Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/527

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

long peculiar to the Providence public schools. In 1908 a “ Sunshine School ” was established, with sun and fresh-air treatment for invalid pupils.

The Providence Journal (Independent, daily, 1829), the most important newspaper published in the state, and the Evening Bulletin (Independent, 1863) are controlled by the same compa'l1'lie charitable institutions include the Rhode Island Hospital (1863, private), the Prisoners' Aid Association (1872), the Providence Rescue Home and Mission (1896), the Bethany Home of Rhode Island (1892), a tem orary home for women; the House of the Good Shepherd (1904), the Lying-In Hospital (1884), Saint ]ose8h's Hospital (1892; Sisters of St Francis), two dispensaries, a ity Hospital for the Treatment of Contagious Diseases (1909) cn Capitol Hill; the Butler Hospital for the Insane, which is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the country, was established by a bequest of $30,000 left in 1841 by Nicholas' Brown, 'and has about 120 acres of beautiful grounds on the western bank of the Seekonk; the Dexter Asylum for the Poor (endowed with the Dexter Fund and limited to those who have a legal settlement in Providence, Le. have paid taxes on $200 worth of property for five years; and hence a charity of little practical use); a home for aged men (1875), a home for aged women (1856), St Elizabeth's Home (1882, Protestant Episcopal) for incurable and convalescent women; a home for aged coloured women (1890), five temporary homes, the Rhode Island Catholic Orphan Asylum (1851, Sisters of Mercy), St Vincent de Paul's Infant Asylum (1892, Sisters of Divine Providence), St Mary's Orphanage (1873, Protestant Episcopal), the State Home and School (1885) for indigent and neglected children, Providence Children's Friend Society (1835), other homes for children, day nurseries, and the Providence Society for organizing charity (1892). Jewish charities are prominent. The St Vincent de Paul Society is the organized charity of the Roman Catholic churches. The harbour of Providence and its approaches have been much improved since the middle of the 19th century by the Federal and state governments. Between 1853 and 1873 the low-water depth of the channel was increased from 4% ft. to 12 ft., at a cost of $5Q, OOO; from 1878 to 1895 the depth of the channel was further increased to 2 5 ft., and anchorage basins were created with a minimum depth of 20 ft. for a width of 600 ft., with a minimum depth of 18 ft. for a width of 725 ft., with a minimum depth of 12 ft. for a width of 940 ft., and with a minimum depth of 6 ft. for a width of 1000 ft. Between 1896 and 1906 the channel from Sassafras Point to the ocean was widened to 400 ft. and by 1909 the anchorage area, having a depth of 25 ft., was further increased to about 288 acres. Between 1867 and 1909 the channel of the Seekonk river was dredged to a depth of 16 ft. as far as Pawtucket at the head of navigation. In 1908 the commerce, largely- coast wise, of Providence Harbor, amounted to 3,379,594 tons, chiefly coal, general merchandise and fish, valued at $93,309,119 5. In 1909 the value of the foreign imports, chiefly salt from Turks Island and lumber from Nova Scotia, amounted to $1,893, 5 51, and the value of the exports to $12, 517. Of greater importance to Providence than its commerce are its manufactures, the value of which in 1905 was $91,980,963, or 16-9% more than in 1900. Its factory products were valued at 45-5% of the state's total; 'its wage earners were 409% of the state's total; and nearly one-half of the worsted goods and more than one-fourth of all the textiles made in the state were manufactured here, as were four-fifths of the rubber and elastic goods, nine-tenths of the foundry and machine-shop products, and all the gold and silver refined, not from the ore. The Gorham Company engage here in the manufacture of gold, silver and bronze works of art; the American Screw Company, the Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company, and the Nicholson File Company have factories here; and here the famous Corliss engines were first made about 1847. In 1905 Rhode Island ranked first among the states and Territories of the Union in the value of jewelry manufactured and more than QQ(%;, of this was made in Providence, which produced 26'9% (by value) of all the jewelry made in the United States. The value of the jewelry made in Providence in 190 5 was $14,317,0 50, being I5-6% of the value of the city's entire factory product. Closely allied with this manufacture were the reducing and refining of gold and silver sweepings, &c. (none from ore), with a product value in 1905 of $4,260,698, and silversmithing and the manufacture of silver-ware with products in 1905 valued at $5,323,264 Actually the largest industry in IQOS was the manufacture of worsted goods, valuedat $2I, 020,8Q2. Other important manufactures are foundry and machine-shop products (1905, $9,358,687), woollen goods ($2,080,658), cotton goods ($I, O2S,264) and cotton small wares ($I, Q67,298), dyeing and finishing textiles (~$2,254,074), rubber and elastic goods ($2,167,983), and malt liquors ($I,427,246).

Providence is governed under a city charter of 1832, subsequently amended. A town meeting is still held annually for the administration of the fund (referred to above) called the Dexter donation. Under the city charter only citizens who pay a tax on $134 worth-of real property or $200 worth of personal property may vote for members of the city council. Until 1842 there was the further requirements that every voter should be the eldest son of a freeholder. The city council is composed of: a board of aldermen, one from each of the ten wards, which may redistrict the city every five years, and until 1895 acted as a returning board, and which is presided over by the mayor; and a common council of four members from each ward, elected in open ward-meeting by the qualified freeholders of the ward. Elections are annual. The aldermen and common council meet together to organize and to elect municipal ioliicers, not otherwise provided for. The greater size of the common council gives it the power in joint sessions; and although the vote of the city for mayor is normally Democratic, the vote of the qualified freeholders (which is only about 40% of the total vote) for common-councilmen and aldermen is always Republican. The two houses acted before 1895 as a board of registration; the council now chooses a board of three members with a term of three years. The city council and a school'committee of 33 members (3 ex ojicio; 30 elected by wards, one each year fromeach ward for a three-year term) control the public schools. The mayor has had the veto power only since 1854; and' until 1866 his veto could be overridden by a majority vote; a three fifths vote of each chamber is now necessary. The mayor was at the head of the police department until 1901, when a commission of three was created; until 1906 these police commissioners were appointed by the governor of the state, but they are now chosen by the mayor with the approval of the board of aldermen. In the same way the mayor appoints a commissioner of public works for a term of three years. The three commissioners of the fire department and the three members of the board for the assessment of taxes are chosen by the city council. The city treasurer (since 18 58) and the overseer of the poor and the harbour-master (since 1866) are elected by popular vote. The municipality owns and operates the waterworks and there are municipal bath-houses. 3

Providence was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, an exile from Massachusetts, and its early history is closely bound up with the early history of Rhode Island, it being one of the four towns out of which this commonwealth was formed. Having agreed with Canonicus and Miantonomo, the Narraganset sachems, for the purchase of a considerable tract of land, Williams built his house about 50 ft. east of what is now North Main Street and nearly opposite the confluence of the Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket rivers, and he named the place Providence in recognition of his divine guidance hither. He and a few companions who had accompanied him into exile immediately established a town government with monthly town meetings, and in the next year, 1637, after the arrival of a few more settlers, a plantation covenant was adopted which laid the basis of the futu1'e commonwealth on a new principle-the complete separation of religious and civil affairs. In 1644 Williams secured a charter uniting Providence, Aquidneck (Portsmouth), and Newport, as “The Incorporation of Providence Plantations in the Narraganset Bay in New England ”; these three towns (and Warwick) organized in Providence in May 1647 under this government. The charter of the 24th of November 1663, to the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode Island and' Providence Plantations, perpetuated the” name Providence Plantations, which still remains a part of the legal title of the state. Providence was incorporated as a town by