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  • 03/1905
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eastern frontier of Prussia, and, as the Crimean War was going on, there was a blockade in force which made it impossible to enter Russia by sea; consequently I had seven days and seven nights of steady traveling in a post- coach after entering the Russian Empire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IN WAR-TIME–1855</e’>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“To wade through slaughter to a throne–”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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