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ODD FE LLO W SHIP. The Interests of OJdfellowship are ,so wide-. spread^ and so interwoven with the welfare of the working classes, that we need offer no apology ior referring frequently to the subject. The Manchester Unity uuuihers about 550,000 members, being, in that respect, somewhat be hind its great rival, the ancient order of For- esters. whilst its accumulated funds amount to the millions. The Aberystwyth District, which held its half-yearly meeting on Thursday, assumes respectable proportions. It comprises twelve Lodges, with about 1,500 members. Each LoLl-e is self governing, and officers are elected each half-year, the ballot being resorted to when more than one candidate is nominated. Lodges in turn are under the control of district meetings, which are composed of delegates from the Lodges, and the District Officers; and the district meetings are again subject to the Board of Directors and the Annual Moveable Committee of the Unity, the latter being the supreme governing body. Any member may, by perseverance attain the highest position in the order. The duty of pointing out the benefits of friendly societies devolves especially upon ministers of religion and teachers, and employ- ers of labour. In the words of the preface to the General Rules, it is the positive duty of every man who earns his bread by the labour of his hands to provide against times of sickness, for the decent burial of himself and his wife, and endeavour to secure something for the widow or orphans he may leave behind him. To all, whether members or not, the vast I amount of good which can be effected, of poor- rates saved, sickness alleviated, medical relief obtained, poverty prevented, and misery avoid- ed hy such societies, must be apparent. The societies include, as honorary and financial members, in nearly every county and country, the higher and wealthier classes. A most important question, affecting the welfare of all aged men, which was briefly referred to by Mr Vaughan Davies and Mr Supt. Lloyd, on Thursday, is superannuation. The subject has been carefully considered, during many years, by the ablest men of the Unity, and at* Cardiff, last Whitsuntide, the A.M.C. adopted the tables prepared by Mr Watson. There are various schemes in exist- ence for superannuation. That prepared by Mr Watson provides that a fund shall be established for the payment of annuities to members thereof. All sick benefits to cease when the member arrives at sixty-five years of age, from which time the annuities shall com- mence. The adoption of a superannuation scheme has been rendered imperative for two reasons. The first is the desirability of pro- viding' a certain return to all members who attain the age of sixty-five, when the money rennet be otherwise than acceptable; and the second is the great difficulty, which it has been found quite impossible to overcome, of dis- tinguishing in many cases between curable sickness and infirmity arising from old age. There can be no question that very large sums of money have been paid to members under this class for which there is no provision, and the consequence is that many Lodges are quite unable to make any headway. The old form of medical certificate was so worded as to give great facilities for the evasion of the spirit of the law, but the new form is more stringent, and will do much to check imposition. The wisdom of establishing a superannuation fund cannot be doubted, and will be appreciate more and more as its operations become ex- tended. The advantages arising from the large Benefit Societies, in preference to small village clubs, are so great, that it becomes a bounden duty to point Oftt to the members of the latter the risk they run of losing the whole of their savings. In this and the adjoining counties there are many clubs which at one time, before the establishment of Oddfellowship and Forestry, were in a superficially flourishing condition, but which latterly, in consequence of the sick- ness and death of old members, and the fact that young members will not join them, have gone backward very steadily, and not a few have absolutely failed, whereby the life-long savings of the members have been lost to them. It would be an act of generosity and justice to persuade such of the existing clubs as are sol- vent to unite themselves with either of the large societies, and so secure the members against loss in old age. A notice which cannot fail to interest all friendly societies, and especially their secretar- ies, has been published to the effect that Mr Herbert Gladstone will bring in a biil to repeal the section of the Friendly Societies Act, 1S75, which requires quinquennial returns of the mor- tality and sickness to be sent to the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The duty of preparing these is laborious, and will increase the expen- ses of management of the Lodges, so that unless some very definite gain is secured from the returns, they should be dispensed with. If the Registrar is to do his work efficiently, it is evident that he must have a larger staff of clerks at his disposal. In many cases the returns are sent back to the Lodges for correction and al- teration of the most trivial matters. Govern- ment aid is a great thing, but official worry is very objectionable.

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Family Notices

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