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Feb 21 1903


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, February 21, 1903

The Jew's Status in Education

What will be the ultimate outcome of the litigation over the status of Jewish citizens in the educational system of Quebec, it is difficult to conjecture. It may even result in revolutionizing the whole basis upon which the allotment of school taxes is made to the different boards. One thing is sure, that the pride of the Hebrew community is touched to the quick, and they will not be content to live merely on sufferance, as it were. As free citizens of a free country, the fundamental principles of whose constitution make no discrimination of race or creed, they naturally feel that the child of the Jew has as valid a right to be educated by the state as the child of the Gentile; and not content to enjoy even equal privileges by grace, they insist that their rights shall be recognized by law.

Therefore, unless the recent decision of the Superior Court placing them without the pale of the school law altogether is reversed on appeal, the only course will be to apply for remedial legislation. What form this amendment to the school law should take is a problem. With the present arrangement of the panels, it is likely that the simplest expedient would be to pay to each of the Roman Catholic or Protestant boards, out of the neutral panel, a sum equivalent to the cost per head of educating the Jewish pupils in their respective schools. The only other plan that occurs to me would be to alter entirely the basis upon which the taxes are divided between the different panels, and allot the assessment of each piece of property according to the religious persuasion of the tenant and not of the proprietor. Although some difficulty might arise where there are several tenants in one building, I have little doubt that this would really be the more equitable method of distribution. It is in fact, if not in form, the tenant who actually pays the tax on all property, and it should, therefore, be his children who should get the benefit of it. But I still have less doubt that any such proposal would meet with indignant and stubborn opposition from the Protestant portion of the population which owns a vastly greater proportion of the property of Montreal than it occupies, and consequently has very much the better of it in the division of the school tax, although the steady expansion of the neutral panel through the increase in the number of joint stock companies does something to counteract this advantage. As a matter of fact, the Protestant board receives from the taxes about $25 per annum for every pupil in its schools whereas the Roman Catholic Board has only $15 per head to spend. If a system of allotment according to tenant were carried out, the taxes on the property occupied by each Jewish family would go to the board which educated its children, and that could be the end of the matter. For to the credit of the Hebrew people be it said that, with a proper appreciation of the value of a additional system of education than either of the Gentile functions, no considerable portion of them are in favor of exclusively Jewish schools.

Camel Transport in America

It is perhaps not generally known that an attempt was once made to utilize camels for army transportation purposes in North America. But in 1853 a member of the United States Congress, noting the great usefulness of the camel to the French in Algeria and the British in the Far East in their operations against semi-civilized tribes, introduced a bill appropriating $20,000 "for the purchase and transportation of camels with a view to experiment looking to the use of that animal as an aid to army transportation." The object sought was a successful means of transportation across the "Great American desert" from Northern Texas through New Mexico, Arizona and California. Emigration to California called for constant movement of troops to and from California, and the long desert stretches, combined with danger of attack by nomadic tribes of Indians, made this journey one of immense difficulty. Horses and mares "gave out," and it looked as though there was no solution to the transportation problem until this unknown Congressional genius hit upon the camel. Congress passed his bill. Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, detailed Lieutenant Cafterward, Admiral D.D. Porter, U.S.N., and Major Henry Payne, U.S.A., to proceed to Asia Minor and Northern Africa to purchase the great beasts. The naval store ship Supply and the warship Suwance brought back seventy-five camels, landing them at Indianola, Tex., February10, 1857. Three Arab camel drivers accompanied the herd, and under their charge the camels were driven to Camp Verde.

Congress took great interest in the project. Secretary Davis forwarded to the Senate an optimistic report, which made a volume of 300 pages, with illustrations. The camels were to increase and multiply, and regular caravans were to be established between Texas and California, going through the Staked Plains with as little discomfort as a passenger train now runs through the Bad Lands. But there is a difference between the Sahara and the great American desert. The camel's feet were soft pads, accustomed to yielding sands. They were cut to ribbons in the rock-strewn mountain trails of the west and in the lava scoria that was mixed with the desert sands. One journey was enough to show that camels were a failure. They hobbled into camp a sorry looking spectacle, and some of them had to be shot to relieve them of their sufferings.

The army officers reluctantly descended from their howdahs and mounted the dusty mules. The camels ate as much as three or four mules and the ration bills of the army took on an alarming size. Finally the camels were turned out on the cactus deserts in Arizona and Southern California and left to shift for themselves.

As soon as the camels were freed from their loads they found soft ground along water holes and thrived. Their numbers rapidly increased. Gold seekers on the way to California had their pack animals stampeded by the yellow humpbacked beasts, and rifles began to pop. The camels took to the wild parts of the desert and were pursued by the Indians, who took as kindly to a hump steak as to the customary dish of stewed coyote and fricasseed Gila monsters. Life in the woolly west was too strenuous for the oriental beasts.

Occasionally a camel is still to be seen in the yellow country stretching back from the Colorado River in Western Arizona, but he humps himself whenever a Mojave or Chimbuevi heaves in sight.



(The editor of this column invites readers of The Herald to contribute questions of a literary, scientific, or miscellaneous nature, which will be answered as space will permit. The contributor's name and address should be given, but only initials or a nom de plume will be used for publication).

Why the United States Does Not Like Germany

J.M.T., Richmond, Que.--Why is it that bad feeling exists on the part of the people of the United States towards Germany?

Ans.--For many years Germany has been jealous of the growing commercial prosperity and naval power of the United States. The official part of Germany is always ready with proffers of friendship; witness the visit of Prince Henry, the attempt of the German Embassy at Washington to influence public opinion, the gift of a statue of Federick the Great, the christening of a yacht by Miss Roosevelt. But there was in these things only the similitude of friendship. Germany has never recognized the Monroe Doctrine and the United States in convinced that she would act in open defiance of it if she felt strong enough. Then at Manila, Admiral Dewey was much annoyed by the action of the German fleet. At one time he had to fire upon a German launch, which disregarded his regulations. The German Admiral, Diedrichs protested and Dewey told him that the next time he fired it would not be a blank shot. Then Germany acted in a very high-handed manner, and resorted to brutal methods in China some two years ago. Germany, too, is suspected of wishing to plant a colony in South America where she has many immigrants. The United States, look upon Germany's operations against Venezuela as the entering wedge; and although Germany has pledged herself not to seize territory, this disclaimer is not much valued; and it is feared that as a result of the coercion of Venezuela, Germany will find a way of advancing her ends in the matter of the establishment of a South American colony.

Slow English and Quick American Methods

H.P., Sherbrooke--1. How were the English Trade Unionists impressed with what they saw of American methods of manufacture during their late visit?

Ans.--In most trades and manufacturers they found the American methods superior. There were, however, two notable exceptions. (1) The bricklayers, who said that the American style of bricklaying was but little faster than the British, and much less substantial. In the United States the parallel brick walls are not banded or locked together by the overlapping of the bricks at every layer as they are in England, but the intervening space is filled with mortar. Then, too, the English bricklayer lacks every course of brick, which is not like in the United States. (2) The Shipbuilders, who said, "Our yards are better. In twenty-five years you won't catch us. You specialize your work; we specialize our men, and our method is better." But in other industries American methods were found to be better with their automatic machinery, subdivision of labor, and the ambitions spirit aroused in workmen by the democratic contact between employer and workmen--all lacking in England. For instance, in the Carnegie Steel Works at Homestead, where red hot plates fifty feet long were being manipulated here and there, a man might be seen quietly sitting at a lever and a few conversing quietly at the rolls, while the machines did the work. "No, we do not have machinery like that," said an Englishman," "our men move the stuff about." Then, at a packing house in Chicago no less than six girls divided the simple motions necessary for filling vials with beef extract. In a freight car shop in Pittsburg one man did nothing but drive nails all day, at so much a nail. In ship yards, machine shops, locomotive works, clothing factories, tanneries, shoe shops, men drove machines all day which did but one thing. Step by step, in every industry, from furniture making to building sky scrapers, materials slid through trained hands or more often automatic machines, that worked some infinitesimal change only; making car loads of products with unparalleled rapidly. The British trade unionists did not think that their associations would object to the subdivision of labor, provided the employers talked the matter over with the men beforehand. The British employers must abandon their aloofness. As it is an English workman who offers a suggestion toward improving methods of work, is likely to be discharged, because a foreman resents such a suggestion as a hint of his incompetency, which if made known, might result in his discharge, and discharge would mean seeking for work in a country where golden opportunities are as rare as weeks of sunshine. The American unions have about the same number of men (2,000,000) as the British union.

An Incident of the Minnesota Massacre of 1862

L.T.P., Montreal--Who wrote the poem, "The Injun"? Please quote some of its stanzas.

Ans.--It was written by John E. Logan under the nom de plume Bany Dane.

"Ye say the injuns all alike,

A bad an' sneaking lot;

An' there's good and bad in white,

But somehow they is always wrong,

An' we is allus right.

"Fer I kin tell ye what occurred

'Way back in sixty-two. When things in Minnesota State,

Wuz lookin' kinder blue.

The Sioux wuz up, an' on the shoot,

A-slingin' round their lead;

An scalpin every mother's son

That wuzn't bald or dead.

"Thar warn't a livin' Yankee.

An' lots wuz brave, an' bold,

That would have crossed them plains alone

For a wagon load of gold.

"Cause why? We knowed the Guv'ment

Wuzn't treatin' Injuns fair;

That's why they riz an' painted things

An' raised the settlers' hair.

"That summer a fur trader Came up from Montreal,

An' on his way to Garry, He landed at St. Paul.

"An' all the guides an' hunters said

He couldn't cross the plains,

For them thar painted devils

Wuz layin' low fer trains.

"He only larfed an' said he knowed

The Injuns all his life,

An' he wuz goin' to mosey through;

An' take along his wife.

"An' right a-top that creakin' cart,

Upon the highest rack,

That trader nailed a bloomin rag,

An English Union Jack.

"They wuzn't long upon the trail,

Before a band of reds,

Got on their tracks an' followed up

A goin' to shave their heads.

"But when they seen that little flag,

A stickin on that cart,

They jes' said, Hudson Bay; Go on!

Good trader with good heart

"What give that flag its virtue?

What's thar in red, or blue.

To make a man and woman care

What others daesn't do?

"Jes' this-an'Injuns knowed it-

That whar them cullers flew,

The men that lived beneath them

Wuz mostly straight, an' true.

"That when they made a bargain,

T'was jes' as strong an' tight,

As if t'were drawn on sheep skin,

An' signed in black an' white.

"That's how them Hudson traders done

For more'n two hundred year;

That's why that trader feller crossed

Them plains without a fear.

Lightning Newspaper and Book Publishing.

Farmer's Son, Lennoxville, Que.--1. How long does it take one of the large United States newspapers to publish the results of an interview or other lengthy article? 2. What is the shortest time in which a book may be set up in type and published?

Ans.--1. I have not by me any detailed list of speedy work of this kind. It has lately however, been stated that when Mr. E. F Benson, author of Dodo, The Princess Sophia, Luck of the Vails, etc. landed in New York, he was interviewed some time afterwards by a reporter at 1.45 a.m. An hour afterwards the interview was published in a Philadelphia newspaper. 2. Two days before Mr. Benson left for England, he took the MSS of a novel to the Harper's Publishing House, and just as his steamer was about to leave the dock, the firm's representative came on board saying that the book had been read, accepted, and would be published at an early date. Mr. Benson himself writes very quickly, his book, "Luck of the Vails," taking but a month. After he has written his "copy" he has it "typed," and then practically re-writes it from beginning to end.

Favorite Books of Forty Years Past

L.C.H., Hemmingford--Please state the titles and style of some of the books read a generation back by cultured people. I mean works of fiction, exclusive of the most popular or standard authors of the time such as Lytton, Scott, Dickens, George Eliot, and others.

Ans.--Among the books widely read some forty years ago were some which expressed the best ideals of the Middle Ages and more remote times. They were books in which the emotional, the moral, and the sentimental were very prominent. They were not stories of action, nor did they preach the gospel of thrift, of acquisition, and of perseverance pursued in rising from a so-called lowly, to a so-called higher station. They were books which looked backward, and inward, rather than forward and outward as do Henty's and Jules Verne's tales. Neither were they character sketches, as "Ships that pass in the Night," "The Bonnie Briar Bush," and the stories of Barry on Scotch life. The effect of such books whose titles we are about to mention would be to predispose the reader to the desire of a contemplative, rather than what is called an active and pushing life, in which the accomplishment of the greatest amount of work seems to be the desired goal; and which tendency is illustrated in much of the later fiction, even in the analytical character sketches of the period. It is noteworthy, too, that the books we are about to mention had apparently the effect of disposing their readers to the adoption of what is loosely called the Catholic i.e., the Roman Catholic, and Ritualistic Anglican forms of belief which appeal more to the sentiment and emotions, while the Protestant forms appeal more largely to the reasoning faculties. It is somewhat startling to find that Lord Halifax considers that these books had this effect. He says; "Does the present generation read the books which delighted us so much when we were young? and to which as I think, the Church Revival owes so much at least of its fascination and charm?" "Sintram and Undine," by de La Motte Foque in the translation never since equaled, much less surpassed, of Mrs. Butler, wife of Dean Butler, of Wantage and Lincoln; "The Eagle and the Lion," "Aslauga's Knight," "The Victoria's Wreath," "The Unknown Patient, and other Tales," and "The Magic Ring," also by Fouque. Lord Halifax does not mention "Thiodolf, the Icelander" (which is by some considered Fouque's masterpiece), possibly because the sentiment of this is more realistic and less romantic. He goes on allegories, such as "The Vast Army," "The Dark River," "The Shadow of the Cross," by Monro, and Adams; "Ivo and Verena," "Agathos" by Samuel Wilberforce afterwards Bishop of Oxford; "The White Lady," translated by Miss Lyttleton: and last, but not least, such delightful stories as "Theodora Phranza, or The Fall of Constantinople," "Duchenier or The Revolt of La Vendee," "The Egyptian Wanderers" and "The Farm of Aptongo," by Dr. Neale. It seems strange that Lord Halifax did not mention Charlotte M. Yonge's, "Heir of Redcliffe," which was inspired by the Fouque sentiment, and "Neale's Unseen World," a book hard to find now. Opposed to these books were the democratic and critical publication of the author of "John Halifax, Gentleman," as well as the books of Dickens, and later of George Eliot, among the more popular authors. But these again were counteracted by the romantic and aristocratic sentiment of Scott and Lytton. Kingsley's "Hereward the Wake" occupying perhaps a middle place between these two styles of books. The books of Lord Halifax's list were great favorites with the people of St. John the Evangelist's Church of Montreal. They are not to be found so much in Anglican Church libraries now, because the Church of England, especially the Canadian portion of it, has become more matter of fact and less religious and sentimental--a worship officialism and officials.

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