The Charlotte News

Monday, June 26, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "Election on $5,620" may be by Cash, notwithstanding the third person reference to the Cash piece, "Half A Cent for Books", appearing on the previous day's book-page. The article was not entirely altruistic. Cash, always a voracious reader, well beyond merely his research for The Mind of the South, could scarcely afford to pay the $2 to $4 for books in those days on his scant salary. He relied therefore to some degree on a handy public library. He also relied on his weekly book reviews from November, 1935 through the end of 1939, thereby receiving, in addition to the $3 per review, a complementary copy of the book reviewed. In May, 1941, one of the greatest decisions Cash had to make before departure for the year in Mexico in fact was trimming down his huge trunkful of books to more suitable baggage.

From one of those books come the lines quoted at the opening of "A Lion in the Net", from Kipling's "The Grave of the Hundred Head".

Take Cover!

The Sound Of Skirmishing Is Heard On The Mecklenburg Front Line

Mecklenburg is living conscientiously up to its reputation of always having three or four good controversies going on. A couple of elections, both involving the highly disputatious question of taxes, have to be disposed of tomorrow. City Police Court Judge Sims has challenged the Police Department et al., and from the way his report has been received in various quarters, it looks like a free-for-all. The Public Weal and County Chairman Harkey have a private flight going on in a neutral corner, and even a couple of Christian churches have lately schismed off and gone it alone.

It is absurd, this habit of always wrangling over something, and the other towns in the state probably are enjoying the spectacle. But don't let 'em kid you, Mecklenburgers! Those fights didn't start just for the love of fighting. They started, let us say, because a few people have given voice to the latent desires of the whole people for public services that are unquestionable as to efficiency and above all as to probity. If they hadn't started, it would have been a sign that the people are entitled to no better than they are getting.

So fire away. Those agencies and individuals who are giving value received need have no fear. But for the rest, there is nothing like a heated controversy to disclose their shortcomings.

Election On $5,620*

That Much More, Or Extinction, The Library Will Receive

In his article on the Library yesterday, Mr. Cash made one statement that deserves repetition. If the proposed 5-cent tax carries tomorrow and the County Commissioners levy, as they have said they would to begin with, a 3-cent tax, the net increase in revenue to the Library will be only $5,620.

And the corollary holds, of course; that the net increase to the taxpayers will be only $5,620. This comes about because the Library has been getting $27,500 a year from the City and County and will get but $33,120 from collections on a 3-cent tax.

And the alternative likewise holds--that failure to vote the tax will mean the closing of the Library. The City is forbidden by its charter to contribute as it has been contributing without authorization. In that case, the County would have neither the ability nor the desire to assume the whole burden of the Library's support. It all comes down to this--$5,620 more, or nothing.

Site Ed. Note: In 1940, the stones, some 40 in all which turned up between North Carolina and Georgia, were shown to be the product of an over-active imagination and some modern chisels.

Lost Colony Stones*

Will Excavations At Burial Spot Prove Them Authentic?

The stones deciphered at Emory University and Brenau College are far from being established as authentic. And until they are, it would be rash to assume that they really throw light on the fate of Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. Nevertheless, the apparently genuine Elizabethan script and spelling suggests that if they are forgeries, they are painfully and carefully worked out ones. It is true that only six of the fifteen names listed, besides those of Virginia and her father Ananias Dare, correspond with those in Governor John White's official list of the missing colonists, but names were used carelessly in those days, and often colonists had good reason for hiding their real identity from the English authorities.

The discovery of the first stone on the banks of the Chowan, near Edenton, in 1937 led to the second one this year. The next step is to dig for bones near the site, since this second stone purports to be a burial marker. If such bones should be found, the evidence for the authenticity of the stones would become much more convincing. But failure to discover them would not necessarily prove the stones to be a hoax. For it is quite possible that the colonists were killed and buried elsewhere--perhaps on Roanoke Island itself (the four years of White's absence would have given ample time for the spot to grow over and be obliterated)--and the stones carried to the banks of the Chowan by the Indians who, as barbarians, would be at once curious about and afraid of the writing on them.

In any case, mystery will not utterly disappear. If we come to know how Virginia died and even where she lies buried, there will still be the question of Eleanor White Dare and the seven other colonists who, according to the stones, escaped. "Father wee goe S.W." concludes the inscription on the second stone--and with that information ends.

The Lion In A Net

But The Notion That He Is As Good As Dead And Can't Bite Anymore May Turn Out To Be Bad Judgment

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

And then, you remember, the men of the First Shikaris proceeded to hunt down the tribe of the killer and heap up the dead in great mounds as "the price of a white man slain."

It all sounds incredibly far away in these days when a British woman can be stripped naked before grinning Japanese sentries--without any penalty at all.

Nevertheless, it may be that the little clubfoot, Goebbels, is reading the cards perilously wrong when he shouts that England is an idiot, that she "cannot compete with our might," and that her threats mean nothing because "they have no force." A century and a quarter ago there was a man in Europe who sneered at the English as a "nation of shopkeepers," unfit for battle. And at the moment when he said it, it looked as though it might be true, for in those days another cut exactly to the Chamberlain model ruled in Britain. Nevertheless, the man died a prisoner of England on a lonely island in the South Atlantic, with his empire reduced to a fading memory by that same nation of shopkeepers.

In 1914, too, there were many Goebbelses in Germany, from the Kaiser down--men who were sure that England could not compete with Germany's might. And for a long time it looked as though they also might be right. For the Germany of those days had many times the might of present Germany--a really magnificent army instead of a rabble of Storm Troopers trained by whipping Jews. And fuel and supplies to last three years. Nonetheless, that army ended by submitting to the Treaty of Versailles.

Beset on every side, old England is in a sad way. But Mr. Goebbels & Co. had probably better make up their minds to several things. One of them is that when babies begin to die in London, they will also begin to die in Berlin--not so numerously at first perhaps. But let Mr. Goebbels remember that England's resources are as ten to one, and that it is in her power eventually to darken the sky over every German city with bombers, and to keep on darkening it long after the last possible German bomber is destroyed. What he would do well to keep in mind also is that he must win this war quickly, for the good reason that he hasn't the food to hold out long. And that what that means is that he must utterly destroy England within a few months--for if the record of history means anything at all, she will never submit. And beyond that he ought, in reason, to consider that it is just possible that he may lose, and that if he does, the price of having made a war will be dreadful beyond reckoning--a fate for Germany that will make the Treaty of Versailles look like generosity. For it can be said with perfect confidence that there will be no mercy left on the earth for Germany if she makes another war. And if you doubt that the British can be as brutal as the next, read the record of the Sepoy Rebellion.

Beset by many enemies the old lion is. But it has been so beset before, and lived. Unable to match Germany's might it may be. But then again, that may be a mistake.

Site Ed. Note: The last verse of the poem goes:

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a kullah's head
Must be paid for with heads five score.


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