The Charlotte News

Sunday, March 3, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, if you didn't find the one about the Tad, off yesterday's page, you don't know what you're missing. But, candidly, we only read it after writing the note; that's a little strange.

For a piece concerning the American Tobacco Company's founder, Buck Duke, see "Buck Duke's University", from The American Mercury, September, 1933.

As to "God's Acre", the cemetery in question in San Francisco was moved to Colma, cemetery city for San Francisco, and had included within its confines the remains, for instance, of the founder of the cable car system, Andrew Hallidie. Although said to contain as well the remains of 1850's Senator David Broderick, he was interred instead at the Capitol in Sacramento. Senator Broderick met his unfortunate end in an 1859 duel with the former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, David Terry, with whom the abolitionist Senator had antagonistic exchanges after the Chief Justice was not reconfirmed for the post because of his own pro-slavery slant. Such were the times. Senator Broderick, a former stonecutter, had made his money by minting gold coins, selling them for more than their intrinsic weight in gold would bring on the market. Some Senators are like that; but we suppose it is better to do that than to advocate barter in human flesh.

As we have pointed out before, a distant relative of the Cash family, Zachary Taylor, was responsible for the admission in 1850 of California as a free state.

For a listing of the various pieces through time on the Settler's Cemetery in Charlotte, see the note accompanying the pieces for October 13, 1937. Those who were transplanted to Charlotte from San Francisco in 1998 when Bank of America joined Nations Bank can sit beneath the trees of the little park there now and muse on the connections, in the print of W. J. Cash anyway, with downtown San Francisco.

Charlotte's street cars, incidentally, were replaced by buses in mid-November, 1937.

Charlotte also had a gold mine nearby at one point.

As to the old Pecksniff who writes the prize-winning letter today, offering that the editorial column was the work of someone with remarkable literary knowledge, but caviling that the various references contained in it at times to "Lord Hitler" or "Bumble" or the like were not his cup of tea, he appears to believe that he was referring to two or more different persons. The suggestion probably brewed a bit of a cackle out of Cash, as both comments relate to his inditements. But, you can't please all the people all of the time. Some Pecksniff jackasses just insist on being jackasses most of it. He did appreciate the large print. That's good. But if you can't enliven an editorial page with remarks and labels which instantly communicate both the stance of the editorial and enable the reader in the process to understand better something of the milieu in which the subject of the editorial exists, then what the hell good is the editorial? especially through time. This stuff would be pretty dry 68 years after the fact were it otherwise. Candidly, it is the "Lord Hitler" and "Bumble" type stuff which keeps us plowing through it these many years, maintaining our interest regularly in the process. Otherwise, were it the sort of stiff-necked stuff of this Cordrough letter writer, for instance, we would have probably stopped the first week. Take note, editorialists of the nation, who insist on being as dry a chip on the floor of a cattle show at the warm fairgrounds in September, and, in consequence of which, worth little more, if any, especially by the snows of January when you're huddled by the fire and you are tossing in a page or two to warm it up some and there you run across some Pecksniff jackass's print again blowing to the winds some simmering steam on some sumptuary topic in which you had none or little interest in the first instance, and so ball it up and toss it with special guth-strengthed gusto right onto the flames of history as if it never existed in the first place. Professionally trained journalists have about as much business being editorial columnists as a bus driver has piloting a dirigible in June.

Wyatt Earp is also buried in Colma.

Someday we'll tell you about our visit one cold, dark night, in middle November, 1975, to the barroom where Wild Bill got shot, out in Deadwood, beneath Boot Hill, where we also visited in the cold nighttime with a fierce wind blowing on our heels.

Anyway, the jackass was a buck richer.

Bonus Battle

Lucky Strike's "Incentive Compensation" Under Fire

This year's battle over the bonuses paid by the American Tobacco Co. (Lucky Strikes) to its officers is not the first time a protest has been raised. Back in 1930, President George Washington Hill was about to drag down $2,200,000, other top officers in proportion, when a stockholder intervened with court action.

Again in 1931 and 1932, hard years, the presidential salary and bonus approximated a million bucks, but moderation set in among the directors of the company, and on 1938's business President Hill received only $420,300.

In the eyes of small stockholder (80 shares) Lewis D. Gilbert, however, this is still too much. A sort of horsefly on the flanks of fat corporations, Mr. Gilbert makes a career of busting up such arrangements, or at least of bringing them to the attention of other stockholders.

And if they take his "incentive compensation" away, declares President Hill, he'll quit. He'd have to, he says, to keep his self-respect.

In that case, and perhaps only in that case, would it be possible to determine with any assurance whether Mr. Hill's services to the American Tobacco Co. are worth what he receives for them, or if he is boldly using his position for excessive enrichment.


The Embarrassing Mr. Hop Is Conjured Out Of Sight

The most singular blackout in politics in the last few months, we are suddenly reminded, is that of the Hon. Harry Hopkins.

No more than a year ago, his name was blazing in the front page headlines practically every day. There was a matter of something he was alleged to have said at a racetrack to the effect that "we (presumably the New Dealers) will spend and spend and elect and elect." At least twice a week Carter Glass or Arthur Vandenberg or Josiah Bailey or some other anti-New Deal Democratic or Republican spokesmen rose up in the Senate or the House to denounce him as a menace to the republic in his role as captain-general of the WPA.

And the President was reported to be actively grooming him as a possible heir to the Great White Throne. Indeed, any list of possible candidates was sure to include prominent mention of his name.

But now, look at it. The good man's name may still figure in the news columns, but if so it must be in that small type back in the financial section. We honestly had to think hard to recall what he was doing now--to remember that he had been kicked upstairs to the job of boss of the Commerce Department, from which Dr. Hoover leaped to the Presidency. From being volubly all over the place he has become as seldom seen as the dodo, as little heard as Harpo Marx. A man, as it were, booted up to glory and oblivion in a single stroke. As a matter of fact, you even hear mighty little about WPA any more, since he is no longer there.


Bachelors May As Well Prepare For The Worst

In former leap years they did it in Aurora, Ill., as a lark. This year, too, it was ostensibly still a lark. And yet--and yet, masters, there was a grim air of realism about it which bodes ill for the condemned bachelors of the land.

The gale took charge, literally. Bachelors were collared right and left, heaved unceremoniously into paddy wagons, and carted off to the hoosegow to stand behind bars until it pleased a female court to haul them before the bench and assess fines of stockings, candy, flowers, lingerie, perfume, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.--and ad infinitum, as any married man and all the cagey confirmed bachelors will understand.

Doc Joe Wadkins, one of the town's most sought after and wariest catches, got a little sore when he was muscled for two grams of the high-priced come-hither water, protested loudly to the court, shouted that he meant it. But it did him no good; back he went into the iron house to cool off.

An ominous adumbration of the shape of the future. Given another four years, and the certain air of determined ruthlessness plainly on display in these proceedings may well have been transformed into stern earnest, given another eight and it is almost certain.

Already half a dozen legislatures have solemnly considered, under the pressure and deluge of mail, schemes for socking bachelors with a head tar of from a hundred to a thousand smackers annually. And the odds are fearfully against the boys being able long to escape. For naturally, not only the whole female population but all the married males are dead against them.

The line forms to the right, men. The days of rugged individualism, alas and alas, seem to be about over.


Events Indicate Italian Course Still Uncertain

Britain's action in cutting off German coal from Italy brings into the light several things. One of them is that Italy has certainly been serving as a base of supply for Germany; for, of course, the German coal has to be paid for. And it is more than probable that the things Italy has been paying with consist mainly of war materials and foodstuffs, a good deal of it imported from outside, as from the United States, for that specific purpose.

More revealing still is the fact that Italy has refused to take more British coal--of better quality than German coal and subject to only about half the transportation costs--and pay for it with airplanes and other arms.

What it indicates is that the assumption that Italy is certain to remain neutral or to go to war on the side of the Allies is too precipitate. Actually, Mussolini seems to be playing a game of pure opportunism.

He is probably not going to war on the Nazi side so long as Hitler and Stalin are openly as thick as they are supposed to be now. The Vatican is far too powerful in Catholic Italy to make that safe for a dictator. And if, as the war moves on, His Italian Dictatorship judges that the Nazis are likely to lose, then it is not probable that he will go to war on their side at all--may go to war on the Allied side.

But on the other hand, if he judges that it is feasible to overthrow England and divide up her empire, it is more than plausible that he will leap in on the side of the Nazis, if the Russian business can be arranged.

And undoubtedly it can be arranged. In return for active Italian aid, Hitler, now disillusioned about the Russian strength, may be quite willing to throw Stalin overboard. Or better still, to arrange with Stalin a business of a pretense of an angry quarrel and a break for the benefit of the world and the Vatican, while secretly continuing the connection--probably with the knowledge and acquiescence of Mussolini.

God's Acre

Sufficient Cause Sometimes Makes It Less Than Sacred

Out in San Francisco, they're moving the Laurel Hill Cemetery. The bones of 38,000 lie there, but up they must come to be moved elsewhere. And no matter that many of them were the rich and powerful of San Francisco's old days. The land they occupy lies in a real estate development, and up they must come so they can be sold for so much a front foot.

Which reminds us of the old cemetery behind the First Presbyterian Church. Nobody, so far as we know, has proposed to dig up the dead there and cart their bodes away to lie easily in new soil. All that has been proposed is that the neglected and somewhat forlorn looking old plot be turned into a public park, with pathways winding among the graves and benches set at intervals under the trees, so that the weary--who in the whole downtown area of Charlotte have no haven--may sit and rest themselves and perhaps muse on the swift passing of mortal life.

But no, it must not be, we are told. That would be blasphemous and very wicked.

And so, we suppose, the old cemetery will just have to lie there, with the weeds growing in it, more and more forgotten--until... Until, as the city grows up, by and by somebody shall want it as, say, a site for a filling station. Then, no doubt, it will have to make way. The weary of these times, after all, are only the weary--and probably deserve no better anyhow. But for a generation which will no longer remember the names of the dead, a good real estate deal will of course be a good real estate deal.

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