Canada, United States and the Future
Agnes C. Laut
KDITOU S jíotk—President Wilson’* Proef Note un# presented after ftyi* article, na* written. It further accentuate* tin need fr a careful consult ration of the relations that are to exist between Great Britain, tin I’nited States and Canada alter the tear. Miss Laut points out that the election of W ilson ••as an evidence of the real sentiment pf the nation toward the World war, a sentiment which persists, despite the machination* of the Kaiser’s hireling* and the. shallowness of American politicians—a sentiment concretely expressed in the reception to Sir Robert Borden in New York. That this sentiment is ’north fostering, ami that Canada can play an important part in so doing—this is a point that should he carefully considered.
TO DESCRIBE American political conditions as chaotic since the elections is putting it mildly.
What defeated Hughes? What reelected Wilson Why did the Germans immediately on Hughes’ defeat launch a subterranean peace propaganda, and follow that up with a condemnation of foreign loans by the United States, uttered by the Federal Reserve Bank Board of the United States? How comes it with these two moves that there looms on the horizon the cloud of a resumption of the policy of “frightfulness” on the High Seas? The very week that Germany launched her peace propaganda word came that a flotilla of submarines had left Kiel for Amevican waters; and before these words see print, the destination of the German fle*t of under-9eas destroyers will probably have been proclaimed in another series of sea disasters.
And don’t forget the very week Germany I launched peace from one hand and crime on the 'iigh seas from the other, the lawyers aod bankers of New \ork quietly gave over one week end to welcoming, feting and feasting Sir Rober; Borden, Premief of Canada, not because he was Sir Robert Borden, but because he represented the race that is to-day fighting the world’»; greatest, battle for a free democracy.
FIRST of all, what really defeated Hughes? Two reasons have been given to the public—or rather explanations of the sort that do not explain. It was the woman vote. Or it was California. A palatial train was fitted out for women campaigners to go West and bid for the woman vote of the suffrage states. The cost of the trip was defrayed by some of the richest contributors in the East. The explanation is given that the Democrat* “played up” “the golden special” in a way :o discredit the Republican campaigners with the simple West. The appeal was made for Wilson that “he kept us out of the war,” and that argument was supposed to have swayed the women voters of the Middle West, while the golden special*' was used to alienate the independent voter.
Let the argument pass for what it is worth ; and apply the salt of a few facts. The night that election returns were coming in, I came down from the country to New York. German restaurants were full. Beer flowed in floods. As the news
of returns favoring Hughes was flashed on the screens in a certain well-known theatre, the German Ambassador in his box was seen wreathing smiles that fairly fell over the railing in bouquets on the audience. The Germans were so sure they had “spoked” Teddy’s nomination, rebuking him for his harsh words on the war and had then defeated Wilson. But there was a different story in the morning at the hotel where BernstorfF was staying. The valet came downstairs with features wreathed in pain. Nothing had pleased the representative of Majesty that morning. The fellow had been “cussed” black and blue^ What was the matter that the returns had been all right the night before but were all wrong the morning after? Nothing — except that Wilson had been elected instead of Hughes.
“I have voted Republican for forty years,” wrote a very big business man of the Middle West. “I have waited for Hughes to utter one word in repudiation of pro-German propaganda in a neutral country; and I have waited in vain. Wilson with his see-saw is bad enough; but if one is just as negative as the other, I don’t propose swapping horses in midstream. I especially don’t purpose supporting a man, whose angling for alien votes makes him oblivious of American nationalism.”
In other words, this typical Middle Westerner seemed to think that what cost Hughes the election was the German x'ote —or the general supposition that he was going to have it.
A S TO the cry “he kept us out of the war” appealing to the women voters for Wilson, the best answer is that the strongest alliances for preparedness, the most active organizations for compulsory military training, are among women. There is hardly a state in the Union where some women’s organization this vrinter will not besiege the legislature for compulsory military training to be established by law in the schools.
One year before Hughes was nominated, I was talking to a strong Hughes man. I asked him why the Republicans did not risk their very life as a party to expose and oppose the German plots going on in the United States. He answered terse-
ly: “The Germans have always voted Republican.”
It was not what Hughes said that defeated him. It was what he left unsaid. The whole country knew, and knows, that Wilson has blundered, faltered, fumbled, side stepped, backed and filled, see-sawed, h e-ha wed and—written no tea The people didn’t want Wilson doubly damned by Hugfles. Wilson had already written his own epitaph—“too proud to fight.” What the people wanted to know was—What would Hughes do?; and he didn’t tell them—for fear of offending the German vote; os it was supposed he would get thé German vote holus bolus he didn’t get enough of the American vote. In the most lethargic election ever seen, the voters dragged to the polls and registered for the man in office.
California’s vote took a prominence unjustified by facts. Because California’s close vote was the deciding factor for the whole country, California loomed large. The plain facts are—California Republicans double-crossed their ow,n party because Governor (now Senator) Johnston is trimming for the Republican nomination, himself, in 1920.
O SOONER was Wilson elected than German foresight grasped the fact there was a reckoning due. Wilson had been negative. The German vote had cut Wilson. Now secure in a second term, would Wilson become more positive? There were inside rumors of a “wide open” investigation of German propaganda with “the lid” off. It was even said that von Rintelen might be brought back from London' to turn State’s evidence on Mexico and labor plots and the Lusitania. ‘Those rumors still persist among those who know and von Rintelen may have been indicted before this appears: hut
immediately there sprang up simultaneously but not spontaneously, all over the country from San Francisco to New York a hue and cry for peace propaganda. California became seized with a violent demonstration for a huge peace petition to be presented to Président Wilson asking him to become “the saviour of the warring world.” Having been re-elected, what need he care for votes? Let him leave the White House the noblest Roman of them all, with the Nobel Peace prize in his pocket and the aureole round his head of having saved the world from the most terrible slaughter in history. Simultaneously but not spontaneously, Chicago become seized of the same desire. So did New York. So did Boston. So did Philadelphia.
Accounts were flooded into the press of prominent bankers, philanthropists, public men meeting at formal dinners and luncheons “to enforce peace.”
I HOPE you grasp the idea of applying “force" to “peace" and see the beautiful consistency of the idea. It didn’t matter very much at all that these same prominent citizens the very next day denied they had been present, denied they had uttered a word en the subject, declaimed against the an authorized use of their names. The announcements had been given head linea. ‘ The denials were tucked away in obscure corners; and the peace snow ball rolled bigger and bigger.
All this is not implying that the world is not praying and hoping for peace. Every ama and woman, who thinks, must pray and arork for peace—but only the Pomes that is a Victory and fodi be kept. HeU is not doop enough, nor eternity long enough to pop ƒ•*" the infamous crimes of this War; mid soms mon don't purpose letting the criminal tick his tips of innocent blood and quit because he is worn out with killing. As Sir Robert Borden said at the dinner givenjiim by the Lawyers' Club—“no peace till victory has declared such a War can never be repeated.” Which, being interpreted, means: “No peace till Germany is powerless to repeat this War.” I was at the dinner and, as I listened, asked a hanker to my left if the Canadian Premier could possibly realize the import in the fiery passion of his words, amid the money-made claque for peace.
At the very time this peace propaganda was bung launched in America, more than 40,000 women and girls were being transported from France to Germany and, as all the world knows, more than 300,000 Belgian men were being herded to Germany to take the place of Germans jn the trenches.
Nor did the fine hand of German propaganda stop with peace. About two months before the deportation of the Belgians, vague insinuating articles began appearing in the American press, about the Feig*»"« being unworthy of American charity. “They were an idle lot” (hints of immorality, here, evidently to •xeuse the German plans) “and must be put to work.” That was about, the gist of it.
C INCE the war began, living has increased to an almost extortionate figure in the United States. It is the price Uncle Sam has to pay for this war. In cotton, copper, steel, cotton and wheat— undoubtedly the increased cost has resulted from the war; but in other staple food products and house needs such as coal, milk, vegetables, poultry, clothing, wood, etc., etc. the only legitimate cause of high cost has been high wages. Food investigating committees have proved that cliques of speculators have forced prices up. When housekeepers declared an egg boycott the price of eggs tumbled. When the City of New York threatened to handle and sell its own coal, the price of coal fell from $20 a ton to $7 and $8; ar.d when the Federal Government gave a hint to the “wheat pools” of Chicago wheat fell sheer 14 to 16 cents in one day. So, while high wages and heavy exports account for some of the high cost of living, they do not account for this 50r'c tumble that occurred immediately the Government began to look into things.
But here was a grand chance for the pro-German-Irish-hate-England crowd, who failed to elect Hughes. Was this country to be starved in order to feed England? Put an export embargo on all food products, and save the poor American working man, who is now receiving 3001*| higher wages than two years ago, and is now working eight hours a day instead of twelve. “The embargo” cry will undoubtedly get an airing in Congress; but the airing will be a farce; for the animus has been revealed in Representative Fitzgerald’s resolution declaring that the embargo is retaliation on England for interfering with American shipping and black-listing American shippers. I fancy before the gentleman gets very far in his Congressional debate he will receive some enlightenment on exactly where American shipping would be to-day if it were not for the British Navy.
p* OR THAT brings in the next point.
A German efficiency is so delightfully elastic, you “just pays your money and takes your choice.” Here, gentlemen, are deportations of Belgians. Here, gentlemen, is the love of peace cooing her amorous ditty. Here, is the dire fear of starving America to death to feed England; and here is a beneficent gentleman
standing in the White House, who has only to reach forth and accept the Nobel Prize from the Kaiser. (Oh, save my face!) And if these potent arguments of German kultur are not sufficient, here gentlemen, is a fleet of submarines set sail from Kiel for American waters to blow every ship they can hit into Hades. You see how various are the gifts of the Kaiser. Take which you will, America, hut save my face!
When a writer signing himself "Cosmos” began his articles in the Times, of New York, for peace, a very prominent Frenchman now in America made answer to this effect: “If the League to enforce pence is sincere, why did it not protest against the invasion of Belgium?” When Louvain was burnt and Rheims destroyed, when ten departments of France were invaded, when the women and girls Of Lille were deported, why did these Trustees of Humanity, who are for enforcing peace, keep silent? If they have remained dumb and deaf when all those crimes were perpetrated, there is no (visible?) reason why they should not remain deaf and dumb when the crime is going to be punished.”
Right here an interesting problem came up in diplomacy. The English knew when these submarines left Kiel. Would it be wisdom to post a line of British cruisers along the Atlantic to destroy the■ submarines as they came; or let American commerce take care of her own, and let the Germait “subs" work their will? A patrol of British cruisers would virtually be a blockade. Do you hear the eagle scream and the German-American howl and the Irishmen rip the hypocrisy out of things? No, the British cruisers will not fight to protect an American commerce, which America won't protect for herself. If you do so much for a neighbor, you get thanks. If you do too much, you get a kick. England is at the kick stage here just now. Diatribes are heard on England’s blacklisting of American firms. Little is said of American foreign trade sprung to eight billions over night, because British ships patrol the sea lanes of the Atlantic. On the whole, it was a wise diplomatic decision to let the Kaiser and Uncle Sam settle the matter of German submarines in American waters. There is a kick stage just now. There will be a back kick when half a dozen American ships are sunk. Such are the Kaiser's gifts. At time of writing the fleet of submarines is supposed to be headed for Yucatan—a friendly visit, of course, unconnected with the British Navy’s supply of oil from Mexico. ,
UT ALL this has not exhausted German efficiency in America since the election.
No loans have been made by the United States to the Allies unsecured by either a F ranco - British guarantee, or collateral. Yet lately tha Federal Reserve Banks issued what was tantamount to a warning to in-
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vestors not to buy “unsecured” foreign loans. It may be remarked that none of the Allied loans have gone down on the market below 95 and 98. German exchange to-day is at a discount of almost 40G.—which perhaps explains why the Kaiser has turned his attention to finance. It may be added that the Federal Reserve Board has several members avowedly and notoriously pro-German in sympathy. There was nothing for the Morgans to do but withdraw the last loan. The effect will soon be seen in the slackening of export trade from these shores.
From all of which it is apparent that the Kaiser’s chess board shows a skilfully manipulated game under Uncle Sam’s nose. Up to the present, what h-is beer; accomplished towards Germany’s ends—: loss of life, infamy, the defeat of Hughes’
Let it not be inferred for one moment that Mr. Hughes was party to the German machinations that went on behind his the impudent self-styled leader of the American Truth Society—“a blind pig” for the • German-Irish Alliance — Mr. Hughes prided himself on knowing nothing of a man, who for three years has made the welkin ring with demands for Irish freedom and opposition to Allied loans. Mr. Hughes evidently thought to play safe and win. He that saveth his life shall lose it; and the Republicans played so safe that they lost.
That is why the date and the personnel of the entertainment to Canada’s Premier were so significant. The elections were just past. At both the luncheons given by the Lawyers’ Club and the dinner later at the Plaza, all American speakers carefully refrained from violating the President’s request for neutrality; but when Sir Robert Borden skating over as thin ice as a speaker could referred to the War as a fight for world freedom—“a battle
for you as well as for us that shall never cease till the cause of another such war is made impossible”—the hearers shouted wildest approval.
The honors paid Premier Borden represent the first concrete specific efforts of the United States to cultivate friendship with the British Empire as a counterfoil to German propaganda. Much will depend on how Canada returns not the honor, but the overtures. German propaganda has been tireless and sleepless in the United States for ten years. It was called Pan-Germanism. British propaganada has been nil. Yet both Canada and the Mother Country must be financed to some extent in the United States. No matter when or how the-war ends, the nations of the world will offer a new alignment after the war. Where the British Empire and the United States stand will largely result from the part Canada plays or does not play as the golden link of friendship between the two great democracies of the world.