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The Spectator at war

The Spectator at war: An American joins the fight

13 August 2014

8:00 AM

13 August 2014

8:00 AM

A letter from the 15 August 1914 Spectator:

SIR,- As an American, I venture to point out that England’s decision to live up to her implied promises to France, as put forward for so many years, nearly concerns the self-respect of one hundred million Americans and British Colonials, as well as Englishmen. For no English-speaking person could any longer cite the quality of his race, or show his face in Europe, had England taken the course so vigorously urged by her puling intellectuals and certain of her newspapers. Like my brother, who fought for England in three campaigns, I too propose to do something more in keeping with Anglo-Saxon views of activity than the extension of an academic approval; and my plan, as suggesting an effective support to England by others placed like myself, may profitably interest some of your readers. As physical defects prevent my offering military services I propose to go to Morocco or Algeria to join the civilian defence now being arranged in the interior towns like Biskra to guard against an Arab uprising; the last being a probability well known to Germany, as I can vouch for, from conversation with a German officer in Algiers. And we may be sure that the futile shelling of a port like Bena by the German cruisers was done with a view to apprising the Arabs of their opportunity to rise. The addition of every good rifle shot to these little garrisoned Algerian towns means a soldier free to defend France and England – a fact likely to be overlooked at this juncture. As there are some thousand of Englishmen who like myself must winter in a warm climate, yet who like myself would serve England if possible, it occurs to me that my plan might interest them; hence I hope you will publish this letter.

[Alt-Text]


-I am, Sir&c.,

M. H. BURNHAM

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