Men and Events in the Public Eye

R. B. CHESTER January 1 1909

Men and Events in the Public Eye

R. B. CHESTER January 1 1909

Men and Events in the Public Eye


NO paper is more frequently quoted throughout the world than “The Iron Age,” because its weekly review is regarded as the best authority on the iron situation. It is carefully watched by financiers and all classes of business men. David Williams, New York, the owner of the paper, is an Irishman by birth, and the man who for many years wrote the article that is so regularly quoted was Mr. Hobson, a Canadian. Mr.

Hobson grew up in the produce commission business i n Montreal, and was one of our first big cheese exporters. The mark e t g o i n g heavily against h i m on one occasion, he was stranded and sought a situation in New York. Mr.

Williams recognized his expe r i e n c e and capacity and offered him a place on his edito r i a 1 staff.

This he held

for over thirty years until his death about eighteen months ago. Early trade publications were merely advertising sheets, but Mr. Williams determined to make “The Iron Age” a great newspaper, and he has succeeded so admirably that it is generally regarded as the highest type of a trade or technical publication. It carries about 300 pages every

week. When “The Iron Age” began to be a factor in the metal situa t i o n Mr. Williams was introduced to the President of the British Iron and Steel Institute, who remarked “You publish one of those papers that have no litera r y meri t.” Mr. Williams answered that there might be some truth in that for poetic license would be entirely out of place in a paper whose chief aim was to be absolutely accurate. Mr. Williams is the Dean of the

trade publishing business on this continent and was elected President of the National Federation of Trade Press Associations last month. Fie has a large estate on Lake Champlain near the borders of Quebec.

Mrs. Asquith, the wife of Britain’s Premier, whose latest portrait, taken in the garden of the Prime Minister’s official residence at Downing Street, is reproduced on this page, has a keen sense of the obligations of her position. She has recently issued an appeal for personal service and investigation to alleviate the wants of the poor and needy during the forthcoming winter. Mrs. Asquith also takes a deep interest in all her husband’s work. The other day a deputation of suffragettes waited upon the Prime Minister and were given a private audience in his study. During the remarks of one of the visitors a strange lady entered the room quietly and stood listening near the door. The speaker paused and looked

reproachfully at Mr. Asquith. “A stranger has been permitted to enter,” she said. “Oh, no, madam,” replied Mr. Asquith. “This is my wife, who has come to look after my interests.”

In conferring a title on Sir John Barker, the King did honor to an outstanding figure in the world of business. John Barker’s career is in itself one of the modern romances of business. He began life with very little money—I think I heard him once say that his first job brought him in five shillings a week. For a long time he was one of Whiteley’s young men, and then, with his natural shrewdness, his resolution, his ambition, and his downright aptitude for business, he set up for himself in the now famous shop in High Street, Kensington. He had little money of his own at that time, and had to borrow capital; but in a few years he was able to pay everybody out, though it took a good deal more than £100,000 to do it, and High Street, Kensington, which was a somewhat remote and unfashionable suburb, had—doubtless owing to his great shop—become the centre of a great area of the most fashionable shoppings of London. Sir John, though a thorough man of business, allowing nothing to interfere with his daily, or almost daily, visit to his great house, has always been

a strong politician, though a moderate one. He has been especially strong on the question of Free Trade, as to which he speaks wdth knowledge and skill.

A maple tree from Canada was planted in the grounds of Tenterden, near London, England, by Postmaster-General Lemieux in honor of our Premier’s birth day. Tenterden is the new home of Sir Hugh Gilzean-Reid who is a warm admirer of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and one of the best friends Canada has in the Motherland. Though Sir Hugh’s parents resided in and sleep beneath Canadian soil, he has been in this country only once, about four years ago, when he made a flying trip from the Falls to Ottawa. The view of Tenterden, as can be seen, was taken in winter.

The Duke of Northumberland, a lineal descendant of the fighting Percys of mediaeval days, believes in taking severe measures to overcome the difficulties with motorists, which have reached a somewhat acute stage in England,

His Grace was present recently at a meeting called by the Road Union at the

Mansion House in London, at which he made a speech, in the course of which he said : “I say frankly, that I am so prejudiced against motor cars that I am

not impartial ; but I feel I can express my mind more freely because I am now by way of ordering a motor car. . . .

I do not believe you will ever get over the difficulties with motorists unless you have for certain definite offences the right to confiscate the car for so many months.”

The oldest member of the House of Lords, the fourth Baron Gwydyr, was born ninety-eight years ago, in the year 1810. Few men alive to-day can say, as does this "nonagenarian peer, that he can remember the battle of Waterloo and the coronation of George JAG Lord Gwydyr was ten years old when George IV. was crowned; and the boy witnessed the splendid ceremonies which that expensive monarch revived, and which for nearly a year kept all the antiquarians of the United Kingdom hard at work. Never, since then, at the crowning of a British

monarch, has a “king’s champion” ridden into Westminster Hall, gleaming from head to foot in full armor, to clash upon the floor a mailed gauntlet, and to proclaim himself ready to defend the new monarch’s title to the throne. A hundred other mediaeval formalities were revived when George was crowned ; and Lord Gwydyr beheld them, all, going from Whitehall to Westminster in the state barge of his grandfather, the second Baron Gwydyr. Lord Gwydyr has lived not only a long but a very honourable life. For thirty-three years he was secretary to the Lord High Chamberlain and he has been high steward of Ipswich—near which town is his country seat, Stoke Park—besides acting as a magistrate at the Suffolk quarter-sessions.

The leader and organizer of the “volunteer movement” in England was Lord

Elcho, now Earl of Wemyss, another nonagenarian peecr, who, at the time Napoleon III. threatened an invasion of England, stirred up the people to such

an extent that volunteer bodies were formed in all parts of the country. Lord Wemyss is still active as a statesman and only a few months ago he tried to dissuade the House of Lords from enacting the Old Age Pension Bill, under the stress of what he regards as socialistic sentiment. Although ninety years old, he is: erect and tall, keen of eye, and resonant of voice. In London he lives in a house which overlooks St. James’s Park, and which is crowded with rare books, fine paintings, and other works of art. A correspondent who lately visited him asked how he preserved so much of youthful vigor. “I have no recipe for living to be ninety,” Lord Wemyss replied with a smile; “the most important things are parentage and moderation. To be sure, it is no easy matter to select one’s parents ; but what one can do at every period of life is to keep on and hold to what one believes to be exactly right. That is the most important ot all.”

M. Lepine, the Prefect of Police, and one of the most active men in France, is credited with the intention of formulating a scheme for putting down ruffianism in Paris. The Apaches have certainly had a long reign, and it is no secret that their blood-curdling exploits have caused M. Lepine many sleepless nights. He has launched brigades of police against them, he has arrested them by scores, he has sent dogs trained in running down criminals after them—and yet the roughs are as daring as ever. One wonders how certain Paris newspapers, which publish columns about the doings of these marauders of the night, will fare should M. Lepine, assisted by M. Hamard, the detective chief, find a solution of the Apache problem. Popular with Parisians because of his bonhomie, his devotion to duty, and his solicitude for their security, M. Lepine will earn their everlasting gratitude if he succeeds in freeing the streets of those fiends in human form who lie in wait to rob, generally pre-

facing the operation by stabbing or shooting.

When speaking of the French Socialists, one is reminded of the man who has

done a great deal in the way of tam-ing these politicians, teaching them that Socialism does not necessarily imply a negation of patriotism. M. Clemenceau gave evidence of great shrewdness when he included M. Aristide Briand in his Cabinet. When he accepted office M. Briand, who is now Minister of Justice, was decried by the Socialists throughout France. He was regarded as a recreant to his faith, and called upon to resign from the party. M. Briand ignored these attacks, but did the duty which lay nearest to him. Fie is the Government’s crack speaker, either in the Chamber or in the country. A section of the Socialists do not believe in the idea of a fatherland, and they would disband the army. M. Briand has fought against these doctrines. With what result was shown by the Socialist rally round the Government when it was a cpiestion of Germany seeking to humiliate France over a few miserable German deserters from the Foreign Legion.

Sir Clifton Robinson, managing director and engineer of the London United Tramways, is one of those remarkable men, whose natural abilities and resolution of character would make them masters of almost any form of activity to which they devoted attention. His ap-

pearance is that of a soldier. His mind is a machine tempered to the nicest finish of efficiency. Business with him is not a labor; it is a passion. Dividends are not the goal but victory. Sir Clifton Robinson has the distinction of being the first, and is, in fact, the only knight who attained that honor by indefatigable service in providing modern electric tramway facilities for the multitude in England. He has recently been chosen an honorary treasurer of the new association of Knights Bachelors. He has taken an active interest in the success of the Franco-British Exhibition. As chairman of an important engineering section devoted to transport and as a juror he fostered a very desirable cordiality with foreign manufacturers. He is a director of the District and Underground electric railways of London and of various tramway companies, is a J.P. for Middlesex, and is on the Board of the London Hospital, besides being a Freeman of the City of London. Had he accepted the numerous offers made to him to aspire to Parliamentary honors he might have been in a position to contribute his expert knowledge, his clear judgment, and his strong common-sense to the counsels of the nation.

Sir Frank Lascelles, the retiring British Ambassador at Berlin, has held the Em-

bassy there since 1895. He entered the diplomatic service at the age of twenty. One of the most interesting and withal hazardous, experiences he ever passed through was at the time of the Commune in Paris. The Embassy building was nearly shot to pieces by batteries, the onslaught being so terrible that the roof finally fell in with a crash. Sir Frank, along with Sir Algernon West, was quite unmoved by the danger and went calmly through the building collecting all the important official documents, which they took away to a secluded cellar underneath. Here they stayed until the worst of the turmoil was over, and in order to appear as unconcerned as possible, they donned evening dress and sat down to dine amid a hopeless confusion of valuables, hurriedly removed from the danger zone above-stairs. Sir Frank has made himself greatly beloved in Berlin, though he has had some difficult times to endure, especially during the Boer War. His successor in Berlin is Sir Edward Goschen.

A woman has been elected mayor of an English town. The sleepy little old

municipality of Aldeburgh has brought renown to itself by being the first place to choose a woman as its executive head. The honor has fallen on Mrs. Garrett Anderson, who, in addition to being a woman of executive ability, is also a clever doctor. She was in fact, the pion-

eer woman doctor, as she is now the pioneer woman mayor, in England. Tier father before her was the first mayor of Aldeburgh, when it became a reformed corporation.

Cyril Maude made one of his early appearances on the stage in Toronto in 1881 in an amateur performance. The critic of one of the daily newspapers paid especial attention to him and concluded that of all vocations the stage was that for which he was least suited. At that time Cyril Maude, not very long out of Charterhouse, was attempting to learn farming with several fellow-countrymen near Oakville, Ontario. He made the usual success and from the farm drifted to the stage two years later, in 1883. His rise in London was rapid and he quickly assumed a leading place among the younger comedy actors. He then became co-manager of the Haymarket Theatre, in which post he remained nine years, but latterly has been the lessee and manager of the Playhouse, Charing Cross. He is one of the most polished and agreeable personalities that the ranks of modern comedy have known. He doubtless recalls with humor some of his Canadian rural experiences and most of all

the Toronto writer who saw so little promise in his acting. He is a son of Captain Charles Henry and the Hon. Mrs. Maude, and married, in 1888, the charming actress, Winifred Emery.

In telegraphy, next to certainty of communication, the most important thing is speed of telegraphing ; and it is in this particular that for the present the advantage rests incomparably with wire-transmitted rather than with wireless messages. Mr. Antal Poliak, at the meeting which was held at the Royal Colonial Institute recently, to further the alluring prospect of penny cablegrams, gave an exhibition of the Pollak-Virag system, of which he is part inventor, and which was once said to be capable of transmitting as many as 100,000 words an hour. That was the usual over-estimate, though in practice 45,000 woras an hour have been sent between Berlin and Königsberg, over a distance of nearly 500 miles. The great feature of the Pollak-Virag system is that the message when received writes itself in characters, which resemble those of handwriting.

The great diamond, given by the loyal South Africans to show their appreciation of King Edward, has at last been presented to His Majesty, having reach-

ed that state of perfection which only the art of a foreign cutter, apparently, can produce. The story of the Cullinan savours of romance. It was discovered almost by accident by an overseer of the mines of the Premier Diamond Mining

Company three years ago. He was going his rounds when he noticed something glistening in the earth ; he dug it out with a pocket-knife, and recognized it as a diamond, the hugest that had ever been seen. It was named the “Cullinan” after the then chairman of the Premier Company. Its weight was 3,025 3-4 English carats, or more than 1 1-2 lbs. avoirdupois. As it has reached the King, however, it forms two of the largest brilliants in the w'orld, a third stone weighing 92 carats, a fourth 62 carats, while there are a hundred others of varying sizes. By an expert who has had an opportunity of examining them, this scintillating handful of gems is estimated to be worth £1,000,000. Provision has been made for Queen Alexandra to have a bijou out of this glorious brilliant, which, in its present forms, now takes the place of honor in the Tower, whence it awaits transfer to the orb and sceptre.

The death of Samuel Carsley, of Montreal removes still another of Canada’s merchant princes, whose name has been stamped on one of the most important of Montreal’s business houses. Mr. Carsley’s career in Montreal was a long and honorable one. From comparatively a small beginning, and encountering untold difficulties, he built up a business which is a landmark in the city’s history.

After his business was well established, Mr. Carsley became interested in many financial and commercial institutions, and was a noted philanthropist. At the time of his death he was vice-president of tne Banque Provinciale, a director of the Dominion Textile Co., Limited, president of the Central Light, Heat & Power Co., and of the Canadian Vacuum Cleaning Co. He was a life governor o f the Montreal General Hospital and a member of Christ Church C a t h e d r al.

Among h i s notable actions he was the first to int r o d uce machinery into Canada for winding cott o n thread, and silk on spools.

Mr. Carsley was a native of Shropshire,

England, where he was born in 1835.

The early part of his life was spent in his

town of Ellesm e r e, at

native county, where he was apprenticed to the dry goods business a t the market

which place he received his earliest training in business. Later Mr. Carsley engaged in business in Liverpool, Manchester and London, and in 1857 left for Canada, where he continued in the dry goods trade, and in 1862 commenced business on his own account at Kingston. In 1871 Mr. Carsley removed to Montreal, where

he established the business which developed into one of the largest departmental stores in Canada.

Ernest Rutherford, of Manchester University, who was awarded the Nobel chemistry prize on December 9 for his contribution to the solution of the problem of radio-activity is a New Zealander

by birth, and, though but 37 years of age, is one of the greatest authorities in the world on radium and r a d i o-activity. Quite recently he dem o n s trated e x p e r imentally the truth of the atomic theory. For eight years previous to 1907 he was M a c d o nald professor o f physics at McGill. The Nobel prizes are awarded annually i n a c c o r dance with the will of the late Dr. Nobel, the Swedish chemist and inventor o f dynamite, to those persons who shall be considered to have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind during the preceding year. There are five prizes, each worth about £8,000. One is awarded in physics, one in chemistry, one in physiology or medicine, one for the most distinguished work of an idealistic tendency in the field of literature, and one for the best efforts in the interests of peace among the nations.