Wednesday 11 April 2012

April 12, 1876

Yesterday, Mr. Milne photographed the Central School, the picture to be sent to the Centennial Exhibition. He will also take photographs of the Collegiate Institute and some of the ward schools.”
                             Hamilton Spectator. April 12, 1876
          One of Hamilton’s greatest assets in 1876 was its stock of public school buildings. By hiring noted local photographer Milne, pride in those schools would be preserved for future generations.
In other news, two shocking stories about local individuals affected by serious health issues were carried in the Spectator of April 12, 1876:
“In the west end there lives a woman by the name of Daniels, which is afflicted with a cancer in her face.  The disease has eaten the greater part of her face away, and she has become such a frightful looking object that her husband has deserted her and left her alone. The Ladies’ Aid Society have given her a dollar a month during the winter; but none of the ladies have had the courage to visit her with the exception of one.  The neighbours dread going into the house, and the poor creature is almost alone. Last evening, the I.P.B.S. granted her a sum of money, monthly, but the chairman of the charitable committee gave it as his opinion that she would not require it long.”

       This morning at six o’clock, Mr. John Jardine, a son of Mr. Joseph Jardine, of Saltfleet, died of inflammation of the bowels. The young man was sick only three days, but sank rapidly from the moment he was taken ill. The deceased was a very popular young man and gave promise of great things. He took a great interest in stock breeding and agriculture, and in the institution of Grangers. His death has cast a gloom over the entire community, to whom his sudden decline has been a great shock.”

          Finally, almost a full month after the 1876 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Hamilton, the nature of how the celebrations were observed became a major issue of controversy.
          It had been noted that March 17, 1876 in Hamilton was marked with close association and co-operation between the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholics.
          One month later, one individual did not think that such interaction should have taken place at all. He made his views known at the annual meeting of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society.
          The full account of that heated meeting which appeared in the Hamilton Spectator of April 11, 1876 follows :
“Last evening, according to advertisement, the annual meeting of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society was held in the Y.M.C.A. rooms on King street east. There was a large attendance and the meeting was called to order at nine o’clock by the Vice-President, Ald. Chas. Foster, who took the chair in the absence of the Hon. H. B. Bull, the President of the Society.
A voluminous report was read by the chairman of charitable committee, showing that a large number of people had been relieved, and was adopted.
The treasurer’s report was then read, showing that there was a balance of over $400 in the Merchant’s Bank to the credit of the Society.
After some important business had been transacted, the Chairman asked if any member present had a motion to make.
After a short silence, Mr. Ballantyne said that he rose with considerable diffidence to make a few remarks and move a couple of resolutions. He said he believed that the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society was a Protestant society – one which would frown down any encroachments made on that glorious faith for which our forefathers fought and led. He belonged to that Society and he was proud of it, and he was sorry, very sorry to see officers of this society on a late occasion mingling with Roman Catholics on a great demonstration of theirs, and lending their countenance. You remember gentlemen that the affair was fully reported in the city papers, and he on reading it had been astonished at seeing the names of Ald. C. Foster, Vice-President, I.P.B.S. and C. E. Noble among those seated on the platform
“There they sat,” exclaimed Mr. Ballantyne excitedly, “on the platform among the Priests, to be gaped at by the crowd of Paddies and Biddies and Micks and Norahs before them, and who sat there on the platform and listened, without wincing, to the following paragraph by the lecturer of the evening – a Catholic Priest; Had the Saint landed in England he would have probably encountered, as Caesar did, naked savages, shivering on the beach.. He landed in Ireland and found Irish kings and lords and sages enthroned in their majesty amid the surrounding splendours of Tara’s Hall.
“Tara’s Halls, indeed!” exclaimed Mr. Ballantyne, in parenthesis. Tara’s Hall, indeed – and a mud cabin, forsooth!”
He then went on to read as follows: Whence came the Saint, and what messages did he bring? These are vital questions to Irishmen. Was he a continual adventurer like Luther and Knox, who, without character or commission, came to preach man’s personal independence of Divine Authority, which always means, to my mind,  man on whom no one can depend.? No, my friends, St. Patrick had neither the garb nor the gibberish of your tract-peddling evangelists. He came not under the guns of  a war ship like your heroic missionaries of the Established Church, who, as Dr. Livingston described them in Africa, never see their dioceses except  through telescopes from the deck of a British man-o’-war.  This, exclaimed Mr. Ballantyne, is what the gentleman, who was now in the chair, had listened to that night and, perhaps, joined in the applause given by the delighted Paddies, Biddies, Micke’s and Norahs. Are Luther and Knox adventurers, men who risked their lives in teaching the Gospel and whose teachings today are read by millions? Are such men as Guthrie, Chalmers, Hall, Whitfield, Wesley, Calvin, Stanley, Alford, Surgeon and Punschon to be dubbed tract-peddling evangelists by a Catholic priest and the Vice President of a Protestant Society sit listening by?  I suppose they would call Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, whom they burnt at the stake “tract peddling evangelists” or “mere adventurers.” It was disgraceful for a President of this Society to sit and listen to such language as that spoken by men who have been the enemies of Protestantism since the great Reformation. Men who caused the walls of Derry to be cemented with Protestant blood, men who –“
At this point, Ald. Foster, the chairman, called him to order.
Mr. Ballantyne excitedly exclaimed that he was in order, and went on to say that they ought to remember Cranmer and Latimer.
At this point, Ald. Foster peremptorily called Mr. Ballantyne to come to order, but that gentleman persisted in keeping the floor, and shouted amid considerable uproar that we should remember our forefathers who fought at the Battle of the Boyne, and added that the ashes of our forefathers would cry out from the grave if they thought we associated with the Roman Catholics.
Here Mr. Foster vacated the chair, put on his hat, and although several parties endeavoured to detain him, he left the room. There being no Chairman, Mr. Ballantyne ceased his remarks and sat down.
Mr. Moore, a Vice-President of the Society took the chair.
Mr. Ballantyne moved a series of resolutions, copies of which were refused our reporter. As far as we can remember, however, the resolutions touched on Mr. Foster’s policy for attending the Catholic demonstrations, and prevented any members of the Society from attending any further demonstrations of the same character in their official capacity.
Ald. Crawford then arose and said he agreed with Mr. Ballantyne. He said that the Roman Catholics would stab us to the heart if they dare. He had read and heard of the terrible deeds that Catholics had perpetrated on Protestants in other countries, and he felt hat they would repeat it here if they only dare. He opposed the encouragement of Catholic institutions, and said that he who supports a Catholic beggars a Protestant.
Mr. Wm. McMahon said that he feared in joining this society he had made a mistake. He had believed that this was a Benevolent Society formed for the relief of the poor, but if it was a society formed for the purpose of being antagonistic to Catholics or if the Association was going to be formed into an Orange Society he would have to leave it.
Mr. Ballantyne rose to press his resolutions.
The Chairman said there was no seconder.
Mr. Hutch seconded the resolutions.
The Chairman said it was getting very late and the discussions ought to be postponed.
Mr. Ballantyne in an anxious tone of vloice inquired of the Chairman if he was hungry or if he was afraid of his wife.
Mr. Bull moved that the resolution get a month’s hoist.
The motion was lost.
Mr. Ballantyne, however, virtually withdrew his resolutions.
At this point Ald. Foster returned and tendered his resignation as Vice-President of the society and as a member of the same. This caused a great uproar, Mr. Foster being asked to withdraw his resignation.
Mr. Foster said he could not do so after the manner he had been treated by Mr. Ballantyne and the uncharitable language he had heard used tonight.
Mr. Ballantyne Said that if he had hurt Ald. Foster’s feelings he was sorry for it, but he was not to leave the society on his account, as he (Ballantyne) was sick of the whole thing, and left the society now and forever.
Mr. Ballantyne suited the action to the word by putting on his hat and walking out. Several of the members followed him, and as it was seen that no business could be done, a motion of adjournment for one week was carried.

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