Original DBU Constitution

The Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon Original Constitution

Name 1.
This Union shall be called “THE DUTCH BURGHER UNION OF CEYLON”.
Object 2.
The object of the Union shall be:
(a) To promote the moral, intellectual, and social well-being of the Dutch descendants in Ceylon.


(b) To inculcate in the minds of the youth of the community principles of self-help, self-reliance, and thrift; to foster and encourage by financial aid, when necessary; talent and industry in those who are deserving; and to relieve, by charitable help, distress and want among those of the community who maybe in destitute circumstances.


(c) To revive and conserve some of the useful and beneficial customs of the Dutch ancestors of its members; and to promote the study of the Dutch language among them.


(d) To promote and foster a feeling of fellowship among its members, and to draw their families into closer association with each other.


(e) To gather by degrees a library for the use of the Union composed of all obtainable books and papers relating to the Dutch occupation of Ceylon, and standard works in Dutch literature.


(f) To cause to be prepared and read at meetings of its members, or printed and published, papers, essays, etc., on questions relating to the history and origin of the Dutch Burghers of Ceylon, and to publish the genealogies of Dutch families now in Ceylon.


(g) To prepare and publish a memorial history of the Dutch in Ceylon descriptive of their social life and customs, their methods of administration, and the influence of these upon existing institutions in the Island.


(h) To consider and discuss any other matters kindred to the above enumerated objects which may commend themselves to the Union.


Members 3.
Any Dutch descendant of full age, and of respectable standing in the community, shall be eligible as a member of the Union. The term “Dutch descendant” shall include the descendants in the male line of all those of European nationality who were in the service or under the rule of the Dutch East India Company in Ceylon, and the children of such descendants in the female line by marriage with Europeans.


Officers 4.
A President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer shall be chosen by the vote of the majority of the members present at each Annual General Meeting, and shall hold office for one year or until their successors are appointed. These and 45 other members, who shall be similarly chosen at the same time, and of whom at least 15 shall, if available, be members non-resident in Colombo, shall form the Committee.


Powers and Duties of Officers 5.


(a) The President, or in his absence any member who may be elected by those present, shall take the chair at all meetings of the Union. The Chairman shall have, in addition to his vote as a member, a casting vote in case of an equality of votes. He shall exercise the usual functions of a presiding officer; and, in all cases of dispute, doubt, or difficulty arising out of matters of procedure or order, the decision of the Chairman shall be final and conclusive.


(b) The Secretary shall notify each member of the Committee of the meetings of the Committee, and the members of the Union of every meeting of the Union, issue all other authorized notices to members, make and keep a true record of all meetings and of all standing committees, have custody of its constitution, by-laws, and seal, and conduct its correspondence. He shall also act as Librarian, and have the keeping of all books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and articles pertaining to the Union.


(c) The Treasurer shall collect all monies, defray all authorized charges out of the funds of the Union, and keep regular accounts thereof, which shall be subject to the examination of the President and members. He shall submit at each Annual Meeting a statement thereof, duly audited by an auditor appointed at the previous Annual Meeting.


(d) The Committee shall have general charge of the affairs, funds, and property of the Union.


(e) The Committee shall have power to fill any vacancy which may occur among the officers (other than President) and committee members for the unexpired term of office vacated.


(f) The Committee shall cause to be prepared annually a detailed statement of the financial condition of the Union, showing its receipts and expenditure for the current year, the number of members, and other matters of general interest to the Union to be read at the Annual Meeting.


(g) The Committee shall, from time to time, make by-laws for the carrying out of the objects of the Union, provided they are not inconsistent with the rules herein contained, and shall appoint from among themselves sub-committees for


(1) Ethical and Literary purposes,


(2) Purposes of Social Service, and (3) Purposes of Entertainment and Sport. Each Sub-Committee shall consist of at least ten members, four to form a quorum, who shall report to the General Committee the work done during each month.


Membership 6.


(a) Members shall be elected by ballot of the Committee only. Candidates for admission must be proposed by one member and seconded by another, and the member proposing a candidate shall state in writing the name of the person proposed, his occupation, place of residence, and his qualifications for membership in the form hereto annexed, copies whereof shall be supplied by the Secretary.


(b) The name of every candidate, with those of his proposer and seconder, shall be sent to the Secretary at least 15 days, and by him submitted to the Committee at least 10 days, before he is balloted for. No candidate shall be elected unless he receives an affirmative vote of at least six-sevenths of those present.


(c) The admission fee shall be Re. 1, and the subscription not less than Rs. 5 per annum, payable in advance on or before the 31st March of each year, or, if preferred, in twelve monthly instalments of not less than 50 cents, payable on or before the 10th day of each month.


(d) The Committee shall have power by a vote of at least two-thirds of their number to suspend or forfeit the membership of any member for conduct on his part likely in their opinion to endanger the welfare, interest, or character of the Union, an opportunity being first given such member to be heard before a meeting in his defence.


(e) Any person who shall cease to be a member of the Union shall forfeit all right or interest in the property of the Union.


Meetings 7.

(a) The Annual Meeting of the Union shall be held in the month of ‘February.


(b) No Special Meeting of the Union shall be called at any time except by order of the President, with the approval of the members of the Committee, or by the Secretary whenever the President shall be thereunto requested in writing by 12 members setting forth the purpose of such meeting. At any such Special Meeting no business other than that specified in the call shall be considered. At least 15 days’ notice shall be given to the members of all meetings of the Union.


(c) The General Meeting of the Union shall be held in Colombo.


(d) The Committee shall meet at least once a month, seven members to form a quorum.


(e) If on the day fixed for any Special General Meeting there shall be less than 50 members present, no business shall be transacted, and the meeting shall stand adjourned to such date as those present shall decide upon, and notice thereof shall be given by the Secretary to the members of the Union.


Notices 8.
All notices shall be sent to such address as shall be left with the Secretary. If no address be so given, such notices shall be sufficient if addressed to the member at his last known place of residence or place of business.


Amendments to the Constitution 9.
The rules herein contained, save and except Rules 1 and 3, which shall not be subject amendment, may be amended by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present at the Annual or any Special General Meeting, but no amendment shall be considered except on the recommendation of the Committee or upon the written request of at least 12 members of the Union, and after notice of any proposed amendment at least 15 days before the meeting at which it is Intended to be considered.


Dissolution 10.
The Union shall not be dissolved except by a vote of nine-tenths of all the members of the Union then resident in the Island.


l. Full name of applicant:


2. Date and place of birth:


3. Profession or occupation:


4. Name of father:


5. Name and maiden name of mother, and date of marriage of parents:


6. Descent: *


*Here furnish the name of grandparents, and, where available other information of a genealogical nature relating to them and to

remoter ancestors. ‘


Date of Application:




Residence or Postal Address:


Proposed by:


Seconded by:




I. Order of Business.

At all meetings of the Union the order of business shall be as follows:-


(1) Reading the minutes of the previous meeting.


(2) Reports of officers.


(3) Election of officers.


(4) Reports of committees.


(5) Miscellaneous business.


(6) Adjournment.


II. Meetings of Committee.

The Committee shall hold stated meetings on the first Saturday of each month, unless otherwise notified. Special meetings of the Committee may be called by order of the President, or, in his absence, by the Secretary.


III. Proof of Descent.

Before being voted upon for membership each candidate shall furnish satisfactory proof of his pedigree in the form provided under Rule 6 of the Constitution; and the Committee shall cause proper enquiry to be made thereinto, and shall, if necessary, obtain such further information on the subject as would enable them to decide the question of eligibility. All references in regard to this subject shall be deemed to be of a confidential nature.


IV. Records.

The following records shall be kept:-


1. An Alphabetical Index giving the full name, occupation, residence, and date of enrolment of each member.


2. A Register giving particulars relating to the birth, family, and descent of each member, under the following heads:-


(1) Date and place of birth.


(2) Name and occupation of father.


(3) Name and maiden name of mother.


(4) Date of marriage of parents.


(5) Names of paternal and maternal grandparents.


(6) A genealogy of the family as far as it can be traced.


(7) Date of marriage and name and maiden name of wife, or, in the case of a married lady, hermaiden name and the name of her



(8) Names and dates of birth of children.


(9) Marriage of children.


(10) Other particulars.


Each member of the Union is required to notify to the Honorary Secretary, for the purpose of being recorded ill the foregoing Register, the occurrence of every birth, marriage, and death in the family.”

Certified extracts from the Records of the Union shall be furnished to members upon application on payment of a reasonable fee to be decided by the Committee.


V. Annual Meetings.

The annual meeting of the Union shall be held in the month of February, on a day to be fixed by the Committee, at such place and hour as the President shall appoint; and at least ten days’ notice thereof shall be given in one or more of the local newspapers.


VI. Sub•Committees and Appointment.

All Sub•Committees shall be appointed by the General Committee, unless specially named in the resolution creating the Committee; and each “Sub-Committee shall choose its Chairman. The Sub-Committees shall be for:-


(1) Ethical and Literary Purposes.


(2) Purposes of Social Service.


(3) Purposes of Entertainment and Sport.


VII. Sub-Committee for Ethical and literary Purposes.

The duties of the Sub-Committee for Ethical and Literary Purposes shall consist of the following:-


(1) To cause to be prepared and read at meetings of the members papers, essays, etc., on subjects bearing upon the objects of the Union. Seven days’ previous notice of such meeting, with the subject of the paper to be read, the name of the lecturer, etc., shall be given to each member, such meetings being restricted to members and their families only.


(2) To publish a Quarterly Journal, containing papers, illustrations, notes, genealogies, and letters, and a summary of the principal news of the quarter relating to the objects of the Union.

One of the members of the Sub-Committee shall be Editor of the Journal.
The Journal shall be sent post free to each member of the Union for a yearly payment to be fixed by the Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee may present copies of the Journal to learned or kindred societies and distinguished individuals.
The rate of subscription to non-members shall be double the rate fixed for members.


(3} To organize classes for the study of the Dutch Language (a) among adult members desirous of pursuing its -study, and (b) among the children of members; and to provide the necessary books and publications upon payment of their cost.

There shall be two separate classes for children, viz., an elementary class open to children under 12 years of age, and an advanced class for those preparing for the Cambridge Local Examination.
The Committee may also place facilities in the way of individual members who may be desirous of acquiring the language by self-study.


VIII. Sub-Committee for Purposes of Social Service.


(1) The Sub-Committee for Purposes of Social Service shall devote their attention chiefly to the amelioration of the condition of the poorer classes of the community-their moral even more than their material condition – by the employment of such agencies and the instrumentality of such means as will tend to foster habits of industry, thrift, and self-reliance, and thus enable them, and their children especially, to help themselves, and ultimately to help others.


(2) To enable the Sub-Committee to be in touch with these classes, and to establish for their assistance and relief a properly organizedscheme of social service, a Register shall be kept of the names of such families as may be recommended to the Sub-Committee by any of the members as being deserving of special relief, and it shall be the duty of the Sub-Committee to appoint visitors from among the members to enquire into the circumstances of each case.


(3) A fund shall he specially created – to be called the “Special Social Service Fund” – for the realization of the objects of this branch of the Union, viz., the physical, mental, and moral training of the younger children of these families, and the education of the adult members in various arts and crafts, which would help them to procure remunerative employment, and, at the same time, by means of practical lessons in domestic economy, cookery, nursing, hygiene, first aid in accidents and emergencies, etc., to render both young and old more useful as members of society, and more helpful to each other in the various duties of home life, by providing against wasteful; reckless, and improvident habits, which are the main sources of the destitution and misery which prevail among these classes.


(4) The management of this fund shall be in the hands of a special Sub-Committee to be appointed by the General Committee from among the members of the Social Service Sub-Committee, of which Sub-Committee the President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be ex officio members.


IX. Sub-Committee for Purposes of Entertainment and Sport.

It shall be the duty of the Sub-Committee for Purposes of Entertainment and Sport to make arrangements for the holding of social functions and periodical entertainments, and also to provide for the celebration of annual festivals.