Philadelphia, February 13, 1798
PERSUADED that the introduction of a copious supply of wholesome water into the city of Philadelphia is an object of primary importance to the convenience, welfare and health of its inhabitants, and that it will prove one of the most effectual means of cleansing the streets and sewers from all putrid and noxious matter, and thereby improve the state of our atmosphere, your Representatives in Select and Common Councils have had this subject under their serious consideration, and anxious for its accomplishment by means the least oppressive to their constituents, whilst labouring under the severe effects of the late pestilential fever, seconded your petition to the Legislature to obtain this desirable object.
Contemplating a grant of this aid, your Councils have been occupied in deriving information from a variety of sources, and have satisfactory reason to believe in the practicability of a plan, which, if early pursued, promises an abundant supply of water in the course of the present year, if not before the termination of the next summer months, and in a manner not to be materially, if at all, affected by the variation of the seasons.
Repeated have been the calls on your Councils to adopt measures for obtaining a supply of water. To these applications they have given the requisite attention - they have long deliberates. You are now apprized of the result. In the present situation of their means, no plan has occurred, within their power to accomplish, more likely to succeed, or more compatible with your interests, than the one they design to pursue - no means of acquiring the indispensable fund, so feasible, as the plan submitted to your view and approbation.
Until the Legislature shall, in its wisdom and humanity, extend some effectual relief to its capital, your Councils believe the most eligible, if not the only practicable, mode of procuring the necessary sum will be by loan - one hundred and fifty thousand dollars are wanted, and if fifteen hundred citizens can be found willing to subscribe one hundred dollars each, towards the promotion of an object so deeply interesting to us all, the Corporation will issue transferable certificates, and provide adequate means to pay the interest, and an annual sinking fund to redeem the principal.
To induce you to advance this capital, no lucrative speculation, or extraordinary profit, can, with propriety, be held up to your view. You are invited to no risks - Public spirit and an interest in the future prosperity or decline of your city must be your incitements. Full security for the principal and common interest are the terms: - A temporary advance of a small part of your property may preserve the value of the whole.
Your Councils having no interest separated from those of their constituents, can, in what they thus recommend, have no views, but such as, in their opinion, tend to the public good.
It rests with you to say, whether this work shall or shall not be undertaken. - If encouragement be given by a prompt and liberal subscription, it will be commenced. Should the present call fail of the desired success, we may, as individual citizens, deplore the unhappy event; but as men, to whom a public trust has been delegated, we shall derive consolation from a conviction of having discharged our duty.
KEARNY WHARTON, President of the Common Council.
FRANCIS GURNEY, President of the Select Council.