The Contributors' Column--December Atlantic
William Ernest Hocking is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. He contributed ‘Religion in War-Time to the September Atlantic.Mrs. Frances Parkinson Keyes, the ‘Semi-Bostonian,’ — one is reminded of T. B. Aldrich’s characterization of himself as ‘not genuine Boston, only Bostonplated,’— is the wife of the present Governor of New Hampshire, who has just been chosen United States Senator from that state. The ancestral estate which she describes so affectionately is in the town of North Haverhill, N.H., in the valley of the Connecticut. Henry S. Pritchett, some time President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching since 1906.
M. Marcel Nadaud, aviator, retired from active service after his third wound, has since written several successful novels around the subject of his chosen arm of the service. En Plein Vol has been crowned by the Academy. ‘Birds of a Feather’ was written expressly for the Atlantic.Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer, poet and historian of New York, has long been contributing to leading American periodicals. ’It is Well with the Child’ appeared in this magazine in September, 1917. Miss Elizabeth Case, a recent graduate of Wellesley College, sends this, her first contribution to the Atlantic, from Chicago. Of her experience in the service of a reformatory for women in an Eastern state, she writes: ’ Mine was the rare privilege of going into an utterly new field, and of being able to accept and work out another person’s ideas so fully that they became my own. No college courses could have furnished preparation for such work.
Miss Julia Francis Wood, of Kansas City, relieves the tedium of her duties as a teacher of French, History, and Literature, by the writing of short stories for the magazines. Miss Wood comes of a distinctly military family. Her father, as those who read her moving story, ‘ A Parable for Fathers, in the January, 1918, Atlantic will remember, was a distinguished officer in the Civil War. ‘My three brothers,’she writes, ‘have followed in his footsteps: the oldest is Brigadier-General Albert Wood, now Acting Quartermaster-General; the second, also an officer in our army, resigned his commission to fight with the Allies the first year of the war and fell in the Ypres Salient two years ago; the youngest is a lieutenant in the Engineer Corps, now in France.’ Anne C. E. Allinson, a Greek scholar and the wife of a Greek scholar, is a member of the Faculty of Brown University. Edwin Arlington Robinson is among the best and most favorably known American poets of the present generation. ‘Mary Lyon’ is the fourth of Gamaliel Bradford’s ‘Portraits of American Women,’ the earlier ones being ‘Abigail Adams,’ printed in September, 1917; ‘ Harriet Beecher Stowe,’ in July, 1918; and ‘Sarah Alden Ripley’ in November, 1918. Warner Fite has been since 1915 Stuart Professor of Ethics at Princeton University. Gerald Chittenden is a major in the American Aviation Service, and is now on duty at the School of Military Aeronautics, University of Texas.
Through the courtesy of the British Government the Editor of the Atlantic was given every opportunity to study conditions in England and France during the months of September and October. Much of his information was privately given and may not with propriety be repeated: and for facts which may be set down, he does not always feel at liberty to give his authority. The article here printed is a record of impressions, which the author believes to be unprejudiced, and which he hopes may in some measure be illuminating, even though the first act in the European drama is over. Professor Raoul Blanchard, after acting as Exchange Professor at Harvard in 1916-17, resumed the chair of Geography at the University of Grenoble. Again, as in his paper on ‘ Tactics and Armament in the August, 1917, Atlantic, our readers have the benefit of his access to official reports of the French army and his personal observationson the battlefields of France. Madame du Courthial is the Russian wife of the French Vice-Consul at Porto Rico, and the daughter-in-law of Admiral Nemitz, recently in command of the Russian Black Sea fleet. She was called to Russia on business in 1917, and her child was born while she was there. Harold A. Littledale is an American journalist, who, prior to his enlistment in the British Tank Service had done excellent work as a war-correspondent of the New York Evening Post.Maurice Muret, of Swiss birth, was for many years on the staff of the Journal des Débats of Paris. When the war broke out he returned to Switzerland, where he has been engaged in writing the ‘bulletin of foreign politics’ for the Gazette de Lausanne. He is the author of a French biography of William II.
It is pleasant to contemplate the enthusiasm of a true lover of literature for a master-work, whether it is the product of his own or somebody else’s brain.
EDITOR OF ATLANTIC MONTHLY
DEAR SIR: -
I send to you under separate cover my poem entitled ‘The Rejected Voice.’
If you cared to read and review this book, and keep it, I should be pleased.
‘ The Rejected Voice ’ is the most profound and poignant hymn that has emanated from the heart of man since the birth of ‘ The Book of Job.’ For sheer artistry, also, it shines unequaled, yet there lives not anywhere to-day a leader of literature noble enough to make known unto the world its worth.
As was, perhaps, to be expected, the ‘Thoughts of a Teacher of German,’in the September Atlantic, have called forth a good deal of comment, sympathetic and otherwise. The following letter is from a correspondent in El Paso, Texas.
And this from Chicago: —
I can sympathize with the writer of ‘Thoughts of a Teacher of German,’ whose soul cries out against the system that has robbed him and thousands of others in his position of the inspiration of teaching the idealism of Licht, Liebe, Leben. And yet more — against the system, insligated by the German professors and pastors, Nietzscheized, which has robbed thousands of Americans of cherished German friends, and has robbed honest Germans of the friendship of the world.
It was my good fortune to possess the friendship of the head of the department of Germanic Literature of one of the Western universities, a most lovable and gentle soul, now, fortunately for his peace of mind, gone to his reward; and the truly Christian character of the man, as I often recall it, has made me realize the terrible wrong that the German war-lords have inflicted upon their own innocent people in making them victims of their own ambition.
Another friend, a learned orientalist, to whom the idea of war is as repulsive as would be labor in an abattoir, is breaking down under the strain of having many of his kin in the German army, and his own sons fighting under the Stars and Stripes.
We own our gratitude and respect to Steuben, and to Schurz, Heinzelman, and Siegel, and we would honor their descendants. There are hundreds of thousands of Germans, yes, GermanAmericans, who are Americans in the best sense, of the stoutest and most dependable material, the very backbone of our agricultural and mechanical life. Are we to regard them as enemies? And if so, whose the fault ?
Professor Kellogg’s psychological study of the German character is interesting. Truly, the German of Germany, the Treitschked German, is a double character. He is a kitten at play, but a tiger else. He is the Ahriman of the Zoroastrian dualism, the Hyde of Stevenson’s allegory, the Satan to whom Faust sold his soul. ‘The heart of man is the place Devils dwell in,’ exclaims Sir Thomas Browne, dazed by the theology of his time; ‘I feel sometimes a Hell within myselfLucifer keeps his Court in my breast, Legion is revived in me.’
The Anglo-Saxon wrestled with Satan, and overpowered him, as Christian, in Bunyan’s dream. The Teuton has surrendered to him. Sin was at first repulsive —
‘ — but familiar grown,
I pleas’d, and with attractive graces won
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Became enamor’d -
It is, indeed, the German madness. We cannot treat with a madman as with one sane, but we may restrain him and put him in bonds, and perhaps, in course of time, by wise and humanitarian treatment, effect a cure.
A somewhat different note is struck in a vigorous communication from a lady in Cincinnati, some extracts from which we append.
I have just read the article in your September number entitled ‘Thoughts of a German Teacher, and I cannot refrain from expressing my opinion on the very dangerous and subtle propaganda which this article reveals. Here, in our midst, a teacher in an American college has been laboriously and painstakingly building up a German atmosphere, and teaching German ideals, in place of teaching the German language which he was hired and paid to teach....
His soul cries out (at least he tells us it does) against a svstem which has robbed him of the joy of teaching Licht, Liebe, Leben. Could he not console this soul-sickness by teaching the American ideals of Light. Love, Life ? I think that there would be found as much beauty in these three English words, and as many avenues of inspiration, as in Licht, Liebe, Leben.
From a considerable mass of correspondence relating to Mr. Bridges’s paper in the October Atlantic, we have found space for these fairly representative letters. It will be noticed that the issue raised by the writers is largely a lexicographical one, so to speak.
UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
October 9, 1918.
To THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
I just have read Mr. Bridges’s article on ‘The Duty of Hatred,’and I find myself in this interesting case: that I, who stoutly hold that we ought not to hate the Germans, cordially agree with Mr. Bridges, who stoutly holds that we should hate them. Nor is the reason of this paradox hard to seek. Where among ‘weasel words’ could a choicer specimen be found than ‘ hate’ as Mr. Bridges uses it? He has abstracted from it all the distinctive connotations with which generations of usage have filled it.
The attitude which we here are urged to take toward our enemy involves such lofty and most Christian elements as these: that we abhor him in his evil ‘in so far as he identifies himself with it, persists in it and justifies it ; that, so abhorring him, we ‘regard the inexhaustible potentialities of repentance and spiritual transformation in him, and order our bearing and action so as to give these deeply interred potentialities the maximum chance of release and actualization’; that whatever attitude we take toward him is ‘for the very sake of the better nature buried under the demonism of the enemy,’ is trying to contribute ‘to the release of the true and better self of our enemies,’ is seeking for ‘the spiritual redemption of Germany.’ Very well! If this is hating the Germans, let us all go to it and see if with aspiring spirits we can rise through our indignant wrath to this high level! But I venture that, not since the race first used the word, did anyone before ever think of summarizing such an attitude as hate.
The dictionary is not infallible, but nothing could be more serupulously exact, than the Standard’s definition ef hate: ‘ To regard with an extreme and active aversion, combined with ill-will or malignity when the object is a person.’ To describe hate toward persons minus ill-will or malignity, is to put a strain on language that even our elastic English cannot bear; it is to empty a great word of its native content. And there is not a trace of ill-will or malignity anywhere in Mr. Bridges’s article. It is a highminded statement of moral abhorrence against crime and moral indignation against criminals, well worth writing and well worth reading. The trouble is not with Mr. Bridges’s ethics but with his English. Whatever else the attitude which he describes may be, it decisively is not hate.
Far more discriminating in language is a recent fighting man’s editorial in a fighting mans paper: ‘ War to the hilt, and not hate and hot-air should be our watchword!’ When Donald Hankey wished to express what Mr. Bridges means, he used the right words: ‘ If we fought from bloodlust or hate, war would be sordid. But if we fight as only a Christian may, that friendship and peace with our foes may become possible, then fighting is our duty, and our fasting and dirt, and our wounds and our death are our beauty and God’s glory.’ Sincerely yours,
HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK.
The author of ‘The Duty of Hatred’ finds it impossible in the last analysis to follow his own teaching. He tells us that he must hate, not only the act of torpedoing a hospital ship, but also ‘the men who order it to be done. He argues that this hatred ‘is our bounden duty,’ ‘for the very sake of the better nature buried under the demonism of the enemy.’ And he adds: ‘Out only chance of contributing to the release of the true and better self of our enemies is to make manifest to them the immitigable anger provoked in us by their deeds and by themselves as authors of those deeds.’ Why, we ask, should Mr. Bridges feel this concern for the ‘better nature buried under the ‘demonism of persons whom he hates? Is such concern proper in a true hater? If he really hates those persons, he ought to wish heartily (as the devil does) for their eternal destruction. He ought to hope that the‘demonism in them will so effectively bury their ‘better nature’ as to kill it outright. What interest, we ask again, can Mr. Bridges have in ‘contributing to the release of the true (!) and better self’ of enemies whom, having ceased to love, he finds it his solemn duty to hate? Somehow this solicitude for the ultimate spiritual welfare of these persons smacks of something which goes by another name than hatred. It seems to aim at the salvation rather than the destruction of their souls. Love wills to save its object; hate, to destroy Must we not conclude then that what Mr Bridges seeks to save he must by the same token love? Is not his love for these souls the cause of his hatred of their evil motives? Is it not the cause of his anger?
JOHN WALLACE SUTER, JR.
We are glad to believe that the writer of he following letter is not alone in having ound consolation and help in the letters of Briggs Adams. We hope soon to publish in book form a much larger collection of letters from the same source.
October 3, 1918.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
After a week’s exhausting service as a volunteer nurse in a large Boston hospital, I sank into my chair last evening and picked up the October number of your magazine. I was almost too tired to be interested in anything, and all I could think about was the suffering I had seen and tried to relieve.
The first paragraph of Briggs Adams letters interested me, however, and I read them through with increasing delight. What a wonderful setting forth of the other side of death! Though I had met death and walked with him for a week, I had not seen his glorious face, until Briggs Adams showed me. The art of aviation is going to be of great assistance to us in lifting our understanding of the great mystery. Those letters alone are worth more than any book of the hundreds I have read on immortality.
CHARLES FRANCIS POTTER,
Minister Wellesley Hills Unitarian Church.
A belated tribute to Mr. W. D. Steele’s striking paper of last May in too sincere to omit from this column.
You may like to hear a comment on ‘The Dark Hour.’ I gave if to my cook to read. She is a very intelligent young Scotchwoman, and I give her the Atlantic and the Outlook always as something unusually fine. As she was rather silent, I said, 4Mary, did you like ‘The Dark Hour’ ? Then she burst forth — ‘ I read it and then I read it right over again, and I would like to read it still again. Oh! I wish it could be printed in such form that everyone in the United States could read it!’
I wish you could realize how glad we are to have the Atlantic, and how grateful to you!
How revolutionary is the change of outlook which has come over the American world during the past century may be whimsically but exactly gauged by the following letter written by the youthful Henry Ward Beecher who, at twelve years of age. had not disentangled himself from the Calvinistic doctrine of his inheritance. This letter (sent us through a friend’s kindness) may be profitably compared with the letters now streaming westward from the boys ‘over there.’
BETHLEHEM, Dec. 2nd, 1825.
DEAR BROTHER: —
I write to you this evening to tell you how I fecl. You have I suppose that you you have heard that I was serious. I have been seeking after god but have not found him as yet. I wread his holy word but find no relief but bring heavier curses on my head. I wread and pray but instead of getting out of the swamp I get further in it. Have a new hymn book whitch I wread before sermons and felt no alarm, but now the more I wread the more I feel. I have seen your letter that you wrote home. I have been a little wretched before but never felt my lost condition before, the boy that boards with me is a little serious I have talked a little but without much affect he feels serious evry once in a little while and the goes back I went home thanks given and spent a week or so the Revival is spreading more and more, the typhus fever is prevailing in Litchfield. Mr. Sin on his death was occasioned by drinking, papa had an excellent sermon thanksgivinge his text was what shall we render to god according to benefits received. I cant write you mutch this evening but at a more convenient season and I hope I shall h [have] some more important news about my soul.
from your affectionit brother
written in a hurry
(PS) pleas to answer it quick as possible
The following rhymes, sent to us from Santa Barbara, California, are worthy of the author of the Ingoldsby Legends.
Up to date, yet never frantic,
Never scraping, sycophantic,
Stylist, still not charlatantic,
We adore the old Atlantic;
Topping on the war gigantic,
Full of wisdom unpedantic,
Secrets of the East divantic,
We adore the old Atlantic;
Love the Clubs ripost and antic,
Classic wit yet spick and spantic;
Love the verse and flights romantic;
We adore the old Atlantic;
No rhymes for the year’s Atlantic ?
These are all my time-piece can tick:
Thank you for the old Atlantic!
The Index and title-page for Volume 122 will be supplied to Atlantic subscribers upon request, within thirty days from December 1.