All America and Canada to the Rescue
During the first three days after the terrible news had been flashed over the world the relief fund from the nation had leaped beyond the $5,000,000 mark. New York took the lead in the most generous giving that the world has ever seen. From every town and country village the people hastened to the Town Halls, the newspaper offices and wherever help was to be found most quickly, to add their savings and to sacrifice all but necessities for their stricken fellow-countrymen. Never has there been such a practical illustration of brotherly love. A perfect shower of gold and food was poured out to the sufferers to give them immediate assistance and to help them to a new start in life. All relief records were broken within two days of the disaster, but still the purses of the rich and poor alike continued to add to the huge contributions. Though the relief records were broken, every succeeding dispatch from the West told too plainly the terrible fact that all records of necessity were also broken.
Over the entire globe Americans wherever they were hastened to cable or telegraph their bankers to add their share to the great work. A large fund was at once started in London, and with contributions of from $2,000 to $12,000 the sum was soon raised to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Individual contributions of $100,000 were common. In addition to John D. Rockefeller’s gift of this sum, his company, the Standard Oil, gave another $100,000. The Steel Corporation and Andrew Carnegie each gave $100,000. From London William Waldorf Astor cabled his American representative, Charles A. Peabody, to place $100,000 at once at the disposal of Mayor Schmitz, of San Francisco, which was done. The Dominion Government of Canada made a special appropriation of $100,000 and the Canadian Bank of Commerce, at Toronto, gave $10,000. And two of the great steamship companies owned in Germany sent $25,000 each.
On nearly a dozen roads, two days before the fire was over, great trains of freight cars loaded with foodstuffs were hastening at express speed to San Francisco. They had the right of way on every line. E. H. Harriman, in addition to giving $200,000 for the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific and other Harriman roads, issued orders that all relief trains bound for the desolated city should have Precedence over all other business of the roads.
Advices from many points indicated that at least 150 freight cars loaded with the necessaries so eagerly awaited in San Francisco were speeding there as fast as steam could drive them. In addition, several steamers from other Pacific coast points, all food-laden, were rushing toward the stricken city.
The rapidity with which the various relief funds in every city grew was almost magical.