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his inimitable anecdotes of an autobiographical kind plus those that are imaginative but none the less effective as mirth provokers. serious message of the talk, underlying all its wit and humor, was the thesis that citizens of the United States, as he finds them wherever he goes on his tours, are better than cynics, pessimists, and muckrakers say that they are; and that chivalry, generosity, and good fellowship characterize the American man whether he be a bishop or a Pullman porter, a banker or an innkeeper.
Friday, October 9
[Boston Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 1914]
ST. LOUIS CIVIC WORKER TELLS HOW EXHIBIT AIDS CHARTER
Col. Martin J. Collins Says People are Unified to Vote for City Improvement Through Cooperation in History Play-Advises Boston to Carry Out Scheme
A city's pageant as the means to doing away with "politician government," securing a brand new charter, and welding the many interests of a great community into a harmonious whole is the story brought to Boston from St. Louis by Colonel Martin J. Collins, in whose honor a dinner was given by the City Club last evening.
Colonel Collins was active in the recent pageant on Art Hill, St. Louis, which called out an audience of 125,000 people on the first night. He has long been foremost among the most active workers in the city's civic league, and together with the present Mayor, Henry W. Kiel-although of different political affiliation-he did much to make possible the adoption of the new charter from which so much is expected by the St. Louis people.
EFFICIENCY BOARD TO FOLLOW
Following in the footsteps of the St. Louis civic worker, are to come to Boston next week the new Efficiency Board established under the recently adopted charter. This Committee, an important factor in the reorganized administration of St. Louis, has the oversight of practically all appointments and promotions made in the city departments. It examines candidates, oversees promotions, and in general is designed to eliminate political influence from the municipal departments. After studying the civic service board of Boston, it is to visit New York and Philadelphia.
At the dinner last night, attended by Mayor Curley, J. S. Bache of New York, and H. Staples Potter, Colonel Collins urged upon Boston the undertaking of a pageant similar to that held in his own city.
HOW PAGEANT AFFECTED CHARTER
To-day Colonel Collins explained how the holding of a pageant made possible the adoption of the new charter.
"For many, many years we have wanted to do big things out in St. Louis," he said. "For twenty years or more we have talked about placing a great park plaza in the centre of the city. We have long wanted to rid ourselves of 'political rule.' For the past two years we have studied city charters with the hope of some day having a new one ourselves. But for all our earnest efforts, one small organization so pulled against another, one interest in the city so blocked another, and the local politicians played at such cross purposes that we made little headway.
"Then we held our great pageant. Now the splendid feature of that pageant was that every section and every nationality in the city had been asked to take part.
"Then when the time came for the performances, and the city's people went out and sat shoulder to shoulder watching their friends upon the great stage built on the lake, they suddenly realized that they were in truth fellow citizens in the full meaning of the word. It so happened that the agitation in favor of a new city charter was then most active. Local and sectional feeling was put aside and the new charter was adopted by a splendid majority."
POINTS OF NEW CHARTER
"It is a model charter, we think. It puts great power in the hands of the mayor. It establishes a commission which eliminates political influence in appointments and promotions. It puts a single aldermanic council in place of the former two branches.
"The charter also allows us to raze twenty-four city blocks before the Union Station and place there a great plaza. At one end is to be a new opera house and at the other a new $3,000,000 hotel. We are widening streets, depressing all railroad tracks, and making sweeping and significant changes. And it all may be traced to the holding of the pageant, which I trust will be duplicated by Boston very soon."
COLUMBUS DAY LUNCHEON
On October 12th, the Boston City Club, in conjunction with Mayor Curley, tendered a luncheon in the Club House to His Excellency Don Señor Frederico Alphonso Pezet, Minister of Peru at Washington, and former Minister at London, Mexico, and Panama; Congressman Andrew J. Montague, of Virginia; and Edward Albes, of the Pan-American Union. Brief addresses were made by the guests.
Thursday Evening, October 15
Mr. Carl Dreyfus presided at the dinner, and in introducing the first speaker defined the purpose of the gathering as one which would permit of impressions and reminiscences of experiences, but was not to take a polemical form hostile to the spirit of neutrality urged upon citizens by the President of the United States. The speakers were Mr. William Baillie, Mr. J. J. Arakelyan, Mr. Edwin D. Mead, Mr. Max Wyzanski, Mr. H. Staples Potter, and Dr. Francis D. Donoghuemembers of the Club-and Mayor J. G. Utterbach, of Bangor, Maine, and Dr. John Cowper Powys, of Cambridge University. The descriptive and narrative style of all the speakers averaged unusually high, and the interest of the audience flagged not from start to finish, which latter was a late hour. Special interest attached to the speeches of Dr. Powys and Mr. Mead.
Dr. Powys said: "I have been surveying your field of intellect lately, and have been carefully collecting observations upon the war from the great men- I speak from an intellectual point of view-in the different countries. You have Maeterlinck's opinion on the war; you have the opinion of Shaw and Wells in England, and Professor Munsterberg in Harvard, and of Dr. C. W. Eliot representing the other camp in this country. May I say that it is a fact, gentlemen, and a most extraordinary fact, that when it comes to a crisis of this kind the intellectual detachment of learned men collapses absolutely. This is evident from Mr. Bergson's philosophy. He collapses with the others. There is something in the blood that carries even a philosopher away when his country is fighting for its life.
"Well, gentlemen, my own experiences in England before I came to this country were characteristic I suppose of many Englishmen. In my own village in Wessex you would have to smile upon the effect of the war. In this village there was supposed to be a spy- I don't know whether there was really a spy or not. At any rate the village constable was to look after the water supply, and they went to a village meeting presided over by the village clergyman-my father, in fact — a kind of Vicar of Wakefield. They decided that the village gatekeeper and the youngest of the village farmers and the village blacksmith, and one or two others should watch the water supply, taking turns in the vigil. As to weapons, if you please, there was one village rifle and a village horn. They were to blow the horn and fire the rifle, I suppose, when any one approached the water supply.
"My own young brother was hesitating and finally recruited and joined Kitchener's army, and in connection with other of my young friends I noticed a very friendly feeling, and I noticed a feeling that there should be conscription. Because of the fact that there was no conscription brought about much searching of heart. If one young fellow, more warlike than the others, by going to war made a fool of his companion who was less willing, and all agreed that it would be easier,
and would remove certain searchings of heart, if the government had introduced universal conscription. As a matter of fact, at this moment it would not be possible, because they would not have the non-commissioned officers to drill them.
"Coming to the war itself, it seems to me, gentlemen, that this war is a war of ideas. I am inclined to sweep away all the 'white' books, the 'gray' books, and the 'orange' books, and to look at the natural causes of the war. In the first place, there is the inevitable expansion of the Slavonic race; and, in the second, the inevitable expansion, combined with their efficiency, of the German people. Those two causes, facing each other, would sooner or later inevitably produce a war. And you may add to them the instinct of self-preservation in France and in England. I believe this war is going to have extraordinary results unforeseen by anybody. One result, I believe, will have to do with the liberalization of Russia- an extraordinary wave of Slavonic influence coming from the East to the West, both upon England and upon the Latin race- and just now there is an immense cultural, artistic, and literary movement in Russia. I am inclined to regard this as good for the world.
"Russia has an enormous future before her. There are certain qualities in her, mystical qualities, which the world requires. We AngloSaxons are scientific and positive. The period has arrived in human history when this efficiency, this scientific and positive character of the West, requires something like the soul of Russia to give it new spiritual life and open up for it new horizons.
"In the next place, I am anxious to point out that something is dead, gentlemen, in England, and it is the old imperialistic idea associated with the names of Joseph Chamberlain, Cecil Rhodes, and Rudyard Kipling. The people are now taking to the Gladstonian idea of the development of local traditions, of races, of local customs, and of the liberty of little nations. (Applause.) I might go further, as I am speaking to you, gentlemen, and compare it with the old-fashioned Jeffersonian idea of individual liberty. (Applause.)
"I have devoted friends in Germany, and I have been an admirer of German efficiency rather against what strain of liberty there may be in my blood. But this idea certainly, of England, is sweeping me over, and I am now going to recognize more in the Gladstonian idea of the liberty of little nations, a democratic idea, more in the Jeffersonian idea, and more, permit me to say with all modesty in your idea of liberty. I have been a heretic myself in this respect, but this war is formidable and is carrying us off our feet. It has made me ask myself uncomfortable questions in regard to this heresy, and I am beginning to understand, and the war has made me understand you gentlemen more than I did.
"Here let me protest against the introduction of the name of Nietzsche, the greatest philosopher of modern times, as one of those who brought this war about. I protest against the association of his name with those of Treitschke and Bernhardi, neither of whom has any
connection with Nietzsche. His was not the idea of German culture; his idea was European, and he defended the culture of Europe against the domination of any civilization. My last words, therefore, shall be from Nietzsche, the great German philosopher, with the Slavonic name, that the most important asset to civilization is what the Latin races bring, and in this war the Latin races are in danger.
"And these Slavonic races are coming, not to the rescue of jealous England, but to the rescue of Latin civilization, which is in danger. What is in danger is the culture of France and Italy, the only European tradition that has distinction in the grand style, the distinction such as Goethe and Heine, who lived in Paris, and, lastly, Friederich Nietzsche, were masters and examples of." (Prolonged applause.)
Mr. Mead said: "Mr. President and Members. I speak as a member of the City Club who went to Europe this summer for the sake of spending the summer in peace conferences. As a matter of fact, I became a student of the greatest war in human times, I was going to say the greatest war, of course, in human history - and it fell to my lot to keep in very close touch with the leaders of public opinion in London, and in close touch with the leaders of public opinion of Germany. I did not go to Russia, but with the people of France I was in close touch.
"On the first day that we were in England we read an account of the burning of Salem; on the second day we read the account of the death of our very good friend, a dear, good friend of many of you, the Baroness Von Sutner; and on the third day we read the account of the assassination of the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne. We little realized that presaged a conflagration, compared to which the burning of Salem was a slight affair, and we little realized at the time that war was imminent.
"We left London as the ultimatum from Austria to Servia was turned down. It is an interesting thing to hark back to the time and call attention to the fact that while England had no political interest in the war, the leading Liberal papers in London in their editorials all justified Austria in that ultimatum. They all said that the conspiracies in Belgrade had become intolerable, and that if Austria was to maintain. its integrity she must act in a summary manner.
"We went to The Hague to spend a day. There, for the first time, I saw the peace palace; I never saw it before, and I found that during the supreme days of the war that followed it was a pathetic thing, a popular augury of the time when there will be a policy demanding this world to settle things in a way different from the way the European nations are now trying to settle them, as nothing can be settled in that way. In the end this matter will have to be settled by a dozen statesmen sitting around a table using their brains and not their guns, as things ultimately have to be settled in this world. (Applause.)
"We went on from The Hague to Brussels, expecting simply to spend a day visiting the great international museum which has been