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credulously at him when the honest printer declared indignantly
that he had not pocketed a farthing. "I have since learned,"
says Franklin in his autobiography, "that immense fortunes are
often made in such employments." What homespun simplicity!
How curiously, in an age of directors, do these words sound!
How remote and foreign seems the honest, wise old man's
innocence of "graft"!

Franklin never was a rich man. The things which he accom-
plished, the permanent monuments which he left, were created,
not by gifts of his money, but by gifts of himself. He had an
extremely practical mind. He was always looking around for



64 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

opportunities to do something useful, for improvements which
could be made which should be of benefit to the public, and he
found time to accomplish them.

He founded the first high school of the state, which before
his death developed into the present Universtiy of Pennsyl-
vania. It was through his great influence in supporting Dr.
Bond that the Philadelphia Hospital was established. Through
the "Junto," the debating society which he had established,
was founded by his active management the Philadelphia
Library, the first circulating library in America from which
books could be taken to the homes of the readers the parent
of thousands of circulating libraries all over the land. These are
a portion of the local interests with which Franklin's name is
associated. The association of his name with these public
enterprises should not be understood, however, as meaning
that they were built on his money, either wholly or mainly.
He never had enough money for that. They were founded on
his wise plans, on his generous expenditure of time, trouble
and thought.

These things were done amidst the engrossing demands of a
growing business by a man who made the public business a
part of his business, and refused to allow his own personal
interests to command all his time. When the University of
Pennsylvania proudly describes itself today as "founded by
Benjamin Franklin/' the word founded means not cash but
character.

He invented a long list of useful things and sought no personal
gain from them. The Franklin stove which he devised, and
upon which he refused to accept a patent, became the standard
stove among our forefathers. He devised what the oculists
today call Franklinic lenses bifocal glasses combining in one
pair of spectacles long-distance and reading lenses. He studied
the causes of smoky chimneys and how to avoid them, and
published a pamphlet on his discoveries. His electrical experi-
ments are familiar to students of electricity. His discoveries in
this branch of knowledge made his name known, long before the
Revolution, in European as well as hi American scientific



PATTERNS OF AMERICANISM 65

societies, and long before the war cloud grew black on the
horizon, the farmer and laborer in England as well as in America
read the wise maxims of Poor Richard's Almanack, and knew
and respected its author.

He was the first American diplomat. Practically thirty
years of his life were devoted to American interests abroad,
first as agent of Pennsylvania carrying on a patient and success-
ful attack on the vested selfishness of the Penn Proprietaries
who refused to permit their Pennsylvania land to be taxed for
the common benefits which they received from the Colony.

At last the Revolution came, and at an age when few men
perform any work of great importance, he rendered his services
in the cause of American liberty, second only to those of Wash-
ington himself. To those who still insist on considering history
as a form of romantic drama, no contrast to the thrilling war
story of the Revolution can be apparently more ridiculous than
the story of the financiering by which that war was for the most
part carried on. Congress had no money. Its requisitions on
the several states were discounted or ignored. Individual
patriots of means contributed heavily. Franklin loaned all his
own ready money. Rich Robert Morris gave all he had and died
in a poorhouse, but the funds thus obtained were utterly in-
adequate for the war. The Colonies were miserably poor. Where,
indeed, was the money to come from to buy uniforms, guns,
provisions, ships, and all the various supplies of an army and
navy? The answer which Congress finally hit upon was very
simple. They drew drafts on Franklin. Without any previous
notice to him, without any inquiry as to whether he had funds
or could raise them, they drew on him for anything and every-
thing which the conduct of the war required. His simple duty
was to find in France somehow the funds to meet these drafts.
He did it.

He was perhaps the only American who at the time was
known and respected for his personal worth in continental
Europe. He was famous as scientist and philosopher. He was as
engaging as he was wise. With a keen knowledge of human
nature he knew how to deal with the French character. He was
E



66 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

a splendid borrower. Saddled as he was with two perfectly use-
less associates, who hampered him in France and slandered him
at home, and with practically no other assistance than a six-
teen-year-old grandson as his secretary, himself afflicted with
the infirmities of old age, he persuaded a nation, deep in financial
straits, to loan the struggling colonies the funds necessary for
the war. In the critical year of the war his diplomacy obtained
at last from France the recognition of American independence,
and the active and open aid of French arms, obtained sixteen
men-of-war, 4,000 men, and last but not least, $5,000,000,
nearly $2,000,000 of which was a free gift.

Well might Paul Jones name his flagship the Bonnehomme
Richard, for it was the pseudonym of the man who made his
career possible, who fitted out his ships and found the pay for
his sailors.

But this is no place to trace in detail the long story of Frank-
lin's career of public service. The record of that service should,
however, not stand alone as his claim on the memory of pos-
terity. We must not overlook the vast, almost tangible influence
of his plain, simple, hard-working life, its struggles, high pur-
poses, its practical accomplishments upon the great artisan
class in which he was born, on the vast army of young men
whose lives depend upon then- intelligence applied through
their hands, working at his own trade of printing, or in the
other practical arts.

That he had faults must be admitted. His enemies said that
he had an inordinate desire for public office. He certainly filled
many, and a desire for power is wrong only when the purposes
are wrong for which it is coveted.

If he had so chosen, the immense powers of the mind which
he had devoted to public service could have been devoted
successfully to accumulating a fortune. He had great executive
capacity. He devoted it to public rather than to private ends.
When great businessmen of today prefer to be remembered by
the form hi which they leave their fortunes, by the endowments
or funds they create, Franklin chose that succeeding generations
should remember not the endowments of his fortune but the



PATTERNS OF AMERICANISM 67

stamp of his mind and character that he should leave for us,
his descendants, the memory of a good citizen.



HENRY VAN DYKE

[Henry Van Dyke (1852 ) was born at Germantown, Pennsylvania.

He was graduated from Princeton and later studied at Berlin. For some
years he was pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City.
In 1899 he was appointed to the Murray professorship of English literature
at Princeton, his writings both in prose and in poetry having won for him
acknowledged literary position. In 1913 he was appointed Minister of the
United States to the Netherlands, a position which he filled with great
ability until his resignation in 1917. The portions of his brochure, The
Americanism of Washington, here reprinted, give the essential points of the
discussion.]

What shall we say, then, of the Americanism of Washington?
It was denied, during his lifetime for a little while, by those who
envied his greatness, resented his leadership, and sought to
shake him from his lofty place. But he stood serene and im-
perturbable, while that denial, like many another blast of evil-
scented wind, passed into nothingness, even before the dis-
appearance of the party strife out of whose fermentation it had
arisen. By the unanimous judgment of his countrymen for two
generations after his death he was hailed as Pater Patrice;
and the age which conferred that title was too ingenuous to
suppose that the father could be of a different race from his
own offspring.

But the modern doubt is more subtle, more curious, more
refined in its methods. It does not spring, as the old denial did,
from a partisan hatred, which would seek to discredit Wash-
ington by an accusation of undue partiality for England, and
thus to break his hold upon the love of the people. It arises,
rather, like a creeping exhalation, from a modern theory of
what true Americanism really is: a theory which goes back,

JFrom The Americanism of Washington. (Copyright, 1906, Harper Brothers.) Re-
printed by permission.



68 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

indeed, for its inspiration to Dr. Johnson's somewhat crudely
expressed opinion that "the Americans were a race whom no
other mortals could wish to resemble;" but which, hi its later
form, takes counsel with those British connoisseurs who demand
of their typical American not depravity of morals but depriva-
tion of manners, not vice of heart but vulgarity of speech, not
badness but bumptiousness, and at least enough of eccentricity
to make him amusing to cultivated people. I find that not a few
of our native professors and critics are inclined to accept some
features of this view, perhaps in mere reaction from the unamus-
ing character of their own existence. They are not quite ready
to subscribe to Mr. Kipling's statement that the real American
is "unkempt, disreputable, vast," but they are willing to admit
that it will not do for him to be prudent, orderly, dignified. He
must have a touch of picturesque rudeness, a red shirt in his
mental as well as in his sartorial outfit. The poetry that expresses
him must recognize no metrical rules. The art that depicts him
must use the primitive colors, and lay them on thick. I remember
reading somewhere that Tennyson had an idea that Longfellow,
when he met him, would put his feet upon the table. And it is
precisely because Longfellow kept his feet in their proper place,
in society as well as in verse, that some critics, nowadays, would
have us believe that he was not a truly American poet.

Traces of this curious theory of Americanism in its applica-
tion to Washington may now be found in many places. You
shall hear historians describe him as a transplanted English
commoner, a second edition of John Hampden. You shall read,
in a famous poem, of Lincoln as

"New birth of our new soil, the first American."

That Lincoln was one of the greatest Americans, glorious in
the largeness of his heart, the vigor of his manhood, the heroism
of his soul, none can doubt. But to affirm that he was the first
American is to disown and disinherit Washington and Franklin
and Adams and Jefferson. Lincoln himself would have been the
man to extinguish such an impoverishing claim with huge and
hearty laughter. He knew that Grant and Sherman and Seward



PATTERNS OF AMERICANISM 69

and Farragut and the men who stood with him were Americans,
just as Washington knew that the Boston maltster, and the
Pennsylvania printer, and the Rhode Island anchor-smith, and
the New Jersey preacher, and the New York lawyer, and the
men who stood with him were Americans.

He knew it, I say: and by what divination? By a test more
searching than any mere peculiarity of manners, dress, or speech:
by a touchstone able to divide the gold of essential character
from the alloy of superficial characteristics; by a standard which
disregarded alike Franklin's fur cap and Putnam's old felt hat,
Morgan's leather leggings and Witherspoon's black silk gown
and John Adam's lace ruffles, to recognize and approve, beneath
these various garbs, the vital sign of America woven into the
very souls of the men who belonged to her by a spiritual birth-
right.

For what is true Americanism, and where does it reside?
Not on the tongue, nor in the clothes, nor among the transient
social forms, refined or rude, which mottle the surface of human
life. The log-cabin has no monopoly of it, nor is it an immovable
fixture of the stately pillared mansion. Its home is not on the
frontier nor in the populous city, not among the trees of the wild
forest nor the cultured groves of Academe. Its dwelling is in
the heart. It speaks a score of dialects but one language, follows
a hundred paths to the same goal, performs a thousand kinds of
service in loyalty to the same ideal which is its life. . . .

To believe that the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pur-
suit of happiness are given by God.

To believe that any form of power that tramples on these rights is unjust.

To believe that taxation without representation is tyranny, that govern-
ment must rest upon the consent of the governed, and that the people
should choose their own rulers.

To believe that freedom must be safeguarded by law and order, and
that the end of freedom is fair play for all.

To believe not in a forced equality of conditions and estates, but in a
true equalization of burdens, privileges, and opportunities.

To believe that the selfish interests of persons, classes, and sections must
be subordinated to the welfare of the commonwealth.

To believe that union is as much a human necessity as liberty is a divine
gift



70 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

To believe, not that all people are good, but that the way to make them
better is to trust the whole people.

To believe that a free state should offer an asylum to the oppressed, and
an example of virtue, sobriety, and fair dealing to all nations.

To believe that for the existence and perpetuity of such a state a man
should be willing to give his whole service, in property, in labor, and in life.

That is Americanism; an ideal embodying itself in a people;
a creed heated white hot in the furnace of conviction and ham-
mered hi to shape on the anvil of life; a vision commanding men
to follow it whithersoever it may lead them. And it was the
subordination of the personal self to that ideal, that creed, that
vision, which gave eminence and glory to Washington and the
men who stood with him. . . .

Washington, no doubt, was preeminent among his contem-
poraries in natural endowments. Less brilliant in his mental
gifts than some, less eloquent and accomplished than others, he
had a rare balance of large powers which justified Lowell's
phrase of "an imperial man." His athletic vigor and skill, his
steadiness of nerve restraining an intensity of passion, his un-
daunted courage which refused no necessary risks and his
prudence which took no unnecessary ones, the quiet sureness
with which he grasped large ideas and the pressing energy with
which he executed small details, the breadth of his intelligence,
the depth of his convictions, his power to apply great thoughts
and principles to everyday affairs, and his singular superiority
to current prejudices and illusions, these were gifts in combina-
tion which would have made him distinguished in any company,
in any age. But what was it that won and kept a free field for
the exercise of these gifts? What was it that secured for them a
long, unbroken opportunity of development in the activities of
leadership, until they reached the summit of their perfection?
It was a moral quality. It was the evident magnanimity of the
man which assured the people that he was no self-seeker who
would betray then- interests for his own glory or rob them for
his own gain. It was the supreme magnanimity of the man,
which made the best spirits of the time trust him implicitly, hi
war and peace, as one who would never forget his duty or his
integrity in the sense of his own greatness.



PATTERNS OF AMERICANISM 71

From the first, Washington appears not as a man aiming at
prominence or power, but rather as one under obligation to serve
a cause. Necessity was laid upon him and he met it willingly.
After his marvelous escape from death in his first campaign for
the defence of the Colonies, the Rev. Samuel Davies, fourth
president of Princeton College, spoke of him in a sermon as
"that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I can but hope
Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some
important service to his country." It was a prophetic voice,
and Washington was not disobedient to the message. Chosen
to command the Army of the Revolution in 1775, he confessed to
his wife his deep reluctance to surrender the joys of home,
acknowledged publicly his feeling that he was not equal to
the great trust committed to him, and then, accepting it as
thrown upon him "by a kind of destiny," he gave himself body
and soul to its fulfilment, refusing all pay beyond the mere dis-
charge of his expenses, of which he kept a strict account, and
asking no other reward than the success of the cause which he
served. . . .

There are a hundred other points in Washington's career in
which the same supremacy of character, magnanimity focused
on service to an ideal, is revealed in conduct. I see it in [the wis-
dom with which he, a son of the South, chose most of his generals
from the North, that he might secure immediate efficiency
and unity in the army. I see it in the generosity with which
he praised the achievements of his associates, disregarding
jealous rivalries, and ever willing to share the credit of victory
as he was to bear the burden of defeat. I see it in the patience
with which he suffered his fame to be imperiled for the moment
by reverses and retreats, if only he might the more surely
guard the frail hope of ultimate victory for his country. I see
it in the quiet dignity with which he faced the Conway Cabal,
not anxious to defend his own reputation and secure his own
power, but nobly resolute to save the army from being crippled
and the cause of liberty from being wrecked. I see it in the
splendid self-forgetf ulness which cleansed his mind of all temp-
tation to take personal revenge upon those who had sought



72 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

to injure him in that base intrigue. I read it in his letter of
consolation and encouragement to the wretched Gates after
the defeat at Camden. I hear the prolonged reechoing music of
it in his letter to General Knox in 1798, in regard to military
appointments, declaring his wish to "avoid feuds with those who
are embarked in the same general enterprise with myself."

Listen to the same spirit as it speaks in his circular address
to the governors of the different states, urging them to "forget
their local prejudices and policies; to make those mutual con-
cessions which are requisite to the general prosperity, and in
some instances to sacrifice their individual advantages to the
interest of the community." Watch how it guides him unerringly
through the critical period of American history which lies be-
tween the success of the Revolution and the establishment of
the nation, enabling him to avoid the pitfalls of sectional and
partisan strife, and to use his great influence with the people in
leading them out of the confusion of a weak Confederacy into
the strength of an indissoluble Union of sovereign states. See
how he once more sets aside his personal preferences for a quiet
country life, and risks his already secure popularity, together
with his reputation for consistency, by obeying the voice which
calls him to be a candidate for the Presidency. See how he
chooses for the cabinet and for the Supreme Court, not an
exclusive group of personal friends, but men who can be trusted
to serve the great cause of Union with fidelity and power
Jefferson, Randolph, Hamilton, Knox, John Jay, Wilson, Gush-
ing, Rutledge. See how patiently and indomitably he gives
himself to the toil of office, deriving from his exalted station no
gain "beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its con-
nection with a power of promoting human felicity." See how he
retires, at last, to the longed-for joys of private life, confessing
that his career has not been without errors of judgment, be-
seeching the Almighty that they may bring no harm to his
country, and asking no other reward for his labors than to par-
take, "in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of
good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of
my heart."



PATTERNS OF AMERICANISM 73

Oh, sweet and stately words, revealing through their calm
reserve, the inmost secret of a life that did not flare with tran-
sient enthusiasm but glowed with unquenchable devotion to a
cause! "The ever favorite object of my heart" how quietly,
how simply he discloses the source and origin of a sublime con-
secration, a lifelong heroism. Thus speaks the victor looking
back upon the long battle. But if you would know the depth
and the intensity of the divine fire that burned within his breast
you must go back to the dark and icy days of Valley Forge, and
hear him cry hi passion unrestrained: "If I know my own mind,
I could offer myself a living sacrifice to the butchering enemy,
provided that would contribute to the people's ease. I would
be a living offering to the savage fury and die by inches to save
the people."

The ever favorite object of my heart! It is the capacity to find
such an object in the success of the people's cause, to follow it
unselfishly, to serve it loyally, that distinguishes the men who
stood with Washington and who deserve to share his fame.
I read the annals of the Revolution, and I find everywhere this
secret and searching test dividing the strong from the weak,
the noble from the base, the heirs of glory from the captives
of oblivion and the inheritors of shame. It was the unwillingness
to sink and forget self in the service of something greater that
made the failures and wrecks of those tempestuous times,
through which the single-hearted and the devoted pressed on to
victory and honor. ...

Is not this, after all, the root of the whole matter? Is not this
the thing that is vitally and essentially true of all those great
men, clustering about Washington, whose fame we honor and
revere with his? They all left the community, the commonwealth,
the race, in debt to them. This was their purpose and the ever
favorite object of their hearts. They were deliberate and joyful
creditors. Renouncing the maxim of worldly wisdom which bids
men "get all you can and keep all you get," they resolved rather
to give all they had to advance the common cause, to use every
benefit conferred upon them in the service of the general wel-
fare, to bestow upon the world more than they received from it,



74 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

and to leave a fair and unblotted account of business done with
life which should show a clear balance in their favor.



LINCOLN AS AN AMERICAN 1
HERBERT CROLY

[Herbert Croly (1869 ) was born in New York City. After attend-
ing the College of the City of New York and Harvard University, he has
devoted himself to literary work. He has held editorial positions on several
magazines and is the author of several books. The selection here given is
from his The Promise of American Life and is an attempt to show Lincoln as
an example of the land of human excellence that is possible under a democ-
racy like that of the United States.]

Lincoln's services to his country have been rewarded with
such abundant appreciation that it may seem superfluous to
insist upon them once again; but I believe that from the point
of view of this book an even higher value may be placed, if not
upon his patriotic service, at least upon his personal worth.
The Union might well have been saved and slavery extinguished
without his assistance; but the life of no other American has
revealed with anything like the same completeness the peculiar
moral promise of genuine democracy. He shows us by the full
but unconscious integrity of his example the kind of human
excellence which a political and social democracy may and should
fashion; and its most grateful and hopeful aspect is, not merely
that there is something partially American about the manner
of his excellence, but that it can be fairly compared with the
classic types of consummate personal distinction.



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