The first in the contemplated  series of meetings for mutual improvement
in connection with the above was held  on Wednesday evening in the Victoria
Buildings, when a debate took place on "Are  co-operative societies as at
present conducted beneficial to the working  classes?"
    Mr. R. P. GRAHAM was called to  the chair, and in opening the proceedings
expressed the pleasure it gave him to  see such an unusually large number of
persons in attendance, and thought it  augured well for the success of the
proposed session.
    In proceeding years the  programme had almost invariably to be abandoned
in consequence of the very  meager support vouchsafed by the members and their
friends; but they seem now to  have "repented their ways," and to be
determined that a much needed improvement  should be effected. He hoped this might
prove to be the case.
    Mr. James CRAWFORD then opened  the debate in the affirmative, and
delivered a carefully prepared address, full  of argument. Mr. Joseph SHACKLEY, who
took the negative side of the question,  followed at great length, and as he
evidently spoke from conviction it gave zest  to the proceedings. An animated
discussion followed; but when the question was  put to the vote the numbers
were - for 26; against, 2, while several refrained  from voting either way.
    Votes of thanks to the openers  of the debate and the chairman, which
were duly acknowledged, terminated what  proved to be a most enjoyable and
profitable meeting.