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or less than three-fourths of one per cent, on the annual duties received by the Government on imports, every dollar of which is imperilled by the present state of our harbors, as respects their defences. When to this is adıled the enormous sum liable to be exacted as ransom, or suffered in damages by one bombardment of a foreign fleet, the insigniticant cost of complete protection is apparent, and the value and necessity of its being made immediately available becomes most urgent.
Your Committee recommend that a concise pamphlet be prepared by the Secretary, embodying the principal features of the reports of this Committee on this subject, and the valuable communication of Mr. Nimmo, and the same be freely circulated among Members of Congress, and other civic and commercial bodies; their earnest attention invoked, and prompt action in combined influences on Congress to bring about the desired end strongly urged. Not only is our Government bound to consider all the sensible views and arguments placed before it, if the people in their right demand such action, Congress must grant compliance or it utterly fails in its proper duties.
Chairman, &c. NEW-York, November 4, 1886.
The report was unanimously adopted, and ordered to be printed with previous reports of the Chamber on the subject, together with the communication of Mr. Nimmo, and a copy be sent to each member of Congress.
REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES.
Mr. William E. DODGE, Chairman of the Special Committee appointed, on the oth of September last, to obtain funds for relief of the sufferers by the Earthquake at Charleston, submitted the following report : To the Chamber of Commerce :
The Committee appointed by the Chamber for the relief of the sufferers by the earthquake at Charleston respectfully report :
The Committee was promptly organized by the appointment of Joun Crosby Brown as Treasurer, and GEORGE Wilson as Secretary:
Immediate steps were taken to obtain full information as to the extent and nature of the losses sustained by the suffering people of that unfortunate city, and what aid could be most efficiently rendered. It was found that the actual loss and the immediate needs were greater than at first reported. Nearly all of the public buildings and the private houses were rendered useless for the time. The houses of the people, where built of brick, were largely
thrown down, and the smaller wooden houses had their chimneys so wrenched and broken as to make them unsafe.
A large part of the population were for a time homeless; many were thrown out of employment. There was great suffering in the families of those who were killed, and among the sick and weak who were rendered helpless by the shock. Crowds of the poorer inhabitants were without shelter or food, and so panic stricken as to need prompt and judicious care. The constant recurrence of shocks for a full week after the first great and crushing blow disheartened the people, and disconcerted all plans for relief.
Your Committee found that on the return of the Mayor of the city, the Hon. W. A. COURTENAY, a few days after the great disaster, order and confidence at once began to grow out of the confusion and depression.
A body of able and self-sacrificing citizens were formed into a Committee under his judicious and able leadership, and wise steps taken to meet instant emergencies and to provide for future needs.
Your Committee found, after most careful inquiries, that they could most wisely work through these gentlemen, who would care for the distribution of all funds and supplies, with full knowledge of the local needs, with wisdom and with absolute fidelity.
At the first meeting of your Committee, sub-committees were formed :
One to provide for the prompt shipment of tents and other means of shelter.
One to obtain funds from the banks and large institutions of the City and others, to solicit contributions from the various trades.
Prompt means were taken to collect funds, and a circular was issued anıl sent to all the members of the Chamber and to others who were believed to be interested, to which the response was prompt and most generous.
Notwithstanding the number of like Committees representing the several Exchanges and distinct branches of trade, who were also actively engaged in collecting for the same worthy object, the total subscriptions received by your Committee amounted to the large sum of $89,515.65.
Your Committee has been in constant correspondence with Mayor COURTENAY, and they wish to place on record their high estimate of his character, his great ability, and the patient, faithful and judicious action taken by his Committee in this terrible and unprecedented emergency.
He has been kind enough to send us a statement of the methods of relief and distribution adopted in Charleston, which are heartily approved by your Committee, and will be most valuable for future reference.
This statement, with extracts from the correspondence, are hereto attached, and form a part of this report.
Many individual applications for relief were received, but, after full discussion, it seemed wise to refer them all to the Charleston authorities. Although the large sums contributed from all sections of the
Union have served to provide all needed present relief, and to go far towards repairing the houses of some of the poorer sufferers, it is possible a considerable sum will still be needed, as a loan to the large householders, who have valuable property needing extensive repairs or re-building, and who do not need, and would not receive gifts, however generously offered.
As a rule, they are not so situated as to command, at once, the amount needed in each special case, but can give good and reasonable security.
Your Committee listened with great interest to a full statement in regard to this matter from Dr. ANDREW SIMONDS, President of the First National Bank of Charleston, and, at the suggestion of the Chairman, Hon. W. L. TRENHOLM, a distinguished citizen of that city, and now Comptroller of the Currency at Washington, presented a wise and judicious scheme, providing for a loan based on business considerations.
A suggestive and admirable plan was also submitted by Henry Hentz, Esq., one of the members of the Committee.
After full consideration, it was decided it was not in the province of your Committee to take any action in this matter, and the Chamber would probably decide it would be unwise to make any suggestions as to a business negotiation which would probably be cared for in due time by the citizens of Charleston.
Your Committee desire to thank the members of the Chamber and the representatives of the Press for their prompt and generous aid in carrying out their work, and the Western Union Telegraph Company for the free transmission of messages.
They are sure that the kindly and quick sympathy and the practical aid rendered by the citizens of New-York and by all sections of the land, have done much to bind the whole country together in a stronger confidence and brotherly regard.
The correspondence between Mayor COURTENAY and the Chairman of your Committee, together with a list of the contributors to the fund and the statement of the Treasurer, are herewith appended. All of which is respectfully submitted. (Signed,) Wm. E. DODGE, Chairn, HENRY HENTZ, LEVI P. Morton,
NICHOLAS L. CORT,
BENJAMIN G. ARNOLD,
WILLIAM II. Lyon,
WALTER R. T. JONES.
CITY OF CHARLESTON,
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, October 13th, 1886. WILLIAM E. DODGE, Esq.,
Chairman Committee New-York Chamber of Commerce : DEAR Sır : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your valued favor of the 4th instant, in which you mention the coming meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. I deem it a fitting opportunity to make acknowledgment of the munificent assistance rendered by your venerable and bistoric association ; the sums of moncy you bave sent us in our trouble are very lurge, but above and beyond this aggregate is the moral influence of the leading merchants in the western world, cheering and encouraging us through the dark days of our calamity, and bidding us, in words of sympathy and strength, to meet our obligations and discharge our duties. To do this amid the serious embarrassments of our situation has been vexatious and difficult ; but the worst is now over, and we are making rapid progress in the distribution of assistance.
I enclose you three blank forms, upon wbich the work of our Committee is based, marked " A.,” “B” and “C."*
Referring to the first blank, this has been used in the distribution of money in sums from $10 to $50—chiefly on the recommendation of clergymen, physicians and citizens. The money, so distributed, has been a great blessing to hundreds of females, who, dependent upon their daily efforts, have been thrown out of employment, owing to the disturbed condition of affairs and the absence of many of our citizens. This work goes on daily, and for the past week bas averaged from $300 to $400 per day. Under the improved condition of affairs in our city, from this time on, this outlay is likely to decline, until we reach a normal condition a little later on.
Referring to form “ B.,” I beg to say that the object in view in preparing it was to ascertain the means of meritorious and needy house owners who, from their small earnings as mechanics, clerks, and employees generally, had, during many years, managed, in whole or in part, to provide homes for their families. Many of these, unaided, would have been obliged to surrender their homes to Building and Loan Associations, Savings Banks and other mortgage holders.
This form of application has been criticized here as too inquisitive, but the Committee determined that the meritorious needy householders should be ascertained first, and their plan has been entirely successful. I should briefly state here, that about 1,400 applications may be stated to come from this class, about one-third of which are widows and single women, and that the money figures for restoration so far range from $20 to $1,250 per house. I should state further, that with the constant daily effort of the Committee
* These forums and the list of contributors, &c., are necessarily omitted.
in dealing with this class of cases, we have made so far 600 awards, it being a most tedious and perplexing task to obtain, through the employment of expert mechanics, approximately correct estimates of the losses in each case, as a basis for a money award. When this point is reached voucher C. is issued. This is first class business paper, negotiable in bank in case of need, but in point of fact, is held by the contractor until the work is done, and then promptly cashed at the Treasury.
It will be noted, that no money is handled except for payment of work done, the owner, realizing that the whole award is to be spent for the restoration of his house, is interested in having the largest amount of work done, and the Committee have the protection of the owner's daily supervision.
This has been called an iron-clad arrangement by a great many who would like to have the spending of the money, perhaps, not entirely on their houses; the Committee admit that this criticism is correct, but the plan restores the houses ; when the work is finished, the inspecting architect examines it, and if approved, endorses the money voucher, which is then paid, and, together with the estimate of the mechanic, upon which the award has been made, is filed with voucher B., so that all the papers in the case are a record for convenient reference.
During the first five weeks the Committee organized a Subsistence Bureau, through which provisions and supplies were furnished ; it is needless to say that great abuses grew up under this system ; tea, coffee and good table supplies proved a great temptation, bringing agricultural laborers from a distance of 40 miles to the City, to the great neglect of their crops, in order to get " free rations,” necessitating an abandonment of the general distribution, the districting the City into small sections, and the employment of canvassers to distribute to needy persons; this plan worked well, but was found to be costly. At this writing this entire distribution has been discontinued, leaving to the established charitable institutions of the City the limited present wants of the indigent.
This very imperfect account of our work will, I trust, prove interesting. As ours is the first City in the Union that has been shaken to its foundations by an earthquake, so the organization to deal with the results of this disaster have had to be determined upon promptly.
I have summoned to my assistance a Committee of Citizens, representing all classes of our community, who have devoted themselves to this gratuitous public service, with the single purpose of rendering the largest measure of assistance, fairly and impartially, to all, without regard to race or condition. They are entitled to and will have the confidence of this community and the country in this difficult and unprecedented work, and will richly merit the thanks of all. I beg to subscribe myself your very obedient servant,
WM. A. COURTENAY, Mayor.