Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1892, page 5
A Benefit Society
Liberty, honor and fraternity
These were said to be the principles on which it was said to be based—the Canadian Mutual Benefit Society.
Another of those societies which promised to quickly enrich persons with small capital has become defunct. This time it is a purely Canadian Society, and its life has been a short one. Some two years ago there arrived in Montreal a man named William Davey. He was accompanied by his wife and a large family. The head of the house secured employment as a moulder in Clendenning’s foundry. Here he remained but a few months for his intellect sought larger scope than that afforded by the workshop. An opportunity offered itself, and the moulder became installed as the Supreme Vice-President of an organization known as the Progressive Benefit Order, of which his brother was head. The charge of the affairs of the Order in Canada was given to William Davey. In October last he became dissatisfied with the working of the Progressive Benefit Order and decided to establish a society on his own account. Circulars were issued and the institution was formed. It was entitled “The Canadian Mutual Benefit Society” and William Davey became Supreme President. Room 16 of the Mechanics Institute on St James Street was rented and sumptuously furnished as the headquarters of the new venture. The circulars inviting membership set forth that it was a “fraternal and beneficial order based upon the broadest principles of liberty, honor and fraternity,” and that it was duly organized in conformity with the provisions of Chapter I, Title VIII of the Revised Statutes of the province of Quebec.
ITS CHIEF AIM
Was to pay $100 at the expiration of a year’s membership to each member. The estimated cost was to be from $65 to $70. The cost of joining was five dollars; the annual society fees, payable quarterly, in advance, four dollars; and assessments of two dollars each, “at the call of the Supreme Council.” In case of sickness $10 per week was to be allowed for not more than five weeks, which sum was to be deducted from the $100. In case of death after three months’ membership, one-quarter of the amount of the certificate was to be paid to the heirs, after six months one-half, and after nine months three-quarters. The circular concludes with the following words:
“Now, believing we are offering you a desirable protection, we would ask you to come and join us, the earlier, the better for you. If inconvenient to attend meeting to join our Society, membership blanks can be had on addressing the supreme one or from any member of the Society. These must be filled up by you with your name and address, and returned with $5.00 for membership.”
Any one who would furnish five dollars was received into full membership, as there was no medical examination. After having started a lodge in Montreal, Mr. Wm Davey secured an extra allowance of twenty-five dollars to institute a branch in Sherbrooke, but it was never organized and it does not appear that the money was returned. Contrary to the expectations of the sanguine Davey, the tempting offer did not succeed as he had hoped. The Society received a death blow by the failure of the Progressive Benefit Order, some two months ago, which was conducted on similar principles. Some fifty members paid for fees and assessments in cash, and in goods to Mr. Davey some $600, looking towards the maturing of their certificates. One bright winter’s morning, the haunts that had known Mr. Davey knew him no more, and it began to be whispered around that the Supreme President of the CMBS had skipped. On visiting his residence, 451 St Dominique Street, it was found to be even so. On Friday last what had been left of the household furniture was sold by the landlord and the office furnishings have also been seized for rent. The members hold their certificates, the first of which was issued to Mr. Arthur Worsley, who paid in $16, but the present residence of the ex-Supreme President is unknown, though it is believed to be in the State of Massachusetts.