ORIGINAL ARTICLES

MEN AND EVENTS IN THE PUBLIC EYE

R. P. CHESTER April 1 1909
ORIGINAL ARTICLES

MEN AND EVENTS IN THE PUBLIC EYE

R. P. CHESTER April 1 1909

MEN AND EVENTS IN THE PUBLIC EYE

R. P. CHESTER

The recent death of Donald Mackay, worthily called “The grand old man of the Canadian dry goods trade,” closed a notable mercantile career. He was the acknowledged leader and pioneer in the business with which he was actively identified for nearly seventy years, and, althought in his

ninety-fourth year, up to within a couple of months of his leath he was a frequent visitor to the wholesale establishment of

Gordon, Mackay & Company", Toronto, of which firm he was the

head. He was a son of William Mackay, and the

parish of Kildonan, Sutherlandshire, Scotland, was his natal spot, the family removing to Lybster in 1819. He inherited

the rugged constitution of the

stalwart Highland stock, born of the pure mountain air they breathe and the athletic life they lead. He was the youngest of ten

children, and when twenty-one years old, left Scotland for Canada. He had been in this country only a few months when the rebellion of 1837 broke out. With the true instinct of a Highlander he joined the Loyalists and served throughout that brief but stirring period. Id i s brothers, Joseph and Edward, started the great dry goods house of Mackay Bros. in 1840. which was for years a large factor in the commercial life of the Dominion. Donald Mackay joined them and began a career which was crowned w i t h such remarkable success. He went to Hamilton in 1848, and beginning business for himself, it developed so rapidly that within a few months he took his nephew, the late John Gordon, into partnership, and thus the present big wholesale house of Gordon, Mackay & Company had its inception. The firm built the old Lybster cotton mills at Merritton, Ont., in 1861, the industry being named in memory of the place of Mr. Mackay’s youth. The mills were operated for years at a large profit. A man of keen foresight, self-reliant disposition, and indomitable will, Mr. Mackay was enabled by good judgment and splendid insight to pilot his business through many a period of storm and stress. During the commercial crises of 1857, 1867 and again in 1878, when financial reverses swept many commercial concerns away, his firm, like a steady oak, defied the blasts of adversity, and came safely out of the crash. The troubles of those disastrous times would have whitened the

hairs of many a business man—not so those of Donald Mackay, who always had a head, well poised, cool and crowned with thick, black hair on which the ruthless hand of time failed to leave the usual marks of frost or decay. He was fond of pedestrian and equestrian exercises, and for many months after his ninety-third birthday had passed, his step was as firm and steady as that of many men of half his years. Donald Mackay leaves behind the record of a life well spent.

The rise of Sir Ernest Cassel to wealth and fame is one of the romances of modern finance. Ilis father, Jacob Cassel, was a banker in a small way in Cologne—indeed, so small that there was no room for his son; so at sixteen young Ernest left school and came to England, where he soon found himself sitting on a tall stool as junior clerk in a Liverpool grain merchant’s office-. This was in 1868. Three years after, finding that his salary was only fifteen shillings a week, he came to London. About this time one of the most famou° financial firms in London was in difficulties of so grave a nature that there seemed to be no way out of them. Ernest Cassel happened to be clerk in the firm which was investigating their affairs, and he soon found himself face to face with the task of disentangling the complications. Such was the extraordinary aptitude he showed for dealing with large financial questions, that before he was one and twenty he liad made a name for himself. Launching out on his own account, the first task he had put before him was the straightening out of the finances cf Argentina. And so lie rose from triumph to triumph. A close friend of King Edward, and a fine sportsman, he is one of the most genial and modest of men. It is an open secret that a peerage has been his for the asking for the last few years, but the modest “E. Cassel,” painted in small black letters inside the door of his office, is not likely to be painted out for a great many years to come.

Thomas Swinyard, who is presenting to the Toronto Club an oil portrait of himself, painted by Piero Tozzi, a talented Italian artist of New York, is one of the two oldest members of that famous social organization, A. G. Ramsay, former

President of the Canada Life Assurance Company being the other. They joined in 1861. While Mr. Swinyard has for the last 17 years lived in Gilvertsville, N.Y., he visits Toronto three or four times a year and is always given a cordial greeting by his many old friends in the comfortable club house at the corner of Wellington and York Sts. A gentleman of wealth and leisure, he usually spends the winters abroad at Monte Carlo and other points in Southern Europe. Since 1883 he has been President of the Dominion Telegraph Company, which has its head office in Toronto. He came to Canada in 1861 from England where he was Assistant General Manager of the London and North Western Railway and, on his arrival here, he assumed the duties of General Manager of the Great Western Railway, then a leading road in Ontario with headquarters in Hamilton. He remained with the Great Western until 1871 and during that time was one of the most widely known men in the Dominion, being as prominent a figure in railway circles in this country as Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, Charles M. Hays, or William Mackenzie are to-day. For some years later he was interested in the oil regions around Petrolca, Ont., and in 1874 was appointed a special commissioner by the Federal Government to take over the Prince Ed-

ward Island Railway from the Provincial Government, complete and organize the line. This was to fulfill one of the conditions under which the Island came into Confederation. Next year he became General Manager of the Dominion Telegraph Company, succeeding to the presidency on the death of Hon. T. N. Gibbs. During the same period he was for several years Vice-President of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway with headquarters in New York City. Genial and courteous, with the happy faculty of making and retaining friendships, he was in days gone by, a cricketer of note. He is fond of golf, and although in his seventy-sixth year, is a remarkably well preserved and active man. His portrait, which will soon be hung in the Toronto Club, will be a welcome addition to the gallery of leading members, past and present, whose pictures adorn the walls of that institution.

Philander C. Knox, who may not inaptly be called the general manager of Lmcle Sam’s administrative business, under President Taft, is a notable figure among American public men. A lawyer by profession, practising in Pittsburg, he came to Washington an almost unknown man, succeeding John W. Griggs as attorney-general in President McKinley’s second cabinet. Mr. Knox is an indefatigable worker. When he was attorney-general it was a not unusual thing for him to appear at the department at nine o’clock with all his correspondence for the day attended to. This necessitated his rising about six. Mr. Knox stands about five feet four and a half in his shoes; he is well built, well groomed, well preserved and active. lie is a man one would look at twice meeting him for the first time in the street. He has a fine, expressive face, which lights up when he smiles like that of a highly pleased cherub. He is fond of his home and his books, but much delights in outdoor amusements. He plays a game of golf that staggers the famous experts of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justices Harlan and Brewer. Mr. Knox is a great lover of the horse. He still owns the fastest pair of trotters in double harness in the world, and on his country place at Valley Forge has a large stable of fine driving and saddle horses.

Admiral Sir William May, on whose shoulders will fall the burden

of organizing the biggest fleet the world has ever seen and the sole responsibility for the naval defence of the United Kingdom, is by no means as young a man as his portrait would indicate. Since he entered the Navy in 1863 he has had a most distinguished career. Not only has he been an attache at a foreign Court, Director of Torpedoes at the Admiralty, aide-de-camp to the late Queen, Controller of the Navy, and Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty, but he wears the Arctic medal for the expedition of 1875-6, and claims the enviable distinction of having increased the size of the Empire by annexing Christmas Island. Amongst his other unusual services is that of having led the naval contingent in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, while to him also were entiusted the naval arrangements in connection with the funeral of the great Oueen. The Admiralissimo of the British seas is a K.C.B. and K.C.V.O., and he also wears the insignia of the Legion of Honor and of the Prussian Order of the Red

A Canadian artist, whose work is winning recognition in many quarters and commanding attention in leading art centres, is J. W. Morrice, son of David Morrice, of Montreal. 1 íe began life as a clerk in a Toronto law office, but did not care for Coke and Blackstone and, after a few years, finally decided that the courthouse was not the arena in which lu could make his way to the front, lie abandoned the profession and went to Paris where he has ever since resided, occasionally visiting his old home. He devoted his time and splendid talents to art, and one of his pictues has just been pur-

chased by the committee on selections to be placed in the National Art Gallery at Ottawa. It is a scene from his studio window in Paris. His productions are distinctive and decidedly clever, characterized by freedom of handling, perfect tone and breadth of treatment. He is impressionistic in his conception and ideals and has exhibited his paintings in the Salon, Paris, in London, at the Royal Canadian Academy and the Ontario Society oi Artists as well as at the exhibit of the Canadian Art Club in Toronto. A comparatively young man, his efforts are considered verv fine and have elicited the highest measure of praise in leading cities of the world. 'I'he majority of his pictures are impressions and as such are considered quite as striking and clever as any work in that particular school.

Some interesting facts in connection with the evolution of advertising have been recalled by the recent death of Andrew Pears, the English soap manufacturer, whose name was known in the remotest corners of the earth. The Pears’ business was founded by a great-grandfather of the last Andrew Pears, whose name was also Andrew, 120 years ago. Early in the history of the house it was resolved to make advertisements as attractive as possible. This principle was developed until the firm began to call in the services of the most renowned painters. One of the greatest successes in this direction was the purchasing of Sir John Millais’s picture of his little fairhaired nephew in a green velvet suit blowing soap bubbles. For this Si,100 was paid. Equally well known became the picture of the baby in the bath trying to pick up a piece of soap. It was originallv

entitled “A Knight of the Bath,” and failed to catch on. By a happy inspiration it was renamed “He Won’t Be Happy Till He Gets It,” and its popularity became phenomenal; even Harry Furniss’ Punch caricature of the firm’s testimonial—the figure of a ragged and dirty tramp sitting down to make the affidavit, “Two years ago I used your soap; since then I’ve used no other”—was put to a strikingly successful publicity. “Good Morning,” &cM the phrase by which the Pears’ product is most universally known, was invented by Thomas Barratt. Barratt got his friends to draw up lists of the phrases most in common

use. “Good Morning” topped most lists, and that fact suggested to Barratt that he could not do better than link it immortally with what he was advertising. Gladstone contributed to popularizing the article by once exclaiming, when he wished to illustrate large numbers: “They are as numerous as the advertisements of Pears’ soap or as the autumn leaves in Vallombrosa.” Since starting business the Pears have spent over $15,000,000 in advertising, which may account for the big dividends the business is said to be paying.

Sir Frederick Wills, Bart, organizer of the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain and Ireland, whose death occurred in the south of France last month, was a prominent figure in British commercial and political life. In honor of his services to trade he was created a baronet n 1897. From 1900 to 1906 he sat as member for Bristol North.

The First Lord of the Admiralty. Mr. Reginald McKenna, is in the limelight at present, owing to the alarm which has seized Englishmen that Germany is going’ to outstrip Great Britain in naval construction. The Government seems to have risen to the occasion and, in laying before the House of Commons the naval estimates for the year, Mr. McKenna provided for an increased expenditure of nearly $15,000,000. The First Lord is member for the North Division of Monmouthshire, which he has represented continuously since 1895. In the Liberal Government of 1905 he was appointed Financial Secretary of the Treasury, being advanced to the presidency of the Board of Education in 1907 and becoming First Lord of the Admiralty last year. Mr. McKenna is forty-five years of age and as a young man was a noted oarsman, rowing bow for Cambridge in 1887 and winning the Grand and Stewards’ Cup at Henley. His future career will be interesting to watch.

The panicy condition in England has been reflected on the stage and the whole nation has become excited over a remarkable military play,

now on the boards in London. This play, “An Englishman’s Flome,” is the work of Major Guy du Maurier, D.S.O., of the Royal Fusiliers, who has inherited the literary mantle of his distinguished father, George du Maurier, the author of “Trilby.” In this play, the invasion of England by the Germans is made an actual fact. It is a tremendous and telling satire on the young Englishman, who spends his time in watching cricket and football matches, neglecting military training and the physical development of his own body.

John Hammond Hayes is reputed to receive nearly a million dollars annually for his professional senvices as a mining engineer. To investors his word is law and financial magnates bow down to his bidding without question. He has scores of assistants working under him in all the principal mining countries of the world. From their reports and from his personal experience he is able to give decisions, which are usually astoundingly accurate.

In the struggle for the conquest of the air, Canada may yet take a foremost place. Two of her young sons, who are associated with Professor Graham Bell in his experimental work at Baddeck.

N.S., F. W. Baldwin and J. F. McCurdy, have already attained prominence. The former has been directing his attention largely to the possibilities of the rapid propulsion of boats on the water by means of pro pellers acting against the air. The latter has been making successful flights in Professor Bell’s latest aeroplane, the Silver Dart.

Work at Baddeck is carried on under ideal circumstances. Professor Bell has a beautiful estate overlooking the Bras D’Or Lakes, on which workshops have been erected, equipped with every convenience for the promotion of the work.

The Professor himself, still hale and hearty, radiates enthusiasm. Our photographs of Baldwin and McCurdy are extracted from a group of the Fencing Club of the University of Toronto, taken a few years ago. The figure in the centre is Professor W. R. Lang, of the Department of Chemistry, whose interest in these two young aeronauts must be doubled by the fact that they were both members of the Toronto Field Company, Canadian Engineers, of which he is major in command. Mr. Baldwin, the upper figure, reached the giddy heights of a corporal’s stripes ; Mr. McCurdy was

not long enough in the corps to get

any promotion ; but they are certainly carrying out one of the many duties, which fall to the lot of the Royal Engineers, alike in peacetime as in war.

Great Britain is at last realizing the importance of cultivating the

trade between the Mother Country and the Colonies. The first important step in this direction is the establishment in Canada of a British trade commissionership. About three years ago the Home Government sent Mr. Richard Grigg to look into the business situation in the Dominion. In selecting Mr. Grigg much wisdom was shown, for he is a retired and wealthy manufacturer who had built up a large business in England. He has more than the ordinary capacity to size up actual conditions without being influenced by impractical theories. He spent many months in careful study of conditions from the Atlantic to the Pacific and presented one of the most valuable reports that has yet been received by the British Board of Trade. In it he emphasized the fact that British firms had an enormous and growing market in Canada which needed only intelligent cultivation, and that they were neglecting it largely through ignorance as to a lack of intelligent information from this side. To meet this he recommended that a species of Consular Service should be established in Canada with a commission with headquarters at some central point, and correspondents at the other larger cities of the country, the latter to report on all trade conditions to the commissioner, who in his turn would furnish reports and recommendations to the British Board of 62

Trade. The idea of the scheme was to secure a permanent bureau in Canada for the continuous study of trade conditions in the Dominion, so that the knowledge thus obtained could be sent to the proper quarters in England and thus aid in securing closer trade relations between the two countries by disseminating a better knowledge of the needs and capacities of each. This suggestion of Mr. Grigg’s was accepted by the’ British Board of Trade, and he was appointed trade commissioner for Canada, with instructions to organize his own corps of correspondents, who are under the pay of the British Board of Trade.

Li Sum Ling, editor of the Hong Kong Chinese Daily Mail, declared to be the most influential daily newspaper in China, is touring England and America at present, studying Western methods and civilization. He has very sane views on international politics and believes that the time is ripe for the making of some kind of commercial agreement between China and the Western powers, which would put an end to the so-called Far Eastern problem.

The nearest approach to a skyscraper that the authorities will allow in London, England, is the store ot Selfridge & Co., Oxford Street, which was opened with great sclat on March 15. It is five stories in

height, which may seem small to Canadians, but which in reality marks a distinct advance in methods, both of construction and of operation. II. Gordon Selfridge, the head of Selfridge & Co., was at one time a partner of Marshal) Field & Co., Chicago, but he has been in England for three years now. Associated with him in the management of the business is a Canadian, Mr. Wm. Eirkett, whose father was a member

of the old wholesale dry goods house of Thompson, Birkett & Bell, Hamilton. He spent several years with John Macdonald & Co., Toronto, and was later in the employ of Jordan, Marsh 81 Co., Boston and Marshal] Field & Co., Chicago.

Hugh Chalmers, now of the Chalmers-Detroit Co., manufacturers of automobiles, is possibly the greatest salesman that the business interests

of America have developed in the last generation. He is a many-sided man, a born general, a Jeader, and at times a follower, now a captain of industry, and then a plodding representative on the road. Chalmers is not actually all these in person but in sympathy, outlook and comprehension he embodies the characteristics represented by those foremost in many lines of endeavor. At fourteen years of age he was a stenographer in the office of the National Cash Register Co. at Dayton, Ohio, having been hired a few months previously as office boy at $2 a week. Fifteen years later he was general manager and vice-president of the plant, which has five thousand employes and a selling force in America of five hundred salesmen, as well as representatives in many foreign countries. Chalmers supervised all. He inspired them with loyalty and infused them with enthusiasm. The entire organization was active, willing and

aggressive. Should depression or discouragement evidence itself in the ranks Chalmers drove all traces away by his words of appreciation and advice. When thirty years old he capitalized himself at one millien dollars and then loaned the capital to the National Cash Register Co. for fifty thousand dollars a year or, in other words, that was the salary he received. A year or two later his salary was increased to seventy-two thousand. Chalmers is efficiency and thoroughness personified.