The ruined building was the central structure of the magnificent group of Government buildings at Ottawa, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture on the Continent. The Library of Parliament, occupying a separate structure in the rear of the building wrecked, was fortunately spared by the fire. It was announced by the Premier, Sir Robert Borden, that steps would be taken to replace the Parliament Building with a still finer structure, and the Houses of Parliament continued their sessions in temporary quarters. One immediate result of the fire and of the suspicions attached to its origin was to stimulate recruiting in the Dominion and stiffen the resolve of the Canadian people to do their utmost to aid the success of British arms at the European front. Canada became more than ever an armed camp of determined patriots. The general sentiment was expressed by the Toronto Globe, which said: “If German agents see a way to injure Canada, they will stop at nothing to compass their ends. Arson to them is a commonplace and murder an incident in the day’s work. The destruction of the Parliament Building may have been the result of an accident, but the general belief at Ottawa is that it was the work of an incendiary.”
RUSSIAN SUCCESSES IN ASIA MINOR
On February 15, following a five days’ siege, Erzerum, the great Armenian fortress, where the main Turkish army of the Caucasus had taken refuge, fell into the hands of the Russians. The Turkish army numbered 160,000 men and was under the chief command of the German general, Field Marshal von der Goltz, formerly military governor of Belgium. The main body of the Turks managed to avoid capture at Erzerum, but the Russians took 15,000 prisoners there, besides hundreds of guns and immense quantities of munitions and supplies. Then began a determined and deadly pursuit of the Turkish army, with the object of driving it out of Armenia, and the efforts of the Russians met with continued successes. Turkish opposition in Asia Minor was swiftly broken down, and steps were taken by the Russians to relieve the British force which had been beleagured by the Turks at Kut-el-Amara, in Mesopatamia, 150 miles from Erzerum.
On February 27-28 the Turks hastily evacuated the important Black Sea port of Trebizond and neighboring cities before the victorious Russian advance. On March 1 two Russian armies were moving rapidly on Trebizond, one along the shores of the Black Sea through Rizeh, and the other in a northwesterly direction from Erzerum. The capture of Erzerum was effected in bitter wintry weather. During the assault on the fortress several Turkish regiments were annihilated or taken prisoners with all their officers. Many Turks perished from the cold.