Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 1913

In July 1913, veterans of both sides return to Gettysburg to observe the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. The Secretary of State hits the lecture circuit and the Secretary of the Navy reconsiders his views on democracy in the Navy. The governor of New York, who's taken on Tammany Hall, begins to wonder if that was a good idea. The Panama Canal draws a step closer to completion. Irish home rule and woman suffrage dominate the news in Great Britain, as Winston Churchill spearheads the Royal Navy's conversion from coal to oil. A second Balkan war begins and ends. There's a "Second Revolution" in China, and a French court decrees that automobiles must be designed to accommodate ladies' hats. Really.


Veterans of Gettysburg, Fifty Years Later

Veterans of the desperate struggle that marked the turning point of the Civil War assembled in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania this month to observe the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, which began July 1, 1863 and ended July 3 with the charge of Confederate General George Pickett's division against the entrenched Union forces on Cemetery Ridge.  The day before the battle began, Union General John Buford's cavalry division rode into the town of Gettysburg, welcomed by local girls in white dresses lining the road and singing patriotic songs.  Fifty years later, the surviving veterans of Buford's division hosted a reception for the cavalrymen of both armies in the big reunion tent on the Emmitsburg Road.  Combing the town, they found six of the original Gettysburg girls of '63 and brought them to the tent as guests of honor.  Three days of commemoration followed.  The emotional climax came on July 3, when the Gettysburg veterans staged a reenactment of Pickett's charge as thousands of spectators looked on.  In place of the rifles and bayonets of fifty years ago, many of the veterans carried canes and crutches.  As the Confederate veterans neared the Bloody Angle on Cemetery Ridge, the old rebel yell rose from their ranks, and the Union veterans emerged from behind the stone wall to run forward and embrace their former enemies.

Confederate Veterans Storming Cemetery Ridge For the Last Time


President Wilson at Gettysburg, July 4

The final event of the anniversary observance was a visit by President Wilson.  At 11 o'clock on the morning of July 4, his train arrived in Gettysburg, greeted by cheers and a 21-gun salute from the grounds of Gettysburg College.  Accompanied by Pennsylvania Governor John K. Tener and Representative A. Mitchell Palmer, he drove through the town and out to the reunion tent, where he posed for a photograph standing between a Union and a Confederate veteran.  As he spoke inside the tent, the breeze under the tent flaps and the comings and goings of the veterans made his remarks difficult to hear, and in the opinion of many who did hear them they failed to capture the spirit of the occasion.  Some, however, said his remarks were disappointing only in comparison with President Lincoln's magnificent address at the same place fifty years earlier.  After speaking, the president shook hands with the dignitaries on the platform and walked between lines of policemen to his railroad car, which was waiting for him on a siding.  He stood on the rear platform as the train moved through Gettysburg and headed north toward a New Hampshire vacation.

Harlakenden House

The president's family had preceded him to Cornish, New Hampshire, where they are spending the summer at Harlakenden House, an estate owned by the popular novelist Winston Churchill (no relation to the British politician of the same name).  Francis B. Sayre, a young attorney whose engagement to the president's daughter Jessie was announced earlier this month, is staying with the Wilson family.  The president returned to Washington on July 13, and promptly became immersed in negotiations with representatives of railroad management and labor and members of Congress.  The negotiations resulted in an agreement on amendments to the federal statute governing arbitration of railroad labor disputes.  It has averted, at least for the time being, a strike that would have brought eastern railroads to a standstill.

Colonel Roosevelt at Newport on Navy Day

Recently returned from his libel trial on Michigan's upper peninsula, former President Roosevelt left this month for an extended trip to the Far West with his sons Archie and Quentin.  Before leaving, he took advantage of his temporary presence on the east coast to visit the naval base at Newport, Rhode Island, where he joined in the observance of Navy Day on July 2.  In his speech, he argued that the United States should "combine absolute courtesy and justice toward other nations with that preparedness for war which is the only means of averting war."  Roosevelt is planning a journey in the fall to South America, where another son, Kermit, is employed by an engineering firm.

Bryan Resting Between Lectures at a Chautauqua Gathering

Before he was Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan made his living as a writer and public speaker.  Between runs for president, he performed frequently on the Chautauqua circuit, usually giving his most popular talk, "The Prince of Peace."  When offered the post of Secretary of State, he secured Wilson's agreement that he could continue accepting speaking engagements.  On July 13, in his first Chautauqua lecture since assuming office, Bryan told a crowd of thousands in Asheville, North Carolina that he is continuing his writing and speaking career because his salary as Secretary of State ($12,000 a year) is insufficient to meet his expenses.  This led on July 18 to a lively debate in the Senate on a resolution offered by Senator Joseph L. Bristow (Rep., Kan.) asking the president to advise the Congress of the value of Mr. Bryan's services and the amount that would be required for the administration to retain his services full-time while allowing him to live in comfort.

Secretary Daniels

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels is a former North Carolina newspaper editor and an outspoken progressive.  His is an influential voice in the Democratic Party, and he was a strong supporter of President Wilson's bid for the Democratic nomination last year.  Proud to be a man of simple tastes (he has refused to spend appropriated funds to buy a new rug for his office), he let it be known shortly after assuming his new office that he intended to undertake a fundamental reform of the Navy's class system, starting with an order abolishing the separate meal service for officers and enlisted men on Navy ships.  He resisted all appeals to nautical tradition and naval discipline until this month when, just as he was about to issue the order, he learned that the Navy's enlisted ranks include some Negro sailors, and that his proposed reform would necessarily require white officers as well as enlisted men to take their meals at tables shared with Negroes.  Mr. Daniels' progressive views do not include a tolerance for anything suggesting racial equality: he is best known in North Carolina as the leader of a successful campaign several years ago to preserve Democratic Party dominance in the state by enacting legislation excluding Negroes from the ballot.  His order has now been shelved, and is not expected to see the light of day as long as he is Secretary of the Navy.

The Tammany Tiger and Governor Sulzer

Governor Sulzer of New York may regret calling the legislature into special session.  He did so to force it to consider legislation, which it had previously rejected, establishing a direct primary system for choosing candidates, a move that would threaten Tammany Hall's control of the state's Democratic Party.  In the regular session the Tammany-controlled legislature rejected his proposal and instead sent him a bill, which he vetoed, providing for primaries but leaving the final decision in the hands of party conventions.  In the special session the same script played out, with the legislature again defeating the governor's proposed reform, the legislature again adopting its own bill, and the governor vetoing it again.  The legislature then established a joint committee, chaired by Tammany stalwart Senator James J. Frawley, to investigate the governor's conduct in office with a view to determining whether grounds exist for his impeachment.  It is widely recognized that the governor's sins, apart from his advocacy of the direct primary, consist largely of failing to follow Tammany's lead in staffing his administration.  Most lines of inquiry by the Frawley Committee have turned up nothing, but at the end of July it was revealed that the governor had received campaign contributions that were not disclosed in the post-election report required by state law.  Those seeking the governor's ouster now see signs of hope.

The Gatun Locks; Gatun Lake in the Background

Colonel George W. Goethals, the chief engineer in charge of the construction of the Panama Canal, has set October 10 as the date for completion of the steam-shovel work in the Culebra Cut and the dynamiting of the Gamboa Dike.  The dike is holding back the water in Gatun Lake, the largest artificial lake in the world, which was formed by the damming of the Chagres and Trinidad Rivers.  Locks on the Caribbean side will connect the lake to the Caribbean; the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks downstream from the Culebra Cut will connect the lake and the Culebra Cut to the Pacific Ocean.  Removal of a temporary dike at the Bay of Panama in May allowed the Pacific Ocean to flow into the canal for the first time, and additional excavation will connect it to the Miraflores locks.  Upstream from the locks, removal of the Gamboa Dike will allow Gatun Lake to flood the Culebra Cut, completing the joinder of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Not long after that, navigation through the canal will begin.

On July 19, Secretary of State Bryan outlined for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee his plan to amend the existing treaty between the United States and Nicaragua to establish, in effect, a protectorate over that nation similar to the one that now exists in Cuba under the terms of the 1901 Platt Amendment.  The administration views this as a desirable first step toward enlarging American influence over all the nations of Central America to ensure their stability and control their relations with other nations as the opening of the Panama Canal draws near.  Honduras and El Salvador promptly made it known, however, that they would not entertain any such suggestion.

One of the Buildings Planned for the Panama Canal Exposition in San Francisco

The diplomatic impasse with Great Britain continues over the question of tolls for ships transiting the Panama Canal.  Great Britain objects to the proposed free passage for American ships traveling between American ports as a violation of the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, which provides for equal access to ships of all nations.  Now it appears that the dispute may affect attendance at a major celebration.  Last year the United States invited foreign nations to a Panama Canal Exposition to be held in San Francisco in 1915.  Twenty-two nations have agreed to participate, including France, China, Canada, Japan, Spain, Portugal and several South and Central American countries.  California's recent enactment of the Alien Land Law, which has strained relations between the United States and Japan, caused some concern that Japan would withdraw its acceptance, but it now appears that that will not happen.  On July 30, however, the British government notified Ambassador Page that Great Britain will not participate.  Germany followed suit the next day.  Both governments have denied that their decision is related to the tolls controversy.

Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson

Strained relations between the United States and its neighbor to the south show no signs of improvement in the near future.  President Wilson has refused to recognize the regime of General Victoriano Huerta, who seized power in February in a coup d'etat that overthrew and killed Mexican President Francisco Madero.  Huerta has refused to recognize the American ambassador as the representative of the United States as long as the United States does not extend recognition to his regime.  Emetorio de la Garza, the emissary Huerta sent to the United States to present his credentials and seek recognition, returned empty-handed to Mexico this month.  On July 16, prior to his departure from New York on the steamship Morro Castle, he issued a statement bitterly denouncing President Wilson.  On the same day, President Wilson recalled his ambassador to Mexico, Henry Lane Wilson.  Ambassador Wilson advocates recognition of the Huerta regime, a position at odds with the administration's policy.

 After the Storm: The Roof of Washington's Masonic Temple in the Street

Weather made the news this month in the United States.  Record heat killed dozens of people in Chicago and New York City, some of whom, crazed by the heat, apparently took their own lives.  On July 30, violent thunderstorms hit Washington, D.C., damaging buildings, killing and injuring people and horses in the street, and forcing government operations to be suspended.  When hail on the roof of the Senate chamber made it impossible to be heard, the Senate recessed on the motion of Senator Kern, who had to go to the rostrum, cup his hands to his mouth, and shout to be heard by Vice President Marshall.  Trees on the avenues and on the White House lawn, some dating back to the Lincoln and Jackson administrations, were destroyed by the high winds.


Charles W. Harrison

A recent addition to this year’s Ziegfeld Follies is the sentimental ballad “Peg o’ My Heart," written by Alfred Bryan and Fred Fisher.  It was recorded on July 24 by the popular tenor Charles W. Harrison (click to play):


John Redmond, Leader of the Irish Party, Speaking in Support of Home Rule

In Great Britain on July 7, the Irish Home Rule Bill was approved for a second time by the House of Commons.  On July 15, as expected, it was once again defeated overwhelmingly in the House of Lords.  Under the terms of the 1911 Parliament Act, the bill may be introduced again in nine months.  If it passes the Commons a third time, it will receive royal assent and become law without the Lords' approval.

Sylvia Pankhurst in Trafalgar Square

On July 27, after delivering a defiant speech in Trafalgar Square, Sylvia Pankhurst led an enormous crowd of woman suffragists to Whitehall, where they were intercepted by mounted and foot police before they could reach their destination, Prime Minister Asquith's residence in Downing Street.  Miss Pankhurst had previously been convicted and imprisoned for incitement to riot and released after a hunger strike pursuant to Great Britain's "Cat and Mouse" act.  That recently enacted statute provides for the release of hunger strikers until their health recovers, when they are rearrested and returned to jail, the process to be repeated as many times as necessary until they have completed their sentences.  Because Miss Pankhurst's release time had expired (and her health presumably restored), she was rearrested and imprisoned on the original charge.  The "Cat and Mouse" act appears to have had some success in reducing the effectiveness of hunger strikes by militant suffragists, but as Miss Pankhurst's arrest demonstrates it has not removed the issue from the public eye.  Suffragists are hoping that if the Liberal Party returns to power in the next elections it will do so with a plurality small enough that it will need the support of Keir Hardie's Labor Party, which unlike the present government supports woman suffrage.

Churchill and Fisher Leaving a Meeting of the Committee of Imperial Defence

On July 17, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill laid out the naval programs for 1914 and 1915 in the House of Commons.  He told the House that, because of uncertainty as to the availability of three battleships promised by Canada, the Admiralty had decided to accelerate the production of three ships in the British program.  Churchill is known to be interested in the transition of the fleet from coal to oil propulsion, and has been working with Admiral John Fisher, the former First Sea Lord, to study the issue.  Churchill told the House of Commons that, while coal will probably remain the navy's principal fuel for many years, oil has so many advantages that most new warships will be constructed with oil-burning boilers.  Furthermore, to ensure an adequate supply, the Admiralty will consider setting up "an oil business of its own."

Enver Bey After the Young Turks Took Power in January

The month of July has been a disastrous one for Bulgaria, which began a second Balkan war at the end of June by attacking Greek and Serbian forces in Macedonia.  The attack was halted by the Serbs at the Bregalnica River in early July.  As Bulgarian troops were occupied defending Greek and Serbian counterattacks in the south and west, Romania, its neighbor to the north with which it has long-standing territorial disputes, invaded and advanced toward Sofia.  Confronting enemies on two fronts, Bulgaria sought arbitration by Russia, but then found itself attacked by the Ottoman Empire, its recently defeated enemy.  A swift advance by Turkish forces under the command of Enver Bey resulted in the recapture of Adrianople.  Bulgaria sued for peace, and July ended with an armistice agreed to in meetings at Bucharest.  The parties are still negotiating the terms of a treaty, but there is no doubt that Bulgaria finds itself far worse off at the end of this month than it was at the beginning.

 Paul Reinsch

A "Second Revolution" broke out in China this month, led by Sun Yat-Sen, the leader of the Kuomintang, who became the first president of the Republic of China after leading the first revolution two years ago.  Shortly thereafter, he yielded power to Yuan Shih Kai, the current president, whose dictatorial ambitions are viewed by many Chinese and foreigners as a betrayal of the ideals of the revolution that ended the reign of the Manchu dynasty.  Three southern provinces have seceded, and on July 30 a bombardment set Shanghai on fire.  The United States government has announced the appointment of Dr. Paul Reinsch, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, to be the new American envoy to China.

The Latest Fashion

On July 13 a court in Paris ruled in favor of the Count de Kergorlay in a lawsuit by the count against the maker of an automobile he had purchased for his wife.  Because the roof of the car was not high enough to accommodate the countess's chapeau, he asked the court either to rescind the sale or to require the builder of the car to supply a new body.  The French court awarded a $200 rebate on the price of the car, agreeing with the count that it was the duty of the builder to take into account the fact that modern fashion includes the wearing of long vertical plumes on ladies' hats.

In more consequential news from France, the Chamber of Deputies passed legislation this month extending the period of required military service from two years to three, a measure that if it becomes law will increase the size of the standing army to approximately 700,000 men.  The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

July 1913 – Selected Sources and Recommended Reading

Contemporary Periodicals:
American Review of Reviews, August and September 1913
New York Times, July 1913

Books and Articles:
Miranda Carter, George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
Bruce Catton, The Day the Civil War Ended, American Heritage, Vol. 29, No. 4 (June/July 1978)
Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
John Milton Cooper, Jr., Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt
Patrick Devlin, Too Proud to Fight: Woodrow Wilson's Neutrality
Charles Emmerson, 1913: The World Before the Great War
Martin Gilbert, A History of the Twentieth Century, Volume One: 1900-1933
Richard C. Hall, Balkan Wars 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War
August Heckscher, Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
Louis W. Koenig, Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan
Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917
David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt
Patricia O'Toole, When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House
Michael Perman, Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South 1888-1908