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Half-dollars For Everybody

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Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

During the winters of 1874-5, 1875-6, and 1876-7 tho sufferings of the poor in this city from privation, cold and want of employment were unprecedented in the history of the metropolis. Every day during these long wintei-3, from 3 o'clock in the afternoon until 6:80. Mr. Peter Cooper sat in his ofiioe or library on Lexington avenue, and no one, however shabby in dress was refused admission. On the table before him were piled hundreds of newly coined half dollar? and these piles were replenished everv hour by the servant in attendance. His rule was to give every applieant half a dollar in any event, and if the case seenied to be aspeciallyurgentone, the douceur was doubled, with a request sither to write a history of the case, !iave it authenticated by some clergyman or other authority, and send it in for further consideration. As early as 2:30 o'cloek in the afternoon crowds of poverty stricken people- men and women of every nationality and josition in life-might be seen gathered in front of the Lexington avenue residence, and the amount exended often amounted to $200 in a single day, irrespective of the special "a tuut were more carefully inquired nto. and in whlclisoecial aul wasgiven. dost of the applicanto ",. .-„„„„„„' ana many of course, were downright rauds. Hut the old man proceeded ipon the principie that it is better to be eceived by many than to deny one eserving sufferer. He could afford, he ised to say, to give half a dollar to anyody who asked for it, irrespective of he applieant, and time did not permit ïim to inquire toe minutely into the ircumstances His heaviest week durng any' season aggregated 81,500; it was considerable money to spend on lendicants; but. as the old man said, be ministers would take care of those vho belonged to their denominations, nd some one must take care of those vho were neither Episcopalians nor tlcthodists, Presbyterians norCatholics t was thoso who had no religlous affilitions who were most liable to suffer without auj' resources or remedy; and t was for this that he kept up his distrimtion of half dollars.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News