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"In these later days we have come to recognise the service, heroism, and devotion of the "rank and file" of the great army of progress—the "unnamed demigods" as Kossuth called them, whose bones lie in unnoted graves, but whose valour brought the victory.  In co-operation all are workers, and many who are never named after their death, are honoured in their day and recognised in history.  In a co-operative society all officers have been workers—and are officers because they have been workers.  There is no privilege in co-operation, save that of service."

G. J. Holyoake, from. . . .
The Jubilee History of the Derby Co-operative Provident Society

 

 

 

_____________


VOL. I.—Pioneer Period, 1812 to 1844.  Published by Trübner in 1875.
V
OL. II.—Constructive Period, 1845 to 1878.  Published by Trübner in 1879.
C
OMPLETE EDITION.—Published by T. Fisher Unwin in 1906.
                                      Reprinted in 1906 and 1908.

_____________

 

[DEDICATION TO VOL. I. OF 1875]

To

WENDELL PHILLIPS

WHOSE INTREPID ELOQUENCE

HAS EVER VINDICATED

THE CLAIMS OF THE SLAVE, BLACK OR WHITE,

IN BONDAGE TO PLANTER OR CAPITALIST,

THIS STORY OF PIONEER VICISSITUDES

IS DEDICATED

_____________


[DEDICATION TO VOL. II. OF 1879]

To

THE RT. HON. JOHN BRIGHT, M.P.,

WHOSE TOWNSMEN OF ROCHDALE

MADE CO-OPERATION A SOCIAL FORCE,

AND WHO IS HIMSELF

A FRIEND OF EQUITY IN INDUSTRY,

THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED

_____________
 

PREFACE, 1906
───◊───


EMERSON begins a poem with the words, "God says, I am tired of kings."  Lest the reader should say he is tired of prefaces, I make this one very short.

    Other histories on this subject will be written, but whatever their merits may be, they cannot be written by any one caring more for Co-operation than myself, or who has been concerned in its career from the days of the Rochdale Pioneers, or been personally conversant with the incidents and persons who made the movement.  I have known the motives of those who have promoted it, of those who have retarded it, and those who have withstood it, and for seventy years have vindicated it against its adversaries.  The story of this movement is that of an eyewitness.

    The Third Part of this work brings the History down to this date, with brevity, but with sufficient explicitness to enable the reader to understand the growth and trend of this new Order of Labour.

    Industrial Co-operation—voluntary concert, with equitable participation and control among all concerned in any enterprise—is a definition that would now be accepted by political economists and journalists.

G. J. H.

EASTERN LODGE,
        B
RIGHTON,
                January, 1906.

_____________


[It is but consistent with the principle of Participation represented in this History that the Author should acknowledge his indebtedness to his daughter, Mrs. Holyoake Marsh and his amanuensis, Miss Amy Baum, for assiduous reading of the proofs, when sustained attention by him was impossible—and for suggestions which familiarity with the subject enabled Mrs. Marsh to make.—G. J. H.]

_____________




PREFACE TO VOL. I. OF 1875
───◊───


MY desire has been to write an account of the origin and growth of Co-operation, of the literature which fostered it, of the persons who aided it, the principles which directed it, and the influence of Co-operation on the future welfare of labour.  To this end I have sought facts of all informed persons, in England and America, saying to them that any books, pamphlets, rules, placards, papers, letters relating to the early Co-operative movements, or articles in reviews or periodicals about it, of sermons preached against it, I should be glad to hear of, to borrow, or to buy.  Recollections of early meetings for promoting it, names of persons who took part in founding the early stores, or as promoters, managers, committee-men, writers or lecturers in any place, and what became of the persons themselves, would be welcome to me.  I desired that none would assume that I might know what they knew.  I wanted to be sure that I knew it.  It was said of Hume that his "History of England" would have been more accurate but for the obligation he was under of sometimes imagining his facts, from the difficulty of transporting himself to the bookshelf, where means of their identity lay.  For myself, being as lithe as an Indian and resilient as an American, I might be depended upon to get at any fact which came within reasonable distance of me.

    My wish has been to give particulars of the persons who made the movement—it being not enough to treat Co-operation as a bale of cotton, and discourse of its fineness and value in the market.  It concerns the reader to know who were the artificers of the ultimate fabric; what were its pattern and colour, its texture and durability.

    Let no one fear to pester me with suggestions.  Many counsellors bring no perplexity, provided an author takes his own wilful way in the end; and he takes it with many advantages, who has his eyes well open, knowing all that can be said on the subject in hand.  The real peril of the historian is that he may paralyse his readers by tameness, or kill curiosity by monotony.  There are persons who have a well-founded terror of making suggestions.  We have ministers of State who teach that persons with ideas are to be distrusted, and it is not counted safe for any one with "notions" in his mind to go about certain Government departments now.

    In some cases, however, information transmitted has not been very apparent, though worth all the trouble of deciphering.  All penmen are not gifted.  A bird pattering out of an inkpot over a page would be a rival writer to some correspondents, who seem the natural and ready-made secretaries of Secret Societies, since no expert of the most suspicious Government known would be able to make much out of their caligraphy.

    It has, however, occurred to many correspondents, as it did to Lord Palmerston, that the purpose of writing is to be read, and that what is to be readable must be intelligible, and they have practised the unappreciated art of plainness to my great profit.  My letter of inquiry inserted in the New York Tribune brought many communications from that wide-awake land.  No case of any undecipherable caligraphy arose in American letters; they make things pretty plain out there.

    Where suggestions have not been acted upon, the reader must ascribe the error to that opinionativeness, phrase-love, and general self-contentedness, with which Nature indulgently endows some writers in lieu of other gifts.

    While sitting at the Bolton Congress of 1872, when news came of the death of Professor Maurice, and seeing with the mind's eye the old familiar faces flitting, as it were, round the hall—the faces which have gone, as Bamford expresses it, through the "Pass of Death," and greet us no more—watching the vacant places (growing more numerous every Congress) of those who bore the heat and burden of the unregarded day of Co-operation—whose buoyant, cheery voices we shall never hear again—I desired, more than before, to write some history of that new power of industry which will grow mightier year by year.

    For loans of works of reference my acknowledgments are due to Wm. Henry King Spark, of Skirsgil Park, Penrith, for a valuable collection of books in his possession, collected, bound, and annotated by Francis Place.  Save for the discerning foresight and interest of Mr. Place in the welfare of the working people, many of the most remarkable facts concerning their social and political life would be now unknown; also to Mr. Thomas Allsop, of Redhill; Mr. Truelove, of London; Mr. David Crossley, of Brighouse; Mr. Melsom, of Liverpool; Mr. George Simpson, of Prospect House, Mottram; Mr. R. B. Reed, senr., of Winlaton; and Mr. Henry Slatter, of Tunbridge Wells, for the use of volumes, pamphlets, and papers illustrative of my subject.

G. J. H.

NEWCASTLE CHAMBERS,
        E
SSEX STREET, TEMPLE BAR, LONDON,
                June, 1875.

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PREFACE TO VOL. II. OF 1879
───◊───


IN inscribing this volume to Mr. Bright, a representative of my native town of Birmingham, my object was to acknowledge how much the working class owed to him for maintaining in hostile days the great principle of political and commercial freedom, without which self-help is impossible to the people.

    At that time I was not aware of what Abraham Greenwood related years after, that one morning subsequent to the resolution being carried, putting an end to profit sharing in the Spinning Mill of the pioneers, Mr. Bright met him in the street, and suggested that the resolution should be reconsidered at another meeting.  Mr. Bright had spoken at times to his parliamentary friends of the great Partnership enterprise in the Pioneer Mills of his townsmen, and regretted what had taken place.  Had the resolution been rediscussed, with the knowledge of Mr. Bright's interest in it, the decision, I believe, would have been different, and the fortune of labour changed for the better by it.

    Evil days befel me during the progress of the First Part.  Though I could see my way through my subject, I could not see my subject when it was through.  Fortunately for the reader, Mr. Walter Morrison, to whose friendship I owed the means of writing this History, had the kindness to see the book through the press for me.  Otherwise I might have been afraid to recover my sight, lest I should come to read my own pages.

    Once I had a printer—not deficient in care and intelligence -who would insert an enraging misconception of some doubtful word I had written.  I asked, "How came you to think I meant that?  It is neither common sense, nor theological sense, nor legal sense" (the most uncertain sense known).  "Well," he answered.  "I thought so too, but I supposed it one of your quaintnesses of expression."  So I counselled the Co-operative Printers when sending them my MS. to stop at any "quaintness" at which they stumbled.  In some places I am afraid they have betrayed me.  The previous volume met with more favour from critics, both in Great Britain and America, than I expected.  If this volume fares as well, I shall be more than content; for those who said it "was not interesting " said it was "useful," and those who said it "was not useful" thought it was "interesting."

    Travelling to distant places of new co-operative enterprise, seeing for myself the conditions under which they had been made; editing reports of Co-operative Congresses; listening to the speeches and daily conversation of the new race of co-operators, in order to be sure what manner of men they were, and to judge from what they said, what mastery they had of its principles; then writing controversial pamphlets in order to elicit the views of adversaries and learn their quality and reach of discernment; taking part in discussions at store meetings to discover what thoughts were uppermost and what passions lay below, have been well rewarded.  It would be an abuse of the attention of the reader, to beguile him with mere picturesque incidents, and conceal from him the motives.  The only useful history of a movement is a history of its ideas.  The animating idea which never slept or slumbered, which moved the most diverse co-operators, which was oft defeated, but never extinguished, covered with ridicule, but never made ashamed, which returned again and again to generous-minded, equity-loving men, was not distrust of succeeding themselves by competition, but dislike of it as the sole method of progress.  Co-operation was born of the feeling that at best unmitigated competition was war, and though war had its bards and its heroic memories, there was murder in its march; and humanity was imposture, if progress could not be accomplished by nobler means.  What an enduring truce is to war, Copartnership Co-operation is to the never-ceasing conflict between Labour and Capital.  It is the Peace of Industry.

G. J. H.

NEWCASTLE CHAMBERS,
        22, E
SSEX STREET, TEMPLE BAR, LONDON,
                December 1, 1878.

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CONTENTS

PART I.


DEDICATION
PREFACES

CHAPTER I.
NATURE OF CO-OPERATION

CHAPTER II.
THE EVIL DAYS BEFORE CO-OPERATION BEGAN

CHAPTER III.
THE UTOPIANISTS WHO FORESAW BETTER TIMES

CHAPTER IV.
HOW CO-OPERATION ITSELF BEGAN (1810-1820)

CHAPTER V.
THE CHARACTER OF ITS DISCOVERER

CHAPTER VI.
HIS APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE

CHAPTER VII.
THE ENTHUSIASTIC PERIOD (1821-1830)

CHAPTER VIII.
THE DEVICE OF LABOUR EXCHANGES

CHAPTER IX.
THE SOCIALISTIC PERIOD (1831-1844)

CHAPTER X.
THE LOST COMMUNITIES

CHAPTER XI.
SOME OF THE PRINCIPAL ADVERSARIES.

CHAPTER XII.
EARLY ADVOCATES

CHAPTER XIII.
FORGOTTEN WORKERS
_____________


PART II.

CHAPTER XIV.
THE STORY OF A DEAD MOVEMENT

CHAPTER XV.
BEGINNING OF CONSTRUCTIVE CO-OPERATION.

CHAPTER XVI.
THE DISCOVERY WHICH RE-CREATED CO-OPERATION

CHAPTER XVII.
CAREER OF THE PIONEER STORE

CHAPTER XVIII.
PARLIAMENTARY AID TO CO-OPERATION

CHAPTER XIX.
CO-OPERATION IN STORMY DAYS

CHAPTER XX.
NATURE OF CO-OPERATIVE PRINCIPLE

CHAPTER XXI.
DISTRIBUTION—THE CO-OPERATIVE STORE

CHAPTER XXII.
CO-OPERATIVE WORKSHOPS

CHAPTER XXIII.
THE WHOLESALE SOCIETY

CHAPTER XXIV.
LONDON CO-OPERATION: THE REVOLT OF THE GROCERS

CHAPTER XXV.
LONDON CO-OPERATION: THE REVOLT OF THE CUSTOMERS

CHAPTER XXVI.
METROPOLITAN PROPAGANDISM

CHAPTER XXVII.
SOCIAL POLICY OF CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES

CHAPTER XXVIII.
INDUSTRIAL PARTNERSHIP

CHAPTER XXIX.
INDUSTRIAL CONSPIRACIES

CHAPTER XXX.
CO-OPERATIVE FAILURES

CHAPTER XXXI.
AMERICAN SOCIETIES

CHAPTER XXXII.
CO-OPERATIVE FARMING

CHAPTER XXXIII.
ECCENTRIC AND SINGULAR SOCIETIES

CHAPTER XXXIV.
VICISSITUDES OF INDUSTRIAL LITERATURE

CHAPTER XXXV.
FAMOUS PROMOTERS

CHAPTER XXXVI.
LATER LITERATURE AND LEADERS

CHAPTER XXXVII.
THE TEN CONGRESSES

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
THE FUTURE OF CO-OPERATION

CHAPTER XXXIX.
AN OUTSIDE CHAPTER

CHAPTER XL.
THE SONG OF STATE SOCIALISM
_____________


PART III. (1876-1904)

CHAPTER XLI.
TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIAL AIMS

CHAPTER XLII.
GROWTH OF SOCIETIES

CHAPTER XLIII.
A SUGGESTIVE TABLE. CURIOUS FACTS AND FEATURES

CHAPTER XLIV.
TWENTY-SEVEN CONGRESSES

CHAPTER XLV.
THE "CO-OPERATIVE NEWS"

CHAPTER XLVI.
THE CO-OPERATIVE UNION

CHAPTER XLVII.
WHAT ARE CONGRESS QUESTIONS?

CHAPTER XLVIII.
PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION

CHAPTER XLIX.
OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND INCIDENTS

CHAPTER L.
CO-PARTNERSHIP WITH LABOUR

CHAPTER LI.
CO-OPERATION SELF-DEFENSIVE INDIVIDUALISM
_____________


APPENDIX

_____________



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

G. J. HOLYOAKE

WENDELL PHILLIPS

SOCIALISTS' INSTITUTION—ANTI CORN MILL

ROBERT OWEN

ROBERT OWEN'S GRAVE

TOAD LANE STORE

JOHN BRIGHT

WALTER MORRISON



NOTES ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS


1. Wendell Phillips was invited to our Co-operative Congress in 1876.  He was the greatest American orator in the perilous Anti-Slavery agitation whenever equity to industry was in question.  He was always spoken of in America as the "noblest Roman of them all."  His portrait is from a photograph which he gave me in his own house in Boston but a short time before his death.

2. The old Socialist Institution is the type of many of the earliest places of meeting, and remains unchanged.  Rochdale Co-operation began there.  See "History of the Rochdale Pioneers."

3. At the end of the eighteenth century the Corn Mill of Hull charged high prices; to remedy this a few co-operators set up an Anti-Mill—a mill against mills.  It is the earliest relic of Co-operation in England.

4. The portrait of Robert Owen is by his friend the elder Pickersgill, in the days of Owen's early popularity.  The original is in the possession of William Tebb, of Rede Hall, Burstow.

5. The Toad Lane Store is where the Rochdale Pioneers commenced business in 1844.  A Swiss artist has delineated the Doffers from the mill assembled to ridicule the humble beginning.

6. The portrait of John Bright is a reduction of the large photograph taken of him by Mayall, now in the possession of James Charlton, of Chicago.  It was the largest photograph which had then been taken, and was nearly life-size.  It represents Bright as he appeared in the House of Commons when the cry went through the lobbies, "Bright is up!"

7. The portrait of Walter Morrison is animated by that pleasant expression of encouragement, which we all knew, when Co-operation was making itself a force in industry.

 

 


 

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