William Dudley Foulke.

A Hoosier autobiography (Volume 1) online

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"some love songs of PETRARCH," "LYRICS OF WAR AND




, American Branch: 35 West 32d Street

.r-r 57 Ft

Copyright, 1922,
BY Oxford University Press



MAY 19 1922

The author offers his grateful acknowledgment to his
friends Professor C. K, Chase of Hamilton College, New
York, and to Mrs. Chase for their careful revision and
correction of the manuscript of this book and for their
many valuable suggestions.

The lines at the beginning of each chapter are taken
from two volumes of verse by the author, ''Lyrics of
War and Peace" (Oxford University Press and Bobbs
Merrill Co., 1916), and "Today and Yesterday" (Ox-
ford University Press, 1920).



Chapter I. Early Life i



Quaker Influences

Our Summer Home

Preparing for College

College Life

Law School

The Liberal Club



Law Practice in New York

Removal to Indiana

Chapter II. Life in Indiana 30

The Richmond Home
The Charm of Indiana
The Art Association
Local Colour
A Fox Hunt
The Family
Dramatic Interests
At the Indiana Bar
A Scrimmage
Railroad Practice
Personal Associations
Retirement from Practice

Chapter III. Indiana Associations, Julian, Riley, etc. . . 55
The Tuesday Club
George W. Julian
Indianapolis Clubs
Western Association of Writers
James Whitcomb Riley
Indiana Society of Chicago
Jekyl Island Club
Earlham College
Swarthmore College

Chapter IV. The State Senate ...,...„ 70
The Campaign
The Session of 1883
The Session of 1885
Investigation of the State Treasury-
Toleration toward the Negro



Chapter V. Public Questions 84

Woman's Suffrage

Civil Service Reform

Proportional Representation

The Russian Question

The National Municipal League

Chapter VI. Political Activities— Imperialism .... 100
Early Political Affiliations
The Hayes and Garfield Campaigns
The Three Cleveland Campaigns
The Campaign of igoo

Chapter VII. Life in Washington 109

Theodore Roosevelt

Rides and Walks with the President

Other Personal Incidents

Roosevelt Characteristics

Other Washington Associations

The Muskogee Investigation

Chapter VIII. Roosevelt and Taft Campaigns . . . .143
The Roosevelt Campaign, 1904
The Taft Campaign, 1908 ,

Chapter IX. The Progressive Movement 151

The Taft Administration

The Payne-Aldrich Tariff Bill

Ballinger — Roosevelt's Return

The Republican Nomination in 1912

The Progressive Convention and Campaign

The First Wilson Administration

The Campaign of 1916

Chapter X. The Trusts 170

The Chicago Conferences
Trusts in the Campaign of 1908
Practical Remedies

Chapter XI. The League to Enforce Peace i79

Preliminary Organisations
The League to Enforce Peace
The League of Nations

Chapter XII. The World War 190

Outbreak of the Struggle


The Conscription Board



Chapter XIII. Journalism and Literature . . .. ., . 204
Literary Interests
"Life of Governor Morton"

"Protean Papers"
"History of the Langobards"
"Dorothy Day"

"Masterpieces of the Masters of Fiction"
"Fighting the Spoilsmen"

Chapter XIV. Personalia 213

Whims and Fancies

Some Business Experiences

The Society of Friends


Philosophy of Life

Appendix I. Indiana's Output. Speech before the Indiana
Society of Chicago, January 28, 1908 227

Appendix II. Address at the Opening Session of the Na-
tional American Woman Suffrage Association in Wash-
ington, D. C, February 18, 1890 233

A Hoosier Autobiography



I GLEAN with care the stalks that memory leaves
Upon the time-mown fields of earlier years ;

I gather all and bind them into sheaves,

Then winnow them, that from the fruitful ears

Some seed may fall that in its turn will bring

Fresh hope of harvest for a coming spring.

— Autobiography.


Many years ago I dreamed that my friend, Captain Y., believed
he was going to die upon a certain day, and accordingly fixed the
time and made all the arrangements for his funeral, which was
to be held in the Quaker meeting house at Richmond, Indiana.
When the day arrived, his friends assembled; the house was full,
and among others came my father, a minister of the Society of
Friends, to bear his testimony to the virtues of the deceased. But
the Captain's presentiments had not come true, he was still liv-
ing, and he now determined to preside in person over his own
obsequies. He sat "at the head of the meeting" and as my
father, accompanied by another Friend, walked up the aisle, he
called out that Abijah Jones was welcome but that he did not
choose to have Thomas Foulke speak at his funeral. While it
seemed to me that a man had the right to manage his own
funeral if he were there to see to it himself, I was annoyed at the
affront to my father and we walked out of the meeting-house

In writing these memoirs I cannot help thinking of that old



dream. Biography, to be complete, should be a post-mortem
account of a man's life and therefore written by another. Is not
the man who writes his own biography like one who would take
charge of his own obsequies and thus try to forestall an un-
palatable obituary?

Yet the man himself knows better than another what he has
done and why, and if he be honest, he should be able to give a
more faithful account of his career. The main questions are,
whether the story is worth the telling and how well it can be
told. I cannot say that there is anything very important in
the pages which follow. I have seen a good deal of the world
from various sides and have taken part in a good many public
movements, but so have thousands of others ; and my best hope
to justify the narrative is found in the maxim that the life of the
humblest man, if reasonably well told, may be of interest to the

And a certain value may also lie in the point of view. It
may be that a man, originally a New Yorker, then a Hoosier by
adoption, who has witnessed the significant development of the
great Middle West during half a century and who has himself
been connected, in their early stages, with many movements then
considered radical but since adopted by the country at large, such
as Woman's Suffrage, Civil Service and Municipal Reform, and
the development of closer international relations — it can well be
that this man may, in the story of his life, have some contribu-
tion to offer to the history of his own time.


Many New Yorkers have been born and reared in other parts
of the country — in New England, in the South, in the Missis-
sippi Valley, some of them in Indiana — why then should not a
man who has spent the bulk of his life in Indiana call himself
a Hoosier, though he be a native of the city of New York?

I was born in that city on November 20, 1848, at No. 76
Rivington Street. It was a neighbourhood which was then quiet
and respectable, though not at all fashionable, but which has
since become part of the tenement house district of the metropolis.


My father, Thomas Foulke, was at the time principal of a
ward school, then the largest in the city, with an attendance of
some two thousand pupils. He was, however, a man of some
little property and not altogether dependent on the meagre salary
of his calling. He belonged to a Pennsylvania family which had
settled in Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, about four-
teen miles from Philadelphia, over two hundred years ago. Ed-
ward and Eleanor Foulke, the original founders of the family in
America, were among the colonists brought over by William Penn.
Edward belonged to an old Welsh family, which traced its descent
back to the time of Henry IT, and some of whose members were
well known to English history.

He was a farmer and became a Quaker about the time of his
emigration. His descendants for several generations nearly all
belonged to the Society of Friends, and my father and grandfather
were both ministers of that Society.

I was an only child. My mother, Hannah S. Foulke, was the
daughter of Abraham Shoemaker, a New York merchant. He also
was a Friend, a man of excellent business ability but very much
of a recluse, seeing few people and visiting not at all. His wife,
Margaret Shoemaker, was much more active and took an interest
in many public questions, particularly in the anti-slavery move-
ment. They both lived to be over ninety years of age.

My parents resided with them and with a brother and sister
of my mother. The house was for a time one of the stations on
the "underground railroad," for we used to help fugitive negroes
on their way to Canada and we were once involved in litigation
on account of assistance thus given.

At a later time my father was the principal of Friends' Semi-
nary, an academy established by the Society in a building adjoin-
ing the meeting-house in Rutherford Place in New York. I
attended school there for a number of years and was graduated
in 1864.*

1 The incidents of my early life, my school days and the Quaker
customs and traditions which they illustrate, are more fully contained
in the first book of "Dorothy Day" (Cosmopolitan Press, 191 1, pp. i
to 116), the statements of which are based on facts, though the actual
names are not given.



Born and reared as I was in a family of old-fashioned Hicksite
Quakers, the views and traditions of their simple and earnest
religion became part of my life, and although I have since dis-
carded most of these, some still remain with me.

The Society of Friends has no written creed; its paramount
doctrine is the belief in the "inner light," the conviction that
God reveals himself directly to all who seek His guidance, not
only upon questions of dogma and of moral and religious duty,
but often as a special providence guiding and protecting the lives
of His followers. The supreme injunction of George Fox, the
founder of Quakerism, was "Mind the Light." It was generally
considered that the ministers of the Society in their sermons
uttered not simply their own thoughts but a message which had
been given to them by a higher power.

Besides this fundamental idea, there were other things of a
more practical nature to which the Society was devoted, and
enquiries respecting these things were made periodically in their
various meetings by means of certain formal "Queries," asking,
for instance, whether Friends were careful to keep their obliga-
tions and not extend their business beyond their ability to man-
age it; whether they observed temperance and sobriety in their
lives, etc. The principles of peace and non-resistance and a deep
regard for human liberty, involving opposition to negro slavery,
were also among the unwritten tenets of the Society.

We used to entertain at our house many of the Friends who
took part in the various yearly and quarterly meetings which
were held in New York. So numerous were our guests that,
in addition to those we could accommodate in our various bed-
rooms, the attic of the house was devoted to them, cots and
improvised beds being placed there, and the women's quarters
being carefully screened off by curtains.

The broad brims, plain bonnets, and drab suits were there in
abundance. My father himself wore the peculiar garb of the
Quakers with high collar and curving front lines of a coat that
was always made of black broadcloth; his silk hat, with a brim
a little wider than the prevailing fashion of the day, was glossy


and well brushed, and his black stock looked always fresh and
new. I have sometimes wondered whether there was not almost
as much pride of appearance shown in this garb as in the cos-
tumes of the "world's people."

The eminent ministers of the Society, Lucretia Mott, John
Hunt, David Barnes, Richard Cromwell, and others, were often
with us, and my youth was spent in an atmosphere of mysticism
and deep religious faith. There were wonderful stories of divine
revelations given to these servants of the Lord, and we were
impressed with the supreme importance of heeding the "inner
light" which, it was believed, shone upon the faithful in their
daily lives.

Among the ministers who were with us at Yearly Meetings
and on other occasions was my grandfather, Joseph Foulke, a
hale and genial old man with a round, moon-like face, his drab
waistcoat covering an ample "bay-window." He was always a
welcome guest at the houses of Friends, who entertained him when
he travelled from place to place, as he often did, in the work of
the ministry. The Quaker preachers received nothing for their
services, they even paid their own expenses, and my grandfather,
when he deeded his farm to his eldest son, reserved a small annuity
which enabled him to do this gratuitous service and to deliver such
messages as he believed had been entrusted to him by his Divine

He had a great assortment of charming anecdotes, generally
about Friends and their odd ways and sayings, which always drew
around him a circle of interested listeners.

His childlike faith stayed with him up to his final hour, and
amid the sufferings of his last illness he was filled with the calm
assurance that he had fought the good fight, that he had kept the
faith, and that there was laid up for him the crown of righteous-
ness which the Lord, the righteous judge, would give to those who
served Him.

But in spite of these early surroundings I became distrustful,
even in boyhood, of the supernatural agencies of which I heard
so much. Sometimes, led by some shining example which had
been set before me, I would open the Bible at random with the
hope that the "inner light" would shine for my instruction from


some particular passage, but I commonly came upon a verse tell-
ing me that Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab,
or describing the preparation of the shew bread; or if, relying
upon the intimations of the "inner light," I took the second omni-
bus in place of the first one, I never could find that any accident
happened to either of them, until at last I came to believe that
my own common sense was a safer guide for daily conduct than any
other kind of illumination.

Although these notions of spiritual interposition gradually grew
faint and finally disappeared, yet the habit of following personal
convictions of duty became deeply imbedded in my nature. Such
convictions, however, were not always well balanced; they were
much stronger in regard to some things than to others just as
important. Where they were strong, I instinctively and inevita-
bly followed them; when this was not the case I often fell short
in my conduct.

About the time of the close of the Civil War, we moved from
the house in Rivington Street to one in Thirty-eighth Street
between Fifth and Sixth avenues, then very far "up-town."


Our summers were usually spent at Long Branch, where my
aunt, Ann S. Dudley, had a cottage. The rest of the family lived
with her during the hot months for nearly a score of years. Long
Branch was quite a primitive place in those days. There were no
railroads, and only a single steamboat running from New York.
It left at a different hour each day so as to sail up the shallow
waters of the Shrewsbury inlet at high tide. It often ran aground
and we sometimes remained fast for hours; on one occasion, all
night long.

The place was then a quiet, rural neighbourhood with a few
summer hotels stretched along the low bluff by the shore. Our
cottage was about a mile back from the sea. It stood upon the
side of a small hill that rose like an ocean swell from out the
plain. The hill was crowned by our summer-house, from which
there was a remarkably fine view not only of the sea but of the
distant Highlands of Navesink. Nearer were the hills of Rumson


Neck and Red Bank, with woods, fields and farmhouses in the
foreground. Among these the Shrewsbury inlet wound its glis-
tening, snake-like course, and one branch of it came almost up
to the foot of our hill, where it disappeared among the tall green
rushes. I had a little attic room where I studied and wrote,
though my life was mostly out of doors, and I recall with delight
the bathing, the sailing, the fishing, the picnic in the woods, the
clambake by the river, the dance at night in the hotel, the
tete-a-tete upon the beach. I loved especially the cool evenings
of the early autumn, and always returned to the city with regret.
There is one figure that stands out very clearly in my memory
of those days at Long Branch. It is that of the venerable Bishop
Simpson of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who was, I think,
next to Henry Ward Beecher, the most eloquent pulpit orator in
America. He lived for two or three summers in a little cottage
just at the end of our lane on the opposite side of the highroad.
Here I visited him occasionally and was much impressed with his
benignant personality. For a few years President Grant had a
summer cottage on the beach; he was expected one Sunday at
the village church, but did not come. Possibly in anticipation
of his presence, Bishop Simpson had prepared a sermon which
seemed to me, as I listened to it, the most impressive I had ever
heard. It was apparently extemporaneous, but had evidently been
carefully planned beforehand. The text was, "Abel, being dead,
yet speaketh." The bishop passed in brief but eloquent review
the great events in the history of the world since Abel's day — the
changes wrought by time, war, civilisation, and religion in all the
races of men. "And yet," he said, "the voice which spoke in
those primaeval days is speaking still and will continue to speak
until the latest generation." This was the great preacher's illus-
tration of the power of human influence. He compared it to a
pebble dropped in the still waters of a pool, whose widening circles
spread on every side until they kissed the shores. He reminded
us of the principle of physics that no force, wherever exerted, is
entirely lost, and he drew from this theme the inevitable moral
that each man in every act of his life should so conduct himself
that his influence would work for the glory of God and the
welfare of mankind.


He spoke also of the "cloud of witnesses" by whom our acts
were seen, picturing in fancy the clouds that developed themselves
into cherub faces, as in Raphael's paintings of the Madonna. His
sermon was a poem, and he held us for an hour and a half captive
to the spell of his oratory.


During the winter and spring of 1865 I had to prepare
for college, for it was decided to send me to Columbia in the
fall. I knew little Latin and not a word of Greek, and a
formidable task was before me to be completed between No-
vember and June. I secured as tutor a thorough drill-master
in Greek verbs and in the rules of syntax, and after I had got
into the swing of it I was able to take a hundred and fifty lines
of Homer at a lesson, and by June I had gone over the whole
ground required. I was greatly flustered, however, in the exami-
nation by the awe-inspiring presence of Prof. Charles Anthon,
and made a flat failure in Plutarch and the Anabasis. But when
he called for Homer, there was something in the rhythm of the
hexameters that ended my confusion. I knew them so well that
I couldn't get them wrong, and after I had answered all his
questions correctly, he wrote "Passed" upon my card, with the
remark, "You may thank old Homer for that. He saved you."


Columbia College at that time was in temporary quarters. It
had moved from its former home in College Place and was oc-
cupying an old building on Forty-ninth Street that had formerly
been used for a Blind Asylum. The campus in front was large
enough for a "rush" between Freshmen and Sophomores, and a
little later we had the vacant square between Forty-ninth and
Fiftieth streets and between Fifth and Sixth avenues for our
games of baseball and football. Much of the adjacent neigh-
bourhood was occupied by squatters with their shanties perched
upon the rocks, a very convenient thing for us boys when we
wanted to buy hens or geese to throw into the lecture rooms
during examinations.


The curriculum was not like the present one with its many
optional courses. We all had to fit into the same bed. The
classics, history, literature, logic, mathematics and some rather
rudimentary work in chemistry, physics, etc., constituted, with
"The Evidences of the Christian Religion," the principal branches
of instruction. The president was Dr. F. A, P. Barnard, a
kindly, broad-minded old man, who was at that time laying the
foundation for a fuller recognition of the sciences. Dr. Anthon
was professor of Greek; he was a noble-looking man — a prince
of old-fashioned pedagogues — with his jokes, his tyrannies,
his prejudices and partialities, and with them a bonhommie so
strong and winning that we were devoted to him. To me at least
he gave an inspiration and a love for the Greek language and
literature which have lasted through life. Say what you will about
the uselessness of Greek in general education, I would rather lose
all the rest of what I learned in college than my rich experience
of this one language. The memory of Dr. Anthon's classes is an
enduring delight.

Another stimulating instructor was Professor Peck, the head
of the department of mathematics. He was a short, stout man,
with keen, incisive voice, awkward — sometimes tumbling headlong
over the globes and other furniture of his lecture room; but he
had wonderful powers of inspiration in a branch of learning which
is not likely to arouse enthusiasm. He once became very elo-
quent in a demonstration upon mathematical grounds of the
inevitable evolution of the solar system from a large body of
gaseous matter distributed irregularly through space. He too was
one of the men we loved, and this in spite of his irascibility.
There was a tradition that he had once challenged to personal
combat, then and there, a student whom he had detected in some
dishonourable act. He used to denounce the pranks we tried
to play upon him for their lack of originality. We might make
him the object, he said, of any practical joke we liked, if it were
really new and good, but to witness our stale and stupid per-
formances year after year wearied his soul. We respected this
view of the matter, and as no one could invent anything new,
we left him in peace.

Another favourite of ours was Dr. Schmidt, professor of Greek


and Roman antiquities. He was a thin, prim, precise old man,
but with a delicious sense of humour. Once he fell upon us sud-
denly while we were chucking some geese up a flight of steps
leading to Professor's Nairne's room. "O gentlemen," he said,
"please desist! Your labours are unnecessary. There are quite
enough of these here now!"

The college statutes seemed almost as long as the Mosaic law
and stood before us as a constant temptation to break their com-
mandments. Punishments were prescribed with mathematical
precision. Three admonitions made one warning, and after three
warnings the culprit had to go.

I was involved quite early in the toils of this rigid code. I
had been in college only two weeks, when, in the geometry class,
I found a fellow-student in some trouble over a proposition in
Euclid and tried to help him out. We were caught. It was Fri-
day afternoon about half-past twelve. "You will appear before
the faculty at one," said Professor Van Amringe. We trembled
and were silent. At the appointed hour we waited around the
President's door as men might await trial before inquisitors.
Suddenly we were ushered into the awful presence. The pro-
fessors were seated in a semicircle with President Barnard in
the middle and Van Amringe, the secretary, at a table by his

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Online LibraryWilliam Dudley FoulkeA Hoosier autobiography (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 23)