Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/68

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Cook
Cook
56

to the 'Times.' His purpose was to prepare the way for tourists. He was absent 222 days. At the close of 1878 Cook's son became the sole manager and acting head, Cook himself receiving a fixed annual payment. His later years were passed at Leicester, and were saddened by the infirmity of blindness. He died in his house, Thorncroft, Stonegate, on 18 July 1892.

John Mason Cook (1834-1899), tourist agent, Thomas Cook's only son, born at Market Harborough in 1834, accompanied his father as a boy in his excursion trips, and when a young man entered the service of the Midland Railway Company. Afterwards he engaged in business as a printer, and when in 1864 he became his father's partner, he liberated him, as he wrote, 'from details of office work and enabled him to carry out foreign schemes of long projection in both the eastern and western hemispheres' (The Business of Travel, p. 72). After taking charge of the office in London, when it was opened in 1865, and of the 'Excursionist' magazine, he visited America next year, owing to the railway managers there having repudiated the arrangements made with his father, and he entered into contracts by which forty-one series of tickets issued by his firm were made available at any time in the United States and Canada. This laid the foundation of the large tourist business of his firm on the North American continent.

The Great Eastern Railway Company having appointed Cook in 1868 to manage the continental traffic by way of Harwich, he had many interviews on the subject with the managers of railways in Holland, Belgium, and Germany. At first the president of the Rhenish railway advised him to abandon his visionary project of issuing through tickets Finally the concession was granted him for the issue of a special series, subject to the condition that five hundred first-class passengers took them during twelve months after the agreement was signed. At a meeting held shortly afterwards he announced the five hundred tickets had been taken in one month. Two years later the president o the Rhenish railway proposed, with the approval of his colleagues, that J. M. Cook be appointed paid agent for all the companies concerned in traffic through Germany, by way of the Brenner Pass, to Brindisi. During the Franco-German war this route was alone available for English visitors to the Riviera. At the close of the Franco-German war the French railway companies, which till then had refused to allow through tickets to be used over their lines, appointed J. M. Cook their agent for the development of this form of traffic. In England he then held the same office for the Midland, the Great Eastern, the Chatham and Dover, and the Great Western railway companies. In January 1871 he was employed by the Mansion House Committee to convey the supplies provided for the relief of the Parisians after the armistice ; his success caused Fames White, M.P. for Brighton, to say in he House of Commons that, if T. Cook & Son were entrusted with the transport of troops within the United Kingdom, 'the country would probably be a gainer to the extent of something like 120,000l. or 130,000l, while the soldiers would find the change attended by a great increase of comfort' (Hansard, 3rd ser. vol. ccv. col. 1592).

A year before, the Khedive of Egypt had appointed Cook government agent for passenger traffic on the Nile. In 1873 he opened a branch office at Cairo, and instituted a regular service of steamers to the first cataract, and two years later between the first and the second, becoming also sole agent for the postal service. An hotel was opened by J. M. Cook at Luxor in 1877, and a hospital for the treatment of natives was built and endowed by him in after years.

After the battle at Tel-el-Kebir in 1882, the wounded and sick were transported by him from Cairo and Alexandria by water, while sufferers from enteric fever were conveyed up the Nile, with the result that eighty to ninety per cent, recovered, owing to the Nile trip. The Duke of Cambridge, then commander-in-chief, sent J. M. Cook official thanks for his services to the army.

In 1884, when the British government resolved to send General Gordon to the Soudan, Cook was requested to convey him as far as Korosko. Before leaving that place Gordon sent a letter of thanks and expressed the hope of 'again having the pleasure of placing myself under your guidance.' Cook was consulted when the relief expedition was planned, and he was entrusted with conveying from Assiout, the terminus of the Egyptian railway, as far as Wady Haifa, at the foot of the second cataract, eleven thousand English and seven thousand Egyptian troops, about 130,000 tons of stores and war material, eight hundred whale boats, and between sixty thousand and seventy thousand tons of coal. To do this work twenty-eight large steamers were running between the Tyne and Alexandria, six thousand trucks were passing along the line between Alexandria and Assiout, while twenty-seven boats were steaming on the river by day and night. At the appointed time, the first