presented Petitions from Benefit Clubs at Limehouse, and Newport Hants, for an amendment of the Act 10th George 4th, relating to Friendly Societies.
Mr. Evelyn Denison
called upon the House to beware how it re-opened the question relating to Benefit Societies.
§ Mr. Croker
perfectly agreed with his hon. friend in thinking that it would be a dangerous experiment to legislate further on this subject.
was glad of an opportunity of stating the circumstances which induced the petitioners to apply to the House for a remedy. They felt aggrieved by the 40th section of the Act, which required such Societies to be enrolled while it allowed a very short time for that purpose. The only object of the Bill which he wished to introduce, was to extend the time for such enrolment. There were upwards of 5,000 of these Societies which the law required to be enrolled prior to the 19th of June, this process made a considerable in road into their funds, for the expenses amounted to 25l., and, he believed, that if the Act which authorized this was not amended, many of those excellent Societies would be broken up rather than submit to this expense; but if further time was allowed they might ultimately conform to the law. He wished, therefore, that the time should be extended. He had no wish to make rash experiments, but he did think these persons deserved protection and encouragement.
Mr. Alderman Thompson
was fully aware that the Act, to which the hon. Member alluded, had excited much dissatisfaction in several manufacturing districts, and he also knew that many Benefit Societies had been broken up, or were on the point of breaking up, partly from the circumstances stated by the hon. Member, and partly from an apprehension that other regulations might be hereafter proposed, which would prove equally prejudicial to their interests. These institutions were of great importance. In many cases they preserved their members when suffering under sickness or want of employment from being compelled to have recourse to their parishes. They were, therefore, entitled to the kind consideration of the House.
§ Petitions to be printed.