Published in The New York Times, April 23, 1897
GREEKS IMPATIENT TO SAIL
Telegraphing from All Parts of the Country
For Reduced Rates to the Piraeus.
OBJECT TO A SPECIAL STEAMER
Services Will Be Held Next Sunday, The Greek Easter,
To Invoke Divine Aid in Preserving the Greek Nation.
The chief concern of the Greek patriots in this city at the moment is to get cheap steamship passage to the Piraeus to wage war against the Turk. Demands for it are coming from all parts of the country. Reports of the activity of the New York Greeks have been widely circulated, and many scores of their fellow-countrymen are coming here from the West and South in expectation that they will receive assistance to get to the other side.
Unless an unexpected flow of funds occurs Greeks who arrive here without their passage money will get no further toward Athens than the North River. It is impossible for the Greek Consul and the people associated with him here to take care of even a fraction of the number of recruits who have offered themselves. They get reports that the same state of affairs exists in London and on the European continent, and that so far as assistance from the home Government is concerned, it is more economical to get soldiers nearer home.
Consul General Botassi received yesterday a dispatch from 150 Greek patriots in Chicago announcing that they were already on the way. Similar information from other Greeks in the same city was received by the Relief Committee in Roosevelt Street. It is understood that these Chicago men, as well as a few others from whom messages were received, are coming prepared to pay their own passage.
Dispatches from Greeks in all parts of the United States were received inquiring about steerage rates. The minimum rate received so far has been from the French Line - $31.85 from New York to the Piraeus. The Greek Consul saw M. Forget of the French Line yesterday to ascertain if lower rates could be procured. He was answered in the negative. Meanwhile other lines came forward in competition. One offer came from the Company Fabre, which runs steamers to Naples. The other came from C. B. Richard & Co. of the Atlantic Transportation Company. They offered to take passengers for $27 a head, but it was announced that Greeks who had sufficient money to go preferred to pay the $4 difference in price in order to take faster boats and reach the scene of action more quickly.
The special steamer proposition from Philadelphia, which was advanced at the meeting in Webster Hall Wednesday night, does not meet with favor from the Greeks in this city. They can make better terms here. An offer of a steamer for $1,000, capable of carrying 1,500 men, was under consideration yesterday. But the special steamer plan, no matter what the price, has disadvantages that are objectionable to the Greeks. They prefer to take their chances by the regular line of travel.
Father Agathodoros said yesterday that $500 in cash was collected at the Webster Hall meeting Wednesday night, and that promises of further assistance were received that would materially increase this sum. The first response to the appeal to the women of America came from Mrs. Le Huray of Summit, N. J. She sent $20. Mrs. Nikolaides sent word from Washington that she was trying to interest the Red Cross women. A message was sent to Clara Barton, but no reply was received. Three physicians wrote offering their services for the Greek army if a special steamer is sent from this port. So far as could be counted last evening, at least 1,000 Greeks are on their way here expecting to find almost immediate transportation home. They come from as far South as Savannah, as far West as Omaha, and as far East as Lowell, Mass.
The Greeks who spend their days and most of their nights in the Parthenon and other restaurants in Roosevelt Street awaiting news of the varying fortunes of war were in an obviously nervous state yesterday. At times they were disposed to be irritable and even quarrelsome. A Russian and a German who got into a dispute in one restaurant during the afternoon were thrown into the street, but not before knives were drawn and a serious row seemed imminent. In some of the restaurants waiters were told not to admit Germans or Russians. The feeling of the Greeks against them is very bitter.
The Turkish Consul, Chefik Bey, reads the newspapers with imperturbable serenity, and refuses to say anything except that it is merely a question of time when the Turkish Army will grind the Greeks to powder.
There will be a special Easter service in the Greek Church, West Fifty-third Street, beginning at midnight Saturday. The Greeks worship according to the old calendar, and their Easter falls one week later than the Easter of the new calendar. This service will take the form of a special thanksgiving for Divine protection to the Greeks in the past, and an appeal for guidance in their campaign against the Turk at this crisis.
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