Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White

Part 12 out of 13

Adobe PDF icon
Download Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Full Text Free Book (Part 12/13) pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

given. Both burst into titanic laughter, and parted on
the best of terms.

At court festivities, Lord Odo frequently became very
weary, and as I was often in the same case, we from time
to time went out of the main rooms together and sat
down in some quiet nook for a talk. On one of these
occasions, just after he had been made a peer with the
title of Baron Ampthill, I said to him, ``You must allow
me to use my Yankee privilege of asking questions.''
On his assenting to this pleasantly, I asked, ``Why is it
that you are willing to give up the great historic name
of Russell and take a name which no one ever heard of?''
He answered, ``I have noticed that when men who have
been long in the diplomatic service return to England,
they become in many cases listless and melancholy, and
wander about with no friends and nothing to do. They
have been so long abroad that they are no longer in touch
with leading men at home, and are therefore shelved.
Entrance into the House of Lords gives a man something
to do, with new friends and pleasing relations. As to the
name, I would gladly have retained my own, but had no
choice; in fact, when Lord John Russell was made an
earl, his insisting on retaining his name was not
especially liked. Various places on the Russell estates were
submitted to me for my choice, and I took Ampthill.''

Alas! his plans came to nothing. He died at his post
before his retirement to England.

Among those then connected with the British Embassy
at Berlin, one of the most interesting was Colonel (now
General) Lord Methuen, who, a few years since, took so
honorable a part in the South African War. He was at
that time a tall, awkward man, kindly, genial, who always
reminded me of Thackeray's ``Major Sugarplums.''
He had recently lost his wife, and was evidently in deep
sorrow. One morning there came a curious bit of news
regarding him. A few days before, walking in some
remote part of the Thiergarten, he saw a working-man throw
himself into the river, and instantly jumped into the icy
stream after him, grappled him, pulled him out, laid him
on the bank, and rapidly walked off. When news of
it got out, he was taxed with it by various members of
the diplomatic corps; but he awkwardly and blushingly
pooh-poohed the whole matter.

One evening, not long afterward, I witnessed a very
pleasant scene connected with this rescue. As we were all
assembled at some minor festivity in the private palace
on the Linden, the old Emperor sent for the colonel, and
on his coming up, his Majesty took from his own coat
a medal of honor for life-saving and attached it to the
breast of Methuen, who received it in a very awkward
yet manly fashion.

The French ambassador was the Count de St. Vallier,
one of the most agreeable men I have ever met, who
deserved all the more credit for his amiable qualities
because he constantly exercised them despite the most
wretched health. During his splendid dinners at the
French Embassy, he simply toyed with a bit of bread, not
daring to eat anything.

We were first thrown especially together by a
representation in favor of the double standard of value, which,
under instructions from our governments, we jointly
made to the German Foreign Office, and after that our
relations became very friendly. Whenever the Fourth
of July or Washington's Birthday came round, he was
sure to remember it and make a friendly call.

My liking for him once brought upon me one of the
most embarrassing mishaps of my life. It was at Nice,
and at the table d'hte of a great hotel on the Promenade
des Anglais, where I was seated next a French countess
who, though she had certainly passed her threescore
years and ten, was still most agreeable. Day after day
we chatted together, and all went well; but one evening,
on our meeting at table as usual, she said, ``I am told that
you are the American minister at Berlin.'' I answered,
``Yes, madam.'' She then said, ``When I was a young
woman, I was well acquainted with the mother of the
present French ambassador there.'' At this I launched
out into praises of Count St. Vallier, as well I might;
speaking of the high regard felt for him at Berlin, the
honors he had received from the German Government,
and the liking for him among his colleagues. The countess
listened in silence, and when I had finished turned
severely upon me, saying, ``Monsieur, up to this moment
I have believed you an honest man; but now I really don't
know what to think of you.'' Of course I was dumfounded,
but presently the reason for the remark occurred
to me, and I said, ``Madam, M. de St. Vallier serves
France. Whatever his private opinions may be, he no
doubt feels it his duty to continue in the service of his
country. It would certainly be a great pity if, at every
change of government in France, every officer who did
not agree with the new rgime should leave the diplomatic
service or the military service or the naval service, thus
injuring the interests of France perhaps most seriously.
Suppose the Comte de Chambord should be called to the
throne of France, what would you think of Orleanists
and republicans who should immediately resign their
places in the army, navy, and diplomatic service, thus
embarrassing, perhaps fatally, the monarchy and the
country?'' At this, to my horror, the lady went into
hysterics, and began screaming. She cried out, ``Oui,
monsieur, il reviendra, Henri Cinq; il reviendra. Dieu
est avec lui; il reviendra malgr tout,'' etc., etc., and
finally she jumped up and rushed out of the room. The
eyes of the whole table were turned upon us, and I fully
expected that some gallant Frenchman would come up
and challenge me for insulting a lady; but no one moved,
and presently all went on with their dinners. The next
day the countess again appeared at my side, amiable as
ever, but during the remainder of my stay I kept far
from every possible allusion to politics.

The Turkish ambassador, Sadoullah Bey, was a kindly
gentleman who wandered about, as the French expressively
say, ``like a damnd soul.'' Something seemed to
weigh upon him heavily and steadily. A more melancholy
human being I have never seen, and it did not surprise
me, a few years later, to be told that, after one of the
palace revolutions at Constantinople, he had been executed
for plotting the assassination of the Sultan.

The Russian ambassador, M. de Sabouroff, was a very
agreeable man, and his rooms were made attractive by
the wonderful collection of Tanagra statuettes which he
had brought from Greece, where he had formerly been
minister. In one matter he was especially helpful to me.
One day I received from Washington a cipher despatch
instructing me to exert all my influence to secure the
release of Madame ----, who, though married to a former
Russian secretary of legation, was the daughter of an
American eminent in politics and diplomacy. The case
was very serious. The Russian who had married this
estimable lady had been concerned in various shady
transactions, and, having left his wife and little children
in Paris, had gone to Munich in the hope of covering
up some doubtful matters which were coming to light.
While on this errand he was seized and thrown into jail
whereupon he telegraphed his wife to come to him. His
idea, evidently, was that when she arrived she also would
be imprisoned, and that her family would then feel forced
to intervene with the money necessary to get them both
out. The first part of the programme went as he had
expected. His wife, on arriving in Munich, was at once
thrown into prison, and began thence sending to the
Secretary of State and to me the most distressing letters
and telegrams. She had left her little children in Paris,
and was in agony about them. With the aid of the
Russian ambassador, who acknowledged that his compatriot
was one of the worst wretches in existence, I obtained
the release of the lady from prison after long negotiations.
Unfortunately, I was obliged to secure that of her
husband at the same time; but as he died not long afterward,
he had no opportunity to do much more harm.

Of the ministers plenipotentiary, the chief was Baron
Nothomb of Belgium, noted as the ``Belgian father of
constitutional liberty.'' He was a most interesting old
man, especially devoted to the memory of my predecessor,
Bancroft, and therefore very kind to me. Among
the reminiscences which he seemed to enjoy giving me
at his dinner-table were many regarding Talleyrand,
whom he had personally known.

Still another friend among the ministers was M. de
Rudhardt, who represented Bavaria. He and his wife
were charming, and they little dreamed of the catastrophe
awaiting them when he should cross Bismarck's path.
The story of this I shall recount elsewhere.[15]

[15] See chapter on Bismarck.

Yet another good friend was Herr von Nostitz-Wallwitz,
representative of Saxony, who was able, on one
occasion, to render a real service to American education.
Two or three young ladies, one of whom is now the
admired head of one of the foremost American colleges for
women, were studying at the University of Leipsic. I
had given them letters to sundry professors there, and
nothing could be better than the reports which reached
me regarding their studies, conduct, and social standing.
But one day came very distressing telegrams and letters,
and, presently, the ladies themselves. A catastrophe had
come. A decree had gone forth from the Saxon Government
at Dresden expelling all women students from the
university, and these countrywomen of mine begged me
to do what I could for them. Remembering that my
Saxon colleague was the brother of the prime minister of
Saxony, I at once went to him. On my presenting the
case, he at first expressed amazement at the idea of women
being admitted to the lecture-rooms of a German
university; but as I showed him sundry letters,
especially those from Professors Georg Curtius and Ebers,
regarding these fair students, his conservatism melted
away and he presently entered heartily into my view, the
result being that the decree was modified so that all lady
students then in the university were allowed to remain
until the close of their studies, but no new ones were to
be admitted afterward. Happily, all this has been changed,
and to that, as to nearly all other German universities,
women are now freely admitted.

Very amusing at times were exhibitions of gentle sarcasm
on the part of sundry old diplomatists. They had
lived long, had seen the seamy side of public affairs, and
had lost their illusions. One evening, at a ball given by
the vice-chancellor of the empire which was extremely
splendid and no less tedious, my attention was drawn to
two of them. There had been some kind of absurd
demonstration that day in one of the principal European
parliaments, and coming upon my two colleagues, I
alluded to it.

``Yes,'' said Baron Jauru of Brazil, ``that comes of the
greatest lie prevalent in our time--the theory that the
majority of mankind are WISE; now it is an absolute fact
which all history teaches, and to-day even more than ever,
that all mankind are FOOLS.'' ``What you say is true,''
replied M. de Quade, the Danish minister, ``but it is not
the WHOLE truth: constitutional government also goes
on the theory that all mankind are GOOD; now it is an
absolute fact that all mankind are bad, utterly BAD.'' ``Yes,''
said Jauru, ``I accept your amendment; mankind are
fools and knaves.'' To this I demurred somewhat, and
quoted Mr. Lincoln's remark, ``You can fool some of the
people all the time, and all of the people some of the time;
but you can't fool all the people all the time.''

This restored their good humor, and I left them smilingly
pondering over this nugget of Western wisdom.

Interesting to me was the contrast between my two
colleagues from the extreme Orient. Then and since at
Berlin I have known the Japanese Minister Aoki. Like all
other Japanese diplomatic representatives I have met,
whether there or elsewhere, he was an exceedingly
accomplished man: at the first dinner given me after my
arrival in Berlin he made an admirable speech in German,
and could have spoken just as fluently and accurately in
French or English.

On the other hand, Li Fong Pao, the Chinese representative,
was a mandarin who steadily wore his Chinese costume,
pigtail and all, and who, though jolly, could speak
only through an interpreter who was almost as difficult to
understand as the minister himself.

Thus far it seems the general rule that whereas the
Japanese, like civilized nations in general, train men
carefully for foreign service in international law, modern
languages, history, and the like, the Chinese, like
ourselves, do little, if anything, of the kind. But I may add
that recently there have been some symptoms of change
on their part. One of the most admirable speeches during
the Peace Conference at The Hague was made by a
young and very attractive Chinese attach. It was in
idiomatic French; nothing could be more admirable either
as regarded matter or manner; and many of the older
members of the conference came afterward to congratulate
him upon it. The ability shown by the Chinese Minister
Wu at Washington would also seem to indicate that China
has learned something as to the best way of maintaining
her interests abroad.

This suggests another incident. In the year 1880 the
newspapers informed us that the wife of the Chinese minister
at Berlin had just sailed from China to join her
husband. The matter seemed to arouse general interest,
and telegrams announced her arrival at Suez, then at
Marseilles, then at Cologne, and finally at Berlin. On
the evening of her arrival at court the diplomatic corps
were assembled, awaiting her appearance. Presently the
great doors swung wide, and in came the Chinese minister
with his wife: he a stalwart mandarin in the full attire
of his rank; she a gentle creature in an exceedingly pretty
Chinese costume, tripping along on her little feet, and
behind her a long array of secretaries, interpreters, and
the like, many in Chinese attire, but some in European
court costume. After all of us had been duly presented
to the lady by his Chinese excellency, he brought her
secretaries and presented them to his colleagues. Among
these young diplomatists was a fine-looking man,
evidently a European, in a superb court costume frogged
and barred with gold lace. As my Chinese colleague
introduced him to me in German, we continued in that
language, when suddenly this secretary said to me in
English, ``Mr. White, I don't see why we should be talking
in German; I was educated at Rochester University under
your friend, President Anderson, and I come from Waterloo
in Western New York.'' Had he dropped through
the ceiling, I could hardly have been more surprised.
Neither Waterloo, though a thriving little town upon the New
York Central Railroad and not far from the city in which
I have myself lived, nor even Rochester with all the added
power of its excellent university, seemed adequate to
develop a being so gorgeous. On questioning him, I found
that, having been graduated in America, he had gone to
China with certain missionaries, and had then been taken
into the Chinese service. It gives me very great pleasure
to say that at Berlin, St. Petersburg, and The Hague,
where I have often met him since, he has proved to be
a thoroughly intelligent and patriotic man. Faithful to
China while not unmindful of the interests of the United
States, in one matter he rendered a very great service
to both countries.

But a diplomatic representative who has a taste for
public affairs makes acquaintances outside the diplomatic
corps, and is likely to find his relations with the ministers
of the German crown and with members of the parliament
very interesting. The character of German public
men is deservedly high, and a diplomatist fit to represent
his country should bring all his study and experience
to bear in eliciting information likely to be useful to his
country from these as well as from all other sorts and
conditions of men. My own acquaintance among these
was large. I find in my diaries accounts of conversations
with such men as Bismarck, Camphausen, Delbrck, Windthorst,
Bennigsen, George von Bunsen, Lasker, Treitschke,
Gneist, and others; but to take them up one after the
other would require far too much space, and I must be
content to jot down what I received from them wherever,
in the course of these reminiscences, it may seem



My acquaintance at Berlin extended into regions
which few of my diplomatic colleagues explored,
especially among members of the university faculty and
various other persons eminent in science, literature, and

Writing these lines, I look back with admiration and
affection upon three generations of Berlin professors:
the first during my student days at the Prussian capital
in 1855-1856, the second during my service as minister,
1879-1881, and the third during my term as ambassador

The second of these generations seems to me the most
remarkable of the three. It was a wonderful body of men.
A few of them I had known during my stay in Berlin as a
student; and of these, first in the order of time, Lepsius,
the foremost Egyptologist of that period, whose lectures
had greatly interested me, and whose kindly characteristics
were the delight of all who knew him.

Ernst Curtius, the eminent Greek scholar and historian,
was also very friendly. He was then in the midst of his
studies upon the famous Pergamon statues, which, by
skilful diplomacy, the German Government had obtained
from the Turkish authorities in Asia Minor, and brought
to the Berlin Museum. He was also absorbed in the
excavations at Olympia, and above all in the sculptures found
there. One night at court he was very melancholy, and on
my trying to cheer him, he told me, in a heartbroken tone,
that Bismarck had stopped the appropriations for the
Olympia researches; but toward the end of the evening he
again sought me, his face radiant, and with great glee told
me that all was now right, that he had seen the Emperor,
and that the noble old monarch had promised to provide
for the excavations from his own purse.

Still another friend was Rudolf von Gneist, the most
eminent authority of his time upon Roman law and the English
constitution. He had acted, in behalf of the Emperor
William, as umpire between the United States and Great
Britain, with reference to the northwestern boundary, and
had decided in our favor. In recognition of his labor, the
American Government sent over a large collection of valuable
books on American history, including various collections
of published state papers; and the first duty I ever
discharged as minister was to make a formal presentation
of this mass of books to him. So began one of my most
cherished connections.

Especially prized by me was a somewhat close acquaintance
with the two most eminent professors of modern history
then at the university--Von Sybel and Droysen.
Each was a man of great ability. One day, after I had
been reading Lanfrey's ``Histoire de Napolon,'' which
I then thought, and still think, one of the most eloquent and
instructive books of the nineteenth century, Von Sybel
happened to drop in, and I asked his opinion of it. He
answered: ``It does not deserve to be called a history; it
is a rhapsody.'' Shortly after he had left, in came
Droysen, and to him I put the same question, when he held up
both hands and said: ``Yes, there is a history indeed!
That is a work of genius; it is one of the books which
throw a bright light into a dark time: that book will live.''

Professor Hermann Grimm was then at the climax of
his fame, and the gods of his idolatry were Goethe and
Emerson; but apparently he did not resemble them in
soaring above the petty comforts and vexations of life.
Any one inviting him to dine was likely to receive an
answer asking how the dining-room was lighted--whether
by gas, oil, or wax; also how the lights were placed--
whether high or low; and what the principal dishes were to be:
and on the answer depended his acceptance or declination.
Dining with him one night, I was fascinated by his wife; it
seemed to me that I had never seen a woman of such
wonderful and almost weird powers: there was something
exquisitely beautiful in her manner and conversation; and,
on my afterward speaking of this to another guest, he
answered: ``Why, of course; she is the daughter of Goethe's
Bettina, to whom he wrote the `Letters to a Child.' ''

Another historian was Treitshke, eminent also as a
member of parliament--a man who exercised great power
in various directions, and would have been delightful but
for his deafness. A pistol might have been fired beside
him, and he would never have known it. Wherever he was,
he had with him a block of paper leaves and a pencil, by
means of which he carried on conversation; in parliament
he always had at his side a shorthand-writer who took
down the debates for him.

Some of the most interesting information which I
received regarding historical and current matters in Berlin
was from the biologist Du Bois-Reymond. He was of
Huguenot descent, but was perhaps the most anti-Gallic
man in Germany. Discussing the results of the expulsion
of the Huguenots under Louis XIV, the details he gave me
were most instructive. Showing me the vast strength
which the Huguenots transferred from France to
Germany, he mentioned such men as the eminent lawyer
Savigny, the great merchant Raven, and a multitude of
other men of great distinction, who, like himself, had
retained their French names; and he added very many
prominent people of Huguenot descent who had changed
their French names into German. He then referred to a
similar advantage given to various other countries, and
made a most powerful indictment against the intolerance
for which France has been paying such an enormous price
during more than two hundred years.

Interesting in another way were two men eminent in
physical science--Helmholtz and Hoffmann. Meeting
them one evening at a court festivity, I was told by
Hoffmann of an experience of his in Scotland. He had
arrived in Glasgow late on Saturday night, and on Sunday
morning went to call on Professor Sir William Thomson,
now Lord Kelvin. The door-bell was answered by a woman
servant, of whom Hoffmann asked if Sir William was
at home. To this the servant answered, ``Sir, he most
certainly is not.'' Hoffmann then asked, ``Could you tell
me where I might find him?'' She answered, ``Sir, you
will find him at church, where YOU ought to be.''

My acquaintance with university men was not confined
to Berlin; at Leipsic, Halle, Giessen, Heidelberg, and
elsewhere, I also found delightful professorial circles. In my
favorite field, I was especially struck with the historian
Oncken. As a lecturer he was perfect; and I have often
advised American historical students to pass a semester,
if not more, at Giessen, in order to study his presentation
of historical subjects. As to manner, he was the best
lecturer on history I heard in Germany; and, with the
exception of Laboulaye at the Collge de France, Seelye at
English Cambridge, and Goldwin Smith at Cornell, the
best I ever heard anywhere.

Especially delightful were sundry men of letters. Of
these I knew best Auerbach, whose delightful ``Dorfgeschichten''
were then in full fame. He had been a warm
personal friend of Bayard Taylor, and this friendship I
inherited. Many were the walks and talks we took
together in the Thiergarten, and he often lighted up my
apartment with his sunny temper. But one day, as he
came in, returning from his long vacation, I said to him:
``So you have been having a great joy at the unveiling of
the Spinoza statue at The Hague.'' ``A great joy!'' he
said. ``Bewahre! far from it; it was wretched--
miserable.'' I asked, ``How could that be?'' He answered,
``Renan, Kuno Fischer, and myself were invited to make
addresses at the unveiling of the statue; but when we
arrived at the spot, we found that the Dutch Calvinist domi-
nies and the Jewish rabbis had each been preaching to
their flocks that the judgments of Heaven would fall upon
the city if the erection of a statue to such a monstrous
atheist were permitted, and the authorities had to station
troops to keep the mob from stoning us and pulling down
the statue. Think of such a charge against the
`Gottbetrunkener Mensch,' who gave new proofs of God's
existence, who saw God in everything!''

Another literary man whom I enjoyed meeting was
Julius Rodenberg; his ``Reminiscences of Berlin,'' which
I have read since, seem to me the best of their kind.

I also came to know various artists, one of them being
especially genial. Our first meeting was shortly after my
arrival, at a large dinner, where, as the various guests were
brought up to be introduced to the new American minister,
there was finally presented a little, gentle, modest man as
``Herr Knaus.'' I never dreamed of his being the foremost
genre-painter in Europe; and, as one must say something,
I said, ``You are, perhaps, a relative of the famous
painter.'' At this he blushed deeply, seemed greatly
embarrassed, and said: ``A painter I am; famous, I don't
know. (Maler bin ich; berhmt, das weiss ich nicht.)''
So began a friendship which has lasted from that day to
this. I saw the beginning, middle, and end of some of his
most beautiful pictures, and, above all, of the ``Hinter
den Coulissen,'' which conveys a most remarkable
philosophical and psychological lesson, showing how near mirth
lies to tears. It is the most comic and most pathetic of
pictures. I had hoped that it would go to America; but,
after being exhibited to the delight of all parts of
Germany, it was bought for the royal gallery at Dresden.

Very friendly also was Carl Becker. His ``Coronation
of Ulrich von Hutten,'' now at Cologne, of which he allowed
me to have a copy taken, has always seemed to me
an admirable piece of historical painting. In it there is
a portrait of a surly cardinal-bishop; and once, during an
evening at Becker's house, having noticed a study for this
bishop's head, I referred to it, when he said: ``Yes, that
bishop is simply the sacristan of an old church in Venice,
and certainly the most dignified ecclesiastic I have ever
seen.'' The musical soires at Becker's beautiful
apartments were among the delights of my stay both then and
during my more recent embassy.

Very delightfully dwell in my memory, also, some
evenings at the palace, when, after the main ceremonies were
over, Knaus, Becker, and Auerbach wandered with me
through the more distant apartments and galleries,
pointing out the beauties and characteristics of various old
portraits and pictures. In one long gallery lined with the
portraits of brides who, during the last three centuries,
had been brought into the family of Hohenzollern, we
lingered long.

Then began also my friendship with Anton von Werner.
He had been present at the proclamation of the Emperor
William I in the great ``Hall of Mirrors'' at Versailles, by
express invitation, in order that he might prepare his
famous painting of that historic scene. I asked him whether
the inscription on the shield in the cornice of the Galerie
des Glaces, ``Passage du Rhin,'' which glorified one of the
worst outrages committed by Louis XIV upon Germany,
was really in the place where it is represented in his
picture. He said that it was. It seemed a divine prophecy
of retribution.

The greatest genius in all modern German art--Adolf
Menzel--I came to know under rather curious circumstances.
He was a little man, not more than four feet
high, with an enormous head, as may be seen by his bust
in the Berlin Museum. On being presented to him during
an evening at court, I said to him: ``Herr Professor, in
America I am a teacher of history; and of all works I
have ever seen on the history of Frederick the Great, your
illustrations of Kugler's history have taught me most.''
This was strictly true; for there are no more striking
works of genius in their kind than those engravings which
throw a flood of light into that wonderful period. At this
he invited me to visit his studio, which a few days later I
did, and then had a remarkable exhibition of some of his
most curious characteristics.

Entering the room, I saw, just at the right, a large
picture, finely painted, representing a group of Frederick's
generals, and in the midst of them Frederick himself,
merely outlined in chalk. I said, ``There is a picture
nearly finished.'' Menzel answered, ``No; it is not finished
and never will be.'' I asked, ``Why not?'' He said,
``I don't deny that there is some good painting in it. But
it is on the eve of the battle of Leuthen; it is the
consultation of Frederick the Great with his generals just
before that terrible battle; and men don't look like that just
before a struggle in which the very existence of their
country is at stake, and in which they know that most of
them must lay down their lives.''

We then passed on to another. This represented the
great Gens d'Armes Church at Berlin; at the side of it,
piled on scaffoldings, were a number of coffins all decked
with wreaths and flowers; and in the foreground a crowd
of beholders wonderfully painted. All was finished except
one little corner; and I said, ``Here is one which you
will finish.'' He said, ``No; never. That represents the
funeral of the Revolutionists killed here in the uprising of
1848. Up to this point''--and he put his finger on the
unfinished corner--``I believed in it; but when I arrived at
this point, I said to myself, `No; nothing good can come
out of that sort of thing; Germany is not to be made by
street fights.' I shall never finish it.''

We passed on to another. This was finished. It
represented the well-known scene of the great Frederick
blundering in upon the Austrian bivouac at the castle of Lissa,
when he narrowly escaped capture. I said to him, ``There
at least is a picture which is finished.'' ``Yes,'' he said;
``but the man who ordered it will never get it.'' I saw
that there was a story involved, and asked, ``How is
that?'' He answered, ``That picture was painted on the
order of the Duke of Ratibor, who owns the castle. When
it was finished he came to see it, but clearly thought it
too quiet. What he wanted was evidently something in
the big, melodramatic style. I said nothing; but meeting
me a few days afterward, he said, `Why don't you send
me my picture?' `No,' I said; `Serene Highness, that
picture is mine.' `No, said he; `you painted it for me; it is
mine.' `No,' said I; `I shall keep it.' His Highness shall
never have it.''

My principal recreation was in excursions to historical
places. Old studies of German history had stimulated a
taste for them, and it was a delight to leave Berlin on
Saturday and stay in one of these towns over Sunday.
Frequently my guide was Frederick Kapp, a thoughtful
historian and one of the most charming of men.

A longer pilgrimage was made to the mystery-play at
Oberammergau. There was an immense crowd; and, as
usual, those in the open, in front of our box, were drenched
with rain, as indeed were many of the players on the
stage. I had ``come to scoff, but remained to pray.''
There was one scene where I had expected a laugh--
namely, where Jonah walks up out of the whale's belly.
But when it arrived we all remained solemn. It was
really impressive. We sat there from nine in the morning
until half-past twelve, and then from half-past one
until about half-past four, under a spell which banished
fatigue. The main point was that the actors BELIEVED
in what they represented; there was nothing in it
like that vague, wearisome exhibition of ``religiosity''
which, in spite of its wonderful overture, gave me, some
years afterward, a painful disenchantment--the ``Parsifal''
at Bayreuth.

At the close of the Passion Play, I sought out some of
the principal actors, and found them kindly and interesting.
To the Christus I gave a commission for a carved
picture-frame, and this he afterward executed beautifully.
With the Judas, who was by far the best actor in the whole
performance, I became still better acquainted. Visiting
his workshop, after ordering of him two carved statuettes I
said to him: ``You certainly ought to have a double salary,
as the Judas had in the miracle-plays of the middle ages;
this was thought due him on account of the injury done
to his character by his taking that part.'' At this the
Oberammergau Judas smiled pleasantly, and said: ``No;
I am content to share equally with the others; but the
same feeling toward the Judas still exists''; and he then
told me the following story: A few weeks before, while
he was working at his carving-bench, the door of his
workshop opened, and a peasant woman from the mountains
came in, stood still, and gazed at him intently. On his
asking her what she wanted, she replied: ``I saw you in the
play yesterday; I wished to look at you again; you look
so like my husband. He is dead. HE, TOO, WAS A VERY BAD

Occasionally, under leave of absence from the State
Department, I was able to make more distant excursions,
and first of all into France. The President during one of
these visits was M. Grvy. Some years before I had heard
him argue a case in court with much ability; but now, on
my presentation to him at the palace of the lyse, he
dwelt less ably on the relations of the United States with
France, and soon fell upon the question of trade, saying, in
rather a reproachful way, ``Vous nous inondez de vos produits.''
To this I could only answer that this inundation of
American products would surely be of mutual benefit to
both nations, and he rather slowly assented.

Much more interesting to me was his minister of foreign
affairs, Barthlemy-Saint-Hilaire, a scholar, a statesman,
and a man of noble character. We talked first of my
intended journey to the south of France; and on my telling
him that I had sent my eldest son to travel there, for the
reason that at Orange, Arles, Nmes, and the like, a better
idea of Roman power can be obtained than in Italy itself,
he launched out on that theme most instructively.

The conversation having turned toward politics, he
spoke much of Bismarck and Moltke, pronouncing the
name of the latter in one syllable. He said that Bismarck
was very kind personally to Thiers during the terrible
negotiations; that if Bismarck could have had his way he
would have asked a larger indemnity,--say, seven
milliards,--and would have left Alsace-Lorraine to France;
that France would gladly have paid a much larger sum
than five milliards if she could have retained Alsace-
Lorraine; that Bismarck would have made concessions; but
that ``Molkt'' would not. He added that Bismarck told
``Molkt'' that he--the latter--had, by insisting on territory,
made peace too difficult. Saint-Hilaire dwelt long on
the fearful legacy of standing armies left by the policy
which Germany finally adopted, and evidently considered
a great international war as approaching.[16]

[16] December, 1880.

Dining afterward at the Foreign Office with my old
friend Millet, who was second in command there, I met
various interesting Frenchmen, but was most of all
pleased with M. Ribot. Having distinguished himself by
philosophical studies and made a high reputation in the
French parliament, he was naturally on his way to the
commanding post in the ministry which he afterward
obtained. His wife, an American, was especially attractive.

It is a thousand pities that a country possessing such
men is so widely known to the world, not by these, but by
novelists and dramatists largely retailing filth, journalists
largely given to the invention of sensational lies, politicians
largely obeying either atheistic demagogues or clerical
intriguers; and all together acting like a swarm of
obscene, tricky, mangy monkeys chattering, squealing,
and tweaking one another's tails in a cage. Some of these
monkeys I saw performing their antics in the National
Assembly then sitting at Versailles; and it saddened me
to see the nobler element in that assemblage thwarted by
such featherbrained creatures.[16]

[16] December, 1880.

Another man of note, next whom I found myself at a
dinner-party, was M. de Lesseps. I still believe him to
have been a great and true man, despite the cloud of
fraud which the misdeeds of others drew over his latter
days. Among sundry comments on our country, he said
that he had visited Salt Lake City, and thought a policy
of force against the Mormons a mistake. In this I feel
sure that he was right. Years ago I was convinced by
Bishop Tuttle of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who
had been stationed for some years at Salt Lake City, that
a waiting policy, in which proper civilization can be
brought to bear upon the Mormons, is the true course.

On the following Sunday I heard Pre Hyacinthe
preach, as at several visits before; but the only thing at
all memorable was a rather happy application of Voltaire's
remark on the Holy Roman Empire, ``Ni Saint, ni
Empire, ni Romain.''

At the salon of Madame Edmond Adam, eminent as a
writer of review articles and as a hater of everything
Teutonic, I was presented to a crowd of literary men who,
though at that moment striking the stars with their lofty
heads, have since dropped into oblivion. Among these I
especially remember mile de Girardin, editor, spouter,
intriguer--the ``Grand mile,'' who boasted that he
invented and presented to the French people a new idea
every day. This futile activity of his always seemed to me
best expressed in the American simile: ``Busy as a bee in
a tar-barrel.'' There was, indeed, one thing to his credit:
he had somehow inspired his former wife, the gifted Delphine
Gay, with a belief in his greatness; and a pretty
story was current illustrating this. During the revolution
of 1848, various men of note, calling on Madame Girardin,
expressed alarm at the progress of that most foolish of
overturns, when she said, with an air of great solemnity,
and pointing upward, ``Gentlemen, there is one above who
watches over France. (Il y a un l-haut qui veille sur la
France.)'' All were greatly impressed by this evidence
of sublime faith, until the context showed that it was not
the Almighty in whom she put her trust, but the great
mile, whose study was just above her parlor.

This reminds me that, during my student days at Paris,
I attended the funeral of this gifted lady, and in the crowd
of well-known persons present noticed especially Alexandre
Dumas. He was very tall and large, with an African
head, thick lips, and bushy, crisp hair. He evidently
intended to be seen. His good-natured vanity was as
undisguised as when his famous son said of him in his
presence, ``My father is so vain that he is capable of
standing in livery behind his own carriage to make people
think he sports a negro footman.''

Going southward, I stopped at Bourges, and was
fascinated by the amazing stonework of the crypt. How the
mediaeval cathedral-builders were able to accomplish such
intricate work with the means at their command is still
one of the great mysteries. There is to-day in the United
States no group of workmen who could execute anything
approaching this work, to say nothing of such pieces as
the vaulting of Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster or of
King's College Chapel at Cambridge.

Thence we went to the Church of Brou, near Lyons--
exquisitely beautiful, and filled with monuments even
more inspiring than the church itself. But it was entirely
evident, from a look at the church and its surroundings,
that Matthew Arnold had written his charming poem without
ever visiting the place. Going thence to Nice, we
stopped at Turin; and at the grave of Silvio Pellico there
came back to me vivid memories of his little book, which
had seemed to make life better worth living.

At Genoa a decision had to be made. A mass of letters
of introduction to leading Italians had been given me, and
I longed to make their acquaintance; but I was weary, and
suddenly decided to turn aside and go upon the Riviera,
where we settled for our vacation at Nice. There we
found various interesting people, more especially those
belonging to the American colony and to the ship-of-war
Trenton, then lying at Villefranche, near by. Shortly
after our arrival, Lieutenant Emery of the navy called,
bearing an invitation to the ship from Admiral Howell,
who was in command at that station; and, a day or two
later, on arriving in the harbor, though I saw a long-boat
dressed out very finely, evidently awaiting somebody, and
suspected that it was intended for me, I quietly evaded
the whole business by joining a party of Americans in a
steam-launch, so that I had been on board some little time
before the admiral realized the omission in his programme.
As a result, in order to quiet his conscientious
and patriotic feelings, I came again a day or two
afterward, was conveyed to the frigate with the regulation
pomp, and received the salutes due an American minister.
My stay on the ship was delightful; but, though the admiral
most kindly urged me to revisit him, I could never again
gather courage to cause so much trouble and make so much

Most interesting to me of all the persons in Nice at that
time was a young American about fourteen years of age,
who seemed to me one of the brightest and noblest and
most promising youths I had ever seen. Alas! how many
hopes were disappointed in his death not long afterward!
The boy was young Leland Stanford. The aspirations of
his father and mother were bound up in him, and the great
university at Palo Alto is perhaps the finest monument
ever dedicated by parents to a child.

During another of these yearly absences in Italy, I met
various interesting men, and, among these, at Florence the
syndic Ubaldino Peruzzi, a descendant of the great Peruzzis
of the middle ages, and one of the last surviving
associates of Cavour. He was an admirable talker; but of all
he said I was most pleased with the tribute which he paid
to the American minister at Rome, Judge Stallo of Cincinnati.
He declared that at a recent conference of statesmen
and diplomatists, Judge Stallo had carried off all the honors--
speaking with ease, as might be necessary, in Italian,
French, and English, and finally drawing up a protocol
in Latin.

At Florence also I made an acquaintance which has
ever since been a source of great pleasure to me--that of
Professor Villari, senator of the kingdom, historian of
Florence, and biographer of Savonarola. So began a
friendship which has increased the delights of many
Florentine visits since those days--a friendship not only
with him, but with his gifted and charming wife.

This reminds me that at Rome the name of the eminent
professor once brought upon me a curious reproof.

I had met at various times, in the Eternal City and
elsewhere, a rising young professor and officer of Harvard
University; and, being one morning in Loescher's famous
book-shop on the Corso, with a large number of purchases
about me, this gentleman came in and, looking them over,
was pleased to approve several of them. Presently, on
showing him a volume just published and saying, ``There
is the new volume of Villari's history,'' I pronounced the
name of the author with the accent on the first syllable, as
any one acquainted with him knows that it ought to be
pronounced. At this the excellent professor took the book,
but seemed to have something on his mind; and, having
glanced through it, he at last said, rather solemnly, ``Yes;
VillAri''--accenting strongly the second syllable--``is an
admirable writer.'' I accepted his correction meekly and
made no reply. A thing so trivial would not be worth
remembering were it not one of those evidences, which
professors from other institutions in our country have not
infrequently experienced, of a ``certain condescension''
in sundry men who do honor to one or two of our oldest
and greatest universities.

Of all people at Rome I was most impressed by Marco
Minghetti. A conversation with him I have given in
another chapter.

Reminiscences of that first official life of mine at Berlin
center, first of all, in Bismarck, and then in the two great
rulers who have since passed away--the old hero,
Emperor William I, and that embodiment of all qualities
which any man could ask for in a monarch, the crown
prince who afterward became the Emperor Frederick III.

Both were kindly, but the latter was especially winning.
At different times I had the pleasure of meeting and talking
with him on various subjects; but perhaps the most
interesting of these interviews was one which took place
when it became my duty to conduct him through the
American exhibit in the International Fisheries Exhibition
at Berlin.

He had taken great interest in developing the fisheries
along the northern coast of Germany, and this exhibition
was the result. One day he sent the vice-chancellor of the
empire to ask me whether it was not possible to secure
an exhibit from the United States, and especially the loan
of our wonderful collections from the Smithsonian Institution
and from the Fisheries Institution of Wood's Holl {sic}.
To do this was difficult. Before my arrival an attempt
had been made and failed. Word had come from persons
high in authority at Washington that Congress could not
be induced to make the large appropriation required, and
that sending over the collections was out of the question.
I promised to do what I could; and, remembering that
Fernando Wood of New York was chairman of the Committee
of Ways and Means in the House, and that Governor
Seymour, then living in retirement near Utica, was
his old political associate, and especially interested in re-
stocking the waters of New York State with fish, I sent
the ex-governor a statement of the whole case, and urged
him to present it fully to Mr. Wood. Then I wrote in the
same vein to Senator Conkling, and, to my great satisfaction,
carried the day. The appropriation was made
by Congress; and the collections were sent over under the
control of Mr. Brown Goode of the Smithsonian, perhaps
the most admirable man who could have been chosen out
of the whole world for that purpose. The prince was
greatly delighted with all he saw, showed remarkable
intelligence in his questions, and, thanks to Mr. Goode's
assistance, he received satisfactory answers. The result was
that the American exhibit took the great prize--the silver-
gilt vase offered by the Emperor William, which is now
in the National Museum at Washington.

The prince showed a real interest in everything of
importance in our country. I remember his asking me
regarding the Brooklyn Bridge--how it could possibly be
sustained without guy-ropes. Of course it was easy to
show him that while in the first of our great suspension-
bridges--that at Niagara--guy-ropes were admissible, at
Brooklyn they were not: since ships of war as well as
merchant vessels of the largest size must pass beneath it; and
I could only add that Roebling, who built it, was a man of
such skill and forethought that undoubtedly, with the
weight he was putting into it and the system of trusses
he was placing upon it, no guy-ropes would be needed.

On many occasions the prince showed thoughtful kindness
to members of my family as well as to myself, and
the news of his death gave me real sorrow. It was a vast
loss to his country; no modern monarch has shown so
striking a likeness to Marcus Aurelius.

Hardly less hearty and kindly was the Emperor then
reigning--William I. Naturally enough, he remembered,
above all who had preceded me, Mr. Bancroft. His
first question at court generally was, ``How goes it
with your predecessor? (Wie geht es mit Ihrem
Vorgnger?)'' and I always knew that by my ``predecessor''
he meant Bancroft. When I once told him that Mr.
Bancroft, who was not far from the old Kaiser's age, had
bought a new horse and was riding assiduously every
day, the old monarch laughed heartily and dwelt on his
recollections of my predecessor, with his long white beard,
riding through the Thiergarten.

Pleasant to me was the last interview, on the presentation
of my letter of recall. It was at Babelsberg, the
Emperor's country-seat at Potsdam; and he detained me
long, talking over a multitude of subjects in a way which
showed much kindly feeling. Among other things, he
asked where my family had been staying through the
summer. My answer was that we had been at a hotel near
the park or palace of Wilhelmshhe above Cassel; and
that we all agreed that he had been very magnanimous in
assigning to the Emperor Napoleon III so splendid a
prison and such beautiful surroundings. To this he
answered quite earnestly, ``Yes; and he was very grateful
for it, and wrote me to say so; but, after all, that is by
no means the finest palace in Germany.'' To this I
answered, ``Your Majesty is entirely right; that I saw on
visiting the palace of Wrzburg.'' At this he laughed
heartily, and said, ``Yes, I see that you understand it;
those old prince-bishops knew how to live.'' As a matter
of fact, various prince-bishops in the eighteenth century
impoverished their realms in building just such imitations
of Versailles as that sumptuous Wrzburg Palace.

He then asked me, ``On what ship do you go to
America?'' and I answered, ``On the finest ship in your
Majesty's merchant navy--the Elbe.'' He then asked me
something about the ship; and when I had told him how
beautifully it was equipped,--it being the first of the
larger ships of the North German Lloyd,--he answered,
``Yes; what is now doing in the way of shipbuilding is
wonderful. I received a letter from my son, the crown
prince, this morning, on that very subject. He is at
Osborne, and has just visited a great English iron-clad
man-of-war. It is wonderful; but it cost a million pounds
sterling.'' At this he raised his voice, and, throwing up
both hands, said very earnestly, ``We can't stand it; we
can't stand it.''

After this and much other pleasant chat, he put out his
hand and said, ``Auf Wiedersehen''; and so we parted,
each to take his own way into eternity.

The other farewells to me were also gratifying. The
German press was very kindly in its references to my
departure; and just before I left Berlin a dinner was
given me in the great hall of the Kaiserhof by leading men
in parliamentary, professional, literary, and artistic
circles. Kindly speeches were made by Gneist, Camphausen,
Delbrck, George von Bunsen, and others--all forming a
treasure in my memory which, as long as life lasts, I can
never lose.



My first glimpse of Bismarck was obtained during one
of my journeys through middle Germany, about the
time, I think, of the Franco-Prussian War. Arriving at
the Kissingen junction, we found a crowd gathered outside
the barriers, and all gazing at a railway-carriage
about to be attached to our train. Looking toward this, I
recognized the face and form of the great North-German
statesman. He was in the prime of life--sturdy, hearty,
and happy in the presence of his wife and children. The
people at the station evidently knew what was needed; for
hardly had he arrived when waiters appeared, bearing
salvers covered with huge mugs of foaming beer. Thereupon
Bismarck took two of the mugs in immediate succession;
poured their contents down his throat, evidently with
great gusto; and a burly peasant just back of me, unable
longer to restrain his admiration, soliloquized in a deep,
slow, guttural, reverberating rumble: ``A-a-a-ber er sieht
sehr-r-r gut aus.'' So it struck me also; the waters of
Kissingen had evidently restored the great man, and he
looked like a Titan ready for battle.

My personal intercourse with him began in 1879, when,
as chancellor of the German Empire, he received me
as minister of the United States. On my entering his
workroom, he rose; and it seemed to me that I had
never seen another man so towering save Abraham
Lincoln. On either side of him were his two big, black
dogs, the Reichshunde; and, as he put out his hand
with a pleasant smile, they seemed to join kindly in the

His first remark was that I seemed a young man to
undertake the duties of a minister, to which I made the
trite reply that time would speedily cure that defect. The
conversation then ran, for a time, upon commonplace
subjects, but finally struck matters of interest to both our

There were then, as ever since, a great number of
troublesome questions between the two nations, and among
them those relating to Germans who, having gone over to
the United States just at the military age, had lived there
merely long enough to acquire citizenship, and had then
hastened back to Germany to enjoy the privileges of both
countries without discharging the duties of either. These
persons had done great harm to the interests of bona-fide
German-Americans, and Bismarck evidently had an intense
dislike for them. This he showed then and afterward;
but his tendencies to severity toward them were
tempted {sic} by the minister of foreign affairs, Von Blow,
one of the most reasonable men in public business with
whom I have ever had to do, and father of the present
chancellor, who greatly resembles him.

But Bismarck's feeling against the men who had
acquired American citizenship for the purpose of evading
their duties in both countries did not prevent his taking
a great interest in Germans who had settled in the United
States and, while becoming good Americans, had preserved
an interest in the Fatherland. He spoke of these,
with a large, kindly feeling, as constituting a bond between
the two nations. Among other things, he remarked that
Germans living in the United States become more tractable
than in the land of their birth; that revolutionists
thus become moderates, and radicals conservatives; that
the word Einigkeit (union) had always a charm for them;
that it had worked both ways upon them for good, the
union of States in America leading them to prize the
union of states in Germany, and the evils of disunion in
Germany, which had been so long and painful, leading
them to abhor disunion in America.

The conversation then fell into ordinary channels, and I
took leave after another hearty shake of the hand and
various kind assurances. A few days later came an invitation
to dinner with him; and I prized this all the more because
it was not to be an official, but a family dinner, and
was to include a few of his most intimate friends in the
ministry and the parliament. On the invitation it was
stated that evening dress was not to be worn; and on my
arrival, accompanied by Herr von Schltzer, at that time
the German minister in Washington, I found all the guests
arrayed in simple afternoon costume. The table had a
patriarchal character. At the head sat the prince; at his
side, in the next seat but one, his wife; while between them
was the seat assigned me, so that I enjoyed to the full the
conversation of both. The other seats at the head of the
table were occupied by various guests; and then, scattered
along down, were members of the family and some personages
in the chancery who stood nearest the chief. The
conversation was led by him, and soon took a turn
especially interesting. He asked me whether there had ever
been a serious effort to make New York the permanent
capital of the nation. I answered that there had not; that
both New York and Philadelphia were, for a short period
at the beginning of our national history, provisional
capitals; but that there was a deep-seated idea that the
permanent capital should not be a commercial metropolis, and
that unquestionably the placing of it at Washington was
decided, not merely by the central position of that city, but
also by the fact that it was an artificial town, never likely
to be a great business center; and I cited Thomas Jefferson's
saying, ``Great cities are great sores.'' He answered
that in this our founders showed wisdom; that the
French were making a bad mistake in bringing their
national legislature back from Versailles to Paris; that the
construction of the human body furnishes a good hint for
arrangements in the body politic; that, as the human brain
is held in a strong inclosure, and at a distance from the
parts of the body which are most active physically, so the
brain of the nation should be protected with the greatest
care, and should not be placed in the midst of a great,
turbulent metropolis. To this I assented, but said that during
my attendance at sessions of the French legislative bodies,
both in my old days at Paris and more recently at Versailles,
it seemed to me that their main defects are those
of their qualities; that one of the most frequent occupations
of their members is teasing one another, and that
when they tease one another they are wonderfully witty;
that in the American Congress and in the British Parliament
members are more slow to catch a subtle comment or
scathing witticism; that the members of American and
British assemblies are more like large grains of cannon-
powder, through which ignition extends slowly, so that
there comes no sudden explosion; whereas in the French
Assembly the members are more like minute, bright
grains of rifle-powder, which all take fire at the same
moment, with instant detonation, and explosions sometimes
disastrous. He assented to this, but insisted that the curse
of French assemblies had been the tyranny of city mobs,
and especially of mobs in the galleries of their assemblies;
that the worst fault possible in any deliberative body is
speaking to the galleries; that a gallery mob is sure to get
between the members and the country, and virtually
screen off from the assembly the interests of the country.
To this I most heartily assented.

I may say here that there had not then been fully
developed in our country that monstrous absurdity which
we have seen in these last few years--national conventions
of the two parties trying to deliberate in the midst of
audiences of twelve or fifteen thousand people; a vast
mob in the galleries, often noisy, and sometimes hysterical,
frequently seeking to throw the delegates off their
bearings, to outclamor them, and to force nominations
upon them.

A little later, as we discussed certain recent books, I re-
ferred to Jules Simon's work on Thiers's administration.
Bismarck said that Thiers, in the treaty negotiations at
Versailles, impressed him strongly; that he was a patriot;
that he seemed at that time like a Roman among Byzantines.

This statement astonished me. If ever there existed a
man at the opposite pole from Bismarck, Thiers was certainly
that man. I had studied him as a historian, observed
him as a statesman, and conversed with him as a
social being; and he had always seemed, and still seems,
to me the most noxious of all the greater architects of
ruin that France produced during the latter half of the
nineteenth century--and that is saying much. His policy
was to discredit every government which he found existing,
in order that its ruins might serve him as a pedestal;
and, while he certainly showed great skill in mitigating
the calamities which he did so much to cause, his whole
career was damning.

By his ``History of the French Revolution'' he revived
the worst of the Revolution legend, and especially the
deification of destructiveness; by his ``History of the
Consulate and of the Empire,'' and his translation of the body of
Napoleon to France, he effectively revived the Napoleonic
legend. The Queen of the French, when escaping from the
Tuileries in 1848, was entirely right in reproaching him
with undermining the constitutional monarchy of 1830;
and no man did more than he to arouse and maintain the
anti-German spirit which led to the Franco-Prussian War.

By his writings, speeches, and intrigues he aided in
upsetting, not only the rule of the Bourbons in 1830, but
the rule of Louis Philippe in 1848, the Second Republic
in 1851, and the Second Empire in 1870; and, had he
lived, he would doubtless have done the same by the present

Louis Blanc, a revolutionist of another bad sort--so
common in France--who can ruin but NOT restore, once
said to me that Thiers's ``greatest power lay in his voicing
average, unthinking, popular folly; so that after one of his
speeches every fool in France would cry out with delight,
``Mais, voil mon opinion!''

Doubtless Bismarck was impressed, for the time being,
by Thiers's skill in negotiation; but it is perfectly evident,
from the recollections of various officials since published,
that his usual opinion of Thiers was not at all indicated
by his remark above cited.

Later the conversation fell upon travel; and, as he spoke
of his experiences in various parts of Europe, I recommended
America to him as a new field of observation--alluding
playfully to the city named after him, and suggesting
that he take his family with him upon a large steamer,
and, after seeing the more interesting things in the United
States, pass on around the world, calling at the Samoan
Islands, on which I had recently heard him speak in
parliament. After some humorous objections to this plan,
he said that early in life he had a great passion for travel,
but that upon his father's death he was obliged to devote
himself to getting his estate in order; that ever since that
time his political duties had prevented his traveling much;
and that now he had lost the love of wandering, and in
place of it had gained a desire to settle down in the midst
of his family.

He spoke English so perfectly that I asked him how
much time he had spent in England. He said, ``Very
little--in fact, only two or three days.'' He had made but
two short visits, one of them many years ago,--I think he
said in 1842,--the other during the exposition of 1862. He
seemed much struck with the beauty of England, and said
that if his lot had been cast there he would have been very
happy as an English country gentleman; that he could not
understand how Englishmen are so prone to live outside
of their own country. He spoke of various Englishmen,
and referred to Lord Dufferin, who had dined with him
the day before, as one of the most abstemious men he had
ever seen, drinking only a little claret and water. Upon
my speaking of the great improvement which I had noted
in England during the last quarter of a century, so that
the whole country was becoming more and more like a
garden, he said that such a statement was hardly likely to
please thinking Englishmen; that they could hardly be
glad that England should become more and more like a
garden; ``for,'' he said, ``feeding a great nation from a
garden is like provisioning an army with plum cake.''

He then dwelt on the fact that Great Britain had become
more and more dependent for her daily bread on other
countries, and especially on the United States.

The conversation next turned to the management of
estates, and he remarked, in a bluff, hearty way, that his
father had desired him to become a clergyman; that there
was a pastor's living, worth, if I remember rightly, about
fifteen hundred thalers a year, which his father thought
should be kept in the family. This led to some amusing
conversation between him and the princess on what his
life would have been under such circumstances, ending by
his saying jocosely to her, ``You probably think that if I
had become a pastor I would have been a better man.'' To
which she answered that this she would not say; that it
would not be polite. ``But,'' she continued, ``I will say
this: that you would have been a happier man.''

He referred to some of my predecessors, speaking very
kindly of Bayard Taylor and George Bancroft; but both
he and the princess dwelt especially upon their relations
with Motley. The prince told me of their life together at
Gttingen and at Berlin, and of Motley's visits since,
when he always became Bismarck's guest. The princess
said that there was one subject on which it was always a
delight to tease Motley--his suppressed novel
``Merrymount''; that Motley defended himself ingeniously in
various ways until, at his last visit, being pressed hard, he
declared that the whole thing was a mere myth; that he
had never written any such novel.

The dinner being ended, our assembly was adjourned to
the terrace at the back of the chancellor's palace, looking
out upon the park in which he was wont to take his famous
midnight walks. Coffee and cigars were brought, but for
Bismarck a pipe with a long wooden stem and a large
porcelain bowl. It was a massive affair; and, in a jocose,
apologetic way, he said that, although others might smoke
cigars and cigarettes, he clung to the pipe--and in spite
of the fact that, at the Philadelphia Exposition, as he had
heard, a great German pipe was hung among tomahawks,
scalping-knives, and other relics of barbarism. From time
to time a servant refilled his pipe, while he discoursed upon
various subjects--first upon the condition of America and
of Germany; then upon South American matters, and of
the struggle between Chile and other powers. He showed
great respect for the Chileans, and thought that they manifested
really sterling qualities.

He spoke of ship-building, and showed, as it seemed to
me, rather a close knowledge of the main points involved.
He referred to the superiority of Russian ships, the wood
used being more suitable than that generally found elsewhere.
As to American ships, he thought they were built,
as a rule, of inferior woods, and that their reputation had
suffered in consequence.

The conversation again falling upon public men, a reference
of mine to Gladstone did not elicit anything like a
hearty response; but the mention of Disraeli seemed to
arouse a cordial feeling.

Among the guests was Lothar Bucher, whom Bismarck,
in earlier days, would have hanged if he had caught him,
but who had now become the chancellor's most confidential
agent; and, as we came out together, Bucher said: ``Well,
what do you think of him?'' My answer was: ``He seems
even a greater man than I had expected.'' ``Yes,'' said
Bucher; ``and I am one of those who have suffered much
and long to make him possible.'' I said: ``The result is
worth it, is it not?'' ``Yes,'' was the reply; ``infinitely
more than worth it.''

My next visit was of a very peculiar sort. One day
there arrived at the legation Mr. William D. Kelly of
Pennsylvania, anxious, above all things, to have a talk
with Bismarck, especially upon the tariff and the double
monetary standard, both of which were just then burning
questions. I told Mr. Kelly that it was much easier to
present him to the Emperor than to the chancellor, but that
we would see what could be done. Thereupon I wrote a
note telling Bismarck who Mr. Kelly was--the senior
member of the House of Representatives by term of service,
the leading champion therein of protection and of the
double standard of value; that he was very anxious to
discuss these subjects with leading German authorities;
and that, knowing the prince's interest in them, it had
seemed to me that he might not be sorry to meet Mr.
Kelly for a brief interview. To this I received a hearty
response: ``By all means bring Mr. Kelly over at four
o'clock.'' At four o'clock, then, we appeared at the palace,
and were received immediately and cordially. When
we were seated the prince said: ``I am very sorry; but the
new Prussian ministry is to meet here in twenty minutes,
and I must preside over it.'' The meaning of this was
clear, and the conversation began at once, I effacing
myself in order to enjoy it more fully. In a few seconds they
were in the thick of the tariff question; and, as both were
high protectionists, they got along admirably. Soon rose
the question of the double standard in coinage; and
on this, too, they agreed. Notable was the denunciation
by the chancellor of those who differed from him; he
seemed to feel that, as captain of the political forces of
the empire, he was entitled to the allegiance of all honest
members of parliament, and on all questions. The discussion
ran through various interesting phases, when, noticing
that the members of the Prussian ministry were gathering
in the next room, I rose to go; whereupon the
prince, who seemed greatly interested both in the presentation
of his own views and those of Mr. Kelly, said: ``No,
no; let them wait.'' The new ministers therefore waited,
the argument on the tariff and the double standard being
more vigorously prosecuted than ever. After fifteen or
twenty minutes more, I rose again; but Bismarck said:
``No, no; there's no hurry; let's go and take a walk.''
On this we rose and went into the garden. As we stopped
for an instant to enable him to take down his military cap,
I noticed two large photographs with autographs beneath
them,--one of Lord Beaconsfield, and the other of King
Victor Emmanuel,--and, as I glanced at the latter, I
noticed an inscription beneath it:

Al mio caro cugino Bismarck.

Bismarck, seeing me look at it, said: ``He calls me `cousin'
because he has given me his Order of the Annunciata.''
This remark for a moment surprised me. It was hard for
me to conceive that the greatest man in Europe could care
whether he was entitled to wear the Annunciata ribbon or
not, or whether any king called him ``cousin'' or not. He
seemed, for a moment, to descend to a somewhat lower
plane than that upon which he had been standing; but, as
we came out into the open and walked up and down the
avenues in the park, he resumed his discussion of greater
things. During this, he went at considerable length into
the causes which led to the partial demonetization of silver
in the empire; whereupon Mr. Kelly, interrupting him,
said: ``But, prince, if you fully believed in using both the
precious metals, why did you allow the demonetization of
silver?'' ``Well,'' said Bismarck, ``I had a great many
things to think of in those days, and as everybody said that
Camphausen and ---- were great financiers, and that
they understood all about these questions, I allowed them
to go on; but I soon learned, as our peasants say of those
who try to impose upon their neighbors, that they had
nothing but hot water in their dinner-pots, after all.'' He
then went on discussing the mistakes of those and other
gentlemen before he himself had put his hand to the work
and reversed their policy. There were curious allusions
to various individuals whose ideas had not suited him,
most of them humorous, but some sarcastic. At last, after
a walk of about twenty minutes, bearing in mind the
ministers who had been so long waiting for their chief, I
insisted that we must go; whereupon the prince conducted
us to the gate, and most cordially took leave of us.

As we left the place, I said to Mr. Kelly, knowing that
he sometimes wrote letters for publication: ``Of course, in
whatever you may write to America, you will be careful
not to mention names of persons.'' ``Certainly,'' he said;
``that, of course, I shall never think of doing.'' But alas
for his good resolutions! In his zeal for protection and
the double standard, all were forgotten. About a fortnight
later there came back by cable a full statement regarding
his interview, the names all given, and Bismarck's references
to his colleagues brought out vividly. The result
was that a large portion of the German press was indignant
that Bismarck should have spoken in such a manner
to a foreigner regarding Germans of such eminence,
who had been his trusted colleagues, and who had rendered
to the country very great services; so that, for some
days, the ``Affaire Kelly'' made large demands upon
public attention. It had hardly subsided when there came
notice to me from the State Department at Washington
that a very eminent American financier was about to be
sent to Berlin; and I was instructed to secure for him an
audience with the chancellor, in order that some arrangements
might be arrived at regarding the double standard
of value. I must confess that, in view of the ``Affaire
Kelly,'' these instructions chilled me. Fortunately,
Bismarck was just then taking his usual cure at Kissingen,
during which he always refused to consider any matter of
business; but, on his return to Berlin, I sent him a note
requesting an audience for this special American
representative. This brought a very kind answer expressing
regret that the chancellor was so pressed with arrears of
business that he desired to be excused; but that the minister
of finance and various other members of the cabinet
had been instructed to receive the American agent and to
communicate with him to the fullest extent. That was all
very well, but there were my instructions; and I felt
obliged to write again, making a more earnest request.
Thereupon came an answer that settled the question: the
chancellor regretted that he was too much overwhelmed
with work to meet the gentleman; but said that he would
gladly see the American minister at any time, and must,
for the present, be excused from meeting any unaccredited

Of course, after that there was nothing to be said; and
the special American agent was obliged to content himself
with what he could obtain in interviews with various

Mr. Kelly urged, as his excuse for publishing personal
details in his letters, that it was essential that the whole
world should know just what the great chancellor had said
on so important a subject. As it turned out, Mr. Kelly's
zeal defeated his purpose; for, had the special agent been
enabled to discuss the matter with the chancellor, there is
little doubt that Germany would have at least endeavored
to establish a permanent double standard of value.

Each year, during my stay, Bismarck gave a dinner to
the diplomatic corps on the Emperor's birthday. The
table was set then, as now, in the great hall of the
chancellor's palace--the hall in which the Conference of
Berlin was held after the Russo-Turkish War. The culminating
point of each dinner was near its close, when the
chancellor rose, and, after a brief speech in French,
proposed the health of the heads of all the states there
represented. This was followed by a toast to the health of
the Emperor, given by the senior member of the diplomatic
corps, and shortly after came an adjournment for
coffee and cigars. One thing was, at first sight, somewhat
startling; for, as Bismarck arose to propose the toast, the
big black head of a Danish dog appeared upon the table
on either side of him; but the bearing of the dogs was so
solemn that they really detracted nothing from the dignity
of the occasion.

In the smoking-room the guests were wont to gather in
squads, as many of them as possible in the immediate
neighborhood of our host. During one of these assemblages
he asked me to explain the great success of Carl
Schurz in America. My answer was that, before the Lincoln
presidential campaign, in which Schurz took so large
a part, slavery was always discussed either from a constitutional
or a philanthropic point of view, orators seeking to
show either that it was at variance with the fundamental
principles of our government or an offense against humanity;
but that Schurz discussed it in a new way, and mainly
from the philosophic point of view, showing, not merely
its hostility to American ideas of liberty and the wrong
it did to the slaves, but, more especially, the injury it
wrought upon the country at large, and, above all, upon
the slave States themselves; and that, in treating all public
questions, he was philosophic, eloquent, and evidently
sincere. Bismarck heard what I had to say, and then
answered: ``As a German, I am proud of Carl Schurz.''
This was indeed a confession; for it is certain that, if
Bismarck could have had his way with Carl Schurz in 1848
or 1849, he would have hanged him.

The chancellor's discussions at such times were
frequently of a humorous sort. He seemed, most of all, to
delight in lively reminiscences of various public men in
Europe. Nothing could be more cordial and hearty than
his bearing; but that he could take a different tone was
found out by one of my colleagues shortly after my
arrival. This colleague was Herr von Rudhardt, the
diplomatic and parliamentary representative of Bavaria. I
remember him well as a large, genial man; and the beauty
and cordial manner of his wife attracted general admiration.
One day this gentleman made a speech or cast a
vote which displeased Bismarck, and shortly afterward
went to one of the chancellor's parliamentary receptions.
As he, with his wife leaning on his arm, approached his
host, the latter broke out into a storm of reproaches,
denouncing the minister's conduct, and threatening to
complain of it to his royal master. Thereupon the diplomatist
simply bowed, made no answer, returned home at once,
and sent his resignation to his government. All the efforts
of the Emperor William were unable to appease
him, and he was shortly afterward sent to St. Petersburg
as minister at that court. But the scene which separated
him from Berlin seemed to give him a fatal shock; he
shortly afterward lost his reason, and at last accounts was
living in an insane asylum.

On another occasion I had an opportunity to see how
the chancellor, so kind in his general dealings with men
whom he liked, could act toward those who crossed his

Being one evening at a reception given by the Duke of
Ratibor, president of the Prussian House of Lords, he
said to me: ``I saw you this afternoon in the diplomatic
box. Our proceedings must have seemed very stupid.'' I
answered that they had interested me much. On this he
put his lips to my ear and whispered: ``Come to-morrow
at the same hour, and you will hear something of real
interest.'' Of course, when the time arrived, I was in my
seat, wondering what the matter of interest could be.
Soon I began to suspect that the duke had made some mistake,
for business seemed following the ordinary routine;
but presently a bill was brought in by one of the leading
Prussian ministers, a member of one of the most eminent
families in Germany, a man of the most attractive manners,
and greatly in favor with the Emperor William and
the crown prince, afterward the Emperor Frederick. The
bill was understood to give a slight extension of suffrage
in the choice of certain leading elected officials. The question
being asked by some one on the floor whether the head
of the ministry, Prince Bismarck, approved the bill, this
leading minister, who had introduced it, answered in the
affirmative, and said that, though Prince Bismarck had
been kept away by illness from the sessions in which it had
been discussed, he had again and again shown that he was
not opposed to it, and there could be no question on the
subject. At this a member rose and solemnly denied the
correctness of this statement; declared that he was in
possession of information to the very opposite effect; and
then read a paper, claiming to emanate directly from the
chancellor himself, to the effect that he had nothing whatever
to do with the bill and disapproved it. Upon Bismarck's
colleagues in the ministry, who thought that his
silence had given consent, this came like a thunderbolt;
and those who had especially advocated the measure saw
at once that they had fallen into a trap. The general
opinion was that the illness of the chancellor had been a
stratagem; that his sudden disclaimer, after his leading
colleagues had thus committed themselves, was intended to
drive them from the ministry; and that he was determined
to prevent the minister who had most strongly
supported the bill from securing popularity by it. This
minister, then, and the other members of the cabinet at
once resigned, giving place to men whom the chancellor
did not consider so likely to run counter to his ideas and

Indeed, it must be confessed that the great statesman
not infrequently showed the defects of his qualities. As
one out of many cases may be cited his treatment of Eduard
Lasker. This statesman during several years rendered
really important services. Though an Israelite, he
showed none of the grasping propensities so often ascribed
to his race. He seemed to care nothing for wealth or
show, lived very simply, and devoted himself to the public
good as he understood it. Many capitalists, bankers, and
promoters involved in the financial scandals which followed
the Franco-Prussian War were of his race; but this
made no difference with him: in his great onslaught on the
colossal scoundrelism of that time, he attacked Jew and
Gentile alike; and he deserved well of his country for
aiding to cleanse it of all that fraud and folly. On a
multitude of other questions, too, he had been very serviceable
to the nation and to Bismarck; but, toward the end of his
career, he had, from time to time, opposed some of the
chancellor's measures, and this seemed to turn the latter
completely against him.

At the opening of the Northern Pacific Railway, Lasker
was one of the invited guests, but soon showed himself
desperately ill; and, one day, walking along a street in
New York, suddenly dropped dead.

A great funeral was given him; and, of all the ceremonies
I have ever seen, this was one of the most remarkable
for its simplicity and beauty. Mr. Carl Schurz and myself
were appointed to make addresses on the occasion in the
temple of the Israelites on Fifth Avenue; and we agreed
in thinking that we had never seen a ceremony of the kind
more appropriate to a great statesman.

At the next session of Congress, a resolution was
introduced condoling with the government of Germany on the
loss of so distinguished a public servant. This resolution
was passed unanimously, and in perfect good faith, every
person present--and, indeed, every citizen in the whole
country who gave the matter any thought--supposing that
it would be welcomed by the German Government as a
friendly act.

But the result was astounding. Bismarck took it upon
himself, when the resolution reached him, to treat it with
the utmost contempt, and to send it back without really
laying it before his government, thus giving the American
people to understand that they had interfered in a matter
which did not concern them. For a time, this seemed
likely to provoke a bitter outbreak of American feeling;
but, fortunately, the whole matter was allowed to drift by.

Among the striking characteristics of Bismarck was his
evident antipathy to ceremonial. He was never present
at any of the great court functions save the first reception
given at the golden wedding of the Emperor William
I, and at the gala opera a few evenings afterward.

The reason generally assigned for this abstention was
that the chancellor, owing to his increasing weight and
weakness, could not remain long on his feet, as people are
expected to do on such occasions. Nor do I remember
seeing him at any of the festivities attending the marriage
of the present Emperor William, who was then merely
the son of the crown prince. One reason for his absence,
perhaps, was his reluctance to take part in the Fackeltanz,
a most curious survival. In this ceremony, the ministers
of Prussia, in full gala dress, with flaring torches in their
hands, precede the bride or the groom, as the case may be,
as he or she solemnly marches around the great white hall
of the palace, again and again, to the sound of solemn
music. The bride first goes to the foot of the throne, and
is welcomed by the Emperor, who gravely leads her once
around the hall, and then takes his seat. The groom then
approaches the throne, and invites the Empress to march
solemnly around the room with him in the same manner,
and she complies with his request. Then the bride takes
the royal prince next in importance, who, in this particular
case, happened to be the Prince of Wales, at present King
Edward VII; the groom, the next princess; and so on, until
each of the special envoys from the various monarchs of
Europe has gone through this solemn function. So it is
that the ministers, some of them nearly eighty years of
age, march around the room perhaps a score of times; and
it is very easy to understand that Bismarck preferred to
avoid such an ordeal.

From time to time, the town, and even the empire, was
aroused by news that he was in a fit of illness or ill
nature, and insisting on resigning. On such occasions
the old Emperor generally drove to the chancellor's palace
in the Wilhelmstrasse, and, in his large, kindly, hearty
way, got the great man out of bed, put him in good humor,
and set him going again. On one of these occasions,
happening to meet Rudolf von Gneist, who had been, during a
part of Bismarck's career, on very confidential terms with
him, I asked what the real trouble was. ``Oh,'' said Gneist,
``he has eaten too many plover's eggs (Ach, er hat zu viel
Kibitzeier gegessen).'' This had reference to the fact
that certain admirers of the chancellor in the neighborhood
of the North Sea were accustomed to send him, each
year, a large basket of plovers' eggs, of which he was very
fond; and this diet has never been considered favorable
to digestion.

This reminds me that Gneist on one occasion told me
another story, which throws some light on the chancellor's
habits. Gneist had especial claims on Americans. As the
most important professor of Roman law at the university
he had welcomed a long succession of American students;
as a member of the imperial parliament, of the Prussian
legislature, and of the Berlin town council, he had shown
many kindnesses to American travelers; and as the
representative of the Emperor William in the arbitration
between the United States and Great Britain on our north-
western boundary, he had proved a just judge, deciding in
our favor. Therefore it was that, on the occasion of one of
the great Thanksgiving dinners celebrated by the American
colony, he was present as one of the principal guests.
Near him was placed a bottle of Hermitage, rather a heavy,
heady wine. Shortly after taking his seat, he said to me
with a significant smile, ``That is some of the wine I sent
to Bismarck, and it did not turn out well.'' ``How was
that?'' I asked. ``Well,'' he said, ``one day I met
Bismarck and asked him about his health. He answered, `It
is wretched; I can neither eat nor sleep.' I replied, `Let
me send you something that will help you. I have just
received a lot of Hermitage, and will send you a dozen
bottles. If you take a COUPLE OF GLASSES each day with
your dinner, it will be the best possible tonic, and will
do you great good.' Sometime afterward,'' continued
Gneist, ``I met him again, and asked how the wine agreed
with him. `Oh,' said Bismarck, `not at all; it made me
worse than ever.' `Why,' said I, `how did you take it?'
`Just as you told me,' replied Bismarck, `A COUPLE OF
BOTTLES each day with my dinner.' ''

Bismarck's constant struggle against the diseases which
beset him became pathetic. He once asked me how I managed
to sleep in Berlin; and on my answering him he
said--``Well, I can never sleep in Berlin at night when it
is quiet; but as soon as the noise begins, about four o'clock
in the morning, I can sleep a little and get my rest for
the day.''

It was frequently made clear that the Emperor William
and the German officials were not the only ones to experience
the results of Bismarck's ill health: the diplomatic
corps, and among them myself, had sometimes to take it
into account.

Bismarck was especially kind to Americans, and, above
all, to the American diplomatic representatives. To this
there was but one exception, my immediate successor, and
that was a case in which no fault need be imputed to
either side. That Bismarck's feeling toward Americans
generally was good is abundantly proven, and especially
by such witnesses as Abeken, Sidney Whitman, and Moritz
Busch, the last of whom has shown that, while the chancellor
was very bitter against sundry German princes who
lingered about the army and lived in Versailles at the
public expense, he seemed always to rejoice in the presence
of General Sheridan and other compatriots of ours who
were attached to the German headquarters by a tie of
much less strength.

But, as I have already hinted, there was one thing which
was especially vexatious to him; and this was the evasion,
as he considered it, of duty to the German Fatherland
by sundry German-Americans. One day I received a letter
from a young man who stated his case as follows:
He had left his native town in Alsace-Lorraine just
before arriving at the military age; had gone to the United
States; had remained there, not long enough to learn
English, but just long enough to obtain naturalization; and
had then lost no time in returning to his native town. He
had been immediately thrown into prison; and thence he
wrote me, expressing his devotion to the American flag,
his pride in his American citizenship,--and his desire to
live in Germany. I immediately wrote to the minister of
foreign affairs, stating the man's case, and showing that
it came under the Bancroft treaties, or at least under the
construction of them which the German Government up to
that time had freely allowed. To this I received an
answer that the Bancroft treaties, having been made before
Alsace-Lorraine was annexed to the empire, did not apply
to these new provinces, and that the youth was detained as
a deserter. To this I replied that, although the minister's
statement was strictly true, the point had been waived
long before in our favor; that in no less than eight cases
the German Government had extended the benefit of the
Bancroft treaties over Alsace-Lorraine; and that in one
of these cases the acting minister of foreign affairs had
declared the intention of the government to make this
extension permanent.

But just at this period, after the death of Baron von
Blow, who had been most kindly in all such matters, the
chancellor had fallen into a curious way of summoning
eminent German diplomatists from various capitals of
Europe into the ministry of foreign affairs for a limited
time--trying them on, as it were. These gentlemen were
generally very agreeable; but on this occasion I had to
deal with one who had been summoned from service at
one of the lesser German courts, and who was younger
than most of his predecessors. To my surprise, he brushed
aside all the precedents I had cited, and also the fact that
a former acting minister of foreign affairs had distinctly
stated that, as a matter of comity, the German Government
proposed to consider the Bancroft treaties as applying
permanently to Alsace-Lorraine. Neither notes nor verbal
remonstrances moved him. He was perfectly civil, and
answered my arguments, in every case, as if he were about
to yield, yet always closed with a ``but''--and did nothing.
He seemed paralyzed. The cause of the difficulty was soon
evident. It was natural that Bismarck should have a feeling
that a young man who had virtually deserted the German
flag just before reaching the military age deserved the
worst treatment which the law allowed. His own sons had
served in the army, and had plunged into the thickest of
the fight, one of them receiving a serious wound; and that
this young Alsatian Israelite should thus escape service
by a trick was evidently hateful to him. That the chancellor
himself gave the final decision in this matter was the
only explanation of the fact that this particular acting
minister of foreign affairs never gave me an immediate

The matter became more and more serious. The letter
of the law was indeed on Bismarck's side; but the young
man was an American citizen, and the idea of an American
citizen being held in prison was anything but pleasant to
me, and I knew that it would be anything but pleasant
to my fellow-citizens across the water. I thought on the
proud words, ``civis Romanus sum,'' and of the analogy
involved in this case. My position was especially difficult,
because I dared not communicate the case fully to the
American State Department of that period. Various private
despatches had got out into the world and made
trouble for their authors, and even so eminent a
diplomatist as Mr. George P. Marsh at Rome came very near
being upset by one. My predecessor, Bayard Taylor, was
very nearly wrecked by another; and it was the escape
and publication of a private despatch which plunged my
immediate successor into his quarrel with Bismarck, and
made his further stay in Germany useless: I therefore
stopped short with my first notification to the State
Department--to the effect that a naturalized American had
been imprisoned for desertion in Alsace-Lorraine, and
that the legation was doing its best to secure his release.
To say more than this involved danger that the affair
might fall into the hands of sensation-mongers, and result
in howls and threats against the German Government and
Bismarck; and I knew well that, if such howls and threats
were made, Bismarck would never let this young Israelite
out of prison as long as he lived.

It seemed hardly the proper thing, serious as the case
was, to ask for my passports. It was certain that, if this
were done, there would come a chorus of blame from both
sides of the Atlantic. Deciding, therefore, to imitate the
example of the old man in the school-book, who, before
throwing stones at the boy in his fruit-tree, threw turf
and grass, I secured from Washington by cable a leave
of absence, but, before starting, saw some of my diplomatic
colleagues, who were wont to circulate freely and
talk much, stated the main features of the case to them,
and said that I was ``going off to enjoy myself''; that
there seemed little use for an American minister in a
country where precedents and agreements were so easily
disregarded. Next day I started for the French Riviera.
The journey was taken leisurely, with interesting halts
at Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle; and, as I reached the
hotel in Paris, a telegram was handed me--``Your man
in Alsace-Lorraine is free.'' It was evident that the
chancellor had felt better and had thought more leniently
of the matter, and I had never another difficulty of the sort
during the remainder of my stay.

The whole weight of testimony as regards Bismarck's
occasional severity is to the effect that, stern and
persistent as he was, he had much tenderness of heart; but
as to the impossibility of any nation, government, or press
scaring or driving him, I noticed curious evidences during
my stay. It was well known that he was not unfriendly
to Russia; indeed, he more than once made declarations
which led some of the Western powers to think him too
ready to make concessions to Russian policy in the East;
but his relations to Prince Gortchakoff, the former Russian
chancellor, were not of the best; and after the Berlin
Conference the disappointment of Russia led to various
unfriendly actions by Russian authorities and individuals
of all sorts, from the Czar down. There was a general
feeling that it was dangerous for Germany to resent
this, and a statesman of another mold would have deprecated
these attacks, or sought to mitigate them. Not so
Bismarck: he determined to give as good as was sent;
and, for a very considerable time he lost no chance to show
that the day of truckling by Germany to her powerful
neighbor was past. This became at last so marked that
bitter, and even defiant, presentation of unpalatable
truths regarding Russia, in the press inspired from the
chancery, seemed the usual form in which all Russian
statesmen, and especially members of the imperial house,
were welcomed in Berlin. One morning, taking up my
copy of the paper most directly inspired by the chancellor,
I found an article on the shortcomings of Russia,
especially pungent--almost vitriolic. It at once occurred
to me to look among the distinguished arrivals to see
what Muscovite was in town; and my search was rewarded
by the discovery that the heir to the imperial crown,
afterward Alexander III, had just arrived and was staying
a day or two in the city.

When Bismarck uttered his famous saying, ``We Germans
fear God and naught beside,'' he simply projected
into the history of Germany his own character. Fearlessness
was a main characteristic of his from boyhood,
and it never left him in any of the emergencies of his
later life.

His activity through the press interested me much at
times. It was not difficult to discern his work in many of
the ``inspired'' editorials and other articles. I have in
my possession sundry examples of the originals of these,
--each page is divided into two columns,--the first the
work of one of his chosen scribes, the second copiously
amended in the chancellor's own hand, and always with
a gain in lucidity and pungency.

Of the various matters which arose between us, one is
perhaps worthy of mention, since it has recently given
rise to a controversy between a German-American journalist
and Bismarck's principal biographer.

One morning, as I sat in dismay before my work-table,
loaded with despatches, notes, and letters, besides futilities
of every sort, there came in the card of Lothar
Bucher. Everything else was, of course, thrown aside.
Bucher never made social visits. He was the pilot-fish of
the whale, and a visit from him ``meant business.''

Hardly had he entered the room when his business was
presented: the chancellor wished to know if the United
States would join Germany and Great Britain in representations
calculated to stop the injuries to the commerce
of all three nations caused by the war then going on
between Chile and Peru.

My answer was that the United States could not join
other powers in any such effort; that our government
might think it best to take separate action; and that it
would not interfere with any proper efforts of other
powers to secure simple redress for actual grievances; but that
it could not make common cause with other powers in any
such efforts. To clinch this, I cited the famous passage
in Washington's Farewell Address against ``entangling
alliances with foreign powers'' as American gospel, and
added that my government would also be unalterably
opposed to anything leading to permanent occupation of
South American territory by any European power, and
for this referred him to the despatches of John Quincy
Adams and the declarations of President Monroe.

He seemed almost dumfounded at this, and to this day
I am unable to decide whether his surprise was real or
affected. He seemed to think it impossible that we could
take any such ground, or that such a remote, sentimental
interest could outweigh material interests so pressing as
those involved in the monkey-and-parrot sort of war going
on between the two South American republics. As he was
evidently inclined to dwell on what appeared to him the
strangeness of my answer, I said to him: ``What I state
to you is elementary in American foreign policy; and to
prove this I will write, in your presence, a cable despatch
to the Secretary of State at Washington, and you shall see
it and the answer it brings.''

I then took a cable blank, wrote the despatch, and
showed it to him. It was a simple statement of the
chancellor's proposal, and on that he left me. In the
evening came the answer. It was virtually my statement to
Bucher, and I sent it to him just as I had received it.
That was the last of the matter. No further effort was
made in the premises, so far as I ever heard, either by
Germany or Great Britain. It has recently been stated,
in an American magazine article, that Bismarck, toward
the end of his life, characterized the position taken by
Mr. Cleveland regarding European acquisition of South
American territory as something utterly new and unheard
of. To this, Poschinger, the eminent Bismarck biographer,
has replied in a way which increases my admiration
for the German Foreign Office; for it would appear that
he found in the archives of that department a most exact
statement of the conversation between Bucher and myself,

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest