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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

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In another chapter I have given a general sketch of the
conversation at my first presentation to him as ambassador; it
strengthened in my mind the impression already formed,--that he
was not a monarch of the old pattern. The talk was not
conventional; he was evidently fond of discoursing upon
architecture, sculpture, and music, but not less gifted in
discussing current political questions, and in various
conversations afterward this fact was observable. Conventional
talk was reduced to a minimum; the slightest hint was enough to
start a line of remark worth listening to.

Opportunities for conversation were many. Besides the usual
"functions" of various sorts, there were interviews by special
appointment, and in these the young monarch was neither backward
in presenting his ideas nor slow in developing them. The range of
subjects which interested him seemed unlimited, but there were
some which he evidently preferred: of these were all things
relating to ships and shipping, and one of the first subjects
which came up in conversations between us was the books of
Captain Mahan, which he discussed very intelligently, awarding
great praise to their author, and saying that he required all his
naval officers to read them.

Another subject in order was art in all its developments. During
the first years of my stay he was erecting the thirty-two
historical groups on the Avenue of Victory in the Thiergarten,
near my house. My walks took me frequently by them, and they
interested me, not merely by their execution, but by their
historical purpose, commemorating as they do the services of his
predecessors, and of the strongest men who made their reigns
significant during nearly a thousand years. He was always ready
to discuss these works at length, whether from the artistic,
historical, or educational point of view. Not only to me, but to
my wife he insisted on their value as a means of arousing
intelligent patriotism in children and youth. He dwelt with pride
on the large number of gifted sculptors in his realm, and his
comments on their work were worth listening to. He himself has
artistic gifts which in his earlier days were shown by at least
one specimen of his work as a painter in the Berlin Annual
Exhibition; and in the window of a silversmith's shop on the
Linden I once saw a prize cup for a yacht contest showing much
skill in invention and beauty in form, while near it hung the
pencil drawing for it in his own hand.

His knowledge of music and love for it have been referred to
elsewhere in these chapters. Noteworthy was it that his feeling
was not at all for music of a thin, showy sort; he seemed to be
touched by none of the prevailing fashions, but to cherish a
profound love for the really great things in music. This was
often shown, as, for example, at the concert at Potsdam to which
he invited President and Mrs. Harrison, and in his comments upon
the pieces then executed. But the most striking evidence of it
was the music in the Royal Chapel. It has been given me to hear
more than once the best music of the Sistine Pauline, and Lateran
choirs at Rome, of the three great choirs at St. Petersburg, of
the chorus at Bayreuth, and of other well-known assemblages under
high musical direction; but the cathedral choir at Berlin, in its
best efforts, surpassed any of these, and the music, both
instrumental and choral, which reverberates under the dome of the
imperial chapel at the great anniversaries there celebrated is
nowhere excelled. For operatic music of the usual sort he seemed
to care little. If a gala opera was to be given, the chances were
that he would order the performance of some piece of more
historical than musical interest. Hence, doubtless, it was that
during my whole stay the opera at Dresden surpassed decidedly
that at Berlin, while in the higher realms of music Berlin
remained unequaled.

Dramatic art is another field in which he takes an enlightened
interest: he has great reason for doing so, both as a statesman
and as a man.

As a result of observation and reflection during a long life
which has touched public men and measures in wide variety, I
would desire for my country three things above all others, to
supplement our existing American civilization: from Great Britain
her administration of criminal justice; from Germany her theater;
and from any European country, save Russia, Spain, and Turkey,
its government of cities.

As to the second of these desired contributions, ten years in
Germany at various periods during an epoch covering now nearly
half a century have convinced me that her theater, next after her
religious inheritance, gives the best stimulus and sustenance to
the better aspirations of her people. Through it, and above all
by Schiller, the Kantian ethics have been brought into the
thinking of the average man and woman; and not only Schiller, but
Lessing, Goethe, Gutzkow, and a long line of others have given an
atmosphere in which ennobling ideals bloom for the German youth,
during season after season, as if in the regular course of
nature. The dramatic presentation, even in the smallest towns,
is, as a rule, good; the theater and its surroundings are, in the
main, free from the abuses and miseries of the stage in
English-speaking lands, and, above all, from that all-pervading
lubricity and pornographic stench which have made the French
theater of the last half of the nineteenth century a main cause
in the decadence of the French people. In most German towns of
importance one finds the drama a part of the daily life of its
citizens--ennobling in its higher ranges, and in its influence
clean and wholesome.

It may be added that in no city of any English-speaking country
is Shakspere presented so fully, so well, and to such large and
appreciative audiences as in Berlin. All this, and more, the
Emperor knows, and he acts upon his knowledge. Interesting was it
at various times to see him sitting with his older children at
the theater, evidently awakening their interest in dramatic
masterpieces; and among these occasions there come back to me,
especially, the evenings when he thus sat, evidently discussing
with them the thought and action in Shakspere's "Julius Caesar"
and "Coriolanus," as presented on the stage before us. I could
well imagine his comments on the venom of demagogues, on the
despotism of mobs, on the weaknesses of strong men, and on the
need, in great emergencies, of a central purpose and firm
control. His view of the true character and mission of the
theater he has given at various times, and one of his talks with
the actors in the Royal Theater, shortly after my arrival, may be
noted as typical. In it occur passages like the following: "When
I came into the government, ten years ago, . . . I was convinced
that this theater, under the guidance of the monarch, should,
like the school and the university, have as its mission the
development of the rising generation, the promotion of the
highest intellectual good in our German fatherland, and the
ennobling of our people in mind and character.... I beg of you
that you continue to stand by me, each in his own way and place,
serving the spirit of idealism, and waging war against
materialism and all un-German corruptions of the stage."

After various utterances showing his steady purpose in the same
direction, there came out, in one of the later years of my stay,
sundry remarks of his showing a new phase of the same thought, as
follows: "The theater should not only be an important factor in
education and in the promotion of morals, but it should also
present incarnations of elegance, of beauty, of the highest
conceptions of art; it should not discourage us with sad pictures
of the past, with bitter awakenings from illusions, but be
purified, elevated, strengthened for presenting the ideal. . . .
Our ordinary life gives us every day the most mournful realities,
and the modern authors whose pleasure it is to bring these before
us upon the stage have accepted an unhealthy mission and
accomplish a discouraging work."

In his desire to see the theater aid in developing German ideals
and in enriching German life, he has promoted presentations of
the great episodes and personages in German history. Some of
these, by Wildenbruch and Lauff, permeated with veins of true
poetry, are attractive and ennobling. Of course not all were
entirely successful. I recall one which glorified especially a
great epoch in the history of the house of Hohenzollern, the
comical effect of which on one of my diplomatic colleagues I have
mentioned elsewhere; but this, so far as my experience goes, was
an exception.

There seems much reason for the Emperor's strenuous endeavors in
this field. The German theater still remains more wholesome than
that of any other country, but I feel bound to say that, since my
earlier acquaintance with it, from 1854 to 1856 and from 1879 to
1881, there has come some deterioration, and this is especially
shown in various dramas which have been held up as triumphs. In
these, an inoculation from the French drama seems to have
resulted in destruction of the nobler characteristics of the
German stage. One detects the cant of Dumas, fils, but not his
genius; and, when this cant is mingled with German pessimism, it
becomes at times unspeakably repulsive. The zeal for this new
drama seems to me a fad, and rather a slimy fad. With all my
heart I wish the Emperor success in his effort to keep the German
stage upon the higher planes.

Another subject which came up from time to time was that of
archaelogical investigation. Once, in connection with some talk
on German railway enterprises in Asia Minor, I touched upon his
great opportunities to make his reign illustrious by services to
science in that region. He entered into the subject heartily; it
was at once evident that he was awake to its possibilities, and
he soon showed me much more than I knew before of what had been
done and was doing, but pointed out special difficulties in
approaching, at present, some most attractive fields of

Interesting also were his views on education, and more than once
the conversation touched this ground. As to his own academic
training, there is ample testimony that he appreciated the main
classical authors whom he read in the gymnasium at Cassel; but it
was refreshing to hear and to read various utterances of his
against gerund-grinding and pedantry. He recognizes the fact that
the worst enemies of classical instruction in Germany, as,
indeed, elsewhere, have been they of its own household, and he
has stated this view as vigorously as did Sydney Smith in England
and Francis Wayland in America. Whenever he dwelt on this subject
the views which he presented at such length to the Educational
Commission were wont to come out with force and piquancy.

On one occasion our discussion turned upon physical education,
and especially upon the value to students of boating. As an old
Yale boating man, a member of the first crew which ever sent a
challenge to Harvard, and one who had occasion in the
administration of an American university to consider this form of
exercise from various standpoints, I may say that his view of its
merits and his way of promoting it seemed to me thoroughly

From time to time some mention from me of city improvements
observed during my daily walks led to an interesting discussion.
The city of Berlin is wonderfully well governed, and exhibits all
those triumphs of modern municipal skill and devotion which are
so conspicuously absent, as a rule, from our American cities.
While his capital preserves its self-governing powers, it is
clear that he purposes to have his full say as to everything
within his jurisdiction. There were various examples of this, and
one of them especially interested me: the renovation of the
Thiergarten. This great park, virtually a gift of the
Hohenzollern monarchs, which once lay upon the borders of the
city, but is now in the very heart of it, had gradually fallen
far short of what it should have been. Even during my earlier
stays in Berlin it was understood that some of his predecessors,
and especially his father, had desired to change its corpse-like
and swampy character and give it more of the features of a
stately park, but that popular opposition to any such change had
always shown itself too bitter and uncompromising. This seemed a
great pity, for while there were some fine trees, a great
majority of them were so crowded together that there was no
chance of broad, free growth either for trees or for shrubbery.
There was nothing of that exquisitely beautiful play, upon
expanses of green turf, of light and shade through wide-expanded
boughs and broad masses of foliage, which gives such delight in
any of the finer English or American parks. Down to about half a
dozen years since it had apparently been thought best not to
interfere, and even when attention was called to the dark, swampy
characteristics of much of the Thiergarten, the answer was that
it was best to humor the Berliners; but about the beginning of my
recent stay the young Emperor intervened with decision and force,
his work was thorough, and as my windows looked out over one
corner of this field of his operations, their progress interested
me, and they were alluded to from time to time in our
conversations. Interesting was it to note that his energy was
all-sufficient; the Berliners seemed to regard his activity as
Arabs regard a sand-storm,--as predestined and irresistible,--and
the universal verdict now justifies his course, both on sanitary
and artistic grounds.

The same thing may be said, on the whole, of the influence he has
exerted on the great adornments of his capital city. The position
and character of various monuments on which he has impressed his
ideas, and the laying out and decoration of sundry streets and
parks, do credit not merely to his artistic sense, but to his

This prompt yet wise intervention, actuated by a public spirit
not only strong but intelligent, is seen, in various other parts
of the empire, in the preservation and restoration of its
architectural glories. When he announced to me at Potsdam his
intention to present specimens representative of German
architecture and sculpture to the Germanic Museum at Harvard, he
showed, in enumerating and discussing the restorations at
Marienburg and Naumburg, the bas-reliefs at Halberstadt, the
masks and statues of Andreas Schluter at Berlin, and the
Renaissance and rococo work at Lubeck and Danzig, a knowledge and
appreciation worthy of a trained architect and archaeologist.

As to his feeling for literature, his addresses on various
occasions show amply that he has read to good purpose, not only
in the best authors of his own, but of other countries. While
there is not the slightest tinge of pedantry in his speeches or
talk, there crop out in them evidences of a curious breadth and
universality in his reading. His line of reading for amusement
was touched when, at the close of an hour of serious official
business, an illustration of mine from Rudyard Kipling led him to
recall many of that author's most striking situations, into which
he entered with great zest; and at various other times he cited
sayings of Mark Twain which he seemed especially to enjoy. Here
it may be mentioned that one may note the same breadth in his
love for art; for not only does he rejoice in the higher
achievements of architecture, sculpture, and painting, but he
takes pleasure in lighter work, and an American may note that he
is greatly interested in the popular illustrations of Gibson.

I once asked some of the leading people nearest him how he found
time to observe so wide a range, and received answer that it was
as much a marvel to them as to me; he himself once told me that
he found much time for reading during his hunting excursions.

Nor does he make excursions into various fields of knowledge by
books alone. Any noteworthy discovery or gain in any leading
field of thought or effort attracts his attention at once, and
must be presented to him by some one who ranks among its foremost

But here it should be especially noted that, active and original
as the Emperor is, he is not, and never has been, caught by FADS
either in art, science, literature, or in any other field of
human activity. The great artists who cannot draw or paint, and
who, therefore, despise those who can and are glorified by those
who cannot; the great composers who can give us neither harmony
nor melody, and therefore have a fanatical following among those
who labor under like disabilities; the great writers who are
unable to attain strength, lucidity, or beauty, and therefore
secure praise for profundity and occult wisdom,--none of these
influence him. In these, as in other things, the Hohenzollern
sanity asserts itself. He recognizes the fact that normal and
healthy progress is by an evolution of the better out of the
good, and that the true function of genius in every field is to
promote some phase of this evolution either by aiding to create a
better environment, or by getting sight of higher ideals.

As to his manner, it is in ordinary intercourse simple, natural,
kindly, and direct, and on great public occasions dignified
without the slightest approach to pomposity. I have known scores
of our excellent fellow-citizens in little offices who were
infinitely more assuming. It was once said of a certain United
States senator that "one must climb a ladder to speak with him";
no one would dream of making any assertion of this sort regarding
the present ruler of the Prussian Kingdom and German Empire.

But it would be unjust to suppose that minor gifts and
acquirements form the whole of his character; they are but a part
of its garb. He is certainly developing the characteristics of a
successful ruler of men and the solid qualities of a statesman.
It was my fortune, from time to time, to hear him discuss at some
length current political questions; and his views were presented
with knowledge, clearness, and force. There was nothing at all
flighty in any of his statements or arguments. There is evidently
in him a large fund of that Hohenzollern common sense which has
so often happily modified German, and even European, politics. He
recognizes, of course, as his ancestors generally have done, that
his is a military monarchy, and that Germany is and must remain a
besieged camp; hence his close attention to the army and navy.
Every one of our embassy military attaches expressed to me his
surprise at the efficiency of his inspections of troops, of his
discrimination between things essential and not essential, and of
his insight into current military questions. Even more striking
testimony was given to me by our naval attaches as to his minute
knowledge not only of his own navy, but of the navies of other
powers, and especially as to the capabilities of various classes
of ships and, indeed, of individual vessels. One thoroughly
capable of judging told me that he doubted whether there was any
admiral in our service who knew more about every American ship of
any importance than does the Kaiser. It has been said that his
devotion to the German navy is a whim. That view can hardly
command respect among those who have noted his labor for years
upon its development, and his utterances regarding its connection
with the future of his empire. As a simple matter of fact, he
recognizes the triumphs of German commercial enterprises, and
sees in them a guarantee for the extension of German power and
for a glory more permanent than any likely to be obtained by
military operations in these times. When any candid American
studies what has been done, or, rather, what has NOT been done,
in his own country, with its immense seacoast and its many
harbors on two oceans, to build up a great merchant navy, and
compares it with what has been accomplished during the last fifty
years by the steady, earnest, honest enterprise of Germany, with
merely its little strip of coast on a northern inland sea, and
with only the Hanseatic ports as a basis, he may well have
searchings of heart. The "Shipping Trust" seems to be the main
outcome of our activity, and lines of the finest steamers running
to all parts of the world the outcome of theirs. There is a
history here which we may well ponder; the young Emperor has not
only thought but acted upon it.

As to yet broader work, the crucial test of a ruler is his
ability to select MEN, to stand by them when he has selected
them, and to decide wisely how far the plans which he has thought
out, and they have thought out, can be fused into a policy worthy
of his country. Judged by this test, the young monarch would seem
worthy of his position; the men he has called to the various
ministries are remarkably fit for their places, several of them
showing very high capacity, and some of them genius.

As to his relation to the legislative bodies, it is sometimes
claimed that he has lost much by his too early and open
proclamation of his decisions, intentions, and wishes; and it can
hardly be denied that something must be pardoned to the ardor of
his patriotic desire to develop the empire in all its activities;
but, after all due allowance has been made, there remains
undeniable evidence of his statesmanlike ability to impress his
views upon the national and state legislatures. A leading member
of one of the parliamentary groups, very frequently in opposition
to government measures, said to me: "After all, it is impossible
for us to resist him; he knows Germany so well, and his heart is
so thoroughly in his proposals, that he is sure to gain his
points sooner or later."

An essential element of strength in this respect is his
acquaintance with men and things in every part of his empire.
Evidences of this were frequent in his public letters and
telegrams to cities, towns, groups, and individuals. Nor was it
"meddling and muddling." If any fine thing was done in any part
of the empire, he seemed the first to take notice of it. Typical
of his breadth of view were the cases of various ship captains
and others who showed heroism in remote parts of the world, his
telegram of hearty approval being usually the first thing they
received on coming within reach of it, and substantial evidence
of his gratitude meeting them later.

On the other hand, as to his faculty for minute observation and
prompt action upon it: a captain of one of the great liners
between Hamburg and New York told me that when his ship was ready
to sail the Emperor came on board, looked it over, and after
approving various arrangements said dryly, "Captain, I should
think you were too old a sailor to let people give square corners
to your tables." The captain quietly acted upon this hint; and
when, many months later, the Kaiser revisited the ship, he said,
"Well, captain, I am glad to see that you have rounded the
corners of your tables."

He is certainly a working man. The record of each of his days at
Berlin or Potsdam, as given in the press, shows that every hour,
from dawn to long after dusk, brings its duties--duties demanding
wide observation, close study, concentration of thought, and
decision. Nor is his attention bounded by German interests. He is
a keen student of the world at large. At various interviews there
was ample evidence of his close observation of the present
President of the United States, and of appreciation of his doings
and qualities; so, too, when the struggle for decent government
in New York was going on, he showed an intelligent interest in
Mr. Seth Low; and in various other American matters there was
recognition of the value of any important stroke of good work
done by our countrymen.

As to his view of international questions, two of the
opportunities above referred to especially occur to me here.

The first of these was during the troubles in Crete between the
Greeks and the Turks. As I talked one evening with one of my
colleagues who represented a power especially interested in the
matter, the Emperor came up and at once entered into the
discussion. He stated the position of various powers in relation
to it, and suggested a line of conduct. There was straightforward
good sense in his whole contention, a refreshing absence of
conventionalities, and a very clear insight into the realities of
the question, with a shrewd forecast of the result. More
interesting to me was another conversation, in the spring of
1899. As the time drew near for the sessions of the Peace
Conference at The Hague, I was making preparations for leaving
Berlin to take up my duty in that body, when one morning there
appeared at the embassy a special messenger from the Emperor
requesting me to come to the palace. My reception was hearty, and
he plunged at once into the general subject by remarking, "What
the conference will most need is good common sense; and I have
sent Count Munster, my ambassador at Paris, because he has lots
of it." With this preface, he went very fully into the questions
likely to come before the conference, speaking regarding the
attitude of the United States and the various powers of Europe
and Asia with a frankness, fullness, and pungency which at times
rather startled me. On the relations between the United States,
Germany, and Great Britain he was especially full. Very
suggestive also were his remarks regarding questions in the far
East, and especially on the part likely to be played by Japan and
China--the interests of various powers in these questions being
presented in various aspects, some of them decidedly original and
suggestive. While there were points on which we could hardly
agree, there were some suggestions which proved to be of especial
value, and to one of them is due the fact that on most questions
the German delegates at The Hague stood by the Americans, and
that on the most important question of all they finally, after a
wide divergence from our view, made common cause with Great
Britain and the United States. I regret that the time has not
come when it is permissible to give his conversation in detail;
it treated a multitude of current topics, and even burning
questions, with statesmanlike breadth, and at the same time with
the shrewdness of a man of the world. There were in it sundry
personal touches which interested me; among others, a statement
regarding Cecil Rhodes, the South African magnate, and a
reference to sundry doings and sayings of his own which had been
misrepresented, especially in England. One point in this was
especially curious. He said, "Some people find fault with me for
traveling so much; but this is part of my business: I try to know
my empire and my people, to see for myself what they need and
what is going on, what is doing and who are doing it. It is my
duty also to know men and countries outside the empire. I am not
like ----," naming a sovereign well known in history, "who never
stirred out of the house if he could help it, and so let men and
things go on as they pleased."

This union of breadth and minuteness in his view of his empire
and of the world is, perhaps, his most striking characteristic.
It may be safely said that, at any given moment, he knows
directly, or will shortly know, the person and work of every man
in his empire who is really taking the lead in anything worthy of
special study or close attention. The German court is considered
very exclusive, but one constantly saw at its assemblages men
noted in worthy fields from every part of Germany and, indeed, of
Europe. Herein is a great difference between the German and
Russian courts. If, during my official life at St. Petersburg, I
wished to make the acquaintance of a man noted in science,
literature, or art, he must be found at professorial gatherings
across the Neva. He rarely, if ever, appeared in the throng of
military and civil officials at the Winter Palace. But at Berlin
such men took an honored place at the court among those whom the
ruler sought out and was glad to converse with.

As to the world outside the empire, I doubt whether any other
sovereign equals him in personal acquaintance with leaders in
every field of worthy activity. It was interesting from time to
time to look over the official lists of his guests at breakfast,
or luncheon, or dinner, or supper, or at military exercises, or
at the theater; for they usually embraced men noted in civil,
ecclesiastical, or military affairs, in literature, science, art,
commerce, or industry from every nation. One class was
conspicuous by its absence at all such gatherings, large or
small; namely, the MERELY rich. Rich men there were, but they
were always men who had done something of marked value to their
country or to mankind; for the mere "fatty tumors" of the
financial world he evidently cared nothing.

A special characteristic in the German ruler is independence of
thought. This quality should not be confounded, as it often is,
with mere offhand decision based upon prejudices or whimsies. One
example, which I have given elsewhere, may be here referred to as
showing that his rapid judgments are based upon clear insight:
his OWN insight, and not that of others. On my giving him news of
the destruction of the Maine at Havana, he at once asked me
whether the explosion was from the outside; and from first to
last, against the opinions of his admirals and captains, insisted
that it must have been so.

He is certainly, in the opinion of all who know him,
impulsive--indeed, a very large proportion of his acts which
strike the attention of the world seem the result of impulse;
but, as a rule, it will be found that beneath these impulses is a
calm judgment. Even when this seems not to be the case, they are
likely to appeal all the more strongly to humanity at large.
Typical was his impulsive proposal to make up to the Regent of
Bavaria the art appropriation denied by sundry unpatriotic
bigots. Its immediate result was a temporary triumph for the
common enemy, but it certainly drew to the Emperor the hearts of
an immense number of people, not only inside, but outside his
empire; and, in the long run, it will doubtless be found to have
wrought powerfully for right reason. As an example of an
utterance of his which to many might seem to be the result of a
momentary impulse, but which reveals sober contemplation of
problems looming large before the United States as well as
Germany, I might cite a remark made last year to an American
eminent in public affairs. He said, "You in America may do what
you please, but I will not suffer capitalists in Germany to suck
the life out of the working-men and then fling them like squeezed
lemon-skins into the gutter."

Any one who runs through the printed volume of his speeches will
see that he is fertile in ideas on many subjects, and knows how
to impress them upon his audiences. His voice and manner are
good, and at times there are evidences of deep feeling, showing
the man beneath the garb of the sovereign. This was especially
the case in his speech at the coming of age of his son. The
audience was noteworthy, there being present the Austrian
Emperor, members of all the great ruling houses of Europe the
foremost men in contemporary German history, and the diplomatic
representatives of foreign powers--an audience representing wide
differences in points of view and in lines of thought, yet no one
of them could fail to be impressed by sundry references to the
significance of the occasion.

Even the most rapid sketch of the Emperor would be inadequate
without some reference to his religious views. It is curious to
note that while Frederick the Great is one of the gods of his
idolatry, the two monarchs are separated by a whole orb of
thought in their religious theories and feelings. While a
philosophical observer may see in this the result of careful
training in view of the evident interests of the monarchy in
these days, he must none the less acknowledge the reality and
depth of those feelings in the present sovereign. No one who has
observed his conduct and utterances, and especially no one who
has read his sermon and prayer on the deck of one of his
war-ships just at the beginning of the Chinese war, can doubt
that there is in his thinking a genuine substratum of religious
feeling. It is true that at times one is reminded of the remark
made to an American ecclesiastic by an eminent German theological
professor regarding that tough old monarch, Frederick William I;
namely, that while he was deeply religious, his religion was "of
an Old Testament type." Of course, the religion of the present
Emperor is of a type vastly higher than that of his ancestor,
whose harshness to the youth who afterward became the great
Frederick has been depicted in the "Memoirs" of the Margravine of
Bayreuth; but there remains clearly in the religion of the
present Emperor a certain "Old Testament" character--a feeling of
direct reliance upon the Almighty, a consciousness of his own
part in guiding a chosen people, and a readiness, if need be, to
smite the Philistines. One phase of this feeling appears in the
music at the great anniversaries, when the leading men of the
empire are brought together beneath the dome of the Palace
Church. The anthems executed by the bands and choirs, and the
great chorals sung by the congregation, breathe anything but the
spirit of the Sermon on the Mount; they seem rather to echo the
grim old battle-hymns of the Thirty Years' War and the war in the

And yet it must be said that there goes with this a remarkable
feeling of justice to his subjects of other confessions than his
own, and a still more remarkable breadth of view as regards the
relations of modern science to what is generally held as orthodox
theology. The fearlessness with which he recently summoned
Professor Delitzsch to unfold to him and to his family and court
the newly revealed relations of Assyrian research to biblical
study, which gave such alarm in highly orthodox circles, and his
fairness in estimating these researches, certainly revealed
breadth of mind as well as trust in what he considered the
fundamental verities of religion.

A good example of the curious union, in his mind, of religious
feeling, tolerance, and shrewd policy is shown in various
dealings with his Roman Catholic subjects.

Of course he is not ignorant that his very existence as King of
Prussia and German Emperor is a thorn in the side of the Roman
Curia; he knows, as every thinking German knows, that, with the
possible exception of the British monarchy, no other is so hated
by the Vatican monsignori as his own. He is perfectly aware of
the part taken in that quarter against his country and dynasty at
all times, and especially during the recent wars; and yet all
this seems not to influence him in the slightest as regards
justice to his Roman Catholic subjects. He does indeed, resist
the return of the Jesuits into the empire,--his keen insight
forbids him to imitate the policy of Frederick the Great in this
respect,--but his dealings with the Roman Catholic Church at
large show not merely wisdom but kindliness. If he felt bound to
resist, and did successfully resist, the efforts of Cardinal
Rampolla to undermine German rule and influence in Alsace and
Lorraine, there was a quiet fairness and justice in his action
which showed a vast deal of tolerant wisdom. His visits to the
old Abbey of Laach, his former relations with its young abbot,
his settlement of a vexed question by the transfer of the abbot
to the bishopric of Metz, his bringing of a loyal German into
episcopal power at Strasburg, his recent treatment of the prince
bishop of Breslau and the archbishop of Cologne, all show a wise
breadth of view. Perhaps one of the brightest diplomatic strokes
in his career was his dealing with a Vatican question during his
journey in the East. For years there had been growing up in world
politics the theory that France, no matter how she may deal with
monks and nuns and ultramontane efforts within her own immediate
boundaries, is their protector in all the world beside, and
especially in the Holy Land. The relation of this theory to the
Crimean War, fifty years ago, is one of the curious things of
history, and from that day to this it has seemed to be hardening
more and more into a fixed policy--even into something like a
doctrine of international law. Interesting was it, then, to see
the Emperor, on his visit to the Sultan, knock the ground from
under the feet of all this doctrine by securing for the Roman
Catholic interest at Jerusalem what the French had never been
able to obtain--the piece of ground at the Holy City, so long
coveted by pious Catholics, whereon, according to tradition, once
stood the lodging of the Virgin Mary. This the Emperor quietly
obtained of the Sultan, and, after assisting at the dedication of
a Lutheran church at Jerusalem, he telegraphed to the Pope and to
other representatives of the older church that he had made a gift
of this sacred site to those who had so long and so ardently
desired it.

Considerable criticism has been made on the score of his evident
appreciation of his position, and his theory of his relation to
it; but when his point of view is cited, one perhaps appreciates
it more justly. I have already shown this point of view in the
account of the part taken by him at the two-hundredth anniversary
of the Royal Academy, and of his remark, afterward, contrasting
his theory of monarchy with that of Dom Pedro of Brazil. Jocose
as was the manner of it, it throws light upon his idea of his
duty in the state. While a constitutional monarch, he is not so
in the British sense. British constitutional monarchy is made
possible by the "silver streak"; but around the German Empire, as
every German feels in his heart, is no "silver streak." This fact
should be constantly borne in mind by those who care really to
understand the conditions of national existence on the continent
of Europe. Herein lies the answer to one charge that has been so
often made against the German Emperor--of undue solicitude
regarding his official and personal position, as shown in sundry
petty treason trials. The simple fact is that German public
opinion, embodied in German law, has arrived at the conclusion
that it is not best to allow the head of the state to be the
sport of every crank or blackguard who can wield a pen or pencil.
The American view, which allowed Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley
to be attacked in all the moods and tenses of vituperation, and
to be artistically portrayed as tyrants, drunkards, clowns,
beasts of prey, and reptiles, has not yet been received into
German modes of thought. Luther said that he "would not suffer
any man to treat the Gospel as a sow treats a sack of oats"; and
that seems to be the feeling inherent in the German mind
regarding the treatment of those who represent the majesty of the

And here a word regarding the relation of Kaiser and people. In
one of the letters to John Adams written by Thomas Jefferson as
they both were approaching the close of life, the founder of
American democracy declared that he had foreseen the failure of
French popular rule, and had therefore favored in France,
democrat though he was, a constitutional monarchy. Had Jefferson
lived in our time, he would doubtless have arrived at a similar
conclusion regarding Germany, for he would have taken account of
the difference between a country like ours, with no long period
of history which had given to dominant political ideas a
religious character,--a country stretching from ocean to ocean,
with no neighbors to make us afraid,--and a country like
Germany, with an ancient historic head, with no natural
frontiers, and beset on every side by enemies; and Jefferson
would doubtless have taken account also of the fact that, were
the matter submitted to popular vote, the present sovereign, with
his present powers, would be the choice of an overwhelming
majority of the German people. The German imperial system, like
our own American republican system, is the result of an evolution
during many generations--an evolution which has produced the
present government, decided its character, fixed its form,
allotted its powers, and decided on the men at the head of it;
and this fact an American, no matter how devoted to republicanism
and democracy in his own country, may well acknowledge to be as
fixed in the political as in the physical world.

Of course some very bitter charges have been made against him as
regards Germany, the main one being that he does not love
parliamentary government and has, at various times, infringed
upon the constitution of the empire.

As to loving parliamentary government, he would probably say that
he cannot regard a system as final which, while attaching to the
front of the chariot of progress a full team to pull it forward,
attaches another team to the rear to pull it backward. But
whatever his theory, he has in practice done his best to promote
the efficiency of parliamentary government, and to increase
respect for it in his kingdom of Prussia, by naming as life
members of the Senate sundry men of the highest character and of
immense value in the discussion of the most important questions.
Two of these, appointed during my stay, I knew and admired. The
first, Professor Gustav Schmoller, formerly rector of the
University of Berlin, is one of the leading economists of the
world, who has shown genius in studying and exhibiting the
practical needs of the German people, and in discerning the best
solutions of similar problems throughout the world--profound,
eloquent, conciliatory, sure to be of immense value as a senator.
The second, Professor Slaby, director of the great technical
institution of Germany at Charlottenburg, is one of the leading
authorities of the world on everything that pertains to the
applications of electricity, a great administrator, a wise
counselor on questions pertaining to the German educational
system. Neither of these men orates, but both are admirable
speakers, and are sure to be of incalculable value. I name them
simply as types: others were appointed, equally distinguished in
other fields. If, then, the Emperor is blamed for not liking
parliamentary and party government, it is only fair to say that
he has taken the surest way to give it strength and credit.

As to the alleged violations of the German constitution, the
same, in a far higher degree, were charged against Kaiser William
I and Bismarck,--and these charges were true,--but it is also
true that thereby those men saved and built up their country. As
a matter of fact, the intuitive sense as well as the reflective
powers of Germans seem to show them that the real dangers to
their country come from a very different quarter--from men who
promote hatreds of race, class, and religion within the empire,
and historic international hatreds without it.

So, too, various charges have been made against the Emperor as
regards the United States. From time to time there came, during
my stay, statements in sundry American newspapers, some
belligerent, some lacrymose, regarding his attitude toward our
country. It seemed to be taken for granted by many good people
during our Spanish War that the Emperor was personally against
us. It is not unlikely that he may have felt sympathy for that
forlorn, widowed Queen Regent of Spain, making so desperate a
struggle to save the kingdom for her young son; if so, he but
shared a feeling common to a very large part of humanity, for
certainly there have been few more pathetic situations; but that
he really cared anything for the success of Spain is exceedingly
doubtful. The Hohenzollern common sense in him must have been for
years vexed at the folly and fatuity of Spanish policy. He
probably inherits the feeling of his father, who, when visiting
the late Spanish monarch some years before his death, showed a
most kindly personal feeling toward Spain and its ruler, and an
intense interest in various phases of art developed in the
Spanish peninsula; but, in his diary, let fall remarks which show
his feeling toward the whole existing Spanish system. One of
these I recall especially. Passing a noted Spanish town, he
remarks: "Here are ten churches, twenty monasteries, and not a
single school." No Hohenzollern is likely to waste much sympathy
on a nation which brings on its fate by preferring monasticism to
education; and never during the Spanish War did he or his
government, to my knowledge, show the slightest leaning toward
our enemies. Certain it is that when sundry hysterical publicists
and meddlesome statesmen of the Continent proposed measures
against what they thought the dangerous encroachments of our
Republic, he quietly, but resolutely and effectually, put his
foot upon them.

Another complaint sometimes heard in America really amounts to
this: that the Emperor is pushing German interests in all parts
of the world, and is not giving himself much trouble about the
interests of other countries. There is truth in this, but the
complainants evidently never stop to consider that every thinking
man in every nation would despise him were it otherwise.

Yet another grievance, a little time since, was that, apparently
with his approval, his ships of war handled sundry Venezuelans
with decided roughness. This was true enough and ought to warm
every honest man's heart.

The main facts in the case were these: a petty equatorial
"republic," after a long series of revolutions,--one hundred and
four in seventy years, Lord Lansdowne tells us,--was enjoying
peace and the beginnings of prosperity. Thanks to the United
States, it had received from an international tribunal the
territory to which it was entitled, was free from disturbance at
home or annoyance abroad, and was under a regular government
sanctioned by its people. Suddenly, an individual started another
so-called "revolution." He was the champion of no reform,
principle, or idea; he simply represented the greed of himself
and a pack of confederates whose ideal was that of a gang of
burglars. With their aid he killed, plundered, or terrorized
until he got control of the government--or, rather, became
himself the government. Under the name of a "republic" he erected
a despotism and usurped powers such as no Russian autocrat would
dare claim. Like the men of his sort who so often afflict
republics in the equatorial regions of South America, he had no
hesitation in confiscating the property and taking the lives, not
only of such of his fellow-citizens as he thought dangerous to
himself, but also of those whom he thought likely to become so.
He made the public treasury his own, and doubtless prepared the
way, as so many other patriots of his sort in such "republics"
have done, for retirement into a palace at Paris, with ample
funds for enjoying the pleasures of that capital, after he, like
so many others, shall have been, in turn, kicked out of his
country by some new bandit stronger than he.

So far so good. If the citizens of Venezuela like or permit that
sort of thing, outside nations have no call to interfere; but
this petty despot, having robbed, maltreated, and even murdered
citizens of his own country, proceeded to maltreat and rob
citizens of other countries and, among them, those of the German
Empire. He was at first asked in diplomatic fashion to desist and
to make amends, but for such appeals he simply showed contempt.
His purpose was evidently to plunder all German subjects within
his reach, and to cheat all German creditors beyond his reach. At
this the German Government, as every government in similar
circumstances is bound to do, demanded redress and sent ships to
enforce the demand. This was perfectly legitimate; but
immediately there arose in the United States an outcry against a
"violation of the Monroe Doctrine." As a matter of fact, the
Monroe Doctrine was no more concerned in the matter than was the
doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints; but there was enough
to start an outcry against Germany, and so it began to spread.
The Germans were careful to observe the best precedents in
international law, yet every step they took was exhibited in
sundry American papers as a menace to the United States. There
was no more menace to the United States than to the planet
Saturn. The conduct of the German Government was in the interest
of the United States as well as of every other decent government.
Finally, the soldiers in a Venezuelan fort wantonly fired upon a
German war vessel--whereupon the commander of the ship, acting
entirely in accordance, not only with international law, but with
natural right, defended himself, and knocked the fort about the
ears of those who occupied it, thus giving the creatures who
directed them a lesson which ought to rejoice every thinking
American. At this the storm on paper against Germany, both in
America and Great Britain, broke out with renewed violence, and
there was more talk about dangers to the Monroe Doctrine. As one
who, at The Hague Conference, was able to do something for
recognition of the Monroe Doctrine by European powers, and who,
as a member of the Venezuelan Commission, did what was possible
to secure justice to Venezuela, I take this opportunity to
express the opinion that the time has come for plain speaking in
this matter. Even with those of us who believe in the Monroe
Doctrine there begins to arise a question as to which are nearest
the interests and the hearts of Americans,--the sort of "dumb
driven cattle" who allow themselves to be governed by such men as
now control Venezuela, or the people of Germany and other
civilized parts of Europe, as well as those of the better South
American republics, like Chile, the Argentine Republic, Brazil,
and others, whose interests, aspirations, ideals, and feelings
are so much more closely akin to our own.

Occasionally, too, there have arisen plaintive declarations that
the Emperor does not love the United States or admire its
institutions. As to that I never saw or heard of anything showing
dislike to our country; but, after all, he is a free man, and
there is nothing in international law or international comity
requiring him to love the United States; it is sufficient that he
respects what is respectable in our government and people, and we
may fairly allow to him his opinion on sundry noxious and
nauseous developments among us which we hope may prove temporary.
As to admiring our institutions, he is probably not fascinated by
our lax administration of criminal justice, which leaves at large
more unpunished criminals, and especially murderers, than are to
be found in any other part of the civilized world, save,
possibly, some districts of lower Italy and Sicily. He probably
does not admire Tammany Hall or the Philadelphia Ring, and has
his own opinion of cities which submit to such tyranny; quite
likely he has not been favorably impressed by the reckless waste
and sordid jobbery recently revealed at St. Louis and
Minneapolis; it is exceedingly doubtful whether he admires some
of the speeches on national affairs made for the "Buncombe
district" and the galleries; but that he admires and respects the
men in the United States who do things worth doing, and say
things worth saying; that he takes a deep interest in those
features of our policy, or achievements of our people, which are
to our credit; that he enjoys the best of our literature; that he
respects every true American soldier and sailor, every American
statesman or scholar or writer or worker of any sort who really
accomplishes anything for our country, is certain.

To sum up his position in contemporary history: As the German
nation is the result of an evolution of individual and national
character in obedience to resistless inner forces and to its
environment, so out of the medley of imperial and royal
Hohenstaufens, Hapsburgs, Wittelsbachs, Wettins, Guelphs, and the
like, have arisen, as by a survival of the fittest, the
Hohenzollerns. These have given to the world various strong
types, and especially such as the Great Elector, Frederick II,
and William I. Mainly under them and under men trained or
selected by them, Germany, from a great confused mass of warriors
and thinkers and workers, militant at cross-purposes, wearing
themselves out in vain struggles, and preyed upon by malevolent
neighbors, has become a great power in arms, in art, in science,
in literature; a fortress of high thought; a guardian of
civilization; the natural ally of every nation which seeks the
better development of humanity. And the young monarch who is now
at its head--original, yet studious of the great men and deeds of
the past; brave, yet conciliatory; never allowing the mail-clad
fist to become unnerved, but none the less devoted to the
conquests of peace; standing firmly on realities, but with a
steady vision of ideals--seems likely to add a new name to the
list of those who, as leaders of Germany, have advanced the



On the 24th of August, 1898, the Russian Government proposed, in
the name of the Emperor Nicholas II, a conference which should
seek to arrest the constantly increasing development of armaments
and thus contribute to a durable peace; and on the 11th of
January, 1899, his minister of foreign affairs, Count Mouravieff,
having received favorable answers to this proposal, sent forth a
circular indicating the Russian view as to subjects of
discussion. As to the place of meeting, there were obvious
reasons why it should not be the capital of one of the greater
powers. As to Switzerland, the number of anarchists and nihilists
who had taken refuge there, and the murder of the Empress of
Austria by one of them shortly before, at Geneva, in broad
daylight, had thrown discredit over the ability of the Swiss
Government to guarantee safety to the conference; the Russian
Government therefore proposed that its sessions be held at The
Hague, and this being agreed to, the opening was fixed for the
18th of May.

From the first there was a misunderstanding throughout the world
as to what the Emperor Nicholas really proposed. Far and near it
was taken for granted that he desired a general disarmament, and
this legend spread rapidly. As a matter of fact, this was neither
his proposal nor his purpose; the measures he suggested being
designed "to put an end to the constantly increasing development
of armaments."

At the outset I was skeptical as to the whole matter. What I had
seen of the Emperor Nicholas during my stay in Russia had not
encouraged me to expect that he would have the breadth of view or
the strength of purpose to carry out the vast reforms which
thinking men hoped for. I recalled our conversation at my
reception as minister, when, to my amazement, he showed himself
entirely ignorant of the starving condition of the peasantry
throughout large districts in the very heart of the empire.[8]
That he was a kindly man, wishing in a languid way the good of
his country, could not be doubted; but the indifference to
everything about him evident in all his actions, his lack of
force even in the simplest efforts for the improvement of his
people, and, above all, his yielding to the worst elements in his
treatment of the Baltic provinces and Finland, did not encourage
me to believe that he would lead a movement against the enormous
power of the military party in his vast empire. On this account,
when the American newspapers prophesied that I was to be one of
the delegates, my feelings were strongly against accepting any
such post. But in due time the tender of it came in a way very
different from anything I had anticipated: President McKinley
cabled a personal request that I accept a position on the
delegation, and private letters from very dear friends, in whose
good judgment I had confidence, gave excellent reasons for my
doing so. At the same time came the names of my colleagues, and
this led me to feel that the delegation was to be placed on a
higher plane than I had expected. In the order named by the
President, they were as follows: Andrew D. White; Seth Low,
President of Columbia University; Stanford Newel, Minister at The
Hague; Captain Mahan, of the United States navy; Captain Crozier,
of the army; and the Hon. Frederick W. Holls as secretary. In
view of all this, I accepted.

[8] See account of this conversation in "My Mission to Russia,"
Chapter XXXIII, pp. 9-10.

Soon came evidences of an interest in the conference more earnest
and wide-spread than anything I had dreamed. Books, documents,
letters, wise and unwise, thoughtful and crankish, shrewd and
childish, poured in upon me; in all classes of society there
seemed fermenting a mixture of hope and doubt; even the German
Emperor apparently felt it, for shortly there came an invitation
to the palace, and on my arrival I found that the subject
uppermost in his mind was the approaching conference. Of our
conversation, as well as of some other interviews at this period,
I speak elsewhere.

On the 16th of May I left Berlin, and arrived late in the evening
at The Hague. As every day's doings were entered in my diary, it
seems best to give an account of this part of my life in the
shape of extracts from it.

May 17, 1899.

This morning, on going out of our hotel, the Oude Doelen, I found
that since my former visit, thirty-five years ago, there had been
little apparent change. It is the same old town, quiet,
picturesque, full of historical monuments and art treasures. This
hotel and the neighboring streets had been decorated with the
flags of various nations, including our own, and crowds were
assembled under our windows and in the public places. The hotel
is in one of the most attractive parts of the city
architecturally and historically, and is itself interesting from
both points of view. It has been a hostelry ever since the middle
ages, and over the main entrance a tablet indicates rebuilding in
1625. Connected with it by interior passages are a number of
buildings which were once private residences, and one of the
largest and best of these has been engaged for us. Fortunately
the present Secretary of State, John Hay, has been in the
diplomatic service; and when I wrote him, some weeks ago, on the
importance of proper quarters being secured for us, he entered
heartily into the matter, giving full powers to the minister here
to do whatever was necessary, subject to my approval. The result
is that we are quite as well provided for as any other delegation
at the conference.

In the afternoon our delegation met at the house of the American
minister and was duly organized. Although named by the President
first in the list of delegates, I preferred to leave the matter
of the chairmanship entirely to my associates, and they now
unanimously elected me as their President.

The instructions from the State Department were then read. These
were, in effect, as follows:

The first article of the Russian proposals, relating to the
non-augmentation of land and sea forces, is so inapplicable to
the United States at present that it is deemed advisable to leave
the initiative, upon this subject, to the representatives of
those powers to which it may properly apply.

As regards the articles relating to the non-employment of new
firearms, explosives, and other destructive agencies, the
restricted use of the existing instruments of destruction, and
the prohibition of certain contrivances employed in naval
warfare, it seems to the department that they are lacking in
practicability and that the discussion of these articles would
probably provoke divergency rather than unanimity of view. The
secretary goes on to say that "it is doubtful if wars will be
diminished by rendering them less destructive, for it is the
plain lesson of history that the periods of peace have been
longer protracted as the cost and destructiveness of war have
increased. The expediency of restraining the inventive genius of
our people in the direction of devising means of defense is by no
means clear, and, considering the temptations to which men and
nations may be exposed in a time of conflict, it is doubtful if
an international agreement of this nature would prove effective."

As to the fifth, sixth, and seventh articles, aiming, in the
interest of humanity, to succor those who by the chance of battle
have been rendered helpless, to alleviate their sufferings, and
to insure the safety of those whose mission is purely one of
peace and beneficence, we are instructed that any practicable
proposals should receive our earnest support.

On the eighth article, which proposes the wider extension of
"good offices, mediation, and arbitration," the secretary dwells
with much force, and finally says: "The proposal of the
conference promises to offer an opportunity thus far unequaled in
the history of the world for initiating a series of negotiations
that may lead to important practical results." The delegation is
therefore enjoined to propose, at an opportune moment, a plan for
an International Tribunal of Arbitration which is annexed to the
instructions, and to use their influence in the conference to
procure the adoption of its substance.

And, finally, we are instructed to propose to the conference the
principle of extending to strictly private property at sea the
immunity from destruction or capture by belligerent powers
analogous to that which such property already enjoys on land, and
to endeavor to have this principle incorporated in the permanent
law of civilized nations. A well-drawn historical resume of the
relations of the United States to the question of arbitration
thus far is added, and a historical summary of the action of the
United States, hitherto, regarding the exemption of private
property at sea from seizure during war.

The document of most immediate importance is the plan furnished
us for international arbitration. Its main features are as

First, a tribunal "composed of judges chosen, on account of their
personal integrity and learning in international law, by a
majority of the members of the highest court now existing in each
of the adhering states, one from each sovereign state
participating in the treaty, who shall hold office until their
successors are appointed by the same body."

Secondly, the tribunal to meet for organization not later than
six months after the treaty shall have been ratified by nine
powers; to organize itself as a permanent court, with such
officers as may be found necessary, and to fix its own place of
session and rules of procedure.

The third article provides that "the contracting nations will
mutually agree to submit to the international tribunal all
questions of disagreement between them, excepting such as may
relate to or involve their political independence or territorial

The fifth article runs as follows: "A bench of judges for each
particular case shall consist of not fewer than three nor more
than seven, as may be deemed expedient, appointed by the
unanimous consent of the tribunal, and shall not include any
member who is either a native, subject, or citizen of the state
whose interests are in litigation in the case."

The sixth article provides that the general expenses of the
tribunal be divided equally among the adherent powers; but that
those arising from each particular case be provided for as may be
directed by the tribunal; also that non-adherent states may bring
their cases before it, on condition of the mutual agreement that
the state against which judgment shall be found shall pay, in
addition to the judgment, the expenses of the adjudication.

The seventh article makes provision for an appeal, within three
months after the notification of the decision, upon presentation
of evidence that the judgment contains a substantial error of
fact or law.

The eighth and final article provides that the treaty shall
become operative when nine sovereign states, whereof at least six
shall have taken part in the conference of The Hague, shall have
ratified its provisions.

It turns out that ours is the only delegation which has anything
like a full and carefully adjusted plan for a court of
arbitration. The English delegation, though evidently exceedingly
desirous that a system of arbitration be adopted, has come
without anything definitely drawn. The Russians have a scheme;
but, so far as can be learned, there is no provision in it for a
permanent court.

In the evening there was a general assemblage of the members of
the conference at a reception given by Jonkheer van Karnebeek,
formerly Dutch minister of foreign affairs, and now first
delegate from the Netherlands to the conference. It was very
brilliant, and I made many interesting acquaintances; but,
probably, since the world began, never has so large a body come
together in a spirit of more hopeless skepticism as to any good
result. Though no one gives loud utterance to this feeling, it is
none the less deep. Of course, among all these delegates
acquainted with public men and measures in Europe, there is
considerable distrust of the intentions of Russia; and,
naturally, the weakness of the Russian Emperor is well
understood, though all are reticent regarding it. The only open
utterances are those attributed to one or two of the older
European diplomatists, who lament being sent on an errand which
they fear is to be fruitless. One of these is said to have
bewailed this mission as a sad ending to his public services, and
to have declared that as he had led a long life of devotion to
his country and to its sovereign, his family might well look upon
his career as honorable; but that now he is probably doomed to
crown it with an open failure.

May 18.

At two o'clock in the afternoon the conference held its open
session at the "House in the Wood." The building is most
interesting, presenting as it does the art and general ideas of
two hundred and fifty years ago; it is full of historical
associations, and the groves and gardens about it are delightful.
The walls and dome of the great central hall are covered with
immense paintings in the style of Rubens, mainly by his pupils;
and, of these, one over the front entrance represents Peace
descending from heaven, bearing various symbols and, apparently,
entering the hall. To this M. de Beaufort, our honorary
president, the Netherlands minister of foreign affairs, made a
graceful allusion in his opening speech, expressing the hope that
Peace, having entered the hall, would go forth bearing blessings
to the world. Another representation, which covers one immense
wall, is a glorification of various princes of Orange: it is in
full front of me, as I sit, the Peace fresco being visible at my
left, and a lovely view of the gardens, and of the water beyond,
through the windows at my right.

The "House in the Wood" was built early in the seventeenth
century by a princess of the house of Orange, the grandmother of
William III of England. The central hall under the dome, above
referred to, is now filled up with seats and desks, covered with
green cloth, very neat and practical, and mainly arranged like
those in an English college chapel. Good fortune has given me one
of the two best seats in the house; it being directly in front of
the secretaries, who are arranged in a semicircle just below the
desk of the president; at my left are the other members of our
delegation, and facing me, across the central aisle, is Count
Munster, at the head of the German delegation. This piece of good
luck comes from the fact that we are seated in the alphabetical
order of our countries, beginning with Allemagne, continuing with
Amerique, and so on down the alphabet.

The other large rooms on the main floor are exceedingly handsome,
with superb Japanese and Chinese hangings, wrought about the
middle of the last century to fit the spaces they occupy; on all
sides are the most perfect specimens of Japanese and Chinese
bronzes, ivory carvings, lacquer-work, and the like: these rooms
are given up to the committees into which the whole body is
divided. Up-stairs is a dining-hall in which the Dutch Government
serves, every working-day, a most bounteous lunch to us all, and
at this there is much opportunity for informal discussion. Near
the main hall is a sumptuous saloon, hung round with interesting
portraits, one of them being an admirable likeness of Motley the
historian, who was a great favorite of the late Queen, and
frequently her guest in this palace.

Our first session was very interesting; the speech by the
honorary president, M. de Beaufort, above referred to, was in
every way admirable, and that by the president, M. de Staal,
thoroughly good. The latter is the Russian ambassador to London;
I had already met him in St. Petersburg, and found him
interesting and agreeable. He is, no doubt, one of the foremost
diplomatists of this epoch; but he is evidently without much
knowledge of parliamentary procedure. Congratulatory telegrams
were received from the Emperor of Russia and the Queen of the
Netherlands and duly answered.

May 19.

At eleven in the morning, in one of the large rooms of the hotel,
the presidents of delegations met to decide on a plan of
organization and work; and, sitting among them, I first began to
have some hopes of a good result. Still, at the outset, the
prospect was much beclouded. Though a very considerable number of
the foremost statesmen in Europe were present, our deliberations
appeared, for a time, a hopeless chaos: the unfamiliarity of our
president, Baron de Staal, with parliamentary usages seemed
likely to become embarrassing; but sundry statesmen, more
experienced in such matters, began drawing together, and were
soon elaborating a scheme to be presented to the entire
conference. It divided all the subjects named in the Mouravieff
circular among three great committees, the most important being
that on "Arbitration." The choice of representatives on these
from our delegation was made, and an ex-officio membership of all
three falls to me.

In the course of the day I met and talked with various
interesting men, among them Count Nigra, formerly Cavour's
private secretary and ambassador at the court of Napoleon III,
where he accomplished so much for Italian unity; Sir Julian
Pauncefote, the British ambassador at Washington; and M.
Bernaert, president of the Belgian Chamber. In the evening, at a
reception given by the minister of foreign affairs, M. de
Beaufort, I made further acquaintances and had instructive

In addition to the strict duties of the conference, there is, of
course, a mass of social business, with no end of visits, calls,
and special meetings, to say nothing of social functions, on a
large scale, at the houses of sundry ministers and officials; but
these, of course, have their practical uses.

The Dutch Government is showing itself princely in various ways,
making every provision for our comfort and enjoyment.

In general, I am considerably encouraged. The skeptical feeling
with which we came together seems now passing away; the recent
speech of the Emperor William at Wiesbaden has aroused new hopes
of a fairly good chance for arbitration, and it looks as if the
promise made me just before I left Berlin by Baron von Bulow,
that the German delegation should cooperate thoroughly with our
own, is to be redeemed. That delegation assures us that it is
instructed to stand by us as far as possible on all the principal
questions. It forms a really fine body, its head being Count
Munster, whom I have already found very agreeable at Berlin and
Paris, and its main authority in the law of nations being
Professor Zorn, of the University of Konigsberg; but, curiously
enough, as if by a whim, the next man on its list is Professor
Baron von Stengel of Munich, who has written a book AGAINST
arbitration; and next to him comes Colonel Schwartzhoff, said to
be a man of remarkable ability in military matters, but strongly
prejudiced against the Russian proposals.

As to arbitration, we cannot make it compulsory, as so many very
good people wish; it is clear that no power here would agree to
that; but even to provide regular machinery for arbitration,
constantly in the sight of all nations, and always ready for use,
would be a great gain.

As to disarmament, it is clear that nothing effective can be done
at present. The Geneva rules for the better care of the wounded
on land will certainly be improved and extended to warfare on
sea, and the laws of war will doubtless be improved and given
stronger sanction.

Whether we can get our proposals as to private property on the
high seas before the conference is uncertain; but I think we can.
Our hopes are based upon the fact that they seem admissible under
one heading of the Mouravieff circular. There is, of course, a
determination on the part of leading members to exclude
rigorously everything not provided for in the original programme,
and this is only right; for, otherwise, we might spend years in
fruitless discussion. The Armenians, for example, are pressing us
to make a strong declaration in their behalf. Poland is also here
with proposals even more inflammatory; so are the Finlanders; and
so are the South African Boers. Their proposals, if admitted,
would simply be bombshells sure to blow all the leading nations
of Europe out of the conference and bring everything to naught.
Already pessimists outside are prophesying that on account of
these questions we are doomed to utter failure.

The peace people of all nations, including our own, are here in
great force. I have accepted an invitation from one of them to
lunch with a party of like mind, including Baroness von Suttner,
who has written a brilliant book, "Die Waffen Nieder," of which
the moral is that all nations shall immediately throw down their
arms. Mr. Stead is also here, vigorous as usual, full of curious
information, and abounding in suggestions.

There was a report, on our arriving, that the Triple Alliance
representatives are instructed to do everything to bring the
conference into discredit, but this is now denied. It is said
that their programme is changed, and things look like it. On the
whole, though no one is sanguine, there is more hope.

May 21.

In the morning went with Dr. Holls to a Whitsunday service at the
great old church here. There was a crowd, impressive chorals, and
a sermon at least an hour long. At our request, we were given
admirable places in the organ-loft, and sat at the side of the
organist as he managed that noble instrument. It was sublime.
After the closing voluntary Holls played remarkably well.

To me the most striking feature in the service was a very earnest
prayer made by the clergyman for the conference. During the
afternoon we also visited the old prison near the Vijver, where
the De Witts and other eminent prisoners of state were confined,
and in front of which the former were torn in pieces by the mob.
Sadly interesting was a collection of instruments of torture,
which had the effect of making me better satisfied with our own
times than I sometimes am.

In the evening, with our minister, Mr. Newel, and the Dean of
Ely, his guest, to an exceedingly pleasant "tea" at the house of
Baroness Gravensteen, and met a number of interesting people,
among them a kindly old gentleman who began diplomatic life as a
British attache at Washington in the days of Webster and Clay,
and gave me interesting accounts of them.

The queer letters and crankish proposals which come in every day
are amazing. I have just added to my collection of diplomatic
curiosities a letter from the editor of a Democratic paper in
southern Illinois, addressed to me as ambassador at Mayence,
which he evidently takes to be the capital of Germany, asking me
to look after a great party of Western newspaper men who are to
go up the Rhine this summer and make a brief stay in the
above-named capital of the empire. I also receive very many
letters of introduction, which of course make large demands upon
my time. The number of epistles, also, which come in from public
meetings in large and small American towns is very great, some
evidently representing no persons other than the writers. As I
write the above, I open mechanically a letter from a peace
meeting assembled in Ledyard, Connecticut, composed of "Rogerine
Quakers"; but what a "Rogerine Quaker" is I know not. Some of
these letters are touching, and some have a comic side. A very
good one comes from May Wright Sewall; would that all the others
were as thoughtful!

It goes without saying that the Quakers are out in full force. We
have been answering by cable some of the most important
communications sent us from America; the others we shall try to
acknowledge by mail, though they are so numerous that I begin to
despair of this. If these good people only knew how all this
distracts us from the work which we have at heart as much as
they, we should get considerably more time to think upon the
problems before us.

May 22.

In the afternoon came M. de Bloch, the great publicist, who has
written four enormous volumes on war in modern times, summaries
of which, in the newspapers, are said to have converted the young
Emperor Nicholas to peace ideas, and to have been the real cause
of his calling the conference together. I found him interesting,
full of ideas, and devoted most earnestly to a theory that
militarism is gradually impoverishing all modern states, and that
the next European war will pauperize most of them.

Just afterward Count Welsersheimb, president of the Austrian
delegation, called, and was very anxious to know the line we are
to take. I told him frankly that we are instructed to present a
plan of arbitration, and to urge a resolution in favor of
exempting private property, not contraband of war, from seizure
on the high seas; that we are ready to go to the full length in
improving the laws of war, and in extending the Geneva rules to
maritime warfare; but that we look on the question of reducing
armaments as relating wholly to Europe, no part of it being
applicable to the United States.

As he seemed strongly in favor of our contention regarding
private property on the high seas, but fearful that Russia and
England, under a strict construction of the rules, would not
permit the subject to be introduced, I pointed out to him certain
clauses in the Mouravieff circular which showed that it was
entirely admissible.

May 23.

In the morning came a meeting of the American delegation on the
subject of telegraphing Washington for further instructions. We
find that some of the details in our present instructions are
likely to wreck our proposals, and there is a fear among us that,
by following too closely the plan laid down for us at Washington,
we may run full in the face of the Monroe Doctrine. It is indeed,
a question whether our people will be willing to have matters of
difference between South American States, or between the United
States and a South American State, or between European and South
American States, submitted to an arbitration in which a majority
of the judges are subjects of European powers. Various drafts of
a telegram were made, but the whole matter went over.

At ten the heads of delegations met and considered a plan of
organizing the various committees, and the list was read. Each of
the three great committees to which the subjects mentioned in the
Mouravieff circular are assigned was given a president,
vice-president, and two honorary presidents. The first of these
committees is to take charge of the preliminary discussion of
those articles in the Mouravieff circular concerning the
non-augmentation of armies and the limitation in the use of new
explosives and of especially destructive weapons. The second
committee has for its subject the discussion of humanitarian
reforms--namely, the adaptation of the stipulations of the
Convention of Geneva of 1864 to maritime warfare, the
neutralization of vessels charged with saving the wounded during
maritime combats, and the revision of the declaration concerning
customs of war elaborated in 1874 by the Conference of Brussels,
which has never yet been ratified. The third committee has charge
of the subject of arbitration, mediation, and the like.

The president of the first committee is M. Bernaert, a leading
statesman of Belgium, who has made a most excellent impression on
me from the first; and the two honorary presidents are Count
Munster, German ambassador at Paris, and myself.

The president of the second committee is M. de Martens, the
eminent Russian authority on international law; and the two
honorary presidents, Count Welsersheimb of Austria-Hungary, and
the Duke of Tetuan from Spain.

The third committee receives as its president M. Leon Bourgeois,
who has held various eminent positions in France; the honorary
presidents being Count Nigra, the Italian ambassador at Vienna,
and Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British ambassador at Washington.

There was much discussion and considerable difference of opinion
on many points, but the main breeze sprang up regarding the
publicity of our doings. An admirable speech was made by Baron de
Bildt, who is a son of my former Swedish colleague at Berlin, has
held various important positions at Washington and elsewhere, has
written an admirable history of Queen Christina of Sweden, and is
now minister plenipotentiary at Rome. He spoke earnestly in favor
of considerable latitude in communications to the press from the
authorities of the conference; but the prevailing opinion,
especially of the older men, even of those from constitutional
states, seemed to second the idea of Russia,--that communications
to the press should be reduced to a minimum, comprising merely
the external affairs of the conference. I am persuaded that this
view will get us into trouble; but it cannot be helped at

May 24.

As was to be expected, there has begun some reaction from the
hopes indulged shortly after the conference came together. At our
arrival there was general skepticism; shortly afterward, and
especially when the organization of the arbitration committee was
seen to be so good, there came a great growth of hope; now comes
the usual falling back of many. But I trust that this will not be
permanent. Yesterday there was some talk which, though quiet, was
none the less bitter, to the effect that the purpose of Russia in
calling the conference is only to secure time for strengthening
her armaments; that she was never increasing her forces at a
greater rate, especially in the southwestern part of the empire
and in the Caucasus, and never intriguing more vigorously in all
directions. To one who stated this to me my answer simply was
that bad faith to this extent on the part of Russia is most
unlikely, if not impossible; that it would hand down the Emperor
and his advisers to the eternal execration and contempt of
mankind; and that, in any case, our duty is clear: to go on and
do the best we can; to perfect plans for a permanent tribunal of
arbitration; and to take measures for diminishing cruelty and
suffering in war.

Meeting Count Munster, who, after M. de Staal, is very generally
considered the most important personage here, we discussed the
subject of arbitration. To my great regret, I found him entirely
opposed to it, or, at least, entirely opposed to any
well-developed plan. He did not say that he would oppose a
moderate plan for voluntary arbitration, but he insisted that
arbitration must be injurious to Germany; that Germany is
prepared for war as no other country is or can be; that she can
mobilize her army in ten days; and that neither France, Russia,
nor any other power can do this. Arbitration, he said, would
simply give rival powers time to put themselves in readiness, and
would therefore be a great disadvantage to Germany.

Later came another disappointment. M. de Martens, having read the
memorandum which I left with him yesterday on the subject of
exempting private property, not contraband of war, from seizure
upon the high seas called, and insisted that it would be
impossible, under any just construction of the Mouravieff
programme, to bring the subject before the second committee as we
had hoped to do; that Russia would feel obliged to oppose its
introduction; and that Great Britain, France, and Italy, to say
nothing of other powers, would do the same. This was rather
trying, for I had especially desired to press this long-desired
improvement in international law; and I showed him how persistent
the United States had been as regards this subject throughout our
whole history, how earnest the President and his cabinet are in
pressing it now, and how our delegation are bound, under our
instructions, to bring it before the conference. I insisted that
we should at least have the opportunity to present it, even if it
were afterward declared out of order. To this he demurred, saying
that he feared it would arouse unpleasant debate. I then
suggested that the paper be publicly submitted to our whole body
for special reference to a future conference, and this he took
into consideration. Under other circumstances, I would have made
a struggle in the committee and, indeed, in the open session of
the full conference; but it is clear that what we are sent here
for is, above all, to devise some scheme of arbitration, and that
anything which comes in the way of this, by provoking ill-feeling
or prolonging discussion on other points, will diminish our
chances of obtaining what the whole world so earnestly desires.

During the day our American delegation held two sessions; and, as
a result, a telegram of considerable length to the State
Department was elaborated, asking permission to substitute a new
section in our original instructions regarding an arbitration
tribunal, and to be allowed liberty to make changes in minor
points, as the development of opinion in the conference may
demand. The substitute which we suggested referred especially to
the clash between the original instructions and the Monroe
Doctrine. I was very reluctant to send the despatch; but, on the
whole, it seemed best, and it was adopted unanimously.

In the afternoon, at five, the presidents of all the delegations
went to the palace, by appointment, and were presented to the
young Queen and to the Queen-mother. The former is exceedingly
modest, pretty, and pleasant; and as she came into the room,
about which were ranged that line of solemn, elderly men, it
seemed almost pathetic. She was evidently timid, and it was, at
first, hard work for her; but she got along well with Count
Munster, and when she came to me I soon brought the conversation
upon the subject of the "House in the Wood" by thanking her for
the pains her government had taken in providing so beautiful a
place for us. This new topic seemed to please her, and we had
quite a long talk upon it; she speaking of her visits to the
park, for skating and the like, and I dwelling on the beauty of
the works of art and the views in the park. Then the delegates,
going to the apartments of the Queen-mother, went through a
similar formality with her. She is very stout, but fine-looking,
with a kindly face and manner. Both mother and daughter spoke,
with perfect ease, Dutch, French, German English, and how many
other languages I know not. The young Queen was very simply
dressed, like any other young lady of seventeen, except that she
had a triple row of large pearls about her neck. In the evening,
at 9.30, the entire delegations were received at a great
presentation and ball. The music was very fine, but the most
interesting thing to me was the fact that, as the palace was
built under Louis Bonaparte and Hortense, the main rooms were in
the most thoroughgoing style Empire, not only in their
decorations, but in their furniture and accessories,--clocks,
vases, candelabra, and the like. I have never seen that style,
formerly so despised, but now so fashionable, developed as fully.

After the presentation I met Sir John Fisher, one of the English
delegates, an admiral in the British navy, and found him very
intelligent. He said that he was thoroughly for peace, and had
every reason to be so, since he knew something of the horrors of
war. It appears that in one of the recent struggles in China he
went ashore with eleven hundred men and returned with only about
five hundred; but, to my regret, I found him using the same
argument as regards the sea that Count Munster had made regarding
the land. He said that the navy of Great Britain was and would
remain in a state of complete preparation for war; that a vast
deal depended on prompt action by the navy; and that the truce
afforded by arbitration proceedings would give other powers time,
which they would otherwise not have, to put themselves into
complete readiness. He seemed uncertain whether it was best for
Great Britain, under these circumstances, to support a
thoroughgoing plan of arbitration; but, on the whole, seemed
inclined to try it to some extent. Clearly what Great Britain
wants is a permanent system of arbitration with the United
States; but she does not care much, I think, for such a provision
as regards other powers.

There is considerable curiosity among leading members to know
what the United States really intends to do; and during the day
Sir Julian Pauncefote and others have called to talk over the
general subject.

The London "Times" gives quite correctly a conversation of mine,
of rather an optimistic nature, as to the possibilities and
probabilities of arbitration, and the improvement of the customs
of war; but in another quarter matters have not gone so well: the
"Corriere della Sera" of Milan publishes a circumstantial
interview with me, which has been copied extensively in the
European press, to the effect that I have declared my belief in
the adoption of compulsory arbitration and disarmament. This is a
grotesque misstatement. I have never dreamed of saying anything
of the kind; in fact, have constantly said the contrary; and,
what is more, I have never been interviewed by the correspondent
of that or of any other Continental paper.



May 25. This morning a leading delegate of one of the great
European powers called and gave me a very interesting account of
the situation as he sees it.

He stated that the Russian representatives, on arriving here,
gave out that they were not prepared with any plan for a definite
tribunal of arbitration; but that shortly afterward there
appeared some discrepancy on this point between the statements of
the various members of their delegation; and that they now
propose a system of arbitration, mediation, and examination into
any cause of difficulty between nations.

In the evening our secretary spoke of the matter to M. de Staal,
the president of the Russian delegation and of the conference,
and was told that this plan would, within a day or two, be
printed and laid before the whole body.

This is a favorable sign. More and more it looks as if the great
majority of us are beginning to see the necessity of some scheme
of arbitration embracing a court and definite, well-contrived

The above-mentioned discrepancy between various statements of the
Russians leads me to think that what Count Munster told me some
days since may have some truth in it--namely, that
Pobedonostzeff, whom I knew well, when minister to Russia, as the
strongest man of moral, religious, and social questions in that
country, is really the author of the documents that were
originally given to the world as emanating from the Russian
Foreign Office, and that he has now added to them this definite
scheme for arbitration. Remembering our old conversations, in
which he dwelt upon the great need of money in order to increase
the stipends of the Russian clergy, and so improve their moral as
well as religious condition, I can understand easily that he may
have greatly at heart a plan which would save a portion of the
enormous expenditure of Russia on war, and enable him to do more
for the improvement of the church.

Dined at the British legation with the minister, my old friend of
St. Petersburg days, Sir Henry Howard, De Martens, the real head
of the Russian delegation, being of the party, and had a long
talk with the latter about Russia and Russians. He told me that
Pobedonostzeff is now becoming old and infirm, and it appears
that there has been a sort of cleaning out of the Foreign Office
and the Ministry of the Interior--a procedure which was certainly
needed in my time.

Later in the evening we went to a reception by Baron van
Hardenbroek, the grand chamberlain, where I met various
interesting persons, especially M. Descamps, the eminent Belgian
delegate, who, in the fervor of his speech yesterday morning,
upset his inkstand and lavished its contents on his neighbors. He
is a devotee of arbitration, and is preparing a summary for the
committee intrusted with that subject. There seemed to be, in
discussing the matter with various delegates at this reception, a
general feeling of encouragement.

During the day Mr. Loeher, a Berlin sculptor, called, and carried
me off to see his plan of a great statue of "Peace" which he
hopes to induce the Emperor Nicholas to erect in Paris. It seems
to me well conceived, all except the main figure, which I could
not induce myself to like. In the anxiety of the sculptor to
avoid any more female figures, and to embody virile aspirations
for peace, he has placed this main figure at the summit of the
monument in something like a long pea-jacket, with an
insufficient mantle at the back, and a crown upon its head.

The number of people with plans, schemes, notions, nostrums,
whimsies of all sorts, who press upon us and try to take our
time, is enormous; and when to this is added the pest of
interviewers and photographers, life becomes serious indeed.

May 26.

At two the committee on arbitration met, and, as it is the
largest of all, its session was held in the main hall under the
dome. The Russian plan was presented, and was found to embrace
three distinct features:

First, elements of a plan of mediation; secondly, a plan for
international arbitration; thirdly, a plan for the international
examination of questions arising between powers, such examination
being conducted by persons chosen by each of the contestants.
This last is a new feature and is known as a commission
internationale d'enquete.

The project for a plan of arbitration submits a number of minor
matters to compulsory arbitration, but the main mass of
differences to voluntary arbitration.

But there was no definite proposal for a tribunal, and there was
an evident feeling of disappointment, which was presently voiced
by Sir Julian Pauncefote, who, in the sort of plain, dogged way
of a man who does not purpose to lose what he came for, presented
a resolution looking definitely to the establishment, here and
now, of an international tribunal of arbitration. After some
discussion, the whole was referred to a subcommittee, to put this
and any other proposals submitted into shape for discussion by
the main committee. In the course of the morning the American
delegation received an answer to its telegram to the State
Department, which was all that could be desired, since it left us
virtually free to take the course which circumstances might
authorize, in view of the main object to be attained. But it came
too late to enable us to elaborate a plan for the meeting above
referred to, and I obtained permission from the president, M.
Leon Bourgeois, to defer the presentation of our scheme until
about the middle of next week.

Just before the session of the main committee, at which the
Russian plan was received, I had a long and very interesting talk
with Mr. van Karnebeek, one of the leading statesmen of the
Netherlands, a former minister of foreign affairs, and the
present chief of the Dutch delegation in the conference. He seems
clear-headed and far-sighted, and his belief is that the
conference will really do something of value for arbitration. He
says that men who arrived here apparently indifferent have now
become interested, and that amour propre, if nothing else, will
lead them to elaborate something likely to be useful. He went at
considerable length into the value of an international tribunal,
even if it does nothing more than keep nations mindful of the
fact that there is some way, other than war, of settling

A delegate also informed me that in talking with M. de Staal the
latter declared that in his opinion the present conference is
only the first of a series, and that it is quite likely that
another will be held next winter or next spring.

In the evening I made the acquaintance of Mr. Marshall, a
newspaper correspondent, who is here preparing some magazine
articles on The Hague and the conference. He is a very
interesting man on various accounts, and especially at present,
since he has but just returned from the Cuban campaign, where he
was fearfully wounded, receiving two shots which carried away
parts of the vertebral column, a bullet being left in his body.
He seems very cheerful, though obliged to get about on crutches.

May 27.

In the morning, calls from various people urging all kinds of
schemes for arbitration and various other good things for the
human race, including considerable advantages, in many cases, for

Best of all, by far, was John Bellows of Gloucester, our old
Quaker friend at St. Petersburg, whom I was exceedingly glad to
take by the hand: he, at least, is a thoroughly good
man--sincere, honest, earnest, and blessed with good sense.

The number of documents, printed and written, coming in upon us
is still enormous. Many are virtually sermons displaying the
evils of war, the blessings of peace, and the necessity of
falling back upon the Bible. Considering the fact that our
earlier sacred books indicate approval by the Almighty of some of
the most bloodthirsty peoples and most cruel wars ever known,
such a recommendation seems lacking in "actuality."

This morning we had another visit from Sir Julian Pauncefote,
president of the British delegation, and discussed with him an
amalgamation of the Russian, British, and American proposals for
an arbitration tribunal. He finds himself, as we all do,
agreeably surprised by the Russian document, which, inadequate as
it is, shows ability in devising a permanent scheme both for
mediation and arbitration.

During the day President Low, who had been asked by our
delegation to bring the various proposals agreed to by us into
definite shape, made his report; it was thoroughly well done,
and, with some slight changes, was adopted as the basis for our
final project of an arbitration scheme. We are all to meet on
Monday, the 29th, for a study of it.

In the evening to the concert given to the conference by the
burgomaster and city council. It was very fine, and the audience
was large and brilliant. There was music by Tschaikovsky, Grieg,
and Wagner, some of which was good, but most of it seemed to me
noisy and tending nowhither; happily, in the midst of it came two
noble pieces, one by Beethoven and the other by Mozart, which
gave a delightful relief.

May 28.

Drove with Dr. Holls to Delft, five miles, and attended service
at the "New Church." The building was noble, but the service
seemed very crude and dismal, nearly the whole of it consisting
of two long sermons separated by hymns, and all unspeakably

Afterward we saw the tombs of William of Orange and Grotius, and
they stirred many thoughts. I visited them first nearly forty
years ago, with three persons very dear to me, all of whom are
now passed away. More than ever it is clear to me that of all
books ever written--not claiming divine inspiration--the great
work of Grotius on "War and Peace" has been of most benefit to
mankind. Our work here, at the end of the nineteenth century, is
the direct result of his, at the beginning of the seventeenth.

Afterward to the Prinzenhof, visiting the place where William of
Orange was assassinated. Was glad to see the new statue of
Grotius in front of the church where he lies buried.

May 29.

In the morning President Low and myself walked, and talked over
various proposals for arbitration, especially our own. It looks
much as if we can amalgamate the Russian, British, and original
American plans into a good arrangement for a tribunal. We also
discussed a scheme for the selection, by disagreeing nations, of
"seconding powers," who, before the beginning of hostilities, or
even after, shall attempt to settle difficulties between powers,
or, if unsuccessful, to stop them as soon after war begins as the
honor of the nations concerned may allow. The Germans greatly
favor this plan, since it resembles their tribunal of honor
(Ehrengericht); it was originally suggested to us by our
secretary, Dr. Holls.

In the evening, at six, the American delegation met. We had
before us type-written copies of our whole arbitration project as
elaborated in our previous sessions, and sundry changes having
been made, most of them verbal, the whole, after considerable
discussion, was adopted.

At ten I left, via Hook of Holland and Harwich, for London,
arriving about ten the next morning, and attending to various
matters of business. It was fortunate for me that I could have
for this purpose an almost complete lull in our proceedings, the
first and second committees of the conference being at work on
technical matters, and the third not meeting until next Monday.

In the evening I went to the Lyceum Theatre, saw Henry Irving and
Ellen Terry in Sardou's "Robespierre," and for the first time in
my life was woefully disappointed in them. The play is wretchedly
conceived, and it amazes me that Sardou, who wrote "Thermidor,"
which is as admirable as "Robespierre" is miserable could ever
have attached his name to such a piece.

For the wretchedness of its form there is, no doubt, some excuse
in the fact that it has been done into English, and doubtless
cut, pieced, and altered to suit the Lyceum audiences; but when
one compares the conspiracy part of it with a properly conceived
drama in which a conspiracy is developed, like Schiller's
"Fiesco," the difference is enormously in favor of the latter. As
literature the play in its English dress is below contempt.

As to its historical contents, Sardou resorts to an expedient
which, although quite French in its character, brings the whole
thing down to a lower level than anything in which I had ever
seen Irving before. The center of interest is a young royalist
who, having been present with his mother and sister at the
roll-call of the condemned and the harrowing scenes resulting
therefrom, rushes forth, determined to assassinate Robespierre,
but is discovered by the latter to be his long-lost illegitimate
son, and then occur a series of mystifications suited only to the
lowest boulevard melodrama.

As to the action of the piece, the only thing that showed
Irving's great ability was the scene in the forest of
Montmorency, where, as Robespierre, he reveals at one moment, in
his talk with the English envoy, his ambition, his overestimate
of himself, his suspicion of everybody and everything, his
willingness to be cruel to any extent in order to baffle possible
enemies; and then, next moment, on the arrival of his young
friends, boys and girls, the sentimental, Rousseau side of his
character. This transition was very striking. The changes in the
expression of Irving's face were marvelous--as wonderful as those
in his Louis XI; but that was very nearly all. In everything
else, Coquelin, as I had seen him in Sardou's "Thermidor," was
infinitely better.

Besides this, the piece was, in general, grotesquely
unhistorical. It exhibits Robespierre's colleagues in the
Committee of Public Safety as noisy and dirty street blackguards.
Now, bad as they were, they were not at all of that species, nor
did their deliberations take place in the manner depicted.
Billaud-Varennes is represented as a drunken vagabond sitting on
a table at the committee and declaiming. He was not this at all,
nor was Tallien, vile as he was, anything like the blackguard
shown in this piece.

The final scene, in which Robespierre is brought under accusation
by the Convention, was vastly inferior to the same thing in
"Thermidor"; and, what was worse, instead of paraphrasing or
translating the speeches of Billaud-Varennes, Tallien, and
Robespierre, which he might have found in the "Moniteur," Sardou,
or rather Irving, makes the leading characters yell harangues
very much of the sort which would be made in a meeting of drunken
dock laborers to-day. Irving's part in this was not at all well
done. The unhistorical details now came thick and fast, among
them his putting his head down on the table of the tribune as a
sign of exhaustion, and then, at the close, shooting himself in
front of the tribunal. If he did shoot himself, which is
doubtful, it was neither at that time nor in that place.

But, worst of all, the character of Robespierre was made far too
melodramatic, and was utterly unworthy of Irving, whom, in all
his other pieces, I have vastly admired. He completely
misconceives his hero. Instead of representing him as, from first
to last, a shallow Rousseau sentimentalist, with the proper
mixture of vanity, suspicion, and cruelty, he puts into him a
great deal too much of the ruffian, which was not at all in
Robespierre's character.

The most striking scene in the whole was the roll-call at the
prison. This was perhaps better than that in Sardou's
"Thermidor," and the tableaux were decidedly better.

The scene at the "Festival of the Supreme Being" was also very
striking, and in many respects historical; but, unless I am
greatly mistaken, the performance referred to did not take place
as represented, but in the garden directly in front of the
Tuileries. The family scene at the house of Duplay the carpenter
was exceedingly well managed; old Duplay, smoking his pipe,
listening to his daughters playing on a spinet and singing
sentimental songs of the Rousseau period, was perfect. The old
carpenter and his family evidently felt that the golden age had
at last arrived; that humanity was at the end of its troubles;
and that the world was indebted for it all to their lodger
Robespierre, who sat in the midst of them reading, writing, and
enjoying the coddling and applause lavished upon him. And he and
they were to go to the guillotine within a week!

Incidentally there came a little touch worthy of Sardou; for, as
Robespierre reads his letters, he finds one from his brother, in
which he speaks of a young soldier and revolutionist of ability
whose acquaintance he has just made, whom he very much likes, and
whose republicanism he thoroughly indorses--one Buonaparte. This
might have occurred, and very likely did occur, very much as
shown on the stage; for one of the charges which nearly cost
Bonaparte his life on the Ninth Thermidor was that he was on
friendly terms with the younger Robespierre, who was executed
with his more famous brother.

On the whole, the play was very disappointing. It would certainly
have been hissed at the Porte St. Martin, and probably at any
other Paris theater.

June 1.

Having left London last evening, I arrived at The Hague early
this morning and found, to my great satisfaction, that the
subcommittee of the third committee had unanimously adopted the
American plan of "seconding powers," and that our whole general
plan of arbitration will be to-day in print and translated into
French for presentation. I also find that Sir Julian Pauncefote's
arbitration project has admirable points.

The first article in Sir Julian's proposal states that, with the
desire to facilitate immediate recourse to arbitration by nations
which may fail to adjust by diplomatic negotiations differences
arising between them, the signatory powers agree to organize a
permanent tribunal of international arbitration, accessible at
all times, to be governed by a code, provided by this conference,
so far as applicable and consistent with any special stipulations
agreed to between the contesting parties.

Its second provision is the establishment of a permanent central
office, where the records of the tribunal shall be preserved and
its official business transacted, with a permanent secretary,
archivist, and suitable staff, who shall reside on the spot. This
office shall make arrangements for the assembling of the
tribunal, at the request of contesting parties.

Its third provision is that each of the signatory powers shall
transmit the names of two persons who shall be recognized in
their own country as jurists or publicists of high character and
fitness, and who shall be qualified to act as judges. These
persons shall be members of the tribunal, and a list of their
names shall be recorded in the central office. In case of death
or retirement of any one of these, the vacancy shall be filled up
by new appointment.

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