Before the Society Began.
THE Leeds Flour
Society, like Rome, did not grow in a day, but soon after it began
it grew faster than Rome did—because its founders understood that
what honesty is to business so principle is to progress.
Others in Leeds may have believed as much, but none acted upon the
belief that without honesty in business there can be no permanent
trade, and without adherence to principle there can be no public
confidence. By this discernment the co-operators have won
profit and respect.
The reader will naturally expect to learn how this Society
arose and what preceded it, for every intelligent person knows now
that progress does not come by chance, but is a matter of evolution
from something which went before. The previous is the
foundation of the present.
For several years before the commencement of the Leeds
Society, the condition of the people had the three characteristics
of the time—scarcity of employment, low wages, long hours of labour.
The "Condition of Leeds Question," as Carlyle would have called it,
was the subject of public meetings. At the commencement of
1843 pauper relief had increased from 30 per cent to 60 per cent.
During the year the "Benevolent and Strangers' Friend Society" had
considerably over 2,000 applications for relief. The Public
Soup Kitchen, supported by voluntary contributions, was opened
several days a week, with few intermissions, from 1843 to 1847.
An excellent soup, as Mr. William Campbell learned from the report
of his neighbours, was sold at 1d. per quart, tickets being issued
often gratuitously to the extent, frequently, from 10,000 to 15,000
a week. In one district a committee was formed to ascertain,
by house to house visitation, the extent of destitution existing,
and found that nearly a thousand families were in the receipt of not
more than 10¾d per head per week.
In another populous district 12½
per cent of the population were receiving parish relief.
The necessity for gratuitous sustenance was so great that the
supply of soup had to be increased to 19,200 quarts, at a cost of
£200 a week. A petition was sent to Parliament for protection
against the powerloom, which displaced workmen and increased the
unemployment by thousands. Parliament did not see its way to
do anything, and did not want to see it. The greatest
objection to Free Trade has been its want of consideration to
workmen temporally ruined by it, which has set workmen in every
nation against Free Trade. Those who made fortunes by the
powerloom should have been assessed, so far as was necessary, to
succour those who were displaced, until new employment was found for
them. Invention, which was hated, resented, and opposed unto
death in many places, would then have been popular, and the use of
inventions would have been honourably accelerated.
The Leeds Flour Society did not spring up out of nothing.
Co-operation was in the air, but it was not bred there—it was put
there. Several Leeds men of capacity and influence had been
interested in the "New Views of Society," promulgated by Robert
Owen. When Queenwood had
failed, they were disconcerted—but not discouraged—and some of them
met in the Unitarian Meeting House on Sunday afternoons, and
endeavoured to found another industrial city, which should show the
working class the way of self extrication. It took the
aspiring title of the "Redemption" Society. The movement
commenced in 1845. Mr. William Howitt afterwards described it,
in his Journal, as a "Co-operative League," but the committee
unfortunately adopted the more ambitious and pretentious name of the
"Redemption Society." The Leader newspaper published
subscriptions received by the Society. The lists came to me.
We all approved of the object in view, but when we had to announce
subscriptions of 1s. 2d. in Leeds, 10d. from Edinburgh, and 4d. from
Glasgow, readers felt that, with contributions so slender, the
redemption of the world was a long way off. But in the earlier
days of the Society the support was greater. During 1846 the
promoters took the field, or rather the streets, by making house to
house visitations, obtaining members and penny per week
subscriptions. Working people had very little to give in those
days. A Mr. G. Williams gave the Society, conditionally, an
estate in Wales on which to try their experiment. Three
persons went from Leeds—E. C. Denton, a joiner, who died only a few
weeks ago; J. W. Gardiner, a shoemaker, still living in Leeds; and a
youth named Hobson. The first annual Redemption meeting was
held in the Music Hall, Leeds (January 7th, 1847), when William
Howitt took the chair, and made an excellent speech on co-operation.
The speakers were the Rev. Edmund R. Larken (a large proprietor of
the Leader), Dr. F. R. Lees, Joseph Barker, Joshua Hobson,
James Hole, and the chief inspirer of the movement—David Green.
About 200 persons, interested in the social enterprise, took tea
together. Lord Ashley, Douglas Jerrold, Joseph Sturge, Henry
Vincent, Rev. Thomas Spencer (uncle of Herbert Spencer), wrote
letters to the meeting; and Joseph Mazzini, who sent a subscription
with his letter, asked to be enrolled as a member. Hence the
reader will see the Society had distinguished well-wishers. It
was stated there were 600 members belonging to it. The
subscriptions for the year exceeded £181, while the expenses had
been only £17.
The method of this Society shows the reader how co-operation
was the original device of these social reformers. The
Redemption Society did a little distributive trade in groceries and
provisions. It had a shop, and its commodities were sold at
its place of meeting, which was an upper room in Trinity Street,
over a stable. It was open in the evenings only, when a member
of the committee attended. The principal article sent from the
Society's estate in Wales was blackberry jam. Blackberries
being plentiful about the place, labourers' children gathered them
and sold them to the little Colony for a shilling a basket, and so
jam came to the Redemption Society in Trinity Street, Leeds.
Thus Robert Owen's scheme of Industrial Cities (then called
communities) were in the minds of the thinking artisans of Leeds.
Lloyd Jones, one of my colleagues of the Social Missionary group,
had often visited Leeds, and about 1847 was living there.
Public discussions had been held there. The Northern Star
had been published in Leeds. Many men of ability in the town
knew all about co-operation.
Several volumes of the New Moral World were printed
and published by Joshua Hobson, at 5, Market Street, Leeds. In
the New Moral World for 1839, no fewer than eighteen notices
are accorded to Leeds. Robert Owen, G. A. Fleming, Lloyd
Jones, Dr. Frederic Hollick (still living in New York), Robert
Buchanan, James Rigby, and all the lights of the "Socialism" of that
day—not dreamy but definite—not revolutionary but constructive—had
spoken in Leeds. A hall was held by these advocates, and
lectures delivered weekly, and famous discussions were held at
times. Richard Carlile and Lloyd Jones met in Leeds.
From 1838 to 1841, Leeds was an emporium of social ideas.
The principal apostles of the Redemption Society were David
Green, Lloyd Jones, Dr. Lees, James Hole, John Holmes, William
Campbell, William Bell, John Hunt, and E. Gaunt. Mr. Campbell,
whose recollections I follow, is not aware that there was any single
member of the Redemption Society among the early originators of the
Flour Society, and only three names—Green, Holmes, and Hole—can be
rightly counted among the fifty-eight precursors elsewhere
enumerated. The two movements were essentially distinct and
promoted by different persons. Nevertheless, when the
Redemption movement was found impracticable with the means
available, its leaders, acting on Goethe's great maxim, "Do the duty
nearest hand," carried their enthusiasm and larger knowledge into
the ranks of the Flour Society when it was appealing for public
support, and needing it. The names of those who thus assisted
will be found frequently occurring in the ensuing narrative.
Some of them became directors, some of them presidents. Lloyd
Jones and John Holmes, two of the most influential directors of the
Flour Society, lost their seats through advocating forward steps,
such as the addition of the grocery and provision business to the
Flour Society. They constituted the elements of progress in
the Flour Association, and supplied, at their own peril, the
inspiration which carried it forward into the region of larger
co-operation, which has led to its great distinction and success.
James Hole delivered a series of lectures on "Social Science and the
Organisation of Labour," which the Rev. Dr. Hook said was the best
book he had ever read upon the subject. Thus, when the Bonyon
Mill men, of whom the reader will soon learn more, came into the
field, there was already, as has been shown, a body of ready-made
opinion in sympathy with their project and ready to advance it.
It may be said that the Redemption Society was the precursor of
co-operation in Leeds.
Origin of the Society.
FLOUR was the
beginning of the famous Society which is the immediate subject of
these pages. There is a tradition of Pitt that he once began
one of his sonorous speeches in the House of Commons with the word
"Sugar." Sugar is so familiar a term that it seemed trivial,
and the triviality of the term concealed its importance. The
great orator paused at the word "sugar," and the House laughed,
thinking perhaps that he meant to sugar them, upon which Pitt
repeated the word with indignant emphasis, at which they laughed
again. The third time he connected the word with its context
in his mind, and Parliament were all attentive and laughed no more.
Let us hasten, therefore, to say that the common-place
term—Flour—had to the working people of Leeds, in 1846-47, the
infinite interest of a necessity of life, which was scarce, dear,
and bad. Yet in 1846 such flour as was to be had was 4s. per
stone of 14 lbs. A stone of flour is sold now in Leeds from
1s. 6d. to 1s. 7d., which denotes a better condition of subsistence
for the working class.
There was also great depression in trade then. The
outlook was as dreary as that of Noah from the Ark before the waters
subsided. The state of the working class was as monotonous as
despair. As Charles Matthews, the elder, once said, there was
"nothing stirring but stagnation." Yes, there was something
unobserved stirring—it was adulteration. Dr. Adam Clarke, in a
long-remembered phrase, said, "Leeds was the Garden of the Lord."
But, alas, in those days no trading conscience grew among the plants
of that garden, and millers sold flour which would give a boa
constrictor indigestion and reduce him to ribs and skin.
Before the days of co-operative stores the poor man's stomach was
the waste-paper basket of the State, into which everything was
thrown which the well-to-do classes could not or would not eat.
The state of things described demanded action, and men of action
were found, but not where they were expected, nor were they the kind
of men anybody looked to as likely to originate a great change.
The insurgents were the Benyon Mill men, who issued forth with the
following singular address, headed—
To the Working Classes of Leeds and its vicinity.
We, the workpeople of Messrs. Benyon and Co.'s mill, Holbeck,
in the county of York, having experienced much trouble and sorrow of
late in ourselves and families, in consequence of the exorbitant
price of flour, do judge it needful for us to take every precaution
to preserve ourselves from the invasions of covetous and merciless
men in future. In consequence thereof we deem it needful to
enter into a combination to raise a subscription to the amount of
twenty shillings, to be paid by each member in weekly instalments,
to be determined on at a meeting to be held in a room behind the
Union Tavern, on Monday, March 1st, 1847, at seven O'clock in the
evening, for the purpose of renting a mill until the funds of the
Society shall enable them to erect a mill of their own, which shall
be the property of the subscribers, their heirs, executors,
administrators, or assigns, for ever, in order to supply them with
flour, and that only.
N.B.—The committee are wishful to raise 1,000 members for the
purpose of carrying out this noble enterprise. They therefore
call upon the working classes to attend the meeting, in order to
look to their own welfare and the welfare of their families.
February 25th, 1847.
The Benyon Mill men, as they appeared in their day, are worth
preserving in portraits where such exist. The first who signed
the circular address was Robert Wilson Ambler, who had an oval head
of the Sir Joshua Reynolds type. His face is expressive of
shrewdness and alertness. He was just the man to make a
"stirring speech," which he did to the hundred who met at the Union
Robert Wilson Ambler
It will strike the reader of to-day as odd that the insurgent
flax spinners should seek to set up an "Anti-Corn Mill Association,"
which suggests that they were against a corn mill, when all the
while they were trying to set up a corn mill. Mr. Fawcett
conjectures that the term "Anti Mill" was used to designate
opposition to the private millers of the day,
who, as the Benyon men say, brought "much sorrow and trouble to them
and their families." These workmen, taking to public affairs
and inviting the co-operation of the town, were confident
innovators, as will be thought to-day, to proclaim the name of their
employers as though they were cognizant, or concurring in the step
taken by their men. The Bensons were of the Tory persuasion,
but of the tolerant type. In many towns a step of the kind in
question led, in early days of the the social movement, to dismissal
of men. It was, however, a pleasant custom in Leeds for
workmen to describe themselves by the name of their employers, as "Kitson's
men," or as "Fairbairn's men" do now.
The portrait of John Park (page 9), the second who signed the
circular, is that of a solid man of vigour with an impassable look,
and features wonderfully resembling the Rev. John Angell James, my
pastor for five years in Carr's Lane Chapel, Birmingham.
Before reading the name I thought it was Mr. James. There is
no "sorrow or trouble" in Park's face.
The readers will see that these adventurous flax spinners
constituted themselves as an "association" before they were
associated. They announced themselves as "We, the work-people
of Messrs. Benyon and Co., Meadow Lane, Holbeck, in the county of
York." There was no mistake as to who they were, and where
they were, and any person wanting to communicate with them need not
go running all over England. They were to be found in
"Holbeck, in the county of York." It would appear that they
regarded Holbeck as a more important, or better known, place than
Leeds. They announced their intention to take precaution,
"every precaution," they said, which was quite beyond their power,
to preserve themselves "from the invasions of covetous and merciless
traders," and from the "exorbitant price of flour." They
therefore determined "to enter into a combination to raise a
subscription of twenty shillings from each member, to be paid in
weekly instalments as might be determined upon, at a meeting to be
held in a room behind the Union Tavern, on Monday, March 1st, 1847,
at seven o'clock in the evening." The business of the meeting
was stated to be the "renting of a mill until the funds of the
institution enabled them to build one." They already regarded
the "combination," not yet combined, as an "Institution." If
poor in means they were affluent in terms. Then followed an
outburst of legal language, declaring that the mill of their own
should be the property of the subscribers, their heirs, executors,
administrators, or assigns."
The working class of Leeds fifty years ago had hardly thought
of "heirs," as they were not sure of having anything to leave them
except the poorhouse. Of "executors and administrators" they
had very scant knowledge, and of "assigns" few of them had the
slightest idea. They did not even foresee or know that they
would have bran and straw to sell, and bound themselves "to supply
flour to their members, and that only." The law made one
limit, and they made a larger one upon which battles were fought.
The "Union Tavern," the place of meeting, did not require any street
being given as to where it was situated, nor did it need to be
specified as being in the "County of York." Everybody in
"Leeds and its vicinity" were assumed to know where the "Union
Joseph Nowell (page 11), the last name on the Kenyon circular
calling the first meeting, has an honest, hard-working look, as
though he had shared the "trouble and sorrow brought into
working-men's families," by dear and pernicious flour.
On the 1st of March about 100 persons attended the meeting,
which comprised persons from all parts of the town and
neighbourhood. Mr. William Eggleston was chairman. Mr.
R. W. Ambler and others made "stirring remarks" upon the price and
the extent of the adulteration of flour. It was resolved to
call a public meeting, to be held in the Tabernacle Schoolroom,
Meadow Lane, on the 7th of March, 1847, and bills were posted giving
the town notice to that effect. At this meeting about 1,000
persons were present in the room, and many more were refused
admission "because the place was full," which shows that social
innovation of some kind was well about. The objects of the
meeting were fully explained.
The meeting understood their business, which was to provide
funds for incidental expenses in forming the Society, and they
agreed to subscribe a shilling each. It was arranged that if
the project succeeded the shilling should be counted into the shares
taken. Thus the originators of the great Society began upon
the principle of a ready-money movement.
The meeting ended by appointing a committee to carry forward
The first Committee of Organisation.
AT the commencement of the new movement an unreflecting reader
thinks all the merit of it belongs to the new actors who appear upon
the scene. Great merit does belong to them, because they are
the first to put into action what others have merely talked about.
Yet let it not be supposed that those who only talked, even the
least influential, did nothing. They disseminated, in the
humble circles where they moved, a wholesome discontent at the
existence of an avoidable evil. If a man does not know, or
does not see what to do to effect a needed change, his duty is to do
what he can. Any man who has no opinion on a question on which
he ought to have an opinion, is a poor creature. If he has an
opinion he can find some means of expressing it, if only to his
neighbour, and if he is not on speaking terms with his neighbour he
can express it to his wife, who usually has generous enthusiasm, and
will soon express her opinion to somebody else. The result is
that when a few intrepid men take the field they find people
everywhere who understand their object, and the bolder sort of those
thus informed join the new standard. The French regard all
present at a meeting as "assisting" at it. This is true.
Even those who make part of a crowd at the door, who cannot get in,
add to the influence of the meeting, since it indicates to all
observers interest in the question discussed inside. Milton
says, "They also serve who only stand and wait." This is so,
provided they stand in the right place, and are at hand to help when
called upon. Thus it came to pass that when the next public
meeting was called it was crowded.
A contagious or similar activity soon manifested itself
elsewhere. One meeting was held in Newtown. A deputation
was sent from the Meadow Lane Committee to a meeting held at Tulip
Inn, Newtown, to make arrangements to meet together. It was
decided to hold a public meeting in Leeds, in the Court House (now
the Post-office), 
which took place by the friendly courtesy of the Mayor, George
Goodman, Esq. This was the first public Corn Mill meeting held
in the town of Leeds. It took place at the end of March, or
early in April, 1847. Public interest in the question had so
increased that from 1,200 to 1,400 persons were present. The
Leeds Times, edited by Robert
Nicol, the poet, always had sympathy for the unrecognised
interest of the people, and took cognisance of the meeting, and
recommended working men to join the proposed society. Friendly
reports and descriptions of the public proceedings of the Society
have appeared in the Leeds Mercury, whose files we have had
to refer to, for facts and dates for these pages. At the first
meeting to receive subscriptions, 433 persons paid an entrance fee
of one shilling, and in two months no less than 1,023 had joined the
movement. This shows unusual enthusiasm of a practical
business kind, that so many persons of small means should subscribe
so readily that an unknown and doubtful manufacturing experiment
should be tried.
The names of the committee appointed to organise the new
movement were the following:—
G. W. THOMAS.
J. E. CRAVEN.
Two of the leaders of the Redemption Society—David Green and
James Hole—were present at this meeting, and were at once
incorporated in the committee, which thus acquired the elements of
higher progress than Benyon men had in their minds. It is a
notable fact that not one of the seven flax spinners are on the new
committee appointed to carry forward their project. It appears
to have passed out of their hands, but to them belongs the credit of
originating the great working-class union, and of passing it on.
They have an historic place among the founders of the "Anti Mill"
This committee of arrangement, like the one which issued the
first address, met at Mrs. Walker's Coffee House, Duncan Street, and
devoted all the time they could command to setting a corn mill in
The Redemption men now among them, knew that a co-operative
store was simpler, easier, and more manageable. The Rochdale
store was only three years old, and not much to refer to then.
Very likely, or probably, the suggestion was not made, or not urged.
Mr. Green and Mr. Hole had been put upon the committee to aid in
carrying out the mill idea, and they did.
The local need was honest flour. There was zeal for
that. It was right to take advantage of ready-made enthusiasm
for a useful, if difficult object, rather than attempt something
else easier, but for which zeal had to be created.
People were moved by indignation in commencing with a flour
mill. Probably few understood the different kinds of knowledge
necessary for such an undertaking—knowledge of which spinners,
weavers, mechanics, and shoe makers were entirely ignorant. Or
if any understood the difficulties of the enterprise they were not
dismayed, and insisted on a corn mill.
Dr. Charles Mackay, the poet, in the days before he became a
copperhead,  called
upon "men of thought and men of action to clear the way." The
Leeds Pioneers were of this description, for seldom if ever has a
new movement been conducted with more celerity than marked the
progress of the Leeds Society. By July they obtained the
certificate of their rules from the Registrar. They succeeded
in obtaining the Britannia Corn Mill, in Saville Street, Wellington
Street, which belonged to Mr. Fieldhouse, an appropriate name for a
corn miller. This mill they worked for fifteen months.
The first corn was ground in September, and the first flour
made from this corn was reserved for the tea party, held in the
Music Hall, Albion Street, October 28th, 1847. Thus, within
seven months from the first subscription being paid to the Benyon
Mill men, a corn mill was taken, corn ground, bread made and eaten
at a public tea party. Clearly the pioneers of Leeds meant
business, and their successors have meant it ever since. At
this time it was found necessary to close the books against the
admission of more members, the mill not being able to supply flour
to more persons than had already joined the Society. By the
end of December, that is, nine months after commencing their
association of millers, they had bought nearly 1,800 quarters of
wheat, at an average of fifty-nine shillings a quarter. In
addition they bought barley, beans, Indian corn, and other cereals.
A Special Committee prepared rules for the administration of the
affairs of the Society—rules so remarkable and unparalleled that
they deserve distinct consideration.
The Wonderful Rules.
THE Duncan Street
Committee were prudent men. They drew up a code of rules, and
employed Mr. William Middleton, solicitor, to render them in
accordance with the Friendly Societies Act. They were
afterwards submitted to the Attorney-General, Sir John Jervis, for
his opinion. It is difficult to conceive why this should be
done, seeing there was Mr. Tidd Pratt, Registrar of Friendly
Societies, whose legal judgment would be exercised upon them, and
whose signature would give them authority. All the while the
committee did not trust Sir John Jervis, but appointed a "special
number of persons to watch him" lest he should pervert the spirit of
the rules, which he was very likely to do. The rules were duly
certified by John Tidd Pratt, on the 8th of July, 1847, and
surprising rules they were. One was "That no member shall
receive more flour than is necessary for his own family." Who
was to ascertain how much was "necessary"? It would employ a
committee of doctors, all their time, to determine this. Most
families eat too much meat, and take too little bread; some families
are given to vegetarianism, and take bread in excess; some families
are teetotal, and they eat more bread than beer drinkers. Mr.
Cobden found out this when he held a Peace Conference on the
continent. The second time the hotel-keepers charged a much
higher price for dinner than formerly, on the ground that most of
the delegates were temperance people, who not only drank no ale or
wine, which mainly made the profit, but ate much more in
consequence, which increased the loss. An inquisition would be
necessary into the habits of every family under the rule cited.
It is one of many examples that no persons ever think of inflicting
such restrictions upon working men as they inflict upon themselves,
before the day of education comes.
Another marvellous rule was as follows:—"Any member who shall
sell or make goods for sale, of the flour or meal received from this
Society, shall, on conviction of either of the above offences, be
fined ten shillings for the first time, and be excluded on a
repetition thereof." No act to regulate the sale and use of
poisons has more stringent conditions than this rule for the sale
and use of flour.
The object of the Society was to make flour, and the
prosperity of the business depended upon the amount it could sell.
Here was a rule expressly framed to prevent it doing business, and
if any poor member had a clever, intelligent wife who knew how to
cook and increase the resources of her family by making digestible
tarts or pork pies—very scarce in Leeds in those days, and scarce in
other towns still, of a digestible kind—it was an offence under the
rules of these working men to be punished by fine and expulsion.
The framers of these rules had a very narrow outlook, and the
Attorney-General could not have done worse for them than they did
A further rule had democratic sense in it, and is entitled to
respect. It sets forth—"That any member refusing to fill the
office of president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, director,
or auditor, or resigning such office without sufficient cause, shall
be fined two shillings and sixpence."
This rule recognised the equality of the right and the duty
of every member of the Society to take part in its administration,
and necessitates education as part of its policy, as without it,
members cannot be qualified to fill the offices to which they may be
called. Being ignorant, they would retard or ruin it.
The members of the new Society had no idea the day would come
when it would be a point of distinction to be elected to serve it.
Mr. Hole and Mr. Green had been conversant with rule-making for many
societies in previous years, but in this case their judgment must
have been overruled, and it must have been in deference to the
opinion of the great majority that they concurred in sending these
singular rules to the Registrar. It was under these rules that
the first directors were appointed.
The First Directors.
THEY who begin a
movement make it, and on this principle the first directors are
entitled to a place in this history.
The main rule for the government of the Society and election
of officers was as follows:—"That this Society shall be managed by a
president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and twenty
directors, who shall be elected in the following manner, viz.: Six
members shall be nominated by the directors, from whom the president
shall be chosen. Six others in like manner, from whom to
choose a vice-president. After the first election the
vice-president shall at all times succeed the president. The
directors shall also nominate six additional members, from whom
three shall be chosen; one of the latter to go out of office every
succeeding six months, when three others shall be nominated as
above, and one selected by (in every case) the members present at
the half-yearly meeting. Twenty members shall also be chosen
as directors, ten of whom shall retire half-yearly, and ten others
elected in their stead." The rule has only historic interest
now as showing the early device for electing directors.
Organisation was soon afloat, and the following persons, in
various capacities, were elected the first board of management :
ESQ., Surgeon, Leeds.
ESQ., Surgeon, Wortley.
Councillor GEORGE ROBSON,
Councillor WILLIAM BROOK,
|Mr. JOHN SMITH,
Mr. JOHN WALTER.
Mr. WILLIAM WRAY.
JOHN WALES SMITH,
ESQ., York Place.
|Mr. ZEBEDEE SWAIN,
The rules were only certified on the 8th of July, and on the
31st the first meeting of directors took place, when they advertised
for a corn mill, a step not without peril, for they gave the millers
public notice to be on their guard, as an enemy was in the field.
In London even, when we required to build a hall about the same
time, we found that not a squares inch of ground on which to plant a
walking-stick could be bought. No one would sell or let, when
our purpose was known, which had been imprudently published.
Yet our purpose was to establish an institution for what is now
known as social and co-operative advocacy. Of course, the
millers of Leeds took the alarm, and every obstacle their ingenuity
or their interest could put in the way of the directors, they set in
motion. Nevertheless, as we have seen, the directors overcame
every obstacle. They obtained a mill and ground corn in it.
The Society, at first, was co-operative only in a very
elementary sense. It was a cheap selling store. It had
no arrangement for making profit, and of course had no idea of
distributing it—whereas distribution of profit has been the strong
incentive of growth in co-operative societies. The first
flour-mill rule bound the directors "to sell as near prime cost as
possible," which left no margin for profit. They were directed
in the first rule "to buy corn as good as possible." But Rule
12 said that "there shall be such sorts of flour made at the
Society's mill as the majority of the members shall decide."
"Such sorts" included seconds. The terms would allow cheap
kinds—or adulterating kinds, if the majority of the members should
so decide. It is to the credit of the directors that they
never attempted nor permitted any evasion of the pledge of purity.
It is also to the credit of the members that they never proposed any
departure from their profession of good faith towards the public.
The reader will see how many were the contests subsequent
directors engaged in, to keep the Society true to purity in flour.
As persons joined the Society knowing nothing and caring less for
principle, but impetuous for cheapness at any cost of truth in
trade, the directors were ever in battle array for the honour of the
Society. Those who would lower the Society to the level of an
ordinary shop, would have succeeded had it not been for the
honourable steadfastness of the directors from time to time.
Some directors, it will be found who strenuously urged a certain
course should be taken for the progress of the Society, were
dismissed for doing it; but the members obtained enlightenment by
it, and pursued the very course they had dismissed their directors
for recommending to them.
A foremost advocate of social justice in our time, Mr.
Ruskin, has expressed a policy which may be taken as describing that
which the directors have pursued more or less to this day: "The
simplest and clearest definition of economy, whether public or
private, means the wise management of labour, and it means this
mainly in three senses—first, in applying your labour
rationally; secondly, in preserving its produce carefully;
lastly, distributing its produce seasonably."
Mr. Ruskin's scheme of economical policy is for the State, in
which profits are neither made nor needed, as where all produce is
"seasonably distributed" all life is profit. Since we are not
in that Utopia yet, men have to unite in societies to control and
share the profit made by purchase or by labour. In these
directions the voices of the directors have oft been heard.
How this has been done will be seen very clearly in the Chronicles
of the Society from year to year. Great difficulties have been
encountered, great exercise of patience has been exacted, but the
march of the Society has ever been onward. The motto of the
Leeds Society, like that of the City of Birmingham, always has been,
and is, "Forward."
It has been held as remarkable that many of the most eminent
Jewish doctors were humble tradesmen, and it is not less notable in
its way that the men who have proved successful directors of the
Society, came from the ordinary industrial ranks in the town.
Notwithstanding, as high a quality of prevision, organisation,
administration and judgment, has been manifested by them as any
directorships have ever shown.
The Fifty-Fight pioneers of Leeds.
THE following are
the names of the Fifty-eight Pioneers of Leeds, all of whom held
office, or performed some duty of importance in the interest of the
Society, in the year 1847:—
3 ALLAN, JAMES.
|3 HAY, SAMUEL.
1 AMBLER, ROBERT
|2 HARDEN, JOHN
1 AMBLER, ROBERT.
|2 HOLE, JAMES.
2 ATKINSON, THOMAS.
|2 HOLMES, RICHARD.
2 BEANLAND, A.
|1 JACKSON, JAMES.
3 BIGHEAD, WILLIAM.
|2 JACKSON, M.
2 BOOTH, JAMES.
| KITCHEN, WILLIAM
3 CAVE, JUNO.
|2 LAMB, W.
3 CLIFF, ESQ.,
|3 LAWSON, JOSH.
2 CRAVEN, J. E.
|3 LUPTON, ESQ.,
1 DARLEY, JOSEPH.
|3 MARCH, ESQ.,
3 DENHAM, G.
|3 MATHERS, JOSEPH.
2 EGGLESTON, W.
|1 NOWELL, JOSEPH.
3 EMMERSON, WILLIAM
|3 OXLEY, JOHN
3 FARRAR, SIR.
|1 PARK, JOHN.
3 FAWCETT, M.
|3 PENROSE, RICHARD
2 FITZROY, CHARLES.
|2 ROBINSON, JAMES
2 GREEN, DAVID.
|3 ROBINSON, JOHN.
2 HAIGH, SAMUEL.
|3 SAGAR, ESQ.,
E. T. F.
2 SMITH, JOHN
|2 WALKER, G. (R).
3 SMITH, J. W.
|3 WALKER, JOHN.
|3 WALKER, JAMES.
2 SMITHSON, JAMES.
| WALTER, JOHN
2 SUMMERSCALE, SAM.
|2 WALTOR, JOHN.
3 SWAINS, ZEBEDEE
|1 WARD, WILLIAM.
3 SWALLOW, WILLIAM.
|3 WARD, B.
2 TAYLOR, JOHN
|3 WORSNOP, JOS.
2 THOMAS, G. W.
|3 WRAY, W.
2 THOMPSON, HENRY.
|2 WRIGHT, SAMUEL.
The foregoing persons were members of the first two
committees and first board of directors, who originated and
organised the Great Leeds Society. It was not until
thirty-three years after its commencement that the names of these
founders were collected together. Fifty years have elapsed
before they were classified and characterised as they are in these
pages. When the Rochdale Society began, the town had only a
population of 27,000. Leeds, when its co-operative society
began, had a population of 164,000, six times larger than Rochdale,
and its pioneers are double those of Rochdale, plus two.
Rochdale had 28, Leeds 58. The seven names marked (1) were the
seven Benyon Mill men who issued the first manifesto. The 25
names marked (2) were members of the second committee. The 21
names marked (3) were members of the first board of directors.
Those names in the list having the letter (R) after their name in
parenthesis, also were members of the "Provisional Committee,"
responsible for the rules, and whose names are published in the
Rules of 1847, which were invented and drawn in that year.
They were printed and published by Samuel Moxon, Queen's Court,
Briggate, July, 1847. 
The names to which are attached the letters (MR) were the four flour
members who signed the enrolled copy of the rules. The name of
J. Parker occurs only in the minutes of March, 1847, as appointed to
make a bargain with the owners of the mill.
Most of the names occur again and again, in after years, as
presidents, secretaries, directors, and active members of the
Society. Robert Ambler, one of the Benyon men, is among them,
as will be seen as this narrative proceeds. David Green, whose
name the reader has seen, was a well-known disciple of Robert Owen,
and, as we have said, founder of the Redemption Society, which had
subscribers in most parts of Great Britain. It was the last
attempt to advocate and establish an industrial self-supporting
community on principles of equity, after the manner of Robert Owen.
James Hole won distinction in letters. He was the first
translator of Strass Leben Jesu, and afterwards secretary of the
Chambers of Commerce. His last work was "Railways and the
State," a volume of remarkable fiscal research and ability.
His name will occur again in this story.
Sq. Farrar is the same name, though another person, as Squire
Farrar, of Bradford, who was always in the front of every liberal
movement until his death at the age of 93. Sq. Farrar is a
name of good omen.
Historical Chronicle year by year.
A NOVEL PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION―CO-OPERATORS
IN A MINORITY.
THIS was the
Founders' year, to which five chapters have been already devoted.
The date is repeated here to complete the consecutive account of
fifty years. Ten years before this date the writer had been
about the country speaking and counselling co-operative efforts in
one form or another—some for the establishment of self-supporting
communities, some for store trading—and was therefore familiar with
the agitation current in Leeds in those days. It was a year
before the revolutionary year of 1848 that the Leeds flour movement
began. Looking back to that time now, it seems strange that
Leeds working men deferred so long to take their own affairs into
their own hands, and still more strange that they should come to
excel all other co-operative societies in extent.
The plan of distribution of the flour made was different from
any other corn mill. It was to appoint shopkeepers to be their
flour sellers. Numerous applications for agencies were
received, and the selection was made with regard to distances from
each other so that they might not overlap, and each agent have a
fair field for increasing his sales. The agents had to pay all
money, taken for flour, into the bank. By the end of 1847 the
agents had paid in, to the Society's account, no less a sum than
£4,986. The total payments made by the Society to the end of
1847 were £6,086, leaving a balance in the bank in favour of the
Society of £937, minus one penny. This was not a bad turnover
for working men to make in the first seven months in their attempt
to manage a new business, with the object of improving their
condition. In addition, they had the important advantage of
having wholesome flour, free from plaster of Paris, 
a favourite adulteration with some flour dealers, as the reader will
The conditions to which the flour agents had to conform will
be found in the transactions of 1858, when unforeseen troubles
brought them into discussion.
Originally, the Flour Mill Society was a mere commercial
association, with a majority of members who knew little of
co-operation, or of the amity and social toleration it teaches and
implies. It always takes time to acquire co-operative ideas.
These ideas had to be learned, and the learners were not all at once
easy to deal with. From the first year until now, how vast a
change in spirit, in character, and business outlook! The
reader will see this as the story proceeds year by year. The
evolution of principle and organisation is, to many, interesting and
TRENCHANT RESOLUTIONS—A FORTY WEEKS' LEVY—NO POWER TO
BUY LAND—A TIMELY DISCOVERY— DEADLY ADULTERATION—DR. CHORLEY'S
COURAGE—THE PERIL OF CHEAP SELLING—CO-OPERATIVE STORES A PUBLIC
THIS year opened
with enterprise. In February two important resolutions were
passed. First, that a corn mill be either built or bought as
soon as possible. Second, that a levy of £1 be made upon each
member to raise funds to either build or purchase a corn mill and
fit it up for immediate use. This levy was to be paid in eight
monthly instalments of 2s. 6d.
This denoted practical enthusiasm. The members resolved
not only to have opinions about their own affairs, but to sustain
them by substantial subscriptions. For £1 must have seemed a
large sum to many of them, and eventually proved to be too much.
It amounted to sixpence a week, to be kept up for forty weeks.
Whether the directors had in their minds the forty years the
Children of Israel spent in the wilderness does not appear, but the
flour mill men got through their wilderness and entered their
The first report of the Mill Society from March 4th to July
28th was issued this year. In March, Mr. J. Smith, the
president, Mr. R. Penrose, treasurer, and Mr. J. Parker were
appointed to make a bargain with Mr. Blackburn, solicitor to the
firm of Fenton, Murray, and Jackson, owners of the mill.
Before it was bought counsel's opinion was prudently taken upon the
question whether the Society could hold freehold property. The
opinion was that it could only be held by trustees, there being no
law then, as there is now, enabling societies to hold property in
their corporate capacity.
From January to June the Society paid nearly £11,000 for
wheat and £518 to the new mill account, from which it may be
inferred the mill was bought. Other payments of more than
£1,000 were made, making total payments for the half year £11,930.
From July to December there was paid for wheat £10,492. To the
new mill account there was paid £960 and other payments amounting to
£763, making a total of payments of £12,216. Thus the power of
paying increased, and there was punctuality and promptitude in doing
it. Accounts were made up half-yearly, and the amount of
business summarised half-yearly.
The report bore the names of W. Birkhead, T. Murgatroyd, and
W. Eggleston, as auditors. This was the first signed report.
It was found that the profit made during the half year ending June
30th, 1848, had been £70.
The flour agents increased their payments into the bank to
£11,632. Thus the Society early learned the art of going from
success to success.
At this time an occurrence happened which gave the Society an
impetus, and proved not only its necessity but the wisdom of
starting it. There was bad flour and dear flour sold in the
town, but nobody knew it was dangerous flour.
One Dr. James Chorley had the honourable courage to call the
attention of the authorities to the pernicious nature of the flour
sold in his neighbourhood,  which was shown to be adulterated
with plaster of Paris to the extent of fourteen ounces in 20 stones
of flour. When the flour seller's premises were searched two casks
and two bags of plaster of Paris were found. The adulterating flour
seller bought his flour at 38s. per sack of twenty stones. The
selling price, retail, was 2s. per stone, and he sold it at 1s.
10d., realising 36s. 8d. per sack. Thus he sold his flour at less
than he paid for it pure. He made his profit by adulteration. This
discovery brought a great accession of members to the Mill Company,
as there were no other dealers whom they could trust. Thus the Leeds
co-operators learned what cheap selling meant. There was fraud in it
somewhere and somehow, unknown to the victims of the cheap-selling
tradesmen. Many co-operators are ignorant of this fact in these
In those years there were no definite laws against adulteration as
there are now, no public analysts to whom suspicious commodities
might be sent to ascertain their genuineness, nor had working people
the knowledge or the means of getting up the necessary evidence for
convictions, nor were there magistrates much disposed to listen to
them if they appeared before them. Dr. Chorley, the medical
practitioner whom we have mentioned, found a large number of his
patients seriously ill who had bought flour at one or other of two
shops managed by a flour dealer and his wife. The inquiring doctor
had himself analysed the flour bought by his patients, and found it
to be most pernicious. One poor old lady was so ill for eleven days
that her life was despaired of. The knavish flour-seller was named
Vickers. Conviction took place. Mr. Edward Baines (afterwards Sir
Edward), as presiding magistrate, spoke in strong terms of the
serious offence of which they had been guilty. On three separate
charges he inflicted the penalty of £20 each, and the miller's wife
in one charge, making £80 of fines in all, which, not being paid,
the flour dealer was imprisoned for three months, and his wife for
About the same time the coffee trick came to light. Not only was
coffee adulterated, but the chicory, which mainly adulterated it,
was itself adulterated, and a cheap-selling coffee dealer's shop in
North Street was entered by the police—through
"information" they had received. Treacle, bran, Venetian red, and
mustard were mixed together and baked: and this was vended as
chicory. But for lack of evidence no conviction took place.
These facts pointed to the necessity for a co-operative store, to
protect the members from fraud and danger in other commodities as
well as flour; but as yet the members were unable to see so far.
THE DOUBLE SHARE RULE RESCINDED—THE FIRST ACCIDENT—A FRIENDLY MILLER
—BANKERS' CONFIDENCE— GOLDEN WORDS OF COUNSEL.
THE levy made upon the members of £1, in addition to the £1 share
each member was required to subscribe, proved to be beyond the means
of many of the members, who said that the forty shillings were too
much for working men to raise, even by instalments, and in October
the directors called a meeting to consider the best means of raising
more capital. A resolution was passed rescinding the one which
raised the shares from £1 to £2. The result was, that more members
entered than made up the difference of the money returned to those
who had paid more than £1, and in a few months all the money was
repaid to members who were entitled to receive any.
This year there was an accident to the main shaft
of the corn mill engine, which caused the mill to stand for some
time. This was a serious misfortune to the Society, as the
directors had great difficulty in getting corn ground elsewhere. The millers had their
opportunity and refused any aid to their new adversaries, whom they
had not forgiven for setting up an "Anti-corn mill." At last, one
more generous than the others agreed to help the Society out of its
difficulty—at the same time he charged a shilling a quarter more
than the Society could grind it for, but as it was considerably
lower than any one else would grind for the Society, his terms were
accepted and his help appreciated. Members were cheered by learning
that the profit made the first half year ending June, 1849, was
£135. Notwithstanding, in view of the need which might come for
further machinery, or possible loss, the directors took the
precaution of asking their bankers, William Williams, Brown and Co.,
Commercial Street, whether they would make them an advance should
occasion for it arise. The bankers, who had discernment as well as
friendliness, expressed confidence in the Society and offered an
advance of £1,500, but it never was required.
The fourth half-yearly meeting of what was then entitled the "Leeds
District Flour Mill Society," was held July 25th, in the Court
House, of which they had the use by the courtesy of the Mayor.
This year an Annual Report was published of four leaves duodecimo,
previous reports being on much larger paper. It was presented at the
Court House. In the report ending December, it was stated that the
Leeds Flour Society was the largest in the kingdom. Thus early it
attained a supremacy which it has never lost.
The directors who retired this year left memorable words of counsel
to their successors, which ought to be printed in words of gold, and
hung in every store in the land and in every co-operative office and
workshop. Their words were:―"At whatever cost, instruct the buyer to
buy the best of wheat [or material] the market affords, and to bear
in mind that the working classes of this district should have the
best and purest bread [or other commodities] possible to be
manufactured. The quality should be first, the
price only the second
object."  The words in brackets
are additions made by the writer to
show that the spirit of the injunction is universal in co-operation.
This remarkable passage shows how clear and sound
was the early co-operative spirit. The reader will do well to
look back to the names of this Board of
Directors to see who they were that spoke so wisely. Since that day
there have been too many members of co-operative stores who have
cared mainly for cheapness and profit, forgetful that honesty in
business, in quality as well as in quantity, and assured purity of
food, or assured excellence in any commodity, are the first
conditions of co-operative trade and co-operative integrity.
CONTENTIOUSNESS CREEPING ABOUT—THE IDEAS WHICH INCITE IT.
THIS year the contentiousness, common in the commencement of
co-operation, asserted itself in Leeds. Indeed, in those years a
wandering speaker in the town thought Leeds social reformers
excelled in the capacity of disagreeing with themselves. The members
not only criticised the vicissitudes of business but criticised each
other—not for his improvement but for his confusion. More or less,
this is done everywhere among those under the influence of what we
used to call "the old world spirit;" which regarded everybody as
personally responsible for his peculiarities, which he was supposed
to have wilfully chosen and wilfully retained. It was one of the
main objects of early co-operative lectures to found a new art of
association, and those who founded co-operation under Robert Owen,
had enduring enthusiasm which no difficulty dismayed—no disaster
The principal business item recorded of this year is the honest one
that £500 more was paid towards the new mill account. A larger-sized
report was printed, giving for the first time the board of
management and twenty names of directors, Edwin Gaunt being
"SOMETHING WRONG "―DEMOCRATIC DUTY IN COMPLAINT―CO-OPERATIVE
QUALITIES―IRRECONCILABLES RECONCILED BY A REAL AUDIT―MR. PLINT'S
MASTERLY EXAMINATION―HIS WISE AND BOLD COUNSEL.
THIS year a directors' report appeared—argumentative,
explanatory, and instructive. In the four years of the existence of
the Society to this date (1851), the price of corn had fluctuated
from 1s. to 1s. 7d. a stone, which must have given trouble to
directors and perturbed the minds of members, who would suspect
overcharges. Nevertheless, the Society made profit and increased its
members to 2,997. Like prudent men, the directors insured their
property for £2,000, notwithstanding that the premium reduced the
dividend. Security is always a good investment.
Amid the many members allured by prospect of profit, but who had
never caught the co-operative spirit, some began to express the
opinion that there was "something wrong." Those who did not
understand accounts were persuaded the balance sheets were wrong. In
a democratic society, such as all co-operative societies are,
explicitness of administration is indispensable—not only should
those in control be honest, but they should be at the trouble to
show they are so, and reasonable facilities should be open to every
member for satisfying himself that his affairs are well conducted. For democratic confidence it is necessary that the business should
be openly, not secretly conducted, as it is in a private concern. But at the same time this democratic advantage imposes upon members
corresponding good faith, good patience, and good temper. They
should entertain no suspicion until they have inquired, observed,
and assured themselves that there is good ground for it. It is a
fault of the first magnitude to make imputations against the honesty
of any man, unless he who makes it is assured of its truth. What is
not or cannot be proved should be regarded as non-existent. Before
any open expression of adverse opinion is ventured upon, inquiry
should be made of the committee or of the department responsible for
what is suspected to be wrong. Had such considerations been in the
minds of members, the Leeds Society would have had smooth water to
sail in, and have reached the port of prosperity long before it did.
One thing members are very apt to forget is that shopmen, and all
employed in a democratic society, are placed at a disadvantage
compared with servants in a private firm. There they have only one,
or perhaps two or three masters. In a Society like Leeds now, they
have 37,000 masters. In some societies every member, because he is a
joint master, virtually acts as one, and often speaks to those
employed in a masterful way. Whereas complaints should be made, as
far as possible, to the committee, and one of them should make
representations and give directions. On the other hand, the duty of
every officer, in any capacity, is to be civil to every member, and
the duty of every member to be civil to him. Patience, forbearance,
discrimination, and helpfulness are co-operative qualities. The best
construction that can be put upon conduct are the virtues that make
co-operative intercourse so pleasant to members, and those employed
by them. It is these experiences which make the history of the Leeds
Society so instructive to others. All the lights and shadows of
co-operative association are reflected here. It in no way disquiets
the living to learn that predecessors now dead, erred through lack
It is often said that the most "charitable" construction should be
put on the acts of others. It is not "charity" but justice which is
wanted in judging. Charity is condescension. Where there is
justice in judgment, charity is rarely needed.
When members get dissatisfied and believe the accounts are
deceptive, the business of the society begins to fall off. At this
stage (1851) the Leeds Society had the advantage that it always has
had—the advantage of having directors who conducted business in an
honest, straightforward manner, and no disruption took place. But
there were, nevertheless, some members whom apparently nothing could
satisfy. There are irreconcilables in social life as well as in
political life, and the executive wisely resolved that all accounts
should be again thoroughly investigated by an outside, independent,
responsible accountant of known capacity, who should also audit
their books. Such a person was Mr. T. Plint, who was engaged, at a
cost of £40, to examine and audit all the accounts of the Society
from the commencement in 1847 to the end of 1851. Mr. Plint's
instructions were "not only to strictly examine the current balance
sheet, but every previous balance sheet." The members elected a
special committee to see the work done and report thereon. Mr. Plint
very properly took an entirely independent way of his own. In due
course he reported—
"1. All the calculations or castings out, whether of sales or
purchases, have been checked.
"2. All additions whatever have also been examined in all the books.
"3. All the postings have been checked.
"4. All payments entered in the cash book have been compared with
"5. The bank account has been compared with the cash book, and also
with the ledger receipts, credited to the various shopkeepers or
customers of the Society, and I find the books correct and
exhibiting great care and painstaking, as well as skill in their
management. They also show indubitable proof of a careful audit. I
have also examined the half-yearly cash and stock accounts, and they
correctly represent the state of the Society's affairs at the
respective periods. As the balance sheet drawn up by me from an
independent analysis of the accounts for the entire four years
harmonises with the half-yearly balance, it therefore virtually
proves the accuracy of all the preceding ones."
This report was most conclusive, and had the effect of creating
great confidence in the members, who asked the directors to have it
printed and circulated throughout the Society.
Mr. Plint rendered a further service. He explained what improvement
might be made in the books of a corn mill, by which some corn mills
to this day might profit. Mr. Plint rendered still greater service. He included in his report advice to the Society, both as to practice
and policy. Mr. Plint was a model auditor. I have seen, in an
important society, an auditor who added to his report his opinion of
improvements required for the security of its operations, and for
better conformity to its principles, put down by rude and peremptory
disapproval; it being considered no business of an auditor to give
any such opinion, but to confine himself to the accuracy of the
accounts put before him. Whereas it is the business of an honest
auditor not to be merely content with the account given to him, but
to inquire for others which may be necessary for him to understand
the solvency of the society. An audit which does not imply or
include that knowledge, is false and fraudulent in its effect—as the
Bankruptcy Court reveals to us every week. The professional auditor
has a large range of knowledge and experience, and can see where a
society is going wrong, of which the most honest-minded directors
may not be aware. One passage from Mr. Plint's report is memorable
for its wisdom and its guidance. He says:—"I am aware that the
immediate and great object of the Society is to furnish a good
article to its members, on cheaper terms than is done by individual
action, and the ordinary processes of exchange. Whether those ends
are secured or not may be tested by the simple process of
comparison, as respects the article produced and its price; and on
the supposition that these tests show favourably for the Society, it
might be held enough to show by the accounts that the Society was
adding to its capital yearly, without going into minute analysis. This, however, would be a dangerous procedure—dangerous because
liable greatly to mislead. A co-operative society can only be safe
whilst keeping pace in its general management and in the processes
of manufacture with the competitive trader, and the fact that a
society does so keep pace is only demonstrable by a careful
comparison of cost of production and of mercantile profits. The
chances of perpetuity are nil to a society which is so far behind
the individual trader that it cannot keep its capital intact, and at
the same time to supply its members with commodities at less price
than the private dealer. The least favourable condition on which
such a society can do this is that of equal economy of production,
and equal skill in general management; if, indeed, to encounter the
contingencies and vicissitudes of business affairs, the economy and
skill ought not to be greater, rather than simply equal. It is
evident, too, that before calculating the nett annual increment of
capital, due allowance must be made for wear and tear of fixed
capital, and provision made by a reserve fund to meet those
extraordinary expenses which may arise from accident, the
substitution of improved machines or motive power; and those other
contingencies to which nearly all the manufacturing arts are liable.
I need not point out the absolute necessity,
in order to the success of the society, not merely of satisfying the
members at large, that its affairs are conducted with integrity, but
also of demonstrating that, as a business concern and tested by
admitted business principles, it rests on a safe and stable
foundation." Not many societies find an auditor
so wise and bold as Mr. Plint.
A REMARKABLE AUDIT—THE TROUBLE OF PURITY—DISADVANTAGE OF
CHEAPNESS—DIVIDENDS SHOULD BE PALPABLE—CONCEALED
PROFITS—REMUNERATIVE PRICES ADOPTED CARE IN TERMS GOOD POLICY—THE
OLD MAN AND HIS THREE STONES OF FLOUR.
THERE was better bookkeeping in the Leeds Society than has fallen to
the lot of most societies in their earlier years. Though Mr. Plint
arrived at his results by a different method from that on which the
Society's books were kept, the conclusions he arrived at were
precisely the same. It was certainly notable, seeing that the values
to be estimated were so difficult as those of actual property and
profits. Mr. Plint's audit was made in December, six months after
the directors made their report to the members.
The directors had reported that the worth of the Society on
July 1st, 1851, was … … …
… … …
£4,278 13 3½
Mr. Plint found it to be … … …
£4,278 13 3½
The directors show that there was due
to subscriptions … … … …
£3,401 6 9
Mr. Plint shows that there was due …
£3,401 6 9
The directors show a profit of … …
£877 6 6½
Mr. Plint shows a profit of … …
£877 6 6½
The committee justly say that, considering Mr. Plint arrived at his
results by an entirety separate and different analysis, the exact
coincidence of both sets of figures was remarkable. In the
transactions of a new business,
though its returns amounted to £90,000, there had not been a
defalcation of sixpence. Some members had objected to the trade
expenses. To them it was pointed out that some were peculiar to a
co-operative society at its commencement—for instance, a greater
number of officers, and expenses of public meetings. The number of
officers diminish in time, but are indispensable at the beginning,
as their vigilance promotes confidence as well as creates the habits
of order. Publicity is a source of increase of members, the expense
of which is nothing as compared with ordinary business advertising.
The names of the committee who thus vindicated the veracity of the
bookkeeping and integrity of the Society were—Luke Pool, Thomas
Atkinson, David Vaup, R. M. Carter, and E. Gaunt, secretary.
The Society had taken the wise resolution of insuring purity of the
flour they sold, and no admixture deteriorated it. The flour was
pure and unadulterated. The average cost of the grain purchased to
grind into flour was higher than the average cost of grain in the
whole country. It required great faith in principle, great courage
to do this, and the directors had the courage. The common principle
of commercial business is to buy in the cheapest market and sell in
the dearest. The directors followed the better rule of buying in the
best market and supplying the poorest member with the best quality
of food, which working people in Leeds had never had before. This
unseen benefit did not tell upon unintelligent members. Their eyes
were fixed upon mere cheapness. Their own health and that of their
families were not thought of by them. In many houses disease and
death from impure food were notorious facts in the town, before the
People's Mill was established. From these calamities the homes of
members were exempted, but the ignorant among new members gave
little heed to this. That is why an educational fund, which did not
exist then, was wanted. As Canon Kingsley said, "Cheapness is
nastiness." But a man requires some intelligence to recognise
nastiness, and dislike it. Besides, as the committee had found out,
this very purity of food was against them. Its appearance was
disliked. There was an uninstructed preference for white flour. The
members had no experience and no knowledge of the appearance of pure
flour. The women did not like the colour of it. They did not know
that the competitive miller did not scruple to produce whiteness by
the adulteration of alum. But the intelligence of Leeds was not
lower than that of other towns. For in those days the middle class,
as a rule, knew neither the colour nor the taste of pure food. Their
taste had never been educated, as the taste of co-operators is now. A friend of mine, Mr. George Huggett, secretary of the Westminster
Reform Association, opened a coffee shop in Lambeth, that workmen
might have genuine coffee in the early morning on going to their
workshops. But, when they tasted it, they were indignant. They did
not like the appearance of it, they did not like the colour of it,
they did not like the aroma of it. They had never seen pure coffee
nor tasted it. They did not know that what they drank was
adulterated with vile ingredients. My friend had to close his shop;
burnt beans, glucose, and mustard to give it a little pungency, were
preferred by his customers.
It took two years to educate the taste of many of the Leeds members
before they became reconciled to genuineness. It has taken longer
In one respect the earlier directors had put their successors at a
disadvantage from the beginning. They had pledged them to sell not
only genuine flour, but at a cheaper price, whereas the sound
principle of co-operative business is to sell at the average market
price of the day, and not at the lowest. To aim at selling things
cheaper is to get upon the inclined plane of competition, and those
upon it commonly slide down into the gutter of commercial smartness,
from which co-operation promised to save the public. By selling at
the market price the consumer pays no more than he has to pay
elsewhere, and he has the advantage of pure articles and just
measure, with the additional advantage of knowing that all the
profits of honest trading will come into his pockets at the end of
each half year in the shape of dividend. Cheap selling reduces the
dividend and does not encourage provident and saving habits. The
little gain in cheapness, week by week, is a small benefit to the
family who still live from hand to mouth, while the saving at the
end of the half year, or the end of the year, is a substantial
addition to the wealth of the household, and, if left in the store
for investment, is the beginning of small fortunes. Under the policy
of cheapness the store enters into competition with the tradesman,
and is a continual irritation to him; whereas stores which keep to
the average price benefit the shopkeeper, who can obtain better
prices for his commodities since no customer can say "he can get
things cheaper at the co-operative store." Then the shopkeeper feels
he has no competitor in the stores so far as prices are concerned. In this way co-operative stores have made the fortunes of many
grocers who never yet made the fortune of any co-operative store.
Some corn mill members were early dissatisfied with the profits made
by the mill. Had there been only average market price selling, the
profit to the members would have been clear, palpable, and
surprising. They had gained in money indirectly, and did not know
it. They had gained by the price at which the Society sold flour to
£ s d
114 weeks at 1d. per stone less
|1,958 18 0
38 … … 2d.
… … …
|1,305 18 8
… 3d. … …
| 257 15 0
2 … … 4d.
… … …
| 137 9 3
|£3,660 0 11
This was the unseen, unknown, uncounted profit they had really
gained, which, with the £877 members had already received, made the
real profit of the Society £4,537, more than £3,000 of which had been
concealed or kept out of sight. Thus was mainly produced the
discontent among them. The Society, by sacrificing their own
interests to cheap selling, had conferred a benefit upon the town by
the reduction they had caused of 2d. a stone in the price of flour. For this the town had no gratitude, and on account of it never
furnished to the Society a single friend; at least, it mitigated no
hostility—it never awakened any popular interest or respect for this
great service rendered to it.
The only defence of cheap selling was that it attracted, at first,
members. But the reputation of combined profits of nearly £5,000
coming into the hands of members would have brought them more
adherents, and of a better quality than they had, judging from the
chronic cries of discontent heard in season and out of season.
But if a larger survey be taken, including the price at which the
members would have had to pay, had not the Society reduced the
average price in the town, it will be seen how largely members had
From October, 1847, to July, 1851 (196 weeks), the Society sold
flour from one penny to fourpence per stone below the market price. This had the effect of lowering the price through the
whole borough. When the flour mill began, flour was 2s. 4d. per stone, which the
Society sold at 2s. 1d. per stone, being 3d. per stone below the
market price. The next week the millers lowered to 2s. 2d. per
stone, and the week after—although corn rose 1s. per quarter—the
millers kept to the lowered price. The Society had sold during the
period named 818,261 stones of flour. Reckoning 2d. per stone saved
which the members would have had to pay had not the Society been in
existence, the account stands thus―
£ s d
818,261 stones, at 2d … … …
|6,818 16 10
Add the sum at which the flour had
… … … … …
|3,660 0 11
Add the profit paid to the members,
… … … … …
877 6 6½
|£11,356 4 3
A large gain upon a capital of £2,700. Of this enterprise the whole
borough reaped the advantage of twopence per stone upon all the
consumption since the mill began.
The more important point is that the members of the corn mill had
gained more than they knew. More than £11,000 had been put into
To men who had been in the inner circle of social inspiration, the
advocacy of what was designated "remunerative prices" was natural
and proved effective. The Society departed from the rule of cost
price selling, and sold on terms which left a margin for profit,
which enabled members to save and the Society to grow.
In the days of the Redemption Society, assiduous efforts were made,
meetings held, and addresses given all over Leeds, not without seed
being sown of progressive quality. Thus "remunerative" rates of sale
were supported by many of this school. Co-operative ideas were mixed
with flour notions without adulterating them. A "self-raising"
quality was imparted to the Society, always thought well of in the
With the remunerating prices was adopted the plan of paying 5 per
cent upon capital invested, after the manner of Rochdale. The
creation of a depreciation fund was a new feature. Then the
remainder of the money available was divided among the members
according to their purchases, so that, as in stores, the more the
money spent in the Society the more the member gained.
A further good effect of the existence of the Leeds Society was that
adulteration of flour in the borough had ceased, while prosecutions
had to be undertaken and heavy fines had to be inflicted in other
This year £500 was paid towards the purchase of the new mill, which
raised the amount paid to £1,400. The balance sheet of this year was
signed by the curious names of David Dunderdale and Josh.
Titterington. An address was presented containing some admirable
observations, and some otherwise. For instance, it is mentioned that
some of the members "grumbled." No doubt they did. But to tell them
so officially tended to convert discontent into dislike. Such terms
stigmatise questioners and suggesters, and discourage expression of
opinion. An objector may be notoriously malevolent and mean
mischief, but it is not worth while recognising it. The best rebuke
is to state his case and give the answer to it. That creates no
irritation and makes no enemy. Mr. Gaunt's address to members had
vigorous argumentative remarks. He argued not only with enthusiasm
but with true co-operative perspicacity.
For a period the books were closed and no more members taken until
the mill and all the property of the Society were valued, so that
each member's share could be ascertained. When this was done, it was
found that there was a sum of 13s. 4d. accruing to each member. With
some contingent fund money the profit amounted to £1 per member, in
addition to the weekly benefits they had received as purchasers. It
was at once resolved to pay it in kind, and three stones of flour
were voted to every member as "bonus."
It is related that an old man came to ask credit for a stone of
flour, as his son had got work and he could pay for it out of
his next wages. When he was told that three stones of flour had been
voted to him as profit, his face so beamed with gladness that those
present thought it a reward for all their labour and perseverance to
see it. On being told he could have it when he liked, he said, "I
will go and get a bigger bag and be safe of it, for I do not know
that our house ever had three stones of flour in it before." The old
man did not know what bonus meant, but he understood having three
stones of flour without having anything to pay for it.
It was co-operation which first brought such gifts to the working
man's door, which he owed not to charity, but to his own good sense
in joining one of these societies; and he owes some gratitude to
those who generously give time and labour to create for him this
REMUNERATIVE PRICES PRODUCE PROFIT AND
CONTENT—PRINCIPLE AT ANY PRICE—THE FIELD OF CO-OPERATION
ENLARGED—MR. GAUNT'S REPARTEES—DIRECTORS RISK MISJUDGMENT—UTOPIANISM
COMES TRUE—APPEARANCE OF THE PEOPLE'S MILL—MR. BOVILL'S
BILL—STATIONARY MEN AND FORWARD MEN—WILD DEMOCRATS AT LARGE.
NOTICE of the
earlier years of a society are longer than some others will be, but
the earlier times of a new and adventurous association are the most
instructive. Then the conflicts between principle and
expediency show the pluck and honesty of those who combat on the
side of advancement.
The Society had now begun to act on the wholesome rule of
selling at "remunerative" prices, and was cheered by making money
and contentment also. Remunerative prices gave profit, and
profit represented the savings of members, which, when carried to
their credit, gave them new satisfaction as well as a new advantage.
It is to the lasting credit of the directors of this day that
their corn buyer gave, with their consent, from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d.
per quarter above the average price paid by other millers, and no
adulteration was attempted or permitted. It shows that a
majority of the members were of a superior class who sanctioned this
maintenance of principle "at any price," and believed that in the
end honesty would pay—and it did.
For the first five years the Society sold to its members
only, being precluded by law from selling to others. The
persons acquainted with milling know there accrues a surplus produce
of value, and in the Leeds case, such as members did not require.
This surplus material encumbered the rooms of the mill. At
length the law was changed. In the Society's records mention
is made of Mr. James Hole and Mr. Lloyd Jones, aided by legal
friends in London, to whom the Act giving the power of selling to
others was due. These friends were mostly known then as
Christian Socialists: Mr. Vansittart Neale, the Rev. Charles
(afterwards Canon) Kingsley, Mr. Thomas Hughes (afterwards Judge
Hughes), Mr. John Malcolm Ludlow (afterwards Registrar of Friendly
Societies), Lord Goderich (afterwards Marquis of Ripon), Mr. Bright,
and others. Mr. Slaney was the author of the Friendly
Societies Act, which made the extension of co-operative business
legal. The new Act of 1852, giving the right to sell to the
outside public, opened a wider field for co-operative trade.
The mill's sales were nearly £1,200 a week. More
capital was wanted, otherwise they must buy grain every week,
whatever the market price might be.
One member said to Mr. Gaunt, "You told us that twenty
shillings per share was enough to work the mill."
"Yes," said Mr. Gaunt, "but not to buy it."
Another member said, "Cannot you buy on credit?"
"Yes," Mr. Gaunt answered, "but we cannot buy to advantage.
If we buy on credit we must pay credit prices, and then farewell to
cheap flour, and farewell to bonuses."
At that date the Society owed £900 for the last award of
profit, and a further accumulation of profits in 1853 of 10s. per
member, which the directors had retained, and it was with profit
money they were working. This year new directors had to be
elected. Not half a Board as formerly. In electing a
whole Board it was necessary there should be experienced men upon
it; and at the risk of being misunderstood, it was to the credit of
the retiring directors that they took the risk of recommending the
election of John Ardill, cardmaker, Burley; David Green, stationer,
Leeds; William West, tailor, Leeds; John Holmes, draper, Leeds;
William Eggleston, merchant, Leeds, 
as directors; and R. M. Carter as president, and Samuel Sands as
Within this year the business had made a profit of nearly
twenty shillings per share, still adhering to the principle of good,
sound, unadulterated flour. The members increased, and the
Society was again unable to supply its agents with sufficient flour.
Applications for agencies came in which could not be accepted.
It became necessary to buy another mill. It would never do to
be content with 3,000 members in a population of 190,000.
This year Mr. Darnton Lupton, J.P., with John Hope Shaw (the
Mayor) and three other gentlemen (one an alderman, and two
magistrates), had consented to act as arbitrators. The corn
mill had really become an institution. The reports this year
bear a notice for the first time, "No person will be admitted to any
of the meetings without showing his or her ticket." This was
the first official intimation of the eligibility of women to
membership, though married women were then, and for many years
after, incapable of holding property.
The subscription of a full member was raised from £1 to 30s.,
to increase working capital. The result of the valuation of
the mill and property was an ascertained profit of £1,318, equal to
13s. 4d. per share. This profit had been accumulating during
the whole of the Society's existence. During the second half
of 1853 the business, despite all difficulties, increased. The total
money received for sales during the half year was £25,476, and the
clear profit on the half year's transaction exceeded £1,439.
Mr. Gaunt said,
"When they first talked of selling
1,000 bags of flour per month they were called 'visionaries,' and
believed to be so; but the rate of sales had reached 2,000 per
month. The mill could not meet the demand. When they
talked of making £300 yearly as profit they were called 'Utopians,'
a term which was thought to indicate a high degree of wildness; but
they had made a net profit of more than £2,670—a profit of nearly
20s. per share. The balance of the purchase money owing for
the mill was all paid off. Thus the People's Mill became free
and independent, and was regarded as an established fact in Leeds."
This established fact "was far from having a romantic
appearance. The "People's Mill" was as prosaic-looking as
mills were made in those days. As the reader will see,
who looks at the engraving, there is nothing lively about it but the
chimney, which, giving forth smoke, indicates animation within.
However, the People's Mill "was the first mill the people ever had
in Leeds, it has been the forerunner of great things, and will
always have interest in the eyes of the social antiquary.
A new trouble arose from the outside. The
directors were not behind in improved machinery, and had adopted a
method of grinding corn by means of a cold blast of air being
admitted to the stones during grinding. Many corn millers
throughout the country also adopted the process, as it kept the corn
cool while being ground. Mr. Bovill, the patentee of the
method, sued the millers for infringement of his patent. A
Millers' Association was formed to oppose him, and a large amount of
money was spent in law. Mr. Bovill established his claim, and
the directors of the Leeds mill agreed to take out a license to use
an "exhaust," as the cold blast was termed. As compensation
for already having used his patent they agreed to pay 4d. per
quarter for the corn already ground by its use— namely, 92,280
quarters. The total amount paid by instalments was, with
interest, £1,557. They further agreed to pay one-sixth of the
net profits half-yearly as a royalty, which enabled them to use the
patent and all or any of the improvements the patentee might make in
it. At this time the balance sheets were sold at one halfpenny
each. It was thought too expensive in those days to give them
In the early reports of the Society, Co-Operation, with a
large O, had Co prefixed to it.
This year the great contest occurred at the addition of two
new words to the title of the Society, which hitherto had been "The
Leeds District Flour Mill Society." This was changed for "The
Leeds Co-operative Flour and Provision Society." This change
of name indicated an intention on the part of the progressive
members of the Society to venture into a wider field of co-operative
trading than merely selling flour. There was little known then
of the success of general co-operation. Rochdale's career had
not then become an inspiration—the unknown results of a new
experiment which inspire the bold and daring, terrify the timorous
and unenterprising. A fierce division of opinion arose between
the go-forward and the stand-still men. The stationary party
who were for a standstill policy did not stand still in their
opposition. They were vociferous at the business meetings.
They would not obey the voice of the chairman when he called them to
order. Now, the first rule of democratic government is, that
authority appointed by common consent, must be finally respected.
A member who does not observe this rule shows at once his own want
of self-respect, and forfeits all claim to the respect of others,
since he neither respects himself nor obeys those appointed to
conduct public business. Such persons are unfit for democratic
self-government. Their proper destiny and their desert is to
be kicked by despots. There was a useful rule to the effect
that any member refusing to obey the chair when called upon to do so
should be fined 1s. One member had to be fined twice before
the motion to add the word "Provision" to the name of the Society
was carried. The voting of the Society was by ballot, which
ensured an honest result.
Those who wanted to advance were told that if they desired to
carry out complete co-operation they had better go outside the
Society to do it. They might set up a new society. It
was the progressive party who had made the movement. There
would have been no flour mill but for them and their insight and
enthusiasm for principle. Now, the use of the organisation
which they had made was to be denied them, and they were to be
driven elsewhere, and do the work all over again. This
language was not peculiar to Leeds; we have heard it in London at a
much later date.
So turbulent and uproarious were some of the dissentients
that it was no uncommon thing to see two or three policemen
assisting the doorkeepers and waiting in readiness for any emergency
that might occur. This indicates considerable vivacity as well
as contentiousness. It was difficult to hold the stand still
VIOLENCE, WANT OF SKILL—CAT'S PAW AGENTS—MR. GAUNT
HOLDS THE FLOOR—THE CRIMEAN WAR REACHES TO THE LEEDS MILL—ADVICE TO
GO OUTSIDE THE MOVEMENT TAKEN—DRIBBLING.
ALL the persons
who behaved so violently were not opposed to progress. Many of
them did not understand it. Those who did were the strenuous
opponents. There were agents of the Society and others in a
small way of business who foresaw, or were told by larger dealers,
that storekeeping might interfere with shopkeeping. Dealers
astuter than they, encouraged them to pull the chestnuts out of the
fire. Co-operative adversaries of most influence are to be
found in the rear. Those in front are commonly doing the work
of somebody behind. For a time a lull took place in the fight
against "provisions," but there was no armistice.
At the next meeting in the Court House, Mr. Sands was in the
chair. The principal question discussed was the extension or
alteration of the present mill, or the purchasing of another mill,
as the managers were unable to keep production equal to increasing
demands. A special committee was appointed to consider this
Mr. Gaunt, with the ability characteristic of him, argued the
question, which again came up, as to whether the Society should
become a "Provision" as well as a "Flour Society." As the
reader has seen, the name "The Leeds District Flour Mill Society"
was changed to "The Leeds Co-operative Flour and Provision Society."
This, as the adversaries rightly surmised, was not intended to be a
dead-letter alteration. It was meant to be acted upon if the
members could be so persuaded. But the real war had not yet
Another kind of war elsewhere produced—as war always
does—disturbance beyond its own field of operation.
The Crimean War had caused great fluctuation in the price of
flour, which caused anxiety to the directors, and perturbation among
the members. But Mr. Emmerson, the manager, had made excellent
purchases and had been unremitting in his efforts for the benefit of
the Society. A special vote of thanks was given him, which he
The profits for the year 1854 were £1,440. The worth of
the Society was now £7,900, with a balance in hand of £1,313.
Few things better show the depth and tenacity of the old
co-operative inspiration than the following incident. Those
told to go outside the Society and form another, if they wished to
bring into being what they called "true co-operation," began to act
on the instruction. The first meeting to form a new
co-operative society for the sale of groceries and provisions was
attended by James Hole, David Green, Lloyd Jones, W. West, E. Gaunt,
W. Emmerson, E. Gledhill, and H. Wardman. The new Society was
to commence as soon as 1,000 members were obtained. Their
prospectus said "the profits would not be dribbled away in bonuses."
Not a happy phrase, for even "dribbles" of money may temporally
fertilise the household, as small showers do the earth.
Nevertheless, provident accumulation is better than dribbling.
Dribbling brightens the field, but it is thrifty accumulation that
makes the crop. The whole profit made in the proposed new
Society was to form an accumulated fund for the further development
of co-operative principles, and the employment of working men by
means of their own capital. This was the plan on which many of
the co-operative stores were originally conducted. A good deal
of the capital supplied was lent them without interest. The
profits were intended to be used as a common fund for the
self-employment of members in co-operative workshops, and finally in
the collective organisation of an industrial city, self-supported,
self-sustained, self-directed, for the benefit of the whole.
This is the only scheme of co-operative life in which competition is
reduced to a minimum and barter becomes a choice instead of a
necessity. This was the idea in Robert Owen's days. All
modern co-operation is part of this larger conception. The
chief leaders who inspired and organised the flour mill had this
idea in their hearts. It was the advocacy of this conception
which inspired the Rochdale co-operators. It all appeared in
their first profession of aims. The Redemption Society had the
same object. The Thousand for Marsala Garibaldi could collect,
but the thousand names required before the new Society of Lloyd
Jones, David Green, and others could be floated, were never
obtained. One thousand were a large number of men to find,
animated by an exalted idea, which required sacrifice of the
immediate gains for future benefits. The industrial city is an
affair of large capital, conducted by men with the genius of Godin.
The only form of co-operation possible to average men of small means
is by store and workshop, where immediate benefit comes to all or
accumulates at their control. Nevertheless, the Lloyd Jones
scheme is of historic value. It throws a flood of light on
early co-operation and its methods of procedure.
A TAME YEAR—AN ANTI-ADULTERATION SOCIETY—LLOYD
JONES'S FAR-SEEING PROPOSAL.
THIS was a tame
year of few incidents, but they were notable enough to make the next
year crowded with affairs.
Mr. Lloyd Jones was elected a director, Mr. Speed became
president, and was much regarded for the dignity and uprightness
with which he maintained the interest of the Society. A
society was formed in the town of Leeds to check adulteration
generally, and the Mill directors wisely supported their endeavours.
This was the first attempt of joining an outside movement and
showing their respect for and interest in the community. The
town trade was afflicted with almost universal adulteration.
The People's Mill offered a protection in the matter of flour, but
as it had no co-operative store it could not help them to purity in
anything else. But it showed good feeling in taking part in a
movement intended for the benefit of their neighbours. At
length the Government took up the question and appointed a committee
of inquiry. Mr. Lloyd Jones proposed that the Society should
send two representatives to London to give evidence on the
Government committee. Mr. Jones saw much further than his
colleagues. There might have been a few pounds' expense
incurred about it, but £100 of gain might have or would have come by
the publicity which would result, besides the proof it would have
given to the people of Leeds that the Society's sympathy with honest
trade was not barren. The directors had not the wisdom to
accede to Mr. Lloyd Jones's proposal, but the Government put an end
to their indecision by summoning Mr. Emmerson, the manager of the
Leeds mill, and the manager of the Rochdale Corn Mill, which was
then attaining an important position. Their manager also
testified that flour was adulterated with peas, barley, plaster of
Paris, alum, ground bones, and several other injurious ingredients,
as we shall see. The beautiful thing was that some millers
loudly protested that it was impossible to make good flour when corn
was not good without some of these deleterious substances. So
when corn was bad their theory was that it must be made worse, and
then it was good. By the Government summoning the Leeds
manager the Society lost the credit of volunteering to send him.
Mr. Lloyd Jones or Lord Goderich could have told how it came about
that the Committee of Inquiry sent out a mandate for Mr. Emmerson's
appearance. It was the following year when the Committee
reported, and the reader will see then how interesting the
The rules, which had been previously amended, were again
amended. Indeed, the rules were continually being amended.
Every year the Society was outgrowing the limitations of its earlier