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My American visit online

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to audiences in the United States upon a topic
which, so far as my resources went, I had
completely exhausted.

After lunch Carrick took me to Sir Donald
Mann, Vice-President of the Canadian North-
ern Railway Company. I had hoped to see
Sir William McKenzie, but he was out.
Sir Donald, most hospitable, gave me some

202 My American Visit

cigars. We had a good talk with him about
the war, and the future development of
Canada, a subject upon which he is, as one
would expect, extraordinarily well-informed.
All his domestic servants are Chinese.

In the afternoon, the Bar of Toronto had
arranged a reception at Osgood Hall. This
was the first occasion on which, as Attorney,
I met Canadian lawyers. There were many
present whom I had led in the Privy Council,
and some who, in the old days, had led me.
The Treasurer of the Association presided.
He is a fine old man, eighty years of age.
There was a very large attendance. The
President introduced me to the members
collectively. In the middle of his speech
some prominent person would catch his eye,
and with the attractive simplicity of an old
and courteous gentleman, he broke off to
call him up to be presented. I made a speech
all about law. Very dull. But I made it,
I think, towards the close, arresting by telling
them of the numbers of English lawyers
who had fought and died in the war, and of
the long list of honours which they had
won. But here they had their own record.
Afterwards, I was introduced individually
to many of the judges and leading members

My American Visit 203

of the Bar. Judge McLaren, of the Appeal
Court, also a veteran, told me that when he
first appeared before the Privy Council, he
was junior to Benjamin, and when he last
appeared, leader to Haldane. A remark-
able record. I meant to ask him, but forgot,
how the Board was constituted on his first

We dined at Government House, before
the large meeting at Massey Hall, where an
extraordinarily fine audience of about five
thousand people was collected. It was very
moving to see so many of our own folk.
Mulock was in the chair. The Duke, as he
always does, made a very sensible speech.
He is treated everywhere with deep respect,
partly, of course, due to his office, but largely
to his high conception of public duty. Those
whom I addressed were as quick in taking
points as an audience at the Town Hall,
Birmingham, or the Sun Hall, Liverpool, and
full of enthusiasm. It was the first mass-
meeting I ever addressed in Canada, and
having regard to the record of the city, I
am glad that it should have been at Toronto.

After the meeting we left for our car, where,
among others, Sam Hughes joined us, also
on his way to Ottawa. The Governor-

204 My American Visit

General travelled by the same train, in his own
car. We left about 11.30. Hughes came
round to our car and we talked to all hours.

Tuesday, January 22nd. We arrived at
Ottawa at 11.45, three hours late, and
left in the two motors for Government
House, where we were to stay with the
Duke. The last time I had stayed with
him was at Chatsworth in 1910, when I
had arranged to speak for Kerry. By an
odd coincidence I was three hours late on
that occasion too, my car breaking down
in the snow over the hills of Derbyshire.
So that I came to them twice through the

Government House is an old-fashioned,
rambling building, which has been added to
by successive Governor-Generals. It is, on
the whole, very comfortable, and has some
beautiful reception rooms. The Prime
Minister, Sir Robert Borden, whom I had
known well for many years, had asked us
to lunch with him at the club. He had
invited about thirty guests, including all of
the Ministers who were in Ottawa at the time.

The Coalition was indeed almost completely
represented. Among the Conservatives were
J. D. Reid, Minister of Railways ; Arthur

My American Visit 205

Meighen, Minister of the Interior ; C. C.
Ballantyne, Minister of Marine ; S. C. Mew-
burn, Minister of Militia; J. A. Calder,
Minister of Immigration ; A. Sifton, Minister
of Customs ; Martin Bunell, Secretary of
State, and T. W. Crothers, Minister of

Among the new Liberal Members of the
Government were N. W. Rowell, President
of the Privy Council ; Sir Thomas White,
Minister of Finance, and T. A. Grenar,
Minister of Agriculture. And there were
present many judges, including the Rt. Hon.
Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court. All the Ministers, including
the Premier, spoke in the highest terms of
the ability of Arthur Meighen, Minister of
the Interior. He was formerly Solicitor-
General, and is, I suppose, a " political
lawyer." But unless I am mistaken, he
will play a great part in the history of
the Dominion of Canada.

I sat next to Sir Robert with Sir Wilfrid
Laurier on my other side, and I certainly had
a most interesting lunch. It was my fault
if I did not understand Canadian affairs
when it was over. The Premier and his pre-
decessor talked among themselves with much

206 My American Visit

cordiality and seemed on the best of terms.
Sir Wilfrid, who is, in the tale of years, an
old man, showed no signs of fatigue after his
recent election campaign. On the contrary,
he was alert, lively and most agreeable. He
is, and will be as long as he lives, one of the
great personalities among the Statesmen of
the Empire.

I had last met Sir Robert Borden in 1916,
staying with Bonar Law at his house by the
sea. Winston, I remember, was of the party,
and the present Prime Minister motored over
on Sunday to lunch. This was on the day
when we first had private news that Bulgaria
was committed to the war. We talked over
old times, and then all three of us discussed
the war together. Sir Robert has always
seemed to me to be not only a very sincere
and direct, but a very resolute and imper-
turbable man. I suspect that his opponents
have, throughout his career, made the mis-
take of underrating him.

Later, the Prime Minister introduced me
in a very kind speech, and I did the best I
could before this distinguished audience.
Fortunately only a short speech was required.

After lunch, we went for a long walk to
watch the winter sports. Tobogganers, skiers,

My American Visit 207

and skaters. The scene was animated, and
it all looked very amusing. We did not
compete. I would like to have tried the ice-
toboggan, but it was terrifyingly steep, and
one had to pull the car back oneself up the
steep mountain side.

In the evening, there was a large dinner-
party at Government House, consisting of
about forty people. The company consisted
of a number of Ministers and judges, with
their ladies, including Sir Robert and Lady
Borden, and many of those whom we had
met at lunch. I sat between the Duchess
and Lady Borden.

The proceedings in the large drawing-room
after dinner were formal, the Duke speaking
to every lady at the party in turn, and the
A.D.C.'s tactfully effecting changes among
other groups, if at any time there seemed a
tendency to stagnate. The proceedings, how-
ever, left one with rather a bewildering im-
pression of playing General Post.

The household at Government House is
very friendly, and I should think works
together with a most admirable harmony and
loyalty. Lord Richard Neville is Comp-
troller of the Household, and is kindness it-
self to the Duke's guests. He thinks of

208 My American Visit

everything one may want, just before one
wants it. Harold Henderson is one of the
military secretaries, an old colleague of mine
in the House of Commons, and almost a
neighbour in the country. For many years,
too, we have been brother officers in the same
brigade of Yeomanry. He has a convenient
little house at the end of the garden. It was
nice to see Lady Violet and him again. We
met at their house for bridge.

The A.D.C.'s are very attractive young
men. One of them, Captain Ridley, a rela-
tive of my old friend, Mr. Justice Ridley,
was a planter in East Africa when the
war broke out. He and his three partners
at once enlisted, and he fought in the
Tanga affair. Two of his partners have
been killed. He returned to England and
joined the Grenadier Guards. Since then,
both he and his remaining partner have been
badly wounded. Another A.D.C. was Cap-
tain Kenyon-Slaney, also of the Grenadier
Guards, and a son of that Colonel Kenyon-
Slaney who was so well known and liked in
the House of Commons twenty years ago.
Lady Helen Kenyon-Slaney is the daughter
of my old friend and political colleague,
the Duke of Abercorn, with whom I had

My American Visit 209

stayed in Ireland. Kenyon-Slaney himself
had been badly wounded in the war. I
thought that both he and Ridley did work
which required both tact and judgment
extraordinarily well. Captain Bulkeley-
Johnston, of the Rifle Brigade, is another very
popular A.D.C. He is a nephew of Brigadier-
General Bulkeley- Johnston, of the Scots
Greys, who lost his life in France recently,
and was a most gallant soldier. Captain
Bulkeley- Johnston has himself been seriously
wounded, and is universally recognized as a
very promising officer. And indeed, I heard
on all hands how popular the whole household
was in Canada. The position, when they
went there, was by no means easy to fill, for
I suppose in all the history of Canada, no
occupants of Government House were quite
so much beloved as the Duke and Duchess
of Connaught. The Duchess was, indeed,
worshipped by everyone, and it would be
impossible to overstate the service rendered
to the Empire during their momentous period
of office by the immediate predecessors of the
Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

And the Princess Patricia's Regiment have
for ever, as long as military history is written,
made glorious with their swords the name


210 My American Visit

of the gracious lady under whose favour they

Wednesday, January 2$rd. We skated all
the morning on the private rink at Govern-
ment House. The day was bright and sunny
and the air like a wonderful tonic. Nearly
the whole party took to the ice, and it was
very amusing. The Lieutenant was very
busy with his cinematograph.

We went to lunch at the Country Club,
motoring to the electric railway station,
and thence several miles by a car which had
been reserved for us.

The Club is one of the nicest we have yet
seen. Originally a country house, it stands
on the banks of the river, and it is proposed,
when the war is over, to connect it by a
bridge with an Island of Enchantment, owned
by the Club, and like Ithaca, much wooded,
where bathing and boating can be enjoyed
under ideal conditions. The party consisted
of about fifty of the members, including
several Cabinet Ministers and Sam Hughes.
The Committee, with the hospitality which
distinguishes this most kindly people, had
caused to be painted, and- gave me, a water-
colour drawing of the club house, to be a
permanent reminder of a happy day.

My American Visit 211

There were no reporters and I made an in-
formal speech of about half an hour for the
first time in the whole tour permitting myself
what the late Mr. Stevenson commended as
" a little judicious levity."

In the evening there was another great
dinner at Government House, consisting, as
before, of about forty guests, of whom Sir
Wilfrid Laurier was one. It was very
pleasant, but resembled in its general features
that which I have already described.

As a social observer, I amused myself by
noticing how greatly the drought of these re-
pasts reduces the period in which the men of
the party find entertainment in masculine talk.

At eleven o'clock the hospitable Club
where we had lunched had arranged a dance
in our honour. It seemed, when the moment
arrived, to be many, many miles away. I
confess that I tried to run out, but was told
(and this was true) that I had promised to go,
and that the party was arranged on this un-
derstanding. So once again the motor cars
carried us to the electric railway, on a windy
journey in the snow, and we found, in com-
pensation, a very gay and pleasant company
assembled. Society in Ottawa talks good-
humouredly of some of its youngest and most


212 My American Visit

unruly members as the " Naughty Nine.'' I
suppose they may distantly correspond with
those young people in London (alas ! a
diminished company since the war) to whom
the name of " Souls " has, by an obscure
affiliation, descended. It means, I fancy,
only that a very innocent degree of extra
emancipation is claimed by its members.
We were told that many of the number
were present. I saw (without counting) many
delightful young ladies, but nothing to justify
the adjective.

We stayed on, Harold Henderson and
the A.D.C.'s and the rest of us, some dancing,
some talking, some playing bridge, until
about 4 a.m. It was, perhaps, at this
stage allowable, even for middle-aged men,
desipere in loco, for the tour, with all its
grinding exactions, was very near its close,
and the speeches rapidly coming to an end.

Thursday , January 24^. In the morning
we skated again. Little Anne, the youngest
daughter, very sweet and self-possessed.

We lunched at the new hotel, the " Chateau
Laurier," with the members of the Canadian
Club. Judge Duff, one of the ablest members
of the Bench, who is to-day sitting in final
appeal over the decisions of the tribunals

My American Visit 213

in the Province of Quebec, was in the chair.
Sir Robert Borden and many other Ministers
were present. I ought to have said that
Sir Cecil* and Lady Spring- Rice were staying
at Government House. Sir Cecil, who is
shortly returning, was present at the lunch.
He is returning but without his family
to London. He had himself so I was told
addressed the same Club a few days before,
and had made a deep impression by an
earnest, sincere and unaffected speech. I
can easily understand that he would get on
very well with the Canadians. The room
to-day was very crowded, the guests number-
ing, I suppose, between five and six hundred.
And the gallery of the dining hall was
crowded with ladies. I spoke, according to
orders, for forty minutes.

We were due at the railway station for
Montreal at 3.30. So we took leave with
great regret of this kindly household, which,
like poor Rupert Brooke's sleeping place, " is
for ever England," and at 6.30 had reached
our destination. It was bitterly cold when
we left the station at Montreal. We drove
in an open sleigh, with the temperature

* This was, of course, written before I heard of Sir Cecil's
sudden death. I have not altered a word.

214 My American Visit

already below zero, to the Ritz-Carlton
Hotel. I had always previously stayed at
the " Windsor." The " Ritz-Carlton " is
comparatively new, and is very luxurious
and comfortable. Harold Henderson came
with us, and Lord Richard Neville which I
thought extraordinarily kind came over
from Ottawa for the speeches next day.
Sam Hughes saw the last of us at Ottawa,
and had already sent a number of letters
about us to his friends at Montreal.

Sir Charles Gordon had asked us to dine
with him at the Mount Royal Club, which
is one of the best clubs I know in the New
World, with the indefinable atmosphere about
it of a good London club. The dinner con-
sisted of about thirty, and the company
was very distinguished, consisting amongst
others of Lord Shaughnessy, Sir Vincent
Meredith, Sir Mortimer Davis, Sir William
Peterson, the scholarly head of the McGill
University, Sir Frederick Taylor, Chairman
of the Bank of Montreal, F. E. Meredith,
K.C., cousin of our valued friend, the British
Consul at Detroit, and many others.

There were no reporters, but there were,
of course, speeches. After I had spoken,
Lord Shaughnessy made a blunt, forcible

My American Visit 215

speech, expressing very well his personality,
in which he laid stress on the importance,
after the war, of evolving some constitutional
arrangement under which, for the future,
Canadians would be consulted in matters of
imperial policy. Both Borden and Laurier
have insisted upon this very reasonable
claim. Shaughnessy put the case plainly
but moderately, and his views evidently met
with a large measure of support. I have no
doubt (and I hope) that the Government of
Canada will insist on this view after the

The President of the McGill University
also spoke in a very interesting way. The
whole evening was enjoyable. When it
ended, we went to play bridge at Sir Mortimer
Davis's house, and then to bed about three

Friday, January 2$th. We lunched with
the Canadian Club at the Windsor Hotel ;
about seven hundred people were present,
and a number of ladies were in the
gallery. Very many people, who could not
get seats, came in after lunch. The room
was unpleasantly over-crowded, but the spirit
and good feeling shown extraordinary. I
enjoyed this meeting as much as any which

216 My American Visit

I addressed in the whole tour. But so many
people were turned away that I was, on the
whole, sorry that we had not arranged a
mass meeting on the scale of that which I
had addressed at Toronto.

After lunch H. and I rushed off to play
tennis with Sir Frederick Taylor and Gordon.
The court was a covered building, with
en-tout-cas surface, extraordinarily good.
We had four sets ; then, hurriedly bathing and
changing, I went to address the Women's
Canadian Club at the " Ritz-Carlton " at
4 p.m. Mrs. Drummond presided over a very
large meeting of nearly six hundred ladies.
I tried to tell them of the work done by the
women of Britain. But the women of
Canada, I suspect, have little to learn even
from so noble an example. It was sad to
see how many widows were among the
audience. But their spirit was unquenched.

And no sooner was this over than my
friend, Sir William Peterson, was waiting
to take me in a car to give an address to the
students of the McGill University. Here
again we found a crowded audience of both
sexes. Many of the boys were in khaki.
The contribution of the University to the
war has been as glorious as that of the

My American Visit 217

University of Toronto. And of the boys
all are gone or going.

Here, too, the students sent me away to
the strains of their " Varsity Song."

In the evening we dined again with Sir
Mortimer and Lady Davis, and played
bridge till very late.

Saturday, January 26th. I went shopping
with Lady Davis to buy light literature for
the voyage. Later we went with Brigadier-
General Sir Charles Gunning to see the
remount depot at La Chine. It was cer-
tainly a very remarkable sight. There were
about three thousand horses running abso-
lutely wild in the enclosures. Shaggy and
undipped, they seemed fit enough to jump
out of their skins. They galloped round
and round in mobs through the bush, some-
times three or four of them together jumping
the great drinking troughs. One could not
imagine pictures of more perfect health and
strength. And yet they were always ex-
posed in the open, day and night, with a
temperature often twenty degrees below
zero. Certainly one can always learn some-
thing fresh about horses.

The British Remount Commission, under
General Gunning, has, I understand, been

218 My American Visit

subject to criticism, much of which is cer-
tainly uninformed. The French Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has
attacked them for keeping the animals in
the open in all weathers. I hold the view
(which many other people have of them-
selves) that I am a good judge of horses and
of their condition. I never saw fitter animals
in my life. And the figures speak for them-
selves. The following table makes the
matter plain :


Total purchased 439,206

Shipped 381,709

Loss on land 7-53%

Loss on sea 53%


Purchased 268,685

Shipped 257,081

Loss on land i-9*%

Loss on sea 32%

So that the average loss per annum on all
animals was 6.34 per cent, on land, and .46
per cent, on the sea.

The average daily strength of the horses
in General Gunning's charge was 29,037.
The average mileage from the purchasing
point to the port of embarkation was 1,666

My American Visit 219

miles. The average travelling time was
eighty-seven hours. And as there were four-
teen purchasing points and eight embarkation
ports, the complexity and, it may be added,
the success of the general work are patent.

We went to lunch with Sir Frederick
Taylor. After lunch, again to the covered
tennis court, where we had excellent games,
Sir Charles Tate making the fourth.

Then to the skating rink, and afterwards
to dinner quietly at the Montreal Club.

And at 8.30 we took a train to New
York. The formal speaking was over. We
had been advised that there was good
prospect of a ship home. Accordingly, we
returned for shipping orders, proposing in
the interval to see again some of our New
York friends.

Sunday, January 2jth. We have finished
finally with the trains. From first to last
we have travelled over seven thousand miles
by railway, a distance certainly equivalent,
under existing train conditions, to ten thou-
sand miles. To this, of course, must be
added the distance travelled by sea, which
cannot, having regard to the devious and
unusual route we followed, be put at less
than seven thousand miles.

220 My American Visit

Once again we made our headquarters
under the hospitable roof of Goelet, at
591, Fifth Avenue. We lunched with him
at the Links Club, which is, I think, on the
whole, the most attractive club and I have
knowledge of many in different parts of the
world that I have ever seen. It is quite
small, and the membership limited. Two
old-fashioned houses have been thrown into
one, and the greatest ingenuity and taste
have been shown in adapting the result to
the purposes of a most comfortable and
beautiful club. It is bright, cheerful, home-
like and exquisitely clean. We spent a great
deal of time there during these last few days.
They gave us at lunch what is known as
" applejack." This is cider which has been
allowed to mature for about six months,
air being admitted by leaving the cork out
of the bunghole of the cask. In the case of
applejack, the alcohol is distilled by the
regular " still " process. But a few farmers
(as I have said) have another method.
This is to separate the alcohol by means of
a cream separator. The result is a most
potent drink, seventy-five to eighty-five per
cent, alcohol, about fifteen per cent, more
powerful than absinthe. Expellas furca !

My American Visit 221

In the evening we dined at the same Club
with the same host, and later went to the
Sixty Club Hall, at the " Ritz-Carlton."
This Club consists very largely of members
of the theatrical profession. Those who wish
to entertain engage a table for supper and
invite guests. Altogether there were to-
night, I should imagine, as many as two
hundred different parties. Many people,
well known in New York, were present,
and an extraordinary number of beautiful
women. The war seemed very remote. But
in such matters the psychology of the human
race is very puzzling. Nearly all those
present were either themselves, or had
relatives who were engaged in the war. In
the French Revolution, the victims of the
guillotine amused themselves with uncon-
querable gaiety almost until the moment
when they mounted its steps. In Paris, the
craving for relaxation is by no means ex-
tinguished, though for more than three and
a half years German trenches have been
only fifty miles from the Tuileries. I suspect
that the very horror and tension of the war
induces a feverish reaction which breeds in
humanity a restless groping after the appear-
ance of gaiety. " If death indeed be so

222 My American Visit

close," such perhaps is the psychological
reasoning, " let us drink while we can every
drop of the cup of life."

Monday, January 2&th. H. and I motored
twenty-five miles with Mrs. Burdon and Miss
Hollins, to Harry P. Whitney's house at
Roslyn, to play tennis. The court is extra-
ordinary. It is, of course, covered by a great
glass roof, and forms part of a large building,
which contains a studio in which one could
dine fifty people, and, connected with it,
plunge and other baths. The ladies played
very well, and we had interesting games.
Three sets in all : the first Mrs. Burdon and
I won, 7 to 5 ; the second lost, 5 to 7 ; the
third we lost, 12 to 14.

In the evening we went to the opera to
hear Caruso. The immense Opera House
was absolutely packed, the effect being
extraordinarily brilliant. I saw many old

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