I take from an interesting paper read to the Statistical Society last month by Mr. Brabrook, the Chief Registrar of the Friendly Societies, the following remarkable figures:—The funds now invested in the various classes of institutions referred to are—savings banks, £144,725,640; registered friendly societies, £28,500,000; registered trade unions, £1,378,007; incorporated building societies, £44,414,115; industrial and provident societies, £18,552,867; certified loan societies, £256,139; railway savings banks, £2,469,965; total, £240,296,733. The increase in the ten years is—savings banks, £50,248,568; friendly societies, £5,000,000; trade
unions, £608,610; industrial and provident societies, £9,279,421; railway savings banks, £1,620,000; total, £66,776,599. Less decrease—building societies, £6,684,014; loan societies, £63,751; total, £6,747,765; balance, £60,008,834. The cause of the decrease in the building societies it is not necessary for me to refer to. These are facts on which it is good to dwell. These are, as Mr. Brabrook justly says:—
Satisfactory proofs of the steadily growing prosperity of those societies, which are the most typical instances of self-governing methods of thrift among the working classes.
§ And they are facts on which it is pleasant to dwell as an antidote to that pessimism which delights to describe the condition of the people as one of progressive deterioration. This is a revenue wholly independent of the State, which stands upon a wholesome basis, and which we may well regard as a testimony that not only our financial and commercial system, but our social condition, is sound in its principles and, on the whole, satisfactory in its results.