On Tuesday the first yearly meeting of one of the
first great co- operative coal companies of the North, Messrs. Henry Briggs and Co. (Limited), of the Whitwood and Methley Junction Colliery, was held at Leeds, and the amazing success of the co-operative (principle in its application to collieries was apparently proved. Mr. 'Briggs was, a few years ago, at the head of the coal-owners in their rows with the colliers, and the colliers used to say, in their elegant fashion, " The coal-owners are devils, and Briggs is the prince of the devils." Now, by taking up heartily the co-opera- tive principle, Mr. Brigga has become the most popular coal- owner in the coal district. Mr. I-I-anu Briggs, the chairman of the company, announced that they had worked the concern as a co-operative company only since 1st July, 1865 ; they began on the principle of giving an average rate of wages, paying 10 per oent. on- the capital employed, and then dividing the excess be- tween the labourers and the capitalists. Acting on this principle, they had divided 1,800/. as bonus amongst the workmen in the year, and yet Mr. Henry Briggs said that his dividend as partner was " larger than he had ever received from the collieries before, even in the most prosperous years." Mr. Thomas Hughes, M.P., who was pre- sent, pointed out inan admirable speech how generously the Messrs.
Briggs had acted in charging the company nothing at all for "good- will," only " for what was actually upon the land," and described the application of the co-operative principle to commerce as the extension of the true principle of "constitutional government" to other than political departments of life.