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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II
by Andrew Dickson White
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Among the many other members interesting on various accounts was one to whom both Germans and Americans might well listen with respect—Herr Theodor Barth, editor of "Die Nation," a representative of the best traditions of the old National Liberal party. He seemed to me one of the very few Germans who really understood the United States. He had visited America more than once, and had remained long enough to get in touch with various leaders of American thought, and to penetrate below the mere surface of public affairs. Devoted as he was to his own fatherland, he seemed to feel intuitively the importance to both countries of accentuating permanent points of agreement rather than transient points of difference; hence it was that in his paper he steadily did us justice, and in Parliament was sure to repel any unmerited assault upon our national character and policy. He was clear and forcible, with, at times, a most effectively caustic utterance against unreason.

While the whole parliamentary body is suggestive to an American, the Parliament building is especially suggestive to a New-Yorker. This great edifice at Berlin is considerably larger on the ground than is the State Capitol at Albany. It is built of a very beautiful and durable stone, and, in spite of sundry criticisms on the dome in the center and the pavilions at the corners, is vastly superior, as a whole, to the Albany building. It is enriched in all parts, without and within, with sculpture recalling the historical glories of all parts of the empire and calculated to stir patriotic pride; it is beautified by paintings on a great scale by eminent artists; its interior fittings, in stone, marble, steel, bronze, and oak, are as beautiful and perfect as the art of the period has been able to make them; and the whole, despite minor architectural faults, is worthy of the nation. The building was completed and in use within ten years from the time of its beginning. The construction of the State-house at Albany, a building not so large, and containing to-day no work of art either in painting or sculpture worthy of notice, has dragged along during thirty years, and cost nearly four times as much as the Berlin edifice; the latter having demanded an outlay of a trifle over five million dollars, and the former considerably over twenty millions.

The German Parliament House, apart from slight defects, as a great architectural creation is in a style worthy of its purpose—a style which is preserved in all its parts; while that at Albany is, perhaps, the most curious jumble in the whole history of architecture,—the lower stories being Palladian; the stories above these being, if anything, Florentine; the summit being, if anything, French Renaissance; while, as regards the interior, the great west staircase, which is said to have cost half a million of dollars, is in the Richardsonesque style; the eastern staircase is in classic style; and a circular staircase in the interior is in the most flamboyant Gothic which could be got for money. To be sure, there are rooms at Albany on which precious Siena marble and Mexican onyx are lavished, but these are used so as to produce mainly the effect of an unintelligent desire to spend money.

While in or near the Berlin edifice there is commemoration by sculpture or painting of a multitude of meritorious public servants, there is nowhere in the whole building at Albany a statue or any fit remembrance of the two greatest governors in the history of the State, DeWitt Clinton and William H. Seward.

The whole thing plunges one into reflection. If that single building at Albany, which was estimated, upon plans carefully made by the best of architects, to cost five millions of dollars, and to be completed in four years, required over thirty years and an expenditure of over twenty millions, what is a great "barge canal" to cost, running through the whole length of the State, encountering enormous difficulties of every sort, estimated at the beginning to cost one hundred millions of dollars, but including no estimate for "land damages," "water damages," "personal damages," "unprecedented floods," "unforeseen obstacles," "quicksands," "changes of plan," etc., etc., which have played such a costly and corrupting part in the past history of our existing New York canals? And how many years will it take to complete it? This was the train of thought and this was its resultant query forced upon me whenever I looked upon the Parliament House at Berlin.



CHAPTER XLI

AMERICA, GERMANY, AND THE SPANISH WAR—1897-1903

During the early days of this second official stay of mine at Berlin, Russia had, in one way and another, secured an entrance into China for her trans-Siberian railway, and seemed to have taken permanent possession of the vast region extending from her own territory to the Pacific at Port Arthur. Germany followed this example, and, in avenging the murder of certain missionaries, took possession of the harbor of Kiao-Chau. Thereby other nations were stirred to do likewise,—England, France, and Italy beginning to move for extensions of territory or commercial advantages, until it looked much as if China was to be parceled out among the greater European powers, or at least held in commercial subjection, to the exclusion of those nations which had pursued a more dilatory policy.

Seeing this danger, our government instructed its representatives at the courts of the great powers to request them to join in a declaration in favor of an "open-door policy" in China, thus establishing virtually an international agreement that none of the powers obtaining concessions or controlling "spheres of influence" in that country should secure privileges infringing upon the equality of all nations in competing for Chinese trade. This policy was pushed with vigor by the Washington cabinet, and I was instructed to secure, if possible, the assent of the German Government, which, after various conferences at the Foreign Office and communications with the minister of foreign affairs, some more, some less, satisfactory, I was at last able to do. The assent was given very guardedly, but not the less effectively. Its terms were that Germany, having been from the first in favor of equal rights to all nations in the trade of China, would gladly acquiesce in the proposed declaration if the other powers concerned would do so.

The Emperor William himself was even more open and direct than his minister. At his dinner to the ambassadors in the spring of 1900, he spoke to me very fully on the subject, and, in a conversation which I have referred to elsewhere, assured me of his complete and hearty concurrence in the American policy, declaring, "We must stand together for the open door."

Finally, on the 9th of April, 1900, I had the satisfaction of sending to the German Foreign Office the proofs that all the other powers concerned, including Japan, had joined in the American declaration, and that the government of the United States considered this acquiescence to be full and final.

It was really a great service rendered to the world by Mr. McKinley and Secretary Hay; their action was far-seeing, prompt, bold, and successful.

Yet another subject of contention was the exclusion of sundry American insurance companies from Germany, due in part to a policy of "protection," but also to that same distrust of certain American business methods which had given me much trouble in dealing with the same question at St. Petersburg. The discussions were long and tedious, but resulted in a sort of modus vivendi likely to lead to something better.

The American sugar duties were also a sore subject. Various writers in the German press and orators in public bodies continued to insist that America had violated the treaties; America insisted that she had not; and this trouble, becoming chronic, aggravated all others. The main efforts of Count von Bulow and myself were given to allaying inflammation by doses of common sense and poultices of good-will until common sense could assert its rights.

The everlasting meat question also went through various vexatious phases, giving rise to bitter articles in the newspapers, inflammatory speeches in Parliament, and measures in various parts of the empire which, while sometimes honest, were always injurious. American products which had been inspected in the United States and Hamburg were again broken into, inspected, and reinspected in various towns to which they were taken for retail, with the result that the packages were damaged or spoiled, and the costs of inspection and reinspection ate up all profits. I once used an illustration of this at the Foreign Office that seemed to produce some effect. It was the story of the Yankee showman who, having been very successful in our Northern and Middle States, took his show to the South, but when he returned had evidently been stripped of his money. Being asked regarding it, he said that his show had paid him well at first, but that on arriving in Texas the authorities of each little village insisted on holding an inquest over his Egyptian mummy, charging him coroner's fees for it, and that this had made him a bankrupt.

Speeches, bitter and long, were made on both sides of the Atlantic; the cable brought reports of drastic reprisals preparing in Washington; but finally a system was adopted to which the trade between the two countries has since been uneasily trying to adjust itself.

Then there was sprung upon us the fruit question. One morning came a storm of telegrams and letters stating that cargoes of American fruits had been stopped in the German harbors, under the charge that they contained injurious insects. The German authorities were of course honest in this procedure, though they were doubtless stimulated to it by sundry representatives of the land-owning class. Our beautiful fruits, especially those of California, had come to be very extensively used throughout the empire, and the German consumers had been growing more and more happy and the German producers more and more unhappy over this fact, when suddenly there came from the American side accounts of the scale-insects discovered on pears in California, and of severe measures taken by sundry other States of our Union to prohibit their importation. The result was a prohibition of our fruits in Germany, and this was carried so far that not only pears from California, but all other fruits, from all other parts of the country, were at first put under the ban; and not only fresh but dried and preserved fruits. As a matter of fact, there was no danger whatever from the scale-insect, so far as fruit was concerned. The creature never stirs from the spot on the pear to which it fastens itself, and therefore by no possibility can it be carried from the house where the fruit is consumed to the nurseries where trees are grown. We took pains to show the facts in the case; dealing fairly and openly with the German Government, allowing that the importation of scale-infested trees and shrubs might be dangerous, and making no objection to any fair measures regarding these. The Foreign Office was reasonable, and gradually the most vexatious of these prohibitions were removed.

But the war with Spain drew on, and animosities, so far as the press on both sides of the water was concerned, grew worse. Various newspapers in Germany charged our government with a wonderful assortment of high crimes and misdemeanors; but, happily, in their eagerness to cover us with obloquy, they frequently refuted each other. Thus they one day charged us with having prepared long beforehand to crush Spain and to rob her of her West Indian possessions, and the next day they charged us with plunging into war suddenly, recklessly, utterly careless of the consequences. One moment they insisted that American sailors belonged to a deteriorated race of mongrels, and could never stand against pure-blooded Spanish sailors; and the next moment, that we were crushing the noble navy of Spain by brute force. Various presses indulged in malignant prophecies: the Americans would find Spain a very hard nut to crack; Spanish soldiers would drive the American mongrels into the sea; when Cervera got out with his fleet, the American fleet would slink away; Spanish ships, being built under the safeguard of Spanish honor, must win the victory; American ships, built under a regime of corruption, would be found furnished with sham plating, sham guns, and sham supplies of every sort. It all reminded me of sundry prophecies we used to hear before our Civil War to the effect that, when the Northern and Southern armies came into the presence of each other, the Yankee soldiers would trade off their muskets to the foe.

Against President McKinley every sort of iniquity was charged. One day he was an idiot; another day, the most cunning of intriguers; at one moment, an overbearing tyrant anxious to rush into war; at another, a coward fearing war. It must be confessed that this was mainly drawn from the American partizan press; but it was, none the less, hard to bear.

In the meantime President McKinley, his cabinet, and the American diplomatic corps in Europe did everything in their power to prevent the war. Just as long as possible the President clearly considered that his main claim on posterity would be for maintaining peace against pressure and clamor. Under orders from the State Department I met at Paris my old friend General Woodford, who was on his way to Spain as minister of the United States, and General Porter, the American ambassador to France, our instructions being to confer regarding the best means of maintaining peace; and we all agreed that everything possible be done to allay the excitement in Spain; that no claims of a special sort, whether pecuniary or otherwise, should be urged until after the tension ceased; that every concession possible should be made to Spanish pride; and that, just as far as possible, everything should be avoided which could complicate the general issue with personal considerations. All of us knew that the greatest wish of the administration was to prevent the war, or, if that proved impossible, to delay it.

For years, in common with the great majority of American citizens, I had believed that the Spanish West Indies must break loose from Spain some day, but had hoped that the question might be adjourned until the middle or end of the twentieth century. For I knew well that the separation of Cuba from Spain would be followed, after no great length of time, by efforts for her annexation to the United States, and that if such annexation of Cuba should ever occur, she must come in as a State; that there is no use in considering any other form of government for an outlying dominion so large and so near; that there is no other way of annexing a dependency so fully developed, and that, even if there were, the rivalry of political parties contending for electoral votes would be sure to insist on giving her statehood. I dreaded the addition to our country of a million and a half of citizens whose ability to govern themselves was exceedingly doubtful, to say nothing of helping to govern our Union on the mainland. The thought of senators and representatives to be chosen by such a constituency to reside at Washington and to legislate for the whole country, filled me with dismay. Especially was the admission of Cuba to statehood a fearful prospect just at that time, when we had so many difficult questions to meet in the exercise of the suffrage. I never could understand then, and cannot understand now, what Senator Morgan of Alabama, who once had the reputation of being the strongest representative from the South, could be thinking of when he was declaiming in the Senate, first in behalf of the "oppressed Cubans," and next in favor of measures which tended to add them to the United States, and so to create a vast commonwealth largely made up of negroes and mulattos accustomed to equality with the whites, almost within musket-shot of the negroes and mulattos of the South, from whom the constituents of Mr. Morgan were at that very moment withholding the right of suffrage. I could not see then, and I cannot see now, how he could possibly be blind to the fact that if Cuba ever becomes a State of our Union, she will soon begin to look with sympathy on those whom she will consider her "oppressed colored brethren" in the South; and that she will, just as inevitably, make common cause with them at Washington, and perhaps in some other places, and possibly not always by means so peaceful as orating under the roof of the Capitol.

Moreover, the nation had just escaped a terrible catastrophe at the last general election; the ignorant, careless, and perverse vote having gone almost solidly for a financial policy which would have wrecked us temporarily and disgraced us eternally. Time will, no doubt, develop a more conservative sentiment in the States where this vote for evil was cast; as civilization deepens and advances, better ideas will doubtless grow stronger; but it is sure that the addition of Cuba to the United States, if it ever comes, means the adding of a vast illiterate mass of voters to those who at that election showed themselves so dangerous.

On all these accounts I had felt very anxious to put off the whole Cuban question until our Republic should become so much larger and so much more mature that the addition of a few millions of Spanish-Americans would be of but small account in the total vote of the country.

Then, too, I had little sympathy with aspirations for what Spanish revolutionists call freedom, and no admiration at all for Central American republics. I had officially examined one of them thoroughly, had known much of others, and had no belief in the capacity of people for citizenship who prefer to carry on government by pronunciamientos, who never acknowledge the rights of majorities, who are ready to start civil war on the slightest pretext, and who, when in power, exercise a despotism more persistent and cruel than any since Nero and Caligula. No Russian autocrat, claiming to govern by divine right, has ever dared to commit the high-handed cruelties which are common in sundry West Indian and equatorial republics. I felt that the great thing was to gain time before doing anything which might result in the admission of the millions trained under such influences into all the rights, privileges, and powers of American citizenship.

But there came the destruction of the Maine in the harbor of Havana, and thenceforward war was certain. The news was brought to me at a gala representation of the opera at Berlin, when, on invitation from the Emperor, the ambassadors were occupying a large box opposite his own. Hardly had the telegram announcing the catastrophe been placed in my hands when the Emperor entered, and on his addressing me I informed him of it. He was evidently shocked, and expressed a regret which, I fully believe, was deeply sincere. He instantly asked, with a piercing look, "Was the explosion from the outside?" My answer was that I hoped and believed that it was not; that it was probably an interior explosion. To my great regret, the official report afterward obliged me to change my mind on the subject; but I still feel that no Spanish officer or true Spaniard was concerned in the matter. It has been my good fortune to know many Spanish officers, and it is impossible for me to conceive one of their kind as having taken part in so frightful a piece of treachery; it has always seemed to be more likely that it was done by a party of wild local fanatics, the refuse of a West Indian seaport.

The Emperor remained firm in his first impression that the explosion was caused from the outside. Even before this was established by the official investigation, he had settled into that conclusion. On one occasion, when a large number of leading officers of the North Sea Squadron were dining with him, he asked their opinion on this subject, and although the great majority—indeed, almost all present—then believed that the catastrophe had resulted from an interior explosion, he adhered to his belief that it was from an exterior attack.

On various occasions before that time I had met my colleague the Spanish ambassador, Senor Mendez y Vigo, and my relations with him had been exceedingly pleasant. Each of us had tried to keep up the hopes of the other that peace might be preserved, and down to the last moment I took great pains to convince him of what I knew to be the truth—that the policy of President McKinley was to prevent war. But I took no less pains to show him that Spain must aid the President by concessions to public opinion. My personal sympathies, too, were aroused in behalf of my colleague. He had passed the allotted threescore years and ten, was evidently in infirm health, had five sons in the Spanish army, and his son-in-law had recently been appointed minister at Washington.

Notice of the declaration of war came to me under circumstances somewhat embarrassing. On the 21st of April, 1898, began the festivities at Dresden on the seventieth birthday of King Albert of Saxony, which was also the twenty-fifth anniversary of his accession; and in view of the high character of the King and of the affection for him throughout Germany, and, indeed, throughout Europe, nearly every civilized power had sent its representatives to present its congratulations. In these the United States joined. Throughout our country are large numbers of Saxons, who, while thoroughly loyal to our Republic, cherish a kindly and even affectionate feeling toward their former King and Queen. Moreover, there was a special reason. For many years Dresden had been a center in which very many American families congregated for the purpose of educating their children, especially in the German language and literature, in music, and in the fine arts; no court in Europe had been so courteous to Americans properly introduced, and in various ways the sovereigns had personally shown their good feeling toward our countrymen.

It was in view of this that the Secretary of State instructed me to present an autograph letter of congratulation from the President to the King, and on the 20th of April I proceeded to Dresden, with the embassy secretaries and attaches, for this purpose. About midnight between the 20th and 21st there came a loud and persistent knocking at my door in the hotel, and there soon entered a telegraph messenger with an enormously long despatch in cipher. Hardly had I set the secretaries at work upon it than other telegrams began to come, and a large part of the night was given to deciphering them. They announced the declaration of war and instructed me to convey to the various parties interested the usual notices regarding war measures: blockade, prohibitions, exemptions, regulations, and the like.

At eleven o'clock the next morning, court carriages having taken us over to the palace, we were going up the grand staircase in full force when who should appear at the top, on his way down, but the Spanish ambassador with his suite! Both of us were, of course, embarrassed. No doubt he felt, as I did, that it would have been more agreeable just then to meet the representative of any other power than of that with which war had just been declared; but I put out my hand and addressed him, if not so cordially as usual, at least in a kindly way; he reciprocated the greeting, and our embarrassment was at least lessened. Of course, during the continuation of the war, our relations lacked their former cordiality, but we remained personally friendly.

In my brief speech on delivering President McKinley's letter I tendered to the King and Queen the President's congratulations, with thanks for the courtesies which had been shown to my countrymen. This was not the first occasion on which I had discharged this latter duty, for, at a formal presentation to these sovereigns some time before, I had taken pains to show that we were not unmindful of their kindness to our compatriots. The festivities which followed were interesting. There were dinners with high state officials, gala opera, and historical representations, given by the city of Dresden, of a very beautiful character. On these occasions I met various eminent personages, among others the Emperor of Austria and his prime minister, Count Goluchowsky, both of whom discussed current international topics with clearness and force; and I also had rather an interesting conversation with the papal nuncio at Munich, more recently in Paris, Lorenzelli, with reference to various measures looking to the possible abridgment of the war.

On the third day of the festivities came a great review, and a sight somewhat rare. To greet the King there were present the Emperor of Germany, the Emperor of Austria, and various minor German sovereigns, each of whom had in the Saxon army a regiment nominally his own, and led it past the Saxon monarch, saluting him as he reviewed it. The two Emperors certainly discharged this duty in a very handsome, chivalric sort of way. In the evening came a great dinner at the palace, at which the King and Queen presided. The only speech on the occasion was one of congratulation made by the Emperor of Austria, and it was very creditable to him, being to all appearance extemporaneous, yet well worded, quiet, dignified, and manly. The ceremonies closed on Sunday with a grand "Te Deum" at the palace church, in the presence of all the majesties,—the joy expressed by the music being duly accentuated by cannon outside.

I may say, before closing this subject, that Thomas Jefferson's famous letter to Governor Langdon, describing royal personages as he knew them while minister to France before the French Revolution, no longer applies. The events which followed the Revolution taught the crowned heads of Europe that they could no longer indulge in the good old Bourbon, Hapsburg, and Braganza idleness and stupidity. Modern European sovereigns, almost without exception, work for their living, and work hard. Few business men go through a more severe training, or a longer and harder day of steady work, than do most of the contemporary sovereigns of Europe. This fact especially struck me on my presentation, about this time, to one of the best of the minor monarchs, the King of Wurtemberg. I found him a hearty, strong, active-minded man—the sort of man whom we in America would call "level-headed" and "a worker." Learning that I had once passed a winter in Stuttgart, he detained me long with a most interesting account of the improvements which had been made in the city since my visit, and showed public spirit of a sort very different from that which animated the minor potentates of Germany in the last century. The same may be said of the Grand Duke of Baden, who, in a long conversation, impressed me as a gentleman of large and just views, understanding the problems of his time and thoroughly in sympathy with the best men and movements.

Republican as I am, this acknowledgment must be made. The historical lessons of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the pressure of democracy, are obliging the monarchs of Europe to fit themselves for their duties wisely and to discharge them intelligently. But this is true only of certain ruling houses. There seems to be a "survival of the fittest." At various periods in my life I have also had occasion to observe with some care various pretenders to European thrones, among them the husband of Queen Isabella of Spain; Prince Napoleon Victor, the heir to the Napoleonic throne; the Duke of Orleans; Don Carlos, the representative of the Spanish Bourbons; with sundry others; and it would be hard to conceive persons more utterly unfit or futile.

As to the conduct of Germany during our war with Spain, while the press, with two or three exceptions, was anything but friendly, and while a large majority of the people were hostile to us on account of the natural sympathy with a small power battling against a larger one, the course of the Imperial Government, especially of the Foreign Office under Count von Bulow and Baron von Richthofen, was all that could be desired. Indeed, they went so far on one occasion as almost to alarm us. The American consul at Hamburg having notified me by telephone that a Spanish vessel, supposed to be loaded with arms for use against us in Cuba, was about to leave that port, I hastened to the Foreign Office and urged that vigorous steps be taken, with the result that the vessel, which in the meantime had left Hamburg, was overhauled and searched at the mouth of the Elbe. The German Government might easily have pleaded, in answer to my request, that the American Government had generally shown itself opposed to any such interference with the shipments of small arms to belligerents, and had contended that it was not obliged to search vessels to find such contraband of war, but that this duty was incumbent upon the belligerent nation concerned. This evidence of the fairness of Germany I took pains to make known, and in my address at the American celebration in Leipsic on the Fourth of July declared my belief that the hostility of the German people and press at large was only temporary, and that the old good relations would be restored. Knowing that my speech would be widely quoted in the German press, I took even more pains to show the reasons why we could bide our time and trust to the magnanimity of the German people. Of one thing I then and always reminded my hearers—namely, that during our Civil War, when our national existence was trembling in the balance and our foreign friends were few, the German press and people were steadily on our side.

The occasion was indeed a peculiar one. On the morning of the Fourth, when we had all assembled, bad news came. Certain German presses had been very prompt to patch together all sorts of accounts of American defeats, and to present them in the most unpleasant way possible; but while we were seated at table in the evening came a despatch announcing the annihilation of the Spanish fleet in Cuban waters, and this put us all in good humor. One circumstance may serve to show the bitterness at heart among Americans at this period. On entering the dining-hall with our consul, I noticed two things: first, that the hall was profusely decorated in a way I had never seen before and had never expected to see—namely, by intertwined American and British flags; and, secondly, that there was not a German flag in the room. I immediately sent for the proprietor and told him that I would not sit down to dinner until a German flag was brought in. He at first thought it impossible to supply the want, but, on my insisting, a large flag was at last found. This was speedily given a place of honor among the interior decorations of our hall, and all then went on satisfactorily.

As the war with Spain progressed, various causes of difficulty arose between Germany and the United States, but I feel bound to say that the German Government continued to act toward us with justice. The sensational press, indeed, continued its work on both sides of the Atlantic. On our side it took pains to secure and publish stories of insults by the German Admiral Diederichs to the American Admiral Dewey, and to develop various legends regarding these two commanders. As a matter of fact, each of the two admirals, when their relations first began in Manila, was doubtless rather stiff and on his guard against the other; but these feelings soon yielded to different sentiments.

The foolish utterances of various individuals, spread by sundry American papers, were heartily echoed in the German press, the most noted among these being an alleged after-dinner speech by an American officer at a New York club, and a Congressional speech in which the person who made it declared that "the United States, having whipped Spain, ought now to whip Germany." Still, the thinking men intrusted with the relations between the two countries labored on, though at times there must have recurred to us a sense of the divine inspiration of Schiller's words, "Against stupidity even the gods fight in vain."

Of course the task of the embassy in protecting American citizens abroad was especially increased in those times of commotion. At such periods the number of ways in which American citizens, native or naturalized, can get into trouble seems infinite; and here, too, even from the first moment of my arrival in Berlin as ambassador, I saw evidences of the same evil which had struck me during my previous missions in Berlin and St. Petersburg—namely, the constant and ingenious efforts to prostitute American citizenship. Among the manifold duties of an ambassador is the granting of passports. The great majority of those who ask for them are entitled to them; but there are always a considerable number of persons who, having left Europe just in time to escape military service, have stayed in America just long enough to acquire American citizenship, and then, having returned to their native country, seek to enjoy the advantages of both countries while discharging the duties of neither. Even worse were the cases of the descendants of such so-called Americans, most of them born in Europe and not able even to speak the English language; worst of all were the cases of sundry Russians—sometimes stigmatized as "predatory Hebrews"—who, having left Russia and gone to America, had stayed just long enough to acquire citizenship, and then returned and settled in the eastern part of Germany, as near the Russian frontier as possible. These were naturally regarded as fraudulent interlopers by both the German and Russian authorities, and much trouble resulted. Some of them led a life hardly outside the limits of criminality; but they never hesitated on this account to insist on their claims to American protection. When they were reminded that American citizenship was conferred upon them, not that they might shirk its duties and misuse its advantages in the land of their birth, but that they might enjoy it and discharge its duties in the land of their adoption, they scouted the idea and insisted on their right, as American citizens, to live where they pleased. Their communications to the embassy were, almost without exception, in German, Russian, or Polish; very few of them wrote or even spoke English, and very many of them could neither read nor write in any language. For the hard-working immigrant, whether Jew or Gentile, who comes to our country and casts in his lot with us, to take his share not only of privilege but of duty, I have the fullest respect and sympathy, and have always been glad to intervene in his favor; but intervention in behalf of those fraudulent pretenders I always felt to be a galling burden.

Fortunately the rules of the State Department have been of late years strengthened to meet this evil, and it has finally become our practice to inform such people that if they return to America they can receive a passport for that purpose; but that unless they show a clear intention of returning, they cannot. Very many of them persist in their applications in spite of this, and one case became famous both at the State Department and at the embassy. Three Russians of the class referred to had emigrated with their families to America, and, after the usual manner, stayed just long enough to acquire citizenship, and had then returned to Germany. One of them committed a crime and disappeared; the other two went to the extreme eastern frontier of Prussia and settled there. Again and again the Prussian Government notified us that under the right exercised by every nation, and especially by our own, these "undesirable intruders" must leave Prussian territory or be expelled. Finally we discovered at the embassy that a secret arrangement had been made between Germany and Russia which obliged each to return the undesirable emigrants of the other. This seemed to put the two families in great danger of being returned to Russia; and, sooner than risk a new international trouble, a proposal was made to them, through the embassy, to pay their expenses back to America; but they utterly refused to leave, and continued to burrow in the wretched suburbs of one of the German cities nearest the Russian border. Reams of correspondence ensued—all to no purpose; a special messenger was sent to influence them—all in vain: they persisted in living just as near Russia as possible, and in calling themselves American, though not one of them spoke English.

From time to time appeared in our own country attacks against the various American embassies and legations abroad for not protecting such American citizens, and a very common feature of these articles was an unfavorable comparison between the United States and England: it being claimed that Great Britain protects her citizens everywhere, while the United States does not. This statement is most misleading. Great Britain, while she is renowned for protecting her subjects throughout the world, —bringing the resources of her fleet, if need be, to aid them,—makes an exception as regards her adopted citizens in the land of their birth. The person who, having been naturalized in Great Britain, goes back to the country of his birth, does so at his or her own risk. The British Government considers itself, under such circumstances, entirely absolved from the duty of giving protection. The simple fact is that the United States goes much further in protecting adopted citizens than does any other country, and it is only rank demagogism which can find fault because some of our thinking statesmen do not wish to see American citizenship prostituted by persons utterly unfit to receive it, who frequently use it fraudulently, and who, as many cases prove, are quite ready to renounce it and take up their old allegiance if they can gain advantage thereby.

Another general duty of the embassy was to smooth the way for the large number of young men and women who came over as students. This duty was especially pleasing to me now, as it had been during my life as minister in Berlin twenty years before. At that time women were not admitted to the universities; but now large numbers were in attendance. The university authorities showed themselves very courteous, and, when there was any doubt as to the standing of the institution from which a candidate for admission came, allowed me to pass upon the question and accepted my certificate. Almost without exception, I found these candidates excellent; but there were some exceptions. The applicants were usually persons who had been graduated from some one of our own institutions; but, from time to time, persons who had merely passed a freshman year in some little American college came abroad, anxious to secure the glory of going at once into a German university. Certificates for such candidates I declined to sign. To do so would have been an abuse sure to lead the German authorities finally to reject the great mass of American students: far better for applicants to secure the best advantages possible in their own country, and then to supplement their study at home by proper work abroad.

In sketches of my former mission to Berlin I have mentioned various applications, some of them psychological curiosities; these I found continuing, though with variations. Some compatriots expected me to forward to the Emperor begging letters, or letters suggesting to him new ideas, unaware that myriads of such letters are constantly sent which never reach him, and which even his secretaries never think of reading. Others sent books, not knowing the rule prevailing among crowned heads, never to accept a PUBLISHED book, and not realizing that if this rule were broken, not one book in a thousand would get beyond the office of his general secretary. Others sent medicine which they wished him to recommend; and one gentleman was very persistent in endeavoring to secure his Majesty's decision on a wager.

Then there were singers or performers on wind or string instruments wishing to sing or play before him, sculptors and painters wishing him to visit their studios, and writers of music wishing him to order their compositions to be brought out at the Royal Opera.

All these requests culminated in two, wherein the gentle reader will see a mixture of comic and pathetic. The first was from a person (not an American) who wished my good offices in enabling her to obtain a commission for a brilliant marriage,—she having in reserve, as she assured me, a real Italian duke whom, for a consideration, she would secure for an American heiress. The other, which was from an eminently respectable source, urged me to induce the imperial authorities to station in the United States a young German officer with whom an American young lady had fallen in love. And these proposals I was expected to further, in spite of the fact that the rules for American representatives abroad forbid all special pleading of any kind in favor of individual interests or enterprises, without special instructions from the State Department. Discouraging was it to find that in spite of the elaborate statement prepared by me during my former residence, which had been freely circulated during twenty years, there were still the usual number of people persuaded that enormous fortunes were awaiting them somewhere in Germany.

One application, from a truly disinterested man, was grounded in nobler motives. This was an effort made by an eminent Polish scholar and patriot to wrest American citizenship for political purposes. He had been an instructor at various Russian and German universities had shown in some of his books extraordinary ability, had gained the friendship of several eminent scholars in Great Britain and on the Continent, and was finally settled at one of the most influential seats of learning in Austrian Poland. He was a most attractive man, wide in his knowledge, charming in his manner; but not of this world. Having drawn crowds to his university lectures, he suddenly attacked the Emperor Franz Josef, who, more than any other, had befriended his compatriots; was therefore obliged to flee from his post; and now came to Berlin, proposing seriously that I should at once make him an American citizen, and thus, as he supposed, enable him to go back to his university and, in revolutionary speeches, bid defiance to Austria, Russia, and Germany. Great was his disappointment when he learned that, in order to acquire citizenship, he would be obliged to go to the United States and remain there five years. As he was trying to nerve himself for this sacrifice, I presented some serious considerations to him. Knowing him to be a man of honor, I asked him how he could reconcile it with his sense of veracity to assume the rights of American citizenship with no intention to discharge its duties. This somewhat startled him. Then, from a more immediately practical point of view, I showed that, even if he acquired American citizenship, and could reconcile his conscience to break the virtual pledge he had made in order to obtain it, the government of Austria, and, indeed, all other governments, would still have a full right, under the simplest principles of international law, to forbid his entrance into their territories, or to turn him out after he had entered,—the right of expelling undesirable emigrants being constantly exercised, even by the United States. This amazed him. He had absolutely persuaded himself that I could, by some sleight of hand, transform him into an American citizen; that he could then at once begin attempts to reestablish the fine old Polish anarchy in Austria, Russia, and Germany; and that no one of these nations would dare interfere with him. It was absurd but pathetic. My advice to him was to go back to his lecture-room and labor to raise the character of the younger generation of Poles, in the hope that Poland might do what Scotland had done—rise by sound mental and moral training from the condition of a conquered and even oppressed part of a great empire to a controlling position in it. This advice was, of course, in vain, and he is now building air-castles amid the fogs of London.

In my life at Berlin as ambassador there was a tinge of sadness. Great changes had taken place since my student days in that city, and even since my later stay as minister. A new race of men had come upon the stage in public affairs, in the university, and in literary circles. Gone was the old Emperor William, gone also was the Emperor Frederick, and Bismarck and Moltke and a host of others who had given dignity and interest to the great assemblages at the capital. Gone, too, from the university were Lepsius, Helmholtz, Curtius, Hoffmann, Gneist, Du Bois-Reymond, and Treitschke, all of whom, in the old days, had been my guests and friends. The main exceptions seemed to be in the art world. The number of my artist friends during my stay as minister had been large, and every one of them was living when I returned as ambassador; the reason, of course, being that when men distinguish themselves in art at all, they do so at an earlier age than do high functionaries of state and professors in the universities. It was a great pleasure to find Adolf Menzel, Ludwig Knaus, Carl Beeker, Anton von Werner, and Paul Meyerheim, though grown gray in their beautiful ministry, still daily at work in their studios.

Three only of my friends of the older generation in the Berlin faculty remained; and as I revise these lines the world is laying tributes upon the grave of the last of them—Theodor Mommsen. With him my relations were so peculiar that they may deserve some mention.

During my earlier stays in Berlin he had always seemed especially friendly to the United States, and it was therefore with regret that on my return I found him in this respect greatly changed: he had become a severe critic of nearly everything American; his earlier expectations had evidently been disappointed; we clearly appeared to him big, braggart, noisy, false to our principles, unworthy of our opportunities. These feelings of his became even more marked as the Spanish-American War drew on. Whenever we met, and most often at a charming house which both of us frequented, he showed himself more and more bitter, so that finally our paths separated. There comes back to me vividly one evening when I sought to turn off a sharp comment of his upon some recent American news by saying: "You must give a young nation like ours more time." On this he exclaimed: "You cannot plead the baby act any longer. More time! You have HAD time; you are already three hundred years old!" Having sought in vain to impress on him the fact that the policy of our country is determined not wholly by the older elements in its civilization, but very largely by newer commonwealths which must require time to develop a policy satisfactory to sedate judges, he burst into a tirade from which I took refuge in a totally different discussion.

Some days later came another evidence of his feeling. Meeting an eminent leader in political, and especially in journalistic, circles, I was shown the corrected proofsheets of an "interview" on the conduct of the United States toward Spain, given by Mommsen. It was even more acrid than his previous utterances, and exhibited sharply and at great length our alleged sins and shortcomings. Certainly a representative of the American people was not bound to make supplication, in such a matter, even to so eminent a scholar and leader of thought, and my comment was simply as follows: "I have no request to make in the premises—of Mommsen or of anybody. The article will of course have no effect on the war; of that there can be but one result: the triumph of the United States and the liberation of the Spanish islands of the West Indies; but may there not be some considerations of a very different order as regards Mommsen himself? Why not ask him, simply, where his friends are; his readers, his old students, his disciples? Why not ask him whether he finds fewer clouds over the policy of Spain than over that of the United States; of which country, despite all its faults, he has most hope; and for which, in his heart, he has the greater feeling of brotherhood?"

How far this answer influenced him I know not, but the article was never published; and thenceforth there seemed some revival of the older kindly feeling. At my own table and elsewhere he more than once became, in a measure, like the Mommsen of old. One utterance of his amused me much. My wife happening, in a talk with him, to speak of a certain personage as "hardly an ideal man," he retorted: "Madam, is it possible that you have been married some years and still believe in the ideal man?"

His old better feeling toward America came out especially when I next called upon him with congratulations upon his birthday—his last, alas! But heartiest of all was he during the dinner given at my departure. My speech was long,—over an hour,—for I had a message to deliver, and was determined to give it—a message which I hoped might impress upon my great audience reasons for a friendly judgment of my country. As I began, Mommsen came to my side—just back of me, his hand at his ear, listening intently. There the old man stood from the first word to the last, and on my conclusion he grasped me heartily with both hands—a demonstration rare indeed with him. It was our last greeting in this world.

Would that there were space to dwell upon those in the present generation of professors who honored me with their friendship; but one is especially suggested here, since he was selected to make a farewell address on the occasion above referred to—Adolf Harnack. At various times I had heard him discourse profoundly and brilliantly at the university, but came to know him best at the bicentenary of the Berlin Academy, when he had just added to the long list of his published works his history of the academy, in four quarto volumes: a wonderful work, whether considered from an historical, psychological, or philosophical point of view. His address on that occasion was masterly, and his conversation at various social functions instructive and pithy. I remember in one of them, especially, his delineation of the characteristics and services of Leibnitz, who was one of the founders of the Royal Academy, and it was perfection in that kind of conversation which is worthy of men claiming to possess immortal souls: for it brought out, especially, examples of Leibnitz's amazing forethought as to European policy, which seemed at times like divinely inspired prophecies. He also gave me a number of interesting things which he had noted in his studies of Frederick the Great. Some of them I had found already in my own reading, but one of them I did not remember, and it was both comical and characteristic. A rural Protestant pastor sent a petition to the King presenting a grievance and asking redress. It was to the effect that his church was on one side of a river in Silesia, and that a younger pastor, whose church was on the opposite side, was drawing all his parishioners away from him. On the back of the petition Frederick simply wrote, "Tell him to go and preach on the other side of the river: that will drive his people back again."

Hearing Harnack and his leading colleagues in discourse at the university or academy, or in private, whether in their loftier or lighter moods, one could understand why the University of Berlin, though one of the youngest, is the foremost among the universities of the world.



CHAPTER XLII

AMERICA, GERMANY, AND THE CHINESE WAR—1899-1902

An interesting event of this period was the appearance in Berlin of ex-President and Mrs. Harrison. The President had but recently finished his long and wearisome work before the Venezuela Arbitration Tribunal at Paris, and was very happy in the consciousness of duty accomplished and liberty obtained. Marks of high distinction were shown them. The sovereigns invited them to attend the festivities at Potsdam in honor of the Queen and Queen Mother of Holland, who were then staying there, and treated them not only with respect, but with cordiality. The Emperor conversed long with the President on various matters of public interest: on noted Americans whom he had met, on the growth of our fleet, on recent events in our history, and the like, characteristically ending with a discussion of the superb music which we had been hearing; and at the supper which followed insisted that Mrs. Harrison should sit at his side, the Empress giving a similar invitation to Mr. Harrison. At a later period a dinner was given to the ex-President by the chancellor of the empire, Prince Hohenlohe, at which a number of the leading personages in the empire were present; and it was a pleasure to show my own respect for the former chief magistrate by a reception which was attended by about two hundred of our American colony, and a dinner at which he and Mrs. Harrison made the acquaintance of leading representative Germans in various fields.

In another chapter of these memoirs I have spoken of President Harrison as of cold and, at times, abrupt manners; but the absence of these characteristics during his stay in Berlin, and afterward in New York, made it clear to me that the cold exterior which I had noted in him at Washington, especially when Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Lodge, and sundry others of us urged upon him an extension of the classified civil service, was adopted as a means of preventing encroachments upon the time necessary for his daily duties. He now appeared in a very different light, his discussion of men and events showing not only earnest thought and deep penetration, but a rich vein of humor; his whole bearing being simple, kindly, and dignified.

During the winter of 1899-1900 came an addition to my experiences of what American representatives abroad have to expect under our present happy-go-lucky provision for the diplomatic service. As already stated, on arriving in Berlin, I had great difficulty in obtaining any fitting quarters, but at last secured a large and suitable apartment in an excellent part of the city, its only disadvantage being that my guests had to plod up seventy-five steps in order to reach it. Having been obliged to make large outlays for suitable fittings, extensive repairs, and furniture throughout, I found that more than the entire salary of my first year had been thus sunk; but I congratulated myself that I had at least obtained a residence good, comfortable, and suitable. To be sure, it was inferior to that of any other ambassador, but I had fitted it up so that it was considered creditable. Suddenly, about two years afterward, without a word of warning, came notice from the proprietor that my lease was void—that he had sold the house, and that I must leave it; so that it looked as if the American Embassy would, at an early day, be turned into the street. This was trying indeed. It was at the beginning of the social season, and interfered greatly with my duties of every sort. And there cropped out a feeling, among all conversant with the case, which I cannot say was conducive to respect for the wisdom of those who give laws to our country.

But, happily, I had insisted on inserting in the lease a clause which seemed to make it doubtful whether the proprietor could turn me out so easily and speedily. Under German law it was a very precarious reliance, but on this I took my stand, and at last, thanks mainly to the kindness of my colleague who succeeded me as a tenant, made a compromise under which I was enabled to retain the apartment for something over a year longer.

It may be interesting for an American who has a proper feeling regarding the position of his country abroad to know that the purchaser of the entire house—not only of the floor which I had occupied, but of the similar apartment beneath, as well as that on the ground floor—was the little Grand Duchy of Baden, which in this way provided for its minister, secretaries, and others connected with its legation in the German capital.

On the theory of line upon line and precept upon precept, I again call attention, NOT to the wrong done ME by this American policy, or rather want of policy,—for I knew in coming what I had to expect,—but to the injury thus done to the PROPER STANDING OF OUR COUNTRY BEFORE THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD. Again I insist that, in its own interest, a government like ours ought, in every capital where it is represented, to possess or to hold on long lease a house or apartment suitable to its representative and creditable to itself.

Early in the spring of 1900 came an event of some historical interest. On the 19th of March and the two days following was celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Royal Academy of Sciences. The Emperor, as well as the Academy, had determined to make it a great occasion, and the result was a series of very brilliant pageants. These began by a solemn reception of the delegates from all parts of the world in the great hall of the palace, my duty being to represent the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, and my colleagues being Professors White and Wolf of Harvard, who had been sent by the American Academy of Sciences. The scene was very striking, all the delegates, except those from America and Switzerland, being in the costumes of the organizations they represented; most were picturesque, and some had a very mediaeval appearance; those from the ancient universities of Wurzburg and Prague, especially, looking as if they had just stepped out of an illuminated manuscript of the fourteenth century. At the time named for the beginning of the festival the Emperor entered, announced by the blare of trumpets, preceded by ministers bearing the sword, standard, and great seal, and by generals bearing the crown, scepter, and orb. He was surrounded by the highest officials of the kingdom and empire, and having taken his seat on the throne, there came majestic music preluding sundry orations and lists of honors conferred on eminent men of science in all parts of the world, among whom I was glad to note Professors Gibbs of Yale, James of Harvard, and Rowland of Johns Hopkins.

The Emperor's speech was characteristic. It showed that his heart was in the matter; that he felt a just pride in the achievements of German science, and was determined that no efforts of his should be wanting to increase and extend them. After the close of the function, which was made in the same stately way as its beginning, my colleagues drove home with me, and one of them said, "Well, I am an American and a republican, but when I am in a monarchy I like to see a thing of this kind done in the most magnificent way possible, as it was this morning." A day or two afterward, at the dinner given to the ambassadors by the Emperor, I told him this story. He laughed heartily, and then said: "Your friend is right: if a man is to be a monarch, let him be a monarch; Dom Pedro of Brazil tried to be something else, and it did not turn out well."

Impressive in a different way were the ceremonies attendant upon the coming of age of the German crown prince, on the 6th of May, 1900. To do honor to the occasion, the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary had sent word that he would be present, and for many days the whole city seemed mainly devoted to decorating its buildings and streets for his visit; the culmination of the whole being at the Pariser Platz, in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where a triumphal arch and obelisks were erected, with other decorations, patriotic and complimentary. On the morning of the 4th he arrived, and, entering the city at the side of the German Emperor, each in the proper uniform of the other, he was received by the burgomaster and town council of Berlin with a most cordial speech, and then, passing on through the Linden, which was showily decorated, he was enthusiastically greeted everywhere. No doubt this greeting was thoroughly sincere, since all good Germans look upon Franz Josef as their truest ally.

Next evening there was a "gala" performance at the Royal Opera, the play presented being, of all things in the world, Auber's "Bronze Horse," which is a farcical Chinese fairy tale set to very light and pleasing music. The stage setting was gorgeous, but the audience was still more so, delegates from all the greater powers of the world being present, including the heirs to the British and Italian thrones, the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, and a multitude of other scions of royalty. One feature was comical. Near me sat His Excellency the Chinese minister, surrounded by his secretaries and attaches, all apparently delighted; and on my asking him, through his interpreter, how he liked it, he said, "Very much; this shows the Europeans that in China we know how to amuse ourselves." Of the fact that it was a rather highly charged caricature of Chinese officialdom he seemed either really or diplomatically unconscious.

On the following morning I was received in audience by the German Emperor, bringing to him a warm message of congratulation from President McKinley; and when His Majesty had replied very cordially, he introduced me to the crown prince standing at his side, to whom I gave the President's best wishes. Then came, in the chapel of the palace, an impressive religious service, the address by Dr. Dryander being eloquent, and the music, by the cathedral choir and, at times, by a great military orchestra, both far above us in the dome, beautiful. At its close the crown prince came forward, stood before the altar, where I had seen his parents married twenty years before, and the oath of allegiance, which was quite long, having been read to him by the colonel of his regiment, he repeated it, word for word, and made his solemn pledge, lifting one hand and grasping the imperial standard with the other. Then, after receiving affectionate embraces from his father and mother, he was congratulated by the sovereigns and royal personages. The ambassadors and ministers having been then received by the Emperor and Empress, the young prince came along the line and spoke to each of us in a very unaffected and manly way. He was at that time somewhat taller than his father, with an intelligent and pleasant face, and is likely, I should say, to do well in his great position, though not possessing, probably, anything like his father's varied gifts and graces.

In the evening came a dinner in the White Hall of the palace to several hundred guests, including the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, the King of Saxony, and other visiting personages, with the heads of the diplomatic missions, and the leading personages of the empire; and near the close of it the Emperor William arose and made an excellent speech, to all appearance extemporaneous. The answer by the Emperor of Austria-Hungary was read by him, and was sensible and appropriate.

That this visit did much to strengthen the ties which bind the two monarchies was shown not merely by hurrahs in the streets and dithyrambic utterances in the newspapers, but by a mass of other testimony. One curious thing was the great care everywhere taken in the decorations to honor the crown and flag of Hungary equally with that of Austria, and this, as was shown by the Hungarian journals, had an excellent effect. By this meeting, no doubt, the Triple Alliance was somewhat strengthened, and the chances for continued peace increased, at least during the lifetime of the Emperor Franz Josef. As to what will follow his death all is dark. His successor is one of the least suitable of men,—unprepossessing, and even forbidding, in every respect. Brought up by the Jesuits, he is distrusted by a vast mass of the best people in the empire, Catholic and Protestant. A devout Catholic they would be glad to take, but a Jesuit pupil they dread, for they know too well what such have brought upon the empire hitherto, and, indeed, upon every kingdom which has allowed them in its councils. His previous career has not been edifying, and there is no reason to expect any change in him. The Emperor Franz Josef is probably as thoroughly beloved by his subjects as any sovereign in history has ever been. His great misfortunes—fearful defeats in the wars with France and Germany, the suicide of his only son, the assassination of his wife, and family troubles in more recent times—have thrown about him an atmosphere of romantic sympathy; while love for his kindly qualities is mingled with respect for his plain common sense. During his stay in Berlin I met him a second time. At my first presentation at Dresden, two years before, there was little opportunity for extended conversation; but he now spoke quite at length and in a manner which showed him to be observant of the world's affairs even in remote regions. He discussed the recent increase of our army, the progress of our war in the Philippines, and the extension of American enterprise in various parts of the world, in a way which was not at all perfunctory, but evidently the result of large information and careful observation. His empire, which is a seething caldron of hates, racial, religious, political, and local, is held together by love and respect for him; but when he dies this personal tie which unites all these different races, parties, and localities will disappear, and in place of it will come the man who by force of untoward circumstances is to be his successor, and this is anything but a pleasing prospect to an Austro-Hungarian, or, indeed, to any thoughtful observer of human affairs.

Interesting to me at this period was a visit from representatives of the "Kriegerverein"—German-Americans who had formerly fought in the war between Germany and France, who had since become American citizens, and who were now revisiting their native land. They were a very manly body, evidently taking pride in the American flag which they carried, and also in the part they had played in Germany. Replying to a friendly address by their commanding officer, I took up some current American fallacies regarding Germany and Germans, encouraged my hearers to stand firm against sensational efforts to make trouble between the two countries, urged them to keep their children in knowledge of the German language and in touch with German civilization, while bringing them up as thoroughly loyal Americans, reminding them that every American who is interested in German history or literature or science or art is an additional link in the chain which binds together the two nations. The speech was of a very offhand sort; but it seemed to strike deep and speed far, for it evoked most kindly letters of congratulation and thanks from various parts of Germany and the United States.

The most striking episode in the history of the world during these years was the revolution in China. The first event which startled mankind was the murder of Baron von Ketteler, the German minister at Peking, a man of remarkable abilities and accomplishments, who was thought sure to rise high among diplomatists, and who had especially attracted American friendships by his marriage with an American lady. The impression created by this calamity was made all the greater by the fact that, in the absence of further news from the Chinese capital, there was reason to fear that the whole diplomatic corps, with their families, might be murdered. American action in the entanglements which followed was prompt and successful, and thinking men everywhere soon saw it to be so. Toward the end of July, 1900, being about to go to America for the summer, I took leave of Count von Bulow at the Foreign Office, and, on coming out, met one of my colleagues, who, although representing one of the lesser European powers, was well known as exceedingly shrewd and far-sighted. He said: "I congratulate you on the course pursued by your government during this fearful Chinese imbroglio. Other powers have made haste to jump into war; your admiral at Tientsin seems the only one who has kept his head; other governments have treated representatives of the Chinese Empire as hostile, and, in doing so, have cut themselves off from all direct influence on the Peking Government; the government at Washington has taken an opposite course, has considered the troubles as, prima facie, the work of insurrectionists, has insisted on claiming friendship with the constituted authorities in China, and, in view of this friendship, has insisted on being kept in communication with its representative at the Chinese capital, the result being that your government has been allowed to communicate with its representative, and has thereby gained the information and issued the orders which have saved the entire diplomatic corps, as well as the forces of the different powers now in Peking."

It was one of those contemporary testimonies to the skill of Mr. McKinley and Secretary Hay which indicate the verdict of history.

Our later policy was equally sound. It was to prevent any further territorial encroachments on China by foreign powers, and to secure the opening of the empire on equal terms to the commerce of the entire world. On the other hand, the German Government, exasperated by the murder of its minister at Peking, was at first inclined to go beyond this, and a speech of the Emperor to his troops as they were leaving Germany for the seat of war was hastily construed to mean that they were to carry out a policy of extermination and confiscation. Even after the first natural outburst of indignation against the Chinese, it looked as if the ultimatum presented by the powers would include demands which could never be met, and would entangle all the powers in a long and tedious war, leading, perhaps, to a worse catastrophe. Quietly but vigorously, from first to last, the American policy was urged by Mr. Conger, American minister at Peking, and by other representatives of our government abroad; and it was a happy morning for me when, after efforts many and long continued, I received at the Berlin Foreign Office the assurance that Germany would not consider the earlier conditions presented by the powers to the Chinese Government as "irrevocable." My constant contention, during interviews at the Foreign Office, had been that the United States desired as anxiously to see the main miscreants punished as did any other nation, but that it was of no use to demand, upon members of the imperial family, and upon generals in command of great armies, extreme penalties which the Chinese Government was not strong enough to inflict, or indemnities which it was not rich enough to pay; that our aim was not quixotic but practical, and that, in advocating steadily the "open door" policy, we were laboring quite as much for all other powers as for ourselves. Of course we were charged in various quarters with cold-bloodedness, and with merely seeking to promote our own interest in trade; but the Japanese, who could understand the question better than the Western powers, steadily adhered to our policy, and more and more, in its main lines, it proved to be correct.

On the Fourth of July, 1900, came the celebration of our national independence at Leipsic, and being asked to respond to the first regular toast, and, having at my former visit dwelt especially upon the Presidency, my theme now became the character and services of the President himself, and it was a pleasure to find that my statement was received by the German press in a way that showed a reaction from previous injustice.

During August and September preceding the political campaign which resulted in Mr. McKinley's reelection I was in the United States. It was the hottest summer in very many years, and certainly, within my whole experience, there had been no torrid heat like that during my visits to Washington. Nearly every one seemed prostrated by it. Upon arriving at the Arlington Hotel, I found two old friends unnerved by the temperature, one of them not daring to risk a sunstroke by going to the train which would take him to his home in Chicago Retiring to one's room at night, even in the best-situated hotels, was like entering an oven. The leading official persons were generally absent, and those who remained seemed hardly capable of doing business. But there was one exception. Going to the White House to pay my respects to the President, I found him the one man in Washington perfectly cool, serene, and unaffected by the burning heat or by the pressure of public affairs. Although matters in Cuba, in Porto Rico, in the Philippines in China, and in the political campaign then going on must have been constantly in his mind, he had plenty of time, seemed to take trouble about nothing, and kept me in his office for a full hour, discussing calmly the various phases of the situation as they were affected by matters in Germany.

His discussion of public affairs showed the same quiet insight and strength which I had recognized in him when we first met, in 1884, as delegates at the Chicago National Convention. One thing during this Washington interview struck me especially: I asked him if he was to make any addresses during the campaign; he answered: "No; several of my friends have urged me to do so, but I shall not. I intend to return to what seems to me the better policy of the earlier Presidents: the American people have my administration before them; they have ample material for judging it, and with them I shall silently leave the whole matter." He said this in a perfectly simple, quiet way, which showed that he meant what he said. At the time I regretted his decision; but it soon became clear that he was right.

At the beginning of the year 1901 came the two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Prussian kingdom. Representatives of the other governments of the world appeared at court in full force; and, under instructions from the President, I tendered his congratulations and best wishes to the monarch, as follows:

May it please Your Majesty: I am instructed by the President to present his hearty congratulations on this two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Kingdom of Prussia, and, with his congratulations, his best wishes for Your Majesty's health and happiness, as well as the health and happiness of the Royal Family, and his earnest hopes for the continued prosperity of Your Majesty's Kingdom and Empire.

At the same time I feel fully authorized to present similar congratulations and good wishes from the whole people of the United States. The ties between the two nations, instead of being weakened by time, have constantly grown stronger. As regards material interests they are bound together by an enormous commerce, growing greatly every year: as regards deeper sentiments, no man acquainted with American History forgets that the House of Hohenzollern was one of the first European powers to recognize American Independence; and that it was Frederick the Great who made that first treaty,—a landmark in the history of International Law,—the only fault of which was that the world was not far enough advanced to appreciate it. We also remember that Germany was the only foreign country which showed decided sympathy for us during our Civil War—the second struggle for our national existence.

I also feel fully authorized, in view of Your Majesty's interest in everything that ministers to the highest interests of civilization, to express thanks for service which the broad policy of Germany has rendered the United States in throwing open to American scholars its Universities, its Technical Schools, its conservatories of Art, its Museums, and its Libraries. Every University and advanced school of learning in the United States recognizes the fact that Germany has been our main foreign teacher, as regards the higher ranges of Science, Literature, and Art, and I may be allowed to remind Your Majesty, that while Great Britain is justly revered by us as our mother country Germany is beginning to hold to us a similar relation, not only as the fatherland of a vast number of American citizens, but as one of the main sources of the intellectual culture spread by our universities and schools for advanced learning.

Allow me, then, sir, to renew the best wishes of the President and people of the United States, with their hopes that ever blessing may attend Your Majesty, the House of Hohenzollern the Kingdom of Prussia, and the German Empire.

The Emperor in his reply spoke very cordially of the President's special telegram, which he had received that morning, and then gave earnest utterance to his belief that the time is coming when the three great peoples of Germanic descent will stand firmly together in all the great questions of the world.

The religious ceremonies in the Palace Chapel, with magnificent music; the banquet, which included pertinent speeches from the monarchs; and the gala representation at the opera all passed off well: but, perhaps, that which will dwell longest in my memory took place at the last. The performance consisted of two pieces: one a poem glorifying Prussia, recited with music; the other a play, in four acts, with long, musical interludes, deifying the great Elector and the house of Hohenzollern. Though splendid in scenic setting and brilliant in presentation it was very long, and the ambassadors' box was crowded and hot. In the midst of it all the French ambassador, the Marquis de Noailles, one of the most suave courteous, and placid of men, quietly said to me, with inimitable gravity, "What a bore this must be to those who understand German! (Comme ca doit etre ennuyeux a ceux qui correprennent l'Allemand!)" This sudden revelation of a lower depth of boredom—from one who could not understand a word of the play—was worthy of his ancestors in the days of Saint-Simon and Dangeau.

During the following summer two great sorrows befell me and mine, but there is nothing to be here chronicled save that in this, as in previous trials, I took refuge in work which seemed to be worthy. The diplomatic service in summer is not usually exacting, especially when one has, as I had, thoroughly loyal and judicious embassy secretaries. As in a former bereavement I had turned to a study of the character and services of John of Portugal and his great successors in the age of discovery, so now I turned to Fra Paolo Sarpi and the good fight he fought for Venice and humanity. To my large collection of books on the subject, made mainly in Italy, I added much from the old book-shops of Germany, and with these revised my Venetian studies. An old dream of mine had been to bring out a small book on Fra Paolo: now I sought, more modestly, to prepare an essay.[6] The work was good for me. Contemplation of that noblest of the three great Italians between the Renaissance and the Resurrection of Italy did something to lift me above sorrow; reading his words, uttered so calmly in all the storm and stress of his time, soothed me. Viewed from my work-table on the island of Rugen, the world became less dark as I thought upon this hero of three centuries ago.

[6] This essay has since been published in the "Atlantic Monthly" of January and February, 1904.

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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY: A MAGAZINE OF Literature, Science, Art, and Politics VOLUME XCIII {From January, 1904—Number DLV. and February, 1904—Number DLVI.}

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN AND COMPANY The Riverside Press, Cambridge 1904

COPYRIGHT, 1903 AND 1904 BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A. Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company

FRA PAOLO SARPI.

I.

A thoughtful historian tells us that, between the fourteenth century and the nineteenth, Italy produced three great men. As the first of these, he names Machiavelli, who, he says, "taught the world to understand political despotism and to hate it;" as the second, he names Sarpi who "taught the world after what manner the Holy Spirit guides the Councils of the Church;" and as the third, Galileo, who "taught the world what dogmatic theology is worth when it can be tested by science."

I purpose now to present the second of these. As a MAN, he was by far the greatest of the three and, in various respects, the most interesting, for he not only threw a bright light into the most important general council of the Church and revealed to Christendom the methods which there prevailed,—in a book which remains one of the half-dozen classic histories of the world,—but he fought the most bitter fight for humanity against the papacy ever known in any Latin nation, and won a victory by which the whole world has profited ever since. Moreover, he was one of the two foremost Italian statesmen since the Middle Ages, the other being Cavour.

He was born at Venice in 1552, and it may concern those who care to note the subtle interweaving of the warp and woof of history that the birth year of this most resourceful foe that Jesuitism ever had was the death year of St. Francis Xavier, the noblest of Jesuit apostles.

It may also interest those who study the more evident evolution of cause and effect in human affairs to note that, like most strong men, he had a strong mother; that while his father was a poor shopkeeper who did little and died young, his mother was wise and serene.

From his earliest boyhood, he showed striking gifts and characteristics. He never forgot a face once seen, could take in the main contents of a page at a glance, spoke little, rarely ate meat, and, until his last years, never drank wine.

Brought up, after the death of his father, first by his uncle, a priest, and then by Capella, a Servite monk, in something better than the usual priestly fashion, he became known, while yet in his boyhood, as a theological prodigy. Disputations in his youth, especially one at Mantua, where, after the manner of the time, he successfully defended several hundred theses against all comers, attracted wide attention, so that the Bishop gave him a professorship, and the Duke, who, like some other crowned heads of those days,—notably Henry VIII. and James I.,—liked to dabble in theology, made him a court theologian. But the duties of this position were uncongenial: a flippant duke, fond of putting questions which the wisest theologian could not answer, and laying out work which the young scholar evidently thought futile, apparently wearied him. He returned to the convent of the Servites at Venice, and became, after a few years' novitiate, a friar, changing, at the same time, his name; so that, having been baptized Peter, he now became Paul.

His career soon seemed to reveal another and underlying cause of his return: he evidently felt the same impulse which stirred his contemporaries, Lord Bacon and Galileo; for he began devoting himself to the whole range of scientific and philosophical studies, especially to mathematics, physics, astronomy, anatomy, and physiology. In these he became known as an authority, and before long was recognized as such through out Europe. It is claimed, and it is not improbable, that he anticipated Harvey in discovering the circulation of the blood, and that he was the forerunner of noted discoveries in magnetism. Unfortunately the loss of the great mass of his papers by the fire which destroyed his convent in 1769 forbids any full estimate of his work; but it is certain that among those who sought his opinion and advice were such great discoverers as Acquapendente, Galileo, Torricelli, and Gilbert of Colchester, and that every one of these referred to him as an equal, and indeed as a master. It seems also established that it was he who first discovered the valves of the veins, that he made known the most beautiful function of the iris,—its contractility,—and that various surmises of his regarding heat, light, and sound have since been developed into scientific truths. It is altogether likely that, had he not been drawn from scientific pursuits by his duties as a statesman, he would have ranked among the greater investigators and discoverers, not only of Italy, but of the world.

He also studied political and social problems, and he arrived at one conclusion which, though now trite, was then novel,—the opinion that the aim of punishment should not be vengeance, but reformation. In these days and in this country, where one of the most serious of evils is undue lenity to crime, this opinion may be imputed to him as a fault; but in those days, when torture was the main method in procedure and in penalty, his declaration was honorable both to his head and heart.

With all his devotion to books, he found time to study men. Even at school, he had seemed to discern those who would win control. They discerned something in him also; so that close relations were formed between him and such leaders as Contarini and Morosini, with whom he afterwards stood side by side in great emergencies.

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