"Your Old Uncle Sam is Coming Right Back of You”
Lieut.-Colonel J. B. Maclean
In last issue we printed a letter from a prominent Canadian commanding officer in France—one of a number we have received expressing approval and thanks to Colonel Maclean for publishing the series of articles giving the Canadian people the real facts about the war situation. Since then an officer here in Canada has been good enough to send us a letter from his son, an officer in the British Navy, which gives the naval viewpoint. He writes: “That article by Colonel Maclean is very good and everything in it very true. Send me all the MACLEAN'S MAGAZINES that have an article by him in them. All Canadians at the naval base are most enthusiastic alxnit his work.” If necessary, names in both cases will be given in confidence to Mr. Woods. President Canadian Pre.ss Association.
CANADIANS who are not close to conditions in the United States fail to realize that there is in that country a powerful pro-enemy element and sentiment. The great mass of the people are strongly with us and have been with us from the outset.
It is very important that we in Canada should understand this situation; and do nothing to jar it, and everything to encourage and develop it.
I beg all our readers, personally and by their influence, to give serious thought and study to the promotion of a proper understanding of what our friends and the Government there have to contend with. If the Americans have not done or are not doing what we would like them to do it is not because they do not want to, but because pro-enemy and other influences temporarily delay them. That they have done great work was shown in my article in January. Since then they have done still greater things in fearlessly exposing and promptly remedying weaknesses that are certain to occur in any new organization. They are bringing in their biggest men like Schwab, Ryan, Baruch to the National Service to aid them to win the war for us, while our Imperial and Canadian Governments refuse to do so. We keep incompetents in many of our big jobs.
THE better understanding between the British Empire and the United States began with the Spanish warTheir navy was in no shape for serious work. Germany knew this and formed a combination in Europe to support Spain. That it was a very very anxious time for the United States President McKinley frankly stated. But to his great relief Britain refused to join and the President was told that British ships would line up with the American if any other power intervened on the side of Spain. The Americans showed their appreciation by ordering the immediate payment to Canada of a large sum of money they had for years refused to pay under an arbitration award. In the last Alaska boundary arbitration, notwithstanding Sir Allan Aylesworth’s noisy condemnation of Lord Alverstone, we failed to show we had any claim. Alverstone frankly admitted this.
'This is the title of the latest popular song that is being sung in the American camps. It goes on, “Your old Uncle Sam is not what he used to be a hundred years ago.”
Yet as an evidence of their kindly feelings towards us the U.S. arbitrators at his Lordship’s request gave us as a present the strip of Pacific water front we so much needed. Finally, as Senator Lodge, said in effect to me some years ago, “American politicians have treated Canada brutally in the past, but, thanks mainly to Hon. Elihu Root all the outstanding differences are now practically settled or on the way there. When Secretary of State Mr. Root decided that he could best serve the people of this Continent by clearing up all points in dispute between them.”
DOWN in Savannah a German professor addressing a large gathering in the early days of the war was not carrying his audience with him and he said:
“I do not understand how you Americans can have the slightest sympathy with the English when you recall the treatment you received in your revolutionary days.” Quick as flash came from a woman, member of an old Southern ScottishFrench family.
“A German king on the British throne was responsible for our troubles, not the British people.”
The answer broke up the propagandists’ rally. And the story represents the feeling that has prevailed throughout the South.
A few months before the U.S. came into the war I saw a big six foot New Englander clean out a group of Germans from a Pullman smoker because their attacks on the British irritated him. He said:
“It is true we licked England and we are proud of it and we would do it again, but we are not going to let anyone else do it.”
My old brother officer, General the Hon. James Mason, showed me with considerable pleasure and surprise a despatch from the United States saying that a man had been sentenced in California to ten years and a $5,000 fine because he was showing pictures misrepresenting the trouble between Britain and the United States in 1776. The Senator was amazed and surprised at the change that has come over the Americans. If a man who is such a reader and who keeps in touch with things as does the Senator is not familiar with the friendship that the people of the United States bear towards us to-day how
much more ignorant must be many voorde throughout Canada and how important is it that our press should give more attention to the matter.
These three incidents represent the East, West and South.
Dr. G. R. Parkin, C. M. G-, the distinguished Imperialist, has just completed a 25,000 mile journey, visiting every educational centre in the United States, addressing thousands in connection with his work as director of the Cecil Rhodes Scholarship Trust. He tells me that nothing impressed him more than the new regard the Americans have for Canada and the Canadians because of our work for and in the war. Every reference to Canada elicited tremendous applause.
ANOTHER sign of the times is the number of articles that are coming out now in the magazines and dailies giving the result of more careful historical research which show from the actual official documents how false were so many of the stories that have hitherto passed as official. One American University Professor shows that the British Government in the matter of taxation was acting on the advice of the Colonists, and that the officer commanding the British troops in North America was ordered not to resist. It would appear that a form of censorship was under way then as now which misrepresented actual conditions.
And now the Irish are playing into our hands. The Home Rulers in the States have kept alive the anti-British sentiment there. In the last few weeks that sympathy for the Irish has gone never to return and instead there is bitter anger in the hundred thousands of American homes where there is anxiety and fear for the fate of dear ones sacrificing themselves in France while a group of Irish are aiding the enemy.
In my June article I quoted from a letter received by a cabinet member at Ottawa from a friend in the United States the following sentence :
“At the present time, oiving to their magnificent work in the war, Canadians are regarded almost idolatrously on this side of the line. There is a peculiar unexpressed sentiment to remit all the debts of the Allies for the two years she did not go to war."
Just after that Mr. Kenyon of Iowa moved in the United States Senate a resolution providing that “all obligations of the' Republic of France to the United States for moneys borrowed or funds advanced since the commencement of the war including interest thereon be and are hereby cancelled.”
As I write there is before me a practical result of this generous sentiment in a cheque for $2,500. On May 22, the editor of Canadian Machinery received a letter from one of our subscribers, a steel concern—not one of the big corporations—saying they had decided to make an appropriation “in appreciation of the fact that Canada had been fighting our ivar for us for almost two years before we realized that this
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was so.” They would like to give to some Canadian war activity and asked for our advice. The editor recommended the Red
I would like to give their name but in a letter enclosing the $2,500 they refuse, saying: “We made this appropriation
without any desire for publicity. We believe any publicity in this connection would be largely misinterpreted, creating an impression very different from the spirit in which the donation was made. We believe that American support of Canadian war charities and war activities is not such as we should be proud of.”
Finally let me quote from a letter from Colonel Hector Verrett, Assistant Deputy Postmaster General, Ottawa, a French Canadian who has just returned from France, where he has been since shortly after the war began. It shows the attitude of the American army. He writes:
“When I met these gentlemen they told me of their admiration for the Canadian army. I just said, ‘Well we are expecting a great deal from our neighbors, the Americans. One of them said: 'We do
!«ot expect to do better than the Canadians, but we will do our utmost to do Hke them.’ I thought it was a fine spirit and took it down in my memorandum >ook.”
."pHERE is no more loyal city than Toronto in the Empire, yet right 'iere flourishes the most disloyal group >f socialistic pacifists. It is the Canadian headquarters of the I.W.W., the most insidious, clever propagandists—so nsidious that they freely use the local laily and weekly press, inspire telegraphic lews and even mislead some returned soldiers. They are thoroughly organized fight across America, largely with enemy noney.
These are the men who aim to create tiscord between Canada and the States, ind are using the press, the wires and irivate channels. All this is known to the luthorities. They have been carefully nvestigated, accurately card indexed. Back of one Toronto publication was ’ound to be a man of enemy birth.
Here are two incidents that clearly ¡how how they work—how they use the >ress. Mr. Gompers is head of the rreatest organization of American-Cana-
dian Union labor. This organization represents the honest worker who aims to sell his labor at the very highest price the public can afford to pay; the Unionist who desires to give an honest day’s work; who regards himself as part of and takes a pride in his employer’s institution; who wants to save his money, have his own home and bring up a respectable God-fearing family. To this class belong 95 per cent, of Canadian Unionists. From their ranks more men have volunteered for service than from any other class, and Mr. Gompers has been the greatest tower of strength to President Wilson. Sir Robert Borden and the Canadian Parliament recognized this when they offered Mr. Gompers the unusual honor of addressing the members of both Houses formally assembled. Such a compliment to the United States was without precedent. Yet it is a fact, I am told, that not one word about this friendly incident was distributed among the U.S. papers.
But what happened when the reputable Unionists’ great opponents, the disloyal I.W.W., had a chance to stir up discord? Mr. Bryan, who was President Wilson’s intimate friend and former Prime Minister, was to visit Toronto as a delegate to an international temperance society meeting. The insidious campaign began. Local dailies and weeklies began to tell about his pre-war pacifist tendencies and wondered whether it was safe for him to appear in Toronto. Then the returned soldiers were appealed to and urged to mob Bryan. At one meeting of soldiers the I.W.W. tried to put through a scheme for kidnapping him, but the soldiers very indignantly refused. The whole incident was framed up in advance to ensure its publication in the U.S. press. An effort was made to show that Canadians had risen en masse. As a matter of fact he was enthusiastically received at one meeting—though it is safe betting no one in the assembly had any more sympathy with his pre-war policy than they had with Ramsay Macdonald, John Burns, or Haldane or Asquith.
At the other meeting where the local I.W.W. “frame up” was prepared there were men in uniform who were not returned soldiers at all. They were I.W.W. agents. These fake soldiers are now be-
ginning to turn up all over America and by their methods they are bringing into disrepute the splendid fellows who fought and bled for us at the front. In fact it is becoming a serious problem—many of these imitation Canadian soldiers have been arrested in the United States for obtaining money under false pretences; but scores of them are still working. One, a German posing as a Canadian raising money for wounded, is said to have secured several hundred thousand dollars for his own pocket, so generously do the Americans feel towards anyone with a Canadian uniform.
The returned soldiers who are alleged to have taken part are not to blame. My entire sympathy is with them in their efforts to make themselves felt in the betterment of conditions at home. The little bronze button with its Union Jack shield showing service at the front should always entitle the wearer to the best that Canada can give, not in charity but in opportunity and pensions. If sanely led they will make this country a cleaner and greater nation. Who have a greater right to a say in our affairs than those men who voluntarily offered themselves as a , sacrifice for our protection? Most of them are honest, straightforward fellows who believe others to be so also, and it is to be hoped that they will not be misled by what the veteran Southern editor, Henry Watterson, recently very aptly called:
‘‘The helter-skelter rag-time press with its unthinking chatter."
^EITHER in Canada nor in the Old
' Country have we done or are we doing our share to develop the opportunity this Pro-British sentiment has created. On the other hand we are doing much, with our stupid propagandists, titled charity beggars and snobbish military officials, to promote a false view of us.
We displayed very bad judgment in retaining a very sick and consequently dangerous Ambassador at Washington. Asquith and Grey were repeatedly warned by friendly Americans.
Balfour was a marvellously brilliant success as a representative of the Imperial Government and Reading is continuing the good work. But only án enemy of the Allied cause could have wished Sir F. E. Smith, the English AttorneyGeneral, on American audiences. His various references to the French and to the Americans themselves were bad enough but when he caused the diary of his doings to be printed in leading newspapers across the continent he made matters worse. His stories of theatres and late suppers with actresses in American cities and early morning dances at country clubs with the “naughty nine” young women of Ottawa society have created an entirely wrong opinion of the leaders in British polities and society.
His references to the Americans were so strongly resented at Ottawa that Mr. Justice Duff of the Supreme Court went out of his way at a semi-public luncheon to propose the health of President Wilson and his people which was responded to with tremendous applause, showing Sir Frank very plainly the cordial feelings Canadian political circles felt towards our splendid Southern ally. It is not conducive to allied sentiment or to our Imperial connection that a man holding such views as he expressed is permitted to remain in the British Cabinet. Why offend Americans and Canadians by protecting a man with his record on this side?
Another class which has helped to create a wrong impression of us has been that motley crew of beggars ranging from
respectable men und women bearing good names to ex-convicts. They have reaped a rich return from the generous-hearted Americans for all kinds of charities— some of them good but many fraudulent. A start was made to eliminate them when Lord and Lady Aberdeen were politely requested to immediately pack up and were quietly taken to and put on board a steamer bound for home.
The appearance of many returned soldiers before American audiences has been very splendid propaganda, but it is now fearfully overdone, particularly as there are now a number who have never been in France. The men have got out of hand and much unpleasantness has occurred and ill feeling developed through the unthinking remarks of some of them. Many continue to perform very useful service, while others, some bearing high titles, have outstayed their welcome.
It is very important that these things be known, that public sentiment may prevent men with family, political or other influence being placed in positions where their incompetence and weakness may do us further serious injury.
The patience of President Wilson and American political leaders with the doings, the misdoings, the grotesque antics, the plottings of our official and semiofficial agents is something for which the Empire must ever be grateful. But these experiences would urgently indicate that the time has come when all British and Canadian propagandists and emissaries of all kinds should be requested to return to their own homes, save the few the British Ambassador at Washington may specially select to remain, and all who are needed in future should enter that country only at his request. Their utterances should be guided and controlled through Ottawa and Washington.
THE question has been asked many times how it is that the big daily newspapers have not had access to and thus have not published the long series of important and exclusive information bearing on the war and political problems that have appeared in our columns. Do we know more than the dailies? Generally, no; on many matters, yes.
The writers on the dailies are far better informed on a greater variety of current topics of general interest than we of the specialized press, but we have the advantage in our much more thorough knowledge of a number of particular topics.
The dailies are the general practitioners of the newspaper profession, while the financial, business, technical, agricultural and other class newspapers are the specialists. In fact the smaller dailies and rural weeklies are to some extent specialized also, in that they devote the greater part of their space to local problems. Many weeklies now give no space to national topics excepting where they affect local conditions. One rural editor told me ■that when Queen Victoria died not a line appeared in his paper, but that week he devoted a column obituary to an old resident in a back township.
Specialized newspapers are a development of the last half century, to fill a demand for more complete news on certain important topics than the daily papers can afford to procure or give space to. Many kof the greatest class papers are little known outside of their own field; but there, if they are well edited, they are very powerful and have built up such a reputation as accurate, honest, fearless authorities that the good will of any one of half a dozen leaders is valued at more
than the good will of combined dailies of Toronto. The Iron Age for example, the weekly authority in the metal manufacturing industry, is valued to-day at over $3,000,000.
Some years ago the city of Toronto paid the editor of another class paper $10,000 for his advice on an engineering problem which he prepared in his spare time. You can estimate the value of his regular weekly services to the permanent readers of his paper. Notwithstanding this there are some newspaper editors in Toronto who are still so far behind progress that they want such papers suppressed that they may have a monopoly of news selling. The manipulation of the Associated Press in the interests of inefficiency shows what would happen if they had their way.
Many of the specialists on the class papers are recruited from the best writers on the daily press, and there may be several of them, highly paid, studying, investigating, travelling at great expense in the interest of papers that have not more than 2,000 to 3,000 subscribers. But these subscribers may be the most important men in the country, having invested in that particular field tens of millions in money and employing or depending upon them hundreds of thousands of Canadians; and who depend, for their most important news, upon these specialized newspapers.
There is another great difference between the work and training of the general and the specialized writer. The chief aim of the former is to seek out the current, novel and sensational, and to write and to display it in the way best calculated to attract attention and promote the street or newstand sales of his paper. He must be most careful to please his readers by expressing no opinions or by appealing to their prejudices. Otherwise they will buy a competitor’s paper next day. There are, of course, some outstanding exceptions where a paper is so much stronger than others in its field that it can afford to be, and is, independent.
The specialists must not only follow their own particular lines and keep in touch with all the topics handled by the general writers as they affect their readers, but must dig deeper down. The general writer’s work is done when he records happenings, sometimes inaccurately and unfairly for lack of time. The writers in the business papers must also study the immediate and future effects on the investors and men and women employed in his particular industry and indirectly on the whole country.
Again, the general writers cover primarily the official world, and the chance occurrences that originate there, from the police and fire halls, courts, municipal buildings, small ward politicians, public meetings, conventions and on up to the departmental officials and professional politicians and wire pullers at the provincial and national capitals. We do not pay as generously as we should, and there is no doubt we have many able men in our public service and life who could earn more elsewhere, but who are enthusiastically and conscientiously devoted to their work. But a great many are mediocre in ability and regard their jobs as the life pensions for party services. Yet these are the men who, to a great extent, inform or misinform and inspire the general writers, the Associated Press and special correspondents.
The special writers come in contact with very few of this class. They have to handle the big problems, and their information must come from the highest sources. Their daily life is spent among
the leaders in finance, industry, business, agriculture and labor. If it is a question affecting business they must see the Cabinet Minister in whose department it is, or the Prime Minister himself. And usually he is just as anxious to see the specialist as the latter is to see him, for often he knows more about the matter and the effect it may have than does the Minister. If it is a big railroad problem the presidents must always be seen. An important financial matter calls for an interview with the ablest bankers or other specialists. All for information, not inspiration or advice. The class newspaper specialists must see other sides to a question and act on what is in the best interests of all—the general public as well. Also they must be accurate whether it pleases their readers or not.
IN the evidence which came out in the correspondence seized by the Government in the grocery and in the metal trades combines investigations some years ago many letters were made public showing the strenuous, but unsuccessful, efforts that had been made by some of the big men in these powerful organizations to secure the support of The Canadian Grocer and Hardware and Metal to policies that we, with our broader outlook, saw would rebound, as they did rebound, upon the promoters. Two of the men who were defendants in these cases were big enough to tell me since that we were right. It is interesting to note now that for years I was accused of being in league with these combines. The publication of some of the seized correspondence and minutes showed that while our relations were friendly I had refused right along to be their organ. Our policy lost us many thousands of income in advertising, but became an asset in the increased confidence of our subscribers.
What I have written is in explanation, not condemnation, of a condition and a system the world over. In proportion to population no country is more honestly or better served by its big dailies than is Canada. But they are liable to be misled by men seeking to gratify their own envies or prejudices. The Canadian Associated Press as it exists to-day originated in my own office—see records Canadian Press Association—at a time when British news came to us through New York, where it was sometimes doctored to meet the prejudices of certain U.S. readers to such an extent that it was developing a misunderstanding of the mother land in Canada.
But the C.A.P. can even now be unfairly manipulated. When Colonel Bruce and his committee of Canadian officers on Sir Sam Hughes’ instructions investigated our medical organization he uncovered fearful conditions due to inefficiency, favoritism, neglect, under which our men suffered and millions of Canadian money was wasted. Sir Sam’s enemies and the men responsible for this state of affairs brought influence to bear, and an Imperial officer, Sir William Babtie, was requested to pass on the Bruce report, which he did in very unfavorable terms. Influential in the Associated Press were certain Canadian newspapers which were fanatical in their dislike of Hughes, and the Babtie report was played up right across Canada. Then a peculiar thing happened. The report of the committee investigating the Mesopotamia affair showed that Babtie was the man chiefly responsible for the medical arrangements that will go down as one of the most disgraceful occurrences in our military history. Yet the Canadian Associated Press in dealing with this gave
all the other names, but carefully omitted any reference to Babtie and the severe exposure of his incompetence. Not a word of this got out in Canada until we published the real facts in The Financial Post, taken from the original reports in our own office. The London papers of that date were then referred to and it was found that none of them suppressed Babtie’s name, which suggested conclusively that certain interests behind the C.A.P. had intentionally omitted it. It is needless to say that such tactics created intense indignation among the more reputable dailies. It was brought up at a meeting of the C.A.P. but certain Toronto interests have so far succeeded in side-tracking a free discussion.
The specialist in journalism leads a strenuous life. He is constantly in conflict with rival interests and he must ever be on the alert to avoid being misled. The only advice I got from my chief, when I began to specialize on finance and business, was: “All men are liars when their
pockets are affected; verify everything.” I have not found them so. I have seldom been misled by a big man. But small men hedge or are untruthful.
' I ' HE problems and information I have L been dealing with in these columns may be new to the general writers on the daily press, but they have been more or less part of my daily life for well over thirty years. We have had to follow them for their immediate and future effect upon the business interests of the country. And I have had the additional advantage of twenty-eight years’ continuous service in the Canadian militia, nearly all of it as an Adjutant or Commanding Officer. Add to it the control for many years of the Canadian Military Gazette in our long fight for the Army against Headquarters’ inefficiency and political interference. Finally a short experience attached to an Imperial Calvalry Brigade, with Gen. French in command and Haig as one of his staff, gave me an insight into British army conditions as they are; and an increased admiration and respect for the splendid capacity of our military leaders, if given the support and opportunity our damnable politicians refused
International affairs have not hitherto come within the sphere of Canadian writers, and I have had perhaps a little more experience than the average Canadian journalist. My best friends in Europe for many years were two Tory journalists, J. M. Maclean, M.P., a relative of the former Canadian Chief Justice, born in the West Indies, educated in England, lived many years in India; and Lord Glenesk, owner of the Morning Post. The big political problems of Empire were their constant topic of conversation and correspondence. They feared the present international developments. Premier Salisbury’s inactivities and his and BalfouFs sux-renders to Germany and Russia in the East worried them. Lord Glenesk considered the Asquith Ministry
a positive danger to the Empire. Writing me shortly before his death he said: “I am sure that your active intelligence and powers will be steadily worked at this crisis when the doings of our new ministry are tending to imperil so much of what you and I hold precious.” He clearly saw whex-e such a group of incompetents were leading the Empire.
I would have been very useless, indeed, if, with all these experiences I had not gained a fair knowledge of actual conditions and come into most cordial and confidential relations with a number of the truly great British soldiers and sailors who have been doing some of the big work in this war. Some of them have not hesitated to write me frankly and fearlessly in endorsation of the policy I have been following.
Anyone with common-sense can see there is no miracle in obtaining the information I have published, or in pleading for the changes absolutely necessary to help our army and navy to win the war. I am merely reflecting the views of our great men who are on the spot and know what they are talking or writing about. They demanded first “Pitiless Publicity,” knowing that it will lead to reform and efficiency. It has one of three greatest British generals, famous in this war, has written me a three-page foolscap letter full of most valuable and helpful information. In the course of his letter he said of my February article on “Why We Are Losing the War,” “I THINK YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT,” etc. He then proceeds to show how the great military leaders are in accord with and want the co-operation of the business men, and how certain politicians have prevented it, as I have been contending all along. What stronger endorsation do I need than these words from such a man?
What I cannot understand is that other writers and politicians do not see things as I do, and carry on the same campaign. It requires only ordinary common sense. Possibly Sir Harry Johnston’s explanation as given in a recent article in the University of Cambridge Magazine when he said :—
“A person who like myself is always anxious to realize the exact truth about everythin«, who thinks the truth more wonderful, more intricate than fiction, who believes that departure from the truth or oversight of the truth is much more due to Inziness, to deficient powers of observation, than to maliciousness or direct inspiration from the Devil, is not very happy in the world of our own time so fond of illusions. Firstly, he is not liked. He finds most of those who should be his natural associates and classmates persisting in error, preferring the wrong view to the right view because a change of views is tiresome. Anyone, therefore, who tells them how to spell the name properly, how to read the text correctly, how to detect the sham or the anachronism is as objectionable as the malaria expert at the India Office or the accurate translator of Rumanian at another office. Secondly, he is not believed. He can’t be right because Ruskin did not think so, because the Church has always held, etc., because the Cabinet must have been fully aware at the time. . . . Be-
cause you would not surely set yourself up against Mr. Gladstone? and you don’t imagine for a moment Sir Edward Grey overlooked this, or Sir Sidney I^ee forgot that, or Sir Oliver Dodge invented the other thing? In short, we are most of us disinclined to question the authority we are too busy or too idle-minded to investigate. We are a prey to that inversion of genius which is an incapacity to take pains. It is so much easier in writing and in painting to be vague and inaccurate that whole schools of art and literature have arisen under the false religion of the imagination ; nay, religions themselves have been painstakingly reared on false premises and exaggeration, on dreams and guesses. on hearsay that was not verified, on anything rather than a plain statement of fact, even though thnt fact or that group of facts was far more wonderful to an educated mind than the silly and impossible legend or the reputed miracle could be to the untrained intelligence which so easily believed the incredible.”
THE Food Board has announced that corn meal and corn flour are now available in most parts of Canada. Arrangements have been completed with the milling companies, now that corn is moving more freely into this country, which are expected to provide for the milling of 20,000 bushels of corn daily by, or before. June 15. At present a very considerable quantity is being milled and the product offers a good wheat-saving substitute. It should be used to as large an extent as practicable by bakers and housewives.