THE ENGLISH WESTERNERS' SOCIETY

  Charter

 General. A Charter for the English Westerners’ Society (formerly, The English Corral of the Westerners) was drafted by a provisional committee during 1959; and adopted at the Third Annual General Meeting, on 3 October 1959, to take, effect on the following day. Some amendments prepared during 1963 were adopted that year at the Seventh Annual General Meeting. Apart from a few further amendments made from time to time, the Charter remained unchanged until 1992, when a methodical revision seemed advisable. During the revision, a few provisions, which had become obsolete, and the Appendices headed “Notes on the English Corral of the Westerners” and “Local Groups” were deleted.

Article 1: Organisation

Founded in November 1954, the English Westerners’ Society (formerly, The English Corral of the Westerners) is a non­-profit making, educational organisation of those whose special interest is a preservation of the historical, ethnological and cultural background and evolution of the American West. It issues publications and holds meetings; and exists to promote and assist similar activities connected with the study of the American frontier.

Article 2: Publications 

The Society shall issue, during each year, as much published material as circumstances allow, based upon established precedents. Priority shall be given to factual papers and review material. The extent and value of any official publication shall not be reduced except with the concurrence of a simple majority in the Executive Committee, confirmed by a simple majority at an Annual General Meeting.

Article 3: Annual General Meetings

Each Annual General Meeting of the Society shall be held in London on the first Saturday in October. All members (see Note 1) and their guests may attend, and the Executive Committee shall ensure that details are circulated to members well in advance of each meeting. The following business will be transacted: reports by the office-holders; election of office-holders; any other business authorised by the Charter.

The presiding office-holder shall have control of all matters connected with the nomination and election of office-holders. The terms of all office-holders shall expire on midnight on the day of the Annual General Meeting, and the election of new office-holders shall take place after all other business has been cleared. All voting shall be by secret ballot, except where a candidate is unopposed; and when voting takes place, the count shall be checked by the Secretary, and by a member, before being announced. Before voting takes place, the presiding office-holder shall give the members present an opportunity of making further nominations, or of objecting to the nomination of any candidate. 

The case against any office-holder under suspension, shall be presented by the Executive Committee, and a decision taken by secret ballot. A two-thirds majority (see Note 2) will always be necessary for the removal of an office-holder; and no office-holder may be removed from office, and expelled from the Society, on the result of a single ballot. 

Motions may be moved for the suspension or expulsion of any members of the Society; but a two-thirds majority, in a secret ballot, will always be necessary for the success of such motions. 

Article 4: Extraordinary General Meetings

An Extraordinary General Meeting shall only be called in critical or unusual circumstances; and written notice shall be given to all members, by the Secretary; not less than two weeks before the date of the meeting. The time and place will be dependent upon circumstances; but such a meeting may only be called by: the Chairman; by not less than three other office-holders; or by not less than ten full members sending a written resolution to the Secretary. 

All official positions will be nullified, and the meeting shall elect its own Chairman and Secretary. All decisions taken, except for the election of these officials, shall need a two-thirds majority, in a secret ballot. There shall be no limit to the powers of such a meeting; except that any action, which is proposed or taken contrary to these Articles, shall be regarded as provisional until the next Annual General Meeting. Failing confirmation by a two-thirds majority, in a secret ballot, at the next Annual General Meeting, any such action will be nullified.

Article 5: Society Meetings

These shall be organised by an appropriate office-holder, and shall normally include a dinner and talk. As many of these meetings shall be organised, in different parts of the country, as circumstances allow. All members and any reasonable number of guests may attend, subject to paying a fair share towards the cost of the meeting. The Chairman shall be ultimately responsible for the organisation, conduct and financing of all such meetings. 

Article 6: Honorary Officers

The following Honorary Officers will be or may be appointed:  (Proposed additional text 19 Jan 00)

(a)     President. This post shall be filled on the unanimous recommendation of the Executive Committee, confirmed by two- thirds majority at an Annual General Meeting; and shall be conferred for distinguished service to the Westerners or in the field of frontier history generally. The appointment shall be made sine die; and shall be purely honorary, without duties or voting rights. If the President is permanently resident in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, he shall be advised and consulted on all matters of policy and administration normally brought to the notice of the Executive Committee.

(b)    Vice-Presidents. There shall not be more than four living Vice-Presidents at any time; otherwise, all the provisions of section (a) above shall apply.

Article 7: Honorary Members

Honorary membership may be conferred by the Executive Committee for distinguished services to the Westerners or in the field of frontier history generally; but no new appointments shall be made at any time when the number of honorary members exceeds ten per cent of the total membership. This grade shall normally be conferred sine die; and shall not carry voting rights or eligibility for office. 

Article 8: Founder Members

 This grade is closed. (See Appendix Below) 

Article 9: Full Members

Eligibility for Full Membership, Rights, Subscriptions, Suspension and Expulsion are set out below: (Proposed additional text 19 Jan 00) 

(a)    Eligibility.    This grade shall be open to any person, of any nationality, over sixteen years of age, who is permanently resident in United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland; except that the Executive Committee may decline any application at its discretion. In the case of applications by persons under the age limit, terms will be negotiated individually by the executive committee.

(b)    Membership Rights.    Members shall receive on joining an Information Folder (Proposed additional text 19 Jan 00), all official publications issued by the Society during their period of membership; may attend all meetings; may vote on all issues, at meetings; shall be eligible for all offices, subject to the provisions of Articles 11 and 12; and may make use of all the services provided by the Society.

(c)    Subscriptions.   All subscriptions shall fall due on the 1st of September each year; and the rate may not be raised at any time without the authority of a two-thirds majority in the Executive Committee confirmed by a similar majority at an Annual General Meeting. No such adjustment may be backdated. All members shall be given not less than two written notifications of the expiry of their subscriptions, and the second notification, if necessary, shall be sent not less than one month after the date of expiry. Under normal circumstances, no portion of a subscription shall be refunded to any persons who resign their membership, or who are expelled from the Society. Members who go abroad, and thus become eligible for Associate Membership only, shall not normally be transferred to this grade until the expiry of their current subscription. 

(d)    Suspension and Expulsion. A member may be suspended by the Executive Committee for conduct liable to bring the Society into disrepute, or for any similar reasons; but a two-thirds majority will always be needed for such action; and a written report of the circumstances shall be distributed to all members, as soon as possible, by the Secretary. The case against any suspended member must be presented at the next Annual General Meeting; and under no circumstances shall the Executive Committee have power to expel a member.

Article 10: Associate Members

This grade shall be restricted to persons normally resident outside the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland; and to any public bodies and institutions; otherwise, eligibility shall be the same as for full membership. Associates shall receive’ all official publications and may attend meetings; but other benefits of full membership shall not normally be extended to them, and they shall never have voting rights. 

The rate of subscription may not be changed except by a two-thirds majority vote in the Executive Committee, confirmed by a similar majority at an Annual General Meeting. Associates may not be removed from the membership rolls until their subscriptions shall have been overdue for not less than three calendar months; otherwise, the system for renewal notification shall be the same as for full members. 

The provisions of Article 9, Section (d) shall also apply to this grade. 

Article 11: Office-Holders 

The following office-holders will or may be appointed: (Proposed additional text 19 Jan 00) 

(a)    Chairman. This office shall be filled by election at an Annual General Meeting, and shall be held for a term of two years; and, subject to re-nomination and re-election, for subsequent terms. To be eligible, a candidate shall have served for not less than one full term as an office-holder, and shall not be under twenty-one years of age at the time of election. He need pay no subscription while in office.

The Chairman shall preside at all meetings of the Society, or of the Executive Committee, at which he may be present, except for Extraordinary General Meetings; but he may not vote on any issue, either at meetings (except for Extraordinary General Meetings) or in the Executive Committee, except to record a casting vote. He shall bear overall responsibility to the members for the organisation and conduct of social affairs; for the Society’s public relations; and for coordinating the duties of other office-holders within the Executive Committee. He shall also countersign all cheques issued by the Society; except that if, through succession, the Treasurer shall at any time fill the chairmanship, this duty shall devolve upon the Secretary.

With the concurrence of not less than two-thirds of the remaining office-holders, the Chairman may suspend from office any office-holder whose official conduct or activities have been shown to be wilfully contrary to the best interests of the

Society; but the case against any suspended office-holder must then be referred to the next Annual General Meeting for decision. The Chairman may not be suspended, but shall be subject to removal from office.

(b)    Vice-Chairmen.   Two Vice-Chairmen shall be elected on the same basis as the Chairman; except that they shall serve for only one-year terms, and shall qualify for nomination by having been founder or full members for not less than one year at the time of election. The Vice-Chairmen shall assist in the handling of social affairs, public relations and co-ordination. They may vote on all issues in the Executive Committee; but not at meetings of the Society (except for Extraordinary General Meetings). They need pay no subscription while in office.

At times when the senior office-holder by length of service, other than the Chairman, is not an elected Vice-Chairman, that office-holder shall be an additional, ex-officio Vice-Chairman. (See Note 3). Upon the resignation or permanent indisposition of the Chairman, the senior Vice-Chairman shall automatically succeed to this office, to complete the term.

(c)    Secretary and Treasurer. These offices shall be filled by election, and subsequently held, on the same basis, and subject to the same conditions, as for the elected Vice-Chairmen. If either office becomes vacant through resignation or permanent indisposition, the remaining office-holder shall succeed to it automatically, to complete the term. In unusual circumstances, an Associate Secretary, and/or Vice-Treasurer, may be appointed provisionally, or duly elected, on the recommendation of the Chairman.

(d)    Editor and Associate Editors. These offices shall be filled by election, and subsequently held, on the same basis, and subject to the same conditions, as for the elected Vice-Chairmen. If the editorship becomes vacant through resignation or permanent indisposition, the Associate Editor shall succeed automatically, to complete the term. Subject to the Chairman’s approval, the Editor may make whatever arrangements seem appropriate in the event of the associate office becoming vacant. Additional Associate Editors may be provisionally appointed, or duly elected, on the recommendation of the Chairman. 

(e)    Webmaster.   This office shall normally be an appointment filled by a member of the Executive Committee, however in recognition that this is a specialist skill any member may fill the appointment as long as they have the necessary skills in developing and maintaining the Society’s Web Site. That member would not hold other offices within the Society unless elected to do so. (Proposed change to Charter 19 Jan 00)

Article 12: Provisional Office-holders

Founder or full members may be appointed by the Executive Committee to serve in any executive capacity, for any period. There shall be no age limit, but a minimum qualification shall be membership of the Society for not less than six months, on appointment. The Executive Committee shall have discretion to waive the subscription of a provisional office-holder, while in office. Provisional office-holders shall serve on, the Executive Committee, and may vote within it on all matters except those extending to the suspension of an office-holder. 

Article 13: Representatives

As Westerners International wishes all its constituent bodies to have a business and social representative, to whom in particular visiting members may be referred for advice and possible hospitality, the following provisions are made: The Executive Committee  may invite a prominent member of the Society — preferably resident in the Home Counties — to hold this post either for an agreed or an indefinite period. The appointment shall not of itself confer membership of the Executive; but any officer-holder may be appointed to serve as Representative, in addition to other duties. Terms and conditions may be negotiated with individual appointees; provided that nothing is agreed which will make the Society liable for any expenses incurred by the Representative, except where such expenses have been expressly sanctioned in advance by the Treasurer.

Article 14: Interpretations

All disputed points in the interpretation of these Articles shall be decided by an Annual General Meeting, or an Extraordinary General Meeting. The Chairman shall have interim discretion. 

Article 15: Amendments 

Amendments to any parts of the foregoing Articles may be made with the concurrence of a two-thirds majority, in a secret ballot, at an Annual General Meeting. Proposed amendments must reach the Secretary, in writing, not less than six weeks before an Annual General Meeting. All founder and full members shall be notified, in writing, of any amendments which may have been tabled not less than four weeks before the Annual General Meeting at which they are to be moved. The full text of any amendments shall be distributed to all members as soon as possible after their adoption.

Notes. 

1.    As used in these Articles, the term ‘member’ covers all grades of membership, except where specifically stated to the contrary. 

2.    Understood throughout the Charter to mean that; “Two-thirds of the members present and eligible to vote must vote in favour of such a resolution. 

3.    For all purposes in these Articles, seniority shall be reckoned by aggregate length of service in any office; then by aggregate service as a group organiser; and then by continuous membership of the Society. Provisional office, and office held prior to 1959, shall count; but honorary office shall not count. The seniority of present office-holders, as at 3 October 2014, is shown below: 

1.    Francis B. Taunton

2.    Robert  J. Wybrow

3.    Kevin Galvin

4.    Raymond Cox

5.    Barry Corbett

6.    Michelle Pollard

Appendix

Founder, Active and Corresponding Membership

1.    Founder Membership was conferred on ten people who received the first publication by the organisation (i.e. the Brand Book dated November 1954). These were Frederick W. Nolan (Liverpool) and Alan B. Gregory (Birmingham), the co-founders; and Joseph Balmer (Zurich, Switzerland), Kenneth J. Bates (Birmingham), Albert D. Burdett (Birmingham), Kay Sharp (Isle of Wight), Russell V. Steele (London), John Valentine (Leeds), R.J. Wilkinson (Ipswich), and Dennis Wood (Birmingham). The subscription for this grade was fixed permanently at the original rate; half-a-guinea (52p). Burdett and Steele are dead; all but three of the remaining Founder Members have left the organisation. The remaining members in the grade at the time of this revision (1992) were Messrs. Balmer and Gregory and M/s Sharp. Except for the provision for a permanent rate of subscription, the terms and conditions of Founder Membership are the same as those for Full Membership. 

2.    Active Membership was instituted in October 1957, being conferred on those members who attended the first official meeting of the Corral. By inference, it was also extended to all other members who attended at least meeting. The strength of the active membership at the time of the Second Annual General Meeting, in 1958, was 35, not including the three members who then held office. 

3.    Corresponding Membership was the only subscribing grade, other than founder membership, which existed from the Corral’s foundation until May 1956. From that month, all corresponding members automatically became associate members; and the former grade remained, at a reduced subscription, for those members who wished only to receive publications. During the following three years, corresponding membership dwindled, and at the time of the Third Annual. General Meeting, in 1959, it stood at only about 14 members. 

4.    The grades of Active and Corresponding Membership were abolished on 4 October 1959, under Article III, 3(c) of the then Charter. 

LAST UPDATED 2 NOVEMBER 2014

(To reflect change in seniority of Office Holders at Note 3)

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