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ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15647, 11 November 1914
ON THE WATCH TOWER
(By Abiel.] I was reasonably" familiar with the geography of South Africa from the late war; I have worked up French gian place names pretty well, and I begm to know my way aoout in Poland, Eastern Prussia, and Galicia; the Balkan region t also inherited some knowledge of from former wars there. But when they begin ko put in the Black Sea littoral, the Caucasus, Erzeronm, tho Gulf of Akaba, and the like, I am like the traveller m Richter's dream who said "I can go no further; the spirit of man acheth with this infinity." This indeed is Armageddon, and I believe that this far-flung battle line is just what suits the genius of our race. ******* A week or so ago I saw a good portrait of De Wet, and I immediately thought it is the fa-„ of a fanatic. But the stupid English feeling of chivalry towards a man who had played a great part against us prevented me from saying so to .my readers. A few days later the cable reported that De W r et was supposed to bo suffering from religious mania. He has now justified the "supposition by setting up his standard with 100 meu. No doubt the poor man feels that he is a second , Gideon, and that the Lord is mo™ likelv to save bv few than by many. General Cherif Pasha, leader of the Turkish Opoosition, says that '' a handful of bandits lave signed his country's death sentence. , md he is convinced that his compatriots will rise against the band of assassins. Thus, a handful of bandits and a nandtnl | af fanatics are the only allies that the | Kaiser has been able to scrape up so far in South Africa. A man is known by the company he keeps. Mv opinion is that he has done a very foolish thing in both cases. In boiith Africa the distrust of Germany and her friends will be confirmed. In the Near East Greece is getting ready, Rumania ia stopping munitions of war on their way from Germany, and Servia is exhausted, or in Chinese'has a " sore foot," and will confine herself to the defensive, as far as Austria is concerned. That will decide the attitude of Bulgaria, which will still have hopes of Adrianople. No, tho Kaiser's new ally is only a tortoise with ■ its head out of its shell. | *******
On November 30, 1853, the Russian fleet bombarded the Turkish fleet m Sinope, on the south of the Black SeaIt was a rough piece of work, though it is now admitted by all to have been quite according to the rules of war. The effect Df this bombardment in Europe was tremendous. " The massacre of Si norm " in all contemporary accounts is treated as an nnparalleled act of treachery and savagery. You can find it in Kingluke und all the minor scribes who taught our father.-? ■ that the little nino-days-wonder of a Crimean war was the greatest war tint had ever been. Well, the "massacre" brought Palmerstou back to office and committed us to war. for the popular feeling, that had been simmering towards ■war neat, now boiled over. The dirty b'ttle Turkish port became the Lou vain of tha day. Sixty years have passed, and row the innocent "Turk, under the malign inspiration of the Germans, has bombarded a R-'ssian port or two. It seems to be the *vay they start work in that part of the world. 'But my point is that the deed is equally barbarous, and our good feelings are" equally shocked, whether the victims are Turks or Russians—so long as they are the party we arc backing. There was a report a few days ago that two o£ our cruisers had bombarded Jaffa. The report did not appear to mako much impression on us: the" victims would be mostly Turks, anyhow! Happily the item has been contradicted—that is, in the English Press;, in Germany it is probably going its prosperous way feeding the good feelings of the people. *******
It would be a joke indeed if it should turn out that a few thousands of Germans have actually seized Turkey. Some of the Crusaders incidentally seized Constantinople on their way to deliver the Holy Sepulchre, and finding it more to their mind than the . deserts of Syria stayed there in royal pomp a very long time. It is just conceivable that batch alter batch, ot" Germans has got into important positions until they were masters oi the fleet and the War Office. With, the guns of the fleet trained on to the palace and with Germans in charge of all the forts, what was to prevent them from putting in a Ministry to dance to their piping. There are multitudes of discontents in the great city. For a time, at least, these would join in the plot. Anything for a change when things are bad. If Germany should bo victorious, which we are now satisfied she cannot be, she would claim Turkey as part of the spoil, and crush the southern Slavs betwixt the upper and nether millstones. In the meantime che thinks tho seat of the Chief of Islam 13 a good place from which to stir troubles for the Allies, who rule most of the Islamic world between them. But, alas! how their schemes crumble when they touch earth: When it conies to the. pinch, Boer, Hindu, and Egyptian all prefer us to either the Sultan or th<j Kaiser.
******* Back in 1878, when wo took over Cyprus, it was thought to bo an anomalous thing that tho British Empire should pay tribute to the Grand Turk. But ■we have done so up to the present time, und no doubt tho island has easily provided the money, for all property went up 300 per cent, on the day our flag was hoisted. The tribute will, however' terminate now that wo have annexed the place, and the island will become what ■we originally intended it to be—a base for the defence of the Suez Canal. No doubt the inhabitants will rejoice over the annexation. Egypt is in a still inore anomalous position than Cyprus was. She is subject to the Turk, and pays a matter of £600.000 a year tribute for the boon of his conquest. Since we went there the tribute has been much more secure than ever before. We were the real master, and yet we paid the levy to the shadowy one. Egypt had its own king, and yet had two other rulers, both Df them conquerors, and neither subject to the other. Of course, it would be possible to confiscate the Egyptian tribute at the present time; but then it is mortgaged to the eyes to our own money market, so that is whero the Turk has us.
# * , # * * # * The island of Cyprus has a Ions; history. It appears in Egyptian records as a conquest 1,500 years b.c. It is frequently mentioned in tho Bible, mostly as Kittim, which is believed to be a form of tho name of the mysterious Hittites. The spade of the excavator shows how it was invaded at one end by the Greek influence and art, and at tho'other by the Egyptian. In tho story of tho Crusades we find Richard I. making a conquest of the island. Subsequently it fell into the hands of Venice, and Othello, the valiant Moor,, was appointed Governor to defend it against tho Qttomites, -whose fleets were reported to be making thither. The scene of Desdemona's tragedy and of lago's villainy is laid in Cyprus. It was in Cyprus" too, that the famous Fortunatus of the Purse had his home. These two products of the imagination probably do more for the fame of the island than any of the scores of conquerora who have possessed it. Its name gives us the word, "copper," and also the common name of the melancholy holm tree. ******* I must find vent for some- of my correspondents, though I am obliged to cut tham down considerably : I suppose we must sing a Te Deura because the Canopus escaped through not being there. How are the mighty fallen! But yester- ' day a British ship might have stood against the world, but now every South American President, strong in a barge or two, will be barking at us. In the broad Pacific, in the presence of young nations whose respect we need, we are humbled to the dust. Of course, we were out-ranged! But why were we oat-ranged? Even on land they say that if it were not for the superiority of the enemy's long-range guns they would be nowhere. Why have they ilufc deadly sojperiarity is mere* . ma-
chinos? .... I am sick of having it explained that all the ships sunk arc old ones that can bo well spared. If that is so, why wero thoy crowded with gallant men"? . . - . Germany alone has had foresight. She saw that her main licet would bo bottled up, and that the needful thing i'or her was to havo a few of the newest class of cruisers abroad to paralyse our trade. Why had wo no such foresight ?—Anxjovs. Lord Charles Beresford says "We are fighting like sportsmen and gentlemen against cowards, ruffians, and brigands, and I believe that Britain will need another million men." Just so. War is war; and if you insist on carrying it on as sportsmen and as Christian philanthropists you will need millions more. The French Commander-in-Chief says that ho could hurl tho Germans out of France at the cost of 100,000 men. but he would rather lenvo the Germans where they are than spend so many men. But is that war '! The German's are not " cowards," but they believe that any sacrifice, any brutality, any trickery is justified so long as it contributes v to victory. Is not that the tmc ideal of war?—-Gkt at.'Em. Tho American and Spanish Ambassadors report how many thousand tons monthly of what, maize, rice, etc., it will be necessary i'or us to supply to feed Belgium ! But in the next paragraph I read that tho American papers iuv pointing out that Germany, the cause of all this distress, and tho Power morally responsible before- tho world for feeding Belgium, is doing nothing at all in the matter. She is quietly passing it en to her hated and "treacherous" enemy, who all the time are quietly shouldering the burden and saying nothing. Now, there is a kind of greatness" about that, from tho soft humanitarian point of view. But it iF not war. Wc are practically feeding the German army and rendering it easy for it to exist- ia a country that it has desolated. We havo, in fact, very little security that our gifts will not be directly commandeered for the troops when there is a pinch at the commissariat. Tho Germans, when they entered the Belgian cities, first seized* all food supplies, and then levied iD2,CGO,OCO hi;re, £3,000.C00 there, and £20.0C0,0C0 iu the other place. Then wc British at, once setabout feeding the impoverished people! Xo doubt the Germans chuckle heartily over it. They know that it is not war, and that we "are helping them to win. War, as the German knows it, would let the Belgians get so hungry and starve in Midi numbers that Germany would he obliged to feed them. To us that .seems like driving the women and children before us into battle. But it only " seems." Things are not what thoy seem. We are allowing the Belgiaii poor to lie a screen to the. enemy. We might as well take charge of thr> Gorman" wounded ns of tho poor in the country that the Germans occupy. As soon lis any part of the country is cleared of tlie enemy, then by all means pour in the supplies.—War.. ******* It seems to mo that on the land where the Germans wero supposed to be- invincible we. are holding them up and teaching them a lesson. They have never really met an enemy since the tim;< of Napoleon. Tho Danes only numbered 30.CC0 in 1854; the were outnumbered and out-armed by the breech-loader in 1866; and the French hopelessly unready in 1870. They have mistaken their luck for superiority, and in their army have learned nothing, while we have been .-teadily gathering ideas. Now, at sea we were supposed to he omnipotent, and wo seem to have learned nothing; while the Germans, who had no laurels to rest on, have learned everythitiig worth knowing. In the present dearth of ideas, allow me to suggest a few simple contrivances : (1) Let no British ship go to sea without a good wireless outfit" and let it bo n rule to give- a certain signal the moment she sees a man-of-war. This would have clipped the wings of the Emden and the Karlsruhe long ago. (2) Let a few very fast merchant ehips, mounted with one or two first-obi's guns that would outrange tho guns of the prowlers, bo sent on to each bent. The object would be to keen the enemy at- bay and in sight, j and to keep calling. I fancy something" might come of it. (3) Largo ships could do thoiv own sweeping for mines by means of a net carried en long booms. The. explosion right ahead, and, say, 50ft away, would do no damage. (4) Tho incident of a trawl** catching a submarine in her net suggests that critical points could be entangled with rope nets, very large in fit:' mesh, and each, say, 100 yards long. The submarine, running into one of tbr-.se, would be bound to foul her propeller and come to tho surface. Of course, a small gunboat should bo waiting to put a shot through her. (5) A lady suggests to mo that if our fleet wants to get at the Germans- it should drive before it a lot of small craft filled with German spies and prisoners.—Wake t T i\
******* In reply to " Anxious." let mo jnst cay that it was easy for him, who had th-e war up his sleeve, to prepare his swift cruisers to prey on trade. It was our virtue and our glory that wo did not expect or seek the- war. It is another part of our glory that we have rarely been ready aE the beginning, but have always been ready at tho end. Let me remind "Anxious" of what happened in 1812. All our good ahip3 were in European waters. On the American *ido wo had our second class frigates. The Americans built a few super-frigates and astonished tho world by capturing several of our ships of war. The odds in ships, guns, and men were always very heavy against us. But by and by we <rot our better ships over the herring pond, and easily reasserted ourselves. The Chesapeake was one of the American crack frigates, and tho Shannon challenged her to "a fair trial. Th*> force of the ships was 50 guns each, though the Shannon was built for 38 only ; the weight of the broadside, was 5381b for the Shannon and 5301b for the Chesapeake; the men numbered 306 and 376 respectively. The challenge wa3 gladly accepted, and Boston prepared a great supper for her champions when they returned with their English prize. The ships met, and the American was captured in 15 mnutes ! Cheer up.
No less than 380 shop girls in the cmploy of the Express Dairy Company I London! had a good time the other day, when they were participants in tho legacy of I.OOOgs. which was • left by Sir George Barham, late chairman of the company, for distribution among the company's employees. The legacy was apportioned, with the result, that these girl* became possessors of cheques varying in amount from £2 to £5. Many and varied were tho ways in which the girls disposed of their legacies. Some frugal-minded ones put them in tho Post Office Savings Bank right away. Others spent the lot in one glorious burst of "seeing life." When asked how the girls were spending tho money, a girl in ono of the depots made inquiries among her companions, and formulated tho following list: 1. Buying a new set of teeth. 2. Taking mother for motor car ride. 3. Had already put hers in the bank. 4. Going away for a week's holiday. 5. Buying a new hat. 6. Buying a complete new outfit. 7. Taking her sweetheart to dinner and a music hall.
ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15647, 11 November 1914
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