Imágenes de páginas

A naval war between the United States and Japan would speedily result in a stalemate, affording no opportunity for a decision by direct action from either side, since the opposing battle fleets would be unlikely to come within several thousand miles

of each other. It is here, however, that the significance of the large program of minor naval construction, upon which Japan is now engaged, may be manifest.

Germany's submarine. campaign came very near to breaking the resistance of the Allies, who were able only by superhuman exertions to maintain the minimum amount of sea-borne traffic essential to the further conduct of the war. Among naval men a firm conviction obtains that the next great war will inevitably witness the revival of submarine attack on merchant shipping, since they believe that parchment safeguards against this practice will soon collapse under the stress of war. Assuming then that the naval methods in vogue during the World War are likely to reappear in the event of a Pacific campaign, the advantages which Japan would derive from her powerful fleet of cruisers and submarines are obvious. They would enable her to wage ruthless war against her enemy's trade and communications.

What resources has the United States navy to deal with Japan's immense fleet of potential commercedestroyers? On the basis of recent war experience, it has been estimated that from four to six fast cruisers are required to circumvent the activities of one enemy surface raider; while some idea of the tremendous array of force necessary to cope with submarine attack on merchant shipping is conveyed by the fact that upward of 3,000 patrol craft of every type were kept in service by Great Britain alone, though the Germans never had more than 30 U-boats at sea simultaneously.

What could the 10 modern cruisers built or building in the United States hope to achieve against 25 enemy raiders with speeds not inferior to their own? In addition, Japan has more than 70 submarines specially designed for prolonged voyaging, the majority of them being able to cross and recross the Pacific Ocean without needing to replenish their fuel.

The task would, of course, be hopeless from the start. American merchant shipping would, in all probability, be swept from the Pacific very soon after the outbreak of hostilities with Japan. While there is not the least reason to suppose that this blow would force the United States into submission, the combined loss of trade and prestige resulting therefrom would be a serious matter. Nor would it be possible to retaliate with any marked effect; for the same dearth of cruisers that rendered the United States powerless to protect its overseas trade would debar it from molesting the communications of the enemy. Thus, the widely held idea that a war in the Pacific must speedily end in a deadlock, in which neither opponent could inflict any appreciable damage on the other, is seen to be fallacious. It would have been sound enough had the naval limitation agreement embraced all types of fighting craft; but the failure of the Conference to extend the ratio system to cruiser and submarine tonnage has completely altered the situation.

Hence, it would cause no surprise to learn that American naval authorities entertain profound misgivings with regard to future developments in the Far East. Indeed, it might be affirmed without fear of contradiction that the Limitation Treaty, by depriving the United States of all power to intervene by force of arms, has placed her interests in the Far East completely at the mercy of a foreign state, upon whose good-will they must henceforth depend. The task of defending them against aggression would have been difficult enough, had the naval limitation scheme never been conceived. As things are, their defenseby warlike action, at any rate-has to all appearances become impossible.

The Menace of the Polish Jew

Condensed from The World's Work (Feb.)
Burton J. Hendrick

1. Polish Jews never even Europeanized.

2. Serious obstacles to Americanization.

3. The influx to New York City. 4. The old life in Poland reproduced.


OLISH Jews comprise 2,500,000 of the 3,000,000 Jews in this country. To what extent have they demonstrated that they are fitted for assimilation in the life of America?

No more abrupt change could be imagined that that which the Eastern Jew made when he transplanted himself from the old cities of Poland to the United States. This Jew had never been a citizen, and had never developed the slighest sense of citizenship. Judaism, in the main, has not been a proselyting faith; it has always been cherished as the exclusive possession of the children of Abraham; but the Polish Jews trace their beginnings, in considerable degree, to certain tribes that roamed the steppes of Russia in the Middle Ages and happened to accept the religion of Judah as their own. As candidates for assimilation these Jews, as they land at Ellis Island, are about as promising as Hindus. These Jews have never been Europeanized. For ages they have lived, not as a nation or part of a nation, but essentially as a tribe. With them the Jewish religion has been far more important than nationality. A Jew of the old breed in America takes pride in calling himself an American; a Jew in Germany, as the Great War showed, is almost fanatical in his assertion of his Germanism; but a Jew in Poland just as ve

hemently resents being called a Pole. "I am not a Pole; I am a Jew,” he retorts. After a sojourn of 800 or 1000 years in Poland he does not speak the Polish language; he not only lives, by preference, in crowded ghettoes in the cities, but he dresses in a way which emphasizes his particularism. He treats his womankind in a way that suggests his Asiatic origin. "Thank God I am not a dog, a woman, or a Christian,” is the prayer of thanksgiving with which he begins his day. For centuries the Jews in Poland were not subject to the laws and administration of the country but they were ruled, in all departments of life by their own rabbis. They even counted time, not according to the Christian, but according to the Jewish Calendar. . . That they were uncleanly in their habits was perhaps the inevitable consequence of the over-crowded conditions under which they existed, for their poverty was so great that a great population struggled from hand to mouth, never knowing whence their daily bread was to come.

2. Such was the exotic mass that the steamships began dumping on the Atlantic seaboard forty years ago. Their half starved appearance, their furtive movements, their hollow chests, their undeveloped bodies were the outward physical signs of the centuries of city dwelling that had been their portion. Unfortunately there were more deeply lying phenomena which presented obstacles Americani


zation in any real sense. Probably the greatest of these were the religion and the mentality of the Eastern Jew. The Jew could not find employment in factories and on public works and remain steadfast to his orthodoxy. His Sabbath is Saturday;

but American industry recognizes Sunday as the day of rest. Again, the Jew is perhaps the most prayerful person in the world; he accompames practically every act with a ixed ritual; almost every hour of the day has its religious observances. He can therefore engage in no occupation that does not give the opportunity for these almost continuous communings with the Almighty; even though he had an inclination for manual labor, he could not have engaged in it and remained an orthodox Jew. 3. Inevitably, therefore, these masses began to seek their livelihood in the ways to which they had been accustomed for centuries. City dwellers in Europe, they clung tenaciously to the great cities of the Atlantic seaboard. No other immigrating race had become exclusively city dwellers, as did these Eastern Jews. But more astonishing still, not only did they flock almost as one man to the city slums; by far the greater proportion of them gravitated to New York City. On Jewish holidays at least 40 per cent of the New York school children are absent; certain schools are almost totally deserted; and the city departments, in which Eastern Jews are extensively employed, are all but depopulated. Half the Jews in the United States are living in New York City-where one man in every four is a Jew.

4. The Polish Jews in this country attempted to reproduce the economic life to which they had been accustomed for centuries. The push cart, which had hitherto not been a familiar sight in New York, now began to clog certain streets. Jewish street hawkers filled the crowded thoroughfares, and Jewish retail shops, in infinite number, sprang up in all parts of the city. Of this tendency to reproduce in New York City the life which the Jews had led in Eastern Europe, a few illustrations will suffice: For centuries the Polish Jews had been active in the liquor trade, and now again in this country their energies found an outlet in this direction. Nothing

better shows how the Jewish business instinct differs from that of the AngloSaxon. The Eastern Jew is the most adroit shoe-string capitalist in the world. He can start business on almost anything; a few dollars, the labor of himself and family—with these as a foundation he infrequently works himself up to at least moderate prosperity. Above all, as already said, he is an individualist; he must work for himself, not for others; the complexities of modern business organization are beyond his grasp. Necessarily also he is a middleman. The scope of his participation in a minor way in certain trades-whisky, wine, tobacco-vividly brings out these facts. The Jews had been wine merchants in Europe since the time of Charlemagne; and they now proceeded to follow their trade here. They became omnipresent in the vineyards of California; of course they never raised the grapes themselves; they went from place to place, buying the unfermented juice pressed from the grape and this in turn they passed on to the vintners. Jewish cleverness at bargaining made this particular operation in the wine business a Jewish monoply. In the great cities, especially New York, the Jew worked into the whisky business according to methods of his own. In Russia and Poland he had circulated among the peasants, selling his vodka; and now again in New York he peddled whisky. He would buy a few quarts from the distiller and, every evening, assisted by his family, he would "blend" it by pouring in a little prune juice or caramel, put it up in bottles, and he was ready for the day's business.

The next morning he would load his little stock upon his pushcart, and make the rounds of his customers. After scraping together a few hundred dollars in this fashion, he would rent a "store" and make his bid-usually successfulfor "family trade." Hundreds of Eastern Jews, starting in this humble fashion, rose to be rich wholesalers of whisky. These Polish Jews at present furnish more than their just proportion of "bootleggers."

(To be continued-the last article of the series.)

Along the Trail in Tropical Africa

Condensed from Travel (Feb.)

G. C. Claridge, Author of "Wild Bush Tribes of Africa"

[blocks in formation]




Saved by a razor.


The most superstitious people in the world.

HE tropical forest is a world of attraction. Birds of gorgeous plumage twitter in the thickets. Monkeys of appalling physiognomy chatter overhead. Lizards dart from tree to tree, and snakes from den to den. Huge caterpillars of brilliant hue cling to stump, bough, and creeper. Giant spiders rush about in search of prey. Butterflies of every shade flit from wild flower to wild flower, whilst myriads of insects drone through the atmosphere, like the low hum of a threshing machine. Now and again there is the sound of falling water broken by the cry of a quadruped calling to its mate.

Here is topsy-turvydom in reality. Men do the sewing and wash the clothes. Women farm the crops and market the produce. Men snuff snuff, whilst the women smoke strong tobacco. Men and

women never eat


together. It is not etiquette. It is more common for all the men in one street to feed together. The women do likewise. There is a morning snack of "monkey" nuts, or roots. evening meal varies. Rats, ranging from the mouse size to the size of a hare, is a rare dish. Snake makes a good steak to the taste of many. Fatty, plump, juicy caterpillars__and grubs are special dainties. Many enjoy lizard stew. Others prefer the tasty locust. White ants with wings

are a universal favorite. Baboon cutlets are diet for the elite. At a meal the natives sit round one cooking pot, dig their fingers into it, and toss chunks of flesh into the mouth.

A friendly native preceded us, and by extolling our peaceful disposition, had a wild, excited crowd of dancing natives to meet and greet us at almost every village. Sometimes they would proceed to get drunk in celebration of our advent. At night they might dance and drum till dawn. In the morning the whole countryside would turn out to see "the white god" pack up his traps and strike camp. The white man is a never-ending enigma to the African bushman. To him he is a spirit, if not a demon, for no one but spirit or imp could do the things he does. He carries his houses about with him; his paraphernalia consist of the queerest oddments with which he makes a bed to lie on, a chair to sit on, and little tables such as their greatest king has never set eyes on. From funny little baskets he takes out pots to cook in, drink from, and innumerable other arrangements for uses they have never dreamed of. He never puts his meat in his mouth with his hands, nor delves his fingers into the soup, like ordinary mortals, but feeds himself by a wonderful manipulation of grotesque instruments.

2. One day we passed a ruined house in which a maniac had been shackled. A few palm kernels were strewn within his reach for food. Further on sat an outlaw with his foot fastened in a tree-trunk of great girth and length, felled for the purpose. He was just able, with effort, to turn from one side to the other, or to lie on his back. We passed a third prisoner with his arms and legs chained to his neck. Evidently judi

cial fervor was deeply implanted in previously, driven out on English misthe community.

3. News reached us that two thousand women and girls had been collected by a white man to fell trees, build bridges, and make a road twenty-five feet wide for eighty miles. This meant starvation for the country, for whilst on this job their farms would go to ruin. The rascal had discovered that there was more work in a negress than there is in a negro. What did he care? He was one of those gentlemen who, by virtue of living far away in the jungle, not only get their labor for nothing, but the money the Government sends to defray the cost of it. When they want a pig or a fowl they just take it. If the owners ask either price or a reason they are put in block.

We saw these women at work. Soldiers kept guard over them with rifles, as though they were criminals, and raped them at will. Many of the women had babies on their backs as they bent to their work. Generally these laborers, male and female, are rounded up like cattle, by military who raid their towns at night. A squad of these exploiters, led by a white officer, broke into the village we were in with their guns trained, and collected as many women as they wanted. Christendom ought to make these things impossible.

On our tour we saw dances that were attractive and graceful, but generally they were immoral. One at Mbengo had more hell in it than we could describe. For obscenity wo should think nothing could excel it. Old heathens not only sat and laughed at the young heathens, but egged them on to lewdness as they droned and drummed a ribald accompaniment.

4. One day we ran into an unsuspected danger. The natives had held conclave to drive us away, or to kill

[blocks in formation]

sionary, who fled for his life. An armed embassy arrived from the head chief with the warning. One of the men, as he stood gazing at us and our property, was seized with curiosity, much after the manner of an animal which cannot resist the impulse to stand and stare down the muzzle of the gun pointed at it. This man had on an old cotton shirt, and in the breast pocket a razor stood up to view. I whipped the razor from his pocket, expressing pleasure at finding such an article. Then I told him I knew how and where it was made. At this he opened his eyes wide. "Would you like to hear all about it?" He at once shouted, "Here, you fellows, he knows all about mbele. Come and listen." This was wizardry, and they almost tumbled over each Thus other to get a seat to hear it. the story of a razor turned the tide of feeling and enabled us to disclose the real purport of our visit, which found remarkable acceptation as evidenced by the simple gifts of fowls and vegetables for our table.

5. Popular superstition has it that crocodiles are the abode of witches, which lurk in the quiet pools in quest Some of the witches of human food. who were alleged to have done this had burnt. We been caught, killed and were taken to the the spot where murders had been committed, and where the charred bones of the poor victims lay scattered about. In the villages we passed lines of hideous figures rudely carved in wood, and set about to do battle with unfriendly spirits. The peace of one night was broken by a woman rushing about

like a person demented, with an image in her hand, which she beat furiously, calling upon it to smite, curse, and paralyze the individual who had set a fiend to strangle her in her sleep. The truth is that in her sleep she had a nightmare, and to the Congo mind there is only one interpretation of this sort of thing-demons, and only one remedy-demonism.

« AnteriorContinuar »