Saturday, May 15, 1909
The Hon. W. Cameron Forbes
Let us have the truth about the Mr. Forbes. Let us give him credit for working when he might retire into a life of privacy and ease. Let us pay tribute to his generosity if there be merit in a generosity which feels little or no loss in the giving. Let us applaud his close attention to his official duties and his indefatigable labors in the common weal. Let us admire his readiness to assist any deserving cause. Let us acknowledge some degree of business ability.
At the same time let us not shut our eyes to Mr. Forbes’ shortcomings. Let us admit that he has neither social charm nor a winning personality. Let us confess that his manner is unfortunate, that as a public speaker he does not impress or inspire his audience, that he seems to lack energy and aggressive force of character, that rumor commonly credits the staff of men with whom he has surrounded himself as contributing in very large degree to such success as he may have attained, and that he is never regarded as a strong man or one could successfully guide the administration here through a long term of trying years.
As to the “accomplishment of the man” we fail to see much so far. Some promise, yes, but little performance. As to “the trust and affection of all elements of the people” we simply say—buncombe!
We do not wish to be understood as feeling unkindly towards W. Cameron Forbes the man or Forbes the official. But we do wish to be understood as protesting against this intolerable atmosphere of cant and gush and benevolent misrepresentation when it comes to our men in office. Here the lack of an opposition has bred an atmosphere of complacent self-deception, of extravagant appreciation, of stereotyped and indiscriminate praise and panegyric.