The Chicago Exhibition and British Regimental Bands

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The Chicago Exhibition and British Regimental Bands is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Leeds Mercury on 31 december 1892.

The Chicago Exhibition and British Regimental Bands

The Leeds Mercury (31 december 1892, p. 11)


Gentlemen, — As the "Leeds Mercury" is the only provincial paper of note which has contained any adverse criticism of the suggestion that British regimental bands should be offered to the Chicago Exhibition for use in the British section, you will perhaps allow me to say a word in defence of it. Your London Correspondent bases his objections on the assertion that our bands have never before been used in this fashion. I submit, Gentlemen, that even if this were true, it would surely not be a very grave objection, since it would be the more creditable to our generation if they took a new and more generous departure. But, as a matter of facts, it is not so. Our crack band, that of the Grenadier Guards, under Dan Godfrey, played for months at Boston, not later than 1872.

And then as to what your correspondent says about reciprocity of courtesy, that is very true, but the balance of reciprocity lies at present against us. We have never, as far as I know, done any generous deed for the United States, but several might be mentioned which they have done for us. The refitting and return of our lost Arctic ships in 1859 or 1860 is a case in point, and the fund started for the Northern cotton operatives at a time when they were themselves in the throes of their civil war. If we have individual enemies across the water, surely there is the more reason that we should show ourselves courteous and sympathetic. Your Correspondent cannot mean to maintain that it is a good thing for a nation to have enemies, and an evil one to take steps to disarm them.

Yours faithfully,

12, Tennison-road, South Norwood, Dec. 29th.

Special thanks to Mattias Boström and Matt Laffey, authors of Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle in the Newspapers.