and with the advice and consent of our council for our said province of New York, the twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixtywine, and of our reign the ninth.
The Charters* granted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey being, in every article, the same as the above, it would be needless to insert copies of them here. The names of the persons incorporated are the same in all of them, and stand in the same order; excepting only, that the names of those who are of the council for each province, stand first in the charter granted in that particular province. The first meeting appointed by each charter, was to be on the Tuesday and Wednesday next following the feast of St. Michael. An humble application had been made sometime before to the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, praying their countenance and assistance in carrying the design into execution; their answer, addressed to Dr. Smith, signed by their secretary, the Reverend Dr. Burton, was produced and read as follows, viz. “ That as a mark of “ their earnest desire to forward so benevolent an undertaking, " they willingly charge themselves with an annual contribution 6 of Twenty Pounds Sterling to the scheme for each of the “provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; that “ is, Sixty Pounds Sterling per annum in the whole; for which " the treasurer of the Corporation for the Relief of the Widows, 66 &c. may draw on the treasurer to the Society, for Propagat“ing the Gospel, commencing from the time that the char“ ters should be obtained, and the Subscriptions of the Clergy " themselves take place here."
Finding that a majority of the members of the corporation could not be conveniently convened at Burlington, to enact Fundamental Rules, agreeably to the tenor of the Charters, it was found necessary to adjourn to Philadelphia. It was also agreed, that there should be an Anniversary Sermon before the Corporation; and that each of the Clerical members should preach in turn, according to the order in which their namest
• The charter granted in Pennsylvania, is dated February 7, that in New.Jersey March 29, and that in New-York September 29, all in the year 1769; and, by a rule of the corporation, the annual meetings are to be held by rotation, once in three years, in each of the three provinces,
† The names were placed in the charters according to seniority of dea gree among those having a doctor's degree, and after them according to seniority of priest's orders.
stand in the charters. By this regulation it fell to my share to be prepared to preach the following Sermon at Philadelphia, as soon as the requisite majority should be convened; and I sincerely wish it may be found an introduction, in any degree worthy of a Charity so truly founded in the best principles of Religion, as well as Humanity!
The remainder of the business being transacted after the Sermon, will be taken notice of in its place.