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CHESTER CITY GUILDS. ♦ ANNUAL DINNER. MR. YERBURGH ON NATIONAL EDUCA- TION. The fourteenth annual dinner of the Chester City Guilds was held on Friday in the Assembly Room, Newgate-strcet, and proved one of the most successful gatherings which have been organised among the members of these ancient companies. Mr. Edgar Dutton presided over a company num- bering upwards of 120, and was accompanied by Mr. Robert Yerburgh, M.P., Mr. H. D. Jolliffe, Dr. Archer, Messrs. R. G. Gerrard (vice-chairman), A. S. Dutton, Stanley Gerrard, Charles Parry, S. W. Lee, George Jones, H. W. Lovett, G. E. Old- meadow, D. Sconce, W. H. Coppack, A. Godwin, etc. A letter explaining inability to be present owing to a cold was received from Mr. B. C. Roberts. After an excellent dinner, supplied by Mr. Durish, Foregate-street, the customary toasts were honoured. The King and the Rest of the Royal Family having been given from the chair, Dr. Archer proposed His Majesty's Forces," and alluded to tne painful experience we had recently had of the uses to which our forces could be put. Our Army, he was afraid, had been more or less in a muddled state for a generation or two, ami the Boer War certainly did not shew it to be what it ought to be-an organised fighting machine. There was, however, one redeeming feature about it, for it proved the grit, perseverance and courage possessed by Tommy Atkins, and which he in- herited from his ancestors for centuries past. (Ap- plause.) He thought the War Office was responsi- ble to a great extent for the mistakes that were made in tha war. For instance, he believed that the War Minister of that day (Lord Lansdowne) and the Commander-in-Chief (Lord Wolseley) were more or less at loggerheads. Wolseley saw what was coming, and tried to put the matter before the War Minister in order to prepare him for cominu hostilities. He advised that an army corps should be sent to South Africa within a certain time, but Lord Lansdowne scouted the proposal and said he would not have it. The Government ought not to allow a War Minister who was not a professional soldier to ride over the head of a man who nad been in the Army all his life. At th. present time we were fortunately on the high road to having an efficient Army, with a War Minister of whom we might well be proud. England ought to be provided with a small active Army that could It be mobilised in a short time and made ready to go anywhere. He did not think conscription would ever receive the sanction of the British nation. The last war was the most remarkable one the world had ever seen, because we performed tho herculean feat of transporting about four hundred thousand men a distance of six or seV"1 thousand miles to the seat of war and conquef-J 1. The success of that feat of transport was really due to a magnificent fleet, and if other nations had so powerful a fleet they would readily have stopped our transports. But they 1-new better, because our fleet was able to face those of any combina- tion of nations on the globe. (Applause.) It would be rather interesting—but Gcd forbid that it should haT-p(-ii-to see how the Japanese war- ships would acquit themselves against the Russian vessels in the event of war. because about half-a- dozen of their first-class battleships were built and equipped on exactly the same lines as our own first- class battleships. We must all hop-?. hove,r that such an event would not occur. (Hear, hear.i Alluding to the auxiliary forces, Dr. Archer said they were a feeder of our regular Army which had been too long neglected. The Volunteers were the very bulwarks of this country, and would be of invaluable service in meeting a foreign in- vasion. It was regrettable to see that there had been a great fallimr off in the numbers of Volun- teers during last year. both of officers and men. about twenty or thirty thousand having retired. The Volunteer forces were an admirable substitute for conscription, find ought to be encouraged in every possible way. (Applause.) Sergeant MvddMon responded to the toast. The Pious Memory of Owen Jones" was silently drunk on the proposition of Mr. George Jones. Mr. Yerburgh, who was cordially received, sub- mitted "The Chester City Guilds." He said he had great pleasure, as he had had on many pre- vious occasions, to propose that toast. He was pleased to learn from the chairman that the pros- pects of the guilds were very bright. Mr. Dutton told him that the young men were coming forward prepared to take their share of the burden that had been borne so long by the elder men. (Hear, hear.) That was a very good sign. It was, of course, impossible that the work connected with the management of the guilds should be dis- charged without those responsible for it feeling the strain, and he thought Mr. Dutton and his colleagues were now fairly entitled to some rest from their arduous labours. In discussing the work of the guilds with Mr. Dutton, he had been struck with one or two instances of good that they had done. The work they were engaged upon was indeed admirable. They were providing for tne education of the young people belonging to the guilds, and that in itself was a very admirable work, because at the present time we lived in an atmosphere of the keenest competition, and It was essential that we should place within the reacii of all the children and young men the best pos- sible facilities for education. (Hear, hear.) One of the secrets of the success of the great Napoleon was to be found in the familiar saying that every recruit in his army carried a marshal's baton in his knapsack, which meant that every soldier in Napoleon's army, if he was a man of abilty and courage, had the opportunity of becoming a field marshal. That was what we wanted in our ranks to-day. (Hear, hear.) He wanted all the youth of the country, rich and poor alike, to have the same opportunity of succeeding in life. (Hear, hear.) Those who were in a better position for educating their children were enabled to give them a better start in the race of life than those who wen less fortunately placed, but by degrees we were arriving at a position in this country when the children of the very poorest would have the same opportunity of gaining that requisite know- ledge in tne pursuit of their affairs that the chil- dren of the -it people possessed. The educa- tional work ot the Chester City Guilds was an admirable one, but there was another extremely useful branch of their work in the giving of assist- ance to those members who from no fault of their own found tiiemselves in temporary difficulties, lie wa.s sure that Air. Dutton, knowing how that particular scheme had worked, would be able to testify to its admirable results. Then there was a tinrd branch of their work—the pensions. In their pension scheme they had one admirable rule that not apply to any other scheme of old age pensions he had heard of: they had no limit to that age at which a man was entitled to a pension. ihe test oi a pension wa.s the physical capacity of the man who applied for it; and that was the right test, because one man might be vigorous and able to earn money at sixty, while another, through no fault of his own, might be totally in- capacitated at thirty. (Hear, hear.) The City Guilds had applied that rule with the most ex- cellent results, lie had been greatly interested in the sad case of a young man—a piano tuner—who was seized with creeping paralysis, and en- deavoured to get him admission to a hospital for incuraoles in London. He, however, failed to do so. and the only alternative was to start the various funds for the assistance of incurable patients in connection with the various hospitals throughout the country. Be was glad to say that Mrs. Yerburgh and himself inaugurated one of thv,n funds "I connection with the Blackburn Infirmary, of which he had the honour to be president. tAp- plause.) He understood frcm those who had the working of that fund that it had proved most acceptable to that busy neighbourhood. It enabled them to. give weekly grants for the benefit ?i Juo'lra'e. cases, and the advantage of it was that the patient lived among his own people. A similar fund had been started in connection witn the Chester Jnfirmary. The City Guilds were to be congratulated upon the fact that they had not to go to the public fcr that assistance, but pro- vided it for themselves. Moreover, the guilds had not forgotten what they owed to women, and tiiev were now in the position of being able to give pensions to the widows of those who had been in the receipt of pensions. (Hear, hear.) That was a work of which the guilds ought to feel very proud. He could safely say that a large propor- tion of the position they retained was due to the efforts of Mr. Dutton and those associated with him. When Mr Dutton rcached his pinnacle cf years he would look back upon a busy life. and feel that he had done his full share of work. with his fellow-men. particularly in connection with the City Guilds. (Applause.) The Chairman, in responding, said the guil Is had been carried on successfully for ceusturies, and. were to-day in a better position than ?ver before,, They had on the books at the present time upwards of twenty pensioners, who were in receipt \,f weekly sums varying from 7s. 6d. tr,- a maximum of 12s. To those receiving the maximum alli- ance they were paying upwards oil £ 1,100 in in- vested money, those- receiving 10, a week were paid out of an invested capital of £ 1,000, ald to those who received! 7s. 6d. a fund' of £ 750 wis dis- burse 1, while the widows of th,« pensioner-wero receiving £ 650 a> year from thi> invested Anif-il' (Hear, hear.) Out of their invested capital th^v were not only paying pension*, but also, s l.. r! amount of money for educational purpo^nri grants to school's. They had' upwards of fi ,n,n invested in the King's School for the so«s of mem- bers of the guilds, and £ 3,000 invested in the Queen's School, for the benefit of daughters of members of tho guilds, and had been navin" their children for good attendance at school a'su-n of about £ 120 a year. The guilds were also giving grants for sickness of about £ 90 a year. Four or five years ago he was dissatisfied with the pension scheme, and appealed to the commissioners in London with a view of getting the scheme altered in order to provide for the widows of men who had received pensions. The commissioners granted their request, and now. on the death of any member of the guilds, granted a pension of 7s. a week as long as she lived. (Hear, hear.) Although their society was a very ancient one, they were working on the most modern lines. Mem- bets of the Government had advocated 1 pensions, but the matter ended in promises. From the enormous amount of money absorbed by the guilds in this direction, they knew liov impractic- able it would be to provide a national old-age pension. He thanked Mr. Yti burgh for the kind- ness he had shewn togards the guilds from time to time. The success of the guilds was due largely to Mr. Yerburgh hirnscif-thear, hear)- and they would never have had twenty pensioners but for Mr. Yerburgh's help. Mr. B. C. Roberts, whose absence that night they regrelied, had als.> been an invalauble friend to the guilds. (Applause.) Mr. Jolliffe proposed The Guilds' Tontine Society "—the youngest branch of the City Guilds. He pointed out that, though the society had been in existence only one year, it numbered 97 members, and it was gratifying to find that during the year they had only had five members on the sick list, and that they had been able to, divide a sum of 23s. per head. This society '.ad excellent officers and gave the most favourable promise of development in the future. Mr. S. Gerrard (the secretary), in icsponding, said they hoped in a few days, with the accession of new members, to have a total member-hip of 120. The members contributed Elio to the sick fund, out of which JE7 8s. was spent, and after all expenses were paid they were able to pay a divi- dend of 23s., after making a deduction for the reserve fund. The tru-tees of the Chester Muni- cipal Charities had granted them a sum of £ 10, and they hoped this year to receive a larger sum. The results of the first year's working had been very gratifying, and he had now more confidence- in his wcrk than he had twelve months ago. Hear, hear.) ? The other toasts were "Mr. Yerburgh, and Guests, proposed by the Chairman; "The City and Trade of Chester," proposed by Mr. Ledsham and responded to by Mr. G. E. OH- meadow; and The Chairman, Committee, airl Representative Trustees." proposed by Mr. D. Sconce and replied to by Mr. T. P. Tushingham. The toast list was enjovably interspersed with songs by Messrs. A. S. Dutton. F. Tushingham, T. Oa,kes and A. H. Jones, and recitations by Mr. G. Moore. Mr. F. Tushingham and Mr W. H. Davies accompanied.