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The following statement will shew the remarkable success that has attended
The subsequent progress of the society has been even more clearly marked by success. It now possesses an excellent mill capable of grinding for 50,000 people; its members are supplied with flour through shopkeepers in all parts of the town, at the rate of twopence per stone less than they could otherwise procure it; and it is in contemplation to undertake the supply of groceries and other provisions. But amid all this financial success there have been disunion and jealousy, upbraiding and quarrelling, that have tried the patience of many and excited the disgust of others. One gentleman who has taken an active part in its management writes thus:--The real difficulty, however, I find in the management of these societies, is the dreadful ignorance of the working-classes, and their vindictiveness should anything be done which may not accord with their ideas : for example, a servant misbehaves, and is dismissed; immediately a dreadful story is trumped up shewing the tyranny of the directors, and that his dismissal was not owing to his inefficiency, but to a desire on the part of one or more of the officers wishing to get some relation or friend in his place. Accordingly, at the next half-yearly meeting there is such bear - garden scene that ends invariably in disgusting the better men, who might have managed pretty well; and of course retire or resign, leaving things to their fate. I have managed hitherto to persuade a few to retain their seats, but with much trouble; but I must confess that in my heart I am thoroughly pained to see such perverseness ; and the only thing that has sustained me has been a consciousness that I have done my best, and a belief that, after a little time, the working-classes will see that their best policy is contained in the old maxim to “ bear and forbear,” and to think that there are other honest men in the world besides themselves.?
We have endeavoured, without success, to procure a complete list of these associations. The information regarding them is scattered about among sources not easily accessible, and often quite unknown. Besides, though founded on principles of association and fraternity, the bond of union seldom extends from one individual association to another; and the consequence is, that a great number of these experiments are quite isolated; that the experience gathered practically is not diffused ; and that blunders and mistakes are repeated over and over again, which an obvious extension of co-operative practice would guard against. One or two conferences have been held with beneficial results, but at them the unrepresented associations were painfully conspicuous. The following list, however, is correct so far as it goes, and we believe embraces the greater number of the associations :
Edinburgh.--An Operative Tailors' Company, consisting of ten members ; but they have not been able to employ any more than five of that number since November last, with the exception of one week in the beginning of the season. The difficulties alleged are want of capital and unsuitable premises.
Glasgow. - A Co-operative Tailors' Establishment with thirty-five members.—Fifteen joiners have formed an association here, and propose to commence business in the spring of next year.
Liverpool.—There is a Tailors’ Institute in this town, consisting of about 1400 members, and connected with it is an association transacting business to the extent of about £400 per year. The complaint is the state of the law,' which prevents the men from obtaining capital; and it is stated that Liverpool 'is one of the worst towns in England for co-operative principles.'
London.-Working-Printers' Association; commenced with two members, and now gives employment to seven. The stock in trade is worth about £500, and all the printing required by the various associations in London is executed by this association. — Pimlico Working-Builders, consisting of about fifty members, thirty-four of whom are at present employed. The association possesses a capital of about £2500; it has undertaken and completed the erection of a number of houses and other buildings both in London and the country; it has formed a co-operative store, and it is in contemplation to establish an educational institute.Working-Pianoforte-makers ; fifteen in number, established in April 1851. This association purchased by means of borrowed capital an old-established business, which they are now carrying on.-Working Tailors and Shoemakers : particulars already given.
Manchester. There is a Tailors' Association in this town, and another of hatters. The latter consists of twelve members. There is also the factory at Pendleton already referred to.
Newcastle.—Working tailors ; sixty-two members. From 5th October 1850 to 1st July 1851 the amount of work done was £477. The capital is in shares of £1 each, and the management is vested in a committee of five and a director.
Sheffield. — There are three associations in this town of workmen employed in making saws ; first, the sawmakers, numbering 230; second, the saw-handle-makers, numbering 160; third, the saw-grinders, numbering 150. Each of these is separate and distinct from the others.
Southampton.-Working tailors ; twenty-two members, who have taken one or more 5s. shares ; eight of these are at work, and the amount of trade done from 27th March to 8th July this year was nearly £300.
In Leeds there was established in September 1845 an association called the Redemption Society, differing very considerably from any that have been described above. Its objects are stated to be to purchase land and to erect necessary buildings thereon, and by its cultivation to provide employment and maintenance for its members, both in health and sickness, and in old age: also to erect and establish schools for the proper training and educating their children, that they may become when of age useful members of society: and further, at death a decent interment shall be provided for all the dwellers on the estate at the expense of the society." Funds are procured both by subscriptions and donations. Before any one can become a member, he or she must become a candidate by payment of an entrance-fee of not less than sixpence, and a weekly subscription of one penny for six months thereafter. At the expiration of that time, if approved of by the members, the candidate is admitted on 'his paying sixpence or upwards for his card.' Donations to any extent are received, and applied to the purposes of the society, but without acquiring for the donors any privileges. When the amount of money in hand is considered sufficient to purchase ten acres of land, a purchase is made, and from among the members a certain number of 'pioneers' are chosen by ballot to go on the property and cultivate it, and support themselves by its produce. The society has already acquired the reversion of an estate in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, on which eleven persons are employed. The value on the stock on the farm was estimated in December last at £595; and during 1850, the produce, after supporting the pioneers, realised £38, 14s. One of the residents on the farm is a shoemaker, and it is intended as opportunity affords to locate other trades, so that the wants of the little community may be supplied from within itself. The experiment is one of great practical interest and importance; and those who have its management seem, apart from their perhaps justifiable enthusiasm, to be clear-headed, sensible working-men.
Besides such associations as those described, there are many others, under the title of Co-operative Stores, in various parts of the country. Their object is to supply their members with unadulterated groceries at the cheapest possible rate. The number of these stores is considerably greater than that of the associations. The following list comprises the principal establishments of the kind in London, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire-districts where the co-operative idea seems to have taken deepest root in the public mind :
Charlotte Street, London,
£3000 since commencement £50 per week
42 140 155 90 56 30 40 60
1848 Jan. 1848 Nov. 1848 Jan. 1, 1851 July, 1850
33 120 16 12 20 35
Into the great general questions that these industrial experiments open up it is not our province to enter here. Whatever abstract opinions may be formed or expressed regarding them, it is clear that the time has passed away when a discussion of these would be of much value. The working-classes seem resolved on trying the experiment, and it is the interest of every one to see that it be tried not only fairly but fully. We hope that the working-classes are prepared to abide by the result, and that when they find out, what we think is inevitable, that such associations as a general rule can have no permanent existence, they will acquiesce in the existing relations between labour and capital, and avail themselves as far as possible of such industrial investments as have been described in the first part of this Paper.
LORD BROUGH A M.
N 1830 Henry Brougham was placed by the suffrages of the electors of
Yorkshire at the head of the parliamentary representation of the United Kingdom, amidst the plaudits of the great majority of the British people. This distinguished position in William IV.'s first House of Commons was the reward of a parliamentary career extending over more than twenty years, and presumedly as frank, sincere, and unselfish, as it was unquestionably varied, brilliant, and successful. He had conquered the repugnance of the great Yorkshire constituency to being represented by a practising barrister by the sheer force of his masculine and impassioned oratory, his energetic and unquailing defence of a persecuted lady against the wiles and oppressions of a powerful and unscrupulous court and ministry; by his vehement denunciation of the tyrannies of creed, caste, colour, under whatever pretence enacted or exercised; by his iterated exposures of the law's injustice, extortion, and delay; and his untiring advocacy of the necessity, the justice, and the wisdom, of an efficient scheme of national education. The favour of the people was ratified by the monarch. A short time after the opening of the new parliament, the member for Yorkshire was created Baron Brougham and Vaux, and took his seat on the woolsack as Lord High Chancellor of England—with the exception of the members of the royal family, the first subject of the realm in eminence and dignity.
A giddy elevation! upon which it is difficult for men of the firmest, the most evenly - balanced minds to stand erect and undazzled. The new chancellor had himself no misgivings: not a shadow of apprehension clouded for a moment the brilliancy of the prospect which lay invitingly before him. No suggestion of wise self-distrust, it was evident, from the first words he addressed to the half-amused, half-angry Peers, mingled with the natural exultation called forth by the sudden and unexpected elevation to which he had attained. "The thing which dazzled me most,' said his lordship, speaking from the woolsack—' the thing which dazzled me most in the prospect opened to me by the acceptance of office, was not the gewgaw splendour of the place, but because it seemed to afford me - if I were honest, on which could rely; if I were consistent, which I knew to be a matter of absolute necessity in my nature; if I were able as I was honest and consistent-a field of more extended exertions. That by which the Great Seal dazzled my eyes and induced me to quit a station which till that time I deemed No. 88.