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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White

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eastern frontier of Prussia, and, as the Crimean War was
going on, there was a blockade in force which made it
impossible to enter Russia by sea; consequently I had
seven days and seven nights of steady traveling in a post-
coach after entering the Russian Empire.

Arriving at the Russian capital on the last day of
October, 1854, I was most heartily welcomed by the minister,
who insisted that I should enjoy all the privileges of
residence with him. Among the things to which I now
look back as of the greatest value to me, is this stay of
nearly a year under his roof. The attachship, as it existed
in those days, was in many ways a good thing and in
no way evil; but it was afterward abolished by Congress
on the ground that certain persons had abused its privileges.
I am not alone in believing that it could again be
made of real service to the country: one of the best
secretaries of state our country has ever had, Mr. Hamilton
Fish, once expressed to me his deep regret at its suppression.

Under the system which thus prevailed at that time
young men of sufficient means, generally from the leading
universities, were secured to aid the minister, without any
cost to the government, their only remuneration being an
opportunity to see the life and study the institutions of
the country to which the minister was accredited.

The duty of an attach was to assist the minister in
securing information, in conducting correspondence, and
in carrying on the legation generally; he was virtually an
additional secretary of legation, and it was a part of my
duty to act as interpreter. As such I was constantly called
to accompany the minister in his conferences with his
colleagues as well as with the ministers of the Russian
government, and also to be present at court and at ceremonial
interviews: this was of course very interesting to me. In
the intervals of various duties my time was given largely
to studying such works upon Russia and especially upon
Russian history as were accessible, and the recent history
was all the more interesting from the fact that some of
the men who had taken a leading part in it were still upon
the stage. One occasion especially comes back to me
when, finding myself at an official function near an old
general who was allowed to sit while all the others stood,
I learned that he was one of the few still surviving who
had taken a leading part in the operations against Napoleon,
in 1812, at Moscow.

It was the period of the Crimean War, and at our legation
there were excellent opportunities for observing not
only society at large, but the struggle then going on
between Russia on one side, and Great Britain, France,
Italy, and Turkey on the other.

The main duties of the American representative were to
keep his own government well informed, to guard the
interests of his countrymen, and not only to maintain, but
to develop, the friendly relations that had existed for
many years between Russia and the United States. A
succession of able American ministers had contributed to
establish these relations: among them two who afterward
became President of the United States--John Quincy
Adams and James Buchanan, George Mifflin Dallas, who
afterward became Vice-President; John Randolph of Roanoke;
and a number of others hardly less important in
the history of our country. Fortunately, the two nations
were naturally inclined to peaceful relations; neither had
any interest antagonistic to the other, and under these
circumstances the course of the minister was plain: it was
to keep his government out of all entanglements, and at
the same time to draw the two countries more closely
together. This our minister at that time was very successful
in doing: his relations with the leading Russians,
from the Emperor down, were all that could be desired,
and to the work of men like him is largely due the fact
that afterward, in our great emergency during the Civil
War, Russia showed an inclination to us that probably had
something to do with holding back the powers of western
Europe from recognizing the Southern Confederacy.

To the feeling thus created is also due, in some measure,
the transfer of Alaska, which has proved fortunate, in
spite of our halting and unsatisfactory administration of
that region thus far.

The Czar at that period, Nicholas I, was a most
imposing personage, and was generally considered the most
perfect specimen of a human being, physically speaking,
in all Europe. At court, in the vast rooms filled with
representatives from all parts of the world, and at the
great reviews of his troops, he loomed up majestically,
and among the things most strongly impressed upon
my memory is his appearance as I saw him, just before
his death, driving in his sledge and giving the military
salute.

Nor was he less majestic in death. In the spring of 1855
he yielded very suddenly to an attack of pneumonia,
doubtless rendered fatal by the depression due to the ill
success of the war into which he had rashly plunged;
and a day or two afterward it was made my duty to attend,
with our minister, at the Winter Palace, the first
presentation of the diplomatic corps to the new Emperor,
Alexander II. The scene was impressive. The foreign
ministers having been arranged in a semicircle, with their
secretaries and attachs beside them, the great doors were
flung open, and the young Emperor, conducted by his
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Nesselrode, entered
the room. Tears were streaming down his cheeks, and he
gave his address with deep feeling. He declared that if
the Holy Alliance made in 1815 had been broken, it was
not the fault of Russia; that though he longed for peace,
if terms should be insisted upon by the Western powers, at
the approaching Paris conference, incompatible with Russian
honor, he would put himself at the head of his faithful
country,--would retreat into Siberia,--would die rather
than yield.

Then occurred an incident especially striking. From
Austria, which only seven years before had been saved by
Russia from destruction in the Austro-Hungarian revolution,
Russia had expected, in ordinary gratitude, at least
some show of neutrality. But it had become evident that
gratitude had not prevented Austria from secretly joining
the hostile nations; therefore it was that, in the course of
the address, the Emperor, turning to the Austrian
representative, Count Esterhazy, addressed him with the
greatest severity, hinted at the ingratitude of his government,
and insisted on Russia's right to a different return.
During all this part of the address the Emperor Alexander
fastened his eyes upon those of the Austrian minister and
spoke in a manner much like that which the head of a
school would use toward a school-boy caught in misdoing.
At the close of this speech came the most perfect example
of deportment I had ever seen: the Austrian minister,
having looked the Czar full in the face, from first to last,
without the slightest trace of feeling, bowed solemnly,
respectfully, with the utmost deliberation, and then stood
impassive, as if words had not been spoken destined to
change the traditional relations between the two great
neighboring powers, and to produce a bitterness which,
having lasted through the latter half of the nineteenth
century, bids fair to continue far into the twentieth.

Knowing the importance of this speech as an indication
to our government of what was likely to be the course of
the Emperor, I determined to retain it in my mind; and,
although my verbal memory has never been retentive, I
was able, on returning to our legation, to write the whole
of it, word for word. In the form thus given, it was
transmitted to our State Department, where, a few years
since, when looking over sundry papers, I found it.

Immediately after this presentation the diplomatic
corps proceeded to the room in which the body of Nicholas
lay in state. Heaped up about the coffin were the jeweled
crosses and orders which had been sent him by the various
monarchs of the world, and, in the midst of them, the
crowns and scepters of all the countries he had ruled,
among them those of Siberia, Astrakhan, Kazan, Poland,
the Crimea, and, above all, the great crown and scepter of
the empire. At his feet two monks were repeating prayers
for the dead; his face and form were still as noble and
unconquerable as ever.

His funeral dwells in my memory as the most imposing
pageant I had ever seen. When his body was carried from
the palace to the Fortress Church, it was borne between
double lines of troops standing closely together on each
side of the avenues for a distance of five miles; marshals
of the empire carried the lesser crowns and imperial
insignia before his body; and finally were borne the great
imperial crown, orb, and scepter, the masses of jewels in
them, and especially the Orloff diamond swinging in the
top of the scepter, flashing forth vividly on that bright
winter morning, and casting their rays far along the
avenues. Behind the body walked the Emperor Alexander
and the male members of the imperial family.

Later came the burial in the Fortress Church of St.
Peter and St. Paul, on the island of the Neva, nearly
opposite the Winter Palace. That, too, was most imposing.
Choirs had been assembled from the four great cathedrals
of the empire, and their music was beyond dreams. At
the proper point in the service, the Emperor and his
brothers, having taken the body of their father from its
coffin and wrapped it in a shroud of gold cloth, carried it
to the grave near that of Peter the Great, at the right of
the high altar; and, as it was laid to rest, and beautiful
music rose above us, the guns of the fortress on all sides
of the church sounded the battle-roll until the whole
edifice seemed to rock upon its foundations. Never had I
imagined a scene so impressive.

Among the persons with whom it was my duty to deal,
in behalf of our representative, was the Prime Minister of
Russia,--the Minister of Foreign Affairs,--Count Nesselrode.
He was at that period the most noted diplomatist
in the world; for, having been associated with Talleyrand,
Metternich, and their compeers at the Congress of Vienna,
he was now the last of the great diplomatists of the
Napoleonic period. He received me most kindly and said, ``So
you are beginning a diplomatic career?'' My answer was
that I could not begin it more fitly than by making the
acquaintance of the Nestor of diplomacy, or words to that
effect, and these words seemed to please him. Whenever
he met me afterward his manner was cordial, and he
seemed always ready to do all in his power to favor the
best relations between the two countries.

The American colony in Russia at that period was
small, and visitors were few; but some of these enlivened
us. Of the more interesting were Colonel Samuel Colt of
Hartford, inventor of the revolver which bears his name,
and his companion, Mr. Dickerson, eminent as an expert
in mechanical matters and an authority on the law of
patents. They had come into the empire in the hope of
making a contract to supply the Russians with improved
arms such as the allies were beginning to use against them
in the Crimea; but the heavy conservatism of Russian
officials thwarted all their efforts. To all representations
as to the importance of improved arms the answer was,
``Our soldiers are too ignorant to use anything but the
old `brown Bess.' '' The result was that the Russian
soldiers were sacrificed by thousands; their inferiority
in arms being one main cause of their final defeat.

That something better than this might have been
expected was made evident to us all one day when I
conducted these gentlemen through the Imperial Museum of
the Hermitage, adjoining the Winter Palace. After looking
through the art collections we went into the room
where were preserved the relics of Peter the Great, and
especially the machines of various sorts made for him by
the mechanics whom he called to his aid from Holland and
other Western countries. These machines were not then
shut up in cases, as they now are, but were placed about
the room and easy of access. Presently I heard Mr. Dickerson
in a loud voice call out: ``Good God! Sam, come
here! Only look at this!'' On our going to him, he
pointed out to us a lathe for turning irregular forms and
another for copying reliefs, with specimens of work still
in them. ``Look at that,'' he said. ``Here is Blanchard's
turning-lathe, which only recently has been reinvented,
which our government uses in turning musket-stocks, and
which is worth a fortune. Look at those reliefs in this
other machine; here is the very lathe for copying sculpture
that has just been reinvented, and is now attracting so
much attention at Paris.''

These machines had stood there in the gallery, open to
everybody, ever since the death of Peter, two hundred
years before, and no human being had apparently ever
taken the trouble to find the value of them.

But there came Americans of a very different sort, and
no inconsiderable part of our minister's duties was to keep
his hot-headed fellow-citizens from embroiling our country
with the militant powers.

A very considerable party in the United States leaned
toward Russia and sought to aid her secretly, if not
openly. This feeling was strongest in our Southern States
and among the sympathizers with slavery in our Northern
States, a main agent of it in St. Petersburg being Dr.
Cottman of New Orleans, and its main causes being the
old dislike of Great Britain, and the idea among pro-slavery
fanatics that there was a tie between their part of
our country and Russia arising from the fact that while
the American Republic was blessed with slavery, the
Russian Empire was enjoying the advantages of the serf
system. This feeling might have been very different had
these sympathizers with Russia been aware that at this
very moment Alexander II was planning to abolish the
serf system throughout his whole empire; but as it was,
their admiration for Russia knew no bounds, and they
even persuaded leading Russians that it would not be a
difficult matter to commit America to the cause of Russia,
even to aiding her with arms, men, and privateers.

This made the duty of the American minister at times
very delicate; for, while showing friendliness to Russia,
he had to thwart the efforts of her over-zealous American
advocates. Moreover, constant thought had to be exercised
for the protection of American citizens then within
the empire. Certain Russian agents had induced a number
of young American physicians and surgeons who had
been studying in Paris to enter the Russian army, and
these, having been given pay and rapid advancement, in
the hope that this would strengthen American feeling
favorable to the Russian cause, were naturally hated by
the Russian surgeons; hence many of these young
compatriots of ours were badly treated,--some so severely
that they died,--and it became part of our minister's duty
to extricate the survivors from their unfortunate position.
More than once, on returning with him from an interview
with the Minister of War, I saw tears in Governor
Seymour's eyes as he dwelt upon the death of some of these
young fellows whom he had learned to love during their
stay in St. Petersburg.

The war brought out many American adventurers, some
of them curiosities of civilization, and this was especially
the case with several who had plans for securing victory
to Russia over the Western powers. All sorts of nostrums
were brought in by all sorts of charlatans, and the efforts
of the minister and his subordinates to keep these gentlemen
within the limits of propriety in their dealings with
one another and with the Russian authorities were at
times very arduous. On one occasion, the main functionaries
of the Russian army having been assembled with
great difficulty to see the test of a new American invention
in artillery, it was found that the inventor's rival had
stolen some essential part of the gun, and the whole thing
was a vexatious failure.

One man who came out with superb plans brought a
militia colonel's commission from the governor of a Western
State and the full uniform of a major-general. At
first he hesitated to clothe himself in all his glory, and
therefore went through a process of evolution, beginning
first with part of his uniform and then adding more as
his courage rose. During this process he became the
standing joke of St. Petersburg; but later, when he had
emerged in full and final splendor, he became a man of
mark indeed, so much so that serious difficulties arose.
Throughout the city are various corps de garde, and the
sentinel on duty before each of these, while allowed merely
to present arms to an officer of lower rank, must, whenever
he catches sight of a general officer, call out the entire
guard to present arms with the beating of drums. Here
our American was a source of much difficulty, for whenever
any sentinel caught sight of his gorgeous epaulets in
the distance the guard was instantly called out, arms
presented, and drums beaten, much to the delight of our
friend, but even more to the disgust of the generals of the
Russian army and to the troops, who thus rendered absurd
homage and found themselves taking part in something
like a bit of comic opera.

Another example was also interesting. A New York
ward leader--big, rough, and rosy--had come out as an
agent for an American breech-loading musket company,
and had smuggled specimens of arms over the frontier.
Arriving in St. Petersburg, he was presented to the
Emperor, and after receiving handsome testimonials, was put
in charge of two aides-de-camp, who took him and his
wife about, in court carriages, to see the sights of the
Russian capital. At the close of his stay, wishing to make
some return for this courtesy, he gave these two officers
a dinner at his hotel. Our minister declined his invitation,
but allowed the secretary and me to accept it, and
we very gladly availed ourselves of this permission.
Arriving at his rooms, we were soon seated at a table
splendidly furnished. At the head of it was the wife of our
entertainer, and at her right one of the Russian officials,
in gorgeous uniform; at the other end of our table was
our host, and at his right the other Russian official, splendidly
attired; beside the first official sat our secretary, and
beside the other was the place assigned to me. The dinner
was successful: all spoke English, and all were happy;
but toward the end of it our host, having perhaps taken
more wine than was his wont, grew communicative, and, as
ill luck would have it, the subject of the conversation
became personal courage, whereupon he told a story. Recalling
his experience as a deputy sheriff of New York, he
said:

``When those river pirates who murdered a sailor in
New York harbor had to be hanged, the sheriff of the
county hadn't the courage to do it and ordered me to
hang them. I rather hated the business, but I made everything
ready, and when the time came I took an extra glass
of brandy, cut the rope, and off they swung.''

The two Russians started back in consternation. Not
all their politeness could conceal it: horror of horrors,
they were dining with a hangman! Besides their sense
of degradation in this companionship, superstitions had
been bred in them which doubled their distress. A dead
silence fell over all. I was the first to break it by
remarking to my Russian neighbor:

``You may perhaps not know, sir, that in the State of
New York the taking of life by due process of law is
considered so solemn a matter that we intrust it to the
chief executive officers of our counties,--to our sheriffs,--
and not to hangmen or executioners.''

He looked at me very solemnly as I announced this
truth, and then, after a solemn pause, gasped out in a
dubious, awe-struck voice, ``Merci bien, monsieur.'' But
this did not restore gaiety to the dinner. Henceforth it
was cold indeed, and at the earliest moment possible the
Russian officials bowed themselves out, and no doubt, for
a long time afterward, ascribed any ill luck which befell
them to this scene of ill omen.

Another case in which this irrepressible compatriot
figured was hardly less peculiar. Having decided to
return to America, and the blockade being still in force, he
secured a place in the post-coach for the seven days and
seven nights' journey to the frontier. The opportunities
to secure such passages were few and far between, since
this was virtually the only public conveyance out of the
empire. As he was obliged to have his passport visd
at the Russian Foreign Office in order that he might leave
the country, it had been sent by the legation to the Russian
authorities a fortnight before his departure, but
under various pretexts it was retained, and at last did not
arrive in time. When the hour of departure came he was
at the post-house waiting for his pass, and as he had been
assured that it would duly reach him, he exerted himself
in every way to delay the coach. He bribed one subordinate
after another; but at last the delay was so long and
the other passengers so impatient that one of the higher
officials appeared upon the scene and ordered the coach to
start. At this our American was wild with rage and
began a speech in German and English--so that all the
officials might understand it--on Russian officials and on
the empire in general. A large audience having gathered
around him, he was ordered to remove his hat. At this
he held it on all the more firmly, declared himself an
American, and defied the whole power of the empire to
remove it. He then went on to denounce everything in
Russia, from the Emperor down. He declared that the
officials were a pack of scoundrels; that the only reason
why he did not obtain his passport was that he had not
bribed them as highly as they expected; that the empire
ought to be abolished; that he hoped the Western powers
in the war then going on would finish it--indeed, that he
thought they would.

There was probably some truth in his remark as to the
inadequate bribing of officials; but the amazing thing was
that his audience were so paralyzed by his utterances and
so overawed by his attitude that they made no effort to
arrest him. Then came a new scene. While they were
standing before him thus confounded, he suddenly turned
to the basket of provisions which he had laid in for his
seven days' journey, and began pelting his audience,
including the official above named, with its contents,
hurling sandwiches, oranges, and finally even roast chickens,
pigeons, and partridges, at their devoted heads. At
last, pressing his hat firmly over his brows, he strode
forth to the legation unmolested. There it took some
labor to cool his wrath; but his passport having finally
been obtained, we secured for him permission to use post-
horses, and so he departed from the empire.

To steer a proper course in the midst of such fellow-
citizens was often difficult, and I recall multitudes of other
examples hardly less troublesome; indeed, the career of
this same deputy sheriff at St. Petersburg was full of
other passages requiring careful diplomatic intervention
to prevent his arrest.

Luckily for these gentlemen, the Russian government
felt, just at that time, special need of maintaining friendly
relations with the powers not at war with her, and the
public functionaries of all sorts were evidently ordered
to treat Americans with extreme courtesy and forbearance.

One experience of this was somewhat curious. Our first
secretary of legation and I, having gone on Easter eve to
the midnight mass at the Kazan cathedral, we were shown
at once into a place of honor in front of the great silver
iconostase and stationed immediately before one of the
doors opening through it into the inner sanctuary. At
first the service went on in darkness, only mitigated by
a few tapers at the high altar; but as the clock struck the
hour of midnight there came suddenly the roaring of the
fortress guns, the booming of great bells above and
around us, and a light, which appeared at the opposite
end of the cathedral, seemed to shoot in all directions,
leaving trains of fire, until all was ablaze, every person
present holding a lighted taper. Then came the mass,
celebrated by a bishop and his acolytes gorgeously
attired, with the swinging of censers, not only toward the
ecclesiastics, but toward the persons of importance present,
among whom we were evidently included. Suddenly
there came a dead stop, stillness, and an evident
atmosphere of embarrassment. Then the ceremony began again,
and again the censers were swung toward us, and again
a dead stop. Everything seemed paralyzed. Presently
there came softly to my side a gentleman who said in a
low tone, ``You are of the American legation?'' I
answered in the affirmative. He said, ``This is a very
interesting ceremony.'' To this I also assented. He then said,
``Is this the first time you have seen it?'' ``Yes,'' I
answered; ``we have never been in Russia at Easter before.''
He then took very formal leave, and again the ceremony
was revived, again the clouds of incense rose, and again
came the dead stop. Presently the same gentleman came
up again, gently repeated very much the same questions
as before, and receiving the same answers, finally said,
with some embarrassment: ``Might I ask you to kindly
move aside a little? A procession has been waiting for
some time back of this door, and we are very anxious to
have it come out into the church.'' At this Secretary
Erving and I started aside instantly, much chagrined to
think that we had caused such a stoppage in such a ceremony;
the doors swung open, and out came a brilliant
procession of ecclesiastics with crosses, censers, lights, and
banners.

Not all of our troubles were due to our compatriots.
Household matters sometimes gave serious annoyance.
The minister had embraced a chance very rare in Russia,
--one which, in fact, almost never occurs,--and had
secured a large house fully furnished, with the servants,
who, from the big chasseur who stood at the back of the
minister's sledge to the boy who blew the organ on which
I practised, were serfs, and all, without exception, docile,
gentle, and kindly. But there was one standing enemy
--vodka. The feeling of the Russian peasant toward the
rough corn-brandy of his own country is characteristic.
The Russian language is full of diminutives expressive
of affection. The peasant addresses his superior as
Batushka, the affectionate diminutive of the word which
means father; he addresses the mistress of the house as
Matushka, which is the affectionate diminutive of the
Russian word for mother. To his favorite drink, brandy, he
has given the name which is the affectionate diminutive
of the word voda, water--namely, vodka, which really
means ``dear little water.'' Vodka was indeed our most
insidious foe, and gave many evidences of its power; but
one of them made an unwonted stir among us.

One day the minister, returning in his carriage from
making sundry official visits, summoned the housekeeper,
a Baltic-province woman who had been admirably brought
up in an English family, and said to her: `` Annette I insist
that you discharge Ivan, the coachman, at once; I can't
stand him any longer. This afternoon he raced, with me in
the carriage, up and down the Nevsky, from end to end, with
the carriages of grand dukes and ministers, and, do my
best, I could not stop him. He simply looked back at me,
grinned like an idiot, and drove on with all his might.
It is the third time he has done this. I have pardoned
him twice on his solemn pledge that he would do better;
but now he must go.'' Annette assented, and in the evening
after dinner came in to tell the minister that Ivan was
going, but wished to beg his pardon and say farewell.

The minister went out rather reluctantly, the rest of us
following; but he had hardly reached the anteroom when
Ivan, a great burly creature with a long flowing beard and
caftan, rushed forward, groveled before him, embraced
his ankles, laid his head upon his feet, and there remained
mumbling and moaning. The minister was greatly
embarrassed and nervously ejaculated: ``Take him away!
Take him away!'' But all to no purpose. Ivan could
not be induced to relax his hold. At last the minister
relented and told Annette to inform Ivan that he would
receive just one more trial, and that if he failed again he
would be sent away to his owner without having any
opportunity to apologize or to say good-bye.

Very interesting to me were the houses of some of the
British residents, and especially that of Mr. Baird, the
head of the iron-works which bore his name, and which,
at that time, were considered among the wonders of Russia.
He was an interesting character. Noticing, among
the three very large and handsome vases in his dining-
room, the middle one made up of the bodies of three
large eagles in oxidized silver with crowns of gold,
I was told its history. When the Grand Duke Alexander
--who afterward became the second emperor of that
name--announced his intention of joining the St. Petersburg
Yacht Club, a plan was immediately formed to
provide a magnificent trophy and allow him to win it,
and to this plan all the members of the club agreed except
Baird. He at once said: ``No; if the grand duke's yacht
can take it, let him have it; if not, let the best yacht win.
If I can take it, I shall.'' It was hoped that he would think
better of it, but when the day arrived, the other yachts
having gradually fallen back, Mr. Baird continued the
race with the grand duke and won. As a result he was
for some years in disfavor with the high officials
surrounding the Emperor--a disfavor that no doubt cost
him vast sums; but he always asserted that he was glad
he had insisted on his right.

On one occasion I was witness to a sad faux pas at his
dinner-table. It was in the early days of the Crimean
War, and an American gentleman who was present was
so careless as to refer to Queen Victoria's proclamation
against all who aided the enemy, which was clearly leveled
at Mr. Baird and his iron-works. There was a scene at
once. The ladies almost went into hysterics in deprecation
of the position in which the proclamation had placed
them. But Mr. Baird himself was quite equal to the
occasion: in a very up-and-down way he said that he of
course regretted being regarded as a traitor to his country,
but that in the time of the alliance against the first
Napoleon his father had been induced by the Russian
government to establish works, and this not merely with the
consent, but with the warm approval, of the British
government; in consequence the establishment had taken
contracts with the Russian government and now they must be
executed; so far as he was concerned his conscience was
entirely clear; his duty was plain, and he was going to
do it.

On another occasion at his table there was a very good
repartee. The subject of spiritualism having been brought
up, some one told a story of a person who, having gone
into an unfrequented garret of an old family residence,
found that all the old clothing which had been stored there
during many generations had descended from the shelves
and hooks and had assumed kneeling postures about the
floor. All of us heard the story with much solemnity,
when good old Dr. Law, chaplain of the British church,
broke the silence with the words, ``That must have been
a family of very PIOUS HABITS.'' This of course broke the
spell.

I should be sorry to have it thought that all my stay
in the Russian capital was given up to official routine and
social futilities. Fortunately for me, the social demands
were not very heavy. The war in the Crimea, steadily
going against Russia, threw a cloud over the court and
city and reduced the number of entertainments to a
minimum. This secured me, during the long winter evenings,
much time for reading, and in addition to all the valuable
treatises I could find on Russia, I went with care through
an extensive course in modern history.

As to Russian matters, it was my good fortune to become
intimately acquainted with Atkinson, the British
traveler in Siberia. He had brought back many portfolios
of sketches, and his charming wife had treasured up a
great fund of anecdotes of people and adventure, so that
I seemed for a time to know Siberia as if I had lived there.
Then it was that I learned of the beauties and capabilities
of its southern provinces. The Atkinsons had also
brought back their only child, a son born on the Siberian
steppe, a wonderfully bright youngster, whom they destined
for the British navy. He bore a name which I fear
may at times have proved a burden to him, for his father
and mother were so delighted with the place in which he
was born that they called him, after it, ``Alatow-Tam
Chiboulak.''[10]

[10] Since writing the above, I have had the pleasure of
receiving a letter from this gentleman, who has for some time
held the responsible and interesting position of superintendent
of public instruction in the Hawaiian Islands, his son, a
graduate of the University of Michigan, having been Secretary
of the Territory.

The general Russian life, as I thus saw it, while intensely
interesting in many respects, was certainly not cheerful.
Despite the frivolity dominant among the upper class and
the fetishism controlling the lower classes, there was,
especially in that period of calamity, a deep undertone of
melancholy. Melancholy, indeed, is a marked characteristic
of Russia, and, above all, of the peasantry. They
seem sad even in their sports; their songs, almost without
exception, are in the minor key; the whole atmosphere is
apparently charged with vague dread of some calamity.
Despite the suppression of most of the foreign journals,
and the blotting out of page after page of the newspapers
allowed to enter the empire, despite all that the secret
police could do in repressing unfavorable comment, it
became generally known that all was going wrong in the
Crimea. News came of reverse after reverse: of the
defeats of the Alma and Inkerman, and, as a climax, the loss
of Sebastopol and the destruction of the Russian fleet. In
the midst of it all, as is ever the case in Russian wars,
came utter collapse in the commissariat department;
everywhere one heard hints and finally detailed stories
of scoundrelism in high places: of money which ought to
have been appropriated to army supplies, but which had
been expended at the gambling-tables of Homburg or in
the Breda quarter at Paris.

Then it was that there was borne in upon me the conviction
that Russia, powerful as she seems when viewed from
the outside, is anything but strong when viewed from the
inside. To say nothing of the thousand evident weaknesses
resulting from autocracy,--the theory that one man, and
he, generally, not one of the most highly endowed, can do
the thinking for a hundred millions of people,--there was
nowhere the slightest sign of any uprising of a great nation,
as, for instance, of the French against Europe in
1792, of the Germans against France in 1813 and in 1870,
of Italy against Austria in 1859 and afterward, and of the
Americans in the Civil War of 1861. There were certainly
many noble characters in Russia, and these must
have felt deeply the condition of things; but there being
no great middle class, and the lower class having been
long kept in besotted ignorance, there seemed to be no
force on which patriotism could take hold.

CHAPTER XXVII

AS ATTACH AND BEARER OF DESPATCHES
IN WAR-TIME--1855

The spring of 1855 was made interesting by the arrival
of the blockading fleet before the mouth of the
Neva, and shortly afterward I went down to look at it.
It was a most imposing sight: long lines of mighty three-
deckers of the old pattern, British and French,--one
hundred in all,--stretched across the Gulf of Finland in front
of the fortresses of Cronstadt. Behind the fortresses lay
the Russian fleet, helpless and abject; and yet, as events
showed during our own Civil War half a dozen years
later, a very slight degree of inventive ability would have
enabled the Russians to annihilate the hostile fleet, and to
gain the most prodigious naval victory of modern times.
Had they simply taken one or two of their own great
ships to the Baird iron-works hard by, and plated them
with railway iron, of which there was plenty, they could
have paralleled the destruction of our old wooden frigates
at Norfolk by the Merrimac, but on a vastly greater
scale. Yet this simple expedient occurred to no one; and
the allied fleet, under Sir Richard Dundas, bade defiance
to the Russian power during the whole summer.

The Russians looked more philosophically upon the
blockade than upon their reverses in the Crimea, but they
acted much like the small boy who takes revenge on the
big boy by making faces at him. Some of their caricatures
on their enemies were very clever. Fortunately for
such artistic efforts, the British had given them a fine
opportunity during the previous year, when Sir Charles
Napier, the commander of the Baltic fleet, having made
a boastful speech at a public dinner in London, and
invited his hearers to dine with him at St. Petersburg, had
returned to England, after a summer before Cronstadt,
without even a glimpse of the Russian capital.

I am the possessor of a very large collection of
historical caricatures of all nations, and among them all
there is hardly one more spirited and comical than that
which represents Sir Charles at the masthead of one of
his frigates, seeking, through a spy-glass, to get a sight at
the domes and spires of St. Petersburg: not even the best
efforts of Gillray or ``H. B.,'' or Gavarni or Daumier, or
the brightest things in ``Punch'' or ``Kladderadatsch''
surpass it.

Some other Russian efforts at keeping up public
spirit were less legitimate. Popular pictures of a rude
sort were circulated in vast numbers among the peasants,
representing British and French soldiers desecrating
churches, plundering monasteries, and murdering priests.

Near the close of my stay I made a visit, in company
with Mr. Erving, first secretary of the legation, to
Moscow,--the journey, which now requires but twelve hours,
then consuming twenty-four; and a trying journey it was,
since there was no provision for sleeping.

The old Russian capital, and, above all, the Kremlin,
interested me greatly; but, of all the vast collections in
the Kremlin, two things especially arrested my attention.
The first was a statue,--the only statue in all those vast
halls,--and there seemed a wondrous poetic justice in the
fact that it represented the first Napoleon. The other
thing was an evidence of the feeling of the Emperor
Nicholas toward Poland. In one of the large rooms was
a full-length portrait of Nicholas's elder brother and
immediate predecessor, Alexander I; flung on the floor at
his feet was the constitution of Poland, which he had
given, and which Nicholas, after fearful bloodshed, had
taken away; and lying near was the Polish scepter broken
in the middle.

A visit to the Sparrow Hills, from which Napoleon
first saw Moscow and the Kremlin, was also interesting;
but the city itself, though picturesque, disappointed me.
Everywhere were filth, squalor, beggary, and fetishism.
Evidences of official stupidity were many. In one of the
Kremlin towers a catastrophe had occurred on the occasion
of the Emperor's funeral, a day or two before our
arrival: some thirty men had been ringing one of the
enormous bells, when it broke loose from its rotten
fastenings and crashed down into the midst of the ringers,
killing several. Sad reminders of this slaughter were
shown us; it was clearly the result of gross neglect.

Another revelation of Russian officialism was there
vouchsafed us. Wishing to send a very simple message
to our minister at St. Petersburg, we went to the
telegraph office and handed it to the clerk in charge.
Putting on an air of great importance, he began a long
inquisitorial process, insisting on knowing our full names,
whence we had come, where we were going, how long we
were staying, why we were sending the message, etc., etc.;
and when he had evidently asked all the questions he
could think of, he gravely informed us that our message
could not be sent until the head of the office had given his
approval. On our asking where the head of the office
was, he pointed out a stout gentleman in military uniform
seated near the stove in the further corner of the room,
reading a newspaper; and, on our requesting him to notify
this superior being, he answered that he could not thus
interrupt him; that we could see that he was busy. At
this Erving lost his temper, caught up the paper, tore it
in pieces, threw them into the face of the underling with
a loud exclamation more vigorous than pious, and we
marched out defiantly. Looking back when driving off
in our droshky, we saw that he had aroused the entire
establishment: at the door stood the whole personnel of the
office,--the military commander at the head,--all gazing
at us in a sort of stupefaction. We expected to hear from
them afterward, but on reflection they evidently thought
it best not to stir the matter.

In reviewing this first of my sojourns in Russia, my
thoughts naturally dwell upon the two sovereigns Nicholas
I and Alexander II. The first of these was a great
man scared out of greatness by the ever recurring specter
of the French Revolution. There had been much to make
him a stern reactionary. He could not but remember that
two Czars--his father and grandfather--had both been
murdered in obedience to family necessities. At his
proclamation as emperor he had been welcomed by a revolt
which had forced him

``To wade through slaughter to a throne--''

a revolt which had deluged the great parade-ground of
St. Petersburg with the blood of his best soldiers, which
had sent many coffles of the nobility to Siberia, and which
had obliged him to see the bodies of several men who
might have made his reign illustrious dangling from the
fortress walls opposite the Winter Palace. He had been
obliged to grapple with a fearful insurrection in Poland,
caused partly by the brutality of his satraps, but mainly
by religious hatreds; to suppress it with enormous carnage;
and to substitute, for the moderate constitutional
liberty which his brother had granted, a cruel despotism.
He had thus become the fanatical apostle of reaction
throughout Europe, and as such was everywhere the
implacable enemy of any evolution of constitutional liberty.
The despots of Europe adored him. As symbols of his
ideals, he had given to the King of Prussia and to the
Neapolitan Bourbon copies of two of the statues which
adorned his Nevsky bridge--statues representing restive
horses restrained by strong men; and the Berlin populace,
with an unerring instinct, had given to one of these the
name ``Progress checked,'' and to the other the name
``Retrogression encouraged.'' To this day one sees every-
where in the palaces of Continental rulers, whether great
or petty, his columns of Siberian porphyry, jasper bowls,
or malachite vases--signs of his approval of reaction.

But, in justice to him, it should be said that there was
one crime he did not commit--a crime, indeed, which he
did not DARE commit: he did not violate his oath to
maintain the liberties of Finland. THAT was reserved for the
second Nicholas, now on the Russian throne.

Whether at the great assemblages of the Winter Palace,
or at the reviews, or simply driving in his sledge or walking
in the street, he overawed all men by his presence. Whenever
I saw him, and never more cogently than during that
last drive of his just before his death, there was forced
to my lips the thought: ``You are the most majestic being
ever created.'' Colossal in stature; with a face such as
one finds on a Greek coin, but overcast with a shadow of
Muscovite melancholy; with a bearing dignified, but with
a manner not unkind, he bore himself like a god. And
yet no man could be more simple or affable, whether in
his palace or in the street. Those were the days when a
Russian Czar could drive or walk alone in every part of
every city in his empire. He frequently took exercise in
walking along the Neva quay, and enjoyed talking with
any friends he met--especially with members of the
diplomatic corps. The published letters of an American
minister--Mr. Dallas--give accounts of many discussions
thus held with him.

There seemed a most characteristic mingling of his better
and worse qualities in the two promises which, according
to tradition, he exacted on his death-bed from his son
--namely, that he would free the serfs, and that he would
never give a constitution to Poland.

The accession of this son, Alexander II, brought a
change at once: we all felt it. While he had the big Romanoff
frame and beauty and dignity, he had less of the
majesty and none of the implacable sternness of his father.
At the reception of the diplomatic corps on his accession
he showed this abundantly; for, despite the strong
declarations in his speech, his tears betrayed him. Reforms
began at once--halting, indeed, but all tending in the right
direction. How they were developed, and how so largely
brought to naught, the world knows by heart. Of all the
ghastly miscalculations ever made, of all the crimes which
have cost the earth most dear, his murder was the worst.
The murders of William of Orange, of Lincoln, of Garfield,
of Carnot, of Humbert I, did not stop the course of
a beneficent evolution; but the murder of Alexander II
threw Russia back into the hands of a reaction worse than
any ever before known, which has now lasted nearly a
generation, and which bids fair to continue for many
more, unless the Russian reverses in the present war
force on a better order of things. For me, looking
back upon those days, it is hard to imagine even the
craziest of nihilists or anarchists wild enough to commit
such a crime against so attractive a man fully embarked
on so blessed a career. He, too, in the days of my stay,
was wont to mingle freely with his people; he even went
to their places of public amusement, and he was
frequently to be seen walking among them on the quays and
elsewhere. In my reminiscences of the Hague Conference,
I give from the lips of Prince Munster an account of a
conversation under such circumstances: the Czar walking
on the quay or resting on a seat by the roadside, while
planning to right a wrong done by a petty Russian official
to a German student. Therein appears not only a deep
sense of justice and humanity, but that melancholy, so
truly Russian, which was deepest in him and in his uncle,
the first Alexander. There dwell also in my memory
certain photographs of him in his last days, shown me
not long before his death, during my first official stay at
Berlin. His face was beautiful as of old, but the melancholy
had deepened, and the eyes made a fearful revelation;
for they were the eyes of a man who for years had
known himself to be hunted. As I looked at them there
came back to me the remembrance of the great, beautiful
frightened eyes of a deer, hunted down and finally at my
mercy, in the midst of a lake in the Adirondacks--eyes
which haunted me long afterward. And there comes back
the scene at the funeral ceremony in his honor at Berlin,
coincident with that at St. Petersburg--his uncle, the
Emperor William I, and all about him, in tears, and a
depth of real feeling shown such as no monarch of a
coarser fiber could have inspired. When one reflects that
he had given his countrymen, among a great mass of
minor reforms, trial by jury; the emancipation of twenty
millions of serfs, with provision for homesteads; and had
at that moment--as his adviser, Loris Melikoff, confessed
when dying--a constitution ready for his people, one feels
inclined to curse those who take the methods of revolution
rather than those of evolution.

My departure from Russia embraces one or two incidents
which may throw some light upon the Russian
civilization of that period. On account of the blockade, I
was obliged to take the post from St. Petersburg to Warsaw,
giving to the journey seven days and seven nights of
steady travel; and, as the pressure for places on the post
was very great, I was obliged to secure mine several weeks
beforehand, and then thought myself especially lucky in
obtaining a sort of sentry-box on the roof of the second
coach usually occupied by the guard. This good luck was
due to the fact that, there being on that day two coaches,
one guard served for both; and the place on the second
was thus left vacant for me.

Day and night, then, during that whole week, we
rumbled on through the interminable forests of Poland, and
the distressingly dirty hamlets and towns scattered along
the road. My first night out was trying, for it was very
cold; but, having secured from a dealer in the first
town where we stopped in the morning a large sheet of
felt, I wrapped my legs in it, and thenceforward was
comfortable. My companions in the two post-coaches
were very lively, being mainly French actors and actresses
who had just finished their winter campaign in Russia;
and, when we changed horses at the post-houses, the scenes
were of a sort which an American orator once characterized
as ``halcyon and vociferous.''

Bearing a despatch-bag to our legation at Paris, I
carried the pass, not only of an attach, but of a bearer of
despatches, and on my departure our minister said to me:

``The Russian officials at the frontier have given much
trouble to Americans of late; and I hope that if they
trouble you, you will simply stop and inform me. You
are traveling for pleasure and information, and a few days
more or less will make little difference.'' On arriving at
the frontier, I gave up my papers to the passport officials,
and was then approached by the officers of the custom-
house. One of these, a tall personage in showy uniform,
was very solemn, and presently asked: ``Are you
carrying out any specie?'' I answered: ``None to speak
of; only about twenty or thirty German dollars.'' Said he:
``That you must give up to me; the law of the empire does
not permit you to take out coin.'' ``No,'' I said; ``you
are mistaken. I have already had the money changed,
and it is in German coin, not Russian.'' ``That makes no
difference,'' said he; ``you must give it up or stay here.''
My answer was that I would not give it up, and on this he
commanded his subordinates to take my baggage off the
coach. My traveling companions now besought me to
make a quiet compromise with him, to give him half the
money, telling me that I might be detained there for weeks
or months, or even be maltreated; but I steadily refused,
and my baggage was removed. All were ready to start
when the head of the police bureau came upon the scene
to return our papers. His first proceeding was to call
out my name in a most obsequious tone, and, bowing
reverently, to tender me my passport. I glanced at the
custom-house official, and saw that he turned pale. The honor
done my little brief authority by the passport official
revealed to him his mistake, and he immediately ordered
his subordinates to replace my baggage on the coach; but
this I instantly forbade. He then came up to me and
insisted that a misunderstanding had occurred. ``No,'' I
said; ``there is no misunderstanding; you have only
treated me as you have treated other Americans. The
American minister has ordered me to wait here and inform
him, and all that I have now to ask you is that you give
me the name of a hotel.'' At this be begged me to listen
to him, and presently was pleading most piteously; indeed,
he would have readily knelt and kissed my feet to secure
my forgiveness. He became utterly abject. All were
waiting, the coach stood open, the eyes of the whole party
were fastened upon us. My comrades besought me to
let the rascal go; and at last, after a most earnest warning
to him, I gave my gracious permission to have the baggage
placed on the coach. He was certainly at that moment
one of the happiest men I have ever seen; and, as we
drove off from the station, he lingered long, hat in hand,
profuse with bows and good wishes.

One other occurrence during those seven days and
nights of coaching may throw some light upon the feeling
which has recently produced, in that same region, the
Kishineff massacres.

One pleasant Saturday evening, at a Polish village, our
coach passed into the little green inclosure in front of
the post-house, and there stopped for a change of horses.
While waiting, I noticed, from my sentry-box on the top
of the coach, several well-dressed people--by the cut of
their beards and hair, Jews--standing at some distance
outside the inclosure, and looking at us. Presently two
of them--clearly, by their bearing and dress, men of
mark--entered the inclosure, came near the coach, and
stood quietly and respectfully. In a few moments my
attention was attracted by a movement on the other side
of the coach: our coachman, a young serf, was skulking
rapidly toward the stables, and presently emerged with
his long horsewhip, skulked swiftly back again until he
came suddenly on these two grave and reverend men,
--each of them doubtless wealthy enough to have bought
a dozen like him,--began lashing them, and finally drove
them out of the inclosure like dogs, the assembled crowd
jeering and hooting after them.

Few evenings linger more pleasantly in my memory
than that on which I arrived in Breslau. I was once more
outside of the Russian Empire; and, as I settled for the
evening before a kindly fire upon a cheerful hearth, there
rose under my windows, from a rollicking band of university
students, the ``Gaudeamus igitur.'' I seemed to have
arrived in another world--a world which held home and
friends. Then, as never before, I realized the feeling
which the Marquis de Custine had revealed, to the amusement
of Europe and the disgust of the Emperor Nicholas,
nearly twenty years before. The brilliant marquis, on his
way to St. Petersburg, had stopped at Stettin; and, on
his leaving the inn to take ship for Cronstadt next day, the
innkeeper said to him: ``Well, you are going into a very
bad country.'' ``How so?'' said De Custine; ``when
did you travel there?'' ``Never,'' answered the inn-
keeper; ``but I have kept this inn for many years. All
the leading Russians, going and coming by sea, have
stopped with me; and I have always noticed that those
coming from Russia are very glad, and those returning
very sad.''

Throughout the remainder of my journey across the
Continent, considerable attention was shown me at various
stopping-places, since travelers from within the Russian
lines at that time were rare indeed; but there was
nothing worthy of note until my arrival at Strasburg.
There, in the railway station, I was presented by a young
Austrian nobleman to an American lady who was going
on to Paris accompanied by her son; and, as she was very
agreeable, I was glad when we all found ourselves together
in the same railway compartment.

Some time after leaving Strasburg she said to me: ``I
don't think you caught my name at the station.'' To
this I frankly replied that I had not. She then repeated it;
and I found her to be a distinguished leader in New York
and Parisian society, the wife of an American widely
known. As we rolled on toward Paris, I became vaguely
aware that there was some trouble in our compartment;
but, being occupied with a book, I paid little attention to
the matter. There were seven of us. Facing each other at
one door were the American lady, whom I will call ``Mrs.
X.,'' and myself; at her left was her maid, then a vacant
seat, and then at the other door a German lady, richly
attired, evidently of high degree, and probably about fifty
years of age. Facing this German lady sat an elegantly
dressed young man of about thirty, also of aristocratic
manners, and a German. Between this gentleman and myself
sat the son of Mrs. X. and the Austrian gentleman
who had presented me to her.

Presently Mrs. X. bent over toward me and asked, in
an undertone, ``What do you think is the relationship
between those two people at the other door?'' I answered
that quite likely they were brother and sister. ``No,'' said
she; ``they are man and wife.'' I answered, ``That can
hardly be; there is a difference of at least twenty years
in the young man's favor.'' ``Depend upon it,'' she
said, ``they are man and wife; it is a mariage de convenance;
she is dressed to look as young as possible.'' At
this I expressed new doubts, and the discussion dropped.

Presently the young German gentleman said something
to the lady opposite him which indicated that he
had lived in Berlin; whereupon Mrs. X. asked him,
diagonally across the car, if he had been at the Berlin
University. At this he turned in some surprise and answered,
civilly but coldly, ``Yes, madam.'' Then he turned away
to converse with the lady who accompanied him. Mrs. X.,
nothing daunted, persisted, and asked, ``Have you been
RECENTLY at the university?'' Before he could reply the
lady opposite him turned to Mrs. X. and said most
haughtily, ``Mon Dieu, madam, you must see that the gentleman
does not desire any conversation with you. ``At this
Mrs. X. became very humble, and rejoined most
penitently, ``Madam, I beg your pardon; if I had known that
the gentleman's mother did not wish him to talk with a
stranger, I would not have spoken to him.'' At this the
German lady started as if stung, turned very red, and
replied, ``Pardon, madam, I am not the mother of the
gentleman.'' At this the humble manner of Mrs. X. was
flung off in an instant, and turning fiercely upon the
German lady, she said, ``Madam, since you are not
the mother of the gentleman, and, of course, cannot be
his wife, by what right do you interfere to prevent his
answering me?'' The lady thus addressed started again
as if stabbed, turned pale, and gasped out, ``Pardon,
madam; I AM the wife of the gentleman.'' Instantly Mrs.
X. became again penitently apologetic, and answered,
``Madam, I beg a thousand pardons; I will not speak
again to the gentleman''; and then, turning to me, said
very solemnly, but loudly, so that all might hear,
``Heavens! can it be possible!''

By this time we were all in distress, the German lady
almost in a state of collapse, and her husband hardly less
so. At various times during the remainder of the journey
I heard them affecting to laugh the matter off, but it was
clear that the thrust from my fair compatriot had cut deep
and would last long.

Arriving at our destination, I obtained the key to the
mystery. On taking leave of Mrs. X., I said, ``That was
rather severe treatment which you administered to the
German lady.'' ``Yes,'' she answered; ``it will teach her
never again to go out of her way to insult an American
woman.'' She then told me that the lady had been
evidently vexed because Mrs. X. had brought her maid into
the compartment; and that this aristocratic dame had
shown her feeling by applying her handkerchief to her
nose, by sniffing, and by various other signs of disgust.
``And then,'' said Mrs. X., ``I determined to teach her a
lesson.''

I never saw Mrs. X. again. After a brilliant social
career of a few years she died; but her son, who was then a
boy of twelve years, in a short jacket, has since become
very prominent in Europe and America, and, in a way, influential.

In Paris I delivered my despatches to our minister, Mr.
Mason; was introduced to Baron Seebach, the Saxon min-
ister, Nesselrode's son-in-law, who was a leading personage
at the conference of the great powers then in
session; and saw various interesting men, among them
sundry young officers of the United States army, who
were on their way to the Crimea in order to observe the
warlike operations going on there, and one of them,
McClellan, also on his way to the head of our own army
in the Civil War which began a few years later.

It was the time of the first great French Exposition--
that of 1855. The Emperor Napoleon III had opened it
with much pomp; and, though the whole affair was petty
compared with what we have known since, it attracted
visitors from the whole world, and among them came
Horace Greeley.

As he shuffled along the boulevards and streets of Paris,
in his mooning way, he attracted much wondering
attention, but was himself very unhappy because his
ignorance of the French language prevented his talking with
the people about him.

He had just gone through a singular experience, having,
the day before my arrival, been released from Clichy
prison, where he had been confined for debt. Nothing
could be more comical than the whole business from first
to last. A year or two previously there had taken place
in New York, on what has been since known as Reservoir
Square, an international exposition which, for its day,
was very creditable; but, this exposition having ended
in bankruptcy, a new board of commissioners had been
chosen, who, it was hoped, would secure public confidence,
and among these was Mr. Greeley.

Yet even under this new board the exposition had not
been a success; and it had been finally wound up in a very
unsatisfactory way, many people complaining that their
exhibits had not been returned to them--among these a
French sculptor of more ambition than repute, who had
sent a plaster cast of some sort of allegorical figure to
which he attributed an enormous value. Having sought
in vain for redress in America, he returned to Europe and
there awaited the coming of some one of the directors;
and the first of these whom he caught was no less a person
than Greeley himself, who, soon after arriving in Paris,
was arrested for the debt and taken to Clichy prison.

Much feeling was shown by the American community.
Every one knew that Mr. Greeley's connection with the
New York exposition was merely of a good-natured,
nominal sort. It therefore became the fashion among
traveling Americans to visit him while thus in durance vile;
and among those who thus called upon him were two
former Presidents of the United States, both of whom
he had most bitterly opposed--Mr. Van Buren and Mr. Fillmore.

The American legation having made very earnest
representations, the prisoner was soon released; and the most
tangible result of the whole business was a letter, very
pithy and characteristic, which Greeley wrote to the ``New
York Tribune,'' giving this strange experience, and closing
with the words: ``So ended my last chance to learn
French.''

A day or two after his release I met him at the student
restaurant of Madame Busque. A large company of
Americans were present; and shortly after taking his seat
at table he tried to ask for some green string-beans,
which were then in season. Addressing one of the serving-
maids, he said, ``Flawronce, donney moy--donney moy--
donney moy--''; and then, unable to remember the word,
he impatiently screamed out in a high treble, thrusting out
his plate at the same time, ``BEANS!'' The crowd of us
burst into laughter; whereupon Donn Piatt, then secretary
of the legation at Paris and afterward editor of the
``Capital'' at Washington, said: ``Why, Greeley, you
don't improve a bit; you knew beans yesterday.''

This restaurant of Madame Busque's had been, for
some years, a place of resort for American students and
their traveling friends. The few dishes served, though
simple, were good; all was plain; there were no table-
cloths; but the place was made attractive by the portraits
of various American artists and students who had frequented
the place in days gone by, and who had left these
adornments to the good old madame.

It was a simple crmerie in the Rue de la Michodire,
a little way out of the Boulevard des Italiens; and its
success was due to the fact that Madame Busque, the kindest
old lady alive, had learned how to make sundry American
dishes, and had placed a sign in the window as follows:
``Aux Amricains. Spcialit de Pumpkin Pie et
de Buckwheat Cakes.'' Never was there a more jolly
restaurant. One met there, not only students and artists,
but some of the most eminent men in American public
life. The specialties as given on the sign-board were well
prepared; and many were the lamentations when the dear
old madame died, and the restaurant, being transferred
to another part of Paris, became pretentious and fell into
oblivion.

Another occurrence at the exposition dwells vividly in
my memory. One day, in going through the annex in which
there was a show of domestic animals, I stopped for a moment
to look at a wonderful goat which was there tethered.
He was very large, with a majestic head, spreading horns,
and long, white, curly beard. Presently a party of French
gentlemen and ladies, evidently of the higher class, came
along and joined the crowd gazing at the animal. In a
few moments one of the ladies, anxious to hurry on, said
to the large and dignified elderly gentleman at the head of
the party, ``Mais viens donc ''; to which he answered,
``Non, laisse moi le regarder; celui-l ressemble tant au
bon Dieu.''

This remark, which in Great Britain or the United States
would have aroused horror as blasphemy, was simply
answered by a peal of laughter, and the party passed on;
yet I could not but reflect on the fact that this attitude
toward the Supreme Being was possible after a fifteen
hundred years' monopoly of teaching by the church which
insists that to it alone should be intrusted the religious
instruction of the French people.

After staying a few weeks at the French capital, I left
for a short tour in Switzerland. The only occurrence on
this journey possibly worthy of note was at the hospice
of the Great St. Bernard. On a day early in September I
had walked over the Tte Noire with two long-legged
Englishmen, and had so tired myself that the next morning
I was too late to catch the diligence from Martigny;
so that, on awaking toward noon, there was nothing left
for me but to walk, and I started on that rather toilsome
journey alone. After plodding upward some miles along
the road toward the hospice, I was very weary indeed, but
felt that it would be dangerous to rest, since the banks of
snow on both sides of the road would be sure to give me
a deadly chill; and I therefore kept steadily on. Presently
I overtook a small party, apparently English, also
going up the pass; and, at some distance in advance of
them, alone, a large woman with a very striking and even
masculine face. I had certainly seen the face before, but
where I could not imagine. Arriving finally at the hospice,
very tired, we were, after some waiting, invited out
to a good dinner by the two fathers deputed for the
purpose; and there, among the guests, I again saw the
lady, and was again puzzled to know where I had
previously seen her. As the dinner went on the two monks
gave accounts of life at the hospice, rescues from
avalanches, and the like, and various questions were asked;
but the unknown lady sat perfectly still, uttering not a
word, until suddenly, just at the close of the dinner, she
put a question across the table to one of the fathers. It
came almost like a peal of thunder-deep, strong, rolling
through the room, startling all of us, and fairly taking the
breath away from the good monk to whom it was addressed;
but he presently rallied, and in a rather faltering
tone made answer. That was all. But on this I at once
recognized her: it was Fanny Kemble Butler, whom, years
before, I had heard interpreting Shakspere.

Whether this episode had anything to do with it or not,
I soon found myself in rather a bad way. The fatigues of
the two previous days had been too much for me. I felt
very wretched, and presently one of the brothers came up
to me and asked whether I was ill. I answered that I
was tired; whereupon he said kindly, ``Come with me.''
I went. He took me to a neat, tidy little cell; put me into
bed as carefully as my grandmother had ever done; tucked
me in; brought me some weak, hot tea; and left me
with various kind injunctions. Very early in the morning
I was aroused by the singing of the monks in the chapel,
but dozed on until eight or nine o'clock, when, feeling
entirely rested, I rose and, after breakfast, left the
monastery, with a party of newly made American friends, in as
good condition as ever, and with a very grateful feeling
toward my entertainers. Against monks generally I must
confess to a prejudice; but the memory of these brothers
of St. Bernard I still cherish with a real affection.

Stopping at various interesting historic places, and
especially at Eisenach, whence I made the first of my many
visits to the Wartburg, I reached Berlin just before the
beginning of the university term, and there settled as a
student. So, as I then supposed, ended my diplomatic
career forever.

CHAPTER XXVIII

AS COMMISSIONER TO SANTO DOMINGO--1871

Returning from Russia and Germany, I devoted
myself during thirteen years, first, to my professorial
duties at the University of Michigan; next, to political
duties in the State Senate at Albany; and, finally, to
organizing and administering Cornell University. But in the
early winter of 1870-71 came an event which drew me out
of my university life for a time, and engaged me again in
diplomatic work. While pursuing the even tenor of my
way, there came a telegraphic despatch from Mr. William
Orton, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company,
a devoted supporter of the administration, asking me
whether I had formed any definite opinion against the
annexation of the island of Santo Domingo to the United
States. This question surprised me. A proposal regarding
such an annexation had been for some time talked about.
The newly elected President, General Grant, having been
besought by the authorities of that republic to propose
measures looking to annexation, had made a brief
examination; and Congress had passed a law authorizing the
appointment of three commissioners to visit the island, to
examine and report upon its desirability, from various
points of view, and to ascertain, as far as possible, the
feeling of its inhabitants; but I had given no attention
to the matter, and therefore answered Mr. Orton that I
had no opinion, one way or the other, regarding it. A
day or two afterward came information that the President
had named the commission, and in the following order:
Ex-Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio, Andrew D.
White of New York, and Samuel G. Howe of Massachusetts.
On receiving notice of my appointment, I went to
Washington, was at once admitted to an interview with the
President, and rarely have I been more happily disappointed.
Instead of the taciturn man who, as his enemies
insisted, said nothing because he knew nothing, had
never cared for anything save military matters, and was
entirely absorbed in personal interests, I found a quiet,
dignified public officer, who presented the history of
the Santo Domingo question, and his view regarding it, in
a manner large, thoughtful, and statesmanlike. There
was no special pleading; no attempt at converting me:
his whole effort seemed given to stating candidly the
history of the case thus far.

There was much need of such statement. Mr. Charles
Sumner, the eminent senator from Massachusetts, had
completely broken with the President on this and other
questions; had attacked the policy of the administration
violently; had hinted at the supremacy of unworthy
motives; and had imputed rascality to men with whom the
President had close relations. He appeared, also, as he
claimed, in the interest of the republic of Haiti, which
regarded with disfavor any acquisition by the United
States of territory on the island of which that quasi-
republic formed a part; and all his rhetoric and oratory
were brought to bear against the President's ideas. I had
long been an admirer of Mr. Sumner, with the feeling
which a young man would naturally cherish toward an
older man of such high character who had given him
early recognition; and I now approached him with especial
gratitude and respect. But I soon saw that his view of the
President was prejudiced, and his estimate of himself
abnormal. Though a senator of such high standing and so
long in public affairs, he took himself almost too
seriously; and there had come a break between him, as
chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, and
President Grant's Secretary of State, Mr. Fish, who had
proved himself, as State senator, as Governor of New
York, as United States senator, and now as Secretary of
State, a man of the highest character and capacity.

The friends of the administration claimed that it had
become impossible for it to have any relations with Senator
Sumner; that he delayed, and indeed suppressed, treaties
of the greatest importance; that his egotism had become
so colossal that he practically assumed to himself
the entire conduct of foreign affairs; and the whole matter
reached a climax when, in a large social gathering, Mr.
Fish meeting Senator Sumner and extending his hand to
him, the latter deliberately rejected the courtesy and coldly
turned away.

Greatly admiring all these men, and deeply regretting
their divisions, which seemed sure to prove most injurious
to the Republican party and to the country, I wrote to
Mr. Gerrit Smith, urging him to come at once to Washington
and, as the lifelong friend of Senator Sumner and the
devoted supporter of General Grant, to use his great powers
in bringing them together. He came and did his best;
but a few days afterward he said to me: ``It is impossible;
it is a breach which can never be healed.''

Mr. Sumner's speeches I had always greatly admired,
and his plea for international peace, delivered before I
was fairly out of my boyhood, had made a deep
impression upon me. Still greater was the effect of his
speeches against the extension of slavery. It is true
that these speeches had little direct influence upon the
Senate; but they certainly had an immense effect upon
the country, and this effect was increased by the assault
upon him by Preston Brooks of South Carolina, which
nearly cost him his life, and from which he suffered
physically as long as he lived. His influence was exercised
not only in the Senate, but in his own house. In his
library he discussed, in a very interesting way, the main
questions of the time; and at his dinner-table one met
interesting men from all parts of the world. At one of his
dinners I had an opportunity to observe one of the
difficulties from which our country suffers most--namely, that
easy-going facility in slander which is certain to be
developed in the absence of any effective legal responsibility
for one's utterances. At the time referred to there was
present an Englishman eminent in parliamentary and
business circles. I sat next him, and near us sat a
gentleman who had held a subordinate position in the United
States navy, but who was out of employment, and apparently
for some reason which made him sore. On being
asked by the Englishman why the famous American Collins
Line of transatlantic steamers had not succeeded, this
American burst into a tirade, declaring that it was all due
to the fact that the Collins company had been obliged to
waste its entire capital in bribing members of Congress
to obtain subsidies; that it had sunk all its funds in doing
this, and so had become bankrupt. This I could not bear,
and indignantly interposed, stating the simple facts--
namely, that the ships of the company were built in the
most expensive manner, without any sufficient data as to
their chances of success; that the competition of the
Cunard company had been destructive to them; that, to cap
the climax, two out of their fleet of five had been, at an early
period in the history of the company, lost at sea; and I
expressed my complete disbelief in any cause of failure
like that which had been named. As a matter of fact, the
Collins company, in their pride at the beauty of their
first ship, had sent it up the Potomac to Washington and
given a collation upon it to members of Congress; but
beyond this there was not the slightest evidence of anything
of the sort which the slanderer of his country had
brought forward.

As regards the Santo Domingo question, I must confess
that Mr. Sumner's speeches did not give me much light;
they seemed to me simply academic orations tinged by anger.

Far different was it with the speeches made on the same
side by Senator Carl Schurz. In them was a restrained
strength of argument and a philosophic dealing with the
question which appealed both to reason and to patriotism.
His argument as to the danger of extending the
domain of American institutions and the privileges of
American citizenship over regions like the West Indies
carried great weight with me; it was the calm, thoughtful
utterance of a man accustomed to look at large public
questions in the light of human history, and, while reasoning
upon them philosophically and eloquently, to observe
strict rules of logic.

I also had talks with various leading men at Washington
on the general subject. Very interesting was an evening
passed with Admiral Porter of the navy, who had already
visited Santo Domingo, and who gave me valuable points
as to choosing routes and securing information. Another
person with whom I had some conversation was Benjamin
Franklin Butler, previously a general in the Civil War,
and afterward governor of Massachusetts--a man of
amazing abilities, but with a certain recklessness in the use
of them which had brought him into nearly universal
discredit. His ideas regarding the annexation of Santo
Domingo seemed to resolve themselves, after all, into a
feeling of utter indifference,--his main effort being to
secure positions for one or two of his friends as attachs
of the commission.

At various times I talked with the President on this and
other subjects, and was more and more impressed, not only
by his patriotism, but by his ability; and as I took leave
of him, he gave me one charge for which I shall always
revere his memory.

He said: `` Your duties are, of course, imposed upon you
by Congress; I have no right as PRESIDENT to give you
instructions, but as a MAN I have a right in this matter. You
have doubtless noticed hints in Congress, and charges in
various newspapers, that I am financially interested in the
acquisition of Santo Domingo. Now, as a man, as your
fellow-citizen, I demand that on your arrival in the island,
you examine thoroughly into all American interests
there; that you study land titles and contracts with the
utmost care; and that if you find anything whatever which
connects me or any of my family with any of them, you
expose me to the American people.'' The President uttered
these words in a tone of deep earnestness. I left him,
feeling that he was an honest man; and I may add that the
closest examination of men and documents relating to
titles and concessions in the island failed to reveal any
personal interest of his whatsoever.

Arriving next day in New York, I met the other commissioners,
with the secretaries, interpreters, attachs, and
various members of the press who were authorized to
accompany the expedition. Most interesting of all to me
were the scientific experts. It is a curious example of the
happy-go-lucky ways which prevail so frequently at Washington,
that although the resolutions of Congress required
the commissioners to examine into the mining and agricultural
capacities of the island, its meteorological characteristics,
its harbors and the possibilities of fortifying them,
its land tenures, and a multitude of other subjects
demanding the aid of experts, no provision was made for any
such aid, and the three commissioners and their secretaries,
not one of whom could be considered as entitled to hold
a decisive opinion on any of these subjects, were the only
persons expected to conduct the inquiry. Seeing this, I
represented the matter to the President, and received his
permission to telegraph to presidents of several of our
leading universities asking them to secure for us active
young scientific men who would be willing to serve on the
expedition without salary. The effort was successful.
Having secured at the Smithsonian Institution two or
three good specialists in sundry fields, I obtained from
Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and other universities
the right sort of men for various other lines of investigation,
and on the 17th of January, 1871, we all embarked
on the steam-frigate Tennessee, under the command of
Commodore Temple.

It fell to my lot to take a leading part in sending forth
our scientific experts into all parts of the republic.
Fourteen different expeditions were thus organized and
despatched, and these made careful examinations and reports
which were wrought into the final report of the
commission. It is doubtful whether any country was ever so
thoroughly examined in so short a time. One party visited
various harbors with reference to their value for naval or
military purposes; another took as its subject the necessary
fortifications; another, agriculture; another, the coal
supply; another, the precious metals; another, the prevailing
epidemics and diseases of the country; while the commission
itself adjourned from place to place, taking testimony
on land tenures and on the general conditions and
disposition of the people.

I became much attached to my colleagues. The first of
these, Senator Wade of Ohio, was bluff, direct, shrewd,
and well preserved, though over seventy years of age.
He was a rough diamond, kindly in his judgments unless
his feeling of justice was injured; then he was implacable.
Many sayings of his were current, among them a dry answer
to a senator from Texas who, having dwelt in high-
flown discourse on the superlative characteristics of the
State he represented, wound up all by saying, ``All that
Texas needs to make it a paradise is water and good society,''
to which Wade instantly replied, ``That 's all they
need in hell.'' The nimbleness and shrewdness of some
public men he failed to appreciate. On his saying
something to me rather unfavorable to a noted statesman of
New England, I answered him, ``But, senator, he made an
admirable Speaker of the House of Representatives.'' To
which he answered, ``So would a squirrel if he could talk.''

Dr. Howe was a very different sort of man--a man of
the highest cultivation and of wide experience, who had
devoted his whole life to philanthropic efforts. He had been
imprisoned in Spandau for attempting to aid the Poles;
had narrowly escaped with his life while struggling in
Greece against Turkey; and had braved death again and
again while aiding the free-State men against the pro-
slavery myrmidons of Kansas. He told me that of all
these three experiences, he considered the last as by far
the most dangerous. He had a high sense of personal
honor, and was devoted to what he considered the interests
of humanity.

Our main residence was at the city of Santo Domingo,
and our relations with the leading officials of the republic
were exceedingly pleasant. The president, Baez, was a
man of force and ability, and, though a light mulatto, he
had none of the characteristics generally attributed in the
United States to men of mixed blood. He had rather the
appearance of a swarthy Spaniard, and in all his conduct
he showed quiet self-reliance, independence, and the tone of
a high-spirited gentleman. His family was noted in the history
of the island, and held large estates, near the capital
city, in the province of Azua. He had gone through various
vicissitudes, at times conquering insurgents and at times
being driven out by them. During a portion of his life he
had lived in Spain, and had there been made a marshal of
that kingdom. There was a quiet elegance in his manners
and conversation which would have done credit to any
statesman in any country, and he had gathered about him
as his cabinet two or three really superior men who
appeared devoted to his fortunes. I have never doubted that
his overtures to General Grant were patriotic. As long as
he could remember, he had known nothing in his country
but a succession of sterile revolutions which had destroyed
all its prosperity and nearly all its population. He took
very much to heart a passage in one of Mr. Sumner's
orations against the annexation project, in which the senator
had spoken of him as a man who wished to sell his country.
Referring to this, President Baez said to me: ``How could
I sell my country? My property is here; my family is
here; my friends are here; all my interests are here:
how could I sell my country and run away and enjoy the
proceeds as Mr. Sumner thinks I wish to do? Mr. Sumner
gives himself out to be the friend of the colored race; but
I also am a colored man,'' and with that Baez ran his hand
through his crisp hair and said, ``This leaves no doubt on
that point.''

We discussed at various times the condition of his
country and the relations which he desired to establish with
the United States, and I became more and more convinced
that his dominant motives were those of a patriot. As a
matter of fact, the country under the prevailing system
was a ruin. West of it was the republic of Haiti, more
than twice as populous, which from time to time
encroached upon its weaker sister. In Santo Domingo itself
under one revolutionist after another, war had raged over
the entire territory of the republic year after year for
generations. Traveling through the republic, it is a simple
fact that I never, in its entire domain, saw a bridge, a
plow, a spade, a shovel, or a hoe; the only implement we
saw was the machete--a heavy, rude instrument which
served as a sword in war and a spade in peace. Everywhere
among the mountains I found magnificent squared
logs of the beautiful mahogany of the country left just
where the teams which had been drawing them had been
seized by revolutionists.

In one of the large interior towns there had been,
indeed, one evidence of civilization to which the people of
that region had pointed with pride--a steam-engine for
sawing timber; but sometime before my arrival one of
the innumerable petty revolutions had left it a mere mass
of rusty scraps.

Under the natural law of increase the population of the
republic should have been numbered in millions; but close
examination, in all parts of its territory, showed us that
there were not two hundred thousand inhabitants left, and
that of these about one half were mulattos, the other half
being about equally divided between blacks and whites.

Since my visit business men from the United States
have developed the country to some extent; but revolutions
have continued, each chieftain getting into place by
orating loudly about liberty, and then holding power by
murdering not only his enemies, but those whom he
thought likely to become his enemies.

The late president, Heureaux, was one of the most mon-
strous of these creatures who have found their breeding-
bed in Central American politics. He seems to have
murdered, as far as possible, not only all who opposed him,
but all who, he thought, MIGHT oppose him, and even
members of their families.

It was not at all surprising that Baez, clear-sighted and
experienced as he was, saw an advantage to his country
in annexation to the United States. He probably expected
that it would be, at first, a Territory of which he, as
the foremost man in the island, would become governor,
and that later it would come into the Union as a State
which he would be quite likely to represent in the United
States Senate. At a later period, when I saw him in New
York, on his way to visit the President at Washington,
my favorable opinion of him was confirmed. He was
quiet, dignified, manly, showing himself, in his conversation
and conduct, a self-respecting man of the world, accustomed
to manage large affairs and to deal with strong
men.

The same desire to annex the island to the United States
was evident among the clergy. This at first surprised me,
for some of them were exceedingly fanatical, and one
of them, who was especially civil to us, had endeavored, a
few months before our arrival, to prevent the proper
burial of a charming American lady, the wife of the
American geologist of the government, under the old
Spanish view that, not being a Catholic, she should be
buried outside the cemetery upon the commons, like a dog.
But the desire for peace and for a reasonable development
of the country, even under a government considered
heretical, was everywhere evident.

It became my duty to discuss the question of church
property with the papal nuncio and vicar apostolic. He
was an archbishop who had been sent over to take temporary
charge of ecclesiastical matters; of course a most
earnest Roman Catholic, but thoroughly devoted to the
annexation of the island to the United States, and the
reason for his opinion was soon evident. Throughout the
entire island one constantly sees great buildings and other
church property which have been confiscated and sold for
secular purposes. In the city itself the opera-house was
a former church, which in its day had been very imposing,
and everywhere one saw monastery estates in private
hands. The authorities in Santo Domingo had simply
pursued the policy so well known in various Latin countries,
and especially in France, Italy, and Spain, of allowing
the religious orders to absorb large masses of property,
and then squeezing it out of them into the coffers
of the state.

In view of this, I said to the papal nuncio that it was
very important for the United States, in considering the
question of annexing the island, to know what the church
claimed; that if the church demanded the restoration of
all that had been taken from her, this would certainly
greatly diminish the value of the island in the eyes of our
public men. To this he answered that in case of annexation
the church would claim nothing whatever beyond
what it was absolutely and actually occupying and using
for its own purposes, and he offered to give me guarantees
to that effect which should be full and explicit.

It was perfectly clear that the church authorities
preferred to be under a government which, even though they
regarded it as Protestant, could secure them their property,
rather than to be subject to a Roman Catholic republic
in which they were liable to constantly recurring
spoliation. This I found to be the spirit of the clergy of
every grade in all parts of the island: they had discovered
that under the Constitution of the United States confiscation
without compensation is impossible.

It also fell to my lot, as the youngest man in the
commission, to conduct an expedition across the mountains
from the city of Santo Domingo on the south coast to
Puerto Plata on the north.

During this journey, on which I was about ten days in
the saddle, it was my duty to confer with the principal
functionaries, and this gave me novel experiences. When-
ever our cavalcade approached a town, we halted, a
messenger was sent forward, and soon the alcalde, the priests,
and other men of light and leading, with a long train of
functionaries, came dashing out on horseback to greet us;
introductions then took place, and, finally, there was a
wild gallop into the town to the house of the alcalde,
where speeches were made and compliments exchanged in
the high Spanish manner.

At the outset there was a mishap. As we were organizing
our expedition, the gentlemen charged with purchasing
supplies assured me that if we wished to secure proper
consideration of the annexation question by the principal
men of the various towns, we must exercise a large if
simple hospitality, and that social gatherings without rum
punch would be offensive rather than propitiatory. The
order to lay in a sufficient spirituous supply was reluctantly
given, and in due time we started, one of our train
of pack-horses having on each side of the saddle large
demijohns of the fluid which was to be so potent for
diplomatic purposes. At the close of the first day's travel,
just as our hammocks had been swung, I heard a scream
and saw the people of our own and neighboring huts
snatching cups and glasses and running pell-mell toward
the point where our animals were tethered. On examination
I found that the horse intrusted with the precious
burden, having been relieved of part of his load, had felt
warranted in disporting himself, and had finally rolled
over, crushing all the demijohns. It seemed a serious
matter, but I cannot say that it afflicted me much; we
propitiated the local functionaries by other forms of
hospitality, and I never found that the absence of rum punch
seriously injured our diplomacy.

Civil war had been recently raging throughout the republic,
and in one of the interior towns I was one day notified
that a well-known guerrilla general, who had shown
great bravery in behalf of the Baez government, wished
a public interview. The meeting took place in the large
room of the house which had been assigned me. The
mountain chieftain entered, bearing a rifle, and, the first
salutations having been exchanged, he struck an oratorical
attitude, and after expressing, in a loud harangue, his
high consideration for the United States, for its representative,
and for all present, he solemnly tendered the rifle
to me, saying that he had taken it in battle from Luperon,
the arch-enemy of his country, and could think of no other
bestowal so worthy of it. This gift somewhat disconcerted
me. In the bitterness of party feeling at home regarding
the Santo Domingo question, how would it look
for one of the commissioners to accept such a present?
President Grant had been held up to obloquy throughout
the whole length and breadth of the land for accepting a
dog; what, then, would happen to a diplomatic representative
who should accept a rifle? Connected with the expedition
were some twenty or thirty representatives of the
press, and I could easily see how my acceptance of such
a gift would alarm the sensitive consciences of many of
them and be enlarged and embroidered until the United
States would resound with indignant outcry against a
commission which accepted presents and was probably won
over by contracts for artillery. My first attempt was to
evade the difficulty. Rifle in hand, I acknowledged my
appreciation of the gift, but declared to the general that my
keeping such a trophy would certainly be a wrong to his
family; that I would therefore accept it and transmit it
to his son, to be handed down from generation to generation
of his descendants as an heirloom and a monument
of bravery and patriotism. I was just congratulating
myself on this bit of extemporized diplomacy, when a cloud
began to gather on the general's face, and presently he
broke forth, saying that he regretted to find his present
not good enough to be accepted; that it was the best he
had; that if he had possessed anything better he would
have brought it. At this, two or three gentlemen in our
party pressed around me, and, in undertones, advised me
by all means to accept it. There was no alternative; I
accepted the rifle in as sonorous words as I could muster
--``IN BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES'';
had it placed immediately in a large box with the words
``War Department'' upon it, in very staring letters; and
so the matter ended. Fortunately the commission, though
attacked for a multitude of sins, escaped censure in this
matter.

One part of our duty was somewhat peculiar. The
United States, a few years before, had been on the point
of concluding negotiations with Denmark for the purchase
of St. Thomas, when a volcanic disturbance threw an
American frigate in the harbor of that island upon the
shore, utterly wrecking both the vessel and the treaty.
This experience it was which led to the insertion of a
clause in the Congressional instructions to the commission
requiring them to make examinations regarding the frequency
and severity of earthquakes. This duty we discharged
faithfully, and on one occasion with a result
interesting both to students of history and of psychology.
Arriving at the old town of Cotuy, among the mountains,
and returning the vicar's call, after my public reception, I
asked him the stereotyped question regarding earthquakes,
and was answered that about the year 1840 there had
been one of a very terrible sort; that it had shaken and
broken his great stone church very badly; that he had
repaired the whole structure, except the gaping crevice
above the front entrance; ``and,'' said the good old padre,
``THAT I left as a warning to my people, thinking that it
might have a good influence upon them.'' On visiting the
church, we found the crevice as the padre had described it;
but his reasoning was especially interesting, because it
corroborated the contention of Buckle, who, but a few
years before, in his ``History of Civilization in England,''
had stated that earthquakes and volcanoes had aided the
clergy of southern countries in maintaining superstition,
and who had afterward defended this view with great
wealth of learning when it was attacked by a writer in the
``Edinburgh Review.'' Certainly this Santo Domingo
example was on the side of the historian.

Another day brought us to Vega, noted as the point
where Columbus reared his standard above the wonderful
interior valley of the island; and there we were welcomed,
as usual, by the officials, and, among them, by a tall, ascetic-
looking priest who spoke French. Returning his call next
day, I was shown into his presence in a room utterly bare
of all ornament save a large and beautiful photograph of
the Cathedral of Tours. It had happened to me, just after
my college days, to travel on foot through a large part of
northern, western, and middle France, especially interesting
myself in cathedral architecture; and as my eye caught
this photograph I said, ``Father, what a beautiful picture
you have of the Church of St. Gatien!'' The countenance
of the priest, who had at first received me very ceremoniously
and coldly, was instantly changed; he looked at me
for a moment, and then threw his arms about me. It was
pathetic: of all who had ever entered his door I was
probably the only one who had recognized the picture of
the cathedral where he had been ordained; and, above all,
by a curious inspiration which I cannot to this hour
account for, I had recognized it by the name of the saint to
whom it is dedicated. Why I did not speak of it simply
as the Cathedral of Tours I know not; how I came to
remember that it was dedicated to St. Gatien I know not--
but this fact evidently loosened the cords of the father's
heart, and during my stay at Vega he was devoted to me;
giving me information of the greatest value regarding
the people, their habits, their diseases, and the like, much
of which, up to that moment, the commission and its
subordinates had vainly endeavored to secure.

And here I recall one thing which struck me as
significant. This ascetic French priest was very severe in
condemnation of the old Spanish priesthood of the island.
When I asked him regarding the morals of the people he
answered, ``How can you expect good morals in them
when their pastors set such bad examples?'' It was
evident that the church authorities at Rome were of his
opinion; for in nearly every town I found not only a
jolly, kindly, easy-going old Spanish padre, surrounded
by ``nephews'' and ``nieces,'' but a more austere ecclesiastic
recently arrived from France or Italy.

In the impressions made upon me by this long and
tedious journey across the island, pleasure and pain were
constantly mingled. On one hand was the wonderful
beauty of the scenery, the luxuriance of the vegetation,
and the bracing warmth of the climate, while the United
States were going through a winter more than usually
bitter.

But, on the other hand, the whole condition of the
country seemed to indicate that the early Spanish rulers had
left a curse upon it from which it had never recovered.
Its inhabitants, in revolution after revolution, had
destroyed all industry and industrial appliances, and had
virtually eaten up each other; generation after generation
had thus been almost entirely destroyed.

Finally, after nearly a fortnight of clambering over
mountains, pushing through tropical thickets, fording
streams, and negotiating in palm huts, we approached the
sea; and suddenly, on the north side of the island, at the
top of the mountain back of Puerto Plata, we looked far
down upon its beautiful harbor, in the midst of which,
like a fly upon a mirror, lay our trim little frigate
Nantasket.

The vice-president of the republic, surrounded by the
representatives of the city, having welcomed us with the
usual speeches, we pushed forward to the vice-presidential
villa, where I was to be lodged.

Having no other dress with me than my traveler's outfit,
of which the main features were a flaming red flannel
shirt, a poncho, and a sombrero, and having been invited
to dine that evening at the house of my host, with the
various consuls and other leaders of the place, I ordered

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