A portion of Militia Council, MP’s, etc., favoured and were impressed by the memorable historic flight, 23rd Feb., and 24th, 1909 would do; “everything in its power to facilitate the work of experiments in aerial navigation”. While others remained implacably opposed, however, mainstream recycled accounts paints a different portrait: The Canadian Army was unimpressed at the headway made by the group. The general impression of the time was that aircraft would never amount to much in actual warfare. Despite official scepticism, the Association was finally invited to the military base at Petawawa to demonstrate the aircraft. Its true Silver Dart’s second flight while attempting a landing, crashed on the 24th Feb., “The machine, however, struck her starboard wing on the ice, and spinning round smashed a few struts and chords. One wheel also was broken.” Considering the fiasco that fallowed; “we transferred the engine and propeller from the damaged Silver-Dart to Cygnet II…. Tried her on the ice just at dusk…. Three starts were made, but she did not rise into the air.” The celebrated Silver Dart achievements for the 23rd, overshadowed by the accident which fallowed on the 24th, considering Cygnet II three failed “starts,” a majority of Canadian M.P.’s &c., and Militia highbrows, “were unimpressed.”
Prof. Alec G. Bell:— When the Association finally dissolves the only way in which the members can obtain any substantial reward for their labors will be by the manufacture and sale of aerodromes embodying features produced by the Association. This means either that the Association must be converted into a manufacturing corporation, or that the Association will sell out its rights to some manufacturing company for a consideration in shares or cash.
DHH OH FWW 1964:— Although by August 1914 five and a half years had elapsed from the February day when J.A.D. McCurdy lifted the “Silver Dart” in flight over the frozen surface of the Bras d’Or Lake at Baddeck Bay, the outbreak of war found Canada without any organized military flying service. After that history-making flight the Militia Council had expressed its intention of doing “everything in its power to facilitate the work of experiments in aerial navigation”. As noted in Chapter I (above, p. 13: There was no air force; in 1909)…. in August 1909 members of the Militia Council witnessed a number of test flights at Petawawa. But in 1910 the Treasury Board rejected an application by the Department of Militia and Defence for a grant of $10,000 (a later request for $5,000 was also turned down) to assist McCurdy and his partner, F.W. Baldwin, “to pursue their studies” in aviation and also train selected army officers to fly. A recommendation to include funds for a similar purpose in the 1911-1912 estimates did not get past the Militia Council. Early in 1912, the Chief of the General Staff, expressing the opinion that a military organization which did “not keep pace with the latest scientific developments must be hopelessly left behind by organizations which are alive to that necessity”, sought authority for a start on a modest programme suggested by the War Office in answer to a Canadian request for advice. But the Minister would not approve of any such steps being taken, “neither towards training nor purchase of aeroplanes”.93 Government policy remained the same until war came: “No funds available”.
Aerial Experiment Association Drome No. 4 at Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport N.Y. 4th Nov., 1908.
Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell: Possible government interest in Baddeck airplanes. — “Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia 11th March, 1909. — Mrs. A. Graham Bell, 1331 Conn., Ave., Washington, D.C. Dear Mabel: Mr. Fred Cook, the special correspondent of the London Times at Ottawa, has sent me a telegram marked private which reads as follows:— His Excellency officially called attention home Government success your experiments. How long do you propose to continue? etc. This reads to me as though it might possibly be an unofficial enquiry from the Governor General, Earl Grey, to find out what we propose to do. On this assumption, and reading between the lines, I would translate the telegram to mean— ‘Are you open to any proposition from the British Government about flying-machines?’ To this, my reply is as follows:— Thanks for telegram. The Aerial Experiment Association Bell’s partnership with young flight pioneers at Baddeck; developed and flew first Canadian plane, Silver Dart will be dissolved March thirty-one as we feel that our researches have now gone beyond the experimental stage, and we are now discussing what to do commercially. This is private, not for publication. As Mr. Cook has specially telegraphed that his telegram is private I hope you will consider this as confidential until further developments occur. (Int.) A.G.B.
Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell: — Bell courts the government interest in CAC aeroplanes 21st March, 1909. — At the present moment I hardly know whether I stand on my head or my feet — events have been happening with such startling rapidity. Successful flights, aggravating break-downs, Aero-club difficulties, Douglas’ break-down from freezing, newspaper inquiries, and the interest in Gt Britain and Canada culminating in the invitation to address the Canadian Club in Ottawa and meet the Cabinet! Big things are looming in the future. The British Empire will look to Douglas McCurdy and Casey Baldwin his associates in flight experiments at Baddeck for flying machines. I feel that I must go to their assistance. Such a chance may never come to them again — it only comes once in a life-time, and must be seized and developed at once — or lost. Therefore I have dropped everything here, have accepted the Ottawa invitation, and will be off tomorrow — returning in time to preside at the closing meeting of the A.E.A. March 31. A critical moment in the lives of these boys has come, their whole future may depend upon my going to Ottawa now or staying here to complete my experiments while the ice still lasts. My own preference is to remain, but I remember the Centennial Exhibition [(in Philadelphia in 1876, where Bell demonstrated the telephone and what it meant to me to go or stay in Boston. You were the prime mover then and you are now. I imagine you beside me pleading that you love these boys — as I do too — and that it is my duty to do what I can to help them start on a great career. You and the Centennial have prevailed and I go. What to do exactly I do not know but will think the matter up in the train.
This much is certain. The successful flights of Douglas at Baddeck have aroused a strong feeling of patriotic pride among Canadians. The Governor General has communicated with the British Government on the subject of the experiments — and the Canadian Government evidently desires to hold same private conference with me upon the subject. I will pay my respects to the Governor General, Earl Grey, and to the Premier, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the members of his Cabinet. What is behind all this is a matter for conjecture. My translation is this. The British Government is becoming alarmed at the activity of foreign nations in developing the art of Aviation for war purposes, and at the non-success of efforts made under British auspices, which is bringing the British Government into contempt among foreign nations. British public opinion is much excited upon the subject, and the newspapers are urging the Government to worthier efforts. They seem to have been entering into negotiations with Americans, including the Wright Brothers, and the newspapers are asking — are there no British subjects at work upon Aviation to whom the Government could look in an emergency. Now just at this time comes the news of Douglas McCurdy’s flights at Baddeck certified to by the Canadian Government. Then questions are asked in the Canadian Parliament and the answer shows that the Government is alive to the fact that two Canadian engineers, Douglas and Casey, are involved. Everything goes to prove to my mind that both governments are willing and anxious to give aid to Casey and Douglas. They are anxious to have them go into the work of manufacturing aerodromes for the British Government. Their mode of approaching me also shows that they do not wish this to be known to the world. This, according to my interpretation, is the position that confronts us.
Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell: —Prof. Alec Bell’s returns from Ottawa believing the government will finically support CAC at “Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia 2nd April, 1909. — Dear Mabel:— Things look very hopeful for Douglas and Casey. After the conversation that I have held with His Excellency Earl Grey and with Mr. Fielding, Canadian Minister of Finance, there can be no doubt that both the Canadian Government and the British Government will afford encouragement and assistance to the manufacture of aerodromes within the British Empire or Canada by British subjects or Canadians. Mr. Fiedling, of course, cannot commit himself definitely but I hold it as practically certain that if Douglas and Casey manufacture aerodromes within the Dominion of Canada that the Canadian Government will assist them by purchasing an aerodrome from them, providing it does not involve an appropriation much exceeding $10,000. I feel so perfectly certain that the Canadian Government and the British Government will take this matter up in a practical way that I have suggested to Casey and Douglas the advisability of their forming a partnership for the manufacturing of aerodromes and going right ahead and making an aerodrome that they think would prove of value to the British Army. Then when they have completed it and made certain that it will fly and do all that they want it to do, offer it to the Canadian Government. I feel perfectly sure that the Canadian Government will purchase it, even if they don’t need it. They will understand that the purchase of this first machine will enable these Canadians to go ahead and make other machines in Canada and thus establish a Canadian industry. Whereas if they don’t purchase it they know it would be offered to the British Government with the likelihood that the infant industry would be transferred to Great Britain instead of remaining in Canada.
Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell: — Prof. Alec Bell’s entertains pressuring the Canadian government, with news the Russian’s are interested Sent from Houseboat. Sunday, 4th, April, 1909. — My darling: — Douglas came down to the houseboat today to let me know that he received last night a communication from St. Petersburg asking whether he could undertake to build aerodromes for the Russian Government and requesting a cable reply yes or no. I have recommended Doug to write to Mr. Fielding, the Canadian Finance Minister, who knows him personally and all his family, to ascertain whether any of the officials in Ottawa know the man. It will do no harm to let him know — and through him the Canadian Cabinet, and the Representative of Great Britain — that inquiries have been received from Russia. Have also recommended him to reply by letter instead of cable that he is building aerodromes here and, if they are not taken up by the Canadian or British Governments, he would be glad to offer them to the Russian Government.
Letter from Earl Grey to Alexander Graham Bell: “Government House, Ottawa. 7th April, 1909. — Dear Dr. Graham Bell, I am much obliged to you for your letter, and for the welcome news it contains that the two young Canadians, Baldwin and McCurdy, are going right ahead to manufacture at their own expense such an aerodrome as they think would be of use for army purposes, and that when completed and tested they propose to offer it to the Canadian Government. I am sending a copy of your letter to Mr. Fielding and to Sir Frederick Borden Minister of Militia, and I hope that His Majesty’s Canadian Government may see their way to give these young Canadians such support as will enable them to prove the superiority of their machine over all competitors. Yours truly, Grey”
Letter from M.L. Fielding to Alexander Graham Bell: Minister of Finance is interested, Ottawa, April 7th, 1909. — Dear Dr. Bell, I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 3rd instant. Owing to the pressure of many matters upon the attention of the Government, I have not been able to bring before my colleagues as fully as I desired the suggestions that have been offered as to the employment of the services of these young gentlemen in the building of an airship for the Canadian Government. I shall avail myself of the earliest opportunity of having the matter fully considered. Yours faithfully, M.L. Fielding”
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT AVIATION NEWS Letter, Militia Council to Bell Ottawa, 7th May, 1909, Sir:— On the occasion of your addressing the Canadian Club of Ottawa on the subject of Aerial Navigation you were good enough to draw the attention of the Canadian Government to the work of Messrs. Douglas McCurdy and F. W. Baldwin in that line and to suggest that something should be done to secure their services for Canada and to assist them, if possible, in the pursuit of their studies of the art. I am now directed by the Minister in Militia Council to say that the achievements of these gentlemen have engaged the attention of the Militia Department for some time past and that it has been the desire to assist them in any way possible, but that unfortunately no funds for airship investigation or construction have been provided by Parliament for the present year, and therefore it is regretted that the Department is not in a position to put forward any proposals involving expense at the present time. I am, however, to inform you that the Department would be glad to place at the disposal of Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin the use of the military grounds at Petawawa, as well as such men and equipment available, as might be of assistance to them, should they feel disposed to carry out trials there. I am further to add that the Minister in Militia Council would be very pleased indeed, looking to the future, to hear from Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin as to whether they would be disposed to give their services to the Department as specialists, and if so on what terms and conditions, and also their views as to what funds they consider should be provided, say next year, for the pursuit of aerial investigation, construction and navigation on the Government’s behalf. (Signed) —Fiset Colonel, Deputy Minister of Militia & Defence. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, Baddeck, N.S.
Baldwin and McCurdy to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., 14th May, 1909 Secretary Militia Council, Ottawa, Canada. Dear Sir:— Your letter No. H.Q. 6978.4 addressed to Dr. Bell has been referred to us by his Secretary. Dr. Bell is in Washington and sails for Europe on Saturday, May 15, where he will remain for a period of perhaps three weeks. We appreciate the offer of the Minister in Militia Council in permitting us to make trials of our aerodromes at the Military grounds at Petawawa and will be glad to avail ourselves of the opportunity. If it would, therefore, be convenient we will ship the Silver-Dart within a week, direct to Petawawa where we will ourselves arrive early in June to conduct the trials. With regard to the future our own plans are too vague to make any definite proposal but we would be glad to be of service to the Department in any way we can, and any information we may have is at the disposal of the Government. (Signed) Baldwin & McCurdy.
(The Militia Council have evidently written Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy again on June 3 but I can find no trace of the letter)
Baldwin & McCurdy to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., 8th June, 1909 The Secretary, Militia Council, Headquarters, Ottawa, Canada. Dear Sir:— I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of June s, No. H.Q. 6978.4. Acting on the suggestion of our letter to you of May 14 we have shipped the Silver-Dart by freight to Petewawa and part of her will arrive there about the 12th of June. The remaining parts as soon as we can possibly get them ready. Mr. Baldwin is, at present, in Toronto and he plans to be at Petawawa in time to receive the Silver-Dart crates. I will join him there in about two weeks time and would be very glad indeed to stop over in Ottawa and call upon the 4 Engineering branch of the Department. I thank you very much for your courtesy in advising us as to the conditions of living at Petawawa. It would be our choice to live under canvass so, as you suggest, to be near the scene of operations. I will ask Mr. Baldwin at your suggestion to notify the Camp Engineer as to the time of his arrival at Petawawa. I am, Sir, Very truly yours, (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.
Bulletin by J.A.D. McCurdy and Alexander Graham Bell, July 6, 1909. MCCURDY’S VIEWS CONCERNING THE REPLY TO THE CANADIAN DEPARTMENT OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE. July 6, 1909:—My idea would be something like this. The new machine here will be in Petewawa about the 20th of this month. By that time the Silver Dart will be making some flights and public attention will be more or less attracted to that direction. Then when the new machine comes along they will sort of be ready for it and if she makes the flights as expected we will step down to Ottawa and say that here we have a bran d new machine which flies and it does so and so; do you want to buy it? We would much prefer to sell our first machine to the Canadian Government. If they say they do want to buy it the arrangement after that will be very easy. If they say they don’t want to buy it but they would like to make some other proposition I would suggest we would for us not consider that all for the time. Then go down to Washington and submit a proposition before General Allen. Do you want to buy it? If he buys it then we will sell do it right off. The second machine will be ready by that time. Then if the Canadian Government wants to buy it they can; and if they don’t we will take this over to England as soon as we like. I think it is very important that we dispose of our one machine as soon we as we can. Our plans for continued building will be very much simplified. We will have a guarantee then that we can sell machines and go right ahead and build more. We will have the money from the first machine to go right ahead. Another thing if we do dispose of a machine the prestige we will get from disposing of one to the American Government or to the Canadian Government will make our services to the Canadian for more valuable than if we do not sell at all. J.A.D. McC.
Dr. Bell to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., 7th July, 1909. Secretary Militia Council, Headquarters Ottawa, Canada. H.Q. 6978 Dear Sir:— I have just returned from Europe and have consulted with Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin concerning the letter of the Deputy Minister of Militia andDefence addressed to me dated May 7, 1909. Messrs. Douglas McCurdy and F.W. Baldwin have associated themselves together under the name of “The Canadian Aerodrome Company” and have been engaged for some time past in the manufacture of improved forms of aerodrome modelled upon the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. I find that they have already completed one aerodrome and have another well under way. If they can dispose of these aerodromes the proceeds will be employed to continue the manufacture of such machines in Canada. Their idea has been to offer their first Canadian machines to the Canadian Government which would, by purchasing them, be fostering the establishment of a new industry in Canada. Should the Canadian Government decline to consider the purchase then they would offer the machines to some other Government. Upon the sale of these machines depends 3 the establishment of this industry in Canada; for these young men have no capital of their own and have borrowed the capital necessary to complete the machines upon which they are now at work. Mr. F.W. Baldwin is now at Petewawa with the aerodrome Silver Dart where he proposes to try out a new engine. In a short time Mr. McCurdy proposes to take the new aerodrome, the first built in Canada, to Petewawa and try it with the engine now there. If it turns out to be as successful as they anticipate Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin will proceed to Ottawa and offer it to the Canadian Government.
I filed that Messrs. McCurdy & Baldwin would be very much pleased if some arrangement could be made which they should give They would be glad to make some arrangement to give their services to the Department of Militia and Defence as Specialists in Aviation as suggested, & they and would be glad to receive from the defendant a a some proposition as to terms and conditions. After the experiments with the new aerodrome at Petewawa they would be glad to They will be in very soon and will hope to be in request to visit very soon and hope to personally with the Minister of Militia on his representative give their views as to what mentioned the funds they consider should be provided next year for the pursuit of Aerial Investigation, Construction and Navigation on the Government’s behalf. As both these I am gentlemen you will be in Petewawa very soon in personal contact with the members of the Department I shall refer you them and need say nothing further on the matter. Yours respectfully, (Signed) Alexander Graham Bell. http://www.loc.gov/resource/magbell.14410106
Militia Council to Dr. Bell Ottawa, 14th July, 1909:—Dear Sir,— In reply to your letter of the 7th instant, intimating that Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin would be very pleased if some arrangement could be made whereby they should give their services to the Department of Militia & Defence as Specialists in Aviation, I beg to say that I shall be very glad indeed to meet these gentlemen at any time and discuss with them the whole question. I may add, however, that, at the present moment, little can be arranged definitely, owing to the absence in England of Sir Frederick Borden, whose return is expected about the middle of October, next. Yours very truly, (Signed) —Fiset D.M. Dr. A. Graham Bell, Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
Letter, Earl Grey to Dr. Bell Government House, Ottawa, 13th December, 1909. Dear Dr. Bell:— I have just returned to Canada and my first letter must be one of thanks to you for the pleasure I derived from my visit to your beautiful home on Little Bras d’Or. It was a great surprise to me to find a green instead of a white world. Baddeck has evidently a great advantage over Ottawa during the early part of winter. The views from your house are beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed my two days there. I shall be obliged if you will tell Mrs. Bell how greatly I appreciated the privilege of occupying her bedroom. I was much attracted by the two young aviators, and the pretty wife. They made my stay most pleasant and interesting. The weather was wet and conditions adverse to the realization of McCurdy’s ambition to beat the world’s record. The more cautious Baldwin never committed himself to the expression of any such hope. Although the weather conditions made it impossible for Baddeck No. 2 to show what she could do, she gave us a sufficient exhibition of her powers to enable me to realize more vividly than I have ever done before, what a big part the flying machine is likely to take in the life of the future. The anticipation that the flying machine will make ‘ Dreadnoughts’ as obselete as bows and arrows, and will also abolish Custom Houses, thus bringing about the Parliament of Man and the Federation of the World, in accordance with Tennyson’s prophecy, does not seem quite so extravagant as I have had formerly supposed. I must congratulate you if you will allow me, on having secured for yourself that beautiful promontory. It is an ideal position. What pleases me, perhaps more than anything else in your kingdon, was the houseboat in a little bay of its own, only approachable by an Indian trail, through a natural forest. I heard with envy and admiration of your habit of retreating there, every Saturday, winter and summer and of the absolute Sunday’s rest you there enjoy in uninterrupted seclusion. I have never seen anywhere else, any arrangement which appeared to me to be a shot so near the centre of the bullseye. I much regretted losing the pleasure of meeting you in your own house, and with my kind regards to Mrs. Bell, and with renewed thanks for all the hospitality of her house and room, Believe me, Yours very sincerely, (Signed) Grey.
Letter, Dr. Bell to Earl Grey Washington, D.C., December 17, 1909:— His Excellency, Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada. My dear Earl Grey:— Allow me to thank you for your kind telegram of the 9th inst., and for your note of the 13th just received. I was at first much disappointed that I could not remain at Beinn Bhreagh to give you a personal welcome. Upon second thoughts, however, I came to the conclusion that it was perhaps a fortunate circumstance for “my boys” that they should have the opportunity of meeting you by themselves without any person to come between. You would of course take their measure at a glance; and I felt it might be “the chance of their lives” to form the acquaintance of the Governor General of Canada in this quiet way, and that it might mean everything to them in their future careers. Having met Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy you will understand I am sure how it is that, having no sons of my own blood, I feel a great affection for these fine young men and wish to help them to the utmost of my ability. I am encouraging them to work together, for each supplement the deficiencies of the other. McCurdy is the progressive element in the combination, and Baldwin the conservative. Baldwin is par excellence the thinker, and McCurdy the doer. McCurdy, high spirited and ambitious, requires constantly to be restrained; while Baldwin, though quite a genius in his way, is of so retiring and modest a disposition that he requires to be pushed to show what there is in him. Both boys are of the best blood of Canada, well educated, and of high personal worth and character; and they will, undoubtedly, make their mark in the world. What to do to advance their interests I do not know; but, noticing your great kindness to them, and your apparent interest in their work, I feel emboldened to approach you somewhat confidentially to ask your advice upon the subject. I have advanced them sufficient money to enable them to could their first two aerodromes, “Baddeck No. I”, and “Baddeck No. 2”.
They are now at the end of their resources; but I have told them that I will see them through to the end of March, 1910, after which they must stand upon their own feet and look out for themselves. Baldwin has some means of his own, not much; and McCurdy has none. By the end of March they must find a purchaser for one of their machines or give up their aerodrome factory; for I cannot, of course, continue indefinitely to support their work, although I am ready to stand behind them to the best of my ability to give them a fair start. I propose to leave America, however, about the end of March, for a trip around the world, so that it will be impossible for me to do much for them after March, 1910. I do not think there are any better flying-machines in existence than those they now have; and all they need is practical experience in the control of the machines in the air. I have recommended them to avoid publicity as much as possible until they have accomplished privately all that others have succeeded in doing in public; so that when they do appear, they may take, at once, their proper place in the van of progress. They have so far been greatly handicapped by the lack of a suitable testing-ground; but, as soon as the ice forms on the Little Bras d’Or Lake, they will have an ideal surface for aviation experiments. I have no doubt that they will soon be able to demonstrate, beyond cavil, that they 10 really have a practical aerodrome that would prove of use to some Government. Then will be the time when they may hopefully seek for a purchaser. I happen to know that the War Department of the United States has an unexpended balance of an appropriation for the purchase of heavier-than-air machines, through the failure of Herring to materialize and make good his contract with the Government. I believe that a little exertion upon my part here, on behalf of Baldwin and McCurdy, might lead to the purchase of one of their machines by the United States Government; and perhaps to their employment as experts in connection with the Aeronautical Department of our Army. As an American, by adoption, I would of course be glad to have the United States obtain their services; but my interest in the boys themselves leads me to doubt whether it would be to their best interests to come here, or look to the United States as a market fro their machines. They are British subjects, and intensely patriotic. I not only respect this feeling, but believe that the British Empire affords the best field for their exertions. Where are the British subjects who are prominent in the work of aviation? I know of none, with the exception of Baldwin and McCurdy, who are not of foreign blood. Even Maxim is an American by birth. So is Cody; and Farman is half French. Of Brabazon-Moore i know nothing excepting the name, and it certainly has a foreign sound about it, suggestive of alien blood. Who else is there in the British field. No one I can think of at the present time. When aerodromes are used in war Great Britain will certainly have to depend upon her own subjects for the supply of machines; Here then, it seems to me, is the opportunity for Baldwin and McCurdy. By establishing in Canada a manufactury for aerodromes, they are benefiting their own country by the introduction of a new industry; and I have advised them to look to Great Britain for their market, believing that this would be of benefit to the British Government and to themselves. They have adopted this plan as their policy; and naturally look to me for advice and guidance, but I must confess that I do not know what to recommend as the next step to be pursued. I have influence in America, but not in Great Britain. I could undoubtedly help them here, but they are unwilling to enter the United States if they can find a field of usefulness in their own country or in Great Britain; and I think they are right. I do not know what to do to enable them to enter the British field, and I should be very glad of a word of suggestion from you as to the proper plan of procedure for them to adopt. Yours sincerely, (Signed) Alexander Graham Bell
Letter, Dr. Bell to Earl Grey Washington, D. C., 27 December, 1909. His Excellency, Earl Grey, Governor-General of Dominion of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 12 PERSONAL Dear Earl Grey: In reply to your note of the 20th inst., I may say that it will give me pleasure to give Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy the free use of my Laboratory buildings, tools, and machinery, for one year, if they can manage to continue their aviation work at Baddeck. I cannot promise them any further financial aid, as I have already contributed a larger sum than I can well afford. Their machines, however, will be their own, for I shall not seek a return. Upon the possibility of their finding purchasers for these machines will depend the continuation of their work. If the Canadian Government should decide to foster the Art of Aviation in Canada as an adjunct to military defense, an appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars, would in my opinion be sufficient to start a Department of Aviation in connection with your militia system. The appropriation could be used in the purchase of Canadian-built aerodromes; and in the instruction of a selected body of militiamen in the use of the machines. This would enable Canada, at some future time, to contribute to the Imperial Defense a supply of aerodromes and skilled aviators from the Canadian Militia. The appropriation would be sufficient to enable the Aviation Department to purchase the two aerodromes “Baddeck No. I, and Baddeck No. II”, and to start Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy on the construction of a third. It would also permit of their employment as experts to give instruction in the use of the machines. Such a plan would probably result in the permanent establishment of the Aerodrome Industry within the Dominion. If the Canadian Government is not prepared to organize a Department of Aviation in connection with the militia system, it might perhaps be willing to give some aid to the establishment of a new Canadian Industry, by granting a small appropriation, say of ten thousand dollars, directly to Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy, as a recognition of the importance of their work, and to assist them in prosecuting their researched in Aviation. Such an appropriation of course would not go far towards establishing their industry in Canada; but it would, at all events tide them over a critical period in their career, and enable them to keep their factory going while they are looking round for purchasers of their machines. The prestige attached to a recognition of this kind by the Canadian Government, would mean very much more to Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy than the mere money value of the appropriation. It would probably enable them to dispose of their machines abroad; and might lead to their securing the necessary capital to establish their business upon an enduring foundation in Canada. Yours sincerely, (Signed) Alexander Graham Bell
Telegram, Baldwin and McCurdy to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., Mar. 3, 1910:— Flights are now being made over the ice here. If you should care to look into the matter would be very glad to receive and entertain your representative. (Signed) Baldwin and McCurdy
Telegram, Baldwin & McCurdy to Major Maunsell Baddeck, N.S., Mar. 3, 1910:— Have wired Militia Council officially concerning flights which we are now making here over the ice. Would be glad if you could see your way clear to spend a week or so with us at Baddeck to see what is being done. The weather is uncertain and we should like to take advantage of the ice while we have it. (Signed) Baldwin and McCurdy
Telegram, Baldwin to Earl Grey Baddeck, N.S., Mar. 3, 1910:— Recent flights over the ice here very successful. Wish you could have seen them.
(Signed) F. W. Baldwin.
Telegram, Earl Grey to Baldwin Ottawa, Mar. 4, 1910:— The Governor General desires me to thank you for your telegram and congratulate you on successful flights. Lord Grey hopes you will forward full report from time to time. (Signed) Arthur F. Sladen
Telegram, Maunsell to McCurdy and Baldwin Ottawa, Mar. 4, 1910:— I shall leave Montreal on Maritime Express Sunday noon. Please have everything in readiness for flight early next week. (Signed) Major Maunsell
Letter, Baldwin & McCurdy to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., March 10, 1910:— The Secretary, Militia Council, Headquarters Ottawa, Canada. Dear Sir: Referring to the letter of the Deputy Minister of Militia and Defence addressed to Dr. Alexander Graham Bell May 7, 1909 (H.Q. 6978.4), which was replied to by us on May 14, 1909, and by Dr. Bell on July 7, 1909, we feel that we are now in a position to make a definite proposal and respectfully submit that the Canadian Government purchase our two aerodromes, Baddeck No. 1 and Baddeck No. 2, for the sum of $10,000 delivered at our factory here. After the delivery of the machines we shall be glad, without further expense to the Government, to give such instruction to one or two officers as will enable them to use the machines provided that such instruction is given here where we have every facility for the work. The receipt of $10,000 will enable us to continue our aerial investigations here and develop improvements in our machines. Yours respectfully, (Signed) Baldwin & McCurdy
Letter, Dr. Bell to Earl Grey Baddeck, N.S., March 10, 1910. His Excellency Earl Grey, Governor-General of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. Dear Earl Grey: I enclose for your information a copy of a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Militia Council by Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy (March 10, 1910), containing a proposal to see their two aerodromes, Baddeck No. 1 I and Baddeck No. 2, to the Canadian Government for the sum of $10,000. I am glad to learn from Major Maunsell, who is here, that you received my letter of Dec. 27, 1909 from Washington, D.C., so that you know my views upon this subject. Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy had intended to have made a somewhat similar offer last year in the event of their making successful flights at Petawawa. On account, however, of the mishap to their drome at Petawawa, they felt it inadvisable to approach the Canadian Government upon the subject until they had successfully demonstrated the capabilities of their dromes to fly. This they have now done; and I beg to enclose photographs of a fine flight made by Mr. Douglas McCurdy in the drome Baddeck No. 2 on March 3. On this occasion he was alone; but he has also demonstrated the capability of the machine to carry two persons. On several occasions he has carried Mr. F. W. Baldwin as a passenger. Yesterday he carried Mr. Baldwin in one flight, Mr. William McDonald in another, and then 17 took Major Maunsell for a drome over the ice on Baddeck Bay. It may seem strange that Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy should ask the Govern Government to purchase two dromes instead of one but the reasons will be obvious to you. They estimate that they will be unable to carry on their factory here without a capital of at least $10,000; and they prefer to raise this amount by the sale of their two machines. They realize that it might be considered an imposition upon the Government to ask $10,000 for one machine; and therefore offer two, as, in their opinion, a fair equivalent for the money, as a charge of $5000 per machine will yield them only a reasonable profit upon the cost of construction. $5000 would not suffice to support their factory but $10,000 would probably be sufficient to enable it at least to exist; because they are saved the expense of acquiring buildings and workshops of their own for one year, as I have placed the facilities of my Laboratory at their disposal for that period of time without charge. They are much elated over the fact that they have already received their first order for an aerodrome. This is a monoplane for Mr. Gardiner G. Hubbard of Boston, Mass. It is now practically completed, and they hope to try it out here in a few days if the ice holds out. They are encouraged to believe that during the course of their next year they may receive other orders for aerodromes from private individuals and from foreign Governments, and that the profits from the sale of these machines may enable them to acquire buildings and machinery of their own, and place the new Canadian industry upon a self-supporting basis. I think it is in every way desirable that the Canadian Government should acquire two aerodromes rather than one; because accidents of various kinds are always liable to occur with the best machines in the hands of inexperienced aviators. With two dromes, an accident to one will not interfere with continuous practice work. One machine will always be available while the other is being repaired. While this seems to be a plausible argument why the Canadian Government should purchase two machines rather than one the real, and most important reason is that the sum of $10,000 is necessary to aid a new industry to establish itself upon Canadian soil. Of course if the Canadian Government decides to accept the proposition a larger appropriation than $10,000 will be required; for the Government will have to erect buildings in which to house the aerodromes, do some grading at Petawawa or whatever place may be selected as an aerodrome Park for practice work, and meet the expenses of a staff of experts to be trained as aviators for the Canadian Militia. I do not know what the total expense of a department of aviation will amount to, but I have given you my ideas upon this subject in my letter of December 27, 1909. So far as Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy are concerned, all that they want is the sum of $10,000 to support their industry during another year. Yours sincerely, (Signed) Alexander Graham Bell 19 PS: — I would emphasize the fact that in purchasing these aerodromes the Government will receive much more than the mere money value of the machine — it will secure the establishment of an aerodrome industry within the Dominion of Canada. This will be of as much advantage to the Canadian Government, as to Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy. A.G.B.
Letter, Major Maunsell to Baldwin & McCurdy Ottawa, April 6, 1910. My dear Baldwin & McCurdy, I was delighted to get your telegram of the 5th inst., reporting nine successful flights of the “Mike Monoplane”. This was very good news, and I must congratulate Mr. Hubbard and yourselves on the satisfactory construction and design of your first monoplane, and I hope Mr. Hubbard will have the best of luck with it. I have been waiting patiently for the Militia Council to take up your question generally, which they did yesterday (Of course the reports were prepared long ago, but the question had to await its turn on the agenda of Militia Council papers). The decision, I am told privately, was that Privy Council was to be asked to concur in the recommendation of the Militia Council, that a grant be given to you upon certain conditions, which are to be subsequently drawn up. I hope this will be an annual grant. This, I am sure, will be satisfactory to you, but you must be patient for a week or so yet, as no definite 20 decision can be given you until Privy Council deals with it, and they of course have the right to refuse it. I shall let you know when anything more definite is decided. With kind regards to Dr. and Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Baldwin, Believe me, Very sincerely yours, (Signed) G.G. Maunsell Messrs. Baldwin & McCurdy, Baddeck, Nova Scotia.