From Examiner and Chronical
Jan'y 31st 1867
NEWS OF THE WEEK.
SOUTHERN RELIEF MOVEMENT.
The Cooper Institute Meeting.
The meeting of Friday evening last, presided over by the Hon. Peter Cooper, was large and most interesting. Resolutions read by one of the Secretaries, Osborn E. Bright, Esq., were as follows:
Resolved, That the intelligence which reaches us of the suffering brought upon large sections of the Southern States by the almost total failure of crops, in addition to the devastations of war, appeals with irresistible force to Northern men and women to come promptly and generously to their relief, and that in thus meeting the claims of this appeal the people of the North will perform a service hallowed by Christian principle, comprehensive philanthropy and elevated patriotism.
Resolved, That a Southern Relief Commission be appointed, consisting of thirty men, with power to add to their numbers, and to elect their officers, together with an Executive Committee; and that it be the duty of this commission to do all that they shall believe to be necessary in raising contributions and in distributing supplies among the destitute without respect of race or opinion.
Resolved, That the history of the last six years has proved, in a thousand forms of patient and heroic endeavor, how invaluable is the help of women in alleviating human suffering, and that their cooperation with our Southern Relief Commission will be one of the best assurances of its largest success.
Resolved, That the philanthropic men and women of other cities and communities, throughout the North, be respectfully and earnestly invited to share the responsibilities and the blessings of a work that calls for universal sympathy and effort.
The following gentlemen were appointed the Southern Relief Commission:
Wm. A. Booth, Wm. M. Vermilye, B. Frank Butler, Nathan Bishop, Geo. Cabott Ward, Frederick E. Foster, Wm. E. Doge, jr., Leonard W. Jerome, Archibald Russell, John T. Johnson, David Crawford, John M. Bruce, jr., James M. Brown, Fred. L. Olmsted, J. P. Morgan, E. C. Cowdin, R. H. McCurdy, Wm. H. Osborne, S. D. Babcock, W. T. Coleman, Seth B. Hunt, David Hoadley, Edward Bright, Salom Humphreys, Theo. Roosevelt, Robert L. Kennedy, Robert B. Minturn, Howard Potter, Cornelius Agnew, Robert Potter.
At the request of the President, the Editor of this journal made a statement of destitution in the South. He said:
This movement originated in the incidental meeting, about ten days since, of a couple of gentlemen at a dinner table, when the conversation turned on the fearful destitution of bread in the South, and what should be down for its relief. They felt the pressure of the necessity of doing something, and agreed to try to meet the obligation. They made personal application to a few prominent gentlemen to meet for consultation resulted in the call of this meeting.
And this meeting was intended to give life and power to a movement for relief that should represent, in a preeminent sense, the sympathy of the NORTH——that North which stood by the country in the night of its peril, and which poured out blood and treasure to make it one and indivisible forever—the movement was intended, I say, to express the sympathy of this loyal and glorious North of ours for those against whom it had once been in arms, but who are now stricken with the grief of little less than an incipient famine——a famine brought upon them, in their poverty, by the visitation of God. They planted broad acres of the great staple that gives bread and meat to the South. But first the sunshine, then the rain, were withheld——drought, far reaching and calamitous, followed the floods——and towns and counties and States saw, when the time of harvest came, that from one half to nine-tenths of the expected increase had utterly failed.
A gentleman from Mississippi, the Rev. J. R. Graves, who knows what he affirms, from personal observation and careful inquiry, assures me that his State did not gather more than one-fifth of the expected crop of corn, and that untold suffering must come upon the people before the end of February, unless deliverance reaches them from more favored sections. He referrs to large plantations, in his own neighborhood, from which
ple, they will spend the last dollar and give the last man to the last moment of time to uphold that principle; but when war has passed, the conflict is over, and the North beholds that the time for humanity and mercy has come, they will give half of every loaf, half of every bushel; aye, more——if need be, their fields, their homes, their stores, their shops, are held in brotherhood; and I think I have a right to say to all the South to-day that the Abolitionists, who urged and advocated the war, who sent our sons, and who vehemently inspired the people to maintain what we thought and now think are the principle of safety, justice and rectitude, now that it is all passed, we are the very men who, more than anybody else, feel for them, would heal their wounds, would take away their poverty, and would restore them upon the new basis of liberty to that prosperity which before was treacherous, but which now, when it comes to them, will be as lasting as the granite hills.
Do I, then, misinterpret the spirit of this meeting? Are we not all agreed to-night upon this great cause? There may be some who might urge policy and say that this would be an intrusive kindness——some who are afraid of political records: but all that is out of the way, and the question is brought before us on its merits, Shall there be an organization, in the length and breadth of the North, to supply food to the starving, raiment to the shivering and dying? I do not believe that if you put it to vote in Maine, you could get one dissenting vote, nor in New-Hampshire, nor in Vermont, or Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, or Connecticut——and in New-York the vote would be one thunder roll, from the ocean to the lakes. The whole North is of one mind. We are not malignant, we do not lay up anger, we have no grudges we want to have avenged upon the South. We are sure of the country. We are sure that these ideas that originally fashioned our country are in the ascendency, and are going to fashion our policy. We know that the sun will sooner go back on its course than that these things will change now. Then let us surrender every animosity——let our anger quell, our indignation sleep. We have no grudges, no revenges. They are our brethren, whether we are theirs or not. It may be that they do not like us. In a large and Christian charity we love them. They may call us the detested Yankees; we shall still say, before God and man, they are our brethren. They may say that we are cruel and arrogant. We shall repay it by sending them bread and clothing. This is the feeling of the North. I believe that when the North is convinced that the channels opened to supply the wants of the South are safe, and that what is contributed will go directly to the place where it is needed, there will be an undivided sentiment at the North to feed them, clothe them, heal them.
Mr. Horace Greeley drew such a picture of the desolation which the war had brought upon the South, from the fact that it was almost wholly the seat of the great conflict, as interested the audience in the highest degree. He then said:
If the South had had the men at home in strength and vigor, as they were when the war began, simply for the want of implements and draft animals it would not have been possible to have produced more than half a crop at the South; but now you are told, and very correctly told, that there were terrible floods in the spring over a large portion of the country, and after this there was an unprecedented drouth that swept over probably half the entire South. All this is very true, but the want of the means to plow the earth to any proper depth, and cultivate the crop properly, aggravated the effect of this drouth to four times what it would have been under ordinary circumstances. Now here is the fact. They are people of all kinds- not of one kind, but of different races, different politics, and different views, and they are all alike suffering throughout all the States which were formerly in the rebellion, except perhaps Texas. From Mississippi up to the Potomac there is one universal cry of distress. There is not to-day in the hands of the poor the seed which they need very soon to begin to plant the little ground they have. They have not the food to give them the strength wherewith to make a crop, and they have none of the materials, the means whereby labor, especially in our day, is rendered efficient.