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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II






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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

AND ST. ANDREWS--1901-1903

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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



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


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



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


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


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


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



Volume II



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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