Robert Barrett mid Mrs. Barrett were traveling in the Argentine when they first encountered Chace, ‘on a spur-crest, his black neckerchief and gray pony’s mane and tail blown forward. There was no mistaking the hat or the saddle.’ Alice Beal Parsons is the author of a recent novel, John Merrill’s Pleasant Life.Anice Terhune has all the consciousness of one just returned from Europe.Ellery Sedgwick, editor of the Atlantic, recently observed Japan at close quarters. Δ If the concluding pages of Sir John Campbell’s account put a strain on the credulity of some readers, we would remind them that the tale comes from no wild romantic, but from the economic and financial adviser to the Colonial Office, formerly a District Magistrate in the India of which he writes. Julian S. Huxley, brother of Aldous Huxley the novelist, is a professor in King’s College, London. R. S. conceals a genuine poetic reputation behind these initials. James Truslow Adams is now living in London. Robert Dean Frisbie has again set sail and in a year or so will turn up on his South Sea atoll. E. Bax describes an unforgettable day in the American Embassy from first-hand knowledge.
Those who have found in Howell Vines an author of original and refreshing talents will be glad to know that A River Goes with Heaven, of which the Atlantic has printed only an abridged version, will be published complete in book form this month by the Atlantic Monthly Press. Conrad Aiken, novelist and poet, is the author of some fifteen volumes of poetry and prose. Ernest Poole’s insight into simple but profound character makes his story memorable. Evans Clark is Director of the Twentieth Century Fund, founded by E. A. Filene of Boston. Herbert D. Simpson has explored the Chicago tax situation from top to bottom, and has served in every capacity from committee member to court witness in the effort to meet a crisis of concern to all American cities. Owen Tweedy, an indefatigable traveler and experienced observer, left London in August for his maiden visit to Russia.
We apologize for an error which, like the Purloined Letter, was too obvious to notice. The Reverend Dr. Orchard is the pastor of an important Nonconformist congregation in London.
‘Palestine — An Impasse?’ by Professor Hocking, in the July Atlantic, has attracted broad interest and led to sharp debate. We are obliged to limit the discussion, but are glad to give space to this documented commentary from Professor Frankfurter.
In his discussion of Arab-Jewish relations in Palestine, Professor Hocking deems it important to speculate about the meaning of a letter written to me by Prince Feisal. The letter in question was part of an exchange between Prince Feisal and myself.
PARIS, March B, 1919
DEAR MR. FRANKFURTER, —
I want to take this opportunity of my first contact with American Zionists to tell you what I have often been able to say to Dr. Weizmann in Arabia and Europe.
We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of powers stronger than themselves, and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together.
We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, in so far us we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.
With the chiefs of your movement, especially with Dr. Weizmann. we have had, and continue to have, the closest relations, He has been a great helper of our cause, and I hope the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness. We are working together for a reformed and revived NEAR EAST, and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other.
People less informed and less responsible than our leaders and yours, ignoring the need for coöperation of the Arabs and Zionists, have been trying to exploit the local difficulties that must necessarily arise in Palestine in the early stages of our movements. Some of them have, I am afraid, misrepresented your aims to the Arab peasantry, and our aims to the Jewish peasantry, with the result that interested parties have been able to make capital out of what they call our differences.
I wish to give you my firm conviction that these differences are not on questions of principle, but on matters of detail such as must inevitably occur in every contact of neighboring peoples, and as are easily adjusted by mutual goodwill. Indeed, nearly all of them will disappear with fuller knowledge.
I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of civilized people of the world.
March 3, 1919
ROYAL HIGHNESS: —
Allow me, on behalf of the Zionist Organization, to acknowledge your recent, letter with deep appreciation.
Those of us who come from the United States have already been gratified by the friendly relations and the active coöperation maintained between you and the Zionist leaders, particularly Dr. Weizmann. We knew it could not he otherwise; we knew that the aspirations of the Arab and the Jewish peoples were parallel, that each aspired to reëstablish its nationality in its own homeland, each making its own distinctive contribution to civilization, each seeking its own peaceful mode of life.
The Zionist leaders and the Jewish people for whom they speak have watched with satisfaction the spiritual vigor of the Arab movement. Themselves seeking justice, they are anxious that the just national aims of the Arab people be confirmed and safeguarded by the Peace Conference.
We knew from your acts and your past utterances that the Zionist movement — in other words the rational aims of the Jewish people — had your support and the support of the Arab people for whom you speak. These aims are now before the Peace Conference as definite proposals by the Zionist Organization. We are happy indeed that you consider these proposals ‘ moderate and proper.’ and that we have in you a staunch supporter for their realization. For both the Arab and the Jewish peoples there are difficulties ahead — difficulties that challenge the united statesmanship of Arab and Jewish leaders. For it is no easy task to rebuild two great civilizations that have been suffering oppression and misrule for centuries. We each have our difficulties we shall work out as friends, friends who are animated by similar purposes, seeking a free and full development for the two neighboring peoples. The Arabs and Jews are neighbors in territory; we cannot but live side by side as friends.
(Signed) FELIX FRANKFURTER
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE FEISAL
It is important to recite the setting and circumstances of this correspondence.
In February 1919, I resigned from my position with our Government and left for Paris to join those who were attending the Peace Conference on behalf of the Zionist cause. This work was not of a professional character; I went to Paris solely because of my devotion to Zionism.
I arrived in Paris on Friday, February 28, 1919. The American Zionists were anxious for direct contact with the responsible voice of Arab interests at the Peace Conference. As is well known, this was Prince Feisal. An interview with Prince Feisal was promptly arranged, and it fell to me to represent the Americans. The meeting was held at Prince Feisal’s then residence, situated in the Bois. There were present Prince Feisal, members of his staff whose names I did not know, and Colonel Lawrence, who acted as interpreter between the Prince and myself.
At this interview I set forth the attitude of the Zionists, particularly of the American Zionists, towards the relations between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The Prince in his reply expressed accord with these views, voiced his support of the Zionist programme as it had been submitted to the Council of Ten very recently, and spoke in appreciation of the point of view which I had laid before him in regard to Arab-Jewish coöperation.
It was deemed desirable to give written expression to our respective views. It was therefore agreed that Colonel Lawrence was to frame, in English, the substance of the position which the Prince had conveyed to me, and that I was to repeat in substance the views which I had expressed. These two letters were to serve as a formal exchange of ArabJewish views for public announcement. Colonel Lawrence was to take the letter to the Prince, who, after it was read to him in translation, was to sign it and send it to me. At the same time I was to send him my reply.
This procedure was followed. Promptly after the interview at the Prince’s house, we adjourned to the Hotel Meurice, where Colonel Lawrence drafted the letter setting forth the Prince’s views and I drafted my proposed reply. The same day I received from the Hedjaz Delegation the letter bearing Prince Feisal’s signature, and in turn sent my reply addressed directly to the Prince. The Prince’s letter was published, through the medium of the New York Times, on March 5, 1919.
Prince Feisal’s letter was a document prepared under the most responsible conditions. It received important publicity at the time. It has ever since been treated as one of the basic documents affecting Palestinian affairs and Arab-Jewish relations.
Inasmuch as Professor Hocking was not in possession of these facts when he wrote his Atlantic article, his speculations led him into a number of erroneous assumptions in regard to the Feisal letter which I am sure he would be the first one to desire to correct in the minds of Atlantic readers.
Professor Hocking wrote, ‘Feisal was not a member of the official Arab delegation to the Peace Conference.’ Of the Arab delegation at the Peace Conference, Feisal was not only a member but its head. Therefore his voice at that moment was not, as Professor Hocking surmises, ’the voice of the British Government,’ but the responsible voice of Arab statesmanship.
To say, as does Professor Hocking, that when Prince Feisal expressed the views set forth in his letter ‘he had every expectation of ruling in Damascus with Palestine as a part of the Syrian state’ is to indulge in a wholly baseless speculation ten years after the event. About one thing there was no doubt in anybody’s mind, least of all in the mind of Prince Feisal — namely, that the territory known as Palestine was to be mandated to Great Britain in order to secure the establishment of the Jewish national home as set forth in the Balfour Declaration. This Declaration was issued by Great Britain after full agreement thereon not only by the Allied Powers, but more especially after personal approval by President Wilson on behalf of the United States. Unlike other arrangements that came out of the war, that Declaration was publicly made, was known of all the world, and with the acquiescence and approval of Prince Feisal was finally written into the public law of the world.
I have confined myself to one specific item in Professor Hocking’s article, but by so doing I do not mean to imply agreement with his views and speculations on other phases of the problem dealt with by him. On the whole issue I venture to suggest that the views expressed by Prince Feisal in 1919 in regard to the Zionist programme and its benefits to Arab interests are more reliable than the speculations, however disinterested, of one very new to the meaning and complexities of New Eastern problems.
To which Professor Hocking — who, as the author, deserves the last word —replies.
Professor Frankfurter’s important account of the origin of Feisal’s letter on Zionism takes issue with my statement on two material points.
First, was this letter, as Mr. Frankfurter holds, the voice of Arab statesmanship, or was it, as I believe, a personal expression of Prince Feisal, guided by British policy and valid for few beside himself in the intelligent Arab world?
Mr. Frankfurter refers to Feisal’s official status in Paris at the time of this letter (March 1919) and corrects my statement, by pointing out quite rightly that the Prince was accepted as the natural spokesman of the Hedjaz Delegation. He was acting as plenipotentiary for his father, Sherif Hussein of Mecca. What his technical relation to the Delegation may have been is a matter of dispute, as the proceedings of the recent Commission of Inquiry in Palestine will testify. But clearly the Sherifian movement represented by the Hedjaz Delegation, though a lively part of the Arab world, fell far short of being the whole of it. In particular, as Captain William Yale of the King-Crane Commission has said, ‘ Feisal had no authority to bargain away the rights of the Palestinian and Syrian Arabs. Feisal was compelled to make the concessions he did because he was completely in the hands of the British. The people of Palestine and Syria overwhelmingly voted against the Balfour Declaration during the self-determination proceedings carried out by the KingCrane Commission.’ Unfortunately for the substance of Mr. Frankfurter’s view, it is a matter of history that in this letter Feisal spoke neither for Hussein nor for the Hedjaz Delegation, but acted wholly outside his instructions. I may quote Mr. Ameen Rihani on this point: —
‘Hussein was the only one authorized to say the final word about anything that related to Arab policy. And his final word about a Jewish National Home was always the same — “No.” Conclusive proof of this is his refusal to sign the treaty with the British Government in 1925, one of the causes for his downfall. Hussein never forgave his son Feisal for sending that letter to Mr. Frankfurter.’
These facts, together with subsequent expressions of other Arab leaders, dispose of the view that this letter was in any sense the voice of Arab statesmanship beyond Feisal’s own person.
This touches the second issue — namely, whether Feisal’s attitude in this letter, which had already been outlined in a meeting with Mr. Weizmann on July 8, 1928, was governed in any respect by his political interests. Mr, Frankfurter seeks to dismiss as a ‘ wholly baseless speculation ten years after the event’ my judgment that Feisal at that time was hoping to ‘rule in Damascus with Palestine as a part of his domain.’ I submit the facts of record. Feisal was already ruling in Damascus; he was concerned for his security there; he was depending on British support, and therefore accepting British advice and hoping that Great Britain would receive the (as yet unassigned) mandate not only for Palestine but for Syria also. Within the year following this letter, he accepted at the hands of a congress of Syrian notables the ‘crown of Syria and Palestine,’ an ill-fated step which nevertheless revealed his mind. It was obvious that he could qualify as ruler of Palestine only if he could display some hospitality of mind toward the Zionist ideal to which his allies were committed. Only a vigorous will to disbelieve can question that Feisal’s courteous and humane letter had in view a Jewish colony within an Arab state, which in his view must he worlds apart from an Arab colony within a Jewish state.
The Zionism which he accepted, within these conditions, was as yet an ideal. Under Arab rule, the experiment might have been led into safer channels. The development of our present political Zionism he could not have foreseen. How little he intended to sanction any such development may be inferred from an exchange of telegrams which took place during the sessions of the Commission of Inquiry above referred to, in December 1929: —
To His Majesty the King of Iraq, Baghdad
It has been said before the Inquiry Commis-
sion that in your letter to Mr. Frankfurter you
consented to the Zionist policy. Please cable me
to correct this report.
(Signed) AUNI ABDCL HADI
Advocate Auni Abdul Hadi, Jerusalem
His Majesty does not remember having writ-
ten anything of that kind with his knowledge.
(Signed) HAIDER (Secretary to Feisal)
Note that this message of Feisal’s is not, as in its English dress it at first seems to be, a disavowal of the letter. It is a disavowal of an interpretation of the letter. It states that Feisal did not understand his letter to convey a general consent to ‘the Zionist policy’; he meant by it no subscription to what later Zionism has built upon Colonel Lawrence’s words.
After all, the Zionism of 1930 is not the Zionism of 1919. For our own judgment, what Feisal thinks to-day is more significant than what he thought before the movement was launched. Does not the vision of all initiators and pioneers need constant revision in view of the actual working? I owe to Mr. Frankfurter much of my conception of the meaning of Zionism, much of my early enthusiasm for its ideal, and much of the opportunity of seeing it in action. It is not the least of my regrets that the impact of new experience on long-rooted interests has compelled me to diverge from him in judging the movement as it now exists.
WILLIAM ERNEST HOCKING
The Tourist who in Spite of Himself quoted cockney comes in for this rejoinder.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
I am moved to write to you again on the subject of cockney speech as reproduced by American writers. I was almost reduced to tears when I found Mr. A. Edward Newton, who knows England and English books so well, to be one of the worst sinners in this respect. May I point out again that, while cockneys leave out every h, they never put one in, except on the very rare occasions when they wish to be specially polite, or when they are using sarcasm in a quarrel. Cockney is a lazy form of speech, and to aspirate an h is an effort.
Please refer to Mr. Newton’s otherwise delightful article in the February Atlantic and try to read aloud the speech of the London policeman in Jerusalem, You will find it almost impossible; to a lazy speaker it would be quite impossible.
Beg Mr. Newton, and any other American writers on England upon whom you have influence, to read William De Morgan’s books, Joseph Vance, and so forth, or Bernard Shaw’s plays that have cockney characters, such as Pygmalion, Major Barbara, Man and Superman, Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, and so forth. And ask him to listen to Mabel Constanduros on the wireless when he is in England. She speaks it perfectly. Hif hever ’e helects to heater Hengland hagain, hand Hi ’ope ‘e will hoften, hask ’im to listen to ’er. Just try to read that sentence quickly!
H. C. TAIT
As may be imagined, Mr. Russell’s acrobatic discussion of Chance, in the August Atlantic, has received much attention from our readers. Mr. Westman, of the Ontario Research Foundation, puts his criticism into this essay.
TAILS OR HEADS
If we are to consider that probability, like certainty, is not definable, then conclusions stated as probabilities cannot be derived rigorously from premises which do not contain a probability, unless probability is introduced into the argument in an assumption.
The difficulties which Mr. Bertrand Russell encounters in his entertaining but, I fear, misleading exposition of the doctrine of chance are due largely to his attempts to reason from certainties to probabilities, neglecting the probability assumptions which must necessarily be introduced.
The probability that a man is called William Williams cannot be calculated from the certainties that he lives in the British Isles and that a certain proportion of Britishers are called William Williams. We must introduce a probability assumption, such as that of random selection — namely, that every Britisher had the same probability of selection. For the case where the man lives in Wales, random sampling from Wales must be assumed. That the probabilities for the two cases should be different is not surprising, since one is based on random sampling from the British isles and the other on random sampling from Wales.
Similarly, the certainty that the sun will either rise or not rise to-morrow tells us nothing about the probability of its rising. In order to reach the astonishing conclusion that it is as likely to rise as not, we have to introduce the equally astonishing probability assumption that two mutually exclusive events about which we know not hing are equally probable.
Arguing from certainties to probabilities by the simple process of unwittingly introducing probability assumptions is apt to give the impression that there is always an answer to any question beginning ‘What is the probability that — ?’
Nobody would attempt to calculate the area of a rectangle from a knowledge of its width, but how many would try to answer the question, ‘What is the probability that the area of a rectangle two inches wide is greater than twenty square inches?' Their conclusions, of course, would only reflect the nature of the probability assumptions regarding length which they introduced.
When a conjurer produces a wriggly, black-andwhite rabbit from an apparently innocent hat, one cannot blame the audience for being astonished, but why should the conjurer be surprised?
A. E. R. WESTMAN
A reference to life insurance companies growing rich because people die less frequently than they used to brings this comment from high places.
I am very sorry to see the interesting article by Mr. Bertrand Russell on ’Heads or Tails’ marred by an unnecessary paragraph relating to life insurance. Having studied the doctrine of probabilities in my youth, and knowing the high intellectual attainments of Mr. Russell, I should have said that the probability of his making an error in a single paragraph would he expressed by a fraction approximating zero, but he has achieved nearly the impossible for him by making four statements, none of which is correct.
His first statement is, ‘Life insurance companies have generally argued that people will die at the same rate in the future as in the past.’ Nothing could he further from the truth. The actuaries of the companies keep yearly and even monthly records of the mortality of their companies, while the American and Canadian companies in coöperation have produced mortality tables periodically in recent years. No actuary or responsible life insurance official has argued, publicly or privately, that the death rate is stationary. Mr. Russell may have in mind the fact that the premium rates of a number of companies are not based on modern tables. That is of little consequence, as in mutual companies the difference between the rate of mortality experienced and that assumed in the calculation of premiums is returned annually in dividends in reduction of premiums. Mr. Russell is probably not aware that, principally owing to the improvement in mortality, the dividends in mutual companies have increased substantially in recent years. In fact, they have been larger than at any time in the last generation. The companies issuing non-participating policies have decreased their premiums from time to time so that the cost to the policyholder is lower than it has ever been.
Mr. Russell’s second statement is that as the result of the diminishing death rate ‘the insurance companies have grown rich.’ If he means that their assets have become enormous, he is correct; but their liabilities have also increased proportionately. If he refers to their surplus, it is restricted by law, and if it has increased greatly, then it benefits the policyholders in the mutual companies, who are solely entitled to the profits.
Mr. Russell’s third misstatement is that ’the intellectual fallacy at the basis of their calculations has not worried them’ — that is, the officers of the life insurance companies. There is no such fallacy. Even a tyro in actuarial matters knows that the mortality has been decreasing, and has decreased much more at the younger than at the older ages.
His fourth statement, with regard to annuities, is also incorrect. Does he know that there is a different mortality experienced among annuitants than among persons who hold life insurance policies? Annuities are purchased by elderly persons who expect to live a long time. Life insurance is generally taken in youth or in middle life to protect dependents against the early death of the breadwinner. As the motive is different, there is a selection against the company, which results in a lower mortality under annuities than under life insurance policies. The companies would not have been ’led to bankruptcy,’ as stated by Mr. Russell, ’if the purchase of annuities had been commoner than life insurance,’because the actuaries have based their premiums for annuities on special annuity tables, several of which have been prepared in recent years. The companies must guard against a lower mortality than assumed in the calculation of the price for annuities, while any decrease in the mortality in mutual companies can he adjusted by larger annual dividends to the policyholders.
ARTHUR HUNTER, Chief Actuary
New York Life Insurance Company
Dictionary makers please note.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
In ‘Keeping Touch with Speech,’by Frank H. Vizetelly, in the August number, it is said that the English pronounce ’hostile’ hostyle. Two weeks ago a native Minnesotan used the word ' hostyle.’ I have heard it applied to a ‘man’s woman,’ and to a bull. In both instances ‘hostyle’ conveys the stronger warning.
My favorite acquisition is ’gaunt.’ A light breakfast at five and pitching hay or bundles till noon renders one ‘mighty gaunt’ or ‘gaunted,’without also being ‘old John Lancaster.'
Yay-ah of course is yea. The last two days the black mare has been running, snorting, and calling ‘Nyay-ah,’ seeking the companionship of a fourfooted gigolo.
In calling cows I was astonished to have one lift, her head and answer in a perfect imitation of a small boy’s ‘Na-a-a-ah.’ Then she calmly continued to graze, and no calling could budge her or any of the rest. Evidently she spoke for all, and I had to herd them in. This expression of negation was used four times that summer by this cow, and once by another. Several years later another cow said ‘nay.
This raises the question whether a study of horses’ and cows’ brains would not disclose speech centres disused for lack of speech organs, thereby showing a case of devolution.
ROBERT D. KELLOGG