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SELF-HELP BY THE PEOPLE
_____________

THE HISTORY OF THE

ROCHDALE PIONEERS



BY
GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE
AUTHOR OF "THE HISTORY OF CO-OPERATION IN ENGLAND,
"SIXTY YEARS OF AN AGITATOR'S LIFE", ETC. ETC.


1844-1892

TENTH EDITION REVISED AND ENLARGED.


                             "From nothing, from the least,
 The lowliest village (what but here and there
 A reed-roofed cabin by a river side),
 Grew everything; and year by year
 Patiently, fearlessly working her way
 O’er brook and field, o’er continent and sea"

ROGER'S Rome


LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD.
RUSKIN HOUSE   40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C.


FIFTH REPRINT OF TENTH EDITION, OCTOBER 1922.
______________


PREFACE
______


THE chapters of this little History were commenced to be inserted in the Daily News (in 1857), as the reader may infer from note to Chapter I.  The breaking out of the Mutinies in India absorbed all space in that quarter, and prevented the completion of the publication in those columns; otherwise, the subsequent chapters might have had the advantage of notes of the Editor of the Daily News (Mr. William Weir), who had great knowledge of, and interest in, Co-operative Associations, abroad and at home.

    When the chapters appeared as a book, it became known to many persons, interested in social ideas.  Mr. Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune had an edition printed in New York.  This was the first reprint.  Next, Fernando Garrido, a Spanish dramatic writer and publicist, made a translation in his "Historia de las Asociaciones Obreen Europa."  Professor A. Talandier published a translation in Le Progres de Lyons.  Great impetus, the translator reported, was thereby given to Co-operation in Lyons.  The Emperor, who had social ideas, commended Co-operation to the Lyonnese, and mentioned it in an Imperial speech.  M. Elie Reclus, editor of L’Association, told the moral of this story of the Pioneers to the Parisians, in his fable of "The Blind Man and the Lame Man."  Mr. John Stuart Mill, by quoting passages from this little history in his "Principles of Political Economy," did more than anyone else to call attention to the proceedings of the Rochdale Pioneers.  Mr. Joseph Cowan read chapters of this narrative nightly to pitmen and other workmen who were his neighbours, which led to the formation of the Blaydon-on-Tyne store, now occupying a street, and owning a considerable farm.  Mr. Henry Pitman reprinted the book in the Co-operator.  Mr. M’Guiness of Paris made a translation of it in the French Journal Co-operative.

    The first principal translation in book form was one in French by Madame Godin (under the name of Marie Moret), for the information of the workmen of Guise.  Professor Vigano of Milan published an Italian translation in a quarto volume.  M. O. Cambier, a magistrate of Paturage, Belgium, issued a complete translation of 283 pages at Verviers and Paris, including the prefaces of 1857 and 1867, and a biography of the author.  Later, Signor Lorenzi Ponti published in Milan a translation from the French of Madame Godin.  Herr H. Hantschke published a translation in German with engravings of the old store in Toad Lane and of the present store in Rochdale, of which a presentation copy was sent me in ornate Berlinese binding.

    The last translation has been that of Dr. St. Bernat of Buda-Pesth into the Hungarian language.  The Sociological Society of America issued a small Manual of Cooperation.  This epitome, excellently executed by ladies, included some of the following chapters.  The Manual was popular, I judge, as a share of profit from it was sent to me.  Foreign translations on a subject new to the public do not at first allure readers, and the translators generally lose money by their generous labour.  I received no profit from any, nor stipulated for any.  On the contrary, I felt under obligation to the translators for being at the expense of introducing to their countrymen an English method of industrial self-help, which otherwise might have remained much longer unknown and unregarded.

    "Self-Help by the People," here first used, I believe as a title, has been employed by Dr. Smiles to designate his popular book of brief biographies.  In 1860 a condensed edition of this History was issued in Paisley, purporting to be "Abridged from the Original Publication," but what, or whose publication, was not stated.  An article contributed to "Chambers’s Journal" contained passages purporting to be original, taken from the Rochdale story.  The correction was at once made by the editor.  Afterwards I was sorry I mentioned the matter, as other writers might have gone on quoting as their own, passages which would have advanced the knowledge of Co-operation.  The Quarterly Review of 1863 had occasion to include this "History" in the list of books reviewed, in a very remarkable article on Co-operation, but it suppressed the name of the author.  The writer of the review suggested that a single book of nameless authorship had an odd look among others that enjoyed paternity.  The editor adopted an extraordinary mode of removing the singularity—he omitted the names of all the other authors reviewed, though among them were writers of the most perfect "regulation" type of thought, and the result was the only article that probably ever appeared in the Quarterly in which only authorless books were reviewed.

    There remains, however, the satisfaction of knowing that this book has been useful.  Mr. William Cooper of Rochdale, writing to the Daily News, December 1863, stated that of 332 Co-operative Societies then on the Registrar’s Returns, 251 had been established since 1857 when "Self-Help" was published, and he adds, "I have heard several persons ascribe the origin of their now prosperous Society to reading the History.  Not fewer than 500 or 600 copies were sold in Rochdale.  It was bought and read by a few working men in many towns in the United Kingdom."  This History is now revised, enlarged, illustrations added, and brought down to the Rochdale Congress of 1892.

    The Italians have a proverb of unusual sagacity for that quick-witted people, namely: "They who go slowly go far".  Co-operation has gone both slow and far.  It has issued like the tortoise from its Lancashire home in England; it has traversed France, Germany and even the frozen steppes of Russia; the bright-minded Bengalese are applying it, as is the soon-seeing and far-seeing American; and our own emigrant countrymen in Australia are endeavouring to naturalise it there.  Like a good chronometer, Co-operation is unaffected by change of climate, and goes well in every land.

G.J.H.

EASTERN LODGE, BRIGHTON
September, 1893.

CONTENTS



PART I. — 1844-57


CHAPTER I.
THE FIRST EFFORTS, AND THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO MADE THEM

CHAPTER II.
APPOINTMENT OF A DEPUTATION TO MASTERS—GREAT DEBATE IN THE FLANNEL WEAVERS' PARLIAMENT

CHAPTER III.
THE DOFFERS APPEAR AT THE OPENING DAY—MORAL BUYING AS WELL AS MORAL SELLING.

CHAPTER IV.
THE SOCIETY TRIED TRIED BY TWO WELL KNOWN DIFFICULTIES—PREJUDICE AND SECTARIANISM.

CHAPTER V.
ENEMIES WITHIN AND ENEMIES WITHOUT, AND HOW THEY WERE CONQUERED.

CHAPTER VI.
THE GREAT FLOUR MILL PANIC

CHAPTER VII.
SUCCESSIVE STEPS OF SUCCESS—THE ROCHDALE STORE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT.

CHAPTER VIII.
ANECDOTES OF THE MEMBERS.—THE WORKING CLASS STAND BY THE STORE AND THEY "KNOW THE REASON WHY".

CHAPTER IX.
RULES AND AIMS OF THE SOCIETY.

CHAPTER X.
THE OLD CO-OPERATORS—WHY THEY FAILED.  THE NEW CO-OPERATORS—WHY THEY SUCCEED.

CHAPTER XI.
AN ILLUSTRATIVE CHAPTER.

CHAPTER XII.
AN OLD PIONEER'S ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN OF THE STORE.


PART II. — 1857-78


CHAPTER XIII.
THE WEAVERS' DREAM.

CHAPTER XIV.
THE FAMOUS TWENTY-EIGHT.

CHAPTER XV.
LEGAL IMPEDIMENTS TO ECONOMY.

CHAPTER XVI.
QUERULOUS OUTSIDERS.

CHAPTER XVII.
FOUR DANGEROUS YEARS.

CHAPTER XVIII.
HALTING ON THE WAY.

CHAPTER XIX.
STORY OF THE CORN MILL.

CHAPTER XX.
ORIGIN OF THE "WHOLESALE".

CHAPTER XXI.
CO-OPERATIVE ADMINISTRATION.

CHAPTER XXII.
THE BRANCH STORE AGITATION.

CHAPTER XXIII.
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ROCHDALE PIONEERS.

CHAPTER XXIV.
CONTESTS FOR PRINCIPLE.

CHAPTER XXV.
DEAD PIONEERS.

1892

CHAPTER XXVI.
THE ROCHDALE CONGRESS OF 1892.

 


 

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