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Banks settle weekly balances in specie. Each bank maintained specie reserve equal to one-third circulation.
MEETING OF MAY 1917. The regular monthly meeting of the Historical Society was held in the Cabildo, Tuesday evening, May 15th. The attendance was good; all of the officers were present.
After the reading of the minutes the following members were elected: :
Mr. William A. Briant, 2406 Bienville Street.
Dr. Foster. Mr. Dymond, as chairman of the Executive Committee, reported that the first number of the Quarterly would soon be issued.
Mr. T. P. Thompson called up the question of the selection of the day upon which the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of New Orleans should be celebrated. He gave a résumé of the investigations he had made, which had determined his conclusions that the date was the 9th of February, 1718; giving a succinct account of the first selections of the site and the
various settlements made upon it, from the first Indian huts found by Bienville when he landed there in 1718; showing the first structure recorded was a chapel by a Jesuit priest; while there is historic evidence of squatters on the site as early as 1702.
Mr. Thompson's conclusions finding favor with the members present, Mr. Thompson moved that the Society by a vote formally adopt the date, February 9, 1918, as the date upon which the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city should be celebrated, and this motion was unanimously adopted.
The President then introduced Mrs. Harriet F. Magruder, the essayist of the evening, who apologized for not having written a paper. In a colloquial address on Baton Rouge, “old times and its people,” she presented many personal reminiscences.
At the end of it, Mr. Hart read an interesting extract giving an incident in the life of Zachary Taylor, who was residing in Baton Rouge when he was notified of his election as President of the United States.
General Booth questioned Mrs. Magruder's statement that Baton Rouge was the oldest settlement in the State, with the exception of Fort Natchitoches. He had always understood that there was a tradition that Baton Rouge was founded by settlers from the little town of Galvez, but he could not verify the statement. This was not taken up or answered.
Mrs. Magruder was thanked by a vote of the Society, whose attention was then asked by Mr. Thompson, for the consideration of an original proposal in regard to the United States flag. This was, in brief, after an eloquent and patriotic peroration by Mr. Thompson, to designate the regimental flags of the different States by enlarging the star representing that State in the blue union. He had prepared to illustrate his proposition, a diagram of the flag, with the stars numbered according to the dates upon which the States were admitted to the Union. Louisiana's star being the second in the third row, which, if it were enlarged, would at once upon sight fix the flag as belonging to a regiment from Louisiana.
The Society listened with great interest to Mr. Thompson, assenting with approbation to his suggestion, when an unexpected discussion arose as to the exact date upon which a State may be said to have entered the Union. In the liveliness of the debate that followed, between Mr. Thompson, Mr. Hart, General Booth
and others, the original proposition was lost sight of until it was rescued by Mr. Gill, who made the motion that Mr. Thompson's suggestion be approved by the Society, and a memorial embodying it, be sent to the proper congressional authorities for action upon it. This was unanimously adopted.
Mr. Wilkinson then introduced the following resolution, which was also adopted unanimously:
“Be it resolved, That the Historical Society of the State of Louisiana desires to express its earnest and cordial support of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States in the war now being waged by this country for the cause of civilization, humanity and liberty. It strongly endorses the earnest efforts now being made in this State to furnish soldiers, build vessels and provide large food crops for our own people and for the brave soldiers now battling for the right in Europe; and trusts that there will be such large attendance in the fields of labor and harvest, and such small attendance of idlers in the fields of sport as the call of duty and gravity of the occasion requires.
“Be it further resolved, That the Congress of the United States be requested to pass the necessary legislation to carry on this war with promptness and energy that will bring it to a victorious conclusion, as the greater the delay the more will such a conflict cost in lives and property.”
A motion to adjourn was made, but Mrs. Friedrichs begged the favor of a few minutes in which to call the attention of the members to the memorial meeting to be held Thursday at Tulane University in honor of Mrs. Ruth McEnery Stuart, the distinguished writer, and an honorary member of the Society. She proposed that the Society be officially represented at this meeting. The President designated. Mr. William Beer, who graciously accepted.
Mrs. Friedrichs then introduced the subject of the erection of a monument to Bienville as a feature of the approaching celebration, and asked that a subscription be started to collect funds for this end.
Viss Dymond protested warmly against a collection of funds for any such purpose as long as our American Red Cross was in such dire need of money. She spoke bitterly of the poor response made by New Orleans to the appeal for membership, in comparison with cities of the same size in other parts of the country.
Miss King warmly endorsed Miss Dymond's remarks, and the subject of the Bienville monument was dropped.
The motion to adjourn being pressed, the meeting was finally brought to an end.
THE AMERICAN FLAG. Its HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE, WITH A SUGGESTION FOR ITS USE
As A CODE. (Paper read by T. P. Thompson before the Louisiana Historical
Society, at New Orleans, May 15, 1917.) It would seem, at this time, when we are called upon to stand by the Flag, that any information concerning “Old Glory” will be in order. This has led to the securing of some intimate data concerning the flag which should be of interest to every American.
The Congress of the United States first gave status to our colors by the act of June 14, 1777, which reads as follows:
“Resolved, That the Flag of the Thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the ‘union' be thirteen stars on a blue field representing a new constellation.”
Thus, within one year after the Declaration of Independence the stars and stripes were adopted.
The coat of arms of Washington's family bore the “stars and bars,'' hence, by the enactment, Congress perpetuates the lofty spirit that controlled the patriot father in the insignia of our nation, which he had so much a part in founding.
Nearly one hundred years ago, April 4, 1818, when the Union reached twenty States, a resolution was passed by Congress and approved, reading:
“That from and after the 4th of July next, the flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; that the union shall be twenty stars on a blue field, and that on the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag, and that such addition shall take effect on the 4th of July next succeeding such admission."
The stripes were thereafter fixed at thirteen in number, commemorating the thirteen original colonies which struck for freedom. The colonies adopted in rapid sequence the Constitution
of the American Union, thereby becoming States, the last, Rhode Island, qualifying May 29, 1790, completing the original “constellation” of thirteen stars.
Then came Vermont (14), Kentucky (15), Tennessee (16), Ohio (17), Louisiana (18), Indiana (19), and Mississippi (20), each at intervals was received into the sisterhood of States, and finally the flag, as we know it to-day, began its official career, “A star for a State on field of blue.”
To-day we are rested on 48, six rows of eight, and for each State a star.
It has been my great pleasure to identify these stars, and there is herewith submitted a chronology of their sequence.
The original thirteen acquired their position by the right of the dates on which they voted their allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Delaware was the first to appear, December 3, 1787, as a completed State. Then followed in quick succession Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, and on through the thirteen birthright States.
Louisiana's place is the second star on the third row, and its number is 18. The object of locating on the “union" the position of each State, is to identify by priority of entry its place on the flag, and to endear to us, all the more, our nation's beautiful banner.
Love begins in the home, and logically extends through the State to the nation. Westerner and Southerner both like to be known as such, individually and collectively they will follow their star, and your star, all the stars together, and stand behind the stars and stripes in time of trouble shoulder to shoulder.
Let us not forget the doctrines of Jefferson now that we have so complete a solidarity of commonwealths. The present generation should know its share and group proprietorship in the building up of our great nation. We each have our star on the country's standard, and it should guide us on to a higher patriotism for this the greatest liberty-loving nation of all the world.
Should the War Department desire to indicate the regimental divisions, it could by enlarging to a greater magnitude that particular regiment's State star, form a code of recognition easily taught and understood, and in no way disturbing the uniformity of army regulations as to flags and star arrangement. One large