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JAMES WEBB, PROV. C.S., HYDE DISTRICT.

MR. JAMES WEBB, one of the gentlemen selected by the delegates at the Leicester A.M.C., to have his portrait in the Magazine, is known as a most active and zealous member of our Order;-the honour therefore is well accorded. He was born at Pillsworth near Bury, in the county of Lancaster, on the 10th of June 1808. He is the eldest son of the late John Webb, calico printer, formerly of Hams, near Ratcliffe, and is a lineal descendant, by the side of his paternal grandmother, of the late John Collier of Milnrow, near Rochdale that singular celebrity of wit, humour, and caricature, who rejoiced in the euphonious cognomen of "Tim Bobbin." Painter, poet, prosodist, wit, and philosopher, the name and writings of Tim Bobbin are universally known throughout these districts; but the works in which he excelled being written principally in the Lancashire dialect, are scarcely appreciated to the extent they deserve.

This passing tribute to a man of genius from whom Mr. Webb has descended, will not probably be considered out of place. On Mr. Webb's father removing to Hyde, he gave up the precarious occupation of calico printer, and commenced as a schoolmaster. For this profession he was pretty well adapted, having received a sound English education, which he gradually imparted to the subject of this notice. Mr. Webb commenced work before he was nine years of age, and in due time was apprenticed to a block printer. About the time his apprenticeship was completed, he married Ann, the eldest daughter of the late Thomas Atkinson, on the 28th of October, 1827. They have been blessed with a family of thirteen children, five of whom, three sons and two daughters, only are living. Like most men who have to climb from the lowermost rounds of the social ladder, Mr. Webb and his partner have tasted of the bitters as well as the sweets of life. Shortly after marriage, and when his family began to increase, his trade of block printer was sadly depressed, and employment in it became very precarious.

Seeing no prospect of his trade reviving and that a livelihood must be obtained for himself and young family, he resolved to make application for

VOL. II.

BB

a situation as under-bookkeeper. In this he was successful; and through his assiduity and good conduct his employers soon raised him to be principal and general warehouseman, giving him at the same time a liberal advance of salary. In this situation he remained until the year 1836 when his father died, when he succeeded him in the school. Since this period he has followed the honourable profession of teacher, and now has one of the most numerous, and respectable private schools in the neighbourhood. By his own exertions, aided by his wife, he has acquired a humble competency, and occupies a position which by his energy, perseverance, industry, and honourable conduct, alike richly entitle him to enjoy and possess.

Mr. Webb was initiated in the Stranger's Refuge Lodge, Hyde District, on the 23rd of March, 1835. The Lodge night after his initiation, he was elected Assistant Secretary; and at the next change of officers was appointed Elective Secretary. In the same year he was appointed one of the Board of Management of the District. At this period in the history of the Hyde District, it was discovered that the officers had sorely mismanaged their accounts with the Board of Directors, and run the District considerably into debt. As no person could actually be made responsible for this state of things, it was determined that there should be a board of management; that the goods' department should be invested in Mr. Webb, and the remaining part conducted by the Board, thus virtually superseding the District officers. Things went on this way for nearly three years, during which time Mr. Webb served the offices successively of V.G., N.G., and G.M. of the Lodge, and was now eligible to serve as a District officer. He stood his poll for C.S. of the District, but was defeated by an older member, who retained the office for a few months, until he got hold of a sum of money, and then gave up his office and membership, having more respect for cash in hand than his own honour or the credit of the Manchester Unity. But, on Mr. Webb attaining the office of G.M., in 1840, he was compelled to refund the money in less than a week. As might be expected, the books had become confused through the late Corresponding Secretary seceding from the Order, and those of the Board of Management never having been properly audited. Mr. Webb was therefore appointed to audit the District accounts, and those of the Board of Management for the preceding three years; the ordinary auditors having declined the investigation. He was successful, and the District, seeing his ability in accounts, elected him C.S. This was in 1838: in 1839 he was appointed Prov. D.G.M., and in 1840 he was elected G.M. In 1841 he was re-elected C.S., which office he has held to the present time. During his term of office in the Lodge, he introduced many reforms both in the Lodge and the District, several of which have been adopted by not only our own order but by other societies. The declaration certificate for new members was first introduced by him; the Hyde District printed and distributed a considerable number of these certificates, which were entitled the "selfacting examining surgeon," at various annual meetings, and great good has resulted. In 1839 the attention of Mr. Webb was drawn to the enormous amount paid for travelling relief; by statistical tables produced and laid before the York A.M.C., Mr. Webb proved that where some districts were paying pounds, others were only paying pence for the relief of travellers. This, together with other information which he furnished for managing and improving the travelling relief, led to a nearer equalization of the system;

and he has, by this enquiry and reform alone, saved the Unity thousands of pounds, without at the same time compromising the honour or dignity of the Order. The present (247th) general law, containing the scale by which travellers are now paid was proposed and carried by Mr. Webb at the Bradford A.M.C., in 1843, and has never been disturbed since. Although the amount paid may seem low, a much larger sum could not be paid, with our present income, without serious detriment to the Unity, as was proved by the Isle of Man A.M.C., which granted one shilling and sixpence per day to each traveller, and which rule had to be suspended at the end of two months, as it would inevitably have devoured the larger portion of the funds of the Unity. It has been stated that prior to Mr. Webb taking up this question of travelling relief, the Order paid upwards of £6,000 per annum; but according to the statistics of our able C.S., Henry Ratcliffe, it will be seen, in the last quarterly (April) report that the average for the last seven years amounted to £388 7s. 74d. These figures will tell their own tale.

Mr. Webb has also from the first taken an active part in the reduction of the initiation fee for young members. When this question was introduced, (by P.P.G.M. Aitken, Ashton-under-Lyne, in 1847,) he drew up an elaborate comparative table showing the advantages to be derived by the admission of young members, and forwarded the same to the Oxford A.M.C., by the late lamented P.G.M. John Bradley; this document was used in the discussion, and aided at the Preston A.M.C. in reducing the guinea fee.

Mr. Webb has attended the following Annual Meetings, in all of which he has taken an active part in the progressive principles which make the Independent Order of Odd-fellows stand out in bold relief from all other institutions organised for similar purposes:-viz., York, Bradford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Halifax, Dublin, Lincoln, Leicester, and Shrewsbury. During the past year, Mr. Webb has materially assisted in raising the sum of fifty pounds towards a new District Infirmary now in the course of erection at Ashton-under-Lyne, which sum. as recorded in these pages, was presented by the Hyde District to the Institution at a concert and soiree held in the Mechanics' Institution on the 28th of February last. On the same evening the members presented Mr. Webb with a handsome gold watch and chain valued at twenty-six guineas, as an acknowledgment of his faithful and zealous services to the District and Order for upwards of 24 years. It may be truly said that no man has more hardly earned a tribute of gratitude from his fellow members than has Mr. Webb. Through his energy, perseverance, and the respect in which he is held by all classes in Hyde and the neighbourhood, he has been the principal cause of the establishment of a Savings' Bank in Hyde, for the purpose of affording to Friendly Societies and the labouring classes, a secure and profitable investment of such sums of money as they may be able to save. So highly did all classes think of his untiring energy and selfabnegation in this matter, that they voluntarily presented him with a purse of twenty pounds for his services. Such is a brief outline of the career of Mr. Webb, of whom it may be said, as Othello said of himself, he has “done the state some service, and they know it." Such men are a credit to our institution, and an ornament to society; and we heartily wish the veteran long life and happiness. May his example be followed by many aspiring members of the Manchester Unity.

THE LAW OF TRUSTEES.

"Ir is a true act of friendship to accept an onerous trust. In the creation of a trust, the person whose property is to be the subject of it, has to weigh well how far he can confide in the integrity of the proposed trustee; and, to guard as well against dishonesty as against death, or an inability or unwillingness to continue a trustee, more than one is generally appointed. On the other hand, the proposed trustee has to reflect upon the liabilities which he will incur. He may well hesitate, for he can hardly have lived long in society without meeting with some family whose prospects in life have been destroyed by an innocent error of the head of the house, in the execution of a trust."

These important remarks of a great authority deserve much consideration, and have more application to our modern Friendly Societies than the generality of members commonly suppose. It should be well understood, that such societies as have not received the legal certificate of a Registrarand they are not few, but many-are really private partnerships; having trusts to be executed, with regard to which the trustees are amenable to the common rules and jurisdiction of the courts of law and equity. And those societies which are registered are also subject to these laws, but have, at the same time, the advantages afforded by the Friendly Societies' Acts, and the uniform rules, certified by the Registrar, for their guidance. This, however, is certain, that even registered societies will not be wise to act on all their rules, although passed by a Registrar. And the unregistered societies, as well as the registered, must bestow more attention than they have, up to the present time, to the subject of this paper, before trustees can be said to have that reasonable protection to which they are clearly entitled, or members feel secure and satisfied as to the position of the invested capital, or surplus funds, or whatever other term may be used to designate that which lawyers call the Trust Estate.

Almost any person may be a trustee; the chief exception being that aliens cannot as to real estate. It is good public policy which debars them from purchasing and legally holding land, and what they cannot do themselves they are not allowed to undertake for others, because fictitious trusts might be created to defeat the object of the laws, and to such an extent as to leave the soil of the country in the possession of foreigners and enemies.

Before a person can be a trustee, he is appointed by some deed, will, or other instrument, or authorised so to act, and he usually shews his acceptance of the trust by doing some act, such as proving the will, taking possession of the deed and estate, or discharging the necessary duties of his office. Once a trustee, he cannot divest himself of that character till he has performed the trust, unless with the consent of the Court of Chancery, or of his "cestui que trust," which words are commonly used, and are well understood, legally, to signify the person who is the real, substantial, and beneficial owner of the property held in trust. A trustee is not allowed to take remuneration by way of recompense or salary, but he may defray and reimburse himself, out of the trust funds, expenses legitimately and properly incurred. He is required to use customary care and diligence-that which is usually exercised by men of ordinary prudence and vigilance in the management of their own affairs. If he omits to sell property when it ought to be sold, and it is afterwards lost, though without his fault, he is liable, because the loss, though not directly occasioned by his default, would never have happened had he not failed in strictly performing his duty.

Lord St. Leonards' Handy Book.

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