The first in the contemplated series of meetings for mutual improvement
in connection with the above was held on Wednesday evening in the Victoria
Buildings, when a debate took place on "Are co-operative societies as at
present conducted beneficial to the working classes?"
Mr. R. P. GRAHAM was called to the chair, and in opening the proceedings
expressed the pleasure it gave him to see such an unusually large number of
persons in attendance, and thought it augured well for the success of the
In proceeding years the programme had almost invariably to be abandoned
in consequence of the very meager support vouchsafed by the members and their
friends; but they seem now to have "repented their ways," and to be
determined that a much needed improvement should be effected. He hoped this might
prove to be the case.
Mr. James CRAWFORD then opened the debate in the affirmative, and
delivered a carefully prepared address, full of argument. Mr. Joseph SHACKLEY, who
took the negative side of the question, followed at great length, and as he
evidently spoke from conviction it gave zest to the proceedings. An animated
discussion followed; but when the question was put to the vote the numbers
were - for 26; against, 2, while several refrained from voting either way.
Votes of thanks to the openers of the debate and the chairman, which
were duly acknowledged, terminated what proved to be a most enjoyable and