The Contributors' Column
Henry Jones Ford (‘ The Record of the Administration ’) had a long newspaper career before he came to occupy the Chair of Politics at Princeton, formerly held by Professor Woodrow Wilson. After leaving college, Mr. Ford became editorial writer successively for three Baltimore newspapers, then transferred himself to the New York Sun, and, later, served as editor of more than one of the great Pittsburgh dailies. Of late years he has written frequently on governmental questions.
The author of ‘ Twenty Minutes of Reality ' is well known to the editor of the Atlantic. Indeed, the story of this adventure of the spirit was told to him soon after it occurred and before the first freshness of the vision had lost its brilliance. At his request, the story was written, tracing the beautiful experience precisely as it occurred. Perhaps, like the editor, the reader will ask himself whether this world, disclosed for twenty minutes, is not, after all, the real world; whether the child, dwelling with delighted wonder on every miraculous detail about him, does not see more truly than men and women going with tired eyes about the daily round.
Dr. Richard C. Cabot (‘Was It Reality? ’) contributes at the editor’s request these notes on the preceding article. His name and reputation as an eminent diagnostician, an outspoken reformer, and a thinker altogether unshackled by convention, are familiar to Atlantic readers.
Gilbert Frankau (‘ Songs of War ’) is the son of the talented English lady who, under the name of Frank Danby, gave to a somewhat startled world a series: of arresting and unconventional novels. Mr. Frankau is himself serving with the British force in Flanders, and one at least of these songs was written to the tune of the great guns sounding in the poet’s ears. The author was present at the Battle of Loos, and during a lull in the fighting, when the gunners, sleepless for five nights, lay stretched like tired dogs under their guns, he jotted down the main theme of ‘ The Voice of the Guns.’ After the battle, the artillery brigade to which he was attached was ordered to Ypres, and during the long trench warfare in this district, within sight of the ruined belfry of the cathedral, he finally completed the poem. The last three stanzas were written at midnight in Brigade Headquarters, with the German shells screaming over the ruined town.
Bertrand Russell (‘War as an Institution ’), grandson of Lord John Russell, famous in the history of England and of Italy, is a professor of mathematics at Cambridge, England. Mr. Russell’s affiliation with the Society for Democratic Control has won for him much enmity at this time of high-wrought feeling. His motives have been misconstrued and his patriotism bitterly attacked. It will interest many readers of his brilliant articles which have appeared in the Atlantic to read the following letter which Professor Russell wrote in reply to charges made by his colleague, Professor Sortey. The letter, intended simply as a private reply, was afterwards published, and we reprint it from a college magazine: —
Trinity College, Cambridge
8th October, 1915.
DEAR SORLEY, — I am told, I do not know with what truth, that you believe I hate England, and am moved by hatred in what I have written about the war. If you and others believe this, I have failed most lamentably to make clear what I care for. I cannot sit down under such a misconception without doing my best to remove it, and I beg of you to read this letter, not in a controversial spirit, but as the expression of a sincere and painful conviction.
So far from hating England, I care for England more than for anything else except truth. News of defeats or successes raises in me exactly the same feelings as in you. But I do not desire for England only, or chiefly, the outward success of victory in war, any more than I desire for myself only or chiefly the outward success which is to be achieved through worldly advancement. The things which I most wish to see England achieve are the same as the things which I most wish to achieve myself; and among these I do not include great possessions, or vast power based on force. I do not believe that our material existence as a nation is at stake in this war: so long as our Navy remains invincible, our material existence is safe. But I do believe that our spiritual existence, as a source of freedom and justice and humane dealing, is very gravely imperilled, and can only be preserved if we realise that we are not wholly and in all things above reproach. The spirit of the German Government is hateful to me, but I see much of the same spirit, in many Englishmen, and in them I mind it more, because the honour of England is more important to me than that of Germany. And although many acts of the German Government and of individual German soldiers are hateful, I cannot believe that there is wisdom, or hope for the welfare of Europe, in hatred of the German nation. I think it is wholesome to realise that our Government, likewise, has done many hateful tilings, that all men have need of charity, and that a merely punitive justice is apt to make the judge as cruel as the criminal.
I think it is probable that, if our policy since 1904 had been wiser, the present war would never have occurred. I am convinced that we ought, to have shaped our policy so as not to be obliged to participate in it, and that our participation has been a terrible misfortune for England, for Europe, anti for the future of civilization. While others are sacrificing their lives for their ideals, I cannot seek a cowardly and ignoble comfort in silence. It is very little that one man can do, but that, little I must do towards persuading England and the world to adopt other principles and other ideals than those which have led to the present horror. I honour profoundly the men whose sense of duty leads them to face death on the battlefield. But, believe me, what I do is inspired by the same sincerity, the same earnestness, the same love of England, and perhaps an even greater hope for mankind. The sacrifice entailed is less, but if it were greater, I should only meet it the more gladly.
Yours very truly,
Margaret Prescott Montague (‘ Of Water and the Spirit’), teller of stories, and, more rarely, singer of song’s, lives for the better part of the year among the hills of West Virginia.
Abraham Mitrie Rihbany (‘ Bread and Salt '), in these Atlantic papers, interprets the Gospel story in the light of the clear recollections of his own Syrian boyhood.
H. M. Chittenden (‘Destiny Not Manifest ’), who was invalided out of the army some years ago after long and distinguished service in the Engineering Corps, has served a useful term as a port director of Seattle. A close student, with leisure to gratify his strongest tastes, Mr. Chittenden has interested himself in many large engineering and historical questions.
Florence Converse (‘ Mrs. Maxwell and the Unemployed’) is a member of the Atlantic staff and the author of a number of volumes. ‘ Long Will’ is, perhaps, her best-known story, but her latest book is ‘The Story of Wellesley College.’
John Jay Chapman (‘The Schoolmaster ’) is an essayist, commonly in revolt, on social, political, literary, and religious subjects. It would be hard to name an American volume dealing with matters at once more suggestive and more acute than this author’s ' Practical Agitation,’ published some fifteen years ago.
Frederick Winsor (‘The Underpaid Pedagogue ') is Headmaster of the Middlesex School at Concord, Massachusetts.
Thomas Whitney Surette (‘ Community Music ’) is a well-known lecturer on music. Iu reply to numerous inquiries from teachers and parents interested in Mr. Surette’s ideas, we beg to say that A Book of Folk Songs, compiled for the lower grades of the Boston Public Schools, was prepared last summer by Mr. Surette in collaboration with Dr. A. T. Davison of Harvard University, and subsequently published at the expense of the city. The book will shortly be republished by the Boston Music Company and will be offered for sale at 26 West Street, Boston.
Gretchen Warren (‘Great Darkness’) is a Massachusetts poet whose verse is largely influenced by wide familiarity with great classics. George Malcolm Stratton (' Woman’s Mastery of the Story ’) is a professor of psychology at the University of California.
Alfred G. Gardiner (‘German Generalship ') is the brilliant editor of the London Daily News. The character sketches published by Mr. Gardiner in his volumes, ‘ Pillars of Society ’ and ‘ Prophets, Priests, and Kings,’ as well as his Atlantic essays, show tire extraordinary range of his sympathies and interests.
William J. Robinson (‘ The Machines ’), a young man hailing from the suburbs of Boston, went abroad in the summer of 1914 to seek moving picture privileges from the War Offices of London and Paris. His mission failed; his concern went to pieces, and Mr. Robinson, growing passionately interested in the events about him, enlisted. What was his disillusionment when he was instantly immured in a riding-school and told by the gruff sergeant who put him through his paces that he was in for eight months of it, without a glimmer of hope of getting sooner to the front! Robinson did some serious thinking, then, approaching his captain, asked if good chauffeurs were not needed on the firing-line. It was a happy thought. Robinson got his transfer the following day and during the next year and a half saw an astonishing variety of active service. At first attached as chauffeur to Headquarters, Robinson was at one time a bicycle despatch rider, at, another the spare driver of an armored ear, and at others took part in the operations of the M. C. M. G.’s (Motor Cycle Machine Guns), which, with a speed of 40 miles an hour and a magazine capacity of 600 shots per minute, represent, perhaps, the climax of life to a young man in search of sensation.
James Norman Hall (‘Kitchener’s Mob ’) was a lance corporal in charge of a machine-gun team, A young American, on a holiday abroad, he enlisted in the middle of August, 1914, and was assigned to a battalion of the 9th Royal Fusiliers. Until the end of May, 1915, he was in training in England, and after that time, until November 19th of last year, he was continuously on the firing-line, helping to hold the trenches between Messines in Belgium and Loos in France. Just as his regiment was being relieved, Hall received word through Battalion Headquarters that he was to return to England. The following evening he crossed the Channel on the ‘Leave’ boat, and upon reporting at his regimental depot at Hounslow, learned that application had been made for his discharge through friends in America on account of the serious illness of his father. Honorable discharge was immediately granted, and, a few hours later, he enjoyed the luxury of his first bath in seven weeks, while reveling in the idea of Christmas at home.
W. S. Rossiter (‘War and Debt’), long associated with the Census Bureau at Washington, where he acquired marked statistical skill, is at present in the printing business at Concord, New Hampshire.
Webster Wright Eaton (‘A Serbian Diary’) is a very young man who sailed for Serbia last summer in the Columbia expedition sent out from New York by the Committee of Mercy. After a summer of service in camp driving his small Ford over rough roads in the north of Serbia, carrying corn and grain from the frontier to safer points inland, Mr. Eaton joined Lady Paget’s division of the British Red Cross and attached himself to her hospital staff at Uskob (Skoplje). By a lucky accident the diary here printed got through the lines uncensored and unopened. It is an unvarnished picture of things as they were.
Readers who were interested in an account of French efforts to help themselves in the enormous “work of reconstruction, written for the Atlantic by the Prefect of Meurthe et Moselle, will be interested in a recent letter to the editor which we print in an English version. For the generous response to our plea for money for this beneficent work, we are grateful, indeed.
Prefecture of Meurthe et Moselle
Nancy, March 12, 1910.
Dear Sir: — With all my heart I thank you for your generous assistance. So far I have received from eighty-nine of your readers a total sum of 20,000 francs, which will permit me to do much for my poor brothers of Lorraine. I was deeply moved, too, by the terms of sympathy expressed in the letters of ray generous correspondents for the cause of civilization and humanity which France is championing in this tragic hour.
I hope that your compatriots will never doubt for an instant our unanimous and unshakable determination to do everything, bear everything, sacrifice everything, to assure our victory. We are sustained by a splendid enthusiasm in the power of our Human Right. And we are working! Munition-plants are springing up from the earth. Anyon2e venturing to speak of a premature peace — peace before the ' Monster’ has been destroyed, would be the object of public contempt — or worse. We are living tragic hours, but they are hours of extraordinary moral nobility.
We regret to announce that Major Moral it’s article, mailed to the Atlantic two months ago and scheduled for publication in this number, has been presumably abstracted from the mails by British authorities.