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Full text of "Dr. William King and the Co-operator, 1828-1830"

Dr. William King 



AN!) THK 



,Cp-operator i828^i83o 



I Edited by T. W. MERCER, 




Hfornia 

onal 

ity 



nn-: CO-OPERATIVE UNWN Liv 
MO!,VOAKE HOCSI', HANOV«R STRLl.T 



Dr. WILLIAM KING 

AND THE 

CO-OPERATOR 1828-1830 




Dk. William King. 
From a Photoiiraph by his friend, Mons. L. Leuliette, 



i Frontispiece, 



Dr. WILLIAM KING 



AND THE 



CO-OPERATOR 

1828-1830 



With Introduction and Xotes by 

T. W. MERCER 




MANCHESTER: 

The Co-operative Union Limitku, Holvoake House. 

Hanover Street. 

1922. 



"Co-operation is a voluntar}' act, 
and all the power in the world cannot 
make it compulsory ; nor is it desir- 
able that it should depend upon any 
power but its own." 

—The Co-operator, 1829. 



C7S 



PREFATORY NOTE. 



\Y/HEN it was agreed that the Fifty-Fourth Annual 
Co-operative Congress should be held at Brighton 
in June, 1922, the General Publications Committee of 
the Co-operative Union decided that the time was 
opportune to . reprint " The Co-operator," a small 
co-operative periodical, first published in Brighton by 
Dr. William King nearly a century ago. 

In consequence of that decision, the present volume 
has been prepared. It includes a faithful reprint of 
the twenty-eight numbers of " The Co-operator " ; a 
sketch of Dr. King's Ufe and teaching, containing 
information not previously published ; and a few notes 
contributed by the present writer. Several letters 
written by Dr. King to other early co-operators are also 
here reprinted. In "The Co-operator" both spelling 
and punctuation have been left as they are in the original 
edition, but a few obvious printer's errors have been 
corrected. 

Hitherto, few students have had an opportunity of 
reading " The Co-operator," which was undoubtedly 
the most important of the early magazines devoted to 
the advocacy of Co-operation. It is believed, therefore, 
that this volume will be of service to teachers, students, 
and others interested in the history of Co-operation, and 
it is hoped that as a result of its publication Dr. King 
will be restored to his rightful place as a pioneer and 
father of the co-operative movement in Great Britain, 



Ji26 1 1 2 



For valuable information, now printed for the first 
time, and the portraits of Dr. and Mrs. King, I am 
indebted to Major G. Lionel King, of Brighton. I have 
also to acknowledge the assistance kindly given me by 
Mr. H. D. Roberts, director of the Public Library, 
Museums, and Fine Art Galleries, Brighton, and Mr. 
R. W. Elliston, assistant secretary, Royal Sussex County 
Hospital, without whose aid I should not have obtained 
access to original soilrces of information. 



T. W. MERCER. 



Holyoake House, 

Manchester, 

May, 1922. 







CONTENTS. 



The Life and Teaching of Dr. William King ... xi. 

"The Co-operator." 1 828- 1830 1 

Letters of Dr. King on Co-operation 115 

Notes 135 

Bibliography 143 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Portrait of Dr. William King Frontispiece. 

From a photograph ijj his friend Mons. L. LeulietU. 

Dr. William King Facing page I 

From a photograph taken in 1861. 

Mrs. King Facine page 1 

From a photograph taken in 1861. 

Dr. William King Facing page 1 1 5 

From the Bust in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. 



THE LIFE AND TEACHING 
OF Dr. WILLIAM KING. 



THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF 
Dr. WILLIAM KING. 



WILLIAM KING, whose right to be regarded as 
a father of the modem co-operative move- 
ment is indisputable, was bom at Ipswich, on April 
17th, 1786. His father, the Rev. John King, who 
could trace his descent through a line of sturdy 
Yorkshiremen, had removed to Ipswich from 
Richmond, w^here other members of the family then 
dwelt. At the time of William King's birth his 
father was Master of the Ipswich Grammar School, 
a famous institution established at a very early 
period. The Great Court Book of the local Corpora- 
tion proves that this school existed prior to 1477, 
for an order was then issued "that all scholars in 
the liberties of the borough should be under the 
government of the master of the Grammar School,"* 
whose salary was fixed by the Bishop of Norwich. 

The Rev. John King had several children. One 
of his sons, John, was the author of an important 
legal work, recognised as a standard work in the 
early part of the last century. Another son, Richard, 
who entered the Navy, was in the celebrated fight 
betw^een the "Chesapeake" and the "Shannon," 
and afterwards became an admiral. William King, 
author of The Co-operator, the subject of the present 
sketch, although he eventually became a physician, 
was originally intended for the church, and, accord- 

*Glyde, Moral j Social, and Religious Condition of 
Ifswich, page 113. 



ing to Lady Noel Byron, began life 'by the most 
painful conflict between filial duty and conscience — 
a large provision in the church secured for him by 
his father; but he could not sign.''* 

While William King was quite a child his father 
became incumbent of Whittenshame Church, near 
Ipswich. Alluding to this period of his life in a 
lecture given before the Brighton Medical Society 
in 1849, he remarked that : "In early life it was my 
privilege to lay the foundation of a healthy constitu- 
tion in one of the rich grazing villages of Suffolk ; 
there I drank deeply not only of the best streams 
of family affection, but of the philosophy of truth 
and nature ; in the quiet meditations of those years, 
I acquired, under sound parental judgment, those 
principles which have guided me through life, and 
which I trust will not desert me at its close. There 
also 1 became acquainted with those broad facts in 
nature v/hich I have since found it w^as the business 
of science to classify and explain. And if I have 
done any little good in my generation . it is 

because I have dipped my cup in early life in the 
pure streams of natural truth ; because I have been 
an early worshipper in the temple of nature ; and 
because I have been a partaker of the dioini gloria 
runs."t 

I. 

King's more formal studies, which he commenced 
at Ipswich Grammar School, were continued at 
Westminster School, w^here he w^as sent at the age 
of fifteen. At this famous school his first experiences 
were the reverse of pleasant, and he was much 
surprised to discover that he could only obtain a 

^ Lady Byron Vindicated, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, 
page 46c). 

\ Medical Essays, by W. King, page 180. 



separate bedroom by paying a servant a sovereign 
for so great a privilege. 

Towards the end of his life King started to write 
an account of his career. Unfortunately, he dis- 
continued writing after a short time, having dealt 
only with his life at Ipswich and Westminster. 
These reminiscences may some daj' be published, 
if only for the purpose of enabling co-operators to 
know how King enlarged his knowledge as a student 
at Westminster School. While there he had many 
friends among youths who afterwards made a mark 
in the world. One of his chief associates at this 
time was Lord Raglan — the youngest son of the 
Duke of Beaufort — who once acted as military 
secretary to the Duke of Wellington, and, later, 
commanded the British Forces in the Crimean War. 

Leaving Westminster in due course, King went to 
Oxford. There he stayed only a very short time 
before removing to the sister university at Cambridge. 
At Cambridge, he gave special attention to the 
subjects of political economy, moral philosophy, and 
modern history. As a student of these subjects he 
attended lectures given by Dr. Smyth, whose reputa- 
tion was then almost at its zenith. King often 
stated that he derived great benefit from Dr. Smyth's 
lectures, which undoubtedly stimulated his interest 
in questions of social philosophy and national 
government. He also paid great attention to 
mathematics, a subject which he afterwards regarded 
as "the key to all knowledge."* 

In 1809 King secured his B.A. degree, being 
twelfth Wrangler in that year. Three years later he 
took his Master's degree and became a Fellow of 
Peterhouse College. Soon after he removed ro 
London, where he "walked" St. Bartholomew's 
Hospital and studied medicine, being taught by 

* Pitman's ''Co-operator,'" March, 1864. 



Drs. Abernethy, Cooper, Home, and other equally 
famous lecturers. With Abernethy,* then surgeon 
of St. Bartholomew's, King conversed frequently on 
the connection between physiology and medicine, 
and said later that his teacher often declared that 
' ' a bright day was about to dawn upon medicine 
in connection with physiology"! — a prophecy 
verified within a very few years. In 1814, he spent 
the winter at Montpellier, where he attended the 
lectures on surgery given by M. Delpeche. At a 
later period he visited Paris, there attending lectures 
at the hospital of La Charite. While in London, 
King was for a time private tutor to the children of 
Mr. George Smith, the well-known banker. J 

This diligence in study brought due reward. After 
being licensed by the University on June 11th, 1817, 
King became fully qualified as M.D. (Cantab) in 
1819. In the following year he became a Fellow 
of the Royal College of Physicians, and, as such, 
delivered the Harveian oration twenty-three years 
later. King always set a high value on academic 
distinctions, and w^as ever justly proud of his con- 
nection with Cambridge University. As a writer in 
the Brighton Gazette remarked at the time of his 
death, "he was w^hat may be called a thorough- 
bred ' physician, having obtained his degree (not in 
the of late common fashion of purchasing it in 
Scotland but) through a University education ; and 

*john Abernethy (1764-1831) was surgeon of St. 
Bartholomew's Hospital from 181 5 to 1827, and lecturer 
on anatomy at the College of Surgeons from 1814 to 182Q. 
His teaching deeply influenced English medical practice 
with regard to the treatment of disorders of the digestive 
system. 

t Medical Essays^ by W. King, page xxi. 

+ According to the Dictionary of National Biography, 
one of King's pupils at this time was the future Baron 
Overstone, the great authority on finance, who was largely 
responsible for the Bank Charter Act of 1844, by which the 
constitution of the Bank of England was determined. He 
was raised to the peerage in 1850. 



XV. 

if he had any pride in this Kfe, it was the pardon- 
able one, when signing his name, of always append- 
ing the 'M.D.. Cantab.'"* 

II. 

Dr. King remained at St. Bartholomew's Hospital 
until 1821, when he married Miss Mary Hooker, a 
daughter of Dr. Hooker, vicar of Rottingdean, 
a village near Brighton. Dr. Hooker had a well- 
known school, often referred to by contemporary 
writers, who found pleasure in mentioning that 
among his boys were a nephew of Wellington and 
also one of Napoleon. f Shortly after his marriage 
Dr. King settled at Brighton, to be near his wife's 
relatives, and soon began to take a prominent part 
in local affairs. 

Early in 1823 he was instrumental in establishing 
a school for infants, one of the first opened in 
England. This school was for a time conducted by 
a brother-in-law of Samuel Wilderspin, the early 
advocate of infant schools, who has an honourable 
place in the history of education. This man. 
although an excellent master, w^as soon dismissed 
by the school committee, who found that he was a 
local preacher among the Wesleyan Methodists, and 
feared that members of the Anglican Church would 
in consequence be prejudiced and cease to support 
the school. J 

* Brighton Gazette, October 26th, 1865. 

t It is often stated that Wellington and Napoleon them- 
selves attended Dr. Hooker's School. This statement i> 
inaccurate ; their ages alone make it wrong. Dr. Hooker 
was taken over Waterloo by one of his old boys, and on 
his return made two paintings of the field of battle, which 
are now at the Pavilion, with the relics of the Brighton 
Volunteer- Rifle Corps. (Extracts from a letter written by 
Major G. Lionel King.) 

XSee\^ . K.'s letter to Henry Pitman, printed on i)agc 12S. 



Shortly after this school had been established Dr. 
King became acquainted with EHzabeth Fry, whose 
activities were then creating widespread interest, 
not only in the question of prison reform, but in the 
condition of the people generally. The great 
philanthropist frequently visited Brighton, usually 
to address meetings of members of the Society of 
Friends. Early in 1824, while staying in the town, 
she was greatly ' ' distressed by the multitude of 
applicants for relief. "* Dr. Chalmers, the celebrated 
Scottish divine and economist, had previously con- 
vinced her that such applicants could be best 
assisted by provident societies, through which they 
could be encouraged to make small deposits. A 
provident society of this type had already been 
formed in Brighton, w^here "there was no lack of 
benevolent feeling." Elizabeth Fry considered, 
however, that this society needed to be supple- 
mented by a District Visiting Society, and "after 
some delays, and much discouragement, the Brighton 
District Society was established." The objects of 
this new society -were: "The encouragement of 
industry and frugality among the poor, by visits at 
their own habitations ; the relief of real distress, 
whether arising from sickness or other causes ; and 
the prevention of mendacity and imposture. . . ."* 

Mrs. Fry's chief helper in the work of forming this 
society w^as Dr. King, who was already known as 
"the poor man's doctor. "f She herself told Lady 
Noel Byron, who became acquainted with him in 
1826, that she could not have succeeded without the 
aid of Dr. King, whose "organising head had 
formed the first district society in England." 

"^"Memoir of the Life of Elizabeth Fry, by Two of her 
Daughters. Vol I., page 452. 

t Memoirs of Henry Crabh Robinson, by T. Sadler, 
Vol. III., page 424. 



In the work of the society Dr. King took a promi- 
nent part, and it was largely owing to his exertions 
that it in one year "induced the poor to lay by 
amongst them about £1,000.' At the time when 
this society w^as established Elizabeth Fry was 
working in close association with William Allen, the 
wealthy Quaker, w^ho was then one of Robert 
Ow^en's partners at New Lanark. Allen also some- 
times visited Brighton, and as he attended more than 
one meeting of the District Society, it is likely that 
Dr. King met him on several occasions. 

III. 

Larger and more important schemes for social 
improvement soon attracted Dr. King's attention. 
Early in 1823 efforts were made in various parts of 
the country to establish mechanics* institutions, the 
first in England, promoted by Dr. George Birkbeck.* 
being formed in London in November of that year. 
After this institution was firmly established similar 
societies were formed in many towns. Early in 1825 
steps were taken to establish a local institution ia 
Brighton. At a meeting held on June 24th, it was 
decided to form the Brighton Mechanics' Institution. 
As then defined, the objects of this institution were : 
"To afford to the members the means of obtaining 
instruction and information in Mechanics, and in 
such other branches of Science as are immediately 
connected therewith."! and it was announced that 
these objects w^ere to be attained by the establish- 
ment of a suitable library, the delivery of lectures, 
and the formation of a museum. 

* Dr. George Birkbeck (i 776-1 841) was the true foundor 
of Mechanics' Institutions. A good account of his work 
is given in the Life of Dr. Birkbeck, by J. G. Godard, 
London, 1884. 

t Rules and Bje-laws, Brighton Mechanics' Institution. 
1825. Public Library, Brighton. 



Dr. King, who was the chief promoter of the 
institution, was one of its vice-presidents, and also 
a trustee. Largely because of his zealous propa- 
ganda, great interest was excited, especially among 
the working classes. The committee declared, in 
their first report, that "when the project of such an 
institution in the town became first the subject of 
conversation of the hopes and fears expressed by 
its friends the fear of not meeting with encourage- 
ment predominated. . . . From the moment an 
institution was seriously announced, so much interest 
was excited in the Brighton public, that the hour of 
striking a decisive blow was evidently arrived. . . . 
At our first meeting at the Old Ship, the spacious 
room would scarcely contain the number who were 
anxious to witness the proceedings. That stain on 
the character of Brighton, which has been sometimes 
imputed to her, that she w^as wholly immersed in the 
pursuit of gain, and indifferent to higher and more 
generous pursuits, was washed away it is hoped for 
ever. . . ."* 

Within a few weeks after its formation a house, 
31 West Street, was taken by the institution, which 
thus secured accommodation for a reading-room, 
a library (of 400 volumes), a large lecture room, and 
several class rooms. With this accommodation its 
owners were well pleased ; the committee proudly 
boasting : ' ' We resemble more a little university 
of studies and lectures than a confined and limited 
provincial institution." 

At the formal opening of the institution, on August 
20th, 1825, addresses were given by Dr. Birkbeck 
and Dr. King. Dr. Birkbeck, of whose address a 

"'*■ " A gentleman was represented as arriving at one of 
the inns for the purpose of meeting a literary friend ; and, 
in the course of conversation with the waiter, he inquires : 
"John.? " " Sir." " Pray, John, is this a literary place? " 
"No, sir," replies John, "it is only a watering place." 
(Thus a speaker at the formal opening of the Institution.) 



XIX. 

local journalist remarked that it was "a speech, 
which for soundness of principles, for aptness, and 
propriety of illustration, and general impressiveness 
and effect we have seldom known equalled,"* 
argued that "the influence of such institutions would 
be beneficially experienced in settling those import- 
ant discussions now in agitation between the 
employers and the employed." Dr. King was no less 
eloquent. He, said the reporter, 'detailed the plan 
and proceedings of the institution at a length which 
we regret that our limits preclude us from entering 
into. We are the more pained at this circumstance," 
he added, "because while on the one hand the 
copiousness and extent of the speech prevent our 
giving it as a whole ; on the other, w^e are convinced 
that to compress or to shorten it wrould be only to 
render it injustice. Suffice it to state, so complete 
were its details that there was scarcely any part of 
the proceedings of the institution, whether regarding 
its past, its present, or its future circumstances, 
which were left unnoticed or unexplained. . . ." 
The institution, so auspiciously started, made an 
excellent beginning. Two hundred subscriptions 
were collected, and nearly three hundred members 
were enrolled in a very short time. During its first 
winter session lectures were given on Botany and 
the Origin and Progress of Knowledge, in addition 
to an inaugural lecture on "The General Principles 
of Natural Philosophy, and the Construction and Use 
of the Air Pump," delivered by Dr. King, who also 
conducted one class in Mathematics and another 
in Natural Philosophy. But the rather extravagant 
expectations of those who formed the institution 
were quickly disappointed. Enthusiasm soon 
flagged, interest in its work waned, and at the end 
of 1828 the first Mechanics' Institution formed in 
Brighton died because it lacked members. 

* Brighton Herald^ August 17th, 1825. 



IV. 

Possibly less interest was taken in the work of the 
Mechanics' Institution because the thoughts of its 
most intelligent members were turning towards 
"mutual co-operation." Mechanics' Institutions 
w^ere everyw^here the nursing-mothers of co-operative 
trading associations ; and that in Brighton w^as no 
exception to the general rule. Early in 1827 the 
editor of the Co-operative Magazine reported that 
w^hen he visited Brighton "a very intelligent, and 
also very industrious and hard-w^orking mechanic 
observed to us, that the working classes ought to 
form themselves into associations . . . and send 
their choice person ... to the community as soon 
as it commenced,"* and in a letter, dated April 12th, 
1827, sent from 31 West Street, Brighton, f W. Bryan 
announced that " a society is formed in this town, 
called the Brighton Co-operative Benevolent Fund 
Association. The objects of this association are : 
first, to raise by a small weekly contribution a fund 
for the purpose of enabling proper persons (who 
have not themselves the means) to join Co-operative 
Communities, J by giving the whole or part of the 
capital, as the circumstances of the individual may 
require ; and, secondly, to spread a knowledge of 
the co-operative system. "§ 

The leading spirits in the new association were 
men who attended classes taught by Dr. King, v/ho 
certainly encouraged them in their co-operative 
enterprise. He himself claimed that as a result of 
his teaching "their minds were no doubt prepared 
there for this society. "|| Probably he also encouraged 

* Co-operative Magasinej April, 1827. 

t The headquarters of the Mechanics' Institution. See 
above, page xviii. 

XSee pages 3 and 135. 
§ Co-oferative Magazine, May, 1827. 

\\See W. K.'s letter to Henry Brougham, M.P., printed 
on page i ig. 



his students to take a further step in co-operation 
and to form the Co-operative Trading Association 
established in July, 1827, as an adjunct to the parent 
body. This new association, started by a few mem- 
bers immediately their united capital amounted to 
£.5, soon had forty shareholders, in the first week 
after trading was commenced only half-a-crown was 
received for goods sold to members, but in a few 
wrecks the society was transacting "a respectable 
trade," and in about a year its sales amounted to 
£38 weekly. 

William Bryan, secretary to the Co-operative 
Benevolent Fund Association, clearly realised the 
economic advantage of collective purchasing. In 
a letter published in the Co-operative Magazine * he 
pointed out "that if fifty or even thirty heads of 
families of these classes, w^ho receive for their 
labour on an average £50 per annum each, were to 
co-operate in spending their money, they might on 
the lowest calculation by purchasing their articles in 
large quantities, save two shillings in the pound, 
which would be, if fifty families joined, £260 per 
annum." Bryan was sufficiently optimistic to believe 
that "if each person still continued to pay the retail 
price for the article, that sum. would in less than five 
years enable the persons to form a community of 
co-operation and community of property," notwith- 
standing that " this plan would not subject the parties 
to any privation in securing sufficient capital." The 
chief merit of the new plan, in his opinion, was that 
it enabled working-class co-operators to act indepen- 
dently of well-disposed capitalists, such as Robert 
Owen, and to understand that "whenever the 
labouring classes come to the resolve that ' we shall 
do for ourselves,' the thing is done, however 
slowly, "t 

* Co-operative Mngasine, May, 1827. 

i See Note VI.— .A^mount of C"apital Required, papo 136. 



Encouraged by these hopes and promises many 
persons hastened to join the association, beUeving 
it "not unhkely " that a community would "be 
formed of its members in the course of a year or 
two."* Among those who joined were agricultural 
labourers, house-carpenters, bricklayers, painters, 
cabinetmakers, turners, printers, gardeners, dress- 
makers, bakers, tailors, tinmen, coppersmiths, shoe- 
makers, bookbinders, and grocers, in short, workers 
who by their united labour ' ' could perform all the 
various trades required in a community, with the 
exception of fabricating linen, worsted, &c." 

The hopes of the members of the association were 
shared by Dr. King, who respected their ambitions, 
and praised their efforts. Recognising that ignorance 
was the chief obstacle in their way, he, on May 1st, 
1828, commenced to issue The Co-operator, a small 
monthly magazine, in the pages of which he 
endeavoured to make the principles of co-operation 
"intelligible" to the working classes. It was quite 
time that someone made such an attempt. Those 
w^ho had written on the subject prior to the publica- 
tion of The Co-operator had somehow so contrived 
to hide the principles of voluntary association in 
metaphysical fogs and foolish speculations that plain 
men could hardly understand what was meant by 
"mutual co-operation, united labour, and equality 
of enjoyments." Owen, Thompson, Minter Morgan, 
and the members of the London Co-operative Society 
were inspired by a genuine desire to help the work- 
ing classes ; but very few manual workers were at 
first able to understand how their fine philosophical 
principles could be reduced to daily practice. 

Dr. King, however, in the very first number of his 
magazine, addressed the workers in language that 
all could understand. He revealed the causes from 

* Co-operative Magazine, September, 1827. 



which their miseries arose ; showed how the workers 
could improve their conditions by working together ; 
demonstrated how even the poorest could amass 
capital by co-operative shopkeeping ; and foretold 
how voluntary co-operation, practised at first ;n 
connection with simple, everyday actions, such as 
buying and consuming, would lead to ownership and 
associated industry, and eventually carry the workers 
forward to a new society, in which there would be 
"a perpetual progress" of mankind "towards an 
endless perfection of character and happiness." 

V. 

Nor was Dr. King content merely to instruct the 
poor in the principles of co-operation ; he also 
advised them how to conduct their business and 
manage their affairs in a businesslike way, 
emphasising the importance of co-operative educa- 
tion for members and their children, good manage- 
ment, cash trading, accurate book-keeping, publicity, 
and democratic administration ; at the same time 
showing the responsibility resting upon each to 
promote the welfare of all. Moreover, realising how 
often the funds of co-operative societies were 
jeopardised in the absence of legal protection, he 
urged Henry Brougham, M.P., then the foremost 
champion of popular rights, to consider the advisa- 
bility of promoting legislation favourable to the 
growth of co-operative associations.* 

Aided thus by Dr. King, and stimulated to greater 
exertions by his teaching and encouragement, the 
local co-operators redoubled their exertions. The 
members of the original Brighton Society soon leased 
a plot of land, on which some of their number were 
employed, and upon which others hoped eventually 

* See W. K.'s letter to Henry Brougham, M.P., printed 
on page i iq. 



to engage in co-operative industry. As Jonathan 
Wood, the society's second storekeeper, told Holy- 
oake in 1872, "they did wonders enough to prove 
what might have been done had the people been 
honest enough to do it."* 

Other societies w^ere also established in Brighton 
and the surrounding neighbourhood as men studied 
The Co-operator and better understood the plan of 
action proposed by its author. Within a few months 
four societies had been established in Brighton, two 
in the adjoining town of Worthing, and others at 
Tunbridge Wells, Canterbury, and Greenwich in 
Kent, in addition to many formed in different parts 
of England. 

In every place where men read The Co-operator 
and talked of the success of the Brighton Society, 
attempts 'were made to establish societies on the 
plan recommended by Dr. King. The Birmingham 
Society, formed in !828, was started by William 
Pare, who corresponded regularly with Dr. King and 
did much to circulate copies of The Co-operator in 
the Midlands and North of England. One such copy, 
which found its way to Halifax, was the cause of the 
formation of a society in that townf ; another led 
to the formation of a society at Chester. When in 
August, 1830, Dr. King decided not to publish any 
more numbers of his paper, he was able to state that 
three hundred societies had been started as a direct 
result of his teaching. By that time he was 
acknowledged as a leader by co-operators in all parts 
of England. "To the benevolent author of The 
Co-operator/' said the editor of the Co-operative 
Magazine, "the working classes are under lasting 
obligation, as from his pen they have received much 

"^History of Co-operation (igo6), by G. J. Holyoake, 
Vol. II., page 481. 

^History of Co-operation (iqo6), by G. J. Holyoake, 
Vol. II., page 402. 



XXV. 

valuable instruction ; indeed, his publication has 
become a sort of text-book to co-operators."* 
Another writer remarked that, "Next in importance 
to the great work of planting the first societies, we 
may rank the intellectual labour to promulgate the 
true principles, with a knowledge of the practice, of 
co-operation. V/e avail ourselves eagerly of this 
opportunity to record our grateful testimony to the 
pre-eminence of the Brighton Co-operator in this 
respect. . . . The immense majority of the Co- 
operative Trading Associations formed since 1828 
. . . have been nourished on the sound doctrine 
of The Co-operator."^ 

VI. 

Dr. King decided to cease publishing The Co- 
operator for several reasons. Although his teaching 
had created a v/orkers' co-operative movement, he 
had not succeeded in pleasing every co-operator. 
William Lovett, who afterwards became prominent 
as a Chartist leader, complained that he had " in 
a measure, apologised for the competitive system, "t 
w^hile the insertion in The Co-operator of a letter 
written by " a gentleman . . . holding a high and 
important office in the State, "§ who advised the 
workers to bespeak "the goodwill and countenance 
of some patron," caused the Co-operative Magazine 
to sound "the tocsin of alarm" and the British 
Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge 
to declare that "these dangerous propositions must 
be blotted out" from the pages of his publication. 

Robert Owen's injudicious attacks on existing 

* Co-opertitive Magazine^ March, 1S30. 
\ Co-operative Magaz!7iej February, 1830. 
tSee page 78, also Note XVII., page 130. 
% See page 85, also Note XIX., page 140. 



religious organisations were at the same time causing 
the clergy and ministers of all denominations to 
preach against co-operation, and, as a consequence. 
Dr. King was openly accused of infidelity and 
sedition. The Rev. W. L. Pope, of Tunbridge 
Wells, asserted that his motives were "wicked, 
that his principles were "horrid," and that he him- 
self was " an infidel."* Other critics were almost 
equally abusive. 

Attacks of this character, although wholly unjusti- 
fiable, were not only an annoyance to Dr. King, 
they v>^ere very injurious to his prospects as a 
physician. He had a growing family to support, and 
his advocacy of co-operation had already cost him 
much. By that time, too, the original Brighton 
Society w^as breaking upf and other local societies 
had disappeared. Early in 1830, William Bryan, first 
secretary of the Co-operative Benevolent Association, 
left Brighton suddenly for some unexplained reason, 
and was next heard of in New York, while a number 
of its members, preferring private enterprise to com- 
munal ownership, "departed with their share of the 
capital and . . . built themselves a fishing-boat at 
a cost of £140, out of which venture they realised 
a w^eekly profit of £4. "J The society had travelled 
far since it was first established and directed by Dr. 
King's pupils, and it is likely that his interest in its 
affairs was in consequence less keen than formerly. 

Moreover, he had already accomplished the task 
which he essayed when he published the first of his 

*A Letter to the Rev. W. L. Pope, Tunbridge Wells 
(i82q). See also Note XX., page 141. 

t [The Brighton Society] "has entirely failed, owing to 
its violation of some of the fundamental principles of 
co-operation." Thus Lady Noel Byron, in a letter written 
to Thomas Hirst, on October 13th, 1832. This letter was 
first printed in the Co-oferative News, January Qth, 1802. 

ZThe Co-o-perative Movement (i8qq), by Beatrice Potter 
(Mrs. Sidney Webb), page 45. 



monthly numbers. As he said in the last Co-operator 
published: "The object for which they were com- 
menced has been attained. The principles of 
Co-operation have been disseminated among the 
working classes, and made intelligible to them. The 
certainty of success, if those principles be acted 
upon, has been, we believe we may say. demon- 
strated, and three hundred societies have started up 
to put those principles to the test." 

Active co-operators, almost all of whom were his 
own disciples, regi-etted his decision, and urged Dr. 
King to publisli a new edition of The Co-operator. 
Mr. Thomas Hirst, of Huddersfield, who presided 
over the Fourth Co-operative Congress held at Liver- 
pool in 1832, said "it would be a lasting disgrace 
to co-operators to suffer that work to sink into 
oblivion," for "it had converted hundreds, if not 
thousands, to the cause,"* and the Congress by 
resolution requested its "philanthropic and talented 
author ' to republish the v/ork. This he was un- 
willing to do ; hence The Co-operator is now 
reprinted for the first time. A little later, in 1833, 
Lady Noel Byron, whose friend and adviser he had 
by that time become, proposed that he should visit 
Huddersfield to aid co-operation there, but "his 
professional objects" prevented him from going, and 
he had no further active connection with the early 
co-operative movement. 

VII. 

Other interests were already engaging his attention. 
Several years before he had begun to " obsei-ve and 
study" the medical value of the artificial mineral 
waters then being prepared at Brighton, becoming 
convinced as a result of his inquiries that Dr. Strove. 

* Report of the Fourth Co-oferative Con caress , Liverfool , 
1832, page zz. 



of Dresden, had "introduced among us one of the 
greatest blessings which this country has known in 
the present day. "* He soon became a firm beHever 
in the new method of treating certain diseases, 
finding ere long that ' ' I had a new remedy in my 
hands, with which I could relieve patients whom 1 
was formerly obliged to dismiss as incurable." As 
a consequence his services were much in demand by 
the "class of amateur patients," and from that time 
onward he had "a class of cases to attend whom, 
even in the way of business, the ordinary busy 
practitioner is apt to consider a * bore ' — those not 
unfrequent sufferers know^n as ' confirmed invalids, 
'hopeless incurables,' &c."t 

Still keenly interested in education, he joined the 
Central Society of Education, J a pioneer body led 
by Lord Brougham and Thomas Wyse, M.P., and 
contributed a paper to its second publication in 
which he urged that instruction in hygiene and 
physiology should be given in the schools. A few 
years later, in 1847, he was instrumental in forming 
the Brighton Medical Society. Of this body, which 
in time had ninety members, he was the first presi- 
dent, and at its meetings delivered many lectures on 
medical subjects. In these lectures, afterwards 



■^' Observations on the Artificial Mineral Waters of Dr. 
Strove, of Dresden (1826), by W. King, page 27. 

+ Brighton Gazette ^ October 26th, 1865. 

t " The Central Society of Education was formed under 
the presidency of Lord Denman, the Chief Justice of the 
King"? Bench, with Sir Thomas Wyse, M.P., another active 
labourer in the good cause, for its chairman. Its objects 
were to collect, classify, and diffuse information concerning 
the education of all classes, in every department, and . . . 
to publish articles on the systems already established, 
either in England or abroad, to discuss the value of various 
branches and means of acquiring knowledge. . 
Volumes of interesting essays were published from time to 
time." — George Birkbeck : The Pioneer of Popular Educa- 
tion (1884), ^y J- f^- Godard, page 143. 



published in a volume entitled Medical Essays, Dr. 
King mixed homely wit and proverbial wisdom with 
scientific instruction, and delighted to interlard his 
teaching with quotations drawn from the most 
diverse sources.* 

In 1842, Dr. King was appointed consulting 
physician to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, a 
post which he filled to the satisfaction of. all con- 
nected with that institution, until 1861, when he 
resigned owing to his advancing years. While at 
the hospital he displayed an almost paternal interest 
in the welfare df the younger medical students, never 
hesitating to admonish in oracular fashion any who 
strayed from the narrow paths of personal virtue and 
professional decorum. 

During these years, too, Dr. King was for a short 
time one of the Commissioners — appointed under an 
Act of Parliament, passed in 1826, which made pro- 
vision for the " better regulating, paving, and 
managing the town and the poor thereof" — who 
administered the affairs of Brighton previous to its 
incorporation in 1854. Perhaps the most hotly 
debated question with which he had to deal as 
a member of the local governing body was the 
purchase of the Royal Pavilion. To the purchase 
of this building — offered to the town by the Com- 
missioners of Woods and Forests for the sum of 
£53,000 — there was strong opposition. Dr. King 
ardently supported the purchase, and took a 
prominent part in promoting the Bill enabling the 
Commissioners to raise the necessary money. As 
might be expected, he also keenly interested himself 

* For example, in an essay on A/ilk- aud the Natural 
History of the Cow, read in 184Q, he quoted Homer, 
Herodotus, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Kant, Pliny, Cowper, 
Horace, Byron, Wordsworth, and many other authors, both 
sacred and profane, in a few pages. 



XXX. 



in all questions relating to public health and 
sanitation.* 

VIII. 

Towards the close of his life Dr. King was again 
in touch with prominent workers in the co-operative 
movement, although for a short time only. During 
the thirty years that had elapsed since the last 
number of The Co-operator appeared great changes 
had taken place, both in the form of co-operative 
societies and in the aims of co-operators. Almost 
all of the three hundred societies at work in August, 
1830, had disappeared, the great majority leaving 
scarcely any trace of their transitory existence. 
Owenite Socialism, which once made a great noise 
in the world, had come to an ignoble end in 1843 
with the total collapse of the Queenwood com- 
munity ; almost all of the earlier leaders were either 
dead or in retirement ; the remaining co-operators 
were no longer eager to depart from the "old 
immoral world " or to taste the inexhaustible delights 
of "mutual co-operation" in a small community. 

The seat of authority in the co-operative movement 
had been removed from Brighton to Rochdale, where 
men of sturdy character had re-discovered the 
principles of co-operation and adapted Dr. King's 
teaching to the needs of a new time. Incorporating 

*0n January igth, 1850, as Dr. King was going to the 
hospital, he met a prominent citizen of Brighton, who 
" made some rude observations about the drainage of the 
town, wishing that those who dabbled between cesspools 
were obliged to live in one." To these remarks Dr. King 
made no reply, but went home and wrote the offender a 
letter, in which he stated that, "if each person is not to 
enjoy his own opinion there's an end to discussion. Wc 
must proceed to elect a despotic king of Brighton, and let 
all others hold their tongue, and not even think ! . . . 
Nor do I think it right, just, tolerable, or supportable, that 
the whole town should be forced to make good the grave 
defects of individual houses and proprietors. Those who 
have built bad houses should be compelled to make them 
good." (MS. Book in Brighton Public Library.) 



in their system the essential parts of the Brighton 
form of organisation, they had succeeded in making 
consumers' co-operation popular by rewarding con- 
sumers in proportion to their loyalty as purchasers 
and multipliable by making membership in their 
society open to all who wished to join it.* 

In less than twenty years after the Rochdale 
Pioneers opened their first store nearly three hundred 
and fifty societies were established. f The activities 
of these societies were recorded in a new Co-operaf or, 
which Henry Pitman commenced to publish in June, 
1860. He apparently knew very little of the earlier 
movement, and was unaware that Dr. King had 
published a similar publication thirty years previously. 
Few copies of that old Co-operator had been saved 
from the wreck of the first societies, but in December, 
1862, Mr. Matthew Davenport Hill gave Pitman eight 
numbers of Dr. King's journal. J Fourteen months 
later Mr. Hill reported that he had communicated 
with Dr. King, who had lent him a complete set of 
The Co-operator, and he advised Pitman to introduce 
his new journal to the editor of the old one. 

Acting upon this advice, Henry Pitman wrote to 
Dr. King, from whom he received several interesting 



*The aims of Rochdale Pioneers were hardly distinguish- 
able from those of their predecessors, the methods which 
they adopted were ditl'erent. Whereas the early co-opera- 
tors restricted membership in their societies to a small 
number of persons who were agreed in principle, the 
Rochdale Pioneers invited all to join their society. They 
also divided periodically almost the whole of the money 
saved by joint purchasing among members who traded at 
their store, whereas the first co-operative advocates held 
that all sum? so saved should be added to the collectively- 
owned indivisible capital of the society. The Rochdale 
system eliminated profit, but perpetuated interest— albeit 
at a fixed and moderate rate. Dr. King and his disciple.- 
proposed to abolish both. 

\ Thirty-three Years of Co-operation in Rochdale (1882) 
by G. J. Holyoake, page vi. 



Pitman's Co-oferator , February 1864. 



letters during the next eighteen months.* These 
prove that Dr. King was still a co-operative advocate 
who firmly believed in "the good time coming." 
He rejoiced because the co-operative movement was 
spreading so rapidly, and while he was not 
enamoured by the Rochdale system he recognised 
that dividends would attract many whom argument 
could never reach. The really satisfactory thing, in 
his opinion, was that the co-operative system, having 
"taken firm root" and been found practicable, had 
become one of the institutions of the country. 

Unfortunately, this friendship between King and 
Pitman only continued long enough to reveal the 
true relation of the earlier and later movements. Dr. 
King died at his residence in Brighton on Thursday, 
October 1 9th, 1865, and his body was interred in the 
burial ground attached to Hove Parish Church on the 
following Wednesday — long before the new genera- 
tion of co-operators knew how deeply they were 
indebted to the teaching and pioneer work of "The 
Patriarch of Co-operation." 

IX. 

A man of fine presence. Dr. King was one whose 
striking personality and intellectual gifts fitted him to 
take the lead in any enterprise vsath which he was 
connected. " In stature, features, expression of 
countenance, and intellectual ability, he exceeded 
the average of men," less "favoured by nature. "f 
A remarkable conversationalist, he was ever ready 
to discuss almost everything "in the heavens above, 
or the earth below, or the waters beneath," adding 
to the discussion on any subject much curious 
information collected from out-of-the-way sources. 

* See pages 127-132. 
■\ Brighton Gazette ^ October 26th, 1865. 



Although he refused to take Holy Orders* he was 
deeply interested in theology, and philosophy, and 
metaphysics. Crabb Robinson, who first met him 
in February, 1851, described him as "a sort of 
philosophical enthusiast. " "Dr. King," he wrote, 
" is a free-thinker in the best sense of the word, but 
a conformist. He is a constant attendant and a great 
admirer of Robertson,! and calls himself a church- 
man ; yet to-day he spoke of the English clergy as 
men who had five millions per annum given them to 
misrepresent Christianity. "J 

Lady Noel Byron, whose friend and adviser Dr. 
King was for nearly thirty years, found in him ' at 
once the curious combination of the Christian and 
the cynic — of reverence for MAN and contempt for 
MEN. . . . The example of Christ, imperfectly as 
it may be understood by him, has been ever before 
his eyes ; he woke to the thought of following it, 
and he went to rest consoled or rebuked by it."§ 

* See above page xii. 

+ " Dr. K was expressing surprise at the thoughtful- 

ness and freshness of last Sunday's sermon . . . and 
telling me of the slow and silent results of my teaching 
in revolutionising long habits of thought, life, &c. I 
remarked, that what suri)rised me most was, that I had 
been left so long unmolested, in spite of great grumbling, 
dissatisfaction, and almost personal hatred. He said : ' 1 
can tell you the reason. You preach positively instead of 
negatively ; you state truths which they cannot deny ; they 
can only talk of tendencies, consequences, &c. ; they can 
only say it is dangerous, they dare not say it is false; if 
you were once to preach defensively or controversially it 
would be all over with you, and it would do your heart 
and mind harm besides ; but every one sees that you have 
a message and a truth to establish : you set up your truth, 
and they are dismayed to find, if that be true, their view is 
knocked down; but you did not knock it down.' These 
were not his words, but the substance of what he said, ami 
I think, on the whole, that it is not untrue." — Life and 
Letters of the Rev. F. W. Robertson (1865), by Stopford A. 
Brooke. Vol. I., page 302. 

+ Memoirs of Henry Crahh Robinson, by T. Sadler. 
Vol. III., page 303- 

§ Memoirs of Henry Crabb Robijison, by T. Sadler. 
Vol. III., page 423. 



A philanthropist in the true meaning of that much- 
abused word, Dr. King never established an 
extensive practice among the rich, although he 
numbered among his friends many people prominent 
in his day. He aspired to be "the poor man's 
doctor;" his consulting room was always open to 
the poor ; and his services as a physician were given 
most willingly to those who could offer him no 
remuneration.* Yet, since no one perceived more 
clearly than he did that ' ' charity creates a multitude 
of sins,"t his chief desire was to help the poor to 
help each other to master "pauperism, misery, and 
crime" by forming co-operative associations. 



X. 

For many years after his death British co-operators 
seemed to have entirely forgotten Dr. King ; and 
authors of works on Co-operation, believing that the 
co-operative movement sprang from the loins of 
Robert Owen, traced its history from his communities 
to Rochdale, and taught that the Rochdale Pioneers 
derived their knowledge and inspiration directly 
from Owen's teaching. Even when reference was 
made to the first Co-operative Trading Fund Associa- 



* " The editor happened to know an aged lady at 
Brighton, who for many years was bedridden, and whose 
declining life was cheered by the unfailing Sunday after- 
noon visits of Dr. King. His long friendly talks were 
looked forward to as the event of the week." — Memoirs of 
Henry Crabb Robinson, by T. Sadler. Vol. III., page 424. 

+ " This passed in 1848 between him and Robertson. 
Robertson said to me, ' I want to know something about 
ragged schools.' I replied, ' You had better ask Dr. King ; 
he knows more about them.' ' I ? ' said Dr. King. ' I take 
care to know nothing of ragged schools, lest they should 
make vie ragged.' Robertson did not see through it. 
Perhaps I had been taught to understand such suicidal 
speeches by mv cousin. Lord Melbourne." — Thus Lady 
Noel Byron to Crabb Rohxnson.— Memoirs of Henry Crabb 
Robinson, by T. Sadler. Vol. III., page 423. 



tion Dr. King's name was mentioned only to be 
dismissed in a line, it now appears that he exerted 
a deep and abiding influence on co-operative thought 
and policy in Great Britain. It is at least arguable 
that the co-operative movement would have 
developed along different lines if men who formed 
the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers* Society in 1844 
had not read The Co-operator and profited by the 
teaching of Dr. King. The men who founded the 
famous co-operative provision store in Toad Lane 
were familiar with the history of co-operation in 
Brighton. James Smithies — almost the first co-operator 
to look forward to v\rholesale trading and shipowning — 
at one time possessed a bound volume of The 
Co-operator, afterwards placed in the Pioneers' 
Library, which was read by Samuel Ashworth (their 
first shopman) and others of the Pioneers. Doubtless 
many tributaries contributed to swell the main 
stream of consumers' co-operation, but that which 
had its rise in Brighton was not least among them. 

Co-operators in other countries, viewing the co- 
operative movement in Great Britain from a greater 
distance, and seeing it in different perspective, see 
clearly how great a contribution Dr. King made 
to the theory and practice of consumers' co-opera- 
tion. Sixty years ago, Victor Huber,* the great 
German co-operator, remarked that "as regards 
acute perception and clearness of thought . . . and 
also complete mastery of the situation, the Brighton 
Co-operator is one of the most remarkable produc- 

* Victor Aime Huber, "the father of Co-operation in 
Germany." visited England several times between 1824 
and 1852. In 1854 he made a special inquiry into the 
history and work of the co-operative movement in Great 
Britain, and on his return to Germany, in 1855, published 
a rather large work embodying the results of his inquiries. 
This work contains much valuable information not other- 
wise obtainable. 



XXXVl. 

tions in British literature." Dr. Hans Miiller,* who 
contributed a summary of The Co-operator's teaching 
to the second Year BooJ^ of International Co-opera- 
tion, described Dr. King as "a very important 
co-operative theorist, a thinker, who even in our 
time and with regard to our contemporary movement 
has much to say." More recent writers, especially 
in America, bear similar testimony. Mr. Albert 
Sonnichsen calls Dr. King the "first prophet" of 
modern co-operation, whose "vision penetrated 
clearly into the distant future;"! Mr. John Graham 
Brooks refers to him as ' ' one of the intellectual 
pioneers of English co-operation [who] avoided 
most of the mistakes about competition into which 
later writers fell ;"J and eulogistic accounts of him 
are included in several co-operative text-books 
published in Germany, Finland, Russia, and other 
European countries. § 

British co-operators also, who have hitherto known 
little of Dr. King, and who have in consequence 
failed to give him his rightful place in the history of 
co-operation, will in future regard him differently. 
They will see in him an original man, a revolutionary 

*Dr. Hans Miiller, born at Rostock in 1867, was 
appointed secretary of the Swiss Co-operative Union in 
1896, and of the International Co-operative Alliance in 
igoS, continuing to hold the latter office until 1Q14. In iqoo 
he visited Great Britain for the purpose of studying British 
co-operative institutions. The author of the standard 
history of co-operation in Switzerland, he has also 
published many books and pamphlets on the economic 
theory of co-operation. In 1Q05 he delivered the Inaugural 
Address at the Paisley Congress, being the first foreign 
co-operator to enjoy that distinction. 

■\ Consumers' Co-oferation (igig), by Albert Sonnichsen, 
pages 15-21. 

X Labor's Challenge to the Social Order (1920), by J. G. 
Brooks, page ago. 

§ As the present volume is being prepared the post brings 
the first number of a new Polish co-operative paper, which 
contains an article on ^' Doktor Wiljam King." 



thinker, a Christian Socialist who anticipated the 
teaching of Maurice and his school. And when, as 
time passes, and the history of the co-operative 
movement lengthens, the greater makers of Co-opera- 
tive Democracy begin to stand out like mountain 
peaks against a background of forgotten Time, it 
will appear that William King was perhaps the chief 
of these. 

T. W. MERCER. 




f 



NOTE. 



Dr. WILLIAM KING'S WRITINGS. 



The writings of Dr. King, who was an energetic pamphleteer, 
include the following works : — 

" A Letter on the subject of Mechanics* Institutions '* (extracted 
from the Brighton Herald). Brighton, 1825. 

" Observations on the Artificial Mineral Waters of Dr. Strove, of 
Dresden, prepared at Brighton ; with Cases." Brighton, 1826. 

The Co-operator. Brighton, 1828-30. 

" The Institutions of De Fellenberg." London, 1842. 

" Medical Essays read before the Brighton and Sussex Medico" 
Chirurgical Society." Brighton, 1850. 

" Cemeteries : Two Lectures delivered before the Members of the 
Brighton Medico-Chirurgical Society." Brighton, 1853. 

"Thoughts and Suggestions on the Teaching of Christ." (Post- 
humous). London, 1872.* 

* This work was published in 1872. after its author's death, at the request of Lady 
Byron. " who left him, in her will, a sum of money, hoping, as she said, that it might be 
in part dedicated to the promulgation of those ideas which had given her so much 
pleasure and consolation." This volume was dedicated to Dr. King's widow, "who was 
(to use his own words) the greatest blessing that God ever bestowed upon a man. 



PORTRAITS OF Dr. KING. 



The following is a list of portraits of Dr. King at present in 
existence : — 

Painting by , in possession of Gratwicke Boxall ; this has been 

photographed and engraved small. 

Large Chalk Drawing, now in the possession of Major G. Lionel 

King. 
Picture by Paul Mulready, in hands of C. Stewart-King. 

Picture by Masquerier, now in the possession of Major G. Lionel 

King. 
Photo by L. Lieuliette, reproduced as frontispiece to this volume. 
Photo by Merrick, Brighton, reproduced and included in this volume. 
Bust at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 




Dk. King. 

From a Plioto^iraph, 




i:nh,-rfs. r.niilil.i 



r^lKs. King. 

I-'ioiii a Fhotoj^raph taken in lb6I. 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 1. MAY 1, 1828. Id. 



A Co-operative Society, like all other Societies, such as benefit 
Clubs, Trade Societies, Savings' Banks, is for the purpose of 
avoiding some evils, which men are exposed to when they act singly, 
and of obtaining some advantages which they must otherwise be 
deprived of. 

The evils which co-operation is intended to combat, are some of 
the greatest to which men are liable, viz. the great and increasing 
difficulties of providing for our families, and the proportionate 
danger of our falling into pauperism and crime. 

Let us consider these more at length. 

The rate of wages has been gradually diminishing for some 
hundred years, so that now it is not above one-third of what it used 
to be — but this is not all, for the same causes continuing to act, the 
wages must go on diminishing till a workman will not be able to 
maintain a family; and by the same rule, he will at last not be able 
to maintain himself. This conclusion it is frightful to think of, 
but whether we think of it or not, it will march on in its own silent 
way, till it unexpectedly overwhelms us like a flood. 

But are we certain that this is true? — are we really approaching 
any thing like starvation, in spite of any labor and industry we may 
exert? I am afraid that this is certainly true; and I will give you 
other reasons for thinking so. 

PAUPERISM. 

Why do people become paupers? — because they must either go to 
the parish, or starve. And this necessity has operated so widely, 
that the independent day laborer has almost ceased to exist. The 
country laborer who can, in many respects, live cheaper than we 
can in a town ; who can have his garden, and raise his own 
potatoes, &c. can now very seldom live without the parish aid : 
and it is a common rule to make an allowance for each child, above 
a certain number. The same situation has begun to besot the 
mechanic. He is frequently obliged to go without work a day or 
two in the week, or to have his wages lowered. If this goes on, he 
must also come to the parish. 



( 2) 

But parish relief does not cure the evil — for uiany have too much 
principle or pride to apply; and many are deterred, sometimes by 
living at a distance, and sometimes by the opposition and frowns 
they meet with : so that there are many families after all, who, 
though they do not starve, yet live constantly upon short allowance, 
and many days do not put victuals into their mouths. 

But farther — it might seem very strange to talk of pauperism and 
starvation at this rate, if it were for the first time; but I am only 
repeating what has been said by every body and every newspaper. 
We know that not long ago, hundreds and thousands of mechanics 
in the manufacturing counties, would have died of starvation, if the 
hand of charity had not helped them, and that many did, never- 
theless, die of fevers and diseases, brought on by famine : and we 
all know by the newspapers, that no subject is more hackneyed in 
parliament, than the state of the poor, and none has engaged the 
attention of government more anxiously : and it appears, by the 
Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, lately 
published, that there are large classes of people in Scotland, whose 
wages just enable them to exist, and no m^re. 

CRIME. 

I will now pass on to the great and serious evil connected with 
low wages and pauperism, which is also as plainly acknowledged as 
the other, which is the increase of crime. When men cannot live 
upon their own wages, they will look to other means, and necessity 
will drive them upon crimes they would never, otherwise, have 
thought of. The great increase in crime, of late years, is men- 
tioned by the Judges with the deepest regret. It is said to be three 
time greater than it was twenty years ago, in proportion to the 
population. It is not so much for great crimes, like murder and 
forgery, but for others, connected with low wages and difficulty of 
living, that men are now brought to justice. What one man will 
do from necessity, another will — and all will be gradually brought, 
to make up by dishonesty and crime, for the defect of their wages. 

If these things are not enough to frighten us, I don't know what 
is — PAUPERISM and crime a,re the greatest evils in existence. But in 
fact they do frighten us, and alarm every body who thinks; and 
they make many begin to think who never thought before. 

But you will say, why state these things so strongly? — why 
aggravate evils which are bad enough of themselves? Our situation 
is hard, but it cannot be helped; and what can't be cured must be 
endured. We are now come to the very point at issue; the pith of 
the question. These evils may be cured; and the remedy is in our 
own hands. The remedy is Co-operation, and I shall now explain 
its principles and advantages. 

Co-operation means, literally, " working together." Union is 
strength in all cases, and without exception. Many hands make 
short work. What one man cannot do, two may. What is 
impossible for a few, is easy for many. But before many can work, 
they must join hand in hand; they must know their object, and feel 
a common interest and a common tie. At present we work one 
against another, — when one of us gets work, another loses it; and 
we seem natural enemies to each other. The plain reason of this is, 
because we work for others, not for ourselves. Let us therefore 
begin to work for ourselves, and not entirely for others. Again — 
at present, in working for others, we get for ourselves only a small 
part, some say, one-eighth, some, one-fourth of the produce of our 
work. If, in any way, we could work for ourselves, we should get 
the whole. How is this to be done? As we have no capital, we are 
obliged to find a master to give us employment, and we must work 
for common wages. 



( 3 ) 

This is ti'ue — it is CAPITAL we want : and now let us consider 
how this capital is to be raised. We shall find that it is by no 
means an impossibility. Union and saving will accumulate it. 

Many of us belong to Friendly Societies, which have accumulated 
a large capital, by small weekly deposits; many of us have saved 
sums of money in the Savings' Banks; the thing, therefore, is very 
possible, for it has already been done in one way, and may there- 
fore bo done in another. We must form ourselves into a Society 
for this especial purpose ; we must form a fund by weekly deposits ; 
as soon as it is large enough, we must laj- it out in various 
commodities, which we must place in a common store, from which 
all members must purchase their common necessaries, and the 
profit will form a common capital to bo again laid out in the 
commodities most wanted. Thus we shall have two sources of 
accumulation — the weekly subscription, and the profit on articles 
sold. Suppose 200 persons thus unite, and subscribe each, a shilling 
a week, and by purchasing at their own store, produce a profit of 
£20. a week, they will accumulate at the rate of £30. a week, or 
£1560. a year. This capital, by being judiciously turned over, will 
accumulate even faster than at the rate here mentioned, and may 
be employed in any. way the Society may think most advisable. 

The Society will be able now to find work for some of its own 
members, the whole produce of whose lahoi- will lie common 
property, instead of that small part of which we spoke. As the 
capital accumulates still farther, it will employ all the members, 
and then the advantages will be considerable indeed. Every member 
of the society will work, there will be no idlers. All the property 
will be common property, there will be no Pauperism or Crime. 
When any of the members are ill, they will live and have medical 
attendance at the common expense. 

When the capital has accumulated sufficiently, the Society may 
purchase land, live upon it, cultivate it Ihomselves, and produce 
any manufactures they please, and so provide for all their wants 
of food, clothing, and houses. The Society will then be called a 
Community. 

When the members are too old to work, they will still live com- 
fortably among their friends, and end their days in peace and 
plenty, instead of a workhouse. 

When a man dies, the Community will receive his widow and 
children into their bosom; she will not know the pangs of desertion, 
nor be obliged to send her children to the parish. 

The children will be fed, clothed and educated at the common 
expense, and when grown up may become iiioiiibers of the Com- 
munity, or go into the world properly prepared to earn their own 
li\nng. 

But if the members choose to remain in a town, instead of going 
into a community, they may derive all the advantages from the 
Society, which I have stated. We must go to a shop every day to 
buy food and necessaries — why then should we not go to our own 
shop? We viu.tt send our children to school — why should we not 
have a school of our own, where we could bring up our children to 
useful trades, and make them good workmen and sober lads? We 
might also bring up our girls to learn all the useful work of women, 
and such manufactures as might be beneficial to the Society. 

If wo continue to go on as we do at present, every year makes our 
situation more distressing, and brings us and our children nearer 
to Pauperism and Crime. 

If we unite, as I have shewn we may do, either in a Society or a 
Community, in a few years we shall have capital, comfort and 
independence. 

If the evils of our present state are so grievous, and the advan- 
tages of Co-operation promise to be so great, you may ask, why 



( 4 ) 

has this not been seen before? I answer in one word, Ignorance. 
We are born ignorant— brought up ignorant— we live and die 
IGNORANT. We are like men groping in thick darkness. We might 
walk over a precipice as easily as not. W^e are totally blind. 
Having ears we hear not : having eyes we see not. The first step, 
therefore towards Co-operation, and the first and last step to make 
it successful, is to remove this ignorance by every means in our 
power. We must take this thick veil from our eyes, and behold, 
learn and study, the glorious creation of God. The knowledge of 
this creation is abundantly scattered about us — we have only to 
pick it up. Ignorance, Pauperism and Crime, are three inseparable 
companions. 

Boforo I conclude, I must add a few words respecting the moral 
and religious principles of such a Community. Little, however, 
need be said, because it is self-evident that the fundamental basis 
of such a Society, is to "love your neighbour as yourself." This 
is the great social Commandment of our Saviour, and it is equally 
the great main spring of the actions of such a Community. No 
man but a real christian is fit for such a Community. In common 
life, it is impossible to act upon this principle. We must love 
ourselves first — our neighbour second. But in a Community our 
own interest is much better secured in that of the Community, than 
we could possibly secure to ourselves; therefore interest and duty 
would go hand in hand. 

Let us now take a short view of the whole question. 

THINGS AS THEY ARE. THINGS AS THEY MAY BE. 

Ignorance, Useful Knoirledge, 

Pauperism, Moral and Religious Principles, 

Crime, Independence, 

Envy, Provision for Sickness, Old Age, 

Hatred, TVidovrs, Orphans. 

Malice, Common Lahoitr, 

All Vncharitahle.ness. Common Property. 



Societies upon this principle, riz. that of (tcciimnlating a common 
Capital, and investing it in Trade, and so making ten per cent, of 
it, instead of investing it in the funds, at only four or four and a 
half, with the intention of ultimately purchasing land, and living in 
COMMUNITY, have been established at the folloiring places: — 

36, Red Lion Square, London; 
.37, West Street, Brighton: 
10, Queen's Place, Brighton; 
20, Marine Place, Worthing : 

Where Works on the subject of Co-operation may be had. 



N.B.—The 2nd Number of the "CO-OPFRATOR " vill be published 
on June 1, 1828. 



Sickelmore, Printers, Brighton. 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS I 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 2. 



JUNE 1, 1828. 



Id. 



STAFFORDSHIRE POTTERIES. 

The following extracts are taken from a private letter, written 
by a man of business, living at the potteries, in Staffordshire. In 
consequence of the abundance of fine clay, which is found in that 
part of England, manulactories have long been established, for 
making all kinds of Porcelain, China, and Pottery ware, but more 
particularly the fine sorts. The demand for them has been so great, 
among the rich, that immense fortunes have been made by many 
of the masters engaged in the trade. Immense sums of money 
must therefore have been spent, among the "working classes, 
who produced these valuable articles. Yet the portion, which fell 
to the share of the workmen has been extremely small, and appears, 
by this letter, to be still diminishing. It is for this reason, that the 
" EXTRACTS " are laid before the friends of Co-operation, in order 
to establish one grand fundamental truth, viz. " Tliat wages have 
diminished, are diminishing, and must continue to diminish, as long 
as the WORKING classes work for others : and that when they begin 
to work for themselves, they will begin to accumulate that capital, 
and those comforts, which are now possessed only by the masters, 
and what are called the upper classes." 



EXTRACTS. 

" No accurate statement of wages can be obtained from the 
masters, because it would expose to public view, the internal state 
of the business, and the iiuijrecented state of low wages, which 
every manufacturer feels to be somewhat disgraceful from whatever 
cause it may proceed." 

" The master would always wish to have it thought by the 
public, that he gives more for the manufacturing his goods, than he 
really does." 

" It is admitted, by every person, resident in this country, that 
there is a great mass of suffering in the Staffordshire Potteries, 
owing to the low state of wages — the want of employment — and the 
high price of the necessaries of life." 



(2) 

" That there is a great deal of suffering, may be also inferred 
from a well known fact, viz. the extreme difficulty of collecting the 
Poor Kates : many who are chargeable with them, are found on 
being visited, actually to stand in need of their aid. They are more 
fit to receive charity, than to pay taxes. Hundreds of workmes 
are hovering round the Parish Vestry, for relief. Many of these, 
a few years ago, were in comfortable circumstances, and would have 
revolted at the idea of applying for parochial relief. This Parish 
is more than ten thousand pounds in debt." 

"At some manufactories; married men, having families, are 
working six full days, and four nights, till nine and ten o'clock, 
for SEVEN, EIGHT, and eleven shillings a week. The very highest 
wages, of the swiftest men at such manufactories, are never more 
than THIRTEEN shillings a-week, for fifteen or sixteen hours a day, 
of intense labor." 

" Lads, from sixteen to twenty years of age, are working fifteen 
hours a-day, for two shillings, half a crown, and three shillings 
a-week. Females from sixteen to twenty years of age, are earning 
two shillings, three shillings, and three shillings and six-pence 
a-week ; the hours of labor being from twelve to fifteen hours 
a-day." 

" Men, having large families of six, seven, or eight children, and 
earning eight or ten shillings a-week, are more distressed than any 
other persons in the community, because, either they can get no 
employment for their children, or if employed, the earnings are not 
more than one shilling a-week for a boy or girl of fourteen or 
fifteen years of age." 

" Workmen, who are earning eight shillings a-week, have, in 
many cases, fii'c shillings' worth of truck, i. e. goods in kind, at 
thirty or fifti/ per cent, dcnrer than the market price." 

"Many prices for manufacturing common icare, are three and 
four times lower than they were twenty years ago, when the price 
of agricultural produce was only one-third or one-half of the present 
price." 

" Many branches of the Pottery business, are exceedingly 
unhealthy. The smoke, sulphur, and pei-nicious gasses, which the 
workmen constantly inhale, bring on disease and a lingering state 
of suffering, which is much increased and aggravated, for want of 
the comforts and conveniences of life. The unhealthiness of this 
kind of labour has been much increased, of late years, by the 
greater and closer confinement of the workmen. The Potter, having 
less wages for his labor, is obliged to labor more hours. Formerly, 
he used to take a certain cjuantity of exercise in the day — in the 
field, or in his garden, but now he is obliged to be in the manu- 
factory constantly, almost day and night." 

" This is no high colored, or exaggerated account, but is founded 
in truth; and might be proved to be correct, by hundreds of 
eye-witnesses, before the House of Commons, or any tribunal in 
the kingdom. Bills of wages might be obtained, to confirm the 
statement, which would be so many facts, which could not be 
contradicted." 

" This is the state of the working classes in general, throughout 
the Potteries. A few individuals are more fortunate. In certain 
situations and departments, in which more genius, skill, and clever- 
ness are required, some workmen are doing well, and earning what 
may be called liberal wages, i. e. thirty shillings a-week. But the 
number of these bears no more proportion to the great mass of the 
workmen, than the officei's of a regiment do to the mass of privates 
of which it is composed." 

" In most manufactories, there are from seven to ten weeks' play 
or holiday, in the course of a year." 

" Those who keep holiday, not more than four or five weeks in 
the year, are considered fortunate. One large manufactory has kept 

6 



(3) 

holiday ten weeks, since Christmas. All these holidays tend greatly 
to add to the distress of the workman, as he is unable to lay by 
any thing beforoliaiid, out of his small earnings, to meet the holiday, 
and nine times out of ten, the master refuses to lend any thing." 

REMARKS. 

1. These " extracts " prove that there is a great deal of distress 
among the workmen of the Potteries. They work long days, and 
sometimes during part of the night. They work beyond their own 
strength. They bring upon themselves diseases, and a weak state 
of health, by their exertions. They have no time for amusement 
or relaxation. The women work, as well as the men. As soon as 
the children are old enough, they begin their labor. Having once 
begun, they go on, day after day, and year after year, till their 
bodies are worn out — a premature old age comes on — they have laid 
by no provision for themselves; they must, therefore, die in a 
workhouse. 

2. All this labor produces a proportionable quantity of China 
and Pottery. It is no benefit to the workmen, as they do not use 
it. It goes to supply the wants of the public. But china is a 
durable article, if taken care of. The public get supplied. More 
china is made than is actually wanted. The same number of work- 
men is no longer required. Some of them, therefore, are either 
turned off, or their wages lowered. This consequence is inevitable : 
it actually happens. The abundance of the produce makes it of less 
value — and makes the workmen of less value. The more the 
workman toils, tlio harder he works, the nioie time he labois, the 
greater is the quantity of work done, the less its value, and the less 
the value of the workman. Therefore, his wages and comforts are 
diminishing every day. 

3. This is the first time we have heard of the distress of the 
Potters. The men have never made any disturbance, and are 
unknown to the public. We have heard of distress in other 
manufactories, but not in these. The letter, from which we have 
made these extracts, is a private one, and fell into our way, 
accidentally. 

4. The conclusion which seems most fair to be drawn, from these 
circumstances, is, that the distress of the working classes is 
universal. Wherever you go, you hear of hard work, low wages, 
and pauperism. This distress is the inevitable consequence of 
working for others, instead of working for themselves. Hard work, 
over production, low wages, follow each other in a natural and 
necessary order. 

5. The state of things is not the fault of the masters, nor of the 
inhumanity, nor of the contrivances of any person, or set of persons. 
We know a master manufacturer, in the Potteries, who is extremely 
humane to all his servants and workmen, and gives handsome 
salaries to those immediately about him. To do so to every work- 
man, would be impossible. It would drive him out of the market, 
and ruin his manufactory. The general rate of wages depends 
entirely upon the rlemand for, and supply of labor. As long as the 
produce of the workman does not belong to himself, the very work 
which he does, will tend to diminish the demand for it, and, there- 
fore, to lower his wages. But if, by any means, the working 
classes could contiive to work for themselves, all the evil of over 
production would immediately vanish, and the workmen would be 
surrounded by plenty, instead of distress. As long as workmen act 
singly, they cannot work for themselves; for to do that, they want 
a capital: but if a number of workmen would join together, in 
Co-operation, they might then save a capital, which, in time, would 
enable them to work for themselves, upon that capital, as easily as 



(4) 

they now work for a master, upon the capital possessed by the 
master. 

This we believe to be self-evident ; — if a master has capital enough 
to employ an hundred men, and those men, by their work, return 
that capital with profit — if those men had that capital, as a 
common property, they certainly could support themselves upon it, 
as before, till their work was brought to market, and the capital 
returned with a profit. 

Co-operation is a subject entirely for the workiiuj classes. The 
rich have nothing to do with it. A large class of mankind, are born 
to hihor, and expect to labor all their lives. They do not repine 
at this; they know it is the wi!l of Proridence, whose ways, although 
they are dark and unsearchable, are full of mrrcy and wisdom. 
But it is natural for the workman to wish for comforts after his 
work is done. When he has worked hard for ten or sixteen hours 
during the day, he ought to have comfortable food, clothing and 
lodging. We believe this, also, to be the will of <^od, and that He, 
in due time, will bring it to pass. 

Let the working rlci.t.ies, therefore, consider these things, and lay 
them to heart. Let those, who cannot see any farther, look to 
Co-operation as a provision for themselves and their families. Let 
those, who look upon this life in a religious point of view, as a 
scene that is passing away, and as a passage to another and a better 
world, carry their religion into Co-operation, as a society of fellow 
workmen and fellow christians, among whom all the kindly virtues 
of a christian may be exercised with infinitely more effect than can 
be under present circumstances. Let them carry the idea of their 
Heavenly Father's presence and care into such a society, and pray 
for His Blessing upon its exertions and conduct, as earnestly as they 
now do, for such direction and protection over their own families. 

" // this work be of men, it will come to nought; but, if it be of 
God, it will prosper, and cannot be over-turned." 



Co-operative Societies have been established at 

36, Red Lion Square, London ; 

37, West Street, Brighton; 
10, Queen's Place, Brighton; 
20, Marine Place, Worthing : 

Where Works on the subject of Co-operation may be had. 



(To be continued.) 



SICKELMORE, BRIGHTON. 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 3. JULY 1, 1828. Id. 



THE VALUE OF LABOUR. 

The WORKING CLASSES have no idea of the real value of their own 
LABOUR. When a man has done a week's work, and received his 
wages for it, he thinks he has received the whole value of his work : 
but this is by no means the case. He has not received above one- 
fourth part of the real value. He has made a bargain with his 
master, that he will give a week's work for a certain sum of money. 
Whether this be much or little, it is called, vulgarly, the value of 
work. But this is merely a common phrase. It is a very indefinite 
one, and from long habit, has become confounded in the minds 
10 of the WORKING CLASSES, with the whole value of the work done. 
If wages were the whole value of the work, how could the 
master take the work to market, sell it for more money than he 
gave for it, and grow rich upon tlie profit, while the workman grows 
poor upon the wages? This would be impossible. Therefore it is 
evident that the workman does not got the whole value of his work; 
and it is also evident that if he did he would grow rich, just as the 
master does. 

In the days in which we live, many persons have amused them- 
selves with making calculations, about the share which the 
20 WORKMAN gets of the produce of his labour. These calculations 
are very laborious and troublesome to make, and are liable to 
a great deal of uncertainty and inaccuracy. But they all prove 
one thing very clearly, viz. that the wagks which a workmiai receives, 
are only a very moderate portion of the value of the work done by 
him. 

We believe that this idea is cjuite new to the working classes. 

They think that their wages are the whole value of the work which 

is done by them. This is their great mistake : and it arises from 

their ignorance, of which it is the natural consequence. They 

30 know nothing, and learn nothing, but how to work hard, and 

how to spend their wages, in what they call self-enjoyment. 

9 



( 2 ) 

What becomes of the work thoy have done, the corn they have 
grown, the manufactures they have made, the houses they have 
built, they never think about. When they walk about the streets, 
they never reflect that they built all the houses, all the carriages 
and waggons, that they see ; and made all the clothes and fine 
dresses that people wear. They imagine, somehow, that the masters 
who employed them, and paid their wages, made all these things, 
and that the wages paid to them, were a sort of act of kind- 
40 ness, and liberal generosity : the wages are paid to workmen 
just as parish allowance is paid to paupers, not because they 
have a right to them, but because the masters are kind enough to 
do it, upon some good or religious principle. 

All this arises from their ignorance, or want of reflection : from 
their not asking themselves how it is, that they who do not work 
grow rich, while those who do work grow poor. If they would only 
ask themselves this one very simple question, and search about till 
they find an answer to it, they would discover the secret, and learn 
how to grow rich, or at least independent, like many of their 
50 masters, and like all those who are called the upper classes. 

It must be so, and could not be otherwise : for all the wealth 
of the world, that ever did exist, or ever will exist, must necessarily 
be produced by the working classes, and by them alone. Wealth 
consists of FOOD, clothes, and houses principally. These, and every 
thing else, must be made by the workman. They are the works of 
some individual men. They are not made by masters, nor by men 
of capital, but by those, and those only, who labour. 
It often happens, that a piece of work, for which the workman 
receives but a few shillings, will last for many years — or if 
60 taken care of, for ages. It will be extremely useful to the 
possessor : it may be absolutely necessary to him, for his 
pursuits and studies : it may be a means of gaining him a livelihood : 
it may be a constant source of amusement and happiness to him : 
and yet the workman who made it, converts the few shillings he 
received for it, into food, which he consumes in a few hours; and 
there ends the value and enjoyment of his work. Thus the work- 
man exchanges the happiness of a few hours for the happiness of 
many years. Can any thing be more absurd than this? Would a 
workman do this if he were aware of it, if he did not think 
70 himself under an absolute necessity of doing it? in short, would 
he do it, if he did not think, in a very strange way, somehow or 
other, that he would be really reduced to starvation, unless he 
exchanged his labour according to this plan? 

You say if the workman did not do this he would starve ! Who 
is to starve the workman? The workman is the only person who 
grows all the food. Cannot he eat the food which he has himself 
grown? yes, you will say, if his master will let him. But if the 
workman does not grow the food, will the master grow it. Certainly 
not : he does not work. If the workman does not grow the food, 
80 nobody else will ; and all the world must starve — not the work- 
man only, but every body else. How is it then, that when the 
workman has grown the food, or made a valuable piece of goods, 
he can scarcely get enough food to support life, or a tolerable 
stock of domestic comforts? Every body else has plenty. But the 
man who grew the food, or makes the cloth, or builds the houses, 
can scarcely get any food, or clothing, or a house to live in ! 

This is certainly a most extraordinary fact. People in the present 

day, are fond of talking about facts of all kinds. They hunt about 

for such as are new or extraordinary, but we may well defy 

90 them to find one which is more extraordinary than this — " the 

distrei^s of the working classe.t." If they were to speak of the 

distress of the non-working classes, we should not be surprised : 

10 



( 3 ) 

but it certainly /■■< surprising to hear, tliat the only people who aro 
in distress, are those, and those only, who produce all the food, 
clothes, and houses, of the world. 

Yes, this is a very extraordinary fact. All the non-workino 
classes have plenty : all the working classes are in distress. You 
will say. if this bo true, it must be the consequence of some great 

system of injustice in the world. The rich must have tyrannised 
100 over the workmen, and reduced them to want, and distress. 

We answer, no such thing. How can the rich, who are few 
in number, tyrannise over the workmen, who are many tinips more 
numerous than themselves.^ This is impossible; that the few 
should be stronger than the many. The cause of all this must there- 
fore be sought in something else. As it is at present, the workman 
makes his bargain with his master, and every man, however stupid, 
knows that "« bargain in n barrjdiv." 

Yes, this is a vciy extraordinary fact. All the non-working 

DO NOT W'ORK FOR THEMSELVES. The workman sells his time, 
110 strength, skill, and labour, all his ingenuitj', all his cleverness, 

all his industry, all his health, to his master. If he performed 
a thousand times as much work as he does, ho would be no better 
off. His master would be the only person benefitted. The greater 
the quantity of work done, the richer would be the masters and 
upper classes become; but not a jot richer would the workman be. 
Indeed the very contrary is proved to be the fact. For the working 
classes have now, by the aid of machinerj', which they have 
themselves invented, produced such an abundance of food, and all 

kinds of necessaries, that their labour is no longer wanted. 
120 " The market, say the wise ones, is over-stocked with work- 

" men : there are too many poor : too many of the lower 
" orders : too much population. The workmen must be sent out of 
" the kingdom — they are the greatest evil we have to contend 
" against. If we could but get rid of the working classes, we 
" should do very well." 

Such are the reflections, which are every day made, upon the 
piesent state of things. Which prove completely, that if the 
workmen were to produce a thousand times as much as they do, 

they would be no better off : or rather, that the more food, 
130 clothes, and houses they produce, the fewer necessaries, 

comforts and enjoyments they must themselves necessarily 
possess. 

But would this be the case if the working classes worked for 
THEMSELVES, and not for others? Most certainly not. They 
already produce enough for themselves, and all the world besides. 
Therefore if they worked for themselves alone, they would be 
supplied most abundantly — not only with the necessaries of life, 
but with all its luxuries into the bargain. 

It is difBcult no doubt, to believe that this would be tho 
140 case: and, supposing that we could convince ourselves that 

plenty of food and comforts would flow in upon the working 
classes, if they were to contrive to work for themselves, instead of 
others: yet, that if is so great an if, that it may seem at first 
sight, ridiculous to expect it, or to indulge the slightest hope that 
it can ever come to pass. 

The workman of the present day, unlike the " bold and virtuous 
peasantry " of old — " their country's pride," do not 

"Jocund drive their team a-field; " 
nor when 

150 " The ciirff ir tolls the knell of parting day," 

do they return to a peaceful cottage, a plentiful table, and an 
affectionate family of children, who, in grateful return for a 

11 



(4 ) 

careful education, will support with filial piety the steps of their 
aged parents; and with the toil of their own liands supply every 
wish, and satisfy every want : and at last, with decent obsequies, 
deposit their remains in the silent tomb, purcliascd and adorned by 
the fruits of their own honest independence. 

On the contrary, the child of modern distress, utters his first cry 

in the borrowed robes of charity : is indebted perhaps, to a 
160 stranger, for that food which ought to make him still longer a 

part of his mother : then, as soon as he has found his feet, 
runs the round of courts and alleys : picks up the vice and filth of 
a crowded city : learns to lie, and tell a hardened tale at the Over- 
seers' Board : forced in due time to earn a part of his pittance, in 
the close, unhealthy, crowded manufactory, Vjegging the other part 
weekly, as a charitable boon, or demanding it sulkily, as a legal 
right : till open, or legal vice makes him in turn a parent, " like 
father, like son," to transmit his depravity and misery to posterity ; 

a noble theme for the wits of legislators ! 
170 Such is too often the picture of modern workmen. Such, in 

our last number, we shewed was the history of many a family, 
who were once worthy and knew better days. Their best days have 
been given to enrich their masters : their worst days remain as a 
portion for themselves. Nevertheless, let them not despair. Having 
sought for independence in one direction, and found it not, let 
them look for it in another. As their masters cannot make them 
independent, let them look to one another. Let them consult 
together. Let them improve their minds. Let them examine the 

principles of Co-operation. Let them learn to look upon each 
180 other as friends — not as foes : as friends, working for one 

another, and enjoying the whole produce of their labour; not 
as foes, working against each other, and so giving' tlie greater part 
of the produce of their labour to their masters. 

Our motto is "knowledge and union are power; " that is, that 
the working classes by uniting with one another in labour, in 
cultivating, improving and enlightening their minds and hearts by 
acquiring useful knowledge, and a disposition of friendship towards 
each other, would obtain the power of making themselves 

independent : the power of rising above want : the power of 
190 commanding all the comforts of life : the power of spending 

their old age in peace and plenty : the power of bringing up 
their children in industry, virtue, and religion : and thus, the 
power of being happy here in time, and happy hereafter in 

ETERNITT. 



Societies upon the principle of Co-operation have been estab- 
lished at the following places : — 

36, Red Lion Square, London : 

37, West Street, Brighton : 
10, Queen's Place, Brighton : 
20, Marine Place, Worthing : 

Where Works on the subject may be had. 



To be continued Monthly. 



SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

12 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION AKE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS TS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 4. AUGUST 1, 1828. Id. 



CO-OPERATION CONSIDERED WITH RESPECT TO 
SUCH CASES AS THAT OF THE KIDDERMINSTER 
CARPET WEAVERS. 

1. We have not yet said enough to explain, clearly, the principles 
of Co-operation — or to shew in wliat manner the working classes 
might begin to form Co-operative Societies. Yet the disagreement 
which has taken place, at Kidderminster, is so important, and is so 
sure to be followed by other disputes, between the masters and the 
WORKING CLASSES, that it may be worth while to take a co-operative 
view of the (|ueslion ; and to shew that if the strike is to be 
continued — if the men are to liokl out ag;iiust the masters, and to 
be supported by a subscription from the different trades, the money 
so raised, might be applied much more effectually than ever it has 
been before. 

2. Co-operation being a subject qiiite new to the working classes, 
it is natural they should be ignorant of it. If it has ever been 
heard of, by any of them, it has been in such a way as to make it 
appear completely visionary. It has always been connected with 
the idea, that in order to carry it tnto practice, large sums of 
money are absolutely necessary. The smallest sum ever men- 
tioned, as .sufficient for the purpose, is £20,000. From this, the 
advocates of the system have gradually risen to as much as one 
million. 

3. Such representations do not dispose people even to consider the 
subject : they rather tend to make them incredulous, and to turn 
away their heads whenever the subject is alluded to. Yet the great 
beauty of Co-operation is, that it may be begun without any capital 
at all. A man wants nothing but his wages, and an honest com- 
panion to begin. If they can find a third to join them, they may 
say, " a thioe-fold cord is not soon broken." They may subscribe, 
weekly, towards a common fund, to provide against sickness, or 
want of woi-k. They may market for each other. They may buy 
a large quantity of goods at once, and so get an abatement in price 
—which abatement they may throw into a common stock. If they 
arc of diffei-ent trades, they may make domestic articles of comfort 
for each other, and exchange 'them. They may do this at odd 
times, or after work hours. 

4. If a nuniber of workmen were to join together, upon these 
principles, their capital would be greater, and they might do 

13 



( 2 ) 

greater things. They might have a shop of their own, where they 
might deal, for every thing they wanted. Their shop would enter 
into competition with other shops, in serving the public. As the 
business increased, the profits and the capital would increase. As 
the capital increased, it would employ the members of the Society, 
in any way which might be deemed most advantageous. If there 
was a profitable demand in the public, for any particular com- 
modity, the members might manufacture it. If the profits of 
manufactures were not high enough to make it worth producing 
them, the members might easily raise their own food, by hiring or 
purchasing land, and becoming, pai't of them, agriculturists, 
instead of manufacturers. 

5. These are the simple principles of Co-operation, concisely 
stated. It is evident from these, that however valuable capital 
may be, it is not necessary for beginning Co-operation — but that 
the basis, and secret of Co-operation, is lahour. Take away from 
the produce of labour what is necessary for the comfortable support 
of the workman — the remainder is' profit — which saved, and 
accumulated, becomes capital; upon which the workman, and 
therefore the working classes, might set themselves to work, and 
produce food and manufactures for themselves and the public, just 
as well as they do at present upon the capital of their masters. 

6. Let us now apply these principles to the ease before us — to the 
Kidderminster Carpet Weavers. They and their masters have 
quarrelled about the price of wages. Both parties Ijelieve them- 
selves right. It is impossible for us to decide between them : but 
this we know, full well, that if the workmen should carry their 
point at this time, it would not be long before their wages must 
fall. The wages of labour generally, are falling, and must continue 
to fall, and nothing can prevent it. Labour is woi'king against 
machinery. Those that eat, drink, and get families, are working 
against those that do not eat, drink, or get families. In such a 
contest, the eater and drinker must be worsted. He cannot be put 
in a garret, and kept without food, till he is wanted : he cannot 
be laid up for the winter. The birth of new labourers cannot be 
deferred, like the production of new machines, till their labour is 
called for : they cannot be put together one day, and pulled to 
pieces another day : they come forth with new faces every day, 
and still there is a greater troop behind. As the waves that break 
upon the shore never exhaust the great body of the deep, so the 
womb of futurity contains more myriads of germs than there are 
drops of water in the mighty fathomless ocean. 

7. It is miserable and affecting to see the laborious, the indus- 
trious, the indefatigable, the never-to-be-tired working classes; the 
skilful, the ingenious, the intelligent mechanics; the Dollands, 
the Troughtons — those heaven-born geniuses who enabled us to 
measure the world, the sun, the planets, &c. as accurately as this 
piece of paper : it is miserable to see them under such uncontrol- 
able circumstances — that they have ruined themselves, and their 
fellow workmen, by their own wonderful inventions. By selling 
these inventions to their masters, to work against themselves, 
instead of keeping them in their own hands, to work with 
themselves, and so diminish their own labour, they have built an 
inclined plain for themselves — down which, they must infallibly 
descend, into the abyss of misery and despair. 

8. No subscription which the generosity of the Trade Unions can 
raise, will do more than stop vp a hole. It cannot possibly prevent 
the final catastrophy of the working classes. It cavnot prevent 
their nltimate ruin. If it should succeed, supposing that possible, 
in keeping wages at their present rate, yet this rate is not enough 
to maintain the workmen in tolerable comfort. The object of the 
working classes should be, to improve their condition : but so 

14 



( 3 ) 

improbable does that ai)pear, and so great is (ho despair of the 
people, at the present inomcnt, that probably nothing would bo so 
great a relief to the minds of all men, as a complete conviction that 
wages had reached their lowest point. 

9. Where subscriptions have been made, among the Trade Unions, 
to support those who strike for wages, the persons who have 
received them, have gcnorally lived in idlen(^s. No conditions liave 
been made by those who gave the subscriptions, and no return has 
been made by those who received them. The money has been 
spent in merely supporting the families of the workmen : nothing 
has been produced to replace it : it has been entirely wasted. 

10. If the workmen had received the same money from their 
masters, the manufactures made by them, would have reproduced 
the money with a profit. With this profit, it is, that the master 
grows rich — and that all the luachiuery is made. U woiild be just 
as easy for the workmen to reproduce this money, by working for 
themselves, as for the masters. As long as they are supported, no 
matter by whom, they could make the same carpets, or the same 
cloth, or the same stockings. Their carpets, cloth, or stockings, 
could serve the wants of the public, or of their follow workmen — 
or of both, just as well as if they had passed through the hands of 
the masters. The masters do nothing in this respect, but distribute 
the goods to the public in general. It surely requires no great 
talent to distribute them. They are never distributed till they 
are wanted — till they are ordered. A family want a carpet; they 
go to a shop to buy one : the shopman writes to the manufacturer 
to send him one : he goes to the warehouse, and executes the order. 
As long as carpets are wanted, they will be sold. If the Carpet 
Weavers could have a common capital to work with, they could as 
well make, and preserve, and distribute carpets, when wanted, as 
the masters can. 

11. So it is with the machines, necessary for making carpets, or 
any other manufactures : they might as well belong to a few 
individuals, or to a society, as to one master, or to a society of 
masters — commonly called a partnership, or firm, or company. 
There is no more reason against a partnership of workmen, than 
against a partnership of other people, of non-workmen. The son 
of a master is put into a counting house, and drilled, and broken 
in, to habits of business, and carefulness, and saving. These habits, 
from the idleness of his previous education, are often very hard to 
learn : but by the authority of his parents, and the necessity of the 
case, he does leara at last, after some years, to bo careful and 
attentive, and to understand his bTisiness. It would be iust as easy 
(and indeed more so) to break in the son of a workman to business, 
as the son of a master, because the former is brought up in habits 
of work from his infancy. It would be as easy for w'orkmen as for 
masters to agree together without quarrelling. Such a society or 
partnership, would have rules and regulations, just as other 
partnerships or companies have. Troublesome individuals might 
easily be expelled from such societies, for infringement of rules, 
without injuring the other members, just as members of a company 
are liable to expulsion for lireaking the rules. 

12. It might be difficult to apply these principles to this particular 
case of the Kidderminster Carpet Weavers, so as immediately to 
enable them to work for themselves : but it is evident, that if such 
societies became common, among the working classes, one might 
take one manufacture, another might take another — so that they 
may work into each others' hands. They might supply themselves 
plentifully with the comforts of life ; and through their different 
shops, they might supply the public— and so obtain a surplus 
capital, to purchase from other trades, and other comitries, what 
they did not produce themselves. 

15 



(4) 

13. The working classes sliould begin by having shops of their 
own. These shops should belong to a small number, who should 
form themselves into a society t'n- that purpose. They should pay 
a weekly subscription, to go to foim a common fund, just as is now 
done by Friendly Societies. They should deal as much as possible 
with their own shops — by which, each society would receive the 
profit upon the run of the shops, which now goes to shops in 
general ; and by which profit, and by which alone, all the rich 
shopkeepers in the world grow rich, and make their fortunes. We 
say it is this profit alone, that maintains the splendour of all the 
merchants, and companies of the world. The London merchants, 
the Liverpool merchants, the Bank of England, all make their 
fortunes out of this profit. 

14. Then, if this be so, the working classes have the strongest 
possible motives for openimj shoys for t/ieniselves. The sum of 
money, which the working classes spend in the course of a year, 
is enormous. It amounts to many millions. The profit upon this 
sum, would of itself be sufficient to establish many manufactories. 
It is not the want of power, but the want of knowledge, which 
prevents their setting to work, and making a beginning. Quarrelling 
with their masters will never give them a capital of their own, 
upon which alone their independence, or emancipation, or salvation 
depends : but shopping for themselves, and working for them- 
selves, will give them profits, and therefore capit.^l, and therefore 
independence. 

15. There are many reasons why we do not expect that the 
principles of Co-operation can bo applied to the case of the Kidder- 
minster Weavers. These principles must be learned like those of 
other subjects. They must be explained, not by theoretical writers, 
but by men who have tried them, and found them answer. " One 
example is worth a thousand precepts." The Society in West 
Street, Brighton, has answered so well, and is prospering so much, 
that no one can see it without being convinced of its complete 
success. The accumulation of its little capital, to some hundred 
pounds, in a few months, and the mental improvement of its 
members, are the internal proofs of its sound principles. The 
jealousy which has been expressed against it, by some shopkeepers, 
is an external proof of the same. Men are only jealous of a rival : 
and only of that rival when they think he has a good chance of 
success. 

(To hr conrlitded in the next). 



Societies upon the principle of Co-operation, have been established 
at the following places : — 

36, Red Lion Souare, London ; 

37, West Street* Brighton; 
10, Queen's Place, Brighton ; 
20, Marine Place, Worthing; 

Where Works on the subject may be had. 



SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

16 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEPOK AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 6. SEPTEMBEE 1, 1828. Id. 



THE KIDDERMINSTER CARPET WEAVERS. 

(Continued from. No. 4.j 

1. Since our last number was written, there has been a meeting' 
in this town for the relief of the Kidderminster Weavers. As we 
fully believe that Co-operation, in the shape of a Working Union, 
will infallibly secure the independence ol any fifty or hundred 
workmen, who arc sufficiently enlightened to form such a society , 
so we do not believe that any other plan, or system, or relief 
whatever, will be of the least advantage to them. 

2. It gives us great pleasure, however, to see any signs of that 
sympathy and goodwill towards each other, which ought ever to 
pervade the working classes, and which will, when properly directed, 
lead them to independence. We arc only sorry to see their efforts 
misdirected. The subscription which has already been made, for 
the Kidderminster Weavers, would have made them an independent 
body of men, working on their own capital, for themselves exclu- 
sively, had they united themselves into one body, made use of the 
subscriptions as common capital, continued their work as usual, 
lived in the same economical manner, and laid up the profit to 
increase the common capital. 

3. The same plan would have answered equally well with any set 
of workmen, in any trade. It has sorn(!tiriics happened, that work- 
men have struck for wages, for several months, during wliicli they 
have done nothing, either for themselves or others : yet they havie 
lived all this time upon an allowance made to them by a committee, 
entrusted with subscriptions for that purpose. It is strange it 
should never have occurred to such a committee, to employ the 
workmen, so supported, in manufacturing their usual articles. 
These articles might have been sold to the public, through the 
medium of one of the workmen, acting as agent for the rest. The 
public would have come to this agent to supply themselves, just 
a.s well as they did before to the master manufacturer. They would 
never have enquired how the goods were made. They would not 
have supposed that they were made and sold in this nuumer, in 
consequence of any quarrel between the men and their masters : 
and even were such an event known, it would not influence tho 
public as individuals. The public care for nothing but cheapness. 
Wherever the Miaik(;t is cheapest, there they will go. They wiW 

17 



(2) 

not enquire, when they go to buy, whether the shop is supported 
by one individual, or a company;" or by a master, or journeyman. 

4. If a shop of this kind, belonging to workmen, were established 
in all the large towns in the kingdom, the manufactures made, by 
private workmen, on their own account, or by societies of workmen, 
might be vended to the public, through these shops, and the 
workman would then get the whole produce of his labour to himself. 
When disagreements happen, between masters and workmen, and 
the men are supported for a time, by subscriptions, among their 
fellow workmen, they might then be manufacturing goods on their 
own account, and disposing of them through these shops, obtain 
the whole profit for their own use, and thus be paving the way 
to their own independence. 

5. Unless some plan of this kind be adopted, it does not seem 
likely that the workmen can ever benefit themselves by disputing 
with their masters. The causes which determine the rate of wages, 
are quite beyond the controul of the master, and of the workman. 
We may hereafter endeavour to explain this, but at present we 
must take that question for granted. If the rate of wages be 
independent of both parties, they cannot alter it — and they ought 
to derive from it, a lesson of practical wisdom ; that of mutual 
kindness and forbearance. We think we could shew that it is no 
crime in the master to wish to pay as little as possible for wages, 
nor for the workman to wish to get as much as possible : but it is 
criminal in either party to endeavour to obtain their end unjustly — 
and it is folly to attempt it by means which will only aggravate 
their own misery. 

6. We agree perfectly with the workmen, that they ought to 
cherish a settled determination to better their own condition. 
We should look at them with unfeigned satisfaction, if we saw 
them doing so : but we are convinced they will never do it by 
endeavouring to force their masters into higher wages, by abstaining 
from work. During such time they must be suffering great hard- 
ships themselves : and suppose one or two masters are ruined, this 
is not the way to provide more work, but rather the contrary, 
while the probability is more in favor of masters being supplied 
with workmen from other parts. When new workmen, unknown 
to the old ones, come to take their places, the situation of the old 
ones may become very wretched indeed, and no redress can then 
remain for them. 

7. The improvement which has taken place of late years, in the 
minds of the working classes, by which they have determined on 
these occasions to abstain from all acts of violence, is most credit- 
able to their moral character, and gives us good reason for hoping 
they will continue to improve more and more, and at last discover 
an infallible method of uniting together to secure their own 
independence. But this quietness is at the moment rather 
prejudicial to the success of their cause, because it leaves other 
workmen at liberty to supply the market. If a few individuals are 
induced by large families, or by pecuhar attachments to their 
masters, to work at low wages, or if new workmen come and accept 
their wages, because they are higher than what they have been 
accustomed to elsewhere, it is the greatest possible act of injustice 
to molest them for so doing. In such cases the workmen begin by 
demanding justice for themselves, and end by refusing it to others. 

8. But if the workmen choose to form working societies among 
each other, something like the present Friendly Societies, and 
accumulate a common capital by weekly subscriptions, and invest 
that capital, first in trade, and next in manufacturing on their own 
account, so as to work upon their own capital, instead of the 
capital of a master; no objection can fairly be raised against each 
a mode of withdrawing themselves from the work of a master, in 

18 



( 3 ) 

order to work for themselves : Imt if any persons should object 
to such societies, it would be altogether in vain— for when the 
working classes are sufficiently enlightened, to form such societies, 
no power upon earth can prevent them from doing it. This we 
shall undertake to prove hereafter, and to shew that all the power 
of the world depends upon the working classes, and the whole 
amount of the power of any other class consists in guiding the 
working classes. When they become sensible and convinced of this, 
they will no longer be so absurd as to part with that power, and 
suffer other persons to use it to their own detriment. They will, by 
uniting together, retain that power in their own hands, and thus 
secure their independence and happiness. 

9. If any one had told us, that when a quarrel for wages was 
taking place at Kidderminster, or any other place, there were a 
certain number of workmen in London giving money out of their 
own pockets, to the men out of employ, and standing to them, in 
the place of masters, we could never have believed it, had we not 
received the most public proof of the fact. Nor could we have 
believed that the same thing was done by workmen in other parts 
of England : for instance, in Brighton, a place where there are no 
large manufactories ; and where disputes of this kind are not 
likely to occur. We should have said, " the thing is not likely ; 
the workmen are too disunited; they have too little regard for each 
other ; they are too poor ; they can get nothing by it ; they are 
too selfish to do any thing without a prospect of gain ; and they 
have not confidence enough in each other to be trusted with 
money." 

10. Had we reasoned in this way, events shew that we should 
have been wrong. The working classes, in different parts of 
England, have a fellow feeling for each other; they have feelings 
of humanity; they are willing to make sacrifices, in order to 
relieve each other in distress; however poor they are, they are 
willing to divide their pittance, even with a stranger, in want of it ; 
and they are capable of doing this upon a system of uniting and 
combining for that purpose ; of receiving small subscriptions from 
a great number of individuals, and transmitting them to the 
sufferers; and above all, they can do this with honesty and truth. 
No one can accuse the working classes of abusing the confidence 
they repose in each other, or of svnndling one another out of 
money entrusted to them for mutual relief. 

11. If then the working classes are capable of doing all these 
things — of sparing money out of their weekly earnings; of giving 
it others without anj- hope of reward ; of forming committees of 
management; and of executing all the duties of trustees with 
confidence and honor, they possess all the qualities which are 
necessary for forming Working Unions, and securing their own 
independence; they possess all the materials but one, which is 
KNOWLEDGE. As soon as ever they acquire enough knowledge to 
understand a better system, they will begin to act upon it; and 
then farewell to poverty and distress : farewell to low wages, and 
disputes with masters : farewell to all anxiety about work, health, 
and sickness, wife and children, and even about death itself, so far 
as it affects the comfort and independence of a family. 

12. The management of a common capital, and the kind of labour 
to be engaged in, might at first present some difficulties, but as the 
capital would accumulate gradually, the difficulties would come 
one by one ; and by being entirely of a practical nature, must 
certainly be best combated by practical men. 

13. As Ion or as the working classes are disunited, and act as single 
individuals, they will continue to go down hill. Thev will continue 
to grow poorer and poorer, while all the rest of "the world are 
growing richer and richer. But when they begin to form worktho 

19 



UNIONS, the tables will be turned. The workers, by having the 
whole produce of their labour to themselves, will begin to grow 
richer and richer, whatever becomes of the non-workers. 

14. We know that the working classes generally, are not yet ripe 
for WORKING UNIONS : but wo know, at tlie same time, that there i.s 
a suflBcient number of ripe ones to make a beginning. Fifty 
members are quite enough to liegin a Working Union. They should 
meet one evening in the week for paying subscriptions, and one 
evening for conversation, and for acquiring information on the 
subject and principles of such unions. Their meetings should on no 
account be held at a public house, but in a room, hired for the 
purpose. As soon as they open shop, they will find that the profits 
will easily pay the rent of premises, and the salary of an agent, 
who must be one of their members, a person who understands the 
piiuciples, is hearty in the cause, and one who has their confidence. 
A committee of management must superintend, and audit the 
accounts regularly. This is the whole mechanism required. 

15. The only objection we have ever heard against the practical 
success of working unions is, that fifty workmen could not work 
together upon a common capital without quarrelling. This is 
indeed the only danger. But when we see thousands of workmen 
uniting, and confiding in each other, every day, subscribing and 
disposing of large sums of money, without fraud or discontent, we 
may surely believe, that when united by still stronger principles, 
they will entertain for each other a sincere friendship, and 
inviolable fidelity. 

16. If these working unions are in the nature of things impos- 
sible, we pity most sincerely, from the very heart, our worthy 
suffering fellow creatures; partakers of the same passions and 
talents, the same feelings and sensibilities, the same redemption, 
the same divine nature, and heirs of the same blessed immortality. 
To them wo owe every earthly comfort we enjoy : by the sweat of 
their brow, all is produced and presented to us. No ! our friends ! 
you shall soon understand these simple principles. You shall soon 
commence working for yourselves. You shall soon lay the founda- 
tion stone of your own emancipation : and may God grant you 
WISDOM in the plan ; fidelity and christian love in the execution ; 
independence, peace, and happiness in the glorious result ! 



Societies upon the principle of Co-operation have been established 
at the fftllowimi places : — 

36, Red Lion Square, London : 

37, West Street, Brighton : 
10, Queen's Place, Brighton : 
20, Marine Place, Worthing : 
2, Orange Lane, Greenwich : 

Where Works on the subject tnay be had. 



Published by Cowie and Straxge, Paternoster Row. 



Sickelmore, Printers, Brighton. 
20 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 6. OCTOBER 1, 1828. Id. 



A CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY; OR WORKING UNION. 
ITS PRINCIPLES, RULES AND MANNER OF 
FORMATION. 

1. The Objects.— The objects of such a Society are, first, tbo 
mutual i^rotectiou of the meinber.s against poverty : secondly, the 
attainment of a greater share of the comforts of life : thirdly, 
the attainment of independence by means of a conunon capital. 

2. The Means of obtaining these objects. — These means consist, 
first in a weekly subscription, of not less than sixpence, to the 
common capital : and secondly, in employing those subscriptions 
in a different way from what is usually done — namely, not in 
investment, but in trade : thirdly, when they have accumulated 
sufficiently, in manufactiiiiiig for the Society : and lastly, when 
the capital has still farther accumulated, in the purchase of land 
and living upon it in community. 

3. Unfortunately, in the present state of society, the workman 
can hardly ever attain an independence. As he began, so he must 
end : still moving his stiffening limbs, and repeating his powerless 
blows, to receive at the end of six days' toil an umviUing recom- 
pense. What he has done througli the course of a long life, of 
early or late toil, is forgotten. The quantity of surplus produce 
he has created — the thousands he has fed — the houses he has built, 
are forgotten. The master's eye only compasses the week's produce 
with the wages : or, perhaps with the man's own produce, when in 
his prime; and the former vigour of his manhood becomes a 
reflection upon his declining years. 

4. Yet in England some remedy has been attempted for this 
lamentable state of things. The public have endeavoured to 
alleviate the distresses of the aged workmen. If they have failed, 
it is not that they have intended badly, but attempted it by inade- 
quate means. In the end and object we all agree. But in the 
employment of means, each age will use its own : each will contrive 
according to its degree of knowledge and experience : each will 
benefit and improve, by extending the wisdom of those that have 
gone before. Small additions being continually made to the 
treasures of wisdom, she will at last have sufiicicnt capital for the 
wants of all her children. 

5. Union and disunion are the two pivots upon which turn the 
happiness and misery of the world. Disunion is the natural fruit 
of ignorance and barbarism. Ignorance is the condition of incipient 
existence : it is therefore, also the condition of men in a rude and 
uncivilized state. In a barbarous state, men only imite for the 
purpose of religious worship — or for mutual protection against a 
common enemy threatening them with destruction. As civilization 
advances, the necessity of national defence becomes more apparent 
—the power of government, for that purpose, grows daily stronger — 
and a general imion for this object is forced upon all members of 

21 



c -^ ) 

a state. But this is not a rational dolihorate union of individualfl 
for the mutual comfort and independence of each other. This 
latter kind of union must be among the last results of civilization, 
improvement and knowledge : and should it ever be established 
among the working classes, to whom it is peculiarly adapted, it 
should carry on its front, in golden letters, let it be perpetual. 

6. That thei-e is some natural tendency to this Union among the 
working classes, the rise and progress of different corporations and 
companies may lead us to suspect. Perhaps, this is a law of nature : 
if so, it is as irresistible as that of gravity— and will draw all things 
to it. 

7. The unions of corporations and companies have been formed 
with a view to the accumulation of profits : but the Unions we 
contemplate are to extend to production. Thus, if the former 
unions have been successful, when the parties could literally do 
nothing without the labourer, we ought to expect much greater 
results from our working Unions, when the members will be masters 
not merely of a part, but of the whole of the produce of labour. 

8. We say that there seems to be a natural tendency in society, 
as knowledge advances, for men to form themselves into unions. 
The spirit of union has descended from the higher classes to the 
lower. These have had their Trade Unions and their Benefit 
Unions. The latter have met with universal approbation. At first, 
many of them failed, from being founded upon erroneous principles. 
As knowledge increased, those principles have been improved, and 
seem now to be approaching towards perfection. 

9. Benefit Unions or Societies accumulate a common capital, by 
means of Weekly Subscriptions. This common capital is invested 
in different securities, which yield a small interest, that is, the 
common capital is lent to some person who employs workmen with 
it, the produce of whose labour is sufficient to pay the interest, and 
yield him an ample profit besides. 

10. This mode of investing a common capital is mere ignorance in 
the working classes. They might as well employ themselves upon 
this capital as lend it to another to employ them upon it; in the 
one case they would get the whole of the produce, in the other only 
that small part which is called interest. 

11. Hence a Working Union, having the same object as a Benefit 
Union — namely, comfort and independence — endeavours to obtain 
that object by different means. The minds of the members are 
more enlightened, and therefore their means are more enlightened. 
Their knowledge is farther advanced, and they accordingly use 
more intelligent measures : they see that the old methods do not 
succeed sufficiently — they therefore search for new ones. 

12. This is precisely the question. The working classes see that 
they are wrong ■. they see that they produce all the wealth of the 
world, and tliey vvonder how it is that it escapes from their hands; 
they see that Benefit Unions only succeed partially; they see that 
the capital is badly employed, but they do not see how to employ 
it better. 

13. This secret has at last been discovered. The Society in West 
Street, Brighton, have made this discovery, and are now reaping 
the fruits of it ; they began by investing their subscriptions, not in 
the Funds of Savings' Bank, but in Trade: they purchased those 
articles which were daily wanted and consumed by the members ; 
they bought for ready money, and sold for ready money — they 
therefore ran no risk either way. Whatever the profit be, whether 
much or little, the Societj' receives it. As often as the capital is 
turned round, so often the profit returns. What this profit is, has 
hitherto been a profound secret to the working classes; it is so no 
longer — they know it and they keep it for themselves. It appears 
by their books, that the sums of money, which if they had been 
invested at interest in the usual way, would have yielded a profit 
of about fnvr pounds, have, by bring invested in trade, vieldad 
them a profit of about thirty. 

22 



(3; 

14. This is the fust step in a Working Union, and it is the moRt 
difficult one. Working men have no idea of employing money in 
trade; they think it is a distinct occupation, which belongs to 
others : they almo.-;t fancy that they could not exist a day •without 
a shop to go to, to buy food; though they produce the food, and 
carry it to the shop, yet they fancy they could not cat it without 
it went through the shopman's hands — so it is with every other 
article of production. Workmen have no idea that a certain number 
joining together with a small capital to begin with, could produce 
and consume among themselves, independent of the rest of the 
world. 

15. The Union then will begin with a shop; to manage this shop 
they must have an agent ; this agent must be a member — he will be 
chosen by the Society — he will keep regular accounts, as is done in 
all business. Three other members will be appointed as trustees, 
to receive the weekly subscriptions, to superintend the agent, and 
to audit his accounts; this will b(> done wookly, that all may know 
the state of the Society ; and the trustees being changed occasion- 
ally, all will become acquainted with the mode of transacting 
business. 

16. At first, as the capital of the Society will be small, the shop 
will not be able to supply the members with all the articles of 
consumption they may want. As the capital increases this will be 
done more perfectly. But as the wants of the members are limited, 
there will be a time when capital will exceed what the shop requires. 
This will happen in less than one year after the Society is formed, 
even though the weekly subscriptions should be as low as three- 
pence. When this period arrives, the Society will ask themselves 
this question — What shall we do with our surplus capital? The 
answer will be — employ one of your own members to manufacture 
shoes, or clothes, &c. &c. for the rest ; pay him the usual wages, 
and give the profits to the common capital. In this way they will 
proceed, as the capital increases, to employ one member after 
another, either to manufacture articles consumed by the members, 
oi- by the public. Beginning to manufacture for the members, the 
sale is sure. When the capital is able to produce more goods than 
the members can consume, they must manufacture those articles 
which are in demand by the public at large. 

17. We need not follow these operations of the Society any 
farther. It is evident that when the capital has increased thus far, 
it will continue to increase : that it will, by degrees, employ all 
the members : that they may then follow those employments which 
are most lucrative— and be for ever independent of poverty. If 
any one should think it impossible for such a Societj' to carry on 
business profitably, they have only to go to West Street and satisfy 
themselves. If the working classes cannot understand it on paper, 
let them go there and see it with their eyes. 

18. QuALiTiCATioNS OF MEMBERS.— The members of such a Society 
should be carefully chosen. 

I. They should be all of the working class. The reason of this 
rule is — first, that labour is the only source of wealth : and capital 
is of no use till it is converted, by laliour, into the comforts and 
luxuries of life. Secondly, in the present state of society, the 
different classes do not easily amalgamate : they are jealous of 
each other. The higher person is apt to look down uponthe lower 
with some degree of contempt, and cannot bear to converse with 
him as an equal. 

II. The members should all be good and skilful workmen— able 
to earn a certain sum per week, to be settled by the rules : tha 
most useful trades should be chosen; and there should not be too 
many of the same trade. 

Hi. They should be persons of good character— industrious, 
sober, steady and quiet. 

IV. They should not be ignorant and prejudiced persons, but as 
well informod as their rank in life admits of, and desirous of adding 

23 



( 4) 

to their knowledge and improving their minds, as far as their 
circumstances and opportunities allow. 

V. They should be of good general health; not liable to consti- 
tutional disorders. 

VI. They should be of a certain age, perhaps between eighteen 
and thirty-five. If too old, they may become superannuated, before 
the Society can receive the fruits of their labour. This is a rule in 
all Benefit Societies. 

VII. It is necessary that the wife of a proposed member should 
approve of the Society, and understand something of its principles, 
otherwise the husband cannot be hearty in the cause — and he will 
be liable to interrupt the harmony of the Society. 

VIII. Persons of too large families should not be admitted, 
because, in the infancy of the Society, too many unproductive 
members might become a serious evil. 

IX. In order to preserve the common capital untouched, and to 
obtain immediately all the advantages of the common Benefit 
Societies, whenever a member is disabled from work by sickness, 
or dies, or loses his wife, a subscription should bo entered into by 
the members for the sufferer. If a member is thrown out of work, 
and it appears not to be his own fault, he should be assisted till he 
finds work, either in the same place or some other. This rule 
would give the Working Union a decided advantage over the 
Benefit Union, for in the latter, if a member be out of work, and 
neglect paying his subscriptions, he is struck ofi^ the list. 

X. If the premises of the Society do not afford accommodation 
for the Society to meet, the expenses of a proper room should be 
paid by a quarterly subscription. 

XI. The Society should meet in their own room once a-week, for 
the mutual instruction and improvement of the members in the 
principles of such Unions. The subject of the evening's conversa- 
tion should be given out at the preceding meeting. Books on the 
subject piay ho read, and their arguments considered. One 
member should preside as chairman, and the office should be filled 
by rotation. 

XII. On the other evenings of the week, those members who have 
leisure, should meet at the room and form themselves into classeit 
for mutual instruction. As the societies will consider labour to be 
the source of all wealth, and therefore be called Working Unions, 
so they will perceive that labour must be directed by knowledge, 
and therefore they will acquire all the useful knowledge they 
possibly can. 

XIII. Agreeably to this principle, they will begin to pay parti- 
cular attention to the education of their children. They should 
select the best school the neighbourhood affords ; and agree to send 
their children to the same, on condition that the members of the 
society may visit the school and notice the progress of the children. 
But a still more desirable plan would be, to have a school of their 
own. and emp'oy a master, at a salary. 

XIV. This school should combine learning with industry, that the 
children should not acquire either pride or laziness, but habits of 
active carefulness. 

XV. Thus the principles of a Working Union or Co-operative 
Society, go as far as those of a Benefit Society, by providing for 
the members in sickness and old age. They go farther, by ensuring 
to the members constant employment out of their own capital ; 
and they introduce a new principle among the working classes, that 
of the improvement of their mental and moral character. 

XVI. It remains for our readeis to consider, whether such 
Societies are likely to diminish pauperism and ceime, and to add 
to the HAPPINESS of mankind. 

C. & R. Sickelmore, Printer?, Brighton. 



24 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION AKE POWER: 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS TUE END OF CREATION. 



No. 7. NOVEMBER 1, 1828. Id. 



THE SPIRIT OF CO-OPERATION. 

"Sirs, yc are Brethren." 

1. Of all the relations of life there is none more endearing than 
that of a brother. In sickness and health ; in joy and sorrow ; 
in prosperity and adversity, this relationship is a balm for every 
wound. A family is the place where we are to look for the purest 
and happiest feelings which man is permitted to enjoy upon earth. 
A family is a community as far as it goes. All are fed from the 
same stock. All sit at the same table, and drink of the same 
cup. All have a common lot, either of prosperity or adversity. 
All hold the same rank in society. If one should happen to be 
more fortunate than the rest in the world, and rise to wealth or 
honour, he imparts a portion of his prosperity to the others. He 
soothes the old age of his parents : or he makes them happy by 
his public honours, and by his kind and filial attentions to their 
wishes. He lends his hand to those who are of his own age, and 
helps them on their journey : or he superintends, directs, and 
patronizes those who are younger than himself, in their st-udies, 
their pursuits, and professions. Thus, by a feeling of grateful and 
laudable ambition, he becomes the fatlier of his liousehold : and 
every one, at his approach, " rises up and calls him blessed." 

2. This family affection ought to extend itself from private to 
public life; from the family to the world. It ought to bo the 
model upon which every one should endeavour to form his own 
character. The reward of such a character is sweet in the extreme. 
It exists in the sympathy of evei'y bosom : it makes a family of 
the world : it sees a brother in every human being, and rejoices 
in every opportunity of doing him good. 

3. Man was evidently intended to be brought to this lovely state 
by nature and by providence — and in our apprehension those terms 
are synonymous. Man was never intended to live by the misery 
or ruin of his neighbour — but by liis prosperity and happiness. 
That portion of evil which unavoidably i)efalls some people in the 
present state of the world, was intended to be mitigated, if not 
obviated by the general prosperity and happiness. As one indivi- 
dual bears but a trifling proportion to the whole race, so the 
misfortunes or unhappiness of one may be abundantly compensated 
by the overwhelming prosperity of the great mass of mankind. 

4. " There is a friend," says the wise man, " that sticketh faster 
than a brother ! " However strong the affection and interest of a 
family may be, man is so formed as to contract indissoluble attach- 
ments to some one or more of his fellow creatures. Two minds 
may have the same pursuits and studies — the same views and 
objects--they may delight in the same species of knowledge — and 
may join together in the same career of improvement and science. 
The common object may be sufficient to bind them together in 
friendship, and they may follow the common pursuit with double 
ardour and double relish. 

25 



(2) 

5. r>ut the swecle>t of all bonds is tli:it ivbifh is formed not 
merely by a common science, but by a congenial disposition and 
heart. It is from the heart that every valuable feeling springs, and 
every source of pleasure and happiness. No kind of pursuit, or 
knowledge, becomes a source of happiness to a man, till it takes 
fast hold of the heart and affections. When we love a science, then 
we appreciate its value and its beauties. They grow and expand 
every day, and the more we examine them, the more inexhaustible 
do we find them. We see that the objects of our love are infinite — 
our hearts dilate with a feeling of the same infinity — we ourselves 
experience a kind of growth within us — our very nature seems to 
change, to enlarge, to purify, to be exalted — and we are led con- 
tinually to wonder at the vast and improving character of the 
powers and faculties we possess. 

6. This feeling of friendship is so peculiar and delightful, that it 
has been the subject of some of the most beautiful compositions 
which have ever been written. This however is not of so much 
importance in our view, as the fact that friendship of some kind 
and in some degree, is absolutely necessary to every man's comfort 
in the common intercourse of life. No man would wish to say, and 
no man can say, that he has not a friend in the world. It is con- 
sidered a most forlorn estate for a man not to know to whom to 
turn for an act of kindness : and when we meet with so extreme a 
case, we instantly forget all the common forms of society, and of 
rank ; and by an instinctive impulse, we become that friend our- 
selves, as if to prevent the world from being loaded with the dis- 
grace of bearing on its face a friendless man. 

7. It is oppressive to contemplate the picture of man, in this 
state, approaching to friendless destitution. The heart mourns 
over it, and seeks relief in imagining the possibility of a state of 
things, in which we may extend the delightful feeling of friendship 
from one to many — in which we may open our bosom, and receive 
into our arms, all who wear the fair form and features of man. 
Such is the state which Co-operation holds out, and Co-operation 
alone. Co-operation removes the almost insurmountable obstacles 
to friendship, namely — self-interest, rivalry, jealousy, and envy. 
When two persons have an inclination to cultivate a friendship for 
each other, they seldom proceed far without finding their interests 
clash. The delicate feelings of mutual esteem, which at first is 
small and weak, and requires time for its growth, and a variety of 
kind ofiices for its strength, receives a check in its very outset. 
Mutual suspicions and jealousies arise; and the tender plant is 
nipped in the bud. Men must have different pursuits, and be 
wholly independent of each other, in order to stand any chance of 
a real and sincere friendship. 

8. But if persons were so situated, that their interests were, in 
all respects, the same — if the prosperity of the one ensured the 
prosperity of the other — and the happiness of the one, the happiness 
of the other — then, instead of suspicion and jealousy, they could 
only feel towards each other, love, esteem, and affection. If one 
were cleverer than another, or more indefatigable — if he had more 
genius, knowledge, or energy than another — or were more zealous, 
industrious, and persevering than another, while that other reaped 
an equal share of all this superiority — surely that other could not 
hut entertain for his kind friend, a high degree of respect, esteem, 
and admiration, in proportion to his superior merits. The weak 
IS now beaten down by the strong— the ignoraiit man by the man 
of genius : but were they to find in the strength and wisdom of 
others, their own protection and safeguard, they would feel no 
longer unhappy and discontented in their own moderate powers, 
while they would look, with pleasure and approbation, on the 
greater powers of their neighbour. 

9. Such is the state of things, which Co-operation holds out. 

26 



( 3 ) 

Every num. on entering such ;i .Society, immediately becomes 
surrounded l>y :i host of friends. All the abilities and labour of 
aJl those friends are pledged to him, to protect him against tho 
common evils of life, and to ensure to him its comforts and enjoy- 
ments. While lie presents tho Society with the labour, skill, and 
knowledge of one single individual, the Society presents liitn with 
those of many. He gives little : he receives much. In himself, he 
is subject to all the uncertainties, the ups and downs of life, to 
anxiety and care, to laborious days, and sleepless nights : but in 
the Society, he has insured himself against all thes(> things : ho 
cannot be ruined unless the Society be so too: and the ruin of a 
Society of labourers is an impossibility. Because, as every labourer 
produces about four times as much as he consumes, a society of one 
hundred labourers must produce four hundred times more than 
they consume — which is amply sufficient to provide against all the 
chances and accidents of life. 

10. Suppose a workman, a niomliei- of such a Society, to form a 
friendship for another member, how delightful would it be for them 
to live under the same roof, to work at the same employment, to 
eat at the same table, to spend the hours of rest and recreation in 
mutual conversation or improvement. They would never be 
separated by chaiige of masters, want of work, or sickness, or old 
age. One would never look down upon the other because he was 
rising more in the world, nor feel contempt for him as belonging 
to a different trade. They would continually be striving to oblige 
each other, by little acts of kindness and attention. They would 
lighten each other's labour as opporttinity offeied, and they would 
unite in this labour with the gieatcst cordiality and zeal, in order 
to insure a common independence. 

11. Another pleasing occupation of such friendship would be, to 
assist in explaining and enforcing the great principles of the 
Society : to instruct the ignorant : to encourage tho timid : to help 
the weak : to bo patterns to the other members : to be foremost in 
exertion, in zeal, in activity : to be always ready to meet difficulties, 
and to bear the heat and hurthc ; of the day. Sucli objects woulfl 
be worthy of the warmest friendship, and the highest energies; 
and would be a fit employment for those exalted faculties which 
God has given to man. 

12. We do not mean to assert that each member of a society or 
community would possess that high degree of feeling, which is 
called friendship, towards every other member. We only argue 
upon the general truth, that friendship, in some degree, is common 
and necessary to all men — that the circumstances of ordinary life 
are very unfavourable to it — and that those of a Co-operative com- 
munity are essentially favourable : and when such friendship does 
exist, between two or more members, their circumstances will 
enable them to i"eap from it the highest possible enjoyment. 

13. But this friendly feeling, among the membei's generally, must 
not be left to chance and accident. It must not only be recom- 
mended as an advantage; it must be enforced as an imperative 
and paramount duty and obligation. When a man enters a 
Co-operative Society, he enters upon a new relation with his fellow 
men ; and that relation immediately becomes the subject of every 
sanction, both moral and religious. Mutual regard, friendship and 
affection become then as binding upon a member as tho duties of 
common honesty and sobriety. Religion will step in here, as into 
other relations, and will hold forth her promises of future reward 
and punishment, in proportion as men are good or bad members of 
the community to which they belong. Zeal, energy, and fidelity, 
will draw after them tho glorious rewards of a future life : whilst 
indolence, indifl'erenco, and unfaithfulness, will naturally anticipate 
the gloomy sentence of disapprobation and punishment. Though 
the profession of a common creed will not be one of the objects of 

27 



( 4) 

a community, yet every member will be glad to unite in that view 
of religion which will give additional force and sanction to all their 
regulations for the common good. 

14. However, we cannot withhold our opinion that the delightful 
feelings of friendship will pervade the whole Society (o a consider- 
able extent. The common yearnings of our nature, and the common 
ties of the Society will necessarily open the hearts of the members. 
No man will be admitted whose general character is not approved 
of — so that no obstacle will exist to thwart his iiu^lination to con- 
tract friendships among the members. While nothing opposes 
them, many things will favour them; and when many rivers run 
in one direction, without opposing currents, they must at last unite 
in one common ocean. 

15. The common capital is the great bond of union. Each mem- 
ber is nothing in his individual capacity — but every thing in his 
social capacity. If he separates himself from the Society and the 
common capital, he is ruined. While he is united with them his 
fortime is made. The importance of each member, and the value 
of his labour, as a single individual, arc nothing : so small is the 
proportion they bear to the whole Society, and tlie common capital. 
The older the Society grows, and the larger the capital, ihe more 
insignificant is each member as an individual. These and similar 
reflections, must make him look to the Society and its common 
capital, so as to entertain for them the utmost regard and love. 

16. But if a number of persons are continually admiring and 
loving the same object — if that object possesses many beauties and 
excellencies — if it be the great and unfailing source of their 
liappiness, they must necessarily, by continually loving the same 
interesting object, draw towards each other in i\u- bonds of love. 
It would be the height of absurdity to suppose that mankind should 
be prone, even to a fault, to a common sympathy, under the present 
course of things — and dead to this sympathy, when united in a 
common society, with a common capital. It is umch more reason- 
able to suppose and to prophecy, that this sympathy would act in 
Co-operation, with new energies, and rise occasionally, even to 
enthusiasm. If men are now to be found, so full of public spirit, as 
to sacrifice their ease and peace, their prosperity and happiness, and 
even life itself, for the public good, when the reward is but an 
empty name, or a monument when they are no longer sensible of 
the honor, or perhaps the mistaken execration of an ungrateful 
world — what efforts will they not be capable of, when, to the 
certainty of posthumotis fame, is added the present prosperity and 
happiness of all around them ! 

17. Yes ! enough has now been done to justify us in anticipating 
the happiest results : and we are convinced that our motto, " Sirs, 
ye are brethren," will be the talisman which every Co-operator will 
wear next his heart. It will be the rosary on which every member 
will tell his morning and evening aspirations, to the great fountain 
of all love — to impart the principles more and more widely and 
deeply to his own breast, and to those of his friends and brethren. 
The spirit of Co-operation is the spirit of friendship and brotherly 
love, which, though small at first in the infancy of the Society, will 
gather strength and stature as it goes — will at length lift its head 
sublimely to the skies, and enfold i?i its parental and everlasting 
embrace, all the children of the happy community. 



Sociefics upon the principle of Co-^penitiyn i,a,(: litcii established 
at 36, Red Lion Square, London; 37, West Street, Brighton; 10, 
Queen's Place, Brighton; 20, Marine Place, Worthing; 11, Roiin 
Street, Greenwich; Watson's Yard, Bclpcr, Derbyshire ; and 105, 
New Street, Birminrrhfun , irhere Works on the s'lhject may he had. 

SlCJitL.MOHE, TVr. KRItiHTON. 

28 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWEK : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OK CREATION. 



No. 8. DECEMBER 1, 1828, Id. 



THE THREE ESSENTTAT.S OF CO-OPERATION, 
VIZ., LABOUR, CAPITAL, KNOWLEDGE. 

LABOUH. 

1. In order to shew tliat a Co-oporativo Society nmst necessarily 
obtain a state of independence for all its members, it is sufficient 
to shew that it contains within itself the common basis upon which 
all the independence of the world is founded. This is labour. 
Labour is the i-oot of the tree whatever size it may ultimately grow 
to. Labour is in this sense every thing: therefore he who has 
labour has every thing^. 

2 No man will be senseless enough to deny that the working; 
classes possess this labour within themselves. They are the only 
people who do po.ssess it. They have the monopoly of this article 
most completely in their own hands. Nor can any law or force 
deprive them of it : for all force is a species of labotir, and resides 
in the working classes, and in them alone : and the power of any 
person, or class of men, is nothing more than the power of directing 
the labour or power of the working classes. 

3. We wish to direct the attention of the working classes to this 
point, that they may employ the power they and they alone possess 
for their own advantage, instead of the advantage of others. Till 
they do that, the command which individuals now possess of direct- 
ing labour and living ttpon it, must continue to stand in the place 
of co-operation. As the working classes are the only persons who 
labour, they may choose at any time whether they will labour for 
themselves or for others. 

4. Labour is the basis and corner stone of the building — the key 
stono of the arch — the root of the tree — the perennial spring of tht- 
mighty river— the heart of the body — the essence of life. If the 
working classes possess this labour tliey ought to possess the build- 
ing, the arch, the tree, the river, the body, and the life itself. But 
they do possess this labour, tiierefore the moment they enter into 
co-operation they must succeed. 

CAPIT.M-. 

5. The working classes possess labour; no man can deny it; no 
man does deny it. This seems a most extrn ordinary circumstance 

29 



( 2) 

that a labourer should have no power over his own labour. So it 
is, and we are free to confess it. Whether it will for ever remain 
so, remains to be seen. The reason is very simple, plain and 
obvious. The workman has no Capital. While he is working it is 
necessary he should eat and drink. He wants food, clothing and 
lodging, to support himself while he is producing fresh food, 
clothing and lodging. This may be called in a general sense Capital. 
This definition of Capital is intelligible enough for our purpose, 
While a man is working, he wants capital to live upon till his work 
is done. Whoever possesses this capital will command labour. The 
workman has not this capital, therefore he must sell his labour to 
him who has. 

6. But though the workman does not possess the capital he might 
easily do so. All capital is made out of labour. Capital is nothing 
but the produce of labour saved up : therefore whoever possesses 
labour might possess capital also if he pleased. He has only to lay 
by a portion of the produce of his labour till he has enough to live 
upon of his own, while he is working to make fresh produce : then 
he would have capital and the command of his own labour. A man 
who works for another is a servant. If a servant saves up enough 
capital to support himself while he is at work, he becomes his own 
master. If he saves up more, so as to be able to command the 
labour of another, he becomes a master to others. As all capital is 
made out of labour, so all masters are made, or were once made 
out of workmen. 

7. It is evident that all men cannot be mastei-s : the meaning of 
which is only this — that the world cannot do without labourers : and 
the meaning of this is — that capital is of no use without labour. 
This is a very important consideration that capital is nothing in 
itself. People talk as if capital were every thing; by which they 
mean only that the command of labour is evei-y thing. But if there 
were no labourers, there would be no commanding them, and then 
the capital would be nothing. So that in this view of the question 
also, labour and not mere capital is every thing. Labour must be 
united with capital to make capital productive. 

8. They say, " all men cannot be masters," which is vei'y true, if 
by a master is meant a man who does not work : but if by a master 
were meant a man working on his own capital, then all men might 
be masters if they pleased, without any injury to the world, and 
even with great advantage. All a man wants is capital, to support 
himself while he is at work. It matters not whether the capital 
belongs to himself or another, as far as that support goes. While he 
is consuming his capital, he is, by his labour, continually reproducing 
it. By the same process of saving, by which he accumulated a 
capital, he can be constantly enlarging it : so that he might have 
his choice, either to enlarge his capital or diminish his labour. 

9. The importance of not separating capital from labour is very 
great, though hitherto they have been considered as distinct things : 
and so far has this distinction been carried, that labour and capital 
are thought to be incompatible, than which a more absurd pro- 
position cannot be entertained. If capital is made out of labour, 
as every body allows, so far from there being any opposition 
between them, there ought to be a natural alliance : and so there 
is, but the working classes are too ignorant to perceive it. 

10. We say it is important not to separate labour from capital : 
the reason is, that the labourer is immediately degraded in body 
and mind. He loses caiite : he loses his character and respectability. 
He is branded as one of the sirlnish multitude: the dregs of the 
people — the ■populace: the scum of the earth. All the insulting 
epithets of a language are heaped upon the poor workman. This 
all arises from separating labour from capital. The long catalogue 

30 



( 3 ) 

of public crimes is mostly committed by persons of the labouriuj; 
class— that is, the reward of labour becoming necessarily less a«<l 
less, when labour is separated from capital, the degraded man finds 
it frequently easier to live by crime than by work. His mind 
becomes uncultivated for want of leisure; his moral ideas <legraded ; 
his moral nature demoralized : he descends in the scale of humanity 
till he approaches to the brute; he is valued, bought and sold as a 
brute, by a legal sale; and is proved in the opinion of some of his 
fellow men to be nothing but a particular species of brute. 

11. Labour and capital have been long divided, but it was not 
always so. There was a time when it was thought no degradation 
in the Statesman, the General, the Sovereign, to hold the plough : 
nay, the greatest men the world over produced, or ever will produce, 
have dignified and consecrated labour : the most delicate bands 
have followed it. Read, lead, read, the history of the world, eacred 
and profane. It was reserved for this civilized and christian age to 
discover that labour is disgraceful and the labourei- not worthy of 
his hire — and that all attempts to improve his mind and condition 
are inexpedient and dangerous. 

12. The working classes possess the labour, the source of all 
capital ; let them then endeavour to unite again labour and capital : 
then indeed they will be independent and happy as their forefathers 
were. We are of opinion that this may be done, but not single 
handed. " A kingdom divided against itself must fall." Workmen 
working against one another are divided amongst themselves, and 
must be ruined. Workmen united together must be independent. 
Let them save, and save, and save, to form a common capital. Let 
this capital be their master. He will never chide them, nor grind 
them down, nor turn them adrift upon the wide world : on the con- 
trary, he will cherish and protect them, he will make them indepen- 
dent of all but himself, he will be to them as a father, and will 
literally " never leave them nor forsake them." 

KNOWLEDGE. 

13. Many circumstances have occurred within the last year, nay 
within the last few months, to shew that the working classes are 
approaching towards the knowledge and practice of co-operation. 
The great obstacle in the way of co-operation is the ignorance of the 
working classes. This ignorance is fast dissipating. Knowledge in 
general has accumulated among men of science and the upper 
classes, to such an extent, that it has necessarily spread to the 
workman. The complicated relations of society compel every man, 
however low his rank, to acquire some portion of knowledge. A 
workman or servant cannot fill his situation without reading and 
writing. The power of reading is followed by the use of it. The 
reading of absurd and useless trash gradually gives way to a taste 
for something useful and improving, and even books of science have 
reached the hands and are comprehended by the minds of the 
working classes. No man ever lost the love of knowledge when 
once acquired, neither will the working classes undervalue that 
which will assuredly lead them to independence. As their know- 
ledge increases, they will know the principles of co-operation, and 
to know them is to ensure their being acted upon. 

14. This knowledge, those of the working classes who begin to 
understand co-operation, will endeavour to acquire as far as their 
leisure permits. It will be one of their first principles, because they 
will perceive that it is only ignorance which leaves a man to do so 
foolish a thing as to work for another instead of himself; and that 
it is only knowledge which enables a man of capital to live without 
work. As all the capital of the whole world has been produced by 
the working classes, so they will now set to work to produce a fresh 

31 



capital for Ihcrasclvcs. This tln^y will bo able to do very rapidly 
when they once begin, by the aid of tliose wonderful inventions and 
machines for abridging labour, which are now in existence. The 
workmen made these machines for others, they can therefore surely 
make them for themselves. This they will most certainly do. 

15. By the help of this machinery their labour will be abridged, 
and they will have still more leisure for the acquisition of know- 
ledge. Their minds are as capable of acquiring knowledge as those 
of other people. Almost all men of science have risen out of 
workmen. They only want leisure and opportunity. Capital will 
give them both, and labour will give them capital : therefore they 
have every thing in their own hands — labour, capital and know- 
ledge, and therefore independence, virtue and happiness. 



Societies upon the principle of Co-operation have been established 
at 36, Red Lion Square, London; 37, West Street, Brighton; 
Cavendish Street, Brighton, removed from Queen's Place; 20, 
Marine Place, Worthing; 11, Roan Street, Greenwich; Watson's 
Yard, Belpcr, Derbyshire ; New Street, Birmingham; Findon, near 
Worthing; Upper North Street, Brighton. 



C. AND R. SICKELMORE, PKINXEKS, BRIGHTON. 

32 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 9. JANUARY 1, 1829. Id. 



MACHINERY. 

1. A machine is any contrivance for diminishing labour, or for 
obtaining a greater power than mere human strength is able to 
produce. It is of no consequence how small the quantity of labour 
is which is saved, or the quantity of new power which is obtained : 
still the contrivance, or instrument by which it is done, is a 
machine. If a man wanted to move a heavy weight, and used a 
branch of a tree to do it, this would be a machine. If a man were 
attacked by a wild beast, and destroyed the animal by a stone, this 
would be a machine. If instead of throwing a stone with the hand, 
he projected it from a tube, by means of gunpowder, he would only 
use a more powerful machine. By means of gunpowder, and an iron 
tube, he has obtained an entirely new power, and one which all the 
force of unassisted human strength cannot equal. 

2. In some parts of the world man is so ignorant, and therefore 
so miserable, that he wanders on the sea shore to put stones and 
sticks into the open shellfish, that he may at his leisure more readily 
extract the fish for his food. These stones and sticks are the 
machines of the savage. Those who object to machinery should 
object to these, because more men would be employed if the shells 
were opened by the unassisted hands. We may add also, that more 
men would be starved. 

3. The folly of saying that a savage would be better off without 
machines for self-defence, or for supplying himself with food, would 
bo too great for any man to bo guilty of : yet many maintain that 
position in fact, by complaining of the progress of machinery. It 
would be difficult to persuade the savage that he had better not use 
the bow and arrow to kill his food, yet a great deal of invention is 
necessary even for this simple machine. But food obtained by 
hunting soon perishes, and accordingly those who first discovered 
food of a more durable quality, and invented machines for culti- 
vating and preparing it, were esteemed the benefactors of their race. 

4. But clothing is as necessary as food to the comfort of man, 
and any cov-ering is preferable to none. The change from the more 
simple to the more complicated kind implied in it the praise of the 
inventor. The discovery of the art of spinning thread, and weaving 
it into cloth, seems like a new era in the history of man ; and wo 
might say at once, of a being capable of such wonderful contri- 
vances, " his race is worthy to endure for ever; his inventions shall 

33 



(2) 

never cease; his land shall overflow with milk and honey; and in 
some future age his earth shall be as full of plenty and happiness as 
the sea is full of water." 

5. One part of such a prophecy is come to pass, and we have to 
contemplate the effect of it. On the one hand the land we inhabit 
is full of machinery, full of food, full of clothing; on the other 
hand the people who made this machinery, food and clothing, are 
not rich, prosperous and happy; but on the contrary, poor, 
miserable, famished and starving. 

6. While machines were simple, and such as single persons might 
use, domestic manufactures supplied domestic wants, and the value 
of the machine was evident without any disadvantage. But human 
invention cannot be Hmited, and the same wonderful nature which 
was able to invent simple machines was able afterwards to invent 
more complicated ones, and ones of greater power. First a machine 
was invented to do the work of one man ; then of several men ; 
then of some hundreds of men; lastly of some thousands of men. 
There are at this moment, in England, hundreds of machines, each 
of which is doing the work of some thousands of men. 

7. But this is not all, for the work of these machines is not 
merely more than could be done by thousands of men, it is 
altogether a new power. A man at work, with a machine to help 
him, is no more like a man, without a machine, than he is like 
another animal. He is a different being. His desires, thoughts, 
wishes, pursuits and powers are totally different. Two such men 
agree in little more than in external shape. 

8. Machine follows machine, and invention follows invention, and 
there is no end to the one or the other. Looking at the history of 
machines and inventions, we may almost conclude that they are still 
in their infancy. If then the machine which I work produces as 
much as a thousand men, I ought to enjoy the produce of a 
thousand men. But no such thing. I am working a machine which 
I know will starve me. The machine does not work for me : nor 
do I work for myself. I direct the machine, and it makes food or 
clothing in abundance : but scarce a morsel comes to me. I must go 
and beg my bread at the hand of charity. I have no right to the 
produce of the machine. I shall make so much food or clothing 
to-day, that to-morrow my master will turn me into the street. 
To-day I shall make more food or clothing than my master and all 
his customers together can consume, for a long while to come, 
though many of them live on the other side of the globe. To- 
morrow my master will not want me, for a long while to come, and 
will tell me to go to the parish, and the parish will tell me to go 
and work. I shall be driven from my master to the parish; from 
the parish to my master; from pillar to post; from post to pillar. 
And all this because I have made more food and clothing than all 
the world can consume. 

9. This is the present state of England with respect to machinery. 
The wonderful nature of the human mind sets no limit to invention. 
The quantity of work done by machines is so great, the number of 
hands required to work for them so small, that the number of 
workmen wanted is continually diminishing, while, from the laws 
of population, the number existing is continually increasing, so that 
the poverty and misery of the workmen are continually increasing, 
and under the present system of managing machinery their starva- 
tion seems inevitable. 

10. Nothing would have prevented the actual starvation of the 
men who work the machines but the humane provision of the poor 
laws. Whatever other evils may have resulted from the poor laws 
they have prevented the actual starvation of the manufacturing 
workmen. It is to be hoped that they will continue to palliate the 

34 



(3) 

enormous evils under which the working classes at present groan, 
till thoy themselves have discovered the grand remedy. This 
remedy is co-operation, and co-operation only : the co-operation ol" 
workmen. 

11. There are two things in a machine which it is necessary to con- 
sider and distinguish, because upon them depends the whole question 
between machinery and the working classes, and whether theso 
in\entions are an injury or not. The first is the quantity of work 
done by the machine; the other is the person or persons for whom 
that work is done — the persons who are to have that work when it 
is done. As to the quantity of work done, we know well enough 
that it is so abundant that it cannot be consumed. All the markets 
of all the world are overstocked. Those who are to consume the 
goods have more goods than they can consume. This is precisely 
the evil complained of. This shews to a demonstration the incalcul- 
able power of machinery — that it will produce more than the world 
can possibly consume. And as there is no limit to the number of 
machines that might be made, so there can be none to the produce 
thdt might be made. 

12. It is the other point wliich is so very iuiportant to be con- 
sidered — namely, the persons for whom the machines work. And 
here it is evident that the machines do not work for the workmen. 
The workmen do not get the pi'oduce of the machines. A few work- 
men now supply the world with produce : and they themselves ai'e 
starving. If they had the produce of the machines they would have 
abundance — the same abundance that is now in the world. Machinei\v 
is in itself no evil ; on the contrary, it is a very great good to those 
who get the produce : one of the greatest goods which Providence 
has ever bestowed upon man : but it is only good to those who get 
the produce. It is no good to those who do not get the produce : 
and in proportion as it is an incalculable good to those for whom 
it works, it is an incalculable evil to those against whom it works. 
It is either the greatest friend or the greatest foe which a man has. 

13. At present machinery works against the poor workman, and 
therefore it must be his deadliest enemy : and if the workmen do 
not contrive to make friends with machinery they must be starved, 
in spite of the poor laws. The workmen are so well aware of this, 
that they have made many attempts to destroy machinery altogether. 
This can hardly be wondered at. The necessity to which the work- 
men are driven is so piercing, that they must continually return to 
this expedient. The only thing which has prevented this being 
done, to a greater extent than hitherto, is the spread of knowledge 
among the workmen, by which they are able to see both the folly 
and criminality of such an act; folly, because it could not be done 
effectually, and if done, the machines would be replaced : criminality, 
because property is a sacred thing — and to injure it in any way is 
th'3 greatest violation of all law, human and divine. 

14. The folly of such a step would also be great on this account — 
that there is a much easier way for the workman to be revenged on 
machinery : it is by making it work twice as much for himself as it 
has ever done for the rest of the world. The remedy is so simple 
that it is surprising it has not been found out. The workmen have 
ingenuity enough to make all the machinex-y of the world, but they 
have not yet had ingenuity enough to make it work for themselves. 
That ingenuity will not be dormant much longer; for as soon as the 
success of the West Street Society is generally known, among work- 
men, they will as naturally adopt its plan as they have adopted 
the system of Benefit Societies. In all these subjects the world is 
carried on by a natural and irresistible course of events, of which 
Providence is the head and director. Nothing happens by chance, 
but every thing happens because it was intended by Providence. 

35 



(4) 

Many great iniprovcinenls have already taken place in the condition' 
of the working classes, but this machinery business has puzzled 
everybody. However let us await the issue. If it end by driving 
the working classes into co-operation, in mere self-defence, then 
their destiny will be accomplished, and will happen in consequence 
of an irresistible law of Providence. 

15. When a society of a hundred members has accumulated a 
common capital, sufficient to employ all the members, so that they 
shall obtain the whole produce of their labour for themselves, a 
farther accumulation of capital will enable them to purchase, or tO' 
make some of these wonderful machines, which, worked by a few 
hands, will make clothing enough for thousands of people. Then' 
will the workman be able to shed tears of joy instead of sorrow 
over his machine : and the men who invented and made the machines 
will again be honored as the benefactors of mankind. The work- 
man will rise from the state of starvation and misery, in which he 
now lives, into one of plenty and happiness. Instead of sixteen 
hours' work, and eight hours' rest, (see Co-operator, No. 2, page 2i 
he may, when his machinery works all for him, have eight houi's' 
work, and sixteen for rest and mental improvement. He will work 
in healthy and airy apartments : he will have regular exercise and 
amusement in the open air : ho will be well fed and clothed : his 
body will become strong, active and healtliy : he will have time to 
improve his mind, and to acquire that knowledge which will make 
him a still more skilful workman, and a better member of society : 
and when he looks abroad upon the face of natui-e, and sees the 
blessings by which he is surrounded, his heart will swell witb 
gratitude to the Being who made him. while he exclaims, "Thank 
God I am a man." 



Societies upon the ■principle of Co-operation have been established' 
at 36, Red Lion Square, London; 37, West Street, Brighton; 
Cavendish Street, Brighton, removed from Queen's Place; 20, 
Marine Place, Worthing; 11, Roan Street, Greenwich; Weston's 
Yard, Belper, Derbyshire ; Dujfield, Derbyshire; 220, Livery 
Street, Birmingham; Hoxton New Town; Canterbury ; Findon,- 
near Worthing; Upper North Street, Brighton. 



Sickelraoi'e, Printeis, Brighton. 
36 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AM) UNION AHE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 10. FEBRUARY 1, 1829. 



Id. 



LEEDS CO OPERATIVE SOCIETY. 

(From the Wcckhj Free J'rr.ss of the 21th of Duonher, 1828.; 

A meeting of the Benefit Societies in Leeds was lield in that town 
last week, to take into consideration the propriety of forming a 
Co-operative Trading Fimd Association, upon the principle of the 
Trading Unions, recently advertised in the Weekly Free Press. 

Mr. Carson, from Birmingham, with whom the proposition 
originated, explained, at considerable length, the many advantages 
that would result from such an association. He spoke in the highest 
terms of approbation of Benefit Societies, and enlarged upon the 
benevolent uses to which they wore made subservient : but, he 
admitted, that unless the number of members was recruited by 
young subscribers, in proportion to that of the older ones who were 
removed in the course of nature, those societies would be broken 
up and ruined — the new institution , a plan of which he would submit 
to the meeting, would fully meet the evil which they had reason to 
dread. The principle of its organization was to make the best 
possible use of the labour of the members who composed the associa- 
tion, and to give every man an oppoi-tunity of reaping tlie fruits of 
his industry, skill and ingenuity. He would propose, that it should 
be composed of si.^ty members of different professions, who should 
agree to pay one shilling per week into the general fimd : this sum 
would in one year amount to £150. with which they might commence 
business : the society might at tlie end of the year, or sooner if 
expedient, be enabled to go to market, with money sufficient to buy 
the commodities they might require; becaiise it would be one of 
their fundamental rules, that every purchase should be made with 
ready money, inasmuch as their profits would be increased one-third 
by the discount obtained on the pui'chascs. He calculated that they 
spent at the rate of ten shillings per week each, for the various 
necessaries of life, which sum would amount in a year to £1,500, the 
profit of which at ten per cent, and five per cent, for discount, whicli 
•every tradesman would allow, would amount to £234 per year. 

37 



220112 



( 2) 

They might easily procure an agent to manage their business for one 
pound per week. The rent of a commodious shew room and 
premises would not be more than £30 a-year. After these deductions, 
the society will have a clear income of £152 a-year; a sum much 
higher than the allowance given by any benefit society with which 
he was acquainted : and this, it should be kept in mind, was to be 
obtained by one year's contribution of one shilling a-week. If this 
were the only end to be derived from the i^roposcd society, it would 
be policy to "form it immediately : but, in order to shew its advant- 
ages, in the clearest point of view, and that his calculations had not 
been exaggerated, he would allude to the money spent in the pur- 
chase of some of the necessaries of life, by which means they would 
see what they gave away in the shape of profit. He would take it 
for granted that every family consumed a pint of beer daily, for 
which they paid three-pence; this consumption in a week would be 
two hundred and ten quarts, for sixty members. Now he had as good 
ale in his own cellar as was sold in any public house in Leeds, and 
much better than the generality of what was retailed; and yet, as 
he only brewed seventeen gallons to two bushels, the cost of each 
quart was three pence halfpenny. Thus, it would seem, that sixty 
men were giving away profits to the amount of £2 3s. 9d. a-week, or 
£113 15s. a-year. As any person can get a license to retail beer, 
the society might take a license to do so ; after deducting the expense 
of license and paying the duty, they would derive a profit on beer 
alone, (even supposing that each family drank only one pint of beer 
a-day) of a least £60 a-year. He did not think that he at all over- 
rated the profits that would be obtained in the way that he had 
stated; but it was evident, that they might be increased, if there 
were any shoemakers among them. Here would be plenty of employ- 
ment for them ; and if more were manufactured than were suflBcient 
to supply the society, the article might be taken to the best market, 
and the profits arising from the sale of all would go into their owtt 
funds. The same might be done in all the domestic trades of the 
club. The society might also support a respectable secretary, who 
would keep the accounts, and be a school master to the children of 
the members, for the same money they were paying to a parcel of 
old women who could hardly read themselves. 

Mr. Carson having entered into some other details in proof of the 
benefits derived from the proposed society, concluded with moving 
a resolution to the effect that the principle of it should be recognised 
by the meeting, and carried into immediate execution. The resolu- 
tion was put and carried unanimously. Some further discussion then- 
ensued as to the propriety of carrying the views of Mr. Carson into 
immediate effect; and it was at length agreed, that those who 
approved of the principle, should put down their names as members 
of the association. 

REMARKS. 

1. We have thought proper to introduce into the Co-operator the 
account of the meeting at Leeds, for various reasons. The speech 
of Mr. Carson, if properly understood, contains the whole principle 
of the subject. It contains the observations of a practical mind, 
intently fixed on the great object of bettering the condition of him- 
self and his fellow workmen in an honorable manner : struggling' 
with the present difficulties of their situation, (" than which," says 
a high authority, " nothing can be worse ") but not cast down : and 
receiving and imparting this new principle of union with all the 
sincerity and zeal of an honest, straight forward, and manly heart. 
Mr. Carson knows what the necessaries of life are, and what their 
value is, and that if the pence are taken caro of, the pounds will 
take care of themselves. 

38 



^ 3) 

2. Mr. Carson sees clearly the enormous profits which the working 
classes are daily giving away to other people, by not marketing for 
tliemselves. Other people grow rich upon these profits ; and all the 
riches of the world are in fact got out of them, for they can ho 
nothing else than the overplus of the labour of the workman, above 
his own subsistence, saved up in the shape of capital. Those who 
save most, get most capital. The workmen, if united, might save as 
well as anybody else. There might as well bo a company of work- 
men, as a company of capitalists. A joint labour company, is as 
simple as a joint stock company. The only dilTerenco is that the 
one has been invented, the other not. But all things must have a 
beginning. There was a time when joint stock companies did not 
exist. Capitalists were too ignorant to form them. As the know- 
ledge of capitalists increased, they formed joint stock companies ; 
and as the knowledge of the working classes increases, they will 
form joint labour companies. They will keep these enormous profits 
in their own hands. Instead of four or five per cent, interest for 
their money, they will make ten or fifteen, and by turning their 
capital round frequently, they may make still more. This is the 
first and obvious advantage of co-operation. 

3. Mr. Carson alludes to the goodness of articles which a club or 
union would naturally sell in their own shop. This is another very 
important consideration. It is quite notorious, that every article 
capable of being adulterated, is adulterated. There are persons 
who live by carrying on trades expressly for the purpose. The 
generality of people cannot possibly distinguish genuine articles 
from counterfeits. Whoever buys the counterfeit for the genuine, 
cheats himself out of so much health and strength. This is particu- 
larly the case with the workman. To him it is of the utmost con- 
sequence to have his food pure, and the most nourishment in the 
least compass. This he will never attain to without a shop of his 
own, and this shop he can never possess without co-operation. 

4. Besides the profit on selling, Mr. Carson mentions the profit on 
production, it is evident enough, that the manufacturer must have 
a profit as well as the tradesman. The man who makes the shoes, 
must have a profit, as well as the men who sells them : hero is a 
double profit given away, as well as a single one. Workmen must 
have shoes — they must pay for them. Even if ten men were to 
agree to buy their shoes of the same workman, they would get them 
better and cheaper. This has never been thought of, simple as it is, 
yet this would be a degree of co-operation. It is not vice or dis- 
honesty that prevents this, but merely ignorance. But if ten men 
bought of one shoemaker, he would get the profit; if they went a 
step farther and employed the man in the capacity of masters, then 
they would get the profit. About ten pounds capital is sufficient to 
set up a shoemaker ; so that ten men subscribing one pound a-piece, 
or twenty men, ten shillings each, might immediately invest their 
money at a much higher rate of interest than can be got in any 
public security. 

5. Mr. Carson speaks of the education of the children of the work- 
man. He does not talk in high flown language of the great lengths 
to which education might be carried, or of the great quantity of 
knowledge which might be acquired, but states the simple fact — that 
with the money they pay at present for being badly taught, they 
might, by union, for the same expense, have a good master instead 
of a bad one. Then the children would learn something instead of 
learning nothing : they might be taught works of industry early, 
and so be good workmen instead of bad ones : and they might have 
a master capable of forming the character and moral habits; and 
so the children would turn out men of honesty, integrity and zeal, 
instead of being idle, dissolute and vicious. 

39 



(^ ) 

6. But what gives us most pleasure in this meeting is to see that 
the principles of co-operation are spreading among the working 
classes. A few months ago Mr. Carson was a total stranger to 
them. He had not heard of the existence of any such Society as 
that in West Street. Ardent and indefatigable in the service of his 
fellow workmen he was zealous in promoting their good, by the best 
means which were then known. Now that new means are dis- 
covered, he is as zealous in recommending a plan of union of a far 
superior kind, which must inevitably emancipate the workman from 
the thraldom of fluctuating markets and insure him a lasting 
independence. 

7. In this manner will all workmen who have more sagacity than 
the rest lead their companions to entertain the subject of co-opera- 
tion : to consider its principles, and to make a beginning of 
practising them. It appeals so directly to their immediate self- 
interest, that they cannot help preferring that kind of labour, which 
gives them the whole of the produce, to that, which, while it makes 
others rich, gives to themselves only a starving portion. 



Societies Formed. — Brighton, 3; London, 2; Worthing, 1; 
Findon, 1; Greenwich, 1; Belper, 1; Duffield, 1; Birmingham, 1; 
Kingstanley, 1; Loughborough, 1; Canterbury, 1. 

Societies Forming. — Brighton; Manchester; Worcester; Derby; 
Leeds; Tunhridge; Vley; Congleton; Hampstead; Almondbvry; 
High Royd. 



SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

40 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 11. MAKCH 1, 1829. Id 



IN CO-OPERATION CAPITAL IS INCOME. 

1. The assertion we make at the head of this paper may appear 
startling and impossible to most of our readers, but vre liope to be 
able to make it good, and by so doing, to shew a new cause of the 
immense merits of co-operation to the working classes. 

2.. People who possess independent fortunes distinguish between 
their capital and their income. Tliey deposit their capital in some 
investment or security. They lend it to government or to private 
people, who use it in trade or uiiiuufactures. For the use of this 
capital they are paid annually a certain price or consideration, 
which is called interest. This interest varies in dif[erent countries, 
at different times, and among dift'erent individuate, according to the 
advantage they are able to make of the capital. All the money 
which a man receives in the shape of interest he calls income. 
Upon this income he lives. He enjoys all the comforts and luxuries 
which his income places within liis reach; and he takes care in 
common prudence not to exceed it. 

3. If a man invests his capital in trade or manufactures, under 
his own management, he has to pay the wages of his workmen of all 
descriptions, the wear and tear of his machinery, the expenses of 
his business, &c. ; and at last has a certain sum over, which may be 
called income. He contrives, if possible, to live upon less than that 
income; and to save part of it to provide against contingencies, oi- 
to increase his capital. Still it is this income or overplus alone from 
which all his enjoyments are to be derived. 

4. Capital is laid out partly upon durable property, as houses and 
machinery; and partly upon food and clothing. All capital which is 
laid out upon food and clothing is in a constant state of consump- 
tion and reproduction. The workmen are continually consuming 
the food and clothing : but while they are doing so, they are at the 
same time reproducing it with a profit. Thus, during the year, the 
capital of the master is consumed by the workmen : but at the end 
of it the workmen return it to him with a profit. The workmen liv.- 
upon this capital — it is their income ; while the master only lives 
upon the interest or profit of it. He reproduces none of the capital 
himself; the workman does all this. 

41 



( 2) 

5. Were it not for the workman the master would find his capital 
of vei'y little use. He must either eat up his capital and then 
starve, or he must turn to and work himself. If the workmen did 
not reproduce the whole of the capital the master would be injured 
and gradually ruined : and if it were only reproduced without a 
profit the master would still be unable to live. What he looks to is 
the profit or overplus; and upon this his income and living depend. 

6. When the interest of money is at five per cent, the capitalist 
lends his hundred pounds to the workman, who lives upon it and 
reproduces the hundred and five pounds : or perhaps, in consequence 
of the number of agents employed, the workman does not consume 
more than eighty or sixty pounds, but still produces the hundred 
and five ; of which five go to the capitalist, and the twenty or forty 
to the agents, who stand between the workman and the capitalist. 
Still the same truth returns upon us — that the income of the 
capitalist is the interest only : but the income of the workmen is 
the capital itself. 

7. We wish to point out the great importance of the workman's 
having capital of his own. If many agents stand between him and 
the capitalist, so that he gets but a small proportion of the hundred 
pounds, it shews what enormous profits he is daily giving away as 
it were to other people. If on the other hand he consumes the 
whole of the hundred pounds, it shews the extreme difficulty of 
becoming a capitalist, or in other words, of saving an independence, 
and therefore the utter hopelessness of the workman's condition in 
the present form of society. 

8. If a man could live upon forty pounds a-year, which is about 
the income of many workmen, he must, in order to be independent, 
lay by eight hundred pounds, the interest of which, at five per cent, 
is forty pounds. But if a man can live upon forty pounds a-year 
he can live for six months upon twenty pounds. Now six months is 
time enough for a workman to manufacture his goods and bring 
them to market. Even many kinds of food may be raised within 
that period. Therefore if a workman had twenty pounds capital of 
his own he might labour for himself, raise his food, or bring his 
manufactures to market, and replace his capital as it was consumed. 
Therefore a capital of twenty pounds would be as good to the work- 
man as a capital of eight hundred pounds to the idle independent 
man. 

9. A single workman would no doubt bo liable to many accidents 
and misfortunes, any of which might destroy or diminish his capital, 
and occasion his ruin. Every man's capital is continually increasing 
or diminishing. Every thing is in a state of fluctuation : nothing 
remains stationary. The world itself is a perpetual motion : every 
thing in it is also in a perpetual movement. The affairs of men 
observe the same law. No one remains at rest. All is life, activity 
and bustle. One man saves his twenty pounds : he employs it as 
capital in trade : he saves the profit : he increases his dealings : he 
accumulates more : he becomes rich : he gets among the higher 
classes ; and looks down with contempt upon his humble origin. But 
the greater part of workmen, if they save a few pounds, they may 
for a while enjoy a few additional comforts : but the losses of trade, 
or sickness overtake them, and sweep away their hard earned 
savings. Thus there is but one end chiefly to all workmen — poverty 
and misery. 

10. This is the fate of the single workman. But if many work- 
men were to join together, each with a capital of twenty pounds, 
that is, with half a-year's subsistence in hand, these united men 
could set to work among themselves, and for themselves. Some 
could produce food for the common consumption, while others could 
produce manufactures for their own use, or for the public market. 

42 



(3) 

Each mau would tlieii be independent — that is, he would have con- 
stant employment : ho would not be dependent upon the business of 
;i master, or the fluctuation of work during the dilTercnt seasons of 
the year : he would not be reduced to distress by sickness and old 
age; for as all could not be sick or grow old together, so those that 
were healthy and young would easily support those few, who, having 
given their labour to the common stock during health and youth, 
would now only consume a part of what had been laid up out of 
their own labour. 

11. We have now proved two things — first, that if a number of 
workmen unite together in co-operation, a capital of twenty pounds 
a-piece is sufficient to make them all, with their families, indepen- 
dent for ever : secondly, that to make a man independent without 
work, a capital of eight hundred pounds is required ; and even then 
he can enjoy no greater comforts than those of the commonest 
workman. The same conclusion may be stated in other words — that 
because twenty pounds are contained in eight hundred pounds forty 
times, therefore a man would be forty times as long acquiring an 
independence upon the individual system as upon the Co-operative 
system. Therefore also, if it would require forty years to make a 
man independent on one system, it would require only one year 
upon the other. And again, eight hundred pounds is sufficient for 
the independence of only one family upon the individual system : 
but it is sufficent for the independence of forty families upon the 
Co-operative system. 

12. Thus we have proved that "in Co-operation Capital is 
Income ! " that is, a Co-operative Society which has a capital of 
forty pounds a-head, is as well off for all the necessaries of life as a 
private individual with an income of forty pounds a-year. But we 
have proved much more than this ; for though the independent man 
must have an income to carry him through the whole of the year, 
the workman only wants support till he is able to exchange the 
produce of his labour in the market — till he is able, as the phrase is, 
to turn his capital round. We have supposed in the above argument 
that the capital is turned round twice a-year : but there are many 
cases in which it takes a much shorter time; and in whatever pro- 
portion it does so, it gives a corresponding advantage to co-opera- 
tion over the system of individual property. We have known 
persons who were able to maintain themselves and family in 
comfort upon a capital of five pounds. Dealing in articles, for 
which there was a ready sale, they were able to turn their capital 
round in a few days; and thus supported themselves upon the 
immediate and large profits of a small capital. 

13. The above view of the subject is extremely important to the 
working classr*; — because it brings the period at which they may 
expect to become perfectly independent within a very moderate 
compass. Any body of men, uniting together in co-operation, have 
a moral certainty of seeing their families independent before they 
die : but upon the present individual system this is utterly 
impossible; and indeed nobody expects it. On the contrary, it is 
thought a law of nature that the workman should bo always poor; 
and that it really was the intention of Providence that the greater 
number of mankind should for ever remain poor, destitute, hungry 
and vicious. Some go so far as to brand all attempts at improving 
the condition of the workman as irreligious and impious : — a 
greater libel upon the goodness of God cannot be imagined. 

14. Co-operation affords to the workman a near prospect of 
independence for himself and familj- — in the present state of society 
that is impossible. All that a workman can do at present is to 
place his monej' in the Savings' Bank, or to become a member of a 
Benefit Society. In the former case he only puts himself in the 

43 



( 4) 

>ituation we liavfi dcsciil)ed. of rcceiviiiK a small interest, for Lis 
money, wliich is utterly inadequate ever to secure his independence : 
ill the latter case he docs indeed insure himself some relief in sick- 
ness, and since Benefit Societies have been improved, he may also 
obtain an allowance in old age ; but this is so extremely small, and 
placed at such a distance from the present moment, that it requires 
much more frugality and peiseverance to accomplish, than would 
be sufiicient to secure an ample independence in co-operation in a 
few years. 

15. On the contrary, the independence offered by co-operation is 
near at hand. As soon as twenty pounds are accumulated, the 
independence of one workman and his family is secured. For 
every additional twenty pounds, anothei- workman may bo made 
independent, and so on till all are provided for. If any of tlie 
members are ali'eady in good employment, they may remain in it, 
while the surplus capital is invested in machinery or other desirable 
improvements, by which capital is made more productive. Or it 
may be invested in a srhool for the education of their children, 
which is equally necessary for all, whether in co-operation or out 
of it. This indeed is one of the greatest advantages which the 
system will afford. It will secure a good education, combining 
industry and knowledge, for all the children of the members. Of 
this, we shall speak more at lai'ge hereafter : at present, we think 
it sufficient to have proved, that in co-operation, "Capital is 
Income," and that independoice is within the grasp of a few short 
years. 



SocTETiES Formed. — lirighton, 4; London, 2; Manchester, 2; 
Worthinij ; Findon, liranch of Worthing : Grcenviich; Kiny- 
stanley; Congleton; High Iloyd; Belper; Duffleld; Birmingham; 
Loughborough; Cantcrhtiry ; Derby; Worcester; Uley; Almond- 
bury; Preston; Nottingham.; Tunbridge Wells; Kidderminster; 
Bethnal Green; Stepney; Bristol. 

Societies Forming. — Leeds; Kirk Heuton; Hainpstcad; White 
Chapel; Hhadwell; Mary-Ie-hone. 



SICKELMORE, BRIGHTON. 

44 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNO^VLEDGE AND UNION ARK POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 12. APEIL 1, 1829. Id. 



BENEFIT SOCIETIES. 

1. In rcconimoiiiiing Co-operation to the attention of the woikiug 
classes, we do not pretend to have made any discoveries, either as 
to the evils of tlieir pi'osent situation or as to the objects at which 
they may justly ;),itM, and at which they ought to aim. Wo only 
declare tacts which nvn well known to every body, and so well 
known as to be the subject of daily remark and observation. And 
wo only propo.se objects which are continually laboured after, and 
not only by the working classes but by their best friends among the 
higher classes, that is, a greater degree of conifoit and independence. 

2. The grand dift'orejice between our little papoi- and the pon- 
derous volumes whicii have been published on this subject, is, that 
wo recommend that the objects which all of us have at heart, should 
be pursued in a dilYcrent manner, and by different methods from 
those whicli have boon hitherto tried. Our argument is extremely 
simple. We say, " the trials you have already made have been 
notoriously unsuccessful : you have made them in every possible 
manner which your system admitted of; therefore, all further 
endeavours upon tlio same plan, are perfectly absurd, and must 
infallibly continue to disappoint you. Theieforc you must do one 
of two things — you must either give up entirely the pursuit after 
independence, or you must carry ou the pursuit by a different road 
and upon a new system."' 

3. Every day's experience shews that man will not give up the 
pursuit after independence, nor is it in his nature to do so. It is as 
impossible for a man not to wish to be independent of want, as it 
is not to wish for his dinner; the two wishes lie so close together, 
th.it the one is inseparaV)le fiom the other. As long as men e.^peri- 
ence hunger and thirst, they mu.>t wish to set those two enemies at 
defiance by some well stored magazine. Never therefore will the 
working classes cease to look about for independence and security. 
The twelve and sixteen liours which they daily devote to gratify 
this wish, are so many hours spent in the severe school of this hard 
taskmaster. Tt will be strange indeed if this crxiol discipline does 
not at least teach tlicm the A B C of life. 

^. Man has been often called a social animal, and we are said to 
depend one upon another for the greater part of our comforts and 
enjoyments. But having advanced thus far upon a true principle, 
we think we can do without its farther company ; and we declare, 
that when men have once determined to live together, they have 
immediately determined also that they are natural enemies to each 
other: instead of helping one another to rise in comfort, they are 
continually depressing each other, doing and undoing, building up 
and pulling down. When men unite, they do it with fear and 
tnjmbling, as if each feared that his confidence would be abused by 
his neighbour. 

5. In the midst of all this folly and madi.ess, it is some satis- 
faction to the bonevolont mind to observe how infallibly better 

45 



(2) 

principles insinuate themselves among men, though their progress 
is so slow as to be for a long time imperceptible. The power which 
the human mind possesses of distinguishing pleasure from pain, and 
of observing the causes of each, after a great deal of exercise and 
experience, and a great many doubts and difficulties, brings us to 
the conclusion, that pleasure and pain must be understood in their 
causes, and are inseparably connected with them : that moral 
events are as certain and unchangeable, as physical ones, and above 
all, that man can as ea.ri/i/ conironl the one as the other, when th(.ir: 
causes are known. 

6. It was a conviction of this kind which gave I'ise to Benefit 
Societies; they form a grand aera in the history of the working 
classes; they are a proof that the working classes have minds, that 
they are not brutes, that they can think as well as work, that they 
are rational beings as well as animals. We assert, that the men 
who could Co-operate in the humane and prudent views of these 
Societies, are capable of better things, are capable of reflection and 
reasoning, are capable of acquiring sound practical and theoretic 
knowledge, and if they be given time and information, they will 
then be capable of true Co-operation. 

7. We admire the institution of Benefit Societies; we think they 
have been productive of many blessings to the working classes; they 
are wise, prudent, and humane in principle; they have saved many 
an honest family from want and misery, and from the moral 
degradation of parochial relief. We wish to allow them every merit 
which belongs to them, because we mean to compare them with 
Co-operation, in which comparison they will be found to be, not 
only infinitely inferior, but totally unwoi'thy of notice. They are 
excellent as far as they go, and still more excellent as introductory 
to the better .system of Co-operation, but compared with that 
system, they are good for nothing. 

8. It is a fair remark on all occasions, " if you dislike our system, 
shew us a better." Do not pull down, unless you mean to build 
up. Now then, that we have got a better system, we may justly 
point out the evils of others, and we may boldly assert, " the best 
part of your plan was its being the forerunner of a .superior one." 
The best feature in Benefit Societies, is the practical proof they 
exhibit of a regular organisation of workmen, in a peaceable and 
rational manner, for their mutual protection against the accidents 
of life. Workmen have laid up weekly a proportion of their earn- 
ings; they have drawn up rules and regulations; they have adhered 
to them systematically ; they have accumulated large sums of 
money; they have reposed confidence in each other; they have 
managed the funds with fidelity and honor, and they have 
administered them punctually according to the equal claims of the 
members. All this is ample proof that workmen are capable of 
Co-operation, and of that cultivation of mind which is absolutely 
necessary for its success. 

9. The property of a Benefit Society is common property. The 
fundamental error is the injudicious employment of the capital; 
in consequence of this, the return is very small, the accumulation 
exceedingly slow, and an insuperable bar is placed in the way of 
the real independence of the members. The money is lent to a 
capitalist, who with it employs the members, it may be, to produce 
upon their own capital a vast return, out of which he gives to them 
five per cent, and keeps all the rest, ten, fifteen, or twenty per cent, 
for himself. If any men can be said to " cut their own throats," 
it must be a set of workmen, who toil through life, stint themselves 
of their daily food, and accumulate a capital for the chief benefit 
of other people. The men of capital are no doubt exceedingly 
happy to have this extra capital put into their hands, for the pur- 
pose of making an extra profit, and of giving them an extra power 

46 



( 3 ) 

over the working classes. Whoever gets the raanagoment of this 
capital, whether a government or private people, they get so much 
power over the workmen, which no one can controul. Capital is 
power. Whoever has capital has power. Capital necessarily 
accumulates even in the hands of a few, by the ordinary trans- 
actions of society. Men seldom have power without abusing it. 
All this is plain, straight forward dealing. It falls sooner or later 
on the workman, who cannot compete with capital. Capital pro- 
duces machinery, and machinery, working against the labourei'. 
starves him. All this is hard enough, but last and worst of all 
comes the workman himself, in the shape of a Benefit Society, 
accumulates an extra capital by dint of short commons and over- 
time work, to be invested in machinery, for the sole purpose as it 
were of reducing his wages down to semi-starvation. 

10. The members of Benefit Societies are liable to be thrown out 
of work, they may be unable to pay their subscription, and may 
forfeit all claims upon the funds. They are distressed for work, 
when the funds of the Society would supply them amply, were they 
properly applied. They have saved a capital, which is applied 
somewhere in giving people employment; they themselves want 
employment, other people are employed upon their capital, while 
they can get no employment at all. This is just the same as if 
they had earned a dinner and cooked it, and another were to come 
and eat it; for they have saved a capital, other people are kept at 
work by it while they are starving : they are actually losing both 
the interest of the capital and the capital itself. 

11. Many Societies possess capital enough to employ all the mem- 
bers, if employment were the object. Frequently the capital lies 
dead for want of a good investment; which, if it were employing 
the members, would yield a weekly return, far superior to what 
legal investment can ever give. The best investment would be the 
employment of members. As long as the capital is insufficient to 
employ all, a good investment can never be wanting. When all the 
members are employed, it would be time to look for other invest- 
ments. The ordinary one might then be adopted if agreeable, 
though a much better one would be the purchase of machinery, to 
abridge labour and increase production, and so lay the foundation 
of an indefinite accumulation of capital. The machinery would 
work for the labourer, instead of against him ; and the whole pro- 
duce, if worked day and night, would be his, instead of the small 
portion called wages. For instance, if such a Society had a stock- 
ing frame, and more stockings were wanted by the members than 
could be made b}' the usual work of the day ; if the man could work 
overtime and double his produce, the members would have double 
the quantity of stockings for their use; but if the man were to do 
this for a master, by way of doubling his wages, he would only glut 
the market, and deprive himself of work and wages altogether. 

12. We have allowed that Benefit Societies are useful to the 
members. They might be made far more so if the funds were 
invested more profitably in the employment of the members. But 
they are useful to another class of men besides the members — and 
that is, to all those who contribute to parochial funds. When we 
consider that capital would be of no use without the workman, and 
that a very small portion of the produce of labour goes to the 
labourer, it seems but right that in sickness and old age the labourer 
should be supported out of that capital which he has been the chief 
means of accumulating. It would also be right that his children 
should be educated out of the same capital, since it is impossible, 
as experience proves, that proper masters can be obtained for the 
small pittance which the labourer can spare, who shall be capable 
of forming the minds and habits of the children to industry, religion 
and virtue. 

47 



( 4 ) 

13. But by the contiivance of a Benefit Society, the burthen, as 
it is called," of supporting the labourer in sickness and old age, is 
thrown back from the capitalist upon the labourer himself. The 
food and healthy accommodation which is required for supporting 
the humaTi frame in a state of \ i^orous exertion is diminished, in 
order to form a fund, which in sickness and old age, when the man 
is worn out in the service of the capitalist, may save the capitalist 
from any farther expense; and may enable him to enjoy, without 
alloy, the great hoardings from the poor man's labour — while that 
poor man sinks into the grave unheeded, unpitied, " unwept, un- 
hotiored, and unsung." 

14. Therefore Benefit Societies relieve the capitalist even more 
than they do the workman. They first give him additional capital 
to make more profit of the labour of the workman : they then save 
him the trouble and expense of supporting the workman in sickness 
and old age. All the capital which is saved by a Benefit Society is 
so much comfort sacrificed by the members, for the benefit of the 
capitalist : all the profit made out of this capital, by the capitalist, 
is so much clear money given to him by the Society : all the income 
paid to members, on account of the Societj', is so much income 
saved to the capitalist — who otherwise would bo obliged legally to 
support the same individuals in sickness and old age. On all these 
accounts a Benefit Society is an ingenious contrivauce on the part 
of workmen to rob themselves and benefit the upper classes. 

15. The argument of this paper may appear at first sight to be 
inconsistent with itself. Wc first assert that Benefit Societies are 
good things : and we then appear to assert that they are not : and 
we seem to conclude that they are more beneficial to the upper 
classes than to the memberf;. The spirit of independence which 
they inculcate is invaluable, and worth any price. The allowance 
from a Benefit Society is received with more pleasure and satis- 
faction than it would be in any other shape : and the feeling that 
a man has a right to what he receives is also invaluable. Such an 
allowance, which is a man's due, avoids all the disputes and bicker- 
ings of parochial relief, and all the obligation of charity. The 
benefit which the upper classes receive from such Societies has been 
entirely overlooked. It is, however, a real and substantial benefit, 
conferred solely by the labour of the workmen. Many families are 
enabled to keep carriages, servants, and splendid establishments out 
of this very benefit — while the men who give it have not common 
comforts. 

16. All these facts proclaim with a loud voice that no society will 
ever relieve the workman but Co-operation. They will for ever 
remain an ignorant, degraded, slavisli caste, till they unite to have 
a common capital, and to employ themselves upon that capital. 
Then will their fetters fall ofF, as if touched with a talisman : then 
will they hold up their heads and look around them, with the feel- 
ings of conscious independence and virtue : then will labour be 
sweet, and industry a pleasure: the rising sun will be the harbinger 
of a day of joyful occupation : the setting smi, with the sweet notes 
of the evening birds, will summon them to a sound repose : " the 
sun shall not hurt them by day — neither the moon by night " : all 
creation shall smile upon theni : existence shall become a blessing, 
and the Author of it the subject of their unfeigned gratitude. 



Fifty-n'i.!- SocictKS!, upon thr 2)r'inri ph x <if Co-ojprrat'ion, hare been 
estabfinhi d. 



SICKELMORE, KRTGHTOK. 

48 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UXIOX ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS IIAPIMNESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 13. MAY 1, 1829. Id. 



BENEFIT SOCIETIES.— PART II. 

1. We shotild not liave asserted in our last number tliat Benefit 
Societies were very ill calculated to secure the comfort and indepen- 
dence of the workman, unless we had had something better to offer 
to their notic(\ Benefit Societies were the first contrivance amou'/ 
workmen to avert the evils which the changes in society, the spread 
of machinery, the accumulation of largo mercantile capitals, were 
bringing upon them. Even the landowner began to give up the 
hospitable establishment of his forefathers : he gradually withdi-ew 
his affections from his dependents — his old domestics and peasantry 
were exchanged for the more gaudy prodtictions of commerce — his 
dealings with his neighbours became a matter of money calculation, 
aud he estimated his importance by the figures in his banker's book, 
and not by the number of grateful and happy hearts by which he 
was surrouiided. 

2. From this time the workman began to be a drug upon the 
market : his little perquisites, his riglit of common, his cow, his 
little piece of ground, fell off one by one : he was reduced to his 
mere wages, summer and winter. Tf lie fell sick he had no resource 
— if he was old he had no friend. While he earned his wages he was 
worth them : when disabled from work he was a burthen. Deprived 
of all his little capital anfl his extra sources of supply, he was 
expected to "save up " a new capital, and to become a fundholder 
— " a workman fuufllioldcr ! " Tt was even pressed upon him as a 
duty, and there were not wanting advocates who maintained, that 
the workman, so reduced in liis means ajid resources, who should 
not lay by an independence against sickness and old age, ought to 
starve. If any system could be callerl a mockery of the poor man 
and his sorrows, it was surely this— first to take from him the means 
of saving, and then to preach to him the duty of doing it. Alas f 
every day more food is wasted at the tables of the idle, than would 
suffice for all the sick and iiged of Iho whole nation. 

49 



( 2 ) 

3. Far be it from us to assert that there was any intention of 
placing the workman in this cruel situation. We grieve indeed for 
him, but we should grieve more if we did not believe that the same 
causes which brought these evils upon him, would hereafter be pro- 
ductive of his substantial happiness. One wave carries a vessel upon 
a sand-bank— the next lifts her over it into smooth water. The 
progress of arts, manufactures and machinery has brought the 
workmen to be estimated like cattle; and the same progress will 
soon put an end to that anomaly, and land them safely on their 
<3\vn shores of peace and plenty. 

4. The workmen thus severed from the ancient means of protec- 
tion and comfort, began to look to each other. It was evident that 
sickness and old age, though they might happen to all, were, in 
fact, the lot of very few; and therefore that a small contribution 
from a great number would not be irksome, while it would protect 
the few. But we should do injustice to the members of these 
Societies if we imputed to them merely motives of self -protection. 
Honorable as these moti\'es are, there were other and still better 
principles at work. There was a common sympathy and pity— a 
desire to relieve each other ; and a wish to afford this relief effectu- 
ally, when wanted, by accumulating a previous common fund, which 
might be drawn upon liberally without inconvenience to any one. 
It is mainly upon these good, kind and generous principles, that we 
still rely, for the attainment of Co-operation. It is right, indeed to 
rouse men to a sense of their evils by the most forcible appeal to 
their wrongs and miseries, and so to bring their attention to the 
subject; but unless we can afterwards succeed in exciting also their 
generous instincts, nothing good, nothing great, nothing permanent, 
will be effected. 

5. In this way Benefit Societies arose : they were the first and 
feeble efforts of the Co-operative principle, viz., a common capital 
and common interests. They have now attained to a mighty growth 
— they cover the land — government is called upon to legislate upon 
the subject of them; and while their advantages are great over a 
state in which no attempt is made at mutual protection, their dis- 
advantages are too many and too glaring to enable them to stand 
against Co-operation. 

6. One grand defect of Benefit Societies is, that the principle of 
UNION is not carried far enough; for, what do the members say? 
"' We are convinced, by woeful experience, that we can have no 
security against the greatest evils of life, viz., sickness and old age, 
independent of each other. As long as we consider ourselves as 
enemies, or even as indifferent to one another, we shall be liable to 
as great evils as if we were mere savages. As long as we pretend 
to be independent of each other, we shall be lamentably convinced 
of our error and folly, by falling into beggary and distress without 
the power of alleviation. Our wives and children must fall into the 
same gulf with us, from which all their cries and groans shall never 
bo able to release them : a gulf so deep, that the sympathies of our 
fellow creatures cannot reach its dark recesses." Amply, alas ! has 
experience confirmed this apprehension. Daily, at this moment, 
does accumulating distress proclaim, that when the poor man cries 
there shall be none effectually to help him. 

7. "Why then (they ask) should we not unite? We live neigh- 
Vjours — we till the same fields — we work at the same looms — we 
worship in the same temple — we have many enjoyments together, 
and we delight in each other's society. Let us, therefore, have a 
common purse; and, making use of those powers and faculties 
which are common to all, let us accumulate a capital which shall 
be common to all, that we may set at defiance enemies which are 
common to all." 

50 



( 3 ) 

8. Thus the union is good as far as it goes : but, in carrying it 
into ofTect, its defective extent compels the workman to apo and 
imitate the system of the mere capitalist, between whom and thf 
workman there must always remain an impassable barrier. A Benofii 
Society is a Joint Stock Company, and their capital is therefore of 
no use till put into productive labour and returned with a profit. 
But the puny subscriptions whicli workmen are able to make, keeps 
down the capital to an insignificant amount, and is more like the 
shadow of protection than its substance. The few points upon 
which the members unite, are almost lost, when compared with thi- 
many still more important ones upon which they are at variance. 

9. As a number of capitalists, when thoy unite, brinj;; together 
that in which their strength consists, which is capital : so when a 
number of workmen unite, they should bring together that in which 
their strength consists, which is labour. Whatever be the kind of 
labour which people are accustomed to, to that they should apply, 
and out of that they should raise their common funds and 
property. Village Societies should hire a piece of land, and compol 
each member to give a certain quantity of labour to it. The whoh- 
produce, after paying rent and taxes, should be their own. Tliis 
produce might either be converted into money and then into manu- 
factures, or it might be placed in a common store for those contin- 
gencies which are contemplated by the laws of the Society. It is 
evident that this labour would in a manner cost them nothing, for 
they would employ upon it as much over-time as they might please, 
and all their leisure time. When work was scanty they would go 
to their own land. Nay, they would soon have the power of selling 
a less quantity of their labour to their mastei-s, and employing more 
of it on their own account. For this smaller quantity they would 
get the same wages as for the greater quantity : for the being able 
to curtail the quantity of labour would have the same effect as 
diminishing the number of labourers, which all political economists 
allow would raise wages, upon the common principle of supply ami 
demand, and upon the common principle of the roinjietitive si/stem. 
The competition would then take place among the masters anil 
laudlords. As soon as ever the laboui-ers unite upon a labot'i: 
PRINCIPLE instead of a capital principle, they will make the dust fly 
in all directions, and in evei-y sense of the word : and it is great 
odds but this dust will blind some of the masters. When a man can 
say, "every spit of earth I turn up is my own : every seed I sow, 
every plant I rear, are all my own," he will work with some spirit- 
he will be put upon his mettle; and we shall then see what the 
wonders of hearty labour really are. 

10. Societies formed in a town should in like manner give 
mechanic labour to the common stock. This labour would supply 
certain comforts to the members in cases provided for by the laws, 
and the rest would be converted into capital for other contingencies. 
The Society in West Street, Brighton, has already found the 
advantage of this principle. Though the progress of the Society 
does not enable it as yet to form a positive law upon the subject, 
yet the zeal and energy of a certain number of the members have 
enabled them to prepare a great quantity of work on their Brighton 
premises for the use of their garden. This has been a voluntary 
labour loan to the Society, executed some times in the evening, 
some times in the day, when any of the members have been slack 
of work. At the times when other workmen swarm to the pot 
house to consume, these men resort to their own workshop in order 
to produce. 

11. It has; therefore, been a great mistake in Benefit Societies, to 
follow the system of the capitalists, when their circumstances are 
so diametrically opposed to each other. Too many capitalists have 

51 



( 4 ) 

endeavomod to make the workmen feel and understand this differ- 
ence in the most galling and aggravating manner. " To work is to 
disgrace oneself ! "' Fellow workmen, shall we be thus stung to the 
quick for ever, and for ever take it quietly? The very worm when 
trod upon will turn upon its enemy. Jf, then, our caste is so very 
distinct, let ns make it more so. The power is in our own hands. 
All capital is made out of labour — labour is our own. Upon this 
labour let us build our principle of relief and self-protection, and 
" the gates of hell shall not prevail against us." The money which 
a Society can lay by in weekly subsciiptions, is a mere trifle, com- 
pared with the produce it can accimnilate by the daily loan of half 
an hour's labour from each meml^er. 

12. Besides the produce to be obtained from the labour of the 
members, this same principle would easily apply to all the families 
of the members. All the children from the age of seven or eight 
might be iisefully employed. Many of those which arc grown up 
idle awaj- their time for want of employment. " Masters do not 
want their services, work is dull, places are scarce." Such are the- 
exclamations we liear when we ask the idle young people why they 
do nothing. Nothing is more evident than that all these persons 
might give their labour to the society; and that their labour alone, 
conducted systematically, might be so directed as to supply abun- 
dantly the comforts of life, to all the sick and aged members of the 
Society. 

13. Let then the labourer know his own strength, and then let 
him use it. Let all future Societies be formed upon a labour 
PRINCIPLE, for no other will protect them. Let the capital of the 
Society be made out of produce, and not out of interest. Interest 
is a very cunning way of making money for those who can not 
labour. Those who have persuaded the labourer to work for them, 
and not for himself, have done very well for themselves. They have 
feathered their own nest well at the expense of other birds. But 
these things cannot continue for ever. Young birds grow older 
every day, and " old birds (they say) are no longer to be caught 
with chaff." It will be very strange indeed if the workmen, when 
they have once found their way into their own forest, do not pick 
out all the finest trees for themselves; or if they do not themselves 
enjoy the finest fruit out of their own garden. Nor is the day far 
distant. More has been done for practical Co-operation since this 
little publication commenced, than during ages before. It is the 
nature of all sound principles to march with an accelerated step. 
A Society which learns the slow march this year, will learn the 
quick march the next; and the year after will march in double 
quick time. Every year, therefore, will the influence of Co-opera- 
tion spread with increasing energy ; nor will any obstacle arrest 
its course, till it has reached, in splendid triumph, the utmost limits 
of the habitable globe. 



There arc at present Sixty-three Societies formed upon the principJc 
of Co-operation, in tarious parts of the kingdom. 



SICKELMORE, TYP. BRIGHTON. 

52 



THE CO-OPERATOR 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER: 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS TUE END OF CREATION. 



No. 14. JUNE 1, 18-29. Id. 



BENEFIT SOCIETIES.— PART III. 

1. We hope our readers will pai'don us for introducing the subject 
of Benefit Societies a third time to their notice. Tlie importance of 
our cause demands, that wo should examine, thoroughly, the ground 
we are at present standing upon, as being the approach to that of 
which we are going to take possession. As far as Benefit Societies 
go, we have all classes in our favor. It has been carried by general 
acclamation, that lliey ought to bo uni\ersal. Every man, woman 
and child, ought to be insured, either in a Beuerit or Life Society : 
then might the price of security be much less, and its extent much 
greater. Provision for this purpose ought to be made in early life, 
particularly in those large Seminaries which have been establisheil 
for the education of the working classes. Had that system, which 
now prevails, boon founded in comprehensive views, and in a 
genuine and enlightened philanthrophy, the principles of Benefit 
Societies would have formed an inseparable part of it. A judicious 
use of that iiiHiience, which the upper classes and parochial bodies 
possess, might, before this time, have drawn every workman inio 
ail assurance against sickness and old age — and thus, miglit entirely 
have anticipated the necessity for parish relief, and have prevented 
the growth of the demon pauperism. 

2. As it is. Benefit Societies have been allowed to struggle alone 
into life, and to wage unassisted war with all the elements of 
tempestuous strife. The working classes have been left chiefly to 
themselves — to the science of their own ignorance, and the light of 
their own darkness — to glean empty, husks, and pick up landom and 
broken straws. By way of comforting them in the vale of darkness, 
they have been told, by too many, that science and light, and the 
knowledge of distinguishing chaff from grain, and tares from wheat, 
are dangerous to their peace and happiness. 

3. Fortunately, society is in a state of continual movement. This 
movement is the result of its inherent euei'gies, given to it by its 
irresistible author. It faithfully accomplishes his purposes, which, 
though long to our apprehensions, in bringing about, must ultimately 
prove splendid and liappy. All men shall partake of them, the 
lowest as well as the highest; and vice and poverty shall be 
banished from earth. 

4. We have mentioned, in our preceding numbers, two vices. 
which are inherent in Benefit Societies. [See Co-operator, No. 12. | 
The first is the mode of employing and investing their capital — and 
the second, [see Co-operator, No. 13] the mode of collecting that 
capital, by means of mo.iey instead of labour. We have now to 
mention a third vice, which is, the holding the meetings at a 
public house. 

1. The first evil of this is, the enormous waste of the strength and 
sinews of the Society — money. It is known, tJiat nearly half a 
million of money is thus annually wasted. This goes to enrich the 
publican; and is so much taken from the bed of sickness and the 

53 



( 2 ) 

couch of old age. Tims the poor workman, as usual, is always 
studying to enrich others instead of himself — first the capitalist — 
then the payers of scot and lot — and now the pubhcan. This half 
inillion a-year, if spent upon the Co-operative principle, would, at 
twenty pounds per head, provide independence for twenty-five 
thousand families, annually — which families would produce a 
common capital, plenty of food, houses and land, to be inherited 
and augmeuted by their posterity for ever. But supposing that 
men cannot pay their weekly quota without beer and tobacco, and 
a newspaper, could they not obtain these much cheaper and better 
in a room of their own? Undoubtedly they could. Read Mr. 
Carson's speech, in the 10th number of the " Co-operator." He is 
a workman; and having a little more sense than his neighbours, 
turns it to good account, in the common concerns of life. 

II. The second evil of the public house is, its direct tendency to 
demoralize all who breathe its air. Poison floats within its walls, 
and infects both the minds and bodies of those who enter them. It 
is " the gate of hell : none who enter in, return in their right 
senses," to tell the tale of its corruption and pollutions. Most of 
tlie vices and crimes of society may be traced to the public house — 
" di-unkenness, murders, revcllings and such like." How many 
honest men have been ruined ! How many wives and children 
brought to beggary and shame, by the habits of the public house ! 
By the influence of sympathy, those who go, must imitate their 
fellows : one visit leads to another ; and happy are they who escape 
with a portion of their reputation. 

III. This demoralizing effect extends over the minds of those who 
expose themselves to the poison, and follows them in all their 
occupations : it haunts them at home, and renders their own fire- 
side irksome : the temper becomes irritable ; excitement becomes 
necessary ; and the man is driven out to seek more amusing and 
noisy society than can be found in the quiet routine of duty. 

IV. We cannot pass over the evident truth, that the money which 
is paid for the use of a room, in a public house, with the money 
that is spent there, v.ould pay the rent of large and commodious 
premises. There the members might have their own news room 
open every day, instead of once in a-while : they might be supplied 
with various newspapers, and other interesting and amusing 
]iublications ; and by meeting daily, they might aid each other with 
practical information, in their various trades. 

V. In a place like Brighton, where there are many Benefit 
Societies, it would be easy to have a house, built by common 
labour and capital, of the most useful description : even the idle 
members of so many societies would be enough to erect it, if they 
chose, almost free of expense. Labour is the most expensive article 
in all buildings : that labour they possess, and the moment they 
please, they may convert it into a substantial building. This is so 
evident, when pointed out, that if they do not see far enough to 
enter into genuine Co-operation, we hope they cannot much longer 
delay the enlargement of their present principles. Some of them 
have many hundreds of pounds of capital lying dead : if converted 
into a building, of this kind, it would immediately be rendered 
productive. 

VI. Lastly, such a building would afford a most excellent oppor- 
tunity of establishing a school for the education of their children, 
under their own masters. There they might get a good education 
for the same price as they now pay for a bad one; and when the 
school should have been furnished with books, lessons, instruments, 
and other materials of education, the current expenses would be 
reduced to a trifle. 

5. Another vice of the Benefit Society is, the composition and 
character of its members. Sufficient attention is not paid to 

54 



(3) 

character, becmiso little depends upon it. Provided a man is 
tolerably healthy, and pays his subscription, he is thought a worthy 
member : nor arc his qualities, as a workman, at all taken into 
account. It is never a question whether a member will be a credit 
or a disgrace to a society : all his credit depends on paying his 
money, and if discharged for non-payment, he is not regretted, and 
the society is not thought to suffer any loss. Thus, the same 
mistake is continued, of confounding money and labour, and the 
consequence must inevitably be, that these societies can never 
secure the independence of the workman. 

6 The Benefit Society is formed upon two truths : division is 
weakness; union is strength. Both these truths are sound to the 
greatest possible extent. The extreme of division is ruin, and 
therefore, even the most bitter enemies have a resting point beyond 
which they will not carry their havock. Without the wampum 
mankind would be lost. On the other hand the extreme of union 
is co-operation. Every degree of union has its corresponding 
advantage; the more union, the greater is the blessing; and perfect 
union, as in Co-operation, would fill the world with peace, plenty, 
virtue, religion, and happiness. 

7. But Benefit Societies carry this union (their fundamental 
principle) but a very little way. Beyond the club meetings, the pot 
and the pipe, there is little union even among the members. There 
is in a manner, no sympathy in common pursuits, no help, no inter- 
course. There is indeed an acquaintance, but no friendship. No 
pursuits above labour are entered into, nothing intellectual is pro- 
posed or even thought of. To suggest any thing like a library, or 
a system of mutual instruction, would probably be ridiculed as 
folly. " Let them mind their work," it is said, " and leave learn- 
ing to their betters." Yet bow absurd and preposterous is such 
an observation ! A Benefit Society involves a knowledge of the 
most refined principles of science and calculation. " Of these 
principles," say the enemies of knowledge (and therefore of man), 
" Benefit Societies ought to know nothing ! " No ! the pot and the 
pipe are quite enough for them ! The chimaera of ancient history 
is a perfect beauty, compared with that modern monster, which 
has the effrontery to pronounce that workmen, members of a 
Benefit Society, ought not to know their own principles. 

8. The members of Benefit Clubs are not the only persons 
interested in them. Their wives and children ought to form a very 
prominent feature in them. It is in fact for these that the clubs 
are instituted, yet these are put out of sight, and receive no kindly 
influence whatever from the association. It would indeed be in- 
judicious to bring the families to a public-house, but this is only 
another reason why a society should have a house of its own. where 
all the families of the members might meet in harmony, and pro- 
mote mutual friendship and good offices. Why should females be 
so studiously excluded from cheerful and friendly meetings? Are 
there no innocent amusements which all might share in common? 
Wc can tell them there are. We were never more gratified than at 
such a meeting of our Co-operative Society in West Street. There 
we saw for the first time, pei-sons of all ages, of the working 
classes, meeting together with cheerfulness and happiness. The 
evening commenced with an account of the society ; after this they 
partook of tea and other refreshments ; then some of them amused 
themselves with dancing, and others in convei"sation ; and the 
evening concluded with various songs and other music. The whole 
expense of this meeting was not sixpence per head. Tlius the 
females were entertained and benefitted as well as the members; 
the nature of the society was made more intelligible to many ; some 
who had been prejudiced against it, were made converts; and all 
the bands of social union were strengthened. 

55 



(4 ) 

9. We ouglil not to pass over the glaring fact, that for want of 
this KNOWLEDGE wliich i* so nuich abused, Benefit Societies too often 
end in ruin. They depend upon very refined and intricate 
i)rinciples, far beyond the reach of the members; indeed, beyond 
the grasp of even the man of science. The most judicious principle 
upon which to establish them, is still doubtful— so is the fair rate 
of subscription for different ages and sexes. Too many have there- 
fore failed. Too many individiuils, after subscribing for many 
years, have fallen into sickness just as the funds were exhausted. 
The society is built upon a host of calculatious, and if any one of 
them is erroneous, it will fall ; or even if correct, it is still liable 
to fall, from the occasional occurrence of great improbabilities. Tlie 
best guard against this would be the extension of the union-principle 
to greater numbers — for iustauce, to whole counties. But a mind, 
enlightened enough to adopt and practice such a union, would soon 
jierc^eive that a far easier, safer, and more beneficial union, would 
he that of Co-operation. 

10. It is more to our present purpose to point out that a radical 
vice will for ever corrupt the funds of a Benefit Society, even when 
the calculations are all correct; and this is what we first mentioned, 
the mode of employing the capital. It travels round a curious 
circle; first it comes from the workman; then it goes to the treas- 
urer; then to the lawyer; then to the capitalist and his lawyer; 
then to the workman a,gain. In like manner, the produce of labour 
goes from the workman to the capitalist; then to the lawyers; then 
to the treasurer; and lastly to the workman himself. So that all 
the capitalists, lawyers, treasurers, and publicans, with their profits 
and salaries, who live upon the circle, must live in comfort, before 
the sick workman, vAio first saved the capital, and then reproduced 
it, can put to his lips a mouthful of food or a drop of medicine. 
Now as the intere.st of capital is continually diminishing, of which 
the Savings' Banks afford a living proof, the time will come when 
Benefit Societies will die a natural death. No profitable investment 
will remain for their funds, upon present principles. The only 
remedy then, if not before, will lie Co-operation; and as the pro- 
duce of labour, by the progress of knowledge and machinery is 
continually increasing, Co-oijeratiou nuist necessarily survive all 
other systems, and draw all mankind into its bosom. 

11. Farewell ! then, to Benefit Societies, as soon as ever the work- 
ing classes understand the value of labour, and that " union and 
knowledge are power." We will now take our leave of them, by 
summing up the defects we have pointed out in them : — first, they 
employ their capital badly, by lending it to capitalists, who profit 
by it more than they do, while also they may be starving, for want 
of employment : second, they benefit the parish rates more than 
themselves, since the labourer has a moral and legal right to 
support, in sickness and old age : third, they overlook entirely, their 
peculiar strength, namely, tlie labour principle, by contributing 
money instead of labour : fourth, they have no opportunity of 
enriching themselves by voluntary labour : fifth, they lose the 
labour of those members of their families who have no employ- 
ment : sixth, they are connected with the public house system, 
which is expensive — demoralizes the members — weakens the domestic 
ties — is incompatible with mental improvement, and the knowledge 
of their own principles — with having premises of their own — with 
a useful co-operation with other societies — and with any attempts 
at obtaining a better education for their children : seventh, they 
pay too little attention to the characters of members : eighth, they 
limit their usefulness, by excluding useful knowledge — by excluding 
members of families — by narrowing the social feelings, and not 
making provision for cheerful and innocent recreation : ninth, they 
are liable to be ruined by miscalculation; and tenth, they must be 
ultimately ruined by the continual lowei'ing of interest money. 

C. AND r:. SICKELMORE, PmNTERS, P.PIGHTOK. 

56 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 15. JULY 1, 18-29. Id. 



TRADE UNIONS.— PART I. 

1. Hail sacipcl band !^the workman's friend ! the workman's 
liope ! composed cutii'cly ot' workmen, consulting solely for the good 
of workmen, you have nothing but the interest of workmen at 
heart. Listen then to the tale of the Co-opei-ator ; weigh his argu- 
ments; appreciate his feelings; and judge for yourselves whether 
the system he proposes to you is practicable, feasible, judicious, 
and likely in any degree to emancipate workmc:i from the iron 
grasp — the intolerable thraldom of fluctuating and ruinous wages. 

2. A Trade Union is a society of workmen uniting for the purpose 
of mutual self-protection on the subject of wages. As the object 
of every merchant and dealer is to sell as dear as possible, so the 
object of such a union is to sell their labour as dear as possible. 
This object is partially efEected, first by limiting, in various ways, 
tlie number of apprentices received into the trade, and by regula- 
tions, respecting the mode of employing them ; and secondly, by 
refusing to work under certain prices. The mode of enforcing tlie 
latter resolution is, by endeavouring to proportion the number of 
workmen to the demand for work. This is dono by the retirement 
of some of them when wages have a tendency to fall, who are 
supported, during this retirement, by a subscription from the rest. 
On extraordinary occasions, when a great and permanent reduction 
of wages is apprehended, it is endeavoured to be counteracted by 
what is called a "strike." .'Vll the workmen, employed by a 
particular individual, retire. The manufactory is shut up : orders 
are unexecuted. If tlie manufacturer has a large stock of goods, 
or an ample capital, the funds which maintain the men become 
exhausted, and they are obliged to submit. If the master thinks 
he shall he unable, in the long run, to carry his object, he makes the 
best terms he can in the beginning. 

3. All unions are supported by weekly subscriptions. These are 
continually accumulating against a strike. When a strike is resolved 
upon, in any particular place, the subscriptions are increased among 
the members in other places, for the support of the strikers. .\ 
strike is never resolved upon till a fund is in hand, sufficient to last 
for several months : so that though the men may not ultimately 
gain their object, the manufacturer runs an imminent risk of being 
ruined. The master may have spirit enough to devote himself for 
the good of the trade; or he may think it as well to be ruined, by 
refusing to comply with the demands made upon liim, as by yield- 
ing, foioseciiig nothing but ruin in the latter case: and in like 
manner the men may devote themselves to great privations, upon 

57 



( 2 ) 

a general principle, believing that their fellow workmen, and they 
themselves, ultimately will be benefitted by their sacrifices. The 
whole transaction is one of buying and selling. The master tries 
to buy labour as cheap as possible, in order to make his profits as 
large as possible : the workman tries to sell his labour as dear as 
possible, in order to live as comfortably as possible ; and sometimes, 
because if wages fall, he parts not only with comforts, but even 
v.ith necessaries. 

4. The master dislikes the union of workmen as naturally as he 
likes his own profit. All masters have a fellow sympathy with each 
other, and therefore all masters hate unions. Legislators are com- 
posed of masters, and therefore they hate them — and thought to 
carry their point of reducing wages, by enacting laws against unions, 
/.'■. by means of the profit upon work, they hired some of the 
workmen, by giving them better wages, to keep the rest quiet by 
force, who were paid worse wages. How any workmen could be 
such fools, to say no worse, as to be bribed thus — to take up arms 
against their fellows, and even against their very relations and 
children, who must be workmen in their turn, is passing strange. 
But at length such laws were considered to be useless, impolitic and 
wicked, and were accordingly annulled. The progress of knowledge 
and good principles have brought masters to acknowledge this 
simple truth, viz. that one seller has the same right to make the 
best of the market as another seller. The workman is a seller of 
labour, and has a right to sell when he likes, and how he likes : and 
if a company of workmen choose to unite, to trade in labour, they 
have as much right to do it as a company of masters to trade in 
capital. 

5. We ought to observe, to prevent misconception, that the case 
of the individual master is often one of peculiar difBculty and 
anxiety. Trade has been liable, of late years, to the most extra- 
ordinary and sudden revolutions. The cai'e, the thought, the con- 
sideration, the judgment required, to conduct a large manufactory 
— the enormous expenses — the characters of those in whom confidence 
is placed, are occasions of anxious reflection. A trifling turn of the 
market may seriously affect a man's capital. Whenever he is 
threatened by pecuniary losses, his only resource is in diminished 
wages; and it is possible, that, occasionally, this expedient may be 
as wise for his men as for himself, as he might otherwise be com- 
pelled to discard them entirely. A man, so situated, is more an 
object of pity than of blame. 

6. On the other hand, the principles which drew workmen 
together, to combine for their mutual security, were among the 
noblest of which the human heart is susceptible — an honest regard 
for their own welfare and independence — a kind and generous 
sympathy in the condition and comforts of their friends and neigh- 
bours — a prudent forethought for the future — a magnanimous self- 
denial, and sacrifice of present comforts — a noble public spirit, 
expanding and spreading itself over distant individuals, unknown 
even by name, whose only recommendation was, that they wore the 
same form and lineaments, carried the same heart in their bosom, 
were heirs of the same fleshly pangs, and had none to whom to cry 
for help but their own humble, poor and suffering fellov/ workmen. 

7. The principle of union, to which we so strenuously wish to give 
a new direction among workmen, is essential to the welfare of man, 
and the corner stone of civilisation. It was the earnest object of 
some of the earliest and wisest of the English kings, to encourage 
it by great privileges. From it arose the genius of arts, trade and 
commerce. Trade unions of masters were established in most 
towns, and were universally the parents of prosperity. Probably, 
at that period, manufactures were a blessing to men as well as 

58 



(3) 

masters. Tlicir interests were more identified. While that period 
lasted, unions of men, as opposed to masters, must have been 
unknown. They would arise, naturally and necessarily, as changes 
took placf in trade which affected the comforts of workmen. If the 
moral situation of the workman altered with his comforts : if ho 
was gradually treated with loss regard, and with more selfishness : 
if the power of producing wealth increased so much that the work- 
man becamo loss valuable : if he began to bo considered as a mere 
machine, ditTorentlv composed indeed, but still a machine of flesh 
and blood, instead 'of wheels and steam, what, under these •■ircum- 
stances, could the workmen do b\it canvass over, among e.icn other, 
their present and future prospects, and perceive the opposmr; 
interests of themselves and masters P 

8. If in seeking a remedy for threatening evils, they adopted the 
means, then in use among their belters, for attaining any object of 
ambition, viz. force, ought we to be surprised? In those days, the 
best argmnent was found in the best sword, and might made right. 
Workmen followed the example set them by the upper classes, when 
fighting was the order of the day ; and having resolved to claim a 
certain rate of wages, the refusal of the master to grant it, was 
followed by destruction of property. This was the natural course 
of an ignorant people, witli excited passions and a bad example 
before them. 

9. Thus the spirit of union got among the workmen, as it had 
before possessed the masters. They could only unite among them- 
selves, for tliey wore a distinct — and may we not add, a degraded 
caste? Why should it be a disgrace to work? to produce all the 
comforts, wealth, and luxuries of the world? Yet so it was, and so 
it is. This badge of degradation assisted to unite them — it made 
them brothers in adversity — they united as brothers, and became 
so formidable, that the law thought it worth while to attempt to 
disunite them : the attempt failed — it only bound them faster to- 
gether—it had a direct contrary effect to what was intended, for it 
compelled the men to take their measures with greater considera- 
tion — it taught them depth of system, and graver forethought — it 
acted as a school of discipline, and converted them into petty 
legislators. As the law shifted and modified its enactments, the 
unions followed ; and after many marches and countermarches, 
legislators became convinced that it was perfectly useless to meddle 
with the subject. 

10. While these measures were cariying on, the hostility of the 
opposite parties increased. Every new law inflamed the passions of 
the men — made them discontented, irascible and seditious. A 
measure of common prudence was made a crime against govern- 
ment. While unions, of all kinds, wore encouraged among masters, 
they were indicted among workmen. Virtue in one case was vice in 
the other. The great distinction of right and wrong was con- 
founded. Men's understandings were bewildered and outraged ; 
and the workman felt himself an object of injustice, hatred, and 
tyranny. His spirit rose within him. Violent forces produced 
violent reaction. The spirit of a free man can never be pacified 
but upon a principle of freedom. Address him in a tone of insult, 
or even of command, and ho will defy you : but speak to him in the 
language of sympathy and friendship, and his passions will instantly 
subside into composure and calmness. 

11. Since these laws, which were felt to be partial, unjust and 
oppressive, were done away with, though the privations of work- 
men hav(> been increasing, their conduct has been more pacific. 
They have lost the irritation which was continually galling them, 
and their minds have partaken of the general improvement of the 
age. The same progress of knowledge which has enabled the 

59 



( 4 ) 

masters and legislators to acknowledge the rights of the workman, 
has enabled workmen to respect the rights of masters. When it is 
asked by sceptics, of what use are education and knowledge to the 
working classes, one answer is plain—" to open their minds to the 
commanding voice of right and justice, and to induce them there- 
by, to respect the property of masters and capitalists, wliatever Vje 
the extent of their own necessities." Large bodies of workmen 
have, for some time, been in a state bordering on starvation — so 
says the public press. In former days, such a state was immediately 
followed by a riot : but now, passion has given way to reason — 
ignorance to knowledge — and riot to peace ami patience. 

12. The working classes are convinced that violence is no remedy. 
Suppose that machinery could be destroyed, to a considerable 
extent — suppose that wages were thereby improved, still machinery 
would soon recover its former position, and low wages would return 
with it. Machinery is acknowledged to be in itself a good — a great 
and inestimable one: but in its immediate operation, it is an injury 
to the workman. He is imwilling to destroy this good if he can 
avoid it ; and the great problem which now occupies his thoughts 
is, how can I convert this great good to my own advantage? He 
has not yet found out the answer to this pioblem, but he soon will — 
and it lies in one word. Co-operation : but he is earnestly looking 
for it, and awaits in patience the result of his enquiry. 

13. In the next place, workmen arc convinced, that the causes 
which regulate wages, lie beyond the masters themselves, and are 
to be found in the state of the great market of the world, which 
the master is to supply. As the world is at present governed, the 
wants of the world regulate commerce : commerce regulates trade : 
trade regulates wages. The relation between demand and supply, 
and not the master, is the true cause of the rate of wages. — The 
p]-ogress of knowledge has enabled the workman to understand this. 

14. With this knowledge, the moral and religious character of 
the working classes has run parallel. They have more correct, we 
may say more refined notions of right and wrong, and of the 
responsibilities here and hereafter attached to moral conduct. 
Practical religion, though still in its infancy, as it ever must be, 
till Co-operation prevails, has still made progress among the work- 
ing classes, as we trust it has among all. They therefore act upon 
these convictions, and they had literally rather starve than plunder. 

15. For all these reasons, the working classes ai'e a different race 
of men from what they were. Thej' possess intelligence, knowledge, 
and moral and religious principle. — Degraded they may be in the 
foolish estimate of inconsiderate people : but degraded thery are not, 
and never can be again, in all that constitutes the real worth of 
man. They are a different race : they claim a different destiny. — A 
new career is open to them : it is within their reach : they have only 
to put forth the hand, and it is their's. 

16. Trade imions arc the organs of the working classes. What is 
true of one is true of the other. What is the power of the body, 
collectively, may easily be brought about by the unions. They have 
the power and the will, and we have no doubt of their sincerity. 
When the novelty of the subject is worn off, and they perceive its 
practicability, they will communicate such an impxilsc to the whole 
body, of which they are the head, as must conduct them to a com- 
plete emancipation. 



Published bij COWIE und STRANGE, I'aicrnoi^tcr Row. 



C. AND R. SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

60 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOAVLKUGE AND UNION AKK POWKI! : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 1(5. AUGUST 1, 18^20. Id. 



TEADE UNIONS.— PART II. 

1. We hav(> explained in our last number the nature of those 
ruions whifli have taken place among workmen. We shewed how 
Uiev arose naturally, and were brought about by the change that 
took place in trade and machinery. We coitipared them with the 
I'nions which have been es-tablished among capitalists. We proved 
that the motives, objects and principles of both were fundamentally 
tlie same; that thev were either intended to guard agar.ist evils 
which would be unavoidable without them, or to attain objects of 
great and paramount importance, which though impossible without 
them, became easy and certain by such simple means. 

2. We pronounced tlie Trade Unions of the workmen to be 
legitimate, just and honorable. We palliated any faults which they 
nnght have committed, as belongir.g to the application rather than 
to the principle itself, as necessarily incidental to all human 
exertions, and as being eclipsed by the greater faults of similar 
institutions among capitalists. We lamented that the principle had 
hitherto never been applied in its most proper and forcible direc- 
tion ; and we concluded by expressing a decided conviction that 
when so applied, it would be found to triumph Over all other 
jn-inciples, and would rentier Trade Unions ouuiipotent over the 
afYairs of men. 

3. Trade Unions may speedily as well as easily become omnipo- 
tent over the affairs of men. Whoever commands labour, com- 
mands men. Who can so easily conmumd labour as the labourer 
himself? The capitalist cannot labour; therefore as soon as the 
lii.bourer becomes his own capitalist, the mere capitalist will dwindle 
into insignificance, and the joint-labour capitalist will become 
omnipotent. 

4. Trade ITnions have got a machinery. They are regularly 
organized. They receive weekly subscriptions to an immense 
amount. This n'light be called a I^nion Eent, applicable to any 
purposes the linions may dii-ect it to. The world has lately 
witnessed the magical effects of such a rent. It has wrung the 
strongest political measure from the strongest government in the 
world. If Trade Unions can take a hint from this fact, it is as clear 
as the sun at noon day, that their measures will be invincible. 

5. Trade Unions should continue the same system and organiza- 
tion which tliey possess at present. The weekly subscriptions should 
go on, and be invested as they arise, as profitably as may be. Tn 
tlv3 mean time, the first thing to be done, is to shake hands with 
the present masters, and make with them perpetual peace. They 

61 



( 2) 

should turu their eyes upon a new master, which will be them- 
selves, their capital, and their producing powers. 

6. They should send a circular invitation to every Union in the 
kingdom, to take into consideration this new subject of Co-opera- 
tion. What is it? What are its principles? What are its objects? 
Are they practical or theoretical? Whence did it originate? 
Among the upper classes, or the working classes? Is it some new 
scheme for imposing on w^orkmen, and taxing them for the benefit 
of the capitalist; or is it a scheme, devised, begun and perfected 
chiefly by the working classes themselves? A thread spun by then- 
own hands, out of their wool, and strong enough to hold all their 
interests together ! 

7. The effects of such a circular among the Trade Unions, would 
not be long concealed. The principles are few and easily under- 
stood, and intelligible to the meanest capacity. If the sentiments 
of the members were favorable to a full Co-operation, as they 
imdoubtedly would be, (for these members are already Co-operat- 
ing to a certain extent) the next question would be respecting the 
employment of their present funds, and those which are weekly 
coming in, in the cause of Co-operation. The present form of 
Union should remain, and the approving members should form 
themselves into Co-operative Unions, in addition to those they at 
present belong to. 

8. The present Trade Unions should by no means be broken up 
yet. The time will come when this may be done, but not till after 
Co-operation has universally succeeded, and swallowed up every 
other plan of benefitting the workman, and providing for him in 
want of employment, sickness and old age. The present Unions 
should be stepping stones, and nursing fathers to Co-operation. 
As soon as they understand the subject, they may by their own 
example, encouragement, and assistance of capital, promote materi- 
ally the spread of the system. Wherever there is a Union, there 
will be Co-operation. From these centres, Co-operative missionaries 
will go forth into neighbouring districts, to invite all able-bodied 
labourers to accept constant, in exchange for precarious, employ- 
ment ; to live in good houses ; to sit down to a full meal every day ; 
and to enjoy a snug warm fireside in winter. 

9. Does any one say that such missionaries will not make many 
converts? If men continue to prefer food to hunger, and certainty 
to uncertainty, the disciples of such missionaries will be more 
numerous than ever they have been since the days of the Apostles. 
Each Union starting with a capital, members may be received, and 
set to profitable employment immediately. Whoever can produce 
more than he consumes, (provided he be a good character) will be 
a worthy member. The present facilities in producing clothing 
being so great, that the world is already over-stocked, and many 
powerful machines are standing idle ; the production of clothing is 
reduced to little more than an act of volition; so that, in fact, the 
mechanical qualification of a member will be brought to the very 
simple condition of his being able to produce more food than he 
consumes. 

10. We are deceived about the food-producing powers of man, by 
the intricate windings of the road by which food travels from the 
producer to the consumer, which are occasioned by the producer's 
producing for another and not for himself : but when the labourer 
hj becoming a capitalist, produces for himself alone, and his food 
merely travels from his own spade to his own barn, and from thence 
to his own mouth — two steps instead of two hundred, the art of 
producing will become so simple that every boy may feed himself. 

11. Trade Unions, therefore, will continue to collect their weekly 
rent as usual, but they will no longer invest it in Savings' Banks, 

62 



( 3 ) 

Government Securities, Mortgages, and such like absurdities. They 
will invest it in Co-operation ; in forming Co-operativo Societies 
among their own members ; in lending moderate sums of money to 
other societies; in forming manufactories of their own, for supply- 
ing Co-operative Societies with tools, instruments and machines of 
various kinds ; in giving employment in these manufactories to the 
most skilful hands; and above all in giving useful employment to 
those hands which are driven out of different manufactories by the 
want of demand for goods, and the inability of masters to give 
employment. 

12. One of the most obvious and useful employments for the idle 
capital of the Trade Unions, would be the purchase of land. And 
here some most important remarks are to be made. The value of 
land is to be estimated by totally different considerations; whether 
it is purchased for the individual capitalist or for the Co-operative 
capitalist. In the former case, the value of the land depends 
entirely upon its situation with respect to markets, in the latter, 
not at all. In the former, almost all the produce must be converted 
into money before it is of any use — in the latter, not so. In the 
former, the producer often sells his food and sends it to travel, and 
buys it again at its journey's end — in the latter, not so, but it 
makes its two steps only to the consumer's mouth. In the former, 
lands of the most fertile description lie waste, because they are near 
no markets — in the latter, fertile land, wherever it is, would be 
valuable and almost equallj-^ so. If the land cannot travel to market 
to the consumer, the consumer can travel to it. Food is bulky, and 
a bad traveller, — clothing is easily transported, — machines will live 
in all climates, — and books, and men of enlightened minds, who are 
or will be the staple of Co-operation, improve by travelling. 

13. Therefore, if Trade Unions were to purchase land at the 
extremity of the island, they would only have to send their 
superfluous hands, the discarded weavers, mechanics and agri- 
cultural labourers, to occupy this land and to work for themselves, 
and to consume the whole produce themselves. The best way in 
which these tenants could remunerate the Unions, would be by 
receiving from time to time, the superfluous hands. As the produce 
becomes superabundant, they would give information to the Unions. 
As men were thus drawn from the general market of labour, wages 
would rise; the remaining workmen would be better off, and the 
common object would be nioie easily, rapidly and completely 
attained. 

14. These Co-operative colonies of the Trade Unions would 
multiply ; districts which would not answer to be cultivated by the 
individual capitalist, would answer for them. A cordon or string 
of colonies would be formed at the outskirts as it were of lands, 
cultivated upon the individual principle; but as these colonies 
would be sure to increase in wealth, they would also be able to 
enter into competition with the mere capitalist, and gradually 
supplant him upon his own soil. On no spot would the individual 
capitalists be able to compete with Co-operative capital once 
established, because the very sinews of the individual capitalist, 
ramoly — labour, would undoubtedly pass over to the ranks of 
Co-operation, as soon as the two systems were fairly in sight of 
each other. 

15. We point out the occupation of land under circumstances of 
this kind, because the provision of food for hundreds of families 
who are now in a state bordering upon starvation, is the urgent 
demand of the moment, and the Trade Unions already possess 
capital enough to commence such a project the very mornent that 
they understand it; bat there are many other ways of employing 
their capital with advantage to themselves, at their own doors, 

63 



( 4 ) 

wliich would suggest themselves, and vary with the local circum- 
stances of eacli society. 

16. One very obvious and necessary object, which would soon 
suggest itself to Co-operators, is the formation of Schools for their 
own children, in order to prepare them for communities at an early 
age. Co-operation gives to education a new character, for it 
demands it as a necessary qualification ; and it gives a reason for 
its being carried to the greatest possible extent, wliich no sophistry 
can evade or quibble about. They measure each other ; they rise 
and fall together ; the perfection of one, is the perfection of the 
other : they are inseparable allies — each insures and guarantees the 
success of the other ; and when both have learned to take the field 
together, they will prove invincible and omnipotent. 

17. Soon will those societies which are established be able to 
receive the sons of members and of workmen in general, as appren- 
tices. Trade Unions could not do better than place out the sons 
of members in such situations, with small premiums. By relieving, 
in this way, the parents, they would be able to make greater 
exertions in favor of the grand obiect of Co-operative capital. By 
placing their children in Co-operation, they would be making the 
Ijeit investment for themselves against old age and infirmities; for 
ixtterly incompatible is the Co-operative spirit, witli the want and 
distress of those to whom we owe all the powers, faculties, and 
happiness we enjoy. 

IPi. To conclude then, in the words with which we began, "Hail 
sacred band ! the workman's friend ! the workman's hope ! " These 
are the means, the methods, and objects, for you to adopt, and 
not the eternal bickerings with masters about a paltry rate of 
wages, when you have the power within yourselves of determining, 
not wages only, but capital jtself. You are now the head of many 
thousands of workmen and many thousands of pounds. You have 
it in your power to be at the head of millions — you may become the 
arbiters of their fate, and may command them more easily than the 
greatest conquerors have ever done. Like these conquerors in 
power, you will not be like them in deeds, for your victories will 
be bloodless. " No cries and groans, and shrieks that rend the air," 
will follow in your train; but tears of joy, rivers of happiness, sweet 
waters to refresh the parched palate, food for the hungry, clothing 
for the naked ! " The blessings of the widow, the fatherless and 
" the orphan, and of him that was ready to perish, shall come upon 
" you, and every one at your approach shall rise up and call you 
" blessed ! " 



I'pwards of seventy Co-ojierative Societies are now in existence. 
An account of some of them may be seen in the Birmingham Co- 
operative Herald, published monthly, price one penny, by Cowie 
aiid Strange. 



T'uhlishpd hi/ COWIE and STRAi\(r/;, I'atrr,ioxtcr How. 

C. AND R. SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

64 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWKR : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 17. SEPTEMBER 1, 1829. Id. 



OVER-POPULATION IS OCCASIONED BY OVER- 
PRODUCTION. 

1. This proposition may appear, at first sight, to be a contradic- 
tion. We shall however, endeavour to shew that what is now 
called over-population, is merely a misapplication and abuse of 
words — that there is an excess of population only in a particular 
mercantile, marketable sense, and not in a plain, straight forward, 
common sense. Over-population, in the abused sense of the word, 
must always exist in the common form of society : but a real over- 
population has never existed, except in famines and in the most 
barbarous state of society, before the invention of useful arts — and 
never can exist in the Co-operative form of society. 

2. The way in which we hear of over-population is, by pauperism 
and want of employment for the working classes. AH the evils 
and complaints of society press upon them. They are made, as it 
were, responsible for every thing; and bear all the blame whenever 
any thing goes wrong. When they are wanted, for labour or for 
fighting, then they are made much of, and praised to the skies. 
Ab soon as they have made the food, clothing, or houses, or beat 
the enemy, then they are of no farther use — and the state is over- 
peopled. 

3. If no man, by labour, could produce more than he consumed, 
all men must be producers; and then we should not hear of over- 
population. If one man produces for another, who has the power, 
from particular circumstances, of making the producer what allow- 
ance he pleases, when he gets his stores well supplied, he may fancy 
that he can, in future, do without the producer; and then he may 
cry " over-population." The man who receives the produce, might 
have enough for himself and a servant ; and by having had his 
personal wants of dress, attendance, &c., supplied by the labourer,, 
when the idea of over-population first crosses his mind, he would 
not think his servant superfluous, but his labourer. 

4. So it is with classes of men. The workmen, now, are entirely 
dependent upon capitalists — who, from peculiar circumstances, may- 
or may not employ the labourer— just as they please. The 
capitalists produce nothing themselves : they are fed, clothed, and 
lodged by the working classes. The workmen also support by their 
produce, not only the capitalists, but a number of attendants 
besides. Yet, when the capitalist is so situated, that he finds he 
has taken charge of too many attendants, and is determined to 
turn off somebody, instead of turning off a servant, and sending 
him to feed himself by his own labour, he somehow hits upon thft 
workman, and thinks he is the person who over-peoples the earth. 

5. Thus the question of over-population always turns back upon 
the poor workman, who produces daily, not only all that he con- 
sumes, but as much more as supports the capitalist and all his train 
of non-producing servants and dependents. It is evident then, that 
the fault of over-poptilation does not lie with the producer, i.e. the 
workman, but with the consuming non-producer. 

65 



( 2) 

6. In the present foini of society, the workmen are cntirelj' in 
the power of the capitalists, who are incessantly playing at what is 
called qyrofit and loss — and the workmen are the counters, which 
are pitched backwards and forwards with this unfortunate differ- 
ence — that the counters do not eat and drink as workmen do, and 
therefore don't mind being thrown aside at tlie end of the game. 
The game could not be played without the counters ; and capitalists 
could not play at profit and loss without the workmen. But the 
workmen are as much in the power of the capitalists, as the 
counters are in that of the players ; and if the capitalists do not 
want them, they must go to the wall. 

7. There never was any cry, among workmen, of over-population 
— and it would be surprising if there were, seeing tliat they produce 
more than they consume. If one man produces a surplus, ten men 
would produce ten times that surplus — and a million would produce 
a million surpluses. Such men could never dream of ovei'-popula- 
tion. Give a body of workmen a piece of land, of their own, and 
make it imperative upon all to woi'k, they would, daily, produce a 
surplus : they could not consume all their produce ; and we should 
never hear of over-population. That word might then be struck 
out of the dictionary. 

8. The working classes of England, possess, at the present 
moment, capital enough, in the Benefit Societies and Trade Unions, 
to purchase land enough to maintain, if not all of them, yet so 
large a portion as would at once place the subsistence of all, upon 
a prospei-ous footing : but instead of investing their capital in land, 
and so producing plenty of necessaries, i.e. food, clothing, and 
houses, for themselves, and accumulating a common capital at the 
rapid rate which improved arts and machinery would allow of, they 
actually put all their capital into the hands of their natural enemies 
— the capitalists, who, with this capital, immediately cry " over- 
population." Upon the capitalists hang, not only the servants, 
clerks, and other members of their establishments, but all the 
writing trade, as well as the real men of science — all those who 
think it easier or more honorable to hold a pen than a spade ; and 
even these people join in the general cry of " over-population," and 
agree, perhaps, in only that one thing — of laying the blame upon 
the poor workman. 

9. Thus, by the absurd way in which the working classes have 
hitherto invested their capital, they have not only benefited the 
capitalists, as was shewn in the reflections under the head of Benefit 
Societies — they have not only, with the greatest civility, been con- 
tent with three, four, or five per cent, upon their capital, and made 
the capitalist a present of the remainder, however great— nay, and 
worked it out themselves, besides, but they have actually, as it 
were, purchased wdth it, this cry of " over-population," which, as 
applicable to the working classes — as being unable to produce what 
they consume, is one of the most absurd unproveable cries that ever 
was raised. 

10. In a country parish, you may find perhaps all, or a great part 
of the labourers, receiving part of their support in the shape of 
poor rates. This is called "over-population" — i.e. say the wise 
ones, " these labourers consiime more than they produce." Yet, 
all the land in the parish, is cultivated by these same labourers — 
and out of this pi'oduce, are supported all the mechanics, and their 
children — all the farmers, and their children and servants — all the 
gentlemen with their establishments in town and countrj'', and their 
children — some, it may be travelling in foreign parts— besides pay- 
ing all the government taxes. In what sense then, can it be said, 
that there is an over-population of labourers? Certainly in any 
sense but that of common sense. It is possible there may be an 
over-population of servants, managing people, head men, stewards, 
bailiffs, double and triple establishments — but of producers, of 

66 



t 3) 

■woiking-mon, there taiinot, in the nature of things, bo an over- 
pojmlation for age?; to come. 

11. As there is, perhaps, no parish in England without paupers, 
and as the wages or parish allowance arc only Kuflicient to feed a 
man from day to day, so there are labourers so degraded by the 
circumstances around them, as to have sunk very innocently into a 
•class called romidsmen. These jioor creatures travel round from 
door to door, with all the elements of wealth about them — able and 
willing to produce more than they consume — and pi-obably, having 
alwaj's done so, only that the produce has run away from them, 
as already described : bill, instead of hearing woids of mildness and 
encouragement, they hear no soiuids but that of " over-population." 
This is the picture of an English country paiish, during many 
months in the year — particularly in the winter. Then it is that the 
cry is the loudest : but lo ! and behold I when summer comes, and 
the produce of these labourers and roundsmen is to be collected, 
and the yellow harvest to be housed, the cry is suddenlj' changed 
into that of " uiider-population." Messengers are despatched into 
the highways and byeways for labourers; servants and bailififs turn 
out ; even beggars are pressed into the service ; no questions are 
asked ; even character is put in the backgroinid ; every body is 
industrious — well fed, and happy; and the only cry is, "the more 
the merrier." 

12. As the substantial (janir of capital is piit imdor cover, this 
merry cry grows fainter and fainter. Questions begin to be asked, 
who is who? and what is what? The capitalist has completed his 
annual bargain with the labourers, roundsmen, and beggars : ho has 
got possession of all the food : and after a few hearty meals, and 
the prospect of manj' more, begins his old song of " over-popula- 
tion." This cry then, is raised by the capitalist, when his barns and 
warehouses are full. The fuller they are, the less he needs the 
labourer. He is grieved to see the labourer turned consumer. This 
is his own trade. " Two of a trade can never agree." He doles 
out his food with a grudging hand and rueful countenance. He 
compares his plentiful store with his now useless roundsman, till 
at last, out it comes — " over-population ! " If this cry is not 
occasioned by well-filled granaries — by an immense surplus produce, 
at the command of the capitalist, and which the producer has no 
light to touch, there is no such thing as cause and effect. 

13. This is an important and vital truth for Go-operators. There 
is no over-population properly so called : there never can be any in 
a Co-operative comnnniity, once established upon their own capital. 
The cry is raised by the capitalist and the non-producer, owing to 
the peculiar way in which the labourer is supported. It varies 
according to the season of the year — being loudest in winter, when 
food is most abundant, and weakest in summer, when the old food 
is almost exhausted and the fresh supply is not quite secured. The 
producer might well be allowed a larger share during the idle 
season, as is the custom in some parts of the Netherlands and Italy 
— where he lives at the farmer's table all the year round. Such 
also was the custom in England, when agricultural labourers lived, 
many of them, in the farmer's house, and shared his fare : but 
customs have changed: "intellect has marched." Cultivators have 
got into the manufacturing system — of turning the penny, and con- 
sidering the labourer as a machine, to be valued merely on (lie 
score of profit and loss, and not as a human being — a moral and 
intellectual agent — and above all, a religious and responsible 
creature — nay, even " a child of God " — to use an authorativc and 
true phrase, who shall, one day, sit before the Almighty's throne, 
in as good a seat as the richest and proudest capitalist in the world. 
14. The cry of over-population therefore, arises out of this simple 
fact — that the productive powers of labour arc so much increased, 
that a smaller proportion of workmen than formerly, is suflficient 
for feeding and clothing the capitalists. The numbeV of workmen 

67 



( 4 ) 

cannot be diminishod. at pleasure, in the same proportion, as the 
productive power of machinery increases — and therefore the- 
number, not actuallj- wanted, are thrown upon the capitalist, as a 
rlrug. The capitalist cannot employ them as servants, for hie 
income is insufficient : he cannot employ them as workmen, because 
jirofits have ceased, or nearly so, by over-production. When the 
wants of the whole world have been supplied, profit must cease. 
That state, though it has not been quite reached, has been closely 
approached, by the enormous increase of productive power, sufficient 
to affect profit, and throw large bodies of men out of employment. 
Therefore over-population is occasioned by want of employment — 
want of employment, by want of profit — want of profit, by want of 
demand — want of demand, by over-production — and therefore over- 
population, by over-production. 

15. This is a singular state of things to look at — that men should 
be perishing in the midst of abundance, and that mankind should 
be thought too numerous just when it is proved that their wants 
may be supplied to an unlimited extent. The situation of society, 
is such, in productive power, that the workman might well labour 
a little less, and study a little more — and become a being of a 
liigher grade : but this view has never been taken, nor is it likely 
to be taken. The principles of capital and labour, and of masters 
and servants, are diametrically opposed. The question between 
capital and labour, is one of profit. Labour must necessarily be 
bought as cheap as possible; and machinery, as before proved, 
reduces this price to a minimum. So the question between master 
and servant is, and must be, in the present form of society, one of 
" order and obey." A master may treat his servant kindly : but 
he may treat him as a servant; and keep him in his place. Somr 
few servants are elevated, and made confidential : but as a class, 
they must for ever remain badly educated — ignorant — degraded ; 
and liable to end their days in want and poverty. 

16. There was a time, in England, when a decent provision for 
an old and faithful servant, was a pleasing duty : but that time has 
also " marched " away. The memory of bye-gone services, is 
obliterated ; and the wrinkled brow has less charms than the profit- 
able manliness of youth. The parish door hides all deformities, 
and satisfies all our ideas of virtuous sympathy. 

17. But, inasmuch as all these evils arise from over-production, 
not over-population — and from the entire dependence of labour 
upon capital ; and as the capitalist will never give such a share of 
food and instruction to the workman as to raise his situation — and 
is moreover ashamed to labour himself, and to turn workman, the 
remedy must be sought for from its proper source — and the work- 
man must turn capitalist. Then, all the causes of the present cry 
of over-population, will be so many reasons for his success. The 
very causes which have occasioned his present want and misery, 
will as infallibly ensure his future prosperity and happiness. 
Facility of production will enable him to improve his mind, as well 
as to labour. Improved methods of instruction will give him useful 
knowledge, in a shorter space of time. Property and knowledge 
will make him respectable and virtuous. Want and crime will flee 
away together, as the shadow follows its substance. 

18. Who, that loves his country and his kind, would not rejoice 
to see the peasantry of England so redeemed from want, crime, and 
misery — so raised to manly and virtuous independence? and this 
change taking place quietly and effectually, and without injustice 
to any one? In vain then, would thunders, human or divine, roll 
above our heads — for the former would meet a conducting rod, to- 
dissipate their baneful effects, and the latter would only burst in 
fertilizing showers, in proof that such a change was the work of 
the divine Hand, and sanctioned by the divine Fiat. 

[SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIQHTOK. 

68 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 18. OCTOBER 1, 1829. Id. 



THE TWO REMEDIES. 

1. We have brought before our readers the subject of over- 
population, and have taken a view of it, different from that of 
many of our contemporaries. The broad fact, that many of tlic 
-working classes are in a state of extreme distress, is admitted by 
all parties; the precise cause of that distress is disputed, and there- 
fore the remedy also. 

2. Wo have endeavoured to distinguish between the demand ami 
supply of labour in the market of capital, and the demand and 
supply of labour when the labourer has a capital of his own to work 
upon. In the former case, we are ready to admit that there may 
be, as there is at present, a surplus of labour, which is falsely 
called over-population. In the latter case, we do not see how there 
«an be an over-population, that is, too much labour ; that is, too 
much production; that is, too much food, clothing and houses. 

3 There are persons, however, who think thei-e can be no system 
•but the present system ; that labour, and therefore, the labourer, 
can never be any thing better than a marketable commodity, to be 
bought and sold by capitalists, like a log of wood, a hat, or a pig. 
"When hats and labour are cheap, there is an over-population of hats 
and workmen- — when they are dear there is an uuder-population. 

4. According to this rule, they very naturally infer that hats and 
workmen should be manufactured upon the same principle. When 
hats and workmen are plentiful, the manufactories should be closed 
for a few years or so; when scarce, they should be opened again. 
They would invent something like a gauge for both these com- 
modities, in the market price of each. When hats and workmen 
are below a certain price, they advise that production should cease ; 
when it rises above this, they advise that production should com- 
mence. 

5. This advice is given in sober seriousness, or sadness, and this 
is the remedy, and the only remedy, they have to propose. With 
respect to hats, the advice is sound, and whether given or not the 
rule will be strictly followed : hats will be made or not, just as the 
capitalist can get a profit or not; and supposing too many to come 
from the warehouse, the public will not be oppressed with their 
-cries. But here, the rule stops, and it is difficult to conceive how 
any one should seriously apply it to the workman. " The workman 
has the market of labour entirely in his own hands ; he has only to 
marry with prudence and foresight, and he may keep the rate of 
wages at any height which he pleases." 

69 



( 2 ) 

6. The workman is classed with hats, and then it is demanded of 
him to liavc prudence and foresight. Wliy not preach prudence to 
the hat, as well as the workman, if their cases are so much alike? 
Or, why treat the workman with the same severity as the hat, if 
their cases are so totally dissimilar? 

7. We claim for the workman the rights of a rational and moral 
agent — a being capable of acquiring knowledge and virtue, if 
properly educated ; the being whose exertions produce all the wealth 
of the world — wc claim for him the rights of a man, and deprecate 
the philosophy which would make him an article of mere merchan- 
dize, to be bought and sold, multiplied or diminished, by no other 
rules than those which serve to decide the manufacture of a hat. 

8. In laying down rules on practical subjects, there ought to bo 
something like practical probability in the rule, otherwise, it is in 
vain to declaim, and people only talk to the winds. " If workmen 
would marry prudently, (it is said) there would be no over-popula- 
tion." They might as well say, if workmen were angels there would 
be no over-population. The one is as likely to happen (in the 
philosophical sense) as the other. How are workmen to have this 
])rudence? It is not innate, or an instinct, for the instinct is just 
the reverse. Prudence is the virtue of a superior mind, instilled 
into it and nurtured by a judicious educator, and perfected by 
experience and habit. But those who recommend this prudence are 
among the last persons to provide this " judicious educator," and 
assert rather that the workman should not he educated at all, that 
is, in plain words, should not be taught this prudence; for educa- 
tion is, or ought to be, nothing else than the inculcation of valuable- 
moral habits. 

9. But the Ijest education in the world could do nothing in the 
case. Times are altered — the world is altered — mankind are 
altered. Instead of a few straggling inhabitants, wandering on 
the sea-shore to starve on limpets, men are become numerous, 
luxurious, and wonderfully intelligent ; measuring the heavens by 
their knowledge. Instead of grovelling before a block of wood, 
men are become worshippei's of a " living and true god," who has 
imparted to them a ray of his own intelligence and immortality. 
Instead of being covered rather than clothed, with the skin of a 
wild animal, they wear the most ingenious fabrics; and instead of 
the simple distaff and laborious knitting pin, they have machines of 
such gigantic power, that they can at any moment over stock the 
wants of man and produce an over-population. 

10. It is this fact, which sets the old theory of population at 
defiance. "It is asserted that prudent marriages (by which is 
meant no marriages at all) are necessary, because population 
increases faster than the means of subsistence," that is, faster than 
clothes can be made. As well might men look at the sun till blind, 
and assert that it did not shine. When we see the power of 
hundreds of horses concentrated in a single machine — when we see 
thousands of spindles worked by a few individuals — how is it 
possible to deduce the conclusion, that men increase faster than 
cloth, hats and stockings? The natives of India can supply their 
countrymen with clothing. The natives of England can bring 
cotton from India, make it into cloth, return it to India, and under- 
sell the inhabitants. " Therefore, (say the theorists) men increase 
faster than cloth." 

11. If any thing is evident from this argument, it is that the evil 
is not over-population, and want of prudence on the part of the 
workman : but the power of over-production, on the part of the 
capitalist, and an ignorance how to apply that power to the 
improvement of mankind. When it is said, " the workmen have 
the power of regulating their own numbers," it might be replied^ 

70 



( 3) 

" the capitalists have the power of supplying the wants of those 
numbers." The capitalists, in their machinery, possess the power 
of production; and in their education, the power of making proper 
arrangements. To them wc ought to look for new systems of 
management, to meet the new system of power. It is in vain to 
talk to workmen of prudence, if wc may not talk to mastci-s of 
intelligence and common sense. If much is expected from any man, 
much should be done for him. If the workman is to be prudent 
and wise, he nuisl be taught prudence and wisdom. 

12. But let us look again at the practical wisdom of this rule of 
prudence. It is given to the workman as advice ; but, the advice 
is written in books which the workman never reads, and addressed 
to multitudes of men who canuot read. The closet philosopher has 
discovered a golden rule — instead of "be fruitful and multiply," 
he proclaims, " be prudent and multiply not." He then thunders 
against the stupidity of workmen who do not follow advice they 
never hear, nor grow wuse by hooks they never can read. 

13. Suppose such an impossible event to happen, as, that work- 
men, brought up as they are now, in stupid ignorance, should catch 
some glimpse of this golden rule of prudence, how shall they per- 
form the uexi impossible part of the advice to agree among them- 
selves, how and when, and where marriage shall take placer" Shall 
it be done by a general council of workmen, which, perchance, shall 
he prosecuted for combination or seditious practices; or, shall it 
bo done by a general tacit consent of workmen, operating by a 
blind instinct, but yet safely and surely, as the instinct of other 
animals? Surely all this is too much for sober reason to expect, 
and the moral part of this problem is as difficult of solution as the 
mechanical part. If society is not to be improved till the working 
classes, falling in with the present system, set about measuring 
their numbers against machinery, and proportion the supply of 
men to the demand, we may safely pronounce the moral improve- 
ment of mankind to be impossible. Then will the world daily 
present a more and more extraordinary spectacle, that, in pro- 
portion as the power of increasing the comforts, virtue and 
happiness of men, increases, these very fruits of power will 
diminish, and vice and misery will abound. 

14. Impossible, indeed, is such an issue, in the works of an 
omnipotent power and an infinite wisdom, equal to all emergencies, 
and baffled by no difficulties. Difficulties, indeed, only prove the 
breaking up of one system and the commencement of another. 
Man struggles to relieve himself from the passing load of the day, 
whatever it may be, and to try new paths to those bright regions 
of eternal sunshine and perpetual plenty, which we feel a secret 
conviction are destined to cover the earth, not, perhaps in our age, 
hut in that of our happier posterity. 

15. The path which we at present think to explore, is that of 
Co-operation. The remedy which we propose for the over-popula- 
tion difficulty, is Co-operation : not the immediate and general 
adoption of a new order of things, foreign to the ideas and haliits 
of a race of beings, the very law of whose existence is habit; but, 
the slow and gradual formation of small societies of the more 
intelligent workmen, laying aside their antipathies and animosities, 
and uniting their labour for a common good, attainable by union 
alone. These societies may daily acquire experience and know- 
ledge. They will see and understand the various operations of 
business, the nature of markets, the relation of supply and demand, 
the use of capital — its absolute necessity, and the most practical 
methods of applying it. In this employment they will be elevated 
from the class of mere workmen to that of masters and capitalists. 
Siiiall concerns will suit their small experience. As their business 

71 



(*) 

increases their experience will follow and enlarge. They will add 
one article of business to another, and one idea to another, till 
they may assume a confidence, which will naturally result from 
their new subjects of mental occupation. 

16. Should such societies spread and grow up — should this experi- 
ment as it may now be called, succeed — we look for checks to an 
improvident population, which do not and cannot exist at present. 
It is something wonderful, that, the law which protects the 
improvident workman should not also protect the innocent 
ca])italist ; that while it compels the capitalist to maintain a 
pauper, it does not compel the pauper to conform to some rules foi- 
the public good. If imprudent marriages are so evil in the eye of 
the law, some regulations should be laid down for them, and we 
should not be shocked with the folly of marriages at sixteen and 
paupers at eighteen. But no such compensation law exists; and 
while improvident marriages are deemed the curse of society, no 
regulations have ever been even proposed respecting them. But, if 
Co-operative Societies should spread among workmen, a higher tone 
of feeling will spread with them — a higher cultivation of mind, and 
a, more enlightened moral principle. As these qualities form the 
true prudential check in the present state of society, so will they 
form a similar check in the co-operative state. If any difficulty 
should then arise on the subject of food (which is not likely), then 
will be reflection at hand, with self-restraint, a higher sense of 
propriety and other kindred virtues, to assist. Such a society might 
impose rules upon itself, as has been practically done at Mr. 
Rapp's Colony, at Harmony, and would altogether present a scene 
of moral principles, totally different from any which can possibly 
exist in the present state of society ; where the pauper is born, bred 
and educated like an animal, and then expected to demean himself 
like a man. 

17. This is the remedy which we propose. A remedy, not in the 
nature of things, impossible, like the other; but, one, whose elements 
are to be found among well educated people, under the present 
system. We would take those elements from the heterogeneous mass 
by which they are surrounded, and combine them with new forms. 
They would act with the same certainty then as they do at present, 
while they would not be counteracted by opposing forces. A public 
sentiment and public opinion would spring up in those societies as 
at present, but tenfold more efficient in its influence over the mem- 
bers; and, human nature would then (if ever) start into true life, 
and prove itself capable of being governed by rational and virtuous 
principles. 



'fhf number of Co-operative Societies is upwards of Seventy, and 
continues to increase. 



Published by Cowie and Strange, PaternoBtei* Row. 

SICKELMOEB, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

72 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 19. NOVEMBER 1, 1829. Id 



THE INDIVIDUAL SYSTEM. 

1 Since the subject of Co-operation has been under discuBsion of 
late years, with a view to render it one of practical operation, and 
as the means and the only means of insuring the comfort of the 
working classes, some term has been found convenient to express 
that form of society which has hitherto prevailed generally in tho 
world, which, therefore, it has been agreed to call the Individual 
System. 

2. In the Individual System, each man acts for himself alone. 
Individual power, wealth, learning, fame, are aspired to by tho 
mass of mankind, according to their various talents and oppor- 
tunities; and the means by which these are pursued, are right or 
wrong, honorable or dishonorable, virtuous or criminal, according 
to the moral character of each individual. According to this 
system, there is a strong tendency for power, wealth, and even for 
learning and science — to accumulate in a few hands, while mankind 
at large, are weak, poor, ignorant, and in a word, barbarous. 

?. This system, is necessarily a mixture of extremes, as to power, 
wealth, and poverty ; despotism in some, slavery in others, are 
almost inseparable from it. That learning which exists in such a 
state of society, is in like manner extremely liable to monopoly. 
Privilege and caste divide the world into classes : each class is 
separated from the others by the individual principle, while within 
each class, the same principle divides the membei-s as much from 
each other, as if they belonged to a different rank; thus also, a 
prmciple of competition is established, each man considering his 
neighbour as a rival, who stands in the way of his own prosperity, 
and whom he must by every means in his power out-strip or 
supplant. 

4. Excessive competition is so essential to this system, that it i« 
the grand motive inculcated upon every child from its birth; high 
or low, rich or poor, all are stimulated from the cradle, in all their 
childish pastimes, and in all their elementary education, to aim 
only at one object, which is to get above a neighbour. A compari- 
son is drawn, not between the pupil and the subject, but between 
one pupil and another. A boy is not simply to acquire knowledge, 
but to know more than another; not to select the most useful 
studies, but to excell in those which are most in vogue; not to hoUi 
correct opinions, but to defend those that are held ; not to searcli 
for truth, but to bow to authority. 

5. Whatever objections there may be to stich a state of society, 
theoretically viewed — whatever abuses it may be liable to — what- 
ever miseries it may be connected with — yet it is a system unavoid- 

73 



( 2 ) 

able in the infaiicv of the woild ; it lias l)ocn invented bj' no set of 
artful men, but "is the growth of nature herself; the injuries, 
crimes, and miseries of which it is accused, are the abuses, and not 
the essence of the system; and though a severe parent, it is still 
the parent of the most momentous blessings to the world at large. 
6. The Individual System, results necessarily and unavoidably 
among a set of beings, gifted with high and noble faculties, born 
ill a state of entire ignorance, and compelled to support life by 
daily labour. Inequality of faculties, character and circumstances, 
must immediately give rise to inequality of rank and division of 
labour; and hence, the origin of arts and sciences, and the ultimate 
regeneration and happiness of the whole race. Had mankind re- 
mained perfectly equal, they would for ever have remained ignorant 
and barbarous. Their boasted equality would have been an equality 
of degradation, of mere animal life, beyond which they never 
would have advanced. The very mode in which beings are intro- 
duced into the world, the relation of old and young, of parent and 
child, at once destroys all trace of equality. The simple, yet 
important fact, that knowledge is acquired, not innate — that 
knowledge is the result of experience and time — that it generally 
grows with our growth — this simple fact proclaims at once two 
momentous truths, that rank is unequal and that man is progressive. 

7. It is true, that the mere labourer is a man of few ideas, of 
narrow mind, of low desires; but, his incessant labour gives leisure 
to others, that leisure gives rise to reflexion (properly so called), 
to knowledge of all kinds, to arts and sciences. The mind of man 
is enabled to unfold itself; the nature and qualities of its powers 
are tried and proved; and a new world, totally different from that 
with which his daily wants are connected, begins to be entered 
upon. The world of'mind, of intellectual power, of spiritual refine- 
ment, of moral perfection, would never have been known to man, 
without inequality of rank and without the Individual System. 

8. That principle in man, by which one so readily falls under the 
influence of another ; by which whole tribes and nations are induced 
to look up to one individual, a creature in every respect like them- 
selves, with a degree of awe and veneration, approaching to 
religious homage, and which makes it even a duty to consider him 
as the absolute master of their lives and property ; this very 
principle, acting under different modifications, is also the parent of 
civilization, and of the progressive improvement of man. 

9. In the Individual System, as all power emanates from one to 
many, so all knowledge follows the same direction. The course, 
indeed, of knowledge is more especially confined to that one 
direction. Knowledge being progressive, must necessarily be an 
object of discovery and invention. Some one individual must first 
be the happy person to become acquainted with a new fact and a 
new truth ; from him it must be communicated to others, who 
become the instruments of handing it on still farther, till it descends 
to the lowest of mankind. So one country shall attain a superior 
degree of light and knowledge to other nations, and be the means 
of "illuminating those that sit in ignorance and darkness. 

10. Those who have paid much attention to knowledge, and have 
self-reflexion enough to watch the progress of their own minds, are 
best able to judge of the extreme slowness, with which the first 
steps are made in the cultivation of the faculties, and the first 
grains picked up upon the golden mountain of knowledge. They 
also must see the extreme importance of assistance at the outset ; 
when artificial signs come to be studied instead of things them- 
selves; and the obscure and often absurd records of men, are to be 
compared with facts and things, and to be received or rejected, by 
the principles of eternal truth. 

74 



( 3 ) 

11. The first steps in knowledge arc indeed cxtronicly difficult 
and laborious, and require exclusive leisure of time, as well as a 
mind of a peculiar turn. Thus, in the early period of the world, 
ages might roll away before the leisure of the division of ranks 
could give birth to any thing deserving the name of knowledge or 
science. The wonder is, not that man has not achieved more, but 
rather that he was able to achieve so much, under such dis- 
advantages. 

12. The Individual System, therefore, seems to have been 
absolutely necessary for the birth of arts and sciences, because 
absolutely necessary for the leisure required. Nor when power was 
thus accunuilated in the hands of a few, arc we to conclude that 
the few would necessarily misdirect it. History, indeed, teems with 
the deeds of power, often employed in a questionable shape : but, 
that the possessors of power entered into a tacit combination against 
the happinc-;s of (ho world, is not the lesson of history. 

13. We should rather say, that the exertions of power have on 
the whole been eminently beneficial to the race, and that its benefits 
are still only in their infancy. Arts and sciences were as essential 
for the purposes of power, as for the common comforts of man. 
Men of science, knowledge and learning, were the right hand of 
power; by them only could plans of self-defence or of cnterprize, 
or of domestic and national grandeur, be conceived and executed. 
Therefore, schools and colleges, and scientific institutions, were 
among the early objects of wealthy kings. The necessity of leisure 
for study, shut out all idea that luiiversal knowledge was a thing 
practicable or desirable; but, compared with the state of the world, 
very extensive schools were formed for the dissemination of that 
knowledge which was known or deemed desirable. We must not 
judge the measures of olden times by rules derived from a new 
state of the world : it is sufficient for their credit and glory, that 
they faithfully served the system to which they belonged, and the 
only system for which the world was fitted. 

14. We have thus shewn the necessity of the Individual System 
for the well being of mankind in their infancy. But, if any should 
exaggerate its evils and miseries, by singling out the abuses and not 
the essence of it, we would farther remark, that if any set of men 
have a violent protest to enter against it, they have only themselves 
to blame for any evils they may complain of. Evei-y man, who 
comes into the world before he has done any thing for society, has 
had much done for him. He has been fed, clothed, and educated, 
at the expense of Society — which therefore owes him nothing. The 
debt is all on his side. He cannot claim a capital he has not pro- 
duced. When he begins to labour, he must labour some time before 
he can repay tlio expense of his previous support. If, aftei- this, 
he complains of the remuneration of labour in the shape of wages, 
as being only a portion of the produce instead of the whole — in 
short, if he prefers the Co-operative to the Individual System, he 
lias full liberty to enter it. There is no hiw, or authoi'ity, against 
it. As it is optional, so it is free; and wants only the Co-operative 
spirit to render it successful. 

15. In fact, independent of all other considerations, the Indivi- 
dual System may very well be considered as a system forced on the 
possessors of power, by the ignorance and consequent perverseness 
of mankind, and their want of the true co-operative principle of 
mutual love. Whatevei- may be thought of individual possessors 
of power, there can be no doubt that the great end of government 
is the protection of property. If there is none but individual 
pioperty, • government must protect that. As common property 
starts up in the shape of partnerships, corporations, companies, 
benefit societies, government protects that, and co-operative 

75 



(4) 

societies will have their property protected in the same manner. 
'Co-operation is a vohmtary act, and all the power in the world 
cannot make it compulsory ; nor is it desirable that it should depend 
upon any power but its own. For, if Co-operation (as seems likely) 
be the form which the greater part of the world is destined to 
assume, the interference of governments would only cramp its 
energies and misdirect them. 

16. We have thus endeavoured to explain the nature and merits 
of the two systems, and their adaptation to different ages of the 
world, and different states of knowledge, and of the arts. The 
Individual System was admirably adapted to the infancy of society; 
and the high stimulus which it held out to the exertions of indivi- 
duals in every direction, was so much bounty upon the production 
of knowledge. Knowledge would have required a much greater 
length of time for its perfection, had it not been forced forward in 
this hot-bed of zeal and ambition; if, indeed, it could ever haTe 
grown at all. 

17. But the time has now arrived when the labourer may begin 
to reap the fruit which has been ripening under the Individual 
»System. Knowledge, which v/as formerly confined to a few closets, 
is now in every body's hands. The methods of acquiring that 
knowledge, which were formerly long, irksome and laborious, are 
now short, pleasant and easy. Ten years of study are now reduced 
to one. Even the use of books is now better understood — that they 
are aids to knowledge, and not substitutes for it. Machinery has 
reached that state, when it dispenses with a great portion of the 
labourer's time — and the labourer begins to understand, that what 
is powerful as an enemy, must be equally powerful as a friend. 
The workman has also acquired a power of reflexion, and a freedom 
from passion, which formerly disturbed his movements : in short, 
he has acquired all the elements of Co-operation, and wants only to 
be habituated to the practice of it. Time and experience are as 
necessary for Co-operation as for other institutions : many mis- 
takes may be expected to be made — some failures may happen, from 
ignorance and inexperience; but, even these will be productive of 
good, and great teachers of true principles; till, at last, all rocks 
^eing clearly pointed out. Co-operation will hold on its course to the 
end of time. 



I'he number of Co-operatice Societies now fornird ix ufjwards of 
One Hundred and Twenty. 



PUBLISHED BY COWIE AND STRANGE. 



SICKELMORE, BRIGHTON. 

76 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 20. DECEMBER 1, 1829. Id. 

THE INDIVIDUAL SYSTEM.— COMPETITION. 

1. In pursuing our enquiries on our general subject, we thought 
proper, in our last number, to take some notice of what has been 
called the Individual System, as opposed, in a certain sense, to the 
Co-operative. It is the more necessary to do this, because the 
subject is liable to be misunderstood both by frieads and foes. 
The former being enamoured with a prospect which a warm 
imagination presents, as abounding in peace and plenty, virtue and 
happiness, hastily concludes, that tho Individual System is a com- 
bination of those, in whose hands power is at present lodged against 
this system of fancied perfection. The latter following too closely 
and servilely, in a beaten track, more fearful of losing present 
comforts than hopeful of increasing them — too much wrapped up 
in the idea of self — too little warmed by the glow of a generous 
philanthrophj- — and too sceptical of the resources and magnificent 
indications of nature and providence, consider any amelioration, 
in the state of mankind, as an impossibility — and any attempt at 
bringing it about, as visionary fanaticism, and dangerous innovation. 

2. Both these extremes we would endeavour to avoid. We would 
not brand the Individual System as such, with abusive and injurious 
epithets, which serve only to inflame the passions and cloud the 
reason — under which all improvement is hopeless; far less would 
we limit and libel the course of nature, by pronouncing her plans 
as consummated in the triumph of vice and misery — and thus give 
a sanction to a cold and heartless scepticism in high places, which 
first pronounces mankind to be incapable of improvement, and then 
proceeds to prevent it, as if to establish its own consistency. 

3. Let us then, in the pursuit of our argument, take some notice- 
of the principle of Competition, which belongs to the Individual 
System — which is represented in such dreadful colours by some 
writers in favour of co-operation, as the fertile cause of the dis- 
tresses of tho working classes — and as a mark of a malignant 
character, inherent in those who live by the practice of it. In 
doing this, we shall have occasion to shew the nature and value of 
the principle itself — and remove the odium, which, by some, is 
supposed to be attached to those who have hitherto been influenced 
by it. 

4. We may observe in passing that, there are two kinds of Com- 
petition : one, the competition of buyers — the other, that of sellers. 
In the usual state of markets, when tho demand and supply are 
steadily equal to oanh other, Competition is hardly noticed. It 

77 



( 2) 

begins to 1)0 licaitl of when tlic cquilibiiuni is tlistnrbcd, and the 
one rises very much above the other. It is said, that after the 
ravages of the plague of London, the supply of labour was so 
scanty, and the wages rose so high, that regulations were made to 
compel the workmen to sell their labour at a lower rate than the 
market price. There was then a Competition among the capitalists, 
to see who would buy labour at the highest price. 

5. The Competition, liowever, which is so much complained of in 
the present day, is just the reverse of this. The supply of labour 
is greater than the demand ; and the labourers compete with each 
other to vmdersell each other in point of wages. Again, the pro- 
ductive powers of capital having enormously increased, there is a 
greater supply of manufactures than the market requires; and the 
capitalists therefore compete with each other in endeavouring to 
sell at the lowest rate possible. The capitalists, by competing 
against each other, do not get a sufficient return to employ their 
workmen; and the workmen, by competing with each other, lower 
tiicir wages^and do not get enough to supply the comforts of life. 
By this double Competition, the price of goods, the profits of trade, 
and the wages of labour, ai'e all reduced to a minimum. 

6. What this minimum is, is not of so miich consequence to the 
capitalist — because the comforts and enjoyments of life, will still 
remain to him. But the case is far different to the workman, who 
has no capital to fall back upon ; and accoi'dingly his state is best 
described, by the public papers and parliamentary reports, on the 
increase of pauperism and crime — the awful distress which pervades 
many parts of the kingdom — and the anxious solicitude of all men, 
of all parties, to discover some remedy for what may be termed a 
national calamity. 

7. As the low price of manufactures, and the competition among 
manufacturers is the apparent immediate cause of this misery, it 
is no wonder that it should have been seized upon by Bome writers, 
and denomiced with all the severity which the evils complained of. 
seem to justify. Here, however, they have fixed upon the wrong 
principle — and are attempting to apply a remedy at a wrong point, 
where none can be found ; and a little consideration will convince 
us, that the Competitive principle, which is inseparable from human 
nature, has been, up to the present moment, one of the greatest 
benefactors of the world — and even in a Co-operative state of 
society, must still exist in a modified form, in order that the 
different societies may avail themselves, fully, of all their resources. 

8. The principle of Competition begins to act the moment that 
two persons exercise the same trade. Each will endeavour to pro- 
duce as much as possible, in order to increase his property; and 
should both be offering their produce at the same market, each will 
endeavour to sell at a lower rate — provided he can still obtain a 
tolerable profit. This Competition, however, can only be carried 
to a certain point — because there will arise some understanding 
between the parties, that they shall not compete to each other's 
ruin. However, to whatever degree this Competition is carried, 
though it may lower the profits of the dealers, it is necessarily 
beneficial to society at large, by increasing their comforts at the 
same price : so that every improvement in the arts, giving rise to 
cheaper production, gives rise also to competition among the 
dealers ; and enables private individuals to purchase a gi'eater 
number of enjoyments by means of the same income. 

9. The beneficial effect of Competition descends even to the work- 
man. Clothing, more particularly, comes to him cheaper and 
cheaper, as Competition extends. If his wages were to remain 
stationary, while arts improved and competition among dealers 
increased, he would receive nothing but unmingled benefit from the 

78 



( 3 ) 

principle. Then, indoed, his language would bo that of praise and 
exultation; and ho would view, with delight, the plentiful bales of 
goods exposed to sale and cheapened from day to day, in order to 
force them into the market. 

10. But there comes a time, in the improvement of machinery, 
when the quantity of goods, which the market lequires, can be 
;nanufactured by machines — which require fewer hands to serve 
them. Somo workmen are therefore dismissed, and then the choap- 
ncss of goods ceases to bo a benefit to them — for tliey have no wages 
to purchase with. Or, if instead of dismissing some men, the 
master reduces the wages of all, tlie cheapness of goods is then of 
less value to them. The operation of such causes may be trifling 
and slow at first, and therefore unnoticed : but should it procoe<l 
far, it may be felt generally among the workmen. The price of 
labour may fall faster than the price of food and clothing ; iiM<l 
then the abundance of production, the perfection of machinery, and 
the competition among capitalists, may become a curse to the 
working classes — may deprive them of work, and therefore of food- 
may reduce them to starve, in the midst of plenty : hunger and 
desperation may make them reckless of consequences, since death 
stares them in the face, whichever way they turn — and the most 
terrible crimes and convulsions might be the consequence. 

11. This is the state, at which the cjuestion has now arrived. 
Wages have fallen faster than the price of food and clothing. Com- 
petition has necessarily kept even pace with the fall of price; and 
the workman is reduced to the most abject want. Still, it is too 
late to complain of a principle which was formerly encouraged with 
a bounty: and it is bad pliilosophy to be unable to find out the 
wisdom of the essential principles of human nature. It is useless 
to complain of circumstances which it is impossible to alter, even 
if they were bad. It is more satisfactory to endeavour to discovei- 
new methods of attaining the object w-hich all good men wish for 
— the improvement, virtue, and happiness of the working classes. 

12. This is, indeed, the object which the friends of Co-operation 
have practically in view. They wish to turn this excessive com- 
petition and this perfection of machinery, to the benefit of the 
working classes. They propose not merely that thej' should com- 
mence capitalists, which they have already done in Benefit Societies 
and Savings Banks — but that they should, moreover, learn to 
manage the capital themselves, either in trade or manufactures — 
and so enjoy the profit of the capital as well as the interest of it — 
and be employed, likewise, upon their own capital, instead of see- 
ing others employed upon it. When this is the case — when Co- 
operators have saved and accumulated a certain quantity of capital 
of their own, they will then go into the market of the competing 
capitalists, with ten-fold advantage. The more competition tho 
better : for the more will prices fall, and the more will co-operators 
be supplied. The labour of Co-operators can never deteriorate, 
when employed for themselves. The same quantity of human 
labour, instead of producing less and less food and clothing, will, 
by the aid of machinery, produce more and more food and clothing : 
because it is nothing but the labour of man, aided by machinery, 
which enables so large a portion of society to live without labour 
altogether — and which has been the cause why the whole world 
has been continually increasing in wealth, riches, and the number of 
its inhabitants. 

13. Let not, therefore, the friends of Co-operation, be either 
alarmed or irritated at this stalking Colossus— Competition, which 
now tramples down the working classes : he is but the forerunnei- 
of better things — the lierald of a new system, proclaiming liberty 
to the captive. He is but a friend in disguise. He will soon assume 

79 



(4) 

an attitude propitious to their interests. He will spread hiB arm» 
wide for their protection. He will scatter peace and plenty over 
their own humble tenements. 

14. For the present, let Co-opmators compete with each other, is 
zealous devotion, to the cause they are engaged in — in \mder- 
standing, thoroughly, the principles it depends upon — in explaining 
those principles to their friends and neighbours— in increasing, as 
far as in them lies, the number of members — in the punctual pay- 
ment of subscriptions— in punctual attendance at the meetings — in 
spending every penny at some co-operative shop — in purchasing, as 
jnuch as possible, co-operative manufactures, which have already 
begun to come to market — in urging their friends to deal in the 
same manner : this is the kind of Competition upon wbich their 
prosperity depends; which cannot possibly be carried to an extreme 
— and which, if exerted to the utmost, would infallibly secure a 
speedy independence. 

15. But, above all things, and beyond even these points, let Co- 
operators compete with each other in the improvement of their 
minds; let them form classes for this purpose; let them have 
common reading-rooms and libraries; let them learn how to keep 
common accounts, the principles of book-keeping, and the dealings 
of trade. These are the first steps in learning, and which are most 
useful to themselves. When they have accomplished this, then let 
them extend their reading to other subjects, and never cease till 
they have dissipated those mists of ignorance in which they are at 
present enveloped. 

16. Let them be assured, that knowledge is the only parent of 
plenty, and ignorance is the only parent of poverty. The rich have 
amassed their enormous capitals by superior knowledge alone — the 
poor have given this capital to the rich instead of saving it for 
themselves, from ignorance alone. Had all mankind remained 
ignorant, not one would ever have been rich. Had all the world 
been born full of knowledge, as they are born full of passions, none 
would ever have been poor. The world was first deluged with 
ignorance, in order to prove, to the end of time, that knowledge, 
and knowledge alone, is the true benevolent and omnipotent parent 
of virtue, religion, happiness, and plenty. 



There are about one hundred and thirty Co-operatiue Societies now 
established. 

Co-operative Manufactures may be now purchased at the Co-opera- 
tive Bazaar, No. 19. Grenville Street, Hatton Garden. 



Published by COWIE and STRANGE. 



SICKELMOBE, BRIGETOB^. 

80 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 21. JANUARY 1, 1830. Id. 



CO-OPERATION ADVANTAGEOUS TO GOVERNMENT. 

1. The noblest spectacle upon earth, is a wise and good king, 
leigning over a great and happy people. A steady security for the 
rights of every man, and every body of men, is the great requisite 
of government; therefore, the power of affording this security, is 
the one great object of a wise and good king. The true interests of 
a king and his subjects are the same; for, each individual being 
anxious to carry his own importance to as high a pitch as possible, 
success in such a career, by continually increasing the importance 
and wealth of every individual, must in the same proportion 
increase that of the nation and its monarch. The monarch is the 
representative, and has the direction of the power, that is, of the 
wealth and intelligence of the nation; and a wise and good king 
is proud of that power, because it enables him to give security to 
his subjects, at home and abroad. 

2. Power, greatness, and happiness, are in a manner, sj-nonimous 
terms, as applied to nations. To use more homely language, they 
comprehend abundance of food, clothing, and houses; and the 
power of increasing that abundance to a considerable extent, when 
required for the emergencies of the state. They comprehend, 
therefore, a great mechanical and scientific power, equal to the 
production of food and clothing; capable also of expanding itself 
when called upon, sufficiently to meet the demands of the public. 
It is a peculiar property of scientific power, that it does not in 
ordinary times put forth all its energies — it has always a reserve 
in the back ground, ready to be brought into play when occasion 
requires. The ordinary demands of trade, produce ordinary exer- 
tions, and inventions (if we may so speak) ; but, when extraordinary 
bounties are given for new scientific powers, or for the exertion of 
old powers in new directions, the greatness of science is displayed 
by the readiness with which she answers these new calls upon her 
resources and energies. 

3. National power, therefore, comprehends, production of all 
kinds, and the scientific power and machinery as the necessary 
means of this production. But scientific power comprehends 
essentially the power aad intelligence of the mind, and cannot 
exist without it. It is the incessant activity of cultivated mind, 
the wonderful rapidity of thought — its unfettered range over the 
universe, material and spiritual — its freedom from the shackles of 
time and space — its power of comparing things the most unlike as 
well the most like, the most distant as well as the nearest — its 
divine flights " from earth to heaven, from heaven to earth," which 
places it at the head of this our world, and in that image which was 
stamped upon it at its creation — goes on from feebleness to strength, 
from simple to complicated, from the distaff to the power-loom, till 
its inventions appear to the untutored savage, and even to the 
ignorant idler of our own day, more like the miracles of nature 
than her ordinary operations, carried on in progressive steps, for 
the gradual amelioration and ultimate perfection of her children. 

4. But this is not all. Great productive powers are essential ; 
great mechanical and scientific powers are still more desirable; and 
a free and commanding intelligence — mind that can look around it, 
and survey the present, past and future, would be heaven's first 

81 



( 2 ) 

work, if there were not a still greater work in the beauty of moral 
perfection. It is indispensible, in order to make a nation great, 
that its character should be moral, under which term, we include 
religion. Intellect ought to spring out of a sublime and stern 
morality. The curiosity of man, to inquire into all the departments 
of nature, and all her wondrous secrets (every one of which is a 
mine of wealth for happy man), should be unbounded, as unbounded 
as nature herself, but it should also arise from some sort of moral 
instinct or persuasion, that there is a right and a wrong even iu 
knowledge — that there is a duty bound up with the progressive 
improvement of the mind, independent of all relation to filthy 
lucre — and that no prosperity of mechanical power, science, or 
intelligence, can be permanent, except all are under the direction 
of an enlightened conscience. 

5. These are the elements, therefore, of a great and happy people. 
They must be wealthy in all kinds of production : they must have 
brought arts and sciences to considerable perfection, in order to 
insure a continued and increasing supply : they must possess great 
intelligence and cultivated powers of mind, that they may be 
respected by friends and feared by enemies : and above all, they 
should be imbued with a high tone of morality in all their transac- 
tions and habits, carrying their moral and religious feelings to the 
same pitch of perfection that they do their intellectual powers : 
and then will they truly become a happy as well as a great nation, 
since the feeling of happiness is evidently of a moral kind. 

6. It remains now to be shewn that Go-operation is favorable to 
all these particulars. First — it is favorable to ■production : for 
what does it propose to do, but to better the condition of the 
working classes, and even of the very lowest of the community? 
And how is this to be done, but by a new and increased production 
of all kinds of wealth, of food, clothing, manufactures and houses? 
Nothing will be taken away from the wealth already in existence. 
No demands will be made upon the property of present capitalists, 
but a new capital will be saved and produced, and accumulated, 
upon which, future workmen will be able to better their condition 
permanently, by working for themselves on their own capital, 
without hanging as a perpetual dead weight upon present capitalists, 
in the shape of charity and poor rates. 

7. Present capitalists will of course continue to require and to 
encourage the same production as at present. As their capital will 
not diminish, so the manufactures required by them will not 
diminish. If then, by means of Co-operation, machines and labour, 
which are now standing idle, can be brought into action ; if new 
machinery also can be produced to assist this labour in its new 
direction, the wealth of a kingdom will be a gainer, just in propor- 
tion to the spread of Co-oporation. The market is now over-stocked 
with labour. A vast number of labourers consume food and 
clothing, who produce nothing in return. A vast number of intelli- 
gent men are employed in managing unemployed workmen, in 
charitable institutions, work-houses, legal and other situations. 
How many barristers are employed, merely in determining whether 
a family shall consume food in one parish or another? All which 
is merely talking to the winds. If all these people, from the 
barrister to the parish beadle, were employed in directing labour to 
useful production, seeing that they would consume no more than 
they do at present, it is mere absurdity and contradiction to say 
that more wealth would not be produced, and that the nation would 
not be richer, greater and more powerful ; to say nothing of the 
different degrees of happiness attached to the employment of useful 
production, or to that of acrimonious bickerings and formal 
wranglings. 

8. It is said by some whose views of Co-operation are imperfect, 
that the desires of men in such a state would soon be satisfied, and 
then all progress would be at an end, and a retrograde movement 
would take place, and men would relapse into barbarism. This is 
o^e of the happiest objections possible for the friends of Co-opera- 
tion, for it at once acknowledges it to be a cure for the discontent, 

82 



( 3) 

idleness, profligacy, pauperism, and over-population of the ■workirijr 
classes. " Place them in Co-operation, all their desire and 
passions will be suddenly extinguished, and their numbers easily 
limited to the gauge of the economist." We say on the contrary 
— " their desires and passions will be refined and stimulated lik<' 
those of other capitalists : like them, they must use fresh exer- 
tions in order to gratify them ; and these exertions cannot be made 
without benefitting the nation as a body, in the same proportion in 
which they benefit themselves." We do not want human desires, 
and with them production, to cease; we want both to go on 
increasing indefinitely, and this we aro confident will follow the 
spread of Co-operation. 

9. Secondly : an important ingredient in national greatness, i.s 
intelligence. " Strong minds will always govern weak ones." 
Superior talents and acquirements, will always bear away the 
prize. Well-disciplined armies, commanded by skilful officers, will 
always conquer superior numbers of a contrary description. Nations 
which are merely rich in food, must yield to those which are richer 
in intellect. It is upon this principle, that the conquerors of the 
«arth have fearlessly attacked mighty empires with small numerical 
means. The higher and midling classes of England have reached 
a high pitch of cultivation, compared with other ages and nations. 
It is this that has given and must continue to give them, while it 
lasts, a decided superioritj-. If the same intelligence could be 
extended to every man in the country — if those which are now the 
lowest and most ignorant, could be placed, in point of understand- 
ing, where the midling ranks now are — while these were elevatetl 
in the same proportion — England might then boast, that she did not 
possess a son who was not fit to exercise, when called upon, all the 
offices of peace or war. 

10. Co-operation cannot proceed without intelligence. The moment 
men, even workmen, assemble, to consider how their affairs can be 
best managed, as a matter of business, their ininds receive a new 
impulse, new ideas, new motives, new objects. They are obliged to 
exercise their judgment, to weigh and balance probabilities — to 
count the profit and loss — and to acquire a knowledge of human 
character. These are the same qualities which arc called into 
exercise in the highest situations in society. They may differ in 
degree, but do not differ iu kind. While a person merely works for 
wages, he has only to obey orders and put forth his physical strength 
— or to understand and direct a machine : but whoever undertakes 
to manage any business, however small, must call into use, all the 
powers of his mind — must begin to use judgment, discretion, and 
invention — and must, accordingly, cultivate these qualities in exact 
proportion to the extent of his concerns. 

11. If the mind continues to be occupied in this manner, for a 
series of years, it will receive a practical education much niorr 
improving than the dry lessons of schools, which exercise tlii^ 
memory by rote without opening and strengthening the under- 
standing. All co-operators will become, to a certain extent, men 
of business. But they cannot become men of business without 
becoming men of knowledge. This knowledge will be of the best 
kind, because it will be practical. Nor will it be trifling in itself — 
as it will extend over every article in which they are concerned, the 
market from which it is supplied, its variations in price, and the 
cause of those variations. Thus they will be led, easily, to the 
natural history of all that they consume and deal in. When they get 
far enough to manufjicture for themselves, they must be introduced 
to new knowledge, of a higher kind. When they begin to invest 
<^apital in machinery, a still higher knowledge will be forced u|)on 
them : nor is it easy to assign a limit to their progress. 

12. Habits of business will thus, necessarily, force practical 
knowledge upon the working classes. Nor will this be all the 
knowledge they will acquire. The flood-gates of knowledge once 
opened, can never be shut. Workmen are now acquiring knowledge : 
they have been doing so for many years. Rival societies are formcrl . 
which vie and compote with each other in supplying it cheapest ami 

83 



( 4 ) 

best. Schools which teach for a penny a-week, ai'e turning out 
better scholars, better writers, better draughtsmen, better elemen- 
tary geometers, than those which teach for shillings, or than many 
which teach for pounds : the reason is, they practice better methods. 
Many circumstances combine to prove that the children of workmen 
are capable of acquiring considerable knowledge, and what is better, 
a taste and relish for more, before the time when they generally 
leave school. 

13. One of the first convictions upon the mind of a Co-operator, 
is the necessity of knowledge and intelligence. Those who are of a 
suitable age, immediately begin to read and to learn — sometimes 
alone, sometimes together, as circumstances point out. This goes 
hand in hand with attention to their own affairs; and those who 
are most assiduous in the one, are also most so in the other. 
Co-operation, therefore, will increase the intelligence of the lowest 
classes of society. Workmen, by mixing together, must instruct 
each other. If the mass improve, the few who are more stupid 
or degraded, must be polished and civilized by this improvement of 
their companions, and those who do not co-operate, must neces- 
sarily be influenced and elevated by those that do. 

14. Thirdly : the greatest and most beneficial efforts of Co-opera- 
tion will be, upon the moral character; and here those effects will 
he mighty. Practical Co-operation, (as distinguished from that 
absurd theoretic Co-operation which has been talked of so long and 
to so little purpose) goes directly to improve the moral and religious 
character of men. This is the final end and consummation of the 
cause. Were there nothing else to recommend it, and were the 
chances of such an effect ever so trifling, the experiment would 
deserve encouragement in the present forlorn and hopeless state of 
society. A nation, which is poor and barbarous, might be happy, 
if 't were possible for it to be, at the same time, virtuous and 
religious : but all the wealth of " Indus and of Orme " would only 
fill up a cup of bitterness, in the absence of those qualities. The 
history of every nation is a comment upon this truth. 

15. Co-operation requires mutual confidence among the members. 
One bad character may ruin a society, if not detected. Each 
member must have the eyes of all the other m.embers upon him. 
The whole society is guarantee for the character of each. A bad 
man placed in such a society, must either reform or quit it. If he 
quits it, his character is known — and the members will have the 
same interest as the public at large, in preventing him from 
becoming a public nuisance. The members being obliged, fre- 
quently, to meet together, the same habits of civility spring up as 
in other classes. Mutual respect and forbearance, distinguish their 
meetings and the absence of all harsh or injurious expressions. 
This friendly intercourse attaches the members' to each other, and 
is a new addition to their happiness. These effects have already 
taken place, even in the present infant state of such societies. 

16. If then. Co-operation tends to increase the wealth and resources 
of a nation — the intelligence of all her inhabitants, even to the very 
lowest — and to prove a powerful aid to those institutions which 
already exist, for the especial purpose of refining and elevating the 
moral and religious character of men— surely it must be advan- 
tageous to government; surely it must be consonant to the wishes 
of a wise and good king ! Happy will that country be, at home and 
abroad, whose working population shall be intelligent enough to 
be the first to enter upon this new system ! Happy will that land 
be, which shall thus draw down the divine blessing upon its hills 
and vallies, its mountains and rivers ! And still happier, Oh ! my 
country ! if that land be England. 



Published by COW IE and STRANGE. 



STCKELMORE, BRIGHTON. 



84 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 22. FEBKUARY 1, 1830. Id. 

Few things have given us greater satisfaction, since the com- 
mencement of our labours, than the following letter. It is written 
by a gentleman of great attainments, and holding a high and 
important ofTice in the state. It is a pleasing proof that the upper 
classes are beginning to understand and appreciate the principles of 
PURE practical Co-operation. The pure co-operation of the uppei- 
and working classes in the great cause of the moral and religious 
improvement of man, will be a glorious day for the world ! 

To the Editor of the Brighton Co-o-jnrator. 
Sir, — Having been induced to peruse attentively your monthly 
lucubrations, (partly by the manner in which you rival or surpass 
Dr. Franklin, in simplicity and force — but much more by the general 
importance of your attempt to improve the condition of the 
industrious classes of civilized society) I requested a friend, resident 
near Brighton, to procure for me, the printed rules by which I 
supposed the Co-operative Societies in that place to be governed, 
under your presumed recommendation and influence, — you will 
allow me to confess a feeling of disappointment at receiving (instead 
of what I desired) my friend's answer — " that no general rules 
seemed hitherto to have been settled and promulgated." Hence, I 
was led to consider in my mind, the probable cause of what 
appeared to be a palpable deficiency ; and I concluded, (after 
reading some of your monthly publications a second time) that the 
largeness of your views had precluded you from settling a founda- 
tion on which the future superstructure was to be built. 

2. But let me submit to your consideration, that a foundation 
may be traced, though not fixed, without injury to matured after- 
thoughts; and if you admit the assistance of a fellow-labourer of 
Co-operation, I will hazard a sketch which may be criticised, altered, 
and amended at j^our pleasure. 

3. Generally speaking, the grand aim of your plan seems to be an 
increased respectability of the industrious class of mankind in 
knowledge — and therefore, in justice and morality; since those who 
seek to participate in the expected benefit, thereby virtually avow 
and proclaim their implicit approbation and adoption of fair dealing 
— of persevering in their resolution to buy — and afterwards, to sell 
among themselves, for ready money, all the necessaries of life. 

4. Whether they shall sell to others, or how far they shall venture 
to deal in other commodities beyond the absolute necessaries of life, 
is a further question : at present, I will consider the effect of 
co-operation in its simplest form; in which, indeed, it may seem to 
assume that title prematurely — imless, perhaps, as an avowal of 
further intentions when dictated by experience and increased 
resources. 

5. In my solitary calculations, I was assuming that one-fourth 
part — threepence in every shilling, paid by the labouring classes, 
was the average surcharge of the shop-keeper from whom they 
purchase in the us\ial manner : but I was corrected by a friend of 
more practical knowledge, who convinced me that one-third — four 
pence in the shilling, was the customary profit of village shop- 
keepers; the labour of numerous small accounts — of watching the 
movements of their customei-s (especially when they are paid by 
their employers) — and of receiving debts in part and at irregular 
intervals, added to the final losses which must be risked and often 
sustained by such shop-keepers, actually compelling them to add 
this seemingly enormous profit to the prime cost of all commodities. 

85 



( 2) 

6. Nor IS this incredible when it is recollected that reluctant- 
evidence is extant (given by London tradesmen, before a select 
committee of the House of Commons), that fourteen or fifteen per 
cent. — nearly twopence in the shilling, is of necessity charged by 
them, against all customers, to indemnify therasel/es from the 
effect of bad debts : in some trades, such as fashionable tailors and 
coach makers, it is no secret to the most cursory enquirer, that this 
is not thought enough. The ready-money shops in London and else- 
where, were founded on such considerations — and have been highly 
useful in rescuing the honest man from a heavy tax, which was 
really, though not directly, paid over for the maintenance of those 
who contract debts without intention of payment. 

7. The same sort of benefit and in a greater degree, is obviously 
attainable by the labouring classes — and, I hope, without much 
prejudice to the industrious shop-keeper ; certainly with advantage 
to an essential part of him — hix conscience ; which, in the present 
state of things, remains in a dissatisfied state, from the necessity 
of his doing like others — of using deficient weights and measures, 
for the concealment of what might otherwise appear an exorbitant 
profit. 

8. Nor is the shopkeeper deeply reprehensible for this unfair 
practice, because it results inevitably from a defect in the execution 
of the law against false weights and measures. This law, instead of 
being considered as an important part of the police of a civilized 
nation, is left to be enforced or not, at the discretion of a petty 
constable, who is not high enough in station to despise the ill-will 
always incurred by uncalled for activity in office : and it is remark- 
able, that the common law of the land, enforced by a statute as old 
(I believe) as the reign of Edward III. requiring High Constables 
and Petty Constables to make presentments of various offences, 
among which were enumerated " false weights and measures," was 
repealed in the year 1827, as having become useless and improper — 
l)ut without substituting any practical remedy in place of the 
abolished law of presentment. Such defect in the new act is not 
likely to escape the vigilance of the present Secretary of State for 
the Home Department, especially as its preamble and enactments 
are at variance. Thus, because presentments by Petty Constables 
are become " useless," presentments by High Constables, which 
have often been useful and important, are also abolished : because 
presentments at " Petty Sessions " are said to be expensive and 
troublesome, presentments at Pettjr Sessions and "elsewhere," that 
is, at Quarter Sessions by High Constables, are also abolished. 
Perhaps the Member who introduced the act of 1827, accidently 
omitted to substitute in place of Constables' presentments, a power 
to Magistrates (if they have it not already) to direct proper persons 
to visit shops unexpectedly, and to report the result at the next 
Petty Sessions. 

9. Let me now imagine the inhabitants of a country village, or 
the workmen in a factory, or at some trade in a town— in short, any 
connection of a hundred families, among whom shall be forty who 
punctually pay the shopkeeper, thus enabling him to supply the 
other sixty families at long credit, and sometimes final loss to 
himself. Suppose a few heads of families to read this letter in your 
Co-operator, and thereupon to combine together to raise their own 
wages three pence or four pence in the shilling — or, what is the 
same thing, to purchase wholesale all commodities at prime cost, 
and to retail them among themselves at nearly the sa" e rate. 

10. These persons would forthwith speak to others, who as well 
as themselves probably have a little money in some Sa'ings' Bank, 
or can borrow enough from their employers for a month's consump- 
tion — (much less, when the co-operative society became numerous, 
would suffice). They would next bethink themselves of bespeaking 
the goodwill and coiintenance of some Patron, in the infancy of their 
co-operation; and would seldom fail to find one in the clergyman 
of the parish, or some other respectable and intelligent indi -idual 
(they might even address themselves to a resident Magistrate) in 
whom all reposed confidence, and who might perhaps give them 

86 



( 3 ) 

woights and scales, and a few shelves for their new store-shop. 
Such persons (happily for us) arc not rare in the civilised state of 
morality at which wc are arrived, i may oven say, that those are 
not rare who would smooth the progress of their humble neighbours 
towards more comfort than before has fallen to their lot in life, by 
a moderate sacrifice of money in advatice, as well as of time 
abstracted from their leisure hours, or even from their own pursuits. 
Before the Patron then, I shall suppose the intentions and wishes 
of the cxpoctaat co-operators to have been confidently and success- 
fully displayed. 

11. The place, and manner of dispensing commodities in retail. 
is first to bo considered : because that may influence other prelim- 
inary arrangements. If the society shall not at first exceed ten 
families, the member who resides in the largest cottage, and has a 
trust-worthy active helpmate (who can read and write), would first 
undertake the trouble at such rate of remuneration as might b<' 
agreed upon. Ten families would probably expend five i)ounds per 
week in bread, potatoes and half a dozen specified articles of 
grocery, or other necessaries. The active female who undertakes, as 
treasurer, to purchase tlio«e things in quantity at the lowest ready 
money price; and, as retailer, to disi)cnso them at st.tpd hours, 
would be sufficiently rewarded with one penny in the shilling, or, on 
larger sales, with one shilling in the pound, according to a scale 
agreed upon by the parties and ratified by the Patron of the society. 
Thus the woman would receive about one shilling a day for her 
labour and attention, without being too much drawn away from her 
domestic cares; and at the same time ho fortified in good conduct, 
by the expectations of profiting more lai'gely, in proportion as the 
society should spread its reputation and increase in number of 
members under her thrifty management. 

12. Indeed, [ think that a very moderate addition of members 
would justify our supposed society in extending their views to 
increased benefit, by permitting persons not of their society to 
purchase at their shop or store — introductory to which an arrange- 
ment must be made, in other respects desirable, especially in 
abolishing the troublesome use of the above mentioned scale. I 
mean, that the members (in common with other persons) shall 
purchase at a reasonable advance of price upon the prime cost, with 
this result, that some of the members at a weekly meeting shall 
habitually examine the remaining stock in hand, and appropriate 
the accruing profit of the week, either individually, or for the 
common benefit of the society : and at the same time they could not 
fail thereby to ascertain the sum fairly payable by a new member on 
admission, as regulated by the prime cost value of the stock in hand. 
By sharing the profits weekly, rather than always purchasing at 
prime cost, habitual accumulation would be facilitate!. By renting 
a largo room (perhaps with a fire place and oven attached) for a 
children's school in the day time, and for evening meetings on the 
affairs of the society, or for the improving intercourse of con ersa- 
tion (in which the wiser heads of the society would ine itably 
become the advisers and instructors of the less enlightened), the 
social comforts and advantages of the more opulent classes would 
be attained at small expense. 

13. And herein, to which I confess I attach no small importance, 
the desolate state of the unmarried agricultural labourer, driven 
from the farm-house fireside of our forefathers by the poor laws, 
(which permit not a house servant without fixing a parishioner) 
might find remedy without his having recourse to premature 
marriage, much to his own detriment and that of the nation, 
through whose well intended, but injurious legislation, he is made a 
solitary lodger in some comfortless cottage room, unless he can 
aiTord to spend his vacant hours at the village a'ehouse, whrre he 
too often learns to become a poacher or a smuggler, and in the 
usual course of events is finally misled to violate the laws of moral 
obligation. 

14. I have not yet sufficiently explained why I introduce a Patron 
ill the structure of every co-operative society. My chief reason is. 

87 



(4) 

for precluding ruinous litigation, which would too often occur on 
the death or expulsion of a member, unless every one shall have 
signed an arbitration bond, under which all questions relative to 
his property in the society shall be finally decided by the Patron. 
Not that I undervalue the prevention of useless and dangerous 
disputes at the regular meeting of those whose equality of station 
might leave room for undue obstinacy, unless moderated by the 
benevolent influence of a peace-making individual, interested solely 
by his regard to the general welfare of the society under his 
Patronage. 

15. Your own ulterior views, Mr. Editor, could not proceed far 
without some such arbitrator, nor should I rely on the permanence 
of any society, whose fundamental laws, such as that of dealing 
for ready money only, ^ere not enforced by a power greater than 
their own mutual authority and exercised without respect of 
persons. An individual member of the society might indeed with- 
draw himself, or misbehave so as to be expelled; and a major 
part of the members might vote the dissolution of the society ; 
but the Patron must not be removeable otherwise than by his own 
consent to surrender his office to a succes'^or. 

16. What is the incentive, it will be asked — what the motives, for 
undertaking such an office? I answer, the obvious good of the 
members of the society in particular; and remotely, the ,sood of the 
public, by fostering the best seeds of morality. Many faults have 
already been avoided by him who prefers prompt payment to 
obtaining long credit, and as the mutual interest of all the members 
of co-operative societies would induce them, in the aggregate, to 
enforce respectable conduct on each other, such societies in their 
possible extension could not but operate as a standing premium on 
good behaviour; and if a large majority were once enlisted in such 
societies, the minority of mankind must of necessity qualify them- 
selves to do so likewise, because no shopkeeper could afford to 
furnish goods exclusively to such customers as never offer ready 
money payment. 

17. Every Co-operative Society would, in fact, be a pledge for the 
good conduct of its members ; because, expulsion of the unworthy 
would not fail to purify it occasionally. Thus, every member would, 
tacitly, possess a letter of recommendation to trust-worthy — that is, 
to the best employments ; and every man not an accredited member, 
would have to struggle through life, at vast disadvantage, supported 
only by his own personal merit : so that we might rationally expect 
to arrive, spontaneously, at that state of mutual suretyship which is 
supposed to have been enforced (certainly was aimed at) by the 
severe institutions of our Saxon ancestors. 

18. But I feel I am exceeding the due bounds of a tolerated 
correspondent; and I shall only add, that the situation of the village 
shopkeeper, if he become treasurer and retailer to a flourishing 
society of co-operators, would not be altered for the worse, in thus 
replacing, by a certain income, the irksome turmoil of dunning 
paupers for payment— and the not unfreauent failure of his own 
affairs: nor do I despair of Patrons being" found, who will obviate 
this and other minor objections, by their beneficial influence. May 
I not even venture to hope that voluntary Patrons will recommend 
and thereby create co-operative societies— instead of waiting until 
the slow progress of information and argument, shall have reached 
and persuaded their neighbours and workmen, to lay the foundation 
of a co-operative society before applying for patronage? 

19. I shall be well satisfied, for my own part, if every one who 
happens to read this letter, forthwith considers whether or not, in 
his own particular circle, a Co-operative Society, to the extent I 
have described, would not be a promising experiment; one which if 
It answer in any degree my expectations, will highly benefit the 
industrious classes— and, through their Patrons, knit together all 
classes in a common effort for the comfort and moral improvement 
of mankind. 

January, 1830. jj 

Sickelmore, Printers, Brighton. 
88 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 23. MARCH 1, 1830. Id. 

Published by Mesxrs. TAYLOR & SON, Booksellers, North Street, 
Brighton (to whom all communications, post paid, must be 
addressed); and may he had also of Mr. STRANOE, 24, 
Brydge's Street, Covent Garden; Mr. VIRTUE, 26, Ivy Lane; 
and at the Co-operative Bazaar, 19, Grcvillc Street, Hatton 
Oarden, London. 



CO-OPERATION ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UPPER 

CLASSES. 

1. The letter with which we were favored in our last number, is a 
proof that we are not singular in expecting beneficial consequences 
to flow from the spread of Co-operative principles among the work- 
ing classes. To the working classes themselves, we recommend the 
attentive perusal of the fifth and ninth paragraphs of the letter, as 
proving the immediate and immense advantages which they will 
derive from being their own shopkeepers. When they deal at com- 
mon shops, they necessarily pay for all the bad debts contracted 
by all the bad customers : but by having a shop of their own, where 
no credit is given or taken, all this money, from ten to twenty per 
cent., goes into their own treasury; and this alone, would, in the 
course of time, accumulate into a capital sufficient, upon Co-opera- 
tive principles, to secure independence. We hope, at the same time, 
they will learn to pity the situation of the little shopkeeper; who, 
while he unwillingly taxes them for the payment of bad debts, is too 
often doomed to close a career of frugality and anxiety by ruin and 
bankruptcy. 

2. To those aVjove the working classes, who may condescend to 
peruse these pages, we recommend the consideration of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth paragraphs; in which the effects arc described, 
w^hich these societies are likely to have upon the characters of the 
membei-s, and upon the mutual guarantee they will establish among 
a number of individuals for the good conduct of each other. This 
guarantee we have already insisted upon, and it is a peculiar feature 
in Co-operation. The present state of society affords nothing like it, 
and never can. There are many tests of character among the upper 
classes, but none among the lower. When a man has performed liis 
day's work, all controul of the master ceases. It is not possible to 
follow the labourer into his private occupations. The contract ends 
with the labour and the wages. But in Co-operation, a new and 
different contract is entered into. It is, essentially, one of charactoi-. 
The prosperity of the Society depends upon it. It becomes the 
right and the duty of every member, to ascertain the private 
character of those on whom his property and future happiness, 
and that of his children, may depend. 

3. We cannot help observing that our correspondent has judi- 
ciously, and we may add profoundly, alluded to the wisdom of our 
Saxon ancestors, in endeavouring to establish such mutual 
guarantee of character universally through the body politic. This 
is that " wisdom of ancestors " from which modern wisdom ha< 
widely departed; or rather, which having bcnn departed from, 

89 



(2) 

jiiodern wisdom has uever even attempted to regain. — The classifica- 
tion and enrolment of the whole population, if entered upon with 
judgment and moderation, and through the instrumentality of the 
people themselves, would establish an intimate knowledge of the 
state, character, and wants of every class (even of the lowest) ; and 
would lead inevitably to farther practical arrangements for their 
comfort and improvement, as the changes in arts, sciences, know- 
ledge, and other circumstances, might render advisable and 
imperative. 

4. We have then a powerful advocate, just at the moment when 
wanted ; — one from the upper classes themselves, to confirm and 
elucidate our views upon this most interesting subject; — to shew 
that some new experiment is wanted, in the present state of society; 
— some new resources called for, in favour of that large class of our 
fellow creatures, who, while they produce all our food, clothing, and 
habitations, are themselves bordering on starvation. 

5. We propose to shew more particularly than we have done, that 
Co-operation would be advantageous to the upper classes : that it is 
not contrived in a spirit of hostility and spoliation : that it is not 
the offspring of fanaticism, or anarchy : that it is not a deep-laid 
scheme for invading the property of the upper classes; but a system, 
which, while it will secure the independence of those who adopt it. 
will give security to the prosperity of others, and remove those evils 
which are now most loudly complained of by the upper classes. 

6. These evils are pauperism and crime. The upper classes have 
no sooner received their rents, mortgages, and dividends, than they 
are assailed by a host of locusts, in the shape of taxes, poor rates, 
and chai'itable subscriptions and donations. When men come into 
the world, they must live. Those who cannot live honestly, will live 
by crime. Those who cannot live by labour, must live by legal and 
private charity. The old, the sick, and the young, all press upon 
the upper classes for support; and the punishment of crime when 
committed, is" carried on at their expense. Jails, work-houses, and 
hospitals, are built at an enormous expense; and their necessary 
establishments are supported at a certain annual amount, which 
nmst be regularly and punctually discharged, or the fearful evils of 
crime, starvation, and disease, would inundate the land. 

7. These establishments are maintained by the rich, from urgent 
necessity, and a deep and palpable conviction that all property 
would otherwise be at the mercy of the ruffians of the world — and 
that life itself, would not be safe from their ruthless hands. Such, 
in fact, was the case in more barbarous times; when protection 
could not be obtained from law, but depended upon personal 
strength and bra>'ery. As the public arm was lengthened, that 
of private people was shortened; and the study of personal protec- 
tion gave way to that of the arts and literature, and the elegancies 
of life. But should these establishments at all relax in their 
activity, — should their operations be curtailed upon the plea of 
sparing the pockets of the taxed, and principally of the rich, — taxes 
of tenfold weight will be instantly levied upon them by a different 
band of officers, whose appetite will not be satisfied without the 
payment of the last farthing. 

8. Thus the rich, or upper classes, are now placed, by irresistible 
laws, in a situation of peril. Crime and pauperism are making 
upon them on every side. New demands are made upon their purses 
and their time; while these dem.ands are urged in such a way, as to 
make a large class of their fellow creatxires appear their natural 
enemies. These enemies must be fed, clothed, and lodged, at the 
expense of the rich, who derive from them no return. As enemies, 
they must be feared and hated ; yet they exist in the very bosom of 
society, ready to take advantage of any opportunity w-hich a 
relaxation of vigilance may afford, to sacrifice their victims. 

9. Crime on one side and the diminution of profit on tho other, 
the latter necessarily following the increasing power of machinery, 

90 



(3) 

imist gradually pare dowu the inoomo of the ric,l«. Those capitalists 
who consume without producing, will fool their means of consump- 
tion lessen. This they already declare to the public, and take care 
to do it in a public manner. Whether this is wise, is another 
([Uestion : that it speaks a momentous fact cannot be disputed : and 
it is upon such facts that we wish to argue. They proclaim, with a 
voice not to be mistaken, that tho situation of the upper classes is 
one of jeopardy. 

10. But crime and pauperism do not affect the happiness of the 
upper classes alone : they do not constitute a question merely 
between the upper classes and criminals and paupers : they draw 
into the question, tho happiness and comforts of the middle classes 
as well. The enormous taxes which are levied, fall upon all classcp 
as well as tho upper. Evorj' industrious, hard-working, and hard- 
thinking man, is curtailed in his comforts and enjoyments. Having 
110 servants or supernumeraries to turn off, he is obliged to turn off 
his own desires and wants as they arise, and to banish from himself 
a. part of his very nature. Every effort of this kind is disagreeable. 
The repetition of them irritates and sours the temper, which gradu- 
ally settles down • into habitual discontent. Discontent naturally 
looks upwards to those who have the comforts and enjoyments we 
ourselves want. Envy and jealousy are the natural offspring of 
such a state of mind, and their companion hatred is never far 
behind them. But the middle classes are the hands of the upper 
classes, as the working classes are their feet. The middle classes 
think and plan and execute for the upper classes : they direct the 
labour, the machinery, and the commerce, by which the riches of 
every climato are assembled in the saloons of the rich : they build 
these very saloons for the rich to repose in. 

11. If then the upper classes are loaded with taxes, for the 
support and custody of criminals — if they live in a state of per- 
petual warfare with them : if the same taxes press heavily upon the 
middle classes, and drive them into discontent and hatred : can the 
situation of the upper classes be one of peace and tranquility? Is 
it desirable? Is it safe? It is in vain for them to imagine that 
they stand alone. In such a solitude, they have neither hands nor 
feet : they have no power, alone, to direct or to execute ; for the 
middle classes do the one, and the working classes the other. Do 
they wish this state of taxation, crime, enmity, and discontent to 
continue? Do they wish it to increase? Do they wish it to run on 
to its natural termination of anarchy and ruin? If not, let them 
encourage Co-operation. 

12. Co-operation aims at giving property and character to the 
working classes : it aims at transforming them from paupers into 
self-supporting industrious men — from criminals into men of honesty 
and integrity. It aims at giving them property, the wor'< of their 
own hands, and the saving of their own frugality. We roncrive that 
the possession of property is the basis upon which is built, not only 
the comfort of the possessor, but the improvement of his moral and 
intellectual character. To save, to increase, and to employ capital 
advantageously, require the exorcise of the best qualities of tho 
mind and heart. They render the cultivation of the mind desirable, 
and an improved education necessary. A man who has an inde- 
pendent income may choose whether he will think or not: but a 
man whose property depends upon thought, must choose between 
thought and ruin. 

13. The possession of property tends, more than any cause, to 
produce respect for the property of others. The man who p'^ssesses 
nothing, can lose nothing by misconduct. He is a tool, ready for 
the use of any adventurer, or party, which wants his physical force. 
Subsistence for the day, and the gratification of his appetites, are 
the only motives which influence him. There is no saying how low 
such an unhappy being may sink in the scale of humanity ; for we 
have seen instances, in our day. in which the death of the scaffold 
seemed to ono individual as honorahl.^. as that of the bayonet to 

91 



( 4) 

another. Yet some there are, who would eeem to prefer such a 
race of British workmen to a race of Co-operators — who propose to 
place themselves beyond the possibility of pauperism and crime, and 
within the pale of property, character, and knowledge. 

14. But Co-operation, if practicable at all, cannot be limited to 
the working classes. At present indeed they are struggling alone, 
against all the difficulties which inexperience, ignorance, and the 
want of honesty and character in their agents, subiect them to. 
Should they surmount these impediments, as they undoubtedly will, 
they will then be joined gradually by the classes above them ; and 
the superior character, education, and skill of these, will be enlisted 
into the service, which will thus move with an accelerated velocity, 
and march in peaceful but glorious triumph through the world. 
Thus, as Co-operation spreads, the pauperism and crime of the 
working classes will diminish. The two events will act as cause and 
effect, and the effect will be proportionate to the cause. The 
universal prevalence of Co-operation among the working and middle 
classes must be accompanied by the total cessation of crime, and 
the annihilation of pauperism. 

15. In pleading the cause of Co-operation, we hardly know 
whether we are advocating most the interests of the upper or the 
working classes. On the other hand, we are struck with pity to see 
the incessant and laborious exertions of the working classes, 
rewarded with vice, pauperism and crime — to see noble natures and 
divine faculties ruined by untoward circumstances and Hottentot 
ignorance : on the other hand, in these eventful times we cannot 
view without apprehension, indications of approaching storms, which 
seem to flit along the horizon of society ; while a universal opinion 
seems to have seized the minds of the upper classes themselves, that 
no plausible remedy for crime, pauperism and general discontent, 
has yet been proposed. 

16. The remedy seems to us to be, to transfer unproductive con- 
sumers into the class of producers, by placing them on land on their 
own account; to invest the annual surplus of their produce in 
machinery of their own, or otherwise, as may be thought expedient ; 
to turn the labor or talents of every individual to useful account, 
and thus to diminish that large class of idlers of all ranks, whose 
vicious and corrupting influence spreads its poisonous venom 
wherever they go. Whether this be done by voluntary Co-operation, 
or by a system of common labor under the direction of enlightened 
and "benevolent men of practical knowledge, similar to the Dutch 
Colonies, we are convinced the result would prove beneficial to the 
parties concerned and to the public at large ; and that it would go 
farther than any other remedy yet proposed to diminish those 
diflaculties and avert those calamities, which, however incredible 
before they happen, frequently have happened in the history of 
the world, and seem to some minds to be now impending over the 
upper classes. 



Notice.— TFe are obliged to S. for his remarks— our motto has been 
the subject of much discussion. It is our own rule m interpreting 
others, to put upon an expression the most liberal tnterpretation 
it will bear. The word. Knowledge, mu.st be taken m its most 
comprehensive sense. A man knows nothing who does not know 
that virtue is essential to happiness, and to the happy direction of 
power ■ and the man knows little who does not know that virtue, 
though it be not religion, has little foundation to stand upon 
without it. We refer S., on this subject, to "A Iftter to the 
Rev. W. L. Pope, Tunbridge Wells, in reply to Two Sermons 
preached by him. on the subject of Co-operation." 

Sickelmore, Printers,. Brighton. 



92 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 24. APRIL 1, 1830. Id. 

Published by Messrs. TAYLOR & SON, Booksellers, North Street, 
Brighton (to whom all comniunicationn, post paid, must be 
addressed) ; and may be had also of Mr. STRANGE, No. 21, 
Paternoster Row; Mr. VIRTUE, No. 26, Ity Lane; and at the 
Co-operative Bazaar, No. 19, Oreville Street, Hatton Garden, 
London . 



OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. 

1. We have endeavoured in these pages to develope and iUustrate 
an impression which our own minds have received — that Co-opera- 
tion, if reduced to practice, would be advantageous to all classes of 
the community, to the upper classes, the working classes, the rich, 
and the poor : it would sti'engthen the hands of government — it 
would put an end to pauperism and crime : it would draw down 
science to the daily walks of life, and raise the ignorant boor to the 
rank of rational beings. If we have succeeded in our attempt, it is 
unnecessary to answer specific objections — they fall to the ground of 
themselves : if we have not succeeded, we must, necessarily, fail in 
answering objections. If a direct view of the subject is not satis- 
factory, an indirect one will never be so. 

2. Still, however, objections are made. Some minds seem to be 
unable to perceive any subject but in its objections. This is very 
much the character of the age in which we live. All people seem 
dissatisfied with all things; not only in politics and religion, but in 
matters one would think of plainer import ; — dissatisfied with crime, 
and remedies proposed for it; with pauperism, and with indepen- 
dent workmen; with ignorance, and with its antidote, knowledge : — 
perhaps, even a millennium would disappoint some people if it did 
not come in the way in which they expect it. 

3. It is objected by some, that Co-operation has a revolutionart 
tendency : that it teaches the poor to combine against the rich : that 
it breeds discontent with their present lot : that it represents the 
possession of individual property as an art of injiisticc, and holds up 
the property of the upper classes as a fair object of plunder to the 
working classes : that it attributes all the sufferings of the working 
classes to the tyranny of the rich. 

4. If it be meant by such charges, that there are persons among 
Co-operators who hold these sentiments, the charges may be true, 
and yet perfectly frivolous ; for there is no party or sect under the 
sun, among whom individuals may not be found holding the most 
absurd and dangerous opinions. We fear there are too many Neros, 
in all clpsses, who would be glad if mankind had but one neck, 
which they might strike off at a blow. But if the charge be broxight 
against the plain principles of Co-opeiation, they are a more mis- 
representation, and can onl3' proceed from a superlative ignorance 
of the subject. Though Co-operation is oiily another rxpression for 
" brotherly love," yet we do not at all expeot to shield ourselves 
under such an explanation. We have reason to conclude, that the 
principle of " brotherly love " is far from being viewed as a 
desirable one in practice, by many whose lips arc accustomed to it 
in theory. 

5. It is not a little .lingular, that while some object to Co-operation 
because they think it will produce a revolution, others object to it 

93 



(2) 

because they think it will prevent one. "If," say they, "the poor 
co-operate, they will acquire property and information; they will 
then be above want and discontent; and their minds will be too 
much occupied in their own affairs, and too well satisfied with them. 
to think of risking any thing by a national commotion." Thus, the 
reasoning of the radical is truly orthodox, though his wishes are the 
other way : while the honest objector is actuated by proper feelings, 
though they are not seconded by legitimate argument. 

6. The combination which Co-operation inculcates, is not one of 
the poor against the rich, nor of workmen against masters; but a 
ratioiial application of the principle upon which every man acts, and 
is directed to act, — that of bettering his condition. It is this 
principle which has raised mankind from barbarism to civilization ; 
and which will, one day, we trust, raise them from pauperism to 
Co-operative independence. We know not how far this principle is 
destined to be carried by Providence, — but, probably, far beyond 
our present conceptions : for, unless the progress of man were meant 
to be indefinite, there seems no reason for ever raising him above 
the rank of a savage; — for ever giving him intellectual cultivation, 
and a knowledge of the arts and sciences; or, above all, for making 
him acquainted with the high and sublime fate that awaits hira 
beyond the tomb 

7. The combination of Co-operation is not directed against the 
property of others : first, because their own property would be liable 
to similar depredations; and secondly, because they ha.ve no 
occasion for it. Co-operative Societies have already proved, that 
property increases faster than the ability of managing it, whenever 
a certain fund is set apart to accumulate, without being used for 
current expenses. Co-operators know, that such funds judiciously 
applied, with all the assistance derived from modern machinerj-, 
would produce the necessaries of life in greater abundance than 
they could be used. The evil of the present day is not that work- 
men cannot produce their own support, but that too large a pro- 
portion of mouths are unproductive, and do nothing but consume. 

8. Co-operation is a combination against idleness, against pauper- 
ism and crime (as we have so often reiterated), against vice and 
misery. A certain number of the working classes are treading in 
the steps of those of the upper classes, who have long entered upon 
this holy war. Surely such allies must be desirable : they are 
enemies turned friends. These enemies are no longer to be fought, 
to be converted, to be dreaded. So far the work of the friends of 
humanity is done. Where is the objection to fighting side by sideP 
Those who objected to them as enemies, will surely not object to 
them as friends, — unless habit should so far prevail over reason, as 
to render the use of offensive weapons a second nature. 

9. Should Co-operation succeed. Co-operators will be raised from 
the class of workmen into that of men of property. As men of 
property, they will belong to the class which is now indeed above 
them, biit which will then be only on a level with them. Men of 
property cannot be objected to by men of property as such. Why. 
then, should the honest acquisition of property be considered an 
evil, a crime, when the possession of it is the seat of honor? On 
the contrary, if Co-operation is really practicable, its success will 
be hailed as a blessing by all classes. 

10. We must again repeat, that the desire of property to be fairlv 
acquired, is the most anti-revolutionary of all principles. The 
revolutionary principle is one of destruction : the Co-operative 
principle is one of accumulation : — the former pulls down : the 
latter builds up : — the former scatters : the latter gathers : — the 
former reaps without sowing : the latter sows to reap. 

11. There are two words (we might almost call them " cant 
terms ") which are flung about, in the present day, at every body's 
head who happens to think or to act in a. manner different from our- 
selves, particularly, on any subject which concerns the well-being of 
the LOWER ORDERS, as they are called : the one is revolution, the 
other INFIDELITY. Co-operation was scarcely bom before it had to 
bear the burthen of both these epithets. First derided, then abused, 

94 



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it is to be hoped that it will oiitli\c both these accueatioDs, as 
HERESY of old outlived fire and faggot, and became established 
ORTHODOXY. When men accuse each other of revolutionary principles, 
we may smile at il as a mere party watch word. When serious men 
are too familiar with the term infidelity, we may well express 
surprise, that persons professing to believe that they ehall have to 
give account of every idle word, should undertake to determine the 
btate of another man's heart. 

12. Yet so it is. And when a set of men have united themselves 
together for the purpose of interchanging the charities of life, upon 
a principle of " having all things in common," they are accused of 
wishing to subvert the plain practical precepts of the gospel ! — It 
has been observed, by a celebrated writer, that we should never bo 
surprised at obser\'ing contradictions in the human mind. Those 
who have seen most of tlio world, will be most ready to assent to 
this proposition : and it may be observed, in passing, that it is 
fortunate for man, that, in the limited state of his knowledge and 
faculties, he can entertain contradictory notions without discomfort. 
But still it is tho object of a rational bf-intf to pare these away, one 
by one; and so to build up a faultless state of mind for future 
generations, which may give birth to a more faultless state of 
pracli'^p. 

13. The word infidelity has been applied to Co-operation, partly in 
the spirit of abuse, partly fi'om the circumstance of some of the 
advocates of the cause- iiaving professed themselves sceptical on tho 
subject of revolution. This we are free to confess. Some men may 
make much of such confession. We do not perceive that it has any 
thing to do with the good or evil of the cause itself. If every cause 
were to fall which numbers sceptics among its disciples, wo know 
not what is to stand. On this subject " we might a tale unfold, 
would harrow up the soul." The voice of history, and of the bible, 
speaks emphatically of the hypocrisy of man. The man who most 
strongly believes the divinity of the bible, must most strongly doubt 
the belief of the fire-and-faggot-men, either of ancient or modorn 
times. 

14. When a man invents a useful machine, or constructs a beauti- 
ful building, or makes wide researches into the truths of natural 
insTORY, we never refuse to admire or to use the produce of his 
labour and ingenuity, till we have enquired into his religious creed. 
Providence has, no doubt, endowed man with a strong religious 
faculty or feeliug ; but ho has endowed him with many others 
besides, all essential to his happiness and perfection, though not all, 
perhaps, equally important,— and yet, all must be important which 
comes from such a hand, and goes to make up the noblest of his 
creatures. 

15. Therefore, when a useful practical principle has been struck 
out by a person whose other opinions we may disapprove of; if that 
practical principle can be separated from his other opinions, and 
has no necessary connexion with them ; it would be worse than folly, 
it would be irreligion itself, not to separate the good from the bad. 
and to adopt it in practice. — The Infant School system in England 
sprung from a suspected source, though it arose in Germany lone 
before, under the auspices of one of the most indefatigable and 
pious ministers upon record — viz., of Oberlinc. That system has 
now received the stamp of universal approbation, while the name 
of the true English author i.s almost forgottcji. 

16. Minds which deviate from the common road, though they may 
wander in a dreary labyrinth, may sometimes return to the cheer- 
ful haunts of men. with rare and curious specimens. Discoveries 
are generally made at a distance : and ho who sits idle in the cottagw 
iu which he was born, will seldom benefit his kindred. It may be in 
the order of Providence, that useful truths may sometimes be 
brought to light by those who do not acknowledge the source from 
which they spruns;. Mankind may light their torches at the eolitary 
flame, and scatter light through the world. 

17. However this may be, truth and justice, and above all. 
religion, forbid vis to attribute to a system what only belongs to an 

95 



(*) 

individual. We have no right to call good evil, oi- evil good ; — to 
put bitter for sweet, or sweet for bitter. Let every man bear his 
own burthen, and be answerable for his own sins. Let every system 
stand, or fall, by its own merits. To use a homely proverb, let the 
saddle be put upon the right horse; and let us not put a stolen 
saddle upon the wrong horse, and then deprive the owner of horse 
as well as saddle. 

18. If ever there was a system invented which is, in its very 
nature, anti-sceptical and anti-satanic ; if ever any system, when 
established, had a tendency to serve the best interests of morality 
and religion, and to draw down heaven upon earth; if ever any 
system demanded of its votaries a pure and undefiled religion, a 
conscience void of ofFenco, an honest heart, an industrious hand, a 
clear head, bi'otherly kindness, charity ; that system is Co-opera- 
tion. Visionary and impracticable it may be — that is to be proved ; 
sceptical and irreligious it cannot be — that is a contradiction. It is 
because men are not honest, not neighbourly, not disinterested, not 
christians, that they do not co-operate : it is because men have not 
yet learned to be of one heart and one mind, that they do not co- 
operate. What shall we say more? It is because men have adopted 
words for their creed, instead of feelings; because they are sceptical 
of the gracious designs of a directing Providence, — sceptical of his 
love, sceptical of his power, sceptical of his wisdom ; that they do 
not embrace Co-operation with open arms, and spread its principles, 
and aid its practice, with the same holy zeal with which the devoted 
Twelve first proclaimed the one great truth — man is immortal. 

19. If man is immortal, it is not the great, the learned, the rich 
alone, who are so, — but the poor, the needy, the destitute, the 
Lazaruses of the world,— and much more, the honest and industrious 
workman. Why, then, should not that class of men begin to know 
and feel that their spirits are of a divine origin, and to be unfolded 
in endless perfection? If surrounded by all the means of comfort 
and independence, and of human and divine instruction, why should 
he not be encouraged to use them to his soul's good. Why should 
he remain any longer in a forlorn and depraved estate, subject to 
every vicissitude, a prej- to every designing knave, serial and 
political? — the tool of every ambitious tyrant, who, strong in the 
weakness of such human beings, makes them a stepping-stone to a 
throne of blood? Such, for many a long year, it has been the fate 
of our momentous times to witness : to witness a host of noble 
faculties wielded by the ciinning of one individual to be the scourge 
of his species. Such must other generations witness in their turn, 
unless some system be devised for enlightening, moralizing, and 
evangelizing the mass of the people. The system of past ages, 
admirable as it was in many respects, is insufiScient for the purpose. 
Crime and pauperism, war and bloodshed, have been its inseparable 
companions : and if like causes produce like effects, such will be its 
future progeny. 

20. But that system is destined to have an end. The earth shall 
not always be a theatre of war, or of a competition of private 
interests, struggling to pull down the fortune of a neighbour. War 
shall cease. The ferocious passions of man shall be calmed : his 
energies shall be directed to nobler objects. Ambition itself shall 
no longer thirst for any power, but that of doinsr good. Public 
opinion, and public sympathy, shall be rightly directed, when the 
public is rightly taught. The poor shall be enlightened : he shall 
learn that knowledge is better than ignorance, and that wisdom is 
above the price of rubies : he shall learn that his own interest and 
happiness are boimd up with those of his fellow creatures, and that 
his own strength depends upon the strength of his companions; — 
thus, will he naturally turn his mind to a closer union with them, 
and this closer union must be that of Co-operation. Men will become 
christians in practice, they must therefore become christians in 
theory. The state of the world will carry its own evidence with it : 
it will be a running commentary upon those remarkable books in 
which such a state is clearly described. Scepticism can then no 
longer exist : it will be swallowed up in conviction, and that convic- 
tion will be the offspring of Co-operation. [Sickelmore, Brighton. 

96 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS: 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 25. MAY 1, 1830. Id. 

Published by Messrs. TAYLOR & SON, Booksellers, North Street, 
Brighton (to whom nil communications, post //aid, must bf 
addressed); and may he had also of .Vr. STRANGE, No. 21, 
Paternoster Row; Mr. VIRTUE, No. 26, Icy Lane; and at the 
Co-operative Bazaar, No. 19, Greville Street, ffatton Garden, 
London. 



CO-OPERATION IS THE UNKXOWN OHJECT WHICH 
THE BENEVOLENT PART OF MANKIND HAVE 
ALWAYS BEEN IN SEARCH OF, FOR THE 
IMPROVEMENT OF THEIR FELLOW CREATURES. 

1. Amidst all the " ills that flesh is heir to," there is in human 
nature a compensating principle — a principle of sympathy with and 
compassion for the sufferings of our fellow creatures — a principle of 
PITY. This is the secret balm which heals the sorest wounds ; which 
pierces the gloom of dungeons, the chamber of the afflicted, the 
despair of the oppressed; and diffuses light, cheerfulness, and liberty, 
among the outcasts of society. 

2. Two characters have always been distinguished among men : 
the fierce, stern, unbending spirit — ambitious of power, tyrannical 
in its vise, and looking at the miseries of man with a dry eye : the 
other spirit is soft and yielding — follows the steps of misery with 
an unwearied foot, pours oil and wine into its wounds, shares with 
it its own comforts and superfluities, or even strips itself to clothe 
the naked. This spirit, from the time of Nathan to the present 
hour, has walked upon the earth, thinking none of its possessions 
to be intrinsically its own, but to be ti-usted to it as a loan, for the 
right use of which it was to be responsible to its better feelings — its 
conscience, and its God. 

3. Those err much who denounce human nature as entirely made 
up of gross selfishness : man is not a creature of any single principle. 
Such an idea ill suits that endless variety of feeling and action which 
has been bestowed upon him by his infinite Creator : much less is 
that supposed single principle, selfishness. Even in the bloody track 
of the ambitious conqueror, though the murderous as?;:is;in follows 
to plunder the dying and the dead, yet there is still a third warrior 
behind — the man that conquers hireself, to become the Samaritan 
of the pi'ostrate, whether of friend or foe. To him all men are 
friends who want his assistance : neither counts he his time, purse, 
or life dear to him, so he may prove the divine truth — " every man 
is his brother." 

4. That this principle of human nature should appear at first to 
be obscure, is not to be wondered at : it is retiring, modest and 
diffident. From its very nature it does not anticipate evil, its 
business is to follow it. and heal its wounds. It is not bold and 
presumptuous in inventing plans for preventing evil ; for it is con- 

97 



( 2) 

trary to its nature to tliink ill of human nature : — " e,il to him only 
who evil thinks." It is only one of the melancholy fruits of experi- 
ence to be convinced, that there are permanent causes of misery in 
the world ; and that unless these causes are known, explained, and 
rooted out, all the ingenuity, the benevolence, and the reliijion of 
man, will in vain attempt to heal the incurable cancer. But how 
can v«e doubt of the existence of this kindly principle, when the 
helpless years of infancy and of old age equally depend upon it for 
jjreservationp when even the meridian of life's manhood v.ould sink 
under zeal, exertion, caie, and anxiety; unless, in the hour of retire- 
ment, some sympathizing heart soothed and tranquilized the throb- 
bing breast ! 

5. We almost blush to write in such a strain : but we are fallen i;i 
an age in which truths the most pure, the most sublime, the most 
tender, are doubted, denied, and ridiculed. The minds of men are 
as the dreams of a sick man — tossed to and fro. Perplexity and 
amazement have seized the boldest counsellors : and in the general 
struggle for safety, all principles seem to be lost. We have lived to 
sec the attempt to do good branded with disgrace. 

6. Nevertheless it is true, that this principle of pity is inseparable 
from human nature : that its force and power are continually in- 
creasing, as occasions call for its exertion : that it follows the same 
law of progressiveness as our intellectual faculties : that it is aided 
in its progress by intellectual improvements : that it gradually 
systematizes it« operations, like other principles : that it loves to 
congregate and unite with its kindred : that it must therefore 
ultimately perfect its knowledge of the causes of misery, and their 
natural remedies; and thus give a death-blow to the arch-enemy of 
human nature. 

7. When civilization was in its infancy, and every event assumed 
an individual character, the principle of pity, or charity, or benevo- 
lence, was individual also. When civilization advanced, and property 
accum\ilated, some noble spirits, in every age, thinking io crush the 
Hydra-headed monsters, poverty and misery, consecrated their 
wealth to this object, in the shape of a permanent endowment. In 
our own country, especially, the number of endowments of this kind, 
and their amount in funds, are past belief. Some of these were 
violently taken possession of by despotic tyranny ; many were abused 
and perverted; and of the rest, the most valuable by far, seem to 
be those which turned to the more general diffusion of education 
and knowledge. 

8. The object of these endowments was, generally, to place certain 
funds at the disposal of one set of people for the benefit of another. 
The donor relied upon the same principle of charity and justice in 
the bosom of another which he felt in his own. No one is now 
surprised, that such an expectation should be disappointed. When- 
ever we use a second person as an instrument for doing good, we 
shall assuredly fail, unless we identify his duty with his interest. 
In the greater number of instances of charitable endowment, the 
duties and interests of the agents have been at variance; and the 
objects of the institution have failed. Those have succeeded best in 
which, as in the case of schools, new interests have sprung up and 
co-operated with the original objects of the endowment. 

9. For the same reason, the good intentions of the legislature oo 
the subject of poor laws have been disappointed, because the interest 
and duty of all parties concerned have been at variance. In the 
various societies formed in recent times for the relief of the poor, 
the same defect exists : and after they have spread themselves out 
to a certain extent, they seem to leave as wide a gap unoccupied as 
they have themselves filled up. The best exertions of the b.est mean- 
ing" men seem to go for nothing : pauperism and distress increase on 

98 



( 3 ) 

every side : and such fruitless exertions become the subjcuL either 
of the pity or contempt of the inditYerent spectator. 

10. What, then, is the conclusion to be lierived from all this experi- 
ence? Is it that the principle of pity in human nature is abortiver" 
that it will for ever fail, as it lias done, in attempting to relieve the 
wants of mankind? Certainly not: but only tliat it has been mis- 
directed, and has not yet disco\ered its true sphere of action. So 
suroly as individual attempts to relieve poverty and misery have 
hitherto failed, so surely must they fail iu future. The friends of 
benevolence may rest assured, that as fast as they put down poverty 
in one place, it will start up in anotlier : and that nil their exertions, 
will take nothing from the sum total of its amount. 

11. That which makes man poor and vicious, is disunion and 
neglect. Man comes into the world ignorant and helpless : ho is 
nursed and educated in ignorance and vice : he only l)ecomes known 
to society when he has reached the age of manhood, and appears 
before us as a pauper or criminal. Instead of being viewed as a 
christian, and a brother, he is only treated as an outlaw : he is then, 
at length, put under a course of discipline and controul, with no view, 
however, to the improvement of his mind and character ; but merely 
as a safeguard for a season. It is supposed strangely enough, that 
the inconvenience of confinement will renovate his minrl and feel- 
ings, and fill him with the motives and principles of a good man ! — 
a royal road, indeed, to so noble an end! Had the same discipline 
and controul been exercised over him from his infancy, had inquiry 
been made as to the means of his proper education, had his miserable 
neglect and deficiencies been supplied by proper inspection and teach- 
ing, a discipline begun so early might have had some chance of 
success. If a system begun late in life is supposed capable of form- 
ing the character, its chances of success would he increased tenfold 
by being begun in infancy. 

12. One would have thought that so important an object as the 
prevention of crime, was one worthy of a nation's care ; and that a 
imiversal system of training and superintendence in parochial 
schools, was an obvious expedient. But no such thing. The preven- 
tion of crime and the formation of character have been left to 
chance. It has been left to the charitable and humane; and their 
efforts, though small compared with the amount of the evil, have 
been great and meritorious to themselves. That their success has 
not been more complete, has been owing to their disunion, and the 
imperfection of their plans — and greatly too to the low estimate 
they have made of the value of the working classes. The division 
of rank tends, no doubt, to encourage pride on the one hand and 
degradation on the other; and this, carried to an extreme, denies to 
the working classes all right to moral and intellectual improvement, 
or to any thing more than mere subsistence. 

13. The low estimate of character and disunion of interests, throws 
insuperable difficulties in the way of the benevolent; and so it will 
continue to do. Upon the present principle the l)cnevolent are to do 
every thing for the poor, who are to do nothing for themselves. 
All the superfluous produce of laboiir is to lie placed in the hands of 
the rich, who are to dole it back to the poor in the way they think 
most judicious; the poor are to be incapable of thinking or manag- 
ing for themselves, and for ever to remain so : hence the abortive- 
ness of all our schemes. 

14. How then are the humane and charitable to use and apply 
Co-operation as a remedy for these great and increasing evils? The 
method is extremely simple — they are to become Co-operators. 
Instead of travelling over a wide space to give away a portion of 
their income, which thej' can often ill spare, and a great portion o;' 
their valuable time, they are to recommend Co-operation to the 

99 



( 4 ) 

poor, to assist them with a small portion only of their money, as 
subscribers, and with a very moderate portion of their time and 
talents in managing the accounts and instructing the members. The 
money, the time, and the teaching, wliich are now devoted to the 
poor by a small number of benevolent enlightened persons, and 
which, as we have said, produce little effect ;:pon the general mass 
of crime, poverty, and ignorance, if applied upon a Co-operative 
principle, accumulating permanent property for the poor, improved 
understandings to enable them to cultivate that property, and 
improved moral and religious feelings, would, in a few years, work 
a miraculous change in the face of society. 

15. In Co-operative Societies, as well as in others, the most useful, 
intelligent, and wisest members, will have most influence among the 
rest. Benevolent persons, therefore, who may join themselves to 
these societies, will possess all the influence which their superior 
qualities may deserve. This influence will be seconded by the 
services of the members, who will become assistants in carrying on 
any good work which may be proposed. Thus the number of 
benevolent agents, continually acting upon the poor and the 
working classes will be increased, and their qualifications for doing 
good multiplied and improved. The same course by which good 
flows from man to man will be followed, but the number of streams 
will be doubled and tripled. The advantage of setting the poor to 
improve the poor will also be felt, as they are capable of influencing 
one another to many purposes, which are not within the reach of 
persons who are placed in rank too high above them. 

16. We repeat, that we only wish to give a new and more efficient 
direction to that divine spirit of charity which has ever been alive 
to the interests of humanity, and which, in modern times, has 
exhibited itself in almost every shape in the attempt to give a 
permanent improvement to the condition of the lower orders. That 
such improvement is not in itself impossible, is proved by the simple 
fact, that those orders do at last furnish all the rest with food, 
clothing and houses. Capital indeed is supplied to them — but this 
very capital has been produced by themselves. That the lower 
orders, therefore, can supply themselves abundantly, admits not 
of a doubt, if they were only properly directed : and this proper 
direction it is easy for their true friends to give them by uniting 
with them in co-operative views. That the working classes, when 
more enlightened and experienced, will co-operate of their own 
accord, cannot be doubted : they would not else be men, to give 
away daily the major part of their own earnings, to starve upon 
the remainder. But we wish to see the time anticipated by the 
co-operation of the sincerely charitable and humane, and we wish 
to see these excellent persons adopting a new method of doing 
infinitely more good with infinitely less labour to themselves. 

17. Then will the excellent qualities of many of the upper classes 
— their humanity, their kindness, their intelligence, their informa- 
tion, their integrity and good principles, be exercised to the highest 
purposes of which they are capable. They will spread like leaven 
among the mass— they will cause the green grass to shoot by their 
fertilising influence, they will multiply their own resemblances 
among their fellow-creatures — they will have attained the great 
end of all their labours, the end at which they are constantly 
labouring only now to be disappointed. So will they be the 
harbingers of a great and glorious destiny to the human race — so 
will they cover the earth with knowledge, virtue, religion, happi- 
ness, as'the waters cover the seas — so will they be worthy disciples 
of the great Him, who first taught mankind that the noblest 
attribute of existence was " to go about doing good." 

Sickelmore, Typ. Brighton. 

100 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 26. JUNE 1, 1830. Id. 

Published by Messrs. TAYLOR & SON, Booksellers, North Street, 
lirighton, and 21, Great May's Btiildim/s, St. Martin's Lane, Lon- 
don (to whom all communications, post paid, inust be addressed); 
and may be had aho of Mr. STRANGE, No. 21, Paternoster Rowl- 
and at the Co-operative Bazaar, No. 19, Oreville Street, Hatton 
Garden, London. 



THE BIBLE. 

1. There is a book in the world called the Bible. 

2. The above proposition, perhaps, no one will be inclined to 
dispute. We have stated what we believe to be a fact; and we 
shall proceed to make some observations upon it, which we think 
will not displease either the friends or enemies of Co-operation. 

3. The Bible is a very ancient book ; that is to say, parts of it 
are very ancient. Parts, indeed, are very modern : so modern, 
that they belong almost to our own times : so modern, that some 
persons exclaim — "O yes, we know all that; we can read the same 
thing in such and such authors; it requires no prophet to write such 
books; the facts are to be found every where in profane history, 
as well as sacred ; and we owe nothing to the authors for having 
multiplied our sources of information." 

4. Other parts are not quite so modern : and when they are read 
by the same persons, they remark — " why yes, those facts arc 
certainly spoken of, or alluded to, by some writei"s besides those 
of the Bible; but the times are distant; many works have probably 
perished ; events are not so fully recorded as in later times ; the 
history is very meagre; we are not sorry to have all the light we 
can get, we wish we had more ; as far as the same histories are 
concerned, the Bible seems to agree with other books, and it gives 
us some information liesidos, which is not elsewhere to be found." 

5. But there are other parts of this Book of which not even this 
can be said, viz. — that it agrees with other histories of the same 
period: for after having traced history upwards: and compared 
the Bible with other documents, to a remote period : we come, at 
last, to a time of which no history speaks but the Bible. The Bible 
stands alone, as a foitress in the midst of a desert ; within which, 
we must either retreat for safety, or remain without exposed to 
uncertainty and danger. We must either admit the evidence of 
this Book,"^ or have none at all. We must either believe this, or 
believe that there never was a written history previous to the oldest 
profane histories we have, or that all true historians of that date 
have perished. 

101 



( 2) 

6 The antiquity of this Book, therefore, is very remarkable; but 
not less remarkable is a certain spirit which runs through it from 
beginning to end ; — which spirit we mean to point out to our 
readers. Whoever the persons were who composed the difierent 
parts of that Book ; whatever were their motives and objects : 
whatever the times they lived in; or the subiects they wrote upon, 
whether law, religion, history, or poetry; tkey were all actuated 
by this spirit among others — they all concurred in one feeling — 
a feeling which, traced through so many ages, and through so 
varied a succession of writers, may well bo called sublime, from 
its simplicity and consistency — a feeling for the poor. 

7. The Bible speaks of a period prior to that of the division of 
ranks ; it speaks of a time when society constituted but a family ; 
when tribes, and even nations, were l)nt families ; when there was 
no distinction between the rich and the poor, for all were main- 
tained from a common capital. When, however, the distinction 
of ranks comes to be spoken of ; and the family whose history is 
chiefly detailed, assumes the form and substance of a nation ; the 
same voice which fixes the civil institutions, is lifted up in behalf 
of the poor. The existence of a class of poor having taken place, 
and become unavoidable, the lawgiver assumed the office of their 
protector; and ameliorated, by special provision, what he could 
not annul. 

8. The avarice and rapacity of the rich of those days, and the 
natural tendency of property to accumulate, were guarded against 
by a law which prevented the perpetual alienation of small pro- 
perties. Neither force nor cunning could despoil a man of his little 
inheritance ; for even were it sold for a price, in a few years it 
must revert again to himself, or his family. With respect to the 
class still below this, which had no inheritance to dispose of, and 
whose subsistence therefore was at the caprice of the rich; the 
lawgiver did all that he could for them, when he gave them a 
permanent right to the sympathy and charity of the rich ; and 
proclaimed, that upon the respect shewn to this right, would 
depend in part the prosperity of the nation. Thus three great 
points are provided for in this legislation : first, the security of all 
property, by positive law, and by a moral and religious sanction ; 
secondly, the permanency of small possessions ; thirdly, the rights 
of the poor. 

9. The first legislator of the Jews seems almost to have had a 
prophetic eye to the fate which awaited a great portion of society 
— when the labourer should sink into poverty, degradation, and 
slavery. He had, indeed, in the country in which he had been 
educated, beheld the miseries of extreme wealth, and extreme 
poverty : he had seen the tyranny to which it invariably leads, and 
the moral degradation which necessarily follows : he had seen his 
own countrymen gradually losing the pure ideas of one divinity 
which their fathers had possessed, and driven by slavery into a 
gross idolatry. He had observed all nations following the same 
course : riches leading to luxury and crime; and poverty to slavery, 
superstition, and idolatry. 

10. No wonder he should shrink, at first, from the idea of putting 
himself at the head of a nation of this description. His own mind 
finely endowed and cultivated, was the last to be disturbed by the 
dreams of ambition. Far more congenial was it to him, when sick 
of the heartless contrasts of Pharoah's palace, to retire to those 
beautiful plains, where he might raise his spirit to the wondei's 
of nature, and " the God of his fathere; " and in the enjoyment of 
his own meditations, and a peaceful home, might try to forget his 
people, their wrongs, and their rights. 

11. While dwelling in this comparative solitude, it did not appear 

102 



( 3 ) 

disgraceful in his eyo?;, to mix himself up witli humble oii ..[jjuioiis : 
" he fed his flock in Hoieb;" and held out a proof to all succtoding 
ages, that laboiir is honorable, and tliat it is possible to combine 
with laborious occupation, the highest energies of the mind, and the 
profound&st meditations. When oalled upon to quit his retirement, 
by a voice and authority ho could not resist, he shewed by the 
whole tenor of his conduct and legislation, that personal aggrandize- 
ment formed no part of his ambition ; but that the good of man- 
kind, and particularly of the poor, was the only object of his actions, 
his thoughts, and his life. 

12. After this man had finished his extraordinary career : had 
redeemed his countrymen from slavery, and presented them with 
freedom, liberty, and a land of their own : and had fixed the law 
upon a permanent basis, so that none should alter it at their peril ; 
one of the grand features of its form, being a principle of charity ; 
he was succeeded by a long line of men ; the most illustrious of 
which, were most anxious to preserve this distinguishing principle. 
Whether under the name of Judges, Kings, or Prophets, it is 
remarkable that the best and wisest of men, lifted up their voices 
against that avaricious and grasping spirit in human nature, which 
is always ready to sacrifice the weak to the strong. Indeed, one 
of the most memovable and pathetic stories on record, is that of 
the mighty monarch condescending to confess his own tyranny and 
injustice, humbling himself as a child under the rebuke of his 
servant, and offering any atonement which was then in his power 
to make. 

13. In the subsequent history of this people, when they became 
the prey of surrounding nations, among the causes of national 
decline enumerated by their writers, the breach of this part of their 
law — the principle of charity — is particularly dwelt upon. The 
nation had been settled in their country upon condition ; a positive 
contract had been made ; and as Moses had professed to enact the 
law oi charity by a divine authority, so the later prophets appealed 
to the same authority when they asserted, that national punish- 
ments had followed the national violations of this law. 

14. Among the writings which liave descended to us, from this 
remarkable people, is a volume of religious poetry. The religious 
poetry of most ancient nations, consists chiefly in magnifying the 
warlike power of their supposed deities : — a few of their benevolent 
qualities are sometimes dwelt upon, as the causes of temporal 
prosperity. In the Hebrcv*? poetry, the irresistible power of their 
God is indeed described, (as well it might be.) by persons who 
attributed the existence of the nation solely to that power :• — the 
beauties of nature are also most sweetly sung, and the whole 
creation is invited to join in a chorus of praise to its maker. But 
besides these subjects, the Jewish poets have seized upon others, 
peculiarly their own : they have attributed to their Deity a 
character sublimely moral and paternal, and represented him as 
the guardian of the meanest of his creatures. Of the two great 
classes into which mankind are divided — the rich and the poor; 
the God of the Jews is represented, emphatically, as the God of the 
poor ; they are under his especial protection ; — tyranny and oppres- 
sion are his aversion ; — and the man who is most secure of his 
approbation, is he who is hospitable, kind, and merciful to the poor. 

15. By the poor in the language of the Bible, are to be understood 
workmen and the working classes : it is their cause, therefore, which 
the Bible so strongly pleads. The reasons for the distinction of 
ranks, which has hitherto prevailed in the world, has never })een 
thoroughly investigated; though capable of the most satisfactory 
explanation, and a proof of the most refined and consvmmiate 
wisdom : but it belonged to that same wisdom, to moderate the 

103 



(4) 

evils attending it, by the most express precepts in favour of the 
workmaJi. Riches are invariably represented as a loan in trust ; 
and the right management of them, as constituting an awful 
responsibility. So just a precept became him, who was well aware 
that riches are only the productions of the many, accumulated in 
the hands of the few. It was not right, in any point of view, that 
the workman should be deprived of his produce, and left to starve : 
and yet we must recollect, at the same time, that no ancient book, 
except the Bible, has maintained this principle in any degree. 

16. Far be it from us to presume, that we have penetrated 
deeper than others into that wonderful Book ; or are delivering 
any thing more than a private opinion, in tracing the analogy 
between the spirit of the Bible and the spirit of Co-operation. The 
fact, however, stands so — that the amelioration of the condition of 
the workman, is the object of both : the one, indeed, only requiring 
it morally of all who profess to believe in it, and therefore liable 
to be disobeyed and disappointed : the other, proposing actually 
to effect it bj* the simple combination of powers already in action, 
and which are acknowledged on all hands equal to the purpose. 

17. But we may observe farther, that the clear, positive, and 
constant inclination of the spirit of charity, indicates the will of 
the author; and with that will, his intentions and objects — which 
is only saying in other words, that it is the end of providence. We 
speak to those who believe the Book : his word cannot be void : 
the precept, the promise and the fulfilment, are separate only in 
time : they are not arbitrary and random declamation, but they 
indicate a plan and a system : that plan is the course of providence, 
and that system its consummation. We may therefore conclude, 
from a due consideration of that volume, that the amelioration 
of the condition of the poor, or working classes ; the universal 
reign of peace, harmony, and plenty; of virtie and religion: is 
the end of providence. 

18. We may also observe, that such views do not rest upon mere 
inference, but are plainly spoken of in various parts of the Volume. 
Time is anticipated ; and as men in these days seem to behold 
society assuming new and more splendid forms, judging from the 
rapid triumphs of arts and sciences over obstacles hitherto deemed 
insurmountable, so, in those days, some few highly favoured men 
poured out their prophetic conceptions, derived from a higher 
source, to be at once the delight, the consolation and the hope of 
the world. 

19. If these things be so — if we too breathe the " spirit of faith, 
hope and charity " — if we deem the improvement of our fellow 
creatures desirable and possible, and that we have discovered a 
new and superior method of promoting it, what, it may be asked, 
is the duty, what the office, we are called upon to discharge? 
The answer is, to afford them that assistance which their ignorance 
and inexperience require, and which our education and knowledge 
qualify us to impart. When the different classes of society shall be 
engaged in a common object, alike beneficial to both, their mutual 
jealousies will cease. Each will bring his labour or his know- 
ledge to a common fund, and find his happiness in promoting the 
common good. By the mutual interchange of good offices, a feeling 
similar to that which binds people together in famihes, will spring 
up ; and if a tree be known by its fruit, that fruit must be 
pleasant which is grown upon the stock of intelligence watered 
by affection. 

Sickebiiure, Typ. Brighton. 



104 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 

No. 27. JULY 1, 1830. Id. 

Published by Messrs. TAYLOR & SON, Booksellers, North Street, 
Brighton, and 21, Great May's Buildings, St. Martin's Lane, 
London (to u-hoin all communications, post paid, mtist be 
addressed): and may be had also of Mr. STRANGE, No. 21, 
Paternoster Row; and at the Co-02)crative Bazaar, No. 19, Oreville 
Street, Hatton Garden, London. 

CHRISTIANITY. 

1. In our last number we took notice of a peculiar feature in the 
Bible ; which, though it has not been entirely overlooked by religions 
professore, has never received that attention which it merits ; 
nor has it been traced out to all the consequences which legitimately 
flow from it. This feature ought also to secure for the Bible a 
hearty reception among all the sincere friends of the working 
classes ; because, considering the authority of that book in the 
world, it might be made the most powerful ally of the true 
philanthrophist in ameliorating their condition. What is wanted 
in the present day, is not merely the discovery of new principles, 
but a selection and new application of old ones. Many important 
truths are scattered through the writings of former men, which 
lie undistinguished in the common mass : these want to be drawn 
out and applied under the present favorable circumstances of the 
world. 

2. So it is with the Bible. The spirit of that book is eminently 
favorable to universal benevolence and improvement, if the spirit of 
the readers did but respond to the spirit within : but as this has 
rarely been the case, the inferior lessons have hitherto chiefly been 
studied, leaving the superior ones yet to be developed and reduced 
to practice. When they shall be properly appreciated and applied, 
we may then expect to see in the world, by the joint operation 
of divine and human authority — of religion and science, a state 
of comfort, perfection, and happiness, to which we have hitherto 
been strangers. 

3. In speaking of the Bible, we have chiefly had in view that 
part of it which is called the Old Testament : but there is another 
part, called the New Testament, of which the contents arc still 
more extraordinary than those of the Old. That spirit in the Old 
Testament, whicli pleads the cause of the poor with so much 
earnestness and authority, lives also in the New. So far there is 
an identity of purpose and object. But there is a new spirit in the 
Gospel, and a new character given to the poor. In the Old Testa- 
ment the poor are merely protected from the tyranny of the rich : 
in the New, thev are selected as a chosen class, to teach, instruct, 
and inform those very rich. In the Old, the poor are represented 
as a class helpless aiid friendless: in the New, they are exalted, 

105 



( 2) 

and even glorified ; — they were endowed with the highest powei's, 
even supernatural ; and taught to look forward to the noblest 
perfection. 

4. The Gospel was not born in a palace : it did not go forth from 
kings, princes, or nobles. Its cradle was the cottage of a mechanic, 
and its irresistible heralds were from among the lowest of the 
people : its first addresses were made to the poor, its miraculous 
powers were exerted in their favour, its purest precepts were 
explained to them, as fully competent to understand and receive 
them : its high principles of character were laid down for their 
imitation, and its sublime promises were made to them, as their 
natural inheritance. 

5. The Gospel, therefore, took the poor by the hand : it lifted 
them "out of the mire:" it made them "kings and princes:" it 
found them poor, it left them rich : it found them weak, it left them 
strong : it found them degraded, it left them exalted : it found 
them men, it left them sons of God : it found them clay, it left them 
immortal spirits. The Gospel has entirely changed the face of the 
world, the destiny of the poor, and the character of human nature 
itself : without it, we could not but despair of the improvement of 
the world ; with it, that improvement becomes a first principle in 
philosophy : without it, even if we admitted the progress of science, 
we could not admit that of the mass of mankind; with it, we 
become acquainted with a new law of providence, viz. — a perpetual 
progress, not only of science, but of mankind of all ranks, and 
especially of the poor, towards an endless perfection of character 
and happiness. 

6. This peculiar principle in the Gospel has been much overlooked. 
The world is indebted to the poor for the Gospel : they first received 
and taught it, and sealed their testimony to it with their blood ! 
" Not many rich, not many mighty," were then called : and even 
the wisdom of the learned was considered foolishness. But at 
length, the rich and the learned having elected themselves the 
professed guardians of the volume of the poor, have so interpreted 
its comprehensive and exalted declarations, as to leave nothing for 
the poor in this world, as a class, but poverty and ignorance, and 
the consequences of them — vice and misery. What prospect they 
may have of happiness in a future life, without the means — by a 
m.ore careful education — of forming that character here upon which 
happiness will there depend, it is painful to contemplate. 

7. This state of things is not the religion or the principle of the 
Gospel. The principle of the Gospel was to put an end to that 
immense disparity of condition and comfort which till then existed 
in the world : to" soften the ferocity and tyranny of the ambitious 
part of mankind : to proscribe the selfishness of the wealthy : to 
humble the proud oppressor : and to proclaim the rights of the 
defenceless and the poor. However high and mighty a man might 
be, it boldly told him that in the eye of Heaven he was but dust 
and ashes, that he was responsible for every exercise of his power, 
and that the lowest man with honest principle was greater than 
the high&st without it. 

8. The state of the first christians, generally, approached very near 
to a true Co-operation, and in some cases attained to it entirely. 
The community of goods which was at first enjoined upon all, 
united with the rule that the wilfully idle should not be allowed a 
share of support, proves that a provision was made for labour as 
well as for charity. A particular sect, called the Essenes, carried 
these principles into a regular organised system, and subsisted for 
some ages upon a pure Co-operative plan. They seem, at last, to 
have become extinct from the political revolutions of the world, and 
the general state of ignorance upon all mechanical and scientific 

106 



( 3 ) 

subjects. The motives of their union were too exclusively those of 
duty; which, unless connected with a general taste for useful 
knowledge, is Uable to degenerate into superstition. Their exist- 
ence, however, is a proof how easily the spirit of the Gospel, when 
finst ushered into the world, drew its votaries into Co-operation, 
and how favorable it must ever continue to be to such unions. 

9. Co-operation, besides proceeding upon the principle that labour 
is the only source of wealth, affirms also that the faculties and 
intellectual powers of the workman are the same as those of all 
other classes of society, and as capable of improvement from 
cultivation. The spirit of the Gospel does the same : for that was 
the first voice that taught the workman his own value and dignity, 
both here and liereafter. Co-operation promises the workman an 
improvement of his temporal comforts, and an addition to temporal 
happiness, by a union with those of a kindred spirit, and by the 
mutual interchauge of the charities of life. The Gospel repommcnds 
precisely the same kindly feeling, the same mutual assistance, and 
promises a mental satisfaction in consequence of it, which can 
spring from no other source. 

10. Co-operation is inconsistent with the selfish passions of our 
nature : with all low and idle pursuits : with all waste of precious 
time : with all indulgences in mere animal gratification : with all 
infringement of the rights and properties of othei-s : with all malice 
and ill will towards them, for any difference of taste, pursuit, or 
opinion. We need not say, that on all these points the spirit of the 
Gospel is precisely the same ; and that one of the chief obstacles in 
the way of the establishment of both is the same, viz.^the selfish- 
ness of human nature. 

11. The spirit of the Gospel, and the spirit of Co-operation, are 
both of them new principles, introduced into the world at different 
periods, and of course upon a different authority ; but both opposed 
to the common spirit of the world, both holding out peculiar rewards 
for the adoption of their principles, and both contending with 
peculiar difficulties, in consequence of their opposing the selfish 
principles of man, and appealing to his higher feelings and faculties, 
which are not yet sufficiently cultivated to be alive to the import- 
ance of the cause. The author of the Gospel was too wise to make 
positive institutions, because the progressive nature of rnan makes 
all institutions temporary. Institutions themselves nuist be for ever 
changing, in order to be for ever improving : but there may be a 
spirit in all institutions which may remain the same, while the form 
in which it acts may vary. This spirit has been wonderfully seized 
in the Gospel — a spirit of universal love, alone sufficient to prove it 
divine : and this spirit has iiifused itself more or less into all the 
institutions which have been formed in chi-istian countries; and is 
still growing in importance, as it grows in age. 

12. It is this spirit which has, in fact, given rise to the attempt 
at Practical Co-operation : it saw the wretched state of suffering to 
which many of the working classes were reduced : it saw the intrinsic 
value of their labour : the improveable nature of their intellectual 
faculties : the extraordinary assistance they might derive from the 
use of modern machinery : the wonderful produce of labour when 
ably directed : and it cherished the hope, that by uniting them 
amicably into one body, they might succeed in improving their 
minds, and insuring a comfortable independence. 

13. There is something in this idea consolotary to the friend of 
man, and which bids him not despair of the ultimate happiness of 
his kind. Many petty attempts have been made, by benevolent 
persons, to- relieve the wants of the lower classes, and to promote 
their comfort : but no one ever imagined, before the present day, 
that workmen were themselves capable of looking so far as to adopt 

107 



( 4 ) 

a system of mutual labour, support, and instruction, in order to 
provide for themselves upon a permanent plan. The spirit which 
prompted this, is a new spiiit; as much as the steam engine is a 
now mechanical power. Like other new powers and machines, it 
will require many experiments to bring it to practical perfection; 
but when one experiment has succeeded, imitation will become easy. 
and mankind will reap the benefit of it for ever ! 

14 In endeavouring to trace an analogy between the spirit of the 
Gospel and of Co-operation, we neither wish to degrade a divine 
institution by comparing it with a human one, nor to press into our 
cause an ally which does not naturally belong to us. While we have 
selected certain points of comparison, in which the Gospel is favor- 
able to us, we are well aware that its grandest claims are of a still 
higher nature : and while some Co-operators (unfortunately for the 
cause,) have pretended to doubt of the real truth of the Gospel, and 
have imagined themselves capable of making a new gospel out of 
Co-operation, we have that opinion of the force of evidence accumu- 
lated upon the subject, as to attribute their doubts to the same 
fertile source of scepticism to which we attribute the scepticism of 
the enemies of Co-operation, viz. — to ignorance. 

15. But believing in the divine truth of the Gospel, we have a 
right to take up its principles, and apply them in a new age, to a 
new order of things. If the age in which we live affords us new 
means of improving the characters of mankind, and of securing to 
all the comforts and conveniences of life, it is but a poor interpreta- 
tion of the spirit of the Gospel to argue, that because there were 
poor in those days, therefore there ought always to be a class of 
forlorn outcasts. Nothing, indeed, is more hostile to the spirit of 
the Gospel than such an argument : nothing more congenial with the 
spirit of it, than that now at length the united action of the spirit 
of the Gospel, and the spirit of modern intelligence, should revisit 
the poor, from whom the Gospel sprung, and give them a new rank 
in the scale of this world, just as the Gospel itself once gave them 
a new rank in the creation of God. 

16. The time is fast coming when mere theory on the subject of 
huinan virtue, liappiness, and religion, will not satisfy human wants. 
The man of theoi'y must be also a man of practice; he must not 
merely talk, he must practice : he must live by the side of his fellow 
christian and teach him by example, as well as by words. The 
author of Christianity was not a mere teacher : he lived with the 
people he wished to instruct : they saw him in private, as well as 
public : they became familiar with his character, till it wove itself 
partially into their own. Such must one day be the character and 
conduct of the disciple of this master : he must teach by his life, 
and must give to the circle around him, the vital impress of his own 
sentiment and his own intelligence. 

17. This idea is not imaginery. Already here and there individuals 
exist of a true noble character — who devote their fortune, talents, 
time, to the instruction and moral improvement of those around 
them. Years have been given to these experiments, which promise 
more and more fruit as they advance in progress. They have 
benefited individuals, they must hereafter benefit society at large. 
We can do no more than allude to them here: but our own hopes 
in favor of Co-operation, would not have existed without a know- 
ledge of such experiments. Happy the persons who commenced 
them ! Happy those who shall apply such knowledge in their own 
immediate neighbourhood ! And far happier those who shall succeed 
in proving, that such experiments united with a Gospel spirit, are 
sufficient for the success of a Co-operative community ! 



SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

108 



THE CO-OPERATOR. 

KNOWLEDGK AND UNION ARE POWER : 

POWER, DIRECTED BY KNOWLEDGE, IS HAPPINESS : 

HAPPINESS IS THE END OF CREATION. 



No. 28. AUGUST 1, 1830. Id. 

Puhlixhrd hy Messrs. TAYLOR & .S'O.V, Donksellrrs, North Htrrrt. 
Brighton, and 21, Greiit May's Buildings, St. Martin's Linir, 
London (to whom ail communications, post paid, must be 
addressed); and may he had also of Mr. STRANd'K. .\'o. 21, 
Paternoster Row; and at the Co-operatirc Bazaar, No. 19, Grcville 
Street, Hatton Garden, London. 



EDUCATION— MANAGEMENT— CONCLUSION. 

1. In recommending Co-operation to the attention of the work in -r 
classes, it was necessary to shew what we ma\' call the physical 
possibility of it : that is, that workmen possess already, within 
themselves, the materials, in their labour, of wealth, and of every 
enjoyment they can possibly wish for. We even went farther. We 
said, workmen might co-operate or not, as they pleased : they might 
grow rich or not, as they pleased : they might remain, if they 
pleased, as poor as famishing hundreds are at present : but one 
thing they could not help — and that is, filling the world with an 
infinite abundance of food, manufactures, houses, and comfort.s of 
every description. A man may not have sense enough to co-operate, 
to work for himself, but he must have sense enough not to starve ; 
and to prevent his starving, he must work for another ; and that 
other will take good care to save out of that labour enough to make 
himself comfortable, or even rich. 

2. This ground is so strong that the co-operator can never be 
driven from it. No one can deny it. No one has attempted to deny 
it. No one ever produced a particle of food, clothing, or lodging, 
but the workman; and no one ever will. Palaces may be built, 
steam engines constructed, railways laid dovirn, ships navigated, 
kingdoms conquered, but all must be done by the labour of the 
workman ; without whom, engineers would plan in vain, and generals 
issue their orders to the winds. 

3. But in taking our stand upon this ground, we never supposed, 
for a moment, that workmen could co-operate with minds such as 
they possess at present — without knowledge, without information, 
without the power of thinking : as well might we suppose, that coin 
would grow without the plough, thread be made without the spinner, 
or bricks co-operate spontaneously to build a house. In pointing out 
the physical powers of workmen, we have always most carefully 
insisted collaterally upon the absolute necessity of knowledge, before 
success can be expected; and, by way of encouragement, have 
occasionally asserted the facility with which it may be acquired : 
in doing which, we have not gone one step farther than what we 
know to be fact. 

4 In Switzerland, a gentleman of the name of Fellenberg has been 
employed for many years, upwards of thirty, in the education of 
workmen. He has a farm, on which their education takes place. 
They are employed chiefly in agricultural labour. Tliey begin to 
labour as soon as their strength permits ; and the kind and quality 
of labour they perform, is suited to their age and powers. The farm 

109 



( 2) 

IS supplied witli workshops, in which every machine used on the 
pre.'iiises is manufactured. The children are also taught these 
trades, and various others necessary or useful to their own comfort 
oi- to their future destination in the world. A moderate portion of 
the day is devoted to schools, in which the elements of a useful 
education are tavight — reading, writing, arithemetic, geography, 
liistory, geometry, laud measuring, botany. 

5. In these schools the master is not a mere master to teach 
Icttei-s, aiad keep oider with a stick. After school hours he 
accompanies the boys to their labour : he assists and instructs them 
in that : he makes the labour a source of instruction : he teaches, 
by conversation, all the knowledge connected with the employment 
of the day. The children acquire a double interest in their labour, 
for it is the source of profit and of knowledge : they understand the 
mechanical principles of the machines they use, the natural history 
of all the plants they cultivate in the field or garden, the qualities 
and uses of all the wild plants and trees of the country, and the 
nature of the minerals and rocks by which they are surrounded. 
When they return from their labour they bring home specimens of 
plants to form herbariums, and of minerals to form museums. They 
also learn the medical properties of such plants as are used in curing 
diseases, and the mode of preparing them for that purpose. — Thus 
every employment tends to a useful, practical, interesting end. 

6. Fellenberg takes the children when extremely young, and keeps 
them till they reach the age of twenty-one : they are then able to 
go into the world and earn their own living : they either go into 
service as workmen, or as superintendents and managers of estates, 
for which many of them are well qualified. Though instructed in 
many kinds of knowledge, they have not been brought up above 
their station, for their habits of living and clothing have been those 
of the workman : they are, therefore, not discontented with their 
station, but they stand a better chance in the race of life than those 
who have been less usefully educated. To crown the whole, they are 
men of superior character. — Fellenberg considers, that a moral and 
religious character is the most valuable possession of every man, 
and the paramount object of all education. — Life consists not merely 
in living, but in living well. 

7. Fellenberg is a christian : he loves his neighbour as himself. 
With this motive, in the early part of the French revolution, he 
exerted himself to turn the public events of the day to the advantage 
of his country. He hoped, that improved public institutions would 
materially promote the welfare of the people. He soon perceived, 
that a revolution was a game of selfishness, folly, cruelty, and 
tyranny. He quitted public life to attempt his favorite end — public 
good through the improvement of private character. In this he has 
co)npletely succeeded. He began with taking charge of a few 
children, orphans an<l beggars. His plans prospered : his numbers 
increased. He has now upwards of a hundred children, of the 
working classes, learning to labour, and acquiring knowledge and 
character. 

8. The material part of the story is yet to come. Fellenberg 
does all this without expense. The labour of the children repays 
all the expenses of their education : at eight years old they begin 
to labour; at twelve, they maintain themselves; after that age 
their labour yields a surplus produce, which increases till they leave 
the school ; and by the time they are twenty-one years old, they 
have repaid all the expenses of their education. This is one of the 
rnost important practical problems which have ever been solved in 
human nature. Children may be educated without any expense to 
any one, but themselves : their own labour will do it, which only 
requires a proper direction, which direction has been discovered and 
proved by Fellenberg. 

9. In this divine path of love and good sense, Fellenberg has 
enriched himself, no less than he has enriched others : he has 

110 



( 3) 

doubled the productive power of his land. No laml in Switzerland 
yields any thing like the produc-o which his does. He has increased 
the number and value of his buildings. He has collected libraries 
and museums of natural history, mineralogy, and geology, and 
models of all kinds of useful machines. The "labour of his schools 
has about doubled the value of his property. 

10. This, then, is the plan upon which co-operators sho.ild proceed 
with their children. A piece of land should be purchased, upon 
whicli moderate accommodation should be erected. A master should 
be obtained from Fellenberg, under whose direction the children 
should be educated, be instructed how to maintain themsolvea, and 
be continually adding to the convenience and value of the buildings. 
— Fellenberg's great object now is to provide such masters, who may 
take charge of similar establishments in other countries besides his 
own ; and thus diffuse through the world, a system simple in itself, 
easy in practice, and invaluable in its result. 

11. Management. — As co-operators cannot attain their ultimate 
object without an improved education, so neither can they attain 
their immediate object without good management. As the ultimate 
object is to work for themselves upon their own capital, so the 
immediate one is to invest their money in some more profitable 
manner than the Savings' Bank ; and in some manner, also, which 
shall afford a constant occupation for the members in the employ- 
ment. For this purpose trade has been fixed upon, the profits of 
which are of course much greater than the usual interest of monejy. 
The profits of trade, however, depend very greatly upon good 
management in buying, both as to quality and qiiantity : on the one 
hand there is an advantage in making large purchases; on the other, 
there is a loss in having too much dead stock. The secret of all 
trade is a quick return : a small capital frequently turned over, is 
more profitable than a large one lyinsr dead. 

12. The necessity of buying and selling for ready money only, is 
absolute. A society dealing in credit, must infallibly be ruined in 
a given number of months ; which any ordinary person might 
predict, by knowing the extent of their dealings. This point is 
now so well known from experience, as well as theory, that it is 
unnecessary to dwell upon it. 

13. Another point of vital importance, is an accurate system of 
accounts. In this all societies are liable at first to be deficient, 
because no one is aware of the necessity of accounts who has not 
been concerned in business. People of little concerns trust to 
memory, which answers their purpose sufficiently : but when 
business increases, or when a man has to manage the accounts of 
a second person besides, accuracy becomes indispensible. A society 
must keep a subscription account, which shall contain an account 
with each member; and a duplicate account of this, shewing the 
sum total of all subscriptions. In the shop they must keep a book, 
ruled in seven columns: one, the date; two, the goods purchased; 
three, the price ; four, the total selling price ; five, the selling price 
of small quantities; six, another column for the date; seven, the 
amoimt of money received in the shop, which amount may be put in, 
daily or weekly. By comparing the amount for which the goods 
ought to sell, with the amount of money received, the difference 
ought to shew the stock on hand. — This system of book-keeping is 
sufficient for a Society proceeding on ready-money principles ; but 
it must be persevered in with daily accuracy, or the Society will 
soon be all confusion and ruin. This system will shew at any time, 
whether any profit is made, or whether it is greater than the 
common interest of money. 

14. When a Society has capital enough to employ any of its 
members, another system of accurate daily accounts must be 
adopted for that department ; and so on for every new branch of 
business entered into. Should a Society ever occupy land in 
common, a system of daily calculation of the value of labour 

111 



(4) 

performed, and the consumption of members, must be rigidly- 
adhered to, as the only means of being secure that the produce 
will exceed the consumption. Without a minute inspection of this 
kind, no body of men can pretend to liave a common consumption. 
Tiie wages which a workman receives weekly, are only a ticket 
entitling him to a certain quantity of food for that week. With 
this in his hand he can easily calculate the allowance for each day. 
If the mode of remuneration were to be altered and no wages or 
weekly labour ticket were to be issued, some other measure of 
consumption must be substituted ; and if the daily measure were 
fixed too high for the produce, the inevitable consequence must be 
starvation before the end of the year. 

15. These remarks are the result of experience, and the failure of 
all attempts hitherto made at practical Co-operation, may be traced 
to the want of a rigid system of accounts, and a minute calculation 
of the relation between production and consumption. Before 
Co-operators therefore enter upon the last step of their labours, the 
occupation of land, they must prepare themselves for it by long 
habits of accurate book-keeping applied to every part of their 
business, and these habits must be familiar to all or most of the 
members. 

16. Conclusion. — It is time now to draw these papers to a conclu- 
sion. The object for which they were commenced has been attained. 
The principles of Co-operation have been disseminated among the 
working classes, and made intelligible to them. The certainty of 
success, if those principles be acted upon, has been, we believe we 
may say, demonstrated ; and three hundred Societies have started 
up to put these principles to the test. These Societies constitute a 
new and a grand experiment, the results of which cannot but be 
interesting and instructive, whether they prove or disprove the 
practicability of the system. 

17. The course which we originally meant to steer, has been 
somewhat modified by circumstances ; and the latter part of our 
reflections has been less practical than we could have wished. When 
Co-operation had made a certain progress, and attracted some 
degree of public notice, it became an object of attack partly foolish 
and partly malignant. It seemed desirable, therefore, to endeavour 
to trace the consequences of successful Co-operation upon the public 
welfare. In doing this we became less practically useful to the 
persons for whom we had originally written : yet it seemed desirable 
to remove ignorance, to disarm prejudice, and to conciliate the good 
will of those who might be serviceable to the cause. In the mean 
time the cause itself had taken deeper root, and new advocates 
had arisen in its favour ; and it is to be hoped that their efforts 
will be more practical and more influential than those of the 
humble writer of these pages. 

18. " The Co-operator," therefore, takes his leave of his brethren 
in the same spirit in which he began — the spirit of good will to all 
mankind. In this spirit he has endeavoured to instruct, enlighten, 
and direct them into the true road to independence. If he has 
failed, it has been not for want of the will, but of the power. He 
has meant well, and executed his intentions according to the 
measure of his ability, and not without sacrifices on his part. It 
remains now to leave the question to Time, the final arbiter of all 
disputes and the great experimenter of the world. Should he revei-se 
the judgment of the " Co-operator," we are well assured it will only 
be to establish a still more glorious system, when the world shall 
have been fully prepared for it. For Time is but the servant of 
Nature, and Nature is but the manifestation of an Intelligence, as 
boundless in benevolence as in power. 

FINIS. 



SICKELMORE, PRINTERS, BRIGHTON. 

112 



LETTERS OF Dr. KING ON 
CO-OPERATION 




Dk. William Kinc. 
From the Bust at the Ro\al Pavilion, Hrinhlon. 



LETTERS OF Dr. KING ON 
CO-OPERATION. 



The letters which follow were written by Dr. King at different 
periods of his life. The first, on the subject of Mechanics' 
Institutions, appeared in the Brighton Herald, on October 22nd, 
1823, and was reprinted for general distribution as a small eight- 
page pamphlet. A copy of this pamphlet is in the Brighton Public 
Library. The letter addressed to Henry Brougham, M.P., was 
printed by Henry Pitman in the Co-operator for January, 1863, 
and reprinted by Holyoake in his His!or\i of Co-operation (Vol. II., 
page 592). The letter to Thomas Hirst was first printed in the 
Co-operative News on January 23rd, 1892. This letter, given to 
Holyoake by Mr. W. R. Croft, of Huddersfield, was included by 
Dr. Hans Miiller in his article on " Dr. William King and his place 
in the History of Co-operation,"' published in the second Year Book 
of International Co-operation, issued in 1913 by the International 
Co-operative Alliance. In the same article Dr. Miiller quoted 
extracts from four of Dr. King's letters to Henry Pitman, originally 
printed in the Co-operator. The letters addressed by Dr. King to 
Henry Crabb Robinson contain no direct reference to co-operation, 
but are printed here because they reveal the character of the 
writer. These letters were first printed in 1 869 by Thomas Sadler, 
Ph.D., who edited the three volumes containing selections from 
Robinson's Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence. 

I. 

W. K. to the Editor, Sng/i/on Herald. 

8 Marlborough Place, Brighton, 

October 21st, 1825. 
Sir, — On Tuesday evening last a meeting of the 
Brighton artists and mechanics was held at the 
Carpenters' Arms, West Street, to pass resolutions 
favourable to the Bradford workmen* and raise a sub- 
scription for them. The place chosen for this meeting 
being opposite to the Mechanics' Institution, there 
seemed to be an apprehension on the part of some of 
the friends of that Institution, and a prejudice on the 

* In 1825 the Bradford woolcombcr.s and weavers made 
a "notable stand" against a proposed reduction of wages. 
They were defeated, and the strike ended in " the per- 
manent break-up of the union." See " The History of 
Trade Unionism," by S. and B. Webb, iQii, p. 100. 

115 



part of others, who are doubtful of its tendency, that 
the views of both would be considered the same. 
Having taken much interest in the welfare of the latter 
society, I was induced to attend the meeting to make 
myself acquainted with its objects and principles. 
The conclusion pressed upon my mind from what I 
heard was to be more than ever persuaded that the 
objects, principles, and proceedings of the two are 
essentially and fundamentally opposed. 

Mechanics' Institutions propose, by modest and 
patient inquiry and study, to dispel the ignorance in 
which we are born, and w^hich is the enemy of private 
and social happiness, and the parent of error and 
crime ; to foster a love of truth ; to acquire a more 
perfect acquaintance with our callings and duties, and 
thus to make ourselves worthier members of society. 

Meetings of the other kind propose to decide upon 
partial evidence ; to judge without inquiry ; to teach 
without knowledge ; to rouse the angry passions of 
our nature, and then give them their own direction. 
Patient inquiry and modest conclusions, which are the 
essence of one plan, are unknown to the other. In the 
one they are necessary friends ; in the other they are 
necessary enemies. 

We all know that a vast quantity of useful practical 
knowledge, in every department of science, has been 
accumulated by our forefathers ; that those who have 
collected this, and those w^ho have applied it, have 
been considered, universally, as the greatest friends to 
their country ; that they who have introduced among 
us the inventions of other nations have been honoured 
and rewarded by the public voice and the public 
purse, and that the independence of our beloved 
country, considering the limited nature of her soil, 
native productions, and population, depends upon the 
education and intelligence of the people at large, and 
upon their being able to keep ahead of other nations 
in the career of useful practical knowledge. 

This knowledge has hitherto been confined com- 
paratively to a few, and to those f evs^ we are indebted 
for our success in war, and for our glory in literature 
and science. The natural fruits of science and know- 
ledge, as of religion, are peace, order, and tranquility. 
The children of science are not willingly found even in 
the ranks of ambition. The fact is, they have purer, 

116 



more exquisite, and more permanent enjoyments of 
their own, and when, happily, science and religion are 
united in the same breast, they open such sublime 
views of the universe and of Providence, that wealth 
and honours, except when subservient to human 
improvement and happiness, sink into insignificance. 
If this knowledge could be rendered universal this 
character would also be universal, i.e., the character 
of peace, the love of self-improvement, and a desire 
to improve the condition, moral and intellectual, of all 
our fellow^-creatures : in short, to reduce to practice 
the theory of ages, " To love our neighbours as our- 
selves. " 

There was a time when the summum bonum was the 
earnest mquiry of philosophers. The light of revela- 
tion and the diffusion of bibles have now put the 
solution of this problem in the hands of every peasant. 
And so simple is the truth, when once discovered, and 
so literally is it true that HiS MerCY IS OVER ALL HiS 
WORKS, that the purest religion is now often found 
among the poorest, and even "he that runs may 
read." 

May not, then, the means of acquiring useful 
knowledge become in time so simple that the poorest 
artisan may learn all that belongs to his art and all 
that belongs to his lot ? If the Almighty has graciously 
opened one door of knowledge, which man could 
never have unlocked, and of which not one mortal 
had ever guessed that it w^ould be opened, is it un- 
reasonable to expect that other doors, which are 
already ajar, and display, to a few. inexhaustible 
beauties and v/onders, will, in due time, be flung wide 
open and that all mankind will behold them and burst 
forth into one general chorus of praise and ecstasy ? 

Such, I devoutly trust, will be the fruits of 
Mechanics' Institutions. Knowledge and science, 
after diffusing themselves among the upper and 
educated classes, are descending among the lower. 
Having ameliorated and softened the former, we 
cannot doubt of their producing similar effects among 
the latter. Within my own memory, unless a man, at 
the University, were intoxicated three days in a week 
he was not considered a gentleman. At the present 
moment the proof is exactly the reverse. 

Twenty years ago, by the testimony of Mr. Bramah, 
before a committee of the House of Commons, out of 

117 



a hundred of his workmen TEN were habitual 
drunkards ; at present he has not one, and the men 
in the factory make rules for each other's good 
behaviour. When questioned as to the cause of this 
he replied, education and knowledge. " What ! do 
you mean to say that you find the best educated to be 
the best workmen and the best conducted?" 
Invariably so. " 

1 lament that some of the educated classes, who 
owe all their success and character in life to their 
education and knowledge, are doubtful of the effects 
of knowledge upon the class from which they them- 
selves sprung. 

Strange infatuation ! like that of those who, having 
found a Saviour for themselves, are afraid of exhibiting 
him to others ; who, being entrusted with the key of 
knowledge, have let themselves through the door, and 
turned the key upon the rest of mankind — upon their 
own brethren ! 

Could these institutions be viewed with a favourable 
eye by their natural guardians, the sons of the same 
ALMA MATER, their fruits would rapidly thrive and come 
to maturity. But in the absence of human sympathy 
there is, we will trust, "an eye that v^atches over 
them ; " and, perhaps, like the oak of a northern 
clime, the longer its growth, and the more intemperate 
the skies, the tougher is its fibre, and the firmer and 
more immovable its roots ; so these institutions, if left 
to their own energies and resources, may acquire a 
strength and direction, under the Divine Blessing, 
which the artificial nursing and moulding of human 
patronage could never have given them. 

I am. Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) W. King. 



118 



n. 

W. K. to Henry Brougham, MP.* 



Brighton, December 12th, 1828. 

Sir, — A number of persons, chiefly of the working 
class, having read several works on the subject of co- 
operation, conceived the possibility of reducing it to 
practice in some shape or other. They accordinglj- 
formed themselves into a society ; and met once a 
week for reading and conversation on the subject ; 
they also began a weekly subscription of Id. TTie 
members who joined were considerable — at one time 
upwards of 1 70 ; but, as happens in such cases, many 
were lukewarm and indifferent, and the numbers 
fluctuated. Those who remained began at once an 
evident improvement of their minds. When the sub- 
scription amounted to £5, it was invested in groceries, 
which were retailed to the members. Business kept 
increasing. The first w^eek the amount sold was half- 
a-crown ; it is now about £38. The profit is about 10 
per cent ; so that a return of £20 a week pays all 
expenses, besides w^hich the members have a large 
room to meet in and work in. About six months ago, 
the society took a lease of twent3'-eight acres of land, 
about nine miles from Brighton, which they cultivate 
as a garden and nursery out of their surplus capital. 
Thej' employ on the garden, out of seventy-five mem- 
bers, four, and sometimes five, men, with their own 
capital. They pay the men at the garden 14s. a week, 
the ordinary rate of wages in the county being I Os . , and 
of parish labourers 6s. The men are also allowed rent 
and vegetables. They take their meals together. One 
man is married and his wife is housekeeper. 

The principle of the society is — the value of labour. 
The operation is by means of a common capital. An 
individual capital is an impossibility to the workman, 

* Henry Brougham, M.P., afterwards Lord Brougham 
(1778-1868), was a sincere friend of the working classes, 
and a strong advocate of national education. He helped to 
establish the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Know- 
ledge (1827). As Lord Chancellor, he was largely 
instrumental in getting the Reform Bill passed in 1832. 
In 1857 he helped to found the National .Association for 
the Promotion of Social Science. He was a close friend 
of Robert Owen, who prepared five papers for the first 
meeting of this Association, and who made his last public 
appearance at its meeting at Liverpool in 1858. 

119 



but a common capital not. The advantage of the plan 
is that of mutual insurance ; but there is an advantage 
beyond, viz., that the workman will thus get the whole 
produce of his labour to himself ; and if he chooses to 
work harder or longer, he will benefit in proportion. 
If it is possible for men to work for themselves, many 
advantages will arise. The other day they wanted a 
certain quantity of land planted before the winter. 
Thirteen members went from Brighton early in the 
morning, gave a day's work, performed the task, and 
returned home at night. The man who formerly had 
the land, when he came to market, allowed himself 
1 Os. to spend. The man who now comes to market for 
the society is contented with Is. extra wages. Thus 
these men are in a fair way to accumulate capital 
enough to find all the members with constant employ- 
ment ; and, of course, the capital will not stop there, 
other societies are springing up. Those at Worthing 
and Findon are proceeding as prosperously as ours, 
cnly on a smaller scale. If co-operation be once 
proved practicable the working classes will soon see 
their interest in adopting it. If this goes on, it will 
draw^ labour from the market, raise wages, and so 
operate upon pauperism and crime. All this is 
pounds, shillings, and pence ; but another most 
important feature remains. The members see immedi- 
ately the value of knowledge. They employ their 
leisure time in reading and mutual instruction. They 
have appointed one of their members librarian and 
schoolmaster ; he teaches every evening. Even their 
discussions involve both practice and theory, and are 
of a most improving nature. Their feelings are of an 
enlarged, liberal, and charitable description. They 
have no disputes, and feel towards mankind at large 
as brethren. The elite of the society were members 
of the Mechanics' Institution, and my pupils, and 
their minds were no doubt prepared there for this 
society. It is a happy consummation. 

In conclusion, I beg to propose to your great and 
philanthropic mind the' question as to how such 
societies may be affected by the present state of the 
law; or how far future laws may be so framed as to 
operate favourably to them. At the same time, they 
ask nothing from any one but to be let alone, and 
nothing from the law but protection. As I have had 
the opportunity of watching every step of this society, 
I consider their case proved ; but others at a distance 

120 



will want further experience. If the case is proved, I 
consider it due to you, sir, as a legislator, philosopher, 
and the friend of man, to lay it before you. This 
society will afford you additional motives for complet- 
ing the Library of Useful Knowledge — the great fore- 
runner of human improvement. 



III. 
W. K. to Thomas Hirst.* 



2 Regent's Square, Brighton, 

April 3rd, 1833. 
Dear Mr. Hirst, 

Your letter, dated March 25th, is very acceptable to 
me. I cannot attend the Congress, because I cannot 
leave home nor make myself a public man. Since 1 
had your first letter 1 have had one from Mr. Pare.f 
sending me the vote of thanks to the author of the 
Co-operator, and requesting a new edition. 1 have 
replied to him, and proposed to send him all the 
Co-operators on hand, to be disposed of to the best 
advantage, and sending me the proceeds, if any. I 
thought this might take trouble off your hands. 
I recommended that he should send me a copy of the 
Co-operator, with notes and criticisms, and 1 would 
endorse it, but I declined taking the risk of publica- 
tion. 1 urged strongly upon him the necessity of 
making morals and religion the basis of all attempts 
at improving or benefiting the working classes. 1 am 
too old now to mince matters on that subject. When 
co-operation was in its infancy there were many 
reasons for keeping the phrase " morals and religion " 
in the background. Circumstances are now^ altered. 
Some have now proved their title to respect and con- 

* Thomas Hirst, of Huddersfield, was an active membor 
of the Huddersfield Co-operative Trading and Manufac- 
turing Association, started in 1829. He attended the early 
Congresses, and presided over the Fourth Congress, held 
at Liverpool, in 1832. 

+ William Pare (1805-1873), of Birminghem, was an 
intimate friend of Robert Owen, and a prominent leader of 
the early Co-operative Movement. He was secretary to the 
First Co-operative Congress held at Manchester in i83r, 
and to the Congress held at London in 1869. Once the first 
co-operative "missionary," Pare lived to become the 
first secretary to the Central Board, now the Co-operative 
Union of Great Britain and Ireland. 

121 



fidence. They have borne the brunt of the fight, and 
they have nov/ full right to state the inward principles 
which have actuated them. Besides, w^e have had 
experience, and w^e can state with more confidence 
the causes of failure. 

Your faithful friend and brother, 

(Signed) W. King. 

IV. 
W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson.* 



August 17th, 1853. 

Robertson'sf theology had an air of 
grandeur and truthfulness about it, which won all 
hearts — the hearts of all who filled his chapel ; w^hile 
he had to pay the common price of following truth 
vs^hich his Master paid, viz., to endure envy, jealousy, 
and malignity. 



V. 

W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 

23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

October 19th, 1853. 

Many thanks for your two letters ; the first, with the 
enclosure — the notice of Robertson. I have lent it to 
several, who have had great pleasure in the perusal 
of it. It says as much as can be said of him in that 
compass. You say, De minimis non curat lex; I say, 
De minimis curat rex. If he did not care de minimis, 
how could I exist ? . . . 

* Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867) was throughout his 
life the companion and friend of famous men and women. 
He knew Goethe, Schiller, Lafayette, Wordsworth, 
Coleridge, Southey, Lamb, and other great writers and 
artists intimately, and the volumes containing his recol- 
lections and reminiscences make fascinating reading. 

t Frederick William Robertson {1816-53) the great 
English preacher and theologian, was made incumbent of 
Trinity Chapel, Brighton, in 1847, and continued to live in 
that town until his death. His treatment of religious 
subjects caused him to be attacked by more orthodox 
teachers. He was also denounced as a revolutionary in 
consequence of the part he took in the establishment of a 
local institute for th^ working men of Brighton. 

122 



I agree with you — your memoir raises doubts rather 
than satisfies them ; but that is all that can be done at 
present. We are tired of the old, and looking for the 
new. Time is an element in all human changes. A 
church is a stepping-stone in the great ladder which 
men are climbing, to answer the primeval question, 
What is God? All the systems from the beginning 
are the answers to this question in their generations. 

When Dr. proclaims a hell of eternal punishment, 

that is /71s answer. He thinks it is in THE Gospel — i.e., 
his gospel ; it is his conception of God. . . . 

Dr. Parr was a step in advance. He thought the 
Unitarians might be saved, but they must be scorched 
first. He delighted in drinking hob-a-nob with a man 
w^ho was sure to be scorched before he could be tit 
company for him. The fact is, we conform the gospel 
to our minds, and not our minds to the gospel. That 
is Churchdom. 

I think the time is gone by for considering whether 
Robertson would be injured in the opinion of any one. 
If anything he wrote or thought could make others 
think, that would do good. The opinion of any one in 
this world, except the wise and good, who do not 
aspire to be even tolerant — who are too modest to be 
tolerant, since toleration implies superiority — is of 
little consequence. The only true " Toleration Act " 
is that of God, who tolerates all. But yet, God does 
not tolerate, He educates. The educator expects his 
pupil to be imperfect. He professes to cure imper- 
fection. So God, as Educator, professes to cure sin ; 
and, as a means, He sends His Son, the model man, 
to explain what He means by human perfection ; 
and He says, ''This is w^hat I mean to bring all man- 
kind to." 

It appears to me that the intention of Providence is 
to elevate the people — the million. But this is a work 
of time, and WE are too impatient. We want all to be 
done in our lifetime ; but w^e forget that a thousand 
years are with Him as a day. Then it appears to me 
that the despotic form of government is most suited to 
savage life and early civilisation, and the constitution.^! 
form to. a more advanced state. But if the despot was 
enlightened, that would be the simplest form for all 
states. 

Then, again, I think that moral improvement is the 
real end of man, and that all society is really con- 

123 



trived for that ; but this is far more difficult to attain 
than intellectual improvement. 

How this end is to be brought about is hidden from 
us. But I look upon the first promise, however made 
or supposed, as prophetic — " Thou shalt bruise his 
head," i.e., sin shall ultimately be abolished. 

When this period arrives, it will be a demonstration 
that the credit is to be given to God, and not to man. 
This was the object for which Christ died. This made 
Paul despise all things in comparison with Christ. . . . 

VI. 
W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 



23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

October 27th, 1853. 

. The proper question is, not why Christianity 
has done so little ? but why have not men attained to 
common sense ? But then that would resolve itself 
into other questions : w^hy are not all men mathe- 
maticians or chemists, &c. ? to which the answer is 
supposed to be very simple. But it is easier for a man 
to be a great astronomer than a great Christian. It is 
easier to be a learned man than a good man. Why 
morals should be so difficult, stirs another and a 
deeper question ; for we must suppose that there is 
a wisdom in the fact. A question of creeds is but a 
petty question at any time. The real question lies 
deeper. 

VII. 

W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 

23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

November 4th, 1853. 

I have come to a conclusion w^ith respect 
to the existence of evil which is somewhat different, 
or appears to be so, from what I have anywhere seen, 
but which, perhaps, is only stating the same thing 
differently. It is this : that, with such a being as man, 
he can only be convinced of sin or folly by suffering 
its consequences. He is not an a priori being (which 
the Deity is), but a being of experience. We see in 
every action, from the cradle upw^ards, that he takes 
little or nothing upon trust. He must make his experi- 
ment, and prove that the fruit is bitter by its taste. 

124 



No sooner has one generation done this and satisfied 
itself, than another arises which must be satisfied in 
the same way. Thus the effect of the experience of 
one generation upon the next is an inhnitesimal one , 
but it is something : and so after many ages, even in 
this Ufe, sin may be conquered : and as to the next, 
the circumstances will probably be so changed that it 
is impossible to reason about them at present. 



VIII. 
W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 



23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

November 8th, 1853. 
My dear Sir, 

I hear that Maurice is excommunicated." 
Now I honour him. I shall criticise him no more. I 
hear some one at Oxford of the name of Gilbert has 
pronounced the funeral oration of the Church of 
England — i.e., I suppose of the intolerant party in it. 
The last dying speech and confession of Intolerance ! 
Then new Robertsons and new Maurices w^ill arise. 
NoVus sceclorum nascitur ordo. These things must be 
done gradually ; w^e must not pull her down before 
we have something better to put in her place, " lest a 
worse fate befall us." I admire that fixedness in 
England. We have made wonderful progress in fifty 
years. ... 

IX. 

W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 

Brighton, December 13th, 1853. 

I have read Maurice's letter to Jelf. I 
admire the spirit of the man much. There is an 
indescribable sweetness in some of his expressions, 
especially about the love of God, which go to the 
heart — except of a theologian. 

^■John Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-72), the founder 
and spiritual leader of Christian Socialism in Great 
Britain, was dismissed in 1S53 from his two professorships 
at Kinfj's College, London, because of his "dangerous 
doctrines " on the subject of eternal punishment. 

125 



X. 

W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 



23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

February 2nd, 1854. 

Lady Byron is now quite recovered. She 
is always feeble, and obliged to husband her strength, 
and calculate her powers ; but her mind is ever 
intact, pure, and lofty. It seems to pour forth its 
streams of benevolence and judgment even from the 
sick bed ; a perennial fountain. Her state of mind 
has always given me confidence in her severest 
illnesses. Yet her power of bearing fatigue occasion- 
ally, as during the illness and death of her daughter, 
is as wonderful. 

XI. 

W. K. to Henry Crabb Robinson. 



23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

March 22nd, 1855. 

It would appear unkind in me to pass over the death 
of our friend Masquerier* without notice. He was a 
man I had spent many agreeable and instructive hours 
with — and never more enjoyable than when alone. 
Then he could speak with less reserve, and was never 
at a loss for anecdote of many characters whom I 
knev/ only historically. He had a large acquaintance 
with the world. It had not soured his temper — it had 
only increased his caution and prudence. I think this 
is the effect produced upon men in public situations. 
One mistake or one dishonest man may ruin a well- 
concocted scheme or plan of operations ; their caution 
is therefore a matter of necessity. During the last year 
I had seen more of him than usual. 

I think, as a man approaches the great change, an 
interest in the nature of that change may well be the 
uppermost feeling in a rational being. Surely the 
absence of this feeling is a man's own loss peculiarly, 
whatever may be its connection with the unknown 
future upon which we are about to enter. How many 

*John James Masquerier (1778-1855), the eminent 
portrait painter, lived in Brighton for several years prior 
to his death. His portrait of Dr. King is now in the 
possession of Major G. Lionel King, of Brighton. 

126 



are deterred from this subject by the perverted suble- 
ties of theologians, I will not pretend to say. After as 
wide a survey of human knowledge as my faculties 
permit, I find no rest but in the character of Christ, of 
which I still consider 1 have but an imperfect concep- 
tion. He forms the under-current in which float all 
the hopes of the world for rising out of its present 
chaos. What we call chaos is, 1 doubt not, a step in 
the wisdom of that Power which we worship as real, 
though incomprehensible. 

Xll. 

W. K. to Henry Pitman.* 



23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

January 9th, 1864. 
My dear Sir, 

I am much obliged to you for the Co-operators 
received to-day. 1 answer it at once, and I will look 
into them as soon as I have leisure. It is only lately 
that 1 have become acquainted with the excellent Mr. 
Hill.f I sent him the only volume 1 have of the 
original Co-operator, i believe I have other copies 
among my papers. 

It is very gratifying to me to know that co-operation 
has been so largely and successfully taken up. 1 was 
a solitary pioneer in the beginning, and earned 
the then ill-favoured, but now enviable, title of a 
visionary. My visions consisted in the faith that some 
day the moral principles of Christ w^ould admit of 
being carried out practically, as they are in a true 
co-operative society. The honest, everyday virtues 
recommended throughout the Gospel, are the founda- 
tion of family life and co-operation. People must be 
industi-ious, honest, and saving. 1 look forward to 

* Henry Pitman (1826-igoQ), brother of Sir Isaac Pitman 
(1813-Q7) — who invented a new system of shorthand- 
founded and edited the Co-operator^ a monthly record of 
co-operative progress, published in Manchester, from i860 
to 1 87 1. He was official reporter of the annual Co-opera- 
tive Congress for forty years. 

t Matthew Davenport Hill (1792-1872), Recorder of 
Birmingham, is remembered chiefly because of his work in 
connection with the improvement of criminal law. A 
staunch friend of co-operation, he contributed many 
articles to co-operative periodicals, and his advice was 
often sought by promoters of co-operative societies. 

127 



co-operative schools of industrious training, and co- 
operative colonisation in due time. With proper 
training, there ought not to be a pauper in England. 
She has land enough all over the vv^orld for ten times 
her population. The capital w^asted in strikes would 
have made every man a gentleman if properly 
employed. But enough. 

Some years ago, 1 made an annual visit to Bath, and 
passed many pleasant hours with your brother. I 
should be glad to know if the plan of purchasing 
ground for an institution and printing office 
succeeded.* I have taken the Phonetic Journal and 
Reporter from the beginning, and I take the Phonetic 
Prayer Book to church ; but I have no time to become 
a practical phonographer. I have got the return of 
the Industrial and Provident Societies, and it is a noble 
work. 

I am, dear Sir, yours truly, 

(Signed) W. King. 

H. Pitman, Esq. 

XIII. 
W. K. to Henry Pitman. 



23 Montpellier Road, Brighton, 

February 6th, 1864. 
My dear Sir, 

1 am sorry to have my name so prominently before 
the public in my lifetime, but I suppose it can hardly 
be helped, and with me all is quickly passing away. 
If it acts as any encouragement to others, that is 
enough. I think Mr. Hillf will find in the last number 
of my Co-operatorX some reflections on the necessity 
of further education and knowledge among the work- 
ing classes, before the first-fruits of the system can be 
expected. 

That little work is likely to contain errors in 
political economy and other subjects, for it was 
written when these subjects were practically in their 

* The Phonetic Institute at Bath, projected in 1859, was 
not established until 1874. 

+ This Mr. Hill, son of Matthew Davenport Hill, was the 
author of an account of Dr. King published in Pitman's 
Co-oferaior, March, 1864. 

XSee page ioq. 

128 



infancy, and when anything Hke free trade (and I had 
no one to assist me — I wrote the whole myself) was 
held as an act of disloyalty. This last month 1 have 
come across a letter showing that the first master of 
our infant school, a brother-in-law of Wilderspin,* an 
excellent master, was dismissed because he was a 
local preacher among the V/esleyan Methodists. The 
reason was, the committee were afraid it would raise 
a prejudice against the school, among churchmen, 
and so lose their support. 

A few days ago, I received a publication called The 
Grocer, for January 20th, with an article on page 70 
against co-operation. It was evidently sent to me as 
seeing my name in your publication. It is feeble, and 
attempts to turn the subject into ridicule, and ignores 
the remarkable success w^hich you mention in this 
article ; and, of course, overlooks the moral effects of 
the system, which I consider the best part of it. The 
present division of profits is no doubt a great induce- 
ment with many, although it weakens the accumula- 
tion of capital. But I see the difficulty of the best 
mode of employing the capital when obtained. This 
will be a question for the future. 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) W. King. 

XIV. 
W. K. to Henry Pitman. 

Brighton, May, 1864. 
My dear Mr. Pitman, 

The editor of The Grocer has done me the honour 
to send me another number of his paper. In case you 
should not have seen it I send you the leading article, 
w^hich, no doubt, he thinks very clever and annihilat- 
ing. If the societies do not answer, they will put them- 
selves down without his help. His style of writing 
looks more like jealousy than sympathy. It is a 
pity people cannot confine themselves to legitimate 
writing. It is like two barristers in court, or two parties 
in Parliament — whatever is said by the one is contra- 
dicted by the other. 

You can reply in phonography. 

(Signed) W. King. 

* Samuel Wilderspin (1792-1866), educational pioneer, 
was one of the first to advocate the establishment of infant 
schools in Great Britain. 

129 



XV. 
W. K. to Henry Pitman. 

Brighton, October, 1864. 
My dear Mr. Pitman, 

i am much obliged to you for the Co-operator and 
the newspaper received to-day. I have read the 
article on Law with great pleasure, though the subject 
is out of the way of the laity. It is at once grand and 
difficult. We are glad to see improvement going on 
anyv/here and everywhere. 1 remember Brougham s 
first speech in the House of Commons on it. I think 
it took up six hours. At that time all improvement 
was abhorred, as leading to revolution. I was reading 
my notes of a sermon at that time, in which it was said 
that the education of the working classes would lead 
to rebellion ; but as it could not be stopped, the clergy 
had better put themselves at the head of it, to mitigate 
the effects. It is gratifying to see hopes of future 
improvement in infinitum. That is my creed. Christ 
was sent to moralise all nations, and it is only a 
question of time. I had particular pleasure in the 
article on criminals. About two years ago I saw a 
pamphlet before it was published on the subject, 
written by a Yorkshire magistrate, who went to 
Ireland on purpose to examine the system. The 
principles are self-evident, except to narrow, bigoted 
minds. In feudal times, the governments, such as they 
were, were the best informed. Now, they are the 
worst informed ; only they are creeping on by letting 
in new light. In fact, now they would become con- 
temptible if they selected all men upon mere party 
principles. By-and-by they will go a step farther, 
pick out the clever boy criminals, and train them in 
industrial schools. The boy-gangs have always clever 
leaders, whose loss breaks up the gang. By-and-by, 
too, you will have co-operative schools. The working 
classes will see the importance of good training and 
practical teaching, and unite for the purpose. A new 
race of mothers will spring up, with a practical 
knowledge of human nature. Games and the drill w^iU 
become instruments of exercise, health, and good 
temper. Gardening, especially, and the elements of 
the useful and elegant arts, may be taught to young 
as well as old. Individuals will arise — prophets, like 

130 



Hill, for the post office, and Stephenson for railways, 
and Watt for the steam-engine — who will begin a new 
era. People will wonder that they should have gone 
on for thousands of years butchering each other for 
nothing. Such is the halcyon future ; and blessed are 
they who bring a single brick to the building. I am 
soon off for the " Delectable Mountains,' where 
Christ will reign over His willing subjects ; and 
w^here there shall be no more death, neither sorrow 
nor crying, and no more pain ; for the former things 
are passed away. 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) W. King. 
XVI. 

W. K. to Henry Pitman. 



23 Montpellier Road, 

Brighton, July 24th, 1865. 
My dear Mr. Pitman, 

I am obliged to you for sending me the Co-operator 
for June and July, with some additional papers, all of 
a good character. We may now enjoy the idea that 
the system has taken firm root. We cannot expect 
that all societies will be equally prosperous. Where 
numbers act together, they cannot all be equally w^ell 
managed, but enough has been done to prove not only 
the possible but the practicable. They will not 
REMODEL society according to the original idea of 
Owen, but they will apply well-known principles of 
business to the advantage of those who unite in them. 
They will promote wherever they go a principle of 
good fellowship and charity, i.e., brotherly love. 
They will run parallel with the Christian principle, 
and perhaps in time give that principle a more 
practical bearing than it has yet received. In the 
beginning of Christianity the loving spirit of the 
religion resolved itself into a form of co-operation, but 
imperfect from the want of business and labour habits. 
Nov/ that these habits are understood, we want 
nothing but the spirit of Christianity to give them per- 
manent vitality. I have great faith that this will grow 
and add to the strength of our beloved country, and 
enable her to maintain her position of first among the 
the nations. 

131 



When England was discovered by the Romans, 
she was pronounced the largest among the islands, 
and the richest in corn and pasture. Only lately, one 
of the greatest of modern historians, Sismondi, pro- 
nounced her the happiest in her climate, soil, govern- 
ment, institutions — among which we may now reckon 
co-operation. 

I had a severe illness in the spring, though not 
dangerous ; but it left me in the dangerous position of 
entering my 80th year. A short time ago I received 
a vv^arrn letter from Mr. W. Pare, one of the early co- 
operators from Dublin. 

1 am, dear Mr. Pitman, 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) W. King. 



132 



NOTES. 



NOTES. 



I. — Community (page 3). 

(a) "Community . . . signifies properly, a body 
or collection of people, having one, that is, the same 
interest, and acting as one, for the benefit of all." 
{Co-operative Magazine, January, 1827, page 16.) 

(b) " Community : an association of persons in 
sufficient numbers, and living on a space of land of 
sufficient extent, to supply by their own exertions all 
of each other's w^ants. ' {Practical Directions for the 
Speedy and Economical Establishment of Com- 
munities, by William Thompson, 1830, page 2.) 

(c) " Let it be universally understood that the grand 
ultimate object of all co-operative societies, w^hether 
engaged in trading, manufacturing, or agricultural 
pursuits is community on land." (A resolution 
adopted by the Third Co-operative Congress, 
London, 1832.) 

11. — The Society at 36 Red Lion Square, London 
(page 4). 

The first London Co-operative Trading Association 
was " a society first established on the premises of 
the Co-operative Society, Red Lion Square, and sub- 
sequently removed to Jerusalem Passage, Clerken- 
well." This was the society which employed 
William Lovett as its store-keeper. (See Life and 
Struggles of William LoVett. New Edition, 1920, 
page 41.) 

III. — Co-operation and the Working Classes 
(page 8). 

Compare the views of Robert Owen : "The work- 
ing classes never did direct any permanently success- 
ful operations. . . . Whenever the working classes 
has attempted any complicated, important measure 
that required unity, patience, and perseverance to 
bring it to a successful issue, they have failed in 
every instance as soon as they have taken the 
direction of it." {New Moral World, 1837.) 

135 



IV. — Over-population (page 1 1 .) 

jMalthus published his Essay on the Principle of 
Population in 1798. A second edition appeared in 
1803, a third in 1806, a fourth in 1807, a fifth in 1817, 
and a sixth in 1826. "In its first form the Essay on 
Population was conclusive as an argument, only it 
was based on untrue facts ; in its second form it w^as 
based on true facts, but it was inclusive as an argu- 
ment." {Economic Studies, by Walter Bagehot, 
1880, page 137.) 

V. — The Kidderminster Carpet-weavers (page 13). 

" The disagreement . . . at Kidderminster" was 
the great strike of 1828, when "practically the w^hole 
trade of the town was brought to a standstill by the 
carpet-weavers' six months' resistance to a reduction 
of I 7 per cent in their wages — a resistance in which 
the operatives received the sympathy and support of 
many who did not belong to their class." {History of 
Trade-unionism, by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, 191 1, 
page 100.) 

VI. — Amount of Capital Required (page 13). 

(a) "Say, then, 200 individuals (though 300 or 400 
would be a much more useful number) to be per- 
manently provided for by a loan for a few years of 
£20 each, so as to form the nucleus of a community, 
to be afterwards gradually increased to about 2,000 
persons — men, women, and children, about one- 
third of each. The amount to be raised for the 200 
persons would be at least £4,000." {Practical 
Directions for the Speedy and Economical Establish- 
ment of Communities, by William Thompson, 1830, 
page 14.) 

{b) " Mr. Thompson explained the reasons w^hy the 
committee had done so little [to establish a com- 
munity] . . . Mr. Owen would not consent to have 
his name associated with any committee who w^as 
for making a beginning with a smaller sum than 
£240,000. . . . 

"Mr. Owen said the meeting had mentioned that 
£6,000 ought to be advanced towards Mr. Thompson's 
plan. He had the greatest possible esteem for Mr. 
Thompson, but he begged to assure him that he knew 
little of the matter ; £6,000, £20,000, or even £60,000 

136 



would be of little avail. . . ." {Proceedings oj the 
Third Co-operative Congress, London, 1832.) 

VII. — Working-class Solidarity (page 19). 

"It is difficult to-day to realise the naive surprise 
v/ith which the employers of that time regarded the 
practical development of working-class solidarity. 
. . . That the London tailors should send money to 
the Glasgow w^eavers, or the goldbeaters to the rope- 
spinners, seemed, to the upper and middle classes, 
little short of a crime." Thus the Webbs, speaking 
of the period from 1823 to 1828. {History of Trade- 
unionism, 1911, page 82.) 

VIII. — Qualifications of Members (page 23). 

"On this subject much difference of opinion pre- 
vails amongst the friends of co-operative industry. 
Some think that all the members should be of the 
industrious classes, whether of intellectual or muscular 
occupations, and that lodging room could not be use- 
fully afforded to those who produce nothing. . . . 
Others think that even amongst the industrious classes 
selection should be made of those assenting to the 
practical principles of co-operative industry, of sober, 
industrious habits, and skilled in some branch of 
agriculture, trade, or manufacture. . . . The great 
body of the community should be of the industrious 
classes. If not, it cannot be a co-operative com- 
munity. . . ." {Practical Directions for the Speedy 
and Economical Establishment of Communities, by 
William Thompson, 1830, page 47.) 

IX. — Mr. William Carson (page 37). 

Mr. Carson was well known in the early days of the 
co-operative movement. He attended the Congresses 
held in 1831 and 1832, and was the first to propose the 
formation of " wholesale trading companies." At the 
fourth Congi-ess it was Mr. Carson who moved : 
"That the thanks of this Congress be presented to 
the philanthropic and talented author of the papers 
published at Brighton, under the title of The Co- 
operator, for the useful instruction which he has con- 
veyed, in the simple, yet truly eloquent, language of 
the papers alluded to, on the important subjects of 
which they treat. . . ." 

137 



X. — The Brighton Society (page 51). 

See Dr. King's letter to Henry Brougham, M.P., 
printed on page 1 19. 

XI. — Employment of Children (page 52). 

[In community] "children will be employed in the 
manufactures, as well as agriculture." {Practical 
Directions for the Speedy and Economical Establish- 
ment of Communities, by William Thompson, 1830, 
page 97.) 

XII.— The Combination Laws (page 59). 

The Combination Acts of 1799-1800, which appHed 
to all industries, were repealed in 1824-5. 



XIll. — Roundsmen (page 67). 

" Gilbert's Act of 1782 provided that in the parishes 
incorporated under that Act the guardians were not 
to send able-bodied poor to the poorhouse, but to 
find work for them or maintain them until work was 
found ; the guardian was to take the wage and pro- 
vide the labourer with a maintenance. Thus there 
grew up a variety of systems of public employment ; 
direct employment of paupers on parish work : the 
labour rate system, or the sharing out of the paupers 
among the ratepayers ; the roundsmen system by 
which pauper labour was sold to the farmers." {The 

Village Labourer, by J. L. and Barbara Hammond, 

1911, page 148.) 

XIV. — Labour as a Marketable Commodity (page 69). 

Compare Dr. King's views with those held by 
modern guildsmen, i.e., "In speaking of the wage- 
system, they [National Guildsmen] are speaking of 
the system under which labour is bought and sold m 
the labour market as an article of commerce. In 
demanding the abolition of wagery, they are repudiat- 
ing utterly the idea that labour is a commodity, or that 
it ought to be bought and sold for what it will fetch 
in a ' labour market.' " {Self -Government in Industry, 
by G. H. D. Cole, 1917, page 153.) 

138 



XV. — Prudential Marriage (page 69). 

" By moral restraint I would be understood to mean 
a restraint from marriage from prudential motives." 
(Malthus, Essay on the Principle of Population. 
Second edition, 1803.) 

XVI. — Mr. Rapp's Colony at Harmony (page 72). 

The Harmony Society, founded in Pennsylvania in 
1804, by George Rapp, was the most successful com- 
munity established in America in the first quarter of 
the 19th century. Although the society did not at first 
discourage marriage, "Father Rapp" taught that 
"the unmarried is the higher and holier estate." 
Both he and his son "set an example which the 
remainder of the society quickly followed ; thence- 
forth no more marriages were contracted in Harmony, 
and no more children were born." In 1825, the 
Rappites removed to the new town of Economy, 
selling the town of Harmony and 20,000 acres of 
land to Robert Ow^en, who there established "The 
New Harmony Community." (See The Communistic 
Societies of the United States, 1875, by Cheirles 
Nordhoff, and History of American Socialisms, 1870. 
by John Humphrey Noyes.) 



XVII.— The Principle of Competition (page 78). 

Dr. King's remarks on the principle of competition, 
printed on page 78 of The Co-operator, greatly dis- 
pleased William Lovett, who, at the third quarterly 
meeting of the British Association for Promoting Co- 
operative Know^ledge, held on January 7th, 1830, 
said: "Since the last meeting, a powerful writer, 
and, he believed, a benevolent friend to the co-opera- 
tive cause, had in a measure apologised for the 
competitive system, and had endeavoured to remove 
from it the odium which he affirmed that the co- 
operators had thrown upon it. TTie writer to whom he 
referred (the author of The Co-operator, -we believe) 
began by stating that the competitive principle was 
inseparable from human nature. Unfortunately, it 
was so under the present arrangement of society, and 
with the present system of education. . . ." (The 
Co-operative Miscellany, or Magazine, February, 
1830, page 29.) 

159 



XVI H. — Mutual Confidence Essential to Co-opera- 
tion (page 84). 

Dr. King's argument that in co-operation " one bad 
character may ruin a society, if not detected . . . 
the whole society is guaranteed for the character of 
each," has a striking resemblance to the principle on 
which the Raiffeism system of agricultural credit is 
based. Of this system, it is said that "the genius of 
the German philanthropist who devised the scheme 
of ' capitalising the honesty ' of a poor man, has 
devised also the means of securing, if not the honesty 
of the individual, at least the desire of the group that 
all their associates should be so, by making unlimited 
liability an essential part of the organisation of his 
societies." {Report of the Recess Committee on 
Establishing a Department of Agriculture and Indus- 
tries for Ireland, 1896.) 

XIX. — Patrons of Co-operation (page 86). 

The suggestion made by Dr. King's correspondent 
that the co-operators should "bethink themselves of 
bespeaking the goodwill and countenance of some 
Patron," caused the British Association for Promoting 
Co-operative Knowledge to make public protest 
against such a proposal. In a statement of March 4th, 
1830, published in the Weekly Free Press, the 
association bade co-operators : ' ' Beware of PATRONS 
of any sort ! But particularly a ' clergyman or 
magistrate ' ! ! ! . . . These dangerous propositions 
must be blotted out from the pages of The Co- 
operator or all future comniunications in that little 
pamphlet must be looked on as wolves in sheeps' 
clothing. Let the working classes look to themselves 
and be their own PATRONS, or have none at all ! The 
British Association protests against patronage in any 
form ; also protests against competition in any 
shape. . . ." In the issue of The Co-operative Mis- 
cellany or Magazine, for May, 1830, there appeared 
a long ' ' Remonstrance occasioned by a late Latitu- 
dinarian Doctrine promulgated by a certain Co- 
operator." This began : " Hear, O ye Co-operators ! 
Be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage, 
prudence, and commonsense dictates, surrender not 
at your peril one jot or tittle of your power ; let not 
your hearts fail you, ere you are half escaped from 
your worse than Egyptian bondage, &c., &c." 

140 



XX. — The Rev. W. L. Pope's Attack on Dr. King 
(page 92). 

" I am extremely sorry that 1 had not an opportunity 
of hearing the sermons you thought it right to preach 
upon the subject of co-operation, because 1 should 
better have understood the reasons you had for dis- 
approving of it, and the arguments by which you 
attempted to prove that the motives of the editor of 
The Co-operator were wicked,' his principles 
homd,' and himself 'an infidel.' . . . 

I, who know the editor well, know that these are 
the last epithets he deserves, and that no motive but 
a religious one, would have induced him to undertake 
the difficult task of explaining to his poor, suffering. 
Christian brethren a method by which they might 
relieve themselves, by the blessing of God, from a 
state now bordering on starvation, and prepare the 
way for an improved moral and religious education of 
their children. . . . 

" If the subject of religion be not brought forward, 
it is surely as excusable as for other authors treating 
on general subjects. . . . 

"A Friend to Co-operation, 
Because I am a Christian." 

{A letter to the Rev. W. L. Pope, Tunbridge Wells, 
in reply to Two Sermons preached by him on the 
subject of Co-operation, 1829.) 

XXI. — The Founder of Infant Schools (page 95). 

The first infant schools were founded by Johann 
Friedrich Oberlin (1740-1826), a Protestant pastor in 
the Ban-de-la-Roche, who was born at Strassburg. 
He was a zealous advocate of education, whose 
collected writings were published in 1843. One of 
the first infant schools established in Great Britain was 
opened by Robert Owen at New Lanark in 1816, 
hence " the infant school system in England sprang 
from a suspected source." 

XXII. — The Essenes (page 106). 

TTie Essenes were a small Jewish sect or order 
existing in the times of Jesus. Their chief character- 
istics appear to have been a preference for an 
agricultural life ; community of goods and common 

141 



meals ; abstinence from marriage ; and belief in 
immortality without resurrection. It has been 
suggested that certain forms adopted by the early 
Christian Church were borrowed from this sect. (See 
Lightfoot's Colossians and Philemon, 1875.) 

XXIII. — Emanuel de Fellenberg (page 109.) 

Emanuel de Fellenberg (1771-1844), the Swiss 
philanthropist and educational reformer, established 
in 1807 his "Poor School" or "Agricultural Institu- 
tion" for destitute children at Hofwyl, near Berne. 
His aim was to make this institution self-supporting, 
and ' to use agriculture as a means of moral training 
for the poor." Fellenberg's work attracted great 
attention and is a landmark in the history of educa- 
tion. Robert Owen visited Fellenberg's establishment 
in 1817, and was so impressed by what he saw that he 
afterwards sent his sons Robert Dale Owen and 
William Owen to school there. Dr. King in 1842 
published an account of The Institutions of De Fellen- 
berg. (See Threading My Way : Twenty-seVen Years 
of Autobiography (1874), by Robert Dale Owen. 



142 



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Co-operathe Printing Society Limited, New Mount Street, Manchester. 
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