The Hennessey Clipper (Hennessey, Okla.), Vol. 27, No. 14, Ed. 1 Thursday, September 7, 1916 Page: 3 of 12

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"for America?
Are the Danish
West Indies des-
tined to become a
great naval base for
the better protection of
the Panama Canal Zone?
j-vrr F DENMARK linnlly cedes tier
rwl 1 I West Indian possessions to
I * i the United Stales, as she lias
threatened to do on several oc-
casions, about 138 square
miles will be added to the territory
•over which the American flag tiles, and
our government will come into posses-
slot} of one of the finest harbors in
the West Indies—a valuable naval
base and coaling station long coveted
by political and military authorities in
Washington. This Is according to a
y writer In the New York Tlyaes Maga-
' elne.
St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and
the other tiny Islands and rocks which
compose the Danish West Indies are
not intrinsically valuable. Their land
Is poor, their crops are small, their
population Is becoming smaller year by
year; for several years their revenue
has been decreasing and they have
been a financial burden to Denmark,
but they lie in a strategic position with
regard to the Atlantic trade routes
leading to the Panama canal, and for
that reason they have a potential value
in the scheme of defense which must
be worked out to protect that great
waterway against an enemy.
The chief surprise in Washington's
announcement recently of the negotia-
tion of a treaty with Denmark for the
transfer of the Islands tQ the United
States was the price—$25,000,000—
which the convention fixed. In 1865
Secretary Seward offered $5,000,000
for the islands and Increased the sum
to $7,500,000 two years later. In 1902
(the Roosevelt administration agreed to
ipay $5,000,000, but the upper house of
the Danish rigsdag refused to ratify
the convention, which the United
States senate had ratified on February
17. Possibly Denmark will eventually
|be willing to accept less than $25,000,-
•000, for an Influential element in that
country Is anxious to sell the Islands.
Moreover, the Islanders themselves
apparently wish to improve their eco-
P inomlc condition, and it is highly prob-
able that they would vote Jo place
Ithelr future In the hands of the United
[States. They voted in favor of the j
transfer 50 years ago and they have
less to lose and more to gain at this j
The reasons that induced the
United States to try to purchase the
Danish West Indies toward the close
of the Civil war apparently hold good
today, with certain modifications. Dur-
ilng the Civil war the federal govern-
ment had no naval base in the West
Indies, and when It was necessary to
refit warships on duty in the Caribbean
' ]the vessels were compelled to take a
fiong voyage to find a shipyard. Now,
'however, the United States has naval
[bases in Cuba und Porto Rico, but
[these are not considered sufficient to
iguard the trade routes arid the Atlan-
tic entrance to the Panama canal. San
IJuan, the chief port of Porto Rico, has
ia spacious anchorage, but unfortunate-
ly the water is comparatively shallow
land the harbor Is suitable only for the
smaller class of war vessels.
On the other hand, the harbor of
[Charlotte Amalie, In St. Thomas, is
ideep enough to float the largest battie-
ishtps without danger, and there Is an-
lother good anchorage called Coral bay
iln St. John. With proper fortifications,
[naval men believe that St. Thomas
• would provide a serviceable and vir-
tually impregnable base—a sort of
[American Helgoland In the Caribbean.
IThe port of Charlotte Amalle has long
'been one of the great coaling stations
■of the world. It has shipyards, dry-
docks and repair shops, and besides
^ being a port of refuge It is the head-
quarters for several lines of passen-
iger and freight steamships. Undoubt-
edly the port's proximity to the Pana-
lina canal gives It an importance which
!may account for the high price the
United States is asked to pay for the
It has been said at various times
[that Germany,1s opposed to the sale of
[the islands, hoping that some day a
modification of the Monroe doctrine
Iwoukl enable her to acquire them for
naval purposes. Whatever truth there
miay be in this statement it is certain
(that the United States will allow no
[foreign power to take control of the
(Danish West Indies, even though they
iure not brought under the American
Electrical railways in the United
States represent a value of about $750,-
So thoroughly have the men been In-
structed to avoid it that trenchfoot is
jiow regarded as a crime among Cana-
dian troops in France.
Turkey's celebration of victories Is
enid to be done by order of the police,
D heavy fine being the penalty for not
putting up the flag when one Is told to
do so.
\ '
The ni«Mi si
first line trem
; :
K 4, • f • ,
a* ■
shown here are taking a (lay
ehes, but are still in range of bu
f from the fi^htitiK in the British advance. They are well behind the
rating shells.
flag. Thus the hopes of Germany or
any other power that covets the
islands are doomed to disappointment.
Last February a Copenhagen dis-
patch told about a pamphlet having
been published by M. Ilagemau. a
planter of the Islands, who advocated
their sale. He was pessimistic about
their future. Their sanitary condition
was bad, he said, Infant mortality had
reached a rate of 62% per cent, while
the population was decreasing at an
alarming rate.
The decrease of population—most of
the inhabitants are colored—Is per-
haps the best index of the gradual im-
poverishment of the Danish West In-
dies. In 1828 their population was
40,000; in 1841, 41.000; in 1890, 32.000,
while the census of 1911 fixed the num-
ber at 27.080.
Absentee landlordism, combined with
land monopoly, has induced poverty
and discontent in the islands, and the
people have cast envious eyes upon
Porto Rico, from which they are sep-
arated by only a few miles of witer.
They have seen Porto Rico and her
| people flourishing under American
rule, while the sugar plantations of
their own islands have steadily yield-
ed less, and individually the people
have become poorer. The result Is
that many negroes have emigrated
from the Danish West Indies to Porto
Rico and the United States, and, hav-
ing tasted the benefits of American
government, they are undoubtedly
willing that their brothers still under
Danish rule should change their alle-
It would hardly be fair to accuse the
Danes of misrule in the West Indies.
Their failure, which is acknowledged
by their willingness to sell their trop-
ical possessions, has been due to vari-
ous causes, economic and social. It
was not many years ago that the ISrit-
Ish government had to make grants to
several of its colonies in the West In-
dies in order to avert financial disas-
ter, and the Danish Islands have had
to contend with the same economic
conditions, while possessing fewer na-
tural resources than the British
If the United States takes control of
St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John It
Is probable that they will again be-
come prosperous. The black man will
take up the unused land he cannot get
now, new capital will go In, and the
sugar growers will have better facili-
ties for marketing their crop—the sta-
ple product of the Islands. And the
Islanders themselves will feel quite at
home with officials who speak English,
for they have always refused to use
Danish, the language of their rulers.
The Danish Islanders have a meas-
ure of self-government, and it Is rea-
sonable to assume that they would de-
mand similar rights from the United
Like all Islands of the West Indies
the Danish possessions have had a
checkered history. They changed
bands several times in the days when
the nations of Europe fought for sea
power and a share of the wealth of
this hemisphere. Columbus discovered
the Islands on his second voyage. They
were then Inhabited by Carlbs and
Arawaks. In 1657 St. Thomas was
Cost of government meat Inspection
is said to amount to four cents per
capitu annually.
The Victoria Falls and Transvaal
Power Company (Ltd.), of Johannes-
burg, Is by far the largest power and
lighting company in South Africa, and
It supplies from its four large stations
nearly all the gold mines and reef
towns with both power and light trans-
mission being by three-phase long-dis-
tance, 40,000 volts overhead. Distribu-
tion Is by 20,000 volts under ground
and 10,000 cverheud.
colonized by the Dutch, who were suc-
ceeded by the English. Then came the
Dunes, who have held the Island
since 1071. St. John was settled by
the Danes in 1084.
Both the Dutch and English settled
St. Croix in 1625, and In later years the
island was ruled by Spaniards ami the
French. In 1653 Louis XIV sbld St.
Croix to the Knights of Malta, and
they In turn gave way to the French
West India company in 1065.
The island proved to be a poor In-
vestment and was abandoned by the
French in 1695, the whole population
going to Santo Domingo. St. Croix
was virtually uninhabited until 1733,
when the French sold the islands to
the king of Denmark for $375,000.
The early prosperity of St. Thomas
was due to the fact that in 1764 the
Danes declared It a free port, to which
all vessels might come. St. Thomas at
once became a distributing point for J
much of the West India trade, and for j
many years an immense business was
carried on there. Now there is a pos-
sibility that a new rind perhaps bright-
er chapter will be added to the mari-
time history of the port.
From the deck of a vessel In the
harbor the town of Charlotte Amalle is
strikingly beautiful, covering three
spurs of a mountain clad in tropical
foliage. From the heights above the
town one may see on a clear day the
islands of Porto Rico, Bieques or the j
Cral), and St. Croix in the distance, and
there are many other extensive views.
Sir Frederick • Treves, the famous
British surgeon, in his book, "The
Cradle of the Deep," calls Charlotte
Amalie the most picturesque town In
the whole sweep of the Windward
"The walls of the houses," he says, 1
"are for the most part a dazzling
white. Some are yellow or gray or [
orange; certain of them are blue. The
roofs are always a generous bright
red. Between the houses and over-
shadowing the roofs are clumps of
green trees. Here and there can be
seen stone stairs climbing up through
the town, gardens with creeper-cov-
ered walls, a tufted palm, a many-
arched arcade, the balustrades of
shady terraces. Viewed from the sea
Charlotte Amalle would seem to be a
place for those who make holiday—all
gayly tinted villas and palaces, where
the factory chimney, the warehouse
and the woeful suburb are unknown."
St. Thomas was a famous retreat of
buccaneers, one of whom was Teach,
or Blackbeard. who had 14 wives.
Sir Frederick tells how Master
Teach was killed in a bloody duel on |
the deck of his ship, and how his con-
queror, Lieutenant Maynard of H. M. j
S. Pearl, cut off his head and hung It j
on the bowsprit of his sloo^ "With j
this strange ornament swinging from
the bows," he adds, "and with 13 pi-
rates safe in the hold, Maynard set sail
for Bath Town In North Carolina.
Here the 13 were promptly hanged."
All of the Danish islands are of vol-
canic origin and surrounded by coral
reefs. The surface of the land varies
from low coast plains to mountains,
but springs and streams are not plen-
tiful and at times the country has
suffered severely from drought.
The first sewing machine of which
there Is authentic record was patented
In England in 1755, 81 years before the
first American machine.
The net Investment of the United
States reclamation service ut the be-
ginning of the present fiscal year was
approximately $100,000,000.
W. C. Condlt has completed SO years
as pastor of Ashland (Ky.) Presbyter-
Ian church. He succeeded his tather
und never has held uuy other
British soldiers returning to their own trenches laden with rifles captured In "no man's land" between the
The rajah of Rutlum is one of tlie
East Indian potentates who are serv-
ing under the British flag In France.
Don't Hurry.
It Is quite possible to pick fruit be-
fore It is ripe. But It is not the wis-
est thing to do. Unripe fruit is 'gen-
erally poor stuff, and oftentimes dan-
gerous, too. Nature's way is after all
the best way. In the long run, It Is
found wisest to wait until she has fin-
ished her work.
There are not a few young people
who think they can pluck the fruit
from life's fair tree before it has had
time rightly to ripen. They see no use
in apprenticeships, or college courses,
or long periods of study for profession-
al careers. They mean to make a suc-
cess at once. The old ways are too
slow. But somehow they generally find
after a while tkat they have only a
lot of unripe fruit on their hands,
which brings a poor price In life's mar-
ket. Don't hurry, young people. "Learn
to labor and to wait."—Selected.
' Minerals Affect Wireless.
American army wireless men sent
into Mexico were surprised to dis-
cover that conditions In that country
were exactly the reverse of those In
the United States. In our own coun-
try the wireless operators find that
the night time Is much better for the
transmission of dispatches. South of
the border the day time Is best. There
is so much atmospheric disturbance
at night In Mexico that wireless men
prefer the day as a time for operat-
ing. This is not due to the altitude,
which is 7,000 feet, but to the minerals
in the mountains, especially iron ore.
An official photograph of Sir Ilenry Bawlinson, commander of one of that
British armies in the Somme sector.
The French soldiers are given opportunities to have a little pleasure. A
concert on the field Is not n rare happening. The photograph shows a con-
cert held for the French soldiers In the ruins of the abbey of Longponl (Alsne), /
France. — — —

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The Hennessey Clipper (Hennessey, Okla.), Vol. 27, No. 14, Ed. 1 Thursday, September 7, 1916, newspaper, September 7, 1916; ( accessed September 20, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History,; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

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