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Title: Catastrophe and Social Change - Based Upon a Sociological Study of the Halifax Disaster
Author: Prince, Samuel Henry
Language: English
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  [ Transcriber's Notes:

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully
    as possible, including inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation
    and non-standard punctuation. Some corrections of spelling and
    punctuation have been made. They are listed at the end of the text.

    Some of the entries in the index are not in alphabetical order; they
    have been kept as printed.

    Italic text has been marked with _underscores_.






  is not a large city
  but there are those who love it
  who would choose to dwell therein
  before all cities beneath
  the skies

  All Such


The following pages embody the result of an observational study of the
social phenomena attendant upon one of the greatest catastrophies in
history--the Halifax Disaster. The idea of the work was suggested while
carrying out a civic community study of the disaster city under the
direction of Professor F. H. Giddings of Columbia University.

The account deals first with the shock and disintegration as the writer
observed it. Individual and group reactions are next examined in the
light of sociological theory. The chapters on Social Organization are an
effort to picture that process as it actually occurred.

The writer has also tried faithfully to record any important
contribution which Social Economy was able to make in the direction of
systematic rehabilitation. Special reference is made to private
initiative and governmental control in emergency relief. This monograph
is in no sense, however, a relief survey. Its chief value to the
literature of relief will lie in its bearing upon predictable social
movements in great emergencies.

Nor is the book a history of the disaster. It is rather, as the title
suggests, an intensive study of two social orders, between which stands
a great catastrophe, and its thesis is the place of catastrophe in
social change.

In the preparation of this work, which the author believes to be the
first attempt to present a purely scientific and sociological treatment
of any great disaster, he has received invaluable assistance. A few
grateful lines can ill-express his obligation to his Professors of the
Department of Sociology. To Professor F. H. Giddings the volume owes its
inspiration and much of its social philosophy. To Professor A. A. Tenney
it owes its present form and structure and any literary excellence it
may possess. Professor R. E. Chaddock has read the manuscript throughout
and has contributed many helpful suggestions. Professor S. M. Lindsay
has read the chapter on Social Legislation, and Professor R. S.
Woodworth of the Department of Psychology, that on Disaster Psychology.
The author is under special tribute to Professor H. R. Seager, and to
Professor Tenney, who most cheerfully sacrificed part of a summer
vacation to read and revise the manuscript and proof.

Without the walls of the University there are also those who have given
aid. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Dr. Edward T.
Devine of New York, of Mr. C. C. Carstens of Boston, of Mr. Thomas
Mackay, of Ottawa, and of Miss E. M. A. Vaughan, of the St. John Public
Library. He has enjoyed the coöperation of many friends and
fellow-townsmen of Halifax. He desires to thank particularly, Miss L. F.
Barnaby, of the Halifax Citizens' Library, Miss J. B. Wisdom, of the
Halifax Welfare Bureau, Rev. W. J. Patton of St. Paul's Church, Mr.
W. C. Milner, of the Public Archives of Canada, Mr. L. Fred. Monaghan,
Halifax City Clerk, Mr. G. K. Butler, Supervisor of Halifax Schools, Mr.
R. M. Hattie, Secretary of the Halifax Town-Planning Commission, Dr.
Franklin B. Royer, Director of the Massachusetts-Halifax Health
Commission, Mr. E. A. Saunders, Secretary of the Halifax Board of Trade,
Mr. E. H. Blois, Superintendent of Neglected and Delinquent Children,
and last of all and most of all his friend of many years, Mr. A. J.
Johnstone, editor of the _Dartmouth Independent_.

                                                                S. H. P.




  The "catastrophe" in sociological literature                       13

  The "catastrophic view" _vs._ progress in evolution                14

  Factors in social change                                           15

  The stimuli factors                                                16

  What crises mean                                                   16

  Communities and great vicissitudes                                 19

  Causes of immobility                                               19

  Catastrophe and progress                                           21

  Historic cases suggested for study                                 23



  The City of Halifax                                                25

  Terrific nature of the explosion                                   26

  Destruction of life and property                                   26

  The subsequent fire and storms                                     29

  Annihilation of homes                                              31

  Arresting of business                                              31

  Disintegration of the social order                                 32



  Shock reaction                                                     36

  Hallucination                                                      37

  Primitive instincts                                                39

  Crowd psychology                                                   41

  Phenomena of emotion                                               44

  How men react when bereft completely                               47

  Post-catastrophic phenomena                                        48

  Human nature in the absence of repression by conventionality,
  custom and law                                                     49

  Fatigue and the human will                                         52

  The stimuli of heroism                                             55

  Mutual aid                                                         56



  The organization of relief                                         59

  The disaster protocracy                                            60

  The transition from chaos through leadership                       61

  Utility of association                                             62

  Vital place of communication                                       62

  Imitation                                                          63

  Social pressure                                                    63

  Consciousness of kind                                              63

  Discussion                                                         64

  Circumstantial pressure                                            64

  Climate                                                            65

  Geographic determinants                                            67

  Classification of factors                                          67



  The reorganization of the civil social order                       69

  Division of labor                                                  69

  Resumption of normal activities                                    70

  State and voluntary associations                                   71

  Order of reëstablishment                                           71

  Effects of environmental change                                    75

  The play of imitation                                              77

  The stimulus of lookers-on                                         78

  Social conservation                                                79



  The contribution of social service                                 80

  Its four-fold character                                            83

  The principles of relief                                           85

  Rehabilitation                                                     86

  Phases of application                                              87

  Criticisms                                                         92

  A new principle                                                    95

  Social results                                                     96

  Summary for future guidance                                        97



  Governmental agencies in catastrophe                              102

  What seems to be expected of governments                          103

  What they actually do                                             103

  Social legislation                                                104

  A permanent contribution                                          109



  Mill's explanation of the rapidity with which communities
  recover from disaster                                             111

  The case of San Francisco                                         111

  The case of Halifax                                               112

  Social surplus                                                    112

  The equipmental factors                                           113

  Correlation of tragedy in catastrophe with generosity of
  public response                                                   114

  Catastrophe insurance                                             116

  A practical step                                                  117



  The unchanging Halifax of the years                               118

  The causes of social immobility                                   119

  The new birthday                                                  122

  The indications of change--appearance, expansion of business,
  population, political action, city-planning, housing, health,
  education, recreation, community spirit                           123

  Carsten's prophecy                                                140



  Recapitulation                                                    141

  The various steps in the study presented in propositional form    142

  The rôle of catastrophe                                           145

  Index                                                             147

  "This awful catastrophe is not the end but the beginning. History does
  not end so. It is the way its chapters open."--_St. Augustine._


The "catastrophe" in sociological literature--The "catastrophic view"
_vs._ progress in evolution--Factors in social change--The stimuli
factors--What crises mean--Communities and great vicissitudes--Causes of
immobility--Catastrophe and progress--Historic cases suggested for

There are many virgin fields in Sociology. This is one of the
attractions the subject has for the scientific mind. But of all such
fields none is more interesting than the factor of catastrophe in social

And strangely enough, if there are but few references to the problem in
all our rapidly-growing literature, it is not because catastrophies are
few. Indeed it would seem that with the advent of the industrial age,
disasters grow more frequent every year.[1] Many are small, no doubt,
touching but the life of a village or a borough--a broken dyke, a bridge
swept out by ice, a caved-in mine. Others again write themselves on the
pages of History--an Ohio flood, an Omaha tornado, a Chicago fire, a San
Francisco earthquake, a Halifax explosion. Each in its own way inscribes
its records of social change--some to be effaced in a twelve-month--some
to outlast a generation. Records they are, for the most part unread. How
to read them is the problem. And it may be that when readers have grown
in number and the script is better known, we shall be able to seize the
moment of catastrophe and multiply immeasurably its power for social

  [1] "Within a score of years disasters ... have cost thousands of
  lives, have affected by personal injury, or destruction of property no
  fewer than a million and a half persons and have laid waste property
  valued at over a billion dollars ... the expectation based on past
  experience is that each year no less than half a dozen such
  catastrophies will occur." (Deacon J. Byron, _Disasters_, N. Y., 1918,
  p. 7.) This quotation refers to the United States alone.

To define the term catastrophe is scarcely necessary. The dictionary
calls catastrophe "an event producing a subversion of the order or
system of things," and such as "may or may not be a cause of misery to
man."[2] It is desirable however to limit the use of the term, in
primary investigations at least, to those disasters which affect
communities rather than states or nations, for restricted areas are more
amenable to study. National cataclysms, such as war, famine, and
financial panic are too general in character, and function on too grand
a scale for satisfactory treatment, at least until the ground is
cleared. It is necessary also to limit this investigation to those
social changes which follow upon catastrophies, rather than precede
them. For there are social effects which result from living in
anticipation of disaster, such as are observable among communities in
volcanic areas. Interesting as a broad study might be, it would be
likely to lead the investigator too far afield into the realm of
speculation. Nevertheless a general point of view is necessary to give
meaning to even a limited treatment of the theme. For this purpose there
may be contrasted the catastrophic view of history, as illustrated by
that of the Hebrew peoples, and the modern conception of progress
through evolution. The former looks upon history as a series of
vicissitudes mercifully ending one day in final cataclysm. The spirit of
apocalyptic expectancy prevails. Social conditions rest hopelessly
static. Faith is pinned to a spiritual kingdom which can grow and can
endure. Against this has been set an optimistic evolution, pictured like
an escalade with resident forces lifting the world to better days.
Progress becomes a smooth continuous growth. On the other hand the newer
philosophy sees in history not necessarily the operation of progressive
evolution but also of retrogressive evolution and cataclysm.[3] There
are great stretches of smooth and even current in the stream, but always
along the course are seen the rapid and the water-fall, the eddy and
reversing tide. The latter is the general subject of this dissertation,
and its thesis is the place of the water-fall. Only a very small, and
specialized treatment is attempted; the great Niagaras must be left to
abler hands.

  [2] Catastrophies are those unforeseen events which the Wells-Fargo
  express receipts used to call quaintly "Acts of God, Indians and other
  public enemies of the government."

  [3] If nature abhors a vacuum, she also abhors stagnation. Is there
  not reason behind all this action and reaction, these cycles and
  short-time changes which her observers note? May it not well be that
  the ever-swinging pendulum has a stir-up function to perform and that
  the miniature daily catastrophies of life are the things which keep it
  wholesome and sweet?

      "The old order changeth yielding place to the new.
       And God fulfils Himself in many ways
       Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."
           --Tennyson, Alfred, _The Passing of Arthur_.

The conception of social change as used in this monograph also needs
definition. By social change is meant those rapid mutations which
accompany sudden interferences with the equilibrium of society, break up
the _status-quo_, dissipate mental inertia and overturn other tendencies
resistant to structural modification. The various forces which initiate
such disturbances are factors in social change. These factors may be
intra-social,--within the group--such factors as operate in the regular
social process, imitation and adaptation, for example; or they may be
extra-social, "stimuli" factors--from without the group--such as,
accidental, extraneous or dramatic events. Of the latter conquest may be
one, or the sudden intrusion of a foreign element, or rapid changes of

  [4] Ross, Edward A., _Foundations of Sociology_ (N. Y., 1905),
  ch. viii, p. 189.

These sudden changes are fully worthy of careful study by scientific
method. However important the accumulation of impulses toward social
transformation may be, there is often a single "precipitating factor"
which acts as the "igniting spark" or "the knocking away of the
stay-block," or "the turning of a lever."[5] It is among such
extra-social or "stimuli" factors that catastrophe falls as a
precipitating agent in social change.

  [5] Ross, _op. cit._, p. 198.

The significance of crisis in social change likewise requires attention,
and it will be clarifying to our thought at this point to distinguish
carefully between crisis and catastrophe, and to inquire what the nature
of the former really is. The word "crisis" is of Greek origin, meaning a
point of culmination and separation, an instant when change one way or
another is impending. Crises are those critical moments which are, as we
say, big with destiny. Battles have crisis-hours when the tide of
victory turns. Diseases have them--the seventh day in pneumonia, or the
fourteenth day in typhoid fever. Social institutions afford numerous
illustrations, such as the eighth year of marriage.[6] There are
critical years of stress and strain--the ages of fourteen and forty in
life-histories, the latter being according to Sir Robertson Nicoll the
most dangerous hour of existence. Other crises are "hours of insight" in
the world of thought, and hours of opportunity in the world of
action,--that "tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood
leads on to fortune," hours of doubt in religion "when all the gods are
dead." "Crisis," Professor Shailer Mathews observes, "is something more
than a relative term. It describes a situation which is no ordinary
member of a line of antecedents and consequents, but one that assures
radical change in the immediate future." He distinguishes between a
crisis and a revolution. "The difference between a revolution and a
crisis is the difference between the fire and the moment when someone
with a lighted match in hand pauses to decide whether a fire shall be
lighted." The term covers the situation preceding change, whether this
situation be the culmination of a process or the result of some
particular stimulus. "It is not necessarily precipitated by great
issues. Quite as often it is occasioned by events .... which are so
related to a new situation as to set in motion an entire group of forces
as a match kindles a huge bonfire when once the fuel is laid."[7] The
failure to distinguish between that which occasions the crisis and the
crisis itself has been the source of some confusion in thinking. "Defeat
in battle, floods, drought, pestilence and famine," are not strictly
crises, but they super-induce the crisis-situation, as does anything
which brings about "a disturbance of habit," though it be simply "an
incident, a stimulation or a suggestion." In short, crises are the
result either of a slowly maturing process or of sudden strain or shock;
and the nature of the reaction in the crisis-hour is nothing more than
the effort towards the reëstablishment of habits, new or old, when the
former functioning has been disturbed. The situation, as has been
pointed out, is closely correlated with attention.

  [6] Jeune, Sir Francis, a celebrated judge in divorce cases.

  [7] Mathews, Shailer, _The Church in the Changing Order_ (N. Y.,
  1907), ch. i, p. 1.

    When the habits are running smoothly the attention is relaxed; it is
    not at work. But when something happens to disturb the run of habit,
    the attention is called into play, and devises a new mode of
    behavior which will meet the crisis. That is, the attention
    establishes new and adequate habits, or it is its function so to

  [8] Thomas, William I., _Source Book of Social Origins_ (Chicago,
  1909), Introduction, p. 17.

What appears to take place is analogous to what is known as the
reconditioning of instincts in psychology. Professor Giddings has been
the first to make the sociological application:

    Folk-ways of every kind, including mores and themistes are the most
    stable syntheses of pluralistic behavior; yet they are not
    unchanging. Under new and widening experience they suffer attrition
    and are modified. Instincts and with them emotion and imagination
    which largely fills the vast realm between instinct and reason are
    reconditioned. The word means simply that reflexes and higher
    processes subjected to new experiences are in a degree or entirely
    detached from old stimuli and associated with new ones. From time to
    time also traditions are invaded and habits are broken down by
    crisis. Pluralistic behavior then is scrutinized, criticized,
    discussed. It is rationally deliberated.[9]

  [9] Giddings, Franklin H., "Pluralistic Behaviour," _American Journal
  of Sociology_, vol. xxv, no. 4 (Jan., 1920), p. 401.

Crises often, perhaps most often, precede catastrophies, as when
revolutions break. The alternate truth that the catastrophies themselves
are re-agents to generate the crisis-situation has not been so commonly
noted. Nevertheless the disintegration of the normal by shock and
calamity is an increasingly familiar spectacle.

Heretofore it has been in the life-histories and careers of individual
men rather than in the case of communities that the observations have
been recorded. Our biographies teem with instances of personal crises
precipitated by a great shock or disappointment--Hawthorne's dismissal
from the custom house, Goldsmith's rejection from Civil Service, the
refusal of Dickens's application for the stage, the turning back of
Livingstone from China, the bankruptcy of Scott.

Now examination reveals that the one thing characteristic of the
crisis-period in the individual is a state of fluidity[10] into which
the individual is thrown. Life becomes like molten metal. It enters a
state of flux[11] from which it must reset upon a principle, a creed, or
purpose. It is shaken perhaps violently out of rut and routine. Old
customs crumble, and instability rules. There is generated a state of
potentiality for reverse directions. The subject may "fall down" or he
may "fall up." The presence of dynamic forces in such a state means
change. But the precise rôle of the individual mind in a period of
crisis is a problem not for sociology but for psychology.

  [10] The phrases "The world in a welter," "nations in the melting
  pot," "life in the smelting oven," are commonly heard and suggest a
  solution stage prior to the hardening process, or antecedent to

  [11] Following the French Revolution Wordsworth wrote:

                                    I lost
      All feeling of conviction and in fine
      Sick, wearied out with contrarieties
      Yielded up moral questions in despair.
          --_Prelude_, bk. xi.

The principle that fluidity is fundamental to social change is also
true, however, of the community. Fluidity is not the usual state of

    Most of the "functions" of society have no tendency to disturb the
    _status quo_. The round of love, marriage and reproduction, so long
    as births and death balance, production so far as it is balanced by
    consumption, exchange so long as the argosies of commerce carry
    goods and not ideas, education so far as it passes on the
    traditional culture, these together with recreation, social
    intercourse, worship, social control, government and the
    administration of justice are essentially statical. They might
    conceivably go on forever without producing change.[12]

  [12] Ross, _op. cit._, p. 200.

Indeed the usual condition of the body politic is immobility,
conservatism and "determined resistance to change." The chief reason for
this immobility is habit:[13]

    When our habits are settled and running smoothly they most resemble
    the instincts of animals. And the great part of our life is lived in
    the region of habit. The habits like the instincts are safe and
    serviceable. They have been tried and are associated with a feeling
    of security. There consequently grows up in the folk mind a
    determined resistance to change ... a state of rapid and constant
    change implies loss of settled habits and disorganization. As a
    result, all societies view change with suspicion, and the attempt to
    revise certain habits is even viewed as immorality. Now it is
    possible under such conditions for a society to become stationary or
    to attempt to remain so. The effort of attention is to preserve the
    present status, rather than to re-accommodate. This condition is
    particularly marked among savages. In the absence of science and a
    proper estimate of the value of change they rely on ritual and magic
    and a minute unquestioning adhesion to the past. Change is
    consequently introduced with a maximum of resistance ... Indeed the
    only world in which change is at a premium and is systematically
    sought is the modern scientific world.[14]

But when there comes the shattering of the matrix of custom by
catastrophe, then mores are broken up and scattered right and left.
Fluidity is accomplished at a stroke. There comes a sudden chance for
permanent social change.

  [13] To this cause of immobility may be added others, such as: (1)
  Narrow experience and few interests. (2) Large percentage of
  population owning property. (3) Oriental pride in permanence. (4)
  Fatalistic philosophies. (5) Over-emphasis of government.

  [14] Thomas, _op. cit._, pp. 20, 21.

Social changes follow both minor and major disasters. The destruction of
a mill may change the economic outlook of a village. The loss of a
bridge may result in an entirely different school system for an isolated
community; a cloud-burst may move a town. Great visitations, like the
Chicago fire or the San Francisco earthquake, reveal these social
processes in larger and more legible scale. Take as a single instance
the latter city. Its quick recovery has been called one of the wonders
of the age. In the very midst of surrounding desolation and business
extinction, the Californian city projected a Panama-Pacific exposition,
and its citizens proceeded to arrange for one of the greatest of all
world fairs. On the other hand, the social changes which succeed
relatively small disturbances are often such as to elude an estimate.
The reason has been well suggested that "big crises bring changes about
most easily because they affect all individuals alike at the same time."
In other words a more general fluidity is accomplished. We see,
therefore, a second principle begin to emerge. Not only is fluidity
fundamental to social change, but the degree of fluidity seems to vary
directly as the shock and extent of the catastrophe.

There yet remains to notice the bearing of catastrophe upon social
progress. The following words are quotable in this connection:

    It is quite certain that the degree of progress of a people has a
    certain relation to the number of disturbances encountered, and the
    most progressive have had a more vicissitudinous life. Our proverb
    "Necessity is the mother of invention" is the formulation in
    folk-thought of this principle of social change.[15]

We cannot, however, remain long content with this suggestion as to the
principle concerned--namely, that progress is a natural and an assured
result of change. The point is that catastrophe always means social
change. There is not always progress. It is well to guard against
confusion here. Change means any qualitative variation, whereas progress
means "amelioration, perfectionment." The latter will be seen to depend
on other things--the nature of the shock, the models presented, the
community culture and morale, the stimulus of leaders and lookers-on.
The single case of Galveston, Texas,[16] is sufficient to disprove the
too optimistic hypothesis that the effects of catastrophies are uniform.
Here a city lost heart by reason of the overwhelming flood, and in spite
of superior commercial advantages was outgrown by a rival fifty miles
away. At the same time the case of Dayton, Ohio, should be borne in
mind. Here also was a flood-stricken city and she became "the Gem City
of the West." The principle[17] thus appears to be that progress in
catastrophe is a resultant of specific conditioning factors, some of
which are subject to social control.

  [15] Thomas, _op. cit._, p. 18.

  [16] "It has one of the finest, if not the finest, ports in North
  America. In 1900 a great tidal wave swept over the city, causing
  enormous damage and loss of life. While the city has had a certain
  growth since that time, it has been far outstripped by Houston,
  Dallas, and other Texas cities."--Kirby Page, formerly of Texas, in a
  letter to the author.

  [17] Another principle is suggested for study by the following
  sentence in Ross' _Foundations of Sociology_ (p. 206): "Brusk
  revolution in the conditions of life or thought produces not sudden,
  but gradual changes in society." This might easily be elaborated.

It is indeed this very thing which makes possible the hope of eventual
social control over disaster-stricken cities, and the transmutation of
seeming evil into tremendous good. And this is in addition to the many
practical social lessons which we have already been intelligent enough
to preserve, such as those of better city-planning, and a more efficient
charity organization.

How much of man's advancement has been directly or indirectly due to
disaster?[18] The question asks itself and it is a question as yet
without an answer. When the answer is at last written, will there not be
many surprises? Pitt-Rivers tells us that "the idea of a large boat
might have been suggested in the time of floods when houses floated down
the rivers before the eyes of men."[19] A terrible storm at sea gave
America its first rice.[20] City-planning may be said to have taken its
rise in America as a result of the Chicago fire, and the rôle of
catastrophe in the progress of social legislation is a study in itself.
The impetus thus received is immeasurable. Historically,
labor-legislation took its rise with the coming of an infectious fever
in the cotton-mills of Manchester in 1784. After the Cherry mine
disaster legislation ensued at once. Again it was the Triangle fire
which led to the appropriation of funds for a factory investigation
commission in the State of New York. The sinking of the Titanic has
greatly reduced the hazards of the sea.

  [18] The relationship of poetry and disaster is of interest. In a
  recent article on Disaster and Poetry a writer asks "whether often, if
  not always, suffering, disease and disaster do not bring to him [the
  poet] the will to create."--Marks, Jeanette, "Disaster and Poetry,"
  _North American Review_, vol. 212, no. 1 (July, 1920), p. 93.

  [19] Thomas, _op. cit._, p. 23.

  [20] In this storm a ship from Madagascar was driven into a South
  Carolina port. In gratitude the Captain gave the Governor a sack of

It may easily prove true that the prophets of golden days to come who
invariably arise on the day of disaster, are not entirely without ground
for the faith which is in them; and that catastrophies are frequently
only re-agents of further progress. But this is merely introductory.
Thought becomes scientific only when its conclusions are checked up and
under-written by observation or experiment. Prior to such procedure it
must still remain opinion or belief.

The whole subject is, it must be repeated, a virgin field in sociology.
Knowledge will grow scientific only after the most faithful examination
of many catastrophies. But it must be realized that the data of the
greatest value is left ofttimes unrecorded, and fades rapidly from the
social memory. Investigation is needed immediately after the event. It
is, therefore, of the utmost importance that sociological studies of
Chicago, Galveston, Baltimore, San Francisco, and other disaster cities
should be initiated at once.[21]

  [21] It is perhaps due to the reader to say that while this volume
  treats specifically of Halifax, the writer has studied the records of
  many disasters and these have been kept in mind in drawing his
  conclusions. He participated in the rescue and relief work at Halifax
  in 1917, and at the time of the Titanic disaster accompanied one of
  the expeditions to the scene. He was in New York when the Wall Street
  explosion occurred, and made a first hand study of its effects.

Of such a series--if the work can be done--this little volume on Halifax
is offered as a beginning. It is hoped that the many inadequacies of
treatment will receive the generous allowances permitted a pioneer.



The City of Halifax--Terrific nature of the explosion--Destruction of
life and property--The subsequent fire and storms--Annihilation of
homes--Arresting of business--Disintegration of the social order.

Halifax is the ocean terminal of the Dominion of Canada on her Atlantic
seaboard. It is situated at the head of Chebucto Bay, a deep inlet on
the southeastern shoreline of Nova Scotia. It is endowed by nature with
a magnificent harbor, which as a matter of fact is one of the three
finest in the world. In it a thousand vessels might safely ride at
anchor. The possession of this harbor, together with ample defences, and
a fortunate situation with regard to northern Europe established the
Garrison City, early in the year 1914 as the natural war-base of the
Dominion. Its tonnage leaped by millions, and it soon became the third
shipping port in the entire British Empire. Hither the transports came,
and the giant freighters to join their convoy. Cruisers and men-of-war
put in to use its great dry-dock, or take on coal. Here too, cleared the
supply and munition boats--some laden with empty shells, others with
high explosives destined for the distant fields of battle. How much of
the deadly cargo lay in the road-stead or came and went during those
fateful years is not publicly known.[22] Certainly there was too much to
breed a sense of safety, but no one gave the matter second thought. All
were intent upon the mighty task of the hour. Sufficient unto each day
was each day's evil. Each night the great war-gates were swung across
the channels. Powerful searchlights swept unceasingly the sea and sky.
The forts were fully manned. The gunners ready. The people knew these
things, and no one dreamed of danger save to loved ones far away. Secure
in her own defences the city lay unafraid, and almost apathetic.

  [22] During the month of December, 1915, alone, 30,000 tons of
  munitions passed over the railroad piers of Halifax.

About midway in the last two years of war--to be exact December,
1917,--a French munitioner[23] heavily laden with trinitrotoluol, the
most powerful of known explosives, reached Halifax from New York. On the
early morning of the sixth of that month, she was proceeding under her
own steam up the harbor-length toward anchorage in the basin--an oval
expansion half-hidden by a blunt hill called Turple Head. Suddenly an
empty Belgian relief ship[24] swept through the Narrows directly in her
pathway. There was a confusion of signals; a few agonized manoeuvers.
The vessels collided; and the shock of their colliding shook the world!

  [23] The _Mont Blanc_, St. Nazaire, Captain Lemedec, Pilot Francis
  Mackay, owners La Compagnie General Transatlantique 3,121 tons gross,
  2252 net register, steel, single screw, 330 ft. long, 40 ft. beam,
  speed 7½ to 8 knots, inward bound, from New York to await convoy.
  Cargo 450,000 lbs. trinitrotoluol, 2300 tons picric acid, 35 tons
  benzol, employed in carrying munitions to France.

  [24] The _Imo_, Christiania, Captain Fron, Pilot William Hayes, owners
  Southern Pacific Whaling Company, 5,041 tons gross, 3161 tons
  register, steel, single screw, 430 ft. long, 45 ft. beam, speed 11 to
  12 knots, outward bound to New York, in ballast, employed in carrying
  food to Belgium.

War came to America that morning. Two thousand slain, six thousand
injured, ten thousand homeless, thirty-five millions of dollars in
property destroyed, three hundred acres left a smoking waste, churches,
schools, factories blown down or burned--such was the appalling havoc of
the greatest single explosion in the history of the world.[25] It was an
episode which baffles description. It is difficult to gain from words
even an approximate idea of the catastrophe and what followed in its

  [25] The greatest previous explosion was when 500,000 pounds of
  dynamite blew up in Baltimore Harbor.

It was all of a sudden--a single devastating blast; then the sound as of
the crashing of a thousand chandeliers. Men and women cowered under the
shower of debris and glass. There was one awful moment when hearts sank,
and breaths were held. Then women cried aloud, and men looked dumbly
into each other's eyes, and awaited the crack of doom. To some death was
quick and merciful in its coming. Others were blinded, and staggered to
and fro before they dropped. Still others with shattered limbs dragged
themselves forth into the light--naked, blackened, unrecognizable human
shapes. They lay prone upon the streetside, under the shadow of the
great death-cloud which still dropped soot and oil and water. It was
truly a sight to make the angels weep.

Men who had been at the front said they had seen nothing so bad in
Flanders. Over there men were torn with shrapnel, but the victims were
in all cases men. Here father and mother, daughter and little child, all
fell in "one red burial blent." A returned soldier said of it: "I have
been in the trenches in France. I have gone over the top. Friends and
comrades have been shot in my presence. I have seen scores of dead men
lying upon the battlefield, but the sight .... was a thousand times
worse and far more pathetic."[26] A well-known relief worker who had
been at San Francisco, Chelsea and Salem immediately after those
disasters said "I am impressed by the fact that this is much the saddest
disaster I have seen." It has been compared to the scenes pictured by
Lord Lytton in his tale of the last days of Pompeii:

    True there was not that hellish river of molten lava flowing down
    upon the fleeing people; and consuming them as feathers in fierce
    flames. But every other sickening detail was present--that of
    crashing shock and shaking earth, of crumbling homes, and cruel
    flame and fire. And there were showers, not it is true of ashes from
    the vortex of the volcano, but of soot and oil and water, of
    death-dealing fragments of shrapnel and deck and boiler, of glass
    and wood and of the shattered ship.[27]

Like the New Albany tornado, it caused loss "in all five of the ways it
is possible for a disaster to do so, in death, permanent injury,
temporary injury, personal property loss, and real property loss."[28]
Here were to be found in one dread assembling the combined horrors of
war, earthquake, fire, flood, famine and storm--a combination seen for
the first time in the records of human disaster.

  [26] Johnstone, Dwight, _The Tragedy of Halifax_ (in MS.).

  [27] McGlashen, Rev. J. A., _The Patriot_ (Dartmouth, N. S.).

  [28] Deacon, J. Byron, _Disasters_ (N. Y., 1918), ch. ii, p. 158.

It was an earthquake[29] so violent that when the explosion occurred the
old, rock-founded city shook as with palsy. The citadel trembled, the
whole horizon seemed to move with the passing of the earth waves. These
were caught and registered, their tracings[30] carefully preserved, but
the mute record tells not of the falling roofs and flying plaster and
collapsing walls which to many an unfortunate victim brought death and
burial at one and the same time.

  [29] "The effect of the vast, sudden interference with the air was
  practically the same as if an earthquake had shaken Halifax to the
  ground." (MacMechan, Archibald, "Halifax in Ruins," _The Canadian
  Courier_, vol. xxiii, no. 4, p. 6.)

  [30] The tracings on the seismograph show three distinct shocks at the
  hours 9.05, 9.10 and 10.05.

It was a flood, for the sea rushed forward in a gigantic tidal wave,
fully a fathom in depth. It swept past pier and embankment into the
lower streets, and receding, left boats and wreckage high and dry, but
carried to a watery doom score upon score of human lives. Nearly two
hundred men were drowned.

It was a fire or rather a riot of fires, for the air was for a second
filled with tongues of igneous vapour hiding themselves secretly within
the lightning discharge of gas, only to burst out in gusts of sudden
flame. Numberless buildings were presently ablaze. Soon there was naught
to the northward but a roaring furnace. Above, the sky was crimson;
below, a living crematorium--church and school, factory and home burned
together in one fierce conflagration; and the brave firemen knew that
there were men and women pinned beneath the wreckage, wounded past
self-help. Frantic mothers heard the cries of little children, but in
vain. Fathers desperately tore through burning brands, but often failed
to save alive the captives of the flame. And so the last dread process
went on,--earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And when the
fires at last abated, the north end of the City of Halifax looked like
some blackened hillside which a farmer had burned for fallow in the

But perhaps the most terrible of all the terrible accompaniments was the
tornado-like gas-blast from the bursting ship. It wrought instant havoc
everywhere. Trees were torn from the ground. Poles were snapped like
toothpicks. Trains were stopped dead. Cars were left in twisted masses.
Pedestrians were thrown violently into the air, houses collapsed on all
sides. Steamers were slammed against the docks. Then followed a
veritable air-raid, when the sky rained iron fragments upon the helpless
city. Like a meteoric shower of death, they fell piercing a thousand
roofs, and with many a mighty splash bore down into the sea.

Nor yet did this complete the tale of woes of this _Dies Irae_. Scarce
was the catastrophe an hour old when the news was flashed around that a
second explosion was approaching. It was the powder magazine in the
Navy-yard, and the flames were perilously near. Through the crowded
streets raced the heralds like prophets of wrath to come. "Flee!....
Flee!.... Get into the open ground" was the cry. Shops were abandoned
unguarded, goods laid open on every side. No key was turned, no till was
closed, but all instanter joined the precipitant throng, driven like
animals before a prairie fire--yet this was not all; for "the plight of
the aged, the sick, the infants, the bed-ridden, the cripples, the
nursing mothers, the pregnant can not be described."

It was like the flight from Vesuvius of which Pliny the Younger tells:

    You could hear the shrieks of women, the crying of children and the
    shouts of men. Some were seeking their children; others their
    parents, others their wives and husbands ... one lamenting his own
    fate, another that of his family. Some praying to die from the very
    fear of dying, many lifting their hands to the gods, but the greater
    part imagining that there were no gods left anywhere, and that the
    last and eternal night was come upon the world.[31]

It has been said that "Moscow was no more deserted before Napoleon than
were the shattered streets of Halifax when this flight had been carried
out."[32] And when the hegira was over, and when there had ensued a
partial recovery from the blow and gloom, a still lower depth of agony
had yet to be undergone--a succession of winter storms. Blizzards, rain,
floods and zero weather were even then upon the way. They came in close
procession and as if to crown and complete the terrors of the great
catastrophe thunder rumbled, lightning broke sharply and lit up weirdly
the snow-clad streets. Such was the catastrophe of Halifax--"a calamity
the appalling nature of which stirred the imagination of the world."[33]

  [31] Pliny, _Letters_ (London, 1915), vol. i, bk. vi, p. 495.

  [32] Smith, Stanley K., _The Halifax Horror_ (Halifax, 1918), ch. ii,
  p. 24.

  [33] Bell, McKelvie, _A Romance of the Halifax Disaster_ (Halifax,
  1918), p. 57.

The description here concluded, brief and inadequate as it is, will
sufficiently indicate the terrific nature of the catastrophic shock, and
explain how utter and complete was the social disintegration which

There was the disintegration of the home and the family,--the
reproductive system of society--its members sundered and helpless to
avert it. There was the disintegration of the regulative
system--government was in perplexity, and streets were without patrol.
There was the disintegration of the sustaining system--a dislocation of
transportation, a disorganization of business while the wheels of
industry ceased in their turning. There was a derangement of the
distributive system[34]--of all the usual services, of illumination,
water-connections, telephones, deliveries. It was impossible to
communicate with the outside world. There were no cars, no mails, no
wires. There was a time when the city ceased to be a city, its citizens
a mass of unorganized units--struggling for safety, shelter, covering
and bread. As Lytton wrote of Pompeii; "The whole elements of
civilization were broken up .... nothing in all the varied and
complicated machinery of social life was left save the primal law of
self preservation."[35]

  [34] Spencer, Herbert, _The Principles of Sociology_ (N. Y., 1908),
  pt. ii, p. 499 _et seq._

  [35] Lytton, Lord, _The Last Days of Pompeii_ (London, 1896), p. 405.

A writer has given a vivid word picture of the social contrasts of the
disaster night and the beautiful evening before.

    What a change from the night before! No theatres open, no happy
    throngs along the street, no cheery gatherings around the fire-side.
    The houses were all cold, and dark and silent. Instead of laughter,
    weeping; instead of dancing, agonizing pain; instead of Elysian
    dreams, ominous nightmares. Fears and sorrow were in the way and all
    the daughters of music were brought low ... Halifax had become in a
    trice a city of dead bodies, ruined homes and blasted hopes.[36]

To have looked in upon one of the great makeshift dormitories that first
night, to have seen men, women and children, of all stations, huddled
together on the stages of theatres, the chancels of churches, in
stables, box-cars and basements was to have beheld a rift in the social
structure such as no community had ever known. Old traditional social
lines were hopelessly mixed and confused. The catastrophe smashed
through strong walls like cobwebs, but it also smashed through fixed
traditions, social divisions and old standards, making a rent which
would not easily repair. Rich and poor, debutante and chambermaid,
official and bellboy met for the first time as victims of a common

  [36] Johnstone, _op. cit._

Even on the eighth, two days after the disaster, when Mr. Ratshesky of
the Massachusetts' Relief arrived he could report: "An awful sight
presented itself, buildings shattered on all sides--chaos apparent." In
a room in the City Hall twelve by twenty, he found assembled "men and
women trying to organize different departments of relief, while other
rooms were filled to utmost capacity with people pleading for doctors,
nurses, food, and clothing for themselves and members of their families.
Everything was in turmoil."[37] This account faithfully expresses the
disintegration which came with the great shock of what had come to pass.
It is this disintegration and the resultant phenomena which are of
utmost importance for the student of social science to observe. To be
quite emotionally free in the observation of such phenomena, however, is
almost impossible. It has been said of sociological investigations that

    observation is made under bias because the facts under review are
    those of human life and touch human interest. A man can count the
    legs of a fly without having his heart wrung because he thinks there
    are too many or too few. But when he observes the life of the
    society in which he moves, lives and has his being, or some other
    society nearby, it is the rule that he approves or disapproves, is
    edified or horrified, by what he observes. When he does that he
    passes a moral judgment.[38]

Sociology has suffered because of this inevitable bias. In our present
study it is natural that our sympathy reactions should be especially
strong. "_Quamquam animus meminisse horret, incipiam_" must be our
motto. As students we must now endeavor to dissociate ourselves from
them, and look upon the stricken Canadian city with all a chemist's
patient detachment. In a field of science where the prospect of
large-scale experimental progress is remote, we must learn well when the
abnormal reveals itself in great tragedies and when social processes are
seen magnified by a thousand diameters. Only thus can we hope for
advances that will endure.

  [37] Ratshesky, A. C., "Report of Halifax Relief Expedition," _The
  State_ (Boston, 1918), p. 11.

  [38] Keller, A. G., "Sociology and Science," _The Nation_ (N. Y., May
  4, 1916), vol. 102, no. 2653, p. 275.

In this spirit then let us watch the slow process of the reorganization
of Halifax, and see in it a picture of society itself as it reacts under
the stimulus of catastrophe, and adjusts itself to the circumstantial
pressure of new conditions.

Before doing so, however, we shall pause, in the next chapter, to glance
at a number of social phenomena which should be recorded and examined in
the light of social psychology. But we must not lose the relationship of
each chapter to our major thesis. It is sufficient for our purpose if
thus far it has been shown that at Halifax the shock resulted in
disintegration of social institutions, dislocation of the usual methods
of social control and dissolution of the customary; that through the
catastrophe the community was thrown into the state of flux which, as
was suggested in the introduction, is the logical and natural
prerequisite for social change; and finally that the shock was of a
character such as "to affect all individuals alike at the same time,"
and to induce that degree of fluidity most favorable to social change.



Shock reaction--Hallucination--Primitive instincts--Crowd
psychology--Phenomena of emotion--How men react when bereft
completely--Post-catastrophic phenomena--Human nature in the absence of
repression by conventionality, custom and law--Fatigue and the human
will--The stimuli of heroism--Mutual aid.

Social Psychology is a subject of primary importance to the student of
society. Like Sociology itself its field is far from being exhausted.
One looks in vain for a treatment of disaster psychology. In such a
study the diverse phenomena involved would be of interest to the
psychologist. Their effects in retarding or promoting social
organization would concern the sociologist. With such possible effects
in mind we are now to proceed to an examination of the major subjective
reactions as they were to be seen in the Halifax catastrophe.

It is improbable that any single community has ever presented so
composite a picture of human traits in such bold relief as appeared in
the City of Halifax upon the day of the explosion. Human phenomena which
many knew of only as hidden away in books, stood out so clearly that he
who ran might read. Besides the physiological reactions there was
abundant illustration of hallucination, delusion, primitive instincts,
and crowd psychology as well of other phenomena all of which have
important sociological significance tending either to prolong
disintegration, or to hasten social recovery.

The first of these phenomena was the "stun" of the catastrophe itself.
The shock reaction at Halifax has been variously described. It has been
graphically likened "to being suddenly stricken with blindness and
paralysis." It was a sensation of utter helplessness and disability. "We
died a thousand horrible deaths" ran one description, "the nervous shock
and terror were as hard to bear as were the wounds." "The people are
dazed," wrote another observer, "they have almost ceased to exercise the
sensation of pain." This physiological reaction animals and men shared
alike. The appearance of the terror-stricken horses was as of beasts
which had suddenly gone mad.

A physiological accompaniment of shock and distraction is the abnormal
action of the glands. The disturbance of the sympathetic nervous system
produced by the emotional stress and strain of a great excitement or a
great disappointment is reflected in the stimulation or inhibition of
glandular action. Much physical as well as nervous illness was
precipitated by the grief, excitement and exposure of the disaster.[39]
Among cases observed were those of diabetes, tuberculosis and
hyper-thyroidism, as well as the nervous instability to which reference
is subsequently made. Such an epidemic of hyper-thyroidism--exaggerated
action of the thyroid gland--is said to have followed the Kishineff
massacres, the San Francisco earthquake and the air-raids on London.[40]
As to diabetes, it has been shown that

    emotions cause increased output of glycogen. Glycogen is a step
    toward diabetes and therefore this disease is prone to appear in
    persons under emotional strain ... so common is this particular
    result in persons under prolonged emotion that someone has said that
    "when stocks go down in New York, diabetes goes up."[41]

  [39] For a full discussion of nervous disorders induced by an
  explosion at short range, _vide_ Roussy and Llermette, _The
  Psychoneuroses of War_ (London, 1918), ch. x.

  [40] Brown, W. Langden, Presidential address to Hunterian Society,

  [41] Crile, George W., _The Origin and Nature of the Emotions_
  (Phila., 1915), p. 163.

Turning now to other psychological aspects, we have to note the presence
of hallucination in disaster.

    Hallucination may be roughly defined as false sense impression. For
    example, the patient sees an object which has no real existence, or
    hears an imaginary voice. Hallucinations are termed visual,
    auditory, tactile, _etc._ according to the sense to which the false
    impression appears to belong.[42]

Hallucination is induced by the unusual suggesting the expected. It is
sense-perception colored by association. It is the power of a dominant
idea that, unbidden, enters the field of consciousness and takes
possession of even the senses themselves. In Halifax one idea seemed to
dominate most minds and clothe itself in the semblance of reality--the
expected Germans. For a long time there had been under public discussion
the question as to whether or not the city would be shelled by Zeppelin
raiders, or possibly by a fleet at sea. All street-lights had been
darkened by military orders. The failure to draw window shades had been
subject to heavy penalty. It is no wonder eyes looked upward when there
came the crash, and when seeing the strange unusual cloud beheld the
Zeppelin of fancy. A man residing on the outskirts of the town of
Dartmouth "heard" a German shell pass shrieking above him. Dartmouth
Heights looks out over Halifax harbor, and here perhaps the vista is
most expansive, and the eye sees furthest. The instant after the
explosion a citizen standing here "saw" clearly a German fleet
manoeuvering in the distance.[43] That shells had actually come few on
the instant doubted. The head of one firm advised his employees not to
run elsewhere, as "two shots never fall in the same place."

  [42] Hart, Bernard, _The Psychology of Insanity_ (Cambridge, 1916),
  ch. iii, p. 30.

  [43] "So hypochondriac fancies represent
        Ships, armies, battles in the firmament
        Till steady eyes the exhalations solve
        And all to its first matter, cloud, resolve."
            --Defoe, _Journal of the Plague Year_.

This--a German assault--was the great mental explanation that came into
the majority of minds. There was one other--that of the end of the
world. Many fell to their knees in prayer. One woman was found in the
open yard by her broken home repeating the general confession of the
church. Few would have been surprised if out of the smoky cloud-ridden
skies there should have appeared the archangels announcing the
consummation of mundane affairs. Indeed there were instances, not a few,
of those who "saw" in the death-cloud "the clear outlines of a face."
Thus both auditory and visual hallucination were manifested to a degree.

Hallucination has been described as "seeing" something which has no
basis in reality. Thus it differs from delusion, which is rather a
misinterpretation of what is seen. "Delusions are closely allied to
hallucinations and generally accompany the latter. The distinction lies
in the fact that delusions are not false sensations but false
beliefs."[44] Anxiety, distraction by grief and loss, as well as nervous
shock play freely with the mind and fancy and often swerve the judgment
of perception. This was especially noticeable at Halifax in the hospital
identification, particularly of children. A distracted father looked
into a little girl's face four different times but did not recognize her
as his own which, in fact, she was. The precisely opposite occurrence
was also noted. A fond parent time and time again "discovered" his lost
child, "seeing" to complete satisfaction special marks and features on
its little body. But often there were present those who knew better, and
the better judgment prevailed. Again this phenomenon was repeated in
numberless instances at the morgue. Wearied and white after frantic and
fruitless search wherever refugees were gathered together, the
overwrought searchers would walk through the long lines of dead, and
suddenly "recognize" a missing relative or friend.[45] Regretfully the
attendant fulfilled the same thankless task from day to day. There had
been no recognition at all. The observer had seen "not the object itself
but the image evoked in the mind."[46]

  [44] Hart, _op. cit._, ch. iii, p. 31.

  [45] For parallel cases of erroneous recognition of the dead, _vide_
  Le Bon, Gustave, _The Crowd, a Study of the Popular Mind_ (London),
  bk. i, ch. i, p. 51.

  [46] _Ibid._, p. 51.

The primitive instincts of man were for a long time vaguely and loosely
defined, until James and later McDougall essayed to give them name and
number. But only with Thorndike's critical examination has it become
clear how difficult a thing it is to carry the analysis of any situation
back to the elemental or "primal movers of all human activity."
Thorndike is satisfied to describe them as nothing save a set of
original tendencies to respond to stimuli in more or less definite
directions. When he speaks of instincts it is to mean only a "series of
situations and responses" or "a set of tendencies for various situations
to arouse the feelings of fear, anger, pity, _etc._ with which certain
bodily movements usually go." Among them, there are those resulting in
"food-getting and habitation," in "fear, fighting and anger" and in
"human intercourse."[47] But McDougall's classification preserves the
old phrases, and men are likely to go on speaking of the "instinct of
flight," the "instinct of pugnacity," "parental instinct," "gregarious
instinct" and the others.[48] For the sociologist it is enough that all
agree that men are held under some powerful grip of nature and driven at
times almost inevitably to the doing of acts quite irrespective of their
social effects.

  [47] Thorndike, Edward L., _The Original Nature of Man_ (N. Y., 1913),
  ch. v, p. 43 _et seq._

  [48] McDougall, William, _An Introduction to Social Psychology_
  (Boston, 1917), ch. iii, p. 49 _et seq._

In catastrophe these primitive instincts are seen most plainly and less
subject to the re-conditioning influences of ordinary life. This was
especially noticeable at Halifax. The instinct of flight for
self-preservation was reflected in the reaction of thousands. "Almost
without thought, probably from the natural instinct of self-preservation
I backed from the window to a small store-room and stood there
dazed."[49] The experience so described may be said to have been
general. This instinct was to be seen again in the action of the crew of
the explosives-laden ship. Scarcely had the collision occurred when the
whole complement lowered away the boats, rowed like madmen to the
nearest shore--which happened to be that opposite to Halifax--and
"scooted for the woods." As the ship, although set on fire immediately
after the impact, did not actually blow up until some twenty minutes
later, much might have been done by men less under the domination of
instinct, in the way of warning and perhaps of minimizing the inevitable

  [49] Sheldon, J., _The Busy East_ (Sackville, N. B. Can.), March,

  [50] The judgment of the court of enquiry ran as follows: "The master
  and pilot of the Mont Blanc are guilty of neglect of public safety in
  not taking proper steps to warn the inhabitants of the city of a
  probable explosion." (Drysdale Commission, _Judgment of_, sec. viii.)

The instinct of pugnacity was to be seen in many a fine example of
difficulty overcome in the work of rescue; as also in other instances,
some suggestive of that early combat when animals and men struggled for
mere physical existence.

The parental instinct was everywhere in evidence, and was reflected not
only in the sacrifices made and the privations endured by parents for
their young, but in every act of relief, which arose in involuntary
response to the cry of the distressed. It perhaps partially explains the
phenomenon often noticed in disasters that "immediately and
spontaneously neighbors and fellow-townsmen spring to the work of rescue
and first aid."[51]

  [51] Deacon, J. Byron, _Disasters_ (N. Y., 1918), ch. vi, p. 151.

The gregarious instinct--the instinct to herd--showed itself in the
spontaneous groupings which came about and which seemed somehow to be
associated with feelings of security from further harm. The refugees
found comfort in the group. They rarely remained alone.

These and other instinctive responses in a greater or less degree of
complication were to be remarked of the actions not only of individuals
but of groups as well. In the latter the typical phenomena of crowd
psychology were manifested upon every hand. The crowd was seen to be
what it is--"the like response of many to a socially inciting event or
suggestion such as sudden danger." Out of a mere agglomeration of
individuals and under the stress of emotional excitement there arose
that mental unity, which Le Bon emphasizes.[52] There was noticeable the
feeling of safety associated with togetherness which Trotter
suggests.[53] There was the suggestibility, with its preceding
conditions which Sidis[54] has clarified, namely, expectancy,
inhibition, and limitation of the field of consciousness. There were the
triple characteristics which Giddings notes: "Crowds are subject to
swift contagion of feeling, they are sensitive to suggestion .... and
always manifest a tendency to carry suggested ideas immediately into

  [52] Le Bon, _op. cit._, p. 26.

  [53] Trotter, William, _Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War_
  (London, 1919), p. 31.

  [54] Sidis, Boris, _The Psychology of Suggestion_ (N. Y., 1919),
  ch. vi, p. 56 _et seq._

  [55] Giddings, Franklin H., _Principles of Sociology_ (N. Y., 1916),
  bk. ii, ch. ii, p. 136.

Of illustrations of impulsive social action there are none more apt than
those furnished by the reactions following the Halifax tragedy. Only
Pliny's narrative of the flight from the eruption of Vesuvius, or the
story of the "Day of Fear" in France,[56] or that depicting the days of
the comet[57] are comparable thereto.

  [56] Stephens, Henry M., _A History of the French Revolution_ (N. Y.,
  1886), vol. i, p. 179.

  [57] Wells, H. G., _In the Days of the Comet_ (N. Y., 1906).

At first all was confusion. Some ran to the cellars. Some ran to the
streets. Some ran to their shops. Those in the shops ran home. This was
in the area of wounds and bruises. Farther north was the area of death.
Thither the rescuers turned. Automobiles sped over broken glass and
splintered boards toward the unknown. Then came the orders of the
soldiers, whose barracks were situated in the very heart of the danger
district, for the people to fly southward, Common-ward, to the open
spaces--anywhere. Another explosion was imminent. Then came further
outbreaks of the flight impulse. Runs a graphic account:

    The crowd needed no second warning. They turned and fled. Hammers,
    shovels and bandages were thrown aside. Stores were left wide open
    with piles of currency on their counters. Homes were vacated in a
    twinkling. Little tots couldn't understand why they were being
    dragged along so fast. Some folks never looked back. Others did,
    either to catch a last glimpse of the home they never expected to
    see again or to tell if they could from the sky how far behind them
    the Dreaded Thing was.... They fled as they were.... Some carried
    children or bundles of such things as they had scrambled
    together.... Many were but scantily clad. Women fled in their night
    dresses. A few were stark naked, their bodies blackened with soot
    and grime. These had come from the destroyed section of the North
    End. What a storm-tossed motley throng, and as varied in its aspect
    and as poignant in its sufferings as any band of Belgian or Serbian
    refugees fleeing before the Hun.... A few rode in autos, but the
    great majority were on foot. With blanched faces, bleeding bodies
    and broken hearts, they fled from the Spectral Death they thought
    was coming hard after, fled to the open spaces where possibly its
    shadow might not fall. Soon Citadel Hill and the Common were black
    with terrified thousands. Thousands more trudged along St.
    Margaret's Bay road, seeking escape among its trees and winding
    curves.... Many cut down boughs and made themselves fires--for they
    were bitterly cold. Here they were--poorly clad, badly wounded, and
    with not one loaf of bread in all their number, so hastily did they
    leave, when galloping horsemen announced the danger was over and it
    was safe to return.[58]

  [58] Johnstone, Dwight, _The Tragedy of Halifax_ (in MS.).

The ever-shifting responsiveness to rumor which distinguishes a crowd
was noted.

    The entrance to the Park was black with human beings, some massed in
    groups, some running anxiously back and forth like ants when their
    hill has been crushed. There were blanched faces and trembling
    hands. The wildest rumors were in circulation and every bearer of
    tidings was immediately surrounded.[59]

  [59] _St. John Globe_, Correspondence, Dec., 1917.

Not only here but when the crowd trekked back, and in the subsequent
scenes which were witnessed in supply stations and shelters, the
association which Sidis draws between calamity and hyper-suggestibility
in the body politic was abundantly endorsed.

We must now endeavor to understand the phenomena of emotion which
accompany a great catastrophe. This is not the less difficult because
the term emotion is not given consistent use even by psychologists. One
interprets it as merely the affective side of the instinctive
process--those "modes of affective experience," such as "anger, fear,
curiosity," which accompany the excitement of "the principal powerful
instincts."[60] Another sees it as also an impulsive, not merely a
receptive state. It is "the way the body feels when it is prepared for a
certain reaction," and includes "an impulse toward the particular

  [60] McDougall, _op. cit._, p. 46.

  [61] Woodworth, Robert S., _Dynamic Psychology_ (N. Y., 1918),
  ch. iii, p. 54.

It will be accurate enough for our purpose to think of the emotions as
complicated states of feeling more or less allied to one another and to
the human will.[62] Among them are jealousy and envy--"discomfort at
seeing others approved and at being out-done by them."[63] This appeared
repeatedly in the administration of relief and should be included in
disaster psychology. Again greed[64]--more strictly a social instinct
than an emotion--was common. How common will receive further
exemplification in a later chapter.

  [62] "Anger, zeal, determination, willing, are closely allied, and
  probably identical in part. Certainly they are aroused by the same
  stimulus, namely, by obstruction, encountered in the pursuit of some
  end." (_Ibid._, p. 149.)

  [63] Thorndike, _op. cit._, p. 101.

  [64] "To go for attractive objects, to grab them when within reach, to
  hold them against competitors, to fight the one who tries to take them
  away. To go for, grab and hold them all the more if another is trying
  to do so, these lines of conduct are the roots of greed." (_Ibid._,
  p. 102.)

Fear has already been referred to. Anger, shame, resentment while
evident, were of less significance. Gratitude was early shown and there
were many formal expressions of it. Later on, it seemed to be replaced
by a feeling that as sufferers they, the victims, were only receiving
their due in whatever aid was obtained.

Of special interest is the rôle of the tender emotions, kindliness,
sympathy and sorrow, as well as the reactions which may be expected when
these occur in unusual exaltation through the repetition of stimuli or
otherwise. Whatever may be the nature of the process whereby the
feelings of his fellows affect a man, that which chiefly concerns us
here, is how these reactions differ when the stimulation is multiplex.
Of this multiplex stimulation in collective psychology Graham Wallas has

    The nervous exaltation so produced may be the effect of the rapid
    repetition of stimuli acting as repetition acts, for instance, when
    it produces seasickness or tickling.... If the exaltation is extreme
    conscious control of feeling and action is diminished.[65] Reaction
    is narrowed and men may behave, as they behave in dreams, less
    rationally and morally than they do if the whole of their nature is
    brought into play.[66]

  [65] M. Dide, a French psychologist, regards "the hypnosis produced by
  emotional shock--and this occurs not only in war but in other great
  catastrophies as well--as genetically a defence reaction, like natural
  sleep whose function according to him is primarily prophylactic
  against exhaustion and fatigue, ... it is comparable to the so-called
  death-shamming of animals." (Dide, M., _Les émotions et la guerre_
  (Paris, 1918), Review of, _Psychological Bulletin_, vol. xv, no. 12,
  Dec., 1918, p. 441.)

  [66] Wallas, Graham, _The Great Society_ (N. Y., 1917), p. 136.

What Wallas has said of the additional stimulation which the presence of
a crowd induces may be given wider application, and is indeed a most
illuminating thought, describing exactly the psycho-emotional reactions
produced by the stimulation of terrifying scenes, such as were witnessed
at Halifax.

A case in point was that of the nervous exaltation produced upon a young
doctor who operated continuously for many hours in the removal of
injured eyes. The emotional tension he went through is expressed in his
words to a witness: "If relief doesn't come to me soon, I shall murder

Another instance where conscious control of feeling and action was
diminished was that of a soldier. He was so affected by what he passed
through during the explosion and his two days' participation in relief
work, that he quite unwittingly took a seat in a train departing for
Montreal. Later in a hospital of that city after many mental wanderings
he recovered his memory. Over and over again he had been picturing the
dreadful scenes which he had experienced. This condition includes a
hyperactivity of the imagination "characterized by oneirism [oneiric
delirium] reproducing most often the tragic or terrible scenes which
immediately preceded the hypogenic shock."[67]

  [67] _Ibid._, p. 440.

The nature of sympathy[68] may not be clearly comprehended but of its
effects there is no doubt. It may lead to the relief of pain or induce
the exactly opposite effect; or it may bring about so lively a distress
as to quite incapacitate a man from giving help. Again it may lead to
the avoidance of disaster scenes altogether. Thus some could on no
account be prevailed upon to go into the hospitals or to enter the
devastated area. Others by a process understood in the psychology of
insanity secured the desired avoidance by suicide. The association of
suicide with catastrophe has been already remarked in the case of San
Francisco. A Halifax instance was that of a physician who had labored
hard among the wounded. He later found the reaction of his emotional
experiences too strong. He lost his mental balance and was discovered
dead one morning near his office door. He had hanged himself during the
night. Still another, a railroad man, driven to despair by loneliness
and loss, his wife and children having perished, attempted to follow
them in death.

  [68] Classed by William James as an emotion, but considered by
  McDougall a pseudo-instinct.

Joy and sorrow are pleasure-pain conditions of emotional states. Sorrow
is painful because "the impulse is baffled and cannot attain more than
the most scanty and imperfect satisfaction in little acts, such as the
leaving of flowers on the grave;"[69] although the intensity is
increased by other considerations. Here again the unusual degree of
stimulation which catastrophe induces brings about a behavior other than
that which commonly attends the experience of grief. A phenomenon
associated with wholesale bereavement is the almost entire absence of
tears. A witness of the San Francisco disaster said it was at the end of
the second day that he saw tears for the first time.[70] At Halifax,
where the loss of life was many times greater, there was little crying.
There seemed to be indeed a miserable but strong consolation in the fact
that all were alike involved in the same calamity.[71]

  [69] McDougall, _op. cit._, p. 152.

  [70] O'Connor, Chas. J., _San Francisco Relief Survey_ (N. Y., 1913),
  pt. i, p. 6.

  [71] "The cutting edge of all our usual misfortunes comes from their
  character of loneliness."--(James, William, _Memories and Studies_,
  N. Y., 1911, p. 224.)

There was "no bitterness, no complaint, only a great and eager desire to
help some one less fortunate." Another observer said: "I have never seen
such kindly feeling. I have never seen such tender sympathy. I have
never heard an impatient word." And this was amongst men "who were
covered with bruises, and whose hearts were heavy, who have not had a
night's sleep, and who go all day long without thought of food." Another
visitor remarked "there is not a more courageous, sane and reasonable
people. Everyone is tender and considerate. Men who have lost wives and
children, women whose sons and husbands are dead, boys and girls whose
homes have been destroyed, are working to relieve the distress." A
Montreal clergyman reported that "Halifax people have been meeting with
dry eyes and calm faces the tragedies, the horrors, the sufferings and
the exposures which followed the explosion." Grief is after all "a
passive emotion," a "reaction of helplessness." It is "a state of mind
appropriate to a condition of affairs where nothing is to be done"--[72]
and there was much to be done at Halifax.

  [72] Woodworth, _op. cit._, p. 58.

There are also to be added the phenomena of emotional parturition. As
was to be expected the shock meant the immediate provision of a
maternity hospital. Babies were born in cellars and among ruins.
Premature births were common, one indeed taking place in the midst of
the huddled thousands of refugees waiting in anguish upon the Common for
permission to return to their abandoned homes. Nor were all the ills for
which the shock was responsible immediately discernible. There were many
post-catastrophic phenomena. Three months after the explosion many found
themselves suffering an inexplicable breakdown, which the doctors
attributed unquestionably to the catastrophe. It was a condition closely
allied to "war-neurasthenia." Another disaster after-effect also may be
here recorded. This was the not unnatural way in which people "lived on
edge," for a long period after the disaster. There was a readiness and
suggestibility to respond to rumor or to the least excitant. Twice at
least the schools were emptied precipitately, and citizens went forth
into pell-mell flight from their homes upon the circulation of reports
of possible danger. No better illustration is afforded of the
sociological fact that "the more expectant, or overwrought the public
mind, the easier it is to set up a great perturbation. After a series of
public calamities .... minds are blown about by every gust of passion or

  [73] Ross, Edward A., _Social Psychology_ (N. Y., 1918), ch. iv,
  p. 66.

There are also to be included a few miscellaneous observations of
behavior associated with the psychology of disaster relief. (1) The
preference upon the part of the refugee for plural leadership and
decision. (2) The aggravation of helplessness through the open
distribution of relief. (3) The resentment which succeeds the intrusion
of strangers in relief leadership. (4) The reaction of lassitude and
depression after a period of strain. (5) The desire for privacy during
interviews. (6) The vital importance of prompt decision in preventing an
epidemic of complaint.[74]

  [74] A list compiled by the author from suggestions in Deacon's
  discussion of disasters. All were to be observed at Halifax.

Analytic psychology is becoming increasingly interested in the phenomena
of repression, inhibition and taboo. The real motives of action are
often very different from the apparent motives which overlie them.
Instinctive tendencies are buried beneath barriers of civilization, but
they are buried alive. They are covered not crushed. These resistances
are either within our minds or in society. The latter are summed up in
conventionality, custom and law, all so relatively recent[75] in time as
to supply a very thin veneer over the primitive tendencies which have
held sway for ages. Few realize the place which conventionality, custom
and law possess in a community until in some extraordinary catastrophe
their power is broken, or what is the same thing the ability to enforce
them is paralyzed. This fact is especially true of repressive
enactments, and most laws fall within this category. Catastrophe
shatters the unsubstantial veneer. When the police of Boston went on
strike it was not only the signal for the crooks of all towns to repair
to the unguarded center, but an unexpected reserve of crookedness came
to light within the city itself. Lytton discovered at Pompeii signs of
plunder and sacrilege which had taken place "when the pillars of the
world tottered to and fro." At the time of the St. John Fire "loafers
and thieves held high carnival. All night long they roamed the streets
and thieved upon the misfortunes of others."[76]

  [75] It has been said that were the period of man's residence on earth
  considered as having covered an hundred thousand years, that of
  civilization would be represented by the last ten minutes.

  [76] Stewart, George, _The Story of the Great Fire in St. John_
  (Toronto, 1877), p. 35.

With the possibility of apprehension reduced to a minimum in the
confusion at Halifax, with the deterrent forces of respectability and
law practically unknown, men appeared for what they were as the
following statement only too well discloses:

    Few folk thought that Halifax harbored any would-be ghouls or
    vultures. The disaster showed how many. Men clambered over the
    bodies of the dead to get beer in the shattered breweries. Men
    taking advantage of the flight from the city because of the
    possibility of another explosion went into houses and shops, and
    took whatever their thieving fingers could lay hold of. Then there
    were the nightly prowlers among the ruins, who rifled the pockets of
    the dead and dying, and snatched rings from icy fingers. A woman
    lying unconscious on the street had her fur coat snatched from her
    back.... One of the workers, hearing some one groaning rescued a
    shop-keeper from underneath the debris. Unearthing at the same time
    a cash box containing one hundred and fifty dollars, he gave it to a
    young man standing by to hold while he took the victim to a place of
    refuge. When he returned the box was there, but the young man and
    the money had disappeared.

    Then there was the profiteering phase. Landlords raised their rents
    upon people in no position to bear it. The Halifax Trades and Labor
    Council adopted a resolution urging that the Mayor be authorized to
    request all persons to report landlords who "have taken advantage of
    conditions created by the explosion." ... Plumbers refused to hold
    their union rules in abeyance and to work one minute beyond the
    regular eight hours unless they received their extra rates for
    overtime; and the bricklayers assumed a dog-in-the-manger attitude
    and refused to allow the plasterers to help in the repair of the
    chimneys. And this during days of dire stress ... when many men and
    women were working twelve and fourteen hours a day without a cent or
    thought of remuneration. One Halifax newspaper spoke of these men as
    "squeezing the uttermost farthing out of the anguished necessities
    of the homeless men, women and children." Truckmen charged
    exorbitant prices for the transferring of goods and baggage.
    Merchants boosted prices. A small shopkeeper asked a little starving
    child thirty cents for a loaf of bread.

    On Tuesday, December the twelfth, the Deputy Mayor issued a
    proclamation warning persons so acting that they would be dealt with
    under the provisions of the law.[77]

  [77] Johnstone, _op. cit._

Slowly the arm of repression grew vigorous once more. The military
placed troops on patrol. Sentries were posted preventing entrance to the
ruins to those who were not supplied with a special pass. Orders were
issued to shoot any looter trying to escape. The Mayor's proclamation,
the warning of the relief committee, the storm of popular indignation
gradually became effectual.

The stimulus of the same catastrophe, it thus appears, may result in two
different types of responses--that of greed on the one hand or
altruistic emotion on the other. One individual is spurred to increased
activity by the opportunity of business profit, another by the sense of
social needs. Why this is so--indeed the whole field of
profiteering--would be a subject of interesting enquiry. Whether it is
due to the varying degrees of socialization represented in the different
individuals or whether it is not also partly due to the fact that
philanthropy functions best in a sphere out of line with a man's own
particular occupation, the truth remains that some display an altogether
unusual type of reaction in an emergency to the actions of others; and
perhaps exhibit behavior quite different from that which appears normal
in a realm of conduct where associations based on habit are so strongly

The human will as we have seen is in close association with the
emotions. We are now to notice the dynamogenic value of the strong
emotions aroused by catastrophe. It is first of all essential to
remember the rôle of adrenin in counteracting the effects of fatigue.
Wonderful phenomena of endurance in disaster might well be anticipated
for "adrenin set free in pain and in fear and in rage would put the
members of the body unqualifiedly at the disposal of the nervous
system." This is "living on one's will" or on "one's nerve." There are
"reservoirs" of power ready to pour forth streams of energy if the
occasion presents itself. Strong emotions may become an "arsenal of
augmented strength." This fact William James was quick to see when he
said "on any given day there are energies slumbering within us which the
incitements of that day do not call forth."[78] But it was left to
Cannon to unfold the physiological reasons,[79] and for Woodworth to
explain how the presence of obstruction has power to call forth new
energies.[80] Indeed the will[81] is just the inner driving force of the
individual and an effort of will is only "the development of fresh motor
power."[82] Following the lines of least resistance the will experiences
no unusual exercise. Catastrophe opposes the tendency to eliminate from
life everything that requires a calling forth of unusual energies.

  [78] James, William, _The Energies of Men_ (N. Y., 1920), p. 11.

  [79] Cannon, Walter B., _Bodily changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and
  Rage_, ch. xi, p. 184, _et seq._

  [80] Woodworth, _op. cit._, p. 147.

  [81] Will is indeed the supreme faculty, the whole mind in action, the
  internal stimulus which may call forth all the capacities and powers.
  (Conklin, Edwin G., _Heredity and Environment in the Development of
  Man_ [Princeton], ch. vi, p. 47.)

  [82] Woodworth, _op. cit._, p. 149.

The energizing influence of an emotional excitant was shown at Halifax
in the remarkable way in which sick soldiers abandoned their beds and
turned them over to the victims rushed to the military hospitals. It was
seen again in the sudden accession of strength displayed by the invalids
and the infirm during the hurried evacuation of the houses--a behavior
like that of the inhabitants of Antwerp during the bombardment of that
city in October 1914, when those who fled to Holland showed
extraordinary resistance to fatigue.[83] The resistance to fatigue and
suffering received more abundant illustration at Halifax in the work of
rescue and relief. Often men themselves were surprised at their own
power for prolonged effort and prodigious strain under the excitement of
catastrophe. It was only on Monday (the fifth day) that collapses from
work began to appear. Among the more generally known instances of
unusual endurance was that of a private, who with one of his eyes
knocked out, continued working the entire day of the disaster. Another
was that of a chauffeur who with a broken rib conveyed the wounded trip
after trip to the hospital, only relinquishing the work when he
collapsed. An unknown man was discovered at work in the midst of the
ruins although his own face was half blown off. Those who escaped with
lesser injuries worked day and night while the crisis lasted. Many did
not go home for days, so manifold and heavy were the tasks. There was no
pause for comment. Conversation was a matter of nods and silent signs,
the direction of an index finger. Weeks later the workers were surprised
to find themselves aged and thin. The excitement, the stimulus of an
overwhelming need had banished all symptoms of fatigue. During the
congestion which followed the arrival of the relief trains there were
men who spent seventy-two hours with scarcely any rest or sleep. One of
the telephone terminal room staff stuck to his post for ninety-two
hours, probably the record case of the disaster for endurance under
pressure. Magnificent effort, conspicuous enough for special notice was
the work of the search parties who, facing bitterest cold and in the
midst of blinding storms, continued their work of rescue; and the
instance of the business girls who in the same weather worked for many
hours with bottles of hot water hung about their waists. An effect which
could not escape observation was the strange insensibility to suffering
on the part of many of the victims themselves. Men, women and little
children endured the crudest operations without experiencing the common
effects of pain. They seemed to have been anaesthetized by the general
shock. Sidewalk operations, the use of common thread for sutures, the
cold-blooded extracting of eyes were carried on often without a tremor.
This resistance to suffering was due not only to the increase of energy
already described but also to the fact that the prostrating effect of
pain is largely relative to the diversion of attention,--as "headaches
disappear promptly upon the alarm of fire" and "toothaches vanish at the
moment of a burglar's scare." Much pain is due to the super-sensitivity
of an area through hyperaemia, or increased blood supply, following
concentrated attention. Thus it is actually possible by volition to
control the spread of pain, and the therapeutic virtues of an electric
shock or a slap in the face are equally demonstrable. This reasoning is
also applicable to the absence of sympathetic reactions among many
disaster workers. They were found often to be "curiously detached and
not greatly moved by the distressing scenes in morgue, in hospital, in
the ruins and at the inquiry stations."[84]

  [83] Sano, F., "Documenti della guerra: Osservazioni psicologiche
  notate durante il bombardamento di Anversa," _Rivista di psichologia_,
  anno xi, pp. 119-128.

  [84] Smith, Stanley K., _The Halifax Horror_ (Halifax, 1918), ch. iv,
  p. 44.

Catastrophe and the sudden termination of the normal which ensues become
the stimuli of heroism and bring into play the great social virtues of
generosity and of kindliness--which, in one of its forms, is mutual aid.
The new conditions, perhaps it would be more correct to say, afford the
occasion for their release. It is said that battle does to the
individual what the developing solution does to the photographic
plate,--brings out what is in the man. This may also be said of
catastrophe. Every community has its socialized individuals, the
dependable, the helpful, the considerate, as well as the "non-socialized
survivors of savagery," who are distributed about the zero point of the
social scale. Calamity is the occasion for the discovery of the
"presence of extraordinary individuals in a group." The relation of them
to a crisis is one of the most important points in the problem of

At Halifax there were encountered many such individuals as well as
families who refused assistance that others might be relieved.
Individual acts of finest model were written ineffaceably upon the
social memory of the inhabitants. There was the case of a child who
released with her teeth the clothes which held her mother beneath a pile
of debris. A wounded girl saved a large family of children, getting them
all out of a broken and burning home. A telegraph operator at the cost
of his life stuck to his key, sent a warning message over the line and
stopped an incoming train in the nick of time.

Group heroism was no less remarkable. For the flooding of the powder
magazine in the naval yard an entire battery volunteered. This was why
the second explosion did not actually occur. Freight handlers too, as
well as soldiers, revealed themselves possessors of the great spirit. A
conspicuous case was that of the longshoremen working on board of a ship
laden with explosives. Fully realizing the impending danger, because of
the nearness of the burning munitioner, they used what precious minutes
of life remained them to protect their own ship's explosives from
ignition. A fire did afterwards start upon the ship but a brave captain
loosed her from the pier, and himself extinguished the blaze which might
soon have repeated in part the devastations already wrought.

No disaster psychology should omit a discussion of the psychology of
helpfulness--that self-help to which the best relief workers always
appeal, as well as of the mutual aid upon which emergency relief must
largely depend. Mutual aid while not a primary social fact is inherent
in the association of members of society, as it also "obtains among
cells and organs of the vital organism." As it insured survival in the
earlier stages of evolution[85] so it reveals itself when survival is
again threatened by catastrophe.

  [85] Kropotkin, Prince, _Mutual Aid_ (N. Y., 1919), ch. i, p. 14.

The illustrations of mutual aid at Halifax would fill a volume. Not only
was it evidenced in the instances of families and friends but also in
the realm of business. Cafés served lunches without charge. Drug stores
gave out freely of their supplies. Firms released their clerks to swell
the army of relief. A noteworthy case of community service was that of
the Grocers' Guild announcing that its members would

    fill no orders for outside points during the crisis, that they would
    coöperate with the relief committee in delivering foodstuffs free of
    charge to any point in the city, and that their stocks were at the
    disposal of the committee at the actual cost to them.[86]

By incidents such as these, Halifax gained the appellation of the City
of Comrades.

  [86] Johnstone, _op. cit._

Catastrophe becomes also the excitant for an unparalleled opening of the
springs of generosity.[87] Communication has transformed mutual aid into
a term of worldwide significance. As at San Francisco, when from all
directions spontaneous gifts were hurried to the stricken city, when in
a period of three months seventeen hundred carloads and five
steamerloads of relief goods arrived, in addition to millions of cash
contributions, so was it at Halifax. So it has always been, as is proven
by Chicago, Dayton, Chelsea as well as by numbers of other instances.
The public heart responds with instantaneous and passionate sympathy.
Halifax specials were on every railroad. Ships brought relief by sea.
Cities vied with each other in their responses. Every hour brought
telegraphed assistance from governments and organizations. In about
fifteen weeks approximately eight millions had been received, aside from
the Federal grant. But it was not the totality of the gifts, but the
number of the givers which gives point to our study. So many rushed with
their donations to the Calvin Austin before she sailed from Boston on
her errand of relief that "the police reserves were called out to
preserve order." A great mass of the contributions involved much
personal sacrifice upon the part of the contributors, as accompanying
letters testified. It could be written of Halifax as it was of San
Francisco that:

    all the fountains of good fellowship, of generosity, of sympathy, of
    good cheer, pluck and determination have been opened wide by the
    common downfall. The spirit of all is a marvelous revelation of the
    good and fine in humanity, intermittent or dormant under ordinary
    conditions, but dominant and all pervading in the shadow of

Abridged and sketchy as the foregoing necessarily is, it is perhaps full
enough to have at least outlined the social phenomena of the major sort
which a great disaster presents. These are found to be either abnormal
and handicapping, such as, emotional parturition; or stimulative and
promotive, such as the dynamogenic reactions. In propositional form it
may be stated that catastrophe is attended by phenomena of social
psychology, which may either retard or promote social organization.

  [87] There is no better evidence of the response of the public heart
  to a great tragedy than the fact that at Halifax upwards of a thousand
  offers were received for the adoption of the orphaned children.

  [88] Bicknell, Ernest P., "In the Thick of the Relief Work at San
  Francisco," _Charities and the Commons_, vol. xvi (June, 1906),
  p. 299.

In addition this chapter has discussed the rôle of catastrophe in
stimulating community service, in presenting models of altruistic
conduct, in translating energy into action, in defending law and order,
and in bringing into play the great social virtues of generosity,
sympathy and mutual aid.



The organization of relief--The disaster protocracy--The transition from
chaos through leadership--Vital place of communication--Utility of
association--Imitation--Social pressure--Consciousness of
kind--Discussion--Circumstantial pressure--Climate--Geographic
determinants--Classification of factors.

We have seen something of the disintegration which followed what has
been called the "stun of the explosion." It included the abrupt flight
from, and the emptying of, all the houses and centers of employment, the
division of families in the haste of the running and the rescue, and the
utter helplessness of thousands in the three basic necessities of
life--food, raiment and a roof. There was the dislocation of
transportation, the disorganization of business, and the problem of
unemployment aggravated because not only was the work gone, but also
with it the will to work.

Social organization comes next in order and because its process was
associated with the organization of relief--the first social
activity--the sociological factors observed in the latter call for
descriptive treatment. When the human organism receives an accident to
one of its parts, automatic relief processes from within spring at once
into being, and it is so with the body politic. This "_vis medicatrix
naturae_" assumes sovereign power over all the resources of the
community. That part of the social sensorium which is most closely
organized in normal hours, first recovers consciousness in disaster. In
the case of Halifax it was the army. So was it in San Francisco, and in
Chelsea. The army has the intensive concentration, the discipline, the
organization and often the resource of supplies instantly available. Its
training is of the kind for the endurance of shock.[89] It so happened
that at Halifax large numbers of men in uniform were stationed where
they could quickly respond to call. They were very soon under orders.
The military authorities realized before midday, the part which the army
should play. The firemen too were a social group which largely remained
organized, and responded to the general alarm soon after the explosion.
Their chief and deputy-chief had been instantly killed so they were
leaderless, until one of the city controllers assumed command, and in
spite of the wild exodus when the alarm of a second explosion spread,
these men remained at their posts.

  [89] What has been said of soldiers is of course equally true of

Play actors also display similar traits of collective behavior. They are
accustomed to think quickly, to live in restricted spaces, and to meet
emergencies. Than the stage there is no better school. Each actor does
his or her part and it alone. The Academy Stock Company, forsaking the
school of Thespis for that of Esculapius, organized the first relief
station established at Halifax. This was in operation about noon on the
day of the disaster.

Thus it came about that the soldiers, firemen and play actors may be
called the disaster protocracy.[90] They were "the alert and effective,"
the most promptly reacting units in emergency. And it would appear that
the part of society which is most closely organized and disciplined in
normal periods first recovers social consciousness in disaster.

  [90] Giddings, Franklin H., "Pluralistic Behaviour," _American Journal
  of Sociology_, vol. xxv, no. 4 (Jan., 1920), p. 539.

It is the events of the first few hours which are of special interest to
the sociologist. The word most descriptive of the first observable
phenomenon was leadership. The soldiers were foremost in the work of
rescue, of warning, of protection, of transportation and of food
distribution. But the earliest leadership that could be called social,
arising from the public itself, was that on the part of those who had no
family ties, much of the earliest work being done by visitors in the
city. The others as a rule ran first to their homes to discover if their
own families were in danger. From this body in a short while however
many came forward to join in the activities of relief.

As already said those with no social, family or property ties were among
the first to begin relief work. But many of these started early simply
because they were present where need arose. Many indeed of the uninjured
folk at a distance seemed unable to realize the terribleness of the
immediate need in the stricken area. In fact, owing to the collapse of
communication they did not for an appreciable time discover that there
was an area more stricken than their own, and devoted themselves to
cleaning up glass and the like. But within a quarter of an hour a
hospital ship had sent ashore two landing parties with surgeons and
emergency kits. With almost equal dispatch the passengers of an incoming
train--the railroad terminal at the time being in the north end of the
city--were on hand, and were among the earliest first-aid workers. One,
a Montreal man, was known individually to have rendered first aid to at
least a half hundred of the wounded.

It was early afternoon, perhaps five hours after the catastrophe, when a
semblance of coöperative action in rescue work began. Previous to this
the work had been done in a rapid and random fashion, a single ruin
being dug through a second or even a third time. Then came the
recognition of the utility of association.[91] Thereafter the searchers
became parties each of which was detailed to go over a definite area.
When a particular section had been covered it was so recorded. This
process considerably expedited the work in hand. Meanwhile relief was
organized in other important directions.

  [91] Tenney, Alvan A., Unpublished lectures on Social Organization.

The vital place of communication in society was recognized at once. It
is a major influence in association, and upon it in disaster depends the
immediacy as well as the adequacy of relief. Connections had been cut by
the explosion and the outside world could only wait and wonder. How
little real information filtered through is shown by the fact that at
Truro, only sixty-two miles distant, the announcement was made three
hours after the explosion that the death roll would not bear more than
fifty names. Nevertheless within an hour after the explosion a telegraph
company had a single line established, and with news of the disaster,
communities everywhere took up the rôle of the Samaritan.

While the great hegira was in progress another leader, a railroad
official, drove rapidly out the Bedford Road and commandeered the first
unbroken wire to Moncton. Thereafter all that the government railroad
equipment could do was at the community's service. Meanwhile the
dislocated railroad yards were being combed for a live engine and
coaches in commission. A hospital train was put together and in less
than four hours after the explosion a large number of injured people
were being transported to Truro.

Even before the rushing of the wounded to the hospitals a few began to
realize the great human needs which would soon be manifest among the
concourse of thousands who waited in helpless suspense upon the Common
and the hill. Here they were _en masse_, a typical social aggregation,
responding to the primitive, gregarious instinct of the herd. "Like
sheep they had flocked together too bewildered for consecutive
thought."[92] Yet here ministrations of one sort or another came into
spontaneous operation. Soon the military began raising white tents upon
the field. One after another they rose, presenting the appearance of an
huge encampment. The idea spread by imitation,[93] the repetition of a
model,--"the imitative response of many minds to the suggestive
invention of one." One or two here and one or two there began to prepare
the big church halls and other roomy institutional buildings for
occupancy. Hastily the windows were patched up, the glass swept out, and
no sooner had the danger of a second explosion passed, and the rumor of
a possible roof reached the homeless, than they began to repair thither.
At first each improvised shelter became a miniature clothing and food
depot as well as a habitation. Then the idea spread of taking the
refugees into such private homes as had fared less badly. Imitation is
the foundation of custom. It became the thing to do. The thing to do is
social pressure. It may be unwilled and unintended but it is inexorable.
It worked effectively upon all who had an unused room. Many sheltered
upwards of a dozen for weeks; some, more.

  [92] Bell, McKelvie, _A Romance of the Halifax Disaster_ (Halifax,

  [93] Tarde, Gabriel, _Les lois de l'imitation_ (N. Y., 1903),
  translation by E. C. Parsons, ch. i, p. 14.

In the homes and shelters association of the like-minded soon came about
through consciousness of kind. At first it was a very general
consciousness which seemed to draw all together into a fellowship of
suffering as victims of a common calamity. There was neither male nor
female, just nor unjust, bond nor free. Men, women and little children
lay side by side in the large sleeping rooms and "shared each other's
woes," for "the consciousness of kind allays fear and engenders
comradeship."[94] Then followed requests for changes of location in the
dormitories, and for changes of seats at the dining tables. As various
shelters sprang up, the religious element appeared. Applications came
for transfers from Roman Catholic institutions to Protestant stations
and _vice versa_. Even the politically congenial were only too ready to
segregate when occasion offered.

  [94] Giddings, _op. cit._, p. 396.

Discussion and agreement must precede all wise concerted volition. There
must be "common discussion of common action."[95] Propositions must be
"put forth" and talked over. There must be a "meeting of minds" and a
"show of hands," and decisions made. There had been no preparedness. The
city possessed not even a paper organization for such a contingency as a
sudden disaster; so that during the most precious hours citizens and
civic officials had to consult and map out a program as best the
circumstances allowed. It was late afternoon on the day of the disaster
when a tentative plan had been formulated in the City Hall. The newly
formed committees could do but little until the following dawn.

  [95] Bagehot, Walter, _Physics and Politics_ (N. Y., 1884), p. 159,
  _et seq._

Men at best are largely creatures of circumstance. Innumerable causes,
small and great, conspire to incite social action. But in catastrophe
the control of circumstantial pressure[96] becomes almost sovereign in
extent. The conditions it brings about, while often delaying measures of
individual relief, account very largely for the rapidity of
organization. While they limit they also provoke effort. The common
danger constrains great numbers to "overlook many differences, to
minimize many of their antagonisms and to combine their efforts." At
Halifax the pressure of indescribable suffering precipitated the medical
and hospital arrangements which were the earliest forms of communal
service. But it was the meteorological conditions which commanded the
most prompt attention to the consideration of shelter and clothing. The
months appeared to have lost station and February to have come out of
season. The following table gives the weather record for the seven days
which followed the catastrophe.[97] It is the record of a succession of
snow, wind, cold and blizzard.

Thursday, Dec. 6th.

9 a. m. Fair. Frozen ground. Light N. W. wind. No precipitation.
Temperature: max. 39.2, min. 16.8.

Friday, Dec. 7th.

9 a. m. N. E. wind, velocity 19. Snow falling. At noon N. W. gale.
Afternoon, blizzard conditions. 9 p. m. N. W. wind, velocity 34.
Precipitation 16.0 in. snow. Temperature: max. 32.2, min. 24.8.

Saturday, Dec. 8th.

9 a. m. N. W. wind, velocity 20. Intermittent sunshine. 9 p. m. N. W.
wind, velocity 11. Precipitation 1.2 snow (in a. m.). Temperature: max.
29.8, min. 15.

Sunday, Dec. 9th.

9 a. m. S. E. gale, velocity 39. Streets icy and almost impassable.
9 p. m. S. W. wind, velocity 27. Precipitation .99 rainfall (1.40 a. m.
till noon). Temperature: max. 50.41, min. 14.6.

Monday, Dec. 10th.

9 a. m. S. W. wind, velocity 11. Afternoon, blizzard (worst in years).
Knee-deep drifts. 9 p. m. W. wind, velocity 20. Precipitation 5.6
snowfall (2 p. m. till 5.40 p. m.). Temperature: max. 34.2, min. 16.8.

Tuesday, Dec. 11th.

9 a. m. Clear. W. wind, velocity 18. 9 p. m. W. wind, velocity 11. No
precipitation. Temperature: max. 18.2, min. 6.6.

Wednesday, Dec. 12th.

9 a. m. N. W. wind, velocity, 15. 9 p. m. N. E. wind, velocity 3. No
precipitation. Temperature: max. 17, min. 2.

  [96] Giddings, _op. cit._, p. 390.

  [97] From information kindly supplied by D. L. Hutchinson, director of
  the St. John (N. B.) observatory, and F. B. Ronnan, Halifax Station.

In consequence of otherwise unendurable conditions, the most rapid
repairs were made to all habitable houses or those possible of being
made so. The same was true of public buildings, hospitals, factories and
warehouses. Moreover the same explanation accounts for the exodus of
many who sought for shelter to the countryside nearby; and the many more
who accepted the invitation of, and entrained for various Nova Scotian
towns which became veritable "cities of refuge" to hundreds. The
climate[98] decided the question of reconstruction in favor of temporary
structures; for it was a time of year when prompt rebuilding was out of
the question. Climatic conditions also seriously delayed the arrival of
relief supplies, allowed but scanty provision for many, kept some from
the depots of relief, or from surgical aid; and others standing in line
in the bitter cold. It also added seriously to the sanitation and
shelter problem. But it speeded and spurred the workers to prevent the
maximum of exposure and neglect. It called imperatively for the most
effective system, and many of the workable methods were hit upon under
the stress of storm. An illustration of this may be found in the
adoption of many food depots instead of one central station. Regional
influence thus "fixes the possibilities of organization and collective
effectiveness."[99] The sociologist must study maps of lands and plans
of cities. The location of the food stations at Halifax was a matter of
topography as were the later administration districts. The city is
widely spread out. It has fifty more miles of street than a city of
similar population in a neighboring province. Six depots were
established for the public distribution of supplies,[100] situated so as
to touch the entire needy population most effectively, and to equalize
the groups to some degree. So too, in the matter of dressing stations,
accessibility was a deciding factor. But even this system had to be
supplemented. Bread vans were driven hither and thither and when halted
in the center of a street were usually immediately surrounded. Thus
social reorganization in catastrophe witnesses to an urgency resident no
less in space than in time and reëmphasizes the importance placed upon
the physical factors in sociology.

  [98] Semple, Ellen, _Influences of Geographic Environment_ (N. Y.,
  1911), p. 607, _et seq._

  [99] Giddings, _op. cit._, p. 389.

  [100] For a period of two weeks meals for 15,000 people were
  distributed every day.

Thus may be said to have come about the transition from chaos to a
semblance of community organization. Not the normal civil social order
of pre-disaster days, but the establishment of a species of collective
behavior, and the organization of relationships apparently of a quite
different character. The difference was one which might be compared to
that between a great relief camp and a city. But the difference was only
superficial. Fundamentally there were to be seen the factors underlying
all social organization. These have been already illustrated, and are
classified as psychological, such as leadership, gregarious instinct,
imitation, consciousness of kind, discussion, recognition of utility of
association and custom; and as physical, including climate and
topography.[101] The conclusion was drawn that the part of society which
is most closely organized and disciplined in normality, first recovers
consciousness in catastrophe, and the value of a militia organization in
every community is a practical corollary. This follows not only because
of the imperturbability and the promptitude of reaction, of an army in
crisis, but also because of the rapidity with which it can be mobilized,
its value in preserving law and order, its authoritative control and
power to punish, and because of the attending psychological effects of
orderly bearing and coolness in a time of general chaos, bespeaking a
care that is at once paternal and sympathetic.

  [101] Other sociological factors might also be illustrated, namely,
  (a) the biological, including, besides the density of population, the
  heredity and the physical and mental health of the inhabitants. (b)
  the equipmental factor, including available economic resources,
  general enlightenment, social surplus and institutional facilities for
  re-education, _etc._ (_Vide_ ch. vii.)



The reorganization of the civil social order--Division of
labor--Resumption of normal activities--State and voluntary
associations--Order of reëstablishment--Effects of environmental
change--The play of imitation--The stimulus of lookers-on--Social

It is not necessary to repeat the fact, which the reader has already
seen, that the process of complete social organization was largely
expedited by the organization of relief, and materially reacted upon by
it. The community's "big men," the men of prominence, the men of broad
experience in civic and philanthropic work, the men who knew the
resources of the city and had the prestige to command them, were deeply
immersed in the relief work while the businesses and the departments of
the shattered body politic waited or went forward in a more or less
indifferent way.

But this could be both economically and socially of a temporary nature
only. "Business and industry must be set agoing. Church and school must
resume the ordinary routine. One by one the broken threads of the former
everyday life, the life of custom and habit must be reconnected." The
division of social labor[102] is a law of society. It is traceable back
to the primitive household itself, and is a result of underlying
differences. The great "cause which determines the manner by which work
is divided is diversity of capacity." With the advent of the social
specialists at Halifax a major division of function began. The
responsibility for the relief work having been delegated to a special
social group, public thought and public men were free to turn their
energies to the restoration of a normal society.

  [102] Durkheim, Émile, _De la division du travail social_ (Paris,

But it was the reorganization rather than the organization of relations
which the sociologist observes to have first taken place. The stage was
all laid. It was necessary only for the actors in the drama to resume
their places. The old "parts" awaited them, although many of the
"properties" were no more. Or to use the more sociological jargon one
might say, there was still the homogeneity of stock, still a dominating
like-mindedness, still a protocracy, still a group of mores to serve as
media of social self-control. Indeed most of the former complexities of
social structure remained. But this was only potentially true. The
social relations based upon the underlying factors had to be resumed.
Moreover the resumption was accompanied by various changes the
significance of which will appear in later discussion. The order of the
resumption of normal activities is of unusual social interest as are
also the influences which were in play and the changes which ensued. It
may be objected that such a tabulation is unfair to the various socially
component groups and that the special exigencies of each preclude
comparison. But at least one index of the bent of the social mind is the
separation of those activities which must needs be first rehabilitated,
from those which can wait. Organizing genius was not entirely occupied
with relief in the ordinary sense of the term.

Economic vigor is one of the most vital things in a community's life. It
is in a sense fundamental not only to happiness and general well-being
but accompanies and conditions the cultural institutions, religious,
educational and aesthetic. It is not surprising then that commercial
activity was in actual fact the earliest aspect of life to resume a
semblance of normality. Naturally public utilities were first on the
list, for these include systems of communication without which society
can hardly be. Reference has already been made to the speed with which a
makeshift service was established, but our purpose here is to record the
resumption of normal activity.

Wire communication is led out from the city by pole lines. Many of these
had been demolished, or broken at the crossbeam. Clerks had been injured
and instruments damaged. In spite of these odds one was reconnected
within an hour, and by the evening of the day of the disaster six direct
multiplex wires to Montreal, three to St. John and one each to Boston
and New York, had been established. Upwards of a thousand messages an
hour went forth the first week. The work became normal about December

The telephone system suffered the loss of the entire northern exchange
and of the harbor cable--broken through ships dragging anchor--a total
material damage of one hundred thousand dollars. Its personnel was also
depleted. Nevertheless telephone business may be said to have been
generally resumed on the seventh, the day after the disaster, and the
load of local traffic soon attained over one hundred and twenty percent
above its average figure. Telephone service was absolutely suspended for
only about two hours,--the period of prohibition from buildings,--and
the cable telephone for about three days. Messages of a social character
were tabooed for several weeks, when the work again became normal.

The illumination service was quickly restored. The company was able to
give partial light and some service from noon on the sixth. Periods of
intermittent darkness however, were not unusual. Gas service was off
until December the ninth--the top of the gasometer having been broken
and two hundred thousand cubic feet deflected from the mains into the
air--when repairs were completed and on the tenth the service resumed.
On the fourteenth gas and electric light service became normal.

Railroad communication had been dislocated. The explosion occurred in
the vicinity of the principal sidings and vital portions of the system.
Three miles of the main road were buried in debris, the station wrecked,
equipment damaged, and crews scattered searching for their dead. In
spite of this, as already noted, a hospital train was sent out in the
early afternoon of the disaster day and incoming trains were switched to
their new tracks leading to the south end terminal. On the evening of
the day following the disaster--Friday--the first regular train for
Montreal left the city. Two days later the main lines were clear and the
first train left the old passenger station on Saturday evening. By
Monday the full passenger service was resumed, to and from the station.
Eight days after the catastrophe all branches of the service were
working and conditions were fairly normal.

The rolling stock of the street-car system sustained much damage. Some
of the employees were injured and others were unavailable. A scant
service was restored at noon on December the sixth. By six o'clock of
the seventh, tram lines in the north section were able to resume an
eight-car service. Then the blizzard came and tied up all lines. It was
not until Sunday, December ninth, that it was possible to resume any
semblance of car service. On the twenty-second of December, twenty-two
cars were operating--twenty-seven is the normal number,--but the
shortage of men made it difficult to operate the full number. The
service was not entirely normal for some months owing to the severe
storms all winter which tied up the lines and caused delays, and to the
shortage of men to handle the cars.

The newspaper offices by the employment of hand compositors were able to
produce papers on December seventh but in limited editions and of
reduced size. This was owing to the dependency of the linotypes upon the
gas service which had failed. The normal-size production recommenced in
a week's time.[103]

  [103] In the great Baltimore fire of 1904 the _Baltimore Sun_, by
  remarkable enterprise was gotten out at Washington, 45 miles distant,
  and did not miss a single issue.

The postal service was completely disorganized and was not restored to
any extent until Monday the tenth of December. Owing to the innumerable
changes of address, as well as many other reasons, it was weeks before
there was a normal and reliable distribution of mails.

The banks were open for business the morning following the catastrophe,
just as soon as the doors and windows were put in. Traffic of relief
trains coming in affected the ordinary trade for three months, more or
less, but principally outside of the city. In the city all business in
the banks went on as usual the day after the explosion.

Two instances are selected at random to illustrate the resumption of
general business activity. Out of much wreckage and a forty-thousand-dollar
loss one company restarted paint and varnish making on January
second. A large clothing establishment, had been badly damaged.
The factory and all branches of the business were running in
five weeks--January tenth. Machines were in operation with shortened
staffs at an earlier date.

The regular meetings of the City Council recommenced on December
twentieth, and were held regularly from that time on. The Board of Trade
rooms were not badly damaged and there was no cessation of work or
meetings. The theatres were speedily repaired and resumed business on
Friday, December the twenty-eighth. The Citizen's Library was a few
weeks closed for the circulation of books, and used in relief service as
a food depot, thus ministering to a hunger which is more imperious than
that of mind in the hour of catastrophe.

Of the churches several were entirely destroyed. In all cases the
edifices were injured, organs disordered and windows shattered. Parishes
were in some instances almost wiped out. In a single congregation four
hundred and four perished. In another nearly two hundred were killed,
the remainder losing their property. In a third, of the one hundred and
eight houses represented in the congregation only fourteen were left
standing. Hurried efforts were made to safeguard church property, but
church services were not generally resumed until the second Sunday.[104]
Even then the congregations were small and the worshipping-places were
not in all cases churches. Theatres, halls and other buildings housed
many a religious gathering. While the restoration of churches waited,
clergy and church workers gave themselves unremittingly to the relief of
the needy, the succor of the injured and the burial of the dead. Their
intimate knowledge of family conditions was of inestimable value in the
relief administration. Sunday schools were reassembled as accommodations
permitted, but it was many months before the attendances approximated
the normal.

  [104] On the first Sunday, December ninth at eleven o'clock Archdeacon
  Armitage conducted Divine service in St. Paul's Church, and the same
  afternoon this edifice was used by the congregation of All Saints

The school system was badly disorganized. Three buildings were totally
destroyed, and all were rendered uninhabitable for some time. The loss
was approximately eight-hundred thousand dollars. The members of the
staff were given over to relief committees, registration, nursing and
clothing service. Early in March, about three months after the
explosion, arrangements were completed whereby nearly all the children
in the city could attend classes. The double-session system was
introduced to accomplish this. Rooms were necessarily over-crowded and
ventilation impaired. By May eighth, fifteen school buildings were in

  [105] Quinn, J. P., _Report of Board of School Commissioners for City
  of Halifax_, 1918.

Progress in reopening schools is indicated by the following schedule.

  Dec. 10 ................ classes in one institution
  Jan.  7 ................    "    "  three emergency shelters
  Jan.  8 ................    "    "  a church hall
  Jan. 14 ................    "    "  five school buildings
  Jan. 17 ................    "    "  one institution
  Jan. 21 ................    "    "  two school buildings
  Jan. 22 ................    "    "  one school building
  Jan. 24 ................    "    "  one school building
  Feb.  1 ................    "    "  one institution
  Feb. 25 ................    "    "  two school buildings
  Mar. 16 ................    "    "  one school building
  Apr.  8 ................    "    "  one school building
  May   8 ................    "    "  one school building
  May  20 ................    "    "  two portable schools

The community as finally reorganized differed materially from that which
had preceded. The picture of the conditions at a considerably later
period will be fully presented elsewhere. Here will be noted only a few
social effects immediately apparent and due to the temporary
environmental conditions.

Owing to the number of men required for reconstruction work the Tramway
Company found it very difficult to get a full complement of men back
into the service. As a result they took into consideration the
advisability of employing women conductors, and finally adopted this

At the time of the explosion a heated election campaign was in progress.
Then representative men of both political parties urged their followers
to drop the election fight and the election was deferred and later
rendered unnecessary by the withdrawal of one of the candidates.

The darkening of the water-front, the shading of windows, and other
war-protective measures against the submarine menace, were given little
attention for many weeks, and the coming into operation of the Military
Service Act was postponed.

The establishment of relief stations, and later, of the temporary relief
houses in the central and southern portion of the city brought about a
very unusual commingling of classes, as well as a readjustment of
membership in schools, parishes and various institutions.

Club life, social life, lodge and society "evenings" were for a
considerable period tabooed, because of a general sentiment against
enjoyment under the existing conditions as well as to lack of
accommodation and of time.

The clamor for arrests, for the fixing of responsibility for the
disaster, and for the meting out of punishment was for a long time in
evidence, but never received complete satisfaction.

The difficulties of restoration of school attendance repeated the
experience of the Cherry disaster, and the Truant Officer had a very
strenuous time owing to the fact that so many people had changed their

A number of "special policemen" were recruited from citizens of all
ranks, and this force materially assisted the members of the regular
department. Owing to the large influx of workmen following the
catastrophe, as well as for other reasons the work of the detectives was
greatly increased.[106]

  [106] Hanrahan, F., _Report of Chief of Police_, Halifax, 1918.

The survivors of two neighboring congregations, although belonging to
different denominations, united in erecting a temporary church
building--their respective churches having been destroyed--and have
since worshipped together--a demonstration of the practicability of
church union under circumstantial pressure.

The display apartments of a furniture concern were utilized as actual
living rooms by refugees for a period, while at the same time business
was in operation throughout the rest of the establishment.

The necessary functioning of relief activities, seven days in the week,
the keeping of stores open on Sundays and the general disorganization of
the parishes was reflected for a long period in a changed attitude upon
the part of many towards Sabbath observance.

German residents of the city were immediately placed under arrest when
the disaster occurred, but all were later given their freedom.

The citizens of Halifax were almost entirely oblivious to the progress
of the war and other matters of world interest, for many days after the

The reversion to the use of candles, oil lamps and lanterns was an
interesting temporary effect.

The rapidity of the reorganization, as well as the subsequent expansion,
noted later, was largely effected by the social law of imitation already
noticed. Many of the conditions affecting the rate of imitation were
present. There was a crisis, there was necessity, there was trade and
business advantage, social pressure, public demand, shibboleths--"a new
Halifax" for example--but above all there was a multitude of models. The
extent and scale of the rebuilding program in one area, the
civic-improvement plans which accompanied the work in that district, the
record time in which relief houses were completed, the marvellous speed
at which the demolition companies cleared away the debris acted as
models and stimuli to all inhabitants. The process of speeding-up spread
like a great contagion, until the most hardened pessimist began to
marvel at the recuperation daily enacted before his eyes.

Among the models thus presented may be mentioned that of the rapid
establishment of the morgue. This, the largest ever organized in Canada,
was fitted up by forty soldiers and mechanics in the brief period of a
day and a half. Another instance was that of the American Hospital. "At
nine a. m. Bellevue was an officer's mess. By ten p. m. the same day it
was a first-class sixty-six bed hospital, stocked with food and medicine
and, in charge of Major Giddings;" it expressed a veritable "triumph of
organizing ability." In the record time of three months, Messrs.
Cavicchi and Pagano, with a maximum strength of nine hundred and fifty
men and two hundred and seventy horses working ten hours a day removed
every vestige of the debris in the devastated area. Apartments were
built at the rate of one an hour. Motor lorries multiplied so rapidly
that visitors said there had been an outbreak of "truck fever" in the

By the stimulus of models, such as these, fresh vitality and motive were
imparted to the members of the community. Halifax became busy as never
before. New homes, new stores, new piers, new banks, replaced the old as
if by magic. Men worked desperately hard.

An influence which must not be left unrecorded because of its continuity
of functioning is that of the stimulus of lookers-on. More than two
hundred cities in all parts of the world had contributed to the
reconstruction, and citizens of Halifax knew they were not unobserved.
Articles, lectures and sermons were telling forth to interested
thousands how a city blown to pieces, swept by fire, buried under ice
and snow, and deluged by rain, was a city courageous beyond words.
During the month of December, five leading periodicals in Canada and
twelve in the United States arranged for articles and photographs
descriptive of the city's advantages commercial and residential.[107]
Halifax became a world-known city. This added still further spur to
action. Halifax simply had to make good. She was bonded to the world.

  [107] Saunders, E. A., _Report of Halifax Board of Trade_, 1918.

There are two considerations which may appropriately bring this chapter
to a close. The first arises naturally from what has been said, namely,
that in catastrophe it is only after division of function delegates to a
special group the responsibility for relief work that public thought is
directed to the resumption of normal society. The second is a practical
deduction--that of social conservation. Every community should possess a
permanent vigilance committee. There should be an emergency procedure on
paper with duties outlined to which pledged men may be immediately
drafted. Only in this way can social economy be preserved until the
arrival of experienced disaster authorities from a distance.



The contribution of social service--Its four-fold character--The
principles of relief--Rehabilitation--Phases of application--Criticisms--A
new principle--Social results--Summary for future guidance.

We have already seen that there are certain determining factors in
catastrophe and its social results. There is not only the level of the
general capability and culture of the community, its power to meet
crises and to readjust itself, the scarcity or plenitude of its
resources, but also the presence or absence of "men skilled in dealing
with crises."[108] In the past, disaster-stricken communities have had
such men or have had them not. The disasters of the future--with the
exception of those far remote from civilization--may depend on the
presence of such leaders. They will come from near and far. The
contribution of social service is the contribution of men skilled in
dealing with crises. Relief thus becomes "an incident of progress and a
social policy." We are now to notice this further determining factor in
catastrophe as it applied itself to Halifax.

  [108] Thomas, William I., _Source Book of Social Origins_ (Chicago,
  1909), Introduction, p. 18.

During the first week at Halifax not only did each day bring its
contribution of relief supplies in the way of food and clothing, but
each day brought also men and women of skill and experience in social
work to place freely their vision and ability at the service of the

  [109] J. H. Falk, an expert in charge of the social welfare work in
  Winnipeg; Miss Rathburn of Toronto, Mrs. Burrington of the
  Y. W. C. A., Toronto. Christopher Lanz, under whose guidance the
  rehabilitation work after the Salem fire was brought to a successful
  conclusion; Katherine McMahon, Head worker of the Social Service
  Department of the Boston Dispensary, Lucy Wright, formerly
  Superintendent for the Mass. Commission for the Blind; Elizabeth
  Richards Day, Organizer and for many years Head Worker of the Social
  Service Department of the Boston Dispensary; E. E. Allen,
  Superintendent of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, C. C. Carstens,
  Superintendent of the Mass. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
  Children; John F. Moors, president of the Associated Charities of
  Boston, who was in charge of the Red Cross relief following the Salem
  and Chelsea fires; William H. Pear, Agent of the Boston Provident
  Association; J. Prentice Murphy, General Secretary of the Boston
  Children's Aid Society; A. C. Ratshesky, Vice-chairman of the Public
  Safety Committee of the State of Massachusetts.

The Halifax disaster was one of the first of great extent which has
occurred since the principles of relief have been authoritatively
written. No other community has experienced their application so fully
or so promptly. One of the workers publicly stated that "Halifax was
further ahead in relief work in two weeks than Lynn had been in a
month." It was said that:

    Never before in any extensive disaster were the essential principles
    of disaster relief so quickly established as at Halifax. In less
    than twelve hours from the time the American Unit from Boston
    arrived, the necessary features of a good working plan were accepted
    by the local committee.[110]

This was, it is true, sixty hours after the disaster, but nevertheless
the advent of the social specialists brought to Halifax that something
which was wanting when the citizens, astounded at the magnitude of their
task, wondered just how and where to begin. When Mr. Ratshesky[111] of
the Public Safety Committee of the State of Massachusetts, came into the
room in the City Hall where a dozen or so were gathered in counsel,
already overwrought with fatigue, it was the coming of a friend in need.
It was soon clear that the new-comers had had unusual experience in
dealing with other disasters. At once everyone took new heart. Only nine
hours later, the Citizens' Relief Committee was ready, and a working
plan adopted; and from it grew up a wonderful system worthy of study by
all students of emergency relief. Thus social service broke into the
midst of the great calamity not as a mere adjunct to what was already
well devised, but as a central and deciding element, justifying its
faith by its work, and its presence by its wisdom in grappling with an
inexorable need.

  [110] Carstens, C. C., "From the Ashes of Halifax," _Survey_,
  vol. xxxix, no. 13 (Dec. 28, 1917), p. 361.

  [111] With Mr. Ratshesky were Mr. John F. Moors, and Major Giddings.

Of course there had already been a commendable essay toward the solution
of what had to be done. Applications for relief came pouring in two
hours after the explosion, and industrious workers had already been
dispensing to hundreds. On Friday morning volunteers were early at the
City Hall, among them many of the public school teachers. A species of
organization had already begun, but under congested and the least
favorable conditions. A large number of investigators had gone forth,
giving information and relief and bringing back reports of the missing,
needy, helpless and injured. The Salvation Army had commenced a program
of visits to follow up appeals. Clothing of all kinds was pouring into
every station where the refugees were gathered together. The Canadian
Red Cross was already active. But with the coming of the American
Unit,[112] the transfer of the work to a new headquarters upon their
advice, and the adoption of a complete plan of organization,[113] the
systematic relief work may be said to have in reality begun.

  [112] The Public Safety Committee of Massachusetts and the Boston Unit
  of the American Red Cross.

  [113] The scheme as finally decided upon consisted of a small managing
  committee with sub-committees in control of food, clothing, shelter,
  fuel, burial, medical relief, transportation, information, finance and

There was a four-fold contribution made by those experienced in relief
and disaster organization. The initial service was the establishment of
a policy of centralization of authority and administration into one
official relief organization. This policy comprised first the
coördination of the relief work into one central relief committee,
second the placing of the relief funds from all sources into the hands
of one finance committee, third the granting of relief by one central
management, all records being cleared through one registration bureau,
fourth the giving of emergency relief in food, clothing and other things
immediately without waiting for the perfection of the relief
organization, and fifth, the appointing of a small managing committee to
carry out and interpret the general policy determined upon by the
executive committee.

If the first great service rendered was that of centralization, the
second was that of effecting coöperation. The latter was only partially
successful. There was at first an inevitable overlapping, especially in
the matter of visiting, some families being visited and subjected to
interview a dozen times. Failing to achieve complete coördination, the
central committee endeavored to limit duplication so far as possible. An
invitation extended to the Salvation Army about December eleventh, to
place their visitors at the disposal of the general staff of visitors
was declined and it was not until January first that this organization
fully coördinated with the rehabilitation committee. It was about this
time also that the Roman Catholic clergy agreed to coöperate in the
registration plans. On December eighteenth the School Board gave
official coöperation by assigning fifteen school teachers as volunteer
visitors under the direction of the rehabilitation committee. Another
obstacle to the complete systematization of the relief work was the most
generous but independent distribution of clothing and supplies from the
Eaton Center, and from the station established by a charitable Boston
lady. The Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy, as well as the Salvation
Army and other organizations received supplies in bulk and distributed
to their constituents often with hasty or inadequate investigation.

There was also at times lack of coöperation among the official
committees themselves. Friction and crises arose from time to time,
which were only stopped short of scandal. They were the consequence
either of assumption of authority upon the part of the under-committees,
of ineffectiveness of leadership, or of unfamiliarity with the
principles of relief. There were also other problems, some of which it
may be useful to note. One of these was the problem of the wisest use of
local leaders who knew and could interpret the local point of view and
method of doing things. Another that of the absorption of volunteers,
many of whom could not be expected to understand the nature of
scientific relief service.

A third great contribution of social service was that of education in
the principles of disaster relief. It was the problem of getting the
idea of social conservation understood and established in a community
which had not given the subject any thought, and which was quite
unfamiliar with the ideals and purposes in view. This was the cause of
much delaying of plans, overlapping in giving relief, and giving without
substantial inquiry. It explained also the reason for the abundant
criticism which arose. When criticism came there was, consequently, no
well-informed body of public opinion to which to anchor the committee's

Educational effort on this subject may be said to have begun with a
masterful presentation of the nature of rehabitation at the meeting of
the managing committee six days after the disaster. Here was set forth
and illustrated the kind of service required and the desirability of
such work was at once recognized and inaugurated. Thus the idea of
rehabilitation filtered through to the various departments. Trained
leaders imparted it to the untrained volunteers. Church, school and club
caught something of its spirit and one of the permanent social results
of the disaster remains in the partial socialization of institutions. It
was this original absence of socialization, this lack of understanding
of the true nature of disaster psychology and of the accepted methods of
relief that at first made the community so utterly dependent upon the
visiting social workers. It may be safely concluded as a fundamental
principle that the self-dependence of a community in adversity is
furthered by the socialization of existing institutions.

The principles of disaster relief cover three stages, first, that of the
emergency period; second, that of the period of transition; and third,
that of rehabilitation. These principles in order of application may be
thus briefly summarized:

1. The coördination of all the relief agencies arising, into one central
relief service.

2. The directing of relief funds from all sources to one bonded finance

3. The establishment of a temporary committee only, at first,--the more
permanent organization to await the counsel of specialists in disaster
relief, an early call having been sent for experienced workers.

4. The avoidance of, or the early abolition of mass treatment, _e. g._
bread lines, food depots, _etc._, as detrimental to a psychology of
helpfulness and as calculated to delay a return to self-support.

5. The issuing of orders for supplies on local merchants to follow

6. The establishment of a policy of renewable cash grants for short
periods until temporary aid is discontinued.

7. Continuance of relief upon a temporary basis until all claimants are
registered and the aggregate of available aid ascertained, and the
needs, resources and potentialities of self-help studied.

8. An early effort to influence public opinion as to the wisdom of
careful policies and critical supervision.

9. The family to be considered the unit of treatment.[114]

10. A substitution of local workers wherever wise, and the use of local
leaders in responsible positions.

11. The publication of a report, including a critical survey of policies
and methods employed, and a discriminating record of the social results
arising therefrom, the mistakes made and other information of value for
future emergencies. This report in justice to contributors to include a
financial statement.

  [114] "During the emergency stage of relief the people are dealt with
  in large groups with little attention to the special needs of
  individuals ... in the rehabilitation stage the family or the
  individual becomes the unit of consideration."--(Bicknell, E. P.,
  "Disaster Relief and its Problems," _National Conference of Charities
  and Corrections_, sess. xxxvi, 1909, p. 12.)

The fourth great service rendered was that of the establishment of
rehabilitation policies and methods. The work of organizing for
rehabilitation, as noted above, did not begin until the sixth day after
the disaster. On the eighteenth of December the first chairman was
appointed. There followed a developmental period during which little
progress was made, save in the familiarizing of committees with the
object of rehabilitation. "The object of rehabilitation" says J. Byron
Deacon "is to assist families to recover from the dislocation induced by
the disaster, and to regain their accustomed social and economic status.
Emergency aid takes into account only present needs; rehabilitation
looks to future welfare."[115] This was the purpose constantly kept in
view. The division of work indicates the nature of the task attempted.
The division provided for an advisor, a chief of staff, a supervisor of
home visitors, a bureau of application and registration, an emergency
department, a department of medical social service and a visitor in
children's work. Later a children's sub-committee was included.

  [115] Deacon, J. Byron, _Disasters_ (N. Y., 1918), ch. v, p. 137.

There was first the record and registration made and verified of all the
sufferers and those in need. Over six thousand names of registrants
resulted. Five districts or divisional areas were arranged for
convenience and thoroughness of administration. One of these covered all
cases outside of the city itself.[116] In charge of each district was a
supervisor, and under the supervisor the various department heads.
Trained workers were drawn into the service and their work and that of
the volunteer visitors was directed by capable supervisors. The
administration of relief was put upon a discriminating "case system."

  [116] The town of Dartmouth on the Eastern side of Halifax harbor also
  suffered very seriously in the explosion. It had its own relief
  organization under the very capable chairmanship of ex-mayor A. C.
  Johnstone. The nature of the relief work there did not differ
  essentially from that in Halifax.

There were four important phases in which the work developed; the work
of general rehabilitation, the medical social work, the children's
problem and the problem of the blind.

The general rehabilitation service was carried on with varied success.
It secured valuable intelligence for all committees and gradually
increased in working power and efficiency. How many were put upon their
feet again through its kindly counsel and careful coöperation cannot be
estimated or told in figures.

The problem of medical social service is to learn the social condition
of the patient, and to relate that knowledge to his medical condition in
order that restoration to health and return to normal family and
community relationships shall go hand in hand. A division of medical
social service became active a week after the disaster, its workers
becoming attached to the several emergency hospitals within the city
itself and those established in nearby towns. It had as well a working
relationship with the military and the permanent Halifax hospitals.
Three thousand patients were cared for in twelve Halifax hospitals
alone. Trained medical social workers interviewed eight hundred. The one
question to which they sought an answer was: "How shall these patients
be brought back again as fully as possible into normal lives and
relationships?" Having obtained an answer as best they could, the effort
was made to help and relieve to the fullest extent that service and
science made possible.

The contribution of medical social service was two-fold, immediate
assistance and education. By the latter service, which represents the
more permanent value to the community, very valuable information and
guidance was given to the Halifax Medical Society and the children's and
nursing interests. The improvements resulting from these efforts cannot
fail to make "follow-up" and "after-care" important considerations in
the public health and dispensary work of the future.

Immediate assistance was given by the medical social service in six

1. Arranging for clothing and shelter prior to discharge from hospital.

2. Interviews to understand medical social needs.

3. Arranging about eye problems with the committee on the blind,
children's problems with the children's committee, family problems with
the rehabilitation committee, _etc._

4. Making a census of the handicapped, and classifying the returns.

5. Placing responsibility for follow-up and after-care.

6. Intensive case work where social problems involved a medical

Dr. M. M. Davis, Jr. Director of the Boston Dispensary, writes of the
medical social service as follows:

    It may well be concluded that no organization or "unit" formed to
    deal with a flood, fire or explosion or disaster, can hereafter be
    regarded as complete unless in addition to doctors, nurses, relief
    workers and administrators there is also a due proportion of trained
    medical social workers. If twelve years ago medical social service
    received its baptism, Halifax has been its confirmation day.[117]

  [117] Davis, Michael M., Jr., "Medical Social Service in a Disaster,"
  _Survey_, vol. xxxix, no. 25 (March 23, 1918), p. 675.

The children's service was thorough, as it should have been. If the
measure of success in disaster relief is the treatment which the
children receive, Halifax relief was above reproach. The children's laws
of the province are carefully drawn and adequate, the Superintendent of
Neglected and Delinquent Children is a man of singular ability and has
wide powers. He became chairman of a strong children's committee with
which were associated, besides representatives of the children's
institutions, two child-welfare workers of high reputation. This
committee came in contact with upwards of five hundred families,
including more than fifteen hundred children. Their work dealt with the
special problems listed below. More permanent supervision was assumed by
the Government Commission about five months after the disaster. The
modern principle of the widest possible child-placing was encouraged,
the effort being to keep children with parents and wherever necessary to
subsidize families rather than institutions.

The work of the children's committee consisted of

1. Getting urgent temporary repairs made to existing children's

2. Investigating cases to ascertain if children were in proper custody
and receiving proper care.

3. Procuring necessary articles of clothing, _etc._, for children.

4. Hunting for "missing" children, identifying "unclaimed" children, and
restoring children to their parents.

5. Interviewing hundreds of people who were: (a) hunting for lost
children; (b) wishing to adopt homeless children; (c) arranging for the
care of children.

6. Attending to a large correspondence, mostly regarding the adoption of
children, for which upwards of a thousand applications were received.

7. Arranging for and supervising the transfer of children from
hospitals, shelters, _etc._, the committee in most cases having sent
some one to accompany the children.

8. Arranging for temporary maintenance, permanent care, pensions and
compensations or allowances for children, including the finding of
permanent homes.

9. Locating and referring to the proper agencies a number of wounded

10. Getting possession of children unlawfully taken possession of by
improper persons.

11. Arranging for the proper guardianship of certain children.[118]

  [118] Blois, Ernest H., _Report of Superintendent of Neglected and
  Delinquent Children_ (Halifax, 1918), p. 110.

The problem of the blind, was a special feature of the Halifax disaster.
Blindness frequently resulted from the blizzard of glass which caused so
great a percentage of the wounds. In large proportion the wounded were
women who were engaged in their household duties. The rehabilitation of
the blind presented problems of care and retraining upon which was
concentrated the skill of three superintendents of important
institutions for the blind as well as other specialists and workers. The
presence in Halifax of a school for the blind with a capable president
facilitated greatly an early grappling with the problem. The
contributions of the social workers were chiefly of the character
already indicated such as that of general medical social service. There
were reported on March first, six hundred and thirty-three
registrants,[119] but owing to the difficulties of registration this
figure remains inexact.

  [119] Fraser, Sir Frederick, _Report of_.

Rehabilitation "takes into account the feelings as well as the material
requirements of the bereaved families." An additional phase for social
workers is therefore mortuary service. Here is required an exceedingly
delicate ministry for which few are qualified. It includes quiet
coöperation in the painful process of identification, a sympathetic care
for those who succumb to shock or grief, and helpful direction regarding
the necessary steps to be taken, in interment. At Halifax this presented
a remarkable opportunity for service, and an experienced Young Women's
Christian Association worker from Toronto attended in such capacity.

There is still another secondary phase which must be referred to as not
being without social and moral results,--that of relief of animals. For
the sheltering of homeless animals, the dressing of wounds, and the
humane dispatch of the badly injured, specially designated gifts had
been received. This work received the attention of the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty.

It will be useful as reference data to present here the nature of the
criticism to which careful supervision gave rise. It was of the most
trenchant character, and it centered about the alleged over-emphasis
which seemed to be placed on system[120] and detailed investigations
inflicted upon persons of whom many were still suffering from
deprivation and from shock, and who were unused to the cross-examination
methods of expert social diagnosticians. Often the thoroughness of the
records seemed to the sufferers to be the more emphasized part of the
proceedings. When all classes of people found themselves in need, there
were naturally many who deeply resented being treated so palpably as
"cases." But theirs was a choice which left but little regard for
personal wishes or sensibilities. It is regrettable however to have to
say that the cause of social service did not receive in the community
the much larger repute which its magnificent work justified, chiefly
because the innumerable "typewriters, card catalogues, involved indexes,
and multifarious office equipment"[121] were not made less obtrusive.
The merest touch of "cold professionalism" soon became fuel for the
burning disapproval which spread through the city regarding the methods
of relief.[122] Letters to the press gave vent to the indignation of the
sufferers. One of the judges of the Supreme Court was as outspoken as
anyone. In criticizing the food-distribution system he wrote very
plainly of the "overdose of business efficiency and social service
pedantry." Why should needy families be required, he asked, to go
through a personal visit and reëxamination at the office every week,
before receiving a renewal order for food. Such things were not easily
understood or explained. It became increasingly felt that such
discriminating and tardy administration of provisions was not the will
of the innumerable donors who so spontaneously forwarded the generous
aid. It was not, so the criticism ran, for the committee to detain and
delay the needy recipients for the mere sake of preventing duplication
and for the sake of the niceties of case records. At a public meeting in
Wards Five and Six, it was charged that "too much red tape had been
insisted upon by those in charge of the relief and in consequence of
this and other objectionable features of management, there had been many
cases of hardship and much unnecessary suffering."

  [120] The reader may contrast with this the early days of the relief
  at the Johnstown flood "where two windows were set apart from which
  clothing and boots were being thrown over the heads of the crowd, and
  those having the longest arms and the stoutest backs seemed to be
  getting the most of it"; and where almoners passed through the streets
  handing "ten dollar bills to everyone whom they met."

  [121] Johnstone, Dwight, _The Tragedy of Halifax_ (in MS.).

  [122] There was however no definite organization of the dissatisfied
  as actually took place at the Slocum Disaster.

As to the justice of this it has been already indicated that criticism
was inevitable because there existed no well-grounded body of public
opinion to which could be anchored the wisdom of sound and thorough
social methods. The passing of time has reënforced the rightness of the
course taken, and not a few former critics would now be ready to condemn
the methods used as not having been radical enough. Still there was an
element of justice in what was said, and social workers of the future
when thrown into a similar situation should curtain their machinery a
little closer, at least until the community can realize the principles
which organization must conserve.

The principle on which rigid procedure is justified is based upon
disaster psychology itself, and is the fruit of a long series of trials
and errors. On the first few days after disaster the finer sensibilities
of human nature appear. Men and women say "others have lost more, we
will get on with a minimum of help." About the fifth day when the
poignancy of the horrors has passed and the dead are buried, these same
people suddenly discover that there are thousands of dollars available.
Then another aspect of human nature comes into evidence. Every device is
utilized by each to out-distance the other in the scramble. There has
not been a single disaster where this state of mind has not shown
itself. The way to deal with it without complete records as yet has not
been suggested. The only way a committee can protect itself against
disgruntled criticism is to know what it is doing. This is the
justification of rigid desk procedure. It is a way to detect and to
defeat imposture; though it serves also many other purposes. It was not,
however, all adverse criticism which developed at Halifax. There were
many who were able to see the beneficent purpose behind the careful
service, and as months passed on the value of this experienced
administration came to be more generally realized. Indeed

    so large a place did the Social Service workers eventually fill in
    the community that many reëstablished families begged for the
    continuance of the department's supervision even though its aid was
    no longer required. No greater testimony to the value of this
    rehabilitation work could be given.[123]

  [123] Johnstone, _op. cit._

When on January twenty-first the Federal Relief Commission took charge
of the entire system, it may be said that there was a change not only of
hands, but of policy as well. The large amounts made available by the
Imperial and Dominion governments and by public subscription made it
possible to substitute for rehabilitation the principle of modified
restitution. This change of policy the government adopted because of the
conviction upon the part of the people that they were suffering from the
vicissitudes of war, and that full restoration was in law and equity of
national obligation. The step is of special social significance for
Halifax is the first instance where on any large scale[124] the
principle of restitution became the guide, rather than that of
rehabilitation. This principle of indemnity

    implies the reinstatement of the beneficiary as nearly as possible
    into the position from which he was hurled by the calamity which has
    befallen him. It implies that to the householder shall be given the
    use of a house, to the mechanic his tools, to the family its
    household furniture. For the community as a whole it means a speedy
    restoration of such economical and industrial activities as have
    been temporarily suspended, the rebuilding of bridges, the reopening
    of streets, the reëstablishment of banks, business houses, churches,
    schools. It requires that protection shall be given the defenseless,
    food and shelter to the homeless, suitable guardianship to the
    orphan and as nearly as possible normal social and industrial
    conditions to all.[125]

It must be made clear that while in no case was the Halifax policy
denominated restitution, but rather "generous relief," in actual
practice a large proportion of claims were verified and paid on a
percentage basis of the loss suffered, rather than that of ascertained
need. The Commission was granted power to "pay in full all personal
property and real estate claims duly established to an amount not
exceeding five thousand dollars." And while in case of the larger claims
of churches, schools, business properties and manufacturing
establishments, and the property of the more prosperous classes, there
was a policy of just and adequate relief declared, the agitation
continued and continues that "every dollar of loss shall be paid in

  [124] Both in Chicago and Johnstown many families were placed in a
  position practically as good as that which they had occupied before.
  Carnegie once completely reimbursed the sufferers from a bank failure.

  [125] Devine, Edward T., _Principles of Relief_ (N. Y., 1904), pt. iv,
  p. 462.

Of such a policy in disaster relief Deacon writes: "It is not the policy
of disaster relief to employ its funds in restoring losses and
compensating for death or personal injury." Commenting on this statement
John F. Moors says: "It is interesting to note that at Halifax, the
latest scene of serious disaster, such full compensation is

  [126] Moors, John F., Book Review, _Survey_, vol. xxxix, no. 17 (Jan.
  26, 1918), p. 472.

What were the social results of this policy? This question is one of no
less interest to the community itself than to the student of sociology.
It is perhaps too early for adequate examination and comparison with the
policy which formerly held sway. While still a vital question there are
observers who have grown dubious, if not of restitution certainly of the
lump-sum method of restoration.[127] They assert that for many it proved
simply a lesson in extravagance and did not safeguard the economic
future of the recipients. Unused to carrying all their worldly goods in
their vest pockets, these same pockets became empty again with uncommon
rapidity. Victrolas, silk shirts and furbelows multiplied. Merchants'
trade grew brisk with "explosion money." There seemed to be a temporary
exchange of positions by the social classes. The following statement
made by one closely associated with social conditions in Halifax and
written over two years after the disaster, shows only too well the
danger involved in the application of such a principle. After referring
to "the spirit of passive criticism directed chiefly against the few who
have borne the burden of restoration" the statement continues:

    The individuals who after all make up a community have been blinded
    to the bigger interests by their own individual material losses, and
    the idea of material compensation on a dollar for dollar basis. As
    some of us earlier foresaw, the disaster wrought much moral damage,
    for which no "claims" were even presented, even by those to whom we
    might look for special moral teaching in such an experience. In the
    course of our work we come daily upon evidences of this condition
    lingering in our midst.

  [127] The courts of small claims devoted ten minutes to each case. The
  amount awarded was paid on the day the case was heard.

Upon the whole disaster-study inclines to the unwisdom of "the
disposition to proceed as though the relief committee were a
compensation board or an insurance society, and to indemnify for loss."
But as already said it is early to appraise. What in ordinary times
might be condemned might conceivably under the abnormal conditions of
war be less morally dangerous. The system may have been at fault and not
the principle.[128] Partly for reasons connected with the war it was
desired to conclude the business with dispatch, and not to set up a
banking house or a training school in thrift. There remains also the
final test, the residuum of relief, the number of those who will remain
permanently upon the charity list of the community. Will it be said of
Halifax as formerly of Johnstown, that "probably so large a sum never
passed into a community of equal size with so little danger to the
personal character of the citizens and so complete an absence of any
pauperizing or demoralizing influences?"

  [128] The policy to be pursued in disaster relief cannot yet be
  finally stated. It may ultimately be found necessary to distinguish
  between the loss of property socially owned, and that of private

The lessons which come out of this experience at Halifax may easily be

1. The socialization of all communities should be promoted if for no
other reason than for protection.

2. More technical methods of coördination are desirable.

3. To display the machinery of organization is unwise.

4. The supervision of voluntary services should be in the hands of one
vocationally trained for the purpose.

5. Further consideration is required as to the policy of restitution and
its administration.

6. The wisdom should be considered of establishing a secret relief
distribution service, such as fraternal societies conduct for those who
though in need will not publicly accept assistance.

7. The necessity of using trained searchers for the dead, who will note
the precise spot where bodies are recovered, the centralization of all
morgue service, the use of metal tags instead of paper, the
sterilization and preservation of clothing and effects for purposes of
identification, and in addition the development of a morgue social
service with training and qualifications of a special character.

8. The complete organization of a social relief reserve with members
beforehand definitely assigned to special tasks, with requisite printed
supplies in readiness would render the most effective social economy in
emergency. This reserve should be trained in the general organization of
shelter, food and clothing, in the shaping of a policy of general
rehabilitation, in medical social service, in children's work and in the
use of volunteers.

To answer the requirements of what could be called in any sense a
sociological treatment of the disaster, the foregoing chapter on the
contribution of social service could with difficulty be omitted. Social
service introduces a relatively new element of leadership and control
upon which disaster sufferers of the future may rely and which assures
to any community the presence of those who have special skill in dealing
with crises. The "relation of the great man to the crisis is indeed one
of the most important points in the problem of progress"[129] in
catastrophe. The subject also assumes special importance in the
development of the thesis itself. No accounting for social changes which
may hereafter be enumerated can be accurately undertaken without full
consideration of the major influences which were present. Thus by
elimination we may be able to better gauge the strength of the factor of
catastrophe itself. The place of government and other social factors,
however, has yet to be discussed.[130]

  [129] Thomas, _op. cit._, p. 19.

  [130] The author regrets that it has been necessary to omit special
  mention of the many institutions, societies and voluntary agencies,
  which were actively engaged in the relief work, and to confine the
  chapter to the principles employed by those mainly responsible for
  relief and administration.



Governmental agencies in catastrophe--What seems to be expected of
governments--What they actually do--Social legislation--A permanent

We have thus far been tracing certain of the major influences which are
brought to bear upon a community when, after having been overtaken by
catastrophe, it is settling back into its former habitistic
channels,--channels which not even catastrophe can altogether efface.
Some of these influences are intra-communal and self-generating, such as
the reconstructive impulses already examined. Others are ultra-communal,
such as those vigorous social forces which sweep in upon a disaster city
with the suddenness of catastrophe itself.

There is a further influence which is of a community yet in a sense not
of it alone, but of all communities--government--that institution of
society which expresses its will by legislation, a will which may or may
not be the will of the community concerned. And because legislative
action is responsible action, and precedent-setting action, it is apt to
be deliberative action. Perhaps this is especially true of the new and
less familiar field of social legislation. While it may be that the
latest group to function effectively at Halifax was government, social
legislation when forthcoming contributed an important and deciding
influence, and was in turn itself enriched by the calamity.

The boundaries of social legislation are still in the making and daily
enclosing a wider and wider field. But not all governments are
sympathetic with this process. There are two standards of
legislation--the one conserves above all things the rights and
privileges of the individual, the other considers first the community as
a whole. The superiority of the new ideals of legislation rests here,
that it is the general interest which is primarily consulted and becomes
the norm, rather than the rights of the individual citizen. Progress in
legislation includes its extension into all the affairs of life,
retaining as much as may be the liberty of the individual while
progressively establishing the interests of all.[131] Its evolution is
traceable from the first poor laws, all down the long succeeding line of
those dealing with education, health, labor and recreation. However much
agreement or disagreement there may be and is as to the wisdom of this
mutable sphere of ameliorative legislation, changing just as one ideal
or the other happens to be in the ascendancy, there is at least no doubt
as to the duty of the government to protect and safeguard its citizens.

  [131] Lindsay, Samuel M., Unpublished Lectures on Social Legislation.

    The one duty of the state, that all citizens, except the
    philosophical anarchists, admit, is the obligation to safeguard the
    commonwealth by repelling invasion and keeping the domestic peace.
    To discharge this duty it is necessary to maintain a police force
    and a militia, and a naval establishment. Such dissent from this
    proposition as we hear now and then is negligible for practical

In this duty all governments alike share, be they imperial, federal,
provincial or municipal, according to their respective powers.

  [132] Giddings, Franklin H., _The Responsible State_ (N. Y., 1918),
  ch. iv, p. 81.

At Halifax authoritative control following the disaster was not wholly
municipal or wholly martial, but rather an admixture of authorities.
Policeman and soldier joined hands as agents of general protection. This
service government did and did at once.

One of the activities of the disaster relief first taken[133] was that
by the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia, when he sent
to the Chief of Police of Halifax the following order:

    You are hereby authorized to commandeer and make use of any vehicle
    of any kind that you find necessary for the purpose of removing the
    injured and the dead of this city.

  [133] Reference has already been made to the good work of the
  Government railroad officials in the quick restoration of service.

The service of the police of Halifax was highly commendable. They worked
for long periods with little rest to maintain public peace and order.
The splendid service of the King's soldiers and sailors has already been
considered. They were first and foremost in the work of rescue and of
warning. Military orders to vacate the North End district as a
precautionary measure followed hard upon the explosion. Military orders
permitted the people to return. Within a few hours after the disaster
the military established a cordon around the devastated district which
no one was allowed to pass without an order, which citizens having
business obtained at the City Hall. This was to prevent looting as well
as to facilitate the search for the wounded pinned under the debris, and
to permit the removal of the bodies of the killed. The burned and
devastated area was policed by the military for about two months with
the concurrence of civic authority.

But catastrophe calls for much more than protection. It calls for a
procedure, a guidance, a paternal care, and it calls for it at once. If
we ask whether it be the function of government to take the foremost
step of leadership in this care, the question is one for Political
Science. If we ask the more sociological question whether governments
actually and always do so, the answer is unhesitatingly--they do not.
Says Cooley: "Like other phases of organization, government is merely
one way of doing things, fitted by its character for doing some things,
and unfitted for doing others."[134] This proved one of the things for
which it was unfitted. Not one of the governmental authorities, civic,
provincial, or federal, at once assumed and held authoritatively and
continuously the relief leadership. Indeed it is a peculiar commentary
that they were scarcely thought of as likely immediately to do so. It
should be said, however, that the Deputy-mayor--the Mayor being absent
from the city--was very active personally. While one of the controllers
was himself replacing the dead fire-chief, the Deputy-mayor called an
emergency meeting of citizens on the morning of the disaster, and
another at three in the afternoon to consider what to do. This meeting
of citizens was presided over by the Lieutenant-Governor, and at it, as
already noticed, a beginning in relief organization was made. The
committees, it will be remembered, were afterwards reformed upon a new
basis on the advice of the American unit. But no civic resources were
pledged to the people as was done at the Chicago fire. No moneys were
then or subsequently appropriated. The Board of Health did not assert or
assume the leadership in the unprecedented situation. The City Hall was
indeed set up as the relief center temporarily, but the advice to remove
it elsewhere was not successfully opposed. How little civic authority
was retained under the disaster circumstances is evidenced by the
following complaint. The Board of Control which was then the legal
representative body of the city had no member on the executive committee
of the disaster administration. One of these controllers publicly
criticised the method of the Citizens' Committee as autocratic. He
"almost had to have a page to reach the Committee as representative of
the Board of Control." When the cabinet ministers from Ottawa were
sitting in session in the legislative council room, and giving a hearing
to a representative public gathering, the Mayor entered a complaint that
the City Council and Corporation had been ignored by the acting
committees. The Citizens' Committee exercised the general control. They
were entrusted with the special grants and the civic authorities, Board
of Health, police, _etc._, so far as emergency matters went, coöperated
with them. But the various civic officers were not idle. No one was idle
at Halifax. They were occupied with the rehabilitation of the various
departments at City Hall and with individual programs of relief. What
the civic government continued to do officially was rather in the way of
providing the stiff formality of proclamation to the carefully weighed
suggestions of the Citizens' Committee. Several of these proclamations
were issued. Among them was one urging all people excepting those on
relief work or upon especially urgent business to stay away from Halifax
for two weeks. Another proclamation was a warning to merchants with
regard to demanding exorbitant prices. Over the Mayor's signature went
out the nation-wide appeal for aid that "a sorely afflicted people
should be provided with clothing and food." The subsequent time, thought
and help which City Hall contributed is of less sociological importance
to this study. It is sufficient if we have faithfully described
municipal aid in disaster as falling under the general category of
service, rather than direction.[135]

  [134] Cooley, Charles H., _Social Organization_ (N. Y., 1912),
  ch. xxxv, p. 403.

  [135] This is not to be considered as without exception in
  catastrophies. A special Citizens' Committee led the operations at the
  Paterson fire and flood, but at the Chicago fire the City government
  took immediate and responsible action. This was also the case at
  Baltimore when the Mayor was the "key to the situation." It should
  however be added that both at Halifax and Dartmouth the chairmen of
  the Citizens' Committees were ex-mayors.

Turning briefly to the provincial and federal spheres of activity in
disaster we note that no special session of the provincial legislature
was called, as was done by the Governor of Illinois after the calamity
which overtook Chicago in 1871. Yet when the legislature of Nova Scotia
convened a fully considered and detailed act was passed incorporating
the Halifax Relief Commission, and designating and defining its
powers.[136] The several articles defined its establishment as a
rehabilitation and reconstruction committee, a town-planning board, as
well as its powers of expropriation, its relationship to the city
charter, certain parts of which it could amend or repeal; its powers to
enforce attendance at its courts and boards; its relationship to the
Workmen's Compensation Act and to the insurance problem. Besides, the
Commission was also invested with full and adequate discretion regarding
schools, churches and business properties.

  [136] _An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission_, Halifax,

Some of the disaster legislative powers and procedures are of special
interest to social legislation. Among these were the power to repair,
rebuild or restore buildings, the power to repair and carry out a
town-planning scheme, the power to amend, repeal, alter or add to
provisions in the city charter, the automatic assumption of rights of
owner to insure to the extent of the amount expended in repair, and the
automatic cancellation of workmen's compensation claims. The act
incorporating the commission with powers to make investigation, and
administer all funds and properties constitutes Chapter VI of the year
1918. The local legislature also passed Chapter XVIII authorizing the
provincial loan of one hundred thousand dollars for the benefit of the
sufferers; and Chapter XIX authorizing cities, towns and municipalities
to contribute for the relief of sufferers.

The action of Premier Borden of Canada for promptitude and wisdom is
comparable to that of President Harrison of the United States at the
time of the Johnstown flood. The Canadian Premier at the time of the
disaster was in Prince Edward Island, an island province lying near Nova
Scotia. He at once left for Halifax and arrived the following day. He
immediately placed resources from the Federal government at the disposal
of the local authorities to assist them in coping with the situation.
The third day after the disaster he attended an important meeting
regarding the harbor, and strengthened greatly the morale of the city by
assuring a complete and rapid restoration of the harbor. Following the
Premier came the Minister of Public Works and he too gave much
administrative assistance. Then came five members of the Federal
Cabinet, each announcing such programs of restoration as to give the
community new heart and inspiration. Among these announcements was that
of the establishment of a large ship-building plant upon the explosion
area. The Canadian government had already as its first act made a grant
of one million dollars, toward the sufferers' relief. It was then
forcibly urged upon the government that it assume a responsibility
towards Halifax such as the British government accepts in "its policy of
holding itself responsible for loss and damage by air-raids and
explosions." Public opinion seemed to demand that the work of
restoration and reparation be undertaken by the government of Canada as
a national enterprise. The government while disclaiming all legal
liability, acceded to the request. On January twenty-first there was
announced the formation of a Federal Halifax Relief Commission to take
over the whole work of rehabilitation and reconstruction,--an
announcement which brought a feeling of relief to the already
discouraged workers.

Another interesting contrast may be noted in the fact that while the
Governor of Ohio appointed the Ohio Flood Commission to receive and
administer relief funds and supplies, the Halifax Relief Commission was
appointed by the Governor-General of Canada in Council. This was done
under the "Enquiries Act of Canada, being Chapter CIV of the Revised
Statutes of Canada, 1906, and under the War Measures Act, 1914, being
Chapter II of the Acts of Canada for the year 1914." The Federal grant
was later increased to five million dollars, and subsequently to
eighteen millions.

There should also be here recorded the timely succour afforded by the
Imperial Government at Westminster. Following the King's gracious cable
of sympathy, the sum of five million dollars was voted by the British
Government to the relief of Halifax. The King's words were:

    Most deeply regret to hear of serious explosion at Halifax resulting
    in great loss of life and property. Please convey to the people of
    Halifax, where I have spent so many happy times, my true sympathy in
    this grievous calamity.

Reference has already been made to the policy to which the Commission
was committed. This policy may be more exactly stated by an extract from
the act incorporating the commission:

    _Whereas_, the said Halifax Relief Commission as heretofore
    constituted has recommended to the Governor-General of Canada in
    Council, that reasonable compensation or allowance should be made to
    persons injured in or by reason of the said disaster and the
    dependents of persons killed or injured in or by reason of the said
    disaster and the Governor-General of Canada in Council has been
    pleased to adopt said recommendation; _etc._

In the provision of material assistance, the strengthening of morale and
the eventual establishment of a Relief Commission, government may be
said to have contributed an important and deciding influence in the
reorganization of the community of Halifax and its restoration to normal

Not only must social legislation be acknowledged to have had a very
direct determining influence upon whatever picture of the community is
subsequently drawn, but social legislation itself was enriched by the
catastrophe. The association of catastrophe with progress in social
legislation has already been noticed in our introduction, the mass of
facts in support of which no writer has yet compiled. In this
introduction we noted how on many occasions disasters have been the
preceding reagents in effecting legislation of permanent social value.
It is instanced that city-planning in America took its rise from the
Chicago fire, that the origin of labor legislation is traceable to a
calamitous fever at Manchester and that the Titanic disaster
precipitated amendment to the Seamen's laws.[137] It has been said that
"the vast machinery of the Public Health Department in England has
rapidly grown up in consequence of the cholera visitations in the middle
of the last century;"[138] and also that public health work in America
practically began with yellow fever epidemics. Writing of mining
disasters, J. Byron Deacon says in this connection

    If it can be said that any circumstance attending such disasters is
    fortunate, it was that they exercised a profound influence upon
    public opinion, to demand new effort and legislation both for the
    prevention of industrial accidents and for the more equitable
    distribution of the burden of individual loss and community relief
    which they involved.[139]

Again E. A. Ross writes:

    A permanent extension to the administration of the state has often
    dated from a calamity,--a pestilence, a famine, a murrain, a flood
    or a tempest--which, paralyzing private efforts has caused
    application for state aid.[140]

  [137] Parkinson, Thomas I., "Problems growing out of the Titanic
  Disaster," _Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science_, vol. vi,
  no. 1.

  [138] Ross, Edward A., _Foundations of Sociology_ (N. Y., 1905),
  ch. viii, p. 254.

  [139] Deacon, J. Byron, _Disasters_ (N. Y., 1918), p. 43.

  [140] Ross, _op. cit._, p. 253.

The student of social legislation who reads this book will turn first to
this chapter, and ask what permanent legislation will the future
associate with so dire a calamity as that suffered at Halifax. It may be
said that not only has special disaster legislation of precedent-setting
value been enacted serving in a measure to standardize relief
legislative procedure, but social legislation of wider application and
more general character ensued. And this was along the line which the
student of social law should be led to expect.

As calamitous epidemics bring forth regulations of sanitation; as marine
disasters foster regulations ensuring greater safety at sea, it might
well be expected that a great explosion would bring about regulations
controlling the handling of explosives. And this is in reality what has
occurred. There were approved on the twenty-fifth day of June, 1919, by
the Parliament of Canada, regulations respecting the loading and
handling of explosives in harbors, applicable to all public harbors in
Canada, to which the provisions of Part XII of the Canada Shipping Act
apply; and to all other public harbors insofar as the same are not
inconsistent with regulations already or hereafter made applicable.[141]
They cover

1. The provision of special areas for berth, for explosives-carriers.

2. Regulations of ship control to be observed in the navigation in
harbors of explosives-laden vessels.

3. Regulations to be observed upon vessels carrying explosives.

4. Regulations governing the handling of explosives.

"The enactment of these regulations" writes the Under-Secretary of State
for Canada[142] "was suggested in large measure by the Halifax
disaster." Had these regulations been in effect and observed in Halifax
Harbor it is hardly conceivable that the great disaster of 1917 could
have occurred.

  [141] _Regulations for the Loading and Handling of Explosives in the
  Harbors of Canada_ (Ottawa, June, 1919).

  [142] In a letter to the author.

It should be borne in mind that the recommendation for this general
legislation of social utility originated with the Drysdale commission--a
board of enquiry appointed by the Federal Government to determine the
cause of the disaster and whose judgment, was issued on February fourth,
1918. In Section XIII of this judgment, the following occurs:

    that the regulations governing the traffic in Halifax harbor in
    force since the war were prepared by competent naval authorities;
    that such traffic regulations do not specifically deal with the
    handling of ships laden with explosives, and we recommend that such
    competent authority forthwith take up and make specific regulations
    dealing with such subject.

We, therefore, conclude that the function of government in disaster is
of primary importance, and that social legislation when forthcoming
constitutes an important and deciding influence and is itself in turn
enriched by calamity. Brought to the test of comparison with observed
facts the statement in the Introduction, that catastrophe is in close
association with progress in social legislation receives abundant



Mill's explanation of the rapidity with which communities recover from
disaster--The case of San Francisco--The case of Halifax--Social
surplus--The equipmental factors--Correlation of tragedy in catastrophe
with generosity of public response--Catastrophe insurance--A practical

John Stuart Mill offers a very interesting explanation

    of what has so often created wonder, the great rapidity with which
    countries recover from a state of devastation, the disappearance in
    a short time of all traces of the mischiefs done by earthquakes,
    floods, hurricanes and the ravages of war.[143]

This "_vis medicatrix naturae_" he explains on an economic principle.
All the wealth destroyed was merely the rapid consumption of what had
been produced previously, and which would have in due course been
consumed anyway. The rapid repairs of disasters mainly depends, he says,
on whether the community has been depopulated.

  [143] Mill, John Stuart, _Principles of Political Economy_ (London,
  1917), ch. v, p. 74.

But this is not an all-sufficient explanation, and indeed applies
particularly to countries which have not been bereft of the raw
materials of industrial machinery. San Francisco recovered exceedingly
rapidly from her terrible experience of 1906. Indeed her quick recovery
has been called one of the wonders of the age. San Francisco was not
depopulated. Her actual losses of life were but four hundred and
ninety-eight, and those injured four hundred and fifteen. The loss of
life on the other hand was about two thousand in Halifax, a city of
fifty thousand population--but one-eighth that of San Francisco--and her
list of injured ran into many thousands. And yet the same phenomenon

There are other factors both social and economic which must not be
omitted from an account of the influences of recuperation, namely the
equipmental and other factors which produce social surplus.
Disaster-stricken communities cannot survive unless their "surplus
energy exceeds their needs." They cannot become normal until the social
surplus is restored. The social surplus, according to Professor Tenney,
is "merely the sum-total of surplus energy existing in the individuals
composing a social group, or immediately available to such
individuals."[144] It includes not only "bodily vigor" but "such
material goods also as are immediately available for the restoration of
depleted bodily vigor." It is not only physiological, as life energy,
and social, as conditions of knowledge and institutional facilities, but
also socio-economic, as equipment for the maintenance or restoration of
physiological and social needs. In catastrophe bodily vigor may have
been depleted, and material goods been consumed. No period of
recuperation or rapid gain can ensue unless such equipment is in some
degree replaced and a balance of social surplus restored. This is the
_conditio sine qua non_ of recuperation, and of the transition from a
pain-economy to a pleasure-economy,[145] after disaster. Certainly the
maintenance of the standard of living demands it. The standard of living
has been defined as the "mode of activity and scale of comfort which a
person has come to regard as indispensable to his happiness and to
secure and retain which he is willing to make any reasonable sacrifice."
Following Professor Seager's association of the standard of living with
population, the reduction of population in catastrophe of a certain
character might conceivably operate to automatically heighten the
standard of living, just as the growth of population often brings about
its fall. But catastrophe often consumes great quantities of material
goods and brings about a change in incomes and in occupations.[146]
Seager notes that:

    Actual starvation confronts more rarely those belonging to the class
    of manual workers, but for them also under-nutrition is a
    possibility which prolonged illness or inability to obtain
    employment may at any time change into a reality. The narrow margin
    which their usual earnings provide above the bare necessaries of
    life, coupled with their lack of accumulated savings, makes them
    especially liable, when some temporary calamity reduces their
    incomes, to sink permanently below the line of self-support and

  [144] Tenney, Alvan A., "Individual and Social Surplus," _Popular
  Science Monthly_, vol. lxxxii (Dec., 1912), p. 552.

  [145] Patten, Simon N., _Theory of the Social Forces_ (Phil., 1896),
  p. 75.

  [146] At San Francisco "after the fire, the proportion of families in
  the lower income groups was somewhat larger, and the proportion in the
  higher income groups somewhat smaller than before the fire." (Motley,
  James M., _San Francisco Relief Survey_, New York, 1913, pt. iv,
  p. 228.)

  [147] Seager, Henry R., _Economics, Briefer Course_ (N. Y., 1909),
  ch. xiii, p. 210.

It must be remembered that at Halifax while the equipmental damage was
stupendous, still the heart of the downtown business section remained
sound. The banking district held together, and the dislocation of
business machinery was less protracted on that account. To this it is
necessary to add how to a very considerable extent the material losses
were replaced by communities and countries which not only supplied the
city with the material of recuperation but with men and means as well.
Were her own workmen killed and injured? Glaziers, drivers, repair men
and carpenters came by train-loads bringing their tools, their food and
their wages with them. The city's population was increased by
thirty-five hundred workmen, twenty-three hundred of whom were
registered with the committee at one time. Was her glass destroyed?
Eighty acres of transparences came for the temporary repairs and had
been placed by January the twenty-first. Were her buildings gone? Seven
million, five hundred thousand feet of lumber were soon available to
house the homeless. Were her people destitute? Food and clothing were
soon stacked high. Were her citizens bankrupt because of losses? Fifty
thousand dollars came from Newfoundland, another fifty thousand from New
Zealand, one hundred thousand from Quebec, one hundred thousand from
Montreal, two hundred and fifty thousand from Australia, five million
from Great Britain. In merchandise, clothing and cash a million came
from Massachusetts. In about fifteen weeks, aside from the Federal
grant, eight millions were contributed. The total contributions from all
sources amounted finally to twenty-seven million dollars.

Factors such as these must not be omitted in examining the sociological
recuperation of a smitten city. And when the experience of Halifax is
set side by side with the related experiences of other cities a
conclusion may be drawn that disaster-stricken communities can always
count upon public aid, for the reasons which have already been
discussed. But there is found to be strongly suggested a correlation
between the striking character or magnitude of a disaster and the
generosity of the relief response,[148] as there is also with the
immediacy of the appeal. "It is not the facts themselves which strike
the popular imagination" says Le Bon, "but the way in which they take
place."[149] There have been disasters relatively serious, such as the
St. Quentin forest fire, where repeated appeals met with astonishingly
little response from the people. "A single great accident" continues Le
Bon, "will profoundly impress them even though the results be infinitely
less disastrous than those of a hundred small accidents put together."
It was in recognition of this principle that "it was decided to transfer
the residue of the amount contributed [after the Triangle fire] to the
contingent fund of the American Red Cross, to be used in disasters,
which in their nature do not evoke so quick or generous public response,
but where the suffering is as grievous."[150]

  [148] At the time of the tragic Martinique disaster the New York
  committee received $80,000 more than it could disburse. (Devine,
  Edward T., _The Principles of Relief_, N. Y., 1904, pt. iv, ch. vii,
  p. 468.)

  [149] Le Bon, Gustave, _The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind_
  (London), ch. iii, p. 79.

  [150] Deacon, J. Byron, _Disasters_ (N. Y., 1918), ch. v, p. 120.

Besides the relation of the tragic in catastrophe to generosity and
other expressions of sympathy, the experience at Halifax suggests also a
relationship between the aid furnished by a contributing community and
that community's own previous history in regard to calamity. As an
instance may be cited the quick and splendid response which came from
St. John and Campbellton, two New Brunswick cities with unforgettable
memories of great disasters which they themselves had suffered. It is
also not improbable that the study of comparative catastrophe would
reveal a correlation between the relative amount of aid given and the
distance of those who give. Indeed there are reasons which suggest that
the relationship might be written thus: that relief in disaster varies
inversely as the square of the cost distance. The association here
suggested is given additional plausibility from the fact that attention
to certain types of news seems to vary according to this principle, and
news notice is no inconsiderable factor in disaster aid.

Enough has been said to make it clear that at the present time, in the
absence of any scientific method of socially ameliorating the
consequences of catastrophe, relief is a fluctuating quantity, and is
poorly apportioned from the point of view of need. While such conditions
obtain, disasters must inevitably contribute to the inequalities which
break the hearts of men. It is alas true, that after all our
generosities and philanthropies

    many people lose their normal position in the social and economic
    scale through earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, railway
    wrecks, fires, and the common accidents of industrial life. These
    accidents naturally have a vast influence over the lives of their
    victims; for they often render people unfit to struggle along in the
    rank and file of humanity.[151]

  [151] Blackmar and Gillin, _Outlines of Sociology_ (N. Y., 1915),
  pt. iv, ch. v, p. 402.

The only socially defensible way of doing is to spread the economic
results of these disasters over the entire community in some form of
intra-city catastrophe insurance administered by the Federal government.
This alone will overcome the irrationality of an inequitable levy upon
the more sympathetic, and the fluctuations of disproportionate relief.
And even beyond this step is there not the possibility of an
international system in which each nation will insure the other?
Certainly at Halifax the aid contributed came from many nations and
tongues. But while we are discussing what ought to be and eventually
will be done, one very practical step remains which may be taken at
once. At the Halifax disaster, we have seen that much of the direction
and technical leadership, welcome as it was, and saving the situation as
it did, yet came from without rather than from within the country. There
is no Canadian who will close these pages without asking whether this
must always be. May it not be respectfully suggested, as a concluding
result of this study, that the Canadian government, take immediate steps
to develop a staff of experts, a reserve fund, and stations of relief
strategically located in Canada--these stations to have in their keeping
left-over war-material, such as tents, stores, and other equipment
together with records of available experts who have had experience in
disasters and who may be subject to call when emergencies arise.

And now to return to our thesis, and its special enquiry, namely,
wherein is the specific functioning of catastrophe in social change? We
have thus far concerned ourselves with the major factors of
recuperation, intra-social forces, social service, and legislation.

We find it necessary now to add that the socio-economic constitutes a no
less important factor. But the effects may not stop with mere
recuperation. Suppose a city becomes in a trice more prosperous and
progressive than ever. Suppose she begins to grow populous with uncommon
rapidity; her bank clearings do not fail but rather increase; her
industries rebuild and grow in numbers; new companies come looking for
sites as if dimly conscious that expansion is at hand! Suppose a city
rises Phoenix-like from the flames, a new and better city, her people
more kind, more charitable, more compassionate to little children, more
considerate of age! Suppose there come social changes which alter the
conservatism and civic habits of many years--changes which foster a
spirit of public service, and stimulate civic pride! Then there is
clearly some further influence associated with the day of disaster.
Perhaps we shall find progress innate in catastrophe itself.



The unchanging Halifax of the years--The causes of social
immobility--The new birthday--The indications of change: appearance,
expansion of business, population, political action, city-planning,
housing, health, education, recreation, community spirit--Carsten's

Halifax has had her fair proportion of tribute in her time. Kipling has
called her "the Warden of the Honor of the North." Pauline Johnston
sings of her pride of situation. As Edinburgh, "it is a city of many
charms; beautiful for situation, beyond most of the cities of the world;
vocal with history beyond most, for at every turn of its streets some
voice from the past 'comes sounding through the toon.'" Her public
gardens are the envy of all. Her vistas of the sea are without compare.
Her Northwest Arm is a veritable joy. Birds sing in her homes. Cheery
wood-fires burn brightly in her open grates. No city of her size is more
hospitable than she.

But she has always been a city which has never quite entered into her
heritage commercially. Situated where by nature she might well be great,
she has always been small. Unambitious, wealthy[152] and little jealous
of the more rapidly-growing cities, she has prided herself on being a
lover of better things. Commerce and industry were things alien[153] and
secular. She devoted herself to standards of art, music, learning,
religion and the philanthropies. Charitable and philanthropic
institutions abounded. She has had her own conservative English ways.
She affected homage to "old families," and to that illusory element
"social prestige." She welcomed each new knight which the favor of the
king conferred, and grew careless of civic prosperity and growth. She
had leaned "too long upon the army and the navy" and her citizens had
become "anaemic," "lethargic" and standstill; their "indifference" and
"inertia" were a commonplace. Halifax had been complacent and academic
rather than practical in her outlook upon the world and her general
attitude toward life.

  [152] Halifax is the wealthiest city per capita in the Dominion of

  [153] For years real estate was marketed "quietly." In fact, real
  property was in the hands of one or two specialists only.

Geographically she suffered by her situation on the rim of the
continent. She experienced not a little neglect and isolation because
she was an undeveloped terminal, and not a junction point. Travellers
and commercial men could not visit her _en route_ but only by special

Again "the government has had altogether too many interests in Halifax
for the good of the place." "Government-kept towns" are not as a rule
"those which have achieved the greatest prosperity." Halifax as a
civil-service headquarters and a government military depot was perhaps
open to the charge of being at least "self-satisfied." Valuable acres of
non-taxable land have been far from stimulating to civic enterprise.

An historic city too, Halifax fell under the blight of overmuch looking
backward, and sociologically the back look has been always recognized as
the foe of progress. But she has had a past to be proud of--one which
throbs with incident and interest. Born as a military settlement, she
has been a garrison city and naval station for more than a hundred and
fifty years. She has been called "the stormy petrel among the
cities--always to the front in troublous times." She has served and
suffered in four hard wars. She has gloried in this wealth of years and
storied past. Her traditions have been traditions of royalty, blue
blood, dashing officers, church parades, parliamentary ceremonies,
fêtes, levées and all the splendor and spirit of old colonial times. A
newspaper has published daily items of a generation before, and weekly
featured a reverie in the past.[154] Old in her years she remained old
in her appearance, old in her ways, and in her loves. She boasted old
firms which have kept their jubilees, old churches wherein was cradled
the religious life of Canada, an old university with a century of
service. Each noon a cannon boomed the mid-day hour, and like a curfew
sounded in the night.

  [154] _The Acadian Recorder_, C. C. Blackadar, editor.

Search where one will, it would be difficult to find another city which
has more completely exhibited the causes of social immobility as set
forth by sociology. For there are, it must be remembered, causes of
immobility as well as factors of social change. They may be geographical
difficulties, or elements more distinctively social--an over-emphasis of
government, discouraging innovation, too great a "volume of suggestion,"
the drag of "collective customs and beliefs," a "traditionalist
educational system," the "inheritance of places and functions" tending
to arrest development, "government, law, religion and ceremony, hallowed
by age."[155] All these reënforce the conservative tendencies in society
and preserve the _status quo_.[156]

  [155] Ross, Edward A., _Foundations of Sociology_ (N. Y., 1905),
  ch. viii, p. 197.

  [156] There are other causes of conservatism. A comparative freedom
  from disasters in the past is one. Halifax has suffered few in her
  entire history. Indeed the cholera epidemic is the only one of any
  consequence. She remained one of the last large wooden cities. Her
  sister city, St. John, was stricken by a disastrous fire and stands
  to-day safer, more substantial, more progressive in every way.

  Again communities are generally conservative in character when a large
  percentage are property-holding people. It was one of the surprises of
  the Halifax catastrophe that so large a number of citizens were found
  to own at least in part the homes they lived in.

  There are other questions which the sociologist would ask if it were
  possible to carry the investigation further. Is the community loath to
  disturb the existing relations or to resort to extreme means to
  achieve desired ends? Or is it eager to sweep away the old, to indulge
  in radical experiment and to try any means that give promise of
  success? He would study too the distribution of people relative to
  their interests. Is there a majority of those whose experiences are
  narrow and whose interests are few? Or is there a majority of those
  who have long enjoyed varied experiences and cultivated manifold
  interests, that yet remain harmonious? He studies the character of the
  choices, decisions, selections in a people's industry, law-making,
  educational and religious undertakings. It is thus that he proceeds in
  diagnosing a population as to the degree of conservatism and to
  discover what the ideal community should be.--Giddings, Franklin H.,
  _Inductive Sociology_ (N. Y., 1909), p. 178, _et seq._

Diagnosis in detail is not essential here. Up to the time of the
disaster Halifax had certainly preserved the _status quo_. We need not
labor the how and why. Tourists had returned year after year and found
her unaltered. "Dear, dirty old Halifax" they had called her. They had
found business as usual,--old unpainted wooden houses on every side,
unswept chimneys, an antiquated garbage system and offensive gutters;
the best water and the poorest water system an inspector ever examined;
the purest air but the most dust-laden in a storm; an obsolete
tramway,[157] a "green market," ox-carts on the main streets, crossings
ankle-deep with mud, a citizenship given over to late rising. Instead of
making the city they had been "letting it happen." The "transient, the
good-enough, the cheapest possible" had been the rule of action.

  [157] Halifax has now one of the best equipped tramway systems to be
  found anywhere. There has recently been appropriated the sum of
  $200,000 for sewers, $150,000 for water, $300,000 for street paving.

Such has been the unchanging Halifax of the years. But the old order
changeth. The spell of the past is broken. A change has come over the
spirit of her dreams. There are signs that a new birthday has come. The
twenty-first day of June was the old Natal Day, kept each year with
punctilious regularity. But Halifax is now just beginning to realize
that there was a new nativity, and that it dates from December--that
fatal Sixth. "Sad as was the day, it may be the greatest day in the
city's history."

Almost instinctively since the disaster Halifax has come to see the
sources of her weakness and of her strength. Her geographical position
which once meant isolation[158] will henceforth be her best asset. Just
as the geographical expansion of Europe made the outposts of the Old
World the entrepôts of the New, so the expansion of Canada and of Nova
Scotia--the province with the greatest number of natural resources of
any in the Dominion--to the newly awakening city appears full of
substantial promise. It will be largely hers to handle the water-borne
commerce of a great country. Henceforth the ocean will become a link and
not a limit. World-over connections are the certainties of the future,
bound up inevitably with the economic and social solidarity of nations.
Closer to South America than the United States, closer to South Africa
than England, closer to Liverpool than New York, Halifax sees and
accepts her destiny, forgets the inconvenience and loss she has
undergone and the many annoyances of blasting and of digging, that the
facilities of her "triple haven" might be multiplied and the march of
progress begin. "The new terminals with their impressive passenger
station, will not only be an attractive front door for Halifax, but will
fit her to be one of the great portals of the Dominion."

  [158] Halifax long felt herself to have been commercially a martyr to

There has come upon the city a strange impatience of unbuilt spaces and
untaxed areas sacred for decades to military barracks and parades. She
has urged for some immediate solution, with the result that military
property will be concentrated and many acres released to the city for
its own disposal.

Whether the pendulum will swing so far as to imperil the retention of
old historic buildings, time-stained walls, and century-old church-yards
is not yet apparent; although suggestions have been made which would
have astounded the Halifax of a generation ago. Certain it is that a
period of orientation is at hand. There is a stirring in the wards and
clubs for progressive administration and modern policies. "Here as
elsewhere the time has now come for clear thinking and the rearrangement
of traditional thought."

Indications of change are already abundant. The first to note is that of
appearance. For illustration may be quoted an editorial published near
the second anniversary of the explosion:

    Halifax has been improving in appearance since the explosion,
    exhibiting very sudden changes at particular points. One almost
    forgets what the city was like about ten years ago. Still there is a
    great deal to be done in the way of improvement to our streets. The
    move in the direction of permanent streets is an excellent one and
    if carried out as designed will be an improvement and saving to the

The report of the Secretary of the Board of Trade makes the following
reference to the change in appearance of the city:

    One of the pleasing features in reference to both the wholesale and
    retail business of Halifax is the improved condition of premises
    over a few years ago; retail stores are now having up-to-date and
    attractive fronts, while wholesalers are improving their show-rooms
    and thereby increasing their sales.

The Mayor writes regarding the sidewalk improvement:

    Some twenty miles of concrete sidewalks to be constructed are on the
    order paper to be taken in turn so as to be as uniform as possible.
    This will go a long way toward improving the appearance of the city.

As to the change in the style of houses the Mayor states:

    A pleasing feature of the new construction is the departure from the
    former square box style of dwelling, also the method of placing rows
    of houses exactly in the same style. Today homelike houses of modern
    design, set back from the street with lawns in front are the order
    of the day--bungalows are particularly in favor.

Fine new residences are being built, apartment ideas are spreading, new
lights are being tried out, a new tram company has taken hold. Indeed
one citizen is credited with the words: "It is almost a sacrilege that
Halifax should be so changed."

The consciousness of change is seen in an altered public opinion and the
beginnings of a new civic outlook. Evidence of the new note is a
statement by one of the progressive Halifax firms:

    Halifax is going to make good. Outside firms are taking up valuable
    sites in our business districts. The banks are increasing their
    activities. Some of the biggest industries are coming our way.
    Surely everything points toward prosperity.

Another feature indicative of the changing consciousness, which has
infected a much wider region than Halifax itself is the plan now making
rapid progress for an Old Home Summer, to be held from June to October,
1924. The project has already received legislative recognition. An
effort will be made to recall former residents on a scale such as has
never been attempted before. The committee in charge is made up of many
prominent citizens and the "1924 Club" grows. One may observe still
another indication of the determination to progress in the recent
completion of a system linking-up Halifax by telephone with Montreal,
Toronto, New York and Chicago.

Indices of business conditions are far from satisfactory, yet the items
used in their computations are the only ones upon which variations may
be even roughly gauged. Roger Babson puts as the leading considerations:
(1) Building and real estate; (2) bank clearings; (3) business failures.
Other symptomatic facts are postal revenues, tramway receipts, exports,
taxes, interest rates, insurance, wages and hours, commodity prices,
unfilled orders, immigration and unemployment.[159]

  [159] Chaddock, Robert E., Unpublished Material.

With regard to the first the following statement issued by the Mayor is
significant. He says:

    The year 1919 has been one of exceptional prosperity in the City of
    Halifax. It has been a record year for building. Permits to the
    approximate value of $5,000,000 have been issued to the engineer's
    office, the largest amount by far in its history, the amount being
    practically ten times that of 1913, or the year before the Great War
    commenced. A part of this only can be attributed to the terrible
    explosion of 1917.

He refers to the great amount of construction going on in the western
and northwestern parts of the city which were relatively untouched by
the disaster. The Mayor further states:

    It must be remembered that it is only two years since the
    devastation caused by the explosion and strangers in the city have
    considered it wonderful that we are so far advanced in building up
    that portion which only a year ago had not a house upon it.

The following tabulation gives the building figures according to the
permits issued at the City Hall. It shows a remarkable recent increase.

  Building Permits

  1910 ....................  $471,140
  1911 ....................   508,836
  1912 ....................   589,775
  1913 ....................   839,635
  1914 ....................   874,320
  1915 .................... 1,066,938
  1916 .................... 1,177,509
  1917 ....................   844,079
  1918 .................... 2,955,406
  1919 .................... 5,194,806

With regard to real estate the Mayor writes in December 1919

    The increase in the selling values of properties is remarkable.
    Business property has taken a jump in value, and it is difficult to
    get for business purposes property well situated unless at very high
    prices. Property has been known to change hands within a year at
    approximately double the amount originally paid.

The Secretary of the Board of Trade reports:

    Real estate has been active, and prices have been obtained greatly
    in excess of what properties were valued at in pre-war days.

In the matter of bank clearings[160] the following table indicates a
very considerable change:

  Bank Clearings

  1910 .................... $95,855,319
  1911 ....................  87,994,043
  1912 .................... 100,466,672
  1913 .................... 105,347,626
  1914 .................... 100,280,107
  1915 .................... 104,414,598
  1916 .................... 125,997,881
  1917 .................... 151,182,752
  1918 .................... 216,084,415
  1919 .................... 241,200,194

  [160] The reader will of course remember the general inflation of

As to business failures the Secretary says:

    Business failures have been few--practically the whole amount of the
    liabilities will be made up of one failure, and it is believed the
    loss to creditors in this particular case will be slight.

  Additional Indices

                   Gross Postal Revenue   Tramway Receipts (gross)

  1910 ................ $114,318                  $477,109
  1911 ................  119,561                   502,399
  1912 ................  132,097                   539,853
  1913 ................  140,102                   605,933
  1914 ................  147,943                   645,341
  1915 ................  154,499                   718,840
  1916 ................  167,594                   559,513
  1917 ................  255,815                   859,667
  1918 ................  305,412                   998,702
  1919 ................  349,507                 1,258,503

Among other assurances at the new prosperity and the beginnings of fresh
faith in the city's future is the coming of new large business interests
into the city. Among the largest construction work is the building of
the Halifax shipyards upon the explosion ground, involving an outlay of
ten millions of dollars. There is the ever-extending plant of the
Imperial Oil Company, which will eventually make of Halifax a great
oil-distribution port. There is the continuation of the
thirty-million-dollar scheme of modern terminal facilities, which have
been constructed so close to the ocean that a ship may be out of sight
of land within an hour after casting off from the quay.

In short there has been, as has been said, an "impetus given to business
generally." That the impetus will continue there is every prospect.
Halifax may experience a temporary wave of depression when such waves
are flowing elsewhere. But today there are fewer doubters and more
believers. The day of new elevators, new hotels, harbor-bridges and
electric trains is not very far away. The prophecy of Samuel Cunard made
in 1840--when he inaugurated the first Trans-Atlantic line--that
"Halifax would be the entering port of Canada"--seems destined to

As regards population after disasters Hoffman writes:

    Even an earthquake such as affected the city of San Francisco may
    not materially change the existing numbers of the population after a
    sufficient period of time has elapsed for a reassembling of the
    former units, and a return to the normal conditions of life and

Yet as before remarked, the catastrophe at Halifax eclipsed all
preceding disasters to single communities on the Continent of America in
the toll of human life.[162] In the San Francisco earthquake the loss
was four hundred and ninety-eight; at the Chicago fire three hundred; at
the Iroquois theatre fire in the same city, five hundred and
seventy-five; at the Chester explosion one hundred and twelve; at the
Johnstown flood two thousand. It is now estimated that the disaster at
Halifax probably passed this latter figure, decreasing the city's
population by four per cent. Notwithstanding this heavy draught upon the
population, the 1918 volume of the Halifax Directory contained six
hundred and fifty more names than the previous year.

  [161] Hoffman, Frederick L., _Insurance, Science and Economics_
  (N. Y., 1911), ch. ix, p. 337.

  [162] In the Texas flood of 1900 there were lost 5,000 lives, but they
  cannot be said to have been all associated with a single community.

In the light of this consideration the following indication of the
growth of population is also of contributory interest.[163]


  1911 ...................... 46,619
  1912 ...................... 46,619
  1913 ...................... 47,109
  1914 ...................... 47,109
  1915 ...................... 47,473
  1916 ...................... 50,000
  1917 ...................... 50,000
  1918 ...................... 50,000
  1919 ...................... 55,000
  1920 ...................... 65,000[164]

  [163] Figures kindly supplied by Mr. John H. Barnstead, Registrar,

  [164] The Directory of 1920 estimates the present population to be

An index of the growth of practical civic interest upon the part of
citizens is revealed by the comparison of the numbers participating in
political action by means of the vote. Recent figures for Halifax are:

  Political Action

  Year            Purpose  Eligible   No.      Percentage     Percentage
                            voters   voting  of Indifference  of Interest

  1918 ......... For Mayor   7,632    2,769         63.8         36.2
  1919 .........  "    "     8,890    4,264         52.1         47.9
  1920 .........  "    "    11,435    5,491         51.99        48.01

Instead of the disaster resulting in disheartenment and a gradually
diminishing civic interest, the percentage of indifference is smaller
and the percentage of interest is larger for 1920 than for 1919, and the
percentage of interest for 1919 is larger than that for the previous
year. The number of eligible voters also shows increase. "The campaign
[for 1920] has marked a new era .... and will make it easier to
institute new reforms."[165]

  [165] Halifax _Morning Chronicle_, April 29, 1920.

Of further sociological interest is the change affecting city-planning,
civic improvement, housing, health, education and recreation.

In the realm of city-planning[166] and civic improvement, Halifax is
awaking to the importance of taking advantage of an opportunity which
comes to a city but seldom save through the avenue of disaster. The
present Town-planning Board was formed as a result of the Town-planning
Act of 1915. A board of four members, including the city engineer
constitute the committee. The limits of the area to be brought under the
scheme were still undecided when the explosion came. The disaster
"hastened the resolution" of the Board. "When the disaster came it
seemed that things would have to come to a head." Mr. Thomas Adams, the
Dominion Housing and Town-planning Advisor, was brought to Halifax to
help determine what should be done. "The disaster simply had the effect
of bringing to a point certain things which were pending at the time. If
that event had not occurred we would by this time be into a scheme,
though possibly not so far as we are." Today the limits of the area have
been defined and the scheme is nearly ready for presentation to the
Council for adoption. The Dominion Town-planning Advisor's assistant
reports that real progress has been made in the Halifax plan dealing
with the proposed zoning of the city into factory, shopping and
residential districts, the provision for future streets, street-widening
and building lines, and suggestions for park and aerodrome sites. In the
devastated area he has remarked progress in street-opening, in grading
of the slope and in architectural treatment of the houses. Five hundred
trees and three hundred shrubs have been ordered to be planted in this
area. The whole area is under the control of the Relief Commission, for
the Act appointing the Commission gave it the powers of a Town-planning

  [166] The earliest city-planning was mediaeval. Halifax was laid out
  by military engineers with narrow streets--the "ideal was a fortified
  enclosure designed to accommodate the maximum number of inhabitants
  with the minimum of space." In 1813 a town-planning scheme was set on
  foot for the purpose of straightening streets, the removal of
  projections and banks of earth and stones which at that time existed
  in the center of streets. Considerable betterment resulted but
  unfortunately many fine trees were cut down.

The disaster may thus be said not only to have hastened the resolution
of the existing committee, but to have produced two planning-boards
instead of one. Each must keep in mind the true ideal. For it is not the
"City Beautiful" idea, but that of utility that is fundamental to
city-planning. It is a principle to reduce to the minimum the social
problems of community life, to accomplish Aristotle's ideal--"the
welfare and happiness of everyone." In so doing civic beauty will not be
neglected. "Scientific, sensible and sane city-planning" says an
authority "with utility and public convenience as its primary
consideration produces beauty--the beauty that is the result of adapting
successfully a thing to its purpose." It is in accordance with this
principle of civic art that the terminal area is being developed--a work
designed by the same architect who planned the Chateau Laurier and the
Ottawa Plaza with such aesthetic taste.

To "deep cuttings, spanned by fine bridges, and bordered with trees and
pleasant driveways, after the manner of Paris," and to a "waterfront as
stately as Genoa's, a terminal station with a noble facade, overlooking
a square and space of flowers,"[167] the future will also bring to

    more street-paving, sidewalks, parks, fountains, hedges, driveways,
    cluster-lighting, statuary, buildings of majesty, spaciousness and
    beauty. Wires will be buried, unsightly poles will disappear....
    With time will come all these things which stamp a city as modern,
    as caring for the comfort of its people, their pleasure and rest,
    and health and safety. All these things come with time, effort,
    development of city pride, and the concentrated desire of a people
    for them.[168]

  [167] MacMechan, Archibald, "Changing Halifax," _Canadian Magazine_,
  vol. xli, no. 4, pp. 328, 329.

  [168] Crowell, H. C., _The Busy East_, vol. x, no. 7, p. 12.

The question of housing is recognized as an old Halifax problem. It was
already an acute one when the blow of the catastrophe fell and
multiplied the difficulty a thousand-fold. The Relief Commission has
grappled with its end of the problem, namely, the housing of the many
refugees who were first accommodated in lodgings and in temporary
shelters.[169] The old sombre frame-constructed buildings of the
pre-disaster days are being replaced with attractive hydrostone. A
hard-working wage-earning community is stepping out of indifferent
structures into homes both comfortable and well-ordained.

  [169] A model housing development of 346 houses in the new north end
  has followed the disaster. "It is reasonable to assume," writes an
  observer, "that the standard of living will ascend. Already the
  influence of these new houses is showing itself in the homes that are
  springing up all over the city."

But the old problem would have still remained unsolved, had not the city
authorities caught something of the reconstruction spirit and felt the
sharp urge of increasing difficulties. Action has been at last
precipitated. However, lacking in comprehensiveness the first attempts,
the city has bestirred itself and has come to realize adequate housing
to be a supreme need of the community and vitally associated with the
city's health and welfare. A Housing Committee of five members has been
formed, having as chairman a man of widely recognized building
experience and as director of housing, a capable citizen. It is intended
to make full use of the federal housing scheme, in a practical way, the
City Council having reversed its former decisions and accepted by by-law
the obligation which the government act requires. It is hoped in this
way to promote the erection of modern dwellings and to "contribute to
the general health and well-being of the community."

Thus the principle of promotive legislation and government aid, which
when finally accepted in 1890, began the remarkable housing reform in
England, has entered the City of Halifax, and will eventually write a
record of increased health, comfort and contentment. How soon that
record is written will largely depend upon the citizens themselves and
their response to a leadership that is forceful as well as wise.

The matter of health organization in Halifax affords perhaps the most
significant contrast with the pre-disaster days. Prior to the
catastrophe public health organization was not a matter for civic pride.
The dispensary, which is often regarded as the index of a city's care
for health, had received scant support and could only perform
indifferent service. Adequate sanitary inspection could not be carried
out for want of inspectors. The death rate[170] had averaged about
twenty percent for a period of ten years, and the infant and
tuberculosis mortality had been tremendously high--the former reaching
the figure of one hundred and eighty-two.[171] There was no spur to
progressive administration. The city was too ill-equipped to cope with
such conditions.

  [170] London's is 14.6, New York's 13.6.

  [171] New York's is 90, New Zealand's 60.

Today Halifax has the finest public health program and most complete
public health organization in the Dominion. The fact that this is so is
in very close relation to the catastrophe inasmuch as an unexpended
balance of relief moneys[172] has been redirected by request for health
purposes in Halifax. A five-year policy has been inaugurated. Fifty
thousand dollars per year of the relief money, fifteen thousand dollars
per year of the Canadian government money and five thousand dollars per
year each, of the city and provincial money are to be expended in the
five-year campaign. The sum totals seventy-five thousand dollars per
year, or practically one dollar per capita.

  [172] These funds are from the munificent gift of Massachusetts. A
  Massachusetts-Halifax Health Commission has been formed--Dr.
  B. Franklin Royer is the executive officer.

A completely equipped health centre has been established including all
the essential remedial and educational agencies, namely, pre-natal,
pre-school-age, school-age, tuberculosis, venereal disease, eye, ear,
nose and throat clinics. There will also be provision for the growth of
health ideas through mother's classes, first-aid, and sanitary leagues.
A public health course for nurses is included in the educational
campaign.[173] A most successful baby-saving exhibit has been held, and
the plan calls for a full-time tuberculosis specialist.

  [173] Dalhousie University has recently graduated the first class of
  nurses in Canada to receive the Diploma of Public Health.

Upon the part of the civic authorities there has been a greater
realization of responsibility. Progressive steps have been already taken
including the appointment of a Doctor of Public Health, and the
provision of district sanitary inspectors. Restaurants and all places
where food is exposed for sale are being systematically inspected with a
view of effecting improvements. A single instance of commendable
activity along sanitary lines is the prohibition of movable lunch cars,
which have been seen on the streets of Halifax for years. The removal of
a lot of dwellings unfit for occupation is receiving the attention of
the officials. In fact it is the intention of the present Council to
improve conditions throughout the city generally as quickly as is
feasible to do so. Another illustration of the direction of attention to
modern social methods is the present discussion of plans for a
psychiatric clinic for mental hygiene and the discovery of defectives,
especially those attending the schools. Still another indication of
interest in child welfare is the fact that a clinic for babies was
established in a central locality and a nurse for babies regularly
employed. The hitherto meager hospital facilities are being amplified by
the building of a maternity hospital and the enlargement of the
children's hospital,--a centralization plan of hospital service being a
unique and distinctive feature. In the way of industrial hygiene a
full-time nurse is employed in the ship-building plant and here also
safety policies have been introduced and have reduced accidents to a
minimum. The movement for the control of preventable disease is gaining
impetus and a modern tuberculosis hospital is being established. The
Victoria General Hospital is being enlarged and extended, the additions
having an estimated cost of half a million dollars.

But it is not alone the activities of the Health Commission but also the
earlier vigorous policy of disaster medical relief, which is seen
reflected in the growing sense of community-responsibility for health
conditions. Halifax has come to see the principle fundamental to all
health reform, that public health is a purchasable commodity and that
improvement in vital statistics is in close correlation with the
progress of health organization. It remains to be seen whether so
favored a community will also lead the way in the registration and
periodic health examination of every individual citizen which is the
final goal of all policies of health reform.

The standards of education have always been high in Halifax. She has
been the educational center of the Maritime Provinces. Her academic
attainments have brought to her much distinction and not a little glory.
Her public schools boast many a fine record to furnish inspiration to
each successive generation. To secure appointment to the Halifax
teaching staff the applicant must possess the highest qualifications.
But however much educational leaders may desire them, modern methods and
up-to-date equipment await in large measure the public will. Only where
there is a will is there a way. That the public will in Halifax is
becoming awakened to the vital rôle her educators play is being proven
by the response to the campaign for the expansion of Dalhousie
University. That response has been most generous and general, while
local contributions have been amplified by large benefactions from the
Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Of the latter
benefactions together amounting to one million dollars--four hundred
thousand will be expended upon buildings and equipment. The modernizing
process is shown again in the decision of the university to establish at
once a Faculty of Commerce and to encourage the teaching of Spanish and
Portuguese in the educational institutions of the city.

In the old teaching methods all are given the same course of instruction
regardless of the individual mental differences. Today the effort is to
provide an education to fit the mind rather than to force the mind to
fit the education. In the public schools of Halifax there are not
lacking indications which herald the coming of the newer pedagogy. Among
these may be mentioned the opening of sub-normal classes for retarded
children, experimentation with the social-recitation system, the display
of Safety-First League posters and the development of those departments
already established, _viz._ vocational and domestic training, manual and
physical education, medical inspection, supervised playgrounds, school
nurses, dental clinics, and the wider use of school plants in evening
technical classes.

Halifax will sooner or later decide to employ to the fullest degree all
the opportunities which child-training affords. The school system is an
institution of society to mediate between a child and his environment.
Children must learn to do and to be as well as to know. Their plastic
minds must receive practice in resistance to domination by feeling and
in the use of the intellect as the servant and guide of life. To the
children of Halifax is due eventually a thorough training in
citizenship. This is the last call of the new future in education. It
rests upon the twin pillars of educational psychology and educational

Recreation is still another sphere of civic life wherein the City of
Halifax has taken a forward step. In making her plans for the future she
has not forgotten that the rebuilt city should contain every facility
for children to grow up with strong bodies and sane minds; as well as
public provision for the leisure time of the adult population. A
Recreation Commission has been formed made up of representatives of the
various civic bodies and from the civic and provincial governments.[174]
A playground expert was called in by the city government, who after
study of the situation and conference with local groups, recommended a
system of recreation as part of the general city plan. Already marked
progress has resulted; indeed it has been said that the "municipal
recreation system of Halifax has made a record for itself." A hill of
about fifteen acres in the heart of the devastated area has been
reserved for a park and playground. The city has built and turned over
to the Commission a temporary bath-house, and has set aside the sum of
ten thousand dollars for a permanent structure. The plans contain
recommendations for minimum play-space for every school child, a central
public recreation area, an open-air hillside stadium, as well as a
community center with auditorium, community theatre, natatorium,
gymnasium, and public baths. The real significance of this movement
Halifax has not, herself, as yet fully realized. Just as there is a
close relationship between health organization and mortality tables, so
there is a close association between open spaces, street play, _etc._,
and juvenile, as well as other forms of delinquency.[175] The moral
value of organized recreation was itself demonstrated in the war, while
the increasing menace of industrial fatigue, as well as the fact of the
shorter working-day, call for public recreational facilities as a social
policy. This policy is not however fully carried out with merely
constructive and promotive action. It must be followed by restrictive
and regulatory control of commercialized recreation, and wise and
adequate systems of inspection for amusement in all its forms. This is
the path of progress in socialized recreation.

  [174] It should be stated that the supervised playground movement had
  been developing in Halifax for a period of fourteen years, first under
  the Women's Council, afterwards under a regularly incorporated
  association with which the Women's Council merged.

  [175] In view of the explosion and the resulting housing conditions,
  an increase in juvenile delinquency might have been expected, but the
  "playgrounds which were established immediately after the disaster,
  and which adjoined both of the large temporary housing projects, are,
  it is felt, responsible for the excellent conditions which exist. The
  records of the Superintendent of Neglected and Delinquent Children
  show that there was an actual decrease in the number of juvenile
  arrests in 1918 over 1917."--(Leland, Arthur, "Recreation as a Part of
  the City Plan for Halifax, N. S., Canada," _Playground_, vol. xiii,
  no. 10, p. 493.)

Progress in coöperation has also to be noticed. There has been a new
sense of unity in dealing with common problems. The number of things
which perforce had to be done together during the catastrophe was great.
This doing of things together will be continued. The establishment of
the Halifax Coöperative Society is initial evidence of a movement
towards coöperative buying. Coöperation for community ends even now is
revealing itself in the new interest for the common control of
recreation, health conditions, _etc._ "The disaster," runs an article in
the press, "has given our social movement an impetus. The social workers
of the different creeds and classes have discovered each other and are
getting together."[176] The organization of social service which only a
few years back took a beginning in the form of an unpretentious bureau
has shot ahead with amazing rapidity and now exercises an influence of
coördination upon the churches, charities and philanthropic societies of
the city.

  [176] Halifax _Evening Mail_, March 22, 1918.

The unifying process is well illustrated by the increased coöperation
upon the part of the churches. Following the disaster the churches of
the city united into a single organization for relief service under the
chairmanship of the Archbishop of Nova Scotia. Since then a Ministerial
Association has been formed which has directed coöperative effort along
various lines and has exercised pressure upon those in authority where
the best interests of the city were involved.

Thus the City of Halifax has been galvanized into life through the
testing experience of a great catastrophe. She has undergone a civic
transformation, such as could hardly otherwise have happened in fifty
years. She has caught the spirit of the social age. This spirit after
all means only that the community is just a family on a larger scale,
and the interests of each member are interwoven with those of all. But
merely to catch the spirit will not suffice. It must be cherished
through an inevitable period of reaction and passivity, and then carried
on still further into the relations of capital and labor, into the realm
of socialized recreation and into those multiform spheres of social
insurance whither all true social policies lead.

All these converging lines taken not singly but together constitute a
very real basis of faith in the city's future, and of hope for permanent
changes for the better. Perhaps this attitude cannot be more fittingly
expressed than in the words of Carstens:

    The Halifax disaster will leave a permanent mark upon the city for
    at least a generation, because so many of the living have been
    blinded or maimed for life. But it is possible that the disaster may
    leave a mark of another sort, for it is confidently believed by
    those who took part in the relief work during the first few weeks
    that Halifax will gain as well as lose. The sturdy qualities of its
    citizens will bring 'beauty out of ashes.'

But it is rather for social than for material progress that the
sociologist will seek and Carstens continues:

    It may reasonably be expected that through this Calvary, there may
    be developed a program for the care, training and education of the
    sightless as good if not better than any now existing, that medical
    social service will be permanently grafted upon the hospital and
    out-patient service of the community, and that the staff of teachers
    of the stricken city, by direct contact with the intimate problems
    of the families of the children they have in their class-rooms may
    acquire a broader view of their work. If there should result no
    other benefits, and there are likely to be many, as for example
    city-planning, housing and health, the death and suffering at
    Halifax will not have been in vain, will not have been all

  [177] Carstens, C. C., "From the Ashes of Halifax," _Survey_,
  vol. xxxix, no. 13, p. 61.



Recapitulation--The various steps in the study presented in
propositional form--The rôle of catastrophe direct and indirect. (a)
Directly prepares the ground-work for change by: (1) weakening social
immobility; (2) producing fluidity of custom; (3) enhancing environal
favorability for change--(b) Indirectly sets in motion factors
determining the nature of the change such as: (1) the release of spirit
and morale; (2) the play of imitation; (3) the stimulus of leaders and
lookers-on; (4) the socialization of institutions.

If the preceding narrative has been successful in setting forth the
facts as they were observed, the reader has now before him a fairly
accurate picture of a community as it reacts under the stimulus of
catastrophe and proceeds to adjust itself to the circumstantial pressure
of new conditions. It will be well, however, for the sake of clearness
in emphasizing our closing propositions to recapitulate one by one the
various steps in our study. These steps while primarily intended to
follow the natural order in point of time will also be seen to represent
a definite sociological process of development.

At first the shock of the catastrophe was seen to have been sufficiently
terrific to affect every inhabitant of the city. This fact gives
peculiar value to the investigation. The more a shock is limited in
extent the more its analysis grows in complexity. In such cases
consideration must necessarily be given to the frontiers of influence.
The chapter describing the shock also found the immediate reaction to
have been a fairly general disintegration of social institutions, and of
the usual methods of social control--in short, a dissolution of the
customary. This turmoil into which society was thrown is sometimes
called "fluidity," and, for lack of a better one, this term has been
retained. It would thus appear that if it were later observed that
essential social changes ensued, fluidity was one of the requisites of
change; and this is indeed in perfect tally with previous thought upon
the subject as set forth in our more theoretical introduction and
expressed in the proposition that fluidity is fundamental to social

The more general and preliminary treatment over, individual and group
reactions were then examined in greater detail, and the phenomena of the
major sort were singled out and classified. These were found to be
either abnormal and handicapping such as emotional parturition; or
stimulative and promotive, as dynamogenic reaction. This constituted the
material of the second chapter. Put in propositional form it would be
that catastrophe is attended by phenomena of social psychology which may
either retard or promote social reorganization.

Social organization came next in order, and because its progress was
largely expedited by the organization of relief,--the first social
activity,--the sociological factors observed in the latter have been
recorded. These factors were classified as physical, including climate
and topography, and psychological, such as leadership, suggestion,
imitation, discussion, recognition of utility and consciousness of kind.
Reference was also made to biological and equipmental considerations.
Two conclusions of interest are here deducible: first, that part of
society which is most closely organized and disciplined in normality
first recovers social consciousness in catastrophe; second, it is only
after division of function delegates to a special group the
responsibility for relief work that public thought is directed to the
resumption of a normal society. These conclusions emphasize the
conservation value to society of a militia organization in every
community and also of a permanent vigilance committee.

The fifth chapter introduced a relatively new element, the presence of
which may be relied upon in all future emergencies, that of a disaster
social service. Its contribution was that of skillful service and wise
direction; its permanent effect, the socialization of the community. The
value of the presence of visiting social specialists is in inverse
proportion to the degree to which the socialization of a community has
advanced. The practical conclusion is clearly that self-dependence of a
community in adversity is furthered by the socialization of the existing

The next and latest group to function effectively was that of
government, but social legislation when forth-coming, contributed an
important and deciding influence, and was itself in turn enriched by the
calamity. Brought to the test of comparison with observed facts the
statement in the introduction receives abundant justification; namely,
that catastrophe is in close association with progress in social

To the influences already mentioned an additional factor of recuperation
is added,--the socio-economic one. Disaster-stricken communities cannot
become normal until the social surplus is restored. They may however
always count upon public aid. But there is found to be strongly
suggested a correlation between the magnitude or striking character of a
disaster and the generosity of the relief response.

The last chapter is devoted to a cataloging of the indications of social
change from the standpoint of the community as a whole. The old social
order is contrasted with that obtaining two years subsequent to the
disaster. It here appeared that the city of Halifax had as a community
undergone and is undergoing an extraordinary social change. This
implies, according to the theory of social causation, an extraordinary
antecedent. Before finally accepting the factor of catastrophe as such,
the scientific reader may very properly ask whether there are not

To this query the answer is that there are alternatives, other very
considerable extra-social factors to be noted, but that catastrophe was
itself the precipitating factor there is little room for doubt. Of the
other factors two only are of sufficient weight for our present
consideration. The earliest in order of time, and perhaps also in rank
of importance is that which Halifax residents understand as the coming
of the new ocean terminals. The coming was so sudden in the nature of
its announcement, and meant for many so much depreciation in property
values, that it had something of the nature of catastrophe within it. It
altered very extensively the previously accepted ideas of residential
and business and industrial sections of the city, and caused a jolt in
the body politic, such as had not visited it for years--not since the
middle of the nineteenth century brought the revolutionizing steam. It
is not to be denied that this factor has contributed not a little to the
weakening of immobility, and the preparation of the ground for an inrush
of the spirit of progress.

The other factor was the war. The war functioned mightily in community
organization for service. It brought prosperity to many a door, and
whetted the appetite of many a merchant to put the business of peace on
a war basis. But it would be merely speculation to say that prosperity
would have continued in peace. Indeed such a conclusion would not be
historically justifiable. Halifax has been through three important wars.
In each, "trade was active, prices were high, the population increased,
industry was stimulated by the demand, rents doubled and trebled,
streets were uncommonly busy." But in each case also Halifax settled
back to her ante-bellum sluggishness. In 1816 Halifax began to feel the
reaction consequent upon the close of a war. The large navy and army
were withdrawn and Halifax and its inhabitants "bore the appearance of a
town at the close of a fair. The sudden change from universal hustle and
business to ordinary pursuits made this alteration at times very
perceptible. Money gradually disappeared and the failure of several
mercantile establishments added to the general distress." But the
closing of the war, now a hundred years later, has exhibited no such
relapse. On the other hand Halifax grows daily more prosperous and
progressive than before. Her bank clearings do not fail, but rather
increase. There is clearly some further influence associated with this

But there is a very real sense in which the war may indeed be said to
have been the factor,--if we mean by it the fact that through the war
and as a direct result of war-service the city was laid half in ruins by
possibly the greatest single catastrophe on the American Continent. If
we mean this, we have named the all-precipitating and determining event.
The catastrophe was an episode of the great war.

It only remains to add by way of clearer definition that the rôle of
catastrophe appears to be both direct and indirect. Functioning
directly, it prepares the ground-work for social change by (1) weakening
social immobility; (2) precipitating fluidity of custom; (3) forcing
environal favorability for change. Indirectly, it sets in motion factors
determining the nature of the social change, such as (1) the release of
spirit and morale; (2) the play of imitation; (3) the stimulus of
leaders and lookers-on; (4) the socialization of institutions.

Our final principle[178] thus appears to be that progress in catastrophe
is a resultant of specific conditioning factors some of which are
subject to social control. If there is one thing more than another which
we would emphasize in conclusion it is this final principle. Progress is
not necessarily a natural or assured result of change. It comes only as
a result of effort that is wisely expended and sacrifice which is
sacrifice in truth.

  [178] The two additional propositions suggested in the Introduction,
  namely, that the degree of fluidity seems to vary directly as the
  shock of the catastrophe, and that brusk revolution in the conditions
  of life accomplish not sudden, but gradual changes in society, require
  a study of comparative catastrophic phenomena for verification or

That the nature of the social change in Halifax is one in the direction
of progress we think to be based on reason and not alone on hope. That
it is also our fervent hope, we need hardly add. But every Haligonian
who cherishes for his city the vision which this book contains, may help
mightily to bring it to pass by making effort his watchword and
intelligence his guide. We do not say it will all come tomorrow. We do
say a wonderful beginning has been made since yesterday. And this is
bright for the future. In no better words can we conclude than in those
of one of her greatest lovers: "Changes must come to Halifax. This is a
world of change. But every true Haligonian hopes that the changes will
not disfigure his beloved city, but only heighten and enhance the
intimate and haunting charms she borrows from the sea."[179]

  [179] MacMechan, _op. cit._, p. 336.



  Accidents, industrial, 116, 135

  Advancement, human, _vide_ progress

  Aesthetics, 70

  Aggregation, social, 62

  Altruism, 51, 58

  Ameliorative legislation, _vide_ legislation

  Analytic psychology, 49

  Anxiety, 38

  Anger, 39, 44, 45

  Animal relief, 91

  Army, _vide_ military

  Association, 56, 63;
    utility of, 62, 142

  Associations, state and voluntary, 73, 99

  Attention, 17, 20, 54, 55, 134

  Authority, 101, 102, 103, 104


  Behavior, 17, 18, 52, 53, 60, 67

  Beliefs, 23, 38, 120

  Bereavement, 47

  Biological factors in society, 67, 142

  Body politic, 44, 69, 144

  Bureau, welfare, 139

  Business, disorganization of, 31, 59, 113;
    expansion of, 77, 124;
    indices of, 125;
    relief, 105, 113;
    resumption of, 69, 71, 72, 73


  Capital, 139

  Catastrophe, and crisis, 16, 18;
    and communication, 31;
    definition of, 14;
    and evolution, 14, 15;
    and generosity, 57, 58, 115;
    and heroism, 55;
    and insurance, 116;
    and poetry, 22;
    and population, 128;
    and progress, 21, 22, 23;
    and social change, 118;
    and social disintegration, 31;
    and social economy, 80;
    and social legislation, 23, 100;
    and social organization, 59, 69;
    and social psychology, 35;
    and suicide, 46;
    and social surplus, 111;
    and survival, 56;
    and tragedy, 114, 115;
    and war, 14

  Cataclysm, _vide_ catastrophe

  Causation, social, 144

  Centralization, policy of, 83

  Ceremony, 120

  Change, social, and catastrophe, 20, 21;
    and crisis, 16, 21;
    definition of, 15, 21;
    factor of, 15, 16;
    and fluidity, 21;
    indications of, 123, 143;
    and progress, 21;
    resistance to, 19

  Charity, 22, 97

  Child welfare, 87, 88, 89, 90, 98, 135, 137

  Churches, _vide_ religious institutions

  Circumstantial pressure, 33, 64, 77

  Civic authority, _vide_ municipal control

  Civic improvement, 22, 77, 105, 108, 129, 130, 140

  Civilization, 31, 49

  Classes, social, 96, 139

  Clergy, 74, 83, 84, 139

  Clinics, 134

  Climatic factors in society, 66, 67, 142

  Clubs, 76, 123

  Collective behavior, _vide_ behavior

  Commerce, 70, 118, 122

  Commercialized recreation, 138

  Communication, 31, 57, 61, 62, 71, 72, 73

  Community, 19, 21, 32, 49, 55, 62, 67, 78, 80, 84, 85, 88, 92, 95, 96,
  97, 100, 101, 109, 115, 135, 138, 143

  Comparative catastrophe, 146

  Compensation, 90, 96, 97, 105, 107

  Component groups, 70

  Consciousness, 37, 42, 59, 60, 68, 124, 142

  Consciousness of kind, 63, 67, 142

  Consciousness of underlying difference, 69

  Conservation, social, 79, 84, 143

  Conservatism in society, 19, 117, 120

  Contagion of feeling, 42

  Control, social, 19, 22, 34, 141, 146

  Conventionality, 49

  Coöperation, 61, 83, 84, 97, 138

  Crime, 50, 76

  Criticism, 49, 84, 86, 92, 94

  Crisis, and catastrophe, 16;
    definition of, 16;
    and fluidity, 18;
    and great men, 55;
    and progress, 55;
    and revolution, 17;
    significance of, 16

  Crises, in battles, 16;
    in communities, 18;
    in diseases, 16;
    in life-histories, 16, 18;
    men skilled in dealing with, 83, 98;
    power to meet, 80;
    in religions, 16;
    in social institutions, 16;
    in world of thought, 16

  Crowd, 41, 42, 43, 45

  Crowd psychology, 35, 41, 45

  Courts, 96

  Culture, 19, 21, 80

  Curiosity, 44

  Custom, 15, 19, 34, 49, 63, 67, 69, 120, 142, 145

  Cycles, 15


  Death rate, 133

  Delinquency, 138

  Delirium, oneiric, 46

  Delusion, 35, 38

  Determination, 44, 58

  Diagnosis, social, 92, 121

  Disaster, _vide_ catastrophe

  Disaster psychology, _vide_ psychology

  Disaster relief, _vide_ relief

  Disease, 22, 36, 48, 134

  Discussion, 37, 64, 67, 142

  Disintegration of society, 18, 31, 33, 34, 35, 59

  Dispensary, 88, 133

  Distributive system of society, 31

  Diversity of capacity, 69

  Division of labor, 69, 79, 142

  Dynamic forces, 19

  Dynamogenic reactions, 52


  Economic factors in society, 68

  Economy, social, 80, 98

  Education, 19, 84, 101, 120, 121, 129, 134, 135, 136, 137

  Educational institutions, 20, 69, 70, 74, 76, 82, 85, 91, 95, 135, 136

  Educational psychology, 137

  Educational sociology, 137

  Emergency, 52, 60, 79, 82, 83, 87, 98, 143

  Emotion, 33, 36, 44, 46, 47, 48, 52, 53

  Endurance, 52, 53, 54, 60

  Energies, 52, 58

  Environmental effects, 15, 75, 136, 145

  Envy, 44

  Erroneous recognition, 39

  Equipmental factors in society, 68, 142

  Evolution, 14, 15, 56, 101

  Exaltation, 45, 46

  Expectancy, 41


  Factors in social change, 15, 16, 22, 144

  Family, 59, 61, 74, 86, 88, 89, 140

  Fatigue, 45, 52, 53, 54

  Fear, 39, 44, 45, 64

  First aid, 41, 61, 134

  Flight instinct, 40

  Fluidity, 18, 19, 20, 21, 34, 142, 145

  Flux, 19, 34

  Folkways, 18

  Food-getting, 39, 92

  Fraternal societies, 76, 98


  Generosity, 55, 57, 58, 115, 116, 143

  Geographic determinants, 67, 119

  Government, 19, 31, 100, 101;
    agencies of, 100;
    aid in disaster, 94, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107;
    an institution of society, 100;
    and leadership, 117;
    officials, 62, 102, 106;
    over-emphasis of, 19, 119, 120

  Gratitude, 45

  Great man, 55, 69

  Greed, 44, 51, 94

  Gregarious instinct, 40, 41, 63, 67

  Grief, 38, 48

  Group, 41, 55, 56, 60, 70, 142

  Group heroism, 56


  Habit, 17, 19, 20, 52, 69, 117

  Habitation, 39, 63

  Hallucination, 35, 37, 38

  Happiness, 70, 112

  Health, public, 68, 88, 101, 108, 119, 132, 133, 134, 135, 138, 140

  Helpfulness, psychology of, 56, 85

  Herd instinct, 41, 63

  Heroism, 55, 56

  History, 14

  Heredity, 67

  Homes, 31, 32, 48, 63, 87, 114

  Homogeneity, 70

  Housing, 114, 129, 132, 140

  Hospitals, 53, 66, 88, 90, 135, 140

  Human nature, 93, 94

  Hyperactivity of imagination, 46

  Hyper-suggestibility, 44

  Hypnosis, 45


  Imagination, 31, 37, 46, 114

  Imitation, 15, 63, 67, 77, 142, 145

  Imitation, conditions affecting rate of, 77

  Immobility of society, 19, 20, 120, 144, 145

  Impulsive social action, 42, 48

  Indemnity, principle of, 95

  Indications of social change, 123, 143

  Indices of business, 125

  Individual reactions, 41, 51, 53, 55

  Industry, 31, 69, 118, 121, 144

  Industrial, accidents, 116, 135;
    fatigue, 138;
    hygiene, 135

  Inhibitions, 36, 41, 49

  Insanity, 46

  Instincts, 18, 20, 35, 39, 40, 44

  Institutions, social, _vide_ religious, educational

  Insurance, social, 105, 116, 125


  Jealousy, 44

  Justice, 19

  Juvenile delinquency, 138


  Kind, consciousness of, 63, 67, 142

  Kindliness, 45, 55


  Labor, 139;
    division of, 69, 79;
    legislation, 23, 101, 108

  Law, 49, 50, 58, 120

  Leadership, 21, 61, 67, 80, 84, 86, 145

  Legislation, ameliorative, 101;
    boundaries of, 101;
    and catastrophe, 23, 110, 143;
    health, 108;
    ideals of, 101;
    labor, 23, 101, 108;
    mining, 23, 108;
    marine, 23, 108, 109;
    promotive, 133;
    progress in, 101, 108, 110, 143;
    social, 23, 100

  Like-mindedness, 63, 70

  Like response, 41

  Limitation of field of consciousness, 42

  Lookers-on, stimulus of, 21, 78, 145


  Magic, 20, 78

  Martial law, 101

  Maternity, 48, 135

  Mass relief, 85

  Medical inspection, 136

  Medical social service, 87, 88, 89, 98, 140

  Mental hygiene, 134

  Mental unity, 41

  Meteorological pressure, 65

  Military and naval organization, 51, 60, 63, 68, 88, 101, 102, 122,
  143, 145

  Ministerial association, 139

  Models, 21, 77, 78

  Modes of affective experience, 44

  Morale, 21, 106, 108, 145

  Morality, 20, 97

  Mores, 70

  Morgue service, 39, 91, 98

  Mortality, 112

  Municipal control, 101, 102, 103, 104

  Mutual aid, 55, 56, 57, 58


  Navy, _vide_ military

  News-notice, 115

  Normality, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 79, 142


  Obstruction and the human will, 52

  Occupational change, 113

  Oneiric delirium, 46

  Organization, _vide_ social, relief

  Orientation, 123

  Original tendencies, 39


  Pain economy, 112

  Pain, 53, 54

  Parental instinct, 40, 41

  Pensions, 90

  Percentage of indifference, 129

  Percentage of interest, 129

  Personal crises, 18

  Phenomena, of bereavement, 47;
    of crowd psychology, 35, 41, 45;
    diverse, 35;
    of emotion, 44;
    of endurance, 52, 53;
    post-catastrophic, 48;
    of repression, 49

  Philanthropy, 52, 69, 116

  Physical factors in society, 67, 142

  Physiological reactions, 35, 36, 52

  Pity, 39

  Pleasure economy, 112

  Pluralistic behavior, _vide_ behavior

  Plural leadership, 49

  Police, 76, 101, 102

  Political action, 64, 76, 129

  Political Science, 103

  Poor laws, 101

  Population, 19, 67, 113, 114, 128, 137, 144

  Post-catastrophic phenomena, 48

  Precipitating agent, 16, 144, 145

  Preparedness, 64

  Press, 72

  Pressure, social, 63, 77

  Primitive household, 69

  Principles of relief, _vide_ relief

  Production, 19

  Profiteering, psychology of, 51

  Procedure, 23, 79, 102, 109

  Progress, in catastrophe, 21, 22, 23, 55, 98, 108, 146;
    and change, 21;
    degree of, 21;
    and evolution, 14, 15;
    meaning of, 21;
    and relief, 80;
    in social legislation, 23

  Protocracy, 60, 70

  Psychiatry, 134

  Psychological factors in society, 67, 142

  Psychology, analytic, 49;
    crowd, 35, 41, 45;
    disaster, 35, 56;
    of helpfulness, 56, 85;
    of helplessness, 49;
    of insanity, 46;
    of profiteering, 51;
    of relief, 49, 94;
    social, 35;
    and sociology, 19, 35

  Public opinion, 23, 84, 86, 93

  Public safety, 132, 136

  Public utilities, 71

  Pugnacity, instinct of, 40


  Reconditioning of instincts, 18

  Recreation, 19, 73, 101, 129, 137

  Recuperation of society, 20, 35, 112, 114, 117, 143

  Regional influence, 66

  Regulative system of society, 31

  Rehabilitation, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 94, 98, 104, 105, 107

  Religion, 64, 118, 120, 121

  Religious institutions, 32, 63, 69, 70, 74, 77, 85, 95, 120, 139

  Relief, administration of, 44, 66, 83, 86, 87, 93, 94;
    division of labor in, 69;
    fluctuation of, 116;
    leadership in, 61, 103, 116;
    medical, 61, 62, 65;
    military in, 51, 60, 63, 68;
    organization of, 59;
    psychology of, 49, 94;
    principles of, 81, 84, 85, 96;
    procedure in, 79;
    relation to progress, 80;
    residuum of, 97;
    reserve, 98;
    secret service in, 98;
    shelter, 63, 64, 66, 82, 90;
    stages in, 85

  Repression, 49, 50

  Reproductive system of society, 31

  Resentment, 45, 49

  Residuum of relief, 97

  Resumption of normal society, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75

  Restitution, principle of, 94, 95

  Retrogressive evolution, 15

  Revolution, 17, 22

  Ritual, 20

  Rumor, responsiveness to, 43, 63


  Sabbath observance, 77

  Safety, public, 132, 136

  Sanitation, 66, 133, 134

  Schools, _vide_ educational institutions

  Science, 33, 88

  Security, feelings of, 41

  Self-control, social, 70

  Segregation, 64

  Self-preservation, 31, 40

  Sensation, 36, 38, 54

  Sense perception, 37, 38

  Sensorium, social, 59

  Service, social, 80, 82, 84, 98, 117, 139, 143

  Shibboleths, 77

  Shock, reaction, 31, 36, 45, 54, 60, 91, 141

  Social, action, 64;
    aggregation, 62;
    age, 139;
    choices, 121;
    consciousness, 60;
    conservation, 79, 84, 143;
    conservatism, 19, 117, 120;
    contrasts, 32;
    control, 19, 22, 34, 141, 146;
    economy, 80, 98;
    effects, 75, 96;
    factors, 59, 67, 142;
    immobility, 18, 20, 120, 144, 145;
    insurance, 105, 116, 125;
    legislation, 23, 100;
    memory, 23, 55;
    mind, 49, 70;
    order, 143;
    organization, 35, 59, 142;
    policy, 80, 139;
    pressure, 63, 77;
    psychology, 35;
    reorganization, 69;
    sensorium, 59;
    service, 80, 82, 84, 98, 117, 139, 143;
    specialists, 69, 81, 85, 94, 143;
    standards, 32;
    surplus, 68, 111, 112, 143

  Social change, _vide_ change

  Socialization, 52, 55, 85, 97, 142, 145

  Socialized recreation, 138, 139

  Society, 33, 35, 49, 69, 70, 76, 79, 91, 100

  Societies, 76, 99

  Socio-economic factors, 112, 117, 143

  Sociological factors, 59, 67, 142

  Sociology, 33, 35, 120;
    attractions of study, 13;
    educational, 137;
    and psychology, 19, 35;
    virgin fields in, 13, 23

  Sorrow, 45, 47

  Standards, social, 32

  Standards of living, 112, 113, 133

  State, 101

  Static conditions of society, _vide_ immobility

  Statistics, vital, 135

  Stimulus, of catastrophe, 33, 51, 53, 54, 57;
    of heroism, 55;
    of leaders, 21;
    of lookers-on, 21, 78, 145;
    of models, 78;
    repetition of, 45

  Struggle for existence, 41

  Sub-normal, 136

  Suggestibility, 41, 42, 48, 142

  Suicide, 46

  Supervised playgrounds, 136

  Surplus, social, 68, 111, 112, 143

  Survival, 56

  Sustaining system of society, 31

  Sympathy, 45, 46, 55, 58


  Taboo, 49, 71

  Tender emotion, 45

  Themistes, 18

  Topography, 67, 142

  Tradition, 32, 120

  Transportation, 43

  Trade-unions, 51


  Under-nutrition, 113

  Unemployment, 59, 125

  Unit in relief, 60

  Unity, mental, 41

  Utility, of association, 62, 67, 142

  Utilities, public, 71


  Variation, social, _vide_ social change

  Vicissitudes, 14, 21

  Vigilance committee, 19, 143

  Vigor, economic, 70

  Vocational training, 98, 136

  Volition, 55, 64

  Voluntary associations, 73, 84


  War, 14, 26, 45, 48, 94, 97, 101, 117, 144

  Wealth, 111

  Welfare, 70, 86, 132, 139

  Will, 22, 44, 52, 53

  Workmen's compensation, 105

  Worship, 19, 77


  Zeal, 44


Born at Hammond River, Province of New Brunswick, Canada. Son of
Samuel I. and Mary E. Perkins Prince. Graduate of St. John (N. B.) High
School, the University of Toronto, Wycliffe College (Tor.). Taught at
Ridley College, St. Catharines, Ont. Appointed to staff of St. Paul's
Halifax N. S. Studied for doctorate at Columbia University. Subject of
primary interest, Sociology; of secondary interest, Statistics and
Social Legislation. Graduate courses with Professors, Giddings, Tenney,
Chaddock, Lindsay, Andrews, Montague, McCrea. President of the British
Empire Club of the University.

  [ Transcriber's Note:

    The following is a list of corrections made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

  dead." "Crisis," Professor Shailer Matthews observes, "is something more
  dead." "Crisis," Professor Shailer Mathews observes, "is something more

  sentence in Ross' _Foundations of Sociology_ (p. 206) "Brusk
  sentence in Ross' _Foundations of Sociology_ (p. 206): "Brusk

  seaboard. It is situated at the head of Chebucto Bay a deep inlet on
  seaboard. It is situated at the head of Chebucto Bay, a deep inlet on

  an fro before they dropped. Still others with shattered limbs dragged
  and fro before they dropped. Still others with shattered limbs dragged

  "So hypochrondriac fancies represent
  "So hypochondriac fancies represent

  fruitless search whereever refugees were gathered together, the
  fruitless search wherever refugees were gathered together, the

  to do so, these lines of conduct are the roots of greed. (_Ibid._,
  to do so, these lines of conduct are the roots of greed." (_Ibid._,


  pressure. Magnificent effort, conspicious enough for special notice was
  pressure. Magnificent effort, conspicuous enough for special notice was

  could not escape, observation was the strange insensibility to suffering
  could not escape observation was the strange insensibility to suffering

  may be stated that catastrophe is attended by phenonema of social
  may be stated that catastrophe is attended by phenomena of social

  depot at well as a habitation. Then the idea spread of taking the
  depot as well as a habitation. Then the idea spread of taking the

  comradeship.[94] Then followed requests for changes of location in the
  comradeship."[94] Then followed requests for changes of location in the

  precipitation. Temperature: max. 18.2, min. 6.6
  precipitation. Temperature: max. 18.2, min. 6.6.

  of_ Halifax, 1918.
  of Halifax_, 1918.


  relationships.?" Having obtained an answer as best they could, the effort
  relationships?" Having obtained an answer as best they could, the effort

  subsidize familes rather than institutions.
  subsidize families rather than institutions.

  3. Procuring necessary articles of clothing, _etc_, for children.
  3. Procuring necessary articles of clothing, _etc._, for children.

  exceeding five thousand dollars. And while in case of the larger claims
  exceeding five thousand dollars." And while in case of the larger claims

  John R. Moors says: "It is interesting to note that at Halifax, the
  John F. Moors says: "It is interesting to note that at Halifax, the

  We have thus far been tracing certain of the major influence which are
  We have thus far been tracing certain of the major influences which are

  In this duty all governments alike share, be they imperial, federal.
  In this duty all governments alike share, be they imperial, federal,

  committees. The Citizen's Committee exercised the general control. They
  committees. The Citizens' Committee exercised the general control. They

  muncipal aid in disaster as falling under the general category of
  municipal aid in disaster as falling under the general category of

  But this is not an all-sufficient explanation, and indeed aplies
  But this is not an all-sufficient explanation, and indeed applies

  and technical leadership, welcome at it was, and saving the situation as
  and technical leadership, welcome as it was, and saving the situation as

  ch viii, p. 197.
  ch. viii, p. 197.

  The chapter discribing the shock also found the immediate reaction to
  The chapter describing the shock also found the immediate reaction to

  [178] The two additional propositions suggested in the the Introduction,
  [178] The two additional propositions suggested in the Introduction,

  Imitation, conditions effecting rate of, 77
  Imitation, conditions affecting rate of, 77

  Pluralistic behavior, _vide_ behaviour
  Pluralistic behavior, _vide_ behavior


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