society would be lost." By no means: provisions are made by the rules to suspend his payments or to lessen them during occasions of temporary pressure; of course, if this continued, his shares would have to be sold to refund the advances made by the society. "But suppose I should die before the mortgage is paid off," rejoins the reader, "what would then ensue?" By a trifling monthly payment the member may provide against such a contingency by means of what is termed a guarantee annuity policy, which provides the sum wanting to pay off the mortgage at any moment the member may die, short of that period. By taking this precaution the member may assure to his wife and family the possession of his house the next moment, in fact, after he has paid his first instalment and the insurance. The accumulating sum put to his credit as the instalments are being paid off may also be looked upon as so much money in the bank, for if at any time of trial or pressure his means should fail, the society would repurchase of him his rights in the house.
When a man begins to save for a definite object it is wonderful how the habit grows upon him; the habit may be carried too far, but, on the whole, it is incalculable the benefit it confers upon a man. If it gives him nothing else, it gives him a sense of independence, which is at the bottom of all social virtue.
It has been urged that these building societies and freehold land societies operate as an act of settlement, binding the artisan to the soil, and thus in a measure depriving him of the power of transferring his labour to the best market. There is some truth in this, but only a very little, and that little is overwhelmingly counteracted by the good it accomplishes. The class of artisans who are likely to invest in these societies, it may be safely said, are not migratory in their habits; they are good workmen, earning fair wages, and as a rule do not change masters. The smaller tradesmen are still more firmly bound to the locality of their occupations; and even supposing that circumstances should arise, driving a man from his old home, still he is the better for having invested in one of these societies, for he can always sell his house or land again to the society at a fair valuation.
We must certainly say that the Birkbeck societies, both Freehold Land, and Building, know how to attract customers: without moving a step from the Institution they may select the exact plot they may set their minds upon, and if they are desirous of having a house built for them, they need not fear having to encounter architects or builders whose doings are so inscrutable to ordinary understandings. The society has designs of houses suited to every man's pocket; and you have only to say how much you are prepared to pay in monthly instalments, and there is the elevation and