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"In order to relieve the misery to some extent, campaign tents were distributed to those who applied for them, and we have decided to distribute a ration of rice for account of H. M. to all those who present themselves to ask for it, without distinction of person, and during the time their extreme want compels them to invoke our aid, and we calculate that 700 persons will be thus supplied. The others were lodged for the time being with those who have not suffered from the fire, and in whom have shone forth the most delicate sentiments of hospitality, for on the day following the disaster there was not a person left without shelter.
“One of our first cares was to send three ships to Philadelphia, consigned to the representative of our Court, with all necessary permits so that they might return in the shortest possible time, with provisions, supplies, medicines and other articles of first necessity, for which purpose it was deemed necessary to advance 24,000 pesos for the purchase of 3,000 barrels of flour.
"The inhabitants who have not suffered from the disaster have offered to subscribe generously to a fund with which to rebuild the most necessary edifices. The Clergy, represented by its vicar, has suspended the parish dues. Col. Maxent has on this occasion given proof of the most sensible charity by giving shelter and food to a large number of families who found refuge in his home. He gave all the rice he had and sold his tobacco at the same price as obtained before the fire, and subsequently he volunteered to go to the port of ‘Punta Cortada' in order to procure the signature of those who desired to subscribe in favor of the unfortunates.
"The value of the buildings destroyed is estimated at one million eighty thousand dollars, exclusive of the goods and effects contained therein, and which were consumed by the flames. It is impossible to state these losses until the interested parties themselves make their statements, and to that end we have published a “bando” so that detailed statements of losses be furnished us within eight days; this has not been
concluded as yet for many families have retired eight and ten leagues from the city and have not received their instructions. We, therefore, defer sending the complete statement until the following mail, but we suppose the loss will be about three millions.
"All minds are now engaged in speculating as to what concessions they may expect from H. M. bounty. Public opinion is divided into two camps—the planters on one side and the merchants on the other. The former desire free trade for this Province, so that ships of any Nationality be admitted here; and the latter, knowing that this had been spoken of in the city council by one of the Regidores and applauded by those present, have addressed us a memorial urging us to report unfavorably to H. M. with regard to this plan; the document is also extreme in its views, and solicits that only the inhabitants of the Province be permitted to bring cargoes from any European port they may choose. There is no doubt that either one of these plans would rapidly develop the colony and rebuild this desolated city, but the first project is entirely contrary to our present laws, for it is impossible to permit ships flying foreign flags to navigate the Gulf of Mexico under pretext of coming to this River. Regarding the second, it may be to the interest of the Monarchy to grant certain commercial advantages to some foreign Power. In such case we suggest that preference be given to France, allied as she is to us by so many ties. We now, therefore, propose that the trade concessions granted in Royal Order of January 22, 1782, be extended for a period of three years, during which time the citizens may provide themselves from foreign ships, in accordance with the 5th Article of said Royal Order, and that they also be permitted to withdraw silver as requested in despatch of the 19th of last December, etc.”
Under date of September 30, 1788, Miro and Navarro informed the King that the loss occasioned by the fire had reached the grand total of $2,595,561.00.
Never for a moment did these people falter. They immediately took steps to rebuild. Forward, always forward, did they go. They gave to New Orleans the momentum which set her a spinning on the path of progress and civilization. That is the reason she will always Come Back. Noblesse Oblige—She cannot fail.
NOVEMBER MEETING, 1915.
The regular monthly meeting of the Society was held in the Cabildo on the usual date. The President and Secretary being absent Mr. John Dymond presided, and Mr. George Koppel acted as secretary pro tem.
Mrs. W. P. Brown was elected a member of the Society.
On the motion of Mr. Hart a committee of three was appointed to draft resolutions upon the death of Mr. John J. Rochester, chairman of our membership committee. The President appointed Judge Renshaw, Mr. T. P. Thompson and Mr. W. 0. Hart.
Mr. Hart, on behalf of Mr. Charles M. Bruns, of Philadelphia, presented to the Society a sword that had been captured at the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip in April, 1862.
A resolution of thanks to be sent to Mr. Bruns was offered and carried.
Mr. Martin, of Philadelphia, addressed the meeting upon the life and character of Mr. Bruns and his efforts to bring about a more friendly feeling between the North and South after the war.
Mr. Alexander, the custodian in Philadelphia of the Liberty Bell, who had come to New Orleans to be present while the Bell was in the city, presented to the Society a book containing the history of the Bell, and made a beautiful address about its history and the trip to New Orleans in 1884 when he accompanied it.
Upon his conclusion a vote of thanks was given him.
Mr. Hart announced the program to be followed during the few hours that the Liberty Bell would be in our city. He stated that when the Liberty Bell comes here the flag of Louisiana would be unfolded to the breeze on Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The meeting then adjourned.
DECEMBER MEETING, 1915.
The Louisiana Historical Society met on Wednesday night December 15th in the Cabildo, the President in the chair. There was only a fair attendance of members, a regrettable circumstance as the programme offered was of more than usual interest.
Mr. John Dymond, acting in the absence of Mr. W. O. Hart, offered six candidates for membership:
All were elected.
The Secretary made the point that names presented for membership should be accompanied by their addresses, to prevent duplication and confusion.
Mr. T. P. Thompson called the attention of the Society to a statuette in the Hall offered by the widow of Mr. Chas. A. Lopez, the sculptor, as a model for the Society's proposed monument to Bienville. No action was taken on the subject.
Mrs. M. R. Bankston on behalf of the Daughters of 17761812, brought forward the subject of a public reception for the Illinois delegation, who had been instructed by the State of Illinois with the pleasing duty of handing over to the City of New Orleans the flag made by the women of New Orleans and presented to General Jackson in 1814. The flag had come into possession of an Illinois regiment at the Battle of Black River Bridge during the Civil War. The Illinois Legislature, by special action, authorized its return to its proper guardians. Mr. Cusachs remarked that the old flag
of 1812 had multiplied in the course of time. He had recently received a letter from a gentleman in CaliforniaMr. E. Curtis-stating that he had seen the original 1812 flag made by the ladies exposed in some collection there. Mr. Cusachs had himself purchased from old Jordan the body servant of Gen. Jackson and drummer boy in the battle what he supposed was the original and only flag made by the ladies. The one to be returned from Illinois was third candidate for the honor of figuring as the precious relic.
Dr. Edmond Souchon was then introduced, although he needed no introduction, to a New Orleans audience. He read a carefully prepared paper on the “Original Contributions of Louisiana to Medical Science," one of the most important and carefully prepared documents ever presented to the Society; itself a very original contribution to the historical and literary annals of the Society. The members listened with intense interest and manifested, by prompt applause and an enthusiastic vote of thanks, their appreciation of the high value of Dr. Souchon's compendium.
The Society received from Mr. Wm. Morgan Hannon his book on the “Photo Drama, Its Place Among the Fine Arts." Mr. Hannon was thanked for his courteous attention.
Meeting then adjourned.