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“and also with special reference to the proposed exemption of incomes under $4,000 a year.”
The amendment was seconded.
Mr. King.—MR. WINDMULLER says that this proposal is unpopular and MR. SELIGMAN agrees with him. Well, undoubtedly it will be unpopular with members of this Chamber, but it will not be unpopular with the mass of voters. The newspapers, this morning, contain some figures as to the number of men in the United States who are likely to be affected by this tax, and it is a very small fraction of one per cent. No, it will not be unpopular; there is no reason why it should be with 99 per cent. of the population unaffected by it. If that is the definition of popularity, I think the statement is misconceived. The other 99 per cent. are the people who are going to vote on appropriations for rivers and harbors and on pension bills, and on all the things that pile up in our billion dollar congress without any direct interest. It seems to me that it is contrary to economic principles that 99 per cent. of our electors should not be directly concerned in the result of their voting.
MR. TALCOTT.—This resolution has nothing to do with the income tax, but it has to do only with the administrative features of the law. It is necessary to look into the administration of the law, and for that reason we want the investigation.
MR. King's amendment was adopted ; and then the resolution as amended was carried with one dissenting vote.
SEAMEN'S CHURCH INSTITUTE.
EDMUND L. BAYLIES.—Mr. President and gentlemen of the Chamber: I have a short verbal report to make about a matter that was considered by this Chamber some two years ago.
On the 2d of February, 1911, this Chamber unanimously adopted a series of resolutions reading as follows:
Whereas, The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York has repeatedly since 1796 taken action in favor of measures for the elevation of the character of seamen and for their protection against the abuses to which men of their trade are peculiarly exposed, and
Whereas, The Seamen's Church Institute of New York is engaged in a non-sectarian work of great service in protecting seamen against the inherently bad conditions along the water-front, affording them a
chance to be decent, to save their money, to become self-reliant, and proposes to erect at the corner of South Street and Coenties Slip a twelve-story building, providing room for five hundred sailors, with accommodations for savings department, free shipping office and reading and amusement rooms; the building and site to cost about $750,000, of which over $410,000 has already been subscribed by many of the leading men and women of this city, and
Whereas, New York has now outstripped all of its rivals in the amount of its entered tonnage, becoming the world's greatest shipping port, and should, therefore, lead all others in its provisions for the well-being of seamen ; therefore,
Resolved, That this Chamber urges shipowners, shippers, transportation interests and all classes of business men interested in the wellbeing of the Port of New York to support the plan of the Institute for a new building adequate for its comprehensive and beneficient work.
At that time I stated that we thought the land and the building fully completed and equipped would cost $750,000, although no final estimates had been obtained, and that $410,000 had been pledged for the project.
Immediately after this favorable vote and action of the Chamber, the committee having the matter in charge took steps to secure additional subscriptions and to start the work. On the 1st of September, 1911, the building, which occupies a plot 90 x 112 feet at the corner of South Street and Coenties Slip, was commenced. It was found that the foundations would be very expensive by reason of being practically on the water front, and coffer dams had to be sunk down to bedrock and foundations built entirely enclosing the plot.
Now the building has been advanced very rapidly and it will be finished by the middle of May, and at that time I hope we shall have a public reception there, to which all members of the Chamber will be invited, and to which I hope many of you will come.
This building marks the greatest forward step that has ever been taken in any part of the world, in any port of the world, in dealing with the seaman question. The building is practically a department store for seamen. A sailor when he comes into this port can leave his luggage there if he doesn't want to stay there himself, or he can get a bed there and get his food there. He can leave his wages there, and either have them sent home to his family, or draw them out as he may need them from time to time. There will be a store there where a sailor can buy his outfit, rubber boots, oilclothes and other clothing all at cost. There will also be all sorts of means for interesting and amusing seamen while in port. There will be rooms where they can read and write and play games, and there will be billiard and pool tables. There will be a large hall where there will be lectures, moving picture shows, and other entertainments. In one part of the building there will be a small chapel to which the men may go, but there will be no compulsion about it. It is not a missionary enterprise. It is a philanthropic enterprise. A man can get a bed there for 15 cents, or a room entirely to himself for 25 cents. Besides that we have officers' quarters, where ships' officers can get a room for 50 cents or 75 cents according to the size.
The money that will come in from the renting of these rooms will, we believe, support the Institute. We require no endowment. Therefore, when it is once fully paid for, it will run itself. Any surplus that there is—and I am confident that there will be a surplus—will be used for the general good of the seamen that come to the building, in entertaining them, helping the destitute, and generally for seamen's work in this port, for this society has one or two other stations.
It has cost to carry out this project $1,050,000. The building Committee, of which I am the unfortunate Chairman, has succeeded in raising almost all of that money. We have raised $830,000. So we have only $220,000 left to raise. I am confident that the people of New York will respond to our appeal and make it possible for us to open the Institute fully paid for. Many members of this Chamber have responded to the appeals that have been issued, but it has been impossible for us to see every member. I have never asked, and I do not now intend to ask, any particular person to give. I have not asked for any direct assistance, but I simply want to put the matter before you, inasmuch as this Chamber approved of the project so heartily two years ago, and, if you feel interested, why, help us. Any one may become a Founder by paying $5,000, and his name will be inscribed upon the bronze tablet on the building, or by the payment of $1,000 he may become a Benefactor, or by the payment of $100 he may have the right to name one of the seamen's rooms, or one of the officer's rooms for $250, and such room may be named as a memorial to any person designated.
You will be pleased with this building; it will be a credit to the city; and it will be a structure in which the various members of this Chamber who have given their assistance to its construction, will take pride.
To show you under what good auspices we start off, I will say that the British Consul-General in this port has taken the basement of the building under lease for ten years for the British Consular shipping office. That means that every British seaman who comes into this port will come to that building. Furthermore, the fact that we offer a free shipping bureau there, will bring men to the building. Men will not be obliged to pay ten and fifteen dollars to get a ship. That is going to bring the men there. Now, I would like to have you watch the progress of this Institute. It will be a great credit to the City of New York and this port. I have brought here a few cuts taken from a recent photograph of the building, which I will leave on the desk of the Secretary so that if members are sufficiently interested they may see them. [Appla use.]
The Chamber then adjourned.