Petition of the members of the first Belfast Co-operative Society

Scope and Content

Manuscript: The petitioners declare that there is "something radically wrong in the constitution of society," detailing those within the "productive classes" going without food and sufficient clothing, even though Ireland produces plenty of both. They believe the increasing rate of unemployment and the "poverty and distress" that it causes is due to the employment of machinery, over the use of manual labour.

It is put forward that the only remedy to this problem is to adopt the "co-operative or communional[sic] system as explained by Robert Owen and others, under which system all the clashing interests, which now desolate society could be reconciled, and under which only can all improvements immediately benefit every individual to whom its influence extends." They ask for government help to implement a scheme based-upon this system.

Note

Stamped number: 2091.