LETTER FROM REV. BEATTIE (FROM FRANCE)
November 18, 1915.
Dear Mr. Horne:
I received your long newsy letter this week, the first in months. I fear that both your letters and mine have been finding a watery grave.
I feel that my first word in this letter should be 'Well Done Cobourg.' Your efforts on the Red Cross day were magnificent and quite worthy of you. I heard one officer telling another of how they collected $2,200 in his town (a place of 50,000) for this fund. I took great delight in making him and his town feel small by telling him how a little town of 5,000 had raised over $6,000. I am sure that the effort put forth by the men who collected will do them a lot of good, and the money given by so many and with so much sacrifice, will bless both those who gave and the wounded who may be unfortunate to require it. The good old town will have a proud record in its men and money contributed. I am quite sure you are prepared for any sacrifice the war may demand.
Well done too Ontario. Asked for $500,000. You gave, I hear, nearly $1,500,000. That is simply splendid. And now comes the press cable that Canada will raise an army of 250,000. This is your answer to the report that the German military authorities who reported before the war broke out, Canada may be left out of the count in estimating the strength of the forces Britain may put in the field against us.' Thank God Canadians are not of that breed that can sit idly by and watch the brutal ascendancy of the vicious principles that could stage the tragedies of Belgium, the Lusitania, the Cavell murder and the Serbian crushing.
I had a letter the other day from a boy of 16, wanted to know if I thought he would be justified in saying he was 18 in order to come. We must commend the fine spirit shown, but I cannot help but feel that their are plenty of men fully developed, who ought to, and who will come, without taking boy's who have not fully developed. This is no job for such. It is a man's job, a strong man's job, and the military authorities have an eye to the heavy packs to be carried, and long marches to be endured, the tedious nights on watch, and the continual strain of it all when they fixed the minimum age at eighteen. I question if many boys even that age would be other than care and a weakness to the army. Let such begin now to fit themselves for enlisting when they reach full maturity. They still may be in time for some of the fighting. The end is by no means in sight.
I learned to-day that I have been appointed to the position which I have been filling temporarily since coming back to France, viz., that of Senior Divisional Chaplain to the Second Division. I have not yet received the promotion in rank which the Sentinel-Star so kindly conferred upon me some time ago, but am assured that they have prophetic vision and that the promotion is coming.
I visited this week the Cobourg boys in the 21st, and was glad to see them all so well and happy. One could hardly credit what splendid soldiers have been made of the civilian stuff in so short a time. I purpose visiting the Cobourg and Northumberland boys of the 2nd Battalion shortly and taking them a little treat. Give my dear people my unbounded affection and tell them that Mrs. Beattie and I look forward with the utmost joy to the day when we will again be in the Cobourg Manse to bid them welcome.