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December 4.

Visited St. John's, St. Peter's, and other colleges; in
the afternoon saw the eight-oared boats come down the
river in fine style; and in the evening went to the an-
nual " audit dinner" at Trinity College, the number of
visitors in the magnificent hall being very large. I found
myself between the vice-master, Trotter, and Professor
Humphrey, the distinguished surgeon. The latter thought
Vienna had shot ahead of Berlin in surgery, though he
considered Billroth too venturesome, and praised recent
American works on surgery, but thought England was
still keeping the lead. At the close of the dinner came
a curious custom. Two -servants approached the vice-
master at the head of the first table, laid down upon
it a narrow roll of linen, and then the guests rolled this
along by pushing it from either side until, when it had
reached the other end, a strip of smooth linen was left
along the middle of the whole table. Then a great silver
dish, with ladles on either side, and containing some
sort of fragrant fluid, was set in front of the vice-master,
upon the narrow strip of linen which had formed the roll,


and the same thing was repeated at each of the other
tables. The vice-master having then filled a large glass
at his side from the dish, and I, at his suggestion, having
done the same, the great dish was pushed down the table
to guest after guest, each following our example. Wait-
ing to see what was to follow, I presently observed a
gentleman near me dipping his napkin into his glass and
vigorously scrubbing his face and neck with it, evidently
to cool himself off after dinner; this was repeated with
more or less thoroughness by others present; and then
came a musical grace after meat the non nobis, Domine
wonderfully given by the choir. In the combination
room, afterward, I met most agreeably Mr. Trevelyan,,
M.P., a nephew of Macaulay, who has written an ad-
mirable biography of his uncle.

December 6.

Dined at Trinity College as the guest of Aldis Wright,
and met a number of interesting men, among them Ma-
haffy, the eminent professor of Greek at Trinity College,
Dublin. Both he and Wright told excellent stories.
Among those of the latter was one of a Scotchwoman who,
on being informed of the change made by the revisers in
the Lord's Prayer, namely, "and deliver us from th&
evil one," said, "I doot he '11 be sair uplifted." Ma-
haffy gave droll accounts of Whately, Archbishop of Dub-
lin. One of these had as its hero a country clergyman
who came to ask Whately for a living which had just
become vacant. The archbishop, thinking to have a little-
fun with his guest, said, "Of course, first of all, I must
know what your church politics are : are you an attitudi-
narian, a latitudinarian, or a platitudinarian ? " To which
the parson replied, ' ' Thank God, your Grace, I am not an
Arian at all at all, if that 's what ye mane. ' ' The point
of this lay in the fact that among the charges con-
stantly made by the High-church party against Whately
was that of secret Unitarianism. But the reply so amused
Whately that he bestowed the living on the old parson at


once. Mahaffy also said that when Archbishop Trench,,
who was a man exceedingly mindful of the proprieties of
life, arrived in Dublin he assured Mahaffy that he in-
tended to follow in all things the example of his eminent
predecessor, whereupon Mahaffy answered, * ' Should your
Grace do so, you will in summer frequently sit in your
shirt sleeves on the chains in front of your palace, swing-
ing to and fro, and smoking a long pipe. ' '

Some one capped this with a story that, on a visitor
once telling Whately how a friend of his in a remote part
of Ireland had such confidence in the people about him
that he never locked his doors, the archbishop quietly
replied, "Some fine morning, when your friend wakes,,
he will find that he is the only spoon left in the house. ' '

December 7.

For several days visiting attractive places in London..
Of most interest to me were talks with Lecky, the his-
torian. He especially lamented Goldwin Smith 's expatri-
ation, and referred to his admirable style, though regret-
ting his lack of continuity in historical work. Though an
Irishman devoted most heartily to Ireland, Lecky thought
Gladstone's home rule policy suicidal. On my telling
him of Oscar Browning's study of Louis XVI 's flight to
Varennes, he stood up for Carlyle's general accuracy.
He liked Sir Henry Maine's book, but was surprised at
so much praise for "The Federalist," since he thought
Story's "Commentaries" much better. He thought Dra-
per's "History of the Intellectual Development of Eu-
rope" showed too much fondness for very large gener-
alizations. He liked Hilliard's "History of the United
States" better than Bancroft's, and I argued against
this view. He praised Buckle's style, and when I asked
him regarding his own "Eighteenth Century," he said
it was to be longer than he had expected. As to his
"European Morals," he said that it must be recast be-
fore it could be continued. Returning to the subject of
home rule in Ireland, he said it was sure to lead to


religious persecution and confiscation. He speaks in a
very low, gentle voice, is tall and awkward, but has a
very kind face, and pleases me greatly. During my stay
in London I did some work in the British Museum on
subjects which interested me, and at a visit to Maskelyne
and Cooke's great temple of jugglery in Piccadilly saw
a display which set me thinking. Few miracle-mongers
have ever performed any feats so wonderful as those
there accomplished; the men and women who take such
pleasure in attributing spiritual and supernatural origin
to the cheap jugglery of " mediums" should see this



NEW YEAR'S day of 1886 found my wife and my-
self again in Paris ; and, during our stay of nearly
a fortnight there, we met various interesting persons
among them Mr. McLane, the American minister at that
post, whom I had last seen, over thirty years before, when
we crossed the ocean together he then going as minis-
ter to China, and I as attache to St. Petersburg. His
discussions both of American and French politics were
interesting; but a far more suggestive talker was Mme.
Blaze de Bury. Though a Frenchwoman, she was said
to be a daughter of Lord Brougham; his portrait hung
above her chair in the salon, and she certainly showed
a versatility worthy of the famous philosopher and states-
man, of whom it was said, when he was appointed chan-
cellor, that if he only knew a little law he would know a
little of everything. She apparently knew not only every-
thing, but everybody, and abounded in revelations and

On the way from Paris to the Riviera we encountered
at Lyons very cold weather, and, giving my wraps to my
wife, I hurried out into the station in the evening, bought
of a news-vender a mass of old newspapers, and, having
swathed myself in these, went through the night comfort-
ably, although our coupe was exposed to a most piercing

Arriving at Cannes, we found James Bryce of the Eng-
lish Parliament, Baron George von Bunsen of the Ger-



man Parliament, and Lord Acton (since professor of his-
tory at the University of Cambridge), all interesting men,
but the latter peculiarly so: the nearest approach to
omniscience I have ever seen, with the possible exception
of Theodore Parker. Another person who especially at-
tracted me was Sir Charles Murray, formerly British
minister at Lisbon and Dresden. His first wife was an
American, Miss Wadsworth of Geneseo, and he had
traveled much in America once through the Adiron-
dacks with Governor Seymour of New York, of whom
he spoke most kindly. Discussing the Eastern Question,
he said that any nation, except Russia, might have Con-
stantinople; he gave reminiscences of old King John of
Saxony, who was very scholarly, but the last man in the
world to be a king. Most charming of all were his remi-
niscences of Talleyrand. The best things during my stay
were my walks and talks with Lord Acton, who was full
of information at first hand regarding Gladstone and
other leaders both in England and on the Continent. Al-
though a Roman Catholic, he spoke highly of Eraser, late
Anglican Bishop of Manchester. As to Americans, he
had known Charles Sumner in America, but had not
formed a high opinion of him, evidently thinking that the
senator orated too much; he had with him a large col-
lection of books, selected, doubtless, from his two large
libraries, in London and in the Tyrol, and with this he
astonished one as does a juggler who, from a single small
bottle, pours out any kind of wine demanded. For ex-
ample, one day, Bunsen, Bryce, and myself being with
him, the first-named said something regarding a curious
philological tract by Bernays, put forth when Bunsen
was a student at Gottingen, but now entirely out of print.
At this Lord Acton went to one of his shelves, took down
this rare tract, and handed it to us. So, too, during
one of our walks, the talk happening to fall upon one of
my heroes, Era Paolo Sarpi, I asked how it was that,
while in the old church on the Lagoon at Venice I had
at three different visits sought Sarpi 's grave in vain, I


had at the last visit found it just where I had looked for
it before. At this he gave me a most interesting account
of the opposition of Pope Gregory XVI who, before his
elevation to the papacy, had been abbot of the monastery
to Sarpi 's burial within its sacred precincts, and of the
compromise under which his burial was allowed. This
compromise was that his bones, which had so long been
kept in the ducal library to protect them from clerical ha-
tred, might be buried in the church on the island, provided
Sarpi were, during the ceremonies, honored simply as the
discoverer of the circulation of the blood, which he prob-
ably was not, and not honored as the greatest states-
man of Venice which he certainly was. This, as I then
supposed, closed the subject; but in the afternoon a ser-
vant came over, bringing me from Lord Acton a most
interesting collection of original manuscripts relating
to Sarpi, a large part of them being the correspon-
dence between the papal authorities and the Venetians
who had wished to give Sarpi 's bones decent burial, over
half a century before. I now found that the reason why
I had not discovered the grave was that the monks, as
long as they were allowed control, had persisted in break-
ing up the tablet bearing the inscription ; that they could
not disturb the bones for the reason that Sarpi 's ad-
mirers had inclosed them in a large and strong iron box,
anchoring it so that it was very difficult to remove; but
that since the death of the late patriarch and the abolition
of monkish power the inscription over the grave had been
allowed to remain undisturbed.

During another of our morning walks the discussion
having fallen on witchcraft persecution, Lord Acton
called in the afternoon and brought me an interesting
addition to my collection of curious books on that sub-
ject a volume by Christian Thomasius.

On another of our excursions I asked him regarding
the Congregation of the Index at Eome, and its proce-
dure. To this he answered that individuals or commis-
sions are appointed to examine special works and report


thereupon to the Congregation, which then allows or con-
demns them, as may seem best; and I marveled much
when, in the afternoon of that day, he sent me specimens
of such original reports on various books.

He agreed with me that the papal condemnation of
Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" was a mistake as a
matter of policy as great a mistake, indeed, as hundreds
and thousands of other condemnations had been. Of
Pope Leo XIII he spoke with respect, giving me an ac-
count of the very liberal concessions made by him at the
Vatican library, so that it is now freely opened to Protes-
tants, whereas it was formerly kept closely shut. At a
later period this was confirmed to me by Dr. Philip
Schaff, the eminent Protestant church historian, who told
me that formerly at the Vatican library he was only
allowed, as a special favor, to look at the famous Codex,
with an attendant watching him every moment ; whereas
after Pope Leo XIII came into control he was permitted
to study the Codex and take notes from it at his ease.

In another of his walks Lord Acton discussed Glad-
stone, whom he greatly admired, but pointed out some
curious peculiarities in the great statesman and church-
man, among these, that he worshiped the memory of
Archbishop Laud and detested the memory of Wil-
liam III.

Very interesting were sundry little dinners on Satur-
day evenings at the Cercle Nautique, at which I found
not only Lord Acton, but Sir Henry Keating, a retired
English judge; General Palfrey, who had distinguished
himself in our Civil War; and a few other good talkers.
At one of these dinners Sir Henry started the question :
''Who was the greatest man that ever lived?" Lord
Acton gave very interesting arguments in favor of Na-
poleon, while I did my best in favor of Cassar ; my argu-
ment being that the system which Caesar founded main-
tained the Koman Empire during nearly fifteen hundred
years after his death; that its fundamental ideas and
features have remained effective in various great nations


until the present day; and that they have in our own
century shown themselves more vigorous than ever.
Lord Acton insisted that we have no means of knowing
the processes of Cassar's mind; that we know the mode
of thinking of only two ancients, Socrates and Cicero;
that possibly, if we knew more of Shakspere's mental
processes, the preeminence might be claimed for him,
but that we know nothing of them save from his writ-
ings; while we know Napoleon's thoroughly from the
vast collections of memoirs, state papers, orders, conver-
sations, etc., as well as in his amazing dealings with the
problems of his time; that the scope and power of Na-
poleon's mental processes seem almost preternatural,
and of this he gave various remarkable proofs. He ar-
gued that considerations of moral character and aims,
as elements in greatness, must be left out of such a dis-
cussion; that the intellectual processes and their results
were all that we could really estimate in comparing men.
Sir Henry Keating observed that his father, an officer in
the British army, was vastly impressed by the sight of
Napoleon at St. Helena; whereupon Lord Acton re-
marked that Thiers acknowledged to Guizot, who told
Lord Acton, that Napoleon was "un scelerat." That
seemed to me a rather strong word to be used by a man
who had done so much to revive the Napoleonic legend.
Lord Acton also quoted a well-authenticated story
vouched for by two persons whom he named, one of them
being the Count de Flahaut, who was present and heard
the remark that when the imperial guards broke at
Waterloo, Napoleon said, ''It has always been so since
Crecy. ' '

Toward the end of February we went on to Florence,
and there met, frequently, Villari, the historian; Man-
tegazzi; and other leading Florentines. Mention being
made of the Jesuit Father Curci, who had rebelled
against what he considered the fatal influence of Jesuit-
ism on the papacy, Villari thought him too scholastic to
have any real influence. Of Settembrini he spoke highly


as a noble character and valuable critic, though with no
permanent place in Italian literature. He excused the
tardiness of Italians in putting up statues to Giordano
Bruno and Fra Paolo Sarpi, since they had so many other
recent statues to put up. As I look back upon this con-
versation, it is a pleasure to remember that I have lived
to see both these statues that of Bruno, on the place in
Rome where he was burned alive, and that of Sarpi, on the
place in Venice where the assassins sent by Pope Paul V
left him for dead.

Early in March we arrived in Naples, going piously
through the old sights we had seen several times before.
Revisiting Amalfi, I saw the archbishop pontificating at
the cathedral: he was the finest-looking prelate I ever
saw, reminding me amazingly of my old professor, Silli-
man of Yale. Then, during the stay of some weeks in
Sorrento, I took as an Italian teacher a charming old
padre, who read his mass every morning in one of the
churches and devoted the rest of the day to literature.
He was at heart liberal, and it was from him that I re-
ceived a copy of the famous * ' Politico-Philosophical Cate-
chism," adopted by Archbishop Apuzzo of Sorrento,
than which, probably, nothing more defiant of moral prin-
ciples was ever written. The archbishop had been made
by "King Bomba" tutor to his son, and no wonder that
the young man was finally kicked ignominiously off his
throne, and his country annexed to the Italian kingdom.
This catechism, written years before by the elder Leo-
pardi, but adopted and promoted by the archbishop, was
devoted to maintaining the righteousness of all that sys-
tem of extreme despotism, oath-breaking, defiance of na-
tional sentiment, and violations of ordinary decency,
which had made the kingdom of Naples a byword during
so many generations. Therein patriotism was proved to
be a delusion; popular education an absurdity; obser-
vance of the monarch's sworn word opposition to divine
law; a constitution a mere plaything in the monarch's
hands; the Bible is steadily quoted in behalf of "the


right divine of kings to govern wrong ' ' ; and all this with
a mixture of cynicism and unctuousness which makes this
catechism one of the most remarkable political works of
modern times.

At this time I made an interesting acquaintance with
Francis Galton, the eminent English authority on hered-
ity. Discussing dreams, he told me a story of a lady
who said that she knew that dreams came true; for she
dreamed once that the number 3 drew a prize in the
lottery, and again that the number 8 drew it ; and so, she
said, "I multiplied them together, 3X8 =27, bought a
ticket bearing the latter number, and won the prize. ' '

Very interesting were my meetings with Marion Craw-
ford, the author. Nothing could be more delightful than
his villa and surroundings, and his accounts of Italian
life were fascinating, as one would expect after reading
his novels. Another new acquaintance was Mr. Mayall,
an English microscopist ; he gave me accounts of his visit
to the Louvre with Herbert Spencer, who, after looking
steadily at the ' ' Immaculate Conception ' ' of Murillo, said,
' ' I cannot like a painted figure that has no visible means
of support."

On my return northward I visited the most famous of
Christian monasteries, the cradle of the Benedictine
order, Monte Cassino, and there met a young English
novice, who introduced me to various Benedictine fa-
thers, especially sundry Germans who were decorating
with Byzantine figures the lower story, near the altar of
St. Benedict. At dinner the young man agreed with me
that it might be well to have a Benedictine college at
Oxford, but thought that any college established there
must be controlled by the Jesuit order. He professed
respect for the Jesuits, but evidently with some mistrust
of their methods. On my asking if he thought he could
bear the severe rule of his order, especially that of ris-
ing about four o'clock in the morning and retiring early
in the evening, he answered that formerly he feared that
he could not, but that now he believed he could. On my



tentative suggestion that lie come and establish a Bene-
dictine convent on Cayuga Lake, he told me that he should
probably be sent to Scotland.

The renowned old monastery seems to be mindful of
its best traditions, for it has established within its walls
an admirably equipped printing-house, in which I was
able to secure for Cornell University copies of various
books by learned Benedictines some of them, by the
beauty of their workmanship, well worthy to be placed
beside the illuminated manuscripts which formerly came
from the Scriptoria.

At Borne I was taken about by Lanciani, the eminent
archaeologist in control of the excavations, who showed
me beautiful things newly discovered and now kept in
temporary rooms near the Capitol. To my surprise, he
told me that there is absolutely no authentic bust of Ci-
cero dating from his time ; but this was afterward denied
by Story, the American sculptor, who pointed out to me
a cast of one in his studio. Story spoke gloomily of the
condition of Italy, saying that formerly there were no
taxes, but that now the taxes are crushing. He added
that the greatest mistake made by the present Pope was
that, during the cholera at Naples, he remained in Rome,
while King Humbert went immediately to that city,
visited the hospitals, cheered the cholera-stricken, com-
forted them, and supplied their wants.

On Easter Sunday I saw Cardinal Howard celebrate
high mass in St. Peter's. He had been an English
guardsman, was magnificently dressed, and was the very
ideal of a proupl prelate. The audience in the immediate
neighborhood of the altar were none too reverential,
and in other parts of the church were walking about and
talking as if in a market ; all of this irreverence remind-
ing me of the high mass which I had seen celebrated by
Pope Pius IX at the same altar on Easter day of 1856.

Calling on the former prime minister, Minghetti, who
had been an associate of Cavour, I found him very inter-
esting, as was also Sambuy, senator of the kingdom and


syndic of Turin, who was with him. Minghetti said that
the Italian school system was not yet satisfactory, though
young men are doing well in advanced scientific, mathe-
matical, historical, and economic studies. On my speak-
ing of a statistical map in my possession which revealed
the enormous percentage of persons who can neither
read nor write in those parts of Italy most directly under
the influence of the church, he said that matters were
slowly improving under the new regime. He spoke with
respect of Leo XIII, saying that he was not so bitter in
his utterances against Italy as Pius IX had been. Dis-
cussing Bismarck and Cavour, he said that both were
eminently practical, but that Cavour adhered to certain
principles, such as free trade, freedom of the church, and
the like, whereas Bismarck was wont to take up any
principle which would serve his temporary purpose.
Minghetti hoped much, eventually, from Cavour 's idea
of toleration, and spoke with praise of the checks put
by the American Constitution on unbridled democracy,
whereupon I quoted to him the remark of Governor Sey-
mour in New York, the most eminent of recent Demo-
cratic candidates for the Presidency, to the effect that
the merit of our Constitution is not that it promotes
democracy, but that it checks it. Minghetti spoke of Sir
Henry Maine's book on "Free Government" with much
praise; in spite of its anti-democratic tendencies, it had
evidently raised his opinion of the American Constitu-
tion. He also praised American scientific progress.
Sambuy said that the present growth of the city of Rome
is especially detested by the clergy, since it is making the
city too large for them to control ; that their bitterness is
not to be wondered at, since they clearly see that, no
matter what may happen, even if the kingdom of Italy
were to be destroyed to-morrow, it would be absolutely
impossible for the old regime of Pope, cardinals, and
priests ever again to govern the city; that with this in-
crease of the population, and its long exercise of politi-
cal power, the resumption of temporal power by the Pope


is an utter impossibility; that even if revolution or an-
archy came, the people would never again take refuge
under the papacy.

Very interesting were sundry gatherings at the rooms
of Story, the sculptor. Meeting there the Brazilian min-
ister at the papal court, I was amazed by his statements
regarding the rules restricting intercourse between diplo-
matists accredited to the Vatican and those accredited
to the Quirinal; he said that although the minister

Online LibraryAndrew Dickson WhiteAutobiography of Andrew Dickson White (Volume 2) → online text (page 36 of 54)