Relaxing on board and Passing Resolutions - Unofficial Log of the Sailing of a Refugee Ship in 1914
Within a short time, the Committe on Entertainments had the young people engaged in dances and deck sports, and had arranged a series of afternoon meetings in the dining salon at which fellow passengers spoke. On Monday, August 17, Mr. Smith gave his talk, "The Ship That Sailed"; the next afternoon, Mr. Eugene H. Byrne, of the University of Wisconsin, spoke on "The Beginnings of Genoa"; on Wednesday, Mr. Paul S. Reinsch, United States Minister to China, gave a lecture on "American Business Work in China"; Friday afternoon, Mr. George B. McClellan, formerly Mayor of New York and at present a professor at Princeton, read a paper on "Italy's Relation to the Present War" which will soon appear in the Atlantic Monthly; Saturday afternoon, Mr. Gano Dunn, one of the country's foremost electrical engineers, gave a lecture on "Wireless Telegraphy".
At the conclusion of the talks on the various afternoons, Dr. Butler, who acted as chairman, opened the meetings to general discussion. On two occasions, the ship's company passed resolutions in which they expressed their thankfulness to the men who had made the voyage possible. The first set, containing an appreciation of the work of Consul General Jones of Genoa, is as follows:
- We, the passengers on the good ship Principe di Udine of the Lloyd Sabaudo Line, desire to express our heartiest appreciation of what the United States Consul General at Genoa, JOHN EDWARD JONES, has recently done-in our behalf, in assisting us, in a time of sudden and extraordinary emergency, to return safely and quickly to our American homes.
- We desire to recognize the sympathy and the kindness with which the Consul General, ably seconded by his office force, treated each one of us, making our troubles his own, cheering us up when we were losing heart, and seeking out special cases of need among our afflicted countrymen and women.
- Resolved, that we desire to publish to our country the unwearied faithfulness of our Consul General in acting day and night for our relief, doing all that could be expected of any consul and much more, with an admirable tact and skill and untiring expenditure of patient effort.
- Resolved, that we pray God's richest blessing on the man whose sympathy, ability, faithfulness, and courage we can never forget. He was the right man in the right place at the right time, and will always serve our memories as the type of official whom the American people ought to have in times of greatest need.
- Resolved, that the Chairman of the meeting of passengers be requested to forward a copy of these resolutions to the Honorable Secretary of State."
- Edward Rondthaler, Chairman
- Edward M. Farnsworth, Secretary
- George B. McClellan,
- Park Benjamin
- Benjamin W. Fredericks
August 18, 1914.
The second set adopted, the next day, reads as follows:
- Resolved, by this meeting of the passengers on this 19th day of August, 1914, that we express our deepest gratitude, our great debt, and our lasting appreciation of the work and accomplishment of the Committee of Guarantors as represented by Messrs. Smith, Butler, Dunn and Vanderbilt, the other ladies and gentlemen who have borne the burden of the clerical work, and the doctors who have so cheerfully and efficiently attended to the preservation of our health.
- Be it further resolved that we express our appreciation to the Commander and officers of the ship Principe di Udine for the many ways in which they have ministered to our comfort and for their unfailing courtesy.
At the last meeting, the passengers voted that the Chair appoint a committee whose duties would be to inform public opinion in the United States, and if necessary, to visit Washington, to make representation to the proper government officials, regarding the urgent needs, both financial and as to transportation, of Americans traveling in Europe at the outbreak of the war. Dr. Butler appointed the following men to serve on the committee:
- R. A. C. Smith, New York, Chairmen
- Park Benjamin, New York
- Henry Burnett, Louisville, Kentucky
- Nicholas Murray Butler, New York
- Gano Dunn, New York
- William G. Frizell, Dayton, Ohio
- Edwin B. Gager, Derby, Connecticut
- Charles C. Hoyt, Brookline, Massachusetts
- George B. McClellan. New York
- William R. Newbold, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Theodore W. Noyes, Washington, D. C.
- Stewart Paton, Princeton, New Jersey
- Charles K. Paul, Chicago, Illinois
- Edward Rondthaler, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Jacob G. Schmidlapp, Cincinnati, Ohio
- Sidney T. Smythe, Delafield, Wisconsin.
- Landon Thomas, Augusta, Georgia.
(These men met at the Hotel Biltmore in New York on Tuesday, August 25, with an assistant to the Secretary of State, and officially expressed to him their satisfaction with the steps the Government had taken at that time.)
On the evening of Friday, the twenty-first, the ship's company enjoyed a concert given by the orchestra and fellow passengers. Divine Service was held both Sundays at sea.
Dr. Rondthaler, of North Carolina, Bishop in the Moravian Church, conducted the first service, and Mr. A. E. Cory, of Cincinnati, the second.
Tuesday, the eighteenth, at 10:30 A. M., (unofficial log time) we crossed the half way point of our voyage. The time could not have been more opportune; fortune had sent us a smooth sea and a cloudless sky, so that all the passengers were on deck to watch the hoisting of the stars and stripes to the forepeak. Captain Tiscornia, Mr. Smith, Dr. Butler, and Mr. Dunn, stood on the bridge, while the big whistle saluted and the crowd cheered the colors.
Only twice during the voyage did we come in actual contact with the war, although the wireless—that magic voice of the sky—kept us closely informed about the happenings in Europe. Every morning, Mr. Dunn posted bulletins of the news which had been caught during the preceding night.
At first, we read of German defeats everywhere, but later, we saw statement after statement of German victory. On August nineteenth, a black-bordered announcement appeared saying that Pope Pius had died. Out of the confused rattle of clickings and tappings which had reached the operator's ears during the night watches, he had "read" the news, but not wishing to post any misinformation, he gave the statement as follows: "It is officially announced that His Holiness, Pope Pius the Tenth, is dying. A later report says he is really dead."