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of America, had now become our bitter opponents, and
some of their expressions seemed to point to eventual war.

Yet I doubt whether we have any right to complain of
such attacks and misrepresentations. As a matter of fact,
no nation washes so much of its dirty linen in the face of
the whole world as does our own; and, what is worse,
there is washed in our country, with much noise and per-
versity, a great deal of linen which is not dirty. Many
demagogues and some "reformers" are always doing this.
There is in America a certain class of excellent people who



AS AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY-1897-1903 147

see nothing but the scum on the surface of the pot ; nothing
but the worst things thrown to the surface in the ebullition
of American life. Or they may be compared to people who,
with a Persian carpet before them, persist in looking at
its seamy side, and finding nothing but odds and ends, im-
perfect joints, unsatisfactory combinations of color; the
real pattern entirely escaping them. The shrill utterances
of such men rise above the low hum of steady good work,
and are taken in Germany as exact statements of the main
facts in our national life.

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

As to attacks upon the United States, it is only fair to
say that German publicists and newspaper writers were



148 IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE-XV

under much provocation. Some of the American corre-
spondents then in Germany showed wonderful skill in ma-
lignant invention. My predecessors in the embassy had
suffered much from this cause. One of them, whom I had
known from his young manhood as a gentleman of refined
tastes and quiet habits, utterly incapable of rudeness of
any sort, was accused, in a sensational letter published in
various American journals, of having become so noisy and
boisterous at court that the Emperor was obliged to re-
buke him. Various hints of a foul and scandalous char-
acter were sent over and published. I escaped more easily,
but there were two or three examples which were both
vexatious and amusing.

Shortly after my arrival at my post, letters and news-
paper articles began coming deploring the conduct of the
Germans toward me, expressing deep sympathy with me,
exhorting me to "stand firm," declaring that the Ameri-
can people were behind me, etc., etc., all of which puzzled
me greatly until I found that some correspondent had sent
over a telegram to the effect that the feeling against
America had become so bitter that the Emperor himself
had been obliged to intervene and command the officials
of his empire to present themselves at my official recep-
tion; and with this statement was coupled a declaration
that I had made the most earnest remonstrance to the Im-
perial Government against such treatment. The simple
fact was that the notice was in the stereotyped form al-
ways used when an ambassador arrives. On every such
occasion the proper authorities notify all the persons con-
cerned, giving the time of his receptions, and this was sim-
ply what was done in my case. On another occasion, tele-
grams were sent over to American papers stating that the
first secretary of the embassy and myself, on visiting
Parliament to hear an important debate, had been grossly
insulted by various members. The fact was that we had
been received by everybody with the utmost kindness ; that
various members had saluted us in the most friendly man-
ner from the floor or had come into the diplomatic gallery



AS AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY-1897-1903 149

to welcome us ; and that there was not the slightest shadow
of reason for the statement. As an example of the genius
shown in some of these telegrams, another may be men-
tioned. A very charming American lady, niece of a mem-
ber of Mr. McKinley's cabinet, having arrived on the
Norwegian coast, her children were taken on board the
yacht of the Emperor, who was then cruising in those re-
gions; and later, on their arrival at Berlin, they with
their father and mother were asked by him to the palace
to meet his own wife and children. A few days afterward
a telegram was published in America to the effect that the
Emperor, in speaking to Mrs. White and myself regard-
ing the children, had said that he was especially surprised,
because he had always understood that American children
were badly brought up and had very bad manners. The
simple fact was that, while he spoke of the children with
praise, the rest of the story was merely a sensational
invention. One of the marvels of American life is the
toleration by decent fathers and mothers of sensational
newspapers in their households. Of all the demoralizing
influences upon our people, and especially upon our
young people, they are the most steadily and pervasively
degrading. Horace Greeley once published a tractate
entitled, "New Themes for the Clergy," and I would
suggest the evil influence of sensation newsmongering as
a most fruitful theme for the exhortations of all Ameri-
can clergymen to their flocks, whether Catholic, Jewish,
or Protestant. May we not hope, also, that Mr. Pulitzer 's
new College of Journalism will give careful attention to
this subject?

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

One morning, as I had just sat down to my office work,
there was ushered in, with due ceremony, a young gentle-
man of light color, Parisian to the tips of his fingers,



150 IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE-XV

in accent, manner, and garb, who was announced as the
charge d'affaires of Haiti. He was evidently under deep
concern, and was soon in the midst of a somewhat impas-
sioned statement of his business.

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

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



AS AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY- 1897-1903 151

him to advise his government and people simply to pay
their debts.

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

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

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

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

But now the chronic difficulties became acute. In the
consuls of the three powers what Bismarck used to call
the furor consularis was developed to the highest degree.
Yet this was not the worst. Under the Berlin agreement,
made some years before, there was a German president of
the municipality of Apia with ill-defined powers, and an
American chief justice with powers in some respects enor-
mous, and each of these naturally magnified his office at
the expense of the other. To complete the elements of
discord, there were two great native parties, each sup-
porting its candidate for kingship; and behind these,



152 IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE-XV

little spoken of, but really at the bottom of the main trou-
ble, were missionaries, English Wesleyans on one side,
and French Roman Catholics on the other, each desir-
ing to save the souls of the natives, no matter at what
sacrifice of their bodies.

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

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

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



AS AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY -1897-1903 153

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

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



154 IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE- XV

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

Among the many other members interesting on various
accounts was one to whom both Germans- and Americans
might well listen with respect Herr Theodor Earth,
editor of ' ' Die Nation, ' ' a representative of the best tra-
ditions of the old National Liberal party. He seemed to



AS AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY- 1897-1903 155

me one of the very few Germans who really understood
the United States. He had visited America more than
once, and had remained long enough to get in touch with
various leaders of American thought, and to penetrate be-
low the mere surface of public affairs. Devoted as he was
to his own fatherland, he seemed to feel intuitively the
importance to both countries of accentuating permanent
points of agreement rather than transient points of differ-
ence; hence it was that in his paper he steadily did us
justice, and in Parliament was sure to repel any unmer-
ited assault upon our national character and policy. He
was clear and forcible, with, at times, a most effectively
caustic utterance against unreason.

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

The German Parliament House, apart from slight de-



156 IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE-XV

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

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

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



CHAPTER XLI

AMEEICA, GERMANY, AND THE SPANISH WAR 1897-1903

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

Seeing this danger, our government instructed its rep-
resentatives at the courts of the great powers to request
them to join in a declaration in favor of an " open-door
policy" in China, thus establishing virtually an interna-
tional agreement that none of the powers obtaining con-
cessions or controlling "spheres of influence" in that
country should secure privileges infringing upon the
equality of all nations in competing for Chinese trade.
This policy was pushed with vigor by the Washington
cabinet, and I was instructed to secure, if possible, the as-
sent of the German Government, which, after various con-
ferences at the Foreign Office and communications with

157



158 IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE-XVI

the minister of foreign affairs, some more, some less, satis-
factory, I was at last able to do. The assent was given
very guardedly, but not the less effectively. Its terms
were that Germany, having been from the first in favor
of equal rights to all nations in the trade of China, would
gladly acquiesce in the proposed declaration if the other
powers concerned would do so.

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

Finally, on the 9th of April, 1900, 1 had the satisfaction
of sending to the German Foreign Office the proofs that
all the other powers concerned, including Japan, had
joined in the American declaration, and that the govern-
ment of the United States considered this acquiescence to



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