BENEFIT SOCIETIES, associations • for mutual benefit chiefly among the laboring classes, and of which there are now great numbers; being better known under the nano of Flar.sn.v SOCIETIES, we refer for an account of them to that head. Meanwhile, we eon tine attention to that peculiar species of associations called BENEFIT BUILDING SOCI ETIES, which are much better described as building societies only. These are established for the purpose of raising, by periodical subscriptions, a fund to assist mem bers in obtaining heritable property, freehold or otherwise. They were formerly regu lated by an act passed in 18,,6, the 6 and 7 William IV. and continued under its provisions till Nov., 1874, when a new act, which received 1V., royal assent in July of that year, mine into operation. All societies established thereafter must be governed by this later act, and those which were in existence at the time of its enactment may adopt it, but it is not compulsory upon theta to do so. The act of 1836 declares that it shalt be lawful to establish such societies, for the purpose of enabling the members to erect and purchase dwelling-houses, or acquire other real or leasehold estate, but which shall be mortgaged to the society until the amount or value of the shares drawn on shall be fully repaid with interest and all other appropriate payments. A. share is not to exceed in value £150, and the corresponding monthly subscription is not to be more than twenty shillings. A majority of the members may make rules and regulations for•the govern ment and guidance of the society. such roles not being repugnant to the provisions of the act, nor to the general laws of the realm; and for offenses against these rules and regulations, fines, penalties. and forfeitures may be inflicted. No member shall he allowed to receive any interest or dividend on his share until the same has been realized, except on the withdrawal of such member according to the rules of the society.
The new act considerably enlarges the scope and powers of B..$. Section 13 declares that any number of persons may establish a either terminating or per nutrient, for the purpose of raising, by the subscriptions of the members, a stock or fund for making ativiinces to members out of the funds of the society, upon security of freehold, copyhold, or leasehold estate, by way of mortgage; and any society under the act shall, so tar as is necessar• for the said purpose, have power to hold land, with the right of foreclosure, and may from time to time lake funds by the issue of shares of one or more denominations, either paid up in full or to be paid by periodical or other sub scriptions, and Nvith or without accumulating interest, and.may repay such funds.when
no longer required for the 'purposes of the society. It will be'seen that the restrictions of £150 and twenty shillings halve disappeared, the contributions and ultimate value of a member's interest being at his own discretion. The liability of members, in respect of shares upon which an advance has been made, is limited to the amount actually paid or in urrear thereon; and in respect of shares upon which advances have been made, is limited to the amount payable under any mortgage or other security, or under the rules. Societies are empowered to receive deposits or loans, from members or other persons, corporate bodies, joint-stock compandes, or terminating building societies, provided, in the case of permanent societies, that the total amount at one time shall not exceed two-thirds of the amount for the time being seenred to a society by mortgages from its members; and in the case of terminating societies, shall not exceed two-thirds as aforesaid, or a sum not exceeding twelve months' subscript orison the shares for the time being in force. Societies established under or adopting the act of 1C74'are bodies corporate, having per petual succession and a common seal, thus dispensing with the cumbrous rind inconve nient system of trusteeship. Their rules roust specify the society's name and place of Meeting; mode of raising funds, with their purposes and mode of investment; terms of withdrawal and repayment; manner of alteration of rules: the appointment, rerminera tion, and removal of officers; provisions as to general and special meetings, and the set tlement of disputes, custody of seal, mortgage deeds, and securities, powers of directors and other officers, fines, find mode of dissobition. Societies may unite with others, or one society may transfer its engagements to another. They purchase, build, hire, or take on lease any building for conducting their business. Minors may be members, but cannot vote or hold office during nonage. Accounts are to be furniSlied to members and loan depositors annually. The societies are exempt from stamp duties of every kind, except those upon mortgages; while those which continue tinder the net of 1830 retain their present exemption ?win stamp-duty upon mortgages also up to £300. It is not probable that this difference will be permitted to continue long; and even now the slight gain is more than counterbalanced by the privileges of incorporation, etc., conceded by the act of 1874. Receipts indorsed upon mortgages are sufficient discharges without reconveyanco.