Page images

At the same time, it seems probable that the friendly society | miscalculation." This preamble went on to recite that the of the present day owes its revival to a great extent to the Protest provisions of preceding acts had been found insufficient for these ant refugees of Spitalfields, one of whose societies was founded purposes, and great abuses had prevailed in many societies in 1703, and has continued among descendants of the same established under their authority. By this statute a friendly families, whose names proclaim their Norman origin. This society was defined as “an institution, whereby it is intended society has distinguished itself by the intelligence with which it to provide, by contribution, on the principle of mutual insurance, has adapted its machinery to the successive modifications of the for the maintenance or assistance of the contributors thereto, law, and it completely reconstructed its rules under the provisions their wives or children, in sickness, infancy, advanced age, of the Friendly Societies Acts 1875 and 1876.

widowhood or any other natural state or contingency, whereof Another is the society of Lintot, founded in London in 1708, the occurrence is susceptible of calculation by way of average." in which the office of secretary was for more than half a century It will be seen that this act dealt exclusively with the scientific filled by persons of the name of Levesque, one of whom published aspect of the societies, and had nothing to say to the element a translation of its original rules. No one was to be received into of good fellowship. Rules and tables were to be submitted by the society who was not a member, or the descendant of a mem- the persons intending to form a society to the justices, who, ber, of the church of Lintot, of recognized probity, a good Pro- before confirming them, were to satisfy themselves that the contestant, and well-intentioned towards the queen (Anne) and tingencies which the society was to provide against were within faithful to the government of the country. No one was to be the meaning of the act, and that the formation of the society admitted below the age of eighteen, or who had not been received would be useful and beneficial, regard being had to the existence at holy communion and become member of a church. A of other societies in the same district. No tables or rules conmember should not have a claim to relief during his first year's nected with calculation were to be confirmed by the justices until membership, but if he fell sick within the year a collection should they had been approved by two persons at least, known to be be made for him among the members. The foreign names still professional actuaries or persons skilled in calculation, as fit borne by a large proportion of the members show that the con- and proper, according to the most correct calculation of which nexion with descendants of the refugees is maintained.

the nature of the case would admit. The justices in quarter The example of providence given by these societies was so sessions were also by this act authorized to publish general rules largely followed that Rose's Act in 1793 recognized the existence for the formation and government of friendly societies within of numerous societies, and provided encouragement for them in their county. The practical effect of this statute in requiring that various ways, as well as relief from taxation to an extent which the societies formed under should be established on sound in those days must have been of great pecuniary value, and ex- principles does not appear to have been as great as might have emption from removal under the poor law. The benefits offered been expected. The justices frequently accepted as a persoas by this statute were readily accepted by the societies, and the skilled in calculation ” local schoolmasters and others who had vast number of societies which speedily became enrolled shows no real knowledge of the technical difficulties of the subject, that Rose's Act met with a real public want. In the county of while the restrictions upon registry served only to increase the Middlesex alone nearly a thousand societies were enrolled within number of societies established without becoming registered. a very few years after the passing of the act, and the number in In 1829 the law relating to friendly societies was entirely resome other counties was almost as great. The societies then constructed by an act of that year, and a barrister was appointed formed were nearly all of a like kind-small clubs, in which the under that act to examine the rules of societies, and ascertain feature of good fellowship was in the ascendant, and that of that they were in conformity to law and to the provisions of the provident assurance for sickness and death merely accessory. act. The barrister so appointed was John Tidd Pratt (1797This is indicated by one provision which occurs in many of the 1870); and no account of friendly societies would be complete early enrolled rules, viz. that the number of members shall be that did not do justice to the remarkable public service rendered limited to 61, 81 or 101, as the case may be. The odd 1 which by this gentleman. For forty years, though he had by statute occurs in these numbers probably stands for the president or really very slight authority over the societies, his name exercised secretary, or is a contrivance to ensure a clear majority. Several the widest influence, and the numerous reports and publications of these old societies are still in existence, and can point to a by which he endeavoured to impress upon the public mind sound prosperous career based rather upon good luck than upon principles of management of friendly societies, and to expose scientific calculation. Founded among small tradesmen or those which were managed upon unsound principles, made him persons in the way to thrive, the claims for sickness were only a terror to evil-doers. On the other hand, he lent with readiness made in cases where the sickness was accompanied by distress, the aid of his legal knowledge and great mental activity to assistand even the funeral allowance was not always demanded. ing well-intentioned societies in coming within the provisions

The societies generally not being established upon any scientific of the acts, and thus gave many excellent schemes a legal principle, those which met with this prosperity were the excep- organization. tion to the rule; and accordingly the cry that friendly societies By the act of 1829, in lieu of the discretion as to whether the were failing in all quarters was as great in 1819 as in 1869. A formation of the proposed society would be useful and beneficial, writer of that time speaks of the instability of friendly societies and the requirement of the actuarial certificate to the tables, it was as “universal ”; and the general conviction that this was so enacted that the justices were to satisfy themselves that the resulted in the passing of the act of 1819. It recites that “the tables proposed to be used might be adopted with safety to all habitual reliance of poor persons upon parochial relief, rather parties concerned. This provision, of course, became a dead than upon their own industry, tends to the moral deterioration letter and was repealed in 1834. Thenceforth, societies were of the people and to the accumulation of heavy burthens upon free to establish themselves upon what conditions and with what parishes; and it is desirable, with a view as well to the reduction rates they chose, provided only they satisfied the barrister that of the assessment made for the relief of the poor as to the improve the rules were calculated to carry into effect the intention of the ment of the habits of the people, that encouragement should be parties framing them," and were “in conformity to law.” afforded to persons desirous of making provision for themselves By an act of 1846 the barrister certifying the rules or their families out of the fruits of their own industry. By the was constituted “Registrar of Friendly Societies," and the contributions of the savings of many persons to one common rules of all societies were brought together under his custody. fund the most effectual provision may be made for the casualties An actuarial certificate was to be obtained before any sociciy affecting all the contributors; and it is therefore desirable to could be registered "for the purpose of securing any benefit afford further facilities and additional persons who dependent on the laws of sickness and mortality.” In 1850 the may be willing to unite in appropriating small sums from time acts were again repealed and consolidated with amendments. to time to a common fund for the purposes aforesaid, and it is Societies were divided into two classes," certified” and desirable to protect such persons from the effects of fraud or registered.” The certified societies were such as obtained a


certificate to their tables by an actuary possessing a given quali- | authorized by an existing rule or not; and that every society fication, who was required to set forth the data of sickness and should be entitled to make a rule admitting members at any age mortality upon which he proceeded, and the rate of interest over one year, but by the Friendly Societies Act 1908 memberassumed in the calculations. All other societies were to be ship was permitted to minors under the age of one year. The simply registered. Very few societies were constituted of the Treasury, upon the enactment of 1895 coming into operation, ** certified" class. The distinction of classes was repealed and rescinded its regulations for the registry of juvenile societies; the acts were again consolidated in 1855. Under this act, which and though it is still the practice to submit for registry societies admitted of all possible latitude to the framers of rules of societies, wholly composed of persons under twenty-one, these societies 21,875 societies were registered, a large number of them being in no way differ from other societies, except in the circumstances lodges or courts of affiliated orders, and the act continued in that they are obliged to seek officers and a committee of manageforce till the end of 1875.

ment from outside, as no member of the committee of any society The Friendly Societies Act 1875 and the several acts amending can be under twenty-one years of age. In order to promote the it are still, in effect, the law by which these societies are regulated, discontinuance of this anomalous proceeding of creating societies though in form they have been replaced by two consolidating under the Friendly Societies Act, which, by the conditions of acts, viz. the Friendly Societies Act 1896 and the Collecting their existence, are unable to be self-governing, the act provides Societies and Industrial Assurance Companies Act 1896. This an easy method of amalgamating juvenile societies and ordinary legislation still bears the permissive and elastic character which societies or branches, or of distributing the members and the marked the more successful of the previous acts, but it provides funds of a juvenile society among a number of branches. The ampler means to members of ascertaining and remedying defects of liability of schoolboys and young working lads to sickness is management and of restraining fraud. The business of registry is small, and these societies frequently accumulate funds, which, under the control of a chief registrar, who has an assistant registrar as their membership is temporary, remain unclaimed and are in each of the three countries, with an actuary. An appeal to the sometimes misapplied. chief registrar in the case of the refusal of an assistant registrar The legislation of 1875 and 1876 was the result of the labours of to register a society or an amendment of rules, and in the case of a royal commission of high authority, presided over by Sir Stafford suspension or cancelling of registry, is interposed before appeal and prosecuted an exhaustive inquiry into the organization and

Northcote (afterwards Lord !ddesleigh), which sat from 1870 to 1874, is to be made to the High Court. Registry under a particular condition of the various classes of friendly societies.. Their reports name may be refused if in the opinion of the registrar the name occupy more than a dozen large bluebooks. They divided registered is likely to deceive the members or the public as to the nature friendly societies into 13 classes. of the society or as to its identity. It is the duty of the chief as the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, the Ancient Order of

The first class included the affiliated societies or " orders," such registrar, among other things, to require from every society a Foresters, the Rechabites, Druids, &c. These societies have a return in proper form each year of its receipts and expenditure, central body, either situated in some large town, as in the case of the funds and effects; and also once every five years a valuation of Manchester Unity, or moving from place to place, as in that of the its assets and liabilities. Upon the application of a certain parcelled out into districts, and these districts again consist each of proportion of the members, varying according to the magnitude a number of independent branches, called " lodges,". courts, of the society, the chief registrar may appoint an inspector to "tents," divisions," having a separate fund administered by examine into its affairs, or may call a general meeting of the themselves, but contributing also to a fund under the control of members to consider and determine any matter affecting its affiliated bodies, each having more than 1000 members; and the

the central body. Besides these great orders, there were smaller interests. These are powers which have been used with excellent affi ted form society appears to have great attraction. Indeed, effect. Cases have occurred in which fraud has been detected in the colony of Victoria, Australia, all the existing friendly societies and punished by this means that could not probably have been

are of this class. The orders have their “secrets," but these, it otherwise brought to light. In others a system of mismanagement serve the purpose of identifying a member of a distant branch by his

may safely be said, are of a very innocent character, and merely has been exposed and effectually checked. The power of calling knowledge of the “grip," and of the current password, &c. Indeed special meetings has enabled societies to remedy defects

in their they are

now so far from being " secret societies" that their meetings rules, to remove officers guilty of misconduct, &c., where the are attended by reporters and the debates published in the newsprocedure prescribed by the rules was for some reason or other papers, and the Order of Foresters has passed a wise resolution inapplicable. Upon an application of a like proportion of mem

expunging from its publications all affectation of mystery.

Most of the lodges existing before 1875 have converted themselves bers the chief registrar may, if he finds that the funds of a society into registered branches. The requirement that for that purpose a are insufficient to meet the existing claims thereon, or that vote of three-fourths should be necessary was altered in 1895 to a the rates of contribution are insufficient to cover the benefits bare majority vote. The provisions as to settlement of disputes were

extended in 1885 to every description of dispute between branches assured (upon which he consults his actuary), order the society and the central body, and in 1895 it was provided that the forty to be dissolved, and direct how its funds are to be applied. days after which a member may apply to the court to settle a dispute Authority is given to the chief registrar to direct the expense where the society fails to do so, shall not begin torun until application (preliminary, incidental, &c.) of an inspection or special has been made in succession to all the tribunals created by the order meeting to be defrayed by the members or officers, or former a registered branch should be registered as a separate society except members or officers, of á society, if he does not think they upon production of a certificate from the order that it had seceded should be defrayed either by the applicants or out of the or been expelled; and in 1895 it was further enacted that no such society's funds. He is also empowered, with the approval of body should, after secession or expulsion, use any name or number the treasury, to exempt any friendly society from the provisions implying that it is still a branch of the order. The orders generally, of the Collecting Societies Act if he considers it to be one to of their branches, and have urged and, as far as circumstances have which those provisions ought not to apply. Every society regis- rendered it

, practicable, have enforced upon the branches measures tered after 1895, to which these provisions do apply, is to use the for diminishing the deficiencies which the valuations have disclosed. Fords“ Collecting Society” as the last words of its name.

They have organized plans by which branches disposed to make an

effort to help themselves in this matter may be assisted out of a The law as to the membership of infants has been altered three central fund. The second class was made up of “ general societies, times. The act of 1875 allowed existing societies to continue principally existing in London, of which the commissioners enuany rule or practice of admitting children as members that was

merated 8 with nearly 60,000 members, and funds amounting to a in force at its passing, and prohibited membership under sixteen quarter of a million.

The third class included the "county societies." These societies years of age in any other case, except the case of a juvenile have been but feebly supported by those for whose benefit they are society composed wholly of members under that age. The instituted, having all exacted high rates of contribution, in order treasury made special regulations for the registry of such juvenile to secure financial soundness. societies. In 1887 the maximum age of their members was

Class 4, "local town societies," is a very numerous one. Among

some of the larger societies may be mentioned the “Chelmsford extended to twenty-one. In 1895 it was enacted that no society Provident," the*** Brighton and Sussex Mutual," the

“ Cannon should have any members under one year of age, whether Street, Birmingham," the " Birmingham General Provident." In

Class 9,

this group might also be included the interesting societies which are It has never been lawful to assure more than £6 on the death of a established among the Jewish community: They differ from ordinary child under five years of age, or more than £10 on the death of one friendly societies partly in the nature of the benefits granted upon under ten. Previous to the act of 1875, however, there was no death, which are intended to compensate for loss of employment machinery for ascertaining that the law was complied with, or for during the time of ceremonial seclusion enjoined by the Jewish law, enforcing it. This is supplied by that act, though still somewhat which is called " sitting shiva.". They also provide a cab for the imperfectly. When the bill went up to the House of Lords, an mourners and rabbi, and a tombstone for the departed, and the amendment was made, reducing the limit of assurance on a child same benefits as an ordinary friendly society during sickness. Some under three years of age to £3, but this amendment was unfortunately also provide a place of worship. of these the “Pursuers of Peace" disagreed with by the House of Commons. (enrolled in December 1797), the “ Bikhur. Cholim, or Visitors Class 10, annuity societies, prevail in the west of England. These of the Sick" (April 1798), the “Hozier Holim" (1804), may be societies are few, and their business is diminishing, Most of them mentioned.

originated at the time when government subsidized friendly societies Class 5 was "local village and country societies," including the by allowing them £4:11: 3% per annum interest. Now annuities small public-house clubs which abound in the villages and rural may be purchased direct from the National Debt commissioners. districts, a large proportion of which are unregistered.

These societies are more numerous, however, in Ireland. Class 6 was formed of a particular trade societies."

Class 11, female societies, are numerous. Many of them resemble Class 7, was “dividing societies." These were before 1875 un- affiliated orders at least in name, calling themselves Female Foresters, authorized by law, though they were very attractive to the members. Odd Sisters, Loyal Orangewomen, Comforting Sisters and so forth. Their practice is usually to start afresh every January, paying a In their rules may be found such a provision as that a member shal! subscription somewhat in excess of that usually charged by an be fined who does not "behave as becometh an Orangewoman." ordinary friendly society, out of which a sick allowance is granted Many are unregistered. In the northern counties of England they are to any member who may fall sick during the year, and at Christmas sometimes termed "life boxes," doubtless from the old custom of the balance not so applied is divided among the members equally, placing the contributions in a box. The trustees, treasurer, and with the exception of a small sum left to begin the new year with. committee are usually females, but very frequently the secretary The mischief of the system is that, as there is no accumulation of is a man, paid a small salary. funds, the society cannot provide for prolonged sickness or old age, Under Class 12 the commissioners included the societies for and must either break up altogether or exclude its sick and aged various purposes which were authorized by the secretary of state to members at the very time when they most need its help. This, be registered under the Friendly Societies Act of 1855, comprising however, has not impaired the popularity of the societies, and the working-men's clubs, and certain specially authonzed societies, act of 1875, framed on the sound principle that the protection of as well as others that are now defined to be friendly societies. Among the law should not be withheld from any form of association, enables these purposes are assisting members in search of employment; a society to be registered with a rule for dividing its funds, provided assisting members during slack seasons of trade; granting temporary only that all existing claims upon the society are to be met before relief to members in distressed circumstances; purchase of coals and a division takes place.

other necessaries to be supplied to members; relief or maintenance Class 8, " deposit friendly societies," combine the characteristics in case of lameness, blindness, insanity, paralysis, or bodily hurt of a savings bank with those of a friendly society. They were through accidents; also, the assurance against loss by, disease or devised by the Hon. and Rev. S. Best, on the principle that a certain death of cattle employed in trade or agriculture; relief in case of proportion of the sick allowance is to be raised out of a member's shipwreck or loss or damage to boats or nets; and societies for social separate deposit account,

which, if not so used, is retained for his intercourse, mutual helpfulness, mental and moral improvement, benefit. Their advantages are in the encouragement they offer to rational recreation, &c., called working-men's clubs. saving, and in meeting the selfish objection sometimes raised to Class 13 was composed of cattle insurance societies. friendly societies, that the man who is not sick gets nothing for his These are the thirteen classes into which the commissioners money; their disadvantage is in their failing to meet cases of sickness divided registered friendly societies. There were 26,034 societies so prolonged as to exhaust the whole of the member's own deposit. enrolled or certified under the various acts for friendly societies

collecting societies," are so called because their con- in force between 1793, and 1855; and, as we have seen, 21,875 tributions are received through a machinery of house-to-house societies registered under the act of 1855 before the 1st January collection. These were the subject of much laborious investigation 1876, when the act of 1875 came into operation. The total there and close attention on the part of the commissioners. They deal fore of societies to which a legal constitution had been given was with a lower class of the community, both with respect to means 47,909. Of these 26,087 were presumed to be in existence when and to intelligence, than that from which the members of ordinary the registrar called for his annual return, but only 11,282 furnished friendly societies are drawn. The large emoluments gained by the the return required. These had 3,404,187 members, and 19.336,946 officers and collectors, the high percentage of expenditure (often ex; funds. Twenty-two societies returned over 10,000 members each; ceeding half the contributions), and the excessive frequency of nine over 30,000. One society (the Royal Liver Friendly, Society, lapsing of insurances point to mischiefs in their management. The Liverpool, the largest of the collecting societies) returned 682.371 radical evil of the whole system (the commissioners remark) appears members. The next in order was one of the same class, the United to us to lie in the employment of collectors, otherwise than under Assurance Society, Liverpool, with 159.957 members; but in all the direct supervision and control of the members, a supervision and societies of this class the membership consists very largely of ia. control which we fear to be absolutely unattainable in burial societies fants. The average of members in the 11,260 societies with less that are not purely local.". On the other hand, it must be conceded than 10,000 members each was only 171. that these societies extend the benefits of life insurance to a class Such were the registered societies; but there remained behind a which the other societies cannot reach, namely, the class that will large body of unregistered societies. With increased knowledge of not take the trouble to attend at an office, but must be induced to the advantages of registration, and of the true principles upon effect an insurance by a house-to-house canvasser, and be regularly which friendly societies should be established, the number of unvisited by the collector to ensure their paying the contributions. registered societies, in comparison with those registered, ought to To many such persons these societies, despite all their errors of become much less. constitution and management, have been of great benefit. The great On the actuarial side it is in the highest degree essential to the source of these errors lies in a tendency on the part of the managers interests of their members that friendly societies should be financially of the societies to forget that they are simply trustees, and to look sound,-in other words, that they should throughout their existence upon the concern as their own personal property to be managed for be able to meet the engagements into which they have entered with their own benefit. These societies are of two kinds, local and general. their members. For this purpose it is necessary that the members For the general societies the act of 1875, made certain stringent contributions should be so fixed as to prove adequate, with proper provisions. Each member was to be furnished with a copy of the management, to provide the benefits promised to the members. rules for one penny, and a signed policy for the same charge. For- These benefits almost entirely depend upon the contingencies of feiture of benefit for non-payment is not to be enforced without health and life; that is, they take the form of payments to members fourteen days' written notice. The transfer of a member from one when sick, of payments to members upon attaining given ages, or society to another was not to be made without his written consent of payments upon members' deaths, and frequently a member is and notice to the society affected. No collector is to be a manager, or vote or take part at any meeting. At least one general meeting These may be briefly summed up thus:-(1) power to hold land was to be held every year, of which notice must be given either by and vesting of property in trustees by mere appointment; (2) remedy advertisement or by letter or post card to each member. The against misapplication of funds; (3) priority in bankruptcy or on balance sheet is to be open for inspection seven days before the death of ofhcer; (4) transfer of stock by direction of chief registrar; meeting, and to be certified by a public accountant, not an officer of (5) exemption from stamp duties; (6) membership of minors; the society. Disputes could be settled by justices, or county courts, (1) certificates of birth and death at reduced cost; ($) investment potwithstanding anything in the rules of the society to the contrary. with National Debt Commissioners; (9) reduction of fines on admnis. Closely associated with the question of the management of these sion to copyholds; (10) discharge of mortgages by mere receipt; societies is that of the risk incurred by infant life, through the (11) obligation on officers to render accounts; (12) settlement of facilities offered by these societies for making insurances on the disputes; (13) insurance of funeral expenses for wives and children death of children. That this is a real risk is certain from the records without insurable interest: (14) nomination at death: (15) payment of the assizes, and from many circumstances of suspicion; but the without administration; (16) services of public auditors and valuers; extent of it cannot be measured, and has probably been exaggerated. (17) registry of documents, of which copies may be put in evidence. assured for all these benefits, viz. a weekly payment if at any time British Empire.-In many of the British colonies legislation sick before attaining a certain age, a weekly payment for the remainder of life after attaining that age, and a sum to be paid upon

on the subject similar to that of the mother-country has been his death. Of course the object of the allowance in sickness is to adopted. In those forming the Commonwealth of Australia provide a substitute for the weekly wage lost in consequence of being and in New Zealand the affiliated orders hold the field, there trable to work, and the object of the weekly payment after attaining being few, if any, independent friendly societies. The state a certain age, when the member will probably be too infirm to be

of Victoria has more than 1000 lodges with more than 100,000 able to earn a living by the exercise of his calling or occupation, is to provide him with the necessaries of life, and so enable him to members and nearly if million pounds funds, averaging nearly be independent of poor relief. There is every reason to believe that, £14 per member. Besides the registrar there is a government when a large group of persons of the same age and calling are observed, actuary for friendly societies, by whom the liabilities and there will be found to prevail among them, taken one with another, an average number of days' sickness, as well as an average rate of

accounts of all societies are valued every five years, a method mortality, in passing through each year of life, which can be very which ensures uniformity in the processes of valuation. The Dearly predicted from the results furnished by statistics based upon friendly societies in the other Australasian states are not observations previously made upon similarly circumstanced groups. so numerous nor so wealthy, but are in each case under the computation of suitable rates of contribution to be paid by the supervision of vigilant public

officials. In New Zealand a friendly members of a society in return for certain allowances during sickness, society was established at New Plymouth in 1841, the first year or upon attaining a certain age, or upon death, can be readily.

made of that settlement. The formation of a society at Nelson was by an actuarial expert. Accordingly, to furnish these statistics, the resolved upon by the emigrants on shipboard on their passage act of 1875, in continuation of an enactment which first appeared out, and the first meeting was held among the tall fern near the quinquennial returns of the sickness and mortality experienced by beach a few days after they landed. The societies have now a its members. By the year 1880 ten periods of five years had been registrar, an actuary, a revising barrister and two public valuers. completed, and at the end of each of them a number of returns had Investigations have been made into their sickness experience, been received. Some of these had been tabulated by actuaries, the with results which compare favourably with those of the Manlatest tabulation

being of those for the five years ending 1855. chester Unity and the registry office in the mother country There remained untabulated five complete sets of returns for the five subsequent quinquennial periods. It was resolved that these until the higher ages, when greater sickness appears to result should be tabulated once for all, and it was considered that they from lower mortality. The average funds per member are would afford sufficient material for the construction of tables of £19,105. Nearly four-fifths are invested in the purchase or on sickness and mortality that might be adopted for the future as standard tables for friendly societies; and that it would be mortgage of real estate. inexpedient to impose any longer on the societies the burden of In Cape Colony no society is allowed to register unless it be making such returns. This requirement of the act was accordingly shown to the satisfaction of the registrar that the contributions repealed in 1882. The result of the tabulation appeared in 1896, which it proposes to charge are adequate to provide for the experience of nearly' four and a half million years of life. These benefits which it undertakes to grant. The consequence is that tables showed generally, as compared with previous observations, little more than one-third of the existing societies are registered. an increased liability to sickness. This

inference has been confirmed In the Dominion of Canada, province of Ontario, extensive by the observations of Mr Alfred W. Watson, actuary to the Inde powers of control are given to the registrar, and societies are not on his investigation of the sickness and mortality experience of thàť admitted to registry without strict proof of their compliance society during the five years 1893-1897, which extended over with the conditions of registry imposed by the law. Very full 600,000 individuals, more than 3,000,000 years of life and 7,000,000 returns of their transactions are required and published, and weeks of sickness.

registry The establishment of the National Conference of Friendly Societies

cancelled when any of the conditions of registry by the orders and a few other societies has been of great service in

cease to be observed. These conditions apply not only to societies ebtaining improvements in the law, and in enabling the societies existing in Ontario, but to foreign societies transacting business strongly to represent to the government and the legislature any there. grievance entertained by them. A complaint that membership of a In several of the West Indian Islands statutes have been shop dub was made by certain

employers a condition of employment, and that the rules of the club required the members to withdraw passed on the model of British legislation and registrars have from other societies, led to the appointment of a departmental been appointed. committee, who recommended that such

a condition of employment European Countries.-In foreign countries the development sbould be made illegal, except in certain cases, and that in every of friendly societies has proceeded upon different lines. Belgium case it should be illegal to make the withdrawal from a society a condition of employment. In 1902 an act was passed based upon Under laws passed in 1851 and 1894 societies are divided into

has a Commission royale permanente des sociétés de secours muluel. this recommendation.

It is an increasing practice among societies of combining together two classes, recognized and not recognized. The recognized to obtain medical attendance and medicine for their members by societies were in 1886 only about half as many as the unrecogthe formation of medical associations. In 1895 trade unions were nized. There were in 1904 nearly 7000 recognized societies enabled to join in such associations, and it was provided that a contributing society or union should not withdraw from an associa with 700,000 members. They enjoy the privileges of incorporabon except upon three months' notice. The working of these tion, exemption from stamp duty, gratuitous announcement in associations has been viewed with dissatisfaction by members of the the official Moniteur and may have free postage. medical profession, and it has been suggested that a board of concilation should be formed consisting of representatives of the

In France under the second empire a scheme was prepared Conference of Friendly Societies and of an equal number of medical for assisting friendly societies by granting them collective

insurances under government security. The societies have The following figures are derived from returns of registered the privilege of investing their funds in the Caisse des Dépôts societies and branches of registered societies to the beginning of 1905:

et Consignations, corresponding to the English National Debt Number of Number of Amount of

commission. The dual classification Returns. Members. Funds.

of societies in France is into those

"authorized” and those approved." Ordinary Friendly Societies (classes 2 to 8, 10 and 11). 6.938 3,132,065 £17,042,398 By a law of the ist of April 1898 a Societies having Branches (class 1)

20,819 2,606,029 Collecting Friendly Societies (class 9)

23,446,330 friendly society may be established by

45 7,448,549 7,862,569 Benevolent Societies (class 12)


merely depositing a copy of its rules

317.913 Working Men's Clubs (class 12)

913 236,298 318,945 and list of officers with the sousprefet. Specially Authorized Societies (class 12)

75,089 Specially Authorized Loan Societies (class 12)

628,759 Approved societies are entitled to

517 115,511 Medical Societies (see last paragraph)

771,578 certain state subventions for assisting

95 324,145 62,049 Catue Insurance Societies (class 13)



in the purchase of old-age pensions and Shop Clubs (under act of 1902)

10,859 "773) otherwise. A higher council has been

established to advise on their working. 29.588 13.978,790 £50,459,060

In Germany a law was passed on


the 7th of April 1876 (amended on the ist of June 1884) | graphical Union, while many subordinate unions and great which prescribed for registered friendly societies many things publishing houses have mutual relief associations purely of a local which in England are left to the discretion of their founders; character, and some of the more important newspapers have such and it provided for an amount of official interference in their mutual relief or benefit societies. The New York trade unions, management that is wholly unknown here. The superintend- taken as a whole, have paid out large sums of money in benefits ing authority had a right to inspect the books of every where members have been out of work, or are sick, or are on strike society, whether registered or not, and to give formal notice or have died. The total paid in one year for all these benefits to a society to call in arrears, exclude defaulters, pay benefits was over $500,000. or revoke illegal resolutions. A higher authority might, in It is impossible to give the membership of all the fraternal certain cases, order societies to be dissolved. These pro- associations in the United States; but, including Oddfellows, visions related to voluntary societies; but it was competent Freemasons, purely benefit associations and all the class of the for communal authorities also to order the formation of a friendly larger fraternal organizations, the membership is over 6,000,000. society, and to make a regulation compelling all workmen not Among the more important, so far as membership is concerned, already members of a society to join it. Since then the great are the Knights of Pythias, the Oddfellows, the Modern Woodseries of imperial statutes has been passed, commencing in 1883 men of America, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Imwith that for sickness insurance, followed in 1884 by that for proved Order of Red Men, Royal Arcanum, Knights of the workmen's accident insurance, extended to sickness insurance Maccabees, Junior Order of United American Mechanics, in 1885, developed in the laws relating to accident and sickness Foresters of America, Independent Order of Foresters, &c. insurance of persons engaged in agricultural and forestry pursuits These and other organizations pay out a vast amount of money in 1886, of persons engaged in the building trade and of seamen every year in the various forms. and others engaged in seafaring pursuits in 1887, and crowned by the law relating to infirmity and old-age insurance in 1889.

Since about the year 1870 a new form of benefit organization has Mr H. Unger, a distinguished actuary, remarks that the whole plan, assessments being levied wheneyer a member dies;

come into existence. This is a life insurance based on the assessment German workman's insurance and its executive bodies (sickness or, as more recently, regular assessments being made in

Assess funds, trade associations, insurance institutions) are constantly advance of death, as post-mortem assessments have proved lasureece.

a fallacious method of securing the means of paying endeavouring to improve the position of the workmen in a social

death benefits. There are about 200 mutual benefit insurance and sanitary aspect, to the benefit of internal peace and the companies or associations in the United States conducted on the welfare of the German empire.

lodge system "; that is to say, they have regular meetings for In Holland it is stated that the number of burial clubs and social purposes and for general improvement, and in their work there sickness benefit societies appears to be greater in proportion is found the mysticism, forms and ceremonies which belong to to the population than in any other country; but that the burial force in keeping this class of associations fairly intact. The work clubs do not rest upon a scientific basis, and have an unfavour of the lodges in the initiation of members and their passing through able influence upon infant mortality. Half the population are various degrees is attractive to many people, and in small places, insured in some burial club or other. The sick benefit societies remote from the amusements of the city, these lodges constitute

a resort where members can give play to their various talents. In are, as in England, some in a good and some in a bad financial

most of them the features of the Masonic ritual are prominent. The condition; and legislation follows the English system of com- amount of insurance which a single member can carry in such associa. pulsory publicity, combined with freedom of competition. tions is small. In the Knights of Honour, one of the first of this

In Spain friendly societies have grown out of the religious class, policies ranging from $500 to $2000 are granted. In the Royal gilds. They are regulated by an act of 1887. Their actuarial called co-operative, and has many elements which make the organizacondition appears to be backward, but to show indications of tions practising it stronger than the ordinary assessment insurance improvement. (E. W. B.) companies having no stated meetings of members.

These com Uniled States.-Under the title of fraternal societies are operative insurance societies are organized on the federal planas

the Knights of Honour, for instance-having local assemblies, where included in the United States what are known in England as

the lodge-room element is in force; state organizations, to which friendly societies, having some basis of mutual help to members, the local bodies send delegates, and the national organization, which mutual insurance associations and benefit associations of all conducts all the insurance business through its executive officers. kinds. There are various classes and a great variety of forms The local societies pay a certain given amount towards the support of fraternal associations. It is therefore difficult to give a concrete death assessments, as called for, they now pay regular monthly historical statement of their origin and growth; but, dealing assessments, in order to avoid the weakness of the post-mortem with those having benefit features for the payment of certain assessment. The difficulty which these organizations have in amounts in case of sickness, accident or death, is found that conducting the insurance business is in keeping the average age of their history in the United States is practically within the last membership at a low point, for with an increase in the average the

assessments increase, and many such organizations have had great half of the 19th century. The more important of the older trouble to convince younger members that their assessments should organizations are the Improved Order of Red Men, founded in be increased to make up for the heavy losses among the older members. 1771 and reorganized in 1834; Ancient Order of Foresters, sufficient yet to demonstrate their absolute soundness or desirability,

The experience of these purely insurance associations has not been 1836; Ancient Order of Hibernians of America, 1836; United but they have enabled a large number of persons of limited means Ancient Order of Druids, 1839; Independent Order of Recha- to carry insurance at a very low rate. They have not materially bites, 1842; Independent Order of B'nai B'rith, founded in 1843; interfered with regular level premium insurance enterprises, for they Order of the United American Mechanics, 1845; Independent and have really been an educational force in this direction. Order of Free Sons of Israel, 1849; Junior Order of United

A modern method of benefit association is found in the railway American Mechanics, 1853. A very large proportion, probably relief departments

of some of the large railway corporations. These more than one-half, of the societies which have secret organiza- departments are organized upon a different plan from the

Raliya tions pay benefits in case of sickness, accident, disability, and

benefit features of labour organizations and secret societies,

relief funeral expenses in case of death. This class of societies grew of death, but also with assistance of definite amounts in

providing the members not only with payments on account departe out of the English friendly societies and have masonic character- case of sickness or accident, the railway companies con. istics. The Freemasons and other secret societies, while not all tributing to the funds, partly from philanthropic and partly, from having benefit features in their distinctive organizations, have financial motives. The principal railway, companies in the United auxiliary societies with such features. There is also a class of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia & Reading, the Baltimore & secret societies, based largely on masonic usages, that have for Ohio, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, and the Plant System. their principal object the payment of benefits in some form. The relief department benefits the employés, the railways, and the These are the Oddfellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Knights public, because it is based upon the sound principle that the

interests and welfare of labour, capital and society are common of Honour, the Royal Arcanum and some others. Many trade and harmonious, and can be promoted more by co-operation of unions have now adopted benefit features, especially the Typo- effort than by antagonism and strise."

« PreviousContinue »