The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 11, 1937


Site Ed. Note: The piece by Dick Young of The News makes note of two flying policemen in Charlotte. To the day nearly, thirty years later, well...

The Fayetteville Observer snippet of 1862 mentions the book penned by North Carolina's own Hinton Helper, The Impending Crisis of the South--the same which helped the fledgling Republican Party win the White House in 1860--helping along, to the acrimonious disgust of the Observer, the argument that to starve the South via blockade was to defeat the South by scarcity of the requisite industrial product of the North or exchange via foreign trade; the Observer took issue, finding solace in even the supposed rabiously Yankee Chicago Tribune's recognition of this "wretched delusion", in the face of the South's plain self-sufficiency in the cause. Notwithstanding objection by the Observer, or the stubbornly insistent independence of the South as a whole, Mr. Sherman and Mr. Lincoln would find by 1864 the strategy's impact not so delusional, indeed rather salutary, even should it have taken a few thousand twisted rail ties, a couple of major cities burned to ashen wilderness, their populations turned to wandering mendicancy, and many more bloodied corpses to come on either side of the dividing line, to make the point clearly enough. Too bad they didn't have radio February 27, 1860 by which to listen in Fayetteville to the Cooper Union, or at least the wit with which to read the transcript, back before the guns started blasting.

As to the subtle hint conveyed by the Georgia rat, we think, judging by present status, that it was more likely that the columnist was merely a Democrat being chased by a rabious Republican seeking fodder on which to feed.

Meanwhile, Cash takes on the ancient, intemporal mercurial windings of the parlous sea. Perhaps broadside the purple majestic land of Pepperell. Perhaps, Quemoy or Matsu.

Whatever the case or cause, here come the breeze again, yet again there she blow, mate. Hard larboard.

Oh goodness, a little more than a breeze.

Drink up, me hearty joho...

Take Tieless Joe

Governor George Aiken of Vermont is dead set against letting millionaires and college professors have any prominent part in reorganizing the Republican Party. Charlie Jonas, national committeeman from North Carolina, doesn't care much who the reorganizers are as long as they are respectable and will make respectable contacts in the South.

It does seem a little hard to follow Governor Aiken and practically disfranchise a man because he has money or a string of letters after his name. Beef trusters and brain trusters both, to be sure, are in ill repute presently. A millionaire rates little higher than a common, ordinary crook. As for college professors, they have so lost caste that the students no longer laugh very heartily at their jokes.

But as for that, we can think of a lot of men who're neither millionaires nor college professors who still wouldn't make good officers for the revitalized Republican Party. Take, for instance, Mr. Jonas's unfriend and brother Republican, Tieless Joe Tolbert of South Carolina. Tieless Joe has been fairly well-to-do in those periods when his party was in power, but by no stretch of the imagination could he be called a millionaire. The only college he ever attended was Electoral--and in those respects, he is qualified for Republican office in that he has not the disqualifications which Governor Aiken has stipulated. But does that make him a model Republican? Mr. Jonas doesn't think so.

Au Peril de la Mer

"The German steamer Preussen was standing by."

How suddenly moving is that matter-of-fact sentence in the matter-of-fact account of the President Hoover's grounding on the little island off Formosa.

There is nothing more deceptively safe-seeming than a great liner at sea. From the frail little cockle-shells with which he began, man has built to this. Stand on her boat-deck while the gale roars around her, and the steady pounding of her screws under your feet give you the feeling of invincible power moving steadily to its goal. How deliberately and calmly she cleaves her way through the tumult! But at once, falling from the crest of a great wave, she plunges her nose under, after her propellers rise into the air, beating upon nothing. She shivers, stricken. She hesitates, fumbles, wallows crazily. And at once you feel how dangerous is the sea, how resistless, how insensately brutal, how helpless and weak are man's most tremendous engines before its might, how near we always are to elemental death when we go voyaging upon this treacherous vastness, how necessary is that law of the seaways which runs:

"The German steamer Preussen was standing by."

Just for Fun*

Russell H. Leonard, head of the huge Pepperell Manufacturing Company, has called on the Cotton Textile Institute to push through Congress a law forbidding textile mills to run a third shift. He gives it hard names--economic monstrosity, unhealthful occupation, an injudicious, disgraceful, uneconomic practice of an unregenerate, selfish, chiseling minority of the industry--and he wants it outlawed, at once.

The third shift is, we believe, all Mr. Leonard says it is. If generally adopted it could become one of the half-dozen straws likely to break the back of the over-built textile industry. But if you want to have some fun, think up all the arguments you ever heard against farm control bills and see how easily they fit this manufacturer's proposed textile control bill.

Regimentation? Of course. Arbitrary curtailment of production in defiance of God's gifts to man? Precisely. A factor for reducing employment? In the short run, obviously. A withholding of cotton materials when half the world and a third of America are insufficiently clothed? Sure. A sacrifice of world markets and a go-ahead signal to the textile industry's foreign competition? It comes pretty close to being that.

Without knowing anything about Mr. Pepperell or Mr. Leonard or whatever his name is, we'll take a small bet that he's a Republican and that he sneers all the stock Republican sneers at farm relief. But when it comes to textile relief, he runs to precisely the same cover.

Mercy Misplaced*

One of the quirks of North Carolina justice is the rarity of death sentences for Negro murderers of Negroes. Only in the last few years has the State begun to swing around to the belief that "a life for a life" applied without regard to the color line; and there has been some slight realization that somehow Negroes must be dissuaded from killing each other, as they do, impulsively and with comparative immunity from punishment.

Last week Governor Hoey paroled a Negro sentenced in Richmond County in 1934 to 20-25 years for the second-degree murder of another Negro. Knowing nothing of the details of the killing, we dare risk the observation that when a white jury convicts a Negro of murder in the second degree, his crime was not likely to have been simple manslaughter. Error in such racial affairs is usually on the side of leniency rather than inexorability. And three years' time even for manslaughter is pretty light.

This is at least the second time that Governor Hoey--for valid reasons, it must be assumed--has paroled the Negro slayer of a Negro. In the special cases, mercy must have been warranted; but as a matter of policy, implacable vengeance is what the tendencies of the race demand.

Two Nankings

Nanking, the fall of which appears to be imminent, is an ancient city not unused to buffetings. It was only ten years and a few months ago, for example, that the same Chiang Kai-shek who now has fled Nanking himself marched triumphantly within its walls. In the 1925-28 revolutionary disturbances in China, Chiang had allied himself with and become field commander of the South China forces which had sprung up under the stimulus of that remarkable, artful Russian agent, Michael Borodin. Armed and trained by the Soviets, the efficient Cantonese army swept its way almost unimpeded into Shanghai, through the valley of the Yangtze into Nanking and Hankow.

But Peking, the Northern capital, remained in the hands of the warlord Chang, and while Chiang Kai-shek was on expedition to bring it to terms, he received reports of Borodin's conspiracies and intrigues which went far beyond his conception of the undertaking into which he had thrown himself for the sake of a unified China. Returning with all haste, Chiang had gathered loyal troops about him and laid siege to Nanking. It fell, easily, as Chinese cities do fall, and the Red Borodin fled across the Mongolian Desert into Russia.

This was the beginning of the strong nationalist government which has endured in China until now, but it was not wholly an auspicious beginning. For one thing, Chiang's legions hated the white foreigners, and when they entered Nanking they chased down and put to death all of them they could find. American gunboats in the river opened up on the city, laying down a remarkably accurate barrage about the foreign quarter, and keeping it laid down until the beleaguered embassies and their staffs could escape over the walls to the ships below. This siege within a siege almost brought on a punitive expedition by the governments whose nationals were involved, and 30,000 foreign soldiers were gathered in China. But the cool head of the Coolidge Administration in Washington averted serious trouble--and was roundly blessed out for a weakling.

What was not averted, however, was alarm in Tokyo at the unification under Chiang of a giant nation of 400,000,000 souls, a nation which was just beginning to realize its potential might. From that fall of Nanking unto the imminent fall of Nanking, the Japs have never desisted in their purpose either to hold the whiphand over China or to break it up into impotent small states.

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