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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II
by Andrew Dickson White
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I worked until late at night, and then went to Scheveningen almost in despair.

July 30.

Returned to The Hague early in the morning, and went on again with the report, working steadily through the day upon it. For the first time in my life I have thus made Sunday a day of work. Although I have no conscientious scruples on the subject, it was bred into me in my childhood and boyhood that Sunday should be kept free from all manner of work; and so thoroughly was this rule inculcated that I have borne it in mind ever since, often resisting very pressing temptation to depart from it.

But to-day there was no alternative, and the whole time until five o'clock in the afternoon was given to getting my draft ready.

At five P.M. the American delegation came together, and, to my surprise, received my report with every appearance of satisfaction. Mr. Low indicated some places which, in his opinion, needed modification; and to this I heartily agreed, for they were generally places where I was myself in doubt.

My draft having thus been presented, I turned it over to Mr. Low, who agreed to bring it to-morrow morning with such modifications, omissions, and additions as seemed best to him. The old proverb, "'T is always darkest just before daylight," seems exemplified in the affairs of to-day, since the kind reception given to my draft of the report, and the satisfaction expressed regarding it, form a most happy and unexpected sequel to my wretched distrust regarding the whole matter last night.

July 31.

The American delegation met at eleven in the morning and discussed my draft. Mr. Low's modifications and additions were not many and were mainly good. But he omitted some things which I would have preferred to retain: these being in the nature of a plea in behalf of arbitration, or, rather, an exhibition of the advantages which have been secured for it by the conference; but, between his doubts and Captain Mahan's opposition, I did not care to contest the matter, and several pages were left out.

At six in the afternoon came the last meeting of our delegation. The reports, duly engrossed,—namely, the special reports, signed by Captain Mahan and Captain Crozier, from the first and second committees of the conference; the special report made by myself, Mr. Low, and Dr. Holls as members of the third committee; and the general report covering our whole work, drawn almost entirely by me, but signed by all the members of the commission,—were presented, re-read, and signed, after which the delegation adjourned, sine die.

August 1.

After some little preliminary work on matters connected with the winding up of our commission, went with my private secretary, Mr. Vickery, to Amsterdam, visiting the old church, the palace, the Zoological Gardens, etc. Thence to Gouda and saw the stained-glass windows in the old church there, which I have so long desired to study.

August 3.

At 8.30 left The Hague and went by rail, via Cologne and Ehrenbreitstein, to Homburg, arriving in the evening.

August 5.

This morning resumed my duties as ambassador at Berlin.

There was one proceeding at the final meeting of the conference which I have omitted, but which really ought to find a place in this diary. Just before the final speeches, to the amazement of all and almost to the stupefaction of many, the president, M. de Staal, handed to the secretary, without comment, a paper which the latter began to read. It turned out to be a correspondence which had taken place, just before the conference, between the Queen of the Netherlands and the Pope.

The Queen's letter—written, of course, by her ministers, in the desire to placate the Catholic party, which holds the balance of power in the Netherlands—dwelt most respectfully on the high functions of his Holiness, etc., etc., indicating, if not saying, that it was not the fault of her government that he was not invited to join in the conference.

The answer from the Pope was a masterpiece of Vatican skill. In it he referred to what he claimed was his natural position as a peacemaker on earth, dwelling strongly on this point.

The reading of these papers was received in silence, and not a word was publicly said afterward regarding them, though in various quarters there was very deep feeling. It was felt that the Dutch Government had taken this means of forestalling local Dutch opposition, and that it was a purely local matter of political partizanship that ought never to have been intruded upon a conference of the whole world.

I had no feeling of this sort, for it seemed to me well enough that the facts should be presented; but a leading representative of one of the great Catholic powers, who drove home with us, was of a different mind. This eminent diplomatist from one of the strongest Catholic countries, and himself a Catholic, spoke in substance as follows: "The Vatican has always been, and is to-day, a storm-center. The Pope and his advisers have never hesitated to urge on war, no matter how bloody, when the slightest of their ordinary worldly purposes could be served by it. The great religious wars of Europe were entirely stirred up and egged on by them; and, as everybody knows, the Pope did everything to prevent the signing of the treaty of Munster, which put an end to the dreadful Thirty Years' War, even going so far as to declare the oaths taken by the plenipotentiaries at that congress of no effect.

"All through the middle ages and at the Renaissance period the Popes kept Italy in turmoil and bloodshed for their own family and territorial advantages, and they kept all Europe in turmoil, for two centuries after the Reformation,—in fact, just as long as they could,—in the wars of religion. They did everything they could to stir up the war between Austria and Prussia in 1866, thinking that Austria, a Catholic power, was sure to win; and then everything possible to stir up the war of France against Prussia in 1870 in order to accomplish the same purpose of checking German Protestantism; and now they are doing all they can to arouse hatred, even to deluge Italy in blood, in the vain attempt to recover the temporal power, though they must know that they could not hold it for any length of time even if they should obtain it.

"They pretend to be anxious to 'save souls,' and especially to love Poland and Ireland; but they have for years used those countries as mere pawns in their game with Russia and Great Britain, and would sell every Catholic soul they contain to the Greek and English churches if they could thereby secure the active aid of those two governments against Italy. They have obliged the Italian youth to choose between patriotism and Christianity, and the result is that the best of these have become atheists. Their whole policy is based on stirring up hatred and promoting conflicts from which they hope to draw worldly advantage.

"In view of all this, one stands amazed at the cool statements of the Vatican letter."

These were the words of an eminent Roman Catholic representative of a Roman Catholic power, and to them I have nothing to add.

In looking back calmly over the proceedings of the conference, I feel absolutely convinced that it has accomplished a great work for the world.

The mere assembling of such a body for such a purpose was a distinct gain; but vastly more important is the positive outcome of its labors.

First of these is the plan of arbitration. It provides a court definitely constituted; a place of meeting easily accessible; a council for summoning it always in session; guarantees for perfect independence; and a suitable procedure.

Closely connected with this is the provision for "international commissions of inquiry," which cannot fail to do much in clearing up issues likely to lead to war between nations. Thus we may hope, when there is danger of war, for something better than that which the world has hitherto heard—the clamor of interested parties and the shrieks of sensation newspapers. The natural result will be, as in the Venezuelan difficulty between the United States and Great Britain, that when a commission of this sort has been set at work to ascertain the facts, the howling of partizans and screaming of sensation-mongers will cease, and the finding of the commission be calmly awaited.

So, too, the plans adopted for mediation can hardly fail to aid in keeping off war. The plans for "special mediation" and "seconding powers," which emanated entirely from the American delegation, and which were adopted unanimously by the great committee and by the conference, seem likely to prove in some cases an effective means of preventing hostilities, and even of arresting them after they have begun. Had it been in operation during our recent war with Spain, it would probably have closed it immediately after the loss of Cervera's fleet, and would have saved many lives and much treasure.

Secondly, the extension of the Geneva rules, hitherto adopted for war on land, to war also on the sea is a distinct gain in the cause of mercy.

Thirdly, the amelioration and more careful definition of the laws of war must aid powerfully in that evolution of mercy and right reason which has been going on for hundreds of years, and especially since the great work of Grotius.

In addition to these gains may well be mentioned the declarations, expressions of opinion, and utterance of wishes for continued study and persevering effort to make the instrumentalities of war less cruel and destructive.

It has been said not infrequently that the conference missed a great opportunity when it made the resort to arbitration voluntary and not obligatory. Such an objection can come only from those who have never duly considered the problem concerned. Obligatory arbitration between states is indeed possible in various petty matters, but in many great matters absolutely impossible. While a few nations were willing to accept it in regard to these minor matters,—as, for example, postal or monetary difficulties and the like,—not a single power was willing to bind itself by a hard-and-fast rule to submit all questions to it—and least of all the United States.

The reason is very simple: to do so would be to increase the chances of war and to enlarge standing armies throughout the world. Obligatory arbitration on all questions would enable any power, at any moment, to bring before the tribunal any other power against which it has, or thinks it has, a grievance. Greece might thus summon Turkey; France might summon Germany; the Papacy, Italy; England, Russia; China, Japan; Spain, the United States, regarding matters in which the deepest of human feelings—questions of religion, questions of race, questions even of national existence—are concerned. To enforce the decisions of a tribunal in such cases would require armies compared to which those of the present day are a mere bagatelle, and plunge the world into a sea of troubles compared to which those now existing are as nothing. What has been done is to provide a way, always ready and easily accessible, by which nations can settle most of their difficulties with each other. Hitherto, securing a court of arbitration has involved first the education of public opinion in two nations; next, the action of two national legislatures; then the making of a treaty; then the careful selection of judges on both sides; then delays by the jurists thus chosen in disposing of engagements and duties to which they are already pledged—all these matters requiring much labor and long time; and this just when speedy action is most necessary to arrest the development of international anger. Under the system of arbitration now presented, the court can be brought into session at short notice—easily, as regards most nations, within a few weeks, at the farthest. When to these advantages are added the provisions for delaying war and for improving the laws of war, the calm judgment of mankind will, I fully believe, decide that the conference has done a work of value to the world.

There is also another gain—incidental, but of real and permanent value; and this is the inevitable development of the Law of Nations by the decisions of such a court of arbitration composed of the most eminent jurists from all countries. Thus far it has been evolved from the writings of scholars often conflicting, from the decisions of national courts biased by local patriotism, from the practices of various powers, on land and sea, more in obedience to their interests than to their sense of justice; but now we may hope for the growth of a great body of international law under the best conditions possible, and ever more and more in obedience to the great impulse given by Grotius in the direction of right reason and mercy.



CHAPTER L

HINTS FOR REFORMS IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE

In view of a connection with the diplomatic service of the United States begun nearly fifty years ago and resumed at various posts and periods since, I have frequently been asked for my opinion of it, as compared with that of other nations, and also what measures I would suggest for its improvement. Hitherto this question has somewhat embarrassed me: answering it fully might have seemed to involve a plea for my own interests; so that, while I have pointed out, in public lectures and in letters to men of influence, sundry improvements, I have not hitherto thought it best to go fully into the subject.

But what I now say will not see the light until my diplomatic career is finished forever, and I may claim to speak now for what seems to me the good of the service and of the country. I shall make neither personal complaint of the past nor personal plea for the future. As to the past, my experience showed me years ago what I had to expect if I continued in the service—insufficient salary, unfit quarters, inadequate means of discharging my duties, and many other difficulties which ought not to have existed, but which I knew to exist when I took office, and of which I have therefore no right to complain. As to the future, I can speak all the more clearly and earnestly because even my enemies, if I have any, must confess that nothing which is now to be done can inure to my personal benefit.

As to the present condition, then, of our diplomatic service, it seems to me a mixture of good and evil. It is by no means so bad as it once was, and by no means so good as it ought to be and as it could very easily be made. There has been great improvement in it since the days of the Civil War. The diplomatic service of no other country, probably, was so disfigured by eminently unworthy members as was our own during the quarter of a century preceding the inauguration of President Lincoln, and, indeed, during a part of the Lincoln administration itself.

During one presidential term previous to that time our ministers at three of the most important centers of Europe were making unedifying spectacles of themselves, whenever it was possible for them to do so, before the courts to which they were accredited. On one occasion of court festivity, one of them, in a gorgeous uniform such as American ministers formerly wore, ran howling through the mud in the streets of St. Petersburg, the high personages of the empire looking out upon him from the windows of the Winter Palace. Sundry other performances of his, to which I have referred in the account of my Russian mission, were quite as discreditable.

Another American representative, stationed at Berlin during that same period, disgraced his country by notorious drunkenness; and though some of our countrymen at that capital sought to keep him sober for his first presentation to the King, they were unsuccessful. Happily, his wild conduct did not culminate abroad; for a murder which he committed in a drunken fit did not occur until after his return to our country. A third American representative at that period published regularly, in his home newspaper, such scurrilous letters regarding the authorities of the country to which he was accredited, his colleagues in the diplomatic service, and, indeed, the country itself, that, according to common report, his early return home was caused by his desire to escape the consequences. These were the worst, but there were others utterly unfit,—men who not only spoke no other language used in diplomatic intercourse, but could not even speak with fairly grammatical decency their own. As to the early days of Mr. Lincoln's administration, there is a well-authenticated story that, a gentleman having expostulated with the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, for sending to a very important diplomatic post a man whose conduct was the reverse of exemplary, Mr. Seward replied, "Sir, some persons are sent abroad because they are needed abroad, and some are sent because they are NOT wanted at home."

It is a great pleasure to note that since the war both of the political parties have greatly improved in this respect, and that the standard of diplomatic appointments has become much higher. It is a duty as well as a pleasure to acknowledge here that no President of the United States has ever taken more pains to make the diplomatic and consular services what they should be than a representative of the party to which I have always been opposed—President Cleveland. Especially encouraging is the fact that public opinion has become sensitive on this subject, and that the only recent case of gross misconduct by an American minister in foreign parts was immediately followed by his recall.

And it ought also to be said, even regarding our diplomatic system in the past, that sundry sneers of the pessimists do our country wrong. It is certain that no other country has been steadily represented in Great Britain by a series of more distinguished citizens than has our own,—beginning with John Adams, and including the gentleman who at present holds the position of ambassador to the Court of St. James. Much may also be said to the credit of our embassies and legations generally at the leading capitals of Europe. As to unfortunate exceptions, those who are acquainted with diplomatists in different parts of the world know that, whatever may have been the failings of the United States in this respect, she has not been the only nation which has made mistakes in selecting foreign representatives.

Our service at the present day is, in some respects, excellent; but it is badly organized, insufficiently provided for, and, as a rule, has not the standing which every patriotic American should wish for it.

I have frequently received letters from bright, active-minded young men stating that they were desirous of fitting themselves for a diplomatic career, and asking advice regarding the best way of doing so; but I have felt obliged to warn every one of them that, strictly speaking, there is no American diplomatic service; that there is no guarantee of employment to them, even if they fit themselves admirably; no security in their tenure of office, even if they were appointed; and little, if any, probability of their promotion, however excellent their record. Moreover, I have felt obliged to tell them that the service, such as it is, especially as regards ambassadors and ministers, is a service with a property qualification; that it is not a democratic service resting upon merit, but an aristocratic service resting largely upon wealth,—a very important—indeed, essential—qualification for it being that any American who serves as ambassador must, as a rule, be able to expend, in addition to his salary, at least from twelve to twenty thousand dollars a year, and that the demands upon ministers plenipotentiary are but little less.

And yet, if Congress would seriously give attention to the matter, calling before a proper committee those of its own members, and others, who are well acquainted with the necessities of the service, and would take common-sense advice, it could easily be made one of the best, and quite possibly the best, in the world. The most essential and desirable improvements which I would present are as follows:

I. As regards the first and highest grade in the diplomatic service, that of ambassadors, I would have at least one half their whole number appointed from those who have distinguished themselves as ministers plenipotentiary, and the remaining posts filled, as at present, from those who, in public life or in other important fields, have won recognition at home as men fit to maintain the character and represent the interests of their country abroad.

II. As regards the second grade in the service,—namely, that of ministers plenipotentiary,—I would observe the same rule as in appointing ambassadors, having at least a majority of these at the leading capitals appointed from such as shall have especially distinguished themselves at the less important capitals, and a majority of the ministers plenipotentiary at these less important capitals appointed from those who shall have distinguished themselves as ministers resident, or as secretaries of embassy or of legation.

III. As to the third grade in our service, that of ministers resident, I would observe the general rule above suggested for the appointment of ambassadors and ministers plenipotentiary; that is, I would appoint a majority of them from among those who shall have rendered most distinguished service as first secretaries of embassy or of legation. When once appointed I would have them advanced, for distinguished service, from the less to the more important capitals, and, so far as possible, from the ranks of ministers resident to those of ministers plenipotentiary.

IV. As to the lower or special or temporary grades, whether that of diplomatic agent or special charge d'affaires or commissioner, I would have appointments made from the diplomatic or consular service, or from public life in general, or from fitting men in private life, as the President or the Secretary of State might think the most conducive to the public interest.

V. I would have two grades of secretaries of legation, and three grades of secretaries of embassy. I would have the lowest grade of secretaries appointed on the recommendation of the Secretary of State from those who have shown themselves, on due examination, best qualified in certain leading subjects, such as international law, the common law, the civil law, the history of treaties, and general modern history, political economy, a speaking knowledge of French, and a reading knowledge of at least one other foreign language. I would make the examination in all the above subjects strict, and would oblige the Secretary of State to make his selection of secretaries of legation from the men thus presented. But, in view of the importance of various personal qualifications which fit men to influence their fellow-men, and which cannot be ascertained wholly by examination, I would leave the Secretary of State full liberty of choice among those who have honorably passed the examinations above required. The men thus selected and approved I would have appointed as secretaries of lower grades,—that is, third secretaries of embassy and second secretaries of legation,—and these, when once appointed, should be promoted, for good service, to the higher secretaryships of embassy and legation, and from the less to the more important capitals, under such rules as the State Department might find most conducive to the efficiency of the service. No secretaries of any grade should thereafter be appointed who had not passed the examinations required for the lowest grade of secretaries as above provided; but all who had already been in the service during two years should be eligible for promotion, without any further examination, from whatever post they might be occupying.

VI. I would attach to every embassy three secretaries, to every legation two, and to every post of minister resident at least one.

One of the thoroughly wise arrangements of every British embassy or legation—an arrangement which has gone for much in Great Britain's remarkable series of diplomatic successes throughout the world—is to be seen in her maintaining at every capital a full number of secretaries and attaches, who serve not only in keeping the current office work in the highest efficiency, but who become, as it were, the ANTENNAE of the ambassador or minister—additional eyes and ears to ascertain what is going on among those most influential in public affairs. Every embassy or legation thus equipped serves also as an actual and practical training-school for the service.

VII. I would appoint each attache from the ranks of those especially recommended, and certified to in writing by leading authorities in the department to which he is expected to supply information: as, for example, for military attaches, the War Department; for naval attaches, the Navy Department; for financial attaches, the Treasury Department; for commercial attaches, the Department of Commerce; for agricultural attaches, the Department of Agriculture; but always subject to the approval of the Secretary of State as regards sundry qualifications hinted at above, which can better be ascertained by an interview than by an examination.

I would have a goodly number of attaches of these various sorts, and, in our more important embassies, one representing each of the departments above named. Every attache, if fit for his place, would be worth far more than his cost to our government, for he would not only add to the influence of the embassy or legation, but decidedly to its efficiency. As a rule, all of them could also be made of real use after the conclusion of their foreign careers: some by returning to the army or navy and bringing their knowledge to bear on those branches of the service; some by taking duty in the various departments at Washington, and aiding to keep our government abreast of the best practice in other countries; some by becoming professors in universities and colleges, and thus aiding to disseminate useful information; some by becoming writers for the press, thus giving us, instead of loose guesses and haphazard notions, information and suggestions based upon close knowledge of important problems and of their solution in countries other than our own.

From these arrangements I feel warranted in expecting a very great improvement in our diplomatic service. Thus formed, it would become, in its main features, like the military and naval services, and, indeed, in its essential characteristics as to appointment and promotion, like any well-organized manufacturing or commercial establishment. It would absolutely require ascertained knowledge and fitness in the lowest grades, and would give promotion for good service from first to last. Yet it would not be a cast-iron system: a certain number of men who had shown decided fitness in various high public offices, or in important branches of public or private business, could be appointed, whenever the public interest should seem to require it, as ministers resident, ministers plenipotentiary, and ambassadors, without having gone through examination or regular promotion.

But the system now proposed, while thus allowing the frequent bringing in of new and capable men from public life at home, requires that a large proportion of each grade above that of secretary, save a very small number of diplomatic agents, commissioners, and the like, shall be appointed from those thoroughly trained for the service, and that all secretaries, without exception, shall be thoroughly trained and fitted. Scope would thus be given to the activity of both sorts of men, and the whole system made sufficiently elastic to meet all necessities.

In the service thus organized, the class of ambassadors and ministers fitted by knowledge of public affairs at home for important negotiations, but unacquainted with diplomatic life or foreign usages and languages, would be greatly strengthened by secretaries who had passed through a regular course of training and experience. An American diplomatic representative without diplomatic experience, on reaching his post, whether as ambassador or minister, would not find—as was once largely the case—secretaries as new as himself to diplomatic business, but men thoroughly prepared to aid him in the multitude of minor matters, ignorance of which might very likely cripple him as regards very important business: secretaries so experienced as to be able to set him in the way of knowing, at any court, who are the men of real power, and who mere parasites and pretenders, what relations are to be cultivated and what avoided, which are the real channels of influence, and which mere illusions leading nowhither. On the other hand, the secretaries thoroughly trained would doubtless, in their conversation with a man fresh from public affairs at home, learn many things of use to them.

Thus, too, what is of great importance throughout the entire service, every ambassador, minister plenipotentiary, or minister resident would possess, or easily command, large experience of various men in various countries. At the same time, each would be under most powerful incentives to perfect his training, widen his acquaintance, and deepen his knowledge—incentives which, under the old system,—which we may hope is now passing away,—with its lack of appointment for ascertained fitness, lack of promotion for good service, and lack of any certainty of tenure, do not exist.

The system of promotion for merit throughout the service is no mere experiment; the good sense of all the leading nations in the world, except our own, has adopted it, and it works well. In our own service the old system works badly; excellent men, both in its higher and lower grades, have been frequently crippled by want of proper experience or aid. We have, indeed, several admirable secretaries—some of them fit to be ambassadors or ministers, but all laboring under conditions the most depressing —such as obtain in no good business enterprise. During my stay as minister at St. Petersburg, the secretary of legation, a man ideally fitted for the post, insisted on resigning. On my endeavoring to retain him, he answered as follows: "I have been over twelve years in the American diplomatic service as secretary; I have seen the secretaries here, from all other countries, steadily promoted until all of them still remaining in the service are in higher posts, several of them ministers, and some ambassadors. I remain as I was at the beginning, with no promotion, and no probability of any. I feel that, as a rule, my present colleagues, as well as most officials with whom I have to do, seeing that I have not been advanced, look upon me as a failure. They cannot be made to understand how a man who has served so long as secretary has been denied promotion for any reason save inefficiency. I can no longer submit to be thus looked down upon, and I must resign."

While thus having a system of promotion based upon efficiency, I would retain during good behavior, up to a certain age, the men who have done thoroughly well in the service. Clearly, when we secure an admirable man,—recognized as such in all parts of the world,—like Mr. Wheaton, Mr. Bancroft, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, Mr. Marsh, Mr. Townsend Harris, Mr. Washburne, Mr. Lowell, Mr. Bayard, Mr. Phelps, and others who have now passed away, not to speak of many now living, we should keep him at his post as long as he is efficient, without regard to his politics. This is the course taken very generally by other great nations, and especially by our sister republic of Great Britain (for Great Britain is simply a republic with a monarchical figurehead lingering along on good behavior): she retains her representatives in these positions, and promotes them without any regard to their party relations. During my first official residence at Berlin, although the home government at London was of the Conservative party, it retained at the German capital, as ambassador, Lord Ampthill, a Liberal; and, as first secretary, Sir John Walsham, a Tory. From every point of view, the long continuance in diplomatic positions of the most capable men would be of great advantage to our country.

But, as the very first thing to be done, whether our diplomatic service remains as at present or be improved, I would urge, as a condition precedent to any thoroughly good service, that there be in each of the greater capitals of the world at which we have a representative, a suitable embassy or legation building or apartment, owned or leased for a term of years by the American Government Every other great power, and many of the smaller nations, have provided such quarters for their representatives, and some years ago President Cleveland recommended to Congress a similar policy. Under the present system the head of an American embassy or mission abroad is at a wretched disadvantage. In many capitals he finds it at times impossible to secure a proper furnished apartment; and, in some, very difficult to find any suitable apartment at all, whether furnished or unfurnished. Even if he finds proper rooms, they are frequently in an unfit quarter of the town, remote from the residences of his colleagues, from the public offices, from everybody and everything related to his work. His term of office being generally short, he is usually considered a rather undesirable tenant, and is charged accordingly. Besides this, the fitting and furnishing of such an apartment is a very great burden, both as regards trouble and expense. I have twice thus fitted and furnished a large apartment in Berlin, and in each case this represented an expenditure of more than the salary for the first year. Within my own knowledge, two American ministers abroad have impoverished their families by expenditures of this kind. But this is not the worst. The most serious result of the existing system concerns our country. I have elsewhere shown how, in one very important international question at St. Petersburg, our mistaken policy in this respect once cost the United States a sum which would have forever put that embassy, and, indeed, many others besides, on the very best footing. If an American ambassador is to exercise a really strong influence for the United States as against other nations he must be properly provided for as regards his residence and support,—not provided for, indeed, so largely as some representatives of other nations; for I neither propose nor desire that the American representative shall imitate the pomp of certain ambassadors of the greater European powers. But he ought to be enabled to live respectably, and to discharge his duties efficiently. There should be, in this respect, what Thomas Jefferson acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence as a duty,—"a decent regard for the opinions of mankind." The present condition of things is frequently humiliating. In the greater capitals of Europe the general public know the British, French, Austrian, Italian, and all other important embassies or legations, except that of our country. The American embassy or legation has no settled home, is sometimes in one quarter of the town, sometimes in another, sometimes almost in an attic, sometimes almost in a cellar, generally inadequate in its accommodations, and frequently unfortunate in its surroundings. Both my official terms at St. Petersburg showed me that one secret of the great success of British diplomacy, in all parts of the world, is that especial pains are taken regarding this point, and that, consequently, every British embassy is the center of a wide-spread social influence which counts for very much indeed in her political influence. The United States, as perhaps the wealthiest nation in existence,—a nation far-reaching in the exercise of its foreign policy, with vast and increasing commercial and other interests throughout the world,—should, in all substantial matters, be equally well provided for. Take our recent relations with Turkey. We have insisted on the payment of an indemnity for the destruction of American property, and we have constantly a vast number of Americans of the very best sort, and especially our missionaries, who have to be protected throughout the whole of that vast empire. Each of the other great powers provides its representative at Constantinople with a residence honorable, suitable, and within a proper inclosure for its protection; but the American minister lives anywhere and everywhere,—in such premises, over shops and warehouses, as can be secured,—and he is liable, in case of trouble between the two nations, to suffer personal violence and to have his house sacked by a Turkish mob. No foreign people, and least of all an Oriental people, can highly respect a diplomatic representative who, by his surroundings, seems not to be respected by his own people. The American Government can easily afford the expenditure needed to provide proper houses or apartments for its entire diplomatic corps, but it can hardly afford NOT to provide these. Full provision for them would not burden any American citizen to the amount of the half of a Boston biscuit. Leaving matters in their present condition is, in the long run, far more costly. I once had occasion to consider this matter in the light of economy, and found that the cost of the whole diplomatic service of the United States during an entire year was only equal to the expenditure in one of our recent wars during four hours; so that if any member of the diplomatic service should delay a declaration of war merely for the space of a day, he would defray the cost of the service for about six years.

Mr. Charles Francis Adams, by his admirable diplomatic dealing with the British Foreign Office at the crisis of our Civil War, prevented the coming out of the later Confederate cruisers to prey upon our commerce, and, in all probability, thus averted a quarrel with Great Britain which would have lengthened our Civil War by many years, and doubtless have cost us hundreds of millions.

General Woodford, our recent minister at Madrid, undoubtedly delayed our war with Spain for several months, and skilful diplomatic intervention brought that war to a speedy close just as soon as our military and naval successes made it possible.

The cases are also many where our diplomatic representatives have quieted ill feelings which would have done great harm to our commerce. These facts show that the diplomatic service may well be called "The Cheap Defense of Nations."

When, in addition to this, an American recalls such priceless services to civilization, and to the commerce of our country and of the world, as those rendered by Mr. Townsend Harris while American minister in Japan, the undoubted saving through a long series of years of many lives and much property by our ministers in such outlying parts of the world as Turkey and China, the promotion of American commercial and other interests, and the securing of information which has been precious to innumerable American enterprises, it seems incontestable that our diplomatic service ought not to be left in its present slipshod condition. It ought to be put on the best and most effective footing possible, so that everywhere the men we send forth to support and advance the manifold interests of our country shall be thoroughly well equipped and provided for. To this end the permanent possession of a suitable house or apartment in every capital is the foremost and most elementary of necessities.

And while such a provision is the first thing, it would be wise to add, as other nations do, a moderate allowance for furniture, and for keeping the embassy or legation properly cared for during the interim between the departure of one representative and the arrival of another.

If this were done, the prestige of the American name and the effectiveness of the service would be vastly improved, and diplomatic posts would be no longer so onerous and, indeed, ruinous as they have been to some of the best men we have sent abroad.

And in order fully to free my mind I will add that, while the provision for a proper embassy or legation building is the first of all things necessary, it might also be well to increase somewhat the salaries of our representatives abroad. These may seem large even at present; but the cost of living has greatly increased since they were fixed, and the special financial demands upon an ambassador or minister at any of the most important posts are always far beyond the present salary. It is utterly impossible for an American diplomatic representative to do his duty upon the salary now given, even while living on the most moderate scale known in the diplomatic corps. To attempt to do so would deprive him of all opportunity to exercise that friendly, personal, social influence which is so important an element in his success.

To sum up my suggestions as to this part of the subject, I should say: First, that, as a rule, there should be provided at each diplomatic post where the United States has a representative a spacious and suitable house, either bought by our government or taken on a long lease; and that there should be a small appropriation each year for maintaining it as regards furniture, care, etc. Secondly, that American representatives of the highest grade—namely, ambassadors—should have a salary of at least $25,000 a year; and that diplomatic representatives of lower grade should have their salaries raised in the same proportion. Thirdly, that an additional number of secretaries and attaches should be provided in the manner and for the reasons above recommended.

If the carrying out of these reforms should require an appropriation to the diplomatic service fifty per cent. higher than it now is,—which is an amount greater than would really be required by all the expenditures I propose, including interest upon the purchase money of appropriate quarters for our representatives abroad,—the total additional cost to each citizen of the United States would be less than half a cent each year.

The first result of these and other reforms which I have indicated, beginning with what is of the very first importance,—provision for a proper house or apartment in every capital,—would certainly be increased respect for the United States and increased effectiveness of its foreign representatives.

As to the other reforms, such as suitable requirements for secretaryships, and proper promotion throughout the whole service, they would vastly increase its attractiveness, in all its grades, to the very men whom the country most needs. They would open to young men in our universities and colleges a most honorable career, leading such institutions to establish courses of instruction with reference to such a service—courses which were established long since in Germany, but which have arrived nearest perfection in two of our sister republics—at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and in the ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris.

It seems certain that a diplomatic service established and maintained in the manner here indicated would not only vastly increase the prestige and influence of the United States among her sister nations, but, purely from a commercial point of view, would amply repay us. To have in diplomatic positions at the various capitals men thoroughly well fitted not only as regards character and intellect, but also as regards experience and acquaintance, and to have them so provided for as to become the social equals of their colleagues, would be, from every point of view, of the greatest advantage to our country materially and politically, and would give strength to our policy throughout the world.

And, finally, to a matter worth mentioning only because it has at sundry times and in divers manners been comically argued and curiously misrepresented—the question as to a diplomatic uniform.

As regards any principle involved, I have never been able to see any reason, a priori, why, if we have a uniform for our military service and another for our naval service, we may not have one for our diplomatic service. It has, indeed, been asserted by sundry orators dear to the galleries, as well as by various "funny-column" men, that such a uniform is that of a lackey; but this assertion loses force when one reflects on the solemn fact that "plain evening dress," which these partizans of Jeffersonian simplicity laud and magnify, and which is the only alternative to a uniform, is worn by table-waiters the world over.

Yet, having conceded so much, truth compels me to add that, having myself never worn anything save "plain evening dress" at any court to which I have been accredited, or at any function which I have attended, I have never been able to discover the slightest disadvantage to my country or myself from that fact.

Colleagues of mine, clad in resplendent uniforms, have, indeed, on more than one occasion congratulated me on being allowed a more simple and comfortable costume; and though such expressions are, of course, to be taken with some grains of allowance, I have congratulated myself with the deepest sincerity on my freedom from what seems to me a most tiresome yoke.

The discussion of a question of such vast importance—to the censors above referred to—would be inadequate were mention not made of a stumbling-block which does not seem to have been adequately considered by those who propose a return to the earlier practice of our Republic—and this is, that the uniform is, at any European court, but a poor thing unless it bears some evidence of distinguished service, in the shape of stars, crosses, ribbons, and the like. A British ambassador, or minister plenipotentiary, in official uniform, but without the ribbon or star of the Bath or other honorable order, would appear to little advantage indeed. A representative of the French Republic would certainly prefer to wear the plainest dress rather than the most splendid uniform unadorned by the insignia of the Legion of Honor, and, in a general way, the same may be said of the representatives of all nations which approve the wearing of a diplomatic uniform.

But our own Republic bestows no such "decorations," and allows none of its representatives, during their term of office, to receive them; so that, if put into uniform, these representatives must appear to the great mass of beholders as really of inferior quality, undistinguished by any adornments which indicate good service.

All this difficulty our present practice avoids. The American ambassador, or minister, is known at once by the fact that he alone wears plain evening dress; and this fact, as well as the absence of decorations, being recognized as in simple conformity with the ideas and customs of his country, rather adds to his prestige than diminishes it, as far as I have been able to discover. Perhaps the well-known case of Lord Castlereagh at the Congress of Vienna is in point. In the midst of the throng of his colleagues, all of them most gorgeously arrayed in uniforms, stars, and decorations of every sort, he appeared in the simplest evening attire; and the attention of Metternich being called to this fact, that much experienced, infinitely bespangled statesman answered, "Ma foi! il est bien distingue."

Of course we ought to give due weight to the example set by Benjamin Franklin when presented to Louis XVI, and the fact that his simple shoe-strings nearly threw the court chamberlains into fainting-fits, and that his plain dress had an enormous influence on public opinion; but, alas! we have also to take account of the statement by an eminent critic to the effect that Franklin, at his previous presentation to Louis XV, had worn court dress, and that he wore similar gorgeous attire at various other public functions, with the inference that he was prevented from doing so, when received by Louis XVI, only by the fact that somehow his court dress was inaccessible.[10]

[10] See Sainte-Beuve, "Causeries du Lundi," Vol. VII, Article of November 29, 1852.

All these facts, conflicting, but more or less pertinent, being duly considered, I would have the rule regarding dress remain as it is, save in the rare cases when the sovereign of a country, at some special function, requests some modification of it. In such case the Secretary of State might, one would suppose, be allowed to grant a dispensation from the ordinary rule without any danger to American liberty.

For the more profound considerations which this vast subject suggests, the judicious reader may well consult "Sartor Resartus."



PART VI

SUNDRY JOURNEYS AND EXPERIENCES

CHAPTER LI

EARLIER EXCURSIONS IN THE UNITED STATES—1838-1875

From my boyhood I have been fond of travel, and at times this fondness has been of great use to me. My constitution, though never robust, has thus far proved elastic, and whenever I have at last felt decidedly the worse for overwork or care, the best of all medicines has been an excursion, longer or shorter, in our own country or in some other. Thus it has happened that, besides journeys into nearly every part of the United States, and official residences in Russia, France, Germany, and the West Indies, I have made frequent visits to Europe—among them ten or twelve to Italy, and even more to Germany, France, and England, besides excursions into the Scandinavian countries, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. To most of these I have alluded in other chapters; but there are a few remaining possibly worthy of note.

The first of these journeys was taken when I went with my father and mother from the little country town where we then lived to Syracuse, Buffalo, and Niagara. This must have been in 1838, when I was about six years of age. Every step of it interested me keenly. Like the shop-girl in Emile Souvestre's story, who journeyed from Paris to St. Cloud, I was "amazed to find the world so large." Syracuse, which now has about one hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants, had then, perhaps, five thousand; the railways which were afterward consolidated into the New York Central were not yet built, and we traveled mainly upon the canal, though at times over wretchedly muddy roads. Niagara made a great impression upon me, and Buffalo, with its steamers, seemed as great then as London seems now.

Four years later, in 1842, I was taken to the hills of middle Massachusetts to visit my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, and thence to Boston, where Faneuil Hall, the Bunker Hill Monument, Harvard College, and Mount Auburn greatly impressed me. Returning home, we came by steamer through the Sound to the city of New York, and stayed at a hotel near Trinity Church, which was then a little south of the central part of the city. On another visit, somewhat later, we were lodged at the Astor House, near the City Hall, which was then at the very center of everything, and thence took excursions far northward into the uttermost parts of the city, and even beyond it, to see the newly erected Grace Church and the reservoir at Forty-second Street, which were among the wonders of the town. Most of all was I impressed by the service in the newly erected Trinity Church. The idea uppermost in my mind was that here was a building which was to last for hundreds of years, and that the figures in the storied windows above the altar would look down upon new generations of worshipers, centuries after I, with all those living, should have passed away. My feeling for religious music was then, as since, very deep; and the organ of Trinity gave satisfaction to this feeling; the tremulous ground-tone of the great pedal diapasons thrilling me through and through.

At this period, about 1843, began my visits with the family to Saratoga. My grandfather, years before, had derived benefit from its waters, and the tradition of this, as well as the fact that my father there met socially his business correspondents from different parts of the State, led to our going year after year. Drinking the waters, taking life easily upon the piazzas of the great hotels festooned with Virginia creepers, and driving to the lake, formed then, as now, the main occupations of the day. But there was then one thing which has now ceased: in many of the greater hotels public prayers were held every evening, some eminent clergyman officiating; and a leader in these services was David Leavitt, a famous New York bank president, shrewd, but pious. Now and then, as the political campaigns drew on, we had speeches from eminent statesmen; and I give in the chapters on "My Religion" reminiscences of speeches on religious subjects made by Archbishop Hughes and Father Gavazzi. An occasional visit from Washington Irving or Senator (afterward President) Buchanan, as well as other men of light and leading, aroused my tendencies toward hero-worship; but perhaps the event most vividly stamped into my memory was the parade of Mme. Jumel. One afternoon at that period she appeared in the streets of Saratoga in an open coach-and-four, her horses ridden by gaily dressed postilions. This was regarded by very many visitors as an affront not merely to good morals, but to patriotism, for she had the fame of having been in relations, more intimate than edifying, with Aaron Burr, who was widely considered as a traitor to his country as well as the murderer of Alexander Hamilton; and on the second day of her parade, another carriage, with four horses and postilions, in all respects like her own, followed her wherever she went and sometimes crossed her path: but this carriage contained an enormous negro, black and glossy, a porter at one of the hotels, dressed in the height of fashion, who very gravely rose and doffed his hat to the applauding multitudes on either side of the way. Mme. Jumel and her friends were, of course, furious; and it was said that her postilions would in future be armed with pistols and directed to fire upon the rival equipage should it again get in their way. But no catastrophe occurred; Mme. Jumel took one or two more drives, and that was the end of it.

In my college days, from 1849 to 1853, going to and from New Haven, I frequently passed through New York, and the progress of the city northward since my earlier visits was shown by the fact that the best hotel nearest the center of business had become first the Irving House, just at the upper end of the City Hall Park, and later the St. Nicholas and Metropolitan hotels, some distance up Broadway. Staying in 1853 at a hotel looking out upon what was to be Madison Square, I noticed that all north of that was comparatively vacant, save here and there a few houses and churches.

Going abroad shortly afterward, I gave three years to my attacheship and student life in Europe, traveling across the continent to St. Petersburg and back, as well as through Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy, all of which were then under the old regime of disunion and despotism. To these journeys I refer elsewhere.

Interesting to me, after my return home, were visits to Chicago in 1858 and at various times afterward. At my first visits the city was wretchedly unkempt. Workmen were raising its grade, and their mode of doing this was remarkable. Under lines of brick and stone houses, in street after street, screws were placed; and, large forces of men working at these, the vast buildings went up steadily. My first stay was at the Tremont House, then a famous hostelry; and during the whole of my visit the enormous establishment, several stories in height, was going on as usual, though it was all open beneath and rising in the air perceptibly every day. Years afterward, when Mr. George Pullman had become deservedly one of the powers of Chicago, he gave me a dinner, at which I had the pleasure of meeting a large number of the most energetic and distinguished men of the city. Being asked by a guest as to the time when I first visited Chicago, I stated the facts above given, when my interlocutor remarked, "Yes, and if you had gone down into the cellar beneath the Tremont House you would have found our host working at one of the jack-screws." I had already an admiration for Mr. Pullman; for he had told me of his creation of the Pullman cars, and had shown me through the beautiful artisan town which bears his name; but by this remark my respect for him was greatly augmented.

My first visit to the upper Mississippi left an indelible impression on my mind. No description of that vast volume of water slowly moving before my eyes ever seemed at all adequate until, years afterward, I read Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer," and his account of the scene when his hero awakes on a raft floating down the great river struck a responsive chord in my heart. It was the first description that ever answered at all to the picture in my mind. Very interesting to me were sundry later excursions to Boston, generally on university or other business. At one of these I purchased the library of President Sparks for the university, and, staying some days, had the pleasure of meeting many noted men—among them Mr. Josiah Quincy, whose reminiscences were to me very interesting, his accounts of conversations with John Adams perhaps more so than anything else. At various clubs I met most charming people, the most engrossing of these being Arthur Gilman, the architect: then, and at other times, I sat up with him late into the night,—once, indeed, the entire night,—listening to his flow of quaint wit and humor. The range of his powers was perhaps best shown in a repetition of what he claimed to be the debate in the city council of Boston on his plans for a new city hall, which were afterward adopted. The speeches in Irish brogue, Teutonic Jargon, and down-east Yankee dialect, with utterances interposed here and there by solemnly priggish members, were inimitable. His pet antipathy seemed to be the bishop of the diocese, Dr. Eastburn. Stories were told to the effect that Gilman, early in life, had desired to take orders in the Protestant Episcopal Church, but that the bishop refused to ordain him, on the ground that he lacked the requisite discretion. Hence, perhaps his zeal in preaching what he claimed to be the bishop's sermons. Dr. Eastburn was much given to amplification, and Gilman always insisted that he had heard him once, when preaching on the parable of Dives and Lazarus, discuss the prayer of Dives in torments for a drop of water, as follows: "To this, my brethren, under the circumstances entirely natural, but, at the same time, no less completely inadmissible request, the aged patriarch replied."

The bishop, who enjoyed a reputation for eloquence, was wont to draw his lungs full of air at frequent periods during his discourses, thus keeping his voice strong, as skilful elocutionists advise; and on one very warm summer afternoon, according to Gilman's account, a little boy in the congregation, son of one of the most distinguished laymen in the diocese, becoming very uneasy and begging his mother to allow him to go home, she had quieted him several times by assuring him that the bishop would soon be through, when, just at one of the most impressive passages, the bishop having drawn in his breath as usual, the little boy screamed so as to be heard throughout the church, "No, he won't stop, mama; no, he won't stop; don't you see he has just blowed hisself up again?"

Gilman also told us a story of the bishop's catechizing the children in a Boston church, when, having taken the scriptural account of Jonah and carried the prophet into the whale's belly, he asked very impressively, "And now, children, how do you suppose that Jonah felt?" Whereupon little Sohier, son of the noted lawyer, piped out, "Down in the mouth, sir." Gilman insisted that the bishop was exceeding wroth, and complained to the boy's father, who was unable to conceal from the bishop his delight at his son's answer.

At one visit or another, mainly during the years of my connection with Cornell University, I met at Boston, pleasantly, the men who were then most distinguished in American literature. One of these, who interested me especially, was Ticknor, author of the "History of Spanish Literature." Longfellow always seemed to me a most lovely being, whether at Nahant or at Cambridge. Lowell was wonderfully brilliant as well as kindly, and Edward Everett Hale delightful. It was the time of Hale's short stories in the "Atlantic Monthly," which seem to me the best ever written. Oliver Wendell Holmes I met so rarely that I have little memory of his brilliant conversation. Emerson I met then and at other times,—once, especially, in a railway train during one of his Western lecture tours; he was then reading the first volume of Carlyle's "Frederick the Great," and, on my asking him how he liked it, instead of showing his usual devotion to the author, he burst forth into a stream of protests against Carlyle's "everlasting scolding at Dryasdust." A man who was as much overrated then as he is underrated now was Whipple, the essayist; he was always bright, and often suggestive; but too reliant upon a style which is now out of date,—frequently summoning "alliteration's artful aid," and resorting to other devices, fashionable then, but now discarded. Perhaps the best of all his sentences was the one on the three great statesmen of that period, to the effect that Webster was INductive, Calhoun DEductive, and Clay SEductive; which was not only well stated but true. Very vividly comes back to me a supper-party given early in 1875 at the house of James T. Fields, in celebration of Bayard Taylor's birthday. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Fields and Taylor were present Richard H. Dana, eminent in law and letters; Cranch, then known both as a painter and poet; Mr. Osgood; and myself. Taylor recited, as I had heard him do at other times, from the productions of the Georgia poet, Chivers, and especially from the "Eonx of Ruby." Chivers, according to Taylor's showing, had become infatuated with Poe, and adorned his verses with every sort of beautiful word which he could coin, the result being as nonsensical a medley as was ever known. Earlier in the evening, Taylor, Fields, and myself had each of us been giving a lecture, and this led Taylor to speak of a recent experience of his while holding forth in one of the smaller towns of Massachusetts. The chairman of the lecture committee, being seated beside him on the platform, and wishing to entertain him with edifying conversation while the audience was coming in remarked that they had had rather a trying experience during the lecture of the week before. On Taylor's asking what it was, the chairman answered: "The lecturer was seized by a virago on the stage." He meant vertigo. Dana told good stories of old Dr. Osgood of Medford, whose hatred of Democracy was shown not only in his well-known reading of Governor Gerry's proclamation, but in his bitter sermon at the election of Thomas Jefferson. At this some one gave a story regarding our contemporary Dr. Osgood, the eminent Unitarian clergyman, who, toward the end of his life, had gone into the Protestant Episcopal Church. I had known him as a man of much ability and power, but with a rather extraordinary way of asserting himself and patronizing people. He had recently died, and a legend had arisen that, on his arrival in the New Jerusalem, being presented to St. Paul, he said: "Sir, I have derived both profit and pleasure from your writings, and have commended them to my congregation."

Our host, Fields, was especially delightful. He gave reminiscences of his stay with Tennyson on the Isle of Wight—among others, of taking a walk with him one dark evening when, suddenly, the great poet fell on his knees, and seeming to burrow in the grass called out gutturally and gruffly: "Man, get down on your marrow-bones; here are violets." Fields also gave reminiscences of Charles Sumner, showing the great senator's utter lack of any sense of humor, and among them a story of his summoning his office-boy to his presence on the eve of the Fourth of July and addressing him on this wise: "Patrick, to-morrow is the natal day of our Republic; it is a day for public rejoicing, a time of patriotic festivity. You need not come to the office; go out and rejoice with our fellow-citizens that your lot is cast in so happy a country. Here are fifty cents; I advise you to pass the day at the cemetery of Mount Auburn."

Very interesting to me were sundry excursions in the Southern States, the first as far back as 1864. After attending the Baltimore Convention which renominated Mr. Lincoln, and paying my respects to him at Washington, as stated in my political reminiscences, I went somewhat later to Richmond. Libby Prison had a sad interest for me, as for many at that time, and on all sides was seen the havoc of war; but perhaps the most curious feature of my stay was a visit to the house which had served as the White House of the Confederacy—the dwelling of Jefferson Davis, for, just as I entered the door I met one of the arch antislavery men of New England, Dr. Leonard Bacon of New Haven. Both of us were happy at the outcome of the war, but it was with a very solemn sort of joy that we thus met in such a place. I seemed to hear, as so often in the South of that day, and, indeed, in the North also, that fearful prophecy of Thomas Jefferson—when speaking of slavery in the Southern States—beginning with the words, "I tremble when I remember that God is just." Halting at Gettysburg on my return northward, I found marks of the terrible contest of the previous year still vivid. For miles, in all directions, on the roads and through the fields, were fragments of shell, of cannon, of harness, of clothing, and equipments of every sort. The trees, especially those near the great centers of the struggle, where the cemetery now is, were gashed and torn in trunk and branches, and here and there were to be seen fragments of human bodies which, having been too hastily buried, had been washed out by the rains.

About ten years later,—February, 1875,—being much worn with labor and care at the university, I made a short stay in the more Southern States, my first stop being at Washington, where I passed an interesting evening at the Executive Mansion with President Grant, who was as simple and cordial in manner as ever. The next day I left Washington for Richmond and the far South, and on the morning following was aroused at one of the way-stations by hearing negroes singing in a neighboring car. They were happy at the prospect of breakfast, but a curious preliminary was that each came out upon the platform, and, taking a currycomb which was hung up for the purpose, curried himself, much as an ostler administers that treatment to a horse—every negro grasping in his turn the large wooden handle and pulling the iron teeth through his plentiful wool.

Stopping next at Columbia in South Carolina, I saw flagrant examples of carpet-bag rule; but of those in the State-house I have already spoken. Here was a focus of Southern feeling; and at the State University, which was charmingly situated, and altogether a most fitting home for scholars and thinkers, I was taken into the library where formerly stood the bust of Francis Lieber, once a professor in the institution. Never had the South a wiser or better friend. In after years I knew, loved, and respected him. No man with a deeper knowledge of free institutions, or with greater love for them, has ever lived in our country; but when the news came to his old university, where he had been so greatly admired, that he was true to the Union, his marble bust was torn from its place, dishonored, and destroyed. There could be no better illustration of Bishop Butler's idea of "a possible insanity of States."

On Sunday, having been taken by one of the professors in the university to a Protestant Episcopal church for colored people, of which he was rector, I was surprised at the light color and real beauty of many of the women present: nowhere, save in Jamaica, had I seen people of mixed races so attractive. In Charleston there were on all sides ruins, due not only to the Civil War, but to the more recent fire and earthquake. It all seemed as if the vengeance of Heaven had been wrought upon the city. My sympathies were deeply enlisted; I felt no anger over the past, no exultation. I was taken to a home for Confederate orphans and to another for widows, and in both were pointed out to me members of families, now hopelessly destitute, who before the war lived in luxury. In no city, at home or abroad, have I ever seen a line of stately mansions which seemed more fitting abodes for wealth and culture than those upon the esplanade at Charleston; in the days gone by a noble hospitality had centered there, but all was now silent and distressed.

On the 4th of March we arrived in Florida and found it fascinating. Never before had I been farther south upon the mainland of the United States than Charleston, and never had I seen anything of this region, save when the frigate bearing the Santo Domingo Commission touched at Key West. Among the most characteristic things at Jacksonville was a large church belonging to the negro Baptists, who were evidently the leading sect. The church was large, but unfinished, and a main feature of every service was passing the hat for contributions. The services were singular indeed. There was one old negro pastor who, though he could read little if at all, had schooled himself to look into the Bible while reciting parts of chapters, and to keep his eyes upon the pages of his hymnal while repeating the hymns; and a very weighty function was the reading of notices of every sort of social gathering, especial prominence being given to meetings of fire-engine companies. The number of Northern visitors was very large, and it was evident that the negro managers of the congregation felt the importance of keeping on good terms with all of them without regard to party; for, on one occasion, as the pastor was giving these notices, slowly deciphering them, with the aid of a younger minister, and reading them mechanically, he began as follows: "Dere will be a meetin' of de Republikins of dis ward"—and instantly a number of the brethren started to their feet, and put up their hands with a long "Hu-u-u-sh!" The preacher was greatly embarrassed and passed on immediately to "There will be a meeting of No. 2 Fire Company," etc., etc. Most hearty of all was the singing, in which the whole congregation joined loudly and with voices clear and silvery. After the services were over there came regularly what was called the "sperritual part." Some one of the more gifted singers—of whom, perhaps, the most satisfactory was a young colored man in a black velvet coat and a brilliant red tie—came forward, stood before the pulpit, and began a long solo—as a rule, with scores of verses. One was on the creation, another on the flood, each verse paraphrasing the scriptural account; and the refrain, in which the whole congregation joined, was as follows:

"Ole Pharaoh he got law-s-t— Got law-s-t, got law-s-t— Ole Pharaoh he got drownded In the Re-e-e-e-d Sea."

But soon came a song which amazed me. It was totally different in character from any of the others, and was called "The Seven Glories of Mary." One of the verses ran as follows:

"An' de berry next glory dat Mary she had, It was de glory of sebben— It was dat her Son Jesus he tolled de bells of hebben;"

and then, as at the end of each verse, came from the whole congregation the refrain:

"Oh, trials an' tribulashuns! I'm gwine to quit dis world."

Next day I sent for the singer and asked him where he had learned his songs. His answer was, "Boss, I made 'em up myself." To this I answered, "Quite likely, some of them; but not 'The Seven Glories of Mary.'" He thought a moment, and then said, "Yes, boss, you 're right; dat song I brought down from ole Virginny." It was as I had thought. The song was an old Christmas carol, evidently brought from England in Colonial times; and the negroes, having substituted here and there a word or a phrase which struck them as finer than the original had preserved it.

Strange, indeed, were the devotions of this great congregation. Occasionally some old plantation negro, gray-headed and worn with labor, would rise and lead in the prayers with a real inspiration, pouring out his whole heart, with all its hopes and sorrows. Never have I heard more pathetic supplications. More than once I have seen tears streaming from the eyes of the Northern visitors, and then, almost in a moment, the same faces wreathed in smiles at some farce in giving out the notices or in taking up the collections.

A charming episode in this Florida stay was an excursion up the St. John's River, through beautiful semi-tropical vegetation. But one thing was exceedingly vexatious. On the deck of the steamer were various tourists who enjoyed themselves by shooting the beautiful birds and interesting saurians of the region—mere wanton killing, with never any stop to pick up the bodies of these creatures. It reminded me of the old wastefulness in the North,—the exhaustive fishing of the rivers and streams, especially the trout-streams; the killing of deer by hundreds; and the wanton extermination of the buffalo. Wonderful to me were the great springs of the region—springs so large that the little steamer could make its way to them and upon them, so that from the deck we could look far, far down into the depths as through clear crystal. Most interesting of the people I met were Professor and Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who were passing the winter in their house at Mandarin near by, and invited us to visit them. Theirs was a happy-go-lucky sort of life, in a simple cottage surrounded by great orange orchards, beyond which was a fringe of palmettos. On the morning after our arrival, Mrs. Stowe came in and said, "Well, we shall have dinner." To which I said, "Of course we shall." "No," said she, "not 'of course,' for when I awoke this morning there was nothing for dinner in the house, and no prospect of anything in the village; but, taking my walk, I met a negro with a magnificent wild turkey which he had just shot, and that we will have." Just before dinner, our hostess and I walked out into the orange orchard and there picked from the trees a large market-basket full of the most beautiful oranges ever seen,—large, sweet, and juicy; and these, embedded deftly by her in a great mass of rich green leaves, glorified the table during the discussion of the turkey, and became our dessert. Never was there a more sumptuous dinner, and never better talk. Mrs. Stowe was at her best, and the Doctor abounded in quaint citations from French memoirs, of which he was an indefatigable reader.

On the way North I stopped again at Charleston, visiting Drayton Hall, a fine old mansion dating from 1740, but never completed, surrounded by beautiful gardens filled with great azaleas in full bloom, the most gorgeous I have ever seen in any part of the world; but a cloud seemed to rise over it all when we were told that, except in winter, remaining on the island was for white people certain death. In all this journey through the South I added much to my library regarding Secession and the Civil War; accumulating newspapers, tracts, and books which became the nucleus of the large Civil War collection at Cornell. Then, too, there were talks with people on the train and in the hotels, sometimes profitable and sometimes amusing. As to the feeling between the whites and the negroes, a former master said to me, "My old niggers will do anything I wish except cast their ballots for me; they will give me anything they have in this world except their votes; they would starve themselves for me, but they won't vote for me." Among myriads of stories I heard one which seemed to argue more philosophic power in the negro than many suppose him to possess. A young planter at one of the Southern watering-places appeared every day terribly bitten by mosquitos, so that, finally, some of the guests said to his negro body-servant, "Bob, why don't you take pains to protect your master with mosquito curtains?" To which the negro answered, "No use in it, sah; de fact is, sah, dat in de night-time Mars Tom is too drunk to care for de skeeters, and in de daytime de skeeters is too drunk to care for Mars Tom." There was also a revelation of negro religious feeling in a story told me regarding "Thad" Stevens. Mr. Stevens was in his day, on many accounts, the most powerful member of the House of Representatives—at times a very stern mentor to Mr. Lincoln, and to President Johnson a terror. I remember him as rough and of acrid humor, but with a sort of rugged power. The story was that one day, while at dinner, he heard at the sideboard the crash of a platter, and immediately, in a fury, called out, with a bitter oath, "Well, you idiot ————, what have you broken now?" To which the negro woman answered, "Bress de good Lord, it ain't de third commandmunt."

There were various other journeys on American soil, and among them a very delightful summer stay, in 1884, at Nantucket; but of all the impressions upon me at that period perhaps the strongest was made by a piece of crass absurdity not unusual in a certain stratum of American society. Making an excursion with my friend President Gilman from Nantucket to the United States Fisheries Station at Woods Hole, we stopped overnight at Martha's Vineyard, a beautiful little island which has now become a sort of saints' rest where, during the summer, a certain class of pious New Englanders of the less intellectual type crowd themselves into little cottages and enjoy a permanent camp-meeting. Never, except, perhaps, among the dervishes of Cairo, have I seen any religion more repulsive. On the evening of our arrival, Gilman and I went into the large skating-rink where a German band was blowing its best, and a large concourse of young men and women from the various pious families of the place were disporting themselves. Dancing was not allowed them, and so, with their arms around each other's waists, they were executing various gyrations on roller-skates to the sound of this music. Presently, as I sat rather listlessly looking on, I was struck by a peculiar change in the tune. Gilman, too, seemed in a way paralyzed by it; and, turning to him, I said, "Tell me what that music is." Then he came out of his daze and said, "Great heavens! it is 'Nearer, my God, to Thee'—played as a waltz!" So it was. The whole thing, to any proper religious, moral, or esthetic sense, was ghastly. These pious young men and women, who, on no account, were allowed to dance, were going through something far more indecent than any dancing I had ever seen, and to music which was a travesty of one of the most sacred of Christian compositions. I have long regarded camp-meetings as among the worst influences to which our rural youth are subjected—Joe Miller jokes in the pulpit, hysterics in the pews, with an atmosphere often blasphemous and sometimes erotic. A devoted country clergyman doing his simple duty—trying to lift his congregation to better views of life, partaking their joys and alleviating their sorrows, often a martyr to meddlesome deacons or to pompous trustees, and his wife a prey to the whimsical wives of opinionated pew-owners—such a man I deeply revere; but the longer I live the more I am convinced that the professional revivalist and the sensation preacher are necessarily and normally foes both to religion and to civilization.



CHAPTER LII

ENGLAND REVISITED—1885

In 1885, having resigned the presidency at Cornell, after twenty years of service, I went to Europe; my main purpose being to leave my successor untrammeled as to any changes which he might see fit to make. He was an old friend and student of mine whom, when the trustees had asked me to nominate a man to follow me I had named as the best man I knew for the work to be done; but, warm as were the relations between us, I made up my mind that it was best to leave him an entirely free hand for at least a year.

Crossing the ocean, I had the close companionship of Thomas Hughes ("Tom Brown"), and he was at his best. Among the stories he told was one of Browning. The poet one morning, hearing a noise in the street before his house, went to his window and saw a great crowd gazing at some Chinamen in gorgeous costumes who were just leaving their carriages to mount his steps. Presently they were announced as the Chinese minister at the Court of St. James and his suite. A solemn presentation having taken place, Browning said to the interpreter, "May I ask to what I am indebted for the honor of his Excellency's visit?" The interpreter replied, "His Excellency is a poet in his own country." Thereupon the two poets shook hands heartily. Browning then said, "May I ask to what branch of poetry his Excellency devotes himself?" to which the interpreter answered, "His Excellency devotes himself to poetical enigmas." At this Browning, recognizing fully the comic element in the situation, extended his hand most cordially, saying, "His Excellency is thrice welcome, he is a brother, indeed."

The month of October was passed in the southwest of England, and there dwell in my mind recollections of Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, and Bristol; but, above all, of a stay with the historian Freeman at Wells. The whole life of that charming cathedral town and its neighborhood was delightful. Freeman's kindness opened all doors to us. The bishop, Lord Arthur Hervey, showed us kindly hospitality at his grand old castle, which we had entered by a drawbridge over the moat. Of especial interest to me was a portrait of one of his predecessors—dear old Bishop Ken, whose morning and evening hymns are among the most beautiful ties between England and the United States. In the evening, dining with the magistrates and lawyers, I heard good stories, among them some characterizing various eminent members of the profession, and of these I especially remember one at the expense of the late Lord Chancellors Westbury and Cranworth. Lord Cranworth, after the amalgamation of law and equity, was for some time in the habit of going to sit with the new judges in order to familiarize himself with the reformed practice, whereupon some one asked Lord Westbury, "Why does 'Cranny' go to sit with the judges?" to which Westbury answered, "Doubtless from a childish fear of being alone in the dark."

Next day I was invited to sit with the squires in the Court of Quarter Sessions, and was greatly interested in their mode of administering justice. There was a firmness, but at the same time a straightforward common sense about it all which greatly pleased me. A visit to Wells Cathedral with Freeman was in its way ideal; for never in all my studies of mediaeval buildings have I had so good a guide. But perhaps the most curious experience of our stay was an attendance upon a political meeting at Glastonbury, in the Gladstonian interest. The first speech was made by the candidate, Sir Hugh Davey; and in his anxiety to propitiate his hearers he began by addressing them as men whose ancestors had for centuries shown their devotion to free principles, and had especially given proof of this by hanging the last Abbot of Glastonbury at the old tower above the town. But, shortly afterward, when Freeman began his speech, it was evident that his love of historical truth and his devotion to church principles would not permit him to pass this part of Davey's harangue unnoticed. Referring then respectfully to his candidate for Parliament, Freeman went on to say in substance that his distinguished friend was in error; that the last Abbot of Glastonbury was not a traitor, but a martyr—a martyr to liberty, and a victim of that arch-enemy of liberty, Henry VIII. Any one who had heard Freeman in America as a lecturer would have been amazed at his ability as a political speaker. As a lecturer, trying to be eloquent while reading a manuscript, he was generally ineffective and sometimes comical,—worse even than the general run of lecturers in the German universities, and that is saying much; but as a public speaker he was excellent—so much so that, congratulating him afterward, and bearing in mind the fact that he had been formerly defeated for Parliament, I assured him that if he would come to America and make speeches like that, we would most certainly put him in Congress and keep him there.

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