"To the Citizens of Quincy, and the Public Generally."
As my name has been used in connection with statements which purport to be made by an Executive Committee of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, and published in the Quincy Herald of Nov. 30th, and again used in an article which is styled "a protest of a minority at the Executive Committee of the Western Illinois Sanitary Fair," and published in the same paper, it is deemed proper to myself, and just toward a majority of the Executive Committee, to state the circumstances which occurred before the "Quincy Sanitary Fair" was abandoned, and the "Western Illinois Sanitary Fair" organized.
About the first of August last, Mr. C. A. Savage requested me to call on him at his office in the evening. I did so, and there found a number of gentlemen; we were then informed by Mr. Savage that the Sisters of the Good Samaritan proposed to hold a Fair, that they had appointed a board of officers from their own number, and had issued a Circular which he exhibited; he further stated that the board of officers had desired him to call the gentlemen then present together, and request them to organize themselves as a committee to assist, and advise the board of officers. After an examination of their Circular, and a full explanation of their plan, and in view of the want of harmony existing between the Aid Societies of this city, and extending through them to the public generally, to a degree that it seemed every one was expected to be a "Picket," or a "Sister," and if either, must of course be unwilling to cooperate in any project of the other, and wishing to harmonize those benevolent, but discordant elements in order that the greatest good might be accomplished, this committee of gentlemen finally decided to advise the Board of Officers of the Quincy Sanitary Fair to abandon their organization, and to invite the Needle Pickets, Freedmen's Relief Society, and the public generally to unite in one grand Sanitary Fair, so organized, officered, and conducted as to avoid any sectional, partisan, or society feeling or jealousy. This decision of the Committee was unanimous, and J. G. Rowland, Esq., and myself were appointed a committee to call upon the Board of Officers and sequaint them with this opinion, and decision.
Business requiring Mr. Rowland to be absent from the city, he requested me to be present at the meeting of the Board of Officers and discharge the duty for which we were appointed.
On the following day I called upon the Board and reported the opinion and decision of the Committee, and stated the reasons as above indicated. Mrs. Cox, who was President of the Board, remarked that she disliked the idea of giving up their organization, and did not believe the "Pickets" would unite with them in organizing and conducting a Fair. I replied that I could see no reason why they should refuse if a new organization was made which should include them, with other benevolent societies, and the public generally, care being exercised in forming the new organization that nothing he done to create an impression that the Fair was to be under the auspices, direction, or for the especial benefit of the "Sisters" communicate with the officers of the "Pickets," and if they refused to unite their aid in a general Fair, then to proceed under the organization they then had, and the gentlemen of the Committee would be happy to render any assistance in their power.
Mrs. Cox then inquired, "if a new organization should be made who would be President?" My reply was whoever the public meeting which should be called for that purpose, might elect.
Mrs. Cox further inquired "what would be done with the money derived form such a Fair?" My reply was, that will be a matter for the Executive Committee to determine, but in my opinion it should be disbursed equally by the "Sisters" and "Pickets," un[unknown] direction of the Executive Committee.
The advice of the Committee as presented seemed to please the great majority of the Board; of their final action, however, I cannot speak, not having been present, but presume the decision was to abandon their organization, as I attended a public meeting a few days after, at the First Congregational Church, at which were present the Board of Officers of the Fair which had been organized under the auspices of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, the officers and many members of the Needle Pickets, Freedman's Relief Society, Woodland Home, and citizens whose benevolence is general and restricted to the operations of no society.
C. A. Savage, Esq., was made chairman of that meeting, and he called upon the writer of this article to state the object of the meeting, which was done by informing those assembled that a Fair had been projected under the auspices of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, but that it had now been deemed advisable to make it more general, that it was understood the former organization had been abandoned, and that we had now met for the purpose of organizing a Sanitary Fair, and the election of its officers and Executive Committee; this business was transacted, and all the principal officers of the proposed Quincy Sanitary Fair were elected officers of the new organization, which was christened at a subsequent meeting, the Western Illinois Sanitary Fair. Unfortunately for the author of this article, he also was elected a member of the Executive Committee, but he has the satisfaction of knowing that the little he could do was well and faithfully done in aid of the good work which has been accomplished in obtaining for disbursement for charitable purposes, under the direction of the Executive Committee, the "insignificant" sum of nearly thirty thousand dollars.
In conclusion, I will say that my present opinion, as a member of the Executive Committee, is, and has ever been, the same as that expressed in my reply to the question of Mrs. Cox, that the proceeds of the Fair should be disbursed equally by the "Sisters" and the "Pickets," under the direction of the Executive Committee, and my purpose in this has been so firm that on the motion of Mrs. Cox to appropriate two thousand dollars to the Woodland Home my vote was given against it; it is also equally certain that it has always been the unanimous wish of the Executive Committee that the entire proceeds of the Fair should be equally disbursed by the "Sisters" and "Pickets," and except for the refusal of the "Sisters" to receive appropriations and report to this Committee, they would now, and until the fund is exhausted, be the recipients of an equal amount with the "Pickets."
Quincy, Nov. 30, 1864.