Montreal Gazette 20 March 1878, page 4
United Protestant Workingmen’s Benefit Society
The twelfth annual meeting of the United Protestant Workingmen’s Benefit Society was held on Tuesday evening, March 19, 1878, in large room of Perry’s Union Hall, Craig Street, Mr William Johnston, President, in the Chair. On the platform with him were Messrs John Doyle and Christopher Sonne, Vice-presidents, and Dr JT Finnie, the medical officer. There was a very large attendance of members, owing to the interest that is now being taken in the Society by them.
Mr William Roberts, Recording secretary, read that part of last monthly meeting’s business referring to the nomination of officers, as well as the minutes of last annual meeting, which were confirmed.
Medical Officer’s Report
The Secretary read the Medical Officer’s report (Dr JT Finnie) for the past year, as follows:-
To the officers and members of the United Protestant Workingmen’s Benefit Society:-
Gentlemen – in presenting you with a summary of my work during 1877-78 I have to report a very high sick list during the whole of the twelve months. With the exception of the month of September, each monthly return showed a sick roll amounting in the aggregate to over thirty week’s benefit, while that for the month of July reached fifty-four week’s benefit.
By enquiring into the reasons for such an increase in our sick list, I find that, apart from the fact that the year has been a unusually sickly one, there are two special causes which have contributed to this end:
1st. there are some of our members who, suffering from chronic diseases, have remained on our sick benefit during the whole year.
2nd. Another cause which helped to swell it materially was the fire on St Urbain street last April, where so many of our members were either killed or were severely burned, while in the performance of their duty.
By comparing this wit our two last annual reports, I find that in 1875-76 our average monthly sickness was twenty weeks. That of 1876-77 was thirty-four weeks benefit, while the average for last year (1877-78) was thirty-nine weeks benefit, or an increase of fourteen per cent on last year’s return.
In carefully looking over the list for this year, I find that the benefits have been distributed among sixty-three different individuals, or about one member out of every nine belonging to the Society.
Injuries of various kinds form a very considerable part of the causes of disability, as the following list will show- wounds of the hand, 9; wounds of the scalp, 4; wounds of the foot, 6; burns, 11; fracture of the shoulder, 2; dislocation of the shoulder, 2; rupture, 1. Other causes being rheumatism, bronchitis, diarrhoea, congestion of the lungs, consumption, cancer, typhoid fever, &c, &c.
During the year nine members died, the causes of death being as follows- cancer, 3; accidentally killed, 3; consumption, 2; rupture of a blood vessel, 1.
During the year three of the members’ wives have died, the causes being: inflammation of the bowels, 1; puerperal fever, 1; disease of the heart.
Fifty five candidates passed the necessary medical examination to become members of the Society, being a very considerable increase on last year’s report.
During the same time I have attended one hundred and eight members, at their homes, for periods of less than a week; also given some hundreds of consultations at my office. A considerable number of minor surgical operations have also been performed.
In closing my report I sincerely hope that we may be blessed with a more prosperour year than the one which this night’s meeting brings to a close. I trust that you will continue to exert yourselves towards bringing in new members. In numbers, the Society is far short of what it might be, and what it ought to be. For while the dues are less than those of any similar society in the city, our benefits are much more liberal. Let each member then remember this, and be constantly on the outlook for recruits – so to speak – and we will soon have a Society that in point of numbers and stability will not only surpass anything of the kind in the city, but would by a credit to the Protestant Workingmen of Montreal.
The whole respectfully submitted.
John T Finnie, MD