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A meeting of the Early Closing Association was held at the Y.W.C.A. Rooms, i» Moray place, last night. The Rev. Rutherford Waddell (president) occupied the chair, and there were about fifty persons present-

The Chairman said he desired to expresshis thankfulness to the society for electing him president. He was, however, physically incapacitated for the position, owiog to his deafness, and his time was already* occupied so very much with the increasing number of duties that be had to discharge that be was exceedingly loth to take office without being able to give some attention tothe duties connected with it. He mentioned this to the Committee, and said thathe thought it was advisable that he should resign, and that some energetic man should be appointed as president in his stead. The Committee, however, said that if he resigned it wonid place them in a somewhat difficult position, and he consented to take office until they corild get someone to discharge the duties In a better way than be could. As they were aware, a difficulty stood in the way of early dosing a few weeks ago, owing to the stand that Mr M'Donald took up. Since the last meeting of the society that gentleman had been prevailed upon to consent to close ; but now there was another obstacle in the way of the movement, as a shopkeeper who formerly agreed to close had now intimated his intention of keeping open. The chief reason that he assigned was that the time for early closing now was inopportune, as the Exhibition was coming on, and the Association) would be making a blunder to force the question at the present time. The shopkeeper, however, stated that he would be inclined to close during the winter. Itwould now be for the meeting to determine l what further steps they would take—whether they should proceed to extremities', to agitate, or whether they should postpone the matter of early closing until after-the Exhibition was over, and then make a vigorous effort to carry the movement through. There were very strong reasons for the latter course. In the first place, It seemed to him that if they got bouses toclose now at 6.30 several of them would be closing under the conviction that they could be making money after six o’clock. Consequently, if they thought they were losing money now, it would be very difficult to get them to keep closed. Perhaps ft would be the wiser course to try and educate people not to shop after six now, and by next winter the shops would find that it would be unprofitable to keep open after that hour. He was of opinion that early closing would never be entirely effectual until they gotlegislative interference. The Association, however, might consider the advisability of forming an employes’ union, with the object of carrying out the objects they had in view. They might also bring the matter before the various trades unions in town, and get their consent not to shop after six o’clock. They might, too, endeavor to get literature circulated in favor of early closing.

Mr P. J. Bellett thanked the chairman for the kindly interest he had taken in the early closing movement, and hoped that they would long continue to possess his influence. He had waited upon the shopkeeper in question, who had intimated that he had received a previous visit from the Rev. R, Waddell, and also stated that he did not intend to take up a different stand to what he had previously taken up. He seemed very much annoyed and put out, and gave him (Mr Bellett) to understand that he did not like being interfered with. It was evident from what he bad said that it was useless to try and get him to close, because he seemed to be fully determined not to do so. He said he had intimated that he would not close his shop, and he gave the speaker to understand that he would stick to that.

In answer to Mr Cottrell, the Chaiejias said that through one shopkeeper declining to close his shop other shopkeepers woold refuse to close their establishments.

Mr Cottrell said if that was so, It seemed to him that it would not be right to discontinue the agitation re early closing. He thought they should use every endeavor to compel the shopkeeper in question to close his shop. The chairman had remarked that the returns would probably decrease, bat that was a mistake, because the returns would not decrease. There was, therefore, no excuse in the statement that the returns would decrease owing to the shops being closed at an earlier hour than had previously been the case.

Mr Bellett suggested that the names of all those who had intimated their willingness to close be published, and it would then be seen by the public who were standing out.— (Applause.) Mr Proct seconded Mr Bellett’s motion, and thought that the public should be appealed to not to purchase goods at the establishments of those persons who had refused to close. The motion was carried unanimously. Some discussion ensued as to whether or not the names of defaulters should be published. It was stated that these persons had promised to close after the Exhibition season, but Mr Bellett said that perhaps they would make so much money during the Exhibition season that they would not care whether the society wanted them to close or not. He thought that as there was only one defaulter he should be crushed at once.—(Applause.) The question as to whether the matter should be left over until the Exhibition bad closed or not was then discussed. Several persons spoke for and against the proposal, but the meeting ultimately decided not to discontinue the agitation, but to keep matters going, as a fair start had been made.

Mr Howard thought that before extreme measures should be adopted the defaulters should be approached and written to and requested to accede to the wishes of the Early Closing Association. Mr Hutchison said that they would not get the people to close unless an Act of Parliament to that effect was passed. It was not the proper thing to try and compel people to close their shops at a certain time ; they should try to fix an hour for the termination of the employes’ business hours, and they would obtain much more sympathy if they agitated in that direction. Employes had much too long hours, and they should be allowed to go away from business at an earlier hour; but it was not proper to ask a small shopkeeper to close when he employed no assistants, and had only himself to consider. They should get their own hours fixed, and let the shopkeepers fight the matter out amongst themselves. Mr Bellett said that the small shopkeepers had smaller receipts, but they had a much smaller expenditure than the large shopkeepers. He placed them all on the same footing, and thought that the same rule i should apply to all. Ultimately the following motion was carried:—“ That the meeting resolve to take no further steps at present to give publicity to the name of the firm declining to close, but that the Committee address a final appeal to the proprietor respectfully asking him to reconsider his decision, and that failing a satisfactory reply being received, the Committee publish the names of the firms that agree to close, and the name of the firm that does not, and that the names be sent to all the various trades societies in town, and be printed and circulated throughout the City.” Mr Bellett thought that employers should be admitted into the society, and moved to that effect. The Chairman said that as the motion involved an alteration in the constitution, members of the society being restricted to employes only, he did not think that the motion should be put to the present meeting. Mr Bellett might give notice of such a motion.

Mr PjiLLKTT said that he would give notice of motion if an expression favorable to the proposal was given by the meeting. Upon a vote being taken, it was rrrn that the feeling of the meeting was evidently against the proposal, and the matter was not proceeded with. An informal discussion then ensued, it being decided to hold a public meeting shortly to finally consider the matter. The meeting terminated with the usual compliments to the chair.

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EARLY CLOSING ASSOCIATION., Issue 8033, 9 October 1889

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EARLY CLOSING ASSOCIATION. Issue 8033, 9 October 1889

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