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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

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in the United States which are really satisfactory from an
architectural point of view.

The "City of the Saints," which I saw on my way, had much
interest for me. I collected while there everything possible in
the way of publications bearing on Mormonism, beginning with a
copy of the original edition of the "Book of Mormon"; but nothing
that I could find in any of these publications indicated any
considerable intellectual development, as yet.

More encouraging was a rapid visit, on my way home, to the
Chicago Exposition buildings, which, though not yet fully
completed, were very beautiful; and still more pleasure came from
a visit to the new University of Chicago, which was evidently
beginning a most important work for American civilization. Its
whole plan is remarkably well conceived, and with the means that
it is rapidly accumulating, due to the public spirit of its main
benefactor and a multitude of others hardly second to him in the
importance of their gifts, it cannot fail to exercise a great
influence, especially throughout the Northwestern States. First
of all, it will do much to lift the city in which it stands out
of its crude materialism into something higher and better. It is
a pleasure to note that its buildings are worthy of it: they seem
likely to form a fourth in the series of fit homes for great
centers of advanced education in the United States,--Virginia,
Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania being the others.

Having returned to Cornell, I went on quietly with my work until
autumn, when, to my surprise, I received notice that the
President had appointed me minister to St. Petersburg; and on the
4th of November I arrived at my post in that capital. Of my
experience as minister I have spoken elsewhere, but have given no
account of two journeys which interested me at that period. The
first of these was in the Scandinavian countries. The voyage of a
day and night across the Baltic through the Aland Islands was
like a dream, the northern twilight making night more beautiful
than day, and the approach to the Swedish capital being, next to
the approaches to Constantinople and to New York, the most
beautiful I know.

Very instructive to me was a visit to Upsala--especially to the
university and cathedral. As to the former, the "Codex of
Ulfilas," in the library, which I had long desired to see,
especially interested me; and visits to the houses of the various
"nations" showed me that out of the social needs of Swedish
students in the middle ages had been developed something closely
akin to the fraternity houses which similar needs have developed
in our time at American universities. The cathedral, containing
the remains of Gustavus Vasa and Linnaeus, was fruitful in
suggestions. By a curious coincidence I was at that time
finishing my chapter entitled "From Creation to Evolution," and
had been paying special attention to the ancient and mediaeval
conceptions of the creation of the world as a work done by an
individual in human form, laboring with his hands during six
days, and taking needed rest on the seventh; and here I found, at
the side entrance of the cathedral, a delightfully naive
mediaeval representation of the whole process,--a series of
medallions representing the Almighty toiling like an artisan on
each of the six days and reposing, evidently very weary, on the

The journey across Sweden, through the canals and lakes, was very
restful. At Christiania Mr. Gade, the American consul, who had
served our country so long and so honorably in that city, took me
under his guidance during various interesting excursions about
the fiords. At Gothenburg I took pains to obtain information
regarding their system of dealing with the sale of intoxicating
liquors, and became satisfied that it is, on the whole, the best
solution of the problem ever obtained. The whole old system of
saloons, gin-shops, and the like, with their allurements to the
drinking of adulterated alcohol, had been swept away, and in its
place the government had given to a corporation the privilege of
selling pure liquors in a restricted number of decent shops,
under carefully devised limitations. First, the liquors must be
fully tested for purity; secondly, none could be sold to persons
already under the influence of drink; thirdly, no intoxicant
could be sold without something to eat with it, the effects of
alcohol upon the system being thus mitigated. These and other
restrictions had reduced the drink evil, as I was assured, to a
minimum. But the most far-reaching provision in the whole system
was that the company which enjoyed the monopoly of this trade was
not allowed to declare a dividend greater than, I believe, six
per cent.; everything realized above this going into the public
treasury, mainly for charitable purposes. The result of this
restriction of profits was that no person employed in selling
ardent spirits was under the slightest temptation to attract
customers. Each of these sellers was a salaried official and knew
that his place depended on his adhering to the law which forbade
him to sell to any person already under the influence of liquor,
or to do anything to increase his sales; and the whole motive for
making men drunkards was thus taken away.

I was assured by both the American and British consuls, as well
as by most reputable citizens, that this system had greatly
diminished intemperance. Unfortunately, since that time, fanatics
have obtained control, and have passed an entirely "prohibitory"
law, with the result, as I understand, that the community is now
discovering that prohibition does not prohibit, and that the
worst kinds of liquors are again sold by men whose main motive is
to sell as much as possible.

The most attractive feature in my visit to Norway was Throndheim.
With my passion for Gothic architecture, the beautiful little
cathedral, which the authorities were restoring Judiciously, was
a delight, and it was all the more interesting as containing one
of those curiosities of human civilization which have now become
rare. In one corner of the edifice is a "holy well," the
pilgrimages to which in the middle ages were, no doubt, a main
source of the wealth of the establishment. The attendant shows,
in the stonework close to the well, the end of a tube coming from
the upper part of the cathedral; and through this tube pious
monks in the middle ages no doubt spoke oracular words calculated
to enhance the authority of the saint presiding over the place.
It was the same sort of thing which one sees in the Temple of
Isis at Pompeii, and the zeal which created it was no doubt the
same that to-day originates the sacred fire which always comes
down from heaven on Easter day into the Greek church at
Jerusalem, the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius in the
cathedral at Naples, and sundry camp-meeting utterances and
actions in the United States.

Sweden and Norway struck me as possessing, in some respects, the
most satisfactory civilization of modern times. With a
monarchical figurehead, they are really a republic. Here is no
overbearing plutocracy, no squalid poverty, an excellent system
of education, liberal and practical, from the local school to the
university, a population, to all appearance, healthy, thrifty,
and comfortable.

And yet here, as in other parts of the world, the resources of
human folly are illimitable. A large party in Norway urges
secession from Sweden, and both remain divided from Denmark,
though the three are, to all intents and purposes, of the same
race, religion, language, and early historical traditions. And
close beside them looms up, more and more portentous, the Russian
colossus, which, having trampled Swedish Finland under its feet,
is looking across the Scandinavian peninsula toward the good
harbors of Norway, just opposite Great Britain. Russia has
declared the right of her one hundred and twenty millions of
people to an ice-free port on the Pacific; why shall she not
assert, with equal cogency, the right of these millions to an
ice-free port on the Atlantic? Why should not these millions own
a railway across Scandinavia, and a suitable territory along the
line; and then, logically, all the territory north, and as much
as she needs of the territory south of the line? The northern
and, to some extent, the middle regions of Norway and Sweden
would thus come under the sway of a czar in St. Petersburg,
represented by some governor-general like those who have been
trying to show to the Scandinavians of Finland that newspapers
are useless, petitions inadmissible, constitutions a fetish,
banishment a blessing, and the use of their native language a
superfluity. The only sad thing in this fair prospect is that it
is not the objurgatory Bjornson, the philosophic Ibsen, and the
impulsive Nansen, with their compatriots, now groaning under what
they are pleased to call "Swedish tyranny," who would enjoy this
Russian liberty, but their children, and their children's

At Copenhagen I was especially attracted by the Ethnographic
Museum, which, by its display of the gradual uplifting of
Scandinavian humanity from prehistoric times, has so strongly
aided in enforcing on the world the scientific doctrine of the
"rise of man," and in bringing to naught the theological doctrine
of the "fall of man."

A short stay at Moscow added to my Russian points of view, it
being my second visit after an interval of nearly forty years.
Although the city had spread largely, there was very little
evidence of real progress: everywhere were filth, fetishism,
beggary, and reaction. The monument to Alexander II, the great
emancipator, stood in the Kremlin, half finished; it has since, I
am glad to learn, been completed; but this has only been after
long and slothful delays, and the statue in St. Petersburg has
not even been begun. It is well understood that one cause of this
delay has been the reluctance of the reactionary leaders in the
empire to glorify so radical a movement as the emancipation of
the serfs.

I had one curious experience of Muscovite ideas of trade. Moscow
is one of the main centers for the manufacture of the church
bells in which the Russian peasant takes such delight; and, being
much interested in campanology, I visited several of the
principal foundries, and was delighted with the size and
workmanship of many specimens. Walking one morning to the
Kremlin, I saw at the agency of one of these establishments a
bell weighing about two hundred and fifty pounds, most
exquisitely wrought, and such a beautiful example of the best
that Russians can do in this respect that I went in and asked the
price of it. The price being named, I said that I would take it.
Thereupon consternation was evident in the establishment, and
presently the head of the concern said to me that they were not
sure that they wished to sell it. But I said, "You HAVE sold it;
I asked you what your price was, you told me, and I have bought
it." To this he demurred, and finally refused altogether to sell
it. On going out, my guide informed me that I had made a mistake;
that I was myself the cause of the whole trouble; that if I had
offered half the price named for the bell I should have secured
it for two thirds; but that, as I had offered the entire price,
the people in the shop had jumped to the conclusion that it must
be worth more than they had supposed, that I had detected values
in it which they had not realized, and that it was their duty to
make me pay more for it than the price they had asked. The result
was that, a few weeks afterward, a compromise having been made, I
bought it and sent it to the library of Cornell University, where
it is now both useful and ornamental.

The most interesting feature of this stay in Moscow was my
intercourse with Tolstoi, and to this I have devoted a separate

[14] See Chapter XXXVII.

One more experience may be noted. In coming and going on the
Moscow railway I found, as in other parts of Europe, that
governmental control of railways does not at all mean better
accommodations or lower fares than when such works are under
individual control. The prices for travel, as well as for
sleeping-berths, were much higher on these lines, owned by the
government, than on any of our main trunk-lines in America, which
are controlled by private corporations, and the accommodations
were never of a high order, and sometimes intolerable.

During this stay in Russia my sympathies were enlisted for
Finland; but on this subject I have spoken fully elsewhere.[15]

[15] See Chapter XXXIV.

Having resigned my position at St. Petersburg in October of 1894,
the first use I made of my liberty was to go with my family to
Italy for the winter; and several months were passed at Florence,
where I revised and finished the book which had been preparing
during twenty years. Then came a rapid run to Rome and through
southern Italy, my old haunts at Castellammare, Sorrento, and
Amalfi being revisited, and sundry new excursions made. Among
these last was one to Palermo, where I visited the Church of St.
Josaphat. This edifice greatly interested me as a Christian
church erected in honor of a Christian saint who was none other
than Buddha. The manner in which the founder of that great
world-religion which preceded our own was converted into a
Christian saint and solemnly proclaimed as such by a long series
of popes, from Sixtus V to Pius IX, inclusive, by virtue of their
infallibility in all matters relating to faith and morals, is one
of the most curious and instructive things in all history.[16]

[16] A full account of this conversion of Buddha (Bodisat) into
St. Josaphat is given, with authorities, etc. in my "History of
the Warfare of Science with Theology," Vol. II, pp. 381 et seq.

At first I had some difficulty in finding this church; but,
finally, having made the acquaintance of an eminent scholar, the
Commendatore Marzo, canon of the Cappella Palatina and director
of the National Library at Palermo he kindly took me to the
place. Over the entrance were the words, "Divo Josaphat"; within,
occupying one of the places of highest honor, was an altar to the
saint, and above it a statue representing him as a young prince
wearing a crown and holding a crucifix. By permission of the
authorities I was allowed to send a photographer, who took a
negative for me. A remark of the Commendatore Marzo upon the
subject pleased me much. When, one day, after showing me the
treasures of his great library, he was dining with me, and I
pressed him for particulars regarding St. Josaphat, he answered,
"He cannot be the Jehoshaphat of the Old Testament, for he is
represented as a very young man, and contemplating a crucifix: e
molto misterioso." It was, after all, not so very mysterious; for
in these later days, now that the "Life of Barlaam and Josaphat,"
which dates from monks of the sixth or seventh century, has been
compared with the "Life of Buddha," certainly written before the
Christian era, the constant coincidence in details, and even in
phrases, puts it beyond the slightest doubt that St. Josaphat and
Buddha are one and the same person.

Very suggestive to thought was a visit to the wonderful cathedral
of Monreale, above Palermo; for here, at this southern extreme of
Europe, I found a conception of the Almighty as an enlarged human
being, subject to human weakness, identical with that shown in
the sculptures upon the cathedral of Upsala, at the extreme north
of Europe. The whole interior of Monreale Cathedral is covered
with a vast sheet of mosaics dating from about the twelfth
century, and in one series of these, representing the creation,
the Almighty is shown as working, day after day, like an artisan,
and finally, on the seventh day, as "resting,"--seated in almost
the exact attitude of the "weary Mercury" of classic sculpture,
with a marked expression of fatigue upon his countenance and in
the whole disposition of his body.[17]

[17] I have given a more full discussion of this subject in my
"History of the Warfare of Science with Theology," Vol. I, p. 3.

During this journey, having revisited Orvieto, Perugia, and
Assisi, I returned to Florence, and again enjoyed the society of
my old friends, Professor Willard Fiske, Professor Villari, with
his accomplished wife, and Judge Stallo, former minister of the
United States in Rome.

The great event of this stay was an earthquake. Seated on a
pleasant April evening in my rooms at the house built by Adolphus
Trollope, near the Piazza dell' Independenza, I heard what seemed
at first the rising of a storm; then the rushing of a mighty
wind; then, as it grew stronger, apparently the gallop of a corps
of cavalry in the neighboring avenue; but, almost instantly, it
seemed to change into the onrush of a corps of artillery, and, a
moment later, to strike the house, lifting its foundations as if
by some mighty hand, and swaying it to and fro, everything
creaking, groaning, rattling, and seeming likely to fall in upon
us. This movement to and fro, with crashing and screaming inside
and outside the house, continued, as it seemed to me, about
twenty minutes--as a matter of fact, it lasted hardly seven
seconds; but certainly it was the longest seven seconds I have
ever known. At the first uplift of the seismic wave my wife and I
rose from our seats, I saying, "Stand perfectly still."
Thenceforward, not a word was uttered by either of us until all
was over; but many thoughts came,--the dominant feeling being a
sense of our helplessness in the presence of the great powers of
nature. Neither of us had any hope of escaping alive; but we
calmly accepted the inevitable, thinking each moment would be,
the last. As I look back, our resignation and perfect quiet still
surprise me. That room, at the corner of the Villino Trollope,
which an ill-founded legend makes the place where George Eliot
wrote "Romola," is to me sacred, as the place where we two passed
"from death unto life."

Nearly all that night we remained near the doors of the house,
ready to escape any new shocks; but only one or two came, and
those very light. Crowds of the population remained out of doors,
many dwellers in hotels taking refuge in carriages and cabs, and
staying in them through the night.

Next morning I walked forth to find what had happened,--first to
the cathedral, to see if anything was left of Giotto's tower and
Brunelleschi's dome, and, to my great joy, found them standing;
but, as I entered the vast building, I saw one of the enormous
iron bars which take the thrust of the wide arches of the nave
pulled apart and broken as if it had been pack-thread; there were
also a few cracks in one of the piers supporting the dome, but
all else was as before.

At the Palazzo Strozzi a crowd of people were examining sundry
crevices which had been made in its mighty walls: and at various
villas in the neighborhood, especially those on the road to San
Miniato, I found that the damage had been much worse. A part of
the tower of one villa, occupied by an English lady of literary
distinction, had been thrown down, crashing directly through one
of the upper rooms, but causing no loss of life; the villa of
Judge Stallo, at the Porta Romana, was so wrecked that he was
obliged to leave it; and in the house of another friend a heavy
German stove on the upper floor, having been thrown over, had
come down through the ceiling of the main parlor, crashing
through the grand piano, and thence into the cellar, without
injury to any person. One of the professors whom I afterward met
told me that he was giving a dinner-party when, suddenly, the
house was lifted and shaken to and fro, the chandeliers swinging,
broken glass crashing, and the ladies screaming, and, in a
moment, a portion of the outer wall gave way, but fortunately
fell outward, so that the guests scrambled forth over the ruins,
and passed the night in the garden. Perhaps the worst damage was
wrought at the Convent of the Certosa, where some of the
beautiful old work was irreparably injured.

It was very difficult next morning to get any real information
from the newspapers. They claimed that but three persons lost
their lives in the city: it was clearly thought best to minimize
the damage done, lest the stream of travel might be scared away.
I remarked at the time that we should never know fully what had
occurred until we received the American papers; and, curiously
enough, several weeks afterward a Californian showed me a very
full and minute account of the whole calamity, with careful
details, given in the telegraphic reports of a San Francisco
newspaper on the very morning after the earthquake.

On the way to America I passed a short time, during the month of
June, in London, meeting various interesting people, a most
pleasant occasion to me being a dinner given by Mr. Bayard, the
American minister, at which I met my classmate Wayne MacVeagh,
formerly attorney-general of the United States, minister to
Constantinople and ambassador to Rome, full, as usual, of
interesting reminiscence and witty suggestion. Very interesting
also to me was a talk with Mr. Holman Hunt, the eminent
pre-Raphaelite artist. He told me much of Tennyson dwelling upon
his morbid fear that people would stare at him. He also gave an
account of his meeting with Ruskin at Venice, when Ruskin took
Hunt to task for not having come to see him more frequently in
London; to which Hunt replied that, for one reason, he was very
busy, and that, for another, he did not wish to be classed with
the toadies who swarmed about Ruskin. Whereupon Ruskin said that
Hunt was right regarding the character of most of the people
about him. Hunt also spoke of the ill treatment of his beautiful
picture, "The Light of the World." From him, or from another
source about that time, I learned that formerly the Keble College
people had made much of it; but that, some one having interpreted
the rays passing through the different openings of the lantern in
Christ's hand as typifying truth shining through different
religious conceptions, the owners of the picture distrusted it,
and had recently refused to allow its exhibition in London.

It surprised me to find Holman Hunt so absorbed in his own art
that he apparently knew next to nothing about that of other
European masters,--nothing of Puvis de Chavannes at Paris;
nothing of Menzel, Knaus, and Werner at Berlin.

Having returned to America, I was soon settled in my old
homestead at Cornell,--as I supposed for the rest of my life.
Very delightful to me during this as well as other sojourns at
Cornell after my presidency were sundry visits to American
universities at which I was asked to read papers or make
addresses. Of these I may mention Harvard, Yale, and the State
universities of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, at each of
which I addressed bodies of students on subjects which seemed to
me important, among these "The Diplomatic Service of the United
States," "Democracy and Education," "Evolution vs. Revolution in
Politics," and "The Problem of High Crime in the United States."
To me, as an American citizen earnestly desiring a noble future
for my country, it was one of the greatest of pleasures to look
into the faces of those large audiences of vigorous young men and
women, and, above all, at the State universities of the West,
which are to act so powerfully through so many channels of
influence in this new century. The last of the subjects
above-named interested me painfully, and I was asked to present
it to large general audiences, and not infrequently to the
congregations of churches. I had become convinced that looseness
in the administration of our criminal law is one of the more
serious dangers to American society, and my earlier studies in
this field were strengthened by my observations in the
communities I had visited during the long journey through our
Southern and Pacific States, to which I have just referred. Of
this I shall speak later.

Returning to Washington in February of 1897, I joined the
Venezuela Commission in presenting its report to the President
and Secretary of State, and so ended my duties under the
administration of Mr. Cleveland. Of my connection with the
political campaign of 1896 I have spoken elsewhere. In May of
1897, having been appointed by President McKinley ambassador to
Berlin, I sailed for Europe, and my journeys since that time have
consisted mainly of excursions to interesting historical
localities in Germany, with several short vacations in the
principal towns of northern Italy, upon the Riviera, and in





The traveler from New York to Niagara by the northern route is
generally disappointed in the second half of his journey. During
the earlier hours of the day, moving rapidly up the valleys,
first of the Hudson and next of the Mohawk, he passes through a
succession of landscapes striking or pleasing, and of places
interesting from their relations to the French and Revolutionary
wars. But, arriving at the middle point of his journey,--the head
waters of the Mohawk,--a disenchantment begins. Thenceforward he
passes through a country tame, monotonous, and with cities and
villages as uninteresting in their appearance as in their names;
the latter being taken, apparently without rhyme or reason, from
the classical dictionary or the school geography.

And yet, during all that second half of his excursion, he is
passing almost within musket-shot of one of the most beautiful
regions of the Northern States,--the lake country of central and
western New York.

It is made up of a succession of valleys running from south to
north, and lying generally side by side, each with a beauty of
its own. Some, like the Oneida and the Genesee, are broad
expanses under thorough cultivation; others, like the Cayuga and
Seneca, show sheets of water long and wide, their shores
sometimes indented with glens and gorges, and sometimes rising
with pleasant slopes to the wooded hills; in others still, as the
Cazenovia, Skaneateles, Owasco, Keuka, and Canandaigua, smaller
lakes are set, like gems, among vineyards and groves; and in
others shimmering streams go winding through corn-fields and
orchards fringed by the forest.

Of this last sort is the Onondaga valley. It lies just at the
center of the State, and, although it has at its northern
entrance the most thriving city between New York and Buffalo, it
preserves a remarkable character of peaceful beauty.

It is also interesting historically. Here was the seat--the "long
house"--of the Onondagas, the central tribe of the Iroquois;
here, from time immemorial, were held the councils which decided
on a warlike or peaceful policy for their great confederation;
hither, in the seventeenth century, came the Jesuits, and among
them some who stand high on the roll of martyrs; hither, toward
the end of the eighteenth century, came Chateaubriand, who has
given in his memoirs his melancholy musings on the shores of
Onondaga Lake, and his conversation with the chief sachem of the
Onondaga tribe; hither, in the early years of this century, came
the companion of Alexis de Tocqueville, Gustave de Beaumont, who
has given in his letters the thoughts aroused within him in this
region, made sacred to him by the sorrows of refugees from the
French Revolution.

It is a land of peace. The remnant of the Indians live quietly
upon their reservation, Christians and pagans uniting
harmoniously, on broad-church principles, in the celebration of
Christmas and in the sacrifice of the white dog to the Great

The surrounding farmers devote themselves in peace to their
vocation. A noted academy, which has sent out many of their
children to take high places in their own and other States,
stands in the heart of the valley, and little red school-houses
are suitably scattered. Clinging to the hills on either side are
hamlets like Onondaga, Pompey, and Otisco, which in summer remind
one of the villages upon the lesser slopes of the Apennines. It
would be hard to find a more typical American population of the
best sort--the sort which made Thomas Jefferson believe in
democracy. It is largely of New England ancestry, with a free
admixture of the better sort of more recent immigrants. It was my
good fortune, during several years, to know many of these
dwellers in the valley, and perhaps I am prejudiced in their
favor by the fact that in my early days they listened very
leniently to my political and literary addresses, and twice sent
me to the Senate of the State with a large majority.

But truth, even more than friendship, compels this tribute to
their merits. Good influences have long been at work among them:
in the little cemetery near the valley church is the grave of one
of their early pastors,--a quiet scholar,--the Rev. Caleb
Alexander, who edited the first edition of the Greek Testament
ever published in the United States.

I have known one of these farmers, week after week during the
storms of a hard winter, drive four miles to borrow a volume of
Scott's novels, and, what is better, drive four miles each week
to return it. They are a people who read and think, and who can
be relied on, in the long run, to take the sensible view of any

They have done more than read and think. They took a leading part
in raising regiments and batteries for the Civil War, and their
stalwart sons went valiantly forth as volunteers. The Onondaga
regiments distinguished themselves on many a hard-fought field;
they learned what war was like at Bull Run, and used their
knowledge to good purpose at Lookout Mountain, Five Forks, and
Gettysburg. Typical is the fact that one of these regiments was
led by a valley schoolmaster,--a man who, having been shot
through the body, reported dead, and honored with a public
commemoration at which eulogies were delivered by various
persons, including myself, lived to command a brigade, to take
part in the "Battle of the Clouds," where he received a second
wound, and to receive a third wound during the march with Sherman
to the sea.

Best of all, after the war the surviving soldiers returned, went
on with their accustomed vocations, and all was quiet as before.

But in the autumn[18] of 1869 this peaceful region was in
commotion from one end to the other. Strange reports echoed from
farm to farm. It was noised abroad that a great stone statue or
petrified giant had been dug up near the little hamlet of
Cardiff, almost at the southern extremity of the valley; and
soon, despite the fact that the crops were not yet gathered in,
and the elections not yet over, men and women and children were
hurrying from Syracuse and from the farm-houses along the valley
to the scene of the great discovery.

[18] October 16.

I had been absent in a distant State for some weeks, and, on my
return to Syracuse, meeting one of the most substantial citizens,
a highly respected deacon in the Presbyterian Church, formerly a
county judge, I asked him, in a jocose way, about the new object
of interest, fully expecting that he would join me in a laugh
over the whole matter; but, to my surprise, he became at once
very solemn. He said, "I assure you that this is no laughing
matter; it is a very serious thing, indeed; there is no question
that an amazing discovery has been made, and I advise you to go
down and see what you think of it."

Next morning, my brother and myself were speeding, after a fast
trotter in a light buggy, through the valley to the scene of the
discovery; and as we went we saw more and more, on every side,
evidences of enormous popular interest. The roads were crowded
with buggies, carriages, and even omnibuses from the city, and
with lumber-wagons from the farms--all laden with passengers. In
about two hours we arrived at the Newell farm, and found a
gathering which at first sight seemed like a county fair. In the
midst was a tent, and a crowd was pressing for admission.
Entering, we saw a large pit or grave, and, at the bottom of it,
perhaps five feet below the surface, an enormous figure,
apparently of Onondaga gray limestone. It was a stone giant, with
massive features, the whole body nude, the limbs contracted as if
in agony. It had a color as if it had lain long in the earth, and
over its surface were minute punctures, like pores. An especial
appearance of great age was given it by deep grooves and channels
in its under side, apparently worn by the water which flowed in
streams through the earth and along the rock on which the figure
rested. Lying in its grave, with the subdued light from the roof
of the tent falling upon it, and with the limbs contorted as if
in a death struggle, it produced a most weird effect. An air of
great solemnity pervaded the place. Visitors hardly spoke above a

Coming out, I asked some questions, and was told that the farmer
who lived there had discovered the figure when digging a well.
Being asked my opinion, my answer was that the whole matter was
undoubtedly a hoax; that there was no reason why the farmer
should dig a well in the spot where the figure was found; that it
was convenient neither to the house nor to the barn; that there
was already a good spring and a stream of water running
conveniently to both; that, as to the figure itself, it certainly
could not have been carved by any prehistoric race, since no part
of it showed the characteristics of any such early work; that,
rude as it was, it betrayed the qualities of a modern performance
of a low order.

Nor could it be a fossilized human being; in this all scientific
observers of any note agreed. There was ample evidence, to one
who had seen much sculpture, that it was carved, and that the man
who carved it, though by no means possessed of genius or talent,
had seen casts, engravings, or photographs of noted sculptures.
The figure, in size, in massiveness, in the drawing up of the
limbs, and in its roughened surface, vaguely reminded one of
Michelangelo's "Night and Morning." Of course, the difference
between this crude figure and those great Medicean statues was
infinite; and yet it seemed to me that the man who had carved
this figure must have received a hint from those.

It was also clear that the figure was neither intended to be
considered as an idol nor as a monumental statue. There was no
pedestal of any sort on which it could stand, and the disposition
of the limbs and their contortions were not such as any sculptor
would dream of in a figure to be set up for adoration. That it
was intended to be taken as a fossilized giant was indicated by
the fact that it was made as nearly like a human being as the
limited powers of the stone-carver permitted, and that it was
covered with minute imitations of pores.

Therefore it was that, in spite of all scientific reasons to the
contrary, the work was very generally accepted as a petrified
human being of colossal size, and became known as "the Cardiff

One thing seemed to argue strongly in favor of its antiquity, and
I felt bound to confess, to those who asked my opinion, that it
puzzled me. This was the fact that the surface water flowing
beneath it in its grave seemed to have deeply grooved and
channeled it on the under side. Now the Onondaga gray limestone
is hard and substantial, and on that very account used in the
locks upon the canals: for the running of surface water to wear
such channels in it would require centuries.

Against the opinion that the figure was a hoax various arguments
were used. It was insisted, first, that the farmer had not the
ability to devise such a fraud; secondly, that he had not the
means to execute it; third, that his family had lived there
steadily for many years, and were ready to declare under oath
that they had never seen it, and had known nothing of it until it
was accidentally discovered; fourth, that the neighbors had never
seen or heard of it; fifth, that it was preposterous to suppose
that such a mass of stone could have been brought and buried in
the place without some one finding it out; sixth, that the
grooves and channels worn in it by the surface water proved its
vast antiquity.

To these considerations others were soon added. Especially
interesting was it to observe the evolution of myth and legend.
Within a week after the discovery, full-blown statements appeared
to the effect that the neighboring Indians had abundant
traditions of giants who formerly roamed over the hills of
Onondaga; and, finally, the circumstantial story was evolved that
an Onondaga squaw had declared, "in an impressive manner," that
the statue "is undoubtedly the petrified body of a gigantic
Indian prophet who flourished many centuries ago and foretold the
coming of the palefaces, and who, just before his own death, said
to those about him that their descendants would see him
again."[19] To this were added the reflections of many good
people who found it an edifying confirmation of the biblical
text, "There were giants in those days." There was, indeed, an
undercurrent of skepticism among the harder heads in the valley,
but the prevailing opinion in the region at large was more and
more in favor of the idea that the object was a fossilized human
being--a giant of "those days." Such was the rush to see the
figure that the admission receipts were very large; it was even
stated that they amounted to five per cent. upon three millions
of dollars, and soon came active men from the neighboring region
who proposed to purchase the figure and exhibit it through the
country. A leading spirit in this "syndicate" deserves mention.
He was a horse-dealer in a large way and banker in a small way
from a village in the next county,--a man keen and shrewd, but
merciful and kindly, who had fought his way up from abject
poverty, and whose fundamental principle, as he asserted it, was
"Do unto others as they would like to do unto you, and--DO IT
FUST."[20] A joint-stock concern was formed with a considerable
capital, and an eminent show man, "Colonel" Wood, employed to
exploit the wonder.

[19] See "The Cardiff Giant Humbug," Fort Dodge, Iowa, 1870, p.

[20] For a picture, both amusing and pathetic, of the doings of
this man, and also of life in the central New York villages, see
"David Harum," a novel by E. N. Westcott, New York, 1898.

A week after my first visit I again went to the place, by
invitation. In the crowd on that day were many men of light and
leading from neighboring towns,--among them some who made
pretensions to scientific knowledge. The figure, lying in its
grave, deeply impressed all; and as a party of us came away, a
very excellent doctor of divinity, pastor of one of the largest
churches in Syracuse, said very impressively, "Is it not strange
that any human being, after seeing this wonderfully preserved
figure, can deny the evidence of his senses, and refuse to
believe, what is so evidently the fact, that we have here a
fossilized human being, perhaps one of the giants mentioned in

Another visitor, a bright-looking lady, was heard to declare,
"Nothing in the world can ever make me believe that he was not
once a living being. Why, you can see the veins in his legs."[21]

[21] See Letter of Hon. Galusha Parsons in the Fort Dodge

Another prominent clergyman declared with ex cathedra emphasis:
"This is not a thing contrived of man, but is the face of one who
lived on the earth, the very image and child of God."[22] And a
writer in one of the most important daily papers of the region
dwelt on the "majestic simplicity and grandeur of the figure,"
and added, "It is not unsafe to affirm that ninety-nine out of
every hundred persons who have seen this wonder have become
immediately and instantly impressed with the idea that they were
in the presence of an object not made by mortal hands.... No
piece of sculpture ever produced the awe inspired by this
blackened form.... I venture to affirm that no living sculptor
can be produced who will say that the figure was conceived and
executed by any human being."[23]

[22] See Mr. Stockbridge's article in the "Popular Science
Monthly," June, 1878.

[23] See "The American Goliath," Syracuse, 1869, p. 16.

The current of belief ran more and more strongly, and soon
embraced a large number of really thoughtful people. A week or
two after my first visit came a deputation of regents of the
State University from Albany, including especially Dr. Woolworth,
the secretary, a man of large educational experience, and no less
a personage in the scientific world than Dr. James Hall, the
State geologist, perhaps the most eminent American paleontologist
of that period.

On their arrival at Syracuse in the evening, I met them at their
hotel and discussed with them the subject which so interested us
all, urging them especially to be cautious, and stating that a
mistake might prove very injurious to the reputation of the
regents, and to the proper standing of scientific men and methods
in the State; that if the matter should turn out to be a fraud,
and such eminent authorities should be found to have committed
themselves to it, there would be a guffaw from one end of the
country to the other at the expense of the men intrusted by the
State with its scientific and educational interests. To this the
gentlemen assented, and next day they went to Cardiff. They came;
they saw; and they narrowly escaped being conquered. Luckily they
did not give their sanction to the idea that the statue was a
petrifaction, but Professor Hall was induced to say: "To all
appearance, the statue lay upon the gravel when the deposition of
the fine silt or soil began, upon the surface of which the
forests have grown for succeeding generations. Altogether it is
the most remarkable object brought to light in this country, and,
although not dating back to the stone age, is, nevertheless,
deserving of the attention of archaeologists."[24]

[24] See his letter of October 23, 1869, in the Syracuse papers.

At no period of my life have I ever been more discouraged as
regards the possibility of making right reason prevail among men.

As a refrain to every argument there seemed to go jeering and
sneering through my brain Schiller's famous line:

"Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain."[25]

[25] "Mit der Dummheit kampfen Gotter selbst vergebens." Jungfrau
von Orleans, Act III, scene 6.

There seemed no possibility even of SUSPENDING the judgment of
the great majority who saw the statue. As a rule, they insisted
on believing it a "petrified giant," and those who did not dwelt
on its perfections as an ancient statue. They saw in it a whole
catalogue of fine qualities; and one writer went into such
extreme ecstatics that he suddenly realized the fact, and ended
by saying, "but this is rather too high-flown, so I had better
conclude." As a matter of fact, the work was wretchedly defective
in proportion and features; in every characteristic of sculpture
it showed itself the work simply of an inferior stone-carver.

Dr. Boynton, a local lecturer on scientific subjects, gave it the
highest praise as a work of art, and attributed it to early
Jesuit missionaries who had come into that region about two
hundred years before. Another gentleman, who united the character
of a deservedly beloved pastor and an inspiring popular lecturer
on various scientific topics, developed this Boynton theory. He
attributed the statue to "a trained sculptor . . . who had noble
original powers; for none but such could have formed and wrought
out the conception of that stately head, with its calm smile so
full of mingled sweetness and strength." This writer then
ventured the query, "Was it not, as Dr. Boynton suggests, some
one from that French colony, . . . some one with a righteous soul
sighing over the lost civilization of Europe, weary of swamp and
forest and fort, who, finding this block by the side of the
stream, solaced the weary days of exile with pouring out his
thought upon the stone?"[26] Although the most eminent sculptor
in the State had utterly refused to pronounce the figure anything
beyond a poor piece of carving, these strains of admiration and
adoration continued.

[26] See the Syracuse daily papers as above.

There was evidently a "joy in believing" in the marvel, and this
was increased by the peculiarly American superstition that the
correctness of a belief is decided by the number of people who
can be induced to adopt it--that truth is a matter of majorities.
The current of credulity seemed irresistible.

Shortly afterward the statue was raised from its grave taken to
Syracuse and to various other cities, especially to the city of
New York, and in each place exhibited as a show.

As already stated, there was but one thing in the figure, as I
had seen it, which puzzled me, and that was the grooving of the
under side, apparently by currents of water, which, as the statue
appeared to be of our Onondaga gray limestone, would require very
many years. But one day one of the cool-headed skeptics of the
valley, an old schoolmate of mine, came to me, and with an air of
great solemnity took from his pocket an object which he carefully
unrolled from its wrappings, and said, "There is a piece of the
giant. Careful guard has been kept from the first in order to
prevent people touching it; but I have managed to get a piece of
it, and here it is." I took it in my hand, and the matter was
made clear in an instant. The stone was not our hard Onondaga
gray limestone, but soft, easily marked with the finger-nail,
and, on testing it with an acid, I found it, not hard carbonate
of lime, but a soft, friable sulphate of lime--a form of gypsum,
which must have been brought from some other part of the country.

A healthful skepticism now began to assert its rights. Professor
Marsh of Yale appeared upon the scene. Fortunately, he was not
only one of the most eminent of living paleontologists, but,
unlike most who had given an opinion, he really knew something of
sculpture, for he had been familiar with the best galleries of
the Old World. He examined the statue and said, "It is of very
recent origin, and a most decided humbug.... Very short exposure
of the statue would suffice to obliterate all trace of
tool-marks, and also to roughen the polished surfaces, but these
are still quite perfect, and hence the giant must have been very
recently buried.... I am surprised that any scientific observers
should not have at once detected the unmistakable evidence
against its antiquity."[27]

[27] See Professor Marsh's letter in the "Syracuse Daily
Journal," November 30, 1869.

Various suspicious circumstances presently became known. It was
found that Farmer Newell had just remitted to a man named Hull,
at some place in the West, several thousand dollars, the result
of admission fees to the booth containing the figure, and that
nothing had come in return. Thinking men in the neighborhood
reasoned that as Newell had never been in condition to owe any
human being such an amount of money, and had received nothing in
return for it, his correspondent had, not unlikely, something to
do with the statue.

These suspicions were soon confirmed. The neighboring farmers,
who, in their quiet way, kept their eyes open, noted a tall, lank
individual who frequently visited the place and seemed to
exercise complete control over Farmer Newell. Soon it was learned
that this stranger was the man Hull,--Newell's
brother-in-law,--the same to whom the latter had made the large
remittance of admission money. One day, two or three farmers from
a distance, visiting the place for the first time and seeing
Hull, said, "Why, that is the man who brought the big box down
the valley." On being asked what they meant, they said that,
being one evening in a tavern on the valley turnpike some miles
south of Cardiff, they had noticed under the tavern shed a wagon
bearing an enormous box; and when they met Hull in the bar-room
and asked about it, he said that it was some tobacco-cutting
machinery which he was bringing to Syracuse. Other farmers, who
had seen the box and talked with Hull at different places on the
road between Binghamton and Cardiff, made similar statements. It
was then ascertained that no such box had passed the toll-gates
between Cardiff and Syracuse, and proofs of the swindle began to

But skepticism was not well received. Vested interests had
accrued, a considerable number of people, most of them very good
people, had taken stock in the new enterprise, and anything which
discredited it was unwelcome to them.

It was not at all that these excellent people wished to
countenance an imposture, but it had become so entwined with
their beliefs and their interests that at last they came to abhor
any doubts regarding it. A pamphlet, "The American Goliath," was
now issued in behalf of the wonder. On its title-page it claimed
to give the "History of the Discovery, and the Opinions of
Scientific Men thereon." The tone of the book was moderate, but
its tendency was evident. Only letters and newspaper articles
exciting curiosity or favoring the genuineness of the statue were
admitted; adverse testimony, like that of Professor Marsh, was
carefully excluded.

Before long the matter entered into a comical phase. Barnum, King
of Showmen, attempted to purchase the "giant," but in vain. He
then had a copy made so nearly resembling the original that no
one, save, possibly, an expert, could distinguish between them.
This new statue was also exhibited as "the Cardiff Giant," and
thenceforward the credit of the discovery waned.

The catastrophe now approached rapidly, and soon affidavits from
men of high character in Iowa and Illinois established the fact
that the figure was made at Fort Dodge, in Iowa, of a great block
of gypsum there found; that this block was transported by land to
the nearest railway station, Boone, which was about forty-five
miles distant; that on the way the wagon conveying it broke down,
and that as no other could be found strong enough to bear the
whole weight, a portion of the block was cut off; that, thus
diminished, it was taken to Chicago, where a German stone-carver
gave it final shape; that, as it had been shortened, he was
obliged to draw up the lower limbs, thus giving it a strikingly
contracted and agonized appearance; that the under side of the
figure was grooved and channeled in order that it should appear
to be wasted by age; that it was then dotted or pitted over with
minute pores by means of a leaden mallet faced with steel
needles; that it was stained with some preparation which gave it
an appearance of great age; that it was then shipped to a place
near Binghamton, New York, and finally brought to Cardiff and
there buried. It was further stated that Hull, in order to secure
his brother-in-law, Farmer Newell, as his confederate in burying
the statue, had sworn him to secrecy; and, in order that the
family might testify that they had never heard or seen anything
of the statue until it had been unearthed, he had sent them away
on a little excursion covering the time when it was brought and
buried. All these facts were established by affidavits from men
of high character in Iowa and Illinois, by the sworn testimony of
various Onondaga farmers and men of business, and, finally, by
the admissions and even boasts of Hull himself.

Against this tide of truth the good people who had pinned their
faith to the statue--those who had vested interests in it, and
those who had rashly given solemn opinions in favor of
it--struggled for a time desperately. A writer in the "Syracuse
Journal" expressed a sort of regretful wonder and shame that "the
public are asked to overthrow the sworn testimony of sustained
witnesses corroborated by the highest scientific authority"--the
only sworn witness being Farmer Newell, whose testimony was not
at all conclusive, and the highest scientific authority being an
eminent local dentist who, early in his life, had given popular
chemical lectures, and who had now invested money in the

The same writer referred also with awe to "the men of sense,
property, and character who own the giant and receive whatever
revenue arises from its exhibition"; and the argument culminated
in the oracular declaration that "the operations of water as
testified and interpreted by science cannot create

[28] See letter of "X" in the "Syracuse Journal," republished in
the Fort Dodge Pamphlet, pp. 15 and 16.

But all this pathetic eloquence was in vain. Hull, the inventor
of the statue, having realized more money from it than he
expected, and being sharp enough to see that its day was done,
was evidently bursting with the desire to avert scorn from
himself by bringing the laugh upon others, and especially upon
certain clergymen, whom, as we shall see hereafter, he greatly
disliked. He now acknowledged that the whole thing was a swindle,
and gave details of the way in which he came to embark in it. He
avowed that the idea was suggested to him by a discussion with a
Methodist revivalist in Iowa; that, being himself a skeptic in
religious matters, he had flung at his antagonist "those
remarkable stories in the Bible about giants"; that, observing
how readily the revivalist and those with him took up the cudgels
for the giants, it then and there occurred to him that, since so
many people found pleasure in believing such things, he would
have a statue carved out of stone which he had found in Iowa and
pass it off on them as a petrified giant. In a later conversation
he said that one thing which decided him was that the stone had
in it dark-colored bluish streaks which resembled in appearance
the veins of the human body. The evolution of the whole affair
thus became clear, simple, and natural.

Up to this time, Hull's remarkable cunning had never availed him
much. He had made various petty inventions, but had realized very
little from them; he had then made some combinations as regarded
the internal-revenue laws referring to the manufacture and sale
of tobacco, and these had only brought him into trouble with the
courts; but now, when the boundless resources of human credulity
were suddenly revealed to him by the revivalist, he determined to
exploit them. This evolution of his ideas strikingly resembles
that through which the mind of a worthless, shiftless, tricky
creature in western New York--Joseph Smith--must have passed
forty years before, when he dug up "the golden plates" of the
"Book of Mormon," and found plenty of excellent people who
rejoiced in believing that the Rev. Mr. Spalding's biblical novel
was a new revelation from the Almighty.

The whole matter was thus fully laid open, and it might have been
reasonably expected that thenceforward no human being would
insist that the stone figure was anything but a swindling hoax.

Not so. In the Divinity School of Yale College, about the middle
of the century, was a solemn, quiet, semi-jocose,
semi-melancholic resident graduate--Alexander McWhorter. I knew
him well. He had embarked in various matters which had not turned
out satisfactorily. Hot water, ecclesiastical and social, seemed
his favorite element.[29] He was generally believed to secure
most of his sleep during the day, and to do most of his work
during the night; a favorite object of his study being Hebrew.
Various strange things had appeared from his pen, and, most
curious of all, a little book entitled, "Yahveh Christ," in which
he had endeavored to demonstrate that the doctrine of the Trinity
was to be found entangled in the consonants out of which former
scholars made the word "Jehovah," and more recent scholars
"Yahveh"; that this word, in fact, proved the doctrine of the

[29] The main evidence of this is to be found in "Truth Stranger
Than Fiction: A Narrative of Recent Transactions involving
Inquiries in Regard to the Principles of Honor, Truth, and
Justice, which Obtains in a Distinguished American University,"
by Catherine E. Beecher, New York, 1850.

[30] See "Yahveh Christ, or the Memorial Name," by A. McWhorter,
Boston, 1857.

He now brought his intellect to bear upon "the Cardiff Giant,"
and soon produced an amazing theory, developing it at length in a
careful article.[31]

[31] See McWhorter, "Tammuz and the Mound-builders," in the
"Galaxy," July, 1872.

This theory was simply that the figure discovered at Cardiff was
a Phenician idol; and Mr. McWhorter published, as the climax to
all his proofs, the facsimile and translation of an inscription
which he had discovered upon the figure--a "Phenician
inscription," which he thought could leave no doubt in the mind
of any person open to conviction.

That the whole thing had been confessed a swindle by all who took
part in it, with full details as to its origin and development,
seemed to him not worthy of the slightest mention. Regardless of
all the facts in the case, he showed a pathetic devotion to his
theory, and allowed his imagination the fullest play. He found,
first of all, an inscription of thirteen letters, "introduced by
a large cross or star--the Assyrian index of the Deity." Before
the last word of the inscription he found carved "a flower which
he regarded as consecrated to the particular deity Tammuz, and at
both ends of the inscription a serpent monogram and symbol of

This inscription he assumed as an evident fact, though no other
human being had ever been able to see it. Even Professor White,
M.D., of the Yale Medical School, with the best intentions in the
world, was unable to find it. Dr. White was certainly not
inclined to superficiality or skepticism. With "achromatic
glasses which magnified forty-five diameters" he examined the
"pinholes" which covered the figure, and declared that "the
beautiful finish of every pore or pinhole appeared to me strongly
opposed to the idea that the statue was of modern workmanship."
He also thought he saw the markings which Mr. McWhorter
conjectured might be an inscription, and said in a letter,
"though I saw no recent tool-marks, I saw evidences of design in
the form and arrangement of the markings, which suggested the
idea of an inscription." And, finally, having made these
concessions, he ends his long letter with the very guarded
statement that, "though not fully DECIDED, I INCLINE TO THE
OPINION that the Onondaga statue is of ancient origin."[32]

[32] The italics are as in the original.

But this mild statement did not daunt Mr. McWhorter. Having
calmly pronounced Dr. White "in error," he proceeded with sublime
disregard of every other human being. He found that the statue
"belongs to the winged or 'cherubim' type"; that "down the left
side of the figure are seen the outlines of folded wings--even
the separate feathers being clearly distinguishable"; that "the
left side of the head is inexpressibly noble and majestic," and
"conforms remarkably to the type of the head of the
mound-builders"; that "the left arm terminates in what appears to
be a huge extended lion's paw"; that "the dual idea expressed in
the head is carried out in the figure"; that "in the wonderfully
artistic mouth of the divine side we find a suggestion of that of
the Greek Apollo." Mr. McWhorter also found other things that no
other human being was ever able to discern, and among them "a
crescent-shaped wound upon the left side," "traces of ancient
coloring" in all parts of the statue, and evidences that the
minute pores were made by "borers." He lays great stress on an
"ancient medal" found in Onondaga, which he thinks belongs "to
the era of the mound-builders," and on which he finds a "circle
inclosing an equilateral cross, both cross and circle, like the
wheel of Ezekiel, being full of small circles or eyes." As a
matter of fact, this "ancient medal" was an English penny, which
a street gamin of Syracuse said that he had found near the
statue, and the "equilateral cross" was simply the usual cross of
St. George. Mr. McWhorter thinks the circle inclosing the cross
denotes the "world soul," and in a dissertation of about twenty
pages he discourses upon "Baal," "Tammuz," "King Hiram of Tyre,"
the "ships of Tarshish," the "Eluli," and "Atlas," with plentiful
arguments drawn from a multitude of authorities, and among them
Sanchoniathon, Ezekiel, Plato, Dr. Dollinger, Isaiah,
Melanchthon, Lenormant, Humboldt, Sir John Lubbock, and Don
Domingo Juarros,--finally satisfying himself that the statue was
"brought over by a colony of Phenicians," possibly several
hundred years before Christ.[33]

[33] See the "Galaxy" article, as above, passim.

With the modesty of a true scholar he says, "Whether the final
battle at Onondaga . . . occurred before or after this event we
cannot tell"; but, resuming confidence, he says, "we only know
that at some distant period the great statue, brought in a 'ship
of Tarshish' across the sea of Atl, was lightly covered with
twigs and flowers and these with gravel." The deliberations of
the Pickwick Club over "Bill Stubbs, His Mark" pale before this;
and Dickens in his most expansive moods never conceived anything
more funny than the long, solemn discussion between the erratic
Hebrew scholar and the eminent medical professor at New Haven
over the "pores" of the statue, which one of them thought "the
work of minute animals," which the other thought "elaborate
Phenician workmanship," which both thought exquisite, and which
the maker of the statue had already confessed that he had made by
rudely striking the statue with a mallet faced with needles.

Mr. McWhorter's new theory made no great stir in the United
States, though some, doubtless, took comfort in it; but it found
one very eminent convert across the ocean, and in a place where
we might least have expected him. Some ten years after the events
above sketched while residing at Berlin as minister of the United
States, I one day received from an American student at the
University of Halle a letter stating that he had been requested
by no less a personage than the eminent Dr Schlottmann,
instructor in Hebrew in the theological school of that
university,--the successor of Gesenius in that branch of
instruction,--to write me for information regarding the Phenician
statue described by the Rev Alexander McWhorter.

In reply, I detailed to him the main points in the history of the
case, as it has been given in this chapter, adding, as against
the Phenician theory, that nothing in the nature of Phenician
remains had ever been found within the borders of the United
States, and that if they had been found, this remote valley,
three hundred miles from the sea, barred from the coast by
mountain-ranges, forests, and savage tribes, could never have
been the place chosen by Phenician navigators for such a deposit;
that the figure itself was clearly not a work of early art, but a
crude development by an uncultured stone-cutter out of his
remembrance of things in modern sculpture; and that the
inscription was purely the creation of Mr. McWhorter's

In his acknowledgment, my correspondent said that I had left no
doubt in his mind as to the fact that the giant was a swindle;
but that he had communicated my letter to the eminent Dr.
Schlottmann, that the latter avowed that I had not convinced him,
and that he still believed the Cardiff figure to be a Phenician
statue bearing a most important inscription.

One man emerged from this chapter in the history of human folly
supremely happy: this was Hull, the inventor of the "giant." He
had at last made some money, had gained a reputation for
"smartness," and, what probably pleased him best of all, had
revenged himself upon the Rev. Mr. Turk of Ackley, Iowa, who by
lung-power had worsted him in the argument as to the giants
mentioned in Scripture.

So elate was he that he shortly set about devising another
"petrified man" which would defy the world. It was of clay baked
in a furnace, contained human bones, and was provided with "a
tail and legs of the ape type"; and this he caused to be buried
and discovered in Colorado. This time he claimed to have the aid
of one of his former foes--the great Barnum; and all went well
until his old enemy, Professor Marsh of Yale, appeared and
blasted the whole enterprise by a few minutes of scientific
observation and common-sense discourse.

Others tried to imitate Hull, and in 1876 one--William Buddock of
Thornton, St. Clair County, Michigan--manufactured a small effigy
in cement, and in due time brought about the discovery of it.
But, though several country clergymen used it to strengthen their
arguments as to the literal, prosaic correctness of Genesis, it
proved a failure. Finally, in 1889, twenty years after "the
Cardiff Giant" was devised, a "petrified man" was found near
Bathurst in Australia, brought to Sydney, and exhibited. The
result was, in some measure, the same as in the case of the
American fraud. Excellent people found comfort in believing, and
sundry pseudo-scientific men of a cheap sort thought it best to
pander to this sentiment; but a well-trained geologist pointed
out the absurdity of the popular theory, and finally the police
finished the matter by securing evidences of fraud.[34]

[34] For the Ruddock discovery see Dr. G.A. Stockwell in the
"Popular Science Monthly" for June, 1878. For the Australian
fraud see the London "Times" of August 2, 1889.

To close these annals, I may add that recently the inventor of
"the Cardiff Giant," Hull, being at the age of seventy-six years,
apparently in his last illness, and anxious for the glory in
history which comes from successful achievement, again gave to
the press a full account of his part in the affair, confirming
what he had previously stated, showing how he planned it,
executed it and realized a goodly sum for it; how Barnum wished
to purchase it from him; and how, above all, he had his joke at
the expense of those who, though they had managed to overcome him
in argument, had finally been rendered ridiculous in the sight of
the whole country.[35]

[35] For Hull's "Final Statement" see the "Ithaca Daily Journal,"
January 4, 1898.



Among those who especially attracted my youthful admiration were
authors, whether of books or of articles in the magazines. When
one of these personages was pointed out to me, he seemed of far
greater stature than the men about him. This feeling was
especially developed in the atmosphere of our household, where
scholars and writers were held in especial reverence, and was
afterward increased by my studies. This led me at Yale to take,
at first, much interest in general literature, and, as a result,
I had some youthful successes as a writer of essays and as one of
the editors of the "Yale Literary Magazine"; but although it was
an era of great writers,--the culmination of the Victorian
epoch,--my love for literature as literature gradually
diminished, and in place of it came in my young manhood a love of
historical and other studies to which literature was, to my mind,
merely subsidiary. With this, no doubt, the prevailing atmosphere
of Yale had much to do. There was between Yale and Harvard, at
that time, a great difference as regarded literary culture.
Living immediately about Harvard were most of the leading
American authors, and this fact greatly influenced that
university; at Yale less was made of literature as such, and more
was made of it as a means to an end--as ancillary in the
discussion of various militant political questions. Yale had
writers strong, vigorous, and acute: of such were Woolsey,
Porter, Bacon, and Bushnell, some of whom,--and, above all, the
last,--had they devoted themselves to pure literature, would have
gained lasting fame; but their interest in the questions of the
day was controlling, and literature, in its ordinary sense, was

Harvard undoubtedly had the greater influence on leading American
thinkers throughout the nation, but much less direct influence on
the people at large outside of Massachusetts. The direct
influence of Yale on affairs throughout the United States was far
greater; it was felt in all parts of the country and in every
sort of enterprise. Many years after my graduation I attended a
meeting of the Yale alumni at Washington, where a Western
senator, on taking the chair, gave an offhand statement of the
difference between the two universities. "Gentlemen," said the
senator, "we all know what Harvard does. She fits men admirably
for life in Boston and its immediate neighborhood; they see
little outside of eastern Massachusetts and nothing outside of
New England; in Boston clubs they are delightful; elsewhere they
are intolerable. And we also know what Yale does: she sends her
graduates out into all parts of the land, for every sort of good
work, in town and country, even to the remotest borders of the
nation. Wherever you find a Yale man you find a man who is in
touch with his fellow-citizens; who appreciates them and is
appreciated by them; who is doing a man's work and is honored for
doing it."

This humorous overstatement indicates to some extent the real
difference between the spirit of the two universities: the
influence of Harvard being greater through the men it trained to
lead American thought from Boston as a center; the influence of
Yale being greater through its graduates who were joining in the
world's work in all its varied forms. Yet, curiously enough, it
was the utterance of a Harvard man which perhaps did most in my
young manhood to make me unduly depreciate literary work. I was
in deep sympathy with Theodore Parker, both in politics and
religion, and when he poured contempt over a certain class of
ineffective people as "weak and literary," something of his
feeling took possession of me. Then, too, I was much under the
influence of Thomas Carlyle: his preachments, hortatory and
objurgatory, witty and querulous, that men should defer work in
literature until they really have some worthy message to deliver,
had a strong effect upon me. While I greatly admired men like
Lowell and Whittier, who brought exquisite literary gifts to bear
powerfully on the struggle against slavery, persons devoted
wholly to literary work seemed to me akin to sugar-bakers and
confectionery-makers. I now know that this view was very
inadequate; but it was then in full force. It seemed to me more
and more absurd that a man with an alleged immortal soul, at such
a time as the middle of the nineteenth century, should devote
himself, as I then thought, to amusing weakish young men and
women by the balancing of phrases or the jingling of verses.

Therefore it was that, after leaving Yale, whatever I wrote had
some distinct purpose, with little, if any, care as to form. I
was greatly stirred against the encroachments of slavery in the
Territories, had also become deeply interested in university
education, and most of my thinking and writing was devoted to
these subjects; though, at times, I took up the cudgels in behalf
of various militant ideas that seemed to need support. The
lecture on "Cathedral Builders and Mediaeval Sculptors," given in
the Yale chapel after my return from Europe, often repeated
afterward in various parts of the country, and widely circulated
by extracts in newspapers, though apparently an exception to the
rule, was not really so. It aimed to show the educational value
of an ethical element in art. So, too, my article in the "New
Englander" on "Glimpses of Universal History" had as its object
the better development of historical studies in our universities.
My articles in the "Atlantic Monthly"--on "Jefferson and
Slavery," on "The Statesmanship of Richelieu," and on "The
Development and Overthrow of Serfdom in Russia"--all had a
bearing on the dominant question of slavery, and the same was
true of my Phi Beta Kappa address at Yale on "The Greatest Foe of
Modern States." Whatever I wrote during the Civil War, and
especially my pamphlet published in London as a reply to the
"American Diary" of the London "Times" correspondent, Dr.
Russell, had a similar character. The feeling grew upon me that
life in the United States during the middle of the nineteenth
century was altogether too earnest for devotion to pure
literature. The same feeling pervaded my lectures at the
University of Michigan, my effort being by means of the lessons
of history to set young men at thinking upon the great political
problems of our time. The first course of these lectures was upon
the French Revolution. Work with reference to it had been a labor
of love. During my student life in Paris, and at various other
times, I had devoted much time to the study of this subject, had
visited nearly all the places most closely connected with it not
only in Paris but throughout France, had meditated upon the noble
beginnings of the Revolution in the Palace and Tennis-court and
Church of St. Louis at Versailles; at Lyons, upon the fusillades;
at Nantes, upon the noyades; at the Abbaye, the Carmelite
monastery, the Barriere du Trone, and the cemetery of the Rue
Picpus in Paris, upon the Red Terror; at Nimes and Avignon and in
La Vendee, upon the White Terror; had collected, in all parts of
France, masses of books, manuscripts, public documents and
illustrated material on the whole struggle: full sets of the
leading newspapers of the Revolutionary period, more than seven
thousand pamphlets, reports, speeches, and other fugitive
publications, with masses of paper money, caricatures,
broadsides, and the like, thus forming my library on the
Revolution, which has since been added to that of Cornell
University. Based upon these documents and books were my lectures
on the general history of France and on the Revolution and
Empire. Out of this came finally a shorter series of lectures
upon which I took especial pains--namely, the "History of the
Causes of the French Revolution." This part of the whole course
interested me most as revealing the strength and weakness of
democracies and throwing light upon many problems which our own
republic must endeavor to solve; and I gave it not only at
Cornell, but at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania,
Stanford, Tulane, and Washington. It still remains in manuscript:
whether it will ever be published is uncertain. Should my life be
somewhat extended, I hope to throw it into the form of a small
volume; but, at my present age and with the work now upon me, the
realization of this plan is doubtful. Still, in any case, there
is to me one great consolation: my collection of books aided the
former professor of modern history at Cornell, Mr. Morse Stevens,
in preparing what is unquestionably the best history of the
French Revolution in the English language. Nor has the collection
been without other uses. Upon it was based my pamphlet on "Paper
Money Inflation in France: How It Came, What It Brought, and How
It Ended," and this, being circulated widely as a campaign
document during two different periods of financial delusion, did,
I hope, something to set some controlling men into fruitful
trains of thought on one of the most important issues ever
presented to the American people.

Another course of lectures also paved the way possibly for a
book. I have already told how, during my college life and even
previously, I became fascinated with the history of the
Protestant Reformation. This led to further studies, and among
the first courses in history prepared during my professorship at
the University of Michigan was one upon the "Revival of Learning"
and the "Reformation in Germany." This course was developed later
until it was brought down to our own times; its continuance being
especially favored by my stay in Germany, first as a student and
later as minister of the United States. Most of my spare time at
these periods was given to this subject, and in the preparation
of these lectures I conceived the plan of a book bearing some
such name as "The Building of the German Empire," or "The
Evolution of Modern Germany." As to method, I proposed to make it
almost entirely biographical, and the reason for this is very
simple. Of all histories that I have known, those relating to
Germany have been the most difficult to read. Events in German
history are complicated and interwoven, to a greater degree than
those of any other nation, by struggles between races, between
three great branches of the Christian Church, between scores of
territorial divisions between greater and lesser monarchs,
between states and cities, between families, between individuals.
Then, to increase the complication, the center of interest is
constantly changing,--being during one period at Vienna, during
another at Frankfort-on-the-Main, during another at Berlin, and
during others at other places. Therefore it is that narrative
histories of Germany become to most foreign readers wretchedly
confusing: indeed, they might well be classed in Father
Bouhours's famous catalogue of "Books Impossible to be Read."
This obstacle to historical treatment, especially as regards the
needs of American readers, led me to group events about the lives
of various German leaders in thought and action--the real builders
of Germany; and this plan was perhaps confirmed by Carlyle's
famous dictum that the history of any nation is the history of
the great men who have made it. Impressed by such considerations,
I threw my lectures almost entirely into biographical form, with
here and there a few historical lectures to bind the whole
together. Beginning with Erasmus, Luther, Ulrich von Hutten, and
Charles V, I continued with Comenius, Canisius, Grotius,
Thomasius, and others who, whether born on German soil or not,
exercised their main influence in Germany. Then came the work of
the Great Elector, the administration of Frederick the Great, the
moral philosophy of Kant, the influence of the French Revolution
and Napoleon in Germany, the reforms of Stein, the hopeless
efforts of Joseph II and Metternich to win the hegemony for
Austria, and the successful efforts of Bismarck and the Emperor
William to give it to Prussia. My own direct knowledge of Germany
at different dates during more than forty-five years, and perhaps
also my official and personal relations to the two personages
last mentioned, enabled me to see some things which a man drawing
his material from books alone would not have seen. I have given
much of my spare time to this subject during several years, and
still hope, almost against hope, to bring it into book form.

Though thus interested in the work of a professor of modern
history, I could not refrain from taking part in the discussion
of practical questions pressing on thinking men from all sides
and earnestly demanding attention.

During my State senatorship I had been obliged more than once to
confess a lack, both in myself and in my colleagues, of much
fundamental knowledge especially important to men intrusted with
the legislation of a great commonwealth. Besides this, even as
far back as my Russian attacheship, I had observed a similar want
of proper equipment in our diplomatic and consular service. It
was clear to me that such subjects as international law,
political economy, modern history bearing on legislation, the
fundamental principles of law and administration, and especially
studies bearing on the prevention and cure of pauperism,
inebriety, and crime, and on the imposition of taxation, had been
always inadequately provided for by our universities, and in most
cases utterly neglected. In France and Germany I had observed a
better system, and, especially at the College de France, had been
interested in the courses of Laboulaye on "Comparative
Legislation." The latter subject, above all, seemed likely to
prove fruitful in the United States, where not only the national
Congress but over forty State legislatures are trying in various
ways, year after year, to solve the manifold problems presented
to them. Therefore it was that, while discharging my duties as a
commissioner at the Paris Exposition of 1878, I took pains to
secure information regarding instruction, in various European
countries, having as its object the preparation of young men for
the civil and diplomatic service. Especially was I struck by the
thorough equipment for the diplomatic and consular services given
at the newly established ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques at
Paris; consequently my report as commissioner was devoted to this
general subject. On my return this was published under the title
of "The Provision for Higher Instruction in Subjects bearing
directly on Public Affairs," and a portion of my material was
thrown, at a later day, into an appeal for the establishment of
proper courses in history and political science, which took the
final form of a commencement address at Johns Hopkins University.
It is a great satisfaction to me that this publication, acting
with other forces in the same direction, has been evidently
useful Nothing in the great development of our universities
during the last quarter of a century has been more gratifying and
full of promise for the country than the increased provision for
instruction bearing on public questions, and the increased
interest in such instruction shown by students, and, indeed, by
the community at large I may add that of all the kindnesses shown
me by the trustees of Cornell University at my resignation of its
presidency, there was none which pleased me more than the
attachment of my name to their newly established College of
History and Political Science.

During this same period another immediately practical subject
which interested me was the reform of the civil service; and,
having spoken upon this at various public meetings as well as
written private letters to various public men in order to keep
them thinking upon it, I published in 1882, in the "North
American Review," an article giving historical facts regarding
the origin, evolution, and results of the spoils system,
entitled, "Do the Spoils Belong to the Victor?" This brought upon
me a bitter personal attack from my old friend Mr. Thurlow Weed,
who, far-sighted and shrewd as he was, could never see how
republican institutions could be made to work without the
anticipation of spoils; but for this I was more than compensated
by the friendship of younger men who are likely to have far more
to do with our future political development than will the old
race of politicians, and, chief among these young men, Mr.
Theodore Roosevelt. I was also drawn off to other subjects,
making addresses at various universities on points which seemed
to me of importance, the most successful of all being one given
at Yale, upon the thirtieth anniversary of my class, entitled,
"The Message of the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth." It was
an endeavor to strengthen the hands of those who were laboring to
maintain the proper balance between the humanities and technical
studies. To the latter I had indeed devoted many years of my
life, but the time had arrived when the other side seemed to
demand attention. This address, though the result of much
preliminary meditation, was dictated in all the hurry and worry
of a Cornell commencement week and given in the Yale chapel the
week following. Probably nothing which I have ever done, save
perhaps the tractate on "Paper Money Inflation in France,"
received such immediate and wide-spread recognition: it was
circulated very extensively in the New York "Independent," then
in the form of a pamphlet, for which there was large demand, and
finally, still more widely, in a cheap form.

Elsewhere in these reminiscences I have given an account of the
evolution of my "History of the Warfare of Science with
Theology." It was growing in my mind for about twenty years, and
my main reading, even for my different courses of lectures, had
more or less connection with it. First given as a lecture, it was
then extended into a little book which grew, in the shape of new
chapters, into much larger final form. It was written mainly at
Cornell University, but several of its chapters in other parts of
the world, one being almost wholly prepared on the Nile, at
Athens, and at Munich; another at St. Petersburg and during a
journey in the Scandinavian countries; and other chapters in
England and France. At last, in the spare hours of my official
life at St. Petersburg I made an end of the work; and in Italy,
during the winter and spring of 1894-1895, gave it final

For valuable aid in collecting materials and making notes in
public libraries, I was indebted to various friends whose names
are mentioned in its preface; and above all, to my dear friend
and former student, Professor George Lincoln Burr, who not only
aided me greatly during the latter part of my task by wise
suggestions and cautions, but who read the proofs and made the

Perhaps I may be allowed to repeat here that my purpose in
preparing this book was to strengthen not only science but
religion. I have never had any tendency to scoffing, nor have I
liked scoffers. Many of my closest associations and dearest
friendships have been, and still are, with clergymen. Clergymen
are generally, in our cities and villages, among the best and
most intelligent men that one finds, and, as a rule, with
thoughtful and tolerant old lawyers and doctors, the people best
worth knowing. My aim in writing was not only to aid in freeing
science from trammels which for centuries had been vexatious and
cruel, but also to strengthen religious teachers by enabling them
to see some of the evils in the past which, for the sake of
religion itself, they ought to guard against in the future.

During vacation journeys in Europe I was led, at various
historical centers, to take up special subjects akin to those
developed in my lectures. Thus, during my third visit to
Florence, having read Manzoni's "Promessi Sposi," which still
seems to me the most beautiful historical romance ever written, I
was greatly impressed by that part of it which depicts the
superstitions and legal cruelties engendered by the plague at
Milan. This story, with Manzoni's "Colonna Infame" and Cantu's
"Vita di Beccaria," led me to take up the history of criminal
law, and especially the development of torture in procedure and
punishment. Much time during two or three years was given to this
subject, and a winter at Stuttgart in 1877-1878 was entirely
devoted to it. In the course of these studies I realized as never
before how much dogmatic theology and ecclesiasticism have done
to develop and maintain the most frightful features in penal law.
I found that in Greece and Rome, before the coming in of
Christianity, torture had been reduced to a minimum and, indeed,
had been mainly abolished; but that the doctrine in the mediaeval
church as to "Excepted Cases"--namely, cases of heresy and
witchcraft, regarding which the theological dogma was developed
that Satan would exercise his powers to help his votaries--had
led to the reestablishment of a system of torture, in order to
baffle and overcome Satan, far more cruel than any which
prevailed under paganism.

I also found that, while under the later Roman emperors and, in
fact, down to the complete supremacy of Christianity, criminal
procedure grew steadily more and more merciful, as soon as the
church was established in full power yet another theological
doctrine came in with such force that it extended the use of
torture from the "Excepted Cases" named above to all criminal
procedure, and maintained it, in its most frightful form, for
more than a thousand years. This new doctrine was that since the
Almighty punishes his erring children by tortures infinite in
cruelty and eternal in duration, earthly authorities may justly
imitate this divine example so far as their finite powers enable
them to do so. I found this doctrine not only especially
effective in the mediaeval church, but taking on even more
hideous characteristics in the Protestant Church, especially in
Germany. On this subject I collected much material, some of it
very interesting and little known even to historical scholars. Of
this were original editions of the old criminal codes of Europe
and later criminal codes in France and Germany down to the French
Revolution, nearly all of which were enriched with engravings
illustrating instruments and processes of torture. So, too, a
ghastly light was thrown into the whole subject by the
executioners' tariffs in the various German states, especially
those under ecclesiastical rule. One of several in my possession,
which was published by the Elector Archbishop of Cologne in 1757
and stamped with the archbishop's seal, specifies and sanctions
every form of ingenious cruelty which one human being can
exercise upon another, and, opposite each of these cruelties, the
price which the executioner was authorized to receive for
administering it. Thus, for cutting off the right hand so much;
for tearing out the tongue, so much; for tearing the flesh with
hot pincers, so much; for burning a criminal alive, so much; and
so on through two folio pages. Moreover, I had collected details
of witchcraft condemnations, which, during more than a century,
went on at the rate of more than a thousand a year in Germany
alone, and not only printed books but the original manuscript
depositions taken from the victims in the torture-chamber. Of
these were the trial papers of Dietrich Flade, who had been,
toward the end of the sixteenth century, one of the most eminent
men in eastern Germany, chief justice of the province and rector
of the University of Treves. Having ventured to think witchcraft
a delusion, he was put on trial by the archbishop, tortured until
in his agony he acknowledged every impossible thing suggested to
him, and finally strangled and burned. In his case, as in various
others, I have the ipsissima verba of the accusers and accused:
the original report in the handwriting of the scribe who was
present at the torture and wrote down the questions of the judges
and the answers of the prisoner.

On this material I based a short course of lectures on "The
Evolution of Humanity in Criminal Law," and have often thought of
throwing these into the form of a small book to be called "The
Warfare of Humanity with Unreason"; but this will probably remain
a mere project. I mention it here, hoping that some other person,
with more leisure, will some day properly present these facts as
bearing on the claims of theologians and ecclesiastics to direct
education and control thought.

Of this period, too, were sundry projects for special monographs.
Thus, during various visits to Florence, I planned a history of
that city. It had interested me in my student days during my
reading of Sismondi's "History of the Italian Republics," and on
resuming my studies in that field it seemed to me that a history
of Florence might be made, most varied, interesting, and
instructive. It would embrace, of course, a most remarkable
period of political development--the growth of a mediaeval
republic out of early anarchy and tyranny; some of the most
curious experiments in government ever made; the most wonderful,
perhaps, of all growths in art, literature, and science; and the
final supremacy of a monarchy, bringing many interesting results,
yet giving some terrible warnings. But the more I read the more I
saw that to write such a history a man must relinquish everything
else, and so it was given up. So, too, during various sojourns at
Venice my old interest in Father Paul Sarpi, which had been
aroused during my early professorial life while reading his pithy
and brilliant history of the Council of Trent, was greatly
increased, and I collected a considerable library with the idea
of writing a short biography of him for American readers. This,
of all projects not executed, has been perhaps the most difficult
for me to relinquish. My last three visits to Venice have
especially revived my interest in him and increased my collection
of books regarding him. The desire to spread his fame has come
over me very strongly as I have stood in the council-rooms of the
Venetian Republic, which he served so long and so well; as I have
looked upon his statue on the spot where he was left for dead by
the emissaries of Pope Paul V; and as I have mused over his
grave, so long desecrated and hidden by monks, but in these
latter days honored with an inscription. But other work has
claimed me, and others must write upon this subject. It is well
worthy of attention, not only for the interest of its details,
but for the light it throws upon great forces still at work in
the world. Strong men have discussed it for European readers, but
it deserves to be especially presented to Americans.

I think an eminent European publicist entirely right in saying
that Father Paul is one of the three men, since the middle ages,
who have exercised the most profound influence on Italy; the
other two being Galileo and Machiavelli. The reason assigned by
this historian for this judgment is not merely the fact that
Father Paul was one of the most eminent men in science whom Italy
has produced, nor the equally incontestable fact that he taught
the Venetian Republic--and finally the world--how to withstand
papal usurpation of civil power, but that by his history of the
Council of Trent he showed "how the Holy Spirit conducts the
councils of the church" ("comme quoi le Saint Esprit dirige les

[36] Since writing the above, I have published in the "Atlantic
Monthly" two historical essays upon Sarpi.

Yet another subject which I would have been glad to present was
the life of St. Francis Xavier--partly on account of my
veneration for the great Apostle to the Indies, and partly
because a collation of his successive biographies so strikingly
reveals the origin and growth of myth and legend in the warm
atmosphere of devotion. The project of writing such a book was
formed in my Cornell lecture-room at the close of a short course
of lectures on the "Jesuit Reaction which followed the
Reformation." In the last of these I had pointed out the beauty
of Xavier's work, and had shown how natural had been the immense
growth of myth and legend in connection with it. Among my hearers
was Goldwin Smith, and as we came out he said: "I have often
thought that if any one were to take a series of the published
lives of one of the great Jesuit saints, beginning at the
beginning and comparing the successive biographies as they have
appeared, century after century, down to our own time much light
would be thrown upon the evolution of the miraculous in
religion." I was struck by this idea, and it occurred to me that,
of all such examples, that of Francis Xavier would be the most
fruitful and interesting. For we have, to begin with, his own
letters written from the scene of his great missionary labors in
the East, in which no miracles appear. We have the letters of his
associates at that period, in which there is also no knowledge
shown of any miracles performed by him. We also have the great
speeches of Laynez, one of Xavier's associates, who, at the
Council of Trent, did his best to promote Jesuit interests, and
who yet showed no knowledge of any miracles performed by Xavier.
We have the very important work by Joseph Acosta, the eminent
provincial of the Jesuits, written at a later period, largely on
the conversion of the Indies, and especially on Xavier's part in
it, which, while accepting, in a perfunctory way, the attribution
of miracles to Xavier, gives us reasoning which seems entirely to
discredit them. Then we have biographies of Xavier, published
soon after his death, in which very slight traces of miracles
begin to be found; then other biographies later and later,
century after century, in which more and more miracles appear,
and earlier miracles of very simple character grow more and more
complex and astounding, until finally we see him credited with a
vast number of the most striking miracles ever conceived of. In
order to develop the subject I have collected books and documents
of every sort bearing upon it from his time to ours, and have
given a brief summary of the results in my "History of the
Warfare of Science." But the full development of this subject,
which throws intense light upon the growth of miracles in the
biographies of so many benefactors of our race, must probably be
left to others.

It should be treated with judicial fairness. There should not be
a trace of prejudice against the church Xavier served. The
infallibility of the Pope who canonized him was indeed committed
to the reality of miracles which Xavier certainly never
performed; but the church at large cannot justly be blamed for
this: it was indeed made the more illustrious by Xavier's great
example. The evil, if evil there was, lay in human nature, and a
proper history of this evolution of myth and legend, by throwing
light into one of the strongest propensities of devout minds,
would give a most valuable warning against basing religious
systems on miraculous claims which are constantly becoming more
and more discredited and therefore more and more dangerous to any
system which persists in using them.

Still another project interested me; effort connected with it was
a kind of recreation; this project was formed during my attache
days at St. Petersburg with Governor Seymour. It was a brief
biography of Thomas Jefferson. I made some headway in it, but was
at last painfully convinced that I should never have time to
finish it worthily. Besides this, after the Civil War, Jefferson,
though still interesting to me, was by no means so great a man in
my eyes as he had been. Perhaps no doctrine ever cost any other
country so dear as Jefferson's pet theory of State rights cost
the United States: nearly a million of lives lost on
battle-fields, in prisons, and in hospitals; nearly ten thousand
millions of dollars poured into gulfs of hatred.

With another project I was more fortunate. In 1875 I was asked to
prepare a bibliographical introduction to Mr. O'Connor Morris's
short history of the French Revolution. This I did with much
care, for it seemed to me that this period in history, giving
most interesting material for study and thought, had been much
obscured by ideas drawn from trashy books instead of from the
really good authorities.

Having finished this short bibliography, it occurred to me that a
much more extensive work, giving a selection of the best
authorities on all the main periods of modern history, might be
useful. This I began, and was deeply interested in it; but here,
as in various other projects, the fates were against me. Being
appointed a commissioner to the French Exposition, and seeing in
this an opportunity to do other work which I had at heart, I
asked my successor in the professorship of history at the
University of Michigan, who at a later period became my successor
as president of Cornell, Dr. Charles Kendall Adams, to take the
work off my hands. This he did, and produced a book far better
than any which I could have written. The kind remarks in his
preface regarding my suggestions I greatly prize, and feel that
this project, at least, though I could not accomplish it, had a
most happy issue.

Another project which I have long cherished is of a very
different sort; and though it may not be possible for me to carry
it out, my hope is that some other person will do so. For many
years I have noted with pride the munificent gifts made for
educational and charitable purposes in the United States. It is a
noble history,--one which does honor not only to our own country,
but to human nature. No other country has seen any munificence
which approaches that so familiar to Americans. The records show
that during the year 1903 nearly, if not quite, eighty millions
of dollars were given by private parties for these public
purposes. It has long seemed to me that a little book based on
the history of such gifts, pointing out the lines in which they
have been most successful, might be of much use, and more than
once I have talked over with my dear friend Gilman, at present
president of the Carnegie Institution at Washington, the idea of
our working together in the production of a pamphlet or volume
with some such title as, "What Rich Americans have Done and can
Do with their Money." But my friend has been busy in his great
work of founding and developing the university at Baltimore, I
have been of late years occupied in other parts of the world, and
so this project remains unfulfilled. There are many reasons for
the publication of such a book. Most of the gifts above referred
to have been wisely made; but some have not, and a considerable
number have caused confusion in American education rather than
aided its healthful development. Many good things have resulted
from these gifts, but some vastly important matters have been
utterly neglected. We have seen excellent small colleges
transformed by gifts into pretentious and inadequate shams called
"universities"; we have seen great telescopes given without any
accompanying instruments, and with no provision for an
observatory; magnificent collections in geology given to
institutions which had no professor in that science; beautiful
herbariums added to institutions where there is no instruction in
botany; professorships of no use established where others of the
utmost importance should have been founded; institutions founded
where they were not needed, and nothing done where they were
needed. He who will write a thoughtful book on this subject,
based upon a careful study of late educational history, may
render a great service. As I revise this chapter I may say that
in an address at Yale in 1903, entitled, "A Patriotic
Investment," I sought to point out one of the many ways in which
rich men may meet a pressing need of our universities with great
good to the country at large.[37]

[37] See "A Patriotic Investment," New Haven, 1903.

Yet another project has occupied much time and thought, and may,
I hope, be yet fully carried out. For many years I have thought
much on our wretched legislation against crime and on the
imperfect administration of such criminal law as we have. Years
ago, after comparing the criminal statistics of our own country
with those of other nations, I came to the conclusion that, with
the possible exception of the lower parts of the Italian kingdom,
there is more unpunished murder in our own country than in any
other in the civilized world. This condition of things I found to
be not unknown to others; but there seemed to prevail a sort of
listless hopelessness regarding any remedy for it. Dining in
Philadelphia with my classmate and dear friend Wayne MacVeagh, I
found beside me one of the most eminent judges in Pennsylvania,
and this question of high crime having been broached and the
causes of it discussed, the judge quietly remarked, "The taking
of life, after a full and fair trial, as a penalty for murder,
seems to be the only form of taking life to which the average
American has any objection." Many of our dealings with murder and
other high crimes would seem to show that the judge was, on the
whole, right. My main study on the subject was made in 1892,
during a journey of more than twelve thousand miles with Mr.
Andrew Carnegie and his party through the Middle, Southern,
Southwestern, Pacific, and Northwestern States. We stopped at all
the important places on our route, and at vast numbers of
unimportant places; at every one of these I bought all the
newspapers obtainable, examined them with reference to this
subject, and found that the long daily record of murders in our
metropolitan journals is far from giving us the full reality. I
constantly found in the local papers, at these out-of-the-way
places, numerous accounts of murders which never reached the
metropolitan journals. Most striking testimony was also given me
by individuals,--in one case by a United States senator, who gave
me the history of a country merchant, in one of the Southwestern
States, who had at different times killed eight persons, and who
at his last venture, endeavoring to kill a man who had vexed him
in a mere verbal quarrel, had fired into a lumber-wagon
containing a party coming from church, and killed three persons,
one of them a little girl. And my informant added that this
murderer had never been punished. In California I saw walking
jauntily along the streets, and afterward discoursing in a
drawing-room, a man who, on being cautioned by a policeman while
disturbing the public peace a year or two before, had simply shot
the policeman dead, and had been tried twice, but each time with
a disagreement of the jury. Multitudes of other cases I found
equally bad. I collected a mass of material illustrating the
subject, and on this based an address given for the first time in
San Francisco, and afterward at Boston, New York, New Haven,
Cornell University, and the State universities of Wisconsin and
Minnesota. My aim was to arouse thinking men to the importance of
the subject, and I now hope to prepare a discussion of "The
Problem of High Crime," to be divided into three parts, the first
on the present condition of the problem, the second on its
origin, and the third on possible and probable remedies.

Of all my projects for historical treatises, there are two which
I have dreamed of for many years, hoping against hope for their
realization. I have tried to induce some of our younger
historical professors to undertake them or to train up students
to undertake them; and, as the time has gone by when I can devote
myself to them, I now mention them in the hope that some one will
arise to do honor to himself and to our country by developing

The first of these is a history of the middle ages in the general
style of Robertson's "Introduction to the Life of Charles V."
Years ago, when beginning my work as a professor of modern
history at the University of Michigan, I felt greatly the need
for my students of some work which should show briefly but
clearly the transition from ancient history to modern. Life is
not long enough for the study of the minute details of the
mediaeval period in addition to ancient and modern history. What
is needed for the mass of thinking young men is something which
shall show what the work was which was accomplished between the
fall of Rome and the new beginnings of civilization at the
Renascence and the Reformation. For this purpose Robertson's work
was once a masterpiece. It has rendered great services not only
in English-speaking lands, but in others, by enabling thinking
men to see how this modern world has been developed out of the
past and to gain some ideas as to the way in which a yet nobler
civilization may be developed out of the present Robertson's work
still remains a classic, but modern historical research has
superseded large parts of it, and what is now needed is a short
history--of, say, three hundred pages--carried out on the main
lines of Robertson, taking in succession the most important
subjects in the evolution of mediaeval history, discarding all
excepting the leading points in chronology, and bringing out
clearly the sequence of great historical causes and results from
the downfall of Rome to the formation of the great modern states.
And there might well be brought into connection with this what
Robertson did not give--namely, sketches showing the character
and work of some of the men who wrought most powerfully in this

During my stay at the University of Michigan, I made a beginning
of such a history by giving a course of lectures on the growth of
civilization in the middle ages, taking up such subjects as the
downfall of Rome, the barbarian invasion, the rise of the papacy,
feudalism, Mohammedanism, the anti-feudal effects of the
crusades, the rise of free cities, the growth of law, the growth
of literature, and ending with the centralization of monarchical
power in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But the lectures
then prepared were based merely upon copious notes and given, as
regarded phrasing, extemporaneously. It is too late for me now to
write them out or to present the subject in the light of modern
historical research; but I know of no subject which is better
calculated to broaden the mind and extend the horizon of
historical studies in our universities. Provost Stille of the
University of Pennsylvania did indeed carry out, in part,
something of this kind, but time failed him for making more than
a beginning. The man who, of all in our time, seems to me best
fitted to undertake this much needed work is Frederic Harrison.
If the general method of Robertson were combined with the spirit
shown in the early chapters of Harrison's book on "The Meaning of
History," the resultant work would be not only of great service,
but attractive to all thinking men.

And, last of all, a project which has long been one of my
dreams--a "History of Civilization in Spain." Were I twenty years
younger, I would gladly cut myself loose from all entanglements
and throw myself into this wholly. It seems to me the most
suggestive history now to be written. The material at hand is
ample and easily accessible. A multitude of historians have made
remarkable contributions to it, and among these, in our own
country, Irving, Prescott, Motley, Ticknor, and Lea; in England,
Froude, Ford, Buckle, and others have given many pregnant
suggestions and some increase of knowledge; Germany and France
have contributed much in the form of printed books; Spain, much
in the publication of archives and sundry interesting histories
apologizing for the worst things in Spanish history; the

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