The Rochdale Pioneers (2)
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-VIII-

ANECDOTES OF THE MEMBERS—THE WORKING CLASS STAND BY THE
STORE AND THEY "KNOW THE REASON WHY."


IT is as instructive as it is gratifying to notice the kind of replies frequently made by persons who have been served by the Store.  One woman who had about £50 in the Store to her credit, was told the "Store would break," by persons who wished it would do so.  She answered, "Well, let it break; I have only paid one shilling in, and I have fifty pounds in it.  It'll break with it's own, if it do break."  These anecdotes are common.  Many poor people, whose confidence was sought to be tampered with, have answered alarmists, who have tried to shake their trust—"Well, if it do smash it may smash with all it has of mine, for it has paid me out more than ever I paid in."  These answers not only show good sense, but gratitude and generosity of sentiment.  In all service of the people there will be ingratitude displayed.  Every man finds it so, sometimes among his private and chosen friends; no doubt, it will be so with the public, whom you serve at random.  In publicism in all human relations a man who will not be cast down needlessly must learn to look on both sides.  He will in every crowd find many whom he cannot respect, and who do not deserve respect; and numbers of poor, yet devoted, trusting, toiling, manly, impassable, grateful men and women, whom you might worship in the fulness of the sentiment of admiration with which they inspire you.

    Another fact ought not to escape notice, which none but those having considerable experience are aware of—viz., it is seldom that the people whom you expect to help forward a movement do it.  Exactly those on whom you most rely— commonly those whom you elect for appeal—deceive you, or fail to help when you expect, and when the crisis requires it.

    The effects of the Store in improving the finances of its members was seen in the instance of one known as Dick, who has lived in a cellar thirty years, and was never out of debt.  He one morning astonished his milkman by asking him to change him a £5 note.  The sly dog never had one before, and he felt a pardonable pride in displaying his first possession, Dick has now twenty pounds of "brass" in Store.  And most of those who have the largest balances standing to their credit are persons who have never paid many shillings in.  The whole is the accumulation of their profits.

    The following cases, designated by the numbers belonging to the particular member, were taken by the present writer from the books of the Store in 1853, and communicated to the Leader newspaper:—


"No.12 joined the Society in 1844.  He had never been out of a shopkeeper's books for forty years.  He spent at the shop from twenty shillings to thirty shillings per week, and has been indebted as much as £30 at a time.  Since he has joined the Pioneers' Society he has paid in contributions £2 18s.; he has drawn from the Society as profits £17 10s. 7d., and he has still left in, the funds of the Society £5.  Thus he has had better food and gained £20.  Had such a Society been open to him in the early part of his life, he would now be worth a considerable sum.

    "No. 22 joined the Society at its commencement.  He was never out of a shopkeeper's debt for twenty-five years.  His average expenditure with the shopkeeper was about ten shillings per week, and was indebted to him forty shillings or fifty shillings generally.  He has paid into the Society £2 10s.; he has drawn from the Society £6 17s. 5d.; he has still left in the funds of the Society £8 0s. 3d.  He thinks the credit system made him careless about saving anything, and prevented his family from being as economical as they would have been had they been compelled to pay ready money for their commodities.  In this he agrees with No.12.  Since he (No.22) has joined the Society, he has enjoyed other advantages, having a place accessible, where he can resort to, instead of going to the public-house or beer-shop for information and conversation.

    "No. 114 joined the Society in 1848.  Paid in fifteen shillings, has drawn out £11 14s. 11d., has still in the funds of the Society £7 2s. 11d.  Gained in two years £18.

    "No.131 joined the Society at its commencement in 1844.  He says he was never out of debt with a shopkeeper for fourteen years.  He spent on an average about nine shillings per week with the shopkeeper, and generally owed him from twenty to thirty shillings.  He has paid into the Store as contributions at different times £1 18s. 4d.; and has drawn from it £1 12s. 1d.; and has still in the funds of the Society £3 1s. 10d.  He thinks the credit system one reason why he was always poor, and that since he joined the Society his domestic comfort has been greatly increased; and had he not belonged to the Society in 1847, he would have been obliged to apply to the parish officers for relief.

    "Thus the members derive all the advantage of a sick as well as a benefit society.  It is thus that the Society give to its members the money which they save." [23]


    A mother who had always sent her child to the neighbouring shop, at length began to send her child to the Store, which was more than a mile away from her house.  The child asked the mother why she should be sent so far away for things instead of going into the shop next door.  The mother explained to the child that the profits made at the Store would come to them.  The child understood the lesson, and would come down in a morning to fetch the food for breakfast, and the family at home would wait till she returned; and, as Sir James Graham would express it, both mother and child knew the reason why.  A butcher's wife expressed her new experience thus:—"Instead of having to take her 'strap' book with her, she now had money in her pocket and money in the Store."  One member has £50 in the Store, all of which he has made by profits, he having drawn out for his own use all that he ever paid in.  In one case a woman withdrew £5 from her savings in the Store, not so much because she had special occasion for the money, as for the pleasure of having £5 in her possession.  She had traded at shops for nearly half a century, and she declared it was the first time she had ever had £5 of her own in her hands in her life.

    A husband who dealt at the Store, and had accumulated money in it, had a wife who did not believe in co-operation, and was easily persuaded that the Store was unsafe, and she took the opportunity of drawing her savings from the Store and placed them, for more safety, in the Savings Bank.  Before long the Savings Bank broke.  The poor woman's faith was made whole by the mishap.  She gathered up the tardy dividends of the bank and placed the residue in the Store, where since they have remained.

    George Morton, an old man above sixty, says that had there been no Store, he does not know how he could have lived without going to the poor-house.  The profits he has received from the Store on goods purchased has nearly kept him out for the last eleven years—that is, from 1845 to 1856.  He has, during that time, received in dividends £77 3s. 6d., and has remaining in the Society £11.  He has never paid into the Society more than £5 16s. 7½d. altogether.

    Of the confidence in the dealings of the Store, Mrs. Mills, a widow, gives this testimony.  She came to the Store for a steak, but as the Store butchers had none, and she wanted it for a sick person, she went into the public market and bought a pound and a half.  On reaching home she weighed her purchase, and found that the pound weighed fourteen ounces, and the half-pound only seven ounces.  She now says that when there is no steak at the Store, "they lump it;" meaning that they make shift until the Store is replenished.  This authentic anecdote gives no bad idea of a Rochdale sickness, to which a pound and a half of steak seems congenial.  The vegetarians might take a turn there.

    Speaking of beef—the other day I was standing at the upper window of the Store, when the Store butchers, who had just come from the Society's abbatoirs, drove up with an immense waggon full of "prime joints."  Upon looking over the chief butcher's bill, I found he reported himself as having "killed four cows and a half," which led me to inquire by what co-operative process he was enabled to kill half a cow at a time.  The explanation was this.  Some butcher in the town wanted half a cow for that day's market, the Store wanted four cows and a half only, so the fifth cow was divided and both parties served, which the butcher called "killing half a cow."

    "The Tillicoultry Co-operative Society" admits no member who is immoral in his
conduct.  A female householder is admitted a member, but is refused a vote.  The Baking Company of the same place has a similar ungallant and uncivil rule. [24]  The Rochdale Store renders incidental but valuable aid towards realising the civil independence of women.  Women may be members of this Store, and vote in its proceedings.  Single and married women join.  Many married women become members because their husbands will not take the trouble, and others join it in self-defence, to prevent the husbands from spending their money in drink.  The husband cannot withdraw the savings at the Store standing in the wife's name unless she signs the order.  Of course, as the law still stands, the husband could by legal process get possession of the money.  But a process takes time, and the husband gets sober and thinks better of it before the law can be moved.

    Many single women have accumulated property in the Store, which thus becomes a certificate of their conjugal worth.  And young men, in want of prudent companions, consider that to consult the books of the Store would be the best means of directing their selection.  The habits of honourable thrift acquired by young men, members of this Store, renders it unlikely that they would select industrious girls in marriage for the purpose of living in idleness upon their earnings or savings, as happens elsewhere. [25]

    What quality is it that makes a poor woman pay her way?  Ladies do not always do it; many bankruptcies in London are occasioned by their neglect; the poor woman who has been born with that faculty, or who has acquired it, is a treasure and a triumph of good sense and social cultivation.  The difficulty of bringing about this result many working class husbands can tell.  The art of living within your income is a gift.  The woman who has it, will do it with £1 a week; she who has it not, will be poor with £20.  Peter Noakes, tired of finding himself always in debt, wants to get his wife one week in advance with the world.  He wants to stand clear on the shopkeepers' books.  He knows that the small tradesman cannot pay his way unless his customers pay theirs.  He therefore saves, by carefulness and secret thrift, a little money, and one week delights his wife by giving her double wages, that she may pay in advance for her things.  What is the result?  Next week he finds her running into debt as usual.  He complains, and then she tells him the everlasting story of a thousand working-class homes "What could she do?  Mr. Last’s bill for Tommy's boots had never been paid, the account for Billy’s jacket had stood over till she was ashamed of it, little Jane's shoes were out at the toes, and poor Polly, she was the disgrace of the family for want of a new frock, and as for Mrs. Noakes herself, her own bonnet was not fit to be seen, she would rather stop in the house for ever than go out in that old fashioned thing any longer."  Poor Peter is overwhelmed—he had never thought of these things.  In fact, Mrs. Noakes tells him "he never does think of any thing.  He gets up and goes to work, and comes home and goes to bed, and never thinks of anything in the house."  What can Peter do?  He does the only thing he ought—he allows that his wife ought to know best, confesses that he is very stupid, kisses her in confirmation of his repentance, and promises to save her another week's wages, and she shall try what can be done the next time.  In the course of a few weeks, Peter, by over-work and going without customary half-pints of beer, saves up another week's wages, when, alas! he finds that the shoemaker has sent in another bill, and the tailor another account—that Master Tommy's trousers have grown too short for him, young Billy's jacket is out at the elbows, Jane's shoes let in water, Miss Polly (bless her sweet soul!) is still the disgrace of the family, and Mrs. Noakes, although Peter thought she never looked so young nor so pretty as she did last Sunday, declares her bonnet "perfectly hateful; indeed, there is not such another fright as herself in the whole neighbourhood, and if Peter was like anybody else, he would be ashamed to see his wife go out in such a condition."  And the little book still goes to the shop, Peter eats cheese tough as guttapercha, she buys tea that has been used to boiling before it was sold to her, the coffee tastes grievously of burnt corn, Tommy's boots are a long time being mended, Mrs. Noakes never has sixpence to bless herself with, her money is all condemned before it comes in; Peter, degraded and despairing, thinks he may as well drink a pint as a half-pint—things can't be worse at home.  He soon ceases to take interest in public affairs.  How can he consistently help the public who cannot help himself—How can he talk of independence, who is the slave of the shoemaker and the tailor—How can he subscribe to a political or social society, who cannot look his grocer in the face?  Thus he is doubly destroyed.  He is good neither for home nor parish.  So ends many domestic experiments for paying in advance.  When children are sick, or the husband is out of work, a wife will submit to any amount of privation.  If she would submit to half as much from pride of independence as she will from affection, thousands of families, now always poor, would be in possession of moderate competence.  But to starve your household when you can help it, to prevent them being starved one day when you cannot help it, implies good sense, strength of will, and courageous foresight, which many women certainly display, but which is yet so rare a quality that one cannot but marvel and applaud the Rochdale co-operators, who have taught so many families the art of getting out of debt, and inspired them with the pride of keeping out.

    Let the enemies of co-operation ponder on this fact, and learn wisdom; let the friends of co-operation ponder on this fact and take courage; the fact that the members in a short period learn provident habits by connection with these societies—habits which, in some cases, forty years of competition have failed to teach.


 
-IX-

RULES AND AIMS OF THE SOCIETY.


THE founders of the Society were opposed to capital absorbing all profit arising from trade, and to hit upon a plan that should give proportionally the gain to the persons who make it, was a problem they had to solve.  After meeting several times for the purpose of agreeing to laws, Mr. Charles Howarth proposed the plan of dividing profits on purchase—that is, after paying expenses of management, interest on capital invested, at a rate of five per cent., the remaining profits to be divided quarterly among the members in proportion to their purchases or dealings with the Society.  This plan continues the feature of the Rochdale Store.

    The division of profits is made quarterly from the net proceeds of all retail sales in every department, after paying:—


1.    Expenses of management.
2.    Interest on loans.
3.    Reduction in value of fixed stock.
4.    Dividends on subscribed capital.
5.    Increase of capital for the extension of business.
6.   Two and a half per cent. (of the remainder after the above are provided for) applied to educational purposes.


    The residue thus accruing is divided among the members of the Store in proportion to the amount of their respective purchases during the quarter.

    The Pioneers prudently established early in their career a "Redemption Fund," which consists of the accumulation of entrance fees of one shilling from each member.  The last two pounds drawn from the Society by a retiring member are liable to a forfeit of one shilling each pound.  The trade of non-members of the Society affords some profit.  These sums go to the Redemption Fund, which is a reserve to meet the depreciation of the fixed stock.  In all financial reports of the Society a broad allowance is always made for depreciation of stock, and the fixed capital at stocktaking is always estimated below its real value, so that if the Society broke up, it is calculated that every subscriber of £1 invested in the Society would receive twenty-five shillings as his dividend.

    A new member must now hold five £1 shares in the capital.  He pays one shilling deposit on these on entrance, and threepence a week afterwards, or three and threepence a quarter, until the £5 are paid up; but these payments are assisted by all the profits he makes by dealing at the Store, and any interest, which is fixed at 5 per cent., accruing to him as successive pounds are made up.  All profits and interest are not paid to the member, but carried to the credit of his shares, until the £5 are paid.

    The Board of Directors may suspend any member whose conduct is considered to be injurious to the Society, and a general meeting may expel him, after which he has great difficulty in obtaining re-admission, if he desires it.

    Any co-operative society can buy to any extent through one of its members, who, however, must become a member of the "Equitable Pioneers' Society."

    A member, being in distress, may withdraw any sum he may have in the funds of the Society above £2, at the discretion of the Board of Directors.  In the great distress period of 1849, many applications were made to be allowed to draw all out except £1.  Though it is rarely that any Director puts a question as to the personal affairs of an applicant, yet narratives were volunteered of so painful and remarkable a character, that the Directors learned to esteem that co-operation which had placed in their hands a wholesome power of relief.  To this day these Directors recur to the experience of that year when defending the Society.  Members may withdraw any sum above £5 according to the following scale of notice:—


£2 10s. at once on application to the Board
£2 10s to £5 at 2 weeks' notice
£5 0s to £10 at 3 weeks' notice
£10 0s to £20 at 4 weeks' notice
£20 0s to £30 at 5 weeks' notice
£30 0s to £40 at 6 weeks' notice
£40 0s to £50 at 7 weeks' notice
£50 0s to £60 at 8 weeks' notice
£60 0s to £70 at 9 weeks' notice
£70 0s to £80 at 10 weeks' notice
£80 0s to £90 at 11 weeks' notice
£90 0s to £100 at 12 weeks’ notice


    No member can hold more than £100 [26] of shares in the Society except by way of annuity, nor, under any circumstances, shall his interest in the funds exceed £30.  The Directors can obtain loans, but not exceeding four times the amount of the paid up subscriptions of the members for the time being.

    All disputes are settled—


1. By the Directors, or
2. By appeal at a general meeting.
3. By arbitration.


    Complaints and suggestions relative to the qualities or prices of goods, or conduct of servants of the Society, are required to be made in writing to the Directors, who record their decision thereupon; if not satisfactory, the question is referred to a special general meeting, whose decision is final.

    The question of liability to Income Tax occupied the attention of the Store for several years.  Its apparently final solution may be useful information to other Stores.  In August, 1850, the Board applied to editors of newspapers, who are the popular lawyers of the poor, to learn whether co-operative societies were liable when the individual members have not the requisite amount of income.  Answers so obtained could not have the force of law, but they had the quality of direction.  The Society paid Income Tax regularly, but as the separate income of each member was far below the amount at which the Government commences its assessment, the Society appealed against it.  Still the local Commissioners forced its payment.  They were told, indeed, that each member might demand a form of Exemption, and claim the amount of his assessment back again.  But this, on the part of a thousand members, involved too much trouble, as the Exemption claims must have been filled up for them in most cases.  One year the members went to the Appeal office in a body, but the Commissioners refused to admit them, and required one representative to be appointed.  It ended in the old order to pay being enforced.  Opinions of Members of Parliament were obtained, who said the Society was liable, and the opinions of lawyers, who said they were not liable.  As their numbers and importance increased, their confidence grew, and, in 1856, they resolved to make a stand against the exaction, and, if need be, carry it to trial.  An adjourned meeting of the Board, held in October, appointed Messrs. Smithies and Ellis "to appeal against the Income Tax."  These officers, who were trustees of the Society, presented themselves on Appeal day, and argued that the Society was exempt, being enrolled under the Industrial and Provident Societies' Act, which forbid any member receiving more than £30 annually in any or all forms from the Society.  The case was adjourned to another day, when it was to be heard first.  The day came, but Messrs. Smithies and Ellis were edified by the opportunity of hearing numerous cases disposed of without their case being called on.  They were told to come the following day.  On the "following day" they were told they should receive notice when required to appear, as the Commissioners were in correspondence with London.  Messrs. Smithies and Ellis had the happiness never to be sent for.  However, the Income Tax Collector could not refrain from making his accustomed demand, and insisted that it must be paid, giving the Society the gratifying assurance that, if illegal, they could get it back again.  The Society, however, were not to be gratified in this way.  They thought it audacity on the part of the collector to make the demand, so long as the case was undecided, and attempt to use his legal position to intimidate uneducated men.  Mr. William Cooper reported the case to the Pioneers' Board, who put on their minutes, December 4th, 1856, this very English resolution:—"Resolved, that we do not pay the Income Tax until we are made."  The next Saturday, the collector again called and demanded the money.  He was told the decision of the Board.  He replied, in professional terms, that "he wanted no unpleasantness, but the Society had no alternative but to pay, and that, if his demand was not paid in a few days, he should seize the goods of the Store."  On the Board being informed of that, they resolved, Dec. 18th, 1856, "That the Income Tax Collector take his own course."  He has not taken his course to this day, nor have the Commissioners made any sign of having a course to take.

    One most honourable feature of the Society, which proves the earnest desire of the members for self-improvement, is the reservation of a portion of their funds for educational purposes.  The 2.5 per cent. of their quarterly profits assigned for division among the members, together with the fines accruing from the infraction of rules, constitute a separate and distinct fund, called the "Educational Fund," for the intellectual improvement of the members of the Store, the maintenance and extension of the Library, [27] and such other means of instruction as may be considered desirable.


GENERAL FINANCIAL ACCOUNT OF THE EDUCATIONAL FUND.

Receipts

Disbursements

 

£    s.   d.

 

£    s.   d.

Donations

1 -  2 -  6

Paid for:

 

2½ per cent. from Educational Fund

424 - 18 - 11½

Books

308 - 11 -  9

Catalogues and fines

17 - 19 - 11

Bookbinding

20 - 12 - 3½

Sale of Newspapers

2 - 14 -  3

Book Case

25 -  9 - 11

Sundry Receipts

3 -  7 -  9

Wages

28 -  5 - 4½

 

 

Catalogues, etc.

6 -  0 -  6

 

 

Newspapers [28]

17 -  5 - 2½

 

 

Sundry Disbursements

2 -  8 -  8

 

                          

Cash on Hand

    1 -  9 -  8

 

£450 -  3 - 4½

 

£450 -  3 - 4½


    Their News-room is as well supplied as that of a London Club and the Library contains 2,200 volumes of the best, and among them, many of the most expensive books published.  The Library is free.  In their News-room, conveniently and well fitted up a member may read, if he has the time, twelve hours a day, also free.

    From 1850 to 1855, a school for young persons was conducted at a charge of twopence per month.  Since 1855, a room has been granted by the Board for the use of from twenty to thirty persons, from the ages of fourteen to forty, for mutual and other instruction, on Sundays and Tuesdays.

    Any readers of these pages, who may contemplate forming stores in their own neighbourhood, will, on application to the Secretary of the Equitable Pioneers' Society, Toad Lane, Rochdale, obtain the laws at present in force, and other printed documents from which executive details may be learned, not necessary to be included in this history; but a personal visit to the Store ought to be made by all who would initiate similar establishments.  Many Members of Parliament, political economists, and some distinguished publicists, have made journeys of late years to the Rochdale Store.  The officers receive with courtesy, and give information with enthusiasm to, all inquirers. Indeed, they are often found travelling thirty miles from their homes to give evening explanations to some workmen's meeting desirous of information in practical co-operation, and of forming societies themselves.  It will greatly promote the extension of co-operative societies if the Rochdale Pioneers will train officers who may be transplanted to the towns commencing stores, to organise and conduct them.  This co-operative colonisation will save both waste and failure in many places.

    Though an element of self-sacrifice for the good of others—a feeling that justice rather than selfishness should pervade industrial intercourse, if it is to be healthy—animates these co-operators, who are neither dreamers nor sentimentalists.  This may best be shown by a quotation from a letter by one of their leaders, to whom we elsewhere refer—Mr. Smithies.  "The improved condition of our members is apparent in their dress, bearing, and freedom of speech.  You would scarcely believe the alteration made in them by their being connected with a co-operative society.  Many well-wishers to the cause think that we rely too much upon making ourselves capitalists; but my experience among the working classes for the last sixteen years has brought me to the conclusion, that to make them act in union for any given object, they must be bound together by chains of gold, and those of their own forging."

    In 1855, a co-operative conference was held at Rochdale.  A Committee was appointed to carry out certain resolutions agreed to.  Abraham Greenwood, President, James Smithies, Secretary, published a declaration of the principles on which the proceedings of the said Committee would be regulated.  We shall quote them to the credit of co-operation.  They were these:—


I.    That human Society is a body consisting of many members, the real interests of which are identical.

II.   That true workmen should be fellow-workers.

III.  That a principle of justice, not of selfishness, must govern our exchanges.


    We think these three sentences honourably illustrate how much higher is the morality of co-operation than that of competition.  When did any commercial firm ever issue, and, what is more, act up to, a manifesto like this?

    The co-operative conference of 1855, held in Rochdale, was called by the Equitable Pioneers; the delegate from London was Mr. Lloyd Jones, [28] who has as continually aided, as he has serviceably defended, these associations.  On this occasion, the Rochdale Society, in addition to the manifesto of its own principles and public aims, which entitled it to distinction above all other societies, took the opportunity of paying a just tribute to the labours of others, to which they had themselves been indebted, as well as the public:—


    "They were convinced that the Society for Promoting Working Men's Associations had, during the period of its active existence, conferred great benefits on the Co-operative cause by gathering all sorts of valuable information, and spreading it throughout the country amongst the various Co-operative bodies; by urging on the attention of Parliament, through members favourable to the cause, the legal hindrances to the movement; and by helping to procure such alterations of the laws relating to Friendly Societies as to give freer action and greater security to the men who have embarked in the Co-operative undertaking.  Not only have they done these things, but they have likewise drawn up model laws suitable for either distributive or productive associations, so as to facilitate the safe enrolment of all Co-operative bodies, and to secure the highest degree of legal accuracy with the smallest possible cost; in addition to which, they have at all times given legal advice freely to such of the Societies as stood in need of it—a matter, it must be acknowledged, of great value to bodies of working men.

    "The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers feel deeply the value of the services rendered to Co-operation by the Council of the Society for Promoting Working Men's Associations; and, as the fullest and most acceptable acknowledgment, they considered that the best thing they could do would be to attempt to continue the work which the Society for Promoting Working Men's Associations had begun, and perfect, if possible, the design which they were unable to complete."


    Never was testimony more nobly deserved than this thus borne to the services rendered to working men by the gentlemen known in London as "Christian Socialists," Professor Maurice, Mr. Vansittart Neale, the Rev. Charles Kingsley, Mr.
Furnival, Mr. Ludlow, and others.  Guided by their wisdom and sustained by their wealth, efforts for "Promoting Working Men's Associations," for which the people will be more grateful as they acquire more knowledge to appreciate their sympathy, their generosity, their patient and costly services, the Working Men's College of London is the crowning tribute of their catholic love of the people.

    The Rochdale Store has done business for several years with "The Universal Purveyor," instituted by J. L. St. André, [30] author of the "Prospects of Co-operative Associations in England," a volume remarkable for comprehensive views of industrial organisation.  In the words of one who knew him, "M. St. André, whatever may be his enthusiasm, or his over-estimate of what can be done with men as they are, appears to have the merit of a sincere desire to draw associations together in a spirit of unselfish co-operation, and at the same time to place them in a healthy connection with the external world."  [31]

    We record, and rightly, the names of inventors and discoverers—we record the names of those who signalise themselves on the field of battle—it is no less useful to record the names of those who have discovered, or perfected, or, at least, improved the art of self-help among the people, and conquered in the field of industry by providence and good sense, where so many fail and perish. Every name represents the continuity of small duties well fulfilled—a quality more valuable to society than the emulation of sublime virtues. Every member of this Store has been a co-worker equally with the officers, but we can only enumerate those who have taken the lead in the most successful experiment conducted by the people. Their perseverance must give a new idea of the capacity of the working class.

    The first general meeting of the founders of the Store was held in the Social Institution, Rochdale, on Sunday, August 11th, 1844. The first resolutions upon their minutes are as follows:—


Resolved, 1st—That the following persons be appointed to conduct the business of the Society now established—Mr. John Holt, Treasurer, Mr. James Daly, Secretary, Mr. Miles Ashworth, President, Messrs. Charles Howarth, George Ashworth, and William Mallalieu, be appointed Trustees.

2nd—That Messrs. James Tweedale, James Smithies, James Holt, James Bamford, and William Taylor, be appointed Directors.

3rd—That John Bent and Joseph Smith, be appointed Auditors.

(Signed)             Miles Ashworth, Chairman.


ARBITRATORS OF 1844.


 Mr. James Wilkinson, shoemaker, High Street; Mr. Charles Barnish, weaver, Spotland; Mr. George Healey, hatter, Sudden-brow; Mr. John Garside, cabinetmaker, High Street; Mr John Lord, weaver, Cronkey Shaw.

    The present arbitrators (1858) are—Thomas Livsey, Esq., Alderman, Rochdale, late Chief Constable [32]; John Garside, cabinetmaker [33]; Rev. James Wilkinson, Unitarian Minister; John Lord, publican; Samuel Tweedale, foreman.

    First among the arbitrators of the Co-operative Manufacturing Society, and of the Corn Mill Society, of which we have yet to speak, stands the name—universally
esteemed among the working classes of Lancashire—of Jacob Bright, Mayor of Rochdale.


OFFICERS' NAMES FROM OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS OF THE STORE, ETC.


    John Holt (Treasurer), Benjamin Rudman, James Standring.  Names appended to the Laws of 1844.

    John Cockcroft, Henry Green, John Kershaw.  Names attached to the Laws of 1848.

    William Cooper and Abraham Greenwood. From Laws of 1855.

    George Adcroft (President), James Hill, Robert Taylor, John Whitehead, Robert Hoyle, Thomas Hollows, James Joyce Hill, George Morton, James Mittall, John Clegg.  Names attached to Corn Mill Rules.

    Abraham Hill, Treasurer; John Tweedale, Robert Woolfenden, Trustees; Robert Law, Thomas Hill, James Whittaker, Directors ; Samuel Ashworth, Superintendent. Store officers from the Almanack of 1854.

    Samuel Fielding, David Hill, John Hollows, Trustees; Peter McKenzie, Robert Whitehead, William Ellis, Adam Grindrod. Directors. Store officers from the Almanack of 1855.

    James Manock, Trustee; John Smith, Secretary; Thomas Glegg, Isaac Tweedale, John Worsnip, Directors; Emeryk Roberski, [34] Superintendent.  Store officers from Almanack of 1856.

    Edward Farrand, Clerk.  Corn Mill advertisement.  Vide Almanack, 1856.

    William Whitehead, Secretary.  Vide Manufacturers' advertisement, 1856.

    John Aspgen, Librarian; William Holt, Samuel Newton, Robert Glegg, Samuel Glegg, Robert Howarth, Thomas Halliwell, Committee of Library.  Vide Almanack, 1856.

    John T. W. Mitchell, Secretary; John Kenworthy, Trustee; Jonathan Crabtree, Thomas Fielding, Thomas Cheetham, Samuel Stott, Directors.  Store officers from the Almanack of 1857.

    James Glegg, George Watson, Matthew Ormerod, William Briggs, William Hoyle, Abraham Howard, Edmund Kelly, Thomas Whittaker.  Library Committee from Almanack of 1857.

    These names are given here in the order of time in which they appear in the public documents cited, and with the office annexed the person happened to hold in the list quoted.  Each name is given but once, though most of them occur again and again, some in connection with every office.  For instance, Mr. James Smithies, to whom the members, some time ago, presented a valuable watch and chain, in testimony of their regard, has held offices during twelve years.  Mr. Abraham Greenwood, mentioned in connection with the Corn Mill, has been an officer nine years.  Mr. William Cooper has been an officer in the Store from the commencement.  To the last-named persons I have been mainly indebted, and especially to Mr. W. Cooper, the present Secretary, for the sources of the leading facts of these pages.


 
-X-

THE OLD CO-OPERATORS—WHY THEY FAILED—THE NEW CO-OPERATORS—WHY THEY SUCCEED.


"THAT were a noble achievement which should originate a system of more wages and less work, that the labour of the handicraftsman might be lighter on his hands, and his earthly blessings and little comforts be increased; and that were a still more worthy achievement which should teach him to till his intervals of time with the study of philosophy, and the pursuit of literature and science."  Thus wrote Dr. Chalmers.

    "This that they call organisation of labour is, if well understood, the problem of the whole future, for all who would in future govern man."  Thus wrote Thomas Carlyle.

    "It appears from actual experiment, that a thousand subscribers of from one penny upwards will yield a weekly revenue of £5.  In Great Britain there are 6,000,000 adult males.  Take of these, including such females as choose to subscribe, 4,000,000; these will yield £20,000 weekly, or £1,040,000 a-year.  Now, £1,040,000 a-year, with compound interest, would amount,

 

£     s.     d.

In 10 years, to.    .    .

18,232,413 - 14 - 11

In 20 years, to.    .    .

65,522,599 -  8 -  3

In 30 years, to.    .    .

188,181,161 - 18 - 8

In 40 years, to.    .    .

506,325,883 - 12 - 8

In 50 years, to.    .    .

1331,511,365 - 15 - 1

In 60 years, to.    .    .

3471,129,995 - 18 - 4


    Now this sum would buy all the property of the kingdom.  Do not suppose for a moment that 4,000,000 of working men will soon be found steadily subscribing their penny or twopence a-week for this object; but these figures show what a fund there lies in the smallest co-operation of the millions, and which the devotion of the sums expended merely on spirits and tobacco might accomplish for mankind." So calculates the Leeds Redemption Society, and seeks to win by figures those whom argument fails to reach.

    "Wait no longer on the banks of the great and ever-growing river of poverty for the golden boat of the capitalists to carry you over, till you perish.  Awake to the fact you may become capitalists yourselves—that you can and must help yourselves."  Thus exhorts the People's Journal, in its genuine sympathy for the working classes.

    Upon how many thousands of our countrymen have these words of wise direction fallen, as upon "stony ground."  The more, therefore, the esteem with which the public will regard the men of Rochdale, upon whom they have not fallen in vain.

    That co-operation was the secret whereby the poor could make money was known to old co-operators, though the Rochdale Society has been the most skilful in turning it to progressive account; for as early as 1831, one William Shelmerdine, storekeeper of a society, meeting at 7 Rodger's Row, Deansgate, Manchester, reported that their members, with a stock of only £46 12s., and subscriptions of £26 10s., had made, in twelve months, £20 2s. of profits.  Eight members founded the Society, and thirty-six had joined it by the end of the year.

    The second Co-operative Congress was held in Birmingham, in October, 1831.  The first appears to have been held in Manchester, in May, in the same year.  In this year, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Co-operator appeared—a small fortnightly penny paper, calling itself the advocate of the useful classes, and bearing this sensible motto:—


"Numbers without Union are powerless—
 And Union without Knowledge is useless."


The true warning is here, tough twenty-six years of experience has not supplied the necessary wisdom to profit by it.

    At the third London Co-operative Congress, 1832, there was reported the existence of a "Rochdale Friendly Co-operative Society," which sent, as a delegate to London, one William Harrison.  It had a secretary of the gentle name of T. Ladyman, whose address was 70 Cheetham Street, Rochdale.  The Society was formed October, 1830.  In 1832 it had fifty-two members.  It employed ten members and families.  It manufactured flannel.  It had thirty-two volumes in its library.  It had never discussed the "principles of exchange;" and there were two societies in its neighbourhood.

    In 1832, there existed in Birkacre a society, whose secretary was Ellis Piggot, Printer's Arms, Salford, which had 3,000 members and £4,000 of funds.  This society were silk and calico printers.

    At the third London Co-operative Congress there were sixty-five societies represented, of which nine were in London.  Of the delegates or secretaries, the following names are still known:—W .Lovett, B. Cousins, T. Whitaker.

    Why have so many stores one after the other disappeared?  Some have not known how to turn their prosperity to a progressive account, and have grown tired of a monotonous success.  There have been of late years failures around Rochdale; the leading cause assigned is the system of credit.

    The Oldham Mechanics' Store, and the Bolton Store, were broken up through the
strike of the amalgamated ironworkers; but it was said they paid twenty shillings in the pound.  The Brighton Store did not acquit itself so well on its failure, which was attributed to its giving credit to its members.  Mr. Smithies, who is certainly the most competent and practical authority we can follow, said, writing in 1855:—"Nearly all the Stores—there is hardly one exception—are now on the ready-money principle.  We find that those Co-operative Societies which commenced by giving credit, but have since adopted the ready-money plan, have all improved since doing so.  I look upon the strap book," says he, "as one of the greatest evils that can befal a working man.  He gets into debt with the shopkeeper, and is, for ever after, a week behind; and, as we express it here, eats the calf in the cow's belly."

    Hence arose that just terror of credit which the Store from the first betrayed.  In their first book of laws—the laws of 1844—the grand fine, the lion fine of the list there given, was to be inflicted on any officer, who, on any pretence, should either purchase or sell any article except for ready-money; which prohibition, as usual when they are emphatic, is given twice over.

    The Liverpool Co-operative Store, rising every year in importance and usefulness, gives credit to the amount of two-thirds of the paid-up shares of the members.  The Store connected with Price's Patent Candle Manufactory acts upon a similar rule.  This, of course, is a safe form of credit, but it involves a great additional amount of book-keeping, and stops short of that moral discipline which ready-money payments exercise upon the poor and naturally improvident.

    In Rochdale, each workman in the manufacturing department is required to become a capitalist.  Either by weekly subscription or other payments he is required to hold five shares in the Society.  Each of these artisan shareholders receives 5 per cent. upon the amount he has invested.  After the payment of this interest, and the wages of the workmen at the usual average of the district, and all trade expenses, the surplus of profit is divided according to the wages received by each workman.  The amount of profit over 5 per cent. interest, which is first paid to the shareholders, is divided equally between the shareholders and the workmen.  One half goes to the shareholder [35] according to the number of his shares; the other half goes to the workman or workwoman according to the wages paid to him or her.  The dividend in the Rochdale Co-operative workshops, paid January, 1857, was one shilling and sixpence upon every pound of wages received by workman or workwoman.

    An important difference in the division of co-operative profits in Padiham and in Rochdale should be noticed.  In Padiham, workmen who had made small savings, and other minor capitalists, subscribed a fund among them, bought machinery, and employed workmen.  The chief profits were reserved by the subscribers of the capital for themselves.  The workmen they employed had better situations and somewhat higher wages than at other mills.  This arose from most of the proprietors being workmen, and having sympathy with the persons they employed.  In other respects, the Padiham Cotton League Company, under the Joint Stock Companies' Act, paid their profits wholly to the capitalists or shareholders.  All the societies enrolled under this act are understood to pursue this rule.  It is no part of their plan to acknowledge the labourer's right to a share of the profits his labour creates, which is the Rochdale principle.
 
    By precautions and good sense, the Rochdale Co-operators have succeeded, notwithstanding the impediments the prejudices of their class put in their way.  During the period known among them as "the Corn Mill Panic," Mr. Coningham, M.P., to whom the country is indebted for valuable personal reports of the Working Men's Associations of Paris, consented to make an advance of capital to assist in the exigence of the Corn Mill, but on being very naturally required to submit their securities to the examination of his solicitor, the Board objected to "having anything to do with a lawyer," yet their securities were ample and good, and they knew it.

    Confidence among the members was sought the first year of the existence of the Store by establishing and showing plainly that checks upon the honesty of the officers existed.  Drawers conveniently constructed are now used by each salesman, provided with brass or tin coins according to the nature of his sales, of which he hands to each purchaser an amount exactly representing the cash expended.

    The Treasurer and Secretary of the Store, the Corn Mill, and manufacturing departments, balance their cash accounts weekly.  This rule, which enables errors to be corrected as they may arise, has operated very beneficially.

    Security is now taken from £10 to £200 from each officer employed, according to his measure of responsibility.  Each officer in charge of a shop till gives £10 security.  Where other guarantee is not provided the Society holds the deposits of the officer in the Society, and if he has not a sufficient amount paid in, he is required to make up such amount by periodical payments.  For sums so lying in the hands of the Society, interest is paid as in the case of shares.  This is a very efficient regulation of securities, for no man will find it answer his purpose to rob himself.  The early Boards of Directors assisted the shopmen in their duties.  Economical in all their improvements, it was not until 1854 that they lowered the floor of their flour store, for the convenience of children and the aged members coming to make purchases.

    Numerous stores have at times sprung up around the Rochdale one, and in consequence of its example; but none have been conducted with the same ability, nor have achieved more than a tithe of its success.  This is owing to no fault in the principle, but to deficiency on the part of those who apply it, to want of sense, of union, of patience, and enterprise.  There are numerous instances in which the Stores have not only succeeded, but, in the opinion of the members, have succeeded too well.  They have made more money than they know what to do with.  Not knowing how to employ their savings advantageously, they have been returned to the members, who have commenced saving again.  Their Directors have lacked the talent of expanding their operations, and making their capital reproductive.  The Rochdale weavers appear to have been born with a special talent for co-operation.

    One cause of the striking success of these co-operators is, no doubt, to be found in the great economy of their trade expenses.  The proportion of the salaries they pay to their receipts is very small. [36]  It would be impossible to maintain the same rate in the metropolis, where rents and wages are higher, and the rate of poor men's provisions, in leading articles, the same.  In answer to a question put to him on this point, Mr. W. Cooper writes me—"I see no reason why the people of London cannot carry on a Co-operative Society as well as people who live in the provinces.  In a small town, some dozen or twenty persons will meet, and agree that if a Co-operative Provision Store could be commenced it would be a good.  These twelve or twenty do commence one.  They work on together, determined to make the thing do.  When it has worked on awhile, people who doubted begin to see that it can be carried out, and they join too.  I see no reason why a number of earnest men in London cannot act in the same way."  In answer to other questions, the same informant writes—"At the commencement of a co-operative store or manufacturing society, it is essential that the members be visited or brought together often, so that contributions may be collected to establish and carry on the society, and that the members may become acquainted with the objects, position, and requirements of the society.  With this kind of management a store easily acquires sufficient capital to work its business with, because the members have gained confidence, and pay in subscriptions on their own account without being much looked after."

    To get people together in this personal and continuous manner is the difficult problem in London.  Making some allowance for higher expenses in proportion to profits, the thing might be done if a number of the working-class could be got to act together, and keep together, for this end.  It requires to convert a number of them to a clear view of their own personal interest, to be promoted in no other way, and a deep sense of duty towards their order, whose character is elevated by such successes.  Compare Rochdale with Liverpool for instance.  In Rochdale, a little bridge that spans, like a rocking horse, an imaginary stream, in which there is nothing liquid but the mud, situated in an invisible part of the town, is the only picturesque object in it.  There is, indeed, a church with a flight of steps to it, so narrow, steep, and interminable, that you can never get to it, or if you do, it is a question as to whether you will ever get back.  The remainder of the town is made up of roads that lead to nowhere, ornamented with factories apparently built before the dawn of architecture.  There is not a building in Rochdale upon which it will do any eye good to look.  The town is in the shape of a teacup, with a gutter at the bottom and a burying-ground upon the rim.  In such a place, if people are disposed to act together, there is nothing in the way of striking attraction around them to prevent them.  The people are immensely before the town, which like many other manufacturing towns in the North, has grown into importance anyhow; but will, no doubt, yet assume the magnificence which is gradually being imported into Bradford, Leeds, and other places, which, twenty years ago, were quite as unpromising as Rochdale.  Now pass to Liverpool, with the bright and busy Mersey—its migratory population—its magnificent buildings—its open halls, surpassing in variety those of London.  Plainly, it requires more devotion among the few to carry a store to success in Liverpool than it does in Rochdale.  Then if you compare the ordinary provincial town, fixed, stolid, and tame, with London and its countless attractions, the difficulty is greater.  The people are "too clever by half" to be useful.  Will a dozen men stick to a plan of reform year after year, never failing on the weekly night of meeting to be at their posts, amid the charms of the metropolis?  Dickens is making a speech at Drury Lane, or reading his "Christmas Carol" at St. Martin's Hall—Thackeray is lecturing on the "Four Georges" at the Surrey Gardens, with Mr. Spurgeon to succeed him—Robson is coming out in a new character—Mr. Saunders has a new play at the Haymarket—Cardinal Wiseman is preaching in the next street—Dr. Cumming is to prove that the end of the world will occur on Saturday, and the People's Subscription Bands play in the Parks on Sunday—Neal Dow is at Exeter Hall, and George Dawson at the Whittington Club—there are Cremorne, Rosherville, and Kew—the National Gallery and the British Museum, and the Houses of Commons and Lords, South Kensington Museum, and public meetings, where you may hear speakers never to be heard before, and of tell never again—and countless other allurements.  A man must have self-denial as well as interest, who steadfastly grinds coffee berries and watches the sale of tea and sugar, and sits for years upon Candle and Treacle Committees, amid this confluence of celebrities and novelties, though it be duty and religion to do it.  This is why popular movements in London, which depend upon the working and middle classes, make such uncertain progress.  Unless a man be wise enough to choose a side and discharge its obligations as a sacred duty, undertakes to win others to act in concert with him and pursues his object with the fidelity of a soldier, nothing can be depended upon.  In fine, it requires working men in London to be as superior to the average of their class in the metropolis as the Pioneers of Rochdale are superior to the average of their own class in Lancashire, and then co-operation may carry its moral discipline and physical comfort among the poor of London.

    The Leeds Corn Mill Society—the Padiham Co-operative Manufacturers—the Galashiels Co-operators—present features of success worthy to be placed side by side with the Rochdale Store.  Whether in being originated and conducted by purely working men—whether in the variety and development of their operations— whether in propagandist spirit—they are to be compared or placed before the Rochdale Pioneers, are matters I leave for others to determine.  The public will be glad to hear more about these experiments than these pages can communicate. [37]

    Just as the farmers, some years ago, could not be prevailed upon to make returns of their crops, lest their interests should be prejudiced in Parliament by the fact, so the Co-operators in some districts, having the fear of the Income Tax Commissioners before their eyes (the Rochdale issue of this question not being known, or not being considered settled), or distrust of Government, object to make reports.  Mr. T. Barker, of Todmorden, in an unfilled return sheet before me, assigns this reason for its incompleteness.  Todmorden, Walsden, Bridge End, Alma Works, and Commercial, are mentioned in his return.  Mr. Smithies, of Rochdale, whom I had requested to get certain forms filled up for me, despairs on these grounds of succeeding.

    Working men are often injudiciously treated by employers in this way.  Where the men dressed with some taste, and maintained an appearance of social comfort, masters would infer that they were doing too well, and would reduce their wages.  This had a disastrous influence on the men, who come to regard careless habits and indigence of dress as means of keeping up wages.  How were working men to be raised from improvidence while those who ought to incite them to improvement suggested to them the policy of keeping themselves poor, in order to avoid being made poor.  A master whose pride or ignorance was put to the blush by superiority in the manners of his men, would reduce their wages in order to lower their tone.  This, however, has changed now; and masters are prouder of being enabled to say, "all my men are worth money," than that "half of them are in debt."  Throughout mankind the tendency is universal to help those who can help themselves.  The poorest man that exists will, if he reflects, find himself unconsciously acting on this feeling.  The very beggar will not give to the beggar if he has reason to think that what he gives him will do him no good.  There is no benevolence, high or low, that will many times repeat the act of pouring the water of charity into a sieve.  This fact, so common to every man's experience, should teach the working class that if they display the habits of thrift, others may display the disposition to help.  Moral statistics will assure the intelligent workman that where one employer reduces the wages of his men because of their social aspirations, there are more who made it a pretext to reduce them because they see no resulting improvement.

    Writers who speak with the authority of political science have testified to the utility of these efforts of self-help.  One to whom the working classes are indebted both for instruction and defence, remarks:—"We think, moreover, that these Co-operative Associations may be one of the most powerful of the many influences now at work for the education of the lower orders of the people; that wisdom will be gained, if not wealth, from the industry, self-control, and mutual forbearance needed to conduct them. [38]

    This is the place where one may usefully cite words which one of the sincerest friends of the people has written, and which cannot be too widely known among them, as this grave truth is not to be disputed.

    "I lately heard the case of a letter-printer, who used to employ in his trade the savings of his workmen with mutual advantage.  At one time he had thus in his hands as much as a thousand pounds, the property of one of the workmen.  A master manufacturer at Manchester assured me that he would gladly employ in his business any sums which his men would entrust him with, but that it was out of the question, although, personally, he was on excellent terms with them.  To invest money in their master's business would be binding themselves to his interests, and separating themselves proportionably from that of their own order.  Such a step might even expose them to resentment, and, at any rate, their party feeling was too alive.  They had an indefinable suspicion that the master would be able to take advantage of it.  Many of them, perhaps, did not like the master to know how rich they were." [39]

    Perhaps no sentence written about the people is more likely to serve them than the following words by Mr. J. S. Mill:—"In Europe the time, if it ever existed, is long past, when a life of privation had the smallest tendency to make men better workmen or more civilised beings."  This sentence strikes at the root of that intellectual apathy about the condition of the people which has checked, and still checks, so many endeavours for their elevation.  The gentlemen of England are, as a class, probably less indolent and sensual than the poor.  Opulence, and the means of physical ease, have not robbed them of enterprise.  No spur of privation remains to stimulate them, but the spur of intellect, of art, of high cultivation, excites them, occupies them, interests them—a new pride possesses them, and a lofty consciousness of nobler powers than those which poverty simulated, now carries them on to a destiny undreamed of, and, indeed, undesired before.  When this truth is applied to the common people, when it is no longer an article of parish faith, that "privation" is the sole incentive of labour, the social policy of our rulers will be changed, and the systematic elevation of the people begin.

    When, a few years ago, Mr. Carlyle began, with his noble insight, to write of "Captains of Industry," he was considered to have visions of the most hopeless class of chieftains ever pictured in romances.  But his ideas, grafted on the age, have taken root.  Modern employers, if they wished, might found chieftainships, nobler far than those of feudal days, and will, no doubt, do it yet.  The Crossleys, Akroyds, and Salts of the North, are already taking proud places in the industrial history of the people.  A few years ago, the "hives" of Lancashire and Yorkshire, Halifax, Bradford, Leeds, and Manchester, were dreary as penal settlements—as Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Hyde, Stockport, and crowds of smaller towns, are still.  Of late years, however, the warehouses of Manchester, and Bradford, and Leeds have assumed an air of magnificence.  Buckingham Palace does not look half so imposing as does the regal structure erected by Sir John Watts, of Manchester.  Towering in variegated marble, head and shoulders above all surrounding structures—occupying the site of sixty-three former tenements—it stands the Monarch of Warehouses.  The factory worker grows taller by looking up at it—the most insensible inspire pleasure in walking by it.  Must not the beef-built, square-headed, shrewd Bradford man, grow somewhat refined, and even proud, if he has a spark of national spirit in him, as his way home lies by noble structures every day rising up on his path, and raising the industrial glory of his native town and land?  Are we not all far away, proud to think that trade is not all mammon worship and gross materialism.  Is it not a relief to see the careful saving merchant, wooing the arts, and obtain from the brain of the designer glorious structures, in which to enjoy his patiently earned wealth?  Let not the pallid, often stunted, hot-air-stewed factory lands of Hyde, on precarious nine shillings or fourteen shillings a-week, nurse a sense of perpetual despondency.  Their turn is coming.  When the noble warehouse has, for some time, been admired, public attention will be turned to the factory, and next to the "factory-hand," and will be found quite ready to admire both, if they will bear admiring; and then it will never do for the proud and rich employer to say, "Oh, I keep dainty rooms to store my cottons in; but as for the people who make them, any murky, sooty, unventilated, and dreary den will do for them."  The day is coming when no employer in the North will like to say this.  Mr. Titus Salt has been the first to feel this, and Saltaire; the noble factory and dwellings he has erected point to what will one day be done.  Workmen think it a privilege to get an engagement in Mr. Salt's mill.  The town of Bingley has been deserted by men who prefer Saltaire.  The workmen's rooms, in which the factory operations are carried on, are nobler, higher, healthier, pleasanter rooms, than were the drawing-rooms of the gentlemen of the North fifty years ago.  Any workshop in Saltaire is pleasanter than any room in the house you pass at Bury, where the late Sir Robert Peel was born.

    A man, whose soul is affluent as well as his circumstances, will supplement his stately warehouse by a stately and healthy factory; from being an artist in his premises, he will, to use Mr. Thornton Hunt's words, become "an artist in flesh."  He will covet that his men shall, in their way, look as well and bear themselves as gracefully as his machines, and then that they shall dwell in homes as tasteful, as salubrious, and as suitable as those accorded to spinning-jennies: he will covet that the ring of his money shall echo with the contentment of those who aided to earn it.  Thus, were the advocate silent, and the plea of humanity disregarded, and social rights ignored, a principle of artistic consistency will, one day, enforce universal co-partnership in the produce of industry and the conquests of science.


 
-XI-

AN ILLUSTRATIVE CHAPTER


DURING the progress of this little book through the press, some new incidents in the career of the Store and its departments have arisen, which deserve brief notice.

    (1857.) The Store has been attacked in local newspapers, and on placards, by anonymous writers, who appear to seek the destruction of the Society by sowing disunion and creating distrust of its financial security.  The attacks were commenced during the recent panics.  In the December quarter the Board reported that although unfavourable reports had been circulated respecting the Stores, the number of members on the books was greater by forty-eight than at the commencement of the quarter—making a total of 1,848.  Had the placard writers here referred to succeeded in their design, considerable injury would have been done to a large body of the working class at a time when firms were daily breaking.  Had the credit of any commercial house been attacked in the same way, a jury would have given considerable damages, had the case been brought before them: and we think the Board of Directors would do well to regard themselves as entitled to the usual protection of commercial houses, and to make an example of the first responsible assailants to whom they can trace similar wanton aggressions.  There is fear that enemies to the success of the Pioneers, enemies on competitive grounds, will, now that the Pioneers have become really formidable, seek to destroy them by disunion.  It requires great good sense and mutual powers of forbearance to sit silent and see statements published which appear to the public more than half true, and which you know to be wholly false.  The temptation to go into controversy in self-defence is very great; and the ease with which controversy slides into personalities we all know—then time is wasted, temper lost, and only scandal gains, and the enemy triumphs.  Any shrewd opponent may naturally calculate that amid 2,000 persons, some will be found who may, by taunts of want of courage, or want of truth, be seduced into a disastrous newspaper or placard war.  It is said of the first Napoleon, that in the early part of his Italian campaign he was followed by numerous letters, some criticising him, some abusing him, and all perplexing him very much to answer.  After a good deal of time had been consumed in replies, which time might have been much better employed upon maps and strategy, and actual war with the enemy, it occurred to him to throw all his letters into a capacious basket, and let them lie there for six weeks: at the end of which period he found that time and events had answered them nearly all.  We suggest some such plan as this to the Board of Directors of the Rochdale Store.  We recommend them to refer all matters of controversy to a committee of three clear-headed, dispassionate men, whose duty it should be to give very brief explanations of any point really misunderstood; and if any controversy seemed called for, to enter upon it only once a year, and to lay by all placards, newspapers, letters and articles, until December, and then reply, to what time and success may not have confuted, and what the public may not have forgotten (which will be found to be nine-tenths of the whole), and then let silence and peace prevail for twelve months more.


LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE PIONEERS' SOCIETY.


Equitable Pioneers' Co-operative Stores,
Nos. 8, 16, and 31 Toad Lane,
Rochdale, April 17th, 1858.


SIR,—By this post I send the report of the R. D. C. C. M. S. (Rochdale District Co-operative Corn Mill) for March, 1858, from which you will see that the Society is making progress—as is the co-operative principle as a whole.  I think I told you that our next step forward will be to extend the operations of the "Manufacturing Society" here, and, while I write, a Committee is sitting to consider proposals which have been made in response to an advertisement for a capitalist to build us a mill, which we purpose to fill with machinery and work.  The working classes may at times lose by having over confidence, but do not they lose much more who never have any confidence?  The five thousand members of the Co-operative Societies within ten miles of Rochdale, representing twenty-five thousand persons, could not derive the benefits they now receive unless they had confidence in each other and in the principle of co-operation.

WILLIAM COOPER.

To Mr. G. J. Holyoake.


THE OPINION AND ADVICE OF LORD GODERICH, M.P. [40]

(A later Letter from the Secretary of the Store. )


We (writes William Cooper of Rochdale), received a long letter from Mr. Holmes, of Leeds, this morning, April 26th, 1858, which shows that they are aiming at Co-operative Stores to distribute their groceries in preference to the agency principle, which they adopted to distribute the flour made at their own mill.  In the course of his letter Mr. Holmes remarks:— "The other day your West Riding Member, Lord Goderich, being in the town, visited our mill, and met the Board in a conference.  We had a very interesting meeting and conversation.  His lordship told us we, Leeds and Rochdale (or rather Rochdale and Leeds, for we cheerfully give way to Rochdale superiority), were the objects of frequent conversations both in the House and out of it; that our success was most welcome to some good statesmen, who see if the people are doing well, all else must be well.  Our prosperity was pointed at as proving the people can, and will, manage their own affairs.  If we fail, the reputation of the principle will be seriously damaged, and when our contentions and difficulties are mentioned, it ties their hands.  He told us it was not ourselves alone we should consider; we were now held up and closely watched by other societies, and other people would follow us if we succeed, or be disheartened if we fail.  We had a most kind and strong exhortation to go on, economise, save, and extend—to be shrewd, wise and peaceful.  It would take me long to tell you all, but he promised us good service should we need it, and he be able to do us good.  By the way, I could recommend you to send reports to Lord Goderich, Mr. Conningham, M.P., Mr. Slaney, M.P., and other good friends in London.  It affords them pleasure, and their sympathy is deserving of return."

    I make you this copy of Mr. Holmes's letter, which will interest you, as showing you that our progress bears some fruit.

WILLIAM COOPER.

To Mr. G. J. Holyoake.


    The cordial interest taken by Lord Goderich in the welfare of the working classes is well known, not only in the West Riding but throughout England.  We choose to close this brief history of the first thirteen years of the Rochdale Pioneers with the above transcript of Lord Goderich's wise and influential words of encouragement and advice.


 
-XII-

AN OLD PIONEER'S ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN OF THE STORE.


MR. JOHN KERSHAW, the last but one of the Pioneers, sent to Mr. Abraham Greenwood various MSS. (1891-2) records relating to the period preceding the formation of the Equitable Pioneers, which he wished should reach my hands.  Many things are new, all told by him with the vividness of a witness, and the circumstantiality of one who took part in them.  The story adds to our knowledge of the old Pioneers, and is confirmatory of all that has been published of them.  The pictures given of Rochdale life and meetings of working men, are scenes from the past well worth preserving.

    "I began," Mr, Kershaw writes, "to work as a tearboy at the Gate Printworks before I was seven years old, and went to work in the pit before I was eight years old.  So you will see there was not much time for my schooling had any schoolmaster been about."

    The Rochdale Pioneers began their work when distress was wide spread.  The handloom weaver seemed to be the worst off of any of the working class.  Improved machinery had driven him to the lowest point at which he could live.  The condition of things in Rochdale would be incredible did it not rest upon authority.  Sharman Crawford, the member for the borough, declared in the House of Commons in the debate Sep. 20, 1841, that in Rochdale there were 136 persons living on 6d. per week, [41] 200 on 10d. per week, 508 on 1s. per week, 855 on 1s. 6d. per week, and 1,500 were living on 1s. 10d. a week.  Five-sixths of those he spoke of had scarcely any blankets, eighty-five families had no blankets, forty-six families had only chaff beds, with no covering at all.  No wonder the country was full of agitations, and in Rochdale, where there was intelligence as well as unrest, all agitations seemed to rage.  There was a great local agitation against the new Poor Law.  There was one for the Charter.  Temperance had its advocates.  The Socialists had their society.  The Anti-Corn-Law agitation was rife in the town.  The Ten Hours Bill was fiercely discussed.  Two social facts stood out very clear—labour was cheap, but bread was dear.  Yet bread was almost the only article of food the people were able to get.

   
"In 1842, at an Anti-Corn-Law meeting, a proposal was made to close factories to compel Parliament to repeal the Corn Laws.  The chairman was about to put the motion, when an elderly gentleman, who seemed to have more forethought than the rest, said it would never do, as the work-people would soon be starving, and very soon there would be rioting.  Another speaker said that employers would reduce the wages lower than they were."

    In the summer of 1843, Rochdale was placarded, announcing a discussion on "The best means of obtaining the People's Charter."  Mr. Kershaw says "I attended that discussion; so did Charles Howarth, James Smithies, and James Daly.  It was there I first heard the principles of the Pioneers announced; Charles Howarth taking the lead, was well supported by Smithies, Daly, and others.  Mr. Howarth showed, as I thought, very clearly that it was the only lever whereby the working class could permanently improve their social and political condition.  His scheme and its details were so well studied out and clear that it commanded assent.  It was said at this meeting that a co-operative society had been in existence in Rochdale not more than two years before, and that it had gone down.  Howarth at once showed us the reason why.  He seemed thoroughly acquainted with the cause, and was well prepared with a new principle which would keep continually infusing new life into the movement.  A few days before Christmas, 1843, a circular was issued calling a delegate meeting to be held at the Weavers' Arms, Cheetham Street, near Toad Lane.  Each trade was invited to send two delegates.  The colliers sent me (John Kershaw).  The promoter of this meeting was a strong trade unionist, and a unionist chairman was at once appointed.  His address pointed out what the colliers had just done in getting their wages increased nearly double the amounts they were receiving a few weeks before.  He praised the colliers to the skies, as it were.  It appeared from what he said that he thought all other workers could do the same, if they took the same means."

    After a deal of talk, a collier (Mr. Kershaw) was asked to show how they had managed to get advances in their wages without a strike.  He said he could not recommend them all to do just what the colliers had done, for if all branches of industry did the same, they would be worse off after the advance than they were before.  This seemed to puzzle the meeting not a little, which could not see how they would be worse off with higher wages, and asked the speaker to explain.  He said: "Suppose you were all getting £1 a week, and with it you could just pay your way.  Then suppose you got an advance of 4s. a week, but at the same time the price of all the articles you needed to buy cost you 5s. a week more, you would be worse off after the advance than you were before."  The plan of the colliers was this—the Haddershaw Moor Colliery just employed thirty coal getters at that pit.  For every quarter each got (a quarter contains fifteen loads) the collier was advanced 2d. per quarter, and the masters advanced the coal 2d. per load or 2s. 6d. per quarter.  That is for every 2d. they paid the collier they charged the public fifteen twopences.  The collier got 2d. and the coalowner 2s. 4d.  "I say," said the speaker, "that if everything is raised upon the same principle we shall all be worse off after the advance than we were before."  Whereupon a great tumult arose in the meeting, and the colliers were called everything that was bad, and were even charged with conspiring with the masters to rob the public.

    No one seemed to perceive that all employers could not charge the public 2s. 6d. for every 2d. extra they paid the workmen.  The collier speaker himself did not appear to see that if he had 4s. extra wages he would not have to spend 4s. for the coal he burnt in his house every week, probably not 1s., and he would be 3s. the better.  In every trade the same argument applied.  The poor collier had got into his head the nonsense employers always talk.  They always say the higher your wages the worse you will be off, and the only way to improve your condition is to work for nothing.  Those who smile to-day at the poor colliers' muddle-headedness should remember that political economists in those days talked the same nonsense, and they talk the same thing still in the House of Commons, when they say that any advance in wages will drive trade to other countries.  The wages of all men are double now what they were that day, and according to that theory all trade should have left the country long ago.

    Hearing how the increased price of coal had come about, a tumult arose, and the
colliers were accused for having incited the masters to raise the price of coal.  When it did subside Mr. Kershaw cried out:

    "Hold on a bit, there are some of you talking of what you know nothing about.  If anyone is more to blame than another for what has been done, that man is I, for I gave the colliers the advice upon which they acted.  Up to the present time I have not uttered a single word to any master, nor has any master said anything to me upon that subject.  But the masters were not slow to take advantage of what we had done.  It is well known that our wages have been doubled and the price of coal has risen in the market."

    Then a new charge was made, that the colliers had neglected their duty to the public in not exposing the conduct of the masters in raising the price of coal so exorbitantly beyond what they had given to the men.  The denunciation of this neglect was loud and fierce.  This roused Mr. Kershaw's indignation, and he replied with great force and directness.  He said "the colliers owed no obligation whatever to the public.  The public cared nothing about the colliers, and why should the colliers care anything about the public?  All the public cared for in connection with colliers was cheap coal.  Cheap coal was all their aim.

    "Only a few months before this time, I was," Mr. Kershaw said, "getting a two-feet seam of coal, doing all the bye work, paying the banksman; in fact, delivering it into the boats.  All I was paid was thirteenpence a ton, but never did any of the public come and say 'Here, Kershaw, you were not properly paid for that coal that was got so cheap.  Here's sixpence for you.'  No; it was cheap coal they wanted.  It did not matter to them what became of the collier."

    Mr. Kershaw relates "that in going home Howarth and he discussed the colliers' duty to the public."  Mr. Kershaw maintained that they owed no obligation to the public and the public cared nothing for the producer, which was amply proved by the fact that the hand-loom calico weaver was driven out of his trade; when, if the public would have given ½d. per yard more for hand-loom woven calico than they gave for steam-power weaving, the hand-loom calico weaver would have held his own.  No, the public preferred the cheaper article, and the hand-loom weaver was driven from the industrial field.  Mr. Howarth well knew that the hand-loom flannel weaver could maintain his ground if the public would give 1d. a yard more for hand-woven flannel, but the public cared for cheapness, and not for the lives of the workers.  The result was that the hand-loom flannel weaver was going after the hand-loom calico weaver.  Mr. Howarth acknowledged he had never seen the question in that light.

    At the meeting above described, some trade unionist opposed co-operation and some co-operators were against trade unions, Mr. Kershaw remarking, "All you can justly say of trade unions is they are a never-ending contention between employer and employed, without producing any corresponding benefit."  He did not see then, very few workmen did, that organised unionism would one day become a powerful defender of workmen, and the regulator of wages.

    "The question arising, what could be done to amend things it was said that Charles Howarth had a plan, but as the night was far advanced it was arranged to hear it explained another evening.  Howarth came well prepared.  The trade unionists were there with a considerable opposition.  They said co-operation had been tried and had failed; the shop had been closed two years ago.  Charles Howarth showed very clearly why and how it had gone down, and always would go down, he said, so long as the rich, in the character of shareholders, ran away with all the profits.  Under his scheme the larger the family the greater would be its gain, while the investments of the richer members would receive a fair remuneration, profits remaining among members according to their purchases."

    Mr. Kershaw asked the question, "Suppose all working men were in earnest, and paid threepence a week until they were able to start a co-operative store, and then allowed all the profits to accumulate and be relaid out productively—that is, in establishing co-operative workshops—how long would it take to get the land and workshops of the country under the control of the working people?"  Charles Howarth and Macnaught (who was present) took pencil and paper to calculate the result.  Macnaught was the first to raise his head, and said that in fifteen years, if all working men went into the project, they might get command of the workshops if their contributions and store profits were laid out productively."  At the next adjourned meeting, a week later, Charles Howarth, proceeding upon his own and Macnaught's calculation, brought a tract ready written, showing how working men might become their own employers in fifteen years.  The paper was read, earnestly discussed, and it was resolved to print it.  Each man, who could, paid 5s. down there and then.  The meeting was a thin one, but £3 was given to Howarth that he might get as many printed as he could for that sum and bring them to the next meeting.  The largest quantity were consigned to Mr. Kershaw, with the understanding that he would distribute them and collect them in the way tract collectors did.  He did this for several weeks, allowing each tract to remain a fortnight before calling for it.  Every alternate week he might be seen collecting these tracts and re-delivering them at houses where they had not been before.  At one house, at Clegg Hall, he met with a very strong rebuff.  On collecting the tract he asked whether it had been read.  The answer was mostly "Yes."  He then asked what was thought about it, and frequently a little debate followed; but at Clegg Hall, when the occupant, a man about fifty years old, was asked what he thought about it, he said, "Such folks as Kershaw and his friends were unfit to live.  It was such men who made things as bad as they were.  It was all their fault that times were so bad."  He deprecated any new agitation for amending social and industrial evils, lest it should made matters worse—a doctrine which, if it was generally acted upon, would make oppression of long life, and reform or improvement of any kind impossible.  Those who were in the wrong would never find it out, nor be disquieted in doing wrong; and those who found doing wrong agreeable to their interests would be guaranteed an easy time of it.  The burglar is ensured a charmed life when people, whose houses he is looting, are advised not to interrupt him, nor call in the police, lest he should be irritated and matters made worse.  The poor workman Mr. Kershaw encountered was of this way of thinking.  The simple-minded Clegg Hall man had probably learned this kind of chatter from people far more astute than he.  It is a commonplace of governments, capitalists, monopolists, and all who have some interest to defend, or some improvement or act of justice to resist.  The Government say, "You need not agitate, the time has not yet come; you only make irritation and indispose people to do what you want."  When, after a lapse of time, those who act upon this advice ask the fulfilment of  the implied promise, they are told "their demand is perverse; nobody is asking for the change"—thus making the silence they asked for an argument for refusing the very thing which they were told agitation prevented them conceding.  In the same way as a partisan of an interest or an injustice is officiously saying, to any who ask redress, "You indispose those in office to concede what you request by perpetually agitating for it."  If you listen to them they sharply tell you "nobody cares for the improvement you seek or they would be asking for it."  It is agitation that makes opinion, and it is opinion alone which compels those to do justice whose interest it is to withhold it.  This kind of argument could not impose upon the intelligent Rochdale co-operators of that day; and Mr. Kershaw at once said, "I know things are bad, since I cannot earn 10s. a week, and that is not sufficient I to maintain a family upon.  That state of society which compels a man to work for so little wants altering," and he for one was determined that it should be altered, so that an honest man should be able to earn sufficient to live upon by honest means.  It transpired afterwards that the Clegg Hall man was a steady workman, who had been imposed upon by those who knew better, and he was afraid that agitation would make things worse with him than they were.

    At another meeting the subject discussed was the "habits of the people," when Mr. Pennington said, "the man who lost a quarter of a day's work, or spent or wasted a sixpence unnecessarily, was a fool to himself, a rogue to his family, and a knave to his fellowmen."  These honest men who had industry in their blood, who coveted sixpences, and had to economise them, were justly indignant that other people, because they had a little capital, were able to amass pounds out of their unrequited labour and they be unable to help it.  Accordingly they decided to become the pioneers of a new co-operative store.

    There was then a building in Toad Lane, three storeys high; the topmost storey a Bethel school; the middle a day school; the ground floor unoccupied.  It had been a warehouse, and had a pair of large doors as an entrance.  These would have to be removed, and proper shop doors and windows be put in.  Charles Howarth and others were appointed to go and see the landlord.  As soon as he was told the name of the society, and what they proposed doing, he said he could not think of letting the room to them.  At this point Charles Howarth sprang to the front and said: "Will you take me for a tenant, and I will pay you a quarter's rent in advance?"  "Yes," said the landlord, "I will do that."  So it was agreed that the new society should have the place for three years, Howarth being the tenant, and paying the rent each quarter in advance.  It was decided to open only at nights.  Samuel Ashworth and William Cooper volunteered to act as shopmen, and if the business did not pay the first three months they would take nothing for their services, but if it was able to pay a dividend, they were to receive threepence an hour, which, if they were on duty three hours, would be ninepence a night, and the salary of a permanent night shopman would be 4s. 6d. a week.  The Store was opened on the evening of St. Thomas's day, 1844.

    New societies who think they are not going to succeed because their first dividends are small, may take courage from Kershaw's story.

    At the end of the first quarter the Rochdale Society did pay a dividend of 3d. in the pound, after reducing the value of the fixed stock to what they thought it would bring under the hammer.  The second dividend was 4d., the fourth 7d., the fifth 9d., the sixth 11d., the seventh 1s. 2d., the eighth 1s. 4d., the ninth 1s. 6d.; 1s. 8d. was the largest dividend they ever calculated upon getting; but for many years afterwards it ranged from 2s. to 2s. 6d.

    They arranged their rules so that they could devote one tenth of their profits to educational purposes.  But when sent to Mr. Tidd Pratt, the Registrar, he refused to certify them.  The contest with him lasted for some months.  The rules were altered again and again.  The Society tried to edge in education in several different ways; but he always struck it out.  "We were not allowed to educate ourselves, but the Society was very loth to part with its education clause.  We had considerable correspondence with Mr. Tidd Pratt on the subject, but he would never give way."  These were the days when the law prohibited workmen from educating themselves and the Government refused them the franchise on the ground of their want of knowledge.

 

(The major portion of the following part first appeared in 1878. twenty-one years later.)


PART II.—1857—1892.



"Others, we doubt not, if not we,
 The issue of our toil shall see;
 And children gather as their own
 The harvest which the dead have sown—
 The dead, forgotten, and unknown."




TO

THE REV. WILLIAM NASSAU MOLESWORTH, M.A.,

A CLERGYMAN WHO, TEACHING CHRISTIANITY BY EXAMPLE

AND LEAVING CONVICTION TO CONSCIENCE,

WENT AMONG HIS CO-OPERATIVE. PARISHIONERS, GIVING THEM WISE COUNSEL

AND FRIENDLY HELP,

IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR WILFULNESS IN PIETY OR POLITICS,

THIS STORY OF THEIR CAREER FROM 1857 TO 1878

IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED.


-XIII-

THE WEAVERS' DREAM.


THIRTY-TWO years ago certain working men in a third-rate town in Lancashire dreamed, like Bunyan, a dream.  Their subject was different from his.  The famous Bedford tinker dreamed of the kingdom of Sin—the Rochdale weavers dreamed of the kingdom of Labour.  Both dreamers, however, had one vision—that of the pilgrimage out of an evil and hopeless land.  The weavers were weary of dwelling in the unrequited grounds where toil had no reward; and turned their eyes towards the Enchanted Lands of self-secured competence.  Both knew there was a rugged pilgrimage before them, and the flannel weavers of the town in question resolved, like Christian of Bunyan's immortal story, to set out without delay.

    We do not pursue any further the allegory between the two sets of pilgrims: a different and simpler comparison will be sufficient for our purpose.  In 1844, co-operation was no unknown thing.  It was worse than that.  As sometimes happens at the police courts, it had, like the prisoner at the bar, "been seen there before."  Co-operation was an old offender; it had been tried and condemned many times.  Many workmen had lost by it; more had suffered disappointment by it.  It was regarded as an exploded scheme.  To use a nautical phrase, the vessel was not seaworthy; in fact, co-operation was little better than a leaky, rickety cockboat, in which few would sail out into the sea of industry.  It was doubtful whether it would ever get into port, and was sure to be a long time about it, if ever it did arrive.  However, a few resolute mariners, who could not be much worse off if they went to the bottom, made up their minds to the attempt.

    A year, as the reader (meaning the reader of the First Part of this narrative) knows, was spent in preparing for the voyage.  The sides of the old hulk were caulked, and the old rigging repaired in 1844.  She had been on the water then sixteen years, the leaky old craft having been launched at Brighton in 1828.  Her condition was very frequently discussed, and unfriendly onlookers shook their heads.  Others tried to keep up the spirits of the sailors.  An outsider or two did take a small share in the adventure, but the cargo was almost entirely supplied by the crew which were to man her; and at the end of twelve months she was launched again, with half £28 worth of provisions, consisting chiefly of oatmeal, salt, and bacon; and general preparations were made for a very rough passage.  The Equitable Pioneers had pretty hard work to balance themselves.  They were finely tossed about.  One minute they were seen on the crest of an ugly wave, and the next lost in a nasty trough of sea.  The townspeople were on the look-out on the shore.  The crew had been a little shy of getting into so insignificant a cockboat.  Everything was mean, shabby, poverty-stricken, and worm-eaten about the affair, excepting the bravery of the Rochdale sailors, who sustained their national renown for pluck and daring.  Some of the spectators wished them "God speed," but these were too poor to aid, and mostly too desponding to believe in their own kind-hearted hope.  Others jeered, for never was a more absurd, battered, leaky old barque seen, which went by the name of "The Weavers' Dream."

    In more prosaic, but not truer terms, it may be told that co-operation was a distrusted and doubtful thing, when the flannel weavers of Rochdale began business in Toad Lane on £28 of capital, the produce of much hard saving.  Gradual gains were made.  Years' of vicissitude and progress followed.  The "Pioneers' Store," as it was called, increased; members multiplied; new departments of business were opened.  Panics occurred, and again it was predicted that the "Weavers' Dream" would end as dreams usually do, in fantastic nothingness.

    This was not to be so.  The old craft made many voyages, and always with an increasing profit on its freights.  Storm clouds darkened its passage, the crew were often driven upon the rocks, but each year they repaired, strengthened, and new-painted their vessel; and at times new ones were launched, amid expressions of confidence unknown before, and rejoicings that none ever thought to witness.  At length 1861 arrived, and cotton famine clouds blew from the South and threatened the wreck of everything.  A slave war monsoon blew across the Atlantic, and withered in a night all the vast industry of the northern counties.  Then was to come the wreck of co-operation and the crash of stores.  Then, at last and for ever, the weavers were to awaken from their long and infatuated dream!

    The great tornado came—panic and famine, and all the furious winds of war and disaster—but nothing moved the adventurous Pioneer vessel from its moorings.  It had become a stout ship by this time.  It had been remasted, new rigged, had a quarter deck laid down, and been fitted with machinery of the latest improvements in co-operative navigation.  It made its usual voyages during the tempest as though nothing was happening; and, while many other ships foundered, it always came safe into port.  And when other vessels were in difficulties, from stress of weather or want of provisions, it would put off and gallantly render help.  Of course its timbers had been well strengthened, and the commanders had provided themselves with good maps, on which the rocks were laid down pretty accurately.  The captain knew where to coast about and when to put out on the open sea.  The crew consisted of stout-hearted, experienced sailors.  How it came about that they alone made prosperous voyages in dangerous seas will be told herein, in due course, for the entertainment and instruction of future co-operative navigators.


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NOTES.


23.      These instances were quoted by Chambers’s Journal at the time of their appearance.

24.     
Vide rules 1845-6 of the above societies.

25.     
Vide letter of S. H. Musgrave, read by Sir Erskine Perry at the public meeting to consider the laws relating to the property of married women, held at 21 Regent Street, London, 31st May, 1856—Law Amendment Journal, No. 14, p.94.

26.      A recent Act of Parliament has increased this amount to £200.

27.      A minute of Sept. 20th, 1853, orders a motion to be made at the quarterly meeting for awarding £40 to the Library.

28.      The News-room became chargeable on the Education Fund only within the last six months (1857). The quarterly meeting passed a resolution that the News-room should be free to members, and supported from the Education Fund.

29.      Mr. Lloyd Jones being the manager of the Manchester branch of the Co-operative Central Agency of London, and subsequent traveller for that firm, has frequently visited the working and co-operative societies of the North of England, and addressed the members at their anniversary meetings.  On these occasions, and at the several co-operative conferences held in London Manchester, Rochdale, Leeds, and Bury, he has exercised an important influence in the development of the co-operative idea.  The "Wholesale department" of the Rochdale Store, so important a step in organisation, was carried out under his advice.

30.      And sustained by the Rev. Charles Marriott, Fellow of Oriel, one of those Churchmen who commend the priestly character by uniting a clear faith to works of human interest.

31.      "The Co-operative Principle not opposed to a true Political Economy," by the Rev. Charles Marriott, B.D., Fellow of Oriel—pp. 35-6.

32.      The most radical and popular chief constable of the day.

33.      Known among old social reformers as "Father Garside."

34.      An intelligent young Polish exile, exiled through the Hungarian struggle, to whom employment was given in the Store, and who rose to be superintendent.  He has lately emigrated to Australia.

35.      Though capitalists were twice paid (a bad example to set) they rose up and took away from the workman his share, as soon as they proved numerous enough.

36.      The cost of distribution at the central Store is l¾ per cent. upon the returns, and with the branch shops, about 2½ per cent.; so that for 2 per cent. all working expenses of rent, rates, wages, etc., are defrayed.—John Holmes's paper, read before the British Association for the Advancement of Social Science, at Birmingham, which we commend to the reader.

37.      For the History of the People's Flour Mill Society of Leeds, the reader can consult the paper mentioned in the note on p. 59.  It may, probably, be had of the author, James Holmes, Leeds, or the printer, David Green, 38 Boar Lane, Leeds.

38.      W. R. Greg, "Investments of the Working Classes," p. 120.

39.      Professor F. W. Newman's lectures on "Political Economy," pp 321-2.

40.      Since Marquis of Ripon.

41.      Mr. Kershaw took it from Mr. Lloyd Jones' "Life of Robert Owen."  Mr. Lloyd Jones took it from the late John Noble's "National Finance."  I verified it by going to Hansard's Parliamentary Debates.  It seems incredible now how any human being could have on the sums named.  Dr. Abernethy advised a fat alderman "to live on sixpence a day and earn it."  But a prescription of sixpence a week would have killed the patient.  However did 136 Rochdale persons—not fat and full like Abernethy's alderman, but lean and hungry—contrive to live on a penny a day and nothing for Sunday?

 


 

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