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We are training under conditions of pressure large bodies of skilled mechanics in the many branches of the steel shipbuilding industry. When the number of men killed or maimed in war is considered, it is certain that the force of skilled shipbuilders in the United States will be much larger than anywhere in continental Europe and may almost or quite equal the corresponding force in the United Kingdom, which at present includes a percentage of women. The competition which must ensue between American yards and foreign yards, bending all their energies to merchant shipbuilding, would be impossible for us without the increasing numbers of men now in training for the work. The result of the competition will turn upon labor. Capital we have in greater abundance than was ever dreamed of, the materials of shipbuilding, lacking in some nations, we are manufacturing both for ourselves and for others. Climatic conditions we may select at will. Taxation is inconsiderable in the United States in comparison with the weight which must be borne by nations abroad, although even ven now foreign parliaments are devising plans to relieve from those burdens their shipbuilders and shipowners in the belief, based on past industry and on the events of the past three years, that these two industries in their relations to the general welfare and the national defense stand on a different and higher plane than other industries, entitling them to special consideration.
This last is an important matter for the economic life of the United States, but does not bear inevitably and directly upon the question of a merchant marine for the United States as against other nations. Again:
During the past fiscal year 160 merchant vessels of the United States of 102,479 gross tons have been sold to aliens and transferred from the American to foreign flags. The tonnage of American ships sold to aliens during the year was the largest for any year since the Civil War, when destruction by Confederate cruisers led for three years to the transfer of large amounts of shipping.... The amount of tonnage transferred from the American to foreign flags during the past year is exceptional and disappointing. . . . The total increase in American merchant shipping during the year was only 80,220 gross tons, compared with an increase of 460,741 gross tons during the previous fiscal year. The annual increase was less than for any year since 1899, except 1909, 1912, and 1914.
These random emergences from the surface of the Government's record hint at the complexity of the shipping problem. Like some questions of art and some of theology, only the initiated are held competent to handle the points that must be raised, and they often prefer to be mysterious, if not secretive, rather than expository. But if the United States really wants a merchant marine, a general public understanding will have to be slowly and painfully accomplished before the ramified investment of capital and the personnel and the legislation and the patriotic pride and concern over the matter that are necessary for it can be attained. And the general public may have to insist upon some legislation that the owners and the experts are willing to disregard. First of all, the idea of the United States merchant marine has to be a great patriotic idea, to which the mass of the people shall pledge themselves by way of investment, large and small. They must come to have the same interest in it, by investment, that
they have in our railroads. That is the great defect of subsidies. Subsidies go into a few pockets, and do not touch the mass of the nation. A legislated subsidy that would guarantee a certain per cent. income on investment might be better, more patriotic, than a subsidy that refunded deficit or supplemented unsatisfactory profit. And then perhaps the administration of ships must partly be accepted as a patriotic trust. If that seems too much to expect from poor human nature and business instinct, the memory comes of many millions spent in libraries over the broad land and elaborate financial foundations for this and that social purpose as the contribution of multi-millionaires to the welfare of the nation. Why might not the same mood operate in ships, in lines of ships? The ideas of James J. Hill over on the Pacific may point a way for the beginnings of a great merchant marine and the training of steadily self-renewing generations once more bred to the sea
out of the United States. The transcontinental railroads were established by immense subsidies in lands and by hopes deferred, but finally fulfilled, in profits. A great public that understands little of the complexities and discouragements attending an adequate merchant marine for the United States may have the courage of its ignorance and demand the impossible, and so accomplish it by its very ignorance and insistence. But the mood of the great land will have to meet the mood of the wide seas before the desired thing will be brought about. Anyway, we 'll start on more even terms, if we want to, than we ever could before, no thanks to the Germans, who have inhumanly sunk so much British tonnage, and thanks to ourselves, who have seized so much German tonnage. The year one after the war will show whether we mean to keep our approximate equality now that we 've got something like it, and push forward to a lead, now that it's possible.
HE air was crisp
good looks. That he
The invigorating failed to win a second
that afternoon, and there was a decided chill in it; therefore the man on guard duty turned up the collar of his overcoat and stepped at a more lively gait than was absolutely necessary as he paced back and forth on his post in front of the barracks. Other guards in other khaki greatcoats were likewise pacing in front of other barracks all over this far-reaching cantonment of the National Army, where thirty thousand civilians were being transformed into soldiers.
In the immediate neighborhood of the plain, unpainted frame structure where B Company lived and moved and had its being, half a dozen additional men were scurrying around, picking up scraps of paper, bits of trash, and all the odds and ends that blow about the most carefully kept lawn or the most carefully regulated army camp. These six or seven men worked with a will born of rivalry, for they were proud of the orderliness of their barracks and its surroundings, and properly jealous of the bland superiority with which A Company claimed the most shipshape quarters in the entire division.
One of the volunteer trash-gatherers of B Company was Bill Jones, Dartmouth '18-Bill Jones, son of the Jones Manufacturing Combine, as his father's huge business enterprise was called by a godless. and ribald press. Bill did not belong in the ranks of drafted men at Camp Devens in the opinion of his mother, and she was firmly convinced that the West Point officers who turned him down last August at Plattsburg were sadly lacking in judgment or were envious of his ability and
lady could not understand. Nor could she
But Bill understood. He grasped the situation from top to bottom and he determined to get into the game, as he expressed it, at the first opportunity, and thenceforth to work day and night at the new job of soldiering, wholly content to let future developments take care of themselves. He was confident that he would make the third training camp for reserve officers even if he could n't get into the second. All of which was a good thing for the young man and a source of supreme gratification to his hard-headed, far-seeing father, though a complete mystification to his mother. Therefore, here Bill was, at the end of a few months in Camp Devens, cheerfully picking up bits of string and scraps of paper.
A vagrant breeze took one of the scraps almost out of his hand as he stooped to gather it, bore it merrily around a corner of the barracks, and deposited it on the ground, with Bill following, though its new resting-place was outside the territory he was cleaning up. There the bit of paper was seized by another man in khaki, shorter than Bill, heavier, of sturdier build, and older. He touched the brim of his hat at Bill's approach.
"Hello!" Bill remarked. "Say, don't salute me. I'm not an officer."
The other grinned somewhat sheepishly.
"I forgot," he said in broken English. "Your father is the big boss; I work for him."
"Oh," Bill responded. "What's your company?"
"C Company. Other feller' here work for the big boss, too-fifty, sixty, hundred, maybe; some in C Company, some B Company, some A.”
"You don't say so!"
Bill watched him as he carefully as he carefully smoothed out the scrap of paper and studied its large type.
"Learnin' to read-read English," the stranger volunteered. "Some feller', lots of feller', can't spik English. Y. M.— how you call him?-Y. M. C. A. boss learn me read at night, and I help him learn other feller' spik English."
They parted then, for work must not be interrupted too long, and that evening Bill Jones had a new thought. During months of training in this country, and possibly for years of fighting abroad, he was to be associated with men of whom he knew nothing.
"By the Old Pine!" he swore to himself as he turned in that night, "I 've got the chance of my young life. Father's had a lot of trouble at the mills off and on for years, and I always expected to have it when I went into business with him. But now I can find out what 's the matter with the hands-what these fellows think of and how they look at questions that are always coming up. And when this war's over, and I come back home, if I do, I'll bet the Jones Manufacturing Corporation won't have so many strikes in future as it has had in the past."
It was a level-headed observation for a man of twenty-one, but Bill Jones was the son of a level-headed father, and he had spent nearly three years at an institution the principal business of which is to teach. young men how to think. Yet it was not until later that he hit upon another fact of equal importance, that while he was learning to understand the point of view of his father's employees and of many
other skilled and unskilled workmen, these men would be learning little by little to see things as they are seen by the son of their big boss and by a multitude like him.
Six months have passed since Bill Jones reported at Camp Devens, since thousands of other sons of wealthy parents reported as drafted or enlisted men at various camps, cantonments, and naval training stations all over the country, and one of the first lessons each has been learning is that a well-to-do man and a man of humbler station cannot sleep alongside of each other in barracks for six months, eat at the same mess, share the same shelter tent, and perform the same tour of duty in trench work or on drill field without learning to understand one another, without having some of their fundamental ideas upset, almost revolutionized.
That is one of the largest benefits resulting directly from the organization of the National Army, truly an army of democracy, if ever one was created. From such constant association of men of all types in work and play and study in this country, and under the strain and stress of danger, privation, wounds, and even death. itself in a foreign land, will come an increase of mutual understanding, an increase of downright human sympathy. The influence may be wide.
Never before, not even during the Civil War, has there been gathered together in this country so great an admixture as is now to be observed in the intimate fellowship of preparation for war. One may perhaps see the largest variety of types, occupations, racial distinctions, and it is not always the men of native American stock who display the highest adaptability for the soldier's task. Furthermore, as General Crowder recently has demonstrated, it is rather the city-bred or townbred lad than the one from the farm or the rural neighborhood whose physique oftenest comes up to army requirements. The man of native or foreign parentage who has lived in a large city, passed through the grammar school grades, afterward attending high school or working by day and going to night school, is more likely
to have good physical development and to grasp more easily the fundamentals of military training than the native American of rural regions who has left school at the age of fourteen, after having had only a few months of inadequate instruction during a few short winters.
It is said that the least promising material for our National Army comes from the fastnesses of the Maine woods, the St. Lawrence forests, and correspondingly remote regions of the country. Such men may be descendants of American stock for a century or more. Most of them are muscular, powerfully built, with heavy thighs, stout arms and legs, and broad shoulders. Yet many are unevenly developed, as is shown by their narrow, constricted chests, their limited lung capacity, their bowed backs. Living far from the world's activities, out of touch with modern progress, they are slower of thought, speech, and action than the town-bred men, whose wits have been sharpened by a broader life. Also, as a rule, the city bred man is apt to take more kindly to discipline than the young farmer or the young backwoodsman. In public school, in business office, store, shop, or factory, the city man is accustomed to work under direction of others, to obey
orders; and ability to obey orders is the root, basis, foundation, and keystone combined of success in army or navy.
It is with hesitation amounting almost to reluctance that the writer ventures to consider briefly this subject of discipline, upon which all else depends. The war department and army officers in command of the cantonments have done all that could be done in the circumstances; yet the country as a whole should know, and in particular the men in training should understand, the extreme importance of maintaining, exacting, and accepting military discipline in the full measure.
During the last autumn and winter reports came from cantonments all over the land of men who not merely overstayed their leave, but repeatedly overstayed even after having been fined or otherwise punished for the first and the second offense. The reasons adduced for the purpose of obtaining leave are almost endless; but when, just before Thanksgiving day, for instance, several hundred telegrams arrive
at single cantonment telling several hundred men that their wives or children are suddenly and desperately ill, and bidding. them to come home at once, the officers may be pardoned for being a trifle suspicious. I recall the ingenious method of