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Actors And Charities

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The dramatic crine oí a newspapor in a neighboring city receutly wrote to Miss Charlotte Cushman, asking her, without much cereniony, to givo a gratuitous representaron for tho benefit of the poor of that place, and requesting her to answer by telograph " Yes" or "No." ïo this summons Miss Cushman sent the following sensible and appropriato reply : " Dear Siu - I am in rocoipt of yours of the lst, in answer to which I find myself undor the necessity of saying ' No ' to your request that 1 would givo one of the nights of my short engagement in Washington for the benefit oi your local charities. My reasons for this decisión are as follows ; " I think the time has come in which some one should mako a protest against the system now so fully inaugurated óf niaking artists pay so much more than the rest of tho community for charities in which they aro not especially interested, and which have no claim upon them. You simply ask of ino that I should givo from $100 to $500 to your poor, while those moro immediately concerned, those who are bound by all the ties of neighborhood and comnion brotherhood, think they are doing their part in paying a quota of a dollar or two, when they receivo in return a full equivalent in the labor, severe enough, of tho often hard-pressed and struggling artist. Each ono oi these already does to the best of his or her ability, within the range of tho claims which fall upon every human creature alike. You may think it indelicate, but it is surely not irrelevant for me . to eay here that I every year give to my poor and needy, and my poor' a poor and needy, upward of $2,000, which I consider a very fair per centage upon my income. As for myself, it would take every day of every year, if I were to respond to one-half the applications of this kind that meet me at every turn ; and each one of us who aro so freely called upon in these ways, I have no doubt have not only their regular clientelle of claimants to whom they are bound, and for whom they are accumulated, but also hosts of such applications and claims for which they are in no way bound. " It strikes me that the whole affair is one-sided, and that a word is necessary in the way of justice. I am willing to place myself in this breach, and say for all my confrères in art - whose errors have never been on tho side of niggardliness that it is unfair we shbuld do all the work, and pay also, both publicly and privately, as we do to my certain knowledge. " Allow me to suggest that in place of this easy manner of doing good, a house to house visitation for charitable objects would place it within the power of every citizen the poor of his own city and neighborhood, with much greater comfort to his conscience than this cent per cent contract of so much money for so much amusement - and the poor thrown in. Believe me to be, with much consideration, respectf'ully yours, CHAKLOTTE CUSHMAN." The Tribune says of the above editorially : " The letter of Miss Cushman, which we publish in another place, is one which ought to have been written long ago, and which, nevertheless, no one who did not possess this great artist' s social and professional standing would have dared to write. She is strong enough in the fame of a long life-time of lavish munificehce to refuse to obey the requisition of a self-appointed assesser of charities. There is nothing more vulgar and thoughtless than the habitual practico of all sortsof committeemen of calling upon artists to aid their work to an extent wholly disproportioned to their means. Men of large fortune think themselves very generous in giving a hundred dollars, but they think nothing of asking for an evening's performance, for a picture, or a poem, or a sketch, which may represent a week of labor, and a consequent deficit at the end of the month, to the overworked artist who furnishes it. All classes of artists usually give to charity fully, as much as they can aflbrd, and do it willingly and gladly. But wo are glad to see that one of the greatest of them, whose motives cannot be misconstrued, has taken occasion to protest against the unjust and inconsiderate demands which are continually made upon them." Jlicdiflon Jtgitfi.


Old News
Michigan Argus