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---SALTNEY AND INCORPORATION.…

CLOSE OF THE DEE SALMON SEASON.…

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COUNTY POLICE COURT. 0

CITY POLICE COURT. +

NESTON PETTY SESSIONS. +

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CHESTER BOARD OF GUARDIANS.…

BROXTON PETTY SESSIONS.

AUCTION SALES. ♦

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CO-OPERATORS & THE DRINK TRAFFIC.…

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CO-OPERATORS & THE DRINK TRAFFIC. REMARKABLE PROPOSALS. The quarterly conference of the Cheshire and North Wales District Co-operative Asso- ciation of the Co-operative Union, Limited, was held in the Waverly Rooms, Birkenhead, on Saturday afternoon, when Councillor Snape, president of the Birkenhead society, presided over a large number of delegates and others interested in the movement. The annual report of the Cheshire and North Wales district shewed that the various societies in the district were making good progress. The societies had in tho aggregate 24,828 members, and made a total net profit during the year of £57,410 upon a total trade of £452,000. A paper was read by Mr. Gresty, of Birken- head, on the subject Should Co-operative Societies participate in the drink trade ?' Mr. Gresty remarked that excessive drinking was on all hands agreed to be the world's greatest social evil, and asked Is it con- trary to the principles of the co-operative movement for co-operative societies to engage in the drink trade ?" The prin- ciples of the co-operative movement were the moral, social, and intellectual advancement of mankind, and he held that it would not be contrary to those principles to engage in a trade which was held accountable for poverty, sick- ness, insanity, prostitution, suicide, and murder. He considered it would be a crime to engage in the trade for the main object of making large dividends, and urged that they should agree upon some method of trading which would reduce the number of public- houses and drunkenness. He proposed that the Co-operative Wholesale Society should become brewers and owners of public-houses, the latter to be purchased and worked as hotels and restaurants on a reformed basis. The society bad more money than it could profitably invest, and had invested £1,000,000 sterling in about two years in Consols and other securities at a low rate of interest. He thought it would be more in accordance with the spirit of co-operation to employ this money in the way he suggested. At present public-houses were conducted for the enrichment of a few individuals, but under co- operation they would be conducted for the benefit of the public generally. The profits, he suggested, should be applied, after paying all expenses and forming a reserve fund, to the acquisition of more of the existing public-house property, which could be worked as restaurants, cocoa-rooms, Ac., or used for other purposes than a public-house. He believed that in this way, although they would not acquire all the public- house property, they would obtain control of sufficient houses to exercise a marked effect upon the drink trade and upon public opinion. He found the real causes of excessive drinking in the excessive opportunities for indulgence offered, and in the degrading surroundings and conditions of life of the working classes. He proposed to bring about more healthy and elevating conditions by devoting a portion of the profits anticipated to erecting cottage property of a superior character, combining the maximum of comfort with the minimum of rent. In conclusion, he summed up the advantages of transferring the management of public-houses from the private individual to a co-operative body as follow:—(1) The shortening of the hours during which drink could be procured. (2) The limiting of the quantity of drink to be supplied to one person at any one time. (3) The placing of the management of public-houses in the hands of the people. The latter object, which had in vain been sought by political agitation, would at once be secured by the scheme out- lined, as the 1,500,000 of co-operators through- out the country would have a direct voice in controlling the number of public-houses and the manner in which they should be conducted. A discussion followed, the majority of the speakers being unfavourably disposed towards the scheme. One gentleman, Mr. Hughes (Brymbo), bluntly stated that to associate co- operation with the drink traffic would bring their movement to utter ruin. It was decided to hold the next conference at Wrexham. THE BISHOP OF CHESTER ON THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT. The Bishop of Chester, who had received an advance copy of Mr. Gresty's paper, sent the following reply, addressed to Mr. T. Charles (chairman of the Cheshire and North Wales Co-operative Association) :— The Palace, Chester, August 20,1897. Dear Sir,—Let me thank you for your letter, and for sending me i-an advance copy of Mr. Gresty's important paper. It may interest you and others to know that the late Judge Hughes, 'whose name is likely to be remembered as one of the earliest and staunchest champions of co- operation, was strongly of opinion that the co- operative societies ought to take the public-house in hand and work it on improved principles. He was a firm believer in our reform, the essential idea of which is that a trade on which the public welfare—or ill-fare—so largely depends ought to be in public, not private, hands. He knew that prohibition is. for. England a.t all events, not within practical politics,' and he therefore desired to see co-operation take into its powerful and public-spirited grasp a business which cannot be ignored I think it will be allowed that Judge Hughes's moral sense and civic spirit was at least up to the average. While speaking of moral sense, let me remark that the quotation to which Mr. Gresty in his paper refers of St. Paul's words touch not, taste not, handle not,' as justifying refusal to have anything to do with licensed victualling, is unfortunate. St. Paul in that passage (Colossiaus ii., 20 and following) is warning his readers against certain false teachers, and quotes disparagingly these prohibitions of theirs, which ,they were trying to enforce on the Church. To suppose that these prohibitions are St. Paul's is, Bishop Lightfoot says, 'to make complete shipwreck of the sense.' Bishop Light- foot mentions as instances of the false asceticism which St. Paul condemns—the avoidance of oil, of wine, or of flesh-meat, the shunning of contact with a stranger or a religious inferior, and the like. ii on' Timothy, ch. iv., we find the Apostle severely censuring those teachers who lorbid to marry and command to abstain from meats —another development of the same stock. Prohibitions of that kind look well, but they work out mischievously. At all events they cannot claim the authority of St. Paul. Returning to public-house reforms as connected with co-operation, I believe that on Lord Spencer's property a public-house is managed in connection with the co-operative Btore, and so, too, on the Hon. F. L. Wood's property. Surely it is worthy of co-operatiou (1) to manage public-houses as judiciously and wholesomely as possible, en- couraging the consumption of other refreshments and victuals, and not allowing alcohol to dominate as at present, and (2) to make the profits of the business serve the other branches of co- operation, and thus minister to the welfare of the people." In conclusion, the Bishop expressed his regret that a. long-standing engagement at Stockport on the 28th inst, prevented his attending the con- ference at Birkenhead.

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A FISHERMAN'S PROTEST.

'LEST WE FORGET.'

CHESTER FISHERMEN AND THE…

THE SCARCITY OF DEE SALMON.

HOBBY HORSE MUSIC AT MALPAS.

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TECHNICAL INSTRUCTION IN CHESHIRE.…

CHESHIRE FEDERATION OF TRADES…

WEEKLY STATE OF THE CHESTER…

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