Skip to main content

Full text of "Reading In Modern European History"

See other formats

940 137* 

Keep Your Card in This Pocket 

Books will be issued djMy on presentation 
of proper libraxy cards, 

Unless labeled otherwise, books may be 
retained for four weeks. Borrowers finding 
books marked, defaced or mutilated are exr 
peeted to report same at library desk; other- 
wise the last borrower will be held responsible 
for all imperfections discovered. 

The card holder is responsible for fell books 
drawn on Ms card. 

Penalty for over-due books 2c a day plus 
;' tot; of notices. ' , ' 

Lost cards an<J change of residence must 
be reported promptly. 


Kansas City, MIL 


<"t *JU 9 / 

1 M 

:! Jo f ^ 






" The historian works with documents. Documents are the traces 
which have been left by the thoughts and actions of men of former 
times. . . . Now every thought and every action that has left no 
traces, or none but what have since disappeared, is lost for history ; is 
as though it had never been. For want of documents the history of 
immense periods in the past of humanity is destined to remain forever 
unknown. For there is no substitute for documents : no documents, 
no history." 

Introduction to the Study of History 








No 24 '26 


THIS volume of supplementary readings for a high-school course in modern 
European history consists of extensive extracts from memoirs, letters, 
diaries, speeches, and other primary sources of information for the great 
events and great personalities of the last three hundred years. As with its 
predecessor, Readings in Early European History, each chapter is limited 
to the work of a single author. The extracts are reprinted in their original 
form, except for such modifications of spelling, capitalization, and punctua- 
tion as seemed to be desirable in the interest of uniformity and modernity. 
All omissions have been indicated by the usual signs. 

Several chapters of the book (notably XXII, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, 
XXX, XXXIII, XXXVII, and XXXVIII) may be made the basis for 
simple exercises in historical method. Chapters I and II, XX and XXI 
and XXIII and XXIV furnish material for useful comparative studies, 
showing how differently the same facts may be viewed by different minds. 
Certain other chapters (XIII, XIV, XVIII, and XLI) also deserve careful 
examination in the classroom. The greater part of the book, however, is 
devoted to biography and entertaining narrative, such as will conciliate 
the reader's interest and introduce him to some of the fascinating bypaths 
of history. The material here supplied may be supplemented by the use 
of my Historical Source Book, which contains the text of thirty-three impor- 
tant documents, all but the first two relating to the seventeenth, eighteenth, 
nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. 

Some of my obligations to American and British publishers have been 
already acknowledged in the preface to Readings in Medieval and Modern 
History, from which eleven chapters are incorporated in the present work. 
In addition, I wish to thank the Fleming H. Re veil Company for the passages 
from The Heart of John Wesley's Journal, G. P. Putnam's Sons for those 
from Tallentyre's Voltaire in His Letters, John Murray for those from the 
Life and Writings of Joseph Mazzini, Charles Scribner's Sons for those from 
Washburne's Recollections of a Minister to Prance, Hodder and Stoughton, 
Ltd., and Mrs. Mary Prichard-Agnetti for those from the Memoirs of Fran- 
cesco Crispi, Harper and Brothers and Curtis Brown, Ltd., for those from 
Sir Philip Gibbs's Now It Can Be Told, and W. Collins Sons and Company, 
Ltd., and Miss Meriel Buchanan for those from Petrograd, the City of Trouble. 

Arrangements with the publishers have also made it possible for me to 

iv Preface 

Insert the selections from the Memoirs of Baron de Marbot (Longmans, Green 
and Company, Ltd.), The Second French Empire. Memoirs of Dr. Thomas 
W. Evans (D. Appleton and Company), Mr. G. W. E. Russell's Prime 
Ministers and Some Others (T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd.), Prince Krop6tkin's 
Memoirs of a Revolutionist (Houghton Mifflin Company) , Okakura-Kakuzo's 
The Awakening of Japan (The Century Company), the Life and Letters of 
Walter H. Page by Burton J. Hendrick (Doubleday, Page and Company), 
and Mr. C. T. Thompson's The Peace Conference Day by Day (Brentano's). 

June, 1926 



1. Archbishop Laud i 

2. Trial of the Earl of Strafford 3 

3. Attainder and Execution of the Earl of Strafford 5 

4. John Hampden 7 

5. Trial of King Charles I 8 

6. Oliver Cromwell 10 


7. Battle of Marston Moor 13 

8. Battle of Naseby 14 

9. Storming of Drogheda 15 

10. Rejection of the Kingship 17 

11. Dissolution of the Second Parliament .... 18 

12. Cromwell's Prayer 20 


13. Arrival of Charles II in England 21 

14. Trial and Execution of the Regicides .... 23 

15. Coronation of Charles II 24 

16. The Great Plague in London 25 

17. The Great Fire in London 26 


18. Highwaymen 29 

19. His Son Richard 31 

20. Touching for the King's Evil 33 

21. The Bear Garden 33 

22. Portents 34 

23. Monsieur Papin's Digestors 34 

V. Louis XIV AND His COURT 36 

24. Louis XIV 36 

25. Versailles and Marly 39 

26. Court Life 41 


vi Contents 




27. A Marriage Prohibited 46 

28. "Poor Vatel" 47 

29. A Funeral Oration 48 

30. A Challenge to a Duel 50 

31. An Accident to an Archbishop 51 

32. The Procession of St.-Genevieve 51 

33. The Execution of La Brinvilliers 52 

34. At Versailles 53 


35. A Visit from Peter the Great 57 

36. Katte and the Youthful Frederick 60 

37. The Court at Baireuth 63 

38. The Silesian Campaign 67 


39. The Duke of Marlborough 70 

40. The Kingdom of Naples 72 

41. The Age of Louis XIV 72 

42. German Courts 74 

43. The Affairs of France 75 

44. Frederick the Great 76 

45. The Peace of Paris 76 

46. The Stamp Act 77 

47. Joseph II 78 

48. The Earl of Chatham 78 


49. A Turkish Bath 80 

50. Mohammedan Sects 82 

51. The Sultan 83 

52. The Janizaries 84 

53. Houses and Home Life 85 

54. Constantinople . 87 


55. TheTahitians 91 

56. The Natives of the Marquesas Islands ... 97 

57. The Hawaiian Islanders 100 


58. The Pilgrims at Cape Cod 103 

59. The First Winter in Plymouth 105 

60. Indians 107 

Contents vii 


61. Progress of the Colony , . jo8 

62. Objections and Answers to Objection .... 113 


63. Self-Education 116 

64. Religious Beliefs 120 

65. Moral Perfection 121 

66. Accomplishments and Services 125 


67. A Warning to Great Britain 129 

68. Temper and Character of the Colonists . . . 133 

69. Britain and Greater Britain 138 


70. The Federal Union 142 

71. Dangers to the Federal Union 146 

72. Foundations of Political Prosperity 151 


73. Westminster Abbey 157 

74. The Royal Exchange 159 

75. A Country Sunday 161 

76. A Visit to a Witch 164 

77. Gypsies 165 

78. Newsmongers 167 


79. Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies 169 

80. A London Play 171 

81. Quack Doctors 174 

82. Hack Writers 176 

83. An Election 178 


84. Field Preaching 181 

85. Wesley and "Beau Nash " 183 

86. Preaching at Ep worth 184 

87. A Tumult at Bolton 185 

88. Wesley on His Old Age 186 


89. Guild Apprenticeship 188 

90. The Colonial Policy of Europe 192 


91. Liberty of the Press 197 

92. To Frederick the Great 198 

viii Contents 

93. To Rousseau 200 

94. The " Encyclopaedia" 201 

95. Tolerance 202 

96. Social Conditions under the Old Regime ... 203 

97. Monarchy and Despotism 205 


98. Poverty and Misery of the People 207 

99. Poor Cultivation of the Land 209 

100. Extravagant Expenditures 211 

101. Defective Administration of Justice 212 

102. Signs of Impending Revolution 213 



103. 1789 216 

104. 1790 219 

105. 1791 221 

106. 1792 222 

107. 1793 224 

108. 1794 225 


109. The Old Regime 226 

no. Opening of the Revolution 230 

in. Trial and Execution of Louis XVI 233 

112. The Reign of Terror 234 

113. The "iSthand i9thBrumaire 3 ' 238 


114. Napoleon's Early Years 241 

115. The Rise of Napoleon 243 

1 1 6. Napoleon as Counsel 245 

117. Napoleon as Emperor 247 

1 1 8. Decline and Fall of Napoleon 250 

119. Napoleon's Will 254 


120. Mental Characteristics 256 

121. Political Ideas 258 

122. Personality 260 

123. Place in History 261 


124. The Siege of Genoa 265 

Contents ix 

125. The Battle of Austerlitz 268 

126. Napoleon at Ratisbon 272 

127. The Retreat from Moscow 274 


128. Before the Congress 280 

129. Opening of the Congress 282 

130. Arrangements Made by the Congress .... 286 


131. The "July Revolution" 291 

132. The "February Revolution" 295 


133. Constitution 299 

134. Oath of Initiation 303 

135. Organization 304 


136. Fall of the Roman Republic 308 

137. Garibaldi at Bay 312 

138. Liberation of Sicily 316 

139. Entry into Naples 318 


140. " Blood and Iron " 321 

141. The Schleswig-Holstein Question 324 

142. Peace with Austria 325 

143. The Ems Telegram 329 

144. The Imperial Title 332 


145. Napoleon III 335 

146. Eugenie 337 

147. Marriage of Napoleon III and Eugenie . . . 339 

148. The Imperial Court 342 


149. The First French Defeats 345 

150. The Proclamation of the Republic 350 

151. Siege of Paris 352 

152. Entry of the Germans into Paris 355 

153. The Commune 357 


154. An Interview with Bismarck 363 

155. An Interview with Andrassy 365 

x Contents 


156. The Eastern Question 367 

157. A Second Interview with Bismarck .... 369 


158. Disraeli 374 

159. Gladstone 377 

160. Lord Salisbury 382 

161. Lord Rosebery 384 

162. Arthur James Baifour 386 


163. Serfdom 392 

164. Nihilism 398 

165. The Revolutionary Movement 402 


166. The Meeting of Stanley and Livingston . . 407 

167. " Ikutu ya Kongo " 410 

168. Pygmies of the Equatorial Forest 415 


169. The Old Japan 418 

170. The New Japan 424 


171. The Austrian Note to Serbia 431 

172. Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar .... 434 

173. The Attitude of England 436 

1 74. Belgian Neutrality 438 

175. Speech of the German Chancellor 441 


176. The "Old Contemptibles" 446 

177. The New Army 448 

178. Ypres and the Gas Attack 449 

179. Flame-Throwers 451 

180. War's Brutality 452 

181. In the Trenches 453 

182. Raiding 456 

183. The Bombardment on the Somme 459 

184. A Hospital 461 

185. "Tanks" 463 

186. British Aviators 465 

187. The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line 467 

188. Cologne after the Armistice 469 

Contents xi 


189. The Gathering Storm 472 

190. Abdication of the Tsar 475 

191. Kerensky 477 

192. The Bolsheviks Strike 478 

193. Petrograd under the Bolsheviks 480 


1:94. A Declaration of War against Germany .... 484 

195. Flag-Day Address 489 

196. The "Fourteen Points" 493 

197. Mount Vernon Address 497 


198. On the Eve of the War 502 

199. A Programme for the United States 503 

200. Entrance of the United States 504 

201. A Dangerous Situation 505 

202. American Preparations 507 

203. Leaning on the United States 509 

204. American Troops Abroad 509 

205. To President Wilson 511 

206. The End in Sight 512 


207. Opening the Conference 514 

208. The Treaty and the Covenant 518 

209. The Covenant Adopted 520 

210. Germany Receives the Peace Treaty 522 

211. An Ultimatum to Germany 526 

212. Germany Signs the Treaty 528 



THE History of the Rebellion, by Edward Hyde, first earl 
of Clarendon (1609-1674), is one of the great works of Eng- 
lish literature. The book was not published until after 
Clarendon's death, but large parts of it were composed 
between 1646 and 1648, when the events described remained 
fresh in the author's memory. Clarendon belonged to the 
Royalist party and took an active part in political and mili- 
tary affairs during the stirring age of the Puritan Revolution. 
He writes, therefore, as a contemporary, and with evident 
bias, for he wished to justify the course followed by Charles I 
and the Royalists. In spite of this fact, the impression 
made on the reader's mind is one of the author's sincerity 
and honest conviction. As a man of letters, Clarendon 
stands very high. His character sketches of Laud, Straff ord, 
Hampden, Charles I, Cromwell, and others form a gallery 
of portraits perhaps unmatched elsewhere in English his- 
torical writing. 

1. Archbishop Laud 2 

It was within one week after the king's return from Scotland, 
that Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, died at his house at 
Lambeth. And the king took very little time to consider who 

1 The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, together with an Historical 
View of the A fairs of Ireland, by Edward, Earl of Clarendon. 7 vols. Oxford, 1859. 
University Press. 

2 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. i, pp. 126-129. 

2 Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

should be his successor, but the next time the bishop of London 
came to him, his Majesty greeted him very cheerfully with the 
words, "My lord's grace of Canterbury, you are very welcome," 
and gave orders the same day for the dispatch of all the necessary 
forms for the translation. Within a month or thereabouts after 
the death of the other archbishop, he was completely invested in 
that high dignity, and settled in his palace at Lambeth. This 
great prelate had been before in high favor with the duke of 
Buckingham, whose confidant he was, and by him recommended 
to the king, as fittest to be trusted in conferring all ecclesiastical 
preferments, when he was but bishop of St. David's, or newly 
preferred to Bath and Wells; and from that time he entirely 
goyerned that province without a rival, so that his promotion to 
Canterbury was long foreseen and expected ; nor was it attended 
with any increase of envy or dislike. 

He was a man of great parts, and very exemplary virtues, 
allayed and discredited by some unpopular natural infirmities ; 
the greatest of which was (besides a hasty, sharp way of express- 
ing himself) that. he believed innocence of heart and integrity 
of manners formed a guard strong enough to secure any man in 
his voyage through this world, in what company soever he 
traveled and through what ways soever he was to pass; and 
surely never any man was better supplied with that pro- 

He was born of honest parents, who were well able to provide 
for his education in the schools of learning, whence they sent 
him to St. John's College in Oxford, the worst endowed at that 
time of any in that famous university. From a scholar he became 
a fellow, and then the president of that college, after he had re- 
ceived all the graces and degrees (the proctorship and the doctor- 
ship) which could be obtained there. He was always maligned 
and persecuted by those who were of the Calvinistic faction, 
which was then very powerful, and who, according to their useful 
maxim and practice, call every man they do not love, papist. 
Under this senseless appellation they created for him many 
troubles and vexations ; and so far suppressed him, that, though 
he was the king's chaplain, and taken notice of for an excellent 

Trial of the Earl of Strafford 3 

preacher and a scholar of the most sublime parts, he had not any 
preferment to invite him to leave his poor college, which only 
gave him bread, till the vigor of his age was past. When he was 
promoted by King James, it was but to a poor bishopric in Wales, 
which was not so good a support for a bishop, as his college was 
for a private scholar, though a doctor. 

Parliaments at that time were frequent, and grew very busy ; 
and the party under which he had suffered a continual persecu- 
tion appeared very powerful, and they who had the courage to 
oppose them began to be taken notice of with approbation and 
countenance. In this way he came to be first cherished by the 
duke of Buckingham, after the latter had made some experiments 
of the temper and spirit of the other people, not at all to his satis- 
faction. From this time he prospered at the rate of his own 
wishes, and being transplanted out of his cold barren diocese of 
St. David's, into a warmer climate, he was left, as was said 
before, by that omnipotent favorite in that great trust with the 
king, who was sufficiently indisposed toward the persons or the 
principles of Mr. Calvin's disciples. 

When he came into great authority, it may be that he retained 
too keen a memory of those who had so unjustly and unchari- 
tably persecuted him before; and, I doubt, was so far trans- 
ported with the same passions he had reason to complain of in 
his adversaries, that, as they accused him of popery, because he 
had some doctrinal opinions which they liked not, though they 
were in no way allied to popery ; so he entertained too much 
prejudice to some persons, as if they were enemies to the dis- 
cipline of the Church, because they concurred with Calvin in 
some doctrinal points. 

2. Trial of the Earl of Strafford * 

All things being thus prepared and settled, on Monday, the 
twenty-second of March, 1641, the earl of Strafford was brought 
to the bar in Westminster Hall ; the lords sitting in the middle 
of the hall in their robes ; and the commoners, and some strangers 
of quality, with the Scotch commissioners, and the committee 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. i, pp. 306-308. 

4 Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

of Ireland, on either side. There was a close box made at one 
end, at a very convenient distance for hearing, in which the 
king and queen sat ; his Majesty, out of kindness and curiosity, 
desiring to hear all that could be alleged. . . . 

After his charge was read, and an introduction made by Mr. 
Pynij in which he. called him "the wicked earl/ 7 some member 
of the House of Commons, being a lawyer, applied and pressed 
the evidence, with great sharpness of language ; and, when the 
earl had made his defense, replied with the same liberty to 
whatsoever he said ; taking all occasions of bitterly inveighing 
against his person. This reproachful way of acting was looked 
upon with so much approbation that one of the managers (Mr. 
Palmer) lost all his credit and interest with them, and never 
recovered it, for using a decency and modesty in his bearing 
and language toward him ; though the weight of his arguments 
pressed more upon the earl than all the noise of the rest. 

The trial lasted eighteen days. All the hasty or proud expres- 
sions he had uttered at any time since he was first made a privy 
councilor ; all the acts of passion or power that he had exercised 
in Yorkshire, from the time that he was first president there; 
his engaging himself in projects in Ireland, ... his billeting of 
soldiers and exercising of martial law in that kingdom, . . . 
some casual and light discourses at his own table and at public 
meetings ; and lastly, some words spoken in secret council in this 
kingdom, after the dissolution of the last parliament, were urged 
and pressed against him, to make good the general charge of 
"an endeavor to overthrow the fundamental government of the 
kingdom and to introduce an arbitrary power." 

The earl behaved himself with great show of humility and sub- 
mission ; but yet with such a kind of courage as would lose no 
advantage ; and, in truth, made his defense with all imaginable 
dexterity; answering this and evading that, with all possible 
skill and eloquence. Though he knew not, till he came to the 
bar, upon what parts of his charge they would proceed against 
him, or what evidence they would produce, he took very little 
time to recollect himself and left nothing unsaid that might make 
for his own justification. 

Attainder and Execution of the Earl of Strafford 5 

3. Attainder and Execution of the Earl of Strafford 1 

The bill of attainder in few days passed the House of Com- 
mons; though some lawyers, of great and known learning, 
declared that there was no ground in law to judge him guilty of 
high treason. Lord Digby (who had been, from the beginning, 
of the committee for the prosecution, and had much more preju- 
dice than kindness to the earl) in a speech declared that he could 
not give his consent to the bill ; not only because he was unsatis- 
fied in the matter of law, but also because he was more unsatisfied 
in the matter of fact ; those words, upon which the impeachment 
was principally grounded, being so far from being proved by two 
witnesses, that he could not acknowledge it to be by one. . . . 
The bill passed with only fifty-nine dissenting votes. There 
being nearly two hundred in the House ; and was immediately 
sent up to the Lords, with this addition, "that the House of 
Commons would be ready the next day in Westminster Hall to 
give their lordships satisfaction in the matter of law, upon what 
had passed at the trial." 

The earl was then again brought to the bar ; the lords sitting 
as before, in their robes ; and the commoners as they had done ; 
amongst them, Mr. St. John (whom his Majesty had made his 
solicitor-general since the beginning of the parliament) argued 
for the space of nearly an hour the matter of law. Of the argu- 
ment itself I shall say little, it being in print and in many hands ; 
I shall only mention two notable propositions, which are suffi- 
cient indications of the person and the time. Lest what had been 
said on the earl's behalf, in point of law and upon the want of 
proof, should have made any impression on their lordships, he 
averred that private satisfaction to each man's conscience was 
sufficient, although no evidence had been given in at all ; and 
as to the pressing the law, he said, "It was true we give law to 
hares and deer, because they are beasts of chase ; but it was 
never accounted either cruelty or foul play to knock foxes and 
wolves on the head as they are found, because they are beasts of 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. i, pp. 325-327, 361-364. 

6 Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

prey." In a word, the law and the humanity were alike ; the 
one being more fallacious, and the other more barbarous, than in 
any age had been vented in such an audience chamber. 

The same day, as a better argument to the House of Lords 
speedily to pass the bill, the nine and fifty members of the House 
of Commons, who had dissented from that act, had their names 
written on pieces of parchment or paper, under this superscrip- 
tion, " Straffordians, or enemies to their country;" and these 
papers were fixed upon posts and the most visible places about 
the city. This action was as great and destructive a violation 
of the privileges and freedom of parliament as can be imagined : 
yet, being complained of in the House, not the least countenance 
was given to the complaint or the least care taken for the dis- 
covery of the guilty parties. 

During these perplexities the earl of Strafford, taking notice of 
the straits the king was in, the rage of the people still increasing 
(from whence he might expect a certain outrage and ruin, how 
constant soever the king continued to him) . . . wrote a most 
pathetic .letter to the king, full of acknowledgment of his favors ; 
but presenting "the dangers which threatened himself and his 
posterity, by his obstinacy in those favors;" and therefore by 
many arguments imploring him "no longer to defer his assent 
to the bill, that so his death might free the kingdom from the 
many troubles it apprehended." 

The delivery of this letter being quickly known, new argu- 
ments were used to overcome the opposition of the king. He was 
told that this free consent of Stafford's clearly absolved him 
from any further scruples about the execution of the earl. In 
the end they extorted from him an order to some lords to pass the 
bill ; which was as valid as if he had signed it himself ; though 
they comforted him even with that circumstance, "that his own 
hand was not in it." . . . 

All things, being thus transacted, to conclude the fate of this 
great person, he was on the twelfth day of May brought from the 
Tower of London (where he had been a prisoner nearly six 
months) to the scaffold on Tower Hill. Here, with a composed, 
undaunted courage, he told the people that he had come thither 

John Hampden 7 

to satisfy them with his head ; but that he much feared the ref- 
ormation which was begun in blood would not prove so fortunate 
to the kingdom as they expected and he wished. After great 
expressions of his devotion to the Church of England, and the 
Protestant religion established by law and professed in that 
Church ; of his loyalty to the king, and affection for the peace 
and welfare of the kingdom, with marvelous tranquillity of mind 
he delivered his head to the block, where it was severed from his 
body at a blow. Many of the bystanders who had not been 
over-charitable to him in his life, were much affected by the cour- 
age and Christianity of his death. 

4. John Hampden 1 

He was a gentleman of a good family in Buckinghamshire, 
born to a fair fortune, and of a most civil and affable deportment. 
In his earlier years, he indulged himself in all the sports, exercises, 
and company which were used by men of the most jolly conver- 
sation. Afterwards he retired to a more reserved and melan- 
cholic society, yet preserving Ms own natural cheerfulness and 
vivacity, and above all a flowing courtesy to all men. . . . He 
was rather of reputation in his own county than of public dis- 
course or fame in the kingdom before the business of ship-money, 
but then he grew the argument of all tongues, every man inquir- 
ing who and what he was, that durst, at his own charge, support 
the liberty and property of the kingdom and rescue his country 
from being made a prey to the court. His carriage, throughout 
that agitation, was with such rare temper and modesty, that they 
who watched him narrowly to find some advantage against his 
person, to make him less resolute in his cause, were compelled 
to give him a just testimony. 

The judgment that was given against him infinitely more 
advanced him than the service for which it was given. When 
this parliament began (being returned knight of the shire for the 
county where he lived), the eyes of all men were fixed on him as 
the pilot that must steer their vessel through the tempests and 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. iii, pp. 67-69. 

8 Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

rocks which threatened it. And I am persuaded his power and 
interest, at that time, was greater to do good or hurt than any 
man's in the kingdom, or than any man of his rank has had in 
any time ; for his reputation for honesty was universal, and his 
affections seemed so publicly guided that no corrupt or private 
ends could bias them. 

He was of that rare affability and temper in debate, and of that 
seeming humility and submission of judgment, as if he brought 
no opinions with him but a desire of information and instruction. 
Yet he had so subtle a way of interrogating, and under the notion 
of doubts insinuating his objections, that he left his opinions 
with those from whom he pretended to learn and receive them. 
And even with them who were able to preserve themselves from 
his influence, and discerned those opinions to be fixed in him with 
which they could not comply, he always left the character of an 
ingenuous and conscientious person. He was indeed a very wise 
man, and of great parts, and possessed with the most absolute 
faculties to govern the people, of any man I ever knew. 

5. Trial of King Charles I * 

When he was first brought to Westminster Hall, which was 
upon the twentieth of January, 1649, before the high court of 
justice, he looked upon them and sat down, without any mani- 
festation of trouble, never doffing his hat. All the impudent 
judges sat covered and fixed their, eyes upon him, without the 
least show of respect. The odious libel, which they called a 
charge and impeachment, was then read by the clerk. It 
asserted that he had been admitted king of England and trusted 
with a limited power to govern according to law ; and by his 
oath and office was obliged to use the power committed to him for 
the good and benefit of the people ; but that he had, out of a 
wicked design to erect to himself an unlimited and tyrannical 
power and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people, 
traitorously levied war against the present parliament and the 
people therein represented. ... It was also charged that he 
had been the author and contriver of the unnatural, cruel, and 

1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. v, pp. 532-537. 

Trial of King Charles I 9 

bloody war ; and was therefore guilty of all the treasons, murders, 
rapines, burnings, spoils, desolations, damage, and mischief to 
the nation, which had been committed in the said war or been 
occasioned thereby. He was therefore impeached for the said 
treasons and crimes, on the behalf of the people of England, as a 
tyrant, traitor, and murderer, and a public, implacable enemy 
to the commonwealth of England. And it was prayed that he 
might be put to answer to all the particulars, to the end that such 
an examination, trial, and judgment might be had thereupon as 
should be agreeable to justice. 

The impeachment having been read, their president, Bradshaw, 
after he had insolently reprimanded the king for not having doffed 
his hat or showed more respect to that high tribunal, told him 
that the parliament of England had appointed that court to try 
him for the several treasons and misdemeanors which he had com- 
mitted against the kingdom during the evil administration of his 
government, and that upon the examination thereof justice might 
be done. And after a great sauciness and impudence of talk, he 
asked the king what answer he made to that impeachment. 

The king, without any alteration in his countenance by all 
that insolent provocation, told them he would first know of 
them by what authority they presumed by force to bring him 
before them, and who gave them power to judge of his actions, 
for which he was accountable to none but God ; though they had 
always been such as he need not be ashamed to own before 
all the world. He told them that he was their king and they his 
subjects, who owed him duty and obedience ; that no parliament 
had authority to call him before them ; and that they were not 
even the parliament, and had no authority from the parliament 
to sit in that manner. . . . And after urging their duty that 
was due to him, and his superiority over them by such lively 
reasons and arguments as were not capable of any answer, he 
concluded that he would not so much betray himself and his 
royal dignity as to answer anything they objected against him, 
which would be to acknowledge their authority. ... 

Bradshaw advised him in a very arrogant manner not to 
deceive himself with an opinion that anything he had said would 

io Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

do him any good ; that the parliament knew their own authority 
and would not suffer it to be called in question and debated. 
Bradshaw therefore wished him to think better of it when he 
should be next brought thither and that he would answer directly 
to his charge ; otherwise he could not be so ignorant as not to 
know what judgment the law pronounced against those who 
stood mute and obstinately refused to plead. 1 And so the guard 
carried his Majesty back to St. James's, where they treated him 
as before. . . . 

As there were many persons present at that woeful spectacle 
who felt a real compassion for the king, so there were others of so 
barbarous and brutal a behavior toward him that they called 
him tyrant and murderer ; and one spat in his face ; which his 
Majesty without expressing any resentment wiped off with his 
handkerchief. . . . 

The several unheard-of insolences which this excellent prince 
was forced to submit to at the other times he was brought before 
that odious judicatory, his majestic behavior under so much 
insolence, and resolute insisting upon his own dignity, and de- 
fending it by manifest authorities in the law, as well as by the 
clearest deductions from reason, the pronouncing that horrible 
sentence upon the most innocent person in the world, the exe- 
cution of that sentence by the most execrable murder that 
ever was committed since that of our blessed Savior, and the 
circumstances thereof . . . the saint-like behavior of that blessed 
martyr, and his Christian courage and patience at his death are 
all particulars so well known . . . that the farther mentioning 
them in this place would but afflict and grieve the reader, and 
make the relation itself odious; and therefore no more shall 
be said here of that lamentable tragedy, so much to the dishonor 
of the nation and the religion professed by it, 

6. Oliver Cromwell 2 

He was one of those men whom his very enemies could not 
condemn without commending him at the same time : for he 

1 Such person's, by the peine forte et dure, were pressed to death. 
2 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. vi, pp. 103-110. 

Oliver Cromwell n 

could never have done half that mischief without great courage 
and industry and judgment. And he must have had a wonderful 
understanding of the natures and passions of men, and as great a 
dexterity in the applying them, who, from a private and obscure 
birth (although of a good family), without interest of estate, 
alliance, or friendships, could raise himself to such a height. . . . 
Without doubt, no man with more wickedness ever attempted 
anything or brought to pass what he desired more wickedly, 
more in the face and contempt of religion and moral honesty ; 
yet wickedness .as great as his could never have accomplished 
these results without the assistance of a great spirit, an admirable 
circumspection and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolu- 
tion. When he appeared first in parliament, he seemed to have a 
person in no degree gracious, no ornament of discourse, none of 
those talents which reconcile the affection of the bystanders ; yet 
as he grew into place and authority, his powers seemed to be re- 
newed, as if he had concealed faculties, till he had occasion to 
use them ; and when he was to act the part of a great man, 
he did it without any awkwardness through the lack of ex- 

After he was confirmed and invested Protector, he consulted 
with very few upon any action of importance, nor communicated 
any enterprise he resolved upon with more than those who were 
to have principal parts in the execution of it ; nor to them sooner 
than was absolutely necessary. What he once resolved, in which 
he was not rash, he would not be dissuaded from, nor endure 
any contradiction of his power and authority, but extorted 
obedience from those who were not willing to yield it. ... 

Thus he subdued a spirit that had been often troublesome to 
the most sovereign power, and made Westminster Hall 1 obedient 
and subservient to his commands. In all other matters, which 
did not concern the life of his jurisdiction, he seemed to have 
great reverence for the law and rarely interposed between party 
and party. And as he proceeded with this kind of indignation 
and haughtiness with those who were refractory and dared to 
contend with his greatness, so toward those who complied with 

1 i.e., Parliament. 

12 Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion 

his good pleasure and courted his protection, he used a wonderful 
civility, generosity, and bounty. 

To reduce three nations, 1 which perfectly hated him, to an 
entire obedience to all his dictates; to awe and govern those 
nations by an army that was not devoted to him and wished his 
ruin, was an instance of a very prodigious genius. But his 
greatness at home was but a shadow of the glory he had abroad. 
It was hard to discover which feared him most, France, Spain, 
or the Low Countries, where his friendship was current at the 
value he put upon it. And as they did all sacrifice their honor 
and their interest to his pleasure, so there is nothing he could 
have demanded that they would have denied him. . . . 

He was not a man of blood, and totally declined Machiavelli's 
method, 2 which prescribes, upon any alteration of a government, 
to cut off all the heads and extirpate the families of those who 
are friends to the old one. And it was confidently reported that 
in the council of officers it was more than once proposed that 
there might be a general massacre of all the royal party, as the 
only expedient to secure the government ; but Cromwell would 
never consent to it ; it may be, out of too much contempt of his 
enemies. In a word, as he had all the wickednesses against 
which damnation is denounced, and for which hell fire is prepared, 
so he had some virtues which have caused the memory of some 
men in all ages to be celebrated ; and he will be looked upon by 
posterity as a brave bad man. 

1 England, Scotland, and Ireland. 

2 Machiavelli (1469-1527), an Italian diplomat, was the author of a famous 
book, II Principe (The Prince), which exercised much influence on European politics. 
It is an analysis of the methods whereby an ambitious and unscrupulous man may 
rise to sovereign power. 



THE famous English writer, Thomas Carlyle, gave to the 
f world in 1845 the first collection ever made of Cromwell's 
^* letters and speeches. The work had an immediate success 
(W and within a few years totally changed the current estimate 
of Cromwell. Until it appeared, even historians favorable 
to the Puritan Revolution had been accustomed to represent 
him as a patriot in the first part of his career and a tyrant in 
"' the last part. But now no one could study the life of the 
great Protector, as given in his own words, without being 
convinced of the man's honesty and sincerity of purpose. 
Carlyle thus restored Cromwell to his proper place among 
English worthies. 

7. Battle of Marston Moor 2 

V The Civil War between Charles I and parliament broke out in 1642. 
ortune at first favored the Royalists, and it was not until Cromwell 
appeared as a military leader that the parliamentarians had any con- 
spicuous success. At a critical moment in the battle of Marston Moor 
(1644) Cromwell hurled his " Ironsides " against the Royalists under 
Prince Rupert and gained a decisive victory. All the north of England 
now fell into the hands of parliament and the Scots. Cromwell refers to 
the battle in a letter of condolence which he wrote to Colonel Walton, 
whose son had been killed. 

. . . Truly England and the Church of God hath had a great 
favor from the Lord, in this great victory given unto us, such 
Q as the like never was since this war began. It had all the evi- 
L,* dences of an absolute victory obtained by the Lord's blessing 
upon the godly party principally. We never charged but we 
routed the enemy. The left wing, which I commanded, being 

1 The Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, edited by Thomas Carlyle, revised 
by S. C. Lomas. 3 vols. London, 1904. Methuen and Co. 

2 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. i, pp. 176-177. 

14 Cromwell's Letters and Speeches 

our own cavalry, except a few Scots in our rear, beat all the 
prince's cavalry. God made them as stubble to our swords. . . . 
The particulars I cannot relate now, but I believe, of twenty 
thousand the prince hath not four thousand left. Give glory, 
all the glory, to God. 

Sir, God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon shot. 
It broke his leg. We were obliged to have it cut off, whereof 
he died. . . . He was a gallant young man, exceeding gracious. 
God give you His comfort. Before his death he was so full of 
comfort that to Frank Russel and myself he could not express it, 
it was so great above his pain. This he said to us. Indeed 
it was admirable. A little after, he said one thing lay upon his 
spirit. I asked him what that was. He told me that it was that 
God had not suffered him to be no more the executioner of His 
enemies. At his fall, his horse being killed with the bullet, and as 
I am informed three horses more, I am told he bid them open to 
the right and left, that he might see the rogues run. Truly he 
was exceedingly beloved in the army, of all that knew him. But 
few knew him, for he was a precious young man, fit for God. 
You have cause to bless the Lord. He is a glorious saint in 
Heaven, wherein you ought exceedingly to rejoice. Let this 
drink up your sorrow; seeing these are not feigned words to 
comfort you, but the thing is so real and undoubted a truth. 
You may do all things by the strength of Christ. Seek that, and 
you shall easily bear your trial. Let this public mercy to the 
Church of God make you to forget your private sorrow. The 
Lord be your strength. 

8. Battle of Naseby 1 

At Naseby in 1645 a dashing charge by Cromwell's cavalry again 
turned threatened defeat into victory. The Royalists never recovered 
from the reverse which they experienced here, and within less than a 
year Charles I was a prisoner in the hands of the Scots. After the battle 
Cromwell wrote about it to the Speaker of the House of Commons. 

Being commanded by you to this service, I think myself bound 
to acquaint you with the good hand of God toward you and us. 
1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. i, pp. 204-205. 

Storming of Drogheda 15 

We marched yesterday after the king . . . and encamped 
about six miles from him. This day we marched toward him. 
He drew out to meet us ; both armies engaged. We, after three 
hours' fight very doubtful, at last routed his army ; killed and 
took about five thousand, very many officers, but of what quality 
we yet know not. We took also about two hundred carriages, 
all he had ; and all his guns. . . . We pursued the enemy from 
three miles short of Harborough to nine beyond, even to the 
sight of Leicester, whither the king fled. 

Sir, this is none other but the hand of God ; and to Him alone 
belongs the glory, wherein none are to share with Him. The 
general served you with all faithfulness and honor ; and the best 
commendation I can give him is that I dare say he attributes all 
to God, and would rather perish than assume to himself. . . . 
Honest men served you faithfully in this action. Sir, they are 
trusty; I beseech you in the name of God not to discourage 
them. I wish this action may beget thankfulness and humility 
in all that are concerned in it. He that ventures his life for the 
liberty of his country, I wish he may trust God for the liberty of 
his conscience, and you for the liberty he fights for. 

9. Storming of Drogheda 1 

After the execution of Charles I in 1649 Roman Catholics in Ireland 
combined with Protestant Royalists in an attempt to overthrow the 
Commonwealth. Cromwell promptly invaded Ireland and spread fire 
and sword throughout the*island. His treatment of the garrison of 
Drogheda has left a stain on his memory. 

Upon Tuesday, the loth of September, about five o'clock 
in the evening, we began the storm, and after some hot dispute 
we entered with about seven or eight hundred men, the enemy 
disputing it very stiffly with us. And indeed, through the 
advantages of the, place, and the courage God was pleased to 
give the defenders, our men were forced to retreat quite out of 
the breach, not without some considerable loss. . . . 

Although our men that stormed the breaches were forced to 
recoil, as before is expressed, yet, being encouraged to recover 
1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. i, pp. 467-470. 

1 6 Cromwell's Letters and Speeches 

their loss, they made a second attempt, wherein God was pleased 
so to animate them that they got ground of the enemy and forced 
him to quit his entrenchments. And after a very hot dispute, 
the enemy having both horse and foot, and we only foot, within 
the wall, they gave ground, and our men became masters both 
of their entrenchments and the church. . . . 

The enemy retreated, many of them, into the Mill-Mount : 
a place very strong and of difficult access, being exceedingly high 
and strongly palisaded. The governor, Sir Arthur Ashton, and 
other important officers being there, our men getting up to 
them, were ordered by me to put them all to the sword. And 
indeed, being in the heat of action, I forbade them to spare any 
that were in, arms in the town. That night, I think, they put to 
the sword about two thousand men. Many officers and soldiers 
fled over the bridge into the other part of the town, where about 
one hundred of them possessed St. Peter's church-steeple, some 
the west gate, and others a strong round tower next the gate 
called St. Sunday's. These being summoned to yield to mercy, 
refused, whereupon I ordered the steeple of St. Peter's Church 
to be fired, where one of them was heard to say in the midst of the 
flames : " God condemn me, God confound me ; I burn, I burn." 

The next day, the other two towers were summoned, in one of 
which were about six or seven score ; but they refused to yield 
themselves, and we, knowing that hunger must compel them, 
set only good guards to secure them from running away until 
their stomachs were come down. From one of the said towers, 
notwithstanding their condition, they killed and wounded some 
of our men. When they submitted, their officers were knocked 
on the head, and every tenth man of the soldiers killed, and the 
rest shipped to Barbados. The soldiers in the other tower were 
all spared and shipped likewise to Barbados. 

I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon 
these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so 
much innocent blood ; and that it will tend to prevent the Effu- 
sion of blood for the future, which are the satisfactory grounds 
for such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and 
regret. The officers and soldiers of this garrison were the flower 

Rejection of the Kingship 17 

of all their army, and their great expectation was that our at- 
tempting this place would put fair to ruin us, they being confi- 
dent of the resolution of their men and the advantage of the place. 

10. Rejection of the Kingship l 

Cromwell became Lord Protector of England in 1653. The posi- 
tion carried with it royal duties and responsibilities, but Cromwell 
would not accept the title of king. On this point he expressed him- 
self to parliament as follows : 

I confess that this business hath put the House, the parlia- 
ment, to a great deal of trouble, and spent much time. I am 
very sorry for that. It hath cost me some time too, and some 
thoughts ; and because I have been the unhappy occasion of the 
expense of so much time, I shall spend little of it now. 

I have, the best I can, revolved the whole business in my 
thoughts ; and I have said so much already that I think I shall 
not need to repeat anything that I have said. I think it is an 
Act of Government 2 that, in the aims of it, seeks the settling of 
the nation on a good foot, in relation to civil rights and liberties, 
which are the rights of the nation. And I hope I shall never be 
found to be one of them that go about to rob the nation of those 
rights but always to. serve them what I can to the attaining of 
them. It is also exceeding well provided there for the safety 
and security of honest men in that great natural and religious 
liberty, which is liberty of conscience. These are the great 
fundamentals; and I must bear my testimony to them (as I 
have done, and shall do still, so long as God lets me live in this 
world). . . . 

I have only had the unhappiness, both in my conference with 
your committees, and in the best thoughts I could take to myself, 
not to be convinced of the necessity of that thing that hath been 
so often insisted on by you to wit, the title of king as in it- 
self so necessary as it seems to be apprehended by yourselves. . . . 

But truly this is my answer, that, although I think the Act of 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. iii, pp. 126-129. 

2 This refers to certain amendments to the constitution, known as The Humble 
Petition and Advice, which parliament drew up for Cromwell's approval. 

1 8 Cromwell's Letters and Speeches 

Government doth consist of very excellent parts, in all but in 
that one thing of the title, I should not be an honest man, if I 
should not tell you that I cannot accept of the government, nor 
undertake the trouble and charge of it as to which I have a 
little more experimented than anybody else what troubles and 
difficulties do befall men under such trusts and in such undertak- 
ings. I say I am persuaded to return this answer to you, that 
I cannot undertake this government with the title of king. And 
that is mine answer to this great and weighty business. 

11. Dissolution of the Second Parliament 1 

The second parliament of the Protectorate was dissolved by Crom- 
well in 1658. He announced this action in a speech of mingled sad- 
ness and irritation. 

I had very comfortable expectations that God would make 
the meeting of this parliament a blessing ; and, the Lord be my 
witness, I desired the carrying-on of the affairs of the nation 
to these ends. The blessing which I mean, and which we ever 
climbed at, was mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace which 
I desire may be improved. 

That which brought me into the capacity I now stand in was 
the Petition and Advice given me by you; who, in reference to 
the ancient constitution did draw me to accept the place of 
Protector. There is not a man living who can say I sought it ; 
no, not a man or woman treading upon English ground. . . . 
I can say in the presence of God, in comparison of whom we are 
but like poor creeping ants upon the earth, I would have been 
glad to have lived under my woodside, to have kept a flock of 
sheep, rather than have undertaken such a place of government 
as this is. But undertaking it by the advice and petition of you, 
I did look that you that had offered it unto me should make it 
good. ... 

God is my witness ; I speak it ; it is evident to all the world 
and people living that a new business hath been seeking in the 
army against this actual settlement made by your consent. . . . 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. iii, pp. 187-192. 

Dissolution of the Second Parliament 19 

You have not only disjointed yourselves but the whole nation, 
which is in likelihood of running into more confusion in these 
fifteen or sixteen days that you have sat, than it hath been from 
the rising of the last session to this day. Through the intention 
of revising a Commonwealth again I That some of the people 
might be the men that might rule all ! And they are endeavoring to 
engage the army to carry that thing. . . . These designs have 
been made among the army, to break and divide us. I speak 
this in the presence of some of the army : that these things have 
not been according to God, nor according to truth, pretend what 
you will ! These things tend to nothing else but the playing of 
the king of Scots' game ; and I think myself bound before God 
to do what I can to prevent it. 

That which I told you ten days ago was true, that there were 
preparations of force to invade us. God is my witness, it hath 
been confirmed to me since, within a day, that the king of Scots 
hath an army at the water side, ready to be shipped to England. 
I have it from those who have been eyewitnesses of it. And 
while it is doing, there are endeavors from some who are not far 
from this place, to stir up th people of this town into a tumult, 
what if I said, into a rebellion ! And I hope I shall make it 
appear to be no better, if God assist me. 

It hath been not only your endeavor to pervert the army while 
you have been sitting, and to draw them to state the question 
about a Commonwealth ; but some of you have been listing of 
persons, by commission of Charles Stuart, to Join with any 
insurrection that may be made. And what is like to come upon 
this, the enemy being ready to invade us, but even present blood 
and confusion ? And if this be so, I do assign it to this cause : 
Your not assenting to what you did invite me to by the Petition 
and Advice, as that which might be the settlement of the nation. 
And if this be the end of your sitting, and this be your carriage, 
I think it high time that an end be put to your sitting. And I do 
dissolve this parliament ! And let God be judge between you 
and me I 

20 Cromwell's Letters and Speeches 

12. Cromwell's Prayer 1 

As Cromwell lay on his death bed (1658), he was heard to utter the 
following prayer. It seems to have expressed the man's inmost soul. 

Lord, though I am a miserable and wretched creature, I am in 
covenant with Thee through grace. And I may, I will, come to 
Thee, for Thy people. Thou hast made me, though very un- 
worthy, a mean instrument to do them some good, and Thee 
service ; and many of them have set too high a value upon me, 
though others wish and would be glad of rny death ; Lord, how- 
ever Thou do dispose of me, continue and go on to do good for 
them. Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and 
mutual love ; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of 
reformation ; and make the name of Christ glorious in the world. 
Teach those who look too much on Thy instruments, to depend 
more upon Thyself. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the 
dust of a poor worm, for they are Thy people too. And pardon 
the folly of this short prayer - Even for Jesus Christ's sake. 
And give us a good night, if it be Thy pleasure. Amen. 

1 Cromwell, Letters and Speeches, vol. iii, p. 217. 


SAMUEL PEPYS (1633-1703), whose Diary is one of the 
most fascinating books ever written, held an important po- 
sition in the navy office at London. The Diary covers 
the period 1660-1669, the first ten years of the reign of 
Charles II. It was written in shorthand, quite without 
any thought of publication, and, indeed, was only deciphered 
and printed more than one hundred years after Pepys's 
death. He jotted down in this unique journal matters of 
every sort : his domestic affairs, his visits, the people he met, 
the books he read, and all his thoughts and feelings. Pepys's 
connection with the British government brought him in 
contact with the leading men of the time and enabled him 
to be a spectator of many important events. Hence the 
Diary, apart from its personal interest, is a historical docu- 
ment of the highest significance. 

13. Arrival of Charles II in England 2 

May 23, 1660. In the morning came infinity of people on 
board from the king to go along with him. My Lord, Mr. 
Crew, and others, go on shore to meet the king as he comes off 
from shore, where Sir R. Stayner bringing his Majesty into the 
boat, I hear that his Majesty did with a great deal of affection 
kiss my Lord upon his first meeting. The king, with the two 
dukes, the queen of Bohemia, princess royal, and prince of 
Orange, came on board, where I in their coming in kissed the 
king's, queen's, and princess's hands. Infinite shooting off of 

1 The Diary of Samuel Pepys, edited by H. B. Wheatley. 10 vols. London, 
1893-1899. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Pepys, Diary, vol. i, pp. 155-158, 161-162. 

22 English Life and Manners 

the guns, and that in a disorder on purpose, which was better 
than if it had been otherwise. All day nothing but lords and 
persons of honor on board, that we were exceeding full. Dined 
in a great deal of state, the royal company by themselves in the 
coach, which was a blessed sight to see. . . . We now weighed 
anchor, and with a fresh gale and most happy weather we set sail 
for England. 

All the afternoon the king walked here and there, up and down 
(quite contrary to what I thought him to have been), very active 
and stirring. Upon the quarterdeck he fell into discourse of his 
escape from Worcester, 1 where it made me ready to weep to hear 
the stories that he told of his difficulties that he had passed 
through, as his traveling four days and three nights on foot, every 
step up to his knees in dirt, with nothing but a green coat and a 
pair of country breeches on, and a pair of country shoes that 
made him so sore all over his feet, that he could scarcely stir. 
Yet he was forced to run away from a miller and other company, 
that took him for a rogue. His sitting at table at one place, 
where the master of the house, that had not seen him in eight 
years, did know him, but kept it private ; when at the same table 
there was one that had been of his own regiment at Worcester, 
did not know him, but made him drink the king's health and said 
that the king was at least four lingers higher than he. At an- 
other place he was by some servants of the house made to drink, 
that they might know him not to be a Roundhead, which they 
swore he was. In another place at his inn, the master of the 
house, as the king was standing with his hands upon the back of a 
chair by the fireside, kneeled down and kissed his hand, privately, 
saying that he would not ask him who he was, but bid God bless 
him whither he was going. Then the difficulty of getting a boat 
to get into France, where he was fain to plot with the master 
thereof to keep his design from the four men and a boy (which 
was all his ship's company), and so got to Fecamp in France. 
At Rouen he looked so poorly, that the people went into the 
rooms before he went away to see whether he had not stole 
something or other. 

1 The battle of Worcester, won by Cromwell in 1651. 

Trial and Execution of the Regicides 23 

May 25, 1660. By the morning we were come close to the 
land, and everybody made ready to get on shore. . . . The 
king was received by General Monk with all imaginable love and 
respect at his entrance upon the land of Dover. Infinite the 
crowd of people and the horsemen, citizens, and noblemen of all 
sorts. The mayor of the town came and gave him his white 
staff, the badge of his place, which the king did give him again. 
The mayor also presented him from the town a very rich Bible, 
which he took and said it was the thing that he loved above all 
things in the world. A canopy was provided for him to stand 
under, which he did, and talked awhile with General Monk and 
others, and so into a stately coach there set for him, and so 
away through the town toward Canterbury, without making 
any stay at Dover. The shouting and joy expressed by all is 
past imagination. 

14. Trial and Execution of the Regicides l 

Oct. 10, 1660. At night comes Mr. Moore, and stayed late 
with me to tell me how Sir Hardress Waller 2 (who alone pleads 
guilty), Scott, 3 Cook, 4 Peters, 5 Harrison, 6 and others were this 
day arraigned at the bar at the Sessions House, there being upon 
the bench the lord mayor, General Monk, Lord Sandwich, and 
others ; such a bench of noblemen as had not been ever seen in 
England 1 The accused all seem to be dismayed, and will all be 
condemned without question. In Sir Orlando Bridgman's 
charge, he did wholly rip up the unjustness of the war against 
the king from the beginning, and so it much reflects upon all the 
Long Parliament, though the king had pardoned them, yet they 
must hereby confess that the king do look upon them as traitors. 
To-morrow they are to plead what they have to say. 

1 Pepys, Diary, vol. I, pp. 258-259, 260, 261, 264. 

2 One of Charles I's judges. His sentence was commuted to Imprisonment for 

3 The regicide secretary of state. 

4 Solicitor-general for the Commonwealth. He directed the prosecution of 
Charles I. 

5 Cromwell's chaplain. 

6 General Thomas Harrison signed the warrant for the execution of the king. 

24 English Life and Manners 

Oct. 13, 1660. I went out to Charing Cross, to see General 
Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered ; which was done there, 
he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. 
He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the 
people, at which there were great shouts of joy. It is reported 
that he said that he was sure to come shortly at the right hand of 
Christ to judge them that now had judged him ; and that his 
wife expects his coming again. Thus it was my chance to see the 
king beheaded at Whitehall, and to see the first blood shed in 
revenge for the blood of the king at Charing Cross. 

Oct. 15, 1660. This morning Mr. Carew 1 was hanged and 
quartered at Charing Cross ; but his quarters, by a great favor, 
are not to be hung up. 

Oct. 20, 1660. This afternoon, going through London, and 
calling at Crowe's the upholsterer's in St, Bartholomew's, I saw 
the limbs of some of our new traitors set upon Aldersgate, which 
was a sad sight to see ; and a bloody week this and the last have 
been, there being ten hanged, drawn, and quartered. 

15. Coronation of Charles II 2 

April 23, 1661. About four o'clock I rose and went to West- 
minster Abbey. . . . And with much ado, by the favor of Mr. 
Cooper, his man, did get up into a great scaffold across the north 
end of the abbey, where with a great deal of patience I sat from 
past four o'clock till eleven o'clock before the king came in. 
And a great pleasure it was to see the abbey raised in the middle, 
all covered with red and a throne (that is, a chair), 3 and foot- 
stool on the top of it ; and all the officers of all kinds, so much as 
the very fiddlers, in red vests. At last came in the dean and pre- 
bends of Westminster, with the bishops (many of them in cloth- 
of-gold copes), and after them the nobility, all in their parlia- 
ment robes, which was a most magnificent sight. Then the duke 
and the king with a scepter (carried by my Lord Sandwich) and 

1 John Carew also signed the warrant for the execution of Charles I. 

2 Pepys, Diary -, vol. ii, pp. 19-21. 

3 The coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. Beneath the seat is the " Stone 
of Destiny," which Edward I carried off from Scone in Scotland in 1296. 

The Great Plague in London 25 

sword and orb before him, and the crown too. The king in his 
robes, bare-headed, which was very fine. And after all had 
placedthemselves, there was a sermon and the service ; and then 
in the choir at the high altar, the king passed through all the 
ceremonies of the coronation, which to my great grief I and most 
in the abbey could not see. The crown being put upon his head, 
a great shout began, and he came forth to the throne, and there 
passed more ceremonies : as taking the oath, and having things 
read to him by the bishop, and his lords (who put on their caps 
as soon as the king put on his crown) and bishops came and 
kneeled before him. And three times the garter king of arms 
went to the three open places on the scaSold, and proclaimed 
that, if any one could show any reason why Charles Stuart should 
not be king of England, he should now come and speak. And a 
general -pardon also was read by the lord chancellor, and silver 
medals were flung up and down by my Lord Cornwallis, but I 
could not obtain any. So great was the noise that I could make 
but little of the music ; and indeed, it was lost to everybody. 

16. The Great Plague in London l 

Aug. 31, 1665. This month ends with great sadness upon the 
public, because of the terrible plague which rages almost every- 
where in the kingdom. Every day sadder and sadder news of its 
increase. In the City 2 died this week 7,496, and of them 6,102 
of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead 
this week is near 10,000 ; partly from the poor that cannot be 
taken notice of, through the greatness of the number, and partly 
from the Quakers and others that will not have any bell ring for 

Sept. 20, 1665. What a sad time it is to see no boats upon the 
Thames ; and grass grows all up and down Whitehall Court, 
and nobody but poor wretches in the streets ! And, what is 
worst of all, the duke showed us the number of those who have 
died from the plague this week, brought in the last night from the 

1 Pepys, Diary, vol. v, pp. 62, 86. 

2 The City, the London of tradition and history, occupies little more than one 
square mile. It is now a very small part of the metropolis. 

26 English Life and Manners 

lord mayor ; that it is increased about 600 more -than the last, 
which is quite contrary to all our hopes and expectations, from 
the coldness of the late season. For the whole general number 
is 8,297, and of them the plague has caused the death of 7> l6 5- 

17. The Great Fire in London * 

Sept. 2, 1666. Jane called us up about three in the morning, 
to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose and went 
to her window, and thought it to be in the rear of Mark Lane at 
the farthest ; but, being unused to such fires as followed, I 
thought it far enough off ; and so went to bed again and to sleep. 
About seven rose again to dress myself, and then looked out the 
window, and saw the fire not so much as it was and farther off. 
... By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that 
above three hundred houses have been burned down last night 
by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down all Fish 
Street, by London Bridge. So I made myself ready presently, 
and walked to the Tower, and there got up upon one of the high 
places . . . and there I did see the houses at that end of 
the bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire at this end of the 
bridge .... So down, with my heart full of trouble, to the 
lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that the fire began this 
morning in the king's baker's house in Pudding Lane, and that 
it has burned St. Magnus's Church and most of Fish Street 
already. So I went down to the waterside, and there got a boat 
and there saw a lamentable fire. . . . 

Every one was endeavoring to remove his goods, flinging them 
into the river or bringing them into lighters that lay off. Poor 
people stayed in their houses until the very fire touched them and 
would then run into boats, or would clamber from one pair of 
stairs by the waterside to another. Among other things, the 
poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their houses, but 
hovered about the windows and balconies till some of them 
burned their wings and fell down. Having in an hour's time seen 
the fire rage every way, and nobody endeavoring to quench it, 

1 Pepys, Diary, vol. v, pp. 417-421. 

The Great Fire in London 27 

but endeavoring* instead, to remove their goods and leave all to 
the fire, and having seen it get as far as the Steelyard, and the 
wind mighty high and driving it into the City ; and everything, 
after so long a drought, proving combustible, even the very 
stones' of churches. . . I went to Whitehall, and there up to the 
king's closet in the chapel, where people came about me, and I 
did give them an account which dismayed them all, and word 
was carried in to the king. 

So I was called for, and did tell the king and duke of York what 
I saw, and that unless his Majesty did command houses to be 
pulled down nothing could stop the fire. They seemed much 
troubled, and the king commanded me to go to the lord mayor 
from him, and command him. to spare no house, but to pull 
down everything before the fire. The duke of York bid me tell 
him that if he would have any more soldiers he shall ; and so did 
my Lord Arlington afterwards as a great secret. ... I went 
to St. Paul's and there walked along Watling Street, as well as I 
could, every creature coming away loaded with goods to save, 
and here and there sick people carried away in beds. Many 
fine objects were carried in carts and on backs. At last met 
my lord mayor in Canning Street, like a man spent, with a hand- 
kerchief about his neck. To the king's message he cried, like 
a fainting woman, "Lord! what can I do? I am exhausted; 
people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses, but 
the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it." That he needed 
no more soldiers ; and that, for himself, he must go and refresh 
himself, having been up all night. So he left me, and I him, 
and walked home, seeing people all almost distracted, and no 
manner of means used to quench the fire. The houses, too, so 
very thick thereabouts, and full of matter for burning, as pitch 
and tar, in Thames Street, and warehouses of oil, and wines, and 
brandy, and other things. . . . 

Having seen as much as I could now, I went away to White- 
hall by appointment, and there walked to St. James's Park, and 
there met my wife and walked to my boat ; and there upon the 
water again, and to the fire up and down, it still increasing, and 
the wind great. We got as near the fire as we could for smoke ; 

28 English Life and Manners 

and all over the Thames, with one's face in th wind, you were 
almost burned with a shower of sparks. This is very true ; for 
houses were burned by these sparks and flakes of fire, three or 
four, nay, five or six houses, one from another. When we could 
endure no more upon the water, we went to a little ale-house on 
the bankside, over against the Three Cranes, and there stayed 
till it was almost dark, and saw the fire grow ; and, as night came 
on, the fire appeared more and more, in corners and upon 
steeples, and between churches and houses, as far as we could sec 
up the hill of the City, in a most horrid, malicious, bloody flame, 
not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire. We stayed till, it 
being darkish, we saw the conflagration as one entire arch of fire 
from this to the other side of the bridge, and in a bow up the hill 
for an arch of above a mile long : it made me weep to see it. 
The churches and houses were all on fire and flaming at once ; 
and a horrid noise the flames made, and the cracking of houses 
at their ruin. So home with a sad heart. 


THE Diary of John Evelyn (1620-1706) covers a period of 
more than sixty years. Its author, a gentleman of good 
family and of considerable means, lived under Charles I, 
Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, James II, and William III. 
He knew several of these monarchs and their ministers, 
besides having an extensive acquaintance among the emi- 
nent men of his time, both in England and on the Continent. 
He led a busy, useful, and happy life ; held many minor 
posts in the government; interested himself in scientific 
pursuits ; became a recognized authority on such subjects as 
numismatics, architecture, and landscape gardening; and 
wrote many valuable works in addition to the famous Diary. 
Less interesting than the similar journal kept by his con- 
temporary and friend, Samuel Pepys, it has still greater 
historical value, for it embraces a much longer period and 
presents a far more extensive and varied view of English 
society. The work remained in manuscript until 1818. 

18. Highwaymen 2 

June ii, 1652. The weather being hot, and having sent my 
man on before, I rode negligently under favor of the shade, till, 
within three miles of Bromley at a place called the Procession 
Oak, two cut-throats started out, and striking with long staves 
at the horse, and taking hold of the reins, threw me down, took 
my sword, and hauled me into a deep thicket, some quarter of a 
mile from the highway, where they might securely rob me, as 
they soon did. What they got of money was not considerable, 

1 Diary of John Evelyn, edited by William Bray. 4 vols. London, 1879. Bickers 
and Son. 

2 Evelyn, Diary, vol. ii, pp. 41-43. 

30 John Evelyn, the Diarist 

but they took two rings, one an emerald with diamonds, the 
other an onyx, and a pair of buckles set with rubies and dia- 
monds, which were of value, and after all bound my hands be- 
hind me, and my feet, having before pulled off my boots ; they 
then set me up against an oak, with most bloody threats to cut 
my throat if I offered to cry out, or make any noise ; for they 
should be within hearing, I not being the person they looked for. 
I told them that if they had not basely surprised me they should 
not have had so easy a prize, and that it would teach me never 
to ride near a hedge, since, had I been in the midway, they durst 
not have adventured on me ; at which they cocked their pistols, 
and told me they had long guns, too, and were fourteen com- 
panions. I begged for my onyx, and told them it being engraved 
with my arms would betray them ; but nothing prevailed. My 
horse's bridle they slipped, and searched the saddle, which they 
pulled off, but let the horse graze, and then turning again bridled 
him, and tied him to a tree, yet so as he might graze, and thus 
left me bound. My horse was perhaps not taken, because he 
was marked and cropped on both ears, and well known on that 
road. Left in this manner, grievously was I tormented with flies, 
ants, and the sun, nor was my anxiety little how I should get 
loose in that solitary place, where I could neither hear nor see 
any creature but my poor horse and a few sheep straggling in the 

After near two hours' attempting, I got my hands to turn palm 
to palm, having been tied back to back, and then it was long be- 
fore I could slip the cord over my wrist to my thumb, which at 
last I did, and then soon unbound my feet, and saddling my horse 
and roaming a while about, I at last perceived dust to rise, and 
soon after heard the rattling of a cart, toward which I made, and, 
by the help of two countrymen, I got back into the highway, 
I rode to Colonel Blount's, a great justiciary of the times, who 
sent out hue and cry immediately. The next morning, sore as 
my wrists and arms were, I went to London, and got five 
hundred tickets printed and dispersed by an officer of Gold- 
smiths' Hall, and within two days had tidings of all I had lost, 
except my sword, which had a silver hilt, and some trifles. The 

His Son Richard 31 

rogues had pawned one of my rings for a trifle, to a goldsmith's 
servant, before the tickets came to the shop, by which means they 
escaped ; the other ring was bought by a victualler, who brought 
it to a goldsmith, but he having seen the ticket seized the man. 
I afterward discharged him on his protestation of innocence. 
Thus did God deliver me from these villains, and not only so, 
but restored what they took, as twice before he had graciously 
done, both at sea and land ; I mean when I had been robbed by 
pirates, and was in danger of a considerable loss at Amsterdam ; 
for which, and many, many signal preservations, I am extremely 
obliged to give thanks to God my Savior. 

19. His Son Richard * 

Jan. 27, 1658. After six fits of a quartan ague, with which it 
pleased God to visit him, died my dear son, Richard, to our in- 
expressible grief and affliction, five years and three days old only, 
but at that tender age a prodigy for wit and understanding; 
for beauty of body, a very angel ; for endowment of mind, of in- 
credible and rare hopes. To give only a little taste of them, 
... he had learned all his catechism ; at two years and half old, 
he could perfectly read any of the English, Latin, French, or 
Gothic letters, pronouncing the three first languages exactly. 
He had, before the fifth year, or in that year, not only skill to 
read most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate 
the verbs regular, and most of the irregular ; . . . got by heart 
almost the entire vocabulary of Latin and French primitives 
and words, could make congruous syntax, turn English into Latin, 
and vice versa, construe and prove what he read, and did the gov- 
ernment and use of relatives, verbs, substantives, ellipses, and 
many figures in Comenius's Janua;* began himself to write 
legibly, and had a strong passion for Greek. The number of 
verses he could recite was prodigious, and what he remembered 
of the parts of plays, which he would also act, and, when seeing 

1 Evelyn, Diary, vol. ii, pp. 96-99. 

2 This schoolbook called Janua linguarum reserata (Gate of Languages unlocked), 
by the Moravian educator Comenius, was for centuries the most popular introduc- 
tion to the study of Latin. 

32 John Evelyn, the Diarist 

a Plautus 1 in one's hand, he asked what book it was, and, being 
told it was comedy, and too difficult for him, he wept for sorrow. 
Strange was his apt and ingenious application of fables and 
morals ; for he had read ^Esop ; he had a wonderful disposition 
to mathematics, having by heart divers propositions of Euclid 
that were read to him in play, and he would make lines and 
demonstrate them. As to his piety, astonishing were his appli- 
cations of Scripture upon occasion, and his sense of God ; he 
had learned all his catechism early, and understood the historical 
part of the Bible and New Testament. . . . 

These and the like illuminations, far exceeding his age and ex- 
perience, considering the prettiness of his address and behavior, 
cannot but leave impressions in me at the memory of him. 
When one told him how many days a Quaker had fasted, he re- 
plied that was no wonder ; for Christ had said that man should 
not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God. He would of 
himself select the most pathetic psalms, and chapters out of 
Job, to read to his maid during his sickness, telling her when she 
pitied him, that all God's children must suffer affliction. He 
declaimed against the vanities of the world, before he had seen 
any. Often he would desire those who came to see him to pray 
by him, and a year before he felt sick, to kneel and pray with him 
alone in some corner. How thankfully would he receive ad- 
monition ! how soon be reconciled ! how indifferent, yet con- 
tinually cheerful I He would give grave advice to his brother, 
John, bear with his impertinences, and say he was but a child. 
If he heard of or saw any new thing, he was unquiet till he was 
told how it was made ; he brought to us all such difficulties as he 
found in books, to be expounded. He had learned by heart 
divers sentences in Latin and Greek, which, on occasion, he 
would produce even to wonder. He was all life, all prettiness, 
far from morose, sullen, or childish in anything he said or 

Such early knowledge, so much piety and perfection ! But 
thus God, having dressed up a saint fit for himself, would not 
longer permit him with us, unworthy of the future fruits of this 
1 A Roman comic dramatist (d. 184 E.C,). 

The Bear Garden 33 

incomparable hopeful blossom. Such a child I never saw : for 
such a child I bless God, in whose bosom he is ! ... 

Here ends the joy of my life, and for which I go ever mourn- 
ing to the grave. 

20. Touching for the King's Evil * 

European kings were once supposed to be able to heal scrofula by 
their mere touch. The disease was accordingly known as the King's 
Evil. In England the first monarch to touch the sick seems to have 
been Edward the Confessor in the eleventh century ; the last was Queen 
Anne. French rulers continued this practice until the nineteenth 

July 6, 1660. His Majesty began first to touch for the evil, 
according to custom, thus : his Majesty sitting under his state 
in the Banqueting-house, the surgeons cause the sick to be 
brought, or led, up to the throne, where they kneeling, the king 
strokes their faces or cheeks with both hands at once, at which 
instant a chaplain in his formalities says, "He put his hands upon 
them, and he healed them." This is said to every one in particu- 
lar. When they have been all touched, they come up again in 
the same order, and other chaplain kneeling and having angel 
gold 2 strung on white ribbon on his arm, delivers them one 
by one to his Majesty, who puts them about the necks of the 
touched as they pass, whilst the first chaplain repeats, "That 
is the true light who came into the world." Then follows, an 
Epistle (as at first a Gospel) with the Liturgy, prayers for the 
sick, with some alteration; lastly the blessing; and then the 
lord chamberlain and the comptroller of the household brings a 
basin, ewer, and towel, for his Majesty to wash. 

21. The Bear Garden 3 

June 1 6, 1670. I went with some friends to the Bear Garden, 
where was cock-fighting, dog-fighting, bear- and bull-baiting, it 
being a famous day for all these butcherly sports, or rather bar- 
barous cruelties. The bulls did exceeding well, but the Irish 

1 Evelyn, Diary, vol. ii, p. 115. 

2 Gold pieces with the figure of an angel stamped on them. 

3 Evelyn, Diary, vol. ii, p. 245. 

34 John Evelyn, the Diarist 

wolf-dog exceeded, which was a tall greyhound, a stately creature 
indeed, who beat a cruel mastiff. One of the bulls tossed a dog 
full into a lady's lap as she sat in one of the boxes at a consider- 
able height from the arena. Two poor dogs were killed, and so 
all ended with the ape on horseback, and I most heartily weary of 
the rude and dirty pastime, which I had not seen, I think, in 
twenty years before. 

22. Portents 1 

Dec. 12, 1681. This evening, looking out of my chamber- 
window toward the west, I saw a meteor of an obscure bright 
color, very much in shape like the blade of a sword, the rest of 
the sky very serene and clear. What this may portend, God 
only knows ; but such another phenomenon I remember to have 
seen in 1640, about the trial of the great earl of Stafford, preced- 
ing our bloody Rebellion. I pray God avert his judgments ! 
We have had of late several comets, which though I believe 
appear from natural causes, and of themselves operate not, yet 
I cannot despise them. They may be warnings from God, as 
they commonly are forerunners of his animadversions. After 
many days and nights of snow, cloudy and dark weather, the 
comet was very much wasted. 

23. Monsieur Papin's Digestors 2 

April 12, 1682. I went this afternoon with several of the 
Royal Society 3 to a supper, which was all dressed, both fish and 
flesh, in Monsieur Papin y s 4 digestors, by which the hardest bones 
of beef itself, and mutton, were made as soft as cheese, without 
water or other liquor, and with less than eight ounces of coals, 
producing an incredible quantity of gravy ; and for close of all, 
a jelly made of the bones of beef, the best for clearness and good 

1 Evelyn, Diary, vol. ii, p. 380. 

2 Evelyn, Diary, vol. ii, pp. 393-394. 

3 The famous Royal Society, an institution devoted to scientific pursuits, had 
been incorporated in 1662. Evelyn did much to promote its interests and at one 
time served as its secretary. 

4 Denys Papin, a French physician and mathematician. He invented an early 
form of the steam engine. 

Monsieur Papin's Digesters 35 

relish and the most delicious that I had ever seen or tasted. We 
ate pike and other fish bones, and all without impediment ; but 
nothing exceeded the pigeons, which tasted just as if baked in a 
pie, all these being stewed in their own juice, without any addi- 
tion of water save what swam about the digestor ; the natural 
juice of all these provisions acting on the grosser substances, 
reduced the hardest bones to tenderness ; but it is best descanted 
with more particulars for extracting tinctures, preserving and 
stewing fruit, and saving fuel, in Dr. Papin's book published and 
dedicated to our society, of which he is a member. . . . This 
philosophical supper caused much mirth amongst us, and ex- 
ceeding pleased all the company. I sent a glass of the jelly to 
my wife, to the reproach of all that the ladies ever made of 
their best hartshorn. 



THE due de Saint-Simon (1675-1755) was the son of a 
duke and peer of France. As a young man he entered the 
army and served as an officer in more than one campaign. 
He passed most of his active career as a courtier and diplo- 
mat during the last twenty years of the reign of Louis XIV 
and then during the eight years of the Orleans regency. 
His position gave him an excellent opportunity to observe 
at first hand the pomps and vanities, the ceremonies, in- 
trigues, petty tragedies, and petty comedies of what was 
the most splendid of European courts. Everything he saw 
or learned at this time he set down in his Memoirs. For 
sprightliness of style, satirical power, and ability to delineate 
character the work is almost unique. It occupies a very 
high place in French literature. Saint-Simon, in writing 
his reminiscences, addressed posterity rather than his own 
age. The work was not published until many years after 
his death, and it was not till 1829 that anything like a 
complete edition of it appeared in print. 

24. Louis XIV 2 

Louis XIV was made for a brilliant court. In the midst of 
other men his figure, his courage, his grace, his beauty, his grand 
bearing, even the tone of his voice and the majestic and natural 
charm of all his person, distinguished him till his death, and 
showed that if he had only been born a simple private gentle- 
man, he would equally have excelled in ftes, pleasures, and 
gallantry. . . . 

1 The Memoirs of the Duke of Saint-Simon on the Reign of Louis XIV and the 
Regency, translated by Bayle St. John. 3 vols. London, 1883. Bickers and Son. 

2 Saint-Simon, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 357-358, 364-368. 

Louis XIV 37 

But Louis XIV reigned in little things ; the great he could 
never reach ; even in the former, too, he was often governed. 
The superior ability of his early ministers and his early generals 
soon wearied him. He liked nobody to be in any way superior 
to him. Thus he chose his ministers, not for their knowledge, 
but for their ignorance; not for their capacity, but for their 
want of it. He liked to form them, as he said ; liked to teach 
them even the most trifling things. It was the same with his 
generals. He took credit to himself for instructing them; 
wished it to be thought that from his cabinet he commanded and 
directed all his armies. Naturally fond of trifles, he unceasingly 
occupied himself with the most petty details of his troops, his 
household, his mansions; would even instruct his cooks, who 
received, like novices, lessons they had known by heart for years. 
This vanity, this unmeasured and unreasonable love of admira- 
tion, was his ruin. His ministers, his generals, his courtiers, soon 
perceived his weakness. They praised him with emulation and 
spoiled him. 

He was exceedingly jealous of the attention paid him. Not 
only did he notice the presence of the most distinguished cour- 
tiers, but those of inferior degree also. He looked to the right 
and to the left, not only upon rising but upon going to bed, at his 
meals, in passing through his apartments, or his gardens of Ver- 
sailles, where alone the courtiers were allowed to follow him ; he 
saw and noticed everybody ; not one escaped him, not even those 
who hoped to remain unnoticed. He marked well all absentees 
from the court, found out the reason of their absence, and never 
lost an opportunity of acting toward them as the occasion might 
seem to justify. With some of the courtiers (the most distin- 
guished), it was a demerit not to make the court their ordinary 
abode ; with others it was a fault to come but rarely ; for those 
who never or scarcely ev^r came it was certain disgrace. When 
their names were in any way mentioned, "I do not know them/* 
the king would reply haughtily. . . . 

Louis XIV took great pains to be well informed of all that 
passed everywhere ; in the public places, in the private houses, 
in society and familiar intercourse. His spies and tell-tales 

38 Louis XIV and His Court 

were very numerous. He had them of all kinds : many who 
were ignorant that their information reached him ; others who 
knew it ; others who wrote to him direct, sending their letters 
through channels he indicated ; and all these letters were seen 
by him alone, and always before everything else. There were 
other spies who sometimes spoke to him secretly in his cabinet, 
entering by the back stairs. These unknown means ruined a 
great number of people of all classes, who never could discover 
the cause ; often ruined them very unjustly ; for the king, once 
prejudiced, never altered his opinion, or so rarely that nothing 
was more rare. He had, too, another fault, very dangerous for 
others and often for himself, since it deprived him of good sub- 
jects. He had an excellent memory ; and if he saw a man who, 
twenty years before, perhaps, had in some manner offended him, 
he did not forget the man, though he might forget the offense. 
This was enough, however, to exclude the person from all favor. 
The entreaties of a minister, of a general, of his confessor even, 
could not move the king. He would not yield. 

The most cruel means by which the king was informed of 
what was passing for many years before anybody knew it 
was that of opening letters. The promptness and dexterity 
with which they were opened passes understanding. He saw 
extracts from all the letters in which there were passages that 
the chiefs of the post office, and then the minister who governed 
it, thought ought to go before him ; entire letters, too, were sent 
to him, when their contents seemed to justify the sending. Thus 
the chiefs of the post, nay, the principal clerks, were in a position 
to suppose what they pleased and against whom they pleased. 
A word of contempt against the king or the government, a joke, 
a detached phrase, was enough. It is incredible how many 
people, justly or unjustly, were more or less ruined, always with- 
out resource, without trial, and without knowing why. The 
secret was impenetrable ; for nothing ever cost the king less than 
profound silence and dissimulation. . . 

Never did man give with better grace than Louis XIV, or 
augmented so much, in this way, the price of his benefits. Never 
did man sell to better profit his words, even his smiles, nay, his 

Versailles and Marly 39 

looks. Never did disobliging words escape him ; and, if he had 
to blame, to reprimand, or correct, which was very rare, it was 
nearly always with mildness, never with anger or severity. 
Never was man so naturally polite, or of a politeness so measured, 
so graduated, so adapted to person, time, and place. Toward 
women his politeness was without parallel. Never did he pass 
the humblest petticoat without raising his hat ; even to chamber- 
maids that he knew to be such, as often happened at Marly. 
For ladies he took his hat off completely, but to a greater or less 
extent ; for titled people half off, holding it in his hand or against 
his ear for a moment. For the nobility he contented himself by 
putting his hand to his hat. He took it off for the princes of the 
blood, as for the ladies. If he accosted ladies, he did not cover 
himself until he had quitted them. All this was out of doors, for 
in the house he was never covered. His reverences were incom- 
parable for their grace and manner; even his mode of half 
raising himself at supper for each lady who arrived at table. 
Though at last this fatigued him, yet he never ceased it ; the 
ladies who were to sit down, however, took care not to enter 
after supper had commenced. 

25. Versailles and Marly 1 

Nobody ever approached the magnificence of the king. His 
buildings, who could number them? At the same time, who 
was there who did not deplore the pride, the caprice, the bad 
taste seen in them? He built nothing useful or ornamental in 
Paris, except the Pont Royal, and that simply by necessity ; so 
that, despite its incomparable extent, Paris is inferior to many 
cities of Europe. St.-Germain, a lovely spot, with a marvelous 
view, rich forest, terraces, gardens, and water, he abandoned 
for Versailles; the dullest and most ungrateful of all places, 
without prospect, without wood, without water, without soil ; 
for the ground is all shifting sand or swamp, and the air is 
accordingly bad. 

But he liked to subjugate nature by art and treasure. He 
built at Versailles, without any general design, the beautiful 

1 Saint-Simon, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 369-371. 

40 Louis XIV and His Court 

and the ugly, the vast and the mean, all jumbled together. His 
own apartments and those of the queen are inconvenient to the 
last degree, besides being dull and close. The gardens astonish 
by their magnificence, but cause regret by their bad taste. . . . 
The violence everywhere done to nature repels and wearies us 
despite ourselves. . . . I might never finish upon the monstrous 
defects of a palace so immense and so immensely costly, with its 
accompaniments, which are still more so. 

At last, the king, tired of the cost and bustle, persuaded him- 
self that he should like something little and solitary. He searched 
all around Versailles for some place to satisfy this new taste. 
He examined several neighborhoods, he traversed the hills near 
St.-Germain, and the vast plain which is at the bottom, where 
the Seine winds and bathes the feet of so many towns. ... He 
found behind Lucienne a deep narrow valley, completely shut 
in, inaccessible from its swamps, and with a wretched village 
called Marly upon the slope of one of its hills. This closeness, 
without drainage or means of having any, was the sole merit of 
the valley. The king was overjoyed at his discovery. It was a 
great work, that of draining this sewer of all the environs, which 
threw there their garbage, and of bringing soil thither ! The 
hermitage was made. . . . 

By degrees the hermitage was augmented, and the hills were 
pared and cut down, to give at least the semblance of a prospect. 
In fine, what with buildings, gardens, waters, aqueducts, 
statues, precious furniture, the park, the ornamental inclosed 
forest, Marly had become what is to-day, though it has been 
stripped since the death of the king. Great trees were unceas- 
ingly brought from Compiegne or farther, three-fourths of which 
died and were immediately after replaced ; vast spaces covered 
with thick wood, or obscure alleys, were suddenly transformed 
into immense pieces of water, on which people were rowed in 
gondolas; then these were transformed again into forest (I 
speak of what I have seen in six weeks) ; basins were changed a 
hundred times; cascades the same; and carp ponds adorned 
with the most exquisite paintings, scarcely finished, were changed 
and differently arranged by the same hands. ... I am under 

Court Life 41 

the mark in saying that even Versailles did not cost so much as 

26. Court Life * 

At eight o'clock the chief valet de chambre on duty, who alone 
had slept in the royal chamber, and who had dressed himself, 
awoke the king. The chief physician, the chief surgeon, and the 
nurse (as long as she lived) entered at the same time. ... At 
quarter past the hour the grand chamberlain was called and all 
those who had what was called the grandes entrees. The cham- 
berlain drew back the curtains which had been closed again, and 
presented the holy water from the vase, at the head of the bed. 
These gentlemen stayed but a moment, and that was the time 
to speak to the king, if any one had anything to ask of him ; 
in which case the rest stood aside. When, contrary to custom, 
nobody had aught to say, they were there but for a few moments. 
He who had opened the curtains and presented the holy water, 
presented also a prayer-book. Then all passed into the cabinet 
of the council. A very short religious service being over, the 
king called, and they reentered. The same officer gave him his 
dressing-gown; immediately after, other privileged courtiers 
entered, and then everybody, in time to find the king putting on 
his shoes and stockings, for he did almost everything himself and 
with address and grace. Every other day we saw him shave 
himself ; and he had a little short wig in which he always ap- 
peared, even in bed. . . . No toilet table was near him; he 
had simply a mirror held before him. 

As soon as he was dressed, he prayed to God, at the side of his 
bed, where all the clergy knelt, the cardinals without cushions, 
all the laity remaining standing ; and the captain of the guards 
came to the balustrade during the prayer, after which the king 
passed into his cabinet. He found there a very numerous com- 
pany, for it included everybody in any office. He gave orders 
to each for the day ; thus within less than ten minutes it was 
known what he meant to do, and then all this crowd left 
directly. . . . 

1 Saint-Simon, Memoirs, vol. iii, pp. 21-27. 

42 Louis XIV and His Court 

All the court meantime waited for the king in the gallery, the 
captain of the guard being alone in the chamber, seated at the 
door of the cabinet. . . . During this pause the king gave 
audiences, when he wished to accord any, and gave secret inter- 
views to foreign ministers. They were called "secret" simply 
to distinguish them from the uncommon ones by the bedsides. 

The king went to mass, where his musicians always sang an 
anthem. While he was going to and returning from mass, 
everybody spoke to him who wished, after apprising the captain 
of the guard, if they were not distinguished ; and he came and 
went by the door of the cabinets into the gallery. During mass 
the ministers assembled in the king's chamber, where distin- 
guished people could go and speak or chat with them. The king 
amused himself a little upon returning from mass and asked 
almost immediately for the council. Then the morning was 
finished. . . . 

Dinner the king ate by himself in his chamber upon a square 
table in front of the middle window. It was more or less abun- 
dant, for he ordered in the morning whether it was to be " a little " 
or " very little " service. But even at this last, there were always 
many dishes, and three courses without counting the fruit. . . . 
Upon leaving the table the king immediately entered his cabinet. 
That was the time for distinguished people to speak to him. He 
stayed at the door for a moment to listen, then entered ; very 
rarely did any one follow him, never without asking him for per- 
mission to do so ; and for this few had the courage. . . . 

The king amused himself by feeding his dogs, and remained 
with them more or less time, then asked for his wardrobe, 
changed before the very few distinguished people it pleased the 
first gentleman of the chamber to admit there, and immediately 
went out by the back stairs into the court to get into his coach. 
From the bottom of that staircase to the coach, any one who 
wished spoke to him. . . . 

As he was but little sensitive to heat or cold, or even to rain, 
the weather was seldom sufficiently bad to prevent his going 
abroad. He went out for three objects : stag-hunting, once or 
more each week ; shooting in his parks (and no man handled a 

Court Life 43 

gun with more grace or skill), once or twice a week ; and walking 
in his gardens for exercise, and to see his workmen. Sometimes 
he had picnics with ladies in the forest at Marly or at Fontaine- 
bleau, 1 and in this last place, promenades with all the court 
around the canal, which were a magnificent spectacle. Nobody 
followed him in his other promenades but those who held princi- 
pal offices, except at Versailles or in the gardens of Trianon. . . . 

The stag-hunting parties were on an extensive scale. At 
Fontainebleau every one went who wished; elsewhere only 
those were allowed to go who had obtained the permission once 
for all, and those who had obtained leave to wear thzjustaucorps, 
which was a blue uniform with silver and gold lace, lined with 
red. The king did not like too many people at these parties. 
He did not care for you to go if you were not fond of the chase. 
He thought that ridiculous, and never bore ill-will to those who 
stayed away altogether. 

It was the same with the gambling-table, which he liked to see 
always well frequented. He amused himself at Fontainebleau 
during bad weather by seeing good players at tennis, in which 
he had formerly excelled ; and at Marly by seeing mall pfayed, 
in which he had also been skillful. Sometimes when there was 
no council, he would make presents of cloths, or of silverware, or 
jewels, to the ladies, by means of a lottery, for the tickets of 
which they paid nothing. . . . The king took no ticket. 

Upon returning home from walks or drives, anybody, as I have 
said, might speak to the king from the moment he left his coach 
till he reached the foot of his staircase. He changed his dress 
again and rested in his cabinet an hour or more. . . . 

At ten o'clock his supper was served. The captain of the 
guard announced this to him. . . . This supper was always on 
a grand scale, the royal household at table, and a large number 
of courtiers and ladies present, sitting or standing. . . . 

After supper the king stood some moments, his back to the 
balustrade of the foot of his bed, encircled by all his court ; then, 

1 The palace of Fontainebleau, in the town of the same name, is one of the largest 
and most magnificent of the royal residences of France. It was principally the work 
of Francis I and Henry IV. 

44 Louis XIV and His Court 

with bows to the ladies, passed into his cabinet, where on arriv- 
ing, he gave his orders. He passed a little less than an hour 
there, seated in an arm-chair. . . . 

The king, wishing to retire, went and fed his dogs ; then said 
good night, passed into his chamber, where he said his prayers, 
as in the morning, and undressed. He said good night with an 
inclination of the head, and while everybody was leaving the 
room stood at the corner of the mantelpiece, where he gave the 
order to the colonel of the guards alone. Then commenced what 
was called the petit coucker, at which only specially privileged 
persons remained. They did not leave until he got into bed. 



MARIE DE RABUTIN-CHANTAL was born in 1626, of a 
noble French family. She married at eighteen the mar- 
quis de Sevigne and at twenty-five became a widow, her 
worthless husband having been killed in a duel. Though 
rich and beautiful and the recipient of many offers, the 
marquise never married again. She devoted herself for 
the rest of her life she lived to be seventy to her two 
children, to the care of her estate in Brittany, to her 'social 
activities in Paris, and to her correspondence. Her Letters, 
in the complete French edition, extend to as many as 
fourteen volumes. They furnish a picture of seventeenth- 
century France unsurpassed for vividness and interest. 
Madame de Sevigne knew everybody worth knowing from 
Louis XIV downward ; the most famous people of the time 
courted her for her charm, ready wit, and solid understand- 
ing. Conde and Turenne, great generals; Mazarin and 
Colbert, great statesmen ; Corneille, Racine, Moliere, great 
dramatists ; Bossuet, Massilon, Bourdaloue, great preachers ; 
Descartes, the great philosopher ; Pascal, the great moral- 
ist ; La Fontaine ; La Rochefoucauld all these and many 
others scarcely less famous flourished during the lifetime of 
Madame de Sevigne. She mentions them all in her corre- 
spondence and numbered many of them among her intimate 
friends. The Letters here quoted, in whole or in part, were 
written from Paris between 1670-1676. 

1 The Best Letters of Madame de Semgni, edited by E. P. Anderson. Chicago, 
1891. A. C. McClurg and Company. 

46 A French Letter Writer 

27. A Marriage Prohibited 1 

What is called falling from the clouds, happened last night at 
the Tuileries ; but I must go farther back. You have already 
shared in the joy, the transport, the ecstasies, of the princess 
and her happy lover. 2 It was just as I told you ; the affair was 
made public on Monday. Tuesday was passed in talking, 
astonishment, and compliments. Wednesday Mademoiselle 
made a deed of gift to M. de Lauzun, investing him with certain 
titles, names, and dignities necessary to be inserted in the mar- 
riage contract, which was drawn up that day. She gave him, 
then, till she could give him something better, four duchies: 
the first was the county of Eu, which entitles him to rank as 
first peer of France ; the duchy of Montpensier, which title he 
bore all that day ; the duchy of Saint-Fargeau, and the duchy 
of CMtellerault, the whole valued at twenty-two millions of 
livres. The contract was then drawn up, and he took the name 
of Montpensier. Thursday morning, which was yesterday, 
Mademoiselle was in expectation. of the king's signing the con- 
tract as he had said he would do ; but about seven o'clock in 
the evening the queen, Monsieur, 3 and several old dotards that 
were about him had so persuaded his Majesty that his reputation 
would suffer in this affair, that, sending for Mademoiselle and 
M. de Lauzun, he announced to them before the prince, 4 that 
he forbade them to think any further of this marriage. M. de 
Lauzun received the prohibition with all the respect, submission, 
firmness, and, at the same time, despair that could be expected 
in so great a reverse of fortune. As for Mademoiselle, she gave 
loose to her feelings and burst into tears, cries, lamentations, 
and the most violent expressions of grief ; she keeps her bed all 
day long and takes nothing within her lips but a little broth. 
What a fine dream is here I what a glorious subject for a tragedy 

1 Madame de SeVigne", Letters, pp. 39-40. 

2 In a previous letter (Dec. 15, 1670) Madame de SeVigne* had told of the engage- 
ment of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, granddaughter of Henry IV, niece of Louis 
XIII, and the king's cousin-german, to M. de Lauzun. 

3 Philippe, due d'Or!6ans, brother of Louis XIV. He was a rejected suitor of 

4 Louis de Bourbon, prince de Cond, a great noble and general. 

"Poor Vatel" 47 

or romance, but especially for talking and reasoning eternally ! 
This is what we do day and night, morning and evening, without 
end and without intermission ; we hope you will do likewise. 

28. " Poor Vatel " 1 

This is Sunday, April 26, and this letter will not go out till 
Wednesday ; but it is not so much a letter as a narrative that I 
have just learned from Moreuil of what passed at Chantilly 
with regard to poor Vatel. I wrote to you last Friday that he 
had stabbed himself. These are the particulars of the affair. 
The king arrived there on Thursday night ; the walk and the 
collation', which was served in a place set apart for the purpose, 
and strewed with jonquilles, were just as they should be. Sup- 
per was served, but there was no roast meat at one or two of 
the tables on account of Vatel's having been obliged to provide 
several dinners more than were expected. This affected his 
spirits and he was heard to say several times, "I have lost my 
fame! I cannot bear this disgrace!" "My head is quite 
bewildered," said he to Gourville. " I have not had a wink of 
sleep these twelve nights ; I wish you would assist me in giving 
orders." Gourville did all he could to comfort and assist him; 
but the failure of the roast meat (which, however, did not hap- 
pen at the king's table, but at some of the other twenty-five) 
was always uppermost with him. Gourville mentioned it to 
the prince, 2 who went directly to Vatel's room, and said to him, 
" Every thing is extremely well conducted, Vatel ; nothing could 
be more admirable than his Majesty's supper." "Your High- 
ness's goodness," replied he, "overwhelms me; I am sensible 
that there was a deficiency of roast meat at two tables." "Not 
at ah 1 ," said the prince; "do not worry yourself, and all will go 
well." Midnight came; the fire-works did not succeed, they 
were covered with a thick cloud; they cost sixteen thousand 
francs. At four o'clock in the morning Vatel went round, and 
found everybody asleep ; he met one of the under-purveyors, 
who had just come in with only two loads of fish. "What!" 

1 Madame de SSvigne, Letters, pp. 61-63. 

2 Prince de Conde 1 . 

48 A French Letter Writer 

said he, "is this all?" "Yes, sir," said the man, not knowing 
that Vatel had dispatched other people to all the sea-ports round. 
Vatel waited for some time ; the other purveyors did not arrive ; 
his head grew distracted ; he thought there was no more fish to 
be had ; he flew to Gourville ; " Sir," said he, " I cannot outlive 
this disgrace." Gourville laughed at him. Vatel went up to 
his room, set the hilt of his sword against the door, and, after 
two ineffectual attempts, succeeded in the third in forcing the 
sword through his heart : he fell dead. At that instant the car- 
riers arrived with the fish ; Vatel was inquired after to distribute 
it. People went to his room, knocked at the door, broke it open, 
and found him weltering in his blood. They ran to acquaint 
the prince, who was in despair. The duke wept, for his Bur- 
gundy journey depended upon Vatel. The prince related the 
whole affair to his Majesty with an expression of great concern. 
It was considered as the consequence of too nice a sense of 
honor ; some blamed, others praised him for his courage. The 
king said he had put off this excursion for more than five years, 
because he was aware that it would be attended with infinite 
trouble, and told the prince that he ought to have had but two 
tables, and not have been at the expense of so many, and de- 
clared he would never suffer him to do so again ; but all this 
was too late for poor Vatel. . . . 

29. A Funeral Oration x 

My dear child, 2 1 must tell you some gossip, it is a folly I can 
never resist. I was yesterday at a service performed in honor 
of Chancellor Seguier, 3 at the Oratory. Painting, sculpture, 
music, rhetoric, in a word, the four liberal arts were at the ex- 
pense of it. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the decora- 
tions ; they were finely imagined, and designed by Le Brun. 
The mausoleum reached to the top of the dome, adorned with a 
thousand lamps, and a variety of figures appropriate to him in 
whose honor it was erected. Beneath were four figures of Death, 

1 Madame de Sevigne", Letters,, pp. 92-95. 

2 Madame de Se*vigne"'s only daughter, Madame de Grignan. 

3 Pierre Seguier, who died in 1672, was an eminent lawyer, a man of learning, and 
a patron of the arts. 

A Funeral Oration 49 

bearing Seguier's insignia, as having taken away his honors with 
his life. One of them held his judge's cap, another his ducal 
coronet, another the ensigns of his order, another his chancellor's 
mace. The four sister arts, painting, music, eloquence, and 
sculpture, were represented in deep distress, bewailing the loss 
of their protector. This group was sustained by the four vir- 
tues, fortitude, temperance, justice, and religion. Above 
these four angels, or genii, received the soul of the deceased. 
The mausoleum was adorned with several other angels, support- 
ing the rows of lighted tapers suspended from the vaulted roof. 
Nothing so magnificent or so well imagined was ever seen ; it is 
Le Brim's masterpiece. The whole church was adorned with 
pictures, devices, and emblems, which all bore some relation to 
the life or office of the chancellor ; and some of his noble actions 
were represented in painting. Madame de Verneuil 1 offered to 
purchase all this decoration at a great price ; but it was unani- 
mously resolved by those who had contributed to it, to adorn a 
gallery with it, and to consecrate it as an everlasting monument 
of their gratitude and magnificence. 

The assembly was grand and numerous, but without confu- 
sion. ... A young father of the Oratory came to speak the 
funeral oration. I desired M. de Tulle 2 to bid him come down, 
and to mount the pulpit in his place, since nothing could sustain 
the beauty of the spectacle and the excellence of the music but 
the force of his eloquence. My child, this young man trembled 
when he began, and we all trembled for him. Our ears were at 
first struck with a provincial accent ; he is of Marseilles, and is 
called Laisne. But as he recovered from his confusion, he be- 
came so brilliant ; established himself so well ; gave so just a 
measure of praise to the deceased ; touched with so much ad- 
dress and delicacy all the passages in his life where delicacy was 
required ; placed in so true a light all that was most worthy of 
admiration; employed all the charms of expression, all the 
masterly strokes of eloquence, with so much propriety and so 
much grace, that every one present, without exception, burst 

1 S^guier's daughter. 

2 Mascaron, the famous preacher. 

50 A French Letter Writer 

into applause, charmed with so perfect, so finished a perform- 
ance. He is twenty-eight years of age, the intimate friend of 
M. de Tulle, who accompanied him when he left the assembly. 
We were for naming him the Chevalier Mascaron, and I think 
he will even surpass his friend. 

As for the music, it was fine beyond all description, Baptiste l 
exerted himself to the utmost, and was assisted by all the king's 
musicians. There was an addition made to that fine Miserere; 
and there was aLibera, which filled the eyes of the whole assembly 
with tears. I do not think the music in heaven could exceed it. 

There were several prelates present. I desired Guitaud to 
look for the good bishop of Marseilles, but we could not see him. 
I whispered him that if it had been the funeral oration of any 
person living, to whom he might have made his court by it, he 
would not have failed to have been there. This little pleasantry 
made us laugh, in spite of the solemnity of the ceremony. . . . 

30. A Challenge to a Duel 2 

... A quarrel of a singular nature is the news of the day 
at St.-Germain. The chevalier de Vendome and M. de Vivonne 
are the humble servants of Madame de Ludre. The chevalier 
expressed a wish of compelling M. de Vivonne to resign his 
pretensions. "But on what grounds?" he was asked. Why, 
he would fight M. de Vivonne. They laughed at him. It was, 
however, no joke ; he said he would fight him. And he mounted 
his horse, to take the field. But the best of the story was Vi- 
vonne's reply to the person who brought him the challenge. 
He is confined to his room by a wound in his arm, and receiving 
the condolence of the whole court, ignorant of the threat of his 
rival. "I, gentlemen," said he, "I fight! He may fight if he 
pleases, but I defy him to make me fight. Let him get his 
shoulder broken, let the surgeon make twenty incisions in his 
arm, and then" it was thought he was going to say, we will 
fight "and then," said he, "perhaps we may be friends. But 
the man must be jesting to think of firing at me ! A pretty proj- 

1 Jean Baptiste Lully, a well-known composer, 

2 Madame de SeVigne", Letters, pp. 121-122. 

The Procession of St.-Genevieve 51 

ect truly 1 He might as well fire at the door of a coach-house. 1 
I repent, however, having saved his life in crossing the Rhine, 
and will do no more such generous actions till I have the nativ- 
ity cast 2 of those I intend to assist. Would any one have 
thought, when I was remounting this fellow on his horse, that 
a few weeks afterward he would want to shoot me through the 
head for my kindness? " This speech, from the tone and man- 
ner in which it was delivered, had so droll an effect that nothing 
else is talked of at St.-Germain. 

31. An Accident to an Archbishop 3 

The archbishop of Reims, as he returned yesterday from St.- 
Germain, met with a curious adventure. He drove at his usual 
rate, like a whirlwind. If he thinks himself a great man, his 
servants think him still greater. They passed through Nan- 
terre, trot, trot, trot, when they met a man on horseback, 
and in an insolent tone bade him clear the way. The poor man 
used his utmost endeavors to avoid the danger that threatened 
him, but his horse proved unmanageable. In short, the coach 
and six turned them both topsy-turvy ; but at the same time the 
coach too was completely overturned. In an instant the horse 
and the man, instead of amusing themselves with having their 
limbs broken, rose almost miraculously; the man remounted, 
and galloped away, and is galloping still for aught I know, 
while the servants, the archbishop's coachman, and the arch- 
bishop himself at the head of them, cried out, "Stop that vil- 
lain, stop him, thrash him soundly!" The rage of the arch- 
bishop was so great that afterward, in relating the adventure, 
he said, "If I could have caught that rascal, I would have broken 
all his bones, and cut off both his ears." . . . 

32. The Procession of St.-Genevieve 4 

Guess from whence I write to you, my dear, from M. de 
Pomponne's, as you will perceive by the few lines which Madame 

1 M. de Vivonne was very stout. He had been wounded while crossing the Rhine. 

2 An astrological reference, 

3 Madame de SeVigne", Letters, pp. 140-141, 

4 Madame de Se"vigne, Letters, pp. 147-148. 

52 A French Letter Writer 

de Vins sends you with this. I have been with her, the abbe 
Arnauld, and D'Hacqueville to see the procession of St. -Gene- 
vie ve l pass. We returned in very good time, we were back 
by two o'clock ; there are many that will not return till night. 
Do you know that this procession is considered a very fine sight? 
It is attended by all the religious orders in their respective habits, 
the curates of the several parishes, and all the canons of Notre 
Dame, preceded by the archbishop of Paris in his pontificals and 
on foot, giving his benediction to the right and left as he goes, 
till he comes to the cathedral ; I should have said to the left 
only, for the abbe of St.-Genevieve marches on the right, bare- 
foot, and preceded by a hundred and fifty monks, barefoot, also ; 
the cross and miter are borne before him like the archbishop, 
and he gives his benedictions in the same manner, but with great 
apparent devotion, humility, and fasting, and an air of peni- 
tence which show that he is to say mass at Notre Dame. The 
parliament, 2 in their red robes, -and the principal companies, 
follow the shrine of the saint, which glitters with precious stones, 
and is carried by twenty men clad in white, and barefoot. The 
provost of the merchants and four counselors are left as hostages 
at the church of St.-Genevieve, for the return of this precious 
treasure. You will ask me, perhaps, why the shrine was exposed. 
It was to put a stop to the continual rains we have had, and to 
obtain warm and dry weather, which happened at the very time 
they were making preparations for the procession ; to which, 
as it was intended to obtain for us all kinds of blessings, I pre- 
sume we owe his Majesty's return, who is expected here on 
Sunday next. . . . 

33, The Execution of La Brinvilliers 3 

At length, it is all over ; La Brinvilliers is in the air. After 
her execution her poor little body was thrown into a large fire, 
and her ashes dispersed by the wind, so that whenever we breathe, 
we shall inhale some particles of her, and by the communication 

1 Patron saint of Paris. 

2 The law court of Paris. 

3 Madame de Sevigne", Letters, pp. 2i8-2iQ. 

At Versailles 53 

of the minute spirits, we all may be infected with the desire of 
poisoning, to our no small surprise. She was condemned yes- 
terday ; and this morning her sentence was read to her, which 
was to perform the amende honorable in the church of Notre 
Dame ; and, after that, to have her head cut off, her body burned, 
and her ashes thrown into the air. They were for giving her the 
question, 1 but she told them there was no occasion for that, and 
that she would confess everything; accordingly, she was till 
five o'clock in the evening relating the story of her life, which 
has been more shocking than was even imagined. She gave 
poison to her father ten times successively, but without effect ; 
and also to her brother, and several others, at the same time 
preserving the appearance of the greatest love and confidence. 
. . . Notwithstanding this confession, they gave her the ques- 
tion, ordinary and extraordinary, the next morning; but this 
extorted nothing more from her. She desired to speak with the 
procurator-general. No one yet knows the subject of their 
conversation. At six o'clock she was carried in a cart, . . . 
with a cord round her neck, to the church of Notre Dame, to per- 
form the amende honorable; after which, she was put again into 
the Same cart, where I saw her, in a mob-cap and an under- 
garment, riding backward, and reclining on a truss of straw, 
with a confessor on one side, and the hangman on the other. 
Indeed, my child, the sight made me shudder. Those who saw 
the execution say she mounted the scaffold with great courage. 
I was on the bridge of Notre Dame with the good D'Escars; 
never was Paris in such commotion, nor its attention so fixed 
upon one event. Yet, ask many people what they saw and they 
will tell you they saw, like me, nothing but a mob-cap ; but after 
all, the whole day has been dedicated to this tragedy. . . . 

34. At Versailles 2 

We have here a change of scene, which will appear as agreeable 
to you as it does to every one else. I was on Saturday 3 at Ver- 

1 i.e., for subjecting her to torture. 

2 Madame de SeVigne, Letters, pp. 220-223. 

3 This letter was written on July 29, 1676. 

54 A French Letter Writer 

sallies with the Villars. You know the ceremony of attending 
on the queen at her toilette, at mass, and at dinner ; but there 
is now no necessity of being stifled with the heat and with the 
crowd, while their Majesties dine ; for at three, the king and 
queen, Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle, 1 the princes and 
princesses, Madame de Montespan and her train, the courtiers 
and the ladies, in short, the whole court of France, meet 
in that fine apartment of the king's, which you know. It is 
furnished with the utmost magnificence ; they know not there 
what it is to be incommoded with heat, and pass from one room 
to another without being crowded. A game at reversis gives 
form to the assembly, and fixes everything. The four sides 
are : the king and Madame de Montespan, who holds the cards 
for both ; Monsieur, the queen, and Madame de Soubize ; Dan- 
geau and his partner ; Langlee and his partners. The baize is 
covered with a thousand louis d'ors ; they use no other counters. 
I saw Dangeau play, and could not help observing how awkward 
the rest of us appear in comparison with him. He thinks of 
nothing but his game; gains where others lose; takes every 
advantage ; nothing escapes or distracts him ; in short, his good 
conduct defies fortune. Thus, two hundred thousand francs in 
ten days, a hundred thousand crowns in a month, are added to 
his account-book under the head received. He said I was a part- 
ner in his play, so that I was seated very agreeably and con- 

I bowed to the king in the way you taught me ; and he je- 
turned my salutation as if I were young and handsome. The 
queen talked to me of my illness, nor did she leave you unmen- 
tioned. The duke paid me a thousand of those unmeaning 
compliments which he bestows so liberally. Marshal de Lorges 
attacked me in the name of the chevalier de Grignan ; and, in 
short, tutti quanti? You know what it is to receive a word from 
every one who passes you. 

Madame de Montespan talked to me of Bourbon, and desired 

1 Monsieur, the due d'Orleans ; Madame, his wife ; Mademoiselle,, cousin-german 
of Louis XIV. 

2 "All the rest." 

At Versailles 55 

me to tell her how I liked Vichy, 1 and whether I had found any 
benefit there. She said that Bourbon, instead of removing the 
pain from one of her knees, had given her a pain in both. CC I 
thought her back very flat," as said the wife of marshal de La 
Meilleraie. Her beauty and her shape are really surprising; 
she is much thinner than she was, and yet neither her eyes, her 
lips, nor her complexion are injured. She was dressed in French 
point, her hair in a thousand curls, and the two from her temples 
very low upon her cheeks ; she wore on her head black ribbons, 
and the pearls of the marshal de 1'HdpitaTs wife, embellished 
with buckles and pendants of the most exquisite diamonds, with 
three or four bodkins, but no headdress. In a word, she ap- 
peared a triumphant beauty, calculated to raise the admiration 
of all the ambassadors. She has heard that complaints were 
made of her having prevented all France from seeing the king ; 
she has restored him, as you see, and you cannot imagine the 
delight this has occasioned nor the splendor it has given to the 

This agreeable confusion, without confusion, of all the most 
select persons in the kingdom, lasts from three o'clock till six. 
If any couriers arrive, the king retires to read his letters, and 
returns to the assembly. There is always music, to which he 
sometimes listens, and which has an admirable effect ; in the 
meantime he chats with the ladies who are accustomed to have 
that honor. They leave their game at six o'clock, without the 
trouble of reckoning, because they use no marks or counters. 
The pools are five, six, or seven hundred, and sometimes of a 
thousand or twelve hundred, louis d'ors. In the beginning, each 
side pools twenty-five ; that makes a hundred, and the dealer 
afterward pools ten. The person who holds the quinola 2 re- 
ceives four louis from each side ; they pass ; and when one plays 
and does not take the pool, it is. a forfeit of sixteen, to teach one 
not to play wrong. They talk incessantly, and conceal nothing. 
"How many hearts have you?" "I have two." "I have 
three." "I have one." "I have four." Dangeau is -delighted 

1 A fashionable watering-place. 

2 The name given to the knave of hearts in the game of reversis. 

56 A French Letter Writer 

with all this tittle-tattle ; he discovers the cards they have in 
their hands, he draws his conclusions, and is directed in his 
play by their indiscretion. I observed with pleasure his great 
skill and dexterity. Indeed, he is the only man who sees through 
the backs of the cards, for he knows all the remaining suits. 

At six they take the air in a calash; the king, Madame de 
Montespan, Monsieur, Madame de Thianges, and Mademoi- 
selle de'Heudicourt upon the folding seat, which seems to her a 
place in Paradise. . . . You know how these calashes are 
made ; they do not sit face to face in them but all look the same 
way. The queen was in another with the princesses ; the whole 
court followed in groups to suit the fancy. They went after- 
ward in gondolas upon the canal, where there was music; at 
ten the comedy began, and at twelve they concluded the day 
with the Spanish entertainment of media-nocke. 1 Thus we 
passed the Saturday. . . . 

1 A Spanish term for a hearty meal of meat, eaten just after the stroke of mid- 
night, when a feast day succeeds a fast day. 


FREDERICA SOPHIA WILHELMINA, the eldest daughter of 
Frederick William I and a sister of Frederick the Great, was 
born in Potsdam in 1709. She died in 1758, on the day of 
her brother's defeat at Hochkirch during the Seven. Years' 
War. Her autobiography, though by no means always 
accurate, is an historical document of considerable value. 
She describes interestingly the personages, both great and 
small, with whom, as princess royal, she came into contact 
at the court of Berlin and afterward, as margravine, at the 
court of Baireuth. 

35. A Visit from Peter the Great 2 

I forgot to mention, in the preceding year, 3 the arrival of 
Peter the Great at Berlin. The anecdote is curious enough to 
deserve a place in these memoirs. The tsar, who was uncom- 
monly fond of traveling, was coming from Holland. As he dis- 
liked magnificence and society, he requested the king to lodge 
him in a summer-house which the queen had in one of the sub- 
urbs of Berlin. Her Majesty was extremely sorry for this ; she 
had erected a very pretty building which she had decorated in a 
style of great splendor. The porcelain-gallery was superb, and 
all the rooms were adorned with beautiful glasses. As this 
charming retreat was really a jewel, it was called Mon-Bijou. 
A very pretty garden on the banks of the river heightened its 

In order to prevent the mischief which the Russian gentlemen 
had done in other places where they had lodged, the queen* 

1 Memoirs of Frederica Sophia Wilhelmina, Margravine of Baireiiih, edited by 
W. D. Howells. 2 vols- Boston, 1877. James R. Osgood and Company. 

2 Memoirs of Frederica Sophia Wilhelmina, vol. i, pp. 54~58. 

3 I.e., in 1718. 

58 Memoirs of a German Princess 

ordered the principal furniture, and whatever was most brittle, 
to be removed. The tsar, his spouse, and their court arrived 
some days after by water at Mon-Bijou. The king and the 
queen received them on their landing, and the king handed the 
tsarina from the boat. The tsar was no sooner landed than he 
held out his hand to the king and said : "I am glad to see you, 
brother Frederick. 35 He afterward approached the queen with 
the intention to salute her, but she pushed him back. The 
tsarina first kissed the queen's hands several times, and after- 
ward introduced to her the duke and duchess of Mecklenburg, 
who had accompanied them, and four hundred pretended ladies 
of their suite. These were mostly German servant-girls, who 
officiated as maids of honor, waiting-maids, cooks, and washer- 
women. The queen would not speak to these creatures, and the 
tsarina, to be revenged, treated the princesses of the blood with 
much haughtiness ; and it was with very great difficulty that the 
king prevailed with the queen to notice the Russian ladies. I 
saw the whole of this court the next day, when the tsar and 
tsarina came to visit the queen. Her Majesty received them in 
the state-rooms of the palace, and went to meet them in the 
hall of the guards. The queen gave her hand to the tsarina, 
placing her at her right, and conducted her into the audience 

The king and the tsar followed. As soon as the latter saw me 
he knew me again, having seen me five years before. He took 
me up in his arms and rubbed the very skin of! my face with his 
rude kisses. I boxed his ears and struggled as much as I could, 
saying that I would not allow any such familiarities, and that 
he was dishonoring me. He laughed very much at this idea, 
and amused himself a long time at my expense. I had previ- 
ously been instructed what to say ; and I spoke to him of his 
fleet and his conquests, which delighted him so much that he 
. several times told the tsarina that if he could have a child like 
me he would willingly give up one of his provinces ; the tsarina 
also tenderly caressed me. She and the queen placed themselves 
under the canopy, each in an armchair ; I was by the side of the 
queen, and the princesses of the blood opposite to her Majesty. 

A Visit from Peter the Great 59 

The tsarina was short and stout, very tawny, and her figure 
was altogether destitute of gracefulness. Its appearance suffi- 
ciently betrayed her low origin. To have judged by her attire 
one would have taken her for a German stage-actress. Her 
robe had been purchased of an old-clothes broker ; it was made 
in the antique fashion, and heavily laden with silver and grease. 
The front of her stays was adorned with, jewels, singularly 
placed ; they represented a double eagle, badly set, the wings 
of which were of small stones. She wore a dozen orders, and as 
many portraits of saints and relics, fastened to the facing of her 
gown, so that when she walked, the jumbling of all these orders 
and portraits one against the other made a tinkling noise like a 
mule in harness. 

The tsar, on the contrary, was very tall and pretty well made ; 
his face was handsome, but his countenance had something 
savage about it which inspired fear. He was dressed as a navy 
officer, and wore a plain coat. The tsarina, who spoke very bad 
German, and did not well understand what was spoken to her 
by the queen, beckoned to her fool and conversed with her in 
Russian. This poor creature was a Princess Galitzin who had 
been compelled to fulfill that office in order to save her life ; 
having been implicated in a conspiracy against the tsar, she had 
twice undergone the punishment of the knout. I do not know 
what she said to the tsarina, but the latter every now and then 
laughed aloud. 

At length we sat down to table, where the tsar placed himself 
near the queen. It is well known that this prince had been 
poisoned in his youth ; a very subtle venom had attacked his 
nerves, whence he was frequently subject to certain involuntary 
convulsions. He was seized with a fit whilst at table ; he made 
many contortions, and as he was violently gesticulating with a 
knife in his hand near the queen, the latter was afraid and wanted 
several times to rise from her seat. The tsar begged her to be 
easy, protesting that he should not do her any harm, and at the 
same time seized her hand, which he squeezed so violently that 
the queen screamed for mercy, which made him laugh heartily ; 
and he observed that the bones of her Majesty were more deli- 

60 Memoirs of a German Princess 

cate than those of his Catherine. Everything was prepared for 
a ball after supper ; but he ran away as soon as he rose from 
table, and went back alone and on foot to Mon-Bijou. 

Two days afterward this court of barbarians at length set out 
on their journey back. The queen immediately hastened to 
Mon-Bijou, and what desolation was there visible ! I never 
beheld anything like it. ... This elegant palace was left by 
them in so ruinous a state that the queen was absolutely obliged 
to rebuild nearly the whole of it. 

36. Katte and the Youthful Frederick * 

Frederick William I brought up his eldest son, the prince royal, with 
extreme rigor. So harsh was his treatment that in 1730 the youthful 
Frederick, then eighteen years of age, made preparations to leave Prus- 
sia, with the assistance of his two friends, lieutenants Katte and Keith. 
Their plans being discovered, Keith managed to escape to Holland, but 
Frederick and Katte were arrested, tried by court-martial for attempted 
desertion from the army, and condemned to death. 

The king would have suffered the sentence to be executed had 
not all the foreign powers interceded for the prince, and par- 
ticularly the emperor and the states-general. Seckendorff 
exerted himself very much ; as he had caused the mischief, he 
wished to repair it. He told the king that though the prince 
royal was his son, he belonged to the empire, and that his Maj- 
esty had no right over him. It was with very great difficulty 
he obtained his pardon. His continual solicitations, however, 
gradually weakened the sanguinary intentions of the king. 
Grumkow, 2 who became aware of this change, sought to take to 
himself the merit of it with my brother. He went to Custrin, 
and prevailed with the prince to write and make his submission 
to the king. 

Seckendorff also attempted to save Katte; but the king 
remained inflexible. . . . 

Major Schenk now came to inform him that his execution 
was to take place at Custrin, and that the coach, which was to 

1 Memoirs of Frederica Sophia Wilkelmina, vol. i, pp. 239-246. 

2 A member of the old Pomeranian nobility and, like Seckendorff, one of the 
intimates of Frederick William I. 

Katte and the Youthful Frederick 61 

convey him thither, was waiting for him. He appeared some- 
what surprised at this intelligence ; but soon resuming his tran- 
quillity, he with a smiling countenance followed M. de Schenk, 
who got into the coach with him, besides two other officers of 
the horse-guards. ... He arrived at Custrin at nine o'clock 
in the morning, and was taken directly to the scaffold. 

The day before, General Lepel, governor of the fortress, and 
President Munchow had conducted my brother to an apartment 
that had been purposely prepared for him on the floor above that 
where he had lodged. He there found a bed and some furniture. 
The window-curtains were let down, which at first prevented his 
seeing what was going on without. A plain brown coat was 
brought to him, in which he was obliged to dress himself. I for- 
got to state that a similar coat had been given to Katte. The 
general, having then drawn up the curtains, pointed out to the 
prince a scaffold covered with black, and as high as the window, 
which had been widened and the bars of which had been removed. 
After this, both the general and Munchow retired. This sight, 
and the downcast look of Munchow, induced my brother to 
think that sentence of death was going to be passed upon him, 
and that these preparations regarded himself, which caused him 
a violent agitation. 

General Lepel and President Munchow entered the prince's 
room in the morning a little before Katte appeared, and 
endeavored to prepare the prince in the best manner they could 
for this horrible scene. It is said that he was in such a state of 
despair and grief as had never before been witnessed. In the 
meantime Schenk was rendering the like friendly office to Kattk 
On entering the fortress he said to him: "Continue firm, my 
dear Katte ; you are going to undergo a severe trial ; you are at 
Custrin, and you will see the prince royal." " Rather say," 
answered Katte, "that I am going to have the greatest consola- 
tion that could have been granted to me." With these words 
he ascended the scaffold. My unfortunate brother was then 
forced to stand at the window. He attempted to throw himself 
out of it, but was prevented. "I entreat you, for Heaven's 
sake," said the prince to those who were around him, "delay 

62 Memoirs of a German Princess 

the execution ; I shall inform the king that I am ready to re- 
nounce my right to the crown, if his Majesty will pardon Katte." 
M. de Munchow stopped the prince's mouth with a handkerchief. 
When the prince saw Katte, he exclaimed: "How wretched I 
am, my dear Katte ! I am the cause of your death. Would to 
Heaven I were in your place!" "Ah!" replied Katte, "if I 
had a thousand lives, I would sacrifice them all for your royal 
highness." At the same time he dropped on his knees. One of 
his servants attempted to blindfold him, but he would not suffer 
it, and, elevating his thoughts to Heaven, he ejaculated: "My 
God! I commit my soul into thy hands!" Scarcely had he 
pronounced these words, when his head, cut off at one blow, 
rolled at his feet. The trunk, in its fall, extended its arms 
toward the window where my brother had been ; but he was 
there no longer : he had fainted away, and the gentlemen about 
him had laid him on his bed, where he remained senseless for 
some hours. When he recovered his senses, the first object that 
struck his eyes was the mangled corpse of poor Katte, which had 
been placed in such a manner that he could not avoid seeing it. 
This ghastly object threw him into a second swoon, which was 
succeeded by a violent fever. M. de Munchow, in spite of the 
orders of the king, let the curtains down, and sent for physicians, 
who found the prince in a very dangerous state. He would not 
take anything that was given him. His mind was so bewildered, 
and his agitation so great, that he would have destroyed himself 
had he not been prevented. Religious considerations, it was 
thought, would soften him ; a clergyman was sent for to com- 
rort him : but all in vain ; the violent convulsions ceased only 
when his strength was exhausted. Tears succeeded to these 
dreadful agitations. It was with extreme difficulty that he 
was prevailed upon to take medicine. Nothing could intiuce 
him to do it, but the representation that he would also cause 
the queen's death and mine, if he persisted in his own destruc- 
tion. A profound melancholy fastened upon him for a long time, 
and for three successive days his life was in imminent danger. 
The body of Katte remained exposed on the scaffold until sun- 
set. It was buried in one of the bastions of the fortress. . . . 

The Court of Baireuth 63 

Three or four days after, Grumkow, as I have already 
observed, obtained leave from the king to go to Ciistrin. He 
entered my brother's room with a submissive and respectful 
countenance. "I come," said he, "to entreat your royal high- 
ness's pardon for the little attention I have hitherto paid to your 
royal highness : I have been forced to obey the king's commands ; 
I have even punctually executed them, to be the better enabled 
to render you service. The pain which has been given you by 
the death of Katte has caused the most heartfelt sorrow both to 
SeckendorfT and myself. We used all our efforts to save him, 
but in vain. We are going to exert ourselves still more seriously 
to obtain your reconciliation with the king : but your royal high- 
ness must lend us a helping hand, and give me a letter full of 
submission to the king ; I will present it to his Majesty, and 
second it with all my power." My brother could scarcely be 
induced to take this step ; he complied, however, in the end. 

Grumkow drew so affecting a picture of the sad condition of 
the prince that he moved the heart of the king, who granted his 

37. The Court of Baireuth 1 

Wilhelmina in 1731 was married to the hereditary prince of Baireuth, 
a petty margraviate in Bavaria. She gives a sprightly account of her 
reception in her new home and of the German court, with its shabby 
imitation of the great royal court at Versailles. 

I arrived at Baireuth the 22d of January, at six o'clock in the 
evening. The details of my reception may not be unacceptable. 
It was as follows : 

After the firing of the musketry, I was harangued on the part 
of the margrave by M. de Doebenek, grand officer of Baireuth. 
He was a tall and stiff figure, affecting to speak pure German, 
and possessing the declamatory art of some of our comedians ; 
in other respects he was a very good and worthy man. We 
entered the town soon afterward, under a triple '"discharge of 
cannon. The coach, in which were the gentlemen, headed the 
procession; mine followed, drawn by six post-horses; then 
followed the carriage with the ladies ; afterward the servants ; 

1 Memoirs of Frederica Sophia Wilhelmina, vol. ii, pp. 58-62. 

64 Memoirs of a German Princess 

and lastly, to complete the cavalcade, six or seven baggage- 
wagons. I was a little vexed at this reception, but I made no 
observations. The margrave, and the two princesses his daugh- 
ters, received me at the foot of the stairs with the court. He 
conducted me first to my apartment, which was so handsome 
that it deserves particular mention. I was introduced into it 
by a long corridor, adorned with the natural tapestry of the 
spider, and so filthy and dirty that it almost turned my stomach. 
I was then conducted into an immense large room, the ceiling 
of which, although antique, constituted its chief ornament ; the 
hangings appeared to have, been very handsome in their time, 
but were now so old and tarnished that it would have been 
impossible to guess what they had represented, without the aid 
of a microscope. The figures were as large as life, and the faces 
so faded and full of holes they seemed so many specters. The 
adjoining closet was hung with a linsey-woolsey, of the color of 
dirt ; at the side of this was another, the green damask quilting 
of which had an admirable effect ; I say quilting, for it was in 
shreds, the cloth appearing through innumerable places. I 
next entered my bedchamber, which I found decorated with 
green damask, studded over with golden-colored eagles, sadly 
frayed. My bed was so handsome and so very new, that in 
fifteen days' time the curtains would have disappeared ; for as 
soon as they were touched by the hand they fell into pieces. 
This magnificence, to which I had been unaccustomed, surprised 
me very much. . . . 

I was introduced soon after my arrival to the court and to the 
foreigners. Here follow their portraits : and to begin with the 
margrave. 1 

This prince, aged forty-three years, was rather handsome 
than ugly ; his physiognomy was not prepossessing ; it might 
be numbered among those which have no meaning. He was 
very thin and bow-legged ; he had neither air nor grace, though 
he attempted to display both ; and his ill-conditioned body con- 
tained as narrow a mind; he knew so little that he actually 
thought that he had a great deal of wit. The margrave was, 

1 Wilhelmina's father-in-law. 

The Court of Baireuth 65 

however, very polite, though he was destitute of that ease and 
address which sets off politeness to advantage. Infatuated with 
vanity, he was continually talking of his knowledge of the art 
of reigning, and of his justice. He would willingly have been 
thought possessed of firmness, and prided himself upon it ; but, 
in fact, he had a great share of weakness and timidity. He was, 
besides, deceitful, jealous, and suspicious. . . . His conduct 
was a mixture of greatness and meanness ; at one moment he 
appeared the emperor, and insisted on a ridiculous etiquette 
which was not agreeable to him, and the next he lowered himself 
so much as almost entirely to forget his dignity ; he was neither 
avaricious nor generous, and never gave without being reminded 
to do so. His greatest fault was being fond of his wine, which 
he drank from morning till night, and which contributed greatly 
to weaken his intellect. I believe that he had not a bad heart. 
His popularity had procured him the love of his subjects. Not- 
withstanding the mediocrity of his talents, he was endowed 
with considerable penetration, and knew completely the char- 
acters of those who composed his administration and court. 
The margrave piqued himself on being a physiognomist, and on 
his power, through that art, of discovering the real characters 
of those who were about him. Several knaves, however, whom 
he retained as spies, caused him to commit various acts of in jus- 
tice by their false representations. I have myself experienced 
the effects of their calumnies. 

Princess Charlotte, eldest daughter of the margrave, might 
have passed for a perfect beauty ; but she was merely a fine 
statue, being totally destitute of manners, and being afflicted 
at times with a derangement of mind. 

The second, Wilhelmina, was tall and well made, but not 
handsome ; this was made up to her in understanding ; she was 
the favorite of her father, whom she governed entirely until my 
arrival; she was of an artful disposition, to which might be 
added insupportable arrogance, with a great deal of deceit and 
coquetry ; her marriage, however, produced a very great change 
in her character, and I can safely say that she now possesses as 
many good qualities as she before possessed bad ones. 

66 Memoirs of a German Princess 

Madame de Gravenreuther, their governess, was a good- 
natured country-girl, who only served to amuse them. Baron 
Stein, the prime minister, is of a great and illustrious house ; 
he has the most elegant manners, with a knowledge of the world ; 
he is a perfect gentleman, but possessed of no great share of 
understanding; he is among the number of those personages 
who say yes to everything, and who do not see into anything 
beyond their nose. 

M. de Voit, my grand master, of as illustrious a house as the 
last, was second minister; he is an agreeable man, who has 
traveled much and has been in the great world ; he is agreeable 
enough in society, and, with the rest, a man of fortune ; but 
his pride and arbitrary manners render him odious to every- 
body. . . . 

M. de Fischer, also a minister, plebeian as he was, found means 
to raise himself by degrees, until he obtained that employ ; he 
had the merit of people of his condition, who rise in the world and 
forget the lowness of their extraction ; he affects the great lord. 
De Fischer is of a restless, intriguing, and ambitious spirit. 
Hence he possesses the confidence of the margrave. . , . 

M. de Corff, grand equerry, might certainly have passed for 
the greatest blockhead of the age; he did not even possess 
common sense, yet imagined, however, that he had a great deal 
of wit : he was what may be truly called a wicked wretch, for he 
was a plotter, a boaster, and a babbler. 

The grand huntsman, De Gleichen, is a worthy and respectable 
man, who meddles with nothing but his business. His barba- 
rous physiognomy bears the impression of his calling. 

The Colonel de Reitzenstein is a very depraved man, addicted 
to every vice, without even a mixture of any virtues : he is no 
longer in service. 

M. de Wittinghoff was the copy of the former. I shall pass 
over the rest in silence, having made mention of these only, 
because they are connected with this memoir. 

The Silesian Campaign 67 

38. The Silesian Campaign 1 

Frederick the Great became king in 1740. The same year the Holy 
Roman Emperor, Charles VI, died, and the Prussian ruler immediately 
made preparations to assert by force of arms the Hohenzollern claims to 
the Austrian province of Silesia. Wilhelmina was at this time visiting 
her royal brother in Berlin. 

I remained fifteen days at Berlin after the king's departure. 
I was loaded with honors and distinctions, well calculated to 
dazzle any other person than myself ; but when we make our 
happiness to consist in a reciprocity of sentiment with the per- 
sons we love we become careless of tinsel, and the smallest mark 
of friendship makes a greater impression than all these vain 
demonstrations. I perceived, during this short stay, that a 
general discontent prevailed throughout the country, and that 
the king had lost in a great measure the love of his subjects. 
He was openly spoken of in disrespectful terms. Some com- 
plained of the want of attention he had shown toward those 
who had been attached to him when prince royal; others of 
his avarice, which they said surpassed that of the late king; 
others of his transports of rage ; and others, again, of his suspi- 
cion, his distrust, his haughtiness, and his dissimulation. Sev- 
eral circumstances witnessed by me induced me to give credit to 
these reports. . . . The news of the death of Charles VI, 
which happened at that time, became the subject of the con- 
versation of the court and the speculations of politicians. 

I arrived at Reinsberg two days after. The king had taken 
quinine and his fever had left him. He still, however, kept his 
room, and never went out during our stay at Reinsberg. It 
was surprising how, overpowered with illness as he was, he could 
get through all his business ; for nothing was done which did not 
pass through his hands. The little time which was left him he 
spent in the company of scientific or witty men. . . . He had a 
concert in the evening, where, notwithstanding his illness, he 
played two or three concertos on the flute ; and, without flattery, 
it may be said he surpasses the greatest masters on this instru- 
ment. The time after supper was dedicated to poetry, for which 

1 Memoirs of Frederica Sophia Wilhelmina, vol. ii, pp. 276-280. 

68 Memoirs of a German Princess 

he possesses high talents and the greatest facility. These things 
were merely recreations for him ; the object which occupied his 
mind was the conquest of Silesia. The arrangements were 
made with so much secrecy and policy that the envoy from 
Vienna, at Berlin, was not informed of his design till it was 
ready to be put into execution. . . . 

In the beginning of December we returned to Berlin. The 
troubles which the death of the emperor would give rise to 
obliged the margrave 1 to return to his dominions ; and I re- 
mained at Berlin, to avoid displeasing the king. As the court, 
had given over mourning, our pleasures began with the carnival, 
which is always renewed, at Berlin, in the months of December 
and January. The king, on Mondays, gave a masked ball at 
the castle; on Tuesday, there was a public concert; and on 
Wednesdays and Fridays, a masked ball in the city, at the 
houses of the principal persons at court. These pleasures were 
of short duration. The king's great project was disclosed on a 
sudden. The troops began to march toward Silesia, and the 
king went to put himself at the head of his army. I was sin- 
cerely affected at taking leave of him. The undertaking in 
which he was embarked was very precarious, and might be of 
very serious consequences to him if he should not succeed 
in it. These reflections made our separation the more 
painfuL . . . 

I set out for Baireuth on the i2th of January, 1741, where I 
arrived in the course of eleven days. The roads were so com- 
pletely destroyed by the rains, that I could only travel at the 
rate of four miles a day. . . . 

I received great satisfaction on hearing the account of the 
taking of Glogow. The king, after besieging this place, took it 
by assault, and by that means became master of the key of 

The count de Cobentzel, envoy from the queen of Hungary, 
arrived shortly afterward at our court. He brought me a letter 
from the last empress-dowager, in which she urged me fervently 
to employ all the influence I had with my brother to move him 

1 Wilhelmina's husband, who had now succeeded to the margraviate of Baireuth. 

The Silesian Campaign 69 

to peace. The queen her daughter l was destitute of money and 
troops, and attacked at an unsuspected moment. Notwith- 
standing her distressing situation, she had absolutely refused to 
listen to the propositions of the king my brother, and resolved 
to suffer the last extremities, rather than cede the four duchies, 
the subject of the dispute. All the efforts of the count de 
Cobentzel, and the advantageous conditions proposed to me, 
were unable to induce me to interfere in this affair. I did not 
even deem it proper to write to the king on the subject ; and 
the more so, as no explanation had been given respecting the 
conditions of the accommodation. 

In the meantime fortune continued to favor the king. The 
battle of Mollwitz was fought on the loth of April, which 
redounded, in every possible way, to his glory. This victory 
proved, in a signal manner, his genius for the military art, as 
nothing could be more masterly than that first attempt. . . . 
The siege and capture of Neisse were the fruits of this victory, 
which terminated in a peace. The joy which I felt at this fortu- 
nate news it is impossible to express. 

1 Maria Theresa, daughter of Charles VI and queen of Hungary. 


THE fourth earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773) was a noble- 
man who achieved success both as a diplomat and an admin- 
istrator, as an orator in the House of Lords, as an essayist, 
and as a wit. "His desirable lot" in what Voltaire, writing 
to him, called the " great lottery" of life included the posts 
of ambassador to Holland, lord lieutenant of Ireland, and 
privy councilor. His fame is now kept alive chiefly by his 
Letters to his only and dearly beloved son, upon whose edu- 
cation for a public career he lavished unremitting care. 
This correspondence began when the son was still a child 
and continued for about thirty years, until shortly before 
the latter's premature death. Lord Chesterfield did not 
write the Letters for publication, but they were given to the 
world by his widow in 1774. They are a classic of English 
literature, the composition of one who was in every sense a 
man of the beau monde. Their author had known a great 
many people of prominence : he numbered Pope, Swift, 
Bolingbroke, Marlborough, Pitt, Montesquieu, and Voltaire 
among his friends ; and his travels and correspondence kept 
him in touch with the .changing phases of European soci- 
ety and politics. The Letters number over four hundred. 
Those here quoted were written between 1748 and 1766. 

39. The Duke of Marlborough 2 

Of all the men that ever I knew in my life (and I knew him 
extremely well), the late duke of Marlborough 3 possessed the 
graces in the highest degree, not to say engrossed them ; and 

1 The Works of Lord Chesterfield. New York, 1863. Harper and Brothers. 

2 Works of Lord Chesterfield, pp. 230-231. 

3 Marlborough died in 1722. This letter was written in 1748. 

The Duke of Marlborough 71 

indeed he got the most by them ; for I will venture (contrary 
to the custom of profound historians, who always assign deep 
causes for great events), to ascribe the better half of the duke 
of Marlborough's greatness and riches to those graces. He was 
eminently illiterate; wrote bad English and spelled it still 
worse. He had no share of what is commonly called parts; 
that is, he had no brightness, nothing shining in his genius. He 
had, most undoubtedly, an excellent good plain understanding, 
with sound judgment. But these alone would probably have 
raised him but something higher than they found him ; which 
was page to King James the Second's queen. There the Graces 
protected and promoted him ; for, while he was an ensign of the 
Guards, the duchess of Cleveland, 1 . . . struck by those very 
graces, gave him five thousand pounds, with which he immedi- 
ately bought an annuity for his life, of five hundred pounds 
a year, of my grandfather, Halifax ; which was the foundation 
of his subsequent fortune. His figure was beautiful; but his 
manner was irresistible, by either man or woman. It was by 
this engaging, graceful manner that he was enabled, during all 
his wars, to connect the various and jarring powers of the Grand 
Alliance, and to carry them on to the main object of the war, 
notwithstanding their private and separate views, jealousies, 
and wrongheadednesses. Whatever court he went to (and he 
was often obliged to go himself to some restive and refractory 
ones), he as constantly prevailed, and brought them in to his 
measures. Heinsius, a venerable old minister, grown gray in 
business, and who had governed the republic of the United 
Provinces 2 for more than forty years, was absolutely governed 
by the duke of Marlborough, as that republic feels to this day. 
He was always cool ; and nobody ever observed the least varia- 
tion in his countenance : he could refuse more gracefully than 
other people could grant ; and those who went away from him 
the most dissatisfied as to the substances of their business were 
yet personally charmed with him, and, in some degree, com- 
forted by his manner. With all his gentleness and gracefulness, 

1 A favorite of Charles II. 

2 The Dutch Netherlands. 

72 Letters of an English Nobleman 

no man living was more conscious of his situation, nor main- 
tained his dignity better. 

40. The Kingdom of Naples l 

You would do well, while you are at Naples, to read some very 
short history of that kingdom. 2 It has had great variety of 
masters, and has occasioned many wars ; the general history of 
which will enable you to ask many proper questions, and to 
receive useful information in return. Inquire into the manner 
and form of that government ; for constitution it has none, being 
an absolute one; but the most absolute governments have 
certain customs and forms, which are more or less observed by 
their respective tyrants. In China it is the fashion for the 
emperors, absolute as they are, to govern with justice and 
equity ; as in the other Oriental monarchies it is the custom to 
govern by violence and cruelty. The king of France, as abso- 
lute, in fact, as any of them is by custom only more gentle ; for 
I know of no constitutional bar to his will. England is now the 
only monarchy in the world that can properly be said to have a 
constitution ; for the people's rights and liberties are secured by 
laws ; and I cannot reckon Sweden and Poland to be monarchies, 
those two kings having little more to say than the doge of Venice. 

41. The Age of Louis XIV 3 

Voltaire sent me, from Berlin, his Slide de Louis XI V^ It 
came at a very proper time ; Lord Bolingbroke 5 had just taught 
me how history should be read; Voltaire shows me how it 
should be written. I am sensible that it will meet with almost as 
many critics as readers. Voltaire must be criticised; besides, 
every man's favourite is attacked: for every prejudice is ex- 
posed, and our prejudices are our mistresses ; reason is at best 

1 Works of Lord Chesterfield, pp. 333-334. 

2 The kingdom of Naples, or the Two Sicilies, was at this time (1750) under the 
Bourbon ruler Charles III. 

3 Works of Lord Chesterfield, pp. 452-453. 

4 Voltaire's Age oj Louis XIV was printed in 1751. 

5 An English statesman (1678-1 75 *) author of many political and philosophic* 

The Age of Louis XIV 73 

our wife, very often heard indeed, but seldom minded. It is 
the history of the human understanding, written by a man of 
parts, for the use of men of parts. Weak minds will not like it, 
even though they do not understand it; which is commonly 
the measure of their admiration. Dull ones will want those 
minute and uninteresting details with which most other histories 
are encumbered. He tells me all I want to know, and nothing 
more. His reflections are short, just, and produce others in his 
readers. Free from religious, philosophical, political, and 
national prejudices, beyond any historian I ever met with, he 
relates all those matters as truly and as impartially, as certain 
regards, which must always be to some degree observed, will 
allow him : for one sees plainly, that he often says much less 
than he would say, if he might. He has made me much better 
acquainted with the time of Louis XIV than the innumerable 
volumes which I had read could not ; and has suggested this 
reflection to me, which I had never made before. The vanity 
of Louis, not his knowledge, made him encourage all, and intro- 
duce many arts and sciences in his country. He opened in 
a manner the human understanding in France, and brought it 
to its utmost perfection; his age equaled in all, and greatly 
exceeded in many things (pardon me, pedants !) the Augustan. 
This was great and rapid; but still it might be done, by the 
encouragement, the applause, and the rewards of a vain, liberal, 
and magnificent prince. What is much more surprising is, that 
he stopped the operations of the human mind just where he 
pleased; and seemed to say, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no 
farther." For, a bigot, to his religion, and jealous of his power, 
free and rational thoughts upon either never entered into a 
French head during his reign ; and the greatest geniuses that 
ever any age produced never entertained a doubt of the divine 
right of kings, or the infallibility of the Church. Poets, orators, 
and philosophers, ignorant of their natural rights, cherished 
their chains ; and blind, active faith triumphed, in those great 
minds, over silent and passive reason. The reverse of this 
seems now to be the case in France ; reason opens itself ; fancy 
and invention fade and decline. 

74 Letters of an English Nobleman 

42. German Courts 1 

Though the manners and customs of the several courts of 
Germany are in general the same, yet every one has its particu- 
lar characteristic ; some peculiarity or other, which distinguishes 
it from the next. This you should carefully attend to and 
immediately adopt. Nothing flatters people more, or makes 
strangers so welcome, as such an occasional conformity. I do not 
mean by this that you should mimic the air and stiffness of every 
awkward German court ; no, by no means ; but I mean that 
you should only cheerfully comply and fall in with certain local 
habits, such as ceremonies, diet, turn of conversation, etc. 
People who are lately come from Paris, and who have been a 
good while there, are generally suspected, and especially in 
Germany, of having a degree of contempt for every other place. 
Take great care that nothing of this kind appear, at least out- 
wardly, in your behavior ; but commend whatever deserves any 
degree of commendation, without comparing it with what you 
may have left, much better of the same kind, at Paris. As for 
instance, the German kitchen, is, without doubt, execrable, and 
the French delicious : however, never commend the French 
kitchen at a German table ; but eat of what you can find toler- 
able there, and commend it, without comparing it to any thing 
better. I have known many British Yahoos, 2 who, though 
while they were at Paris conformed to no one French custom, as 
soon as they got anywhere else, talked of nothing but what they 
did, saw, and ate" at Paris. The freedom of the French is not to 
be used indiscriminately at all the courts in Germany, though 
their easiness may, and ought ; but that too at some places more 
than others. The courts of Mannheim and Bonn I take to be 
a little more unbarbarized than some others ; that of Mayence, 3 
an ecclesiastical one, as well as that of Treves 4 (neither of which 
is much frequented by foreigners), retains, I conceive, a great 
deal of the Goth and Vandal still. There, more reserve and 

1 Works of Lord Chesterfield, p. 457. 

2 Louts. The name was originated by Swift in Gulliver's Travels. 

3 Ger. Mainz. 

4 Ger. Trier. 

The Affairs of France 75 

ceremony are necessary; and not a word of the French. At 
Berlin, you cannot be too French. Hanover, Brunswick, Cassel, 
etc. are of the mixed kind. 

43. The Affairs of France * 

Wherever you are, inform yourself minutely of, and attend 
particularly to, the affairs of France ; they grow serious, and in 
my opinion will grow more and more so every day. 2 The king 3 
is despised, and I do not wonder at it ; but he has brought it 
about to be hated at the same time, which seldom happens to 
the same man. His ministers are known to be as disunited as 
incapable; he hesitates between the Church and the parle- 
ments, like the ass in the fable, that starved between two 
hampers of hay; . . . jealous of the parlements, who would 
support his authority ; and a devoted bigot to the Church, that 
would destroy it. The people are poor, consequently discon- 
tented : those who have religion are divided in their notions of 
it : which is saying that they hate one another. The clergy 
never do forgive; much less will they forgive the parlement: 
the parlement never will forgive them. The army must, with- 
out doubt, take, in their own minds at least, different parts 
in all- these disputes, which upon occasion would break out. 
Armies, though always the supporters and tools of absolute 
power for the time being, are always the destroyers of it too ; 
by frequently changing the hands in which they think proper 
to lodge it. This was the case of the Praetorian bands, who 
deposed and murdered the monsters they had raised to oppress 
mankind. 4 The janizaries in Turkey and the regiments of 
guards in Russia do the same now. The French nation reasons 
freely, which they never did before, upon matters of religion and 
government ; . . . the officers do so too ; in short, all the symp- 
toms, which I have ever met with in history, previous to great 
changes and revolutions in government, now exist and daily 
increase in France. 

1 Works of Lord Chesterfield, pp. 509-510. 

2 This letter was written in 1753. 
s Louis XV. 

4 The reference is to the Praetorian Guard of Roman emperors. 

76 Letters of an English Nobleman 

44. Frederick the Great 1 

The king of Prussia's late victory you are better informed of 
than we are here. 2 It has given infinite joy to the unthinking 
public, who are not aware that it comes too late in the year, and 
too late in the war, to be attended with any very great conse- 
quences. There are six or seven thousand of the human species 
less than there were a month ago, and that seems to me to be all. 
However, I am glad of it, upon account of the pleasure and the 
glory which it gives the king of Prussia, to whom I wish well as 
a man, more than as a king. And surely he is so great a man, 
that had he lived seventeen or eighteen hundred years ago, and 
his life been transmitted to us in a language that we could not 
very well understand,! mean either Greek or Latin, we should 
have talked of him as we do now of your Alexander, your Caesars, 
and others, with whom, I believe, we have but a very slight 
acquaintance. Au reste, I do not see that his affairs are much 
mended by this victory. The same combination of the great 
powers of Europe against him still subsists, and must at last pre- 
vail. 3 I believe the French army will melt away, as is usual, 
in Germany ; but his army is extremely diminished by battles, 
fatigues, and desertion: and he will find great difficulties in 
recruiting it, from his own already exhausted dominions. He 
must therefore, and to be sure will, negotiate privately with the 
French, and get better terms that way than he could any other. 

45. The Peace of Paris 4 

I have received your letter, and believe that your prelimi- 
naries are very near the mark ; 5 and, upon that supposition, I 
think we have made a tolerably good bargain with Spain ; at 
least fully as good as I expected and almost as good as I wished, 
though I do not believe that we have got all Florida ; but if we 

1 Works of Lord Chesterfield, p. 540. 

2 This letter was written in 1757, after Frederick's victory over the French 
at Rossbach. 

3 The alliance of Austria, France, Russia, Saxony, and Sweden. 

4 Works of Lord Chesterfield, p. 573. 

5 This letter was written on November 13, 1762 ; the Peace of Paris was signed on 
February 10, 1763. 

The Stamp Act 77 

have St. Augustine, as I suppose, that, by the figure of pars pro 
totOj will be called ,all Florida. We have by no means made so 
good a bargain with France ; for, in truth, what do we get by 
it, except Canada, with a very proper boundary of the river 
Mississippi ! and that is all. . . . 

The three Leeward Islands, which the French yield to us, are 
not, all together, worth half so much as that of St. Lucia, which 
we give up to them. Senegal is not worth one quarter of Goree. 
The restrictions of the French, in the East Indies, are as absurd 
and impracticable as those of Newfoundland ; and you will live 
to see the French trade to the East Indies, just as they did 
before the war. But after all I have said, the articles are as 
good as I expected with France, when I considered that no one 
single person who carried on this negotiation on our part was 
ever concerned or consulted in any negotiation before. Upon 
the whole, then, the acquisition of Canada has cost us fourscore 
millions sterling. I am convinced we might have kept Guada- 
loupe, if our negotiators had known how to have gone about it. 

His most faithful Majesty of Portugal is the best off of any 
body in this transaction, for he saves his kingdom by it, and has 
not laid out one moidore in defense of it. Spain, 1 thank God, 
in some measure, paye les pots casses; for, besides St. Augustine, 
logwood, etc. it has lost at least four millions sterling, in money, 
ships, etc. 

46. The Stamp Act 2 

You have to be sure had from the office an account of what 
the parliament did, or rather did not do, the day of their meet- 
ing ; and the same point will be the great object at their next 
meeting ; I mean the affair of our American colonies, relatively 
to the late imposed stamp duty, which our colonists absolutely 
refuse to pay. 3 The Administration are for some indulgence 
and forbearance to those froward children of their mother coun- 
try ; the Opposition are for taking vigorous, as they call them, 

1 Spain in 1761 had come to the assistance of France. 

2 Works of Lord Chesterfield, p. 502. 

3 This letter was written on December 27, 1765. 

78 Letters of an English Nobleman 

but I call them violent measures ; . . . and to have the tax col- 
lected by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw 
a froward child mended by whipping; and I would not have 
the mother country become a stepmother. Our trade to America 
brings in ... two millions a year; and the stamp duty is 
estimated at but one hundred thousand pounds a year ; which 
I would by no means bring into the stock of the exchequer, at 
the loss or even the risk of a million a year to the national stock. 

47. Joseph H i 

The emperor, 2 by your account, seems to be very well for an 
emperor ; who, by being above the other monarchs in Europe, 
may justly be supposed to* have had a proportionably worse 
education. I find, by your account of him, that he has been 
trained up to homicide, the only science in which princes are ever 
instructed ; and with good reason, as their greatness and glory 
singly depend upon the numbers of their fellow-creatures which 
their ambition exterminates. If a sovereign should, by great 
accident, deviate into moderation, justice, and clemency, what 
a contemptible figure would he make in the catalogue of princes ! 
I have always owned a great regard for King Log. From the 
interview at Torgau, between the two monarchs, they will be 
either a great deal better or worse together ; but I think rather 
the latter, . . . The king of Prussia 3 will exert all his perspi- 
cacity to analyse his Imperial Majesty ; and I would bet upon the 
one head of his black eagle, against the two heads of the Austrian 
eagle; though two heads are said, proverbially, to be better 
than one. I wish I had the direction of both the monarchs, 
and they should, together with some of their allies, take Lor- 
raine and Alsace from France. 

48. The Earl of Chatham 4 

The curtain was at last drawn up, the day before yesterday, 
and discovered the new actors, together with some of the old 

1 Works of Lord Chesterfield, p. 595. 

2 Joseph II, the eldest son of Maria Theresa, became Holy Roman Emperor in 1 765 . 

3 Frederick the Great. 

4 Works of Lord Chesterfield, p. 596. 

The Earl of Chatham 79 

ones. 1 I do not name them to you, because to-morrow's Gazette 
will do it fully as well as I could. Mr. Pitt, who had carte blanche 
given him, named every one of them : but what would you think 
he named himself for? Lord Privy Seal ; and (what will aston- 
ish you, as it does every mortal here) earl of Chatham. The 
joke here is, that he has had a, fall up stairs, and has done him- 
self so much hurt that he will never be able to stand upon his 
legs again. Everybody is puzzled how to account for this step ; 
though it would not be the first time that great abilities have 
been duped by cunning. But be it what it will, he is now cer- 
tainly only earl of Chatham; and no longer Mr. Pitt, in any 
respect whatever. Such an event, I believe, was never read 
or heard of. To withdraw, in the fulness of his power, and in 
the utmost gratification of his ambition, from the House of 
Commons (which procured him his power, and which could 
alone insure it to him), and to go into that hospital of incurables, 
the House of Lords, is a measure so unaccountable, that nothing 
but proof positive could have made me believe it ; but true it 
is. ... Charles Townshend 2 has now the sole management 
of the House of Commons ; but how long he will be content to 
be only Lord Chatham's vicegerent there, is a question which I 
will not pretend to decide. There is one very bad sign for Lord 
Chatham, in his new dignity ; which is, that all his enemies, 
without exception, rejoice at it ; and all his friends are stupefied 
and dumbfounded. If I mistake not much, he will, in the course 
of a year, enjoy perfect otium cum dignitate. Enough of politics. 

1 This letter was written in 1766, shortly after Pitt became head of the govern- 
ment in succession to Rockingham. The "Great Commoner," now a lord, resigned 
office two years later. 

2 Townshend died in 1767, his last official act being to force through parliament 
resolutions for taxing glass, paper, tea, and other articles imported into the American 


THE famous letter-writer, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu 
(1689-1762), was the eldest daughter of an English gentle- 
man who afterward became a marquis and a duke. She 
lost her mother when still a child. Her father, though 
proud of her beauty and wit, seems to have done little for 
her systematic education, but she read widely and soon 
acquired a fund of learning quite unusual for ladies at that 
time. When twenty-four years of age she married Edward 
Wortley, a young man of good family. He entered parlia- 
ment and in 1716 received an appointment as ambassador at 
Constantinople. Lady Mary accompanied him on what was 
then a long and somewhat perilous journey to the court 
of the sultan. The Letters here quoted purport to have 
been written in 1717-1718, during her residence in the 
East. It seems, however, that the letter form was no more 
than a literary device and that the correspondence was really 
prepared for publication by Lady Mary after her return 
to England, from diaries that she had kept abroad. The 
letters were first issued, posthumously, in 1763. Their 
value is quite exceptional as a revelation of Turkish life 
which, until she wrote, had been almost a sealed book to 
the Christian peoples of western Europe. 

49. A Turkish Bath 2 

I won't trouble you with a relation of our tedious journey ; 
but I must not omit what I saw remarkable at Sofia, 3 one of the 

1 The Works of the Right Honourable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. 5 vols. 6th 
edition. London, 1817. 

2 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Works, vol. ii, pp. 153-159* 

3 Now the capital of Bulgaria. 

A Turkish Bath 81 

most beautiful towns in the Turkish empire, and famous for its 
hot baths, that are resorted to both for diversion and health. I 
stopped here one day on purpose to see them ; and designing to 
go incognita, I hired a Turkish coach. . . . 

In one of these covered wagons, I went to the bagnio about 
ten o'clock. It was already full of women. It is built of stone, 
in the shape of a dome, with no windows but in the roof, which 
gives light enough. There were five of these domes joined to- 
gether, the outermost being less than the rest, and serving only 
as a hall, where the portress stood at the door. Ladies of qual- 
ity generally give this woman the value of a crown or ten shil- 
lings ; and I did not forget that cejemony. The next room is a 
very large one paved with marble, and all round it are two raised 
sofas of marble, one above another. There were four fountains 
of cold water in this room, falling first into marble basins, and 
then running on the floor in little channels made for that purpose, 
which carried the streams into the next room, something less 
than this, with the same sort of marble sofas, but so hot with 
steams of sulphur proceeding from the baths joining to it, it was 
impossible to stay there with one's clothes on. The two other 
domes were the hot baths, one of which had cocks of cold water 
turning into it, to temper it to what degree of warmth the bathers 
please to have. 

I was in my traveling habit, which is a riding dress, and cer- 
tainly appeared very extraordinary to them. Yet there was 
not one of them that showed the least surprise or impertinent 
curiosity, but received me with all the obliging civility possible. 
I know no European court where the ladies would have behaved 
themselves in so polite a manner to a stranger. I believe, upon 
the whole, there were two hundred women, and yet none of 
those disdainful smiles, or satiric whispers, that never fail in our 
assemblies when anybody appears that is not dressed exactly in 
the fashion. . . . The first sofas were covered with cushions 
and rich carpets, on which sat the ladies ; and on the second, 
their slaves behind them, but without any distinction of rank 
by their dress. ... In short, the bagnio is the women's coffee- 
house, where all the news of the town is told, scandal invented. 

82 Turkey and the Turks 

etc. They generally take this diversion once a week and stay 
there at least four or five hours, without getting cold by imme- 
diately coming out of the hot bath into the cold room, which was 
very surprising to me. 

50. Mohammedan Sects 1 

Mohammedanism is divided into as many sects as Christian- 
ity; and the first institution as much neglected and obscured 
by interpretations. I cannot here forbear reflecting on the 
natural inclination of mankind to make mysteries and novelties. 
The Zeidi, Kudi, Jabari, etc., put me in mind of the Catholics, 
Lutherans, and Calvinists, etc., and are equally zealous against 
one another. But the mosE prevailing opinion, if you search 
into the secret of the effendis, 2 is plain deism. But this is kept 
from the people, who are amused with a thousand different 
notions, according to the different interests of their preachers. 
There are very few amongst them (Achmet Beg 3 denied there 
were any) so absurd as to set up for wit by declaring they believe 
in no God at all. . . . Achmet-Beg made no scruple of deviating 
from some part of Mohammed's law, by drinking wine with the 
same freedom we did. When I asked him how he came to allow 
himself that liberty he made answer, that all the creations of God 
are good, and designed for the use of man ; however, that the 
prohibition of wine was a very wise maxim, and meant for the 
common people, being the source of all disorders among them ; 
but that the prophet never designed to confine those that knew 
how to use it with moderation. Nevertheless, he said that 
scandal ought to be avoided and that he never drank it in public. 
This is the general way of thinking among them, and very few 
forbear drinking wine that are able to afford it. He assured me 
that if I understood Arabic, I should be very well pleased with 
reading the Koran, which is so far from the nonsense we charge 
it with, that it is the purest morality, delivered in the very best 
language. I have since heard impartial Christians speak of it 
in the same manner. . . . 

1 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Works, vol. ii, pp. 165-170. 

2 Turkish gentlemen, particularly scholars and public officials, 

3 A high-born Turk, whose acquaintance Lady Mary had made at Belgrade. 

The Sultan 83 

But of all the religions I have seen, that of the Arnaouts 
seems to me the most particular. They are natives of Arnaout- 
lich, the ancient Macedonia, and still retain something of the 
courage and hardiness, though they have lost the name, of 
Macedonians, being the best militia in the Turkish empire, and 
the only check upon the janizaries. 1 . . . These people, living 
between Christians and Mohammedans, and not being skilled 
in controversy, declare that they are utterly unable to judge 
which religion is best ; but, to be certain of not entirely rejecting 
the truth they very prudently follow both. They go to the 
mosques on Fridays 2 and to the churches on Sundays, saying 
for their excuse, that at the day of judgment they are sure of pro- 
tection from the true prophet ; but which that is, they are not 
able to determine in this world. I believe there is no other race 
of mankind who have so modest an opinion of their own capacity. 

51. The Sultan 3 

The government here is entirely in the hands of the army; 
and the Grand Signior, with all his absolute power, as much a 
slave as any of his subjects, and trembles at a janizary's frown. 
Here is, indeed, a much greater appearance of subjection than 
among us : a minister of state is not spoken to, but upon the 
knee ; should a reflection on his conduct be dropped in a coffee- 
house (for they have spies everywhere), the house would be 
razed to the ground, and perhaps the whole company put to the 
torture. No hurrahing mobs, senseless pamphlets, and tavern 
disputes about politics. None of our harmless calling names, 
but when a minister here displeases the people, in three hours' 
time he is dragged even from his master's arms. They cut off 
his hands, head, and feet, and throw them before the palace gate, 
with all the respect in the world ; while the sultan (to whom 
they all profess an unlimited adoration) sits trembling in his 

1 A name corrupted from Turkish yeni cheri, "new troops." 

2 The Arabs, who adopted the seven-day week from Jews and Christians, selected 
Friday for regular religious exercises. On Friday, the Day of Assembly, the faithful 
are required by Mohammed's law to attend the mosques, but when the services 
there are over they may resume their regular occupations. 

3 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Works, vol. ii, pp. 174-178. 

84 Turkey and the Turks 

apartment, and dares neither defend nor revenge his favorite. 
This is the blessed condition of the most absolute monarch upon 
earth, who owns no law but his will. 

I went yesterday along with the French ambassadress to see 
the Grand Signior l in his passage to the mosque. He was pre- 
ceded by a numerous guard of janizaries, with vast white feathers 
on their heads, as also by the spahis and bostangees (these are foot 
and horse guards), and the royal gardeners, who are a very con- 
siderable body of men, dressed in different habits of fine lively 
colors, so that, at a distance, they appeared like a parterre of tulips. 
After them the aga of the janizaries, in a robe of purple velvet, 
lined with silver tissue, his horse led by two slaves richly dressed. 
Next him the kyzlar-aga (your ladyship knows this is the chief 
guardian of the seraglio ladies) in a deep yellow cloth (which 
suited very well to his black face) lined with sables. Last came 
his Sublimity himself, arrayed in green lined with the fur of a 
black Muscovite fox, which is supposed worth a thousand pounds 
sterling, and mounted on a fine horse, with furniture embroid- 
ered with jewels. Six more horses richly furnished were led after 
him ; and two of his principal courtiers bore, one his gold, and 
the other his silver coffee-pot, on a staff ; another carried a silver 
stool on his head for him to sit on. 

It would be too tedious to tell your ladyship the various 
dresses and turbans by which their rank is distinguished; but 
they were all extremely rich and gay, to the number of some 
thousands ; so that, perhaps, there cannot be seen a more beau- 
tiful procession. 

52. The Janizaries 2 

The janizaries until the nineteenth century constituted the standing 
army of the Ottoman Empire. They were at first recruited exclusively 
by the forced levy of Christian children, but later the privilege of enlist- 
ment was extended to all classes of the population except negroes. As 
the only well organized and disciplined force in the empire, the jani- 
zaries had great power, which they often abused by their lawlessness, 
exactions, and repeated revolts against the sultan. Their corps was 
finally suppressed in 1826. 

1 Achmet (Ahmed) III, who reigned from 1703 to 1730. 

2 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Works, vol. ii, pp. 179-181. 

Houses and Home Life 85 

I went with her the other day all round the town, in an open 
gilt chariot, with our joint train of attendants, preceded by our 
guards, who might have summoned the people to see what they 
had never seen, nor ever would see again two young Christian 
ambassadresses at the same time. Your ladyship may easily 
imagine that we drew a vast crowd of spectators, but all silent 
as death. If any of them had taken the liberties of our mobs 
upon any strange sight, our janizaries had made no scruple of 
falling on them with their scimitars, without danger for so doing, 
being above law. 

These people, however (I mean the janizaries), have some 
good qualities ; they are very zealous and faithful where they 
serve, and look upon it as their business to fight for you upon all 
occasions. Of this I had a very pleasant instance in a village 
on this side Philippopolis, where we were met by our domestic 
guard. I happened to bespeak pigeons for my supper, upon 
which one of my janizaries went immediately to the cadi (the 
chief civil officer of the town) and ordered him to send in some 
dozens. The poor man answered that he had already sent about, 
but could get none. My janizary, in the height of his zeal for 
my service, immediately locked him up prisoner in his room, 
telling him he deserved death for his impudence, in offering to 
excuse his not obeying my command ; but out of respect to me 
he would not punish him but by my order. Accordingly, he 
came very gravely to me to ask what should be done to him ; 
adding, by way of compliment, that if I pleased he would bring 
me his head. This may give you some idea of the unlimited 
power of these fellows, who are all sworn brothers, and bound 
to revenge the injuries done to one another, whether at Cairo, 
Aleppo, or any part of the world. This inviolable league makes 
them so powerful that the greatest man at the court never speaks 
to them but in a flattering tone ; and in Asia any man that is 
rich is forced to enrol himself a janizary, to secure his estate. 

53. Houses and Home Life * 

Every house, great and small, is divided into two distinct 
parts, which only join together by a narrow passage. The- 

1 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Works, vol. ii, pp. 226-230. 

86 Turkey and the Turks 

first house has a large court before it, and open galleries all 
round it, which is to me a thing very agreeable. This gallery 
leads to all the chambers, which are commonly large, and 
with two rows of windows, the first being of painted glass. 
They seldom build above two stories, each of which has gal- 
leries. The stairs are broad, and not often above thirty steps. 
This is the house belonging to the lord, and the adjoining one is 
called the harem, that is, the ladies' apartment (for the name of 
seraglio is peculiar to the Grand Signior) ; it has also a gallery 
running round it toward the garden, to which all the windows 
are turned, and the same number of chambers as the other, but 
more gay and splendid, both in painting and furniture. The 
second row of windows is very low, with grates like those of con- 
vents; the rooms are all spread with Persian carpets, and 
raised at one end of them (my chambers are raised at both ends) 
about two feet. This is the sofa, which is laid with a richer sort 
of carpet, and all round it a sort of couch, raised half a foot, 
covered with rich silk according to the fancy or magnificence of 
the owner. Mine is of scarlet cloth, with a gold fringe; round 
this are placed, standing against the wall, two rows of cushions, 
the first very large, and the next little ones ; and here the Turks 
display their greatest magnificence. They are generally bro- 
cade, or embroidery of gold wire upon white satin ; nothing 
can look more gay and splendid. These seats are so convenient 
and easy that I believe I shall never endure chairs as long as I 
live. The rooms are low, which I think no fault, and the ceiling 
is always of wood, generally inlaid or painted and gilded. . . . 
But what pleases me best is the fashion of having marble foun- 
tains in the lower part of the room, which throw up several spouts 
of water, giving at the same time an agreeable coolness, and 
a pleasant dashing sound, falling from one basin to another. 
Some of these fountains are very magnificent. Each house has 
a bagnio, which is generally two or three little rooms, leaded on 
the top, paved with marble, with basins, cocks of water, and all 
conveniences for either hot or cold baths. 

You will perhaps be surprised at an account so different from 
what you have been entertained with by the common voyage- 

Constantinople 87 

writers, who are very fond of speaking of what they don't know. 
It must be under a very particular character, or on some extraor- 
dinary occasion, when a Christian is permitted into the house 
of a man of quality; and their harems are always forbidden 
ground. Thus they can only speak of the outside, which makes 
no great appearance ; and the women's apartments are all built 
backward, removed from sight, and have no other prospect than 
the gardens, which are inclosed with very high walls. ... In 
the midst of the garden is the kiosk, that is, a large room, com- 
monly beautified with a fine fountain in the midst of it. It is 
raised nine or ten steps, and inclosed with gilded lattices, round 
which vines, jessamines, and honeysuckles make a sort of green 
wall. Large trees are planted round this place, which is the 
scene of their greatest pleasures, and where the ladies spend 
most of their hours, employed with their music or embroidery. 
In the public gardens there are public kiosks, where people go 
that are not so well accommodated at home, and drink their 
coffee, sherbet, etc. 

64. Constantinople 1 

Pera, Tophana, and Galata, wholly inhabited by Frank 2 
Christians (and which, together, make the appearance of a very 
fine town), are divided from it by the sea, which is not above 
half so broad as the broadest part of the Thames ; but the Chris- 
tian men are loth to hazard the adventures they sometimes meet 
with amongst the levents or seamen (worse monsters than our 
watermen), and the women must cover their faces to go there, 
which they have a perfect aversion to do. ... 

You'll wonder, madam, to hear me add, that I have been there 
very often. The asmack, or Turkish veil, is become not only 
very easy, but agreeable to me ; and, if it was not, I would be 
content to endure some inconveniency to content a passion so 
powerful with me as curiosity. And, indeed, the pleasure of 
going in a barge to Chelsea is not comparable to that of rowing 
upon the canal of the sea here, where, for twenty miles together, 

1 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Works, vol. ii, pp. 324-335- 

2 A term indiscriminately applied to all European residents in Turkey. 

88 Turkey and the Turks 

down the Bosporus, the most beautiful variety of prospects pre- 
sent themselves. The Asiatic side is covered with fruit trees, 
villages, and the most delightful landscapes in nature; on the 
European, stands Constantinople situated on seven hills. The 
unequal heights make it seem as large again as it is (though one 
of the largest cities in the world), showing an agreeable mixture 
of gardens, pine and cypress-trees, palaces, mosques, and public 
buildings, raised one above another. . . . 

I have taken care to see as much of the seraglio l as is to be 
seen. It is on a point of land running into the sea ; a palace of 
prodigious extent, but very irregular. The gardens take in a 
large compass of ground, full of high cypress-trees, which is all 
I know of them. The buildings are all of white stone, leaded on 
top, with gilded turrets and spires, which look very magnificent ; 
and, indeed, I believe, there is no Christian king's palace half 
so large. There are six large courts in it, all built round, and 
set with trees, having galleries of stone; one of these for the 
guard, another for the slaves, another for the officers of the 
kitchen, another for the stables, the fifth for the divan, and the 
sixth for the apartment destined for audiences. On the ladies' 
side there are at least as many more, with distinct courts belong- 
ing to their eunuchs and attendants, their kitchens, etc. 

The next remarkable structure is that of Sancta Sophia. . . . 
Its dome is said to be one hundred and thirteen feet in diameter, 
built upon arches, sustained by vast pillars of marble, the pave- 
ment and staircase marble. There are two rows of galleries, 
supported with pillars of parti-colored marble, and the whole 
roof mosaic work, part of which decays very fast and drops down. 
They presented me with a handful of it ; the composition seems 
to me a sort of glass, or that paste with which they make counter- 
feit jewels. They show here the tomb of the emperor Constan- 
tine, for which they have a great veneration. 

This is a dull imperfect description of this celebrated building, 

but I understand architecture so little that I am afraid of talking 

nonsense in endeavoring to speak of it particularly. Perhaps I 

am in the wrong, but some Turkish mosques please me better. 

1 The sultan's harem. 

Constantinople 89 

That of Sultan Suleiman is an exact square, with four fine towers 
in the angles ; in the midst is a noble cupola, supported with 
beautiful marble pillars ; two lesser at the ends, supported in 
the same manner ; the pavement and gallery round the mosque 
of marble ; under the great cupola is a fountain, adorned with 
such finely colored pillars I can hardly think them natural 
marble ; on one side is the pulpit, of white marble, and on the 
other, the little gallery for the Grand Signior. A fine staircase 
leads to it, and it is built up with gold lattices. At the upper 
end is a sort of altar, where the name of God is written ; and 
before it stand two candlesticks as high as a man, with wax 
candles as thick as three flambeaux. The pavement is spread 
with fine carpets, and the mosque illuminated with a vast num- 
ber of lamps. The court leading to it is very spacious, with 
galleries of marble, with green columns, covered with twenty- 
eight leaded cupolas on two sides, and a fine fountain of three 
basins in the midst of it. 

This description may serve for all the mosques in Constanti- 
nople. The model is exactly the same, and they only differ in 
largeness and richness of materials. . . . The atlerdan, or 
place of horses (at signifying a horse in Turkish) was the hippo- 
drome in the reign of the Greek emperors. In the midst of it 
is a brazen column, of three serpents twisted together, with 
their mouths gaping. 1 7 Tis impossible to learn why so odd a 
pillar was erected; the Greeks can tell nothing but fabulous 
legends when they are asked the meaning of it, and there is no 
sign of it having ever had any inscription. At the upper end is 
an obelisk of porphyry, probably brought from Egypt, the 
hieroglyphics all very entire. . . . 

The exchanges are all noble buildings, full of fine alleys, the 
greatest part supported with pillars, and kept wonderfully neat. 
Every trade has its distinct alley, the merchandise disposed in 
the same order as in the New Exchange at London. The 
besisten, or jewellers' quarters, shows so much riches, such a vast 

1 This pillar had been originally set up at Delphi by the Greeks, after the battle of 
Plataea in 479 B.C. On it were engraved the names of the various Greek states which 
sent soldiers to fight against the Persians. 

90 Turkey and the Turks 

quantity of diamonds, and all kinds of precious stones, that 
they dazzle the sight. The embroiderers' quarters are also very 
glittering, and people walk here as much for diversion as busi- 
ness. The markets are most of them handsome squares, and 
admirably well provided, perhaps better than in any other 
part of the world. 


IN the long roll of English seamen and explorers, the name 
of Captain James Cook stands among the foremost. He was 
born of humble parents in the year 1728, entered the royal 
navy as a common sailor, and rose through his own efforts 
to the rank of master. Cook's practical knowledge of the 
sea, together with the reputation which he had gained as a 
mathematician and astronomer, led to his selection in 1768 
to command a scientific expedition to the South Pacific 
Ocean. This was the first of the three celebrated voyages 
which Cook made round the world. These voyages he 
himself described in as many volumes. 

55. The Tahitians 2 

In August, 1768, Cook set out in the Endeavour, a ship of only 370 
tons, and reached Tahiti eight months later (April, 1769). From Tahiti 
he sailed in search of the great southern continent which was supposed 
to exist in the Pacific. After exploring the Society Islands, Cook 
proceeded to New Zealand, whose coasts he circumnavigated and 
charted. The channel dividing the two islands of New Zealand still 
bears his name. He left New Zealand in March, 1770, and proceeded 
to " New Holland," or Australia, where he followed the whole east 
coast. After proving that Australia and New Guinea were separate 
islands, Cook returned by way of the Cape of Good Hope to England 
(June, 1771). During this memorable voyage the longest stay was 
made in the island of Tahiti, where Cook had excellent opportunities 
for observing its inhabitants. His account of the Tahitians gave to the 
world for the first time a full and remarkably exact description of a Poly- 
nesian people. 

As to the people, they are of the largest size of Europeans. 
The men are tall, strong, well-limbed, and finely shaped. The 

1 The Voyages of Captain James Cook round the World. 2 vols. London, 1853- 
1854. John Tallis and Company. 

z An Account of a Voyage round the World in 1768, 1760, 1770, and 1771, bk. i, 
chs. 17-19. 

92 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

tallest that we saw was a man upon a neighboring island, called 
Huahine, who measured six feet, three inches and a half. The 
women of the superior rank are also above our middle stature, 
but those of the inferior class are rather below it, and some of 
them are very small. . . . Their complexion is that kind of 
clear olive, or brunette, which many people in Europe prefer to 
the finest white and red. . . . The shape of the face is comely, 
the cheekbones are not high, neither are the eyes hollow, nor the 
brow prominent; the only feature that does not correspond 
with our ideas of beauty is the nose, which is somewhat flat ; 
but the eyes, especially those of the women, are full of expres- 
sion, sometimes sparkling with fire and sometimes melting with 
softness ; the teeth, also, are most beautifully even and white, 
and the breath without taint. 

Their hair is black and rather coarse : the men have beards, 
which they wear in many fashions, always, however, plucking 
out a great part of them and keeping the rest perfectly clean 
and neat. ... In their motions there is at once vigor and ease ; 
their walk is graceful, their bearing easy, and their behavior to 
strangers and to each other affable and courteous. In their 
dispositions, also, they seemed to be brave, open, and candid, 
without either suspicion or treachery, cruelty or revenge; so 
that we placed the same confidence in them as in our best friends. 
They were, however, all thieves; and when that is admitted, 
they need not much fear competition with any other people 
upon earth. , . . 

They have a custom of staining their bodies . . . which they 
call tattooing. 1 They prick the skin, so as just not to fetch 
blood, with a small instrument, something in the form of a hoe. 
That part of the instrument which answers to the blade is made 
of a bone or shell, scraped very thin ; the edge is cut into sharp 
teeth or points, from the number of three to twenty, according 
to its size. When tattooing is to be done, they first dip the 
teeth into a mixture of lampblack, formed of the smoke that 
rises from an oily nut which they burn instead of candles, and 
water. The teeth, thus prepared, are then placed upon the 

1 A word of Polynesian origin ; Tahitian tatu. 

The Tahitians 93 

skin, and the handle to which they are fastened being struck 
by quick, smart blows, they pierce it, and at the same time 
carry into the puncture the black composition, which leaves an 
indelible stain. The operation is painful, and it is some days 
before the wounds are healed. Tattooing is performed upon 
the youth of both sexes when they are about twelve or fourteen 
years of age, on several parts of the body, and in various figures, 
according to the fancy of the parents or perhaps the rank of 
the party. ... 

Their dress consists of cloth or matting of different kinds. 
The cloth which will not bear wetting they wear in dry weather, 
and the matting when it rains. Their clothing is put on in 
many different ways, just as their fancy leads them; for in 
their garments nothing is cut into shape, nor are any two pieces 
sewed together. ... In the heat of the day they appear almost 
naked, the women having only a scanty petticoat, and the 
men nothing but the sash that is passed between their legs and 
fastened round the waist. . . . Upon their legs and feet they 
wear no covering ; but they shade their faces from the sun with 
little bonnets, either of matting or of coconut leaves, which 
they make in a few minutes. . . . Their personal ornaments, 
besides flowers, are few; both sexes wear earrings, but these 
are placed only on one side. When we came their ornaments 
consisted of small pieces of shell, stone, berries, red peas, or some 
small pearls, three in a string ; but our beads very soon sup- 
planted them all. ... 

The houses of the Tahitians are all built in the woods between 
the sea and the mountains. No more ground is cleared for 
each house than is just sufficient to prevent the dropping of 
the branches from rotting the thatch with which they are cov- 
ered; from the house, therefore, the inhabitant steps immedi- 
ately under the shade ... of bread-fruit trees and coconut 
trees. . . . Nothing can be more grateful than this shade in 
so warm a climate, nor anything more beautiful than these 
walks. As there is no underwood, the shade cools without 
impeding the air ; and the houses, having no walls, receive the 
gale from whatever point it blows. . . . 

94 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

The roof of a Tahitian house is thatched with palm-leaves, 
and the floor is covered, several inches deep, with soft hay; 
over this are laid mats, so that the whole is one cushion, upon 
which they sit in the day and sleep at night. In some houses, 
however, there is one stool, which is reserved for the master of 
the family ; besides this stool, they have no furniture, except a 
few little blocks of wood, the upper side of which is hollowed into 
a curve. These wooden blocks serve them for pillows. The 
house is principally used as a dormitory; unless it rains, they 
eat in the open air, under the shade of the nearest tree. The 
clothes that they wear in the day provide them with covering 
in the night ; the floor is the common bed of the whole house- 
hold, and is not divided by any partition. . . . 

Of the food eaten here the greater part consists of vegetables. 
There are no tame animals except hogs, dogs, and poultry, 
and these are by no means plentiful. ... I cannot much com- 
mend the flavor of their fowls ; but we all agreed that a South- 
Sea dog was little inferior to an English lamb. . . . The sea 
affords them a great variety of fish. The smaller fish, when 
they catch any, are generally eaten raw, as we eat osyters; 
and nothing that the sea produces comes amiss to them. . . . 
Of the many vegetables that serve them for food, the principal 
is the bread-fruit, to procure which costs them no trouble or 
labor but climbing a tree. Bread-fruit trees do not, indeed, 
shoot up spontaneously ; but if a man plants ten of them in 
his lifetime, which he may do in about an hour, he will as com- 
pletely fulfill his duty to his own and future generations as the 
natives of our less temperate climate can do by ploughing in 
the cold of winter and reaping in the summer's heat, as often 
as these seasons return. ... It is true that the bread-fruit is 
not always in season; but coconuts, bananas, plantains, and 
other fruits supply the deficiency. . . . 

For drink, they have in general nothing but water, or the 
juice of the coconut; the art of producing intoxicating liquor 
being happily unknown among them ; neither have they any 
narcotic which they chew, as the natives of some other coun- 
tries chew opium, betel-root, and tobacco. . . . 

The Tahitians 95 

Table they have none ; but their apparatus for eating is set 
out with great neatness, though the articles are too simple and 
too few to allow anything for show. They commonly eat alone ; 
but when a stranger happens to visit them, he sometimes makes 
a second in their mess. . . . 

After meals, and in the heat of the day, the middle-aged 
people of the better sort generally sleep; they are, indeed, 
extremely indolent ; and sleeping and eating is almost all that 
they do. Those that are older are less drowsy, and the boys 
and girls are kept awake by the natural activity and sprightli- 
ness of their age. 

Their amusements include music, dancing, wrestling, and 
shooting with the bow ; they also sometimes vie with each other 
in throwing a lance. . . . Their only musical instruments are 
flutes and drums. The flute is made of a hollow bamboo about 
a foot long, . . . the drum consists of a hollow block of wood, of 
cylindrical form, solid at one end and covered at the other with 
shark's skin. They beat the drum, not with sticks, but with 
their hands. . . . 

To these instruments they sing . . . couplets when they are 
alone or with their families, especially after it is dark ; for though 
they need no fires, they are not without the comfort of artificial 
light between sunset and bedtime. Their candles are made of 
the kernels of a kind of oily nut, which they stick one over an- 
other upon a skewer that is thrust through the middle of them. 
After the upper one is lighted, it burns down to the second, at the 
same time consuming that part of the skewer which goes through 
it ; the second taking fire, burns in the same manner down to 
the third, and so of the rest. Some of these candles will bum a 
considerable time and give a very tolerable light. They do not 
often sit up above an hour after it is dark. . . . 

I must not conclude my account of the domestic life of these 
people without mentioning their personal cleanliness. . . . The 
natives of Tahiti, both men and women, constantly wash their 
whole bodies in running water three times every day ; once as 
soon as they rise in the morning, once at noon, and again before 
they sleep at night, whether the sea or river is near them or at 

96 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

a distance. They wash not only the mouth but the hands at 
their meals, almost between every morsel ; and their clothes, as 
well as their persons, are kept without spot or stain. . . . 

There are many instances both of ingenuity and labor among 
these people, which, considering the want of metal for tools, do 
them great credit. Their principal manufacture is their cloth. 
. . . This is of three kinds, and is made of the bark of three 
different trees, the Chinese paper mulberry, the bread-fruit 
tree, and the tree which resembles the wild fig tree of the West 
Indies. . . . They are also very dexterous in making baskets 
and wicker work; their baskets are of a thousand different 
patterns, many of them exceedingly neat ; and the making them 
is an art that every one practices, both men and women. 

They build and carve their boats with great skill. Perhaps 
to fabricate one of their principal vessels with their implements 
is as great a work as to build a British man-of-war with our iron 
tools. They have an adze of stone ; a chisel or gouge of bone, 
generally that of a man's arm between the wrist and elbow ; a 
rasp of coral ; and the skin of a sting-ray, with coral sand as a 
file or polisher. This is a complete catalogue of their tools ; 
and with these they build houses, construct canoes, hew stone, 
and fell, cleave, carve, and polish timber. . . . 

Their greatest exploit, to which these tools are less equal 
than to any other, is felling a tree : this requires many hands 
and the constant labor of several days. When the tree is down, 
they split it with the grain into planks from three to four inches 
thick, the whole length and breadth of the tree. . . . They 
smooth a plank very expeditiously and dexterously with their 
adzes, and can take off a thin coat from a whole plank without 
missing a stroke. As they have not the art of warping a plank, 
every part of the canoe, whether hollow or flat, is shaped by 
hand. . . . 

As connected with the navigation of these people, I shall 
mention their wonderful sagacity in foretelling the weather, at 
least the quarter from which the wind will blow at a future 
time. ... In their longer voyages they steer by the sun during 
the day, and at night by the stars. The latter the Tahitians 

The Natives of the Marquesas Islands 97 

distinguish by names and know in what part of the heavens 
they will appear in any of the months during which they are 
visible in the horizon. The natives also know the time of their 
annual appearing and disappearing with more precision than 
will easily be believed by a European astronomer. 

We were not able to acquire a perfect idea of the Tahitian 
method of dividing time ; but observed that, in speaking of it, 
they never used any term but malama, which signifies moon. 
Of these moons they count thirteen, and then begin again; 
which is a demonstration that they have a notion of the solar 
year ; but how they compute their months so that thirteen of 
them shall be commensurate with the year, we could not dis- 
cover. . . . Every day is subdivided into twelve parts, each of 
two hours, of which six belong to the day and six to the night. 
At these divisions they guess pretty nearly by the height of the 
sun while it is above the horizon ; but there are a few persons 
who can guess at them, when the sun is below the horizon, by 
the stars. 

In numeration they proceed from one to ten, the number of 
fingers on both hands ; and though they have for each number 
a different name, they generally take hold of their fingers one 
by one, shifting from one hand to the other till they come to the 
number they want to express. And in other instances we ob- 
served that, when they were conversing with each other, they 
joined signs to their words, which were so expressive that a 
stranger might easily learn their meaning. ... In measuring 
distance they are much more deficient than in computing num- 
bers, having but one term, which answers to fathom. When 
they speak of distances from place to place, they express it, like 
the Asiatics, by the time that is required to pass it. 

56. The Natives of the Marquesas Islands 1 

Cook, by his first voyage, had shown that neither Australia nor 
New Guinea belonged to the supposed Antarctic continent. His second 
voyage was undertaken for the purpose of settling, once for all, the 
question as to the existence of such a region. He sailed with the Reso- 

1 A Voyage towards the South Pole and round the World . , . in the Years 1772, 
3 t *774, and 1775, bk. ii, ch. 10. 

98 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

lution and the Adventure in July, 1772, touched at the Cape of Good 
Hope, and from there started on a zigzag journey in southern waters. 
Although his small ships ran the risk of destruction from floating ice, 
Cook did not relinquish his search until he had satisfied himself that An- 
tarctica was a mythical region. He spent the remainder of this voyage 
in rediscovering various Pacific archipelagoes which preceding Spanish, 
Dutch, and English navigators had visited, but had never accurately 
surveyed. Among these island groups were the Marquesas, the Tonga 
or Friendly Isles, the New Hebrides, and New Caledonia. Later on 
Cook made another examination of the Pacific from New Zealand to 
Cape Horn, without coming upon any extensive land. In July, 1775, he 
returned to England. He had covered more than sixty thousand miles 
during an absence of just three years. This second voyage left the 
main outlines of the southern portions of the globe substantially as they 
are known to-day. 

The trees, plants, and other productions of these isles, so far 
as we know, are nearly the same as at Tahiti and the Society 
Islands. The refreshments to be had include hogs, fowls, plan- 
tains, yams, and some other roots ; likewise bread-fruit and 
coconut, but of these not many. At first these articles were pur- 
chased with nails. Beads, looking-glasses, and such trifles, 
which are so highly valued at the Society Islands, are in no 
esteem here ; and even nails at last lost their value for other 
articles far less useful. The inhabitants of these islands, for 
handsome shape and regular features, perhaps surpass all other 
peoples. Nevertheless, the affinity of their language to that 
spoken in Tahiti and the Society Islands shows that they are 
of the same race. . . . 

The men are curiously tattooed from head to foot. The 
figures are various, and seem to be directed more by fancy than 
custom. This tattooing makes them look dark ; but the women, 
who are but little punctured, and youths and. young children, 
who are not at all punctured, are as fair as some Europeans. 
The men are in general tall ; that is, about five feet, ten inches, 
or six feet ; but I saw none who were fat and lusty ; nor did I 
see any who could be called meager. Their teeth are not so 
good, nor are their eyes so full and lively, as those of many 
other peoples. Their hair, like ours, is of many colors, except 
red, of which I saw none. Some wear it long ; but the most com- 

The Natives of the Marquesas Islands 99 

mon custom is to wear it short, except a bunch on each side of the 
crown, which they tie in a knot. They observe different modes 
in trimming the beard. Some part it, and tie it in two bunches 
under the chin ; others plait it ; some wear it loose, and others 
quite short. 

The clothing is the same as at Tahiti, and made of the same 
materials ; but they do not have it in such plenty, nor is it so 
good. The men, for the most part, have nothing to cover their 
nakedness, except ... a slip of cloth passed round the waist 
and between the legs. This simple dress is quite sufficient for 
the climate. The dress of the women is a piece of cloth, wrapped 
round the waist like a petticoat, and a loose mantle over the 
shoulders. Their principal headdress, and what appears to be 
their chief ornament, is a sort of broad fillet, curiously made of 
the fibers of the husk of coconuts. . . . Their ordinary orna- 
ments are necklaces and amulets made of shells. I did not 
see any with earrings, and yet all of the natives had their ears 

Their dwellings are in the valleys and on the sides of the hills 
near their plantations. They are built after the same manner 
as at Tahiti ; but are much meaner, and covered only with the 
leaves of the bread-fruit tree. The most of them are built on a 
square or oblong pavement of stone, raised some height above the 
level of the ground. They likewise have such pavements near 
their houses, on which they sit to eat and amuse themselves. 
In the matter of eating, these people are by no means so cleanly 
as the Tahitians ; they are likewise dirty in their cookery. Pork 
and fowls are cooked in an oven of hot stones as at Tahiti ; but 
fruit and roots they roast on the fire and, after taking off the 
rind or skin, put them into a platter or trough with water, 
out of which I have seen both men and hogs eat at the same 
time. . . . 

They seem to have dwellings or strongholds on the summits 
of the highest hills. These we saw only by the help of telescopes, 
for I did not permit any of our people to go there. We were 
not sufficiently acquainted with the disposition of the natives, 
which, however, I believe is humane and peaceful. 

ioo The Aborigines of the Pacific 

57. The Hawaiian Islanders 1 

Less than a year after his return to England Cook received a com- 
mission from George III to undertake still another voyage. This was 
for the purpose of solving the old problem of the Northwest Passage. 
Previous navigators had worked from the east through Hudson Bay; 
Cook was to try to find an opening on the northwest coast of America 
which would lead into Hudson Bay. ' He sailed in June, 1776, with the 
Resolution and the Discovery, visited Tasmania and New Zealand, and 
passed thence into the island world of the Pacific. Here he discovered 
several islands of the Hervey or Cook Archipelago (April, 1777). In 
February, 1778, he rediscovered the Hawaiian Islands, which a Spanish 
navigator had probably seen more than two centuries before, but whose 
existence had been forgotten. Cook then proceeded up the western 
coast of North America to Bering Strait and beyond, until he found 
the passage barred by ice. After examining both sides of the strait, he 
determined that the two continents of America and Asia approached 
each other as nearly as thirty-six miles. On the return voyage Cook 
again visited the Hawaiian group, which he named after his friend and 
patron, Lord Sandwich. Here he was slain by the natives (February, 
1779), Thus closed the career of one who gave to England her title 
to Australia, and by his discoveries in the Pacific vastly added to 
geographical knowledge. 

In religious beliefs and in the manner of disposing of the 
dead there are many resemblances between the customs of 
the Hawaiians and those of other Polynesian peoples. The 
natives of the Tonga Islands inter their dead in a very decent 
manner, and they also inter their human sacrifices; but they 
do not offer or expose either animals or even plants to their 
gods, as far as we know. Those of Tahiti do not inter their 
dead, but expose them to waste by time and putrefaction, 
though the bones are afterwards buried ; and, as this is the case, 
it is very remarkable that they should inter the entire bodies of 
their human sacrifices. They also offer various animals and 
plants to their gods. . . . The people of the Hawaiian Islands, 
again, inter both their common dead and human sacrifices as 
in the Tonga Islands; but they resemble those of Tahiti in 
offering animals and plants to their gods. 

1 A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean . . . in the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 
1780, bk. iii, ch. 12. 

The Hawaiian Islanders 101 

The taboo l also prevails in Hawaii to its full extent, and 
seemingly with much more rigor than even in the Tonga Islands. 
For the people here always asked, with great eagerness and signs 
of fear to offend, whether any particular thing which they desired 
to see, or we were unwilling to show, was taboo ? The maia raa, 
or forbidden articles at the Society Islands, though doubtless 
the same thing, did not seem to be so strictly observed by them, 
except with respect to the dead, about whom we thought them 
more superstitious than any of the others were. But these are 
circumstances with which we are not as yet sufficiently acquainted 
to be decisive about ; and I shall only just observe, to show the 
similitude in other matters connected with religion, that the 
priests here are as numerous as at the other islands, if we may 
judge from our being able, during our stay, to distinguish several 
saying their prayers. 

But whatever resemblance we might discover in the manners 
of the people of Hawaii to those of Tahiti, these, of course, were 
less striking than the coincidence of language. Indeed, the 
languages of both places may be said to be almost word for word 
the same. It is true that we sometimes heard various words 
which were pronounced exactly as we had found at New Zea- 
land and the Tonga Islands ; but though all the four dialects 
are indisputably the same, the Hawaiians in general have neither 
the strong guttural pronunciation of the former, nor a less 
degree of it which also distinguishes the latter ; and they have 
not adopted the soft mode of the Tahitians in avoiding harsh 
sounds. . . . 

How shall we account for this people's having spread itself 
into so many detached islands, so widely separated from each 
other and in every quarter of the Pacific Ocean? We find it 
from New Zealand in the south, as far as the Hawaiian Islands ' 
to- the north, and, in another direction, from Easter Island to 
the New Hebrides ; that is, over an extent of sixty degrees of 
latitude, or twelve hundred leagues north and south, and eighty- 
three degrees of longitude, or sixteen hundred and sixty leagues 
east and west. How much farther in either direction its colonies 

J A word of Polynesian origin ; Tonga tabu, Samoan tapu, Hawaiian kapu. 

102 The Aborigines of the Pacific 

reach is not known ; but what we know already, in consequence 
of this and our former voyage, warrants our pronouncing it to 
be, though perhaps not the most numerous, certainly by far 
the most extensive, people upon earth. 


WILLIAM BRADFORD was born at Austerfield, Yorkshire, 
probably in 1590. He joined the Puritan sect of Separa- 
tists, who had a church in the neighboring village of 
Scrooby, and went with the other members of the Scrooby 
congregation to Holland. Little is known of Ms life there. 
He seems to have been a diligent student, for we are told 
that he mastered many languages and even studied Hebrew 
in order to "see with Ms own eyes the ancient oracles of 
God in their native beauty." Bradford became an active 
advocate of the proposed emigration to America, sailed in 
the Mayflower with the .other Pilgrims, and was one of the 
forty-one signers of the famous compact on sMpboard at 
Cape Cod. In 1621 he succeeded John Carver as governor 
of Plymouth and held tMs office (with the exception of five 
years) until shortly before Ms death in 1657. To Ms faith- 
ful and judicious administration must be ascribed much 
of the prosperity of the Pilgrim commonwealth. The 
History of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford's cMef literary 
work, comes down to 1646. The manuscript of it disap- 
peared from Boston at the time of the Revolutionary War. 
It was afterward discovered in London and in 1897 was 
returned to the state of Massachusetts. 

58.. The Pilgrims at Cape Cod 2 

The Pilgrims were Separatists from the Anglican Church. Early 
in the seventeenth century some of them established churches at Scrooby 
(Nottinghamshire) and Gainsborough (Lincolnshire), and in 1608 the 
Scrooby congregation fled to Amsterdam to avoid persecution. In 1 609 

1 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, 1606-1646, edited by W. T. Davis. 
New York, 1908. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

2 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. 95-97. 

104 The Pilgrim Fathers 

they removed to Leiden and made that place their home. After liv- 
ing here about twelve years the decision was reached to emigrate to 
some of those vast and unpeopled countries of America, which are 
fruitful and fit for habitation," and for this purpose they obtained from 
the London Company a patent to colonize within the limits of Virginia. 
The Pilgrims sailed from Delftshaven on the Maas late in July, 1620, 
and from Southampton on August 5, in two ships, the Speedwell and 
the Mayflower. The former, after two trials, was pronounced unsea- 
worthy, and the Mayflower then sailed alone from Plymouth on Septem- 
ber 6, with one hundred and two persons on board. They reached 
Provincetown Harbor on November n, after "long beating at sea." 
The Pilgrims had intended to settle farther south, within the jurisdic- 
tion of the London Company, but stress of weather forced them to make 
their landing at Cape Cod. 

Here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half 
amazed at this poor people's present condition ; and so I think 
will the reader too, when he well considers the same. Being thus 
passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their prep- 
aration (as may be remembered by that which went before), 
they had now no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain 
or refresh their weather-beaten bodies, nor houses or much less 
towns to repair to, to seek for succor. It is recorded in Scrip- 
ture * as a mercy to the apostle and his shipwrecked company, 
that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing 
them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them 
(as after will appear) were readier to fill their sides full of arrows 
than otherwise. And for the season it was winter, and they that 
know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and 
violent, and subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to 
travel to known places, much more to search an unknown coast. 
Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilder- 
ness, full of wild beasts and wild men, and what multitudes 
there might be of them they knew not. 

Neither could they, as it were, go up to the top of Pisgah, to 
view from this wilderness a more goodly country to feed their 
hopes ; for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward 
to the heavens) they could have little solace or content in re- 

1 Acts, xxviii. 

The First Winter at Plymouth 105 

spect of any outward objects. For summer being done, all 
things stand upon them with a weather-beaten face ; and the 
whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and 
savage hue. If they looked behind them, there was the mighty 
ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar and 
gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. If 
it be said they had a ship to succor them, it is true ; but what 
heard they daily from the master and company but that with 
speed they should look out a place with their shallop, where 
they would be at some near distance ; for the season was such 
as he would not stir from thence till a safe harbor was discovered 
by them where they would be, and he might go without danger ; 
and that victuals consumed apace, but he must and would 
keep sufficient for themselves and their return. Yea, it was 
muttered by some, that if they got not a place in time, they 
would turn them and their goods ashore and leave them. Let it 
also be considered what weak hopes of supply and succor they 
left behind them, that might bear up their minds in this sad 
condition and trials they were under ; and they could not but 
be very small. . . . What could now sustain them but the 
spirit of God and his grace? 

59. The First Winter at Plymouth x 

After preliminary explorations of the Cape Cod peninsula an expedi- 
tion was fitted out in a shallop for the purpose of locating a suitable 
place for a permanent settlement. Eighteen persons, including Myles 
Standish, John Carver, and William Bradford, composed the party. 
They landed at Plymouth on December n (December 21, N. S.), this 
being the historic landing. The harbor there had already been so named 
by Captain John Smith on his maps of the New England cpast. Five 
days later the Mayflower with the whole company arrived safely at 

After they had provided a place for their goods, or common 
store (which were long in unlading for want of boats, foulness 
of winter weather, and sickness of divers) and begun some small 
cottages for their habitation, as time would admit, they met 
and consulted of laws and orders, both for their civil and military 

1 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. 107-108. 

io6 The Pilgrim Fathers 

government, as the necessity of their condition did require, 
still adding thereunto as urgent occasion in several times, and 
as cases did require. 

In these hard and difficult beginnings they found some dis- 
contents and murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous 
speeches and carriages in others ; but they were soon quelled and 
overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage 
of things by the Governor and better part, which clove "faith- 
fully together in the main. But that which was most sad and 
lamentable was, that in two or three months' time half of their 
company died, especially in January and February, being the 
depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts ; being 
infected with the scurvy and other diseases, which this long 
voyage and their unsuited condition had brought upon them ; 
so as there died sometimes two or three a day, in the aforesaid 
time ; that of one hundred and odd persons, scarce fifty remained. 
And of these in the time of most distress, there were but six or 
seven sound persons, who, to their great commendation be it 
spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of 
toil and hazard of their own health, fetched them wood, made 
them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their 
loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them; in a word, 
did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty 
. . . stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this 
willingly and .cheerfully, without any grudging in the least,' 
showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren. 
A rare example and worthy to be remembered. Two of these 
seven were Mr. William Brewster, their reverend Elder, and 
Myles Standish, their captain and military commander, unto 
whom myself and many others were much beholden in our low 
and sick condition. And yet the Lord so upheld these persons, 
as in this general calamity they were not at all infected either 
with sickness or lameness. And what I have said of these, I 
may say of many others who died in this general visitation, and 
others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea, or any 
strength continuing, they were not wanting to any that had need 
of them. And I doubt not but their recompense is with the Lord. 

Indians 107 

60. Indians 1 

All this while the Indians came skulking about them, and 
would sometimes show themselves aloof of, but when any ap- 
proached near them, they would run away. And once they 
stole away their tools where they had been at work, and were 
gone to dinner. But about the i6th of March a certain Indian 
came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, 
which they could well understand, but marveled at it. At 
length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not 
of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some 
English ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted, and 
could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he 
got his language. He became profitable to them in acquainting 
them with many things concerning the state of the country in 
the east parts where he lived, which was afterward profitable 
unto them ; as also of the people here, of their names, number, 
and strength ; of their situation and distance from this place, 
and who was chief amongst them. His name was Samoset; 2 he 
told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a 
native of this place, who had been in England and could speak 
better English than himself. Being, after some time of enter- 
tainment and gifts, dismissed, a while after he came again, and 
five more with him, and they brought again all the tools that 
were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their 
great sachem, called Massasoit ; who, about four or five days 
after, came with the chief of his friends and other attendance, 
with the aforesaid Squanto. With whom, after friendly enter- 
tainment, and some gifts given him, they made a peace with 
him (which has now continued these twenty-four years) 3 in 
these terms. 

1. That neither he nor any of his should injure or do hurt to 
any of their people. 

2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should 
send the offender, that they might punish him. 

1 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. iio-nx. 

2 Samoset was a sagamore from Monhegan in Maine, 

3 It continued for more than fifty years. 

io8 The Pilgrim Fathers 

3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he 
should cause it to be restored ; and they should do the like to 

4. If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him ; 
H any did war against them, he should aid them. 

5. He should send to his neighbors confederates, to certify 
them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be 
likewise comprised in the condition of peace. 

6. That when their men came to them, they should leave 
their bows and arrows behind them. 

After these things he returned to his place called Sowams, 1 
some forty miles from this place, but Squanto continued with 
them, and was their interpreter, and was a special instrument 
sent by God for their good beyond their expectation. He 
directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to 
procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring 
them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till 
he died. 2 

61. Progress of the Colony 3 

Afterward they (as many as were able) began to plant their 
corn, in which service Squanto stood them in great stead, show- 
ing them both the manner how to set it, and after how to dress 
and tend it. Also he told them except they got fish and set 
with it (in these old grounds) it would come to nothing, 4 and he 
showed them that in the middle of April they should have store 
enough come up the brook, by which they began to build, and 
taught them how to take it, and where to get other provisions 
necessary for them; all which they found true by trial and 
experience. Some English seed they sowed, as wheat and peas, 
but it came not to good, either by the badness of the seed, or late- 
ness of the season, or both, or some other defect. 

1 On the present site of Warren, Rhode Island. 

2 Squanto died In 1622. 

3 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. 115-117, 121-122, 125-127, 
138-139, 146-147. 

4 Meaning, that fish were to be used as fertilizer for the cornfields. 

Progress of the Colony 109 

In this month of April whilst they were busy about their seed, 
their governor (Mr. John Carver) came out of the field very sick, 
it being a hot day ; he complained greatly of his head, and lay 
down, and within a few hours his senses failed, so as he never 
spoke more till he died, which was within a few days after. 
Whose death was much lamented, and caused great heaviness 
amongst them, as there was cause. He was buried in the best 
manner they could, with some volleys of shot by all that bore 
arms ; and his wife, being a weak woman, died within five or 
six weeks after him. 

Shortly after William Bradford was chosen governor in his 
stead, and being not yet recovered of his illness, in which he 
had been near the point of death, Isaak Allerton was chosen to 
be an assistant unto him, who, by renewed election every year, 
continued sundry years together, which I here note once for all. 
May 1 2th was the first marriage in this place, 1 which, accord- 
ing to the laudable custom of the Low Countries, in which they 
had lived, was thought most requisite to be performed by the 
magistrate, as being a civil thing, upon which many questions 
about inheritances do depend, with other things most proper 
to their cognisance, and most consonant to the Scriptures. . . . 
And this practice has continued amongst, not only them, but 
has been followed by all the famous churches of Christ in these 
parts to this time. 2 

By autumn, 1621, the condition of the Pilgrims had become more 

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and 
to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well 
recovered in health and strength, and had all things in good 
plenty ; for as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others 
were exercised in fishing, about cod, and bass, and other fish, 
of which they took good store, of which every family had their 
portion. All the summer there was no want. And now began to 
come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place 
did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by 

1 The marriage of Edward Winslow and Susanna White. 

2 I.e., to 1646. 

no The Pilgrim Fathers 

degrees). And besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild 
turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Be- 
sides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now 
since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made 
many afterward write so largely of their plenty here to their 
friends in England, which were not feigned, but true reports. 
In November, about that time twelfth month that themselves 
came, there came in a small ship l to them unexpected or looked 
for, in which came Mr. Cushman ( so much spoken of before ) 
and with him thirty-five persons to remain and live in the plan- 
tation ; which did not a little rejoice them. And they, when they 
came ashore and found all well, and saw plenty of victuals in 
every house, were no less glad. For most of them were lusty 
young men, and many of them wild enough, who little considered 
whither or about what they went, till they came into the harbor 
at Cape Cod, and there saw nothing but a naked and barren place. 
. . . The plantation was glad of this addition of strength, but 
could have wished that many of them had been of better condi- 
tion, and all of them better furnished with provisions ; but that 
could not now be helped. 

The Fortune remained for only two weeks at Plymouth and then set 
out for England with a cargo of clapboard " as full as she could stow," 
and two hogsheads of beaver and otter skins obtained by trading with 
the Indians. 

Soon after this ship's departure, the great people of the 
Narragansets, in a braving manner, sent a messenger unto them 
with a bundle of arrows tied about with a great snake skin; 
which their interpreters told them was a threatening and a 
challenge. Upon which the governor, with the advice of others, 
sent them a round answer, that if they had rather have war than 
peace, they might begin when they would ; they had done them 
no wrong, neither did they fear them, or should they find them 
unprovided. And by another messenger sent the snake skin 
back with bullets in it ; but they would not receive it, but sent 
it back again. . . . And it is like the reason was their own 
ambition, who (since the death of so many of the Indians) 

1 The Fortune, a ship of 55 tons. 

Progress of the Colony in 

thought to domineer and lord it over the rest, and conceived the 
English would be a bar in their way, and saw that Massasoit 
took shelter already under their wings. 

But this made them the more carefully to look to themselves, 
so as they agreed to inclose their dwellings with a good strong 
pale, and make flankers in convenient places, with gates to shut, 
which were every night locked, and a watch kept and when 
need required there was also warding in the daytime. And the 
company was by the captain's and the governor's advice, di- 
vided into four squadrons, and every one had their quarter 
appointed them, unto which they were to repair upon any sudden 
alarm. And if there should be any cry of fire, a company were 
appointed for a guard, with muskets, whilst others quenched the 
same, to prevent Indian treachery. This was accomplished 
very cheerfully, and the town impaled round by the beginning 
of March, 1 in which every family had a pretty garden plot 
secured. And herewith I shall end this year. 

Only I shall remember one passage more, rather of mirth than 
of weight. On the day called Christmasday, the governor 
called them out to work (as was usual), but the most of this 
new company excused themselves and said it went against their 
consciences to work on that day. So the governor told them 
that if they made it matter of conscience, he would spare them 
till they were better informed. So he led away the rest and left 
them ; but when they came home at noon from their work, he 
found them in the street at play, openly; some pitching the 
bar and some at stool-ball, 2 and such like sports. So he went to 
them, and took away their implements, and told them that 
was against his conscience, that they should play and others 
work. If they made the keeping of it matter of devotion, let 
them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming or reveling 
in the streets. Since which time nothing has been attempted 
that way, at least openly. 

The summer of 1622 was another time of privation and danger. 

This summer they built a fort with good timber, both strong 
and comely, which was of good defense, made with a flat roof 

1 March, 1622. 2 A game in which balls were driven from stool to stool. 

ii2 The Pilgrim Fathers 

and battlements, on which their ordinance were mounted, and 
where they kept constant watch, especially in time of danger. 
It served them also for a meeting house, and was fitted accord- 
ingly for that use. It was a great work for them in this weakness 
and time of want ; but the danger of the time required it, and 
both the continual rumors of the fears from the Indians here, 
especially the Narragansets, and also the hearing of that great 
massacre in Virginia, made all hands willing to dispatch the 

In 1623 the Pilgrims abandoned the communal system of agriculture. 
It had been a disastrous experiment, as Bradford relates. 

So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as 
they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that 
they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after 
much debate of things, the governor (with the advice of the 
chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn 
every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to 
themselves ; in all other things to go on in the general way as 
before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, accord- 
ing to the proportion of their number for that end, only for 
present use (but made no division for inheritance), and ranged 
all boys and youth under some family. This had very good 
success ; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more 
corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means 
the governor or any other could use, and saved him a great 
deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now 
went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them 
to set corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability ; 
whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny 
and oppression. 

The experience that was had in this common course and con- 
dition, tried sundry years, and that amongst goodly and sober 
men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato l and 
other ancients, applauded by some of later times ; that the 
taking away of property, and bringing in community into a 

1 See Plato's Republic, iii, 416-417. 

Objections and Answers to Objections 113 

commonwealth^ would make them happy and flourishing ; as if 
they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) 
was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard 
much employment that would have been to their benefit and 

62. Objections and Answers to Objections l 

Some colonists who came over in 1623 " on their particular " (i.e., 
on their own account) and afterward returned to England were at pains 
to spread discouraging reports of the condition of the new settlement. 
Bradford enumerates their criticisms and the replies thereto made by 
the authorities, for the benefit of intending emigrants. 

First objection : Diversity about religion. 

Answer : We know no such matter, for here was never any 
controversy or opposition, either public or private, (to our 
knowledge) since we came. 

Second objection: Neglect of family duties on the Lord's 

Answer : We allow no such thing, but blame it on ourselves 
and others ; and they that thus report it, should have showed 
their Christian love the more if they had in love told the offenders 
of it, rather than thus to reproach them behind their backs. But 
(to say no more) we wish themselves had given better example. 

Third objection : Want of both the sacraments. 

Answer : The more is our grief, that our pastor is kept from 
us, by whom we might enjoy them ; for we used to have the 
Lord's Supper every Sabbath, and baptism as often as there was 
occasion of children to baptise. 

Fourth objection : Children not catechised nor taught to read. 

Answer: Neither is true; for divers take pains with their 
own as they can ; indeed, we have no common school for want of 
a fit person, or hitherto means to maintain one; though we 
desire now to begin. 

Fifth objection : Many of the particular members of the plan- 
tation will not work for the general. 

Answer : This also is not wholly true ; for though some do it 
not willingly, and others not honestly, yet all do it; and he 

1 Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. 170-172. 

ii4 The Pilgrim Fathers 

that doeth worst gets his own food and something besides. But 
we will not excuse them, but labor to reform them the best we 
can, or else to quit the plantation of them. 

Sixth objection : The water is not wholesome. 

Answer : If they mean not so wholesome as the good beer and 
wine in London (which they so dearly love) we will not dispute 
with them ; but else, for water, it is as good as any in the world 
(for aught we know), and it is wholesome enough to us that 
can be content therewith. 

Seventh objection : The ground is barren and doth bear no 

Answer : It is here (as in all places) some better and some 
worse ; and if they well consider their words, in England they 
shall not find such grass in them as in their fields and meadows. 
The cattle find grass, for they are as fat as need be ; we wish 
we had but one for every hundred that here is grass to keep. 
Indeed, this objection, as some others, is ridiculous to all here 
which see and know the contrary. 

Eighth objection : The fish will not take salt to keep sweet. 

Answer : This is as true as that which was written, that there 
is scarce a fowl to be seen or a fish to be taken. Things likely 
to be true in a country where so many sail of ships come yearly 
a fishing; they might as well say, there can no ale or beer in 
London be kept from souring. 

Ninth objection: Many of them are thievish and steal one 
from another. 

Answer : Would London had been free from that crime, then 
we should not have been troubled with these here ; it is well 
known sundry have smarted well for it, and so are the rest like 
to do, if they be taken. 

Tenth objection: The country is annoyed with foxes and 

Answer : So are many other good countries too ; but poison, 
traps, and other such means will help to destroy them. 

Eleventh objection : The Dutch are planted near Hudson's 
Bay, and are likely to overthrow the trade. 

Answer : They will come and plant in these parts, also, if we 

Objections and Answers to Objections 115 

and others do not, but go home and leave it to them. We 
rather commend them than condemn them for it. 

Twelfth objection : The people are much annoyed with mos- 

Answer : They are too delicate and unfit to begin new plan- 
tations and colonies, that cannot endure the biting of a mosquito ; 
we would wish such to keep at home till at least they be mosquito 
proof. Yet this place is as free as any, and experience teaches 
that the more the land is tilled, and the woods cut down, the 
fewer there will be, and in the end scarce any at all. 



FEW authors have cared so little for literary reputation 
as Benjamin Franklin. Though from early life he took 
great pains to master the art of writing, he seldom, affixed 
his name to any of his productions nor did he ever undertake 
a collection of his numerous letters, scientific papers, and 
other works. Even the famous Autobiography was left a 
fragment. Franklin wrote the first five chapters, coming 
down to 1731, in the form of a letter to his son, William 
Franklin. Subsequent additions extended the narrative 
to 1757, when he was fifty-one years of age. It seems to 
have been his intention to continue the Autobiography to a 
later period, but the pressure of public business and after- 
ward ill health prevented him from doing so. The original 
manuscript remained for many years in the possession of 
bis grandson and literary executor, Temple Franklin. It 
was not published by the latter until 1817 and then only 
with a good many alterations and omissions. The com- 
plete autobiography, exactly as Franklin wrote it, was not 
given to the worlii until 1868. 

63. Self-Education 2 

From my infancy I was passionately fond of reading and all 
the money that came into my hands was laid out in the purchas- 
ing of books. . . . My father's little library consisted chiefly 
of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read. I have 
often regretted, that, at a time when I had such a thirst for 
knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since 

1 The Works of Benjamin Franklin, edited by Jared Sparks. 10 vols. Philadel- 
phia, 1840. 

2 Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. i, pp. 15-22. 

Self -Education 117 

it was resolved I should not be bred to divinity. There was 
among them Plutarch's Lives, which I read abundantly, and I 
still think that tune spent to great advantage. . . . 

This bookish inclination at length determined my father to 
make me a printer, though he had already one son, James, of 
that profession. In 1717 my brother James returned from Eng- 
land with a press and letters, to set up his business in Boston. 
I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a 
hankering for the sea. To prevent the apprehended effect of 
such an inclination, my father was impatient to have me bound 
to my brother. I stood out some time, but at last was persuaded, 
and signed the indenture, when I was yet but twelve years old. 
I was to serve an apprenticeship till I was twenty-one years of 
age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last 
year. In a little time I made a great progress in the business, 
and became a useful hand to my brother. I now had access to 
better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of book- 
sellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I 
was careful to return soon, and clean. Often I sat up in my 
chamber reading the greatest part of the night, when the book 
was borrowed in the evening and to be returned in the morning, 
lest it should be found missing. 

After some time a merchant, an ingenious, sensible man, Mr. 
Matthew Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, fre- 
quented our printing office, took notice of me, and invited me to 
see his library, and very kindly proposed to lend me such books 
as I chose to read. I now took a strong inclination for poetry, 
and wrote some little pieces. My brother, supposing it might 
turn to account, encouraged me, and induced me to compose two 
occasional ballads. . . . My father discouraged me by criti- 
cizing my performances, and telling me verse-makers were 
generally beggars. Thus I escaped being a poet, and probably 
a very bad one ; but, as prose writing has been of great use to 
me in the course of my life, and was a principal means of my 
advancement, I shall tell you how in such a situation I 
acquired what little ability I may be supposed to have in that 
way. . . . 

n8 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

About this time, I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. 1 
I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over 
and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writ- 
ing excellent, and wished if possible to imitate it. With that 
view, I took some of the papers, and making short hints of the 
sentiments in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, 
without looking at the book, tried to complete the papers again, 
by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as 
it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should 
occur to me. Then I compared my Spectator with the original", 
dicovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found 
I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and 
using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that 
time, if I had gone on making verses ; since the continual search 
for words of the same import, but of different length to 
suit the measure, or of different sound for, the rhyme, would 
have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, 
and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make 
me master of it. Therefore I took some of the tales in the 
Spectator, and turned them into verse ; and, after a time, when 
I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. 

I also sometimes jumbled my collection of hints into confusion, 
and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best 
order before I began to form the full sentences and complete 
the subject. This was to teach me method in the arrangement 
of the thoughts. By comparing my work with the original, 
I discovered many faults, and corrected them ; but I sometimes 
had the pleasure to fancy that, in certain particulars of small 
consequence, I had been fortunate enough to improve the 
method or the language, and this encouraged me to think, that 
I might in time come to be a tolerable English writer ; of which 
I was extremely ambitious. . . . 

While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an 
English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), having at the 
end of it two little sketches on the arts of rhetoric and logic, the 

1 The Spectator, the joint work of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, appeared 
every weekday between March i, 1711 and December 6, 1712. 

Self -Education 119 

latter finishing with a dispute in the Socratic method. And, 
soon after, I procured Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, 1 
wherein there are many examples of the same method. I was 
charmed with it, adopted it, dropped my abrupt contradiction 
and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer. 
... I found this method the safest for myself and very em- 
barrassing to those against whom I used it ; therefore I took 
delight in it, practised it continually, and grew very artful and 
expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into 
concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee, 
entangling them in difficulties, out of which they could not 
extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither 
myself nor my cause always deserved. 

I continued this method some few years, but gradually left it, 
retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest 
diffidence, never using, when I advance any thing that may 
possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any 
others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion ; but rather 
say, I conceive, or apprehend, a thing to be so and so ; It appears 
to me^ or I should not think it, so or so, for such and such reasons; 
or, I imagine it to be so; or, It is so, if I am not mistaken. This 
habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me, when I have 
had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into 
measures, that I have been from time to time engaged in pro- 
moting. And as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or 
to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning 
and sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by 
a positive assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends 
to create opposition, and to defeat most of those purposes for 
which speech was given to us. In fact, if you wish to instruct 
others, a positive dogmatical manner in advancing your senti- 
ments may occasion opposition and prevent a candid attention. 
If you desire instruction and improvement from others, you 
should not at the same time express yourself fixed in your 
present opinions. Modest and sensible men, who do not love 
disputation, will leave you undisturbed in the possession of 

1 Otherwise known as the Memorabilia. 

120 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

your errors. In adopting such a manner, you can seldom 
expect to please your hearers, or obtain the concurrence you 

64. Religious Beliefs 1 

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian ; but, though 
some of the dogmas of that persuasion such as the eternal decrees 
of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, 
others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public 
assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never 
was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for 
instance, the existence of a Deity ; that he made the world and 
governed it by his providence ; that the most acceptable service 
of God was the doing good to man ; that our souls are immortal ; 
and that all crimes will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either 
here or hereafter. These I esteemed the essentials of every 
religion ; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our 
country, I respected them all, though with different degrees of 
respect, as I found them more or less mixed with other articles, 
which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm 
morality, served principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly 
to one another. This respect to all, with an opinion that the 
worst had some good effects, induced me to avoid all discourse 
that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have 
of his own religion; and as our province increased in people, 
and new places of worship were continually wanted, and gen- 
erally erected by voluntary contribution, my mite for such 
purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused. 

Though I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an 
opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, 
and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of 
the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. 
He used to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to 
attend his administrations ; and I was now and then prevailed 
on to do so ; once for five Sundays successively. Had he been 
in my opinion a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued, 
1 Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. i, pp. 102-104. 

Moral Perfection 121 

notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my 
course of study ; but his discourses were chiefly either polemic 
arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, 
and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying; 
since not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforced; 
their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than 
good citizens. 

At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter 
to the Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are 
true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any 
virtue or any praise, think on these things." And I imagined, 
in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some 
morality. But he confined himself to five points only, as 
meant by the apostle; i. Keeping holy the Sabbath Day. 
2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending 
duly the public worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 
5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers. These might be all 
good things ; but, as they were not the kind of good things that 
I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them 
from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no 
more. I had some years before composed a little liturgy, or form 
of prayer, for my own private use (in 1728), entitled, Articles 
of Belief and Acts of Religion. I returned to the use of this, and 
went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be 
blamable, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse 
it ; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make 
apologies for them. 

65. Moral Perfection * 

It was about this time 2 1 conceived the bold and arduous proj- 
ect of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without 
committing any fault at any time, and to conquer all that either 
natural inclination, custom, or company, might lead me into. 
As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I 
did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the 

1 Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. i, pp. 105-114. 

2 In 1733, when Franklin was twenty-seven years old. 

122 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more diffi- 
culty than I had imagined. While my attention was taken up, 
and care employed in guarding against one fault, I was often 
surprised by another ; habit took the advantage of inattention ; 
inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, 
at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our 
interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent 
our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, 
and good ones acquired and established, before we can have 
any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct. 
For this purpose I therefore tried the following method. 

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met 
with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, 
as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same 
name. Temperance, for example, was by some confined to 
eating and drinking ; while by others it was extended to mean 
the moderating every other pleasure, appetite, inclination, or 
passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice and ambition. I 
proposed to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather 
more names, with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names 
with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of 
virtues, all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or 
desirable; and annexed to each a short precept, which fully 
expressed the extent I gave to its meaning. 

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were ; 

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dulness; drink not to 

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others, 
or yourself ; avoid trifling conversation. 

3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let 
each part of your business have its time. 

4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought ; 
perform without fail what you resolve. 

5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to 
others or yourself ; that is, waste nothing. 

6. INDUSTRY.. Lose no time; be always employed in 
something useful ; cut off all unnecessary actions. 

Moral Perfection 123 

7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit ; think innocently 
and justly ; and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 

8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting 
the benefits that are your duty. 

9. MODERATION. Avoid extremes ; forbear resenting in- 
juries so much as you think they deserve. 

10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, 
clothes, or habitation. 

11. TRANQIHLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at acci- 
dents common or unavoidable. 


13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates. 

... I made a little book, in which I allotted ^ page for each 
of the virtues. I ruled each page with red ink, so as to have 
seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each 
column with a letter for the day. I crossed these columns with 
thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the 
first letter of one of the virtues ; on which line, and in its proper 
column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I 
found upon examination to have been committed respecting 
that virtue, upon that day. 

I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the 
virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard 
was to avoid ever the least offense against Temperance ; leav- 
ing the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking 
every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if in the first week 
I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of spots, I sup- 
posed the habit of that virtue so much strengthened, and its 
opposite weakened, that I might venture extending my atten- 
tion to include the next, and for the following week keep both 
lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could get 
through a course complete in thirteen weeks, and four courses 
in a year. And like him, who, having a garden to weed, does 
not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would 
exceed his reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds 
at a time, and, having accomplished the first, proceeds to a sec- 
ond ; so I should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing 

124 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

on my pages the progress made in virtue, by clearing successively 
my lines of their spots ; till in the end, by a number of courses, 
I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen weeks' 
daily examination. . . . 

I entered upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, 
and continued it with occasional intermissions for some time. 
I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had 
imagined ; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. 
To avoid the trouble of renewing now and then my little book, 
which, by scraping out the marks on the paper of old faults to 
make room for new ones in a new course, became full of holes, 
I transferred my tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of a 
memorandum Jbook, on which the lines were drawn in red ink, 
that made a durable stain; and on those lines I marked my 
faults with a black lead pencil ; which marks I could easily wipe 
out with a wet sponge. After a while I went through one course 
only in a year ; and afterward only one in several years ; till 
at length I omitted them entirely, being employed in voyages 
and business abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs, that inter- 
fered ; but I always carried my little book with me. . . . 

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this 
little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owed the 
constant felicity of his life, down to his seventy-ninth year, in 
which this is written*. What reverses may attend the remainder 
is in the hand of Providence ; but, if they arrive, the reflection 
on past happiness enjoyed ought to help his bearing them with 
more resignation. To Temperance he ascribes his long con- 
tinued health, and what is still left to him of a good constitution ; 
to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his circum- 
stances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge 
that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him 
some degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity 
and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable 
employs it conferred upon him ; and to the joint influence of the 
whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was 
able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper, and that 
cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company still 

Accomplishments and Services 125 

sought for, and agreeable even to his young acquaintance. I 
hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the 
example and reap the benefit. 

66. Accomplishments and Services 1 

In 1732 I first published my Almanac, under the name of 
Richard Saunders ; it was continued by me about twenty-five 
years, and called Poor Richard's Almanac. I endeavored to 
make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came 
to be in such demand that I reaped considerable profit from it ; 
vending annually near ten thousand. And observing that it was 
generally read, scarcely any neighborhood in the province being 
without it, I considered it as a proper vehicle for conveying 
instruction among the common people, who bought scarcely any 
other books. I therefore filled all the little spaces, that occurred 
between the remarkable days in the calendar, with proverbial 
sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as 
the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; 
it being more difficult for a man in want to act always honestly, 
as, to use here one of those proverbs, it is hard for an empty sack 
to stand upright. 

These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages 
and nations, I assembled and formed into a connected discourse 
prefixed to the Almanac of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old 
man to the people attending an auction. The bringing all 
these scattered counsels thus into a focus enabled them to make 
greater impression. The piece, being universally approved, 
was copied in all the newspapers of the American Continent, 
reprinted in Britain on a large sheet of paper, to be stuck up in 
houses ; two translations were made of it in France, and great 
numbers bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute gratis 
among their poor parishioners and tenants. In Pennsylvania, 
as it discouraged useless expense in foreign superfluities, some 
thought it had its share of influence in producing that growing 
plenty of money which was observable for several years after its 

1 Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. i, pp 121-123, 156-157, 208-213. 

126 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

Before Franklin's invention of stoves the whole civilized world, like 
the world of savagery, warmed itself at the open fire. 

In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that having, 
in 1742, invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms, 
and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was 
warmed in entering, I made a present of the model to Mr. 
Robert Grace, one of my early friends, who, having an iron- 
furnace, found the casting of the plates for these stoves a profit- 
able thing, as they were growing in demand. To promote 
that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet, intitled, 
"An Account of the new-invented Pennsylvanian Fire-places; 
wherein their Construction and Manner of Operation are par- 
ticularly explained ; their Advantages above every other Method 
of warming Rooms demonstrated ; and all Objections that have 
been raised against the Use of them, answered and obviated," 
etc. This pamphlet had a good effect ; Governor Thomas was 
so pleased with the construction of this stove as described in it, 
that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them 
for a term of years ; but I declined it from a principle which has 
ever weighed with me on such occasions, viz. That, as we 
enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should 
be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of 
ours ; and this we should do freely and generously. 

An ironmonger in London, however, assuming a good deal of 
my pamphlet, and working it up into his own, and making some 
small changes in the machine, which rather hurt its operation, 
got a patent for it there, and made, as I was told, a little fortune 
by it. And this is not the only instance of patents taken 
out of my inventions by others, though not always with the 
same success ; which I never contested as having no desire of 
profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes. The use of 
these fireplaces in very many houses, both here in Pennsylvania, 
and the neighboring states, has been, and is, a great saving of 
wood to the inhabitants. 

Franklin has an interesting account of the rise and progress of his 
"philosophical reputation," which was based upon his experiments with 

Accomplishments and Services 127 

In 1746, being in Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence, who 
was lately arrived from Scotland, and showed me some electric 
experiments. They were imperfectly performed, as he was not 
very expert ; but, being on a subject quite new to me, they equally 
surprised and pleased me. Soon after my return to Philadelphia, 
our library company received from Mr. Peter Collinson, Fellow 
of the Royal Society of London, a present of a glass tube, with 
some account of the use of it in making such experiments. I 
eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating what I had seen at 
Boston; and, by much practice, acquired great readiness in 
performing those also, which we had an account of from England, 
adding a number of new ones. I say much practice, for my 
house was continually full, for some time, with persons who came 
to see these new wonders. . . . 

Obliged as we were to Mr. Collinson for the present of the 
tube, etc., I thought it right he should be informed of our success 
in using it, and wrote him several letters containing accounts 
of our experiments. He got them read in the Royal Society, 
where they were not at first thought worth so much notice 
as to be printed in their Transactions. One paper, which I 
wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness of lightning with 
electricity, I sent to Mr. Mitchel, an acquaintance of mine, 
and one of the members also of that society ; who wrote me 
word that it had been read, but was laughed at by the con- 
noisseurs. The papers, however, being shown to Dr. Fothergill, 
he thought them of too much value to be stifled, and advised the 
printing of them. . . . 

It was however some time before those papers were much 
taken notice of in England. A copy of them happening to fall 
into the hands of the Count de Buff on, a philosopher deservedly 
of great reputation in France, and indeed all over Europe, he 
prevailed with M. Dubourg to translate them into French; 
and they were printed at Paris. . . . 

What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity 
was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made by 
Messieurs Dalibard and De Lor at Marly, for drawing lightning 
from the clouds. This engaged the public attention everywhere. 

128 "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

M. De Lor, who had an apparatus for experimental philosophy , 
and lectured in that branch of science, undertook to repeat what 
he called the Philadelphia Experiments; and, after they were 
performed before the king 1 and court, all the curious of Paris 
flocked to see them. I will not swell this narrative with an 
account of that capital experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure 
I received in the success of a similar one I made soon after with a 
kite at Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of 

Dr. Wright, an English physician, when at Paris, wrote to a 
friend, who was of the Royal Society, an account of the high 
esteem my experiments were in among the learned abroad, 
and of their wonder that my writings had been so little 
noticed in England. The society on this resumed the consider- 
ation of the letters that had been read to them ; and the cele- 
brated Dr. Watson drew up a summary account of them, and of 
all I had afterward sent to England on the subject ; which he 
accompanied with some praise of the writer. This summary 
was then printed in their Transactions; and, some members of 
the society in London, particularly the very ingenious Mr. 
Canton, having verified the experiment of procuring lightning 
from the clouds by a pointed rod, and acquainted them with 
the success, they soon made me more than amends for the 
slight with which they had before treated me. Without my 
having made any application for that honor, they chose me a 
member; and voted that I should be excused the customary 
payments, which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas ; 
and ever since have given me their Transactions gratis. They 
also presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley, 
for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by a 
very handsome speech of the president, Lord Macclesfield, 
wherein I was highly honored. 

i Louis XV. 


THE British statesman, publicist, and orator, Edmund 
Burke, was born in Dublin in 1729. He attended Trinity 
College in his native city, where Oliver Goldsmith was a 
student at the same time, and after taking a degree began 
the study of law in London. From law Burke passed to 
literature and politics ; in 1765 he became private secretary 
to the Whig prime minister, Lord Rockingham, and in 1766 
he entered the House of Commons. Burke's parliamentary 
career lasted until three years before his death in 1794. It 
was a very eminent career, culminating in his championship 
of the American colonists as against George III and the 
Tory government of Great Britain. No one, in or out of 
parliament, did more than Burke to enlighten Englishmen 
about the true condition of affairs in America, to set forth 
the American point of view, and to plead with his country- 
men for the adoption of a wise and generous policy toward 
the colonists. His two great speeches on A merican Taxation 
and on Conciliation with America afford perhaps the best 
contemporary view of the causes which produced the 
Revolutionary War. 

67. A Warning to Great Britain 2 

The speech on American Taxation was delivered April 19, 1774, in 
the debate on the repeal of the tea duty. That duty formed the sole 
remnant of the taxes imposed by the Townshend Acts (1767) and had 
been purposely left when the rest were repealed (1770)? * n order to assert 
the right of parliamentary control over the colonists in matters of taxa- 
tion. Burke argued that the tea duty was not only unproductive but 

1 Burke, Select Works, edited by E. J. Payne. 2 vols. Oxford, 1890. Clarendon 

2 Burke, Select Works, vol. i, pp. 154-156. 

130 Burke's Defense of the American Colonists 

also most impolitic: it irritated the colonists, alienated their sympa- 
thies, and might, if persisted in, lead to their separation from the mother 

Again, and again, revert to your own principles seek peace, 
and pursue it l leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to 
tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, 
not attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into 
these metaphysical distinctions ; I hate the very sound of them. 
Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinc- 
tions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. They 
and we, and their and our ancestors, have been happy under 
that system. Let the memory of all actions, in contradiction 
to that good old mode, on both sides, be extinguished for ever. 
Be content to bind America by laws of trade ; you have always 
done it. Let this be your reason for binding their trade. Do 
not burden them by taxes ; you were not used to do so from the 
beginning. Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are 
the arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the 
schools; for there only they may be discussed with safety. 
But, if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and 
poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deduc- 
tions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the 
unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will 
teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in 
question. When you drive him hard, the boar will surely turn 
upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom can- 
not be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your 
sovereignty in your face. Nobody will be argued into slavery. 
Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side call forth all their ability ; 
let the best of them get up, and tell me, what one character 2 
of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery 
they are free from, if they are bound in their property and 
industry, by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, 
and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you 
choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. 

1 Psalm xxxiv, 14. 

2 I.e., mark or stamp. 

A Warning to Great Britain 131 

When they bear the burdens of unlimited monopoly, will you 
bring them to bear the burdens of unlimited revenue too? The 
Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery that it is 
legal slavery will be no compensation, either to his feelings or 
his understanding. 

A noble lord, 1 who spoke some time ago, is full of the fire of 
ingenuous youth; and when he has modeled the ideas of a 
lively imagination by further experience, he will be an ornament 
to his country in either House. He has said, that the Americans 
are our children, and how can they revolt against their parent ? 
He says, that if they are not free in their present state, England 
is not free ; because Manchester, and other considerable places, 
are not represented. So then, because some towns in England 
are not represented, America is to have no representative at all. 
They are our children ; but when children ask for bread, we are 
not to give a stone. Is it because the natural resistance of 
things, and the various mutations of time, hinder our govern- 
ment, or any scheme of government, from being any more than 
a sort of approximation to the right is it therefore that the 
colonies are to recede from it infinitely? When this child of 
ours wishes to assimilate to its parent, and to reflect with a true 
filial resemblance the beauteous countenance of British liberty ; 
are we to turn to them the shameful parts of our Constitution? 
are we to give them our weakness for their strength? our op- 
probrium for their glory? and the slough of slavery, which we 
are not able to work off, to serve them for their freedom ? 

If this be the case, ask yourselves this question, Will they be 
content in such a state of slavery? If not, look to the conse- 
quences. Reflect how you are to govern a people, who think 
they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme 
yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, 
disobedience ; and such is the state of America, that after wading 
up to your eyes in blood, you could only end just where you 
begun ; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found, to 
my voice fails me ; my inclination indeed carries me no farther 
all is confusion beyond it. 

1 Lord Carmarthen. 

132 Burke's Defense of the American Colonists 

68. Temper and Character of the Colonists l 

The speech on Conciliation with America was delivered March 22, 
1775, I GSS than a month before the outbreak of hostilities at Lexington 
and Concord. Burke's object in this speech, the greatest of his oratori- 
cal efforts, was to induce parliament " to admit the people of the colo- 
nies into an interest in the Constitution," not by an actual representa- 
tion of them in the House of Commons, but by leaving internal taxation 
to their own provincial assemblies. Affairs had come to such a pass, 
however, that a statesmanlike treatment of the issue was now out of the 
question. George III and the Tory majority in parliament were deter- 
mined on repression, rather than on conciliation, of the colonists. 

These, Sir, are my reasons for not entertaining that high 
opinion of untried force, by which many gentlemen, for whose 
sentiments in other particulars I have great respect, seem to be 
so greatly captivated. But there is still behind a third consider- 
ation concerning this object, which serves to determine my 
opinion on the sort of policy which ought to be pursued in the 
management of America, even more than its population and 
its commerce, I mean its temper and character. 

In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the 
predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole : 
and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies 
become suspicious, restive and" untractable, whenever they see 
the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from 
them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth 
living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English 
colonies probably than in any other people of the earth ; and this 
from a great variety of powerful causes ; which, to understand the 
true temper of their minds, and the direction which this spirit 
takes, it will not be amiss to lay open somewhat more largely. 

First, the people of the colonies are descendants of English- 
men. England, Sir, is a nation, which still I hope respects, and 
formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from 
you when this part of your character was most predominant ; 
and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted 
from your hands. They are therefore not only devoted to 
liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas and on Eng- 
1 Burke, Select Works, vol. i, pp. 178-184. 

Temper and Character of the Colonists 133 

lish principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, 
is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible object; 
and every nation has formed to itself some favorite point, which 
by way of eminence becomes the criterion of their happiness. 
It happened, you know, Sir, that the great contests for freedom 
in this country were from the earliest times chiefly upon the 
question of taxing. Most of the contests in the ancient com- 
monwealths turned primarily on the right of election of magis- 
trates ; or on the balance among the several orders of the state. 
The question of money was not with them so immediate. But 
in England it was otherwise. On this point of taxes the ablest 
pens and most eloquent tongues 1 have been exercised; the 
greatest spirits have acted and suffered. In order to give the 
fullest satisfaction concerning the importance of this point, it 
was not only necessary for those who in argument defended the 
excellence of the English Constitution, to insist on this privilege 
of granting money as a dry point of fact, and to prove that the 
right had been acknowledged in ancient parchments, and blind 
usages, to reside in a certain body called an House of Commons. 
They went much farther ; they attempted to prove, and they 
succeeded, that in theory it ought to be so, from the particular 
nature of an House of Commons, as an immediate representative 
of the people ; whether the old records had delivered this oracle 
or not. They took infinite pains to inculcate, as a fundamental 
principle, that in all monarchies the people must in effect them- 
selves, mediately or immediately, possess the power of granting 
their own money, or no shadow of liberty can subsist. The 
colonies draw from you, as with their life-blood, these ideas and 
principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed and at- 
tached on this specific point of taxing. Liberty might be safe, 
or might be endangered, in twenty other particulars, without 
their being much pleased or alarmed. Here they felt its pulse ; 
and as they found that beat, they thought themselves sick or 
sound. I do not say whether they were right or wrong in 
applying your general arguments to their own case. It is not 
easy indeed to make a monopoly of theorems and corollaries. 
1 Pym, Hampden, and others. 

134 Burke's Defense of the American Colonists 

The fact is, that they did thus apply those general arguments ; 
and your mode of governing them, whether through lenity or 
indolence, through wisdom or mistake, confirmed them in the 
imagination, that they, as well as you, had an interest in these 
common principles. 

They were further confirmed in this pleasing error by the form 
of their provincial legislative assemblies. Their governments 
are popular in an high degree ; some are merely popular ; in all, 
the popular representative is the most weighty ; and this share 
of the people in their ordinary government never fails to 
inspire them with lofty sentiments, and with a strong 
aversion from whatever tends to deprive them of their chief 

If anything were wanting to this necessary operation of the 
form of government, religion would have given it a complete 
effect. Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people 
is no way worn out or impaired ; and their mode of professing it 
is also one main cause of this free spirit. The people are Protes- 
tants ; and of that kind which is the most adverse to all implicit 
submission of mind and opinion. This is a persuasion not only 
favorable to liberty, but built upon it. I do not think, Sir, that 
the reason of this averseness in the dissenting churches, from all 
that looks like absolute government, is so much to be sought in 
their religious tenets as in their history. Every one knows that 
the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval with most of the 
governments where it prevails ; that it has generally gone hand 
in hand with them, and received great favor and every kind of 
support from authority. The Church of England too was 
formed from her cradle under the nursing care of regular govern- 
ment. But the dissenting interests have sprung up in direct 
opposition to all the ordinary powers of the world ; and could 
justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. 
Their very existence depended on the powerful and unremitted 
assertion of that claim. All Protestantism, even the most cold 
and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent 
in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of 
resistance ; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism 

Temper and Character of the Colonists 135 

of the Protestant religion. This religion, under a variety of de- 
nominations agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit 
of liberty, is predominant in most of the northern provinces; 
where the Church of England, notwithstanding its legal rights, is 
in reality no more than a sort of private sect, not composing 
most probably the tenth of the people. The colonists left Eng- 
land when this spirit was high, and in the emigrants was the 
highest of all ; and even that stream of foreigners, which has been 
constantly flowing into these colonies, has, for the greatest part, 
been composed of dissenters from the establishments of their 
several countries, and have brought with them a temper and 
character far from alien to that of the people with whom they 

Sir, I can perceive by their manner, that some gentlemen ob- 
ject to the latitude of this description ; because in the southern 
colonies the Church of England forms a large body and has a 
regular establishment. It is certainly true. There is, however, 
a circumstance attending these colonies, which, in my opinion, 
fully counterbalances this difference, and makes the spirit of 
liberty still more high and haughty than in those to the north- 
ward. It is, that in Virginia and the Carolinas they have a vast 
multitude of slaves. Where this is the case in any part of the 
world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous 
of their freedom. Freedom is to them not only an enjoyment, 
but a kind of rank and privilege. Not seeing there, that freedom, 
as in countries where it is a common blessing, and as broad and 
general as the air, may be united with much abject toil, with 
great misery, with all the exterior of servitude, liberty looks, 
amongst them, like something that is more noble and liberal. 
I do not mean, Sir, to commend the superior morality of this 
sentiment, which has at least as much pride as virtue in it ; but 
I cannot alter the nature of man. The fact is so ; and these 
people of the southern colonies are much more strongly, and with 
an higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty, than 
those to the northward. Such were all the ancient common- 
wealths; such were our Gothic ancestors; such in our days 
were the Poles ; and such will be all masters of slaves, who are 

136 Burke's Defense of the American Colonists 

not slaves themselves. In such a people, the haughtiness of 
domination combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies it, and 
renders it invincible. 

Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies, 
which contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect 
of this untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no 
country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study. The 
profession itself is numerous and powerful ; and in most prov- 
inces it takes the lead. The greater number of the deputies 
sent to the Congress l were lawyers. But all who read (and 
most do read), endeavor to obtain some smattering in that 
science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no 
branch of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so 
many books as those on the law exported to the plantations. 
The colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for 
their own use. I hear that they have sold nearly as many of 
Blackstone's Commentaries 2 in America as in England. Gen- 
eral Gage 3 marks out this disposition very particularly in a 
letter on your table. He states, that all the people in his govern- 
ment are lawyers, or smatterers in law ; and that in Boston they 
have been enabled, by successful chicane, wholly to evade many 
parts of one of your capital penal constitutions. The smartness 
of debate will say, that this knowledge ought to teach them more 
clearly the rights of legislature, their obligations to obedience, 
and the penalties of rebellion. All this is mighty well. But my 
honorable and learned friend on the floor, 4 who condescends to 
mark what I say for animadversion, will disdain that ground. 
He has heard, as well as I, that when great honors and great 
emoluments do not win over this knowledge to the service of the 
state, it is a formidable adversary to government. If the spirit 
be not tamed and broken by these happy methods, it is stubborn 

1 The First Continental Congress, which met in New York in October, 1774, and 
adopted a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. 

2 Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England were published 
between 1765-1769. 

3 The military governor of Massachusetts, who had been charged with the execu- 
tion of the coercive acts directed against that province. 

4 Attorney-General Thurlow, a warm supporter of Lord North. 

Temper and Character of the Colonists 137 

and litigious. Abeunt studia in mores. 1 This study renders 
men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in 
defense, full of resources. In other countries, the people, 
more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill 
principle in government only by an actual grievance; here 
they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the griev- 
ance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovern- 
ment at a distance ; and snuff the approach of tyranny in every 
tainted breeze. 

The last cause of this disobedient spirit in the colonies is 
hardly less powerful than the rest, as it is not merely moral, but 
laid deep in the natural constitution of things. Three thousand 
miles of ocean lie between you and them. No contrivance can 
prevent the effect of this distance in weakening government. 
Seas roll, and months pass, between the order and the execution ; 
and the want of a speedy explanation of a single point is enough 
to defeat a whole system. You have, indeed, winged ministers of 
vengeance, who carry your bolts in their pounces to the remotest 
verge of the sea. But there a power steps in, that limits the 
arrogance of raging passions and furious elements, and says, 
So far shalt thou go, and no farther? Who are you, that you 
should fret and rage, and bite the chains of Nature ? Nothing 
worse happens to you than does to all nations who have extensive 
empire ; and it happens in all the forms into which empire can 
be thrown. In large bodies, the circulation of power must be 
less vigorous at the extremities. Nature has said it. The 
Turk cannot govern Egypt, and Arabia, and Kurdistan, as he 
governs Thrace ; nor has he the same dominion in Crimea and 
Algiers, which he has at Brusa and Smyrna. Despotism itself 
is obliged to truck and huckster. The sultan gets such obedi- 
ence as he can. He governs with a loose rein, that he may gov- 
ern at all ; and the whole of the force and vigor of his authority 
in his center is deprived from a prudent relaxation in all his 
borders; Spain, in her provinces, is, perhaps, not so well obeyed 
as you are in yours. She complies too; she submits; she 

1 " Studies affect one's habits" (Ovid, Heroides, xv, 83). 
2 Compare Job xxxviii, n. 

138 Burke's Defense of the American Colonists 

watches times. This is the immutable condition, the eternal 
law, of extensive and detached empire. 

Then, Sir, from these six capital sources ; of descent ; of form 
of government ; of religion in the northern provinces ; of man- 
ners in the southern ; of education ; of the remoteness of situa- 
tion from the first mover of government ; from all these causes 
a fierce spirit of liberty has grown up. It has grown with the 
growth of the people in your colonies, and increased with the 
increase of their wealth ; a spirit, that unhappily meeting with 
an exercise of power in England, which, however lawful, is not 
reconcilable to any ideas of liberty, much less with theirs, has 
kindled this flame that is ready to consume us. 

69. Britain and Greater Britain l 

The conclusion of the speech on Conciliation with America presents 
In noble, moving language Burke's ideal of a sound colonial policy. 

I, for one, protest against compounding our demands: I 
declare against compounding for a poor limited sum, the im- 
mense, ever-growing, eternal debt which is due to generous gov- 
ernment from protected freedom. And so may I speed in the 
great object I propose to you, as I think it would not only be 
an act of injustice, but would be the worst economy in the world, 
to compel the colonies to a sum certain, either in the way of 
ransom, or in the way of compulsory compact. 

But to clear up my ideas on this subject a revenue from 
America transmitted hither do not delude yourselves you 
never can receive it No, not a shilling. We have experience 
that from remote countries it is not to be expected. If, when 
you attempted to extract revenue from Bengal, you were obliged 
to return in loan what you had taken in imposition ; what can 
you expect from North America? For certainly, if ever there 
was a country qualified to produce wealth, it is India; or an 
institution fit for the transmission, it is the East India Company. 
America has none of these aptitudes. If America gives you 
taxable objects, on which you lay your duties here, and gives 
you, at the same time, a surplus by a foreign sale of her commod- 

1 Burke, Select Works, vol. i, pp. 230-233. 

Britain and Greater Britain 139 

ities to pay the duties on these objects, which you tax at home, 
she has performed her part to the British revenue. But with re- 
gard to her own internal establishments ; she may, I doubt not 
she will, contribute in moderation. I say in moderation ; for she 
ought not to be permitted to exhaust herself. She ought to be 
reserved to a war ; the weight of which, with the enemies that 
we are most likely to have, 1 must be considerable in her quarter 
of the globe. There she may serve you, and serve you essen- 

For that service, for all service, whether of revenue, tratie, or 
empire, my trust is in her interest in the British Constitution. 
My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from 
common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and 
equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, 
are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonists always keep the 
idea of their civil rights associated with your government ; 
they will cling and grapple to you ; and no force under heaven 
will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let 
it be once understood, that your government may be one thing, 
and their privileges another ; that these two things may exist 
without any mutual relation ; the cement is gone ; the co- 
hesion is loosened; and everything hastens to decay and dis- 
solution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign 
authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred 
temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen 
race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their 
faces toward you. The more they multiply, the more friends 
you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more 
perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have any- 
where. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have 
it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you 
become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural 
dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the 
commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This 
is the true Act of Navigation, which binds to you the commerce 
of the colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of 
1 France and Spain, then usually allied against Great Britain. 

140 Burke's Defense of the American Colonists 

the world. Deny them this participation of freedpm, and you 
break that sole bond, which originally made, and must still pre- 
serve, the unity of the empire. Do not entertain so weak an 
imagination, as that your registers and your bonds, your affi- 
davits and your sufferances, your cockets 1 and your clearances, 
are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not 
dream that your letters of office, and your instructions, and your 
suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great 
contexture of the mysterious whole. These things do not make 
your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, 
it is the spirit of the English communion that gives all their life 
and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English Constitu- 
tion, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, 
unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even down 
to the minutest member. 

Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in 
England? Do you imagine, then, that it is the Land Tax Act 
which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the 
Committee of Supply which gives you your army? or that it is 
the Mutiny Bill 2 which inspires it with bravery and discipline? 
No I surely no I It is the love of the people ; it is their attach- 
ment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they 
have in such a glorious institution which gives you your army 
and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, 
without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy 
nothing but rotten timber. 

All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical 
to the profane herd 3 of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, 
who have no place among us ; a sort of people who think that 
nothing exists but what is gross and material ; and who therefore, 
far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of 
empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men 
truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master 
principles, which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, 

"' * Sealed certificates of the payment of duties. 

2 A bill providing for the trial of soldiers by military law. 

3 The profanum rndgus of Horace (Odes, iii, i, i). 

Britain and Greater Britain 141 

have no substantial existence, are in truth everything, and all 
in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom ; 
and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are 
conscious of our station, and glow with zeal to fill our places as 
becomes our situation and ourselves, we ought to auspicate 
all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of 
the church, Sursum corda! 1 We ought to elevate our minds 
to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence 
has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, 
our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious 
empire ; and have made the most extensive, and the only honor- 
able conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, 
the number, the happiness, of the human race. Let us get an 
American revenue as we have got an American empire. English 
privileges have made it all that it is ; English privileges alone 
will make it all it can be. 

1 "Lift up your hearts !" 


WASHINGTON planned to retire from public life at the 
close of Ms first term of office. As early as 1 792 , accordingly, 
he asked James Madison to prepare for him a valedictory 
address to the American people. His acceptance of a second 
term led to Madison's draft being set aside for the next 
four years. Washington then amplified it and sent it to 
Alexander Hamilton for revision. Hamilton, with the 
assistance of John Jay, prepared an entirely new draft, of 
which Washington made extensive use. The Farewell 
Address thus embodies the ideas of three American states- 
men, besides those of its author. It was not intended for 
oral delivery, but was first published in a Philadelphia news- 
paper, the American Daily Advertiser, for September 19, 
1796. It is given here complete, except for the omission 
of the introductory and concluding paragraphs. 

70. The Federal Union 2 

... In looking forward to the moment which is intended to 
terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit 
me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of grati- 
tude, which I owe to my beloved country, for the many honors it 
has conferred upon me ; still more for the steadfast confidence 
with which it lias supported me ; and for the opportunities I have 
thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by 
services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal 
to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these 
services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an 
instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in 

1 The Writings of George Washington, edited by W. C. Ford. 13 vols. New 
York, 1889-1893. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 

2 Writings of George Washington, vol. xiii, pp. 282-292. 

The Federal Union 143 

which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to 
mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of 
fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfre- 
quently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, 
the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the 
efforts and a guaranty of the plans by which they were effected. 
Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to 
my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven 
may continue to you the choicest token of its beneficence that 
your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual that the 
free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sa- 
credly maintained that its administration in every department 
may be stamped with wisdom and virtue that, in fine, the 
happiness of the people of these states, under the auspices of 
liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and 
so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory 
of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption 
of every nation which is yet a stranger to it. 

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your 
welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the appre- 
hension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me on an 
occasion like the present to offer to your solemn contemplation, 
and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments, 
which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable 
observation, and which appear to me all important to the per- 
manency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to 
you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the dis- 
interested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no 
personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an en- 
couragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments 
on a former and not dissimilar occasion. 1 

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your 
hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or con- 
firm the attachment. 

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is 
also now dear to you. It is justly so ; for it is a main pillar in the 

1 In his Circular Letter to the governors of the states, June 8, 1783. 

144 Washington's Farewell Address 

edifice of your real independence; the support of your tran- 
quillity at home, your peace abroad ; of your safety ; of your pros- 
perity in every shape ; of that very liberty which you so highly 
prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and 
from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices 
employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth ; 
as this is the point in your political fortress against which the 
batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly 
and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, 
it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the 
immense value of your national Union to your collective and in- 
dividual happiness ; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, 
and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to 
think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety 
and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anx- 
iety ; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion 
that it can in any event be abandoned ; and indignantly frown- 
ing upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any 
portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred 
ties which now link together the various parts. 

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. 
Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that coun- 
try has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of 
AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, 
must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any 
appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight 
shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, 
and political principles. You have in a common cause fought 
and triumphed together ; the independence and liberty you pos- 
sess are the work of joint counsels and joint efforts, of common 
dangers, sufferings, and successes. 

But these considerations, however powerfully they address 
themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those 
which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every por- 
tion of our country finds the most commanding motives for 
carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole. 

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, 

The Federal Union 145 

protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in 
the productions of the latter great additional sources of maritime 
and commercial enterprise and precious materials and manufac- 
turing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting 
by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its com- 
merce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen 
of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated ; and, 
while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase 
the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to 
the protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally 
adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already 
finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communica- 
tions, by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent 
for the commodities which it brings from abroad or manufactures 
at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to 
its growth and comfort and, what is perhaps of still greater 
consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment 
of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, 
influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic 
side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of 
interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West 
can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own 
separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion 
with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious. 

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate 
and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot 
fail to find in the united mass of means 'and efforts greater 
strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from 
external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by 
foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must 
derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars 
between themselves which so frequently afflict neighboring coun- 
tries not tied together by the same government; which their 
own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce ; but which 
opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would 
stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the 
necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, 

146 Washington's Farewell Address 

under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and 
which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican 
liberty. In this sense it is that your Union ought to be con- 
sidered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the 
one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other. 

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every re- 
flecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the 
Union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt 
whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? 
Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a 
case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper 
organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of govern- 
ments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue 
to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. 
With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting 
all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demon- 
strated its impracticability, there will always be reason to 
distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor 
to weaken its bands. 

71. Dangers to tlie Federal Union 1 

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it 
occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have 
been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical dis- 
criminations Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western ; 
whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there 
is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the 
expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular dis- 
tricts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. 
You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies 
and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations ; 
they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be 
bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our 
western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head. 
They have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive and in the 
unanimous ratification by the Senate of the treaty with Spain, 

1 Writings of George Washington, vol. xiii, pp. 292-307. 

Dangers to the Federal Union 147 

and in the universal satisfaction at that event throughout the 
United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspi- 
cions propagated among them of a policy in the general govern- 
ment and in the Atlantic states unfriendly to their interests in 
regard to the Mississippi. They have been witnesses to the 
formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain and that with 
Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in 
respect to our foreign relations, toward confirming their pros- 
perity. 1 Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation 
of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured? 
Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there 
are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them 
with aliens? 

To the efficiency and permanency of your Union, a govern- 
ment for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however 
strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute. They 
must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions 
which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this 
momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay 2 
by the adoption of a Constitution of government better calcu- 
lated than your former for an intimate Union and for the effica- 
cious management of your common concerns. This government, 
the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, 
adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, com- 
pletely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, 
uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a pro- 
vision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence 
and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with 
its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the 
fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political 
systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their 
constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at 
any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of 

1 Reference is here made to the Jay Treaty of 1795, adjusting our relations with 
Great Britain, and to the Pinckney Treaty by which Spain granted free navigation, 
of the Mississippi to our citizens. 

2 The Articles of Confederation. 

148 Washington's Farewell Address 

the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea 
of the power and the right of the people to establish government 
presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established 

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations 
and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the 
real design to "direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular 
deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are de- 
structive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. 
They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and ex- 
traordinary force, to put in the place of the delegated will of 
the nation the will of a party often a small but artful and en- 
terprising minority of the community and, according to the 
alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public ad- 
ministration the mirror of the ill concerted and incongruous 
projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and 
wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified 
by mutual interests. 

However combinations or associations of the above description 
may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the 
course of time and things, to become potent engines by which 
cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to sub- 
vert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the 
reins of government; destroying afterward the very engines 
which have lifted them to unjust dominion. 

Toward the preservation of your government, and the perma- 
nency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that 
you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowl- 
edged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of 
innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. 
One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Con- 
stitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, 
and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In 
all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time 
and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of 
governments as of other human institutions ; that experience is 
the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the 

Dangers to the Federal Union 149 

existing constitution of a country ; that facility in changes, upon 
credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual 
change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion ; a'nd 
remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your 
common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a govern- 
ment of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security 
of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a 
government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its 
surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the 
government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, 
to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed 
by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoy- 
ment of the rights of person and property. 

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the 
State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geo- 
graphical discriminations. Let me now take a more compre- 
hensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against 
the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. 

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, 
having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It 
exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less 
stifled, controlled, or repressed ; but, in those of the popular form, 
it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy. 

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharp- 
ened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which 
in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid 
enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at 
length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The dis- 
orders and miseries, which, result, gradually incline the minds of 
men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an 
individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing 
faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns 
this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins 
of public liberty. 

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which 
nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common 
and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to 

150 Washington's Farewell Address 

make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage 
and restrain it. 

It serves always to distract the public counsels and enfeeble 
the public administration. It agitates the community with ill 
founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one 
part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. 
It opens the doors to foreign influence and corruption, which 
find a facilitated access to the government itself through the 
channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one 
country are subjected to the policy and will of another. 

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful 
checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to 
keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is 
probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast 
patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the 
spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in govern- 
ments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From 
their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough 
of that spirit for every salutary purpose, and, there being con- 
stant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public 
opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, 
it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a 
flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume. 

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free 
country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its ad- 
ministration, to confine themselves within their respective con- 
stitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one 
department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroach- 
ment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in 
one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a 
real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and 
proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, 
is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The 
necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political 
power, by dividing and distributing it into different depos- 
itories, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal 
against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments 

Foundations of Political Prosperity 151 

ancient and modern : some of them in our country and under 
our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to 
institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution 
or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular 
wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the 
Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usur- 
pation ; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument 
of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments 
are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance 
in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use 
can at any time yield. 

72. Foundations of Political Prosperity 1 

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political pros- 
perity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain 
would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor 
to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest 
props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, 
equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. 
A volume could not trace all their connections with private 
and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the 
security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of reli- 
gious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of 
investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution 
indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained 'without 
religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined 
education on minds f of peculiar structure, reason and experience 
for both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in 
exclusion of religious principle. 

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary 
spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with 
more or less force to every species of free government. Who that 
is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts 
to shake the foundation of the fabric? 

Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institu- 
tions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as 

1 Writings of George Washington, vol. xiii, pp. 307-320. 

152 Washington's Farewell Address 

the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is 
essential that public opinion should be enlightened. 

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish 
public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as spar- 
ingly as possible ; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating 
peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to pre- 
pare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements 
to repel it ; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only 
by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in 
time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars 
may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity 
the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of 
these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary 
that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the 
performance of their duty, it is essential that you should prac- 
tically bear in mind that toward the payment of debts there must 
be revenue ; that to have revenue there must be taxes ; that no 
taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and 
unpleasant ; that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from 
the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of 
difficulties) ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construc- 
tion of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a 
spirit of acquiescence hi the measures for obtaining revenue 
which the public exigencies may at any time dictate. 

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate 
peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this 
conduct ; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin 
it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant 
period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and 
too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice 
and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time 
and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any 
temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence 
to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the perma- 
nent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at 
least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles 
human nature. Alas ! is it rendered impossible by its vices? 

Foundations of Political Prosperity 153 

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential 
than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular 
nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be ex- 
cluded ; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings 
toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges 
toward another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, 
is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its 
affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its 
duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another 
disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold 
of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, 
when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence 
frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. 
The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes 
impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations 
of policy. The government sometimes participates in the na- 
tional propensity and adopts through passion what reason would 
reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation 
subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, 
and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, 
sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim. 

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for an- 
other produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite 
nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, 
in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into 
one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a partici- 
pation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate 
inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to 
the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt 
doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by 
unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained ; 
and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate 
in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And 
it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote 
themselves to the favored nation) facility to betray or sacrifice 
the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes 
even with popularity ; gilding, with the appearances of a virtu- 

154 Washington's Farewell Address 

ous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public 
opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base of foolish 
compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation. 

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such at- 
tachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and 
independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford 
to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduc- 
tion, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public 
counsels ! Such an attachment of a small or weak, toward a 
great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite 
of the latter. 

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence I conjure you to 
believe me, fellow citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to 
be constantly awake ; since history and experience prove that 
foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican 
government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial ; 
else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, 
instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one 
foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those 
whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to 
veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real 
patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable 
to become suspected and odious ; while its tools and dupes usurp 
the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their 

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, 
is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as 
little political connection as possible. So far as we have already 
formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good 
faith. Here let us stop. 

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, 
or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in fre- 
quent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign 
to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to 
implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes 
of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her 
friendships or enmities. 

Foundations of Political Prosperity 155 

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to 
pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an 
efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy 
material injury from external annoyance ; when we may take 
such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time 
resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected ; when belligerent 
nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, 
will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we 
may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall 

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why 
quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by inter- 
weaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle 
our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, 
rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice? 

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with 
any portion of the foreign world ; so far, I mean, as we are now at 
liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of 
patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. (I hold the 
maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that 
honesty is always the best policy.) I repeat it, therefore, let 
those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, 
in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend 

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establish- 
ments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to 
temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies. 

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recom- 
mended by policy, humanity, and interests. But even our com- 
mercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand ; neither 
seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences ; consulting 
the natural course of things ; diffusing and diversifying by gentle 
means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing ; establish- 
ing, with powers so disposed in order to give trade a stable 
course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the 
government "to support them conventional rules of inter- 
course, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion 

156 Washington's Farewell Address 

will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time 
abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dic- 
tate ; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to 
look for disinterested favors from another ; that it must pay with 
a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under 
that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself 
in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, 
and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. 
There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon 
real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experi- 
ence must cure, which a just pride ought to discard. 

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old 
and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong 
and lasting impression I could wish, that they will control the 
usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running 
the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. 
But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of 
some partial benefit, some occasional good ; that they may now 
and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn 
against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the 
impostures of pretended patriotism ; this hope will be a full rec- 
ompense for the solicitude for your welfare by which they have 
been dictated. . . . 



THE essays which Joseph Addison wrote for the Spectator, 
a journal to which he and his friend Richard Steele were the 
principal contributors, have always since their publication 
been considered to be models of a pure English style. Their 
place in literature is secure. Historically, also, they have 
much value as a picture of English life and manners in the 
opening years of the eighteenth century, before the in- 
dustrial, commercial, and political revolutions of that cen- 
tury had begun to make over the modern world. The essays 
here reproduced were all published between 1711-1712. 

73. Westminster Abbey 2 

When I am in a serious humor, I very often walk by myself in 
Westminster Abbey ; where the gloominess of the place, and the 
use to which it is applied, with the solemnity of the building, 
and the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the 
mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that 
is not disagreeable. I yesterday passed a whole afternoon in 
the churchyard, the cloisters, and the church, amusing myself 
with the tombstones and inscriptions that I met with in those 
several regions of the dead. Most of them recorded nothing 
else of the buried person, but that he was born upon one day and 
died upon another : the whole history of his life being compre- 
hended in those two circumstances that are common to all man- 
kind. I could not but look upon these registers of existence, 
whether of brass or marble, as a kind of satire upon the departed 
persons ; who had left no other memorial of them but that they 
were born and that they died. . . . The life of these men is 

1 Essays of Joseph Addison, edited by Sir J. G. Frazer. 2 vols. London, 1915. 
Macmillan and Company, Ltd. 

2 Addison, Essays, vol. i, pp. 203-207. 

158 The England of Addison 

finely described in Holy Writ by "the path of an arrow," which 
is immediately closed up and lost. 

Upon my going into the church, I entertained myself with the 
digging of a grave ; and saw in every shovelful of it that was 
thrown up, the fragment of a bone or skull intermixed with a kind 
of fresh moldering earth, that some time or other had a place in 
the composition of an human body. Upon this, I began to con- 
sider with myself what innumerable multitudes of people lay 
confused together under the pavement of that ancient cathedral ; 
how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and soldiers, 
monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another 
and blended together in the same common mass ; how beauty, 
strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity, 
lay undistinguished in the same promiscuous heap of matter. 

After having thus surveyed this great magazine of mortality, 
as it were, in the lump, I examined it more particularly by the 
accounts which I found on several of the monuments which are 
raised in every quarter of that ancient fabric. Some of them 
were covered with such extravagant epitaphs, that, if it were 
possible for the dead person to be acquainted with them, he 
would blush at the praises which his friends have bestowed upon 
him. There are others so excessively modest, that they deliver 
the character of the person departed in Greek or Hebrew, and 
by that means are not understood once in a twelvemonth. In 
the poetical quarter I found there were poets who had no monu- 
ments, and monuments which had no poets. I observed, 
indeed, that the present war l had filled the church with many 
of the uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the 
memory of persons whose bodies were perhaps buried in the 
plains of Blenheim 2 or in the bosom of the ocean. . . . 

I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise 
dark and dismal thoughts in timorous minds and gloomy imag- 
inations ; but for my own part, though I am always serious, I 
do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can therefore 

1 The War of the Spanish Succession. 

2 Scene of the defeat in 1704 of the French and Bavarians by the English and 
Austrians, the latter under the command of Marlborough and Prince Eugene. 

The Royal Exchange 159 

take a view of nature in her deep and solemn scenes, with the 
same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this 
means I can improve myself with those objects which others 
consider with terror. When I look upon the tombs of the great, 
every emotion of envy dies in me ; when I read the epitaphs of 
the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet 
with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with 
compassion ; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I 
consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly 
follow ; when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when 
I consider rival wits placed side by side or the holy men that 
divided the world with their contest and disputes, I reflect 
with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, fac- 
tions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of 
the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred 
years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be 
contemporaries and make our appearance together. 

74. The Royal Exchange * 

This grand scene of business gives me an infinite variety of 
solid and substantial entertainments. As I am a great lover 
of mankind, my heart naturally overflows with pleasure at the 
sight of a prosperous and happy multitude, insomuch that at 
many public solemnities I cannot forbear expressing my joy 
with tears that have stolen down my cheeks. For this reason 
I am wonderfully delighted to see such a body of men thriving 
in their own private fortunes, and at the same time promoting 
the public stock ; or in other words, raising estates for their own 
families, by bringing into their country whatever is wanting 
and carrying out of it whatever is superfluous. 

Nature seems to have taken a particular care to disseminate 
her blessings among the different regions of the world, with an 
eye to this mutual intercourse and traffic among mankind, that 
the natives of the several parts of the globe might have a kind 
of dependence upon one another, and be united together by their 

1 Addison, Essays, vol. i, pp. 271-274. 

160 The England of Addison 

common interest. Almost every degree 1 produces something 
peculiar to it. The food often grows in one country, and the 
sauce in another. The fruits of Portugal are corrected by the 
products of Barbados ; the infusion of a China plant is sweetened 
with the pith of an Indian cane. The Philippine Islands give 
a flavor to our European bowls. The single dress of a woman 
of quality is often the product of an hundred climates. The 
muff and the fan come together from the different ends of the 
earth. The scarf is sent from the torrid zone, and the tippet 
from beneath the pole. The brocade petticoat rises out of the 
mines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of 

If we consider our own country in its natural prospect, with- 
out any of the benefits and advantages of commerce, what a 
barren, uncomfortable spot of earth f alls to our share ! Natural 
historians tell us that no fruit grows originally among us, besides 
hips and haws, acorns and pig-nuts, with other delicacies of the 
like nature ; that our climate of itself, and without the assist- 
ance of art, can make no further advances toward a plum than 
to a sloe, and carries an apple to no greater a perfection than a 
crab : that our melons, our peaches, our figs, our apricots, and 
cherries are strangers among us, imported in different ages, and 
naturalized in our English gardens ; and that they would all 
degenerate and fall away into the trash of our own country, if 
they were wholly neglected by the planter and left to the mercy 
of our sun and soil. Nor has traffic more enriched our vegetable 
world than it has improved the whole face of nature among us. 
Our ships are laden with the harvest of every climate ; our tables 
are stored with spices, and oils and wines ; our rooms are filled 
with pyramids of China and adorned with the workmanship 
of Japan : our morning's draught comes to us from the remotest 
corners of the earth; we repair our bodies by the drugs of 
America, and r.epose ourselves under Indian canopies. My 
friend Sir Andrew calls the vineyards of France our gardens, the 
Spice Islands our hotbeds, the Persians our silkweavers, and the 
Chinese our potters. Nature indeed furnishes us with the bare 

1 Of latitude or longitude. 

A Country Sunday 161 

necessaries of life, but traffic gives us a great variety of what is 
useful, and at the same time supplies us with everything that is 
convenient and ornamental. . . . 

For these reasons there are no more useful members in a com- 
monwealth than merchants. They knit mankind together in a 
mutual intercourse of good offices, distribute the gifts of nature, 
find work for the poor, add wealth to the rich, and magnificence 
to the great. Our English merchant converts the tin of his 
own country into gold and exchanges his wool for rubies. The 
Mohammedans are clothed in our British manufactures, and the 
inhabitants of the frozen zone warmed with the fleeces of our 
sheep. . . . Trade, without enlarging the British territories, 
have given us a kind of additional empire ; it has multiplied the 
number of the rich, made our landed estates infinitely more 
valuable than they were formerly, and added to them an acces- 
sion of other estates as valuable as the lands themselves. 

75. A Country Sunday 1 

I am always very well pleased with a country Sunday ; and 
think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human insti- 
tution, it would be the best method that could have been thought 
of for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain the 
country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages 
and barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated 
time, in which the whole village meet together with their best 
faces and in their cleanliest habits to converse with one another 
upon indifferent subjects, hear their duties explained to them, 
and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being, Sunday 
clears away the rust of the whole week, not only as it refreshes in 
their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts both the sexes 
upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and exerting all 
such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in the eye of the 
village. A country fellow distinguishes himself as much in the 
churchyard, as a citizen does upon the exchange, the whole 
parish-politics being generally discussed in that place either 
after sermon or before the bell rings. 

1 Addison, Essays, vol. i, pp. 334-338. 

1 62 The England of Addison 

My friend Sir Roger de Coverley, being a good churchman, 
has beautified the inside of his church with several texts of his 
own choosing : he has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, 
and railed in the communion-table at his own expense. He has 
often told me that at his coming to his estate he found his pa- 
rishioners very irregular ; and that in order to make them kneel 
and join in the responses, he gave every one of them a hassock 
and a common-prayer book ; and at the same time employed an 
itinerant singing-master, who goes about the country for that 
purpose, to instruct them rightly in the tunes of the psalms; 
upon which they now very much value themselves, and indeed 
outdo most of the country churches that I have ever 

As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps 
them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it 
besides himself ; for if by chance he has been surprised into a 
short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and 
looks about him, and if he sees anybody else nodding, either 
wakes them himself, or sends his servant to them. Several 
other of the old knight's particularities break out upon these 
occasions : sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the 
singing-psalms half a minute after the rest of the congregation 
have done with it ; sometimes, when he is pleased with the mat- 
ter of his devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times to 
the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when everybody 
else is upon their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any 
of his tenants are missing. 

I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, 
in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to 
mind what he was about and not disturb the congregation. 
This John Matthews, it seems, is remarkable for being an idle 
fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. 
This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner 
which accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very 
good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see 
anything ridiculous in his behavior ; . besides that the general 
good sense and worthiness of his character make his friends 

A Country Sunday 163 

observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than 
blemish his good qualities. 

As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to stir 
till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down 
from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, 
that stand bowing to him on each side ; and every now and then 
inquires how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, 
whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a 
secret reprimand to the person that is absent. 

The chaplain has often told me that upon a catechizing-day, 
when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, 
he has ordered a bible to be given him next day for his encour- 
agement ; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon 
to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year 
to the clerk's place ; and that he may encourage the young fel- 
lows to make themselves perfect in the church-service, has 
promised upon the death of the present incumbent, who is 
very old, to bestow it according to merit. 

The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, 
and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remark- 
able, because the very next village is famous for the differences 
and contentions that rise between the parson and the squire, who 
live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching 
at the squire, and the squire to be revenged on the parson never 
comes to church. The squire has made all his tenants atheists 
and tithe-stealers ; while the parson instructs them every Sunday 
in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them in almost 
every sermon that he is a better man than his patron. In short, 
matters are come to such an extremity that the squire has not 
said his prayers either in public or private this half-year ; and 
that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, 
to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation. 

Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are 
very fatal to the ordinary people ; who are so used to be dazzled 
with riches that they pay as much deference to the understand- 
ing of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning ; and are very 
hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it 

164 The England of Addison 

may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are 
several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it. 

76. A Visit to a Witch l 

As I was walking with my friend Sir Roger de Coverley by 
the side of one of his woods, an old woman applied herself to me 
for my charity. . . . The knight told me that this very old 
woman had the reputation of a witch all over the country, that 
her lips were observed to be always in motion, and that there 
was not a switch about her house which her neighbors did not 
believe had carried her several hundreds of miles. If she 
chanced to stumble, they always found sticks or straws that lay 
in the figure of a cross before her. If she made any mistake at 
church, and cried Amen in a wrong place, they never failed to 
conclude that she was saying her prayers backwards. There 
was not a maid in the parish that would take a pin of her, though 
she should offer a bag of money with it. She goes by the name 
of Moll White, and has made the country ring with several 
imaginary exploits which are palmed upon her. If the dairy- 
maid does not make her butter come so soon as she would have 
it, Moll White is at the bottom of the churn. If a horse sweats 
in the stable, Moll White has been upon his back. If a hare 
makes an unexpected escape from the hounds, the huntsmen 
curse Sloll White. Nay (says Sir Roger) I have known the 
master of the pack, upon such an occasion, send one of his serv- 
ants to see if Moll White had been out that morning. 

This account raised my curiosity so far that I begged my 
friend Sir Roger to go with me into her hovel, which stood in a 
solitary corner under the side of the wood. Upon our first 
entering, Sir Roger winked to me and pointed at something that 
stood behind the door, which, upon looking that way, I found 
to be an old broom-staff. At the same time he whispered me 
in the ear to take notice of a tabby cat that sat in the chimney- 
corner, which, as the knight told me, lay under as bad a report 
as Moll White herself; for besides that Moll is said often to 
accompany her in the same shape, the cat is reported to have 
1 Addison, Essays, vol. i, pp. 344-347. 

Gypsies 165 

spoken twice or thrice In her life, and to have played several 
pranks above the capacity of an ordinary cat. 

I was secretly concerned to see human nature in so much 
wretchedness and disgrace, but at the same time could not for- 
bear smiling to hear Sir Roger, who is a little puzzled about the 
old woman, advising her as a justice of peace to avoid all com- 
munication with the devil, and never to hurt any of her neigh- 
bors' cattle. We concluded our visit with a bounty, which was 
very acceptable. 

In our return home Sir Roger told me that old Moll had been 
often brought before him for making children spit pins, and 
giving maids the nightmare ; and that the country people would 
be tossing her into a pond and trying experiments with her 
every day, if it was not for him and his chaplain. 

I have since found, upon inquiry, that Sir Roger was several 
times staggered with the reports that had been brought him 
concerning this old woman, and would frequently have bound 
her over to the county sessions, had not his chaplain with much 
ado persuaded him to the contrary. 

I have been the more particular in this account, because I 
hear there is scarce a village in England that has not a Moll 
White in it. When an old woman begins to dote and grow 
chargeable to a parish, she is generally turned into a witch, and 
fills the whole country with extravagant fancies, imaginary dis- 
tempers, and terrifying dreaans. In the meantime, the poor 
wretch that is the innocent occasion of so many evils begins to 
be frightened at herself, and sometimes confesses secret com- 
merce and familiarities that her imagination forms in a deliri- 
ous old age. This frequently cuts off charity from the greatest 
objects of compassion, and inspires people with a malevolence 
towards those poor decrepit parts of our species, in whom human 
nature is defaced by infirmity and dotage. 

77. Gypsies 1 

As I was yesterday riding out into the fields with my friend 
Sir Roger de Coverley, we saw at a little distance from us a 

1 Addison, Essays, vol. i, pp. 371-374- 

1 66 The England of Addison 

troop of gypsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend 
was in some doubt whether he should not exert the justice of the 
peace upon such a band of lawless vagrants ; but not having 
his clerk with him, who is a necessary counselor on these occa- 
sions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, 
he let the thought drop ; but at the same time gave me a par- 
ticular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in steal- 
ing people's goods and spoiling their servants. " If a stray piece 
of linen hangs upon an hedge," says Sir Roger, "they are sure 
to have it ; if a hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one but 
he becomes their prey ; our geese cannot live in peace for them ; 
if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to 
pay for It. They generally straggle into these parts about this 
time of the year ; and set the heads of our servant maids so 
agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any business 
done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an 
honest dairy maid who crosses their hands with a piece of silver 
every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest 
young fellow in the parish for her pains. . . ." 

Sir Roger, observing that I listened with great attention to his 
account of a people who were so entirely new to me, told me that 
if I would they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well 
pleased with the knight's proposal, we rode up and communi- 
cated our hands to them. A Cassandra of the crew, after having 
examined our lines very diligently, told me, that I loved a pretty 
maid in a corner, that I was a good woman's man, with some 
other particulars which I do not think proper to relate. My 
friend Sir Roger, alighted from his horse, and exposing his palm 
to two or three that stood by him, they crumpled it into all 
shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be 
made in it ; when one of them, who was older and more sun- 
burnt than the rest, told him that he had a widow in his line 
of life: upon which the knight cried, "Go, go, you are an idle 
baggage" ; and at the same time smiled upon me. The gypsy 
finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him, after a fur- 
ther inquiry into his hand, that his true-love was constant, and 
that she should dream of him to-night: my old friend cried 

Newsmongers 167 

"Pish," and bid her go on. The gypsy told him that he was* a 
bachelor, but would not be so long ; and that he was dearer to 
somebody than he thought : the knight still repeated, she was 
an idle baggage, and bid her go on. "Ah, master," says the 
gypsy, "that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's 
heart ache ; you ha'n't that simper about the mouth for noth- 
ing." The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, 
like the darkness of an oracle, made us the more attentive to 
it. To be short, the knight left the money with her that he had 
crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse. 

As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me that he knew sev- 
eral sensible people who believed these gypsies now and then 
foretold very strange things; and for half an hour together 
appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good 
humor, meeting a common beggar upon the road who was no 
conjurer, as he went to relieve him he found his pocket was 
picked; that being a kind of palmistry at which this race of 
vermin are very dexterous. 

78. Newsmongers 1 

There is no humor in my countrymen which I am more inclined 
to wonder at, than their general thirst after news. There are 
about half a dozen ingenious men who live very plentifully upon 
this curiosity of their fellow-subjects. They all of them receive 
the same advices from abroad, and very often in the same words ; 
but their way of cooking it is so different that there is no citizen, 
who has an eye to the public good, that can leave the coffee- 
house with peace of mind, before he has given every one of them 
a reading. These several dishes of news are so very agreeable 
to the palate of my countrymen, that they are not only pleased 
with them when served up hot, but when they are again set cold 
before them by those penetrating politicians who oblige the 
public with their reflections and observations upon every piece 
of intelligence that is sent us from abroad. The text is given 
us by one set of writers, and the comment by another. 

But notwithstanding we have the same tale told us in so many 

1 Addison, Essays, vol. ii, pp. 213-215. 

i68 The England of Addison 

different papers, and if occasion requires in so many articles of 
the same paper ; notwithstanding in a scarcity of foreign posts 
we hear the same story repeated by different advices from Paris, 
Brussels, The Hague, and from every great town in Europe; 
notwithstanding the multitude of annotations, explanations, 
reflections, and various readings which it passes through, our 
time lies heavy on our hands till the arrival of fresh mail : we 
long to receive further particulars, to hear what will be the next 
step, or what will be the consequences of that which has been 
lately taken. A westerly wind keeps the whole town in sus- 
pense and puts a stop to conversation. 

This general curiosity has been raised and inflamed by our 
late wars, and, if rightly directed, might be of good use to a 
person who has such a thirst awakened in him. Why should 
not a man who takes delight in reading everything that is new, 
apply himself to history, travels, and other writings of the same 
kind, where he will find perpetual fuel for his curiosity, and meet 
with much more pleasure and improvement than in these papers 
of the week? An honest tradesman, who languishes a whole 
summer in expectation of battle, and perhaps is balked at last, 
may here meet with half a dozen in a day. He may read the 
news of a whole campaign in less time than he now bestows 
upon the products of any single post. Fights, conquests, and 
revolutions lie thick together. The reader's curiosity is raised 
and satisfied every moment, and his passions disappointed or 
gratified, without being detained in a state of uncertainty from 
day to day, or lying at the mercy of sea and wind. In short, 
the mind is not here kept in a perpetual gape after knowledge, 
nor punished with that eternal thirst, which is the portion of 
all our modern newsmongers and coffee-house politicians. 


ONE of Oliver Goldsmith's earliest contributions to liter- 
ature was The Citizen of the World, a series of letters pur- 
porting to be addressed by a Chinese philosopher resident in 
London to his Eastern friends. The letters first appeared 
in the columns of a newspaper. Goldsmith collected and 
published them in 1762, but apparently did not have enough 
confidence in his literary abilities to put his name on the 
title-page. The book reached a third edition in 1774. The 
idea of writing it may have been suggested to Goldsmith by 
the Persian Letters of Montesquieu, the French philosophical 
historian, who, in the guise of letters composed by two Per- 
sian gentlemen traveling in Europe, had satirized the social, 
political, and ecclesiastical follies of his day. Montesquieu's 
work, which came out in 1721, really began the criticism by 
French philosophes of the abuses in Church and State under 
the Old Regime. Goldsmith's purpose may not have been 
quite so serious, though beneath his flow of humor and light 
badinage may often be detected an undercurrent of dissatis- 
faction with the England of the eighteenth century. 

79. Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies 2 

To make a fine gentleman, several trades are required, but 
chiefly a barber; you have undoubtedly heard of the Jewish 
champion, 3 whose strength lay in his hair: one would think 
that the English were for placing all wisdom there. To appear 
wise, nothing more is requisite here than for a man to borrow 
hair from the heads of all his neighbors, and clap it like a bush 

1 Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World, edited by Austin Dobson, 2 vols. 
London, 1900. J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd. 

2 Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, vol. i, pp. 24-26. 

3 Samson. 

i yo Goldsmith's England 

on his own : the distributors of law and physic stick on such 
quantities, that it is almost impossible even in idea to distin- 
guish between the head and the hair. 

Those whom I have been now describing affect the gravity of 
the lion ; those I am going to describe more resemble the pert 
vivacity of smaller animals. The barber, who is still master of 
the ceremonies, cuts their hair close to the crown; and then 
with a composition of meal and hog's lard, plasters the whole 
in such a manner as to make it impossible to distinguish whether 
the patient wears a cap or a plaster ; but to make the picture 
more perfectly striking, conceive the tail of some beast, a gray- 
hound's tail, or a pig's tail for instance, appended to the back 
of the head, and reaching down to that place where tails in 
other animals are generally seen to begin; thus betailed and 
bepowdered, the man of taste fancies he improves in beauty, 
dresses up his hard-featured face in smiles, and attempts to look 
hideously tender. Thus equipped, he is qualified to make love, 
and hopes for success more from the powder on the outside of 
his head than the sentiments within. 

Yet when I consider what sort of a creature the fine lady is, to 
whom he Is supposed to pay his addresses, it is not strange to 
find him thus equipped in order to please. She is herself every 
whit as fond of powder, and tails, and hog's lard as he : to speak 
my secret sentiments, most reverend Finn Hoam, 1 the ladies 
here are horridly ugly ; I can hardly endure the sight of them ; 
they no way resemble the beauties of China: the Europeans 
have a quite different idea of beauty from us ; when I reflect 
on the small-footed perfections of an Eastern beauty, how is it 
possible I should have eyes for a woman whose feet are ten 
inches long. I shall never forget the beauties of my native city 
of Nanf ew. How very broad their faces ; how very short their 
noses; how very little their eyes; how very thin their lips; 
how very black their teeth ; the snow on the tops of Bao is not 
fairer than their cheeks; and their eyebrows are small as the 

1 Goldsmith took this name from the title of a work Chinese Tales; or the Wonder- 
fid Adventures of the Mandarine Fum Hoam, translated from the French and published 
in 1725. 

A London Play 171 

line by the pencil of Quamsi. Here a lady with such perfec- 
tions would be frightful; Dutch and Chinese beauties indeed 
have some resemblance, but English women are entirely differ- 
ent; red cheeks, big eyes, and teeth of a most odious white- 
ness are not only seen here, but wished for ; and then they have 
such masculine feet as actually serve some for walking ! 

Yet uncivil as nature has been, they seem resolved to outdo 
her in unkindness ; they use white powder, blue powder, and 
black powder for their hair, and a red powder for the face on 
some particular occasions. 

They like to have the face of various colors, as among the 
Tartars of Koreki, frequently sticking on, with spittle, little 
black patches on every part of it, except on the tip of the nose, 
which I have never seen with a patch. You'll have a better 
idea of their manners of placing these spots, when I have fin- 
ished a map of an English face patched up to the fashion, which 
shall shortly be sent to increase your curious collection of paint- 
ings, medals, and monsters. 

But what surprises more than all the rest, is, what I have 
just now been credibly informed by one of this country : " Most 
ladies here," says he, "have two faces ; one face to sleep in, and 
another to show in company ; the first is generally reserved for 
the husband and family at home, the other put on to please 
strangers abroad ; the family face is often indifferent enough, 
but the outdoor one looks something better ; this is always made 
at the toilet, where the looking-glass and toad-eater sit in coun- 
cil and settle the complexions of the day." 

80. A London Play * 

The expected time for the play to begin at last arrived, the 
curtain was drawn and the actors came on. A woman, who 
personated a queen, came in curtsying to the audience, who 
clapped their hands upon her appearance. Clapping of hands 
is, it seems, the manner of applauding in England ; the manner 
is absurd ; but every country, you know, has its peculiar absurd- 
ities. I was equally surprised, however, at the submission of 

1 Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, vol. I, pp. 100-104. 

172 Goldsmith's England 

the actress, who should have considered herself as a queen, as 
at the little discernment of the audience who gave her such 
marks of applause before she attempted to deserve them. Pre- 
liminaries between her and the audience being thus adjusted, 
the dialogue was supported between her and a most hopeful 
youth, who acted the part of her confidant. They both ap- 
peared in extreme distress, for it seems the queen had lost a 
child some fifteen years before, and still keeps its dear resem- 
blance next her heart, while her kind companion bore a part in 
her sorrows. 

Her lamentations grow loud. Comfort is offered, but she 
detests the very sound. She bids them preach comfort to the 
winds. Upon this her husband comes in, who seeing the queen 
so much afflicted, can himself hardly refrain from tears or avoid 
partaking in the soft distress. After thus grieving through three 
scenes, the curtain dropped for the first act. 

Truly, said I to my companion, these kings and queens are 
very much disturbed at no very great misfortune; certain I 
am were people of humbler stations to act in this manner they 
would be thought divested of common sense. I had scarce 
finished this observation when the curtain rose and the king 
came on in a violent passion. His wife had, it seems, refused 
his proffered tenderness, had spurned his royal embrace ; and he 
seemed resolved not to survive her fierce disdain. After he had 
thus fretted, and the queen had fretted, through the second act, 
the curtain was let down once more. 

Now, says my companion, you perceive the king to be a man 
of spirit, he feels at every pore; one of your phlegmatic sons 
of clay would have given the queen her own way and let her come 
to herself by degrees ; but the king is for immediate tenderness 
or instant death : death and tenderness are leading passions of 
every modern buskined hero ; this moment they embrace, and 
the next stab, mixing daggers and kisses in every period. 

I was going to second his remarks when my attention was 
engrossed by a new object ; a man came in balancing a straw 
upon his nose, and the audience were clapping their hands in all 
the raptures of applause. To what purpose, cried I, does this 

A London Play 173 

unmeaning figure make his appearance ; is he part of the plot? 
Unmeaning do you call him, replied my friend in black ; this 
is one of the most important characters of the whole play; 
nothing pleases the people more than the seeing a straw bal- 
anced ; there is a great deal of meaning in the straw ; there is 
something suited to every apprehension in the sight ; and a fel- 
low possessed of talents like these is sure of making his fortune. 

The third act now began with an actor, who came to inform 
us that he was the villain of the play and intended to show 
strange things before all was over. He was joined by another, 
who seemed as much disposed for mischief as he ; their intrigues 
continued through this whole division. If that be a villain, 
said I, he must be a very stupid one, to tell his secrets without 
being asked; such soliloquies of late are never admitted in 

The noise of clapping Interrupted me once more ; a child of 
six years old was learning to dance on the stage, which gave the 
ladies . . . infinite satisfaction. I am sorry, said I, to see the 
pretty creature so early learning so very bad a trade. Dancing 
being, I presume, as contemptible here as in China. Quite the 
reverse, interrupted my companion ; dancing is a very reputable 
and genteel employment here ; men have a greater chance for 
encouragement from the merit of their heels than their heads. 
One who jumps up and flourishes his toes three tunes before he 
comes to the ground, may have three hundred a year ; he who 
flourishes them four times, gets four hundred; but he who 
arrives at five is inestimable, and may demand what salary he 
thinks proper. The female dancers, too, are valued for this sort 
of jumping and crossing. . . . But the fourth act is begun, 
let us be attentive. 

In the fourth act the queen finds her long-lost child, now 
grown up into a youth of smart parts, and great qualifications ; 
wherefore she wisely considers that the crown will fit his head 
better than that of her husband, whom she knows to be a driveler. 
The king discovers her design, and here comes on the deep dis- 
tress ; he loves the queen, and he loves the kingdom ; he re- 
solves therefore, in order to possess both, that her son must die. 

174 Goldsmith's England 

The queen exclaims at his barbarity ; is frantic with rage, and 
at length overcome with sorrow falls into a fit ; upon which the 
curtain drops, and the act is concluded. . . . 

The fifth act began, and a busy piece it was. Scenes shifting, 
trumpets sounding, mobs hallooing, carpets spreading, guards 
bustling from one door to another ; gods, demons, daggers, racks, 
and ratsbane. But whether the king was killed, or the queen 
was drowned, or the son was poisoned, I have absolutely for- 
gotten. . . . 

I scarce perceived that the audience were almost all departed ; 
wherefore mixing with the crowd, my companion and I got into 
the street ; where essaying l an hundred obstacles from coach 
wheels and palanquin poles, like birds in their flight through 
the branches of a forest, after various turnings, we both at 
length got home in safety. 

81. Quack Doctors 2 

Whatever may be the merits of the English in other sciences, 
they seem peculiarly excellent in the art of healing. There is 
scarcely a disorder incident to humanity against which they 
are not possessed with a most infallible antidote. The pro- 
fessors of other arts confess the inevitable intricacy of things ; 
talk with doubt, and decide with hesitation ; but doubting is 
entirely unknown in medicine; the advertising professors here 
delight in cases of difficulty ; be the disorder never so desperate 
or radical you will find numbers in every street, who, by leveling 
a pill at the part affected, promise a certain cure without loss 
of time, knowledge of a bedfellow, or hindrance of business. 

When I consider the assiduity of this profession, their benevo- 
lence amazes me. They not only in general give their medicines 
for half value, but use the most persuasive remonstrances to 
induce the sick to come and be cured. Surely there must be some- 
thing strangely obstinate in an English patient who refuses so 
much health upon such easy terms ; does he take a pride in being 
bloated with a dropsy? Does he find pleasure in the alterna- 

1 i.e., experiencing, 

2 Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, vol. i, pp. 113-116. 

Quack Doctors 175 

tions of an intermittent fever? Or feel as much satisfaction 
in nursing up his gout, as he found pleasure in acquiring it? 
He must, otherwise he would never reject such repeated assur- 
ances of instant relief. What can be more convincing than the 
manner in which the sick are invited to be well? The doctor 
first begs the most earnest attention of the public to what he is 
going to propose ; he solemnly affirms the pill was never found 
to want success ; he produces a list of those who have been 
rescued from the grave by taking it. Yet, notwithstanding all 
this, there are many here who now and then think proper to 
be sick ; only sick did I say? There are some who even think 
proper to die ! Yes, by the head of Confucius they die ; though 
they might have purchased the health-restoring specific for 
half a crown at every corner. 

I am amazed, my dear Fum Hoam, that these doctors who 
know what an obstinate set of people they have to deal with, 
have never thought of attempting to revive the dead. When 
the living are found to reject their prescriptions, they ought in 
conscience to apply to the dead, from whom they can expect no 
such mortifying repulses ; they would find in the dead the most 
complying patients imaginable ; and what gratitude might they 
not expect from the patient's son, now no longer an heir, and 
his wife, now no longer a widow. 

Think not, my friend, that there is any thing chimerical in 
such an attempt; they already perform cures equally strange. 
What can be more truly astonishing than to see old age restored 
to youth, and vigor to the most feeble constitutions ; yet this 
is performed here every day ; a simple electuary l effects these 
wonders, even without the bungling ceremonies of having the 
patient boiled up in a kettle or ground down hi a mill. 

Few physicians here go through the ordinary courses of 
education, but receive all their knowledge of medicine by im- 
mediate inspiration from heaven. . . . When a physician by 
inspiration is sent for, he never perplexes the patient by previous 
examination ; he asks very few questions, and those only for 
form's sake. He knows every disorder by intuition. He adrnin- 

1 A kind of medicine. 

176 Goldsmith's England 

isters the pill or drop for every distemper ; nor is more inquisi- 
tive than the farrier while he drenches a horse. If the patient 
lives, then has he more to add to the surviving list ; if he dies, 
then it may be justly said of the patient's disorder, that as it 
was not curedj the disorder was incurable. 

82. Hack Writers 1 

Were we to estimate the learning of the English by the number 
of books that are every day published among them, perhaps no 
country, not even China itself, could equal them in this par- 
ticular. I have reckoned not less than twenty-three new books 
published in one day; which upon computation, makes eight 
thousand three hundred and ninety-five in one year. Most 
of these are not confined to one single science, but embrace the 
whole circle. History,, politics, poetry, mathematics, metaphys- 
ics, and the philosophy of Nature are all comprised in a manual 
not larger than that in which our children are taught the letters. 
If then we suppose the learned of England to read but an eighth 
part of the works which daily come from the press (and sure 
none can pretend to learning upon less easy terms) at this rate 
every scholar will read a thousand books in one year. From 
such a calculation you may conjecture what an amazing fund of 
literature a man must be possessor of, who thus reads three new 
books every day, not one of which but contains all the good 
things that ever were said or written. 

And yet I know not how it happens, but the English are not 
in reality so learned as would seem from this calculation. We 
meet but few who know all arts and sciences to perfection; 
whether it is that the generality are incapable of such extensive 
knowledge, or that the authors of those books are not adequate 
instructors. In China, the emperor himself takes cognizance 
of all the doctors in the kingdom who profess authorship. In 
England, every man may be an author that can write ; for they 
have by law a liberty not only of saying what they please, but 
of being also as dull as they please. 

Yesterday I testified my surprise to the man in black, where 

1 Goldsmith, Citizen of ike World, vol. i, pp. 140-143. 

Hack Writers 177 

writers could be found in sufficient number to throw off the 
books I daily saw crowding from the press. I at first imagined 
that their learned seminaries might take this method of instruct- 
ing the world. But to obviate this objection, my companion 
assured me that the doctors of colleges never wrote, and that 
some of them had actually forgot their reading; but if you 
desire, continued he, to see a collection of authors, I fancy I 
can introduce you this evening to a club, which assembles every 
Saturday at seven, at the sign of the Broom near Islington, 1 
to talk over the business of the last, and the entertainment of 
the week ensuing. I accepted his invitation, we walked to- 
gether, and entered the house some time before the usual hour 
for the company assembling. 

My friend took this opportunity of letting me into the char- 
acters of the principal members of the club, not even the host 
excepted, who, it seems, was once an author himself, but pre- 
ferred by a bookseller to this situation as a reward for his former 

The first person, said he, of our society, is doctor Nonentity, 
a metaphysician. Most people think him a profound scholar ; 
but as he seldom speaks I cannot be positive in that particular ; 
he generally spreads himself before the fire, sucks his pipe, talks 
little, drinks much, and is reckoned very good company. I'm 
told he writes indexes to perfection, he makes essays on the 
origin of evil, philosophical inquiries upon any subject, and 
draws up an answer to any book upon twenty-four hours' warn- 
ing. You may distinguish him from the rest of the company 
by his long gray wig and the blue handkerchief round his neck. 

The next to him in merit and esteem is Tim Syllabub, a droll 
creature ; he sometimes shines as a star of the first magnitude 
among the choice spirits of the age ; he is reckoned equally excel- 
lent at a rebus, a riddle, a song, and an hymn for the tabernacle. 
You will know him by his shabby finery, his powdered wig, 
dirty shirt, and broken silk stockings. 

After him succeeds Mr. Tibs, a very useful hand; he writes 

1 Islington was one of Goldsmith's resorts. Some of the authors he described in 
this letter may well have been real characters. 

178 Goldsmith's England 

receipts for the bite of a mad dog, and throws off an eastern tale 
to perfection ; he understands the business of an author as well 
as any man ; for no book-seller alive can cheat him ; you may 
distinguish him by the peculiar clumsiness of his figure and the 
coarseness of his coat ; however, though it be coarse (as he fre- 
quently tells the company), he has paid for it. 

Lawyer Squint is the politician of the society; he makes 
speeches for parliament, writes addresses to his fellow subjects, 
and letters to noble commanders, he gives the history of every 
new play, and finds seasonable thoughts upon every occasion. 
My companion was proceeding in his description, when the host 
came running in with terror on his countenance to tell us that the 
door was beset with bailiffs. If that be the case then, says my 
companion, we had as good be going ; for I am positive we shall 
not see one of the company this night. Wherefore disappointed 
we were both obliged to return home, he to enjoy the oddities 
which compose his character alone, and I to write as usual to my 
friend the occurrences of the day. 

83. An Election * 

The English are at present employed in celebrating a feast 
which becomes general every seventh year ; the parliament of 
the nation being then dissolved and another appointed to be 
chosen, 2 This solemnity falls infinitely short of our Feast of 
the Lanterns in magnificence and splendor; it is also sur- 
passed by others of the East in unanimity and pure devotion, 
but no festival in the world can compare with it for eating. 
Their eating indeed amazes me. Had I five hundred heads, 
and were each head furnished with brains, yet would they all be 
insufficient to compute the number of cows, pigs, geese, and 
turkeys, which upon this occasion die for the good of their 
country ! 

To say the truth, eating seems to make a grand ingredient in 
all English parties of zeal, business, or amusement. When a 

1 Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, vol. ii, pp. 252-256. 

2 Parliament was dissolved on March 20, 1761, in consequence of the death of 
George II. 

An Election 179 

church is to be built or a hospital to be endowed, the directors 
assemble, and instead of consulting upon it, they eat upon it, 
by which means the business goes forward with success. When 
the poor are to be relieved, the officers appointed to dole out 
public charity assemble and eat upon it. ... But in the elec- 
tion of magistrates the people seem to exceed all bounds ; the 
merits of a candidate are often measured by the number of his 
treats ; his constituents assemble, eat upon him, and lend their 
applause, not to his integrity or sense, but to the quantities of 
his beef and brandy. 

And yet I could forgive this people their plentiful meals on 
this occasion, as it is extremely natural for every man to eat a 
great deal when he gets it for nothing ; but what amazes me is, 
that all this good living no way contributes to improve their 
good humor. On the contrary, they seem to lose their temper 
as they lose their appetites; every morsel they swallow, and 
every glass they pour down serves to increase their animosity. 
Many an honest man, before as harmless as a tame rabbit, when 
loaded with a single election dinner, has become more dangerous 
than a charged culverin. Upon one of these occasions, I have 
actually seen a bloody-minded man-milliner sally forth at the 
head of a mob, determined to face a desperate pastry cook, 
who was general of the opposite party. . . . 

I lately made an excursion to a neighboring village, in order 
to be a spectator of the ceremonies practised upon this occasion. 
I left town in company with three fiddlers, nine dozen of hams, 
and a corporation poet, which were designed as reinforcements 
to the gin-drinking party. We entered the town with a very 
good face ; the fiddlers, no way intimidated by the enemy, kept 
handling their arms up the principal street By this prudent 
maneuver they took peaceable possession of their headquarters, 
amidst the shouts of multitudes, who seemed perfectly rejoiced 
at hearing their music, but above all at seeing their bacon. 

I must own I could not avoid being pleased to see all ranks of 
people, on this occasion, leveled into an equality, and the poor, 
in some measure, enjoying the primitive privileges of Nature. 
If there was any distinction shown, the lowest of the people 

i8o Goldsmith's England 

seemed to receive it from the rich. I could perceive a cobbler 
with a levee at his door, and an haberdasher giving audience 
from behind his counter. But my reflections were soon inter- 
rupted by a mob, who demanded whether I was for the dis- 
tillery or the brewery? as these were terms with which I was 
totally unacquainted, I chose at first to be silent ; however, I 
know not what might have been the consequence of my reserve, 
had not the attention of the mob been called off to a skirmish 
between a brandy-drinker's cow, and a gin-drinker's mastiff, 
which turned out greatly to the satisfaction of the mob in favor 
of the mastiff. 

This spectacle, which afforded high entertainment, was at last 
ended by the appearance of one of the candidates, who came to 
harangue the mob ; he made a very pathetic speech upon the 
late excessive importation of foreign drams, and the downfall 
of the distillery; I could see some of the audience shed tears. 
He was accompanied in his procession by Mrs. Deputy and 
Mrs. Mayoress. Mrs. Deputy was not in the least in liquor ; 
and for Mrs. Mayoress, one of the spectators assured me in my 
ear that, she was a fine woman before she had the smallpox. 

Mixing with the crowd, I was now conducted to the hall where 
the magistrates are chosen : but what tongue can describe this 
scene of confusion; the whole crowd seemed equally inspired 
with anger, jealousy, politics, patriotism, and punch: I 
remarked one figure that was carried up by two men upon this 
occasion. I at first began to pity his infirmities as natural, 
but soon found the fellow so drunk that he could not stand ; 
another made his appearance to give his vote, but though he 
could stand, he actually lost the use of his tongue, and remained 
silent; a third, who, though excessively drunk, could both 
stand and speak, being asked the candidate's name for whom he 
voted, could be prevailed upon to make no other answer, but 
tobacco and brandy. In short, an election-hall seems to be a 
theater where every passion is seen without disguise ; a school 
where fools may readily become worse, and where philosophers 
may gather wisdom. 


THERE is no book which does more to light up eighteenth- 
century England than the Journal kept by the founder of 
Methodism, John Wesley. The first entry in it is for Octo- 
ber 14, 1735; the last is for October 24, 1790. It thus 
covers sixty-five years. The work has never been com- 
pletely printed. Wesley himself was obliged to condense 
what he published of it during his lifetime. Enough has 
appeared, however, to make clear that the Journal forms 
Wesley's most picturesque biography and the best account 
of the Methodist revival that we possess. 

84. Field-Preaching 2 

March 31, 1739. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met 
Mr. Whitefield 3 there. I could scarce reconcile myself at first 
to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which lie set me 
an example on Sunday ; having been all my life (till very lately) 
so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that 
I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin, if it 
had not been done in a church. 

April i, 1739. In the evening (Mr. Whitefield being gone) 
I begun expounding our Lord's sermon on the mount (one 
pretty remarkable precedent of field-preaching, though I sup- 
pose there were churches at that time also), to a little society 
which was accustomed to meet once or twice a week in Nicholas 

April 2, 1739. At ^ our i n the afternoon, I submitted to be 
more vile, and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of 

1 The Heart of John Wesley's Journal, edited by P. L. Parker. New York and 
London, 1903. Fleming H. Revell Company. 

2 Wesley, Journal, pp. 47-48. 

3 George Whitefield (1714-1770), a celebrated preacher and for several years 
Wesley's associate in evangelical work. 

182 The Methodist Revival 

salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining 
to the city, to about three thousand people. The Scripture on 
which I spoke was this (is it possible any one should be ignorant, 
that it is fulfilled in every true minister of Christ)? "The 
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to 
preach the Gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the 
broken-hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and 
recovery of sight to the blind ; to set at liberty them that are 
bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 

April 8, 1739. At seven in the morning I preached to about 
a thousand persons at Bristol, and afterward to about fifteen 
hundred on the top of Hannam-mount in Kingswood. I called 
to them, in the words of the evangelical prophet, "Ho! every 
one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters ; come and buy wine 
and milk without money and without price." About five thou- 
sand were in the afternoon at Rose-green (on the other side of 
KingsWood) ; among whom I stood and cried, in the name of the 
Lord, " If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. . . ." 

April 17, 1739. At five in the afternoon I was at a little 
society in the Back Lane. The room in which we were was 
propped beneath, but the weight of people made the floor give 
way ; so that in the beginning of the expounding, the post which 
propped it fell down with a great noise. But the floor sunk no 
farther; so that, after a little surprise at first, they quietly 
attended to the things that were spoken. 

May 7, 1739. I was preparing to set out for Pensford, having 
now had leave to preach in the church, when I received the fol- 
lowing note : 

"Sir, Our minister, having been informed you are beside 
yourself, does not care you should preach in any of his churches." 
I went, however ; and on Priestdown, about half a mile from 
Pensford, preached Christ our "wisdom, righteousness, sanc- 
tification, and redemption." 

May 8, 1739. I went to Bath, but was not suffered to be in 
the meadow where I was before, which occasioned the offer of a 
much more convenient place, where I preached Christ to about 
a thousand souls. 

Wesley and "Beau Nash" 183 

85. Wesley and " Beau Hash " * 

June 5, 1739. There was great expectation at Bath of what 
a noted man 2 was to do to me there ; and I was much intreated 
not to preach, because no one knew what might happen. By 
this report I also gained a much larger audience, among whom 
were many of the rich and great. I told them plainly, the Scrip- 
ture had concluded them all under sin high and low, rich and 
poor, one with another. Many of them seemed to be a little 
surprised, and were sinking apace into seriousness, when their 
champion appeared, and coming close to me, asked by what 
authority I did these things. 

I replied, "By the authority of Jesus Christ, conveyed to me 
by the (now) archbishop of Canterbury, when he laid hands 
upon me, and said, 'Take thou authority to preach the Gospel.' " 
He said, "This is contrary to act of parliament: this is a con- 
venticle." I answered, "Sir, the conventicles mentioned in 
that act (as the preamble shows) are seditious meetings ; but this 
is not such ; here is no shadow of sedition ; therefore it is not 
contrary to that act." He replied, "I will it is: and, beside, 
your preaching frightens people out of their wits." 

"Sir, did you ever hear me preach?" "No." "How, then, 
can you judge of what you never heard?" "Sir, by common 
report." " Common report is not enough. Give me leave, Sir, 
to ask, Is not your name Nash?" "My name is Nash." "Sir, 
I dare not judge of you by common report : I think it not enough 
to judge by." Here he paused awhile, and, having recovered 
himself, said, "I desire to know what these people come here 
for" : on which one replied, "Sir, leave him to me: let an old 
woman answer him. You, Mr. Nash, take care of your body ; 
we take care of our souls ; and for the food of our souls we come 
here." He replied not a word, but walked away. 

As I returned, the street was full of people, hurrying to and 
fro, and speaking great words. But when any of them asked, 

1 Wesley, Journal, pp. 5 2 ~S3- 

2 Richard Nash, better known as "Beau Nash," was the social arbiter of Bath 
during the first half of the eighteenth century. He did much to make that city the 
most fashionable watering place in England. 

184 The Methodist Revival 

" Which is he? " and I replied, "I am he/' they were immediately 
silent. Several ladies following me into Mr. Merchant's house, 
the servant told me there were some wanted to speak to me. 
I went to them, and said, " I believe, ladies, the maid mistook : 
you only wanted to look at me." I added, "I do not expect 
that the rich and great should want either to speak with me, or 
to hear me ; for I speak the plain truth a thing you hear 
little of, and do not desire to hear." A few more words passed 
between us, and I retired. 

86. Preaching at Epworth l 

June 5, 1742. It being many years since I had been in 
Epworth 2 before, I went to an inn, in the middle of the town, 
not knowing whether there were any left in it now who would 
not be ashamed of my acquaintance. But an old servant of 
my father's, with two or three poor women, presently found me 
out. I asked her, "Do you know any in Epworth who are in 
earnest to be saved?" She answered, "I am, by the grace of 
God ; and I know I am saved thorough faith." I asked, "Have 
you then the peace of God? Do you know that He has forgiven 
your sins?" She replied, "I thank God, I know it well. And 
many here can say the same thing." 

June 6, 1742. A little before the service began, I went to 
Mr. Romley, the curate, and offered to assist him either by 
preaching or reading prayers. But he did not care to accept 
my assistance. The church was exceeding full in the afternoon, 
a rumor being spread that I was to preach. But the sermon 
on, "Quench not the Spirit/' was not suitable to the expecta- 
tion of many of the hearers. Mr. Romley told them, one of 
the most dangerous ways of quenching the Spirit was by enthu- 
siasm ; and enlarged on the character of an enthusiast, in a very 
florid and oratorical manner. After sermon John Taylor stood 
in the churchyard, and gave notice, as the people were coming 
out, "Mr. Wesley, not being permitted to preach in the church, 
designs to preach here at six o'clock." 

1 Wesley, Journal, pp. 86-87. 

2 Wesley's birthplace. 

A Tumult at Bolton 185 

Accordingly at six I came, and found such a congregation as I 
believe Epworth never saw before. I stood near the east end 
of the church, upon my father's tombstone, and cried, "The 
kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink ; but righteousness, 
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 

87. A Tumult at Bolton * 

Oct. 18, 1749. We came to Bolton about five in the evening. 
We had no sooner entered the main street, than we perceived 
the lions at Rochdale were lambs in comparison of those at 
Bolton. Such rage and bitterness I scarce ever saw before, in 
any creatures that bore the form of men. They followed us in 
full cry to the house where we went ; and as soon as we were 
gone in, took possession of all the avenues to it, and filled the 
street from one end to the other. 

After some time the waves did not roar quite so loud. Mr. 

p thought he might then venture out. They immediately 

closed in, threw him down, and rolled him in the mire ; so that 
when he scrambled from them, and got into the house again, 
one could scarce tell what or who he was. When the first stone 
came among us through the window, I expected a shower to 
follow ,* and the rather, because they had now procured a bell 
to call their whole forces together. But they did not design to 
carry on the attack at a distance : presently one ran up and told 
us, the mob had burst into the house : he added, that they had 

got J B in the midst of them. They had ; and he laid 

hold on the opportunity to tell them of " the terrors of the Lord." 

Meantime D T engaged another part of them with 

smoother and softer words. Believing the time was now come, 
I walked down into the thickest of them. They had now filled 
all the rooms below. I called for a chair. The winds were 
hushed, and all was calm and still. My heart was filled with 
love, my eyes with tears, and my mouth with arguments. They 
were amazed, they were ashamed, they were melted down, they 
devoured every word. What a turn was this ! O how did 
God . . . bring all the drunkards, swearers, Sabbath-breakers, 
1 Wesley, Journal, pp. 175-176. 

1 86 The Methodist Revival 

and mere sinners in the place, to hear of His plenteous redemp- 

Oct. 19, 1749. Abundantly more than the house could con- 
tain were present at five in the morning, to whom I was con- 
strained to speak a good deal longer than I am accustomed to 
do. Perceiving they still wanted to hear, I promised to preach 
again at nine, in a meadow near the town. Thither they flocked 
from every side; and I called aloud, "All things are ready; 
come unto the marriage." "0 how have a few hours changed 
the scene! We could now walk through every street of the 
town, and none molested or opened his mouth, unless to thank, 
or bless us. 

88. Wesley on His Old Age l 

June 28, 1788. I this day enter on my eighty-fifth year: 
and what cause have I to praise God, as for a thousand spiritual 
blessings, so for bodily blessings also 1 How little have I suffered 
yet by "the rush of numerous years !" It is true, I am not so 
agile as I was in times past. I do not run or walk so fast as I 
did ; my sight is a little decayed ; my left eye is grown dim, and 
hardly serves me to read ; I have daily some pain in the ball of 
my right eye, as also in my right temple (occasioned by a blow 
received some months since), and in my right shoulder and arm, 
which I impute partly to a sprain, and partly to the rheumatism. 

I find likewise some decay in my memory, with regard to 
names and things lately past ; but not at all with regard to what 
I have read or heard twenty, forty, or sixty years ago ; neither 
do I find any decay in my hearing, smell, taste, or appetite 
(though I want but a third part of the food I did once) ; nor do I 
feel any such thing as weariness, either in traveling 01 preach- 
ing : and I am not conscious of any decay in writing sermons ; 
which I do as readily, and I believe as correctly, as ever. 

To what cause can I impute this, that I am as I am? First, 
doubtless, to the power of God, fitting me for the work to which 
I am called, as long as he pleases to continue me therein ; and, 
next, subordinately to this, to the prayers of his children. 

1 Wesley, Journal, pp. 471-472. 

Wesley on His Old Age 187 

May we not impute it as inferior means, 

1. To my constant exercise and change of air? 

2. To my never having lost a night's sleep, sick or well, at 
land or at sea, since I was born? 

3. To my having sleep at command; so that whenever I 
feel myself almost worn out, I call it, and it comes, day or night? 

4. To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at 
four in the morning? 

5. To my constant preaching at five in the morning, for above 
fifty years ? 

6. To my having had so little pain in my life ; and so little 
sorrow, or anxious care? 


ADAM SMITH (1723-1790) had been a professor in the uni- 
versity of Glasgow, where he lectured on logic and moral 
philosophy. After resigning his chair he lived for some 
time in France and became intimate with a number of 
eminent French thinkers, particularly the economists who 
belonged to the physiocratic school. Returning to Scot- 
land in 1766, Smith went into retirement and devoted 
himself to the preparation of the Wealth of Nations. It 
appeared ten years later. The book did not create economic 
science, as is sometimes said. Much had been already 
accomplished in this field by both British and Continental 
students. What it did was to throw new light on certain 
important aspects of economics, such as the division of labor, 
the formation of capital, the function of money, banking, 
and taxation. 'The author's persuasive presentation of lais- 
sez-faire fell in with the tendencies of the age in favor of 
personal freedom and " natural rights." The Wealth of 
Nations thus came to have more than an academic interest : 
it took at once and has always retained a place in the select 
company of books which have profoundly influenced the 
destinies of mankind. The two extracts here given illus- 
trate Smith's critical attitude toward governmental inter- 
ference with industry and commerce. 

89. Guild Apprenticeships 2 

The policy of Europe occasions a very important inequality 
in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the differ- 

1 Adam Smith., An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 
edited by J. E. T. Rogers. 2 vols. ad edition. Oxford, 1880. Clarendon Press. 

2 Smith, Wealth of Nations, bk. i, ch. 10, pt 2. 

Guild Apprenticeships 189 

ent employments of labor and stock, by restraining the compe- 
tition in some employments to a smaller number than might 
otherwise be disposed to enter into them. 

The exclusive privileges of corporations are the principal 
means it makes use of for this purpose. 

The exclusive privilege of an incorporated trade necessarily 
restrains the competition, in the town where it is established, 
to those who are free of the trade. To have served an appren- 
ticeship in the town, under a master properly qualified, is com- 
monly the necessary requisite for obtaining this freedom. The 
by-laws of the corporation regulate sometimes the number of 
apprentices which any master is allowed to have, and almost 
always the number of years which each apprentice is obliged to 
serve. The intention of both regulations is to restrain the com- 
petition to a much smaller number than might otherwise be dis- 
posed to enter into the trade. The limitation of the number 
of apprentices restrains it directly. A long term of apprentice- 
ship restrains it more indirectly, but as effectually, by increas- 
ing the expense of education. 

In Sheffield no master cutler can have more than one appren- 
tice at a time, by a by-law of the corporation. In Norfolk and 
Norwich no master weaver can have more than two apprentices, 
under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month to the king. No 
master hatter can have more than two apprentices anywhere in 
England, or in the English plantations, under pain of forfeiting 
five pounds a month, half to the king, and half to him who shall 
sue in any court of record. Both these regulations, though they 
have been confirmed by a public law of the kingdom, are evi- 
dently dictated by the same corporation spirit which enacted 
the by-law of Sheffield. The silk weavers in London had scarcely 
been incorporated a year when they enacted a by-law, restrain- 
ing any master from having more than two apprentices at a 
time. It required a particular act of parliament to rescind this 

Seven years seem anciently to have been, all over Europe, 
the usual term established for the duration of apprenticeships 
in the greater part of incorporated trades. All such incorpora- 

igo The " Wealth, of Nations" 

tions were anciently called universities; which indeed is the 
proper Latin name 1 for any incorporation whatever. The 
university of smiths, the university of tailors, etc., are expres- 
sions which we commonly meet with in the old charters of 
ancient towns. . . . 

The property which every man has in his own labor, as it is 
the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most 
sacred and inviolable. The patrimony of a poor man lies in 
the strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him 
from employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he 
thinks proper without injury to his neighbor, is a plain violation 
of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment 
upon the just liberty both of the workman, and of those who 
might be disposed to employ him. As it hinders the one from 
working at what he thinks proper, so it hinders the others from 
employing whom they think proper. To judge whether he is 
fit to be employed, may surely be trusted to the discretion of 
the employers whose interest it so much concerns. The affected 
anxiety of the lawgiver, lest they should employ an improper 
person, is evidently as impertinent as it is oppressive. 

The institution of long apprenticeships can give no security 
that insufficient workmanship shall not frequently be exposed 
to public sale. When this is done it is generally the effect of 
fraud, and not of inability ; and the longest apprenticeship can 
give no security against fraud. Quite different regulations are 
necessary to prevent this abuse. The sterling mark upon plate, 
and the stamps upon linen and woolen cloth, give the purchaser 
much greater security than any statute of apprenticeship. He 
generally looks at these, but never thinks it worth while to 
inquire whether the workmen had served a seven years' appren- 

The institution of long apprenticeships has no tendency to 
form young people to industry. A journeyman who works by 
the piece is likely to be industrious, because he derives a benefit 
from every exertion of his industry. An apprentice is likely to 
be idle, and almost always is so, because he has no immediate 

1 Universitas. 

Guild Apprenticeships 191 

interest to be otherwise. In the inferior employments, the 
sweets of labor consist altogether in the recompense of labor. 
They who are soonest in a condition to enjoy the sweets of it, 
are likely soonest to conceive a relish for it, and to acquire the 
early habit of industry. A young man naturally conceives an 
aversion to labor, when for a long time he receives no benefit 
from it. The boys who are put out apprentices from public 
charities are generally bound for more than the usual number of 
years, and they generally turn out very idle and worthless. . . . 
Long apprenticeships are altogether unnecessary. The arts, 
which are much superior to common trades, such as those of 
making clocks and watches, contain no such mystery as to 
require a long course of instruction. The first invention of 
such beautiful machines, indeed, and even that of some of the 
instruments employed in making them, must, no doubt, have 
been the work of deep thought and long time, and may justly be 
considered as among the happiest efforts of human ingenuity. 
But when both have been fairly invented and are well under- 
stood, to explain to any young man, in the completest manner, 
how to apply the instruments and how to construct the machines, 
cannot well require more than the lessons of a few weeks : per- 
haps those of a few days might be sufficient. In the common 
mechanic trades, those of a few days might certainly be suffi- 
cient. The dexterity of hand, indeed, even in common trades, 
cannot be acquired without much practice and experience. But 
a young man need practice with much more diligence and atten- 
tion, if from the beginning he wrought as a journeyman, being 
paid in proportion to the little work which he could execute, 
and paying in his turn for the materials which he might some- 
times spoil through awkwardness and inexperience. His edu- 
cation would generally in this way be more effectual, and always 
less tedious and expensive. The master, indeed, would be a 
loser. He would lose all the wages of the apprentice, which he 
now saves, for seven years together. In the end, perhaps, the 
apprentice himself would be a loser. In a trade so easily learnt 
he would have more competitors, and his wages, when he came 
to be a complete workman, would be much less than at present. 

i 9 2 The " Wealth of Nations" 

The same increase of competition would reduce the profits of 
the masters as well as the wages of workmen. The trades, the 
crafts, the mysteries, would all be losers. But the public would 
be a gainer, the work of all artificers coming in this way much 
cheaper to market. 

90. The Colonial Policy of Europe l 

Every European nation has endeavored more or less to mo- 
nopolize to itself the commerce of its colonies, and, upon that 
account, has prohibited the ships of foreign nations from trading 
to them, and has prohibited them from importing European goods 
from any foreign nation. But the manner in which this monopoly 
has been exercised in different nations has been very different. 

Some nations have given up the whole commerce of their 
colonies to an exclusive company, of whom the colonies were 
obliged to buy all such European goods as they wanted, and to 
whom they were obliged to sell the whole of their own sur- 
plus produce. It was the interest of the company, therefore, 
not only to sell the former as dear, and to buy the latter as cheap 
as possible, but to buy no more of the latter, even at this low 
price, than what they could dispose of for a very high price in 
Europe. It was their interest not only to degrade in all cases 
the value of the surplus produce of the colony, but in many cases 
to discourage and keep down the natural increase of its quan- 
tity. Of all the expedients that can well be contrived to stunt 
the natural growth of a new colony, that of an exclusive com- 
pany is undoubtedly the most effectual. This, however, has 
been the policy of Holland, though their company, in the course 
of the present century, has given up in many respects the exer- 
tion of their exclusive privilege. This, too, was the policy of 
Denmark till the reign of the late king. 2 It has occasionally been 
the policy of France, and of late, since 1755, after it had been 
abandoned by all other nations, on account of its absurdity, it 
has become the policy of Portugal with regard at least to two 
of the principal provinces of Brazil. 

1 Smith, Wealth of Nations, bk. iv, ch. 7, pt. 2, 

2 Frederick V (1746-1766). 

The Colonial Policy of Europe 193 

Other nations, without establishing an exclusive company, 
have confined the whole commerce of their colonies to a partic- 
ular port of the mother country, from whence no ship was 
allowed to sail, but either in a fleet and at a particular season, 
or, if single, in consequence of a particular license, which in most 
cases was very well paid for. This policy opened, indeed, the 
trade of the colonies to all the natives of the mother country, 
provided they traded from the proper port, at the proper season, 
and in the proper vessels. But as all the different merchants, 
who joined their stocks in order to fit out those licensed vessels, 
would find it for their interest to act in concert, the trade which 
was carried on in this manner would necessarily be conducted 
very nearly upon the same principles as that of an exclusive 
company. The profit of those merchants would be almost 
equally exorbitant and oppressive. The colonies would be ill 
supplied, and would be obliged both to buy very dear, and to 
sell very cheap. This, however, till within these few years, had 
always been the policy of Spain, and the price of all European 
goods, accordingly, is said to have been enormous in the Spanish 
West Indies. . . . 

Other nations leave the trade of their colonies free to all their 
subjects, who may carry it on from all the different ports of the 
mother country, and who have occasion for no other license 
than the common dispatches of the custom-house. In this 
case the number and dispersed situation of the different traders 
renders it impossible for them to enter into any general com- 
bination, and their competition is sufficient to hinder them from 
making very exorbitant profits. Under so liberal a policy the 
colonies are enabled both to sell their own produce and to buy 
the goods of Europe at a reasonable price. But since the dis- 
solution of the Plymouth Company, when our colonies were but 
in their infancy, this has always been the policy of England. 
It has generally too been that of France, and has been uniformly 
so since the dissolution of what, in England, is commonly called 
their Mississippi Company. The profits of the trade, therefore, 
which France and England carry on with their colonies, though 
no doubt somewhat higher than if the competition was free to 

i 9 4 The "Wealth of Nations" 

all other nations, are, however, by no means exorbitant ; and 
the price of European goods accordingly is not extravagantly 
high in the greater part of the colonies of either of those nations. 

In the exportation of their own surplus produce too, it is only 
with regard to certain commodities that the colonies of Great 
Britain are confined to the market of the mother country. 
These commodities, having been enumerated in the Act of Nav- 
igation l and in some other subsequent acts, have upon that 
account been called enumerated commodities. The rest are 
called non-enumerated ; and may be exported directly to other 
countries, provided it is in British or Plantation ships, of which 
the owners and three-fourths of the mariners are British 
subjects. . . . 

The most perfect freedom of trade is permitted between the 
British colonies of America and the West Indies, both in the 
enumerated and in the non-enumerated commodities. Those 
colonies are now become so populous and thriving, that each 
of them finds in some of the others a great and extensive market 
for every part of its produce. All of them taken together, they 
make a great internal market for the produce of one another. 

The liberality of England, however, toward the trade of her 
colonies has been confined chiefly to what concerns the market 
for their produce, either in its rude state, or in what may be 
called the very first stage of manufacture. The more advanced 
or more refined manufactures even of the colony produce, the 
merchants and manuf acturers of Great Britain choose to reserve 
to themselves, and have prevailed upon the legislature to pre- 
vent their establishment in the colonies, sometimes by high 
duties, and sometimes by absolute prohibitions. . . . 

While Great Britain encourages in America the manufactures 
of pig and bar Iron, by exempting them from duties to which 
the like commodities are subject when imported from any other 
country, she imposes an absolute prohibition upon the erection 
of steel furnaces and slit-mills in any of her American planta- 
tions. She will not suffer her colonists to work in those more 
refined manufactures even for their own consumption; but 
1 The Navigation Act of 1660. 

The Colonial Policy of Europe 195 

insists upon their purchasing of her merchants and manufac- 
turers all goods of this kind which they have occasion for. 

She prohibits the exportation from one province to another by 
water, and even the carriage by land upon horseback or in a 
cart, of hats, of wools and woolen goods, of the produce of 
America; a regulation which effectually prevents the estab- 
lishment of any manufacture of such commodities for distant 
sale, and confines the industry of her colonists in this way to 
such coarse and household manufactures, as a private family 
commonly makes for its own use, or for that of some of its neigh- 
bors in the same province. 

To prohibit a great people, however, from making all that they 
can of every part of their own produce, or from employing their 
stock and industry in the way that they judge most advan- 
tageous to themselves, is a manifest violation of the most sacred 
rights of mankind. Unjust, however, as such prohibitions may 
be, they have not hitherto been very hurtful to the colonies. 
Land is still so cheap, and, consequently, labor so dear among 
them, that they can import from the mother country almost 
all the more refined or more advanced manufactures cheaper 
than they could make them for themselves. Though they had 
not, therefore, been prohibited from establishing such manu- 
factures, yet in their present state of improvement, a regard to 
their own interest would, probably, have prevented them from 
doing so. In their present state of improvement, those pro- 
hibitions, perhaps, without cramping their industry, or restrain- 
ing it from any employment to which it would have gone of its 
own accord, are only impertinent badges of slavery imposed 
upon them, without any sufficient reason, by the groundless jeal- 
ousy of the merchants and manufacturers of the mother coun- 
try. In a more advanced state they might be really oppressive 
and insupportable. 

Great Britain too, as she confines to her own market some of 
the most important productions of the colonies, so in compen- 
sation she gives to some of them an advantage in that market ; 
sometimes by imposing higher duties upon the like productions 
when imported from other countries, and sometimes by giving 

ig6 The " Wealth of Nations" 

bounties upon their importation from the colonies. In the 
- first way she gives an advantage in the home market to the 
sugar, tobacco, and iron of her own colonies, and in the second 
to their raw silk, to their hemp and flax, to their indigo, to their 
naval-stores, and to their building-timber. This second way 
of encouraging the colony produce by bounties upon importa- 
tion, is, as far as I have been able to learn, peculiar to Great 
Britain. The first is not. Portugal does not content herself 
with imposing higher duties upon the importation of tobacco 
from any other country, but prohibits it under the severest 

With regard to the importation of goods from Europe, Eng- 
land has likewise dealt more liberally with her colonies than any 
other nation. 

Great Britain allows a part, almost always the half, generally 
a larger portion, and sometimes the whole of the duty which is 
paid upon the importation of foreign goods, to be drawn back 
upon their exportation to any foreign country. No independ- 
ent foreign country, it was easy to foresee, would receive them 
if they came to it loaded with the heavy duties to which almost 
all foreign goods are subjected on their importation into Great 
Britain. Unless, therefore, some part of those duties was drawn 
back upon exportation, there was an end of the carrying trade ; 
a trade so much favored by the mercantile system. 

Of the greater part of the regulations concerning the colony 
trade, the merchants who carry it on, it must be observed, have 
been the principal advisers. We must not wonder, therefore, 
if, in the greater part of them, their interest has been more con- 
sidered than either that of the colonies or that of the mother 
country, ... 

But though the policy of Great Britain with regard to the 
trade of her colonies has been dictated by the same mercantile 
spirit as that of other nations, it has, however, upon the whole, 
been less illiberal and oppressive than that of any of them. 


THE published correspondence of Voltaire extends in the 
French edition to eighteen large volumes. It covers almost 
all his eventful career, including his residence in England 
(1726-1729), his visit to Frederick the Great at Berlin 
(1750-1753), and the period from 1755 to his death in 1778, 
when he resided near Geneva, leading a life of inexhaustible 
literary activity and courted by most of the celebrities of 
Europe. Voltaire knew either personally or by correspond- 
ence most of the social reformers of his day ; he took part in 
many famous controversies, both political and religious; 
and he devoted much energy to efforts in behalf of the 
persecuted and oppressed classes under the Old Regime. 
His Letters reflect his wide experience and varied interests. 
They are a contribution to history, as well as to literature. 

91. Liberty of the Press 2 

Voltaire in the following letter (1733) protests against the severity 
of the French censorship of the press. At this time and for many years 
thereafter every French author who dared to express radical opinions 
about either Church or State expiated them in the Bastille, while his 
printer and publisher were sent to the galleys. 

As you have it in your power, sir, to do some service to letters, 
I implore you not to clip the wings of our writers so closely, nor 
to turn into barn-door fowls those who, allowed a start, might 
become eagles ; reasonable liberty permits the mind to soar 
slavery makes it creep. 

Had there been a literary censorship in Rome, we should have 
had to-day neither Horace, Juvenal, nor the philosophical works 

1 S. G. Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters. New York and London, 1919. 
G. P. Putnam's Sons. 

2 Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp. 31-33- 

198 A "Philosophe" 

of Cicero. If Milton, Dryden, Pope, and Locke had not been 
free, England would have had neither poets nor philosophers ; 
there is something positively Turkish in proscribing printing ; 
and hampering it is proscription. Be content with severely 
repressing defamatory libels, for they are crimes. . . . 

You say that the magistrates who regulate the literary cus- 
tom-house complain that there are too many books. That is 
just the same thing as if the provost of merchants complained 
there were too many provisions in Paris. People buy what they 
choose. A great library is like the city of Paris, in which there 
are about eight hundred thousand persons: you do not live 
with the whole crowd : you choose a certain society, and change 
it. So with books ; you choose a few friends out of the many. 
There will be seven or eight thousand controversial books, and 
fifteen or sixteen thousand novels, which you will not read : 
a heap of pamphlets, which you will throw into the fire after you 
have read them. The man of taste will only read what is good ; 
but the statesman will permit both bad and good. . . . 

92. To Frederick tlie Great l 

Voltaire's correspondence with the prince royal of Prussia, whom his- 
tory was afterward to call Frederick the Great, began in 1736. The 
letter here quoted was written the following year, in answer to Fred- 
erick's request for an exposition of Voltaire's philosophical views. 

... I examine man. We must see if, of whatsoever mate- 
rials he is composed, there is vice and virtue in them. That is 
the important point with regard to him I do not say merely 
with regard to a certain society living under certain laws : but 
for the whole human race ; for you, sir, who will one day sit 
on a throne, for the wood-cutter in your forest, for the Chinese 
doctor, and for the savage of America. Locke, 2 the wisest meta- 
physician I know, while he very rightly attacks the theory of 
innate ideas, seems to think that there is no universal moral 
principle. I venture to doubt, or rather, to elucidate the great 
man's theory on this point. I agree with him that there is really 

1 Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp. 47-51. 

2 John Locke (1632-1704), the English philosopher. 

To Frederick the Great 199 

no such thing as innate thought: whence it obviously follows 
that there is no principle of morality innate in our souls : but 
because we are not born with beards, is it just to say that we are 
not born (we, the inhabitants of this continent) to have beards 
at a certain age? 

We are not born able to walk : but every one, born with two 
feet, will walk one day. Thus, no one is born with the idea he 
must be just : but God has so made us that, at a certain age, we 
all agree to this truth. 

It seems clear to me that God designed us to live in society 
just as He has given the bees the instincts and the powers to 
make honey : and as our social system could not subsist with- 
out the sense of justice and injustice, He has given us the power 
to acquire that sense. It is true that varying customs make us 
attach the idea of justice to different things. What is a crime 
in Europe will be a virtue in Asia, just as German dishes do not 
please French palates: but God has so made Germans and 
French that they both like good living. All societies, then, will 
not have the same laws, but no society will be without laws. 
Therefore, the good of the greatest number is the immutable 
law of virtue, as established by all men from Pekin to Ireland : 
what is useful to society will be good for every country. This 
idea reconciles the contradictions which appear in morality. 
Robbery was permitted in Lacedaemonia 1 : why? because all 
goods were held in common, and the man who stole from the 
greedy who kept for himself what the law gave to the public, 
was a social benefactor. 

There are savages who eat men, and believe they do well. I 
say those savages have the same idea of right and wrong as our- 
selves. As we do, they make war from anger and passion : the 
same crimes are committed everywhere: to eat your enemies 
is but an extra ceremonial. The wrong does not consist in roast- 
ing, but in killing them : and I dare swear there is no cannibal 
who believes that he is doing right when he cuts his enemy's 
throat. I saw four savages from Louisiana who were brought 
to France in 1723. There was a woman among them of a very 

1 i.e., ancient Sparta. 

200 A "Philosophe" 

gentle disposition. I asked her, through an interpreter, if she 
had ever eaten the flesh of her enemies and if she liked it ; she 
answered, Yes. I asked her if she would be willing to kill, or 
to have killed, any one of her fellow-countrymen in order to 
eat him : she answered, shuddering, visibly horrified by such a 
crime. I defy the most determined liar among travelers to 
dare to tell me that there is a community or a family where to 
break one's word is laudable. . . . 

Put two men on the globe, and they will only call good, right, 
just, what will be good for them both. Put four, and they will 
only consider virtuous what suits them all : and if one of the four 
eats his neighbor's supper, or fights or kills him, he will certainly 
raise the others against him. And what is true of these four men 
is true of the universe. . . . 

93. To Rousseau 1 

Jean Jacques Rousseau had written in 1755 an essay for the Academy 
of Dijon under the title, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality among 
Men. The work elaborated his pet theory of the advantages of savage 
life over civilization. He sent a copy of it to Voltaire, who replied in 
the following letter. 

I have received, sir, your new book against the human species, 
and I thank you for it. You will please people by your manner 
of telling them the truth about themselves, but you will not 
alter them. The horrors of that human society from which 
in our feebleness and ignorance we expect so many consolations 
have never been painted in more striking colors : no one has 
ever been so witty as you are in trying to turn us into brutes : 
to read your book makes one long to go on all fours. Since, 
however, it is now some sixty years since I gave up the practice, 
I feel that it is unfortunately impossible for me to resume it : 
I leave this natural habit to those more fit for it than are you and 
I. Nor can I set sail to discover the aborigines of Canada, in 
the first place because my ill-health ties me to the side of the 
greatest doctor in Europe, 2 and I should not find the same pro- 

1 Taflentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp. 149-150. 

2 Theodore Tronchin, a Genevan physician. 

The "Encyclopaedia" 201 

fessional assistance among the Missouris : and secondly because 
war is going on in that country, and the example of the civilized 
nations has made the barbarians almost as wicked as we are 
ourselves. I must confine myself to being a peaceful savage in 
the retreat I have chosen close to your country, where you 
yourself should be x ... 

94. The "Encyclopaedia" 2 

This letter, written in 1758, was addressed to D'Alembert, one of 
the greatest mathematicians of the age and, with Montesquieu, Turgot, 
and Voltaire himself, a contributor to the famous Encyclopedia. The 
first volume of this work appeared as early as 1751, but fourteen years 
elapsed before its completion. It encountered much opposition in 
official quarters, and several volumes were suppressed as injurious to 
royal and ecclesiastical authority. Nevertheless, the Encyclopedia 
circulated freely in the French provinces and foreign countries and 
secretly in Paris and Versailles. 

. . . When I begged you to resume your work on the Ency- 
clopedia, I did not know to what a vile excess libel had been 
carried, and I was far from suspecting that it was actually 
prompted by the authorities. . . . 

Are you in close cooperation with M. Diderot 3 and your other 
colleagues? "A three-fold cord is not quickly broken." 

When you all state simultaneously that you will not work 
without a guarantee of the honorable freedom which is essential 
to you, and of the protection to which you are intitled, surely 
it is not doubtful that you will be implored not to deprive France 
of a monument necessary to her glory? The clamor will pass : 
the work will remain. 

If you all abandoned the work together, making your own 
stipulations, that might be well : it would be very unpleasant 
for you to leave it by yourself : the head must not cut itself off 
from the body. 

When you produce the first volume, add a preface to it which 

1 Voltaire was writing from Les Delices, a house near Geneva and close to the 
French frontier. He afterward acquired Ferney, which remained Ms home until 
his death. 

2 Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp. 165-167. 

3 Denis Diderot (1713-1784), the chief promoter of the Encylopadia. 

202 A "Philosophic" 

will shame those cowards who have permitted the only writers 
now working for the glory of the nation to be insulted : and, for 
God's sake, stop those feeble declamations which are being 
inserted in your Encyclopedia. Do not give your enemies the 
right to complain that those who have been unsuccessful, or a 
dead failure, in the arts can take upon themselves to make the 
rules for those arts and set those rules by their own absurd 
fancies. Banish the feeble moralising which pads several 
articles. The reader wants to know the different acceptations 
of a word, and detests trivial and commonplace authorities 
quoted in support of it. What obliges you to disgrace the 
Encyclop&dw with this mass of twaddle and rubbish which 
gives so good a handle to the critics? And why join beggar's 
fustian to your doth-of-gold? Be absolute masters of it, or 
abandon the whole thing. Unfortunate sons of Paris, you 
should have undertaken this work in a free country ! You have 
labored for the booksellers : they take the profits, and leave you 
the persecution. . . . 

95. Tolerance 1 

The anonymous friend to whom Voltaire addressed this letter in 1759 
was evidently a Swiss. 

It is as necessary, my dear friend, to preach tolerance among 
you as it is among us. With all due deference to you, if you 
could justify the English, Danish, and Swedish penal laws you 
would be justifying at the same time our laws against you. 
They are all, I concede, equally absurd, inhuman, and contrary 
to good government : but we have simply imitated you. By 
your laws I am not allowed to buy a tomb in Sichem. If one 
of your people prefers the mass to the sermon, for the salvation 
of his soul, he at once ceases to be a citizen, and loses every- 
thing even Ms national rights. You do.not allow any priest 
to celebrate mass in a low voice, in private, in any of your 
towns. * Have you not driven out all ministers who cannot 
bring themselves to sign I know not what doctrinal formula? 
Have you not eziled, for a mere yea and nay, those poor, peace- 

1 Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp. 168-169. 

Social Conditions under the Old Regime 203 

ful Mennonites, 1 in spite of the wise presentations of the States- 
General, who received them kindly? and are there not still a 
large number of these exiles in the mountains in the diocese of 
Basle whom you do not permit to return? . . . Confess, my 
dear philosopher, that you are not wiser than we are : and avow, 
too, that opinions have caused more trouble on this little globe 
than plagues and earthquakes. And yet you do not wish us to 
attack such opinions with our united strength I Would it not 
be a good thing for the world to overthrow the superstition which 
in all ages infuriates men one against the other? To worship 
God : to leave to every man freedom to serve Him according to 
his own ideas : to love one's neighbors ; enlighten them, if one 
can ; pity them, if they are in error : to regard as immaterial, 
questions which would never have given trouble if no impor- 
tance had been attached to them : this is my religion, which is 
worth all your systems and all your symbols. . . . 

96. Social Conditions tinder the Old Regime 2 

A letter written in 1760 to M. de Bastide, author of a book called the 
New Spectator. 

... I agree with you that it is somewhat of a reflection on 
human nature that money accomplishes everything and merit 
almost nothing : that the real workers, behind the scenes, have 
hardly a modest subsistence, while certain selected personages 
flaunt on the stage: that fools are exalted to the skies, and 
genius is in the gutter: that a father disinherits six virtuous 
children to make his first-born often a scapegrace heir to 
all his possessions : that a luckless wretch who comes to grief, 
or to an unhappy end in a foreign country, leaves the fortune of 
his natural inheritors to the treasury of that state. 

It is sad to see I confess it again those who toil, in pov- 
erty, and those who produce nothing, in luxury: great pro- 
prietors who claim the very birds that fly and the fish that swim : 
trembling vassals who do not dare to free their houses from the 

1 Members of a Protestant sect who take their name from the Dutch religious 
leader Menno Simons (1492-1559). The Mennonites encountered much persecu- 
tion in various European countries. 

- Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp: 179-182, 

204 A " Philosophe ?? 

wild boar that devours them : fanatics who want to burn every- 
one who does not pray to God after their own fashion : violence 
in high places which engenders violence in the people: might 
making right not only amongst nations but amongst individ- 

And it is this state of things, common to all lives and to all 
places which you expect to change ! Behold the folly of you 
moralists ! Mount the pulpit with Bourdaloue, 1 or wield the 
pen like La Bruyere, 2 and you waste your time the world will 
go its way ! . . . 

But, as neither you nor I are made to govern, if you have such 
an itching for reform, reform our virtues, which in excess may 
well become prejudicial to the prosperity of the state. It is 
easier to reform virtues than vices. The list of exaggerated 
virtues would be a long one : I will mention a few, and you will 
easily guess the rest. 

I observe, walking about the country, that the children of 
the soil eat much less than they require : it is difficult to con- 
ceive this immoderate passion for abstinence. It even looks 
as if they had got into their heads that it will be accounted to 
them for virtue if their beasts also are half -starved. 

What is the result? Men and beasts waste away, their stock 
becomes feeble, work is suspended, and the cultivation of the 
land suffers. 

Patience is another virtue carried to excess, perhaps, in the 
country. If the tax collectors limited themselves to executing 
the will of their lord, to be patient would be a duty : but if you 
question these good folk who supply us with bread, they will 
tell you that the manner in which the taxes are levied is a hun- 
dred times more onerous than the tax itself. Their patience 
ruins them and their landowners with them. 

The evangelical pulpit has reproached kings and the great a 
hundred times for their harshness to the poor. The fault has 
been corrected in excess. The royal antechambers overflow 
with servants better fed and better clothed than the lords of the 

1 Louis Bourdaloue (163 2-1 704), one of the most eloquent of French preachers. 

2 Jean de la Bruyere (1645-1696), an essayist and moralist. 

Monarchy and Despotism 205 

parishes whence they come. This excess of charity robs the 
country of soldiers, and the land of laborers. 

Spectator of the World, do not let the scheme of reforming 
our virtues shock you; the founders of religious orders have 
reformed each other. Another reason for encouragement is 
that it is perhaps easier to discern an excess of good than to 
pronounce on the nature of evil. Believe me, dear Spectator, 
I cannot urge you too strongly to reform our virtues: men 
cling too tightly to their vices. 

97. Monarchy and Despotism 1 

This letter, written in 1777, acknowledged the gift of a book on the 
True Principles of French Government, which M. Gin, the author, had 
sent to Voltaire. 

Omitting, sir, the compliments and thanks I owe you, I begin 
by assuring you that despotic and monarchical are the same thing 
in the hearts of all sensible people. Despot (herus) means 
master, and monarch means sole master, which is very much 
stronger. A fly is monarch of the imperceptible animalculae 
which it devours : the spider is the monarch of flies, for it en- 
snares and eats them : the swallow rules the spiders : shrikes 
devour the swallows : and so on indefinitely. You will not deny 
that the farmers-general devour us : you know the world has 
been so made since the beginning. But that does not prevent 
your being most clearly in the right . . . and I return you, sir, 
therefore a thousand thanksgivings. 

You arrive at the happy conclusion that monarchical gov- 
ernment is the best of all ; always provided that Marcus Aure- 
lius 2 is the monarch : for, otherwise, what can it matter to a 
man if he is devoured by a lion or by a tribe of rats? You 
appear, sir, to be of the opinion of the Esprit des lois in granting 
that the principle of monarchies is honor, and the principle of 
republics virtue. If you were not of this opinion, I should be 
of the due d'Orleans's, 3 who said of one of our great lords: 

1 Tallentyre, Voltaire in His Letters, pp. 25^-261. 

2 One of the five "Good Emperors" (reigned 161-180). 

3 Regent during the minority of Louis XVI. 

206 A "Philosophe" 

"He Is the most perfect courtier he has neither humor nor 
honor": and I should tell President Montesquieu, 1 if he hopes 
to prove his thesis by saying that under a monarchy men seek 
honors, that they seek them much more in republics. In them, 
they strive for the honor of ovation, triumph, and all the digni- 
ties. The office of doge at Venice is sought after, though this 
indeed is vanitas vanitatmn. For the rest, sir, you are much more 
methodical than that Esprit des lois and you never misquote 
as he does a most important point : for if you verify Montes- 
quieu's quotations you will hardly find four that are correct ; 
I once had the pleasure of testing them. 2 

I am much edified, sir, by your discretion in stopping at the 
reign of Henry IV : all you say affords me information : and I 
take the liberty of divining much that you do not say. Above 
all, I am grateful to you for your way of thinking and of expres- 
sing yourself on the barbarous method of government called 
feudal : it is brought to perfection, it is said, at the diet of Ratis- 
bon : it is abhorred half a mile from me here, 3 to my right and 
to my left ; but, by one of our French anomalies, it exists in all 
its horrors just behind my kitchen garden, in the valleys of 
Mount Jura ; and twelve thousand slaves of the canons of St. 
Claud, who have had the insolence to desire to be subjects of 
the king instead of serfs and beasts of burden to the monks, 
have just lost their suit to the parlement of Besan^on, while 
many councilors of the Grand Chambre have lands where the 
mortmain is in full vigor, in spite of the edicts of our kings : so 
uniform is jurisprudence amongst us ! ... 

1 Montesquieu was President of the parlement of Bordeaux. 
- Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, despite its inaccuracies, is a classic of political 
science. The work appeared In 1748. 

3 Voltaire was writing from Ferney, near Geneva. 


DURING the years 1787, 1788, and 1789 Arthur Young, 
an Englishman of means, leisure, and intelligence, made 
three extended journeys in France. Young, who was 
much interested in the improvement of farming methods, 
went to France particularly to study the agricultural situa- 
tion there, but his observant eyes did not miss many aspects 
of the economic and political conditions prevailing at the 
outbreak of the Revolution. " His Travels is therefore a book 
of considerable historical interest, from the sidelights it 
throws on the life and manners of the French people under 
the Old Regime. 

98. Poverty and Misery of the People 2 

Poverty and poor crops as far as Amiens ; women are now 
ploughing with a pair of horses. The difference of the customs 
of the two nations is in nothing more striking than in the labors 
of the female sex. In England, it is very little that women 
will do in the fields except to glean and make hay ; the first is a 
party of pilfering and the second of pleasure ; in France, they 
plough and fill the dung-cart. 

The same wretched country continues to La Loge ; the fields 
are scenes of pitiable management, as the houses are of misery. 
Yet all this country is highly improvable, if they knew what 
to do with it ; . the property, perhaps, of some of those glitter- 
ing beings who figured in the procession the other day at Ver- 
sailles. Heaven grant me patience when I see a country thus 
neglected and forgive me the oaths I swear at the absence 
and ignorance of the possessors. 

1 Arthur Young's Travels in France, edited by Miss Betham-Ed wards. 4th 
edition. London, 1892. George Bell and Sons. 

2 Young, Travels in France, pp. 8-9, 19, 27, 123, 125, 189, 197-198- 

208 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

Pass Payrac, and meet many beggars, which we had not done 
before. All the country people, girls and women, are without 
shoes or stockings; and the ploughmen at their work have 
neither sabots nor feet to their stockings. This is a kind of 
poverty that strikes at the root of national prosperity ; a large 
consumption among the poor being of more consequence than 
among the rich. The wealth of a nation lies in its circulation 
and consumption; and the case of poor people abstaining from 
the use of manufactures of leather and wool ought to be con- 
sidered as an evil of the first magnitude. It reminded me of 

the misery of Ireland. 
As far as Combourg the country has a savage aspect . . . the 

people almost as wild as their country, and their town of Com- 
bourg one of the most brutal, filthy places that can be seen : 
mud houses, no windows, and a pavement so broken as to impede 
all passengers, but ease none yet here is a chateau, and in- 
habited. Who is this M. de Chateaubriand, the owner, that 
has nerves strong for a residence amid such filth and poverty? 

To Montauban. The poor people seem poor indeed; the 
children terribly ragged, if possible worse clad than if with no 
clothes at all ; as to shoes and stockings, they are luxuries. A 
beautiful girl of six or seven years playing with a stick, and 
smiling under such a bundle of rags as made my heart ache to 
see her; they did not beg, and when I gave them anything 
seemed more surprised than obliged. One-third of what I have 
seen of this province seems uncultivated, and nearly all of it in 
misery. What have kings, and ministers, and parliaments, and 
states to answer for their prejudices, seeing millions of hands 
that would be industrious are rather idle and starving, through 
the execrable maxims of despotism or the equally detestable 
prejudices of a feudal nobility. 

Nangis is near enough to Paris for the people to be politi- 
cians ; my hair-dresser this morning tells me that everybody 
is determined to pay no taxes, should the National Assembly 
so ordain. But the soldiers, I said, will have something to say. 
No", Sir, never be assured that French soldiers will never fire 
on the people. If they should, it is better to be shot than 

Poor Cultivation of the Land 209 

starved. He gave me a frightful account of the misery of the 
people : whole families in the utmost distress ; those that work 
have pay insufficient to feed them, and many find it difficult 
to get work at all. 

Walking up a long hill, to ease my horse, I was joined by a 
poor woman, who complained of the times and said that it 
was a sad country. Asking her reasons, she said her husband 
had but a morsel of land, one cow, and a poor little horse, yet 
they had forty-two pounds of wheat and three chickens to pay 
as a quit-rent to one noble ; and one hundred and sixty-eight 
pounds of oats to pay to another, besides very heavy taxes. 
She had seven children, and the cow's milk helped to make the 
soup. But why, instead of a horse, do not you keep another 
cow? Oh, her husband could not carry his produce so well 
without a horse; and asses are little used in the country. It 
was said, at present, that something was to be done by some 
great folks for such poor ones, but she did not know who nor 
how, but God send us better times, "for the taxes and the duties 
crush us." 

This woman, at no great distance, might have been taken for 
sixty or seventy years of age, her figure was so bent and her 
face so furrowed and hardened by labor but she said she was 
only twenty-eight. An Englishman, who has not traveled, 
cannot imagine the figure made by the greater part of the coun- 
trywomen in France ; it indicates, at the first sight, hard and 
severe labor. I am inclined to think that they work harder than 
the men, and this, united with the more miserable labor of bring- 
ing a new race of slaves into the world, destroys absolutely all 
symmetry of person and every feminine appearance. To what 
are we to attribute this difference in the manners of the lower 
people in the two kingdoms? To Government. 

99. Poor Cultivation of the Land 1 

Leaving Sauve, I was much struck with a large tract of land, 
seemingly nothing but huge rocks ; yet most of it inclosed and 
planted with the most industrious attention. Every man has 

1 Young, Travels in France, pp 53, 54, 61, 70-71, 72. 

2io France on the Eve of the Revolution 

an olive, a mulberry, an almond, or a peach tree, and vines 
scattered among them ; so that the whole ground is covered 
with the oddest mixture of these plants that can be conceived. 
The inhabitants of this village deserve encouragement for their 
industry ; and if I was a French minister, they should have it. 
They would soon turn all the deserts around them into 

From Gange to the mountain of rough ground which I crossed, 
the ride has been the most interesting which I have taken in 
France ; the efforts of industry the most vigorous ; the anima- 
tion the most lively. An activity has been here that has swept 
away all difficulties before it, and has clothed the very rocks 
with verdure. It would be a disgrace to common sense to ask 
the cause : the enjoyment of property must have done it. Give 
a man the secure possession of a bleak rock and he will turn it 
into a garden ; give him a nine years' lease of a garden and he 
will convert it into a desert. 

Take the road to Monein, and come presently to a scene 
which was so new to me in France that I could hardly believe 
my eyes. A succession of many well constructed, tight, and 
comfortable farming cottages, built of stone and covered with 
tiles; each having its little garden, inclosed by clipt thorn 
hedges, with plenty of peach and other fruit trees, some fine 
oaks scattered in the hedges, and young trees nursed up with 
so much care that nothing but the fostering attention of the 
owner could effect anything like it. To every house belongs a 
farm, perfectly well inclosed, with grass borders mown and neatly 
kept around the corn fields, and with gates to pass from one 
inclosure to another. . . . The land is all in the hands of little 
proprietors, without the farms being so small as to occasion a 
vicious and miserable population. An air of neatness, warmth, 
and comfort breathes over the whole. It is visible in their 
newly built houses and stables ; in their little gardens ; in their 
hedges; in the courts before their doors; even in the coops 
for their poultry and the sties for their hogs. A peasant does 
not think of rendering his pig comfortable, if his own happiness 
hangs by the thread of a nine years' lease. We are now in 

Extravagant Expenditures 211 

Beam, within a few miles of the cradle of Henry IV. 1 Do they 
inherit these blessings from that good prince? The benignant 
genius of that good monarch seems to reign still over the country ; 
each peasant has "the fowl in the pot." 

In this thirty-seven miles of country, lying between the great 
rivers Garonne, Dordogne, and Charente, and consequently 
hi one of the best parts of France for markets, the quantity of 
waste land is surprising : it is the predominant feature .the 
whole way. Much of these wastes belonged to the prince de 
Soubise, who would not sell any part of them. Thus it is when- 
ever you stumble on a grand seigneur, even one that was worth 
millions, you are sure to find his property a desert. The duke 
of Bouillon's and this prince's are two of the greatest properties 
in France ; and all the signs I have yet seen of their greatness 
are wastes and deserts. Go to their residences, wherever they 
may be, and you would probably find them in the midst of a 
forest, very well peopled with deer, wild boars, and wolves. 
Oh ! if I was the legislator of France for a day, I would make 
such great lords skip again. 

Poitou, from what I see of it, is an unimproved, poor, and 
ugly country. It seems to want communication, demand, and 
activity of all kinds ; nor does it, on an average, yield the half 
of what it might. 

100. Extravagant Expenditures 2 

In this journey through Languedoc I have passed an incredi- 
ble number of splendid bridges and many superb causeways. 
But this only proves the absurdity and oppression of govern- 
ment. Bridges that cost 70,000 or 80,000 pounds and immense 
causeways to connect towns, that have no better inns than such 
as I have described, appear to be gross absurdities. They can- 
not be made for the mere use of the inhabitants, because one- 
fourth of the expense would answer the purpose of real utility. 
They are therefore objects of public magnificence, and conse- 
quently for the eye of travelers. But what traveler, with his 

1 Henry of Navarre, king of France, 1589-1610. 

2 Young, Travels in France, pp. 58, 92, 132. 

212 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

person surrounded by the beggarly filth of an inn, and with all 
his senses offended, will not condemn such inconsistencies as 
folly, and will not wish for more comfort and less appearance 
of splendor. 

To the Benedictine abbey of St.-Germain, to see pillars of 
African marble. It is the richest abbey in France ; the abbot 
has an income of over thirteen thousand pounds a year. I lose 
my patience at such revenues being thus bestowed ; consistent 
with the spirit of the tenth century, but not with that of the 
eighteenth. What a noble farm would the fourth of this income 
establish ! What turnips, what cabbages, what potatoes, what 
clover, what sheep, what wool! Are not these things better 
than a fat ecclesiastic? If an active English farmer was 
mounted behind this abbot, I think he would do more good to 
France with half the income than half the abbots of the kingdom 
with the whole of theirs. 

Arrive at the great commercial city of Nantes. Go to the 
theater, newly built of fine white stone, with a magnificent 
portico front of eight elegant Corinthian pillars, and four others 
within, to part the portico from a grand vestibule. Within all 
is gold and painting. It is, I believe, twice as large as Drury 
Lane, 1 and five times as magnificent. The day was Sunday, 
and the theater was therefore full. Mon Dieu ! cried I to myself, 
do all the wastes, the deserts, the heath, furz, broom, and bog, 
that I have passed for three hundred miles, lead to this spec- 
tacle ? What a miracle, that all this splendor and wealth of the 
cities in France should be so unconnected with the country! 
There are no gentle transitions : at once from beggary to pro- 
fusion. . . . The country is deserted, or, if a gentleman is in it, 
you find him in some wretched hole, to save that money which 
is lavished with profusion in the luxuries of a capital. 

101. Defective Administration of Justice 2 

Take the road to Lourdes, where is a castle on a rock, garri- 
soned for the mere purpose of keeping state prisoners, sent 

1 A famous London playhouse. 

2 Young, Travels in France, pp. 60, 278-279. 

Signs of Impending Revolution 213 

hither by lettres de cachet. Seven or eight are known to be here 
at present ; thirty have been here at a time ; and many for life. 
They were torn by the hand of jealous tyranny from the bosom 
of domestic comfort ; from wives, children, friends, and hurried 
for crimes unknown to themselves more probably for virtues 
to languish in this detested abode of misery and die of despair. 
Oh, liberty ! liberty I and yet this is the mildest government 
of any considerable country in Europe, our own excepted. The 
dispensations of Providence seem to have permitted the human 
race to exist only as the prey of tyrants, as it has made pigeons 
for the prey of hawks. 

I was sorry to see, at the village, a pillory erected, to which a 
chain and heavy iron collar are fastened, as a mark of the lordly 
arrogance of the nobility and the slavery of the people. I asked 
why it was not burned, with the horror it merited? The ques- 
tion did not excite the surprise I expected, and which it would 
have done before the French Revolution. 1 This led to a con- 
versation, by which I learned that in the High Savoy there 
are no seigneurs, and the people are generally at their ease; 
possessing little properties, and the land hi spite of nature almost 
as valuable as in the lower country, where the people are poor 
and ill at their ease. I demanded why? " Because there are 
seigneurs everywhere." What a vice is it, and even a curse, 
that the gentry, instead of being the cherishers and benefactors 
of their poor neighbors, should thus, by the abomination of feudal 
rights, prove mere tyrants. Will nothing but revolutions, which 
cause their chateaux to be burnt, induce them to give to reason 
and humanity what will be extorted by violence and commotion? 

102. Signs of Impending Revolution 2 

Dined to-day at a party where the conversation was entirely 
political. . . . One opinion pervaded the whole company : that 
they are on the eve of some great revolution in the government ; 
that every thing points to it ; the confusion in the finances great ; 
with a deficit impossible to provide for without the Estates- 

1 This entry in Young's journal is -under date December 24, 1789- 

2 Young, Travels in France, pp. 97-98, * 53-154, 214- 

214 France on the Eve of the Revolution 

General of the kingdom, yet no ideas formed of what would be 
the consequence of their meeting ; no minister existing, or to be 
found in or out of power, with such decisive talents as to promise 
any other remedy than palliative ones ; a prince on the throne, 
with excellent dispositions but lacking the resources of mind 
that could govern in such a moment without ministers ; a court 
buried in pleasure and dissipation ... a great ferment among 
all ranks of men, who are eager for some change, without knowing 
what to look to, or to hope for ; and a strong leaven of liberty, 
increasing every hour since the American Revolution. All 
these together form a combination of circumstances that promise 
before long to ferment into motion, if some master-hand, of very 
superior talents and inflexible courage, is not found at the helm 
to guide events, instead of being driven by them. 

It is very remarkable that such conversation never occurs, 
but a bankruptcy^ a topic, the curious question on which is, 
Would a bankruptcy occasion a civil war and a total overthrow 
of the government? The answers that I have received to this 
question appear to be just : such a measure, conducted by a 
man of abilities, vigor, and firmness, would certainly not occa- 
sion either one or the other. But the same measure, attempted 
by a man of a different character, might possibly do both. All 
agree that the Estates-General cannot assemble without more 
liberty being the consequence; but I meet with so few men 
that have any just ideas of freedom that I question much the 
species of this new liberty what is to arise. They know not 
how to value the privileges of the people; as to the nobility 
and the clergy, if a revolution added anything to their scale, 
I think it would do more mischief than good. 

The business going forward at present in the pamphlet shops 
of Paris is incredible. I went to the Palais Royal to see what 
new things were published and to procure a catalogue of all. 
Every hour produces something new. Thirteen came out to- 
day, sixteen yesterday, and ninety-two last week. We think 
sometimes that Debrett's or Stockdale's shops at London are 
crowded, but they are mere deserts, compared to Desein' s and 
some others here. . . . 

Signs of Impending Revolution 215 

Nineteen-twentieths of these productions are in favor of 
liberty, and commonly violent against the clergy and nobility. 
I have to-day found many of this description ; but inquiring 
for such as had appeared on the other side of the question, to 
my astonishment I discovered there are but two or three that 
have merit enough to be known. Is it not wonderful that, 
while the press teems with the most leveling and even seditious 
principles, which, if put in execution, would overturn the mon- 
archy, nothing in reply appears, and that not the least step is 
taken by the court to restrain this extreme freedom of publica- 
tion? It is easy to conceive the spirit that must thus be raised 
among the people. 

But the coffee houses in the Palais Royal present yet more 
singular and astonishing spectacles ; they are not only crowded 
within, but other expectant crowds are at the doors and windows, 
listening mouth open to certain orators, who from chairs or 
tables harangue each his little audience. The eagerness with 
which they are heard, and the thunder of applause they receive 
for every sentiment of more than common hardihood or violence 
against the present government, cannot easily be imagined. 
I am all amazement at the ministry permitting such nests and 
hotbeds of sedition and revolt, which disseminate among the 
people, every hour, principles that by and by must be opposed 
with vigor, and therefore it seems little short of madness to 
allow their propagation at present. 

The mischiefs which have been perpetrated in the country 
are numerous and shocking. Many cMteaux have been burnt, 
others plundered, the seigneurs hunted down like wild beasts, 
their papers and titles burnt, and all their property destroyed : 
and these abominations not inflicted on marked persons, who 
were odious for their former conduct or principles, but an in- 
discriminating, blind rage for the love of plunder. Robbers, 
galley-slaves, and villains of all denominations have collected 
and instigated the peasants to commit all sorts of outrages. 
Some gentlemen informed me that similar commotions and 
mischiefs were being perpetrated everywhere ; and that it was 
expected they would pervade the whole kingdom. 



THE third son of Sir Robert Walpole, first earl of Orford 
and prime minister under George I and George II, was 
Horatio or Horace Walpole. He succeeded to the earldom 
late in life and never entered the House of Lords. Through 
his father's influence he had a seat in parliament for many 
years and enjoyed several lucrative sinecures under the 
government. These resources enabled him to lead a life 
of ease at his villa of Strawberry Hill, near London. Here 
he established a printing press for the publication of his own 
books as well as those of his contemporaries, amassed a huge 
collection of curios and antiques, entertained his many 
friends, and indited the extensive correspondence which 
forms Ms chief title to fame. Sir Walter Scott declared that 
Walpole was "the best letter- writer in the English lan- 
guage." The praise is probably merited. Walpole moved 
in the highest society ; knew intimately the courtiers, politi- 
cians, artists, and authors of the day ; had a great love of 
letter-writing; and worked at it as a fine art. His pub- 
lished Letters number no less than 2665, in nine stout 
volumes. Those written toward the close of his life contain 
many references to the French Revolution. They have 
much interest as reflecting the attitude of conservative 
Englishmen toward the radical upheaval then in progress 
across the Channel. 

103. 17892 

July 9. The crisis in France is advanced far beyond orations, 
and wears all the aspect of civil war. For can one imagine that 

1 The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, edited by Peter Cunningham. 
9 vols. London, 1880. Bickers and Son. 

z Letters of Horace Walpole, vol. ix, pp. 180-191, 192-193, 200, 211, 219, 223-224. 

1789 217 

the whole nation is converted at once, and in some measure with- 
out provocation from the king, who, far from enforcing the 
prerogative like Charles I, canceled the despotism obtained for 
his grandfather by Chancellor Maupeou, has exercised no tyr- 
anny, and has shown a disposition to let the constitution be 
amended. It did want it indeed ; but I fear the present want 
of temper grasps at so much, that they defeat their own pur- 
poses ; and where loyalty has for ages been the predominant 
characteristic of a nation, it cannot be eradicated at once. Pity 
will soften the tone of the moment ; and the nobility and clergy 
have more interest in wearing a royal than a popular yoke ; for 
great lords and high-priests think the rights of mankind a defal- 
cation of their privileges. No man living is more devoted to 
liberty than I am ; yet blood is a terrible price to pay for it ! 
A martyr to liberty is the noblest-of characters ; but to sacrifice 
the lives of others, though for the benefit of all, is a strain of 
heroism that I could never ambition. 

July 15. I write a few lines only to confirm the truth of much 
of what you will read in the papers from Paris. Worse may 
already be come, or is expected every hour. ... I may fancy 
I shall hear of the king and queen leaving Versailles, like Charles 
I, and then skips imagination six-and-forty years lower, and 
figures their fugitive Majesties taking refuge in this country. 
I have besides another idea. If the Bastile conquers, still is it 
impossible, considering the general spirit in the country, and the 
numerous fortified places in France, but some may be seized by 
the dissidents, and whole provinces be torn from the Crown? 
On the other hand, if the king prevails, what heavy despotism 
will the etats, 1 by their want of temper and moderation, have 
drawn on their country! They might have obtained many 
capital points, and removed great oppression. No French 
monarch will ever summon Stats again, if this moment has been 
thrown away. 

July 29. Of French news I can give you no fresher or more 
authentic account, than you can collect in general from the 
newspapers; but my present visitants and everybody else 
1 i.e., the Estates-General. 

2i8 The French Revolution 

confirm the veracity of Paris being in that anarchy that speaks 
the populace domineering in the most cruel and savage manner, 
and which a servile multitude broken loose calls liberty; and 
which in all probability will end ... in their being more abject 
slaves than ever ; and chiefly by the crime of their etats, who, 
had they acted with temper and prudence, might have obtained 
from their poor and undesigning king a good and permanent 
constitution. Who may prove their tyrant, if reviving loyalty 
does not in a new frenzy force him to be so, it is impossible to 
foresee ; but much may happen first. The rage seems to gain 
the provinces, and threatens to exhibit the horrors of those times 
when the peasants massacred the gentlemen. 

Aug. 23. In the midst of the horrors one reads from France 
I could but smile at one paragraph. An abbe de Sieyes excuses 
himself to the etats from accepting the post of speaker, as he is 
busy in forming a Bill of Rights and a new Constitution. One 
would think he was writing a prologue to a new play ! 

Sept. 10. I congratulate you on the demolition of the B as tile ; 
I mean as you do, of its functions. For the poor soul itself, I 
had no ill will to it : on the contrary, it was a curious sample of 
ancient castellar dungeons, which the good folks the founders 
took for palaces : yet I always hated to drive by it, knowing the 
miseries it contained. Of itself it did not gobble up prisoners 
to glut its maw, but received them by command. The destruc- 
tion of it was silly, and agreeable to the ideas of a mob, who do 
not know stones and bars and bolts from a lettre de cachet. If 
the country remains free, the B as tile would be as tame as a 
ducking-stool, now that there is no such thing as a scold. If 
despotism recovers, the Bastile will rise from its ashes ! re- 
cover, I fear, it will. The etats cannot remain a mob of kings, 
and will prefer a single one to a larger mob of kings and greater 
tyrants. The nobility, the clergy, and people of property will 
wait, till by address and money they can divide the people ; or, 
whoever gets the larger or more victorious army into his hands, 
will be a Cromwell or a Monk. 1 In short, a revolution 
procured by a national vertigo does not promise a crop of legis- 
1 General Monk, who brought about the restoration of Charles II in 1660. 

1790 219 

lators. It is time that * composes a good constitution : it 
formed ours. 

Sept. 26. Is the whole kingdom of France to remain always 
in such blessed liberty, that every individual is to murder, 
plunder, and trample on every law? Or out of this lawless and 
savage scene is order, justice, and temper to arise? Nay, when 
some constitution is voted, will it take place? and if it does, how 
long will be its duration? Will a new Assembly of etats, elected 
every two years, corroborate the ordinances of their predecessors? 
Will they not think themselves as wise, and prove as foolish? 
What an absurdity is it not to strip the king of all his power, 
and yet maintain that it is necessary by the laws that he should 
assent to every act of violence they pass against him? And 
compelled, will he think himself bound by that forced assent? . . . 

I think they have lost a glorious moment for obtaining a con- 
siderable amendment of their constitution, and perhaps a lasting 
one, by their intemperance ; and that -they have either entailed 
endless civil wars on, perhaps, a division of their country, or will 
sink under worse despotism than what they have shaken off. To 
turn a whole nation loose from all restraint, and tell them that 
every man has a right to be his own king, is not a very sage way 
for preparing them to receive a new code, which must curtail 
that boundless prerogative of free will, and probably was not the 
first lesson given on the original institution of government. 
The present host of lawgivers must, I doubt, cut the throats of 
half their pupils, before they persuade the other half to go to 
school again to any regular system. 

104. 1790 1 

June 26. Two-thirds of France, who are not so humble as I, 
seem to think they can entirely new-model the world with meta- 
physical compasses ; and hold that no injustice, no barbarity, 
need to be counted in making the experiment. Such legislators 
are sublime empirics, and in their universal benevolence have 
very little individual sensibility. In short, the result of my 
reflections on what has passed in Europe for these latter centuries 
1 Letters of Horace Walpole, vol. ix, pp. 245-246, 246-247, 250-251, 269. 

220 The French Revolution 

is, that tyrants have no consciences, and reformers no feeling; 
and the world suffers both by the plague and by the cure. What 
oceans of blood were Luther and Calvin the authors of being 
spilt 1 The late French government was detestable ; yet I still 
doubt whether a civil war will not be the consequence of the 
revolution, and then what may be the upshot? . . . For how 
short a time do people who set out on the most just principles, 
advert to their first springs of motions, and retain consistency? 
Nay, how long can promoters of revolutions be sure of maintain- 
ing their own ascendant? They are like projectors, who are 
commonly ruined; while others make fortunes on the founda- 
tion laid by the inventors. 

July i. I am tired of railing at French barbarity and folly. 
They are more puerile when serious, than when in the long par- 
oxysm of gay levity. Legislators, a senate, to neglect laws, in 
order to annihilate coats of arms and liveries ! to pull down a 
king, and set up an emperor ! They are hastening to establish 
the tribunal of the praetorian guards; for the sovereignty, it 
seems, is not to be hereditary. One view of their Fete of the 
14th, 1 1 suppose, is to draw money to Paris ; and the consequence 
will be, that the deputies will return to the provinces drunk 
with independence and self-importance, and will commit fifty 
times more excesses, massacres, and devastations, than last 
year. . . . How frantically have the French acted, and how 
rationally the Americans ! But Franklin and Washington were 
great men. None have appeared yet in France. 

Aug. 12. Mr. Gray 2 thinks that some Milton or some 
Cromwell may be lost to the world under the garb of a plough- 
man. Others may suppose that some excellent jack-pudding 
may lie hidden under red velvet and ermine. I cannot say 
that ... the latter hypothesis has been demonstrated, any 
more than the inverse proposition in France, where, though there 
seem to be many as bloody-minded rascals as Cromwell, I can dis- 
cover none of his abilities. They have settled nothing like a 

1 The grand celebration in the Champ de Mars, on the anniversary of the capture 
of the Bastille. 

2 The poet Gray. His famous Elegy is here referred to. 

I79 1 

constitution ; on the contrary, they seem to protect everything 
but violence, as much as they can, in order to keep their louis 
a day, which is more than two-thirds of the Assembly perhaps 
ever saw in a month. I do not love legislators that pay them- 
selves so amply 1 They might have had as good a constitution 
as twenty-four millions of people could comport. As they 
have voted an army of an hundred and fifty thousand men, I 
know what their constitution will be, after passing through a 
civil war. In short, I detest them : they have done irreparable 
injury to liberty, for no monarch will ever summon etats again ; 
and all the real service that will result from their fury will be, that 
every king in Europe, for these twenty or perhaps thirty years 
to come, will be content with the prerogative he has, without 
venturing to augment it. 

Dec. i. That proclamation of the "Rights of Men," is ipso 
facto a dissolution of all society, into which men entered for the 
defense of the rights of every individual. The consequence of 
universal equality would be, that the industrious only would 
labor, the idle not. Who then would be to maintain the inac- 
tive? Must the produce of the labors of the laborious be shared 
with the indolent? Oh, but there should be some government 
then the governed would not be equal with the governors ; 
but it is idle to confute nonsense ! All the blessed liberty the 
French seemed to have gained is, that every man or woman, if 
poissardes l are women, may hang whom they please. 

105. 1791 2 

April 25. The horrors at Paris increase, and Mirabeau's 
death will probably let them widely loose ; for his abilities being 
almost as great as his villanies, there seems to be nobody left 
with parts enough to control the rest. Anarchy must stride on, 
and people will find out that a dissolution of all government 
is not the best way of reforming even the worst. Crimes made 
some kind of government originally necessary ; but, till now, 
nobody ever thought that giving .the utmost latitude to all 

1 Fishwives. 

2 Letters of Horace Wdpok, vol. ix, pp. 309, 33 35i- 

222 The French Revolution 

crimes, was the surest mode of keeping mankind In order and 
happy ; " and yet, with that universal indulgence of the rights of 
men, the French prisons are twenty times fuller than ever they 
were except of assassins and plunderers ! 

June 28. The escape of the king and queen of France came 
merely time enough to double the shock of their being retaken. 
An ocean of pity cannot suffice to lament their miserable condi- 
tion. . . . One cannot think without horror of what the king 
and queen must have felt, from the moment of their being 
stopped till their reentry into their prison, if they are suffered 
to arrive there ; perhaps to see the last of one another, and of 
their children! They may have to feel, too, for the faithful 
assistants of their flight ; all who did assist will certainly suffer, 
and many others, too, for all the real liberty given to France is, 
that anybody may hang anybody. 

Sept. 27. The system of experiments that they call a consti- 
tution cannot last. Marvelous indeed would it be, if a set of 
military noble lads, pedantic academicians, curates of villages, 
and country advocates, could in two years, amidst the utmost 
confusion and altercation amongst themselves, dictated to or 
thwarted by obstinate clubs of various factions, have achieved 
what the wisdom of all ages and all nations has never been able 
to compose a system of government that would set f our-and- 
twenty millions of people free, and contain them within any 
bounds ! This, too, without one great man amongst them. 


May 29, I know not a word of politics, except seeing with 
horror that the cowardly cannibals, as their own Lafayette calls 
his countrymen, and he is no democrat, are driving on the murder 
of then: king and queen ; and the duke of Brunswick, I fear, will 
not be at Paris in time to prevent it. Another of their philo- 
sophic legislators I forget the wretch's name told the king 
lately, that he ought to have two chaplains about him. "I 
mean for the look of it, 77 said he, "for I am atheist myself, and 
do not mind those things"; no, nor assassination, nor any 

1 Letters of Horace Walpole, vol. ix, pp. 374-375, 376, 384. 

1792 223 

crime and injustice that human depravity can engender in the 
mind. They are going to empty their land of the nonjuring 
clergy, and will leave it, as it deserves to be a repaire 1 of wild 

June 27. How contemptible is the National Assembly 1 Not 
content with annihilating, vilifying, plundering, and driving 
away their nobility, they have wreaked their paltry spleen on 
the title-deeds and genealogies of the old families, and deprived 
the exiles of the miserable satisfaction of knowing who were 
their ancestors. Yet it will not surprise me if, as after burning 
the B as tile, they have crammed Orleans with state prisoners, 
they should turn the galleys into a Heralds' Office, and, like 
Cromwell, "create Hewson the cobbler, and such heroes, dukes 
and peers ! 

Aug. 21. The second massacre of Paris has exhibited horrors 
that even surpass the former. Even the queen's women were 
butchered in the Tuileries, and the tigers chopped off the heads 
from the dead bodies, and tossed them into the flames of the 
palace. The tortures of the poor king and queen, from the 
length of their duration, surpass all example, and the brutal 
insolence with which they were treated on the loth, all invention. 
They were dragged through the Place Vendome to see the statue 
of Louis the Fourteenth in fragments, and told it was to be the 
king's fate ; and he, the most harmless of men, was told he is a 
monster; and this after three years of sufferings. King and 
queen and children were shut up in a room, without nourishment, 
for twelve hours. One who was a witness has come over, and 
says he found the queen sitting on the floor, trembling like an 
aspen in every limb, and her sweet boy, the dauphin, asleep against 
her knee ! She has not one woman to attend her that she ever 
saw, but a companion of her misery, the king's sister, an heroic 
virgin saint, who, on the former irruption into the palace, flew to 
and clung to her brother, and being mistaken for the queen, and 
the hellish fiends wishing to murder her, and somebody aiming 
to undeceive them, she said, "Ah! ne Us detrompez pas!" Was 
not that sentence the sublime of innocence? . . . They have 

1 Haunt 

224 The French Revolution 

butchered hecatombs of Swiss, even to porters in private houses, 
because they often are called Le Suisse. Think on fifteen 
hundred persons, probably more, butchered on the loth, in 
the space of eight hours. Think on premiums voted for the as- 
sassination of several princes, and do not think that such exe- 
crable proceedings have been confined to Paris ; no, Avignon, 
Marseilles, etc., are still smoking with blood! 

- 107. 1793 1 

Feb. 9. It seems to draw to a question, whether Europe or 
France is to be depopulated ; whether civilization can be recov- 
ered, or the republic of chaos can be supported by assassination. 
We have heard of the golden, silver, and iron ages ; the brazen 
one existed, while the French were only predominantly insolent. 
What the present age will be denominated, I cannot guess. 
Though the paper age would be characteristic, it is not emphatic 
enough, nor specifies the enormous sins of the fiends that are the 
agents. I think it may be styled the diabolic age. 

March 23. Well ! that bloody chaos seems recoiling on them- 
selves 1 It looks as if civil war was bursting out in many prov- 
inces, and will precipitate approaching famine. When, till 
now, could one make such a reflection without horror to one's 
self? But, alas ! have not the French brought it to the question, 
whether Europe or France should be laid desolate? Religion, 
morality, justice, have been stabbed, torn up by the roots: 
every right has been trampled under foot. Marriage has been 
profaned and undermined by law ; and no wonder, that amidst 
such excesses, the poor arts have shared in the common ruin ! 

Dec. 14. One wonders now that France, in its totality, was 
not more fatal to Europe than even it was. Is not it astonish- 
ing, that after five years of such havoc, such emigrations, expul- 
sions, massacres, annihilation of commerce, evanition of specie, 
and real or impending famine, they can still furnish and support 
armies against us and the Austrians in Flanders, against the duke 
of Brunswick and Wurmser, against us at Toulon, against the 
king of Sardinia, against Spain, against the Royalists in La Ven- 

1 Letters of Horace Walpole, vol. ix, pp. 403, 406, 428. 

1794 225 

dee, and along the coast against our expedition under Lord 
Moira ; and though we have got fifteen of their men-of-war at 
Toulon, they have sixteen, or more, at Brest, and are still imper- 
tinent with a fry of privateers? Consider, too, that all this 
spirit is kept up by the most extravagant lies, delusions, rhodo- 
montade ; by the extirpation of the usual root of enthusiasm, 
religion ; and by the terror murder, that ought to revolt all man- 
kind. If such a system of destruction does not destroy itself, 
there is an end of that ignis fatuus, human reason ; and French 
policy must govern, or exterminate mankind. 

108. 1794 * 

Sept. 4. I cannot but look on Robespierre's death as a very 
characteristic event, I mean as it proves the very unsettled state 
of that country. It is the fifth revolution in the governing 
power of that country in five years ; and as faction in the capital 
can overturn and destroy the reigning despots in the compass of 
twelve months, I see no reason for expecting anything like dura- 
bility to a system compounded of such violent and precarious 
ingredients. Atrocious a monster as Robespierre was, I do not 
suppose the alleged crimes were true, or that his enemies, who 
had all been his accomplices, are a whit better monsters. If his 
barbarities, which were believed the sole engines of his success, 
should be relaxed, success will be less sure ; and though lenity 
may give popularity to his successors, it will be but temporary 
and terror removed, is a negative sensation, and produces 
but very transient gratitude ; and then will revive unchecked, 
every active principle of revenge, ambition, and faction, with 
less fear to control them. I will prophesy no farther, nor will 
pretend to guess how long a genealogy of revolutions will en- 
sue, when they breed so fast, before chaos is extinct. 

1 Letters of Horace Wdpole, vol. ix, p. 439. 


ETIENNE DENIS PASQUIER, born in 1767, sprang from a 
family which had long been distinguished at the French 
bar. He was himself intended for the legal profession, and 
at an early age he entered the parlement of Paris. He wit- 
nessed many of the scenes of the French Revolution, under 
Napoleon became a baron, and served the emperor faith- 
fully. After Napoleon's downfall Pasquier held important 
offices of state under Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis 
Philippe. He retired from active life in 1848, for the pur- 
pose of compiling the reminiscences of his long and honor- 
able career. Pasquier's views were those of a moderate 
reformer, who desired to renovate, but not to end, the old 
monarchy. He welcomed the Restoration of 1815 as " bring- 
ing back France to the form of government best suited 
for it." The following account of the Old Regime, with 
which Pasquier begins his Memoirs, must be read in the 
light of the author's conservative tendencies. 

109. The Old Regime 2 

1 took part in the opening of the Estates-General, and, in 
spite of the pomp with which the royal power was still sur- 
rounded, I there saw the passing away of the Old Regime. 

The regime which preceded 1789 should, it seems to me, be 
considered from a twofold aspect : the one, the general condition 
of the country; and the other, the relations existing between 
the government and the country. With regard to the former, 
I firmly believe that, from the earliest days of the monarchy, 
France had at no period been happier than she was then. . . . 

* A History of My Time. Memoirs of the Chancellor Pasquier, translated by 
C. E. Roche. 3 vols. New York, 1893. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

2 Pasquier, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 44-52. 

The Old Regime 227 

If several wars, undertaken with little skill, and waged with 
still less, had compromised the honor of her arms and the repu- 
tation of her government ; if they had even thrown her finances 
into a somewhat alarming state of disorder, it is but fair to say 
that the confusion resulting therefrom had merely affected 
the fortunes of a few creditors, and had not tapped the sources 
of public prosperity ; on the contrary what is styled the public 
administration had made constant progress. . . . 

Roads had been opened connecting numerous points, and 
had been greatly improved in all directions. It should not be 
forgotten that these benefits are principally due to the reign 
of Louis XV. Their most important result had been a progres- 
sive improvement in the condition of agriculture. 

The reign of Louis XVI had continued favoring this wise 
policy, which had not been interrupted by the maritime war 
undertaken on behalf of American independence. Many cotton- 
mills had sprung up, while considerable progress had been made 
in the manufacture of printed cotton fabrics and of steel, and 
in the preparing of skins. . . . Louis XVI also encouraged agri- 
culture by every means at his command. The importation 
of merino sheep, that precious breed which has done so much 
to bring wealth to the farmer and to the manufacturer of woolens, 
must be placed to his credit. He had established model farms, 
thus placing at the disposal of agriculturists the resources of 
theory and facilities for their application. Large edifices were 
being erected in Paris, while considerable building was taking 
place in the villages. Foreigners flocked to the capital, where 
reigned a display of elegance which has never been surpassed. 

What was at that time the form of government in France? 
It was no longer that of the ancient feudal monarchy, under 
which the throne, surrounded by its vassals, kept the nation 
at a great distance from its steps ; under which the power ema- 
nating from this throne impressed the people with a respect 
that verged on superstition ; under which the sovereign might 
at times be exposed to the acts of rebellion of some of the more 
turbulent among these high vassals . . . but under which they 
ever ended with some treaty benefiting those who had shown 

228 Scenes of the French Revolution 

themselves the most to be feared, the cost of such treaty coming 
as a matter of course out of the pockets of the nation and of 
the country. Richelieu, and after him, Louis XIV, had broken 
down these feudal potentates. The structure, of which they 
were the component parts, and which they helped to support, 
had been supplemented by a monarchy all for show, if one may 
employ such an expression, wherein the king alone had remained 
great and the cynosure of all eyes. Louis XIV, by fashioning 
it to his measure, had imparted to it something of his imposing 
air. . . . 

I*he royal power, under the Regency, under Louis XV, and 
under Louis XVI, passed through many weak or incapable hands. 
It was, moreover, subjected to so many intrigues of the court 
and even of the boudoir, that, as a result, there was a consider- 
able diminution of its prestige. . . . 

The government was neither a hard nor a vexatious one. 
All things connected with it, which were not de jure tempered 
by the laws, were so de facto by the usages and customs of the 
day. The right of property was respected ; for the immense 
majority of Frenchmen there was almost complete individual 
liberty. Still, this liberty was not inviolate, since, in spite of 
repeated protests from the parlement, 1 the power of arrest, im- 
prisonment, and exile was exercised by means of kttres de cachet. 

It must be acknowledged that, with the exception of a few 
persons whose actions caused the government particular irrita- 
tion, the rest of the citizens practically enjoyed the most com- 
plete liberty. One was free to speak, to write, to act with the 
greatest independence, and one could even defy the authorities 
in perfect security. Though the press was not legally free, 
yet anything and everything was printed and hawked about with 
audacity. 2 The most sedate personages, the magistrates them- 
selves, who ought to have curbed this licentiousness, actually 
encouraged it. Writings the most dangerous, and the most 
fatal to authority, were to be found in their possession. If, 

1 The parlement of Paris was the royal court of justice. 

2 Arthur Young also refers to the extreme liberty, or rather license, of the French 
press in pre-Revolutionary days. See page 215. 

The Old Regime 229 

from time to time, some of the most zealous and conscientious of 
them denounced any flagrant case In the halls of the parlement, 
their action was almost treated as ridiculous, and usually led to 
no result. Those who will not grant that this was liberty, must 
perforce admit that it was license. 

There still remained certain pecuniary manorial rights ; but 
they constituted a form of property as good as any other, and 
which could be held by a commoner as well as by one of noble 
birth. The power of the seigneurs over the bodies of their 
vassals no longer had any existence except in fiction ; about all 
that was left to the seigneurs of the old feudal power was the 
shadowy obligation to protect these same vassals. 

At the time of his accession, Louis XVI completely did away 
with anything that might still be found oppressive in the exer- 
cise of this power. Hence there was between the nobility and 
the other citizens, just as there was between those citizens and 
the clergy, but one question in dispute, that of pecuniary 
privileges. . . . 

The Influence of the clergy did not make itself felt any more 
heavily on the individual than did that of the nobility. The 
concessions just granted to Protestants, in the matter of their 
civil status, had met with no obstruction on the part of the eccle- 
siastical power. Nothing could Illustrate better how tolerant 
it had become. The higher clergy became reconciled to the 
views known as the Light of the century. With regard to the 
cures, who came into actual contact with the people, they merely 
extended their paternal care of their flocks, which also absorbed 
the better part of their income. 

Whence came then that passion for reform, that desire to 
change everything which made itself manifest at the close of 
the eighteenth century? It was due rather to a great stirring 
up of ideas than to actual sufferings. So much had been written 
about these ideas, they had been so greatly discussed, that 
doubt had been cast upon all things. The sovereign authority 
had been in a more particular manner broken in upon, and the 
court of Louis XVI had not known how to restore the waning 
prestige of royal majesty, even in the matter of that exterior 

230 Scenes of the French Revolution 

glamor which oftentimes suffices to insure the obedience of 
the masses. 

The court, sceptical and corrupt, was composed of the de- 
scendants of the most noble families of France, but also, on 
the other hand, of upstarts, in whose case royal favor had stood 
in lieu of services. The arrogance of their pretensions was in 
inverse ratio to their merit, and their insolent haughtiness had 
rendered them odious. . . . 

The irreligious, critical, and philosophical spirit, the inex- 
plicable craze for all sorts of Utopian chimeras, the lowering of 
the moral standard, especially the loss of respect for institutions 
consecrated by time, and for old family traditions, all fostered 
the development of the passions which were soon and forever 
to sweep away the old French society, the Old Regime. 

110. Opening of the Revolution 1 

Pasquier has a very sober account of the capture of the Bastille, 
July 14, 1789. 

I was present at the taking of the Bastille. What has been 
styled the fight was not serious, for there was absolutely no 
resistance shown. Within the walls of the fortress were neither 
provisions nor ammunition. It was not even necessary to 
invest it. 

The regiment of gardes franqaises, which had led the attack, 
presented itself under the walls on the Rue St.-Antoine side, 
opposite the main entrance, which was barred by a drawbridge. 
There was a discharge of a few musket shots, to which no reply 
was made, and then four or five discharges from the cannon. 
It has been claimed that the latter broke the chains of the draw- 
bridge. I did not notice this, and yet I was standing close to 
the point of attack. What I did see plainly was the action of 
the soldiers . . grouped on the platform of the high tower, 
holding their musket stocks in air, and expressing by all 
means employed under similar circumstances their desire of 

1 Pasquier, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 55-56, 60-61, 85-86. 

Opening of the Revolution 231 

The result of this so-called victory, which brought down so 
many favors on the heads of the so-called victors, is well known. 
The truth is that this great fight did not for a moment frighten 
the numerous spectators who had flocked to witness its results. 
Among them were many women of fashion, who, in order to be 
closer to the scene, had left their carriages some distance away. 

The scarcity of food in Paris led to much rioting. On October 5, 
1789, a mob of hungry women, joined by many disorderly men, set out 
for Versailles to demand relief from the king himself. They passed 
the night in the streets of Versailles, and next morning broke into the 
palace and killed several of the guards. To prevent further bloodshed 
Louis XVI agreed to return with his wife and son to Paris. " Now 
we shall have bread," shouted the mob, " for we are bringing the baker, 
the baker's wife, and the baker's little boy." 

The general impression left on my mind by the horrors of 
the 6th of October was strengthened by the one I had felt while 
performing a most melancholy duty. The day following that 
upon which the royal family were dragged captives to the 
Tuileries, the parkment was, according to custom, called upon 
to go and present its respects to them. . . . The traces of 
violence which met our eyes, the confusion existing in the palace, 
the cast-down and disheartened appearance of the household, 
the haughty and triumphant attitude of the individuals who, 
under the orders of Lafayette, had captured the palace guards 
and through whose ranks we were compelled to wend our way, 
had but feebly prepared us for the heart-rending scene which 
awaited us as soon as we had been brought into the presence 
of our unfortunate sovereigns. It seemed that ten years had 
passed over their heads in the space of ten days. 

The king's face bore the imprint of resignation. He under- 
stood that he had not reached the end of his misfortunes. Indig- 
nation shone through the queen's grief, which displayed some- 
what more firmness. Her son was sitting in her lap, and, in 
spite of the courage of which she had given so many heroic 
proofs during the past forty-eight hours, one could not but feel 
that the son was for her a safeguard to the protection of which 
she committed herself. When she received us, it was plainly 

232 Scenes of the French Revolution 

to be read in her eyes that she clearly saw in ours to what an 
extent the sorrowful congratulations which we brought were 
in contradiction with the feelings of our innermost hearts, arid 
how we suffered at having to speak those meaningless sentences, 
consecrated by usage in days of happiness, and at not being 
able to speak others. 

The emotion with which this scene filled me was as deep as 
lasting. All that in my mind and heart attracted me to and 
inspired me with a taste for a wise and lawfully regulated liberty 
faded away in the presence of the painful spectacle which aroused 
my indignation. Each succeeding day, indeed, witnessed the 
Increase of disasters, spoliations, and crimes of all kinds. My 
sentiments were offended by the lack of respect shown to all that 
I had accustomed myself to hold in reverence. I was neither 
giddy enough to divest my mind of this spectacle, nor enough 
of a stoic to consider it as a necessary condition of the great 
destinies which awaited regenerated France. 

The following brief reference is made by Pasquier to the attack 
on the Tuileries, August 10, 1792. This fresh revolutionary outbreak 
was followed by the deposition and imprisonment of the king. 

Preparations were bravely and faithfully being made to 
resist, in case of need, an attack upon the Tuileries. The king 
had still at his disposal a regiment of the Swiss Guards, and a 
few battalions of the National Guard, whose loyalty was un- 
doubted. These ready means of defense were increased by a 
number of devoted followers, to whom free access to the cha- 
teau had been granted, and who had firmly resolved to make a 
rampart of their bodies in defense of the royal family. 

Together with the prince de St.-Maurice, I resolved upon 
joining this faithful band. . . . Both of us witnessed the whole 
scene. The king passed us as he crossed the garden of the 
Tuileries, yielding to the advice of going to the Assembly, in 
order to place himself under its protection. As we left, cannon 
were being fired across the garden. It was a short-lived fight, but 
its effect was to destroy the most powerful and ancient dynasty 
reigning in Europe. 

Trial and Execution of Louis XVI 233 

111. Trial and Execution of Lotus XVI 1 

After a short trial before the Convention Louis XVI was condemned 
to death for " treason to the nation " (January 8, 1793). 

Must I speak of the agonizing days which this trial made me 
go through? Yes, indeed; for if ever this manuscript is pub- 
lished, if even it is merely preserved in my family, I do not wish 
it to remain unknown that my father and I contributed, in so 
far as lay in our power, to the defense of our unfortunate king. 
My father . . . was in a position to render the king every assist- 
ance that lay within his power. He took part in their private 
deliberations, and during the course of the trial he occupied a 
seat in the tribune set aside for the king's defenders, taking 
notes with them, and aiding them in their task. 

During that time I never left the public tribunes and the hall- 
ways of the House, going about in quest of information, gather- 
ing the slightest straws which showed how the wind blew, and 
bringing them all to my father, who would communicate them 
to the other gentlemen. . . . For a short while people let them- 
selves be lulled by illusions. The streets (who would believe 
it?) reechoed songs expressing pity for the fate of the king. . . . 
But popular sentiment was not powerful enough to have any 
influence within the precincts of the hall of the Convention. 
There it was merely the pitiless taking of votes. 

In the tribune of the king's defenders the result was being 
reckoned up, according to what was thought to be the opinions 
of each member. The result of these calculations indicated 
an acquittal. The noble soul of M. de Malesherbes, especially, 
could not abandon the hope of which he so needed the support. 
I can still see him, the day the vote was taken, checking off the 
votes on his note-book as they were recorded, and passing from 
fear to hope, then from hope to despair. The words he spoke at 
the bar of the House, when the vote was finally recorded, suffi- 
ciently showed how up to the last moment it had been impos- 
sible for him to realize the perpetration of so great a deed of 
iniquity. . . . 

1 Pasquier, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 91-04. 

234 Scenes of the French Revolution 

The execution of the king occurred thirteen days later in the great 
public square of Paris, the Place de la Concorde. 

It remains for me to say that I saw the tragedy which was 
enacted on the 2ist of January. I lived in a house which faced 
on the boulevard, at the corner of the church of the Madeleine. 
My father and I sat opposite each other all morning, buried in 
our grief and unable to utter a word. We knew that the fatal 
procession was wending its way by the boulevards. 

Suddenly a loud clamor made itself heard. I rushed out 
under the idea that perhaps an attempt was being made to 
rescue the king. How could I do otherwise than cherish such 
a hope to the very last? On reaching the goal I discovered 
that what I had heard was merely the howling of the raving 
madmen who surrounded the vehicle. I found myself sucked in 
by the crowd which followed it/ and was dragged away by it, 
and, so to speak, carried and set down at the scaffold's side. 
So it was that I endured the horror of this awful spectacle. 

Hardly had the crime been consummated when a cry of "Long 
live the nation 1" arose from the foot of the scaffold, and, re- 
peated from man to man, was taken up by the whole of the vast 
concourse of people. This cry was followed by the deepest and 
most gloomy silence. Shame, horror, and terror were now 
hovering over the entire locality. I crossed it once more, swept 
back by the flood which had brought me thither. Each one 
walked along slowly, hardly daring to look at another. The 
rest of the day was spent in a state of profound stupor, which 
spread a pall over the whole city. Twice was I compelled to 
leave the house, and on both occasions did I find the streets 
deserted and silent. The assassins had lost their accustomed 
spirit of bravado. Public grief made itself felt, and they were 
silent in the face of it. 

112. The Reign of Terror l 

In the month of March, 1793, the revolutionary tribunals 
were organized, together with the committees of General Police 
and of Public Safety. The emigres, the aristocrats, and the 

1 Pasquier, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 95-96, 116-120. 

The Reign of Terror 235 

enemies of the Revolution were all outlawed, and a revolutionary 
army was especially intrusted with hunting them down. 

The law of the suspects spread out a huge net from which 
no one might hope to escape. Fresh prisons were opened in 
all directions, and they could scarcely hold the number of unfor- 
tunate people stowed away in them. The Convention let loose 
all over the country deputies chosen among the most ferocious 
and vicious of the Mountain's membership. France was handed 
over defenseless to these representatives of the people, clothed 
with the most unlimited powers, and disposing, at their own free 
will, of the liberty and life of any individual whom it pleased 
them to call a counter-revolutionist. 

In every department, in every town, they found docile exec- 
utors of all their acts of savagery a score or so of wretches, 
all or almost all sprung from the dregs of the population, hardly 
able to write then" names, but invested with the title of members 
of the Revolutionary Committee. For the purpose of having 
their orders carried out, they called into requisition the help of 
the inert mass of citizens, which knows only how to sigh and 
obey, and thus, during a term of eighteen months, the very 
man who was to be arrested the following day took part in 
the arrests of the foregoing one. He who was to perish during 
the next week often escorted to the scaffold, while shouldering 
a pike, the victims of the current week. Officers, soldiers, gen- 
erals, officials, rich and poor, all stood alike in fear of these modem 
proconsuls, and all fled who had the means of flight at their 
disposal. But it was very hard to escape their vigilance when 
one belonged to the proscribed class. 

Pasquier, whose father had been previously guillotined, did not 
escape suspicion during the Terror. In 1 794 he was arrested, together 
with his wife, and taken to the prison of St.-Lazare. A younger brother 
and two brothers-in-law were already confined there. 

In every one of the large prisons were a certain number of 
scoundrels, apparently detained as prisoners like the others, 
but who were really there to select and draw up a list of the 
victims. Several of them had become known as spies, and, 
incredible as it may seem, their lives were spared by those in 

236 Scenes of the French Revolution 

the midst of whom they fulfilled their shameful duty. On the 
contrary, the prisoners treated them gently and paid them 
court. I had scarcely passed the first wicket, and was follow- 
ing the jailer who was taking me to the room I was to occupy, 
when I found myself face to face with M. de Montrou, already 
notorious through his scandalous intrigues, and whose adventures 
have since created such a stir in society. He came close to me, 
and without pretending to notice me, whispered into my ear the 
following salutary bit of advice: "While here, do not speak a 
word to anybody whom you do not know thoroughly." 

On reaching with Mme. Pasquier the lodging destined for 
our use, and which had been vacated by the two victims of the 
previous day, we were soon surrounded by our relations, and 
by a few friends who hastened to offer us all the assistance they 
could. We were enjoying, as far as one can enjoy anything 
when in a similar position, these proofs of kindly interest and 
friendship, when one of my brothers-in-law, who was looking 
out of the window, exclaimed, "Ah, here is Pepin Degrouettes 
about to take his daily walk. We must go and show ourselves. 
Come along with us.' 7 "Why so?" I queried, whereupon I 
was told that he was the principal one among the rascals whose 
abominable role I have described. . . . Every afternoon he 
would thus take a turn in the yard, and it was for him the occa- 
sion of passing in review, so to speak, the flock which he was 
gradually sending to the slaughter-house. Woe unto him who 
seemed to hide, or to avoid his look! Such a one was immediately 
noted, and he could be sure that his turn would come next. 
Many a gallant man's death became a settled thing, because he 
was a few minutes late in coming down into the yard and passing 
under the fellow's notice. The surrendering oneself to his dis- 
cretion was apparently a way of imploring mercy at his hands. 
We went through the formality, and it constituted a scene 
which I never can forget. I can still see him, a man four feet, 
seven inches, or four feet, eight inches high, hump-backed, of 
twisted form, bandy-legged, and as red-headed as Judas. He 
was completely surrounded by prisoners, some of whom walked 
backward in his presence, earnestly soliciting a look from him. 

The Reign of Terror 237 

We were told a few days later that, when the last list was 
nade up, he and his assistants had experienced a feeling of pity 
or my young brother whose name was on it, and that they had 
stricken it out. His lively, frank, and open demeanor, and 
iie habit of seeing him for so long (he was, in spite of his youth, 
iie oldest resident of the prison), had inspired them with a kindly 
eeling of which they could not divest themselves. To this 
nust be attributed his not having shared the fate of young 
Vlailly, who was sent to the scaffold for the offense they had 
;ommitted in common, and which consisted in throwing in the 
r ace of the keeper of the prison some rotten herrings, telling 
lim ironically that he might feast on them. . . . 

We all considered ourselves doomed victims, and did not 
Lhink that there remained the slightest chance of salvation, 
ivhen the morning of the pth Thermidor dawned. The day 
passed without the slightest echo of what was happening out- 
side penetrating our prison walls. On the morning of the roth, 
i few of us were informed by turnkeys whom we had remuner- 
ated for certain personal services, that Robespierre had been 
brought to the prison during the night, and that those who 
had him In custody sought to have him incarcerated there, but 
the jailor refused to receive him. This alone was a sufficient 
proof that a most important event was taking place, and during 
the course of the day we succeeded in obtaining newspapers 
which told us all. ... 

Tlie coup d'etat of the " gth Thermidor " (July 27, 1794) led to the 
overthrow of Robespierre. As a consequence of the reaction in favor 
of ordinary government, Pasquier regained his liberty and his estates. 

When I left St.-Lazare, I found that the march of events had 
been rapid, and that their trend was more and more pronounced 
in favor of order and justice. After having been violently 
repressed, the more enlightened and the more respectable por- 
tion of the population was about to enjoy the right of living 
openly. How can I describe the joy of the friends and rela- 
tions come back to life from prisons, or from obscure hiding- 
places, who had lost all hope of meeting again, who inquired 

238 Scenes of the French Revolution 

as to the fate of beloved ones, and about those whom they had 
lost. Their sweetest consolation was to be able to weep together 
over those who had fallen under the revolutionary scythe. The 
first use to which they put their freedom was to make a public 
display of their grief and of their lamentations. During the 
Terror, and especially during the last six months of its reign, 
no one dared to wear mourning for those who had perished on 
the scaffold. Mingled with so many heart-rending recollections 
was the joy felt over a deliverance which might more appro- 
priately be styled a resurrection. . . . 

None of the terrible laws made during the two past years 
were abrogated, but this did not trouble people. The greater 
part of the assassins, both leaders and hirelings, were still in 
possession of their lives; they mingled unpunished with their 
victims. Who was there to call them to account for the blood 
which they had shed? Contempt protected them against 
hatred, and so, escaping public vengeance, they vanished from 

113. Tlie " 18th and 19th Brumaire " * 

The last chapter in the history of the French Revolution was written 
on the " iSth and igth Brumaire " (November 9-10, 1799), when 
Napoleon overthrew the Directory and ended the existence of the 
Council of Five Hundred. 

The men most taken into the confidence of Napoleon, and 
who were best informed as to his plans during the days pre- 
ceding the 1 8th Brumaire, were, besides his brother Lucien, 
Messieurs Roederer, Regnaud de St. -Jean d'Angely, Camba- 
ceres, and Talleyrand. In addition to these, some hundred and 
fifty men, at least, were initiated into his secrets, to a higher or 
lesser degree. In spite of this, the Directory was taken un- 
awares. The military guard of the Directory took sides against 
it, without its president (Gohier) entertaining the least suspicion 
of this defection. This guard, composed of an infantry regiment 
which had belonged to the army of Italy, and of a cavalry regi- 
ment commanded by the Corsican Sebastiani, formed the nucleus 

1 Pasquier, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 153-156. 

The "i8th and igih Brumalre" 239 

of the military forces Napoleon could dispose of, and insured 
the success of his enterprise. 

General Lefevre, who was in command of the Paris garrison, 
went over to him unreservedly. This service was never for- 
gotten, and the recollection of it is to be found during the bril- 
liant period when Napoleon distributed among his adherents 
so many of the batons of a marshal of France. Many acces- 
sions to fortune, among those which occurred during the Con- 
sulate and the Empire, are to be explained in the same fashion, 
and their foundations rest upon claims to gratitude dating from 
the same epoch. Whether as First Consul or as emperor, Na- 
poleon ever showed his gratitude in this respect. 

It is unnecessary to dwell to any extent on the scenes of the 
" i8th and iQth Bramaire." They have been so often told, and 
no one can have forgotten Napoleon's apostrophe, on the i8th, 
to the partisans of the Directory, as spoken to an emissary of 
Barras : "What have you done with that land of France which 
I left to your care in so magnificent a condition? I bequeathed 
you peace, and on my return I find war. I left you the memory 
of victories, and now I have come back to face defeats. I left 
with you the millions I had gathered in Italy, and to-day I 
see nothing in every direction but laws despoiling the people, 
coupled with distress. What have you done with the one hun- 
dred thousand French citizens, -my companions in glory, all 
of whom I knew? You have sent them to their death. This 
state of things cannot last, for it would lead us to despotism. 
We require liberty reposing on the basis of equality." 

It is well known that on the i9th, at St-Cloud, the firmness 
of Napoleon, so frequently tested on the battlefield, was for a 
moment shaken by the vociferous yells with which he was 
greeted by the Council of Five Hundred, and in the face of which 
he deemed it prudent to beat a retreat. His brother, Lucien, 
was the president of this council, and the firmness of the par- 
liamentarian was in this instance more enduring than that of 
the warrior. Lucien weathered the storm, and prevented the 
passing of a decree of outlawry. Napoleon soon returned, 
supported by a military escort commanded by Generals Murat 

240 Scenes of the French Revolution 

and Leclerc. The soldiers had been electrified by a rumor that 
the life of Napoleon had been attempted in the chamber of 
the council. The appearance and the attitude of this faithful 
armed band quickly cut the Gordian knot. The chamber was 
soon evacuated, and many of the members of the Council, 
anxious to take the shortest road, fled by the windows. 

So Napoleon remained master of the situation by means of a 
method bearing some resemblance to that put in use by Crom- 
well to rid himself of the Long Parliament. Still, the French 
general preserved a greater respect for appearances than his 
forerunner, and he took care to shelter himself behind a sem- 
blance of legality. . . . 

The three provisional consuls were Sieyes and Roger-Ducos 
of the Directory, and Napoleon. This provisional state of 
government lasted only six weeks, during which the consuls 
and the Legislative Commission prepared and drew up a con- 
stitution. This was the fourth in ten years. It was promul- 
gated on the 24th of December, 1799, an( ^ i s known as the 
Constitition of the Year VIIL Its result was to establish 
the consular government. 

A new era dawned for France with this form of government. 
The face of things was entirely changed, and everything began 
to tend to a new goal. The power of the clubs, and of delibera- 
tive assemblies, was succeeded by the most absolute authority 
placed in the hands of one man. Thus, with but slight shades of 
distinction, will the march of events ever progress henceforth, 
and one form of excess will ever call forth its very opposite. 



THE most important source for the life of Napoleon is 
his Correspondence. This was published in 1858-1869 
by a commission appointed by Napoleon III, then emperor 
of the French. There are over twenty thousand letters, 
dispatches, and proclamations in the collection, which fills 
thirty-two volumes. The Correspondence covers the period 
1793-1815 ; it is not complete, for some letters have been 
omitted, and others more or less garbled by the editors. 
Even in its present form the work affords an idea of the 
prodigious activity of Napoleon, who in twenty-two years, 
despite incessant campaigning and the heavy burden of 
administration, found time to dictate so many documents. 
As might be expected, these throw light upon almost every 
aspect of the emperor's career. 

114. Napoleon's Early Years 2 

While still a child Napoleon determined to be a soldier. His father 
did not oppose his resolve and sent him in 1779 to the French military 
school of Brienne, where cadets of noble families received a free educa- 
tion. Napoleon was then ten years of age. He went through the 
ordinary curriculum with credit and showed proficiency in mathe- 
matics. We are told that he devoted much of his spare time to history, 
especially Plutarch's Parallel Lives and Caesar's Commentaries. The 
small Corsican boy, moody, silent, and solitary, made few friends among 
his schoolmates. In 1781, after two years' residence at Brienne, he 
wrote to his father the following letter. It is the earliest specimen of 
his correspondence which has been preserved. 

If you or my protectors do not give me the means of sup- 
porting myself more honorably in the house where I am, let me 

1 A Selection from the Letters and Despatches of the First Napoleon, edited by 
D. A. Bingham. 3 vols. London, 1884. Chapman and Hall. 

2 Letters and Despatches, vol. i, pp. 5, 27, 58. 

242 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

return home immediately. I am tired of exhibiting indigence 
and seeing the smiles of insolent scholars who are only superior 
to me by reason of their fortune ; for there is not one capable 
of feeling the noble sentiments with which I am animated. 
What ! sir, your son is to be the laughing-stock of some popin- 
jays, who, proud of the pleasures they give themselves, make fun 
of the privations I endure ! No, my father, no ! Should fortune 
absolutely refuse the amelioration of my lot, remove me from 
Brienne, and if necessary give me a mechanical profession. By 
these offers judge of my despair. This letter, believe me, is not 
dictated by any vain desire to indulge in expensive amusements ; 
I am not at all fond of them. I simply experience the want of 
showing that I have the means of procuring them like the rest of 
my comrades. 

Having passed his examinations in 1785, Napoleon joined a French 
artillery regiment and learned in practice all the duties of an officer. 
He took a keen interest in the reform movements which were beginning 
to agitate France, adopted republican sentiments, and for a time, at 
least, became a Jacobin. But the following letter to his elder brother, 
Joseph, written from Paris in 1792, indicates that he placed little 
confidence in the Revolutionary leaders. 

The men at the head of the Revolution are a poor lot. It must 
be acknowledged, when one views matters closely, that the 
people do not deserve all the trouble taken about them. You 
are acquainted with the history of Ajaccio ; l that of Paris is the 
same. Perhaps here men are meaner, worse, and greater 
liars. . . . Every one pursues his own interest and searches to 
gain his own end by dint of all sorts of crimes ; people intrigue 
as basely as ever- All this destroys ambition. One pities those 
who have the misfortune to play a part in public affairs. . . . 
To live tranquilly and enjoy the affections of one's family is what 
one should do when one has five thousand francs a year and is 
between twenty-five and forty years of age ; that is to say, when 
the imagination has calmed down and no longer torments one. 
I embrace you, and recommend you to be moderate in all things 
in all things, mind, if you desire to live happily. 
1 Napoleon's native town in Corsica. 

The Rise of Napoleon 243 

From his viewpoint in Paris, Napoleon witnessed some of the great 
" days " of the Revolution, including the humiliation of Louis XVI at 
Versailles and the " September massacres." His sound common sense 
revolted against such scenes. " Why don't they sweep off four or 
five hundred of that rabble with cannon? " he exclaimed. " The rest 
would then run away fast enough." Two years later he proved the 
truth of his words. On October 5, 1795, a m b advanced to the attack 
of the Tuileries, where the Convention was sitting. The young artillery 
officer, now become a general, met them with a " whiff of grapeshot " 
and crushed once for all the royalist reaction. Napoleon described the 
scene in a brief letter to Joseph. 

At last all is over. My first idea is to think of you and to send 
you news concerning myself. 

The royalists, formed into sections, became daily more inso- 
lent. The Convention ordered that the Lepelletier section should 
be disarmed, and it resisted the troops. Menou, who com- 
manded, is said to have played the traitor, and was at once dis- 
missed. The Convention appointed Barras to command the 
army, and the Committees appointed me second in command. 
We posted the troops ; the enemy marched to attack us at the 
Tuileries ; we killed a great number of them, losing on our side 
thirty men killed and sixty wounded. We have disarmed the 
sections, and all is quiet. As usual, I was not wounded. 

115. The Rise of Napoleon l 

Napoleon's success in quelling the Parisian mob gained for Mm the 
favor of Barras, the most prominent member of the Directory, and an 
appointment to the command of the French army of Italy. To his 
soldiers Napoleon addressed from Nice in 1796 the thrilling proclama- 
tion which follows. 

Soldiers, you were naked, ill-fed : the government owed you 
much and had nothing to give you. Your patience, and the cour- 
age you have exhibited in the midst of these rocks, are admirable ; 
but they procure you no glory ; no brilliancy is reflected on you. 
I desire to lead you into the most fertile plains in the world. 
Rich provinces and great cities will be in your power ; you will 
find there, honor, glory, and wealth. Soldiers of Italy, will you 
be wanting in courage and constancy? 

1 Letters and Despatches, vol. i, pp. 64, 208. 

244 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

Napoleon's campaigns in Italy revealed his surpassing generalship. 
He soon liberated Lombardy from the yoke of Austria and compelled 
that country to agree to the Treaty of Campo Formio (i797) tilus bring- 
ing the war to an end. England, however, still remained an enemy, 
and Napoleon determined to strike at her through her Oriental posses- 
sions. The conquest of Egypt, he believed, would be a deadly blow to 
English commerce and might become a stepping-stone to the conquest 
of India. " This little Europe," Napoleon remarked to his secretary, 
" does not supply enough glory for me. I must seek it in the East : 
all great fame comes from that quarter." The Directory was easily 
persuaded to intrust him with a strong expedition, which landed in 
Egypt In 1798. Before the soldiers embarked at Toulon, he issued the 
following proclamation. 

Soldiers, you are one of the wings of the army of England. 
You have fought on mountain and plain and besieged forts; 
it remained for you to wage a maritime war. 

The Roman legions, which you have sometimes imitated but 
not yet equaled, fought against Carthage both by sea and on the 
plains of Zama. 1 Victory never abandoned them, because they 
were constantly brave, patient in the support of fatigue, well 
disciplined, and united. 

Soldiers, Europe has its eyes upon you. 

You have great destinies to fulfill, battles to fight, dangers to 
overcome. You will do more than you have yet accomplished 
for the prosperity of your country, for the happiness of mankind, 
and for your own glory. 

Sailors, infantry, cavalry, artillery, be united, and remember 
that on the day of battle you will stand in need of each other. . . . 

The French rapidly overran Egypt and organized it as a colony, 
but they could proceed no further with their schemes of conquest. 
Nelson at the battle of the Nile (1799) destroyed Napoleon's fleet, and 
the Turks repulsed his attack on Syria, Obliged to give up his grandiose 
plans for the foundation of an empire in the East, Napoleon began to 
think of returning home, where his services were badly needed. During 
Ms absence in Egypt, Austria and Russia had again declared war on 
France, and the Directory had shown itself to be both corrupt and 
incompetent. Napoleon now secretly quitted Egypt and made his 
escape to France. Within a month of his landing (1799)? he had over- 
thrown the Directory and had become the virtual ruler of the French, 

1 Where Scipio Africanus finally defeated Hannibal in 202 B.C. 

Napoleon as Consul 245 

with the title of First Consul. This position he retained for the next 
five years. 

116. Napoleon as Consul l 

The first year of the Consulate saw the withdrawal of Russia from 
the coalition and the crushing of Austria by the battles of Marengo 
and Hohenlinden (1800). Austria then made peace, and in 1802 Eng- 
land signed the Treaty of Amiens. With Europe tranquil, Napoleon 
at last had leisure to enter upon those far-reaching reforms in govern- 
ment, law, and industry which have helped to immortalize his name. 
An interesting sidelight on the wide range of his intellectual interests 
at this time is afforded by his two brief notes to the eminent mathemati- 
cian and astronomer, Laplace. 

I liave received with gratitude, citizen, the copy of your fine 
work (La mecanique celeste 2 ) which you have just sent me. The 
first six months I can dispose of shall be spent in reading it. 
If you have nothing better to do, come and dine with me to- 
morrow. My respects to Madame Laplace. 

In the second note to Laplace he writes : 

All that I have read of your work appears to me perfectly 
clear. I long to be able to devote a few weeks to finish reading 
it, and I much regret not being able to give it the time and 
attention it deserves. This affords me a new opportunity for be- 
wailing the force of circumstances which have diverted me into 
another career, where I find myself so far removed from the 
sciences. I thank you for your dedication, which I accept with 
pleasure, and I desire that future generations in reading your 
Mecanique celeste may remember my esteem and friendship for 
the author. 

A private soldier, having written to Napoleon reminding Mm of his 
services, his wounds, and his devotion, received this reply from the 
First Consul. 

I have received your letter, my gallant Leon. You are the 
bravest grenadier in the army, now that the gallant Benezette 
is dead. You received one of the hundred sabers which I dis- 

1 Letters and Despatches, vol. i, pp. 272, 280-200, 291, 407 ; vol. ii, pp. 44-45, 49. 

2 Celestial Mechanics. This famous work, which in the history of science ranks 
second only to Newton's Principia, was published at Paris in four volumes between 
1799 and 1805. 

246 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

tributed to the army. All the soldiers admitted that you were 
the model of the regiment. I greatly wish to see you. The 
war minister will send you an order. 

When news reached France of the death of Washington, Napoleon 
caused the following Order of the Day to be posted. 

Washington is dead. This great man fought against tyranny. 
He consolidated the liberty of his country. His memory will 
always be dear to the French people, and especially to French 
soldiers, who, like American soldiers, fight for liberty and equal- 

Consequently, the First Consul directs that for the next ten 
days all the standards and pennons of the republic shall be 
veiled in crape. 

How Napoleon took care to throttle the press and prevent the publi- 
cation of undesirable news is illustrated by the following letter to one of 
Ms officials. It was written in 1803, when England and France were 
again at war. 

The Debats has published two articles dated from Germany. I 
wish to know whence these articles were derived, and who paid 
for alarming the nation with the echo of rumors spread by Eng- 
land. Order the Debats to contradict these false reports in a 
suitable manner. I am not more satisfied with the politics of 
the Mercure. I wish to know if the brothers Berthi,who have 
been constantly in English pay, own the Debats and the Mercure. 
Do not conceal the fact that this is the last time I shall make 
known my displeasure, and that they will next learn the dis- 
approbation of the government by the suppression of their 
journals; that I know everything; that the brothers Bertin 
are paid by England, as is proved by the tone of their articles ; 
that it is my intention to allow only those journals which excite 
the nation against England and encourage it to support the 
vicissitudes of war, to exist. 

One of the blackest deeds in Napoleon's career was the seizure, trial, 
and summary execution of a young Bourbon prince, the due d'Enghien, 
on a trumped-up charge of participating in a plot against the First 
ConsuPs life. The crime excited universal reprobation, even in France, 
but Napoleon, writing in 1804 to Joseph, frankly avowed his responsi- 
bility for it. * 

Napoleon as Emperor 247 

I cannot repent of my decision with regard to the due d'En- 
ghien. This was the only means I had of leaving no doubt as to 
my real intentions and of annihilating the hopes of the partisans 
of the Bourbons. Then I cannot conceal the fact that I shall 
never be tranquil on the throne as long as a single Bourbon exists, 
and this Bourbon is one the less. ... He was young, brilliant, 
brave, and consequently my most redoubtable enemy. It was 
the sacrifice the most necessary to my safety and grandeur. . . . 
Not only if what I have done were still to be done, I would do it 
again, but if I had a favorable opportunity to-morrow of getting 
rid of the last two scions of that family, I would not allow it to 

117. Napoleon as Emperor 1 

In 1805, the year following Napoleon's coronation as emperor of 
the French, Austria and Russia joined England in a third coalition 
against France. Napoleon's answer was the capture of a great Aus- 
trian army at Ulm and the brilliant victory at Austerlitz, wMch dazzled 
the world. He describes the battle briefly in a note to Joseph, 

. . . After maneuvering for a few days I fought a decisive 
battle yesterday. I defeated the combined armies commanded 
by the emperors of Russia and Germany. Their force consisted 
of 80,000 Russians and 30,000 Austrians. I have made about 
40,000 prisoners, taken 40 flags, 100 guns, and all the standards 
of the Russian Imperial Guard. . . . Although I have bivou- 
acked in the open air for a week, my health is good. This 
evening I am in bed in the beautiful castle of M. de Kaunitz, 
and have changed my shirt for the first time in eight days. . . . 
The emperor of Germany sent Prince Lichtenstein to me this 
morning to ask for an interview. My army on the field of battle 
was less numerous than the enemy, who was caught while exe- 
cuting maneuvers. 

Napoleon's policy of terrorism over the small German states is 
well brought out in an order which he addressed to Talleyrand. 

All the libels spread through Germany come from Nuremberg. 
Tell the senate of that town that if the booksellers are not ar- 

1 Letters and Despatches, vol. ii, pp. 181-182, 249, 364-365 ; vol. iii, pp. 15, 31. 

248 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

rested and the libels burned, I shall punish the town before 
leaving Germany. 

At the same time he wrote to Marshal Berthier, saying, 

I suppose that you have arrested the booksellers at Augsburg 
and Nuremberg. Let them be brought before a court-martial 
and shot within twenty-four hours. It is no ordinary crime to 
spread libels in places occupied by the French armies, in order to 
excite the inhabitants against them. . . . 

After Austria, Prussia had next to feel Napoleon's heavy hand. 
The two victories of Jena and Auerstadt beat Prussia to her knees (1806). 
Then came the campaigns against Russia and the battles of Eylau and 
Friedland. The Peace of Tilsit (1807) left Napoleon supreme in central 
and western Europe. But England remained unconquered. In a 
remarkable letter to the tsar, written early in 1808, Napoleon endeav- 
ored to secure the aid of Russia for an attack upon the English posses- 
sions in the East. He made some tempting offers, which, had they been 
accepted by the Russian emperor, might have changed the map of 
Europe and the course of European history. 

. . . You have seen the debates in the English parliament, 
and the decision to carry on the war. I have written to Cau- 
laincourt on this subject, and if your Majesty will condescend 
to speak with him he will acquaint you with my opinion. It 
is only by large and vast measures that we shall be able to arrive 
at peace and consolidate our system. Let your Majesty aug- 
ment and fortify your army. I will give you all the help I can ; 
no feeling of jealousy animates me against Russia : I desire her 
glory, prosperity, and extension. Will your Majesty allow a 
person tenderly and truly devoted to you to give you a bit of 
advice? Your Majesty should drive the Swedes to a greater 
distance from your capital. Extend your frontiers on this side 
as much as you like. 

An army of 50,000 men Russians, French, and perhaps Aus- 
trians marching upon Asia by way of Constantinople, would 
have no sooner reached the Euphrates than England would 
tremble and go down upon her knees. I am ready in Dalmatia ; 
your Majesty is ready on the Danube. A month after coming 
to terms an army could be on the Bosporus. The blow would 

Napoleon as Emperor 249 

reecho through India, and England would be subdued. I shall 
refuse none of the preliminary stipulations necessary to attain so 
great an end. But the reciprocal interest of our two countries 
should be combined and balanced. This can only be settled in 
an interview with your Majesty, or after sincere conferences 
between Romanzov and Caulaincourt, and the dispatch here of a 
man favorable to the system. . . . 

Everything can be signed and decided before the isth of 
March. On the ist of May our troops can be in Asia, and at the 
same time the troops of your Majesty at Stockholm. Then the 
English, threatened in India, driven from the Levant, will be 
crushed under the weight of events with which the atmosphere 
is laden. Your Majesty and myself would have preferred the 
pleasures of peace and to pass our lives in the midst of our vast 
empires, engaged in vivifying them and rendering them happy by 
means of arts and a beneficent administration. The enemies 
of the world object to this. We must become greater in spite of 
ourselves. It is both wise and politic to do what destiny orders 
and to go where the irresistible march of events leads us. Then 
this cloud of pygmies will yield and will follow the movement 
which your Majesty and I shall order, and the Russian people 
will be content with the glory, the wealth, and the fortune which 
will be the result of these great events. . . . 

Shortly before Napoleon's departure from Paris to assume command 
of the army of Italy, he had married Josephine de Beauharnais, a dash- 
ing Creole widow, to whom he seems to have been sincerely attached. 
But Josephine brought him no children ; and the emperor, who wished 
to found a Napoleonic dynasty, decided to put her away and marry 
again. The divorce took place in December, 1809; in January, 1810, 
Napoleon wrote to her in a pathetic strain as follows : 

D'Audenarde, whom I sent to you this morning, tells me that 
you have no courage since you went to Malmaison. 1 That 
place, however, must bring back feelings which cannot and 
never ought to change, at least on my side. I' long to see you, 
but I must know that you are strong and not weak ; I am a little 
so, and this afflicts me terribly. 

1 A palace near Paris, which Napoleon assigned to Josephine as her residena 

250 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

Adieu, Josephine ! good night. Should you doubt me you 
will be very ungrateful. 

Napoleon's choice for a second wife fell on the archduchess Marie 
Louise, a daughter of the Austrian emperor. In March, 1810, a few 
days before the marriage was to be celebrated, Napoleon sent this letter 
to his imperial father-in-law. 

Your Majesty's daughter arrived here two days ago. She 
fulfills all my hopes, and for two days I have not ceased to give 
her and to receive from her proofs of the tender feeling which 
unites us. We , agree together perfectly. I shall make her 
happy, and I shall owe your Majesty my happiness. Allow me to 
thank you for the splendid present which you have made me, and 
let your paternal heart rejoice in the assurance of the happiness 
of your darling child. . . . 

118. Decline and Fall of Napoleon 1 

The turning-point in Napoleon's fortunes came with the disastrous 
invasion of Russia (1812-1813). To his immense host, on the road to 
Moscow, he addressed a stirring proclamation, the sentiments of which 
contrast strangely with those which he had expressed to the tsar a few 
years before. 

The second war of Poland has commenced; the first was 
terminated at Friedland and Tilsit. At Tilsit Russia swore an 
eternal alliance with France and war with England. To-day 
she violates her oaths. She refuses any explanation of her 
strange conduct until the French eagles have repassed the Rhine, 
thus leaving our allies at her discretion. Russia is carried away 
by fatality; her destinies must be accomplished. Does she 
believe that we have degenerated ? That we are no longer the 
soldiers of Austerlitz ? She places us between dishonor and war ; 
the choice cannot be doubtful. Then let us march forward; 
let us pass the Niemen, and let us carry the war into her territory. 
The second Polish war will be as glorious for the French arms as 
the first. But the peace which we shall conclude shall put an end 
to the baneful influence exercised by Russia upon the affairs of 
Europe during the last fifty years. 

1 Letters end Despatches, vol. iii, pp. 160-161, 191, 293-294, 338-339* 347, 37o~ 
371, 410-411, 414- 

Decline and Fall of Napoleon 251 

The horrors of the retreat from Moscow could not be .concealed. 
Even the emperor, in a letter to his minister of foreign affairs, was 
obliged to disclose the real situation. 

We are terribly fatigued and half starved. Send bread, meat, 
and brandy to meet us. I have one hundred thousand stragglers 
who are trying to live, and who are no longer under the colors. 
This causes us to run horrible dangers. My Old Guard alone 
maintains its ranks, but hunger is gaming in It. My heavy 
baggage started last night for Vilna. Hold yourself in readi- 
ness to come and meet me. . . . Speak with confidence, and do 
not let anything happen. Ten days' repose and provisions in 
abundance will reestablish discipline. . . . 

After the collapse of the Russian expedition Prussia, Austria, Sweden, 
and England formed another coalition against Napoleon. The deci- 
sive battle at Leipzig (1813) compelled him to retreat from Germany 
into France. Even at this critical stage of affairs the allies would 
have made a lasting peace with Napoleon, had he been ready to give 
up his claims to the overlordship of Europe. Napoleon's attitude 
toward their proposals is set forth in a letter (January, 1814) to his 
trusted minister, Caulaincourt. 

I consider it doubtful if the allies are acting in good faith, and 
if England desires peace. For myself I desire only a solid and 
honorable peace. France without her natural limits, without 
Ostend and Antwerp, would not be on an equal footing with the 
other states of Europe. England and all the powers recognized 
these limits at Frankfort. 1 The conquests of France within the 
Rhine and the Alps cannot be considered as a compensation for 
what Austria, Russia, and Prussia have acquired in Poland and 
Finland, and England in Asia. The policy of England and the 
hatred of the emperor of Russia will carry the day with Austria. 
I have accepted the basis of Frankfort, but it is probable that 
the allies have other ideas. Their propositions have been merely 
a mask. . . . 

It is not certain that you will be received at headquarters ; 
the Russians and the English wish to prevent all conciliation and 

1 The tsar and the king of Prussia had made a declaration that the allies would 
leave to Napoleon the "natural boundaries" of France the Rhine, Alps, Pyrenees, 
and Atlantic Ocean, Napoleon's assent to these terms came too late. 

252 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

explanation with the emperor of Austria. You must try and 
fathom the views of the allies, and you must let me know day by 
day what you learn, so that I may be in a position to furnish you 
with instructions. Do they wish to reduce France to her ancient 
limits? This would be to degrade her. They are mistaken if 
they think the misfortunes of war can make the nation desire 
such a peace. . . . Italy is intact, the viceroy l has a fine army. 
Before a week I shall have assembled a sufficient force to fight 
several battles, even before the arrival of my troops from Spain. 
The depredations of the Cossacks will arm the inhabitants and 
will double our forces. If the nation supports me, the enemy will 
march to their destruction. Should fortune betray me, my mind 
is made up ; I do not care for the throne. I shall not disgrace the 
nation or myself by accepting shameful conditions. You must 
find out what Metternich wishes. It is not in the interest of 
Austria to push matters to extremes. . . . 

Napoleon's campaigns during the early months of 1814 against the 
overwhelming forces of the coalition are justly celebrated. In spite of 
his brilliant victories, the allies pushed nearer and nearer to Paris. On 
March 16, Napoleon, now .almost at the end of his resources, wrote as 
follows to Joseph. 

In conformity with the verbal instructions which I gave you, 
and with the spirit of my letters, you must, under no circum- 
stances, allow the empress and the king of Rome 2 to fall into the 
hands of the enemy. I am going to maneuver in such a way that 
you will possibly have no news of me for several days. If the 
enemy advance upon Paris in such strength that resistance is 
impossible, send away the regent, my son, the high dignitaries, 
the ministers, the officers of the Senate, the presidents of the 
Council of State, the grand officers of the crown,, the baron de la 
Bouillerie, and the treasure. Do not abandon my son, and 
remember that I would sooner have him in the Seine than in the 
hands of the enemies of France. The fate of Astyanax, 3 prisoner 
among the Greeks, has always appeared to me as the most 
unfortunate in history. 

1 Napoleon's stepson, Eugene de Beauharnais. 

2 Napoleon's son by Marie Louise. 

s Astyanax, Hector's son, was captured by the Greeks after the fall of Troy. 

Decline and Fall of Napoleon 253 

On March 31, Paris surrendered to the allies. Twelve days later 
Napoleon signed at the palace of Fontainebleau an act of abdication. 

The allied powers having proclaimed that the emperor Napo- 
leon Bonaparte is the only obstacle to the r establishment of 
peace in Europe, the emperor, faithful to his oath, declares that 
he renounces, for himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and 
Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, even that of his life, 
which he is not ready to make in the interest of France. 

After Napoleon's escape from Elba he addressed the following cir- 
cular letter to the sovereigns of Europe. 

You will have learned of my return to France, my entry into 
Paris, and the departure of the Bourbons. The true nature 
of these events must now be known to your Majesties. They 
are the work of an irresistible force, the work of the unanimous 
will of a great nation which understands its duties and its rights. 
The dynasty which was forced on the French nation was not 
suited to it. The Bourbons would associate themselves neither 
with its feelings nor its customs. France was obliged to separate 
herself from them. She demanded a liberator. ... I returned, 
and from the spot where I landed the love of my people bore me 
to the bosom of my capital. The first desire of my heart is to re- 
pay so much affection by maintaining an honorable tranquillity. 
The reestablishment of the imperial throne was necessary for the 
happiness of Frenchmen. My fondest hope is to render it at 
the same time useful in consolidating the repose of Europe. . . . 
After having exhibited to the world the spectacle of great battles, 
it will be most satisfactory henceforth to indulge in nothing but 
peaceful rivalry, in no other strife but that sacred strife waged 
for the welfare of the people. . . . 

After the battle of Waterloo Napoleon made this declaration to the 
French nation. 

In declaring war in defense of the national independence, I 
reckoned upon the united efforts and the good will of every one, 
and upon the aid of all the national authorities. I had reasons 
to hope for success, and I consequently braved all the declara- 
tions of the powers against me. 

254 Letters and Proclamations of Napoleon 

Circumstances appear to be changed. 

I offer myself as a sacrifice to the hatred of the enemies of 
France. May they be sincere in their declarations that they 
have borne enmity to my person alone. 

My political career is terminated, and I proclaim my son, 
under the title of Napoleon II, emperor of the French. 

The present ministers will form a provisional government. 
The interest which I bear my son prompts me to invite the 
Chambers to organize the Regency without delay. 

Having once more abdicated the French throne, nothing remained 
for Napoleon but to make his escape from France. He hoped to reach 
the United States, but British warships barred the way. At length 
he gave himself up to the commander of the Bellerophon, at the same 
time sending the following appeal to the prince regent of England. 

Exposed to the factions which divide my country and to the 
enmity of the powers of Europe, I have terminated my political 
career, and I come, like Themistocles, 1 to seat myself at the 
hearth of the British people, I place myself beneath the pro- 
tection of their laws, which protection I claim from your Royal 
Highness as the most powerful, the most constant, and the most 
generous of my enemies. 

119. Napoleon's Will 2 

Napoleon's will, executed shortly before his death at St. Helena in 
1821, is a document of much interest. Some characteristic passages 

" I die in the Roman religion, in the bosom of which I was born 
more than fifty years ago. 

"I desire that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, 
in the midst of the French people I loved so well. 

" I have always had reason to be pleased with my dearest wife, 
Marie Louise. I preserve the most tender affection for her to the 
last moment. I implore her to watch over my son in order to 
preserve him from the snares which may surround his infancy. 

1 Themistocles, the Athenian statesman, having been exiled from Athens, took 
refuge at the court of Persia. Here he was received kindly by the son of Xerxes. 

2 Letters and Despatches, iii, 426-427. 

Napoleon's Will 255 

"I recommend my son never to forget that lie was born a 
French prince, and never to allow himself to become an instru- 
ment in the hands of the triumvirs who oppress the nations of 
Europe ; he must never fight against France or do her any harm. 
He should adopt my motto, Everything for the French people! 

"I die prematurely, assassinated by the English oligarchy. 
The English nation will not be slow in avenging me. 

"The unfortunate result of the two invasions of France, 
when she had still so many resources left, is to be attributed to 
.the treason of Marmont, Augereau, Talleyrand, and Lafayette. 

"I forgive them, and may French posterity also pardon 
them. . . ." 


Austrian diplomat, Prince Metternich, at his death 
in 1859, left a mass of letters, documents, and personal 
recollections of his career. In the complete edition, pre- 
pared for publication by his son, they extend to eight 
volumes. No part of the work is of greater interest than 
that which presents his opinions of Napoleon. With the 
French emperor Metternich came into intimate contact 
after 1806, when he took up his residence in Paris as am- 
bassador. "I have seen and studied Napoleon," writes 
Metternich, "in the moments of his greatest success; I 
have seen and followed him in those of his decline ; and 
though he may have attempted to induce me to form wrong 
conclusions about him as it was often his interest to do 
he never succeeded. I may then flatter myself with 
having seized the essential traits of his character, and with 
having formed an impartial judgment with respect to it, 
while the great majority of his contemporaries have seen, 
as it were through a prism, only the brilliant sides and the 
defective or evil sides of a man whom the force of circum- 
stances and great personal qualities raised to a height of 
power unexampled in modern history." 

120. Mental Characteristics 2 

In my relations with Napoleon, relations which from the be- 
ginning I endeavored to make frequent and confidential, what 
at first struck me most was the remarkable perspicuity and grand 

1 Memoirs of Prince Metternich, 1773-1815, translated by Mrs. Alexander Napier. 
2 vols. New York, 1880. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

2 Metternich, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 271-275. 

Mental Characteristics 257 

simplicity of his mind and its processes. Conversation with him 
always had a charm for me, difficult to define. Seizing the essen- 
tial point of subjects, stripping them of useless accessories, de- 
veloping his thought and never ceasing to elaborate it till he had 
made it perfectly clear and conclusive, always finding the fitting 
word for the thing, or inventing one where the usage of the lan- 
guage had not created it, his conversation was ever full of in- 
terest. He did not converse, he talked ; by the wealth of his 
ideas and the facility of his elocution, he was able to lead the 
conversation, and one of his habitual expressions was, "I see 
what you want ; you wish to come to such or such a point ; well, 
let us go straight to it." 

Yet he did not fail to listen to the remarks and objections 
which were addressed to him; he accepted them, questioned 
them, or opposed them, without losing the tone or overstepping 
the bounds of a business discussion, and I have never felt the 
least difficulty in saying to him what I believed to be the truth, 
even when it was not likely to please him. . . . 

He had little scientific knowledge, although his partisans 
encouraged the belief that he was a profound mathematician. 
His knowledge of mathematical science would not have raised 
him above the level of any officer destined, as he was himself, 
for the artillery ; but his natural abilities supplied the want of 
knowledge. He became a legislator and administrator, as he 
became a great soldier, by following his own instinct. The turn 
of his mind always led him toward the positive; he disliked 
vague ideas, and hated equally the dreams of visionaries and the 
abstraction of idealists, and treated as mere nonsense everything 
that was not clearly and practically presented to him. He 
valued only those sciences which can be controlled and verified 
by the senses or which rest on observation and experience. He 
had the greatest contempt for the false philosophy and the false 
philanthropy of the eighteenth century. Among the chief teach- 
ers of these doctrines, Voltaire was the special object of Ms 
aversion, and he even went so far as to attack, whenever he had 
the opportunity, the general opinion as to Voltaire's literary 

258 Napoleon as Described by Metternich 

Napoleon was not irreligious in the ordinary sense of the 
word. ... A Christian and a Catholic, he recognized in religion 
alone the right to govern human societies. He looked on Chris- 
tianity as the basis of all real civilization; and considered 
Catholicism as the form of worship most favorable to the main- 
tenance of order and the true tranquillity of the moral world ; 
Protestantism as a source of trouble and disagreements. Per- 
sonally indifferent to religious practices, he respected them too 
much to permit the slightest ridicule of those who followed 
them. . . . 

He was gifted with a particular tact for recognizing those men 
who could be useful to him. He discovered in them very quickly 
the side by which he could best attach them to his interest. . . . 
He had, above all, studied the national character of the French, 
and the history of his life proved that he had understood it 
rightly. He privately regarded the Parisians as children, and 
often compared Paris to the opera. Having reproached him one 
day with the palpable falsehoods which formed the chief part of 
his bulletins, he said to me with a smile, "They are not written 
for you ; the Parisians believe everything, and I might tell them 
a great deal more which they would not refuse to accept. " 

121. Political Ideas 1 

It frequently happened that he turned his conversation into 
historical discussions. These discussions generally revealed his 
imperfect knowledge of facts, but an extreme sagacity in appre- 
ciating causes and foreseeing consequences. He guessed more 
than he knew, and, while lending to persons and events the color 
of his own mind, he explained them in an ingenious manner. As 
he always made use of the same quotations, he must have drawn 
from a very few books, and those principally abridgments, 
the most salient points of ancient history and the history of 
France. He, however, charged his memory with a collection of 
names and facts sufficiently copious to impose on those whose 
studies had been still less thorough than his own. His heroes 
were Alexander, Caesar, and, above all, Charlemagne. He was 
1 Metternich, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 275-277. 

Political Ideas 259 

singularly occupied with his claim to be the successor of Charle- 
magne by right and title. He would lose himself in interminable 
discussions with me in endeavoring to sustain this paradox by the 
feeblest reasoning. . . . 

One thing which he always regretted extremely was, that he 
could not invoke the principle of legitimacy as the basis of his 
power. Few men have been so profoundly conscious as he was 
that authority deprived of this foundation is precarious, fragile, 
and open to attack. He never lost an opportunity of anxiously 
protesting against those who imagined that he occupied the 
throne as a usurper. "The throne of France/ 7 he said to me 
once, " was vacant. Louis XVI had not been able to maintain 
himself. If I had been in his place, the Revolution notwith- 
standing the immense progress it had made in men's minds during 
the preceding reign would never have been consummated. The 
king overthrown, the republic was master of the soil of France. 
It is that which I have replaced. The old throne of France is 
buried under its rubbish ; I had to found a new one. The Bour- 
bons could not reign over this creation. My strength lies in my 
fortune : I am new, like the empire ; there is, therefore, a perfect 
homogeneity between the empire and myself.". . . 

He was also much impressed with the idea of the divine origin 
of supreme authority. He said to me one day, shortly after his 
marriage with the archduchess, 1 "I see that the empress, in 
writing to her father, addresses her letter to His Sacred and 
Imperial Majesty. Is this title customary with you?" I told 
him that it was, from the tradition of the old German Empire, 
which bore the title of the Holy Empire, and because it was also 
attached to the apostolic crown of Hungary, 2 Napoleon then 
replied, in a grave tone, " It is a fine custom, and a good expres- 
sion. Power comes from God, and it is that alone which places 
it beyond the attacks of men. Hence I shall adopt the title 
some day." . . . 

1 Marie Louise, whom Napoleon married in 1810. 

2 Stephen, the first king of Hungary, about 1000 made Christianity the national 
faith, thus bringing his country into close association with the Roman Church. 
The pope rewarded him with the title " Apostolic Majesty." 

260 Napoleon as Described by Metternich 

122. PersonaHty 1 

Napoleon looked upon himself as a being isolated from the rest 
of the world, made to govern it, and to direct every one according 
to his own will. He had no more regard for men than a foreman 
in a manufactory feels for his workpeople. The person to whom 
he was most attached was Duroc. "He loves me as a dog loves 
his master/' was the expression he used in speaking to me about 
him. Berthier's feeling for him he compared to that of a child's 
nurse. These comparisons, far from being opposed to his theory 
of the motives which actuate men, were the natural consequence 
of it, for where he met with sentiments which he could not explain 
simply by self-interest, he attributed them to a kind of instinct. 
Much has been said of Napoleon's superstition, and almost as 
much of his want of personal bravery. Both of these accusations 
rest either on false ideas or mistaken observations. Napoleon 
believed in fortune, and who has made the trial of it that he has? 
He liked to boast of his good star; he was very glad that the 
common herd was willing to believe him to be a privileged being ; 
but he did not deceive himself about himself. What is more, 
he did not care to grant too large a share to fortune in considering 
his elevation. I have often heard him say, "They call me lucky, 
because I am able ; it is weak men who accuse the strong of good 

In private life, without being amiable, he was good-natured, 
and even carried indulgence to the point of weakness. A good 
son and good kinsman, with those little peculiarities that are 
met with more particularly in the family interiors of the Italian 
bourgeoisie, he allowed the extravagant courses of some of his 
relations without using sufficient strength of will to stop them, 
even when it would have been clearly to his interest to do so. 
His sisters, in particular, got from him everything that they 

Neither of his wives ever had anything to complain of from 
Napoleon's personal manners. Although the fact is well known 
already, a saying of the archduchess Marie Louise will put it in 

1 Metternicli, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 277-280. 

Place in History 261 

a new light. " I am sure," she said to me some time after her 
marriage, " that they think a great deal about me in Vienna, and 
that the general opinion is that I live a life of daily suffering. So 
true is it that truth is often not probable! I have no fear of 
Napoleon, but I begin to think that he is afraid of me." 

Simple and even easy as he was in private life, he showed 
himself to little advantage in the great world. It is difficult to 
imagine anything more awkward than Napoleon's manner in a 
drawing room. The pains which he took to correct the faults 
of his nature and education only served to make his deficiencies 
more evident. I am satisfied that he would have made great 
sacrifices to add to his height and give dignity to his appear- 
ance, which became more common in proportion as his embon- 
point increased. He walked by preference on tiptoe. His cos- 
tumes were studied to form a contrast by comparison with .the 
circle which surrounded him, either by their extreme simplicity 
or by their extreme magnificence. It is certain that he made 
Talma come to teach him particular attitudes. He showed 
much favor to this actor, and his affection was greatly founded 
on the likeness which really existed between them. He liked 
very much to see Talma on the stage ; it might be said, in fact, 
that he saw himself reproduced. Out of his mouth there never 
came one graceful or even a well turned speech to a woman, 
although the effort to make one was often expressed on his face 
and in the sound of his voice. . . . 

123. Place in History l 

In order to judge of this extraordinary man, we must follow 
him upon the grand theater for which he was born. Fortune 
had no doubt done much for Napoleon ; but by the force of his 
character, the activity and lucidity of his mind, and by his genius 
for the great combinations of military science, he had risen to 
the level of the position which she had destined for him. Hav- 
ing but one passion, that of power, he never lost either his time 
or his means on those objects which might have diverted him 
from his aim. Master of himself, he soon became master of men 
1 Metternidi, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 281-286. 

262 Napoleon as Described by Metternich 

and events. In whatever time he had appeared, he would have 
played a prominent part. But the epoch when he first entered 
on his career was particularly fitted to facilitate his elevation. 
Surrounded by individuals who, in the midst of a world in ruins, 
walked at random without any fixed guidance, given up to all 
kinds of ambition and greed, he alone was able to form a plan, 
hold it fast, and conduct it to its conclusion. It was in the 
course of the second campaign in Italy that he conceived the one 
.which was to carry him to the summit of power. "When I was 
young, 37 he said to me, "I was revolutionary from ignorance and 
ambition. At the age of reason, I have followed its counsels and 
my own instinct, and I crushed the Revolution." 

He was so accustomed to think of himself as necessary for the 
maintenance of the system he had created that at last he no 
longer understood how the world could go on without him. I 
have no doubt that he spoke from a deep and thorough con- 
viction when, in our conversation at Dresden in 1813, he said to 
me these very words, "I shall perish, perhaps ; but in my fall I 
shall drag down thrones, and with them the whole of society." 

The prodigious successes of which his life was full had doubt- 
less ended by blinding him ; but up to the time of the campaign 
of 1812, when he for the first time succumbed under the weight 
of illusions, he never lost sight of the profound calculations by 
which he had so often conquered. Even after the disaster of 
Moscow, we have seen him defend himself with as much coolness 
as energy, and the campaign of 1814 was certainly the one in 
which he displayed most military talent, and that with much 
reduced means. I have never been among those and their 
number was considerable who thought that after the events of 
1814 and ^815 he tried to create a new career, by descending to 
the part of an adventurer, and by giving in to the most romantic 
projects. His character and the turn of his mind made him 
despise all that was petty. Like great gamblers, instead of 
being pleased with the chances of a petty game, they would 
have filled him with disgust. 

It has often been asked whether Napoleon was radically good 
or bad. I have always thought that these epithets, as they are 

Place in History 263 

generally understood, are not applicable to a character such, as 
his. Constantly occupied with one sole object, given up day 
and night to the task of holding the helm of an empire which, by 
progressive encroachments, had finished by including the inter- 
ests of a great part of Europe, he never recoiled from fear of the 
wounds he might cause, nor even from the immense amount of 
individual suffering inseparable from the execution of his proj- 
ects. As a war chariot crushes everything which it meets on its 
way, Napoleon thought of nothing but to advance. He took no 
notice of those who had not been on their guard ; he was some- 
times tempted to accuse them of stupidity. Unmoved by any- 
thing which was out of his path, he did not concern himself with 
it for good or evil. He could sympathize with family troubles, 
he was indifferent to political calamities. . . . 

Napoleon had two aspects. As a private man, he was easy 
tempered and tractable, without being either good or bad. In 
his public capacity he admitted no sentiment; he was never 
influenced either by affection or by hatred. He crushed or 
removed his enemies, without thinking of anything but the 
necessity or advisability of getting rid of them. This object 
gained, he forgot them entirely and injured them no more. . . . 

The opinion of the world is still divided, and perhaps will 
always be, on the question whether Napoleon did in fact deserve 
to be called a great man. It would be impossible to dispute the 
great qualities of one who, rising from obscurity, became in a 
few years the strongest and most powerful of his contemporaries. 
But strength, power, and superiority are more or less relative 
terms. To appreciate properly the degree of genius which has 
been required for a man to dominate his age, it is necessary to 
have the measure of that age. This is the point from which 
opinions with regard to Napoleon diverge so essentially. If the 
era of the French Revolution was, as its admirers think, the most 
brilliant, the most glorious epoch of modern history, Napoleon, 
who was able to take the first place in it, and to keep it for fifteen 
years, was certainly one of the greatest men who have ever 
appeared. If, on the contrary, he had only to move like a 
meteor above the mists of general dissolution ; if he had found 

264 Napoleon as Described by Metternich 

nothing around him but the debris of a social condition ruined by 
the excess of false civilization ; if he had only to combat a resist- 
ance weakened by universal lassitude, feeble rivalries, ignoble 
passions, in fact, adversaries everywhere disunited and paralyzed 
by their disagreements, the splendor of his success diminishes 
with the facility with which he obtained it. Now, as in our 
opinion, this was really the state of things, we are in no danger of 
exaggerating the idea of Napoleon's grandeur, though acknowl- 
edging that there was something extraordinary and imposing 
in his career. 

The vast edifice which he constructed was exclusively the 
work of his hands, and he was himself the keystone of the arch. 
But this gigantic construction was essentially wanting in its 
foundation ; the materials of which it was composed were noth- 
ing but the ruins of other buildings ; some were rotten from de- 
cay, others had never possessed any consistency from their very 
beginning. The keystone of the arch has been withdrawn, and 
the whole edifice has fallen in. 

Such is, in a few words, the history of the French Empire. 
Conceived and created by Napoleon, it only existed in him; 
and with him it was extinguished. 



THE French Revolution and the Napoleonic era produced 
an abundant crop of memoirs by the generals and statesmen 
who lived during this stirring period of history. Of the 
purely military works none surpass in romantic interest the 
Memoirs of Baron de Marbot. The son of a French officer 
of the Old Regime, Marbot joined the republican army as a 
volunteer when seventeen years old, rose rapidly to com- 
missioned rank, and managed to play a distinguished part as 
a cavalry leader in most of the great battles of the First 
Empire down to and including Waterloo. Marbot went 
into exile after the second restoration of Louis XVIII, but 
returned in time to hold important commands and to win 
new honors fighting in Algeria. He died in 1854. His 
Memoirs were first published in Paris in 1891. 

124. The Siege of Genoa 2 

The terrible siege so graphically described by Marbot took place in 
1800, after Napoleon's return from Egypt and the overthrow of the 
Directory. Napoleon, now First Consul, sent Massena to Genoa to hold 
that important city against the Austrians by land and the British by sea. 
Massena did so to the very last extremity. Marbot was in Genoa 
throughout the siege, at first on his father's staff and then, after the 
latter 7 s death, as aide-de-camp to Massena. 

The courage fails me to describe what the garrison and popu- 
lation of Genoa had to suffer during the two months which this 
memorable siege lasted. The ravages of famine, war, typhus 
were enormous. Out of 16,000 men, the garrison lost 10,000; 
every day seven or eight hundred corpses of the inhabitants, of 

1 The Memoirs of Baron de Marbot, translated by A. J. Butler. 2 vols. 2d edition. 
London, 1892. Longmans, Green, and Company. 
2 Marbot, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 70-72. 

266 A Soldier of the First Empire 

every age, sex, and class, were picked up in the streets and buried 
in an immense trench filled with quicklime behind the church of 
Carignan. The number of victims reached more than 30,000, 
nearly all starved to death. 

In order to realize to what extent the dearth of food was felt 
among the inhabitants, you must know that the old Genoese 
government, to keep the population in check, had from time 
immemorial claimed a monopoly of grain, flour, and bread. The 
bread was baked in an immense building guarded by cannon and 
soldiers, so that whenever the doge or the Senate wished to pre- 
vent or punish a revolt they had only to close the state bakeries 
and subdue the people by famine. Although at the time of 
which I speak the Genoese constitution had undergone much 
change, and the aristocracy had lost nearly all its authority, 
there still was not a single private bakehouse, and the old custom 
of making the bread in the state ovens continued. Well, these 
public ovens, which habitually provided food for a population of 
more than 120,000 souls, remained closed for forty-five days out 
of the sixty which the siege lasted. Rich no more than poor had 
the means of obtaining bread ; the small quantity of dried vege- 
tables and rice which was in the hands of the dealers had been 
bought up at enormous prices at the very beginning of the siege. 
The troops alone received a miserable ration of a quarter of a 
pound of horseflesh and a quarter of a pound of what was called 
bread a horrible compound of damaged flour, sawdust, starch, 
hair powder, oatmeal, linseed, rancid nuts, and other nasty sub- 
stances, to which a little solidity was given by the admixture of a 
small portion of cocoa. Each loaf, moreover, was held together 
by little bits of wood, without which it would have fallen to 
powder. General Thiebault in his journal of the siege compares 
this bread to peat mingled with oil. 

For five-and-forty days neither bread nor meat was publicly 
sold : the richest inhabitants were able, but only during the first 
part of the siege, to obtain a little codfish, figs, and other dried 
provisions, as well as some sugar. Oil, wine, and salt never 
failed; but of what use are these without solid food? All the 
dogs and cats in the town were eaten ; rats fetched a high price. 

The Siege of Genoa 267 

At length the misery grew so terrible that whenever the French 
troops made a sortie crowds followed them outside the gates, 
and there rich and poor, women, children, and old men, set to 
work to cut grass, nettles, and leaves, which they then boiled 
with salt. The Genoese government had the grass which grew 
on the ramparts mown, and afterward cooked in the public 
squares and distributed to the sick people who were not strong 
enough to get this coarse food and cook it themselves. Our 
troops used to boil nettles and all kinds of plants with their 
horseflesh ; the richest and most eminent families envied them 
their meat, disgusting as it was for nearly all the horses were 
ill for want of forage, and the flesh even of those which had died 
of consumption was distributed. During the latter part of the 
siege the exasperation of the Genoese populace became a serious 
danger. They were heard to exclaim that in 1746 their fathers 
had massacred an Austrian army, and that they ought to try to 
get rid of the French army in the same way. Decidedly it was 
better worth while to die fighting than to see their wives and 
children succumb and then starve themselves. These symptoms 
of revolt were the more terrible in that, if they had come to any- 
thing, the English and the Austrians would undoubtedly have 
hastened to join the insurgents in the effort to overwhelm us. 

In the midst of dangers so imminent and calamities so vari- 
ous, Massena remained impassible and calm. To prevent any 
attempt at a rising, he proclaimed that the French troops had 
orders to fire on any assemblage of the inhabitants which 
amounted to more than four men. Our regiments continually 
bivouacked in the squares and in the principal streets, the ap- 
proaches to which were defended by guns loaded with canister ; 
and the Genoese, being unable to assemble, found it impossible 
to rise. 

It may seem surprising that Massena should have clung so 
obstinately to the defense of a place of which he could maintain 
the garrison with difficulty, and the population not at all. But 
Genoa weighed heavily just then in the balance of the fate of 
France. Our army was cut in two ; the left and center had re- 
tired behind the Var ; while Massena, shut up in Genoa, detained 

268 A Soldier of the First Empire 

a portion of the Austrian army before that place, and thus pre- 
vented it from invading Provence in full force. Massena knew 
that at Dijon, at Lyons, and at Geneva the First Consul was col- 
lecting a reserve army with which he purposed to cross the Alps 
by the Great St. Bernard, to enter Italy, and to surprise the Aus- 
trians by falling on their rear while they were occupied with the 
siege of Genoa. It was, therefore, of immense importance to us 
to hold that town as long as possible. The First Consul had 
given orders to that effect, and his foresight was justified by 

125. The Battle of Austerlitz * 

The battle of the three emperors, where the French under Napoleon 
crushed the Austro- Russian forces under Francis II and Alexander I, 
took place on December 2, 1805, near the village of Austerlitz in Mo- 
ravia. Napoleon's victory broke up the Third Coalition: the tsar 
made haste to escape eastward with the fragments of his army ; and the 
Austrian ruler had to accept the humiliating Treaty of Pressburg. 

Meanwhile the great drama was approaching its final scene, 
and both sides were preparing to fight their stoutest. . . You 
will see on the map that the Goldbach brook, which rises on the 
other side of the Olmiitz road, falls into the small lake of Monitz. 
This stream, flowing at the bottom of a little valley with pretty 
steep sides, separated the two armies. The Austro-Russian right 
rested on a hanging wood in rear of the Posoritz post-house 
beyond the Olmiitz road ; their center occupied Pratzen and the 
wide plateau of that name; their left was near the pools of 
Satschan and the swampy ground in their neighborhood. Na- 
poleon rested his left on a hillock difficult of access, to which the 
Egyptian soldiers gave the name of the " Santon," because it had 
on the top a little chapel with a spire like a minaret. The 
French center was near the marsh of Kobelnitz, the right was at 
Telnitz. But at this point the emperor had placed very few 
soldiers, in order to draw the Russians on to the marshy ground, 
where he had arranged to defeat them by concealing Davout's 
corps at Gross Raigern, on the Vienna road. 

1 Marbot, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 195-201. 

The Battle of Austerlitz 269 

On the ist of December, the day before the battle, Napoleon 
left Brtinn early in the morning, spent the whole day in inspecting 
the positions, and in the evening fixed his headquarters in the 
rear of the French center, at a point whence the view took in the 
bivouacs of both sides, as well as the ground which was to be 
their field of battle the next day. There was no other building 
in the place than a poor barn. The emperor's tables and maps 
were placed there, and he established himself in person by an 
immense fire, surrounded by his numerous staff and Ms guard. 
Fortunately there was no snow, and, though it was very cold, I 
lay on the ground and went soundly to sleep. But we were soon 
obliged to remount and go the rounds with the emperor. There 
was no moon, and the darkness of the night was increased by a 
thick fog, which made progress very difficult. The chasseurs of 
the escort had the idea of lighting torches made of pine branches 
and straw, which proved very useful. The troops, seeing a group 
of horsemen thus lighted come toward them, had no difficulty in 
recognizing the imperial staff, and in an instant, as if by en- 
chantment, we could see along the whole line all our bivouac 
fires lighted up by thousands of torches in the hands of the 
soldiers. The cheers with which, in their enthusiasm, they 
saluted Napoleon, were all the more animated for the fact that 
the morrow was the anniversary of his coronation, and the coin- 
<;idence seemed of good omen. The enemy must have been a 
good deal surprised when, from the top of a neighboring hill, 
they saw in the middle of the night 60,000 torches lighted, and 
heard a thousand times repeated the cry of "Long live the em- 
peror I" accompanied by the sound of the many bands of the 
French regiments. In our camp all was joy, light, and move- 
ment, while, on the side of the Austrians and Russians, all was 
gloom and silence. 

Next day, December 2d, the sound of cannon was heard at 
daybreak. As we have seen, the emperor had shown but few 
troops on his right ; this was a trap for the enemy, with the view 
of allowing them to capture Telnitz easily, to cross the Goldbach 
there, then to go on to Gross Raigern and take possession of the 
road from Brunn to Vienna, and so to cut off our retreat. The 

270 A Soldier of the First Empire 

Austrians and Russians fell into the snare perfectly, for, weakening 
the rest of their line, they clumsily crowded considerable forces 
into the bottom of Telnitz, and into the swampy valleys border- 
ing on the pools of Staschan and Monitz. But as they imagined, 
for some not very apparent reason, that Napoleon had the inten- 
tion of retreating without delivering battle, they resolved, by 
way of completing their success, to attack us on our left toward 
the "Santon," and also on our center before Puntowitz. By 
this means our defeat would be complete when we had been 
forced back on these two points, and found the road" to Vienna 
occupied in our rear by the Russians. As it befell, however, on 
our left Marshal Lannes not only repulsed all the attacks of the 
enemy upon the "Santon," but drove him back on the other side 
of the Olmiitz road as far as Blasiowitz. There the ground 
became more level, and allowed* Murat's cavalry to execute some 
brilliant charges, the results of which were of great importance, 
for the Russians were driven out of hand as far ,as the village of 

While this splendid success was being won by our left wing, the 
center, consisting of the troops under Soult and Bernadotte, 
which the emperor had posted at the bottom of the Goldbach 
ravine, where it was concealed by a thick fog, dashed forward 
toward the hill on which stands the village of Pratzen. This 
was the moment when that brilliant sun of Austerlitz, the recol- 
lection of which Napoleon so delighted to recall, burst forth in 
all its splendor. Marshal Soult carried not only the village of 
Pratzen, but also the vast tableland of that name, which was 
the culminating point of the whole country, and consequently 
the key of the battlefield. There, under the emperor's eyes, the 
sharpest of the fighting took place, and the Russians were beaten 
back. But one battalion, the 4th of the line, of which Prince 
Joseph, Napoleon's brother, was colonel, allowing itself to be 
carried too far in pursuit of the enemy, was charged and broken 
up by the Noble Guard and Grand Duke Constan tine's cuiras- 
siers, losing its eagle. Several lines of Russian cavalry quickly 
advanced to support this momentary success of the guards, but 
Napoleon hurled against them the Mamelukes, the mounted 

The Battle of Austerlltz 271 

chasseurs, and the mounted grenadiers of his guard, under Mar- 
shal Bessieres and General Rapp. The melee was of the most 
sanguinary kind; the Russian squadrons were crushed and 
driven back beyond the village of Austerlitz with immense loss. 
Our troopers captured many colors and prisoners, among the 
latter Prince Repnin, commander of the Noble Guard. This 
regiment, composed of the most brilliant of the young Russian 
nobility, lost heavily, because the swagger in which they had 
indulged against the French having come to the ears of our 
soldiers, these, and above all the mounted grenadiers, attacked 
them with fury, shouting as they passed their great sabers 
through their bodies : " We will give the ladies of St. Petersburg 
something to cry for !". . . 

But to finish the account of the battled While marshals 
Lannes, Soult, and Murat, with the Imperial Guard, were beat- 
ing the right and center of the allied army, and driving them back 
beyond the village of Austerlitz, the enemy's left, falling into the 
trap laid by Napoleon when he made a show of keeping close to 
the pools, threw itself on the village of Telnitz, captured it, and, 
crossing the Goldbach, prepared to occupy the road to Vienna. 
But the enemy had taken a false prognostic of Napoleon's genius 
"when they supposed him capable of committing such a blunder 
as to leave undefended a road by which, in the event of disaster, 
his retreat was secured ; for our right was guarded by the divi- 
sions under Davout, concealed in the rear in the little town of 
Gross Reigen. From this point Davout fell upon the allies at 
the moment when he saw their masses entangled in the defiles 
between the lakes of Telnitz and Monitz, and the stream. 

The emperor, whom we left on the plateau of Pratzen, having 
freed himself from the enemy's right and center, which were in 
flight on the other side of Austerlitz, descended from the heights 
of Pratzen with a force of all arms, including Soult's corps and 
his guard, and went with speed toward Telnitz, and took the en- 
emy's columns in rear at the moment when Davout was attack- 
ing in front. At once the heavy masses of Austrians and Rus- 
sians, packed on the narrow roadways which lead beside the 
Goldbach brook, finding themselves between two fires, fell into 

272 A Soldier of the First Empire 

an indescribable confusion. All ranks were mixed up together, 
and each sought to save himself by flight. Some hurled them- 
selves headlong into the marshes which border the pools, but 
our infantry followed them there. Others hoped to escape by 
the road that lies between the two pools ; our cavalry charged 
them, and the butchery was frightful Lastly, the greater part 
of the enemy, chiefly Russians, sought to pass over the ice. 
It was very thick, and five or six thousand men, keeping some 
kind of order, had reached the middle of the Satschan lake, when 
Napoleon, calling up the artillery of his guard, gave the order to 
fire on the ice. It broke at countless points, and a mighty 
cracking was heard. The water, oozing through the fissures, 
soon covered the floes, and we saw thousands of Russians, with 
their horses, guns, and wagons, slowly settle down into the 
depths. It was a horribly majestic spectacle which I shall never 
forget. In an instant the surface of the lake was covered with 
everything that could swim. Men and horses struggled in the 
water amongst the floes. Some a very small number suc- 
ceeded in saving themselves by the help of poles and ropes, which 
our soldiers reached to them from the shore, but the greater part 
were drowned. 

The number of combatants at the emperor's disposal in this 
battle was 68,000 men; that of the allied army amounted to 
82,000 men. Our loss in killed and wounded was about 8,000 
men ; our enemies admitted that theirs, in killed, wounded, and 
drowned, reached 14,000. We had made 18,000 prisoners, 
captured 150 guns, and a great quantity of -standards and colors. 

126. Napoleon at Ratisbon l 

The incidents here described by Marbot took place during the war 
with Austria in 1809. After the battle of Eckmiihl the Austrians retired 
on Ratisbon (Regensburg) in Bavaria, where the French again defeated 
them and destroyed a great part of the city. 

The emperor, having dismounted, took up his position on a 
hillock a short cannon-shot from the town. Having noticed near 
the Straubing gate a house which had imprudently been built 

1 Marbot, Memoirs, vol. I, pp. 382-384. 

Napoleon at Ratisbon 273 

against the rampart, he sent forward some twelve-pounders and 
howitzers, ordering them to concentrate their fire upon this 
house, so that its ruins, falling into the ditch, might partially fill 
it, and form at the foot of the wall an incline by which our troops 
might mount to the assault. While the artillery was executing 
this order, Marshal Lannes brought Morand's division close up 
to the promenade which goes round the town ; and, in order to 
shelter his troops from the enemy's fire up to the last moment, he 
placed them in the rear of a large stone store-house, which ap- 
peared to have been placed there on purpose to aid our under- 
taking. Carts laden with ladders taken from the neighboring 
villages were brought up to this point, where perfect protection 
was obtained against the Austrian projectiles. While waiting 
till everything was ready, Marshal Lannes had gone back to the 
emperor to receive his final orders. As they were chatting, a 
bullet fired, in all probability, from one of the long-range 
Tyrolese rifles struck Napoleon on the right ankle. The pain 
was at first so sharp that the emperor had to lean upon Lannes, 
but Dr. Larrey, who quickly arrived, declared that the wound 
was trifling. If it had been severe enough to require an opera- 
tion, the event would certainly have been considered a great 
misfortune for France ; yet it might perhaps have spared her 
many calamities. However, the report that the emperor had 
been wounded spread through the army. Officers and men ran 
up from all sides ; in a moment Napoleon was surrounded by 
thousands of men, in spite of the fire which the enemy's guns 
concentrated on the vast group. The emperor, wishing to with- 
draw his troops from this useless danger, and to calm the anxiety 
of the more distant corps, who were getting unsteady in their 
desire to come and see what was the matter, mounted his horse 
the instant his wound was dressed, and rode down the front of the 
whole line, amid loud cheers. 

It was at this extempore review held in presence of the enemy 
that Napoleon first granted gratuities to private soldiers, appoint- 
ing them knights of the empire and members, at the same time, 
of the Legion of Honor. The regimental commanders recom- 
mended, but the emperor also allowed soldiers who thought they 

274 A Soldier of the First Empire 

had claims to come and represent them before him; then he 
decided upon them by himself. Now it befell that an old grena- 
dier who had made the campaigns of Italy and Egypt, not hear- 
ing his name called, came up, and, in a calm tone of voice, asked 
for the Cross. "But," said Napoleon, "what have you done to 
deserve it?" "It was I, sir, who, in the desert of Joppa, when 
it was so terribly hot, gave you a watermelon.- 7 "I thank you 
for it again ; but the gift of the fruit is hardly worth the Cross 
of the Legion of Honor." Then the grenadier, who up till then 
had been as cool as ice, working himself up into a frenzy, shouted, 
with the utmost volubility, "Well, and don't you reckon seven 
wounds received at the bridge of Arcola, at Lodi and Casti- 
glione, at the Pyramids, at Acre, Austerlitz, Friedland; eleven 
campaigns in Italy, Egypt, Austria, Prussia, Poland " but 
the emperor cut him short, laughing, and mimicking his excited 
manner, cried: "There, there how you work yourself up 
when you come to the essential point ! That is where you ought 
to have begun ; it is worth much more than your melon. I make 
you a knight of the empire, with a pension of 1,200 francs. Does 
that satisfy you?" "But, your Majesty, I prefer the Cross." 
"You have both one and the other, since I make you knight." 
" Well, I would rather have the Cross." The worthy grenadier 
could not be moved from that point, and it took all manner of 
trouble to make him understand that the title of knight of the 
empire carried with it the Legion of Honor. He was not ap- 
peased on this point until the emperor had fastened the decora- 
tion on his breast, and he seemed to think a great deal more of 
this than of his annuity of 1,200 francs. It was by familiarities 
of this kind that the emperor made the soldiers adore him, but it 
was a means that was only available to a commander whom 
frequent victories had made illustrious ; any other general would 
have injured his reputation by it. 

127. The Retreat from Moscow 1 

Meanwhile Napoleon's position at Moscow was growing daily 
more serious. The cold was already intense, and only those 

i Marbot, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 280-285, 323-324* 330-332. 

The Retreat from Moscow 275 

soldiers who were French by birth retained their spirit. But 
they were not the half of those whom Napoleon had led into 
Russia. The rest were Germans, Swiss, Croats, Italians, Span- 
iards, Portuguese. All these foreigners, who remained loyal so 
long as the army prospered, were beginning to grumble ; Russian 
agents inundated our camps with proclamations in divers lan- 
guages ; and the men began to desert in great numbers under 
promise that they should be sent home. Besides this, the two 
wings of the Grand Army, composed solely of Austrians and 
Prussians, were no longer in line with the center as when the 
campaign began, but were in our rear, ready to bar our road at 
a word from their sovereigns, the ancient and irreconcilable 
enemies of France. The position was most critical ; and, bitter 
as it was to Napoleon's pride, by withdrawing before he had im- 
posed peace on Alexander, to admit to the whole world that he 
had missed the aim of his expedition, the word "retreat" was at 
last spoken. Not yet, however, had the emperor or the marshals 
or any one any idea of leaving Russia and recrossing the Niemen ;* 
it was only a question of taking up winter quarters in some of the 
least uncomfortable provinces of Poland. 

On the morning of October 19 the emperor left Moscow. He 
had entered it on September 15. He himself, with the Old 
Guard and the main body of the army, took the road to Kalouga. 
Marshal Mortier and two divisions of the Young Guard stayed 
for twenty-four hours in the city to complete its ruin by blowing 
up the Kremlin, with orders to bring up the rear. The army was 
followed by more than 40,000 vehicles, which blocked the defiles. 
When this was remarked to the emperor he said that each of them 
would save two wounded, and would feed several men, while 
they would gradually be got rid of. This philanthropic system 
seems to me open to objection ; for the need of lightening the 
inarch of an army in retreat appears to take precedence of all 
other considerations. 

While the French were at Moscow, Murat 2 and his cavalry 
had been occupying part of the province of Kalouga, but had not 

1 From Moscow to the Niemen the distance is about 550 miles. 

2 King of Naples. 

276 A Soldier of the First Empire 

taken the town of that name, the neighborhood of which is very 
fertile. The emperor, wishing to avoid passing the battlefield of 
the Moskwa, 1 and taking the Mojaisk road, the resources of 
which the army had already exhausted, took the line of Kalouga. 
From this he hoped to reach Smolensk through a fertile and un- 
exhausted district. But, after several days' march, our troops, 
which since Murat had rejoined them, amounted still to over 
100,000 men, found themselves in presence of the Russian army, 
occupying the little town of Malo-Jaroslavitz. The enemy's 
position was exceedingly strong, but the emperor none the less 
ordered Eugene 2 to attack it with the Italian corps and the di- 
visions of Morand and Gerard. Nothing could stay the dash 
of our troops, and they took the town after a long and murder- 
ous engagement, which cost us 4,000 men killed and wounded. 
General Delzons, a most deserving officer, was among the killed. 
Next day, October 24, the emperor, astounded by the brisk resist- 
ance by which he had been met, and knowing that the whole 
Russian army blocked his road, halted his troops, and spent 
three days in considering what steps he should take. . . . 

Napoleon, having assured himself by reconnoissances that it 
was impossible to continue his march toward Kalouga, except 
by fighting a sanguinary battle against Kutusov's numbers, de- 
cided to regain Smolensk by way of Mojaisk. So the army left 
a fertile region to follow a route which they had devastated and 
had traversed in September amid blazing villages and heaps of 
corpses. The nature of the emperor's movement, which resulted 
in bringing him, after ten days' hard work, to a point only twelve 
leagues from Moscow, made the troops very anxious as to the 
future. The weather became fearful; and after blowing up 
the Kremlin, Marshal Mortier rejoined tfre emperor. Again the 
army beheld Mojaisk and the battlefield of the Moskwa. The 
ground was furrowed by cannon-balls and covered with debris 
of every kind, and 30,000 corpses half-devoured by wolves. The 
soldiers and the emperor passed quickly, casting a sad look on 
this vast charnel-house. . . . 

1 Otherwise known as the battle of Borodino. 

2 Napoleon's stepson. 

The Retreat from Moscow 277 

Beyond Wiazma the march of the army was delayed by snow- 
storms and an icy wind. Many of the carriages were left behind, 
and thousands of men and horses perished from the cold ; the 
flesh of the horses supplied food to the soldiers, and even to 
the officers. The rear guard passed from the command of 
Davout to that of Eugene, and finally came under Ney, who dis- 
charged this laborious duty for the rest of the campaign. Smol- 
ensk was reached on November i. Napoleon had ordered a 
great quantity of provisions and clothing to be collected in that 
town ; but the commissaries in charge, knowing nothing of the 
state of disorganization into which the army had fallen, would 
not distribute them without regular orders and formalities 
usual under ordinary circumstances. These delays irritated 
the soldiers, dying as they were of hunger and cold. They broke 
into the storehouses and possessed themselves of the contents, 
so that many men got too much, some not enough, others 

So long as the march of the troops was orderly the mixture of 
different nations had given rise only to slight inconvenience; 
but when misery and fatigue had broken up the ranks, discipline 
was at an end. How could it exist in that immense body of 
isolated individuals lacking everything, going along on their own 
account, and not understanding each other? A veritable con- 
fusion of tongues reigned in that disorderly mass. Some regi- 
ments, notably those of the guard, still held out. The troopers 
of the line regiments had lost nearly all their horses, and were 
formed into battalions. The officers who still were mounted 
composed the sacred squadrons, the command of which was 
intrusted to generals Latour-Maubourg, Grouchy, and Sebasti- 
ani. They did the duties of mere captains, while major-generals 
and colonels acted as sergeants and corporals. An organization 
like this would, of itself, be sufficient to show to what extremities 
the army was reduced. , . . 

The retreat of what remained of the Grande ArmZe had now become 
practically a headlong flight. On December 5, having reached Smor- 
goni and seeing that nothing further could be done at the front, Napo- 
leon left for Paris to organize a fresh army for the next year. 

278 A Soldier of the First Empire 

The emperor, at his departure, intrusted the command of his 
shattered army to Murat, who showed himself unequal to the 
task one as difficult, it may be admitted, as can be imagined. 
Every one's faculties of mind and body were paralysed by the 
cold, and disorganization prevailed throughout. . . . Every 
morning we left thousands of dead in our bivouacs. Then I 
congratulated myself on having in September made my troopers 
set themselves up with sheepskin coats, a precaution to which 
many of them owed their lives. So with the victuals with which 
we had supplied ourselves at Borisov, for without these we should 
have had to fight for dead horses with the famished multitude. 
On this point I may say that M. de Segur exaggerates when he 
says that the poor wretches were driven by the pangs of hunger 
to eat human flesh. The road was so lined with dead horses 
that no one needed to think of cannibalism. Further, it would 
be a great mistake to suppose that provisions were altogether 
lacking in the district. They only ran short in the places actu- 
ally on the road, since the neighborhood of these had been 
drained when the army was on its way to Moscow ; but it had 
swept by like a torrent without spreading laterally, and the 
harvest had since been gathered, so that the country had in 
some measure recovered, and, by going a league or two to one 
side, a fair amount could be found. It is true that only detach- 
ments still in good order could make these expeditions without 
being picked up by the troops of Cossacks who prowled around 
us. I made arrangements, therefore, with several colonels to 
organize armed forages. . . . 

Those who were left of the Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and 
other foreigners whom we had brought into Russia saved their 
lives by a means repugnant to the French : they deserted, took 
refuge in the villages near the road, and waited till the enemy 
came up. This often did not occur for several days, for, strange 
as it may seem, the Russian soldiers, accustomed as they are to 
pass the winter in houses where draughts are always excluded and 
stoves are always lighted, are far more sensitive to cold than 
those of any other country, and the heavy losses which the enemy 
incurred from this cause explained the slackness of the pursuit. 

The Retreat from Moscow 279 

We did not understand why Kutusov and his generals merely 
followed us with a weak advance-guard, instead of hurling them- 
selves on our flanks, overlapping us, and thus cutting off our 
retreat. But this maneuver, which would have completed our 
ruin, was impossible for them, seeing that the greater number of 
their soldiers, no less than of ours, died on the roads and in the 
bivouacs. So intense was the cold that we could see a kind of 
vapor rising from men's ears and eyes. Condensing on contact 
with the air, this vapor fell back on our persons with a rattle 
such as grains of millet might have made. We had often to 
halt, and clear away from the horses' bits the icicles formed by 
their frozen breath. 

The remnants of the French forces finally reached the NIemen at 
Kovno on December 13. The next day they crossed on the Ice into 
East Prussia. Marshal Ney, who commanded the rear guard, was the 
last to leave the soil of Russia. The Russian pursuit practically ceased 
at the line of the Niemen, for their troops, as well as the French, had 
suffered terrible hardships. ' 



BY a codicil added to his will Talleyrand directed that his 
reminiscences and other papers should not be published 
until thirty years after his death. He died in 1838, but the 
five volumes purporting to be the Memoirs of Prince Talley- 
rand did not see the light until 1891. Their genuineness 
was at first questioned, because the connected narrative that 
we now possess seems to have been put together by one of 
Talleyrand's literary executors out of notes that were more 
or less fragmentary and confused. The work is now gener- 
ally accepted as authentic, but in reading it considerable 
allowance must be made for the author's desire to set him- 
self right with Louis XVIII and to further his own interests 
under the Bourbon Restoration. 

128. Before the Congress 2 

After Napoleon's abdication and exile to the island of Elba the vic- 
torious allies negotiated with Louis XVIII the first Treaty of Paris 
(dated May 30, 1814), which confirmed the renunciation by France of 
Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine. The limits of that country, 
except for certain slight rectifications, were to be the same as they 
existed on January i, 1792. The allies at the same time renounced all 
pecuniary claims on France. Article XXXII of the Treaty ran as fol- 
lows : " All the powers engaged on either side in the present war shall, 
within the space of two months, send plenipotentiaries to Vienna for the 
purpose of regulating, in general congress, the arrangements which are 
to complete the provisions of the present treaty." 

I arrived at Vienna September 23, 1814. . . . 

The day after my arrival, I presented myself at the houses of 
the members of the diplomatic corps. They all seemed to me 
rather surprised at the little advantage they had derived from 

1 Memoirs of the Prince de Talleyrand, edited by the Due de Broglie. 5 vols. 
London, 1891. Griffith Farran Okeden and Welsh. 

2 Talleyrand, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 199-200. 

Before the Congress 281 

the capitulation of Paris. They had just traversed countries 
that had been ravaged by war for many years, in which they had 
heard, they said, only words of hatred and vengeance against 
France, for having overwhelmed them with taxes, and treated 
them with the arrogance of a victor. My new colleagues assured 
me that they had been reproached everywhere for their weakness 
in signing the Treaty of 'Paris. I therefore did not find them 
very enthusiastic over the satisfaction to be derived from gener- 
osity, but rather disposed to excite each other about the preten- 
sions they were to advance. Each was perusing the Treaty of 
Chaumont, 1 which had not only tightened the bonds of an 
alliance destined to last for the present war, but had also laid 
down conditions for an alliance which should survive it, and bind 
the allies together even in the remote future. And moreover, 
how could they make up their minds to admit to the council of 
Europe the very power against which Europe had been in arms 
during twenty years? The minister of a country so newly 
reconciled, they said, ought to think himself very fortunate in 
being allowed to give his assent to the resolutions of the ambassa- 
dors of the other party. 

Thus, at the opening of the negotiations, all the cabinets 
regarded themselves as being, notwithstanding the peace, in an 
attitude which, if not hostile, was at least very equivocal, with 
France. They all thought, more or less, that it would have been 
to their interest that she should have been more enfeebled still. 
Unable to do anything in that direction, they endeavored to at 
least diminish her influence. I saw that they were all agreed 
on those various points. 

It remained for me to hope that there would be among the 
powers some divergence of opinion, when they came to distribute 
the numerous territories that the war had put at their disposal, 
each one desiring, either to obtain for itself, or to give to the 
states dependent upon it, a considerable portion of the conquered 

*By this treaty (dated March i, 1814), Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and 
Russia had severally bound themselves not to conclude a separate peace with Napo- 
leon and to continue the war until France should have been reduced within her pre- 
revolutionary boundaries. 

282 The Congress of Vienna 

territories. It was specially desired, at the same time, to exclude 
from the division those countries which it was feared would prove 
too independent. That style of contest, however, offered me but 
scant opportunity for interfering with matters; for previous 
arrangements, by which the disposal of the most important 
territories had been regulated, existed between the powers. To 
succeed in modifying these arrangements, or in having them 
completely renounced, according to the dictates of justice, there 
were more than prejudices to remove, more than pretensions to 
check, more than ambition to defeat. It was necessary to annul 
all that had been done without France. For, if they consented 
to admit us to take a share in the acts of the congress, it was for 
the sake of form only, and in order to deprive us of the means of 
contesting their validity ; but it was intended that France should 
have nothing to say in the resolutions already settled, and that 
were looked upon as accomplished facts. 

129. Opening of the Congress 1 

The opening of the congress had been fixed for the ist of 
October. I had been at Vienna since September 23, but I had 
been preceded there by several days, by the ministers who, 
having directed the war, and repented of peace, wished to take 
advantage of their position at the congress. It was not long be- 
fore I was informed that they had already formed a commission, 
and were holding among themselves conferences, of which a 
protocol had been prepared. Their object was to decide alone 
what ought to be submitted to the deliberations of the congress, 
and that too, without the assistance of either France, Spain, or 
any power of the second order ; to these however they would 
afterwards communicate, in the form of a proposition, what 
would in reality be a resolution, viz., the different articles they 
should have determined upon. 

I made no remonstrances. I continued to see them, without 
speaking of business. I limited myself to communicating to the 
ministers of the secondary powers, who had a common interest 
with me, the dissatisfaction I felt. Discovering also, in the past 

1 Talleyrand, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 201-205. 

Opening of the Congress 283 

policy of their countries, traces of confidence in France, they 
very soon looked upon me as their support, and once assured of 
their assent in all that I was about to do, I officially pressed the 
opening of the congress. In my first requests, I acted as though 
I had no knowledge of the conferences that had been held. The 
opening of the congress was fixed for a certain day. That day 
passed ; I entreated that another should be fixed in the near 
future. I gave it to be understood that it was necessary that I 
should not remain too long absent from France. A few replies, 
evasive at first, caused me to repeat my intreaties. I even went 
so far as to complain a little, but was finally obliged to make use 
of the personal influence that I had fortunately acquired in the 
previous negotiations, over the principal personages of the con- 
gress. Prince Metternich and Count Nesselrode, 1 not wishing 
to be disobliging to me, had both invited me to a conference 
which was to have been held at the office of the minister of 
foreign affairs. Count de Labrador, minister of Spain, with 
whom I had the honor to support a common cause in the deliber- 
ations of the congress, received the same invitation. 

1 went to the office of the minister of state at the hour in- 
dicated, and found there, Lord Castlereagh, 2 Prince von Harden- 
berg, 3 Herr von Humboldt, and Herr von Gentz, a secretary. 
The protocol of the preceding sittings was on the table. I 
mention all the details of that first sitting, because it decided 
the position of France at the congress. Prince Metternich 
opened it by a few sentences on the duty incumbent on the con- 
gress to give solidity to the peace which had just been restored to 
Europe. Prince von Hardenberg added, that in order to con- 
solidate the peace it was indispensable that the agreements the 
war had caused them to enter into should be religiously kept ; 
and that such was the intention of the allied powers. 

Placed by the side of Prince von Hardenberg, I was naturally 
forced to speak after him, and after having said a few words on 

1 A Russian diplomatist (1780-1862). He directed the foreign policy of Russia 
for many years, first under Alexander I and then under Nicholas I. 

2 Robert Stewart, marquis of Londonderry, Viscount Castlereagli (1760-1822), 
was at this time the British minister of foreign affairs. 

3 The famous Prussian statesman (1750-1822). 

284 The Congress of Vienna 

the good fortune of France in finding herself in relations of con- 
fidence and friendship with all the cabinets of Europe, I remarked 
that Prince Metternich and Prince von Hardenberg had let fall 
an expression that appeared to me to belong to other times, for 
that they had both of them spoken of the intentions of the allied 
powers. I declared that allied powers, and a congress in which 
powers that were not allied were to be found, were in my eyes 
scarcely likely to arrange affairs loyally together." I repeated 
with some astonishment and even warmth, the word allied powers. 
"Allied" I said, "and against whom? It is no longer against 
Napoleon he is on the isle of Elba. It is no longer against 
France ; for peace has been made. It is surely not against the 
king of France ; he is a guarantee of the duration of that peace. 
Gentlemen, let us speak frankly; if there are still allied powers, 
I am one too many here." I perceived that I had produced 
some impression, and especially on Herr von Gentz. I con- 
tinued: "And nevertheless if I were not here, I should de- 
cidedly be missed. Gentlemen, I am perhaps the only one 
who asks nothing. Great esteem is all I would have for 
France. She is sufficiently powerful by her resources, her ex- 
tent of territory, by the number and intelligence of her inhab- 
itants, by the contiguity of her provinces, by the unity of her 
administration, by the defenses with which nature and art 
have guaranteed her frontiers. I want nothing, I repeat it, 
but I bring you a great deal. The presence of a minister of 
Louis XVIII consecrates here the principle upon which all social 
order rests. The first need of Europe is to banish forever the 
opinion that right can be acquired by conquest alone, and to 
cause the revival of that sacred principle of legitimacy from 
which all order and stability spring. To show to-day that 
France troubles your deliberations, would be to say that true 
principles are no longer the only ones that guide you, and that 
you are unwilling to be just ; but that idea is far from me, for 
we all equally feel that a simple and straightforward path is 
alone worthy of the noble mission we have to fulfill. . . . When 
does the general congress open? When do the conferences 
begin? These are questions asked by all those whose interests 

Opening of the Congress 285 

bring them here. If, as is already rumored, some privileged 
powers would exercise a dictatorial authority over the congress, 
I must say that, confining myself to the terms of the Treaty of 
Paris, I could not consent to recognize in this assembly any 
supreme power in questions that the congress is competent to 
treat, and that I should heed no proposal that proceeded from 

After a few moments' silence, Count de Labrador made, in his 
proud and piquant language, a declaration almost identical 
with my own. Embarrassment was depicted on every face. 
They denied and explained in the same breath all that had 
taken place before this meeting. I profited by this moment in 
order to make a few concessions to the pride that I saw thus hurt. 
I said that in so numerous an assembly as the congress, where 
one was obliged to occupy oneself with so many different matters, 
to regulate questions of the first importance, and to decide a host 
of secondary interests, it was very difficult, nay, even impossible, 
to reach any result by treating of all these subjects in general 
assemblies, but that some means of distributing and classifying 
all the business could be found without wounding either the 
interest or the dignity of any of the powers. 

This language, though vague, yet pointed out the possibility 
of a particular direction being given to general business, and thus 
permitted the assembled ministers to reconsider what they had 
done, and to regard it all as null ; and Herr von Gentz destroyed 
the protocols of the previous sittings, and arranged one for that 
day. That protocol constituted the reports of the first sitting, 
and, in order to officially date our arrival at the congress, I signed 
it. From that time, there was no conference among the great 
powers in which France did not take a part. We met on the 
following days to distribute the work. All the members of the 
congress divided themselves into commissions that were charged 
to examine the questions submitted to them. The plenipotenti- 
aries of those states who had a more direct interest in the objects 
to be examined, joined these commissions. The most important 
matters and questions of general interest were submitted to a 
committee formed of the representatives of the eight principal 

286 The Congress of Vienna 

powers of Europe, and in order to form a nucleus, it was arranged 
that it should be those who had signed the treaty of May 
30, I8I4. 1 This arrangement was not only useful because it 
wonderfully abridged and facilitated the work to be done, but it 
was also very just, since all the members of the congress con- 
sented to it, and no one raised objections. 

Thus, at the end of the month of October, 1814, 1 was able to 
write to Paris, that the house of Bourbon, which had only re- 
turned to France five months ago, and France herself, who had 
been conquered five months previously, found themselves 
already restored to their proper place in Europe, and had again 
regained that influence that belonged to them in the most 
important deliberations of the congress. 

130. Arrangements Made by the Congress 2 

Having broken up the league of the powers against France, Talley- 
rand now went farther and assisted in framing a secret alliance between 
Great Britain, Austria, and France, in order to prevent the complete 
absorption of Saxony by Prussia and of Poland by Russia, This alli- 
ance had the effect of inducing Prussia and Russia to moderate their 
demands by agreeing to a territorial compromise. 

The points at issue between Saxony and Prussia were settled, 
not to their mutual satisfaction but by common accord. Thus 
the principle of legitimacy was not made to sutler in that im- 
portant circumstance. 3 From these arrangements it resulted 
that Russia, who had laid claim to the possession of the entire 
duchy of Warsaw, was obliged to desist, Prussia recovered a 
considerable portion of it, and Austria, who had not ceased to 
possess a portion of Galicia, took up again a few of the districts 
that she had ceded in 1809. 

This arrangement, which, at first glance, may seem to have had 
no importance except for those two powers, was of general inter- 

1 The first Treaty of Paris. 

2 Talleyrand, Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 211-216. 

3 The kingdom of Saxony, formerly allied with Napoleon, had been promised 
Prussia by her associates in the war against the emperor. Talleyrand strongly 
opposed such an arrangement as being a violation of the principle of legitimacy. 
Prussia finally consented to the continued existence of Saxony as an independent 
state, but insisted upon the cession of about half its territory. 

Arrangements Made by the Congress 287 

est. Poland almost entirely in the possession of Russia would 
probably have been a cause of continual anxiety to Europe. It 
was of importance for the security of the latter, that two powers 
rather than one, if exposed to see themselves deprived of all they 
possessed, should be, by a sentiment of common danger, disposed 
to combine on every occasion against the ambitious enterprises 
of Prussia. Mutual interest became for them the strongest link, 
and it is for that reason that France sustained the pretensions of 
Prussia and Austria. 

The Russian minister sought to foil me with my own argu- 
ments. He pretended that if the principle of legitimacy required 
the preservation of the realm of Saxony, it ought to exact also 
the restoration of Poland. He added that the tsar Alexander 
wished to have the totality of the duchy of Warsaw to erect it 
into a kingdom, and that I could not thus, without being incon- 
sistent, refuse to subscribe to its being placed in his possession. 
I replied with vivacity that one could really and honestly regard 
as a question of principle the reestablishment, as a national body 
and under an independent government, of a numerous people, 
formerly powerful, occupying a vast and continuous tract of 
territory and who, though it had allowed the bonds of its unity 
to be broken, had nevertheless remained homogeneous by a com- 
munity of manners, language, and hopes ; that if that were what 
was desired, France would be the first not only to give her ad- 
hesion to the restoration of Poland, but even to wish for it sin- 
cerely, on the condition that Poland should be restored such as it 
was formerly, such as Europe wished that it should be. But, I 
added, there is nothing in common between the principle of 
legitimacy and the more or less great extent that would be given 
to the state Russia pretends to form with a small portion of 
Poland, and without even evincing the intention of uniting, later, 
with it the beautiful provinces which, since the last division, have 
been annexed to that vast empire. The ministers of Russia, 
after several conferences, understood that they would not suc- 
ceed in concealing, under the veil of the principle of legitimacy, 
the interested views that they had been instructed to enforce, 
and they confined themselves to negotiating, in order to obtain 

288 The Congress of Vienna 

a more or less great portion of the territory which, for some 
years, had composed the grand duchy of Warsaw. 

By rendering homage to the principle of legitimacy in the 
decision taken with regard to the kingdom of Saxony, the fate of 
Naples * had been implicitly pronounced upon. The principle 
once adopted, no one could refuse to admit the consequences of 
it. Therefore France, after having rejected the pretensions 
founded upon the right of conquest, exacted the assurance that 
Ferdinand IV should be recognized king of Naples. It was nec- 
essary to overcome the real difficulty of several cabinets who were 
bound to Murat, 2 and especially Austria, who had made a treaty 
with Mm. . . . The restitution of the realm of Naples to Ferdi- 
nand IV consecrated anew, by a striking instance the principle of 
legitimacy, and besides, it was useful to France, because it 
gave her for ally in Italy, the most powerful state of that 

The arrangements made with regard to several other parts of 
Italy had in view the establishment in that peninsula of a strong 
counterpoise, capable of checking Austrian power, if its am- 
bitious views carried it some day in that direction. Thus the 
realm of Sardinia acquired all the state of Genoa. The branch 
of the house of Savoy, then reigning at Turin, being ready to 
die out, and Austria being enabled by her family alliances to 
raise pretensions to that fine inheritance, this effect was pre- 
vented by the recognition of the rights of the house of Carignan, 
to which was assured the inheritance of that crown. 

Switzerland, the central point of Europe, on which rest three 
great countries, France, Germany and Italy, was solemnly de- 
clared neutral for ever. By this decision, the means of defense 
for each one of these countries were increased, and the means of 
aggression diminished. That provision is especially favorable 
to France, who, surrounded by fortresses on all other points of her 
frontiers, is deprived of any on those bordering on Switzerland. 

1 The kingdom otherwise known as the Two Sicilies. 

2 One of Napoleon's marshals, who became king of Naples in 1808, succeeding 
Joseph Bonaparte, the emperor's brother. Murat held the throne until 1815, when 
he was expelled by the Austrian troops. 

Arrangements Made by the Congress 289 

The neutrality of that country thus gives her, on the only point 
where she is weak and unarmed, an inexpugnable position. 

To preserve the Helvetic people from internal dissensions, 
which, by disturbing their tranquillity, might have compromised 
the maintenance of their neutrality, we applied ourselves to 
conciliate the respective pretensions of the cantons, and to ar- 
range the differences which had existed for a long time between 
them. The union threatened by the conflict of former interests 
and of the interests resulting from the new organizations made 
under the mediation of Napoleon, was strengthened by an act 
combining all the provisions, which appeared most likely to lead 
to their agreement. 

The erection of the new realm of the Netherlands, agreed upon 
before the peace, was evidently a hostile measure against France ; 
and that project had been conceived with the view of creating 
about her a state which should be her enemy, and which the 
need of protection made the natural ally of England and of 
Prussia. The result of that combination, however, appeared to 
me less dangerous for France than it was believed, for the new 
kingdom would have enough to do for some time, in consolidating 
itself. In fact, formed from two countries opposed in interests 
and sentiments, it is doomed to remain weak and without sta- 
bility for many years. That kind of protective intimacy that 
England believes she will succeed in establishing between herself 
and the new state, seems to me destined to be, for a long time to 
come, a political dream. A kingdom composed of a commercial 
and of a manufacturing country, must undoubtedly become a 
rival to England, or be ruined by her, and consequently be 

The organization of the German Confederation was to be one 
of the most important factors in the equilibrium of Europe. I 
cannot say whether the congress would have succeeded in found- 
ing that organization on bases which would have made it serve 
effectually as support to that equilibrium. The fatal events of 
1815, which forced the congress to hurry its deliberations, were 
the cause that the Final Act had to be drafted in a somewhat 
embryonic state, that, until the present, it has not been able to 

2 go The Congress of Vienna 

take shape, and that it Is still being worked upon, in order to be 
developed. 1 

The part played by France in that memorable circumstance I 
will leave to be appreciated. Notwithstanding the disadvan- 
tages of the position in which she found herself at the opening of 
the congress, she succeeded in taking in the deliberations such a 
leading part, that the most important questions were decided 
according to her views and after the principles that she had estab- 
lished and sustained, all opposed though they were to the inten- 
tions of the powers, to whom the fate of arms had given the power 
to dictate, without hindrance, the law to Europe. . . . 

1 The Congress of Vienna concluded its labors on June ig, 1815 (the day after the 
battle of Waterloo). The general treaty made by the congress is usually known as 

the Final Act. 


A TYPICAL diplomatist of the old school was the polished 
and courtly Count von Beust (1809-1886). He belonged 
to* a noble Saxon family, enjoyed a university education, 
held appointments at various European courts, and in 
1849 became minister of foreign affairs for Saxony. In 
this capacity he did his best to oppose Bismarck's policy for 
the aggrandizement of Prussia at the expense of the smaller 
German states. After the Austro-Prussian War Beust ac- 
cepted an invitation from Francis Joseph II to become the 
Austrian foreign minister and speedily justified the em- 
peror's choice by conducting with success the negotiations 
with Hungary that led to the Ausgleich of 1867. Beust's 
reward was the Austrian chancellorship, a position which he 
held for several years. His career ended with service at 
London and Paris as ambassador from the Dual Monarchy. 
Though not a great man Bismarck used to say that if 
his vanity were taken away there would be nothing left 
Beust served faithfully both his native and his adopted 

131. The " July Revolution " 2 

At the age of twenty-one we are more open to emotions than 
at the age of thirty-nine, and to that fact I chiefly attribute the 
different effect produced on me by the revolution of July and that 
of February. But even apart from this consideration, it was 
owing to circumstances that the former possessed a prestige 
which was wanting to the latter, in spite of its more momentous 
consequences. If Charles X had had thirty thousand instead of 
three thousand soldiers in Paris, it cannot be doubted that he 

1 Memoirs of Friedrich Ferdinand Count wn Beust, edited by Baxon Henry de 
Worms. 2 vols. London, 1887. Remington and Company. 

2 Beust, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 16-24. 

29 2 The Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 

would have been victorious, and so-called public opinion would 
have become reconciled to Mm, as it was later on to Louis 
Xapoleon after the successful coup d'etat. But he was defeated, 
and defeated after an abortive and brutal violation of the consti- 
tution, 1 and his victors had fought with enthusiasm against his 
tyranny. How totally different was the state of affairs in 1848 ! 
mat had Louis Philippe done? Nothing, except that he had 
retained the services of a minister 2 who had become unpopular, 
but who was supported by a majority in the Chambers, and that 
he had lost his head and not known how to give orders in a riot 
that was the first during his reign. A republican par excel- 
lence, , . . Emanuel Arago, told me when he was my col- 
league in Berlin in 1848, that early on the 24th of 
February he and his political friends had no suspicion that 
the proclamation of the republic was imminent ; but that when 
he saw on the Place de la Concorde what was going on, how the 
generals were without orders, and how everything was in utter 
confusion, he and his friends proceeded to the Palais Bourbon 
and forced their way into the Chamber of Deputies. I know 
that behind this almost burlesque mise en scene, ending with the 
departure of monarchy in a cab, a far deeper movement was 
being enacted, which was more of European than of French 
origin, but which presented for that reason a different appearance 
from that of the "July Revolution." . . . 

I will here add some remarks on the measures taken by the 
great cabinets, and their then unquestioned leader Prince Met- 
ternich, against the " July Revolution." I need hardly say that 
these remarks were written in more advanced years, and not 
when I was a young man of twenty-one. 

I became more nearly acquainted with Prince Metternich 
only during the last years of his life, at which time his son was 
ambassador at Dresden, and I preserve the most agreeable and 
grateful recollections of our intercourse; he could not have 
spoken more confidentially with Talleyrand, Hardenberg, and 
Nesselrode than he did with me. Thus I am conscious of being 

1 The promulgation of the so-called July Ordinances. 

2 F. P. G. Guizot. 

The "July Revolution" 293 

quite free from any personal prejudice, although my conviction 
leads me to criticise his policy somewhat sharply. In doing 
this I must not let myself be deterred by the remembrance of the 
truly great nature that showed itself in the whole appearance 
of the illustrious chancellor, as well as in his treatment of men 
and things. . . . 

In the fifth chapter of Metternich's posthumous papers are to 
be found the dispatches which he addressed to the emperor 1 from 
Konigswart after the outbreak of the "July Revolution." We 
learn from these documents, as well as from preceding letters, 
that Metternich was prepared for the coup d'etat, and was not 
against it, but that he had doubts as to the vigor and capacity of 
those who were to carry it out. I therefore feel only the more 
justified in venturing to say what I have said about the inactivity 
and carelessness then prevailing. Nor does my opinion lose in 
force from the following words in one of the dispatches : 

"I have just received the inclosed paper from France. Its 
contents show that revolution in its worst form is victorious in 
Paris. This fact demonstrates two truths ; first, that the minis- 
try was mistaken in its choice of means ; second, that I was in 
the right when drawing the attention of the cabinets for more 
than two years to the threatening aspect of affairs. Unfortu- 
nately my voice was lost in the desert." 

If we find it difficult to conceive how the voice of Prince 
Metternich could have been "lost in the desert" in those days, 
we are met on the other hand by the question as to what the 
object of that warning was to have been. It could hardly have 
been a joint remonstrance in Paris, because it was not the under- 
taking then contemplated in that city, but its possibly unsuccess- 
ful execution, that roused the chancellor's apprehension. Nor 
could eventual measures of self-defense have been discussed. 
The only precaution likely to be successful was not taken I mean 
the timely understanding of the cabinets as to a common and 
therefore impressive attitude in case "revolution in its worst 
form" should break out with its consequent new order of things ; 
and as this eventuality had been foreseen two years previously 

1 The Austrian monarch, Francis I. 

294 The Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 

by Prince Mettemich, as he himself said, there was full time for 
taking the requisite measures. 

I made a stay in Paris shortly after the " July Revolution/ 7 
and later on, in the years 1838 to 1841, 1 was secretary of legation 
there ; and I therefore had many opportunities of acquainting 
myself with what took place before and after that event. The 
attitude of the diplomatic corps was not passive, but vacillating 
(which was far worse) ; and it had a decisive influence on the 
course of events. Among those who were then ambassadors, 
several were fully conscious of the importance of the moment, 
but were prevented from action by the universal want of in- 
structions. . . . There was no telegraphic communication in 
those days, but special couriers would have sufficed to bring 
about such unanimity in the representations of the ambassadors 
that it would have forced Louis Philippe to reflect. Before the 
days of July, an initiative taken by Austria in this sense would 
have received the consent and applause of all the other powers 
except England. But Louis Philippe has in many respects not 
been placed historically in the proper light. The reproach 
leveled at Mm by the royalists that he conspired against Charles 
X, who had been his benefactor . . . is devoid of truth ; but it is 
true that he could have prevented the dethronement of the elder 
line, 1 if he had declared firmly and at the right moment to the 
leaders of the movement, many of whom were intimate with him, 
that he would not accept the crown if it were taken from Charles 
X. ... Although he was not wanting in personal courage, as he 
proved in the very serious insurrection of June 1832, still he was 
not a man to expose himself to unnecessary danger, and the cer- 
tainty that he would find Europe more than averse to him as 
king, whereas he would enjoy the confidence of all the Powers 
as regent, would not have been without effect. A war under- 
taken by France to enforce the recognition of the new govern- 
ment would not have been probable, and would certainly have 
been fay no means formidable, considering the vast superiority 
of the opposed forces. 

1 Louis Philippe belonged to the younger, or Orleans, branch of the Bourbon 

The "February Revolution' 7 295 

On the other hand, it was wise of Metternich to agree with 
Berlin in resisting the plan of armed intervention in favor of the 
dethroned Bourbons, which was demanded in other quarters, as 
in the most favorable case not much could have been expected 
from a restoration carried out for the third time at the point of the 
bayonet. But what was neither intelligible nor excusable was 
the neglect to take advantage of an incident which would have 
warranted the interference of the powers without aggression, and 
which would have made France the attacking party if war had 
ensued. The Belgian Revolution, which then broke out, ex- 
tended to Luxemburg, a portion of the territory of the Germanic 
Confederation. In that case immediate intervention would have 
been justifiable, and the powers could have occupied not only the 
grand duchy, but also Belgium, then an integral portion of the 
kingdom of the Netherlands. Nobody will be Inclined to main- 
tain that a measure which would have been supported not merely 
by Austria, Prussia, and the Germanic Confederation, but also by 
Russia, would have been likely to meet with the resistance of 
France. Perhaps it will be objected that I have forgotten the 
Polish insurrection. By no means. That event took place two 
months later ; and if the above step had been taken, the Russian 
army would have been in the kingdom of Poland before the insur- 
rection was ready to break out. It is doubtful what turn the 
affairs of France herself would have taken ; but it is certain that 
the prestige of the system which had been so deeply under- 
mined by the ''July Revolution" would have assumed a very 
different form from that which it really acquired. I repeat that 
I do not feel myself called upon to defend that system. From a 
certain point of view, indeed, every system may be justified, 
and may claim approval, but only when its execution is con- 
sistent and energetic. 

132. Tlie "February Revolution" 1 

In one of the preceding chapters I have, while explaining the 
difference between the revolution of July and that of February, 
expressed the opinion that the first was of purely French, and 

1 Beust, Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 43-46. 

296 The Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 

the latter far more of European origin. It would indeed other- 
wise have been difficult to understand how a king, whose rule 
was always strictly constitutional (whatever may be said against 
Guizot's system), could have been dethroned because the police 
had forbidden some banquets in favor of electoral reform. ^ As 
to the oft-repeated explanation of internal corruption, it is 
ridiculous to maintain that such a revolution could have been 
brought about merely because there were some scandalous trials, 
and a man of noble birth had murdered his wife. The true date 
of its commencement is not 1848 but 1847. In that year the 
feebleness of the great governments became apparent to the 
European party of agitation, and from that moment the first 
trivial cause (such as the Parisian conflict reaUy was) sufficed for 
the outbreak. The bankruptcy of the Metternich system took 
place neither at Vienna in the days of March, nor at Paris, but 
in Switzerland in the previous year. This is not the proper mo- 
ment to enter into details about the Swiss constitution, a ques- 
tion which was then very prominent, 1 It is my conviction that 
Austria and France were right in principle when, relying on 
treaties, they regarded the guarantee of neutrality as conditional 
on the maintenance of the constitution of the cantons ; though it 
must be admitted that the cabinet of Vienna had placed itself 
above treaties by the annexation of the Free State of Cracow. 2 
That period was the much-extolled era of "principles"; it 
might more justly be called the era of "contradictions." After 
the occurrences of Galicia, I will not too severely reproach the 

1 The Congress of Vienna had neutralized Switzerland and had secured the adop- 
tion of a new constitution (the Pact of 1815) by twenty-two confederating cantons. 
In 1843 religious dissensions brought about a movement for secession from the con- 
federation by the seven Roman Catholic cantons, which formed a separate league, 
the Sonderbund. Most of the great powers favored the Sonderbund, but Great 
Britain took the contrary view and managed to frustrate the attempt of Metternich, 
supported by Louis Philippe, to bring about European intervention. The Sonder- 
bund was suppressed by the other cantons in 1847, after a brief civil war. 

2 The Vienna Congress had made Cracow, with the adjoining territory, an in- 
dependent and neutralized state, under the protection of Russia, Prussia, and 
Austria. An insurrection there in 1846 provided the three powers with a pretext 
for undoing the work of 1815. In spite of protests by the British and French 
governments, the state of Cracow was now extinguished and its territory was 
incorporated in the Austrian dominions. 

The "February Revolution" 297 

Austrian government for the Cracow agreement, but it has to be 
remembered when Austria demanded respect of treaties from the 
Swiss, a demand which she was finally obliged to relinquish, not 
with the firmness of volition, but with the resignation of sub- 
mission. The course of events has proved how mistaken was 
her judgment of the political side of the question, which was the 
only practical one, when she considered the abolition of the old 
cantonal constitution as the starting point of revolutionary 
movements. After the " February Revolution 7 ' broke out, there 
were many disturbances in Germany and Italy ; but Switzerland 
remained the most quiet of countries. Worse, however, than 
this error of appreciation were Austria's errors in action. When 
both France and Austria had encouraged by every possible means 
the resistance of the cantons of the Sonderbund (this was done, 
independently of the language of the governments, especially 
through the zeal of their agents, who belonged to the clerical 
party), the threat of armed intervention, on which the Sonder- 
bund party had the right to rely, ended in the powers merely 
allowing things to take their course. Vienna explained this 
conduct by saying that there was no certainty of French co- 
operation. Paris had, in a reversed sense, the same excuse, 
although the French entertained the liveliest sympathy for the 
Sonderbund. . . . 

The recognition by the revolutionary party of the weakness 
of the European powers had the natural consequence that the 
"February Revolution" operated everywhere like an explosive. 

If we read German histories, ... we are led to believe that the 
German rising of 1848 was of purely German origin and a purely 
German act. But had Louis Philippe preserved his old energy 
of mind, which was not the case ( as I was able to convince myself 
during a visit I paid him at Claremont shortly after his exile), 
and if his two sons in the army and navy, d'Aumale and de 
Joinville, had been in Paris at the time, the French Revolution 
would only have been another riot, and Thiers would probably 
have returned to office. That in this case the German movement 
would have succeeded in convening a parliament and a national 
assembly was hardly probable. . . . The movement in Hun- 

298 The Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 

gary and Italy, as in Germany, began in 1847, and originated in 
the above-mentioned notorious fiasco of the great cabinets ; 
after an energetic repression of the Parisian insurrection, it 
would indeed not have dwindled away, but would have proceeded 
more leisurely, though less progressively. I will here refute 
in advance the possible inference that I am personally averse 
to the present development of Germany. I am wanting neither 
in admiration of what has been performed, nor in a sense of the 
defects of former times ; but this will not deter me from calling 
things by their right names, and from opposing unjust deprecia- 
tion and condemnation of the past. 


THE Italian patriot, Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872), 
wrote voluminously, not only on political themes, but also 
on economics, ethics, and related subjects. He would in- 
deed have achieved considerable fame in literature had he 
not felt compelled, almost at the outset of his career, to 
make the "first great sacrifice" and renounce the life of a 
man of letters for that of a conspirator and revolutionist. 
Much that he wrote to further the cause of Italian unity 
and freedom remains still unpublished, including most of his 
forty thousand letters that have been preserved. Mazzini 
always declined to compose a formal autobiography, de- 
claring that he had never kept a record of dates, or notes, 
or copies of letters addressed to himself. "But even had 
I jealously preserved such, I should not now have the 
courage to use them. In the face of the reawakening of 
that people to whom God alone has as yet granted the privi- 
lege, in each great epoch of its own existence, of transform- 
ing Europe, all individual biography appears as insignificant 
as a taper lighted in the presence of the rising sun." 

133. Constitution 2 

Mazzini founded La Giovine Italia (" Young Italy") in 1831, while 
He was living as an exile in Marseilles. He wished it to replace the the- 
atrical and somewhat futile secret society of the Carbonari, in which he 
had begun his revolutionary career. The general instructions to mem- 
bers of " Young Italy " are here quoted. 

"Young Italy" is a brotherhood of Italians who believe in a 
law of Progress and Duty, and are convinced that Italy is 
destined to become one nation convinced also that she pos- 

1 Life and Writings of Joseph Maszini. 6 vols. London, 1891. John Murray. 

2 Life and Writings of Joseph Mazzini, vol. i, pp. 96-108. 

300 "Young Italy 77 

sesses sufficient strength within herself to become one, and 
that the El success of her former efforts is to be attributed not 
to the weakness, but to the misdirection of the revolutionary 
elements within her that the secret of force lies in constancy 
and unity of effort. They join this association in .the firm intent 
of consecrating both thought and action to the great aim of 
reconstituting Italy as one independent sovereign nation of free 
men and equals. 

By Italy we understand (i) continental and peninsular 
Italy, bounded on the north by the upper circle of the Alps, on 
the south by the sea, on the west by the mouths of the Varo, and 
on the east by Trieste ; (2) the islands proved Italian by the 
language of the inhabitants, and destined, under a special ad- 
ministrative organization, to form a part of the Italian political 

Ey the nation we understand the universality of Italians 
bound together by a common pact, and governed by the 
same laws. . . . 

"Young Italy" is Republican and Unitarian. 

Republican because theoretically every nation is destined, 
by the law of God and humanity, to form a free and equal com- 
munity of brothers; and the republican is the only form of 
government that insures this future. 

Because all true sovereignty resides essentially in the nation, 
the sole progressive and continuous interpreter of the supreme 
moral law. 

Because, whatever be the form of privilege that constitutes 
the apex of the social edifice, its tendency is to spread among the 
other classes, and by undermining the equality of the citizens, to 
endanger the liberty of the country, 

Because when the sovereignty is recognized as existing not in 
the whole body, but in several distinct powers, the path to usur- 
pation is laid open, and the struggle for supremacy between these 
powers is inevitable ; distrust and organized hostility take the 
place of harmony, which is society's law of life. 

Because the monarchical element being incapable of sustaining 
itself alone by the side of the popular element, it necessarily 

Constitution 301 

involves the existence of the intermediate element of an aristoc- 
racy the source of inequality and corruption to the whole 

Because both history and the nature of things teach us that 
elective monarchy tends to generate anarchy ; and hereditary 
monarchy tends to generate despotism. 

Because, when monarchy is not as in the Middle Ages 
based upon the belief now extinct in right divine, it becomes too 
weak to be a bond of unity and authority in the state. 

Because the inevitable tendency of the series of progressive 
transformations taking place in Europe is toward the enthrone- 
ment of the republican principle, and because the inauguration 
of the monarchical principle in Italy would carry along with it 
the necessity of a new revolution shortly after. . . . 

"Young Italy " is Unitarian 

Because, without unity, there is no true nation. 

Because without unity, there is no real strength, and Italy, 
surrounded as she is by powerful, united, and jealous nations, 
has need of strength before all things. 

Because federalism, by reducing her to the political impotence 
of Switzerland, would necessarily place her under the influence of 
one of the neighboring nations. 

Because federalism, by reviving the local -rivalries now extinct, 
would throw Italy back upon the Middle Ages. 

Because federalism would divide the great national arena into 
a number of smaller arenas ; and, by thus opening a path for 
every paltry ambition, become a source of aristocracy. 

Because federalism, by destroying the unity of the great 
Italian family, would strike at the root of the great mission Italy 
is destined to accomplish toward humanity. 

Because Europe is undergoing a progressive series of trans- 
formations, which are gradually and irresistibly guiding Euro- 
pean society to form itself into vast and united masses. 

Because the entire work of internal civilization in Italy will be 
seen, if rightly studied, to have been tending for ages to the 
formation of unity. 

Because all the objections raised against the Unitarian system 

" Young Italy" 

do but apply, In fact, to a system of administrative centralization 
and despotism, which has really nothing in common with unity. 

National unity, as understood by "Young Italy/ 3 does not 
imply the despotism of any, but the association and concord of 
all. The life inherent in each locality is sacred. " Young Italy " 
would have the administrative organization designed upon a 
broad basis of religious respect for the liberty of each commune, 
but the political organization, destined to represent the nation 
in Europe, should be one and central. 

Without unity of religious belief, and unity of social pact ; 
without unity of civil, political, and penal legislation, there is 
no true nation. 

These principles, which are the basis of the association, and 
their immediate consequences, set forth in the publications of 
the association, form the creed of "Young Italy' 7 ; and the so- 
ciety only admits as members those who accept and believe in 
this creed. . . . 

The means by which "Young Italy" proposes to reach its aim 
are education and insurrection, to be adopted simultaneously, 
and made to harmonize with each other. 

Education must ever be directed to teach by example, word, 
and pen, the necessity of insurrection. Insurrection, whenever 
it can be realized, must be so conducted as to render it a means of 
national education. . . . 

The character of the insurrection must be national ; the pro- 
gramme of the insurrection must contain the germ of the pro- 
gramme of future Italian nationality. Wheresoever the initiative 
of insurrection shall take place, the flag raised, and the aim pro- 
posed, will be Italian. . . . 

Convinced that Italy is strong enough to free herself without 
external help ; that, in order to found a nationality, it is neces- 
sary that the feeling and consciousness of nationality should 
exist; and that it can never be created by any revolution, 
however triumphant, if achieved by foreign arms; convinced, 
moreover, that every insurrection that looks abroad for assist- 
ance, must remain dependent upon the state of things abroad, 
and can therefore never be certain of victory; "Young 

Oath of Initiation 303 

Italy" is determined that while it will ever be ready to profit 
by the favorable course of events abroad, it will neither allow 
the character of the insurrection nor the choice of the moment 
to be governed by them. 

"Young Italy" is aware that revolutionary Europe awaits a 
signal, and that this signal may be given by Italy as well as by 
any other nation. It knows that the ground it proposes to 
tread is virgin soil; and the experiment untried. Foregone 
insurrections have relied upon the forces supplied by one class 
alone, and not upon the strength of the whole nation. 

The one thing wanting to twenty millions of Italians, desirous 
of emancipating themselves, is not power, but faith. 

134. Oath of Initiation 1 

The following oath was to be taken by each member upon his initia- 
tion and in the presence of the initiator. 

In the name of God and of Italy 

In the name of all the martyrs of the holy Italian cause who 
have fallen beneath foreign and domestic tyranny 

By the duties which bind me. to the land wherein God has 
placed me, and to the brothers whom God has given me 

By the love innate in all men I bear to the country that 
gave my mother birth, and will be the home of my children 

By the hatred innate in all men I bear to evil, injustice, 
usurpation, and arbitrary rule 

By the blush that rises to my brow when I stand before the 
citizens of other lands, to know that I have no rights of citizen- 
ship, no country, and no national flag 

By the aspiration that thrills my soul toward that liberty for 
which it was created, and is impotent to exert ; toward the good 
it was created to strive after, and is impotent to achieve in the 
silence and isolation of slavery 

By the memory of our former greatness, and the sense of our 
present degradation 

By the tears of Italian mothers for their sons dead on the scaf- 
fold, in prison, or in exile 

1 Life and Writings of Joseph Massini, vol. i, pp. 110-113. 

304 "Young Italy 7 ' 

By tlie sufferings of the millions 


Believing in the mission intrusted by God to Italy, and the 
duty of every Italian to strive to attempt its fulfilment 

Convinced that where God has ordained that a nation shall be, 
He has given the requisite power to create it ; that the people are 
the depositaries of that power, and that in its right direction for 
the people, and by the people, lies the secret of victory 

Convinced that virtue consists in action and sacrifice, and 
strength in union and constancy of purpose 

I give my name to "Young Italy," an association of men 
holding the same faith, and swear 

To dedicate myself wholly and for ever to the endeavor with 
them to constitute Italy one free, independent, republican nation. 

To promote by every means in my power whether by writ- 
ten or spoken word, or by action the education of my Italian 
brothers toward the aim of " Young Italy " ; toward associa- 
tion, the sole means of its accomplishment, and to virtue, which 
alone can render the conquest lasting 

To abstain from enrolling myself in any other association from 
this time forth 

To obey all the instructions, in conformity with the spirit of 
Young Italy, given me by those who represent with me the union 
of my Italian brothers ; and to keep the secret of these instruc- 
tions, even at the cost of my life 

To assist my brothers of the association both by action and 


This do I swear, invoking upon my head the wrath of God, the 
abhorrence of man, and infamy of the perjurer, if I ever betray 
the whole or a part of this my oath. 

135. Organization 1 

The following notes were written by Mazzlni in 1861. 

Strange to say, the objections raised against us generally 
sprang from the belief which had taken root among the men 

1 Life and Writings of Joseph Massini, vol. I, pp. 174-180. 

Organization 305 

of past Insurrections, and the semi-enlightened classes of the 
Peninsula that unity was an impossible Utopia, and con- 
trary to the historical tendencies of the Italians. 

Facts have now decided this question between me and these 
opponents. But at that time, when the opinion against unity 
was almost universal among the so-called educated classes; 
when all the governments of Europe supported the theory of 
Metternich that Italy was a mere " geographical expression"; 
when the men most noted for their republican principles, revolu- 
tionary aims, and antagonism to existing treaties, were all 
partisans of federalism, as the only possible form of national 
existence for us Italians ; the causes of doubt and distrust were 
numerous indeed. . . . 

The truth is that throughout the whole of that period of 
European agitation, all intuition of the future was wanting. 
The aim of the agitation was liberty above all things. 

Few understood that lasting liberty can only be achieved and 
maintained in Europe by strong and compact nations, equally 
balanced in power, and therefore not liable to be driven to the 
necessity of seeking a protecting alliance by guilty concessions ; 
or led astray by the hope of assistance in territorial questions, to 
the point of seeking to ally their liberty with despotism. 

Few understood that the association of the nations to promote 
the organized and peaceful progress of humanity which they in- 
voked, was only possible on the condition that those nations 
should first have a real and recognized existence. 

The compulsory conjunction of different races, utterly devoid 
of that unity of faith and moral aim in which true nationality 
consists, does not in fact constitute a nation. The division of 
Europe, sanctioned in the treaties of 1815, by the excess of power 
given to some states, produced a consequent weakness in others, 
and placed them in the necessity of leaning upon some one of the 
great powers, no matter upon what terms, for support ; while the 
germs of internal dissension that division had implanted in 
the heart of every people had created an insurmountable bar- 
rier to the normal and secure development of liberty. 

To reconstruct the map of Europe, then, in accordance with 

3 o6 "Young Italy" 

the special mission assigned to each people by their geographical, 
ethnographical, and historical conditions, was the first step neces- 
sary for all. 

I believed that the question of the nationalities was destined 
to give its name to the century, and restore to Europe that 
power of initiative for good, which had ceased, on the conclusion 
of the past epoch, by the fall of Napoleon. . . . 

I occupied my time, therefore, between the writing of one 
article and another, in founding and spreading my secret asso- 
ciation. I sent statutes, instructions, suggestions of every de- 
scription, to those young friends I had left behind in Genoa and 
Leghorn. There . . . the first congregations were established. 

The organization was as simple and as free from symbolism as 
it was possible to make it. Rejecting the interminable hierarchy 
of Carbonarism, l the institution had only two grades of rank 
the Initiators and the Initiated. 

Those were chosen as Initiators, who, to their devotion to the 
principles of the association, added sufficient intelligence and 
prudence to justify their being permitted to select new members. 
The simply Initiated were not empowered to affiliate. 

A central committee existed abroad, whose duties consisted 
in holding aloft, as it were, the flag of the association, forging 
as many links as possible between the Italian and foreign demo- 
cratic element, and generally directing and superintending the 
work of the association. 

There were also native committees established in the chief 
towns of the more important provinces, who managed the prac- 
tical details, correspondence, etc. ; a director or organizer of the 
initiators in each city, and groups of members, unequal in num- 
ber, but each headed by an initiator. 

Such was the framework of " Young Italy". . . . 

All masonic signs of recognition were abolished as dangerous. 
A watchword, a piece of paper previously cut into a certain 
shape, and a certain fashion of giving the hand, were used to 
accredit the messengers sent from the central to the provincial 

1 The Carbonari had an elaborate and fantastic ritual full of symbols taken 
from the Christian Church, as well as from the trade of charcoal-burning. 

Organization 307 

committees, and vice versa; and these signs were changed every 
three months. 

Each member was required to bind himself to a monthly con- 
tribution according to his means. Two-thirds of the money 
thus collected was retained .n the provincial treasuries; one- 
third was paid in, or, more correctly speaking, ought to have been 
paid in, to the treasury of the central committee, to provide for 
the expenses of the general organization. It was calculated that 
the expenses of printing would be defrayed by the sale of the 

The symbol of the association was a sprig of cypress, in mem- 
ory of our martyrs. Its motto, Or a e sempre, "Now and for- 
ever," indicated the constancy indispensable for our enterprise. 

The banner of "Young Italy," composed of the three Italian 
colors, 1 bore on the one side the words, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, 
HUMANITY; and on the other, UNITY and INDEPEND- 

The first indicated the international mission of Italy; the 
second, the national. 

From the first moment of its existence, GOD and HUMANITY 
was adopted as the formula of the association, with regard to its 
external relations; while GOD and the PEOPLE was that 
chosen in its relations to our own country. 

From these two principles, which are in fact the application of 
one sole principle to two different spheres, the association de- 
duced its whole religious, social, political, and individual faith. 

"Young Italy" was the first among the political associations 
of that day which endeavored to comprehend all the various 
manifestations of national lif e in one sole conception, and to di- 
rect and govern them all from the height of a religious principle 
the mission confided by the Creator to his creature toward 
one sole aim, the emancipation of our country and its brother- 
hood with free nations. 

1 Red, white, and green. 


WHAT Garibaldi called My Memoirs were chiefly written 
at two distinct periods, the first in 1850, after the fall of the 
Roman Republic, and the second in 1872, while he was 
living in retirement on the island of Caprera. In composing 
his recollections Garibaldi seems to have made no use of 
books or documents and to have relied entirely on his own 
memory. He also passed over without comment certain 
periods of his eventful life, about which the reader would 
naturally wish to be informed. The Memoirs end with the 
Franco-German War, in which the Italian patriot fought 
at the head of a volunteer corps on the side of the French. 

136. Fall of the Roman Republic z 

The revolutionary movement of 1 848, spreading to the Italian penin- 
sula, had led to the proclamation of the Roman Republic by Mazzmi 
(February, 1849). Pope Pius IX, thus deprived of the States of the 
Church, called upon the Catholic powers to restore his possessions. 
The French government, which was at this time republican, with Louis 
Napoleon as president, responded by sending a large army to Rome. 
Garibaldi defended the city for several months (April July, 1849), but 
in the end had to yield to greatly superior numbers. 

Any one who knows Rome and its eighteen miles' circuit of 
walls, is well aware of the impossibility of defending it with a 
small force against an army which, like that of the French in 
1849, i s superior in numbers and in every kind of munition of war. 

It is therefore obvious that the whole force of the Roman army 
ought not to have been employed in the defense of the capital, 
but the greater part should have occupied the impregnable posi- 
tions with which the territory abounds, and the whole population 

1 Autobiography of Giuseppe Garibaldi, translated by A. Werner. 3 vols. Lon- 
don, 1889. Walter Smith and Innes. 

* Garibaldi, A utobiography, vol. ii, pp. 13-21. 

Fall of the Roman Republic 309 

have been called to arms ; while I should have been permitted to 
continue my victorious march into the heart of the Neapolitan 
kingdom ; and, finally, after having sent out as many means of 
defense as possible, the government itself should have left Rome, 
and established itself in some central and defensible situation. 

It is true that at the same time some measures ought to have 
been taken to secure the public safety against the machinations 
of the clerical element. This was not done, and the priests were 
left, with an ill-judged toleration, to plot and intrigue, and, in the 
end, contribute to the fall of the Republic and the misfortunes of 

Who knows what results might have followed the salutary 
measures detailed above? Our fall if we were destined to fall 
in any case would at least have taken place after we had done 
our very utmost, and certainly not till, after that of Hungary and 

On arriving at Rome. . . and seeing the way in which the 
national cause was being managed, I claimed the dictatorship 
as sometimes during my previous life I had demanded and seized 
the helm of a vessel which was being driven on the breakers. 
Mazzini and his partisans were scandalized. However, a few 
days after, on June 3, when the enemy, who had deluded them, 
had made himself master of the positions commanding the city, 
which we vainly attempted to retake at the cost of many pre- 
cious lives, then, I say, the head of the Triumvirate l wrote 
to me, offering me the post of commander-in-chief. Being em- 
ployed in the post of honor, I thought it as well to thank him, and 
go on with the bloody work of those ill-omened days. Oudinot, 2 
having received all the reinforcements he needed, thanks to the 
negotiations with which he had lulled to sleep the suspicions of 
the Republican government, prepared for action, announcing 
that he would recommence hostilities on June 4, and the gov- 
ernment trusted to the word of the faithless soldier of 
Bonaparte. . . . 

1 Mazzini. 

2 The French commander. He was a son of Marshal Oudinot, famous in the 
Napoleonic wars. 

310 Garibaldi's Campaigns 

Oudinot, who had given us warning for June 4, found it better 
to take us by surprise in the night between the 2nd and 3rd. In 
the early hours of the morning, we were awakened by the sound 
of firing near Porta San Pancrazio. The alarm was sounded, 
and the legionaries, though worn out with fatigue, were under 
arms in a moment, and marching toward the spot where we heard 
the fighting going on. Our men who garrisoned the posts outside 
the walls had been surprised in a cowardly way, massacred or 
made prisoners, and the enemy was already in possession of 
Quattro Venti and other important points when, in all haste, we 
reached Porta San Pancrazio. In the hope that it was not yet 
occupied by a great number, I ordered an attack on the Casino 
of Quattro Venti, feeling that on our possession of this point 
depended the safety of Rome. It was attacked, I do not say 
bravely, but heroically; first by the Italian legion, then by 
Manara's Bersaglieri, and lastly by several other corps in suc- 
cession, supported by the artillery from the walls, till night had 
fallen. The enemy, knowing the importance of the position I 
have mentioned, had occupied it with a strong body of their 
best troops; and we vainly attempted to regain possession by 
attacking it repeatedly with our bravest men. . . . 

The 3rd of June decided the fate of Rome. The best officers 
had been killed or wounded ; the French remained masters of the 
key to all the dominant positions, and, with their great strength 
in numbers and artillery, had firmly established themselves there. 
In the lateral positions carried by surprise and treachery they 
began regular siege-works, as though they had to deal with a 
fortress of the first order, which proves that they had met with 
Italians who did fight. 

I will pass over the siege-works, parallels, breaches, bombard- 
ment with mortars, etc. All this, I think, has been related in 
detail by many others ; and I should not be able to do it with ' 
great accuracy, being at the moment without the necessary data 
and documents. What I can assert, however, is that from 
April to July our raw levies fought creditably enough against a 
veteran army, far superior in numbers, better organized, and pos- 
sessed of immense resources. At each position the ground was 

Fall of the Roman Republic 311 

disputed foot by foot, and there is not a single example of flight 
before so formidable an enemy, or a battle in which they yielded 
to force of numbers without Homeric fighting. . . . 

The situation grew more difficult every day. Our brave 
Manara found it less and less easy to find men for outpost and 
line duty, indispensable as this was for the public safety. The 
weakness of this part of the defense was certainly a potent cause 
of the easy entrance effected by the mercenaries of Bonaparte 
through the breaches their cannon had already made. 

If Mazzini (and the blame rests on no one else) had had as 
much practical capacity as fertility of imagination in planning 
movements and enterprises, and if he had possessed what he 
always claimed to have the genius for directing warlike 
affairs ; if, moreover, he had been willing to listen to some of his 
friends, who, from their antecedents, might be supposed to know 
something ; he would have made fewer mistakes, and, in the 
crisis I am describing, might, if he could not have saved Italy, 
at least have indefinitely retarded the Roman catastrophe; 
and, I repeat, have left Rome the honor of having been the last 
to fall, instead of succumbing sooner than Venice and Hungary. 

I had sent Manara the very day before his glorious death 
to Mazzini, with a message suggesting that we should leave 
Rome, and march with ah 1 available men and supplies, of which 
we possessed a considerable amount, to some stronghold in the 
Apennines. To this day I do not know why it was not done. 
History does not lack precedents. . . . It is not true that such a 
measure was impossible, for when I left Rome a few days later, 
with about four thousand men, I met with no obstacles. The 
representatives of the people, mostly young and energetic pa- 
triots, much beloved in their native districts, might have been 
sent thither to kindle the enthusiasm of the populace, and so 
tempt fortune once more. 

Instead of this, it was said that defense was becoming impos- 
sible, and the representatives remained at their posts a 
courageous resolve, honorable to them as individuals, but not 
greatly tending to promote either the glory or the interest of 
their country. Nor were they to be praised for adopting it, 

312 Garibaldi's Campaigns 

while our resources were yet abundant, and Hungary and Venice 
were still in arms against the enemies of Italy. 

Meanwhile we were awaiting the entrance of the French, to 
hand over to them the arms by whose means a painful and 
shameful period of slavery was to be prolonged. I myself, hav- 
ing a handful of comrades that I could count on, was resolved 
not to surrender, but take to the country and try our fate 

Mr. Cass, the American ambassador, knowing how matters 
stood, sent to me on July 3, saying he wished to speak with me. 
I started for his house, but met him before reaching it ; when he 
told me, with great kindness, that an American corvette at 
Civita Vecchia was at my disposal, if I wished to embark, with 
any of my friends who might be compromised. I thanked the 
generous representative of the great republic, but stated that I 
intended to leave Rome with all who might be willing to follow 
me, as I would not believe that my country's cause was lost, 
without striking one more blow to retrieve it. I then turned 
towards Porta San Giovanni, where I was to meet my followers, 
who had orders to prepare for leaving the city. On reaching 
the square, I found most of them awaiting me ; the rest were 
gradually arriving. Many men belonging to other corps, who 
had guessed or been informed of our project, also came to join us, 
rather than submit to the degradation of laying down their arms 
before the priest-ridden soldiers of Bonaparte. 

137. Garibaldi at Bay l 

Garibaldi, with Ms four thousand volunteers, hoped to cut a way 
through central Italy and join the defenders of Venice, which still held 
out against the Austrians. 

After having made sure, by observations from the top of the 
ramparts, that none of the enemy's troops were visible on our 
route, I gave orders to march along the Tivoli road, ready to 
fight in case any attempt should be made to obstruct our prog- 
ress. The march took place without opposition, and on the 
morning of July 3 we reached Tivoli, where I intended as far as 

1 Garibaldi, Autobiography., vol. ii, pp. 22-29. 

Garibaldi at Bay 313 

possible to organize the miscellaneous elements which formed 
my small brigade. 

Up to this time, things did not look quite desperate. The 
majority of my best officers were missing, dead, or wounded 
Masina, Daverio, Manara, Mameli, Brno, Peralta, Montaldi, 
Ramorino, and so many others. But some still remained 
Marrocchetti, Sacchi, Cenni, Coccelli, Isnardi ; and had it not 
been for a general depression of spirits, on the part of both 
soldiers and civilians, I could have carried on a glorious war 
for some time longer, and given the Italian nation once re- 
covered from their surprise and dejection an opportunity of 
shaking off the yoke of foreign plunderers. But, alas ! this was 
not to be. 

I soon perceived that there was no inclination to continue the 
glorious enterprise placed before us by fate. When I marched . 
northward from Tivoli, to throw myself into the midst of an 
energetic population, and kindle the flames of their patriotism, 
not only was it impossible for me to enlist one man, but night 
after night, as if they had felt the need of committing the shame- 
ful act under cover of darkness, some of those who had followed 
me from Rome deserted. 

In my own heart I often recalled the steadfast endurance and 
self-abnegation of those South Americans among whom I had 
lived, who, deprived of every comfort of life, content with any 
kind of food, and often with none at all, kept up a war of extermi- 
nation for many years in deserts and forests, rather than bow the 
knee to a tyrant or a foreign invader. When I compared those 
brave sons of Columbus with my unwarlike and effeminate coun- 
trymen, I was ashamed to belong to these degenerate descend- 
ants of the greatest of nations, who were incapable of keeping 
the field a month without their three meals a day. 

At Terni we were joined by the gallant Colonel Forbes, an 
Englishman, who loved the Italian cause as well as the best of us 
could have done. He was a most brave and honest soldier, and 
brought with him several hundred well-drilled men. 

From Terni we proceeded northward, twice crossing the Apen- 
nines, but none of the inhabitants responded to our appeals. 

314 Garibaldi's Campaigns 

The muskets abandoned in these wholesale desertions were car- 
ried with us on mule-back ; but their excessive number and the 
difficulty of transport at last forced us to leave them, with the 
ammunition, at the disposal of those inhabitants who were 
thought more trustworthy, that they might keep them hidden 
against the day when they should be weary of disgrace and 

Though our situation was not a prosperous one, yet we might 
well congratulate ourselves on having, in quitting the neighbor- 
hood of Rome, distanced the French corps which had vainly fol- 
lowed us for a time ; and also escaped the Austrian, Spanish, and 
Neapolitan troops among whom we had afterward found our- 
selves entangled. 

The Austrians were seeking us everywhere aware, no doubt, 
of our far from flourishing condition, desirous of increasing the 
glory so cheaply acquired in the north, and also jealous of the 
French successes. They knew perfectly well from their numer- 
ous spies (priests, indefatigable traitors to the land which, to her 
sorrow/still tolerates them.) that our column was melting away 
day by day. Besides, the priests, being absolute masters of 
the peasantry, and all residents in the district (one peculiarly 
adapted for night-marches), kept our enemies minutely informed 
of all our affairs of the positions we occupied, and every move- 
ment we undertook. I, on the other hand, could hear little about 
the enemy, as the friendly part of the population were thor- 
oughly demoralized, and afraid of compromising themselves, 
so that, even for money, it was impossible to obtain guides. 

Guided, then, by experts (I have seen the priests themselves, 
crucifix in hand, leading our country's enemies against us), the 
Austrians always found us at a certain hour of the day, all our 
movements being undertaken at night ; but they usually found 
us in strong positions, where they durst not attack us. This kind 
of thing, though very wearisome and a fruitful source of deser- 
tions, continued for some time, our little column sustaining 
neither attack nor defeat. This proves how much we might 
have done in our country's service had the priests and conse- 
quently the peasants instead of being, as they always were, 

Garibaldi at Bay 315 

hostile to the national cause, been favorable to it, and used their 
influence against foreign oppressors. 

We kept at bay such bodies of troops as the Austrians 
who were then fresh from the victory of Novara, 1 and had recon- 
quered all the northern part of the Peninsula by mere marching 
without their daring to attack us, though they were far more 
numerous than ourselves. . . . 

Between the depressed state of the towns, as I have said, and 
the hostile condition of the priest-ridden country districts, our 
condition became exceedingly precarious, and we soon began to 
feel the effects of the reaction taking place in all the Italian 
provinces. . . . 

The situation having become desperate, I tried to reach San 
Marino. The excellent republicans of this city, hearing of my 
approach, sent a deputation to meet me. While I was engaged 
in conference with them, an Austrian corps overtook our rear- 
guard, and threw it into such confusion that all or, at least, 
the majority took to flight, almost without seeing the enemy. 
Warned of this disaster, I returned to find the men flying, and 
my brave Anita, 2 with Colonel Forbes, making every effort to 
stop them. Incapable of fear herself, her face expressed the 
bitterest scorn, and she could not control her disgust at such an 
exhibition of terror in men who, a short time before, had been 
fighting bravely. 

Here I must mention a small cannon, which a few of our brave 
Roman gunners, who had so greatly distinguished themselves in 
the siege, had brought along with them since the beginning of our 
retreat. With matchless patience and perseverance, without 
horses or appliances, they had dragged it along, with the greatest 
labor, over the rugged mountain-paths. On this day of flight, 
being deserted by the others, they for a time defended it alone ; 
and only abandoned it after a desperate fight, resulting in the 
loss of some of their number. 

These Austrians, accustomed to frighten Italians, also made 

1 The battle of March 23, wHch broke up the Piedmontese army and led to the 
abdication of Charles Albert. 

2 Garibaldi's wife. 

316 Garibaldi's Campaigns 

use of those famous squibs their favorite weapon which 
they flung at us in marvelous profusion, and by which I have 
never seen a man injured. I hope my young countrymen will 
be able to treat these toys with the contempt they deserve, on 
the day perhaps not so far distant, after all when we shall 
teach those masters of the Tyrol that the air south of the Alps is 
fatal to them. 

Arrived at San Marino, I wrote, standing on the steps of a 
church outside the city, the order for the day, which was ex- 
pressed somewhat in the following terms : " Soldiers, I release 
you from the obligation of accompanying me. Return to your 
homes ; but remember that Italy must not be left in slavery and 

The Austrian government had communicated with that of the 
San Marino republic, offering to make terms with us, on condi- 
tions we could not possibly accept. This occasioned a favorable 
reaction in the feelings of the soldiers, who resolved to fight to 
the last, rather than stoop to terms so ignominious. 

Our agreement with the government of the republic was to the 
effect that we should lay down our arms within that neutral 
territory, and that then all should be freely allowed to return to 
their homes. Such was the treaty concluded with this govern- 
ment ; we would make no terms with the enemies of Italy. 

Garibaldi and a few followers, including Ms devoted wife, now took 
refuge in the pine forests about Ravenna. Most of Ms men were soon 
captured and shot ; Anita died ; and he Mmself was obliged to flee across 
the peninsula to Tuscany, whence he escaped to Piedmont and ulti- 
mately to the United States. 

138. Liberation of Sicily l 

Garibaldi and Ms volunteer corps of 1070 " red-sMrts " the 
Thousand sailed from Genoa on May 5, 1860, reached Marsala on May 
ii, landed there under the protection of British warsMps, and during the 
next two months completely expelled the Neapolitan troops from Sicily. 

Sicily I a filial and well-merited affection makes me consecrate 
these first words of a glorious period to thee, the land of marvels 
and of marvelous men. . . . 

1 Garibaldi, Autobiography, vol. ii, pp. 143-147. 

Liberation of Sicily 317 

Once more, Sicily, it was thine to awaken sleepers, to drag them 
from the lethargy in which the stupefying poison of diplomatists 
and doctrinaires had sunk them slumberers who, clad in armor 
not their own, confided to others the safety of their country, thus 
keeping her dependent and degraded. 

Austria is powerful, her armies are numerous ; several formid- 
able neighbors are opposed, on account of petty dynastic aims, 
to the resurrection of Italy. The Bourbon has a hundred thou- 
sand soldiers. Yet what matter? The heart of twenty-five 
millions throbs and trembles with the love of their country I 
Sicily, coming forward as champion and representative of these 
millions, impatient of servitude, has thrown down the gauntlet 
to tyranny, and defies it everywhere, combating it alike within 
convent walls and on the peaks of her ever-active volcanoes. 
But her heroes are few, while the ranks of the tyrant are numer- 
ous ; and the patriots are scattered, driven from the capital, and 
forced to take to the mountains. But are riot the mountains 
the refuge, the sanctuary, of the liberty of nations ? The Ameri- 
cans, the Swiss, the Greeks, held the mountains when over- 
powered by the ordered cohorts of their oppressors. "Liberty 
never escapes those who truly desire to win her." Well has this 
been proved true by those resolute islanders, who, driven from 
the cities, kept up the sacred fire in the mountains. Weariness, 
hardships, sacrifices what do they matter, when men are fight- 
ing for the sacred cause of their country, of humanity? 

noble Thousand ! in these days of shame and misery, I love 
to remember you! Turning to you, the mind feels itself rise 
above this mephitic atmosphere of robbery and intrigue, relieved 
to remember that, though the majority of your gallant band have 
scattered their bones over the battlefields of liberty, there yet 
remain enough to represent you, ever ready to prove to your 
insolent detractors that all are not traitors and cowards all 
are not shameless self-seekers, in this land of tyrants and slaves 1 
" Where any of our brothers are fighting for liberty, thither all 
Italians must hasten!" such was your motto, and you 
hastened to the spot without asking whether your foes were few 
or many, whether the number of true men was sufficient, whether 

318 Garibaldi's Campaigns 

you had the means for the arduous enterprise. You hastened, 
defying the elements, despising difficulties and dangers and 
the obstacles thrown in your way by enemies and self-styled 
friends. In vain did the numerous cruisers of the Bourbon 
armament surround as with a circle of iron the island about to 
shake off their yoke ; in vain they ploughed the Tyrrhene seas in 
all directions, to overwhelm you in their abysses in vain! 
Sail on, sail on, argonauts of Liberty ! . . . 

Yet sail on, sail on fearlessly, Piemonte and Lombardo, 1 noble 
vessels manned by the noblest of crews ; history will remember 
your illustrious names in despite of calumny. And when the 
survivors of the Thousand, the last spared by the scythe of time, 
sitting by their own fireside, shall tell their grandchildren of the 
expedition mythical as it will seem in those days in which 
they were found worthy to share, they will recall to the aston- 
ished youth the glorious names of the vessels which composed it. 

Sail on I sail oh ! Ye bear the Thousand, who in later days 
will become a million in the day when the blindfolded masses 
shall understand that the priest is an imposter, and tyrannies 
a monster anachronism. How glorious were thy Thousand, O 
Italy, fighting against the plumed and gilded agents of despotism, 
and driving them before them like sheep ! glorious in their 
motley array, just as they came from their offices and workshops, 
at the trumpet-call of duty in the student's coat and hat, or 
the more modest garb of the mason, the carpenter, or the smith. 2 

139. Entry into Naples 3 

Garibaldi's successful campaign in Sicily was quickly followed by Ms 
invasion of southern Italy. It became a triumphal progress, leading 
straight to the Bourbon capital. 

Our entry into the great capital sounds more imposing than it 
was in reality. Accompanied by a small staff, I passed through 
the midst of the Bourbon troops still in occupation, who pre- 

1 The two steamers which carried the Thousand to Sicily. 

2 According to Garibaldi no peasants were found among the volunteers who made 
up the Thousand. 

3 Garibaldi, Autobiography, vol. ii, pp. 215-217. 

Entry into Naples 319 

sented arms far more obsequiously than they did at the time to 
their own generals. 

September 7, 1860 ! which of the sons of Parthenope 1 will 
not remember that glorious day? On September 7 fell the 
abhorred dynasty which a great English statesman 2 had called 
"The curse of God," and on its ruins rose the sovereignty of the 
people, which, by some unhappy fatality, never lasts long. 

On September 7, a son of the people, accompanied by a few of 
his friends, who acted as his staff, entered the splendid capital 
of the fiery courser, 3 acclaimed and supported by its 500,000 in- 
habitants, whose fervid and irresistible will, paralyzing an entire 
army, urged them to the demolition of a tyranny and the vindi- 
cation of their sacred rights. That shock might well have moved 
the whole of Italy, impelling it forward on the path of duty ; that 
roar would suffice to tame the insolent and insatiable rulers, and 
overthrow them in the dust. 

Though the Bourbon army was still in possession of the forts 
and the principal points of the city, whence they could easily 
have destroyed it, yet the applause and the impressive conduct 
of this great populace sufficed to ensure their harmlessness on 
September 7, 1860. 

I entered Naples with the whole of the southern army as yet a 
long way off in the direction of the Strait of Messina, the king 
of Naples having, on the previous day, quitted his palace to 
retire to Capua. 

The royal nest, still warm, was occupied by the emancipators 
of the people, and the rich carpets of the royal palace were trod- 
den by the heavy boots of the plebeian. These warnings ought 
to be of some use even to the governments falsely styling them- 
selves "restorative," and should induce them to ameliorate, at 
least in some degree, the condition of mankind. That they have 
not been thus useful is due to the selfishness, ostentation, and 
obstinacy of the privileged classes, who do not even amend their 
faults when the lion of the people, driven to desperation, roars 

1 An ancient name of Naples. 

2 W. E. Gladstone. 

3 The emblem of Naples. 

320 Garibaldi's Campaigns 

at their gates, ready to tear them limb from limb in his wrath ? 
which, though savage, is well-deserved, and springs naturally 
enough from the seed of hatred sown by tyranny. 

At Naples, as in all places we had passed through since cross- 
ing the strait, the populace were sublime in their enthusiastic 
patriotism, and the resolute tone assumed by them certainly had 
no small share in the brilliant results obtained. 

Another circumstance very favorable to the national cause was 
the tacit consent of the Bourbon navy, which, had it been en- 
tirely hostile, could have greatly retarded our progress toward 
the capital. In fact, our steamers transported the divisions of 
the southern army along the whole Neapolitan coast without let 
or hindrance, which could not have been done in the face of any 
decided opposition on the part of the navy. 


AFTER Bismarck's dismissal in 1890 from the office of 
German chancellor, he gave much time to the preparation 
of his memoirs. The groundwork of the first draft consisted 
of shorthand notes taken down at his dictation. These he 
carefully revised and supplemented with additions in his own 
hand. The manuscript was then privately printed and in 
this shape was subjected to additional revision and verifica- 
tion. We can be sure that the memoirs in their final form 
are exactly as Bismarck wished to leave them. They were 
not given to the world until 1898, a few months after their 
author's death. 

140. "Blood and Iron" 2 

William I, on becoming regent of Prussia in 1858 and king three 
years later, surrounded himself with that group of brilliant men whose 
labors did so much to create modern Germany. As chief of the general 
staff of the army he appointed Hellmuth von Moltke, as war minister 
he named Albrecht von Roon, and in 1862 he summoned Bismarck to 
be his minister-president and foreign minister. Bismarck's duty was 
to carry on the government against the wishes of the Prussian parlia- 
ment, which did not approve William's policy of building up a large and 
efficient army. In the following narrative Bismarck explains how he 
strengthened the king's resolution at a time when there seemed to be 
danger of a revolution in Prussia. 

In the beginning of October, 1862, 1 went as far as Jliterbogk 
to meet the king, who had been at Baden-Baden for September 
30, his wife's birthday, and waited for him in the still unfinished 
railway station, filled with third-class travelers and workmen. 
My object, in taking this opportunity for an interview, was to 

1 Bismarck the Man and the Statesman. Being the Reflections and Reminis- 
cences of Otto, Prince von Bismarck, translated by A. J. Butler. 3 vols. Leipzig, 
iSgg. Bemhard Tauchnitz. 

2 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. i, pp. 74-77 - 

322 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

set his Majesty at rest about a speech made by me in the Budget 
Commission on September 30, which had aroused some excite- 
ment, and which, though not taken down in shorthand, had 
still been reproduced with tolerable accuracy in the newspapers. 

For people who were less embittered and blinded by ambi- 
tion, I had indicated plainly enough the direction in which I 
was going. Prussia such was the point of my speech as 
a glance at the map will show,- could no longer wear unaided 
on its long narrow figure the panoply which Germany required 
for its security ; that must be equally distributed over all Ger- 
man peoples. We should get no nearer the goal by speeches, 
associations, decisions of majorities; we should be unable to 
avoid a serious contest, a contest which could only be settled by 
blood and iron. In order to secure our success in this, the depu- 
ties must place the greatest possible weight of blood and iron in 
the hands of the king of Prussia, in order that, according to 
his judgment, he might throw it into one scale or the other. . . . 

Roon, who was present, expressed his dissatisfaction with 
my remarks on our way home, and said, among other things, 
that he did not regard these "witty digressions" as advanta- 
geous for our cause. For my part, I was torn between the 
desire of winning over members to an energetic national policy, 
and the danger of inspiring the king, whose own disposition 
was cautious and shrank from violent measures, with mistrust 
in me and my intentions. My object in going to meet him at 
Jtiterbogk was to counteract betimes the probable effect of 
press criticisms. 

I had some difficulty in discovering from the curt answers 
of the officials the section in the ordinary train hi which the 
king was seated by himself in an ordinary first-class carriage. 
The after-effect of his conversation with his wife was an obvious 
depression, and when I begged for permission to narrate the 
events which had occurred during his absence, he interrupted 
me with the words, "I can perfectly well see where all this 
will end. Over there, in front of the Opera House, under my 
windows, they will cut off your head, and mine a little while 

" Blood and Iron' 7 323 

I guessed, and it was afterward confirmed by witnesses, that 
during his week's stay at Baden-Baden his mind had been 
worked upon with variations on the theme of Polignac, 1 Straf- 
ford, 2 and Louis XVI. 3 When he was silent, I answered with 
the short remark, "Et apres, Sire?" "Apres, indeed; we shall 
be dead/' answered the king. "Yes," I continued, "then we 
shall be dead ; but we must all die sooner or later, and can we 
perish more honorably? I, fighting for my king's cause, and 
your Majesty sealing with your own blood your rights as king 
by the grace of God ; whether on the scaffold or the battlefield 
makes no difference in the glory of sacrificing life and limb for 
the rights assigned to you by the grace of God. Your Majesty 
must not think of Louis XVI ; he lived and died in a condition 
of mental weakness, and does not present a heroic figure in his- 
tory. Charles I, on the other hand, will always remain a noble 
historical character, for after drawing his sword for Ms rights 
and losing the battle, he did not hesitate to confirm his royal 
intent with his blood. Your Majesty is bound to fight, you 
cannot capitulate ; you must, even at the risk of bodily danger, 
go forth to meet any attempt at coercion." 

As I continued to speak in this sense, the king grew more 
and more animated, and began to assume the part of an officer 
fighting for kingdom and fatherland. In presence of external 
and personal danger he possessed a rare and absolutely natural 
fearlessness, whether on the field of battle or in the face of at- 
tempts on his life; his attitude in any external danger was 
elevating and inspiring. The ideal type of the Prussian officer 
who goes to meet certain death in the service with the simple 
words, "At your orders," but who, if he has to act on his own 
responsibility, dreads the criticism of his superior officer or of the 
world more than death, even to the extent of allowing his energy 
and correct judgment to be impaired by the fear of blame and 
reproof this type was developed in him to the highest degree. 
... To give up his life for king and fatherland was the duty of 

1 One of the French ministers held responsible for the policy which led to the 
deposition of Charles X and the revolution of July, 1830. 

2 See page 5. 3 See page 233. 

324 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

an officer ; still more that of a king, as the first officer in the land. 
As soon as he regarded his position from the point of view of 
military honor, it had no more terror for him than the command 
to defend what might prove a desperate position would have 
for any ordinary Prussian officer. This raised him above the 
anxiety about the criticism which public opinion, history, and 
his wife might pass on his political tactics. . . . The correct- 
ness of my judgment was confirmed by the fact that the king, 
whom I had found at Juterbogk weary, depressed, and dis- 
couraged, had, even before we arrived at Berlin, developed 
a cheerful, I might almost say joyous and combative disposition, 
which was plainly evident to the ministers and officials who 
received him on his arrival. 

141. The Schleswig-Holstein Question 1 

When the Prussian parliament refused to grant appropriations for 
the enlarged army, Bismarck, with the king's consent, proceeded to 
govern the country by unconstitutional means. Taxes were arbitra- 
rily levied and collected, and the necessary military reforms were then 
carried into effect. Meanwhile, fresh difficulties arose over the so- 
called Schleswig-Holstein question. These two duchies, though largely 
peopled by Germans, belonged to the crown of Denmark. On the death 
of the Danish king, Frederick VII, in 1863, Prince Frederick of August- 
enburg came forward as a claimant for the duchies. His claims were 
strongly supported by the whole German nation, which desired to relieve 
the duchies from a foreign yoke. Bismarck, however, wanted to secure 
the duchies for Prussia, rather than allow them to become one more 
independent German state. With Austria as an ally, Bismarck in 1864 
declared war on Denmark, not in support of Augustenburg, but on the 
ground that the Danish king was oppressing his German subjects. 
The unequal struggle soon ended with the surrender by Denmark of 
Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia and Austria. 

The gradations which appeared attainable in the Schleswig- 
Holstein question, every one of them meaning for the duchies 
an advance to something better than the existing conditions, 
culminated, in my judgment, in the acquisition of the duchies 
by Prussia, a view which I expressed in a council held immedi- 
ately after the death of Frederick VII. I reminded the king 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. ii, pp. 188-189. 

Peace with Austria 325 

that every one of his immediate ancestors, not even excepting 
his brother, had won an increment of territory for the state : 
Frederick William IV had acquired Hohenzollern and the Jahde 
district ; Frederick William III, the Rhine province ; Frederick 
William II, Poland ; Frederick II, Silesia; Frederick William I, 
old Hither Pomerania ; the Great Elector, Further Pomerania 
and Magdeburg, Minden, etc., and I encouraged him to do 
likewise. . . . 

If the utmost we aimed at could not be realized, we might 
have gone as far as the introduction of the Augustenburg dynasty 
and the establishment of a new middle state, provided the 
Prussian and German national interests had been put on a sure 
footing these interests to be protected by what was the essen- 
tial part of the subsequent conditions that is, a military con- 
vention, Kiel as a harbor, and the Baltic and North Sea canal. 

Even if, taking into consideration the European situation 
and the wish of the king, this had not been attainable without 
the isolation of Prussia from all the great powers, including 
Austria the question was in what way, whether under the 
form of a personal union or under some other, a provisional 
settlement was attainable as regards the duchies, which must 
in any case be an improvement in their position. From the 
very beginning I kept annexation steadily before my eyes. 

142. Peace with. Austria 1 

As Bismarck anticipated, the Danish War led to a quarrel between 
Austria and Prussia about the disposition of the conquered duchies. 
Austria wanted to hand them over to Augustenburg, but Bismarck 
would not consent to this arrangement. The question was temporarily 
settled by Prussia taking Schleswig and Austria, Holstein. Bismarck 
now made ready for war with Austria. Only by force, he believed, 
could that power be displaced from German politics and a new Germany 
be built up about Prussia. The first step was to isolate Austria from 
foreign support. This Bismarck did by securing the friendly neutrality 
of France and by arranging a treaty of alliance with Italy. The second 
step was to find a good pretext for attacking Austria. Here also Bis- 
marck's clever diplomacy accomplished its purpose. In the Seven 
Weeks' War which followed, Austria suffered the decisive defeat of 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. ii, pp. 227-234. 

326 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

Sadowa and at once sued for peace. Bismarck at this time showed the 
foresight of a true statesman. Having brought about the war for a 
purpose, namely, the exclusion of Austria from Germany, he held that 
Prussia should not humble her adversary further by taking any Austrian 
territory. Austria, Bismarck reasoned, might become a valuable ally 
in the near future, if she were now treated with moderation. 

I was firmly resolved, in consequence of the above considera- 
tions, to make a cabinet question of the acceptance of the peace 
offered by Austria. The position was difficult. All the generals 
shared the disinclination to break off the uninterrupted course 
of victory; and during these days the king was more often 
and more readily accessible to military influences than to mine. 
I was the only person at headquarters who was politically 
responsible as a minister and forced by the exigencies of the 
situation to form an opinion and come to a decision without 
being able to lay the responsibility for the result upon any 
other authority. ... I was just as little able as any one to fore- 
see what shape future events would take, and the consequent 
judgment of the world ; but I was the only one present who 
was under a legal obligation to hold, to utter, and to defend 
an opinion. This opinion I had formed after careful considera- 
tion of the future of our position in Germany and our relations 
to Austria ; and was ready to be responsible for it and to defend 
it before the king. . . . 

On July 23, 1866, under the presidency of the king, a council 
of war was held, in which the question to be decided was whether 
we should make peace under the conditions offered or continue 
the war. A painful illness from which I was suffering made 
it necessary that the council should be held in my room. On 
this occasion I was the only civilian in uniform. I declared 
it to be my conviction that peace must be concluded on the 
Austrian terms, but remained alone in my opinion; the king 
supported the military majority. My nerves could not stand 
the strain which had been put upon them day and night; I 
got up in silence, walked into my adjoining bedchamber, and 
was there overcome by a violent paroxysm of tears. Mean- 
while, I heard the council dispersing in the next room. I there- 

Peace with Austria 327 

upon set to work to commit to paper the reasons which in my 
opinion spoke for the conclusion of peace; and begged the 
king, in the event of his not accepting the advice for which I was 
responsible, to relieve me of my functions as minister if the war 
were continued. , With this document I set out on the following 
day to explain it by word of mouth. In the antechamber I found 
two colonels with a report on the spread of cholera among their 
troops, barely half of whom were fit for service. The alarming 
figures confirmed my resolve to make the acceptance of the 
Austrian terms a cabinet question. . . . Armed with my docu- 
ment, I unfolded to the king the political and military reasons 
which opposed the continuation of the war. 

We had to avoid wounding Austria too severely ; we had to 
avoid leaving behind in her any unnecessary bitterness of feeling 
or desire for revenge ; we ought rather to reserve the possibility 
of becoming friends again with our adversary of the moment, 
and in any case to regard the Austrian state as a piece on the 
European chessboard and the renewal of friendly relations 
with her as a move open to us. If Austria were severely in- 
jured, she would become the ally of France and of every other 
opponent of ours; she would even sacrifice her anti-Russian 
interests for the sake of revenge on Prussia. . . . 

To all this the king raised no objection, but declared the 
actual terms inadequate, without, however, definitely formulat- 
ing his own demands. . . . He said that the chief culprit could 
not be allowed to escape unpunished, and that justice once 
satisfied, we could let the misguided partners off more easily, 
and he insisted on the cessions of territory from Austria. I 
replied that we were not there to sit in judgment, but to pur- 
sue the German policy. Austria's conflict in rivalry with us 
was no more culpable than ours with her; our task was the 
establishment or initiation of German national unity under 
the leadership of the king of Prussia. . . . 

What seemed to me to be paramount with his Majesty was 
the aversion of the military party to interrupt the victorious 
course of the army. The resistance which I was obliged, in 
accordance with my convictions, to offer to the king's views with 

328 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

regard to following up the military successes, and to his inclina- 
tion to continue the victorious advance, excited him to such a 
degree that a prolongation of the discussion became impossi- 
ble ; and, under the impression that my opinion was rejected, I 
left the room with the idea of begging the king to allow me, in 
my capacity of officer, to join my regiment. On returning to 
my room I was in the mood that the thought occurred to me 
whether it would not be better to fall out of the open window, 
which was four stories high; and did not look round when I 
heard the door open, although I suspected that the person 
entering was the crown prince, 1 whose room in the same corridor 
I "had just passed. I felt his hand on my shoulder, while he 
said, "You know that I was against this war. You considered 
it necessary, and the responsibility for it lies on you. If you 
are now persuaded that our end is attained, and peace must 
now be concluded, I am ready to support you and defend your 
opinion with my father." 

He then repaired to the king, and came back after a short 
half-hour, in the same calm, friendly mood, but with the words, 
"It has been a very difficult business, but my father has con- 
sented." This consent found expression in a note written with 
a lead pencil upon the margin of one of my last memoranda, 
something to this effect : " Inasmuch as my minister-president 
has left me in the lurch in the face of the enemy, and here I am 
not in a position to supply his place, I have discussed the ques- 
tion with my son; and as he has associated himself with the 
minister-president's opinion, I find myself reluctantly compelled, 
after such brilliant victories on the part of the army, to bite 
this sour apple and accept so disgraceful a peace." I do not 
think I am mistaken as to the exact words, although the docu- 
ment is not accessible to me at present. In any case I have 
given the sense of it ; and, despite its bitterness of expression, 
it was to me a joyful release from a tension that was becoming 
unbearable. I gladly accepted the royal assent to what I re- 
garded as politically necessary, without taking offense at its 

1 Afterward the emperor Frederick III, who died in 1888 after a reign of only 
ninety-nine days. 

The Ems Telegram 329 

ungracious form. At this time military impressions were 
dominant in the king's mind; and the strong need he felt of 
pursuing the hitherto dazzling course of victory perhaps in- 
fluenced him more than political and diplomatic considerations. 

By the Peace of Prague (1866), which concluded the Seven Weeks' 
War, Austria relinquished her claims upon Holstein, consented to the 
dissolution of the old Germanic Confederation, and recognized Prussian 
leadership in Germany. Prussia now annexed the kingdom of Han- 
over, together with several other German powers which had sided with 
Austria in the war. Bismarck formed all the independent states north 
of the river Main into the North German Confederation, under the 
presidency of Prussia (1867). This was a great advance toward Ger- 
man unity. Baden, Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Hesse-Darmstadt, the 
four states south of the Main, did not enter the confederation, partly 
because they distrusted Prussia and partly because of French opposition 
to such a union. 

143. The Ems Telegram 1 

With his usual prescience Bismarck realized that a war with France 
" lay in the logic of history." The French emperor, Napoleon III, 
would never submit without a struggle to the formation of a strong 
German empire right on the border of France. Bismarck, for his part, 
welcomed a contest with France. If successful, it would bring the 
South German states into an intimate alliance with the North German 
Confederation ; it would complete the work of unification under Prussia. 
After 1867 both France and Prussia prepared for the inevitable conflict. 
In 1870, when Prussia was ready, Bismarck brought it on in the follow- 
ing manner. The throne of Spain had become vacant, and the Span- 
iards offered the crown to a cousin of King William. Napoleon at once 
informed the Prussian monarch that he would regard the accession of a 
Hohenzoilern to the Spanish throne as a sufficient justification for war. 
In the face of this threat, William gave way and induced his cousin to 
decline the honor. Then Napoleon went further and instructed the 
French ambassador to Prussia, Count Benedetti, to secure a pledge from 
William that a Hohenzoilern prince would never, under any circum- 
stances, become a candidate for the Spanish throne. This pledge William 
refused to make, and from the watering-place of Ems, where he was then 
staying, telegraphed Ms decision to Bismarck at Berlin. Bismarck at 
the time was dining with Roon and Moltke. 

During our conversation I was informed that a telegram 
from Ems, in cipher, if I recollect rightly, of about 200 "groups/' 
1 Bismarck, Reflections md Reminiscences, vol. ii, pp. 278-283. 

330 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

was being deciphered. When the copy was handed to me, It 
showed that Abeken had drawn up and signed the telegram 
at his Majesty's command, and I read it out to my guests, whose 
dejection was so great that they turned away from food and 

On a repeated examination of the document I lingered upon 
the authorization of his Majesty, which included a command 
immediately to communicate Benedetti's fresh demand and its 
rejection both to our ambassadors and to the press. I put a 
few questions to Moltke as to the extent of his confidence in 
the state of our preparations, especially as to the time they 
would still require in order to meet this sudden risk of war. 
He answered that if there was to be war he expected no advan- 
tage to us by deferring its outbreak ; and even if we should not 
be strong enough at first to protect all the territories on the 
left bank of the Rhine against French invasion, our preparations 
would nevertheless soon overtake those of the French, while 
at a later period this advantage would be diminished ; he re- 
garded a rapid outbreak as, on the whole, more favorable to us 
than delay. 

In view of the attitude of France, our national sense of honor 
compelled us, in my opinion, to go to war ; and if we did not 
act according to the demands of this feeling, we should lose, 
when on the way to its completion, the entire impetus toward 
our national development won in 1866, while the German 
national feeling south of the Main, aroused by our military 
successes in 1866, and shown by the readiness of the southern 
states to enter the alliances, would have to grow cold again. . . . 
Under this conviction I made use of the royal authorization, 
communicated to me through Abeken, to publish the contents 
of the telegram ; and in the presence of my two guests I reduced 
the telegram by striking out words, but without adding or alter- 
ing, to the following form : 

"After the news of the renunciation of the hereditary prince 
of Hohenzollern had been officially communicated to the imperial 
government of France by the royal government of Spain, the 
French ambassador at Ems further demanded of his Majesty 

The Ems Telegram 331 

the king that he would authorize him to telegraph to Paris that 
his Majesty the king bound himself for all future time never 
again to give his consent if the Hohenzolierns should renew their 
candidature. His Majesty the king thereupon decided not to 
receive the French ambassador again, and sent to tell him 
through the aide-de-camp on duty that his Majesty had nothing 
further to communicate to the ambassador." The difference 
in the effect of the abbreviated text of the Ems telegram, as 
compared with that produced by the original, was not the result 
of stronger words but of the form, which made this announce- 
ment appear decisive, while Abeken's version would only have 
been regarded as a fragment of a negotiation still pending, and 
to be continued at Berlin. 

After I had read out the concentrated edition to my two 
guests, Moltke remarked, "Now it has a different ring; it 
sounded before like a parley ; now it is like a flourish in answer 
to a challenge." I went on to explain, "If in execution of his 
Majesty's order I at once communicate this text, which con- 
tains no alteration in or addition to the telegram, not only to 
the newspapers, but also by telegraph to all our embassies, 
it will be known in Paris before midnight, and not only on 
account of its contents, but also on account of the manner of 
its distribution, wiH have the effect of a red rag upon the Gallic 
bull. Fight we must if we do not want to act the part of the 
vanquished without a battle. Success, however, essentially 
depends upon the impressions which the origination of the war 
makes upon us and others ; it is important that we should be the 
party attacked, and this Gallic overweening and touchiness will 
bring about this result if we announce in the face of Europe . . . 
that we fearlessly meet the public threats of France." 

This explanation brought about in the two generals a revul- 
sion to a more joyous mood, the liveliness of which surprised 
me. They had suddenly recovered their pleasure in eating and 
drinking and spoke in a more cheerful vein. Roon said, "Our 
God of old lives still and will not let us perish in disgrace." 
Moltke so far relinquished his passive equanimity that, glanc- 
ing up joyously toward the ceiling and abandoning his usual 

332 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

punctiliousness of speech, he smote his hand upon his breast 
and said, "If I may but live to lead our armies in such a war, 
then the devil may come directly afterward and fetch away 
the * old carcass.' " He was less robust at that time than after- 
ward, and doubted whether he would survive the hardships 
of the campaign. 

1M. The Imperial Title * 

The successful issue of the war with France completed Bismarck's 
work of unifying Germany. The four South German states came into 
the North German Confederation, which was now to be turned into 
the German Empire. On January 18, 1871, in the palace of Louis 
XIV at Versailles, and before an imposing company of sovereigns, 
princes, and generals, King William of Prussia read the document pro- 
claiming the reestablishment of the German Empire. William, it seems, 
did not care in the least for the imperial title and would gladly have 
remained merely president of the confederation. Bismarck overcame 
the king's reluctance to be named emperor only to encounter another 

His Majesty raised a fresh difficulty when we were fixing 
the form of the imperial title, it being his wish to be called 
Emperor of Germany, if emperor it had to be. In this situation 
both the crown prince, who had long given up his idea of a 
King of the Germans, and the grand duke of Baden lent me 
their support, each in his own way. . . . The crown prince sup- 
ported me passively with his company in the presence of his 
father and by occasional brief expressions of his views. These, 
however, did not strengthen me in my stand against the king, 
but tended rather to excite further the irritability of my august 
master. . . . 

In the final conference on January 17, 1871, he declined the 
designation of German Emperor, and declared that he would be 
Emperor of Germany or no emperor at all. I pointed out that 
the adjectival form German Emperor and the genitival Emperor 
of Germany differed in point both of language and period. 
People had said Roman Emperor and not Emperor of Rome ; 
and the tsar did not call himself Emperor of Russia, but Russian, 

1 Bismarck, Reflections and Reminiscences, vol. Hi, pp. 49-52. 

The Imperial Title 333 

as well as " united-Russian," Emperor. ... I further urged 
that under Frederick the Great and Frederick William II the 
thalers were inscribed Eorussorum not Borussice rex 1 and that 
the title Emperor of Germany involved a sovereign claim to the 
non-Prussian dominions, which the princes were not inclined to 
allow. . . . 

The discussion then turned upon the difference in rank be- 
tween emperors and kings, between archdukes, grand dukes, 
and Prussian princes. My exposition that in principle emperors 
do not rank above kings found no acceptance, although I was 
able to show that Frederick William I, at a meeting with Charles 
VI, who, in point of fact, stood in the position of feudal lord to 
the elector of Brandenburg, claimed and enforced his rights 
to equality as king of Prussia by causing a pavilion to be erected 
which was entered by both monarchs simultaneously from oppo- 
site sides, so that they might meet each other in the center. 

The agreement which the crown prince showed to my argu- 
ment irritated the old gentleman still more, and striking the 
table he cried, "And even if it had been so, / now command 
how it is to be. Archdukes and grand dukes have always had 
precedence of Prussian princes, and so it shall continue." With 
that he got up and went to the window, turning his back upon 
those seated at the table. The discussion on the question of 
title came to no clear conclusion; nevertheless, we considered 
ourselves justified in preparing the ceremony for the proclama- 
tion of the emperor, but the king had commanded that there 
should be no mention of the German Emperor but of the 
Emperor of Germany. 

This position of affairs induced me to call upon the grand 
duke of Baden on the following morning, before the solemnity 
in the Galerie des Glaces? and to ask him how he, as the first of 
the princes present, who would presumably be the first to speak 
after the reading of the proclamation, intended to designate 
the new emperor. The grand duke replied, "As Emperor of 
Germany, according to his Majesty's orders." Among the 

1 "King of the Prussians," not "King of Prussia." 
2 " Gallery of Mirrors," 

334 Bismarck and Unification of Germany 

arguments with which I urged upon the grand duke that the 
concluding cheers for the emperor could not be given under this 
form, the most effective was my appeal to the fact that the forth- 
coming text of the constitution of the empire was already fore- 
stalled by a decree of the Reichstag in Berlin. The reference 
to the resolution of the Reichstag, appealing, as it did, to his 
constitutional train of ideas, induced him to go and see the king 
once more. I was left ignorant of what passed between the 
two sovereigns, and during the reading of the proclamation I 
was in a state of suspense. The grand duke avoided the diffi- 
culty by raising a cheer, neither for the German Emperor nor 
for the Emperor of Germany, but for the Emperor William. His 
Majesty was so offended at the course I had adopted, that, on 
descending from the raised dais of the princes, he ignored me as 
I stood alone upon the free space before it, and passed me by 
in order to shake hands with the generals standing behind me. 
He maintained that attitude for several days, until gradually 
our mutual relations returned to their old form. 


DR. THOMAS A. EVANS, an American dentist, settled in 
Paris in 1847 an( l there became acquainted with Prince 
Lotus Napoleon, who five years later ascended the throne 
as Napoleon III. Their professional relations soon ripened 
into a firm friendship, which lasted as long as the emperor 
lived. Dr. Evans also became well known to and much 
liked by the empress. It was to his house that she fled on 
September 4, 1870, after quitting the Tuileries forever, 
and it was he who managed her escape from France to 
England. At his death in 1897 Dr. Evans left his Memoirs 
uncompleted. They have since been competently edited, 
thus forming a very valuable contribution to the history of 
the Second French Empire. 

145. Napoleon m 2 

Queen Hortense and the empress Josephine the mother 
and the grandmother of Louis Napoleon were each of them 
famous beauties; but the emperor Napoleon III was not a 
handsome man in the sense commonly given to these "words. 
His head was large, usually slightly inclined to one side, and his 
features were strongly pronounced. The forehead was broad, 
the nose prominent, the eyes small, grayish-blue in color, and 
generally expressionless, owing to a somnolent drooping of the 
lids; but they. brightened wonderfully when he was amused, 
and, when he was aroused they were full of power ; nor were 
those likely to forget it who had once seen, through these win- 
dows of the soul, the flash of the fire that burned within. His 
complexion was blond but rather sallow ; the lower part of the 

1 Memoirs of Dr. Thomas W. Evans. The Second French Empire, edited by 
E. A. Crane. New York, 1905. D. Appleton and Company. 

2 Memoirs of Dr. Thomas W. Evans, pp. 33-34- 

336 The Second French Empire 

face was lengthened by a short " goatee" called in honor of 
his Majesty an "imperial" and broadened by a very heavy, 
silky mustache, the ends of which were stiffly waxed. His hair 
was of a light brown color, and, when I first knew him, was 
abundant arid worn rather long ; at a later period it was trimmed 
short and was habitually brushed in the style made familiar by 
the effigy on the coinage of the empire. In complexion, in the 
color of his hair, and also in the shape of his head, Napoleon III 
was a Beauharnais, 1 not a Bonaparte, and a Frank, not a Cor- 
sican. He was a little below the average height ; but his person 
was marked with dignity and distinction, and his deportment 
with ease and courtliness. No one seeing him could fail to 
observe that he was not an ordinary man. Late in life, he 
inclined to stoutness ; at the time I first met him, his figure was 
not large but his body was compact and muscular. 

He was always carefully dressed, and in public, when in plain 
clothes, usually wore a black frock coat tightly buttoned. But 
whatever the fashion of the day might be in hats, rarely could 
he be induced to wear any other than a " Count d'Orsay," 2 or a 
very subdued type of the style in vogue, in which respect he 
exhibited his good taste to those of us who remember the 
tall, flat-brimmed, graceless "stovepipes" with which the 
Parisian hommes du monde covered their heads under the empire. 

When a young man, the emperor was fond of athletic sports, 
hunting, fencing, and military exercises of all kinds. He was a 
strong swimmer an accomplishment to which he may have 
owed his life, on the failure of the expedition to Boulogne, 3 and a 
fine rider. In fact, he never appeared to better advantage than 
when in the saddle ; and during the years of his presidency he 
was often seen on horseback hi the parks and suburbs of Paris, 
accompanied by only one or two attendants. A little later, and 

1 Josephine's first husband was the vicomte de Beauharnais, who perished during 
the Jacobin Terror. Napoleon married her in 1796. 

2 Named after a celebrated dandy of the time. 

3 In 1840 Louis Napoleon had landed with a Httle band of followers at Boulogne, 
hoping to provoke a revolution in his favor. The attempt failed, and its author was 
condemned to life imprisonment in the fortress of Ham. He escaped to London six 
years later. 

Eugenie 337 

after his marriage, he liked to go out in a carriage and to drive the 
horses himself. When staying at St.-Cloud, he was to be seen 
almost daily in the park or its neighborhood, riding with the em- 
press in a phaeton, behind a span of fast trotters, handling the 
reins himself, and entirely unattended. 

During the latter part of his life, owing to increasing infirmi- 
ties, he became more and more disinclined to physical exertion. 
Horseback exercise was now almost impossible, and his out-of- 
door excursions were limited, with rare exceptions, to carriage 
drives and walks. He could be seen in these last years almost 
any day, when in Paris, on the terrace of the Tuileries over- 
looking the Seine, always moving slowly, and frequently leaning 
on the arm of an attendant, or stopping occasionally, as he was 
fond of doing, to look down upon the merry groups of children 
at play in the garden, whose clamorous happiness, careless and 
unrestrained, like a breath of fresh air from another world, was 
an inspiration and a delight to him. 

146. Eugenie 1 

In the autumn of 1851, 1 made the acquaintance of a Spanish 
family consisting of three persons, a lady and two daughters. 

One of the daughters was remarkable, not only because of her 
great beauty but also on account of her vivacity and intelligence; 
and those who knew her intimately still more admired the kind- 
ness of her heart, and her sympathy with all who were suffering 
or needy. 

The first proof which I had of this trait of her character, was 
an act of charity toward some poor Spanish exiles who were liv- 
ing in the United States. She asked me to send to them, from 
time to time, small amounts of money, and presents of more or 
less value, which, as I have since ascertained, were taken from 
her economies. The manner in which she transmitted her 
gifts was so ingenuous and considerate, and her whole behavior 
so free from ostentation, that I soon recognized Eugenie de 
Montijo, countess of Teba this was the name of the young 
lady to be one of the few persons who give simply on account 

1 Memoirs of Dr. Thomas W. Evans, pp. 73-75. 

338 The Second French Empire 

of the inclination of their heart, and who do not allow their left 
hand to know what their right hand does. 

She was living at the time at No. 12 Place Vendome, not far 
from my office, and came to see me generally accompanied by a 
friend, Madame Zifrey Casas, a lady of American parentage 
who had married in Spain, or by her faithful attendant, Pepa. 

The many visits which I received from the young countess, 
partly on account of her interest in her countrymen across the 
Atlantic, and partly because she wished to obtain my profes- 
sional advice and assistance, gave me a good opportunity to 
form an opinion of her character. 

Emotional, sympathetic, generous, quick to be moved by the 
impulse of the moment, thinking little of herself, she always 
seemed, during these early days of my acquaintance with her, 
to be most happy when she could render a service to others. 

One day, It happened that while the young lady was with 
other professional visitors in my waiting-room, there was also 
present a friend of the prince-president of the French Republic. 
This gentleman being much pressed for time, the countess of 
Teba, waiving her right of precedence, permitted him to enter 
first into my private office, although she had been waiting much 
longer than he had; and the graceful manner in which this 
permission was given evidently made an impression upon him ; 
for on entering my room he immediately inquired who the beau- 
tiful young lady was that had granted him the precedence. 

Not long after this the countess of Teba and her mother, the 
countess of Montijo, were among those who regularly received 
invitations to the Elysee Palace, where the prince-president 
then resided : and there the young countess was greatly admired 
and attracted the attention of everybody. 

She possessed a singularly striking face, oval in contour, and 
remarkable for the purity of its lines ; a brilliant, light, clear 
complexion; blue eyes, peculiarly soft and liquid, shielded by 
long lashes and, when in repose, cast slightly downward ; hair of 
a most beautiful golden chestnut color, a rather thin nose ex- 
quisitely molded, and a small delicate mouth that disclosed 
when she smiled teeth that were like pearls. Her figure was 

Marriage of Napoleon III and Eugenie 339 

above the average height and almost perfect in its proportions 
the waist round, and the neck and shoulders admirably formed 

and, withal, she possessed great vivacity of expression and 
elegance in her movements, together with an indescribable charm 
of manner. Indeed, she was a woman of a very rare type physi- 
cally as well as morally; one whose distinguishing qualities 
always seemed to me to reveal the existence of Irish rather than 
Scotch blood, notwithstanding the name of her mother's family 

Kirkpatrick. But she was richly endowed, by inheritance 
or otherwise, with the best qualities of more than one race; 
and, if it was true that her beauty was blond and delicate, from 
her Scotch ancestry, it was no less true that "her grace was all 
Spanish, and her wit all French." 

The prince himself soon recognized the extraordinary personal 
and mental endowments, and the various excellent and char- 
acteristic traits of the countess. It, therefore, is not to be 
wondered at that, when he came to the conclusion that marrying 
princesses was not his affair, 1 he should have remembered the 
lady whom he had so often admired, or that he renewed the 
acquaintance purposely and more intimately in the autumn of 
1852 ; and that it led, with the rapidity of romance, to an engage- 
ment of marriage which he, having in the meanwhile become 
emperor, formally announced, January 22, 1853, in the throne 
room of the Tuileries, to the Senate, the Legislative Assembly, 
and the highest officials of his government. 

147. Marriage of Napoleon HE and Eugenie 2 

On the 3oth of January, 1853, I saw the marriage between 
Napoleon III and Mademoiselle Eugenie de Montijo celebrated 
in the old cathedral of Notre Dame with all the splendor and 
magnificence to which the monarch of a great nation and the con- 
sort of his choice were entitled. The ceremonial observed on 
this occasion was quite like that employed at the marriage of 
Napoleon and Josephine, but was even more elaborate and spec- 

1 Louis Napoleon had tried in vain to make a marriage with some royal or 
imperial princess. 

2 Memoirs of Dr. Thomas W. Evans, pp. 78-81. 

340 The Second French Empire 

tacular in its details. The gilded state carriage surmounted by 
the imperial eagle and drawn by eight horses, in which the 
emperor, in the uniform of a general of division, was seated by 
the side of his bride, was the one used by Napoleon and Jose- 
phine on the day of their coronation. The approaches to the 
Tuileries, the courts of the Louvre, and the streets leading to 
the cathedral were rilled with an immense crowd of people, whose 
enthusiasm was unbounded. It would be impossible to describe 
the profound impression produced when, after the passing of 
the main body of the cortege, the imperial carriage was seen 
advancing, surrounded by the great officers of the army, and 
preceded and followed by squadrons of cavalry, and we heard 
the hum of voices the half -suppressed exclamations of admira- 
tion then a silence, followed by long-continued vivas 
"vive Vempereur" "uive Eugenie " "vive la France" Those 
who were fortunate enough, as I was, to catch, through the 
windows of the coach of glass and gold, a glimpse of the divinely 
beautiful bride who sat beside the emperor like a captive fairy 
queen, her hair trimmed with orange blossoms, a diadem on her 
head, her corsage brilliant with gems, wearing a necklace of 
pearls, and enveloped in a cloud of lace can never forget this 
radiant and yet shrinking figure. Radiant, she seemed to feel 
that Fortune had conferred upon her its supremest gift, and 
that she was about to realize the prediction once whispered in her 
ear by a Spanish gypsy woman, "the day will come when you 
shall be a queen " ; and yet shrinking, as if she feared that behind 
all this show of enthusiasm and splendor there was another world 

a world of violence and of sorrow ; that the things which were 
seen were an illusion and vanity, and that the things which were 
not seen were the eternal reality. Perhaps she was thinking of 
the young Austrian princess 1 whose marriage was also cele- 
brated with the greatest pomp ; and of the day that followed 

the 1 6th of October, 1793 when the shouting of the people 
was heard by her for the last time ; for Eugenie de Montijo even 
then had learned by heart this touching story of royal happiness 
and despair. 

1 Marie Antoinette. 

Marriage of Napoleon III and Eugenie 341 

In the cathedral, where the marriage ceremony took place, 
the columns and lofty vaults had been decorated with rich 
draperies, and banners, and banderoles; and palms, and gar- 
lands of white blossoms, and banks of flowers had been scattered 
everywhere innumerable candles lighting up the whole of the 
vast interior, filled to its utmost capacity by the great bodies 
of the state, the diplomatic corps and the representatives of the 
army, the church and the cities of France, and by the elegance 
and beauty of the world of fashion. The scene was one of 
unparalleled magnificence. Nothing was wanting to invest the 
occasion with splendor and solemnity. On entering this ancient 
church and going forward to the altar, while a wedding march 
was played by an orchestra of five hundred musicians, the bride 
was quite overcome by her emotions. But when the archbishop 
said to her: " Madame you declare, recognize, and swear 
before God, and before the holy church, that you take now for 
your husband and legal spouse the emperor Napoleon III, here 
present," she responded, in a clear, sweet voice, "Oui, Monsieur." 

If the elegance of her person evoked admiration on every side, 
the modest dignity with which she performed her part in this 
great and imposing ceremony secured to her the sympathy and 
good will of all who witnessed it. 

After the ceremony was over the procession returned to the 
Tuileries in the same order in which it had left the palace, and 
the emperor and the empress, ascending the steps of the " Salle 
des Marechaux," came forward on the balcony, and saluted the 
assembled multitude, who returned with loud and repeated vivas 
this gracious recognition on the part of their sovereigns. 

Napoleon, on the morning of his marriage, going into the 
dressing room of Marie Louise, said, as he placed with his own 
hands a crown upon her head, "The empress will wear this 
crown. It is not beautiful, but it is unique, and I wish to attach 
it to my dynasty." On the 3oth of January, 1853, Eugenie de 
Montijo entered the Tuileries the palace of Catherine de 
Medici, of Marguerite de Navarre, of Marie Antoinette, of 
Josephine, of Marie Louise in triumph, wearing upon her 
head the same imperial crown. And she was worthy of this 

342 The Second French Empire 

honor ; for from that day the empress Eugenie ranked without 
question among the most admired and beloved sovereigns of the 
nineteenth century ; and, as if she were destined to have over 
her predecessors a certain melancholy preeminence, her name 
is the last of the names of women, the wonderful story of whose 
lives has made the palace of the Tuileries forever memorable 
in French history. 

148. The Imperial Court l 

I had the honor of being among the first of the Americans that 
the emperor knew intimately, although before I made his ac- 
quaintance in Paris he had visited the United States. Having 
arrived there in March, 1837, with the intention of remaining at 
least a year for the purpose of studying the institutions of the 
country, in less than three months he was called back to Europe 
suddenly by the illness of his mother. Of the few acquaintances 
he made in this brief visit he retained to the end of his life very 
pleasant memories ; for the most enduring trait in his character, 
and the one perhaps most strongly marked, was his lively re- 
membrance of kindnesses shown him particularly when he was 
an exile. He never forgot a person, however lowly, who had 
been kind to him in England, Germany, Italy, or wherever else 
he had lived ; and he afterward, when emperor, gave to some 
of these persons positions of which they were scarcely worthy. 
He would even go to much trouble to find out what had become 
of men who made no effort to recall themselves to his memory. 
It was most natural, therefore, that he should remember his 
visit to America, under the unhappy circumstances which caused 
him to leave Europe, and never forgot the attentions he received 
while in New York and in other cities of the United States, for 
they were bestowed when he was in the greatest need of sym- 
pathy and most susceptible of kindness. 

At no court in Europe were Americans more en Evidence than 
at that of the Tuileries during the entire reign of Napoleon III 
and the empress Eugenie. They both spoke the English lan- 
guage perfectly, and the emperor had that broad way of looking 

1 Memoirs of Dr. Thomas W, Evans, pp. 105-109. 

The Imperial Court 343 

at things, those liberal ideas, that love of progress, which enabled 
him to appreciate the greatness of our rapidly growing country, 
the energy of our men, the beauty and elegance of our women, 
their sparkling wit and self-dependence. In fact, Americans 
were always well received at the imperial court, especially if they 
were men or women of distinction, intelligence, and refinement ; 
and the number of these, particularly of women remarkable for 
their social accomplishments, who were to be found in Paris 
during the empire, either as residents or as occasional visitors, 
was very large. 

Less rigid in its etiquette than most European courts, and at 
the same time more splendid in its ceremonial forms ; the center 
of political power on the Continent, and the mirror of fashion 
for the whole world ; a stage on which were assembled the celeb- 
rities of the day, statesmen, diplomatists, generals, persons 
eminent in letters and in art, men distinguished in every field 
of human interest, and women as famous for their wit as for the 
elegance of their toilets and their personal charms, preeminent 
among whom was the lovely empress herself, a vision of beauty 
and grace, always with a pleasant word, or a sweet smile, or a 
bow of recognition for every one is it wonderful that Paris, 
in those days, seemed most attractive to Americans? .... 

Never at any time were the governments of Europe so splen- 
didly represented at the French court. The ambassadors, the 
ministers, and the attaches of the embassies and legations were 
not only diplomatists of great ability, but were men of the world ; 
and their wives were generally equally remarkable for their 
intelligence and brilliant social accomplishments. . . . 

It is well known that my countrymen, during the last few 
years of the Second Empire, were in the enjoyment of such 
privileges at court as to be regarded with no little envy by the 
members of all the foreign colonies in Paris. At the splendid 
receptions given in the winter, in the great salons of Apollo and 
the First Consul, where the whole world was brilliantly repre- 
sented, few of the foreign ministers or ambassadors ventured to 
bring with them more than three or four of their compatriots. 
But our minister was generally attended by a full squadron of 

344 The Second French Empire 

his fair countrywomen, the delighted witnesses of pageants of 
which they themselves were one of the chief ornaments. Could 
it be expected that one should not sometimes hear it said : "Ah, 
those American democrats! How they do love kings and 
princes, the pomps and ceremonies of courts ! " And they did 
love to see them then, and still do, in these days of the trium- 
phant democracy not at home, but abroad, where they leave 
it to their minister or ambassador, dressed like an undertaker, 
to represent the Jeffersonian simplicity of the great American 

Nor can some of us ever forget the gala days and Venetian 
nights at St.-Cloud, at Fontainebleau, and Compiegne; nor 
those brilliant scenes on the ice, in the Bois de Boulogne, where 
all Paris assembled to enjoy the skating, gay, and happy in the 
keen air resonant with laughter, our countrywomen winning the 
admiration of every one for grace of movement, and elegance of 
dress, and sureness of foot, leaving it to others to provide the 
gauckeries and the falls ; nor how the emperor joined with the 
rest in the exhilarating sport, and enjoyed the fun of it all with 
the zest and enthusiasm of youth. 

Large as was the number of Americans almost always present 
at the concerts and balls given at the Tuileries, who received 
through the United States Legation their invitations for these 
as well as for other great official functions, reviews, and festivals, 
the emperor thinking that it might be particularly agreeable 
to Americans to witness these displays, coming as they did from 
a country where such spectacles were seldom if ever seen 
often asked me to furnish the names and addresses of any of my 
country people who, being in Paris, I thought might like to 
receive invitations. And many of them would never have 
seen some of the most brilliant assemblies and interesting cere- 
monies that took place during a very remarkable period in French 
history a period of unparalleled magnificence had they 
not been favored in this way. 



ELIHU BENJAMIN WASHBURNE (1816-1887), a native of 
Maine and a resident of Illinois, had a distinguished career 
as representative in Congress during the 'fifties and 'sixties 
of the last century. General Grant, upon becoming presi- 
dent in 1869, made Washburne secretary of state. On 
account of ill-health, however, he soon resigned that office 
and accepted an appointment as minister to France. His 
term of service, which lasted over eight years, coincided 
with one of the most interesting and dramatic periods of 
French history. What he saw at this time he describes 
vividly and, it would seem, fairly. 

149. The First French Defeats 2 

It was on July 28, 1870, that the emperor left the palace of 
St-Cloud, to take command of the army in person. A gentle- 
man belonging to the court, who was present at the moment of 
departure, recounted to me that the occasion was a most solemn 
one, and that even then there was a prescience that the emperor 
was leaving Paris never to return. By a decree, the empress was 
made regent during the absence of the emperor. She remained 
at the palace of St.-Cloud. Before the emperor left for the army, 
he issued a proclamation to the French people, the first para- 
graph of which was as follows : "Frenchmen ! there are in the 
lives of people solemn moments, where national honor, violently 
excited, imposes itself as an irresistible force, dominates all 
interests, and takes in hand the direction of the destinies of the 
country. One of these decisive hours has just sounded for 

1 E. B. Washburne, Recollections of a Minister to France, 1860-1877. 2 vols. 
New York, 1887. Charles Scribner's Sons. 

2 Washburne, Recollections, vol. i, pp. 55-56, 58-62, 64-68. 

346 The Franco-German War 

The emperor having reached the French headquarters, there 
was a skirmish at Saarbriicken, on the morning of August 2. 
And there was shed the first blood in the stupendous contest. 
The emperor and the prince imperial l were present at the en- 
gagement. Napoleon magnified that little affair into an episode, 
and sent an account back to Paris which only excited ridicule ; 
particularly, that part of it in which he stated that Louis had 
received "fe bapteme defeu."* These proclamations did not 
disturb the Germans, and they soon put an end to those grotesque 

On August 4 took place the first great battle of the war, at 
Weissenburg, in which the brave General Douay was killed on 
the field, and the French were very badly defeated. They here 
fought with great courage and desperation, and the luster and 
the traditional glory of French arms were upheld, but they were 
crushed by the overwhelming German forces. . . . 

When these events were in progress, the two nations were in 
full war, and blood was flowing like water on both sides, yet the 
people of Paris could get no trustworthy information from the 
seat of war, though in New York and London the particulars of 
the battle of Weissenburg were published by the newspapers 
the next day. 

The feeling of suspense and the excitement in Paris were 
something most painful and extraordinary at this time, and 
everybody was on the qui vive in search of news. It was not 
until the London Times of August 5 arrived that anybody in 
Paris had any particulars of the battle which had taken place 
at Weissenburg. Between twelve and one o'clock of that day, 
a very brief and unsatisfactory notice of the affair was communi- 
cated to the press by the French authorites. The suppression 
of the intelligence for so long a time excited a good deal of indig- 
nation among the public, and the Parisian newspapers were 
particularly indignant that the London Times should have pub- 
lished the news six or eight hours before it was given out to them. 

1 Eugene Louis Jean Joseph, son of Napoleon III and Eugenie de Montijo, was 
born in 1856. 

2 "The baptism of fire." 

The First French Defeats 347 

There was great uneasiness and discontent all over the city, and 
the people were prepared for anything. 

At about noon on the next day, Saturday, one of the most 
remarkable and extraordinary events took place. It showed 
how easily large masses of people could be deceived. There 
was assembled, as usual at that hour, a great crowd of people 
in front of the Bourse. 1 It was then that a man in the uniform 
of a courier, or messenger, rode up in front of the Bourse and 
delivered into the hands of a person, who was evidently his 
confederate, what he pretended was an official dispatch, and 
which gave an account of a great battle having been fought, in 
which the French had been victorious, taking forty guns and 
twenty-five thousand prisoners, among whom was the crown 
prince. A spark of fire falling upon a magazine could hardly 
have produced a greater explosion. The assembled multitude 
broke out into the wildest shouts, and the contents of the dis- 
patch were repeated from mouth to mouth, and men ran in every 
direction communicating the joyful intelligence. The people 
rushed into the streets ; the tricolor was everywhere displayed ; 
men embraced and kissed each other, shedding tears of joy; 
shouts, vociferations, and oaths filled the air, and such a delirium 
has been seldom witnessed. The Rue de Richelieu, the Boule- 
vards Montmartre and des Italiens, and the Rue de la Paix were 
filled with people singing the Marseillaise, Everybody declared 
that the news was true ; the official report had been seen and 
closely scanned, and there could be no doubt of its correctness. 
Madame Sass, a distinguished opera singer, was found in the 
street, and the crowd insisted upon her singing the Marseillaise 
from her carriage, which she did three times amid shouts of 
enthusiasm. In another part of the street the multitude forced 
another distinguished singer to mount to the top of an omnibus, 
also to sing the Marseillaise. Soon the furor of enthusiasm began 
to abate, and some persons were wise enough to suggest that it 
would be well to inquire more particularly into the news, and to 
see whether or not it could be confirmed. The result was, that 
it was found to be a stupendous hoax. The songs at once ceased, 

1 The Stock Exchange and financial center of Paris. 

348 The Franco-German War 

the flags were taken in, and the victims of the canard began to 
feel indignant. As the affair originated at the Bourse, the cry 
was raised in the crowd "a la Bourse," and away the people went, 
breathing vengeance against the money-changers and speculators 
who, it was alleged, had taken advantage of the false report to 
get the benefit of a rise of about four per cent in the stocks. 
Never were money-changers more summarily driven out of their 
temples. In a few moments, all persons in the Bourse were 
expelled, some of whom, it was said, were thrown head and heels 
out of the windows and doors. About half-past three o'clock 
in the afternoon, the crowd, greatly exasperated at having been 
made victims of so cruel a hoax, started from the Bourse and 
directed themselves toward the Place Vendome, halting under 
the windows of the Ministry of Justice. There they shouted 
for fimile Ollivier, the minister of justice, and demanded of him 
the closing of the Bourse from which the false news had ema- 
nated. M. Ollivier responded in a short and well-turned speech, 
closing by asking them to disperse, which they did. But still 
there was great excitement all over the city, and there was in- 
tense indignation at so easily being made the victims of a vile 
canard. . . . 

The Journal Offidel of the next day (Sunday) contained a 
dispatch of two lines, dated at Metz, at eleven o'clock the eve- 
ning before (Saturday). Here is the text of the dispatch : "The 
corps of General Frossard is in retreat. There are no details." 
This and nothing more. And it is not to be wondered that such 
a dispatch inspired the greatest uneasiness and anxiety. It 
gave no indication of where the battle was fought or what was 
the extent of the losses, and naturally the great Paris public 
was tormented with fear and suspense. A proclamation of the 
empress and her ministry appeared at noon in the second edition 
of the Journal OfficieL This proclamation contained a bulletin 
from the emperor, dated at Metz, at half-past twelve o'clock 
Sunday morning, announcing that Marshal MacMahon had 
lost a battle and that General Frossard had been obliged to re- 
treat. Another bulletin from the emperor, dated at Metz, three 
hours later, announced that his communication with Marshal 

The First French Defeats 349 

MacMahon was interrupted, and that he had had no news of 
him since the day before ; and still another dispatch, one hour 
later, from headquarters at Metz, both of which were also con- 
tained in the proclamation of the minister of the interior, giving 
a brief account of the battles of MacMahon and Frossard, but it 
said that the details were wanting. It further stated that the 
troops were full of Man, and that the situation was not com- 
promised, but that the enemy was on French territory and a 
serious effort was necessary. 

A decree of the empress-regent convoked the Senate and the 
Corps Legislatif for Thursday the nth of August. Another 
decree by her Majesty placed the department of the Seine in a 
state of siege. No person not in Paris at the time could have 
any adequate idea of the state of feeling which the extraordinary 
news from the battlefield had created, to which was added the 
declaration of the siege of Paris and the convocation of the Corps 
Legislatif. Never had Paris seen such a day since the time of 
the first revolution. . . . 

It is hard to imagine the excitement and indignation among 
the people of Paris upon the reception of the news of the first 
disastrous battle. After the declaration of war, they seemed to 
have convinced themselves that the French army would go 
straight forward, conquering and to conquer, and that Berlin 
would be at their feet "en huit jours." l 

The trifling affair at Saarbriicken, having been unwarrantably 
exaggerated, had given the people great hopes. While waiting 
with confidence reports of new victories, the unquestioned 
defeats at Weissenburg, Reichshoffen, and Forbach produced 
the most stunning effect. They had been most completely 
humbugged by the canard in regard to the pretended victory 
by MacMahon. Like all people who have been deceived and 
humbugged, they became very much exasperated. The em- 
press-regent had come to the Tuileries and had issued her proc- 
lamation, all of which tended to increase the excitement. 

i "In eight days." 

3$o The Franco-German War 

150. Proclamation of the Republic l 

The events here described took place on Sunday, September 4, 1870, 
two days after the d$bade of Sedan. 

Leaving the Chamber, 2 we went at once to the H6tel de Ville. 
The number of people assembled there was enormous, and we 
found the same fraternization existing between them and the 
National Guard as elsewhere. The building had been invaded 
by the people, and all the windows fronting on the square were 
filled with rough and dirty-looking men and boys. . . . 

At precisely four o'clock and forty-five minutes in the after- 
noon, as I marked it by the great clock in the tower of the Hotel 
de Ville, at one of the windows appeared Gambetta ; a little be- 
hind him stood Jules Favre and Emanuel Arago ; and then and 
there, on that historic spot, I heard Gambetta proclaim the 
republic of France. That proclamation was received with every 
possible demonstration of enthusiasm. Lists were thrown out 
of the window, containing the names of the members of the 
provisional government. 

During this time the public were occupying the Tuileries, 
from which the empress had just escaped. Sixty thousand 
human beings had rolled toward the palace, completely level- 
ling all obstacles ; the vestibule was invaded, and in the court- 
yard, on the other side of the Place du Carrousel, were to be seen 
soldiers of every arm, who, in the presence of the people, removed 
the cartridges from their guns, and who were greeted by the 
cries, "Long live the nation 1" "Down with the Bonapartes !" 
"To Berlin ! " etc. During all of this time there was no pillage, 
no havoc, no destruction of property, and the crowd soon 
retired, leaving the palace under the protection of the National 

Some discussion had been raised at the Hotel de Ville about 
changing the flag, but Gambetta declared that the tricolor was 
the flag of 1792-3, and that under it France had been, and yet 
would be, led to victory. . . . 

1 Washburne, Recollections, vol. i, pp. 107-111. 

2 The Chamber of Deputies at the Palais Bourbon. 

Proclamation of the Republic 351 

While all this was going on, the empress and her ladies-in- 
waiting were at the palace of the Tuileries, and with great 
trepidation and suspense awaited events. After the people had 
chased the Corps Legislatif from the Chamber, the opposition 
members and the crowd had proceeded to the H6tel de Ville. 
General Trochu then went to the palace to inform the empress of 
the proceedings, and offered, if he could find troops enough, to 
make an effort to protect her from the surging and bellowing 
crowd which surrounded the palace. The empress easily fore- 
saw what would be the result of any attempt to defend the Tuil- 
eries, and she determined to escape at once, if possible. At a 
little after three o'clock in the afternoon, the imperial flag was 
lowered at the Tuileries for the last time. That was looked 
upon by the crowd as evidence that the empire had fallen ; and 
then commenced the rush into the palace by the great, motley, 
turbulent crowd, which showed, however, no signs of violence or 
ill-temper. Once inside the palace they began to roam through 
the magnificent halls and gilded salons. Occasionally a menac- 
ing cry was raised. The National Guard, though disposed to do 
its duty, was really in sympathy with the mob, and hence their 
appeals to the crowd to spare the national property were very 
effective, and very little damage was done. 

At this hour there was with the empress quite 3, party of 
friends, who had entered the palace to look after her safety and 
support her in that fearful moment. It was determined that an 
effort would have to be made at once to escape from the palace, 
and, after running many hazards, the empress and a lady-in- 
waiting were finally enabled to enter a covered witure, with two 
places, and drive off unmolested. There has been a vast amount 
of foolish talk in respect to this escape, and it was undoubtedly 
a very fortunate one. ... On entering the voiture, the empress, 
seeking a place of refuge, bethought herself of the residence of 
Dr. Evans (the American dentist), 1 on the Avenue de Plmpera- 
trice, which was very near my house. She hurriedly gave the 
order to the coachman, who drove off rapidly, but not in a 

1 Dr. Thomas A, Evans, a warm friend of both the emperor and the empress. 
See page 335. 

352 The Franco-German War 

manner to attract attention. She and her lady-in-waiting 
remained at the house of the doctor until the next morning, 
when he proceeded with them to Deauville, where they took an 
English yacht, and, crossing the English channel, arrived at the 
harbor of Ryde, England. It was an interesting and perhaps 
a really hazardous adventure; but it was exaggerated to an 
extent which became simply ridiculous. Dr. Evans proved him- 
self a friend in deed, as well as a friend in need, and was much 
complimented on the successful manner in which he cared for the 

151. Siege of Paris * 

The gates of Paris were practically closed on Sunday, Septem- 
ber 1 8, though, on the subsequent Monday, a telegraph dispatch 
from the United States got through to me, exactly how I never 
understood. It was indeed, a lonely feeling that came over the 
Parisians when they reflected that they were shut out from the 
wide, wide world. No letters, no mails, no news from the out- 
side. No one believed that the siege would endure more than a 
few weeks, and people went along quite as usual. The great 
feature was the immense military force, all to be fed. Provisions 
had been laid in for a reasonable time, and that man would 
have been deemed insane who would have predicted that the 
gates of the besieged city would not be open until the last day 
of February four and a half dreary and mortal months. That 
great and beautiful city, the pride of France, with nearly two 
millions of people, surrounded, besieged, cut off from all com- 
munication with the world I The contemplation of all the inci- 
dents of that siege, of all the patient suffering of the people, of all 
the anxiety and terror, of all the hunger, cold, starvation, sickness, 
and hope deferred, the bombardment, the battles, the wounded 
and the dead, made one of the most interesting and important 
events that could possibly be presented to the student of history. 

After the investment of Paris Gambetta advised his colleagues to 
leave the capital and conduct the government from some provincial 
city. This advice was not taken, but he himself on October 7 escaped 
in a balloon and upon arriving at Tours took supreme direction of affairs. 

1 Washbume, Recollections, vol. i, pp. 133-134, 174-176, 294-296. 

Siege of Paris 353 

He quickly organized an army for the relief of Paris, but his efforts were 
rendered futile by Bazaine's surrender of Metz, which brought the 
forces of the crown prince into the field and gave to the Germans an 
overwhelming military superiority. When Paris surrendered, Gam- 
betta," though protesting and resisting, had to submit to the capitulation 
arranged with Bismarck. 

I had never known Gambetta personally, until lie became 
the minister of the interior in the government of the National 
Defense. I had seen him often in the Chamber, where he was a 
conspicuous figure. I had seen him, on the day of the revolu- 
tion of the 4th of September, throw out from one of the windows 
of the H6tel de Ville the slips containing the names of the mem- 
bers of the Corps L6gislatif, from the department of the Seine, 
who were to form the government of the National Defense. 
This list was accepted by the surging mass below with unbounded 
applause. The members of this provisional government, who 
were assigned to the heads of the different ministries, descended 
into the streets and took open cabs for their several departments. 
It was an extraordinary and unheard of thing. These men, 
without any warrant of authority except that of the approval 
given by this dense mass of people of the city of Paris, were 
received and acknowledged by all the officers of the depart- 
ments, as representatives of the newly proclaimed government 
of the National Defense. They took instant possession of their 
respective ministries. Gambetta had been designated as minis- 
ter of the interior, while Jules Favre was assigned to foreign 
affairs, both of them very important ministries. But that of 
the interior, having such intimate relations with all the internal 
concerns of France, was most important. It was very soon 
after Gambetta had been installed in the ministry that I found 
it necessary to call upon him, officially, in relation to matters of 
much importance. I found him a young man of striking personal 
appearance, with coal-black hair and black whiskers, closely 
trimmed. He was a little under middle height, and rather a 
slim person (he afterward became uncomfortably heavy). He 
received me with great cordiality and kindness, and expressed a 
desire to place himself at my disposition in whatever I might 
deske. . . . 

354 The Franco-German War 

This was the beginning of our acquaintance, which ripened 
into a firm friendship. His energy, patriotism, and supreme 
love of his country were already recognized. He had developed 
at the tribune of the Chamber of Deputies all that ability and 
eloquence which had attracted public attention, and later in his 
colossal struggle to save his country he exhibited all those grand 
qualities of courage, devotion, and pluck which captured the 
hearts of so many of his countrymen. For all of these great 
services, the pen of history, now that he is dead, has done him 
full justice. He won undying laurels as an orator, statesman, 
and patriot; and when he died, 1 one of the great figures in 
French politics disappeared. . . . 

Minister Wasliburne thus refers to the German bombardment of 
Paris, which began on January 5, 1871. 

On this day 2 I wrote a long dispatch to my government 
describing the existing situation. I said it had been then nearly 
five days since the Prussian batteries had opened their fire on 
the forts. The cannonading of some of them had been terrific, 
but the military reports, while acknowledging the extreme vio- 
lence of the fire, did not confess to any material damage. What- 
ever injury might have been, in reality, inflicted upon any of 
the forts, one thing was certain, none had yet been taken or even 
silenced, but, on the other hand, some of them had replied with 
great spirit, and, it was claimed, with considerable effect. But 
what was more serious was the bombardment of the city. A 
great many shells had fallen in the city, on the left bank of the 
river, particularly in the neighborhood of the Luxembourg and 
the Pantheon. Some twenty or thirty people had been killed 
and wounded, including men, women and children, but no very 
great damage had been done to the buildings. I said that there 
was no doubt that the people of Paris were greatly surprised to 
find that the enemy could send a shell into the very heart of the 
city, for it had always been contended that such a thing was 
impossible, without the possession of one of the French forts. 
I felt confident that my residence could then be reached by the 

1 Gambetta died in 1882, the forty-fifth year of his age. 

2 January 9. 

Entry of the Germans into Paris 355 

Prussian batteries, but doubted whether the legation was within 
the range of any battery yet opened. There had been much 
discontent in the city during the previous week. It had not, 
however, taken the direction of a cry for peace or surrender, but 
resulted in a sharp arraignment of the government for a failure 
to perform its whole duty. On the previous Thursday an ad- 
dress to the people of Paris, signed by a large number of persons 
calling themselves " Delegates of the twenty arrondissements 
of Paris," was placarded in a large red handbill. Although 
many people said that the arraignment was partly just, yet but 
few were willing to accept the remedy proposed, by replacing 
the government of the National Defense by the revolutionary 
Commune. They had evidently adopted Mr. Lincoln's theory, 
that it was no time to swap horses while swimming a river. 
The consequence was that the handbills were torn down as fast 
as they were put up, even in the most turbulent parts of the city. 
Trochu l had made that trouble the occasion of issuing another 
bombastic proclamation, in which he declared " that the govern- 
ment of Paris would not capitulate." 

The bombardment had been the subject of interest and con- 
versation during the previous week. At the time I wrote, it was 
extremely violent. Many people were reported to have been 
killed. There was apparently not the alarm felt that one might 
have supposed amid all the danger. So far the people had 
accepted it with a calm and nonchalance almost amounting to 
recklessness. . . . 

An armistice, providing for the capitulation of Paris, was signed on 
January 28, the 1320! day of the siege. It was followed by the signing 
at Versailles of the preliminaries of peace, to be ratified by the French 
National Assembly at Bordeaux. Until so ratified, German troops were 
to occupy Paris. 

152. Entry of the Germans into Paris 2 

The treaty having provided for the entry of thirty thousand 
German troops into Paris, accordingly on March i, 1871, the 
German soldiers entered the city. At nine o'clock in the fore- 

1 The French general in command of the defense. 

2 Washburne, Recollections, vol. ii, pp. 9-12. 

356 The Franco-German War 

noon three blue hussars entered the Porte Maillot, proceeded up 
the Avenue of the Grand Army, and walked their horses slowly 
down the magnificent avenue of the Champs Elysees, with 
carbines cocked and finger upon the trigger. These hussars 
looked carefully into the side streets and proceeded slowly down 
the avenue. But few people were out at that early hour in the 
morning. Soon after this, six more hussars made their appear- 
ance by the same route, and every few minutes thereafter the 
number increased. Then came in the main body of the ad- 
vanced guard, numbering about one thousand men, consisting of 
cavalry and infantry (Bavarian and Prussian), forming part of 
the Eleventh Corps, under the command of General Kanamichi. 
By this time the crowd on the Champs Elysees had increased 
and met the advancing Germans with hisses and insults. A 
portion of the German troops halted and with great delibera- 
tion loaded their pieces, whereat the crowd, composed mostly 
of boys and "roughs," incontinently took to their heels. Ac- 
cording to a previous understanding among the French, all the 
shops and restaurants along the route had been closed; but 
notwithstanding their vigorous asseverations that no considera- 
tion whatever would induce them to look uponjDr speak to the 
Prussians, I found, on going to the Champs filysees at half- 
past nine o'clock, a large number of them attracted thither by 
curiosity, which they were unable to resist. In walking down 
the avenue to the point where the main body of the force had 
halted, in front of the Palace of Industry, I counted a body of 
twenty-five French people, men, women and children, in the 
most cordial fraternization with the German soldiers. . . . 
From what I could learn, the great body of the German troops 
were reviewed by the emperor at Longchamps, before their 
entry into Paris. Instead, therefore, of the mass of the troops 
entering at ten o'clock, as had been previously announced, it 
was not until half-past one o'clock in the afternoon that the 
Royal Guard of Prussia, in four solid bodies, surrounded the 
Arc de Triomphe. Then a company of Uhlans, with their spears 
stuck in their saddles, and ornamented by the little flags of blue 
and white, headed the advancing column. They were followed 

The Commune 357 

by the Saxons, with their light blue coats, who were succeeded 
by the Bavarian riflemen, with their heavy uniform and martial 
tread. Afterward followed more of the Uhlans, and occa- 
sionally a squad of the Bismarck cuirassiers with their white 
jackets, black hats and waving plumes, recalling to mind, per- 
haps, among the more intelligent French observers the cele- 
brated cuirassiers of Nansouty and Latour Maubourg, in the 
wars of the First Napoleon. 

Now came the artillery, with its pieces of six, which must 
have extorted the admiration of all military men by its splendid 
appearance and wonderful precision of movement. Next fell 
into line the Royal Guard of Prussia, with their shining casques 
and glittering bayonets, which had been massed around the 
world-renowned Arc de Triomphe, erected (and with what 
bitter sarcasm it might be said) to the glory of the Grand Army ! 
.... A good many French people were on the sidewalks on 
either side of the avenue. At first the troops were met with 
hisses, cat-calls, and all sorts of insulting cries, but as they 
poured in, thicker and faster forming by companies, as they 
swept down the avenue to the strains of martial music the 
crowd seemed to be awed into silence, and no other sound was 
heard but the tramp of the soldiery and the occasional word 
of command. The only disturbance which I saw was occa- 
sioned by some individual advancing from the sidewalk and giv- 
ing his hand to a German cavalryman, whereat the crowd "went 
for" him. But his backing seemed so powerful that the crowd 
soon dispersed without any further disturbance. 

The entry of the main body of the troops occupied about two 
hours and after that they began to disperse into the various 
quarters of the city to which they had been assigned, in search 
of their lodgings. 

153. The Commune 1 

Washburne was the only foreign minister who remained at Ms post 
during the stormy scenes of the Commune. 

The Commune came into power with the watchwords, "lib- 
erty, equality, and fraternity;" which had before been para- 

1 Washburae, Recollections, vol. ii, pp. 203-206, 229-230, 236-238. 

358 The Franco-German War 

phrased as "infantry, artillery, and cavalry." They also clam- 
ored for a free press and free thought. They illustrated their 
respect for a free press and free thought in seizing, by military 
force, and suppressing every journal in the city that dared to 
question their proceedings ; and then appeared such a raft of 
vile newspaper trash as had never before been seen or heard of. 
No less than ninety different newspapers appeared during the 
ten weeks of the Commune, descending to a depth of depravity, 
vulgarity, blasphemy, and obscenity almost impossible to be con- 
ceived of in the glaring light of the nineteenth century, and in 
what was boasted to be the most refined and cultivated city in 
the world. . . . 

The governing power of the Commune of Paris was elected 
by the different wards of the city, and it was a body utterly 
without authority of law, and had no mandate to act. This 
bogus election brought forth men of the most desperate and de- 
bauched character to be found in all the purlieus of the city, but 
many of them were educated and cultivated men. They were 
far more infamous than the worst men in the days of the Roman 
Empire, whose names have been consigned to eternal infamy 
by the pen of Tacitus. The sanguinary orders of this body were 
instantly and remorselessly enforced by the National Guard 
fed, pampered, corrupted, ever ready to carry out its infernal 
behests, restrained by no fear of the law of God or man, and with 
appetites whetted for plunder and blood, for murder, robbery, 
pillage, burning, imprisoning, and torturing. 

Following the decree to tear down the Vend6me Column were 
the decrees to demolish the church of Notre Dame and the great 
museum of the Louvre. The church of Notre Dame was de- 
nounced as a monument of superstition, a symbol of divine 
tyranny, an affirmation of fanaticism. It was, therefore, decreed 
that it should be demolished. Time and favorable circum- 
stances alone saved that church, one of the most celebrated in 
the world, from destruction. Here is one other of these decrees : 
"Considering that the museum of the Louvre contains a great 
number of pictures, statues and other objects of art which bring 
eternally to the minds of the people the action of gods, kings, 

The Commune 359 

and priests, therefore : Decreed that the museum of the Louvre 
shall be burnt to the ground." Every lover of art and every 
votary of genius shudders at the thought of how narrow was 
the escape of these world-renowned edifices, the latter -oiled 
with the most precious treasures of ancient and modern times. 
Petroleum had been scattered and the flames were reaching wildly 
forward to the doomed building, when they were providentially 
extinguished by the advance of the Versailles troops, then enter- 
ing the city. 

The ever recurring sensations of the Commune kept the blood 
coursing rapidly through one's veins the constant bombard- 
ment, the cry of victory, the howl of defeat, the yell of despair, 
the arrests, the imprisonments, and the executions. The Na- 
tional Guard paraded the streets, swore terrible oaths, drank 
free wine, smoked free cigarettes, and did very little fighting. 
Early in April, Cluseret, who was then the delegate to the minis- 
try of war, told me that he was issuing rations to one hundred 
and twenty-five thousand National Guards, soldiers of the 
insurrection. It was an immense army, but without leaders, 
without discipline, utterly demoralized and debauched, and more 
dangerous to friends than enemies. Squads of the National 
Guard would invade apartments and quarter themselves there, 
helping themselves to all good things which they could find. 
The house adjoining my own was taken possession of by them at 
a very early period of the Commune and before my family was 
obliged to flee the city. Holding high carnival almost every 
night, the sound of their orgies fell upon our ears. . . . 

It would be hardly practicable to attempt to give any details 
of the loss on public buildings, monuments, churches, and 
houses, damaged and destroyed by the Commune of Paris, from 
May 24th to the 2gth. Besides the palace of the Tuileries, the 
Palais Royal, the palace of the Legion of Honor, the Council of 
State, the court of Exchequer, the ministry of Finance, the H6tel 
de Ville, the palace of Justice, the prefecture of Police, and the 
Conciergerie, there were hundreds of other buildings, public 
and private, destroyed, which are only known generally to the 

360 The Franco-German War 

In respect to the devastation of Paris, there was a method in 
the madness of the Commune. When it had determined to 
set on fire certain parts of the city, a number of men, as avant- 
couriers, would go out to tell the inhabitants that the quarter 
was about to be delivered to the flames, and would urge them 
to fly for their lives ; in other cases, the unfortunate people were 
told that the whole city would be burnt, and that they might 
as well meet cbath where they were as run to seek it elsewhere. 
The most horrible thing connected with these burnings was the 
placing of sentinels in the streets and ordering them to fire upon 
every one who attempted to escape. In carrying out the attempt 
to burn the city it was ordered that tin cans or bottles filled with 
petroleum, phosphorus, nitre-glycerine, or other combustibles 
should be provided with a long sulphur match attached to the 
neck of the vessel, the match to be lighted at the time of throw- 
ing these explosives into the cellars. The batteries at Belleville 
and at the cemetery of Pere Lachaise were ordered to send petro- 
leum shells into many quarters of the city. . . . 

While the people of Paris of French nativity are justly respon- 
sible for all the horrors and devastations of the Commune, it is 
very curious to observe the large number of foreigners who were 
among the chiefs of the insurrection, nearly all members of the 
International, 1 who were gathered from all quarters of the 
globe Russians, Italians, Greeks, Belgians, Dutch, Irish, 
Spanish, and, particularly, Poles. The list of these foreigners 
has been published and it is interesting to study. . . . 

Outside of the brigand National Guard and of the immense 
insurrectionary population of the city, there was unbounded joy 
among all the people of Paris when the city was delivered from 
the monstrous oppression of the insurrectionists who, for ten 
weeks, had held the people in terror, murdering, robbing, 
imprisoning, and making life one continual torment. Then 
came the reaction. When the orderly and peaceful citizens, 
relieved from the shocking tyranny of the Commune, began to 
get the upper hand, as is natural to suppose, they were inspired 

1 The International Workingmen's Association founded in London in 1864 and 
conducted largely by Karl Marx. 

The Commune 361 

with a certain degree of rage which it was almost impossible to 
control. No sooner had Paris been captured than the great work 
began of arresting the thousands of criminals murderers, 
assassins, robbers, desperadoes, and outlaws of every description 
who had so long made the beautiful city a pandemonium. 
In the most insurrectionary parts of the town the people were 
arrested en masse by the military, and often the innocent in- 
cluded with the guilty. It would take too long to recount all 
the frightful incidents which followed the capture of Paris. 
There were no less than fifty thousand insurgents arrested ; how 
many were summarily executed will never be known. Great 
numbers were condemned to death and shot, and still larger 
numbers were sent to prison for life ; but the great mass of them 
were deported to the French possessions of New Caledonia. The 
most of them were pardoned before many years, and many of 
them are now back in Paris. 

Not to speak of the immense sacrifice of human life in suppress- 
ing the Commune, and all the horrors of the deportation of such 
a mass of people, the money loss of property in Paris was esti- 
mated at two hundred millions of dollars ; but this is really small 
as compared with other losses, which cannot be measured by 
money, such as the Hotel de Ville, the ministry of Finance, the 
Tuileries, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the ministry of 
War, and many other public buildings, with all their priceless 

But few people are fully aware of the immense proportions 
which the Paris Commune had assumed before its final suppres- 
sion. Its military strength was simply enormous. Cluseret 
told me, as I have previously stated, of his furnishing rations to 
one hundred and twenty-five thousand soldiers in Paris. And 
the amount of war material found in possession of the Commune 
at the time of its collapse was absolutely prodigious. There 
were nearly 700,000 weapons of every kind taken from the hands 
of the communards. Independent of the vast amount of this 
particular material, the military authorities of the Commune 
had seventeen hundred pieces of camion and mitrailleuses, which 
they had robbed from the city and which they had used with 

362 The Franco-German War 

such terrible effect. But what must ever excite amazement 
is the knowledge of the vast number of the people in Paris at 
this time who not only were in sympathy with the Commune, 
but who abetted and sustained it in its career of crime and blood. 
The minority, embracing the better class of Paris at this time, 
was completely cowed and subdued by this vast insurrectionary 
mass of population. 



FRANCESCO CRISPI (1819-1901), who ranks next to 
Cavour among Italian statesmen, was a native of Sicily. 
He took a prominent part in the Risorgimento, conspiring 
with Mazzini and organizing with Garibaldi the expedition 
of the Thousand. After freedom and unity had been won, 
Crispi entered parliament, became minister of the interior 
in 1877, an d a decade later succeeded to the premiership. 
This office he twice held, but he was finally compelled to 
resign after the defeat of the Italian army at Adowa in 
Abyssinia. An ardent patriot and a man of remarkable 
force and energy, Crispi brought about many reforms in 
Italian public life. He also did much to set his country 
upon the path of colonial expansion. In European politics 
he stood forth as an unwavering champion of the Triple 

154. An Interview with Bismarck 2 

This letter was written by Crispi from Berlin, September 25, 1877, 
and was addressed to Victor Emmanuel II. 

I feel it incumbent upon me to render an account of the man- 
ner in which I have acquitted myself of the mission to Prince 
Bismarck, with which your Majesty and the president of the 
council of ministers have intrusted me. 

The object of this mission, which formed the subjects of our 
discussion at Gastein on the lyth, and at Berlin on the 24th, 
were as follows : 

An eventual alliance with Germany in case of war with France 
or Austria. 

1 The Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, translated by Mary Prichard-Agnetti. 2 vols. 
London, 1912. Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd. 

2 Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, vol. ii, pp. 62-64. 

364 European Politics in 'Seventies and 'Eighties 

An understanding concerning the solution of the various ques- 
tions which may arise in consequence of the Russo-Turkish war 
in the East. 

The establishment of equality between Germans and Italians 
in the exercise of civil rights in both countries. 

The prince remained obdurate in refusing an alliance against 
Austria. On the other hand, he was very willing to consent to 
one against France, although he expressed the hope that this 
last-named power would know how to keep quiet and refrain 
from disturbing the peace of Europe. 

I naturally assured him that we also cherished the same hope. 
But I pointed out to him and the prince was quite of my opinion 
that in case the reactionist party should triumph at the next 
political elections, and the republic fall, the government that 
should take its place would be obliged to resort to war in order 
to avenge the defeats of 1870 and establish its authority through- 
out the country. 

As regards Austria's attitude toward ourselves, the prince 
assured me that he deeply deplored it, and expressed a desire 
that a cordial understanding might be established between the 
two governments. 

I hereupon reminded him that, although Austria needs peace 
in order to recuperate after the war of 1866, she cannot possibly 
forget the injury she has suffered and that, sooner or later, she 
will feel the necessity of seeking to regain the position she once 
occupied. His Highness replied that he was determined to be- 
lieve that would never happen. There could be but one cause 
for a breach between the two nations, 1 namely, should Austria, 
by her attitude, encourage a rebellion in Poland. "Austria," 
said the prince, "favors the ambitions of the Polish aristocracy. 
Nevertheless," he added, "things have not as yet reached the 
danger point. Leave me my faith in the government. If my 
presumptions are proved to be mistaken, there will still be time 
for us to unite and form an alliance." 

My conviction is that the prince wishes to hold fast to Austria, 
and I believe I am justified in concluding from his remarks that 

l i.e., between, Germany and Austria. 

An Interview with. Andrassy 365 

he intends to maintain a perfect understanding with the cabinet 
of Vienna, and that he wishes us to follow the same policy. 
The remote hypothesis of a rupture between the two empires 
did not appear to cause his Highness the slightest uneasiness. 
As to Italy, he frankly declared that although he might deplore 
a rupture between Austria and that country, he would not allow 
it to induce him to go to war. 

With regard to the Eastern Question the prince declared that 
Germany, having no interests at stake, would accept any solu- 
tion that did not disturb the peace of Europe. 

I hastened to point out that it cannot be said of Italy that she 
has no interests at stake, and I alluded to the rumors concern- 
ing territorial changes, and to Russia's proposal, by means of 
which she hopes to ingratiate herself with Austria, that Austria 
take Bosnia and Herzegovina. I reminded him of the condition 
in which we found ourselves after the peace of 1 866, and explained 
that any addition to the territory of the neighboring empire 
would constitute a menace to us. "Our Eastern frontiers," I 
said, " are extremely exposed, and should Austria's position on 
the Adriatic be strengthened, we should be held as in a vice, and 
our safety would be threatened. 

"You should help us at this crisis," I added. "We are loyal 
to our treaties, and we ask nothing of any one. To-morrow you 
should seek to prevail upon Count Andrassy to relinquish all 
intention of annexing any part of the Ottoman territory." 

The prince replied that he did not wish to mention these 
matters to Andrassy, as the Austrian chancellor might find them 
obnoxious topics. He is of the opinion, however, that an under- 
standing might be arrived at, and he proposes that, should Austria 
take Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy should annex Albania or 
some other Turkish province on the Adriatic. 

155, An Interview with. Andrassy 1 

Count Julius Andrassy, with whom Crispi liad an interview at Buda- 
pest on October 20, 1877, was at tMs time the Austrian chancellor. At 
the Congress of Berlin tne following year he represented Ms government 
with great ability, directing his efforts to diminish the gains of Russia 
1 Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, vol. ii, pp. 86-88. 

366 European Politics in 'Seventies and 'Eighties 

from the Russo-Turklsh War and to aggrandize the Dual Monarchy. 
In 1879, Just before his retirement from office, he signed an offensive- 
defensive alliance with Germany. Italy joined it in 1882, thus forming 
the Triple Alliance. 

" Your trip to Gastein did not alarm me," the premier said, 
" and I let the press have its say." 

"You had no reason to be alarmed," I replied, "for Prince 
Bismarck himself informed you of it, and told you what my 
views were. I said nothing that you could possibly object 

He went on to speak of his policy toward Italy. Ultra- 
montanism l antiquated views are not to Austria-Hun- 
gary's interest. Had be been an Italian he would have done the 
same. Present necessity for remaining friends and refraining 
from disturbing relations by demands it is practically impossible 
to comply with. He does not credit newspaper reports, but 
believes in our good faith. He adds : "The principle of national- 
ism is not everywhere applicable, nor may nationality be estab- 
lished according to language. Politics are not subject to the 
rules of grammar. Nationality is composed of various elements 
first and foremost of which is topography, and next come the 
economic conditions upon which the existence of the population 
depends. Take Trieste, could we be persuaded to give it to you, 
and you would not remain there four-and-twenty hours. You 
would be cursed! I have a memorandum on this subject, in 
which I have dealt with these principles, and which I should 
have liked to show you, had I it by me. 

"Let us speak frankly: do you wish for other territory? 
Then say so. That is a policy I understand ! . . . " 

"I agree with the principle you maintain," I assured him, 
"Language alone cannot decide nationality, and should we 
adopt language as a gauge, we should only win the enmity of 
many states, and be quickly forced into war. Now our policy 
is one of peace. We wish to stand well with our neighbors, to 
establish agreements that shall further the interests of all con- 
cerned, and we will respect our treaties. We shall not attack, 
1 Support of the Papal claims to temporal sovereignty. 

The Eastern Question 367 

but should we be attacked we shall defend ourselves. We 
became revolutionist in order to create Italy, but we are 
conservatives in maintaining her. You alone are capable 
of understanding us, for you also were once a revolutionist." 

"I was hanged in effigy !" was his reply. 1 

"Then you are aware that when the liberty and independence 
of a country have been acquired at cost of great sacrifice, those 
who made that sacrifice will never endanger the welfare of that 
country by embarking upon foolhardy adventures. Fiume ! 
A ridiculous imputation ! Ports are the necessary outlet for 
commerce, and those who possess them must also hold the terri- 
tory whence the produce is derived. What use have we for 

"The parliament and the government represent public opinion. 
Have you any reason to complain of their attitude? The two 
states must remain friends and their governments must agree." 

"That is the policy I faithfully followed during the six years I 
was minister, and which I have continued to follow since I be- 
came chancellor five years since," Andrassy said. "I ignore 
newspapers and parliaments alike, and I defy unpopularity, for 
I know what is best for the empire. A hostile policy toward 
Italy is contrary to the interests of Austria-Hungary. As long 
as I remain in office I shall not alter my policy." 

156. The Eastern Question 2 

This memorandum seems to have been written by Crispi in 1887, at 
a time when Russian intrigues in Bulgaria threatened to re-open the whole 
Eastern Question. 

Russia occupies a privileged position. She can assail her 
European enemies, but it is difficult for them to assail her. She 
is therefore free to choose the hour that suits her best for declar- 
ing war. Consequently, all delay is to her advantage. 

Her position since 1871 has been much better than it was 
before. Detached from France by the concert of the Central 

1 Count Andrissy, as a Hungarian, took part in the revolutionary movement of 
1848-1849. He was sentenced to death by an Austrian court-martial in 1851, but 
being an exile at the time, he was only hanged in effigy. 

2 Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, vol. ii, pp. 190-192. 

368 European Politics in 'Seventies and 'Eighties 

Powers, Russia has one enemy less. The alliance of 1854 l is 
no longer possible. 

Russia cares little whether or no France redeem Alsace and 
Lorraine. I might even say that it is to her advantage that 
France and Germany should remain unreconciled. 

Germany has declared that she has no interest in the Eastern 
Question, and has proved the truth of this by refraining from 
any direct intervention in the settlement of the questions that 
have arisen in the Balkan Peninsula since 1871. Therefore, 
only Italy and Austria, two military powers, and England, a 
naval power, may be mustered against Russia. If Russia pro- 
ceeds to complete her armament and waits until this has been 
accomplished, I much doubt whether her adversaries will be 
able to produce a force sufficiently strong to overcome her. 

Austria and Italy might redouble their forces, but this the 
state of their finances forbids. Then again, should France go 
to war to redeem her lost provinces, and Russia seize that oppor- 
tunity to attack in the Balkan Peninsula, the position of the 
Central Powers would become most difficult. Engaged on the 
Rhine and in the Alps, they would not be able to spare any 
large contingent for the East. There would be the risk of 
Russia's being pitted against Turkey alone, as happened in the 
late war, 2 for England would be unable to bring a large contin- 
gent of land forces into the field. 

We must furthermore consider that Turkey could hope for no 
help from the small Balkan states, first of all because several of 
them, like Montenegro and Serbia, are under the influence of 
Russia, and secondly because others, like Bulgaria and Greece, 
are seeking to obtain possession of the several territories they 
have long coveted, in order to perfect their nationality. 

As for Austria, she is certainly always an obstacle in Russia's 
way, when she is not her friend. To-day . . . Austria and 
Russia are rivals in the East. Austria cannot allow Russia to 
reach Constantinople, for this would shake the very foundations 
of her autonomy and compromise her future. 

1 The alliance of France, Great Britain, and Sardinia for the conduct of the 
Crimean War. 

2 The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. 

A Second Interview with Bismarck 369 

157. A Second Interview with Bismarck 1 

Crispi's second interview with Bismarck came as the result of an 
invitation from the prince himself. It took place at Friedrichsruh on 
October 2, 1887. 

The prince begins by giving me an outline of general politics 
in their bearings on Germany. 

He desires peace and much regrets to be obliged to admit 
that two powers, and two powers only, France and Russia, are 
likely to disturb it. But he has no fears. The Triple Alliance 
is a strong guarantee for the maintenance of peace. 

He has done all he could to gain the friendship of Russia, but 
has failed. In 1878 he assumed the whole responsibility of the 
Berlin Congress, in order to render its consequences less painful 
to the tsar. When he was requested to take the initiative he 
refused, but later, when Schouvalov came to him in the em- 
peror's name, he consented. What was his recompense? 
Russia massed two hundred thousand men on the German 
frontier ! 

He repeats that he desires peace, but that, although he might 
deplore the necessity for war, he does not fear war. Germany can 
get one million and a half men under arms at once, and in case 
of pressing need, by mustering all the able-bodied men, she can 
mobilize three million soldiers. And there are uniforms and 
arms for three million, and everything that is necessary to bring 
several armies on to the field of battle. With a million men 
on the southern frontier and a million along the northern line, 
Germany need fear no injury. 

The allies must provide for other contingencies. 

Russia is not sure of her army. The troops, officers and sol- 
diers alike, have been tampered with by the revolutionists. The 
great empire appears invulnerable, but it is not entirely so. 
Poland is a source of weakness, and Austria is popular in Poland. 
With some slight encouragement the Poles could be made to 
rebel, and after the emancipation, a state might be formed for 
some Austrian archduke to rule over. 

1 Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, vol. ii, pp. 212-218. 

370 European Politics in 'Seventies and 'Eighties 

Alexander III * is no friend of war. Even did he wish to go 
to war it would not do for him to carry it into Bulgaria, because 
Transylvania is too near at hand, and the Austrians might easily 
fall upon the Russians in that region. 

Prince Bismarck cares little whether the Russians go to Con- 
stantinople or not. Russia would only be weakened by such a 

He takes little interest in the solution of the Bulgarian Ques- 
tion, 2 and even should war result from it, he would take no part 
in it as long as France kept quiet. The conduct of France alone 
might force him to take up arms. 

He sets great store by the Triple Alliance, and has faith in the 
two friendly powers. He does not doubt Austria's loyalty. 

The alliance with Germany and Italy is popular in Austria. 
An understanding with Russia would be unpopular. Against 
Russia war would be welcome ; with Russia impossible. 

1 replied by outlining the conditions of Italy, Although we 
have not quite a million soldiers, our army is now sufficiently 
strong and compact to answer for the obligations implied by the 
two alliances. By April we shall be able to bring hah" a million 
men into the ranks besides the reserves and the militia. 

Our country is quiet ; we do not fear subversive parties. The 
Internationalists 3 are rare amongst us, and will never become 
active. In case of attack from the outside, all classes would 
unite in defense, and in case of an expedition into a foreign 
country, we should be able to use all our strength, having no fear 
of insurrection at home. 

We cannot boast that we have no interests at stake in the 
Eastern Question. We could not allow Russia to go to Con- 
stantinople. Once there, Russia would be mistress of the Medi- 
terranean, and might make use of the sailors for which Greece 
is celebrated, for the bond of religion existing between the two 
countries would facilitate an understanding. 

iTsar, 1881-1894. 

2 Bulgaria at this time was a principality tributary to the sultan, but under 
Russian influence. 

3 Members of the socialist organization sponsored by Karl Marx. 

A Second Interview with Bismarck 371 

I am not of opinion that the possession of Constantinople 
would weaken Russia. This great empire, while enlarging its 
dominion in Europe, might make this a base of operations, and 
easily hold sway both in the Orient and in Europe. 

In order to prevent this, Italy will follow her traditional policy. 
In 1854 Cavour joined with France and England and took part 
in the Crimean War precisely for this purpose; and to-day 
Italy could not act otherwise. 

We are fully alive to the dangers that threaten Europe, and in 
order to avoid them we have sought to prevent any act on the 
part of either Russia or Turkey which might lead to a European 
war. . .". 

I entertain no illusions concerning the condition of Turkey. 
That country is in a state of dissolution, and we may expect to 
witness the beginning of its dismemberment at any moment. 
During the nine years that have elapsed since the Treaty of 
Berlin, the sultan has done nothing towards the reorganization 
of his administration. It is a miracle indeed that he has been 
able to maintain his position, for his government lacks the prin- 
cipal vitalizing element of the state money. . . . 

The disorder at present prevailing in Turkey may be to 
Russia's advantage, for Russia is on the lookout for the chance 
of giving Turkey a death-blow. But this state of things cannot 
suit the great powers, who must not allow Russia to possess 
herself of that territory. 

Under the circumstances we must choose between two lines of 
action: Either to unite in reorganizing the administration in 
Turkey, defending her, should this prove necessary, and pre- 
venting her downfall, or we must prepare the basis of a govern- 
ment or of several governments which will take the place of 
that of the sultan. 

In this second case, I see no better way than to respect the 
autonomy of the different regions such as Macedonia, Albania, 
Serbia, etc., and to organize them much as Rumania, 
Bulgaria, and the other Balkan states are organized to- 
day. ... 

I can only hope that France will keep quiet, but I must point 

372 European Politics in 'Seventies and 'Eighties 

out that the treaties of May 1882 and of February 1887 l are 
incomplete. The question of mutual cooperation between the 
two powers in case of war was provided for, but a military con- 
vention was omitted, which seems to me to be most necessary. 

No one can foretell either how or where war may break out. 
It may come unexpectedly, and we must not wait for its advent 
to agree upon the part which each one of us must bear in the 
common defense. It will be well to get a plan of defense or 
attack established as soon as possible, which shall provide for all 
emergencies, in order that, should war break out, we may each 
know exactly what to do. After all, a military convention is 
the proper complement of a treaty of alliance. 

The prince replied that he recognized the reasonableness of 
my proposal and accepted it. But he must of course consult 
his Majesty, the emperor and the head of the army, on this 
point, and receive his orders. 

I answered that, as he was willing to recognize the principle 
underlying my proposal, I had nothing further to add, save to 
express the desire that the same arrangement might be concluded 
with Austria. 

"Austria," I observed, " is what she is : a polyglot empire com- 
posed of various nationalities. I respect her because I am 
bound to respect our treaties. 

"I consider Austria's existence necessary for the maintenance 
of the balance of power in Europe. I freely admit this, and 
Italy will prove herself a faithful ally to the neighboring empire. 

"I wish to make this declaration, because I was once her 
enemy, and conspired against her as long as she held on to the 
Italian provinces. I wish to be perfectly outspoken, and beg 
you to use your influence with the Vienna cabinet in a question 
which interests both Austria and ourselves. 

"There are many Italians who are Austrian subjects and who 
form a population which is important in every way, and which 
it would be to Austria's advantage to propitiate. 

"I ask for no special privileges for the Italian population. I 

1 The treaty of 1887 renewed the Triple Alliance on terms more favorable to 
Italy than those obtained in 1882. 

A Second Interview with Bismarck 373 

ask only that they be treated as all the other nations of the 
empire are treated. The Austrian government could only gain 
by this, for all ground for complaint would be removed, and 
friendly relations established. 

"Your Highness can have no idea of the amount of harm this 
ill-treatment occasions, and of the embarrassing position in 
which the Italian government is placed. Every time news 
reaches Italy of acts of violence on the part of Austria against 
Italians, the spirit of nationalism is roused, and the political par- 
ties take advantage of these conditions to disturb the country's 

"Be this as it may, Austria cannot live and acquire strength 
save by respecting the various nationalities which go to make 
up the empire." 


THE author of these intimate biographical sketches be- 
longed to the great Whig house of the Russells, one of his 
uncles being the celebrated Lord John Russell, who was 
twice premier during the reign of Queen Victoria. " I re- 
member/' writes Mr. Russell, "ten prime ministers and I 
know an eleventh." The fact of his Liberal sympathies and 
affiliations must be kept in mind, of course, when reading 
what he relates of Tory or Conservative statesmen. 

158. Disraeli 2 

I always count it among the happy accidents of my life that I 
happened to be in London during the summer of 1867. ... I 
was in the thick of the fun. My father 3 was the sergeant-at- 
arms attending the House of Commons, and could always admit 
me to the privileged seats "under the Gallery," then more 
numerous than now. So it came about that I heard all the most 
famous debates in Committee on the Tory Reform Bill, 4 and 
thereby learned for the first tiifie the fascination of Disraeli's 
genius. The Whigs, among whom I was reared, did not dislike 
"Dizzy" as they disliked Lord Derby, or as Dizzy himself was 
disliked by the older school of Tories. But they absolutely 
miscalculated and misconceived him, treating him as merely an 
amusing charlatan, whose rococo oratory and fantastic tricks 
afforded a welcome relief from the dulness of ordinary politics. 

To a boy fourteen thus reared, the Disraeli of 1867 was an 
astonishment and a revelation as the modern world would say, 
an eye-opener. The House of Commons was full of distin- 

1 G. W. E. Russell, Prime Ministers and Some Others. London, 1918. T. Fisher 
Unwin, Ltd. 

2 Russell, Prime Ministers and Some Others, pp. 35-41. 

3 Charles Russell, the sixth son of the sixth duke of Bedford. 

4 The Second Reform Act, passed in 1867, enfranchised the working classes. 

Disraeli 375 

guished men Lord Cranborne, afterward Lord Salisbury, 
John Bright and Robert Lowe, Gathorne Hardy, Bernal- 
Osborne, Goschen, Mill, Kinglake, Henley, Horsman, Coleridge. 
The list might be greatly prolonged, but of course it culminates 
in Gladstone, then in the full vigor of his powers. All these 
people I saw and heard during that memorable summer; but 
high above them all towers, in my recollection, the strange and 
sinister figure of the great Disraeli. The Whigs had laughed at 
him for thirty years ; but now, to use a phrase of the nursery, 
they laughed on the wrong side of their mouths. There was 
nothing ludicrous about him now, nothing to provoke a smile, 
except when he wished to provoke it, and gaily unhorsed his 
opponents of every type Gladstone, or Lowe, or Beresford- 
Hope. He seemed, for the moment, to dominate the House of 
Commons, to pervade it with his presence, and to guide it where 
he would. At every turn he displayed his reckless audacity, his 
swiftness in transition, his readiness to throw overboard a stupid 
colleague, his alacrity to take a hint from an opponent and make 
it appear his own. The bill underwent all sorts of changes in 
committee ; but still it seemed to be Disraeli's bill, and no one 
else's. And, indeed, he is entitled to all the credit which he got, 
for it was his genius that first saw the possibilities hidden in a 
Tory democracy. . . . 

What was Dizzy in personal appearance ? If I had not known 
the fact, I do not think that I should have recognized him as 
one of the ancient race of Israel. His profile was not the least 
what we in England consider Semitic. He might have been a 
Spaniard or an Italian, but he certainly was not a Briton. He 
was rather tall than short, but slightly bowed, except when he 
drew himself up for the more effective delivery of some shrewd 
blow. His complexion was extremely pale, and the pallor was 
made more conspicuous by contrast with his hair, steeped in 
Tyrian dye, worn long, and eked out with artificial additions. 

He was very quietly dressed. The green velvet trousers and 
rings worn outside white kid gloves, which had helped to 
make his fame in " the days of the dandies," had long since been 
discarded. He dressed like other men of his age and class, in a 

376 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

black frock-coat worn open, a waistcoat cut rather deep, light- 
colored trousers, and a black cravat tied in a loose bow and 
those spring-sided boots of soft material which used to be 
called "Jemimas". . . . 

Disraeli's voice was by nature deep, and he had a knack of 
deepening it when he wished to be impressive. His articulation 
was extremely deliberate, so that every word told; and his 
habitual manner was calm, but not stolid. I say "habitual/ 7 
because it had variations. When Gladstone, just the other 
side of the table, was thundering his protests, Disraeli became 
absolutely statuesque, eyed his opponent stonily through his 
monocle, and then congratulated himself, in a kind of stage 
drawl, that there was a "good broad piece of furniture" between 
him and the enraged leader of the Opposition. But when it was 
his turn to simulate the passion which the other felt, he would 
shout and wave his arms, recoil from the table and return to it, 
and act his part with a vigor which, on one memorable occasion, 
was attributed to champagne ; but this was merely play-acting, 
and was completely laid aside as he advanced in years. 

What I have written so far is, no doubt, an anachronism, for 
I have been describing what I saw and heard in the session of 
1867, and Disraeli did not become prime minister till February, 
1868 ; but six months made no perceptible change in his appear- 
ance, speech, or manner. What he had been when he was fight- 
ing his Reform Bill through the House, that he was when, as 
prime minister, he governed the country at the head of a parlia- 
mentary minority. His triumph was the triumph of audacity. 
In 1834 he had said to Lord Melbourne, 1 who inquired his object 
in life, " I want to be prime minister " and now that object was 
attained. . . . 

The situation in which the new prime minister found himself 
was, from the constitutional point of view, highly anomalous. 
The settlement of the question of reform, which he had effected 
in the previous year, had healed the schism in the Liberal party, 
and the Liberals could now defeat the government whenever 
they chose to mass their forces. Disraeli was officially the 

1 Viscount Melbourne was prime minister in 1834 and again between 1835-1841 

Gladstone 377 

leader of a House in which his opponents had a large majority. 
In March, 1868, Gladstone began his attack on the Irish Church, 1 
and pursued it with all his vigor, and with the support of a 
united party. He moved a series of resolutions favoring 
Irish disestablishment, and the first was carried by a majority of 
sixty-five against the government. 

This defeat involved explanation. Disraeli, in a speech which 
Bright called "a mixture of pompousness and servility," de- 
scribed his audiences of the queen, and so handled the royal name 
as to convey the impression that her Majesty was on his side. 
Divested of verbiage and mystification, his statement amounted 
to this that, in spite of adverse votes, he intended to hold on 
till the autumn and then to appeal to the new electorate created 
by the Reform Act of the previous year. As the one question 
to be submitted to the electors was that of the Irish Church, the 
campaign naturally assumed a theological character. . . . 

Parliament was dissolved in November, and the general elec- 
tion resulted in a majority of one hundred for Gladstone and 
Irish disestablishment. By a commendable innovation on pre- 
vious practice, Disraeli resigned the premiership without waiting 
for a hostile vote of the new parliament. He declined the 
earldom to which, as an ex-prime minister, he was by usage 
entitled ; 2 but he asked the queen to make his devoted wife Vis- 
countess Beaconsfield. As a youth, after hearing the great 
speakers of the House which he had not yet entered, he had 
said, "Between ourselves, I could floor them all" but now 
Gladstone had "floored" him, and it took him five years to 
recover his breath. 

159. Gladstone 3 

Most people remember Gladstone as an old man. He reached 
the summit of his career when he had just struck seventy. 
After Easter, 1880, when he dethroned Lord Beaconsfield and 

1 The established (Anglican) Church in Ireland. 

2 In 1876, during his second premiership (1874-1880), Disraeli accepted the title 
of earl of Beaconsfield and entered the House of Lords. 

a Russell, Prime Ministers and Some Others, pp. 42-49. 

378 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

formed his second administration, 1 the eighteen years of life that 
remained to him added nothing to his fame, and even in some 
respects detracted from it. Gradually he passed into the stage 
which was indicated by Labouchere's nickname of "The Grand 
Old Man"; and he enjoyed the homage which rightly attends 
the closing period of an exemplary life, wonderfully prolonged, 
and spent in the service of the nation. He had become historical 
before he died. But my recollections of him go back to the 
earlier 'sixties, when he was chancellor of the exchequer in Lord 
Palmerston's government, and they become vivid at the point 
of time when he became prime minister December, 1868. 

In old age his appearance was impressive, through the com- 
bination of physical wear-and-tear with the unconquerable 
vitality of the spirit which dwelt within. The pictures of him as 
a young man represent him as distinctly handsome, with masses 
of dark hair thrown back from a truly noble forehead, and eyes 
of singular expressiveness. But in middle life and in his 
case middle life was continued till he was sixty he was neither 
as good-looking as he once had been, nor as grand-looking as he 
eventually became. He looked much older than his age. . . . 
In Gladstone's face, as I used to see it in those days, there was 
no look of gladness or victory. He had, indeed, won a signal 
triumph at the general election of 1868, and had attained the 
supreme object of a politician's ambition. But he did not look 
the least as if he enjoyed his honors, but rather as if he felt an 
insupportable burden of responsiblity. He knew that he had 
an immense amount to do in carrying the reforms which Palmers- 
ton had burked, and, coming to the premiership on the eve of 
sixty, he realized that the time for doing it was necessarily short. 
He seemed consumed by a burning and absorbing energy; 
and, when he found himself seriously hampered or strenuously 
opposed, he was angry with an anger which was all the more 
formidable because it never vented itself in an insolent or 
abusive word. A vulnerable temper kept resolutely under 
control had always been to me one of the most impressive fea- 
tures in human character. 

1 Gladstone's first premiership was between 1868-1874. 

Gladstone 379 

Gladstone had won the general election by asking the con- 
stituencies to approve the disestablishment of the Irish Church ; 
and this was the first task to which he addressed himself in the 
parliament of 1869. It was often remarked about his speak- 
ing that in every session he made at least one speech of which 
every one said, "That was the finest thing Gladstone ever did/ 7 
This was freely said of the speech in which he introduced the 
Disestablishment Eill on the ist of March, 1869, and again of 
that in which he wound up the debate, on the second reading. 
In pure eloquence he had rivals, and in parliamentary manage- 
ment superiors; but in the power of embodying principles in 
legislative form and preserving unity of purpose through a 
multitude of confusing minutiae he had neither equal nor 

The Disestablishment Bill passed easily through the Com- 
mons, but was threatened with disaster in the Lords, and it was 
with profound satisfaction that Mrs. Gladstone, most devoted 
and most helpful of wives, announced the result of the division on 
the second reading. Gladstone had been unwell, .and had gone 
to bed early. Mrs. Gladstone, who had been listening to the 
debate in the House of Lords, said to a friend, " I could not help 
it; I gave William a discreet poke, 'A majority of thirty- 
three, my dear.' 'Thank you, my dear," he said, and turned 
round and went to sleep on the other side." After a stormy 
passage through committee, the bill became law on the 26th of 


So Gladstone's first great legislation ended, and he was athirst 
for more. Such momentous reforms as the Irish Land Act, the 
Education Act, the abolition of religious tests in the universities, 
the abolition of purchase in the army, and the establishment of 
the ballot, filled session after session with excitement; and 
Gladstone pursued each in turn with an ardor which left his 
followers out of breath. 

He was not very skillful in managing his party, or even his 
cabinet. He kept his friendships and his official relations quite 
distinct. He never realized the force of the saying that men who 
have only worked together have only half lived together. It 

380 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

was truly said that he understood Man, but not men ; and meek 
followers in the House of Commons, who had sacrificed money, 
time, toil, health, and sometimes conscience, to the support of the 
government, turned, like the crushed worm, when they found 
that Gladstone sternly ignored their presence in the lobby, or, 
if forced to speak to them, called them by inappropriate names. 
His strenuousness of reforming purpose and strength of will were 
concealed by no lightness of touch, no give-and-take, no playful- 
ness, no fun. He had little of that saving grace of humor 
which smoothes the practical working of life as much as it adds 
to its enjoyment. He was fiercely, terribly, incessantly in earn- 
est; and unbroken earnestness, though admirable, exhausts 
and in the long run alienates. 

There was yet another feature of his parliamentary manage- 
ment which proved disastrous to his cause, and this was his 
tendency to what the vulgar call hair-splitting and the learned, 
casuistry. At Oxford men are taught to distinguish with scru- 
pulous care between propositions closely similar, but not identical. 
In the House of Commons they are satisfied with the roughest 
and broadest divisions between right and wrong ; they see no 
shades of color between black and white. Hence arose two 
unfortunate incidents, which were nicknamed "The Ewelme 
Scandal " and "The Colliery Explosion" two cases in which 
Gladstone, while observing the letter of an act of parliament, 
violated, or seemed to violate, its spirit, in order to qualify highly 
deserving gentlemen for posts to which he wished to appoint 
them. . . . 

Yet again ; the United States had a just complaint against us, 
arising out of the performances of the Alabama, which, built in 
an English dockyard and manned by an English crew, but 
owned by the slaveowners' Confederacy, had got out to sea, and, 
during a two years 7 cruise of piracy and devastation, had har- 
assed the government of the United States. The quarrel had 
lasted for years, with ever-increasing gravity. Gladstone 
determined to end it ; and, with that purpose, arranged for a 
board of arbitration, which sat at Geneva, and decided against 
England. We were heavily amerced by the sentence of this 

Gladstone 381 

international tribunal 1 We paid, but we did not like it. Glad- 
stone gloried in the moral triumph of a settlement without blood- 
shed ; but a large section of the nation, including many of his 
own party, felt that national honor had been lowered, and 
determined to avenge themselves on the minister who had low- 
ered it. 

Meanwhile Disraeli, whom Gladstone had deposed in 1868, 
was watching the development of these events with sarcastic 
interest and effective criticism, till in 1872 he was able to liken 
the great Liberal government to "a range of exhausted volca- 
noes," and to say of its eminent leader that he " alternated 
between a menace and a sigh." In 1873 Gladstone introduced 
a wholly unworkable bill for the reform of university education 
in Ireland. It pleased no one, and was defeated on the second 
reading. Gladstone resigned. The queen sent for Disraeli; 
but Disraeli declined to repeat the experiment of governing 
the country without a majority in the House of Commons, and 
Gladstone was forced to resume office, though, of course, with 
immensely diminished authority. His cabinet was all at sixes 
and sevens. There were resignations and rumors of resignation. 
He took the chancellorship of the exchequer, and, as some au- 
thorities contended, vacated his seat by doing so. Election 
after election went wrong, and the end was visibly at hand. 

At the beginning of 1874 Gladstone, confined to his house by 
a cold, executed a coup d'etat. He announced the dissolution 
of parliament, and promised, if his lease of power were renewed, 
to repeal the income-tax. . . . When the general election was 
over, the Tories had a majority of forty-six. Gladstone, after 
some hesitation, resigned without waiting to meet a hostile 
parliament. Disraeli became prime minister for the second 
time ; and in addressing the new House of Commons he paid a 
generous compliment to his great antagonist. "If," he said, 
"I had been a follower of a parliamentary chief so eminent, 
even if I thought he had erred, I should have been "disposed 
rather to exhibit sympathy than to offer criticism! I should 
remember the great victories which he had fought and won; 

1 The Alabama claims were settled in 1872, the damages being fixed at $15,500,000. 

382 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

I should remember his illustrious career ; its continuous success 
and splendor, not its accidental or even disastrous mistakes." 

The most loyal Gladstonian cannot improve upon that tribute, 
and Gladstone's greatest day was yet to come. 

160. Lord Salisbury l 

When, after a defeat on the budget of 1885, Gladstone deter- 
mined to resign, 2 it was thought by some that Sir Stafford North- 
cote, who had led the Opposition in the House of Commons 
with skill and dignity, would be called to succeed him. But the 
queen knew better; and Lord Salisbury now became prime 
minister for the first time. To all frequenters of the House of 
Commons he had long been a familiar, if not a favorite, figure ; 
first as Lord Robert Cecil and then as Lord Cranborne. In the 
distant days of Palmerston's premiership he was a tall, slender, 
ungainly young man, stooping as short-sighted people always 
stoop, and curiously untidy. His complexion was unusually 
dark for an Englishman, and his thick beard and scanty hair 
were intensely black. Sitting for a pocket-borough, he soon 
became famous for his anti-democratic zeal and his incisive 
speech. He joined Lord Derby's cabinet in 1866, left it on 
account of his hostility to the Reform Bill of 1867, and assailed 
Disraeli both with pen and tongue in a fashion which seemed to 
make it impossible that the two men could ever again speak 
to one another let alone work together. But political grudges 
are short-lived; or perhaps it would be nearer the mark to say 
that, however strong those grudges may be, the allurements of 
office are stronger still. Men conscious of great powers for 
serving the state will often put up with a good deal which they 
dislike sooner than decline an opportunity of public usefulness. , 

Whatever the explanation, the fact remains that Lord Salis- 
bury (who had succeeded to the title in 1868) joined Disraeli's 
cabinet in 1874, and soon became a leading figure in it. His 
oratorical duels with the duke of Argyll during the Eastern 
Question of 1876-1879 were remarkably vigorous performances. 

1 Russell, Prime Ministers and Some Others, pp. 51-55. 

2 Gladstone's second premiership was between 1880-1885. 

Lord Salisbury 383 

... In 1878 he accompanied Lord Beaconsfield to the 
Congress of Berlin, being second plenipotentiary; and when 
on their return he drove through the acclaiming streets of London 
in the back seat of the triumphal car, it was generally surmised 
that he had established his claim to the ultimate reversion of the 
premiership. The reversion, as I said just now, he attained in 
June, 1885, and enjoyed till February, 1886 a short tenure 
of office, but the earnest of better and longer things to come. 1 

At this period of his career Lord Salisbury was forced to yield 
to the democratic spirit so far as to "go on the stump" and 
address popular audiences in great towns. It was an uncongen- 
ial employment. His myopia rendered the audience invisible, 
and no one can talk effectively to hearers whom he does not see. 
The Tory workingmen bellowed " For he's a jolly good fellow" ; 
but he looked singularly unlike that festive character. His 
voice was clear and penetrating, but there was no popular fiber 
in his speech. He talked of the things which interested him ; 
but whether or not they interested his hearers he seemed not 
to care a jot. When he rolled off the platform and into the 
carriage which was to carry him away, there was a general sense 
of mutual relief. 

But in the House of Lords he was perfectly and strikingly at 
home. The massive bulk, which had replaced the slimness of his 
youth, and his splendidly developed forehead made him there, 
as everywhere, a majestic figure. He neither saw, nor appar- 
ently regarded, his audience. He spoke straight up to the 
Reporters' Gallery, and, through it, to the public. To his 
immediate surroundings he seemed as profoundly indifferent as 
to his provincial audiences. He spoke without notes and ap- 
parently without effort. There was no rhetoric, no declamation, 
no display. As one listened, one seemed to hear the genuine 
thoughts of a singularly clever and reflective man, who had 
strong prejudices of his own in favor of religion, authority, and 
property, but was quite unswayed by the prejudices of other 
people. The general tone of his thought was somber. . . . 

But though he might find little enough to " praise" in a world 

1 Lord Salisbury again became premier in 1895 and retained office until 1002. 

384 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

which had departed so widely from the traditions of his youth, 
still, this prevailing gloom was lightened, often at very unex- 
pected moments, by flashes of delicious humor, sarcastic but not 
savage. No one excelled him in the art of making an opponent 
look ridiculous. Careless critics called him " cynical/ 7 but it 
was an abuse of words. Cynicism is shamelessness, and not a 
word ever fell from Lord Salisbury which was inconsistent 
with the highest ideals of patriotic statesmanship. 

He was by nature as shy as he was short-sighted. He shrank 
from new acquaintances, and did not always detect old friends. 
His failure to recognize a young politician who sat in his cabinet, 
and a zealous clergyman whom he had just made a bishop, sup- 
plied his circle with abundant mirth, which was increased when, 
at the beginning of the South African War, he was seen deep in 
military conversation with Lord Blyth, under the impression 
that he was talking to Lord Roberts. 

But, in spite of these impediments to social facility, he was an 
admirable host both at Hatfield 1 and in Arlington Street 
courteous, dignified, and only anxious to put every one at their 
ease. His opinions were not mine and it always seemed to me 
that he was liable to be swayed by stronger wills than his own. 
But he was exactly what he called Gladstone, " a great Christian 

161. Lord Rosebery 2 

Lord Rosebery was born under what most people would con- 
sider lucky stars. He inherited an honorable name, a compe- 
tent fortune, and abilities far above the average. But his 
father died when he was a child, and as soon as he struck twenty- 
one he was "Lord of himself, that heritage of woe." 

At Eton he had attracted the notice of his gifted tutor, "Billy 
Johnson/' who described him as " one of those who like the palm 
without the dust," and predicted that he would "be an orator, 
and, if not a poet, such a man as poets delight in." It was a 
remarkably shrewd prophecy. From Eton to Christ Church 3 

1 Hatfield House, the ancestral home of the Cecils. 

2 Russell, Prime Ministers and Some Others, pp. 57-61. 
a Christ Church College, Oxford. 

Lord Rosebery 385 

the transition was natural. Lord Rosebery left Oxford without 
a degree, traveled, went into society, cultivated the Turf, and 
bestowed some of his leisure on the House of Lords. He voted 
* for the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and generally took 
the line of what was then considered advanced Liberalism. . . 

Henceforward Lord Rosebery was regarded as a coming man, 
and his definite adhesion to Gladstone on the Eastern Question 
of 1876-1879 secured him the goodwill of the Liberal party. The 
year 1878, important in politics, was not less important in Lord 
Rosebery's career. Early in the year he made a marriage which 
turned him into a rich man, and riches, useful everywhere, are 
specially useful in politics. Toward the close of it he persuaded 
the Liberal Association of Midlothian to adopt Gladstone as 
their candidate. There is no need to enlarge on the importance 
of a decision which secured the Liberal triumph of 1880, and 
made Gladstone prime minister for the second time. 

When Gladstone formed his second government he offered a 
place in it to Lord Rosebery, who, with sound judgment, de- 
clined what might have looked like a reward for services just 
rendered. In 1881 he consented to take the under-secretary- 
ship of the Home Department, with Sir William Harcourt as Ms 
chief; but the combination did not promise well, and ended 
rather abruptly in 1883. When the Liberal government was in 
the throes of dissolution, Lord Rosebery returned to it, entering 
the cabinet as lord privy seal in 1885. . . . 

The schism over Home Rule was now approaching, and, when 
it came, Lord Rosebery threw in his lot with Gladstone, becom- 
ing foreign secretary in February, 1886, and falling with his chief 
in the following summer. 1 In 1889 he was chosen chairman of 
the first London County Council, and there did the best work 
of his life, shaping that powerful but amorphous body into order 
and efficiency. Meanwhile, he was, by judicious speech and 
still more judicious silence, consolidating his political posi- 
tion; and before he joined Gladstone's last government in 
August, 1892, he had been generally recognized as the expoiient 
of a moderate and reasonable Home Rule and an advocate of 

1 Gladstone had become premier for the third time in 1886. 

386 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

social reform. My own belief is that the Liberal party as a 
whole, and the Liberal government in particular, rejoiced in the 
decision which, on Gladstone's final retirement, made Rosebery 
prime minister. 

But it was a difficult and disappointing premiership. Har- 
court, not best pleased by the queen's choice, was chancellor 
of the exchequer and leader of the House of Commons. Glad- 
stone, expounding our parliamentary system to the American 
nation, once said : "The overweight of the House of Commons 
is apt, other things being equal, to bring its leader inconveniently 
near in power to a prime minister who is a peer. He can play 
off the House of Commons against his chief, and instances 
might be cited, though they are happily most rare, when he has 
served him very ugly tricks." 

The parliamentary achievement of 1894 was Harcourt's 
masterly budget, with which, naturally, Lord Rosebery had 
little to do ; the chancellor of the exchequer loomed larger and 
larger, and the premier vanished more and more completely 
from the public view. After the triumph of the budget, every- 
thing went wrong with the government, till, being defeated on 
a snap division about gunpowder in June, 1895, Lord Rosebery 
and his colleagues trotted meekly out of office. They might 
have dissolved, but apparently were afraid to challenge the 
judgment of the country on the performances of the last three 

Thus ingloriously ended a premiership of which much had 
been expected. The best consolation which I could offer to 
my dethroned chief was to remind him that he had been prime 
minister for fifteen months, whereas Disraeli's first premiership 
had only lasted for ten. 

162. Arthur James Balfour 1 

When Lord Rosebery brought his brief administration to an 
end, 2 Lord Salisbury became prime minister for the last time. 
His physical energy was no longer what it once had been, and 

1 Russell, Prime Ministers and Some Others, pp. 62-68. 

2 In 1895. 

Arthur James Balfour 387 

the heaviest of all bereavements, 1 which befell him in 1890, 
made the burden of office increasingly irksome. He retired in 
1902, and was succeeded by his nephew, Mr. A. J. Balfour. 
The administration formed in 1895 had borne some resemblance 
to a family party, and had thereby invited ridicule even, in 
some quarters, created disaffection. But when Lord Salisbury 
was nearing the close of his career, the interest of family and of 
party were found to coincide, and everybody felt that Mr. 
Balfour must succeed him. Indeed, the transfer of power from 
uncle to nephew was so quietly effected that the new prime 
minister had kissed hands before the general public quite real- 
ized that the old one had disappeared. 

Mr. Balfour had long been a conspicuous and impressive figure 
in public life. With a large estate and a sufficient fortune, with 
the Tory leader for his uncle, and a pocket-borough bidden by 
that uncle to return him, he had obvious qualifications for po- 
litical success. He entered parliament in his twenty-sixth year, 
at the general election of 1874, and his many friends predicted 
great performances. But for a time the fulfilment of those 
predictions hung fire. Disraeli was reported to have said, after 
scrutinizing his young follower's attitude : " I never expect much 
from a man who sits on his shoulders.". . . 

At Cambridge he had distinguished himself in moral science. 
This was an unfortunate distinction. Classical scholarship 
had been traditionally associated with great office, and a high 
wrangler was always credited with hardheadedness ; but moral 
science was a different business, not widely understood, and 
connected in the popular mind with metaphysics and general 
vagueness. The rumor went abroad that Lord Salisbury's 
promising nephew was busy with matters which lay quite remote 
from politics, and was even following the path of perilous specu- 
lation. 2 . . . 

The general election of 1885 marked a stage in his career. 
The pocket-borough which he had represented since 1874 was 

1 The death of his wife. 

2 Mr Balfour had published an abstruse work called A Defense of. Philosophic 
Doubt, which some people thought was an apology for agnosticism. The few who 
read it found it to be an essay in orthodox apologetics. 

388 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

merged, and he courageously betook himself to Manchester, 
where for twenty years he faced the changes and chances of 
popular election. 

The great opportunity of his life came in 1887. The Liberal 
party, beaten on Home Rule at the election of 1886, was now 
following its leader into new and strange courses. Ireland was 
seething with lawlessness, sedition, and outrage. The Liberals, 
in their new-found zeal for Home Rule, thought it necessary to 
condone or extenuate all Irish crime; and the Irish party in 
the House of Commons was trying to make parliamentary gov- 
ernment impossible. 

At this juncture Mr. Balfour became chief secretary; and 
Ms appointment was the signal for a volume of criticism, which 
the events of the next four years proved to be ludicrously in- 
apposite. He was likened to a young lady "Miss Balfour," 
"Clara/' and "Lucy"; he was called "a palsied masher 77 
and "a perfumed popinjay 77 ; he was accused of being a recluse, 
a philosopher, and a pedant; he was pronounced incapable of 
holding his own in debate, and even more obviously unfit for 
the rough-and-tumble of Irish administration. 

The Irish party, accustomed to triumph over chief secretaries, 
rejoicingly welcomed a new victim in Mr. Balfour. They found, 
for the first time, a master. Never was such a tragic disillusion- 
ment. He armed himself with a new Crimes Act, which had 
the special merit of not expiring at a fixed period, but of enduring 
till it should be repealed, and he soon taught sedition-mongers, 
Irish and English, that he did not bear this sword in vain. 
Though murderous threats were rife, he showed an absolute 
disregard for personal danger, and ruled Ireland with a strong 
and dexterous hand. His administration was marred by want 
of human sympathy, and by some failure to discriminate between 
crime and disorder. . . . 

It is not my business to attack or defend. I only record the 
fact that Mr. Balf our's work in Ireland established his position as 
the most important member of the Conservative party. In 1891 
he resigned the chief secretaryship, and became leader of the 
House; was an: eminently successful leader of Opposition be- 

Arthur James Balfour 389 

tween 1892 and 1895 ; and, as I said before, was the obvious and 
unquestioned heir to the premiership which Lord Salisbury laid 
down in 1902. 

As prime minister Mr. Balfour had no opportunity for exer- 
cising his peculiar gift of practical administration, and only too 
much opportunity for dialectical ingenuity. His faults as a 
debater had always been that he loved to " score," even though 
the score might be obtained by a sacrifice of candor, and that 
he seemed often to argue merely for arguing's sake. It was said 
of the great Lord Holland that he always put his opponent's 
case better than the opponent put it for himself. No one ever 
said this of Mr. Balfour; and his tendency to sophistication 
led Mr. Humphrey Paul to predict that his name " would always 
be held in honor wherever hairs were split. 37 His manner and 
address (except when he was debating) were always courteous 
and conciliatory ; those who were brought into close contact with 
him loved him. Socially, he was by no means as expansive as 
the leader of a party should be. He was surrounded by an 
adoring clique, and reminded one of the dignitaries satirized by 
Sydney Smith l : "They live in high place with high people, or 
with little people who depend upon them. They walk deli- 
cately, like Agag. They hear only one sort of conversation, and 
avoid bold, reckless men, as a lady veils herself from rough 

But, unfortunately, a prime minister, though he may " avoid" 
reckless men, cannot always escape them, and may sometimes be 
forced to count them among his colleagues. Lord Rosebery's 
administration was sterilized partly by his own unfamiliarity 
with Liberal sentiment, and partly by the frowardness of his 
colleagues. Mr. Balfour knew all about Conservative sentiment, 
so far as it is concerned with order, property, and religion ; but 
he did not realize the economic heresy which always lurks in the 
secret heart of Toryism; and it was his misfortune to have 
as his most important colleague a "bold, reckless man" who 
realized that heresy, and was resolved to work it for his own 
ends. From the day when Mr. Chamberlain launched his scheme, 

1 An English divine (1771-1845), celebrated for Ms wit and rather worldly wisdom. 

390 Five Prime Ministers of Great Britain 

or dream, of tariff reform, Mr. Balfour's authority steadily 
declined. Endless ingenuity in dialectic, nimble exchanges of 
posture, candid disquisition for the benefit of the well-informed, 
impressive phrase-making for the bewilderment of the ignorant 
these and a dozen other arts were tried in vain. People 
began to laugh at the Tory leader, and likened him to Issachar 
crouching down between two burdens, or to that moralist who 
said that he always sought "the narrow path which lies be- 
tween right and wrong. 7 ' His colleagues fell away from him, 
and he was unduly ruffled by their secession. "It is time," 
exclaimed the Liberal leader, " to have done with this fooling" ; 
and though he was blamed by the Balfourites for his abruptness 
of speech, the country adopted his opinion. Gradually it seemed 
to dawn on Mr. Balfour that his position was no longer tenable. 
He slipped out of office as quietly as he had slipped into it ; and 
the Liberal party entered on its ten years' reign. 1 

1 The premiership of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905-1908), followed by 
that of Mr. H. H. Asquith (1908-1916). 


THE geographer, sociologist, and revolutionary, Prince 
Peter Kropotkin, belonged to the old Russian nobility. 
His father designed him for the army, and in 1857 he en- 
tered the privileged corps of pages at the imperial court. 
His military training completed, the youthful Kropotkin 
took up administrative work and exploration in Siberia, 
where he gained a first-hand knowledge of Russian misrule 
throughout that vast region. He joined the revolutionary 
party after his return to St. Petersburg and took an active 
part in the propaganda of nihilism: This led to his arrest 
and imprisonment for two years. After escaping in 1876 he 
made his way to western Europe and lived as an exile in 
Switzerland, France, and England. The Russian Revolu- 
tion of 1917 called him home, only to suffer disillusionment 
when confronted by the Bolshevist tyranny which replaced 
the tyranny of the tsarist regime. He died at Moscow in 
1921. Krop6tkin's authority as a writer on Russia was 
universally acknowledged, while his scientific publications 
gained for him world- wide fame. His Memoirs of a Revolu- 
tionist possess especial value as an intimate, faithful picture 
of Russian society both in the highest court circles and 
among the lowly ranks of the proletariat. The selections 
from this work given here deal with conditions during the 
reign of Alexander II (1855-1881), when the revolutionary 
movement first became of political importance. 

1 P. Kroptftkin, Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston, 1899. Houghton Mifflin 

392 Russia Before the Revolution 

163. Serfdom 1 

Serfdom was then 2 in the last years of its existence. It is 
recent history, it seems to be only of yesterday ; and yet, 
even in Russia, few realize what serfdom was in reality. There 
Is a dim conception that the conditions which it created were 
very bad ; but those conditions, as they affected human beings 
bodily and mentally, are not generally understood. It is amaz- 
ing, indeed, to see how quickly an institution and its social 
consequences are forgotten when the institution has ceased to 
exist, and with what rapidity men and things change. I will 
try to recall the conditions of serfdom by telling, not what I 
heard, but what I saw. 

Uliana, the housekeeper, stands In the passage leading to 
father's room, and crosses herself ; she dares neither to advance 
nor to retreat. At last, after having recited a prayer, she enters 
the room and reports, in a hardly audible voice, that the store of 
tea is nearly at an end, that there are only twenty pounds 
of sugar left, and that the other provisions will soon be ex- 

"Thieves, robbers !" shouts my father. "And you, you are 
in league with them!" His voice thunders throughout the 
house. Our stepmother leaves Uliana to face the storm. But 
father cries, "Frol, call the princess! Where is she?" And 
when she enters, he receives her with the same reproaches. 

a You also are in league with this progeny of Ham ; you are 
standing up for them" ; and so on, for half an hour or more. 

Then he commences to verify the accounts. At the same 
time, he thinks about the hay. Frol is sent to weigh what is left 
of that, and our stepmother is sent to be present during the weigh- 
ing, while father calculates how much of it ought to be in the barn. 
A considerable quantity of hay appears to be missing, and 
Uliana cannot account for several pounds of such and such 
provisions. Father's voice becomes more and more menacing ; 
Uliana is trembling ; but it is the coachman who now enters the 

1 Krop6tkin, Memoirs of a Revolutionist, pp. 49-60. 

2 The late 'fifties of the nineteenth century. 

Serfdom 393 

room, and is stormed at by Ms master. Father springs at him, 
strikes him, but he keeps repeating, " Your Highness must have 
made a mistake. 7 ' 

Father repeats his calculations, and this time it appears that 
there is more hay in the barn than there ought to be. The 
shouting continues ; he now reproaches the coachman with not 
having given the horses their daily rations in full; but the 
coachman calls on all the saints to witness that he gave the ani- 
mals their due, and Frol invokes the Virgin to confirm the coach- 
man's appeal. 

But father will not be appeased. He calls in Makar, the 
piano- tuner and sub-butler, and reminds him of all his recent 
sins. He was drunk last week, and must have been drunk 
yesterday, for he broke half a dozen plates. In fact, the break- 
ing of these plates was the real cause of all the disturbance ; our 
stepmother had reported the fact to father in the morning, and 
that was why Uliana was received with more scolding than was 
usually the case, why the verification of the hay was undertaken, 
and why father now continues to shout that "this progeny of 
Ham" deserve all the punishments on earth. 

Of a sudden there is a lull in the storm. My father takes his 
seat at the table and writes a note. "Take Makar with this 
note to the police station, and let a hundred lashes with the 
birch rod be given to him." 

Terror and absolute muteness reign in the house. 

The clock strikes four, and we all go down to dinner ; but no 
one has any appetite, and the soup remains in the plates un- 
touched. We are ten at table, and behind each of us a violinist 
or a trombone-player stands, with a clean plate in his left hand ; 
but Makar is not among them. 

"Where is Makar?" our stepmother asks. "Call him in." 

Makar does not appear, and the order is repeated. He enters 
at last, pale, with a distorted face, ashamed, his eyes cast down. 
Father looks into his plate, while our stepmother, seeing that 
no one has touched the soup, tries to encourage us. 

"Don't you find, children," she says, "that the soup is de- 

394 Russia Before the Revolution 

Tears suffocate me, and immediately after dinner is over I 
run out, catch Makar in a dark passage, and try to kiss his hand ; 
but he tears it away, and says, either as a reproach or as a ques- 
tion, "Let me alone; you, too, when you are grown up, will 
you not be just the same?" 

"No, no, never!" 

Yet father was not among the worst of landowners. On the 
contrary, the servants and the peasants considered him one of 
the best. What we saw in our house was going on everywhere, 
often in much more cruel forms. The flogging of the serfs was 
a regular part of the duties of the police and of the fire brigade. 

A landowner once made the remark to another, "Why is it 
that the number of souls on your estate increases so slowly? 
You probably do not look after their marriages." 

A few days later the general returned to his estate. He had 
a list of all the inhabitants of his village brought him, and picked 
out from it the names of the boys who had attained the age of 
eighteen, and the girls just past sixteen, these are the legal 
ages for marriage in Russia. Then he wrote, "John to marry 
Anna, Paul to marry Parashka," and so on with five couples. 
"The five weddings," he added, "must take place in ten days, 
the next Sunday but one." 

A general cry of despair rose from the village. Women, 
young and old, wept in every house. Anna had hoped to marry 
Gregory ; Paul's parents had already had a talk with the Fedo- 
tovs about their girl, who would soon be of age. Moreover, 
it was the season for ploughing, not for weddings ; and what 
wedding can be prepared in ten days? Dozens of peasants 
came to see the landowner ; peasant women stood in groups at 
the back entrance of the estate, with pieces of fine linen- for the 
landowner's spouse, to secure her intervention. All in vain. 
The master had said that the weddings should take place at 
such a date, and so it must be. 

At the appointed time, the nuptial processions, in this case 
more like burial processions, went to the church. The women 
cried with loud voices, as they are wont to cry during burials. 
One of the house valets was sent to the church, to report to the 

Serfdom 395 

master as soon as the wedding ceremonies were over ; but soon 
he came running back, cap in hand, pale and distressed. 

"Parashka," he said, "makes a stand; she refuses to be 
married to Paul. Father" (that is, the priest) "asked her, 'Do 
you agree? 7 but she replied in a loud voice, 'No, I don't.'" 

The landowner grew furious. "Go and tell that long-maned 
drunkard" (meaning the priest; the Russian clergy wear their 
hair long) "that if Parashka is not married at once, I will re- 
port him as a drunkard to -the archbishop. How dares he, 
clerical dirt, disobey me? Tell him he shall be sent to rot 
in a monastery, and I shall exile Parashka's family to the 

The valet transmitted the message. Parashka's relatives 
and the priest surrounded the girl ; her mother, weeping, fell 
on her knees before her, entreating her not to ruin the whole 
family. The girl continued to say "I won't," but in a weaker 
and weaker voice, then in a whisper, until at last she stood silent. 
The nuptial crown was put on her head ; she made no resistance, 
and the valet ran full speed to the mansion to announce, "They 
are married." 

Half an hour later, the small bells of the nuptial proces- 
sions resounded at the gate of the mansion. The five couples 
alighted from the cars, crossed the yard, and entered the hall. 
The landlord received them, offering them glasses of wine, while 
the parents, standing behind the crying daughters, ordered 
them to bow to the earth before their lord. 

Marriages by order were so common that amongst our servants, 
each time a young couple foresaw that they might be ordered to 
marry, although they had no mutual inclination for each other, 
they took the precaution of standing together as godfather and 
godmother at the christening of a child in one of the peasant 
families. This rendered marriage impossible, according to 
Russian Church law. The stratagem was usually successful, 
but once it ended in a tragedy. Andrei, the tailor, fell in love 
with a girl belonging to one of our neighbors. He hoped that 
my father would permit him to go free, as a tailor, in exchange 
for a certain yearly payment, and that by working hard at his 

396 Russia Before the Revolution 

trade he could manage to lay aside some money and to buy 
freedom for the girl. Otherwise, in marrying one of my father's 
serfs she would have become the serf of her husband's master. 
However, as Andrei and one of the maids of our household fore- 
saw that they might be ordered to marry, they agreed to unite 
as god-parents in the christening of a child. What they had 
feared happened : one day they were called to the master, and 
the dreaded order was given. 

"We are always obedient to your will," they replied. "But a 
few weeks ago we acted as godfather and godmother at a chris- 
tening." Andrei also explained his wishes and intentions. The 
result was that he was sent to the recruiting board to become a 

Under Nicholas I * there was no obligatory military service 
for all, such as now exists. Nobles and merchants were exempt, 
and when a new levy of recruits was ordered, the landowners 
had to supply a certain number of men from their serfs. As a 
rule, the peasants, within their village communities, kept a roll 
amongst themselves ; but the house servants were entirely at the 
mercy of their lord, and if he was dissatisfied with one of them, 
he sent Mm to the recruiting board and took a recruit acquit- 
tance, which had a considerable money value, as it could be sold 
to any one whose turn it was to become a soldier. 

Military service in those times was terrible. A man was re- 
quired to serve twenty-jive years under the colors, and the life of 
a soldier was hard in the extreme. . . . Blows from the officers, 
flogging with birch rods and with sticks, for the slightest fault, 
were normal affairs. The cruelty that was displayed surpasses 
all imagination. Even in the corps of cadets, where only noble- 
men's sons were educated, a thousand blows with birch rods 
were sometimes administered, in the presence of all the corps, 
. . . the doctor standing by the tortured boy, and ordering the 
punishment to end only when he ascertained that the pulse 
was about to stop beating. The bleeding victim was carried 
away unconscious to the hospital. The commander of the 
military schools, the Grand Duke Michael, would quickly have 
1 Tsar between 1825-1855. 

Serfdom 397 

removed the director of a corps who had not had one or 
two such cases every year. "No discipline," he would have 

With common soldiers it was far worse. When one of them 
appeared before a court-martial, the sentence was that a thou- 
sand men should be placed in two ranks facing each other, every 
soldier armed with a stick of the thickness of the little finger 
(these sticks were known under their German name of Spitz- 
ruthen), and that the condemned man should be dragged three, 
four, five, and seven times between these two rows, each soldier 
administering a blow. Sergeants followed to see that full force 
was used. After one or two thousand blows had been given, the 
victim, spitting blood, was taken to the hospital and attended to, 
in order that the punishment might be finished as soon as he had 
more or less recovered from the effects of the first part of it. If 
he died under the torture, the execution of the sentence was 
completed upon the corpse. Nicholas I and his brother Michael 
were pitiless ; no remittance of the punishment was ever pos- 
sible. "I will send you through the ranks; you shall be 
skinned under the sticks," were threats which made part of 
the current language. 

A gloomy terror used to spread through our house when it 
became known that one of the servants was to be sent to the 
recruiting board. The man was chained and placed under 
guard in the office, to prevent suicide. A peasant cart was 
brought to the office door, and the doomed man was taken out 
between watchmen. All the servants surrounded him. He 
made a deep bow, asking every one to pardon him his willing or 
unwilling offenses. If his father and mother lived in our village, 
they came to see him off. He bowed to the ground before them, 
and his mother and his other female relatives began loudly to 
sing out their lamentations, a sort of half-song and half- 
recitative: "To whom do you abandon us? Who will take 
care of you in the strange lands? Who will protect you from 
cruel men?" exactly in the same way in which they sang 
their lamentations at a burial and with the same words. 

Thus Andrei had now to face for twenty-five years the terrible 

398 Russia Before the Revolution 

fate of a soldier : all his schemes of happiness had come to a 
violent end. . , . 

These were things which I myself saw in my childhood. If, 
however, I were to relate what I heard of in those years, it would 
be a much more gruesome narrative : stories of men and women 
torn from their families and their villages, and sold, or lost in 
gambling, or exchanged for a couple of hunting dogs, and then 
transported to some remote part of Russia for the sake of creat- 
ing a new estate ; of children taken from their parents and sold 
to cruel or dissolute masters ; of flogging "in the stables," which 
occurred every day with unheard-of cruelty; of a girl who 
found her only salvation in drowning herself ; of an old man who 
had grown gray-haired in his master's service, and at last hanged 
himself under his master's window ; and of revolt of serfs, which 
was suppressed by Nicholas Fs generals by flogging to death 
each tenth or fifth man taken out of the ranks, and laying waste 
the village, whose inhabitants, after a military execution, went 
begging for bread in the neighboring provinces. As to the 
poverty which I saw during our journeys in, certain villages, 
especially in those which belonged to the imperial family, no 
words would be adequate to describe the misery to readers who 
have not seen it. 

164. Nihilism 1 

A formidable movement was developing in the meantime 
amongst the educated youth of Russia. Serfdom was abolished. 
But quite a network of habits and customs of domestic slavery, 
of utter disregard of human individuality, of despotism on the 
part of the fathers, and of hypocritical submission on that of the 
wives, the sons, and the daughters, had developed during the 
two hundred and fifty years that serfdom had existed. Every- 
where in Europe, at the beginning of this century, there was 
a great deal of domestic despotism, the writings of Thackeray 
and Dickens bear ample testimony to it ; but nowhere else had 
that tyranny attained such a luxurious development as in Russia. 
All Russian life, in the family, in the relations between comman- 

1 Kroptftkin, Memoirs of a Revolutionist, pp. 296-301. 

Nihilism 399 

der and subordinate, military chief and soldier, employer and 
employee, bore the stamp of it. Quite a world of customs and 
manners of thinking, of prejudices and moral cowardice, of 
habits bred by a lazy existence, had grown up. Even the best 
men of the time paid a large tribute to these products of the 
serfdom period. 

Law could have no grip upon these things. Only a vigorous 
social movement, which would attack the very roots of the evil, 
could reform the habits and customs of everyday life ; and in 
Russia this movement this revolt of the individual took 
a far more powerful character, and became far more sweeping 
in its criticisms, than anywhere in western Europe or America. 
" Nihilism " was the name that Turguenev gave it in his epoch- 
making novel, Fathers and Sons. 

The movement is misunderstood in western Europe. In the 
press, for example, nihilism is continually confused with terror- 
ism. The revolutionary disturbance which broke out in Russia 
toward the close of the reign of Alexander II, and ended in the 
tragical death of the tsar, is constantly described as nihilism. 
This is, however, a mistake. To confuse nihilism with terrorism- 
is as wrong as to confuse a philosophical movement like stoicism 
or positivism with a political movement such as, for example, 
republicanism. Terrorism was called into existence by certain 
special conditions of the political struggle at a given historical 
moment. It has lived, and has died. It may revive and die 
out again. But nihilism has impressed its stamp upon the 
whole of the life of the educated classes of Rubsia, and that 
stamp will be retained for many years to come. 

First of all, the nihilist declared war upon what may be 
described as "the conventional lies of civilized making." 
Absolute sincerity was his distinctive feature, and in the name 
of that sincerity he gave up, and asked others to give up, those 
superstitions, prejudices, habits, and customs which their own 
reason could not justify. He refused to bend before any author- 
ity except that of reason, and in the analysis of every social 
institution or habit he revolted against any sort of more or 
less masked sophism. 

400 Russia Before the Revolution 

He broke, of course, with the superstitions of his fathers, and 
in his philosophical conceptions he was a positivist, an agnostic, 
a Spencerian evolutionist, or a scientific materialist ; and while 
he never attacked the simple, sincere religious belief which is a 
psychological necessity of feeling, he bitterly fought against the 
hypocrisy that leads people to assume the outward mask of a 
religion which they repeatedly throw aside as useless ballast. 

The life of civilized people is full of little conventional lies. 
Persons who hate each other, meeting in the street, make their 
faces radiant with a happy smile; the nihilist remained un- 
moved, and smiled only for those whom he was really glad to 
meet. All those forms of outward politeness which are mere 
hypocrisy were equally repugnant to him, and he assumed a 
certain external roughness as a protest against the smooth 
amiability of his fathers. He saw them wildly talking as idealist 
sentimentalists, and at the same time acting as real barbarians 
toward their wives, their children, and their serfs ; and he rose 
in revolt against that sort of sentimentalism which, after all, 
so nicely accommodated itself to the anything but ideal condi- 
tions of Russian life. Art was involved in the same sweeping 
negation. Continual talk about beauty, the ideal art for art's 
sake, aesthetics, and the like, so willingly indulged in, while 
every object of art was bought with money exacted from starving 
peasants or from underpaid workers, and the so-called "worship 
of the beautiful" was but a mask to cover the most common- 
place dissoluteness, inspired him with disgust, and the 
criticisms of art which Tolstoy, one of the greatest artists of 
the century, has now so powerfully formulated the nihilist 
expressed in the sweeping assertion, "A pair of boots is more 
important than all your Madonnas and all your refined talk 
about Shakespeare." 

Marriage without love, and familiarity without friendship, 
were equally repudiated. The nihilist girl, compelled by her 
parents to be a doll in a Doll's House, and to marry for property's 
sake, preferred to abandon her house and her silk dresses. She 
put on a black woolen dress of the plainest description, cut off 
her hair, and went to a high school in order to win there her 

Nihilism 401 

personal independence. The woman who saw that her marriage 
was no longer a marriage, that neither love nor friendship con- 
nected those who were legally considered husband and wife, 
preferred to break a bond which retained none of its essential 
features. Accordingly she often went with her children to face 
poverty, preferring loneliness and misery to a life which, under 
conventional conditions, would have given a perpetual lie to her 
best self. 

The nihilist carried his love of sincerity even into the minutest 
details of every-day life. He discarded the conventional forms 
of society talk, and expressed his opinions in a blunt and terse 
way, with a certain affectation of outward roughness 

With the same frankness that nihilist spoke to his acquaint- 
ances, telling them that all their talk about " this poor people " 
was sheer hypocrisy so long as they lived upon the underpaid 
work of these people whom they commiserated at their ease as 
they chatted together in richly decorated rooms ; and with the 
same frankness a nihilist would declare to a high functionary 
that the latter cared not a straw for the welfare of those whom 
he ruled, but was simply a thief, and so on. 

With a certain austerity the nihilist would rebuke the woman 
who indulged in small talk and prided herself on her "womanly" 
mariners and elaborate toilette. He would bluntly say to a 
pretty young person : "How is it that you are not ashamed to 
talk this nonsense and to wear that chignon of false hair? " In 
a woman he wanted to find a comrade, a human personality, 
not a doll or a "muslin girl," and he absolutely refused to 
join in those petty tokens of politeness with which men surround 
those whom they like so much to consider as " the weaker sex." 
When a lady entered a room a nihilist did not jump from his seat 
to offer it to her, unless he saw that she looked tired and there 
was no other seat in the room. He behaved toward her as he 
would have behaved toward a comrade of his own sex ; but if 
a lady who might have been a total stranger to him mani- 
fested the desire to learn something which he knew and she did 
not, he would walk every night to the far end of a large city to 
help her. 

402 Russia Before the Revolution 

Two great Russian novelists, Turguenev and Goncharov, 
have tried to represent this new type in their novels. Gon- 
charov, . . . taking a real but unrepresentative individual of 
this class, made a caricature of nihilism. Turguenev was too 
good an artist, and had himself conceived too much admiration 
for the new type, to let himself be drawn into caricature paint- 
ing ; but even his nihilist, Bazarov, did not satisfy us. We 
found him too harsh, especially in his relations with his old 
parents, and, above all, we reproached him with his seeming 
neglect of his duties as a citizen. Russian youth could not be 
satisfied with the merely negative attitude of Turguenev's 
hero. Nihilism, with its affirmation of the rights of the individ- 
ual and his negation of all hypocrisy, was but a first step toward 
a higher type of men and women, who are equally free, but live 
for a great cause. In the nihilists of Chernyshevsky, as they 
are depicted in his far less artistic novel, What is to be Done ? 
they saw better portraits of themselves. 

165. The Revolutionary Movement 1 

In Russia the struggle for freedom was taking on a more and 
more acute character. . . . The youth had gone to the peasants 
and the factory workers, preaching socialism to them ; socialist 
pamphlets, printed abroad, had been distributed ; appeals had 
been made to revolt in some vague, indeterminate way 
against the oppressive economical conditions. In short, noth- 
ing was done that does not occur in socialist agitations in every 
other country of the world. No traces of conspiracy against 
the tsar, or even of preparations for revolutionary action, were 
found; in fact, there were none. The great majority of our 
youth were at that time hostile to such action. Nay, looking 
now over that movement of the years 1870-^78, 1 can say in full 
confidence that most of them would have felt satisfied if they 
had been simply allowed to live by the side of the peasants and 
the workers, to teach them, to collaborate in any of the thousand 
capacities private or as a part of the local self-government 
in which an educated and earnest man or woman can be 

1 Krop6tkin, Memoirs of a Revolutionist, pp 425-429. 

The Revolutionary Movement 403 

useful to the masses of the people. I knew the men, and say so 
with full knowledge of them. 

Yet the sentences were ferocious, stupidly ferocious, be- 
cause the 'movement, which had grown out of the previous 
state of Russia, was too deeply rooted to be crushed down by 
mere brutality. Hard labor for six, ten, twelve years in the 
mines, with subsequent exile to Siberia for life, was a common 
sentence. There were such cases as that of a girl who got nine 
years' hard labor and life exile to Siberia for giving one socialist 
pamphlet to a worker ; that was all her crime. Another girl 
of fourteen, Miss Gukovskaya, was transported for life to a re- 
mote village of Siberia, for having tried ... to excite an in- 
different crowd to deliver Kovalsky and his friends when they 
were going to be hanged, an act the more natural in Russia, 
even from the authorities' standpoint, as there is no capital 
punishment in our country for common-law crimes, and the ap- 
plication of the death penalty to " politicals " was then a novelty, 
a return to almost forgotten traditions. Thrown into the 
wilderness, this young girl soon drowned herself in the Yenisei. 
Even those who were acquitted by the courts were banished 
by the gendarmes to little hamlets in Siberia and northeast 
Russia, where they had to starve on the government's monthly 
allowance, one dollar and fifty cents (three rubles). There 
are no industries in such hamlets, and the exiles were strictly 
prohibited from teaching. 

As if to exasperate the youth still more, their condemned 
friends were not sent direct to Siberia. They were locked up,, 
first, for a number of years, in central prisons, which made them 
envy the convict's life in Siberia. These prisons were awful 
indeed. In one of them "a den of typhoid fever," as a priest 
of that particular jail said in a sermon the mortality reached 
twenty per cent in twelve months. In the central prisons, 
in the hard-labor prisons of Siberia, in the fortress the prisoners 
had to resort to the strike of death, the famine strike, to 
protect themselves from the brutality of the warders, or to 
obtain conditions some sort of work, or "reading, in their 
cells that would save them from being driven into insanity 

404 Russia Before the Revolution 

in a few months. The horror of such strikes, during which 
men and women refused to take any food for seven or eight 
days in succession, and then lay motionless, their minds wan- 
dering, seemed not to appeal to the gendarmes. At Khar- 
kov the prostrated prisoners were tied up with ropes and fed by 
force, artificially. 

Information of these horrors leaked out from the prisons, 
crossed the boundless distances of Siberia, and spread far and 
wide among the youth. There was a time when not a week 
passed without disclosing some new infamy of that sort, or even 

Sheer exasperation took hold of our young people. "In 
other countries," they began to say, "men have the courage to 
resist. An Englishman, a Frenchman, would not tolerate such 
outrages. How can we tolerate them? Let us resist, arms in 
hands, the nocturnal raids of the gendarmes ; let them know, at 
least, that since arrest means a slow and infamous death at their 
hands, they will have to take us in a mortal struggle." At 
Odessa, Kovalsky and his friends met with revolver shots the 
gendarmes who came one night to arrest them. 

The reply of Alexander II to this new move was the procla- 
mation of a state of siege. Russia was divided into a number of 
districts, each of them under a governor-general, who received 
the order to hang offenders pitilessly. Kovalsky and his 
friends who, by the way, had killed no one by their shots 
were executed. Hanging became the order of the day. Twenty- 
three persons perished in two years, including a boy of nine- 
teen, who was caught posting a revolutionary proclamation at 
a railway station ; this act I say it deliberately was the 
only charge against him. He was a boy, but he died like a man. 

Then the watchword of the revolutionists became "self- 
defense " : self-defense against the spies who introduced them- 
selves into the circles under the mask of friendship, and de- 
nounced members right and left, simply because they would not 
be paid if they did not accuse large numbers of persons ; self- 
defense against those who ill-treated prisoners; self-defense 
against the omnipotent chiefs of the state police. 

The Revolutionary Movement 405 

However, the personality of the emperor was kept out of the 
struggle, and down to the year 1879 no attempt was made on his 
life. The person of the " Liberator " of the serfs was surrounded 
by an aureole which protected him infinitely better than the 
swarms of police officials. If Alexander II had shown at this 
juncture the least desire to improve the state of affairs in Russia ; 
if he had only called in one or two of those men with whom he 
had collaborated during the reform period, and had ordered 
them to make an inquiry into the conditions of the country,, 
or merely of the peasantry ; if he had shown any intention of 
limiting the powers of .the secret police, his steps would have 
been hailed with enthusiasm. A word would have made him 
the "Liberator" again. . . . But just as during the Polish 
insurrection the despot awoke in him, and, inspired by Katkov, 
he resorted to hanging, so now again, following the advice of 
his evil genius, Katkov, he found nothing to do but to nominate 
special military governors for hanging. 

Then, and then only, a handful of revolutionists, the Ex- 
ecutive Committee, supported, I must say, by the growing 
discontent in the educated classes, and even in the tsar's im- 
mediate surroundings, declared that war against absolutism 
which, after several attempts, ended in 1881 in the death of 
Alexander II. 


IT is not a little curious that the greatest of African 
explorers should have entered on what proved to be his life 
work almost by an accident. Sir Henry Morton Stanley 
(1840-1904) was a Welshman by birth. He emigrated to 
the United States, kept a country store in Arkansas, fought 
in the Civil War, first on the Confederate and then on the 
Union side, and at the close of the war became a correspond- 
ent for American newspapers. His ability as a descriptive 
writer attracted the notice of James Gordon Bennett, 
proprietor of the New York Herald, who sent him on rov- 
ing expeditions to various parts of Europe. In 1869 the 
younger Bennett, the representative of the Herald in Paris, 
summoned Stanley to that city and informed him that he 
was to go and "find Livingstone." That intrepid Scotch 
missionary and explorer, whose discoveries had excited wide- 
spread interest, had not been heard from for over three 
years after departing on what was to be his last journey in 
the Dark Continent. Most people believed him to be dead, 
but Bennett felt sure that he still lived and that the resource- 
ful Stanley could find him, relieve his necessities, and then 
write a vivid narrative of the relief expedition. All these 
things Stanley did, afterward publishing an account of his 
experiences under the title How I Found Livingstone. 
Stanley was now fairly launched on that career as an African 
explorer which brought him world-wide fame, a seat in 

1 Sir Henry M. Stanley, How I Found Livingstone. London, 1872. Sampson 
Low, Marston, Low, and Searle. Through the Dark Continent, New York, 1878. 
2 vols. Harper and Brothers. In Darkest Africa. New York, 1890. 2 vols. 
Charles Scribner's Sons. 

Meeting of Stanley and Livingstone 407 

parliament (after naturalization as a British subject), a 
knighthood, university distinctions, and many other honors. 

166. Meeting of Stanley and Livingstone 1 

Stanley's African journey in search of Livingstone began at Zanzibar 
on March 21, 1871. It was not until November 10 that he finally 
reached Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika, where Livingstone was. With the 
latter he navigated the northern shores of the lake and then set out for 
Zanzibar, arriving there on May 7, 1872. 

We push on rapidly, lest the news of our coming might reach 
the people of Bunder Ujiji before we come in sight, and are 
ready for them. We halt at a little brook, then ascend the long 
slope of a naked ridge, the very last of the myriads we have 
crossed. This alone prevents us from seeing the lake in all its 
vastness. We arrive at the summit, travel across and arrive at 
its western rim, and pause, reader the port of Ujiji is below 
us, embowered in the palms, only five hundred yards from us ! 
At this grand moment we do not think of the hundreds of miles 
we have marched, of the hundreds of hills that we have ascended 
and descended, of the many forests we have traversed, of the 
jungles and thickets that annoyed us, of the fervid salt plains 
that blistered our feet, of the hot suns that scorched us, nor the 
dangers and difficulties, now happily surmounted. At last the 
sublime hour has arrived ! our dreams, our hopes, and antici- 
pations are now about to be realized! Our hearts and our 
feelings are with our eyes, as we peer into the palms and try to 
make out in which hut or house lives the white man with the 
gray beard we heard about on the MalagarazL 

"Unfurl the flags, and load your guns !" 

"Ay Wallah, ay Wallah, bana!" respond the men eagerly. 

" One, two, three fire ! " 

A volley from nearly fifty guns roars like a salute from a 
battery of artillery: we shall note its effect presently on the 
peaceful-looking village below. 

"Now, kirangozi, hold the white man's flag up high, and let 
the Zanzibar flag bring up the rear. And you men keep close 
1 Stanley, How I Found Livingstone, pp. 407-413. 

408 The Penetration of Africa 

together, and keep firing until we halt in the market-place, or 
before the white man's house. You have said to me often that 
you could smell the fish of the Tanganyika I can smell the 
fish of the Tanganyika now. There are fish, and beer, and a 
long rest waiting for you. March ! " 

Before we had gone a hundred yards our repeated volleys 
had the effect desired. We had awakened Ujiji to the knowledge 
that a caravan was coming, and the people were witnessed rush- 
ing up in hundreds to meet us. The mere sight of the flags in- 
formed every one immediately that we were a caravan, but the 
American flag borne aloft by gigantic Asmani, whose face was 
one vast smile on this day, rather staggered them at first. How- 
ever, many of the people who now approached us remembered 
the flag. They had seen it float above the American consulate, 
and from the masthead of many a ship in the harbor of Zanzibar, 
and they were soon heard welcoming the beautiful flag with 
cries of " Bindera Kisungu ! " a white man's flag ! " Bindera 
Merikani 1 " the American flag ! . . . 

The news had been conveyed to the doctor that it was surely 
a white man that was coming, whose guns were firing and whose 
flag could be seen ; and the great Arab magnates of Ujiji . . . had 
gathered together before the doctor's house, and the doctor had 
come out from his veranda to discuss the matter and wait my 
arrival. In the meantime, the head of the expedition had halted, 
and the kirangozi was out of the ranks, holding his flag aloft, 
and Selim said to me, "I see the doctor, sir. Oh, what an old 
man! He has got a white beard," ... As I advanced slowly 
toward him I noticed he was pale, looked wearied, had a gray 
beard, wore a bluish cap with a faded gold band round it, had 
on a red-sleeved waistcoat, and a pair of gray tweed trousers. 
I would have run to him, only I was a coward in the presence of 
such a mob would have embraced him, only, he being an 
Englishman, I did not know how he would receive me ; so I did 
what cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing 
walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said : 

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" 

"Yes," said he, with a kind smile, lifting his cap slightly. 

Meeting of Stanley and Livingstone 409 

I replace my hat on my head, and he puts on his cap, and we 
both grasp hands, and I then say aloud : 

"I thank God, doctor, I have been permitted to see you." 

He answered, " I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you. 3 ' 

I turn to the Arabs, take off my hat to them in response to the 
saluting chorus of "Yambos" I receive, and the doctor intro- 
duces them to me by name. Then, oblivious of the crowds, 
oblivious of the men who shared with me rny dangers, we 
Livingstone and I turn our faces toward his tembe. He 
points to the veranda, or, rather, mud platform, under the 
broad overhanging eaves ; he points to his own particular seat, 
which I see his age and experience in Africa has suggested, 
namely, a straw mat, with a goatskin over it, and another skin 
nailed against the wall to protect his back from contact with the 
cold mud. I protest against taking this seat, which so much 
more befits him than me, but the doctor will not yield : I must 
take it. 

We are seated the doctor and I with our backs to the 
wall. The Arabs take seats on our left. More than a thousand 
natives are in our front, filling the whole square densely, indulg- 
ing their curiosity, and discussing the fact of two white men 
meeting at Ujiji one just come from Manyuema, in the west, 
the other from Unyanyembe, in the east. 

Conversation began. What about? I declare I have for- 
gotten. Oh ! we mutually asked questions of one another, such 

"How did you come here?" and "Where have you been 
all this long time? The world has believed you to be dead." 
Yes, that was the way it began ; but whatever the doctor in- 
formed me, and that which I communicated to him, I cannot 
correctly report, for I found myself gazing at him, conning the 
wonderful man at whose side I now sat in Central Africa. Every 
hair of his head and beard, every wrinkle of his face, the wanness 
of his features, and the slightly wearied look he wore, were all 
imparting intelligence to me the knowledge I craved for so 
much ever since I heard the words, "Take what you want, but 
find Livingstone." What I saw was deeply interesting intelli- 

410 The Penetration of Africa 

gence to me, and unvarnished truth. I was listening and read- 
ing at the same time. What did these dumb witnesses relate to 

Oh, reader, had you been at my side on this day in Ujiji, how 
eloquently could be told the nature of this man's work I Had 
you been there but to see and hear! His lips gave me the 
details; lips that never lie. I cannot repeat what he said; 
I was too much engrossed to take my note-book out, and begin 
to stenograph his story. He had so much to say that he began 
at the end, seemingly oblivious of the fact that five or six years 
had to be accounted for. But his account was oozing out ; it was 
growing fast into grand proportions into a most marvelous 
history of deeds. 

167. "Ikutu ya Kongo! "i 

The expedition which Stanley conducted in Africa between 1874- 
1877 did more for the opening-up of the Dark Continent than had ever 
been accomplished before. It not only resulted in the discovery of the 
course of the Congo, but also led directly to the foundation of the Congo 
Free State, thus initiating the scramble by European powers for African 
territories hitherto unappropriated. Stanley started from the east 
coast at Zanzibar and reached the west coast at Boma, on the mouth 
of the Congo, having navigated that magnificent waterway for its 
entire length and having demonstrated its identity with Livingstone's 
Lualaba* Many other geographical problems were also solved, among 
them the drainage of Lake Tanganyika into the Congo and the true 
length and area of Lake Victoria Nyanza. These achievements were 
accomplished in the face of tremendous difficulties. The three white 
men who accompanied Stanley all died on the journey, and he himself 
became prematurely aged. The following extracts from the explorer's 
notebooks (for February, 1877) will afford some idea of the hardships 
and dangers of this memorable expedition. 

February 3. General course of river from morning until 
noon, northwest. At noon ascertained our latitude to be north 
of the equator i^p'i." 

We endeavored to do our best to avoid conflict with the sav- 
ages, and this required great judgment and constant watch- 
ing of the channels. We happily succeeded, though a little 

1 Stanley, Through the Dark Continent, vol. ii, pp. 279-283. 

1 i Ikutu ya Kongo ! " 411 

after noon it became extremely doubtful, for it seems that we 
edged a little too much to the left bank in our eagerness to avoid 
all channels that might take us to the right. The Barundu, of 
whom we heard yesterday, sighted us, as we passed a gap be- 
tween the islands, and instantly manned eighteen large war- 
canoes. But as we had obtained a start of them we pulled 
desperately down river among the islands, leading them a chase 
of eight miles or so, when they returned. 

Livingstone called floating down the Lualaba a foolhardy 
feat. So it has proved, indeed, and I pen these lines with half 
a feeling that they will never be read by any man ; still, as we 
persist in floating down according to our destiny, I persist in 
writing, leaving events to an all-gracious Providence. Day 
and night we are stunned with the dreadful drumming which 
announces our arrival and presence on their waters. Either 
bank is equally powerful. To go from the right bank to the 
left bank is like jumping from the frying-pan into the fire. 
As we row down amongst these islands, between the savage 
countries on either side of us, it may well be said that we are 
"running the gauntlet.". . . 

February 6. A little before we sought our camp amid the 
islands, the river for the first time deflected west. All this 
morning its course was from west half south to west by north. 
Our observations at noon showed we had not made quite a 
mile of northing, for our north latitude was i5i / 59/ / The 
Livingstone l is now from four to seven miles across from bank 
to bank. So far as we can see through a glass, the banks are 
very low, from six to ten feet high, capped with woods. The 
islands are also densely wooded. We have had in this extraor- 
dinary journey by Driver all the terrors as well as pleasures of 
river life. We now glide down narrow streams, between palmy 
and spicy islands, whose sweet fragrance and vernal color causes 
us to forget at moments our dangerous life. . . . Some other 
pleasures we have are in watching a sunny bank, where we may 
rest assured the crocodile lies dreaming of fish banquets, and 
whence he will rise and plunge with a startling splash; or in 

1 As Stanley then called the great river. 

412 The Penetration of Africa 

watching the tricks of some suspicious and watchful behemoth, 
whose roar has its volume redoubled as it is reverberated from 
shore to shore in these eerie wilds. 

Our terrors are numerous. First, the rocks and rapids, the 
plunging cataract and whirling pool, which fortunately are past, 
and which we pray we shall not have to encounter again. Then 
the sudden storm, which now blows each day up river, and, 
first wrinkling the face of the river, soon raises heavy brown 
waves, like those of a lake, which, having already suffered from, 
we are careful to avoid ; but the greatest danger, an ever-recur- 
ring one, is that which we have to encounter each time the wild 
howling cannibal aborigines observe us. Indeed, the sense of 
security is short-lived, our pleasure evanescent ; but the sense 
of danger is always present and pervades our minds whether in 
our sleeping or our waking hours. 

February 7. Obtained no latitude. It has been a tempes- 
tuous day. Great heavy swells rolled up river in our front, 
and the wind howled and shrieked so through the dismal glades 
that we became quite gloomy. To add to our troubles, our 
food is finished ; we have no more, and to attempt to obtain it 
will cost human life. Empty stomachs serve to render the 
prospects in unknown and wild regions still darker. We have 
three asses with us ; but then my people have grown to look at 
them as fellow-members of the Expedition. They say they will 
die first, but the faithful asses which have accompanied us so far 
the people say shall not be touched. So far so good ; but what 
are we to do ? Late at night the chiefs came to me and declared 
they must have food to-morrow. I told them they should 
have it, that from the first village we saw we should go and 
demand it. 

February 8. Our course yesterday was west by south, and 
to-day west-south-west. We embarked at 7 A.M., and rowed 
past a very long wooded island, which lay on our left. At 8 A.M. 
we began to observe on the right bank a long hilly ridge, with 
cultivated slopes, and a dense population, which we later learned 
was called Upoto or Mbapoto, as one man called it. I 
solemnly addressed my people, and, while telling them to pre- 

"Ikutu ya Kongo!' 5 413 

pare every weapon, gun, spear, axe, and knife, reminded them 
that it was an awful thing to commence hostilities, whether 
for food or anything else. They groaned in spirit, and asked me 
what they should do when their bowels yearned for something to 
satisfy their hunger ; and though there was an abundance of 
copper, brass, iron, shells, beads, and cloth, nobody would sell 
even a small piece of cassava to them, or even look at them 
without manifesting a thirst for their blood. 

I had prepared the brightest and most showy wares close 
by me, and resolved to be as cunning and patient as a serpent 
in this intercourse. At n A.M. we sighted the village of Ru- 
bunga, and, giving instructions to Frank not to approach nearer 
to me than a quarter of a mile with the canoes, we rowed steadily 
down until within a few hundred yards of it, when we lay-to 
on our oars. Presently three canoes advanced to meet us 
without the usual savage demonstrations. Not even a drum 
was beaten, a horn blown, or a cry uttered. This was promis- 
ing. We tried the words J ' c Sen-nen-neh I " "Cha-re-reh!" in 
soft, mild, melodious strains. They ran away. Things ap- 
peared gloomy again. However, patience I 

We had reserved one banana and a piece of cassava. We had 
our mouths and our stomachs with us. An appropriate gesture 
with the banana to the mouth, and a gentle fondling with a 
puckered stomach, would, we thought, be a manner of expressing 
extreme want, eloquent enough to penetrate the armored body 
of a crocodile. We came opposite the village at thirty yards' 
distance, and dropped our stone anchor, and I stood up with 
my ragged old helmet pushed back far, that they might scrutinize 
my face, and the lines of suasion be properly seen. With the 
banana in one hand, and a gleaming armlet of copper and beads 
of various colors in the other, I began the pantomime. . . . 
I clashed the copper bracelets together, lovingly handled the 
bright gold-brown of the shining armlet, exposed with all my 
best grace of manner long necklaces of bright and clean Cyp- 
raa moneta, and allured their attention with beads of the bright- 
est colors. Nor were the polished folds of yellow brass wire 
omitted ; and again the banana was lifted to my open mouth. 

414 The Penetration of Africa 

Then what suspense, what patience, what a saint-like air of 
resignation ! Ah, yes ! but I think I may be pardoned for all 
that degrading pantomime. I had a number of hungry, half- 
wild children ; and through a cannibal world we had ploughed 
to reach these unsophisticated children of nature. 

We waited, and at length an old chief came down the high 
bank to the lower landing near some rocks. Other elders of the 
people in headdresses of leopard and civet skin joined him soon, 
and then all sat down. The old chief nodded with his head. 
We raised our anchor, and with two strokes of the oars had run 
our boat ashore, and, snatching a string or two of cowries, I 
sprang on land, followed by the coxswain Uledi, and in a second 
I had seized the skinny hand of the old chief, and was pressing 
it hard for joy. Warm-hearted Uledi, who the moment before 
was breathing furious hate of all savages, and of the procras- 
tinating old chief in particular, embraced him with a filial 
warmth. Young Saywa, and Murabo, and Shumari, prompt as 
tinder upon all occasions, grasped the lesser chiefs' hands, and 
devoted themselves with smiles and jovial frank bearing to con- 
quer the last remnants of savage sullenness, and succeeded so well 
that in an incredibly short time the blood-brotherhood cere- 
mony l between the suddenly formed friends was solemnly entered 
into, and the irrevocable pact of peace and goodwill had been 
accomplished! . . . We distributed presents to each native, and 
in return we received great bunches of mellow, ripe, and green 
bananas, as well as of fish. It was agreed between us that we 
should encamp on this little islet, on which we find ourselves 
to-night, with a feeling as though we were approaching home. 

Before leaving the chief of Rubunga's presence, I asked him 
the name of the river, in a mongrel mixture of Ki-swahili, 
Kinyamwezi, Kijiji, Kiregga, and Ki-Kusu. He understood 
after awhile, and replied it was "Ibari." But after he had 
quite comprehended the drift of the question, he replied in a 
sonorous voice, "Ikutu ya Kongo !" 

1 An African ceremony whereby persons enter into firm bonds of friendship by 
exchanging a few drops of their blood, which Is then swallowed by the parties to the 
compact or sprinkled over their bodies. 

Pygmies of the Equatorial Forest 415 

There had really been no doubt in my mind since we had left the 
Stanley Falls that the terrible river would prove eventually to be 
the river of Congo-land, but it was very agreeable to be told so. 

168. Pygmies of the Equatorial Forest. 1 

Stanley's last explorations in Africa were made between 1887 and 1889, 
as a leader of the Emin relief expedition. Emin Pasha, governor of the 
Equatorial Province of Egypt, had been isolated as a result of the Mahdist 
uprising a few years previously. Stanley finally met Emin on Lake 
Albert Nyanza in April, 1888, and the two leaders returned to Zanzibar 
in December, the following year. On the homeward journey Ruwenzori 
(the Mountains of the Moon) and Lake Albert Edward Nyanza were 
discovered, and much information concerning the pygmy tribes was 

Scattered among the Balesse, between Ipoto and Mount 
Pisgah, and inhabiting the land situated between the Ngaiyu 
and Ituri Rivers, a region equal in area -to about two- thirds of 
Scotland, are the Wambutti, variously called Batwa, Akka, and 
Bazungu. These people are undersized nomads, dwarfs, or 
pygmies, who live in the uncleared virgin forest, and support 
themselves on game, which they are very expert in catching. 
They vary in height from three feet to four feet six inches. A full- 
grown adult male may weigh ninety pounds. They plant their 
village camps at a distance of from two to three miles around a 
tribe of agricultural aborigines, the majority of whom are fine, 
stalwart people. A large clearing may have as many as eight, 
ten, or twelve separate communities of these little people settled 
around them, numbering in the aggregate from 2,000 to 2,500 
souls. With their weapons, little bows and arrows, the points of 
which are covered thickly with poison, and spears, they kill ele- 
phants, buffalo, and antelope. They sink pits, and cunningly 
cover them with light sticks and leaves, over which they sprinkle 
earth to disguise from the unsuspecting animals the danger 
below them. They build a shed-like structure, the roof being 
suspended with a vine, and spread nuts or ripe plantains under- 
neath, to tempt the chimpanzeejs, baboons, and other simians 
within, and by a slight movement the shed falls, and the animals 
1 Stanley, In Darkest Africa, vol. ii, pp. 100-104, 

4i 6 The Penetration of Africa 

are captured. Along the tracks of civets, mephitis, ichneumons, 
and rodents are bow traps fixed, which, in the scurry of the little 
animals, are snapped and strangle them. Besides the meat 
and hides to make shields, and furs, and ivory of the slaugh- 
tered game, they catch birds to obtain their feathers; they 
collect honey from the woods, and make poison, all of which they 
sell to the larger aborigines for plantains, potatoes, tobacco, 
spears, knives, and arrows. The forest would soon be denuded 
of game if the pygmies confined themselves to the few square 
miles around a clearing ; they are therefore compelled to move, 
as soon as It becomes scarce, to other settlements. 

They perform other services to the agricultural and larger 
class of aborigines. They are perfect scouts and contrive, 
by their better knowledge of the intricacies of the forest, 
to obtain early intelligence of the coming of strangers, and 
to send information to their settled friends. They are thus 
like voluntary pickets guarding the clearings and settlements. 
Every road from any direction runs through their camps. 
Their villages command every crossway. Against any strange 
natives, disposed to be aggressive, they would combine with 
their taller neighbors, and they are by no means despica- 
ble allies. When arrows are arrayed against arrows, poison 
against poison, and craft against craft, probably the party 
assisted by the pygmies would prevail. Their diminutive size, 
superior woodcraft, their greater malice, would make formid- 
able opponents. This the agricultural natives thoroughly 
understand. They would no doubt wish on many occasions 
that the little people would betake themselves elsewhere, for 
the settlements are frequently outnumbered by the nomad 
communities. For small and often inadequate returns of fur 
and meat, they must allow the pygmies free access to their plan- 
tains, groves, and gardens. In a word, no nation on the earth 
is free from human parasites, and the tribes of the Central Afri- 
can forest have much to bear from these little, fierce people, who 
glue themselves to their clearings, flatter them when well fed, 
but oppress them with their extortions and robberies. 

The pygmies arrange their dwellings ... in a rough circle, 

Pygmies of the Equatorial Forest 417 

the center of which is left cleared for the residence of the 
chief and his family, and as a common. About one hundred 
yards in advance of the camp, along every track leading out 
of it, is placed the sentry-house, just large enough for two 
little men, with the doorway looking up the track. . . . 

The life in their forest villages partakes of the character of 
the agricultural classes. The women perform all the work of 
collecting fuel and provisions, and cooking, and the transport 
of the goods of the community. The men hunt, and fight, and 
smoke, and conduct the tribal politics. There is always some 
game in the camp, besides furs and feathers and hides. They 
have nets for fish and traps for small game to make. The 
youngsters must always be practising with the bow and arrow, 
for we have never come across one of their villages without 
finding several miniature bows and blunt-headed arrows. There 
must be free use of axes also, for the trees about bear many a 
mark which could only have been done to try their edge. In 
every camp we have seen deep incisions in a tree several inches 
deep, and perhaps five hundred yards from the camp a series of 
diamond cuttings in a root of a tree across the track, which, 
when seen, informed us that we were approaching a village of the 
Wambutti pygmies. 



THE Japanese author of the volume from which the fol- 
lowing selections have been taken was born in 1863. He 
went to the United States and Europe, when a young man, 
as a commissioner to report on Western art education, and 
after returning to Japan he soon became a leader in artistic 
and archaeological work among his countrymen. The 
Awakening of Japan was written by him originally in Eng- 
lish. It is based not merely upon printed material, but 
also upon information derived through acquaintance with 
surviving actors in the Restoration movement of the nine- 
teenth century. 

169. The Old Japan 2 

The Tokugawa tyrants, who initiated the policy of strict 
seclusion, were the successors of various lines of shoguns who, as 
military regents of the mikado, had, since the twelfth century, 
usurped the government of Japan. Before that period, Japan 
was under the personal rule of the mikado, who, with the assist- 
ance of court functionaries, reigned over the country from 
Kioto. The over-centralization of the imperial bureaucracy, 
however, was the cause of its own decay. Its neglect of pro- 
vincial administration led to local disturbances and the crea- 
tion of baronial estates, over which the Kioto court exercised no 
active control The real authority thus came into the hands 
of the strongest baronial power, whose representative, vested 
by the mikado with the title of shogun, or commander-in-chief , 
ruled the country as regent, the mikado retaining but a nominal 
sovereignty over the empire. . . . 

1 Okakura-Kakuzo, The Awakening of Japan. New York, 1904. Century 

2 Okakura-Kakuzo, The Awakening of Japan, pp. 22-52. 

The Old Japan 419 

The mechanism of the Tokugawa' rule cannot be adequately 
described in brief ; not only is it exceedingly complicated, but 
it is without striking parallel in the history of any country. It 
affords the peculiar spectacle of a society perfectly isolated and 
self-complete, which, acting and reacting upon itself, produced 
worlds within worlds, each with its separate life and ideals, and 
its own distinct expressions in art and literature. It exhibits 
all the subtleness of European class distinction, plus the element 
of caste as understood in India. We can here but indicate its 
main phases. 

First, over all was the mikado. That sacred conception is the 
thought-inheritance of Japan from her very beginning. Mythol- 
ogy has consecrated it, history has endeared it, and poetry has 
idealized it. Buddhism has enriched it with that reverence 
which India pays to the "Protector of the Law," and Confu- 
cianism has confirmed it with the loyalty which China offers to 
the "Son of Heaven." The mikado may cease to govern, but 
he always reigns. He exists not by divine right, but by divine 
law, a fact of man and nature. He is always there, like our 
beloved mountain of Fuji, which stands eternally in silent 
beauty, or like the glorious sea which forever washes our shore. 

We must remember, however, that the political significance of 
the mikado has not always been the same. As we are often 
unconscious of the every-day facts of nature, because of their 
unquestioned existence, so we became unconscious of the mikado, 
and basked in the daylight, unmindful of the sun above. Clouds 
of successive usurpations long obscured the heavens, so that 
devotion to the Solar Throne became a distant though never 
entirely forgotten homage. By the seventeenth century, when 
lyeyasu l assumed the shogunate and became in reality absolute 
monarch of Japan, all memory of the personal rule of the mikado 
had been lost for four long centuries. The mikado's court at 
Kioto, the former capital of the imperial government, was still 
existent, owing to its past prestige, but it was only a faint re- 
flection of its former glory. 

The great genius of lyeyasu is apparent in his full recognition 
1 lyeyasu, who belonged to the noble house of Tokugawa, became shogun in 1603* 

420 Japan Old and New 

of the mikado in the national scheme. In strong contrast to 
the arrogance and utter neglect which the preceding shoguns 
displayed toward the court, he spared no effort to show his 
respect. He augmented the imperial revenues, invited the 
daimios (feudal lords) to participate in rebuilding the imperial 
palace, restored the court ceremonial and etiquette, and was 
unceasing in his ministrations to the welfare of the imperial 
household. He even started the unprecedented ceremony of 
the shogun paying personal homage to the throne, and a brilliant 
pageant yearly passed from his castle of Yeddo (now known as 
Tokio), dazzling the delighted eyes of the populace as it wended 
its way slowly toward Kioto. All this was flattering to the 
national love of tradition. It was considered as heralding the 
advent of the millennium. 

But behind this appearance of loyalty to the throne lay hidden 
the subtlest snares of the Tokugawas. If they recognized the 
necessity of the imperial cult, they determined that they alone 
should be its high priests, and that others should worship at a 
respectful distance. In the name of sanctity, the Kioto court 
was deprived of those last remnants of political authority which 
former regencies had suffered it to retain. A strong garrison was 
stationed in Kioto, ostensibly for the protection of the palace, 
but its members were chosen from the tried bodyguard of the 
Tokugawas themselves. They continued to invite one of the 
imperial princes to take the monastic vows and reside in Yeddo 
as lord abbot of the Uyeno temple, by which means they always 
virtually held at their capital a hostage from the Kioto court. 
No daimio was allowed to seek audience of the mikado without 
their consent. 

The mikado, unseen and unheard, commanded a mysterious 
awe. His palace now became the " Forbidden Interior" in the 
strict sense of the word. The ancient political significance of the 
court was lost in a semi-religious conception. No wonder that 
the Westerners who first visited our country wrote that there 
were two rulers in Japan, the temporal in Yeddo, and the spir- 
itual in Kioto. In spite of the constant loyalty which our fore- 
fathers expressed for the mikado in Tokugawa days, they had 

The Old Japan 421 

none of the fiery enthusiasm which inspires us to-day. With 
them it was symbolism ; with us it is a living reality. 

Next to the mikado, and foremost in social rank (the imperial 
line being considered above all class distinctions) , came the 
kuges, or court aristocracy of Kioto. The exalted position 
which they held in society arose from their association with the 
mikado. From their position near the throne, they were called 
poetically the Friends of the Moon and Guests of the Cloud. 
Their fortunes waxed and waned with those of the imperial 
household, to which, regardless of the immense political changes 
that have come over Japan since the days when they actively 
participated in the conduct of the empire, they have ever re- 
mained faithful. Herein again lies another remarkable example 
of that obstinate tenacity which makes the Japanese race pre- 
serve the old while it welcomes the new. . . . 

The Tokugawa government humored and honored the court 
nobles because of their association with the mikado and the 
place they occupied in the history of the nation. The kuges 
were given precedence over the daimios, and their incomes, 
if not greatly increased, were at least assured to them. This 
last must have been gratifying to those of them who remembered 
the disastrous days when they had to sell autograph poems for 
their sustenance. They were contented, and the Tokugawas 
kept them well disposed toward themselves by intermarriage and 
timely financial aid. All political power, however, was com- 
pletely taken from the kuges, notwithstanding the high-sound- 
ing titles which they were still allowed to retain. The duty 
of the privy councillor would consist in debating on the merits 
of a love-ditty, and that of the high minister of state in presiding 
over a competition of nightingales. It was in those days of 
refined folly that the queen in our game of chess was solemnly 
abolished by imperial command. 

Theoretically, next to the court nobility of Kioto in social 
position, but actually far prouder and more powerful, came the 
daimios, or feudal lords (literally grandees), nearly three hun- 
dred in number. These were divided into classes the To- 
zama daimios, who were the descendants of the barons of 

422 Japan Old and New 

former days, and the daimlos of recent creation, who had been 
ennobled by the Tokugawas, either for their services, or be- 
cause they traced their lineage to some member of that family. 

Below the daimios came the samurai, or sworded gentry, 
four hundred thousand strong. They served either immediately 
under the shogun himself, or else under the banners of the various 
daimios. Their appointments were hereditary, and their blood 
was kept pure by the prohibition of all marriage with the lower 
classes, except in case of the foot-soldiers, who constituted the 
lowest rank of samurai. They had the right and obligation of 
wearing two swords and bearing 'family crests. Within their 
own ranks were many class distinctions, each with its special 
privileges. The estates of high-class samurai were often wider 
and richer than those of the smaller daimios. Under the code of 
the samurai, however, all enjoyed that equality that belongs to 
comradeship in arms ; and even as a king of England or France 
delighted in the title of first gentleman of the land, so the 
shogun considered himself first samurai of the empire. . . . 

The life of a Tokugawa daimio or samurai was not devoid of 
amusements. Besides his fencing-bouts and jiujitsu matches, 
his falconry and games of archery, he had his wo-dances, 1 his 
tea-ceremonies, and those interminable banquets at which he 
would recount the exploits of his ancestors. Moreover, much 
time might be consumed in the composition of bad Chinese 
poems beneath the cherry-trees. He was often wealthy and 
always extravagant, for his contempt for gold was ingrained. 
He would squander a fortune for a rare Sung vase or a Masamune 
blade. The marvelous workmanship of the Gotos in metal, and 
of the Komas in gold lacquer was the result of his patronage. It 
is to the disappearance of the daimio and the samurai that Japan 
owes her sudden fall of standard in artistic taste. 

Such samurai as had been thrown out of employment either 
through dismissal by their lord or the extinction of the daimiate 
under which they served, were called ronin (the unattached). 
Sometimes a second son, with literary talents or scholastic am- 
bitions, became a ronin, and supported himself by teaching. 

1 The dramatic performances of old Japan. 

The Old Japan 423 

The ronins retained all the rights and privileges of the samurai, 
while their state of independence gave them an individuality 
and freedom of thought unknown among their more orthodox 
brethren. It was through the ronin scholars that the first 
message of the Restoration was to be announced to the nation. 

Fourth in the social scale came the commoners, ranked in the 
order of farmers, artisans, and traders. As in the case of the 
rise of European monarchies the populace ever came to the 
help of the sovereign against the nobles, so in Japan the Toku- 
gawas found in the commoners their best allies against the 
daimios, and consequently granted them many privileges 
hitherto unknown. Then life and property of the masses found 
a security unprecedented in the days of the predatory barons. 
Within a limited sphere, they were even allowed to develop 
self-government. Industry and commerce flourished unmo- 
lested. Agriculture was specially encouraged, as rice was the 
medium in which the revenues of the government were taken. 
It is to the commoners that we owe the arts and crafts which 
have made Japan famous. It is to them that we are indebted 
for our modern drama and popular literature, the color-prints 
of Torii and Hokusai. 

Toward the commoners also, however, the Tokugawas pursued 
their policy of segregation, inclosing them by barriers of tradi- 
tion within a separate compartment of their social structure. 
They were welcome to their special vocations and amusements, 
but they were forbidden to trespass on what belonged to the 
higher orders. They were not allowed to wear family crests, 
or even to bear surnames. They could have their theater, with 
its line of dangiuros (actors), but might not indulge in the no- 
music of the samurai, or the classic dance of the Kioto nobility. 

As a precaution against an uprising, all the commoners were 
disarmed. An immense body of secret police was employed 
to watch their movements, and any breath of discontent met 
with severe punishment. Silent fear haunted them, for all the 
walls seemed to have grown ears. Theirs it was to work and 
obey, and not to question. However rich or accomplished, 
commoners born must die commoners. Hemmed in by inexor- 

424 Japan Old and New 

able customs and restrictions, their energy had to vent 
itself either through the frivolity of life or the sadness of re- 
ligion. . . . 

Below the commoners, and, in fact, ostracized entirely from 
the social scheme, were the outcasts known as yettas. They 
were the descendants of criminals, who, in early times, were not 
allowed to intermarry with other families, and so formed a 
distinct caste by themselves. Some of them became quite 
wealthy, owing to their possession of a monopoly in the 
handling of leather and hide, an occupation considered unclean, 
according to the Buddhist canons. It was from their ranks 
that the public executioners were appointed. Before the 
Restoration, when all men were made equal in the eye of the 
law, any contact with this class was considered a pollution. 

The national consciousness, divided within itself by the dams 
and dikes of its own conventions, could but narrow and finally 
stagnate. The flow of spontaneity ceased with the end of the 
seventeenth century. 

Yet the hibernation of Japan within her chrysalis must have 
been pleasant in itself, or the nation would not have slumbered 
so long. Old folks are still to be found who cherish the memory 
of those days of leisure, when no one was so vulgar as to think for 
himself, when life was elegant, if it was formal. There were 
always chances of being exquisitely foolish, if one was wise 
enough to avail himself of them. Said Kampici, the Chinese 
MachiaveUi, in telling the secret of absolutism twenty-two 
centuries ago : " Amuse them, tire them not, let them not know." 
lyeyasu, a past master of craft, followed these injunctions but 
too faithfully. We were amused, we cared not for change, we 
did not seek to know. 

170. The New Japan 1 

The Restoration was at the same time a reformation. In 
emerging from an Asiatic hermitage to take our stand upon the 
broad stage of the world, we were obliged to assimilate much 
that the Occident offered for our advancement and at the same 

1 Okakura-Kakuzo, The Awakening oj Japan, pp. 162-183. 

The New Japan 425 

time to resuscitate the classic ideals of the East. The idea of the . 
reformation is clearly expressed in the imperial declaration of 
1868 in which his present Majesty, 1 after ascending the throne, 
stated that national obligations should be regarded from the 
broad standpoint of universal humanity. 

As the word signifies, our restoration was essentially a return. 
The government once again assumed the form of an imperial 
bureaucracy, such as had existed before the rise of feudalism 
over seven hundred years ago. The first act of the new govern- 
ment was to reestablish all the ancient offices, together with their 
former nomenclature, while many long forgotten functions and 
ceremonies were revived and Shintoism 2 was proclaimed as the 
religion of the imperial household. 

Yet these revivals of past conditions were tempered with the 
new spirit of freedom and equality. The mikado, while pro- 
nouncing Shintoism to be the religion of the household, granted 
liberty of conscience to the entire nation, and Christianity was 
freed from the interdiction under which it had lain since the Jes- 
uit insurrection of the seventeenth century. 3 The class dis- 
tinction between nobles, samurai, and commoners was nominally 
retained, and the daimios and kuges were given titular rank 
according to the fine grades of the old Chinese system. A new 
aristocracy even was created. All class privileges, however, 
were abolished, and all, from the princes and the marquises down 
to the abhorred yettas (who to-day bear the nickname of the 
"New Commoners ")> were made equal in the eye of the law, 
while examinations for the civil service were thrown open to 
every one. The object of those who conducted the reformation 
was so to fuse together the hardened strata of Tokugawa social 
life that the entire nation might participate in the glory and 
responsibilites of the Restoration. There were four main lines 
along which the work of preparing the nation to meet the prob- 
lem of modern life was carried. These were, first, constitutional 

1 The mikado Mutsuhito (1867-1912). 

2 Shintoism, which may be described as a mixture of nature worship and ancestor 
worship, has always been the national faith of the Japanese. 

3 Christianity had been introduced into Japan by the Jesuit missionary St. 
Francis Xavier, one of Loyola's co-workers. 

426 Japan Old and New 

goverment ; second, liberal education ; third, universal military 
service ; and fourth, the elevation of womanhood. 

Constitutional government has been deemed impracticable for 
Eastern nations, and in Turkey it was a sad failure. With us, 
however, since the assembling of our first parliament the prin- 
ciples and ordinances of the state have been so well carried out 
that we can safely affirm the experimental age to have been 
passed and constitutional government to have become an in- 
herent part of our political consciousness. We may have had 
occasional stormy debates and divisions, a phase of affairs 
not unknown in the conduct of Western national assemblies; 
but whenever threatened with foreign complications, all factions 
have invariably united in support of the cabinet. The success- 
ful working of the new system is partly due, no doubt, to an 
inherent power of self-government exemplified in the adminis- 
tration of many of our previous institutions, and partly to the 
fact that the nation had long been preparing for the responsibility 
of self-government. . . . 

The question of education for the people held a prominent 
place in the imperial declaration of 1868, the mikado command- 
ing the acquisition of knowledge from all sources throughout 
the world. . . . Elementary education was made compulsory 
for all boys and girls above six years of age, and normal schools 
were established in each of the provinces to supply them with 
teachers. In our educational system of to-day, next above 
the elementary schools come the middle schools, in which a liberal 
education is given and pupils are prepared for entering the higher 
institutions of learning. There are also special schools for those 
desirous of entering the navy or army, agriculture, industrial 
science, commerce, or the arts and crafts, while the imperial 
university 1 includes colleges of law, literature, medicine, en- 
gineering, and science. Female education is not neglected, 
though, in accordance with Eastern custom, it is given sepa- 
rately. . . . The study of one of the European languages is 
compulsory in all except the elementary schools that of 
English being the one generally required. A great number of 

1 At Tokio. 

The New Japan 427 

Americans and Europeans are employed to give instruction, 
and thousands of young men and women study abroad either 
at their own or the government's expense. Our eagerness to 
acquire Western learning has prompted hosts of our young men 
to seek menial work in foreign countries, service, according 
to Confucian notions, not being considered derogatory. The 
ethical training given to the rising generation is based on the 
teachings of earlier days. The imperial manifesto which form- 
ulated the national code of morality, after summing up the uni- 
versal principles of ethics, concludes with these words : "These 
are the teachings of our imperial ancestors, and this is the path 
followed by your ancestors." It is hardly necessary to add 
that the fruits of our newly acquired knowledge are all conse- 
crated in intense devotion to the mikado. 

Our system of military service has proved more potent than 
any other factor in strengthening national loyalism. It has, 
in fact, transformed the commoner into a samurai. Conscrip- 
tion had obtained in Japan long before the rise of feudalism, 
and its practice was merely revived in 1870 on German and 
French lines. According to the present system, every male 
at twenty years of age is liable to be drafted for three years' 
service with the colors, and after that for a service of five years 
each in the first and second reserves. In case of extreme emer- 
gency the whole nation may be called to arms. The officers, 
trained in special schools and staff colleges, come mostly from 
samurai families, and their traditional code of life has permeated 
the entire new army. For the nation at large the social dis- 
tinction of many centuries has thrown a halo about the sworded 
class, while current fiction and drama have for the last fifty 
years so idealized the patriotic soldier that the peasant con- 
script on entering the ranks feels himself ennobled not only in 
his own estimation but in that of his brethren ; he is now a man 
of the sword, the soul of honor. He is fairly intelligent, thanks 
to the village school, soon mastering his tactics and imbibing 
that prof und sense of duty which is the essence of samuraihood. 
At first, on account of his heretofore peaceful life, there were 
some misgivings about his courage; but the baptism of fire 

428 Japan Old and New 

proved him able to take his place beside the best of the samurai. 
The contempt of death displayed by our conscripts is not founded, 
as some Western writers suppose, on the hope of a future reward. 
We preach no Valhalla l or Moslem heaven awaiting our de- 
parted heroes ; for the teachings of Buddhism promise in the 
next life but a miserable incarnation to the slayer of man. It 
is a sense of duty alone that causes our men to march to cer- 
tain death at the word of command. Behind all lies devotion 
to the sovereign and love of country. . . . 

In Japan, woman has always commanded a respect and free- 
dom not to be found elsewhere in the East. We have never had 
a Salic law, 2 and it is from a female divinity, the Sun-goddess, 3 
that our mikado traces his lineage. During many of the most 
brilliant epochs in our ancient history we were under the rule 
of a female sovereign. . . . Female sovereigns ascended the 
throne in their own right even when there were male candidates, 
for we considered woman in all respects as the equal of man. 
In our classic literature we find the names of more great author- 
esses than authors, while in feudal days some of our Amazons 
charged with the bravest of the Kamakura knights. As time 
advanced and Confucian theories became more potent in mold- 
ing our social customs, woman was relegated from public life 
and confined to what was considered by the Chinese sage as her 
proper sphere, the household. Our inherent respect for the 
rights of womanhood, however, remained the same, and as 
late as the year 1630 a female mikado, Meisho-Tenno, ascended 
the throne of her fathers. Until after the Restoration, a 
knowledge of such martial exercises as fencing and jiujitsu was 
considered part of the education of a samurai's daughter and is, 
indeed, still so considered among many old families. Among 
the commoners the various industries and trades have always 
been open to women as they are to-day. . . . Buddhism has 
its worship for the eternal feminine and Confucianism has al- 

1 The heaven of Scandinavian heathenism. 

2 The law, based on an old custom of the Salian Franks, whereby women were 
excluded from succession to the French throne. 

3 Amaterasu. 

The New Japan 429 

ways inculcated a reverence for womanhood, teaching that the 
wife should always be treated with the respect due to a guest or 

We have never hitherto, however, learned to offer any special 
privileges to woman* Love has never occupied an important 
place in Chinese literature ; and in the tales of Japanese chivalry 
the samurai, although ever at the service of the weak and op- 
pressed, gave his help quite irrespective of sex. To-day we are 
convinced that the elevation of woman is the elevation of the 
race. She is the epitome of the past and the reservoir of the 
future, so that the responsibilities of the new social life which 
is dawning on the ancient realms of the Sun-goddess may be 
safely intrusted to her care. Since the Restoration we have 
not only confirmed the equality of sex in law, but have adopted 
that attitude of respect which the West pays to woman. She 
now possesses all the rights of her Western sister, though she 
does not care to insist upon them ; for almost all of our women 
still consider the home, and not society, as their proper sphere. 

Time alone can decide the future of the Japanese lady, for the 
question of womanhood is one involving the whole social life 
and its web of convention. In the East woman has always been 
worshiped as the mother, and all those honors which the Chris- 
tian knight brought in homage to his lady-love, the samurai laid 
at his mother's feet. It is not that the wife is less adored, but 
that maternity is holier. Again, our woman loves to serve her 
husband ; for service is the noblest expression of affection, and 
love rejoices more in giving than in receiving. In the harmony 
of Eastern society the man consecrates himself to the state, 
the child to the parent, and the wife to the husband. 

Great are the struggles that we have had to undergo during 
these last few decades. In the turmoil of the reformation the 
swing of the pendulum was often extreme, causing the passage of 
many unnecessary if not actually harmful measures. We have 
often stood bewildered in the mid-stream of conflicting opinions. 
. . . All the ridiculousness of paradox, all the cruelty of dilemma, 
were ours. We might have laughed had we not wept. Conser- 
vative reactions caused riots and local rebellions in which we 

430 Japan Old and New 

lost many of the greatest pioneers of our reformation, and 
radical zealots often cut short with their swords the career of 
some far-sighted leader. We must be ever thankful that the 
helm was held throughout by hands strong enough to keep the 
ship of state steadily on its course, in spite of storms and con- 
trary currents. 


THE official documents relating to the outbreak of the 
war in 1914 were soon published and are accessible in Eng- 
lish translations. It is well to remember that they were 
specially prepared for publication ; furthermore, that they 
cannot give adequate information of the personal factor 
which is so important in all diplomatic matters. There is 
no reason, however, to doubt the authenticity of this diplo- 
matic correspondence, which the various European govern- 
ments have presented to the world. The letters and dis- 
patches printed in the British White Book, the German White 
Book, the Russian Orange Book, the Belgian Gray Book, the 
French Yellow Book, the Austro-Hungarian Red Book, and 
the Serbian Blue Book confirm one another's statements in 
a remarkable manner. 

171. The Austrian Note to Serbia 2 

The note which the Austro- Hungarian government addressed to the 
Serbian government on July 24 set forth the grievances which Austria- 
Hungary believed herself to have against Serbia. It referred particu- 
larly to the assassination on June 28 at Serajevo of the archduke Franz 
Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne, and his wife, by political con- 
spirators of Serbian nationality or sympathy. In effect, though not in 
form, the note was an ultimatum, for it required Serbia, by six o'clock 
on the evening of July 25, to accept or reject the following demands. 

"The royal government of Serbia condemns the propaganda 
directed against Austria-Hungary, the general tendency of 
which is to detach from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy terri- 
tories belonging to it, and it sincerely deplores the fatal con- 
sequences of these criminal proceedings. 

1 Collected Diplomatic Documents Relating to the Outbreak of the European War- 
London, 1915. His Majesty's Stationery Office. 
2 British White Book, No. 4- 

432 The Outbreak of the World War 

"The royal government regrets that Serbian officers and func- 
tionaries participated in the above-mentioned propaganda 
and thus compromised the good neighborly relations to which 
the royal government was solemnly pledged by its declaration 
of March 31, 1909. 

"The royal government, which disapproves and repudiates 
all idea of interfering or attempting to interfere with the des- 
tinies of the inhabitants of any part whatsoever of Austria- 
Hungary, considers it a duty formally to warn officers and 
functionaries, and the whole population of the kingdom, that 
henceforth it will proceed with the utmost rigor against per- 
sons who may be guilty of such machinations, which it will 
use all its efforts to anticipate and suppress." 

This declaration shall simultaneously be communicated to 
the royal army as an order of the day by his Majesty the 
king and shall be published in the Official Bulletin of the army. 

The royal Serbian government further undertakes : 

1. To suppress any publication which incites to hatred and 
contempt of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the general 
tendency of which is directed against its territorial integrity ; 

2. To dissolve immediately the society styled "Narodna 
Odbrana," to confiscate all its means of propaganda, and to 
proceed in the same manner against other societies and their 
branches in Serbia which engage in propaganda against the 
Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The royal government shall 
take the necessary measures to prevent the societies dissolved 
from continuing their activity under another name and form ; 

3. To eliminate without delay from public instruction in 
Serbia, both as regards the teaching body and also as regards 
the methods of instruction, everything that serves, or might 
serve, to foment the propaganda against Austria-Hungary ; 

4. To remove from the military service, and from the ad- 
ministration in general, all officers and functionaries guilty of 
propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, whose 
names and deeds the Austro-Hungarian government reserves 
to itself the right of communicating to the royal government 
of Serbia ; 

The Austrian Note to Serbia 433 

5. To accept the collaboration in Serbia of representatives 
of the Austro-Hungarian government for the suppression of 
the subversive movement directed* against the territorial integ- 
rity of the monarchy ; 

6. To take judicial proceedings against accessories to the 
plot of June 28 who are on Serbian territory; delegates of the 
Austro-Hungarian government will take part in the investiga- 
tion relating thereto ; 

7. To proceed without delay to the arrest of Major Voija 
Tankositch and of the individual named Milan CIganovitch, a 
Serbian state employee, who have been compromised by the 
results of the magisterial inquiry at Serajevo ; 

8. To prevent by effective measures the cooperation of the 
Serbian authorities in the illicit traffic in arm and explosives 
across the frontier, to dismiss and punish severely the officials 
of the frontier service at Schabatz and Loznica guilty of having 
assisted the perpetrators of the Serajevo crime by facilitating 
their passage across the frontier ; 

9. To furnish the Austro-Hungarian government with ex- 
planations regarding tjie unjustifiable utterances of high Serbian 
officials, both in Serbia and abroad, who, notwithstanding their 
official position, have not hesitated since the crime of June 28 
to express themselves in interviews in terms of hostility to the 
Austro-Hungarian government ; and, finally, 

10. To notify the Austro-Hungarian government without 
delay of the execution of the measures comprised under the 
preceding heads. 

To these demands Serbia made answer on July 25, shortly before 
the expiration of the time limit. The Serbian government agreed to 
hand over for trial any subject of whose complicity in the crime of 
Serajevo proofs were forthcoming, and also to publish an official state- 
ment condemning the propaganda directed against Austria-Hungary. 
Nearly all the other Austrian demands were accepted by the Serbian 
government, which offered, in case its reply was considered unsatis- 
factory, to refer the questions at issue to the Hague Tribunal or to the 
mediation of the great powers. The Austrian government rejected this 
reply as insincere and only " a play for time," and on July 28 declared 
war against Serbia. 

434 The Outbreak of the World War 

172. Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar 1 

The issuance of the Austrian ultimatum precipitated a crisis. The 
peace of Europe was gravely threatened. Russia, the greatest of Slavic 
nations, whose interest in the Balkans was well known, could not regard 
without concern the crushing of a smaller Slavic state. But if Russia 
intervened to protect Serbia, by making war on Austria-Hungary, then 
Germany, as the latter's ally, would surely attack Russia, and France, 
bound to Russia in firm alliance, would be obliged to attack Germany. 
To prevent the catastrophe of a general European war, peace parleys 
began at once. The most important suggestion was made by Sir Edward 
Grey, the British minister for foreign affairs. He proposed that the four 
powers not directly interested in the dispute, namely, Germany, France, 
Italy, and England, should mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg. 
Austria-Hungary, however, refused to accept any outside interference 
in settling what it regarded as a private quarrel with Serbia. The 
Austrian declaration of war against Serbia on July 28 was followed on 
the same day by the beginning of Russian mobilization. On the eve- 
ning of the 28th the kaiser, who had returned to Berlin from a holiday 
in Norway, sent the following telegram to his cousin, the tsar : 

I have heard with the greatest anxiety of the impression 
which is caused by the action of Austria-Hungary against 
Serbia. The unscrupulous agitation which has been going on for 
years In Serbia, has led to the revolting crime of which the arch- 
duke Franz Ferdinand has become a victim. The spirit which 
made the Serbians murder their own king and his consort still 
dominates that country. Doubtless you will agree with me 
that both of us, you as well as I, and all other sovereigns, have a 
common interest to insist that all those who are responsible for 
this horrible murder shall suffer their deserved punishment. 

On the other hand, I by no means overlook the difficulty 
encountered by you and your government to stem the tide 
of public opinion. In view of the cordial friendship which has 
joined us both for a long time with firm ties, I shall use my entire 
influence to induce Austria-Hungary to obtain a frank and 
satisfactory understanding with Russia. I hope confidently 
that you will support me in my efforts to overcome all difficulties 
which may yet arise. , 

To this telegram the tsar, early in the morning of July 29, replied 
as follows : 

1 German White Book, exhibits Nos. 20-2sa. 

Dispatches between Kaiser and Tsar 435 

I am glad that you are back in Germany. In this serious 
moment I ask you earnestly to help me. An ignominious war 
has been declared against a weak country, and in Russia the 
indignation, which I fully share, is tremendous. I fear that very 
soon I shall be unable to resist the pressure exercised upon me 
and that I shall be forced to take measures which will lead to war. 
To prevent such a calamity as a European war would be, I urge 
you, in the name of our old friendship, to do all in your power to 
restrain your ally from going too far. 

Later in the same day the kaiser sent this message to the tsar : 

I have received your telegram and I share your desire for 
the preservation of peace. However, I cannot as I told you in 
my first telegram consider the action of Austria-Hungary 
as an "ignominious war." Austria-Hungary knows from ex- 
perience that the promises of Serbia, as long as they are merely 
on paper, are entirely unreliable. 

According to my opinion the action of Austria-Hungary is 
to be considered as an attempt to receive full guarantee that the 
promises of Serbia are effectively translated into deeds. In 
this opinion I am strengthened by the explanation of the Aus- 
trian cabinet that Austria-Hungary intended no territorial 
gain at the expense of Serbia. I am therefore of opinion that 
it is perfectly possible for Russia to remain a spectator in the 
Austro-Serbian war, without drawing Europe into the most 
terrible war it has ever seen. I believe that a direct under- 
standing is possible and desirable between your government 
and Vienna, an understanding which as I have already tele- 
graphed you my government endeavors to aid with all possible 
effort. Naturally, military measures by Russia, which might 
be construed as menace by Austria-Hungary, would accelerate 
a calamity which both of us desire to avoid and would under- 
mine my position as mediator, which upon your appeal to my 
friendship and aid I willingly accepted. 

A few hours later, on the morning of July 30, the kaiser sent another 
message, stronger in tone. 

436 The Outbreak of the World War 

My ambassador has instructions to direct the attention of 
your government to the dangers and serious consequences of a 
mobilization. I have told you the same in my last telegram. 
Austria-Hungary has mobilized only against Serbia, and only 
a part of her army. If Russia, as seems to be the case, accord- 
ing to your advice and that of your government, mobilizes 
against Austria-Hungary, the role of mediator with which 
you have intrusted me in such friendly manner and which I 
have accepted upon your express desire, is threatened, if not 
made impossible. The entire weight of decision now rests upon 
your shoulders : you have to bear the responsibility for war or 

The tsar, on the afternoon of July 30, made this answer : 

I thank you from my heart for your quick reply. I am send- 
ing to-night Tatishev (Russian honorary aide to the kaiser) 
with instructions. The military measures now taking form 
were decided upon five days ago, and for the reason of defense 
against the preparations of Austria. I hope with all my heart 
that these measures will not influence in any manner your posi- 
tion as mediator, which I appraise very highly. We need 
your strong pressure upon Austria so that an understanding can 
be arrived at with us. 

The situation quickly became acute. The two rulers exchanged 
further telegrams without result, since Russia refused to discontinue 
military preparations as long as Austria-Hungary was actually at war 
with Serbia. On the night of July 31 the German government sent 
an ultimatum to Russia demanding demobilization of the Russian army, 
in default of which Germany would herself mobilize. Having received 
no answer to the ultimatum, Germany on August i declared war against 

173. The Attitude of England l 

War between Germany and Russia meant also the breaking out of 
hostilities between Germany and France. Under such circumstances 
what would be England's attitude? That country at first refused to 
take sides. Finally, on July 29, Sir Edward Grey informed the German 
ambassador in London that if France were involved England would be 

1 British White Book, No. 101. 

The Attitude of England 437 

drawn into the conflict. At this very time the German chancellor, 
Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, held an interview with the English ambas- 
sador in Berlin for the purpose of securing England's neutrality. If 
England would remain aloof, Germany would agree not to take any 
French territory in Europe, should the German arms be victorious. 
The chancellor refused, however, to give any assurance that the French 
colonies would remain untouched. Sir Edward Grey's reply to this 
offer, as sent to the English ambassador at Berlin, was in these words : 

His Majesty's government cannot for a moment entertain 
the chancellor's proposal to bind itself to neutrality on such 

What he asks us in effect is to engage to stand by while French 
colonies are taken and France is beaten, as long as Germany 
does not take French territory as distinct from trie colonies. 

From the material point of view such a proposal is unaccept- 
able, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken 
from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a great 
power and become subordinate to German policy. 

Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace for us to 
make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a 
disgrace from which the good name of this country would never 

The chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away what- 
ever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of 
Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either. 

Having said so much it is unnecessary to examine whether 
the prospect of a future general neutrality agreement between 
England and Germany offered positive advantages sufficient to 
compensate us for tieing our hands now. We must preserve 
our full freedom to act as circumstances may seem to us to 
require, in any such unfavorable and regrettable development 
of the present crisis as the chancellor contemplates. 

You should speak to the chancellor in the above sense, and 
add most earnestly that the one way of maintaining the good 
relations between England and Germany is that they should 
continue to work together to preserve the peace of Europe; 
if we succeed in this object, the mutual relations of Germany 
and England will, I believe, be ipso facto improved and strength- 

438 The Outbreak of the World War 

ened. For that object. his Majesty's government will work in 
that way with all sincerity and good-will. 

And I will say this : If the peace of Europe can be preserved, 
and the present crisis safely passed, my own endeavor will 
be to promote some arrangement to which Germany could be 
a party, by which she could be assured that no aggressive or 
hostile policy would be pursued against her or Jier allies by 
France, Russia, and ourselves, jointly or separately. I have 
desired this and worked for it, as far as I could, through the 
last Balkan crisis, and, Germany having a corresponding object, 
our relations sensibly improved. The idea has hitherto been too 
Utopian to form the subject of definite proposals, but if this pres- 
ent crisis, so much more acute than any that Europe has gone 
through for generations, be safely passed, I am hopeful that 
the relief and reaction which will follow may make possible 
some more definite understanding between the powers than has 
been possible hitherto. 

174. Belgian Neutrality 1 

To both England and France the preservation of the neutrality of 
Belgium was of the utmost importance. On August i, two days before 
the German declaration of war against France, the French minister at 
Brussels, acting on instructions from his government, made the follow- 
ing communication to the Belgian minister for foreign affairs : 

I am authorized to declare that, in the event of an inter- 
national war, the French government, in accordance with the 
declarations it has always made, will respect the neutrality of 
Belgium. In the event of this neutrality not being respected 
by another power, the French government, to secure its own 
defense, might find it necessary to modify its attitude. 

On August 2 the German minister at Brussels presented this note to 
the Belgian foreign minister : 

Reliable information has been received by the German 
government to the effect that French forces intend to march 
on the line of the Meuse by Givet and Namur. This informa- 

1 Belgian Gray Book, Nos. 15, 20, 22. 

Belgian Neutrality 439 

tion leaves no doubt as to the intention of France to march 
through Belgian territory against Germany. 

The German government cannot but fear that Belgium, in 
spite of the utmost goodwill, will be unable, without assistance, 
to repel so considerable a French invasion with sufficient pros- 
pect of success to afford an adequate guarantee against danger 
to Germany. It is essential for the self-defense of Germany 
that she should anticipate any such hostile attack. The Ger- 
man government would, however, feel the deepest regret if 
Belgium regarded as an act of hostility against herself the fact 
that the measures of Germany's opponents force Germany, for 
her own protection, to enter Belgian territory. 

In order to exclude any possibility of misunderstanding, 
the German government makes the following declaration : 

1. Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium. 
In the event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to 
maintain an attitude of friendly neutrality toward Germany, the 
German government binds itself, at the conclusion of peace, 
to guarantee the possessions and independence of the Belgian 
kingdom in full. 

2. Germany undertakes, under the above-mentioned condi- 
tion, to evacuate Belgian territory on the conclusion of peace. 

3. If Belgium adopts a friendly attitude, Germany is pre- 
pared, in cooperation with the Belgian authorities, to purchase 
all necessaries for her troops against a cash payment, and to pay 
an indemnity for any damage that may have been caused by 
German troops. 

4. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, and in par- 
ticular should she throw difficulties in the way of their march 
by a resistance of the fortresses on the Meuse, or by destroying 
railways, roads, tunnels, or other similar works, Germany will, 
to her regret, be compelled to consider Belgium as an enemy. 

In this event, Germany can undertake no obligations toward 
Belgium, but the eventual adjustment of the relations between 
the two states must be left to the decision of arms. 

The German government, however, entertains the distinct 
hope that this eventuality will not occur, and that the Belgian 

440 The Outbreak of the World War 

government will know how to take the necessary measures to 
prevent the occurrence of incidents such as those mentioned. 
In this case the friendly ties which bind the two neighboring 
states will grow stronger and more enduring. 

The answer which the Belgian government made on August 3 was 
in these words : 

This note has made a deep and painful impression upon the 
Belgian government. 

The intentions attributed to France by Germany are in con- 
tradiction to the formal declarations made to us on August i, 
in the name of the French government. 

Moreover, if, contrary to our expectation, Belgian neutrality 
should be violated by France, Belgium intends to fulfill her 
international obligations and the Belgian army would offer 
the most vigorous resistance to the invader. 

The treaties of 1839, confirmed by the treaties of 1870, vouch 
for the independence and neutrality of Belgium under the 
guarantee of the powers, and notably of the government of his 
Majesty the king of Prussia. 

Belgium has always been faithful to her international obli- 
gations, she has carried out her duties in a spirit of loyal im- 
partiality, and she has left nothing undone to maintain and 
enforce respect for her neutrality. 

The attack upon her independence with which the German 
government threatens her constitutes a flagrant violation of 
international law. No strategic interest justifies such a viola- 
tion of law. 

The Belgian government, if it was to accept the proposals 
submitted to them, would sacrifice the honor of the nation and 
betray its duty toward Europe. 

Conscious of the part which Belgium has played for more 
than eighty years in the civilization of the world, it refuses 
to believe that the independence of Belgium can only be pre- 
served at the price of the violation of her neutrality. 

If this hope is disappointed, the Belgian government is firmly 
resolved to repel, by all the means in its power, every attack upon 
its rights. 

Speech of the German Chancellor 441 

175. Speech of the German Chancellor 1 

TMs series of diplomatic interchanges may fitly close with the historic 
speech of Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg before the Reichstag on 
August 4. It explains the causes of the war from the German stand- 

A stupendous fate is breaking over Europe. For forty-four 
years, since the time we fought for and won the German Empire 
and our position in the world, we have lived in peace and have 
protected the peace of Europe. In the works of peace we have 
become strong and powerful, and have faced the fact that, 
under the pretense that Germany was desirous of war, enmity 
has been awakened against us in the East and the West, and 
chains have been fashioned for us. The wind then sown has 
brought forth the whirlwind which has now broken loose. We 
wished to continue our work of peace, and, like a silent vow, the 
feeling that animated every one from the kaiser down to the 
youngest soldier was this : Only in defense of a just cause shall 
our sword fly from its scabbard. 

The day has now come when we must draw it, against our 
wish, and in spite of our sincere endeavors. Russia has set 
fire to the building. We are at war with Russia and France 
a war that has been forced upon us. 

Gentlemen, a number of documents, composed during the 
pressure of these last eventful days, are before you, Allow me 
to emphasize the facts that determine our attitude. 

From the first moment of the Austro-Serbian conflict we 
declared that this question must be limited to Austria-Hungary 
and Serbia, and we worked with this end in view. All govern- 
ments, especially that of Great Britain, took the same attitude. 
Russia alone asserted that she had to be heard in the settlement 
of this matter. 

Thus the danger of a European crisis raised its threatening 

As soon as the first definite information regarding the military 
preparations in Russia reached us, we declared at St. Peters- 
burg, in a friendly but emphatic manner, that military measures 

1 Collected Dipkmatic Documents, pp. 436-439. 

442 The Outbreak of the World War 

against Austria would find us on the side of our ally, and that 
military preparations against ourselves would oblige us to take 
counter-measures ; but that mobilization would come very near 
to actual war. 

Russia assured us in the most solemn manner of her desire 
for peace, and declared that she was making no military prep- 
arations against us. 

In the meantime Great Britain, warmly supported by us, 
tried to mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg. 

On July 28 the kaiser telegraphed to the tsar, asking him 
to take into consideration the fact that it was both the duty 
and the right of Austria-Hungary to defend herself against the 
pan-Serb agitation which threatened to undermine her existence. 
The kaiser drew the tsar's attention to the solidarity of the 
interests of all monarchs in face of the murder of Serajevo. 
He asked for the latter 7 s personal assistance in smoothing over 
the difficulties existing between Vienna and St. Petersburg. 
About the same time, and before receipt of this telegram, the 
tsar asked the kaiser to come to his aid and to induce Vienna 
to moderate her demands. The kaiser accepted the r61e of 

But scarcely had active steps on these lines begun, when 
Russia mobilized all her forces directed against Austria, while 
Austria-Hungary had mobilized only those of her forces which 
were directed against Serbia. To the north she had mobilized 
only two army corps, far from the Russian frontier. The kaiser 
immediately informed the tsar that this mobilization of Russian 
forces against Austria rendered the rdle of mediator, which he 
had accepted at the tsar's request, difficult, if not impossible. 

In spite of this we continued our task of mediation at Vienna 
and carried it to the utmost point which was compatible with 
our position as an ally. 

Meanwhile Russia of her own accord renewed her assurances 
that she was making no military preparations against us. 

We come now to July 31. The decision was to be taken at 
Vienna. Through our representations we had already obtained 
the resumption of direct conversations between Vienna and 

Speech of the German Chancellor 443 

St. Petersburg, after they had been for some time Interrupted. 
But before the final decision was taken at Vienna, the news ar- 
rived that Russia had mobilized her entire forces and that her 
moblization was therefore directed against us also. The 
Russian government, which knew from our repeated state- 
ments what moblization on our frontiers meant, did not notify 
us of this moblization, nor did it even offer any explanation. 
It was not until the afternoon of July 31 that the kaiser received 
a telegram from the tsar in which he guaranteed that his army 
would not assume a provocative attitude toward us. But mo- 
bilization on our frontiers had been in full swing since the night 
of July 30-3 1. 

While we were mediating at Vienna in compliance with 
Russia's request, Russian forces were appearing all along our 
extended and almost entirely open frontier, and France, though 
indeed not actually mobilizing, was admittedly making military 
preparations. What was our position? For the sake of the 
peace of Europe we had, up till then, deliberately refrained 
from calling up a single reservist. Were we now to wait further 
in patience until the nations on either side of us chose the mo- 
ment for their attack? It would have been a crime to expose 
Germany to such peril. Therefore, on July 31 we called upon 
Russia to demobilize, as the only measure which could still 
preserve the peace of Europe. The imperial ambassador at 
St. Petersburg was also instructed to inform the Russian govern- 
ment that, in case our demand met with a refusal, we should have 
to consider that a state of war existed. 

The imperial ambassador has executed these instructions. 
We have not yet learned what Russia answered to our de- 
mand for demobilization. Telegraphic reports on this question 
have not reached us, even though the wires still transmitted 
much less important information. 

Therefore, the time limit having long since expired, the 
kaiser was obliged to mobilize our forces on August i at 5 P.M. 

At the same time we had to make certain what attitude 
France would assume. To our direct question, whether she 
would remain neutral in the event of a Russo-German War, 

444 The Outbreak of the World War 

France replied that she would do what her interests demanded. 
That was an evasion, if not a refusal. . . . 

Gentlemen, we are now in a state of necessity, and necessity 
knows no law. Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and 
perhaps have already entered Belgian territory. 

Gentlemen, that is a breach of international law. It is 
true that the French government declared at Brussels that 
France would respect Belgian neutrality as long as her adver- 
sary respected it. We knew, however, that France stood 
ready for an invasion. France could wait, we could not. A 
French attack on our flank on the lower Rhine might have been 
disastrous. Thus we were forced to ignore the rightful protests 
of the governments of Luxemburg and Belgium. The wrong 
I speak openly the wrong we thereby commit we will try to 
make good as soon as our military aims have been attained. 

He who is menaced as we are and is fighting for his highest 
possession can only consider how he is to hack his way through. 

Gentlemen, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Austria- 

As for Great Britain's attitude, the statements made by 
Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons yesterday show the 
standpoint assumed by the British government. We have 
informed the British government that, as long as Great Britain 
remains neutral, our fleet will not attack the northern coast of 
France, and that we will not violate the territorial integrity 
and independence of Belgium. These assurances I now repeat 
before the world, and I may add that, as long as Great Britain 
remains neutral, we would also be willing, upon reciprocity 
being assured, to take no warlike measures against French 
commercial shipping. 

Gentlemen, so much for the facts. I repeat the words of 
the kaiser : " With a clear conscience we enter the lists." We are 
fighting for the fruits of our works of peace, for the inheritance 
of a great past and for our future. The fifty years are not yet 
past during which Count Moltke said we should have to remain 
armed to defend the inheritance that we won in 1870. Now 
the great hour of trial has struck for our people. But with 

Speech of the German Chancellor 445 

clear confidence we go forward to meet it. Our army is in the 
field, our navy is ready for battle behind them stands the 
entire German nation the entire German nation united to 
the last man. 



SIR PHILIP GIBBS (knighted in 1920), author and journal- 
ist, was a correspondent with the French and Belgian armies 
in 1914 and with the British army on the western front from 
1915 to 1918. He has published several volumes describing 
what he saw and experienced during these years, in addition 
to Now It Can Be Told. This book was written, he de- 
clares, to set forth the real nature of the war " and by a plain 
statement of realities, however painful, to add something 
to the world's knowledge out of which men of good-will may 
try to shape some new system of relationship between one 
people and another, some new code of international morality, 
preventing, or at least postponing, another massacre of 
youth like that five years' sacrifice of boys of which I was 
a witness." 

176. The " Old Contemptibles " 2 

By the time stationary warfare had been established on the 
western front in trench lines from the sea to Switzerland, 'the 
British regular army had withered away. That was after the 
retreat from Mons, the victory of the Marne, the early battles 
round Ypres, and the slaughter at Neuve Chapelle. The "Old 
Contemptibles " 3 were an army of ghosts whose dead clay was 
under earth in many fields of France, but whose spirit still 
"carried on" as a heroic tradition to those who came after them 
into those same fields, to the same fate. The only survivors 
were regular officers taken out of the fighting-lines to form the 
staffs of new divisions and to train the army of volunteers now 

1 Sir Philip Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told. New York, 1920. Harper and Brothers. 

2 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 65-66. 

3 The kaiser in 1914 is said to have referred to the British Expeditionary Force as 

The "Old Contemptibles" 447 

being raised at home, and men who were recovering from wounds 
or serving behind the lines: those, and non-commissioned 
officers who were the best schoolmasters of the new boys, the 
best friends and guides of the new officers, stubborn in their 
courage, hard and ruthless in their discipline, foul-mouthed 
according to their own traditions, until they, too, fell in the 
shambles. It was in March of 1915 that a lieutenant-colonel 
in the trenches said to me : "I am one out of 150 regular officers 
still serving with their battalions. That is to say, there are 
150 of us left in the fighting-lines out of 1,500." 

That little regular army of ours had justified its pride in a 
long history of fighting courage. It had helped to save England 
and France by its own death. Those boys of ours whom I 
had seen in the first August of the war, landing at Boulogne 
and marching, as though to a festival, toward the enemy, with 
French girls kissing them and loading them with fruit and 
flowers, had proved the quality of their spirit and training. As 
riflemen they had stupefied the enemy, brought to a sudden 
check by forces they had despised. They held their fire until 
the German ranks were within eight hundred yards of them, 
and then mowed them down as though by machine-gun fire 
before we had machine-guns, except as rare specimens, here and 
there. Our horse artillery was beyond any doubt the best in 
the world at that time. Even before peace came German gen- 
erals paid ungrudging tributes to the efficiency of our regular 
army, writing down in their histories of war that this was the 
model of all armies, the most perfectly trained. It was spent 
by the spring of '15. Its memory remains as the last epic of 
those professional soldiers who, through centuries of English 
history, took "the king's shilling" and fought when they were 
told to fight, and left their bones in far places of the world and 
in many fields of Europe, and won for the British soldier univer- 
sal fame as a terrible warrior. There will never be a regular 
army like that. Modern warfare has opened the arena to the 
multitude. They may no longer sit in the Coliseum watching 
the paid gladiators. If there be war they must take their share 
of its sacrifice. They must be victims as well as victors. They 

448 A War Correspondent 

must pay for the luxury of conquest, hatred, and revenge by 
their own bodies, and for their safety against aggression by 

national service. 

177. The New Army l 

The new army was called into being by Lord Kitchener and 
his advisers, who adopted modern advertising methods to stir 
the sluggish imagination of the masses, so that every wall in 
London and great cities, every fence in rural places, was plac- 
arded with picture-posters. 

"What did you do in the Great War, Daddy?" 
"What will your best girl say if you're not in khaki?" 
Those were vulgar appeals which, no doubt, stirred many 
simple souls, and so were good enough. It would have been 
better to let the people know more of the truth of what was hap- 
pening in France and Flanders the truth of tragedy, instead 
of carefully camouflaged communiques, hiding the losses, ignor- 
ing the deeds of famous regiments, veiling all the drama of that 
early fighting by a deliberate screen of mystery, though all was 
known to the enemy. It was fear of their own people, not of 
the enemy, which guided the rules of censorship then and later. 
For some little time the British people did not understand 
what was happening. How could ttiey know? It appeared 
that all was going well. Then why worry? Soon there would 
be the joy-bells of peace, and the boys would come marching 
home again, as in earlier wars. It was only very slowly be- 
cause of the conspiracy of silence that there crept into the 
consciousness of our people the dim realization of a desperate 
struggle ahead, in which all their young manhood would be 
needed to save France and Belgium, and dear God ! 
England herself. It was as that thought touched one mind and 
another that the recruiting offices were crowded with young 
men. Some of them offered their bodies because of the promise 
of a great adventure and life had been rather dull in office and 
factory and on the farm. Something stirred in their blood 
an old call to youth. Some instinct of a primitive, savage kind, 
for open-air life, fighting, killing, the comradeship of hunters, 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 68-70. 

Ypres and the Gas Attack 449 

violent emotions, the chance of death, surged up into the brains 
of quiet boys, clerks, mechanics, miners, factory hands. It 
was the call of the wild the hark-back of the mind to the old 
barbarities of the world's dawn, which is in the embryo of modern 
man. The shock of anger at frightful tales from Belgium . . . 
sent many men at a quick pace to the recruiting agents. Others 
were sent there by the taunt of a girl, or the sneer of a comrade 
in khaki, or the straight, steady look in the eyes of a father who 
said, " What about it, Dick? The old country is up against it." 
It was that last thought which worked in the brain of England's 
manhood. That was his real call, which whispered to men at 
the plow quiet, ruminating lads, the peasant type, the yeo- 
man and excited undergraduates in their rooms at Oxford 
and Cambridge, and the masters of public schools, and all man- 
ner of young men, and some, as I know, old in years but young 
in heart. "The old country is in danger!" The shadow of a 
menace was creeping over some little patch of England or of 
Scotland. . . . 

So they disappeared from their familiar haunts more and 
more of them as the months passed. They were put into train- 
ing-camps, " pigged" it on dirty straw in dirty barns, were ill- 
fed and ill-equipped, and trained by hard-mouthed sergeants 
tyrants and bullies in a good cause until they became au- 
tomata at the word of command, lost their souls, as it seemed, 
in that grinding-machine of military training, and cursed their 
fate. Only comradeship helped them not always jolly, if 
they happened to be a class above their fellows, a moral peg 
above foul-mouthed slum-dwellers and men of filthy habits, 
but splendid if they were in their own crowd of decent, laughter- 
loving, companionable lads. Eleven months 7 training ! Were 
they ever going to the front? The war would be over before 
they landed in France. Then, at last, they came. 

178. Ypres and the Gas Attack l 

The city of Ypres was the capital of our battlefields in Flan- 
ders from the beginning to the end of the war, and the ground on 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 87-89. 

45 A War Correspondent 

which it stands, whether a new city rises there or its remnants 
of ruin stay as a memorial of dreadful things, will be forever 
haunted by the spirit of those men of ours who passed through 
Its gates to fight in the fields beyond or to fall within its ram- 

I went through Ypres so many times in early days and late 
days of the war that I think I could find my way about it blind- 
fold, even now. I saw it first in March of 1915, before the 
battle when the Germans first used poison-gas and bombarded 
its choking people, and French and British soldiers, until the 
city fell into a chaos of masonry. On that first visit I found it 
scarred by shell-fire, and its great Cloth Hall 1 was roofless and 
licked out by the flame of burning timbers, but most of the build- 
ings were still standing and the shops were busy with customers 
in khaki, and in the Grande Place were many small booths 
served by the women and girls who sold picture post-cards and 
Flemish lace and fancy cakes and soap to British soldiers saun- 
tering about without a thought of what might happen here in 
this city, so close to the enemy's lines, so close to his guns. I 
had tea in a bun-shop, crowded with young officers, who were 
served by two Flemish girls, buxom, smiling, glad of all the 
English money they were making. 

A few weeks later the devil came to Ypres. The first sign of 
his work was when a mass of French soldiers and colored troops> 
and English, Irish, Scottish, and Canadian soldiers came stag- 
gering through the Lille and Menin gates with panic in their 
look, and some foul spell upon them. They were gasping for 
breath, vomiting, falling into unconsciousness, and, as they lay, 
their lungs were struggling desperately against some stifling 
thing. A whitish cloud crept up to the gates of Ypres, with a 
sweet smell of violets, and women and girls smelled it and then 
gasped and lurched as they ran and fell. It was after that when 
shells came in hurricane flights over Ypres, smashing the houses 
and setting them on fire, until they toppled and fell inside them- 
selves. Hundreds of civilians hid in their cellars, and many 

1 The guild hall of the Cloth Merchants was one of the finest examples of medieval 
Gothic architecture in Europe. 

Flame-throwers 451 

were buried there. Others crawled into a big drain-pipe . . . 
and they stayed there three days and nights . . . until the 
bombardment ceased. Ypres was a city of ruin, with a red 
fire in its heart where the Cloth Hall and cathedral smoldered 
below their broken arches and high ribs of masonry that had 
been their buttresses and towers. 

When I went there two months later I saw Ypres as it stood 
through the years of the war that followed, changing only in 
the disintegration of its ruin as broken walls became more 
broken and fallen houses were raked into smaller fragments by 
new bombardments, for there was never a day for years in which 
Ypres was not shelled. 

179. Flame-throwers 1 

Our line at Hooge . . . was held by the King's Royal Rifles 
of the i4th Division, young fellows, not far advanced in the 
training of war. They held on under the gunning of their posi- 
tions, and each man among them wondered whether it was the 
shell screeching overhead or the next which would smash him 
into pulp like those bodies lying nearby in dugouts and upheaved 

On the morning of July 30, 1915, there was a strange lull of 
silence after a heavy bout of shells and mortars. Men of the 
K. R. R. raised their heads above broken parapets and crawled 
out of shell-holes and looked about. There were many dead 
bodies lying around, and wounded men were wailing. The 
unwounded, startled by the silence, became aware of some mois- 
ture falling on them ; thick, oily drops of liquid. . . . 

Coming across from the German trenches were men hunched 
up under some heavy weights. They were carrying cylinders 
with nozzles like hose-pipes. Suddenly there was a rushing 
noise like an escape of air from some blast-furnace. Long 
tongues of flame licked across to the broken ground where the 
K. R. R. lay. Some of them were set on fire, their clothes 
burning on them, making them living torches, and, in a. 
second or two, cinders. 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 103-104. 

452 A War Correspondent 

It was a new horror of war the Flammenwerfer. 

Some of the men leaped to their feet, cursing, and fired repeat- 
edly at the Germans carrying the flaming jets. Here and there 
the shots were true. A man hunched under a cylinder exploded 
like a fat moth caught in a candle-flame. But that advancing 
line of fire after the long bombardment was too much for the 
rank and file, whose clothes were smoking and whose bodies 
were scorched. In something like a panic they fell back, aban- 
doning the cratered ground in which their dead lay. 

180. War's Brutality 1 

It was astonishing how loudly one laughed at tales of grue- 
some things, of war's brutality I with the rest of them. ' I 
think at the bottom of it was a sense of the ironical contrast 
between the normal ways of civilian life and this hark-back to 
the cave-man code. It made all our old philosophy of life mon- 
strously ridiculous. It played the "hat trick" with the gen- 
tility of modern manners. Men who had been brought up to 
Christian virtues, who had prattled their little prayers at moth- 
er's knees, who had grown up to a love of poetry, painting, music, 
the gentle arts, oversensitized to the subtleties of half- tones, 
delicate scales of emotion, fastidious in their choice of words, 
in their sense of beauty, found themselves compelled to live 
and act like ape-men; and it was abominably funny. They 
laughed at the most frightful episodes, which revealed this con- 
trast between civilized ethics and the old beast law. The more 
revolting it was the more, sometimes, they shouted with laugh- 
ter, especially in reminiscence, when the tale was told in the 
gilded salon of a French cMteau, or at a mess-table. 

It was, I think, the laughter of mortals at the trick which had 
been played on them by an ironical fate. They had been taught 
to believe that the whole object of life was to reach out to beauty 
and love, and that mankind, in its progress to perfection, had 
killed the beast instinct, cruelty, blood-lust, the primitive, savage 
law of survival by tooth and claw and club and ax. All poetry, 
all art, all religion had preached this gospel and this promise. 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 130-132. 

In the Trenches 453 

Now that ideal had Broken like a china vase dashed to hard 
ground. The contrast between That and This was devastating. 
It was, in an enormous world-shaking way, like a highly dig- 
nified man in a silk hat, morning coat, creased trousers, spats, 
and patent boots suddenly slipping on a piece of orange-peel and 
sitting, all of a heap, with silk hat flying, in a filthy gutter. The 
war-time humor of the soul roared with mirth at the sight of all 
that dignity and elegance despoiled. 

So we laughed merrily, I remember, when a military chaplain 
(Eton, Christ Church, and Christian service) described how an 
English sergeant stood round the traverse of a German trench, in 
a night raid, and as the Germans came his way, thinking to escape, 
he cleft one skull after another with a steel-studded bludgeon 
a weapon which he had made with loving craftsmanship on the 
model of Blunderbore's club in the pictures of a fairy-tale. 

So we laughed at the adventures of a young barrister (a bril- 
liant fellow in the Oxford Union *) , whose pleasure it was to 
creep out o' nights into No Man's Land and lie doggo in a shell- 
hole close to the enemy's barbed wire, until presently, after an 
hour's waiting or two, a German soldier would crawl out to fetch 
in a corpse. The English barrister lay with his rifle ready. 
Where there had been one corpse there were two. Each night 
he made a notch on his rifle three notches one night to 
check the number of his victims. Then he came back to break- 
fast in his dugout with a hearty appetite. 

181. In the Trenches 2 

The autumn of 1915 was wet in Flanders and Artois, where 
our men settled down knee-deep where the trenches were 
worst for the winter campaign. On the rainy days, as I 
remember, a high wind hurtled over the Flemish fields, but it 
was moist, and swept gusts of rain into the faces of men march- 
ing through mud to the fighting-lines and of other men doing 
sentry on the fire-steps of trenches into which water came trick- 
ing down the slimy parapets. 

1 The debating society of the university, modeled after the House of Commons. 

2 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 206-210. 

454 A War Correspondent 

When the wind dropped at dusk or dawn a whitish fog crept 
out of the ground, so that rifles were clammy to the touch and 
a blanket of moisture settled on every stick in the dugouts, 
and nothing could be seen through the veil of vapor to the 
enemy's lines, where he stayed invisible. ... 

Our men were never dry. They were wet in their trenches 
and wet in their dugouts. They slept in soaking clothes, with 
boots full of water, and they drank rain with their tea, and ate 
mud with their "bully," 1 and endured it all with the philosophy 
of " grin and bear it ! " and laughter, as I heard them laughing 
in those places between explosive curses. 

On the other side of the barbed wire the Germans were more 
miserable, not because their plight was worse, but because I 
think they lacked the English sense of humor. In some places 
they had the advantage of our men in better trenches, with 
better drains and dugouts due to an industry with which 
ours could never compete. Here and there, as in the ground to 
the north of Hooge, they were in a worse state, with such rivers 
in their trenches that they went to enormous trouble to drain 
the Bellewarde Lake which used to slop over in the rainy season. 
Those field-gray men had to wade through a Slough of Despond 
to get to their line, and at night by Hooge where the lines were 
close together only a few yards apart our men could hear 
their boots squelching in the mud with sucking, gurgling noises. 
* "They're drinking soup again!" said our humorists. 

There, at Hooge, Germans and English talked to one another, 
out of their common misery. 

"How deep is it with you?" shouted a German soldier. 

His voice came from behind a pile of sand-bags which divided 
the enemy and ourselves in a communication trench between 
the main lines. 

"Up to our blooming knees," said an English corporal, who 
was trying to keep his bombs dry under a tarpaulin. 

" So? You are lucky fellows. We are up to our belts in it." 

It was so bad in parts of the line during November storms that 
whole sections of trench collapsed into a chaos of slime and ooze. 

1 Tinned beef. 

In the Trenches 455 

It was the frost as well as the rain which caused this ruin, making 
the earthworks sink under their weight of sand-bags. German 
and English soldiers were exposed to one another like ants 
upturned from their nests by a minor landslide. They ignored 
one another. They pretended that the other fellows were not 
there. They had not been properly introduced. In another 
place, reckless because of their discomfort, the Germans crawled 
upon their slimy parapets and sat on top to dry their legs, and 
shouted: "Don't shoot! Don't shoot I' 3 

Our men did not shoot. They, too, sat on the parapets dry- 
ing their legs, and grinning at the gray ants yonder, until these 
incidents were reported back to G. H. Q. where good fires 
were burning under dry roofs and stringent orders came 
against " fraternization." Every German who showed himself 
was to be shot. Of course any Englishman who showed him- 
self owing to a parapet falling in would be shot, too. It 
was six of one and half a dozen of the other, as always, in this 
trench warfare, but the dignity of G. H. Q. would not be out- 
raged by the thought of such indecent spectacles as British and 
Germans refusing to kill each other on sight. Some of the men 
obeyed orders, and when a German sat up and said, " Don't 
shoot I " plugged him through the head. Others were extremely 
short-sighted. . . . Now and again Germans crawled over to 
our trenches and asked meekly to be taken -prisoner. I met a 
few of these men and spoke with them. 

"There is rio sense in this war/' said one of them. "It is 
misery on both sides. There is no use in it." 

That thought of war's futility inspired an episode which was 
narrated throughout the army in that winter of '15, and led to 
curious conversations in dugouts and billets. Above a Ger- 
man front-line trench appeared a plank on which, in big letters, 
were scrawled these words : 

"The English are fools." 

' ' Not such bloody fools as all that ! " said a sergeant, and in a 
few minutes the plank was smashed to splinters by rifle-fire. 

Another plank appeared, with other words : 

"The French are fools." 

456 A War Correspondent 

Loyalty to our allies caused the destruction of that board. 

A third plank was put up : 

" We're all fools. Let's all go home." 

That board was also shot to pieces, but the message caused 
some laughter, and men repeating it said: " There's a deal of 
truth in those words. Why should this go on? What's it all 
about? Let the old men who made this war come and fight it 
out among themselves, at Hooge. The fighting-men have no 
real quarrel with one another. We all want to go home to our 
wives and our work." 

But neither side was prepared to go home first. Each side 
was in a trap a devil's trap from which there was no escape. 
Loyalty to their own side, discipline, with the death penalty 
behind it, spellwords of old tradition, obedience to the laws of 
war or to the caste .which ruled them, all the moral and spiritual 
propaganda handed out by pastors, newspapers, generals, staff- 
officers, old men at home, exalted women, female furies, a deep 
and simple love for England and Germany, pride for manhood, 
fear of cowardice a thousand complexities of thought and 
sentiment prevented men, on both sides, from breaking the net 
of fate in which they were entangled, and revolting against that 
mutual, unceasing massacre, by a rising from the trenches with 
a shout of " We're all fools ! Let's all go home ! " 

182. Raiding 1 

The Canadians were not the only men to go out raiding. It 
became part of the routine of war, that quick killing in the night, 
for English and Scottish and Irish and Welsh troops, and some 
had luck with it, and some men liked it, and to others it was a 
horror which they had to do, and always it was a fluky, nervy 
job, when any accident might lead to tragedy. 

I remember one such raid by the i2th West Yorks in January, 
1915, which was typical of many others, before raids developed 
into minor battles, with all the guns at work. 

There were four lieutenants who drew up the plan and called 
for volunteers, and it was one of these who went out first and 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 234-237. 

Raiding 457 

alone to reconnoiter the ground and to find the best way through 
the German barbed wire. He just slipped out over the parapet 
and disappeared into the darkness. When he came back he 
had a wound in the wrist it was just the bad luck of a chance 
bullet but brought in valuable knowledge. He had found 
a gap in the enemy's wire which would give an open door to the 
party of visitors. He had also tested the wire farther along, 
and thought it could be cut without much bother. 

"Good enough! 7 ' was the verdict, and a detachment started 
out for No Man's Land, divided into two parties. 

The enemy trenches were about one hundred yards away, 
which seems a mile in the darkness and the loneliness of the dead 
ground. At regular intervals the German rockets flared up so 
that the hedges and wire and parapets along their line were cut 
out ink-black against the white illumination, and the two patrols 
of Yorkshiremen who had been crawling forward stopped and 
crouched lower and felt themselves revealed, and then when 
darkness hid them again went on. 

The party on the left were now close to the German wire and 
under the shelter of a hedge. They felt their way along until 
the two subalterns who were leading came to the gap which 
had been reported by the first explorer. They listened intently 
and heard the German sentry stamping his feet and pacing up 
and down. Presently he began to whistle softly, utterly uncon- 
scious of the men so close to him so close now that any 
stumble, any clatter of arms, any word spoken, would betray 

The two lieutenants had their revolvers ready and crept for- 
ward to the parapet. The men had to act according to instinct 
now, for no order could be given, and one of them found his 
instinct led him to clamber right into the German trench a few 
yards away from the sentry, but on the other side of the trav- 
erse. He had not been there long, holding his breath and 
crouching like a wolf, before footsteps came toward him and he 
saw the glint of a cigarette. 

It was a German officer going his round. The Yorkshire boy 
sprang on to the parapet again, and lay across it with his head 

458 A War Correspondent 

toward our lines and his legs dangling in the German trench. 
The German officer's cloak brushed his heels, but the boy twisted 
round a little and stared at him as he passed. But he passed, 
and presently the sentry began to whistle again, some old Ger- 
man tune which cheered him in his loneliness. He knew noth- 
ing of the eyes watching him through the darkness nor of his 
nearness to death. 

It was the first lieutenant who tried to shoot him. But the 
revolver was muddy and would not fire. Perhaps a click dis- 
turbed the sentry. Anyhow, the moment had come for quick 
work. It was the sergeant who sprang upon him, down from the 
parapet with one pounce. A frightful shriek, with the shrill 
agony of a boy's voice, wailed through the silence. The ser- 
geant had his hand about the German boy's throat and tried to 
strangle him and to stop another dreadful cry. 

The second officer made haste. He thrust his revolver close 
to the struggling sentry and shot him dead, through the neck, 
just as he was falling limp from a blow on the head given by the 
butt-end of the weapon which had failed to fire. The bullet 
did its work, though it passed through the sergeant's hand, 
which had still held the man by the throat. The alarm had 
been raised and German soldiers were running to the 

"Quick !" said one of the officers. 

There was a wild scramble over the parapet, a drop into the 
wet ditch, and a race for home over No Man's Land, which was 
white under the German flares and noisy with the waspish note 
of bullets. 

The other party were longer away and had greater trouble 
to find a way through, but they, too, got home, with one officer 
badly wounded, and wonderful luck to escape so lightly. The 
enemy suffered from "the jumps" for several nights afterward, 
and threw bombs into their own barbed wire, as though the 
English were out there again. And at the sound of those bombs 
the West Yorks laughed all along their trenches. 

The Bombardment on the Somme 459 

183. The Bombardment on the Somme l 

I remember, as though it were yesterday in vividness and a 
hundred years ago in time, the bombardment which preceded 
the battles of the Somme. 2 . . . The length of our front of 
assault was about twenty miles round the side of the salient to 
the village of Bray, on the Somme, where the French joined us 
and continued the battle. 

From where we stood we could see a wide panorama of the 
German positions, and beyond, now and then, when the smoke 
of shell-fire drifted, I caught glimpses of green fields and flower 
patches beyond the trench lines, and church spires beyond the 
range of guns rising above clumps of trees in summer foliage. 
Immediately below, in the foreground, was the village of Albert, 
not much ruined then, with its red-brick church and tower from 
which there hung, head downward, the Golden Virgin with her 
Babe outstretched as though as a peace-offering over all this 
strife. That leaning statue, which I had often passed on the 
way to the trenches, was now revealed brightly with a golden 
glamor, as sheets of flame burst through a heavy veil of smoke 
over the valley. In a field close by some troops were being 
ticketed with yellow labels fastened to their backs. It was to 
distinguish them so that artillery observers might know them 
from the enemy when their turn came to go into the battle- 
ground. Something in the sight of those yellow tickets made 
me feel sick. Away behind, a French farmer was cutting his 
grass with a long scythe, in steady, sweeping strokes. Only 
now and then did he stand to look over at the most frightful pic- 
ture of battle ever seen until then by human eyes. I wondered, 
and wonder still, what thoughts were passing through that old 
brain to keep him at his work, quietly, steadily, on the edge of 
hell. For there, quite close and clear, was hell, of man's making, 
produced by chemists and scientists, after centuries in search 
of knowledge. There were the fires of hate, produced out of the 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 360-363. 

2 The usual name for the series of tremendous engagements which began July i, 
1916, with the Anglo-French attack against the German positions astride the Somme 
and Ancre rivers. 

460 A War Correspondent 

passion of humanity after a thousand years of Christendom and 
of progress in the arts of beauty. There was the devil-worship 
of our poor . . . human race, where the most civilized nations 
of the world were on each side of the bonfires. It was worth 
watching by a human ant. 

I remember the noise of our guns as all our batteries took their 
parts in a vast orchestra of drum-fire. The tumult of the field- 
guns merged into thunderous waves. Behind me a fifteen- 
inch "Grandmother" fired single strokes, and each one 
was an enormous shock. Shells were rushing through the air 
like droves of giant birds with beating wings and with strange 
wailings. The German lines were in eruption. Their earth- 
works were being tossed up, and fountains of earth sprang up 
between columns of smoke, black columns and white, which 
stood rigid for a few seconds and then sank into the banks of 
fog. Flames gushed up red and angry, rending those banks of 
mist with strokes of lightning. In their light I saw trees falling, 
branches tossed like twigs, black things hurtling through space. 
In the night before the battle, when that bombardment had 
lasted several days and nights, the fury was intensified. Red 
flames darted hither and thither like little red devils as our 
trench mortars got to work. Above the slogging of the guns 
there were louder, earth-shaking noises, and volcanoes of earth 
and fire spouted as high as the clouds. One convulsion of this 
kind happened above Usna Hill, with a long, terrifying roar 
and a monstrous gush of flame. 

"What is that?" asked some one. 

"It must be the mine we charged at La Boisselle. The big- 
gest that has ever been." 

It was a good guess. When, later in the battle, I stood by 
the crater of that mine and looked into its gulfs I wondered how 
many Germans had been hurled into eternity when the earth 
had opened. The grave was big enough for a battalion of men 
with horses and wagons, below the chalk of the crater's lips. 
Often on the way to Bapaume I stepped off the road to look 
into that white gulf, remembering the moment when I saw the 
gust of flame that rent the earth about it. 

A Hospital 461 

184. A Hospital 1 

We called the hospital at Corbie the "Butcher's Shop.". . . 
After a visit there I had to wipe cold sweat from my forehead, 
and found myself trembling in a queer way. It was the medi- 
cal officer a colonel who called it that name. " This is our 
' Butcher's Shop'," he said, cheerily. "Come and have a look 
at my cases. They're the worst possible; stomach wounds, 
compound fractures, and all that. We lop off limbs here all 
day long, and all night. You've no idea!" 

I had no idea, but I did not wish to see its reality. The M. 0. 
could not understand my reluctance to see his show. He put 
it down to my desire to save his time and explained that he 
was going the rounds and would take it as a favor if I would 
walk with him. I yielded weakly, and cursed myself for not 
taking to flight. Yet, I argued, what men are brave enough to 
suffer I ought to have the courage to see. I saw and sickened. 

These were the victims of "Victory" and the red fruit of 
war's harvest-fields. A new batch of "cases" had just arrived. 
More were being brought in on stretchers. They were laid 
down in rows on the floor-boards. The colonel bent down to 
some of them and drew their blankets back, and now and then 
felt a man's pulse. Most of them were unconscious, breathing 
with the hard snuffle of dying men. Their skin was already 
darkening to the death-tint, which is not white. They were all 
plastered with a gray clay and this mud on their faces was, in 
some cases, mixed with thick clots of blood, making a hard 
incrustation from scalp to chin. 

"That fellow won't last long," said the M. 0., rising from a 
stretcher. "Hardly a heart-beat left in him. Sure to die on 
the operating-table if he gets as far as that. Step back against 
the wall a minute, will you? " 

We flattened ourselves against the passage wall while ambu- 
lance-men brought in a line of stretchers. No sound came from 
most of those bundles under the blankets, but from one came a 
long, agonizing wail, the cry of an animal in torture. 

1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 372-374. 

462 A War Correspondent 

"Come through the wards," said the colonel. " They're 
pretty bright, though we could do with more space and light.' 7 

In one long, narrow room there were about thirty beds, and 
in each bed lay a young British soldier, or part of a young Brit- 
ish soldier. There was not much left of one of them. Both 
his legs had been amputated to the thigh, and both his arms 
to the shoulder-blades. 

"Remarkable man, that," said the colonel. "Simply refuses 
to die. His vitality is so tremendous that it is putting up a 
terrific fight against mortality. There's another case of the 
same kind; one leg gone and the other going, and one arm. 
Deliberate refusal to give in. 'You're not going to kill me, 
doctor,' he said. ' I'm going to stick it through. 7 What spirit, 

I spoke to that man. He was. quite conscious, with bright 
eyes. His right leg was uncovered, and supported on a board 
hung from the ceiling. Its flesh was like that of a chicken badly 
carved white, flabby, and in tatters. He thought I was a 
surgeon, and spoke to me pleadingly : 

" I guess you can save that leg, sir. It's doing fine. I should 
hate to lose it." 

I murmured something about a chance for it, and the M. 0. 
broke in cheerfully. 

"You won't lose it if I can help it. How's your pulse? Oh, 
not bad. Keep cheerful and we'll pull you through." 

The man smiled gallantly. 

"Bound to come off," said the doctor as we passed to another 
bed. "Gas gangrene. That's the thing that does us 

In bed after bed I saw men of ours, very young men, who had 
been lopped of limbs a few hours ago or a few minutes, some of 
them unconscious, some of them strangely and terribly con- 
scious, with a look in their eyes as though staring at the death 
which sat near to them, and edged nearer. 

"Yes," said the M. O., " they look bad,, some of 7 em, but youth 
is on their side. I dare say seventy-five per cent, will 
get through. If it wasn't for gas gangrene " 

"Tanks" 463 

He jerked his head to a boy sitting^up in bed, smiling at the 
nurse who felt his pulse. 

" Looks fairly fit after the knife, doesn't he? But we shall 
have to cut higher up. The gas again. I'm afraid hell be dead 
before to-morrow. Come into the operating-theater. It's 
very well equipped." 

I refused that invitation. I walked stiffly out of the Butcher's 
Shop of Corbie past the man who had lost both arms and both 
legs, that vital trunk, past rows of men lying under blankets, 
past a stench of mud and blood and anaesthetics, to the fresh 
air of the gateway, where a column of ambulances had just 
arriveo! with a new harvest from the fields of the Somme. 

"Come in again, any time!" shouted out the cheery colonel, 
waving his hand. 

I never went again, though I saw many other Butcher's Shops 
in the years that followed. 

185. "Tanks'' 1 

People who read my war dispatches will remember my first 
descriptions of the tanks and those of other correspondents. 
They caused a sensation, a sense of excitement, laughter which 
shook the nation because of the comicality, the grotesque sur- 
prise, the possibility of quicker victory, which caught hold of 
the imagination of the war, so beastlike in appearance and per- 
formance. The vagueness of our descriptions was due to the 
censorship, which forbade, wisely enough, any technical and 
exact definition, so that we had to compare them to giant toads, 
mammoths, and prehistoric animals of all kinds. Our accounts 
did, however, reproduce the psychological effect of the tanks 
upon the British troops when these engines appeared for the 
first time to their astonished gaze on September 13, 1916. Our 
soldiers roared with laughter, as I did, when they saw them 
lolloping up the roads. On the morning of the great battle of 
September 15th the presence of the tanks going into action 
excited all the troops along the front with a sense of comical 
relief, in the midst of the grim and deadly business of attack. 
1 Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 384-387. 

464 A War Correspondent 

Men followed them, laughing and cheering. There was a won- 
derful thrill in the airman's message, "Tank walking up the 
High Street of Tiers with the British army cheering behind." 
Wounded boys whom I met that morning grinned in spite of 
their wounds at our first word about the tanks. "Crikey!" 
said a cockney lad of the 47th Division. " I can't help laughing 
every time I think of them tanks. I saw them stamping down 
German machine-guns as though they were wasps' nests." The 
adventures of Creme de Menthe, Cordon Rouge, and the Byng 
Boys, on both sides of the Bapaume road, when they smashed 
down barbed wire, climbing over trenches, sat on German 
redoubts, and received the surrender of German prisoners who 
held their hands up to these monsters and cried, "Kamerad!" 
were like fairy-tales of war by EL G. Wells. 

Yet their romance had a sharp edge of reality as I saw in 
those battles of the Somme, and afterward, more grievously, in 
the Cambrai salient and Flanders, when the tanks were put out 
of action by direct hits of field-guns and nothing of human- 
kind remained in them but the charred bones of their gallant 
crews. . . . 

Individual tanks, commanded by gallant young officers and 
served by brave crews, did astounding feats, and some of these 
men came back dazed and deaf and dumb, after forty hours or 
more of fighting and maneuvering within steel walls, intensely 
hot, filled with the fumes of their engines, jolted and banged 
about over rough ground, and steering an uncertain course, 
after the loss of their " tails," which had snapped at the spine. 
But there had not been anything like enough tanks to secure 
an annihilating surprise over the enemy as afterward was 
attained in the first battle of Cambrai ; and the troops who had 
been buoyed up with the hope that at last the machine-gun evil 
was going to be scotched were disillusioned and dejected when 
they saw tanks ditched behind the lines, or nowhere in sight 
when once again they had to trudge forward under the flail of 
machine-gun bullets from earthwork redoubts. It was a failure 
in generalship to give away our secret before it could be made 

British Aviators 465 

I remember sitting in a mess of the Gordons in the village of 
Franvillers along the Albert road, and listening to a long mon- 
ologue by a Gordon officer on the future of the tanks. He was 
a dreamer and visionary, and his f ellow-officers laughed at him. 

"A few tanks are no good," he said. " Forty or fifty tanks 
are no good on a modern battle-front. We want hundreds of 
tanks, brought up secretly, fed with ammunition by tank car- 
riers, bringing up field-guns and going into action without any 
preliminary barrage. They can smash through the enemy's 
wire and get over his trenches before he is aware that an attack 
has been organized. Up to now all our offensives have been 
futile because of our preliminary advertisement by prolonged 
bombardment. The tanks can bring back surprise to modern 
warfare, but we must have hundreds of them." 

Prolonged laughter greeted this speech. But the Celtic 
dreamer did not smile. He was staring into the future. And 
what he saw was true, though he did not live to see it, for in the 
Cambrai battle of November nth the tanks did advance in 
hundreds, and gained an enormous surprise over the enemy, and 
led the way to a striking victory. 

186. British Aviators l 

One branch of our military machine developed with aston- 
ishing rapidity and skill during those Somme " battles. The 
young gentlemen of the Air Force were "all out" for victory, 
and were reckless in audacity. How far they acted under 
orders and against their own judgment of what was sensible 
and sound in fighting-risks I do not know. General Trenchard, 
their supreme chief, believed in an aggressive policy at all costs, 
and was a Napoleon in this war of the skies, intolerant of timid- 
ity, not squeamish of heavy losses if the balance were tipped 
against the enemy. Some young flying-men complained to me 
bitterly that they were expected to fly or die over the German 
lines, whatever the weather or whatever the risks. Many of 
them, after repeated escapes from anti-aircraft shells and hostile 
craft, lost their nerve, shirked another journey, found them- 
* Gibbs, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 387-391- 

466 A War Correspondent 

selves crying in their tents, and were sent back home for a spell 
by squadron commanders, with quick observation for the break- 
ing-point; or made a few more flights and fell to earth like 
broken birds. 

Sooner or later, apart from rare cases, every man was found 
to lose his nerve, unless he lost his life first. That was a physi- 
cal and mental law. But until that time these flying-men were 
the knights-errant of the war, and most of them did not need 
any driving to the risks they took with boyish recklessness. . . . 

There was one child so young that his squadron leader would 
not let him go out across the battle-lines to challenge any Ger- 
man scout in the clouds or do any of the fancy "stunts" that 
were part of the next day's program. He went to bed sulkily, 
and then came back again, in his pajamas, with rumpled hair. 

"Look here, sir/ 7 he said. " Can't I go ? I've got my wings. 
It's perfectly rotten being left behind." 

The squadron commander, who told me of the