Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - The Irish Catholic Benevolent Union (I.C.B.U.)

Very interesting to see how the Irish Catholics were trying to improve the lives of their fellows.  It also reads a bit like "Far and Away".  Always an interesting insight into our ancestors' lives and concerns of the day!  In the end it seems like they knew what they wanted to do, but didn't want to over-step their bounds without the Bishops being present.  I have to say that I'm impressed at the National conventions, considering the time period.  I'm slowly gathering information on the ICBU and they had a national convention every year.  Their "National" convention was often times in Canada as well as the US!



ST. LOUIS, Oct. 16 - The Irish Convention met soon after noon to-day.  Several amendments to the constitution were offered, the most important of which was one to establish an emigration bureau in New-York with a branch in each State, the Secretary of the Union to reside in New-York and superintend the business of the bureau.  After considerable discussion the matter was referred to the Committee on Immigration.

The Convention, this afternoon, went into Committee of the Whole on the immigration question, and there was a very general opinion expressed in ten-minute speeches.  Mr. Hogan, of Missouri, believed the best way to inaugurate the movement for the benefit of Irish immigrants was through the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union, and that that Union should devise a plan of operation which would meet the great need they were considering.  He vividly pictured the condition of the immigrant in New-York and other large cities in his struggle for a bare subsistence, and advocated the establishment of a bureau through wich the newly-arrived Irishmen, and also those who had been int he country some time, could be helped to cheap lands in the West, upon which they could make prosperous and happy homes for themselves and take and maintain rank among the best citizens of the nation.

Mr. Butler, of Kansas, proposed that information regarding the soil, climate, &c., of the Western States should be collated and printed for distribution to the Irish in Ireland, and to those already here, and that means be provided to assist them in obtaining lands and homes of their own.

Judge Dwyer, of Dayton, Ohio, proposed a standing committee of five on immigration, to whom all matters touching immigration shall be referred, and who shall have full control of the matter, obtain from all available sources in the Western States, particularly those through which great lines of railroads run, all information relating to the climate, productions, general resources of the country, price of land, &c., and publish it in available form for distribution.  Also consult railroad and ocean steam-ship companies regarding passenger and freight rates; make best terms for transportation, &c.  He further proposed that immigrants should be under the charge of the Union during transit from the sea-board to point of destination, and that the seal of protection of the Union should be placed around every person under its charge, and any imposition or ill-treatment practiced by any company upon immigrants should be followed by the instant withdrawal of patronage.

Mr. McDonough, of Missouri, said it was not the Irish in Ireland who most need the aid of this Union, but those already in America, living in the slums of the great cities; those who are employed on railroads, canals, public and private works, and who are abused, insulted, degraded, and, in many instances, treated like dogs by those over them.  he favored some plan by which the condition of these people could be bettered, and by which they could be assisted in obtaining land, and placed in a position where they could become independent and useful citizens.

Judge Daly, of St. Louis, also pictured the sad condition of large numbers of the Irish in cities, and said the great need was some plan to provide means by which they could be induced to leave the great centres of the country and adopt agricultural pursuits.  He favored the incorporation under the State law of Irish societies in different cities; raising funds by contribution or assessment for the purchase of cheap lands in the West; the building of houses and providing the necessary means to start the family in their efforts to make homes for themselves.

Mr. Haggerty, of Indiana, advocated the formation of stock companies on a plan similar to the building associations in different parts of the country, which would furnish money for the purchase of lands, building of houses, partially stocking farms, for which moderate interest would be charges, a mortgage on the land being taken for security.

Messrs. Whiting, of Philadelphia, Gleanan and O'Connor, of Virginia, and several others expressed views similar to those above mentioned.

After the consideration of several unimportant matters, a resolution was adopted for the committee to wait on his Grace Archbishop Kendrick, and Bishop Ryan, offering them the homage of the Convention, and asking their blessing upon the proceedings of the meeting, after which the Conventions adjourned."

The New York Times, October 17, 1873