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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

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would be no disadvantage in such a dismissal of troops to
peaceful avocations, but every advantage; and that if it were
done the result would be that, in less than forty years, Russia
would become, by this husbanding of her resources, the most
powerful nation on the eastern continent, and able to carry out
any just policy which she might desire. I might have added that
one advantage of such a reduction would certainly be less
inclination by the war party at St. Petersburg to plunge into
military adventures. (Had Russia thus reduced her army she would
never have sunk into the condition in which she finds herself now
(1905), as I revise these lines. Instead of sending Alexeieff to
make war, she would have allowed De Witte to make peace--peace on
a basis of justice to Japan, and a winter access to the Pacific,
under proper safeguards, for herself.)

Raffalovitch seemed to acquiesce fully in my view, except as to
the number of soldiers to be released, saying that fifty or sixty
thousand would do perfectly well as showing that Russia is in

He is one of the younger men of Russia, but has very decided
ability, and this he has shown not only in his secretaryship of
the conference, but in several of his works on financial and
other public questions published in Paris, which have secured for
him a corresponding membership of the French Institute.

It is absolutely clear in my mind that, if anything is to be done
toward disarmament, a practical beginning must be made by the
Czar; but the unfortunate thing is that with, no doubt, fairly
good intentions, he is weak and ill informed. The dreadful
mistake he is making in violating the oath sworn by his
predecessors and himself to Finland is the result of this
weakness and ignorance; and should he attempt to diminish his
overgrown army he would, in all probability, be overborne by the
military people about him, and by petty difficulties which they
would suggest, or, if necessary, create. It must be confessed
that there is one danger in any attempted disarmament, and this
is that the military clique might, to prevent it, plunge the
empire into a war.

The Emperor is surrounded mainly by inferior men. Under the shade
of autocracy men of independent strength rarely flourish. Indeed,
I find that the opinion regarding Russian statesmen which I
formed in Russia is confirmed by old diplomatists, of the best
judgment, whom I meet here. One of them said to me the other day:
"There is no greater twaddle than all the talk about far-seeing
purposes and measures by Russian statesmen. They are generally
weak, influenced by minor, and especially by personal,
considerations, and inferior to most men in similar positions in
the other great governments of Europe. The chancellor, Prince
Gortchakoff, of whom so much has been said, was a weak, vain man,
whom Bismarck found it generally very easy to deal with."

As to my own experience, I think many of those whom I saw were
far from the best of their kind with whom I have had to do. I
have never imagined a human being in the position of minister of
the interior of a great nation so utterly futile as the person
who held that place at St. Petersburg in my time; and the same
may be said of several others whom I met there in high places.
There are a few strong men, and, unfortunately, Pobedonostzeff is
one of them. Luckily, De Witte, the minister of finance, is

July 10.

The evil which I dreaded, as regards the formation of public
opinion in relation to the work of our conference, is becoming
realized. The London "Spectator," just received, contains a most
disheartening article, "The Peace Conference a Failure," with an
additional article, more fully developed, to the same effect.
Nothing could be more unjust; but, on account of the
"Spectator's" "moderation," it will greatly influence public
opinion, and doubtless prevent, to some extent, the calling of
future conferences needed to develop the good work done in this.
Fortunately the correspondent of the "Times" gives a better
example, and shows, in his excellent letters, what has been
accomplished here. The "New York Herald," also, is thus far
taking the right view, and maintaining it with some earnestness.

July 17.

This morning, at ten, to the "House in the Wood" to hear Mr. van
Karnebeek's report on disarmament, checking invention, etc.,
before the session of committee No. 1. It was strongly attacked,
and was left in shreds: the whole subject is evidently too
immature and complicated to be dealt with during the present

In the afternoon came up an especially interesting matter in the
session of the arbitration committee, the occasion being a report
of the subcommittee. Among the points which most interested us as
Americans was a provision for an appeal from the decision of the
arbitration tribunal on the discovery of new facts.

De Martens of Russia spoke with great force against such right of
appeal, and others took ground with him. Holls really
distinguished himself by a telling speech on the other
side--which is the American side, that feature having been
present in our original instructions; Messrs. Asser and Karnebeek
both spoke for it effectively, and the final decision was
virtually in our favor, for Mr. Asser's compromise was adopted,
which really gives us the case.

The Siamese representatives requested that the time during which
an appeal might be allowed should be six instead of three months,
which we had named; but it was finally made a matter of
adjustment between the parties.

July 18.

The American delegation met at ten, when a cable message from the
State Department was read authorizing us to sign the protocol.

July 19.

Field day in the arbitration committee. A decided sensation was
produced by vigorous speeches by my Berlin colleague, Beldiman,
of the Roumanian delegation, and by Servian, Greek, and other
delegates, against the provision for commissions d'enquete,--De
Martens, Descamps, and others making vigorous speeches in behalf
of them. It looked as if the Balkan states were likely to
withdraw from the conference if the commission d'enquete feature
was insisted upon: they are evidently afraid that such "examining
commissions" may be sent within their boundaries by some of their
big neighbors--Russia, for example--to spy out the land and start
intrigues. The whole matter was put over.

In the evening to Count Munster's dinner at Scheveningen, and had
a very interesting talk on conference matters with Sir Julian
Pauncefote, finding that in most things we shall be able to stand
together as the crisis approaches.

July 20.

For several days past I have been preparing a possible speech to
be made in signing the protocol, etc., which, if not used for
that purpose, may be published, and, perhaps, aid in keeping
public opinion in the right line as regards the work of the
conference after it has closed.

In the afternoon to the "House in the Wood," the committee on
arbitration meeting again. More speeches were made by the
Bulgarians and Servians, who are still up in arms, fearing that
the commissione d'enquete means intervention by the great states
in their affairs. Speeches to allay their fears were made by
Count Nigra, Dr. Zorn, Holls, and Leon Bourgeois. Zorn spoke in
German with excellent effect, as did Holls in English; Nigra was
really impressive; and Bourgeois, from the chair, gave us a
specimen of first-rate French oratory. He made a most earnest
appeal to the delegates of the Balkan states, showing them that
by such a system of arbitration as is now proposed the lesser
powers would be the very first to profit, and he appealed to
their loyalty to humanity. The speech was greatly and justly

The Balkan delegates are gradually and gracefully yielding.

July 21.

In the morning to the "House in the Wood," where a plenary
session of the conference was held. It was a field day on
explosive, flattening and expanding bullets, etc. Our Captain
Crozier, who evidently knows more about the subject than anybody
else here, urged a declaration of the principle that balls should
be not more deadly or cruel than is absolutely necessary to put
soldiers hors de combat; but the committee had reported a
resolution which, Crozier insists, opens the door to worse
missiles than those at present used. Many and earnest speeches
were made. I made a short speech, moving to refer the matter back
to the committee, with instructions to harmonize and combine the
two ideas in one article--that is, the idea which the article now
expresses, and Crozier's idea of stating the general principle to
which the bullets should conform--namely, that of not making a
wound more cruel than necessary; but the amendment was lost.

July 22.

Sir Julian Pauncefote called to discuss with us the signing of
the Acte Final. There seems to be general doubt as to what is the
best manner of signing the conventions, declarations, etc., and
all remains in the air.

In the morning the American delegation met and Captain Mahan
threw in a bomb regarding article 27, which requires that when
any two parties to the conference are drifting into war, the
other powers should consider it a duty (devoir) to remind them of
the arbitration tribunal, etc. He thinks that this infringes the
American doctrine of not entangling ourselves in the affairs of
foreign states, and will prevent the ratification of the
convention by the United States Senate. This aroused earnest
debate, Captain Mahan insisting upon the omission of the word
"devoir," and Dr. Holls defending the article as reported by the
subcommittee, of which he is a member, and contending that the
peculiar interests of America could be protected by a
reservation. Finally, the delegation voted to insist upon the
insertion of the qualifying words, "autant que les circonstances
permettent," but this decision was afterward abandoned.

July 23.

Met at our Minister Newel's supper Sir Henry Howard, who told me
that the present Dutch ministry, with Piersoon at its head and De
Beaufort as minister of foreign affairs, is in a very bad way;
that its "subserviency to Italy," in opposition to the demands of
the Vatican for admittance into the conference, and its
difficulties with the socialists and others, arising from the
police measures taken against Armenian, Finnish, New Turkish, and
other orators who have wished to come here and make the
conference and the city a bear-garden, have led both the extreme
parties--that is, the solid Roman Catholic party on one side, and
the pretended votaries of liberty on the other--to hate the
ministry equally. He thinks that they will join hands and oust
the ministry just as soon as the conference is over.

Some allowance is to be made for the fact that Sir Henry is a
Roman Catholic: while generally liberal, he evidently looks at
many questions from the point of view of his church.[9]

[9] As it turned out, he was right: the ministry was ousted, but
not so soon as he expected, for the catastrophe did not arrive
until about two years later. Then came in a coalition of high
Calvinists and Roman Catholics which brought in the Kuyper

July 24.

For some days--in fact, ever since Captain Mahan on the 22d
called attention to article 27 of the arbitration convention as
likely to be considered an infringement of the Monroe
Doctrine--our American delegation has been greatly perplexed. We
have been trying to induce the French, who proposed article 27,
and who are as much attached to it as is a hen to her one chick,
to give it up, or, at least, to allow a limiting or explanatory
clause to be placed with it. Various clauses of this sort have
been proposed. The article itself makes it the duty of the other
signatory powers, when any two nations are evidently drifting
toward war, to remind these two nations that the arbitration
tribunal is open to them. Nothing can be more simple and natural;
but we fear lest, when the convention comes up for ratification
in the United States Senate, some over-sensitive patriot may seek
to defeat it by insisting that it is really a violation of
time-honored American policy at home and abroad--the policy of
not entangling ourselves in the affairs of foreign nations, on
one side, and of not allowing them to interfere in our affairs,
on the other.

At twelve this day our delegation gave a large luncheon at the
Oude Doelen--among those present being Ambassadors De Staal,
Count Nigra, and Sir Julian Pauncefote, Bourgeois, Karnebeek,
Basily, Baron d'Estournelles, Baron de Bildt, and others--to
discuss means of getting out of the above-mentioned difficulty. A
most earnest effort was made to induce the French to allow some
such modification as has been put into other articles--namely,
the words, "autant que possible," or some limiting clause to the
same effect; but neither Bourgeois nor D'Estournelles,
representing France, would think of it for a moment. Bourgeois,
as the head of the French delegation, spoke again and again, at
great length. Among other things, he gave us a very long
disquisition on the meaning of "devoir" as it stands in the
article--a disquisition which showed that the Jesuits are not the
only skilful casuists in the world.

I then presented my project of a declaration of the American
doctrine to be made by us on signing. It had been scratched off
with a pencil in the morning, hastily; but it was well received
by Bourgeois, D'Estournelles, and all the others.

Later we held a meeting of our own delegation, when, to my
project of a declaration stating that nothing contained in any
part of the convention signed here should be considered as
requiring us to intrude, mingle, or entangle ourselves in
European politics or internal affairs, Low made an excellent
addition to the effect that nothing should be considered to
require any abandonment of the traditional attitude of the United
States toward questions purely American; and, with slight verbal
changes, this combination was adopted.

July 25.

All night long I have been tossing about in my bed and thinking
of our declaration of the Monroe Doctrine to be brought before
the conference to-day. We all fear that the conference will not
receive it, or will insist on our signing without it or not
signing at all.

On my way to The Hague from Scheveningen I met M. Descamps, the
eminent professor of international law in the University of
Louvain, and the leading delegate in the conference as regards
intricate legal questions connected with the arbitration plan. He
thought that our best way out of the difficulty was absolutely to
insist on a clause limiting the devoir imposed by article 27, and
to force it to a vote. He declared that, in spite of the French,
it would certainly be carried. This I doubt. M. Descamps knows,
perhaps, more of international law than of the temper of his

In the afternoon to the "House in the Wood," where the "Final
Act" was read. This is a statement of what has been done, summed
up in the form of three conventions, with sundry declarations,
voeux, etc. We had taken pains to see a number of the leading
delegates, and all, in their anxiety to save the main features of
the arbitration plan, agreed that they would not oppose our
declaration. It was therefore placed in the hands of
Raffalovitch, the Russian secretary, who stood close beside the
president, and as soon as the "Final Act" had been recited he
read this declaration of ours. This was then brought before the
conference in plenary session by M. de Staal, and the conference
was asked whether any one had any objection, or anything to say
regarding it. There was a pause of about a minute, which seemed
to me about an hour. Not a word was said,--in fact, there was
dead silence,--and so our declaration embodying a reservation in
favor of the Monroe Doctrine was duly recorded and became part of
the proceedings.

Rarely in my life have I had such a feeling of deep relief; for,
during some days past, it has looked as if the arbitration
project, so far as the United States is concerned, would be
wrecked on that wretched little article 27.

I had before me notes of a speech carefully prepared, stating our
reasons and replying to objections, to be used in case we were
attacked, but it was not needed. In the evening I was asked by
Mr. Lavino, the correspondent of the London "Times," to put the
gist of it into an "interview" for the great newspaper which he
serves, and to this I consented; for, during the proceedings this
afternoon in the conference, Sir Julian Pauncefote showed great
uneasiness. He was very anxious that we should withdraw the
declaration altogether, and said, "It will be charged against you
that you propose to evade your duties while using the treaty to
promote your interests"; but I held firm and pressed the matter,
with the result above stated. I feared that he would object in
open conference; but his loyalty to arbitration evidently
deterred him. However, he returned to the charge privately, and I
then promised to make a public statement of our reasons for the
declaration, and this seemed to ease his mind. The result was a
recasting of my proposed speech, and this Mr. Lavino threw into
the form of a long telegram to the "Times."

July 26.

At ten to a meeting of our American delegation, when another
bombshell was thrown among us--nothing less than the question
whether the Pope is to be allowed to become one of the signatory
powers; and this question has now taken a very acute form. Italy
is, of course, utterly opposed to it, and Great Britain will not
sign if any besides those agreed upon by the signatory powers are
allowed to come in hereafter, her motive being, no doubt, to
avoid trouble in regard to the Transvaal.

Mr. Low stated that in the great committee the prevailing opinion
seemed to be that the signatory powers had made a sort of
partnership, and that no new partners could be added without the
consent of all. This is the natural ground, and entirely tenable.

I would have been glad to add the additional requirement that no
power should be admitted which would not make arbitration
reciprocal--that is, no power which, while aiding to arbitrate
for others, would not accept arbitration between itself and
another power. This would, of course, exclude the Vatican; for,
while it desires to judge others, it will allow no interests of
its own, not even the most worldly and trivial, to be submitted
to any earthly tribunal.

The question now came up in our American delegation as to signing
the three conventions in the Acte Final--namely, those relating
to arbitration, to the extension of the Geneva rules, and to the
laws and customs of war. We voted to sign the first, to send the
second to Washington without recommendation, and to send the
third with a recommendation that it be there signed. The reason
for sending the second to Washington without recommendation is
that Captain Mahan feels that, in its present condition, it may
bring on worse evils than it prevents. He especially and, I
think, justly objects to allowing neutral hospital ships to take
on board the wounded and shipwrecked in a naval action, with
power to throw around them the safeguards of neutrality and carry
them off to a neutral port whence they can again regain their own
homes and resume their status as combatants.

The reason for submitting the third to Washington, with a
recommendation to sign it there, is that considerable work will
be required in conforming our laws of war to the standard
proposed by the conference, and that it is best that the
Washington authorities look it over carefully.

I was very anxious to sign all three conventions, but the first
is the great one, and I yielded my views on the last two.

The powers are to have until the 31st of December, if they wish
it, before signing.

July 27.

Early in the morning to a meeting of our American delegation, Mr.
van Karnebeek being present. We agreed to sign the arbitration
convention, attaching to our signatures a reservation embodying
our declaration of July 25 regarding the maintenance of our
American policy--the Monroe Doctrine. A telegram was received
from the State Department approving of this declaration. The
imbroglio regarding the forcing of the Pope into the midst of the
signatory powers continues. The ultramontanes are pushing on
various delegates, especially sundry Austrians and Belgians, who
depend on clerical support for their political existence, and, in
some cases, for their daily bread; and the result is that M.
Descamps, one of the most eminent international lawyers in
Europe, who has rendered great services during the conference,
but who holds a professorship at the University of Louvain, and
can hold it not one moment longer than the Jesuits allow him, is
making a great display of feeling on the subject. Italy, of
course, continues to take the strongest ground against the
proposal to admit his Holiness as an Italian sovereign.

Our position is, as was well stated in the great committee by Mr.
Low, that the contracting parties must all consent before a new
party can come in; and this under one of the simplest principles
of law. We ought also to add that any power thus admitted shall
not only consent to arbitrate on others, but to be arbitrated
upon. This, of course, the Vatican monsignori will never do. They
would see all Europe deluged in blood before they would submit
the pettiest question between the kingdom of Italy and themselves
to arbitration by lay powers. All other things are held by them
utterly subordinate to the restoration of the Pope's temporal
power, though they must know that if it were restored to him
to-morrow he could not hold it. He would be overthrown by a
revolution within a month, even with all the troops which France
or Austria could send to support him; and then we should have the
old miserable state of things again in Italy, with bloodshed,
oppression, and exactions such as took place throughout the first
half of this century, and, indeed, while I was in Italy, under
the old papal authority, in 1856.

In the afternoon to the "House in the Wood" to go over documents
preliminary to signing the "Final Act."

July 28.

In the afternoon in plenary session of the conference, hearing
the final reports as to forms of signing, etc.

To-day appears in the London "Times" the interview which its
correspondent had with me yesterday. It develops the reasons for
our declaration, and seems to give general satisfaction. Sir
Julian Pauncefote told Holls that he liked it much.

The committee on forms of the "Final Act," etc., has at last,
under pressure of all sorts, agreed that the question of
admitting non-signatory powers shall be decided by the signatory
powers, hereafter, through the ordinary medium of diplomatic
correspondence. This is unfortunate for some of the South
American republics, but it will probably in some way inure to the
benefit of the Vatican monsignori.

July 29.

The last and culminating day of the conference.

In the morning the entire body gathered in the great hall of the
"House in the Wood," and each delegation was summoned thence to
sign the protocol, conventions, and declarations. These were laid
out on a long table in the dining-room of the palace, which is
adorned with very remarkable paintings of mythological subjects
imitating bas-reliefs.

All these documents had the places for each signature prepared
beforehand, and our seals, in wax, already placed upon the pages
adjoining the place where each signature was to be. At the
request of the Foreign Office authorities for my seal, I had sent
a day or two beforehand the seal ring which Goldwin Smith gave me
at the founding of Cornell University. It is an ancient carnelian
intaglio which he obtained in Rome, and bears upon its face,
exquisitely engraved, a Winged Victory. This seal I used during
my entire connection with Cornell University, and also as a
member of the Electoral College of the State of New York at
General Grant's second election, when, at the request of the
president of that body, Governor Woodford, it was used in sealing
certificates of the election, which were sent, according to law,
to certain high officials of our government.

I affixed my signature to the arbitration convention, writing in,
as agreed, the proviso that our signatures were subject to the
Monroe Doctrine declaration made in open session of the
conference on July 25. The other members of the American
delegation then signed in proper order. But the two other
conventions we left unsigned. It was with deep regret that I
turned away from these; but the majority of the delegation had
decreed it, and it was difficult to see what other course we
could pursue. I trust that the Washington authorities will
rectify the matter by signing them both.

We also affixed our signatures to the first of the

At three P.M. came the formal closing of the conference. M. de
Staal made an excellent speech, as did Mr. van Karnebeek and M.
de Beaufort, the Netherlands minister of foreign affairs. To
these Count Munster, the presiding delegate from Germany, replied
in French, and apparently extemporaneously. It must have been
pain and grief to him, for he was obliged to speak respectfully,
in the first place, of the conference, which for some weeks he
had affected to despise; and, secondly, of arbitration and the
other measures proposed, which, at least during all the first
part of the conference, he had denounced as a trick and a humbug;
and, finally, he had to speak respectfully of M. de Staal, to
whom he has steadily shown decided dislike. He did the whole
quite well, all things considered; but showed his feelings
clearly, as regarded M. de Staal, by adding to praise of him
greater praise for Mr. van Karnebeek, who has been the main
managing man in the conference in behalf of the Netherlands

Then to the hotel and began work on the draft of a report,
regarding the whole work of the conference, to the State
Department. I was especially embarrassed by the fact that the
wording of it must be suited to the scruples of my colleague,
Captain Mahan. He is a man of the highest character and of great
ability, whom I respect and greatly like; but, as an old naval
officer, wedded to the views generally entertained by older
members of the naval and military service, he has had very
little, if any, sympathy with the main purposes of the
conference, and has not hesitated to declare his disbelief in
some of the measures which we were especially instructed to
press. In his books he is on record against the immunity of
private property at sea, and in drawing up our memorial to the
conference regarding this latter matter, in making my speech with
reference to it in the conference, and in preparing our report to
the State Department, I have been embarrassed by this fact. It
was important to have unanimity, and it could not be had, so far
as he was concerned, without toning down the whole thing, and,
indeed, leaving out much that in my judgment the documents
emanating from us on the subject ought to contain. So now, in
regard to arbitration, as well as the other measures finally
adopted, his feelings must be considered. Still, his views have
been an excellent tonic; they have effectively prevented any
lapse into sentimentality. When he speaks the millennium fades
and this stern, severe, actual world appears.

I worked until late at night, and then went to Scheveningen
almost in despair.

July 30.

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

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

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

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

July 31.

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

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

August 1.

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

August 3.

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

August 5.

This morning resumed my duties as ambassador at Berlin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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