Our readers will find in this issue a letter from Professor Ames, President of the Co-operative Society, in which he proposes to become personally responsible for the success and solvency of the society in June, in case the sum of $600 is raised before this evening. His letter is also a personal assurance, based on his knowledge of the affairs of the society, that if this sum is raised, there will be in June a surplus of stock over liabilities. The society could never become a success so long as every summer it had to end the year without a clear surplus in the form of stock on hand. From the nature of the business, it is impossible to clear out and sell everything at the end of each year ; a certain amount of stock left on hand is inevitable ; and if this stock is not the clear property of the society, but has to be "slaughtered" to pay debts due, the society must always be in an embarrassed and uncertain condition. Expecting to have to pay rent next year, the directors felt sure at the beginning of this year, that the society would not get through next year, paying rent, unless it were made so successful this year as to leave a net surplus of stock, and thus avoid the embarrassment and loss resulting from a surplus stock encumbered with debts. Their choice lay, therefore, between making this year merely a repletion of last year, and consequently, seeing the society in danger of dying at the beginning of next year, (and the society has been in such danger at the beginning of every year) or making a bold push this year, running risks, offering superior inducements and better facilities, in which case success would mean that the society was permanently on its legs. They took the risk, hoping the students would respond to increased facilities. The students did not respond as heartily as was hoped ; the business, and the receipts from fees have consequently not been so large as was hoped ; and the expenses have been heavier than was expected, and, perhaps, heavier than they ought to have been. At all events, unless some ready money is raised by to night, the society dies in February instead, according to their views, of next June. Now, however, Professor Ames personally guarantees that if the $600 is paid in before to-night, not only will the society go through this year all right, but the permanent capital in stock, which is in the opinion of the directors the only means of ensuring the permanent existence of the society, will be secured. According to the directors, then, it is not merely the services of the society for this year that the students will secure by raising a cash assessment, but the assurance of an accumulation of stock that will put the society on its legs for the future.
Such men as organized the Harvard Co-operative Society are not to be found in college every year, or every few years. It took a great deal of hard work and disinterested enthusiasm on the part of influential students to start co-operation here four years ago, and if the society dies now, it will be long before the men are found in college to start another.
We hope all who are interested, whether members of the society or not, will attend the meeting at 7 o'clock this evening, in Sever 11. This is a matter that affects us all, inasmuch as it is a question of keeping Cambridge prices down twenty per cent, for cash purchases.