Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR software Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ANDREW DICKSON WHITE VOLUME II TABLE OF CONTENTS PART V-IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE (Continued) CHAPTER XXXIII. AS MINISTER TO RUSSIA–1892-1894 Appointment by President Harrison. My stay in London Lord Rothschild; his view of Russian treatment of the
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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II






Appointment by President Harrison. My stay in London Lord Rothschild; his view of Russian treatment of the Jews. Sir Julian Goldschmidt; impression made by him. Paris; the Vicomte de Vogue; funeral of Renan; the Duke de la Rochefoucauld. Our Minister, William Walter Phelps, and others at Berlin; talk with Count Shuvaloff. Arrival in St. Petersburg. Deadening influences: paralysis of energy as seen on the railways; little apparent change in externals since my former visit; change wrought by emancipation of the serfs. Improvement in the surroundings of the Emperor. Visit to the Foreign Office. Presentation to Alexander III; his view of the Behring Sea Question; his acquiescence in the American view; his allusion to the Chicago Exposition. My conversation with the Archbishop of Warsaw. Conversation with the Empress; her reference to the Rev. Dr. Talmage. Impression made upon me by the Emperor. My presentation to the heir to the Throne, now the Emperor Nicholas II; his evident limitations; main cause of these. Presentation to sundry Grand Dukes. A reminiscence of the Grand Duke Michael. The Grand Dukes Vladimir and Alexis. The diplomatic corps. General von Schweinitz. Sir Robert Morier; his victory over the United States at the Paris Arbitration Tribunal; its causes; its lessons.


Last days of Sir Robert Morier at St. Petersburg; his last appearance at Court. Count de Montebello. Husny Pasha. Marochetti. Count Wolkenstein. Van Stoetwegen and his views regarding peace in Europe. Pasitch, the Servian Minister; his two condemnations to death. Contrast between the Chinese and Japanese representatives. Character of Russian statesmen; their good qualities; their main defects. Rarity of first-class men among them; illustrations of this view from The Hague peace programme and from Russian dealings with Finland and with the Baltic Provinces. M. de Giers; his love of peace; strong impression made by him on me. Weakness and worse of Russia in the Behring Sea matter. Finance Minister De Witte; his strength; his early history. Difference in view between De Witte and his predecessor Wischniegradsky. Pobedonostzeff. Dournovo. My experience with the latter. The shirking of responsibility by leading Russian officials; their lack of enterprise. An exception; Plehve. One good example set us by Russia; value placed on Russian, compared with the cheapening and prostitution of American, citizenship.


The “Minister of Public Enlightenment,” Delyanoff; his theory and system. Hostility of sundry Russians to the Russian-Germans; evident folly of this. Woronzoff-Daschkoff and General Annenkoff. The Caucasian railways and the annexation of Bokhara. Galkin Wraskoy and the prison system Orloff Davidoff, “the funniest thing he saw in America.” Professor Demetrieff’s account of the murder of Peter III and of the relation of Catherine II to it. Prince Serge Wolkonsky; his ability and versatility; his tour de force at the farewell dinner given me at St. Petersburg; his lectures in the United States. Russian scientific men. Woeikoff. Admiral Makharoff. Senator Semenoff and Prince Gregory Galitzin. Mendeleieff. Two salons. Other attractions. General Ignatieff. Princess Ourousoff and her answer to Alexander III. Princess Radzivill. The copy-book used by Louis XIV when a child, preserved in the Imperial Library; its historical importance. The American colony at St. Petersburg. Mr. Prince; his reminiscences of sundry American ministers. Mr. Buchanan’s satire on spies, in the Embassy Archives. Difficulties of the American Representative arising from his want of a habitation. Diplomatic questions between the two countries The Behring Sea Fisheries. My dealings with the Commandant of the Russian Pacific Islands. Success of Sir Robert Morier; how gained. Worldly wisdom of Great Britain. Difficulties regarding Israelites; my long despatch on the subject to Secretary Gresham. Adventurous Americans. Efforts to prostitute American citizenship. Difficulties arising from the complicated law of the Empire. Violations of the Buchanan Treaty. Cholera at St. Petersburg; thorough measures taken by the Government; death of Tschaikovsky; difficulty in imposing sanitary regulations upon the peasantry.


My desire to know Pobedonostzeff; his history; his power. Public business which led to our meeting; his characteristics; reasons for his course; his view of the relations of the Russo-Greek Church to the Empire; his frankness in speaking of the Church. His hostility to Western civilization. His discussion of revolutionary efforts in Russia. His theory of Russian public instruction. His ultra-reactionary views. His mingled feelings regarding Tolstoi. His love for American literature; his paradoxical admiration for Emerson, his translation of Emerson’s “Essays”; his literary gift. Feeling toward him in Russian society. His religious character. His esthetic character. Charles A. Dana’s impression of him. Our discussion of possible relations between the Russian and English Churches; his talks upon introducing the “Holy Orthodox Church” into the United States. His treatment of hostile articles in the English Reviews. His professorial friends. His statements regarding Father Ivan; miracles by the latter; proofs of their legendary character; Pobedonostzeff’s testimony on the subject.


Moscow revisited. Little change for the better. First visit to Tolstoi. Curious arrangement of his household. Our first discussions; condition of the peasants; his view of Quakers; their “want of logic.” His view of Russian religious and general thought. Socrates as a saint in the Kremlin. His views of the Jews; of Russian treatment of prisoners. His interest in American questions. Our visit to the Moscow Museum; his remark on the pictures for the Cathedral of Kieff; his love for realistic religious pictures; his depreciation of landscape painting; deep feeling shown by him before sundry genre pictures. His estimate of Peter the Great. His acknowledgment of human progress. His view of the agency of the Czar in maintaining peace. His ideas regarding French literature; of Maupassant; of Balzac. His views of American literature and the source of its strength; his discussion of various American authors and leaders in philanthropic movements; his amazing answer to my question as to the greatest of American writers. Our walks together; his indiscriminate almsgiving; discussion thereupon. His view of travel. The cause of his main defects. Lack of interchange of thought in Russia; general result of this. Our visit to the Kremlin. His views of religion; questions regarding American women; unfavorable view of feminine character. Our attendance at a funeral; strange scenes. Further discussion upon religion. Visit to an “Old Believer”; beauty of his house and its adornments; his religious fanaticism; its effects on Tolstoi. His views as to the duty of educated young men in Russia. Further discussion of American literature. His hope for Russian progress. His manual labor. His view of Napoleon. His easy-going theory of warlike operations. Our farewell. Estimate of him. His great qualities. His sincerity. Cause of his limitations. Personal characteristics related to these. Evident evolution of his ideas. Effect of Russian civilization on sundry strong men.


Difficulty in securing accurate information in Russia; the censorship of newspapers and books; difficulty in ascertaining the truth on any question; growth of myth and legend in the Russian atmosphere of secrecy and repression. Difficulties of the American Minister arising from too great proneness of Americans to believe Russian stories; typical examples. American adventurers; a musical apostle; his Russian career. Relation of the Legation to the Chicago Exposition; crankish requests from queer people connected with it; danger of their bringing the Exposition into disrepute; their final suppression. Able and gifted men and women scattered through Russian society. Russian hospitality. Brilliant festivities at the Winter Palace; the Blessing of the Waters; the “palm balls”; comparison of the Russian with the German Court. Visit of Prince Victor Napoleon to St. Petersburg; its curious characteristics. Visit of the Ameer of Bokhara; singular doings of his son and heir. Marriage of the Grand Duchess Xenia; kindness, at the Peterhof Palace, of an American “Nubian.” Funeral of the Grand Duchess Catherine; beginnings of the Emperor’s last illness then evident. Midnight mass on Easter eve; beauty of the music. The opera. Midnight excursions in the northern twilight. Finland and Helsingfors. Moscow revisited. Visit to the Scandinavian countries. Confidence reposed in me by President Cleveland. My resignation.


The Venezuelan Commission; curious circumstances of my nomination to it by President Cleveland. Nature of the question to be decided; its previous evolution. Mr. Cleveland’s message. Attacks upon him; his firmness. Sessions of the Commission; initial difficulties; solution of them. The old question between the Netherlands and Spain. Material at our command. Discreditable features of the first British Blue Book on the subject; British “fair play” in this and in the Behring Sea question. Distribution of duties in the Commission. My increased respect for Lord Aberdeen; boundary line accepted by him, striking confirmation of his justice and wisdom by the Arbitration Tribunal at Paris. Triumph of President Cleveland and Secretary Olney. Men whom I met in Washington. Lord Panncefote. Secretary Carlisle, striking tribute to him by an eminent Republican; his characteristics. Vice-President Stevenson; his powers as a raconteur. Senator Gray and Mr. Olney. Visit with the American Geographical Society to Monticello; curious evidences there of Jefferson’s peculiarities; beauty of the place. Visit to the University of Virginia. My increasing respect for the qualities of Mr. Cleveland.


Nomination by President McKinley. Light thrown upon his methods by appointments of second secretary and military attache. Secretary Sherman; his reference to President Johnson’s impeachment. Judge Harlan’s reference to Dr. Burchard’s alliteration. Discussions with the German ambassador and others. Change of the American legation into an embassy; its advantages and disadvantages. First interview with Emperor William II; subjects discussed. His reference to Frederick the Great’s musical powers. The Empress; happy change in the attitude of the people toward her. The Chancellor of the Empire; Prince Hohenlohe; his peculiarities; his references to Bismarck; his opinion of Germans. Count von Bulow, Minister of Foreign Affairs, resemblances between him and his father; his characteristics as minister and as parliamentary leader. Ambassadorial receptions; difficulties, mistaken policy of our government regarding residences for its representatives. Change in German public opinion toward the United States since my ministerial days; its causes; evidences of it during Spanish War. Misrepresentations in German and American papers, and their effects; our own culpability as shown in the Fessenden case. International questions; Haitian theory of the Monroe Doctrine. The Samoan question; furor consularis; missionary squabbles; reasonableness of Minister von Bulow. Attendance at Parliament; its characteristics; notes on sundry members; Posadowski; Richter, Bebel; Barth. The German Parliament House compared with the New York State Capitol.


The Chinese question; German part in it; my duties regarding it, course of President McKinley and Secretary Hay. The exclusion of American insurance companies; difficulties. American sugar duties: our wavering policy. The “meat question”; American illustration of defective German policy. The “fruit question” and its adjustment. The Spanish-American War; attitude of the German press; my course under instructions; importance of delaying the war; conference in Paris with Ambassador Porter and Minister Woodford; the destruction of the Maine and its effect; conversation with the Emperor regarding it; his view of it. My relations with the Spanish ambassador. Visit to Dresden to present the President’s congratulations to the Saxon king; curious contretemps; festivities. Change in character of European monarchs since Jefferson’s letter to Langdon. The King of Wurtemberg and Grand Duke of Baden. Notes on sundry pretenders to European thrones. Course of German Government during our Spanish War; arrest of Spanish vessel at Hamburg. Good news at the Leipsic Fourth of July celebration. Difficulties arising in Germany as the war progressed. The protection of American citizens abroad; prostitution of American citizenship; examples; strengthening of the rules against pretended Americans; baseless praise of Great Britain at the expense of the United States. Duty of the embassy toward American students; admission of women to the German universities. Efforts of various compatriots to reach the Emperor; psychological curiosities. Changes in Berlin since my former official residence; disappearance of many strong men; characteristics of sundry survivors; Mommsen; Harnack.


Ex-President Harrison visits Berlin; attention shown him by the Emperor and others; change in him since his Washington days. Difficulty regarding embassy quarters; moral. Bicentenary of the Royal Academy of Sciences–pomp and ceremony; picturesque appearance of delegates, conversation with the Emperor on the subject; his jocose statement of his theory of the monarchy. Coming of age of the heir to the throne; reception of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary; gala opera and opinion of the Chinese minister regarding it; banquet; speeches of the two Emperors. Characteristics of the Emperor Franz Josef; conversation with him; his views of American questions; prospects of his Empire. Visit from the German-American Kriegerverein. Outbreak of the revolution in China; American policy; commendation of it from foreign source; my duties relating to it. Fourth of July speech at Leipsic in 1900. Visit to America; torrid heat at Washington; new revelation of President McKinley’s qualities; his discussion of public affairs. Two-hundredth anniversary of the Prussian kingdom, celebration; my official speech; religious ceremonies; gala opera; remark upon it by the French ambassador. A personal bereavement. Vacation studies on Fra Paolo Sarpi. Death of the Empress Frederick; her kindness to me and mine; conversations; her reminiscences of Queen Vietoria’s relations to American affairs; her funeral.


Assassination of President McKinley; its effect on German feeling. My peculiar relations with the Chinese minister at Berlin; our discussions: my advice to China through him; visits from and to Prince Chun, on his expiatory errand. Visit to Mr. Andrew Carnegie at Skibo Castle; evidences of kindly British feeling regarding the death of President McKinley seen during this English and Scotch journey; life at Skibo. America revisited; Bicentenary at Yale. Am chosen to honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin. Interview with the Emperor on my return from America; characteristics of his conversation; his request to President Roosevelt on New Year’s day, 1902. Emperor’s dinner to the American Embassy; departure of Prince Henry for the United States; the Emperor’s remarks upon the purpose of it. The American “open door” policy; my duties regarding it. Duties regarding St. Louis Exposition; difficulties. Short vacation in Italy, my sixth visit to Venice and new researches regarding Father Paul; Dr. Alexander Robertson. Return to Berlin; visit of the Shah of Persia and the Crown Prince of Siam. Am presented by the Emperor to the Crown Princess of Saxony; her charming manner and later escapade. Work with President Gilman in behalf of the Carnegie Institution for Research, at Washington. Death of King Albert of Saxony; attendance, under instructions, at his funeral; impressive ceremonial, and long sermon. The new King; impression made by his conversation. The Dusseldorf Exposition. Attendance as representative of Yale at the Bodleian Tercentenary at Oxford; reception of D.C.L. degree; peculiar feature of it; banquet in Christ Church Hall; failure of my speech. Visit to the University of St. Andrews; Mr. Carnegie’s Rectoral address; curious but vain attempts by audience to throw him off his guard; his skill in dealing with them; reception of LL.D. degree. My seventieth birthday, kindness of friends at Berlin and elsewhere; letters from President Roosevelt, Mr. Hay, Secretary of State, and Chancellor von Bulow. My resignation at this time in accordance with resolution made years before. Final reception by the Emperor. Farewell celebration with the American Colony and departure. Stay at Alassio; visits to Elba and Corsica; relics of Napoleon: curious monument of the vendetta between the Pozzo di Borgo and Bonaparte families.


My first knowledge of him, his speech as a student at Dusseldorf; talk with his father and mother regarding it. His appearance at court; characteristics. His wedding and my first conversation with him. Opinion regarding him in Berlin. Growth of opinions, favorable and unfavorable, in America. His dismissal of Bismarck; effect on public opinion and on my own view. Effect of some of his speeches. The “Caligula” pamphlet. Sundry epigrams. Conversation at my first interview with him as Ambassador. His qualities as a conversationist. His artistic gifts; his love of music; his dealings with dramatic art. Position of the theater in Germany. His interest in archaeological investigation; in education; in city improvements; in improvements throughout the Empire; sundry talks with him on these subjects. His feeling for literature-extent of his reading; testimony of those nearest him. His freedom from fads. His gifts as a statesman; his public and private discussions of state and international questions: his thoroughness in dealing with army and navy questions; his interest in various navies. His broader work; his ability in selecting men and his strength in standing by them; his relation to the legislative bodies; his acquaintance with men and things in all parts of the Empire and outside the Empire. His devotion to work. His clearness of vision in international questions as shown in sundry conversations; union of breadth and minuteness in his views; his large acquaintance with men. His independence of thought; his view of the Maine catastrophe. His impulsiveness; good sense beneath it; results of some supposed exceptions. His ability as a speaker; characteristics. His religious views; comparison of them with those of Frederick the Great and Frederick William I; his peculiar breadth of view shown in the Delitzsch affair; also in his dealings with his Roman Catholic subjects; treatment of the Strasburg and Metz Bishopric questions; his skill shown in the Jerusalem church matter His theory of monarchy; peculiar reasons for it; sundry criticisms of him in this respect. Feeling of the German people regarding attacks on the monarch The whole subject as viewed from the American Democratic standpoint Thomas Jefferson’s letter to John Adams. The Emperor’s feeling toward Parliamentary government; strength he has given it by sundry appointments. His alleged violations of the German Constitution; doubts regarding them. His alleged hostility to the United States during the Spanish War and at other times; facts regarding this charge. Sundry other charges against him; his dealings with the Venezuela question; excellent reasons for it. His feeling toward the United States. Summary of his position in contemporary history.


Proposal of a Conference by Nicholas II. Reasons why the Netherlands were preferred to Switzerland as its place of meeting. General misunderstanding as to the Emperor’s proposal. My own skepticism. Resultant feeling regarding the Conference. My acceptance of the nomination to it. Condition of things on our arrival at The Hague. First meeting of the American Delegation. Am chosen its president. General character of our instructions from Washington. American plan of arbitration. Preliminary meetings of delegates. The opening session. The “House in the Wood”; its remarkable characteristics. Proceedings. General skepticism at first. Baron de Staal as President of the Conference. Count Nigra. Lord Pauncefote and others. Public spirit of the Dutch Government. Growth of hope as to a good result. Difficulties as to disarmament The peace lobby. Queer letters and crankish proposals. Better ideas. M. de Bloch and his views. Count Welsersheimb and others. Organization of the Conference. First decision regarding the publication of our proceedings. Rumors. Attitude of Count Munster, President of the German Delegation. Attitude of Russia and sundry other powers regarding the American proposal for exempting private property from seizure on the high seas. New instructions sought by us from Washington. First presentation of the Presidents of Delegations to the Queen; her conversation. My talk with the British Admiral, Sir John Fisher. Real and imaginary interviews published in sundry European papers.


Apparent wavering of Russia regarding an arbitration scheme. Count Munster’s view of the Russian proposals. Social gatherings. Influx of people with notions, nostrums, and whimsies. First meeting of the great committee on arbitration. Presentation of the Russian plan; its serious defects. Successful effort of Sir Julian Pauncefote to provide for a proper court. Excellent spirit shown by the Russian delegates. Final character of the American project for an arbitration plan. Festival given to the Conference by the Burgomaster and City Council of The Hague. I revisit Delft after an absence of thirty years; deep impression made upon me by the tombs of William the Silent and Grotius. Amalgamation of the Russian, British, and American plans for arbitration. A day in London. Henry Irving in Sardou’s “Robespierre”; good and evil of the piece; its unhistorical features. Return to The Hague. The American plan of “Special Mediation” and “Seconding Powers” favorably received by the Conference. Characteristics of the amalgamated plan for the Arbitration Tribunal; its results. Visit from Count Munster; interesting stories of his life as Ambassador at St. Petersburg; the young German savant rescued from Siberia; Munster’s quarrel with Gortchakoff; his quotation from the old Grand Duke Michael. Questions in the Conference regarding asphyxiating bombs, etc. Attitude of the American delegates Question of the exemption of private property from seizure at sea; difficulty in getting it before the Conference; earnest support given us by the Netherlands and other governments. Talk with the leading Netherlands Delegate, Van Karnebeek. Reasons why South America was not represented in the Conference. Line of cleavage between political parties in the Netherlands. Fears of President McKinley regarding our special mediation proposal. Continuance of hortatory letters and crankish proposals. Discussion between American and Russian delegates on a fusion of various arbitration plans. Difficulties discovered in our own; alteration in them obtained from the State Department. Support given by Germany to the American view regarding the exemption of private property on the high seas.


Festival given to the Conference by the city of Haarlem. Difficulties encountered by the American proposal for the immunity of private property at sea. Question as to what contraband of war really is in these days. Encouraging meeting of the great committee on arbitration and mediation. Proposal to the Secretary of State that the American Delegation lay a wreath of silver and gold upon the tomb of Grotius at Delft. Discussion of the Brussels Conference Rules. Great social function at the house of the British Minister; John Bull’s wise policy in sustaining the influence of his Embassies and Legations, its happy results so far as Great Britain is concerned. Work on the arbitration plans progressing. Discouragement. Germany, Austria, Italy, and some minor powers seem suddenly averse to arbitration. Determination of other powers to go on despite this. Relaxation of the rule of secrecy regarding our proceedings. Further efforts in behalf of the American proposal for exemption of private property from seizure at sea. Outspoken opposition of Germany to arbitration. Resultant disappointment in the Conference. Progress in favor of an arbitration plan notwithstanding. Striking attitude of French socialists toward the Conference. My earnest talk with Count Munster in favor of arbitration; gradual change in his attitude. My suggestion to Baroness von Suttner.


Declaration against an arbitration tribunal received from their Government by the German delegation; their consternation; Professor Zorn and Secretary Holls sent to Berlin; my personal letter to Baron von Bulow. Means by which the Conference was kept from meeting until the return of these two gentlemen. Festival given by the Netherlands Government to the Conference. Tableaux and dances representing art and life in the Dutch provinces. Splendid music. Visit to Leyden. Arrival of Speaker Reed of the American House of Representatives. The Secretary of State authorizes our placing a wreath of silver and gold on the tomb of Grotius. Session regarding the extension of the Geneva Rules. Return of Zorn and Holls from Berlin. Happy change in the attitude of Germany. Henceforward American and German delegates work together in favor of arbitration. Question of asphyxiating bullets and bombs; view of Captain Mahan and Captain Crozier on these subjects. Curious speech of the delegate from Persia, Mirza Riza Khan. Great encouragement given by the new attitude of Germany. Preparation at Delft for our Grotius celebration. Visit to Rotterdam and Dort. Thoughts upon the Synod of Dort. Visit to the house from which John De Witt went to prison and assassination, and where Motley wrote much of his history. Trouble regarding the relation of Switzerland to the Red Cross Movement. The Duke of Tetuan. The Grotius wreath.


Celebration of Independence Day at Delft in the presence of the entire Conference and of eminent Netherlanders; speeches by the Netherlands ministers and American delegates; telegram from the King of Sweden. Impressive character of the service; the wreath placed upon the tomb; breakfast given by our delegation to the Conference, at the City Hall of Delft. Presentation of the American Memorial in behalf of the immunity of private property on the high seas; my speech in its favor: friendly answer by M. de Martens in behalf of Russia. Visit to M. Cornets de Groot at Ryswyck; relics of his great ancestor; curious information regarding the latter. Dinner to the American delegation by the prime minister of the Netherlands, happy reference to the arbitration plan. Effects of our Grotius celebration. Great dinner given by the Queen to the Conference at the palace in Amsterdam, her speech; her conversations afterward. General satisfaction shown at our Grotius tribute. My conversation with Mr. Raffalovitch regarding Russian disarmament. Its difficulties. Unfortunate article in the London “Spectator” on the work of the Conference. Attack in the Conference upon the report on disarmament. Discussion of matters subsidiary to arbitration. Hostile attitude of the Balkan States toward the commission d’enquette; ill feeling quieted. Field day regarding flattening and expanding bullets; attitude of the British and American delegates. Difficulties regarding the Monroe Doctrine; special meeting called by our delegation to obviate these, apparent impossibility of doing so; project of an American declaration; private agreement upon it among leaders of the Conference, agreement of the Conference to it. Final signing of the conventions; seal used by me; reservation in behalf of the Monroe Doctrine attached to our signatures. Closing of the Conference. Speeches of M. de Staal and Count Munster. Drawing up of our report; difficulties arising from sundry differences of opinion in our delegation. Final meeting of the Conference. Remarks of the leading representative of a Catholic power, on the correspondence between the Vatican and the Netherlands Government which had been presented to the Conference. Retrospect of the Conference. Summary of its results.


My connection with the Diplomatic Service at periods during the last forty-five years. Questions which have been asked me regarding it; reasons why I have not thought it best to reply fully; reasons why I can now do so. Improvement in our service since the Civil War; its condition during various administrations before the Civil War; sundry examples. Mr. Seward’s remark. Improvement in the practice of both parties during recent years. President Cleveland’s worthy effort. Better public sentiment among the people at large. Unjust charges of pessimists. Good points in our service at various posts, and especially at London. Faults of our service at present. My replies to young men anxious to St themselves for it. Simplicity of the most important reforms; suggestions. Choice of Ambassadors; of Ministers Plenipotentiary; of Ministers Resident; of Secretaries of Embassy and of Legation. Proper preparation of Secretaries; relation of our Universities to it–part which should be taken in their selection by the Secretary of State. Appointment of expert attaches. Probable good results of the system proposed. Evil results of the present system. Retention of the men best fitted. Examples of English non-partizanship in such appointments. Foremost importance of proper houses or apartments, owned or leased for long terms by the United States for each of its representatives abroad; evil results of the present system; certainty of good results from the reform advocated. Present American system contrasted with that of other nations. Services rendered by sundry American diplomatists. Cheapness of our diplomatic establishment compared with its value. Increase of salaries. Summing up of results of all the reforms herein advocated.



Usefulness of various journeys to me. Excursion through central and western New York in 1838–in middle Massachusetts, Boston, and New York City in 1842. Impression made by Trinity Church. Beginning of visits to Saratoga in 1843; life there; visits of Archbishop Hughes, Father Gavazzi, Washington Irving, Mr. Buchanan; the Parade of Mme. Jumel. Remarkable progress of the city of New York northward as seen at various visits. First visit to the West. Chicago in 1858; the raising of the grade; Mr. George Pullman’s part in it. Impression made on me by the Mississippi River. Sundry stays in Boston. Mr. Josiah Quincy. Arthur Gilman; his stories and speeches; his delivery of Bishop Eastburn’s sermons; his stories regarding the Bishop. Men met at Boston. Celebration of Bayard Taylor’s birthday with James T. Fields; reminiscences and stories given by the company; example of Charles Sumner’s lack of humor. Excursions in the Southern States. Visit to Richmond at the close of the war; Libby Prison; meeting with Dr. Bacon of New Haven at the former Executive Mansion of the Confederacy. Visit to Gettysburg; fearful condition of the battle-field and its neighborhood. Visit to South Carolina, 1875. Florida. A negro church; discovery of a Christmas carol imbedded in a plantation hymn. Excursion up the St. Johns River. Visit to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Collection of books on the Civil War. A visit to Martha’s Vineyard; pious amusements; “Nearer, My God, to Thee” played as a waltz.


Reason for going abroad after my resignation of the Cornell Presidency in 1885. “Tom Brown” at sea; sundry stories of his. Southwest of England. Visit to the historian Freeman at Wells. The Bishop and his palace. The Judge’s dinner. The Squires in the Court of Quarter Sessions. A Gladstonian meeting; Freeman’s speech; his defense of the last Abbot of Glastonbury. Bishop Bickersteth at Heavitree and Exeter. The caves at Torquay and their lessons. Worcester Cathedral and Deanery. “The Bungalow” of Halliwell-Phillips at Brighton. Oxford; chapel of All Souls College–?? interesting change seen at Magdalen; Bryce’s comparisons between British and American problems; visits to various colleges. Discussions of university affairs. Freeman’s lectures. To Windsor. Stay with Sir Paul Hunter at Mortimer. Visit to Bearwood. Mr. John Walter of the “Times.” Visit to “Bramshill.” Cambridge. New acquaintances. Talks with Bishop Creighton and Sir Henry Maine. Beginnings of technical instruction at Cambridge. A Greek play. Lord Lytton. Professor Seeley and his lectures. “Audit dinner” at Trinity College. Professor Mahaffy’s stories of Archbishop Whately. London. Talks with Lecky.


Mme. Blaze de Bury. From Paris to the Riviera. James Bryce. George von Bunsen. Sir Charles Murray. Lord Acton; discussions with the latter; his wide range of knowledge; his information regarding Father Paul, the Congregation of the Index, etc. Sir Henry Keating and the discussion at the Cercle Nautique of Cannes. Lord Acton’s view of Napoleon. Florence; talks with Villari. Naples; the Doctrine of Intercession as shown in sundry pictures. Amalfi. Sorrento; the Catechism of Archbishop Apuzzo; Francis Galton; his discussion of dreams; Marion Crawford; Mr. Mayall’s story of Herbert Spencer. Visit to Monte Cassino; talk with a novice. Excursions in Rome with Lanciani. Cardinal Edward at St. Peter’s. Discussions of Italian affairs with Minghetti, Sambuy, and others. The sculptor Story. Non-intercourse between Vatican and Quirinal. Judge Stallo. The Abbot of St. Paul Outside the Walls; bis minute knowledge of certain American affairs. Count de Gubernatis, at Florence, on the legendary character of sundry Hindu marvels. Count Ressi and his Catawba wine. Alfieri Sostegno and his school for political and social studies. Ubaldino Peruzzi. Stay at the Italian lakes. Visit to my colleague, Minister Both, in Switzerland; his duties as Landamman. The Abbey of St. Gall and its library. Visit to the Engadine. Talks with the British Admiral Irvine, at St. Moritz; his advocacy of war vessels with beaks. Sermon at Geneva. Talks with Mme. Blaze de Bury and Lecky at Paris. Architectural excursions through the east of France. Outrages by “restorers” at Rheims and at Troyes. London. Sermon by Temple, then bishop. More talks with Lecky; his views of Earl Russell and of Carlyle. Return to America.


A great sorrow and disappointment. Court of Appeals decides the Fiske suit, June, 1888. Reasons for going abroad. Scotland revisited. Memorable sermon at St. Giles in Edinburgh. Cathedral towns revisited. Sermons at Lichfield. The House of Commons; scene between the Irish leaders and Mr. Balfour. A political meeting in Holborn. Excursions to Rugby; to the home of Gilbert White; to the graves of Gray, Thackeray, and others. A critic of Carlyle at Brighton. Cambridge; interesting papers regarding the American Revolution. Lord Aberdare’s story of Frederick the Great and a British minister. Hermit life in London; work at the British Museum. Journey through Italy and Egypt with Willard Fiske; effect of Egyptian and other Eastern experiences on me; five weeks on the Nile; Brugsch Bey’s account of his discovery of the royal mummies; my visit to Artin Pasha and the great Technical School of Cairo. Dinner with the Khedive; my curious blunder. American and English missionaries in Cairo and Alexandria; Dr. Grant’s lecture on the Egyptian Trinities. Mr. Nimr; bis scientific and other activities in Egypt. My enjoyment of Saracenic architecture. Revelation to me of the connection between Egyptian and Greek architecture. Disappointment in the work of missionaries in Mohammedan countries. Stay in Athens. Professor Waldstein. The American School of Archaeology. Excursions with Walker Fearne and Professor Mahaffy. A talk with the Greek prime minister. A function at the cathedral. Visit to Mars Hill on Good Friday. To Constantinople. Our minister, Mr. Straus. Discussions of art by Hamdi Bey and of literature by Sir William White. Revelations of history and architecture in Constantinople. St. Sophia. Return to Paris. The Exposition of 1889. The American “commission of experts”; its good and bad sides. Great improvement in American art. Sargent and Melchers. Tributes, in Paris, to Lafayette and Camille Desmoulins. Walks and talks with Senator Gibson; our journey together to Homburg and Belgium.


My stay of two years in America. Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania. Archbishop Ryan’s Latin pun. The Mohonk Conference and President Hayes. Excursion with Andrew Carnegie to Mexico, California, and Oregon. Meetings with Cornell students. Cathedral of Mexico. Our reception by President Porfirio Diaz and his ministers. Beauty of California in spring. Its two universities. My relations with Stanford; pleasure in this visit to it; character of its buildings; my lectures there. Visit to Salt Lake City. To the Chicago Exposition buildings. The University of Chicago and its work. My appointment as minister to St. Petersburg. My arrival there on November 4, 1892. A vacation visit to the Scandinavian countries. The University and Cathedral of Upsala. Journey through the Swedish canals and lakes. Gothenburg. Swedish system of dealing with the sale of intoxicating liquors; its happy results. Throndheim; cathedral; evidences of mediaeval piety and fraud. Impression made by Sweden and Norway New evolution of human folly in Norway. The Ethnographic Museum at Copenhagen. Moscow revisited. Muscovite ideas of trade. My visit to Tolstoi. Resignation of my legation at St. Petersburg. Italy revisited. Stay in Palermo The Church of St. Josaphat; identity of this saint with Buddha; my talk regarding him with the Commendatore Marzo. Visit to the Cathedral of Monreale. The media val idea of creation as revealed in its mosaics. The earthquake at Florence; our experiences of it; its effects in the town. Return to America. Conversation with Holman Hunt in London. Visits to sundry American universities; my addresses before their students; reasons for publicly discussing “The Problem of High Crime” in our country. The Venezuelan Commission. My appointment in May, 1897, as ambassador to Germany.



Twofold characteristics of the central route from New York to Niagara. The lake country of western New York. The Onondaga Valley; characteristics of its people; their agitation in the autumn of 1869. Discovery of the “petrified giant.” My visit to it; my skepticism; its causes. Evolution of myth and legend. General joy in believing in the marvelous origin of the statue. Gradual growth of a skeptical view. Confirmation of suspicions. Desperate efforts to resist skepticism. Clear proofs of a swindle. Attempted revival of belief in it. Alexander McWhorter; he declares the statue a Phenician idol, and detects a Phenician inscription upon it. View of Dr. Schlottmann, Instructor in Hebrew at Leipsic. My answer to his inquiry. Be persists in his belief. Final acknowledgment and explanation of the whole thing as a swindle. Sundry later efforts to imitate it.


My early reverence for authors. Youthful tendency toward literary studies. Change in this respect during my stay at Yale. Difference between the Yale and Harvard spirit. Senator Wolcott’s speech on this. Special influence of Parker and Carlyle upon my view of literature. My purpose in various writings. Preparations for lectures upon the French Revolution and for a book upon its causes; probabilities of this book at present. “Paper Money Inflation in France,” etc. Course of lectures upon the history of Germany. Resultant plan of a book; form to be given it; reasons for this form; its present prospects. My discussion of sundry practical questions. Report as Commissioner at the Paris Exposition of 1878; resultant address on “The Provision for Higher Instruction in Subjects Bearing Directly on Public Affairs.” Happy progress of our universities in this respect. Civil-service reform; speeches; article in the “North American Review.” Address at Yale on “The Message of the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth.” Some points in the evolution of my “History of the Warfare of Science with Theology.” Projects formed during sundry vacation journeys in Europe. Lectures on the evolution of humanity in criminal law; growth of torture in penalty and procedure; collection of material on the, subject. Project of a small book to be called “The Warfare of Humanity with Unreason.” Vague project during sundry stays at Florence of a history of that city; attractive points in such a history. Project of a Life of Father Paul Sarpi formed at Venice; its relinquishment; importance of such a biography. Plan for a study on the Life of St. Francis Xavier; beauty of his life; lesson taught by it regarding the evolution of myth and legend. Project of a brief biography of Thomas Jefferson; partly carried out; how formed and why discarded. Bibliographical introduction to O’Connor Morris’s short history of the French Revolution. Project of a longer general bibliography of modern bi story transferred to President Charles Kendall Adams. Project of book, “How Can Wealthy Americans Best Use Their Money”; Deed of such a book in the United States. Lectures given and articles projected on “The Problem of High Crime in the United States”; reasons for taking up this subject. Two projects of which I have dreamed; A brief History of the Middle Ages as an introduction to Modern History; desirable characteristics of such a book; beginnings made of it in my lectures: “A History of Civilization in Spain”; reasons for such a book; excellent material accessible: general characteristics of such a history; recommendation of this subject to historical scholars. Characteristics of American life in the latter half of the nineteenth century unfavorable to the carrying out of many extended projects. Distractions. An apologia pro vita mea.



Religious ideas of the settlers in central New York. The Protestant Episcopal Church; its relations to larger Christian bodies. Effects of revivalism in them. My father and mother. A soul escaped out of the thirteenth century into the nineteenth, Henry Gregory. My first recollections of religious worship; strong impressions upon me; good effects; some temporary evil effects. Syracuse. My early bigotry; check in it; reaction. Family influences. Influence of sundry sermons and occurrences. Baptismal regeneration. My feelings as expressed by Lord Bacon. The “Ursuline Manual” and its revelation. Effects of sectarian squabbles and Sunday-school zeal. Bishop DeLancey; his impressive personality. Effects of certain books. Life at a little sectarian college. Results of “Christian Evidences”.


Influence of New England Congregationalism at Yale. Butler’s “Analogy.” Revivals. Sermons and prayers in the college pulpit. Noble efforts of sundry professors, especially sermons of Horace Bushnell and President Woolsey. The recital of creeds. Effects of my historical reading. Injury done the American Church at that period by its support of slavery; notable exceptions to this. Samuel J. May. Beecher. Chapin. Theodore Parker. Influence of the latter upon me. Especial characteristics of Beecher as shown then and afterward. Chapin and his characteristics. Horace Greeley as a church-goer; strain upon his Universalism. Dr. Leonard Bacon. Bishop Alonzo Potter. Archbishops Bedini and Hughes; powerful sermon by the latter; Father Gavazzi’s reply to it.


Student life in Europe. My susceptibility to religious architecture, music, and the nobler forms of ceremonial. Beauties of the Anglican service. Sundry experiences in European cathedrals and English university chapels. Archbishop Sumner. Bishop Wilberforce. My life in a Roman Catholic family in Paris. Noble work of the Archbishop of Paris. Sibour; his assassination. German Protestantism as seen in Berlin. Earnest character of Roman Catholic worship in central Germany. The Russo-Greek Church as seen in Russia; beauty of its service; its unfortunate influence on the people. Roman Catholicism in Italy; its wretched condition when I first saw it; irreverence of prelates at an Easter high mass in st. Peter’s. Pius IX; effectiveness of the ceremonial in which he took part; Lord Odo Russell’s reminiscence of him. A low mass at Pisa and its effect. An effort at proselytism in Rome; Father Cataldi. Condition of Rome at that time. Improvements since. Naples and “King Bomba”; Robert Dale Owen’s statement to me. Catechism promoted by the Archbishop of Sorrento. Liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius; remark of a bystander to me. The doctrine of “intercession” illustrated. Erasmus’s colloquy of “The Shipwreck.” Moral condition of Naples. Influence of this Italian experience upon my religious views.


My relations with Professor Fisher at New Haven; his good influence. My interest in church work as a professor at the University of Michigan; am asked to select a rector; my success. Readings in ecclesiastical history; effect of these. Sale’s Koran. Fra Paolo Sarpi’s “History of the Council of Trent.” Dean Stanley’s “Eastern Church.” Bossuet, Spalding, Balmez, Buckle, Lecky, Draper, the Darwinian hypothesis. Special influence of Stanley’s “Life of Arnold,” Robertson’s Sermons, and other works. Good influences from sundry Methodists. Exceptions taken by individuals to sundry Broad Church statements in my historical lectures; their favorable reception. Sobering effect upon me of “spiritualistic” fanaticism. My increasing reluctance to promote revolutionary changes in religion; my preference for evolutionary methods. Special experiences. The death-bed of a Hicksite Quaker. My toleration ideas embodied in the Cornell University Charter; successful working of these. Establishment of a university chapel and preachership; my selections of preachers; good effects of their sermons upon me. Effects of sundry Eastern experiences. Mohammedan worship at Cairo and elsewhere. The dervishes. Expulsion of young professors from the American Missionary College at Beyrout; noble efforts of one of them afterward. The Positivist Conventicle in London. The “Bible for Learners.” Summing up of my experience. Worship–public and private; reasonableness of both. Recognition of spiritual as well as of physical laws. Recognition of an evolution in religious beliefs. Proper attitude of thinking men. Efforts for evolution rather than for revolution. Need of charity to all forms of religion but of steady resistance to clerical combinations for hampering scientific thought or controlling public education.



Volume II



During four years after my return from service as minister to Germany I devoted myself to the duties of the presidency at Cornell, and on resigning that position gave all time possible to study and travel, with reference to the book on which I was then engaged: “A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology.”

But in 1892 came a surprise. In the reminiscences of my political life I have given an account of a visit, with Theodore Roosevelt, Cabot Lodge, Sherman Rogers, and others, to President Harrison at the White House, and of some very plain talk, on both sides, relating to what we thought shortcomings of the administration in regard to reform in the civil service. Although President Harrison greatly impressed me at the time by the clearness and strength of his utterances, my last expectation in the world would have been of anything in the nature of an appointment from him. High officials do not generally think very well of people who comment unfavorably on their doings or give them unpleasant advice; this I had done, to the best of my ability, in addressing the President; and great, therefore, was my astonishment when, in 1892, he tendered me the post of minister plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg.

On my way I stopped in London, and saw various interesting people, but especially remember a luncheon with Lord Rothschild, with whom I had a very interesting talk about the treatment of the Jews in Russia. He seemed to feel deeply the persecution to which they were subjected,–speaking with much force regarding it, and insisting that their main crime was that they were sober, thoughtful, and thrifty; that as to the charge that they were preying upon the agricultural population, they preyed upon it as do the Quakers in England–by owning agricultural machines and letting them out; that as to the charge of usury, they were much less exacting than many Christians; and that the main effort upon public opinion there, such as it is, should be in the direction of preventing the making of more severe laws. He incidentally referred to the money power of Europe as against Russia, speaking of Alexander II as kind and just, but of Alexander III as really unacquainted with the great questions concerned, and under control of the church.

I confess that I am amazed, as I revise this chapter, to learn from apparently trustworthy sources that his bank is now making a vast loan to Russia–to enable her to renew her old treatment of Japan, China, Armenia, Finland, Poland, the Baltic Provinces, and her Jewish residents. I can think of nothing so sure to strengthen the anti-Semites throughout the world.

A few days later Sir Julian Goldschmidt came to me on the same subject, and he impressed me much more deeply than the head of the house of Rothschild had done. There was nothing of the ennobled millionaire about him; he seemed to me a gentleman from the heart outward. Presenting with much feeling the disabilities and hardships of the Jews in Russia, he dwelt upon the discriminations against them, especially in the matter of military fines; their gradual and final exclusion from professions; and the confiscation of their property at Moscow, where they had been forced to leave the city and therefore to realize on their whole estates at a few days’ notice.

At Paris I also had some interesting conversations, regarding my new post, with the Vicomte de Vogue, the eminent academician, who has written so much that is interesting on Russia. Both he and Struve, the Russian minister at Washington, who had given me a letter to him, had married into the Annenkoff family; and I found his knowledge of Russia, owing to this fact as well as to his former diplomatic residence there, very suggestive. Another interesting episode was the funeral of Renan at the College de France, to which our minister, Mr. Coolidge, took me. Eloquent tributes were paid, and the whole ceremony was impressive after the French manner.

Dining with Mr. Coolidge, I found myself seated near the Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld,–a charming American, the daughter of Mr. Mitchell, former senator from Oregon. The duke seemed to be a quiet, manly young officer, devoted to his duties in the army; but it was hard to realize in him the successor of the great duke, the friend of Washington and of Louis XVI, who showed himself so broad-minded during our War of Independence and the French Revolution.

At Berlin I met several of my old friends at the table of our minister, my friend of Yale days, William Walter Phelps–among these Virchow, Professor von Leyden, Paul Meyerheim, Carl Becker, and Theodor Barth; and at the Russian Embassy had an interesting talk with Count Shuvaloff, more especially on the Behring Sea question. We agreed that the interests of the United States and Russia in the matter were identical.

On the 4th of November I arrived in St. Petersburg after an absence of thirty-seven years. Even in that country, where everything moves so slowly, there had clearly been changes; the most evident of these being the railway from the frontier. At my former visit the journey from Berlin had required nine days and nine nights of steady travel, mainly in a narrow post-coach; now it was easily done in one day and two nights in very comfortable cars. At that first visit the entire railway system of Russia, with the exception of the road from the capital to Gatshina only a few miles long, consisted of the line to Moscow; at this second visit the system had spread very largely over the empire, and was rapidly extending through Siberia and Northern China to the Pacific.

But the deadening influence of the whole Russian system was evident. Persons who clamor for governmental control of American railways should visit Germany, and above all Russia, to see how such control results. In Germany its defects are evident enough; people are made to travel in carriages which our main lines would not think of using, and with a lack of conveniences which with us would provoke a revolt; but the most amazing thing about this administration in Russia is to see how, after all this vast expenditure, the whole atmosphere of the country seems to paralyze energy. During my stay at St. Petersburg I traveled over the line between that city and Berlin six or eight times, and though there was usually but one express-train a day, I never saw more than twenty or thirty through passengers. When one bears in mind the fact that this road is the main artery connecting one hundred and twenty millions of people at one end with over two hundred millions at the other, this seems amazing; but still more so when one considers that in the United States, with a population of, say, eighty millions in all, we have five great trunk-lines across the continent, each running large express-trains several times a day.

There was apparently little change as regards enterprise in Russia, whatever there might be as regarded facilities for travel. St. Petersburg had grown, of course. There were new streets in the suburbs, and where the old admiralty wharves had stood,–for the space of perhaps an eighth of a mile along the Neva,–fine buildings had been erected. But these were the only evident changes, the renowned Nevskii Prospekt remaining as formerly–a long line of stuccoed houses on either side, almost all poor in architecture; and the street itself the same unkempt, shabby, commonplace thoroughfare as of old. No new bridge had been built across the Neva for forty years. There was still but one permanent structure spanning the river, and the great stream of travel and traffic between the two parts of the city was dependent mainly on the bridges of boats, which, at the breaking of the ice in the spring, had sometimes to be withdrawn during many days.

A change had indeed been brought by the emancipation of the serfs, but there was little outward sign of it. The muzhik remained, to all appearance, what he was before: in fact, as our train drew into St. Petersburg, the peasants, with their sheepskin caftans, cropped hair, and stupid faces, brought back the old impressions so vividly that I seemed not to have been absent a week. The old atmosphere of repression was evident everywhere. I had begun my experience of it under Nicholas I, had seen a more liberal policy under Alexander II, but now found a recurrence of reaction, and everywhere a pressure which deadened all efforts at initiating a better condition of things.

But I soon found one change for the better. During my former stay under Nicholas I and Alexander II, the air was full of charges of swindling and cheatery against the main men at court. Now next to nothing of that sort was heard; it was evident that Alexander III, narrow and illiberal though he might be, was an honest man, and determined to end the sort of thing that had disgraced the reigns of his father and grandfather.

Having made the usual visit to the Foreign Office upon my arrival, I was accompanied three days later by the proper officials, Prince Soltykoff and M. de Koniar, on a special train to Gatchina, and there received by the Emperor. I found him–though much more reserved than his father–agreeable and straightforward. As he was averse to set speeches, we began at once a discussion on various questions interesting the two nations, and especially those arising out of the Behring Sea fisheries. He seemed to enter fully into the American view; characterizing the marauders in that sea as “ces poachers la”–using the English word, although our conversation was in French; and on my saying that the Russian and American interests in that question were identical, he not only acquiesced, but spoke at considerable length, and earnestly, in the same sense.

He alluded especially to the Chicago Exposition, spoke in praise of its general conception and plan, said that though in certain classes of objects of art it might not equal some of the European expositions, it would doubtless in very many specialties surpass all others; and on my expressing the hope that Russia would be fully represented, he responded heartily, declaring that to be his own wish.

Among the various subjects noted was one which was rather curious. In the anteroom I had found the Greek Archbishop of Warsaw arrayed in a purple robe and hat–the latter adorned with an exceedingly lustrous cross of diamonds, and, engaging in conversation with him, had learned that he had a few years before visited China as a missionary; his talk was that of a very intelligent man; and on my saying that one of our former American bishops, Dr. Boone, in preparing a Chinese edition of the Scriptures had found great difficulty in deciding upon a proper equivalent for the word “God,” the archbishop answered, “That is quite natural, for the reason that the Chinese have really no conception of such a Being.”

Toward the close of my interview with the Emperor, then, I referred to the archbishop, and congratulated the monarch on having so accomplished and devoted a prelate in his church. At this he said, “You speak Russian, then?” to which I answered in the negative. “But,” he said, “how then could you talk with the archbishop?” I answered, “He spoke in French.” The Emperor seemed greatly surprised at this, and well he might be, for the ecclesiastics in Russia seem the only exceptions to the rule that Russians speak French and other foreign languages better and more generally than do any other people.

This interview concluded, I was taken through a long series of apartments filled with tapestries, porcelain, carvings, portraits, and the like, to be received by the Empress. She was slight in figure, graceful, with a most kindly face and manner, and she put me at ease immediately, addressing me in English, and detaining me much longer than I had expected. She, too, spoke of the Chicago Exposition, saying that she had ordered some things of her own sent to it. She also referred very pleasantly to the Rev. Dr. Talmage of Brooklyn, who had come over on one of the ships which brought supplies to the famine-stricken; and she dwelt upon sundry similarities and dissimilarities between our own country and Russia, discussing various matters of local interest, and was in every way cordial and kindly.

The impression made by the Emperor upon me at that time was deepened during my whole stay. He was evidently a strong character, but within very unfortunate limits–upright, devoted to his family, with a strong sense of his duty to his people and of his accountability to the Almighty. But more and more it became evident that his political and religious theories were narrow, and that the assassination of his father had thrown him back into the hands of reactionists. At court and elsewhere I often found myself looking at him and expressing my thoughts inwardly much as follows: “You are honest, true-hearted, with a deep sense of duty; but what a world of harm you are destined to do! With your immense physical frame and giant strength, you will last fifty years longer; you will try by main force to hold back the whole tide of Russian thought; and after you will come the deluge.” There was nothing to indicate the fact that he was just at the close of his life.

At a later period I was presented to the heir to the throne, now the Emperor Nicholas II. He seemed a kindly young man; but one of his remarks amazed and disappointed me. During the previous year the famine, which had become chronic in large parts of Russia, had taken an acute form, and in its train had come typhus and cholera. It was, in fact, the same wide-spread and deadly combination of starvation and disease which similar causes produced so often in Western-Europe during the middle ages. From the United States had come large contributions of money and grain; and as, during the year after my arrival, there had been a recurrence of the famine, about forty thousand rubles more had been sent me from Philadelphia for distribution. I therefore spoke on the general subject to him, referring to the fact that he was president of the Imperial Relief Commission. He answered that since the crops of the last year there was no longer any suffering; that there was no famine worthy of mention; and that he was no longer giving attention to the subject. This was said in an offhand, easy-going way which appalled me. The simple fact was that the famine, though not so wide-spread, was more trying than during the year before; for it found the peasant population in Finland and in the central districts of the empire even less prepared to meet it. They had, during the previous winter, very generally eaten their draught-animals and burned everything not absolutely necessary for their own shelter; from Finland specimens of bread made largely of ferns had been brought me which it would seem a shame to give to horses or cattle; and yet his imperial highness the heir to the throne evidently knew nothing of all this.

In explanation, I was afterward told by a person who had known him intimately from his childhood, that, though courteous, his main characteristic was an absolute indifference to most persons and things about him, and that he never showed a spark of ambition of any sort. This was confirmed by what I afterward saw of him at court. He seemed to stand about listlessly, speaking in a good-natured way to this or that person when it was easier than not to do so; but, on the whole, indifferent to all which went on about him.

After his accession to the throne, one of the best judges in Europe, who had many opportunities to observe him closely, said to me, “He knows nothing of his empire or of his people; he never goes out of his house, if he can help it.” This explains in some degree the insufficiency of his programme for the Peace Conference at The Hague and for the Japanese War, which, as I revise these lines, is bringing fearful disaster and disgrace upon Russia.

The representative of a foreign power in any European capital must be presented to the principal members of the reigning family, and so I paid my respects to the grand dukes and duchesses. The first and most interesting of these to me was the old Grand Duke Michael–the last surviving son of the first Nicholas. He was generally, and doubtless rightly, regarded as, next to his elder brother, Alexander II, the flower of the flock; and his reputation was evidently much enhanced by comparison with his brother next above him in age, the Grand Duke Nicholas. It was generally charged that the conduct of the latter during the Turkish campaign was not only unpatriotic, but inhuman. An army officer once speaking to me regarding the suffering of his soldiers at that time for want of shoes, I asked him where the shoes were, and he answered: “In the pockets of the Grand Duke Nicholas.”

Michael was evidently different from his brother–not haughty and careless toward all other created beings; but kindly, and with a strong sense of duty. One thing touched me. I said to him that the last time I had seen him was when he reached St. Petersburg from the seat of the Crimean War in the spring of 1855, and drove from the railway to the palace in company with his brother Nicholas. Instantly the tears came into his eyes and flowed down his cheeks. He answered: “Yes, that was sad indeed. My father”–meaning the first Emperor Nicholas–“telegraphed us that our mother was in very poor health, longed to see us, and insisted on our coming to her bedside. On our way home we learned of his death.”

Of the younger generation of grand dukes,–the brothers of Alexander III,–the greatest impression was made upon me by Vladimir. He was apparently the strongest of all the sons of Alexander II, being of the great Romanoff breed–big, strong, muscular, like his brother the Emperor. He chatted pleasantly; and I remember that he referred to Mr. James Gordon Bennett–whom he had met on a yachting cruise–as “my friend.”

Another of these big Romanoff grand dukes was Alexis, the grand admiral. He referred to his recollections of the United States with apparent pleasure, in spite of the wretched Catacazy imbroglio which hindered President Grant from showing him any hospitality at the White House, and which so vexed his father the Emperor Alexander II.

The ladies of the imperial family were very agreeable. A remark of one of them–a beautiful and cultivated woman, born a princess of one of the Saxon duchies–surprised me; for, when I happened to mention Dresden, she told me that her great desire had been to visit that capital of her own country, but that she had never been able to do so. She spoke of German literature, and as I mentioned receiving a letter the day before from Professor Georg Ebers, the historical novelist, she said: “You are happy indeed that you can meet such people; how I should like to know Ebers!” Such are the limitations of royalty.

Meantime, I made visits to my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, and found them interesting and agreeable–as it is the business of diplomatists to be. The dean was the German ambassador, General von Schweinitz, a man ideally fit for such a position–of wide experience, high character, and evidently strong and firm, though kindly. When ambassador at Vienna he had married the daughter of his colleague, the American minister, Mr. John Jay, an old friend and colleague of mine in the American Historical Association; and so came very pleasant relations between us. His plain, strong sense was of use to me in more than one difficult question.

The British ambassador was Sir Robert Morier. He, too, was a strong character, though lacking apparently in some of General von Schweinitz’s more kindly qualities. He was big, roughish, and at times so brusque that he might almost be called brutal. When bullying was needed it was generally understood that he could do it con amore. A story was told of him which, whether exact or not, seemed to fit his character well. He had been, for a time, minister to Portugal; and, during one of his controversies with the Portuguese minister of foreign affairs, the latter, becoming exasperated, said to him: “Sir, it is evident that you were not born a Portuguese cavalier.” Thereupon Morier replied: “No, thank God, I was not: if I had been, I would have killed myself on the breast of my mother.”

And here, perhaps, is the most suitable place for mentioning a victory which Morier enabled Great Britain to obtain over the United States. It might be a humiliating story for me to tell, had not the fault so evidently arisen from the shortcomings of others. The time has come to reveal this piece of history, and I do so in the hope that it may aid in bettering the condition in which the Congress of the United States has, thus far, left its diplomatic servants.

As already stated, the most important question with which I had to deal was that which had arisen in the Behring Sea. The United States possessed there a great and flourishing fur-seal industry, which was managed with care and was a source of large revenue to our government. The killing of the seals under the direction of those who had charge of the matter was done with the utmost care and discrimination on the Pribyloff Islands, to which these animals resorted in great numbers during the summer. It was not at all cruel, and was so conducted that the seal herd was fully maintained rather than diminished. But it is among the peculiarities of the seals that, each autumn, they migrate southward, returning each spring in large numbers along the Alaskan coast, and also that, while at the islands, the nursing mothers make long excursions to fishing-banks at distances of from one to two hundred miles. The return of these seal herds, and these food excursions, were taken advantage of by Canadian marauders, who slaughtered the animals, in the water, without regard to age or sex, in a way most cruel and wasteful; so that the seal herds were greatly diminished and in a fair way to extermination. Our government tried to prevent this and seized sundry marauding vessels; whereupon Great Britain felt obliged, evidently from political motives, to take up the cause of these Canadian poachers and to stand steadily by them. As a last resort, the government of the United States left the matter to arbitration, and in due time the tribunal began its sessions at Paris. Meantime, a British commission was, in 1891-1892, ordered to prepare the natural-history material for the British case before the tribunal; and it would be difficult to find a more misleading piece of work than their report. Sham scientific facts were supplied for the purposes of the British counsel at Paris. While I cannot believe that the authorities in London ordered or connived at this, it is simple justice to state, as a matter of fact, that, as afterward in the Venezuela case,[1] so in this, British agents were guilty of the sharpest of sharp practices. The Russian fur-seal islands having also suffered to a considerable extent from similar marauders, a British commission visited the Russian islands and took testimony of the Russian commandant in a manner grossly unfair. This commandant was an honest man, with good powers of observation and with considerable insight into the superficial facts of seal life, but without adequate scientific training; his knowledge of English was very imperfect, and the commission apparently led him to say and sign just what they wanted. He was somehow made to say just the things which were needed to help the British case, and not to say anything which could hurt it. So absurd were the misstatements to which he had thus been led to attach his name that the Russian Government ordered him to come all the way from the Russian islands on the coast of Siberia to St. Petersburg, there to be reexamined. It was an enormous journey–from the islands to Japan, from Japan to San Francisco, from San Francisco to New York, and thence to St. Petersburg. There, with the aid of a Russian expert, I had the satisfaction of putting questions to him; and, having found the larger part of his previous alleged testimony to be completely in conflict with his knowledge and opinions, I forwarded this new testimony to those in charge of the American case before the Paris tribunal, in the hope that it would place the whole matter in its true light. With it was also presented the concurring testimony taken by the American experts who had been sent to the Behring Sea. Those experts were Drs. Mendenhall and Merriam, scientists of the highest character, and their reports were, in every essential particular, afterward confirmed by another man of science, after study of the whole question in the islands and on the adjacent seas–Dr. Jordan, president of Stanford University, probably the highest authority in the United States–and, perhaps, in the world–regarding the questions at issue: a pupil and friend of Agassiz, a man utterly incapable of making a statement regarding any point in science which he did not fully believe, no matter what its political bearing might be.

[1] See my chapter on the Venezuela Commission for the trick attempted by British agents in the first British Blue Book on that subject.

And now to another feature of the case. Before leaving Washington for St. Petersburg, I had consulted with the Secretary of State and the leading persons in charge of our case, and on my way had talked with Count Shuvaloff, the Russian ambassador at Berlin; and all agreed that the interests of the United States and Russia in the matter of protecting the seals were identical. The only wonder was that, this fact being so clear, the Russian Foreign Office constantly held back from showing any active sympathy with the United States in our efforts to right this wrong done to both nations.

At my first presentation to the Emperor I found him, as already stated, of the same opinion as the Washington cabinet and Count Shuvaloff. He was thoroughly with us, was bitter against the Canadian marauders, agreed in the most straightforward and earnest manner that the interests of Russia and the United States in this question were identical, and referred severely to the British encroachments upon both the nations in the northern seas.[2]

[2] See detailed account of this conversation previously given in this chapter.

All went smoothly until I took up the subject at the Russian Foreign Office. There I found difficulties, though at first I did not fully understand them. The Emperor Alexander III was dying at Livadia in the Crimea; M. de Giers, the minister of foreign affairs, a man of high character, was dying at Tzarskoye Selo; and in charge of his department was an under-secretary who had formerly, for a short time, represented Russia at Washington and had not been especially successful there. Associated with him was another under-secretary, who was in charge of the Asiatic division at the Russian Foreign Office. My case was strong, and I was quite willing to meet Sir Robert Morier in any fair argument regarding it. I had taken his measure on one or two occasions when he had discussed various questions in my presence; and had not the slightest fear that, in a fair presentation of the matter, he could carry his point against me. At various times we met pleasantly enough in the anterooms of the Foreign Office; but at that period our representative at the Russian court was simply a minister plenipotentiary and the British representative an ambassador, and as such he, of course, had precedence over me, with some adventitious advantages which I saw then, and others which I realized afterward. It was not long before it became clear that Sir Robert Morier had enormous “influence” with the above-named persons in charge of the Foreign Office, and, indeed, with Russian officials in general. They seemed not only to stand in awe of him, but to look toward him as “the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress.” I now began to understand the fact which had so long puzzled our State Department–namely, that Russia did not make common cause with us, though we were fighting her battles at the same time with our own. But I struggled on, seeing the officials frequently and doing the best that was possible.

Meantime, the arbitration tribunal was holding its sessions at Paris, and the American counsel were doing their best to secure justice for our country. The facts were on our side, and there seemed every reason to hope for a decision in our favor. A vital question was as to how extensive the closed zone for the seals about our islands should be. The United States showed that the nursing seals were killed by the Canadian poachers at a distance of from one to two hundred miles from the islands, and that killing ought not to be allowed within a zone of that radius; but, on the other hand, the effort of the British counsel was to make this zone as small as possible. They had even contended for a zone of only ten miles radius. But just at the nick of time Sir Robert Morier intervened at St. Petersburg. No one but himself and the temporary authorities of the Russian Foreign Office had, or could have had, any knowledge of his manoeuver. By the means which his government gave him power to exercise, he in some way secured privately, from the underlings above referred to as in temporary charge of the Foreign Office, an agreement with Great Britain which practically recognized a closed zone of only thirty miles radius about the Russian islands. This fact was telegraphed just at the proper moment to the British representatives before the tribunal; and, as one of the judges afterward told me, it came into the case like a bomb. It came so late that any adequate explanation of Russia’s course was impossible, and its introduction at that time was strenuously objected to by our counsel; but the British lawyers thus got the fact fully before the tribunal, and the tribunal naturally felt that in granting us a sixty-mile radius–double that which Russia had asked of Great Britain for a similar purpose–it was making a generous provision. The conditions were practically the same at the American and Russian seal islands; yet the Russian officials in charge of the matter seemed entirely regardless of this fact, and, indeed, of Russian interests. After secret negotiation with Sir Robert, without the slightest hint to the American minister of their intended sacrifice of their “identical interest with the United States,” they allowed this treachery to be sprung upon us. The sixty-mile limit was established by the tribunal, and it has proved utterly delusive. The result of this decision of the tribunal was that this great industry of ours was undermined, if not utterly destroyed; and that the United States were also mulcted to the amount of several hundred thousand dollars, besides the very great expense attending the presentation of her case to the tribunal.

I now come back to the main point which has caused me to bring up this matter in these reminiscences. How was it that Great Britain obtained this victory? To what was it due? The answer is simple: it was due to the fact that the whole matter at St. Petersburg was sure to be decided, not by argument, but by “influence.” Sir Robert Morier had what in the Tammany vernacular is called a “pull.” His government had given him, as its representative, all the means necessary to have his way in this and all other questions like it; whereas the American Government had never given its representative any such means or opportunities. The British representative was an AMBASSADOR, and had a spacious, suitable, and well-furnished house in which he could entertain fitly and largely, and to which the highest Russian officials thought it an honor to be invited. The American representatives were simply MINISTERS; from time immemorial had never had such a house; had generally no adequate place for entertaining; had to live in apartments such as they might happen to find vacant in various parts of the town–sometimes in very poor quarters, sometimes in better; were obliged to furnish them at their own expense; had, therefore, never been able to obtain a tithe of that social influence, so powerful in Russia, which was exercised by the British Embassy.

More than this, the British ambassador had adequate means furnished him for exercising political influence. The American representatives had not; they had been stinted in every way. The British ambassador had a large staff of thoroughly trained secretaries and attaches, the very best of their kind,–well educated to begin with, thoroughly trained afterward,–serving as antennae for Great Britain in Russian society; and as the first secretary of his embassy he had no less a personage than Henry Howard, now Sir Henry Howard, minister at The Hague, one of the brightest, best-trained, and most experienced diplomatists in Europe. The American representative was at that time provided with only one secretary of legation, and he, though engaging and brilliant, a casual appointment who remained in the country only a few months. I had, indeed, secured a handsome and comfortable apartment, and entertained at dinner and otherwise the leading members of the Russian ministry and of the diplomatic corps, at a cost of more than double my salary; but the influence thus exercised was, of course, as nothing compared to that exercised by a diplomatist like Sir Robert Morier, who had every sort of resource at his command, who had been for perhaps forty years steadily in the service of his country, and had learned by long experience to know the men with whom he had to deal and the ways of getting at them. His power in St. Petersburg was felt in a multitude of ways: all officials at the Russian Foreign Office, from the highest to the lowest, naturally desired to be on good terms with him. They knew that his influence had become very great and that it was best to have his friendship; they loved especially to be invited to his dinners, and their families loved to be invited to his balls. He was a POWER. The question above referred to, of such importance to the United States, was not decided by argument, but simply by the weight of social and other influence, which counts so enormously in matters of this kind at all European capitals, and especially in Russia. This condition of things has since been modified by the change of the legation into an embassy; but, as no house has been provided, the old difficulty remains. The United States has not the least chance of success, and under her present shabby system never will have, in closely contested cases, with any of the great powers of the earth. They provide fitly for their representatives; the United States does not. The representatives of other powers, being thus provided for, are glad to remain at their posts and to devote themselves to getting a thorough mastery of everything connected with diplomatic business; American representatives, obliged, as a rule, to take up with uncomfortable quarters, finding their position not what it ought to be as compared with that of the representatives of other great powers, and obliged to expend much more than their salaries, are generally glad to resign after a brief term. Especially has this been the case in St. Petersburg. The terms of our representatives there have generally been very short. A few have stayed three or four years, but most have stayed much shorter terms. In one case a representative of the United States remained only three or four months, and in another only six weeks. So marked was this tendency that the Emperor once referred to it in a conversation with one of our representatives, saying that he hoped that this American diplomatist would remain longer than his predecessors had generally done.

The action of the Russian authorities in the Behring Sea question, which is directly traceable to the superior policy of Great Britain in maintaining a preponderating diplomatic, political, and social influence at the Russian capital, cost our government a sum which would have bought suitable houses in several capitals, and would have given to each American representative a proper staff of assistants. I have presented this matter with reluctance, though I feel not the slightest responsibility for my part in it. I do not think that any right-minded man can blame me for it, any more than, in the recent South African War, he could have blamed Lord Roberts, the British general, if the latter had been sent to the Transvaal with insufficient means, inadequate equipment, and an army far inferior in numbers to that of his enemy.

I am not at all in this matter “a man with a grievance”; for I knew what American representatives had to expect, and was not disappointed. My feeling is simply that of an American citizen whose official life is past, and who can look back dispassionately and tell the truth plainly.

This case is presented simply in the hope that it will do something to arouse thinking men in public life, and especially in the Congress of the United States, to provide at least a suitable house or apartment for the American representative in each of the more important capitals of the world, as all other great powers and many of the lesser nations have done. If I can aid in bringing about this result, I care nothing for any personal criticism which may be brought upon me.



To return to Sir Robert Morier. There had been some friction between his family and that of one of my predecessors, and this had for some time almost ended social intercourse between his embassy and our legation; but on my arrival I ignored this, and we established very satisfactory personal relations. He had held important positions in various parts of Europe, and had been closely associated with many of the most distinguished men of his own and other countries. Reading Grant Duff’s “Memoirs,” I find that Morier’s bosom friend, of all men in the world, was Jowett, the late head of Oriel College at Oxford. But Sir Robert was at the close of his career; his triumph in the Behring Sea matter was his last. I met him shortly afterward at his last visit to the Winter Palace: with great effort he mounted the staircase, took his position at the head of the diplomatic circle, and, immediately after his conversation with the Emperor, excused himself and went home. This was the last time I ever saw him; he returned soon afterward to England and died. His successor, Sir Frank Lascelles, more recently my colleague at Berlin, is a very different character. His manner is winning, his experience large and interesting, his first post having been at Paris during the Commune, and his latest at Teheran. Our relations became, and have ever since remained, all that I could desire. He, too, in every post, is provided with all that is necessary for accomplishing the purposes of Great Britain, and will doubtless win great success for his country, though not in exactly the same way as his predecessor.

The French ambassador was the Comte de Montebello, evidently a man of ability, but with perhaps less of the engaging qualities than one generally expects in a French diplomatic representative. The Turkish ambassador, Husny Pasha, like most Turkish representatives whom I have met, had learned to make himself very agreeable; but his position was rather trying: he had fought in the Russo-Turkish War and had seen his country saved from the most abject humiliation, if not destruction, only at the last moment, by the Berlin Conference. His main vexation in St. Petersburg arose from the religious feeling of the Emperor. Every great official ceremony in Russia is prefaced, as a rule, by a church service; hence Husny was excluded, since he felt bound to wear the fez, and this the Emperor would not tolerate; though there was really no more harm in his wearing this simple head-gear in church than in a woman wearing her bonnet or a soldier wearing his helmet.

Interesting, too, was the Italian ambassador, Marochetti, son of the eminent sculptor, some of whose artistic ability he had inherited. He was fond of exercising this talent; but it was generally understood that his recall was finally due to the fact that his diplomatic work had suffered in consequence.

The Austrian ambassador, Count Wolkenstein, was, in many things, the most trustworthy of counselors; more than once, under trying circumstances, I found his advice precious; for he knew, apparently, in every court of Europe, the right man to approach, and the right way to approach him, on every conceivable subject.

Of the ministers plenipotentiary the Dutch representative, Van Stoetwegen, was the best counselor I found. He was shrewd, keen, and kindly; but his tongue was sharp–so much so that it finally brought about his recall. He made a remark one day which especially impressed me. I had said to him, “I have just sent a despatch to my government declaring my skepticism as to the probability of any war in Europe for a considerable time to come. When I arrived in Berlin eleven years ago all the knowing people said that a general European war must break out within a few months: in the spring they said it must come in the autumn; and in the autumn they said it must come in the spring. All these years have passed and there is still no sign of war. We hear the same prophecies daily, but I learned long since not to believe in them. War may come, but it seems to me more and more unlikely.” He answered, “I think you are right. I advise my own government in the same sense. The fact is that war in these days is not what it once was; it is infinitely more dangerous from every point of view, and it becomes more and more so every day. Formerly a crowned head, when he thought himself aggrieved, or felt that he would enjoy a campaign, plunged into war gaily. If he succeeded, all was well; if not, he hauled off to repair damages,–very much as a pugilist would do after receiving a black eye in a fist fight,–and in a short time the losses were repaired and all went on as before. In these days the case is different: it is no longer a simple contest in the open, with the possibility of a black eye or, at most, of a severe bruise; it has become a matter of life and death to whole nations. Instead of being like a fist fight, it is like a combat between a lot of champions armed with poisoned daggers, and in a dark room; if once the struggle begins, no one knows how many will be drawn into it or who will be alive at the end of it; the probabilities are that all will be injured terribly and several fatally. War in these days means the cropping up of a multitude of questions dangerous not only to statesmen but to monarchs, and even to society itself. Monarchs and statesmen know this well; and, no matter how truculent they may at times appear, they really dread war above all things.”

One of my colleagues at St. Petersburg was interesting in a very different way from any of the others. This was Pasitch, the Servian minister. He was a man of fine presence and, judging from his conversation, of acute mind. He had some years before been sentenced to death for treason, but since that had been prime minister. Later he was again put on trial for his life at Belgrade, charged with being a partner in the conspiracy which resulted in the second attempt against the life of King Milan. His speech before his judges, recently published, was an effort worthy of a statesman, and carried the conviction to my mind that he was not guilty.[3]

[3] He was found guilty, but escaped death by a bitter humiliation: it was left for others to bring about Milan’s assassination.

The representatives of the extreme Orient were both interesting personages, but the same difference prevailed there as elsewhere: the Chinese was a mandarin, able to speak only through an interpreter; the Japanese was trained in Western science, and able to speak fluently both Russian and French. His successor, whom I met at the Peace Conference of The Hague, spoke English admirably.

Among the secretaries and attaches, several were very interesting; and of these was the first British secretary Henry Howard, now Sir Henry Howard, minister at The Hague. He and his American wife were among the most delightful of associates. Another in this category was the Bavarian secretary, Baron Guttenberg, whom I often met later at Berlin. When I spoke to him about a visit I had made to Wurzburg, and the desecration of the magnificent old Romanesque cathedral there by plastering its whole interior over with nude angels, and substituting for the splendid old mediaeval carving Louis Quinze woodwork in white and gold, he said: “Yes; you are right; and it was a bishop of my family who did it.”

As to Russian statesmen, I had the benefit of the fairly friendly spirit which has usually been shown toward the American representative in Russia by all in authority from the Emperor down. I do not mean by this that the contentions of the American Embassy are always met by speedy concessions, for among the most trying of all things in diplomatic dealings with that country are the long delays in all business; but a spirit is shown which, in the long run, serves the purpose of our representative as regards most questions.

It seems necessary here to give a special warning against putting any trust in the epigram which has long done duty as a piece of politico-ethnological wisdom: “Scratch a Russian and you will find a Tartar.” It would be quite as correct to say, “Scratch an American and you will find an Indian.” The simple fact is that the Russian officials with whom foreigners have to do are men of experience, and, as a rule, much like those whom one finds in similar positions in other parts of Europe. A foreign representative has to meet on business, not merely the Russian minister of foreign affairs and the heads of departments in the Foreign Office, but various other members of the imperial cabinet, especially the ministers of finance, of war, of the navy, of the interior, of justice, as well as the chief municipal authorities of St. Petersburg; and I can say that many of these gentlemen, both as men and as officials, are the peers of men in similar positions in most other countries which I have known. Though they were at times tenacious in questions between their own people and ours, and though they held political doctrines very different from those we cherish, I am bound to say that most of them did so in a way which disarmed criticism. At the same time I must confess a conviction which has more and more grown upon me, that the popular view regarding the power, vigor, and foresight of Russian statesmen is ill-founded. And it must be added that Russian officials and their families are very susceptible to social influences: a foreign representative who entertains them frequently and well can secure far more for his country than one who trusts to argument alone. In no part of the world will a diplomatist more surely realize the truth embedded in Oxenstiern’s famous utterance, “Go forth, my son, and see with how little wisdom the world is governed.” When one sees what really strong men might do in Russia, what vast possibilities there are which year after year are utterly neglected, one cannot but think that the popular impression regarding the superiority of Russian statesmen is badly based. As a matter of fact, there has not been a statesman of the first class, of Russian birth, since Catherine the Great, and none of the second class unless Nesselrode and the Emperor Nicholas are to be excepted. To consider Prince Gortchakoff a great chancellor on account of his elaborate despatches is absurd. The noted epigram regarding him is doubtless just: “C’est un Narcisse qui se mire dans son encrier.”

To call him a great statesman in the time of Cavour Bismarck, Lincoln, and Seward is preposterous. Whatever growth in civilization Russia has made in the last forty years has been mainly in spite of the men who have posed as her statesmen; the atmosphere of Russian autocracy is fatal to greatness in any form.

The emancipation of the serfs was due to a policy advocated by the first Nicholas and carried out under Alexander II; but it was made possible mainly by Miloutine, Samarine, Tcherkassky, and other subordinates, who never were allowed to approach the first rank as state servants. This is my own judgment, founded on observation and reading during half a century, and it is the quiet judgment of many who have had occasion to observe Russia longer and more carefully.

Next, as to the Foreign Office. Nearly a hundred years ago Napoleon compared Alexander I and those about him to “Greeks of the Lower Empire.” That saying was repelled as a slander; but, ever since it was uttered, the Russian Foreign Office seems to have been laboring to deserve it. There are chancelleries in the world which, when they give promises, are believed and trusted. Who, in the light of the last fifty years, would claim that the Russian Foreign Office is among these? Its main reputation is for astuteness finally brought to naught; it has constantly been “too clever by half.”

Take the loudly trumpeted peace proposals to the world made by Nicholas II. When the nations got together at The Hague to carry out the Czar’s supposed purpose, it was found that all was haphazard; that no adequate studies had been made, no project prepared; in fact, that the Emperor’s government had virtually done nothing showing any real intention to set a proper example. Nothing but the high character and abilities of M. de Martens and one or two of his associates saved the prestige of the Russian Foreign Office at that time. Had there been a man of real power in the chancellorship or in the ministry of foreign affairs, he would certainly have advised the Emperor to dismiss to useful employments, say, two hundred to two hundred and fifty thousand troops, which he could have done without the slightest danger–thus showing that he was in earnest, crippling the war clique, and making the beginning of a great reform which all Europe would certainly have been glad to follow. But there was neither the wisdom nor the strength required to advise and carry through such a measure. Deference to the “military party” and petty fear of a loss of military prestige were all-controlling.

Take the army and the navy departments. In these, if anywhere, Russia has been thought strong. The main occupation of leading Russians for a hundred years has been, not the steady uplifting of the people in intellect and morals, not the vigorous development of natural resources, but preparations for war on land and sea. This has been virtually the one business of the main men of light and leading from the emperors and grand dukes down. Drill and parade have been apparently everything: the strengthening of the empire by the education of the people, and the building of industrial prosperity as a basis for a great army and navy, seem to have been virtually nothing. The results are now before the world for the third time since 1815.

An objector may remind me of the emancipation of the serfs. I do not deny the greatness and nobleness of Alexander II and the services of the men he then called to his aid; but I lived in Russia both before and since that reform, and feel obliged to testify that, thus far, its main purpose has been so thwarted by reactionaries that there is, as yet, little, if any, practical difference between the condition of the Russian peasant before and since obtaining his freedom.

Take the dealings with Finland. The whole thing is monstrous. It is both comedy and tragedy. Finland is by far the best-developed part of the empire; it stands on a higher plane than do the other provinces as regards every element of civilization; it has steadily been the most loyal of all the realms of the Czar. Nihilism and anarchism have never gained the slightest foothold; yet to-day there is nobody in the whole empire strong enough to prevent sundry bigots–military and ecclesiastical–leading the Emperor to violate his coronation oath; to make the simple presentation of a petition to him treasonable; to trample Finland under his feet; to wrong grievously and insult grossly its whole people; to banish and confiscate the property of its best men; to muzzle its press; to gag its legislators; and thus to lower the whole country to the level of the remainder of Russia.

During my stay in Russia at the time of the Crimean War, I had been interested in the Finnish peasants whom I saw serving on the gunboats. There was a sturdiness, heartiness, and loyalty about them which could not fail to elicit good-will; but during this second stay in Russia my sympathies with them were more especially enlisted. During the hot weather of the first summer my family were at the Finnish capital, Helsingfors, at the point where the Gulf of Finland opens into the Baltic. The whole people deeply interested me. Here was one of the most important universities of Europe, a noble public library, beautiful buildings, and throughout the whole town an atmosphere of cleanliness and civilization far superior to that which one finds in any Russian city. Having been added to Russia by Alexander I under his most solemn pledges that it should retain its own constitutional government, it had done so up to the time of my stay; and the results were evident throughout the entire grand duchy. While in Russia there had been from time immemorial a debased currency, the currency of Finland was as good as gold; while in Russia all public matters bore the marks of arbitrary repression, in Finland one could see the results of enlightened discussion; while in Russia the peasant is but little, if any, above Asiatic barbarism, the Finnish peasant–simple, genuine–is clearly far better developed both morally and religiously. It is a grief to me in these latter days to see that the measures which were then feared have since been taken. There seems a determination to grind down Finland to a level with Russia in general. We heard, not long since, much sympathy expressed for the Boers in South Africa in their struggle against England; but infinitely more pathetic is the case of Finland. The little grand duchy has done what it could to save itself, but it recognizes the fact that its two millions of people are utterly powerless against the brute force of the one hundred and twenty millions of the Russian Empire. The struggle in South Africa meant, after all, that if worst came to worst, the Boers would, within a generation or two, enjoy a higher type of constitutional liberty than they ever could have developed under any republic they could have established; but Finland is now forced to give up her constitutional government and to come under the rule of brutal Russian satraps. These have already begun their work. All is to be “Russified”: the constitutional bodies are to be virtually abolished; the university is to be brought down to the level of Dorpat–once so noted as a German university, now so worthless as a Russian university; for the simple Protestantism of the people is to be substituted the fetishism of the Russo-Greek Church. It is the saddest spectacle of our time. Previous emperors, however much they wished to do so, did not dare break their oaths to Finland; but the present weakling sovereign, in his indifference, carelessness, and absolute unfitness to rule, has allowed the dominant reactionary clique about him to accomplish its own good pleasure. I put on record here the prophecy that his dynasty, if not himself, will be punished for it. All history shows that no such crime has gone unpunished. It is a far greater crime than the partition of Poland; for Poland had brought her fate on herself, while Finland has been the most loyal part of the empire. Not even Moscow herself has been more thoroughly devoted to Russia and the reigning dynasty. The young monarch whose weakness has led to this fearful result will bring retribution upon himself and those who follow him. The Romanoffs will yet find that “there is a Power in the universe, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness.” The house of Hapsburg and its satellites found this in the humiliating end of their reign in Italy; the house of Valois found it, after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, in their own destruction; the Bourbons found it, after the driving out of the Huguenots and the useless wars of Louis XIV and XV, in the French Revolution which ended their dynasty. Both the Napoleons met their punishment after violating the rights of human nature. The people of the United States, after the Fugitive Slave Law, found their punishment in the Civil War, which cost nearly a million of lives and, when all is reckoned, ten thousand millions of treasure.

When I talked with this youth before he came to the throne, and saw how little he knew of his own empire,–how absolutely unaware he was that the famine was continuing for a second year in various important districts, there resounded in my ears, as so often at other times, the famous words of Oxenstiern to his son, “Go forth, my son, and see with how little wisdom the world is governed.”

Pity to say it, the European sovereign to whom Nicholas II can be most fully compared is Charles IX of France, under the influence of his family and men and women courtiers and priests, authorizing the massacre of St. Bartholomew. The punishment to be meted out to him and his house is sure.[4]

[4] The above was written before the Russian war with Japan and the assassinations of Bobrikoff, Plehve, and others were dreamed of. My prophecy seems likely to be realized far earlier than I had thought possible.

As I revise these lines, we see another exhibition of the same weakness and folly. The question between Russia and Japan could have been easily and satisfactorily settled in a morning talk by any two business men of average ability; but the dominant clique has forced on one of the most terrible wars in history, which bids fair to result in the greatest humiliation Russia has ever known.

The same thing may be said regarding Russia’s dealings with the Baltic provinces. The “Russification” which has been going on there for some years is equally absurd, equally wicked, and sure to be equally disastrous.

The first Russian statesman with whom I had to do was the minister of foreign affairs, M. de Giers; but he was dying. I saw him twice in retirement at Tzarskoye Selo, and came to respect him much. He spoke at length regarding the entente between Russia and France, and insisted that it was not in the interest of war but of peace. “Tell your government,” he said, “that the closer the lines are drawn which bind Russia and France, the more strongly will Russian influence be used to hold back the French from war.”

At another time he discoursed on the folly of war, and especially regarding the recent conflict between Russia and Turkey. He spoke of its wretched results, of the ingratitude which Russia had experienced from the peoples she had saved from the Turks, and finally, with extreme bitterness, of the vast sums of money wasted in it which could have been used in raising the condition of the Russian peasantry. He spoke with the conviction of a dying man, and I felt that he was sincere. At the same time I felt it a pity that under the Russian system there is no chance for such a man really to enforce his ideas. For one day he may be in the ascendancy with the autocrat; and the next, through the influence of grand dukes, women, priests, or courtiers, the very opposite ideas may become dominant.

The men with whom I had more directly to do at the Foreign Office

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