HC Deb 08 July 1834 vol 24 cc1292-4

On the Motion of Mr. Ord, the House resolved itself into a Committee on the Friendly Societies Bill.

On the 2nd Clause being put,

Mr. Bernal

took that opportunity to make several objections to the general principle of the Bill. Few subjects were more difficult to legislate upon than that of Friendly Societies; scarcely any two societies were agreed among themselves as to the rules and regulations by which they should be governed. All which the Legislature had to do with the question was, to see that the operation of the rules which were made by them was not injurious to the rest of the community. Several Representatives of Friendly Societies had waited upon him on the subject of the Bill, and the great objection they entertained to this clause was, that it proposed a separate account should be kept of all monies expended by the Friendly Societies for any other purposes than affording relief in cases of sickness and old age. To this provision the delegates strongly objected. They also took another objection to the Bill. They considered it a great grievance to be compelled to employ a barrister to revise the rules and regulations they thought proper to adopt. He hoped, therefore, the Committee would not agree too hastily to the provisions of this Bill, but would resist, as far as it was possible, any enactment that should have the effect of depriving the Societies of their own management.

Mr. Ord

concurred in the observation of the hon. Member, that it was desirable, as far as possible, to leave the management of these Societies entirely in their own hands. The principle upon which this Bill proceeded was, to relax some of the provisions of the 10th of George 4th. Societies which were willing to remain according to their present constitution would not be affected by this Bill; but if they wished to enjoy the advantages of suing and being sued in the name of their officers, they would become subject to this Bill. He could not, however, consent to abandon the clause.

Mr. Wilks

said, that those hon. Members who were desirous to relieve the Friendly Societies from the restraints under which they now laboured would feel this clause worthy their support. These institutions were of the greatest importance to the country, and were well calculated to counteract many of the evils of the Poor-laws.

Mr. Baines

had been informed by a gaoler in a populous district, situate in the county of York, that out of 10,000 prisoners who had been committed to his charge, not one member of a Friendly Society was ever to be found among their number. This he considered a very striking instance of the great advantage which had resulted from these Societies. It appeared to him that a facility would be given by the Bill to the principle upon which these Societies were founded, and he should therefore give it his cordial support.

Mr. Bernal

, finding that the opinion of the Committee was against him would not divide on the clause. He had discharged his duty in stating his objections to the Bill.

The Clause was agreed to.

Mr. Forster

proposed a clause to regulate the investment of the funds of Friendly Societies.

Mr. Ord opposed the clause.

The Committee divided: Ayes 21; Noes 30; Majority 9.

List of the AYES.
Attwood, T. Maxwell, J.
Baillie, J. E. Parrott, J.
Baines, E. Phillips, M.
Bernal, R. Ruthven, E.
Briggs, R. Seale, Colonel,
Cayley, E. S. Stanley, E. J.
Duncombe, T. Wilbraham, G.
Gordon, Captain, Williams, Colonel
Gully, J.
Hawkes, T. TELLERS.
Lister, E. C. Forster, C.

The House resumed, and the Report was brought up.

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