Слике страница
[blocks in formation]

"He (Hutton) continuing on his route, ran into a nest and had heavy losses. The Canadian Mounted Rifles getting mixed up, had several casualties, and the Imperial Light Horse also suffered severely. The wounded were brought in here this morning in ox waggons, which I consider a shame. An empire like Great Britain should have a few ambulance waggons. It took the little colony of New South Wales to show them all an ambulance corps. The wounded have been sitting and lying in the sun at the station since eight this morning. I tell you the British have a whole lot to learn yet.

The local paper, in this case the Orillia Packet, publishes the letter and everybody reads it. Thousands of such letters have been received in Canada, and Canada feels, though she may not know, that Burdett-Coutts is to some extent right in making his criticisms. The Imperialists may regret the publication of these letters but they cannot prevent it. They may regret but they cannot deny that there would be much less enthusiasm in Canada if another contingent for service abroad was asked from Canada. Mr. Chamberlain would meet with less success in his second appeal for colonial support and aid—and yet we are not less British.

United States war correspondents view affairs in South Africa with peculiar oppositeness. Richard Harding Davis says* that throughout the war one man to ten has been the averAugust Scribner's.

*Pretoria in Wartime.

age proportion of Boer to Briton, and that frequently the British have been repulsed when their force out-numbered the Boers twenty to one. Surely the Boers have been deceiving this anti-Britisher! He states that at Spion Kop a British colonel surrendered, and then on seeing the small force of Boers by which he was opposed threw down the white flag and fired on the Boers who were coming up to receive his rifles. Mr. Davis did not see this incident, and therefore can have no proof but Boer testimony, which has not proven itself trustworthy. He also states that the British officers who were prisoners at Pretoria spoke to and shouted at the ladies and young girls who walked past the high school where the officers were housed. Their remarks were so insulting that a large number of ladies signed a petition and sent it to the Government complaining that this prison was a public nuisance. For this reason the officers were removed to a camp on the outside of the town. Here Mr. Davis visited them. On this occasion he was accompanied by a Boer officer who was so insulted during the visit that Mr. Davis felt uncomfortable. He adds: "Some day we shall wake up to the fact that the Englishman, in spite of his universal reputation to the contrary, is not a good sportsman because he is not a good loser." These are grave charges and the only reason for re-stating them here is to show what kind of man Richard Harding Davis is and what kind of reliability may be placed on articles in certain magazines. At present one must be pardoned for a refusal to accept the story Mr. Davis tells, and for a persistent belief that his stories are ludicrous nonsense. In addition to this apparent ludicrousness, we have the denial of the whole thing by the Earl of Rosslyn, who was one of the prisoners. He says that when Mr. Davis went to Pretoria, he openly attacked everything British, and that when he visited the prison he was most insulting, "cracking up the Boers un


der our noses and those of the guards who accompanied him."

On the other hand, Mr. Julian Ralph* speaks very differently. He remarks upon the magnanimity, forbearance. and leniency with. which the British have treated both rebel and enemy in South Africa. He contrasts the conduct of the British with that of General Grant and General Sherman. The latter said. when marching through Georgia, "The more terrible war is made, the sooner it will end."

The following paragraph shows Mr. Ralph's opinion of British valour, and how it overcame the opposition of the physical features of the territory :


"Of all these obstacles the men of Lord Methuen's flying column made light, by sheer valour, by a bravery we thank God our soldiers can match, but which no men on earth can possibly excel. These British officers and Tommies' have a quality of courage that passes my understanding. It even befogs my judgment, as I have said in writing to England, upon the return it makes for the cost it entails. At Belmont and Graspan the troops stalked up kopjes against almost literal ropes of bullets. The more experienced were placed five paces apart, and most of them escaped; but the naval brigade and a regiment of Guards, who lacked either proper orders or experience, marched along, almost shoulder to shoulder, seeing their comrades drop like autumn leaves in a gale, but still plodding on, until the Boers must have imagined them demons; so that, with terror at their heartstrings, they turned and fled from both battle-fields. The naval force lost precisely 50 per cent., or one man in every two. Thus Methuen's men marched on, hungry, tired, thirsty, losing a battalion out of ten, but rushing at the foe three times in one week, though his haunt each time was a volcano's crater spewing lead. At Magersfontein the very men who lost the battle were those whose bravery had earned them more cele brity than any troops in the British army— the Highlanders."

One of the most noteworthy of the features of the campaign preceding the approaching general election is the entry of the Hon. Hugh John Macdonald into the arena of Dominion politics.

*The Teuton Tug of War. September Harper's.

[blocks in formation]

The Hon. Hugh John Macdonald is not a great man—at least, his greatness has not yet been tried and proven. He has, however, shown himself to be a man of ability and tact, and possessed of unusual qualities. These endowments, and the fact that he is the only son of the most remarkable of Canadian statesmen, combine to mark him as a man in whom the public is certain to be interested, and as a man whose influence upon our national life may be considerable.

Mr. Macdonald is a native of Kingston, and spent the first thirty-two years of his life in the Province of Ontario. He was graduated from the University of Toronto in 1869, and three years later was called to the bar. When he moved to Winnipeg, he continued the practice of the law, and took no very prominent part in political campaigns for nearly ten years. At the general election of 1891, he entered the Dominion House as member for Winnipeg. Apparently his interest in affairs was not great, for he resigned his seat two years later. In April, 1896, he joined Sir Charles Tupper's Cabinet, and successfully contested Winnipeg in the general election of that year. The next year he resigned

his seat.

Mr. Macdonald then undertook the leadership of the Conservative party in the Province of Manitoba, and last year opposed Mr. Greenway's Government in a general provincial election, in which he had such remarkable success that he and his followers were able to take possession of the Treasury benches. The policy which carried him into power was one aiming at Governmental control or ownership of railways, and that, too, in spite of the fact that the legal firm of which he was a member were solicitors for Canada's largest railway corporation.

This advocacy of Government con

trol or ownership of railways makes Mr. Macdonald's entry into the Dominion political field a matter of considerable moment. If he is elected he will be the leader in the House of the Western Conservatives. These men will undoubtedly follow him in this railway policy. To their influence will be added that of the Western Liberal members, such as Messrs. Richardson and Oliver, and some Eastern Conservatives and Liberals who are unavowed supporters of stronger Government control of railway rates, and unavowed opponents of a continuance of the system of railway subsidies.

Mr. Macdonald will be opposed by the Hon. Clifford Sifton, the Minister of the Interior, who has proven himself to be a man of more than ordinary talent. Mr. Sifton is eleven years younger than Mr. Macdonald, and has been practising law in the Province of Manitoba the same number of years. Both men have been successful in their profession, and both have had experience in Provincial and Federal politics.

Mr. Sifton will fight hard for his seat because defeat might imperil his position in the Laurier Cabinet. Mr. Macdonald will struggle grimly, because he knows that the Conservative party is looking to him as a possible leader in Dominion politics. Therefore the constituency which elected the late D'Alton McCarthy in the general election of 1896, and upon his resignation in the same year returned Mr. Sifton by acclamation, will be the scene this year of a battle which will be memorable in Canadian political annals.

[blocks in formation]

blacks being all thrown into one riding and commanded to elect one man who shall represent all. He thinks that they usually elect a colourless man who represents none. In this Canadians will agree with the Professor. He desires to go back to the old method of class representation. The bankers would elect the man whom they think is the most influential and capable manager; the capitalists would send their ablest men; and so with the labour unions, boards of trade, universities, law societies, religious bodies, railway directors, bondholders, farmers, country merchants, and so on through the list.

Prof. Commons has thrown out a valuable suggestion. In Canada, with the party system in vogue, too often a large corporation, or some combination of interests, can influence a general election by throwing its weight into such constituencies as are doubtful that is, where the parties are almost evenly balanced. This is the kind of constituency where a knave may be nominated and elected. Some organization, some money and some influence added to one blind-folded party will make this knave an M.P., and a slave of the interest which supplied the money and influence. This is the great danger in party government as we have it in this country. Some improvements could be made, no doubt, if Canada possessed any political reformers, but unfortunately she does not. Suggestions from the bright minds of other countries are steadily trickling through, and these in time will have some effects on our political life. The present riding system may suit Great Britain, where members of parliament can afford to be independent, but there is not the same certainty of its suitability to this continent. Our geography is on a larger scale and we lack the higher political honours. which draw to Government the best minds in the country. We occasionally get strong men, but we usually get trimmers and adventurers.

John A. Cooper.




many anecdotes-in fact, portions of the book read like a succession of humorous experiences, and not even the most captious critic will quarrel with the author on the score of dulness. The book, in short, is a remarkable contribution to our somewhat scanty store of literature, will be quoted and referred to during many years to come, and is really a vivacious and piquant history of our military forces by the man most competent to write it.

Concerning the subject matter, it is difficult to give, within the compass of a paragraph, anything like an adequate summary. The origin and growth of our militia; the Colonel's personal experience in the Fenian Raid of 1866 and the Rebellion of 1885; his interduring the Southern War (an intensely course with the Confederate generals contest for the Czar's prize for the best interesting chapter); his successful History of Cavalry; his friendly relations with military men of note like Lord Wolseley, Lord Roberts and Sir Henry Havelock Allan-are among the leading features of the narrative. It should be said that at more than one point the author almost challenges controversy, and his version of events connected with the frontier operations in 1866 and certain episodes of the Northwest Rebellion, notably Colonel Otter's attack on Poundmaker, and the final

capture of Batoche by the volunteers, have already attracted attention. In under the late Lieut.-Col. Williams,

acteristic of the style, and which might fact, a certain insistence which is charalmost be taken in places for pugnacity, is not likely to pass unnoticed. On more than one occasion the author records some royal rows in which we cannot discover that he came off second best. The Colonel calls these the oc



N interesting man is apt to produce an interesting book, and when the man is Lieut.-Colonel G. T. Denison and the book is his military autobiography, it goes without saying that we are always entertained and sometimes delighted. There is a vigour, freshness and candour about this new work which are seldom to be found in books of this class, and it is further unique in being the first Canadian achievement in autobiography by a man who has really taken part in great affairs, and rubbed shoulders with celebrities. Sir Francis Hincks, it is true, wrote his political recollections, but it was chiefly an attempt to record political history from his own point of view, and the personality of the writer plays a small part in his narrative.

In the present case, the personality of the author stands out on nearly every page: an aggressive, keen-witted, courageous man, with a decided love of fun and an extraordinary memory for anecdotes. Eminent persons, living or dead, figure prominently in Colonel Denison's book, and consequently we are continually coming upon material of the most valuable kind in constructing a history of Canada during the past forty years. Whatever criticisms may be bestowed upon it, this central fact will be admitted on all hands, that we have acquired a perfect wealth of information bearing upon events and persons of importance. But the author, happily, is not greatly concerned to instruct us, being more inclined to record the amusing side of his varied experiences. There are

'Soldiering in Canada." By Lieut.-Colonel George T. Denison. Toronto: Geo. N. Morang & Co.

casions on which he "lost his temper.' His quarrel with Sir George Cartier is a case in point, and although of purely Saxon lineage, he betrayed a perfectly orthodox Celtic temperament by following the eminent French-Canadian "over the border" (of the Province) and helping to defeat him in Montreal in the elections of 1872. There was also a neat little affair with an official at the War Office in London, and in divers other ways Colonel Denison indicates a willingness, with a genial cheerfulness that never deserts him, to meet a fight half way. In this spirit he had his differences with two or three of the British officers commanding our militia, and he complains with some scorn of the departmental rules and red tape that are apt to beset the path of an officer in the militia. We get the impression, perhaps wrongly, that the author is not greatly enamoured of British officers of a certain type. He praises warmly, however, several gallant soldiers who have served in Canada, and there is, on the whole, a great deal more praise than blame in the book.

We have not attempted anything like an analysis of this work. It is too rich in variety of material for that. Nor does it seem to have been written to advance any particular views of the author on any subject. It is probably just what it purports to be, a personal narrative of forty years in Canadian military life told with skill, with charming frankness, and with much good humour, but enlivened at times with more than a spice of playful satire. It is an audacious book, perhaps, but at the same time captivating. The publishers have done their part in turning out a well finished and attractive volume, quite the equal of similar productions in London or New York.

[ocr errors]


Will the hero-worshipping biographers kindly arise from their knees and give us a life of Cromwell, the man? Mr. Firth has come within


*Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans in England. By Charles Firth. New York: G. P. Putnam & Sons.

measurable distance of doing it. So high an authority as Mr. Frederic Harrison says it is the best biography of Oliver yet produced. But there is still room for a writer who can be at once kind and candid, who can throw aside the glamour that seems to take possession of everyone essaying to deal with Cromwell, and who can give at least due weight to the opinion of the age in which the man lived. The subtlest form of national vanity expresses itself in the idea that the Englishman of 1900 is better qualified to deal with the merits of Puritan rule than those who lived under it. There must have been something peculiarly obnoxious to the English of 1670 in Cromwell's person and government, when they could look back upon it and bring themselves to submit quietly to the degrading tyranny of Charles II. Macaulay, in weighing the qualities of Warren Hastings, declined to take the man's measure by the action of the Parliament of 1787 which impeached him, or the Parliament of 1813, which rose and uncovered with respect when he appeared before them. So, in Oliver's case, we need not adopt the views of those who would have canonized him if their religious tenets had not forbidden it, not those who with brutal bigotry tore his body from the grave and fixed the head, as that of a malefactor, upon Westminster Hall. The interest which attaches to Mr. Firth's book consists chiefly of the patient industry shown in sifting good material from bad, and presenting a narrative that is at once coherent and vivid, discriminating and persuasive, so that you arrive at pretty much the same conclusion as you do after reading Carlyle that Oliver possessed nearly every virtue except that of convincing a perverse generation of his divinely appointed mission to mend all the ills of State. By a strange chance some one quality in Cromwell appeals to each of the ruling elements of the English to-day; the Imperialists revere him as a great captain and a founder of the navy; the Liberals, as the destroyer of an arbitrary king; the

« ПретходнаНастави »