In this letter, Osler commented on the progress of the war, and the slowness of the Allies' build-up. He also mentioned
Revere's transfer to a field ambulance unit, and the fire that damaged the Osler home on November 11th.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (377,015 Bytes)
1915-12-10 (December 10, 1915)
[Jacobs, Henry Barton]
Original Repository: Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives. William Osler Collection
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War I
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
Dec. 10th, 1915
I hope all goes well with you & Mrs. Jacobs. 'Tis nice to hear that she is keeping well, & that you have on the
whole had a good year. I am glad you did not come to this cauldron. What a mess! and we are not half through. It is sure to
be a long war. Finance may stop it & leave the issue undecided, which would be unfortunate. Either we or the U.S. has
to smash Germany. If we go under she will be
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[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
at your throats within a year. Ships, ships, ships! Where would we be without the navy & it may be the navy that will
decide the war. The difficulty is to turn a democracy into a fighting people. It is very slow work. Lord Darby has apparently
done the job without conscription. The recruiting has been wonderful. There will be an army of 4 million within 6 mos. Lack
of proper organization is sadly felt. You cannot grow a big general staff in a few months, any more than you can build up
a Krupps in a year. On the whole the country has done wonderfully & if we could only shut up the politicians & editors
and put the war into the hands of a few good men she would do better still.
[END PAGE TWO]
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We were nearly burnt out the other night. 3:30 am smoke wakened Grace. The dining room was ablaze. Revere was at home &
he & I got out the mss & incunabula from the upstairs room, which was black with smoke. The only valuable thing that
was lost was the lovely Vernon plaque, which you & Mrs. Jacobs had done of me. "Twas melted to a ball. Revere is well,
but there is not enough to do at the McGill unit so he is going to join a field ambulance, and will be near Poperinge. Poor
laddie, he longs to be back at Ch. Ch. [Christ Church College at Oxford] with his books. Oxford is empty -- we have 20 men
at Ch. Ch. Instead of 280. The losses have been fearful and so many
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friends have lost boys, Rolleston, Garrod, Moore, Herrington, Schaefer among them. Extraordinary people -- such self-restraint
-- no murmur or discontent.
Grace is working at high pressure -- 120 women in a big laboratory. I am seeing all sorts & conditions of sick & wounded.
We had a bunch of Harvard men -- 30 here -- the other day. I enclose programme. Cheever, the chief, seems a jovial . . . [rest
of line blank]
I am picking up a few treasures -- nice xi cent. ms of Platearius -- one of the Practice of Bernard Gordinius. The catalogue
grows, but Secretary, William! and the chauffeur have gone. I have a man in the p.m. from Bodley.