« ForrigeFortsett »
The following from the New Orleans Picayune of November 9, 1906, shows how strong this reaction became and the manner in which it manifested itself:
"Petitions will reach Baton Rouge to-day from leading business men, bankers, steamship and professional interests of the city of New Orleans asking Governor Blanchard not to sell the Quarantine Station at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and to retain it under the control of the State Board of Health as at present.
"These urgent prayers from New Orleans will be reinforced by other big petitions from Morgan City and that vicinity, where the Atchafalaya Quarantine Station is located, and from Lake Charles and the Calcasieu country where another station is maintained for the benefit of commerce. Although these petitions have been circulating some time, the first definite knowledge of their scope and influence was learned last night.
“The first striking feature of them is that they indicate a change of heart on the part of many of the largest commercial interests of the State relative to national quarantine and Federal control of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station since the Chattanooga Convention, when Louisiana shouted for Federal control. Business men who were delegates to that convention and shouted loud and long for Government control now admit their error and have affixed their names to petitions to Governor Blanchard not to sell.
“A change of view on Federal ownership of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station appears to have swept over this city and State. The doctors are now protesting against the sale. The Fruit Steamship lines would prefer the State Board as now directed had control and they are the people who pay 60 per cent of the maintenance of the quarantine service.
“Another thing that has been discovered is that the Louisiana plant is worth much more than at first thought.
"The first figure set upon its head was $75,000. The resolution passed the Legislature placing the power of disposition in the hands of the Governor stipulated that its sale to the Government should not be for less than $75,000. Dr. White and an expert from Washington made a careful investigation of the plant a few weeks ago, and they reported that $75,000 would be satisfactory to the Government.
"That opened several eyes.
"Dr. Jno. N. Thomas stated in print that $75,000 was far too low. He has now completed a careful inventory of the true value of the plant which is being forwarded to Governor Blanchard and which places the actual value of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station at $166,500, or more than twice as much as the original figure talked.
"The careful, judicious and conservative management of the whole quarantine system by Dr. C. H. Irion and the State Board of Health during the past season, with the result that quarantine fees have been lowered 33 1-3 per cent., has put a veto on the actions of the Chattanooga convention in many minds, as indicated by the following petition. Under the carefully reorganized system, aimed at minimum danger to public health and at maximum advantages to commerce, consistent with it, public sentiment has rapidly changed until it has crystalized in this concerted movement to retain State control and not take on Federal.
“The petitions to Governor Blanchard follow :"
FROM THE BUSINESS MEN,
NEW ORLEANS, LA., Sept. 18, 1906. To His Excellency Gov. Newton C. Blanchard:
Sir: In view of the passage of the Quarantine Law by Congress and later of the passage of a joint resolution by the State Legislature authorizing Your Excellency, in your discretion, to dispose of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station to the Federal Government, and inasmuch as it has been stated that a proposition has been submitted to Your Excellency by Secretary Shaw for the purchase of said Station, therefore we, the undersigned citizens and business men of New Orleans, some of whom for a time favored National Control, desire to convey to Your Excellency our wish that said Quarantine Station be not disposed of at this time, nor in the future, for the following reasons, to-wit:
First: Your Excellency has, by the wise and judicious exercise of your appointive power, given to the State a Board of Health which has not only given the State a highly efficient 'health service, but has restored confidence in the public mind as to Louisiana's honesty of purpose and ability to safeguard the gateway of the Mississippi Valley from the importation of tropical contagious diseases. This has been so efficiently done that for the first time in the history of the State, no outbreak of yellow fever has followed in the succeeding year such an epidemic as occurred in 1905.
It has been done with such a clear perception of the relation of commerce to the public health that New Orleans has practically been an open port throughout this entire year.
The recent action of the State Board of Health in reducing quarantine fees warrants our belief that as the shipping of this port in.. creases there will be a further reduction of these fees without in any way impairing the efficiency of the service.
Second: As we understand it, the Federal Government proposes to take over the above mentioned Station only, whereas the State has four other Stations which would either have to be closed permanently or operated at a heavy loss to the State, and as the State has made no provision for the operation of these minor Stations, which are of equally as great importance as sources of danger, and as it is doubtful whether or not the State would have the legal right to operate any Maritime Quarantine Station after such cession of the Mississippi River Station.
Third: We believe now that the practical working of the National Law would operate to the detriment of our City's commerce, and, holding these opinions and without going into further detail, we would respectfully request and urge Your Excellency to take no action at this time looking to the transfer of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station to the Federal authorities.
Respect fully submitted, (Here follow the signatures of forty large mercantile and manufacturing firms.)
PETITION FROM MEDICAL FRATERNITY.
To His Excellency Newton C. Blanchard, Governor of Louisiana:
SIR : The undersigned respectfully request that the Mississippi River Quarantine Station be permitted to remain under the control of the Louisiana State Board of Health, for the following reasons, to-wit:
First: The physicians of Louisiana are entirely competent and the best guardians of her health and commercial interests.
Second: The growing commerce of the Port of New Orleans requires the executive head of the Quarantine Service should be stationed in the city of New Orleans.
Third: The President of the State Board of Health, Dr. C. H. Irion, has won the confidence of the surrounding parishes and States and has demonstrated in New Iberia that a sporadic case of fever will not be followed by panic where a policy of non-concealment is pursued.
Fourth: If at any time the quarantine affairs of the State should be mismanaged the power rests with the Governor to remove, “for cause" the executive head of the service. This would not be the case once the service had passed under the control of the Federal Government.
Fifth: It is extremely dangerous to place the quarantine power in any one hand, and without the inhibiting power of removal.
Sixth: If the Maritime Quarantine Powers are to be centralized, they should be lodged in a National Board of Health, presided over by a Cabinet Officer of Public Health of equal right and prerogative with every other Cabinet Officer; any transference at any time of the quarantine powers to a Bureau of the Federal Service will delay a consummation so devoutly to be wished.
Seventh: It would be extremely unwise for the State of Louisiana to surrender the police power of Maritime Quarantine, placing the great Southern Port of New Orleans at a disadvantage with the great ports of the East, and particularly New York, which has no intention of surrendering this right.
Eighth: The surrender of the Mississippi River Station may result
in the closing of the Lake Charles, Atchafalaya, Lake Borgne and Rigolets Stations, all part of the present system, and for which no provision has been made under the terms of the Mallory Bill.
Ninth: The price offered for the Station is far below its actual value.
FRUIT LINES PROTEST.
To His Excellency, Honorable Newton C. Blanchard, Governor of
The State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, La.: We, the undersigned, steamship owners, agents and importers of tropical fruits, being well satisfied with the conduct of Maritime Quarantine by the Louisiana State Board of Health, and feeling that the city of New Orleans, as well as the State of Louisiana, can best be subserved by permitting matters to remain in their hands by reason of their intimate knowledge of, and long experience in Maritime Quarantine with Central America and the West Indies, and of the competent quarantine officers stationed at the Quarantine Station, do respectfully petition Your Excellency to allow matters to remain in their charge as heretofore.
United Fruit Company, Camors-Weinberger Banana Co., Bluefields S. S. Co., Ltd., Vacaro Bros. & Co., Planters' S. S. Co., S. Oteri S. S. Co., John B. Cefalu & Bro.
ACTION BY SECOND HEALTH CONFERENCE AT NASHVILLE.
On November 12, 1906, just a year after the first Southern Quarantine Conference was held at Chattanooga on invitation of the Governor of Tennessee, the Second Conference of the same series was held at Nashville.
In the interval that had elapsed such a change of sentiment had occurred that the following resolution, differing totally in spirit from the uncompromising dictum of the Chattanooga meeting was unanimously adopted :
“Resolved, That the Conference take no action in advising transfer of maritime quarantine to the Federal Government by these States that have not already made transfers, it being the sense of this committee that each State should be at liberty to act as it sees fit.”
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EAGER FOR LOUISIANA QUARANTINE
The Concurrent Resolution authorizing the lease or sale of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station to the U. S. Government was approved July 12, 1906, and no time was lost in Washington about
moving in the matter. On July 26, Mr. Richard Fourchy, Superintendent of Construction in the office of the Supervising Architect of the U. S. Treasury Department arrived in New Orleans and in company with Dr. J. H. White, Resident Surgeon of the U. S. Public Health and Marine Hospital Service in New Orleans, left the same day for the Mississippi River Quarantine Station for the purpose of appraising the value of that property.
It was in connection with this preliminary inspection, news of which quickly spread in the city, that the outspoken preference of the shipping and importing interests for continued state control of maritime quarantine was first brought to public notice, as shown by the following from the N. O. Picayune of July 28, 1906:
"In the meanwhile the local shipping interests, which have been bearing the burden of this expense of operating the Station, have come forward and stated to Dr. Irion their desire that the Station should continue under State control. This will cause something of a surprise, because the shipping interests were generally believed to be the ones favoring Federal control, as that would relieve them of much of the expense attendant upon inspection and fumigation.
"Representatives of nearly all tihe fruit companies have called on Dr. Irion in the past day or two and have expressed the hope that there would be no change in the control of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station."
The examination made by the U. S. Government experts was so convincing as regards the value of the Louisiana Quarantine Plant that whereas the Treasury Department had not at first seriously entertained the proposition to expend $75,000 for the property, its willingness to pay that price was promptly communicated to the Governor of Louisiana after receiving Mr. Fourchy's report.
In the meantime it began to be realized by those at home that the Mississippi River Quarantine Station was worth a great deal more than $75,000 and in the end it transpired that this view was shared by those who were so desirous of acquiring possession of it.
SALE AND TRANSFER OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER QUARANTINE
It is to be noted that the Concurrent Resolution of the Louisiana Legislature authorizing the sale or lease of the Mississippi River Quarantine Station to the U. S. Government stipulated no price. The Thorpe bill, which failed to pass, had named a minimum figure of