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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II
by Andrew Dickson White
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Important missions were entrusted to him. Five times he visited Rome to adjust perplexing differences between the papal power and various interests at Venice. He was rapidly advanced through most of the higher offices in his order, and in these he gave a series of decisions which won the respect of all entitled to form an opinion.

Naturally he was thought of for high place in the Church, and was twice presented for a bishopric; but each time he was rejected at Rome,—partly from family claims of less worthy candidates, partly from suspicions regarding his orthodoxy. It was objected that he did not find the whole doctrine of the Trinity in the first verse of Genesis, that he corresponded with eminent heretics of England and Germany, that he was not averse to reforms, that, in short, he was not inclined to wallow in the slime from which had crawled forth such huge incarnations of evil as John XXIII., Julius II., Sixtus IV., and Alexander VI.

His orthodox detractors have been wont to represent him as seeking vengeance for his non-promotion; but his after career showed amply that personal grievances had little effect upon him. It is indeed not unlikely that when he saw bishoprics for which he knew himself well fitted given as sops to poor creatures utterly unfit in morals or intellect, he may have had doubts regarding the part taken by the Almighty in selecting them; but he was reticent, and kept on with his work. In his cell at Santa Fosca, he quietly and steadily devoted himself to his cherished studies; but he continued to study more than books or inanimate nature. He was neither a bookworm nor a pedant. On his various missions he met and discoursed with churchmen and statesmen concerned in the greatest transactions of his time, notably at Mantua with Oliva, secretary of one of the greatest ecclesiastics at the Council of Trent; at Milan with Cardinal Borromeo, by far the noblest of all who sat in that assemblage during its eighteen years; in Rome and elsewhere with Arnauld Ferrier, who had been French Ambassador at the Council, Cardinal Severina, head of the Inquisition, Castagna, afterward Pope Urban VII., and Cardinal Bellarmine, afterward Sarpi's strongest and noblest opponent.

Nor was this all. He was not content with books or conversations; steadily he went on collecting, collating, and testing original documents bearing upon the great events of his time. The result of all this the world was to see later.

He had arrived at middle life and won wide recognition as a scholar, scientific investigator, and jurist, when there came the supreme moment of a struggle which had involved Europe for centuries,—a struggle interesting not only the Italy and Europe of those days, but universal humanity for all time.

During the period following the fall of the Roman Empire of the West there had been evolved the temporal power of the Roman Bishop. It had many vicissitudes. Sometimes, as in the days of St. Leo and St. Gregory, it based its claims upon noble assertions of right and justice, and sometimes, as in the hands of pontiffs like Innocent VIII. and Paul V., it sought to force its way by fanaticism. Sometimes it strengthened its authority by real services to humanity, and sometimes by such monstrous frauds as the Forged Decretals. Sometimes, as under Popes like Gregory VII. and Innocent III., it laid claim to the mastership of the world, and sometimes, as with the majority of the pontiffs during the two centuries before the Reformation, it became mainly the appanage of a party or faction or family.

Throughout all this history, there appeared in the Church two great currents of efficient thought. On one side had been developed a theocratic theory, giving the papacy a power supreme in temporal as well as in spiritual matters throughout the world. Leaders in this during the Middle Ages were St. Thomas Aquinas and the Dominicans; leaders in Sarpi's days were the Jesuits, represented especially in the treatises of Bellarmine at Rome and in the speeches of Laynez at the Council of Trent.[1]

[1] This has been admirably shown by N. R. F. Brown in his Taylorian Lecture, pages 229-234, in volume for 1889-99.

But another theory, hostile to the despotism of the Church over the State, had been developed through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance;—it had been strengthened mainly by the utterances of such men as Dante, aegidio Colonna, John of Paris, Ockham, Marsilio of Padua, and Laurentius Valla. Sarpi ranged himself with the latter of these forces. Though deeply religious, he recognized the God-given right of earthly governments to discharge their duties independent of church control.

Among the many centres of this struggle was Venice. She was splendidly religious—as religion was then understood. She was made so by her whole environment. From the beginning she had been a seafaring power, and seafaring men, from their constant wrestle with dangers ill understood, are prone to seek and find supernatural forces. Nor was this all. Later, when she had become rich, powerful, luxurious, licentious, and refractory to the priesthood, her most powerful citizens felt a need of atoning for their many sins by splendid religious foundations. So her people came to live in an atmosphere of religious observance, and the bloom and fruitage of their religious hopes and fears are seen in the whole history of Venetian art,—from the rude sculptures of Torcello and the naive mosaics of San Marco to the glowing altarpieces and ceilings of John Bellini, Titian, and Tintoretto and the illuminations of the Grimani Psalter. No class in Venice rose above this environment. Doges and Senators were as susceptible to it as were the humblest fishermen on the Lido. In every one of those glorious frescoes in the corridors and halls of the Ducal Palace which commemorate the victories of the Republic, the triumphant Doge or Admiral or General is seen on his knees making acknowledgment of the divine assistance. On every Venetian sequin, from the days when Venice was a power throughout the earth to that fatal year when the young Bonaparte tossed the Republic over to the House of Austria, the Doge, crowned and robed, kneels humbly before the Saviour, the Virgin, or St. Mark. In that vast Hall of the Five Hundred, the most sumptuous room in the world, there is spread above the heads of the Doge and Senators and Councilors, as an incentive to the discharge of their duties on earth, a representation of the blessed in Heaven.

From highest to lowest, the Venetians lived, moved, and had their being in this religious environment, and, had their Republic been loosely governed, its external policy would have been largely swayed by this all-pervading religious feeling, and would have become the plaything of the Roman Court. But a democracy has never been maintained save by the delegation of great powers to its chosen leaders. It was the remark of one of the foremost American Democrats of the nineteenth century, a man who received the highest honors which his party could bestow, that the Constitution of the United States was made, not to promote Democracy, but to check it. This statement is true, and it is as true of the Venetian Constitution as of the American.[1]

[1] See Horatio Seymour's noted article in the North American Review.

But while both the republics recognized the necessity of curbing Democracy, the difference between the means employed was world-wide. The founders of the American Republic gave vast powers and responsibilities to a president and unheard-of authority to a supreme court; in the Venetian Republic the Doge was gradually stripped of power, but there was evolved the mysterious and unlimited authority of the Senate and Council of Ten.

In these sat the foremost Venetians, thoroughly imbued with the religious spirit of their time; but, religious as they were, they were men of the world, trained in the polities of all Europe and especially of Italy.

In a striking passage, Guizot has shown how the Crusaders who went to the Orient by way of Italy and saw the papacy near at hand came back skeptics. This same influence shaped the statesmen of Venice. The Venetian Ambassadors were the foremost in Europe. Their Relations are still studied as the clearest, shrewdest, and wisest statements regarding the men and events in Europe at their time. All were noted for skill; but the most skillful were kept on duty at Rome. There was the source of danger. The Doges, Senators, and controlling Councilors had, as a rule, served in these embassies, and they had formed lucid judgments as to Italian courts in general and as to the Roman Court in particular. No men had known the Popes and the Curia more thoroughly. They had seen Innocent VIII. buy the papacy for money. They had been at the Vatican when Alexander VI. had won renown as a secret murderer. They had seen, close at hand, the merciless cruelty of Julius II. They had carefully noted the crimes of Sixtus IV., which culminated in the assassination of Julian de' Medici beneath the dome of Florence at the moment the Host was uplifted. They had sat near Leo X. while he enjoyed the obscenities of the Calandria and the Mandragora,—plays which, in the most corrupt of modern cities, would, in our day, be stopped by the police. No wonder that, in one of their dispatches, they speak of Rome as "the cloaca of the world."[1]

[1] For Sixtus IV. and his career, with the tragedy in the Cathedral of Florence see Villari's Life of Machiavelli, English Edition, vol. ii. pp. 341, 342. For the passages in the dispatches referred to, vide ibid. vol. i. p. 198.

Naturally, then, while their religion showed itself in wonderful monuments of every sort, their practical sense was shown by a steady opposition to papal encroachments.

Of this combination of zeal for religion with hostility to ecclesiasticism we have striking examples throughout the history of the Republic. While, in every other European state, cardinals, bishops, priests, and monks were given leading parts in civil administration and, in some states, a monopoly of civil honors, the Republic of Venice not only excluded all ecclesiastics from such posts, but, in cases which touched church interests, she excluded even the relatives of ecclesiastics. When church authority decreed that commerce should not be maintained with infidels and heretics, the Venetian merchants continued to deal with Turks, Pagans, Germans, Englishmen, and Dutchmen as before. When the Church decreed that the taking of interest for money was sin, and great theologians published in Venice some of their mightiest treatises demonstrating this view from Holy Scripture and the Fathers, the Venetians continued borrowing and lending money on usance. When efforts were made to enforce that tremendous instrument for the consolidation of papal power, the bull In Coena Domini, Venice evaded and even defied it. When the Church frowned upon anatomical dissections, the Venetians allowed Andreas Vesalius to make such dissections at their University of Padua. When Sixtus V., the strongest of all the Popes, had brought all his powers, temporal and spiritual, to bear against Henry IV. of France as an excommunicated heretic, and seemed ready to hurl the thunderbolts of the Church against any power which should recognize him, the Venetian Republic not only recognized him, but treated his Ambassador with especial courtesy. When the other Catholic powers, save France, yielded to papal mandates and sent no representatives to the coronation of James I. of England, Venice was there represented. When Pope after Pope issued endless diatribes against the horrors of toleration, the Venetians steadily tolerated in their several sorts of worship Jews and Greeks, Mohammedans and Armenians, with Protestants of every sort who came to them on business. When the Roman Index forbade the publication of most important works of leading authors, Venice demanded and obtained for her printers rights which were elsewhere denied.

As to the religious restrictions which touched trade, the Venetians in the public councils, and indeed the people at large, had come to know perfectly what the papal theory meant,—with some of its promoters, fanaticism, but with the controlling power at Rome, revenue, revenue to be derived from retailing dispensations to infringe the holy rules.

This peculiar antithesis—nowhere more striking than at Venice, on the one side, religious fears and hopes; on the other, keen insight into the ways of ecclesiasticism—led to peculiar compromises. The bankers who had taken interest upon money, the merchants who had traded with Moslems and heretics, in their last hours frequently thought it best to perfect their title to salvation by turning over large estates to the Church. Under the sway of this feeling, and especially of the terrors infused by priests at deathbeds, mortmain had become in Venice, as in many other parts of the world, one of the most serious of evils. Thus it was that the clergy came to possess between one fourth and one third of the whole territory of the Republic, and in its Bergamo district more than one half; and all this was exempt from taxation. Hence it was that the Venetian Senate found it necessary to devise a legal check which should make such absorption of estates by the Church more and more difficult.

There was a second cause of trouble. In that religious atmosphere of Venice, monastic orders of every sort grew luxuriantly, not only absorbing more and more land to be held by the dead hand, thus escaping the public burdens, but ever absorbing more and more men and women, and thus depriving the state of any healthy and normal service from them. Here, too, the Senate thought it best to interpose a check: it insisted that all new structures for religious orders must be authorized by the State.

Yet another question flamed forth. Of the monks of every sort swarming through the city, many were luxurious and some were criminal. On these last, the Venetian Senate determined to lay its hands, and in the first years of the seventeenth century all these questions, and various other matters distasteful to the Vatican, culminated in the seizure and imprisonment of two ecclesiastics charged with various high crimes,—among these rape and murder.

There had just come to the papal throne Camillo Borghese, Paul V.,—strong, bold, determined, with the highest possible theory of his duties and of his position. In view of his duty toward himself, he lavished the treasures of the faithful upon his family, until it became the richest which had yet risen in Rome; in view of his duty toward the Church, he built superbly, and an evidence of the spirit in which he wrought is his name, in enormous letters, still spread across the facade of St. Peter's. As to his position, he accepted fully the theories and practices of his boldest predecessors, and in this he had good warrant; for St. Thomas Aquinas and Bellarmine had furnished him with convincing arguments that he was divinely authorized to rule the civil powers of Italy and of the world.[1]

[1] For details of these cases of the two monks, see Pascolato. Fra Paolo Sarpi, Milano, 1893, pp. 126-128. For the Borghese avarice, see Ranke's Popes, vol. iii. pp. 9-20. For the development of Pope Paul's theory of government, see Ranke, vol. ii. p. 345, and note in which Bellarmine's doctrine is cited textually; also Bellarmine's Selbstbiographie, herausgegeben von Dollinger und Rensch Bonn, 1887. pp. 181, et seq.

Moreover there was, in his pride, something akin to fanaticism. He had been elected by one of those sudden movements, as well known in American caucuses as in papal conclaves, when, after a deadlock, all the old candidates are thrown over, and the choice suddenly falls on a new man. The cynical observer may point to this as showing that the laws governing elections, under such circumstances, are the same, whether in party caucuses or in church councils; but Paul, in this case, saw the direct intervention of the Almighty, and his disposition to magnify his office was vastly increased thereby. He was especially strenuous, and one of his earliest public acts was to send to the gallows a poor author, who, in an unpublished work, had spoken severely regarding one of Paul's predecessors.

The Venetian laws checking mortmain, taxing church property, and requiring the sanction of the Republic before the erection of new churches and monasteries greatly angered him; but the crowning vexation was the seizure of the two clerics. This aroused him fully. He at once sent orders that they be delivered up to him, that apology be made for the past and guarantees given for the future, and notice was served that, in case the Republic did not speedily obey these orders, the Pope would excommunicate its leaders and lay an interdict upon its people. It was indeed a serious contingency. For many years the new Pope had been known as a hard, pedantic ecclesiastical lawyer, and now that he had arrived at the supreme power, he had evidently determined to enforce the high mediaeval supremacy of the Church over the State. Everything betokened his success. In France he had broken down all opposition to the decrees of the Council of Trent. In Naples, when a magistrate had refused to disobey the civil law at the bidding of priests, and the viceroy had supported the magistrate, Pope Paul had forced the viceroy and magistrate to comply with his will by threats of excommunication. In every part of Italy,—in Malta, in Savoy, in Parma, in Lucca, in Genoa,—and finally even in Spain, he had pettifogged, bullied, threatened, until his opponents had given way. Everywhere he was triumphant; and while he was in the mood which such a succession of triumphs would give he turned toward Venice.[1]

[1] For letters showing the craven submission of Philip III. of Spain at this time, see Cornet, Paolo V. e la Republica Veneta, Vienna, 1859, p. 285.

There was little indeed to encourage the Venetians to resist; for, while the interests of other European powers were largely the same as theirs, current political intrigues seemed likely to bring Spain and even France into a league with the Vatican.

To a people so devoted to commerce, yet so religious, the threat of an interdict was serious indeed. All church services were to cease; the people at large, no matter how faithful, were to be as brute beasts,—not to be legally married,—not to be consoled by the sacraments,—not to be shriven, and virtually not to be buried; other Christian peoples were to be forbidden all dealings with them, under pain of excommunication; their commerce was to be delivered over to the tender mercies of any and every other nation; their merchant ships to be as corsairs; their cargoes, the legitimate prey of all Christendom; and their people, on sea and land, to be held as enemies of the human race. To this was added, throughout the whole mass of the people, a vague sense of awful penalties awaiting them in the next world. Despite all this, the Republic persisted in asserting its right.

Just at this moment came a diplomatic passage between Pope and Senate like a farce before a tragedy, and it has historical significance, as showing what resourceful old heads were at the service of either side. The Doge Grimani having died, the Vatican thought to score a point by promptly sending notice through its Nuncio to Venice that no new election of a Doge could take place if forbidden by the Pope, and that, until the Senate had become obedient to the papacy, no such election would be sanctioned. But the Senate, having through its own Ambassador received a useful hint, was quite equal to the occasion. It at once declined to receive this or any dispatch from the Pope on the plea, made with redundant courtesy and cordiality, that, there being no Doge, there was no person in Venice great enough to open it. They next as politely declined to admit the papal Nuncio on the ground that there was nobody worthy to receive him. Then they proceeded to elect a Doge who could receive both Nuncio and message,—a sturdy opponent of the Vatican pretensions, Leonardo Donato.

The Senate now gave itself entirely to considering ways and means of warding off the threatened catastrophe. Its first step was to consult Sarpi. His answer was prompt and pithy. He advised two things: first, to prevent, at all hazards, any publication of the papal bulls in Venice or any obedience to them; secondly, to hold in readiness for use at any moment an appeal to a future Council of the Church.

Of these two methods, the first would naturally seem by far the more difficult. So it was not in reality. In the letter which Sarpi presented to the Doge, he devoted less than four lines to the first and more than fourteen pages to the second. As to the first remedy, severe as it was and bristling with difficulties, it was, as he claimed, a simple, natural, straightforward use of police power. As to the second, the appeal to a future Council was to the Vatican as a red flag to a bull. The very use of it involved excommunication. To harden and strengthen the Doge and Senate in order that they might consider it as an ultimate possibility, Sarpi was obliged to show from the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Councils, the early Popes, that the appeal to a Council was a matter of right. With wonderful breadth of knowledge and clearness of statement he made his points and answered objections. To this day, his letter remains a masterpiece.[1]

[1] For Sarpi's advice to the Doge, see Bianchi Giovini, vol. i. pp. 216, et seq. The document is given fully in the Lettere di F. P. S., Firenze, 1863, vol. i. pp. 17, et seq.; also in Machi, Storia del Consiglio dei Dieci, cap. xxiv., where the bull of excommunication is also given.

The Republic utterly refused to yield, and now, in 1606, Pope Paul launched his excommunication and interdict. In meeting them, the Senate took the course laid down by Sarpi. The papal Nuncio was notified that the Senate would receive no paper from the Pope; all ecclesiasties, from the Patriarch down to the lowest monk, were forbidden, under the penalties of high treason, to make public or even to receive any paper whatever from the Vatican; additional guards were placed at the city gates, with orders to search every wandering friar or other suspicious person who might, by any possibility, bring in a forbidden missive; a special patrol was kept, night and day, to prevent any posting of the forbidden notices on walls or houses; any person receiving or finding one was to take it immediately to the authorities, under the severest penalties, and any person found concealing such documents was to be punished by death.

At first some of the clergy were refractory. The head of the whole church establishment of Venice, the Patriarch himself, gave signs of resistance; but the Senate at once silenced him. Sundry other bishops and high ecclesiastics made a show of opposition; and they were placed in confinement. One of them seeming reluctant to conduct the usual church service, the Senate sent an executioner to erect a gibbet before his door. Another, having asked that he be allowed to await some intimation from the Holy Spirit, received answer that the Senate had already received directions from the Holy Spirit to hang any person resisting their decree. The three religious orders which had showed most opposition—Jesuits, Theatins, and Capuchins—were in a semi-polite manner virtually expelled from the Republic.[2]

[2] For interesting details regarding the departure of the Jesuits, see Cornet, Paolo V. e la Republica Veneta, pp. 277-279.

Not the least curious among the results of this state of things was the war of pamphlets. From Rome, Bologna, and other centres of thought, even from Paris and Frankfort, polemic tractates rained upon the Republic. The vast majority of their authors were on the side of the Vatican, and of this majority the leaders were the two cardinals so eminent in learning and logic, Bellarmine and Baronius; but, single-handed, Sarpi was, by general consent, a match for the whole opposing force.[3]

[3] In the library of Cornell University are no less than nine quartos filled with selected examples of these polemics on both sides.

Of all the weapons then used, the most effective throughout Europe was the solemn protest drawn by Sarpi and issued by the Doge. It was addressed nominally to the Venetian ecclesiastics, but really to Christendom, and both as to matter and manner it was Father Paul at his best. It was weighty, lucid, pungent, and deeply in earnest,—in every part asserting fidelity to the Church and loyalty to the papacy, but setting completely at naught the main claim of Pope Paul: the Doge solemnly declaring himself "a prince who, in temporal matters, recognizes no superior save the Divine Majesty."

The victory of the friar soon began to be recognized far and near. Men called him by the name afterward so generally given him,—the "terribile frate." The Vatican seemed paralyzed. None of its measures availed, and it was hurt, rather than helped, by its efforts to pester and annoy Venice at various capitals. At Rome, it burned Father Paul's books and declared him excommunicated; it even sought to punish his printer by putting into the Index not only all works that he had ever printed, but all that he might ever print. At Vienna, the papal Nuncio thought to score a point by declaring that he would not attend a certain religious function in case the Venetian Ambassador should appear; whereupon the Venetian announced that he had taken physic and regretted that he could not be present,—whereat all Europe laughed.

Judicious friends in various European cabinets now urged both parties to recede or to compromise. France and Spain both proffered their good offices. The offer of France was finally accepted, and the French Ambassador was kept running between the Ducal Palace and the Vatican until people began laughing at him also. The emissaries of His Holiness begged hard that, at least, appearances might be saved; that the Republic would undo some of its measures before the interdict was removed, or at least would seem to do so, and especially that it would withdraw its refusals before the Pope withdrew his penalties. All in vain. The Venetians insisted that they had committed no crime and had nothing to retract. The Vatican then urged that the Senate should consent to receive absolution for its resistance to the Pope's authority. This the Senate steadily refused; it insisted, "Let His Holiness put things as before, and we will put things as before; as to his absolution, we do not need it or want it; to receive it would be to acknowledge that we have been in the wrong." Even the last poor sop of all was refused: the Senate would have no great "function" to celebrate the termination of the interdict; they would not even go to the mass which Cardinal Joyeuse celebrated on that occasion. The only appearance of concession which the Republic made was to give up the two ecclesiastics to the French Ambassador as a matter of courtesy to the French king; and when this was done, the Ambassador delivered them to the Pope; but Venice especially reserved all the rights she had exercised. All the essential demands of the papacy were refused, and thus was forever ended the papal power of laying an interdict upon a city or a people. From that incubus, Christendom, thanks to Father Paul and to Venice, was at last and forever free.

The Vatican did, indeed, try hard to keep its old claim in being. A few years after its defeat by Fra Paolo, it endeavored to reassert in Spain the same authority which had been so humbly acknowledged there a few years before. It was doubtless felt that this most pious of all countries, which had previously been so docile, and which had stood steadily by the Vatican against Venice in the recent struggle, would again set an example of submission. Never was there a greater mistake: the Vatican received from Spanish piety a humiliating refusal.

Next it tried the old weapons against the little government at Turin. For many generations the House of Savoy had been dutifully submissive to religious control; nowhere out of Spain had heresy been treated more cruelly; yet here, too, the Vatican claim was spurned. But the final humiliation took place some years later under Urban VIII.,—the same pontiff who wrecked papal infallibility on Galileo's telescope. He tried to enforce his will on the state of Lucca, which, in the days of Pope Paul, had submitted to the Vatican decrees abjectly; but that little republic now seized the weapons which Sarpi had devised, and drove the papal forces out of the field: the papal excommunication was, even by this petty government, annulled in Venetian fashion and even less respectfully.[1]

[1] The proofs—and from Catholic sources—that it was the Pope who condemned Galileo's doctrine of the earth's movement about the sun, and not merely the Congregation of the Index, the present writer has given in his History of the Warfare of Science with Theology, vol. i. chap. iii.

Thus the world learned how weak the Vatican hold had become. Even Pope Paul learned it, and, from being the most strenuous of modern pontiffs, he became one of the most moderate in everything save in the enrichment of his family. Thus ended the last serious effort to coerce a people by an interdict, and so, one might suppose, would end the work of Father Paul. Not so. There was to come a second chapter in his biography, more instructive, perhaps, than the first,—a chapter which has lasted until our own day. A. D. White.

{February, 1904, number DLVI.} II.

The Venetian Republic showed itself duly grateful to Sarpi. The Senate offered him splendid presents and entitled him "Theologian of Venice." The presents he refused, but the title with its duty, which was mainly to guard the Republic against the encroachments of the Vatican, he accepted, and his life in the monastery of Santa Fosca went on quietly, simply, laboriously, as before. The hatred now felt for him at Rome was unbounded. It corresponded to the gratitude at Venice. Every one saw his danger, and he well knew it. Potentates were then wont to send assassins on long errands, and the arm of the Vatican was especially far-reaching and merciless. It was the period when Pius V, the Pope whom the Church afterwards proclaimed a saint, commissioned an assassin to murder Queen Elizabeth.[1]

[1] This statement formerly led to violent denials by ultramontane champions; but in 1870 it was made by Lord Acton, a Roman Catholic, one of the most learned of modern historians, and when it was angrily denied, he quietly cited the official life of Pope Pius in the Acta Sanctorum, published by the highest church authority. This was final; denial ceased, and the statement is no longer questioned. For other proofs in the line of Lord Acton's citation, see Bellarmine's Selbstbiographie, cited in a previous article, pp. 306, et seq.

But there was in Father Paul a trust in Providence akin to fatalism. Again and again he was warned, and among those who are said to have advised him to be on his guard against papal assassins was no less a personage than his greatest controversial enemy,—Cardinal Bellarmine. It was believed by Sarpi's friends that Bellarmine's Scotch ideas of duty to humanity prevailed over his Roman ideas of fealty to the Vatican, and we may rejoice in the hope that his nobler qualities did really assert themselves against the casuistry of his brother prelates which sanctioned assassination.

These warnings were soon seen to be well founded. On a pleasant evening in October, 1607, a carefully laid trap was sprung. Returning from his day's work at the Ducal Palace, Father Paul, just as he had crossed the little bridge of Santa Fosca before reaching his convent, was met by five assassins. Two of his usual attendants had been drawn off by the outburst of a fire in the neighborhood; the other two were old men who proved useless. The place was well chosen. The descent from the bridge was so narrow that all three were obliged to march in single file, and just at this point these ruffians from Rome sprang upon him in the dusk, separated him from his companions, and gave him, in a moment, fifteen dagger thrusts, two in his throat and one—a fearful gash —on the side of his head, and then, convinced that they had killed him, escaped to their boats, only a few paces distant.

The victim lingered long in the hospital, but his sound constitution and abstemious habits stood him in good stead. Very important among the qualities which restored him to health were his optimism and cheerfulness. An early manifestation of the first of these was seen when, on regaining consciousness, he called for the stiletto which had been drawn from the main wound and, running his fingers along the blade, said cheerily to his friends, "It is not filed." What this meant, any one knows who has seen in various European collections the daggers dating from the "ages of faith" cunningly filed or grooved to hold poison.[1]

[1] There is a remarkable example of a beautiful dagger, grooved to contain poison, in the imperial collection of arms at Vienna.

As an example of the second of these qualities, we may take his well-known reply when, to the surgeon dressing the wound made by the "style" or stiletto,—who spoke of its "extravagance," rudeness, and yet ineffectiveness,—Fra Paolo quietly answered that in these characteristics could be recognized the style of the Roman Curia.

Meantime the assassins had found their way back to Rome, and were welcomed with open arms; but it is some comfort to know that later, when such conscience as there was throughout Italy and Europe showed intense disgust at the proceeding, the Roman Court treated them coldly and even severely.

The Republic continued in every way to show Sarpi its sympathy and gratitude. It made him many splendid offer, which he refused; but two gifts he accepted. One was full permission to explore the Venetian archives, and the other was a little doorway, cut through the garden wall of his monastery, enabling him to reach his gondola without going through the narrow and tortuous path he had formerly taken on his daily journey to the public offices. This humble portal still remains. Beneath few triumphal arches has there ever passed as great or as noble a conqueror.[2]

[2] The present writer has examined with care the spot where the attack was made, and found that never was a scoundrelly plot better conceived or more fiendishly executed. He also visited what was remaining of the convent in April, 1902, and found the little door as serviceable as when it was made.

Efforts were also made to cajole him,—to induce him to visit Rome, with fine promises of recognition and honor, and with solemn assurances that no harm should come to him; but he was too wise to yield. Only a few years previously he had seen Giordano Bruno lured to Rome and burned alive on the Campo dei Fiori. He had seen his friend and correspondent, Fra Fulgentio Manfredi, yield to similar allurements and accept a safe conduct to Rome, which, though it solemnly guaranteed him against harm, proved as worthless as that of John Huss at the Council of Constance; the Inquisition torturing him to death on the spot where, six years earlier, it had burned Bruno. He had seen his friend, the Archdeacon Ribetti, drawn within the clutch of the Vatican, only to die of "a most painful colic" immediately after dining with a confidential chamberlain of the Pope, and, had he lived a few months longer, he would have seen his friend and confidant, Antonio de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalato, to whom he had entrusted a copy of his most important work, enticed to Rome and put to death by the Inquisition. Though the Vatican exercised a strong fascination over its enemies, against Father Paul it was powerless; he never yielded to it, but kept the even tenor of his way.[3]

[3] A copy of Manfredi's "safe conduct" is given by Castellani, Lettere Inedite di F. P. S., p. 12, note. Nothing could be more explicit.

In the dispatches which now passed, comedy was mingled with tragedy. Very unctuous was the expression by His Holiness of his apprehensions regarding "dangers to the salvation" and of his "fears for the souls" of the Venetian Senators, if they persisted in asserting their own control of their own state. Hardly less touching were the fears expressed by the good Oratorian, Cardinal Baronius, that "a judgment might be brought upon the Republic" if it declined to let the Vatican have its way. But these expressions were not likely to prevail with men who had dealt with Machiavelli.

Uncompromising as ever, Father Paul continued to write letters and publish treatises which clenched more and more firmly into the mind of Venice and of Europe the political doctrine of which he was the apostle,—the doctrine that the State is rightfully independent of the Church,—and throughout the Christian world he was recognized as victor.

Nothing could exceed the bitterness of the attacks upon him, though some of them, at this day, provoke a smile. While efforts were made to discredit him among scholars by spurious writings or by interpolations in genuine writings, efforts equally ingenious were made to arouse popular hostility. One of these was a painting which represented him writhing amid the flames of hell, with a legend stating, as a reason for his punishment, that he had opposed the Holy Father.

Now it was indeed, in the midst of ferocious attacks upon his reputation and cunning attempts upon his life, that he entered a new and most effective period of activity. For years, as the adviser of Venice, he had studied, both as a historian and as a statesman, the greatest questions which concerned his country, and especially those which related to the persistent efforts of the Vatican to encroach upon Venetian self-government. The results of these studies he had embodied in reports which had shaped the course of the Republic; and now, his learning and powers of thought being brought to bear upon the policy of Europe in general, as affected by similar papal encroachments, he began publishing a series of treatises, which at once attracted general attention.[1]

[1] For the extent to which these attacks were carried, see the large number in the Sarpi collection at the Cornell University Library, especially volume ix.

First of these, in 1608, came his work on the Interdict. Clearly and concisely it revealed the nature of the recent struggle, the baselessness of the Vatican claims, and the solidarity of interest between Venice and all other European states regarding the question therein settled. This work of his as a historian clenched his work as a statesman; from that day forward no nation has even been seriously threatened with an interdict.

Subsidiary works followed rapidly from his pen, strengthening the civil power against the clerical; but in 1610 came a treatise, which marked an epoch,—his History of Ecclesiastical Benefices.[2] In this he dealt with a problem which had become very serious, not only in Venice, but in every European state, showed the process by which vast treasures had been taken from the control of the civil power and heaped up for ecclesiastical pomp and intrigue, pointed out special wrongs done by the system to the Church as well as the State, and advocated a reform which should restore this wealth to better uses. His arguments spread widely and sank deep, not only in Italy, but throughout Europe, and the nineteenth century has seen them applied effectively in every European country within the Roman obedience.

[2] The old English translation of this book, published in 1736 at Westminster, is by no means a very rare book, and it affords the general reader perhaps the most accessible means of understanding Fra Paolo's simplicity, thoroughness, and vigor.

In 1611 he published his work on the Inquisition at Venice, presenting historical arguments against the uses which ecclesiasticism, under papal guidance, had made of that tribunal. These arguments spread far, and developed throughout Europe those views of the Inquisition which finally led to its destruction. Minor treatises followed, dealing with state questions arising between the Vatican and Venice, each treatise—thoroughly well reasoned and convincing—having a strong effect on the discussion of similar public questions in every other European nation.

In 1613 came two books of a high order, each marking an epoch. The first of these was upon the Right of Sanctuary, and in it Sarpi led the way, which all modern states have followed, out of the old, vicious system of sanctioning crime by sheltering criminals. The cogency of his argument and the value of its application gained for him an especial tribute by the best authority on such questions whom Europe had seen,—Hugo Grotius.

Closely connected with this work was that upon the Immunity of the Clergy. Both this and the previous work were in the same order of ideas, and the second fastened into the European mind the reasons why no state can depend upon the Church for the punishment of clerical criminals. His argument was a triumphant vindication of Venice in her struggle with Paul V on this point; but it was more than that. It became the practical guide of all modern states. Its arguments dissipated the last efforts throughout Europe to make a distinction, in criminal matters, between the priestly caste and the world in general.

Among lesser treatises which followed is one which has done much to shape modern policy regarding public instruction. This was his book upon the Education given by the Jesuits. One idea which it enforced sank deep into the minds of all thoughtful men,—his statement that Jesuit maxims develop "sons disobedient to their parents, citizens unfaithful to their country, and subjects undutiful to their sovereign." Jesuit education has indeed been maintained, and evidences of it may be seen in various European countries. The traveler in Italy constantly sees in the larger Italian towns long lines of young men and boys, sallow, thin, and listless, walking two and two, with priests at each end of the coffle. These are students taking their exercise, and an American or Englishman marvels as he remembers the playing fields of his own country. Youth are thus brought up as milksops, to be graduated as scape-graces. The strong men who control public affairs, who lead men and originate measures in the open, are not bred in Jesuit forcing-houses. Even the Jesuits themselves have acknowledged this, and perhaps the strongest of all arguments supplementary to those given by Father Paul were uttered by Padre Curci, eminent in his day as a Jesuit gladiator, but who realized finally the impossibility of accomplishing great things with men moulded by Jesuit methods.

All these works took strong hold upon European thought. Leading men in all parts of Europe recognized Sarpi as both a great statesman and a great historian. Among his English friends were such men as Lord Bacon and Sir Henry Wotton; and his praises have been sounded by Grotius, by Gibbon, by Hallam, and by Macaulay. Strong, lucid, these works of Father Paul have always been especially attractive to those who rejoice in the leadership of a master mind.

But in 1619 came the most important of all,—a service to humanity hardly less striking than that which he had rendered in his battle against the Interdict,—his history of the Council of Trent.

His close relations to so many of the foremost men of his day and his long study in public archives and private libraries bore fruit in this work, which takes rank among the few great, enduring historical treatises of the world. Throughout, it is vigorous and witty, but at the same time profound; everywhere it bears evidences of truthfulness and is pervaded by sobriety of judgment. Its pictures of the efforts or threats by representatives of various great powers to break away from the papacy and establish national churches; its presentation of the arguments of anti-papal orators on one side and of Laynez and his satellites on the other; its display of acts and revelations of pretexts; its penetration into the whole network of intrigue, and its thorough discussion of underlying principles,—all are masterly.

Though the name of the author was concealed in an anagram, the book was felt, by the Vatican party, to be a blow which only one man could have dealt, and the worst blow which the party had received since its author had defeated the Interdict at Venice. Efforts were made, by outcries and calumnies, to discredit the work, and they have been continued from that day to this, but in vain. That there must be some gaps and many imperfections in it is certain; but its general character is beyond the reach of ultramontane weapons. The blow was felt to be so heavy that the Jesuit Pallavicini was empowered to write a history of the Council to counterbalance it, and his work was well done; but Ranke, the most unprejudiced of judges, comparing the two, assigns the palm to Father Paul. His book was immediately spread throughout Europe; but of all the translations, perhaps the most noteworthy was the English. Sarpi had entrusted a copy of the original to his friend, Antonio de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalato, and he, having taken refuge in England, had it translated there, the authorship being ascribed on the title-page to "Pietro Soave Polano." This English translation was, in vigor and pith, worthy of the original. In it can be discerned, as clearly as in the original, that atmosphere of intrigue and brutal assertion of power by which the Roman Curia, after packing the Council with petty Italian bishops, bade defiance to the Catholic world. This translation, more than all else, has enabled the English-speaking peoples to understand what was meant by the Italian historian when he said that Father Paul "taught the world how the Holy Spirit guides the Great Councils of the Church." It remains cogent down to this day; after reading it one feels that such guidance might equally be claimed for Tammany Hall.

Although Father Paul never acknowledged the authorship of the history of the Council of Trent, and although his original copy, prepared for the press, with his latest corrections, still remains buried in the archives at Venice, the whole world knew that he alone could have written it.

But during all these years, while elaborating opinions on the weightiest matters of state for the Venetian Senate, and sending out this series of books which so powerfully influenced the attitude of his own and after generations toward the Vatican, he was working with great effect in yet another field. With the possible exception of Voltaire, he was the most vigorous and influential letter-writer during the three hundred years which separated Erasmus from Thomas Jefferson. Voltaire certainly spread his work over a larger field, lighted it with more wit, and gained by it more brilliant victories; but as regards accurate historical knowledge, close acquaintance with statesmen, familiarity with the best and worst which statesmen could do, sober judgment and cogent argument, the great Venetian was his superior. Curiously enough, Sarpi resembles the American statesman more closely than either of the Europeans. Both he and Jefferson had the intense practical interest of statesmen, not only in the welfare of their own countries, but in all the political and religious problems of their times. Both were keenly alive to progress in the physical sciences, wherever made. Both were wont to throw a light veil of humor over very serious discussions. Both could use, with great effect, curt, caustic description: Jefferson's letter to Governor Langdon satirizing the crowned heads of Europe, as he had seen them, has a worthy pendant in Fra Paolo's pictures of sundry representatives of the Vatican. In both these writers was a deep earnestness which, at times, showed itself in prophetic utterances. The amazing prophecy of Jefferson against American slavery, beginning with the words, "I tremble when I remember that God is just," which, in the light of our civil war, seems divinely inspired, is paralleled by some of Sarpi's utterances against the unmoral tendencies of Jesuitism and Ultramontanism; and these too seem divinely inspired as one reads them in the light of what has happened since in Spain, in Sicily, in Naples, in Poland, in Ireland, and in sundry South American republics.

The range of Sarpi's friendly relations was amazing. They embraced statesmen, churchmen, scholars, scientific investigators, diplomatists in every part of Europe, and among these Galileo and Lord Bacon, Grotius and Mornay, Salmasius and Casaubon, De Thou and Sir Henry Wotton, Bishop Bedell and Vossius, with a great number of others of nearly equal rank. Unfortunately the greater part of his correspondence has perished. In the two small volumes collected by Polidori, and in the small additional volume of letters to Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, unearthed a few years since in the Venetian archives by Castellani, we have all that is known. It is but a small fraction of his epistolary work, but it enables us to form a clear opinion. The letters are well worthy of the man who wrote the history of the Council of Trent and the protest of Venice against the Interdict.

It is true that there has been derived from these letters, by his open enemies on one side and his defenders of a rather sickly conscientious sort on the other, one charge against him: this is based on his famous declaration, "I utter falsehood never, but the truth not to every one." ("La falsita non dico mai mai, ma la verita non a ogniuno.")[1] Considering his vast responsibilities as a statesman and the terrible dangers which beset him as a theologian; that in the first of these capacities the least misstep might wreck the great cause which he supported, and that in the second such a misstep might easily bring him to the torture chamber and the stake, normally healthful minds will doubtless agree that the criticism upon these words is more Pharisaic than wholesome.

[1] For this famous utterance, see notes of conversations given by Christoph, Burggraf von Dohna, in July, 1608, in Briefe und Acten zur Geschichte des Dreissigjahrigen Krieges, Munchen, 1874, p. 79.

Sarpi was now spoken of, more than ever, both among friends and foes, as the "terribile frate." Terrible to the main enemies of Venice he indeed was, and the machinations of his opponents grew more and more serious. Efforts to assassinate him, to poison him, to discredit him, to lure him to Rome, or at least within reach of the Inquisition, became almost frantic; but all in vain. He still continued his quiet life at the monastery of Santa Fosca, publishing from time to time discussions of questions important for Venice and for Europe, working steadily in the public service until his last hours. In spite of his excommunication and of his friendships with many of the most earnest Protestants of Europe, he remained a son of the church in which he was born. His life was shaped in accordance with its general precepts, and every day he heard mass. So his career quietly ran on until, in 1623, he met death calmly, without fear, in full reliance upon the divine justice and mercy. His last words were a prayer for Venice.

He had fought the good fight. He had won it for Venice and for humanity. For all this, the Republic had, in his later years, tried to show her gratitude, and he had quietly and firmly refused the main gifts proposed to him. But now came a new outburst of grateful feeling. The Republic sent notice of his death to other powers of Europe through its Ambassadors in the terms usual at the death of royal personages; in every way, it showed its appreciation of his character and services, and it crowned all by voting him a public monument.

Hardly was the decree known, when the Vatican authorities sent notice that, should any monument be erected to Sarpi, they would anew and publicly declare him excommunicate as a heretic. At this, the Venetian Senate hesitated, waited, delayed. Whenever afterwards the idea of carrying out the decree for the monument was revived, there set in a storm of opposition from Rome. Hatred of the terrible friar's memory seemed to grow more and more bitter. Even rest in the grave was denied him. The church where he was buried having been demolished, the question arose as to the disposition of his bones. To bury them in sacred ground outside the old convent would arouse a storm of ecclesiastical hostility, with the certainty of their dispersion and desecration; it seemed impossible to secure them from priestly hatred: therefore it was that his friends took them from place to place, sometimes concealing them in the wall of a church here, sometimes beneath the pavement of a church there, and for a time keeping them in a simple wooden box at the Ducal Library. The place where his remains rested became, to most Venetians, unknown. All that remained to remind the world of his work was his portrait in the Ducal Library, showing the great gash made by the Vatican assassins.

Time went on, and generations came which seemed to forget him. Still worse, generation after generation came, carefully trained by clerical teachers to misunderstand and hate him. But these teachers went too far; for, in 1771, nearly one hundred and fifty years after his death, the monk Vaerini gathered together, in a pretended biography, all the scurrilities which could be imagined, and endeavored to bury the memory of the great patriot beneath them. This was too much. The old Venetian spirit, which had so long lain dormant, now asserted itself: Vaerini was imprisoned and his book suppressed.

A quarter of a century later the Republic fell under the rule of Austria, and Austria's most time-honored agency in keeping down subject populations has always been the priesthood. Again Father Paul's memory was virtually proscribed, and in 1803 another desperate attempt was made to cover him with infamy. In that year appeared a book entitled The Secret History of the Life of Fra Paolo Sarpi, and it contained not only his pretended biography, but what claimed to be Sarpi's own letters and other documents showing him to be an adept in scoundrelism and hypocrisy. Its editor was the archpriest Ferrara of Mantua; but on the title-page appeared, as the name of its author, Fontanini, Archbishop of Ancira, a greatly respected prelate who had died nearly seventy years before, and there was also stamped, not only upon the preliminary, but upon the final page of the work, the approval of the Austrian government. To this was added a pious motto from St. Augustine, and the approval of Pius VII was distinctly implied, since the work was never placed upon the Index, and could not have been published at Venice, stamped as it was and registered with the privileges of the University, without the consent of the Vatican.

The memory of Father Paul seemed likely now to be overwhelmed. There was no longer a Republic of Venice to guard the noble traditions of his life and service. The book was recommended and spread far and wide by preachers and confessors.

But at last came a day of judgment. The director of the Venetian archives discovered and had the courage to announce that the work was a pious fraud of the vilest type; that it was never written by Fontanini, but that it was simply made up out of the old scurrilous work of Vaerini, suppressed over thirty years before. As to the correspondence served up as supplementary to the biography, it was concocted from letters already published, with the addition of Jesuitical interpolations and of forgeries.[1] Now came the inevitable reaction, and with it the inevitable increase of hatred for Austrian rule and the inevitable question, how, if the Pope is the infallible teacher of the world in all matters pertaining to faith and morals, could he virtually approve this book, and why did he not, by virtue of his divine inerrancy, detect the fraud and place its condemnation upon the Index. The only lasting effect of the book, then, was to revive the memory of Father Paul's great deeds and to arouse Venetian pride in them. The fearful scar on his face in the portrait spoke more eloquently than ever, and so it was that, early in the nineteenth century, many men of influence joined in proposing a suitable and final interment for the poor bones, which had seven times been buried and reburied, and which had so long been kept in the sordid box at the Ducal Library. The one fitting place of burial was the cemetery of San Michele. To that beautiful island, so near the heart of Venice, had, for many years, been borne the remains of leading Venetians. There, too, in more recent days, have been laid to rest many of other lands widely respected and beloved.

[1] For a full and fair statement of the researches which exposed this pious fraud, see Castellani, Prefect of the Library of St. Mark, preface to his Lettere Inedite di F. P. S., p. xvii. For methods used in interpolating or modifying passages in Sarpi's writings, see Bianchi Giovini, Biografia di Sarpi, Zurigo, 1847, vol. ii. pp. 135, et seq.

But the same persistent hatred which, in our own day, grudged and delayed due honors at the tombs of Copernicus and Galileo among Catholics, and of Humboldt among Protestants, was still bitter against the great Venetian scholar and statesman. It could not be forgotten that he had wrested from the Vatican the most terrible of its weapons. But patriotic pride was strong, and finally a compromise was made: it was arranged that Sarpi should be buried and honored at his burial as an eminent man of science, and that no word should be spoken of his main services to the Republic and to the world. On this condition he was buried with simple honors.

Soon, however, began another chapter of hatred. There came a pope who added personal to official hostility. Gregory XVI, who in his earlier days had been abbot of the monastery of San Michele, was indignant that the friar who had thwarted the papacy should lie buried in the convent which he himself had formerly ruled, and this feeling took shape, first, in violent speeches at Rome, and next, in brutal acts at Venice. The monks broke and removed the simple stone placed over the remains of Father Paul, and when it was replaced, they persisted in defacing and breaking it, and were only prevented from dragging out his bones, dishonoring them and casting them into the lagoon, by the weight of the massive, strong, well-anchored sarcophagus, which the wise foresight of his admirers had provided for them. At three different visits to Venice, the present writer sought the spot where they were laid, and in vain. At the second of these visits, he found the Patriarch of Venice, under whose rule various outrages upon Sarpi's memory had been perpetrated, pontificating gorgeously about the Grand Piazza; but at his next visit there had come a change. The monks had disappeared. Their insults to the illustrious dead had been stopped by laws which expelled them from their convent, and there, little removed from each other in the vestibule and aisle of the great church, were the tombs of Father Paul and of the late Patriarch side by side; the great patriot's simple gravestone was now allowed to rest unbroken.

Better even than this was the reaction provoked by these outbursts of ecclesiastical hatred. It was felt, in Venice, throughout Italy, and indeed throughout the world, that the old decree for a monument should now be made good. The first steps were hesitating. First, a bust of Father Paul was placed among those of great Venetians in the court of the Ducal Palace; but the inscription upon it was timid and double-tongued. Another bust was placed on the Pincian Hill at Rome, among those of the most renowned sons of Italy. This was not enough: a suitable monument must be erected. Yet it was delayed, timid men deprecating the hostility of the Roman Court. At last, under the new Italian monarchy, the patriotic movement became irresistible, and the same impulse which erected the splendid statue to Giordano Bruno on the Piazza dei Fiori at Rome,—on the very spot where he was burned,—and which adorned it with the medallions of eight other martyrs to ecclesiastical hatred, erected in 1892, two hundred and seventy years after it had been decreed, a statue, hardly less imposing, to Paolo Sarpi, on the Piazza Santa Fosca at Venice, where he had been left for dead by the Vatican assassins. There it stands, noble and serene,—a monument of patriotism and right reason, a worthy tribute to one who, among intellectual prostitutes and solemnly constituted impostors, stood forth as a true man, the greatest of his time,—one of the greatest of all times,—an honor to Venice, to Italy, and to humanity. Andrew D. White.

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Then came the death of the Empress Frederick. Even during her tragic struggle with Bismarck, and the unpopularity which beset her during my former official term at Berlin, she had been kind to me and mine. At my presentation to her in those days, at Potsdam, when she stood by the side of her husband, afterward the most beloved of emperors since Marcus Aurelius, she evidently exerted herself to make the interview pleasant to me. She talked of American art and the Colorado pictures of Moran, which she had seen and admired; of German art and the Madonna painted by Knaus for the Russian Empress, which Miss Wolfe had given the Metropolitan Museum at New York; and in reply to my congratulations upon a recent successful public speech of her eldest son, a student at Bonn, she had dwelt, in a motherly way, upon the difficulties which environ a future sovereign at a great university. In more recent days, and especially during the years before her death, she had been, at her table in Berlin and at her castle of Kronberg, especially courteous. There comes back to me pleasantly a kindly retort of hers. I had spoken to her of a portrait of George III which had interested me at the old castle of Homburg nearly forty years before. It had been sent to his daughter, the Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, who had evidently wished to see her father's face as it had really become; for it represented the King, not in the gold-laced uniform, not in the trim wig not in the jauntily tied queue of his official portraits and statues, but as he was: in confinement, wretched and demented; in a slouching gown, with a face sad beyond expression; his long, white hair falling about it and over it; of all portraits in the world, save that, at Florence, of Charles V in his old age, the saddest. So, the conversation drifting upon George III and upon the old feeling between the United States and Great Britain, now so happily changed, I happened to say, "It is a remembrance of mine, now hard to realize, that I was brought up to ABHOR the memory of George III." At this she smiled and answered, "That was very unjust; for I was brought up to ADORE the memory of Washington." Then she spoke at length regarding the feeling of her father and mother toward the United States during our Civil War, saying that again and again she had heard her father argue to her mother, Queen Victoria, for the Union and against slavery. She discussed current matters of world politics with the strength of a statesman; yet nothing could be more womanly in the highest sense. On my saying that I hoped to see the day when Germany, Great Britain, and the United States would stand together in guarding the peace of the world, she threw up her hands and replied, "Heaven grant it; but you forget Japan." The funeral at Potsdam dwells in my mind as worthy of her. There were, indeed, pomp and splendor, but subdued, as was befitting; and while the foreign representatives stood beside her coffin, the Emperor spoke to me, very simply and kindly, of his sorrow and of mine. Then, to the sound of funeral music and muffled church bells, he, with the King of Great Britain and members of their immediate family just behind the funeral car, the ambassadors accompanying them, and a long procession following, walked slowly along the broad avenue through that beautiful forest, until, in the Church of Peace, she was laid by the side of her husband, Emperor Frederick the Noble.



CHAPTER XLIII

BERLIN, YALE, OXFORD, AND ST. ANDREWS—1901-1903

Darkest of all hours during my embassy was that which brought news of the assassination of President McKinley. It was on the very day after his great speech at Buffalo had gained for him the admiration and good will of the world. Then came a week of anxiety—of hope alternating with fear; I not hopeful: for there came back to me memories of President Garfield's assassination during my former official stay in Berlin, and of our hope against hope during his struggle for life: all brought to naught. Late in the evening of September 14 came news of the President's death—opening a new depth of sadness; for I had come not merely to revere him as a patriot and admire him as a statesman, but to love him as a man. Few days have seemed more overcast than that Sunday when, at the little American chapel in Berlin, our colony held a simple service of mourning, the imperial minister of foreign affairs and other representatives of the government having quietly come to us. The feeling of the German people—awe, sadness, and even sympathy—was real. Formerly they had disliked and distrusted the President as the author of the protective policy which had cost their industries so dear; but now, after his declaration favoring reciprocity,—with his full recognition of the brotherhood of nations,—and in view of this calamity, so sudden, so distressing, there had come a revulsion of feeling.

To see one whom I so honored, and who had formerly been so greatly misrepresented, at last recognized as a great and true man was, at least, a solace.

At this period came the culmination of a curious episode in my official career. During the war in China the Chinese minister at Berlin, Lu-Hai-Houan, feeling himself cut off from relations with the government to which he was accredited, and, indeed, with all the other powers of Europe, had come at various times to me, and with him, fortunately, came his embassy counselor, Dr. Kreyer, whom I had previously known at Berlin and St. Petersburg as a thoughtful man, deeply anxious for the welfare of China, and appreciative of the United States, where he had received his education. The minister was a kindly old mandarin of high rank, genial, gentle, evidently struggling hard against the depression caused by the misfortunes of his country, and seeking some little light, if, perchance, any was to be obtained. In his visits to me, and at my return visits to him, the whole condition of things in China was freely and fully discussed, and never have I exerted myself more to give useful advice. First, I insisted upon the necessity of amends for the fearful wrong done by China to other nations, and then presented my view of the best way of developing in his country a civilization strong enough to resist hostile forces, exterior and interior. As to dealings with the Christian missionaries, against whom he showed no fanatical spirit, but who, as he thought, had misunderstood China and done much harm, I sought to show him that the presumption was in their favor, but that if the Chinese Government ultimately came to the decision that their stay in China was incompatible with the safety of the nation, its course was simple: that on no account was it to kill or injure any of them or of their converts; that while, in my view, it would be wise to arrange for their continuance in China under proper regulation, still, that if they must be expelled, it should be done in the most kindly and considerate way, and with due indemnity for any losses to which they might be subjected. Of course, there was no denying that, under the simplest principles of international law, China has the right at any moment to shut its doors against, or to expel, any people whatever whom it may consider dangerous or injurious—this power being constantly exercised by all the other nations of the earth, and by none more than by the American Government, as so many Chinese seeking entrance to our ports have discovered; but again and again I warned him that this, if it were ever done at all, must be done without harshness and with proper indemnities, and that any return to the cruelties of the past would probably end in the dividing up of maritime China among the great powers of the world. As to the building up of the nation, I laid stress on the establishment of institutions for technical instruction; and took pains to call his attention to what had been done in the United States and by various European governments in this respect. He seemed favorably impressed by this, but dwelt on what he considered the fanaticism of sundry Chinese supporters of technical education against the old Chinese classical instruction. Here I suggested to him a system which might save what was good in the old mode of instruction: namely, the continuance of the best of the old classical training, but giving also high rank to modern studies.

We also talked over the beginning of a better development of the Chinese army and navy, of better systems of taxation, and of the nations from which good examples and competent instruction might be drawn in these various fields. Curious was his suggestion of a possible amalgamation of Chinese moral views with the religious creeds of the western world. He observed that Christianity seemed to be weak, mainly, on the moral side, and he suggested, at some length, a combination of the Christian religion with the Confucian morality. Interesting was it to hear him, as a Confucian, dwell on the services which might thus be rendered to civilization. There was a simple, kindly shrewdness in the man, and a personal dignity which was proof against the terrible misfortunes which had beset his country. Again and again he visited me, always wishing to discuss some new phase of the questions at issue. I could only hope that, as he was about to return to China, some of the ideas brought out in our conversations might prove fruitful. One result of the relation thus formed was that when Prince Chun, the brother of the Emperor of China, came to make apology before the throne of the Emperor William, he called upon me. Unfortunately I was out, but, returning his visit, I met him, and, what was more to the purpose, the dignitaries of his suite, some of whom interested me much; and I was glad of a chance, through them, to impress some of the ideas brought out in my previous conversations with the minister. I cannot say that I indulged in any strong hopes as regards the prince himself; but, noting the counselors who surrounded him, and their handling of the questions at issue, I formed more hope for the conservation of China as a great and beneficent power than I had ever had before.

To this succeeded an episode of a very different sort. For some time Mr. Andrew Carnegie had done me the honor to listen to advice of mine regarding some of his intended benefactions in Scotland, the United States, and elsewhere. I saw and felt the great possibilities for good involved when so noble a heart, so shrewd a head, so generous a hand had command of one of the most colossal fortunes ever at the disposal of a human being; and the bright purposes and plans revealed in his letters shone through the clouds of that mournful summer. So it was that, on my journey to America, made necessary by the sudden death of my son, I accepted Mr. Carnegie's invitation to visit him at his castle of Skibo in the extreme north of Scotland. Very striking, during the two days' journey from London to Edinburgh, and from Edinburgh to Bonar, were the evidences of mourning for President McKinley in every city, village, and hamlet. It seemed natural that, in the large towns and on great public buildings, flags at half-mast and in mourning should show a sense of the calamity which had befallen a sister nation; but what appealed to me most were the draped and half-masted flags on the towers of the little country churches and cottages. Never before in the history of any two countries had such evidences of brotherly feeling been shown. Thank God! brotherly feeling had conquered demagogism.

The visit to Mr. Carnegie helped to give a new current to my thoughts. The attractions of his wonderful domain forty thousand acres, with every variety of scenery,—ocean, forest, moor, and mountain,—the household with its quaint Scotch usages—the piper in full tartan solemnly going his rounds at dawn, and the music of the organ swelling, morning and evening, through the castle from the great hall—all helped to give me new strength. There was also good company: Frederic Harrison, thoughtful and brilliant, whom I had before known only by his books and a brief correspondence; Archdeacon Sinclair of London, worthy, by his scholarly accomplishments, of his descent from the friend of Washington; and others who did much to aid our hosts in making life at the castle beautiful. Going thence to America, I found time to cooperate with my old friend, President Gilman, in securing data for Mr. Carnegie, especially at Washington, in view of his plan of a national institution for the higher scientific research.

It was a sad home-coming; but these occupations and especially a visit to New Haven at the bicentennial celebration of Yale aided to cheer me. This last was indeed a noteworthy commemoration. There had come to me, in connection with it, perhaps the greatest honor of my life: an invitation to deliver one of the main addresses; but it had been received at the time of my deepest depression, and I had declined it, but with no less gratitude that the authorities of my Alma Mater had thought me worthy of that service. In so doing, I sacrificed much; for there was one subject which, under other circumstances, I would gladly have developed at such a time and before such an audience. But as I listened to the admirable address given by my old college mate, Mr. Justice Brewer, when the honors of the university were conferred upon the President, the Secretary of State, and so many distinguished representatives from all parts of the world, it was a satisfaction to me, after all, that I could enjoy it quietly, with no sense of responsibility, and could, indeed, rest and be thankful.

As to my own personal history, there came at this time an event which could not but please me: the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin chose me as one of its foreign honorary members. It was a tribute of the sort for which I cared most, especially because it brought me into closer relations with leaders in science and literature whom I had so long admired.

To finish the chronicle of that period, I may add that, on my return from America, being invited to Potsdam for the purpose, I gave the Emperor the very hearty message which the President had sent him, and that, during this interview and the family dinner which followed it, he spoke most appreciatively and intelligently of the President, of the recent victory for good government in the city of New York, of the skill shown by Americans in great works of public utility, and especially of the remarkable advances in the development of our navy.

One part of this conversation had a lighter cast. At the close of that portion of the communication from the President which referred to various public affairs came a characteristic touch in the shape of an invitation to hunt in the Rocky Mountain regions: it was the simple message of one healthy, hearty, vigorous hunter to another, and was to the effect that the President especially envied the Emperor for having shot a whale, but that if his Majesty would come to America he should have the best possible opportunity to add to his trophies a Rocky Mountain lion, and that he would thus be the first monarch to kill a lion since Tiglath-Pileser, whose exploit is shown on the old monuments of Assyria. The hearty way in which the message was received showed that it would have been gladly accepted had that been possible.

On New Year's day of 1902 began the sixth year of my official stay at Berlin. At his reception of the ambassadors the Emperor was very cordial, spoke most heartily regarding President Roosevelt, and asked me to forward his request that the President's daughter might be allowed to christen the imperial yacht then building in America. In due time this request was granted, and as the special representative of the sovereign at its launching he named his brother—Prince Henry. No man in the empire could have been more fitly chosen. His career as chief admiral of the German navy had prepared him to profit by such a journey, and his winning manners assured him a hearty welcome.

My more serious duties were now relieved by sundry festivities, and of these was a dinner on the night of the prince's departure from Berlin, given to the American Embassy by the Emperor, who justly hoped and believed that the proposed expedition would strengthen good feeling between the two countries. After dinner we all sat in the smoking-room of the old Schloss until midnight, and various pleasant features of the conversation dwell in my memory—particularly the Emperor's discussions of Mark Twain and other American humorists; but perhaps the most curious was his amusement over a cutting from an American newspaper—a printed recipe for an American concoction known as "Hohenzollern punch," said to be in readiness for the prince on his arrival. The number of intoxicants, and the ingenuity of their combination, as his Majesty read the list aloud, were amazing; it was a terrific brew, which only a very tough seaman could expect to survive.

But as we all took leave of the prince at the station afterward, there were in my heart and mind serious misgivings. I knew well that, though the great mass of the American people were sure to give him a hearty welcome, there were scattered along his route many fanatics, and, most virulent of all, those who had just then been angered by the doings of sundry Prussian underlings in Poland. I must confess to uneasiness during his whole stay in America, and among the bright days of my life was that on which the news came that he was on board a German liner and on his return.

One feature of that evening is perhaps more worthy of record. After the departure of the prince, the Emperor's conversation took a more serious turn, and as we walked toward his carriage he said, "My brother's mission has no political character whatever, save in one contingency: If the efforts made in certain parts of Europe to show that the German Government sought to bring about a European combination against the United States during your Spanish war are persisted in, I have authorized him to lay before the President certain papers which will put that slander at rest forever." As it turned out, there was little need of this, since the course both of the Emperor and his government was otherwise amply vindicated.

The main matter of public business during the first months of the year was the Russian occupation of Manchuria, regarding which our government took a very earnest part, instructing me to press the matter upon the attention of the German Government, and to follow it up with especial care. Besides this, it was my duty to urge a fitting representation of Germany at the approaching St. Louis Exposition. Regarding this there were difficulties. The Germans very generally avowed themselves exposition-weary (ausstellungsmude); and no wonder, for exposition had succeeded exposition, now in this country, now in that, and then in various American cities, each anxious to outdo the other, until all foreign governments were well-nigh tired out. But the St. Louis Exposition encountered an adverse feeling much more serious than any caused by fatigue,—the American system of high protection having led the Germans to distrust all our expositions, whether at New Orleans, Chicago, Buffalo, or St. Louis, and to feel that there was really nothing in these for Germany; that, in fact, German manufacturing interests would be better served by avoiding them than by taking part in them. Still, by earnest presentation of the matter at the Foreign Office and to the Emperor, I was able to secure a promise that German art should be well represented.

In March, a lull having come in public business as well as in social duty, I started on my usual excursion to Italy, its most interesting feature being my sixth stay in Venice. Ten days in that fascinating city were almost entirely devoted to increasing my knowledge of Fra Paolo Sarpi. Various previous visits had familiarized me with the main events in his wonderful career; but I now met with two pieces of especially good fortune. First, I made the acquaintance of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Robertson, an ardent admirer of Father Paul, and author of an excellent biography of him; and, next, I was able to add to my own material a mass of rare books and manuscripts relating to the great Venetian. Most interesting was my visit, in company with Dr. Robertson, to the remains of Father Paul's old monastery, where we found what no one, up to our time, seems to have discovered—the little door which the Venetian Senate caused to be made in the walls of the monastery garden, at Father Paul's request, in order that he might reach his gondola at once, and not be again exposed to assassins like those sent by Pope Paul V, who had attacked him and left him, to all appearances dead, in the little street near the monastery.

Returning to Berlin, the usual round of duty was resumed; but there seems nothing worthy to be chronicled, save possibly the visit of the Shah of Persia and the Crown Prince of Siam. Both were seen in all their glory at the gala opera given in their honor; but the Persian ruler appeared to little advantage, for he was obliged to retire before the close of the representation. He was evidently prematurely old and worn out. The feature of this social function which especially dwells in my memory was a very interesting talk with the Emperor regarding the kindness shown his brother by the American people, at the close of which he presented me to his guest, the Crown Princess of Saxony. She was especially kindly and pleasing, discussing various topics with heartiness and simplicity; and it was a vast surprise to me when, a few months later, she became the heroine of perhaps the most astonishing escapade in the modern history of royalty.

As to matters of business, there came one which especially rejoiced me. Mr. Carnegie having established the institution for research which bears his name at Washington, with an endowment of ten million dollars, and named me among the trustees, my old friend Dr. Gilman had later been chosen President of the new institution, and now arrived in Berlin to study the best that Germans were doing as regards research in science. Our excursions to various institutions interested me greatly; both the men we met and things we saw were full of instruction to us, and of all public duties I have had to discharge, I recall none with more profit and pleasure. One thing in this matter struck me as never before—the quiet wisdom and foresight with which the various German governments prepare to profit by the best which science can be made to yield them in every field.

Upon these duties followed others of a very different sort. On the 19th of June died King Albert of Saxony, and in view of his high character and of the many kindnesses he had shown to Americans, I was instructed to attend his funeral at Dresden as a special representative of the President. The whole ceremonial was interesting; there being in it not only a survival of various mediaeval procedures, but many elements of solemnity and beauty; and the funeral, which took place at the court church in the evening, was especially impressive. Before the high altar stood the catafalque; in front of it, the crown, scepter, orb, and other emblems of royalty; and at its summit, the coffin containing the body of the King. Around this structure were ranged lines of soldiers and pages in picturesque uniforms and bearing torches. Facing these were the seats for the majesties, including the new King, who had at his right the Emperor of Austria, and at his left the German Emperor, while next these were the seats of foreign ambassadors and other representatives. Of all present, the one who seemed least in accord with his surroundings was the nephew of the old and the son of the new King, Prince Max, who was dressed simply as a priest, his plain black gown in striking contrast with the gorgeous uniforms of the other princes immediately about him. The only disconcerting feature was the sermon. It was given by one of the priests attached to the court church, and he evidently considered this an occasion to be made much of; for instead of fifteen minutes, as had been expected, his sermon lasted an hour and twenty minutes, much to the discomfort of the crowd of officials, who were obliged to remain standing from beginning to end, and especially to the chagrin of the two Emperors, whose special trains and time-tables, as well as the railway arrangements for the general public, were thereby seriously deranged.

But all fatigues were compensated by the music. The court choir of Dresden is famous, and for this occasion splendid additions had been made both to it and to the orchestra; nothing in its way could be more impressive, and as a climax came the last honors to the departed King, when, amid the music of an especially beautiful chorus, the booming of artillery in the neighboring square, and the tolling of the bells of the city on all sides, the royal coffin slowly sank into the vaults below.

On the following morning I was received by the new King. He seemed a man of sound sense, and likely to make a good constitutional sovereign. Our talk was simply upon the relations of the two countries, during which I took pains to bespeak for my countrymen sojourning at Dresden the same kindnesses which the deceased King had shown them.

During the summer a study of some of the most important industries at the Dusseldorf Exposition proved useful; but somewhat later other excursions had a more direct personal interest; for within a few hours of each other came two unexpected communications: one from the president of Yale University, commissioning me to represent my Alma Mater at the tercentenary of the Bodleian at Oxford; the other from the University of St. Andrews, inviting me to the installation of Mr. Andrew Carnegie as lord rector of that institution; and both these I accepted.

The celebration at Oxford was in every way interesting to me; but I may say frankly that of all things which gave me pleasure, the foremost was the speech of presentation, in the Sheldonian Theatre, when the doctorate of civil law was conferred upon me. The first feature in this speech, assigning the reasons for conferring the degree, was a most kindly reference to my part in establishing the Arbitration Tribunal at the International Conference of The Hague; and this, of course, was gratifying. But the second half of the speech touched me more nearly; for it was a friendly appreciation of my book regarding the historical relations between science and theology in Christendom. This was a surprise indeed! Years before, when writing this book, I had said to myself, "This ends all prospect of friendly recognition of any work I may ever do, so far as the universities and academies of the world are concerned. But so be it; what I believe I will say." And now, suddenly, unexpectedly, came recognition and commendation in that great and ancient center of religious thought and sentiment, once so reactionary, where, within my memory, even a man like Edward Everett was harshly treated for his inability to accept the shibboleths of orthodoxy.

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