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A PRIZE ESSAY
On the Importance and Advantages of Friendly Societies
TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
Upon the Establishment of a Superannuation Fund, Valua-
BY DAVID EDMUNDS,
Public Auditor under the Friendly Societies Acts A
WM. MORRIS, STEAM PRINTER AND STATIONER, POST OFFICE.
My first duty in introducing the subject of my Handbook to my readers is to thank the various authors whose works I may have consulted, as well as the compilers of the rates of mortality and other data I have thought necessary to make extracts from, for the assistance and particulars they have furnished me with.
The Essay forming the first part of this book was the successful composition chosen from five essays sent in for adjudication to the Chair Eisteddfod of South Wales, held at Cardiff on the 3rd and 4th of September, 1879. The adjudicators upon this, as well as upon several other compositions, were the Rev. Dr. Price, P.G.M. of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity, and Past Officer of almost every other universal Friendly Society, and the Rev. R. Morgan (Rhydderch ap Morgan). The result of their perusal of the compositions sent in was the selection of the Essay with the nom de plume "Philanthropist," to the author of which the prize of five guineas was awarded; and in order that the opinion of the adjudicators may be known I have thought it advisable to give a translation of their award in full, the original being given in Welsh.
This author has written in English. His essay weighs more than the other four put together. The author takes a comprehensive view of his subject, and treats it with such
force, minuteness, and mastery as to completely exhaust it. It is one of the best treatises we have ever read bearing on the subject. He has not merely written something with the object of enlarging his essay, but he has written something worth reading. We find the contents of each page of his oneand-a-quarter-pound paper based naturally and eloquently on the foundation of the subject, and he proceeds in the 'might of his power' from the beginning to the end of his essay, until at last he rests from his task gloriously. This essay is all we could wish in the present competition, and the author stands higher from his shoulders upwards than either of the others. We therefore with pleasure award the "PHILANTHROPIST."
It should, however, be stated that one of the conditions of the Eisteddfod was that all the successful compositions were to be the property of the committee, so that it was necessary in order to secure this essay that the copyright should be purchased ere the public would have an opportunity of reading it in a cheap form-this has been done, hence its appearance in this book.
The want of some Hand-book or Book of Reference for the use of Friendly Societies has been much felt for several years past by all those who are connected with them, and more especially has this want been felt since the passing of the new Act of Parliament in 1875-6 for the better regulation of Friendly Societies. Acts of Parliament, as a rule, are not so constructed as to be easily understood or properly defined, and as the Secretaries of many of our Friendly Societies are working men, who may not have had the same opportunities of education in their younger days as the rising generation are blessed with, I have attempted to
explain as fully and as clearly as I possibly can the various portions of the Acts of Parliament relating to the practical working of these excellent Societies, and in such a manner as will, I hope, be easily understood; but whether I have succeeded or not remains to be decided by the reader.
I have also endeavoured, in the latter part of the Essay, to give some hints to the officers as well as to the members of Friendly Societies as to their duties and responsibilities, as well for their own sake as that of their fellow men, which I hope will be found useful; and I feel sure that if they are followed they will to some extent greatly increase the value and importance of those Societies. Members of Friendly Societies are generally willing to adopt any improvement in their arrangements when they can be made clearly to perceive their necessity.
I seriously desire the particular attention of the young men of the present day, who are so full of dress and amusement and regardless of their future welfare, to the portion of my Essay upon the benefits to be derived from becoming members of Friendly Societies, and the disadvantages of not providing for a rainy day.
My views upon the important question of contributions will, I feel pretty certain, not be shared by many of the actuaries and others who have compiled various tables of contributions at different ages for the securing of certain sums in case of sickness and death. I readily admit that in Societies or Insurance Companies that undertake to pay a certain amount in case of death, tables of contributions and benefits varying in amount according to the age at which the member entered the Society, are the most proper and only equitable system that can be devised, but