Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- May 26, 1862Quarterly Report of the President of the Chicago Arbeiter-Verein (Published at the request of the Verein)
Despite the fact that the entrance fee was raised last winter, the membership of the Chicago Arbeiter-Verein has steadily increased. The new constitution has been printed and every member has received a copy. As far as we can judge at this time, the Verein will do well under it. The finances of the Verein are in good condition. The library of the Verein has been enlarged considerably, and the members have contributed their share to charity. It is hardly necessary to remind the members that the Verein is obligated to participate in every good work. Thus far, the organization has a good record in this respect.
The following contributions were made for benevolent purposes during the past six months:2
For Hecker's Regiment.....................$ 50.00
For the wives of Union soldiers.......... 205.00
For sick and wounded soldiers............ 50.00
I thank the members and friends of the Verein who have assisted in obtaining these contributions.
Disbursements for Library
From November, 1861 to February, 1862...........$ 35.00
From February, 1862 to May, 1862................... 37.00
For books and binding:
From November, 1861 to February, 1862...$135.00
From February, 1862 to May, 1862............. 88.00
If the library of a society may be considered a barometer of the educational standing of the members, we can view our shelves and cases with great satisfaction, since we have purchased the works of Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, Feuerbach, Hacklaender, Freiligrath, Cooper, Auerbach, Spindler, etc. The report of the librarian shows that our members are making good use of this source of education.
The English night school which our Verein maintains for the benefit of the members has been in session regularly throughout the winter, which shows that our members also appreciate this opportunity to acquire knowledge. And the attendance would certainly have been much larger if the school were more 4centrally located, and if many had not been prevented by business, work, etc. from attending the school.
The Verein also provided for the choral section. The entertainment given for the benefit of our singers netted $47.72, and this sum was turned over to the treasurer with the express understanding that he use the money to purchase music, etc.
Fortunately, there were not many cases of sickness among the members; we seldom had more than three cases at a time, and there were no deaths.
Our affiliation with the Peoria Arbeiter-Verein, should it materialize, will be the first step in our endeavor to spread the principles laid down in our constitution. It is desirable that our members who make their homes in other cities try to organize an Arbeiterverein there, using our constitution as a model, so that eventually anyone who leaves Chicago and settles in some other city will find an affiliated society in which he may become a member, and thus continue to 5receive the benefits which he now enjoys as a member of the Chicago Arbeiter-Verein.
Our Sunday evening entertainments have always been very well attended. It would be a great advantage to the members if the committee on lectures could provide for a lecture every two weeks. Besides stimulating the mind and increasing the knowledge of ambitious members and their friends, such lectures would, in my opinion, be the best means of getting rid of the class of people that thinks only of itself and its amusement and gives no thought to the responsibility which the Verein assumes when it arranges for this kind of entertainment. Let no one say that these people are afflicted with boredom only at certain lectures. The fact is that they are bored at every serious lecture. That was proved at the lecture on the death of Lovejoy, a martyr to the cause of liberty. Fortunately, there are only a few who place little value on education, and the sooner these people cease coming to our hall when serious topics are discussed, the better it will be for all concerned. And even if the subject matter is above the mental capacity of some of those who come to the meeting place of the Verein, they ought 6to have manners enough not to disturb those who want to listen, and should show enough respect for the lecturer to be quiet at least while he is speaking.....
At the last meeting, the members elected a committee which has the duty of obtaining fuel at less than retail cost. I have a recommendation to make in regard to this matter. The Verein has some money in a bank. How about using it to buy fuel at wholesale for the benefit of members, and the treasury of the Verein? If each member should save only fifty cents by buying a ton of coal from the Verein, and the Verein should realize seventy-five cents on the transaction, the member would have a substantial saving, and, with coal at four dollars per ton, the Verein's money would have an earning capacity as follows:
Net profit on investment $100 $18.75 " " " " 400 75.00 " " " " 533 100.00
That certainly is more than a bank pays, or can pay. And that is but three fifths of the entire profit, since the fifty cents saved by the purchaser must be considered also. Thus, if we would invest the whole of our bank balance ($533), the entire profit would be $100 for the Verein and $66.66 for the members. That would be a gain of 311/4 per cent, and the danger of loss would be eliminated because all transactions would be for cash only. I recommend that the Verein give this matter serious consideration.
At the end of the last quarter the membership of the Verein was 389, a gain of 49.
I have the great pleasure of informing you that a much friendlier spirit now prevails in our business meetings. When there is debating, it is done with less bitterness, and without sarcastic references to individuals. Thus the spirit of brotherhood is growing stronger, and as long as it asserts its power, the Verein will flourish.
President of Chicago Arbeiter-Verein
II D 1, I A 3, II B 1 a, II B 2 a, II B 2 f, II B 2 g, II D 10
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