Harper's Weekly 12/30/1899

By E. S. Martin

THE complicated feelings with which most of us
regard the war in South Africa are more strain-
ed than ever by the appointment of Lord Rob-
erts to command the British forces. Many of
us feel that we know him intimately from hav-
ing read the autobiographical record of his
long service in India, and most American readers know
more or less about him. In England he is the most
popular of soldiers, and the striking part of his populari-
ly is the affectionate quality of it. He was greatly be-
loved in India, where he came to be commander-in-chief
of the British forces, and where the bulk of his life's
work was done, and he is greatly beloved at home, as ap-
peared at the time of the Queen's Jubilee, where he was
only less warmly received than the Queen herself. He is
an Irishman (like Wellington), and therefore highly ac-
ceptable to the Queen's Irish soldiers, and he is kindly,
modest, of unequalled experience in military affairs, and
very able.

In his attitude towards the recent military policy of
Great Britain it appears that he has represented the oppo-
sition to Lord Wolseley's “short-service system,” and
being in a way Wolseley's rival, his present preferment
means much.

Just now he not only inspires confidence as a general
and affection as a man, but warm sympathy as a bereaved
father; for his only son, Lieutenant Roberts, a gallant and
distinguished young officer, has died of wounds received
in General Buller's reverse on the Tugela River.

General Roberts's most notable military exploit was his
march from Cabul to Candahar at the time of the Afghan
rising in 1880. Leaving Cabul on August 9, with 10,000
men, he was not heard from until he turned up at Canda-
har, on August 31, and broke up the Afghan army the
next day. It is that victory that is recalled in his title—
Lord Roberts of Candahar. He was born in 1832, and, of
course, sixty-seven is a pretty ripe age for an active

with General Roberts as his chief of staff. His fame
has occurred too recently to need to be set forth in any
detail. The preparation for his work in Egypt began in
1882, when he volunteered for Sir Evelyn Wood's army.
Ten years later he was made Sirdar, or commander-in-
chief of the Egyptian army. His expedition against the
Dervishes and the recapture of Dongola in 1896 made him
a major-general. On Good-Friday, 1898, he defeated the
army of the Mahdi under Osman Digna and Emir Mah-
mond, continuing his campaign until the conclusive vic-
tory of Omdurman and the fall of Khartum, on Septem-
ber 2. Now, little more than a year later, he is again on
his way to active service of the gravest importance. He
was born in 1851.

IT us true, as was surmised the other day in the Weekly,
that the late Epes Sargeant Dixwell, of Cambridge, was
a direct descendant of Dixwell the regicide. He himself
erected over the remains of his ancestor the monument
that stands on the green in New Haven. His son writes,
“The authentic copy of the line taken from the heraldry
records in England, and the absolute proofs of the line
since Cromwell to date, are in my possession.” Other
documents relating to the regicides are preserved in the
rooms of the New Haven Historical Society.

There are few more interesting figures in American
annals than the three refugee regicides who found a safe
retreat in New England.

THE newspapers report that hazing is dead at West
Point, and owes its demise not immediately to the
efforts of the authorities, but to the action of the cadets
themselves. Here's hoping that the news is true, and
that the deceased will stay dead. There have lately been
some very bad stories about West Point hazing, and it
has been known that the superintendent and the com-
mandant, and their associates in the control of the acad-
emy, were resolutely desirous that the practice should
cease. Punishments for hazing were severe, but still it
went on. If the cadets have undertaken to stop it, it will
stop, for facts which are very difficult for officers to reach
are readily accessible to the cadets, and occurrences in
the corps which the cadets as a body disapprove do not
go on happening. We are told that hazing had fallen
into general disfavor in the corps, and that papers have
been very generally signed abating it. Such action seems
highly sensible, for by all accounts the honorable reticence
of the corps as to misdemeanors of individual cadets has
of late been abused for the protection of unworthy young
men who have been guilty of brutal conduct. When one
or two individuals have carried hazing to a monstrous
excess and the whole corps has suffered, doubtless the
longer heads in the corps have realized that hazing, as an
institution, was costing too much, and that the better and
wiser men—doubtless considerably in the majority—were
being used to cloak the indiscretions of the foolish. The
cure for that was to stop those goings-on altogether.

WHAT with Buller's reverse, and England's groans,
and the Roberts case, and the squeeze in stocks, and
all the other sharp contentions of the hour, we have had
to pinch ourselves to realize that it has really been Christ-
mas-time. It is pleasant to recall that if Africa has cast
a pretty black cloud over the holiday proceedings in Eu-
rope, Brother Jonathan has done his best to work some
gleams of sunshine through it. The December mails
from New York were all heavy with letters carrying
money-orders to all parts of Europe. A single steamer,
the Umbria, carried 23,401 money-orders, representing
more than $271,000, and the Lucania, which sailed a little
later, carried $2,500,000. Very large amounts, too, were
sent through bankers. Most of this money is in sums
of from $10 to $30, and is sent by servants and people
of limited means to their relatives at home. What con-
stancy and affection and unselfishness this great cloud
of Christmas letters attests! It encourages the suspicion
that folks, as a rule, do not make notable progress in be-
ing greedy and selfish until they begin to have about
enough, or perhaps about too much, and happily not al-
ways then. We are fairly good to one another, all
things considered, but it is well known that in proportion
to their abilities the poor are much more generous to the
poor than the well-to-do are to any one. That is greatly
to the credit of the poor, albeit the better-off are entitled
to have it stated in their behalf that the pang of separa-
tion in parting with valuables is apt to be proportionate
to the value of what goes, irrespective of what remains.
It is probably easier for most persons to give away one
dollar out of two than one thousand dollars out of two
thousand. Perhaps it ought not to be so, but presumably
it is.

THE London Lancet, observing the obstinate tendency
of many minds to believe that cigarettes are poisonous,
has lately gathered a collection of American cigarettes and
caused them to be analyzed. It reports that there is no-
thing of consequence in them except tobacco, so, unless
that is poisonous, they contain no poisons. A conclusive
reflection against the supposition that American cigarettes
contain morphine, opium, arsenic, and other such delete-
rious things is that these ingredients are pretty dear,
whereas most American cigarettes are far too cheap to
contain high-priced poisons.

The trouble with cigarettes, in so far as there is trouble,
is that most persons who use them inhale the smoke.
They are bad for boys, and some boys they really do
seem to poison; that is, they bring out the poison that is in
the boy, and make it so active that the boy is not of much
use. Some boys unluckily seem to be pretty well loaded
up with latent poisons waiting for something to rouse
them into activity, and they are the very chaps who take
most kindly and persistently to cigarettes. A thoroughly
sound boy isn't likely to be damaged by any reasonable
experience of cigarettes, though they won't do him any
good, and are a mischief in any case. But on a thorough-
ly unsound boy they may work like a lighted match on a
hay-stack, and then, of course, the average observer thinks
there must be poison in them. No, not in the cigarettes,
but in the boy. They are a sore care, are boys of that
sort, with affinities for physical mischiefs. They give
cigarettes a bad name when they are young, and every
species of rum a still worse name when they are older.
The tobacco companies and the distilleries and breweries
ought to organize a boycott against them.

AS much as $200,000 had been received a fortnight ago
towards the million dollars necessary to reconstruct
the Dewey Arch in marble, and excellent progress was re-
ported in getting more subscriptions. It seems not un-
likely that the necessary money can be raised, and it will
be a great feather in the cap of Gotham if it is. Mean-
while every contributing citizen is entitled to hold and
freely express, in print or otherwise, his opinion as to
where the arch should stand.

GREAT interest attaches to consul Charles E. Macrum,
late of Pretoria, and to the mysterious reasons which
have actuated him to clamor for recall. It was the desire
of the administration, and, indeed; of the country generally,
that he should prove a Macrum of comfort to the British
in South Africa, as Minister Washburne proved to the
Germans and many others during the siege of Paris. But
that has not worked, and, at his own request, he is coming
home. Of course nothing but a public duty of extreme
importance will excuse his abandonment of such a post
as Pretoria during such a crisis as the present one. If it
turn out that he left because the water was bad, or it was
impossible to get his washing done, there will be serious
grumbling; but he is well spoken of as an Ohio man with
most of the usual Ohio qualifications, and his friends say
that he is not coming home on any trivial errand. The
theory that he is conveying important information from
President Kruger to President McKinley finds some favor
with the newspapers.

IT is announced that the Museum of Natural History in
New York (Central Park West) has now on exhibition
in Mexican Hall, in its new wing, the best collection in the
world of objects relating to the old civilization of Mexico
and Central America. The work of making this collec-
tion has been going on for years. The objects that have
been brought together as the result of two expeditions
sent expressly to gather them, and of other explorations
and collections, include casts of monuments and relics
found in Yucatan, Guatemala, Mexico, and other coun-
tries. Some of these castings are of great size, and many
of them are of extreme interest and importance. The
collection also includes lithographed reproductions of il-
luminated Mexican and Maya manuscripts carried by
Spaniards to Europe, and scattered in various European
libraries and depositories. They were traced and repro-
duced in fac simile at the cost of the Due de Loubat, and
are now for the first time brought together where they may
be studied to advantage. Among those to whose labor
or money this collection is due are Dr. and Mrs. Plongeon,
the Duc de Loubat, Dr. Seler, Mr. Morris K. Jesup, Mr.
William C. Whitney, and others.

PRESIDENT THWING, of Adelbert College, in Cleve-
land, who thinks and writes much about colleges and
college students, says, in a book lately published, that a
fair estimate of what a college student's allowance ought
to be can be made by taking the cost of his board, room,
and tuition and multiplying it by two. This would be
an estimate for a student whose need of economy is not
particularly pressing. It works pretty well. At Har-
vard, for example, tuition is $150 a year, and a lad whose
parents are fairly well-to-do would be likely to pay from
$6 to $8 a week for thirty-eight weeks for board, and
from $100 to $200 a year for a room. His allowance,
therefore, estimated according to Dr. Thwing's theory,
would be from $956 to $1308. So it is. From $1000 to
$1200 or $1300 a year is what most parents who are
neither rich nor poor seem to regard as a proper annual
provision for their sons at Harvard or Yale.

THE order of the ten leading American universities, ar-
ranged according to the student population as regis-
tered November 1, 1899, and tabulated in the Harvard
Graduates' Magazine
, is, Harvard 5250, Michigan 3346,
Pennsylvania 3346, Columbia 3083, Yale 2688, Cornell
2645, Wisconsin 2025, Chicago 1680, Princeton 1194, and
Johns Hopkins 632. These figures have possibly changed
a little in the last two months, and the order in some cases
may now be different.

On the whole, the growth of Cornell seems more re-
markable than that of any of the others. The university
at Ithaca is young, has no very great city close by to
feed it, and is located in an out-of-the-way town, rather
difficult of access. But it is rich and progressive, and
thrives like a strong plant in good soil. It draws more
than half its students (1394) from New York State, 157
from Pennsylvania (whence railroads run conveniently to
Ithaca), and 254 more from Ohio, New Jersey, and Illinois,
and 45 from Massachusetts. That a young university in
the wilds of southwestern New York should lure 45
scholars from Massachusetts is evidence of power. Chau-
tauqua, more southwestern still, has done things quite as
strange; but then Chautauqua keeps open in summer, when
folks like to wander. Perhaps we don't all realize as
vividly as we should that south western New York, with
Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse on its northern sky-line,
and Pittsburg. Cincinnati, and Cleveland and all between
at its back, is a district of tremendous resources, provided
it can draw on them.

MR. POULTNEY BIGELOW, who has been to South
Africa and written a good book about it, and whose
opinions about the Boer war are therefore based on a
considerable fund of personal knowledge, has given ex-
pression to some of them in a recent discourse in the New
York Times. He looks upon the war as a political ne-
cessity for England. Mr. Chamberlain, he insists, likes
war no better than other folks do, but has resorted to it
now as the only means of keeping South Africa as a her-
itage for the English-speaking race. The mass of the
English follow him, on the ground, vaguely but instinc-
tively taken, that to do a little harm is justifiable if great
ultimate good will result from it. Mr. Bigelow lives in
London nowadays, and he greatly admires the respect of
his British neighbors for the right of free speech, as illus-
trated by their toleration of Mr. Morley's earnest preach-
ments against the war. He does not share Mr. Morley's
views, but he regards him as a great patriot, and thinks it
highly important that such voices as his should not be
stifled. He compares Mr. Morley, just now the harshest
critic of the British government, to our Mr. Schurz, whose
views against annexation, while he does not share them, he
thinks worthy of a more respectful hearing than they have

One of Mr. Bigelow's opinions is particularly interest-
ing. He says Boers and Britons have long despised and
hated one another, and he believes the war will make for
a growth of mutual respect between them. He compares
them to the old North and the South in America, and fore-
sees a better acquaintance which will lead to increase of
esteem and better relations.

THE conclusion that 1900 is the last year in the nine-
teenth century and not the first in the twentieth has
been generally accepted in this country, and dissenters
from it are too few to make much noise. Consequently,
so far as is known, no formal showings out of the old
century have been arranged for New-Years in America.
But Germany seems to take a different view. Despatches
from Berlin speak of many plans for commemorating the
new century's advent. The German post-office is to
issue twentieth-century postal-cards, and the German
Emperor has advertised that the court reception which
usually falls on New-Year's day will be held this time on
the stroke of midnight. Inasmuch as this matter was
settled for us by our learned doctors, and inasmuch as we
all know that no doctors are more learned than the Ger-
man doctors, it seems somewhat odd that the wise men in
both countries are not in closer accord. A possible ex-
planation is that Emperor William has ruled that for
court and official purposes the century begins next week,
and that the doctors have had no voice in the matter.


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