Pare, William (DNB00)

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PARE, WILLIAM (1805–1873), co-operator, son of John Pare, cabinet-maker and upholsterer, of Birmingham, was born there in 1805. He was apprenticed to his father, but became a reporter. He subsequently engaged in business as a tobacco and cigar retailer in New Street, Birmingham. Early in life he helped to found a mechanics' institution in that town, and joined the small group of men who were trying to obtain a reform in the parliamentary representation. He also took part in the agitation for the repeal of the test and corporation acts, and for Roman catholic emancipation. On the formation of the ‘Political Union in 1830’ he became a member of the council, when he advocated extension of the suffrage, shorter parliaments, and vote by ballot. On 7 Aug. 1832 he drafted and moved in the parish church three resolutions against the payment of church rates. The petition, then adopted and sent by him to Hume, was the last presented to the unreformed House of Commons. When the ‘Reformers' Registration Society’ was established in 1835, Pare became secretary. He was the first registrar of Birmingham under the act legalising civil marriages (6 and 7 Will. iv. c. 85). As a member of the charter committee appointed in 1837, he actively promoted the incorporation of the town, and was a member of the first town council.

Meanwhile Pare had become widely known as an able disciple of Robert Owen [q. v.] Converted to his teaching by William Thompson of Cork, Pare was one of the founders in 1828 of the first Birmingham co-operative society, at the anniversary of which he presided on 28 Dec. 1829. In the following year he attracted notice by the lectures he gave in support of co-operation at Liverpool, Manchester, Bolton, Chester, and other places. From May 1830, when the first co-operative congress was held at Manchester, until 1838, he constantly attended the congresses as one of the secretaries. From 1832 he advocated the establishment of labour exchanges, and mainly through his efforts the one at Birmingham had some success. He was one of the trustees of the property bequeathed for co-operative purposes by William Thompson of Cork in 1833; and when the heirs-at-law instituted an action in the Irish court of chancery, he went to Ireland to watch over the interests of the trustees, lecturing at various co-operative centres on the way. He was vice-president of Owen's society, ‘The Association of all Classes of all Nations,’ of which the central board was established at Birmingham. He continued an active member of the board until its removal to London in 1840. Forced to resign his registrarship in consequence of his socialistic opinions, he left Birmingham in November 1842, when he was presented with a public testimonial. From 1842 to 1844 he was acting-governor of Owen's community at Queenwood, Hampshire. He removed to London in 1844, and as a railway statist he was frequently employed to prepare reports for presentation to parliament for some of the principal lines projected in England, on the continent, in India, Algeria, and in many other countries.

From 1846 to 1865 he lived near Dublin, engaged in the management of ironworks at Clontarf, Liverpool, and Chepstow. On Owen's death in 1858 he became his literary executor. He was honorary secretary to the committee by which the co-operative congress was called in 1869, and afterwards to the central board. He presided at the Owen centenary in 1871, and gave an address on the life of Owen. He died, after a long illness, on 18 June 1873, at the house of his son, Ruby Lodge, Park Hill, Croydon, and he was buried on 23 June in Shirley Churchyard, near Croydon. By his will he left all books, papers, and pictures in his possession relating to social subjects, together with 50l., to any institute or trust founded on the model of an Owen institute suggested by him.

Pare published: 1. ‘The Claims of Capital and Labour, with a Sketch of practical Measures for their Conciliation,’ London, 1854, 8vo. 2. ‘A Plan for the Suppression of the Predatory Classes,’ a paper read before the third department of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science; reprinted from the ‘Transactions,’ 1862, London, 1862, 8vo. 3. ‘Co-operative Agriculture: a Solution of the Land Question, as exemplified in the History of the Relahine Co-operative Association, County Clare, Ireland,’ London, 1850, 8vo. He also edited William Thompson's ‘Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth most conducive to Human Happiness;’ 2nd ed. London, 1850, 8vo. He was a frequent contributor to co-operative newspapers. At the time of his death he was engaged in writing the life of Robert Owen from the correspondence and other materials in his possession.

Pare married Ann Oakes of Market Drayton, Shropshire, by whom he had issue John Clement, Caroline, and Emma Amelia; the last-named married Thomas Dixon Galpin. Mrs. Pare died in 1886.

[The Crisis, passim; Report of the … Centenary Birthday of Robert Owen; Co-operative News, 1873, pp. 324, 333, 345, 369, 382, 393; Langford's Century of Birmingham Life, ii. 536, 544, 627; Bunce's History of the Corporation of Birmingham, i. 109, 113, 131, 145, 155, 158, 245, 289; Sargant's Robert Owen and his Philosophy, pp. iii, iv, 294, 296, 378; Holyoake's Life and Last Days of Robert Owen, pp. 12, 15; History of Co-operation, passim; Sixty Years of an Agitator's Life, i. 40, 41, 77, 141; Benjamin Jones's Co-operative Production, i. 65; and information kindly supplied by J. C. Pare, esq., of Croydon.]

W. A. S. H.