"THE CO-OPERATIVE NEWS"
THE Co-operative News commenced in 1871, and in 1872
it had attained a circulation of 15,000. Its original capital was £479,
subscribed by forty-five societies and a few individuals. At a later stage
the Newspaper Society was in debt £1,000. By the end of 1904 its weekly
circulation had reached 71,000. It made a profit the first three months of
£256. Capital is now £15,000, held by 324 societies, who represent a
membership of 1,087,000, but who collectively take only 71,000 copies. Its
Reserve Fund is £1,176. In addition, the land, buildings and machinery,
which cost £32,459, are now written down at £13,931.
A journal representing the co-operative movement, the official organ of
all the societies, is a public convenience. One supreme referee for
authority, counsel, information, and the free expression of the opinion of
all members of the party, is a propagandist force. The Co-operative News
is now in its thirty-sixth volume, and is a well printed, illustrated
class journal. Being the organ of a selling movement, with more than a
million customers, it ought to be included in the weekly purchases of
every member. As 30,000 new members join the society annually, taking a
copy of the paper might be made a condition with them. Any one joining a
company which paid 10 per cent. on its shares would have to pay
a premium. The average gain to a store member is l0 per cent. on his
purchases. No premium is asked from him, and taking a penny paper
(supplied at the stores)—worth more than a penny as papers go—would be
readily assented to
and the circulation of the News would amount to 100,000 in three months.
It requires great knowledge of widely-scattered and diversified local
interests to edit such a journal. Mr. W. M. Bamford, as successfully as
his father did before him, discharges the duties of Editor.
When the Co-operative News first began, a notice was published stating
that post-office orders were to be made payable to the secretary, Mr.
William Nuttall, Alexandra Park, Oldham.
A journal entitled the Co-operator, long conducted by Mr. Henry Pitman,
which preceded the Co-operative News, gave reports, in Vol. I. ( 1860) of
co-operative groups from sixteen places. In Vol. X. (1870) it gave reports
of societies and meetings in 138 places, showing substantial increase in
co-operative activity. There were doubtless other societies and meetings
of which news never reached the Co-operator. Some reports appeared in it
from South Australia. A society is mentioned in Adelaide having
twenty-eight members. In Cincinnatti, U.S.A., Co-operation is a subject of
notice; from which the reader will learn the growing prevalence of
societies in the constructive period.
The literature of co-operation will one day have considerable
representation in the Press. The News management has lately added to its
expository and popular publications the Millgate Monthly, an illustrated
magazine which promises to find scope for that latent literary ability
which must pervade so large a movement. Its appearance has proved a
conspicuous success. No doubt practised and congenial pens will be found
to contribute to its pages, both at home and abroad.
THE CO-OPERATIVE UNION
THIS Union is a Representative Executive of the societies, having
departments of Administration, Defence, and Instruction. It issued a
Manual of Auditing and a Manual of Bookkeeping. "Co-operative
Book-keeping" is by Alfred Wood, A.C.A. It has an introduction by W. R.
Rae, Chairman of the Central Education Committee, who is himself a public
teacher of repute. Mr. Wood, who has genius for explaining things
financial, begins with a clear definition of book-keeping, so that the
reader understands from the very first the nature, scope, and uses of the
financial art he is studying. Co-operative Book-keeping is of a special
nature which Mr. Wood entirely understands.
A companion volume, entitled "A Manual of Auditing," has been compiled by
Thomas Wood, R.J. Milburne, and H. R. Bailey; twice revised by the
compilers in 1887 and 1899. Auditors are as physicians called in to see
whether a financial patient is in good health, or in a critical condition. Ordinary unaudited book-keeping may present the familiar appearance of
robust life. All the while there may be seeds of consumption or symptoms
of fatal disease in the patient, unknown or unnoticed by those most
concerned. A real intelligent audit reveals the secret malady if there be
one, or certifies to the sound health of the society. A good auditor has
in his mind the policy a society ought to pursue, to keep in financial
health. I have been present when useful remarks offered by the auditor
were frowned down, as being no part of his business to have an opinion
outside his figures.
Societies will never have the full advantages of auditing until an auditor
can give his free judgment of its financial affairs. An auditor is
responsible to the public as well as to the society whose affairs he
investigates. It is not enough when an auditor says, "I certify to the
truth of the accounts put before me." Has he seen all the accounts? and
does he know what to ask for? All the value of his audit lies there.
Book-keeping is a moral art which every man in business, however small,
ought to master. The Bankruptcy Court is crowded by persons who have found
their way there—not by dishonesty, but by ignorance of their own affairs.
The seat of the Union is a handsome structure erected some years ago,
known as Union Buildings, Long Millgate, Manchester.
By the natural advantages of their position, having control of the funds
of the movement, the Buying Society is able to control all the others. It
has three times evinced its power in being able to resist the authority of
Congress, which passed resolutions requesting it to put its workshops in a
line with acknowledged co-operative principle. It has also been a wonder
to foreign co-operators by what process of administration one society has
come to control the other thousand, as
it manifestly does. In the archives of the Musée
Social is the first explanation given of this singular circumstance, for
which the present writer received their large silver medal. The only
English elucidation of the facts are to be found in an article in the
Fortnightly Review, entitled "Higher Co-operation—Its Inner History,"
The Honour of Societies.—The United Board is responsible for the morality
or consistency of the societies, so far as it may be in their power to
cause information to be given to the members of such duty as the
profession of co-operative principles implies. The belief that
co-operative societies neither give nor accept credit has been a passport
to the good opinion of the public. No committee would have destroyed this
prestige, had they, on appointment, been required to declare their
intention to prevent indebtedness among their members. Committees who
allow it consider that giving credit is a mere convenience of trade, and
do not know it is much more than that.
Not only is no inquiry made as to the co-operative knowledge of new
members—no question is put as to the co-operative information possessed
by members who are invested with the distinction and authority of
committeemen, who are entrusted not only with the administration but the
character of the society. The committees are the magistrates of the
stores. Had they co-operative knowledge and conviction, participation—which is the strength and charm of Co-operation—would not be confined to
those who are consumers and refused to these who are workers. Credit would
not creep into the store, nor would co-operative education—upon which so
much depends be left to chance and charity, as is done in so many stores. No Congress paper is read upon the duties and qualifications of
committeemen which, when officially sanctioned, could be put into the
hands of store magistrates.
I take one instance, that of debt which has attained great dimensions, and
committees have been accessories to it. Their guilt must be owing to lack
of knowledge of their responsibilities, or from unfitness to have charge
of the interests entrusted to them.
With the poorer classes the habit of indebtedness is ruin, loss of
character, and of household control. The store permitting credit sinks to
the level of the private trader, to whom we claim to be superior.
Credit is a crime in the eyes of Co-operation, and County Courts in every
town protest against indebtedness. The store committee is, in a measure,
responsible for the morals or members. To deliver the poor from the
slavery of indebtedness was the earliest improvement Co-operation
professed to bring about. A man in debt is owned by somebody else from
whom he obtains food or clothing on credit. Stores profess neither to give
credit nor accept it. The store that does is false to Co-operation. Such
is not the worst. Honest-minded new members join the store to get free and
keep free of debt. But they find the store keeps debt-books like other
shopkeepers, then the new members fall back into the degradation of
credit, and are demoralised by us. Mr. J. C. Gray, as a general secretary
should, has with decision and foresight called attention to this subject. The Birmingham Society, into which the cankerworm of debt was eating its
way, has taken the wise resolution of stamping it out. With wisdom which
other societies might imitate this society has reminded its members that
it is within their power to draw upon their profits in the hands of the
store for as much as will cover one week's purchases, by which they would
free themselves from the necessity of any further debt.
Wisely did Dr. Johnson say, "All to whom want is terrible, upon whatever
principle, ought to attain the salutary art of contracting expenses—for
without economy none can be rich, and with it few can be poor."
The Soul of the Store.—From the first it was a point or great importance
that the store should have a library of such books as its members should
wish or require to read. All libraries were then under the control of the
squire or the parson, who excluded all books they did not wish to be read. A store library was, therefore, a sign of intellectual independence. Of
late years a society here and there has given or proposed to give its
books to some public library. This might be a gain to the receivers, but a
loss to the givers, and progressive books among them would soon cease to
appear, and never be replaced. Then those who wish to read them must be
supplicants, where they could formerly command. It seems, therefore, the
duty of official leaders of societies to discourage the relinquishment or
sale of libraries in the interest of members themselves.
"To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul." A good
relevant library is not less the soul of a store, which without knowledge,
is dead. It may be some expense to keep a library, and he who will not pay
the rent of the place in which his soul may lodge, probably has a soul not
worth lodging. If he has he will soon find himself out of doors, exposed
to all the storms of ignorance. "Zeal" itself, "without relevant
knowledge, is as fire without light." A library is a bank of thought,
where members may draw ideas out who never had any to put in.
Co-operative Education.—The Union is the guardian and promoter of the
education of the members of the movement. All wise stores authorise in
their laws the provision of an education fund. Many excellent ideas never
travel because there are no means to pay their fare. From the beginning it
has always been the rule that capital and intelligence are two trade
charges, the inevitable conditions of its business progress. Every year
the Union publishes an Educational Programme, increasing in
comprehensiveness and importance. No other industrial movement ever had
anything equal to it. Sugden said of Brougham, when he first became Lord
Chancellor, that "if he knew a little of law he would know a little of
everything." So it might be said that if this programme included
co-operative education, nothing would be wanting.
Education is not co-operative because it is given by co-operators. The
compilers of the programme do not appear conscious that there is a
distinctive co-operative education, quite apart from that given by School
Boards or University Extension classes. The early co-operative propaganda
was engaged in giving the education of Companionship, which is unknown
now. The art of association, which has no collected literature and no
professors, is the very soul of the co-operative movement. Without the
spirit of unity and active goodwill to others, Co-operation sinks into
mere commercialism. Why should the friendly spirit exist? Co-operators
should promote the good of others—but why should they do it? What are
the motives for it, which are common to all persons irrespective of
creeds, and which never fail when creeds vary or fade? What demeanour
should officials maintain so as not to alienate members? Mere
intellectual education is no surety for probity. The artistic
accomplishments of Oscar Wilde did not make him a desirable companion. Energy, alertness, and business sagacity are often found in a rascal. Knowledge where the red sandstone strata lie, or when the next comet will
appear, affords no clue to the conditions of probity, nor inspires any
preference for ethical qualities.
WHAT ARE CONGRESS QUESTIONS?
CONGRESSES have been thrown into confusion through
the Chairman, or Standing Orders Committee, or the chief officials of the
society, not being prepared to state what propositions brought forward
were or were not out of order.
The question arises—What are the principles of Co-operation,
and what are its obligation and policy? Co-operation professes
primarily to enable working people, by means of self-help, in voluntary
concert with others, to acquire business knowledge and improve their
Amid the various societies extant for promoting religious or
political objects, Co-operation proposes to establish an organisation of
workers who—asking nothing from the State save equality of
opportunity—shall, by themselves and of themselves, by labour and
commerce, better the fortunes of industry, always observing the rule of
equity—ever seeking their own interests by means compatible with the
interests of others.
Even this brief statement of co-operative principle and
policy would enable any one to decide that any project or system which
trusted to the State to accomplish it, could not officially be brought
forward for Congress discussion. Such a proposal is socialistic, and
Co-operators are not Socialists. Before the Congress could acquiesce
in Socialist methods, the Congress would cease to be co-operative, since
it would abandon its principle of self-help, and Co-operation could no
longer appeal to the poorer class anywhere to improve their circumstances
by self-effort, to which all the fortunes and successes of Co-operation
are owing. Socialism dissolves Co-operation. Had the early
co-operators looked to the State for aid, there would not be to-day a
single store doing business, and the millions of property possessed by
co-operators would have no existence. Socialists have no more right
to enter our Congress, and seek to pervert it to their own purposes, than
co-operators would have to go into a Socialist or Collectivist assembly
and propose to them to abandon their principles and methods and adopt
ours. No person proposing the introduction of Socialist principles,
or conniving at their introduction into our movement, can be a
co-operator. If he professes to be one, he is betraying the cause he
has undertaken to espouse. Socialism may be better than
Co-operation, but it is not the same, and those who think it better should
go over to it, and not pretend to be on the side of Co-operation when they
are deserting it. Officers or Congress, finding compromising
questions brought before them—questions not only distinct from
Co-operation, but destructive of it—can have no hesitation in declaring
them out of order.
The co-operative party being a distinctive body—neutral, but
not antagonistic to any other, religious or political, but separate from
them—it has to pursue its chosen course or social effort. It imposes no
theological tenets on its members, nor exacts adhesion to any political
platform. To take sides with any one creed would involve conflict with
every other, for conscience is the most fiery, invincible, and belligerent
or all human attributes. It is that instinct which fights for truth and
personal sincerity, and—happily for progress—can never be bound by
majorities. To take one side in politics would be a challenge to the
other. To pledge the societies to one party would be as imprudent as to
impose upon them one creed. It would embark Co-operation on a shoreless
sea, without compass or chart, where rocks are known to abound. Motions
which would cast the movement adrift from its moorings are surely out of
It is a great thing that a distinctive body of industrial
co-operators—having recognition, influence, and wealth—should have grown
up within the memory of living men. No wonder that another party, having
no principle of self-effort and little to show in the way of success,
should be desirous that the co-operative movement should take up theirs
and run it for them. If we are do to this by one body, we should have to
do it by many more, and in a few years we should have all the chief
movements in the world on our hands, and we should soon be like the poor
gentleman in one of Ben Jonson's plays, who had "such tides of business
that he had no time to be himself." The co-operative movement is not
itself yet, and it will be time enough to become the handmaid of other
movements when it has perfected its own.
In a democratic movement like Co-operation, every new member has an equal
voice in its fortunes with those who have grown grey in its service and
have acquired the wisdom of arduous experience. The new-comers may, as
they often have done, arrest education, connive at indebtedness among the
members, and imperil the honour and progress of the movement in many ways. Is no precaution to be taken
against this? The doors of the movement are wide open and
unguarded. Every one may enter who merely wants a dividend—knowing little
and caring less for the higher ethical principles which have brought the
movement its best friends and given it influence beyond any other
industrial organisation. It is officially known that 30,000 new adherents
every year pass through the portals of the movement, which is only like an
arithmetical turnstile, counting the numbers, but having no check upon the
quality of the throng. Thus the movement is dominated by recruits with
competition in their bones, who give a competitive complexion to
The question of the status of the Co-operative Bank was one of great
interest to Mr. Hughes, Mr. Ludlow, and Mr. Neale, who wrote pamphlets
upon it. They wished its administration to be guided by what are known as
"banking principles." What does a great body of new stores, which have
arisen since those days, know of banking principles? Here is a topic of
momentous interest for discussion.
What are the limits of commercialism?
"Which, like Omnipotence,
Mantles the movement with darkness
Until right and wrong seem accidents,"
and men despair lest truth and equity be obscured by it. Here is another
topic for a Congress paper, the discussion of which would elevate all who
took part in it.
Lord Salisbury once asked, "Where does Municipalism end, and where does
the State begin?" It is no less an important question in a social
Co-operation has two principles, individualism and association. What are
their limits? How far can we carry them? These and twenty other
questions are undebated, unsettled, and knowledge of them are not yet
attributes of the movement. It will be time enough to invite our members
to enter upon other fields of enterprise when they are masters of their
DIRECT representation of Co-operation in Parliament
is a question of natural interest to co-operators. Co-operation has
had great representatives in the House of Commons—as Mr. John Stuart
Mill, Mr. Walter Morrison, and Thomas Hughes. The two last members
lost their seats through their known friendliness to Co-operation. A
former Lord Derby, Mr. Bright, and Mr. Cobden, were steadfast in their
friendship to it. Mr. Thomas Burt and Mr. F. Maddison have been
foremost among trade unionists in espousing the cause.
As there is no interrogation of our new members as to what
they know of Co-operation—as in the old days of the movement—a candidate
may offer himself who may, when elected, represent something else than
what co-operators expected. A Socialist candidate, of whom several
have found their way to the platforms of the societies, would be likely to
do this. A parliamentary representative should have political
opinions of some kind, or the interest of the State would fare very badly
in his hands. A candidate cannot be taken at random, and no
questions asked. What is he to represent? Is it the commercial
interests of the movement mainly, or its ethical principles?
Co-operation stands for commercialism and morality. A member of
Parliament should be a patriot, who cares for the interest of the State
first and the pecuniary interests of his party second. If he has no
political principles he has no business to be in Parliament at all.
There are already too many there who have no public principle whatever.
Shelley has described one of them—
"He is no Whig—he is no Tory.
No Deist and no Christian he.
He is so subtle that to be nothing
Is all his glory."
Is the co-operative candidate to be one of these impartial
knaves whom Cobden knew so well, who had no bias, not even towards the
truth? Co-operators could not be expected to vote for such a
candidate. Suppose he is a Tory. If so, he has as much right
to be a candidate as a Liberal; but how can those co-operators who are
Liberal vote for one who does not hold their principles, but will
disparage and vote against them? For Liberal co-operators to vote
for a Tory candidate because it would serve their trade interests, would
be to desert their Liberal principles for their personal advantage.
It would be that kind of baseness of which there is too much seen at every
Suppose our co-operative candidate to be a Liberal, the Tory
members could not conscientiously vote for him without being guilty of
that treachery to their convictions which it does not become co-operators
to advise or encourage. There can be no direct representation except
by a Liberal candidate where the Liberal co-operators in the constituency
are sufficiently numerous to elect him—or where a Tory candidate being
put forward, the Tory co-operators in the borough or district are in
strength enough to elect him. These, alone, are the circumstances
under which we can have direct representation. There is a dubious
political party among working men who invite working men to vote for a
candidate whether Liberal or Tory, if he will vote for their interest.
But co-operators have not sunk to that level of indifference to principle,
or treachery to the State.
Some co-operators are under the false impression, that
because politics cannot be made a Congress question, that, therefore,
co-operators should be indifferent to politics.
In the days when the Rochdale store began, two public
questions were occupying the nation, the Repeal of the Corn Laws and Free
Trade. Many leading co-operators were persuaded—as the Socialists
are now—that their great scheme would render any other reform
unnecessary. They said the repeal of competition was more important
than the repeal of the Corn Laws. Like the Chartists, who said that
the Free Trade agitation was delaying the Charter, the co-operators
thought the Charter delayed communism. Mr. G. A. Fleming, the editor
of the New Moral World, took this course. Mr. Lloyd Jones
moved resolutions on the same side. This caused among the public a
distrust of Co-operation as a sinister movement, the members of which were
personally against Fiscal and political reform, or were conniving with
opponents of them. A co-operator is for neutrality within the
society, as regards religion and politics, but individually he should
never cease to take sides in ecclesiastical and political affairs.
Politics, like piety, is a personal question, and every one should take a
personal interest in it. That man makes a great mistake who thinks that
because he is a social reformer in the co-operative body he should cease
to be a political reformer as an individual. As an individual he ought to
belong to that Church whose creed commends itself to his conscience, and
be a member of that political party whose principles, in his judgment, are
most conducive to the honour and welfare of the State. Because a man is a
co-operator he does not cease to be a citizen or to be concerned in the
freedom or prosperity of that great commonwealth, which is sometimes given
the name of Empire. To abandon great national interests to the unchecked
control of intriguers or adventurers, and render no aid to the advocates
of the people, is a dangerous and criminal disregard of public duty. Tory
and Liberal are more than mere party names. Tory represents the authority
of the rich, and the subjection of the people. Liberal stands for reason
OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND INCIDENTS
Industrial Exhibitions.—Prince Albert may be regarded as the
originator in Europe of Industrial Exhibitions as a public feature.
The first experimental one was held in the Shakespeare Room, Birmingham,
in 1839. I had charge of the assistant exhibitors. It was held
at the Prince's instigation. It was thirty years later (1869) when
the first Co-operative Exhibition was made at the first revived Congress
in London. The Exhibition was small then, but by 1880 it became an
indispensable feature of Congress. Where no room sufficiently large could
be had in the Congress town, temporary halls have been erected for the
purpose. Of late years the product of the Wholesale Society's workshops
and those of the co-partnership manufactories have been exhibited in the
same building—crowds attend, and the townspeople derive pleasure from it. The object of the promoters of the Exhibitions is to bring before the
public, examples of co-operative handicraft which may be trusted to be of
fair value. Lately articles of higher workmanship are included to suit the
taste of more opulent purchasers. The Exhibitions are intended to raise
the standard of skill among workers. Some Communist societies in America
obtain on the market 30 per cent. more for their produce than other
sellers. Even the tremulous name of Shakers does not deter purchasers,
because their goods are known to be honest. Mr. E. O. Greening effected a
brilliant extension of the Exhibition idea, by constituting annual
Festivals of Labour, Flowers, and Song at the Crystal Palace. A mile of
tables have been covered with flowers and fruit—a sight the world has not
seen elsewhere in the same splendour and extent. Mr. Henry Vivian now
At Hart Street, Bloomsbury, London, is the tailoring department of the
Social Institute, originated by Mr. Greening in the former concert-room of
the Princess's Theatre, Oxford Street, where I asked Mr. Greening to
arrange a meeting, at which I introduced Mrs. Annie Besant, who addressed
her first audience there. It was but following the example of Mr. Owen,
who gave Edward Irving the hospitality of Gray's Inn Road Hall, to preach
in, when his religious friends were hostile to him.
An International Profit-sharing Congress.—An International Congress
Alliance has been established. It originated in a proposal made by M. de Boyve, at the Plymouth Congress of 1886. At the Rochdale Congress of 1892,
Messrs. E. de Boyve, Charles Robert, E. V. Neale, E. O. Greening, T.
Hughes, G. J. Holyoake, J. Greenwood, and other friends of profit-sharing,
founded the Alliance. At the first Congress of the body held in London,
the integrity of the Congress was changed by the admission to it of
parties having alien objects, which converted the Congress into a
commercial union—a good object in its way, but not participation. The
Congress no longer—like the Musée Social
of France—stood for participation. Mr. Henry W. Wolff is the present
chairman of the new Trading Alliance, who has had repeated travels through
Europe, which have enabled him more than any one else to promote the
commercial aims of the Alliance. At the formation of the original Congress
it was an object of Charles Robert and M. de Boyve to prevent the
Association being perverted by the Socialists to their objects. The only
expedient for preventing this was expelling from membership such persons,
who were to have the right to appeal when the cumbersome proceedings of a
trial took place. My proposal was, that each member, on admission, should
sign a brief declaration of honour that, while he remained a member, he
would neither promote, nor connive at, the perversion of the society from
its cardinal objects, as such action would be held to terminate the
membership of the individual. The honour of the member would be an
effectual safeguard of the integrity of the Congress of Participation. Had
this form of precaution been adopted, the submergement of profit-sharing
by the London Congress would not have taken place.
The last day of Congress saw an influx of voters from the North of
England, with whom profit-sharing was not a principle. They superseded the
organisation they found, and set up a new Alliance of All-sorts, in which
profit-sharing was reduced to a feature, and commercialism established in
its place, so that the international representation of profit-sharing
ceased. A commercial alliance in the interest of societies had advantages,
but those who wished to bring it about should have called a Congress for
that purpose, and left the original Congress intact. Had my suggestion to
Charles Robert been adopted, this coup d'état
of commercialism would not have occurred. Ten years later (1905) the same
thing was attempted at Paisley. Had it succeeded it would have destroyed
the Co-operative Union. The ethics of honour between individuals is pretty
well understood, but between societies—not so.
An International Commercial Alliance.—This alliance, which commenced in
the manner described, was a commercial necessity in the nature of things
and will no doubt usefully extend Distributive Co-operation in other
countries. It has already held several Congresses consecutively, London,
1895 (if that is to be counted one of its Congresses); Paris, 1896; Delft,
1897; Paris, 1900 (a second time); Manchester, 1902; and Buda-Pesth, 1904. This new alliance will have to hold Congresses in America, Canada, and
Australia. One of its objects is the "study of the true principles and
best methods of profit-sharing and the association of labour with capital,
including the remuneration of workmen." Another object is "to hasten a
system of profit-sharing" [improbable]. These objects authorise the
introduction and advocacy of Co-partnership at the Congresses of the
Commercial Alliance. One day the original profit-sharing Congresses will
be revived, as the participation of labour in profit, like "John Brown's
soul, is marching on" in every nation.
A Permanent Building Society.—A general Building Society is a feature of
recent years. It was established in London in 1884. Its prosperity and
usefulness have grown during twenty one years. Its roll of membership
includes names of well known co-operative and trades unionist leaders. The
society is registered under the Building Societies' Act, and not under the
Industrial Provident Societies' Acts. It has a growing record of
efficiency. Its secretary is Mr. Arthur Webb, and its offices are at 22,
Red Lion Square, London, W.C. At first it seemed doubtful whether such a
society could be established. When Mr. A. Webb became its secretary in
1895 its receipts amounted to £7,000 per annum. In 1905 they had reached £88,000. Its assets are now £230,000. The Society has 165 agents, mainly in
co-operative societies. It deals in mortgages only of moderate amounts for
better security. It holds 990 mortgages, distributed over thirty counties. The average amount of each mortgage is only £233, which shows that its
progress is safeguarded by prudence. It has properties in Yorkshire,
Cheshire, Warwick, Northumberland, Dorset, Durham, and Glamorgan. It has
183 mortgages in Essex, 176 in Middlesex, 158 in Surrey, 132 in Kent, 118
in Hampshire, and 50 in Cambridge.
The Insurance Society.—Equally, or more, entitled to notice is the
Co-operative Insurance Society, whose offices are now Union Buildings,
Long Millgate, Manchester, and whose secretary is Mr. James Odgers. The
origin of the society dates from 1867, and its first registered office was
at the Equitable Pioneers Stores, Toad Lane, Rochdale. It insures against
fire, guarantees the honesty of employees in co-operative societies,
insures the lives of members of co-operative societies, and also against
death by accidents. The first fire policy was issued February, 1868. Its
first fidelity guarantee was given in June, 1869. Its first life policy
was issued in August, 1886. Its offices were removed from Rochdale to
Manchester in 1871. No life policies are issued—which is a feature of
other companies—entitling the holder to profits, which enable many
persons to save who otherwise would not. Such policy-holders subscribe the
profit in the higher rate they pay—but they save the money. Though in
accordance with co-operative practice to afford this facility, it has
never been done in this office.
The total premium income of this society for the first year (1869) and a
half was £275. In 1904, £46,007. Funds in excess of paid-up capital in
September, 1869, were £188. At the end of 1904, £141,210.
Incidents.—The fourth object of the Rochdale Pioneers—1844 was "the
purchasing or renting an estate or estates of land, to be cultivated by
the members who may be out of employment or whose labour may be badly
remunerated." This was the object of the "Unemployed Bill,"
1905. It took
sixty years for the idea to travel from Rochdale to Westminster.
If the reader would understand the virgin enthusiasm of co-operators,
which has oft recurred, and in some later generations will recur again, as
new dreamers of a better state of society arise, let him read the
following lines sung by the Owen party on board ship en route to New
Harmony, Indiana, 1825:
"Land of the West, we come to thee
Far o'er the desert of the sea;
Under the white-winged canopy,
Land of the West, we fly to thee;
Sick of the Old World's sophistry,
Haste then across the dark, blue sea,
Land of the West, we rush to thee!
Home of the brave, soil of the free,—
Huzza! she rises o'er the sea."
They did not find the land of the free out in the West, but they helped to
make every land more free in social respects.
CO-PARTNERSHIP WITH LABOUR
"My idea is that the real characteristic of Co-operative
Production might be stated in this way—that it was an endeavour to
substitute an Industrial Republic for an Industrial Monarchy."—MR.
M.P., Crystal Palace, August, 1899.
The Agricultural and Horticultural Association.—Mr. Gerald
Balfour's penetrating conception of Co-operative production covers the
whole ground of Industrial Co-partnership.
The society which was earliest to adopt Participation principles was the
Agricultural and Horticultural Association. This association, elsewhere
mentioned, carried Co-operation into a field unoccupied by it before. In
1877 the business reached about £80,000, and its profits about £3,000 per
year. The rules at that time limited the dividend on shares to 7½ per
cent. In practice, with a few exceptions it paid only 5 per cent. Half the
profits were paid to customers and 10 per cent. of the net profits went to
the employees. The clerks had dividend on
a separate footing. The total dividends paid to employees came
to about 20 per cent. The sums paid to customers repaid them several times
over all the capital they had contributed to establish the Association. In
1880 the business had obtained
a turnover of over £100,000 of sales per year. Then came the great
agricultural depression which largely affected the Association. Previously
it had relied on its farming public. Then it commenced to develop the
Horticultural side of its business, which restored its prosperity and
profitableness. During the three years since 1901 the Association has made
sales of £162,000, and net profits of £9,426. By consent of members the
profits have been retained with the object of strengthening the
Association in case of recurring depression. New regulations as to the
division of profits, give to the employees 25 per cent. of all the net
profits. Customers still receive about 50 per cent., and the remainder
goes to reserves or objects of public usefulness. The capital now amounts
to £50,000, and when in full work it employs 250 people. The Association
has over 3,000 members. Its headquarters are at 92, Long Acre, London, W.C.,
in the historic building once known as St. Martin's Hall, in which Prof.
Maurice launched the Working Men's College and Charles Dickens gave his
first reading. It is now the "One & All" seed warehouses and offices. Its
works are still at Deptford. Mr. E. O. Greening, in his "Country in Town"
(1905), says, "The Association is a mutual profit-sharing co-partnership,
partly commercial, as far as it seeks to further the best interests of its
customers and employees, but it is also a public body having educational
aims and objects."
Mr. Greening has been its Managing Director since its commencement. The
Association has published thirty-eight volumes of the Agricultural
Economist, with illustrations equal to the best magazines.
Labour Co-partnership Association.—For seventeen years the principle of
profit-sharing with labour had been dead in the official workshops of the
movement. Capitalist workshops
had been set up instead. In 1884 it was considered necessary for the
credit of Co-operation to found a new association of Industrial
Co-partnership—in the interest and elevation of labour—the main object
of the Rochdale Pioneers. This was
done at the Derby Congress of 1884. M. de Boyve, of Nîmes, E. Vansittart
Neale, E. O. Greening, Joseph Greenwood, Abraham Greenwood, J. M. Ludlow,
Thomas Hughes, and G. J. Holyoake were the chief promoters of the new
association. Messrs. E. V. Neale, Lloyd Jones, E. O. Greening
, Harold Cox, Bolton King, and E. W. Greening were the first executive. A
few years later three singularly ardent and able adherents appeared in the
movement. Henry Vivian, Thomas Blandford, and Aneurin Williams. Labour
co-partnership was then an unknown name, and it involved some research to
discover the few societies existing which came under that description. Mr.
Henry Vivian, in his admirable paper on "Industrial
Democracy," gives the following figures showing the progress made in the
establishment of societies based on Co-partnership principles, dealing
with working class businesses in England.
Societies at Work
Dividend on Wages
We were told, with Russian confidence, that the Port Arthur of Capitalism
would never be taken. Anti-labour partisans told us we must go "outside
the movement" to carry out our views. We would not go outside—that would
be schism. This principle of Labour Co-partnership means that all those
engaged shall share in the profit, capital, control, and responsibility. It seeks (1) in the co-operative movement to
aid all forms of Co-partnership production; (2) in other businesses to
induce employers and employed to adopt profit-sharing; (3) to encourage
investment tending in the same direction.
Earl Grey presented a medal to some hundreds of Northern co-operators,
whom he entertained at Howick, bearing the magic words:—
"From Slaves to Serfs,
From Serfs to Hirelings,
From Hirelings to Partners."
This is what the Federation of Co-partnership Societies aims at.
Co-operative Distribution leaves the man-slave, or
serf, or hireling to his lot. It does nothing for him as a worker.
Co-partnership does everything. The Christmas of 1903 had a
Co-partnership celebration of which no precedent had ever been known in
England. Every employee of the South Metropolitan Gas Company
received an illuminated card containing the message:—
"Capital, Co-partnership, Labour. Christmas, 1903—The directors wish you
and those dear to you a very happy
Christmas. The profit-sharing system, started in 1889, has advanced to
Co-partnership in 1903. It is the desire of the directors that every
employee should be a co-partner with them in the property, and a co-worker
in promoting the prosperity of our Company. There are now 4,380
co-partners holding £114,865 of stock, of a market value of £136,115, who
have also on deposit at interest £46,500, a grand total in the Company
amounting to £182,615."
Co-partnership pays the public as well as the men. The South Metropolitan
Gas Company announced a reduction of 2d, per 1,000 feet in its gas
charges. This means that the people of South London are being supplied at
2s. 1d., while the people of North London, served by the Gas Light and
Coke Company without Co-partnership, are compelled to pay 3s.
When philosophy can no longer deny facts, it explains them away by
definitions, diving into bottomless pits of profundity, representing that
if those engaged in labour were fully paid, there would be no profit. That
is to say that if the worker was paid at first all due to him, he would
have nothing further
to claim. Thus the reader is landed on what the Irish preacher called a shoreless sea. It is because no state has existed in which the worker has
had his due, that he seeks it in an allotment of profit—his only mode of
Then another class of adversaries aver that the concession or profits is
no incentive to labour. If wages augmented by profit-sharing means no
increase of work, or thought, or care, or economy on the part of the
worker, all who seek situations where higher salaries are paid are
impostors. Higher wages
are only offered as an inducement to higher service. But it this is not
intended, it is fraudulent in those who seek or accept them.
It marks the advance in public opinion that the splendid verbiage of
Carlyle in praise of labour sounds very hollow—where it is unaccompanied
by any exhortation of duty on the part of the employer in seeing to the
adequate remuneration of labour.
Some one praising Whistler's pictures as so very natural, the artistic
egotist answered, "Yes! Nature is creeping up to me." Without egotism it
may be said that industry is creeping towards Co-partnership.
The munificence of Count de Chambrun endowed with an income of £4,000 a
year the Musée Social of Paris. This great Institute, situated at 5, Rue
Las Cases, Paris, promotes in France the participation of the worker in
the benefits of his industry. One day the Co-partnership Federation of
Great Britain may unite with the Musée Social and with societies of
participation in other continental cities and in America, and restore the
International Congress of Participation. The English offices of the Labour
Co-partnership Association are at 22, Red Lion Square, London, where No.
36 was the first seat of co-operative propagandism in 1836. Labour Co-partnership (of which eleven volumes have appeared) is the organ of the
In the town of Leicester there are ten Co-partnership businesses, and in
Kettering there are five. The reader will find these Co-partnership
productive industries include cotton, linen, silk, wool, boots and shoes,
leather, metal, hardware, wood-work, corn-milling, baking, building and
quarrying, printing, and book-binding.
In a masterly statement of the status of Co-operation in Great Britain
made by Mr. J. C. Gray in the Arena of 1905, it is shown that in the
productive departments of the English and Scottish Wholesale 16,000
employees are engaged—that their sales amount to nearly £5,000,000, and
their profits to more than £183,000. Production carried on by distributive
societies employs 18,000 and the sales amount to £5,000,000, which shows,
as Mr. Gray observes, that criticism often made "that Co-operation has
been successful in distribution, but in production its efforts have not
been commensurate," is not borne out by facts. Had the English Wholesale
remained as founded—a Buying Society simply—the workshops would have
been as numerous as the stores.
CO-OPERATION SELF-DEFENSIVE INDIVIDUALISM
"England's greatest treasure and force is, not in her navy,
nor in her wealth, but in that Individualism, which, no doubt, frequently
exceeds its aim and turns angular and grotesque, but on the whole
constitutes an asset, a force greater than that of any other Empire."—DR.
CO-OPERATION is self-defensive Individualism, made
attractive by amity, strengthened by interest, and rendered effective by
association. It has from the first appealed to self-help and
inculcated self-dependence. Competition, although an unevadable law
of Nature, is mitigated by man with the condition that the freedom of the
individual shall be kept within limits of neither fettering nor harming
others in the exercise of equal rights.
In the same manner it is a necessary condition of human
progress that every form of association, co-operative or socialistic,
voluntary or otherwise, shall refrain from neutralising, suppressing, or
superseding those personal and individual rights upon which the welfare,
the security, and self-defence of society depend.
The individual can do little save by concert with others.
This co-operation he seeks by volunteering Co-partnership in the gains of
all mutual undertakings.
Co-operation has a message to Labour. That is the
reason of its being. Ah, Labour! there are people who have a heart
so cold towards thee that an Arctic explorer would be frozen to death in
his attempts to reach the Polar region of their sensibility. Labour!
praised and plundered, the sole means of life, to which all progress is
owing, by which everybody profits, and which few reward!
Co-operation is thy sole available path of independence. It puts
here and now into the workers' hands the means to cancel their captivity.
It waits for no future—its field of operation is the present. It
needs no conversion of the world for the commencement of change—it needs
but self-help and concert.
Co-operation is Co-partnership in the workshop and in the
store. Co-partnership in production is now officially conceded a
place side by side with co-operative distribution, 
of which it is not the antagonist nor the rival, but the assertion of the
original co-operative principle.
The essence of ethical Co-operation is participation.
It is that which has caused the co-operative stores to exist, and were
participation withdrawn they would die in a day. Unless the
principle of the store is extended to the workshop, the workshop is not
co-operative in the plain sense of the term. If "taxation without
representation is tyranny," co-operation without participation is
imposture, judged in the light of its essential principle.
Co-partnership in the workshop began earlier, goes further,
and means more than co-operative distribution. The theory of
Co-operation, based on the Co-partnership of individuals, will be new to
members of later years unversed in the aims of the old Pioneers who made
the movement. It therefore requires consideration to state the case,
so as not to chill the susceptibilities of those who have never breathed
the bracing upland air of higher Co-operation.
Sir Albert Rollit lately told us of a mayor who, on taking
his seat on the bench for the first time, assured the bar that "during his
year of office he would spare no effort to be neither partial nor
impartial." My ambition is to be impartial, merely indicating the
logical course a society must pursue which seeks to realise co-operative
When the stores established a buying society participation
was the soul of it, and for a few years this society accorded a share of
profits to those in its employ. Then this rule was abandoned, and
Co-operation was changed into a commercial movement. A democratic
society which asks no ethical questions of, nor takes any pledges from,
those who join it, keeps an open door through which pirates may enter and
scuttle the ship, and officials were soon found doing it. Some never
comprehended ethical Co-operation, but took it to be a new method of
commercialism. Some were particularists, as were workers in Oldham
mills who shared the profits of the concern. Some of them became
shareholders in another profit-sharing mill. They showed willingness
to receive it in the mill in which they worked, but always discovered
"particular" reasons why it was impossible where they were the employers.
That participation increased excellence in work, economy in material,
diminished cost in supervision, and created pride in the workshop, which
is the grace of labour—was disbelieved or disregarded. Every
consideration gave way before the desire of gaining an immediate advantage
at the expense of others. When workmen became directors, it was soon
found they had no wish to see workmen of the class to which they belonged,
on an equality with themselves. In the stores they did not attempt
to take away the profit of the purchasers, to whom a hundred shops were
open; whereas the workman had scant chance of another situation if he gave
up the one he held. So the workman could be kept lean while the
consumer was fed fat. Co-partnership was the beginning of equality
which has no other sign, and only men of strong sense of right and strong
sympathy with it cared to concede it. From 1864 to 1904, a period of
forty years, no single director has ever uttered a word in favour of
participation of profits in their workshops. The more astute saw
that by retaining the profits of the workshop and sharing them with the
stores it would conduce to business. Whether it was conducive to
co-operative honour or fidelity to co-operative principles did not appear
to concern them; as Mr. Mitchell, Chairman of the Wholesale, told the
Parliamentary Committee, "it was not good business" to give heed to such
considerations. That was capitalism, not Co-operation, which spoke
then. There is this to be said in palliation. The private
traders were militant adversaries, and it was a great temptation to prove
our capacity to defy them on their own ground.
The Co-operative Congress, by its constitution, is the
Parliament of the societies, and theoretically makes laws for all and
exacts conformity to them. Three times this Congress has called upon
the Buying Society to re-establish profit-sharing in its workshops, and
this single society has defied Congress; and at the same time it calls
upon the societies to be "loyal to it," while it is disloyal to them.
This is, as has been said, always a mystery to foreigners. The
mystery would not so much matter did not the participation of profits
disappear with it. The thing wanted is to have a right conception of
Co-operation, which means individual effort in concert with others for the
equitable advantage of all.
There are several kinds of Co-operation. There is
Co-operation in the Church for ends many view—educationally, at
least—with dismay. There is Co-operation in Parliament to keep the
people from their rightful share in Government. There is
Co-operation among war-contriving financiers, which made Mr. Ruskin say
that "what he feared was—Co-operation among scoundrels." But that
form of Co-operation originated by the followers of Robert Owen is
ethical, which begins in self-help, and acts in concert with others for
the common advantage. An individual is lost, save in the savage
state, where he can kill those who have something he wants or who
endeavour to take from him what he has possessed himself of. The
co-operator is an individual who seeks his own advantage under conditions
consistent with equal advantage of others. Co-operation is not
intended to neutralise individual power, but to increase it by protecting
it from competition to which, by acting against the interest of others, he
would be exposed. The inspiration of self-effort and self-dependence
is the primal object of Co-operation. Its principle is equality, its
If Co-partnership workshops were numerous it is conceivable
they would need a wholesale buying society for themselves; but its
functions would be to buy, not manufacture, though stores may do it.
The benefits a purchasing society can confer on stores are great.
Still, certain disadvantages of its manufacturing are to be taken into
account. Where a buying society manufactures it prevents or
discountenances stores setting up local workshops, whereby they could give
employment to many of their members, which would develop local genius in
manufactures. By establishing model workshops stores would create a
higher order of co-operators, and exercise a new industrial influence
around them. In every town there are trades which supply local
wants. One or more Co-partnership workshops among them would be an
advantage to the members of the store and to the workmen of the town in
which the store is situated.
The desire of a co-operative buying society is to supply to
members pure consumable commodities or perfect articles of use.
Therefore some have thought that by producing what their members require
they can be sure of their quality. At the same time there are all
about other producing firms, honest and capable, whose goods can be
trusted, and a buying society, having funds at command, can stipulate for
the best articles on the best terms. This is precisely what the
Co-operative Wholesale was formed to do. It was expected that it
would encourage the formation of Co-partnership manufacturing societies
for providing farm produce for the consumption of their stores.
Being the chief buyers, it could insist upon the honesty of edible
articles and excellency in workmanship. Equitable conditions of
labour, such as Co-partnership workshops establish, could be stipulated
for, which would increase the popularity of its business.
If the Productive Federation had a central buying society
which, from the hope or more gain, commenced the manufacture of what their
members required of machines or materials, it would become a great
competing power against their own societies. Local genius would be
paralysed, local experience would be lost, and local enterprise would be
checked. Besides, this central manufacturing association would, as a
matter of business, prefer to supply no goods but its own, and would check
all local undertakings, decrying and belittling them as unnecessary and
futile. Here collectivism would kill co-operation, and frustrate the
useful aims of self-helping labour. A buying society would give them
unlimited choice in the markets of the world. One great
manufacturing society would control them all, and each society would be a
sort of tied house. The great manufacturing society would be more or
less a trust, which is the abuse of the organisation of labour.
In comparing federal workshops to "tied houses" under one
manufacturing society, the meaning is not that they are like public-houses
held by brewers, tied by an external power, but that they would be tied by
their own cupidity. If their buying society manufactures machines
used in the workshops of the federation, each workshop, if it consents to
share the gains of manufacturing, takes the machines, and shuts itself out
from selecting amid the new contrivances which the ingenuity of the world
is continually producing. Another disadvantage of a buying society
that also manufactures is, that it no sooner sees a local group of
co-operators setting up in business and selling to federated societies
than it itself may commence making the same article; or, when it cannot do
that, it may appeal to the cupidity of the shareholders, who "for a mess
of pottage" would sell their fellow-workers into hired servitude,
extinguish co-partnership, and arrest their self-employing, self-helping
The advantages of manufacturing may be greater than the
disadvantages of restricted choice in the market and frustrated action in
the workshop; but it is well to understand what the disadvantages are.
Two things ought to be borne in mind. One is, what
naturally put the idea of wholesale manufacturing into the minds of those
who began it. It was the refusal of private wholesale dealers to
sell goods to co-operative societies which compelled them in self-defence
to provide the goods themselves. Second, the difficulty of obtaining
commodities unadulterated, which they were pledged to supply pure to the
stores, obliged them to undertake their production as far as possible,
that they might be able to answer for their purity and genuineness.
When the purchasing power of the buying society grows it acquires
ascendancy in the markets, and can command pure edibles and sound articles
of household use. At this point Mr. Vansittart Neale, who had
Co-partnership in his blood, drew up a scheme by which the workshops of
the buying society—like the Godin workshops of Guise and the Nelson works
at Leclaire, in America—could eventually pass into the possession and
control of the workmen engaged in them.
The tendency of a wholesale manufacturing society to overlap
the boundaries of individual life, and become engrossive in its operations
wherever a path of gain is discerned, is not a vice peculiar to such an
association, but the natural tendency of every business concern, workshop,
or store. Every society having the power of expansion inevitably
covets further expansion, unless some limit of principle or prudence
restrains it. When the Liberal Caucus was first established in
Birmingham under Mr. Chamberlain, it having the power of dominating the
town, did so until Conservatives were excluded from every office and were
unable to hold a public meeting. Yet the minority of Conservatives
were entitled to representation. Liberalism itself, without it,
loses the advantage of counter-criticism. The dominancy which gives
no one else a chance has reached a point at which it ought to halt, or it
will one day be put back by revolt. Co-operation and Socialism alike
need this policy of restraint.
The individualism of Co-operation alone keeps it from
aggression. It alone prescribes the duty of promoting individual
life, and securing to all groups of associated workers equal opportunities
of attaining growth and character.
I am not a congress, nor a committee, nor a director
prescribing the views others should hold—or the views they ought to take.
I am merely a co-operative writer explaining ideas acquired in long
conversance with the movement. Any one may differ from me who sees
reason for it. My industrial creed is short, but complete:
There is a destiny which makes us brothers;
None takes his way alone;
All that we send into the lives of others,
Comes back into our own. 
There might have been some defence in 1864 for depriving the
workshops of that participation which made them co-operative, from the
need of money to promote expansion. Now the day of prosperity has
come a return to the integrity or principle is possible and likely to
occur. In the Wheatsheaf for February, 1905, an inspired
organ, seven balance-sheets are given of seven manufacturing departments
of the Wholesale Society, in which are employed 6,700 persons, the profit
made by them amounting to £78,500. Taking these seven departments as
a probable average of manufacturing profits, £78,500 are paid to the
stores, which means about £12 taken from each of those who labour in the
workshop and given to the consumer in the store. If the consumers
really understood this they would readily consent to £5 falling to the lot
of those who labour, and be content with the remaining £7, to which they
have no claim. They contribute nothing more for the cause than the
pleasant exertion of indolent digestion. This limited remittance of
the levy on labour would not hurt any member of a store, while it would
give to labour a dignity of participation which no trade union has
attempted to claim for it.
Societies will naturally manufacture or farm, but the
invariable condition should be participation of profit with all
employed—men, women, and young people.
The interest of the State, of progress, and of industry is
the development of individuality and personality in men and women.
Without self-help and self-trust the life of the poor is reduced to
monotonous helplessness, servitude, and charity. Ethical
co-operation seeks to prevent this by putting participation in the fruits
of labour into the hands of all whose industry creates the wealth of the
State and the profits of commerce. Co-operation furnishes reasons
for amity and unity—amity which pledges itself to action consistent with
the welfare of others; unity within the limits of practical efficiency.
Branches should consist of such groups of adherents as are contiguous to
the central society, whose life and management they can share and control,
as is attempted in Leeds. Distant societies should be as planets in
an independent orbit, federated with, but not subjugated by, a larger
body, having only a borrowed, not a self-conscious, self-directed life.
Co-operation is not intended to submerge, but to increase,
individual life by ensuring to every one participation in the emoluments
and direction of his vocation. If the object of a party is the
personal improvement of the community, all gain is loss which involves the
sacrifice of individuality, self-action, manliness, and high character,
the qualities expressed by the term "individuality."
Nationality is but the individuality of a race. "The
sentiment," as Mr. George Wyndham told the students of the University of
Glasgow, "is lofty, but it may harden into nationalism. Yet it is
not on that account to be lightly rejected. Any nation—and
therefore every nation within the State—needs character, if only to
redeem it from a featureless cosmopolitanism." It is only by active
individuality that the life of stores and workshops can save the
co-operative movement from that "featureless monotony" which makes even
goodness tiresome in every age. Centralisation is the doctrine of despots,
and paralyses all who are under it.
Companies have their limits. That point is where they
become trusts and directors begin to frustrate other companies likely to
serve the public as well or better than themselves; or when, by buying up
all concerns standing in their way, they compel the public to buy from
them at whatever rate they think it prudent to levy. They thus
acquire the power of fraud in the name of "business," just as military
marauders descend upon a country and plunder it in the name of war or
When stores were first commenced they became small centres of
social life, in which were held conversaziones of purchasers. Each
store had a news-room, which served for a little library, and a
debating-chamber in which store questions and public affairs were
discussed. The mission of Co-operation—if such an over-worn word as
"mission" may be used—is to advance enterprise and secure to industry its
just reward. The true aim, therefore, of social pioneers was to make
Co-operation the agent of society—not to attempt to make it the master
manufacturer and merchant of the world. The store was an institution
to which members were attracted by interest, and kept together by
opportunities of personal improvement. Wherever a branch grows large
enough it should be, as has been said, encouraged to become an independent
store. Federation, not organisation, is the watchword of progress.
The organisation of ideas in a community is the death of general
intelligence, and the organisation of labour, carried to excess, takes
charm, emulation, and hope out of industry. Civilisation is a
protection against the competition of the savage; Co-operation is
protection against the competition of civilisation. Co-operation may
mitigate reckless competition, but does not destroy competition itself.
Competition opens, and keeps open, the pathway of progress. The
alternative of competition is monopoly, and monopoly means the opportunity
of the unscrupulous and the plunder of the many.
It is no uncommon thing to find participation decried as a
loss of money. Let us grant that it is, and that economy is
everything. Why should we give dividends in the store? That is
as much a loss of money as dividends given in work shops. The
consumer spends only his money; the worker spends his life. The rank
and file of store purchasers do nothing but buy. All in the workshop
labour. What exclusive claim has the eater over the worker? If
unlimited economic law is to prevail, collectivism is the thing. Why
should we not have one State journal, and save the ten thousand
editorships and their staffs which the public now pay for? Why
should not a single physician prescribe for everybody, and save the cost
of thousands of the faculty? Why should a hundred advertisers tell
us every morning that each has a remedy that will cure everybody, and send
you hundreds of lithographed "testimonials" of their truth? Why
should not the issue of books be stopped in the name of economy?
There are already more books than anybody reads, and more wisdom in the
world than anybody practises. There are long-established formulas
for arresting this profligate evil. If new books agree with those
already extant, they are needless; if additional, they are unnecessary, as
the market of wisdom is already overstocked. Parliamentary
Government is a great expense. There are numerous political
save-alls, who tell us, like Carlyle, that the "national palaver" is all
waste, and that a Committee of Superior Persons, always to be picked up at
the clubs, would manage things much better. Economy, conscientiously
carried out, goes a long way. One economic Church would save all
souls, and save the public loss of time in thinking, and save the expenses
of State Churches and Nonconformity. The vast regions of food and
dress admit of enormous reduction of expenditure. The collectivist
of economic science would render life not worth living in a month, which
would indeed save everything.
Pope said "the worst of madmen was a saint run mad"; but
economic philosophers run more mad, unless good sense takes care of their
principles. In Co-operation under economic ascendancy libraries
would disappear, education would be abolished as uneconomic expenditure.
Economic science unlimited would produce profligacy in misery. Men
and women would dress in drab, idols would be the only sculpture, no
picture would be painted, song would be silent, no one would go abroad,
and Society would consist of economic fools.
Everything has its limit. Sane economy signifies the
carefulness of means in the production of a desirable result.
Economy is a method of increasing the means of happiness; when made an end
it is waste. The equitable sharing of profits increases them.
That is its business defence.
Those who would judge fairly the co-operative movement as we
know it, must not forget that the first thing its promoters had to do was
to make it commercially successful. Its principles might be lofty,
with a dash of the millennium in them; but would they pay? That was
the question every body asked. The second generation of
co-operators, therefore, mainly set themselves to prove that men might
live by co-operative principles. They had to enter the fields of
commerce and manufacture. If Co-operation appears somewhat to have
lost itself in commercialism, forgetful that its object and recommendation
was that of moralising trade, let it be remembered how it became oblivious
of its nobler promise. Co-partnership is now the feature and the
faith of the movement. So, taken as a whole, Co-operation is
realising its industrial and ethical ideal. It may be imperfect and
somewhere inconsistent; but what system is not? Even Christianity,
with all the cherubim hovering over it, cannot be kept straight.
Co-operation is merely human. Yet it has done great things, and will
do more. It revealed, what Lassalle denied, the possibility of
self-help to the people, as it had never been revealed before. It
proved what few professed and fewer believed—that honesty in trade and
commerce paid. It showed that men needed little from the State save
equality of opportunity, and it is now endowing Labour with the right of
property. It may be that Co-operation has made more promises than
any other movement; but it has fulfilled more promises than any other ever
I may wish to see Co-operation go farther and better realise
its higher aims; but, nevertheless, I value it for what it has done and is
doing, and would withstand any who decry or belittle it. If it goes
no further, I shall stand by it; if it advances, I shall go with it.
Who is not sick of Carlyle's hollow praise of Labour echoed
by the newspapers? "Blessed is he who has found his work. Let
him ask no other blessedness." Not even the blessedness of being
paid for it. No trade union nor collectivist society has proposed
any resolution like the one brought forward by Mr. Walter Morrison, and
passed unanimously by the Co-operative Congress of 1873, namely, "That it
is of the essence of Co-operation to recognise the right of labour to a
substantial share in the profits it creates."
A lava storm of hot denial burst upon us from the Vesuvius of
Capitalism for saying this. The economic philosophers proved there was no
such thing as profit. Other people know differently. "The merchant
calls his surplus profit; the clergyman calls it stipend; the lawyer calls
it fees; the banker calls it interest; the shareholder calls it dividend;
the landlord calls it rent; the statesman calls it salary; royalty calls
Co-operation teaches the worker how to retain honest profit
in his own hands at the present time, not in an unknown future. If
he does not it may never be restored to him. What chance is there
that Socialism, with all its noble aims, will be able to arrest the giant
tendency of every party—capitalist and workman alike—of grasping at all
that lies in their way, suffer who may? What can avert it, unless a
nobler individuality can be cultivated? Where can be found a better
class of workmen than the directors of the Co-operative Wholesale Society,
yet they have taken from the workshops all the profits of labour? No
society can be more democratic than the stores which appoint them.
There is no remedy except by creating in the conscience of individual
voters a sense of honour which shrinks from predatory profit. That
was a great day in England when Granville Sharp obtained the decision that
when the foot of a slave trod on English ground he was free. That is
what Co-partnership Co-operation accomplishes for industry in the noble
workshops it has established and which exists in some of the manufacturing
stores. On their sacred ground the subjugation of the hired workman
ceases, and the badge of his servitude falls from his neck, and he becomes
a co-partner. How can this be done save by a proud individuality
which puts principle first and profit second—which spurns, for its own
gain, to limit the equal opportunities of workers? No committee
discovers new truth, or sees a new path of progress, or has intrepidity to
advance upon it. It is the individual conscience that prompts the onwardness of the world and exalts the character of mankind.
Therefore Co-operation is self-defensive Individualism, and seeks the
alliance of all brave men and true men to stand up with it for amity and
independence—for manliness and fairness. Conscience is the soul of
progress, and conscience dwells in the individual.
The quality of the true co-operator may be seen in the noble
words in which Mr. Gladstone described Dr. Dollinger. "He had," said
Mr. Gladstone, "more than any man I have known, a historic spirit.
His mind turned on the pole of truth and fact. He regarded error as
falsehood. He told the truth when he knew it by instinct, regardless
of all considerations to the contrary."
The aim of this History is to indicate the policy warranted
by co-operative principle.
IF after this life is ended Death gave
us an opportunity of writing an appendix to it, what omissions in the
story of our life would be supplied, what acts of commission would be
repaired! An author is more fortunate who, on seeing his volume
closed, finds some relevant parts of it have been omitted
unavoidably—most convenient and disguising word which ought to be
negligently—can supply them.
Singular Abnegation of Employees.—When a trade union
of employees was proposed years ago Mr. Thomas Hughes thought such a union
a scandal, as implying that workers needed to defend their interests
against Co-operative Committees. He did not appear to see that a
competitive policy, as respects labour, is strongly represented on most
store committees. There is now a society called the "Amalgamated
Union of Co-operative Employees," who have held fourteen annual meetings,
but have not the word participation in their "objects." They
are continually appealed to by committees to take interest in
Co-operation. But why should they when their employers take no
co-operative interest in them? As mere servants they take a
servant's interest in the business. The Union of bright smart
servers do not appear to know that they are in the service of a body whose
watchword is Participation, and that every one in that service is entitled
to share in its benefits. How can they be enthusiasts about a
system, the principle or which they do not understand? If they did
they would publish in their papers a list of the noble "Sunrise"
societies, who give Co-operation its splendid name by their honourable
consistency. This Union not only does not do this, but gives its
influence against its own order, and prevents its position being improved.
Every year they go into co-operative halls, holding their meetings, saying
to committees, "Look at us. We have no share of profits. We do
not ask it. For fourteen years we have kept silence upon it.
We have no ambition to be other than mere hired servers." They could
do better for their Union than this. They have wit, moderation, and
good sense. Are they not aware that when the voices are counted in
favour of progress, their silence is construed into acquiescence with the
forces against it?
The Women's Guild.—Another instance not less singular
of obliviousness of the advantage of working for progress in the
Co-operative movement is afforded in the Women's Co-operative Guild.
It was fortunate in having for its foundress in 1883 Mrs. Mary Lawrenson,
who saw clearly that if the mistress of the household might, by dealing at
the Store, save 10 per cent. of expenditure, how much more important it
was that the head of the household, from whom the income is derived,
should obtain 10 per cent. upon his labour, which would also be derived by
every member of the family employed in a profit-sharing establishment.
Miss Greenwood, who in the earlier years of the Women's Guild was
Vice-President, never kept silent upon this advantage, which appealed to
the interest of the mistress of the house. Those who promoted the
formation of the Guild depended upon this sentiment for advancing
participation among the assistants in the store and all who were engaged
in its workshops. Yet for years nothing has been heard of this
question at their Congresses or Conferences. I wrote to one
responsible for the administration of the Women's Guild to explain this
peculiarity and indifference, who replied that participation was regarded
as a mere method of business. It seems incredible that any lady of
intelligence, as was the one to whom I wrote, could be unaware that
participation was the essential principle of Co-operation.
Thomas Blandford.—A singular figure entered the
co-operative movement subsequent to the appearance of this history in
1878. Blandford was a young Irishman with all the ardency of his
race and of conspicuous self-devotion. He wore himself out by his
ceaseless exertions which left Co-operation a legacy of a great example.
He was the originator of the Congress Shilling Fund, which at Paisley
exceeded £70, and leaves in each place some permanent memorial of the
visit of the Congress. His name is perpetuated among us by the
institution of the travelling Blandford Scholarship.
Distinguished Foreign Names.—Foremost among the
eminent names in other lands distinguished in Co-operation now living is
M. Edouard de Boyve, of Nîmes, who has for so many years conducted
L'Emancipation of Paris. He has been also an inspirer in England of
international participation in the benefits of labour. Next to him must be
named Professor Charles Gide, distinguished for incessant and lucid
advocacy of Co-operation. Mr. Henry W. Wolff is a Continental promulgator
whom it is difficult to locate. Like Cobden he may be described as the
international man of Co-operation. As a linguist, a traveller, and a
journalist he has devoted his varied attainments to making Co-operation
It was Sig. Luzzatti, who, addressing Mr. Neale and myself at Bologna,
said, "Co-operators were the explorers of humanity. They had discovered
great map the kingdom of Co-operation, which they had conquered and now
In America there is the Rev. Edward Everett Hale, D.D., the Prince of
Co-operative writers, who first did for Co-operation in the United States
Martineau did for Political Economy in England—made it as readable as
romance. Nicholas Gilman is an influential authority upon the subject. N.
Nelson, who will always be counted American, although he is a Norwegian by
nationality, will be remembered from his founding the profit-sharing city
Leclaire before-mentioned (P. 465). Long Buckby, Northampton, has built a
"Holyoake Terrace," containing eighteen six-roomed houses, seventeen of
which are owned by the occupiers. Ever since Wilkie Collins put "Holyoake
Square" into "Basil," other towns have similar friendly memories.
Courtesy of the King.—It remains to be mentioned that on the Coronation
of His Majesty, the operatives of the Havelock foot gear manufacturing
sent the request, transmitted by me to Lord Knollys, to be permitted to
specimen of their craftsmanship among the Coronation gifts of the day. By
courtesy of Lord Knollys, permission was given, and a handsome example of
their workmanship was duly received at Marlborough House. This was a
Co-operative distinction peculiar to Labour Co-partnership.
Ebenezer Elliott wrote the best
description in our language of what communism is not. Elliott
repeated it to me amid the charming hedgerows, where he wrote his song of
"The Wonders of the Lane":—
"What is a Communist? One who hath yearnings
For equal division of unequal earnings,
Idler or bungler, or both, he is willing
To fork out his penny and pocket your shilling."
2. "Survey of Political
Economy," chap. xv. p. 213.
3. "The principle of the
Metayer system is that the labourer, or peasant, makes his engagement
directly with the landowner, and pays, not a fixed rent, either in money
or in kind, but a certain proportion of the produce, or rather of what
remains of the produce, after deducting what is considered necessary to
keep up the stock. The proportion is usually, as the name imports,
one-half; but in several districts in Italy it is two-thirds." (Mill,
"Political Economy," People's Edition, p, 183).
4. Charles Morrison,
"Labour and Capital," p. 111.
5. "Principles of
6. A Scotch deputation to
Downing Street, headed by a Lord Provost of Edinburgh, first caused me to
notice this. The chief speaker was Robert Chambers. He had
been kept some years out of his well-earned dignity, because he was
suspected of writing the "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" (it
being unlawful to consider creation natural); yet I saw him fasten on a
Prime Minister, who was overdue in Parliament, but could not extricate
himself from that pertinacious visitor.
7. The Combination
Laws were repealed the year before the speech—1824.
8. Essays, vol. iii. p.
9. Essays, vol. iii.
10. It was a popular
quotation long after, and is not untrue in 1905. The Economist
of 1821 considered that "it deserved to be written in diamonds."
11. Mr. Owen's speech at
the Holkham agricultural meeting, on his health being proposed by Mr.
Coke. Even landlords had their vicissitudes in those days.
Then Mr. Coke's land let at 15s. per acre; a fall in the value of produce
might throw it out of cultivation, reducing it to 5s. per acre, involving
a loss of £40,000 a year. Even then the owner would probably not
need to come upon the parish, while the weaver or mechanic would.
12. Yet he could applaud
those who added pianoforte wire to the cats with which they flogged
working men and women of Jamaica. Men in the negro condition, black
and white, will one day have their turn of power, and Mr. Carlyle's
ferocious approval will invigorate many a cat, and sharpen many a knife,
for use on respectable backs and throats, unless working people learn that
fairness alone brings security.
13. Reports of the
Condition of the industrial Classes in Foreign Countries.
14. Like the Irish peasant
whom Dr. King met, and asked whether he would rather live upon wheaten
bread or potatoes, answered, "Sir, I like bread well enough once in a way,
but potatoes are more natural" (Co-operative Magazine, 1826).
15. Herder, "Phil. Hist.,"
vol. i. p. 372.
16. Bishop Burnet says the
tenderest part of the whole work is the representation he gives of Henry
the Seventh's Court, in which his disguise is so thin that the matter
would not have been much plainer if he had named him.
17. "Fors Clavigera,"
Letter 7. 1871.
18. Erskine's defence of
Paine, before Lord Kenyon, 1793. This was the occasion, according to
Erskine, when Cromwell made the remark quoted.
19. This design shows that
the petroleuse business, which got connected with the honest and
just aims of the communalist party in France, was no new madness.
Indeed, it would not be new in England. An English Conservative lord
some time ago had at his breakfast-table one whom I knew to have acted in
a plot to blow up London in 1848. It was a police-agent's project,
but the person in question fell in with it, and it took some trouble to
divert him from it. The said lord did not know of this little
affair. The enterprising patriot left the country but kept up a
correspondence with his noble friend.
20. This was Grisel, in
whom they had confided, and who had flattered, inflamed, and caressed
them, as is the way of suspicious patriots. The club of Babeuf
assembled in the vaults of the Pantheon, and this Grisel was the most
open-mouthed scoundrel there.
21. "Social Destiny of
22. "Owen, like Plato, laid great
stress on the value of singing, dancing, and drill, as means of education,
much to the horror of his Quaker partners. Like Plato, he considered
ease, graceful bearing, self-possession, and politeness principal tests
and objects of any system of education. Where even now could you
find such a school as the New Lanark, for rich or poor, setting up these
qualities as among its main and principal objects?" (Lecture on "Foreshadowings
of Co-operation in Plato," by Walter Morrison, M,P., Co-operative
Institute, London, 1874.)
23. This school failed.
Not satisfied with the moral training and instructive amusement, as at New
Lanark, the managers sought prematurely to develop the intellectual
powers. The tender brain of the infant was overexcited; more harm
than good was done; and the system fell, in a measure, into disrepute,
until Fröbel, in his "Kindergartens,"
brought back things to a more rational way (R. D. Owen: Autobiography).
24. Mr. Francis Place told me that he
also was concerned in the revision of the Owen MS.
25. Robert Dale Owen,
Atlantic Monthly, June, 1873, pp. 735-6.
26. These exist now. In
Mr. Owen's days they were unknown and unthought of.
27. He paid the full price for
all newspapers he bought, and the price was considerable then; and he
posted copies, among others, to every clergyman in the kingdom. Mr.
Pare found that Mr. Owen's payments for papers amounted to £4,000 in three
28. Economist, 1821.
29. During a period of twenty years I well
remember when the phrase "social science" was regarded as much an
indication of "something being wrong" on the part of those who used it, as
mentioning Sir C. Lyell's doctrine of the Antiquity of Man, or Darwin's
Theory of Evolution, afterwards became. We were all surprised when a
National Association was formed for the promotion of "Social Science" in
which prelates took part.
30. This was as modestly put as
could be expected by a prelate of that day. The Bishop of London
said, "Mr. Owen's system was brought forward by an individual who declared
that he was not of one of the religions hitherto taught. This alone
was a sufficient reason for him to disregard it" (Hampden in the
"Nineteenth Century," p. 47, 1834).
31. The Social Economist,
edited by the present writer and Mr. E. O. Greening.
32. Economist, August 27,
33. His son, Robert Dale,
relates that he was with him during his examination by a committee of the
House of Commons, when he gave evidence on the condition of the factory
children, and heard Sir George Philips put questions to his father in an
insolent tone as to his religious opinions. Brougham, who was also
on the committee, resented this irrelevant offensiveness, and moved that
the cross-examination in question be expunged from the record, and it was
done. If, however, a gentleman's personal opinions could be attacked
in a Parliamentary committee the reader can imagine what took place
34. Vide Autobiography of Robert Dale
35. Mr. David Dale, who was a
shrewd, discerning man, once said to Mr. Owen, "Thou needest to be very
right, Robert, for thou art very positive."
36. The reader may see that
Elliott, when he carne to write his epitaph on Cobbett, must have recurred
to this address. It was this:—
"Our friend, when other friend we'd none;
Our champion, when we had but one;
Cursed by all knaves, beneath this sod
Bill Cobbett lies—a Man by God."
37. Co-operative Miscellany,
No. 2, 1830.
38. In his account of the
Shakers in the Economist of June 2, 1821, Mr. Mudie said, "They
never meddle with public affairs—not even voting at an election," and
described as "a few singularities" this base abandonment of the country to
whomsoever might bestride it—to patriots who might care for it, or knaves
who might despoil it of honour or freedom, while the unheeding Shakers
took care of their petty conscience and comfort,
39. British Co-operator, p, 154.
40. Had this been true, his name
would not have been hateful to this day.
41. British Co-operator,
42. The mistress of a shop in
Newtown where pledges were taken in, hearing my name among the arrivals,
and remembering she had seen it on the title-page of a book in her
possession, kindly sent me word that she would have pleasure in restoring
it to me, which she did.
43. "Robert Owen," by Leslie
Stephen, Nat. Dict. Biog.
44. Economist. No. 27,
45. Co-operative Magazine,
1826, p. 147.
46. These were Bishop Watson's
words adopted by "Philanthropos."
47. His Autobiography, since
published, states that his age was twenty-two, and that this was his first
48. I preserve the names and
addresses of the earlier societies' printers and publishers. It is
interesting to know the places where historic movements first commenced
and the persons by whose aid, or enthusiasm, or courage the first
publicity was given to them. Every part of London has been dotted
with shops where they were printed and sold, with coffee shops where they
were discussed, and with printing offices where the struggling
publications were carried to be printed when one house after another
declined to print any more.
49. Private Letter from New
Harmony, 1825 (Co-operative Magazine, vol. i. No. 1, p. 50. 1826).
50. Co-operative Magazine,
51. A Greek compound, expressing
a knowledge of body, soul, and mind.
52. It bore as printer's name
Sickelmore, Brighton, the last number (the first that bore any publisher's
name) gave that of Taylor and Son, North Street, same town. It was
always to be had at the Co-operative Bazaar, 19, Greville Street, Hatton
53. One of the disciples of
Fourier, on being told that organised life was impossible because it was
too beautiful, answered: "It is too beautiful not to be possible."
54. British Co-operator,
p. 62, 1829,
55. British Co-operator,
56. Ibid., p. 20. 1829.
57. Ibid., p. 44.
58. The reason being, that if he
were a member the law would then regard him as a partner, who might, as
such, appropriate the funds to his own use. The law is changed now.
59. Whose cocoa is still sold.
60. No. 161. January, 1830.
61. Mr. Wood remained persuaded
of the utility of Labour Exchanges to the end of his days, and proposed to
co-operate with me in establishing one. He became the leading
dentist in Brighton and died at an advanced age. He became alderman,
and his friend Mayall—the famous photographer—became mayor. Both
were Huddersfield men. Brighton owed its public baths and other
social improvements to Alderman Wood, to whom the memory of Owen was a
62. As many as three hundred
tradesmen gave notice that the Labour Notes would be taken at their places
of business, and in some cases the theatres made the same
announcement—that Labour Notes would be taken at the doors.
63. On the other hand there were
honest and favouring shopkeepers who took the notes with a view to promote
their circulation as currency, and gave saleable goods for them, who found
themselves unable to obtain a fair exchange at the bazaar, and thus they
became victims of the exchange scheme.
64. The original correspondence
on this subject and the statements and letters of Mr. Bromley to Mr. Owen,
are now in the possession of The Owen Memorial Committee of Manchester.
65. The adversaries whose eyes
fell on the suspicious title exclaimed: "We always said co-operators were
under a delusion, and now they see it themselves."
66. Crisis, No. 39, 1832.
67. Crisis, May 5, 1832.
68. This resolution led to
co-operative stores being formed with a view to devote their profits to a
fund for purchasing community land.
69. Crisis, No. iv.,
70. Report of Third Co-operative
Congress, 1832. Reported and Edited by order of the Congress by
William Carpenter. It was a rule in those times always to have the
Congress reported and edited by men of mark.
71. From "Montgomery's Travels."
72. New Moral World, July
73. Reasoner, July 8,
74. Pentonville Prison stands on
the spot now.
75. When the Labour Exchange was
broken up at Gray's Inn Road by violence, 9,000 hours of labour notes were
stolen—"abstracted" Mr. Owen said. These Mr. Owen undertook should
be honoured if presented. About the time of the Queenwood Community
of 1840, Mr. Owen appears to have come to the end of the money he had
reserved for the furtherance of social principle, and appears afterwards
limited to an income only sufficient for his personal comfort.
76. New Moral World,
September 26, 1835.
77. New Moral World, No, 10, p. 64,
December 20, 1834.
78. It was printed and published
by Rowland Hunter, junr., at the office of the Association of All Classes
of All Nations, 14, Charlotte Street Fitzroy Square.
79. New Moral World,
December 24, 1836, p. 66.
80. Volume three had been
printed by John Gadsby, of the same city. The price of each number
of the fourth volume of the New Moral World was three halfpence. A
number contained eight pages.
81. Mr. Fleming's editorship
commenced June 10, 1837, and his resignation was dated from Avenue
Cottage, Queenwood, November 8, 1845.
82. New Moral World, May
83. Sun, August 14, 1840.
84. These proceedings made Mr.
Southwell indignant, and being a man of fiery courage, he wrote an article
in the Oracle of Reason (started as a protest against the New
Moral World policy of the day), which caused his imprisonment for
twelve months. He intended to defy prosecution; and Sir Charles
Wetherall, who was his judge, was a man quite ready to meet him half-way
in supplying it. Mr. Southwell was imprisoned in Bristol and in
85. Society in America.
86. Chap. iv. p.46, of his work
87. Co-operative Magazine,
1826, p. 50.
88. New Moral World, vol,
vii. p, 995, January 4, 1840.
89. Mr. Thompson's speech,
London Congress, 1832.
90. "Visit to Harmony Hall,"
reprinted from the Movement, 1844.
91. My attention was engaged
very early in popular movements by the fact that the most discouraging
persons were those who had suffered losses in earlier enterprises.
They had been heroes of forlorn hopes. There was reason to believe
that had their sacrifices been limited to a tenth of their resources of
time and money, they had never lost interest in struggles which did them
honour to engage in.
92. George Eliot.
93. The student of social progress in
this country scarcely needs to be reminded that it was Southey who held
out a helping hand to the promoters of co-operation (Leigh Hunt).
94. After years of defamation he
wrote me a public letter, expressing his regret and conviction that the
views he had so strenuously opposed were true. Afterwards he had
correspondence with Mr. Owen to the same effect, and sought an interview
with him, which was readily granted. See letters in Co-operative
News, July 9, 1904.
95. This troublesome
proposition, Mr. Bray relates, "was one upon which his followers, without
exception, took their stand." By a resolution of the proprietors of
Orbiston, the tenants had to sign their assent to it before admission into
96. See this idea, which is
better expressed by my old friend Thom, the poet of Inverary, in the
preface to his poems.
97. G. H. Lewes' "Life of
98. "Liberty of Prophesying."
99. Cardinal Newman forgets
altogether the wild animals reared in his chosen Church, of which
Torquemada was the chief.
100. I have heard that Jones, as
years advanced, joined the Methodists. If so, he has a double chance
of salvation if his creed be good, for he has generous works to plead, as
well as faith.
101. Indeed, piety was not always
self-respecting in its company, nor very dainty in its invitations.
There were those who remember the Rev. W. Cooper, for instance, reading in
hymn-books sturdy verses beginning—
"Come dirty, come stinking, come just as you are—"
an invocation of fine Saxon vigour, but not remarkable for delicacy.
Nor did noblemen and clergymen then shrink from countenancing such style,
any more than they have done in the case of Moody and Sankey and the
Salvation Army, and if not deeming it good enough for themselves, at least
thinking it might do the people good.
102. Charles Knight, in his "Passages
of a Working Life," gives an account of his tour in 1828, to gain support
for the Useful Knowledge Society. He tells us that at Liverpool he found a
few clerical opponents, and one of them preached also against mechanics'
mechanics' institutes; at Manchester no clerical support could be
obtained; and at York he could do little. "He found the commercial
atmosphere better adapted for the diffusion of secular knowledge than was
103. Joseph Brosbridge, 1824.
104. "The demagogue, in all ages and
in all countries, is a man voluble and vehement in speech—expansive and
popular in his humour—more plausible in advocating measures than wise in
choosing them—unscrupulous in his alliances with all who will serve his
immediate objects—extreme in his views—magnificent in his promises—ready
with specious theories and proposals of sweeping change—restless in
agitation, but impatient of obscure labour—aiming at immediate and showy
results—and, from a loose and random way of living, often not a safe man
in pecuniary affairs, although he may have no inclination for deliberate
dishonesty" (C. Morrison, "Labour and Capital," p. 126).
105. "Licentiousness always treads on
the heels of reformation" (R. W. Emerson).
106. The Profession of principles of
the Reforming Optimist was that though everything is for the best at this
instant, everything will be better upon the whole surface of our planet at
every one of its diurnal revolutions—nay, at every pulsation of the human
107. Dr. William King was born at
Ipswich in 1786. Gaining considerable distinction at Cambridge, he
was elected a Fellow. He settled at Brighton. He assisted a
co-operative society then established in West Street. On May 1,
1828, he issued the first number of the Co-operator, and continued
it monthly until 1830. Dr. King died at Brighton in 1865.
108. He is the author of
"Recollections of Samuel Taylor Coleridge," who was his periodic Sunday
guest for a great number of years.
109. This was done to Professor
110. New Moral World, October
111. He had been delivering the
opening lecture at the Mechanics' Institution, at Stratford, near London.
112. New Moral World, December
31, 1836, p. 75.
113. Ibid., February 4, 1837.
114. Norwich Mercury, 1837.
115. The Blasphemer.
There was no blasphemy in it. The title was in defiance of the
Bishop of Exeter,
116. Mr. George Wallas ("Pencil'em")
was an artist in Bilston. As a Social Missionary it was my duty to
examine all persons joining a branch. I remember passing Mr. Wallas,
about 1841, who probably knew more of most things than I did myself.
My brother William, who became Curator of the Art Schools of the Royal
Academy, and a painter of repute in his day, owed his art education to Mr.
117. Her famous career as a foundress
of a community was described by Mrs. Trollope in 1829. See
Co-operative News, July 30, 1904.
118. Eldest son of Sir Cowell
Stepney, who, until his death, attended all the co-operative and
international congresses of working men wherever held in England or in
Europe, and who corresponded with all the social reformers of the world,
and sent them publications bearing upon the movement.
119. "A Minor Prophet," by George
120. One might give many instances.
One is that of George White, of Bradford, who died in the poor-house in
Sheffield. Had I known of his death at the time I would have asked
Mr. Gathorne Hardy, who was then Home Secretary, for leave to remove his
body and lay it by the side of Holberry, the Chartist, who died in prison
and was buried with public honour in Sheffield. White was well known
to Mr. Hardy's father, who had some respect for the vigorous and turbulent
Irish Chartist. We were both in prison at the same time, and it was
arranged that he who was out first, his wife should make pies and take to
the other. As I was at liberty first, many savoury pies found their
way to White's Prison. I have no doubt he died dreaming that more
pies were coming to him, for he died very desolate. For years if
danger threatened us in public meeting, George White brought up his Old
Guards. On one occasion, when the great discussion in which the
Birmingham Socialists were concerned, White's detachment of the Old Guards
attended five nights, and, although poor men, paid for admission to the
best places; and when the final fray came the respectable pious
belligerents in every part of Beardsworth's Repository found a
strong-handed Chartist behind them, and the enemy found themselves outside
the hall on their way home before they knew where they were. George
White gave the signal to the Old Guards from the platform, where he and
his trusty colleagues did execution among the clerical rioters there, who,
when the police were introduced, had all disappeared. Honour to the
generous Old Guards, who stood up for fair play although they were not
partisans of the doctrines in dispute!
121. Of Feargus O'Connor.
122. Edited by Mr. James Hill,
related by marriage to Dr. Southwood Smith.
123. This was many years before the
appearance of the London Morning Star newspaper, which was never so
124. The Family Herald.
125. Lord Byron.
126. Dr. B. W. Richardson maintains
that men may recover from glacial death, from pectoral death never.
127. The Rev. J. E. Smith, who edited
the Shepherd before he edited the Family Herald.
128. The attenuated and picturesque
Principal of the Ham Common Concordium.
129. I am not sure whether a "cause" has a
"hand"; perhaps it has, as it certainly has a heart.
130. There were no School Boards in
those days, and the Dissenters prevented there being any, and offered us
instead good-natured but shabby, limping, inefficient voluntary education,
which never could, and never did educate a quarter of the people.
131. This was sixty years ago, and
Metropolitan coffee has improved.
132. George Huggett, secretary of the Middlesex
Reform Association, well known in Liberal and co-operative movements from
1830 to 1850.
133. It ought to be explained that
imbecility of taste is not confined to workmen. Some years later a
West End brewer, well known as a member of Parliament and as a scrupulous
man of business, tried the experiment of producing the purest beverages
chemistry could prescribe. Soon, however, such notices of
dissatisfaction came in from his respectable customers of all classes that
he was fain to desist. Many wine merchants make Rochdale fortunes
out of the ignorant palates of their customers.
134. Rochdale has improved since
those days. It has now has Town Hall worth a day's journey to see.
The Pioneers' Central Store is a Doge's palace compared with any town
building which existed when it was erected, and it does not seem to rain
so much in Rochdale as in pre-co-operative times. Let the reader see
reports made to Parliament of its condition when Sharman Crawford
135. Increase of wages, or prospect
of competence, there was none in the minds of workmen. Had some said
there would be no more reduction of wages, they would have thought the
millennium had come. I know it, I lived long in workshops and never
knew a man who had hope of the kind. I never knew the news of
self-help was in the world, until I found it in Co-operation.
136. In a review of Dr. H. Travis's
book on "Effectual Reform." "There is," the writer says, "just one
little drawback in all these charming pictures; the model village is not
built yet, and nobody has ever set about it quite the right way, says our
projector, but only let 'me' set about it and this time you really shall
see!"—Saturday Review, October 16, 1875.
137. These prompt little people, born
in the morning, marry before breakfast, are grandfathers by the afternoon,
and rank as city fathers before the sun goes down.
138. "Bothwell," by A. C. Swinburn.
139. I might add, and traditions of
their own town, for some knew what I did not know then, of struggles and
stores and old endeavours which had purpose in them. As far back as
1830 a co-operative workshop was started in Rochdale.
140. London Spectator.
141. "History of Co-operation in
Rochdale," Parts I. and II.
142. The story told in "Self-Help,
or History of the Equitable Pioneers of Rochdale," by the present
author, has been retold by translators in many languages.
144. Mr. Owen did not distinguish
between domestic slaves and field slaves, and dwelt upon social comfort as
though it had not occurred to him that freedom was an element of progress.
145. It was the Rev. William Nassau
Molesworth, then incumbent of Spotland, Rochdale, who, discerning in the
early efforts of the Pioneers, the prospect of social improvement, first
suggested to them the advantages of obtaining the protection of the law
for their members.
146. Co-operative News.
147. Mr. Tidd Pratt had previously
sanctioned rules of societies meditating self-education; as he had by a
generous latitude of construction in some earlier cases by which Rochdale
had profited from the beginning. Rochdale had been an old offender
against the law in prohibiting education.
148. For these statements I am
indebted to Mr. Neale, whom the reader will prefer to follow, Mr. Neale
being professionally acquainted the law.
149. E. G. Wakefield, note to Adam
Smith's "Wealth of Nations," 1840.
150. Von Sybel, "Hist. French Rev.,"
vol. i. bk. ii. p. 249.
151. This is untrue. Mr. Owen's
disciples merely advocated equal facility of divorce for poor as for rich.
152. "Mistaken Aim," pp. 192 and 193,
W. R. Greg.
153. Vide Parliamentary
154. Co-operative Magazine,
January, 1826, p. 7.
155. Mr. Walter Sanderson, of
Galashiels, informs me (1876) that the principle was introduced into that
town about the same time (1827) by William Sanderson (founder of the
Building Society there) without any connection with Rochdale. Came
it from Cambuslang? Sanderson gives no details, but he is a
responsible correspondent, and his word may be taken as to the fact.
156. "Logic of Co-operation," lecture
by the writer.
157. "Logic of Co-operation."
Confusion arises from capital being treated as a recipient of profit.
There never will be clearness of view in Co-operation until capital is
counted as a trade charge—and when paid, done with. Labour by brain
or hand is the sole claimant of profits.
158. Dr. Elder follows the old idea
of including "capital" in the "severalties" to profit. Capital is
entitled to payment but not profit.
159. Co-operator, September,
160. Thackeray had devoted four
lectures to the four Georges when Landor put their history into six lines
and sent them to Mr. H. J Slack, who was then editor of the Atlas
newspaper, in which they first appeared:—
"George the First was always reckoned
Vile—viler George the Second,
And what mortal ever heard
Any good of George the Third?
And when from earth the Fourth descended,
God be praised the Georges ended."
161. Letter to the Times, by
G. J. Holyoake, November 13, 1877, inserted under the head of "Educational
162. Since then Mr. Henry W. Wolff
has introduced the system into this country and published an important
book on "Credit Banks."
163. Lecture, Mechanics' Institution,
Manchester, November, 1861.
164. There is a branch of the
Wholesale at 99, Leman Street, London; and one in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
165. Mr. Willis Knowles, an
experienced co-operator, says that the store at Hyde finds it most
profitable to extinguish the fixed stock charge as early as
possible—making the fund set aside for depreciations large for this
purpose; for whatever value is put upon unredeemed and fixed stock has to
receive interest which is equivalent to a rent charge. This being cleared
off allows a larger dividend to be paid to members.
166. Robert Owen's first employer at
Stamford was named McGuffog. A manufacturer with whom he had early
relations, was a Mr. Oldknow.
167. The man's name was Giggles.
His mother being an admirer of the Rev. Mr. Jay, of Bath, whom she had
heard in her time, would have her son named Jay—rather an absurd union.
Any one who passes to-day near the Hyde Park entrance in Brompton Road may
read in large letters over the door, the name Tagus Shout. Never was
there before such a wide-mouthed name for a moneychanger. Co-operators are
not alone singular in their names. There was until lately a firm of
auctioneers in Kensington trading under the name of Giddy and Giddy.
168. See "History of the Halifax
169. The parliamentary return turn of co-operative
societies (1877) obtained by Mr. Cowen, M.P., shows that there were
upwards of 12,000 societies then.
170. "Harold," by Alfred Tennyson.
171. This is chapter treats the
workshop as a co-operative company in which labour hires capital, devises
its own arrangements, and works for its own hand.
172. "Perils of Co-operation—the
Hundred Master System," contributed by the present writer to the Morning
173. The effect of the high interest
they have to pay is that the printers get only sixpence in the £ on their
174. Charles Morrison, "Labour and
Capital," pp. 134-5,
175. Co-operative News,
December 16, 1876, art. by Mr. D. V. Neale.
176. Co-operator, March 28,
177. I held two hundred shares in this company, the
first money I ever had to invest, and never received a penny of interest,
or the principal.
178. Page 28.
179. "Major Cartwright, the reformer, served in his
youth in the Royal Navy, which took him into various parts of the world,
and among others into the
Mediterranean Sea, when we were at war with the Turks. Greece being part
of Turkey, our cruisers had to give chase to Greek merchant vessels, but
they rarely if ever made a capture. Cartwright was curious to ascertain
the cause; and after observation and inquiry, he attributed it to the
according to the custom of the Greeks, every one of the crew from the captain
to his cabin-boy, had a share in the vessel" (Letter by Matthew Davenport
Hill, Co-operator, No. 41, July, 1863).
181. Co-operative News, May
Part II.—"History of the Equitable
183. In the minutes of October 9,
1864, it is recorded that "in future no commission will be charged on goods sold." The reason of this
was that the knowledge
of prices which the system of charging a commission disclosed, enabled
buyers to take advantage of the Wholesale. The Society itself has gone on
the lines originally marked out for it (Letter to Author by Mr. James Crabtree,
184. It has since built imposing
premises of its own at 99, Leman Street Whitechapel.
185. This rule is now altered to £1
for each member.
186. They now own eight steamships.
187. Newcastle Daily Chronicle,
188. See "On Commissions," by John S.
Storr, Trübner & Co., London.
Letter of James Pound, [Co-operator, vol. iv., p. 87.
189. Letter of James Pound,
Co-operator, vol. iv., p. 87.
190. Third Quarterly report of the
"Proceedings of the British Association for Promoting Co-operative
191. Report of Third Congress, 1832.
192. Mr. Henry Holland, boot and shoe
manufacturer, of Buckingham, and the frequent host of John Cassell.
193. Co-operator, January,
194. Standard, June 4, 1869.
195. At a public meeting in 1875, at
which Sir Cecil Beardon presided, he said he had read the articles of the
association and also the contracts, and was now ready to admit that there
was a great deal to condemn in the articles. The contracts were not
such as he should have agreed to if he had been on the board. When
he looked at them he found that the contracts with the promoters had been
cleverly drawn, and it was impossible to set them aside. Therefore,
instead of going into legal proceedings, the issue of which could hardly
be doubtful, he set himself to work, with assistance, to endeavour to
abate the terms which had been agreed upon with Messrs. John Chisholme &
Co., and the endeavour was not altogether unsuccessful. He had also
used his influence with Mr. Bentley and Mr. Evans. Mr. Bentley had
agreed to submit to any reduction of his commission which the board
thought reasonable, and Mr. Evans had done the same. This related to
the New Civil Service Store. At none of these London Stores is there
openness and publicity of financial facts as there is in real co-operative
196. C.S.S.A. (Civil Service Supply
Association) are the initials on the windows of the large building erected
in Bedford Street, Covent Garden, by this Association, a vast well-built
store of great completeness and convenience.
197. Saturday Review.
198. For instance, no one is bound to
provide for his family so far as to relieve them of the duty of
199. This was admitted lately at
Oxford, where dogmatic theology has been much better cared for than social
morality. At the opening of Keble College, the Marquis of Salisbury
said, "There never was a time in which frugality required to be so much
preached to the educated classes of this country"; and Lord Selborne
praised the arrangements of the College as a means, much needed, of
protecting young students from pernicious indifference to "debt."
200. The Standard, when it did
not understand Co-operation, confounded the London version of it with the
Rochdale plan, thus wrote contemptuously of the many moralities of the
genuine store:—"The worst mistake into which the 'Co-operative leaders'
seem to have fallen, is, that of over-estimating the importance of their
retail grocery business. Playing at shop is a favourite amusement
with children, and the managers of co-operative stores have carried out
that innocent pursuit on a colossal scale with this useful result—that a
number of ladies who have plenty of time on their hands succeed in
marmalade and Worcester sauce visible saving in pence; but procuring it is
nonsense to imagine that the co-operative stores can do more towards the
regeneration of the world than involved in the partial cheapening of
groceries and the wholesome lesson thereby imparted to ordinary tradesmen"
(Standard, June 4, 1869).
201. Vide letter to Pall Mall
202. Baths and washing-houses were
not invented then.
203. See Lecture to the Guild of
Co-operators, Exeter Hall, London, by Thomas Hughes, Q.C., 1878.
204. Neither the Christian Socialists
with whom he was first connected nor I, who had later relations with him,
had any idea that he was a spy in pay of the French Emperor, as appeared
when the people came into possession of his papers in the Tuileries.
205. The association of the
eight-worded name "for the advancement of science."
206. The five societies are those
cited by Mr. A. Binns at Bradford.
207. "Thoughts on Education," by
208. "Essay on Commissions," by John
209. "Trades Unions of England," p.
214. Edited by Thomas Hughes, Q.C.
210. New Moral World, p. 197,
211. J. S. Mill's proposal to tax
unearned increments would diminish the evil.
212. Incidents of Travel and
Exploration in the Land of the Incas (George Squiers, M.A.) See
article in Saturday Review.
213. "Certain Practical Questions of
Political Economy," by a former member of the Political Economy Club (Simpkin
& Co., 1873).
214. "Philosophy of History," Dr.
215. In promoting industrial
partnership plans, women often show quicker it than their husbands.
I heard one say at a partnership dinner of Messrs. Gimson's men at
Leicester, that he had no faith in getting anything that way. His
wife said, "Well, don't be a fool. You join and give me your share
of profits to buy a new gown with." He made the promise and found
she had enough the first year to buy her three gowns, and then he added,
laughingly, he "was sorry he had made the promise."
216. A story related to Mr. Frederic
217. The italics are given as I find
218. Dr. John Watts, Lecture, 1861.
219. Earl Derby, Opening of Trades'
Hall, Liverpool, October, 1869.
220. Mr. William Nuttall. Speech in
the City Hall, at the opening of the Glasgow Wholesale Society, September
221. See "City Companies," by Walter
Henry James, M.P. (since Lord Northbourne).
222. Crisis, vol. iii, p. 58.
223. Ibid., p. 191.
224. New Moral World, vol. i.
225. Crisis, vol. iii. p. 253.
See Mr. Booth's "Life of R. Owen."
226. "Co-operative Societies," Dr. J.
227. Both these causes operated
greatly in producing the failure of the Ouseburn Engine Works at
228. The most remarkable statement is
that given by the Comte de Paris, who says: "In 1867 Messrs. Briggs
realised a net profit of £20,417 after paying all outlays and allowing for
wear and tear. A portion only of this sum was divided. £8,000
was laid by in order to secure a bonus to the men in the bad years that
might come. In Mr. Briggs' opinion the old system would not have
yielded equal profits under similar circumstances" ("Trades Unions of
England," by Comte de Paris, p. 219).
229. Letters to Author, from Peter
Sidebotham, Fall River, Massachusetts, formerly of Hyde, and Thomas
Stephenson, of Blackburn, England.
230. This means that profits were
being accumulated for the purpose chiefly of reconstituting the world.
Co-operators worked on that scale in those days.
231. The lofty buildings of the
Co-operative Union stands in Millgate now, preserving its co-operative
232. Though this was not an English
Store, it was founded by Englishmen.
233. This store was of English
234. In the little work by Messrs.
Acland and Jones the number of the societies is somewhat different, but
the reason is not stated, and when I asked for it information was refused.
235. "English Leader." Edited
by the Author.
236. In 1888 it recommenced with a
store—built a bakery in 1902, and has now branches at Hove and Portslade.
237. Who emigrated to the Western
World in 1842 and settled at Akron Summit Co., Ohio, and from whose
letters I gather these facts.
238. Letter to Birmingham Gazette,
239. See Lancashire and Yorkshire
Co-operator, No. 12, 1832. There was a society in Salford in
1829, as elsewhere recorded.
240. He used to come to me on
Saturday afternoon for a loan of £5 to pay the workmen. He might
have drawn upon the £2,000 he had sequestrated. I sent in a claim to
the directors for the money obtained from me by their agent. They
refused to pay me on the grounds that I had no business to advance it,
which my sympathy for the men led me to do.
241. This may be seen in the "Jubilee
History of the Leeds Society," 1897, by the present writer.
242. Mr. Clay, of Gloucester, used to
relate that a co-operative boy being told that a new brother had come into
the house, and asking who brought it, was told the doctor, answered, "Why
did not mother get it through the store, then she would have had a
dividend upon it."
243. But in many places and at many
times it does do good, when persons of local or national distinction take
part in co-operative proceedings. It testifies that the cause commands the
interest of those who influence affairs.
244. The Accrington and Church
Society is hardly less remarkable for the amplitude of its educational
devices. It has never been explained to strangers whether the Accrington
Society is a Church store, or whether the Church owns the store at
Accrington. The reader, however, is to understand that Accrington and
Church are two adjacent places, used to designate the distinguished store
in that neighbourhood.
245. Since this was written the Board
of Trade have issued monthly a Labour Gazette; its monthly
appearance renders it especially useful.
246. These Books were issued on my
suggestion, which was conveyed to Lord Clarendon by Mr. Bright.
247. It was Mr. Schofield, a banker,
whose son was subsequently member for Birmingham, whose threat to march
upon London the Duke of Wellington brought
before the House of Lords. This was middle-class, not working-class
248. The danger is more serious now
since the "Macerone" was supplemented, in 1876, by the sword of John
249. See Part II. "Hist.
of the Equitable Pioneers of Rochdale."
250. Now the Agricultural
Economist, an illustrated monthly paper of which thirty-seven volumes
251. The Blaydon Store was thus
commenced by Mr. Cowen, M.P., reading the story to the villagers there.
Many stores elsewhere were founded in a similar way.
252. Mr. Frederick Hill.
253. Co-operators were then generally
known by their old community name of "Socialists."
254. J. S. Mill, "Pol. Econ.," vol. i.
255. "Pol. Econ.," vol. i. p, 251.
256. See Pref. to "Regulations of the
Leghorn Society of Mutual Succour."
257. There was more force of writing
in this pamphlet of Louis Napoleon than he afterwards displayed—probably
owing to the revising hand of Louis Blanc, who was in communication with
him at the time.
258. Published by Lovell, Reade &
Co., Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
259. Sir Rowland Hill was the third
of five brothers, of whom Matthew Davenport Hill, the Recorder of
Birmingham, was the eldest. Mr. M. D. Hill was born in Birmingham,
Sir Rowland in Kidderminster.
260. "Christian Socialism" was a name
which I never liked, but regarded as a mistake, tending to alienate on the
one hand Christians who were not Socialists, and on the other Socialists
who do not like to call themselves Christians. But being myself a
Christian as wall as a Socialist, I had no personal reason for objecting
to the name (G. V. Neale, Co-operative News).
261. John Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera,"
262. The term "Christian Socialism"
first appeared as the title of a letter in the New Moral World of
November 7, 1840, signed Jos. Squiers, who dated from Thomas Street Infant
School, Coventry, October 26, 1840. But there were several societies
of "Christian Co-operators" about 1830.
263. Mr. William Ellis having been
mentioned in the Times as the founder of social science, he
explained (1873) that "fifty years ago it was my good fortune to be
introduced to Mr. James Mill, and through him to his son, John Stuart
Mill, to both of whom I am indebted for more than I can find words to
express. They set me thinking for myself. One result of my
studies and reflections has been the deep conviction that the elementary
truths of social science—founded long before I was born—ought to be taught
in all our schools; and for more than twenty-five years I have employed
the greater part of the time which I could spare from business to promote
such teaching, both as a teacher and a writer of little books intended
chiefly for children and their teachers."
264. This was prescribed in terror of
the Chartist and other Franchise agitations, in which all workmen, good
for anything at that time, took creditable interest.
265. When he was assassinated the
only physician in that district in India happened to be Dr. King, the son
of Dr. King, of Brighton, who rendered all the help possible to the dying
266. No audited account was made
public of the amount realised by his property, nor any details given of
who appropriated it, or what was expended for the public benefit.
268. I attended in Sheffield a public
lecture by Mr. Buckingham—when I was a Social Missionary there—controverting
a passage in it. I afterwards wrote a letter in a Sheffield paper,
which Mr. Buckingham reprinted in one of his books at that time.
269. Co-operative News,
October 16, 1875.
270. Millennium Gazette,
271. My advice to Mr. Search was—pay
them their three months' salaries and be quit of them. By retaining
them they would have the power of destroying his paper, which they did.
272. Lord Brassey's volume, "Lectures
on the Labour Question," contain information and suggestions of great
value to students of commercial and productive Co-operation.
273. "Life of Thomas Brassey," chap.
iii. p. 51.
274. In my employ I had a
confidential manager who appropriated £112 of money entrusted to him.
Thinking the needs of his family had been his temptation, I did not
prosecute him, but assisted him to another situation, not of a fiduciary
kind. I found out afterwards that he had told Mr. Fletcher that I
"impeded the publication of Mr. Cooper's works," whereas I had specially
instructed him (the manager) to do all in his power to promote them.
275. It was this address which
alarmed the Rev. Dr. Jelf, who alarmed Mr. Maurice, who alarmed Canon
Kingsley, who brought an incredible charge against the Leader.
See "Sixty Years of an Agitator's Life," Vol.
i, p, 241.
276. In 1905 they amount to
277. Afterwards M.P. for
278. The President on the second day
was the Bishop of Manchester, and on the third day Dr. John Watts.
279. Preface to Congress Report by J.
280. Thomas Thomasson, an illustrious
manufacturer of Bolton, may be counted as the originator of Free Trade in
England, of whom the reader will see a further notice.
281. Mr. Neale was one of the
deputation to New Orleans. At one point at which the vessel stopped,
he accidentally fell into the sea, but maintained himself a quarter of an
hour in the water until he was rescued.
282. Co-operative Magazine,
No. 1, January, 1826, p. 31.
283. Fraser's Magazine,
284. Where are they now? They
were of some merit as works of art, for Mr. Morgan was a gentleman of
wealth and taste. They ought to be preserved in the Social Museum of
the Central Board.
285. Many things which never happened
are attributed to Socialists and Nihilists. Some of them are furious
enough, like the Fenians, to claim untraced crimes as acts of their
side—it aiding their policy of terror with out increasing their danger.
In Germany, where liberty is regulated by troopers, in Russia, where the
succession to the crown is adjusted by murder, any popular movement may be
expected to be imitative of its superiors.
Fortnightly Review, March, 1879.
287. The reader will see that the
Royal Arsenal Society of Woolwich began in the same year, which is
foremost among English Societies for its Sunrise system of participation.
288. Bacon, after the great Lord of that name, might
have given Barnsley a porcine rivalry with Chicago.
289. The reference is to figures in
the Table, as in other instances in this chapter.
290. Co-operative News,
November 4, 1905.
291. Mr. Elsey's letter to Mr. J. C.
Gray, October, 1905.
292. Shares, loans, and reserves.
293. Including interest on shares but
not on loans.
294. Karl Marx's theory of Capital is
summed up in the proposition that if Labour was properly paid there would
he no profit. The modern Socialist is against profit to the joy of
capitalists and commercialists.
295. "Industrial Co-operation,"
published by the Co-operative Union, p. 20.
UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND