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Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II by Andrew Dickson White

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excluded even the relatives of ecclesiastics. When church
authority decreed that commerce should not be maintained with
infidels and heretics, the Venetian merchants continued to deal
with Turks, Pagans, Germans, Englishmen, and Dutchmen as before.
When the Church decreed that the taking of interest for money was
sin, and great theologians published in Venice some of their
mightiest treatises demonstrating this view from Holy Scripture
and the Fathers, the Venetians continued borrowing and lending
money on usance. When efforts were made to enforce that
tremendous instrument for the consolidation of papal power, the
bull In Coena Domini, Venice evaded and even defied it. When the
Church frowned upon anatomical dissections, the Venetians allowed
Andreas Vesalius to make such dissections at their University of
Padua. When Sixtus V., the strongest of all the Popes, had
brought all his powers, temporal and spiritual, to bear against
Henry IV. of France as an excommunicated heretic, and seemed
ready to hurl the thunderbolts of the Church against any power
which should recognize him, the Venetian Republic not only
recognized him, but treated his Ambassador with especial
courtesy. When the other Catholic powers, save France, yielded to
papal mandates and sent no representatives to the coronation of
James I. of England, Venice was there represented. When Pope
after Pope issued endless diatribes against the horrors of
toleration, the Venetians steadily tolerated in their several
sorts of worship Jews and Greeks, Mohammedans and Armenians, with
Protestants of every sort who came to them on business. When the
Roman Index forbade the publication of most important works of
leading authors, Venice demanded and obtained for her printers
rights which were elsewhere denied.

As to the religious restrictions which touched trade, the
Venetians in the public councils, and indeed the people at large,
had come to know perfectly what the papal theory meant,--with
some of its promoters, fanaticism, but with the controlling power
at Rome, revenue, revenue to be derived from retailing
dispensations to infringe the holy rules.

This peculiar antithesis--nowhere more striking than at Venice,
on the one side, religious fears and hopes; on the other, keen
insight into the ways of ecclesiasticism--led to peculiar
compromises. The bankers who had taken interest upon money, the
merchants who had traded with Moslems and heretics, in their last
hours frequently thought it best to perfect their title to
salvation by turning over large estates to the Church. Under the
sway of this feeling, and especially of the terrors infused by
priests at deathbeds, mortmain had become in Venice, as in many
other parts of the world, one of the most serious of evils. Thus
it was that the clergy came to possess between one fourth and one
third of the whole territory of the Republic, and in its Bergamo
district more than one half; and all this was exempt from
taxation. Hence it was that the Venetian Senate found it
necessary to devise a legal check which should make such
absorption of estates by the Church more and more difficult.

There was a second cause of trouble. In that religious atmosphere
of Venice, monastic orders of every sort grew luxuriantly, not
only absorbing more and more land to be held by the dead hand,
thus escaping the public burdens, but ever absorbing more and
more men and women, and thus depriving the state of any healthy
and normal service from them. Here, too, the Senate thought it
best to interpose a check: it insisted that all new structures
for religious orders must be authorized by the State.

Yet another question flamed forth. Of the monks of every sort
swarming through the city, many were luxurious and some were
criminal. On these last, the Venetian Senate determined to lay
its hands, and in the first years of the seventeenth century all
these questions, and various other matters distasteful to the
Vatican, culminated in the seizure and imprisonment of two
ecclesiastics charged with various high crimes,--among these rape
and murder.

There had just come to the papal throne Camillo Borghese, Paul
V.,--strong, bold, determined, with the highest possible theory
of his duties and of his position. In view of his duty toward
himself, he lavished the treasures of the faithful upon his
family, until it became the richest which had yet risen in Rome;
in view of his duty toward the Church, he built superbly, and an
evidence of the spirit in which he wrought is his name, in
enormous letters, still spread across the facade of St. Peter's.
As to his position, he accepted fully the theories and practices
of his boldest predecessors, and in this he had good warrant; for
St. Thomas Aquinas and Bellarmine had furnished him with
convincing arguments that he was divinely authorized to rule the
civil powers of Italy and of the world.[1]

[1] For details of these cases of the two monks, see Pascolato.
Fra Paolo Sarpi, Milano, 1893, pp. 126-128. For the Borghese
avarice, see Ranke's Popes, vol. iii. pp. 9-20. For the
development of Pope Paul's theory of government, see Ranke, vol.
ii. p. 345, and note in which Bellarmine's doctrine is cited
textually; also Bellarmine's Selbstbiographie, herausgegeben von
Dollinger und Rensch Bonn, 1887. pp. 181, et seq.

Moreover there was, in his pride, something akin to fanaticism.
He had been elected by one of those sudden movements, as well
known in American caucuses as in papal conclaves, when, after a
deadlock, all the old candidates are thrown over, and the choice
suddenly falls on a new man. The cynical observer may point to
this as showing that the laws governing elections, under such
circumstances, are the same, whether in party caucuses or in
church councils; but Paul, in this case, saw the direct
intervention of the Almighty, and his disposition to magnify his
office was vastly increased thereby. He was especially strenuous,
and one of his earliest public acts was to send to the gallows a
poor author, who, in an unpublished work, had spoken severely
regarding one of Paul's predecessors.

The Venetian laws checking mortmain, taxing church property, and
requiring the sanction of the Republic before the erection of new
churches and monasteries greatly angered him; but the crowning
vexation was the seizure of the two clerics. This aroused him
fully. He at once sent orders that they be delivered up to him,
that apology be made for the past and guarantees given for the
future, and notice was served that, in case the Republic did not
speedily obey these orders, the Pope would excommunicate its
leaders and lay an interdict upon its people. It was indeed a
serious contingency. For many years the new Pope had been known
as a hard, pedantic ecclesiastical lawyer, and now that he had
arrived at the supreme power, he had evidently determined to
enforce the high mediaeval supremacy of the Church over the
State. Everything betokened his success. In France he had broken
down all opposition to the decrees of the Council of Trent. In
Naples, when a magistrate had refused to disobey the civil law at
the bidding of priests, and the viceroy had supported the
magistrate, Pope Paul had forced the viceroy and magistrate to
comply with his will by threats of excommunication. In every part
of Italy,--in Malta, in Savoy, in Parma, in Lucca, in Genoa,--and
finally even in Spain, he had pettifogged, bullied, threatened,
until his opponents had given way. Everywhere he was triumphant;
and while he was in the mood which such a succession of triumphs
would give he turned toward Venice.[1]

[1] For letters showing the craven submission of Philip III. of
Spain at this time, see Cornet, Paolo V. e la Republica Veneta,
Vienna, 1859, p. 285.

There was little indeed to encourage the Venetians to resist;
for, while the interests of other European powers were largely
the same as theirs, current political intrigues seemed likely to
bring Spain and even France into a league with the Vatican.

To a people so devoted to commerce, yet so religious, the threat
of an interdict was serious indeed. All church services were to
cease; the people at large, no matter how faithful, were to be as
brute beasts,--not to be legally married,--not to be consoled by
the sacraments,--not to be shriven, and virtually not to be
buried; other Christian peoples were to be forbidden all dealings
with them, under pain of excommunication; their commerce was to
be delivered over to the tender mercies of any and every other
nation; their merchant ships to be as corsairs; their cargoes,
the legitimate prey of all Christendom; and their people, on sea
and land, to be held as enemies of the human race. To this was
added, throughout the whole mass of the people, a vague sense of
awful penalties awaiting them in the next world. Despite all
this, the Republic persisted in asserting its right.

Just at this moment came a diplomatic passage between Pope and
Senate like a farce before a tragedy, and it has historical
significance, as showing what resourceful old heads were at the
service of either side. The Doge Grimani having died, the Vatican
thought to score a point by promptly sending notice through its
Nuncio to Venice that no new election of a Doge could take place
if forbidden by the Pope, and that, until the Senate had become
obedient to the papacy, no such election would be sanctioned. But
the Senate, having through its own Ambassador received a useful
hint, was quite equal to the occasion. It at once declined to
receive this or any dispatch from the Pope on the plea, made with
redundant courtesy and cordiality, that, there being no Doge,
there was no person in Venice great enough to open it. They next
as politely declined to admit the papal Nuncio on the ground that
there was nobody worthy to receive him. Then they proceeded to
elect a Doge who could receive both Nuncio and message,--a sturdy
opponent of the Vatican pretensions, Leonardo Donato.

The Senate now gave itself entirely to considering ways and means
of warding off the threatened catastrophe. Its first step was to
consult Sarpi. His answer was prompt and pithy. He advised two
things: first, to prevent, at all hazards, any publication of the
papal bulls in Venice or any obedience to them; secondly, to hold
in readiness for use at any moment an appeal to a future Council
of the Church.

Of these two methods, the first would naturally seem by far the
more difficult. So it was not in reality. In the letter which
Sarpi presented to the Doge, he devoted less than four lines to
the first and more than fourteen pages to the second. As to the
first remedy, severe as it was and bristling with difficulties,
it was, as he claimed, a simple, natural, straightforward use of
police power. As to the second, the appeal to a future Council
was to the Vatican as a red flag to a bull. The very use of it
involved excommunication. To harden and strengthen the Doge and
Senate in order that they might consider it as an ultimate
possibility, Sarpi was obliged to show from the Scriptures, the
Fathers, the Councils, the early Popes, that the appeal to a
Council was a matter of right. With wonderful breadth of
knowledge and clearness of statement he made his points and
answered objections. To this day, his letter remains a

[1] For Sarpi's advice to the Doge, see Bianchi Giovini, vol. i.
pp. 216, et seq. The document is given fully in the Lettere di F.
P. S., Firenze, 1863, vol. i. pp. 17, et seq.; also in Machi,
Storia del Consiglio dei Dieci, cap. xxiv., where the bull of
excommunication is also given.

The Republic utterly refused to yield, and now, in 1606, Pope
Paul launched his excommunication and interdict. In meeting them,
the Senate took the course laid down by Sarpi. The papal Nuncio
was notified that the Senate would receive no paper from the
Pope; all ecclesiasties, from the Patriarch down to the lowest
monk, were forbidden, under the penalties of high treason, to
make public or even to receive any paper whatever from the
Vatican; additional guards were placed at the city gates, with
orders to search every wandering friar or other suspicious person
who might, by any possibility, bring in a forbidden missive; a
special patrol was kept, night and day, to prevent any posting of
the forbidden notices on walls or houses; any person receiving or
finding one was to take it immediately to the authorities, under
the severest penalties, and any person found concealing such
documents was to be punished by death.

At first some of the clergy were refractory. The head of the
whole church establishment of Venice, the Patriarch himself, gave
signs of resistance; but the Senate at once silenced him. Sundry
other bishops and high ecclesiastics made a show of opposition;
and they were placed in confinement. One of them seeming
reluctant to conduct the usual church service, the Senate sent an
executioner to erect a gibbet before his door. Another, having
asked that he be allowed to await some intimation from the Holy
Spirit, received answer that the Senate had already received
directions from the Holy Spirit to hang any person resisting
their decree. The three religious orders which had showed most
opposition--Jesuits, Theatins, and Capuchins--were in a
semi-polite manner virtually expelled from the Republic.[2]

[2] For interesting details regarding the departure of the
Jesuits, see Cornet, Paolo V. e la Republica Veneta, pp. 277-279.

Not the least curious among the results of this state of things
was the war of pamphlets. From Rome, Bologna, and other centres
of thought, even from Paris and Frankfort, polemic tractates
rained upon the Republic. The vast majority of their authors were
on the side of the Vatican, and of this majority the leaders were
the two cardinals so eminent in learning and logic, Bellarmine
and Baronius; but, single-handed, Sarpi was, by general consent,
a match for the whole opposing force.[3]

[3] In the library of Cornell University are no less than nine
quartos filled with selected examples of these polemics on both

Of all the weapons then used, the most effective throughout
Europe was the solemn protest drawn by Sarpi and issued by the
Doge. It was addressed nominally to the Venetian ecclesiastics,
but really to Christendom, and both as to matter and manner it
was Father Paul at his best. It was weighty, lucid, pungent, and
deeply in earnest,--in every part asserting fidelity to the
Church and loyalty to the papacy, but setting completely at
naught the main claim of Pope Paul: the Doge solemnly declaring
himself "a prince who, in temporal matters, recognizes no
superior save the Divine Majesty."

The victory of the friar soon began to be recognized far and
near. Men called him by the name afterward so generally given
him,--the "terribile frate." The Vatican seemed paralyzed. None
of its measures availed, and it was hurt, rather than helped, by
its efforts to pester and annoy Venice at various capitals. At
Rome, it burned Father Paul's books and declared him
excommunicated; it even sought to punish his printer by putting
into the Index not only all works that he had ever printed, but
all that he might ever print. At Vienna, the papal Nuncio thought
to score a point by declaring that he would not attend a certain
religious function in case the Venetian Ambassador should appear;
whereupon the Venetian announced that he had taken physic and
regretted that he could not be present,--whereat all Europe

Judicious friends in various European cabinets now urged both
parties to recede or to compromise. France and Spain both
proffered their good offices. The offer of France was finally
accepted, and the French Ambassador was kept running between the
Ducal Palace and the Vatican until people began laughing at him
also. The emissaries of His Holiness begged hard that, at least,
appearances might be saved; that the Republic would undo some of
its measures before the interdict was removed, or at least would
seem to do so, and especially that it would withdraw its refusals
before the Pope withdrew his penalties. All in vain. The
Venetians insisted that they had committed no crime and had
nothing to retract. The Vatican then urged that the Senate should
consent to receive absolution for its resistance to the Pope's
authority. This the Senate steadily refused; it insisted, "Let
His Holiness put things as before, and we will put things as
before; as to his absolution, we do not need it or want it; to
receive it would be to acknowledge that we have been in the
wrong." Even the last poor sop of all was refused: the Senate
would have no great "function" to celebrate the termination of
the interdict; they would not even go to the mass which Cardinal
Joyeuse celebrated on that occasion. The only appearance of
concession which the Republic made was to give up the two
ecclesiastics to the French Ambassador as a matter of courtesy to
the French king; and when this was done, the Ambassador delivered
them to the Pope; but Venice especially reserved all the rights
she had exercised. All the essential demands of the papacy were
refused, and thus was forever ended the papal power of laying an
interdict upon a city or a people. From that incubus,
Christendom, thanks to Father Paul and to Venice, was at last and
forever free.

The Vatican did, indeed, try hard to keep its old claim in being.
A few years after its defeat by Fra Paolo, it endeavored to
reassert in Spain the same authority which had been so humbly
acknowledged there a few years before. It was doubtless felt that
this most pious of all countries, which had previously been so
docile, and which had stood steadily by the Vatican against
Venice in the recent struggle, would again set an example of
submission. Never was there a greater mistake: the Vatican
received from Spanish piety a humiliating refusal.

Next it tried the old weapons against the little government at
Turin. For many generations the House of Savoy had been dutifully
submissive to religious control; nowhere out of Spain had heresy
been treated more cruelly; yet here, too, the Vatican claim was
spurned. But the final humiliation took place some years later
under Urban VIII.,--the same pontiff who wrecked papal
infallibility on Galileo's telescope. He tried to enforce his
will on the state of Lucca, which, in the days of Pope Paul, had
submitted to the Vatican decrees abjectly; but that little
republic now seized the weapons which Sarpi had devised, and
drove the papal forces out of the field: the papal
excommunication was, even by this petty government, annulled in
Venetian fashion and even less respectfully.[1]

[1] The proofs--and from Catholic sources--that it was the Pope
who condemned Galileo's doctrine of the earth's movement about
the sun, and not merely the Congregation of the Index, the
present writer has given in his History of the Warfare of Science
with Theology, vol. i. chap. iii.

Thus the world learned how weak the Vatican hold had become. Even
Pope Paul learned it, and, from being the most strenuous of
modern pontiffs, he became one of the most moderate in everything
save in the enrichment of his family. Thus ended the last serious
effort to coerce a people by an interdict, and so, one might
suppose, would end the work of Father Paul. Not so. There was to
come a second chapter in his biography, more instructive,
perhaps, than the first,--a chapter which has lasted until our
own day. A. D. White.

{February, 1904, number DLVI.} II.

The Venetian Republic showed itself duly grateful to Sarpi. The
Senate offered him splendid presents and entitled him "Theologian
of Venice." The presents he refused, but the title with its duty,
which was mainly to guard the Republic against the encroachments
of the Vatican, he accepted, and his life in the monastery of
Santa Fosca went on quietly, simply, laboriously, as before. The
hatred now felt for him at Rome was unbounded. It corresponded to
the gratitude at Venice. Every one saw his danger, and he well
knew it. Potentates were then wont to send assassins on long
errands, and the arm of the Vatican was especially far-reaching
and merciless. It was the period when Pius V, the Pope whom the
Church afterwards proclaimed a saint, commissioned an assassin to
murder Queen Elizabeth.[1]

[1] This statement formerly led to violent denials by
ultramontane champions; but in 1870 it was made by Lord Acton, a
Roman Catholic, one of the most learned of modern historians, and
when it was angrily denied, he quietly cited the official life of
Pope Pius in the Acta Sanctorum, published by the highest church
authority. This was final; denial ceased, and the statement is no
longer questioned. For other proofs in the line of Lord Acton's
citation, see Bellarmine's Selbstbiographie, cited in a previous
article, pp. 306, et seq.

But there was in Father Paul a trust in Providence akin to
fatalism. Again and again he was warned, and among those who are
said to have advised him to be on his guard against papal
assassins was no less a personage than his greatest controversial
enemy,--Cardinal Bellarmine. It was believed by Sarpi's friends
that Bellarmine's Scotch ideas of duty to humanity prevailed over
his Roman ideas of fealty to the Vatican, and we may rejoice in
the hope that his nobler qualities did really assert themselves
against the casuistry of his brother prelates which sanctioned

These warnings were soon seen to be well founded. On a pleasant
evening in October, 1607, a carefully laid trap was sprung.
Returning from his day's work at the Ducal Palace, Father Paul,
just as he had crossed the little bridge of Santa Fosca before
reaching his convent, was met by five assassins. Two of his usual
attendants had been drawn off by the outburst of a fire in the
neighborhood; the other two were old men who proved useless. The
place was well chosen. The descent from the bridge was so narrow
that all three were obliged to march in single file, and just at
this point these ruffians from Rome sprang upon him in the dusk,
separated him from his companions, and gave him, in a moment,
fifteen dagger thrusts, two in his throat and one--a fearful gash
--on the side of his head, and then, convinced that they had
killed him, escaped to their boats, only a few paces distant.

The victim lingered long in the hospital, but his sound
constitution and abstemious habits stood him in good stead. Very
important among the qualities which restored him to health were
his optimism and cheerfulness. An early manifestation of the
first of these was seen when, on regaining consciousness, he
called for the stiletto which had been drawn from the main wound
and, running his fingers along the blade, said cheerily to his
friends, "It is not filed." What this meant, any one knows who
has seen in various European collections the daggers dating from
the "ages of faith" cunningly filed or grooved to hold poison.[1]

[1] There is a remarkable example of a beautiful dagger, grooved
to contain poison, in the imperial collection of arms at Vienna.

As an example of the second of these qualities, we may take his
well-known reply when, to the surgeon dressing the wound made by
the "style" or stiletto,--who spoke of its "extravagance,"
rudeness, and yet ineffectiveness,--Fra Paolo quietly answered
that in these characteristics could be recognized the style of
the Roman Curia.

Meantime the assassins had found their way back to Rome, and were
welcomed with open arms; but it is some comfort to know that
later, when such conscience as there was throughout Italy and
Europe showed intense disgust at the proceeding, the Roman Court
treated them coldly and even severely.

The Republic continued in every way to show Sarpi its sympathy
and gratitude. It made him many splendid offer, which he refused;
but two gifts he accepted. One was full permission to explore the
Venetian archives, and the other was a little doorway, cut
through the garden wall of his monastery, enabling him to reach
his gondola without going through the narrow and tortuous path he
had formerly taken on his daily journey to the public offices.
This humble portal still remains. Beneath few triumphal arches
has there ever passed as great or as noble a conqueror.[2]

[2] The present writer has examined with care the spot where the
attack was made, and found that never was a scoundrelly plot
better conceived or more fiendishly executed. He also visited
what was remaining of the convent in April, 1902, and found the
little door as serviceable as when it was made.

Efforts were also made to cajole him,--to induce him to visit
Rome, with fine promises of recognition and honor, and with
solemn assurances that no harm should come to him; but he was too
wise to yield. Only a few years previously he had seen Giordano
Bruno lured to Rome and burned alive on the Campo dei Fiori. He
had seen his friend and correspondent, Fra Fulgentio Manfredi,
yield to similar allurements and accept a safe conduct to Rome,
which, though it solemnly guaranteed him against harm, proved as
worthless as that of John Huss at the Council of Constance; the
Inquisition torturing him to death on the spot where, six years
earlier, it had burned Bruno. He had seen his friend, the
Archdeacon Ribetti, drawn within the clutch of the Vatican, only
to die of "a most painful colic" immediately after dining with a
confidential chamberlain of the Pope, and, had he lived a few
months longer, he would have seen his friend and confidant,
Antonio de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalato, to whom he had
entrusted a copy of his most important work, enticed to Rome and
put to death by the Inquisition. Though the Vatican exercised a
strong fascination over its enemies, against Father Paul it was
powerless; he never yielded to it, but kept the even tenor of his

[3] A copy of Manfredi's "safe conduct" is given by Castellani,
Lettere Inedite di F. P. S., p. 12, note. Nothing could be more

In the dispatches which now passed, comedy was mingled with
tragedy. Very unctuous was the expression by His Holiness of his
apprehensions regarding "dangers to the salvation" and of his
"fears for the souls" of the Venetian Senators, if they persisted
in asserting their own control of their own state. Hardly less
touching were the fears expressed by the good Oratorian, Cardinal
Baronius, that "a judgment might be brought upon the Republic" if
it declined to let the Vatican have its way. But these
expressions were not likely to prevail with men who had dealt
with Machiavelli.

Uncompromising as ever, Father Paul continued to write letters
and publish treatises which clenched more and more firmly into
the mind of Venice and of Europe the political doctrine of which
he was the apostle,--the doctrine that the State is rightfully
independent of the Church,--and throughout the Christian world he
was recognized as victor.

Nothing could exceed the bitterness of the attacks upon him,
though some of them, at this day, provoke a smile. While efforts
were made to discredit him among scholars by spurious writings or
by interpolations in genuine writings, efforts equally ingenious
were made to arouse popular hostility. One of these was a
painting which represented him writhing amid the flames of hell,
with a legend stating, as a reason for his punishment, that he
had opposed the Holy Father.

Now it was indeed, in the midst of ferocious attacks upon his
reputation and cunning attempts upon his life, that he entered a
new and most effective period of activity. For years, as the
adviser of Venice, he had studied, both as a historian and as a
statesman, the greatest questions which concerned his country,
and especially those which related to the persistent efforts of
the Vatican to encroach upon Venetian self-government. The
results of these studies he had embodied in reports which had
shaped the course of the Republic; and now, his learning and
powers of thought being brought to bear upon the policy of Europe
in general, as affected by similar papal encroachments, he began
publishing a series of treatises, which at once attracted general

[1] For the extent to which these attacks were carried, see the
large number in the Sarpi collection at the Cornell University
Library, especially volume ix.

First of these, in 1608, came his work on the Interdict. Clearly
and concisely it revealed the nature of the recent struggle, the
baselessness of the Vatican claims, and the solidarity of
interest between Venice and all other European states regarding
the question therein settled. This work of his as a historian
clenched his work as a statesman; from that day forward no nation
has even been seriously threatened with an interdict.

Subsidiary works followed rapidly from his pen, strengthening the
civil power against the clerical; but in 1610 came a treatise,
which marked an epoch,--his History of Ecclesiastical
Benefices.[2] In this he dealt with a problem which had become
very serious, not only in Venice, but in every European state,
showed the process by which vast treasures had been taken from
the control of the civil power and heaped up for ecclesiastical
pomp and intrigue, pointed out special wrongs done by the system
to the Church as well as the State, and advocated a reform which
should restore this wealth to better uses. His arguments spread
widely and sank deep, not only in Italy, but throughout Europe,
and the nineteenth century has seen them applied effectively in
every European country within the Roman obedience.

[2] The old English translation of this book, published in 1736
at Westminster, is by no means a very rare book, and it affords
the general reader perhaps the most accessible means of
understanding Fra Paolo's simplicity, thoroughness, and vigor.

In 1611 he published his work on the Inquisition at Venice,
presenting historical arguments against the uses which
ecclesiasticism, under papal guidance, had made of that tribunal.
These arguments spread far, and developed throughout Europe those
views of the Inquisition which finally led to its destruction.
Minor treatises followed, dealing with state questions arising
between the Vatican and Venice, each treatise--thoroughly well
reasoned and convincing--having a strong effect on the discussion
of similar public questions in every other European nation.

In 1613 came two books of a high order, each marking an epoch.
The first of these was upon the Right of Sanctuary, and in it
Sarpi led the way, which all modern states have followed, out of
the old, vicious system of sanctioning crime by sheltering
criminals. The cogency of his argument and the value of its
application gained for him an especial tribute by the best
authority on such questions whom Europe had seen,--Hugo Grotius.

Closely connected with this work was that upon the Immunity of
the Clergy. Both this and the previous work were in the same
order of ideas, and the second fastened into the European mind
the reasons why no state can depend upon the Church for the
punishment of clerical criminals. His argument was a triumphant
vindication of Venice in her struggle with Paul V on this point;
but it was more than that. It became the practical guide of all
modern states. Its arguments dissipated the last efforts
throughout Europe to make a distinction, in criminal matters,
between the priestly caste and the world in general.

Among lesser treatises which followed is one which has done much
to shape modern policy regarding public instruction. This was his
book upon the Education given by the Jesuits. One idea which it
enforced sank deep into the minds of all thoughtful men,--his
statement that Jesuit maxims develop "sons disobedient to their
parents, citizens unfaithful to their country, and subjects
undutiful to their sovereign." Jesuit education has indeed been
maintained, and evidences of it may be seen in various European
countries. The traveler in Italy constantly sees in the larger
Italian towns long lines of young men and boys, sallow, thin, and
listless, walking two and two, with priests at each end of the
coffle. These are students taking their exercise, and an American
or Englishman marvels as he remembers the playing fields of his
own country. Youth are thus brought up as milksops, to be
graduated as scape-graces. The strong men who control public
affairs, who lead men and originate measures in the open, are not
bred in Jesuit forcing-houses. Even the Jesuits themselves have
acknowledged this, and perhaps the strongest of all arguments
supplementary to those given by Father Paul were uttered by Padre
Curci, eminent in his day as a Jesuit gladiator, but who realized
finally the impossibility of accomplishing great things with men
moulded by Jesuit methods.

All these works took strong hold upon European thought. Leading
men in all parts of Europe recognized Sarpi as both a great
statesman and a great historian. Among his English friends were
such men as Lord Bacon and Sir Henry Wotton; and his praises have
been sounded by Grotius, by Gibbon, by Hallam, and by Macaulay.
Strong, lucid, these works of Father Paul have always been
especially attractive to those who rejoice in the leadership of a
master mind.

But in 1619 came the most important of all,--a service to
humanity hardly less striking than that which he had rendered in
his battle against the Interdict,--his history of the Council of

His close relations to so many of the foremost men of his day and
his long study in public archives and private libraries bore
fruit in this work, which takes rank among the few great,
enduring historical treatises of the world. Throughout, it is
vigorous and witty, but at the same time profound; everywhere it
bears evidences of truthfulness and is pervaded by sobriety of
judgment. Its pictures of the efforts or threats by
representatives of various great powers to break away from the
papacy and establish national churches; its presentation of the
arguments of anti-papal orators on one side and of Laynez and his
satellites on the other; its display of acts and revelations of
pretexts; its penetration into the whole network of intrigue, and
its thorough discussion of underlying principles,--all are

Though the name of the author was concealed in an anagram, the
book was felt, by the Vatican party, to be a blow which only one
man could have dealt, and the worst blow which the party had
received since its author had defeated the Interdict at Venice.
Efforts were made, by outcries and calumnies, to discredit the
work, and they have been continued from that day to this, but in
vain. That there must be some gaps and many imperfections in it
is certain; but its general character is beyond the reach of
ultramontane weapons. The blow was felt to be so heavy that the
Jesuit Pallavicini was empowered to write a history of the
Council to counterbalance it, and his work was well done; but
Ranke, the most unprejudiced of judges, comparing the two,
assigns the palm to Father Paul. His book was immediately spread
throughout Europe; but of all the translations, perhaps the most
noteworthy was the English. Sarpi had entrusted a copy of the
original to his friend, Antonio de Dominis, Archbishop of
Spalato, and he, having taken refuge in England, had it
translated there, the authorship being ascribed on the title-page
to "Pietro Soave Polano." This English translation was, in vigor
and pith, worthy of the original. In it can be discerned, as
clearly as in the original, that atmosphere of intrigue and
brutal assertion of power by which the Roman Curia, after packing
the Council with petty Italian bishops, bade defiance to the
Catholic world. This translation, more than all else, has enabled
the English-speaking peoples to understand what was meant by the
Italian historian when he said that Father Paul "taught the world
how the Holy Spirit guides the Great Councils of the Church." It
remains cogent down to this day; after reading it one feels that
such guidance might equally be claimed for Tammany Hall.

Although Father Paul never acknowledged the authorship of the
history of the Council of Trent, and although his original copy,
prepared for the press, with his latest corrections, still
remains buried in the archives at Venice, the whole world knew
that he alone could have written it.

But during all these years, while elaborating opinions on the
weightiest matters of state for the Venetian Senate, and sending
out this series of books which so powerfully influenced the
attitude of his own and after generations toward the Vatican, he
was working with great effect in yet another field. With the
possible exception of Voltaire, he was the most vigorous and
influential letter-writer during the three hundred years which
separated Erasmus from Thomas Jefferson. Voltaire certainly
spread his work over a larger field, lighted it with more wit,
and gained by it more brilliant victories; but as regards
accurate historical knowledge, close acquaintance with statesmen,
familiarity with the best and worst which statesmen could do,
sober judgment and cogent argument, the great Venetian was his
superior. Curiously enough, Sarpi resembles the American
statesman more closely than either of the Europeans. Both he and
Jefferson had the intense practical interest of statesmen, not
only in the welfare of their own countries, but in all the
political and religious problems of their times. Both were keenly
alive to progress in the physical sciences, wherever made. Both
were wont to throw a light veil of humor over very serious
discussions. Both could use, with great effect, curt, caustic
description: Jefferson's letter to Governor Langdon satirizing
the crowned heads of Europe, as he had seen them, has a worthy
pendant in Fra Paolo's pictures of sundry representatives of the
Vatican. In both these writers was a deep earnestness which, at
times, showed itself in prophetic utterances. The amazing
prophecy of Jefferson against American slavery, beginning with
the words, "I tremble when I remember that God is just," which,
in the light of our civil war, seems divinely inspired, is
paralleled by some of Sarpi's utterances against the unmoral
tendencies of Jesuitism and Ultramontanism; and these too seem
divinely inspired as one reads them in the light of what has
happened since in Spain, in Sicily, in Naples, in Poland, in
Ireland, and in sundry South American republics.

The range of Sarpi's friendly relations was amazing. They
embraced statesmen, churchmen, scholars, scientific
investigators, diplomatists in every part of Europe, and among
these Galileo and Lord Bacon, Grotius and Mornay, Salmasius and
Casaubon, De Thou and Sir Henry Wotton, Bishop Bedell and
Vossius, with a great number of others of nearly equal rank.
Unfortunately the greater part of his correspondence has
perished. In the two small volumes collected by Polidori, and in
the small additional volume of letters to Simon Contarini,
Venetian Ambassador at Rome, unearthed a few years since in the
Venetian archives by Castellani, we have all that is known. It is
but a small fraction of his epistolary work, but it enables us to
form a clear opinion. The letters are well worthy of the man who
wrote the history of the Council of Trent and the protest of
Venice against the Interdict.

It is true that there has been derived from these letters, by his
open enemies on one side and his defenders of a rather sickly
conscientious sort on the other, one charge against him: this is
based on his famous declaration, "I utter falsehood never, but
the truth not to every one." ("La falsita non dico mai mai, ma la
verita non a ogniuno.")[1] Considering his vast responsibilities
as a statesman and the terrible dangers which beset him as a
theologian; that in the first of these capacities the least
misstep might wreck the great cause which he supported, and that
in the second such a misstep might easily bring him to the
torture chamber and the stake, normally healthful minds will
doubtless agree that the criticism upon these words is more
Pharisaic than wholesome.

[1] For this famous utterance, see notes of conversations given
by Christoph, Burggraf von Dohna, in July, 1608, in Briefe und
Acten zur Geschichte des Dreissigjahrigen Krieges, Munchen, 1874,
p. 79.

Sarpi was now spoken of, more than ever, both among friends and
foes, as the "terribile frate." Terrible to the main enemies of
Venice he indeed was, and the machinations of his opponents grew
more and more serious. Efforts to assassinate him, to poison him,
to discredit him, to lure him to Rome, or at least within reach
of the Inquisition, became almost frantic; but all in vain. He
still continued his quiet life at the monastery of Santa Fosca,
publishing from time to time discussions of questions important
for Venice and for Europe, working steadily in the public service
until his last hours. In spite of his excommunication and of his
friendships with many of the most earnest Protestants of Europe,
he remained a son of the church in which he was born. His life
was shaped in accordance with its general precepts, and every day
he heard mass. So his career quietly ran on until, in 1623, he
met death calmly, without fear, in full reliance upon the divine
justice and mercy. His last words were a prayer for Venice.

He had fought the good fight. He had won it for Venice and for
humanity. For all this, the Republic had, in his later years,
tried to show her gratitude, and he had quietly and firmly
refused the main gifts proposed to him. But now came a new
outburst of grateful feeling. The Republic sent notice of his
death to other powers of Europe through its Ambassadors in the
terms usual at the death of royal personages; in every way, it
showed its appreciation of his character and services, and it
crowned all by voting him a public monument.

Hardly was the decree known, when the Vatican authorities sent
notice that, should any monument be erected to Sarpi, they would
anew and publicly declare him excommunicate as a heretic. At
this, the Venetian Senate hesitated, waited, delayed. Whenever
afterwards the idea of carrying out the decree for the monument
was revived, there set in a storm of opposition from Rome. Hatred
of the terrible friar's memory seemed to grow more and more
bitter. Even rest in the grave was denied him. The church where
he was buried having been demolished, the question arose as to
the disposition of his bones. To bury them in sacred ground
outside the old convent would arouse a storm of ecclesiastical
hostility, with the certainty of their dispersion and
desecration; it seemed impossible to secure them from priestly
hatred: therefore it was that his friends took them from place to
place, sometimes concealing them in the wall of a church here,
sometimes beneath the pavement of a church there, and for a time
keeping them in a simple wooden box at the Ducal Library. The
place where his remains rested became, to most Venetians,
unknown. All that remained to remind the world of his work was
his portrait in the Ducal Library, showing the great gash made by
the Vatican assassins.

Time went on, and generations came which seemed to forget him.
Still worse, generation after generation came, carefully trained
by clerical teachers to misunderstand and hate him. But these
teachers went too far; for, in 1771, nearly one hundred and fifty
years after his death, the monk Vaerini gathered together, in a
pretended biography, all the scurrilities which could be
imagined, and endeavored to bury the memory of the great patriot
beneath them. This was too much. The old Venetian spirit, which
had so long lain dormant, now asserted itself: Vaerini was
imprisoned and his book suppressed.

A quarter of a century later the Republic fell under the rule of
Austria, and Austria's most time-honored agency in keeping down
subject populations has always been the priesthood. Again Father
Paul's memory was virtually proscribed, and in 1803 another
desperate attempt was made to cover him with infamy. In that year
appeared a book entitled The Secret History of the Life of Fra
Paolo Sarpi, and it contained not only his pretended biography,
but what claimed to be Sarpi's own letters and other documents
showing him to be an adept in scoundrelism and hypocrisy. Its
editor was the archpriest Ferrara of Mantua; but on the
title-page appeared, as the name of its author, Fontanini,
Archbishop of Ancira, a greatly respected prelate who had died
nearly seventy years before, and there was also stamped, not only
upon the preliminary, but upon the final page of the work, the
approval of the Austrian government. To this was added a pious
motto from St. Augustine, and the approval of Pius VII was
distinctly implied, since the work was never placed upon the
Index, and could not have been published at Venice, stamped as it
was and registered with the privileges of the University, without
the consent of the Vatican.

The memory of Father Paul seemed likely now to be overwhelmed.
There was no longer a Republic of Venice to guard the noble
traditions of his life and service. The book was recommended and
spread far and wide by preachers and confessors.

But at last came a day of judgment. The director of the Venetian
archives discovered and had the courage to announce that the work
was a pious fraud of the vilest type; that it was never written
by Fontanini, but that it was simply made up out of the old
scurrilous work of Vaerini, suppressed over thirty years before.
As to the correspondence served up as supplementary to the
biography, it was concocted from letters already published, with
the addition of Jesuitical interpolations and of forgeries.[1]
Now came the inevitable reaction, and with it the inevitable
increase of hatred for Austrian rule and the inevitable question,
how, if the Pope is the infallible teacher of the world in all
matters pertaining to faith and morals, could he virtually
approve this book, and why did he not, by virtue of his divine
inerrancy, detect the fraud and place its condemnation upon the
Index. The only lasting effect of the book, then, was to revive
the memory of Father Paul's great deeds and to arouse Venetian
pride in them. The fearful scar on his face in the portrait spoke
more eloquently than ever, and so it was that, early in the
nineteenth century, many men of influence joined in proposing a
suitable and final interment for the poor bones, which had seven
times been buried and reburied, and which had so long been kept
in the sordid box at the Ducal Library. The one fitting place of
burial was the cemetery of San Michele. To that beautiful island,
so near the heart of Venice, had, for many years, been borne the
remains of leading Venetians. There, too, in more recent days,
have been laid to rest many of other lands widely respected and

[1] For a full and fair statement of the researches which exposed
this pious fraud, see Castellani, Prefect of the Library of St.
Mark, preface to his Lettere Inedite di F. P. S., p. xvii. For
methods used in interpolating or modifying passages in Sarpi's
writings, see Bianchi Giovini, Biografia di Sarpi, Zurigo, 1847,
vol. ii. pp. 135, et seq.

But the same persistent hatred which, in our own day, grudged and
delayed due honors at the tombs of Copernicus and Galileo among
Catholics, and of Humboldt among Protestants, was still bitter
against the great Venetian scholar and statesman. It could not be
forgotten that he had wrested from the Vatican the most terrible
of its weapons. But patriotic pride was strong, and finally a
compromise was made: it was arranged that Sarpi should be buried
and honored at his burial as an eminent man of science, and that
no word should be spoken of his main services to the Republic and
to the world. On this condition he was buried with simple honors.

Soon, however, began another chapter of hatred. There came a pope
who added personal to official hostility. Gregory XVI, who in his
earlier days had been abbot of the monastery of San Michele, was
indignant that the friar who had thwarted the papacy should lie
buried in the convent which he himself had formerly ruled, and
this feeling took shape, first, in violent speeches at Rome, and
next, in brutal acts at Venice. The monks broke and removed the
simple stone placed over the remains of Father Paul, and when it
was replaced, they persisted in defacing and breaking it, and
were only prevented from dragging out his bones, dishonoring them
and casting them into the lagoon, by the weight of the massive,
strong, well-anchored sarcophagus, which the wise foresight of
his admirers had provided for them. At three different visits to
Venice, the present writer sought the spot where they were laid,
and in vain. At the second of these visits, he found the
Patriarch of Venice, under whose rule various outrages upon
Sarpi's memory had been perpetrated, pontificating gorgeously
about the Grand Piazza; but at his next visit there had come a
change. The monks had disappeared. Their insults to the
illustrious dead had been stopped by laws which expelled them
from their convent, and there, little removed from each other in
the vestibule and aisle of the great church, were the tombs of
Father Paul and of the late Patriarch side by side; the great
patriot's simple gravestone was now allowed to rest unbroken.

Better even than this was the reaction provoked by these
outbursts of ecclesiastical hatred. It was felt, in Venice,
throughout Italy, and indeed throughout the world, that the old
decree for a monument should now be made good. The first steps
were hesitating. First, a bust of Father Paul was placed among
those of great Venetians in the court of the Ducal Palace; but
the inscription upon it was timid and double-tongued. Another
bust was placed on the Pincian Hill at Rome, among those of the
most renowned sons of Italy. This was not enough: a suitable
monument must be erected. Yet it was delayed, timid men
deprecating the hostility of the Roman Court. At last, under the
new Italian monarchy, the patriotic movement became irresistible,
and the same impulse which erected the splendid statue to
Giordano Bruno on the Piazza dei Fiori at Rome,--on the very spot
where he was burned,--and which adorned it with the medallions of
eight other martyrs to ecclesiastical hatred, erected in 1892,
two hundred and seventy years after it had been decreed, a
statue, hardly less imposing, to Paolo Sarpi, on the Piazza Santa
Fosca at Venice, where he had been left for dead by the Vatican
assassins. There it stands, noble and serene,--a monument of
patriotism and right reason, a worthy tribute to one who, among
intellectual prostitutes and solemnly constituted impostors,
stood forth as a true man, the greatest of his time,--one of the
greatest of all times,--an honor to Venice, to Italy, and to
humanity. Andrew D. White.


Then came the death of the Empress Frederick. Even during her
tragic struggle with Bismarck, and the unpopularity which beset
her during my former official term at Berlin, she had been kind
to me and mine. At my presentation to her in those days, at
Potsdam, when she stood by the side of her husband, afterward the
most beloved of emperors since Marcus Aurelius, she evidently
exerted herself to make the interview pleasant to me. She talked
of American art and the Colorado pictures of Moran, which she had
seen and admired; of German art and the Madonna painted by Knaus
for the Russian Empress, which Miss Wolfe had given the
Metropolitan Museum at New York; and in reply to my
congratulations upon a recent successful public speech of her
eldest son, a student at Bonn, she had dwelt, in a motherly way,
upon the difficulties which environ a future sovereign at a great
university. In more recent days, and especially during the years
before her death, she had been, at her table in Berlin and at her
castle of Kronberg, especially courteous. There comes back to me
pleasantly a kindly retort of hers. I had spoken to her of a
portrait of George III which had interested me at the old castle
of Homburg nearly forty years before. It had been sent to his
daughter, the Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, who had evidently
wished to see her father's face as it had really become; for it
represented the King, not in the gold-laced uniform, not in the
trim wig not in the jauntily tied queue of his official portraits
and statues, but as he was: in confinement, wretched and
demented; in a slouching gown, with a face sad beyond expression;
his long, white hair falling about it and over it; of all
portraits in the world, save that, at Florence, of Charles V in
his old age, the saddest. So, the conversation drifting upon
George III and upon the old feeling between the United States and
Great Britain, now so happily changed, I happened to say, "It is
a remembrance of mine, now hard to realize, that I was brought up
to ABHOR the memory of George III." At this she smiled and
answered, "That was very unjust; for I was brought up to ADORE
the memory of Washington." Then she spoke at length regarding the
feeling of her father and mother toward the United States during
our Civil War, saying that again and again she had heard her
father argue to her mother, Queen Victoria, for the Union and
against slavery. She discussed current matters of world politics
with the strength of a statesman; yet nothing could be more
womanly in the highest sense. On my saying that I hoped to see
the day when Germany, Great Britain, and the United States would
stand together in guarding the peace of the world, she threw up
her hands and replied, "Heaven grant it; but you forget Japan."
The funeral at Potsdam dwells in my mind as worthy of her. There
were, indeed, pomp and splendor, but subdued, as was befitting;
and while the foreign representatives stood beside her coffin,
the Emperor spoke to me, very simply and kindly, of his sorrow
and of mine. Then, to the sound of funeral music and muffled
church bells, he, with the King of Great Britain and members of
their immediate family just behind the funeral car, the
ambassadors accompanying them, and a long procession following,
walked slowly along the broad avenue through that beautiful
forest, until, in the Church of Peace, she was laid by the side
of her husband, Emperor Frederick the Noble.



Darkest of all hours during my embassy was that which brought
news of the assassination of President McKinley. It was on the
very day after his great speech at Buffalo had gained for him the
admiration and good will of the world. Then came a week of
anxiety--of hope alternating with fear; I not hopeful: for there
came back to me memories of President Garfield's assassination
during my former official stay in Berlin, and of our hope against
hope during his struggle for life: all brought to naught. Late in
the evening of September 14 came news of the President's
death--opening a new depth of sadness; for I had come not merely
to revere him as a patriot and admire him as a statesman, but to
love him as a man. Few days have seemed more overcast than that
Sunday when, at the little American chapel in Berlin, our colony
held a simple service of mourning, the imperial minister of
foreign affairs and other representatives of the government
having quietly come to us. The feeling of the German people--awe,
sadness, and even sympathy--was real. Formerly they had disliked
and distrusted the President as the author of the protective
policy which had cost their industries so dear; but now, after
his declaration favoring reciprocity,--with his full recognition
of the brotherhood of nations,--and in view of this calamity, so
sudden, so distressing, there had come a revulsion of feeling.

To see one whom I so honored, and who had formerly been so
greatly misrepresented, at last recognized as a great and true
man was, at least, a solace.

At this period came the culmination of a curious episode in my
official career. During the war in China the Chinese minister at
Berlin, Lu-Hai-Houan, feeling himself cut off from relations with
the government to which he was accredited, and, indeed, with all
the other powers of Europe, had come at various times to me, and
with him, fortunately, came his embassy counselor, Dr. Kreyer,
whom I had previously known at Berlin and St. Petersburg as a
thoughtful man, deeply anxious for the welfare of China, and
appreciative of the United States, where he had received his
education. The minister was a kindly old mandarin of high rank,
genial, gentle, evidently struggling hard against the depression
caused by the misfortunes of his country, and seeking some little
light, if, perchance, any was to be obtained. In his visits to
me, and at my return visits to him, the whole condition of things
in China was freely and fully discussed, and never have I exerted
myself more to give useful advice. First, I insisted upon the
necessity of amends for the fearful wrong done by China to other
nations, and then presented my view of the best way of developing
in his country a civilization strong enough to resist hostile
forces, exterior and interior. As to dealings with the Christian
missionaries, against whom he showed no fanatical spirit, but
who, as he thought, had misunderstood China and done much harm, I
sought to show him that the presumption was in their favor, but
that if the Chinese Government ultimately came to the decision
that their stay in China was incompatible with the safety of the
nation, its course was simple: that on no account was it to kill
or injure any of them or of their converts; that while, in my
view, it would be wise to arrange for their continuance in China
under proper regulation, still, that if they must be expelled, it
should be done in the most kindly and considerate way, and with
due indemnity for any losses to which they might be subjected. Of
course, there was no denying that, under the simplest principles
of international law, China has the right at any moment to shut
its doors against, or to expel, any people whatever whom it may
consider dangerous or injurious--this power being constantly
exercised by all the other nations of the earth, and by none more
than by the American Government, as so many Chinese seeking
entrance to our ports have discovered; but again and again I
warned him that this, if it were ever done at all, must be done
without harshness and with proper indemnities, and that any
return to the cruelties of the past would probably end in the
dividing up of maritime China among the great powers of the
world. As to the building up of the nation, I laid stress on the
establishment of institutions for technical instruction; and took
pains to call his attention to what had been done in the United
States and by various European governments in this respect. He
seemed favorably impressed by this, but dwelt on what he
considered the fanaticism of sundry Chinese supporters of
technical education against the old Chinese classical
instruction. Here I suggested to him a system which might save
what was good in the old mode of instruction: namely, the
continuance of the best of the old classical training, but giving
also high rank to modern studies.

We also talked over the beginning of a better development of the
Chinese army and navy, of better systems of taxation, and of the
nations from which good examples and competent instruction might
be drawn in these various fields. Curious was his suggestion of a
possible amalgamation of Chinese moral views with the religious
creeds of the western world. He observed that Christianity seemed
to be weak, mainly, on the moral side, and he suggested, at some
length, a combination of the Christian religion with the
Confucian morality. Interesting was it to hear him, as a
Confucian, dwell on the services which might thus be rendered to
civilization. There was a simple, kindly shrewdness in the man,
and a personal dignity which was proof against the terrible
misfortunes which had beset his country. Again and again he
visited me, always wishing to discuss some new phase of the
questions at issue. I could only hope that, as he was about to
return to China, some of the ideas brought out in our
conversations might prove fruitful. One result of the relation
thus formed was that when Prince Chun, the brother of the Emperor
of China, came to make apology before the throne of the Emperor
William, he called upon me. Unfortunately I was out, but,
returning his visit, I met him, and, what was more to the
purpose, the dignitaries of his suite, some of whom interested me
much; and I was glad of a chance, through them, to impress some
of the ideas brought out in my previous conversations with the
minister. I cannot say that I indulged in any strong hopes as
regards the prince himself; but, noting the counselors who
surrounded him, and their handling of the questions at issue, I
formed more hope for the conservation of China as a great and
beneficent power than I had ever had before.

To this succeeded an episode of a very different sort. For some
time Mr. Andrew Carnegie had done me the honor to listen to
advice of mine regarding some of his intended benefactions in
Scotland, the United States, and elsewhere. I saw and felt the
great possibilities for good involved when so noble a heart, so
shrewd a head, so generous a hand had command of one of the most
colossal fortunes ever at the disposal of a human being; and the
bright purposes and plans revealed in his letters shone through
the clouds of that mournful summer. So it was that, on my journey
to America, made necessary by the sudden death of my son, I
accepted Mr. Carnegie's invitation to visit him at his castle of
Skibo in the extreme north of Scotland. Very striking, during the
two days' journey from London to Edinburgh, and from Edinburgh to
Bonar, were the evidences of mourning for President McKinley in
every city, village, and hamlet. It seemed natural that, in the
large towns and on great public buildings, flags at half-mast and
in mourning should show a sense of the calamity which had
befallen a sister nation; but what appealed to me most were the
draped and half-masted flags on the towers of the little country
churches and cottages. Never before in the history of any two
countries had such evidences of brotherly feeling been shown.
Thank God! brotherly feeling had conquered demagogism.

The visit to Mr. Carnegie helped to give a new current to my
thoughts. The attractions of his wonderful domain forty thousand
acres, with every variety of scenery,--ocean, forest, moor, and
mountain,--the household with its quaint Scotch usages--the piper
in full tartan solemnly going his rounds at dawn, and the music
of the organ swelling, morning and evening, through the castle
from the great hall--all helped to give me new strength. There
was also good company: Frederic Harrison, thoughtful and
brilliant, whom I had before known only by his books and a brief
correspondence; Archdeacon Sinclair of London, worthy, by his
scholarly accomplishments, of his descent from the friend of
Washington; and others who did much to aid our hosts in making
life at the castle beautiful. Going thence to America, I found
time to cooperate with my old friend, President Gilman, in
securing data for Mr. Carnegie, especially at Washington, in view
of his plan of a national institution for the higher scientific

It was a sad home-coming; but these occupations and especially a
visit to New Haven at the bicentennial celebration of Yale aided
to cheer me. This last was indeed a noteworthy commemoration.
There had come to me, in connection with it, perhaps the greatest
honor of my life: an invitation to deliver one of the main
addresses; but it had been received at the time of my deepest
depression, and I had declined it, but with no less gratitude
that the authorities of my Alma Mater had thought me worthy of
that service. In so doing, I sacrificed much; for there was one
subject which, under other circumstances, I would gladly have
developed at such a time and before such an audience. But as I
listened to the admirable address given by my old college mate,
Mr. Justice Brewer, when the honors of the university were
conferred upon the President, the Secretary of State, and so many
distinguished representatives from all parts of the world, it was
a satisfaction to me, after all, that I could enjoy it quietly,
with no sense of responsibility, and could, indeed, rest and be

As to my own personal history, there came at this time an event
which could not but please me: the Royal Academy of Sciences at
Berlin chose me as one of its foreign honorary members. It was a
tribute of the sort for which I cared most, especially because it
brought me into closer relations with leaders in science and
literature whom I had so long admired.

To finish the chronicle of that period, I may add that, on my
return from America, being invited to Potsdam for the purpose, I
gave the Emperor the very hearty message which the President had
sent him, and that, during this interview and the family dinner
which followed it, he spoke most appreciatively and intelligently
of the President, of the recent victory for good government in
the city of New York, of the skill shown by Americans in great
works of public utility, and especially of the remarkable
advances in the development of our navy.

One part of this conversation had a lighter cast. At the close of
that portion of the communication from the President which
referred to various public affairs came a characteristic touch in
the shape of an invitation to hunt in the Rocky Mountain regions:
it was the simple message of one healthy, hearty, vigorous hunter
to another, and was to the effect that the President especially
envied the Emperor for having shot a whale, but that if his
Majesty would come to America he should have the best possible
opportunity to add to his trophies a Rocky Mountain lion, and
that he would thus be the first monarch to kill a lion since
Tiglath-Pileser, whose exploit is shown on the old monuments of
Assyria. The hearty way in which the message was received showed
that it would have been gladly accepted had that been possible.

On New Year's day of 1902 began the sixth year of my official
stay at Berlin. At his reception of the ambassadors the Emperor
was very cordial, spoke most heartily regarding President
Roosevelt, and asked me to forward his request that the
President's daughter might be allowed to christen the imperial
yacht then building in America. In due time this request was
granted, and as the special representative of the sovereign at
its launching he named his brother--Prince Henry. No man in the
empire could have been more fitly chosen. His career as chief
admiral of the German navy had prepared him to profit by such a
journey, and his winning manners assured him a hearty welcome.

My more serious duties were now relieved by sundry festivities,
and of these was a dinner on the night of the prince's departure
from Berlin, given to the American Embassy by the Emperor, who
justly hoped and believed that the proposed expedition would
strengthen good feeling between the two countries. After dinner
we all sat in the smoking-room of the old Schloss until midnight,
and various pleasant features of the conversation dwell in my
memory--particularly the Emperor's discussions of Mark Twain and
other American humorists; but perhaps the most curious was his
amusement over a cutting from an American newspaper--a printed
recipe for an American concoction known as "Hohenzollern punch,"
said to be in readiness for the prince on his arrival. The number
of intoxicants, and the ingenuity of their combination, as his
Majesty read the list aloud, were amazing; it was a terrific
brew, which only a very tough seaman could expect to survive.

But as we all took leave of the prince at the station afterward,
there were in my heart and mind serious misgivings. I knew well
that, though the great mass of the American people were sure to
give him a hearty welcome, there were scattered along his route
many fanatics, and, most virulent of all, those who had just then
been angered by the doings of sundry Prussian underlings in
Poland. I must confess to uneasiness during his whole stay in
America, and among the bright days of my life was that on which
the news came that he was on board a German liner and on his

One feature of that evening is perhaps more worthy of record.
After the departure of the prince, the Emperor's conversation
took a more serious turn, and as we walked toward his carriage he
said, "My brother's mission has no political character whatever,
save in one contingency: If the efforts made in certain parts of
Europe to show that the German Government sought to bring about a
European combination against the United States during your
Spanish war are persisted in, I have authorized him to lay before
the President certain papers which will put that slander at rest
forever." As it turned out, there was little need of this, since
the course both of the Emperor and his government was otherwise
amply vindicated.

The main matter of public business during the first months of the
year was the Russian occupation of Manchuria, regarding which our
government took a very earnest part, instructing me to press the
matter upon the attention of the German Government, and to follow
it up with especial care. Besides this, it was my duty to urge a
fitting representation of Germany at the approaching St. Louis
Exposition. Regarding this there were difficulties. The Germans
very generally avowed themselves exposition-weary
(ausstellungsmude); and no wonder, for exposition had succeeded
exposition, now in this country, now in that, and then in various
American cities, each anxious to outdo the other, until all
foreign governments were well-nigh tired out. But the St. Louis
Exposition encountered an adverse feeling much more serious than
any caused by fatigue,--the American system of high protection
having led the Germans to distrust all our expositions, whether
at New Orleans, Chicago, Buffalo, or St. Louis, and to feel that
there was really nothing in these for Germany; that, in fact,
German manufacturing interests would be better served by avoiding
them than by taking part in them. Still, by earnest presentation
of the matter at the Foreign Office and to the Emperor, I was
able to secure a promise that German art should be well

In March, a lull having come in public business as well as in
social duty, I started on my usual excursion to Italy, its most
interesting feature being my sixth stay in Venice. Ten days in
that fascinating city were almost entirely devoted to increasing
my knowledge of Fra Paolo Sarpi. Various previous visits had
familiarized me with the main events in his wonderful career; but
I now met with two pieces of especially good fortune. First, I
made the acquaintance of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Robertson, an
ardent admirer of Father Paul, and author of an excellent
biography of him; and, next, I was able to add to my own material
a mass of rare books and manuscripts relating to the great
Venetian. Most interesting was my visit, in company with Dr.
Robertson, to the remains of Father Paul's old monastery, where
we found what no one, up to our time, seems to have
discovered--the little door which the Venetian Senate caused to
be made in the walls of the monastery garden, at Father Paul's
request, in order that he might reach his gondola at once, and
not be again exposed to assassins like those sent by Pope Paul V,
who had attacked him and left him, to all appearances dead, in
the little street near the monastery.

Returning to Berlin, the usual round of duty was resumed; but
there seems nothing worthy to be chronicled, save possibly the
visit of the Shah of Persia and the Crown Prince of Siam. Both
were seen in all their glory at the gala opera given in their
honor; but the Persian ruler appeared to little advantage, for he
was obliged to retire before the close of the representation. He
was evidently prematurely old and worn out. The feature of this
social function which especially dwells in my memory was a very
interesting talk with the Emperor regarding the kindness shown
his brother by the American people, at the close of which he
presented me to his guest, the Crown Princess of Saxony. She was
especially kindly and pleasing, discussing various topics with
heartiness and simplicity; and it was a vast surprise to me when,
a few months later, she became the heroine of perhaps the most
astonishing escapade in the modern history of royalty.

As to matters of business, there came one which especially
rejoiced me. Mr. Carnegie having established the institution for
research which bears his name at Washington, with an endowment of
ten million dollars, and named me among the trustees, my old
friend Dr. Gilman had later been chosen President of the new
institution, and now arrived in Berlin to study the best that
Germans were doing as regards research in science. Our excursions
to various institutions interested me greatly; both the men we
met and things we saw were full of instruction to us, and of all
public duties I have had to discharge, I recall none with more
profit and pleasure. One thing in this matter struck me as never
before--the quiet wisdom and foresight with which the various
German governments prepare to profit by the best which science
can be made to yield them in every field.

Upon these duties followed others of a very different sort. On
the 19th of June died King Albert of Saxony, and in view of his
high character and of the many kindnesses he had shown to
Americans, I was instructed to attend his funeral at Dresden as a
special representative of the President. The whole ceremonial was
interesting; there being in it not only a survival of various
mediaeval procedures, but many elements of solemnity and beauty;
and the funeral, which took place at the court church in the
evening, was especially impressive. Before the high altar stood
the catafalque; in front of it, the crown, scepter, orb, and
other emblems of royalty; and at its summit, the coffin
containing the body of the King. Around this structure were
ranged lines of soldiers and pages in picturesque uniforms and
bearing torches. Facing these were the seats for the majesties,
including the new King, who had at his right the Emperor of
Austria, and at his left the German Emperor, while next these
were the seats of foreign ambassadors and other representatives.
Of all present, the one who seemed least in accord with his
surroundings was the nephew of the old and the son of the new
King, Prince Max, who was dressed simply as a priest, his plain
black gown in striking contrast with the gorgeous uniforms of the
other princes immediately about him. The only disconcerting
feature was the sermon. It was given by one of the priests
attached to the court church, and he evidently considered this an
occasion to be made much of; for instead of fifteen minutes, as
had been expected, his sermon lasted an hour and twenty minutes,
much to the discomfort of the crowd of officials, who were
obliged to remain standing from beginning to end, and especially
to the chagrin of the two Emperors, whose special trains and
time-tables, as well as the railway arrangements for the general
public, were thereby seriously deranged.

But all fatigues were compensated by the music. The court choir
of Dresden is famous, and for this occasion splendid additions
had been made both to it and to the orchestra; nothing in its way
could be more impressive, and as a climax came the last honors to
the departed King, when, amid the music of an especially
beautiful chorus, the booming of artillery in the neighboring
square, and the tolling of the bells of the city on all sides,
the royal coffin slowly sank into the vaults below.

On the following morning I was received by the new King. He
seemed a man of sound sense, and likely to make a good
constitutional sovereign. Our talk was simply upon the relations
of the two countries, during which I took pains to bespeak for my
countrymen sojourning at Dresden the same kindnesses which the
deceased King had shown them.

During the summer a study of some of the most important
industries at the Dusseldorf Exposition proved useful; but
somewhat later other excursions had a more direct personal
interest; for within a few hours of each other came two
unexpected communications: one from the president of Yale
University, commissioning me to represent my Alma Mater at the
tercentenary of the Bodleian at Oxford; the other from the
University of St. Andrews, inviting me to the installation of Mr.
Andrew Carnegie as lord rector of that institution; and both
these I accepted.

The celebration at Oxford was in every way interesting to me; but
I may say frankly that of all things which gave me pleasure, the
foremost was the speech of presentation, in the Sheldonian
Theatre, when the doctorate of civil law was conferred upon me.
The first feature in this speech, assigning the reasons for
conferring the degree, was a most kindly reference to my part in
establishing the Arbitration Tribunal at the International
Conference of The Hague; and this, of course, was gratifying. But
the second half of the speech touched me more nearly; for it was
a friendly appreciation of my book regarding the historical
relations between science and theology in Christendom. This was a
surprise indeed! Years before, when writing this book, I had said
to myself, "This ends all prospect of friendly recognition of any
work I may ever do, so far as the universities and academies of
the world are concerned. But so be it; what I believe I will
say." And now, suddenly, unexpectedly, came recognition and
commendation in that great and ancient center of religious
thought and sentiment, once so reactionary, where, within my
memory, even a man like Edward Everett was harshly treated for
his inability to accept the shibboleths of orthodoxy.

This reviving of old and beginning of new friendships, with the
hearty hospitality lavished upon us from all sides, left
delightful remembrances. Several times, during the previous fifty
years, I had visited Oxford and been cordially welcomed; but this
greeting surpassed all others.

There was, indeed, one slight mishap. Being called upon to speak
in behalf of the guests at the great dinner in Christ Church
Hall, I endeavored to make a point which I thought new and
perhaps usefully suggestive. Having referred to the increasing
number of international congresses, expositions, conferences,
academic commemorations, anniversaries, and the like, I dwelt
briefly on their agency in generating friendships between men of
influence in different countries, and therefore in maintaining
international good will; and then especially urged, as the pith
and point of my speech, that such agencies had recently been made
potent for peace as never before. In support of this view, I
called attention to the fact that the Peace Conference at The
Hague had not only established an arbitration tribunal for
PREVENTING war, but had gained the adhesion of all nations
concerned to a number of arrangements, such as international
"Commissions of Inquiry," the system of "Seconding Powers," and
the like, for DELAYING war, thus securing time during which
better international feelings could assert themselves, and
reasonable men on either side could work together to bring in the
sober second thought; that thereby the friendships promoted by
these international festivities had been given, as never before,
time to assert themselves as an effective force for peace against
jingo orators, yellow presses, and hot-heads generally; and
finally, in view of this increased efficiency of such gatherings
in promoting peace, I urged that they might well be multiplied on
both sides of the Atlantic, and that as many delegates as
possible should be sent to them.

"A poor thing, but mine own." Alas! next day, in the press, I was
reported as simply uttering the truism that such gatherings
increase the peaceful feeling of nations; and so the main point
of my little speech was lost. But it was a slight matter, and of
all my visits to Oxford, this will remain in my memory as the
most delightful.[7]

[7] The full speech has since been published in the "Yale Alumni

The visit to St. Andrews was also happy. After the principal of
the university had conferred the doctorate of laws upon several
of the guests, including Mr. Choate, the American ambassador at
London, and myself, Mr. Carnegie gave his rectorial address. It
was decidedly original, its main feature being an argument in
behalf of a friendly union of the United States and Great Britain
in their political and commercial policy, and for a similar union
between the Continental European nations for the protection of
their industries and for the promotion of universal peace, with a
summons to the German Emperor to put himself at the head of the
latter. It was prepared with skill and delivered with force. Very
amusing were the attempts of the great body of students to throw
the speaker off his guard by comments, questions, and chaff. I
learned later that, more than once, orators has thus been
entrapped or entangled, and that on one occasion an address had
been completely wrecked by such interruptions; but Mr. Carnegie's
Scotch-Yankee wit carried him through triumphantly: he met all
these efforts with equanimity and good humor, and soon had the
audience completely on his side.

Returning to Berlin, there came preparations for closing my
connection with the embassy. I had long before decided that on my
seventieth birthday I would cease to hold any official position
whatever. Pursuant to that resolution, my resignation had been
sent to the President, with the statement that it must be
considered final. In return came the kindest possible letters
from him and from the Secretary of State; both of them
attributing a value to my services much beyond anything I would
dare claim.

On my birthday came a new outburst of kindness. From all parts of
Europe and America arrived letters and telegrams, while from the
Americans in various parts of Germany--especially from the Berlin
colony--came a superbly engrossed address, and with it a
succession of kindly visitors representing all ranks in Berlin
society. One or two of these testimonials I may be pardoned for
especially mentioning. Some time after the letter from President
Roosevelt above mentioned, there had come from him a second
epistle, containing a sealed envelop on which were inscribed the
words: "To be opened on your seventieth birthday." Being duly
opened on the morning of that day, it was found to be even more
heartily appreciative than his former letter, and the same was
found to be true of a second letter by the Secretary of State,
Mr. Hay; so that I add these to the treasures to be handed down
to my grandchildren.

Shortly afterward came a letter from the chancellor of the
empire, most kindly appreciative. It will be placed, with those
above referred to, at the close of this chapter.

Especially noteworthy also was the farewell dinner given me at
the Kaiserhof by the German-American Association. Never had I
seen so many Germans eminent in politics, diplomacy, literature,
science, art, education, and commerce assembled on any single
occasion. Hearty speeches were made by the minister of the
interior, Count Posadowsky, who presided, and by Professor
Harnack of the university, who had been selected to present the
congratulations of my entertainers. I replied at length, and as
in previous speeches during my career, both as minister and
ambassador, I had endeavored to present to my countrymen at home
and abroad the claims of Germany upon American good will, I now
endeavored to reveal to the great body of thinking Germans some
of the deeper characteristics and qualities of the American
people; my purpose being in this, as in previous speeches, to
bring about a better understanding between the two nations.

The Emperor being absent in England, my departure from Berlin was
delayed somewhat beyond the time I had fixed; but on the 27th of
November came my final day in office. In the morning my wife and
myself were received in special audience by both the sovereigns,
who afterward welcomed us at their table. Both showed unaffected
cordiality. The Emperor discussed with me various interesting
questions in a most friendly spirit, and, on my taking leave,
placed in my hands what is known as the "Great Gold Medal for Art
and Science," saying that he did this at the request of his
advisers in those fields, and adding assurances of his own which
greatly increased the value of the gift. Later in the day came a
superb vase from the royal manufactory of porcelain, bearing his
portrait and cipher, as a token of personal good will.

On the same evening was the American Thanksgiving dinner, with
farewells to and from the American colony, and during the
following days farewell gatherings at the houses of the dean of
the ambassadors, the secretary of state for foreign affairs, and
the chancellor of the empire; finally, on the evening of December
5, with hearty good-byes at the station from a great concourse of
my diplomatic colleagues and other old friends, we left Berlin.

Our first settlement was at a pretty villa at Alassio, on the
Italian Riviera; and here, in March, 1903, looking over my
garden, a mass of bloom, shaded by palms and orange-trees in full
bearing, and upon the Mediterranean beyond, I settled down to
record these recollections of my life--making excursions now and
then into interesting parts of Italy.

As to these later journeys, one, being out of the beaten track,
may be worth mentioning. It was an excursion in the islands of
Elba and Corsica. Though anything but a devotee of Napoleon, I
could not but be interested in that little empire of his on the
Italian coast, and especially in the town house, country-seat,
and garden where he planned the return to Europe which led to the
final catastrophe.

More interesting still was the visit to Corsica and, especially,
to Ajaccio. There the traveler stands before the altar where
Napoleon's father and mother were married, at the font where he
was baptized, in the rooms where he was born, played with his
brothers during his boyhood, and developed various scoundrelisms
during his young manhood: the furniture and surroundings being as
they were when he knew them.

Just around the corner from the house in which the Bonapartes
lived was the more stately residence of the more aristocratic
family of Pozzo di Borgo. It interested me as the nest in which
was reared that early playmate and rival of Napoleon, who
afterward became his most virulent, persistent, and successful
enemy, who pursued him through his whole career as a hound
pursues a wolf, and who at last aided most effectively in
bringing him down.

After exhausting the attractions of Ajaccio, we drove up a broad,
well-paved avenue, gradually rising and curving until, at a
distance of six or seven miles, it ended at the country-seat of
this same family of Pozzo di Borgo, far up among the mountains.
There, on a plateau commanding an amazing view, and in the midst
of a superb park, we found the rural retreat of the family; but,
to our surprise, not a castle, not a villa, not like any other
building for a similar purpose in Italy or anywhere else in the
world, but a Parisian town house, recently erected in the style
of the Valois period, with Mansard roof. As we approached it, I
was struck by architectural details even more at variance with
the surroundings than was the general style of the building: all
its exterior decoration presenting the features of a pavilion
from the old Tuileries at Paris; and in the garden hard by we
found battered and blackened fragments of pilasters, shown by the
emblems and ciphers upon them to have come from that part of the
Tuileries once inhabited by Napoleon. The family being absent, we
were allowed to roam through the house, and there found the
statues, paintings, tapestries, books, and papers of Napoleon's
arch-enemy, the great Pozzo di Borgo himself, all of them more or
less connected with the great struggle. There, too, in the
library were collected the decorations bestowed upon him by all
the sovereigns of Europe for his successful zeal in hunting down
the common enemy--"the Corsican Ogre." The palace, inside and
out, is a monument to the most famous of Corsican vendettas.

My two winters at Alassio after leaving Berlin, though filled
with deferred work, were restful. During a visit to America in
1903, I joined my class at Yale in celebrating its fiftieth
anniversary, giving there a public address entitled "A Patriotic
Investment." The main purpose of this address was to promote the
establishment of Professorships of Comparative Legislation in our
leading universities. I could not think then, and cannot think
now, of any endowment likely to be more speedily and happily
fruitful in good to the whole country. In the spring of 1904 I
returned to my old house on the grounds of Cornell University,
and there, with my family, old associates, and new friends about
me, have devoted myself to various matters long delayed, and
especially to writing sundry articles in the "Atlantic Monthly,"
the "Century Magazine," and various other periodicals, and to the
discharge of my duties as a Trustee of Cornell and as a Regent of
the Smithsonian Institution and a Trustee of the Carnegie
Institution at Washington. It is, of course, the last of my life,
but I count myself happy in living to see so much of good
accomplished and so much promise of good in every worthy field of
human effort throughout our country and indeed throughout the

Following are the letters referred to in this chapter.


August 5, 1902.

It is with real regret that I accept your resignation, for I
speak what is merely a self-evident truth when I say that we
shall have to look with some apprehension to what your successor
does, whoever that successor may be, lest he fall short of the
standard you have set.

It is a very great thing for a man to be able to feel, as you
will feel when on your seventieth birthday you prepare to leave
the Embassy, that you have been able to serve your country as it
has been served by but a very limited number of people in your
generation. You have done much for it in word and in deed. You
have adhered to a lofty ideal and yet have been absolutely
practical and, therefore, efficient, so that you are a perpetual
example to young men how to avoid alike the Scylla of
indifference and the Charybdis of efficiency for the wrong....

With regards and warm respect and admiration,
Faithfully yours,

Ambassador to Germany,
Berlin, Germany.


September 15, 1902


Will you read the inclosed on your seventieth birthday? I have
sealed it so you can break the seal then.
Faithfully yours,

U. S. Ambassador,
Berlin, Germany.


September 15, 1902.


On the day you open this you will be seventy years old. I cannot
forbear writing you a line to express the obligation which all
the American people are under to you. As a diplomat you have come
in that class whose foremost exponents are Benjamin Franklin and
Charles Francis Adams, and which numbers also in its ranks men
like Morris, Livingston, and Pinckney. As a politician, as a
publicist, and as a college president you have served your
country as only a limited number of men are able to serve it. You
have taught by precept, and you have taught by practice. We are
all of us better because you have lived and worked, and I send
you now not merely my warmest well-wishes and congratulations,
but thanks from all our people for all that you have done for us
in the past. Faithfully yours,

U. S. Ambassador,
Berlin, Germany.


August 3, 1902.


I have received your very kind letter of the 21st July, which is
the first intimation I have had of your intention to resign your
post of ambassador to Germany. I am sorry to hear the country is
to lose your services in the place you have filled with such
distinguished ability and dignity. It is a great thing to say--as
it is simple truth to say it--that you have, during your
residence in Berlin, increased the respect felt for America not
only in Germany but in all Europe. You have thus rendered a great
public service,--independent of all the details of your valuable
work. The man is indeed fortunate who can go through a long
career without blame, and how much more fortunate if he adds
great achievement to blamelessness. You have the singular
felicity of having been always a fighting man, and having gone
through life without a wound.

I congratulate you most on your physical and mental ability to
enjoy the rest you have chosen and earned....

My wife joins me in cordial regards to Mrs. White, and I am

Faithfully yours,
(Signed) JOHN HAY.


November 7, 1902.


I cannot let the day pass without sending you a word of cordial
congratulation on the beginning of what I hope will be the most
delightful part of your life. Browning long ago sang, "The best
is yet to be," and, certainly, if world-wide fame troops of
friends, a consciousness of well-spent years, and a great career
filled with righteous achievement are constituents of happiness,
you have everything that the heart of man could wish.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed) JOHN HAY.

His Excellency ANDREW D. WHITE, etc., etc., etc.

Wilhelm Str. 77.


On the occasion of this memorable day, I beg to send you my best
wishes. May God grant you perfect health and happiness. Be
assured that I always shall remember the excellent relations
which have joined us during so many years, and accept the
assurance of the highest esteem and respect of your most
7 Nov. 1902.



At various times since my leaving the Berlin Embassy various
friends have said to me, "Why not give us something definite
regarding the German Emperor?" And on my pleading sundry
difficulties and objections, some of my advisers have recalled
many excellent precedents, both American and foreign, and others
have cited the dictum, "The man I don't like is the man I don't

The latter argument has some force with me. Much ill feeling
between the United States and Germany has had its root in
misunderstandings; and, as one of the things nearest my heart
since my student days has been a closer moral and intellectual
relation between the two countries, there is, perhaps, a reason
for throwing into these misunderstandings some light from my own

My first recollections of the present Emperor date from the
beginning of my stay as minister at Berlin, in 1879. The official
presentations to the Emperor and Empress of that period having
been made, there came in regular order those to the crown prince
and princess, and on my way to them there fell into my hands a
newspaper account of the unveiling of the monument to the eminent
painter Cornelius, at Dusseldorf, the main personage in the
ceremony being the young Prince William, then a student at Bonn.
His speech was given at some length, and it impressed me. There
was a certain reality of conviction and aspiration in it which
seemed to me so radically different from the perfunctory
utterances usual on such occasions that, at the close of the
official interview with his father and mother, I alluded to it.
Their response touched me. There came at once a kindly smile upon
the father's face, and a glad sparkle into the mother's eyes:
pleasing was it to hear her, while showing satisfaction and
pride, speak of her anxiety before the good news came, and of the
embarrassments in the way of her son at his first public address
on an occasion of such importance; no less pleasing was it to
note the father's happy acquiescence: there was in it all a
revelation of simple home feeling and of wholesome home ties
which clearly indicated something different from the family
relations in sundry royal houses depicted by court chroniclers.

Not long afterward the young prince appeared at some of the court
festivities, and I had many opportunities to observe him. He
seemed sprightly, with a certain exuberance of manner in meeting
his friends which was not unpleasing; but it was noticeable that
his hearty salutations were by no means confined to men and women
of his own age; he was respectful to old men, and that is always
a good sign; it could be easily seen, too, that while he
especially sought the celebrities of the Franco-Prussian War, he
took pains to show respect to men eminent in science, literature,
and art. There seemed a healthy, hearty life in him well
befitting a young man of his position and prospects: very
different was he from the heir to the throne in another country,
whom I had occasion to observe at similar functions, and who
seemed to regard the whole human race with indifference.

Making the usual visits in Berlin society, I found that people
qualified to judge had a good opinion of his abilities; and not
infrequent were prophecies that the young man would some day
really accomplish something.

My first opportunity to converse with him came at his marriage,
when a special reception was given by him and his bride to the
diplomatic corps. He spoke at considerable length on American
topics--on railways, steamers, public works, on Americans whom he
had met, and of the things he most wished to see on our side the
water; altogether he seemed to be broad-minded, alert, with a
quick sense of humor, and yet with a certain solidity of judgment
beneath it all.

After my departure from Berlin there flitted over to America
conflicting accounts of him, and during the short reign of his
father there was considerable growth of myth and legend to his
disadvantage. Any attempt to distil the truth from it all would
be futile; suffice it that both in Germany and Great Britain
careful statements by excellent authorities on both sides have
convinced me that in all that trying crisis the young man's
course was dictated by a manly sense of duty.

The first thing after his accession which really struck me as a
revelation of his character was his dismissal of Bismarck. By
vast numbers of people this was thought the act of an exultant
young ruler eager to escape all restraint, and this opinion was
considerably promoted in English-speaking countries by an
ephemeral cause: Tenniel's cartoon in "Punch" entitled "Dropping
the Pilot." As most people who read this will remember, the iron
chancellor was therein represented as an old, weatherbeaten
pilot, in storm-coat and sou'wester, plodding heavily down the
gangway at the side of a great ship; while far above him, leaning
over the bulwarks, was the young Emperor, jaunty, with a
satisfied smirk, and wearing his crown. There was in that little
drawing a spark of genius, and it sped far; probably no other
cartoon in "Punch" ever produced so deep an effect, save,
possibly, that which appeared during the Crimean War with the
legend "General February turned Traitor"; it went everywhere,
appealing to deep sentiment in human hearts.

And yet, to me--admiring Bismarck as the greatest German since
Luther, but reflecting upon the vast interests involved--this act
was a proof that the young monarch was a stronger man than any
one had supposed him to be. Certainly this dismissal must have
caused him much regret; all his previous life had shown that he
admired Bismarck--almost adored him. It gave evidence of a deep
purpose and a strong will. Louis XIV had gained great credit
after the death of Mazarin by declaring his intention of ruling
alone--of taking into his own hands the vast work begun by
Richelieu; but that was the merest nothing compared to this. This
was, apparently, as if Louis XIII, immediately after the triumphs
of Richelieu, had dismissed him and declared his purpose of
henceforth being his own prime minister. The young Emperor had
found himself at the parting of the ways, and had deliberately
chosen the right path, and this in spite of almost universal
outcries at home and abroad. The OLD Emperor William could let
Bismarck have his way to any extent: when his chancellor sulked
he could drive to the palace in the Wilhelmstrasse, pat his old
servant on the back, chaff him, scold him, laugh at him, and set
him going again, and no one thought less of the old monarch on
that account. But for the YOUNG Emperor William to do this would
be fatal; it would class him at once among the rois
fatneants--the mere figureheads--"the solemnly constituted
impostors," and in this lay not merely dangers to the young
monarch, but to his dynasty and to the empire.

His recognition of this fact was, and is, to me a proof that the
favorable judgments of him which I had heard expressed in Berlin
were well founded.

But this decision did much to render him unpopular in the United
States, and various other reports which flitted over increased
the unfavorable feeling. There came reports of his speeches to
young recruits, in which, to put it mildly, there was preached a
very high theory of the royal and imperial prerogative, and a
very exacting theory of the duty of the subject. Little account
was taken by distant observers of the fundamental facts in the
case; namely, that Germany, being a nation with no natural
frontiers, with hostile military nations on all sides, and with
serious intestine tendencies to anarchy, must, if she is to live,
have the best possible military organization and a central power
strong to curb all the forces of the empire, and quick to hurl
them. Moreover, these speeches, which seemed so absurd to the
average American, hardly astonished any one who had lived long in
Germany, and especially in Prussia. The doctrines laid down by
the young monarch to the recruits were, after all, only what they
had heard a thousand times from pulpit and school desk, and are a
logical result of Prussian history and geography. Something, too,
must be allowed to a young man gifted, energetic, suddenly
brought into so responsible a position, looking into and beyond
his empire, seeing hostile nations north, south, east, and west,
with elements of unreason fermenting within its own borders, and
feeling that the only reliance of his country is in the good
right arms of its people, in their power of striking heavily and
quickly, and in unquestioning obedience to authority.

In the history of American opinion at this time there was one
comical episode. The strongholds of opinion among us friendly to
Germany have been, for the last sixty years, our universities and
colleges, in so many of which are professors and tutors who,
having studied in Germany, have brought back a certain love for
the German fatherland. To them there came in those days a curious
tractate by a little-known German professor--one of the most
curious satires in human history. To all appearance it was simply
a biographical study of the young Roman emperor Caligula. It
displayed the advantages he had derived from a brave and pious
imperial ancestry, and especially from his devout and gifted
father; it showed his natural gifts and acquired graces, his
versatility, his growing restlessness, his manifold ambitions,
his contempt of wise counsel, the dismissal of his most eminent
minister, his carelessness of thoughtful opinion, his meddling in
anything and everything, his displays in the theater and in the
temples of the gods, his growth--until the world recognized him
simply as a beast of prey, a monster. The whole narrative was so
managed that the young prince who had just come to the German
throne seemed the exact counterpart of the youthful Roman
monarch--down to the cruel stage of his career; THAT was left to
anticipation. The parallels and resemblances between the two were
arranged with consummate skill, and whenever there was a passage
which seemed to present an exact chronicle of some well-known
saying or doing of the modern ruler there would follow an
asterisk with a reference to a passage in Tacitus or Suetonius or
Dion Cassius or other eminent authority exactly warranting the
statement. This piece of historical jugglery ran speedily through
thirty editions, while from all parts of Germany came refutations
and counter-refutations by scores, all tending to increase its
notoriety. Making a short tour through Germany at that period,
and stopping in a bookseller's shop at Munich to get a copy of
this treatise, I was shown a pile of pamphlets which it had
called out, at least a foot high. Comically enough, its author
could not be held responsible for it, since the name of the young
Emperor William was never mentioned; all it claimed to give or
did give was the life of Caligula, and certainly there was no
crime in writing a condemnatory history of him or any other
imperial miscreant who died nearly two thousand years ago. In the
American colleges and universities this tractate doubtless made
good friends of Germany uneasy, and it even shocked some
excellent men who knew much of Roman history and little of
mankind; but gradually common sense resumed its sway. As men
began to think they began to realize that the modern German
Empire resembles in no particular that debased and corrupt mass
with which the imperial Roman wretches had to do, and that the
new German sovereign, in all his characteristics and tendencies
is radically a different being from any one of the crazy beasts
of prey who held the imperial power during the decline of Rome.

Sundry epigrams had also come over to us; among others, the
characterization of the three German Emperors: the first William
as "Der greise Kaiser," the Emperor Frederick as "Der weise
Kaiser," and the second William as "Der Reise Kaiser"; and there
were unpleasant murmurs regarding sundry trials for petty
treason. But at the same time there was evident, in the midst of
American jokes at the young Emperor's expense, a growing feeling
that there was something in him; that, at any rate, he was not a
fat-witted, Jesuit-ridden, mistress-led monarch of the old
Bourbon or Hapsburg sort; that he had "go" in him--some fine
impulses, evidently; and here and there a quotation from a speech
showed insight into the conditions of the present world and
aspiration for its betterment.

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