History of West Calder Chapter XV. Friendly Societys in 1799 and 1812
The first friendly
society, in this parish, was instituted in 1799. There is nothing
uncommon in its regulations. The entry -money 1s 5s., and the
quarterly payment 1s 1s. There is a widows’ fund attached to it; on
such a plan as can never prove pernicious to its funds. It is
supported by Is. yearly for each member; and all the fines for
irregular payment, and the sum given to the widows must always be in
proportion to the sum accumulated. The first payment made from it
were in 1807; and since that time the members, the funds, the annual
payments to the sick and to the widows, have been always increasing.
Before stating them, it is proper to say, that when the funds of the
friendly society amounted to £100, the members had it in their power
to transfer a certain part of the overplus every year to the widows’
fund, if they thought it necessary. The weekly allowance to sick
members was four shillings at first, and the annual sum to the
widows £1. Since the fund increased, the sick, for three years past,
have received five shillings, and the widows £2.
It is evident, from this statement,
that- as the number of widows may considerably increase, and as the
contingencies against the society may be greater, that the balances
are not sufficient for the prosperity of the respective funds; and
therefore the society have retained it in their power to reduce the
weekly payments to 4s. when the capital is reduced to less than
£150, and the widows to £1 when necessary.
Another friendly society, on a different plan, was instituted in
February, 1812: The object of it is not to accumulate a great
capital, but to make the subscribers at all times responsible for
the deficiency of the funds. The subscription is one penny per week,
collected at the end of every six weeks; and, the payments to the
sick members, commence from their entry. The admission money is 5s.
The stock is at this date £20, and about half of that sum for
widows. The members, 104, and the yearly payments of £40.
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