By-Laws

BY-LAWS

Preamble

            Whereas:  It has become evident from the decline of proper celebration of such national holidays as the Fourth of July, Washington’s birthday and the like, that proper interest in the events and men of the War of the Revolution is less than in the earliest days of the Republic; and

Whereas:  This lack of interest is to be attributed not so much to lapse of time as to the neglect on the part of descendants of Revolutionary heroes to perform their duty of keeping before the public mind the memory of the services of their ancestors, and of the times in which they lived, and of the principles for which they contended;

 

Whereas:  The Society of the “Sons of the Revolution in the District of Columbia” has been instituted to perpetuate the memory of the men who, in military, naval or civil service, by their acts or counsel, achieved American Independence: to promote and assist in the proper commemoration of the anniversaries of Washington’s birthday and Day of Death, the Battle of Lexington, the Fourth of July, the Capitulation of Yorktown, and other prominent events relating to or connected with the War of the Revolution; to collect and secure for preservation the manuscript rolls, records, and other documents and memorials relating to that War; to inspire among the members and their descendants the patriotic spirit of their forefathers; to inculcate in the community in general sentiments of nationality and respect for the principles for which the patriots of the Revolution contended; to assist in the commemorative celebration of other great historical events of National importance, and to promote social intercourse and the feeling of fellowship among its members.

 

ARTICLE I

Name of the Society

 

The Society shall be known by the name, style, and title of “The Sons of the Revolution in the District of Columbia” (hereinafter the “Society”).

 

ARTICLE II

Membership

Any male person above the age of eighteen years shall be eligible to membership in the Society who is descended from an ancestor, as the propositus, who, either as a military, naval or marine officer, soldier, sailor, or marine, or official in the service of anyone of the thirteen Colonies or States, or of the National Government representing or composed of those colonies or States, assisted in establishing American Independence during the War of the Revolution, between the 19th day of April, 1775, when hostilities were commenced, and the 19th day of April, 1783, when they were ordered to cease.

PROVIDED, That when the claim of eligibility is based on the service of an ancestor in the “minutemen” or “militia” it must be satisfactorily shown that such ancestor was actually called into the service of the State of the United States, and performed garrison or field duty; and

 

PROVIDED FURTHER, That when the claim of eligibility is based on the service of an ancestor as a “sailor” or “marine”, it must be shown that such service was other than shore duty and regularly performed in the Continental Navy, or the Navy of one of the original thirteen States, or on an armed vessel, other than a merchant ship, which sailed under letters of marquee and reprisal, or otherwise than as a passenger; and

 

PROVIDED FURTHER, That when the claim of eligibility is based on the service of an “official”, such service must have been performed in the Civil Service of the United States, or one of the thirteen original States, and must have been sufficiently important in character to have rendered the official specially liable to arrest and imprisonment, the same as a combatant, of captured by the enemy, as well as liable to conviction of treason against the Government of Great Britain.

 

Service in the ordinary duties of a civil office, the performance of which did not particularly and effectively aid the American Cause, shall not constitute eligibility.

 

In the Construction of this article, the Volunteer aides-de-camp of General Officers in Continental Service, who were duly announced as such and who actually served in the field during a campaign, shall be evaluated as having performed qualifying service.

 

No service of an ancestor shall be deemed as qualifying for membership in the Society where such ancestor, assisting in the cause of American Independence, shall have subsequently either adhered to the enemy, or failed to maintain an honorable record throughout the War of the Revolution.

 

No person shall be admitted unless he be eligible under one of the provisions of this Article and unless he be of good moral character and be judged worthy of becoming a member.

 

ARTICLE III

Officers

The officers of the Society shall include a President, three Vice Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Registrar, a Chaplain, the Chancellor, the Historian, the Marshall, the Assistant Secretary, the Assistant Treasurer, the Assistant Registrar, and a Color Guard Captain, who shall be chosen by ballot at every annual meeting from among the members thereof.  The Past-Presidents shall all times be equally regarded as officers of the Society.

 

ARTICLE IV

Board of Managers

The Board of Managers of the Society shall include the President, the First, Second, and Third Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Registrar, the Chaplain, the Chancellor, the Historian, the Marshall, the Assistant Secretary, the Assistant Treasurer, the Assistant Registrar, the Color Guard Captain, and the past Presidents, ex-officio, and nine others, at least three of whom, and for service of three years each, shall be chosen by ballot at every annual meeting from the members of the Society.

 

ARTICLE V

Admission of Members

Section 1.  Every application for membership shall be made in writing subscribed by the applicant and recommended by two members over their signatures. Applications shall contain, or be accompanied by, proof of eligibility and such applications and proof shall be submitted to the Registrar who shall report to the Board of Managers, as to the qualifications of the applicant and sufficiency of documentation of his lineage. The Board of Managers shall have the ultimate responsibility to determine the qualifications and to elect the application to membership.

 

Section 2.  Payment of the initiation fee, entrance fee, and subscription to the declaration required by the by-laws of this Society shall be prerequisites to membership.

 

ARTICLE VI

Declaration

Every member shall declare upon his honor that he will endeavor to promote the purpose of this Society and observe the by-laws of the Society and shall declare that he will support the Constitution of the United States. Such declaration shall be in writing and subscribed by the members making it.

 

ARTICLE VII

Prohibition against Politics

No question involving the party politics of the day within the United States shall ever be discussed or considered in any meeting of the Society of the Board of Managers.

 

ARTICLE VIII

SEAL

The Seal of the Sons of the Revolution shall be one and seven-eight’s of an inch in diameter, and shall consist of the figure of a “Minute-Man” in Continental uniform, standing on a ladder leading to a belfry, and holding in his left hand a musket and a olive branch, and grasping in his right hand a bell-rope above the cracked “Liberty Bell,” issuing therefrom a ribbon, bearing the motto of the Society, “Exigi momumentum aere perennius.” Across the top of the ladder and also on a ribbon the figures “1883,” the year of the Centennial commemoration of the permanent evacuation by the British Army of American territory; the whole encircled by a band three-eighths of on inch wide; thereon at the top thirteen starts of five points each, and at the bottom the legend “Sons of the Revolution.” The Secretary shall be the custodian of the seal which shall be identical in every particular with this description.

 

ARTICLE IX

Insignia

The insignia of the Sons of the Revolution shall consist of a badge pendant from a ribbon by a ring of gold.

 

The badge shall be elliptical in form, with escalloped edges, one and one quarter inches in length, and one and one-eighth inches in width; the whole surmounted by a gold eagle, with wings displayed, inverted. On the obverse side a medallion of gold in the center, elliptical in form, bearing on its face the figure of a soldier in Continental uniform, with musket slung. Beneath the figure “1775,” the medallion surrounded by thirteen raised gold stars of five points each upon a border of dark blue enamel.

 

On the reverse side, in the center, a medallion, corresponding in form to that on the obverse, and also in gold, bearing on its face Houdon’s portrait of Washington in bas-relief, encircled by the legend, “Sons of the Revolution.” Beneath the figures “1883,” and upon the reverse of the eagle, the number of the particular badge engraved; the medallion surrounded by a plain gold border conforming in dimensions to the obverse, upon which members may have their names engraved in script.

 

The ribbon shall be dark blue, ribbed and watered, edged with buff, one and one half inches in display length.

 

The Insignia shall be worn by the members conspicuously and only on the left breast, on all occasions when they shall assemble as such for any stated purpose of celebration. The badge shall never be worn as an article of jewelry.

 

The Treasurer of the Society shall procure and issue the insignia to the members and shall keep a record of all issued by him.

 

Such insignia shall be returned to the Treasurer of the Society by a member who formally withdraws or resigns, or who is expelled; otherwise it shall be deemed an heirloom.

 

No member shall receive more than one badge, unless to replace one, the loss or destruction of which shall first be satisfactorily established.

 

On occasions other than the meetings for any slated purpose or celebration, members may wear a rosette of the prescribed ribbon and pattern on the left lapel of the coat. The Treasurer shall procure and issue the rosettes to members.

 

ARTICLE X

Initiations Fees, Dues and Contributions

Section  1.  The initiation fee shall be ten dollars ($10) and the entrance fees twenty-five dollars ($25) for all members. The annual dues for all members will be determined by the Board of Managers prior to the beginning of each fiscal year based on operating costs and fees assessed of each fiscal year based on operating costs and fees assessed by the General Society. Dues shall be payable on or before the beginning of the fiscal year on 1 December. Neglect to pay the initiation fee, entrance fee, and dues within three months after notice of election shall make such election void.

 

Section  2.  Members admitted prior to 1 July shall pay dues for that year; those admitted after that date shall not be required to pay dues for that year.

 

Section  3.  The payment at one time of an amount of equal to 15 times the current annual dues shall constitute a Life membership and thenceforth exempt the members so paying from the payment of annual dues. Any member who has paid annual dues for thirty years, consecutively, and attains the age of eighty years, shall be granted Life Membership status and exempted from any further payment of dues.

 

Section  4.  Members of the State Societies of the Sons of the Revolution who join this Society by transfer, or furnish proper proof of having at some time prior thereto been a member in good standing at time of separation from membership in such State Society, will not be required to pay an initiation fee upon admission to this Society; provided, that such initiation fee has once been paid to such other State Society for any reason.

 

Section  5.  Members desiring to transfer their membership to a State Society of the Sons of the Revolution will be considered in good standing only upon payment of dues for the entire calendar year in which such transfer is desired. No refund of any portion of dues paid by a member will be made to him upon transfer to a State Society during any year or upon severing his connection from further payment of dues.

 

Section  6.  The fiscal year of the Society shall begin on December 1, and end on November 30.

 

ARTICLE XI

Permanent Fund

There shall be a “Permanent Fund” to be derived from contributions, initiations fees, and payments provided by Article X of these By-laws for Life Membership, the income only of which shall be expended.

 

ARTICLE XII

President

Section 1.  The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Society. He shall preside at all meetings of the Society and of the Board of Managers. He may convene the Board of Managers and appoint the place of such meeting when called by him. He shall be authorized to appoint committees, except the Nominating Committee, and shall be a member, ex-officio, of all committees.

 

Section 2.  The President also shall perform such other duties on behalf of the Society, as it or Board of Managers may find desirable or necessary, or as appertaining to his office.

 

Section 3.  The President shall enforce a strict observance of the By-laws of the Society.

 

Section 4.  If the President dies in office, resigns, neglects to serve, or because of inability form any cause cannot act as President, the duties of the office shall devolve on the Vice Presidents in the order of their seniority, until the vacancy shall be filled, or until the inability shall cease.

 

Section 5.  In the absence of the President from a meeting of the Society or of the Board of Managers, the duty of presiding shall be assumed by the senior Vice President.

 

ARTICLE XIII

Secretary

Section 1.  The Secretary shall conduct the general correspondence of the Society and keep a record thereof. He shall notify all qualified and accepted candidates of their admission, and perform such other duties as the Society, or Board of Managers, or his office, may require of him.

 

Section 2.  The Secretary shall have a charge of the seal, certificates on incorporation, by-laws, historical and other documents and records of the Society, including those required to be deposited with the Registrar, all of which shall be kept in the office of the Society, and shall affix the seal to all properly authenticated certificates of membership, and transmit the same without delay to the member for whom it shall be issued or his proper representative.

 

Section 3.  The Secretary, together with the presiding officer, shall, when necessary, certify all acts of the Society, and, in proper cases, authenticate them under seal.

 

Section 4.  The Secretary shall have charge of all printing and publications directed by the Society or by the Board of Managers.

 

Section 5.  The Secretary shall give due notice of the time and place of all meetings of the Society, and of the Board of Managers, and shall attend the same.

 

Section 6.  The Secretary shall keep fair and accurate records of all preceding and orders of the Society, an of the Board of Managers, and shall give notice to the several officers of all votes, orders, resolves, and proceedings of the Society or the Board of Managers, affecting them or appertaining to their respective duties; and, at the annual meeting, and more often, if required, shall report to the Society the names of those candidates who have been admitted to membership, and also the names of those members whose resignations or voluntary withdrawals have been consented to and accepted, dropped from non-payment of dues, or for failure to substantiate claim of descent.

 

Section 7.  If the Secretary is absent from any meeting, a Secretary pro tempore may be designated therefore, unless the Assistant Secretary shall be present to act in such capacity.

 

ARTICLE XIV

Treasurer

Section 1.  The Treasurer shall collect the funds of the Society; the funds and securities of the Society shall be kept with one or more financial institutions in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area, which shall be approved by the Board of Managers, in the name of “The Sons of the Revolution in the District of Columbia.” Out of these funds he shall pay such sums only as may be ordered by the Society, the Board of Managers, or the President, and he shall perform other duties as the Society, or Board of Manager, or his office, may require of him.

 

Section 2.  The Treasurer shall keep a true record account of his receipts and payments, and at each annual meeting, render the same to the Society, with full statement of the financial condition of the Society, when committee shall be appointed to audit his accounts.

 

Section 3.  For the Faithful performance of his duty, the Treasurer shall give such security as the Society, or the Board of Managers, in lieu of its action thereon, may from time to time require; any expense involved to be paid from the society’s Treasury.

 

ARTICLE XV

Registrar

 

Section  1.  The Registrar shall have custody of the blank applications for membership and shall issue the same under such regulations as the Board of Managers may determine.

 

Section  2.  The Registrar shall examine the completed applications and proofs of pedigree as submitted to him. He shall report his findings and recommendations to the Board of Managers.

 

Section  3.  The Registrar shall retain one of the two duplicate originals of every set of applications, together with the supporting proofs. This duplicate original together with the supporting proofs shall become the permanent property of the Society. The Registrar shall send the other duplicate original to the General Registrar; a General Society number is assigned by him and forwarded to the Society.

 

ARTICLE XVI

Chaplain

 

The Chaplain, if practicable, shall be a regular ordained minister of a Christian denomination, and it shall be his duty to open and close all meetings with customary services, and perform such other duties as ordinarily appertains to such office.

 

ARTICLE XVII

Chancellor

 

The Chancellor shall be a lawyer, duly admitted to the Bar. It shall be his duty to give legal information on matters affecting the Society, when called upon by the proper officers, and to represent the Society on legal matters.

 

ARTICLE XVIII

Historian

 

The Historian shall keep detailed record to be deposited with the Secretary, of all historical and commemorative celebrations of the Society; and he shall edit and prepare for publication such historical addresses, essays, papers, and other documents of an historical character, other Register of Members, as the Secretary may be required to publish; and at every annual meeting if there shall be a neurological list for the year closing, he shall submit the same, with carefully prepared biographies of the deceased members.

 

ARTICLE XIX

Assistant Secretary

 

Section  1.  The Assistant Secretary shall assist the Secretary in the performance of such duties of that office as the latter may, from time to time, devolve upon him, and may, in such cases, give required notices, and certify, and authenticate, when necessary, any acts, documents, or records of the Society.

 

Section  2.  In case of the absence of the Secretary from any meeting of the Society or the Board of Managers, or of his decease, resignation, neglect to serve, or inability from any a cause to act in that capacity, the duties of the office shall devolve on the Assistant Secretary until the Secretary shall return, or until the vacancy shall be filled, or until the inability shall cease.

 

ARTICLE XX

Board of Managers

 

Section   1.  The Board of Managers shall be judge of the qualifications of every candidate who shall make proper application for admission to the Society, and shall have power to admit him to membership therein, if found eligible under the by-laws of this Society. Three negative votes shall be a rejection of the applicant.

 

Section  2.  The Board of Managers, may, through the Secretary, call special meetings of the Society at such time as they may see fit; and they may arrange for commemorative celebrations by the Society.

 

Section  3.  The Board of Managers shall recommend plans to the Society for promoting its purposes, and, when practicable, may digest and prepare business for its meetings, and shall supervise all.

 

Publications issued in its name, and decide whether copies of record or other documents or papers may be furnished on request of any party, in cases not pertaining directly to the business of the Society and the proper conduct of its affairs.

 

Section  4.  The Board of Managers shall generally superintend the interests, and shall have the control and management of the affairs and funds of the Society. They shall also perform such duties as may be prescribed by the by-laws, or required by any Standing Rule or Resolve of the Society; provided, however, that they shall at no time be required to take any action nor contract any debt for which they shall be jointly or severally liable. They shall be competent to consent to and to accept the resignation from membership of any enrolled member of the Society.

 

Section  5.  The Board of Managers shall submit to the Society a general report of their proceedings during the year then closing, and at such time as may be required by the Society.

 

ARTICLE XXI

Expulsion and Suspension

 

Section  1.  The Board of Managers shall have power, by a two-third vote for their total number, to expel any enrolled of this Society, who, by a conduct inconsistent with a gentleman and a man of honor, or by an opposition to the interests of the community in general or of this Society in particular, may render himself unworthy to continue a member, or who shall persistently transgress, or without good excuse, willfully neglect or fail in the performance of any obligation enjoined by the by-laws or any Standing Rule of the Society; provided, that such member shall have received at least ten days’ notice of the complaint preferred against him, and of the time and place for hearing the same, and have been thereby afforded an opportunity to be heard in person.

 

Section  2.  Any person expelled under Section 1 of this Article shall have a right of appeal to the next annual meeting of the Society, but he shall not be restored to membership unless by a vote of three-fourths of the members present on that occasion or at a subsequent meeting to which the consideration of the appeal may have been specifically postponed.

 

Section  3.  Whenever the cause of expulsion shall not have involved turpitude or moral unworthiness, any member thus expelled may, upon the unanimous recommendation of the Board of Managers, be restored to membership by the Society at any meeting.

 

Section  4.  The Board of Managers shall also have the power to drop from the roll the name of any enrolled member of the Society who shall be at least two years in the arrears in the payment of dues exclusive of the current year, and who, on notice to pay the same shall fail and neglect to do so within ten days thereafter, and upon being dropped, his membership shall cease, but he may be restored to membership at any time by the Board of Managers, upon the payment of all such arrears and the annual dues from the date when he was dropped to the date of his restoration; provided that the Board of Managers, in proper cases, and in the exercise of their sound discretion, shall have the power to cancel arrears of dues, except for the current year, of any enrolled members of the Society who shall have paid to the Society dues aggregating a larger amount than the total of the arrears of such enrolled member.

 

Section  5.  The Board of Managers may suspend any officer form the performance of his duties for cause, which proceedings must be reported to the Society and acted upon by it within thirty days, either by recession of the suspension or removal of the suspended officers from office, or otherwise the suspension shall cease.

 

ARTICLE XXII

Vacancies and Terms of Office

 

Section 1.  Whenever an officer of this Society shall die, resign, or neglect to serve, or be suspended, or be unable to properly perform the duties of his office, by reason of absence, sickness or other cause, and whenever an office shall be vacant, which the Society shall have not filled by an election, the Board of Managers shall have the power to appoint to such office, pro tempore, who shall act in such capacity until the inability shall cease. Provided, however, that the office of President or Secretary shall not thus be filled by the Board of Managers, when there shall be a Vice –President or Assistant Secretary to enter upon the duties of these offices respectively.

 

Section 2.  The Board of Managers may supply vacancies among its members, other than an officer, when any member shall be absent from three consecutive meetings of the same, then or in case of death or resignation of any member, his place may be declared vacant by the Board of Managers and filled by the Board by an appointment which shall continue in full effect until the Society shall elect a successor.

 

Section  3.  Subject to these provisions, all officers of the Society, and the members of the board of Managers, shall from the time of their election or appointment, continue in their respective offices until the next annual meeting.

 

ARTICLE XXIII

Resignation

 

No resignation or voluntary withdrawal from membership of any member enrolled in the Society shall become effective as a release from obligations thereof, unless consented to and accepted by the Board of Managers.

 

ARTICLE XXIV

Membership Disqualification

 

Section  1.  No person who may be enrolled as a member in this Society shall be permitted to continue in membership where the proofs of claim of qualifications by descent shall be found to be incorrect and insufficient to substantiate such claim, or not properly authenticated. The Society or the Board of Managers, may, at any time after thirty days’ notice to such person to properly substantiate or authenticate his claim, require the Secretary to remove his name from the list of members, and such person shall thereupon cease to be a member. Provided, he shall have failed or neglected to comply satisfactorily with such notice.

 

Section  2.  Where the Board of Managers shall direct removal of a person’s name for a cause comprehended under Section 1 of this Article, such person shall have a right to appeal to the next annual meeting of the Society; but he shall not be restored to membership unless a vote of three-fourths of the members present on that occasion, or at a subsequent meeting to which the consideration of the appeal may have been specifically postponed.

 

ARTICLE XXV

Annual and Special Meetings

 

Section  1.  The Society shall hold an annual meeting on or about the second Tuesday of December in every year, at which a general election of officers and managers, by ballot, shall take place.

 

Section  2.  At the annual meeting preceding the Triennial, there shall be elected the delegates and alternates, who shall represent the Society at the meeting of the General Society.

 

Section  3.  At least two meetings shall be held each year, during the late winter or spring and in the fall, at such time and place as the Board of Managers shall determine. At these meetings no business shall be considered or transacted unless special call be issued, in which event the business to be transacted shall be specified, but historical papers may be presented and social intercourse promoted.

 

Section  4.  Special meetings shall be held by direction of the Board of Managers, or upon the written request of ten members of the Society, at such time and place as said Board may direct. At such special meeting no business shall be transacted except such as shall be specified in the notice therefore.

 

Section  5.  One week’s notice of time and place of an annual, or a special meeting shall be given by mailing through the Post Office (in said city) a written or printed notice to every member of the Society.

 

Section  6.  At all meetings of the Society fifteen members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

 

Section  7.  The Meeting of the Society in which business is transacted shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order newly Revised in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these by-laws and any special rules of order the Society may adopt. The following Order of Business shall, as far as the same may be applicable, be followed:

ORDER OF BUSINESS

  1. Meeting called to order by Presiding Officer.
  2. Prayer by Chaplain.
  3. Reading of Minutes to prior meetings not previously acted upon.
  4. Election of officers and managers, when necessary.
  5. Communications from or Report of Board of Managers.
  6. Report of Officers.
  7. Reports of Special Committees.
  8. Unfinished business.
  9. Written communications requiring action of the Society.
  10. Specially noticed business.
  11. Notices of motion for subsequent meeting.
  12. Miscellaneous business.

 

ARTICLE XXVI

Service of Notices

 

Section  1.  It shall be the duty of every member to inform the Secretary, by written communication, of his place of residence and/or any change of his Post-Office address.

 

Section  2.  Service of any notice under these by-laws upon any member of the Society, addressed to him at his last recorded place of residence or Post Office address, and forwarded by mail, shall be deemed sufficient service of such notice.

 

ARTICLE XXVII

Recommendation of Candidates

 

No member shall recommend an applicant for membership in this Society unless he shall be: (1) personally know the candidate, and (2) believe that such candidate, if admitted, will be a desirable member.

 

ARTICLE XXVIII

Nominating Committee, Qualification of Voters, and Appointments to Board of Managers

 

Section  1.   A nominating committee of three members elected by the Board of Managers not less than thirty days before the date of the annual meeting, shall nominate candidates for the offices provided by the in-laws and shall submit the names of such nominees to the Secretary for inclusion with the notice for the annual meeting. Nominations may be made from the floor at the annual meeting.

 

Section  2.  No member who is in arrears for dues shall vote or be eligible for election to any office.

 

Section  3.  The term of service to the Managers shall be three years, one-third of the whole number to be elected annually; provided, that where a vacancy in the Board may have been filled at an election by the Board of Managers, such appointment shall continue in effect only until the next annual election.

 

ARTICLE XXIX

Decease of Members

 

Section  1.  Upon the decease of any member residing within the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area, notice thereof, and of the publication, and it shall thereupon become the duty of the members, when practicable to attend the obsequies.

 

Section  2.  Any member, upon being informed of the decease of a member, shall make it his business to see that the Secretary is promptly notified of the fact, which fact shall also, in due time, be communicated to the Secretary.

 

ARTICLE XXX

Certificate of Membership

 

Every member shall be entitled to receive a certificate of membership, which shall be authenticated by the President and Secretary, and to which the seal of the Society shall be affixed. The Secretary upon application shall furnish the family of every deceased member with said certificate.

 

ARTICLE XXXI

Committees

 

Section  1.  The Society may have standing committees including a stewards committee, a membership committee, a finance committee, and such other standing committees as may, from time to time, be deemed appropriate.

 

Section  2.  The Board of Managers of the Society shall yearly appoint a Committee of five stewards, who shall have charge of and arrange for  the meetings provided for in Article XXV of the by-laws and perform such other duties as may be assigned to it.

 

ARTICLE XXXII

Amendments

 

The by-laws can be amended at any regular business meeting of the Society by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, provided that a notice of the proposal shall have been given in writing, signed by the member proposing the same, at an annual or special meeting of the Society held at least thirty days previous to such vote.