Chapter 6 – Charity History and Festive Mirth

From the revival in 1787 until the War of Secession – nearly three-quarters of a century – the activities of the St. Andrew’s Society experienced no interruption. Like in Charleston once more “flowed and easy channels,” but it was not the same life which its people had lived in colonial days. Colonial Charleston gradually gave way to ante-bellum Charleston. New customs, new interests quickly took the place of the old. The generation which had divided on the issue of independence gave way to their sons who, though they frequently differed on questions of public policy, where spare a similar dilemma.  Their grandsons, however, were not so fortunate, but the problem which they were brought to face will be the subject of a subsequent chapter. This will deal with the Society in the ante-bellum period.

For ten years after the reorganization, the society follow his former practice of extending charity to any worthy object which came under his notice. The war had left many persons in distress, and the applications for a were numerous.1 Though its means were limited in this period. The Society responded as frequently and as generously as it could. Among those who received assistance was Mrs. Ann Price. Her petition shows that her troubles were caused, in part at least, by the Revolution.

 “Honerable Gentilman 

I make bold as a poor distressed widow to make my application to you for a little Support, as I am in great distress. I would not make so bold to apply to your Honerable Club for a little assistance, but I am well ashurd of the many widows you have asisted, and made live happy in their latter days. My father was a gentilman of a genteel fortune, come in hear in the year 1750, and by misfortune lost all, and dyed worth nothing.  he was born in Scotland of a noble famaley. His name was John Campbell Hamilton. he had the ginnaoligy of his famaley but he took a toure in the backwoods and all his papers was distroid by the Indians and near lost his life by them.  I was married to one Doctor David Speno born in Edenborough, and all his famaley lives thair, his father was a writer to the Signet, his mothers maiden name was Spence. He dyed yong and had not time to make anything to leve me.  I marrid again after he dyed, he dyed in the year 1753, and I am now old and in great distress. I keept a School in the Country when the war began, but was forst to brake it up, and that was the ruin of me. I am not so lame in one of my feet that I can hardly stand on it, and almost lost the site of my right Eye, that I am unable to work for my living. It is sorely against my will that I am trublesum to you honorable Gentilmen.  I have worked for my living aver since my downfall in the world, but I am now almost part my labour. If you honourable gentilmen thinks me a worthy object of pity, you will hear of me at MrsPostell widow of James Postell Esqr of the horse Shoe, and hir Daughtors, Mrs. Postel, Mrs Smith, obrian Smith’s Esqr lady. Benj. Postell’s Esqr lady is the other. For timely assistance your petiticinor will aver be bound to pray and am in the mean time, Honerable gentilman, and aflicted and unhappy peticinor. 

                                            Ann Price 

Novr the 7th 1793.”

In 1796 when the original rules were revised, this policy was altered. The community was rapidly recovering from the effects of the war. Consequently the extraordinary demand for general charity no longer existed, and the charitable agencies of the city seeing more than adequate to meet the ordinary needs. At the same time a number of members in the Society had greatly increased, and it was not improbable that a time would come when some of them might need assistance. Under these circumstances it was determined that while the principal part of the Society’s revenue should be set aside for the establishment and maintenance of a school, the remainder might, as occasion arose, be devoted to the relief of reduced members and their families. The Amount used for this purpose was not to exceed in any year before the establishment of the school one-fourth of the annual revenue nor one-third afterwards. The method of distribution in such cases was carefully prescribed:

“Any member of this Society who has been such for seven years and has regularly paid his contributions and fines, but may have fallen into indigent circumstances, and the widow and orphan children of any deceased member who was not at the time of his death indebted to the society more than seven dollars shall be entitled to the charity of the society in such proportion as shall be determined by a majority of the members present…..

If on the death of any member who has not been such for seven years any person for him paying his contributions during the remaining part of that period, the widow or orphan children of such deceased member shall, at the end of the aforesaid period, and not before, be entitled to the same assistance as if he had been a member seven years.

If any member shall die in such low circumstances that he cannot, out of his estate be decently interred the committee of charity shall have power to order at the expense of the society whatever may be necessary for his funeral in a decent manner.

Every person claiming the charily of the society shall be obliged annually to present a statement of their necessities and age, of the number, ages and names of their children (if any) and in general an exact and particular account of their circumstances; which statement shall be certified by three or more respectable parishioners where such person resides.

On every St. Andrew’s Day five persons shall be chosen by ballot as a committee of charity (three of whom shall be a quorum) to whom every petition for charity, with the statement and certificate accompanying it, showing the first instance be referred; who shall be obligated to report thereon to the society at their next meeting; and who shall keep separate an exact minutes of the proceedings to be open to the inspection of the members of the society.

In cases where immediate relief is absolutely necessary the committee of charity shall have power to draw on the treasurer for a sum not exceeding $20 at one time, nor one hundred dollars in one quarter.”3

Circumstances evidently determined that this form of relief should become the chief charitable work of the Society in the ante-bellum period.  The school, as it has been pointed out above, was provided for through special subscription, thereby making it unnecessary to hold in reserve a large part of the annual revenue as was originally intended. Moreover, any thought which might have been entertained by making further provision for the school was interrupted by its discontinuance after 1811. No public charity having been found to take its place, the fund which was just released was applied to the cost of erecting the hall. This was so merely adequate for the purpose that only a small encroachment was made on the general fund. When, therefore, the number of members needing assistance increased, the Society was able to enlarge its appropriations. By 1817 he was devoting one-half of its income to this object, and in 1846 this was increased to five-eighths.4

The Society had several sources of revenue. The membership fees constituted the most regular in the principal source of revenue. The admission charge in 1796 was $8, but after 1817 this was raised to $30, with the exception that sons of members were to be admitted on payment of $10. The annual dues were $5 in 1796, $7.50 in 1817, and $10 after 1844. Besides there were fines – for non-attendance, or refusal to serve as an officer, for failure to perform committee duty – which yielded some income.5 After 1815 the rental of the hall brought in a substantial sum each year.6 From time to time the Society received a gift or a legacy. Mr. Alenxander Shirras, the founder of Shirras’ Dispensary, bequeathed a number of bonds.7 In 1806 Mr. Adam Tunno in close $30 in a note to the treasurer describing it as “a sum won by me from Ad. Morison, Esq. which I think cannot be better applied them to the Saint Andrew’s Fund for charity.”8 Doubtless there were other gifts of the same kind.  In 1856 Captian Archibald McWilliam presented the Society with five shares in the “capital stock of the Insurance and Trust Company.”9 The largest bequest of which record has been preserved was that of Mr. Robert Maxwell amounting to $1,172.52. When this was finally received in 1850, thirteen years after Mr. Maxwell’s will was declared, the Society recognized the benefaction by ordering “a framed tablet with appropriate inscription to be suspended on the wall in the hall.”10

The Charleston Scot lost little of his caution in financial affairs during the interval between the adoption of the original rules of the St. Andrew’s Society in 1730 and their revision in 1796, if one may judge from the careful provision for the management of its funds which appear in the latter.  Twice again before the War of Secession, in 1817 and in 1844, the rules were revised, and in each instance the same care was exercised in this matter.11 The rules of 1796 reaffirmed the requirement that the treasurer should furnish a bond of twice the value of the “society-stock” in his hands. After 1817 this was fixed at $6,000 “with two or more sureties (to be approved of by the President).”12 At the same time this officer’s duties were recognized as sufficiently arduous to warrant a compensation of “five per centum upon the receipts or income of the Society.” There was a committee of five on the treasurer’s accounts whose duty it was to examine the books each year “and report thereon at the Anniversary.” This committee was further required to suggest “the best mode of investing the unappropriated funds.” Action could not be taken on their suggestion, however, except at a meeting attending by at least thirty members.  According to the rules of 1796 these “unappropriated funds” might be “laid out in purchasing real or personal property or public securities or loaned on interest;” those of 1817 specified investments “in public securities or bank stock;” but in 1844 the rules permitted any investments which might be considered “useful for the increase of the funds.” But all of these precautions did not same the Society from considerable losses at times.

In 1803 the general fund, exclusive of the school money, amounted to $8,201.45.13 For the next few years this increased rapidly.  In 1813 it had reached $18,479.50.14 The cost of building the hall reduced this to some extent, but two years later a member was able to state that “by prudent management, and the effect of accumulation, accompanied with the blessing of Heaven, there now exists a capital of $25,000, which is continually increasing.”15 Between this optimistic statement and the year 1841, a period in which the treasurer’s reports are entirely wanting, there must have been severe reverses in the fortunes of the Society. In the latter year the “stock” was considerably less than $12,000, and the committee on charity stated that the “diminished means of the Society devolved on them the painful duty to recommend a reduced sum” for the pensioners.16 Such items in their report as “79 Planters and Mechanics – present value $27 per share” and “71 United States – present value $9 per share” suggest an explanation. Doubtless the widespread financial disturbances of 1837 were responsible. From 1841 to 1860 figures relative to the amount of the “stock” are not available.17 The annual revenue, however, appears to have averaged about $2,300.  Of this it was the practice to give at first one-half and later five-eighths to charity. In 1841 there were nineteen persons on the bounty list receiving sums ranging from $30 to $80. In 1860 there were fifteen, but they received in no case less than $115 and in two instances as much as $130 each.

On at least one occasion the Society violated the rule limiting its charity to reduced members or their families.  At the August meeting of 1853 a letter was read from the St. Andrew’s Society of New Orleans calling attention to the “prevailing epidemic” in their city and asking assistance for “a great many Scotchmen and their families.” A motion was immediately made to the effect that the sum of $250 be contributed.  When a conscientious member objected that such action was contrary to the rules, the original resolution was put to a vote and “carried by a nearly unanimous vote.”18

On another occasion the Society kept within the law but managed to carry out an act of charity which was not contemplated by the rules. In February 1847, a communication was received from the First Presbyterian Church to the effect that a public subscription for the “suffering poor in Scotland” was about to be opened and asking the “concurrence and support of the St. Andrew’s Society.” The members seemed to have responded by taking entire charge.

Solicitors were appointed to canvass the city, and by the end of the month over $3,500 was secured.  This was subsequently increased to approximately $8,000, generous sums being given not only in Charleston but in other Southern cities as well.  This money was used for the purchase of flour which was shipped at once to Scotland.19

The activity of the St. Andrew’s Society during the ante-bellum period was greatest in the years from 1787 to 1829 when its one hundredth anniversary was celebrated. This was the result of a large increase in the number of members. No less than 681 gentlemen joined the Society in these forty-four years.20 Many of them took an active part in its affairs. It was through their efforts that the school was established in 1804 and that the hall was erected in 1815. But they expressed their interest in other ways. In 1818 they began to hold meetings every month instead of once every quarter.21 Under their encouragement a Junior St. Andrew’s Society was organized among the younger men of the community who were not of an age to be taken into membership.22 They saw to it that St. Andrew’s Day. Their attendance in large numbers upon the annual celebratons gave those occasions an even greater importance than they had enjoyed in colonial times.

This zeal for the welfare of the Society drew favorable comment from the newspapers. Of the anniversary dinner held at Williams’ Coffee House in 1792 the editor of the City Gazette wrote:

“After transacting some other business in which the divine principle of charity was not forgot, the society, to the amount of upwards of one hundred gentlemen, sat down to an excellent dinner, and spent the remainder of the day with the harmonious festivity with which the sons of the Saint have always conducted the celebration of their favorite patron.”23

The South Carolina State Gazette had the following to say of the celebration of 1799:

“On the anniversary of the tutelary saint of Scotland, the members of the Society partook of an excellent dinner at the Carolina Coffee House. Following each toast a band of music struck up a lively air suited to the sentiment.” 24 

In 1818 the Society celebrated its 89th anniversary area it was the fourth in a new hall. The Charleston Courier commented as follows:

“The Vice-President took the chair and…..one hundred and twenty gentlemen sat down to an excellent and sumptuous dinner. It was a delightful spectacle, to see gentlemen from almost every part of Europe and the United States seated around one’s social board and under the happy auspices of this free and liberal country, enjoying themselves upon a footing of perfect equality, with the utmost cordiality, and without any of the national prejudices by which in the old world, individuals are too often estranged from each other. The greatest harmony and conviviality prevail…. About half-past nine o’clock a member of the Society playing on the Bag-pipes, and the full Highland costume of those Regiments that immortalized themselves at Aboukir, at Pampaluna….. was conducted into the Hall by the Stewards and took his station behind the President’s chair. An instantaneous burst of feeling broke from the whole assembly…..The honorable emotions of national pride and national glory were full almost to overflowing and communicated their sympathetic influence to every heart. 

During the evening a number of choice songs were sung with the greatest excellence. We have never heard better singing in Charleston, or singing that produced a deeper effect….. 

We rejoice at the establishment of such societies among us. They ennoble the moral nature of man. We cherish the benevolent objects which they are calculated to promote – we respect the feelings they are intended to commemorate. He cannot be a good citizen of any country who does not remember with veneration the land that gave him birth.” 25 

It was the custom of the societies of Charleston in ante-bellum times to attend as such upon all important public functions, particularly on occasion would distinguish visitors were to be welcomed to the city.  They sometimes formed a procession to escort the guest to the residence provide for his use.  The order in these processions was determined by seniority.  It seems that at the reception of General LaFayette in 1825 a controversy arose between the South Carolina and the St. Andrew’s Societies as to which was entitled to first place.  The latter was accorded the honor, but the matter did not rest at that.  Some time later the following note was received by the St. Andrew’s Society:

 “Adam Tunno, Esq., 

President of Saint Andrew’s Society: 

Dear Sir – It having been brought to the view of the South Carolina Society by its honorable President that the Charter of Incorporation of that Society was was an anterior date to that of Saint Andrew’s, and it being a question whether these societies when walking in procession, take ranked according to their charter, or the age of the respective societies, a committee was appointed in behalf of the South Carolina Society, consisting of I. E. Holmes, Peter Bacot and J. A. Yates, to meet such committee as may be appointed from the Saint Andrew’s, to confer upon the subject, and to prevent any collision between Societies so ancient and respectable, as those of Saint Andrew’s and the South Carolina. It hopes Sir that this affair may be settled harmoniously, and to the satisfaction of all parties, 

     I subscribe myself, 

      Your obedient servant, 

          Isaac E. Holmes 

               Chairman of Committee of the 

                South Carolina Society 

August 16, 1826.” 

The committee was appointed as requested. A meeting was arranged. And on September 30th the Society was informed that the following amicable agreement had been reached:

“The Committees of the St. Andrews and the South Carolina Societies, that under resolutions of their respective Societies, Matt and conference on the subject of the seniority claimed by the St. Andrew’s Society, respectfully report:  That from the original rules and documents of St. Andrew’s Society, which were laid before, and carefully examined by the committees, it appears that the St. Andrew’s Society was founded in the year 1729, under the name of St. Andrew’s Club, and that on 30th November, 1730, the fundamental Rules of the Society where signed by a considerable number of members. In these Rules the Club is expressly designated a Society, and the members associated for social and charitable purposes, and from that time to the present, the Society has been maintained by a constant succession of members, and has never been, in any manner, dissolved. In 1788, the Rules adopted and signed on the 30th November, 1730, were printed without the slightest alteration or amendment, accompanied by a regular list of the members annually admitted from its origin, taken from the records of the Society. It is then called the St. Andrew’s Club. Sometime between 1788 and 1798, the word Club was changed to Society, in the name by which it is designated, and it has been supposed that this might in some manner affect the present inquiry. But the change was merely the substitution of a word of Latin for one of Saxon origin, signifying in the present case, precisely the same thing. And by the substitution not the slightest change was made in the organization, Constitution, or objects of the Society. They continue identically the same Society. He is admitted that the South Carolina Society did not originate until 1737, and, looking to their origin, the St. Andrew’s is unquestionably the older Society. But it was suggested that the South Carolina was incorporated before the St. Andrew’s Society, and that this point might make a difference in the commencement of their legal existence. An Act of Incorporation is not necessary to form a society. Whenever a number of individuals associate together, and sign rules for specific legal purposes, by which they mutually bind themselves to each other, the general law of the land acts upon and sanctions such an association, and will hold the members bound to the community, as well as among themselves, by the acts of the majority, within the rules of the Association. Your Committees, therefore, are perfectly satisfied, and so report, that the St. Andrew’s Society, formerly called the St. Andrew’s Club, has existed in an interrupted the succession, in fact, and in law, from its first association in 1729, and especially from the signing of its rules on the 30th November, 1730, to the present day, and is the Senior of the South Carolina Society. 

In ascertaining these facts and forming these conclusions, there has existed no difference of opinion between the committees, and as a lasting memorial of good feeling and mutual respect by which this inquiry has been conducted, and to set the matter here after at rest, they had unanimously agreed to lay this joint report before the respective societies. 

All of which is respectfully submitted.  

(Signed) 

M. King 

Chas. Edmondston 

Wm. Birnie                 

I.E. Holmes               

Jeremiah A. Yates      

Peter Bacot                 

Committee 

St. Andrew’s  

Society 

South Carolina  

Society” 26 

 

Three years after this incident the St. Andrew’s Society celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. TheCharleston Courier did full justice to the occasion:

 

“CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY OF THE 

ST ANDREW’S SOCIETY 

Our citizens have just been greeted with one of the most imposing spectacles, and has for some time back arrested public attention, or fall into our lot to record. We allude to the Centennial Celebration of the Anniversary of the St. Andrew’s Society, which took place yesterday, and which, whether we regard the occasion itself, and the feeling of deep, we almost said sublime interest, connected with it; or the befitting & impressive manner in which the ceremonies were conducted, deserves a conspicuous place in the historical annals of the city of Charleston. We believe we cannot employ a column more to the gratification of our daily readers, Than with a detail of the proceedings, hurried and imperfect as it must necessarily be, from the short time allowed us for its preparation. 

The Society assembled at their Hall in Broad-st. at 10 o’oclock, A.M. The location had drawn together an unusual number of its members, which was increased by a considerable accession of new ones. At half past 10, precisely, the Procession moved from the Hall along Broad-street, to the First Presbyterian Church in Meeting-street, exported by the Union Light Infantry, under the command of Capt. Robertson. Each member of the company was decorated with a badge appropriate to the occasion – the officers wore the Highland bonnet. We know not how these national emblems affected others – to us they were far from the least interesting part of the scene. We in the not the man who could think or feel otherwise. We envy not the cold, and callous, and contracted hard of the man, who, ’dead to the voice of fame,’ could, on such an occasion, survey without emotions of lively interest, far less who would feel disposed to condemn such harmless ebullitions of national enthusiasm. – They are associated with all that is great and illustrious in the history of a good and gallant people. – They cherish and keep alive, a spirit not alien, but akin to the land of their habitation. 

On entering the Church, which was found thronged with the Beauty and Fashion of the city, the services were opened by the following anthem, written for the occasion: – 

Bend at the altar, the sons of the mountains! 

Your thoughts and your feelings fervently raise; 

Think of your Scotland, her hills and her fountains, 

Wake the loud anthem of honor and praise. 

 

Honor and praise the Almighty!  Whose glory 

Illumes and encircles the land of your sires; 

Who guard from pollution the stream of her story, 

Her sages, and poets, and statesmen inspires. 

 

Father ! we pray Thee, with ardent devotion, 

Scotland may every be happy and free; 

Bless and protect the dear land in the ocean; 

Make the whole island one temple to Thee! 

 

Still may her children, wherever they wander, 

Remember with deepest affection her shore, 

And raising her glory still higher and grander, 

Preserve it unsullied till time be no more. 

 

Yes, at they altar, my heart, soul and spirit, 

By the home of our childhood we solemnly vow, 

No time, chance, or absence, shall e’er disinherit 

The fervid attachment we bear to her now. 

 

Father ! we pray Thee, with ardent devotion, 

Scotland may every be happy and free; 

Bless and protect the dear land in the ocean; 

Make the whole island one temple to Thee!27 

 

 

An appropriate and fervent Prayer was then offered up to the Throne of Grace by the Rev. Mr. Buist. 

The Address, by Mitchell King, Esq., followed, and occupied about an hour in the delivery.  Of the merits of this elegant and classical production, our time and our limits forbid us to speak more than in the most cursory manner.  It will, of course, appear before the public eye, (the Society having solicited a copy for publication) when, if its effect on the reader of taste and sensibility be any thing equal to its visible effect upon the audience, it will have earned high claims to the character of true and genuine eloquence.  The profound and riveted attention – the awakened and responsive enthusiasm depicted in the countenances of all around him were testimonies to the speaker’s power beyond any panegyric of ours. 

The services of the Church were concluded with another Anthem, also written for the occasion. 

 

 

 

One hundred years have rolled away 

Since here, our Gode benign 

Saw Scotland’s sons their homage pay 

To Auld Lang Syne; 

Again we meet, again we greet, 

Around our Father’s shrine, 

And fondly, now, the vow repeat, 

That they did, Lang Syne. 

 

May charity, and mutual love, 

And mem’ry here combine, 

For aye, the matchless worth to prove 

Of Auld Lang Syne. 

While Heav’n existence shall confer, 

With heart and hand we’ll join, 

And faithful be, as sons of her, 

Who nurs’d us, Lang Syne. 

 

And life is drawing to its eve, 

When we’ll the warld resign; 

Till then, we’ll live in friendship steeve, 

As we did, Lang Syne. 

And when we meet aboon the skies, 

Before the Power Divine, 

We’ll may be mind the harmless joys 

Of Auld Lang Syne.28 

 

 

Of the manner in which these Anthems were executed, we can speak in no higher terms of praise than to say, that it was worthy of an occasion which occurs but once in an hundred years.  Mr. Eckhard, Sen. Presided at the Organ. 

The Society returned, in procession, escorted, as before, to St. Andrew’s Hall, where, in accordance with a resolution offered by Mr. Edmondston, and unanimously adopted by the Society, each member joining in the celebration of the day, subscribe his name upon a record, to be placed in the archives of the society.  The usual business of the day was then transacted, and the election of the following officers for the ensuing year took place, viz: 

Adam Tunno, President 

David Haig, First Vice President 

Wm Birnie, Second Vice President 

Wm Smith, Treasurer 

Alexander Gordon, Secretary 

 

Committee on Charity 

Samuel M’Cartney 

Chas. Edmondston 

C. Douglas 

Robert Downie 

John Fraser 

 

Committee on Accounts and Finances 

Robert Brown 

D. Paul 

Jas. Calder 

Chas. Kiddell 

Alexander Sinclair 

 

 

At 4 o’clock the Society re-assembled at the Hall, where they were joined by a large number of invited guests, including the Presiding Officers of all the Charitable Societies in this city, the high Civil Officers of the State, Civil and Military Officers of the United States, Foreign Consuls, and Strangers of distinction.  Soon after, the company sat down to a splendid entertainment, provided by Mr. Angus Stewart, in his usual style of excellence.  On the cloth being removed, the following regular Toasts were propounded by the Chair, and drunk with universal enthusiasm accompanied with appropriate National Airs by the Band: 

Toasts 

  1. 1.    The pious and immortal memory of St. Andrew

Music – Pleyel’s Hymn 

  1. 2.    The 30th November, 1729 – The day on which was founded the ‘First’ Charitable Society in South Carolina.  One hundred years already attest to the good work then began; succeeding centuries will record its progress in the acts of benevolence. 

Song – Here’s to the year that’s awa! Over the water to Charlie 

  1. 3.    Our Sister Charities of this City, and all over the world – May their good deeds exist while Centuries roll, and may they be as extensive as their prosperity.  May our only strife ever be to excel each other in brotherly kindness and diffusive beneficence. 

Glee – Glorious Apollo 

  1. 4.    The President of the United States 

Hail Columbia 

  1. 5.    His Brittanic Majesty, George IV

 

God Save the King

 

  1. 6.    The Land o’ Cakes – its Hills and Glens – While the former have been found as Ramparts to its foes; the latter are like Paradise to its friends. 

 

Hurrah for the Bonnets of Blue 

  1. 7.    South Carolina, the land of our adoption – Hospitable, liberal, enlightened, and high minded. May all her sons cordially join in promoting her prosperity, and in protecting her unsullied honor. 

Governor’s March 

  1. 8.    England, Scotland, and Ireland – A three-fold cord, not easily broken.  May they be united forever. 

 

Song – Here’s a health to Merry England Rule Britannia

 

  1. 9.    The Memory of St. Tamany, St. George, St. David and St. Patrick. 

A dirge 

  1. 10.  The Scenes of our Boyhood – Neither the festivities of this day, nor the corroding hand of Time, can obliterate from our memories, the days of O’Lang Syne. 

Auld Lang Syne 

  1. 11.  Education – Knowledge to the Soul, is power, liberty and peace. 

Within a mile of Edinboro’. 

  1. 12.  The Orator of the Day – He has carried us back one hundred years, exciting feelings truly enviable. 

See the Conquering Hero Comes 

  1. 13.  The Fair – What could we be without them? 

Glee – Here’s a health to all good lissies.  Green grow the Rushes. 

 

These were followed by numerous volunteer sentiments, occasional songs, and incidental addresses, which, owing to the lateness of the hour, we regret our inability to insert in our paper this morning. The evening closed in the utmost harmony and hilarity; and the whole proceedings were well calculated to create a lasting and deep impression upon all who partook in the celebration. 

We cannot, however, close this hasty description without awarding to the Committee of Arrangements and the Stewards of the Society, the meed of praise due to their taste and attention, strongly evinced in all the attendant circumstances of this interesting celebration.”29 

 

This great celebration seems to mark a climax in the history of the Society during the ante-bellum period.  In the thirty-one years which followed, 181 members were admitted as compared with 681 and the preceding forty-four.  Before 1820 it was not an uncommon thing for 100 or more gentlemen to sit down to an anniversary dinner, whereas after that date the number rarely exceeded forty.  With the reduction in membership there was a corresponding decrease in revenue. This together with the financial losses which appear to have occurred about 1837 made it sometimes impossible for the Society to be as liberal as it wished to be in the relief of his pensioners. But the members, though reduce the number, lost none of their zeal for the welfare of the Society. Compelled under the circumstances to carry out their activities on a smaller scale than formerly, they seemed always to have entered upon them with the deepest interest and enthusiasm. 30

On January 25, 1859 the Society participated in a world-wide celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. It was an occasion not unlike that of 1829. In the morning they procession was formed at the residence of Mr. David Ramsay, the orator of the day. From there it proceeded, under the escort of the Union Light Infantry, Lieut. Broadfoot commanding, and the Highland Guard led by Captain Carmalt, to the Hall in Broad Street “where an expectant throng had assembled.” The building had been “appropriately draped and ornamented in honour of the observances and objects of the day. The flags and ensign symbols of the United States, and the United Kingdom were displayed around the walls, with the flags of the Companies engaged.” Mr. Ramsay then delivered a spirited oration on the life and achievements of the Scottish bard.

In the evening the members of the Society and their guests gathered at the Hall to enjoy the festival supper, “which was provided by Mr. A. J. Rutjes of the Mount Vernon Refectory.” Afterwards “intellectual enjoyment began in good spirits.” The venerable Mitchell King, the orator of 1829, responded to the first toasts, The Memory of Robert Burns. The second toast, The Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, was received with repeated cheers and followed “by loud and importunate calls for Robert Bunch, Esq., H. B. M. Consul and President of the St. George’s Society.” Mr. Bunch replied with “his wonted ease and happy expressiveness.” Other regular toasts followed being responded to by such speakers as James Connor, Esq., the United States District Attorney; J. L. Petigru, Esq., “the Nestor of the Charleston Bar;” and the Hon. W. D. Porter, President of the Senate of South Carolina. Then came “toasts, songs, and sentiments in lively succession.” Altogether “it was a time and occasion to be remembered in the hearts of all privileged participants, and to be the goal of retrospective meditation and grateful recollection of days, and months, and years.” 31

The terms of four presidents of the St. Andrew’s Society lie wholly within the thirty years between the death of Dr. Baron and the beginning of the War of Secession.  Three of these had careers that were remarkably similar.

Mr. Adam Tunno, known to his contemporaries as the “King of the Scotch.” Succeeded Dr. Baron and 1819 and continued in office until his death in December 1832. The following tribute was published at that time inThe Charleston Courier

 

“It is with regret that we have too announced the death of Adam Tunno, Es           q. for more than fifty years a highly esteemed and respectable inhabitant of this city. He died yesterday morning, after a very short illness, in the 80th year of his age. For nearly forty years Mr. Tunno was actively & extensively engaged in a commercial business of our community, during which time he has borne the character of an honest man and useful citizen, and being equally distinguished for public munificence and private charity. Mr. Tunno has been for 51 years a member of the St. Andrew’s Society, of which he was the much honored President for the last 13 years.” 32 

 

From 1835 to 1847 Mr. James Robertson was president. His career was described as follows in the newspapers at the time of his death in 1852:

 

“Our readers will perceive with regret, in our columns this morning, the announcement of the death of Capt. James Robertson, an old and highly respected merchant of our city, who expired yesterday afternoon at his residence in Church-street after a protracted illness. 

Capt. Robertson was a native of Fifeshire, Scotland, but came to this city at an early age, and transacted business here for some forty years, where he gained the esteem of all who knew him. For many years he was President of the St. Andrew’s Society of this city, and commanded also, for a considerable period, that veteran military company, the Union Light Infantry. 

The flags of the shipping in port were hoisted half-mast yesterday afternoon in respect to his memory.”33 

 

Mr. Robertson was succeeded by Mr. Andrew McDowall in 1947. The following tribute appears at the time of his death in 1866:

“Another of our old citizens has passed away. Andrew McDowall died at his residence in this city on Thursday night, aged 76. He was born in Scotland in 1790, and came to Charleston when only 17 years old. He has ever since been identified with the business interests of our city, being connected successively with the firms of McDowall & Co. Previous to the great fire of 1838 he was President of the Marine and Fire Insurance Company. He continued to be actively engaged in mercantile pursuits until 1861, when he was stricken with paralysis. Thus afflicted, he resided during the war, at Aiken, but returned to the city in 1865. For twelve years he was President of the St. Andrew’s Society. He was also a Director in the People’s Bank, and a recent appointment had given him the position of District Sub-Treasurer.” 34 

Mr. Mitchell King, whose term of office lies between that of Mr. Tunno and that of Mr. Robertson, was also a Scotchman by birth. He was born in Crail, Fifeshire, on June 8, 1783. His interests were scholarly, and he received an excellent education. Finding, however little opportunity for advancement in Scotland, he determined to seek his fortune elsewhere. After many adventures, including a voyage to Malta, captured by a Spanish privateer, and a period of enforced residence in Malaga, Spain, he came to Charleston, arriving in November 1805. He opened a school, but gave it up to accept a position as to tutor in the College of Charleston. He turned from this to the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1810. His connection with the College, however, was not ended. For several months in 1810 he acted as its principal (that is, president); in 1817 he became a member of the board of trustees; again, in 1844, he served for a short time as the chief officer of the faculty; and two years later he became president of the trustees. Mr. King in time became one of the leading lawyers in the city. He was twice recorder, and in 1832 during the Nullification Episode, he went as the representative of South Carolina to the Legislature of Tennessee. He was the recipient of honorary degrees from the College of Charleston and the University of North Carolina. 35

NOTES TO THE TEXT 

VI. CHARITY, HARMONY, AND FESTIVE MIRTH

  1. 1.     Filing Box No. 3
  2. 2.     Ibid
  3. 3.     Rules of  1796 bound with Roster of Members
  4. 4.     Rules of 1817 and Minute Book No. 3, pp. 102-103. 
  5. 5.     Rules of 1796 and 1817. 
  6. 6.     See treasurer’s reports which form a regular part of the minutes. 
  7. 7.     Treasurer’s report, Filing Box No. 1.  Since the establishment of Shirras’ Dispensary, an agency for the distribution of medicine to the poor of the city, the president of the St. Andrew’s Society has been a member of the board of trustees; see Minute Book No. 6, p. 152. 
  8. 8.     Filing Box No. 6
  9. 9.     Minute Box No. 3, p. 266. 
  10. 10.  Ibid ., pp. 68, 70, 147-153, 154, 159, 160, 170, 173, 182-183, 193. 
  11. 11.  Individual rules were frequently changed.  These changes were incorporated in the printed editions. 
  12. 12.  Rules of 1817, p. 5. 
  13. 13.  Treasurer’s report, Filing Box No. 1
  14. 14.  Ibid . 
  15. 15.  Rules of 1817, preamble, p. IV. 
  16. 16.  Minute Book No. 3, p. 5. 
  17. 17.  For some reason the treasurer did not include this information in his annual reports during these years. 
  18. 18.  Minute Book No. 3, pp. 230-231, 232. 
  19. 19.  Ibid ., pp. 114-116, 116-118, 120, 121-122. 
  20. 20.  Based on the list of members printed with the rules of 1892 and the Roster of Members
  21. 21.  This has been determined from the notices in the newspapers. 
  22. 22.  Notices in the newspapers of the meetings of this junior organization are frequent about 1802.  It seems to have ceased to exist before 1841 when the minutes began. 
  23. 23.  December 4, 1792. 
  24. 24.  December 2, 1799. 
  25. 25.  December 3, 1818. 
  26. 26.  King, M., Sketch of the History of the Saint Andrew’s Society(1892), pp. 129-131. 
  27. 27.  Composed by Mr. Mitchell King. 
  28. 28.  Ibid . 
  29. 29.  December 1, 1929. 
  30. 30.  I base this statement chiefly on the evidence of the minutes after 1841. 
  31. 31.  Ballentine, James (ed.) Chronicle of the Hundredth Birthday of Robert Burns (London, 1859), pp. 560-561; Celebration of the Centenial Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns under the Auspices of St. Andrew’s Society of Charleston, S. C.(1859). 
  32. 32.  December 28, 1832. 
  33. 33.  The Charleston Courier, December 10, 1852; the account inThe Charleston Mercury, December 10, 1852, is essentially the same. 
  34. 34.  The Charleston Daily Courier, October 6, 1866. 
  35. 35.  O’Neall, J. B., Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina (1859), pp. 347 ff. Mr. King died November 12, 1862. 

 

Officers 2010

2011 Tentative Meeting Dates

Jan 31 - Mon

Feb 28 - Mon

Mar 31 - Thurs

Apr 28 - Thurs

May 31 - Thrus

Jun 30 Thurs

Sep 29 - Thurs

Oct 27 - Thurs

Ladies Night

Nov 29 - Tues

(Pending Chas Place Contract)

Dec 29 - Thurs

2012 Tentative Meeting Dates

Jan 31 - Tues

Feb 28 - Tues

Mar 29 - Thurs

Apr 30 - Mon

May 31 - Thurs

Jun 28 - Thurs

Steak Cookout CYC?

Sep 29 - Thurs

Oct 30 - Tues

Nov 29 - Thurs

Noon business meeting and evening banquet pending Chas Place availability.

Dec 29 - Thurs