Harriet Burton Laidlaw to William J. Gaynor, May 19, 1912



Hon. William J. Gaynor,
Mayor of New York City.

Dear Sir:

Hundreds of people and doubtless thousands are tremendously aroused over the recent attack upon Miss Rose Livingston by a "Chinatown" cadet from whom she had rescued a young girl. She has frequently been assaulted in this manner, and has suffered stab wounds, kicks, etc. I saw her recently and her last trial as a result of this attack has been to have three of her good teeth pulled to allow drainage from her splintered jaw bone.

I know that you have done some noble work in the way of "cleaning up." I am sure that an appeal to you will at least save Miss Livingston's life, and I hope it will be effective in bettering conditions in "Chinatown."

The corruption in "Chinatown" and the evident desire of the cadets and the police of that district to see Miss Livingston removed, in any way is a dreadful [indictment] of this City if it continues.

I can easily understand that you and Commissioner Waldo do not realize conditions there. I can see that with all your [arduous] duties that a casual appeal like this might escape you. But I beg of you not to let this [slip]. Many newspapers, magazines and different publications stand ready to take Miss Livingston's case up. Personally I am advising against publicity at present. I think we should approach the matter in a dignified conservative way through you, our City executive, before beginning a [widespread] agitation and a large publicity. We look to you with trust, and confidence. We ask you to show Inspector Daly that thousands of eyes are turning to this district, -- eyes in heads which are in full possession of facts. We ask you to call these matters to the attention of Mr. Tom Foley. ↑This was [tending] the [quick?] T. F. is the [Tammany] leader of the district.↓ We ask you to show Capt. Tierney, Officer Sullivan and plain clothes men, Keller and Eagan (I think this is the name) that a long suffering but very much awake public takes it for granted that the police force is for the suppression of Vice; the protection of citizens; -- especially valuable citizens like Miss Livingston who are doing [beneficent] work; and the exercise of control and justice. We are sure that these estimable members of our magnificent police force are anxious to perform their duty where they see it, -- and that they are wise.

With sincere regard,
Yours respectfully,

Harriet B. Laidlaw.

May 19th.