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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

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an ideal structure of American life; corruption, lawlessness, and
barbarism being its most salient features.

Nor was this confined to the more ignorant. Men who stood high in
the universities, men of the greatest amiability, who in former
days had been the warmest friends of America, had now become our
bitter opponents, and some of their expressions seemed to point
to eventual war.

Yet I doubt whether we have any right to complain of such attacks
and misrepresentations. As a matter of fact, no nation washes so
much of its dirty linen in the face of the whole world as does
our own; and, what is worse, there is washed in our country, with
much noise and perversity, a great deal of linen which is not
dirty. Many demagogues and some "reformers" are always doing
this. There is in America a certain class of excellent people who
see nothing but the scum on the surface of the pot; nothing but
the worst things thrown to the surface in the ebullition of
American life. Or they may be compared to people who, with a
Persian carpet before them, persist in looking at its seamy side,
and finding nothing but odds and ends, imperfect joints,
unsatisfactory combinations of color; the real pattern entirely
escaping them. The shrill utterances of such men rise above the
low hum of steady good work, and are taken in Germany as exact
statements of the main facts in our national life.

Let me repeat here one example which I have given more than once
elsewhere. Several years since, an effort was made to impeach the
President of the United States. The current was strong, and most
party leaders thought it best to go with it. Three senators of
the United States sturdily refused, their leader being William
Pitt Fessenden of Maine, who, believing the impeachment an
attempt to introduce Spanish-American politics into our country,
resolutely opposed it. The State convention of his party called
upon him to vote for it, the national convention of the party
took the same ground, his relatives and friends besought him to
yield, but he stood firmly against the measure, and finally, by
his example and his vote, defeated it. It was an example of
Spartan fortitude, of Roman heroism, worthy to be chronicled by
Plutarch. How was it chronicled? I happened to be traveling in
Germany at the time, and naturally watched closely for the result
of the impeachment proceedings. One morning I took up a German
paper containing the news and read, "The impeachment has been
defeated; three senators were bribed," and at the head of the
list of bribed senators was the name of Fessenden! The time will
come when his statue will commemorate his great example; let us
hope that the time will also come when party spirit will not be
allowed to disgrace our country by sending out to the world such
monstrous calumnies.

As to attacks upon the United States, it is only fair to say that
German publicists and newspaper writers were under much
provocation. Some of the American correspondents then in Germany
showed wonderful skill in malignant invention. My predecessors in
the embassy had suffered much from this cause. One of them, whom
I had known from his young manhood as a gentleman of refined
tastes and quiet habits, utterly incapable of rudeness of any
sort, was accused, in a sensational letter published in various
American journals, of having become so noisy and boisterous at
court that the Emperor was obliged to rebuke him. Various hints
of a foul and scandalous character were sent over and published.
I escaped more easily, but there were two or three examples which
were both vexatious and amusing.

Shortly after my arrival at my post, letters and newspaper
articles began coming deploring the conduct of the Germans toward
me, expressing deep sympathy with me, exhorting me to "stand
firm," declaring that the American people were behind me, etc.,
etc., all of which puzzled me greatly until I found that some
correspondent had sent over a telegram to the effect that the
feeling against America had become so bitter that the Emperor
himself had been obliged to intervene and command the officials
of his empire to present themselves at my official reception; and
with this statement was coupled a declaration that I had made the
most earnest remonstrance to the Imperial Government against such
treatment. The simple fact was that the notice was in the
stereotyped form always used when an ambassador arrives. On every
such occasion the proper authorities notify all the persons
concerned, giving the time of his receptions, and this was simply
what was done in my case. On another occasion, telegrams were
sent over to American papers stating that the first secretary of
the embassy and myself, on visiting Parliament to hear an
important debate, had been grossly insulted by various members.
The fact was that we had been received by everybody with the
utmost kindness; that various members had saluted us in the most
friendly manner from the floor or had come into the diplomatic
gallery to welcome us; and that there was not the slightest
shadow of reason for the statement. As an example of the genius
shown in some of these telegrams, another may be mentioned. A
very charming American lady, niece of a member of Mr. McKinley's
cabinet, having arrived on the Norwegian coast, her children were
taken on board the yacht of the Emperor, who was then cruising in
those regions; and later, on their arrival at Berlin, they with
their father and mother were asked by him to the palace to meet
his own wife and children. A few days afterward a telegram was
published in America to the effect that the Emperor, in speaking
to Mrs. White and myself regarding the children, had said that he
was especially surprised, because he had always understood that
American children were badly brought up and had very bad manners.
The simple fact was that, while he spoke of the children with
praise, the rest of the story was merely a sensational invention.
One of the marvels of American life is the toleration by decent
fathers and mothers of sensational newspapers in their
households. Of all the demoralizing influences upon our people,
and especially upon our young people, they are the most steadily
and pervasively degrading. Horace Greeley once published a
tractate entitled, "New Themes for the Clergy," and I would
suggest the evil influence of sensation newsmongering as a most
fruitful theme for the exhortations of all American clergymen to
their flocks, whether Catholic, Jewish, or Protestant. May we not
hope, also, that Mr. Pulitzer's new College of Journalism will
give careful attention to this subject?

As to public questions then demanding attention, the first which
I now recall was a bit of international comedy, serving as a
prelude to more important matters, and worth mentioning here only
as showing a misconception very absurd, yet not without dangers.

One morning, as I had just sat down to my office work, there was
ushered in, with due ceremony, a young gentleman of light color,
Parisian to the tips of his fingers,--in accent, manner, and
garb,--who was announced as the charge d'affaires of Haiti. He
was evidently under deep concern, and was soon in the midst of a
somewhat impassioned statement of his business.

It appeared that his government, like so many which had preceded
it, after a joyous career of proclamations, revolutions,
throat-cutting, confiscation, paper money, and loans, public and
private, had at last met a check, and that in this instance the
check had come in the shape of a German frigate which had dropped
into the harbor of Port-au-Prince, run out its guns, and demanded
redress of injuries and payment of debts to Germany and German
subjects; and the charge, after dwelling upon the enormity of
such a demand, pointed out the duty of the United States to
oblige Germany to desist,--in short, to assert the Monroe
Doctrine as he understood it.

The young diplomatist's statement interested me much; it brought
back vividly to my mind the days when, as a commissioner from the
United States, I landed at Port-au-Prince, observed the wreck and
ruin caused by a recent revolution, experienced the beauties of a
paper-money system carried out so logically that a market-basket
full of currency was needed to buy a market-basket full of
vegetables, visited the tombs of the presidents from which the
bodies of their occupants had been torn and scattered, saw the
ring to which President Salnave had recently been tied when the
supporters of his successor had murdered him, and mused over the
ruins of the presidential mansion, which had been torn in pieces
by bombs from a patriotic vessel. My heart naturally warmed
toward the representative of so much glory, and it seemed sad to
quench his oratorical fire and fervor with a cold statement of
fact. But my duty was plain: I assured him that neither the
President whose name the famous "Doctrine" bears, nor the
Secretary of State who devised it, nor the American people behind
them, had any idea of protecting our sister republics in such
conduct as that of which the Germans complained; and I concluded
by fervently exhorting him to advise his government and people
simply to--pay their debts.

It gave me pleasure to learn, somewhat later, that this very
prosaic solution of the difficulty had been adopted.

I make haste to add that nothing which may be said here or
elsewhere in these recollections regarding sundry equatorial
governments has any reference to our sister republics of South
America really worthy of the name. No countries were in my time
more admirably represented at Berlin than the Argentine Republic,
Chile, and Brazil. The first-named sent as its minister the most
eminent living authority on international law; the second, a
gentleman deeply respected for character and ability, whose
household was one of the most beautiful and attractive I have
ever known; and the third, a statesman and scholar worthy of the
best traditions of his country.

As to more complicated international matters with which my
embassy had to deal, the first to assume a virulent form was that
of the Samoan Islands.

During the previous twenty-five years the United States, Germany,
and Great Britain had seemed to develop equal claims in Samoa.
There had been clashes from time to time, in which good sense had
generally prevailed; but in one case a cyclone which destroyed
the German and American vessels of war in the main port of the
islands seemed providential in preventing a worse form of

But now the chronic difficulties became acute. In the consuls of
the three powers what Bismarck used to call the furor consularis
was developed to the highest degree. Yet this was not the worst.
Under the Berlin agreement, made some years before, there was a
German president of the municipality of Apia with ill-defined
powers, and an American chief justice with powers in some
respects enormous, and each of these naturally magnified his
office at the expense of the other. To complete the elements of
discord, there were two great native parties, each supporting its
candidate for kingship; and behind these, little spoken of, but
really at the bottom of the main trouble, were
missionaries,--English Wesleyans on one side, and French Roman
Catholics on the other,--each desiring to save the souls of the
natives, no matter at what sacrifice of their bodies.

This tea-pot soon began to boil violently. The old king having
died, the question arose as to the succession. The power of
appointing the successor having been in the most clear and
definite terms bestowed by the treaty upon the chief justice, he
named for the position Malietoa Tanu, a young chieftain who had
been induced to call himself a Protestant; but on the other side
was Mataafa, an old chief who years before had made much trouble,
had been especially obnoxious to the Germans, and had been
banished, but had been recently allowed to return on his taking
oath that he would abstain from all political action, and would
be true to his allegiance to the Malietoan kings. He had been
induced to call himself a Catholic.

But hardly had he returned when, having apparently been absolved
from his oath, he became the leader of a political party and
insisted on his right to the kingship.

The result was a petty civil war which cost many lives. Nor was
this all. A drunken Swiss having one day amused himself by
breaking the windows of the American chief justice's court and no
effective punishment having been administered by the German
president of Apia, the Yankee chief justice took the matter into
his own hands, and this Little Pedlington business set in motion
sensation-mongers throughout the world. They exerted themselves
to persuade the universe that war might, and indeed ought to,
result between the three great nations concerned. On the arrival
of the American Admiral Kautz, he simply and naturally supported
the decree which the chief justice had made, in strict accordance
with the treaty of Berlin, and was finally obliged to fire upon
the insurgents. Now came a newspaper carnival: screams of wrath
from the sensation press of Germany and yells of defiance from
the sensation press of the United States.

It was fortunate, indeed, that at this period the American
Secretary of State was Mr. John Hay and the German minister of
foreign affairs Count von Bulow. Both at Washington and Berlin
the light of plain common sense was gradually let into this
jungle of half truths and whole falsehoods; the appointment of an
excellent special commission, who supplanted all the officials in
the islands by new men, solved various preliminary problems, so
that finally a treaty was made between the three nations
concerned which swept away the old vicious system, partitioned
the islands between the United States and Germany, giving Great
Britain indemnity elsewhere, and settled all the questions
involved, as we may hope, forever.

Among my duties and pleasures during this period was attendance
upon important debates in the Imperial Parliament. That body
presents many features suggestive of thought. The arrangement
under which the Senate, representing the various states of the
empire, and the House, representing the people as a whole, sit
face to face in joint deliberation, strikes an American as
especially curious; but it seems to work well, and has one
advantage in bringing the most eminent servants of the various
states into direct personal relations with the rank and file from
the country at large. The German Parliament has various good
points. Some one has asserted that the United States Senate is as
much better than the British House of Lords as the British House
of Commons is better than the American House of Representatives.
There is much to be said for this contention, and there are some
points in which the German Parliament also struck me as an
improvement upon our Lower House: they do less than we in
committee, and more in the main assemblage; German members are
more attentive to the work in hand, and spread-eagleism and
speeches to the galleries which are tolerated at Washington are
not tolerated at Berlin. On the other hand, the members at
Berlin, not being paid for their services, absent themselves in
such numbers that the lack of a sufficient deliberating body has
been found, at times, a serious evil.

As to men prominent in debate, allusion has already been made to
the chancellor, and various ministers of the crown might be
added, of whom I should give the foremost place to the minister
of the interior, Count Posadowski. His discussions of all matters
touching his department, and, indeed, of some well outside it,
were masterly. Save, perhaps, our own Senator John Sherman, I
have never heard so USEFUL a speaker on fundamental questions of
public business. As to the representatives, there were many well
worth listening to; but the two who attracted most attention were
Richter, the head of the "Progressist," or, as we should call it,
the radical fraction, and Bebel, the main representative of the
Socialists. Richter I had heard more than once in my old days,
and had been impressed by his extensive knowledge of imperial
finance, his wit and humor, his skill in making his points, and
his strength in enforcing them. He was among the few still
remaining after my long absence, and it was clear to me that he
had not deteriorated,--that he had, indeed, mellowed in a way
which made him even more interesting than formerly. As to Bebel,
though generally disappointing at first, he was quite sure, in
every speech, to raise some point which put the conservatives on
their mettle. His strongest characteristic seems to be his
earnestness: the earnestness of a man who has himself known what
the hardest struggle for existence is, and what it means to
suffer for his opinions. His weakest point seems to be a tendency
to exaggeration which provokes distrust; but, despite this, he
has been a potent force as an irritant in drawing attention to
the needs of the working-classes, and so in promoting that steady
uplifting of their condition and prospects which is one of the
most striking achievements of modern Germany.

Among the many other members interesting on various accounts was
one to whom both Germans and Americans might well listen with
respect--Herr Theodor Barth, editor of "Die Nation," a
representative of the best traditions of the old National Liberal
party. He seemed to me one of the very few Germans who really
understood the United States. He had visited America more than
once, and had remained long enough to get in touch with various
leaders of American thought, and to penetrate below the mere
surface of public affairs. Devoted as he was to his own
fatherland, he seemed to feel intuitively the importance to both
countries of accentuating permanent points of agreement rather
than transient points of difference; hence it was that in his
paper he steadily did us justice, and in Parliament was sure to
repel any unmerited assault upon our national character and
policy. He was clear and forcible, with, at times, a most
effectively caustic utterance against unreason.

While the whole parliamentary body is suggestive to an American,
the Parliament building is especially suggestive to a New-Yorker.
This great edifice at Berlin is considerably larger on the ground
than is the State Capitol at Albany. It is built of a very
beautiful and durable stone, and, in spite of sundry criticisms
on the dome in the center and the pavilions at the corners, is
vastly superior, as a whole, to the Albany building. It is
enriched in all parts, without and within, with sculpture
recalling the historical glories of all parts of the empire and
calculated to stir patriotic pride; it is beautified by paintings
on a great scale by eminent artists; its interior fittings, in
stone, marble, steel, bronze, and oak, are as beautiful and
perfect as the art of the period has been able to make them; and
the whole, despite minor architectural faults, is worthy of the
nation. The building was completed and in use within ten years
from the time of its beginning. The construction of the
State-house at Albany, a building not so large, and containing
to-day no work of art either in painting or sculpture worthy of
notice, has dragged along during thirty years, and cost nearly
four times as much as the Berlin edifice; the latter having
demanded an outlay of a trifle over five million dollars, and the
former considerably over twenty millions.

The German Parliament House, apart from slight defects, as a
great architectural creation is in a style worthy of its
purpose--a style which is preserved in all its parts; while that
at Albany is, perhaps, the most curious jumble in the whole
history of architecture,--the lower stories being Palladian; the
stories above these being, if anything, Florentine; the summit
being, if anything, French Renaissance; while, as regards the
interior, the great west staircase, which is said to have cost
half a million of dollars, is in the Richardsonesque style; the
eastern staircase is in classic style; and a circular staircase
in the interior is in the most flamboyant Gothic which could be
got for money. To be sure, there are rooms at Albany on which
precious Siena marble and Mexican onyx are lavished, but these
are used so as to produce mainly the effect of an unintelligent
desire to spend money.

While in or near the Berlin edifice there is commemoration by
sculpture or painting of a multitude of meritorious public
servants, there is nowhere in the whole building at Albany a
statue or any fit remembrance of the two greatest governors in
the history of the State, DeWitt Clinton and William H. Seward.

The whole thing plunges one into reflection. If that single
building at Albany, which was estimated, upon plans carefully
made by the best of architects, to cost five millions of dollars,
and to be completed in four years, required over thirty years and
an expenditure of over twenty millions, what is a great "barge
canal" to cost, running through the whole length of the State,
encountering enormous difficulties of every sort, estimated at
the beginning to cost one hundred millions of dollars, but
including no estimate for "land damages," "water damages,"
"personal damages," "unprecedented floods," "unforeseen
obstacles," "quicksands," "changes of plan," etc., etc., which
have played such a costly and corrupting part in the past history
of our existing New York canals? And how many years will it take
to complete it? This was the train of thought and this was its
resultant query forced upon me whenever I looked upon the
Parliament House at Berlin.



During the early days of this second official stay of mine at
Berlin, Russia had, in one way and another, secured an entrance
into China for her trans-Siberian railway, and seemed to have
taken permanent possession of the vast region extending from her
own territory to the Pacific at Port Arthur. Germany followed
this example, and, in avenging the murder of certain
missionaries, took possession of the harbor of Kiao-Chau. Thereby
other nations were stirred to do likewise,--England, France, and
Italy beginning to move for extensions of territory or commercial
advantages, until it looked much as if China was to be parceled
out among the greater European powers, or at least held in
commercial subjection, to the exclusion of those nations which
had pursued a more dilatory policy.

Seeing this danger, our government instructed its representatives
at the courts of the great powers to request them to join in a
declaration in favor of an "open-door policy" in China, thus
establishing virtually an international agreement that none of
the powers obtaining concessions or controlling "spheres of
influence" in that country should secure privileges infringing
upon the equality of all nations in competing for Chinese trade.
This policy was pushed with vigor by the Washington cabinet, and
I was instructed to secure, if possible, the assent of the German
Government, which, after various conferences at the Foreign
Office and communications with the minister of foreign affairs,
some more, some less, satisfactory, I was at last able to do. The
assent was given very guardedly, but not the less effectively.
Its terms were that Germany, having been from the first in favor
of equal rights to all nations in the trade of China, would
gladly acquiesce in the proposed declaration if the other powers
concerned would do so.

The Emperor William himself was even more open and direct than
his minister. At his dinner to the ambassadors in the spring of
1900, he spoke to me very fully on the subject, and, in a
conversation which I have referred to elsewhere, assured me of
his complete and hearty concurrence in the American policy,
declaring, "We must stand together for the open door."

Finally, on the 9th of April, 1900, I had the satisfaction of
sending to the German Foreign Office the proofs that all the
other powers concerned, including Japan, had joined in the
American declaration, and that the government of the United
States considered this acquiescence to be full and final.

It was really a great service rendered to the world by Mr.
McKinley and Secretary Hay; their action was far-seeing, prompt,
bold, and successful.

Yet another subject of contention was the exclusion of sundry
American insurance companies from Germany, due in part to a
policy of "protection," but also to that same distrust of certain
American business methods which had given me much trouble in
dealing with the same question at St. Petersburg. The discussions
were long and tedious, but resulted in a sort of modus vivendi
likely to lead to something better.

The American sugar duties were also a sore subject. Various
writers in the German press and orators in public bodies
continued to insist that America had violated the treaties;
America insisted that she had not; and this trouble, becoming
chronic, aggravated all others. The main efforts of Count von
Bulow and myself were given to allaying inflammation by doses of
common sense and poultices of good-will until common sense could
assert its rights.

The everlasting meat question also went through various vexatious
phases, giving rise to bitter articles in the newspapers,
inflammatory speeches in Parliament, and measures in various
parts of the empire which, while sometimes honest, were always
injurious. American products which had been inspected in the
United States and Hamburg were again broken into, inspected, and
reinspected in various towns to which they were taken for retail,
with the result that the packages were damaged or spoiled, and
the costs of inspection and reinspection ate up all profits. I
once used an illustration of this at the Foreign Office that
seemed to produce some effect. It was the story of the Yankee
showman who, having been very successful in our Northern and
Middle States, took his show to the South, but when he returned
had evidently been stripped of his money. Being asked regarding
it, he said that his show had paid him well at first, but that on
arriving in Texas the authorities of each little village insisted
on holding an inquest over his Egyptian mummy, charging him
coroner's fees for it, and that this had made him a bankrupt.

Speeches, bitter and long, were made on both sides of the
Atlantic; the cable brought reports of drastic reprisals
preparing in Washington; but finally a system was adopted to
which the trade between the two countries has since been uneasily
trying to adjust itself.

Then there was sprung upon us the fruit question. One morning
came a storm of telegrams and letters stating that cargoes of
American fruits had been stopped in the German harbors, under the
charge that they contained injurious insects. The German
authorities were of course honest in this procedure, though they
were doubtless stimulated to it by sundry representatives of the
land-owning class. Our beautiful fruits, especially those of
California, had come to be very extensively used throughout the
empire, and the German consumers had been growing more and more
happy and the German producers more and more unhappy over this
fact, when suddenly there came from the American side accounts of
the scale-insects discovered on pears in California, and of
severe measures taken by sundry other States of our Union to
prohibit their importation. The result was a prohibition of our
fruits in Germany, and this was carried so far that not only
pears from California, but all other fruits, from all other parts
of the country, were at first put under the ban; and not only
fresh but dried and preserved fruits. As a matter of fact, there
was no danger whatever from the scale-insect, so far as fruit was
concerned. The creature never stirs from the spot on the pear to
which it fastens itself, and therefore by no possibility can it
be carried from the house where the fruit is consumed to the
nurseries where trees are grown. We took pains to show the facts
in the case; dealing fairly and openly with the German
Government, allowing that the importation of scale-infested trees
and shrubs might be dangerous, and making no objection to any
fair measures regarding these. The Foreign Office was reasonable,
and gradually the most vexatious of these prohibitions were

But the war with Spain drew on, and animosities, so far as the
press on both sides of the water was concerned, grew worse.
Various newspapers in Germany charged our government with a
wonderful assortment of high crimes and misdemeanors; but,
happily, in their eagerness to cover us with obloquy, they
frequently refuted each other. Thus they one day charged us with
having prepared long beforehand to crush Spain and to rob her of
her West Indian possessions, and the next day they charged us
with plunging into war suddenly, recklessly, utterly careless of
the consequences. One moment they insisted that American sailors
belonged to a deteriorated race of mongrels, and could never
stand against pure-blooded Spanish sailors; and the next moment,
that we were crushing the noble navy of Spain by brute force.
Various presses indulged in malignant prophecies: the Americans
would find Spain a very hard nut to crack; Spanish soldiers would
drive the American mongrels into the sea; when Cervera got out
with his fleet, the American fleet would slink away; Spanish
ships, being built under the safeguard of Spanish honor, must win
the victory; American ships, built under a regime of corruption,
would be found furnished with sham plating, sham guns, and sham
supplies of every sort. It all reminded me of sundry prophecies
we used to hear before our Civil War to the effect that, when the
Northern and Southern armies came into the presence of each
other, the Yankee soldiers would trade off their muskets to the

Against President McKinley every sort of iniquity was charged.
One day he was an idiot; another day, the most cunning of
intriguers; at one moment, an overbearing tyrant anxious to rush
into war; at another, a coward fearing war. It must be confessed
that this was mainly drawn from the American partizan press; but
it was, none the less, hard to bear.

In the meantime President McKinley, his cabinet, and the American
diplomatic corps in Europe did everything in their power to
prevent the war. Just as long as possible the President clearly
considered that his main claim on posterity would be for
maintaining peace against pressure and clamor. Under orders from
the State Department I met at Paris my old friend General
Woodford, who was on his way to Spain as minister of the United
States, and General Porter, the American ambassador to France,
our instructions being to confer regarding the best means of
maintaining peace; and we all agreed that everything possible be
done to allay the excitement in Spain; that no claims of a
special sort, whether pecuniary or otherwise, should be urged
until after the tension ceased; that every concession possible
should be made to Spanish pride; and that, just as far as
possible, everything should be avoided which could complicate the
general issue with personal considerations. All of us knew that
the greatest wish of the administration was to prevent the war,
or, if that proved impossible, to delay it.

For years, in common with the great majority of American
citizens, I had believed that the Spanish West Indies must break
loose from Spain some day, but had hoped that the question might
be adjourned until the middle or end of the twentieth century.
For I knew well that the separation of Cuba from Spain would be
followed, after no great length of time, by efforts for her
annexation to the United States, and that if such annexation of
Cuba should ever occur, she must come in as a State; that there
is no use in considering any other form of government for an
outlying dominion so large and so near; that there is no other
way of annexing a dependency so fully developed, and that, even
if there were, the rivalry of political parties contending for
electoral votes would be sure to insist on giving her statehood.
I dreaded the addition to our country of a million and a half of
citizens whose ability to govern themselves was exceedingly
doubtful, to say nothing of helping to govern our Union on the
mainland. The thought of senators and representatives to be
chosen by such a constituency to reside at Washington and to
legislate for the whole country, filled me with dismay.
Especially was the admission of Cuba to statehood a fearful
prospect just at that time, when we had so many difficult
questions to meet in the exercise of the suffrage. I never could
understand then, and cannot understand now, what Senator Morgan
of Alabama, who once had the reputation of being the strongest
representative from the South, could be thinking of when he was
declaiming in the Senate, first in behalf of the "oppressed
Cubans," and next in favor of measures which tended to add them
to the United States, and so to create a vast commonwealth
largely made up of negroes and mulattos accustomed to equality
with the whites, almost within musket-shot of the negroes and
mulattos of the South, from whom the constituents of Mr. Morgan
were at that very moment withholding the right of suffrage. I
could not see then, and I cannot see now, how he could possibly
be blind to the fact that if Cuba ever becomes a State of our
Union, she will soon begin to look with sympathy on those whom
she will consider her "oppressed colored brethren" in the South;
and that she will, just as inevitably, make common cause with
them at Washington, and perhaps in some other places, and
possibly not always by means so peaceful as orating under the
roof of the Capitol.

Moreover, the nation had just escaped a terrible catastrophe at
the last general election; the ignorant, careless, and perverse
vote having gone almost solidly for a financial policy which
would have wrecked us temporarily and disgraced us eternally.
Time will, no doubt, develop a more conservative sentiment in the
States where this vote for evil was cast; as civilization deepens
and advances, better ideas will doubtless grow stronger; but it
is sure that the addition of Cuba to the United States, if it
ever comes, means the adding of a vast illiterate mass of voters
to those who at that election showed themselves so dangerous.

On all these accounts I had felt very anxious to put off the
whole Cuban question until our Republic should become so much
larger and so much more mature that the addition of a few
millions of Spanish-Americans would be of but small account in
the total vote of the country.

Then, too, I had little sympathy with aspirations for what
Spanish revolutionists call freedom, and no admiration at all for
Central American republics. I had officially examined one of them
thoroughly, had known much of others, and had no belief in the
capacity of people for citizenship who prefer to carry on
government by pronunciamientos, who never acknowledge the rights
of majorities, who are ready to start civil war on the slightest
pretext, and who, when in power, exercise a despotism more
persistent and cruel than any since Nero and Caligula. No Russian
autocrat, claiming to govern by divine right, has ever dared to
commit the high-handed cruelties which are common in sundry West
Indian and equatorial republics. I felt that the great thing was
to gain time before doing anything which might result in the
admission of the millions trained under such influences into all
the rights, privileges, and powers of American citizenship.

But there came the destruction of the Maine in the harbor of
Havana, and thenceforward war was certain. The news was brought
to me at a gala representation of the opera at Berlin, when, on
invitation from the Emperor, the ambassadors were occupying a
large box opposite his own. Hardly had the telegram announcing
the catastrophe been placed in my hands when the Emperor entered,
and on his addressing me I informed him of it. He was evidently
shocked, and expressed a regret which, I fully believe, was
deeply sincere. He instantly asked, with a piercing look, "Was
the explosion from the outside?" My answer was that I hoped and
believed that it was not; that it was probably an interior
explosion. To my great regret, the official report afterward
obliged me to change my mind on the subject; but I still feel
that no Spanish officer or true Spaniard was concerned in the
matter. It has been my good fortune to know many Spanish
officers, and it is impossible for me to conceive one of their
kind as having taken part in so frightful a piece of treachery;
it has always seemed to be more likely that it was done by a
party of wild local fanatics, the refuse of a West Indian

The Emperor remained firm in his first impression that the
explosion was caused from the outside. Even before this was
established by the official investigation, he had settled into
that conclusion. On one occasion, when a large number of leading
officers of the North Sea Squadron were dining with him, he asked
their opinion on this subject, and although the great
majority--indeed, almost all present--then believed that the
catastrophe had resulted from an interior explosion, he adhered
to his belief that it was from an exterior attack.

On various occasions before that time I had met my colleague the
Spanish ambassador, Senor Mendez y Vigo, and my relations with
him had been exceedingly pleasant. Each of us had tried to keep
up the hopes of the other that peace might be preserved, and down
to the last moment I took great pains to convince him of what I
knew to be the truth--that the policy of President McKinley was
to prevent war. But I took no less pains to show him that Spain
must aid the President by concessions to public opinion. My
personal sympathies, too, were aroused in behalf of my colleague.
He had passed the allotted threescore years and ten, was
evidently in infirm health, had five sons in the Spanish army,
and his son-in-law had recently been appointed minister at

Notice of the declaration of war came to me under circumstances
somewhat embarrassing. On the 21st of April, 1898, began the
festivities at Dresden on the seventieth birthday of King Albert
of Saxony, which was also the twenty-fifth anniversary of his
accession; and in view of the high character of the King and of
the affection for him throughout Germany, and, indeed, throughout
Europe, nearly every civilized power had sent its representatives
to present its congratulations. In these the United States
joined. Throughout our country are large numbers of Saxons, who,
while thoroughly loyal to our Republic, cherish a kindly and even
affectionate feeling toward their former King and Queen.
Moreover, there was a special reason. For many years Dresden had
been a center in which very many American families congregated
for the purpose of educating their children, especially in the
German language and literature, in music, and in the fine arts;
no court in Europe had been so courteous to Americans properly
introduced, and in various ways the sovereigns had personally
shown their good feeling toward our countrymen.

It was in view of this that the Secretary of State instructed me
to present an autograph letter of congratulation from the
President to the King, and on the 20th of April I proceeded to
Dresden, with the embassy secretaries and attaches, for this
purpose. About midnight between the 20th and 21st there came a
loud and persistent knocking at my door in the hotel, and there
soon entered a telegraph messenger with an enormously long
despatch in cipher. Hardly had I set the secretaries at work upon
it than other telegrams began to come, and a large part of the
night was given to deciphering them. They announced the
declaration of war and instructed me to convey to the various
parties interested the usual notices regarding war measures:
blockade, prohibitions, exemptions, regulations, and the like.

At eleven o'clock the next morning, court carriages having taken
us over to the palace, we were going up the grand staircase in
full force when who should appear at the top, on his way down,
but the Spanish ambassador with his suite! Both of us were, of
course, embarrassed. No doubt he felt, as I did, that it would
have been more agreeable just then to meet the representative of
any other power than of that with which war had just been
declared; but I put out my hand and addressed him, if not so
cordially as usual, at least in a kindly way; he reciprocated the
greeting, and our embarrassment was at least lessened. Of course,
during the continuation of the war, our relations lacked their
former cordiality, but we remained personally friendly.

In my brief speech on delivering President McKinley's letter I
tendered to the King and Queen the President's congratulations,
with thanks for the courtesies which had been shown to my
countrymen. This was not the first occasion on which I had
discharged this latter duty, for, at a formal presentation to
these sovereigns some time before, I had taken pains to show that
we were not unmindful of their kindness to our compatriots. The
festivities which followed were interesting. There were dinners
with high state officials, gala opera, and historical
representations, given by the city of Dresden, of a very
beautiful character. On these occasions I met various eminent
personages, among others the Emperor of Austria and his prime
minister, Count Goluchowsky, both of whom discussed current
international topics with clearness and force; and I also had
rather an interesting conversation with the papal nuncio at
Munich, more recently in Paris, Lorenzelli, with reference to
various measures looking to the possible abridgment of the war.

On the third day of the festivities came a great review, and a
sight somewhat rare. To greet the King there were present the
Emperor of Germany, the Emperor of Austria, and various minor
German sovereigns, each of whom had in the Saxon army a regiment
nominally his own, and led it past the Saxon monarch, saluting
him as he reviewed it. The two Emperors certainly discharged this
duty in a very handsome, chivalric sort of way. In the evening
came a great dinner at the palace, at which the King and Queen
presided. The only speech on the occasion was one of
congratulation made by the Emperor of Austria, and it was very
creditable to him, being to all appearance extemporaneous, yet
well worded, quiet, dignified, and manly. The ceremonies closed
on Sunday with a grand "Te Deum" at the palace church, in the
presence of all the majesties,--the joy expressed by the music
being duly accentuated by cannon outside.

I may say, before closing this subject, that Thomas Jefferson's
famous letter to Governor Langdon, describing royal personages as
he knew them while minister to France before the French
Revolution, no longer applies. The events which followed the
Revolution taught the crowned heads of Europe that they could no
longer indulge in the good old Bourbon, Hapsburg, and Braganza
idleness and stupidity. Modern European sovereigns, almost
without exception, work for their living, and work hard. Few
business men go through a more severe training, or a longer and
harder day of steady work, than do most of the contemporary
sovereigns of Europe. This fact especially struck me on my
presentation, about this time, to one of the best of the minor
monarchs, the King of Wurtemberg. I found him a hearty, strong,
active-minded man--the sort of man whom we in America would call
"level-headed" and "a worker." Learning that I had once passed a
winter in Stuttgart, he detained me long with a most interesting
account of the improvements which had been made in the city since
my visit, and showed public spirit of a sort very different from
that which animated the minor potentates of Germany in the last
century. The same may be said of the Grand Duke of Baden, who, in
a long conversation, impressed me as a gentleman of large and
just views, understanding the problems of his time and thoroughly
in sympathy with the best men and movements.

Republican as I am, this acknowledgment must be made. The
historical lessons of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
and the pressure of democracy, are obliging the monarchs of
Europe to fit themselves for their duties wisely and to discharge
them intelligently. But this is true only of certain ruling
houses. There seems to be a "survival of the fittest." At various
periods in my life I have also had occasion to observe with some
care various pretenders to European thrones, among them the
husband of Queen Isabella of Spain; Prince Napoleon Victor, the
heir to the Napoleonic throne; the Duke of Orleans; Don Carlos,
the representative of the Spanish Bourbons; with sundry others;
and it would be hard to conceive persons more utterly unfit or

As to the conduct of Germany during our war with Spain, while the
press, with two or three exceptions, was anything but friendly,
and while a large majority of the people were hostile to us on
account of the natural sympathy with a small power battling
against a larger one, the course of the Imperial Government,
especially of the Foreign Office under Count von Bulow and Baron
von Richthofen, was all that could be desired. Indeed, they went
so far on one occasion as almost to alarm us. The American consul
at Hamburg having notified me by telephone that a Spanish vessel,
supposed to be loaded with arms for use against us in Cuba, was
about to leave that port, I hastened to the Foreign Office and
urged that vigorous steps be taken, with the result that the
vessel, which in the meantime had left Hamburg, was overhauled
and searched at the mouth of the Elbe. The German Government
might easily have pleaded, in answer to my request, that the
American Government had generally shown itself opposed to any
such interference with the shipments of small arms to
belligerents, and had contended that it was not obliged to search
vessels to find such contraband of war, but that this duty was
incumbent upon the belligerent nation concerned. This evidence of
the fairness of Germany I took pains to make known, and in my
address at the American celebration in Leipsic on the Fourth of
July declared my belief that the hostility of the German people
and press at large was only temporary, and that the old good
relations would be restored. Knowing that my speech would be
widely quoted in the German press, I took even more pains to show
the reasons why we could bide our time and trust to the
magnanimity of the German people. Of one thing I then and always
reminded my hearers--namely, that during our Civil War, when our
national existence was trembling in the balance and our foreign
friends were few, the German press and people were steadily on
our side.

The occasion was indeed a peculiar one. On the morning of the
Fourth, when we had all assembled, bad news came. Certain German
presses had been very prompt to patch together all sorts of
accounts of American defeats, and to present them in the most
unpleasant way possible; but while we were seated at table in the
evening came a despatch announcing the annihilation of the
Spanish fleet in Cuban waters, and this put us all in good humor.
One circumstance may serve to show the bitterness at heart among
Americans at this period. On entering the dining-hall with our
consul, I noticed two things: first, that the hall was profusely
decorated in a way I had never seen before and had never expected
to see--namely, by intertwined American and British flags; and,
secondly, that there was not a German flag in the room. I
immediately sent for the proprietor and told him that I would not
sit down to dinner until a German flag was brought in. He at
first thought it impossible to supply the want, but, on my
insisting, a large flag was at last found. This was speedily
given a place of honor among the interior decorations of our
hall, and all then went on satisfactorily.

As the war with Spain progressed, various causes of difficulty
arose between Germany and the United States, but I feel bound to
say that the German Government continued to act toward us with
justice. The sensational press, indeed, continued its work on
both sides of the Atlantic. On our side it took pains to secure
and publish stories of insults by the German Admiral Diederichs
to the American Admiral Dewey, and to develop various legends
regarding these two commanders. As a matter of fact, each of the
two admirals, when their relations first began in Manila, was
doubtless rather stiff and on his guard against the other; but
these feelings soon yielded to different sentiments.

The foolish utterances of various individuals, spread by sundry
American papers, were heartily echoed in the German press, the
most noted among these being an alleged after-dinner speech by an
American officer at a New York club, and a Congressional speech
in which the person who made it declared that "the United States,
having whipped Spain, ought now to whip Germany." Still, the
thinking men intrusted with the relations between the two
countries labored on, though at times there must have recurred to
us a sense of the divine inspiration of Schiller's words,
"Against stupidity even the gods fight in vain."

Of course the task of the embassy in protecting American citizens
abroad was especially increased in those times of commotion. At
such periods the number of ways in which American citizens,
native or naturalized, can get into trouble seems infinite; and
here, too, even from the first moment of my arrival in Berlin as
ambassador, I saw evidences of the same evil which had struck me
during my previous missions in Berlin and St. Petersburg--namely,
the constant and ingenious efforts to prostitute American
citizenship. Among the manifold duties of an ambassador is the
granting of passports. The great majority of those who ask for
them are entitled to them; but there are always a considerable
number of persons who, having left Europe just in time to escape
military service, have stayed in America just long enough to
acquire American citizenship, and then, having returned to their
native country, seek to enjoy the advantages of both countries
while discharging the duties of neither. Even worse were the
cases of the descendants of such so-called Americans, most of
them born in Europe and not able even to speak the English
language; worst of all were the cases of sundry
Russians--sometimes stigmatized as "predatory Hebrews"--who,
having left Russia and gone to America, had stayed just long
enough to acquire citizenship, and then returned and settled in
the eastern part of Germany, as near the Russian frontier as
possible. These were naturally regarded as fraudulent interlopers
by both the German and Russian authorities, and much trouble
resulted. Some of them led a life hardly outside the limits of
criminality; but they never hesitated on this account to insist
on their claims to American protection. When they were reminded
that American citizenship was conferred upon them, not that they
might shirk its duties and misuse its advantages in the land of
their birth, but that they might enjoy it and discharge its
duties in the land of their adoption, they scouted the idea and
insisted on their right, as American citizens, to live where they
pleased. Their communications to the embassy were, almost without
exception, in German, Russian, or Polish; very few of them wrote
or even spoke English, and very many of them could neither read
nor write in any language. For the hard-working immigrant,
whether Jew or Gentile, who comes to our country and casts in his
lot with us, to take his share not only of privilege but of duty,
I have the fullest respect and sympathy, and have always been
glad to intervene in his favor; but intervention in behalf of
those fraudulent pretenders I always felt to be a galling burden.

Fortunately the rules of the State Department have been of late
years strengthened to meet this evil, and it has finally become
our practice to inform such people that if they return to America
they can receive a passport for that purpose; but that unless
they show a clear intention of returning, they cannot. Very many
of them persist in their applications in spite of this, and one
case became famous both at the State Department and at the
embassy. Three Russians of the class referred to had emigrated
with their families to America, and, after the usual manner,
stayed just long enough to acquire citizenship, and had then
returned to Germany. One of them committed a crime and
disappeared; the other two went to the extreme eastern frontier
of Prussia and settled there. Again and again the Prussian
Government notified us that under the right exercised by every
nation, and especially by our own, these "undesirable intruders"
must leave Prussian territory or be expelled. Finally we
discovered at the embassy that a secret arrangement had been made
between Germany and Russia which obliged each to return the
undesirable emigrants of the other. This seemed to put the two
families in great danger of being returned to Russia; and, sooner
than risk a new international trouble, a proposal was made to
them, through the embassy, to pay their expenses back to America;
but they utterly refused to leave, and continued to burrow in the
wretched suburbs of one of the German cities nearest the Russian
border. Reams of correspondence ensued--all to no purpose; a
special messenger was sent to influence them--all in vain: they
persisted in living just as near Russia as possible, and in
calling themselves American, though not one of them spoke

From time to time appeared in our own country attacks against the
various American embassies and legations abroad for not
protecting such American citizens, and a very common feature of
these articles was an unfavorable comparison between the United
States and England: it being claimed that Great Britain protects
her citizens everywhere, while the United States does not. This
statement is most misleading. Great Britain, while she is
renowned for protecting her subjects throughout the world,
--bringing the resources of her fleet, if need be, to aid
them,--makes an exception as regards her adopted citizens in the
land of their birth. The person who, having been naturalized in
Great Britain, goes back to the country of his birth, does so at
his or her own risk. The British Government considers itself,
under such circumstances, entirely absolved from the duty of
giving protection. The simple fact is that the United States goes
much further in protecting adopted citizens than does any other
country, and it is only rank demagogism which can find fault
because some of our thinking statesmen do not wish to see
American citizenship prostituted by persons utterly unfit to
receive it, who frequently use it fraudulently, and who, as many
cases prove, are quite ready to renounce it and take up their old
allegiance if they can gain advantage thereby.

Another general duty of the embassy was to smooth the way for the
large number of young men and women who came over as students.
This duty was especially pleasing to me now, as it had been
during my life as minister in Berlin twenty years before. At that
time women were not admitted to the universities; but now large
numbers were in attendance. The university authorities showed
themselves very courteous, and, when there was any doubt as to
the standing of the institution from which a candidate for
admission came, allowed me to pass upon the question and accepted
my certificate. Almost without exception, I found these
candidates excellent; but there were some exceptions. The
applicants were usually persons who had been graduated from some
one of our own institutions; but, from time to time, persons who
had merely passed a freshman year in some little American college
came abroad, anxious to secure the glory of going at once into a
German university. Certificates for such candidates I declined to
sign. To do so would have been an abuse sure to lead the German
authorities finally to reject the great mass of American
students: far better for applicants to secure the best advantages
possible in their own country, and then to supplement their study
at home by proper work abroad.

In sketches of my former mission to Berlin I have mentioned
various applications, some of them psychological curiosities;
these I found continuing, though with variations. Some
compatriots expected me to forward to the Emperor begging
letters, or letters suggesting to him new ideas, unaware that
myriads of such letters are constantly sent which never reach
him, and which even his secretaries never think of reading.
Others sent books, not knowing the rule prevailing among crowned
heads, never to accept a PUBLISHED book, and not realizing that
if this rule were broken, not one book in a thousand would get
beyond the office of his general secretary. Others sent medicine
which they wished him to recommend; and one gentleman was very
persistent in endeavoring to secure his Majesty's decision on a

Then there were singers or performers on wind or string
instruments wishing to sing or play before him, sculptors and
painters wishing him to visit their studios, and writers of music
wishing him to order their compositions to be brought out at the
Royal Opera.

All these requests culminated in two, wherein the gentle reader
will see a mixture of comic and pathetic. The first was from a
person (not an American) who wished my good offices in enabling
her to obtain a commission for a brilliant marriage,--she having
in reserve, as she assured me, a real Italian duke whom, for a
consideration, she would secure for an American heiress. The
other, which was from an eminently respectable source, urged me
to induce the imperial authorities to station in the United
States a young German officer with whom an American young lady
had fallen in love. And these proposals I was expected to
further, in spite of the fact that the rules for American
representatives abroad forbid all special pleading of any kind in
favor of individual interests or enterprises, without special
instructions from the State Department. Discouraging was it to
find that in spite of the elaborate statement prepared by me
during my former residence, which had been freely circulated
during twenty years, there were still the usual number of people
persuaded that enormous fortunes were awaiting them somewhere in

One application, from a truly disinterested man, was grounded in
nobler motives. This was an effort made by an eminent Polish
scholar and patriot to wrest American citizenship for political
purposes. He had been an instructor at various Russian and German
universities had shown in some of his books extraordinary
ability, had gained the friendship of several eminent scholars in
Great Britain and on the Continent, and was finally settled at
one of the most influential seats of learning in Austrian Poland.
He was a most attractive man, wide in his knowledge, charming in
his manner; but not of this world. Having drawn crowds to his
university lectures, he suddenly attacked the Emperor Franz
Josef, who, more than any other, had befriended his compatriots;
was therefore obliged to flee from his post; and now came to
Berlin, proposing seriously that I should at once make him an
American citizen, and thus, as he supposed, enable him to go back
to his university and, in revolutionary speeches, bid defiance to
Austria, Russia, and Germany. Great was his disappointment when
he learned that, in order to acquire citizenship, he would be
obliged to go to the United States and remain there five years.
As he was trying to nerve himself for this sacrifice, I presented
some serious considerations to him. Knowing him to be a man of
honor, I asked him how he could reconcile it with his sense of
veracity to assume the rights of American citizenship with no
intention to discharge its duties. This somewhat startled him.
Then, from a more immediately practical point of view, I showed
that, even if he acquired American citizenship, and could
reconcile his conscience to break the virtual pledge he had made
in order to obtain it, the government of Austria, and, indeed,
all other governments, would still have a full right, under the
simplest principles of international law, to forbid his entrance
into their territories, or to turn him out after he had
entered,--the right of expelling undesirable emigrants being
constantly exercised, even by the United States. This amazed him.
He had absolutely persuaded himself that I could, by some sleight
of hand, transform him into an American citizen; that he could
then at once begin attempts to reestablish the fine old Polish
anarchy in Austria, Russia, and Germany; and that no one of these
nations would dare interfere with him. It was absurd but
pathetic. My advice to him was to go back to his lecture-room and
labor to raise the character of the younger generation of Poles,
in the hope that Poland might do what Scotland had done--rise by
sound mental and moral training from the condition of a conquered
and even oppressed part of a great empire to a controlling
position in it. This advice was, of course, in vain, and he is
now building air-castles amid the fogs of London.

In my life at Berlin as ambassador there was a tinge of sadness.
Great changes had taken place since my student days in that city,
and even since my later stay as minister. A new race of men had
come upon the stage in public affairs, in the university, and in
literary circles. Gone was the old Emperor William, gone also was
the Emperor Frederick, and Bismarck and Moltke and a host of
others who had given dignity and interest to the great
assemblages at the capital. Gone, too, from the university were
Lepsius, Helmholtz, Curtius, Hoffmann, Gneist, Du Bois-Reymond,
and Treitschke, all of whom, in the old days, had been my guests
and friends. The main exceptions seemed to be in the art world.
The number of my artist friends during my stay as minister had
been large, and every one of them was living when I returned as
ambassador; the reason, of course, being that when men
distinguish themselves in art at all, they do so at an earlier
age than do high functionaries of state and professors in the
universities. It was a great pleasure to find Adolf Menzel,
Ludwig Knaus, Carl Beeker, Anton von Werner, and Paul Meyerheim,
though grown gray in their beautiful ministry, still daily at
work in their studios.

Three only of my friends of the older generation in the Berlin
faculty remained; and as I revise these lines the world is laying
tributes upon the grave of the last of them--Theodor Mommsen.
With him my relations were so peculiar that they may deserve some

During my earlier stays in Berlin he had always seemed especially
friendly to the United States, and it was therefore with regret
that on my return I found him in this respect greatly changed: he
had become a severe critic of nearly everything American; his
earlier expectations had evidently been disappointed; we clearly
appeared to him big, braggart, noisy, false to our principles,
unworthy of our opportunities. These feelings of his became even
more marked as the Spanish-American War drew on. Whenever we met,
and most often at a charming house which both of us frequented,
he showed himself more and more bitter, so that finally our paths
separated. There comes back to me vividly one evening when I
sought to turn off a sharp comment of his upon some recent
American news by saying: "You must give a young nation like ours
more time." On this he exclaimed: "You cannot plead the baby act
any longer. More time! You have HAD time; you are already three
hundred years old!" Having sought in vain to impress on him the
fact that the policy of our country is determined not wholly by
the older elements in its civilization, but very largely by newer
commonwealths which must require time to develop a policy
satisfactory to sedate judges, he burst into a tirade from which
I took refuge in a totally different discussion.

Some days later came another evidence of his feeling. Meeting an
eminent leader in political, and especially in journalistic,
circles, I was shown the corrected proofsheets of an "interview"
on the conduct of the United States toward Spain, given by
Mommsen. It was even more acrid than his previous utterances, and
exhibited sharply and at great length our alleged sins and
shortcomings. Certainly a representative of the American people
was not bound to make supplication, in such a matter, even to so
eminent a scholar and leader of thought, and my comment was
simply as follows: "I have no request to make in the premises--of
Mommsen or of anybody. The article will of course have no effect
on the war; of that there can be but one result: the triumph of
the United States and the liberation of the Spanish islands of
the West Indies; but may there not be some considerations of a
very different order as regards Mommsen himself? Why not ask him,
simply, where his friends are; his readers, his old students, his
disciples? Why not ask him whether he finds fewer clouds over the
policy of Spain than over that of the United States; of which
country, despite all its faults, he has most hope; and for which,
in his heart, he has the greater feeling of brotherhood?"

How far this answer influenced him I know not, but the article
was never published; and thenceforth there seemed some revival of
the older kindly feeling. At my own table and elsewhere he more
than once became, in a measure, like the Mommsen of old. One
utterance of his amused me much. My wife happening, in a talk
with him, to speak of a certain personage as "hardly an ideal
man," he retorted: "Madam, is it possible that you have been
married some years and still believe in the ideal man?"

His old better feeling toward America came out especially when I
next called upon him with congratulations upon his birthday--his
last, alas! But heartiest of all was he during the dinner given
at my departure. My speech was long,--over an hour,--for I had a
message to deliver, and was determined to give it--a message
which I hoped might impress upon my great audience reasons for a
friendly judgment of my country. As I began, Mommsen came to my
side--just back of me, his hand at his ear, listening intently.
There the old man stood from the first word to the last, and on
my conclusion he grasped me heartily with both hands--a
demonstration rare indeed with him. It was our last greeting in
this world.

Would that there were space to dwell upon those in the present
generation of professors who honored me with their friendship;
but one is especially suggested here, since he was selected to
make a farewell address on the occasion above referred to--Adolf
Harnack. At various times I had heard him discourse profoundly
and brilliantly at the university, but came to know him best at
the bicentenary of the Berlin Academy, when he had just added to
the long list of his published works his history of the academy,
in four quarto volumes: a wonderful work, whether considered from
an historical, psychological, or philosophical point of view. His
address on that occasion was masterly, and his conversation at
various social functions instructive and pithy. I remember in one
of them, especially, his delineation of the characteristics and
services of Leibnitz, who was one of the founders of the Royal
Academy, and it was perfection in that kind of conversation which
is worthy of men claiming to possess immortal souls: for it
brought out, especially, examples of Leibnitz's amazing
forethought as to European policy, which seemed at times like
divinely inspired prophecies. He also gave me a number of
interesting things which he had noted in his studies of Frederick
the Great. Some of them I had found already in my own reading,
but one of them I did not remember, and it was both comical and
characteristic. A rural Protestant pastor sent a petition to the
King presenting a grievance and asking redress. It was to the
effect that his church was on one side of a river in Silesia, and
that a younger pastor, whose church was on the opposite side, was
drawing all his parishioners away from him. On the back of the
petition Frederick simply wrote, "Tell him to go and preach on
the other side of the river: that will drive his people back

Hearing Harnack and his leading colleagues in discourse at the
university or academy, or in private, whether in their loftier or
lighter moods, one could understand why the University of Berlin,
though one of the youngest, is the foremost among the
universities of the world.



An interesting event of this period was the appearance in Berlin
of ex-President and Mrs. Harrison. The President had but recently
finished his long and wearisome work before the Venezuela
Arbitration Tribunal at Paris, and was very happy in the
consciousness of duty accomplished and liberty obtained. Marks of
high distinction were shown them. The sovereigns invited them to
attend the festivities at Potsdam in honor of the Queen and Queen
Mother of Holland, who were then staying there, and treated them
not only with respect, but with cordiality. The Emperor conversed
long with the President on various matters of public interest: on
noted Americans whom he had met, on the growth of our fleet, on
recent events in our history, and the like, characteristically
ending with a discussion of the superb music which we had been
hearing; and at the supper which followed insisted that Mrs.
Harrison should sit at his side, the Empress giving a similar
invitation to Mr. Harrison. At a later period a dinner was given
to the ex-President by the chancellor of the empire, Prince
Hohenlohe, at which a number of the leading personages in the
empire were present; and it was a pleasure to show my own respect
for the former chief magistrate by a reception which was attended
by about two hundred of our American colony, and a dinner at
which he and Mrs. Harrison made the acquaintance of leading
representative Germans in various fields.

In another chapter of these memoirs I have spoken of President
Harrison as of cold and, at times, abrupt manners; but the
absence of these characteristics during his stay in Berlin, and
afterward in New York, made it clear to me that the cold exterior
which I had noted in him at Washington, especially when Mr.
Roosevelt, Mr. Lodge, and sundry others of us urged upon him an
extension of the classified civil service, was adopted as a means
of preventing encroachments upon the time necessary for his daily
duties. He now appeared in a very different light, his discussion
of men and events showing not only earnest thought and deep
penetration, but a rich vein of humor; his whole bearing being
simple, kindly, and dignified.

During the winter of 1899-1900 came an addition to my experiences
of what American representatives abroad have to expect under our
present happy-go-lucky provision for the diplomatic service. As
already stated, on arriving in Berlin, I had great difficulty in
obtaining any fitting quarters, but at last secured a large and
suitable apartment in an excellent part of the city, its only
disadvantage being that my guests had to plod up seventy-five
steps in order to reach it. Having been obliged to make large
outlays for suitable fittings, extensive repairs, and furniture
throughout, I found that more than the entire salary of my first
year had been thus sunk; but I congratulated myself that I had at
least obtained a residence good, comfortable, and suitable. To be
sure, it was inferior to that of any other ambassador, but I had
fitted it up so that it was considered creditable. Suddenly,
about two years afterward, without a word of warning, came notice
from the proprietor that my lease was void--that he had sold the
house, and that I must leave it; so that it looked as if the
American Embassy would, at an early day, be turned into the
street. This was trying indeed. It was at the beginning of the
social season, and interfered greatly with my duties of every
sort. And there cropped out a feeling, among all conversant with
the case, which I cannot say was conducive to respect for the
wisdom of those who give laws to our country.

But, happily, I had insisted on inserting in the lease a clause
which seemed to make it doubtful whether the proprietor could
turn me out so easily and speedily. Under German law it was a
very precarious reliance, but on this I took my stand, and at
last, thanks mainly to the kindness of my colleague who succeeded
me as a tenant, made a compromise under which I was enabled to
retain the apartment for something over a year longer.

It may be interesting for an American who has a proper feeling
regarding the position of his country abroad to know that the
purchaser of the entire house--not only of the floor which I had
occupied, but of the similar apartment beneath, as well as that
on the ground floor--was the little Grand Duchy of Baden, which
in this way provided for its minister, secretaries, and others
connected with its legation in the German capital.

On the theory of line upon line and precept upon precept, I again
call attention, NOT to the wrong done ME by this American policy,
or rather want of policy,--for I knew in coming what I had to
expect,--but to the injury thus done to the PROPER STANDING OF
that, in its own interest, a government like ours ought, in every
capital where it is represented, to possess or to hold on long
lease a house or apartment suitable to its representative and
creditable to itself.

Early in the spring of 1900 came an event of some historical
interest. On the 19th of March and the two days following was
celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the
Royal Academy of Sciences. The Emperor, as well as the Academy,
had determined to make it a great occasion, and the result was a
series of very brilliant pageants. These began by a solemn
reception of the delegates from all parts of the world in the
great hall of the palace, my duty being to represent the
Smithsonian Institution at Washington, and my colleagues being
Professors White and Wolf of Harvard, who had been sent by the
American Academy of Sciences. The scene was very striking, all
the delegates, except those from America and Switzerland, being
in the costumes of the organizations they represented; most were
picturesque, and some had a very mediaeval appearance; those from
the ancient universities of Wurzburg and Prague, especially,
looking as if they had just stepped out of an illuminated
manuscript of the fourteenth century. At the time named for the
beginning of the festival the Emperor entered, announced by the
blare of trumpets, preceded by ministers bearing the sword,
standard, and great seal, and by generals bearing the crown,
scepter, and orb. He was surrounded by the highest officials of
the kingdom and empire, and having taken his seat on the throne,
there came majestic music preluding sundry orations and lists of
honors conferred on eminent men of science in all parts of the
world, among whom I was glad to note Professors Gibbs of Yale,
James of Harvard, and Rowland of Johns Hopkins.

The Emperor's speech was characteristic. It showed that his heart
was in the matter; that he felt a just pride in the achievements
of German science, and was determined that no efforts of his
should be wanting to increase and extend them. After the close of
the function, which was made in the same stately way as its
beginning, my colleagues drove home with me, and one of them
said, "Well, I am an American and a republican, but when I am in
a monarchy I like to see a thing of this kind done in the most
magnificent way possible, as it was this morning." A day or two
afterward, at the dinner given to the ambassadors by the Emperor,
I told him this story. He laughed heartily, and then said: "Your
friend is right: if a man is to be a monarch, let him be a
monarch; Dom Pedro of Brazil tried to be something else, and it
did not turn out well."

Impressive in a different way were the ceremonies attendant upon
the coming of age of the German crown prince, on the 6th of May,
1900. To do honor to the occasion, the Emperor Franz Josef of
Austria-Hungary had sent word that he would be present, and for
many days the whole city seemed mainly devoted to decorating its
buildings and streets for his visit; the culmination of the whole
being at the Pariser Platz, in front of the Brandenburg Gate,
where a triumphal arch and obelisks were erected, with other
decorations, patriotic and complimentary. On the morning of the
4th he arrived, and, entering the city at the side of the German
Emperor, each in the proper uniform of the other, he was received
by the burgomaster and town council of Berlin with a most cordial
speech, and then, passing on through the Linden, which was
showily decorated, he was enthusiastically greeted everywhere. No
doubt this greeting was thoroughly sincere, since all good
Germans look upon Franz Josef as their truest ally.

Next evening there was a "gala" performance at the Royal Opera,
the play presented being, of all things in the world, Auber's
"Bronze Horse," which is a farcical Chinese fairy tale set to
very light and pleasing music. The stage setting was gorgeous,
but the audience was still more so, delegates from all the
greater powers of the world being present, including the heirs to
the British and Italian thrones, the Grand Duke Constantine of
Russia, and a multitude of other scions of royalty. One feature
was comical. Near me sat His Excellency the Chinese minister,
surrounded by his secretaries and attaches, all apparently
delighted; and on my asking him, through his interpreter, how he
liked it, he said, "Very much; this shows the Europeans that in
China we know how to amuse ourselves." Of the fact that it was a
rather highly charged caricature of Chinese officialdom he seemed
either really or diplomatically unconscious.

On the following morning I was received in audience by the German
Emperor, bringing to him a warm message of congratulation from
President McKinley; and when His Majesty had replied very
cordially, he introduced me to the crown prince standing at his
side, to whom I gave the President's best wishes. Then came, in
the chapel of the palace, an impressive religious service, the
address by Dr. Dryander being eloquent, and the music, by the
cathedral choir and, at times, by a great military orchestra,
both far above us in the dome, beautiful. At its close the crown
prince came forward, stood before the altar, where I had seen his
parents married twenty years before, and the oath of allegiance,
which was quite long, having been read to him by the colonel of
his regiment, he repeated it, word for word, and made his solemn
pledge, lifting one hand and grasping the imperial standard with
the other. Then, after receiving affectionate embraces from his
father and mother, he was congratulated by the sovereigns and
royal personages. The ambassadors and ministers having been then
received by the Emperor and Empress, the young prince came along
the line and spoke to each of us in a very unaffected and manly
way. He was at that time somewhat taller than his father, with an
intelligent and pleasant face, and is likely, I should say, to do
well in his great position, though not possessing, probably,
anything like his father's varied gifts and graces.

In the evening came a dinner in the White Hall of the palace to
several hundred guests, including the Emperor of Austria-Hungary,
the King of Saxony, and other visiting personages, with the heads
of the diplomatic missions, and the leading personages of the
empire; and near the close of it the Emperor William arose and
made an excellent speech, to all appearance extemporaneous. The
answer by the Emperor of Austria-Hungary was read by him, and was
sensible and appropriate.

That this visit did much to strengthen the ties which bind the
two monarchies was shown not merely by hurrahs in the streets and
dithyrambic utterances in the newspapers, but by a mass of other
testimony. One curious thing was the great care everywhere taken
in the decorations to honor the crown and flag of Hungary equally
with that of Austria, and this, as was shown by the Hungarian
journals, had an excellent effect. By this meeting, no doubt, the
Triple Alliance was somewhat strengthened, and the chances for
continued peace increased, at least during the lifetime of the
Emperor Franz Josef. As to what will follow his death all is
dark. His successor is one of the least suitable of
men,--unprepossessing, and even forbidding, in every respect.
Brought up by the Jesuits, he is distrusted by a vast mass of the
best people in the empire, Catholic and Protestant. A devout
Catholic they would be glad to take, but a Jesuit pupil they
dread, for they know too well what such have brought upon the
empire hitherto, and, indeed, upon every kingdom which has
allowed them in its councils. His previous career has not been
edifying, and there is no reason to expect any change in him. The
Emperor Franz Josef is probably as thoroughly beloved by his
subjects as any sovereign in history has ever been. His great
misfortunes--fearful defeats in the wars with France and Germany,
the suicide of his only son, the assassination of his wife, and
family troubles in more recent times--have thrown about him an
atmosphere of romantic sympathy; while love for his kindly
qualities is mingled with respect for his plain common sense.
During his stay in Berlin I met him a second time. At my first
presentation at Dresden, two years before, there was little
opportunity for extended conversation; but he now spoke quite at
length and in a manner which showed him to be observant of the
world's affairs even in remote regions. He discussed the recent
increase of our army, the progress of our war in the Philippines,
and the extension of American enterprise in various parts of the
world, in a way which was not at all perfunctory, but evidently
the result of large information and careful observation. His
empire, which is a seething caldron of hates, racial, religious,
political, and local, is held together by love and respect for
him; but when he dies this personal tie which unites all these
different races, parties, and localities will disappear, and in
place of it will come the man who by force of untoward
circumstances is to be his successor, and this is anything but a
pleasing prospect to an Austro-Hungarian, or, indeed, to any
thoughtful observer of human affairs.

Interesting to me at this period was a visit from representatives
of the "Kriegerverein"--German-Americans who had formerly fought
in the war between Germany and France, who had since become
American citizens, and who were now revisiting their native land.
They were a very manly body, evidently taking pride in the
American flag which they carried, and also in the part they had
played in Germany. Replying to a friendly address by their
commanding officer, I took up some current American fallacies
regarding Germany and Germans, encouraged my hearers to stand
firm against sensational efforts to make trouble between the two
countries, urged them to keep their children in knowledge of the
German language and in touch with German civilization, while
bringing them up as thoroughly loyal Americans, reminding them
that every American who is interested in German history or
literature or science or art is an additional link in the chain
which binds together the two nations. The speech was of a very
offhand sort; but it seemed to strike deep and speed far, for it
evoked most kindly letters of congratulation and thanks from
various parts of Germany and the United States.

The most striking episode in the history of the world during
these years was the revolution in China. The first event which
startled mankind was the murder of Baron von Ketteler, the German
minister at Peking, a man of remarkable abilities and
accomplishments, who was thought sure to rise high among
diplomatists, and who had especially attracted American
friendships by his marriage with an American lady. The impression
created by this calamity was made all the greater by the fact
that, in the absence of further news from the Chinese capital,
there was reason to fear that the whole diplomatic corps, with
their families, might be murdered. American action in the
entanglements which followed was prompt and successful, and
thinking men everywhere soon saw it to be so. Toward the end of
July, 1900, being about to go to America for the summer, I took
leave of Count von Bulow at the Foreign Office, and, on coming
out, met one of my colleagues, who, although representing one of
the lesser European powers, was well known as exceedingly shrewd
and far-sighted. He said: "I congratulate you on the course
pursued by your government during this fearful Chinese imbroglio.
Other powers have made haste to jump into war; your admiral at
Tientsin seems the only one who has kept his head; other
governments have treated representatives of the Chinese Empire as
hostile, and, in doing so, have cut themselves off from all
direct influence on the Peking Government; the government at
Washington has taken an opposite course, has considered the
troubles as, prima facie, the work of insurrectionists, has
insisted on claiming friendship with the constituted authorities
in China, and, in view of this friendship, has insisted on being
kept in communication with its representative at the Chinese
capital, the result being that your government has been allowed
to communicate with its representative, and has thereby gained
the information and issued the orders which have saved the entire
diplomatic corps, as well as the forces of the different powers
now in Peking."

It was one of those contemporary testimonies to the skill of Mr.
McKinley and Secretary Hay which indicate the verdict of history.

Our later policy was equally sound. It was to prevent any further
territorial encroachments on China by foreign powers, and to
secure the opening of the empire on equal terms to the commerce
of the entire world. On the other hand, the German Government,
exasperated by the murder of its minister at Peking, was at first
inclined to go beyond this, and a speech of the Emperor to his
troops as they were leaving Germany for the seat of war was
hastily construed to mean that they were to carry out a policy of
extermination and confiscation. Even after the first natural
outburst of indignation against the Chinese, it looked as if the
ultimatum presented by the powers would include demands which
could never be met, and would entangle all the powers in a long
and tedious war, leading, perhaps, to a worse catastrophe.
Quietly but vigorously, from first to last, the American policy
was urged by Mr. Conger, American minister at Peking, and by
other representatives of our government abroad; and it was a
happy morning for me when, after efforts many and long continued,
I received at the Berlin Foreign Office the assurance that
Germany would not consider the earlier conditions presented by
the powers to the Chinese Government as "irrevocable." My
constant contention, during interviews at the Foreign Office, had
been that the United States desired as anxiously to see the main
miscreants punished as did any other nation, but that it was of
no use to demand, upon members of the imperial family, and upon
generals in command of great armies, extreme penalties which the
Chinese Government was not strong enough to inflict, or
indemnities which it was not rich enough to pay; that our aim was
not quixotic but practical, and that, in advocating steadily the
"open door" policy, we were laboring quite as much for all other
powers as for ourselves. Of course we were charged in various
quarters with cold-bloodedness, and with merely seeking to
promote our own interest in trade; but the Japanese, who could
understand the question better than the Western powers, steadily
adhered to our policy, and more and more, in its main lines, it
proved to be correct.

On the Fourth of July, 1900, came the celebration of our national
independence at Leipsic, and being asked to respond to the first
regular toast, and, having at my former visit dwelt especially
upon the Presidency, my theme now became the character and
services of the President himself, and it was a pleasure to find
that my statement was received by the German press in a way that
showed a reaction from previous injustice.

During August and September preceding the political campaign
which resulted in Mr. McKinley's reelection I was in the United
States. It was the hottest summer in very many years, and
certainly, within my whole experience, there had been no torrid
heat like that during my visits to Washington. Nearly every one
seemed prostrated by it. Upon arriving at the Arlington Hotel, I
found two old friends unnerved by the temperature, one of them
not daring to risk a sunstroke by going to the train which would
take him to his home in Chicago Retiring to one's room at night,
even in the best-situated hotels, was like entering an oven. The
leading official persons were generally absent, and those who
remained seemed hardly capable of doing business. But there was
one exception. Going to the White House to pay my respects to the
President, I found him the one man in Washington perfectly cool,
serene, and unaffected by the burning heat or by the pressure of
public affairs. Although matters in Cuba, in Porto Rico, in the
Philippines in China, and in the political campaign then going on
must have been constantly in his mind, he had plenty of time,
seemed to take trouble about nothing, and kept me in his office
for a full hour, discussing calmly the various phases of the
situation as they were affected by matters in Germany.

His discussion of public affairs showed the same quiet insight
and strength which I had recognized in him when we first met, in
1884, as delegates at the Chicago National Convention. One thing
during this Washington interview struck me especially: I asked
him if he was to make any addresses during the campaign; he
answered: "No; several of my friends have urged me to do so, but
I shall not. I intend to return to what seems to me the better
policy of the earlier Presidents: the American people have my
administration before them; they have ample material for judging
it, and with them I shall silently leave the whole matter." He
said this in a perfectly simple, quiet way, which showed that he
meant what he said. At the time I regretted his decision; but it
soon became clear that he was right.

At the beginning of the year 1901 came the two-hundredth
anniversary of the founding of the Prussian kingdom.
Representatives of the other governments of the world appeared at
court in full force; and, under instructions from the President,
I tendered his congratulations and best wishes to the monarch, as

May it please Your Majesty: I am instructed by the President to
present his hearty congratulations on this two-hundredth
anniversary of the founding of the Kingdom of Prussia, and, with
his congratulations, his best wishes for Your Majesty's health
and happiness, as well as the health and happiness of the Royal
Family, and his earnest hopes for the continued prosperity of
Your Majesty's Kingdom and Empire.

At the same time I feel fully authorized to present similar
congratulations and good wishes from the whole people of the
United States. The ties between the two nations, instead of being
weakened by time, have constantly grown stronger. As regards
material interests they are bound together by an enormous
commerce, growing greatly every year: as regards deeper
sentiments, no man acquainted with American History forgets that
the House of Hohenzollern was one of the first European powers to
recognize American Independence; and that it was Frederick the
Great who made that first treaty,--a landmark in the history of
International Law,--the only fault of which was that the world
was not far enough advanced to appreciate it. We also remember
that Germany was the only foreign country which showed decided
sympathy for us during our Civil War--the second struggle for our
national existence.

I also feel fully authorized, in view of Your Majesty's interest
in everything that ministers to the highest interests of
civilization, to express thanks for service which the broad
policy of Germany has rendered the United States in throwing open
to American scholars its Universities, its Technical Schools, its
conservatories of Art, its Museums, and its Libraries. Every
University and advanced school of learning in the United States
recognizes the fact that Germany has been our main foreign
teacher, as regards the higher ranges of Science, Literature, and
Art, and I may be allowed to remind Your Majesty, that while
Great Britain is justly revered by us as our mother country
Germany is beginning to hold to us a similar relation, not only
as the fatherland of a vast number of American citizens, but as
one of the main sources of the intellectual culture spread by our
universities and schools for advanced learning.

Allow me, then, sir, to renew the best wishes of the President
and people of the United States, with their hopes that ever
blessing may attend Your Majesty, the House of Hohenzollern the
Kingdom of Prussia, and the German Empire.

The Emperor in his reply spoke very cordially of the President's
special telegram, which he had received that morning, and then
gave earnest utterance to his belief that the time is coming when
the three great peoples of Germanic descent will stand firmly
together in all the great questions of the world.

The religious ceremonies in the Palace Chapel, with magnificent
music; the banquet, which included pertinent speeches from the
monarchs; and the gala representation at the opera all passed off
well: but, perhaps, that which will dwell longest in my memory
took place at the last. The performance consisted of two pieces:
one a poem glorifying Prussia, recited with music; the other a
play, in four acts, with long, musical interludes, deifying the
great Elector and the house of Hohenzollern. Though splendid in
scenic setting and brilliant in presentation it was very long,
and the ambassadors' box was crowded and hot. In the midst of it
all the French ambassador, the Marquis de Noailles, one of the
most suave courteous, and placid of men, quietly said to me, with
inimitable gravity, "What a bore this must be to those who
understand German! (Comme ca doit etre ennuyeux a ceux qui
correprennent l'Allemand!)" This sudden revelation of a lower
depth of boredom--from one who could not understand a word of the
play--was worthy of his ancestors in the days of Saint-Simon and

During the following summer two great sorrows befell me and mine,
but there is nothing to be here chronicled save that in this, as
in previous trials, I took refuge in work which seemed to be
worthy. The diplomatic service in summer is not usually exacting,
especially when one has, as I had, thoroughly loyal and judicious
embassy secretaries. As in a former bereavement I had turned to a
study of the character and services of John of Portugal and his
great successors in the age of discovery, so now I turned to Fra
Paolo Sarpi and the good fight he fought for Venice and humanity.
To my large collection of books on the subject, made mainly in
Italy, I added much from the old book-shops of Germany, and with
these revised my Venetian studies. An old dream of mine had been
to bring out a small book on Fra Paolo: now I sought, more
modestly, to prepare an essay.[6] The work was good for me.
Contemplation of that noblest of the three great Italians between
the Renaissance and the Resurrection of Italy did something to
lift me above sorrow; reading his words, uttered so calmly in all
the storm and stress of his time, soothed me. Viewed from my
work-table on the island of Rugen, the world became less dark as
I thought upon this hero of three centuries ago.

[6] This essay has since been published in the "Atlantic Monthly"
of January and February, 1904.

THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY: A MAGAZINE OF Literature, Science, Art, and
Politics VOLUME XCIII {From January, 1904--Number DLV. and
February, 1904--Number DLVI.}

Press, Cambridge 1904


The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A. Electrotyped and
Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company



A thoughtful historian tells us that, between the fourteenth
century and the nineteenth, Italy produced three great men. As
the first of these, he names Machiavelli, who, he says, "taught
the world to understand political despotism and to hate it;" as
the second, he names Sarpi who "taught the world after what
manner the Holy Spirit guides the Councils of the Church;" and as
the third, Galileo, who "taught the world what dogmatic theology
is worth when it can be tested by science."

I purpose now to present the second of these. As a MAN, he was by
far the greatest of the three and, in various respects, the most
interesting, for he not only threw a bright light into the most
important general council of the Church and revealed to
Christendom the methods which there prevailed,--in a book which
remains one of the half-dozen classic histories of the
world,--but he fought the most bitter fight for humanity against
the papacy ever known in any Latin nation, and won a victory by
which the whole world has profited ever since. Moreover, he was
one of the two foremost Italian statesmen since the Middle Ages,
the other being Cavour.

He was born at Venice in 1552, and it may concern those who care
to note the subtle interweaving of the warp and woof of history
that the birth year of this most resourceful foe that Jesuitism
ever had was the death year of St. Francis Xavier, the noblest of
Jesuit apostles.

It may also interest those who study the more evident evolution
of cause and effect in human affairs to note that, like most
strong men, he had a strong mother; that while his father was a
poor shopkeeper who did little and died young, his mother was
wise and serene.

From his earliest boyhood, he showed striking gifts and
characteristics. He never forgot a face once seen, could take in
the main contents of a page at a glance, spoke little, rarely ate
meat, and, until his last years, never drank wine.

Brought up, after the death of his father, first by his uncle, a
priest, and then by Capella, a Servite monk, in something better
than the usual priestly fashion, he became known, while yet in
his boyhood, as a theological prodigy. Disputations in his youth,
especially one at Mantua, where, after the manner of the time, he
successfully defended several hundred theses against all comers,
attracted wide attention, so that the Bishop gave him a
professorship, and the Duke, who, like some other crowned heads
of those days,--notably Henry VIII. and James I.,--liked to
dabble in theology, made him a court theologian. But the duties
of this position were uncongenial: a flippant duke, fond of
putting questions which the wisest theologian could not answer,
and laying out work which the young scholar evidently thought
futile, apparently wearied him. He returned to the convent of the
Servites at Venice, and became, after a few years' novitiate, a
friar, changing, at the same time, his name; so that, having been
baptized Peter, he now became Paul.

His career soon seemed to reveal another and underlying cause of
his return: he evidently felt the same impulse which stirred his
contemporaries, Lord Bacon and Galileo; for he began devoting
himself to the whole range of scientific and philosophical
studies, especially to mathematics, physics, astronomy, anatomy,
and physiology. In these he became known as an authority, and
before long was recognized as such through out Europe. It is
claimed, and it is not improbable, that he anticipated Harvey in
discovering the circulation of the blood, and that he was the
forerunner of noted discoveries in magnetism. Unfortunately the
loss of the great mass of his papers by the fire which destroyed
his convent in 1769 forbids any full estimate of his work; but it
is certain that among those who sought his opinion and advice
were such great discoverers as Acquapendente, Galileo,
Torricelli, and Gilbert of Colchester, and that every one of
these referred to him as an equal, and indeed as a master. It
seems also established that it was he who first discovered the
valves of the veins, that he made known the most beautiful
function of the iris,--its contractility,--and that various
surmises of his regarding heat, light, and sound have since been
developed into scientific truths. It is altogether likely that,
had he not been drawn from scientific pursuits by his duties as a
statesman, he would have ranked among the greater investigators
and discoverers, not only of Italy, but of the world.

He also studied political and social problems, and he arrived at
one conclusion which, though now trite, was then novel,--the
opinion that the aim of punishment should not be vengeance, but
reformation. In these days and in this country, where one of the
most serious of evils is undue lenity to crime, this opinion may
be imputed to him as a fault; but in those days, when torture was
the main method in procedure and in penalty, his declaration was
honorable both to his head and heart.

With all his devotion to books, he found time to study men. Even
at school, he had seemed to discern those who would win control.
They discerned something in him also; so that close relations
were formed between him and such leaders as Contarini and
Morosini, with whom he afterwards stood side by side in great

Important missions were entrusted to him. Five times he visited
Rome to adjust perplexing differences between the papal power and
various interests at Venice. He was rapidly advanced through most
of the higher offices in his order, and in these he gave a series
of decisions which won the respect of all entitled to form an

Naturally he was thought of for high place in the Church, and was
twice presented for a bishopric; but each time he was rejected at
Rome,--partly from family claims of less worthy candidates,
partly from suspicions regarding his orthodoxy. It was objected
that he did not find the whole doctrine of the Trinity in the
first verse of Genesis, that he corresponded with eminent
heretics of England and Germany, that he was not averse to
reforms, that, in short, he was not inclined to wallow in the
slime from which had crawled forth such huge incarnations of evil
as John XXIII., Julius II., Sixtus IV., and Alexander VI.

His orthodox detractors have been wont to represent him as
seeking vengeance for his non-promotion; but his after career
showed amply that personal grievances had little effect upon him.
It is indeed not unlikely that when he saw bishoprics for which
he knew himself well fitted given as sops to poor creatures
utterly unfit in morals or intellect, he may have had doubts
regarding the part taken by the Almighty in selecting them; but
he was reticent, and kept on with his work. In his cell at Santa
Fosca, he quietly and steadily devoted himself to his cherished
studies; but he continued to study more than books or inanimate
nature. He was neither a bookworm nor a pedant. On his various
missions he met and discoursed with churchmen and statesmen
concerned in the greatest transactions of his time, notably at
Mantua with Oliva, secretary of one of the greatest ecclesiastics
at the Council of Trent; at Milan with Cardinal Borromeo, by far
the noblest of all who sat in that assemblage during its eighteen
years; in Rome and elsewhere with Arnauld Ferrier, who had been
French Ambassador at the Council, Cardinal Severina, head of the
Inquisition, Castagna, afterward Pope Urban VII., and Cardinal
Bellarmine, afterward Sarpi's strongest and noblest opponent.

Nor was this all. He was not content with books or conversations;
steadily he went on collecting, collating, and testing original
documents bearing upon the great events of his time. The result
of all this the world was to see later.

He had arrived at middle life and won wide recognition as a
scholar, scientific investigator, and jurist, when there came the
supreme moment of a struggle which had involved Europe for
centuries,--a struggle interesting not only the Italy and Europe
of those days, but universal humanity for all time.

During the period following the fall of the Roman Empire of the
West there had been evolved the temporal power of the Roman
Bishop. It had many vicissitudes. Sometimes, as in the days of
St. Leo and St. Gregory, it based its claims upon noble
assertions of right and justice, and sometimes, as in the hands
of pontiffs like Innocent VIII. and Paul V., it sought to force
its way by fanaticism. Sometimes it strengthened its authority by
real services to humanity, and sometimes by such monstrous frauds
as the Forged Decretals. Sometimes, as under Popes like Gregory
VII. and Innocent III., it laid claim to the mastership of the
world, and sometimes, as with the majority of the pontiffs during
the two centuries before the Reformation, it became mainly the
appanage of a party or faction or family.

Throughout all this history, there appeared in the Church two
great currents of efficient thought. On one side had been
developed a theocratic theory, giving the papacy a power supreme
in temporal as well as in spiritual matters throughout the world.
Leaders in this during the Middle Ages were St. Thomas Aquinas
and the Dominicans; leaders in Sarpi's days were the Jesuits,
represented especially in the treatises of Bellarmine at Rome and
in the speeches of Laynez at the Council of Trent.[1]

[1] This has been admirably shown by N. R. F. Brown in his
Taylorian Lecture, pages 229-234, in volume for 1889-99.

But another theory, hostile to the despotism of the Church over
the State, had been developed through the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance;--it had been strengthened mainly by the utterances
of such men as Dante, aegidio Colonna, John of Paris, Ockham,
Marsilio of Padua, and Laurentius Valla. Sarpi ranged himself
with the latter of these forces. Though deeply religious, he
recognized the God-given right of earthly governments to
discharge their duties independent of church control.

Among the many centres of this struggle was Venice. She was
splendidly religious--as religion was then understood. She was
made so by her whole environment. From the beginning she had been
a seafaring power, and seafaring men, from their constant wrestle
with dangers ill understood, are prone to seek and find
supernatural forces. Nor was this all. Later, when she had become
rich, powerful, luxurious, licentious, and refractory to the
priesthood, her most powerful citizens felt a need of atoning for
their many sins by splendid religious foundations. So her people
came to live in an atmosphere of religious observance, and the
bloom and fruitage of their religious hopes and fears are seen in
the whole history of Venetian art,--from the rude sculptures of
Torcello and the naive mosaics of San Marco to the glowing
altarpieces and ceilings of John Bellini, Titian, and Tintoretto
and the illuminations of the Grimani Psalter. No class in Venice
rose above this environment. Doges and Senators were as
susceptible to it as were the humblest fishermen on the Lido. In
every one of those glorious frescoes in the corridors and halls
of the Ducal Palace which commemorate the victories of the
Republic, the triumphant Doge or Admiral or General is seen on
his knees making acknowledgment of the divine assistance. On
every Venetian sequin, from the days when Venice was a power
throughout the earth to that fatal year when the young Bonaparte
tossed the Republic over to the House of Austria, the Doge,
crowned and robed, kneels humbly before the Saviour, the Virgin,
or St. Mark. In that vast Hall of the Five Hundred, the most
sumptuous room in the world, there is spread above the heads of
the Doge and Senators and Councilors, as an incentive to the
discharge of their duties on earth, a representation of the
blessed in Heaven.

From highest to lowest, the Venetians lived, moved, and had their
being in this religious environment, and, had their Republic been
loosely governed, its external policy would have been largely
swayed by this all-pervading religious feeling, and would have
become the plaything of the Roman Court. But a democracy has
never been maintained save by the delegation of great powers to
its chosen leaders. It was the remark of one of the foremost
American Democrats of the nineteenth century, a man who received
the highest honors which his party could bestow, that the
Constitution of the United States was made, not to promote
Democracy, but to check it. This statement is true, and it is as
true of the Venetian Constitution as of the American.[1]

[1] See Horatio Seymour's noted article in the North American

But while both the republics recognized the necessity of curbing
Democracy, the difference between the means employed was
world-wide. The founders of the American Republic gave vast
powers and responsibilities to a president and unheard-of
authority to a supreme court; in the Venetian Republic the Doge
was gradually stripped of power, but there was evolved the
mysterious and unlimited authority of the Senate and Council of

In these sat the foremost Venetians, thoroughly imbued with the
religious spirit of their time; but, religious as they were, they
were men of the world, trained in the polities of all Europe and
especially of Italy.

In a striking passage, Guizot has shown how the Crusaders who
went to the Orient by way of Italy and saw the papacy near at
hand came back skeptics. This same influence shaped the statesmen
of Venice. The Venetian Ambassadors were the foremost in Europe.
Their Relations are still studied as the clearest, shrewdest, and
wisest statements regarding the men and events in Europe at their
time. All were noted for skill; but the most skillful were kept
on duty at Rome. There was the source of danger. The Doges,
Senators, and controlling Councilors had, as a rule, served in
these embassies, and they had formed lucid judgments as to
Italian courts in general and as to the Roman Court in
particular. No men had known the Popes and the Curia more
thoroughly. They had seen Innocent VIII. buy the papacy for
money. They had been at the Vatican when Alexander VI. had won
renown as a secret murderer. They had seen, close at hand, the
merciless cruelty of Julius II. They had carefully noted the
crimes of Sixtus IV., which culminated in the assassination of
Julian de' Medici beneath the dome of Florence at the moment the
Host was uplifted. They had sat near Leo X. while he enjoyed the
obscenities of the Calandria and the Mandragora,--plays which, in
the most corrupt of modern cities, would, in our day, be stopped
by the police. No wonder that, in one of their dispatches, they
speak of Rome as "the cloaca of the world."[1]

[1] For Sixtus IV. and his career, with the tragedy in the
Cathedral of Florence see Villari's Life of Machiavelli, English
Edition, vol. ii. pp. 341, 342. For the passages in the
dispatches referred to, vide ibid. vol. i. p. 198.

Naturally, then, while their religion showed itself in wonderful
monuments of every sort, their practical sense was shown by a
steady opposition to papal encroachments.

Of this combination of zeal for religion with hostility to
ecclesiasticism we have striking examples throughout the history
of the Republic. While, in every other European state, cardinals,
bishops, priests, and monks were given leading parts in civil
administration and, in some states, a monopoly of civil honors,
the Republic of Venice not only excluded all ecclesiastics from
such posts, but, in cases which touched church interests, she

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