The United States Government does its share when it protects, defends, and preserves the people in the enjoyment of law, order, and calm quiet. Those who have brought upon the city this stagnation of business, this desolation of the hearth-stone, this starvation of the poor and helpless, should, as far as they may be able, relieve these distresses.
There are two classes whom it would seem peculiarly fit should at first contribute to this end: First, those individuals and corporations who have aided the rebellion with their means; and, second, those who have endeavored to destroy the commercial prosperity of the city, upon which the welfare of its inhabitants depends.
It is brought to the knowledge of the commanding general that a subscription of $, 1250,000 was made by the corporate bodies, business firms, and persons whose names are set forth in schedule A, annexed to this order, and that sum placed in the hands of an illegal body, known as the Committee of Public Safety, for the treasonable purpose of defending the city against the Government of the United States, under whose humane rule the city of New Orleans had enjoyed such unexampled prosperity that her warehouses were killed with trade of all nations, who came to share her freedom, to take part in the benefits of her commercial superiority, and thus she was made the representative mart of the world.
The stupidity and wastefulness with which this immense sum was spent was only equaled by the folly which led to its being raised at all. The subscribers to this fund, by this very act, betray their treasonable designs and their ability to pay at least a much smaller tax for the relief of their destitute and starving neighbors.
Schedule B is a list of cotton brokers who, claiming to control that great interest in New Orleans, to which she is so much indebted for her wealth, published in the newspapers, in October, 1861, a manifesto, deliberately advising the planters not to bring their produce to the city; a measure which brought ruin at the same time upon the producer and the city. This act sufficiently testifies the malignity of these traitors, as well as the Government as their neighbors, and it is to be regretted that their ability to relieve their fellow-citizens is not equal to their facilities for injuring them. In taxing both these classes to relieve the suffering poor of New Orleans, yea even though the needy be the starving wives and children of those in arms at Richmond and elsewhere against the United States, it will be impossible to make a mistake save in having the assessment too easy and the burden too light.
It is therefore ordered:
1st. That sums in schedules annexed, marked A and B, set against the names of the several persons, business firms, and corporations therein described be, and hereby are, assessed upon each respectively.
2nd. That said sums be paid to Lieutenant David C. G. Field, financial clerk, at his office in the custom-house, on or before Monday, the 11th instant, or that the property of the delinquent be forthwith seized and sold at public auction, to pay the amount, with all necessary charges and expenses, or the party imprisoned till paid.
3rd. The money raised by this assessment to be a fund for the purpose of providing employment and food for the deserving poor people of New Orleans.
By command of Major-General Butler:
R. S. DAVIS,
Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.