The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society
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This copy of The Constitution of the Mutual Literary Society (15 pages), once owned by John Amedey, outlines the group's official procedures, values, and purpose. The Mutual Literary Society, founded in the 1810s, was intended to encourage "Scientific Improvement" through orations, essays, and other compositions, composed and discussed by the group's members. In addition to describing the roles of a president, vice president, and secretary, the constitution establishes an "inspector of composition" to collect written exercises and offer candid critiques and critical remarks. Though the society operated primarily as a means for the expression of opinion through written and oral debate, the constitution prohibits discussions on politics and religion, as well as the use of "all profane and vulgar language." Fines could be levied on members for tardiness or for revealing the club's secrets. Other procedures include processes for approving new members and for amending the constitution. The names of the Mutual Literary Society's original 11 members appear at the end of the document.