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It is not in France alone that these this and other means has been given associations have commenced a career to facts so encouraging, is causing a of prosperity. To say nothing at present rapid extension of associations with of Germany, Piedmont, or Switzerland similar objects in Lancashire, York(where the Consumers' Union of Zurich shire, London, and elsewhere." is one of the most prosperous co-opera The original capital of the Rochdale tive associations in Europe), England Society consisted of 281., brought tocan produce cases of success, rivalling gether by the unassisted economy of even those which I have cited from about forty labourers, through the slow France. Under the impulse commenced process of a subscription of twopence by Mr. Owen, and more recently pro- (afterwards raised to threepence) per pagated by the writings and personal week. With this sum they established efforts of a band of friends, chiefly in 1844 a small shop, or store, for the clergymen and barristers, to whose supply of a few common articles for noble exertions too much praise can the consumption of their own famiscarcely be given, the good seed was lies. As their carefulness and honesty widely sown; the necessary alterations brought them an increase of customers in the English law of partnership were and of subscribers, they extended their obtained from Parliament, on the bene- operations to a greater number of artivolent and public-spirited' initiative of cles of consumption, and in a few years Mr. Slaney; many industrial associa- were able to make a large investment tions, and a still greater number of in shares of a Co-operative Corn Mill. co-operative stores for retail purchases, Mr. Holyoake thus relates the stages were founded. Among these are already of their progress up to 1857. many instances of remarkable prog- ! “The Equitable Pioneers' Society is perity, the most signal of which are divided into seven departments : Grothe Leeds Flour Mill, and the Rochdale cery,Drapery, Butchering, Shoemaking, Society of Equitable Pioneers. Of this Clogging, Tailoring, Wholesale. last association, the most successful of “A separate account is kept of each all, the history has been written in a business, and a general account is given very interesting manner by Mr. Holy each quarter, showing the position of oake ;* and the notoriety which by the whole. ing account of the Provision Association of
“The grocery business was comGrenoble has been given in a pamphlet by | menced, as we have related, in De
M. Casimir Périer; and in the Times of cember 1844, with only four articles to · November 24, 1864, we read the following sell. It now includes whatever a gropassage : “ While a certain number of ope-|
cer's shop should include. ratives stand out for more wages or fewer hours of labour, others, who have also
"The drapery business was started seceded, have associated for the purpose of in 1847, with an humble array of atcarrying on their respective trades on their tractions. In 1854 it was erected into own account, and have collected funds for the purchase of instruments of labour. They have founded a society--Société Générale d'Approvisionnement et de consommation. It numbers between 300 and 400 members, who have already opened a “co-operative
| eighty or one hundred pounds of a store" at Passy, which is now within the limits of Paris. They calculate that by May next | the sales were discontinued until 1850, fifteen new self-supporting associations of the same kind will be ready to commence operations; so that the number will be, for
its own. Mr. John Moorhouse, who Paris alone, from 50 to 60.
has now two assistants, buys and kills * Self-Help by the People History of Cow for the Society three oxen, eight sheep, operation in Rochdale. An instructive account of this and other co-operative associa
sundry porkers and calves, which are tions has also been written in the Companion on the average converted into 1301. of to the Almanack, for 1862, by Mr. John cash per week. Plummer, of Kettering; himself one of the " Shoemaking commenced in 1852. most inspiring examples of mental cultiva. tion and high principle in a self-instructed
Three men and an apprentice make, working man.
and a stock is kept on sale.
"Clogging and tailoring commenced Board for the use of from twenty to also in this year.
thirty persons, from the ages of four“ The wholesale department com teen to forty, for mutual instruction on menced in 1852, and marks an im- | Sundays and Tuesdays. ... portant development of the Pioneers' "The corn-mill was of course rented, proceedings. This department has been and stood at Small Bridge, some discreated for supplying any members re- tance from the town-one mile and a quiring large quantities, and with a half. The Society have since built in view to supply the co-operative stores the town an entirely new mill for themof Lancashire and Yorkshire, whose selves. The engine and the machinery small capitals do not enable them to are of the most substantial and imbuy in the best markets, nor command proved kind. The capital invested the services of what is otherwise indis- in the corn-mill is 84501., of which pensable to every store---a good buyer, 37311. 158. 2d. is subscribed by the who knows the markets and his busi Equitable Pioneers' Society. The cornness, who knows what, how, and where mill employs eleven men." to buy. The wholesale department At a later period they extended their guarantees purity, quality, fair prices, operations to the staple manufacture standard weight and measure, but all itself. From the success of the Pioneers' on the never failing principle, cash pay. Society grew not only the co-operative
corn-mill, but a co-operative associaIn consequence of the number of tion for cotton and woollen manufacmembers who now reside at a distance, turing. “ The capital in this departand the difficulty of serving the great ment is 40001., of which sum 20421. increase of customers, “Branch Stores has been subscribed by the Equitable have been opened. In 1856, the first | Pioneers' Society. This Manufacturing Branch was opened, in the Oldham Society has ninety-six power-looms at Road, about a mile from the centre work, and employs twenty-six men, of Rochdale. In 1857 the Castleton seven women, four boys, and five girls Branch, and another in the Whitworth -in all forty-two persons. ...: Road, were established, and a fourth " In 1853 the Store purchased for Branch in Pinfold.”
7451. a warehouse (freehold) on the The warehouse, of which the original opposite side of the street, where they Store was a single apartment, was keep and retail their stores of flour, taken on lease by the Society, very butcher's meat, potatoes, and kindred much out of repair, in 1849. “Every articles. Their committee-rooms and part has undergone neat refitting and offices are fitted up in the same buildmodest decoration, and now wears the ing. They rent other houses adjoining air of a thoroughly respectable place for calico and hosiery and shoe stores. of business. One room is now hand In their wilderness of rooms, the visitor somely fitted up as a newsroom. Another stumbles upon shoemakers and tailors, is neatly fitted up as a library. .... at work under healthy conditions, and Their newsroom is as well supplied as in perfect peace of mind as to the rethat of a London club." It is now sult on Saturday night. Their ware“free to members, and supported from houses are everywhere as bountifully the Education Fund," a fund con- stocked as Noań's Ark, and cheerful sisting of 2 per cent of all the profits customers literally crowd Toad Lane divided, which is set apart for educa at night, swarming like bees to every tional purposes. “The Library con- counter.' The industrial districts of tains 2200 volumes of the best, and England have not such another sight among them, many of the most ex- as the Rochdale Co-operative Store on pensive books published. The Library Saturday night.* Since the disgraceful is free. From 1850 to 1855, a school for young persons was conducted at a
* "But it is not,” adds Mr. Holyoake,
a c the brilliancy of commercial activity in charge of twopence per month. Since which either writer or reader will take the 1855, a room has been granted by the deepest interest; it is in the new and improved spirit animating this intercourse of it was to be out of debt, and poor wives who trade. Buyer and seller meet as friends ; during forty years never had sixpence unconthere is no overreaching on one side, and no demned in their pockets, now possess little suspicion on the other. .... These crowds stores of money sufficient to build them cotof humble working men, who never knew tages, and to go every week into their own before when they put good food in their market with money jingling in their pockets ; mouths, whose every dinner was adulterated, and in that market there is no distrust and no whose shoes let in the water a month too deception; there is no adulteration, and soon, whose waistcoats shone with devil's no second prices. The whole atmosphere dust, and whose wives wore calico that would is honest. Those who serve neither hurry. not wash, now buy in the markets like mil. | finesse, nor flatter. They have no interest in lionnaires, and as far as pureness of food chicanery. They have but one duty to pergoes, live like lords." Far better, probably, form--that of giving fair measure, full in that particular ; for assuredly lords are weight, and a pure article. In other parts not the customers least cheated, in the pre- of the town, where competition is the prinsont race of dishonest competition. “They ciple of trade, all the preaching in Roch. are wearing their own stuffs, making their dale cannot produce moral effects like own shoes, sewing their own garments, and these. grinding their own corn. They buy the “ As the Store has made no debts, it has purest sugar and the best tea, and grind their incurred no losses; and during thirteen own coffee. They slaughter their own cattle, years' transactions, and receipts amounting and the finest beasts of the land waddle down to 303,8521., it has had no law-suits. The the streets of Rochdale for the consumption Arbitrators of the Societies, during all their of flannel-weaters and cobblers. (Last year years of office, have never had a case to the Society advertised for a Provision Agent decide, and are discontented that nobody to make purchases in Ireland, and to devote quarrels." his whole time to that duty.) When did ** The latest report to which I have access competition give poor men these advantages ? is that for the quarter ending Sept. 20, 1864, And will any man say that the moral cha of which I take the following abstract from racter of these people is not improved under the November number of that valuable pethese influences P The teetotallers of Roch. | riodical the Co-operator, conducted by Mr. dale acknowledge that the Store has made | Henry Pitman, one of the most active and more sober men since it commenced than all judicious apostles of the Co-operative cause. their efforts have been able to make in the # The number of members is 4580, being mame time. Husbands who never know what an increase of 132 for the three months
failure of the Rochdale Savings Bank | 1860 from the Almanack published by in 1849, the Society's Store has become the Society, shows the pecuniary result the virtual Savings Bank of the place of its operations from the commence
The following table, completed to ment.
I need not enter into similar parti- for October 1864: and the progress of culars respecting the Corn-Mill Society, Co-operation from month to month is and will merely state that in 1860 its regularly chronicled in the “Co-operacapital is set down, on the same autho-tor." I must not, however, omit to rity, at 26,6181. 148. 6d., and the profit mention the last great step in advance, for that single year at 10,1641. 12s. 5d. | in reference to the Co-operative Stores; For the manufacturing establishment I the formation, in the North of England have no certified information later than (and another is in course of formation that of Mr. Holyoake, who states the in London) of a Wholesale Society, to capital of the concern, in 1857, to be | dispense with the services of the whole5500l. But a letter in the Rochdale sale merchant as well as of the retail Observer of May 26, 1860, editorially dealer, and extend to the Societies the announced as by a person of good in advantage which each society gives to formation, says that the capital had at its own members, by an agency for that time reached 50,0001.: and the co-operative purchases of foreign as same letter gives highly satisfactory well as domestic commodities direct statements respecting other similar from the producers. associations: the Rossendale Industrial. It is hardly possible to take any but Company, capital 40,0001.; the Wals- a hopeful view of the prospects of manden Co-operative Company, capital | kind, when in the two leading countries 80001.; the Bacup and Wardle Com- of the world, the obscure depths of mercial Company, with a capital of society contain simple working men 40,0001., "of which more than one-whose integrity, good sense, self-comthird is' borrowed at 5 per cent, and mand, and honourable confidence in this circumstance, during the last two one another, have enabled them to years of unexampled commercial pros- carry these noble experiments to the perity, has caused the rate of dividend triumphant issue which the facts to shareholders to rise to an almost recorded in the preceding pages fabulous height."
attest. It is not necessary to enter into any From the progressive advance of the details respecting the subsequent his-co-operative movement, a great intory of English Co-operation; the less crease may be looked for even in the so, as it is now one of the recognised | aggregate productiveness of industry. elements in the progressive movement The sources of the increase are twoof the age, and as such, has latterly fold. In the first place, the class of been the subject of elaborate articles in mere distributors, who are not promost of our leading periodicals, the ducers but auxiliaries of production, most recent, and one of the best of and whose inordinate numbers, far which, was in the Edinburgh Review more than the gains of capitalists, are
the cause why so great a portion of the the capital or assets of the society is
wealth produced does not reach the 69,5361. 108. ld., or more than last quarter by 36871. 138. 7d. The cash received for sale
producers—will be reduced to more of goods is 45,8061.08. 104d., being an increase modest dimensions. Distributors differ of 22831. 128. 5 d., as compared with the previous three months. The profit realized is 57131. 28. 7 d., which after depreciating fixed
ducers increase, even though in any stock account 1821. 28. 4fd., paying interest given department of industry they may on share capital 5981.178. 6d., applying 24 per be too numerous, they actually produce cent to an educational fund, viz. 1221. 178. 9d., leaves a dividend to members on their pur- |
more: but the multiplication of districhases of 28. 4d, in the pound. Non-members
butors does not make more distribution have received 2611. 188. 4d., at ls. 8d. in the to be done, more wealth to be distri. pound on their purchases, leaving 8d, in the
buted; it does but divide the same pound profit to the society, which increases the reserve fund 1041. 158. 4d. This fund now stands at 13521. 78. 114d. the accumula sons, seldom even cheapening the protion of profits from the trade of the public
cess. By limiting the distributors to with the store since September 1862, over and above the 18. 88, in the pound adowed to
to the number really required for making sumers—which is the direct effect of profits (and I grieve to say that the the co-operative system-a vast number Manufacturing Society even of Rochof hands will be set free for production, dale has thus degenerated), are, no and the capital which feeds and the doubt, exercising a lawful" right in gains which remunerate them will be honestly employing the existing system applied to feed and remunerate pro- of society to improve their position as ducers. This great economy of the individuals : but it is not from them world's resources would be realized that anything needs be expected toeven if co-operation stopped at as- wards replacing that system by a sociations for purchase and con- better. Neither will such societies, in sumption, without extending to pro- the long run, succeed in keeping their duction.
the commodities accessible to the consuch purchasers.”
ground against individual competition. The other mode in which co-opera- Individual management by the one tion tends, still more efficaciously, to person principally interested, has great increase the productiveness of labour, advantages over every description of consists in the vast stimulus given to collective management: co-operation productive energies, by placing the has but one thing to oppose to those labourers, as a mass, in a relation to advantages—the common interest of all their work which would make it their the workers in the work. When indiprinciple and their interest—at present vidual capitalists, as they will cerit is neither--to do the utmost instead tainly do, add this to their other points of the least possible in exchange for of advantage; when, even if only to their remuneration. It is scarcely increase their gains, they take up the possible to rate too highly this material practice which these co-operative sociebenefit, which yet is as nothing com- ties have dropped, and connect the pared with the moral revolution in pecuniary interest of every person in society that would accompany it: the their employment with the most effihealing of the standing feud between cient and most economical managecapital and labour; the transformation ment of the concern; they are likely to of human life, from a conflict of classes gain an easy victory over societies struggling for opposite interests, to a which retain the defects, while they friendly rivalry in the pursuit of a good cannot possess the full advantages, of common to all; the elevation of the the old system. dignity of labour, a new sense of Under the most favourable sapposisecurity and independence in the tion it will be desirable, and perhaps labouring class, and the conversion for a considerable length of time, that of each human being's daily occu- individual capitalists associating their pation into a school of the social workpeople in the profits, should co sympathies and the practical intelli- exist with even those co-operative gence.
societies which are faithful to the coSuch is the noble ideal which the operative principle. Unity of authority promoters of Co-operation should have makes many things possible, which before them. But to attain, in any could not, or would not be undertaken, degree, these objects, it is indispensable subject to the chance of divided counthat all, and not some only, of those cils, or changes in the management. A who do the work, should be identified private capitalist, exempt from the in interest with the prosperity of the control of a body, if he is a person of undertaking. Associations which, capacity, is considerably more likely when they have been successful, re than almost any association to run nounce the essential principle of the judicious risks, and originate costly system, and become joint-stock com- improvements. Co-operative societies panies of a limited number of share may be depended on for adopting imholders, who differ from those of other provements after they have been tested companies only in being working men; by success: but individuals are more associations which employ hired la- likely to commence things previously bourers without any interest in the untried. Even in ordinary business,