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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 6, 1910, Lethbridge, Alberta The Lethbridge Dally Herald, Saturday, August omas Shaughnessy Empire Builder and Statesman By J. MILLER McCONNELL. Copyrighted 1910 by Press -Jl Sir Thomas Shaugnessy, or as he was then, to give him his full baptis- mal name, Thomas George, but better known 'to his associates by the brief designation of "T. came -to Can- ada twenty-sight years ago to enter the sphere of railroading. He had chosen that career in .the neighboring republic and was then getting a strong grip on the rungs of the ladder of in- dustrial fame. 'Sir "William Van Home had but shortly before come over to Canada give the benefit of tis railroad skill to the corporation, then in its infancy, but destined ito future great- ness, and naturally found that there were weak spots in the organization which required the introduction of men of experience and skill to aid and second him in carrying the policy to which he had set his hand. That was in 1882 and Mr. Shaugn- essy was then in the full flush of youthful vigor, keen and alert, and anxious to make a reputation for him- self in the new country then com- mencing to attract considerable atten- tion through the boldness of the rail- way policy which had been determin- ed upon by the men at -the head of affairs. How well the intuitiveness of the choice of Sir William Van Home was justified, how "T. O-." lived up to the trust reposed in him, and how fortunate Canada was in securing the services of a man -who has contri- buted so materially to the up-building of the Dominion, constitute a biogra- phical narrative which has 'few if any parallels in the history of -this young nation. An American Product There were not in Canada at that time a great number of men skilled in. the art of railway organization and management. Those who were then connected in any prominent capacity with the railway interests of the country' were largely of the English .school and Sir "William Van Home, having been brought up in the Am- erican school, and intending to intro- duce 'What appealed- to hiin ss the bet- ter, features of that naturally turned his attention -to m-en whom he knew would be best equipped to cany out his ideas in that respect. Sir Thomas was not here long before he was made fully aware of the feel- ing -which had been created by his ar- rival but he was undismayed by the sneers and jeers which were directed at him by a section of the press and had the satisfaction of knowing in later years .that all such feelings had been obliterated. That- he fully and freely forgave the spirit of that period indicated a of years ago when he was the guest of honor at a banquet in Toronto to celebrate the completion of the Sudbury branch. In the course of a statesmanlike address he made reference to the reception he received when he came over to Cana- da. He instanced some Ontario news- papers which were not in accord with the policy or methods of the company and found fault "with the' importation of men trained in the feat- ares of railway work, and published articles to the effect 'that "another Yankee, had been brought in by the Corporation. "But." he added, "-the people of Canada re- fused to believe that an O'Shaughn- esay could be a Yankee." He added: "Now I have the temerity to join you in celebrating the completion of a new link wihch practically places Toronto en our main line." A Remarkable Career The career which was entered upon under such uninviting circumstances brought results far exceeding the ex- pectations either of his spongers or himself. Coming to take a hand in the organizing and managing of a new railway, he has not only proved him- self true TO the task but has developed Qualities which have raised him to an elevated plane fit to rank with the di- plomats, the statesmen and the Em- pire b.uilders of the day. Many men have made great records as railway but their energies have been consumed and exhausted in that effort. For many years the routine of his various railway offices called for all his energies of mind and body and of Ihose he gave freely and abundantly to the company. He was noted for the prodigious amount of the work he was able to overtake. As he rose to posi- tions of higher trust which called for a broader outlook in the world of af- fairs he commenced to develop those Dualities which marked him out as the logical head of the corporation which he helped very materially to bring to its high state of efficiency and suc- cess. Opportunity made the man in his case and -when opportunity was at hand he grasped it with a firm hand. With men under him well fitted and well trained to keep the crear -ma- chinery of the organization running smoothly he was eventually called up- on to appear in a more public manner, to come out from the privacy of his office and appear on the stage of pub- lic affairs and take his share, with other leading citizens, in the leader- ship whioh :the weal and -woe of the community and country require shall be assumed by those who walk in high places. In this capacity Sir Thomas has achieved .such a measure of- suc- cess that he has acquired the status of a statesman. otatus of a Statesman That this is eo was demonstrated not long since by the fact that his name was so persistently connected with the Jeadersnip of the Conserva- tive party that it was necessary for him to deny in the most explicit terms lihat he had any intention of accept-' 1ug such a position but would remain at his post to carry put the railway work which he undertaken to per- form. It be difficult to aay J. MILLER McCONNELL where the proposal originated but -the position calls for statesmanship and diplomacy of the highest order and if Sir Thomas iiad not combined -those qualities it is hardly probable that his name 'wpuld have been so seriously as- sociated with the position. That Sir Thomas is a diplomat as well as a statesman has been demon- strated time and time again in the ad- ministration of his high office. It is a matter of history that the railway system which he directs was not al- ways so popular ihe public as It te today. "At the inception of the enterprise terms were made which eventually bore .heavily on the people of the Prairie provinces and as the railway had practically a monopoly in that territory there was a disposition on the part of the management to ex- act its pound of flesh in -the matter of rates. This naturally led to a great deal of hard feeling and bitterness and the road was for a long time dig-: rinetly unpopular. Complaints were made to parliament from .time to time but a. bargain was a. bargain and that body, much as it might have been in- clined to was unsble. to interfere. Since Sir Thomas has been at the head of affairs he has taken a large forward step in the direction of the amelioration of those conditions and the railway as in much better odor with the people than it was a few years ago. A Factor in Politics There was also a period in the his- tory of the road when it was regarded as being an important factor in poli- tics sad it was often a question around election times of how the weight of the influence of the road would be thrown in -the struggle. It -was gener- ally regarded as a foregone conclu- sion that it would go to the Conserva- tive party. Rightly or wrongly the management was suspected of being practically hand and glove with the aims and ambitions of the Conserva- tives. This feature constitutes in it- self an interesting chapter in Cana- dian politics which would require con- siderable space -to explain but in a broad general sense the success of the enterprise was considered to be wrap- ped up in the maintenance of the na- tional (Protectionist) policy which Sir John A. Macdonald inaugurated and which Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, Hon Edward Blake, and, in the early days, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and others of the Liberal' party combatted with all the vigor in their power. It is now no longer a question of bow the influence of the railway will go. Sir Thomas has practically taken the road out of politics and -while the chief officials may continue. to have pronounced political leanings the road is no longer considered a factor to be sought or feared. Sir Thomas, al- though taMng no active part in poli- tics is accepted as being intuitively a Conservative but .the great political issue which drove tihe corporation into the Conservative caiap no longer an issue between the two great parties and the railways interests are doubt- less as safe with one as the other po- litical organization. It was, however, an accomplishment of no mean order to remove the -taint o! partyism -which clung to it. An lEmpire Builder When it comes to the role of Em- pire builder, large as though that phrase may sound, Sir Thomas is en- titled to his mead of praise. It is doubtless difficult to trace In the ef- forts of any one man, distinctive con- tributions to the upbuilding and extension of that great Empire of which Canadians are so proud to be a.part. It must be re- membered, however, that every well directed effort, no matter how insig- nificant, contributes to any great cause and the opportunities which fell to the lot of Sir Thomas and his as- sociates were not wasted. The statesmen, now most of them a memory in -the annals of Canada's development, builded better than they tnew when they launched the great proposition for an ocean-to-ocean high- way to cement the scattered fra- ;ments of the Canadian confederation and it remained for the men who er- ected the noble structure on that foun- dation to develop to the highest pitch of perfection the-task imposed upon them. Sir William Van Home, 'with the men whn supported mm as direc- tors, in those days, made the railway a factor of no mean order in promot- ing the welfare of the Empire by per- fecting a new and important highway between Great Britain and her exten- sive political trade interests in the far East. The day that the railway established a new mail route com- pletely British in its aspect, to the Orient, was a contribution to Empire building which cannot be' overestima- ted. Sir Thomas took up this work where others left it and has still fur- ther developed it. To make possible travel from Liverpool to China and Japan over land and sea by means of one corporation was an accomplish- ment which challenged .the attention of the civilized world. In all this hand of Sir Thomas is a guiding influence and that, apart from purely commercial considera- tions, he is keenly interested 5n -his work goes without saying. A story is told of a member of par- liament who dreamed a disagreeable dream, verging on nightmare, to the effect that he had gone to Ottawa to attend a session of the House of Com- mons and that it only lasted an hour. the whole business of the country be- ing disposed of in that remarkably short time. There was no argument, the business affairs of 'the country having been .reduced to such fine state of perfection that it was possible, merely by -the adoption of a few simple resolutions, to dispose of all the nec- essary transactions in that record per- iod. A railroad man who heard the story ventured the opinion that the member who had had such a preposterous and unwarranted dream must have been attending an annual meeting of the company's shareholders 'to have con- tracted a vicious line of dream thought. But there is no joke and no dreata about meetings over which Sin Thomas Shaughuessy, the president, and chairman of the board of direc- tors, presides, being accomplished in such a short 'time. As a matter of fact the meetings do not last an hour and yet that is all the time required to secure the sanction of the sharehold- ers to the expenditure of many mil- lions or the floating of fresh millions of capital. Confidence of Shareholders It is a striking evidence of the com- plete confidence of the shareholders of that corporation in Sir Thomas, that such vast income and the expenditure of such enormous sums of money should be left without question in his hands. If one was to drop into the com- pany's annual meetings of sharehold- ers, the only glimpse -which 'the public is permitted to have of the operation of the executive machinery, when Sir to meet the demands of 'those who do not care for the pioueer work of carv- ing farms from the virgin prairie .a scheme of "readymade" taruis is work- ed out to suit the better off class of old country farmers. All such plans require forethought and the president must give them his most careful con- sideration. But- when it comes to diplomatical- ly (influencing the trade policy of the country it requires skill to take a hand without offending one or the other of the political parties which may not see eye to eye with the desires of the president and the fortunes of the rail- way. The best paying traffic for the company is obviously from east to west, the railways longest haul. Any policy which would throw .the prepon- erauce of business north and south would be to the grea-t disadvantage of the road. It is clearly one of the functions of the president to maintain those conditions which best suit his corporation and how diplomatically Sin Thomas has gone about the task has been attested by his various public references to that subject. A Hard Worker Like most of the men who have carv- ed out a career for themselves and be- come famous at it Sir Thomas is a hard worker. He likes workers about ham and has no use for the idler. His salary as head of a wealthy and ap- preciative corporation combined with successful investments from his sav- ings, have made his future -comforts assured in this world but he does not work for the mere sake of earning money or piling it up. He works with a purpose in view and that purpose tis the carrying out of the great plans of the road. He does not believe in rich- es. "I believe the day is he is -credited with saying, "when it Thomas is at the bead of the -table., j will be considered vulgar for a man to the impression most likely to strike the observer would be the calm digni- ty and confident air of the chairman. When he starts to speak the tone of the voice commands respect and in- spires confidence. If a shareholder wear to the meeting with the intention of critising 'the management the chan- ces are that he would be so overpow- ered by the impress of his surround- ings that his resolution fade in- to the air. In -the operation of a transcontinen- tal and international system of rail- ways and steamships, admitted to be unique in the commercial and indus- trial history of the world, the duties of a president might be arbitrarily divided into two great sections; the 'first to see that the system's earning capacity is maintained at the highest standard of efficiency and the second to see that as little as possible of -the have more than a million dollars. J do not believe in the aristocracy of the dollars. If there must be an aris- tocracy, let it be of brain, refinement and work. Let it be above all else, an aristocracy of well directed useful conscientious work." Native of Milwaukee He was born in Milwaukee in 1853 as his name implies, of Irish ancestry. At the age of 16, on graduating from a business college he joined the staff ot the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway and got along so well in his work that in 1879 he was appointed general store-keeper. Sir William Van Home wanted a good man in tha'D de- partment and in' 1882 asked Mr. Shaughnessy to take the job which he did. His work-was not a bed of roses but he did what which the company's lines run add to the rev- enue of the road. Ii. this work the management lends a hand In every way in its power. If the productive- ness of its land holdings, and in con- sequence their market value in some sections are not what they should be, the company, in order to rectify this, inaugurates costly irrigation plans and NOTICE Application for policeman at Star- fordviile, will bs received by the under- signed up to Monday, August 15th, 1910. CHAS. PEACOCK, bachelor, an honor which is regarded as deserving by one who has reached, such an important position and one of such usefulness to the country. On that occasion a sidelight on his charac- ter is .shown by the telegram which he is stated to have sent to his aged parents in Milwaukee as follows: "You may be gratified to know that His Majesty has conferred on me 'the honor of knighthood. One owes a great deal to a good father And moth- r." Honored by King .But a greater honor was in store for him at the hands of the late King, who in 1907 created him a Knight Com- mander of the Victorian Order. Not even that could exceed the honor which- he possesses in the entire con- fidence in his honesty and integrity by not only bis fellow directors and the shareholders of the company over which he presides, but that of the com- munity an which he resides and the Dominion at large. Lady Shaughnessy, who has been a worthy helpmeet to hrr distinguished h.isbnnd during the :-eais of his phe- nonvijul uplift iron' a. clerk ship to th.a presidency of a great cor- poration and from a position of com- parative obscurity to one of great com- mercial and social prominence, came to Montreal with her husband from Milwaukee where they were married a couple of years prior to his appoint- ment to his first position on the rail- way in the history of which he has played such a prominent part. She has taken a prominent part in the pro- motion of all good works which she assists freely with her time and mon- ey. Lady Shaughnessy before her marriage was Miss Elizabeth Nagle. the Hudson's Bay Stores and the Belly River traffic bridge, a lady's light coat. Finder etiirn to W. Scott, c-o Bentley 200-8 Sec.-Treas., Staffordville. general servant for work at Frank. Wages month. Apply 537 Ernest St. Co., St 200- In buying a cough medicine, float be afraid .to get Chamberlain's Cough Remedy. There Is no dinger from and relief Is t'o follow. Especial- ly recommended for coughs, colds per 200-Qwhooping cough. Sold by all SOCIAL AND PERSONAL Mr. and Mrs. A. Southard returned from the east this morning. Miss M. Xiuunons, of Winnipeg, is visiting with her sister, Mrs. Adam Link, Bompag street. Miss Link and her sister, of Leth- bridge, left for Spokane this morning to visit their sister there. Mrs. McKillop and Mrs. Jas. Mc- Caig returned yesterday from where they have been staying for some time. Miss Grace Matson, of Westminster Road, entertained a number of her young friends to a pleasant tea' party on Friday afternoon last. Mrs. D. Andrews and little son arrived in the city this morning from Ontario referring to the infantile death rate from intestinal diseases and diarrhoea spread by the house fly, he believes that the so-called harmless fly is yearly caus- ing the death of thousands of infants, as well as spreading the germs of typhoid fever. WILSON'S FIT PADS are the only thing that will rid your house of these dangerous pests. ;