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[272]

The society had been formed to aid the ‘indigent sick,’ and after about nine years of experience, in 1823, a feeling arose that perhaps the sphere of action might be widened, and accordingly a committee was appointed to ‘enquire whether any portion of the Society's funds may be appropriated to the use of other persons besides the indigent sick.’ This committee made a formal report on this, which seemed to be a constitutional question, in the course of which it said:—

That upon the organization of the Society, it was considered a primary object to obtain such articles, by way of permanent apparatus, as are wanted in cases of sickness, and which with difficulty are procured from other sources. To the accomplishment of this object, liberal subscriptions were then made. In addition to this, the annual assessment of one dollar upon each member of the Society has enabled it, from year to year, to make appropriations for the partial relief of such cases of poverty, accompanied with sickness, as have come within the knowledge of the Trustees. Your Committee would further report, that although it was considered a prudent measure in the infant state of the Society, to limit its appropriations for relief exclusively to the objects contemplated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Society, to wit, “the indigent sick;” yet they consider that there are many strong cases, which have and will occur, where the restriction operates as a bar against the relief of suffering poverty, although not attended with the still greater calamity of sickness. In such cases your Committee are of the opinion that the prudent extension of our charities might be made to comport with the benevolent intentions of the Society. From these considerations your Committee would recommend, that the Constitution be so far altered, that the appropriations hereafter made by the Society be applied to such persons as the Society, or the Trustees thereof, may consider as in a state of suffering poverty, although it may not be accompanied with actual sickness.

Upon these suggestions the society then agreed to act, and upon them it still acts, after the lapse of threescore years and twelve.

There is but one more matter that it is necessary to mention in the history of this foundation of the fathers. In 1830, at a time when the beautiful river Charles was still flowing with pure water, a committee was formed to ‘consider and report on the expediency of erecting a bathing-house, in part, or wholly, at the expense of the Society, as may be thought desirable.’ The society was not in a hurry, even as late as 1830, and it was

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1830 AD (2)
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