- To the Editor of The Daily Mail
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
- View Citation
- Additional Information
430 ] To the Editor of The Daily Mail 1 The Daily Mail (8 Jan 1923) 8 Sir – It is so remarkable to find oneself in agreement with the policy of any newspaper on more than one point that I am writing to express my cordial approval of your attitude on nearly every public question of present importance. Nothing could be more salutary at the present time than the remarkable series of articles which you have been publishing on Fascismo; these alone constitute a public service of the greatest value and would by themselves have impelled me to write to thank you.2 On the Ilford murder your attitude has been in striking contrast with the flaccid sentimentality of other papers I have seen, which have been so impudent as to affirm that they represented the great majority of the English people.3 On the Turkish question, and on other matters of foreign policy, you have manifested a temperance, sanity, and consistency which can but rarely be attributed to the Press – virtues, however, in which the Press ought to lead the public.4 In an age in which the intellect is eclipsed alternately by passion and apathy, such virtues can hardly be over-estimated. 9 Clarence Gate Gardens, N.W. 1 T. S. Eliot Notes 1. The letter, sent from TSE’s residence at 9 Clarence Gate Gardens, N.W. 1, was published without its original date under the Daily Mail’s title, “Right On All Points”; it is also reprinted in L2 (7-8). 2. Founded by Benito Mussolini on 25 Mar 1919 as a revolutionary movement against Bolshevik and Communist control of Italy, the Fascisti came to military strength in 1921 and achieved an overthrow in late Oct 1922, when Mussolini was made prime minister by King Victor Emmanuel III. From 19 Dec 1922 to 5 Jan, American-born war correspondent Sir Percival Phillips sent from Rome a series of fourteen articles on the Fascisti’s success printed under the title “The ‘Red’ Dragon and the Blackshirts,” which the Mail commissioned and praised for its account of “a passage in contemporary history as great and inspiring as the resurrection of Italy under Garibaldi.” Subtitled “How Italy Found her Soul” and issued as a pamphlet at the end of 1922, Sir Percival’s early chronicle was presented as “the first complete and authentic English account of the famous Fascistic movement,” a romanticized account later altered by Mussolini’s [ 431 To the Editor of The Daily Mail dictatorship and radical transformation of Fascism from 1925 until Italy joined the Axis powers and declared war on Britain and France in June 1940. 3. On 11 Dec 1922, Mrs. Edith Thompson and her much younger paramour Freddy Bywaters of Ilford, Essex, were found guilty of murdering her husband and sentenced to death, a sentence supported by the Mail, which held that public sympathy should be with the victim, not the murderers. Between then and their execution by hanging on 9 Jan, the growing national sentiment for their reprieve prompted the Daily Sketch to organize a campaign in England’s largest cities for a million-signature petition against their death sentence. On the same page as TSE’sletter,theMailreiterateditsposition:“Andlookingbackonthecrusadeofsentimentalism which succeeded the jury’s verdict, the country may congratulate itself on having a Home Secretary capable of carrying out a very painful duty with due firmness.” 4. The Lausanne Peace Conference, convened to establish a treaty between the Allies and Turkey in the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-22, had opened on 21 Nov 1922 and was presently deadlocked over numerous issues, including Turkey’s resistance to supervision of a demilitarized zone in the Straits; its demand for the return of Mosul, the Turkish oil center occupied by the British in Nov 1918 and incorporated into the new Arab state of Iraq; its determination to expel Greek subjects from Constantinople; and its refusal to agree to the Allied demand for judicial safeguards for minorities. The Mail supported the tough positions of the British Foreign Secretary throughout negotiations until a treaty was signed on 24 July, preparing the way for the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on 29 Oct. ...