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MONDAY, FEB. 26, 1872. .


MONDAY, FEB. 26, 1872. THE irritation felt by the tradesmen of London at the continued existence and extension of Co- operative stores is natural enough, no doiibi but we question the propriety of allowing the grievance to be brought before the notice of Government, or, as is threatened, of Parliament. Of course, the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, as providing for the payment of civil servants' salaries on the one hand, and taxing tradesmen on the other, was the proper Minister to whom the complaint should be made, if made at all; but the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER has little, if any, power to interfere in the matter. If we understand the subject rightly, the co-operative movement was originally intended for the exclusive benefit of the Civil Service. It was imagined that such individuals, having fixed incomes, might derive mutual advantages by com- bining together for the purchase of the ordinary hecessaries of life; and that,beingmanagedbythem- selves there was nothing in such a business either illegitimate or unfair. After all that has been said and all that has happened, we cannot see how this position is to be assailed. These are times of free trade times, too, when the liberty of the subject is more than ever talked about and prized. Buy- ing in the cheapest market is still the cardinal doctrine of our faith, and he who can make a good bargain is everywhere held to be worthy of com- mendation. If it were not so, there would be a positive disgrace in individuals saving a penny on every pound of tea, of candles, or sugar. Object as they may, the London tradesmen can bring no very weighty arguments to bear upon these economists. The case is a hard one, we admit, but the remedy is beyond the province of Minister or Government. What would the aggrieved advise? Should it be made a sine qua non that all clerks in Government offices should deal with the nearest grocer, draper, and cheesemonger ? Is it recommended that a kind of preventive service be established for the purpose of checking all transactions not coming under the head of legitimate traffic 1 These ideas are too preposterous to be entertained, and yet we do not see how else the evils complained of are to be re- moved. We would not for a moment deny the fact that there are some abuses connected with the co-operative system. For instance, there is no just reason why persons not coming under the category of "civil servants," nor being members of the civil service co-operation associations, should partake of the advantages of those societies. There may be nothing morally or legally wrong in sup- plying outside customers, but there is a certain ap- pearance of unfairness in such a course and con- WN- 7T .1 â sidering that many civil servants derive their very position from the trade they are privately helping to injure, some hesitation might well be felt before going out of the way to make profit or to interfere with vested interests. If the promoters of the Civil Service co-operation movement would only draw the line here, there would be less reason for ob- jecting to their proceedings. We fear, however, there is little consolation for the tradesmen. They cannot even indulge in revenge. When a few years ago grocers were permitted to take out licenses for wines and spirits, the publicans, whose interests were seriously affected thereby, retaliated by be- coming dealers in tea. This was quite in accor- dance with the rules of free trade, and neither party could find fault. But the opponents of co- operative stores have no such agreeable method of paying back in the same coin. They must bear their grievance in silence at all events, they trust to a broken reed in thinking that Government or Parliament will help them. The best revenge they can take is to outdo their opponents by offering superior facilities and greater conveniences. They have opportunies of buying, and of selling too, which the managers of co-operative stores can never hope to obtain. Nor must it be forgotten that the purchaser who pays ready money at the Stores, derives an advantage in a reduction of price, which is not accorded, as a rule, by the ordinary tradesman to customers who make cash payments. Indeed, for the most part, the same prices are charged for ready-money as for credit, and the cost to the purchaser, in the first instance, is enhanced in proportion to the amount of accom- modation extended in the latter. However, we believe that tradesmen, who will calmly consider the exigencies of the case and weight the matter in an equitable scale, may turn to good account what they now regard as an insufferable evil. There need be no fear of the result.

___----__-----THE STATE VISIT…