WE were a little out of breath when we had finished reading Ramsay Traquair’s ‘Women and Civilization.’ He had slain with an analyst’s knife most of the things we supposed eternally true about women. ‘Women are more imaginative and more artistic than men,’ for example. We still feel disputatious on some points, but that does n’t lessen our appreciation of ‘Women and Civilization.’ Ramsay Traquair is the head of the department of architecture at McGill University, Montreal. He is author of ‘The Canadian Type’ in the June Atlantic and of ‘The Caste System in North America,’ March 1923. A. Maude Royden is assistant preacher at the City Temple, London. Long active in the suffrage movement in England, and the author of that widely discussed book, Sex and Common Sense, she has the reputation of being the most eloquent woman preacher of to-day.
James Truslow Adams is an American historian, the author of The Founding of New England (Atlantic Monthly Press) which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for the best history of the year. His work, Revolutionary New England: 1691-1776, will be published in the fall. William Lawrence, for a generation Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts, has identified himself with every good cause, temporal as well as spiritual, with which the Church is confronted.
Wife of the novelist, Mrs. H. G. Wells is herself a short-story writer of grace and originality. Lew Sarett is a new Atlantic contributor. Missionary, essayist, and poet, Jean Kenyon Mackenzie writes in this number a missionary’s views of luxury and hardship in the heart of Africa. James G. Harbord, Major-General. U. S. A., after a remarkable career in the Regular Army, was made Chief-of-Staff of the A.E.F. in France, May 14, 1917. He later commanded the Marine Brigade near Château-Thierry, and the Second Division in the Soissons offensive, bringing home with him a reputation unsurpassed by any American soldier in the war. General Harbord has received military honors from the American, British, French, Belgian, and Italian governments.
An American mediæval scholar living in England, H. E. Allen is also a skillful writer of short stories. Her ‘Ancient Grief’ was published in the February Atlantic.Katharine Lee Bates is professor of English at Wellesley College.
As President of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, James Bronson Reynolds had his attention directed to the case of a Lithuanian peasant who came to this country an immigrant with high purposes and ambitions. He fell into bad company, for which Mr. Reynolds believes American social conditions in part responsible, and later, while half intoxicated and suffering from an epileptic fit, he killed a man and was sent to State’s Prison for life. In his first two years in prison, he learned English and wrote a series of letters, published in this number of the Atlantic, which constitute a true and moving record of the life of a sensitive mind under prison conditions. Thomas Mott Osborne, formerly Warden of Sing Sing, is known to every American as a courageous reformer of intolerable prison conditions. He is author of Within Prison Walls, and Society and Prisons.
Henry C. Link is a psychologist who has specialized in industry. He is on the staff of the U. S. Rubber Company, and is the author of Employment Psychology and Education and Industry.Ford Ashman Carpenter is a consulting meteorologist of Los Angeles, and manager of the Department of Meteorology and Aeronautics of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
Paul Hutchinson formerly a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal church in Shanghai, and editor of the China Christian Advocate, writes, ‘I suggest that you label me as “formerly a missionary in China.” The sad fact is that the activities of a certain species of Asiatic germ have caused me to fall from my former high estate.’ He is at present in this country, a member of the Committee on Conservation and Advance. ¶Born in the North, but living for many years in the South as farmer and business man, E. T. H. Shaffer is the author of ‘A New South: The Boll-Weevil Era’ (Atlantic, January 1922) and ‘A New South: The Textile Development’ (Atlantic, October 1922). Alfred E. Zimmern is the English historian and scholar, author ofThe Greek Commonwealth, and Nationality and Government. ¶Editor and student of politics in Great Britain, E. T. Raymond writes at our request a study of forces and personalities in the British Labor Party. He is the author of ‘British Personalities’ (Atlantic, August 1922), and ‘Leaders of British Labor’ (Atlantic, September 1922).
An interesting confirmation and practical supplement to the paper on ‘Prisons and Common Sense,’ by Thomas Mott Osborne, which we print this month, is this letter from a well-known business executive, who is also President of the National Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor: —
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
Ill treatment of the prisoner has been used thousands of years and has not stopped or diminished crime. On the contrary it will harden the prisoner and is apt to make him revengeful and worse than before. There is one deterrent that is of particular importance, and that is swift and sure justice. The prisoner should know that if he commits a crime it is very likely that he will be caught and will go to prison, and that there will be very little delay about it.
In order to bring about good conditions in prisons, the first essential is that the administration and those in charge of the prisons, the officials high and low, wardens, keepers, or whatever may be their titles, shall be high-grade men of good reputation and character, and shall receive fair remuneration for their services, and to have it understood that it is an honorable office if they do their work right. These officials should receive instruction how to handle the subject, to qualify them for their important duties. Brutality and the exploitation of the prisoner should cease. It should be well understood that the administration wants to help the prisoner to reform and go out of prison a better person than when he went in. Cleanliness, proper care of health, necessary exercise and recreation are imperative, but the prisoners should also be required to do a fair day’s work and be employed at such work as they are fitted for and that will be useful to them when they go out of prison, so that they will likely be able to take care of themselves and their families after their discharge, and not spread disease mental or physical.
For their labor they should receive fair remuneration, and for particularly good work they should be rewarded. Part of the wages earned should be used for their maintenance and part for their families or dependents.
The prison administration, the wardens, keepers, and so forth, should set a high example of honesty and fairness. No good can possibly be accomplished if the prisoners see that those in charge of the prisons are dishonest and unjust, or if those placed over them are inferior. The prisons should, of course, be entirely taken out of politics. The education of the prisoner, both in the work which he is to perform and generally with the view of improving him, is most important and there should be the spirit of coöperation all around.
I think everybody will agree that the prisoner upon entering the prison or reformatory should be thoroughly examined as to his mental and physical state, and his treatment and the work assigned to him determined accordingly. There should of course be a competent medical staff and the right type of religious representative — the latter not only able to conduct services and carry out religious formalities, but to take a personal interest in the prisoner and help him to improve himself in a spiritual way.
I do not lay so much stress upon looking after the prisoners after their discharge, but rather to giving them the right opportunities in prison, such as education and training in the kind of work that will be of use to them when they go out and enable them to make a livelihood for themselves and their families in an honorable way. Given such opportunities in prison, the chances are that a great many of them will go straight — not all of course, as earlier habits and conditions may be too strong for some of them to overcome. Parole and probation are very good things, and the difficulty of the prisoner getting employment on account of the prejudice of a large part of the public is to be dealt with, but at the same time if the prisoner learns a trade and has good education, he is very likely to be able to help himself. It would more or less adjust itself.
We should overcome the inclination to harbor bitterness toward the prisoner, and, on the other hand, should avoid extreme sentimentality toward him. Both are harmful to the prisoners as well as to the general community.
It is well to bear in mind that we must not expect ideal conditions. The subject is one of the most difficult, and as no two persons are alike in every respect, general principles do not apply. We are either too severe or too lenient. The same applies to the education of children, though not in the same measure. The effect of treatment works very differently on different persons. There are some principles, however, that can be definitely applied in all cases: —
1. The proper examination of the prisoner both as to his physical and mental condition, and of his early history to determine if the causes of the crime can be established;
2. The choosing of honest and able wardens, keepers, and other officials, and the recognition by the public of the importance of their positions, credit to be given them when they deserve it;
3. People of good standing in the community to interest themselves in the matter;
4. To keep the criminal well occupied with the kind of work that he can well perform, taking into consideration his health and ability, also the kind of work which will be useful to him after his discharge;
5. Also to add to his education, not overdoing it but using some part of his time for education in various branches. Even giving some education in music and the arts, to those who have talent in that direction, might be a good thing.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
May I again refer to your article in the January Atlantic, on ‘The Technique of Being Deaf’ and the helpful letters which have followed it? Perhaps others have evolved similar mileposts on the road to the goal of perfect understanding for those with defective hearing.
A charming gentleman of our acquaintance, entirely deaf, whose technique has attained the quality of art, has set up for himself a list of qualifications as his goal of achievement as a lip-reader.
The lip-reader must have: —
The vision of a mind-reader.
The power of concentration of a scientist.
The sense of rhythm of a musician.
The ruthlessness of purpose of a financier.
The ability of the little boy who always
guesses right the first time!
ELISABETH GREENE PREBLE.
Senator Borah will pardon our printing the comment which he sent us in a letter on Walter Lippmann’s article, ‘The Outlawry of War’ (August Atlantic): —
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
I notice one thing in the article to which I cannot refrain from adverting for a moment. Mr. Lappmann says: ‘Let Mr. Borah ask himself whether he is prepared to entrust the creation of such a code to Lord Curzon, Mr. Hughes, M. Poincaré, and Baron Kato, and so forth.’
I should not like to entrust the matter to these gentlemen, and if the public opinion were organized in the right direction, we would not have to do so.
But, assuming that we would have to entrust to them the proposition of writing an international code, I should infinitely prefer to assign them to that task rather than to assign them under the scheme of the League of Nations to govern the world without any code at all. The difference between Mr. Lippmann and others and myself is that I am not willing to erect a political autocracy without law or limitations save the unlimited discretion and unbridled will of a few men.
If we cannot have a code of international law which shall govern us, if international affairs are to be controlled by the whims and the intrigues and the unlimited discretion of politicians, then my plan is to stay out. But I am not willing to concede that a code of international law by which international affairs shall be controlled and directed cannot he established.
Mr. Nicol Macnicol, writing of the spread of industrialism in modern India, in the June Atlantic (‘Barriers to Freedom’), remarked that a ‘black steel-smelting city, called Jamshedpur, had arisen in the midst of the wide solitudes of Behar.’ He went on to say that these iron-foundries work the ignorant peasant under conditions to which they are little adapted and that they themselves and their children die. We are sorry not to have space to publish the long and interesting letter written to us by Stewart M. Marshall, an experienced engineer of the company, but are glad to print the following paragraph from it; —
I have a fair familiarity with the welfare work of large corporations in this and other parts of the world, and I know of no company where these matters have received such liberal, detailed attention, and where so large a total of the investment has been put into services of this kind as is the case with the Tata Iron and Steel Company.
Ramsay Traquair’s article on ‘The Canadian Type’ in the June Atlantic has been much discussed in the press and out. Here is a friendly criticism by a Canadian: —
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread — and this rushing into the high company of your correspondents is occasioned by a very real loyalty to the Atlantic.
Indebted as we are for the sympathetic study given ‘Johnny Canuck,’ one fears that certainly an inadequate, and in some respects an incorrect, impression of Canada has been given by Professor Traquair to the American people. Hence this rash adventure in your mail!
Professor Traquair dismisses the Prairies and Ontario with little more than mere mention. What is perhaps the most distinctive note in our national character is being struck west of the Great Lakes. From the Ontario farms and towns and cities the pioneers of that new life west of the lakes set forth. Ontario and the West are intimately linked with each other. As for Ontario, we wish to suggest that she is too vital a factor to be casually omitted. Out of the 8,000,000 of Canada’s people 2,700,000 live in Ontario. That province combines the life of the large city (Toronto is nearing the 700,000 mark), the small town, the rural community, and the vast hinterland with its rugged and adventurous pioneers. Income-tax returns for last year show that in corporation and general income-taxes Ontario leads all the Provinces of the Dominion; the total for Ontario being $29,369,052 and for Quebec $19,014,016. Could Boston fail to appreciate the influence on the type that is exerted by the University of Toronto — the State University — which has the largest enrollment of any university in the British Empire, not to speak of the three other universities in Ontario? It is quite a jump from Ontario to Nova Scotia, but we make it almost every year on vacation and have spent several seasons on her coasts as a ‘Sky Pilot.’ Therefore to the statement that the typical ‘bluenose’ is ‘a little suspicious of strangers’ we take most vehement exception. Any commercial traveler or tourist will take issue with Professor Traquair on that point. And the statement — or rather the inference from it — that ‘Nova Scotia is a land of schools’ should not pass unchallenged, for it is not true of the Nova Scotia of to-day.
We feel much better now and if you put your foot on the top of the already overflowing wastebasket we are sure you will be able to crowd this ‘folio’ into its friendly and expectant space! And in spite of all we are most loyally yours!
H. M. PEARSON.
When in this Column we touched upon the phenomenon described by a correspondent of the transmutation of horsehairs into water snakes, we did so in the same spirit in which we might discuss the vagaries of dragons, unicorns, sea serpents and all the familiar fauna of childhood. A legend which reproduces itself from age to age seemed to us diverting. But the scientists, watching ns divert ourselves thus unseemly, have written to warn us of their ‘amazement’ that we should accept such exceedingly natural Natural History. If we may do so without desecrating the Temple of Science, we should like to print one more letter which we have received: —
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
I have just read in the July Atlantic Mrs. Pearsall’s article on ‘Snakes Developing from Horsehair.’ Our watering-trough was similar to the one she described, and I have seen the ‘horsehair snakes’ in the water. On examining them, I found that they were made up of numerous small insects clinging closely to the horsehair and entirely covering it.
JAS. A. MOORE.
How is that for high?