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7 Zrjy Struggles of the New Secretary of Agriculture By CHESLA C. SHERLOCK TWENTY-FIVE years ago an eighteen-year-old Iowa farm boy came down to Des Moines to win an . lucation. He came with all the cheerless pros pet e him that could confront a poor boy. He had ii" ni neyj no prospect of a way to earn money in order ' mppOfl himself while he studied at his les ions, fact, rumor hath it that he had no money ulth to pay his first tuition, and that he had to perftU college authorities to admit him on "honor" t0 p n tor their instruction. h a slender chance, the sort of a chance that the average boy would pass by as being out of the question. But this hoy had learned to grasp every opportunity that way, however slim and battered and poor that opportunity looked. Five yean before, when he was thirteen years old, the first tiatice he had ever had came to him. It was the cha to earn some money, to have something he could ca I Ins own. His father had said to him: "Edwin, if you raise that runl pig, you can have it for your own." The boy did not frown and say: "Why can't I have a good pig, one that 1 will have a chance to raise? This 01 i 1 1 die as sure as sin." Instead, he jumped at the chance, and he worked it for all it was worth. He turned that runt pig into the best 01 on the place and he netted a nice sum on it, even though hogs hadn't aspired to the twenty dollars a hundred that they do nowadays. Tin boy'l name was Edwin Thomas Meredith, and today 1h is Secretary of Agriculture, and has the dis tinction of being the youngest man ever to have sat in any cabinet. He spent one year in college. He won his way by waiting tables, tending furnaces, shoveling snow in winter and mowing lawns in summer. It is said that young Meredith didn't let a single chance to earn a (time slip through his fingers that winter. He did his Studying at night, when people were asleep and there wasn't a single chance left of making more money that day. In tin summer, his grandfather, "Uncle Tommy" Meredith, who was publishing a thin little "Greenback" paper he called the Farmer's Tribune, offered the boy a chamv t learn the printing trade. As had been his custom, young Meredith grabbed it. The fa I that the pay was to he $S a week and that he would have to do all kinds of work from sweeping out to helping mail the papers, in addition to learning to tt type, didn't bother him in the least. He saw a chance to learn the publishing buiness, and that was sufficient for him. "I Tommy" Meredith was more interested in politic- an he was in the publishing business. And when tl c Greenback movement collapsed, he grew weary the Farmer's Tribune and longed to turn to less itn "in ns fields. Again tin- farm boy saw a chance. It was a chance to get the paper for his own and become publisher in hisow ight Finally, his grandfather offered to give hjrn tin aper, if he was willing to assume responsi bility a guarantee that everv subscriber would "get his mo s worth." Tin v wanted the paper, but he lacked capital. He had; : a cent in the world of his own. He looked around r someone who had a little money to help mm. His idea of how much capital would be required was rath modest, in fact too modest. Final . he discovered that one of the printers in the shop ha saved three or four hundred dollars. He periuai I this man to put up his savings for a half intert the Fanner's Tribune. The two were to then ta lt off "Uncle Tommy's" hands. So leteen years of age, Edwin Thomas Meredith becann publisher in his own right. This was in the Har 1 when the country was torn from the stern and r, i bound coast on the East to the calm Pacific 011 t'1' t iu one of the most memorable political mpaig in history. People were interested in poli Kainl nothing else. They forgot farming and the NWness tanning. 1 next four ptmrs one thing after another pjtated the fanning classes and diverted their atten l'on els v here. jt is dieaa to say that the two young publishers doomed to failure from the start. They lacked ., i('mi; capita and they could not get the atten- 101 thi people they were striving to serve. Mi ii recorda, however, that Edwin Thomas j.nith ituck to his guns until 1902, eight hard, gruel sicfe i breaking years. His partner had long since yuun'11 1,1(1 witnfrawn from the firm, leaving the g tarrn boy to tight it out alone taken 1 ,last(T overtook him. The paper was kindly city VCr l)v another publisher and moved to another ftsrSf?1 was sai(1 and done, young Meredith found olH ... K'. lla(I n the world was a few cases of ' l T It . It was a slender showing for those eight tiseoJ. 1ilr(1 ;uii unremitting toil. Hut he was not DM T '1. . He still had his ideas of what a farm best price. Then they would have hunted up a job that had real money attached to it. But not young Meredith. He saw that it was his only chance, and he took it ! For eight more years he went through the same old struggle again, only it was harder and tougher than the first one. He had started this time without a cent of capital. People in Des Moines who know Ed Meredith that is what everyone calls him in his home town will tell you how he carted his papers to the post office on publication day because he didn't have money to pay someone else to do it. They'll tell you of days when his papers were held in the post office because he didn't have money to pay the postage, and of his heart-breaking efforts to raise it among friends in order to release them so that the subscribers could have their papers on time. And many, main- more stones that read like the struggles of Franklin or of an Alger hero. He had called his new paper "Successful Farming." Once I heard a man ask him why he ever had the courage to give his paper such a name when he had the experience of one defeat behind him as his only asset. "The biggest thing I wanted to do in the world." Mr. Meredith replied, "was to succeed, to be successful. I put the vyord into the name of the paper because I felt that it would be a goal constantly to aspire to achieve. In fact, told myself that I simply could not (fail with a name, half at least of which was 'suc cessful' !" Today Successful Farming has a circulation of more than 800.000 copies. In February and March it looked like a mail order catalog, being so large. Those issues contained 248 pages each and a total of $600,000 worth of advertising. This is a record never before ap proached in farm journalism. One of Mr. Meredith's greatest assets is the loyalty and co-operation of the organization he has built. Three hundred and fifty people devote their entire time to making Successful harming a better farm paper. It is one big, happy family. The institution is run and governed by the em ployes. Mr. Meredith is merely a cog in the wheel, and no more important than anyone else. He has what he calls a "cabinet" composed of all the department heads and this "cabinet" of thirty-five people decide all matters of policy. The general manager is the ex ecutive officer of the "cabinet" and not Meredith. In all matters of strictly department affairs, the head of that department decides them for himself just as if the business were his own. "I always want every man in my employ to act just as he would if he were managing his own business. Men may make mistakes in judgment; they are not scolded for that, but they are scolded for not assuming responsibilities that belong to them." Then Honors Follow HOXORS have come to him with startling frequency in the last four or five years. He has been Demo cratic candidate for the United States Senate and for the governorship of Iowa. He ran well in the sena torial race, considering the confirmed Republican tendencies of Iowa. His governorship race resulted in overwhelming defeat. Mr. Meredith had refused to accept the nomination unless he be permitted to write his own platform. He I y ft-ffrJSj 'Fg I Mm WBf aatawfcalkaK HON. E. T. MEREDITH, Secretary of Agriculture. was as much surprised as anyone when he was given that privilege. He put three planks into that platform, and they were: hard-surfaced roads, prohibition and national suffrage. His Republican opponent won because he succeeded in gathering under his standard every discontented and disgruntled person of both parties. But history records that within three years after the campaign that a Republican legislature was forced to adopt the identical road bill which had lost Meredith the campaign, and in addition, it passed both the pro hibitory and the suffrage amendment! That fact pleased Meredith. He has little desire for office unless he sees a chance to serve. The fact that he accomplished his purpose outside of office was extremely gratifying to him. He is a poor politician. He has the dislike of the average business man for the delay, the vexation and the play for position which characterizes modern poli tics. He is a direct-action man and believes in going straight across lots to accomplish his objects. He was a member of the Federal Reserve Bank at Chicago, serving since its creation as a director ; he was sent to Europe early in the war by President Wil son to investigate agricultural conditions in Allied Kurope and to ascertain the needs of the Allies. Last fall he was appointed by President Wilson as a member of the first Industrial Conference at Wash ington to represent the public group. He was recently elected president of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World and has long been prominent in that organization. He is one of the pioneers in the movement for truthful advertising. Kdwin Thomas Meredith is just forty-three years of age. He is a successful business man who has won his way and the right to a million dollar business in just eighteen years. For five years he has given the majority of his time to the interests of others. He is of a type that is refreshing to the public; he has not come to the Cabinet by virtue of any political ability or power. He has come on his own merits, and it is not strange, in view of these facts that the public is beginning to give him "the once over." Baron Beaverbrook a British Mystery c,,,ildn't h anc nc kncw tnat smxcs si"Ply press, fljjjjj l,nstponed if he once had a chance to ex- oWDe!hCUn,y Chancc BC h4 i world was that would ha ,! v,,,nKsters he was twenty five then c ca,led in a junk dealer and sold out at the BARON BEAVERBROOK, owner of the Daily Ex press (London), which has been abusing the United States of late, is one of the mysteries of Brit ish public life. According to his own story Beaverbrook has nothing to do with the Daily Express policy, but bought it just because. If he really did sink a fortune in the Express for that vacuous reason, it is the first act of the kind perpetrated by him; to date he has done things, such things as the public knows of, with a very definite idea; the idea being Baron Beaverbrook. Max Aitken was born 40 years ago, the son of a New Brunswick (Canada) minister. lie had a fortune by the time he was 25 years old. He invaded England in 1910, and was unknown until the war when Asquith knighted him and Lloyd George made him Baron. The public knows that much, and little else. His past, the source of his fortune, the services which entitled him to be created a peer of the realm, the purpose of the Daily Express, his appointment (since resigned) as director of propaganda all of these things are the fairy story of Baron Beaverbrook, and he has told nobody. What he has done, so far, is to spend a lot of money and spend it wisely. Most of it he spent where it could be noted by any parliamentary folk in terested. He rapidly collected around him a party of old and intimate friends, many of whom he had known at least a month, and won a seat in Parliament. Mr. Balfour suggested a knighthood for these "services," and Mr. Asquith obtained it. Sir Max had little to do in the House, but much in the lobbies. He gave good dinners, and this leader and that one gathered at his breakfasts or lunches. He was a gilded entertainer and, so Beaverbrook mod estly says, as a result of these pleasant and informal little gatherings, the great idea of a Lloyd George war cabinet, excluding Mr. Asquith, was born. Sir Max gave his blessing to Mr. George, Mr. Bonar Law, to Sir Edward Carson, worked here and worked there ; Mr. Asquith fell and Sir Max became Baron Beaver brook. Someone, endeavoring to explain to the British pub lic why the peerage was conferred, orated about an "honor for Canada"; but Canada took it ill, and pro fessed to be but slightly honored, if at all. Few, if any in Canada approved of a peerage tor Aitken as a com pliment to Canada, and said so with delicious free dom in the Canadian newspapers. Aitken was as much a mystery to Canada as to Britain. But there he was with oodles of cash, and a fine title. And all in a few years' work. Beaverbrook is a shrewd, pushful man who has made the most of his opportunities. Is he the type of man to own a newspaper like the Daily Express, and be indifferent to its conduct? Has he done anything for nothing, on his record as known? But can Beaverbrook, not really owned by Canada and unrecognized by the British people, pretend at any time to voice the sentiments of the public which re sents his crude grasp of titles? Beaverbrook is at one extreme what Horatio Bot tomley is at the other : the type of wily patriot who represents with emotion and vigor one profound in terest his own.