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THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

PREFACE -

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU began his famous "Confessions" by a vehementappeal to the Deity: "I have shown myself as I was; contemptible and vilewhen I was so; goodgeneroussublime when I was so; I have unveiled myinterior such as Thou thyself hast seen itEternal Father! Collect about me theinnumerable swarm of my fellows; let them hear my confessions; let them groan atmy unworthiness; let them blush at my meannesses! Let each of them discover hisheart in his turn at the foot of thy throne with the same sincerity; and thenlet any one of them tell thee if he dares: 'I was a better man!'"

Jean Jacques was a very great educator in the manner of the eighteenthcenturyand has been commonly thought to have had more influence than any otherteacher of his time; but his peculiar method of improving human nature has notbeen universally admired. Most educators of the nineteenth century have declinedto show themselves before their scholars as objects more vile or contemptiblethan necessaryand even the humblest teacher hidesif possiblethe faultswith which nature has generously embellished us allas it did Jean Jacquesthinkingas most religious minds are apt to dothat the Eternal Father himselfmay not feel unmixed pleasure at our thrusting under his eyes chiefly the leastagreeable details of his creation.

As an unfortunate result the twentieth century finds few recent guides toavoidor to follow. American literature offers scarcely one working model forhigh education. The student must go backbeyond Jean Jacquesto BenjaminFranklinto find a model even of self-teaching. Except in the abandoned sphereof the dead languagesno one has discussed what part of education hasin hispersonal experienceturned out to be usefuland what not. This volume attemptsto discuss it.

As educatorJean Jacques wasin one respecteasily first; he erected amonument of warning against the Ego. Since his timeand largely thanks to himthe Ego has steadily tended to efface itselfandfor purposes of modeltobecome a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order toshow the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garmentnotthe figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothes to his patron'swants. The tailor's objectin this volumeis to fit young menin universitiesor elsewhereto be men of the worldequipped for any emergency; and thegarment offered to them is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted ontheir fathers.

At the utmostthe active-minded young man should ask of his teacher onlymastery of his tools. The young man himselfthe subject of educationis acertain form of energy; the object to be gained is economy of his force; thetraining is partly the clearing away of obstaclespartly the direct applicationof effort. Once acquiredthe tools and models may be thrown away.

The manikinthereforehas the same value as any other geometrical figure ofthree or more dimensionswhich is used for the study of relation. For thatpurpose it cannot be spared; it is the only measure of motionof proportionofhuman condition; it must have the air of reality; must be taken for real; mustbe treated as though it had life. Who knows? Possibly it had! -

February 161907

CHAPTER I

Quincy (1838-1848) -

UNDER the shadow of Boston State Houseturning its back on the house of JohnHancockthe little passage called Hancock Avenue runsor ranfrom BeaconStreetskirting the State House groundsto Mount Vernon Streeton the summitof Beacon Hill; and therein the third house below Mount Vernon PlaceFebruary161838a child was bornand christened later by his unclethe minister ofthe First Church after the tenets of Boston Unitarianismas Henry Brooks Adams.

Had he been born in Jerusalem under the shadow of the Temple and circumcisedin the Synagogue by his uncle the high priestunder the name of Israel Cohenhe would scarcely have been more distinctly brandedand not much more heavilyhandicapped in the races of the coming centuryin running for such stakes asthe century was to offer; buton the other handthe ordinary travellerwhodoes not enter the field of racingfinds advantage in beingso to speakticketed through lifewith the safeguards of an oldestablished traffic.Safeguards are often irksomebut sometimes convenientand if one needs them atallone is apt to need them badly. A hundred years earliersuch safeguards ashis would have secured any young man's success; and although in 1838 their valuewas not very great compared with what they would have had in 1738yet the mereaccident of starting a twentieth-century career from a nest of associations socolonial- so troglodytic- as the First Churchthe Boston State HouseBeaconHillJohn Hancock and John AdamsMount Vernon Street and Quincyall crowdingon ten pounds of unconscious babyhoodwas so queer as to offer a subject ofcurious speculation to the baby long after he had witnessed the solution. Whatcould become of such a child of the seventeenth and eighteenth centurieswhenhe should wake up to find himself required to play the game of the twentieth?Had he been consultedwould he have cared to play the game at allholding suchcards as he heldand suspecting that the game was to be one of which neither henor any one else back to the beginning of time knew the rules or the risks orthe stakes? He was not consulted and was not responsiblebut had he been takeninto the confidence of his parentshe would certainly have told them to changenothing as far as concerned him. He would have been astounded by his own luck.Probably no childborn in the yearheld better cards than he. Whether life wasan honest game of chanceor whether the cards were marked and forcedhe couldnot refuse to play his excellent hand. He could never make the usual plea ofirresponsibility. He accepted the situation as though he had been a party to itand under the same circumstances would do it againthemore readily for knowingthe exact values. To his life as a whole he was a consentingcontracting partyand partner from the moment he was born to the moment he died. Only with thatunderstanding- as a consciously assenting member in full partnership with thesociety of his age- had his education an interest to himself or to others.

As it happenedhe never got to the point of playing the game at all; he losthimself in the study of itwatching the errors of the players; but this is theonly interest in the storywhich otherwise has no moral and little incident. Astory of education- seventy years of it- the practical value remains to the endin doubtlike other values about which men have disputed since the birth ofCain and Abel; but the practical value of the universe has never been stated indollars. Although every one cannot be a Gargantua-Napoleon-Bismarck and walk offwith the great bells of Notre Dameevery one must bear his own universeandmost persons are moderately interested in learning how their neighbors havemanaged to carry theirs.

This problem of educationstarted in 1838went on for three yearswhilethe baby grewlike other babiesunconsciouslyas a vegetablethe outsideworld working as it never had worked beforeto get his new universe ready forhim. Often in old age he puzzled over the question whetheron the doctrine ofchanceshe was at liberty to accept himself or his world as an accident. Nosuch accident had ever happened before in human experience. For himalonetheold universe was thrown into the ash-heap and a new one created. He and hiseighteenth-centurytroglodytic Boston were suddenly cut apart- separatedforever- in act if not in sentimentby the opening of the Boston and AlbanyRailroad; the appearance of the first Cunard steamers in the bay; and thetelegraphic messages which carried from Baltimore to Washington the news thatHenry Clay and James K. Polk were nominated for the Presidency. This was in May1844; he was six years old; his new world was ready for useand only fragmentsof the old met his eyes.

Of all this that was being done to complicate his educationhe knew only thecolor of yellow. He first found himself sitting on a yellow kitchen floor instrong sunlight. He was three years old when he took this earliest step ineducation; a lesson of color. The second followed soon; a lesson of taste. OnDecember 31841he developed scarlet fever. For several days he was as good asdeadreviving only under the careful nursing of his family. When he began torecover strengthabout January 11842his hunger must have been stronger thanany other pleasure or painfor while in after life he retained not the faintestrecollection of his illnesshe remembered quite clearly his aunt entering thesick-room bearing in her hand a saucer with a baked apple.

The order of impressions retained by memory might naturally be that of colorand tastealthough one would rather suppose that the sense of pain would befirst to educate. In factthe third recollection of the child was that ofdiscomfort. The moment he could be removedhe was bundled up in blankets andcarried from the little house in Hancock Avenue to a larger one which hisparents were to occupy for the rest of their lives in the neighboring MountVernon Street. The season was midwinterJanuary 101842and he never forgothis acute distress for want of air under his blanketsor the noises of movingfurniture.

As a means of variation from a normal typesickness in childhood ought tohave a certain value not to be classed under any fitness or unfitness of naturalselection; and especially scarlet fever affected boys seriouslyboth physicallyand in characterthough they might through life puzzle themselves to decidewhether it had fitted or unfitted them for success; but this fever of HenryAdams took greater and greater importance in his eyesfrom the point of view ofeducationthe longer he lived. At firstthe effect was physical. He fellbehind his brothers two or three inches in heightand proportionally in boneand weight. His character and processes of mind seemed to share in thisfining-down process of scale. He was not good in a fightand his nerves weremore delicate than boys' nerves ought to be. He exaggerated these weaknesses ashe grew older. The habit of doubt; of distrusting his own judgment and oftotally rejecting the judgment of the world; the tendency to regard everyquestion as open; the hesitation to act except as a choice of evils; theshirking of responsibility; the love of lineformquality; the horror of ennui;the passion for companionship and the antipathy to society- all these arewell-known qualities of New England character in no way peculiar to individualsbut in this instance they seemed to be stimulated by the feverand Henry Adamscould never make up his mind whetheron the wholethe change of character wasmorbid or healthygood or bad for his purpose. His brothers were the type; hewas the variation.

As far as the boy knewthe sickness did not affect him at alland he grewup in excellent healthbodily and mentaltaking life as it was given;accepting its local standards without a difficultyand enjoying much of it askeenly as any other boy of his age. He seemed to himself quite normaland hiscompanions seemed always to think him so. Whatever was peculiar about him waseducationnot characterand came to himdirectly and indirectlyas theresult of that eighteenth-century inheritance which he took with his name.

The atmosphere of education in which he lived was colonialrevolutionaryalmost Cromwellianas though he were steepedfrom his greatest grandmother'sbirthin the odor of political crime. Resistance to something was the law ofNew England nature; the boy looked out on the world with the instinct ofresistance; for numberless generations his predecessors had viewed the worldchiefly as a thing to be reformedfilled with evil forces to be abolishedandthey saw no reason to suppose that they had wholly succeeded in the abolition;the duty was unchanged. That duty implied not only resistance to evilbuthatred of it. Boys naturally look on all force as an enemyand generally findit sobut the New Englanderwhether boy or manin his long struggle with astingy or hostile universehad learned also to love the pleasure of hating; hisjoys were few.

Politicsas a practicewhatever its professionshad always been thesystematic organization of hatredsand Massachusetts politics had been as harshas the climate. The chief charm of New England was harshness of contrasts andextremes of sensibility- a cold that froze the bloodand a heat that boiled it-so that the pleasure of hating- one's self if no better victim offered- was notits rarest amusement; but the charm was a true and natural child of the soilnot a cultivated weed of the ancients. The violence of the contrast was real andmade the strongest motive of education. The double exterior nature gave life itsrelative values. Winter and summercold and heattown and countryforce andfreedommarked two modes of life and thoughtbalanced like lobes of the brain.Town was winter confinementschoolrulediscipline; straightgloomy streetspiled with six feet of snow in the middle; frosts that made the snow sing underwheels or runners; thaws when the streets became dangerous to cross; society ofunclesauntsand cousins who expected children to behave themselvesand whowere not always gratified; above all elsewinter represented the desire toescape and go free. Town was restraintlawunity. Countryonly seven milesawaywas libertydiversityoutlawrythe endless delight of mere senseimpressions given by nature for nothingand breathed by boys

without knowing it.

Boys are wild animalsrich in the treasures of sensebut the New Englandboy had a wider range of emotions than boys of more equable climates. He felthis nature crudelyas it was meant. To the boy Henry Adamssummer was drunken.Among sensessmell was the strongest- smell of hot pine-woods and sweet-fern inthe scorching summer noon; of new-mown hay; of ploughed earth; of box hedges; ofpeacheslilacssyringas; of stablesbarnscow-yards; of salt water and lowtide on the marshes; nothing came amiss. Next to smell came tasteand thechildren knew the taste of everything they saw or touchedfrom pennyroyal andflagroot to the shell of a pignut and the letters of a spelling-book- the tasteof A-BABsuddenly revived on the boy's tongue sixty years afterwards. Lightlineand color as sensual pleasurescame later and were as crude as the rest.The New England light is glareand the atmosphere harshens color. The boy was afull man before he ever knew what was meant by atmosphere; his idea of pleasurein light was the blaze of a New England sun. His idea of color was a peonywiththe dew of early morning on its petals. The intense blue of the seaas he sawit a mile or two awayfrom the Quincy hills; the cumuli in a June afternoon sky;the strong reds and greens and purples of colored prints and children'spicture-booksas the American colors then ran; these were ideals. The oppositesor antipathieswere the cold grays of November eveningsand the thickmuddythaws of Boston winter. With such standardsthe Bostonian could not but developa double nature. Life was a double thing. After a January blizzardthe boy whocould look with pleasure into the violent snow-glare of the cold white sunshinewith its intense light and shadescarcely knew what was meant by tone. He couldreach it only by education.

Winter and summerthenwere two hostile livesand bred two separatenatures. Winter was always the effort to live; summer was tropical license.Whether the children rolled in the grassor waded in the brookor swam in thesalt oceanor sailed in the bayor fished for smelts in the creeksor nettedminnows in the salt-marshesor took to the pine-woods and the granite quarriesor chased muskrats and hunted snapping-turtles in the swampsor mushrooms ornuts on the autumn hillssummer and country were always sensual livingwhilewinter was always compulsory learning. Summer was the multiplicity of nature;winter was school.

The bearing of the two seasons on the education of Henry Adams was no fancy;it was the most decisive force he ever knew; it ran through lifeand made thedivision between its perplexingwarringirreconcilable problemsirreducibleoppositeswith growing emphasis to the last year of study. From earliestchildhood the boy was accustomed to feel thatfor himlife was double. Winterand summertown and countrylaw and libertywere hostileand the man whopretended they were notwas in his eyes a schoolmaster- that isa man employedto tell lies to little boys. Though Quincy was but two hours' walk from BeaconHillit belonged in a different world. For two hundred yearsevery Adamsfromfather to sonhad lived within sight of State Streetand sometimes had livedin ityet none had ever taken kindly to the townor been taken kindly by it.The boy inherited his double nature. He knew as yet nothing about hisgreat-grandfatherwho had died a dozen years before his own birth: he took forgranted that any great-grandfather of his must have always been goodand hisenemies wicked; but he divined his great-grandfather's character from his own.Never for a moment did he connect the two ideas of Boston and John Adams; theywere separate and antagonistic; the idea of John Adams went with Quincy. He knewhis grandfather John Quincy Adams only as an old man of seventy-five or eightywho was friendly and gentle with himbut except that he heard his grandfatheralways called "the President" and his grandmother "theMadam" he had no reason to suppose that his Adams grandfather differed incharacter from his Brooks grandfather who was equally kind and benevolent. Heliked the Adams side bestbut for no other reason than that it reminded him ofthe countrythe summerand the absence of restraint. Yet he felt also thatQuincy was in a way inferior to Bostonand that socially Boston looked down onQuincy. The reason was clear enough even to a five-year old child. Quincy had noBoston style. Little enough style had either; a simpler manner of life andthought could hardly existshort of cave-dwelling. The flint-and-steel withwhich his grandfather Adams used to light his own fires in the early morning wasstill on the mantelpiece of his study. The idea of a livery or even a dress forservantsor of an evening toilettewas next to blasphemy. Bathroomswater-supplieslightingheatingand the whole array of domestic comfortswere unknown at Quincy. Boston had already a bathrooma water-supplyafurnaceand gas. The superiority of Boston was evidentbut a child liked it nobetter for that.

The magnificence of his grandfather Brooks's house in Pearl Street or SouthStreet has long ago disappearedbut perhaps his country house at Medford maystill remain to show what impressed the mind of a boy in 1845 with the idea ofcity splendor. The President's place at Quincy was the larger and older and farthe more interesting of the two; but a boy felt at once its inferiority infashion. It showed plainly enough its want of wealth. It smacked of colonialagebut not of Boston style or plush curtains. To the end of his life he neverquite overcame the prejudice thus drawn in with his childish breath. He nevercould compel himself to care for nineteenth-century style. He was never able toadopt itany more than his father or grandfather or great-grandfather had done.Not that he felt it as particularly hostilefor he reconciled himself to muchthat was worse; but becausefor some remote reasonhe was born aneighteenth-child. The old house at Quincy was eighteenth century. What style ithad was in its Queen Anne mahogany panels and its Louis Seize chairs and sofas.The panels belonged to an old colonial Vassall who built the house; thefurniture had been brought back from Paris in 1789 or 1801 or 1817along withporcelain and books and much else of old diplomatic remnants; and neither of thetwo eighteenth-century styles- neither English Queen Anne nor French LouisSeize- was comfortable for a boyor for any one else. The dark mahogany hadbeen painted white to suit daily life in winter gloom. Nothing seemed to favorfor a child's objectsthe older forms. On the contrarymost boysas well asgrown-up peoplepreferred the newwith good reasonand the child felt himselfdistinctly at a disadvantage for the taste.

Nor had personal preference any share in his bias. The Brooks grandfather wasas amiable and as sympathetic as the Adams grandfather. Both were born in 1767and both died in 1848. Both were kind to childrenand both belonged rather tothe eighteenth than to the nineteenth centuries. The child knew no differencebetween them except that one was associated with winter and the other withsummer; one with Bostonthe other with Quincy. Even with Medfordtheassociation was hardly easier. Once as a very young boy he was taken to pass afew days with his grandfather Brooks under charge of his auntbut became soviolently homesick that within twenty-four hours he was brought back indisgrace. Yet he could not remember ever being seriously homesick again.

The attachment to Quincy was not altogether sentimental or whollysympathetic. Quincy was not a bed of thornless roses. Even there the curse ofCain set its mark. There as elsewhere a cruel universe combined to crush achild. As though three or four vigorous brothers and sisterswith the bestwillwere not enough to crush any childevery one else conspired towards aneducation which he hated. From cradle to grave this problem of running orderthrough chaosdirection through spacediscipline through freedomunitythrough multiplicityhas always beenand must always bethe task ofeducationas it is the moral of religionphilosophyscienceartpoliticsand economy; but a boy's will is his lifeand he dies when it is brokenas thecolt dies in harnesstaking a new nature in becoming tame. Rarely has the boyfelt kindly towards his tamers. Between him and his master has always been war.Henry Adams never knew a boy of his generation to like a masterand the task ofremaining on friendly terms with one's own familyin such a relationwas nevereasy.

All the more singular it seemed afterwards to him that his first seriouscontact with the President should have been a struggle of willin which the oldman almost necessarily defeated the boybut instead of leavingas usual insuch defeatsa lifelong stingleft rather an impression of as fair treatmentas could be expected from a natural enemy. The boy met seldom with suchrestraint. He could not have been much more than six years old at the time-seven at the utmost- and his mother had taken him to Quincy for a long stay withthe President during the summer. What became of the rest of the family he quiteforgot; but he distinctly remembered standing at the house door one summermorning in a passionate outburst of rebellion against going to school. Naturallyhis mother was the immediate victim of his rage; that is what mothers are forand boys also; but in this case the boy had his mother at unfair disadvantagefor she was a guestand had no means of enforcing obedience. Henry showed acertain tactical ability by refusing to startand he met all efforts atcompulsion by successfulthough too vehement protest. He was in fair way towinand was holding his ownwith sufficient energyat the bottom of the longstaircase which led up to the door of the President's librarywhen the dooropenedand the old man slowly came down. Putting on his hathe took the boy'shand without a wordand walked with himparalyzed by aweup the road to thetown. After the first moments of consternation at this interference in adomestic disputethe boy reflected that an old gentleman close on eighty wouldnever trouble himself to walk near a mile on a hot summer morning over ashadeless road to take a boy to schooland that it would be strange if a ladimbued with the passion of freedom could not find a corner to dodge aroundsomewhere before reaching the school door. Then and alwaysthe boy insistedthat this reasoning justified his apparent submission; but the old man did notstopand the boy saw all his strategical points turnedone after anotheruntil he found himself seated inside the schooland obviously the centre ofcurious if not malevolent criticism. Not till then did the President release hishand and depart.

The point was that this actcontrary to the inalienable rights of boysandnullifying the social compactought to have made him dislike his grandfatherfor life. He could not recall that it had this effect even for a moment. With acertain maturity of mindthe child must have recognized that the Presidentthough a tool of tyrannyhad done his disreputable work with a certainintelligence. He had shown no temperno irritationno personal feelingandhad made no display of force. Above allhe had held his tongue. During theirlong walk he had said nothing; he had uttered no syllable of revolting cantabout the duty of obedience and the wickedness of resistance to law; he hadshown no concern in the matter; hardly even a consciousness of the boy'sexistence. Probably his mind at that moment was actually troubling itself littleabout his grandson's iniquitiesand much about the iniquities of PresidentPolkbut the boy could scarcely at that age feel the whole satisfaction ofthinking that President Polk was to be the vicarious victim of his own sinsandhe gave his grandfather credit for intelligent silence. For this forbearance hefelt instinctive respect. He admitted force as a form of right; he admitted eventemperunder protest; but the seeds of a moral education would at that momenthave fallen on the stoniest soil in Quincywhich isas every one knowsthestoniest glacial and tidal drift known in any Puritan land.

Neither party to this momentary disagreement can have felt rancorfor duringthese three or four summers the old President's relations with the boy werefriendly and almost intimate. Whether his older brothers and sisters were stillmore favored he failed to rememberbut he was himself admitted to a sort offamiliarity whichwhen in his turn he had reached old agerather shocked himfor it must have sometimes tried the President's patience. He hung about thelibrary; handled the books; deranged the papers; ransacked the drawers; searchedthe old purses and pocket-books for foreign coins; drew the sword-cane; snappedthe travelling-pistols; upset everything in the cornersand penetrated thePresident's dressing-closet where a row of tumblersinverted on the shelfcovered caterpillars which were supposed to become moths or butterfliesbutnever did. The Madam bore with fortitude the loss of the tumblers which herhusband purloined for these hatcheries; but she made protest when he carried offher best cut-glass bowls to plant with acorns or peachstones that he might seethe roots growbut whichshe saidhe commonly forgot like the caterpillars.

At that time the President rode the hobby of tree-cultureand some fine oldtrees should still remain to witness itunless they have been improved off theground; but his was a restless mindand although he took his hobbies seriouslyand would have been annoyed had his grandchild asked whether he was bored likean English dukehe probably cared more for the processes than for the resultsso that his grandson was saddened by the sight and smell of peaches and pearsthe best of their kindwhich he brought up from the garden to rot on hisshelves for seed. With the inherited virtues of his Puritan ancestorsthelittle boy Henry conscientiously brought up to him in his study the finestpeaches he found in the gardenand ate only the less perfect. Naturally he atemore by way of compensationbut the act showed that he bore no grudge. As forhis grandfatherit is even possible that he may have felt a certainself-reproach for his temporary role of schoolmaster- seeing that his own careerdid not offer proof of the worldly advantages of docile obedience- for therestill exists somewhere a little volume of critically edited Nursery Rhymes withthe boy's name in full written in the President's trembling hand on thefly-leaf. Of course there was also the Biblegiven to each child at birthwiththe proper inscription in the President's hand on the fly-leaf; while theirgrandfather Brooks supplied the silver mugs.

So many Bibles and silver mugs had to be suppliedthat a new houseorcottagewas built to hold them. It was "on the hill" five minutes'walk above "the old house" with a far view eastward over Quincy Bayand northward over Boston. Till his twelfth yearthe child passed his summersthereand his pleasures of childhood mostly centered in it. Of education he hadas yet little to complain. Country schools were not very serious. Nothing stuckto the mind except home impressionsand the sharpest were those of kindredchildren; but as influences that warped a mindnone compared with the mereeffect of the back of the President's bald headas he sat in his pew onSundaysin line with that of President Quincywhothough some ten yearsyoungerseemed to children about the same age. Before railways entered the NewEngland townevery parish church showed half-a-dozen of these leading citizenswith gray hairwho sat on the main aisle in the best pewsand had sat thereor in some equivalent dignitysince the time of St. Augustineif not since theglacial epoch. It was unusual for boys to sit behind a President grandfatherand to read over his head the tablet in memory of a President great-grandfatherwho had "pledged his lifehis fortuneand his sacred honor" tosecure the independence of his country and so forth; but boys naturallysupposedwithout much reasoningthat other boys had the equivalent ofPresident grandfathersand that churches would always go onwith thebald-headed leading citizens on the main aisleand Presidents or theirequivalents on the walls. The Irish gardener once said to the child:"You'll be thinkin' you'll be President too!" The casualty of theremark made so strong an impression on his mind that he never forgot it. Hecould not remember ever to have thought on the subject; to himthat thereshould be a doubt of his being President was a new idea. What had been wouldcontinue to be. He doubted neither about Presidents nor about Churchesand noone suggested at that time a doubt whether a system of society which had lastedsince Adam would outlast one Adams more.

The Madam was a little more remote than the Presidentbut more decorative.She stayed much in her own room with the Dutch tileslooking out on her gardenwith the box walksand seemed a fragile creature to a boy who sometimes broughther a note or a messageand took distinct pleasure in looking at her delicateface under what seemed to him very becoming caps. He liked her refined figure;her gentle voice and manner; her vague effect of not belonging therebut toWashington or to Europelike her furnitureand writing-desk with little glassdoors above and little eighteenth-century volumes in old bindinglabelled"Peregrine Pickle" or "Tom Jones" or "HannahMore." Try as she mightthe Madam could never be Bostonianand it was hercross in lifebut to the boy it was her charm. Even at that agehe felt drawnto it. The Madam's life had been in truth far from Boston. She was born inLondon in 1775daughter of Joshua Johnsonan American merchantbrother ofGovernor Thomas Johnson of Maryland; and Catherine Nuthof an English family inLondon. Driven from England by the Revolutionary WarJoshua Johnson took hisfamily to Nanteswhere they remained till the peace. The girl Louisa Catherinewas nearly ten years old when brought back to Londonand her sense ofnationality must have been confused; but the influence of the Johnsons and theservices of Joshua obtained for him from President Washington the appointment ofConsul in London on the organization of the Government in 1790. In 1794President Washington appointed John Quincy Adams Minister to The Hague. He wastwenty-seven years old when he returned to Londonand found the Consul's housea very agreeable haunt. Louisa was then twenty.

At that timeand long afterwardsthe Consul's housefar more than theMinister'swas the centre of contact for travelling Americanseither officialor other. The Legation was a shifting pointbetween 1785 and 1815; but theConsulatefar down in the Citynear the Towerwas convenient and inviting; soinviting that it proved fatal to young Adams. Louisa was charminglike a Romneyportraitbut among her many charms that of being a New England woman was notone. The defect was serious. Her future mother-in-lawAbigaila famous NewEngland woman whose authority over her turbulent husbandthe second Presidentwas hardly so great as that which she exercised over her sonthe sixth to bewas troubled by the fear that Louisa might not be made of stuff stern enoughorbrought up in conditions severe enoughto suit a New England climateor tomake an efficient wife for her paragon sonand Abigail was right on that pointas on most others where sound judgment was involved; but sound judgment issometimes a source of weakness rather than of forceand John Quincy already hadreason to think that his mother held sound judgments on the subject ofdaughters-in-law which human naturesince the fall of Evemade Adams helplessto realize. Being three thousand miles away from his motherand equally far inlovehe married Louisa in LondonJuly 261797and took her to Berlin to bethe head of the United States Legation. During three or four exciting yearstheyoung bride lived in Berlin; whether she was happy or notwhether she wascontent or notwhether she was socially successful or nother descendants didnot surely know; but in any case she could by no chance have become educatedthere for a life in Quincy or Boston. In 1801 the overthrow of the FederalistParty drove her and her husband to Americaand she became at last a member ofthe Quincy householdbut by that time her children needed all her attentionand she remained there with occasional winters in Boston and Washingtontill1809. Her husband was made Senator in 1803and in 1809 was appointed Ministerto Russia. She went with him to St. Petersburgtaking her babyCharlesFrancisborn in 1807; but broken-hearted at having to leave her two older boysbehind. The life at St. Petersburg was hardly gay for her; they were far toopoor to shine in that extravagant society; but she survived itthough herlittle girl baby did notand in the winter of 1814-15alone with the boy ofseven years oldcrossed Europe from St. Petersburg to Parisin hertravelling-carriagepassing through the armiesand reaching Paris in the CentJours after Napoleon's return from Elba. Her husband next went to England asMinisterand she was for two years at the Court of the Regent. In 1817 herhusband came home to be Secretary of Stateand she lived for eight years in FStreetdoing her work of entertainer for President Monroe's administration.Next she lived four miserable years in the White House. When that chapter wasclosed in 1829she had earned the right to be tired and delicatebut she stillhad fifteen years to serve as wife of a Member of the Houseafter her husbandwent back to Congress in 1833. Then it was that the little Henryher grandsonfirst remembered herfrom 1843 to 1848sitting in her panelled roomatbreakfastwith her heavy silver teapot and sugar-bowl and cream-jugwhichstill exist somewhere as an heirloom of the modern safety-vault. By that timeshe was seventy years old or moreand thoroughly weary of being beaten about astormy world. To the boy she seemed singularly peacefula vision of silvergraypresiding over her old President and her Queen Anne mahogany; an exoticlike her Sevres china; an object of deference to every oneand of greataffection to her son Charles; but hardly more Bostonian than she had been fiftyyears beforeon her wedding-dayin the shadow of the Tower of London.

Such a figure was even less fitted than that of her old husbandthePresidentto impress on a boy's mindthe standards of the coming century. Shewas Louis Seizelike the furniture. The boy knew nothing of her interior lifewhich had beenas the venerable Abigaillong since at peaceforesawone ofsevere stress and little pure satisfaction. He never dreamed that from her mightcome some of those doubts and self-questioningsthose hesitationsthoserebellions against law and disciplinewhich marked more than one of herdescendants; but he might even then have felt some vague instinctive suspicionthat he was to inherit from her the seeds of the primal sinthe fall fromgracethe curse of Abelthat he was not of pure New England stockbut halfexotic. As a child of Quincy he was not a true Bostonianbut even as a child ofQuincy he inherited a quarter taint of Maryland blood. Charles FrancishalfMarylander by birthhad hardly seen Boston till he was ten years oldwhen hisparents left him there at school in 1817and he never forgot the experience. Hewas to be nearly as old as his mother had been in 1845before he quite acceptedBostonor Boston quite accepted him.

A boy who began his education in these surroundingswith physical strengthinferior to that of his brothersand with a certain delicacy of mind and boneought rightly to have felt at home in the eighteenth century and shouldinproper self-respecthave rebelled against the standards of the nineteenth. Theatmosphere of his first ten years must have been very like that of hisgrandfather at the same agefrom 1767 till 1776barring the battle of BunkerHilland even as late as 1846the battle of Bunker Hill remained actual. Thetone of Boston society was colonial. The true Bostonian always knelt inself-abasement before the majesty of English standards; far from concealing itas a weaknesshe was proud of it as his strength. The eighteenth century ruledsociety long after 1850. Perhaps the boy began to shake it off rather earlierthan most of his mates.

Indeed this prehistoric stage of education ended rather abruptly with histenth year. One winter morning he was conscious of a certain confusion in thehouse in Mount Vernon Streetand gatheredfrom such words as he could catchthat the Presidentwho happened to be then staying thereon his way toWashingtonhad fallen and hurt himself. Then he heard the word paralysis. Afterthat day he came to associate the word with the figure of his grandfatherin atall-backedinvalid armchairon one side of the spare bedroom fireplaceandone of his old friendsDr. Parkman or P. P. F. Degrandon the other sidebothdozing.

The end of this firstor ancestral and Revolutionarychapter came onFebruary 211848- and the month of February brought life and death as a familyhabit- when the eighteenth centuryas an actual and living companionvanished.If the scene on the floor of the Housewhen the old President fellstruck thestill simple-minded American public with a sensation unusually dramaticitseffect on a ten-year-old boywhose boy-life was fading away with the life ofhis grandfathercould not be slight. One had to pay for Revolutionary patriots;grandfathers and grandmothers; Presidents; diplomats; Queen Anne mahogany andLouis Seize chairsas well as for Stuart portraits. Such things warp younglife. Americans commonly believed that they ruined itand perhaps the practicalcommon-sense of the American mind judged right. Many a boy might be ruined bymuch less than the emotions of the funeral service in the Quincy churchwithits surroundings of national respect and family pride. By another dramaticchance it happened that the clergyman of the parishDr. Luntwas an unusualpulpit oratorthe ideal of a somewhat austere intellectual typesuch as theschool of Buckminster and Channing inherited from the old Congregational clergy.His extraordinarily refined appearancehis dignity of mannerhis deeplycadenced voicehis remarkable English and his fine appreciationgave to thefuneral service a character that left an overwhelming impression on the boy'smind. He was to see many great functions- funerals and festivals- in after-lifetill his only thought was to see no morebut he never again witnessed anythingnearly so impressive to him as the last services at Quincy over the body of onePresident and the ashes of another.

The effect of the Quincy service was deepened by the official ceremony whichafterwards took place in Faneuil Hallwhen the boy was taken to hear his uncleEdward Everettdeliver a Eulogy. Like all Mr. Everett's orationsit was anadmirable piece of oratorysuch as only an admirable orator and scholar couldcreate; too good for a ten-year-old boy to appreciate at its value; but alreadythe boy knew that the dead President could not be in itand had even learnedwhy he would have been out of place there; for knowledge was beginning to comefast. The shadow of the War of 1812 still hung over State Street; the shadow ofthe Civil War to come had already begun to darken Faneuil Hall. No rhetoriccould have reconciled Mr. Everett's audience to his subject. How could he saythereto an assemblage of Bostonians in the heart of mercantile Bostonthatthe only distinctive mark of all the Adamsessince old Sam Adams's father ahundred and fifty years beforehad been their inherited quarrel with StateStreetwhich had again and again broken out into riotbloodshedpersonalfeudsforeign and civil warwholesale banishments and confiscationsuntil thehistory of Florence was hardly more turbulent than that of Boston? How could hewhisper the word Hartford Convention before the men who had made it? What wouldhave been said had he suggested the chance of Secession and Civil War?

Thus alreadyat ten years oldthe boy found himself standing face to facewith a dilemma that might have puzzled an early Christian. What was he?- wherewas he going? Even then he felt that something was wrongbut he concluded thatit must be Boston. Quincy had always been rightfor Quincy represented a moralprinciple- the principle of resistance to Boston. His Adams ancestors must havebeen rightsince they were always hostile to State Street. If State Street waswrongQuincy must be right! Turn the dilemma as he pleasedhe still came backon the eighteenth century and the law of Resistance; of Truth; of Dutyand ofFreedom. He was a ten-year-old priest and politician. He could under nocircumstances have guessed what the next fifty years had in storeand no onecould teach him; but sometimesin his old agehe wondered- and could neverdecide- whether the most clear and certain knowledge would have helped him.Supposing he had seen a New York stock-list of 1900and had studied thestatistics of railwaystelegraphscoaland steel- would he have quitted hiseighteenth-centuryhis ancestral prejudiceshis abstract idealshissemi-clerical trainingand the restin order to perform an expiatorypilgrimage to State Streetand ask for the fatted calf of his grandfatherBrooks and a clerkship in the Suffolk Bank?

Sixty years afterwards he was still unable to make up his mind. Each coursehad its advantagesbut the material advantageslooking backseemed to liewholly in State Street.

CHAPTER II

Boston (1848-1854) -

PETER CHARDON BROOKSthe other grandfatherdied January 11849bequeathing what was supposed to be the largest estate in Bostonabout twomillion dollarsto his seven surviving children: four sons- EdwardPeterChardonGorhamand Sydney; three daughters- Charlottemarried to EdwardEverett; Annmarried to Nathaniel Frothinghamminister of the First Church;and Abigail Brownborn April 251808married September 31829to CharlesFrancis Adamshardly a year older than herself. Their first childborn in1830was a daughternamed Louisa Catherineafter her Johnson grandmother; thesecond was a sonnamed John Quincyafter his President grandfather; the thirdtook his father's nameCharles Francis; while the fourthbeing of lessaccountwas in a way given to his motherwho named him Henry Brooksafter afavorite brother just lost. More followedbut thesebeing youngerhad nothingto do with the arduous process of educating.

The Adams connection was singularly small in Bostonbut the family of Brookswas singularly large and even brilliantand almost wholly of clerical NewEngland stock. One might have sought long in much larger and older societies forthree brothers-in-law more distinguished or more scholarly than Edward EverettDr.

Frothinghamand Mr. Adams. One might have sought equally long for sevenbrothers-in-law more unlike. No doubt they all bore more or less the stamp ofBostonor at least of Massachusetts Baybut the shades of difference amountedto contrasts. Mr. Everett belonged to Boston hardly more than Mr. Adams. One ofthe most ambitious of Bostonianshe had broken bounds early in life by leavingthe Unitarian pulpit to take a seat in Congress where he had given valuablesupport to J. Q. Adams's administration; support whichas a social consequenceled to the marriage of the President's sonCharles Franciswith Mr. Everett'syoungest sister-in-lawAbigail Brooks. The wreck of parties which marked thereign of Andrew Jackson had interfered with many promising careersthat ofEdward Everett among the restbut he had risen with the Whig Party to powerhad gone as Minister to Englandand had returned to America with the halo of aEuropean reputationand undisputed rank second only to Daniel Webster as theorator and representative figure of Boston. The other brother-in-lawDr.Frothinghambelonged to the same clerical schoolthough in manner rather theless clerical of the two. Neither of them had much in common with Mr. Adamswhowas a younger mangreatly biassed by his fatherand by the inherited feudbetween Quincy and State Street; but personal relations were friendly as far asa boy could seeand the innumerable cousins went regularly to the First Churchevery Sunday in winterand slept through their uncle's sermonswithout oncethinking to ask what the sermons were supposed to mean for them. For two hundredyears the First Church had seen the same little boyssleeping more or lesssoundly under the same or similar conditionsand dimly conscious of the samefeuds; but the feuds had never ceasedand the boys had always grown up toinherit them. Those of the generation of 1812 had mostly disappeared in 1850;death had cleared that score; the quarrels of John Adamsand those of JohnQuincy Adams were no longer acutely personal; the game was considered as drawn;and Charles Francis Adams might then have taken his inherited rights ofpolitical leadership in succession to Mr. Webster and Mr. Everetthis seniors.Between him and State Street the relation was more natural than between EdwardEverett and State Street; but instead of doing soCharles Francis Adams drewhimself aloof and renewed the old war which had already lasted since 1700. Hecould not help it. With the record of J. Q. Adams fresh in the popular memoryhis son and his only representative could not make terms with the slave-powerand the slave-power overshadowed all the great Boston interests. No doubt Mr.Adams had principles of his ownas well as inheritedbut even his childrenwho as yet had no principlescould equally little follow the lead of Mr.Webster or even of Mr. Seward. They would have lost in consideration more thanthey would have gained in patronage. They were anti-slavery by birthas theirname was Adams and their home was Quincy. No matter how much they had wished toenter State Streetthey felt that State Street never would trust themor theyit. Had State Street been Paradisethey must hunger for it in vainand ithardly needed Daniel Webster to act as archangel with the flaming swordtoorder them away from the door.

Time and experiencewhich alter all perspectivesaltered this among therestand taught the boy gentler judgmentbut even when only ten years oldhisface was already fixedand his heart was stoneagainst State Street; hiseducation was warped beyond recovery in the direction of Puritan politics.Between him and his patriot grandfather at the same agethe conditions hadchanged little. The year 1848 was like enough to the year 1776 to make a fairparallel. The parallelas concerned bias of educationwas complete whena fewmonths after the death of John Quincy Adamsa convention of anti-slaverydelegates met at Buffalo to organize a new party and named candidates for thegeneral election in November: for PresidentMartin Van Buren; forVice-PresidentCharles Francis Adams.

For any American boy the fact that his father was running for office wouldhave dwarfed for the time every other excitementbut even apart from personalbiasthe year 1848for a boy's road through lifewas decisive for twentyyears to come. There was never a side-path of escape. The stamp of 1848 wasalmost as indelible as the stamp of 1776but in the eighteenth or any earliercenturythe stamp mattered less because it was standardand every one bore it;while men whose lives were to fall in the generation between 1865 and 1900 hadfirst of allto get rid of itand take the stamp that belonged to their time.This was their education. To outsidersimmigrantsadventurersit was easybut the old Puritan nature rebelled against change. The reason it gave wasforcible. The Puritan thought his thought higher and his moral standards betterthan those of his successors. So they were. He could not be convinced that moralstandards had nothing to do with itand that utilitarian morality was goodenough for himas it was for the graceless. Nature had given to the boy Henry acharacter thatin any previous centurywould have led him into the Church; heinherited dogma and a priori thought from the beginning of time; and he scarcelyneeded a violent reaction like anti-slavery politics to sweep him back intoPuritanism with a violence as great as that of a religious war.

Thus far he had nothing to do with it; his education was chiefly inheritanceand during the next five or six yearshis father alone counted for much. If hewere to worry successfully through life's quicksandshe must depend chiefly onhis father's pilotage; butfor his fatherthe channel lay clearwhile forhimself an unknown ocean lay beyond. His father's business in life was to getpast the dangers of the slave-poweror to fix its bounds at least. The taskdonehe might be content to let his sons pay for the pilotage; and it matteredlittle to his success whether they paid it with their lives wasted onbattle-fields or in misdirected energies and lost opportunity. The generationthat lived from 1840 to 1870 could do very well with the old forms of education;that which had its work to do between 1870 and 1900 needed something quite new.

His father's character was therefore the larger part of his educationas faras any single person affected itand for that reasonif for no otherthe sonwas always a much interested critic of his father's mind and temper. Long afterhis death as an old man of eightyhis sons continued to discuss this subjectwith a good deal of difference in their points of view. To his son Henrythequality that distinguished his father from all the other figures in the familygroupwas thatin his opinionCharles Francis Adams possessed the onlyperfectly balanced mind that ever existed in the name. For a hundred yearsevery newspaper scribbler hadwith more or less obvious excusederided orabused the older Adamses for want of judgment. They abused Charles Francis forhis judgment. Naturally they never attempted to assign values to either; thatwas the children's affair; but the traits were real. Charles Francis Adams wassingular for mental poise- absence of self-assertion or self-consciousness- thefaculty of standing apart without seeming aware that he was alone- a balance ofmind and temper that neither challenged nor avoided noticenor admittedquestion of superiority or inferiorityof jealousyof personal motivesfromany sourceeven under great pressure. This unusual poise of judgment andtemperripened by agebecame the more striking to his son Henry as he learnedto measure the mental faculties themselveswhich were in no way exceptionaleither for depth or range. Charles Francis Adams's memory was hardly above theaverage; his mind was not bold like his grandfather's or restless like hisfather'sor imaginative or oratorical- still less mathematical; but it workedwith singular perfectionadmirable self-restraintand instinctive mastery ofform. Within its range it was a model.

The standards of Boston were highmuch affected by the old clericalself-respect which gave the Unitarian clergy unusual social charm. Dr. ChanningMr. EverettDr. FrothinghamDr. PalfreyPresident WalkerR. W. Emersonandother Boston ministers of the same schoolwould have commanded distinction inany society; but the Adamses had little or no affinity with the pulpitandstill less with its eccentric offshootslike Theodore Parkeror Brook Farmorthe philosophy of Concord. Besides its clergyBoston showed a literary groupled by TicknorPrescottLongfellowMotleyO. W. Holmes; but Mr. Adams wasnot one of them; as a rule they were much too Websterian. Even in science Bostoncould claim a certain eminenceespecially in medicinebut Mr. Adams cared verylittle for science. He stood alone. He had no master- hardly even his father. Hehad no scholars- hardly even his sons.

Almost alone among his Boston contemporarieshe was not English in feelingor in sympathies. Perhaps a hundred years of acute hostility to England hadsomething to do with this family trait; but in his case it went further andbecame indifference to social distinction. Never once in forty years of intimacydid his son notice in him a trace of snobbishness. He was one of the exceedinglysmall number of Americans to whom an English duke or duchess seemed to beindifferentand royalty itself nothing more than a slightly inconvenientpresence. This wasit is truerather the tone of English society in his timebut Americans were largely responsible for changing itand Mr. Adams had everypossible reason for affecting the manner of a courtier even if he did not feelthe sentiment. Never did his son see him flatter or vilifyor show a sign ofenvy or jealousy; never a shade of vanity or self-conceit. Never a tone ofarrogance! Never a gesture of pride!

The same thing might perhaps have been said of John Quincy Adamsbut in himhis associates averred that it was accompanied by mental restlessness and oftenby lamentable want of judgment. No one ever charged Charles Francis Adams withthis fault. The critics charged him with just the opposite defect. They calledhim cold. No doubtsuch perfect poise- such intuitive self-adjustment- was notmaintained by nature without a sacrifice of the qualities which would have upsetit. No doubttoothat even his restless-mindedintrospectiveself-consciouschildren who knew him best were much too ignorant of the world and of humannature to suspect how rare and complete was the model before their eyes. Acoarser instrument would have impressed them more. Average human nature is verycoarseand its ideals must necessarily be average. The world never lovedperfect poise. What the world does love is commonly absence of poisefor it hasto be amused. Napoleons and Andrew Jacksons amuse itbut it is not amused byperfect balance. Had Mr. Adams's nature been coldhe would have followed Mr.WebsterMr. EverettMr. Sewardand Mr. Winthrop in the lines of partydiscipline and self-interest. Had it been less balanced than it washe wouldhave gone with Mr. GarrisonMr. Wendell PhillipsMr. Edmund QuincyandTheodore Parkerinto secession. Between the two paths he found an intermediateonedistinctive and characteristic- he set up a party of his own.

This political party became a chief influence in the education of the boyHenry in the six years 1848 to 1854and violently affected his character at themoment when character is plastic. The group of men with whom Mr. Adamsassociated himselfand whose social centre was the house in Mount VernonStreetnumbered only three: Dr. John G. PalfreyRichard H. Danaand CharlesSumner. Dr. Palfrey was the oldestand in spite of his clerical educationwasto a boy often the most agreeablefor his talk was lighter and his range widerthan that of the others; he had witor humorand the give-and-take ofdinner-table exchange. Born to be a man of the worldhe forced himself to beclergymanprofessoror statesmanwhilelike every other true Bostonianheyearned for the ease of the Athenaeum Club in Pall Mall or the Combination Roomat Trinity. Dana at first suggested the opposite; he affected to be still beforethe masta directrather bluffvigorous seamanand only as one got to knowhim better one found the man of rather excessive refinement trying with successto work like a day-laborerdeliberately hardening his skin to the burdenasthough he were still carrying hides at Monterey. Undoubtedly he succeededforhis mind and will were robustbut he might have said what his lifelong friendWilliam M. Evarts used to say: "I pride myself on my success in doing notthe things I like to dobut the things I don't like to do." Dana's idealof life was to be a great Englishmanwith a seat on the front benches of theHouse of Commons until he should be promoted to the woolsack; beyond allwith asocial status that should place him above the scuffle of provincial andunprofessional annoyances; but he forced himself to take life as it cameand hesuffocated his longings with grim self-disciplineby mere force of will. Of thefour menDana was the most marked. Without dogmatism or self-assertionheseemed always to be fully in sighta figure that completely filled awell-defined space. Hetootalked welland his mind worked close to itssubjectas a lawyer's should; but disguise and silence it as he likedit wasaristocratic to the tenth generation.

In that respectand in that onlyCharles Sumner was like himbut Sumnerin almost every other qualitywas quite different from his three associates-altogether out of line. Hetooadored English standardsbut his ambition ledhim to rival the career of Edmund Burke. No young Bostonian of his time had madeso brilliant a startbut rather in the steps of Edward Everett than of DanielWebster. As an orator he had achieved a triumph by his oration against war; butBoston admired him chiefly for his social success in England and on theContinent; success that gave to every Bostonian who enjoyed it a halo neveracquired by domestic sanctity. Mr. Sumnerboth by interest and instinctfeltthe value of his English connectionand cultivated it the more as he becamesocially an outcast from Boston society by the passions of politics. He wasrarely without a pocket-full of letters from duchesses or noblemen in England.Having sacrificed to principle his social position in Americahe clung the moreclosely to his foreign attachments. The Free Soil Party fared ill in BeaconStreet. The social arbiters of Boston- George Ticknor and the rest- had toadmithowever unwillinglythat the Free Soil leaders could not mingle with thefriends and followers of Mr. Webster. Sumner was socially ostracizedand sofor that matterwere PalfreyDanaRussellAdamsand all the other avowedanti-slavery leadersbut for them it mattered lessbecause they had houses andfamilies of their own; while Sumner had neither wife nor householdandthoughthe most socially ambitious of alland the most hungry for what used to becalled polite societyhe could enter hardly half-a-dozen houses in Boston.Longfellow stood by him in Cambridgeand even in Beacon Street he could alwaystake refuge in the house of Mr. Lodgebut few days passed when he did not passsome time in Mount Vernon Street. Even with thathis solitude was glacialandreacted on his character. He had nothing but himself to think about. Hissuperiority wasindeedreal and incontestable; he was the classical ornamentof the anti-slavery party; their pride in him was unboundedand theiradmiration outspoken.

The boy Henry worshipped himand if he ever regarded any older man as apersonal friendit was Mr. Sumner. The relation of Mr. Sumner in the householdwas far closer than any relation of blood. None of the uncles approached suchintimacy. Sumner was the boy's ideal of greatness; the highest product of natureand art. The only fault of such a model was its superiority which defiedimitation. To the twelve-year-old boyhis fatherDr. PalfreyMr. Danaweremenmore or less like what he himself might become; but Mr. Sumner was adifferent order- heroic.

As the boy grew up to be ten or twelve years oldhis father gave him awriting-table in one of the alcoves of his Boston libraryand therewinterafter winterHenry worked over his Latin Grammar and listened to these fourgentlemen discussing the course of anti-slavery politics. The discussions werealways serious; the Free Soil Party took itself quite seriously; and they werehabitual because Mr. Adams had undertaken to edit a newspaper as the organ ofthese gentlemenwho came to discuss its policy and expression. At the same timeMr. Adams was editing the "Works" of his grandfather John Adamsandmade the boy read texts for proof-correction. In after years his fathersometimes complained thatas a reader of Novanglus and MassachusettensisHenryhad shown very little consciousness of punctuation; but the boy regarded thispart of school life only as a warningif he ever grew up to write dulldiscussions in the newspapersto try to be dull in some different way from thatof his great-grandfather. Yet the discussions in the Boston Whig were carried onin much the same style as those of John Adams and his opponentand appealed tomuch the same society and the same habit of mind. The boy got as littleeducationfitting him for his own timefrom the one as from the otherand hegot no more from his contact with the gentlemen themselves who were all types ofthe past.

Down to 1850and even laterNew England society was still directed by theprofessions. Lawyersphysiciansprofessorsmerchants were classesand actednot as individualsbut as though they were clergymen and each profession were achurch. In politics the system required competent expression; it was the oldCiceronian idea of government by the best that produced the long line of NewEngland statesmen. They chose men to represent them because they wanted to bewell representedand they chose the best they had. Thus Boston chose DanielWebsterand Webster tooknot as paybut as honorariumthe cheques raised forhim by Peter Harvey from the AppletonsPerkinsesAmorysSearsesBrooksesLawrencesand so onwho begged him to represent them. Edward Everett held therank in regular succession to Webster. Robert C. Winthrop claimed succession toEverett. Charles Sumner aspired to break the successionbut not the system. TheAdamses had never beenfor any length of timea part of this State succession;they had preferred the national serviceand had won all their distinctionoutside the Statebut they too had required State support and had commonlyreceived it. The little group of men in Mount Vernon Street were an offshoot ofthis system; they were statesmennot politicians; they guided public opinionbut were little guided by it.

The boy naturally learned only one lesson from his saturation in such air. Hetook for granted that this sort of worldmore or less the same that had alwaysexisted in Boston and Massachusetts Baywas the world which he was to fit. Hadhe known Europe he would have learned no better. The Paris of Louis PhilippeGuizotand de Tocquevilleas well as the London of Robert PeelMacaulayandJohn Stuart Millwere but varieties of the same upper-class bourgeoisie thatfelt instinctive cousinship with the Boston of TicknorPrescottand Motley.Even the typical grumbler Carlylewho cast doubts on the real capacity of themiddle classand who at times thought himself eccentricfound friendship andalliances in Boston- still more in Concord. The system had proved so successfulthat even Germany wanted to try itand Italy yearned for it. England'smiddle-class government was the ideal of human progress.

Even the violent reaction after 1848and the return of all Europe tomilitary practicesnever for a moment shook the true faith. No oneexcept KarlMarxforesaw radical change. What announced it? The world was producing sixtyor seventy million tons of coaland might be using nearly a million tonsteam-horse-powerjust beginning to make itself felt. All experience since thecreation of manall divine revelation or human scienceconspired to deceiveand betray a twelve-year-old boy who took for granted that his ideaswhich werealone respectablewould be alone respected.

Viewed from Mount Vernon Streetthe problem of life was as simple as it wasclassic. Politics offered no difficultiesfor there the moral law was a sureguide. Social perfection was also surebecause human nature worked for Goodand three instruments were all she asked- SuffrageCommon Schoolsand Press.On these points doubt was forbidden. Education was divineand man needed only acorrect knowledge of facts to reach perfection: -

Were half the power that fills the world with terror

Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts

Given to redeem the human mind from error

There were no need of arsenals nor forts. -

Nothing quieted doubt so completely as the mental calm of the Unitarianclergy. In uniform excellence of life and charactermoral and intellectualthescore of Unitarian clergymen about Bostonwho controlled society and HarvardCollegewere never excelled. They proclaimed as their merit that they insistedon no doctrinebut taughtor tried to teachthe means of leading a virtuoususefulunselfish lifewhich they held to be sufficient for salvation. Forthemdifficulties might be ignored; doubts were waste of thought; nothingexacted solution. Boston had solved the universe; or had offered and realizedthe best solution yet tried. The problem was worked out.

Of all the conditions of his youth which afterwards puzzled the grown-up manthis disappearance of religion puzzled him most. The boy went to church twiceevery Sunday; he was taught to read his Bibleand he learned religious poetryby heart; he believed in a mild deism; he prayed; he went through all the forms;but neither to him nor to his brothers or sisters was religion real. Even themild discipline of the Unitarian Church was so irksome that they all threw itoff at the first possible momentand never afterwards entered a church. Thereligious instinct had vanishedand could not be revivedalthough one made inlater life many efforts to recover it. That the most powerful emotion of mannext to the sexualshould disappearmight be a personal defect of his own; butthat the most intelligent societyled by the most intelligent clergyin themost moral conditions he ever knewshould have solved all the problems of theuniverse so thoroughly as to have quite ceased making itself anxious about pastor futureand should have persuaded itself that all the problems which hadconvulsed human thought from earliest recorded timewere not worth discussingseemed to him the most curious social phenomenon he had to account for in a longlife. The faculty of turning away one's eyes as one approaches a chasm is notunusualand Boston showedunder the lead of Mr. Websterhow successfully itcould be done in politics; but in politics a certain number of men did at leastprotest. In religion and philosophy no one protested.

Such protest as was made took forms more simple than the silencelike thedeism of Theodore Parkerand of the boy's own cousin Octavius Frothinghamwhodistressed his father and scandalized Beacon Street by avowing scepticism thatseemed to solve no old problemsand to raise many new ones. The less aggressiveprotest of Ralph Waldo Emersonwasfrom an old-world point of viewlessserious. It was naif.

The children reached manhood without knowing religionand with the certaintythat dogmametaphysicsand abstract philosophy were not worth knowing. Soone-sided an education could have been possible in no other country or timebutit becamealmost of necessitythe more literary and political. As the childrengrew upthey exaggerated the literary and the political interests. They joinedin the dinner-table discussions and from childhood the boys were accustomed tohearalmost every daytable-talk as good as they were ever likely to hearagain. The eldest childLouisawas one of the most sparkling creatures herbrother met in a long and varied experience of bright women. The oldest sonJohnwas afterwards regarded as one of the best talkers in Boston societyandperhaps the most popular man in the Statethough apt to be on the unpopularside. Palfrey and Dana could be entertaining when they pleasedand thoughCharles Sumner could hardly be called light in handhe was willing to beamusedand smiled grandly from time to time; while Mr. Adamswho talkedrelatively littlewas always a good listenerand laughed over a witticism tillhe choked.

By way of educating and amusing the childrenMr. Adams read much aloudandwas sure to read political literatureespecially when it was satiricallikethe speeches of Horace Mann and the "Epistles" of "HoseaBiglow" with great delight to the youth. So he read Longfellow andTennyson as their poems appearedbut the children took possession of Dickensand Thackeray for themselves. Both were too modern for tastes founded on Popeand Dr. Johnson. The boy Henry soon became a desultory reader of every book hefound readablebut these were commonly eighteenth-century historians becausehis father's library was full of them. In the want of positive instinctshedrifted into the mental indolence of history. Sotoohe read shelves ofeighteenth-century poetrybut when his father offered his own set of Wordsworthas a gift on condition of reading it throughhe declined. Pope and Gray calledfor no mental effort; they were easy reading; but the boy was thirty years oldbefore his education reached Wordsworth.

This is the story of an educationand the person or persons who figure in itare supposed to have values only as educators or educated. The surroundingsconcern it only so far as they affect education. SumnerDanaPalfreyhadvalues of their ownlike HumePopeand Wordsworthwhich any one may study intheir works; here all appear only as influences on the mind of a boy very nearlythe average of most boys in physical and mental stature. The influence waswholly political and literary. His father made no effort to force his mindbutleft him free playand this was perhaps best. Only in one way his fatherrendered him a great service by trying to teach him French and giving him someidea of a French accent. Otherwise the family was rather an atmosphere than aninfluence. The boy had a large and overpowering set of brothers and sisterswhowere modes or replicas of the same typegetting the same educationstrugglingwith the same problemsand solving the questionor leaving it unsolved much inthe same way. They knew no more than he what they wanted or what to do for itbut all were conscious that they would like to control power in some form; andthe same thing could be said of an ant or an elephant. Their form was tied topolitics or literature. They amounted to one individual with half-a-dozen sidesor facets; their temperaments reacted on each other and made each child morelike the other. This was also educationbut in the typeand the Boston or NewEngland type was well enough known. What no one knew was whether the individualwho thought himself a representative of this typewas fit to deal with life.

As far as outward bearing wentsuch a family of turbulent childrengivenfree rein by their parentsor indifferent to checkshould have come to more orless grief. Certainly no one was strong enough to control themleast of alltheir motherthe queen-bee of the hiveon whom nine-tenths of the burden fellon whose strength they all dependedbut whose children were much tooself-willed and self-confident to take guidance from heror from any one elseunless in the direction they fancied. Father and mother were about equallyhelpless. Almost every large family in those days produced at least one blacksheepand if this generation of Adamses escapedit was as much a matter ofsurprise to them as to their neighbors. By some happy chance they grew up to bedecent citizensbut Henry Adamsas a brand escaped from the burningalwayslooked back with astonishment at their luck. The fact seemed to prove that theywere bornlike birdswith a certain innate balance. Home influences alonenever saved the New England boy from ruinthough sometimes they may have helpedto ruin him; and the influences outside of home were negative. If school helpedit was only by reaction. The dislike of school was so strong as to be a positivegain. The passionate hatred of school methods was almost a method in itself. Yetthe day-school of that time was respectableand the boy had nothing to complainof. In facthe never complained. He hated it because he was here with a crowdof other boys and compelled to learn by memory a quantity of things that did notamuse him. His memory was slowand the effort painful. For him to conceive thathis memory could compete for school prizes with machines of two or three timesits powerwas to prove himself wanting not only in memorybut flagrantly inmind. He thought his mind a good enough machineif it were given time to actbut it acted wrong if hurried. Schoolmasters never gave time.

In any and all its formsthe boy detested schooland the prejudice becamedeeper with years. He always reckoned his school daysfrom ten to sixteen yearsoldas time thrown away. Perhaps his needs turned out to be exceptionalbuthis existence was exceptional. Between 1850 and 1900 nearly every one'sexistence was exceptional. For success in the life imposed on him he neededasafterwards appearedthe facile use of only four tools: MathematicsFrenchGermanand Spanish. With thesehe could master in very short time any specialbranch of inquiryand feel at home in any society. Latin and Greekhe couldwith the help of the modern languageslearn more completely by the intelligentwork of six weeks than in the six years he spent on them at school. These fourtools were necessary to his success in lifebut he never controlled any one ofthem.

Thusat the outsethe was condemned to failure more or less complete in thelife awaiting himbut not more so than his companions. Indeedhad his fatherkept the boy at homeand given him half an hour's direction every dayhe wouldhave done more for him than school ever could do for them. Of courseschool-taught men and boys looked down on home-bred boysand rather pridedthemselves on their own ignorancebut the man of sixty can generally see whathe needed in lifeand in Henry Adams's opinion it was not school.

Most school experience was bad. Boy associations at fifteen were worse thannone. Boston at that time offered few healthy resources for boys or men. Thebar-room and billiard-room were more familiar than parents knew. As a rule boyscould skate and swim and were sent to

dancing-school; they played a rudimentary game of baseballfootballandhockey; a few could sail a boat; still fewer had been out with a gun to shootyellow-legs or a stray wild duck; one or two may have learned something ofnatural history if they came from the neighborhood of Concord; none could rideacross countryor knew what shooting with dogs meant. Sport as a pursuit wasunknown. Boat-racing came after 1850. For horse-racingonly the trotting-courseexisted. Of all pleasureswinter sleighing was still the gayest and mostpopular. From none of these amusements could the boy learn anything likely to beof use to him in the world. Books remained as in the eighteenth centurythesource of lifeand as they came out- ThackerayDickensBulwerTennysonMacaulayCarlyleand the rest- they were devoured; but as far as happinesswentthe happiest hours of the boy's education were passed in summer lying on amusty heap of Congressional Documents in the old farmhouse at Quincyreading"Quentin Durward" "Ivanhoe" and "The Talisman"and raiding the garden at intervals for peaches and pears. On the whole helearned most then.

CHAPTER III

Washington (1850-1854) -

EXCEPT for politicsMount Vernon Street had the merit of leaving theboy-mind supplefree to turn with the worldand if one learned next tonothingthe little one did learn needed not to be unlearned. The surface wasready to take any form that education should cut into itthough Bostonwithsingular foresightrejected the old designs. What sort of education was stampedelsewherea Bostonian had no ideabut he escaped the evils of other standardsby having no standard at all; and what was true of school was true of society.Boston offered none that could help outside. Every one now smiles at the badtaste of Queen Victoria and Louis Philippe- the society of the forties- but thetaste was only a reflection of the social slack-water between a tide passedanda tide to come. Boston belonged to neitherand hardly even to America. Neitheraristocratic nor industrial nor socialBoston girls and boys were not nearly asunformed as English boys and girlsbut had less means of acquiring form as theygrew older. Women counted for little as models. Every boyfrom the age ofsevenfell in love at frequent intervals with some girl- always more or lessthe same little girl- who had nothing to teach himor he to teach herexceptrather familiar and provincial mannersuntil they married and bore children torepeat the habit. The idea of attaching one's self to a married womanor ofpolishing one's manners to suit the standards of women of thirtycould hardlyhave entered the mind of a young Bostonianand would have scandalized hisparents. From women the boy got the domestic virtues and nothing else. He mightnot even catch the idea that women had more to give. The garden of Eden washardly more primitive.

To balance this virtuethe Puritan city had always hidden a darker side.Blackguard Boston was only too educationaland to most boys much the moreinteresting. A successful blackguard must enjoy great physical advantagesbesides a true vocationand Henry Adams had neither; but no boy escaped somecontact with vice of a very low form. Blackguardism came constantly under boys'eyesand had the charm of force and freedom and superiority to culture ordecency. One might fear itbut no one honestly despised it. Now and then itasserted itself as education more roughly than school ever did. One of thecommonest boy-games of winterinherited directly from the eighteenth centurywas a game of war on Boston Common. In old days the two hostile forces werecalled North-Enders and South-Enders. In 1850 the North-Enders still survived asa legendbut in practice it was a battle of the Latin School against allcomersand the Latin Schoolfor snowballincluded all the boys of the WestEnd. Wheneveron a half-holidaythe weather was soft enough to soften thesnowthe Common was apt to be the scene of a fightwhich began in daylightwith the Latin School in forcerushing their opponents down to Tremont Streetand which generally ended at dark by the Latin School dwindling in numbers anddisappearing. As the Latin School grew weakthe roughs and young blackguardsgrew strong. As long as snowballs were the only weaponno one was much hurtbut a stone may be put in a snowballand in the dark a stick or a slungshot inthe hands of a boy is as effective as a knife. One afternoon the fight had beenlong and exhausting. The boy Henryfollowingas his habit washis biggerbrother Charleshad taken part in the battleand had felt his courage muchdepressed by seeing one of his trustiest leadersHenry Higginson- "BullyHig" his school name- struck by a stone over the eyeand led off thefield bleeding in rather a ghastly manner. As night came onthe Latin Schoolwas steadily forced back to the Beacon Street Mall where they could retreat nofurther without disbandingand by that time only a small band was leftheadedby two heroesSavage and Marvin. A dark mass of figures could be seen belowmaking ready for the last rushand rumor said that a swarm of blackguards fromthe slumsled by a grisly terror called Conky Danielswith a club and ahideous reputationwas going to put an end to the Beacon Street cowardsforever. Henry wanted to run away with the othersbut his brother was too bigto run awayso they stood still and waited immolation. The dark mass set up ashoutand rushed forward. The Beacon Street boys turned and fled up the stepsexcept Savage and Marvin and the few champions who would not run. The terribleConky Daniels swaggered upstopped a moment with his bodyguard to swear a fewoaths at Marvinand then swept on and chased the flyersleaving the few boysuntouched who stood their ground. The obvious moral taught that blackguards werenot so black as they were painted; but the boy Henry had passed through as muchterror as though he were Turenne or Henri IVand ten or twelve years afterwardswhen these same boys were fighting and falling on all the battle-fields ofVirginia and Marylandhe wondered whether their education on Boston Common hadtaught Savage and Marvin how to die.

If violence were a part of complete educationBoston was not incomplete. Theidea of violence was familiar to the anti-slavery leaders as well as to theirfollowers. Most of them suffered from it. Mobs were always possible. Henry neverhappened to be actually concerned in a mobbut helike every other boywassure to be on hand wherever a mob was expectedand whenever he heard Garrisonor Wendell Phillips speakhe looked for trouble. Wendell Phillips on a platformwas a model dangerous for youth. Theodore Parker in his pulpit was not muchsafer. Worst of allthe execution of the Fugitive Slave Law in Boston- thesight of Court Square packed with bayonetsand his own friends obliged to linethe streets under arms as State militiain order to return a negro to slavery-wrought frenzy in the brain of a fifteen-year-oldeighteenth-century boy fromQuincywho wanted to miss no reasonable chance of mischief.

One lived in the atmosphere of the Stamp Actthe Tea Taxand the BostonMassacre. Within Bostona boy was first an eighteenth-century politicianandafterwards only a possibility; beyond Boston the first step led only furtherinto politics. After February1848but one slight tie remained of all thosethatsince 1776had connected Quincy with the outer world. The Madam stayed inWashingtonafter her husband's deathand in her turn was struck by paralysisand bedridden. From time to time her son Charleswhose affection and sympathyfor his mother in her many tribulations were always pronouncedwent on to seeherand in May1850he took with him his twelve-year-old son. The journey wasmeant as educationand as education it served the purpose of fixing in memorythe stage of a boy's thought in 1850. He could not remember taking specialinterest in the railroad journey or in New York; with railways and cities he wasfamiliar enough. His first impression was the novelty of crossing New York Bayand finding an English railway carriage on the Camden and Amboy Railroad. Thiswas a new world; a suggestion of corruption in the simple habits of Americanlife; a step to exclusiveness never approached in Boston; but it was amusing.The boy rather liked it. At Trenton the train set him on board a steamer whichtook him to Philadelphia where he smelt other varieties of town life; then againby boat to Chesterand by train to Havre de Grace; by boat to Baltimore andthence by rail to Washington. This was the journey remembered. The actualjourney may have been quite differentbut the actual journey has no interestfor education. The memory was all that mattered; and what struck him mosttoremain fresh in his mind all his lifetimewas the sudden change that came overthe world on entering a slave State. He took education politically. The mereraggedness of outline could not have seemed wholly newfor even Boston had itsragged edgesand the town of Quincy was far from being a vision of neatness orgood-repair; in truthhe had never seen a finished landscape; but Maryland wasraggedness of a new kind. The railwayabout the size and character of a moderntramrambled through unfenced fields and woods or through village streetsamong a haphazard variety of pigscowsand negro babieswho might all haveused the cabins for pens and styeshad the Southern pig required styesbut whonever showed a sign of care. This was the boy's impression of what slaverycausedandfor himwas all it taught. Coming down in the early morning fromhis bedroom in his grandmother's house- still called the Adams Building- in FStreet and venturing outside into the air reeking with the thick odor of thecatalpa treeshe found himself on an earth-roador village streetwithwheel-tracks meandering from the colonnade of the Treasury hard byto the whitemarble columns and fronts of the Post Office and Patent Office which faced eachother in the distancelike white Greek temples in the abandoned gravel-pits ofa deserted Syrian city. Here and there low wooden houses were scattered alongthe streetsas in other Southern villagesbut he was chiefly attracted by anunfinished square marble shafthalf-a-mile belowand he walked down to inspectit before breakfast. His aunt drily remarked thatat this ratehe would soonget through all the sights; but she could not guess- having lived always inWashington- how little the sights of Washington had to do with its interest.

The boy could not have told her; he was nowhere near an understanding ofhimself. The more he was educatedthe less he understood. Slavery struck him inthe face; it was a nightmare; a horror; a crime; the sum of all wickedness!Contact made it only more repulsive. He wanted to escapelike the negroestofree soil. Slave States were dirtyunkemptpoverty-strickenignorantvicious! He had not a thought but repulsion for it; and yet the picture hadanother side. The May sunshine and shadow had something to do with it; thethickness of foliage and the heavy smells had more; the sense of atmospherealmost newhad perhaps as much again; and the brooding indolence of a warmclimate and a negro population hung in the atmosphere heavier than the catalpas.The impression was not simplebut the boy liked it: distinctly it remained onhis mind as an attractionalmost obscuring Quincy itself. The want of barriersof pavementsof forms; the loosenessthe laziness; the indolent Southerndrawl; the pigs in the streets; the negro babies and their mothers withbandanas; the freedomopennessswaggerof nature and mansoothed his Johnsonblood. Most boys would have felt it in the same waybut with him the feelingcaught on to an inheritance. The softness of his gentle old grandmother as shelay in bed and chatted with himdid not come from Boston. His aunt was anythingrather than Bostonian. He did not wholly come from Boston himself. ThoughWashington belonged to a different worldand the two worlds could not livetogetherhe was not sure that he enjoyed the Boston world most. Even at twelveyears old he could see his own nature no more clearly than he would at twelvehundredif by accident he should happen to live so long.

His father took him to the Capitol and on the floor of the Senatewhichthenand long afterwardsuntil the era of touristswas freely open tovisitors. The old Senate Chamber resembled a pleasant political club. Standingbehind the Vice-President's chairwhich is now the Chief Justice'sthe boy waspresented to some of the men whose names were great in their dayand asfamiliar to him as his own. Clay and Webster and Calhoun were there stillbutwith them a Free Soil candidate for the Vice-Presidency had little to do; whatstruck boys most was their type. Senators were a species; they all wore an airas they wore a blue dress coat or brass buttons; they were Romans. The type ofSenator in 1850 was rather charming at its bestand the Senatewhen in goodtemperwas an agreeable bodynumbering only some sixty membersand affectingthe airs of courtesy. Its vice was not so much a vice of manners or temper as ofattitude. The statesman of all periods was apt to be pompousbut even pompositywas less offensive than familiarity- on the platform as in the pulpit- andSouthern pompositywhen not arrogantwas genial and sympatheticalmost quaintand childlike in its simple-mindedness; quite a different thing from theWebsterian or Conklinian pomposity of the North. The boy felt at ease theremore at home than he had ever felt in Boston State Housethough hisacquaintance with the codfish in the House of Representatives went back beyonddistinct recollection. Senators spoke kindly to himand seemed to feel soforthey had known his family socially; andin spite of slaveryeven J. Q. Adamsin his later yearsafter he ceased to stand in the way of rivalshad fewpersonal enemies. Decidedly the Senatepro-slavery though it wereseemed afriendly world.

This first step in national politics was a little like the walk beforebreakfast; an easycarelessgenialenlarging stride into a fresh and amusingworldwhere nothing was finishedbut where even the weeds grew rank. Thesecond step was like the firstexcept that it led to the White House. He wastaken to see President Taylor. Outsidein a paddock in front"OldWhitey" the President's chargerwas grazingas they entered; and insidethe President was receiving callers as simply as if he were in the paddock too.The President was friendlyand the boy felt no sense of strangeness that hecould ever recall. In factwhat strangeness should he feel? The families wereintimate; so intimate that their friendliness outlived generationscivil warand all sorts of rupture. President Taylor owed his election to Martin Van Burenand the Free Soil Party. To himthe Adamses might still be of use. As for theWhite Houseall the boy's family had lived thereandbarring the eight yearsof Andrew Jackson's reignhad been more or less at home there ever since it wasbuilt. The boy half thought he owned itand took for granted that he shouldsome day live in it. He felt no sensation whatever before Presidents. APresident was a matter of course in every respectable family; he had two in hisown; threeif he counted old Nathaniel Gorhamwhowas the oldest and first indistinction. Revolutionary patriotsor perhaps a Colonial Governormight beworth talking aboutbut any one could be Presidentand some

very shady characters were likely to be. PresidentsSenatorsCongressmenand such things were swarming in every street.

Every one thought alike whether they had ancestors or not. No sort of gloryhedged Presidents as suchandin the whole countryone could hardly have metwith an admission of respect for any office or nameunless it were GeorgeWashington. That was- to all appearance sincerely- respected. People madepilgrimages to Mount Vernon and made even an effort to build Washington amonument. The effort had failedbut one still went to Mount Vernonalthough itwas no easy trip. Mr. Adams took the boy there in a carriage and pairover aroad that gave him a complete Virginia education for use ten years afterwards.To the New England mindroadsschoolsclothesand a clean face wereconnected as part of the law of order or divine system. Bad roads meant badmorals. The moral of this Virginia road was clearand the boy fully learned it.Slavery was wickedand slavery was the cause of this road's badness whichamounted to social crime- and yetat the end of the road and product of thecrime stood Mount Vernon and George Washington.

Luckily boys accept contradictions as readily as their elders door this boymight have become prematurely wise. He had only to repeat what he was told- thatGeorge Washington stood alone. Otherwise this third step in his Washingtoneducation would have been his last. On that linethe problem of progress wasnot solublewhatever the optimists and orators might say- orfor that matterwhatever they might think. George Washington could not be reached on Bostonlines. George Washington was a primaryorif Virginians liked it betteranultimate relationlike the Pole Starand amid the endless restless motion ofevery other visible point in spacehe alone remained steadyin the mind ofHenry Adamsto the end. All the other points shifted their bearings; JohnAdamsJeffersonMadisonFranklineven John Marshalltook varied lightsandassumed new relationsbut Mount Vernon always remained where it waswith nopracticable road to reach it; and yetwhen he got thereMount Vernon was onlyQuincy in a Southern setting. No doubt it was much more charmingbut it was thesame eighteenth-centurythe same old furniturethe same old patriotand thesame old President.

The boy took to it distinctively. The broad Potomac and the coons in thetreesthe bandanas and the box-hedgesthe bedrooms upstairs and the porchoutsideeven Martha Washington herself in memorywere as natural as the tidesand the May sunshine; he had only enlarged his horizon a little; but he neverthought to ask himself or his father how to deal with the moral problem thatdeduced George Washington from the sum of all wickedness. In practicesuchtrifles as contradictions in principle are easily set aside; the faculty ofignoring them makes the practical man; but any attempt to deal with themseriously as education is fatal. Luckily Charles Francis Adams never preachedand was singularly free from cant. He may have had views of his ownbut he lethis son Henry satisfy himself with the simple elementary fact that GeorgeWashington stood alone.

Life was not yet complicated. Every problem had a solutioneven the negro.The boy went back to Boston more political than everand his politics were nolonger so modern as the eighteenth centurybut took a strong tone of theseventeenth. Slavery drove the whole Puritan community back on its Puritanism.The boy thought as dogmatically as though he were one of his own ancestors. TheSlave power took the place of Stuart kings and Roman popes. Education could gono further in that courseand ran off into emotion; butas the boy graduallyfound his surroundings changeand felt himself no longer an isolated atom in ahostile universebut a sort of herring-fry in a shoal of moving fishhe beganto learn the first and easier lessons of practical politics. Thus far he hadseen nothing but eighteenth-century statesmanship. America and he beganat thesame timeto become aware of a new force under the innocent surface of partymachinery. Even at that early momenta rather slow boy felt dimly consciousthat he might meet some personal difficulties in trying to reconcilesixteenth-century principles and eighteenth-century statesmanship with latenineteenth-century party organization. The first vague sense of feeling anunknown living obstacle in the dark came in 1851.

The Free Soil conclave in Mount Vernon Street belongedas already saidtothe statesman classandlike Daniel Websterhad nothing to do with machinery.Websters or Sewards depended on others for machine work and money- on PeterHarveys and Thurlow Weedswho spent their lives in ittook most of the abuseand asked no reward. Almost without knowing itthe subordinates ousted theiremployers and created a machine which no one but themselves could run. In 1850things had not quite reached that point. The men who ran the small Free Soilmachine were still modestthough they became famous enough in their own right.Henry WilsonJohn B. AlleyAnson Burlingameand the other managersnegotiated a bargain with the Massachusetts Democrats giving the State to theDemocrats and a seat in the Senate to the Free Soilers. With this bargain Mr.Adams and his statesman friends would have nothing to dofor such a coalitionwas in their eyes much like jockeys selling a race. They did not care to takeoffice as pay for votes sold to pro-slavery Democrats. Theirs was a correctnotto say nobleposition; butas a matter of factthey took the benefit of thesalefor the coalition chose Charles Sumner as its candidate for the Senatewhile George S. Boutwell was made Governor for the Democrats. This was the boy'sfirst lesson in practical politicsand a sharp one; not that he troubledhimself with moral doubtsbut that he learned the nature of a flagrantlycorrupt political bargain in which he was too good to take partbut not toogood to take profit. Charles Sumner happened to be the partner to receive thesestolen goodsbut between his friend and his father the boy felt no distinctionandfor himthere was none. He entered into no casuistry on the matter. Hisfriend was right because his friendand the boy shared the glory. The questionof education did not rise while the conflict lasted. Yet every one saw asclearly then as afterwards that a lesson of some sort must be learned andunderstoodonce for all. The boy might ignoreas a mere historical puzzlethequestion how to deduce George Washington from the sum of all wickednessbut hehad himself helped to deduce Charles Sumner from the sum of politicalcorruption. On that linetooeducation could go no further. Tammany Hall stoodat the end of the vista.

Mr. Alleyone of the strictest of moralistsheld that his object in makingthe bargain was to convert the Democratic Party to anti-slavery principlesandthat he did it. Henry Adams could rise to no such moral elevation. He was only aboyand his object in supporting the coalition was that of making his friend aSenator. It was as personal as though he had helped to make his friend amillionaire. He could never find a way of escaping immoral conclusionsexceptby admitting that he and his father and Sumner were wrongand this he was neverwilling to dofor the consequences of this admission were worse than those ofthe other. Thusbefore he was fifteen years oldhe had managed to get himselfinto a state of moral confusion from which he never escaped. As a politicianhewas already corruptand he never could see how any practical politician couldbe less corrupt than himself.

Apologyas he understood himselfwas cant or cowardice. At the time henever even dreamed that he needed to apologizethough the press shouted it athim from every cornerand though the Mount Vernon Street conclave agreed withthe press; yet he could not plead ignoranceand even in the heat of theconflicthe never cared to defend the coalition. Boy as he washe knew enoughto know that something was wrongbut his only interest was the election. Dayafter daythe General Court balloted; and the boy haunted the galleryfollowing the roll-calland wondered what Caleb Cushing meant by calling Mr.Sumner a "one-eyed abolitionist." Truly the difference in meaning withthe phrase "one-ideaed abolitionist" which was Mr. Cushing's actualexpressionis not very greatbut neither the one nor the other seemed todescribe Mr. Sumner to the boywho never could have made the error of classingGarrison and Sumner togetheror mistaking Caleb Cushing's relation to either.Temper ran high at that momentwhile Sumner every day missed his election byonly one or two votes. At lastApril 241851standing among the silent crowdin the galleryHenry heard the vote announced which gave Sumner the needednumber. Slipping under the arms of the by-standershe ran home as hard as hecouldand burst into the dining-room where Mr. Sumner was seated at table withthe family. He enjoyed the glory of telling Sumner that he was elected; it wasprobably the proudest moment in the life of either.

The next daywhen the boy went to schoolhe noticed numbers of boys and menin the streets wearing black crape on their arm. He knew few Free Soil boys inBoston; his acquaintances were what he called pro-slavery; so he thought properto tie a bit of white silk ribbon round his own arm by way of showing that hisfriend Mr. Sumner was not wholly alone. This little piece of bravado passedunnoticed; no one even cuffed his ears; but in later life he was a littlepuzzled to decide which symbol was the more correct. No one then dreamed of fouryears' warbut every one dreamed of secession. The symbol for either might wellbe matter of doubt.

This triumph of the Mount Vernon Street conclave capped the political climax.The boylike a million other American boyswas a politicianand what wasworsefit as yet to be nothing else. He should have beenlike his grandfathera protege of George Washingtona statesman designated by destinywith nothingto do but look directly aheadfollow ordersand march. On the contraryhe wasnot even a Bostonian; he felt himself shut out of Boston as though he were anexile; he never thought of himself as a Bostonian; he never looked about him inBostonas boys commonly do wherever they areto select the street they likebestthe house they want to live inthe profession they mean to practise.Always he felt himself somewhere else; perhaps in Washington with its socialease; perhaps in Europe; and he watched with vague unrest from the Quincy hillsthe smoke of the Cunard steamers stretching in a long line to the horizonanddisappearing every other Saturday or whatever the day might beas though thesteamers were offering to take him awaywhich was precisely what they weredoing.

Had these ideas been unreasonableinfluences enough were at hand to correctthem; but the point of the whole storywhen Henry Adams came to look back onitseemed to be that the ideas were more than reasonable; they were thelogicalnecessarymathematical result of conditions old as history and fixedas fate- invariable sequence in man's experience. The only idea which would havebeen quite unreasonable scarcely entered his mind. This was the thought of goingwestward and growing up with the country. That he was not in the least fittedfor going West made no objection whateversince he was much better fitted thanmost of the persons that went. The convincing reason for staying in the East wasthat he had there every advantage over the West. He could not go wrong. The Westmust inevitably pay an enormous tribute to Boston and New York. One's positionin the East was the best in the world for every purpose that could offer anobject for going westward. If ever in history men had been able to calculate ona certainty for a lifetime in advancethe citizens of the great Easternseaports could do it in 1850 when their railway systems were already laid out.Neither to a politician nor to a business-man nor to any of the learnedprofessions did the West promise any certain advantagewhile it offereduncertainties in plenty.

At any other moment in human historythis educationincluding its politicaland literary biaswould have been not only goodbut quite the best. Societyhad always welcomed and flattered men so endowed. Henry Adams had every reasonto be well pleased with itand not ill-pleased with himself. He had all hewanted. He saw no reason for thinking that any one else had more. He finishedwith schoolnot very brilliantlybut without finding fault with the sum of hisknowledge. Probably he knew more than his fatheror his grandfatheror hisgreat-grandfather had known at sixteen years old. Only on looking backfiftyyears laterat his own figure in 1854and pondering on the needs of thetwentieth centuryhe wondered whetheron the wholethe boy of 1854 stoodnearer to the thought of 1904or to that of the year 1. He found himself unableto give a sure answer. The calculation was clouded by the undetermined values oftwentieth-century thoughtbut the story will show his reasons for thinkingthatin essentials like religionethicsphilosophy; in historyliteratureart; in the concepts of all scienceexcept perhaps mathematicsthe Americanboy of 1854 stood nearer the year 1 than to the year 1900. The education he hadreceived bore little relation to the education he needed. Speaking as anAmerican of 1900he had as yet no education at all. He knew not even where orhow to begin.

CHAPTER IV

Harvard College (1854-1858) -

ONE day in June1854young Adams walked for the last time down the steps ofMr. Dixwell's school in Boylston Placeand felt no sensation but one ofunqualified joy that this experience was ended. Never before or afterwards inhis life did he close a period so long as four years without some sensation ofloss- some sentiment of habit- but school was what in after life he commonlyheard his friends denounce as an intolerable bore. He was born too old for it.The same thing could be said of most New England boys. Mentally they never wereboys. Their education as men should have begun at ten years old. They were fullyfive years more mature than the English or European boy for whom schools weremade. For the purposes of future advancementas afterwards appearedthesefirst six years of a possible education were wasted in doing imperfectly whatmight have been done perfectly in oneand in any case would have had smallvalue. The next regular step was Harvard College. He was more than glad to go.For generation after generationAdamses and Brookses and Boylstons and Gorhamshad gone to Harvard Collegeand although none of themas far as knownhadever done any good thereor thought himself the better for itcustomsocialtiesconvenienceandabove alleconomykept each generation in the track.Any other education would have required a serious effortbut no one tookHarvard College seriously. All went there because their friends went thereandthe College was their ideal of social self-respect.

Harvard Collegeas far as it educated at allwas a mild and liberal schoolwhich sent young men into the world with all they needed to make respectablecitizensand something of what they wanted to make useful ones. Leaders of menit never tried to make. Its ideals were altogether different. The Unitarianclergy had given to the College a character of moderationbalancejudgmentrestraintwhat the French called mesure; excellent traitswhich the Collegeattained with singular successso that its graduates could commonly berecognized by the stampbut such a type of character rarely lent itself toautobiography. In effectthe school created a type but not a will. Four yearsof Harvard Collegeif successfulresulted in an autobiographical blanka mindon which only a water-mark had been stamped.

The stampas such things wentwas a good one. The chief wonder of educationis that it does not ruin everybody concerned in itteachers and taught.Sometimes in after lifeAdams debated whether in fact it had not ruined him andmost of his companionsbutdisappointment apartHarvard College was probablyless hurtful than any other university then in existence. It taught littleandthat little illbut it left the mind openfree from biasignorant of factsbut docile. The graduate had few strong prejudices. He knew littlebut his mindremained suppleready to receive knowledge.

What caused the boy most disappointment was the little he got from his mates.Speaking exactlyhe got less than nothinga result common enough in education.Yet the College Catalogue for the years 1854 to 1861 shows a list of namesrather distinguished in their time. Alexander Agassiz and Phillips Brooks ledit; H. H. Richardson and O. W. Holmes helped to close it. As a rule the mostpromising of all die earlyand never get their names into a Dictionary ofContemporarieswhich seems to be the only popular standard of success. Manydied in the war. Adams knew them allmore or less; he felt as much regardandquite as much respect for them thenas he did after they won great names andwere objects of a vastly wider respect; butas help towards educationhe gotnothing whatever from them or they from him until long after they had leftcollege. Possibly the fault was hisbut one would like to know how many othersshared it. Accident counts for much in companionship as in marriage. Life offersperhaps only a score of possible companionsand it is mere chance whether theymeet as early as school or collegebut it is more than a chance that boysbrought up together under like conditions have nothing to give each other. TheClass of 1878to which Henry Adams belongedwas a typical collection of youngNew Englandersquietly penetrating and aggressively commonplace; free frommeannessesjealousiesintriguesenthusiasmsand passions; not exceptionallyquick; not consciously sceptical; singularly indifferent to displayartificeflorid expressionbut not hostile to it when it amused them; distrustful ofthemselvesbut little disposed to trust any one else; with not much humor oftheir ownbut full of readiness to enjoy the humor of others; negative to adegree that in the long run became positive and triumphant. Not harsh in mannersor judgmentrather liberal and open-mindedthey were still as a body the mostformidable critics one would care to meetin a long life exposed to criticism.They never flatteredseldom praised; free from vanitythey were not intolerantof it; but they were objectiveness itself; their attitude was a law of nature;their judgment beyond appealnot an act either of intellect or emotion or ofwillbut a sort of gravitation.

This was Harvard College incarnatebut even for Harvard Collegethe Classof 1858 was somewhat extreme. Of unity this band of nearly one hundred young menhad no keen sensebut they had equally little energy of repulsion. They werepleasant to live withand above the average of students- GermanFrenchEnglishor what not- but chiefly because each individual appeared satisfied tostand alone. It seemed a sign of force; yet to stand alone is quite natural whenone has no passions; still easier when one has no pains.

Into this unusually dissolvent mediumchance insisted on enlarging HenryAdams's education by tossing a trio of Virginians as little fitted for it asSioux Indians to a treadmill. By some further affinitythese three outsidersfell into relation with the Bostonians among whom Adams as a schoolboy belongedand in the end with Adams himselfalthough they and he knew well how thin anedge of friendship separated them in 1856 from mortal enmity. One of theVirginians was the son of Colonel Robert E. Leeof the Second United StatesCavalry; the two others who seemed instinctively to form a staff for Leeweretown-Virginians from Petersburg. A fourth outsider came from Cincinnati and washalf KentuckianN. L. AndersonLongworth on the mother's side. For the firsttime Adams's education brought him in contact with new types and taught himtheir values. He saw the New England type measure itself with anotherand hewas part of the process.

Leeknown through life as "Roony" was a Virginian of theeighteenth centurymuch as Henry Adams was a Bostonian of the same age. RoonyLee had changed little from the type of his grandfatherLight Horse Harry.Talllargely builthandsomegenialwith liberal Virginian openness towardsall he likedhe had also the Virginian habit of command and took leadership ashis natural habit. No one cared to contest it. None of the New Englanders wantedcommand. For a yearat leastLee was the most popular and prominent young manin his classbut then seemed slowly to drop into the background. The habit ofcommand was not enoughand the Virginian had little else. He was simple beyondanalysis; so simple that even the simple New England student could not realizehim. No one knew enough to know how ignorant he was; how childlike; how helplessbefore the relative complexity of a school. As an animalthe Southerner seemedto have every advantagebut even as an animal he steadily lost ground.

The lesson in education was vital to these young menwhowithin ten yearskilled each other by scores in the act of testing their college conclusions.Strictlythe Southerner had no mind; he had temperament. He was not a scholar;he had no intellectual training; he could not analyze an ideaand he could noteven conceive of admitting two; but in life one could get along very wellwithout ideasif one had only the social instinct. Dozens of eminent statesmenwere men of Lee's typeand maintained themselves well enough in thelegislaturebut college was a sharper test. The Virginian was weak in viceitselfthough the Bostonian was hardly a master of crime. The habits of neitherwere good; both were apt to drink hard and to live low lives; but the Bostoniansuffered less than the Virginian. Commonly the Bostonian would take some care ofhimself even in his worst stageswhile the Virginian became quarrelsome anddangerous. When a Virginian had brooded a few days over an imaginary grief andsubstantial whiskeynone of his Northern friends could be sure that he mightnot be waitinground the cornerwith a knife or pistolto revenge insult bythe dry light of delirium tremens; and when things reached this conditionLeehad to exhaust his authority over his own staff. Lee was a gentleman of the oldschoolandas every one knowsgentlemen of the old school drank almost asmuch as gentlemen of the new school; but this was not his trouble. He was sobereven in the excessive violence of political feeling in those years; he kept histemper and his friends under control.

Adams liked the Virginians. No one was more obnoxious to themby name andprejudice; yet their friendship was unbroken and even warm. At a moment when theimmediate future posed no problem in education so vital as the relative energyand endurance of North and Souththis momentary contact with Southern characterwas a sort of education for its own sake; but this was not all. No doubt theself-esteem of the Yankeewhich tended naturally to self-distrustwasflattered by gaining the slow conviction that the Southernerwith hisslave-owning limitationswas as little fit to succeed in the struggle of modernlife as though he were still a maker of stone axesliving in cavesand huntingthe bos primigeniusand that every quality in which he was strongmade himweaker; but Adams had begun to fear that even in this respect oneeighteenth-century type might not differ deeply from another. Roony Lee hadchanged little from the Virginian of a century before; but Adams was himself agood deal nearer the type of his great-grandfather than to that of a railwaysuperintendent. He was little more fit than the Virginians to deal with a futureAmerica which showed no fancy for the past. Already Northern society betrayed apreference for economists over diplomats or soldiers- one might even call it ajealousy- against which two eighteenth-century types had little chance to liveand which they had in common to fear.

Nothing short of this curious sympathy could have brought into closerelations two young men so hostile as Roony Lee and Henry Adamsbut the chiefdifference between them as collegians consisted only in their difference ofscholarship: Lee was a total failure; Adams a partial one. Both failedbut Leefelt his failure more sensiblyso that he gladly seized the chance of escape byaccepting a commission offered him by General Winfield Scott in the force thenbeing organized against the Mormons. He asked Adams to write his letter ofacceptancewhich flattered Adams's vanity more than any Northern complimentcould dobecausein days of violent political bitternessit showed a certainamount of good temper. The diplomat felt his profession.

If the student got little from his mateshe got little more from hismasters. The four years passed at College werefor his purposeswasted.Harvard College was a good schoolbut at bottom what the boy disliked most wasany school at all. He did not want to be one in a hundred- one per cent of aneducation. He regarded himself as the only person for whom his education hadvalueand he wanted the whole of it. He got barely half of an average. Longafterwardswhen the devious path of life led him back to teach in his turn whatno student naturally cared or needed to knowhe diverted some dreary hours offaculty-meetings by looking up his record in the class-listsand found himselfgraded precisely in the middle. In the one branch he most needed- mathematics-barring the few first scholarsfailure was so nearly universal that no attemptat grading could have had valueand whether he stood fortieth or ninetieth musthave been an accident or the personal favor of the professor. Here his educationfailed lamentably. At best he could never have been a mathematician; at worst hewould never have cared to be one; but he needed to read mathematicslike anyother universal languageand he never reached the alphabet.

Beyond two or three Greek playsthe student got nothing from the ancientlanguages. Beyond some incoherent theories of free-trade and protectionhe gotlittle from Political Economy. He could not afterwards remember to have heardthe name of Karl Marx mentionedor the title of "Capital." He wasequally ignorant of Auguste Comte. These were the two writers of his time whomost influenced its thought. The bit of practical teaching he afterwardsreviewed with most curiosity was the course in Chemistrywhich taught him anumber of theories that befogged his mind for a lifetime. The only teaching thatappealed to his imagination was a course of lectures by Louis Agassiz on theGlacial Period and Palaeontologywhich had more influence on his curiosity thanthe rest of the college instruction altogether. The entire work of the fouryears could have been easily put into the work of any four months in after life.

Harvard College was a negative forceand negative forces have value. Slowlyit weakened the violent political bias of childhoodnot by putting interests inits placebut by mental habits which had no bias at all. It would also haveweakened the literary biasif Adams had been capable of finding otheramusementbut the climate kept him steady to desultory and useless readingtill he had run through libraries of volumes which he forgot even to theirtitle-pages. Rather by instinct than by guidancehe turned to writingand hisprofessors or tutors occasionally gave his English composition a hesitatingapproval; but in that branchas in all the resteven when he made a longstruggle for recognitionhe never convinced his teachers that his abilitiesattheir bestwarranted placing him on the rank-listamong the first third of hisclass. Instructors generally reach a fairly accurate gauge of their scholars'powers. Henry Adams himself held the opinion that his instructors were verynearly rightand when he became a professor in his turnand made mortifyingmistakes in ranking his scholarshe still obstinately insisted that on thewholehe was not far wrong. Student or professorhe accepted the negativestandard because it was the standard of the school.

He never knew what other students thought of itor what they thought theygained from it; nor would their opinion have much affected his. From the firsthe wanted to be done with itand stood watching vaguely for a path and adirection. The world outside seemed largebut the paths that led into it werenot many and lay mostly through Bostonwhere he did not want to go. As ithappenedby pure chancethe first door of escape that seemed to offer a hopeled into Germanyand James Russell Lowell opened it.

Lowellon succeeding Longfellow as Professor of Belles-Lettreshad dulygone to Germanyand had brought back whatever he found to bring. The literaryworld then agreed that truth survived in Germany aloneand CarlyleMatthewArnoldRenanEmersonwith scores of popular followerstaught the Germanfaith. The literary world had revolted against the yoke of coming capitalism-its money-lendersits bank directorsand its railway magnates. Thackeray andDickens followed Balzac in scratching and biting the unfortunate middle classwith savage ill-tempermuch as the middle class had scratched and bitten theChurch and Court for a hundred years before. The middle class had the powerandheld its coal and iron well in handbut the satirists and idealists seized thepressand as they were agreed that the Second Empire was a disgrace to Franceand a danger to Englandthey turned to Germany because at that moment Germanywas neither economical nor militaryand a hundred years behind western Europein the simplicity of its standard. German thoughtmethodhonestyand eventastebecame the standards of scholarship. Goethe was raised to the rank ofShakespeare- Kant ranked as a law-giver above Plato. All serious scholars wereobliged to become Germanfor German thought was revolutionizing criticism.Lowell had followed the restnot very enthusiasticallybut with sufficientconvictionand invited his scholars to join him. Adams was glad to accept theinvitationrather for the sake of cultivating Lowell than Germanybut still inperfect good faith. It was the first serious attempt he had made to direct hisown educationand he was sure of getting some education out of it; not perhapsanything that he expectedbut at least a path.

Singularly circuitous and excessively wasteful of energy the path proved tobebut the student could never see what other was open to him. He could havedone no better had he foreseen every stage of his coming lifeand he wouldprobably have done worse. The preliminary step was pure gain. James RussellLowell had brought back from Germany the only new and valuable part of itsuniversitiesthe habit of allowing students to read with him privately in hisstudy. Adams asked the privilegeand used it to read a littleand to talk agreat dealfor the personal contact pleased and flattered himas that of oldermen ought to flatter and please the young even when they altogether exaggerateits value. Lowell was a new element in the boy's life. As practical a NewEnglander as anyhe leaned towards the Concord faith rather than towards Bostonwhere he properly belonged; for Concordin the dark days of 1856glowed withpure light. Adams approached it in much the same spirit as he would have entereda Gothic Cathedralfor he well knew that the priests regarded him as only aworm. To the Concord Church all Adamses were minds of dust and emptinessdevoidof feelingpoetry or imagination; little higher than the common scourings ofState Street; politicians of doubtful honesty; natures of narrow scope; andalreadyat eighteen years oldHenry had begun to feel uncertainty about somany matters more important than Adamses that his mind rebelled against nodiscipline merely personaland he was ready to admit his unworthiness if onlyhe might penetrate the shrine. The influence of Harvard College was beginning tohave its effect. He was slipping away from fixed principles; from Mount VernonStreet; from Quincy; from the eighteenth century; and his first steps led towardConcord.

He never reached Concordand to Concord Church helike the rest of mankindwho accepted a material universeremained always an insector something muchlower- a man. It was surely no fault of his that the universe seemed to himreal; perhaps- as Mr. Emerson justly said- it was so; in spite of thelong-continued effort of a lifetimehe perpetually fell back into the heresythat if anything universal was unrealit was himself and not the appearances;it was the poet and not the banker; it was his own thoughtnot the thing thatmoved it. He did not lack the wish to be transcendental. Concord seemed to himat one timemore real than Quincy; yet in truth Russell Lowell was as littletranscendental as Beacon Street. From him the boy got no revolutionary thoughtwhatever- objective or subjective as they used to call it- but he gotgood-humored encouragement to do what amused himwhich consisted in passing twoyears in Europe after finishing the four years of Cambridge.

The result seemed small in proportion to the effortbut it was the onlypositive result he could ever trace to the influence of Harvard Collegeand hehad grave doubts whether Harvard College influenced even that. Negative resultsin plenty he could tracebut he tended towards negation on his own accountasone side of the New England mind had always doneand even there he could neverfeel sure that Harvard College had more than reflected a weakness. In hisopinion the education was not seriousbut in truth hardly any Boston studenttook it seriouslyand none of them seemed sure that President Walker himselfor President Felton after himtook it more seriously than the students. Forthem allthe college offered chiefly advantages vulgarly called socialratherthan mental.

Unluckily for this particular boysocial advantages were his only capital inlife. Of money he had not muchof mind not morebut he could be quite certainthatbarring his own faultshis social position would never be questioned.What he needed was a career in which social position had value. Never in hislife would he have to explain who he was; never would he have need ofacquaintance to strengthen his social standing; but he needed greatly some oneto show him how to use the acquaintance he cared to make. He made noacquaintance in college which proved to have the smallest use in after life. Allhis Boston friends he knew beforeor would have known in any caseand contactof Bostonian with Bostonian was the last education these young men needed.Cordial and intimate as their college relations werethey all flew off indifferent directions the moment they took their degrees. Harvard Collegeremained a tieindeedbut a tie little stronger than Beacon Street and not sostrong as State Street. Strangers might perhaps gain something from the collegeif they were hard pressed for social connections. A student like H. H.Richardsonwho came from far away New Orleansand had his career before him tochase rather than to guidemight make valuable friendships at college.Certainly Adams made no acquaintance there that he valued in after life so muchas Richardsonbut still more certainly the college relation had little to dowith the later friendship. Life is a narrow valleyand the roads run closetogether. Adams would have attached himself to Richardson in any caseas heattached himself to John LaFarge or Augustus St. Gaudens or Clarence King orJohn Haynone of whom were at Harvard College. The valley of life grew more andmore narrow with yearsand certain men with common tastes were bound to cometogether. Adams knew only that he would have felt himself on a more equalfooting with them had he been less ignorantand had he not thrown away tenyears of early life in acquiring what he might have acquired in one.

Socially or intellectuallythe college was for him negative and in some waysmischievous. The most tolerant man of the world could not see good in the lowerhabits of the studentsbut the vices were less harmful than the virtues. Thehabit of drinking- though the mere recollection of it made him doubt his ownveracityso fantastic it seemed in later life- may have done no great orpermanent harm; but the habit of looking at life as a social relation- an affairof society- did no good. It cultivated a weakness which needed no cultivation.If it had helped to make men of the worldor give the manners and instincts ofany profession- such as temperpatiencecourtesyor a faculty of profiting bythe social defects of opponents- it would have been education better worthhaving than mathematics or languages; but so far as it helped to make anythingit helped only to make the college standard permanent through life. TheBostonian educated at Harvard College remained a collegianif he stuck only towhat the college gave him. If parents went ongeneration after generationsending their children to Harvard College for the sake of its social advantagesthey perpetuated an inferior social typequite as ill-fitted as the Oxford typefor success in the next generation.

Luckily the old social standard of the collegeas President Walker or JamesRussell Lowell still showed itwas admirableand if it had little practicalvalue or personal influence on the mass of studentsat least it preserved thetradition for those who liked it. The Harvard graduate was neither American norEuropeannor even wholly Yankee; his admirers were fewand his critics many;perhaps his worst weakness was his self-criticism and self-consciousness; buthis ambitionssocial or intellectualwere not necessarily cheap even thoughthey might be negative. Afraid of serious risksand still more afraid ofpersonal ridiculehe seldom made a great failure of lifeand nearly always leda life more or less worth living. So Henry Adamswell aware that he could notsucceed as a scholarand finding his social position beyond improvement or needof effortbetook himself to the single ambition which otherwise would scarcelyhave seemed a true outcome of the collegethough it was the last remnant of theold Unitarian supremacy. He took to the pen. He wrote.

The College Magazine printed his workand the College Societies listened tohis addresses. Lavish of praise the readers were not; the audiencestoolistened in silence; but this was all the encouragement any Harvard collegianhad a reasonable hope to receive; grave silence was a form of patience thatmeant possible future acceptance; and Henry Adams went on writing. No one caredenough to criticiseexcept himself who soon began to suffer from reaching hisown limits. He found that he could not be this- or that- or the other; alwaysprecisely the things he wanted to be. He had not wit or scope or force. Judgesalways ranked him beneath a rivalif he had any; and he believed the judgeswere right. His work seemed to him thincommonplacefeeble. At times he felthis own weakness so fatally that he could not go on; when he had nothing to sayhe could not say itand he found that he had very little to say at best. Muchthat he then wrote must be still in existence in print or manuscriptthough henever cared to see it againfor he felt no doubt that it was in reality justwhat he thought it. At best it showed only a feeling for form; an instinct ofexclusion. Nothing shocked- not even its weakness.

Inevitably an effort leads to an ambition- creates it- and at that time theambition of the literary studentwhich almost took place of the regular prizesof scholarshipwas that of being chosen as the representative of his class- theClass Orator- at the close of their course. This was political as well asliterary successand precisely the sort of eighteenth-century combination thatfascinated an eighteenth-century boy. The idea lurked in his mindat first as adreamin no way serious or even possiblefor he stood outside the number ofwhat were known as popular men. Year by yearhis position seemed to improveorperhaps his rivals disappeareduntil at lastto his own great astonishmenthefound himself a candidate. The habits of the college permitted no activecandidacy; he and his rivals had not a word to say for or against themselvesand he was never even consulted on the subject; he was not present at any of theproceedingsand how it happened he never could quite divinebut it did happenthat one evening on returning from Boston he received notice of his electionafter a very close contestas Class Orator over the head of the first scholarwho was undoubtedly a better orator and a more popular man. In politics thesuccess of the poorer candidate is common enoughand Henry Adams was a fairlytrained politicianbut he never understood how he managed to defeat not only amore capable but a more popular rival.

To him the election seemed a miracle. This was no mock-modesty; his head wasas clear as ever it was in an indifferent canvassand he knew his rivals andtheir following as well as he knew himself. What he did not knoweven afterfour years of educationwas Harvard College. What he could never measure wasthe bewildering impersonality of the menwhoat twenty years oldseemed toset no value either on official or personal standards. Here were nearly ahundred young men who had lived together intimately during four of the mostimpressionable years of lifeand whonot only once but again and againindifferent waysdeliberatelyseriouslydispassionatelychose as theirrepresentatives precisely those of their companions who seemed least torepresent them. As far as these Orators and Marshals had any position at all ina collegiate senseit was that of indifference to the college. Henry Adamsnever professed the smallest faith in universities of any kindeither as boy ormannor had he the faintest admiration for the university graduateeither inEurope or America; as a collegian he was only known apart from his fellows byhis habit of standing outside the college; and yet the singular fact remainedthat this commonplace body of young men chose him repeatedly to express his andtheir commonplaces. Secretlyof coursethe successful candidate flatteredhimself- and them- with the hope that they might perhaps not be so commonplaceas they thought themselves; but this was only another proof that all wereidentical. They saw in him a representative- the kind of representative theywanted- and he saw in them the most formidable array of judges he could evermeetlike so many mirrors of himselfan infinite reflection of his ownshortcomings.

All the samethe choice was flattering; so flattering that it actuallyshocked his vanity; and would have shocked it moreif possiblehad he knownthat it was to be the only flattery of the sort he was ever to receive. Thefunction of Class Day wasin the eyes of nine-tenths of the studentsaltogether the most important of the collegeand the figure of the Orator wasthe most conspicuous in the function. Unlike the Orators at regularCommencementsthe Class Day Orator stood aloneor had only the Poet for rival.Crowded into the large churchthe studentstheir familiesfriendsauntsuncles and chaperonesattended all the girls of sixteen or twenty who wanted toshow their summer dresses or fresh complexionsand therefor an hour or twoin a heat that might have melted bronzethey listened to an Orator and a Poetin clergyman's gownsreciting such platitudes as their own experience and theirmild censors permitted them to utter. What Henry Adams said in his Class Orationof 1858 he soon forgot to the last wordnor had it the least value foreducation; but he naturally remembered what was said of it. He rememberedespecially one of his eminent uncles or relations remarking thatas the work ofso young a manthe oration was singularly wanting in enthusiasm. The young man-always in search of education- asked himself whethersetting rhetoric asidethis absence of enthusiasm was a defect or a meritsincein either caseitwas all that Harvard College taughtand all that the hundred young menwhom hewas trying to representexpressed. Another comment threw more light on theeffect of the college education. One of the elderly gentlemen noticed theorator's "perfect self-possession." Self-possession indeed! If HarvardCollege gave nothing elseit gave calm. For four years each student had beenobliged to figure daily before dozens of young men who knew each other to thelast fibre. One had done little but read papers to Societiesor act comedy inthe Hasty Puddingnot to speak of all sorts of regular exercisesand noaudience in future life would ever be so intimately and terribly intelligent asthese. Three-fourths of the graduates would rather have addressed the Council ofTrent or the British Parliament than have acted Sir Anthony Absolute or Dr.Ollapod before a gala audience of the Hasty Pudding. Self-possession was thestrongest part of Harvard Collegewhich certainly taught men to stand alonesothat nothing seemed stranger to its graduates than the paroxysms of terrorbefore the public which often overcame the graduates of European universities.Whether this wasor was noteducationHenry Adams never knew. He was ready tostand up before any audience in America or Europewith nerves rather steadierfor the excitementbut whether he should ever have anything to sayremained tobe proved. As yet he knew nothing. Education had not begun.

CHAPTER V

Berlin (1858-1859) -

A FOURTH child has the strength of his weakness. Being of no great valuehemay throw himself away if he likesand never be missed. Charles Francis Adamsthe fatherfelt no love for Europewhichas he and all the world agreedunfitted Americans for America. A captious critic might have replied that allthe success he or his father or his grandfather achieved was chiefly due to thefield that Europe gave themand it was more than likely that without the helpof Europe they would have all remained local politicians or lawyerslike theirneighborsto the end. Strictly followedthe rule would have obliged them neverto quit Quincy; andin factso much more timid are parents for their childrenthan for themselvesthat Mr. and Mrs. Adams would have been content to seetheir children remain forever in Mount Vernon Streetunexposed to thetemptations of Europecould they have relied on the moral influences of Bostonitself. Although the parents little knew what took place under their eyeseventhe mothers saw enough to make them uneasy. Perhaps their dread of vicehaunting past and presentworried them less than their dread ofdaughters-in-law or sons-in-law who might not fit into the somewhat narrowquarters of home. On all sides were risks. Every year some young person alarmedthe parental heart even in Bostonand although the temptations of Europe wereirresistibleremoval from the temptations of Boston might be imperative. Theboy Henry wanted to go to Europe; he seemed well behavedwhen any one waslooking at him; he observed conventionswhen he could not escape them; he wasnever quarrelsometowards a superior; his morals were apparently goodand hismoral principlesif he had anywere not known to be bad. Above allhe wastimid and showed a certain sense of self-respectwhen in public view. What hewas at heartno one could say; least of all himself; but he was probably humanand no worse than some others. Thereforewhen he presented to an exceedinglyindulgent father and mother his request to begin at a German university thestudy of the Civil Law- although neither he nor they knew what the Civil Lawwasor any reason for his studying it- the parents dutifully consentedandwalked with him down to the railway-station at Quincy to bid him good-byewitha smile which he almost thought a tear.

Whether the boy deserved such indulgenceor was worth ithe knew no morethan theyor than a professor at Harvard College; but whether worthy or nothebegan his third or fourth attempt at education in November1858by sailing onthe steamer Persiathe pride of Captain Judkins and the Cunard Line; thenewestlargest and fastest steamship afloat. He was not alone. Several of hiscollege companions sailed with himand the world looked cheerful enough untilon the third daythe world- as far as concerned the young man- ran into a heavystorm. He learned then a lesson that stood by him better than any universityteaching ever did- the meaning of a November gale on the mid-Atlantic whichformere physical miserypassed endurance. The subject offered him material fornone but serious treatment; he could never see the humor of sea-sickness; but itunited itself with a great variety of other impressions which made the firstmonth of travel altogether the rapidest school of education he had yet found.The stride in knowledge seemed gigantic. One began at last to see that a greatmany impressions were needed to make a very little educationbut how many couldbe crowded into one day without making any education at allbecame the ponsasinorum of tourist mathematics. How many would turn out to be wrongor whetherany could turn out rightwas ultimate wisdom.

The oceanthe PersiaCaptain Judkinsand Mr. G. P. R. Jamesthe mostdistinguished passengervanished one Sunday morning in a furious gale in theMerseyto make place for the drearier picture of a Liverpool street as seenfrom the Adelphi coffee-room in November murkfollowed instantly by thepassionate delights of Chester and the romance of red-sandstone architecture.Millions of Americans have felt this succession of emotions. Possibly very youngand ingenuous tourists feel them stillbut in days before touristswhen theromance was a realitynot a picturethey were overwhelming. When the boys wentout to Eaton Hallthey were awedas Thackeray or Dickens would have felt inthe presence of a Duke. The very name of Grosvenor struck a note of grandeur.The long suite of loftygilded rooms with their gilded furniture; theportraits; the terraces; the gardensthe landscape; the sense of superiority inthe England of the fiftiesactually set the rich nobleman apartaboveAmericans and shopkeepers. Aristocracy was real. So was the England of Dickens.Oliver Twist and Little Nell lurked in every churchyard shadownot as shadowbut alive. Even Charles the First was not very shadowystanding on the tower tosee his army defeated. Nothing thereabouts had very much changed since he losthis battle and his head. An eighteenth-century American boy fresh from Bostonnaturally took it all for educationand was amused at this sort of lesson. Atleast he thought he felt it.

Then came the journey up to London through Birmingham and the Black Districtanother lessonwhich needed much more to be rightly felt. The plunge intodarkness lurid with flames; the sense of unknown horror in this weird gloomwhich then existed nowhere elseand never had existed beforeexcept involcanic craters; the violent contrast between this densesmokyimpenetrabledarknessand the soft green charm that one glided intoas one emerged- therevelation of an unknown society of the pit- made a boy uncomfortablethough hehad no idea that Karl Marx was standing there waiting for himand that sooneror later the process of education would have to deal with Karl Marx much morethan with Professor Bowen of Harvard College or his Satanic free-trade majestyJohn Stuart Mill. The Black District was a practical educationbut it wasinfinitely far in the distance. The boy ran away from itas he ran away fromeverything he disliked.

Had he known enough to know where to begin he would have seen something tostudymore vital than the Civil Lawin the longmuddydirtysordidgas-litdreariness of Oxford Street as his dingy four-wheeler dragged its weary way toCharing Cross. He did notice one peculiarity about it worth remembering. Londonwas still London. A certain style dignified its grime; heavyclumsyarrogantpurse-proudbut not cheap; insular but large; barely tolerant of an outsideworldand absolutely self-confident. The boys in the streets made such freecomments on the American clothes and figuresthat the travellers hurried to puton tall hats and long overcoats to escape criticism. No stranger had rights evenin the Strand. The eighteenth century held its own. History muttered down FleetStreetlike Dr. Johnsonin Adams's ear; Vanity Fair was alive on Piccadilly inyellow chariots with coachmen in wigson hammercloths; footmen with canesonthe footboardand a shrivelled old woman inside; half the great housesblackwith London smokebore large funereal hatchments; every one seemed insolentand the most insolent structures in the world were the Royal Exchange and theBank of England. In November1858London was still vastbut it was the Londonof the eighteenth century that an American felt and hated.

Education went backward. Adamsstill a boycould not guess how intenselyintimate this London grime was to become to him as a manbut he could stillless conceive himself returning to it fifty years afterwardsnoting at eachturn how the great city grew smaller as it doubled in size; cheaper as itquadrupled its wealth; less imperial as its empire widened; less dignified as ittried to be civil. He liked it best when he hated it. Education began at theendor perhaps would end at the beginning. Thus far it had remained in theeighteenth centuryand the next step took it back to the sixteenth. He crossedto Antwerp. As the Baron Osy steamed up the Scheldt in the morning mistsatravelling band on deck began to playand groups of peasantsworking along thefieldsdropped their tools to join in dancing. Ostade and Teniers were as muchalive as they ever wereand even the Duke of Alva was still at home. Thethirteenth-century cathedral towered above a sixteenth-century mass of tiledroofsending abruptly in walls and a landscape that had not changed. The tasteof the town was thickrichripelike a sweet wine; it was medievalso thatRubens seemed modern; it was one of the strongest and fullest flavors that evertouched the young man's palate; but he might as well have drunk out hisexcitement in old Malmseyfor all the education he got from it. Even in artone can hardly begin with Antwerp Cathedral and the Descent from the Cross. Hemerely got drunk on his emotionsand had then to get sober as he best could. Hewas terribly sober when he saw Antwerp half a century afterwards. One lesson hedid learn without suspecting that he must immediately lose it. He felt hismiddle ages and the sixteenth century alive. He was young enoughand the townswere dirty enough- unimprovedunrestoreduntouristed- to retain the sense ofreality. As a taste or a smellit was educationespecially because it lastedbarely ten years longer; but it was education only sensual. He never dreamed oftrying to educate himself to the Descent from the Cross. He was only too happyto feel himself kneeling at the foot of the Cross; he learned only to loathe thesordid necessity of getting up againand going about his stupid business.

This was one of the foreseen dangers of Europebut it vanished rapidlyenough to reassure the most anxious of parents. Dropped into Berlin one morningwithout guide or directionthe young man in search of education floundered in amere mess of misunderstandings. He could never recall what he expected to findbut whatever he expectedit had no relation with what it turned out to be. Astudent at twenty takes easily to anythingeven to Berlinand he would haveaccepted the thirteenth century pure and simple since his guides assured himthat this was his right path; but a week's experience left him dazed and dull.Faith held outbut the paths grew dim. Berlin astonished himbut he had nolack of friends to show him all the amusement it had to offer. Within a day ortwo he was running about with the rest to beer-cellars and music-halls anddance-roomssmoking bad tobaccodrinking poor beerand eating sauerkraut andsausages as though he knew no better. This was easy. One can always descend thesocial ladder. The trouble came when he asked for the education he was promised.His friends took him to be registered as a student of the university; theyselected his professors and courses; they showed him where to buy the Institutesof Gaius and several German works on the Civil Law in numerous volumes; and theyled him to his first lecture.

His first lecture was his last. The young man was not very quickand he hadalmost religious respect for his guides and advisers; but he needed no more thanone hour to satisfy him that he had made another failure in educationand thistime a fatal one. That the language would require at least three months' hardwork before he could touch the Law was an annoying discovery; but the shock thatupset him was the discovery of the university itself. He had thought HarvardCollege a torpid schoolbut it was instinct with life compared with all that hecould see of the University of Berlin. The German students were strange animalsbut their professors were beyond pay. The mental attitude of the university wasnot of an American world. What sort of instruction prevailed in other branchesor in scienceAdams had no occasion to askbut in the Civil Law he found onlythe lecture system in its deadliest form as it flourished in the thirteenthcentury. The professor mumbled his comments; the students madeor seemed tomakenotes; they could have learned from books or discussion in a day more thanthey could learn from him in a monthbut they must pay his feesfollow hiscourseand be his scholarsif they wanted a degree. To an American the resultwas worthless. He could make no use of the Civil Law without some previousnotion of the Common Law; but the student who knew enough of the Common Law tounderstand what he wantedhad only to read the Pandects or the commentators athis ease in Americaand be his own professor. Neither the method nor the matternor the manner could profit an American education.

This discovery seemed to shock none of the students. They went to thelecturesmade notesand read textbooksbut never pretended to take theirprofessor seriously. They were much more serious in reading Heine. They knew nomore than Heine what good they were gettingbeyond the Berlin accent- which wasbad; and the beer- which was not to compare with Munich; and the dancing- whichwas better at Vienna. They enjoyed the beer and musicbut they refused to beresponsible for the education. Anywayas they defended themselvesthey werelearning the language.

So the young man fell back on the languageand being slow at languageshefound himself falling behind all his friendswhich depressed his spiritsthemore because the gloom of a Berlin winter and of Berlin architecture seemed tohim a particular sort of gloom never attained elsewhere. One day on the Lindenhe caught sight of Charles Sumner in a caband ran after him. Sumner was thenrecovering from the blows of the South Carolinian cane or cluband he waspleased to find a young worshipper in the remote Prussian wilderness. They dinedtogether and went to hear "William Tell" at the Opera. Sumner tried toencourage his friend about his difficulties of language: "I came toBerlin" or Romeor whatever place it wasas he said with his grand airof mastery"I came to Berlinunable to say a word in the language; andthree months later when I went awayI talked it to my cabman." Adams felthimself quite unable to attain in so short a time such social advantagesandone day complained of his trials to Mr. Robert Apthorpof Bostonwho waspassing the winter in Berlin for the sake of its music. Mr. Apthorp told of hisown similar struggleand how he had entered a public school and sat for monthswith ten-year-old boysreciting their lessons and catching their phrases. Theidea suited Adams's desperate frame of mind. At least it ridded him of theuniversity and the Civil Law and American associations in beer-cellars. Mr.Apthorp took the trouble to negotiate with the head-master of theFriedrichs-Wilhelm-Werdersches Gymnasium for permission to Henry Adams to attendthe school as a member of the Ober-tertiaa class of boys twelve or thirteenyears oldand there Adams went for three months as though he had not alwaysavoided high schools with singular antipathy. He never did anything else sofoolishbut he was given a bit of education which served him some purpose inlife.

It was not merely the languagethough three months passed in such fashionwould teach a poodle enough to talk with a cabmanand this was all that foreignstudents could expect to dofor they never by any chance would come in contactwith German societyif German society existedabout which they knew nothing.Adams never learned to talk German wellbut the same might be said of hisEnglishif he could believe Englishmen. He learned not to annoy himself on thisaccount. His difficulties with the language gradually ceased. He thought himselfquite Germanized in 1859. He even deluded himself with the idea that he read itas though it were Englishwhich proved that he knew little about it; butwhatever success he had in his own experiment interested him less than hiscontact with German education.

He had revolted at the American school and university; he had instantlyrejected the German university; and as his last experience of education he triedthe German high school. The experiment was hazardous. In 1858 Berlin was a poorkeen-wittedprovincial townsimpledirtyuncivilizedand in most respectsdisgusting. Life was primitive beyond what an American boy could have imagined.Overridden by military methods and bureaucratic pettinessPrussia was onlybeginning to free her hands from internal bonds. Apart from disciplineactivityscarcely existed. The future Kaiser Wilhelm Iregent for his insane brotherKing Friedrich Wilhelm IVseemed to pass his time looking at the passers-byfrom the window of his modest palace on the Linden. German mannerseven atCourtwere sometimes brutaland German thoroughness at school was apt to beroutine. Bismarck himself was then struggling to begin a career against theinertia of the German system. The condition of Germany was a scandal andnuisance to every earnest Germanall whose energies were turned to reforming itfrom top to bottom; and Adams walked into a great public school to get educatedat precisely the time when the Germans wanted most to get rid of the educationthey were forced to follow. As an episode in the search for educationthisadventure smacked of Heine.

The school system has doubtless changedand at all events the schoolmastersare probably long ago dead; the story has no longer a practical valueand hadvery little even at the time; one could at least say in defence of the Germanschool that it was neither very brutal nor very immoral. The head-master wasexcellent in his Prussian wayand the other instructors were not worse than inother schools; it was their system that struck the systemless American withhorror. The arbitrary training given to the memory was stupefying; the strainthat the memory endured was a form of torture; and the feats that the boysperformedwithout complaintwere pitiable. No other faculty than the memoryseemed to be recognized. Least of all was any use made of reasoneitheranalyticsyntheticor dogmatic. The German government did not encouragereasoning.

All State education is a sort of dynamo machine for polarizing the popularmind; for turning and holding its lines of force in the direction supposed to bemost effective for State purposes. The German machine was terribly efficient.Its effect on the children was pathetic. The Friedrichs-Wilhelm-WerderschesGymnasium was an old building in the heart of Berlin which served theeducational needs of the small tradesmen or bourgeoisie of the neighborhood; thechildren were Berliner-kinder if ever there were suchand of a class suspectedof sympathy and concern in the troubles of 1848. None was noble or connectedwith good society. Personally they were rather sympathetic than notbut as theobjects of education they were proofs of nearly all the evils that a bad systemcould give. Apparently Adamsin his rigidly illogical pursuithad at lastreached his ideal of a viciously logical education. The boys' physique showed itfirstbut their physique could not be wholly charged to the school. German foodwas bad at bestand a diet of sauerkrautsausageand beer could never begood; but it was not the food alone that made their faces white and their fleshflabby. They never breathed fresh air; they had never heard of a playground; inall Berlin not a cubic inch of oxygen was admitted in winter into an inhabitedbuilding; in the school every room was tightly closed and had no ventilation;the air was foul beyond all decency; but when the American opened a window inthe five minutes between hourshe violated the rules and was invariablyrebuked. As long as cold weather lastedthe windows were shut. If the boys hada holidaythey were apt to be taken on long tramps in the Thiergarten orelsewherealways ending in over-fatiguetobacco-smokesausagesand beer.With thisthey were required to prepare daily lessons that would have quicklybroken down strong men of a healthy habitand which they could learn onlybecause their minds were morbid. The German university had seemed a failurebutthe German high school was something very near an indictable nuisance.

Before the month of April arrivedthe experiment of German education hadreached this point. Nothing was left of it except the ghost of the Civil Lawshut up in the darkest of closetsnever to gibber again before any one whocould repeat the story. The derisive Jew laughter of Heine ran through theuniversity and everything else in Berlin. Of coursewhen one is twenty yearsoldlife is bound to be fullif only of Berlin beeralthough German studentlife was on the whole the thinnest of beeras an American looked on itbutthough nothing except small fragments remained of the education that had been sopromising- or promised- this is only what most often happens in lifewhenby-products turn out to be more valuable than staples. The German university andGerman law were failures; German societyin an American sensedid not existor if it existednever showed itself to an American; the German theatreon theother handwas excellentand German operawith the balletwas almost worth ajourney to Berlin; but the curious and perplexing result of the total failure ofGerman education was that the student's only clear gain- his single step to ahigher life- came from time wasted; studies neglected; vices indulged; educationreversed;- it came from the despised beer-garden and music-hall; and it wasaccidentalunintendedunforeseen.

When his companions insisted on passing two or three afternoons in the weekat music-hallsdrinking beersmoking German tobaccoand looking at fat Germanwomen knittingwhile an orchestra played dull musicAdams went with them forthe sake of the companybut with no pretence of enjoyment; and when Mr. Apthorpgently protested that he exaggerated his indifferencefor of course he enjoyedBeethovenAdams replied simply that he loathed Beethoven; and felt a slightsurprise when Mr. Apthorp and the others laughed as though they thought ithumor. He saw no humor in it. He supposed thatexcept musiciansevery onethought Beethoven a boreas every one except mathematicians thought mathematicsa bore. Sitting thus at his beer-tablementally impassivehe was one daysurprised to notice that his mind followed the movement of a Sinfonie. He couldnot have been more astonished had he suddenly read a new language. Among themarvels of educationthis was the most marvellous. A prison-wall that barredhis senses on one great side of lifesuddenly fellof its own accordwithoutso much as his knowing when it happened. Amid the fumes of coarse tobacco andpoor beersurrounded by the commonest of German Haus-frauena new sense burstout like a flower in his lifeso superior to the old sensesso bewilderingsoastonished at its own existencethat he could not credit itand watched it assomething apartaccidentaland not to be trusted. He slowly came to admit thatBeethoven had partly become intelligible to himbut he was the more inclined tothink that Beethoven must be much overrated as a musicianto be so easilyfollowed. This could not be called educationfor he had never so much aslistened to the music. He had been thinking of other things. Mere mechanicalrepetition of certain sounds had stuck to his unconscious mind. Beethoven mighthave this powerbut not Wagneror at all events not the Wagner later than"Tannhauser." Near forty years passed before he reached the"Gotterdammerung."

One might talk of the revival of an atrophied sense- the mechanical reactionof a sleeping consciousness- but no other sense awoke. His sense of line andcolor remained as dull as everand as far as ever below the level of an artist.His metaphysical sense did not spring into lifeso that his mind could leap thebars of German expression into sympathy with the idealities of Kant and Hegel.Although he insisted that his faith in German thought and literature was

exaltedhe failed to approach German thoughtand he shed never a tear ofemotion over the pages of Goethe and Schiller. When his father rashly venturedfrom time to time to write him a word of common sensethe young man wouldlisten to no sense at allbut insisted that Berlin was the best of educationsin the best of Germanies; yetwhenat lastApril cameand some geniussuggested a tramp in Thuringenhis heart sang like a bird; he realized what anightmare he had sufferedand he made up his mind thatwherever else he mightin the infinities of space and timeseek for educationit should not be againin Berlin.

CHAPTER VI

Rome (1859-1860) -

THE tramp in Thuringen lasted four-and-twenty hours. By the end of the firstwalkhis three companions- John BancroftJames J. Higginsonand B. W.Crowninshieldall Boston and Harvard College like himself- were satisfied withwhat they had seenand when they sat down to rest on the spot where Goethe hadwritten- -

Warte nur! balde

Ruhest du auch!- -

the profoundness of the thought and the wisdom of the advice affected them sostrongly that they hired a wagon and drove to Weimar the same night. They wereall quite happy and light-hearted in the first fresh breath of leafless springand the beer was better than at Berlinbut they were all equally in doubt whythey had come to Germanyand not one of them could say why they stayed. Adamsstayed because he did not want to go homeand he had fears that his father'spatience might be exhausted if he asked to waste time elsewhere.

They could not think that their education required a return to Berlin. A fewdays at Dresden in the spring weather satisfied them that Dresden was a betterspot for general education than Berlinand equally good for reading Civil Law.They were possibly right. There was nothing to study in Dresdenand noeducation to be gainedbut the Sistine Madonna and the Correggios were famous;the theatre and opera were sometimes excellentand the Elbe was prettier thanthe Spree. They could always fall back on the language. So he took a room in thehousehold of the usual small government clerk with the usual plain daughtersand continued the study of the language. Possibly one might learn something moreby accidentas one had learned something of Beethoven. For the next eighteenmonths the young man pursued accidental educationsince he could pursue noother; and by great good fortuneEurope and America were too busy with theirown affairs to give much attention to his. Accidental education had every chancein its favorespecially because nothing came amiss.

Perhaps the chief obstacle to the youth's educationnow that he had come ofagewas his honesty; his simple-minded faith in his intentions. Even afterBerlin had become a nightmarehe still persuaded himself that his Germaneducation was a success. He lovedor thought he loved the peoplebut theGermany he loved was the eighteenth-century which the Germans were ashamed ofand were destroying as fast as they could. Of the Germany to comehe knewnothing. Military Germany was his abhorrence. What he liked was the simplecharacter; the good-natured sentiment; the musical and metaphysical abstraction;the blundering incapacity of the German for practical affairs. At that timeevery one looked on Germany as incapable of competing with FranceEngland orAmerica in any sort of organized energy. Germany had no confidence in herselfand no reason to feel it. She had no unityand no reason to want it. She neverhad unity. Her religious and social historyher economical interestshermilitary geographyher political conveniencehad always tended to eccentricrather than concentric motion. Until coal-power and railways were createdshewas mediaeval by nature and geographyand this was what Adamsunder theteachings of Carlyle and Lowellliked.

He was in a fair way to do himself lasting harmfloundering between worldspassed and worlds comingwhich had a habit of crushing men who stayed too longat the points of contact. Suddenly the Emperor Napoleon declared war on Austriaand raised a confused point of morals in the mind of Europe. France was thenightmare of Germanyand even at Dresden one looked on the return of Napoleonto Leipsic as the most likely thing in the world. One morning the governmentclerkin whose family Adams was stayingrushed into his room to consult a mapin order that he might measure the distance from Milan to Dresden. The thirdNapoleon had reached Lombardyand only fifty or sixty years had passed sincethe first Napoleon had begun his military successes from an Italian base.

An enlightened young Americanwith eighteenth-century tastes capped byfragments of a German education and the most excellent intentionshad to makeup his mind about the moral value of these conflicting forces. France was thewicked spirit of moral politicsand whatever helped France must be so far evil.At that time Austria was another evil spirit. Italy was the prize they disputedand for at least fifteen hundred years had been the chief object of their greed.The question of sympathy had disturbed a number of persons during that period.The question of morals had been put in a number of cross-lights. Should one beGuelph or Ghibelline? No doubtone was wiser than one's neighbors who had foundno way of settling this question since the days of the cave-dwellersbutignorance did better to discard the attempt to be wisefor wisdom had beensingularly baffled by the problem. Better take sides firstand reason about itfor the rest of life.

Not that Adams felt any real doubt about his sympathies or wishes. He had notbeen German long enough for befogging his mind to that pointbut the moment wasdecisive for much to comeespecially for political morals. His morals were thehighestand he clung to them to preserve his self-respect; but steam andelectricity had brought about new political and social concentrationsor weremaking them necessary in the line of his moral principles- freedomeducationeconomic development and so forth- which required association with allies asdoubtful as Napoleon IIIand robberies with violence on a very extensive scale.As long as he could argue that his opponents were wickedhe could join inrobbing and killing them without a qualm; but it might happen that the good wererobbed. Education insisted on finding a moral foundation for robbery. He couldhope to begin life in the character of no animal more moral than a monkey unlesshe could satisfy himself when and why robbery and murder were a virtue and duty.Education founded on mere self-interest was merely Guelph and Ghibelline overagain- Machiavelli translated into American.

Luckily for him he had a sister much brighter than he ever was- though hethought himself a rather superior person- who after marrying Charles KuhnofPhiladelphiahad come to Italyandlike all good Americans and Englishwashotly Italian. In July1859she was at Thun in Switzerlandand there HenryAdams joined them. Women havecommonlya very positive moral sense; that whichthey willis right; that which they rejectis wrong; and their willin mostcasesends by settling the moral. Mrs. Kuhn had a double superiority. She notonly adored Italybut she cordially disliked Germany in all its varieties. Shesaw no gain in helping her brother to be Germanizedand she wanted him much tobe civilized. She was the first young woman he was ever intimate with- quicksensitivewilfulor full of willenergeticsympathetic and intelligentenough to supply a score of men with ideas- and he was delighted to give her thereins- to let her drive him where she would. It was his first experiment ingiving the reins to a womanand he was so much pleased with the results that henever wanted to take them back. In after life he made a general law ofexperience- no woman had ever driven him wrong; no man had ever driven himright.

Nothing would satisfy Mrs. Kuhn but to go to the seat of war as soon as thearmistice was declared. Wild as the idea seemednothing was easier. The partycrossed the St. Gothard and reached Milanpicturesque with every sort ofuniform and every sign of war. To young Adams this first plunge into Italypassed Beethoven as a piece of accidental education. Like musicit differedfrom other education in beingnot a means of pursuing fifebut one of the endsattained. Furtheron these linesone could not go. It had but one defect- thatof attainment. Life had no richer impression to give; it offers barelyhalf-a-dozen suchand the intervals seem long. Exactly what they teach wouldpuzzle a Berlin jurist; yet they seem to have an economic valuesince mostpeople would decline to part with even their faded memories except at avaluation ridiculously extravagant. They were also what men pay most for; butone's ideas become hopelessly mixed in trying to reduce such forms of educationto a standard of exchangeable valueandas in political economyone had bestdisregard altogether what cannot be stated in equivalents. The proper equivalentof pleasure is painwhich is also a form of education.

Not satisfied with MilanMrs. Kuhn insisted on invading the enemy's countryand the carriage was chartered for Innsbruck by way of the Stelvio Pass. TheValtellinaas the carriage drove up itshowed war. Garibaldi's Cacciatori werethe only visible inhabitants. No one could say whether the pass was openbut inany case no carriage had yet crossed. At the inns the handsome young officers incommand of the detachments were delighted to accept invitations to dinner and totalk all the evening of their battles to the charming patriot who sparkled withinterest and flatterybut not one of them knew whether their enemiestheabhorred Austrian Jagerswould let the travellers through their lines. As arulegaiety was not the character failing in any party that Mrs. Kuhn belongedtobut when at lastafter climbing what was said to be the finestcarriage-pass in Europethe carriage turned the last shoulderwhere theglacier of the Ortler Spitze tumbled its huge mass down upon the roadeven Mrs.Kuhn gasped when she was driven directly up to the barricade and stopped by thedouble line of sentries stretching on either side up the mountainstill theflash of the gun barrels was lost in the flash of the snow. For accidentaleducation the picture had its value. The earliest of these pictures count formostas first impressions mustand Adams never afterwards cared much forlandscape educationexcept perhaps in the tropics for the sake of the contrast.As educationthat chaptertoowas readand set aside.

The handsome blond officers of the Jagers were not to be beaten in courtesyby the handsome young olive-toned officers of the Cacciatori. The eternal womanas usualwhen she is youngprettyand engaginghad her wayand thebarricade offered no resistance. In fifteen minutes the carriage was rollingdown to Malsswarming with German soldiers and German fleasworse than theItalian; and German languagethoughtand atmosphereof which young Adamsthanks to his glimpse of Italynever again felt quite the old confident charm.

Yet he could talk to his cabman and conscientiously did his cathedralshisRhineand whatever his companions suggested. Faithful to his self-contractedscheme of passing two winters in study of the Civil Lawhe went back to Dresdenwith a letter to the Frau Hofrathin von Reichenbachin whose house Lowell andother Americans had pursued studies more or less serious. In those days"The Initials" was a new book. The charm which its clever author hadlaboriously woven over Munich gave also a certain reflected light to Dresden.Young Adams had nothing to do but take fencing-lessonsvisit the galleries andgo to the theatre; but his social failure in the line of "TheInitials" was humiliating and he succumbed to it. The Frau Hofrathinherself was sometimes roused to huge laughter at the total discomfiture andhelplessness of the young American in the face of her society. Possibly aneducation may be the wider and the richer for a large experience of the world;Raphael Pumpelly and Clarence Kingat about the same timewere enriching theireducation by a picturesque intimacy with the manners of the Apaches and DiggerIndians. All experience is an archto build upon. Yet Adams admitted himselfunable to guess what use his second winter in Germany was to himor what heexpected it to be. Even the doctrine of accidental education broke down. Therewere no accidents in Dresden. As soon as the winter was overhe closed andlocked the German door with a long breath of reliefand took the road to Italy.He had then pursued his educationas it pleased himfor eighteen monthsandin spite of the infinite variety of new impressions which had packed themselvesinto his mindhe knew no morefor his practical purposesthan the day hegraduated. He had made no step towards a profession. He was as ignorant as aschoolboy of society. He was unfit for any career in Europeand unfitted forany career in Americaand he had not natural intelligence enough to see what amess he had thus far made of his education.

By twisting life to follow accidental and devious pathsone might perhapsfind some use for accidental and devious knowledgebut this had been no part ofHenry Adams's plan when he chose the path most admired by the best judgesandfollowed it till he found it led nowhere. Nothing had been further from his mindwhen he started in November1858than to become a touristbut a mere touristand nothing elsehe had become in April1860when he joined his sister inFlorence. His father had been in the right. The young man felt a little soreabout it. Supposing his father asked himon his returnwhat equivalent he hadbrought back for the time and money put into his experiment! The only possibleanswer would be: "SirI am a tourist!"

The answer was not what he had meant it to beand he was not likely tobetter it by asking his fatherin turnwhat equivalent his brothers or cousinsor friends at home had got out of the same time and money spent in Boston. Allthey had put into the law was certainly thrown awaybut were they happier inscience? In theory one might saywith some show of proofthat a purescientific education was alone correct; yet many of his friends who took itfound reason to complain that it was anything but a purescientific world inwhich they lived.

Meanwhile his father had quite enough perplexities of his ownwithoutseeking more in his son's errors. His Quincy district had sent him to Congressand in the spring of 1860 he was in the full confusion of nominating candidatesfor the Presidential election in November. He supported Mr. Seward. TheRepublican Party was an unknown forceand the Democratic Party was torn topieces. No one could see far into the future. Fathers could blunder as well assonsandin 1860every one was conscious of being dragged along paths muchless secure than those of the European tourist. For the timethe young man wassafe from interferenceand went on his way with a light heart to take whateverchance fragments of education God or the devil was pleased to give himfor heknew no longer the good from the bad.

He had of both sorts more than he knew how to use. Perhaps the most usefulpurpose he set himself to serve was that of his penfor he wrote long lettersduring the next three monthsto his brother Charleswhich his brother causedto be printed in the Boston Courier; and the exercise was good for him. He hadlittle to sayand said it not very wellbut that mattered less. The habit ofexpression leads to the search for something to express. Something remains as aresiduum of the commonplace itselfif one strikes out every commonplace in theexpression. Young men as a rule saw little in Italyor anywhere elseand inafter lifewhen Adams began to learn what some men could seehe shrank intocorners of shame at the thought that he should have betrayed his own inferiorityas though it were his pridewhile he invited his neighbors to measure andadmire; but it was still the nearest approach he had yet made to an intelligentact.

For the restItaly was mostly an emotion and the emotion naturally centredin Rome. The American parentcuriously enoughwhile bitterly hostile to Parisseemed rather disposed to accept Rome as legitimate educationthough abused;but to young men seeking education in a serious spirittaking for granted thateverything had a causeand that nature tended to an endRome was altogetherthe most violent vice in the worldand Rome before 1870 was seductive beyondresistance. The month of May1860was divine. No doubt other young menandoccasionally young womenhave passed the month of May in Rome since thenandconceive that the charm continues to exist. Possibly it does- in them- but in1860 the lights and shadows were still mediaevaland mediaeval Rome was alive;the shadows breathed and glowedfull of soft forms felt by lost senses. Nosand-blast of science had yet skinned off the epidermis of historythoughtandfeeling. The pictures were uncleanedthe churches unrestoredthe ruinsunexcavated. Mediaeval Rome was sorcery. Rome was the worst spot on earth toteach nineteenth-century youth what to do with a twentieth-century world. One'semotions in Rome were one's private affairlike one's glass of absinthe beforedinner in the Palais Royal; they must be hurtfulelse they could not have beenso intense; and they were surely immoralfor no onepriest or politiciancould honestly read in the ruins of Rome any other certain lesson than that theywere evidence of the just judgments of an outraged God against all the doings ofman. This moral unfitted young men for every sort of useful activity; it madeRome a gospel of anarchy and vice; the last place under the sun for educatingthe young; yet it wasby common consentthe only spot that the young- ofeither sex and every race- passionatelyperverselywickedly loved.

Boys never see a conclusion; only on the edge of the grave can man concludeanything; but the first impulse given to the boy is apt to lead or drive him forthe rest of his life into conclusion after conclusion that he never dreamed ofreaching. One looked idly enough at the Forum or at St. Peter'sbut one neverforgot the lookand it never ceased reacting. To a young Bostonianfresh fromGermanyRome seemed a pure emotionquite free from economic or actual valuesand he could not in reason or common sense foresee that it was mechanicallypiling up conundrum after conundrum in his educational pathwhich seemedunconnected but that he had got to connect; that seemed insoluble but had got tobe somehow solved. Rome was not a beetle to be dissected and dropped; not a badFrench novel to be read in a railway train and thrown out of the window afterother bad French novelsthe morals of which could never approach the immoralityof Roman history. Rome was actual; it was England; it was going to be America.Rome could not be fitted into an orderlymiddle-classBostoniansystematicscheme of evolution. No law of progress applied to it. Not even time-sequences-the last refuge of helpless historians- had value for it. The Forum no more ledto the Vatican than the Vatican to the Forum. RienziGaribaldiTiberiusGracchusAurelian might be mixed up in any relation of timealong with athousand moreand never lead to a sequence. The great word Evolution had notyetin 1860made a new religion of historybut the old religion had preachedthe same doctrine for a thousand years without finding in the entire history ofRome anything but flat contradiction.

Of course both priests and evolutionists bitterly denied this heresybutwhat they affirmed or denied in 1860 had very little importance indeed for 1960.Anarchy lost no ground meanwhile. The problem became only the more fascinating.Probably it was more vital in May1860than it had been in October1764whenthe idea of writing the Decline and Fall of the city first started to the mindof Gibbon"in the close of the eveningas I sat musing in the Church ofthe Zoccolanti or Franciscan Friarswhile they were singing Vespers in theTemple of Jupiteron the ruins of the Capitol." Murray's Handbook had thegrace to quote this passage from Gibbon's "Autobiography" which ledAdams more than once to sit at sunset on the steps of the Church of Santa Mariadi Ara Coelicuriously wondering that not an inch had been gained by Gibbon- orall the historians since- towards explaining the Fall. The mystery remainedunsolved; the charm remained intact. Two great experiments of Westerncivilization had left there the chief monuments of their failureand nothingproved that the city might not still survive to express the failure of a third.

The young man had no idea what he was doing. The thought of posing for aGibbon never entered his mind. He was a touristeven to the depths of hissub-consciousnessand it was well for him that he should be nothing elseforeven the greatest of men cannot sit with dignity"in the close of eveningamong the ruins of the Capitol" unless they have something quite originalto say about it. Tacitus could do it; so could Michael Angelo; and soat apinchcould Gibbonthough in figure hardly heroic; butin sumnone of themcould say very much more than the touristwho went on repeating to himself theeternal question:- Why! Why!! Why!!!- as his neighborthe blind beggarmightdositting next himon the church steps. No one ever had answered the questionto the satisfaction of any one else; yet every one who had either head or heartfelt that sooner or later he must make up his mind what answer to accept.Substitute the word America for the word Romeand the question became personal.

Perhaps Henry learned something in Romethough he never knew itand neversought it. Rome dwarfs teachers. The greatest men of the age scarcely bore thetest of posing with Rome for a background. Perhaps Garibaldi- possibly evenCavour- could have sat "in the close of the eveningamong the ruins of theCapitol" but one hardly saw Napoleon III thereor Palmerston or Tennysonor Longfellow. One morningAdams happened to be chatting in the studio ofHamilton Wildewhen a middle-aged Englishman came inevidently excitedandtold of the shock he had just receivedwhen riding near the Circus Maximusatcoming unexpectedly on the guillotinewhere some criminal had been put to deathan hour or two before. The sudden surprise had quite overcome him; and Adamswho seldom saw the point of a story till time had blunted itlistenedsympathetically to learn what new form of grim horror had for the moment wipedout the memory of two thousand years of Roman bloodshedor the consolationderived from history and statisticsthat most citizens of Rome seemed to be thebetter for guillotining. Only by slow degreeshe grappled the conviction thatthe victim of the shock was Robert Browning; andon the background of theCircus Maximusthe Christian martyrs flaming as torchesand the morning'smurderer on the blockBrowning seemed rather in placeas a middle-agedgentlemanly English Pippa Passes; while afterwardsin the light of Belgraviadinner-tableshe never made part of his background except by effacement.Browning might have sat with Gibbonamong the ruinsand few Romans would havesmiled.

Yet Browning never revealed the poetic depths of Saint Francis; William Storycould not touch the secret of Michael Angelo; and Mommsen hardly said all thatone felt by instinct in the lives of Cicero and Caesar. They taught whatas aruleneeded no teachingthe lessons of a rather cheap imagination and cheaperpolitics. Rome was a bewildering complex of ideasexperimentsambitionsenergies; without herthe Western world was pointless and fragmentary; she gaveheart and unity to it all; yet Gibbon might have gone on for the whole centurysitting among the ruins of the Capitoland no one would have passedcapable oftelling him what it meant. Perhaps it meant nothing.

So it ended; the happiest month of May that life had yet offeredfadingbehind the presentand probably beyond the pastsomewhere into abstract timegrotesquely out of place with the Berlin scheme or a Boston future. Adamsexplained to himself that he was absorbing knowledge. He would have put itbetter had he said that knowledge was absorbing him. He was passive. In spite ofswarming impressions he knew no more when he left Rome than he did when heentered it. As a marketable objecthis value was less. His next step went farto convince him that accidental educationwhatever its economical return mightbewas prodigiously successful as an object in itself. Everything conspired toruin his sound scheme of lifeand to make him a vagrant as well as pauper. Hewent on to Naplesand therein the hot Juneheard rumors that Garibaldi andhis thousand were about to attack Palermo. Calling on the American MinisterChandler of Pennsylvaniahe was kindly treatednot for his meritbut for hisnameand Mr. Chandler amiably consented to send him to the seat of war asbearer of despatches to Captain Palmer of the American sloop of war Iroquois.Young Adams seized the chanceand went to Palermo in a government transportfilled with fleascommanded by a charming Prince Caracciolo.

He told all about it to the Boston Courierwhere the narrative probablyexists to this dayunless the files of the Courier have wholly perished; but ofits bearing on education the Courier did not speak. He himself would have muchliked to know whether it had any bearing whateverand what was its value as apostgraduate course. Quite apart from its value as life attainedrealizedcapitalizedit had also a certain value as a lesson in somethingthough Adamscould never classify the branch of study. Looselythe tourist called itknowledge of menbut it was just the reverse; it was knowledge of one'signorance of men. Captain Palmer of the Iroquoiswho was a friend of the youngman's uncleSydney Brookstook him with the officers of the ship to make anevening call on Garibaldiwhom they found in the Senate House towards sunsetat supper with his picturesque and piratic staffin the full noise and color ofthe Palermo revolution. As a spectacleit belonged to Rossini and the Italianoperaor to Alexandre Dumas at the leastbut the spectacle was not itseducational side. Garibaldi left the tableandsitting down at the windowhada few words of talk with Captain Palmer and young Adams. At that momentin thesummer of 1860Garibaldi was certainly the most serious of the doubtfulenergies in the world; the most essential to gauge rightly. Even then societywas dividing between banker and anarchist. One or the otherGaribaldi mustserve. Himself a typical anarchistsure to overshadow Europe and alarm empiresbigger than Napleshis success depended on his mind; his energy was beyonddoubt.

Adams had the chance to look this sphinx in the eyesandfor five minutesto watch him like a wild animalat the moment of his greatest achievement andmost splendid action. One saw a quiet-featuredquiet-voiced man in a redflannel shirt; absolutely impervious; a type of which Adams knew nothing.Sympathetic it wasand one felt that it was simple; one suspected even that itmight be childlikebut could form no guess of its intelligence. In his own eyesGaribaldi might be a Napoleon or a Spartacus; in the hands of Cavour he mightbecome a Condottiere; in the eyes of history he mightlike the rest of theworldbe only the vigorous player in the game he did not understand. Thestudent was none the wiser.

This compound nature of patriot and pirate had illumined Italian history fromthe beginningand was no more intelligible to itself than to a young Americanwho had no experience in double natures. In the endif the"Autobiography" tells truthGaribaldi saw and said that he had notunderstood his own acts; that he had been an instrument; that he had served thepurposes of the class he least wanted to help; yet in 1860 he thought himselfthe revolution anarchicNapoleonicand his ambition was unbounded. What shoulda young Bostonian have made of a character like thisinternally alive withchildlike fanciesand externally quietsimplealmost innocent; uttering withapparent conviction the usual commonplaces of popular politics that allpoliticians use as the small change of their intercourse with the public; butnever betraying a thought?

Precisely this class of mind was to be the toughest problem of Adams'spractical lifebut he could never make anything of it. The lesson of Garibaldias educationseemed to teach the extreme complexity of extreme simplicity; butone could have learned this from a glow-worm. One did not need the vividrecollection of the low-voicedsimple-manneredseafaring captain of Genoeseadventurers and Sicilian brigandssupping in the July heat and Sicilian dirtand revolutionary clamoramong the barricaded streets of insurgent Palermomerely in order to remember that simplicity is complex.

Adams left the problem as he found itand came north to stumble over othersless picturesque but nearer. He squandered two or three months on Paris. Fromthe first he had avoided Parisand had wanted no French influence in hiseducation. He disapproved of France in the lump. A certain knowledge of thelanguage one must have; enough to order dinner and buy a theatre ticket; butmore he did not seek. He disliked the Empire and the Emperor particularlybutthis was a trifle; he disliked most the French mind. To save himself the troubleof drawing up a long list of all that he dislikedhe disapproved of the wholeonce for alland shut them figuratively out of his life. France was notseriousand he was not serious in going there.

He did this in good faithobeying the lessons his teachers had taught him;but the curious result followed thatbeing in no way responsible for the Frenchand sincerely disapproving themhe felt quite at liberty to enjoy to the fulleverything he disapproved. Stated thus crudelythe idea sounds derisive; butas a matter of factseveral thousand Americans passed much of their time thereon this understanding. They sought to take share in every function that was opento approachas they sought tickets to the operabecause they were not a partof it. Adams did like the rest. All thought of serious education had longvanished. He tried to acquire a few French idiomswithout even aspiring tomaster a subjunctivebut he succeeded better in acquiring a modest taste forBordeaux and Burgundy and one or two sauces; for the Trois Freres Provencaux andVoisin's and Philippe's and the Cafe Anglais; for the Palais Royal Theatreandthe Varietes and the Gymnase; for the Brohans and BressantRose Cheri and GilPerezand other lights of the stage. His friends were good to him. Life wasamusing. Paris rapidly became familiar. In a month or six weeks he forgot evento disapprove of it; but he studied nothingentered no societyand made noacquaintance. Accidental education went far in Parisand one picked up a dealof knowledge that might become useful; perhapsafter allthe three monthspassed there might serve better purpose than the twenty-one months passedelsewhere; but he did not intend it- did not think it- and looked at it as amomentary and frivolous vacation before going home to fit himself for life.Therewithafter staying as long as he could and spending all the money hedaredhe started with mixed emotions but no educationfor home.

CHAPTER VII

Treason (1860-1861) -

WHENforty years afterwardsHenry Adams looked back over his adventures insearch of knowledgehe asked himself whether fortune or fate had ever dealt itscards quite so wildly to any of his known antecessors as when it led him tobegin the study of law and to vote for Abraham Lincoln on the same day.

He dropped back on Quincy like a lump of lead; he rebounded like a footballtossed into space by an unknown energy which played with all his generation as acat plays with mice. The simile is none too strong. Not one man in Americawanted the Civil Waror expected or intended it. A small minority wantedsecession. The vast majority wanted to go on with their occupations in peace.Not onehowever clever or learnedguessed what happened. Possibly a fewSouthern loyalists in despair might dream it as an impossible chance; but noneplanned it.

As for Henry Adamsfresh from Europe and chaos of another sorthe plungedat once into a lurid atmosphere of politicsquite heedless of any education orforethought. His past melted away. The prodigal was welcomed homebut not evenhis father asked a malicious question about the Pandects. At the utmosthehinted at some shade of prodigality by quietly inviting his son to act asprivate secretary during the winter in Washingtonas though any young man whocould afford to throw away two winters on the Civil Law could afford to readBlackstone for another winter without a master. The young man was beyond satireand asked only a pretext for throwing all education to the east wind. Novemberat best is sadand November at Quincy had been from earliest childhood theleast gay of seasons. Nowhere else does the uncharitable autumn wreak its spiteso harshly on the frail wreck of the grasshopper summer; yet even a QuincyNovember seemed temperate before the chill of a Boston January.

This was saying muchfor the November of 1860 at Quincy stood apart fromother memories as lurid beyond description. Although no one believed in civilwarthe air reeked of itand the Republicans organized their clubs and paradesas Wide-Awakes in a form military in all things except weapons. Henry reachedhome in time to see the last of these processionsstretching in ranks oftorches along the hillsidefile down through the November night to the OldHousewhere Mr. Adamstheir Member of Congressreceived themandlet thempretend what they likedtheir air was not that of innocence.

Profoundly ignorantanxiousand curiousthe young man packed his modesttrunk againwhich had not yet time to be unpackedand started for Washingtonwith his family. Ten years had passed since his last visitbut very little hadchanged. As in 1800 and 1850so in 1860the same rude colony was camped in thesame forestwith the same unfinished Greek temples for workroomsand sloughsfor roads. The Government had an air of social instability and incompletenessthat went far to support the right of secession in theory as in fact; but rightor wrongsecession was likely to be easy where there was so little to secedefrom. The Union was a sentimentbut not much moreand in December1860thesentiment about the Capitol was chiefly hostileso far as it made itself felt.John Adams was better off in Philadelphia in 1776 than his great-grandson Henryin 1860 in Washington.

Patriotism ended by throwing a halo over the Continental Congressbut overthe close of the Thirty-sixth Congress in 1860-61no halo could be thrown byany one who saw it. Of all the crowd swarming in Washington that winteryoungAdams was surely among the most ignorant and helplessbut he saw plainly thatthe knowledge possessed by everybody about him was hardly greater than his own.Never in a long life did he seek to master a lesson so obscure. Mr. Sumner wasgiven to saying after Oxenstiern: "Quantula sapientia mundus regitur!"Oxenstiern talked of a world that wanted wisdom; but Adams found himself seekingeducation in a world that seemed to him both unwise and ignorant. The Southernsecessionists were certainly unbalanced in mind- fit for medical treatmentlikeother victims of hallucination- haunted by suspicionby idees fixesby violentmorbid excitement; but this was not all. They were stupendously ignorant of theworld. As a classthe cotton-planters were mentally one-sidedill-balancedand provincial to a degree rarely known. They were a close society on whom thenew fountains of power had poured a stream of wealth and slaves that acted likeoil on flame. They showed a young student his first object-lesson of the way inwhich excess of power worked when held by inadequate hands.

This might be a commonplace of 1900but in 1860 it was paradox. The Southernstatesmen were regarded as standards of statesmanshipand such standards barrededucation. Charles Sumner's chief offence was his insistence on Southernignoranceand he stood a living proof of it. To this schoolHenry Adams hadcome for a new educationand the school was seriouslyhonestlytaken by mostof the worldincluding Europeas proper for the purposealthough the SiouxIndians would have taught less mischief. From such contradictions amongintelligent peoplewhat was a young man to learn?

He could learn nothing but cross-purpose. The old and typical Southerngentleman developed as cotton-planter had nothing to teach or to giveexceptwarning. Even as example to be avoidedhe was too glaring in his defiance ofreasonto help the education of a reasonable being. No one learned a usefullesson from the Confederate school except to keep away from it. Thusat onesweepthe whole field of instruction south of the Potomac was shut off; it wasovershadowed by the cotton-plantersfrom whom one could learn nothing but badtemperbad mannerspokerand treason.

Perforcethe student was thrown back on Northern precept and example; firstof allon his New England surroundings. Republican houses were few inWashingtonand Mr. and Mrs. Adams aimed to create a social centre for NewEnglanders. They took a house on I Streetlooking over Pennsylvania Avenuewell out towards Georgetown- the Markoe house- and there the private secretarybegan to learn his social dutiesfor the political were confined tocommittee-rooms and lobbies of the Capitol. He had little to doand knew nothow to do it rightlybut he knew of no one who knew more.

The Southern type was one to be avoided; the New England type was one's self.It had nothing to show except one's own features. Setting aside Charles Sumnerwho stood quite alone and was the boy's oldest friendall the New Englanderswere sane and steady menwell-balancededucatedand free from meanness orintrigue- men whom one liked to act withand whowhether graduates or notbore the stamp of Harvard College. Anson Burlingame was one exceptionandperhaps Israel Washburn another; but as a rule the New Englander's strength washis poise which almost amounted to a defeat. He offered no more target for lovethan for hate; he attracted as little as he repelled; even as a machinehismotion seemed never accelerated. The characterwith its force or feeblenesswas familiar: one knew it to the core; one was it- had been run in the samemould.

There remained the Central and Western Statesbut there the choice ofteachers was not large and in the end narrowed itself to Preston KingHenryWinter DavisOwen Lovejoyand a few other men born with social faculty. Adamstook most kindly to Henry J. Raymondwho came to view the field for the NewYork Timesand who was a man of the world. The average Congressman was civilenoughbut had nothing to ask except officesand nothing to offer but theviews of his district. The average Senator was more reservedbut had not muchmore to saybeing alwaysexcepting one or two genial natureshandicapped byhis own importance.

Study it as one mightthe hope of educationtill the arrival of thePresident-electnarrowed itself to the possible influence of only two men-Sumner and Seward.

Sumner was then fifty years old. Since his election as Senator in 1851 he hadpassed beyond the reach of his boy friendandafter his Brooks injurieshisnervous system never quite recovered its tone; but perhaps eight or ten years ofsolitary existence as Senator had most to do with his development. No manhowever strongcan serve ten years as schoolmasterpriestor Senatorandremain fit for anything else. All the dogmatic stations in life have the effectof fixing a certain stiffness of attitude foreveras though they mesmerized thesubject. Yet even among Senators there were degrees in dogmatismfrom the frankSouth Carolinian brutalityto that of WebsterBentonClayor Sumner himselfuntil in extreme caseslike Conklingit became Shakespearian and bouffe- asGodkin used to call it- like Malvolio. Sumner had become dogmatic like the restbut he had at least the merit of qualities that warranted dogmatism. He justlythoughtas Webster had thought before himthat his great services andsacrificeshis superiority in educationhis oratorical powerhis politicalexperiencehis representative character at the head of the whole New Englandcontingentandabove allhis knowledge of the worldmade him the mostimportant member of the Senate; and no Senator had ever saturated himself morethoroughly with the spirit and temper of the body.

Although the Senate is much given to admiring in its members a superiorityless obvious or quite invisible to outsidersone Senator seldom proclaims hisown inferiority to anotherand still more seldom likes to be told of it. Eventhe greatest Senators seemed to inspire little personal affection in each otherand betrayed none at all. Sumner had a number of rivals who held his judgment inno high esteemand one of these was Senator Seward. The two men would havedisliked each other by instinct had they lived in different planets. Each wascreated only for exasperating the other; the virtues of one were the faults ofhis rivaluntil no good quality seemed to remain of either. That the publicservice must suffer was certainbut what were the sufferings of the publicservice compared with the risks run by a young mosquito- a private secretary-trying to buzz admiration in the ears of eachand unaware that each wouldimpatiently slap at him for belonging to the other? Innocent and unsuspiciousbeyond what was permitted even in a nurserythe private secretary courted both.

Private secretaries are servants of a rather low orderwhose business is toserve sources of power. The first news of a professional kindimparted toprivate secretary Adams on reaching Washingtonwas that the President-electAbraham Lincolnhad selected Mr. Seward for his Secretary of Stateand thatSeward was to be the medium for communicating his wishes to his followers. Everyyoung man naturally accepted the wishes of Mr. Lincoln as ordersthe morebecause he could see that the new President was likely to need all the help thatseveral million young men would be able to giveif they counted on having anyPresident at all to serve. Naturally one waited impatiently for the firstmeeting with the new Secretary of State.

Governor Seward was an old friend of the family. He professed to be adisciple and follower of John Quincy Adams. He had been Senator since 1849whenhis responsibilities as leader had separated him from the Free Soil contingentforin the dry light of the first Free Soil faiththe ways of New Yorkpolitics and of Thurlow Weed had not won favor; but the fierce heat which weldedthe Republican Party in 1856 melted many such barriersand when Mr. Adams cameto Congress in December1859Governor Seward instantly renewed his attitude offamily friendbecame a daily intimate in the householdand lost no chance offorcing his fresh ally to the front.

A few days after their arrival in December1860the Governoras he wasalways calledcame to dinneraloneas one of the familyand the privatesecretary had the chance he wanted to watch him as carefully as one generallywatches men who dispose of one's future. A slouchingslender figure; a headlike a wise macaw; a beaked nose; shaggy eyebrows; unorderly hair and clothes;hoarse voice; offhand manner; free talkand perpetual cigaroffered a newtype- of western New York- to fathom; a type in one way simple because it wasonly double- political and personal; but complex because the political hadbecome natureand no one could tell which was the mask and which the features.At tableamong friendsMr. Seward threw off restraintor seemed to throw itoffin realitywhile in the world he threw it offlike a politicianforeffect. In both cases he chose to appear as a free talkerwho loathed pomposityand enjoyed a joke; but how much was nature and how much was maskhe washimself too simple a nature to know. Underneath the surface he was conventionalafter the conventions of western New York and Albany. Politicians thought itunconventionality. Bostonians thought it provincial. Henry Adams thought itcharming. From the first sighthe loved the Governorwhothough sixty yearsoldhad the youth of his sympathies. He noticed that Mr. Seward was never pettyor personal; his talk was large; he generalized; he never seemed to pose forstatesmanship; he did not require an attitude of prayer. What was more unusual-almost singular and quite eccentric- he had some meansunknown to otherSenatorsof producing the effect of unselfishness.

Superficially Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams were contrasts; essentially they weremuch alike. Mr. Adams was taken to be rigidbut the Puritan character in allits forms could be supple enough when it chose; and in Massachusetts all theAdamses had been attacked in succession as no better than political mercenaries.Mr. Hildrethin his standard historywent so far as to echo with approval thecharge that treachery was hereditary in the family. Any Adams had at least to bethick-skinnedhardened to every contradictory epithet that virtue could supplyandon the wholearmed to return such attentions; but all must have admittedthat they had invariably subordinated local to national interestsand wouldcontinue to do sowhenever forced to choose. C. F. Adams was sure to do whathis father had doneas his father had followed the steps of John Adamsand nodoubt thereby earned his epithets.

The inevitable followedas a child fresh from the nursery should have hadthe instinct to foreseebut the young man on the edge of life never dreamed.What motives or emotions drove his masters on their various paths he made nopretence of guessing; even at that age he preferred to admit his dislike forguessing motives; he knew only his own infantile ignorancebefore which hestood amazedand his innocent good-faithalways matter of simple-mindedsurprise. Critics who know ultimate truth will pronounce judgment on history;all that Henry Adams ever saw in man was a reflection of his own ignoranceandhe never saw quite so much of it as in the winter of 1860-61. Every one knowsthe story; every one draws what conclusion suits his temperand the conclusionmatters now less than though it concerned the merits of Adam and Eve in theGarden of Eden; but in 1861 the conclusion made the sharpest lesson of life; itwas condensed and concentrated education.

Rightly or wrongly the new President and his chief advisers in Washingtondecided thatbefore they could administer the Governmentthey must make sureof a government to administerand that this chance depended on the action ofVirginia. The whole ascendancy of the winter wavered between the effort of thecotton States to drag Virginia outand the effort of the new President to keepVirginia in. Governor Seward representing the Administration in the Senate tookthe lead; Mr. Adams took the lead in the House; and as far as a privatesecretary knewthe party united on its tactics. In offering concessions to theborder Statesthey had to run the riskor incur the certaintyof dividingtheir own partyand they took this risk with open eyes. As Seward himselfinhis gruff waysaid at dinnerafter Mr. Adams and he had made their speeches:"If there's no secession nowyou and I are ruined."

They won their game; this was their affair and the affair of the historianswho tell their story; their private secretaries had nothing to do with it exceptto follow their orders. On that side a secretary learned nothing and had nothingto learn. The sudden arrival of Mr. Lincoln in Washington on February 23andthe language of his inaugural addresswere the final term of the winter'stacticsand closed the private secretary's interest in the matter forever.Perhaps he felteven thena good deal more interest in the appearance ofanother private secretaryof his own agea young man named John Haywholighted on La Fayette Square at the same moment. Friends are bornnot madeandHenry never mistook a friend except when in power. From the first slight meetingin February and March1861he recognized Hay as a friendand never lost sightof him at the future crossing of their paths; butfor the momenthis own taskended on March 4 when Hay's began. The winter's anxieties were shifted upon newshouldersand Henry gladly turned back to Blackstone. He had tried to makehimself usefuland had exerted energy that seemed to him portentousacting insecret as newspaper correspondentcultivating a large acquaintance and evenhaunting ballrooms where the simpleold-fashionedSouthern tone was pleasanteven in the atmosphere of conspiracy and treason. The sum was next to nothingfor educationbecause no one could teach; all were as ignorant as himself; noneknew what should be doneor how to do it; all were trying to learn and weremore bent on asking than on answering questions. The mass of ignorance inWashington was lighted up by no ray of knowledge. Societyfrom top to bottombroke down.

From this law there was no exceptionunlessperhapsthat of old GeneralWinfield Scottwho happened to be the only military figure that looked equal tothe crisis. No one else either looked itor was itor could be itby natureor training. Had young Adams been told that his life was to hang on thecorrectness of his estimate of the new Presidenthe would have lost. He saw Mr.Lincoln but once; at the melancholy function called an Inaugural Ball. Of coursehe looked anxiously for a sign of character. He saw a longawkward figure; aplainploughed face; a mindabsent in partand in part evidently worried bywhite kid gloves; features that expressed neither self-satisfaction nor anyother familiar Americanismbut rather the same painful sense of becomingeducated and of needing education that tormented a private secretaryabove alla lack of apparent force. Any private secretary in the least fit for hisbusiness would have thoughtas Adams didthat no man living needed so mucheducation as the new President but that all the education he could get would notbe enough.

As far as a young man of anxious temperament could seeno one in Washingtonwas fitted for his duties; or ratherno duties in March were fitted for theduties in April. The few people who thought they knew something were more inerror than those who knew nothing. Education was matter of life and deathbutall the education in the world would have helped nothing. Only one man inAdams's reach seemed to him supremely fitted by knowledge and experience to bean adviser and friend. This was Senator Sumner; and therein factthe youngman's education began; there it ended.

Going over the experience againlong after all the great actors were deadhe struggled to see where he had blundered. In the effort to make acquaintanceshe lost friendsbut he would have liked much to know whether he could havehelped it. He had necessarily followed Seward and his father; he took forgranted that his business was obediencedisciplineand silence; he supposedthe party to require itand that the crisis overruled all personal doubts. Hewas thunderstruck to learn that Senator Sumner privately denounced the courseregarded Mr. Adams as betraying the principles of his lifeand broke offrelations with his family.

Many a shock was Henry Adams to meet in the course of a long life passedchiefly near politics and politiciansbut the profoundest lessons are not thelessons of reason; they are sudden strains that permanently warp the mind. Hecared little or nothing about the point in discussion; he was even willing toadmit that Sumner might be rightthough in all great emergencies he commonlyfound that every one was more or less wrong; he liked lofty moral principle andcared little for political tactics; he felt a profound respect for Sumnerhimself; but the shock opened a chasm in life that never closedand as long aslife lastedhe found himself invariably taking for grantedas a politicalinstinctwithout waiting further experiment- as he took for granted thatarsenic poisoned- the rule that a friend in power is a friend lost.

On his own scorehe never admitted the ruptureand never exchanged a wordwith Mr. Sumner on the subjectthen or afterwardsbut his education- for goodor bad- made an enormous stride. One has to deal with all sorts of unexpectedmorals in lifeandat this momenthe was looking at hundreds of Southerngentlemen who believed themselves singularly honestbut who seemed to himengaged in the plainest breach of faith and the blackest secret conspiracyyetthey did not disturb his education. History told of little else; and not onerebel defection- not even Robert E. Lee's- cost young Adams a personal pang; butSumner's struck home.

Thisthenwas the result of the new attempt at educationdown to March 41861; this was all; and franklyit seemed to him hardly what he wanted. Thepicture of Washington in March1861offered educationbut not the kind ofeducation that led to good. The process that Matthew Arnold described aswandering between two worldsone deadthe other powerless to be bornhelpsnothing. Washington was a dismal school. Even before the traitors had flownthevultures descended on it in swarms that darkened the groundand tore thecarrion of political patronage into fragments and gobbets of fat and leanonthe very steps of the White House. Not a man there knew what his task was to beor was fitted for it; every one without exceptionNorthern or Southernwas tolearn his business at the cost of the public. LincolnSewardSumnerand therestcould give no help to the young man seeking education; they knew less thanhe; within six weeks they were all to be taught their duties by the uprising ofsuch as heand their education was to cost a million lives and ten thousandmillion dollarsmore or lessNorth and Southbefore the country could recoverits balance and movement. Henry was a helpless victimandlike all the resthe could only wait for he knew not whatto send him he knew not where.

With the close of the sessionhis own functions ended. Ceasing to be privatesecretary he knew not what else to do but return with his father and mother toBoston in the middle of Marchandwith childlike docilitysit down at a deskin the law-office of Horace Gray in Court Streetto begin again: "My Lordsand Gentlemen"; dozing after a two o'clock dinneror waking to discusspolitics with the future Justice. Therein ordinary timeshe would haveremained for lifehis attempt at education in treason havinglike all therestdisastrously failed.

CHAPTER VIII

Diplomacy (1861) -

HARDLY a week passed when the newspapers announced that President Lincoln hadselected Charles Francis Adams as his Minister to England. Once moresilentlyHenry put Blackstone back on its shelf. As Friar Bacon's head sententiouslyannounced many centuries before: Time had passed! The Civil Law lasted a briefday; the Common Law prolonged its shadowy existence for a week. The lawaltogetheras path of educationvanished in April1861leaving a millionyoung men planted in the mud of a lawless worldto begin a new life withouteducation at all. They asked few questionsbut if they had asked millions theywould have got no answers. No one could help. Looking back on this moment ofcrisisnearly fifty years afterwardsone could only shake one's white beard insilent horror. Mr. Adams once intimated that he thought himself entitled to theservices of one of his sonsand he indicated Henry as the only one who could bespared from more serious duties. Henry packed his trunk again without a word. Hecould offer no protest. Ridiculous as he knew himself about to be in his newrolehe was less ridiculous than his betters. He was at least no publicofficiallike the thousands of improvised secretaries and generals who crowdedtheir jealousies and intrigues on the President. He was not a vulture ofcarrion- patronage. He knew that his father's appointment was the result ofGovernor Seward's personal friendship; he did not then know that Senator Sumnerhad opposed it; or the reasons which Sumner alleged for thinking it unfit; buthe could have supplied proofs enough had Sumner asked for themthe strongestand most decisive being thatin his opinionMr. Adams had chosen a privatesecretary far more unfit than his chief. That Mr. Adams was unfit might well besince it was hard to find a fit appointment in the list of possible candidatesexcept Mr. Sumner himself; and no one knew so well as this experienced Senatorthat the weakest of all Mr. Adams's proofs of fitness was his consent to quit asafe seat in Congress for an exceedingly unsafe seat in London with no bettersupport than Senator Sumnerat the head of the Foreign Relations Committeewaslikely to give him. In the family historyits members had taken many adangerous riskbut never before had they taken one so desperate.

The private secretary troubled himself not at all about the unfitness of anyone; he knew too little; andin factno oneexcept perhaps Mr. Sumnerknewmore. The President and Secretary of State knew least of all. As Secretary ofLegation the Executive appointed the editor of a Chicago newspaper who hadapplied for the Chicago Post-Office; a good fellowuniversally known as CharleyWilsonwho had not a thought of staying in the postor of helping theMinister. The Assistant Secretary was inherited from Buchanan's timea hardworkerbut socially useless. Mr. Adams made no effort to find efficient help;perhaps he knew no name to suggest; perhaps he knew too much of Washington; buthe could hardly have hoped to find a staff of strength in his son.

The private secretary was more passive than his fatherfor he knew not whereto turn. Sumner alone could have smoothed his path by giving him letters ofintroductionbut if Sumner wrote lettersit was not with the effect ofsmoothing paths. No oneat that momentwas engaged in smoothing either pathsor people. The private secretary was no worse off than his neighbors except inbeing called earlier into service. On April 13 the storm burst and rolledseveral hundred thousand young men like Henry Adams into the surf of a wildoceanall helpless like himselfto be beaten about for four years by the wavesof war. Adams still had time to watch the regiments form ranks before BostonState House in the April evenings and march southwardquietly enoughwith theair of business they wore from their cradlesbut with few signs or sounds ofexcitement. He had time also to go down the harbor to see his brother Charlesquartered in Fort Independence before being thrownwith a hundred thousandmoreinto the furnace of the Army of the Potomac to get educated in a fury offire. Few things were for the moment so trivial in importance as the solitaryprivate secretary crawling down to the wretched old Cunard steamer Niagara atEast Boston to start again for Liverpool. This time the pitcher of education hadgone to the fountain once too often; it was fairly broken; and the young man hadgot to meet a hostile world without defence- or arms.

The situation did not seem even comicso ignorant was the world of itshumors; yet Minister Adams sailed for EnglandMay 11861with much the sameoutfit as Admiral Dupont would have enjoyed if the Government had sent him toattack Port Royal with one cabin-boy in a rowboat. Luckily for the cabin-boyhewas alone. Had Secretary Seward and Senator Sumner given to Mr. Adams the rankof Ambassador and four times his salarya palace in Londona staff of trainedsecretariesand personal letters of introduction to the royal family and thewhole peeragethe private secretary would have been cabin-boy stillwith theextra burden of many masters; he was the most fortunate person in the partyhaving for master only his father who never frettednever dictatedneverdisciplinedand whose idea of American diplomacy was that of the eighteenthcentury. Minister Adams remembered how his grandfather had sailed from MountWollaston in midwinter1778on the little frigate Bostontaking hiseleven-year-old son John Quincy with himfor secretaryon a diplomacy ofadventure that had hardly a parallel for success. He remembered how John Quincyin 1809had sailed for Russiawith himselfa baby of two years oldto copewith Napoleon and the Czar Alexander single-handedalmost as much of anadventurer as John Adams before himand almost as successful. He thought itnatural that the Government should send him out as an adventurer alsowith atwenty-three-year-old sonand he did not even notice that he left not a friendbehind him. No doubt he could depend on Sewardbut on whom could Seward depend?Certainly not on the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations. MinisterAdams had no friend in the Senate; he could hope for no favorsand he askednone. He thought it right to play the adventurer as his father and grandfatherhad done before himwithout a murmur. This was a lofty viewand for himanswered his objectsbut it bore hard on cabin-boysand whenin timetheyoung man realized what had happenedhe felt it as a betrayal. He modestlythought himself unfit for the career of adventurerand judged his father to beless fit than himself. For the first time America was posing as the champion oflegitimacy and order. Her representatives should know how to play their role;they should wear the costume; butin the mission attached to Mr. Adams in 1861the only rag of legitimacy or order was the private secretarywhose stature wasnot sufficient to impose awe on the Court and Parliament of Great Britain.

One inevitable effect of this lesson was to make a victim of the scholar andto turn him into a harsh judge of his masters. If they overlooked himhe couldhardly overlook themsince they stood with their whole weight on his body. Byway of teaching him quicklythey sent out their new Minister to Russia in thesame ship. Secretary Seward had occasion to learn the merits of Cassius M. Clayin the diplomatic servicebut Mr. Seward's education profited less than theprivate secretary'sCassius Clay as a teacher having no equal though possiblysome rivals. No young mannot in Government paycould be asked to drawfromsuch lessonsany confidence in himselfand it was notorious thatfor the nexttwo yearsthe persons were few indeed who feltor had reason to feelany sortof confidence in the Government; fewest of all among those who were in it. Athomefor the most partyoung men went to the wargrumbled and died; inEngland they might grumble or not; no one listened.

Above allthe private secretary could not grumble to his chief. He knewsurprisingly littlebut that much he did know. He never labored so hard tolearn a language as he did to hold his tongueand it affected him for life. Thehabit of reticence- of talking without meaning- is never effaced. He had tobegin it at once. He was already an adept when the party landed at LiverpoolMay 131861and went instantly up to London: a family of early Christianmartyrs about to be flung into an arena of lionsunder the glad eyes ofTiberius Palmerston. Though Lord Palmerston would have laughed his peculiarPalmerston laugh at figuring as Tiberiushe would have seen only evidentresemblance in the Christian martyrsfor he had already arranged the ceremony.

Of what they had to expectthe Minister knew no more than his son. What heor Mr. Seward or Mr. Sumner may have thought is the affair of history and theirerrors concern historians. The errors of a private secretary concerned no onebut himselfand were a large part of his education. He thought on May 12 thathe was going to a friendly Government and peopletrue to the anti-slaveryprinciples which had been their steadiest profession. For a hundred years thechief effort of his family had aimed at bringing the Government of England intointelligent cooperation with the objects and interests of America. His fatherwas about to make a new effortand this time the chance of success waspromising. The slave States had been the chief apparent obstacle to goodunderstanding. As for the private secretary himselfhe waslike allBostoniansinstinctively English. He could not conceive the idea of a hostileEngland. He supposed himselfas one of the members of a famous anti-slaveryfamilyto be welcome everywhere in the British Islands.

On May 13he met the official announcement that England recognized thebelligerency of the Confederacy. This beginning of a new education tore up bythe roots nearly all that was left of Harvard College and Germany. He had tolearn- the sooner the better- that his ideas were the reverse of truth; that inMay1861no one in England- literally no one- doubted that Jefferson Davis hadmade or would make a nationand nearly all were glad of itthough not oftensaying so. They mostly imitated Palmerstonwhoaccording to Mr. Gladstone"desired the severance as a diminution of a dangerous powerbut prudentlyheld his tongue." The sentiment of anti-slavery had disappeared. Lord JohnRussellas Foreign Secretaryhad received the rebel emissariesand haddecided to recognize their belligerency before the arrival of Mr. Adams in orderto fix the position of the British Government in advance. The recognition ofindependence would then become an understood policy; a matter of time andoccasion.

Whatever Minister Adams may have feltthe first effect of this shock uponhis son produced only a dullness of comprehension- a sort of hazy inability tograsp the missile or realize the blow. Yet he realized that to his father it waslikely to be fatal. The chances were great that the whole family would turnround and go home within a few weeks. The horizon widened out in endless wavesof confusion. When he thought over the subject in the long leisure of laterlifehe grew cold at the idea of his situation had his father then shownhimself what Sumner thought him to be- unfit for his post. That the privatesecretary was unfit for his- trifling though it were- was proved by hisunreflecting confidence in his father. It never entered his mind that his fathermight lose his nerve or his temperand yet in a subsequent knowledge ofstatesmen and diplomats extending over several generationshe could notcertainly point out another who could have stood such a shock without showingit. He passed this long dayand tedious journey to Londonwithout oncethinking of the possibility that his father might make a mistake. Whatever theMinister thoughtand certainly his thought was not less active than his son'she showed no trace of excitement. His manner was the same as ever; his mind andtemper were as perfectly balanced; not a word escaped; not a nerve twitched.

The test was finalfor no other shock so violent and sudden could possiblyrecur. The worst was in full sight. For once the private secretary knew his ownbusinesswhich was to imitate his father as closely as possible and hold histongue. Dumped thus into Maurigy's Hotel at the foot of Regent Streetin themidst of a London seasonwithout a friend or even an acquaintancehe preferredto laugh at his father's bewilderment before the waiter's"'amhandheggsir" for breakfastrather than ask a question or expressa doubt. His situationif taken seriouslywas too appalling to face. Had heknown it betterhe would only have thought it worse.

Politically or sociallythe outlook was desperatebeyond retrieving orcontesting. Sociallyunder the best of circumstancesa newcomer in Londonsociety needs years to establish a positionand Minister Adams had not a weekor an hour to sparewhile his son had not even a remote chance of beginning.Politically the prospect looked even worseand for Secretary Seward and SenatorSumner it was so; but for the Ministeron the spotas he came to realizeexactly where he stoodthe danger was not so imminent. Mr. Adams was always oneof the luckiest of menboth in what he achieved and in what he escaped. Theblowwhich prostrated Seward and Sumnerpassed over him. Lord John Russell hadacted- had probably intended to act- kindly by him in forestalling his arrival.The blow must have fallen within three monthsand would then have broken himdown. The British Ministers were a little in doubt still- a little ashamed ofthemselves- and certain to wait the longer for their next step in proportion tothe haste of their first.

This is not a story of the diplomatic adventures of Charles Francis Adamsbut of his son Henry's adventures in search of an educationwhichif not takentoo seriouslytended to humor. The father's position in London was notaltogether bad; the son's was absurd. Thanks to certain family associationsCharles Francis Adams naturally looked on all British Ministers as enemies; theonly public occupation of all Adamses for a hundred and fifty years at leastintheir brief intervals of quarrelling with State Streethad been to quarrel withDowning Street; and the British Governmentwell used to a liberal unpopularityabroadeven when offically rude liked to be personally civil. All diplomaticagents are liable to be putso to speakin a cornerand are none the worsefor it. Minister Adams had nothing in especial to complain of; his position wasgood while it lastedand he had only the chances of war to fear. The son had nosuch compensations. Brought over in order to help his fatherhe could conceiveno way of rendering his father helpbut he was clear that his father had got tohelp him. To himthe Legation was social ostracismterrible beyond anything hehad known. Entire solitude in the great society of London was doubly desperatebecause his duties as private secretary required him to know everybody and gowith his father and mother everywhere they needed escort. He had no friendoreven enemyto tell him to be patient. Had any one done ithe would surely havebroken out with the reply that patience was the last resource of fools as wellas of sages; if he was to help his father at allhe must do it at oncefor hisfather would never so much need help again. In fact he never gave his father thesmallest helpunless it were as a footmanclerkor a companion for theyounger children.

He found himself in a singular situation for one who was to be useful. As hecame to see the situation closerhe began to doubt whether secretaries weremeant to be useful. Wars were too common in diplomacy to disturb the habits ofthe diplomat. Most secretaries detested their chiefsand wished to be anythingbut useful. At the St. James's Clubto which the Minister's son could go onlyas an invited guestthe most instructive conversation he ever heard among theyoung men of his own age who hung about the tablesmore helpless than himselfwas: "Quel chien de pays!" or"Que tu es beau aujourd'huimoncher!" No one wanted to discuss affairs; still less to give or getinformation. That was the affair of their chiefswho were also slow to assumework not specially ordered from their Courts. If the American Minister was introuble to-daythe Russian Ambassador was in trouble yesterdayand theFrenchman would be in trouble to-morrow. It would all come in the day's work.There was nothing professional in worry. Empires were always tumbling to piecesand diplomats were always picking them up.

This was his whole diplomatic educationexcept that he found rich veins ofjealousy running between every chief and his staff. His social education wasmore barren stilland more trying to his vanity. His little mistakes inetiquette or address made him writhe with torture. He never forgot the first twoor three social functions he attended: one an afternoon at Miss Burdett Coutts'sin Stratton Placewhere he hid himself in the embrasure of a window and hopedthat no one noticed him; another was a garden-party given by the oldanti-slavery Duchess Dowager of Sutherland at Chiswickwhere the AmericanMinister and Mrs. Adams were kept in conversation by the old Duchess till everyone else went away except the young Duke and his cousinswho set to playingleap-frog on the lawn. At intervals during the next thirty years Henry Adamscontinued to happen upon the Dukewhosingularly enoughwas always playingleap-frog. Still another nightmare he suffered at a dance given by the oldDuchess Dowager of Somerseta terrible vision in castanetswho seized him andforced him to perform a Highland fling before the assembled nobility and gentrywith the daughter of the Turkish Ambassador for partner. This might seemhumorous to somebut to him the world turned to ashes.

When the end of the season camethe private secretary had not yet won aprivate acquaintanceand he hugged himself in his solitude when the story ofthe battle of Bull Run appeared in the Times. He felt only the wish to be moreprivate than everfor Bull Run was a worse diplomatic than military disaster.All this is history and can be read by public schools if they choose; but thecurious and unexpected happened to the Legationfor the effect of Bull Run onthem was almost strengthening. They no longer felt doubt. For the next year theywent on only from week to weekready to leave England at onceand neverassuming more than three months for their limit. Europe was waiting to see themgo. So certain was the end that no one cared to hurry it.

So far as a private secretary could seethis was all that saved his father.For many months he looked on himself as lost or finished in the character ofprivate secretary; and as about to beginwithout further experimenta finaleducation in the ranks of the Army of the Potomac where he would find most ofhis friends enjoying a much pleasanter life than his own. With this ideauppermost in his mindhe passed the summer and the autumnand began thewinter. Any winter in London is a severe trial; one's first winter is the mosttrying; but the month of December1861in Mansfield StreetPortland Placewould have gorged a glutton of gloom.

One afternoon when he was struggling to resist complete nervous depression inthe solitude of Mansfield Streetduring the absence of the Minister and Mrs.Adams on a country visitReuter's telegram announcing the seizure of Mason andSlidell from a British mail-steamer was brought to the office. All threesecretariespublic and private were there- nervous as wild beasts under thelong strain on their endurance- and all threethough they knew it to be notmerely their order of departure- not merely diplomatic rupture- but adeclaration of war- broke into shouts of delight. They were glad to face theend. They saw it and cheered it! Since England was waiting only for its ownmoment to strikethey were eager to strike first.

They telegraphed the news to the Ministerwho was staying with MoncktonMilnes at Frystonin Yorkshire. How Mr. Adams took itis told in the"Lives" of Lord Houghton and William E. Forster who was one of theFryston party. The moment was for him the crisis of his diplomatic career; forthe secretaries it was merely the beginning of another intolerable delayasthough they were a military outpost waiting orders to quit an abandonedposition. At the moment of sharpest suspensethe Prince Consort sickened anddied. Portland Place at Christmas in a black fog was never a rosy landscapebutin 1861 the most hardened Londoner lost his ruddiness. The private secretary hadone source of comfort denied to them- he should not be private secretary long.

He was mistaken- of course! He had been mistaken at every point of hiseducationandon this pointhe kept up the same mistake for nearly sevenyears longeralways deluded by the notion that the end was near. To him theTrent Affair was nothing but one of many affairs which he had to copy in adelicate round hand into his booksyet it had one or two results personal tohim which left no trace on the Legation records. One of theseand to him themost importantwas to put an end forever to the idea of being"useful." Hithertoas an independent and free citizennot in theemploy of the Governmenthe had kept up his relations with the American press.He had written pretty frequently to Henry J. Raymondand Raymond had used hisletters in the New York Times. He had also become fairly intimate with the twoor three friendly newspapers in Londonthe Daily Newsthe Starthe weeklySpectator; and he had tried to give them news and views that should have acertain common characterand prevent clash. He had even gone down to Manchesterto study the cotton famineand wrote a long account of his visit which hisbrother Charles had published in the Boston Courier. Unfortunately it wasprinted with his nameand instantly came back upon him in the most crushingshape possible- that of a longsatirical leader in the London Times. Luckilythe Times did not know its victim to be a partthough not an officialof theLegationand lost the chance to make its satire fatal; but he instantly learnedthe narrowness of his escape from old Joe Parkesone of the traditionalbusy-bodies of politicswho had haunted London since 1830and whoafterrushing to the Times officeto tell them all they did not know about HenryAdamsrushed to the Legation to tell Adams all he did not want to know aboutthe Times. For a moment Adams thought his "usefulness" at an end inother respects than in the pressbut a day or two more taught him the value ofobscurity. He was totally unknown; he had not even a club; London was empty; noone thought twice about the Times article; no one except Joe Parkes ever spokeof it; and the world had other persons- such as President LincolnSecretarySewardand Commodore Wilkes- for constant and favorite objects of ridicule.Henry Adams escapedbut he never tried to be useful again. The Trent Affairdwarfed individual effort. His education at least had reached the point ofseeing its own proportions. "Surtout point de zele!" Zeal was toohazardous a profession for a Minister's son to pursueas a volunteermanipulatoramong Trent Affairs and rebel cruisers. He wrote no more lettersand meddled with no more newspapersbut he was still youngand felt unkindlytowards the editor of the London Times.

Mr. Delane lost few opportunities of embittering himand he felt little orno hope of repaying these attentions; but the Trent Affair passed like asnowstormleaving the Legationto its surprisestill in place. Although theprivate secretary saw in this delay- which he attributed to Mr. Seward's goodsense- no reason for changing his opinion about the views of the BritishGovernmenthe had no choice but to sit down again at his tableand go oncopying papersfiling lettersand reading newspaper accounts of the incapacityof Mr. Lincoln and the brutality of Mr. Seward- or vice versa. The heavy monthsdragged on and winter slowly turned to spring without improving his position orspirits. Socially he had but one relief; andto the end of lifehe neverforgot the keen gratitude he owed for it. During this tedious winter and formany months afterwardsthe only gleams of sunshine were on the days he passedat Walton-on-Thames as the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Sturgis at Mount Felix.

His education had unfortunately little to do with bankersalthough oldGeorge Peabody and his partnerJunius Morganwere strong allies. Joshua Bateswas devotedand no one could be kinder than Thomas Baringwhose little dinnersin Upper Grosvenor Street were certainly the best in London; but none offered arefuge to compare with Mount Felixandfor the first timethe refuge was aliberal education. Mrs. Russell Sturgis was one of the women to whom anintelligent boy attaches himself as closely as he can. Henry Adams was not avery intelligent boyand he had no knowledge of the worldbut he knew enoughto understand that a cub needed shape. The kind of education he most requiredwas that of a charming womanand Mrs. Russell Sturgisa dozen years older thanhimselfcould have good-naturedly trained a school of suchwithout an effortand with infinite advantage to them. Near her he half forgot the anxieties ofPortland Place. During two years of miserable solitudeshe was in this socialpolar winterthe single source of warmth and light.

Of course the Legation itself was homeandunder such pressurelife in itcould be nothing but united. All the inmates made common causebut this was noeducation. One livedbut was merely flayed alive. Yetwhile this might beexactly true of the younger members of the householdit was not quite so withthe Minister and Mrs. Adams. Very slowlybut quite steadilythey gainedfoothold. For some reason partly connected with American sourcesBritishsociety had begun with violent social prejudice against LincolnSewardand allthe Republican leaders except Sumner. Familiar as the whole tribe of Adamses hadbeen for three generations with the impenetrable stupidity of the British mindand weary of the long struggle to teach it its own intereststhe fourthgeneration could still not quite persuade itself that this new British prejudicewas natural. The private secretary suspected that Americans in New York andBoston had something to do with it. The Copperhead was at home in Pall Mall.Naturally the Englishman was a coarse animal and liked coarseness. Had Lincolnand Seward been the ruffians supposedthe average Englishman would have likedthem the better. The exceedingly quiet manner and the unassailable socialposition of Minister Adams in no way conciliated them. They chose to ignore himsince they could not ridicule him. Lord John Russell set the example. Personallythe Minister was to be kindly treated; politically he was negligible; he wasthere to be put aside. London and Paris imitated Lord John. Every one waited tosee Lincoln and his hirelings disappear in one vast debacle. All conceived thatthe Washington Government would soon crumbleand that Minister Adams wouldvanish with the rest.

This situation made Minister Adams an exception among diplomats. Europeanrulers for the most part fought and treated as members of one familyand rarelyhad in view the possibility of total extinction; but the Governments and societyof Europefor a year at leastregarded the Washington Government as deadandits Ministers as nullities. Minister Adams was better received than mostnullities because he made no noise. Little by littlein privatesociety tookthe habit of accepting himnot so much as a diplomatbut rather as a member ofoppositionor an eminent counsel retained for a foreign Government. He was tobe received and considered; to be cordially treated asby birth and mannersone of themselves. This curiously English way of getting behind a stupidity gavethe Minister every possible advantage over a European diplomat. Barriers ofracelanguagebirthhabitceased to exist. Diplomacy held diplomats apart inorder to save Governmentsbut Earl Russell could not hold Mr. Adams apart. Hewas undistinguishable from a Londoner. In society few Londoners were so widelyat home. None had such double personality and corresponding double weight.

The singular luck that took him to Fryston to meet the shock of the TrentAffair under the sympathetic eyes of Monckton Milnes and William E. Forsternever afterwards deserted him. Both Milnes and Forster needed support and weregreatly relieved to be supported. They saw what the private secretary in May hadoverlookedthe hopeless position they were in if the American Minister made amistakeandsince his strength was theirsthey lost no time in expressing toall the world their estimate of the Minister's character. Between them theMinister was almost safe.

One might discuss long whetherat that momentMilnes or Forster were themore valuable allysince they were influences of different kinds. MoncktonMilnes was a social power in Londonpossibly greater than Londoners themselvesquite understoodfor in London society as elsewherethe dull and the ignorantmade a large majorityand dull men always laughed at Monckton Milnes. Everybore was used to talk familiarly about "Dicky Milnes" the "coolof the evening"; and of course he himself affected social eccentricitychallenging ridicule with the indifference of one who knew himself to be thefirst wit in Londonand a maker of men- of a great many men. A word from himwent far. An invitation to his breakfast-table went farther. Behind his almostFalstaffian mask and laugh of Silenushe carried a finebroadand highintelligence which no one questioned. As a young man he had written verseswhich some readers thought poetryand which were certainly not altogetherprose. Laterin Parliament he made speecheschiefly criticised as too good forthe place and too high for the audience. Sociallyhe was one of two or threemen who went everywhereknew everybodytalked of everythingand had the earof Ministers; but unlike most witshe held a social position of his own thatended in a peerageand he had a house in Upper Brook Street to which mostclever people were exceedingly glad of admission. His breakfasts were famousand no one liked to decline his invitationsfor it was more dangerous to showtimidity than to risk a fray. He was a voracious readera strong critican artconnoisseur in certain directionsa collector of booksbut above all he was aman of the world by professionand loved the contacts- perhaps the collisions-of society. Not even Henry Brougham dared do the things he didyet Broughamdefied rebuff. Milnes was the good-nature of London; the Gargantuan type of itsrefinement and coarseness; the most universal figure of May Fair.

Compared with himfigures like Haywardor Delaneor Venablesor HenryReeve were quite secondarybut William E. Forster stood in a different class.Forster had nothing whatever to do with May Fair. Except in being a Yorkshiremanhe was quite the opposite of Milnes. He had at that time no social or politicalposition; he never had a vestige of Milnes's wit or variety; he was a tallroughungainly figureaffecting the singular form of self-defense which theYorkshiremen and Lancashiremen seem to hold dear- the exterior roughness assumedto cover an internalemotionalalmost sentimental nature. Kindly he had to beif only by his inheritance from a Quaker ancestrybut he was a Friend onedegree removed. Sentimental and emotional he must have beenor he could neverhave persuaded a daughter of Dr. Arnold to marry him. Pure goldwithout a traceof base metal; honestunselfishpractical; he took up the Union cause and madehimself its championas a true Yorkshireman was sure to dopartly because ofhis Quaker anti-slavery convictionsand partly because it gave him a practicalopening in the House. As a new memberhe needed a field.

Diffidence was not one of Forster's weaknesses. His practical sense and hispersonal energy soon established him in leadershipand made him a powerfulchampionnot so much for ornament as for work. With such a managerthe friendsof the Union in England began to take heart. Minister Adams had only to look onas his true championsthe heavyweightscame into actionand even the privatesecretary caught now and then a stray gleam of encouragement as he saw the ringbegin to clear for these burly Yorkshiremen to stand up in a prize-fight likelyto be as brutal as ever England had known. Milnes and Forster were not exactlylight-weightsbut Bright and Cobden were the hardest hitters in Englandandwith them for champions the Minister could tackle even Lord Palmerston withoutmuch fear of foul play.

In society John Bright and Richard Cobden were never seenand even inParliament they had no large following. They were classed as enemies of order-anarchists- and anarchists they were if hatred of the so-called establishedorders made them so. About them was no sort of political timidity. They tookbluntly the side of the Union against Palmerston whom they hated. Strangers toLondon societythey were at home in the American Legationdelightfuldinner-companytalking always with reckless freedom. Cobden was the milder andmore persuasive; Bright was the more dangerous to approach; but the privatesecretary delighted in bothand nourished an ardent wish to see them talk thesame language to Lord John Russell from the gangway of the House.

With four such allies as theseMinister Adams stood no longer quitehelpless. For the second time the British Ministry felt a little ashamed ofitself after the Trent Affairas well it mightand disposed to wait beforemoving again. Little by littlefriends gathered about the Legation who were nofair-weather companions. The old anti-slaveryExeter HallShaftesbury cliqueturned out to be an annoying and troublesome enemybut the Duke of Argyll wasone of the most valuable friends the Minister foundboth politically andsociallyand the Duchess was as true as her mother. Even the private secretaryshared faintly in the social profit of this relationand never forgot diningone night at the Lodgeand finding himself after dinner engaged in instructingJohn Stuart Mill about the peculiar merits of an American protective system. Inspite of all the probabilitieshe convinced himself that it was not the Duke'sclaret which led him to this singular form of loquacity; he insisted that it wasthe fault of Mr. Mill himself who led him on by assenting to his point of view.Mr. Mill took no apparent pleasure in disputeand in that respect the Dukewould perhaps have done better; but the secretary had to admit that though atother periods of life he was sufficiently and even amply snubbed by Englishmenhe could never recall a single occasion during this trying yearwhen he had tocomplain of rudeness.

Friendliness he found here and therebut chiefly among his elders; not amongfashionable or socially powerful peopleeither men or women; although not eventhis rule was quite exactfor Frederick Cavendish's kindness and intimaterelations made Devonshire House almost familiarand Lyulph Stanley's ardentAmericanism created a certain cordiality with the Stanleys of Alderley whosehouse was one of the most frequented in London. Lornetoothe future Argyllwas always a friend. Yet the regular course of society led to more literaryintimacies. Sir Charles Trevelyan's house was one of the first to which youngAdams was askedand with which his friendly relations never ceased for nearhalf a centuryand then only when death stopped them. Sir Charles and LadyLyell were intimates. Tom Hughes came into close alliance. By the time societybegan to reopen its doors after the death of the Prince Consorteven theprivate secretary occasionally saw a face he knewalthough he made no moreeffort of any kindbut silently waited the end. Whatever might be theadvantages of social relations to his father and motherto him the wholebusiness of diplomacy and society was futile. He meant to go home.

CHAPTER IX

Foes or Friends (1862) -

OF the year 1862 Henry Adams could never think without a shudder. The waralone did not greatly distress him; already in his short life he was used toseeing people wade in bloodand he could plainly discern in historythat manfrom the beginning had found his chief amusement in bloodshed; but the ferociousjoy of destruction at its best requires that one should kill what one hatesandyoung Adams neither hated nor wanted to kill his friends the rebelswhile hewanted nothing so much as to wipe England off the earth. Never could any goodcome from that besotted race! He was feebly trying to save his own life. Everyday the British Government deliberately crowded him one step further into thegrave. He could see it; the Legation knew it; no one doubted it; no one thoughtof questioning it. The Trent Affair showed where Palmerston and Russell stood.The escape of the rebel cruisers from Liverpool was notin a young man's eyesthe sign of hesitationbut the proof of their fixed intention to intervene.Lord Russell's replies to Mr. Adams's notes were discourteous in theirindifferenceandto an irritable young private secretary of twenty-fourwereinsolent in their disregard of truth. Whatever forms of phrase were usual inpublic to modify the harshness of invectivein private no political opponent inEnglandand few political friendshesitated to say brutally of Lord JohnRussell that he lied. This was no great reproachformore or lesseverystatesman liedbut the intensity of the private secretary's rage sprang fromhis belief that Russell's form of defence covered intent to kill. Not for aninstant did the Legation draw a free breath. The suspense was hideous andunendurable.

The Ministerno doubtendured itbut he had support and considerationwhile his son had nothing to think about but his friends who were mostly dyingunder McClellan in the swamps about Richmondor his enemies who were exultingin Pall Mall. He bore it as well as he could till midsummerbutwhen the storyof the second Bull Run appearedhe could bear it no longerand after asleepless nightwalking up and down his room without reflecting that his fatherwas beneath himhe announced at breakfast his intention to go home into thearmy. His mother seemed to be less impressed by the announcement than by thewalking over her headwhich was so unlike her as to surprise her son. Hisfathertooreceived the announcement quietly. No doubt they expected itandhad taken their measures in advance. In those daysparents got used to allsorts of announcements from their children. Mr. Adams took his son's defectionas quietly as he took Bull Run; but his son never got the chance to go. He foundobstacles constantly rising in his path. The remonstrances of his brotherCharleswho was himself in the Army of the Potomacand whose opinion hadalways the greatest weight with Henryhad much to do with delaying action; buthe feltof his own accordthat if he deserted his post in Londonand foundthe Capuan comforts he expected in Virginia where he would have only bullets towound himhe would never forgive himself for leaving his father and motheralone to be devoured by the wild beasts of the British amphitheatre. Thisreflection might not have stopped himbut his father's suggestion was decisive.The Minister pointed out that it was too late for him to take part in the actualcampaignand that long before next spring they would all go home together.

The young man had copied too many affidavits about rebel cruisers to miss thepoint of this argumentso he sat down again to copy some more. Consul Dudley atLiverpool provided a continuous supply. Properlythe affidavits were nobusiness of the private secretarybut practically the private secretary did asecond secretary's workand was glad to do itif it would save Mr. Seward thetrouble of sending more secretaries of his own selection to help the Minister.The work was nothingand no one ever complained of it; not even MorantheSecretary of Legation after the departure of Charley Wilsonthough he might situp all night to copy. Not the workbut the play exhausted. The effort of facinga hostile society was bad enoughbut that of facing friends was worse. Afterterrific disasters like the seven days before Richmond and the second Bull Runfriends needed support; a tone of bluff would have been fatalfor the averagemind sees quickest through a bluff; nothing answers but candor; yet privatesecretaries never feel candidhowever much they feel the reverseand thereforethey must affect candor; not always a simple act when one is exasperatedfuriousbitterand choking with tears over the blunders and incapacity ofone's Government. If one shed tearsthey must be shed on one's pillow. Least ofallmust one throw extra strain on the Ministerwho had all he could carrywithout being fretted in his family. One must read one's Times every morningover one's muffin without reading aloud- "Another disastrous FederalDefeat"; and one might not even indulge in harmless profanity.Self-restraint among friends required much more effort than keeping a quiet facebefore enemies. Great men were the worst blunderers. One day the privatesecretary smiledwhen standing with the crowd in the throne-room while theendless procession made bows to the royal familyat hearingbehind hisshoulderone Cabinet Minister remark gaily to another: "So the Federalshave got another licking!" The point of the remark was its truth. Even aprivate secretary had learned to control his tones and guard his features andbetray no joy over the "lickings" of an enemy- in the enemy'spresence.

London was altogether beside itself on one pointin especial; it created anightmare of its ownand gave it the shape of Abraham Lincoln. Behind this itplaced another demonif possible more devilishand called it Mr. Seward. Inregard to these two menEnglish society seemed demented. Defence was useless;explanation was vain; one could only let the passion exhaust itself. One's bestfriends were as unreasonable as enemiesfor the belief in poor Mr. Lincoln'sbrutality and Seward's ferocity became a dogma of popular faith. The last timeHenry Adams saw Thackeraybefore his sudden death at Christmas in 1863was inentering the house of Sir Henry Holland for an evening reception. Thackeray waspulling on his coat downstairslaughing becausein his usual blind wayhe hadstumbled into the wrong house and not found it out till he shook hands with oldSir Henrywho he knew very wellbut who was not the host he expected. Then histone changed as he spoke of his- and Adams's- friendMrs. Frank HamptonofSouth Carolinawhom he had loved as Sally Baxter and painted as Ethel Newcome.Though he had never quite forgiven her marriagehis warmth of feeling revivedwhen he heard that she had died of consumption at Columbia while her parents andsister were refused permission to pass through the lines to see her. In speakingof itThackeray's voice trembled and his eyes filled with tears. The coarsecruelty of Lincoln and his hirelings was notorious. He never doubted that theFederals made a business of harrowing the tenderest feelings of women-particularly of women- in order to punish their opponents. On quite insufficientevidence he burst into violent reproach. Had Adams carried in his pocket theproofs that the reproach was unjusthe would have gained nothing by showingthem. At that moment Thackerayand all London society with himneeded thenervous relief of expressing emotion; for if Mr. Lincoln was not what they saidhe was- what were they?

For like reasonthe members of the Legation kept silenceeven in privateunder the boorish Scotch jibes of Carlyle. If Carlyle was wronghis diatribeswould give his true measureand this measure would be a low onefor Carlylewas not likely to be more sincere or more sound in one thought than in another.The proof that a philosopher does not know what he is talking about is apt tosadden his followers before it reacts on himself. Demolition of one's idols ispainfuland Carlyle had been an idol. Doubts cast on his stature spread farinto general darkness like shadows of a setting sun. Not merely the idols fellbut also the habit of faith. If Carlyletoowas a fraudwhat were hisscholars and school?

Society as a rule was civiland one had no more reason to complain thanevery other diplomatist has hadin like conditionsbut one's few friends insociety were mere ornament. The Legation could not dream of contesting socialcontrol. The best they could do was to escape mortificationand by this timetheir relations were good enough to save the Minister's family from thatannoyance. Now and thenthe fact could not be wholly disguised that some onehad refused to meet- or to receive- the Minister; but never an open insultorany expression of which the Minister had to take notice. Diplomacy served as abuffer in times of irritationand no diplomat who knew his business fretted atwhat every diplomat- and none more commonly than the English- had to expect;therefore Henry Adamsthough not a diplomat and wholly unprotectedwent hisway peacefully enoughseeing clearly that society cared little to make hisacquaintancebut seeing also no reason why society should discover charms inhim of which he was himself unconscious. He went where he was asked; he wasalways courteously received; he wason the wholebetter treated than atWashington; and he held his tongue.

For a thousand reasonsthe best diplomatic house in London was LordPalmerston'swhile Lord John Russell's was one of the worst. Of neither hostcould a private secretary expect to know anything. He might as well haveexpected to know the Grand Lama. Personally Lord Palmerston was the last man inLondon that a cautious private secretary wanted to know. Other Prime Ministersmay perhaps have lived who inspired among diplomatists as much distrust asPalmerstonand yet between Palmerston's word and Russell's wordone hesitatedto decideand gave years of education to decidingwhether either could betrustedor how far. The Queen herself in her famous memorandum of August 121850gave her opinion of Palmerston in words that differed little from wordsused by Lord John Russelland both the Queen and Russell said in substance onlywhat Cobden and Bright said in private. Every diplomatist agreed with themyetthe diplomatic standard of trust seemed to be other than the parliamentarian. Noprofessional diplomatists worried about falsehoods. Words were with them formsof expression which varied with individualsbut falsehood was more or lessnecessary to all. The worst liars were the candid. What diplomatists wanted toknow was the motive that lay beyond the expression. In the case of Palmerstonthey were unanimous in warning new colleagues that they might expect to besacrificed by him to any momentary personal object. Every new Minister orAmbassador at the Court of St. James received this preliminary lesson that hemustif possiblekeep out of Palmerston's reach. The rule was not secret ormerely diplomatic. The Queen herself had emphatically expressed the same opinionofficially. If Palmerston had an object to gainhe would go down to the Houseof Commons and betray or misrepresent a foreign Ministerwithout concern forhis victim. No one got back on him with a blow equally mischievous- not even theQueen- foras old Baron Brunnow described him: "C'est une peau derhinocere!" Having gained his pointhe laughedand his public laughedwith himfor the usual British- or American- public likes to be amusedandthought it very amusing to see these beribboned and bestarred foreigners caughtand tossed and gored on the horns of this jovialslashingdevil-may-careBritish bull.

Diplomatists have no right to complain of mere lies; it is their own faultifeducated as they arethe lies deceive them; but they complain bitterly oftraps. Palmerston was believed to lay traps. He was the enfant terrible of theBritish Government. On the other handLady Palmerston was believed to be goodand loyal. All the diplomats and their wives seemed to think soand took theirtroubles to herbelieving that she would try to help them. For this reasonamong othersher evenings at home- Saturday Reviewsthey were called- hadgreat vogue. An ignorant young American could not be expected to explain it.Cambridge House was no better for entertaining than a score of others. LadyPalmerston was no longer young or handsomeand could hardly at any age havebeen vivacious. The people one met there were never smart and seldom young; theywere largely diplomaticand diplomats are commonly dull; they were largelypoliticaland politicians rarely decorate or beautify an evening party; theywere sprinkled with literary peoplewho are notoriously unfashionable; thewomen were of course ill-dressed and middle-aged; the men looked mostly bored orout of place; yetbeyond a doubtCambridge House was the bestand perhaps theonly political house in Londonand its success was due to Lady Palmerstonwhonever seemed to make an effort beyond a friendly recognition. As a lesson insocial educationCambridge House gave much subject for thought. First or lastone was to know dozens of statesmen more powerful and more agreeable than LordPalmerston; dozens of ladies more beautiful and more painstaking than LadyPalmerston; but no political house so successful as Cambridge House. The worldnever explains such riddles. The foreigners said only that Lady Palmerston was"sympathique."

The small fry of the Legations were admitted thereor toleratedwithout afurther effort to recognize their existencebut they were pleased becauserarely tolerated anywhere elseand there they could at least stand in a cornerand look at a bishop or even a duke. This was the social diversion of youngAdams. No one knew him- not even the lackeys. The last Saturday evening he everattendedhe gave his name as usual at the foot of the staircaseand was ratherdisturbed to hear it shouted up as "Mr. Handrew Hadams!" He tried tocorrect itand the footman shouted more loudly: "Mr. HanthonyHadams!" With some temper he repeated the correctionand was finallyannounced as "Mr. Halexander Hadams" and under this name made his bowfor the last time to Lord Palmerston who certainly knew no better.

Far down the staircase one heard Lord Palmerston's laugh as he stood at thedoor receiving his gueststalking probably to one of his henchmenDelaneBorthwickor Haywardwho were sure to be near. The laugh was singularmechanicalwoodenand did not seem to disturb his features. "Ha!...Ha!... Ha!" Each was a slowdeliberate ejaculationand all were in thesame toneas though he meant to say: "Yes!... Yes!... Yes!" by way ofassurance. It was a laugh of 1810 and the Congress of Vienna. Adams would havemuch liked to stop a moment and ask whether William Pitt and the Duke ofWellington had laughed so; but young men attached to foreign Ministers asked noquestions at all of Palmerston and their chiefs asked as few as possible. Onemade the usual bow and received the usual glance of civility; then passed on toLady Palmerstonwho was always kind in mannerbut who wasted no remarks; andso to Lady Jocelyn with her daughterwho commonly had something friendly tosay; then went through the diplomatic corpsBrunnowMusurusAzeglioApponyiVan de WeyerBilleTricoupiand the restfinally dropping into the hands ofsome literary accident as strange there as one's self. The routine variedlittle. There was no attempt at entertainment. Except for the desperateisolation of these two first seasonseven secretaries would have found theeffort almost as mechanical as a levee at St. James's Palace.

Lord Palmerston was not Foreign Secretary; he was Prime Ministerbut heloved foreign affairs and could no more resist scoring a point in diplomacy thanin whist. Ministers of foreign powersknowing his habitstried to hold him atarms'-lengthandto do thiswere obliged to court the actual ForeignSecretaryLord John Russellwhoon July 301861was called up to the Houseof Lords as an earl. By some process of personal affiliationMinister Adamssucceeded in persuading himself that he could trust Lord Russell more safelythan Lord Palmerston. His sonbeing young and ill-balanced in temperthoughtthere was nothing to choose. Englishmen saw little difference between themandAmericans were bound to follow English experience in English character. MinisterAdams had much to learnalthough with him as well as with his sonthe monthsof education began to count as aeons.

Just as Brunnow predictedLord Palmerston made his rush at lastasunexpected as alwaysand more furiously than though still a private secretaryof twenty-four. Only a man who had been young with the battle of Trafalgar couldbe fresh and jaunty to that pointbut Minister Adams was not in a position tosympathize with octogenarian youth and found himself in a danger as critical asthat of his numerous predecessors. It was late one afternoon in June1862asthe private secretary returnedwith the Ministerfrom some social functionthat he saw his father pick up a note from his desk and read it in silence. Thenhe said curtly: "Palmerston wants a quarrel!" This was the point ofthe incident as he felt it. Palmerston wanted a quarrel; he must not begratified; he must be stopped. The matter of quarrel was General Butler's famouswoman-order at New Orleansbut the motive was the belief in President Lincoln'sbrutality that had taken such deep root in the British mind. KnowingPalmerston's habitsthe Minister took for granted that he meant to score adiplomatic point by producing this note in the House of Commons. If he did thisat oncethe Minister was lost; the quarrel was made; and one new victim toPalmerston's passion for popularity was sacrificed.

The moment was nervous- as far as the private secretary knewquite the mostcritical moment in the records of American diplomacy- but the story belongs tohistorynot to educationand can be read there by any one who cares to readit. As a part of Henry Adams's education it had a value distinct from history.That his father succeeded in muzzling Palmerston without a public scandalwaswell enough for the Ministerbut was not enough for a private secretary wholiked going to Cambridge Houseand was puzzled to reconcile contradictions.That Palmerston had wanted a quarrel was obvious; whythendid he submit sotamely to being made the victim of the quarrel? The correspondence that followedhis note was conducted feebly on his sideand he allowed the United StatesMinister to close it by a refusal to receive further communications from himexcept through Lord Russell. The step was excessively strongfor it broke offprivate relations as well as publicand cost even the private secretary hisinvitations to Cambridge House. Lady Palmerston tried her bestbut the twoladies found no resource except tears. They had to do with an American Ministerperplexed in the extreme. Not that Mr. Adams lost his temperfor he never feltsuch a weight of responsibilityand was never more cool; but he could conceiveno other way of protecting his Governmentnot to speak of himselfthan toforce Lord Russell to interpose. He believed that Palmerston's submission andsilence were due to Russell. Perhaps he was right; at the timehis son had nodoubt of itthough afterwards he felt less sure. Palmerston wanted a quarrel;the motive seemed evident; yet when the quarrel was madehe backed out of it;for some reason it seemed that he did not want it- at leastnot then. He nevershowed resentment against Mr. Adams at the time or afterwards. He never begananother quarrel. Incredible as it seemedhe behaved like a well-bred gentlemanwho felt himself in the wrong. Possibly this change may have been due to LordRussell's remonstrancesbut the private secretary would have felt his educationin politics more complete had he ever finally made up his mind whetherPalmerston was more angry with General Butleror more annoyed at himselfforcommitting what was in both cases an unpardonable betise.

At the timethe question was hardly raisedfor no one doubted Palmerston'sattitude or his plans. The season was near its endand Cambridge House was soonclosed. The Legation had troubles enough without caring to publish more. Thetide of English feeling ran so violently against it that one could only wait tosee whether General McClellan would bring it relief. The year 1862 was a darkspot in Henry Adams's lifeand the education it gave was mostly one that hegladly forgot. As far as he was awarehe made no friends; he could hardly makeenemies; yet towards the close of the year he was flattered by an invitationfrom Monckton Milnes to Frystonand it was one of many acts of charity towardsthe young that gave Milnes immortality. Milnes made it his business to be kind.Other people criticised him for his manner of doing itbut never imitated him.Naturallya dispiriteddisheartened private secretary was exceedinglygratefuland never forgot the kindnessbut it was chiefly as education thatthis first country visit had value. Commonlycountry visits are much alikebutMonckton Milnes was never like anybodyand his country parties served hispurpose of mixing strange elements. Fryston was one of a class of houses that noone sought for its natural beautiesand the winter mists of Yorkshire wererather more evident for the absence of the hostess on account of themso thatthe singular guests whom Milnes collected to enliven his December had nothing todo but astonish each otherif anything could astonish such men. Of the fiveAdams alone was tame; he alone added nothing to the wit or humorexcept as alistener; but they needed a listener and he was useful. Of the remaining fourMilnes was the oldestand perhaps the sanest in spite of his superficialeccentricitiesfor Yorkshire sanity was true to a standard of its ownif notto other conventions; yet even Milnes startled a young American whose Boston andWashington mind was still fresh. He would not have been startled by thehard-drinkinghorse-racing Yorkshireman of whom he had read in books; butMilnes required a knowledge of society and literature that only himselfpossessedif one were to try to keep pace with him. He had sought contact witheverybody and everything that Europe could offer. He knew it all from severalpoints of viewand chiefly as humorous.

The second of the party was also of a certain age; a quietwell-manneredsingularly agreeable gentleman of the literary class. When Milnes showed Adamsto his room to dress for dinnerhe stayed a moment to say a word about thisguestwhom he called Stirling of Keir. His sketch closed with the hint thatStirling was violent only on one point- hatred of Napoleon III. On that pointAdams was himself sensitivewhich led him to wonder how bad the Scotchgentleman might be. The third was a man of thirty or thereaboutswhom Adams hadalready met at Lady Palmerston's carrying his arm in a sling. His figure andbearing were sympathetic- almost pathetic- with a certain grave and gentlecharma pleasant smileand an interesting story. He was Laurence Oliphantjust from Japanwhere he had been wounded in the fanatics' attack on theBritish Legation. He seemed exceptionally sane and peculiarly suited for countryhouseswhere every man would enjoy his companyand every woman would adorehim. He had not then published "Piccadilly"; perhaps he was writingit; whilelike all the young men about the Foreign Officehe contributed toThe Owl.

The fourth was a boyor had the look of onethough in fact a year olderthan Adams himself. He resembled in action- and in this traitwas remotelyfolloweda generation laterby another famous young manRobert LouisStevenson- a tropical birdhigh-crestedlong-beakedquick-movingwith rapidutterance and screams of humorquite unlike any English lark or nightingale.One could hardly call him a crimson macaw among owlsand yet no ordinarycontrast availed. Milnes introduced him as Mr. Algernon Swinburne. The namesuggested nothing. Milnes was always unearthing new coins and trying to givethem currency. He had unearthed Henry Adams who knew himself to be worthless andnot current. When Milnes lingered a moment in Adams's room to add that Swinburnehad written some poetrynot yet publishedof really extraordinary meritAdamsonly wondered what more Milnes would discoverand whether by chance he coulddiscover merit in a private secretary. He was capable of it.

In due course this party of five men sat down to dinner with the usual clubmanners of ladyless dinner-tableseasy and formal at the same time.Conversation ran first to Oliphant who told his dramatic story simplyand fromhim the talk drifted off into other channelsuntil Milnes thought it time tobring Swinburne out. Thenat lastif never beforeAdams acquired education.What he had sought so longhe found; but he was none the wiser; only the moreastonished. For oncetoohe felt at easefor the others were no lessastonished than himselfand their astonishment grew apace. For the rest of theevening Swinburne figured alone; the end of dinner made the monologue onlyfreerfor in 1862even when ladies were not in the housesmoking wasforbiddenand guests usually smoked in the stables or the kitchen; but MoncktonMilnes was a licensed libertine who let his guests smoke in Adams's bedroomsince Adams was an American-German barbarian ignorant of manners; and thereafter dinner all sat- or lay- till far into the nightlistening to the rush ofSwinburne's talk. In a long experiencebefore or afterno one ever approachedit; yet one had heard accounts of the best talking of the timeand readaccounts of talkers in all timeamong the restof Voltairewho seemed toapproach nearest the pattern.

That Swinburne was altogether new to the three types of men-of-the-worldbefore him; that he seemed to them quite originalwildly eccentricastonishingly giftedand convulsingly drollAdams could see; but what more hewaseven Milnes hardly dared say. They could not believe his incredible memoryand knowledge of literatureclassicmediaevaland modern; his faculty ofreciting a play of Sophocles or a play of Shakespeareforward or backwardfromend to beginning; or Danteor Villonor Victor Hugo. They knew not what tomake of his rhetorical recitation of his own unpublished ballads-"Faustine"; the "Four Boards of the Coffin Lid"; the"Ballad of Burdens"- which he declaimed as though they were books ofthe Iliad. It was singular that his most appreciative listener should have beenthe author only of pretty verses like "We wandered by the brookside"and "She seemed to those that saw them meet"; and who never cared towrite in any other tone; but Milnes took everything into his sympathiesincluding Americans like young Adams whose standards were stiffest of allwhileSwinburnethough millions of ages far from themunited them by his humor evenmore than by his poetry. The story of his first day as a member of ProfessorStubbs's household was professionally clever farceif not high comedyin ayoung man who could write a Greek ode or a Provencal chanson as easily as anEnglish quatrain.

Late at night when the symposium broke upStirling of Keir wanted to takewith him to his chamber a copy of "Queen Rosamund" the only volumeSwinburne had then publishedwhich was on the library tableand Adams offeredto light him down with his solitary bedroom candle. All the wayStirling wasejaculating explosions of wonderuntil at lengthat the foot of the stairs andat the climax of his imaginationhe pausedand burst out: "He's a crossbetween the devil and the Duke of Argyll!"

To appreciate the full merit of this descriptiona judicious critic shouldhave known bothand Henry Adams knew only one- at least in person- but heunderstood that to a Scotchman the likeness meant something quite portentousbeyond English experiencesupernaturaland what the French call moyenageuxormediaeval with a grotesque turn. That Stirling as well as Milnes should regardSwinburne as a prodigy greatly comforted Adamswho lost his balance of mind atfirst in trying to imagine that Swinburne was a natural product of Oxfordasmuffins and porkpies of Londonat once the cause and effect of dyspepsia. Theidea that one has actually met a real genius dawns slowly on a Boston mindbutit made entry at last.

Then came the sad reactionnot from Swinburne whose genius never was indoubtbut from the Boston mind whichin its uttermost flightswas nevermoyenageux. One felt the horror of Longfellow and Emersonthe doubts of Lowelland the humor of Holmesat the wild Walpurgis-night of Swinburne's talk. Whatcould a shy young private secretary do about it? Perhapsin his good natureMilnes thought that Swinburne might find a friend in Stirling or Oliphantbuthe could hardly have fancied Henry Adams rousing in him even an interest. Adamscould no more interest Algernon Swinburne than he could interest Encke's comet.To Swinburne he could be no more than a worm. The quality of genius was aneducation almost ultimatefor one touched there the limits of the human mind onthat side; but one could only receive; one had nothing to give- nothing even tooffer.

Swinburne tested him then and there by one of his favorite tests- VictorHugo; for to him the test of Victor Hugo was the surest and quickest ofstandards. French poetry is at best a severe exercise for foreigners; itrequires extraordinary knowledge of the language and rare refinement of ear toappreciate even the recitation of French verse; but unless a poet has bothhelacks something of poetry. Adams had neither. To the end of his life he neverlistened to a French recitation with pleasureor felt a sense of majesty inFrench verse; but he did not care to proclaim his weaknessand he tried toevade Swinburne's vehement insistence by parading an affection for Alfred deMusset. Swinburne would have none of it; de Musset was unequal; he did notsustain himself on the wing.

Adams would have given a world or twoif he owned oneto sustain himself onthe wing like de Mussetor even like Hugo; but his education as well as his earwas at faultand he succumbed. Swinburne tried him again on Walter SavageLandor. In truth the test was the samefor Swinburne admired in Landor'sEnglish the qualities that he felt in Hugo's French; and Adams's failure wasequally grossforwhen forced to despairhe had to admit that both Hugo andLandor bored him. Nothing more was needed. One who could feel neither Hugo norLandor was lost.

The sentence was just and Adams never appealed from it. He knew hisinferiority in taste as he might know it in smell. Keenly mortified by thedullness of his senses and instinctshe knew he was no companion for Swinburne;probably he could be only an annoyance; no number of centuries could evereducate him to Swinburne's leveleven in technical appreciation; yet he oftenwondered whether there was nothing he had to offer that was worth the poet'sacceptance. Certainly such mild homage as the American insect would have beenonly too happy to bringhad he known howwas hardly worth the acceptance ofany one. Only in France is the attitude of prayer possible; in England it becameabsurd. Even Monckton Milneswho felt the splendors of Hugo and Landorwasalmost as helpless as an

American private secretary in personal contact with them. Ten yearsafterwards Adams met him at the Geneva Conferencefresh from Parisbubblingwith delight at a call he had made on Hugo: "I was shown into a largeroom" he said"with women and men seated in chairs against thewallsand Hugo at one end throned. No one spoke. At last Hugo raised his voicesolemnlyand uttered the words: 'Quant a moije crois en Dieu!' Silencefollowed. Then a woman responded as if in deep meditation: 'Chose sublime! unDieu qui croit en Dieu!'"

With the best of willone could not do this in London; the actors had notthe instinct of the drama; and yet even a private secretary was not whollywanting in instinct. As soon as he reached town he hurried to Pickering's for acopy of "Queen Rosamund" and at that timeif Swinburne was notjokingPickering had sold seven copies. When the "Poems and Ballads"came outand met their great success and scandalhe sought one of the firstcopies from Moxon. If he had sinned and doubted at allhe wholly repented anddid penance before "Atalanta in Calydon" and would have offeredSwinburne a solemn worship as Milnes's female offered Hugoif it would havepleased the poet. Unfortunately it was worthless.

The three young men returned to Londonand each went his own way. Adams'sinterest in making friends was something desperatebut "the Londonseason" Milnes used to say"is a season for making acquaintances andlosing friends"; there was no intimate life. Of Swinburne he saw no moretill Monckton Milnes summoned his whole array of Frystonians to support him inpresiding at the dinner of the Authors' Fundwhen Adams found himself seatednext to Swinburnefamous thenbut no nearer. They never met again. Oliphant hemet oftener; all the world knew and loved him; but he too disappeared in the waythat all the world knows. Stirling of Keirafter one or two effortspassedalso from Adams's vision into Sir William Stirling-Maxwell. The only record ofhis wonderful visit to Fryston may perhaps exist still in the registers of theSt. James's Clubfor immediately afterwards Milnes proposed Henry Adams formembershipand unless his memory erredthe nomination was seconded by Tricoupiand endorsed by Laurence Oliphant and Evelyn Ashley. The list was a littlesingular for varietybut on the whole it suggested that the private secretarywas getting on.

CHAPTER X

Political Morality (1862) -

ON Moran's promotion to be SecretaryMr. Seward inquired whether MinisterAdams would like the place of Assistant Secretary for his son. It was the first-and last- office ever offered himif indeed he could claim what was offered infact to his father. To them boththe change seemed useless. Any young man couldmake some sort of Assistant Secretary; only onejust at that momentcould makean Assistant Son. More than half his duties were domestic; they sometimesrequired long absences; they always required independence of the Governmentservice. His position was abnormal. The British Government by courtesy allowedthe son to go to Court as Attachethough he was never attachedand after fiveor six years' tolerationthe decision was declared irregular. In the Legationas private secretaryhe was liable to do Secretary's work. In societywhenofficialhe was attached to the Minister; when unofficialhe was a young manwithout any position at all. As the years went onhe began to find advantagesin having no position at all except that of young man. Gradually he aspired tobecome a gentleman; just a member of society like the rest. The position wasirregular; at that time many positions were irregular; yet it lent itself to asort of irregular education that seemed to be the only sort of education theyoung man was ever to get.

Such as it wasfew young men had more. The spring and summer of 1863 saw agreat change in Secretary Seward's management of foreign affairs. Under thestimulus of dangerhe too got education. He feltat lastthat his officialrepresentatives abroad needed support. Officially he could give them nothing butdespatcheswhich were of no great value to any one; and at best the mere weightof an office had little to do with the public. Governments were made to dealwith Governments' not with private individuals or with the opinions of foreignsociety. In order to affect European opinionthe weight of American opinion hadto be brought to bear personallyand had to be backed by the weight of Americaninterests. Mr. Seward set vigorously to work and sent over every importantAmerican on whom he could lay his hands. All came to the Legation more or lessintimatelyand Henry Adams had a chance to see them allbankers or bishopswho did their work quietly and wellthoughto the outsiderthe work seemedwasted and the "influential classes" more indurated with prejudicethan ever. The waste was only apparent; the work all told in the endandmeanwhile it helped education.

Two or three of these gentlemen were sent over to aid the Minister and tocooperate with him. The most interesting of these was Thurlow Weedwho came todo what the private secretary himself had attempted two years beforewithboyish ignorance of his own powers. Mr. Weed took charge of the pressandbeganto the amused astonishment of the secretariesby making what theLegation had learned to accept as the invariable mistake of every amateurdiplomat; he wrote letters to the London Times. Mistake or notMr. Weed soongot into his hands the threads of managementand did quietly and smoothly allthat was to be done. With his work the private secretary had no connection; itwas he that interested. Thurlow Weed was a complete American education inhimself. His mind was naturally strong and beautifully balanced; his tempernever seemed ruffled; his manners were carefully perfect in the style ofbenevolent simplicitythe tradition of Benjamin Franklin. He was the model ofpolitical management and patient address; but the trait that excited enthusiasmin a private secretary was his faculty of irresistibly conquering confidence. Ofall flowers in the garden of educationconfidence was becoming the rarest; butbefore Mr. Weed went awayyoung Adams followed him about not only obediently-for obedience had long since become a blind instinct- but rather with sympathyand affectionmuch like a little dog.

The sympathy was not due only to Mr. Weed's skill of managementalthoughAdams never met another such masteror any one who approached him; nor was theconfidence due to any display of professionseither moral or socialby Mr.Weed. The trait that astounded and confounded cynicism was his apparentunselfishness. Neverin any man who wielded such powerdid Adams meet anythinglike it. The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation ofselfa sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies; a diseasedappetitelike a passion for drink or perverted tastes; one can scarcely useexpressions too strong to describe the violence of egotism it stimulates; andThurlow Weed was one of the exceptions; a rare immune. He thought apparently notof himselfbut of the person he was talking with. He held himself naturally inthe background. He was not jealous. He grasped powerbut not office. Hedistributed offices by handfuls without caring to take them. He had the instinctof empire: he gavebut he did not receive. This rare superiority to thepoliticians he controlleda trait that private secretaries never met in thepoliticians themselvesexcited Adams's wonder and curiositybut when he triedto get behind itand to educate

himself from the stores of Mr. Weed's experiencehe found the study stillmore fascinating. Management was an instinct with Mr. Weed; an object to bepursued for its own sakeas one plays cards; but he appeared to play with menas though they were only cards; he seemed incapable of feeling himself one ofthem. He took them and played them for their face-value; but oncewhen he hadtoldwith his usual humorsome stories of his political experience which werestrong even for the Albany lobbythe private secretary made bold to ask himoutright: "ThenMr. Weeddo you think that no politician can betrusted?" Mr. Weed hesitated for a moment; then said in his mild manner:"I never advise a young man to begin by thinking so."

This lessonat the timetranslated itself to Adams in a moral senseasthough Mr. Weed had said: "Youth needs illusions!" As he grew older herather thought that Mr. Weed looked on it as a question of how the game shouldbe played. Young men most needed experience. They could not play well if theytrusted to a general rule. Every card had a relative value. Principles hadbetter be left aside; values were enough. Adams knew that he could never learnto play politics in so masterly a fashion as this: his education and his nervoussystem equally forbade italthough he admired all the more the impersonalfaculty of the political master who could thus efface himself and his temper inthe game. He noticed that most of the greatest politicians in history had seemedto regard men as counters. The lesson was the more interesting because anotherfamous New Yorker came over at the same time who liked to discuss the sameproblem. Secretary Seward sent William M. Evarts to London as law counselandHenry began an acquaintance with Mr. Evarts that soon became intimate. Evartswas as individual as Weed was impersonal; like most menhe cared little for thegameor how it was playedand much for the stakesbut he played it in a largeand liberal waylike Daniel Webster"a great advocate employed inpolitics." Evarts was also an economist of moralsbut with him thequestion was rather how much morality one could afford. "The world canabsorb only doses of truth" he said; "too much would kill it."One sought education in order to adjust the dose.

The teachings of Weed and Evarts were practicaland the private secretary'slife turned on their value. England's power of absorbing truth was small.Englishmensuch as PalmerstonRussellBethelland the society represented bythe Times and Morning Postas well as the Tories represented by DisraeliLordRobert Ceciland the Standardoffered a study in education that sickened ayoung student with anxiety. He had begun- contrary to Mr. Weed's advice- bytaking their bad faith for granted. Was he wrong? To settle this point becamethe main object of the diplomatic education so laboriously pursuedat a costalready stupendousand promising to become ruinous. Life changed frontaccording as one thought one's self dealing with honest men or with rogues.

Thus farthe private secretary felt officially sure of dishonesty. Thereasons that satisfied him had not altogether satisfied his fatherand ofcourse his father's doubts gravely shook his own convictionsbutin practiceif only for safetythe Legation put little or no confidence in Ministersandthere the private secretary's diplomatic education began. The recognition ofbelligerencythe management of the Declaration of Paristhe Trent Affairallstrengthened the belief that Lord Russell had started in May1861with theassumption that the Confederacy was established; every step he had taken provedhis persistence in the same idea; he never would consent to put obstacles in theway of recognition; and he was waiting only for the proper moment to interpose.All these points seemed so fixed- so self-evident- that no one in the Legationwould have doubted or even discussed them except that Lord Russell obstinatelydenied the whole chargeand persisted in assuring Minister Adams of his honestand impartial neutrality.

With the insolence of youth and zealHenry Adams jumped at once to theconclusion that Earl Russell- like other statesmen- lied; andalthough theMinister thought differentlyhe had to act as though Russell were false. Monthby month the demonstration followed its mathematical stages; one of the mostperfect educational courses in politics and diplomacy that a young man ever hada chance to pursue. The most costly tutors in the world were provided for him atpublic expense- Lord PalmerstonLord RussellLord WestburyLord SelborneMr.GladstoneLord Granvilleand their associatespaid by the British Government;William H. SewardCharles Francis AdamsWilliam Maxwell EvartsThurlow Weedand other considerable professors employed by the American Government; but therewas only one student to profit by this immense staff of teachers. The privatesecretary alone sought education.

To the end of his life he labored over the lessons then taught. Never wasdemonstration more tangled. Hegel's metaphysical doctrine of the identity ofopposites was simpler and easier to understand. Yet the stages of demonstrationwere clear. They began in June1862after the escape of one rebel cruiserbythe remonstrances of the Minister against the escape of "No. 290"which was imminent. Lord Russell declined to act on the evidence. New evidencewas sent in every few daysand with iton July 24was included Collier'slegal opinion: "It appears difficult to make out a stronger case ofinfringement of the Foreign Enlistment Actwhichif not enforced on thisoccasionis little better than a dead letter." Such language impliedalmost a charge of collusion with the rebel agents- an intent to aid theConfederacy. In spite of the warningEarl Russell let the shipfour daysafterwardsescape.

Young Adams had nothing to do with law; that was business of his betters. Hisopinion of law hung on his opinion of lawyers. In spite of Thurlow Weed'sadvicecould one afford to trust human nature in politics? History said not.Sir Robert Collier seemed to hold that Law agreed with History. For educationthe point was vital. If one could not trust a dozen of the most respectedprivate characters in the worldcomposing the Queen's Ministryone could trustno mortal man.

Lord Russell felt the force of this inferenceand undertook to disprove it.His effort lasted till his death. At first he excused himself by throwing theblame on the law officers. This was a politicians' practiceand the lawyersoverruled it. Then he pleaded guilty to criminal negligenceand said in his"Recollections":- "I assent entirely to the opinion of the LordChief Justice of England that the Alabama ought to have been detained during thefour days I was waiting for the opinion of the law officers. But I think thatthe fault was not that of the commissioners of customsit was my fault asSecretary of State for Foreign Affairs." This concession brought allparties on common ground. Of course it was his fault! The true issue lay not inthe question of his faultbut of his intent. To a young mangetting aneducation in politicsthere could be no sense in history unless a constantcourse of faults implied a constant motive.

For his father the question was not so abstruse; it was a practical matter ofbusiness to be handled as Weed or Evarts handled their bargains and jobs.Minister Adams held the convenient belief thatin the mainRussell was trueand the theory answered his purposes so well that he died still holding it. Hisson was seeking educationand wanted to know whether he couldin politicsrisk trusting any one. Unfortunately no one could then decide; no one knew thefacts. Minister Adams died without knowing them. Henry Adams was an older manthan his father in 1862before he learned a part of them. The most curiousfacteven thenwas that Russell believed in his own good faith and that Argyllbelieved in it also.

Argyll betrayed a taste for throwing the blame on BethellLord Westburythen Lord Chancellorbut this escape helped Adams not at all. On the contraryit complicated the case of Russell. In Englandone half of society enjoyedthrowing stones at Lord Palmerstonwhile the other half delighted in flingingmud at Earl Russellbut every one of every party united in pelting Westburywith every missile at hand. The private secretary had no doubts about himforhe never professed to be moral. He was the head and heart of the whole rebelcontentionand his opinions on neutrality were as clear as they were onmorality. The private secretary had nothing to do with himand regretted itfor Lord Westbury's wit and wisdom were great; but as far as his authority wenthe affirmed the law that in politics no man should be trusted.

Russell alone insisted on his honesty of intention and persuaded both theDuke and the Minister to believe him. Every one in the Legation accepted hisassurances as the only assertions they could venture to trust. They knew heexpected the rebels to win in the endbut they believed he would not activelyinterpose to decide it. On that- on nothing else- they rested their frail hopesof remaining a day longer in England. Minister Adams remained six years longerin England; then returned to America to lead a busy life till he died in 1886still holding the same faith in Earl Russellwho had died in 1878. In 1889Spencer Walpole published the official life of Earl Russelland told a part ofthe story which had never been known to the Minister and which astounded hissonwho burned with curiosity to know what his father would have said of it.

The story was this: The Alabama escapedby Russell's confessed negligenceon July 281862. In America the Union armies had suffered great disastersbefore Richmond and at the second Bull RunAugust 29-30followed by Lee'sinvasion of MarylandSeptember 7the news of whicharriving in England onSeptember 14roused the natural idea that the crisis was at hand. The next newswas expected by the Confederates to announce the fall of Washington orBaltimore. Palmerston instantlySeptember 14wrote to Russell: "If thisshould happenwould it not be time for us to consider whether in such a stateof things England and France might not address the contending parties andrecommend an arrangement on the basis of separation?"

This letterquite in the line of Palmerston's supposed opinionswould havesurprised no oneif it had been communicated to the Legation; and indeedifLee had captured Washingtonno one could have blamed Palmerston for offeringintervention. Not Palmerston's letter but Russell's replymerited the painfulattention of a young man seeking a moral standard for judging politicians:- -

GothaSeptember171862.

MY DEAR PALMERSTON:-

Whether the Federal army is destroyed or notit is clear that it is drivenback to Washington and has made no progress in subduing the insurgent States.Such being the caseI agree with you that the time is come for offeringmediation to the United States Government with a view to the recognition of theindependence of the Confederates. I agree further that in case of failureweought ourselves to recognize the Southern States as an independent State. Forthe purpose of taking so important a stepI think we must have a meeting of theCabinet. The 23d or 30th would suit me for the meeting.

We ought thenif we agree on such a stepto propose it first to Franceandthen on the part of England and Franceto Russia and other powersas a measuredecided upon by us.

We ought to make ourselves safe in Canadanot by sending more troops therebut by concentrating those we have in a few defensible posts before the wintersets in... -

Herethenappeared in its fullest forcethe practical difficulty ineducation which a mere student could never overcome; a difficulty not in theoryor knowledgeor even want of experiencebut in the sheer chaos of humannature. Lord Russell's course had been consistent from the firstand had allthe look of rigid determination to recognize the Southern Confederacy "witha view" to breaking up the Union. His letter of September 17 hung directlyon his encouragement of the Alabama and his protection of the rebel navy; whilethe whole of his plan had its root in the Proclamation of BelligerencyMay 131861. The policy had every look of persistent forethoughtbut it took forgranted the deliberate dishonesty of three famous men: PalmerstonRussellandGladstone. This dishonestyas concerned Russellwas denied by Russell himselfand disbelieved by ArgyllForsterand most of America's friends in Englandaswell as by Minister Adams. What the Minister would have thought had he seen thisletter of September 17his son would have greatly liked to knowbut he wouldhave liked still more to know what the Minister would have thought ofPalmerston's answerdated September 23:- -

...It is evident that a great conflict is taking place to the northwest ofWashingtonand its issue must have a great effect on the state of affairs. Ifthe Federals sustain a great defeatthey may be at once ready for mediationand the iron should be struck while it is hot. Ifon the other handtheyshould have the best of itwe may wait a while and see what may follow... -

The roles were reversed. Russell wrote what was expected from Palmerstonoreven more violently; while Palmerston wrote what was expected from Russelloreven more temperately. The private secretary's view had been altogether wrongwhich would not have much surprised even himbut he would have been greatlyastonished to learn that the most confidential associates of these men knewlittle more about their intentions than was known in the Legation. The mosttrusted member of the Cabinet was Lord Granvilleand to him Russell next wrote.Granville replied at once decidedly opposing recognition of the ConfederacyandRussell sent the reply to Palmerstonwho returned it October 2with the meresuggestion of waiting for further news from America. At the same time Granvillewrote to another member of the CabinetLord Stanley of Alderleya letterpublished forty years afterwards in Granville's "Life" (I442)- tothe private secretary altogether the most curious and instructive relic of thewhole lesson in politics:- -

...I have written to Johnny my reasons for thinking it decidedly premature.Ihoweversuspect you will settle to do so. Pam.Johnnyand Gladstone wouldbe in favor of itand probably Newcastle. I do not know about the others. Itappears to me a great mistake... -

Out of a Cabinet of a dozen membersGranvillethe best informed of themallcould pick only three who would favor recognition. Even a private secretarythought he knew as much as thisor more. Ignorance was not confined to theyoung and insignificantnor were they the only victims of blindness.Granville's letter made only one point clear. He knew of no fixed policy orconspiracy. If any existedit was confined to PalmerstonRussellGladstoneand perhaps Newcastle. In truththe Legation knewthenall that was to beknownand the true fault of education was to suspect too much.

By that timeOctober 3news of Antietam and of Lee's retreat into Virginiahad reached London. The Emancipation Proclamation arrived. Had the privatesecretary known all that Granville or Palmerston knewhe would surely havethought the danger pastat least for a timeand any man of common sense wouldhave told him to stop worrying over phantoms. This healthy lesson would havebeen worth much for practical educationbut it was quite upset by the suddenrush of a new actor upon the stage with a rhapsody that made Russell seem saneand all education superfluous.

This new actoras every one knowswas William Ewart GladstonethenChancellor of the Exchequer. Ifin the domain of the world's politicsonepoint was fixedone value ascertainedone element seriousit was the BritishExchequer; and if one man lived who could be certainly counted as sane byoverwhelming interestit was the man who had in charge the finances of England.If education had the smallest valueit should have shown its force inGladstonewho was educated beyond all record of English training. From himiffrom no one elsethe poor student could safely learn.

Here is what he learned! Palmerston notified GladstoneSeptember 24of theproposed intervention: "If I am not mistakenyou would be inclined toapprove such a course." Gladstone replied the next day: "He was gladto learn what the Prime Minister had told him; and for two reasons especially hedesired that the proceedings should be prompt: the first was the rapid progressof the Southern arms and the extension of the area of Southern feeling; thesecond was the risk of violent impatience in the cotton-towns of Lancashire suchas would prejudice the dignity and disinterestedness of the profferedmediation."

Had the puzzled student seen this letterhe must have concluded from it thatthe best educated statesman England ever produced did not know what he wastalking aboutan assumption which all the world would think quite inadmissiblefrom a private secretary- but this was a trifle. Gladstone having thus arrangedwith Palmerston and Russellfor intervention in the American warreflected onthe subject for a fortnight from September 25 to October 7when he was to speakon the occasion of a great dinner at Newcastle. He decided to announce theGovernment's policy with all the force his personal and official authority couldgive it. This decision was no sudden impulse; it was the result of deepreflection pursued to the last moment. On the morning of October 7he enteredin his diary: "Reflected further on what I should say about Lancashire andAmericafor both these subjects are critical." That evening at dinnerasthe mature fruit of his long studyhe deliberately pronounced the famousphrase:- -

...We know quite well that the people of the Northern States have not yetdrunk of the cup- they are still trying to hold it far from their lips- whichall the rest of the world see they nevertheless must drink of. We may have ourown opinions about slavery; we may be for or against the South; but there is nodoubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army;they are makingit appearsa navy; and they have madewhat is more thaneitherthey have made a nation.... -

Looking backforty years afterwardson this episodeone asked one's selfpainfully what sort of a lesson a young man should have drawnfor the purposesof his educationfrom this world-famous teaching of a very great master. In theheat of passion at the momentone drew some harsh moral conclusions: Were theyincorrect? Posed bluntly as rules of conductthey led to the worst possiblepractices. As moralsone could detect no shade of difference between Gladstoneand Napoleon except to the advantage of Napoleon. The private secretary sawnone; he accepted the teacher in that sense; he took his lesson of politicalmorality as learnedhis notice to quit as duly servedand supposed hiseducation to be finished.

Every one thought soand the whole City was in a turmoil. Any intelligenteducation ought to end when it is complete. One would then feel fewerhesitations and would handle a surer world. The old-fashioned logical dramarequired unity and sense; the actual drama is a pointless puzzlewithout evenan intrigue. When the curtain fell on Gladstone's speechany student had theright to suppose the drama ended; none could have affirmed that it was about tobegin; that one's painful lesson was thrown away.

Even after forty yearsmost people would refuse to believe it; they wouldstill insist that GladstoneRusselland Palmerston were true villains ofmelodrama. The evidence against Gladstone in special seemed overwhelming. Theword "must" can never be used by a responsible Minister of oneGovernment towards anotheras Gladstone used it. No one knew so well as he thathe and his own officials and friends at Liverpool were alone "making"a rebel navyand that Jefferson Davis had next to nothing to do with it. AsChancellor of the Exchequer he was the Minister most interested in knowing thatPalmerstonRusselland himself were banded together by mutual pledge to makethe Confederacy a nation the next weekand that the Southern leaders had as yetno hope of "making a nation" but in them. Such thoughts occurred toevery one at the moment and time only added to their force. Never in the historyof political turpitude had any brigand of modern civilization offered a worseexample. The proof of it was that it outraged even Palmerstonwho immediatelyput up Sir George Cornewall Lewis to repudiate the Chancellor of the Exchequeragainst whom he turned his press at the same time. Palmerston had no notion ofletting his hand be forced by Gladstone.

Russell did nothing of the kind; if he agreed with Palmerstonhe followedGladstone. Although he had just created a new evangel of non-intervention forItalyand preached it like an apostlehe preached the gospel of interventionin America as though he were a mouthpiece of the Congress of Vienna. On October13he issued his call for the Cabinet to meeton October 23for discussion ofthe "duty of Europe to ask both partiesin the most friendly andconciliatory termsto agree to a suspension of arms." Meanwhile MinisterAdamsdeeply perturbed and profoundly anxiouswould betray no sign of alarmand purposely delayed to ask explanation. The howl of anger against Gladstonebecame louder every dayfor every one knew that the Cabinet was called forOctober 23and then could not fail to decide its policy about the UnitedStates. Lord Lyons put off his departure for America till October 25 expresslyto share in the conclusions to be discussed on October 23. When Minister Adamsat last requested an interviewRussell named October 23 as the day. To the lastmoment every act of Russell showed thatin his mindthe intervention was stillin doubt.

When Minister Adamsat the interviewsuggested that an explanation was duehimhe watched Russell with natural interestand reported thus:- -

...His lordship took my allusion at oncethough not without a slightindication of embarrassment. He said that Mr. Gladstone had been evidently muchmisunderstood. I must have seen in the newspapers the letters which containedhis later explanations. That he had certain opinions in regard to the nature ofthe struggle in Americaas on all public questionsjust as other Englishmenhadwas natural enough. And it was the fashion here for public men to expresssuch as they held in their public addresses. Of course it was not for him todisavow anything on the part of Mr. Gladstone; but he had no idea that in sayingwhat he hadthere was a serious intention to justify any of the inferences thathad been drawn from it of a disposition in the Government now to adopt a newpolicy.... -

A student trying to learn the processes of politics in a free governmentcould not but ponder long on the moral to be drawn from this"explanation" of Mr. Gladstone by Earl Russell. The point set forstudy as the first condition of political lifewas whether any politician couldbe believed or trusted. The question which a private secretary asked himselfincopying this despatch of October 241862was whether his father believedorshould believeone word of Lord Russell's "embarrassment." The"truth" was not known for thirty yearsbut when publishedseemed tobe the reverse of Earl Russell's statement. Mr. Gladstone's speech had beendrawn out by Russell's own policy of intervention and had no sense except todeclare the "disposition in the Government now to adopt" that newpolicy. Earl Russell never disavowed Gladstonealthough Lord Palmerston and SirGeorge Cornewall Lewis instantly did so. As far as the curious student couldpenetrate the mysteryGladstone exactly expressed Earl Russell's intent.

As political educationthis lesson was to be crucial; it would decide thelaw of life. All these gentlemen were superlatively honorable; if one could notbelieve themTruth in politics might be ignored as a delusion. Therefore thestudent felt compelled to reach some sort of idea that should serve to bring thecase within a general law. Minister Adams felt the same compulsion. He bluntlytold Russell that while he was "willing to acquit" Gladstone of"any deliberate intention to bring on the worst effects" he was boundto say that Gladstone was doing it quite as certainly as if he had one; and tothis chargewhich struck more sharply at Russell's secret policy than atGladstone's public defence of itRussell replied as well as he could:- -

...His lordship intimated as guardedly as possible that Lord Palmerston andother members of the Government regretted the speechand Mr. Gladstone himselfwas not disinclined to correctas far as he couldthe misinterpretation whichhad been made of it. It was still their intention to adhere to the rule ofperfect neutrality in the struggleand to let it come to its natural endwithout the smallest interferencedirect or otherwise. But he could not saywhat circumstances might happen from month to month in the future. I observedthat the policy he mentioned was satisfactory to usand asked if I was tounderstand him as saying that no change of it was now proposed. To which he gavehis assent.... -

Minister Adams never knew more. He retained his belief that Russell could betrustedbut that Palmerston could not. This was the diplomatic traditionespecially held by the Russian diplomats. Possibly it was soundbut it helpedin no way the education of a private secretary. The cat's-paw theory offered nosafer cluethan the frankold-fashionedhonest theory of villainy. Neitherthe one nor the other was reasonable.

No one ever told the Minister that Earl Russellonly a few hours beforehadasked the Cabinet to interveneand that the Cabinet had refused. The Ministerwas led to believe that the Cabinet meeting was not heldand that its decisionwas informal. Russell's biographer said that"with this memorandum [ofRussell'sdated October 13] the cabinet assembled from all parts of the countryon October 23; but... members of the Cabinet doubted the policy of movingormoving at that time." The Duke of Newcastle and Sir George Grey joinedGranville in opposition. As far as knownRussell and Gladstone stood alone."Considerations such as these prevented the matter being pursued anyfurther."

Still no one has distinctly said that this decision was formal; perhaps theunanimity of opposition made the formal Cabinet unnecessary; but it is certainthatwithin an hour or two before or after this decision"his lordshipsaid [to the United States Minister] that the policy of the Government was toadhere to a strict neutrality and to leave this struggle to settle itself."When Mr. Adamsnot satisfied even with this positive assurancepressed for acategorical answer: "I asked him if I was to understand that policy as notnow to be changed; he said: Yes!"

John Morley's comment on this matterin the "Life of Gladstone"forty years afterwardswould have interested the Ministeras well as hisprivate secretary: "If this relation be accurate" said Morley of arelation officially published at the timeand never questioned"then theForeign Secretary did not construe strict neutrality as excluding whatdiplomatists call good offices." For a vital lesson in politicsEarlRussell's construction of neutrality mattered little to the studentwho askedonly Russell's intentand cared only to know whether his construction had anyother object than to deceive the Minister.

In the grave one can afford to be lavish of charityand possibly EarlRussell may have been honestly glad to reassure his personal friend Mr. Adams;but to one who is still in the world even if not of itdoubts are as plenty asdays. Earl Russell totally deceived the private secretarywhatever he may havedone to the Minister. The policy of abstention was not settled on October 23.Only the next dayOctober 24Gladstone circulated a rejoinder to G. C. Lewisinsisting on the duty of EnglandFranceand Russia to intervene byrepresenting"with moral authority and forcethe opinion of the civilizedworld upon the conditions of the case." Nothing had been decided. By somemeansscarcely accidentalthe French Emperor was led to think that hisinfluence might turn the scaleand only ten days after Russell's categorical"Yes!" Napoleon officially invited him to say "No!" He wasmore than ready to do so. Another Cabinet meeting was called for November 11and this time Gladstone himself reports the debate:- -

Nov. 11. We have had our Cabinet to-day and meet again to-morrow. I am afraidwe shall do little or nothing in the business of America. But I will send youdefinite intelligence. Both Lords Palmerston and Russell are right.

Nov. 12. The United States affair has ended and not well. Lord Russell ratherturned tail. He gave way without resolutely fighting out his battle. Howeverthough we decline for the momentthe answer is put upon grounds and in termswhich leave the matter very open for the future.

Nov. 13. I think the French will make our answer about America public; atleast it is very possible. But I hope they may not take it as a positiverefusalor at any rate that they may themselves act in the matter. It will beclear that we concur with themthat the war should cease. Palmerston gave toRussell's proposal a feeble and half-hearted support. -

Forty years afterwardswhen every one except himselfwho looked on at thisscenewas deadthe private secretary of 1862 read these lines with stuporandhurried to discuss them with John Haywho was more astounded than himself. Allthe world had been at cross-purposeshad misunderstood themselves and thesituationhad followed wrong pathsdrawn wrong conclusionshad known none ofthe facts. One would have done better to draw no conclusions at all. One'sdiplomatic education was a long mistake.

These were the terms of this singular problem as they presented themselves tothe student of diplomacy in 1862: Palmerstonon September 14under theimpression that the President was about to be driven from Washington and theArmy of the Potomac dispersedsuggested to Russell that in such a caseintervention might be feasible. Russell instantly answered thatin any casehewanted to intervene and should call a Cabinet for the purpose. Palmerstonhesitated; Russell insisted; Granville protested. Meanwhile the rebel army wasdefeated at AntietamSeptember 17and driven out of Maryland. Then GladstoneOctober 7tried to force Palmerston's hand by treating the intervention as afait accompli. Russell assentedbut Palmerston put up Sir George CornewallLewis to contradict Gladstone and treated him sharply in the pressat the verymoment when Russell was calling a Cabinet to make Gladstone's words good. OnOctober 23Russell assured Adams that no change in policy was now proposed. Onthe same day he had proposed itand was voted down. Instantly Napoleon IIIappeared as the ally of Russell and Gladstone with a proposition which had nosense except as a bribe to Palmerston to replace Americafrom pole to poleinher old dependence on Europeand to replace England in her old sovereignty ofthe seasif Palmerston would support France in Mexico. The young student ofdiplomacyknowing Palmerstonmust have taken for granted that Palmerstoninspired this motion and would support it; knowing Russell and his Whigantecedentshe would conceive that Russell must oppose it; knowing Gladstoneand his lofty principleshe would not doubt that Gladstone violently denouncedthe scheme. If education was worth a strawthis was the only arrangement ofpersons that a trained student would imagine possibleand it was thearrangement actually assumed by nine men out of tenas history. In trutheachvaluation was false. Palmerston never showed favor to the scheme and gave itonly "a feeble and half-hearted support." Russell gave way withoutresolutely fighting out "his battle." The only resolutevehementconscientious champion of RussellNapoleonand Jefferson Davis was Gladstone.

Other people could afford to laugh at a young man's blundersbut to him thebest part of life was thrown away if he learned such a lesson wrong. Henry Jameshad not yet taught the world to read a volume for the pleasure of seeing thelights of his burning-glass turned on alternate sides of the same figure.Psychological study was still simpleand at worst- or at best- Englishcharacter was never subtile. Surely no one would believe that complexity was thetrait that confused the student of PalmerstonRusselland Gladstone. Under avery strong light human nature will always appear complex and full ofcontradictionsbut the British statesman would appearon the wholeamong theleast complex of men.

Complex these gentlemen were not. Disraeli alone mightby contrastbecalled complexbut PalmerstonRusselland Gladstone deceived only by theirsimplicity. Russell was the most interesting to a young man because his conductseemed most statesmanlike. Every act of Russellfrom April1861to November1862showed the clearest determination to break up the Union. The only point inRussell's character about which the student thought no doubt to be possible wasits want of good faith. It was thoroughly dishonestbut strong. HabituallyRussell said one thing and did another. He seemed unconscious of his owncontradictions even when his opponents pointed them outas they were much inthe habit of doingin the strongest language. As the student watched him dealwith the Civil War in AmericaRussell alone showed persistenceeven obstinacyin a definite determinationwhich he supportedas was necessaryby the usualdefinite falsehoods. The young man did not complain of the falsehoods; on thecontraryhe was vain of his own insight in detecting them; but he was whollyupset by the idea that Russell should think himself true.

Young Adams thought Earl Russell a statesman of the old schoolclear abouthis objects and unscrupulous in his methods- dishonest but strong. Russellardently asserted that he had no objectsand that though he might be weak hewas above all else honest. Minister Adams leaned to Russell personally andthought him truebut officiallyin practicetreated him as false. Punchbefore 1862commonly drew Russell as a schoolboy telling liesand afterwardsas prematurely senileat seventy. Education stopped there. No oneeither in orout of Englandever offered a rational explanation of Earl Russell.

Palmerston was simple- so simple as to mislead the student altogether- butscarcely more consistent. The world thought him positivedecidedreckless; therecord proved him to be cautiouscarefulvacillating. Minister Adams took himfor pugnacious and quarrelsome; the "Lives" of RussellGladstoneandGranville show him to have been good-temperedconciliatoryavoiding quarrels.He surprised the Minister by refusing to pursue his attack on General Butler. Hetried to check Russell. He scolded Gladstone. He discouraged Napoleon. ExceptDisraeli none of the English statesmen were so cautious as he in talking ofAmerica. Palmerston told no falsehoods; made no professions; concealed noopinions; was detected in no double-dealing. The most mortifying failure inHenry Adams's long education was thatafter forty years of confirmed dislikedistrustand detraction of Lord Palmerstonhe was obliged at last to admithimself in errorand to consent in spirit- for by that time he was nearly asdead as any of them- to beg his pardon.

Gladstone was quite another storybut with him a student's difficulties wereless because they were shared by all the world including Gladstone himself. Hewas the sum of contradictions. The highest education could reachin thisanalysisonly a reduction to the absurdbut no absurdity that a young mancould reach in 1862 would have approached the level that Mr. Gladstone admittedavowedproclaimedin his confessions of 1896which brought all reason and allhope of education to a stillstand:- -

I have yet to record an undoubted errorthe most singular and palpableImay add the least excusable of them allespecially since it was committed solate in the year 1862 when I had outlived half a century.... I declared in theheat of the American struggle that Jefferson Davis had made a nation.... Strangeto saythis declarationmost unwarrantable to be made by a Minister of theCrown with no authority other than his ownwas not due to any feeling ofpartisanship for the South or hostility to the North.... I reallythough moststrangelybelieved that it was an act of friendliness to all America torecognize that the struggle was virtually at an end.... That my opinion wasfounded upon a false estimate of the facts was the very least part of my fault.I did not perceive the gross impropriety of such an utterance from a CabinetMinister of a power allied in blood and languageand bound to loyal neutrality;the case being further exaggerated by the fact that we were alreadyso tospeakunder indictment before the world for not (as was alleged) havingstrictly enforced the laws of neutrality in the matter of the cruisers. Myoffense was indeed only a mistakebut one of incredible grossnessand withsuch consequences of offence and alarm attached to itthat my failing toperceive them justly exposed me to very severe blame. It illustrates vividlythat incapacity which my mind so long retainedand perhaps still exhibitsanincapacity of viewing subjects all round.... -

Long and patiently- more than patiently- sympatheticallydid the privatesecretaryforty years afterwards in the twilight of a life of studyread andre-read and reflect upon this confession. Thenit seemedhe had seen nothingcorrectly at the time. His whole theory of conspiracy- of policy- of logic andconnection in the affairs of manresolved itself into "incrediblegrossness." He felt no rancorfor he had won the game; he forgavesincehe must admitthe "incapacity of viewing subjects all round" whichhad so nearly cost him life and fortune; he was willing even to believe. Henotedwithout irritationthat Mr. Gladstonein his confessionhad notalluded to the understanding between RussellPalmerstonand himself; had evenwholly left out his most "incredible" acthis ardent support ofNapoleon's policya policy which even Palmerston and Russell had supportedfeeblywith only half a heart. All this was indifferent. Grantingin spite ofevidencethat Gladstone had no set plan of breaking up the Union; that he wasparty to no conspiracy; that he saw none of the results of his acts which wereclear to every one else; granting in short what the English themselves seemed atlast to conclude- that Gladstone was not quite sane; that Russell was verging onsenility; and that Palmerston had lost his nerve- what sort of education shouldhave been the result of it? How should it have affected one's future opinionsand acts?

Politics cannot stop to study psychology. Its methods are rough; itsjudgments rougher still. All this knowledge would not have affected either theMinister or his son in 1862. The sum of the individuals would still have seemedto the young manone individual-a single will or intention- bent on breaking upthe Union "as a diminution of a dangerous power." The Minister wouldstill have found his interest in thinking Russell friendly and Palmerstonhostile. The individual would still have been identical with the mass. Theproblem would have been the same; the answer equally obscure. Every studentwouldlike the private secretaryanswer for himself alone.

CHAPTER XI

The Battle of the Rams (1863) -

MINISTER ADAMS troubled himself little about what he did not see of an enemy.His sona nervous animalmade life a terror by seeing too much. Minister Adamsplayed his hand as it cameand seldom credited his opponents with greaterintelligence than his own. Earl Russell suited him; perhaps a certain personalsympathy united them; and indeed Henry Adams never saw Russell without beingamused by his droll likeness to John Quincy Adams. Apart from this shadowypersonal relationno doubt the Minister was diplomatically right; he hadnothing to lose and everything to gain by making a friend of the ForeignSecretaryand whether Russell were true or false mattered lessbecauseineither casethe American Legation could act only as though he were false. Hadthe Minister known Russell's determined effort to betray and ruin him inOctober1862he could have scarcely used stronger expressions than he did in1863. Russell must have been greatly annoyed by Sir Robert Collier's hint ofcollusion with the rebel agents in the Alabama Casebut he hardened himself tohear the same innuendo repeated in nearly every note from the Legation. As timewent onRussell was compelledthough slowlyto treat the American Minister asserious. He admitted nothing so unwillinglyfor the nullity or fatuity of theWashington Government was his idee fixe; but after the failure of his lasteffort for joint intervention on November 121862only one week elapsed beforehe received a note from Minister Adams repeating his charges about the Alabamaand asking in very plain language for redress. Perhaps Russell's mind wasnaturally slow to understand the force of sudden attackor perhaps age hadaffected it; this was one of the points that greatly interested a studentbutyoung men have a passion for regarding their elders as senilewhich was only inpart warranted in this instance by observing that Russell's generation weremostly senile from youth. They had never got beyond 1815. Both Palmerston andRussell were in this case. Their senility was congenitallike Gladstone'sOxford training and High Church illusionswhich caused wild eccentricities inhis judgment. Russell could not conceive that he had misunderstood andmismanaged Minister Adams from the startand whenafter November 12he foundhimself on the defensivewith Mr. Adams taking daily a stronger tonehe showedmere confusion and helplessness.

Thuswhatever the theorythe action of diplomacy had to be the same.Minister Adams was obliged to imply collusion between Russell and the rebels. Hecould not even stop at criminal negligence. Ifby an access of courtesytheMinister were civil enough to admit that the escape of the Alabama had been dueto criminal negligencehe could make no such concession in regard to theironclad rams which the Lairds were building; for no one could be so simple asto believe that two armored ships-of-war could be built publiclyunder the eyesof the Governmentand go to sea like the Alabamawithout active and incessantcollusion. The longer Earl Russell kept on his mask of assumed ignorancethemore violently in the endthe Minister would have to tear it off. Whatever Mr.Adams might personally think of Earl Russellhe must take the greatest possiblediplomatic liberties with him if this crisis were allowed to arrive.

As the spring of 1863 drew onthe vast field cleared itself for action. Acampaign more beautiful- better suited for training the mind of a youth eagerfor training- has not often unrolled itself for studyfrom the beginningbefore a young man perched in so commanding a position. Very slowlyindeedafter two years of solitudeone began to feel the first faint flush of newimperial life. One was twenty-five years oldand quite ready to assert it; someof one's friends were wearing stars on their collars; some had won stars of amore enduring kind. At moments one's breath came quick. One began to dream thesensation of wielding unmeasured power. The sense camelike vertigofor aninstantand passedleaving the brain a little dazeddoubtfulshy. With anintensity more painful than that of any Shakespearean dramamen's eyes werefastened on the armies in the field. Little by littleat first only as ashadowy chance of what might beif things could be rightly doneone began tofeel thatsomewhere behind the chaos in Washington power was taking shape; thatit was massed and guided as it had not been before. Men seemed to have learnedtheir business- at a cost that ruined- and perhaps too late. A private secretaryknew better than most people how much of the new power was to be swung inLondonand almost exactly when; but the diplomatic campaign had to wait for themilitary campaign to lead. The student could only study.

Life never could know more than a single such climax. In that formeducationreached its limits. As the first great blows began to fallone curled up in bedin the silence of nightto listen with incredulous hope. As the huge massesstruckone after anotherwith the precision of machinerythe opposing massthe world shivered. Such development of power was unknown. The magnificentresistance and the return shocks heightened the suspense. During the July daysLondoners were stupid with unbelief. They were learning from the Yankees how tofight.

An American saw in a flash what all this meant to Englandfor one's mind wasworking with the acceleration of the machine at home; but Englishmen were notquick to see their blunders. One had ample time to watch the processand hadeven a little time to gloat over the repayment of old scores. News of Vicksburgand Gettysburg reached London one Sunday afternoonand it happened that HenryAdams was asked for that evening to some small reception at the house ofMonckton Milnes. He went early in order to exchange a word or two ofcongratulation before the rooms should filland on arriving he found only theladies in the drawing-room; the gentlemen were still sitting over their wine.Presently they came inandas luck would have itDelane of the Times camefirst. When Milnes caught sight of his young American friendwith a whoop oftriumph he rushed to throw both arms about his neck and kiss him on both cheeks.Men of later birth who knew too little to realize the passions of 1863- backedby those of 1813- and reenforced by those of 1763- might conceive that suchpublicity embarrassed a private secretary who came from Boston and calledhimself shy; but that eveningfor the first time in his lifehe happened notto be thinking of himself. He was thinking of Delanewhose eye caught hisatthe moment of Milnes's embrace. Delane probably regarded it as a piece ofMilnes's foolery; he had never heard of young Adamsand never dreamed of hisresentment at being ridiculed in the Times; he had no suspicion of the thoughtfloating in the mind of the American Minister's sonfor the British mind is theslowest of all mindsas the files of the Times provedand the capture ofVicksburg had not yet penetrated Delane's thick cortex of fixed ideas. Even ifhe had read Adams's thought he would have felt for it only the usual amusedBritish contempt for all that he had not been taught at school. It needed awhole generation for the Times to reach Milnes's standpoint.

Had the Minister's son carried out the thoughthe would surely have soughtan introduction to Delane on the spotand assured him that he regarded his ownpersonal score as cleared off- sufficiently settledthen and there- because hisfather had assumed the debtand was going to deal with Mr. Delane himself."You come next!" would have been the friendly warning. For nearly ayear the private secretary had watched the board arranging itself for thecollision between the Legation and Delane who stood behind the PalmerstonMinistry. Mr. Adams had been steadily strengthened and reenforced fromWashington in view of the final struggle. The situation had changed since theTrent Affair. The work was efficiently done; the organization was fairlycomplete. No doubtthe Legation itself was still as weakly manned and had aspoor an outfit as the Legations of Guatemala or Portugal. Congress was alwaysjealous of its diplomatic serviceand the Chairman of the Committee of ForeignRelations was not likely to press assistance on the Minister to England. For theLegation not an additional clerk was offered or asked. The SecretarytheAssistant Secretaryand the private secretary did all the work that theMinister did not do. A clerk at five dollars a week would have done the work aswell or betterbut the Minister could trust no clerk; without express authorityhe could admit no one into the Legation; he strained a point already byadmitting his son. Congress and its committees were the proper judges of whatwas best for the public serviceand if the arrangement seemed good to themitwas satisfactory to a private secretary who profited by it more than they did. Agreat staff would have suppressed him. The whole Legation was a sort ofimprovisedvolunteer serviceand he was a volunteer with the rest. He wasrather better off than the restbecause he was invisible and unknown. Better orworsehe did his work with the othersand if the secretaries made any remarksabout Congressthey made no complaintsand knew that none would have receiveda moment's attention.

If they were not satisfied with Congressthey were satisfied with SecretarySeward. Without appropriations for the regular servicehe had done great thingsfor its support. If the Minister had no secretarieshe had a staff of activeconsuls; he had a well-organized press; efficient legal support; and a swarm ofsocial allies permeating all classes. All he needed was a victory in the fieldand Secretary Stanton undertook that part of diplomacy. Vicksburg and Gettysburgcleared the boardandat the end of July1863Minister Adams was ready todeal with Earl Russell or Lord Palmerston or Mr. Gladstone or Mr. Delaneor anyone else who stood in his way; and by the necessity of the casewas obliged todeal with all of them shortly.

Even before the military climax at Vicksburg and Gettysburgthe Minister hadbeen compelled to begin his attack; but this was historyand had nothing to dowith education. The private secretary copied the notes into his private booksand that was all the share he had in the matterexcept to talk in private.

No more volunteer services were needed; the volunteers were in a manner sentto the rear; the movement was too serious for skirmishing. All that a secretarycould hope to gain from the affair was experience and knowledge of politics. Hehad a chance to measure the motive forces of men; their qualities of character;their foresight; their tenacity of purpose.

In the Legation no great confidence was felt in stopping the rams. Whateverthe reasonRussell seemed immovable. Had his efforts for intervention inSeptember1862been known to the Legation in September1863the Ministermust surely have admitted that Russell hadfrom the firstmeant to force hisplan of intervention on his colleagues. Every separate step since April1861led to this final coercion. Although Russell's hostile activity of 1862 wasstill secret- and remained secret for some five-and-twenty years- his animusseemed to be made clear by his steady refusal to stop the rebel armaments.Little by littleMinister Adams lost hope. With loss of hope came the raisingof toneuntil at lastafter stripping Russell of every rag of defence andexcusehe closed by leaving him loaded with connivance in the rebel armamentsand ended by the famous sentence: "It would be superfluous in me to pointout to your lordship that this is war!"

What the Minister meant by this remark was his own affair; what the privatesecretary understood by itwas a part of his education. Had his father orderedhim to draft an explanatory paragraph to expand the idea as he grasped ithewould have continued thus:-

"It would be superfluous: 1st. Because Earl Russell not only knows italreadybut has meant it from the start. 2d. Because it is the only logical andnecessary consequence of his unvarying action. 3d. Because Mr. Adams is notpointing out to him that 'this is war' but is pointing it out to the worldtocomplete the record."

This would have been the matter-of-fact sense in which the private secretarycopied into his books the matter-of-fact statement with whichwithout passionor excitementthe Minister announced that a state of war existed. To hiscopying eyeas clerkthe wordsthough on the extreme verge of diplomaticproprietymerely stated a factwithout noveltyfancyor rhetoric. The facthad to be stated in order to make clear the issue. The war was Russell's war-Adams only accepted it.

Russell's reply to this note of September 5 reached the Legation on September8announcing at last to the anxious secretaries that "instructions havebeen issued which will prevent the departure of the two ironclad vessels fromLiverpool." The members of the modest Legation in Portland Place acceptedit as Grant had accepted the capitulation of Vicksburg. The private secretaryconceived thatas Secretary Stanton had struck and crushed by superior weightthe rebel left on the Mississippiso Secretary Seward had struck and crushedthe rebel right in Englandand he never felt a doubt as to the nature of thebattle. Though Minister Adams should stay in office till he were ninetyhewould never fight another campaign of life and death like this; and though theprivate secretary should covet and attain every office in the gift of Presidentor peoplehe would never again find education to compare with thelife-and-death alternative of this two-year-and-a-half struggle in Londonas ithad racked and thumb-screwed him in its shifting phases; but its practical valueas education turned on his correctness of judgment in measuring the men andtheir forces. He felt respect for Russell as for Palmerston because theyrepresented traditional England and an English policyrespectable enough initselfbut whichfor four generationsevery Adams had fought and exploited asthe chief source of his political fortunes. As he understood itRussell hadfollowed this policy steadilyablyeven vigorouslyand had brought it to themoment of execution. Then he had met wills stronger than his ownandafterpersevering to the last possible instanthad been beaten. Lord North and GeorgeCanning had a like experience.

This was only the idea of a boybutas far as he ever knewit was also theidea of his Government. For oncethe volunteer secretary was satisfied with hisGovernment. Commonly the self-respect of a secretaryprivate or publicdependsonand is proportional tothe severity of his criticismbut in this case theEnglish campaign seemed to him as creditable to the State Department as theVicksburg campaign to the War Departmentand more decisive. It was wellplannedwell preparedand well executed. He could never discover a mistake init. Possibly he was biassed by personal interestbut his chief reason fortrusting his own judgment was that he thought himself to be one of only half adozen persons who knew something about it. When others criticised Mr. Sewardhewas rather indifferent to their opinions because he thought they hardly knewwhat they were talking aboutand could not be taught without living over againthe London life of 1862. To him Secretary Seward seemed immensely strong andsteady in leadership; but this was no discredit to Russell or Palmerston orGladstone. Theytoohad shown powerpatience and steadiness of purpose. Theyhad persisted for two years and a half in their plan for breaking up the Unionand had yielded at last only in the jaws of war. After a long and desperatestrugglethe American Minister had trumped their best card and won the game.

Again and againin after lifehe went back over the ground to see whetherhe could detect error on either side. He found none. At every stage the stepswere both probable and proved. All the more he was disconcerted that Russellshould indignantly and with growing energyto his dying daydeny and resentthe axiom of Adams's whole contentionthat from the first he meant to break upthe Union. Russell affirmed that he meant nothing of the sort; that he had meantnothing at all; that he meant to do right; that he did not know what he meant.Driven from one defence after anotherhe pleaded at lastlike Gladstonethathe had no defence. Concealing all he could conceal- burying in profound secrecyhis attempt to break up the Union in the autumn of 1862- he affirmed the louderhis scrupulous good faith. What was worse for the private secretaryto thetotal derision and despair of the lifelong effort for educationas the finalresult of combined practiceexperienceand theory- he proved it.

Henry Adams hadas he thoughtsuffered too much from Russell to admit anyplea in his favor; but he came to doubt whether this admission really favoredhim. Not until long after Earl Russell's death was the question reopened.Russell had quitted office in 1866; he died in 1878; the biography was publishedin 1889. During the Alabama controversy and the Geneva Conference in 1872hiscourse as Foreign Secretary had been sharply criticisedand he had beencompelled to see England pay more than L3000000 penalty for his errors. On theother handhe brought forward- or his biographer for him- evidence tending toprove that he was not consciously dishonestand that he hadin spite ofappearancesacted without collusionagreementplanor policyas far asconcerned the rebels. He had stood aloneas was his nature. Like Gladstonehehad thought himself right.

In the endRussell entangled himself in a hopeless ball of admissionsdenialscontradictionsand resentments which led even his old colleagues todrop his defenceas they dropped Gladstone's; but this was not enough for thestudent of diplomacy who had made a certain theory his law of lifeand wantedto hold Russell up against himself; to show that he had foresight andpersistence of which he was unaware. The effort became hopeless when thebiography in 1889 published papers which upset all that Henry Adams had takenfor diplomatic education; yet he sat down once morewhen past sixty years oldto see whether he could unravel the skein.

Of the obstinate effort to bring about an armed interventionon the linesmarked out by Russell's letter to Palmerston from Gotha17 September1862nothing could be said beyond Gladstone's plea in excuse for his speech inpursuance of the same effortthat it was "the most singular and palpableerror" "the least excusable" "a mistake of incrediblegrossness" which passed defence; but while Gladstone threw himself on themercy of the public for his speechhe attempted no excuse for Lord Russell wholed him into the "incredible grossness" of announcing the ForeignSecretary's intent. Gladstone's offence"singular and palpable" wasnot the speech alonebut its cause- the policy that inspired the speech."I weakly supposed... I reallythough most strangelybelieved that it wasan act of friendliness." Whatever absurdity Gladstone supposedRussellsupposed nothing of the sort. Neither he nor Palmerston "most strangelybelieved" in any proposition so obviously and palpably absurdnor didNapoleon delude himself with philanthropy. Gladstoneeven in his confessionmixed up policyspeechmotivesand personsas though he were trying toconfuse chiefly himself.

There Gladstone's activity seems to have stopped. He did not reappear in thematter of the rams. The rebel influence shrank in 1863as far as is knowntoLord Russell alonewho wrote on September 1 that he could not interfere in anyway with those vesselsand thereby brought on himself Mr. Adams's declarationof war on September 5. A student held thatin this refusalhe was merelyfollowing his policy of September1862and of every step he had taken since1861.

The student was wrong. Russell proved that he had been feebletimidmistakensenilebut not dishonest. The evidence is convincing. The Lairds hadbuilt these ships in reliance on the known opinion of the law officers that thestatute did not applyand a jury would not convict. Minister Adams repliedthatin this casethe statute should be amendedor the ships stopped byexercise of the political power. Bethell rejoined that this would be a violationof neutrality; one must preserve the status quo. Tacitly Russell connived withLairdandhad he meant to interferehe was bound to warn Laird that thedefect of the statute would no longer protect himbut he allowed the buildersto go on till the ships were ready for sea. Thenon September 3two daysbefore Mr. Adams's "superfluous" letterhe wrote to Lord Palmerstonbegging for help; "The conduct of the gentlemen who have contracted for thetwo ironclads at Birkenhead is so very suspicious"- he beganand this heactually wrote in good faith and deep confidence to Lord Palmerstonhis chiefcalling "the conduct" of the rebel agents "suspicious" whenno one else in Europe or America felt any suspicion about itbecause the wholequestion turned not on the ramsbut on the technical scope of the ForeignEnlistment Act- "that I have thought it necessary to direct that theyshould be detained" notof courseunder the statutebut on the groundurged by the American Ministerof international obligation above the statute."The Solicitor General has been consulted and concurs in the measure as oneof policy though not of strict law. We shall thus test the lawandif we haveto pay damageswe have satisfied the opinion which prevails here as well as inAmerica that that kind of neutral hostility should not be allowed to go onwithout some attempt to stop it."

For naivete that would be unusual in an unpaid attache of Legationthissudden leap from his own to his opponent's groundafter two years and a half ofdogged resistancemight have roused Palmerston to inhuman scornbut instead ofderisionwell earned by Russell's old attacks on himselfPalmerston met theappeal with wonderful loyalty. "On consulting the law officers he foundthat there was no lawful ground for meddling with the ironclads" orinunprofessional languagethat he could trust neither his law officers nor aLiverpool jury; and therefore he suggested buying the ships for the BritishNavy. As proof of "criminal negligence" in the pastthis suggestionseemed decisivebut Russellby this timewas floundering in other troubles ofnegligencefor he had neglected to notify the American Minister. He should havedone so at onceon September 3. Instead he waited till September 4and thenmerely said that the matter was under "serious and anxiousconsideration." This note did not reach the Legation till three o'clock onthe afternoon of September 5- after the "superfluous" declaration ofwar had been sent. ThusLord Russell had sacrificed the Lairds: had cost hisMinistry the price of two ironcladsbesides the Alabama Claims- sayin roundnumberstwenty million dollars- and had put himself in the position ofappearing to yield only to a threat of war. Finally he wrote to the Admiralty aletter whichfrom the American point of viewwould have sounded youthful froman Eton schoolboy:- -

September 141863.

MY DEAR DUKE:-

It is of the utmost importance and urgency that the ironclads building atBirkenhead should not go to America to break the blockade. They belong toMonsieur Bravay of Paris. If you will offer to buy them on the part of theAdmiralty you will get money's worth if he accepts your offer; and if he doesnotit will be presumptive proof that they are already bought by theConfederates. I should state that we have suggested to the Turkish Government tobuy them; but you can easily settle that matter with the Turks.... -

The hilarity of the secretaries in Portland Place would have been loud hadthey seen this letter and realized the muddle of difficulties into which EarlRussell had at last thrown himself under the impulse of the American Minister;butneverthelessthese letters upset from top to bottom the results of theprivate secretary's diplomatic education forty years after he had supposed itcomplete. They made a picture different from anything he had conceived andrendered worthless his whole painful diplomatic experience.

To reconstructwhen past sixtyan education useful for any practicalpurposeis no practical problemand Adams saw no use in attacking it as onlytheoretical. He no longer cared whether he understood human nature or not; heunderstood quite as much of it as he wanted; but he found in the "Life ofGladstone" (II464) a remark several times repeated that gave him matterfor curious thought. "I always hold" said Mr. Gladstone"thatpoliticians are the men whomas a ruleit is most difficult tocomprehend"; and he addedby way of strengthening it: "For my ownpartI never have thus understoodor thought I understoodabove one ortwo."

Earl Russell was certainly not one of the two.

Henry Adams thought he also had understood one or two; but the American typewas more familiar. Perhaps this was the sufficient result of his diplomaticeducation; it seemed to be the whole.

CHAPTER XII

Eccentricity (1863) -

KNOWLEDGE of human nature is the beginning and end of political educationbut several years of arduous study in the neighborhood of Westminster led HenryAdams to think that knowledge of English human nature had little or no valueoutside of England. In Parissuch a habit stood in one's way; in Americaitroused all the instincts of native jealousy. The English mind was one-sidedeccentricsystematically unsystematicand logically illogical. The less oneknew of itthe better.

This heresywhich scarcely would have been allowed to penetrate a Bostonmind- it wouldindeedhave been shut out by instinct as a rather foolishexaggeration- rested on an experience which Henry Adams gravely thought he had aright to think conclusive- for him. That it should be conclusive for any oneelse never occurred to himsince he had no thought of educating anybody else.For him- alone- the less English education he gotthe better!

For several yearsunder the keenest incitement to watchfulnesshe observedthe English mind in contact with itself and other minds. Especially with theAmerican the contact was interesting because the limits and defects of theAmerican mind were one of the favorite topics of the European. From theold-world point of viewthe American had no mind; he had an economicthinking-machine which could work only on a fixed line. The American mindexasperated the European as a buzz-saw might exasperate a pine forest. TheEnglish mind disliked the French mind because it was antagonisticunreasonableperhaps hostilebut recognized it as at least a thought. The American mind wasnot a thought at all; it was a conventionsuperficialnarrowand ignorant; amere cutting instrumentpracticaleconomicalsharpand direct.

The English themselves hardly conceived that their mind was eithereconomicalsharpor direct; but the defect that most struck an American wasits enormous waste in eccentricity. Americans needed and used their wholeenergyand applied it with close economy; but English society was eccentric bylaw and for sake of the eccentricity itself.

The commonest phrase overheard at an English club or dinner-table was thatSo-and-So "is quite mad." It was no offence to So-and-So;

it hardly distinguished him from his fellows; and when applied to a publicmanlike Gladstoneit was qualified by epithets much more forcible.Eccentricity was so general as to become hereditary distinction. It made thechief charm of English society as well as its chief terror.

The American delighted in Thackeray as a satiristbut Thackeray quite justlymaintained that he was not a satirist at alland that his pictures of Englishsociety were exact and good-natured. The Americanwho could not believe itfell back on Dickenswhoat all eventshad the vice of exaggeration toextravagancebut Dickens's English audience thought the exaggeration rather inmanner or stylethan in types. Mr. Gladstone himself went to see Sothern actDundrearyand laughed till his face was distorted- not because Dundreary wasexaggeratedbut because he was ridiculously like the types that Gladstone hadseen- or might have seen- in any club in Pall Mall. Society swarmed withexaggerated characters; it contained little else.

Often this eccentricity bore all the marks of strength; perhaps it was actualexuberance of forcea birthmark of genius. Boston thought so. The Bostoniancalled it national character- native vigor- robustness- honesty- courage. Herespected and feared it. British self-assertionbluffbrutalblunt as it wasseemed to him a better and nobler thing than the acuteness of the Yankee or thepolish of the Parisian. Perhaps he was right. These questions of tasteoffeelingof inheritanceneed no settlement. Every one carries his own inch-ruleof tasteand amuses himself by applying ittriumphantlywherever he travels.Whatever others thoughtthe cleverest Englishmen held that the nationaleccentricity needed correctionand were beginning to correct it. The savagesatires of Dickens and the gentler ridicule of Matthew Arnold against theBritish middle class were but a part of the rebellionfor the middle class wereno worse than their neighbors in the eyes of an American in 1863; they were evena very little better in the sense that one could appeal to their interestswhile a university manlike Gladstonestood outside of argument. From none ofthem could a young American afford to borrow ideas.

The private secretarylike every other Bostonianbegan by regarding Britisheccentricity as a force. Contact with itin the shape of PalmerstonRusselland Gladstonemade him hesitate; he saw his own national type- his fatherWeedEvartsfor instance- deal with the Britishand show itself certainly notthe weaker; certainly sometimes the stronger. Biassed though he werehe couldhardly be biassed to such a degree as to mistake the effects of force on othersand while- labor as he might- Earl Russell and his state papers seemed weak to asecretaryhe could not see that they seemed strong to Russell's own followers.Russell might be dishonest or he might be merely obtuse- the English type mightbe brutal or might be only stupid- but strongin either caseit was notnordid it seem strong to Englishmen.

Eccentricity was not always a force; Americans were deeply interested indeciding whether it was always a weakness. Evidentlyon the hustings or inParliamentamong eccentricitieseccentricity was at home; but in privatesociety the question was not easy to answer. That English society was infinitelymore amusing because of its eccentricitiesno one denied. Barring the atrociousinsolence and brutality which Englishmen and especially Englishwomen showed toeach other- very rarelyindeedto foreigners- English society was much moreeasy and tolerant than American. One must expect to be treated with exquisitecourtesy this week and be totally forgotten the nextbut this was the way ofthe worldand education consisted in learning to turn one's back on others withthe same unconscious indifference that others showed among themselves. The smartof wounded vanity lasted no long time with a young man about town who had littlevanity to smartand whoin his own countrywould have found himself in nobetter position. He had nothing to complain of. No one was ever brutal to him.On the contraryhe was much better treated than ever he was likely to be inBoston- let alone New York or Washington- and if his reception variedinconceivably between extreme courtesy and extreme neglectit merely provedthat he had becomeor was becomingat home. Not from a sense of personalgriefs or disappointments did he labor over this part of the social problembutonly because his education was becoming Englishand the further it wenttheless it promised.

By natural affinity the social eccentrics commonly sympathized with politicaleccentricity. The English mind took naturally to rebellion- when foreign- and itfelt particular confidence in the Southern Confederacy because of its combinedattributes- foreign rebellion of English blood- which came nearer idealeccentricity than could be reached by PolesHungariansItalians or Frenchmen.All the English eccentrics rushed into the ranks of rebel sympathizersleavingfew but well-balanced minds to attach themselves to the cause of the Union. Noneof the English leaders on the Northern side were marked eccentrics. William E.Forster was a practicalhard-headed Yorkshiremanwhose chief ideals inpolitics took shape as working arrangements on an economical base. Cobdenconsidering the one-sided conditions of his lifewas remarkably well balanced.John Bright was stronger in his expressions than either of thembut with allhis self-assertion he stuck to his pointand his point was practical. He didnotlike Gladstonebox the compass of thought; "furiously earnest"as Monckton Milnes said"on both sides of every question"; he wasratheron the wholea consistent conservative of the old Commonwealth typeand seldom had to defend inconsistencies. Monckton Milnes himself was regardedas an eccentricchiefly by those who did not know himbut his fancies andhobbies were only ideas a little in advance of the time; his manner waseccentricbut not his mindas any one could see who read a page of his poetry.None of themexcept Milneswas a university man. As a rulethe Legation wastroubled very littleif at allby indiscretionsextravagancesorcontradictions among its English friends. Their work was largely judiciouspracticalwell consideredand almost too cautious. The "cranks" wereall rebelsand the list was portentous. Perhaps it might be headed by old LordBroughamwho had the audacity to appear at a July 4th reception at theLegationled by Joe Parkesand claim his old credit as "Attorney Generalto Mr. Madison." The Church was rebelbut the dissenters were mostly withthe Union. The universities were rebelbut the university men who enjoyed mostpublic confidence- like Lord GranvilleSir George Cornewall LewisLordStanleySir George Grey- took infinite pains to be neutral for fear of beingthought eccentric. To most observersas well as to the Timesthe Morning Postand the Standarda vast majority of the English people seemed to follow theprofessional eccentrics; even the emotional philanthropists took that direction;Lord Shaftesbury and CarlyleFowell Buxtonand Gladstonethrew theirsympathies on the side which they should naturally have opposedand did so forno reason except their eccentricity; but the "canny" Scots andYorkshiremen were cautious.

This eccentricity did not mean strength. The proof of it was themismanagement of the rebel interests. No doubt the first cause of this troublelay in the Richmond Government itself. No one understood why Jefferson Davischose Mr. Mason as his agent for London at the same time that he made so good achoice as Mr. Slidell for Paris. The

Confederacy had plenty of excellent men to send to Londonbut few who wereless fitted than Mason. Possibly Mason had a certain amount of common sensebuthe seemed to have nothing elseand in London society he counted merely as oneeccentric more. He enjoyed a great opportunity; he might even have figured as anew Benjamin Franklin with all society at his feet; he might have roared as lionof the season and made the social path of the American Minister almostimpassable; but Mr. Adams had his usual luck in enemieswho were always hismost valuable allies if his friends only let them alone. Mason was his greatestdiplomatic triumph. He had his collision with Palmerston; he drove Russell offthe field; he swept the board before Cockburn; he overbore Slidell; but he neverlifted a finger against Masonwho became his bulwark of defence.

Possibly Jefferson Davis and Mr. Mason shared two defects in common whichmight have led them into this serious mistake. Neither could have had muchknowledge of the worldand both must have been unconscious of humor. Yet at thesame time with MasonPresident Davis sent out Slidell to France and Mr. Lamarto Russia. Some twenty years laterin the shifting search for the education henever foundAdams became closely intimate at Washington with LamarthenSenator from Mississippiwho had grown to be one of the calmestmostreasonable and most amiable Union men in the United Statesand quite unusual insocial charm. In 1860 he passed for the worst of Southern fire-eatersbut hewas an eccentric by environmentnot by nature; above all his Southerneccentricitieshe had tact and humor; and perhaps this was a reason why Mr.Davis sent him abroad with the otherson a futile mission to St. Petersburg. Hewould have done better in Londonin place of Mason. London society would havedelighted in him; his stories would have won success; his manners would havemade him loved; his oratory would have swept every audience; even MoncktonMilnes could never have resisted the temptation of having him to breakfastbetween Lord Shaftesbury and the Bishop of Oxford.

Lamar liked to talk of his brief career in diplomacybut he never spoke ofMason. He never alluded to Confederate management or criticised JeffersonDavis's administration. The subject that amused him was his English allies. Atthat moment- the early summer of 1863- the rebel party in England were full ofconfidenceand felt strong enough to challenge the American Legation to a showof power. They knew better than the Legation what they could depend upon; thatthe law officers and commissioners of customs at Liverpool dared not prosecutethe ironclad ships; that PalmerstonRusselland Gladstone were ready torecognize the Confederacy; that the Emperor Napoleon would offer them everyinducement to do it. In a manner they owned Liverpool and especially the firm ofLaird who were building their ships. The political member of the Laird firm wasLindsayabout whom the whole web of rebel interests clung- ramscruisersmunitionsand Confederate loan; social introductions and parliamentary tactics.The firm of Lairdwith a certain dignityclaimed to be champion of England'snavy; and public opinionin the summer of 1863still inclined towards them.

Never was there a moment when eccentricityif it were a forceshould havehad more value to the rebel interest; and the managers must have thought soforthey adopted or accepted as their champion an eccentric of eccentrics; a type of1820; a sort of Brougham of Sheffieldnotorious for poor judgment and worsetemper. Mr. Roebuck had been a tribune of the peopleandlike tribunes of mostother peoplesin growing oldhad grown fatuous. He was regarded by the friendsof the Union as rather a comical personage- a favorite subject for Punch tolaugh at- with a bitter tongue and a mind enfeebled even more than common by thepolitical epidemic of egotism. In all England they could have found no opponentbetter fitted to give away his own case. No American man of business would havepaid him attention; yet the Lairdswho certainly knew their own affairs bestlet Roebuck represent them and take charge of their interests.

With Roebuck's doingsthe private secretary had no concern except that theMinister sent him down to the House of Commons on June 301863to report theresult of Roebuck's motion to recognize the Southern Confederacy. The Legationfelt no anxietyhaving Vicksburg already in its pocketand Bright and Forsterto say so; but the private secretary went down and was admitted under thegallery on the leftto listenwith great contentwhile John Brightwithastonishing forcecaught and shook and tossed Roebuckas a big mastiff shakesa wiryill-conditionedtoothlessbad-tempered Yorkshire terrier. The privatesecretary felt an artistic sympathy with Roebuckforfrom time to timeby wayof practiceBright in a friendly way was apt to shake him tooand he knew howit was done. The manner counted for more than the words. The scene wasinterestingbut the result was not in doubt.

All the more sharply he was excitednear the year 1879in Washingtonbyhearing Lamar begin a story after dinnerwhichlittle by littlebecamedramaticrecalling the scene in the House of Commons. The storyas well as onerememberedbegan with Lamar's failure to reach St. Petersburg at alland hisconsequent detention in Paris waiting instructions. The motion to recognize theConfederacy was about to be madeandin prospect of the debateMr. Lindsaycollected a party at his villa on the Thames to bring the rebel agents intorelations with Roebuck. Lamar was sent forand came. After much conversation ofa general sortsuch as is the usual object or resource of the English Sundayfinding himself alone with RoebuckLamarby way of showing interestbethoughthimself of John Bright and asked Roebuck whether he expected Bright to take partin the debate: "Nosir!" said Roebuck sententiously; "Bright andI have met before. It was the old story- the story of the sword-fish and thewhale! Nosir! Mr. Bright will not cross swords with me again!"

Thus assuredLamar went with the more confidence to the House on theappointed eveningand was placed under the galleryon the rightwhere helistened to Roebuck and followed the debate with such enjoyment as anexperienced debater feels in these contestsuntilas he saidhe became awarethat a manwith a singularly rich voice and imposing mannerhad taken thefloorand was giving Roebuck the most deliberate and tremendous pounding heever witnessed"until at last" concluded Lamar"it dawned onmy mind that the sword-fish was getting the worst of it."

Lamar told the story in the spirit of a joke against himself rather thanagainst Roebuck; but such jokes must have been unpleasantly common in theexperience of the rebel agents. They were surrounded by cranks of the worstEnglish specieswho distorted their natural eccentricities and perverted theirjudgment. Roebuck may have been an extreme casesince he was actually in hisdotageyet this did not prevent the Lairds from accepting his leador theHouse from taking him seriously. Extreme eccentricity was no barin Englandtoextreme confidence; sometimes it seemed a recommendation; and unless it causedfinancial lossit rather helped popularity.

The question whether British eccentricity was ever strength weighed heavilyin the balance of education. That Roebuck should mislead the rebel agents on sostrange a point as that of Bright's courage was doubly characteristic becausethe Southern people themselves had this same barbaric weakness of attributingwant of courage to opponentsand owed their ruin chiefly to such ignorance ofthe world. Bright's courage was almost as irrational as that of the rebels

themselves. Every one knew that he had the courage of a prize-fighter. Hestruckin successionpretty nearly every man in England that could be reachedby a blowand when he could not reach the individual he struck the classorwhen the class was too small for himthe whole people of England. At times hehad the whole country on his back. He could not act on the defensive; his mindrequired attack. Even among friends at the dinner-table he talked as though hewere denouncing themor some one elseon a platform; he measured his phrasesbuilt his sentencescumulated his effectsand pounded his opponentsreal orimagined. His humor was glowlike iron at dull heat; his blow was elementarylike the thrash of a whale.

One day in early springMarch 261863the Minister requested his privatesecretary to attend a Trades-Union Meeting at St. James's Hallwhich was theresult of Professor Beesly's patient efforts to unite Bright and theTrades-Unions on an American platform. The secretary went to the meeting andmade a report which reposes somewhere on file in the State Department to thisdayas harmless as such reports should be; but it contained no mention of whatinterested young Adams most- Bright's psychology. With singular skill andoratorical powerBright managed at the outsetin his opening paragraphtoinsult or outrage every class of Englishman commonly considered respectableandfor fear of any escapinghe insulted them repeatedly under consecutiveheads. The rhetorical effect was tremendous: "Privilege thinks it has agreat interest in the American contest" he began in his massivedeliberate tones; "and every morning with blatant voiceit comes into ourstreets and curses the American Republic. Privilege has beheld an afflictingspectacle for many years past. It has beheld thirty million of men happy andprosperouswithout emperors- without king (cheers)- without the surroundings ofa court (renewed cheers)- without noblesexcept such as are made by eminence inintellect and virtue- without State bishops and State prieststhose vendors ofthe love that works salvation (cheers)- without great armies and great navies-without a great debt and great taxes- and Privilege has shuddered at what mighthappen to old Europe if this great experiment should succeed."

An ingenious manwith an inventive mindmight have managedin the samenumber of linesto offend more Englishmen than Bright struck in this sentence;but he must have betrayed artifice and hurt his oratory. The audience cheeredfuriouslyand the private secretary felt peace in his much troubled mindforhe knew how careful the Ministry would beonce they saw Bright talk republicanprinciples before Trades-Unions; butwhile he did notlike Roebucksee reasonto doubt the courage of a man whoafter quarrelling with the Trades-Unionsquarreled with all the world outside the Trades-Unionshe did feel a doubtwhether to class Bright as eccentric or conventional. Every one called Bright"un-English" from Lord Palmerston to William E. Forster; but to anAmerican he seemed more English than any of his critics. He was a liberal haterand what he hated he reviled after the manner of Miltonbut he was afraid of noone. He was almost the only man in Englandorfor that matterin Europewhohated Palmerston and was not afraid of himor of the press or the pulpittheclubs or the benchthat stood behind him. He loathed the whole fabric of shamreligionsham loyaltysham aristocracyand sham socialism. He had the Britishweakness of believing only in himself and his own conventions. In all thisanAmerican sawif one may make the distinctionmuch racial eccentricitybutlittle that was personal. Bright was singularly well poised; but he usedsingularly strong language.

Long afterwardsin 1880Adams happened to be living again in London for aseasonwhen James Russell Lowell was transferred there as Minister; and asAdams's relations with Lowell had become closer and more intimate with yearshewanted the new Minister to know some of his old friends. Bright was then in theCabinetand no longer the most radical member even therebut he was still arare figure in society. He came to dinneralong with Sir Francis Doyle and SirRobert Cunliffeand as usual did most of the talking. As usual alsohe talkedof the things most on his mind. Apparently it must have been some reform of thecriminal law which the Judges opposedthat excited himfor at the end ofdinnerover the winehe took possession of the table in his old wayand endedwith a superb denunciation of the Benchspoken in his massive manneras thoughevery word were a hammersmashing what it struck:-

"For two hundred yearsthe Judges of England sat on the Benchcondemning to the penalty of death every manwomanand child who stoleproperty to the value of five shillings; andduring all that timenot oneJudge ever remonstrated against the law. We English are a nation of brutesandought to be exterminated to the last man."

As the party rose from table and passed into the drawing-roomAdams said toLowell that Bright was very fine. "Yes!" replied Lowell; "but tooviolent!"

Precisely this was the point that Adams doubted. Bright knew his Englishmenbetter than Lowell did- better than England did. He knew what amount of violencein language was necessary to drive an idea into a Lancashire or Yorkshire head.He knew that no violence was enough to affect a Somersetshire or Wiltshirepeasant. Bright kept his own head cool and clear. He was not excited; he neverbetrayed excitement. As for his denunciation of the English Benchit was a veryold storynot original with him. That the English were a nation of brutes was acommonplace generally admitted by Englishmen and universally accepted byforeigners; while the matter of their extermination could be treated only asunpracticalon their desertsbecause they were probably not very much worsethan their neighbors. Had Bright said that the FrenchSpaniardsGermansorRussians were a nation of brutes and ought to be exterminatedno one would havefound fault; the whole human raceaccording to the highest authorityhas beenexterminated once already for the same reasonand only the rainbow protectsthem from a repetition of it. What shocked Lowell was that he denounced his ownpeople.

Adams felt no moral obligation to defend Judgeswhoas far as he knewwerethe only class of society specially adapted to defend themselves; but he wascurious- even anxious- as a point of educationto decide for himself whetherBright's language was violent for its purpose. He thought not. Perhaps Cobdendid better by persuasionbut that was another matter. Of courseevenEnglishmen sometimes complained of being so constantly told that they werebrutes and hypocritesalthough they were told little else by their censorsandbore iton the wholemeekly; but the fact that it was true in the maintroubled the ten-pound voter much less than it troubled NewmanGladstoneRuskinCarlyleand Matthew Arnold. Bright was personally disliked by hisvictimsbut not distrusted. They never doubted what he would do nextas theydid with John RussellGladstoneand Disraeli. He betrayed no oneand he neveradvanced an opinion in practical matters which did not prove to be practical.

The class of Englishmen who set out to be the intellectual opposites ofBrightseemed to an American bystander the weakest and most eccentric of all.These were the trimmersthe political economiststhe anti-slavery anddoctrinaire classthe followers of de Tocquevilleand of John Stuart Mill. Asa classthey were timid-with good reason- and timiditywhich is high wisdom inphilosophysicklies the whole cast of thought in action. Numbers of these menhaunted London societyall tending to free thinkingbut never venturing muchfreedom of thought. Like the anti-slavery doctrinaires of the forties andfiftiesthey became mute and useless when slavery struck them in the face. Fortype of these eccentricsliterature seems to have chosen Henry Reeveat leastto the extent of biography. He was a bulky figure in societyalways friendlygood-naturedobligingand useful; almost as universal as Milnes and more busy.As editor of the Edinburgh Review he had authority and even poweralthough theReview and the whole Whig doctrinaire school had begun- as the French say- todate; and of course the literary and artistic sharp shooters of 1867- like FrankPalgrave- frothed and foamed at the mere mention of Reeve's name. Three-fourthsof their fury was due only to his ponderous manner. London society abused itsrights of personal criticism by fixing on every too conspicuous figure some wordor phrase that stuck to it. Every one had heard of Mrs. Grote as "theorigin of the word grotesque." Every one had laughed at the story of Reeveapproaching Mrs. Grotewith his usual somewhat florid mannerasking in hisliterary dialect how her husband the historian was: "And how is the learnedGrotius?" "Pretty wellthank youPuffendorf!" One winced at thewordas though it were a drawing of Forain.

No one would have been more shocked than Reeve had he been charged with wantof moral courage. He proved his courage afterwards by publishing the"Greville Memoirs" braving the displeasure of the Queen. Yet theEdinburgh Review and its editor avoided taking sides except where sides werealready fixed. Americanism would have been bad form in the liberal EdinburghReview; it would have seemed eccentric even for a Scotchmanand Reeve was aSaxon of Saxons. To an American this attitude of oscillating reserve seemed moreeccentric than the reckless hostility of Brougham or Carlyleand moremischievousfor he never could be sure what preposterous commonplace it mightencourage.

The sum of these experiences in 1863 left the conviction that eccentricitywas weakness. The young American who should adopt English thought was lost. Fromthe factsthe conclusion was correctyetas usualthe conclusion was wrong.The years of Palmerston's last Cabinet1859 to 1865were avowedly years oftruce- of arrested development. The British system like the Frenchwas in itslast stage of decomposition. Never had the British mind shown itself so decousu-so unravelledat seafloundering in every sort of historical shipwreck.Eccentricities had a free field. Contradictions swarmed in State and Church.England devoted thirty years of arduous labor to clearing away only a part ofthe debris. A young American in 1863 could see little or nothing of the future.He might dreambut he could not foretellthe suddenness with which the oldEuropewith England in its wakewas to vanish in 1870. He was in dead-waterand the parti-coloredfantastic cranks swam about his boatas though he werethe ancient marinerand they saurians of the prime.

CHAPTER XIII

The Perfection of Human Society (1864) -

MINISTER ADAM'S success in stopping the rebel rams fixed his position oncefor all in English society. From that moment he could afford to drop thecharacter of diplomatistand assume whatfor an American Minister in Londonwas an exclusive diplomatic advantagethe character of a kind of American Peerof the Realm. The British never did things by halves. Once they recognized aman's right to social privilegesthey accepted him as one of themselves. Muchas Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli were accepted as leaders of Her Majesty'sdomestic OppositionMinister Adams had a rank of his own as a kind of leader ofHer Majesty's American Opposition. Even the Times conceded it. The years ofstruggle were overand Minister Adams rapidly gained a position which wouldhave caused his father or grandfather to stare with incredulous envy.

This Anglo-American form of diplomacy was chiefly undiplomaticand had thepeculiar effect of teaching a habit of diplomacy useless or mischievouseverywhere but in London. Nowhere else in the world could one expect to figurein a role so unprofessional. The young man knew no longer what character hebore. Private secretary in the morningson in the afternoonyoung man abouttown in the eveningthe only character he never bore was that of diplomatistexcept when he wanted a card to some great function. His diplomatic educationwas at an end; he seldom met a diplomatand never had business with one; hecould be of no use to themor they to him; but he drifted inevitably intosocietyanddo what he mighthis next education must be one of English sociallife. Tossed between the horns of successive dilemmashe reached histwenty-sixth birthday without the power of earning five dollars in anyoccupation. His friends in the army were almost as badly offbut even army liferuined a young man less fatally than London society. Had he been richthis formof ruin would have mattered nothing; but the young men of 1865 were none of themrich; all had to earn a living; yet they had reached high positions ofresponsibility and power in camps and Courtswithout a dollar of their own andwith no tenure of office.

Henry Adams had failed to acquire any useful education; he should at leasthave acquired social experience. Curiously enoughhe failed here also. From theEuropean or English point of viewhe had no social experienceand never gotit. Minister Adams happened on a political interregnum owing to LordPalmerston's personal influence from 1860 to 1865; but this politicalinterregnum was less marked than the social stillstand during the same years.The Prince Consort was dead; the Queen had retired; the Prince of Wales wasstill a boy. In its best daysVictorian society had never been"smart." During the fortiesunder the influence of Louis PhilippeCourts affected to be simpleserious and middle class; and they succeeded. Thetaste of Louis Philippe was bourgeois beyond any taste except that of QueenVictoria. Style lingered in the background with the powdered footman behind theyellow chariotbut speaking socially the Queen had no style save what sheinherited. Balmoral was a startling revelation of royal taste. Nothing could beworse than the toilettes at Court unless it were the way they were worn. One'seyes might be dazzled by jewelsbut they were heirloomsand if any ladyappeared well dressedshe was either a foreigner or "fast." Fashionwas not fashionable in London until the Americans and the Jews were let loose.The style of London toilette universal in 1864 was grotesquelike MoncktonMilnes on horseback in Rotten Row.

Society of this sort might fit a young man in some degree for editingShakespeare or Swiftbut had little relation with the society of 1870and nonewith that of 1900. Owing to other causesyoung Adams never got the fulltraining of such style as still existed. The embarrassments of his first fewseasons socially ruined him. His own want of experience prevented his askingintroductions to the ladies who ruled society; his want of friends prevented hisknowing who these ladies were; and he had every reason to expect snubbing if heput himself in evidence. This sensitiveness was thrown away on English societywhere men and women treated each others' advances much more brutally than thoseof strangersbut young Adams was son and private secretary too; he could not beas thick-skinned as an Englishman. He was not alone. Every young diplomatandmost of the old onesfelt awkward in an English house from a certainty thatthey were not precisely wanted thereand a possibility that they might be toldso.

If there was in those days a country house in England which had a right tocall itself broad in views and large in tastesit was Bretton in Yorkshire; andif there was a hostess who had a right to consider herself fashionable as wellas charmingit was Lady Margaret Beaumont; yet one morning at breakfast theresitting by her side- not for his own merits- Henry Adams heard her say toherself in her languid and liberal waywith her rich voice and musing mannerlooking into her tea-cup: "I don't think I care for foreigners!"Horror-strickennot so much on his own account as on hersthe young man couldonly execute himself as gaily as he might: "But Lady Margaretplease makeone small exception for me!" Of course she replied what was evidentthatshe did not call him a foreignerand her genial Irish charm made the slip oftongue a happy courtesy; but none the less she knew thatexcept for hismomentary personal introductionhe was in facta foreigner and there was noimaginable reason why she should like himor any other foreignerunless itwere because she was bored by natives. She seemed to feel that her indifferenceneeded a reason to excuse itself in her own eyesand she showed thesubconscious sympathy of the Irish nature which never feels itself perfectly athome even in England. Shetoowas some shadowy shade un-English.

Always conscious of this barrierwhile the war lasted the private secretaryhid himself among the herd of foreigners till he found his relations fixed andunchangeable. He never felt himself in societyand he never knew definitelywhat was meant as society by those who were in it. He saw far enough to note ascore of societies which seemed quite independent of each other. The smartestwas the smallestand to him almost wholly strange. The largest was the sportingworldalso unknown to him except through the talk of his acquaintances. Betweenor beyond these lay groups of nebulous societies. His lawyer friendslikeEvartsfrequented legal circles where one still sat over the wine and toldanecdotes of the bench and bar; but he himself never set eyes on a judge exceptwhen his father took him to call on old Lord Lyndhurstwhere they found oldLord Campbellboth abusing old Lord Brougham. The Church and the Bishops formedseveral societies which no secretary ever saw except as an interloper. The Army;the Navy; the Indian Service; the medical and surgical professions; City people;artists; county families; the Scotchand indefinite other subdivisions ofsociety existedwhich were as strange to each other as they were to Adams. Atthe end of eight or ten seasons in London society he professed to know lessabout itor how to enter itthan he did when he made his first appearance atMiss Burdett Coutts's in May1861.

Sooner or later every young man dropped into a set or circleand frequentedthe few houses that were willing to harbor him. An American who neither huntednor racedneither shot nor fished nor gambledand was not marriageablehad noneed to think of society at large. Ninety-nine houses in every hundred wereuseless to hima greater bore to him than he to them. Thus the question ofgetting into- or getting out of- society which troubled young foreignersgreatlysettled itself after three or four years of painful speculation.Society had no unity; one wandered about in it like a maggot in cheese; it wasnot a hansom cabto be got intoor out ofat dinner-time.

Therefore he always professed himself ignorant of society; he never knewwhether he had been in it or notbut from the accounts of his future friendslike General Dick Taylor or George Smalleyand of various ladies who reigned inthe seventieshe inclined to think that he knew very little about it. Certaingreat houses and certain great functions of course he attendedlike every oneelse who could get cardsbut even of these the number was small that kept aninterest or helped education. In seven years he could remember only two thatseemed to have any meaning for himand he never knew what that meaning was.Neither of the two was official; neither was English in interest; and both werescandals to the philosopher while they scarcely enlightened men of the world.

One was at Devonshire Housean ordinaryunpremeditated evening reception.Naturally every one went to Devonshire House if askedand the rooms that nightwere fairly full of the usual people. The private secretary was standing amongthe restwhen Mme. de Castiglione enteredthe famous beauty of the SecondEmpire. How beautiful she may have beenor indeed what sort of beauty she wasAdams never knewbecause the companyconsisting of the most refined andaristocratic society in the worldinstantly formed a laneand stood in ranksto stare at herwhile those behind mounted on chairs to look over theirneighbors' heads; so that the lady walked through this polite mobstaredcompletely out of countenanceand fled the house at once. This was all!

The other strange spectacle was at Stafford HouseApril 131864whenin apalace gallery that recalled Paolo Veronese's pictures of Christ in his scenesof miracleGaribaldiin his gray capote over his red shirtreceived allLondonand three duchesses literally worshipped at his feet. Hereat alleventsa private secretary had surely caught the last and highest touch ofsocial experience; but what it meant- what socialmoralor mental developmentit pointed out to the searcher of truth- was not a matter to be treated fully bya leader in the Morning Post or even by a sermon in Westminster Abbey. Mme. deCastiglione and Garibaldi coveredbetween themtoo much space for simplemeasurement; their curves were too complex for mere arithmetic. The task ofbringing the two into any common relation with an ordered social system tendingto orderly development- in London or elsewhere- was well fitted for AlgernonSwinburne or Victor Hugobut was beyond any process yet reached by theeducation of Henry Adamswho would probablyeven thenhave rejectedassuperficial or supernaturalall the views taken by any of the company wholooked on with him at these two interesting and perplexing sights.

From the Courtor Court societya mere private secretary got nothing atallor next to nothingthat could help him on his road through life. Royaltywas in abeyance. One was tempted to think in these years1860-65that thenicest distinction between the very best society and the second-bestwas theirattitude towards royalty. The one regarded royalty as a boreand avoided itorquietly said that the Queen had never been in society. The same thing might havebeen said of fully half the peerage. Adams never knew even the names of half therest; he never exchanged ten words with any member of the royal family; he neverknew any one in those years who showed interest in any member of the royalfamilyor who would have given five shillings for the opinion of any royalperson on any subject; or cared to enter any royal or noble presenceunless thehouse was made attractive by as much social effort as would have been necessaryin other countries where no rank existed. No doubtas one of a swarmyoungAdams slightly knew various gilded youth who frequented balls and led suchdancing as was most in voguebut they seemed to set no value on rank; theiranxiety was only to know where to find the best partners before midnightandthe best supper after midnight. To the Americanas to Arthur Pendennis orBarnes Newcomethe value of social position and knowledge was evident enough;he valued it at rather more than it was worth to him; but it was a shadowy thingwhich seemed to vary with every street corner; a thing which had shiftingstandardsand which no one could catch outright. The half-dozen leaders andbeauties of his timewith great names and of the utmost fashionmade some ofthe poorest marriagesand the least showy careers.

Tired at looking on at society from the outsideAdams grew to loathe thesight of his Court dress; to groan at every announcement of a Court ball; and todread every invitation to a formal dinner. The greatest social event gave nothalf the pleasure that one could buy for ten shillings at the opera when Pattisang Cherubino or Gretchenand not a fourth of the education. Yet this was notthe opinion of the best judges. Lothrop Motleywho stood among the very bestsaid to him early in his apprenticeship that the London dinner and the Englishcountry house were the perfection of human society. The young man meditated overituncertain of its meaning. Motley could not have thought the dinner itselfperfectsince there was not then- outside of a few bankers or foreigners- agood cook or a good table in Londonand nine out of ten of the dinners thatMotley ate came from Gunter'sand all were alike. Every oneespecially inyoung societycomplained bitterly that Englishmen did not know a good dinnerwhen they ate itand could not order one if they were given carte blanche.Henry Adams was not a judgeand knew no more than theybut he heard thecomplaintsand he could not think that Motley meant to praise the Englishcuisine.

Equally little could Motley have meant that dinners were good to look at.Nothing could be worse than the toilettes; nothing less artistic than theappearance of the company. One's eyes might be dazzled by family diamondsbutif an American woman were presentshe was sure to make comments about the waythe jewels were worn. If there was a well-dressed lady at tableshe was eitheran American or "fast." She attracted as much notice as though she wereon the stage. No one could possibly admire an English dinner-table.

Least of all did Motley mean that the taste or the manners were perfect. Themanners of English society were notoriousand the taste was worse. Withoutexception every American woman rose in rebellion against English manners. Infactthe charm of London which made most impression on Americans was theviolence of its contrasts; the extreme badness of the worstmaking backgroundfor the distinctionrefinementor wit of a fewjust as the extreme beauty ofa few superb women was more effective against the plainness of the crowd. Theresult was mediaevaland amusing; sometimes coarse to a degree that might havestartled a roustaboutand sometimes courteous and considerate to a degree thatsuggested King Arthur's Round Table; but this artistic contrast was surely notthe perfection that Motley had in his mind. He meant something scholarlyworldlyand modern; he was thinking of his own tastes.

Probably he meant thatin his favorite housesthe tone was easythe talkwas goodand the standard of scholarship was high. Even there he would havebeen forced to qualify his adjectives. No German would have admitted thatEnglish scholarship was highor that it was scholarship at allor that anywish for scholarship existed in England. Nothing that seemed to smell of theshop or of the lecture-room was wanted. One might as well have talked of Renan'sChrist at the table of the Bishop of Londonas talk of German philology at thetable of an Oxford don. Societyif a small literary class could be calledsocietywanted to be amused in its old way. Sydney Smithwho had amusedwasdead; so was Macaulaywho instructed if he did not amuse; Thackeray died atChristmas1863; Dickens never felt at homeand seldom appearedin society;Bulwer Lytton was not sprightly; Tennyson detested strangers; Carlyle was mostlydetested by them; Darwin never came to town; the men of whom Motley must havebeen thinking were such as he might meet at Lord Houghton's breakfasts: GroteJowettMilmanor Froude; BrowningMatthew Arnoldor Swinburne; BishopWilberforceVenablesor Hayward; or perhaps GladstoneRobert Loweor LordGranville. A relatively small classcommonly isolatedsuppressedand lost atthe usual London dinnersuch society as this was fairly familiar even to aprivate secretarybut to the literary American it might well seem perfectionsince he could find nothing of the sort in America. Within the narrow limits ofthis classthe American Legation was fairly at home; possibly a score ofhousesall liberaland all literarybut perfect only in the eyes of a HarvardCollege historian. They could teach little worth learningfor their tastes wereantiquated and their knowledge was ignorance to the next generation. What wasaltogether fatal for future purposesthey were only English.

A social education in such a medium was bound to be useless in any otheryetAdams had to learn it to the bottom. The one thing needful for a privatesecretarywas that he should not only seembut should actually beat home. Hestudied carefullyand practised painfullywhat seemed to be the favoriteaccomplishments of society. Perhaps his nervousness deceived him; perhaps hetook for an ideal of others what was only his reflected image; but he conceivedthat the perfection of human society required that a man should enter adrawing-room where he was a total strangerand place himself on the hearth-rughis back to the firewith an air of expectant benevolencewithout curiositymuch as though he had dropped in at a charity concertkindly disposed toapplaud the performers and to overlook mistakes. This ideal rarely succeeded inyouthand towards thirty it took a form of modified insolence and offensivepatronage; but about sixty it mellowed into courtesykindlinessand evendeference to the young which had extraordinary charm both in women and in men.Unfortunately Adams could not wait till sixty for education; he had his livingto earn; and the English air of patronage would earn no income for him anywhereelse.

After five or six years of constant practiceany one can acquire the habitof going from one strange company to another without thinking much of one's selfor of themas though silently reflecting that "in a world where we are allinsectsno insect is alien; perhaps they are human in parts"; but thedreamy habit of mind which comes from solitude in crowds is not fitness forsocial success except in London. Everywhere else it is injury. England was asocial kingdom whose social coinage had no currency elsewhere.

Englishwomenfrom the educational point of viewcould give nothing untilthey approached forty years old. Then they become very interesting- verycharming- to the man of fifty. The young American was not worth the youngEnglishwoman's noticeand never received it. Neither understood the other. Onlyin the domestic relationin the country- never in society at large- a youngAmerican might accidentally make friends with an Englishwoman of his own agebut it never happened to Henry Adams. His susceptible nature was left to themercy of American girlswhich was professional duty rather than education aslong as diplomacy held its own.

Thus he found himself launched on waters where he had never meant to sailand floating along a stream which carried him far from his port. His thirdseason in London society saw the end of his diplomatic educationand began forhim the social life of a young man who felt at home in England- more at homethere than anywhere else. With this feelingthe mere habit of going togarden-partiesdinnersreceptionsand balls had nothing to do. One might goto scores without a sensation of home. One might stay in no end of countryhouses without forgetting that one was a total stranger and could never beanything else. One might bow to half the dukes and duchesses in Englandandfeel only the more strange. Hundreds of persons might pass with a nod and nevercome nearer. Close relation in a place like London is a personal mystery asprofound as chemical affinity. Thousands passand one separates himself fromthe mass to attach himself to anotherand so makelittle by littlea group.

One morningApril 271863he was asked to breakfast with Sir HenryHollandthe old Court physician who had been acquainted with every AmericanMinister since Edward Everettand was a valuable social allywho had thecourage to try to be of use to everybodyand whowhile asking the privatesecretary to breakfast one daywas too discreet to betray what he might havelearned about rebel doings at his breakfast-table the day before. He had beenfriendly with the Legationin the teeth of societyand was still bearing upagainst the weight of opinionso that young Adams could not decline hisinvitationsalthough they obliged him to breakfast in Brook Street at nineo'clock in the morningalternately with Mr. James M. Mason. Old Dr. Holland washimself as hale as a hawkdriving all day bare-headed about Londonand eatingWelsh rarebit every night before bed; he thought that any young man should bepleased to take his early muffin in Brook Streetand supply a few crumbs of warnews for the daily peckings of eminent patients. Meeklywhen summonedtheprivate secretary wentand on reaching the front doorthis particular morninghe found there another young man in the act of rapping the knocker. They enteredthe breakfast-room togetherwhere they were introduced to each otherand Adamslearned that the other guest was a Cambridge undergraduateCharles MilnesGaskellson of James Milnes Gaskellthe Member for Wenlock; another of theYorkshire Milnesesfrom Thornes near Wakefield. Fate had fixed Adams toYorkshire. By another chance it happened that young Milnes Gaskell was intimateat Cambridge with William Everett who was also about to take his degree. A thirdchance inspired Mr. Evarts with a fancy for visiting Cambridgeand led WilliamEverett to offer his services as host. Adams acted as courier to Mr. Evartsandat the end of May they went down for a few dayswhen William Everett did thehonors as host with a kindness and attention that made his cousin sorelyconscious of his own social shortcomings. Cambridge was prettyand the donswere kind. Mr. Evarts enjoyed his visitbut this was merely a part of theprivate secretary's day's work. What affected his whole life was the intimacythen begun with Milnes Gaskell and his circle of undergraduate friendsjustabout to enter the world.

Intimates are predestined. Adams met in England a thousand peoplegreat andsmall; jostled against every onefrom royal princes to ginshop loafers;attended endless official functions and private parties; visited every part ofthe United Kingdom and was not quite a stranger at the Legations in Paris andRome; he knew the societies of certain country housesand acquired habits ofSunday-afternoon calls; but all this gave him nothing to doand was lifewasted. For him nothing whatever could be gained by escorting American ladies todrawing-rooms or American gentlemen to levees at St. James's Palaceor bowingsolemnly to people with great titlesat Court ballsor even by awkwardlyjostling royalty at garden-parties; all this was done for the Governmentandneither President Lincoln nor Secretary Seward would ever know enough of theirbusiness to thank him for doing what they did not know how to get properly doneby their own servants; but for Henry Adams- not private secretary- all the timetaken up by such duties was wasted. On the other handhis few personalintimacies concerned him aloneand the chance that made him almost aYorkshireman was one that must have started under the Heptarchy.

More than any other county in EnglandYorkshire retained a sort of socialindependence of London. Scotland itself was hardly more distinct. The Yorkshiretype had always been the strongest of the British strains; the Norwegian and theDane were a different race from the Saxon. Even Lancashire had not the mass andthe cultivation of the West Riding. London could never quite absorb Yorkshirewhichin its turn had no great love for London and freely showed it. To acertain degreeevident enough to YorkshiremenYorkshire was not English- orwas all Englandas they might choose to express it. This must have been thereason why young Adams was drawn there rather than elsewhere. Monckton Milnesalone took the trouble to draw himand possibly Milnes was the only man inEngland with whom Henry Adamsat that momenthad a chance of calling out suchan un-English effort. Neither Oxford nor Cambridge nor any region south of theHumber contained a considerable house where a young American would have beensought as a friend. Eccentricity alone did not account for it. Monckton Milneswas a singular typebut his distant cousinJames Milnes Gaskellwas anotherquite as markedin an opposite sense. Milnes never seemed willing to rest;Milnes Gaskell never seemed willing to move. In his youth one of a very famousgroup- Arthur HallamTennysonManningGladstoneFrancis Doyle- and regardedas one of the most promising; an adorer of George Canning; in Parliament sincecoming of age; married into the powerful connection of the Wynns of Wynstay;rich according to Yorkshire standards; intimate with his political leaders; hewas one of the numerous Englishmen who refuse office rather than make the effortof carrying itand want power only to make it a source of indolence. He was avoracious reader and an admirable critic; he had forty years of parliamentarytradition on his memory; he liked to talk and to listen; he liked his dinnerandin spite of George Canninghis dry champagne; he liked wit and anecdote;but he belonged to the generation of 1830a generation which could not survivethe telegraph and railwayand which even Yorkshire could hardly produce again.To an American he was a character even more unusual and more fascinating thanhis distant cousin Lord Houghton.

Mr. Milnes Gaskell was kind to the young American whom his son brought to thehouseand Mrs. Milnes Gaskell was kinderfor she thought the American perhapsa less dangerous friend than some Englishman might befor her sonand she wasprobably right. The American had the sense to see that she was herself one ofthe most intelligent and sympathetic women in England; her sisterMissCharlotte Wynnwas another; and both were of an age and a position in societythat made their friendship a compliment as well as a pleasure. Their consent andapproval settled the matter. In Englandthe family is a serious fact; onceadmitted to itone is there for life. London might utterly vanish from one'shorizonbut as long as life lastedYorkshire lived for its friends.

In the year 1857Mr. James Milnes Gaskellwho had sat for thirty years inParliament as one of the Members for the borough of Wenlock in Shropshirebought Wenlock Abbey and the estate that included the old monastic buildings.This newor oldplaything amused Mrs. Milnes Gaskell. The Prior's houseacharming specimen of fifteenth-century architecturehad been long left to decayas a farmhouse. She put it in orderand went there to spend a part of theautumn of 1864. Young Adams was one of her first guestsand drove about WenlockEdge and the Wrekin with herlearning the loveliness of this exquisite countryand its stores of curious antiquity. It was a new and charming existence; anexperience greatly to be envied-ideal repose and rural Shakespearian peace- buta few years of it were likely to complete his educationand fit him to act afairly useful part in life as an Englishmanan ecclesiasticand a contemporary

of Chaucer.

CHAPTER XIV

Dilettantism (1865-1866) -

THE campaign of 1864 and the reelection of Mr. Lincoln in November set theAmerican Minister on so firm a footing that he could safely regard his ownanxieties as overand the anxieties of Earl Russell and the Emperor Napoleon asbegun. With a few months more his own term of four years would come to an endand even though the questions still under discussion with England shouldsomewhat prolong his stayhe might look forward with some confidence to hisreturn home in 1865. His son no longer fretted. The time for going into the armyhad passed. If he were to be useful at allit must be as a sonand as a son hewas treated with the widest indulgence and trust. He knew that he was doinghimself no good by staying in Londonbut thus far in life he had done himselfno good anywhereand reached his twenty-seventh birthday without havingadvanced a stepthat he could seebeyond his twenty-first. For the most parthis friends were worse off than he. The war was about to end and they were to beset adrift in a world they would find altogether strange.

At this pointas though to cut the last thread of relationsix months weresuddenly dropped out of his life in England. The London climate had told on someof the family; the physicians prescribed a winter in Italy. Of course theprivate secretary was detached as their escortsince this was one of hisprofessional functions; and he passed six monthsgaining an education asItalian courierwhile the Civil War came to its end. As far as other educationwenthe got nonebut he was amused. Travelling in all possible luxuryat someone else's expensewith diplomatic privileges and positionwas a form oftravel hitherto untried. The Cornice in vettura was delightful; Sorrento inwinter offered hills to climb and grottoes to exploreand Naples near by tovisit; Rome at Easter was an experience necessary for the education of everyproperly trained private secretary; the journey north by vettura through Perugiaand Sienna was a dream; the Splugen Passif not equal to the Stelviowas worthseeing; Paris had always something to show. The chances of accidental educationwere not so great as they had beensince one's field of experience had grownlarge; but perhaps a season at Baden Baden in these later days of its brilliancyoffered some chances of instructionif it were only the sight of fashionableEurope and America on the race-course watching the Duke of Hamiltonin themiddleimproving his social advantages by the conversation of Cora Pearl.

The assassination of President Lincoln fell on the party while they were atRomewhere it seemed singularly fitting to that nursery of murderers andmurderedas though America were also getting educated. Again one went tomeditate on the steps of the Santa Maria in Ara Coeli but the lesson seemed asshallow as before. Nothing happened. The travellers changed no plan or movement.The Minister did not recall them to London. The season was over before theyreturned; and when the private secretary sat down again at his desk in PortlandPlace before a mass of copy in arrearshe saw before him a world so changed asto be beyond connection with the past. His identityif one could call a bundleof disconnected memories an identityseemed to remain; but his life was oncemore broken into separate pieces; he was a spider and had to spin a new web insome new place with a new attachment.

All his American friends and contemporaries who were still alive lookedsingularly commonplace without uniformsand hastened to get married and retireinto back streets and suburbs until they could find employment. Minister Adamstoowas going home "next fall" and when the fall camehe was goinghome "next spring" and when the spring camePresident Andrew Johnsonwas at loggerheads with the Senateand found it best to keep things unchanged.After the usual manner of public servants who had acquired the habit of officeand lost the faculty of willthe members of the Legation in London continuedthe daily routine of English societywhichafter becoming a habitthreatenedto become a vice. Had Henry Adams shared a single taste with the youngEnglishmen of his timehe would have been lost; but the custom of pounding upand down Rotten Row every dayon a hackwas not a tasteand yet was all thesport he shared. Evidently he must set to work; he must get a new education; hemust begin a career of his own.

Nothing was easier to saybut even his father admitted two careers to beclosed. For the lawdiplomacy had unfitted him; for diplomacy he already knewtoo much. Any one who had heldduring the four most difficult years of Americandiplomacya position at the centre of actionwith his hands actually touchingthe lever of powercould not beg a post of Secretary at Vienna or Madrid inorder to bore himself doing nothing until the next President should do him thehonor to turn him out. For once all his advisers agreed that diplomacy was notpossible.

In any ordinary system he would have been called back to serve in the StateDepartmentbutbetween the President and the Senateservice of any sortbecame a delusion. The choice of career was more difficult than the educationwhich had proved impracticable. Adams saw no road; in fact there was none. Allhis friends were trying one path or anotherbut none went a way that he couldhave taken. John Hay passed through London in order to bury himself insecond-rate Legations for yearsbefore he drifted home again to join WhitelawReid and George Smalley on the Tribune. Frank Barlow and Frank Bartlett carriedMajor-Generals' commissions into small law business. Miles stayed in the army.Henry Higginsonafter a desperate strugglewas forced into State Street;Charles Adams wandered aboutwith brevet-brigadier ranktrying to findemployment. Scores of others tried experiments more or less unsuccessful. HenryAdams could see easy ways of making a hundred blunders; he could see no likelyway of making a legitimate success. Such as it washis so-called education waswanted nowhere.

One profession alone seemed possible- the press. In 1860 he would have saidthat he was born to be an editorlike at least a thousand other young graduatesfrom American colleges who entered the world every year enjoying the sameconviction; but in 1866 the situation was altered; the possession of money hadbecome doubly needful for successand double energy was essential to get money.America had more than doubled her scale. Yet the press was still the lastresource of the educated poor who could not be artists and would not be tutors.Any man who was fit for nothing else could write an editorial or a criticism.The enormous mass of misinformation accumulated in ten years of nomad life couldalways be worked off on a helpless publicin diluted dosesif one could butsecure a table in the corner of a newspaper office. The press was an inferiorpulpit; an anonymous schoolmaster; a cheap boarding-school; but it was still thenearest approach to a career for the literary survivor of a wrecked education.For the pressthenHenry Adams decided to fit himselfand since he could notgo home to get practical traininghe set to work to do what he could in London.

He knewas well as any reporter on the New York Heraldthat this was not anAmerican way of beginningand he knew a certain number of other drawbacks whichthe reporter could not see so clearly.

Do what he mighthe drew breath only in the atmosphere of English methodsand thoughts; he could breathe none other. His mother- who should have been acompetent judgesince her success and popularity in England exceeded that ofher husband- averred that every woman who lived a certain time in England cameto look and dress like an Englishwomanno matter how she struggled. Henry Adamsfelt himself catching an English tone of mind and processes of thoughtthoughat heart more hostile to them than ever. As though to make him more helpless andwholly distort his lifeEngland grew more and more agreeable and amusing.Minister Adams becamein 1866almost a historical monument in London; he helda position altogether his own. His old opponents disappeared. Lord Palmerstondied in October1865; Lord Russell tottered on six months longerbut thenvanished from power; and in July1866the conservatives came into office.Traditionally the Tories were easier to deal with than the Whigsand MinisterAdams had no reason to regret the change. His personal relations were excellentand his personal weight increased year by year. On that score the privatesecretary had no caresand not much copy. His own position was modestbut itwas enough; the life he led was agreeable; his friends were all he wantedandexcept that he was at the mercy of politicshe felt much at ease. Of his dailylife he had only to reckon so many breakfasts; so many dinners; so manyreceptionsballstheatresand country-parties; so many cards to be left; somany Americans to be escorted- the usual routine of every young American in aLegation; all counting for nothing in sumbecauseeven if it had been hisofficial duty- which it was not- it was mere routinea singlecontinuousunbroken actwhich led to nothing and nowhere except Portland Place and thegrave.

The path that led somewhere was the English habit of mind which deepened itsruts every day. The English mind was like the London drawing-rooma comfortableand easy spotfilled with bits and fragments of incoherent furnitureswhichwere never meant to go togetherand could be arranged in any relation withoutmaking a wholeexcept by the square room. Philosophy might dispute about innateideas till the stars died out in the skybut about innate tastes no oneexceptperhaps a collie doghas the right to doubt; least of allthe Englishmanforhis tastes are his being; he drifts after them as unconsciously as a honey-beedrifts after his flowersandin Englandevery one must drift with him. Mostyoung Englishmen drifted to the race-course or the moors or the hunting-field; afew towards books; one or two followed some form of science; and a number tookto whatfor want of a better namethey called Art. Young Adams inherited acertain taste for the same pursuit from his father who insisted that he had itnotbecause he could not see what his son thought he saw in Turner. TheMinisteron the other handcarried a sort of aesthetic rag-bag of his ownwhich he regarded as amusementand never called art. So he would wander off ona Sunday to attend service successively in all the city churches built by SirChristopher Wren; or he would disappear from the Legation day after day toattend coin sales at Sotheby'swhere his son attended alternate sales ofdrawingsengravingsor water-colors. Neither knew enough to talk much aboutthe other's tastesbut the only difference between them was a slight differenceof direction. The Minister's mind like his writings showed a correctness of formand line that his son would have been well pleased had he inherited.

Of all supposed English tastesthat of art was the most alluring andtreacherous. Once drawn into itone had small chance of escapefor it had nocentre or circumferenceno beginningmiddleor endno originno objectandno conceivable result as education. In London one met no corrective. The onlyAmerican who came bycapable of teachingwas William Huntwho stopped topaint the portrait of the Minister which now completes the family series atHarvard College. Hunt talked constantlyand wasor afterwards becamea famousteacherbut Henry Adams did not know enough to learn. Perhapstoohe hadinherited or acquired a stock of tastesas young men mustwhich he was slow tooutgrow. Hunt had no time to sweep out the rubbish of Adams's mind. The portraitfinishedhe went.

As often as he couldAdams ran over to Parisfor sunshineand there alwayssought out Richardson in his attic in the Rue du Bacor wherever he livedandthey went off to dine at the Palais Royaland talk of whatever interested thestudents of the Beaux Arts. Richardsontoohad much to saybut had not yetseized his style. Adams caught very little of what lay in his mindand thelessbecauseto Adamseverything French was bad except the restaurantswhilethe continuous life in England made French art seem worst of all. This did notprove that English artin 1866was good; far from it; but it helped to makebric-a-brac of all artafter the manner of England.

Not in the Legationor in Londonbut in Yorkshire at ThornesAdams met theman that pushed him furthest in this English garden of innate disorder calledtaste. The older daughter of the Milnes Gaskells had married Francis TurnerPalgrave. Few Americans will ever ask whether any one has described thePalgravesbut the family was one of the most describable in all England at thatday. Old Sir Francisthe fatherhad been much the greatest of all thehistorians of early Englandthe only one who was un-English; and the reason ofhis superiority lay in his namewhich was Cohenand his mind which was Cohenalsoor at least not English. He changed his name to Palgrave in order toplease his wife. They had a band of remarkable sons: Francis TurnerGiffordReginaldInglis; all of whom made their mark. Gifford was perhaps the mosteccentricbut his "Travels" in Arabia were famouseven among thefamous travels of that generation. Francis Turner- oras he was commonlycalledFrank Palgrave- unable to work off his restlessness in travel likeGiffordand stifled in the atmosphere of the Board of Educationbecame acritic. His art-criticisms helped to make the Saturday Review a terror to theBritish artist. His literary tastecondensed into the "GoldenTreasury" helped Adams to more literary education than he ever got fromany taste of his own. Palgrave himself held rank as one of the minor poets; hishymns had vogue. As an art-critic he was too ferocious to be liked; even HolmanHunt found his temper humorous; among many rivalshe may perhaps have had aright to claim the much disputed rank of being the most unpopular man in London;but he liked to teachand asked only for a docile pupil. Adams was docileenoughfor he knew nothing and liked to listen. Indeedhe had to listenwhether he liked or notfor Palgrave's voice was strident and nothing couldstop him. Literaturepaintingsculpturearchitecture were open fields for hisattackswhich were always intelligent if not always kindand when thesefailedhe readily descended to meaner levels. John Richard Greenwho wasPalgrave's precise oppositeand whose Irish charm of touch and humor defendedhim from most assaultsused to tell with delight of Palgrave's call on him justafter he had moved into his new Queen Anne house in Kensington Square:"Palgrave called yesterdayand the first thing he said was'I've countedthree anachronisms on your front doorstep.'"

Another savage criticalso a poetwas Thomas Woolnera type almost moreemphatic than Palgrave in a society which resounded with emphasis. Woolner'ssculpture showed none of the rough assertion that Woolner himself showedwhenhe was not making supernatural effort to be courteousbut his busts wereremarkableand his work

altogether wasin Palgrave's clamorous opinionthe best of his day. He tookthe matter of British art- or want of art- seriouslyalmost ferociouslyas apersonal grievance and torture; at times he was rather terrifying in theanarchistic wrath of his denunciation. As Henry Adams felt no responsibility forEnglish artand had no American art to offer for sacrificehe listened withenjoyment to language much like Carlyle'sand accepted it without a qualm. Onthe other handas a third member of this critical grouphe fell in withStopford Brooke whose tastes lay in the same directionand whose expression wasmodified by clerical propriety. Among these menone wandered off into paths ofeducation much too devious and slippery for an American foot to follow. He wouldhave done better to go on the race-trackas far as concerned a career.

Fortunately for him he knew too little ever to be an art-criticstill lessan artist. For some things ignorance is goodand art is one of them. He knew heknew nothingand had not the trained eye or the keen instinct that trusteditself; but he was curiousas he went onto find out how much the others knew.He took Palgrave's word as final about a drawing of Rembrandt or Michael Angeloand he trusted Woolner implicitly about a Turner; but when he quoted theirauthority to any dealerthe dealer pooh-poohed itand declared that it had noweight in the trade. If he went to a sale of drawings or paintingsat Sotheby'sor Christie'san hour afterwardshe saw these same dealers watching Palgraveor Woolner for a pointand bidding over them. He rarely found two dealers agreein judgement. He once bought a water-color from the artist himselfout of hisstudioand had it doubted an hour afterwards by the dealer to whose place hetook it for framing. He was reduced to admit that he could not prove itsauthenticity; internal evidence was against it.

One morning in early July1867Palgrave stopped at the Legation in PortlandPlace on his way downtownand offered to take Adams to Sotheby'swhere a smallcollection of old drawings was on show. The collection was rather a curious onesaid to be that of Sir Anthony Westcombfrom Liverpoolwith an undisturbedrecord of a centurybut with nothing to attract notice. Probably none butcollectors or experts examined the portfolios. Some dozens of these were alwayson handfollowing every saleand especially on the lookout for old drawingswhich became rarer every year. Turning rapidly over the numbersPalgravestopped at one containing several small drawingsone marked as Rembrandtoneas Rafael; and putting his finger on the Rafaelafter careful examination;"I should buy this" he said; "it looks to me like one of thosethings that sell for five shillings one dayand fifty pounds the next."Adams marked it for a bidand the next morning came down to the auction. Thenumbers sold slowlyand at noon he thought he might safely go to lunch. When hecame backhalf an hour afterwardsthe drawing was gone. Much annoyed at hisown stupiditysince Palgrave had expressly said he wanted the drawing forhimself if he had not in a manner given it to Adamsthe culprit waited for thesale to closeand then asked the clerk for the name of the buyer. It wasHollowaythe art-dealernear Covent Gardenwhom he slightly knew. Going atonce to the shop he waited till young Holloway came inwith his purchases underhis armand without attempt at prefacehe said: "You bought to-dayMr.Hollowaya number that I wanted. Do you mind letting me have it?" Hollowaytook out the parcellooked over the drawingsand said that he had bought thenumber for the sake of the Rembrandtwhich he thought possibly genuine; takingthat outAdams might have the rest for the price he paid for the lot- twelveshillings.

Thusdown to that momentevery expert in London had probably seen thesedrawings. Two of them- only two- had thought them worth buying at any priceandof these twoPalgrave chose the RafaelHolloway the one marked as Rembrandt.Adamsthe purchaser of the Rafaelknew nothing whatever on the subjectbutthought he might credit himself with education to the value of twelve shillingsand call the drawing nothing. Such items of education commonly came higher.

He took the drawing to Palgrave. It was closely pasted to an oldratherthincardboard mountandon holding it up to the windowone could see lineson the reverse. "Take it down to Reed at the British Museum" saidPalgrave; "he is Curator of the drawingsandif you ask himhe will haveit taken off the mount." Adams amused himself for a day or two by searchingRafael's works for the figurewhich he found at last in the Parnassothefigure of Horaceof whichas it happened- though Adams did not know it- theBritish Museum owned a much finer drawing. At last he took the dirtylittleunfinished red-chalk sketch to Reed whom he found in the Curator's roomwithsome of the finest Rafael drawings in existencehanging on the walls."Yes!" said Mr. Reed; "I noticed this at the sale; but it's notRafael!" Adamsfeeling himself incompetent to discuss this subjectreported the result to Palgravewho said that Reed knew nothing about it. Alsothis point lay beyond Adams's competence; but he noted that Reed was in theemploy of the British Museum as Curator of the best- or nearly the bestcollection in the worldespecially of Rafaelsand that he bought for theMuseum. As expert he had rejected both the Rafael and the Rembrandt atfirst-sightand after his attention was recalled to the Rafael for a furtheropinion he rejected it again.

A week laterAdams returned for the drawingwhich Mr. Reed took out of hisdrawer and gave himsaying with what seemed a little doubt or hesitation:"I should tell you that the paper shows a water-markwhich I find the sameas that of paper used by Marc Antonio." A little taken back by this methodof studying arta method which even a poor and ignorant American might use aswell as Rafael himselfAdams asked stupidly: "Then you think itgenuine?" "Possibly!" replied Reed; "but muchoverdrawn."

Here was expert opinion after a second revisewith help of water-marks! InAdams's opinion it was alone worth another twelve shillings as education; butthis was not all. Reed continued: "The lines on the back seem to bewritingwhich I cannot readbut if you will take it down to themanuscript-room they will read it for you."

Adams took the sheet down to the keeper of the manuscripts and begged him toread the lines. The keeperafter a few minutes' studyvery obligingly said hecould not: "It is scratched with an artist's crayonvery rapidlywithmany unusual abbreviations and old forms. If any one in Europe can read ititis the old man at the table yonderLibri! Take it to him!"

This expert broke down on the alphabet! He could not even judge a manuscript;but Adams had no right to complainfor he had nothing to paynot even twelveshillingsthough he thought these experts worth moreat least for hiseducation. Accordingly he carried his paper to Libria total stranger to himand asked the old manas deferentially as possibleto tell him whether thelines had any meaning. Had Adams not been an ignorant person he would have knownall about Libribut his ignorance was vastand perhaps was for the best. Librilooked at the paperand then looked againand at last bade him sit down andwait. Half an hour passed before he called Adams back and showed him theselines:- -

Or questo credo ben che una elleria

Te offende tanto che te offese il core.

Perche sei grande nol sei in tua volia;

Tu vedi e gia non credi il tuo valore;

Passate gia son tutte gelosie;

Tu sei di sasso; non hai piu dolore. -

As far as Adams could afterwards recall itthis was Libri's readingbut headded that the abbreviations were many and unusual; that the writing was veryancient; and that the word he read as "elleria" in the first line wasnot Italian at all.

By this timeone had got too far beyond one's depth to ask questions. IfLibri could not read Italianvery clearly Adams had better not offer to helphim. He took the drawingthanked everybodyand having exhausted the experts ofthe British Museumtook a cab to Woolner's studiowhere he showed the figureand repeated Reed's opinion. Woolner snorted: "Reed's a fool!" hesaid; "he knows nothing about it; there may be a rotten line or twobutthe drawing's all right."

For forty years Adams kept this drawing on his mantelpiecepartly for itsown interestbut largely for curiosity to see whether any critic or artistwould ever stop to look at it. None ever didunless he knew the story. Adamshimself never wanted to know more about it. He refused to seek further light. Henever cared to learn whether the drawing was Rafael'sor whether the verse wereRafael'sor whether even the water-mark was Rafael's. The experts- some scoresof them including the British Museum- had affirmed that the drawing was worth acertain moiety of twelve shillings. On that pointalsoAdams could offer noopinionbut he was clear that his education had profited by it to that extent-his amusement even more.

Art was a superb field for educationbut at every turn he met the same oldfigurelike a battered and illegible signpost that ought to direct him to thenext station but never did. There was no next station. All the art of athousand- or ten thousand- years had brought England to stuff which Palgrave andWoolner brayed in their mortars; deridedtore in tattersgrowled atandhowled atand treated in terms beyond literary usage. Whistler had not yet madehis appearance in Londonbut the others did quite as well. What result could astudent reach from it? Onceon returning to Londondining with StopfordBrookesome one asked Adams what impression the Royal Academy Exhibition madeon him. With a little hesitationhe suggested that it was rather a chaoswhichhe meant for civility; but Stopford Brooke abruptly met it by asking whetherchaos were not better than death. Truly the question was worth discussion. Forhis own partAdams inclined to think that neither chaos nor death was an objectto him as a searcher of knowledge- neither would have vogue in America- neitherwould help him to a career. Both of them led him away from his objectsinto anEnglish dilettante museum of scrapswith nothing but a wall-paper to unite themin any relation of sequence. Possibly English taste was one degree more fatalthan English scholarshipbut even this question was open to argument. Adamswent to the sales and bought what he was told to buy; now a classical drawing byRafael or Rubens; now a water-color by Girtin or Cotmanif possible unfinishedbecause it was more likely to be a sketch from nature; and he bought them notbecause they went together- on the contrarythey made rather awkward spots onthe wall as they did on the mind- but because he could afford to buy thoseandnot others. Ten pounds did not go far to buy a Michael Angelobut was a greatdeal of money to a private secretary. The effect was spottyfragmentaryfeeble; and the more so because the British mind was constructed in that way-boasted of itand held it to be true philosophy as well as sound method.

What was worseno one had a right to denounce the English as wrong.Artistically their mind was scrappyand every one knew itbut perhaps thoughtitselfhistoryand naturewere scrappyand ought to be studied so. Turningfrom British art to British literatureone met the same dangers. The historicalschool was a playground of traps and pitfalls. Fatally one fell into the sink ofhistory- antiquarianism. For one who nourished a natural weakness for what wascalled historythe whole of British literature in the nineteenth century wasantiquarianismor anecdotagefor no one except Buckle had tried to link itwith ideasand commonly Buckle was regarded as having failed. Macaulay was theEnglish historian. Adams had the greatest admiration for Macaulaybut he feltthat any one who should even distantly imitate Macaulay would perish inself-contempt. One might as well imitate Shakespeare. Yet evidently somethingwas wrong herefor the poet and the historian ought to have different methodsand Macaulay's method ought to be imitable if it were sound; yet the method wasmore doubtful than the style. He was a dramatist; a painter; a poetlikeCarlyle. This was the English mindmethodgeniusor whatever one might callit; but one never could quite admit that the method which ended in Froude andKinglake could be sound for America where passion and poetry wereeccentricities. Both Froude and Kinglakewhen one met them at dinnerwere veryagreeablevery intelligent; and perhaps the English method was rightand artfragmentary by essence. Historylike everything elsemight be a field ofscrapslike the refuse about a Staffordshire iron-furnace. One felt a littlenatural reluctance to decline and fall like Silas Wegg on the golden dust heapof British refuse; but if one mustone could at least expect a degree fromOxford and the respect of the Athenaeum Club.

While driftingafter the war endedmany old American friends came abroadfor a holidayand among the restDr. Palfreybusy with his "History ofNew England." Of all the relics of childhoodDr. Palfrey was the mostsympatheticand perhaps the more so because hetoohad wandered into thepleasant meadows of antiquarianismand had forgotten the world in his pursuitof the New England Puritan. Although America seemed becoming more and moreindifferent to the Puritan except as a slightly rococo ornamenthe was only themore amusing as a study for the Monkbarns of Boston Bayand Dr. Palfrey tookhim seriouslyas his clerical education required. His work was rather anApologia in the Greek sense; a justification of the ways of God to Manorwhatwas much the same thingof Puritans to other men; and the task of justificationwas onerous enough to require the occasional relief of a contrast or scapegoat.When Dr. Palfrey happened on the picturesque but unpuritanic figure of CaptainJohn Smithhe felt no call to beautify Smith's picture or to defend his moralcharacter; he became impartial and penetrating. The famous story of Pocahontasroused his latent New England scepticism. He suggested to Adamswho wanted tomake a position for himselfthat an article in the North American Review onCaptain John Smith's relations with Pocahontas would attract as much attentionand probably break as much glassas any other stone that could be thrown by abeginner. Adams could suggest nothing better. The task seemed likely to beamusing. So he planted himself in the British Museum and patiently worked overall the material he could finduntilat lastafter three or four months oflaborhe got it in shape and sent it to Charles Nortonwho was then editingthe North American. Mr. Norton very civilly and even kindly accepted it. Thearticle appeared in January1867.

Surelyhere was something to ponder overas a step in education; somethingthat tended to stagger a sceptic! In spite of personal wishesintentionsandprejudices; in spite of civil wars and diplomatic education; in spite ofdetermination to be actualdailyand practicalHenry Adams found himselfattwenty-eightstill in English societydragged on one side into Englishdilettantismwhich of all dilettantism he held the most futile: andon theotherinto American antiquarianismwhich of all antiquarianism he held themost foolish. This was the result of five years in London. Even then he knew itto be a false start. He had wholly lost his way. If he were ever to amount toanythinghe must begin a new educationin a new placewith a new purpose.

CHAPTER XV

Darwinism (1867-1868) -

POLITICSdiplomacylawartand history had opened no outlet for thefuture energy or effortbut a man must do somethingeven in Portland Placewhen winter is dark and winter evenings are exceedingly long. At that momentDarwin was convulsing society. The geological champion of Darwin was Sir CharlesLyelland the Lyells were intimate at the Legation. Sir Charles constantly saidof Darwinwhat Palgrave said of Tennysonthat the first time he came to townAdams should be asked to meet himbut neither of them ever came to townorever cared to meet a young Americanand one could not go to them because theywere known to dislike intrusion. The only Americans who were not allowed tointrude were the half-dozen in the Legation. Adams was content to read Darwinespecially his "Origin of Species" and his "Voyage of theBeagle." He was a Darwinist before the letter; a predestined follower ofthe tide; but he was hardly trained to follow Darwin's evidences. Fragmentarythe British mind might bebut in those days it was doing a great deal of workin a very un-English waybuilding up so many and such vast theories on suchnarrow foundations as to shock the conservativeand delight the frivolous. Theatomic theory; the correlation and conservation of energy; the mechanical theoryof the universe; the kinetic theory of gasesand Darwin's Law of NaturalSelectionwere examples of what a young man had to take on trust. Neither henor any one else knew enough to verify them; in his ignorance of mathematicshewas particularly helpless; but this never stood in his way. The ideas were newand seemed to lead somewhere- to some great generalization which would finishone's clamor to be educated. That a beginner should understand them allorbelieve them allno one could expectstill less exact. Henry Adams wasDarwinist because it was easier than notfor his ignorance exceeded beliefandone must know something in order to contradict even such triflers as Tyndall andHuxley.

By rightshe should have been also a Marxistbut some narrow trait of theNew England nature seemed to blight socialismand he tried in vain to makehimself a convert. He did the next best thing; he became a Comteistwithin thelimits of evolution. He was ready to become anything but quiet. As though theworld had not been enough upset in his timehe was eager to see it upset more.He had his wishbut he lost his hold on the results by trying to understandthem.

He never tried to understand Darwin; but he still fancied he might get thebest part of Darwinism from the easier study of geology; a science which suitedidle minds as well as though it were history. Every curate in England dabbled ingeology and hunted for vestiges of Creation. Darwin hunted only for vestiges ofNatural Selectionand Adams followed himalthough he cared nothing aboutSelectionunless perhaps for the indirect amusement of upsetting curates. Hefeltlike nine men in tenan instinctive belief in Evolutionbut he felt nomore concern in Natural than in unnatural Selectionthough he seized withgreediness the new volume on the "Antiquity of Man" which Sir CharlesLyell published in 1863 in order to support Darwin by wrecking the Garden ofEden. Sir Charles next brought outin 1866a new edition of his"Principles" then the highest text-book of geology; but here theDarwinian doctrine grew in stature. Natural Selection led back to NaturalEvolutionand at last to Natural Uniformity. This was a vast stride. UnbrokenEvolution under uniform conditions pleased every one- except curates andbishops; it was the very best substitute for religion; a safeconservativepracticalthoroughly Common-Law deity. Such a working system for the universesuited a young man who had just helped to waste five or ten thousand milliondollars and a million livesmore or lessto enforce unity and uniformity onpeople who objected to it; the idea was only too seductive in its perfection; ithad the charm of art. Unity and Uniformity were the whole motive of philosophyand if Darwinlike a true Englishmanpreferred to back into it- to reach God aposteriori- rather than start from itlike Spinozathe difference of methodtaught only the moral that the best way of reaching unity was to unite. Any roadwas good that arrived.

Life depended on it. One had beenfrom the firstdragged hither and thitherlike a French poodle on a stringfollowing always the strongest pullbetweenone form of unity or centralization and another. The proof that one had actedwisely because of obeying the primordial habit of nature flattered one'sself-esteem. Steadyuniformunbroken evolution from lower to higher seemedeasy. Soone day when Sir Charles came to the Legation to inquire about gettinghis "Principles" properly noticed in Americayoung Adams foundnothing simpler than to suggest that he could do it himself if Sir Charles wouldtell him what to say. Youth risks such encounters with the universe before onesuccumbs to ityet even he was surprised at Sir Charles's ready assentandstill more so at finding himselfafter half an hour's conversationsittingdown to clear the minds of American geologists about the principles of theirprofession. This was getting on fast; Arthur Pendennis had never gone so far.

The geologists were a hardy classnot likely to be much hurt by Adams'slearningnor did he throw away much concern on their account. He undertook thetask chiefly to educatenot thembut himselfand if Sir Isaac Newton hadlike Sir Charles Lyellasked him to explain for Americans his last edition ofthe "Principia" Adams would have jumped at the chance. Unfortunatelythe mere reading such works for amusement is quite a different matter fromstudying them for criticism. Ignorance must always begin at the beginning. Adamsmust inevitably have begun by asking Sir Isaac for an intelligible reason whythe apple fell to the ground. He did not know enough to be satisfied with thefact. The Law of Gravitation was so-and-sobut what was Gravitation? and hewould have been thrown quite off his base if Sir Isaac had answered that he didnot know.

At the very outset Adams struck on Sir Charles's Glacial Theory or theories.He was ignorant enough to think that the glacial epoch looked like a chasmbetween him and a uniformitarian world. If the glacial period were uniformitywhat was catastrophe? To him the two or three labored guesses that Sir Charlessuggested or borrowed to explain glaciation were proof of nothingand werequite unsolid as support for so immense a superstructure as geologicaluniformity. If one were at liberty to be as lax in science as in theologyandto assume unity from the startone might better say soas the Church didandnot invite attack by appearing weak in evidence. Naturally a young manaltogether ignorantcould not say this to Sir Charles Lyell or Sir IsaacNewton; but he was forced to state Sir Charles's viewswhich he thought weak ashypotheses and worthless as proofs. Sir Charles himself seemed shy of them.Adams hinted his heresies in vain. At last he resorted to what he thought thebold experiment of inserting a sentence in the textintended to provokecorrection. "The introduction [by Louis Agassiz] of this new geologicalagent seemed at first sight inconsistent with Sir Charles's argumentobliginghim to allow that causes had in fact existed on the earth capable of producingmore violent geological changes than would be possible in our own day." Thehint produced no effect. Sir Charles said not a word; he let the paragraphstand; and Adams never knew whether the great Uniformitarian was strict or laxin his uniformitarian creed; but he doubted.

Objections fatal to one mind are futile to anotherand as far as concernedthe articlethe matter ended therealthough the glacial epoch remained a mistyregion in the young man's Darwinism. Had it been the only onehe would not havefretted about it; but uniformity often worked queerly and sometimes did not workas Natural Selection at all. Finding himself at a loss for some single figure toillustrate the Law of Natural SelectionAdams asked Sir Charles for thesimplest case of uniformity on record. Much to his surprise Sir Charles told himthat certain formslike Terebratulaappeared to be identical from thebeginning to the end of geological time. Since this was altogether too muchuniformity and much too little selectionAdams gave up the attempt to begin atthe beginningand tried starting at the end- himself. Taking for granted thatthe vertebrates would serve his purposehe asked Sir Charles to introduce himto the first vertebrate. Infinitely to his bewildermentSir Charles informedhim that the first vertebrate was a very respectable fishamong the earliest ofall fossilswhich had livedand whose bones were still reposingunder Adams'sown favorite Abbey on Wenlock Edge.

By this timein 1867Adams had learned to know Shropshire familiarlyandit was the part of his diplomatic education which he loved best. Like CatherineOlney in "Northanger Abbey" he yearned for nothing so keenly as tofeel at home in a thirteenth-century Abbeyunless it were to haunt afifteenth-century Prior's Houseand both these joys were his at Wenlock. Withcompanions or withouthe never tired of it. Whether he rode about the Wrekinor visited all the historical haunts from Ludlow Castle and Stokesay to Boscobeland Uriconium; or followed the Roman road or scratched in the Abbey ruinsallwas amusing and carried a flavor of its own like that of the Roman Campagna; butperhaps he liked best to ramble over the Edge on a summer afternoon and lookacross the Marches to the mountains of Wales. The peculiar flavor of the sceneryhas something to do with absence of evolution; it was better marked in Egypt: itwas felt wherever time-sequences became interchangeable. One's instinct abhorstime. As one lay on the slope of the Edgelooking sleepily through the summerhaze towards Shrewsbury or Cader Idris or Caer Caradoc or Uriconiumnothingsuggested sequence. The Roman road was twin to the railroad; Uriconium was wellworth Shrewsbury; Wenlock and Buildwas were far superior to Bridgnorth. Theshepherds of Caractacus or Offaor the monks of Buildwashad they approachedwhere he lay in the grasswould have taken him only for another and tamervariety of Welsh thief. They would have seen little to surprise them in themodern landscape unless it were the steam of a distant railway. One might mix upthe terms of time as one likedor stuff the present anywhere into the pastmeasuring time by Falstaff's Shrewsbury clockwithout violent sense of wrongas one could do it on the Pacific Ocean; but the triumph of all was to looksouth along the Edge to the abode of one's earliest ancestor and nearestrelativethe ganoid fishwhose nameaccording to Professor HuxleywasPteraspisa cousin of the sturgeonand whose kingdomaccording to SirRoderick Murchisonwas called Siluria. Life began and ended there. Behind thathorizon lay only the Cambrianwithout vertebrates or any other organism excepta few shell-fish. On the further verge of the Cambrian rose the crystallinerocks from which every trace of organic existence had been erased.

That hereon the Wenlock Edge of timea young Americanseeking onlyfrivolous amusementshould find a legitimate parentage as modern as though justcaught in the Severn belowastonished him as much as though he had found Darwinhimself. In the scale of evolutionone vertebrate was as good as another. Foranything heor any one elseknewnine hundred and ninety-nine parts ofevolution out of a thousand lay behind or below the Pteraspis. To an American insearch of a fatherit mattered nothing whether the father breathed throughlungsor walked on finsor on feet. Evolution of mind was altogether anothermatter and belonged to another sciencebut whether one traced descent from theshark or the wolf was immaterial even in morals. This matter had been discussedfor ages without scientific result. La Fontaine and other fabulists maintainedthat the wolfeven in moralsstood higher than man; and in view of the latecivil warAdams had doubts of his own on the facts of moral evolution:- -

Tout bien considereje te soutiens en somme

Que scelerat pour scelerat

Il vaut mieux etre un loup qu'un homme. -

It might well be! At all eventsit did not enter into the problem ofPteraspisfor it was quite certain that no complete proof of Natural Selectionhad occurred back to the time of Pteraspisand that before Pteraspis waseternal void. No trace of any vertebrate had been found there; only star-fishshell-fishpolypsor trilobites whose kindly descendants he had often bathedwithas a child on the shores of Quincy Bay.

That Pteraspis and shark were his cousinsgreat-unclesor grand-fathersinno way troubled himbut that either or both of them should be older thanevolution itself seemed to him perplexing; nor could he at all simplify theproblem by taking the sudden back-somersault into Quincy Bay in search of thefascinating creature he had called a horse-shoewhose huge dome of shell andsharp spur of tail had so alarmed him as a child. In Siluriahe understoodSirRoderick Murchison called the horseshoe a Limuluswhich helped nothing. Neitherin the Limulus nor in the Terebratulanor in the Cestracion Philippiany morethan in the Pteraspiscould one conceive an ancestorbutif one mustthechoice mattered little. Cousinship had limits but no one knew enough to fixthem. When the vertebrate vanished in Siluriait disappeared instantly andforever. Neither vertebra nor scale nor print reappearednor any trace ofascent or descent to a lower type. The vertebrate began in the Ludlow shaleascomplete as Adams himself- in some respects more so- at the top of the column oforganic evolution: and geology offered no sort of proof that he had ever beenanything else. Ponder over it as he mightAdams could see nothing in the theoryof Sir Charles but pure inferenceprecisely like the inference of Paleythatif one found a watchone inferred a maker. He could detect no more evolution inlife since the Pteraspis than he could detect it in architecture since theAbbey. All he could prove was change. Coal-power alone asserted evolution- ofpower- and only by violence could be forced to assert selection of type.

All this seemed trivial to the true Darwinianand to Sir Charles it was meredefect in the geological record. Sir Charles labored only to heap up theevidences of evolution; to cumulate them till the mass became irresistible. Withthat purposeAdams gladly studied and tried to help Sir Charlesbutbehindthe lesson of the dayhe was conscious thatin geology as in theologyhecould prove only Evolution that did not evolve; Uniformity that was not uniform;and Selection that did not select. To other Darwinians- except Darwin- NaturalSelection seemed a dogma to be put in the place of the Athanasian creed; it wasa form of religious hope; a promise of ultimate perfection. Adams wished nobetter; he warmly sympathized in the object; but when he came to ask himselfwhat he truly thoughthe felt that he had no Faith; that whenever the next newhobby should be brought outhe should surely drop off from Darwinism like amonkey from a perch; that the idea of one FormLawOrderor Sequence had nomore value for him than the idea of none; that what he valued most was Motionand that what attracted his mind was Change.

Psychology was to him a new studyand a dark corner of education. As he layon Wenlock Edgewith the sheep nibbling the grass close about him as they ortheir betters had nibbled the grass- or whatever there was to nibble- in theSilurian kingdom of Pteraspishe seemed to have fallen on an evolution far morewonderful than that of fishes. He did not like it; he could not account for it;and he determined to stop it. Never since the days of his Limulus ancestry hadany of his ascendants thought thus. Their modes of thought might be manybuttheir thought was one. Out of his millions of millions of ancestorsback to theCambrian mollusksevery one had probably lived and died in the illusion ofTruths which did not amuse himand which had never changed. Henry Adams was thefirst in an infinite series to discover and admit to himself that he really didnot care whether truth wasor was nottrue. He did not even care that itshould be proved trueunless the process were new and amusing. He was aDarwinian for fun.

From the beginning of historythis attitude had been branded as criminal-worse than crime- sacrilege! Society punished it ferociously and justlyinself-defence. Mr. Adamsthe fatherlooked on it as moral weakness; it annoyedhim; but it did not annoy him nearly so much as it annoyed his sonwho had noneed to learn from Hamlet the fatal effect of the pale cast of thought onenterprises great or small. He had no notion of letting the currents of hisaction be turned awry by this form of conscience. To himthe current of histime was to be his currentlead where it might. He put psychology under lockand key; he insisted on maintaining his absolute standards; on aiming atultimate Unity. The mania for handling all the sides of every questionlookinginto every windowand opening every doorwasas Bluebeard judiciously pointedout to his wivesfatal to their practical usefulness in society. One could notstop to chase doubts as though they were rabbits. One had no time to paint andputty the surface of Laweven though it were cracked and rotten. For the youngmen whose lives were cast in the generation between 1867 and 1900Law should beEvolution from lower to higheraggregation of the atom in the massconcentration of multiplicity in unitycompulsion of anarchy in order; and hewould force himself to follow wherever it ledthough he should sacrifice fivethousand millions more in moneyand a million more lives.

As the path ultimately ledit sacrificed much more than this; but at thetimehe thought the price he named a high oneand he could not foresee thatscience and society would desert him in paying it. Heat leasttook hiseducation as a Darwinian in good faith. The Church was goneand Duty was dimbut Will should take its placefounded deeply in interest and law. This was theresult of five or six years in England; a result so British as to be almost theequivalent of an Oxford degree.

Quite serious about ithe set to work at once. While confusing his ideasabout geology to the apparent satisfaction of Sir Charles who left him hisfield-compass in token of itAdams turned resolutely to businessand attackedthe burning question of specie payments. His principles assured him that thehonest way to resume payments was to restrict currency. He thought he might wina name among financiers and statesmen at home by showing how this task had beendone by Englandafter the classical suspension of 1797-1821. Setting himself tothe study of this perplexed periodhe waded as well as he could through amorass of volumespamphletsand debatesuntil he learned to his confusionthat the Bank of England itself and all the best British financial writers heldthat restriction was a fatal mistakeand that the best treatment of a debasedcurrency was to let it aloneas the Bank had in fact done. Time and patiencewere the remedies.

The shock of this discovery to his financial principles was serious; muchmore serious than the shock of the Terebratula and Pteraspis to his principlesof geology. A mistake about Evolution was not fatal; a mistake about speciepayments would destroy forever the last hope of employment in State Street. Sixmonths of patient labor would be thrown away if he did not publishand with ithis whole scheme of making himself a position as a practical man-of-business. Ifhe did publishhow could he tell virtuous bankers in State Street that moraland absolute principles of abstract truthsuch as theirshad nothing to dowith the matterand that they had better let it alone? Geologistsnaturally ahumble and helpless classmight not revenge impertinences offered to theirscience; but capitalists never forgot or forgave.

With labor and caution he made one long article on British Finance in 1816and another on the Bank Restriction of 1797-1821anddoing both up in onepackagehe sent it to the North American for choice. He knew that two heavytechnicalfinancial studies thus thrown at an editor's headwould probablyreturn to crush the author; but the audacity of youth is more sympathetic- whensuccessful- than his ignorance. The editor accepted both.

When the post brought his letterAdams looked at it as though he were adebtor who had begged for an extension. He read it with as much relief as thedebtorif it had brought him the loan. The letter gave the new writer literaryrank. Henceforward he had the freedom of the press. These articlesfollowingthose on Pocahontas and Lyellenrolled him on the permanent staff of the NorthAmerican Review. Precisely what this rank was worthno one could say; butforfifty years the North American Review had been the stage coach which carriedliterary Bostonians to such distinction as they had achieved. Few writers hadideas which warranted thirty pages of developmentbut for such as thought theyhadthe Review alone offered space. An article was a small volume whichrequired at least three months' workand was paidat bestfive dollars apage. Not many men even in England or France could write a good thirty-pagearticleand practically no one in America read them; but a few score of peoplemostly in search of items to stealran over the pages to extract an idea or afactwhich was a sort of wild game- a blue-fish or a teal- worth anywhere fromfifty cents to five dollars. Newspaper writers had their eye on quarterlypickings. The circulation of the Review had never exceeded three or four hundredcopiesand the Review had never paid its reasonable expenses. Yet it stood atthe head of American literary periodicals; it was a source of suggestion tocheaper workers; it reached far into societies that never knew its existence; itwas an organ worth playing on; andin the fancy of Henry Adamsit ledin someindistinct futureto playing on a New York daily newspaper.

With the editor's letter under his eyesAdams asked himself what better hecould have done. On the wholeconsidering his helplessnesshe thought he haddone as well as his neighbors. No one could yet guess which of hiscontemporaries was most likely to play a part in the great world. A shrewdprophet in Wall Street might perhaps have set a mark on Pierpont Morganbuthardly on the Rockefellers or William C. Whitney or Whitelaw Reid. No one wouldhave picked out William McKinley or John Hay or Mark Hanna for great statesmen.Boston was ignorant of the careers in store for Alexander Agassiz and HenryHigginson. Phillips Brooks was unknown; Henry James was unheard; Howells wasnew; Richardson and LaFarge were struggling for a start. Out of any score ofnames and reputations that should reach beyond the centurythe thirty-years-oldwho were starting in the year 1867 could show none that was so far in advance asto warrant odds in its favor. The army men had for the most part fallen to theranks. Had Adams foreseen the future exactly as it camehe would have been nowiserand could have chosen no better path.

Thus it turned out that the last year in England was the pleasantest. He wasalready old in societyand belonged to the Silurian horizon. The Prince ofWales had come. Mr. DisraeliLord Stanleyand the future Lord Salisbury hadthrown into the background the memories of Palmerston and Russell. Europe wasmoving rapidlyand the conduct of England during the American Civil War was thelast thing that London liked to recall. The revolution since 1861 was nearlycompleteandfor the first time in historythe American felt himself almostas strong as an Englishman. He had thirty years to wait before he should feelhimself stronger. Meanwhile even a private secretary could afford to be happy.His old education was finished; his new one was not begun; he still loitered ayearfeeling himself near the end of a very longanxioustempestuoussuccessful voyagewith another to followand a summer sea between.

He made what use he could of it. In February1868he was back in Rome withhis friend Milnes Gaskell. For another season he wandered on horseback over thecampagna or on foot through the Rome of the middle agesand sat once more onthe steps of Ara Coelias had become with him almost a superstitionlike thewaters of the fountain of Trevi. Rome was still tragic and solemn as everwithits mediaeval societyartisticliteraryand clericaltaking itself asseriously as in the days of Byron and Shelley. The long ten years of accidentaleducation had changed nothing for him there. He knew no more in 1868 than in1858. He had learned nothing whatever that made Rome more intelligible to himor made life easier to handle. The case was no better when he got back to Londonand went through his last season. London had become his vice. He loved hishauntshis houseshis habitsand even his hansom cabs. He loved growling likean Englishmanand going into society where he knew not a faceand cared not astraw. He lived deep into the lives and loves and disappointments of hisfriends. When at last he found himself back again at Liverpoolhis heartwrenched by the act of partinghe moved mechanicallyunstrungbut he had nomore acquired education than when he first trod the steps of the Adelphi Hotelin November1858. He could see only one great changeand this was wholly inyears. Eaton Hall no longer impressed his imagination; even the architecture ofChester roused but a sleepy interest; he felt no sensation whatever in theatmosphere of the British peeragebut mainly an habitual dislike to most of thepeople who frequented their country houses; he had become English to the pointof sharing their petty social divisionstheir dislikes and prejudices againsteach other; he took England no longer with the awe of American youthbut withthe habit of an old and rather worn suit of clothes. As far as he knewthis wasall that Englishmen meant by social educationbut in any case it was all theeducation he had gained from seven years in London.

CHAPTER XVI

The Press (1868) -

AT ten o'clock of a July nightin heat that made the tropical rain-showersimmerthe Adams family and the Motley family clambered down the side of theirCunard steamer into the government tugboatwhich set them ashore in blackdarkness at the end of some North River pier. Had they been Tyrian traders ofthe year B.C. 1000landing from a galley fresh from Gibraltarthey couldhardly have been stranger on the shore of a worldso changed from what it hadbeen ten years before. The historian of the Dutchno longer historian butdiplomatiststarted up an unknown streetin company with the private secretarywho had become private citizenin search of carriages to convey the two partiesto the Brevoort House. The pursuit was arduous but successful. Towards midnightthey found shelter once more in their native land.

How much its character had changed or was changingthey could not whollyknowand they could but partly feel. For that matterthe land itself knew nomore than they. Society in America was always tryingalmost as blindly as anearthwormto realize and understand itself; to catch up with its own headandto twist about in search of its tail. Society offered the profile of a longstraggling caravanstretching loosely towards the prairiesits few score ofleaders far in advance and its millions of immigrantsnegroesand Indians farin the rearsomewhere in archaic time. It enjoyed the vast advantage overEurope that all seemedfor the momentto move in one directionwhile Europewasted most of its energy in trying several contradictory movements at once; butwhenever Europe or Asia should be polarized or oriented towards the same pointAmerica might easily lose her lead. Meanwhile each newcomer needed to slip intoa place as near the head of the caravan as possibleand needed most to knowwhere the leaders could be found.

One could divine pretty nearly where the force laysince the last ten yearshad given to the great mechanical energies- coalironsteam- a distinctsuperiority in power over the old industrial elements- agriculturehandworkand learning; but the result of this revolution on a survivor from the fiftiesresembled the action of the earthworm; he twisted aboutin vainto recover hisstarting-point; he could no longer see his own trail; he had become an estray; aflotsam or jetsam of wreckage; a belated revelleror a scholar-gipsy likeMatthew Arnold's. His world was dead. Not a Polish Jew fresh from Warsaw orCracow- not a furtive Yacoob or Ysaac still reeking of the Ghettosnarling aweird Yiddish to the officers of the customs- but had a keener instinctanintenser energyand a freer hand than he- American of Americanswith Heavenknew how many Puritans and Patriots behind himand an education that had cost acivil war. He made no complaint and found no fault with his time; he was noworse off than the Indians or the buffalo who had been ejected from theirheritage by his own people; but he vehemently insisted that he was not himselfat fault. The defeat was not due to himnor yet to any superiority of hisrivals. He had been unfairly forced out of the trackand must get back into itas best he could.

One comfort he could enjoy to the full. Little as he might be fitted for thework that was before himhe had only to look at his father and Motley to seefigures less fitted for it than he. All were equally survivals from the forties-bric-a-brac from the time of Louis Philippe; stylists; doctrinaires; ornamentsthat had been more or less suited to the colonial architecturebut which neverhad much value in Desbrosses Street or Fifth Avenue. They could scarcely haveearned five dollars a day in any modern industry. The men who commanded high paywere as a rule not ornamental. Even Commodore Vanderbilt and Jay Gould lackedsocial charm. Doubtless the country needed ornament- needed it very badlyindeed- but it needed energy still moreand capital most of allfor its supplywas ridiculously out of proportion to its wants. On the new scale of powermerely to make the continent habitable for civilized people would require animmediate outlay that would have bankrupted the world. As yetno portion of theworld except a few narrow stretches of western Europe have ever been tolerablyprovided with the essentials of comfort and convenience; to fit out an entirecontinent with roads and the decencies of life would exhaust the credit of theentire planet. Such an estimate seemed outrageous to a Texan member of Congresswho loved the simplicity of nature's noblemen; but the mere suggestion that asun existed above him would outrage the self-respect respect of a deep-sea fishthat carried a lantern on the end of its nose. From the moment that railwayswere introducedlife took on extravagance.

Thus the belated reveller who landed in the dark at the Desbrosses Streetferryfound his energies exhausted in the effort to see his own length. The newAmericansof whom he was to be onemustwhether they were fit or unfitcreate a world of their owna sciencea societya philosophya universewhere they had not yet created a road or even learned to dig their own iron.They had no time for thought; they sawand could seenothing beyond theirday's work; their attitude to the universe outside them was that of the deep-seafish. Above allthey naturally and intensely disliked to be told what to doand how to do itby men who took their ideas and their methods from theabstract theories of historyphilosophy or theology. They knew enough to knowthat their world was one of energies quite new.

All thisthe newcomer understood and acceptedsince he could not helphimself and saw that the American could help himself as little as the newcomer;but the fact remained that the more he knewthe less he was educated. Societyknew as much as thisand seemed rather inclined to boast of itat least on thestump; but the leaders of industry betrayed no sentimentpopular or other. Theyusedwithout qualmwhatever instruments they found at hand. They had beenobligedin 1861to turn aside and waste immense energy in settling what hadbeen settled a thousand years beforeand should never have been revived. Atprodigious expenseby sheer forcethey broke resistance downleavingeverything but the mere fact of power untouchedsince nothing else had asolution. Race and thought were beyond reach. Having cleared its path so farsociety went back to its workand threw itself on that which stood first- itsroads. The field was vast; altogether beyond its power to control offhand; andsociety dropped every thought of dealing with anything more than the singlefraction called a railway system. This relatively small part of its task wasstill so big as to need the energies of a generationfor it required all thenew machinery to be created- capitalbanksminesfurnacesshopspower-housestechnical knowledgemechanical populationtogether with a steadyremodelling of social and political habitsideasand institutions to fit thenew scale and suit the new conditions. The generation between 1865 and 1895 wasalready mortgaged to the railwaysand no one knew it better than the generationitself.

Whether Henry Adams knew it or nothe knew enough to act as though he did.He reached Quincy once moreready for the new start. His brother Charles haddetermined to strike for the railroads; Henry was to strike for the press; andthey hoped to play into each other's hands. They had great needfor they foundno one else to play with. After discovering the worthlessness of a so-callededucationthey had still to discover the worthlessness of so-called socialconnection. No young man had a larger acquaintance and relationship than HenryAdamsyet he knew no one who could help him. He was for salein the openmarket. So were many of his friends. All the world knew itand knew too thatthey were cheap; to be bought at the price of a mechanic. There was noconcealmentno delicacyand no illusion about it. Neither he nor his friendscomplained; but he felt sometimes a little surprised thatas far as he knewnooneseeking in the labor marketever so much as inquired about their fitness.The want of solidarity between old and young seemed American. The young man wasrequired to impose himselfby the usual business methodsas a necessity on hiseldersin order to compel them to buy him as an investment. As Adams felt ithe was in a manner expected to blackmail. Many a young man complained to him inafter life of the same experiencewhich became a matter of curious reflectionas he grew old. The labor market of good society was ill-organized.

Boston seemed to offer no market for educated labor. A peculiar andperplexing amalgam Boston always wasand although it had changed much in tenyearsit was not less perplexing. One no longer dined at two o'clock; one couldno longer skate on Back Bay; one heard talk of Bostonians worth five millions ormore as something not incredible. Yet the place seemed still simpleand lessrestless-minded than ever before. In the line that Adams had chosen to followhe needed more than all else the help of the pressbut any shadow of hope onthat side vanished instantly. The less one meddled with the Boston pressthebetter. All the newspapermen were clear on that point. The same was true ofpolitics. Boston meant business. The Bostonians were building railways. Adamswould have liked to help in building railwaysbut had no education. He was notfit.

He passed three or four months thusvisiting relationsrenewingfriendshipsand studying the situation. At thirty years oldthe man who hasnot yet got further than to study the situationis lostor near it. He couldsee nothing in the situation that could be of use to him. His friends had won nomore from it than he. His brother Charlesafter three years of civil lifewasno better off than himselfexcept for being married and in greater need ofincome. His brother John had become a brilliant political leader on the wrongside. No one had yet regained the lost ground of the war.

He went to Newport and tried to be fashionablebut even in the simple lifeof 1868he failed as fashion. All the style he had learned so painfully inLondon was worse than useless in America where every standard was different.Newport was charmingbut it asked for no education and gave none. What it gavewas much gayer and pleasanterand one enjoyed it amazingly; but friendships inthat society were a kind of social partnershiplike the classes at college; noteducation but the subjects of education. All were doing the same thingandasking the same question of the future. None could help. Society seemed foundedon the law that all was for the best New Yorkers in the best of Newportsandthat all young people were rich if they could waltz. It was a new version of theAnt and Grasshopper.

At the end of three monthsthe only personamong the hundreds he had metwho had offered him a word of encouragement or had shown a sign of acquaintancewith his doingswas Edward Atkinson. Boston was cool towards sonswhetherprodigals or otherand needed much time to make up its mind what to do forthem- time which Adamsat thirty years oldcould hardly spare. He had not thecourage or self-confidence to hire an office in State Streetas so many of hisfriends didand doze there alonevacuity within and a snowstorm outsidewaiting for Fortune to knock at the dooror hoping to find her asleep in theelevator; or on the staircasesince elevators; were not yet in use. Whetherthis course would have offered his best chance he never knew; it was one of thepoints in practical education which most needed a clear understandingand hecould never reach it. His father and mother would have been glad to see him staywith them and begin reading Blackstone againand he showed no very filialtenderness by abruptly breaking the tie that had lasted so long. After allperhaps Beacon Street was as good as any other street for his objects in life;possibly his easiest and surest path was from Beacon Street to State Street andback againall the days of his years. Who could tell? Even after life was overthe doubt could not be determined.

In thus sacrificing his heritagehe only followed the path that had led himfrom the beginning. Boston was full of his brothers. He had reckoned fromchildhood on outlawry as his peculiar birthright. The mere thought of beginninglife again in Mount Vernon Street lowered the pulsations of his heart. This is astory of education- not a mere lesson of life- andwith educationtemperamenthas in strictness nothing to doalthough in practice they run close together.Neither by temperament nor by education was he fitted for Boston. He had driftedfar away and behind his companions there; no one trusted his temperament oreducation; he had to go.

Since no other path seemed to offer itselfhe stuck to his plan of joiningthe pressand selected Washington as the shortest road to New Yorkbutin1868Washington stood outside the social pale. No Bostonian had ever gonethere. One announced one's self as an adventurer and an office-seekera personof deplorably bad judgmentand the charges were true. The chances of ending inthe gutter wereat besteven. The risk was the greater in Adams's casebecause he had no very clear idea what to do when he got there. That he musteducate himself over againfor objects quite newin an air altogether hostileto his old educationswas the only certainty; but how he was to do it- how hewas to convert the idler in Rotten Row into the lobbyist of the Capital- he hadnot an ideaand no one to teach him. The question of money is rarely seriousfor a young American unless he is marriedand money never troubled Adams morethan others; not because he had itbut because he could do without itlikemost people in Washington who all lived on the income of bricklayers; but withor without money he met the difficulty thatafter getting to Washington inorder to go on the pressit was necessary to seek a press to go on. For largework he could count on the North American Reviewbut this was scarcely a press.For current discussion and correspondencehe could depend on the New YorkNation; but what he needed was a New York dailyand no New York daily neededhim. He lost his one chance by the death of Henry J. Raymond. The Tribune underHorace Greeley was out of the question both for political and personal reasonsand because Whitelaw Reid had already undertaken that singularly venturesomepositionamid difficulties that would have swamped Adams in four-and-twentyhours. Charles A. Dana had made the Sun a very successful as well as a veryamusing paperbut had hurt his own social position in doing it; and Adams knewhimself well enough to know that he could never please himself and Dana too;with the best intentionshe must always fail as a blackguardand at that timea strong dash of blackguardism was life to the Sun. As for the New York Heraldit was a despotic empire admitting no personality but that of Bennett. Thusforthe momentthe New York daily press offered no field except the free-trade HolyLand of the Evening Post under William Cullen Bryantwhile beside it lay onlythe elevated plateau of the New Jerusalem occupied by Godkin and the Nation.Much as Adams liked Godkinand glad as he was to creep under the shelter of theEvening Post and the Nationhe was well aware that he should find there onlythe same circle of readers that he reached in the North American Review.

The outlook was dimbut it was all he hadand at Washingtonexcept for thepersonal friendship of Mr. Evarts who was then Attorney General and livingtherehe would stand in solitude much like that of London in 1861. Evarts didwhat no one in Boston seemed to care for doing; he held out a hand to the youngman. Whether Bostonlike Salemreally shunned strangersor whether Evarts wasan exception even in New Yorkhe had the social instinct which Boston had not.Generous by natureprodigal in hospitalityfond of young peopleand a bornman-of-the-worldEvarts gave and took liberallywithout scrupleand acceptedthe world without fearing or abusing it. His wit was the least part of hissocial attraction. His talk was broad and free. He laughed where he could; hejoked if a joke was possible; he was true to his friendsand never lost histemper or became ill-natured. Like all New Yorkers he was decidedly not aBostonian; but he was what one might call a transplanted New EnglanderlikeGeneral Sherman; a varietygrown in ranker soil. In the course of lifeand inwidely different countriesAdams incurred heavy debts of gratitude to personson whom he had no claim and to whom he could seldom make return; perhapshalf-a-dozen such debts remained unpaid at lastalthough six is a large numberas lives go; but kindness seldom came more happily than when Mr. Evarts took himto Washington in October1868.

Adams accepted the hospitality of the sleeperwith deep gratitudethe morebecause his first struggle with a sleeping-car made him doubt the value- to him-of a Pullman civilization; but he was even more grateful for the shelter of Mr.Evarts's house in H Street at the corner of Fourteenthwhere he abode in safetyand content till he found rooms in the roomless village. To him the villageseemed unchanged. Had he not known that a great war and eight years ofastonishing movement had passed over ithe would have noticed nothing thatbetrayed growth. As of oldhouses were few; rooms fewer; even the men were thesame. No one seemed to miss the usual comforts of civilizationand Adams wasglad to get rid of themfor his best chance lay in the eighteenth century.

The first stepof coursewas the making of acquaintanceand the firstacquaintance was naturally the Presidentto whom an aspirant to the pressofficially paid respect. Evarts immediately took him to the White House andpresented him to President Andrew Johnson. The interview was brief and consistedin the stock remark common to monarchs and valetsthat the young man lookedeven younger than he was. The younger man felt even younger than he looked. Henever saw the President againand never felt a wish to see himfor AndrewJohnson was not the sort of man whom a young reformer of thirtywith two orthree foreign educationswas likely to see with enthusiasm; yetmusing overthe interview as a matter of educationlong years afterwardshe could not helprecalling the President's figure with a distinctness that surprised him. Theold-fashioned Southern Senator and statesman sat in his chair at his desk with alook of self-esteem that had its value. None doubted. All were great men; someno doubtwere greater than others; but all were statesmen and all weresupportedliftedinspired by the moral certainty of rightness. To them theuniverse was seriouseven solemnbut it was their universea Southernconception of right. Lamar used to say that he never entertained a doubt of thesoundness of the Southern system until he found that slavery could not stand awar. Slavery was only a part of the Southern systemand the life of it all- thevigor- the poetry- was its moral certainty of self. The Southerner could notdoubt; and this self-assurance not only gave Andrew Johnson the look of a truePresidentbut actually made him one. When Adams came to look back on itafterwardshe was surprised to realize how strong the Executive was in 1868-perhaps the strongest he was ever to see. Certainly he never again found himselfso well satisfiedor so much at home.

Seward was still Secretary of State. Hardly yet an old manthough showingmarks of time and violenceMr. Seward seemed little changed in these eightyears. He was the same- with a difference. Perhaps he- unlike Henry Adams- hadat last got an educationand all he wanted. Perhaps he had resigned himself todoing without it. Whatever the reasonalthough his manner was as roughly kindas everand his talk as freehe appeared to have closed his account with thepublic; he no longer seemed to care; he asked nothinggave nothingand invitedno support; he talked little of himself or of othersand waited only for hisdischarge. Adams was well pleased to be near him in these last days of his powerand fameand went much to his house in the evenings when he was sure to be athis whist. At lastas the end drew nearwanting to feel that the great man-the only chief he ever served even as a volunteer- recognized some personalrelationhe asked Mr. Seward to dine with him one evening in his roomsandplay his game of whist thereas he did every night in his own house. Mr. Sewardcame and had his whistand Adams remembered his rough parting speech: "Avery sensible entertainment!" It was the only favor he ever asked of Mr.Sewardand the only one he ever accepted.

Thusas a teacher of wisdomafter twenty years of exampleGovernor Sewardpassed out of one's lifeand Adams lost what should have been his firmest ally;but in truth the State Department had ceased to be the centre of his interestand the Treasury had taken its place. The Secretary of the Treasury was a mannew to politics- Hugh McCulloch- not a person of much importance in the eyes ofpractical politicians such as young members of the press meant themselves tobecomebut they all liked Mr. McCullochthough they thought him a stop-gaprather than a force. Had they known what sort of forces the Treasury was tooffer them for support in the generation to comethey might have reflected along while on their estimate of McCulloch. Adams was fated to watch theflittings of many more Secretaries than he ever cared to knowand he rathercame back in the end to the idea that McCulloch was the best of themalthoughhe seemed to represent everything that one liked least. He was no politicianhehad no partyand no power. He was not fashionable or decorative. He was abankerand towards bankers Adams felt the narrow prejudice which the serf feelsto his overseer; for he knew he must obeyand he knew that the helpless showedonly their helplessness when they tempered obedience by mockery. The worldafter 1865became a bankers' worldand no banker would ever trust one who haddeserted State Streetand had gone to Washington with purposes of doubtfulcreditor of no credit at allfor he could not have put up enough collateralto borrow five thousand dollars of any bank in America. The banker never wouldtrust himand he would never trust the banker. To himthe banking mind wasobnoxious; and this antipathy caused him the more surprise at finding McCullochthe broadestmost liberalmost genialand most practical public man inWashington.

There could be no doubt of it. The burden of the Treasury at that time wasvery great. The whole financial system was in chaos; every part of it requiredreform; the utmost experiencetactand skill could not make the machine worksmoothly. No one knew how well McCulloch did it until his successor took it inchargeand tried to correct his methods. Adams did not know enough toappreciate McCulloch's technical skillbut he was struck at his open andgenerous treatment of young men. Of all rare qualitiesthis wasin Adams'sexperiencethe rarest. As a ruleofficials dread interference. The strongestoften resent it most. Any official who admits equality in discussion of hisofficial coursefeels it to be an act of virtue; after a few months or years hetires of the effort. Every friend in power is a friend lost. This rule is sonearly absolute that it may be taken in practice as admitting no exception.Apparent exceptions existand McCulloch was one of them.

McCulloch had been spared the gluttonous selfishness and infantile jealousywhich are the commoner results of early political education. He had neither pastnor futureand could afford to be careless of his company. Adams found himsurrounded by all the active and intelligent young men in the country. Full offaithgreedy for workeager for reformenergeticconfidentcapablequickof studycharmed with a fightequally ready to defend or attackthey wereunselfishand even- as young men went- honest. They came mostly from the armywith the spirit of the volunteers. Frank WalkerFrank BarlowFrank Bartlettwere types of the generation. Most of the pressand much of the publicespecially in the Westshared their ideas. No one denied the need for reform.The whole governmentfrom top to bottomwas rotten with the senility of whatwas antiquated and the instability of what was improvised. The currency was onlyone example; the tariff was another; but the whole fabric requiredreconstruction as much as in 1789for the Constitution had become as antiquatedas the Confederation. Sooner or later a shock must comethe more dangerous thelonger postponed. The Civil War had made a new system in fact; the country wouldhave to reorganize the machinery in practice and theory.

One might discuss indefinitely the question which branch of government neededreform most urgently; all needed it enoughbut no one denied that the financeswere a scandaland a constantuniversal nuisance. The tariff was worsethoughmore interests upheld it. McCulloch had the singular merit of facing reform withlarge good-nature and willing sympathy- outside of partiesjobsbargainscorporations or intrigues- which Adams never was to meet again.

Chaos often breeds lifewhen order breeds habit. The Civil War had bredlife. The army bred courage. Young men of the volunteer type were not alwaysdocile under controlbut they were handy in a fight. Adams was greatly pleasedto be admitted as one of them. He found himself much at home with them- more athome than he ever had been beforeor was ever to be again- in the atmosphere ofthe Treasury. He had no strong party passionand he felt as though he and hisfriends owned this administrationwhichin its dying dayshad neither friendsnor future except in them.

These were not the only allies; the whole government in all its branches wasalive with them. Just at that moment the Supreme Court was about to take up theLegal Tender cases where Judge Curtis had been employed to argue against theconstitutional power of the Government to make an artificial standard of valuein time of peace. Evarts was anxious to fix on a line of argument that shouldhave a chance of standing up against that of Judge Curtisand was puzzled to doit. He did not know which foot to put forward. About to deal with Judge Curtisthe last of the strong jurists of Marshall's schoolhe could risk no chances.In doubtthe quickest way to clear one's mind is to discussand Evartsdeliberately forced discussion. Day after daydrivingdiningwalking heprovoked Adams to dispute his positions. He needed an anvilhe saidto hammerhis ideas on.

Adams was flattered at being an anvilwhich isafter allmore solid thanthe hammer; and he did not feel called on to treat Mr. Evarts's arguments withmore respect than Mr. Evarts himself expressed for them; so he contradicted withfreedom. Like most young menhe was much of a doctrinaireand the questionwasin any eventrather historical or political than legal. He could easilymaintainby way of argumentthat the required power had never been givenandthat no sound constitutional reason could possibly exist for authorizing theGovernment to overthrow the standard of value without necessityin time ofpeace. The dispute itself had not much value for himeven as educationbut itled to his seeking light from the Chief Justice himself. Following up thesubject for his letters to the Nation and his articles in the North AmericanReviewAdams grew to be intimate with the Chief Justicewhoas one of theoldest and strongest leaders of the Free Soil Partyhad claims to his personalregard; for the old Free Soilers were becoming few. Like all strong-willed andself-asserting menMr. Chase had the faults of his qualities. He was never easyto drive in harnessor light in hand. He saw vividly what was wrongand didnot always allow for what was relatively right. He loved power as though he werestill a Senator. His position towards Legal Tender was awkward. As Secretary ofthe Treasury he had been its author; as Chief Justice he became its enemy. LegalTender caused no great pleasure or pain in the sum of life to a newspapercorrespondentbut it served as a subject for lettersand the Chief Justice wasvery willing to win an ally in the press who would tell his story as he wishedit to be read. The intimacy in Mr. Chase's house grew rapidlyand the alliancewas no small help to the comforts of a struggling newspaper adventurer inWashington. No matter what one might think of his politics or temperMr. Chasewas a dramatic figureof high senatorial rankif also of certain senatorialfaults; a valuable ally.

As was suresooner or laterto happenAdams one day met Charles Sumner onthe streetand instantly stopped to greet him. As though eight years of brokenties were the natural course of friendshipSumner at onceafter an exclamationof surprisedropped back into the relation of hero to the school boy. Adamsenjoyed accepting it. He was then thirty years old and Sumner was fifty-seven;he had seen more of the world than Sumner ever dreamed ofand he felt a sort ofamused curiosity to be treated once more as a child. At bestthe renewal ofbroken relations is a nervous matterand in this case it bristled with thornsfor Sumner's quarrel with Mr. Adams had not been the most delicate of hisruptured relationsand he was liable to be sensitive in many ways that evenBostonians could hardly keep in constant mind; yet it interested and fascinatedHenry Adams as a new study of political humanity. The younger man knew that themeeting would have to comeand was ready for itif only as a newspaper need;but to Sumner it came as a surprise and a disagreeable oneas Adams conceived.He learned something- a piece of practical education worth the effort- bywatching Sumner's behavior. He could see that many thoughts- mostly unpleasant-were passing through his mindsince he made no inquiry about any of Adams'sfamilyor allusion to any of his friends or his residence abroad. He talkedonly of the present. To himAdams in Washington should have seemed more or lessof a criticperhaps a spycertainly an intriguer or adventurer like scores ofothers; a politician without party; a writer without principles; anoffice-seeker certain to beg for support. All this wasfor his purposestrue.Adams could do him no goodand would be likely to do him all the harm in hispower. Adams accepted it all; expected to be kept at arm's length; admitted thatthe reasons were just. He was the more surprised to see that Sumner invited arenewal of old relations. He found himself treated almost confidentially. Notonly was he asked to make a fourth at Sumner's pleasant little dinners in thehouse on La Fayette Squarebut he found himself admitted to the Senator's studyand informed of his viewspolicy and purposeswhich were sometimes even moreastounding than his curious gaps or lapses of omniscience.

On the wholethe relation was the queerest that Henry Adams ever kept up. Heliked and admired Sumnerbut thought his mind a pathological study. At times heinclined to think that Sumner felt his solitudeandin the politicalwildernesscraved educated society; but this hardly told the whole story.Sumner's mind had reached the calm of water which receives and reflects imageswithout absorbing them; it contained nothing but itself. The images fromwithoutthe objects mechanically perceived by the sensesexisted by courtesyuntil the mental surface was ruffledbut never became part of the thought.Henry Adams roused no emotion; if he had roused a disagreeable onehe wouldhave ceased to exist. The mind would have mechanically rejectedas it hadmechanically admitted him. Not that Sumner was more aggressively egoistic thanother Senators- Conklingfor instance- but that with him the disease hadaffected the whole mind; it was chronic and absolute; whilewith other Senatorsfor the most partit was still acute.

Perhaps for this very reasonSumner was the more valuable acquaintance for anewspaper-man. Adams found him most useful; perhaps quite the most useful of allthese great authorities who were the stock-in-trade of the newspaper business;the accumulated capital of a Silurian age. A few months or years moreand theywere gone. In 1868they were like the town itselfchanging but not changed. LaFayette Square was society. Within a few hundred yards of Mr. Clark Mills'snursery monument to the equestrian seat of Andrew Jacksonone found all one'sacquaintance as well as hotelsbanksmarkets and national government. Beyondthe Square the country began. No rich or fashionable stranger had yet discoveredthe town. No literary or scientific manno artistno gentleman without officeor employmenthad ever lived there. It was ruraland its society wasprimitive. Scarcely a person in it had ever known life in a great city. Mr.EvartsMr. Sam Hooperof Bostonand perhaps one or two of the diplomatistshad alone mixed in that sort of world. The happy village was innocent of a club.The one-horse tram on F Street to the Capitol was ample for traffic. Everypleasant spring morning at the Pennsylvania Stationsociety met to bid good-byeto its friends going off on the single express. The State Department was lodgedin an infant asylum far out on Fourteenth Street while Mr. Mullett wasconstructing his architectural infant asylum next the White House. The value ofreal estate had not increased since 1800and the pavements were more impassablethan the mud. All this favored a young man who had come to make a name. Infour-and-twenty hours he could know everybody; in two days everybody knew him.

After seven years' arduous and unsuccessful effort to explore the outskirtsof London societythe Washington world offered an easy and delightful repose.When he looked round himfrom the safe shelter of Mr. Evarts's roofon the menhe was to work with- or against- he had to admit that nine-tenths of hisacquired education was uselessand the other tenth harmful. He would have tobegin again from the beginning. He must learn to talk to the WesternCongressmanand to hide his own antecedents. The task was amusing. He could seenothing to prevent him from enjoying itwith immoral unconcern for all that hadgone before and for anything that might follow. The lobby offered a spectaclealmost picturesque. Few figures on the Paris stage were more entertaining anddramatic than old Sam Wardwho knew more of life than all the departments ofthe Government togetherincluding the Senate and the Smithsonian. Society hadnot much to givebut what it hadit gave with an open hand. For the momentpolitics had ceased

to disturb social relations. All parties were mixed up and jumbled togetherin a sort of tidal slack-water. The Government resembled Adams himself in thematter of education. All that had gone before was uselessand some of it wasworse.

CHAPTER XVII

President Grant (1869) -

THE first effect of this leap into the unknown was a fit of low spirits newto the young man's education; due in part to the overpowering beauty andsweetness of the Maryland autumnalmost unendurable for its strain on one whohad toned his life down to the November grays and browns of northern Europe.Life could not go on so beautiful and so sad. Luckilyno one else felt it orknew it. He bore it as well as he couldand when he picked himself upwinterhad comeand he was settled in bachelor's quartersas modest as those of aclerk in the Departmentsfar out on G Streettowards Georgetownwhere an oldFinn named Dohnawho had come out with the Russian Minister Stoeckel longbeforehad bought or built a new house. Congress had met. Two or three monthsremained to the old administrationbut all interest centered in the new one.The town began to swarm with office-seekersamong whom a young writer was lost.He drifted among themunnoticedglad to learn his work under cover of theconfusion. He never aspired to become a regular reporter; he knew he should failin trying a career so ambitious and energetic; but he picked up friends on thepress- NordhoffMurat HalsteadHenry WattersonSam Bowles- all reformersandall mixed and jumbled together in a tidal wave of expectationwaiting forGeneral Grant to give orders. No one seemed to know much about it. Even Senatorshad nothing to say. One could only make notes and study finance.

In waitinghe amused himself as he could. In the amusements of Washingtoneducation had no partbut the simplicity of the amusements proved thesimplicity of everything elseambitionsintereststhoughtsand knowledge.Proverbially Washington was a poor place for educationand of course youngdiplomats avoided or disliked itbutas a rulediplomats disliked every placeexcept Parisand the world contained only one Paris. They abused London moreviolently than Washington; they praised no post under the sun; and they weremerely describing three-fourths of their stations when they complained thatthere were no theatresno restaurantsno mondeno demi-mondeno drivesnosplendorandas Mme. de Struve used to sayno grandezza. This was all true;Washington was a mere political campas transient and temporary as acamp-meeting for religious revivalbut the diplomats had least reason tocomplainsince they were more sought for there than they would ever beelsewhere. For young men Washington was in one way paradisesince they werefewand greatly in demand. After watching the abject unimportance of the youngdiplomat in London societyAdams found himself a young duke in Washington. Hehad ten years of youth to make upand a ravenous appetite. Washington was theeasiest society he had ever seenand even the Bostonian became simplegood-naturedalmost genialin the softness of a Washington spring. Societywent on excellently well without housesor carriagesor jewelsor toilettesor pavementsor shopsor grandezza of any sort; and the market was excellentas well as cheap. One could not stay there a month without loving the shabbytown. Even the Washington girlwho was neither rich nor well-dressed norwell-educated nor cleverhad singular charmand used it. According to Mr.Adams the fatherthis charm dated back as far as Monroe's administrationtohis personal knowledge.

Thereforebehind all the processes of political or financial or newspapertrainingthe social side of Washington was to be taken for granted asthree-fourths of existence. Its details matter nothing. Life ceased to bestrenuousand the victim thanked God for it. Politics and reform became thedetailand waltzing the profession. Adams was not alone. Senator Sumner had asprivate secretary a young man named Moorfield Storeywho became a dangerousexample of frivolity. The new Attorney-GeneralE. R. Hoarbrought with himfrom Concord a sonSam Hoarwhose example rivalled that of Storey. Anotherimpenitent was named Deweya young naval officer. Adams came far down in thelist. He wished he had been higher. He could have spared a world ofsuperannuated historyscienceor politicsto have reversed better inwaltzing.

He had no adequate notion how little he knewespecially of womenandWashington offered no standard of comparison. All were profoundly ignoranttogetherand as indifferent as children to education. No one needed knowledge.Washington was happier without style. Certainly Adams was happier without it;happier than he had ever been before; happier than any one in the harsh world ofstrenuousness could dream of. This must be taken as background for such littleeducation as he gained; but the life belonged to the eighteenth centuryand inno way concerned education for the twentieth.

In such an atmosphereone made no great pretence of hard work. If the worldwants hard workthe world must pay for it; andif it will not payit has nofault to find with the worker. Thus farno one had made a suggestion of pay forany work that Adams had done or could do; if he worked at allit was for socialconsiderationand social pleasure was his pay. For this he was willing to go onworkingas an artist goes on painting when no one buys his pictures. Artistshave done it from the beginning of timeand will do it after time has expiredsince they cannot help themselvesand they find their return in the pride oftheir social superiority as they feel it. Society commonly abets them andencourages their attitude of contempt. The society of Washington was too simpleand Southern as yetto feel anarchistic longingsand it never read or saw whatartists produced elsewherebut it good-naturedly abetted them when it had thechanceand respected itself the more for the frailty. Adams found even theGovernment at his serviceand every one willing to answer his questions. Heworkedafter a fashion; not very hardbut as much as the Government would haverequired of him for nine hundred dollars a year; and his work defied frivolity.He got more pleasure from writing than the world ever got from reading himforhis work was not amusingnor was he. One must not try to amuse money-lenders orinvestorsand this was the class to which he began by appealing. He gave threemonths to an article on the finances of the United Statesjust then a subjectgreatly needing treatment; and when he had finished ithe sent it to London tohis friend Henry Reevethe ponderous editor of the Edinburgh Review. Reeveprobably thought it good; at all eventshe said so; and he printed it in April.Of course it was reprinted in Americabut in England such articles were stillanonymousand the author remained unknown.

The author was not then asking for advertisementand made no claim forcredit. His object was literary. He wanted to win a place on the staff of theEdinburgh Reviewunder the vast shadow of Lord Macaulay; andto a youngAmerican in 1868such rank seemed colossal- the highest in the literary world-as it had been only five-and-twenty years before. Time and tide had flowed sincethenbut the position still flattered vanitythough it brought no otherflattery or reward except the regular thirty pounds of pay- fifty dollars amonthmeasured in time and labor.

The Edinburgh article finishedhe set himself to work on a scheme for theNorth American Review. In EnglandLord Robert Cecil had invented for the LondonQuarterly an annual review of politics which he called the "Session."Adams stole the idea and the name- he thought he had been enough in LordRobert's housein days of his struggle with adversityto excuse the theft- andbegan what he meant for a permanent series of annual political reviews which hehoped to makein timea political authority. With his sources of informationand his social intimacies at Washingtonhe could not help saying something thatwould command attention. He had the field to himselfand he meant to givehimself a free handas he went on. Whether the newspapers liked it or nottheywould have to reckon with him; for such a poweronce establishedwas moreeffective than all the speeches in Congress or reports to the President thatcould be crammed into the Government presses.

The first of these "Sessions" appeared in Aprilbut it could notbe condensed into a single articleand had to be supplemented in October byanother which bore the title of "Civil Service Reform" and was reallya part of the same review. A good deal of authentic history slipped into thesepapers. Whether any one except his press associates ever read themhe neverknew and never greatly cared. The difference is slightto the influence of anauthorwhether he is read by five hundred readersor by five hundred thousand:if he can select the five hundredhe reaches the five hundred thousand. Thefateful year 1870 was near at handwhich was to mark the close of the literaryepochwhen quarterlies gave way to monthlies; letter-press to illustration;volumes to pages. The outburst was brilliant. Bret Harte ledand Robert LouisStevenson followed. Guy de Maupassant and Rudyard Kipling brought up the rearand dazzled the world. As usualAdams found himself fifty years behind histimebut a number of belated wanderers kept him companyand they produced oneach other the effect or illusion of a public opinion. They straggled apartatlonger and longer intervalsthrough the processionbut they were still withinhearing distance of each other. The drift was still superficially conservative.Just as the Church spoke with apparent authorityso the quarterlies laid downan apparent lawand no one could surely say where the real authorityor thereal lawlay. Science did not know. Truths a priori held their own againsttruths purely relative. According to LowellRight was forever on the ScaffoldWrong was forever on the Throne; and most people still thought they believed it.Adams was not the only relic of the eighteenth centuryand he could stilldepend on a certain number of listeners- mostly respectableand some rich.

Want of audience did not trouble him; he was well enough off in that respectand would have succeeded in all his calculations if this had been his onlyhazard. Where he broke down was at a point where he always suffered wreck andwhere nine adventurers out of ten make their errors. One may be more or lesscertain of organized forces; one can never be certain of men. He belonged to theeighteenth centuryand the eighteenth century upset all his plans. For themomentAmerica was more eighteenth century than himself; it reverted to thestone age.

As education- of a certain sort- the story had probably a certain valuethough he could never see it. One seldom can see much education in the buck of abroncho; even less in the kick of a mule. The lesson it teaches is only that ofgetting out of the animal's way. This was the lesson that Henry Adams hadlearned over and over again in politics since 1860.

At least four-fifths of the American people- Adams among the rest- had unitedin the election of General Grant to the Presidencyand probably had been moreor less affected in their choice by the parallel they felt between Grant andWashington. Nothing could be more obvious. Grant represented order. He was agreat soldierand the soldier always represented order. He might be as partisanas he pleasedbut a general who had organized and commanded half a million or amillion men in the fieldmust know how to administer. Even Washingtonwho wasin education and experiencea mere cave-dwellerhad known how to organize agovernmentand had found Jeffersons and Hamiltons to organize his departments.The task of bringing the Government back to regular practicesand of restoringmoral and mechanical order to administrationwas not very difficult; it wasready to do it itselfwith a little encouragement. No doubt the confusionespecially in the old slave States and in the currencywas considerablebutthe general disposition was goodand every one had echoed the famous phrase:"Let us have peace."

Adams was young and easily deceivedin spite of his diplomatic adventuresbut even at twice his age he could not see that this reliance on Grant wasunreasonable. Had Grant been a Congressman one would have been on one's guardfor one knew the type. One never expected from a Congressman more than goodintentions and public spirit. Newspaper-men as a rule had no great respect forthe lower House; Senators had less; and Cabinet officers had none at all.Indeedone day when Adams was pleading with a Cabinet officer for patience andtact in dealing with Representativesthe Secretary impatiently broke out:"You can't use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You musttake a stick and hit him on the snout!" Adams knew far too littlecomparedwith the Secretaryto contradict himthough he thought the phrase somewhatharsh even as applied to the average Congressman of 1869- he saw little ornothing of later ones- but he knew a shorter way of silencing criticism. He hadbut to ask: "If a Congressman is a hogwhat is a Senator?" Thisinnocent questionput in a candid spiritpetrified any executive officer thatever sat a week in his office. Even Adams admitted that Senators passed belief.The comic side of their egotism partly disguised its extravagancebut factionhad gone so far under Andrew Johnson that at times the whole Senate seemed tocatch hysterics of nervous bucking without apparent reason. Great leaderslikeSumner and Conklingcould not be burlesqued; they were more grotesque thanridicule could make them; even Grantwho rarely sparkled in epigrambecamewitty on their account; but their egotism and factiousness were no laughingmatter. They did permanent and terrible mischiefas Garfield and Blaineandeven McKinley and John Haywere to feel. The most troublesome task of a reformPresident was that of bringing the Senate back to decency.

Therefore no oneand Henry Adams less than mostfelt hope that anyPresident chosen from the ranks of politics or politicians would raise thecharacter of government; and by instinct if not by reasonall the world unitedon Grant. The Senate understood what the world expectedand waited in silencefor a struggle with Grant more serious than that with Andrew Johnson.Newspaper-men were alive with eagerness to support the President against theSenate. The newspaper-man ismore than most mena double personality; and hisperson feels best satisfied in its double instincts when writing in one senseand thinking in another. All newspaper-menwhatever they wrotefelt alikeabout the Senate. Adams floated with the stream. He was eager to join in thefight which he foresaw as sooner or later inevitable. He meant to support theexecutive in attacking the Senate and taking away its two-thirds vote and powerof confirmationnor did he much care how it should be donefor he thought itsafer to effect the revolution in 1870 than to wait till 1920.

With this thought in mindhe went to the Capitol to hear the names announcedwhich should reveal the carefully guarded secret of Grant's Cabinet. To the endof his lifehe wondered at the suddenness of the revolution which actuallywithin five minuteschanged his intended future into an absurdity so laughableas to make him ashamed of it. He was to hear a long list of Cabinetannouncements not much weaker or more futile than that of Grantand none ofthem made him blushwhile Grant's nominations had the singular effect of makingthe hearer ashamednot so much of Grantas of himself. He had made anothertotal misconception of life- another inconceivable false start. Yetunlikely asit seemedhe had missed his motive narrowlyand his intention had been morethan soundfor the Senators made no secret of saying with senatorial franknessthat Grant's nominations betrayed his intent as plainly as they betrayed hisincompetence. A great soldier might be a baby politician.

Adams left the Capitolmuch in the same misty mental condition that herecalled as marking his railway journey to London on May 131861; he felt inhimself what Gladstone bewailed so sadly"the incapacity of viewing thingsall round." He knewwithout absolutely saying itthat Grant had cut shortthe life which Adams had laid out for himself in the future. After such amiscarriageno thought of effectual reform could revive for at least onegenerationand he had no fancy for ineffectual politics. What course could hesail next? He had tried so manyand society had barred them all! For themomenthe saw no hope but in following the stream on which he had launchedhimself. The new Cabinetas individualswere not hostile. Subsequently Grantmade changes in the list which were mostly welcome to a Bostonian- or shouldhave been- although fatal to Adams. The name of Hamilton Fishas Secretary ofStatesuggested extreme conservatism and probable deference to Sumner. The nameof George S. Boutwellas Secretary of the Treasurysuggested only a somewhatlugubrious joke; Mr. Boutwell could be described only as the opposite of Mr.McCullochand meant inertia; orin plain wordstotal extinction for any oneresembling Henry Adams. On the other handthe name of Jacob D. CoxasSecretary of the Interiorsuggested help and comfort; while that of Judge Hoaras Attorney-Generalpromised friendship. On the wholethe personal outlookmerely for literary purposesseemed fairly cheerfuland the political outlookthough hazystill depended on Grant himself. No one doubted that Grant'sintention had been one of reform; that his aim had been to place hisadministration above politics; and until he should actually drive his supportersawayone might hope to support him. One's little lantern must therefore beturned on Grant. One seemed to know him so welland really knew so little.

By chance it happened that Adam Badeau took the lower suite of rooms atDohna'sandas it was convenient to have one tablethe two men dined togetherand became intimate. Badeau was exceedingly socialthough not in appearanceimposing. He was stout; his face was redand his habits were regularlyirregular; but he was very intelligenta good newspaper-manand an excellentmilitary historian. His life of Grant was no ordinary book. Unlike mostnewspaper-menhe was a friendly critic of Grantas suited an officer who hadbeen on the General's staff. As a rulethe newspaper correspondents inWashington were unfriendlyand the lobby sceptical. From that side one heardtales that made one's hair stand on endand the old West Point army officerswere no more flattering. All described him as viciousnarrowdullandvindictive. Badeauwho had come to Washington for a consulate which was slow toreach himresorted more or less to whiskey for encouragementand becameirritablebesides being loquacious. He talked much about Grantand showed acertain artistic feeling for analysis of characteras a true literary criticwould naturally do. Loyal to Grantand still more so to Mrs. Grantwho actedas his patronesshe said nothingeven when far gonethat was offensive abouteitherbut he held that no one except himself and Rawlins understood theGeneral. To himGrant appeared as an intermittent energyimmensely powerfulwhen awakebut passive and plastic in repose. He said that neither he nor therest of the staff knew why Grant succeeded; they believed in him because of hissuccess. For stretches of timehis mind seemed torpid. Rawlins and the otherswould systematically talk their ideas into itfor weeksnot directlybut bydiscussion among themselvesin his presence. In the endhe would announce theidea as his ownwithout seeming conscious of the discussion; and would give theorders to carry it out with all the energy that belonged to his nature. Theycould never measure his character or be sure when he would act. They could neverfollow a mental process in his thought. They were not sure that he did think.

In all thisAdams took deep interestfor although he was notlike Badeauwaiting for Mrs. Grant's power of suggestion to act on the General's mind inorder to germinate in a consulate or a legationhis portrait gallery of greatmen was becoming largeand it amused him to add an authentic likeness of thegreatest general the world had seen since Napoleon. Badeau's analysis was ratherdelicate; infinitely superior to that of Sam Ward or Charles Nordhoff.

Badeau took Adams to the White House one evening and introduced him to thePresident and Mrs. Grant. First and lasthe saw a dozen Presidents at the WhiteHouseand the most famous were by no means the most agreeablebut he foundGrant the most curious object of study among them all. About no one did opinionsdiffer so widely. Adams had no opinionor occasion to make one. A single wordwith Grant satisfied him thatfor his own goodthe fewer words he riskedthebetter. Thus far in life he had met with but one man of the same intellectual orunintellectual type- Garibaldi. Of the twoGaribaldi seemed to him a trifle themore intellectualbutin boththe intellect counted for nothing; only theenergy counted. The type was pre-intellectualarchaicand would have seemed soeven to the cave-dwellers. Adamaccording to legendwas such a man.

In time one came to recognize the type in other menwith differences andvariationsas normal; men whose energies were the greaterthe less they wastedon thought; men who sprang from the soil to power; apt to be distrustful ofthemselves and of others; shy; jealous; sometimes vindictive; more or less dullin outward appearance; always needing stimulants; but for whom action was thehighest stimulant- the instinct of fight. Such men were forces of natureenergies of the primelike the Pteraspisbut they made short work of scholars.They had commanded thousands of such and saw no more in them than in others. Thefact was certain; it crushed argument and intellect at once.

Adams did not feel Grant as a hostile force; like Badeau he saw only anuncertain one. When in action he was superb and safe to follow; only when torpidhe was dangerous. To deal with him one must stand nearlike Rawlinsandpractice more or less sympathetic habits. Simple-minded beyond the experience ofWall Street or State Streethe resortedlike most men of the same intellectualcalibreto commonplaces when at a loss for expression: "Let us havepeace!" or"The best way to treat a bad law is to execute it";or a score of such reversible sentences generally to be gauged by theirsententiousness; but sometimes he made one doubt his good faith; as when heseriously remarked to a particularly bright young woman that Venice would be afine city if it were drained. In Mark Twainthis

suggestion would have taken rank among his best witticisms; in Grant it was ameasure of simplicity not singular. Robert E. Lee betrayed the same intellectualcommonplacein a Virginian formnot to the same degreebut quite distinctlyenough for one who knew the American. What worried Adams was not thecommonplace; it wasas usualhis own education. Grant fretted and irritatedhimlike the Terebratulaas a defiance of first principles. He had no right toexist. He should have been extinct for ages. The idea thatas society grewolderit grew one-sidedupset evolutionand made of education a fraud. Thattwo thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesara man like Grantshould be called- and should actually and truly be- the highest product of themost advanced evolutionmade evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace asGrant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress ofevolution from President Washington to President Grantwas alone evidenceenough to upset Darwin.

Education became more perplexing at every phase. No theory was worth the penthat wrote it. America had no use for Adams because he was eighteenth-centuryand yet it worshipped Grant because he was archaic and should have lived in acave and worn skins. Darwinists ought to conclude that America was reverting tothe stone agebut the theory of reversion was more absurd than that ofevolution. Grant's administration reverted to nothing. One could not catch atrait of the paststill less of the future. It was not even sensibly American.Not an official in itexcept perhaps Rawlins whom Adams never metand who diedin Septembersuggested an American idea.

Yet this administrationwhich upset Adams's whole lifewas not unfriendly;it was made up largely of friends. Secretary Fish was almost kind; he kept thetradition of New York social values; he was human and took no pleasure in givingpain. Adams felt no prejudice whatever in his favorand he had nothing in mindor person to attract regard; his social gifts were not remarkable; he was not inthe least magnetic; he was far from young; but he won confidence from the startand remained a friend to the finish. As far as concerned Mr. Fishone feltrather happily suitedand one was still better off in the Interior Departmentwith J. D. Cox. Indeedif Cox had been in the Treasury and Boutwell in theInteriorone would have been quite satisfied as far as personal relations wentwhilein the Attorney-General's OfficeJudge Hoar seemed to fill everypossible idealboth personal and political.

The difficulty was not the want of friendsand had the whole government beenfilled with themit would have helped little without the President and theTreasury. Grant avowed from the start a policy of drift; and a policy of driftattaches only barnacles. At thirtyone has no interest in becoming a barnaclebut even in that character Henry Adams would have been ill-seen. His friendswere reformerscriticsdoubtful in party allegianceand he was himself anobject of suspicion. Grant had no objectswanted no helpwished for nochampions. The Executive asked only to be let alone. This was his meaning whenhe said: "Let us have peace!"

No one wanted to go into opposition. As for Adamsall his hopes of successin life turned on his finding an administration to support. He knew well enoughthe rules of self-interest. He was for sale. He wanted to be bought. His pricewas excessively cheapfor he did not even ask an officeand had his eyenoton the Governmentbut on New York. All he wanted was something to support;something that would let itself be supported. Luck went dead against him. Foroncehe was fifty years in advance of his time.

CHAPTER XVIII

Free Fight (1869-1870) -

THE old New Englander was apt to be a solitary animalbut the young NewEnglander was sometimes human. Judge Hoar brought his son Sam to WashingtonandSam Hoar loved largely and well. He taught Adams the charm of Washington spring.Education for educationnone ever compared with the delight of this. ThePotomac and its tributaries squandered beauty. Rock Creek was as wild as theRocky Mountains. Here and there a negro log cabin alone disturbed the dogwoodand the judas-treethe azalea and the laurel. The tulip and the chestnut gaveno sense of struggle against a stingy nature. The softfull outlines of thelandscape carried no hidden horror of glaciers in its bosom. The brooding heatof the profligate vegetation; the cool charm of the running water; the terrificsplendor of the June thunder-gust in the deep and solitary woodswere allsensualanimalelemental. No European spring had shown him the sameintermixture of delicate grace and passionate depravity that marked the MarylandMay. He loved it too muchas though it were Greek and half human. He could notleave itbut loitered on into Julyfalling into the Southern ways of thesummer village about La Fayette Squareas one whose rights of inheritance couldnot be questioned. Few Americans were so poor as to question them.

In spite of the fatal deception- or undeception- about Grant's politicalcharacterAdams's first winter in Washington had so much amused him that he hadnot a thought of change. He loved it too much to question its value. What did heknow about its valueor what did any one know? His father knew more about itthan any one else in Bostonand he was amused to find that his fatherwhoserecollections went back to 1820betrayed for Washington much the samesentimental weaknessand described the society about President Monroe much ashis son felt the society about President Johnson. He feared its effect on youngmenwith some justicesince it had been fatal to two of his brothers; but heunderstood the charmand he knew that a life in Quincy or Boston was not likelyto deaden it.

Henry was in a savage humor on the subject of Boston. He saw Boutwells atevery counter. He found a personal grief in every tree. Fifteen or twenty yearsafterwardsClarence King used to amuse him by mourning over the narrow escapethat nature had made in attaining perfection. Except for two mistakesthe earthwould have been a success. One of these errors was the inclination of theecliptic; the other was the differentiation of the sexesand the saddestthought about the last was that it should have been so modern. Adamsin hissplenetic temperheld that both these unnecessary evils had wreaked their worston Boston. The climate made eternal war on societyand sex was a species ofcrime. The ecliptic had inclined itself beyond recovery till life was as thin asthe elm trees. Of course he was in the wrong. The thinness was in himselfnotin Boston: but this is a story of educationand Adams was struggling to shapehimself to his time. Boston was trying to do the same thing. Everywhereexceptin WashingtonAmericans were toiling for the same object. Every one complainedof surroundingsexcept whereas at Washingtonthere were no surroundings tocomplain of. Boston kept its head better than its neighbors didand very littletime was needed to prove iteven to Adams's confusion.

Before he got back to Quincythe summer was already half overand inanother six weeks the effects of President Grant's character showed themselves.They were startling- astounding- terrifying. The mystery that shrouded thefamousclassical attempt of Jay Gould to corner gold in September1869hasnever been cleared up- at least so far as to make it intelligible to Adams.Gould was ledby the change at Washingtoninto the belief that he could safelycorner gold without

interference from the Government. He took a number of precautionswhich headmitted; and he spent a large sum of moneyas he also testifiedto obtainassurances which were not sufficient to have satisfied so astute a gambler; yethe made the venture. Any criminal lawyer must have begun investigation byinsistingrigorouslythat no such manin such a positioncould be permittedto plead that he had takenand pursuedsuch a coursewithout assurances whichdid satisfy him. The plea was professionally inadmissible.

This meant that any criminal lawyer would have been bound to start aninvestigation by insisting that Gould had assurances from the White House or theTreasurysince none other could have satisfied him. To young men wasting theirsummer at Quincy for want of some one to hire their services at three dollars adaysuch a dramatic scandal was Heaven sent. Charles and Henry Adams jumped atit like salmon at a flywith as much voracity as Jay Gouldor his ame damneeJim Fiskhad ever shown for Erie; and with as little fear of consequences. Theyrisked something; no one could say what; but the people about the Erie officewere not regarded as lambs.

The unravelling a skein so tangled as that of the Erie Railway was a taskthat might have given months of labor to the most efficient District Attorneywith all his official tools to work with. Charles took the railway history;Henry took the so-called Gold Conspiracy; and they went to New York to work itup. The surface was in full view. They had no trouble in Wall Streetand theypaid their respects in person to the famous Jim Fisk in his Opera-House Palace;but the New York side of the story helped Henry little. He needed to penetratethe political mysteryand for this purpose he had to wait for Congress to meet.At first he feared that Congress would suppress the scandalbut theCongressional Investigation was ordered and took place. He soon knew all thatwas to be known; the material for his essay was furnished by the Government.

Material furnished by a government seldom satisfies critics or historiansfor it lies always under suspicion. Here was a mysteryand as usualthe chiefmystery was the means of making sure that any mystery existed. All Adams's greatfriends- FishCoxHoarEvartsSumnerand their surroundings- were preciselythe persons most mystified. They knew less than Adams did; they soughtinformationand frankly admitted that their relations with the White House andthe Treasury were not confidential. No one volunteered advice. No one offeredsuggestion. One got no lighteven from the pressalthough press agentsexpressed in private the most damning convictions with their usual cynicalfrankness. The Congressional Committee took a quantity of evidence which itdared not probeand refused to analyze. Although the fault lay somewhere on theAdministrationand could lie nowhere elsethe trail always faded and died outat the point where any member of the Administration became visible. Every onedreaded to press inquiry. Adams himself feared finding out too much. He foundout too much alreadywhen he saw in evidence that Jay Gould had actuallysucceeded in stretching his net over Grant's closest surroundingsand thatBoutwell's incompetence was the bottom of Gould's calculation. With theconventional air of assumed confidenceevery one in public assured every oneelse that the President himself was the savior of the situationand in privateassured each other that if the President had not been caught this timehe wassure to be trapped the nextfor the ways of Wall Street were dark and double.All this was wildly exciting to Adams. That Grant should have fallenwithin sixmonthsinto such a morass- or should have let Boutwell drop him into it-rendered the outlook for the next four years- probably eight- possibly twelve-mysteriousor frankly opaqueto a young man who had hitched his wagonasEmerson told himto the star of reform. The country might outlive itbut nothe. The worst scandals of the eighteenth century were relatively harmless by theside of thiswhich smirched executivejudiciarybankscorporate systemsprofessionsand peopleall the great active forces of societyin one dirtycesspool of vulgar corruption. Only six months beforethis innocent young manfresh from the cynicism of European diplomacyhad expected to enter anhonorable career in the press as the champion and confidant of a new Washingtonand already he foresaw a life of wasted energysweeping the stables of Americansociety clean of the endless corruption which his second Washington was quitecertain to breed.

By vigorously shutting one's eyesas though one were an Assistant Secretarya writer for the press might ignore the Erie scandaland still help his friendsor allies in the Government who were doing their best to give it an air ofdecency; but a few weeks showed that the Erie scandal was a mere incidentarather vulgar Wall Street trapinto whichaccording to one's point of viewGrant had been drawn by Jay Gouldor Jay Gould had been misled by Grant. Onecould hardly doubt that both of them were astonished and disgusted by theresult; but neither Jay Gould nor any other astute American mind- still less thecomplex Jew- could ever have accustomed itself to the incredible andinexplicable lapses of Grant's intelligence; and perhapson the wholeGouldwas the less mischievous victimif victims they both were. The same laxity thatled Gould into a trap which might easily have become the penitentiaryled theUnited States Senatethe Executive departments and the Judiciary intoconfusioncross-purposesand ill-temper that would have been scandalous in aboarding-school of girls. For satirists or comediansthe study was rich andendlessand they exploited its corners with happy resultsbut a young manfresh from the rustic simplicity of London noticed with horror that the grossestsatires on the American Senator and politician never failed to excite thelaughter and applause of every audience. Rich and poor joined in throwingcontempt on their own representatives. Society laughed a vacant and meaninglessderision over its own failure. Nothing remained for a young man without positionor power except to laugh too.

Yet the spectacle was no laughing matter to himwhatever it might be to thepublic. Society is immoral and immortal; it can afford to commit any kind offollyand indulge in any sort of vice; it cannot be killedand the fragmentsthat survive can always laugh at the dead; but a young man has only one chanceand brief time to seize it. Any one in power above him can extinguish thechance. He is horribly at the mercy of fools and cowards. One dulladministration can rapidly drive out every active subordinate. At Washingtonin1869-70every intelligent man about the Government prepared to go. The peoplewould have liked to go toofor they stood helpless before the chaos; somelaughed and some raved; all were disgusted; but they had to content themselvesby turning their backs and going to work harder than ever on their railroads andfoundries. They were strong enough to carry even their politics. Only thehelpless remained stranded in Washington.

The shrewdest statesman of all was Mr. Boutwellwho showed how he understoodthe situation by turning out of the Treasury every one who could interfere withhis reposeand then locking himself up in italone. What he did thereno oneknew. His colleagues asked him in vain. Not a word could they get from himeither in the Cabinet or out of itof suggestion or information on matters evenof vital interest. The Treasury as an active influence ceased to exist. Mr.Boutwell waited with confidence for society to drag his department out of themireas it was sure to do if he waited long enough. Warned by his friends inthe Cabinet as well as in the Treasury that Mr. Boutwell meant to invite nosupportand cared to receive noneAdams had only the State and InteriorDepartments left to serve. He wanted no better than to serve them. Oppositionwas his horror; pure waste of energy; a union with Northern Democrats andSouthern rebels who never had much in common with any Adamsand had never shownany warm interest about them except to drive them from public life. If Mr.Boutwell turned him out of the Treasury with the indifference or contempt thatmade even a beetle helplessMr. Fish opened the State Department freelyandseemed to talk with as much openness as any newspaper-man could ask. At alleventsAdams could cling to this last plank of salvationand make himselfperhaps the recognized champion of Mr. Fish in the New York press. He never oncethought of his disaster between Seward and Sumner in 1861. Such an accidentcould not occur again. Fish and Sumner were inseparableand their policy wassure to be safe enough for support. No mosquito could be so unlucky as to becaught a second time between a Secretary and a Senator who were both hisfriends.

This dream of security lasted hardly longer than that of 1861. Adams sawSumner take possession of the Departmentand he approved; he saw Sumner seizethe British mission for Motleyand he was delighted; but when he renewed hisrelations with Sumner in the winter of 1869-70he began slowly to grasp theidea that Sumner had a foreign policy of his own which he proposed also to forceon the Department. This was not all. Secretary Fish seemed to have vanished.Besides the Department of State over which he nominally presided in the InfantAsylum on Fourteenth Streetthere had risen a Department of Foreign Relationsover which Senator Sumner ruled with a high hand at the Capitol; andfinallyone clearly made out a third Foreign Office in the War DepartmentwithPresident Grant himself for chiefpressing a policy of extension in the WestIndies which no Northeastern man ever approved. For his lifeAdams could notlearn where to place himself among all these forces. Officially he would havefollowed the responsible Secretary of Statebut he could not find theSecretary. Fish seemed to be friendly towards Sumnerand docile towards Grantbut he asserted as yet no policy of his own. As for Grant's policyAdams neverhad a chance to know fully what it wasbutas far as he did knowhe was readyto give it ardent support. The difficulty came only when he heard Sumner'sviewswhichas he had reason to knowwere always commandsto be disregardedonly by traitors.

Little by littleSumner unfolded his foreign policyand Adams gasped withfresh astonishment at every new article of the creed. To his profound regret heheard Sumner begin by imposing his veto on all extension within the tropics;which cost the island of St. Thomas to the United Statesbesides the Bay ofSamana as an alternativeand ruined Grant's policy. Then he listened withincredulous stupor while Sumner unfolded his plan for concentrating and pressingevery possible American claim against Englandwith a view of compelling thecession of Canada to the United States.

Adams did not then know- in facthe never knewor could find any one totell him- what was going on behind the doors of the White House. He doubtedwhether Mr. Fish or Bancroft Davis knew much more than he. The game ofcross-purposes was as impenetrable in Foreign Affairs as in the Gold Conspiracy.President Grant let every one go onbut whom he supportedAdams could not beexpected to divine. One point alone seemed clear to a man- no longer so veryyoung- who had lately come from a seven years' residence in London. He thoughthe knew as much as any one in Washington about Englandand he listened with themore perplexity to Mr. Sumner's talkbecause it opened the gravest doubts ofSumner's sanity. If war was his objectand Canada were worth itSumner'sscheme showed geniusand Adams was ready to treat it seriously; but if hethought he could obtain Canada from England as a voluntary set-off to theAlabama Claimshe drivelled. On the point of factAdams was as peremptory asSumner on the point of policybut he could only wonder whether Mr. Fish woulddare say it. When at last Mr. Fish did say ita year laterSumner publicly cuthis acquaintance.

Adams was the more puzzled because he could not believe Sumner so mad as toquarrel both with Fish and with Grant. A quarrel with Seward and Andrew Johnsonwas bad enoughand had profited no one; but a quarrel with General Grant waslunacy. Grant might be whatever one likedas far as morals or temper orintellect were concernedbut he was not a man whom a lightweight cared tochallenge for a fight; and Sumnerwhether he knew it or notwas a very lightweight in the Republican Partyif separated from his Committee of ForeignRelations. As a party manager he had not the weight of half-a-dozen men whosevery names were unknown to him.

Between these great forceswhere was the Administration and how was one tosupport it? One must first find itand even then it was not easily caught.Grant's simplicity was more disconcerting than the complexity of a Talleyrand.Mr. Fish afterwards told Adamswith the rather grim humor he sometimes indulgedinthat Grant took a dislike to Motley because he parted his hair in themiddle. Adams repeated the story to Godkinwho made much play with it in theNationtill it was denied. Adams saw no reason why it should be denied. Granthad as good a right to dislike the hair as the headif the hair seemed to him apart of it. Very shrewd men have formed very sound judgments on less materialthan hair- on clothesfor exampleaccording to Mr. Carlyleor on a penaccording to Cardinal de Retz- and nine men in ten could hardly give as good areason as hair for their likes or dislikes. In truthGrant disliked Motley atsightbecause they had nothing in common; and for the same reason he dislikedSumner. For the same reason he would be sure to dislike Adams if Adams gave hima chance. Even Fish could not be quite sure of Grantexcept for the powerfuleffect which wealth hador appeared to haveon Grant's imagination.

The quarrel that lowered over the State Department did not break in stormtill July1870after Adams had vanishedbut another quarrelalmost as fatalto Adams as that between Fish and Sumnerworried him even more. Of all membersof the Cabinetthe one whom he had most personal interest in cultivating wasAttorney-General Hoar. The Legal Tender decisionwhich had been the firststumbling-block to Adams at Washingtongrew in interest till it threatened tobecome something more serious than a block; it fell on one's head like a plasterceilingand could not be escaped. The impending battle between Fish and Sumnerwas nothing like so serious as the outbreak between Hoar and Chief JusticeChase. Adams had come to Washington hoping to support the Executive in a policyof breaking down the Senatebut he never dreamed that he would be required tohelp in breaking down the Supreme Court. Althoughstep by stephe had beendrivenlike the rest of the worldto admit that American society had outgrownmost of its institutionshe still clung to the Supreme Courtmuch as achurchman clings to his bishopsbecause they are his only symbol of unity; hislast rag of Right. Between the Executive and the legistaturecitizens couldhave no Rights; they were at the mercy of Power. They had created the Court toprotect them from unlimited Powerand it was little enough protection at best.Adams wanted to save the independence of the Court at least for his lifetimeand could not conceive that the Executive should wish to overthrow it. FrankWalker shared this feelingandby way of helping the Courthe had promisedAdams for the North American Review an article on the history of the LegalTender Actfounded on a volume just then published Spauldingthe putativefather of the legal-tender clause in 1861. Secretary Jacob D. Coxwho alonesympathized with reformsaved from Boutwell's decree of banishment suchreformers as he could find place forand he saved Walker for a time by givinghim the Census of 1870. Walker was obliged to abandon his article for the NorthAmerican in order to devote himself to the Census. He gave Adams his notesandAdams completed the article.

He had not toiled in vain over the Bank of England Restriction. He knewenough about Legal Tender to leave it alone. If the banks and bankers wantedflat moneyflat money was good enough for a newspaper-man; and if they changedabout and wanted "intrinsic" valuegold and silver came equallywelcome to a writer who was paid half the wages of an ordinary mechanic. He hadno notion of attacking or defending Legal Tender; his object was to defend theChief Justice and the Court. Walker argued thatwhatever might afterwards havebeen the necessity for legal tenderthere was no necessity for it at the timethe Act was passed. With the help of the Chief Justice's recollectionsAdamscompleted the articlewhich appeared in the April number of the North American.Its ferocity was Walker'sfor Adams never cared to abandon the knife for thehatchetbut Walker reeked of the army and the Springfield Republicanand hisenergy ran away with Adams's restraint. The unfortunate Spaulding complainedloudly of this treatmentnot without justicebut the article itself hadserious historical valuefor Walker demolished every shred of Spaulding'scontention that legal tender was necessary at the time; and the Chief Justicetold his part of the story with conviction. The Chief Justice seemed to bePleased. The Attorney Generalpleased or notmade no sign. The article hadenough historical interest to induce Adams to reprint it in a volume of Essaystwenty years afterwards; but its historical value was not its point ineducation. The point was thatin spite of the best intentionsthe plainestself-interestand the strongest wish to escape further troublethe articlethrew Adams into opposition. Judge Hoarlike Boutwellwas implacable.

Hoar went on to demolish the Chief Justice; while Henry Adams went ondrifting further and further from the Administration. He did this in common withall the worldincluding Hoar himself. Scarcely a newspaper in the country keptdiscipline. The New York Tribune was one of the most criminal. Dissolution ofties in every direction marked the dissolution of temperand the Senate Chamberbecame again a scene of irritated egotism that passed ridicule. Senatorsquarrelled with each otherand no one objectedbut they picked quarrels alsowith the Executive and threw every Department into confusion. Among others theyquarrelled with Hoarand drove him from office.

That Sumner and Hoarthe two New Englanders in great position who happenedto be the two persons most necessary for his success at Washingtonshould bethe first victims of Grant's lax rulemust have had some meaning for Adams'seducationif Adams could only have understood what it was. He studiedbutfailed. Sympathy with him was not their weakness. Directlyin the form of helphe knew he could hope as little from them as from Boutwell. So far from invitingattachment theylike other New Englandersblushed to own a friend. Not one ofthe whole delegation would everof his own accordtry to help Adams or anyother young man who did not beg for italthough they would always acceptwhatever services they had not to pay for. The lesson of education was notthere. The selfishness of politics was the earliest of all political educationand Adams had nothing to learn from its study; but the situation struck him ascurious- so curious that he devoted years to reflecting upon it. His four mostpowerful friends had matched themselvestwo and twoand were fighting in pairsto a finish; Sumner-Fish; Chase-Hoar; with foreign affairs and the judiciary asprizes! What value had the fight in education?

Adams was puzzledand was not the only puzzled bystander. The stage-type ofstatesman was amusingwhether as Roscoe Conkling or Colonel Mulberry Sellersbut what was his value? The statesmen of the old typewhether Sumners orConklings or Hoars or Lamarswere personally as honest as human nature couldproduce. They trod with lofty contempt on other people's jobsespecially whenthere was good in them. Yet the public thought that Sumner and Conkling cost thecountry a hundred times more than all the jobs they ever trod on; just as Lamarand the old Southern statesmenwho were also honest in money-matterscost thecountry a civil war. This painful moral doubt worried Adams less than it worriedhis friends and the publicbut it affected the whole field of politics fortwenty years. The newspapers discussed little else than the alleged moral laxityof GrantGarfieldand Blaine. If the press were taken seriouslypoliticsturned on jobsand some of Adams's best friendslike Godkinruined theirinfluence by their insistence on points of morals. Society hesitatedwaveredoscillated between harshness and laxitypitilessly sacrificing the weakanddeferentially following the strong. In spite of all such criticismthe publicnominated GrantGarfieldand Blaine for the Presidencyand voted for themafterwardsnot seeming to care for the question; until young men were forced tosee that either some new standard must be createdor none could be upheld. Themoral law had expired- like the Constitution.

Grant's administration outraged every rule of ordinary decencybut scores ofpromising menwhom the country could not well sparewere ruined in saying so.The world cared little for decency. What it wantedit did not know; probably asystem that would workand men who could work it; but it found neither. Adamshad tried his own little hands on itand had failed. His friends had beendriven out of Washington or had taken to fisticuffs. He himself sat down andstared helplessly into the future.

The result was a review of the Session for the July North American into whichhe crammed and condensed everything he thought he had observed and all he hadbeen told. He thought it good history thenand he thought it better twentyyears afterwards; he thought it even good enough to reprint. As it happenedinthe process of his devious educationthis "Session" of 1869-70 provedto be his last study in current politicsand his last dying testament as ahumble member of the press. As suchhe stood by it. He could have said no morehad he gone on reviewing every session in the rest of the century. The politicaldilemma was as clear in 1870 as it was likely to be in 1970. The system of 1789had broken downand with it the eighteenth-century fabric of a prioriormoralprinciples. Politicians had tacitly given it up. Grant's administrationmarked the avowal. Nine-tenths of men's political energies must henceforth bewasted on expedients to piece out- to patch- orin vulgar languageto tinker-the political machine as often as it broke down. Such a systemor want ofsystemmight last centuriesif tempered by an occasional revolution or civilwar; but as a machineit wasor soon would bethe poorest in the world- theclumsiest- the most inefficient.

Here again was an educationbut what it was worth he could not guess.Indeedwhen he raised his eyes to the loftiest and most triumphant results ofpolitics- to Mr. BoutwellMr. Conkling or even Mr. Sumner- he could nothonestly say that such an educationeven when it carried one up to theseunattainable heightswas worth anything. There were menas yet standing onlower levels- clever and amusing men like Garfield and Blaine- who took nolittle pleasure in making fun of the senatorial demi-godsand who used languageabout Grant himself which the North American Review would not have admitted. Oneasked doubtfully what was likely to become of these men in their turn. What kindof political ambition was to result from this destructive political education?

Yet the sum of political life wasor should have beenthe attainment of aworking political system. Society needed to reach it. If moral standards brokedownand machinery stopped workingnew morals and machinery of some sort hadto be invented. An eternity of Grantsor even of Garfields or of Conklings orof Jay Gouldsrefused to be conceived as possible. Practical Americans laughedand went their way. Society paid them to be practical. Whenever society cared topay Adamshe too would be practicaltake his payand hold his tongue; butmeanwhile he was driven to associate with Democratic Congressmen and educatethem. He served David Wells as an active assistant professor of revenue reformand turned his rooms into a college. The Administration drove himand thousandsof other young meninto active enmitynot only to Grantbut to the system orwant of systemwhich took possession of the President. Every hope or thoughtwhich had brought Adams to Washington proved to be absurd. No one wanted him; noone wanted any of his friends in reform; the blackmailer alone was the normalproduct of politics as of business.

All this was excessively amusing. Adams never had been so busysointerestedso much in the thick of the crowd. He knew Congressmen by scores andnewspaper-men by the dozen. He wrote for his various organs all sorts of attacksand defences. He enjoyed the life enormouslyand found himself as happy as SamWard or Sunset Cox; much happier than his friends Fish or J. D. Coxor ChiefJustice Chase or Attorney-General Hoar or Charles Sumner. When spring camehetook to the woodswhich were best of allfor after the first of AprilwhatMaurice de Guerin called "the vast maternity" of nature showed charmsmore voluptuous than the vast paternity of the United States Senate. Senatorswere less ornamental than the dogwood or even the judas-tree. They wereas aruleless good company. Adams astonished himself by remarking what a purifiedcharm was lent to the Capitol by the greatest possible distanceas one caughtglimpses of the dome over miles of forest foliage. At such moments he ponderedon the distant beauty of St. Peter's and the steps of Ara Coeli.

Yet he shortened his springfor he needed to get back to London for theseason. He had finished his New York "Gold Conspiracy" which he meantfor his friend Henry Reeve and the Edinburgh Review. It was the best piece ofwork he had donebut this was not his reason for publishing it in England. TheErie scandal had provoked a sort of revolt among respectable New Yorkersaswell as among some who were not so respectable; and the attack on Erie wasbeginning to promise success. London was a sensitive spot for the Eriemanagementand it was thought well to strike them therewhere they weresocially and financially exposed. The tactics suited him in another wayfor anyexpression about America in an English review attracted ten times the attentionin America that the same article would attract in the North American. Habituallythe American dailies reprinted such articles in full. Adams wanted to escape theterrors of copyright; his highest ambition was to be pirated and advertised freeof chargesincein any casehis pay was nothing. Under the excitement ofchasehe was becoming a pirate himselfand liked it.

CHAPTER XIX

Chaos (1870) -

ONE fine May afternoon in 1870 Adams drove again up St. James's Streetwondering more than ever at the marvels of life. Nine years had passed since thehistoric entrance of May1861. Outwardly London was the same. Outwardly Europeshowed no great change. Palmerston and Russell were forgotten; but Disraeli andGladstone were still much alive. One's friends were more than ever prominent.John Bright was in the Cabinet; W. E. Forster was about to enter it; reform ranriot. Never had the sun of progress shone so fair. Evolution from lower tohigher raged like an epidemic. Darwin was the greatest of prophets in the mostevolutionary of worlds. Gladstone had overthrown the Irish Church; wasoverthrowing the Irish landlords; was trying to pass an Education Act.Improvementprosperitypowerwere leaping and bounding over every countryroadEven Americawith her Erie scandals and Alabama Claimshardly made adiscordant note.

At the LegationMotley ruled; the long Adams reign was forgotten; therebellion had passed into history. In society no one cared to recall the yearsbefore the Prince of Wales. The smart set had come to their own. Half the housesthat Adams had frequentedfrom 1861 to 1865were closed or closing in 1870.Death had ravaged one's circle of friends. Mrs. Milnes Gaskell and her sisterMiss Charlotte Wynn were both deadand Mr. James Milnes Gaskell was no longerin Parliament. That field of education seemed closed too.

One found one's self in a singular frame of mind- more eighteenth-centurythan ever- almost rococo- and unable to catch anywhere the cog-wheels ofevolution. Experience ceased to educate. London taught less freely than of old.That one bad style was leading to another- that the older men were more amusingthan the younger- that Lord Houghton's breakfast-table showed gaps hard to fill-that there were fewer men one wanted to meet- theseand a hundred more suchremarkshelped little towards a quicker and more intelligent activity. ForEnglish reformsAdams cared nothing. The reforms were themselves mediaeval. TheEducation Bill of his friend W. E. Forster seemed to him a guaranty against alleducation he had use for. He resented change. He would have kept the Pope in theVatican and the Queen at Windsor Castle as historical monuments. He did not careto Americanize Europe. The Bastille or the Ghetto was a curiosity worth a greatdeal of moneyif preserved; and so was a Bishop; so was Napoleon III. Thetourist was the great conservative who hated novelty and adored dirt. Adams cameback to London without a thought of revolution or restlessness or reform. Hewanted amusementquietand gaiety.

Had he not been born in 1838 under the shadow of Boston State Houseand beenbrought up in the Early Victorian epochhe would have cast off his old skinand made his court to Marlborough Housein partnership with the American womanand the Jew banker. Common-sense dictated it; but Adams and his friends wereunfashionable by some law of Anglo-Saxon custom- some innate atrophy of mind.Figuring himself as already a man of actionand rather far up towards thefronthe had no idea of making a new effort or catching up with a new world. Hesaw nothing ahead of him. The world was never more calm. He wanted to talk withMinisters about the Alabama Claimsbecause he looked on the Claims as his ownspecial creationdiscussed between him and his father long before they had beendiscussed by Government; he wanted to make notes for his next year's articles;but he had not a thought thatwithin three monthshis world was to be upsetand he under it. Frank Palgrave came one daymore

contentiouscontemptuousand paradoxical than everbecause Napoleon IIIseemed to be threatening war with Germany. Palgrave said that "Germanywould beat France into scraps" if there was war. Adams thought not. Thechances were always against catastrophes. No one else expected great changes inEurope. Palgrave was always extreme; his language was incautious- violent!

In this year of all yearsAdams lost sight of education. Things begansmoothlyand London glowed with the pleasant sense of familiarity and dinners.He sniffed with voluptuous delight the coal-smoke of Cheapside and revelled inthe architecture of Oxford Street. May Fair never shone so fair to ArthurPendennis as it did to the returned American. The country never smiled itsvelvet smile of trained and easy hostess as it did when he was so lucky as to beasked on a country visit. He loved it all- everything- had always loved it! Hefelt almost attached to the Royal Exchange. He thought he owned the St. James'sClub. He patronized the Legation.

The first shock came lightlyas though Nature were playing tricks on herspoiled childthough she had thus far not exerted herself to spoil him. Reeverefused the Gold Conspiracy. Adams had become used to the idea that he was freeof the Quarterliesand that his writing would be printed of course; but he wasstunned by the reason of refusal. Reeve said it would bring half-a-dozen libelsuits on him. One knew that the power of Erie was almost as great in England asin Americabut one was hardly prepared to find it controlling the Quarterlies.The English press professed to be shocked in 1870 by the Erie scandalas it hadprofessed in 1860 to be shocked by the scandal of slaverybut when invited tosupport those who were trying to abate these scandalsthe English press said itwas afraid. To AdamsReeve's refusal seemed portentous. He and his brother andthe North American Review were running greater risks every dayand no onethought of fear. That a notorious storytaken bodily from an official documentshould scare the Edinburgh Review into silence for fear of Jay Gould and JimFiskpassed even Adams's experience of English eccentricitythough it waslarge.

He gladly set down Reeve's refusal of the Gold Conspiracy to respectabilityand editorial lawbut when he sent the manuscript on to the Quarterlytheeditor of the Quarterly also refused it. The literary standard of the twoQuarterlies was not so high as to suggest that the article was illiterate beyondthe power of an active and willing editor to redeem it. Adams had no choice butto realize that he had to deal in 1870 with the same old English character of1860and the same inability in himself to understand it. As usualwhen an allywas neededthe American was driven into the arms of the radicals.Respectabilityeverywhere and alwaysturned its back the moment one asked todo it a favor. Called suddenly away from Englandhe despatched the articleatthe last momentto the Westminster Review and heard no more about it for nearlysix months.

He had been some weeks in London when he received a telegram from hisbrother-in-law at the Bagni di Lucca telling him that his sister had been thrownfrom a cab and injuredand that he had better come on. He started that nightand reached the Bagni di Lucca on the second day. Tetanus had already set in.

The last lesson- the sum and term of education- began then. He had passedthrough thirty years of rather varied experience without having once felt theshell of custom broken. He had never seen Nature- only her surface- thesugar-coating that she shows to youth. Flung suddenly in his facewith theharsh brutality of chancethe terror of the blow stayed by him thenceforth forlifeuntil repetition made it more than the will could struggle with; more thanhe could call on himself to bear. He found his sistera woman of fortyas gayand brilliant in the terrors of lockjaw as she had been in the careless fun of1859lying in bed in consequence of a miserable cab-accident that had bruisedher foot. Hour by hour the muscles grew rigidwhile the mind remained brightuntil after ten days of fiendish torture she died in convulsions.

One had heard and read a great deal about deathand even seen a little ofitand knew by heart the thousand commonplaces of religion and poetry whichseemed to deaden one's senses and veil the horror. Society being immortalcouldput on immortality at will. Adams being mortalfelt only the mortality. Deathtook features altogether new to himin these rich and sensuous surroundings.Nature enjoyed itplayed with itthe horror added to her charmshe liked thetortureand smothered her victim with caresses. Never had one seen her sowinning. The hot Italian summer brooded outsideover the market-place and thepicturesque peasantsandin the singular color of the Tuscan atmospherethehills and vineyards of the Apennines seemed bursting with mid-summer blood. Thesick-room itself glowed with the Italian joy of life; friends filled it; noharsh northern lights pierced the soft shadows; even the dying woman shared thesense of the Italian summerthe softvelvet airthe humorthe couragethesensual fulness of Nature and man. She faced deathas women mostly dobravelyand even gailyracked slowly to unconsciousnessbut yielding only to violenceas a soldier sabred in battle. For many thousands of yearson these hills andplainsNature had gone on sabring men and women with the same air of sensualpleasure.

Impressions like these are not reasoned or catalogued in the mind; they arefelt as part of violent emotion; and the mind that feels them is a different onefrom that which reasons; it is thought of a different power and a differentperson. The first serious consciousness of Nature's gesture- her attitudetowards life- took form then as a phantasma nightmarean insanity of force.For the first timethe stage-scenery of the senses collapsed; the human mindfelt itself stripped nakedvibrating in a void of shapeless energieswithresistless masscollidingcrushingwastingand destroying what these sameenergies had created and labored from eternity to perfect. Society becamefantastica vision of pantomime with a mechanical motion; and its so-calledthought merged in the mere sense of lifeand pleasure in the sense. The usualanodynes of social medicine became evident artifice. Stoicism was perhaps thebest; religion was the most human; but the idea that any personal deity couldfind pleasure or profit in torturing a poor womanby accidentwith a fiendishcruelty known to man only in perverted and insane temperamentscould not beheld for a moment. For pure blasphemyit made pure atheism a comfort. God mightbeas the Church saida Substancebut He could not be a Person.

With nerves strained for the first time beyond their power of tensionheslowly travelled northwards with his friendsand stopped for a few days atOuchy to recover his balance in a new world; for the fantastic mystery ofcoincidences had made the worldwhich he thought realmimic and reproduce thedistorted nightmare of his personal horror. He did not yet know itand he wastwenty years in finding it out; but he had need of all the beauty of the Lakebelow and of the Alps aboveto restore the finite to its place. For the firsttime in his lifeMont Blanc for a moment looked to him what it was- a chaos ofanarchic and purposeless forces- and he needed days of repose to see it clotheitself again with the illusions of his sensesthe white purity of its snowsthe splendor of its lightand the infinity of its heavenly peace. Nature waskind; Lake Geneva was beautiful beyond itselfand the Alps put on charms realas terrors; but man became chaoticand before the illusions of Nature werewholly restoredthe illusions of Europe suddenly vanishedleaving a new worldto learn.

On July 4all Europe had been in peace; on July 14Europe was in full chaosof war. One felt helpless and ignorantbut one might have been king or kaiserwithout feeling stronger to deal with the chaos. Mr. Gladstone was as muchastounded as Adams; the Emperor Napoleon was nearly as stupefied as eitherandBismarck himself hardly knew how he did it. As educationthe outbreak of thewar was wholly lost on a man dealing with death hand-to-handwho could notthrow it aside to look at it across the Rhine. Only when he got up to Parishebegan to feel the approach of catastrophe. Providence set up no affiches toannounce the tragedy. Under one's eyes France cut herself adriftand floatedoffon an unknown streamtowards a less known ocean. Standing on the curb ofthe Boulevardone could see as much as though one stood by the side of theEmperor or in command of an army corps. The effect was lurid. The public seemedto look on the waras it had looked on the wars of Louis XIV and Francis Iasa branch of decorative art. The Frenchlike true artistsalways regarded waras one of the fine arts. Louis XIV practised it; Napoleon I perfected it; andNapoleon III had till then pursued it in the same spirit with singular success.In Parisin July1870the war was brought out like an opera of Meyerbeer. Onefelt one's self a supernumerary hired to fill the scene. Every evening at thetheatre the comedy was interrupted by orderand one stood up by orderto joinin singing of the Marseillaise to order. For nearly twenty years one had beenforbidden to sing the Marseillaise under any circumstancesbut at last regimentafter regiment marched through the streets shouting "Marchons!" whilethe bystanders cared not enough to join. Patriotism seemed to have been broughtout of the Government storesand distributed by grammes per capita. One hadseen one's own people dragged unwillingly into a warand had watched one's ownregiments march to the front without sign of enthusiasm; on the contrarymostseriousanxiousand conscious of the whole weight of the crisis; but in Parisevery one conspired to ignore the crisiswhich every one felt at hand. Here waseducation for the millionbut the lesson was intricate. Superficially Napoleonand his Ministers and marshals were playing a game against Thiers and Gambetta.A bystander knew almost as little as they did about the result. How could Adamsprophesy that in another year or twowhen he spoke of his Paris and its tastespeople would smile at his dotage?

As soon as he couldhe fled to England and once more took refuge in theprofound peace of Wenlock Abbey. Only the few remaining monksundisturbed bythe brutalities of Henry VIII- three or four young Englishmen- survived therewith Milnes Gaskell acting as Prior. The August sun was warm; the calm of theAbbey was ten times secular; not a discordant sound- hardly a sound of any sortexcept the cawing of the ancient rookery at sunset- broke the stillness; andafter the excitement of the last monthone felt a palpable haze of peacebrooding over the Edge and the Welsh Marches. Since the reign of Pteraspisnothing had greatly changed; nothing except the monks. Lying on the turftheground littered with newspapersthe monks studied the war correspondence. Inone respect Adams had succeeded in educating himself; he had learned to follow acampaign.

While at Wenlockhe received a letter from President Eliot inviting him totake an Assistant Professorship of Historyto be created shortly at HarvardCollege. After waiting ten or a dozen years for some one to show consciousnessof his existenceeven a Terebratula would be pleased and grateful for acompliment which implied that the new President of Harvard College wanted hishelp; but Adams knew nothing about historyand much less about teachingwhilehe knew more than enough about Harvard College; and wrote at once to thankPresident Eliotwith much regret that the honor should be above his powers. Hismind was full of other matters. The summerfrom which he had expected onlyamusement and social relations with new peoplehad ended in the most intimatepersonal tragedyand the most terrific political convulsion he had ever knownor was likely to know. He had failed in every object of his trip. TheQuarterlies had refused his best essay. He had made no acquaintances and hardlypicked up the old ones. He sailed from Liverpoolon September 1to begin againwhere he had started two years beforebut with no longer a hope of attachinghimself to a President or a party or a press. He was a free lance and no othercareer stood in sight or mind. To that point education had brought him.

Yet he foundon reaching homethat he had not done quite so badly as hefeared. His article on the Session in the July North American had made asuccess. Though he could not quite see what partisan object it servedhe heardwith flattered astonishment that it had been reprinted by the DemocraticNational Committee and circulated as a campaign document by the hundred thousandcopies. He was henceforth in oppositiondo what he might; and a MassachusettsDemocratsay what he pleased; while his only reward or return for this partisanservice consisted in being formally answered by Senator Timothy HoweofWisconsinin a Republican campaign documentpresumed to be also freelycirculatedin which the Senatorbesides refuting his opinionsdid him thehonor- most unusual and picturesque in a Senator's rhetoric- of likening him toa begonia.

The begonia isor then wasa plant of such senatorial qualities as to makethe similein intentionmost flattering. Far from charming in its refinementthe begonia was remarkable for curious and showy foliage; it was conspicuous; itseemed to have no useful purpose; and it insisted on standing always in the mostprominent positions. Adams would have greatly liked to be a begonia inWashingtonfor this was rather his ideal of the successful statesmanand hethought about it still more when the Westminster Review for October brought himhis article on the Gold Conspiracywhich was also instantly pirated on a greatscale. Piratical he was himself henceforth driven to beand he asked only to bepiratedfor he was sure not to be paid; but the honors of piracy resemble thecolors of the begonia; they are showy but not useful. Here was a tour de forcehe had never dreamed himself equal to performing: two longdryquarterlythirty or forty page articlesappearing in quick successionand pirated foraudiences running well into the hundred thousands; and not one personman orwomanoffering him so much as a congratulationexcept to call him a begonia.

Had this been alllife might have gone on very happily as beforebut theways of America to a young person of literary and political tastes were such asthe so-called evolution of civilized man had not before evolved. No sooner hadAdams made at Washington what he modestly hoped was a sufficient successthanhis whole family set on him to drag him away. For the first time since 1861 hisfather interposed; his mother entreated; and his brother Charles argued andurged that he should come to Harvard College. Charles had views of further jointoperations in a new field. He said that Henry had done at Washington all hecould possibly do; that his position there wanted solidity; that he wasafterallan adventurer; that a few years in Cambridge would give him personalweight; that his chief function was not to be that of teacherbut that ofediting the North American Review which was to be coupled with theprofessorshipand would lead to the daily press. In shortthat he needed theuniversity more than the university needed him. Henry knew the university wellenough to know that the department of history was controlled by one of the mostastute and ideal administrators in the world- Professor Gurney- and that it wasGurney who had established the new professorshipand had cast his net overAdams to carry the double load of mediaeval history and the Review. He could seeno relation whatever between himself and a professorship. He sought education;he did not sell it. He knew no history; he knew only a few historians; hisignorance was mischievous because it was literaryaccidentalindifferent. Onthe other hand he knew Gurneyand felt much influenced by his advice. Onecannot take one's self quite seriously in such matters; it could not much affectthe sum of solar energies whether one went on dancing with girls in Washingtonor began talking to boys at Cambridge. The good people who thought it did matterhad a sort of right to guide. One could not reject their advice; still lessdisregard their wishes.

The sum of the matter was that Henry went out to Cambridge and had a fewwords with President Eliot which seemed to him almost as American as the talkabout diplomacy with his father ten years before. "ButMr.President" urged Adams"I know nothing about MediaevalHistory." With the courteous manner and bland smile so familiar for thenext generation of AmericansMr. Eliot mildly but firmly replied"If youwill point out to me any one who knows moreMr. AdamsI will appointhim." The answer was neither logical nor convincingbut Adams could notmeet it without overstepping his privileges. He could not say thatunder thecircumstancesthe appointment of any professor at all seemed to himunnecessary.

Soat twenty-four hours' noticehe broke his life in halves again in orderto begin a new educationon lines he had not chosenin subjects for which hecared less than nothing; in a place he did not loveand before a future whichrepelled. Thousands of men have to do the same thingbut his case was peculiarbecause he had no need to do it. He did it because his best and wisest friendsurged itand he never could make up his mind whether they were right or not. Tohim this kind of education was always false. For himself he had no doubts. Hethought it a mistake; but his opinion did not prove that it was onesinceinall probabilitywhatever he did would be more or less a mistake. He had reachedcross-roads of education which all led astray. What he could gain at HarvardCollege he did not knowbut in any case it was nothing he wanted. What he lostat Washington he could partly seebut in any case it was not fortune. Grant'sadministration wrecked men by thousandsbut profited few. Perhaps Mr. Fish wasthe solitary exception. One might search the whole list of CongressJudiciaryand Executive during the twenty-five years 1870 to 1895and find little butdamaged reputation. The period was poor in purpose and barren in results.

Henry Adamsif not the roselived as near it as any politicianand knewmore or lessall the men in any way prominent at Washingtonor knew all aboutthem. Among themin his opinionthe best equippedthe most active-mindedandmost industrious was Abram Hewittwho sat in Congress for a dozen yearsbetween 1874 and 1886sometimes leading the House and always wielding influencesecond to none. With nobody did Adams form closer or longer relations than withMr. Hewittwhom he regarded as the most useful public man in Washington; and hewas the more struck by Hewitt's sayingat the end of his laborious career aslegislatorthat he left behind him no permanent result except the Actconsolidating the Surveys. Adams knew no other man who had done so muchunlessMr. Sherman's legislation is accepted as an instance of success. Hewitt'snearest rival would probably have been Senator Pendleton who stood father tocivil service reform in 1882an attempt to correct a vice that should neverhave been allowed to be born. These were the men who succeeded.

The press stood in much the same light. No editorno political writerandno public administrator achieved enough good reputation to preserve his memoryfor twenty years. A number of them achieved bad reputationsor damaged goodones that had been gained in the Civil War. On the wholeeven for Senatorsdiplomatsand Cabinet officersthe period was wearisome and stale.

None of Adams's generation profited by public activity unless it were WilliamC. Whitneyand even he could not be induced to return to it. Such ambitions asthese were out of one's reachbut supposing one tried for what was feasibleattached one's self closely to the GarfieldsArthursFrelinghuysensBlainesBayardsor Whitneyswho happened to hold office; and supposing one asked forthe mission to Belgium or Portugaland obtained it; supposing one served a termas Assistant Secretary or Chief of Bureau; orfinallysupposing one had goneas sub-editor on the New York Tribune or Times- how much more education wouldone have gained than by going to Harvard College? These questions seemed betterworth an answer than most of the questions on examination papers at college orin the civil service; all the more because one never found an answer to themthen or afterwardsand becauseto his mindthe value of American societyaltogether was mixed up with the value of Washington.

At firstthe simple beginnerstruggling with principleswanted to throwoff responsibility on the American peoplewhose bare and toiling shoulders hadto carry the load of every social or political stupidity; but the Americanpeople had no more to do with it than with the customs of Peking. Americancharacter might perhaps account for itbut what accounted for Americancharacter? All Bostonall New Englandand all respectable New YorkincludingCharles Francis Adams the father and Charles Francis Adams the sonagreed thatWashington was no place for a respectable young man. All WashingtonincludingPresidentsCabinet officersJudiciarySenatorsCongressmenand clerksexpressed the same opinionand conspired to drive away every young man whohappened to be thereor tried to approach. Not one young man of promiseremained in the Government service. All drifted into opposition. The Governmentdid not want them in Washington. Adams's case was perhaps the strongest becausehe thought he had done well. He was forced to guess itsince he knew no one whowould have risked so extravagant a step as that of encouraging a young man in aliterary careeror even in a political one; society forbade itas well asresidence in a political capital; but Harvard College must have seen some hopefor himsince it made him professor against his will; even the publishers andeditors of the North American Review must have felt a certain amount ofconfidence in himsince they put the Review in his hands. After allthe Reviewwas the first literary power in Americaeven though it paid almost as little ingold as the United States Treasury. The degree of Harvard College might bear avalue as ephemeral as the commission of a President of the United States; butthe government of the collegemeasured by money aloneand patronagewas amatter of more importance than that of some branches of the national service. Insocial positionthe college was the superior of them all put together. Inknowledgeshe could assert no superioritysince the Government made no claimsand prided itself on ignorance. The service of Harvard College was distinctlyhonorable; perhaps the most honorable in America; and if Harvard College thoughtHenry Adams worth employing at four dollars a daywhy should Washington declinehis services when he asked nothing? Why should he be dragged from a career heliked in a place he lovedinto a career he detestedin a place and climate heshunned? Was it enough to satisfy himthat all America should call Washingtonbarren and dangerous? What made Washington more dangerous than New York?

The American character showed singular limitations which sometimes drove thestudent of civilized man to despair. Crushed by his own ignorance- lost in thedarkness of his own gropings- the scholar finds himself jostled of a sudden by acrowd of men who seem to him ignorant that there is a thing called ignorance;who have forgotten how to amuse themselves; who cannot even understand that theyare bored. The American thought of himself as a restlesspushingenergeticingenious personalways awake and trying to get ahead of his neighbors. Perhapsthis idea of the national character might be correct for New York or Chicago; itwas not correct for Washington. There the American showed himselffour times infiveas a quietpeacefulshy figurerather in the mould of Abraham Lincolnsomewhat sadsometimes patheticonce tragic; or like Grantinarticulateuncertaindistrustful of himselfstill more distrustful of othersand awed bymoney. That the Americanby temperamentworked to excesswas true; work andwhiskey were his stimulants; work was a form of vice; but he never cared muchfor money or power after he earned them. The amusement of the pursuit was allthe amusement he got from it; he had no use for wealth. Jim Fisk alone seemed toknow what he wanted; Jay Gould never did. At Washington one met mostly such trueAmericansbut if one wanted to know them betterone went to study them inEurope. Boredpatienthelpless; pathetically dependent on his wife anddaughters; indulgent to excess; mostly a modestdecentexcellentvaluablecitizen; the American was to be met at every railway station in Europecarefully explaining to every listener that the happiest day of his life wouldbe the day he should land on the pier at New York. He was ashamed to be amused;his mind no longer answered to the stimulus of variety; he could not face a newthought. All his immense strengthhis intense nervous energyhis keen analyticperceptionswere oriented in one directionand he could not change it.Congress was full of such men; in the SenateSumner was almost the onlyexception; in the ExecutiveGrant and Boutwell were varieties of the type-political specimens- pathetic in their helplessness to do anything with powerwhen it came to them. They knew not how to amuse themselves; they could notconceive how other people were amused. Workwhiskeyand cards were life. Theatmosphere of political Washington was theirs- or was supposed by the outsideworld to be in their control- and this was the reason why the outside worldjudged that Washington was fatal even for a young man of thirty-twowho hadpassed through the whole variety of temptationsin every capital of Europefora dozen years; who never played cardsand who loathed whiskey.

CHAPTER XX

Failure (1871) -

FAR back in childhoodamong its earliest memoriesHenry Adams could recallhis first visit to Harvard College. He must have been nine years old when on oneof the singularly gloomy winter afternoons which beguiled Cambridgeporthismother drove him out to visit his auntMrs. Everett. Edward Everett was thenPresident of the college and lived in the old President's House on HarvardSquare. The boy remembered the drawing-roomon the left of the hall doorinwhich Mrs. Everett received them. He remembered a marble greyhound in thecorner. The house had an air of colonial self-respect that impressed even anine-year-old child.

When Adams closed his interview with President Eliothe asked the Bursarabout his aunt's old drawing-roomfor the house had been turned to base uses.The room and the deserted kitchen adjacent to it were to let. He took them.Above himhis brother Brooksthen a law studenthad roomswith a privatestaircase. Opposite was J. R. Dennetta young instructor almost as literary asAdams himselfand more rebellious to conventions. Inquiry revealed aboarding-tablesomewhere in the neighborhoodalso supposed to be superior inits class. Chauncey WrightFrancis WhartonDennettJohn Fiskeor theirequivalents in learning and lecturewere seen thereamong three or four lawstudents like Brooks Adams. With these primitive arrangementsall of them hadto be satisfied. The standard was below that of Washingtonbut it wasfor themomentthe best.

For the next nine months the Assistant Professor had no time to waste oncomforts or amusements. He exhausted all his strength in trying to keep one dayahead of his duties. Often the stint ran ontill night and sleep ran short. Hecould not stop to think whether he were doing the work rightly. He could not getit done to please himrightly or wronglyfor he never could satisfy himselfwhat to do.

The fault he had found with Harvard College as an undergraduate must havebeen more or less justfor the college was making a great effort to meet theseself-criticismsand had elected President Eliot in 1869 to carry out itsreforms. Professor Gurney was one of the leading reformersand had tried hishand on his own department of History. The two full Professors of History-Torrey and Gurneycharming men both- could not cover the ground. BetweenGurney's classical courses and Torrey's modern oneslay a gap of a thousandyearswhich Adams was expected to fill. The students had already electedcourses numbered 12and 3without knowing what was to be taught or who wasto teach. If their new professor had asked what idea was in their mindstheymust have replied that nothing at all was in their mindssince their professorhad nothing in hisand down to the moment he took his chair and looked hisscholars in the facehe had givenas far as he could rememberan hourmoreor lessto the Middle Ages.

Not that his ignorance troubled him! He knew enough to be ignorant. Hiscourse had led him through oceans of ignorance; he had tumbled from one oceaninto another till he had learned to swim; but even to him education was aserious thing. A parent gives lifebut as parentgives no more. A murderertakes lifebut his deed stops there. A teacher affects eternity; he can nevertell where his influence stops. A teacher is expected to teach truthand mayperhaps flatter himself that he does soif he stops with the alphabet or themultiplication tableas a mother teaches truth by making her child eat with aspoon; but morals are quite another truth and philosophy is more complex still.A teacher must either treat history as a cataloguea recorda romanceor asan evolution; and whether he affirms or denies evolutionhe falls into all theburning faggots of the pit. He makes of his scholars either priests or atheistsplutocrats or socialistsjudges or anarchistsalmost in spite of himself. Inessence incoherent and immoralhistory had either to be taught as such- orfalsified.

Adams wanted to do neither. He had no theory of evolution to teachand couldnot make the facts fit one. He had no fancy for telling agreeable tales to amusesluggish-minded boysin order to publish them afterwards as lectures. He couldstill less compel his students to learn the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and theVenerable Bede by heart. He saw no relation whatever between his students andthe Middle Ages unless it were the Churchand there the ground was particularlydangerous. He knew better than though he were a professional historian that theman who should solve the riddle of the Middle Ages and bring them into the lineof evolution from past to presentwould be a

greater man than Lamarck or Linnaeus; but history had nowhere broken down sopitiablyor avowed itself so hopelessly bankruptas there. Since Gibbonthespectacle was almost a scandal. History had lost even the sense of shame. It wasa hundred years behind the experimental sciences. For all serious purposeitwas less instructive than Walter Scott and Alexandre Dumas.

All this was without offence to Sir Henry MaineTylorMcLennanBuckleAuguste Comteand the various philosophers whofrom time to timestirred thescandaland made it more scandalous. No doubta teacher might make some use ofthese writers or their theories; but Adams could fit them into no theory of hisown. The college expected him to pass at least half his time in teaching theboys a few elementary dates and relationsthat they might not be a disgrace tothe university. This was formal; and he could frankly tell the boys thatprovided they passed their examinationsthey might get their facts where theylikedand use the teacher only for questions. The only privilege a student hadthat was worth his claimingwas that of talking to the professorand theprofessor was bound to encourage it. His only difficulty on that side was to getthem to talk at all. He had to devise schemes to find what they were thinkingaboutand induce them to risk criticism from their fellows. Any large body ofstudents stifles the student. No man can instruct more than half-a-dozenstudents at once. The whole problem of education is one of its cost in money.

The lecture system to classes of hundredswhich was very much that of thetwelfth centurysuited Adams not at all. Barred from philosophy and bored byfactshe wanted to teach his students something not wholly useless. The numberof students whose minds were of an order above the average wasin hisexperiencebarely one in ten; the rest could not be much stimulated by anyinducements a teacher could suggest. All were respectableand in seven years ofcontactAdams never had cause to complain of one; but nine minds in ten takepolish passivelylike a hard surface; only the tenth sensibly reacts.

Adams thought thatas no one seemed to care what he didhe would try tocultivate this tenth mindthough necessarily at the expense of the other nine.He frankly acted on the rule that a teacherwho knew nothing of his subjectshould not pretend to teach his scholars what he did not knowbut should jointhem in trying to find the best way of learning it. The rather pretentious nameof historical method was sometimes given to this process of instructionbut thename smacked of German pedagogyand a young professor who respected neitherhistory nor methodand whose sole object of interest was his students' mindsfell into trouble enough without adding to it a German parentage.

The task was doomed to failure for a reason which he could not control.Nothing is easier than to teach historical methodbutwhen learnedit haslittle use. History is a tangled skein that one may take up at any pointandbreak when one has unravelled enough; but complexity precedes evolution. ThePteraspis grins horribly from the closed entrance. One may not begin at thebeginningand one has but the loosest relative truths to follow up. Adams foundhimself obliged to force his material into some shape to which a method could beapplied. He could think only of law as subject; the Law School as end; and hetookas victims of his experimenthalf-a-dozen highly intelligent young menwho seemed willing to work. The course began with the beginningas far as thebooks showed a beginning in primitive manand came down through the SalicFranks to the Norman English. Since no textbooks existedthe professor refusedto professknowing no more than his studentsand the students read what theypleased and compared their results. As pedagogynothing could be moretriumphant. The boys worked like rabbitsand dug holes all over the field ofarchaic society; no difficulty stopped them; unknown languages yielded beforetheir attackand customary law became familiar as the police court; undoubtedlythey learnedafter a fashionto chase an idealike a harethrough as dense athicket of obscure facts as they were likely to meet at the bar; but theirteacher knew from his own experience that his wonderful method led nowhereandthey would have to exert themselves to get rid of it in the Law School even morethan they exerted themselves to acquire it in the college. Their science had nosystemand could have nonesince its subject was merely antiquarian. Try ashard as he mightthe professor could not make it actual.

What was the use of training an active mind to waste its energy? Theexperiments might in time train Adams as a professorbut this result was stillless to his taste. He wanted to help the boys to a careerbut not one of hismany devices to stimulate the intellectual reaction of the student's mindsatisfied either him or the students. For himself he was clear that the faultlay in the systemwhich could lead only to inertia. Such little knowledge ofhimself as he possessed warranted him in affirming that his mind requiredconflictcompetitioncontradiction even more than that of the student. He toowanted a rank-list to set his name upon. His reform of the system would havebegun in the lecture-room at his own desk. He would have seated a rivalassistant professor opposite himwhose business should be strictly limited toexpressing opposite views. Nothing short of this would ever interest either theprofessor or the student; but of all university freaksno irregularity shockedthe intellectual atmosphere so much as contradiction or competition betweenteachers. In that respect the thirteenth-century university system was worth thewhole teaching of the modern school.

All his pretty efforts to create conflicts of thought among his studentsfailed for want of system. None met the needs of instruction. In spite ofPresident Eliot's reforms and his steadygenerousliberal supportthe systemremained costlyclumsy and futile. The university- as far as it was representedby Henry Adams- produced at great waste of time and money results not worthreaching.

He made use of his lost two years of German schooling to inflict theirresults on his studentsand by a happy chance he was in the full tide offashion. The Germans were crowning their new emperor at Versaillesandsurrounding his head with a halo of Pepins and MerwigsOthos and Barbarossas.James Bryce had even discovered the Holy Roman Empire. Germany was never sopowerfuland the Assistant Professor of History had nothing else as his stockin trade. He imposed Germany on his scholars with a heavy hand. He was rejoiced;but he sometimes doubted whether they should be grateful. On the wholehe wascontent neither with what he had taught nor with the way he had taught it. Theseven years he passed in teaching seemed to him lost.

The uses of adversity are beyond measure strange. As a professorhe regardedhimself as a failure. Without false modesty he thought he knew what he meant. Hehad tried a great many experimentsand wholly succeeded in none. He hadsuccumbed to the weight of the system. He had accomplished nothing that he triedto do. He regarded the system as wrong: more mischievous to the teachers than tothe students; fallacious from the beginning to end. He quitted the university atlastin 1877with a feelingthatif it had not been for the invariablecourtesy and kindness shown by every one in itfrom the President to theinjured studentshe should be sore at his failure.

These were his own feelingsbut they seemed not to be felt in the college.With the same perplexing impartiality that had so much disconcerted him in hisundergraduate daysthe college insisted on expressing an opposite view. JohnFiske went so far in his notice of the family in "Appleton'sCyclopedia" as to say that Henry had left a great reputation at HarvardCollege; which was a proof of John Fiske's personal regard that Adams heartilyreturned; and set the kind expression down to camaraderie. The case wasdifferent when President Eliot himself hinted that Adams's services meritedrecognition. Adams could have wept on his shoulder in hystericsso grateful washe for the rare good-will that inspired the compliment; but he could not allowthe college to think that he esteemed himself entitled to distinction. He knewbetterand his was among the failures which were respectable enough to deserveself-respect. Yet nothing in the vanity of life struck him as more humiliatingthan that Harvard Collegewhich he had persistently criticisedabusedabandonedand neglectedshould alone have offered him a dollaran officeanencouragementor a kindness. Harvard College might have its faultsbut atleast it redeemed Americasince it was true to its own.

The only part of education that the professor thought a success was thestudents. He found them excellent company. Cast more or less in the same mouldwithout violent emotions or sentimentandexcept for the veneer of Americanhabitsignorant of all that man had ever thought or hopedtheir minds burstopen like flowers at the sunlight of a suggestion. They were quick to respond;plastic to a mould; and incapable of fatigue. Their faith in education was sofull of pathos that one dared not ask them what they thought they could do witheducation when they got it. Adams did put the question to one of themand wassurprised at the answer: "The degree of Harvard College is worth money tome in Chicago." This reply upset his experience; for the degree of HarvardCollege had been rather a drawback to a young man in Boston and Washington. Sofar as it wentthe answer was goodand settled one's doubts. Adams knew nobetteralthough he had given twenty years to pursuing the same educationandwas no nearer a result than they. He still had to take for granted many thingsthat they need not- among the restthat his teaching did them more good thanharm. In his own opinion the greatest good he could do them was to hold histongue. They needed much faith then; they were likely to need more if they livedlong.

He never knew whether his colleagues shared his doubts about their ownutility. Unlike himselfthey knew more or less their business. He could nottell his scholars that history glowed with social virtue; the Professor ofChemistry cared not a chemical atom whether society was virtuous or not. Adamscould not pretend that mediaeval society proved evolution; the Professor ofPhysics smiled at evolution. Adams was glad to dwell on the virtues of theChurch and the triumphs of its art: the Professor of Political Economy had totreat them as waste of force. They knew what they had to teach; he did not. Theymight perhaps be frauds without knowing it; but he knew certainly nothing elseof himself. He could teach his students nothing; he was only educating himselfat their cost.

Educationlike politicsis a rough affairand every instructor has to shuthis eyes and hold his tongue as though he were a priest. The students alonesatisfied. They thought they gained something. Perhaps they didfor even inAmerica and in the twentieth centurylife could not be wholly industrial. Adamsfervently hoped that they might remain content; but supposing twenty years moreto passand they should turn on him as fiercely as he had turned on his oldinstructors- what answer could he make? The college had pleaded guiltyandtried to reform. He had pleaded guilty from the startand his reforms hadfailed before those of the college.

The lecture-room was futile enoughbut the faculty-room was worse. Americansociety feared total wreck in the maelstrom of political and corporateadministrationbut it could not look for help to college dons. Adams knewinthat capacityboth Congressmen and professorsand he preferred Congressmen.The same failure marked the society of a college. Several score of thebest-educatedmost agreeableand personally the most sociable people inAmerica united in Cambridge to make a social desert that would have starved apolar bear. The liveliest and most agreeable of men- James Russell LowellFrancis J. ChildLouis Agassizhis son AlexanderGurneyJohn FiskeWilliamJames and a dozen otherswho would have made the joy of London or Paris- triedtheir best to break out and be like other men in Cambridge and Bostonbutsociety called them professorsand professors they had to be. While all thesebrilliant men were greedy for companionshipall were famished for want of it.Society was a faculty-meeting without business. The elements were there; butsociety cannot be made up of elements- people who are expected to be silentunless they have observations to make- and all the elements are bound to remainapart if required to make observations.

Thus it turned out that of all his many educationsAdams thought that ofschool-teacher the thinnest. Yet he was forced to admit that the education of aneditorin some wayswas thinner still. The editor had barely time to edit; hehad none to write. If copy fell shorthe was obliged to scribble a book-reviewon the virtues of the Anglo-Saxons or the vices of the Popes; for he knew moreabout Edward the Confessor or Boniface VIII than he did about President Grant.For seven years he wrote nothing; the Review lived on his brother Charles'srailway articles. The editor could help othersbut could do nothing forhimself. As a writerhe was totally forgotten by the time he had been an editorfor twelve months. As editor he could find no writer to take his place forpolitics and affairs of current concern. The Review became chiefly historical.Russell Lowell and Frank Palgrave helped him to keep it literary. The editor wasa helpless drudge whose successesif he made anybelonged to his writers; butwhose failures might easily bankrupt himself. Such a Review may be made a sinkof money with captivating ease. The secrets of success as an editor were easilylearned; the highest was that of getting advertisements. Ten pages ofadvertising made an editor a success; five marked him as a failure. The meritsor demerits of his literature had little to do with his results except when theyled to adversity.

A year or two of education as editor satiated most of his appetite for thatcareer as a profession. After a very slight experiencehe said no more on thesubject. He felt willing to let any one editif he himself might write.Vulgarly speakingit was a dog's life when it did not succeedand littlebetter when it did. A professor had at least the pleasure of associating withhis students; an editor lived the life of an owl. A professor commonly became apedagogue or a pedant; an editor became an authority on advertising. On thewholeAdams preferred his attic in Washington. He was educated enough.Ignorance paid betterfor at least it earned fifty dollars a month.

With this result Henry Adams's educationat his entry into lifestoppedand his life began. He had to take that life as he best couldwith suchaccidental education as luck had given him; but he held that it was wrongandthatif he were to begin againhe would do it on a better system. He thoughthe knew nearly what system to pursue. At that time Alexander Agassiz had not yetgot his head above water so far as to serve for a modelas he did twenty or

thirty years afterwards; but the editorship of the North American Review hadone solitary merit; it made the editor acquainted at a distance with almostevery one in the country who could write or who could be the cause of writing.Adams was vastly pleased to be received among these clever people as one ofthemselvesand felt always a little surprised at their treating him as anequalfor they all had education; but among themonly one stood out inextraordinary prominence as the type and model of what Adams would have liked tobeand of what the Americanas he conceivedshould have been and was not.

Thanks to the article on Sir Charles LyellAdams passed for a friend ofgeologistsand the extent of his knowledge mattered much less to them than theextent of his friendshipfor geologists were as a class not much better offthan himselfand friends were sorely few. One of his friends from earliestchildhoodand nearest neighbor in QuincyFrank Emmonshad become a geologistand joined the Fortieth Parallel Survey under Government. At Washington in thewinter of 1869-70 Emmons had invited Adams to go out with him on one of thefield-parties in summer. Of course when Adams took the Review he put it at theservice of the Surveyand regretted only that he could not do more. When thefirst year of professing and editing was at last overand his July NorthAmerican appearedhe drew a long breath of reliefand took the next train forthe West. Of his year's work he was no judge. He had become a small spring in alarge mechanismand his work counted only in the sum; but he had been treatedcivilly by everybodyand he felt at home even in Boston. Putting in his pocketthe July number of the North Americanwith a notice of the Fortieth ParallelSurvey by Professor J. D. Whitneyhe started for the plains and the RockyMountains.

In the year 1871the West was still freshand the Union Pacific was young.Beyond the Missouri Riverone felt the atmosphere of Indians and buffaloes. Onesaw the last vestiges of an old educationworth studying if one would; but itwas not that which Adams sought; ratherhe came out to spy upon the land of thefuture. The Survey occasionally borrowed troopers from the nearest station incase of happening on hostile Indiansbut otherwise the topographers andgeologists thought more about minerals than about Sioux. They held under theirhammers a thousand miles of mineral country with all its riddles to solveandits stores of possible wealth to mark. They felt the future in their hands.

Emmons's party was out of reach in the Uintahsbut Arnold Hague's had comein to Laramie for suppliesand they took charge of Adams for a time. Theirwanderings or adventures matter nothing to the story of education. They were allhardened mountaineers and surveyors who took everything for grantedand sparedeach other the most wearisome bore of English and Scotch lifethe stories ofthe big game they killed. A bear was an occasional amusement; a wapiti was aconstant necessity; but the only wild animal dangerous to man was a rattlesnakeor a skunk. One shot for amusementbut one had other matters to talk about.

Adams enjoyed killing big gamebut loathed the labor of cutting it up; sothat he rarely unslung the little carbine he was in a manner required to carry.On the other handhe liked to wander off alone on his muleand pass the dayfishing a mountain stream or exploring a valley. One morning when the party wascamped high above Estes Parkon the flank of Long's Peakhe borrowed a rodand rode down over a rough trail into Estes Parkfor some trout. The day wasfineand hazy with the smoke of forest fires a thousand miles away; the parkstretched its English beauties off to the base of its bordering mountains innatural landscape and archaic peace; the stream was just fishy enough to temptlingering along its banks. Hour after hour the sun moved westward and the fishmoved eastwardor disappeared altogetheruntil at last when the fishermancinched his mulesunset was nearer than he thought. Darkness caught him beforehe could catch his trail. Not caring to tumble into some fifty-foot holehe"allowed" he was lostand turned back. In half-an-hour he was out ofthe hillsand under the stars of Estes Parkbut he saw no prospect of supperor of bed.

Estes Park was large enough to serve for a bed on a summer night for an armyof professorsbut the supper question offered difficulties. There was but onecabin in the Parknear its entranceand he felt no great confidence in findingitbut he thought his mule cleverer than himselfand the dim lines of mountaincrest against the stars fenced his range of error. The patient mule plodded onwithout other road than the gentle slope of the groundand some two hours musthave passed before a light showed in the distance. As the mule came up to thecabin doortwo or three men came out to see the stranger.

One of these men was Clarence King on his way up to the camp. Adams fell intohis arms. As with most friendshipsit was never a matter of growth or doubt.Friends are born in archaic horizons; they were shaped with the Pteraspis inSiluria; they have nothing to do with the accident of space. King had come upthat day from Greeley in a light four-wheeled buggyover a trail hardly fit fora commissariat muleas Adams had reason to know since he went back in thebuggy. In the cabinluxury provided a room and one bed for guests. They sharedthe room and the bedand talked till far towards dawn.

King had everything to interest and delight Adams. He knew more than Adamsdid of art and poetry; he knew Americaespecially west of the hundredthmeridianbetter than any one; he knew the professor by heartand he knew theCongressman better than he did the professor. He knew even women; even theAmerican woman; even the New York womanwhich is saying much. Incidentally heknew more practical geology than was good for himand saw ahead at least onegeneration further than the text-books. That he saw right was a differentmatter. Since the beginning of time no man has lived who is known to have seenright; the charm of King was that he saw what others did and a great deal more.His wit and humor; his bubbling energy which swept every one into the current ofhis interest; his personal charm of youth and manners; his faculty of giving andtakingprofuselylavishlywhether in thought or in money as though he wereNature herselfmarked him almost alone among Americans. He had in him somethingof the Greek- a touch of Alcibiades or Alexander. One Clarence King only existedin the world.

A new friend is always a miraclebut at thirty-three years oldsuch a birdof paradise rising in the sage-brush was an avatar. One friend in a lifetime ismuch; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certainparallelism of lifea community of thoughta rivalry of aim. Kinglike Adamsand all their generationwas at that moment passing the critical point of hiscareer. The onecoming from the westsaturated with the sunshine of theSierrasmet the otherdrifting from the eastdrenched in the fogs of Londonand both had the same problems to handle- the same stock of implements- the samefield to work in; above allthe same obstacles to overcome.

As a companionKing's charm was greatbut this was not the quality that somuch attracted Adamsnor could he affect even distant rivalry on this ground.Adams could never tell a storychiefly because he always forgot it; and he wasnever guilty of a witticismunless by accident. King and the Fortieth Parallelinfluenced him in a way far more vital. The lines of their lives convergedbutKing had moulded and directed his life logicallyscientificallyas Adamsthought American life should be directed. He had given himself education all ofa pieceyet broad. Standing in the middle of his careerwhere their paths atlast came togetherhe could look back and look forward on a straight linewithscientific knowledge for its base. Adams's lifepast or futurewas asuccession of violent breaks or waveswith no base at all. King's abnormalenergy had already won him great success. None of his contemporaries had done somuchsingle-handedor were likely to leave so deep a trail. He had managed toinduce Congress to adopt almost its first modern act of legislation. He hadorganizedas a civil- not military- measurea Government Survey. He hadparalleled the Continental Railway in Geology; a feat as yet unequalled by othergovernments which had as a rule no continents to survey. He was creating one ofthe classic scientific works of the century. The chances were great that hecouldwhenever he chose to quit the Government servicetake the pick of thegold and silvercopper or coaland build up his fortune as he pleased.Whatever prize he wanted lay ready for him- scientificsocialliterarypolitical -and he knew how to take them in turn. With ordinary luck he would dieat eighty the richest and most many-sided genius of his day.

So little egoistic he was that none of his friends felt envy of hisextraordinary superioritybut rather grovelled before itso that women werejealous of the power he had over men; but women were many and Kings were one.The men worshipped not so much their friendas the ideal American they allwanted to be. The women were jealous becauseat heartKing had no faith in theAmerican woman; he loved types more robust.

The young men of the Fortieth Parallel had Californian instincts; they werebrothers of Bret Harte. They felt no leanings towards the simple uniformities ofLyell and Darwin; they saw little proof of slight and imperceptible changes; tothemcatastrophe was the law of change; they cared little for simplicity andmuch for complexity; but it was the complexity of Naturenot of New York oreven of the Mississippi Valley. King loved paradox; he started them likerabbitsand cared for them no longerwhen caught or lost; but they delightedAdamsfor they helpedamong other thingsto persuade him that history wasmore amusing than science. The only question left open to doubt was theirrelative money value.

In Emmons's campfar up in the Uintahsthese talks were continued till thefrosts became sharp in the mountains. History and science spread out in personalhorizons towards goals no longer far away. No more education was possible foreither man. Such as they werethey had got to stand the chances of the worldthey lived in; and when Adams started back to Cambridgeto take up again thehumble tasks of schoolmaster and editor he was harnessed to his cart. Educationsystematic or accidentalhad done its worst. Henceforthhe went onsubmissive.

CHAPTER XXI

Twenty Years After (1892) -

ONCE more! this is a story of educationnot of adventure! It is meant tohelp young men- or such as have intelligence enough to seek help- but it is notmeant to amuse them. What one did- or did not do- with one's educationaftergetting itneed trouble the inquirer in no way; it is a personal matter onlywhich would confuse him. Perhaps Henry Adams was not worth educating; most keenjudges incline to think that barely one man in a hundred owns a mind capable ofreacting to any purpose on the forces that surround himand fully half of thesereact wrongly. The object of education for that mind should be the teachingitself how to react with vigor and economy. No doubt the world at large willalways lag so far behind the active mind as to make a soft cushion of inertia todrop uponas it did for Henry Adams; but education should try to lessen theobstaclesdiminish the frictioninvigorate the energyand should train mindsto reactnot at haphazardbut by choiceon the lines of force that attracttheir world. What one knows isin youthof little moment; they know enough whoknow how to learn. Throughout human history the waste of mind has beenappallingandas this story is meant to showsociety has conspired to promoteit. No doubt the teacher is the worst criminalbut the world stands behind himand drags the student from his course. The moral is stentorian. Only the mostenergeticthe most highly fittedand the most favored have overcome thefriction or the viscosity of inertiaand these were compelled to wastethree-fourths of their energy in doing it.

Fit or unfitHenry Adams stopped his own education in 1871and began toapply it for practical useslike his neighbors. At the end of twenty yearshefound that he had finishedand could sum up the result. He had no complaint tomake against man or woman. They had all treated him kindly; he had never metwith ill-willill-temperor even ill-mannersor known a quarrel. He had neverseen serious dishonesty or ingratitude. He had found a readiness in the young torespond to suggestion that seemed to him far beyond all he had reason to expect.Considering the stock complaints against the worldhe could not understand whyhe had nothing to complain of.

During these twenty years he had done as much workin quantityas hisneighbors wanted; more than they would ever stop to look atand more than hisshare. Merely in printhe thought altogether ridiculous the number of volumeshe counted on the shelves of public libraries. He had no notion whether theyserved a useful purpose; he had worked in the dark; but so had most of hisfriendseven the artistsnone of whom held any lofty opinion of their successin raising the standards of societyor felt profound respect for the methods ormanners of their timeat home or abroadbut all of whom had triedin a wayto hold the standard up. The effort had beenfor the older generationexhaustingas one could see in the Hunts; but the generation after 1870 mademore figurenot in proportion to public wealth or in the censusbut in theirown self-assertion. A fair number of the men who were born in the thirties hadwon names- Phillips Brooks; Bret Harte; Henry James; H. H. Richardson; John LaFarge; and the list might be made fairly long if it were worth while; but fromtheir school had sprung otherslike Augustus St. GaudensMcKimStanfordWhiteand scores born in the fortieswho counted as force even in the mentalinertia of sixty or eighty million people. Among all these Clarence KingJohnHayand Henry Adams had led modest existencestrying to fill in the socialgaps of a class whichas yetshowed but thin ranks and little cohesion. Thecombination offered no very glittering prizesbut they pursued it for twentyyears with as much patience and effort as though it led to fame or poweruntilat lastHenry Adams thought his own duties sufficiently performed and hisaccount with society settled. He had enjoyed his life amazinglyand would nothave exchanged it for any other that came in his way; he wasor thought he wasperfectly satisfied with it; but for reasons that had nothing to do witheducationhe was tired; his nervous energy ran low; andlike a horse thatwears outhe quitted the race-courseleft the stableand sought pastures asfar as possible from the old. Education had ended in 1871; life was complete in1890; the rest mattered so little!

As had happened so oftenhe found himself in London when the question ofreturn imposed its verdict on him after much fruitless

effort to rest elsewhere. The time was the month of January1892; he wasalonein hospitalin the gloom of midwinter. He was close on his fifty-fourthbirthdayand Pall Mall had forgotten him as completely as it had forgotten hiselders. He had not seen London for a dozen yearsand was rather amused to haveonly a bed for a world and a familiar black fog for horizon. The coal-fire smelthomelike; the fog had a fruity taste of youth; anything was better than beingturned out into the wastes of Wigmore Street. He could always amuse himself byliving over his youthand driving once more down Oxford Street in 1858withlife before him to imagine far less amusing than it had turned out to be.

The future attracted him less. Lying there for a week he reflected on what hecould do next. He had just come up from the South Seas with John La Fargewhohad reluctantly crawled away towards New York to resume the grinding routine ofstudio-work at an age when life runs low. Adams would ratheras choicehavegone back to the eastif it were only to sleep forever in the trade-winds underthe southern starswandering over the dark purple oceanwith its purple senseof solitude and void. Not that he liked the sensationbut that it was the mostunearthly he had felt. He had not yet happened on Rudyard Kipling's"Mandalay" but he knew the poetry before he knew the poemlikemillions of wandererswho have perhaps alone felt the world exactly as it is.Nothing attracted him less than the idea of beginning a new education. The oldone had been poor enough; any new one could only add to its faults. Life hadbeen cut in halvesand the old half had passed awayeducation and allleavingno stock to graft on.

The new world he faced in Paris and London seemed to him fantastic. Willingto admit it real in the sense of having some kind of existence outside his ownmindhe could not admit it reasonable. In Parishis heart sank to mere pulpbefore the dismal ballets at the Grand Opera and the eternal vaudeville at theold Palais Royal; butexcept for themhis own Paris of the Second Empire wasas extinct as that of the first Napoleon. At the galleries and exhibitionshewas racked by the effort of art to be originaland when one dayafter muchreflectionJohn La Farge asked whether there might not still be room forsomething simple in artAdams shook his head. As he saw the worldit was nolonger simple and could not express itself simply. It should express what itwas; and this was something that neither Adams nor La Farge understood.

Under the first blast of this furnace-heatthe light seemed fairly to goout. He felt nothing in common with the world as it promised to be. He was readyto quit itand the easiest path led back to the east; but he could not venturealoneand the rarest of animals is a companion. He must return to America toget one. Perhapswhile waitinghe might write more historyand on the chanceas a last resourcehe gave orders for copying everything he could reach inarchivesbut this was mere habit. He went home as a horse goes back to hisstablebecause he knew nowhere else to go.

Home was Washington. As soon as Grant's administration endedin 1877andEvarts became Secretary of StateAdams went back therepartly to writehistorybut chiefly because his seven years of laborious banishmentin Bostonconvinced him thatas far as he had a function in lifeit was asstable-companion to statesmenwhether they liked it or not. At about the sametimeold George Bancroft did the same thingand presently John Hay came on tobe Assistant Secretary of State for Mr. Evartsand stayed there to write the"Life" of Lincoln. In 1884 Adams joined him in employing Richardson tobuild them adjoining houses on La Fayette Square. As far as Adams had a homethis was it. To the house on La Fayette Square he must turnfor he had no otherstatus- no position in the world.

Never did he make a decision more reluctantly than this of going back to hismanger. His father and mother were dead. All his family led settled lives oftheir own. Except for two or three friends in Washingtonwho were themselvesuncertain of stayno one cared whether he came or wentand he cared least.There was nothing to care about. Every one was busy; nearly every one seemedcontented. Since 1871 nothing had ruffled the surface of the American worldandeven the progress of Europe in her sideway track to dis-Europeaning herself hadceased to be violent.

After a dreary January in Parisat last when no excuse could be persuaded tooffer itself for further delayhe crossed the channel and passed a week withhis old friendMilnes Gaskellat Thornesin Yorkshirewhile the westerlygales raved a warning against going home. Yorkshire in January is not an islandin the South Seas. It has few points of resemblance to Tahiti; not many to Fijior Samoa; butas so often beforeit was a rest between past and futureandAdams was grateful for it.

At laston February 3he droveafter a fashiondown the Irish Channelonboard the Teutonic. He had not crossed the Atlantic for a dozen yearsand hadnever seen an ocean steamer of the new type. He had seen nothing new of anysortor much changed in France or England. The railways made quicker timebutwere no more comfortable. The scale was the same. The Channel service was hardlyimproved since 1858or so little as to make no impression. Europe seemed tohave been stationary for twenty years. To a man who had been stationary likeEuropethe Teutonic was a marvel. That he should be able to eat his dinnerthrough a week of howling winter gales was a miracle. That he should have a deckstateroomwith fresh airand read all nightif he choseby electric lightwas matter for more wonder than life had yet suppliedin its old forms. Wondermay be double- even treble. Adams's wonder ran off into figures. As the Niagarawas to the Teutonic- as 1860 was to 1890- so the Teutonic and 1890 must be tothe next term- and then? Apparently the question concerned only America. WesternEurope offered no such conundrum. There one might double scale and speedindefinitely without passing bounds.

Fate was kind on that voyage. Rudyard Kiplingon his wedding trip toAmericathanks to the mediation of Henry Jamesdashed over the passenger hisexuberant fountain of gaiety and wit- as though playing a garden hose on athirsty and faded begonia. Kipling could never know what peace of mind he gavefor he could hardly ever need it himself so much; and yetin the full delightof his endless fun and varietyone felt the old conundrum repeat itself.SomehowsomewhereKipling and the American were not onebut twoand couldnot be glued together. The American felt that the defectif defect it werewasin himself; he had felt it when he was with Swinburneandagainwith RobertLouis Stevensoneven under the palms of Vailima; but he did not carryself-abasement to the point of thinking himself singular. Whatever the defectmight beit was American; it belonged to the type; it lived in the blood.Whatever the quality be that held him apartit was English; it lived also inthe blood; one felt it little if at allwith Celtsand one yearnedreciprocally among Fiji cannibals. Clarence King used to say that it was due todiscord between the wave-lengths of the man-atoms; but the theory offereddifficulties in measurement. Perhapsafter allit was only that genius soars;but this theorytoohad its dark corners. All through lifeone had seen theAmerican on his literary knees to the European; and all through many lives backfor some two centuriesone had seen the European snub or patronize theAmerican; not always intentionallybut effectually. It was in the nature ofthings. Kipling neither snubbed nor patronized; he was all gaiety andgood-nature; but he would have been first to feel what one meant. Genius has topay itself that unwilling self-respect.

Towards the middle of February1892Adams found himself again inWashington. In Paris and London he had seen nothing to make a return to lifeworth while; in Washington he saw plenty of reasons for staying dead. Changeshad taken place there; improvements had been made; with time- much time- thecity might become habitable according to some fashionable standard; but allone's friends had died or disappeared several times overleaving one almost asstrange as in Boston or London. Slowlya certain society had built itself upabout the Government; houses had been opened and there was much dining; muchcalling; much leaving of cards; but a solitary man counted for less than in1868. Society seemed hardly more at home than he. Both Executive and Congressheld it aloof. No one in society seemed to have the ear of anybody inGovernment. No one in Government knew any reason for consulting any one insociety. The world had ceased to be wholly politicalbut politics had becomeless social. A survivor of the Civil War- like George Bancroftor John Hay-tried to keep footingbut without brilliant success. They were free to say ordo what they likedbut no one took much notice of anything said or done.

A presidential election was to take place in Novemberand no one showed muchinterest in the result. The two candidates were singular personsof whom it wasthe common saying that one of them had no friends; the otheronly enemies.Calvin Bricewho was at that time altogether the wittiest and cleverest memberof the Senatewas in the habit of describing Mr. Cleveland in glowing terms andat great lengthas one of the loftiest natures and noblest characters ofancient or modern time; "but" he concluded"in future I preferto look on at his proceedings from the safe summit of some neighboringhill." The same remark applied to Mr. Harrison. In this respectthey werethe greatest of Presidentsforwhatever harm they might do their enemieswasas nothing when compared to the mortality they inflicted on their friends. Menfled them as though they had the evil eye. To the American peoplethe twocandidates and the two parties were so evenly balanced that the scales showedhardly a perceptible difference. Mr. Harrison was an excellent Presidenta manof ability and force; perhaps the best President the Republican Party had putforward since Lincoln's death; yeton the wholeAdams felt a shade ofpreference for President Clevelandnot so much personally as because theDemocrats represented to him the last remnants of the eighteenth century; thesurvivors of Hosea Biglow's Cornwallis; the sole remaining protestants against abanker's Olympus which had becomefor five-and-twenty yearsmore and moredespotic over Esop's frog-empire. One might no longer croak except to vote forKing Logor- failing storks- for Grover Cleveland; and even then could not besure where King Banker lurked behind. The costly education in politics had ledto political torpor. Every one did not share it. Clarence King and John Hay wereloyal Republicans who never for a moment conceived that there could be merit inother ideals. With Kingthe feeling was chiefly love of archaic races; sympathywith the negro and Indian and corresponding dislike of their enemies; but withHayparty loyalty became a phase of beinga little like the loyalty of ahighly cultivated churchman to his Church. He saw all the failings of the partyand still more keenly those of the partisans; but he could not live outside. ToAdams a Western Democrat or a Western Republicana city Democrat or a cityRepublicana W. C. Whitney or a J. G. Blainewere actually the same manasfar as their usefulness to the objects of KingHayor Adams was concerned.They graded themselves as friends or enemiesnot as Republicans or Democrats.To Haythe difference was that of being respectable or not.

Since 1879KingHay and Adams had been inseparable. Step by stepthey hadgone on in the closest sympathyrather shunning than inviting public positionuntilin 1892none of them held any post at all. With great effortin Hayes'sadministrationall King's friendsincluding Abram Hewitt and Carl Schurzhadcarried the bill for uniting the Surveys and had placed King at the head of theBureau; but King waited only to organize the serviceand then resignedinorder to seek his private fortune in the West. Hayafter serving as AssistantSecretary of State under Secretary Evarts during a part of Hayes'sadministrationthen also insisted on going outin order to write with Nicolaythe "Life" of Lincoln. Adams had held no officeand when his friendsasked the reasonhe could not go into long explanationsbut preferred toanswer simply that no President had ever invited him to fill one. The reason wasgoodand was also conveniently truebut left open an awkward doubt of hismorals or capacity. Why had no President ever cared to employ him? The questionneeded a volume of intricate explanation. There never was a day when he wouldhave refused to perform any duty that the Government imposed on himbut theAmerican Government never to his knowledge imposed duties. The point was neverraised with regard to himor to any one else. The Government requiredcandidates to offer; the business of the Executive began and ended with theconsent or refusal to confer. The social formula carried this passive attitude ashade further. Any public man who may for years have used some other man's houseas his ownwhen promoted to a position of patronage commonly feels himselfobliged to inquiredirectly or indirectlywhether his friend wants anything;which is equivalent to a civil act of divorcesince he feels awkward in the oldrelation. The handsomest formulain an impartial choicewas the grandlycourteous Southern phrase of Lamar: "Of course Mr. Adams knows thatanything in my power is at his service." A la disposicion de Usted! Theform must have been correct since it released both parties. He was right; Mr.Adams did know all about it; a bow and a conventional smile closed the subjectforeverand every one felt flattered.

Such an intimatepromoted to powerwas always lost. His duties and caresabsorbed him and affected his balance of mind. Unless his friend served somepolitical purposefriendship was an effort. Men who neither wrote fornewspapers nor made campaign speecheswho rarely subscribed to the campaignfundand who entered the White House as seldom as possibleplaced themselvesoutside the sphere of usefulnessand did so with entirely adequate knowledge ofwhat they were doing. They never expected the President to ask for theirservicesand saw no reason why he should do so. As for Henry Adamsin fiftyyears that he knew Washingtonno one would have been more surprised thanhimself had any President ever asked him to perform so much of a service as tocross the square. Only Texan Congressmen imagined that the President neededtheir services in some remote consulate after worrying him for months to findone.

In Washington this law or custom is universally understoodand no one'scharacter necessarily suffered because he held no office. No one took officeunless he wanted it; and in turn the outsider was never asked to do work orsubscribe money. Adams saw no office that he wantedand he gravely thoughtthatfrom his point of viewin the long runhe was likely to be a more usefulcitizen without office. He could at least act as audienceandin those daysaWashington audience seldom filled even a small theatre. He felt quite wellsatisfied to look onand from time to time he thought he might risk a criticismof the players; but though he found his own position regularhe never quiteunderstood that of John Hay. The Republican leaders treated Hay as one ofthemselves; they asked his services and took his money with a freedom thatstaggered even a hardened observer; but they never needed him in equivalentoffice. In Washington Hay was the only competent man in the party for diplomaticwork. He corresponded in his powers of usefulness exactly with Lord Granville inLondonwho had been for forty years the saving grace of every Liberaladministration in turn. Had usefulness to the public service been ever aquestionHay should have had a first-class mission under Hayes; should havebeen placed in the Cabinet by Garfieldand should have been restored to it byHarrison. These gentlemen were always using him; always invited his servicesand always took his money.

Adams's opinion of politics and politiciansas he frankly admittedlackedenthusiasmalthough neverin his severest temperdid he apply to them theterms they freely applied to each other; and he explained everything by his oldexplanation of Grant's character as more or less a general type; but what rousedin his mind more rebellion was the patience and good-nature with which Hayallowed himself to be used. The trait was not confined to politics. Hay seemedto like to be usedand this was one of his many charms; but in politics thissort of good-nature demands supernatural patience. Whatever astonishing lapsesof social convention the politicians betrayedHay laughed equally heartilyandtold the stories with constant amusementat his own expense. Like mostAmericanshe liked to play at making Presidentsbutunlike mosthe laughednot only at the Presidents he helped to makebut also at himself for laughing.

One must be richand come from Ohio or New Yorkto gratify an expensivetaste like this. Other menon both political flanksdid the same thinganddid it wellless for selfish objects than for the amusement of the game; butHay alone lived in Washington and in the centre of the Ohio influences thatruled the Republican Party during thirty years. On the wholethese influenceswere respectableand although Adams could notunder any circumstanceshavehad any valueeven financiallyfor Ohio politiciansHay might have muchashe showedif they only knew enough to appreciate him. The American politicianwas occasionally an amusing object; Hay laughedandfor want of otherresourceAdams laughed too; but perhaps it was partly irritation at seeing howPresident Harrison dealt his cards that made Adams welcome President Clevelandback to the White House.

At all eventsneither Hay nor King nor Adams had much to gain by reelectingMr. Harrison in 1892or by defeating himas far as he was concerned; and asfar as concerned Mr. Clevelandthey seemed to have even less personal concern.The whole countryto outward appearancestood in much the same frame of mind.Everywhere was slack-water. Hay himself was almost as languid and indifferent asAdams. Neither had occupation. Both had finished their literary work. The"Life" of Lincoln had been beguncompletedand published hand inhand with the "History" of Jefferson and Madisonso that between themthey had written nearly all the American history there was to write. Theintermediate period needed intermediate treatment; the gap between James Madisonand Abraham Lincoln could not be judicially filled by either of them. Both wereheartily tired of the subjectand America seemed as tired as they. What wasworsethe redeeming energy of Americans which had generally served as theresource of minds otherwise vacantthe creation of new forcethe applicationof expanding powershowed signs of check. Even the year beforein 1891faroff in the Pacificone had met everywhere in the East a sort of stagnation- acreeping paralysis- complaints of shipping and producers- that spread throughoutthe whole southern hemisphere. Questions of exchange and silver-productionloomed large. Credit was shakenand a change of party government might shake iteven in Washington. The matter did not concern Adamswho had no creditand wasalways richest when the rich were poor; but it helped to dull the vibration ofsociety.

However they studied itthe balance of profit and losson the last twentyyearsfor the three friendsKingHayand Adamswas exceedingly obscure in1892. They had lost twenty yearsbut what had they gained? They often discussedthe question. Hay had a singular faculty for remembering facesand would breakoff suddenly the thread of his talkas he looked out of the window on LaFayette Squareto notice an old corps commander or admiral of the Civil Wartottering along to the club for his cards or his cocktail: "There is oldDash who broke the rebel lines at Blankburg! Think of his having been athunderbolt of war!" Or what drew Adams's closer attention: "Theregoes old Boutwell gambolling like the gambolling kid!" There they went! Menwho had swayed the course of empire as well as the course of HayKingandAdamsless valued than the ephemeral Congressman behind themwho could nothave told whether the general was a Boutwell or Boutwell a general. Theirs wasthe highest known successand one asked what it was worth to them. Apart frompersonal vanitywhat would they sell it for? Would any one of themfromPresident downwardsrefuse ten thousand a year in place of all theconsideration he received from the world on account of his success?

Yet consideration had valueand at that time Adams enjoyed lecturingAugustus St. Gaudensin hours of depressionon its economics: "Honestlyyou must admit that even if you don't pay your expenses you get a certain amountof advantage from doing the best work. Very likely some of the really successfulAmericans would be willing you should come to dinner sometimesif you did notcome too oftenwhile they would think twice about Hayand would never standme." The forgotten statesman had no value at all; the general and admiralnot much; the historian but little; on the wholethe artist stood bestand ofcoursewealth rested outside the questionsince it was acting as judge; butin the last resortthe judge certainly admitted that consideration had somevalue as an assetthough hardly as much as ten- or five- thousand a year.

Hay and Adams had the advantage of looking out of their windows on theantiquities of La Fayette Squarewith the sense of having all that any one had;all that the world had to offer; all that they wanted in lifeincluding theirnames on scores of title-pages and in one or two biographical dictionaries; butthis had nothing to do with considerationand they knew no more than Boutwellor St. Gaudens whether to call it success. Hay had passed ten years in writingthe "Life" of Lincolnand perhaps President Lincoln was the betterfor itbut what Hay got from it was not so easy to seeexcept the privilege ofseeing popular bookmakers steal from his book and cover the theft by abusing theauthor. Adams had given ten or a dozen years to Jefferson and Madisonwithexpenses whichin any mercantile businesscould hardly have been reckoned atless than a hundred thousand dollarson a salary of five thousand a year; andwhen he asked what return he got from this expenditurerather more extravagantin proportion to his means than a racing-stablehe could see none whatever.Such works never return money. Even Frank Parkman never printed a first editionof his relatively cheap and popular volumesnumbering more than seven hundredcopiesuntil quite at the end of his life. A thousand copies of a book thatcost twenty dollars or more was as much as any author could expect; two thousandcopies was a visionary estimate unless it were canvassed for subscription. Asfar as Adams knewhe had but three serious readers- Abram HewittWayneMcVeaghand Hay himself. He was amply satisfied with their considerationandcould dispense with that of the other fifty-nine millionnine hundred andninety-nine thousandnine hundred and ninety-seven; but neither he nor Hay wasbetter off in any other respectand their chief title to consideration wastheir right to look out of their windows on great menalive or deadin LaFayette Squarea privilege which had nothing to do with their writings.

The world was always good-natured; civil; glad to be amused; open-armed toany one who amused it; patient with every one who did not insist on puttinghimself in its wayor costing it money; but this was not considerationstillless power in any of its concrete formsand applied as well or better to acomic actor. Certainly a rare soprano or tenor voice earned infinitely moreapplause as it gave infinitely more pleasureeven in America; but one does whatone can with one's meansand casting up one's balance sheetone expects only areasonable return on one's capital. Hay and Adams had risked nothing and neverplayed for high stakes. King had followed the ambitious course. He had playedfor many millions. He had more than once come close to a great successbut theresult was still in doubtand meanwhile he was passing the best years of hislife underground. For companionship he was mostly lost.

Thusin 1892neither HayKingnor Adams knew whether they had attainedsuccessor how to estimate itor what to call it; and the American peopleseemed to have no clearer idea than they. Indeedthe American people had noidea at all; they were wandering in a wilderness much more sandy than theHebrews had ever trodden about Sinai; they had neither serpents nor goldencalves to worship. They had lost the sense of worship; for the idea that theyworshipped money seemed a delusion. Worship of money was an old-world trait; ahealthy appetite akin to worship of the Godsor to worship of power in anyconcrete shape; but the American wasted money more recklessly than any one everdid before; he spent more to less purpose than any extravagant courtaristocracy; he had no sense of relative valuesand knew not what to do withhis money when he got itexcept use it to make moreor throw it away.Probablysince human society beganit had seen no such curious spectacle asthe houses of the San Francisco millionaires on Nob Hill. Except for the railwaysystemthe enormous wealth taken out of the ground since 1840had disappeared.West of the Allegheniesthe whole country might have been swept cleanandcould have been replaced in better form within one or two years. The Americanmind had less respect for money than the European or Asiatic mindand bore itsloss more easily; but it had been deflected by its pursuit till it could turn inno other direction. It shunneddistrusteddislikedthe dangerous attractionof idealsand stood alone in history for its ignorance of the past.

Personal contact brought this American trait close to Adams's notice. Hisfirst stepon returning to Washingtontook him out to the cemetery known asRock Creekto see the bronze figure which St. Gaudens had made for him in hisabsence. Naturally every detail interested him; every line; every touch of theartist; every change of light and shade; every point of relation; every possibledoubt of St. Gaudens's correctness of taste or feeling; so thatas the springapproachedhe was apt to stop there often to see what the figure had to tellhim that was new; butin all that it had to sayhe never once thought ofquestioning what it meant. He supposed its meaning to be the one commonplaceabout it- the oldest idea known to human thoughtHe knew that if he asked anAsiatic its meaningnot a manwomanor child from Cairo to Kamtchatka wouldhave needed more than a glance to reply. From the Egyptian Sphinx to theKamakura Daibuts; from Prometheus to Christ; from Michael Angelo to Shelleyarthad wrought on this eternal figure almost as though it had nothing else to say.The interest of the figure was not in its meaningbut in the response of theobserver. As Adams sat therenumbers of people camefor the figure seemed tohave become a tourist fashionand all wanted to know its meaning. Most took itfor a portrait-statueand the remnant were vacant-minded in the absence of apersonal guide. None felt what would have been a nursery-instinct to a Hindubaby or a Japanese jinricksha-runner. The only exceptions were the clergywhotaught a lesson even deeper. One after another brought companions thereandapparently fascinated by their own reflectionbroke out passionately againstthe expression they felt in the figure of despairof atheismof denial. Likethe othersthe priest saw only what he brought. Like all great artistsSt.Gaudens held up the mirror and no more. The American layman had lost sight ofideals; the American priests had lost sight of faith. Both were more Americanthan the oldhalf-witted soldiers who denounced the wastingon a mere graveof money which should have been given for drink.

Landedlostand forgottenin the centre of this vast plain ofself-contentAdams could see but one active interestto which all others weresubservientand which absorbed the energies of some sixty million people to theexclusion of every other forcereal or imaginary. The power of the railwaysystem had enormously increased since 1870. Already the coal output of160000000 tons closely approached the 180000000 of the British Empireandone held one's breath at the nearness of what one had never expected to seethecrossing of coursesand the lead of American energies. The moment was deeplyexciting to a historianbut the railway system itself interested one less thanin 1868since it offered less chance for future profit. Adams had been bornwith the railway system; had grown up with it; had been over pretty nearly everymile of it with curious eyesand knew as much about it as his neighbors; butnot there could he look for a new education. Incomplete though it wasthesystem seemed on the whole to satisfy the wants of society better than any otherpart of the social machineand society was content with its creationfor thetimeand with itself for creating it. Nothing new was to be done or learnedthereand the world hurried on to its telephonesbicyclesand electric trams.At past fiftyAdams solemnly and painfully learned to ride the bicycle.

Nothing else occurred to him as a means of new life. Nothing else offereditselfhowever carefully he sought. He looked for no change. He lingered inWashington till near July without noticing a new idea. Then he went back toEngland to pass his summer on the Deeside. In October he returned to Washingtonand there awaited the reelection of Mr. Clevelandwhich led to no deeperthought than that of taking up some small notes that happened to be outstanding.He had seen enough of the world to be a cowardand above all he had an uneasydistrust of bankers. Even dead men allow themselves a few narrow prejudices.

CHAPTER XXII

Chicago (1893) -

DRIFTING in the dead-water of the fin-de-siecle- and during last decade everyone talkedand seemed to feel fin-de-siecle- where not a breath stirred theidle air of education or fretted the mental torpor of self-contentone livedalone. Adams had long ceased going into society. For years he had not dined outof his own houseand in public his face was as unknown as that of an extinctstatesman.

He had often noticed that six months' oblivion amounts to newspaper-deathand that resurrection is rare. Nothing is easierif a man wants itthan restprofound as the grave.

His friends sometimes took pity on himand came to share a meal or pass anight on their passage south or northwardsbut existence wason the wholeexceedingly solitaryor seemed so to him. Of the society favorites who made thelife of every dinner-table and of the halls of Congress- Tom ReedBourkeCockranEdward Wolcott- he knew not one. Although Calvin Brice was his nextneighbor for six yearsentertaining lavishly as no one had ever entertainedbefore in WashingtonAdams never entered his house. W. C. Whitney rivalledSenator Brice in hospitalityand was besides an old acquaintance of thereforming erabut Adams saw him as little as he saw his chiefPresidentClevelandor President Harrison or Secretary Bayard or Blaine or Olney. One hasno choice but to go everywhere or nowhere. No one may pick and choose betweenhousesor accept hospitality without returning it. He loved solitude as littleas others did; but he was unfit for social workand he sank under the surface.

Luckily for such helpless animals as solitary menthe world is not onlygood-natured but even friendly and generous; it loves to pardon if pardon is notdemanded as a right. Adams's social offences were manyand no one was moresensitive to it than himself; but a few houses always remained which he couldenter without being askedand quit without being noticed. One was John Hay's;another was Cabot Lodge's; a third led to an intimacy which had the singulareffect of educating him in knowledge of the very class of American politicianwho had done most to block his intended path in life. Senator Cameron ofPennsylvania had married in 1880 a young niece of Senator John Sherman of Ohiothus making an alliance of dynastic importance in politicsand in society areign of sixteen yearsduring which Mrs. Cameron and Mrs. Lodge led a careerwithout precedent and without successionas the dispensers of sunshine overWashington. Both of them had been kind to Adamsand a dozen years of thisintimacy had made him one of their habitual householdas he was of Hay's. In asmall societysuch ties between houses become political and social force.Without intention or consciousnessthey fix one's status in the world. Whateverone's preferences in politics might beone's house was bound to the Republicaninterest when sandwiched between Senator CameronJohn Hayand Cabot Lodgewith Theodore Roosevelt equally at home in them alland Cecil Spring-Rice tounite them by impartial variety. The relation was dailyand the allianceundisturbed by power or patronagesince Mr. Harrisonin those respectsshowedlittle more taste than Mr. Cleveland for the society and interests of thisparticular band of followerswhose relations with the White House weresometimes comicbut never intimate.

In February1893Senator Cameron took his family to South Carolinawherehe had bought an old plantation at Coffin's Point on St. Helena IslandandAdamsas one of the familywas takenwith the restto open the newexperience. From there he went on to Havanaand came back to Coffin's Point tolinger till near April. In May the Senator took his family to Chicago to see theExpositionand Adams went with them. Early in Juneall sailed for Englandtogetherand at lastin the middle of Julyall found themselves inSwitzerlandat PranginsChamounixand Zermatt. On July 22 they drove acrossthe Furka Pass and went down by rail to Lucerne.

Months of close contact teach characterif character has interest; and toAdams the Cameron type had keen interestever since it had shipwrecked hiscareer in the person of President Grant. Perhaps it owed life to Scotch blood;perhaps to the blood of Adam and Evethe primitive strain of man; perhaps onlyto the blood of the cottager working against the blood of the townsman; butwhatever it wasone liked it for its simplicity. The Pennsylvania mindasminds gowas not complex; it reasoned little and never talked; but in practicalmatters it was the steadiest of all American types; perhaps the most efficient;certainly the safest.

Adams had printed as much as this in his booksbut had never been able tofind a type to describethe two great historical Pennsylvanians having beenasevery one had so often heardBenjamin Franklin of Boston and Albert Gallatin ofGeneva. Of Albert Gallatinindeedhe had made a voluminous study and anelaborate pictureonly to show that he wasif American at alla New Yorkerwith a Calvinistic strain- rather Connecticut than Pennsylvanian. The truePennsylvanian was a narrower type; as narrow as the kirk; as shy of otherpeople's narrowness as a Yankee; as self-limited as a Puritan farmer. To himnone but Pennsylvanians were white. ChinamannegroDagoItalianEnglishmanYankee- all was one in the depths of Pennsylvanian consciousness. The mentalmachine could run only on what it took for American lines. This was familiarever since one's study of President Grant in 1869; but in 1893as thenthetype was admirably strong and useful if one wanted only to run on the samelines. Practically the Pennsylvanian forgot his prejudices when he allied hisinterests. He then became supple in action and large in motivewhatever hethought of his colleagues. When he happened to be right- which wasof coursewhenever one agreed with him- he was the strongest American in America. As anally he was worth all the restbecause he understood his own classwho werealways a majority; and knew how to deal with them as no New Englander could. Ifone wanted work done in Congressone did wisely to avoid asking a New Englanderto do it. A Pennsylvanian not only could do itbut did it willinglypracticallyand intelligently.

Never in the range of human possibilities had a Cameron believed in an Adams-or an Adams in a Cameron- but they hadcuriously enoughalmost always workedtogether. The Camerons had what the Adamses thought the political vice ofreaching their objects without much regard to their methods. The loftiest virtueof the Pennsylvania machine had never been its scrupulous purity or sparklingprofessions. The machine worked by coarse means on coarse interests; but itspractical success had been the most curious subject of study in Americanhistory. When one summed up the results of Pennsylvanian influenceone inclinedto think that Pennsylvania set up the Government in 1789; saved it in 1861;created the American system; developed its iron and coal power; and invented itsgreat railways. Following up the same linein his studies of AmericancharacterAdams reached the result- to him altogether paradoxical- thatCameron's qualities and defects united in equal share to make him the mostuseful member of the Senate.

In the interest of studyingat lasta perfect and favorable specimen ofthis American type which had so persistently suppressed his ownAdams was slowto notice that Cameron strongly influenced himbut he could not see a trace ofany influence which he exercised on Cameron. Not an opinion or a view of his onany subject was ever reflected back on him from Cameron's mind; not even anexpression or a fact. Yet the difference in age was triflingand in educationslight. On the other handCameron made deep impression on Adamsand in nothingso much as on the great subject of discussion that year- the question of silver.

Adams had taken no interest in the matterand knew nothing about itexceptas a very tedious hobby of his friend Dana Horton; but inevitablyfrom themoment he was forced to choose sideshe was sure to choose silver. Everypolitical idea and personal prejudice he ever dallied with held him to thesilver standardand made a barrier between him and gold. He knew well enoughall that was to be said for the gold standard as economybut he had never inhis life taken politics for a pursuit of economy. One might have a political oran economical policy; one could not have both at the same time. This was heresyin the English schoolbut it had always been law in the American. Equally heknew all that was to be said on the moral side of the questionand he admittedthat his interests wereas Boston maintainedwholly on the side of gold; buthad they been ten times as great as they werehe could not have helped hisbankers or croupiers to load the dice and pack the cards to make sure hiswinning the stakes. At least he was bound to profess disapproval- or thought hewas. From early childhood his moral principles had struggled blindly with hisinterestsbut he was certain of one law that ruled all others- masses of meninvariably follow interests in deciding morals. Morality is a private and costlyluxury. The morality of the silver or gold standards was to be decided bypopular voteand the popular vote would be decided by interests; but on whichside lay the larger interest? To him the interest was political; he thought itprobably his last chance of standing up for his eighteenth-century principlesstrict constructionlimited powersGeorge WashingtonJohn Adamsand therest. He hadin a half-hearted waystruggled all his life against StateStreetbankscapitalism altogetheras he knew it in old England or newEnglandand he was fated to make his last resistance behind the silverstandard.

For him this result was clearand if he erredhe erred in company with ninemen out of ten in Washingtonfor there was little difference on the merits.Adams was sure to learn backwardsbut the case seemed entirely different withCamerona typical Pennsylvaniana practical politicianwhom all thereformersincluding all the Adamseshad abused for a lifetime for subservienceto moneyed interests and political jobbery. He was sure to go with the banks andcorporations which had made and sustained him. On the contraryhe stood outobstinately as the leading champion of silver in the East. The reformersrepresented by the Evening Post and Godkinwhose personal interests lay withthe gold standardat once assumed that Senator Cameron had a personal interestin silverand denounced his corruption as hotly as though he had been convictedof taking a bribe.

More than silver and goldthe moral standard interested Adams. His owninterests were with goldbut he supported silver; the Evening Post's andGodkin's interests were with goldand they frankly said soyet they avowedlypursued their interests even into politics; Cameron's interests had always beenwith the corporationsyet he supported silver. Thus morality required thatAdams should be condemned for going against his interests; that Godkin wasvirtuous in following his interests; and that Cameron was a scoundrel whateverhe did.

Granting that one of the three was a moral idiotwhich was it:- Adams orGodkin or Cameron? Until a Council or a Pope or a Congress or the newspapers ora popular election has decided a question of doubtful moralityindividuals areapt to errespecially when putting money into their own pockets; but indemocraciesthe majority alone gives law. To any one who knew the relativepopularity of Cameron and Godkinthe idea of a popular vote between them seemedexcessively humorous; yet the popular vote in the end did decide againstCameronfor Godkin.

The Boston moralist and reformer went onas alwayslike Dr. Johnsonimpatiently stamping his foot and following his interestsor his antipathies;but the true Americanslow to grasp new and complicated ideasgroped in thedark to discover where his greater interest lay. As usualthe banks taught him.In the course of fifty years the banks taught one many wise lessons for which aninsect had to be grateful whether it liked them or not; but of all the lessonsAdams learned from themnone compared in dramatic effect with that of July 221893whenafter talking silver all the morning with Senator Cameron on the topof their travelling-carriage crossing the Furka Passthey reached Lucerne inthe afternoonwhere Adams found letters from his brothers requesting hisimmediate return to Boston because the community was bankrupt and he wasprobably a beggar.

If he wanted educationhe knew no quicker mode of learning a lesson thanthat of being struck on the head by it; and yet he was himself surprised at hisown slowness to understand what had struck him. For several years a suffererfrom insomniahis first thought was of beggary of nervesand he made ready toface a sleepless nightbut although his mind tried to wrestle with the problemhow any man could be ruined who hadmonths beforepaid off every dollar ofdebt he knew himself to owehe gave up that insoluble riddle in order to fallback on the larger principle that beggary could be no more for him than it wasfor others who were more valuable members of societyandwith thathe went tosleep like a good citizenand the next day started for Quincy where he arrivedAugust 7.

As a starting-point for a new education at fifty-five years oldthe shock offinding one's self suspendedfor several monthsover the edge of bankruptcywithout knowing how one got thereor how to get awayis to be stronglyrecommended. By slow degrees the situation dawned on him that the banks had lenthimamong otherssome money- thousands of millions were- as bankruptcy- thesame- for which heamong otherswas responsible and of which he knew no morethan they. The humor of this situation seemed to him so much more pointed thanthe terroras to make him laugh at himself with a sincerity he had been longstrange to. As far as he could comprehendhe had nothing to lose that he caredaboutbut the banks stood to lose their existence. Money mattered as little tohim as to anybodybut money was their life. For the first time he had the banksin his power; he could afford to laugh; and the whole community was in the samepositionthough few laughed. All sat down on the banks and asked what the bankswere going to do about it. To Adams the situation seemed farcicalbut the morehe saw of itthe less he understood it. He was quite sure that nobodyunderstood it much better. Blindly some very powerful energy was at workdoingsomething that nobody wanted done. When Adams went to his bank to draw a hundreddollars of his own money on depositthe cashier refused to let him have morethan fiftyand Adams accepted the fifty without complaint because he washimself refusing to let the banks have some hundreds or thousands that belongedto them. Each wanted to help the otheryet both refused to pay their debtsandhe could find no answer to the question which was responsible for getting theother into the situationsince lenders and borrowers were the same interest andsocially the same person. Evidently the force was one; its operation wasmechanical; its effect must be proportional to its power; but no one knew whatit meantand most people dismissed it as an emotion- a panic- that meantnothing.

Men died like flies under the strainand Boston grew suddenly oldhaggardand thin. Adams alone waxed fat and was happyfor at last he had got hold ofhis world and could finish his educationinterrupted for twenty years. He carednot whether it were worth finishingif only it amused; but he seemedfor thefirst time since 1870to feel that something new and curious was about tohappen to the world. Great changes had taken place since 1870 in the forces atwork; the old machine ran far behind its duty; somewhere-

somehow- it was bound to break downand if it happened to break preciselyover one's headit gave the better chance for study.

For the first time in several years he saw much of his brother Brooks inQuincyand was surprised to find him absorbed in the same perplexities. Brookswas then a man of forty-five years old; a strong writer and a vigorous thinkerwho irritated too many Boston conventions ever to suit the atmosphere; but thetwo brothers could talk to each other without atmosphere and were used toaudiences of one. Brooks had discovered or developed a law of history thatcivilization followed the exchangesand having worked it out for theMediterranean was working it out for the Atlantic. Everything Americanas wellas most things European and Asiaticbecame unstable by this lawseeking newequilibrium and compelled to find it. Loving paradoxBrookswith theadvantages of ten years' studyhad swept away much rubbish in the effort tobuild up a new line of thought for himselfbut he found that no paradoxcompared with that of daily events. The facts were constantly outrunning histhoughts. The instability was greater than he calculated; the speed ofacceleration passed bounds. Among other general rules he laid down the paradoxthatin the social disequilibrium between capital and laborthe logicaloutcome was not collectivismbut anarchism; and Henry made note of it forstudy.

By the time he got back to Washington on September 19the storm havingpartly blown overlife had taken on a new faceand one so interesting that heset off to Chicago to study the Exposition againand stayed there a fortnightabsorbed in it. He found matter of study to fill a hundred yearsand hiseducation spread over chaos. Indeedit seemed to him as thoughthis yeareducation went mad. The silver questionthorny as it wasfell into relationsas simple as words of one syllablecompared with the problems of credit andexchange that came to complicate it; and when one sought rest at Chicagoeducational game started like rabbits from every buildingand ran out of sightamong thousands of its kind before one could mark its burrow. The Expositionitself defied philosophy. One might find fault till the last gate closedonecould still explain nothing that needed explanation. As a scenic displayParishad never approached itbut the inconceivable scenic display consisted in itsbeing there at all- more surprisingas it wasthan anything else on thecontinentNiagara Fallsthe Yellowstone Geysersand the whole railway systemthrown insince these were all natural products in their place; whilesinceNoah's Arkno such Babel of loose and ill-joinedsuch vague and ill-definedand unrelated thoughts and half-thoughts and experimental outcries as theExpositionhad ever ruffled the surface of the Lakes.

The first astonishment became greater every day. That the Exposition shouldbe a natural growth and product of the Northwest offered a step in evolution tostartle Darwin; but that it should be anything else seemed an idea morestartling still; and even granting it were not- admitting it to be a sort ofindustrialspeculative growth and product of the Beaux Arts artisticallyinduced to pass the summer on the shore of Lake Michigan- could it be made toseem at home there? Was the American made to seem at home in it? Honestlyhehad the air of enjoying it as though it were all his own; he felt it was good;he was proud of it; for the most parthe acted as though he had passed his lifein landscape gardening and architectural decoration. If he had not done ithimselfhe had known how to get it done to suit himas he knew how to get hiswives and daughters dressed at Worth's or Paquin's. Perhaps he could not do itagain; the next time he would want to do it himself and would show his ownfaults; but for the moment he seemed to have leaped directly from Corinth andSyracuse and Veniceover the heads of London and New Yorkto impose classicalstandards on plastic Chicago. Critics had no trouble in criticising theclassicismbut all trading cities had always shown traders' tasteandto thestern purist of religious faithno art was thinner than Venetian Gothic. Alltrader's taste smelt of bric-a-brac; Chicago tried at least to give her taste alook of unity.

One sat down to ponder on the steps beneath Richard Hunt's dome almost asdeeply as on the steps of Ara Coeliand much to the same purpose. Here was abreach of continuity- a rupture in historical sequence! Was it realor onlyapparent? One's personal universe hung on the answerforif the rupture wasreal and the new American world could take this sharp and conscious twisttowards idealsone's personal friends would come inat lastas winners in thegreat American chariot-race for fame. If the people of the Northwest actuallyknew what was good when they saw itthey would some day talk about Hunt andRichardsonLa Farge and St. GaudensBurnham and McKimand Stanford White whentheir politicians and millionaires were otherwise forgotten. The artists andarchitects who had done the work offered little encouragement to hope it; theytalked freely enoughbut not in terms that one cared to quote; and to them theNorthwest refused to look artistic. They talked as though they worked only forthemselves; as though artto the Western peoplewas a stage decoration; adiamond shirt-stud; a paper collar; but possibly the architects of Paestum andGirgenti had talked in the same wayand the Greek had said the same thing ofSemitic Carthage two thousand years ago.

Jostled by these hopes and doubtsone turned to the exhibits for helpandfound it. The industrial schools tried to teach so much and so quickly that theinstruction ran to waste. Some millions of other people felt the samehelplessnessbut few of them were seeking educationand to them helplessnessseemed natural and normalfor they had grown up in the habit of thinking asteam-engine or a dynamo as natural as the sunand expected to understand oneas little as the other. For the historian alone the Exposition made a seriouseffort. Historical exhibits were commonbut they never went far enough; nonewere thoroughly worked out. One of the best was that of the Cunard steamersbutstill a student hungry for results found himself obliged to waste a pencil andseveral sheets of paper trying to calculate exactly whenaccording to the givenincrease of powertonnageand speedthe growth of the ocean steamer wouldreach its limits. His figures brought himhe thoughtto the year 1927; anothergeneration to spare before forcespaceand time should meet. The ocean steamerran the surest line of triangulation into the futurebecause it was the nearestof man's products to a unity; railroads taught less because they seemed alreadyfinished except for mere increase in number; explosives taught mostbut neededa tribe of chemistsphysicistsand mathematicians to explain; the dynamotaught least because it had barely reached infancyandif its progress was tobe constant at the rate of the last ten yearsit would result in infinitecostly energy within a generation. One lingered long among the dynamosfor theywere newand they gave to history a new phase. Men of science could neverunderstand the ignorance and naivete of the historianwhowhen he camesuddenly on a new powerasked naturally what it was; did it pull or did itpush? Was it a screw or thrust? Did it flow or vibrate? Was it a wire or amathematical fine? And a score of such questions to which he expected answersand was astonished to get none.

Education ran riot at Chicagoat least for retarded minds which had neverfaced in concrete form so many matters of which they were ignorant. Men who knewnothing whatever- who had never run a steam-enginethe simplest of forces- whohad never put their hands on a lever- had never touched an electric battery-never talked through a telephoneand had not the shadow of a notion what amountof force was meant by a watt or an ampere or an ergor any other term ofmeasurement introduced within a hundred years- had no choice but to sit down onthe steps and brood as they had never brooded on the benches of Harvard Collegeeither as student or professoraghast at what they had said and done in allthese yearsand still more ashamed of the childlike ignorance and babblingfutility of the society that let them say and do it. The historical mind canthink only in historical processesand probably this was the first time sincehistorians existedthat any of them had sat down helpless before a mechanicalsequence. Before a metaphysical or a theological or a political sequencemosthistorians had felt helplessbut the single clue to which they had hithertotrusted was the unity of natural force.

Did he himself quite know what he meant? Certainly not! If he had knownenough to state his problemhis education would have been complete at once.Chicago asked in 1893 for the first time the question whether the Americanpeople knew where they were driving. Adams answeredfor onethat he did notknowbut would try to find out. On reflecting sufficiently deeplyunder theshadow of Richard Hunt's architecturehe decided that the American peopleprobably knew no more than he did; but that they might still be driving ordrifting unconsciously to some point in thoughtas their solar system was saidto be drifting towards some point in space; and thatpossiblyif relationsenough could be observedthis point might be fixed. Chicago was the firstexpression of American thought as a unity; one must start there.

Washington was the second. When he got back therehe fell headlong into theextra session of Congress called to repeal the Silver Act. The silver minoritymade an obstinate attempt to prevent itand most of the majority had littleheart in the creation of a single gold standard. The banks aloneand thedealers in exchangeinsisted upon it; the political parties divided accordingto capitalistic geographical linesSenator Cameron offering almost the onlyexception; but they mixed with unusual good-temperand made liberal allowancefor each others' actions and motives. The struggle was rather less irritablethan such struggles generally wereand it ended like a comedy. On the eveningof the final voteSenator Cameron came back from the Capitol with SenatorBriceSenator JonesSenator Lodgeand Moreton Frewenall in the gayest ofhumors as though they were rid of a heavy responsibility. Adamstooin abystander's spiritfelt light in mind. He had stood up for his eighteenthcenturyhis Constitution of 1789his George Washingtonhis Harvard Collegehis Quincyand his Plymouth Pilgrimsas long as any one would stand up withhim. He had said it was hopeless twenty years beforebut he had kept onin thesame old attitudeby habit and tasteuntil he found himself altogether alone.He had hugged his antiquated dislike of bankers and capitalistic society untilhe had become little better than a crank. He had known for years that he mustaccept the regimebut he had known a great many other disagreeable certainties-like agesenilityand death- against which one made what little resistance onecould. The matter was settled at last by the people. For a hundred yearsbetween 1793 and 1893the American people had hesitatedvacillatedswayedforward and backbetween two forcesone simply industrialthe othercapitalisticcentralizingand mechanical. In 1893the issue came on thesingle gold standardand the majority at last declared itselfonce for allinfavor of the capitalistic system with all its necessary machinery. All one'sfriendsall one's best citizensreformerschurchescollegeseducatedclasseshad joined the banks to force submission to capitalism; a submissionlong foreseen by the mere law of mass. Of all forms of society or governmentthis was the one he liked leastbut his likes or dislikes were as antiquated asthe rebel doctrine of State rights. A capitalistic system had been adoptedandif it were to be run at allit must be run by capital and by capitalisticmethods; for nothing could surpass the nonsensity of trying to run so complexand so concentrated a machine by Southern and Western farmers in grotesquealliance with city day-laborersas had been tried in 1800 and 1828and hadfailed even under simple conditions.

Thereeducation in domestic politics stopped. The rest was question of gear;of running machinery; of economy; and involved no disputed principle. Onceadmitted that the machine must be efficientsociety might dispute in whatsocial interest it should be runbut in any case it must work concentration.Such great revolutions commonly leave some bitterness behindbut nothing inpolitics ever surprised Henry Adams more than the ease with which he and hissilver friends slipped across the chasm. and alighted on the single goldstandard and the capitalistic system with its methods; the protective tariff;the corporations and trusts; the trades-unions and socialistic paternalism whichnecessarily made their complement; the whole mechanical consolidation of forcewhich ruthlessly stamped out the life of the class into which Adams was bornbut created monopolies capable of controlling the new energies that Americaadored.

Society restedafter sweeping into the ash-heap these cinders of amisdirected education. After this vigorous impulsenothing remained for ahistorian but to ask- how long and how far!