« EelmineJätka »
THESE pages are offered to the public with much diffidence, but not without much hope. The idea of such a work first suggested itself to me while engaged in forming a Friendly Society and a Branch Bank for Savings; and as the advantages which seemed likely to rise presented themselves in a more forcible point of view as I proceeded, I at length determined on executing the work which is here offered to the public. On the good which I may thus be the means of effecting, is grounded the "hope" to which I have alluded; and this overcomes the feelings of diffidence which accompany it; for I trust the inaccuracies which may be detected in the performance of my task will be overlooked in the intention which has actuated me, and that my labours will be received with that indulgence which is ever shown to productions that aim at being useful.
It has always appeared to me, that the best method of bringing any plan into operation, is to make it in the first instance thoroughly and distinctly understood.
For this reason I have introduced nearly the whole of the two Acts of Parliament, on the bases of which all societies of this nature must by law be constructed; and which are generally but little known. Another urgent reason for introducing these Acts seemed to be, the convenience of having the whole materials at hand, on which the work must proceed. A further necessary accompaniment seemed to be the Rules for each, at full length: thus a complete system is laid down without the necessity for much note or comment. With respect to the Rules, they are open in some measure to criticism, and, no doubt, to improvement, particularly those of the Friendly Society. But those which are here offered were sketched in conformity to the feelings of the persons to be affected by them, and they are therefore more likely to prove of practical utility in their operation than if they were the result of reason or theory alone. That either set of Rules is the best that can be devised, it would be presumption to assert; but they have both undergone much consideration; and,
as far as they have been tried, have been found to answer the ends in view.
It may appear to some that I have been too minute in my directions, as to the mode of management; but to those who undertake the formation of the institutions here recommended, the way cannot be rendered too smooth, and free from obstacles; and I am willing to believe that the directions here set forth will greatly conduce to that object.
Upon the whole, the subject is one which it is the more material to bring before the public immediately, as the fifteenth section of the Friendly Society Act requires that all Societies conform to its provisions within three years*.
I may, perhaps, be permitted to add, that in preparing this small work I have experienced much pleasure, for it has afforded me an agreeable occupation during my vacant hours; if, therefore, it should be found useful, I shall reap a double reward.
Lancaster, 5th April, 1830.
* See p. 64.