• U.S.

Letters, Nov. 28, 1938

7 minute read

South’s Semmes


Your magazine’s comments on Semmes of the Alabama [biography of the Confederacy’s greatest privateer, reviewed in TIME, Oct. 31] seemed to follow your usual policy of throwing off on the South. However, you threw off your cloak of subtlety this time and became openly silly. . . .

N. J. HEYWARD Asheboro, N. C.


May I suggest that the surly manner in which you review Semmes of the Alabama, by W. Adolphe Roberts, is in itself no mean tribute to the subject of the book, and one which gains weight by its very belatedness? . . . The fact that his name rankles in Northern minds 75 years after the event, is sufficient evidence of his efficiency in carrying out his duty. . . .

JNO. C. EMMERSON JR. Elizabeth City, N. C.


. . . Instead of reviewing the book, your author has attacked Southern Naval Policy. . . . How about Lincoln’s naval policy? If his navy hadn’t been so busy blockading every Confederate port and starving Southern women and children to death while his armies were marching around pillaging and burning everything in sight, he might have saved his merchant marine. . . .

HAROLD B. SINGLETON Attorney-at-Law Lynchburg, Va.


. . . TIME speaks with the venomous tongue of the Yankee Press of Civil War Days. This bitterness has at last died in Georgia. . . . It should certainly not persist in the uninvaded North. . . . The U. S. Navy has a destroyer by the name of Semmes. . . . The service evidently takes a different view from your unenlightened critic.

O. J. SEMMES JR. City Engineer (Great Grandson Raphael Semmes) Pensacola, Fla.


. . . It is true that I may be prejudiced since I learned at a very tender age that damnyankee is only one word and besides that, I am a descendant of the old “pirate.” . . . In his behalf, please permit me to mention a few salient points:

1) His cruises were not, as you infer, of no military consequence. They were of sufficient importance to warrant commissioning all overseas naval vessels of the Washington Government to make special effort to find him and destroy him.

2) In the end, a ship, The U. S. S. Kearsarge, constructed for the express purpose of sinking the Alabama, was sent on a successful search.

3) If ruining an enemy’s merchant marine is considered by TIME as of no military importance, I merely refer you to the prosecution of any war. . . . Most thinking critics believe the Captain’s mistake was in fighting any men-of-war at all, since his value as a commerce destroyer was so great to his government.

4) . . . Foreign military and naval observers have long admired him for his ability to avoid capture for two years without entering a Confederate port. . . .

5) The U. S. Navy has subsequently found the exploits of the old boy far enough from “shabby” to name a destroyer in his honor. . . .

RAPHAEL SEMMES JR. Ensign, U. S. Navy U. S. S. Louisville San Francisco, Calif.

¶ Historians generally agree that both in its naval and its foreign policy the Confederacy did not measure up to the exploits of its army, that England was the chief beneficiary of Semmes’s exploits. For the assistance given the Confederacy by British shipping interests, as well as for a definitive criticism of Confederate and Northern policy, let Readers Semmes, Semmes, et al. consult King Cotton Diplomacy by Frank Lawrence Owsley, Southern-born Professor of history at Vanderbilt University.—ED.

Ashamed, Disgusted


Could you, when referring to California as the Screwy State, just add “Omitting San Francisco”? Really, all the nutty ideas and religions, etc. have all originated in Southern California and we in San Francisco are disgusted and ashamed ourselves. Possibly you are smart enough to know this and take it for granted others do too.


P.S. Aimee McPherson tried, years ago, to start a church here, but she was told to flit! The GREAT I AM did not originate here either, nor did the $30 every Thursday, etc. etc.



For shame! Was TIME or Mary Morris guilty of letting a dim-witted retoucher put a cigaret in Malraux’s left hand (TIME. Nov.

7, p. 59)? “. . . Smokes constantly” perhaps—but two at a time?

ROBERT C. YATES University of Maryland College Park, Md.’

¶ Malraux’s photograph was not retouched. As any constant smoker could tell, Constant Smoker Malraux was about to light one cigaret from the butt of another.—ED.

Man of the Year


As in 1937, I nominate Secretary of State Cordell Hull Man of the Year. Last year’s reason, namely, that he is America’s most substantial hope for peace, has been amply affirmed in the past twelve months. And in these months an equally cogent reason has become apparent. Mr. Hull, through his devotion to the President and to the nation, has proved himself the most heroically unselfish, able, and effectual diplomatist practicing in the world today.

THOMAS RANKIN ’41 Harvard Law School Cambridge, Mass.


May I nominate as the Man of the Year that superb actor, Orson Welles, who so vividly portrayed the War of the Worlds?

He has given us an idea of what those innocent people of China and Spain are experiencing every day at the hands of Dictators. This should be a warning to America of what can, and will, happen as soon as certain foreign powers have developed their aircraft to such extent that they will be able to enter the stratosphere, come to this country, drop their destructive bombs of shrapnel and gas on an unsuspecting people and return to their country without ever being seen May Orson Welles have taught us a lesson in his portrayal of a sudden attack on America.

W. C. ELDRIDGE Sumter, S. C.


There are only two possible candidates, 1) “Peacemaker” Chamberlain, and 2) that mad dog of Europe—that pathological sadist—Hitler. . . .

CLARKE PAINTER Los Angeles, Calif.


. . . Surely there can be only England’s Neville Chamberlain in the race for your 1938 Man of the Year



Why bother to nominate a Man of the Year this December? Any man who can throw the whole world into a state of nervous tension, change the map of the European Continent, persecute thousands of people, and still come through without actual declared war. should win this coveted title without benefit of competition.

Of course, I nominate, though the very thought hurts me, Adolf Hitler, The Man of Europe, and TIME’S Man of the Year for 1938.



. . . I nominate Hitler. . .

W. RAYMOND BROWN Philadelphia, Pa.


. . . Adolf Hitler. . .



. . . Adolf Hitler. . .

LANG L. CANTRELL Santa Monica, Calif.

Job Wanted


. . . I was born 1894 in Glasgow, Scotland.

When war was declared, I enlisted, served with the ist Battalion Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) till April 1919, [was] decorated with corporal’s stripes and three medals. . . . Of the two years and a half which intervened before I emigrated to America I spent two years working and the half-year seeking work.

I settled in Toledo in 1922, worked steadily, saved money, and was married here in March 1923. . .

We went along splendidly for several years.

I became a U. S. citizen in 1929. We weathered even the worst (sic) years of the Depression in good shape. I earned good wages as an inspector of automobile parts and materials. Towards the end of last year, however, the bludgeonings of circumstances bruised us badly. My present boss (I am still on a payless payroll), because of business conditions, has been able to provide me with only two weeks’ employment during the past twelvemonth. . . .

I was on the right side but in the wrong outfit. Are there any British-Americans who will give me a job?

JAMES BLAKE Toledo, Ohio

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