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ON FRIENDLY SOCIETIES*.
J. HAVE great satisfaction in complying with the wishes of the Board., in transmitting them the rules of the Miners' Society of Workington, and also the Amount of the poor-rates. Harrington is a separate parish. The account of another work I have not received; they are all however subject to the same regulations.
That I have not made the progress in this institution which might have been expected and hoped for, must be attributed to the prejudices I had to combat in an undertaking entirely new: and latterly, to the hardships of the times: I look forward with confidence, from the present prospect of things, to induce the people to extend their contributions, and to make comfortable provision for age and misfortunes. I must premise, that the miners are a fluctuating body, and do not look much beyond the present moment; their weekly earnings are from 185. to 25s. A discretional power, in extreme cases, is exercised by the committee, and though not sanctioned by rules, has always been approved. I last year proposed a benefit society for cloaths, to be divided at the end of the year, subscribing a third as my share.
* Communications to the Board of Agriculture, voL IV.
I hop® I hope this may succeed: it is provided that the money can only be applied for cloaths. The subscription 2rf. per week.
The town of Workington consists of nearly 8000 souls; 150 sail of vessels belong to the port; and if the expense of militia men, their families, and a hundred per annum, (payable for eighteen years for a poor-house) be deducted, the burthens of the poor will be found light. I do not know of any instance in which, my miners have cost the parish a shilling, except in cases of death; to make provision for their families exceeds the present means of my society.
To encourage the people to provide the means of support for themselves, in cases of sickness or misfortune is highly desirable, both as to the effects it produces in making them more respectable members of society, as well as exempting parishes from enormous burthens; I have always wished to promote societies, and to enable them to grant every reasonable assistance, which I do not think could be had from their own individual contributions; and to place the conduct and management of this in some measure under their own .control. It is considered as dishonourable to require assistance from a fund belonging to their associates and friends, unless the necessity be real; to avoid being chargeable to a parish creates but little exertion, I fear, at present. ', ,
Were a general contribution required from every person, together with a proportionate part from the parish, and any person neglecting or refusing to pay to have no relief but in the poor-house, I am sanguine