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The co-operative movement seems to have advanced even faster in Germany than here. It began so recently as 1850, in the small towns of Dclitzsch and Bittcrfcld, in Prussian Saxony, the founder being Mr. Schulzc, of Dclitzsch, and this gentleman has been the most active director of the movement in Germany. The first society had not more than 200 members, with 300/. capital; while the credit associations numbered in August last 485, the ro/istoffvereiite 150, and the stores (consumvereine) and manufacturing associations nearly 100; the gross receipts last year amounted to 2,500,000/. A union of all the associations (yereinstag) meets yearly to discuss matters of common interest, and three newspapers are devoted to the movement.
It appears from an interesting letter to the 'Co-operator' (the well-conducted organ of the movement in England) of July last, from Mr. Miloradovitsch of Tochernigor, that co-operative societies have long existed in Russia under the title of Arteles. Bodies of workmen in the towns form associations for messing together, and for carrying on various undertakings, such as cutting timber and bringing it to market, fishing, seal-hunting, &c. Pedlars are also usually united in arteles. These bodies are governed by a starosta, elected from among them. The discipline they impose upon themselves is strict: drunkenness and idleness being visited with fines and the national punishment— Hogging!
About the year 1850 endeavours were made in London to establish workmen's associations in.imitation of those of France. The movement was taken up by a body of philanthropists known as the 'Christian Socialists,' and several large societies of tailors, shoemakers, and other workmen were set on foot. The enterprise, however, was not successful, the associations having mostly disappeared or become mere private undertakings; and we tear that some of the amiable gentlemen who supplied the funds have sustained severe losses. One of these concerns—that of the Associated Shoemakers, in Tottenham Court Road—has for some years been going on well, the gentlemen who advanced the capital having received fair interest, while the profits have been divided among the" workmen rateably in proportion to the wages earned by each. Such an undertaking may benefit the individuals employed, but it is not likely to be imitated, as persons of means will not invest where they have the risk of loss, and no hope of any return beyond the ordinary interest of money.
The Christian Socialist movement has, however, produced the negative good of showing certain proposed schemes for helping the poor to be impracticable, and in their working useful experience has been acquired
The chief mistakes made in 1850 were those which have led to the ruin of many associations in France, viz. beginning with large numbers of members and starting with borrowed capital. No society of workmen can succeed without great determination, perseverance, frugality, and mutual confidence. Now these qualifications are never met with among a large body of men brought together by a vague expectation of bettering their condition. The only mode of founding a healthy association is for a few earnest men who thoroughly trust in each other to combine their small means and begin on a commensurate scale, from time to time increasing their numbers and their business as opportunity offers; following, indeed, the example of the Rochdale flannel weavers, and the founders of the now flourishing Parisian associations. A little society in London—the Gilders' Association of Red Lion-Square — adopted this excellent plan. The idea originated with the member to whom the management is now entrusted; he selected four associates —journeymen gilders like himself. Each contributed 2s. per week, until a capital of 8/. was realized, when a workshop was taken; after providing this with the requisite benches and fittings, the magnificent sum of 4s. 6d. remained as floating capital. Work being obtained from upholsterers and framemakers, operations began. The members received wages at the usual rates, and the profits were left to increase the capital. Although they took no credit, the society could not avoid sometimes giving it; and they sustained some losses, and at one time were a little in debt. This, however, has been long paid off, and they have now accumulated a surplus capital of about 200/. They have always managed to keep in steady work, which is not usual among gilders, and have, consequently, on the whole, received more in the shape of wages than they would have done as ordinary journeymen. No profits have as yet been paid out (except to one man who left the society); but five per cent, is credited upon the accumulated capital belonging to each member. It is intended that when there .is a surplus profit after paying the interest, it shall be divided equally among the members. The workshop is roomy and commodious, and the men have a pleasant, respectable aspect. As—Londoner-like— they live at considerable distances from their work, they mess together in the workshop, one of the body officiating as cook. A friendly spirit prevails among them, and quarrels are unknown. There is no economical reason why societies like this should not be multiplied to any extent.
There are several working associations in the metropolis, but
as as they are registered (if at all) as joint-stock companies, it would be difficult or impossible to obtain satisfactory statistics.
The same remark applies to the co-operative manufacturing concerns, into which channel the workmen's association movement in England has chiefly flowed. Their number, however, is very considerable. In Bury alone, three years ago, it was believed that as much as 600,000/. had been invested in this manner. The Inspectors of Factories at that time mention the numerous mills building and built by societies of working men, speaking highly of their management and obedience to the factory laws. In some of these establishments shopping, provided with machinery driven by the steam engine, is let to individuals, who work there with their families, thus reproducing the old system of domestic manufactures, but combining with it all the advantages of the most improved fittings and commodious work-rooms. All more or less resemble the manufacturing association of Rochdale; some give the workmen, as such, a share in the profits, but many appropriate the whole to the capital.
The cotton famine has subjected the soundness of these enterprises to a severe test, but they have generally stood it well. Few, we believe, have succumbed, while many have been able to continue working when most Other mills had stopped; and if the members are wise enough to eschew speculation, and conduct their affairs as nearly as may be on ready money principles, there is every reason to expect that they will be permanently successful. Thus a class comes into being who, while remaining workpeople, must necessarily acquire much of the spirit and feelings of employers—and will consequently fill up the great gap between the two bodies.
The movement is eminently conservative in its tendency. Henri Quatre wished that every peasant in France could have a fowl in his pot. If every working man in England had a little property, a provision against misfortune and old age, a something to leave to his children, a stake in the country, in fact, becoming thus necessarily a supporter of order,—our institutions would be placed on so sound a basis that, humanly speaking, nothing could shake them.
Art. V.—1. Correspondence respecting Affairs in Japan. Presented to Parliament in 1862 and 1863.
2. The Capital of the Tycoon: a Narrative of a Tlirec Years' Residence in Japan. By Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B., Her Majesty's Envoy and Minister Plenipotentiary in Japan. London, 1863.
3. Narrative of the Earl of Elgin s Mission to China and Japan in the Years 1857, 1858, 1859. London, 1859.
4. Japanese Sketches. By Captain Sherard Osborn. London, 1862.
5. A Residence in Nagasaki and Hahodadi in 1859-1860. By C. Pemberton Hodgson, late Her Majesty's Consul for those Ports. London, 1861.
6. Ten Weeks in Japan. By George Smith, D.D., Bishop of Victoria. London, 1861.
7. Niphon and Pe-chc-li; or, Two Years in Japan and Northern China. By Edward Barrington Fonblanque. London, 1862.
8. Yedo and Peking: a Narrative of a Journey to the Capitals of Japan and China, with Notices of the Natural Productions, Agriculture, Horticulture, and Trade of those Countries. By Robert Fortune, Honorary Member of the Agricultural Society of India. With Map and Illustrations. London, 1863.
9. Japan und China Reiseskizzen. Von Dr. Hermann Maron. Berlin, 1863.
THE lamentable events which have recently occurred in Japan, and which threaten to involve her in hostilities with the nations which have of late years sought, though somewhat roughly, her friendship and alliance, may dispose our readers to regard with attention the social and political condition of that singular region. Our acquaintance with it has greatly increased; for within the last four years foreign ministers and consuls who fixed their residence in Yeddo and the ports opened under the provisions of the treaties, have been enabled to give much more detailed and correct descriptions of the country, its manners, social habits, institutions, government, and resources, than was possible before.
The Japanese claim an origin distinct from that of any of the races of the neighbouring continent. They repudiate any community or connexion with the Chinese, for whom they profess unbounded contempt. The Japanese language is in some respects unlike the Chinese, and, indeed, all other known languages, in its structure; but it seems now to be very generally acknowledged that the people were originally derived from the same Mongol stock, the descendants of which people China. The
Vol. 114.—No. 228. 2 o peopling peopling of Japan, however, must have been an event prior to the first Mongol invasion of China, for the features of the race diner considerably from the Chinese type. The civilisation of Japan has not been stagnant for apes, like that of China, but is quite distinct from that of any other Eastern nation, and indicates progress rather than immobility. There has been a gradual advancement in art and science; laws have been enacted in conformity with the wants of society; and the machinery of government has been brought to a perfection rarely exhibited even in a European State. Although in their mythology the Japanese, like some other Orientals, claim for their Sovereigns a direct intercourse with the Deity, they dwell complacently on the tradition that they were once only a community of humble fishermen, while they are indebted for their high civilisation to a heaven-descended lawgiver. They have derived nothing, they say, from other countries; but even at the present day, so far from disdaining their simple ancestors, it is the custom to send with all presents a small piece of dried fish, that their origin may be kept in perpetual remembrance. Society in Japan, left to its own development, probably at first assumed the tribal form, and may at one period have been not unlike that of New Zealand, where numerous chiefs long divided the country among them. The Japanese fix the date of the foundation of their monarchy at 1560 B.C., when the government became theocratical. How a theocracy was first established it is impossible to discover, but it certainly subsisted as the dominant power for centuries, and it exists in a modified form to the present day. According to Japanese history the principalities into which the country was divided had but little connexion with each other. Japan is said to have contained at one period sixty-six separate provinces or petty kingdoms, which were afterwards subdivided into six hundred, each governed by a local chief. Under such a form of government the normal condition of society must have been one of war, such as we know it to be among the savage and semi-civilised tribes of Africa. Some more powerful chief obtained at length an ascendancy over the rest, and, by craft or superstition, established a spiritual empire. But this potentate—the Mikado, as he was termed—found himself unequal to the task of preserving order among the turbulent chiefs who had acquiesced in his pretensions; and he accordingly took a step which, however it may have conduced to his peace, proved fatal to his authority. He delegated the power of the sword to one of the ablest of his generals, who had in reality become his master. The result was the complete pacification of Japan, and the transformation" of a successful