M. Mabilleau delivered the second of his series of lectures in the Fogg Lecture Room last night on "Le Secours Mutuelen France."
M. Mabilleau began by explaining the general characteristics of mutual aid societies. He emphasized the fact that they stand for liberty, solidity and fraternity, and that men may join them and sever their connections with them as they wish. A member is under no obligation to them, save that of paying his monthly dues, which range from one to three francs. The money thus collected is deposited in state banks and forms a permanent and ever increasing fund, designated for the use of needy members of the societies. It is an admirable fact that poor workmen are willing to give their share towards these funds, part of which, at least, they know will be used by laborers of future generations less fortunate than themselves.
One of the greatest services of these societies is that of insuring adequate medical treatment to their members when sick, and of paying their full wages during their illness. Furthermore the societies see to it that no laborer who has been sick returns to his work until he is thoroughly cured. Through the agency of the societies it was shown that pharmacists made fabulous profits on medicinal articles. The societies proceeded to engage the services of a large number of pharmacists, who sell their goods at cost price to members of mutual aid societies. The greatest benefit, however, which the societies afford is the system known as the "credit populaire," by which money is lent without interest to needy workmen, thus giving them necessary encouragement and a proper start in their occupations.