Letter from James Emerson to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

In this manuscript letter Emerson gives a comprehensive insight on the progress of the Belfast Cooperative Society, to which he appears closely connected. He writes of his recent attending the Society's 4th meeting along with "200 to 400" other people, several of whom were " individuals of intelligence and high respectability"; at the meeting he was impressed with the members knowledge of the "features of cooperation".

He continues to discuss the progress made, with 31 more members having been enrolled, bringing the total to 108, of the Society beginning the manufacture of shoes - thereby allowing the employment of its members and allowing the introduction a "system of mutual labour", and telling of a "commodious establishment in one of the principal mercantile streets" [in Belfast] being taken by the Society which has from 3 months sales shown a profit of £58.

Emerson also writes of the establishment of other cooperatives in the North of Ireland; 2 more in Belfast - one at Ballymacarrett and another at Whitehouse, 1 in Derry and 1 in Larne being mentioned in what Emerson believes is now "10 or 12 Cooperative Societies in this province alone"; writes of his fears that the only "bar of progress of the System in this part of Ireland are the strong religious prejudices of a presbyterian population".

Note

Stamped number: 383