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EDINBURGH COMPOSITORS' SOCIETY,
INSTITUTED JUNE 3. 1824,
UPON THE PRINCIPLES RECOMMENDED BY A COMMITTEE OF
Constitution antf Errors at jTrtfttUlt) &otittitzt
AN ABSTRACT OF THE ACTS OF PARLIAMENT RELATIVE
PRINTED FOR OLIVER & BOYD, TWEEDDALE COURT;
Price One Shilling and Sixpence.
Xhe following Remarks and Laws were originally intended for the use of the Members of The Edinburgh Compositors1 Society only; but as this is the first Society which has been instituted upon the principles recommended by The HighLand Society Of Scotland, several respectable individuals have requested that they might be submitted to the Public. In compliance with this request, and as numerous applications have been made for copies, it has been resolved, that a limited number should be published ;— and it will be gratifying should these Remarks so far attract the attention of the Members of Friendly Societies, as to lead them to perceive and remedy those errors which have hitherto proved the ruin of these useful institutions.
I. REMARKS. Page
Origm and Progress of Friendly Societies in Britain, 5
Their objects and advantages, - - - - - ib.
Friendly Societies preferable to Savings Banks, - 6 Acts of Parliament relative to the former, - . - - ib. Origin, progress, and present number, of Friendly Societies in Paris, 1 Highland Society's Inquiry into the rate of Sickness of those in Scotland, ...... 8
Results of Sickness obtained from their Returns, "*' . ib.
Average rate of Mortality among mankind in general, - 9 Principles of Friendly Societies, - - - .10
Their Errors, and Consequences, - - - 11
Compositors' Society, established upon the above principles, • U
Report of Accountant on ditto, containing,
Rate of Sickness and Mortality among Compositors, - 15
Observations on ditto, . ......... t ..'...« 16
Sick and Funeral Contributions and Allowances for the Compositors'
Society, '« - - - - ib*
Tables shewing the Funds which it ought always to possess, - 17 Explanations of these, and how the Society's affairs may be periodically balanced, - - - - . r 18
Other general Directions, - .• - - ib.
Conclusion, .. . * . . 19.
1. Fundamental Rules, - - - - 21 .
II. Entrants, - '- - ... 24
III. Meetings, .'; - . - 25 ,i
IV. Office-bearers, '- - - - . ..26 "V. Exemptions, - - - - - 27
VI. Duties of Office-bearers, - - - - ib.
VII. Box, and Cash, - - - - - 29
VIII. Surgeon, - - - - - ib.
IX. Sick Allowance, - - - - - 30
X. Funeral Allowance, - - - - 32
XI. Arrears, - - - - - - 33
XII. Books and Auditors, - - - - 34
XIII. Alterations and Amendments, - - - 35
XIV. Disputes and Arbitration, - - - 36 XV. Funds not Transferable, - - - - ib.
XVI. Penalties, - - • - - 37
Table of Sick and Funeral Equivalents, - - - 39 Committee of Management, - - - .40
List of Members, - - - - - ib.
Extracts from Acts of Parliament relative to Friendly Societies, 41
In whatever speculation individuals may engage, or with whatever institution they may become connected, it is of the utmost importance rightly to understand the principles upon which it is or ought to be conducted. Foi want of such knowledge, many useful undertakings, and laudable institutions, have totally failed ; but perhaps of none can this be more justly remarked, than of that class of copartneries denominated Benefit or Friendly Societies; whose too general failure, and the serious and destructive consequences which have followed to their members, have of late years been the subject of equal notoriety. It being therefore with a view to avoid those evils that The Edinburgh Compositors' Society was instituted, it has been judged expedient to give a brief summary of the inquiries which have been recently undertaken and published on so important a subject, that the true principles upon which such Societies ought to be conducted, may be more generally understood by the members.
Benefit or Friendly Societies are pretty well understood to have originated in clmrilable institutions, connected with incorporated or such other trades as were chiefly confined to populous towns. Sickness or infirmity did Dot alone entitle their members to benefit or weekly aid, unless when coupled with extreme indigence; and even this limited relief was restricted and regulated according to the amount of the funds at the time, and the opinion the Society or its managers might form of the needs of the applicants. The advantages, however, derived even upon this limited scale, were soon observed and duly appreciated by other classes of the community; and numerous Societies of all classes and occupations were, in a short time, formed in almost every town and considerable village in the kingdom. Indeed to such an extent have these institutions gradually increased, as to be estimated, in the Edinburgh Iteview for January 1820, to include one-eighth part of the whole population of the Empire, and to distribute upwards of a million and a half annually. They have very generally also undergone such material alterations in their principles, as at length to have assumed the respectable character of mutual Insurance Societies, where every member is entitled to claim as his right the stipulated allowances;—and hence the idea of charity, so repugnant to every independent mind, can now no longer be associated with these copartneries.
By means of being connected with well regulated Societies, therefore, and at a small expence, every individual may secure a comfortable subsistence in sickness and old age, and a considerable sum at death to his relatives or friends. However easy a man's present circumstances may be, or however promising his prospects, it is nevertheless every one's interest, whose livelihood depends on his own exertions, to provide for those pecuniary wants which must be always more or less occasioned by sickness, old age, and death. On this subject Mr Burks has justly remarked, * It is but little that a'mau