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Title: Modern American Prose Selections
Author: Rees, Byron J. (Byron Johnson), 1877-1920 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Modern American Prose Selections" ***

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produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

Transcriber's Notes:  In the Woodrow Wilson selection, the word 'altrusion'
was changed to 'altruism' based on consultation with the original text from
which the passage was taken for this book.

In the Jacob Riis selection, the phrase "It it none too fine yet" was
replaced with "It is none too fine yet" after consultation with the
original text from which the passage was taken for this book.

Other minor typos were also corrected.  Hyphenation was left consistent
with how it appears in the book.

                             AMERICAN PROSE

                                EDITED BY

                           BYRON JOHNSON REES

                                NEW YORK
                        HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE

                           THE PLIMPTON PRESS
                          NORWOOD MASS U. S. A.


PREFACE                                                           vii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS                                                    xi

_Abraham Lincoln_                   Theodore Roosevelt              3

_American Tradition_                Franklin K. Lane                8

_America's Heritage_                Franklin K. Lane               17

_Address at the College of the Holy
Cross_                              Calvin Coolidge                25

_Our Future Immigration Policy_     Frederic C. Howe               31

_A New Relationship between Capital
and Labor_                          John D. Rockefeller, Jr.       42

_My Uncle_                          Alvin Johnson                  48

_When a Man Comes to Himself_       Woodrow Wilson                 53

_Education through Occupations_     William Lowe Bryan             68

_The Fallow_                        John Agricola                  81

_Writing and Reading_               John Matthews Manly and
                                         Edith Rickert             87

_James Russell Lowell_              Bliss Perry                    94

_The Education of Henry Adams_      Carl Becker                   109

_The Struggle for an Education_     Booker T. Washington          119

_Entering Journalism_               Jacob A. Riis                 128

_Bound Coastwise_                   Ralph D. Paine                135

_The Democratization of the Automobile_
                                    Burton J. Hendrick            145

_Traveling Afoot_                   John Finley                   157

_Old Boats_                         Walter Prichard Eaton         165

_Zeppelinitis_                      Philip Littell                177

                            E., C., AND H.
                         STUDENTS AND FRIENDS


As the reader, if he wishes, may discover without undue delay, the little
volume of modern prose selections that he has before him is the result of
no ambitious or pretentious design. It is not a collection of the best
things that have lately been known and thought in the American world; it is
not an anthology in which "all our best authors" are represented by
striking or celebrated passages. The editor planned nothing either so
precious or so eclectic. His purpose rather was to bring together some
twenty examples of typical contemporary prose, in which writers who know
whereof they write discuss certain present-day themes in readable fashion.
In choosing material he has sought to include nothing merely because of the
name of the author, and he has demanded of each selection that it should be
of such a character, both in subject and style, as to impress normal and
wholesome Americans as well worth reading.

The earlier selections--President Roosevelt's noble eulogy upon Lincoln,
Secretary Lane's two addresses on American tradition and heritage, and
Governor Coolidge's address at Holy Cross--remind the reader of the high
significance of our national past and indicate the promise of a rightly
apprehended future. There follow two articles--"Our Future Immigration
Policy," by Commissioner Frederic C. Howe, and "A New Relationship between
Capital and Labor," by Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.--on subjects that press
for earnest consideration on the part of all who are intent upon the
solution of our problems. Mr. Alvin Johnson's playful yet serious essay on
"the biggest, kindliest, most honest and honorable tribal head that ever
lived" completes the group of what may be termed "Americanization" Papers.

Perhaps the best of the many magazine articles that President Wilson has
written is that which serves as a link--for those to whom links, even in a
miscellany, are a satisfaction--between the earlier selections and those
that follow. "When a Man Comes to Himself," expressing as it does in
English of distinction the best thought of the best Americans concerning
the individual's relation to society and to the state, will probably be
widely read, with attention and gratitude, for many years to come.
Associated with Mr. Wilson's article are three selections presenting
various aspects of self-realization in education. One of them, "The
Fallow," deals in signally happy manner with the insistent and vital
question of the study of the Classics.

That scholarly and competent literary criticism need not be dull or
deficient in charm is obvious from an examination of Mr. Bliss Perry's
masterly study of James Russell Lowell and Mr. Carl Becker's subtle and
discriminating analysis of _The Education of Henry Adams_. Both writers
attack subjects of considerable complexity and difficulty, and both succeed
in clarifying the thought of the discerning reader and inducing in him an
exhilarating sense of mental and spiritual enlargement.

From the many notable autobiographies that have appeared during recent
years the editor has chosen two from which to reprint brief passages. The
first is Booker T. Washington's _Up from Slavery_, the simple and
straightforward personal narrative of one whom all must now concede to have
been a very great man; the other is that human and poignant epic of the
stranger from Denmark who became one of us and of whom we as a people are
tenderly proud. _The Making of an American_ is in some ways a unique book;
concrete, specific, self-revealing and yet dignified; a book that one could
wish that every American might know.

Also concrete and specific are the chapters from Mr. Ralph D. Paine and Mr.
Burton J. Hendrick. In "Bound Coastwise" Mr. Paine has treated, with
knowledge, sympathy, and imagination, an important phase of our commercial
life. As an example of narrative-exposition, matter-of-fact yet touched
with the romance of those who "go down to the sea in ships," the excerpt is
thoroughly admirable. Mr. Hendrick, in entertaining and profitable wise,
tells the story of what he considers "probably America's greatest
manufacturing exploit."

Dr. Finley "starts the imagination out upon the road" and "invites to the
open spaces," especially to those undisturbed by "the flying automobile."
"Walking," he says eagerly, "is not only a joy in itself, but it gives an
intimacy with the sacred things and the primal things of earth that are not
revealed to those who rush by on wheels."

In "Old Boats" Mr. Walter Prichard Eaton, in a manner of writing that has
of late years won him a large place in the hearts of readers, thoughtfully
contemplates the abandoned farmhouse, and lingers wistfully beside the
beached and crumbling craft of the "unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea." Few
can read, or, better, hear read, his closing paragraph without thrilling to
that "other harmony of prose." That such a cadenced and haunting passage
should have been published as recently as 1917 should assure the doubter
that there is still amongst us a taste for the beautiful. "I live inland
now, far from the smell of salt water and the sight of sails. Yet sometimes
there comes over me a longing for the sea as irresistible as the lust for
salt which stampedes the reindeer of the north. I must gaze on the unbroken
world-rim, I must feel the sting of spray, I must hear the rhythmic crash
and roar of breakers and watch the sea-weed rise and fall where the green
waves lift against the rocks. Once in so often I must ride those waves with
cleated sheet and tugging tiller, and hear the soft hissing song of the
water on the rail. And 'my day of mercy' is not complete till I have seen
some old boat, her seafaring done, heeled over on the beach or amid the
fragrant sedges, a mute and wistful witness to the romance of the deep, the
blue and restless deep where man has adventured in craft his hands have
made since the earliest sun of history, and whereon he will adventure,
ardently and insecure, till the last syllable of recorded time."


The editor's thanks are due to the holders of copyrights who have
generously permitted him to include selections from books and magazines
published by them. More particularly he would express his gratitude to the
Yale University Press, to Harper and Brothers, to Henry Holt and Co., to
Doubleday, Page and Co., to the Macmillan Company, to the Century Company,
to the Frederick A. Stokes Company, to the P. F. Collier and Son Company,
to the Houghton Mifflin Company, to the Outlook Company, to the Indiana
University Bookstore, to the editor of the _Harvard Graduates' Magazine_,
to the editors of the _American Historical Review_, and to Harcourt, Brace
and Howe. Specific indications as to the extent of the editor's borrowing
will be found with the selections.

Authors from whose work the editor has wished to quote have been invariably
gracious. To President Wilson for his essay "When a Man Comes to Himself,"
to Governor Coolidge for his Holy Cross College address, to Secretary Lane
for two addresses, and to Commissioner Howe for his article on immigration,
he would express his gratitude. President John Finley, Mr. Walter Prichard
Eaton, Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., President W. L. Bryan, Mr. Alvin
Johnson, Mr. John Matthews Manly, Miss Edith Rickert, Mr. Carl Becker, Mr.
Ralph D. Paine, Mr. Burton J. Hendrick, Mr. Philip Littell, and Mr. Bliss
Perry have freely accorded permission to reprint the selections that bear
their names. Mrs. Jacob A. Riis and Mr. R. W. Riis have courteously granted
the use of the excerpt from _The Making of an American_. The editors of
_The New Republic_ and the editors of _The University of Virginia Alumni
Bulletin_ have kindly consented to the reprinting of articles that
originally appeared in their periodicals. To Mr. Will D. Howe, whose
assistance has been constant and invaluable, the editor would extend his
hearty thanks.




[Footnote 1: Address delivered at Lincoln's birthplace, Hodgenville, Ky.,
Feb. 12, 1909. Reprinted from _Collier's Weekly_, issue of Feb. 13, 1909.
By permission. Copyright, 1909, P. F. Collier & Son Co.]

We have met here to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the birth of one
of the two greatest Americans; of one of the two or three greatest men of
the nineteenth century; of one of the greatest men in the world's history.
This rail-splitter, this boy who passed his ungainly youth in the dire
poverty of the poorest of the frontier folk, whose rise was by weary and
painful labor, lived to lead his people through the burning flames of a
struggle from which the nation emerged, purified as by fire, born anew to a
loftier life.

After long years of iron effort, and of failure that came more often than
victory, he at last rose to the leadership of the Republic, at the moment
when that leadership had become the stupendous world-task of the time. He
grew to know greatness, but never ease. Success came to him, but never
happiness, save that which springs from doing well a painful and a vital
task. Power was his, but not pleasure. The furrows deepened on his brow,
but his eyes were undimmed by either hate or fear. His gaunt shoulders were
bowed, but his steel thews never faltered as he bore for a burden the
destinies of his people. His great and tender heart shrank from giving
pain; and the task allotted him was to pour out like water the life-blood
of the young men, and to feel in his every fibre the sorrow of the women.
Disaster saddened but never dismayed him.

As the red years of war went by they found him ever doing his duty in the
present, ever facing the future with fearless front, high of heart, and
dauntless of soul. Unbroken by hatred, unshaken by scorn, he worked and
suffered for the people. Triumph was his at the last; and barely had he
tasted it before murder found him, and the kindly, patient, fearless eyes
were closed forever.

As a people we are indeed beyond measure fortunate in the characters of the
two greatest of our public men, Washington and Lincoln. Widely though they
differed in externals, the Virginia landed gentleman and the Kentucky
backwoodsman, they were alike in essentials, they were alike in the great
qualities which made each able to do service to his nation and to all
mankind such as no other man of his generation could or did render. Each
had lofty ideals, but each in striving to attain these lofty ideals was
guided by the soundest common sense. Each possessed inflexible courage in
adversity, and a soul wholly unspoiled by prosperity. Each possessed all
the gentler virtues commonly exhibited by good men who lack rugged strength
of character. Each possessed also all the strong qualities commonly
exhibited by those towering masters of mankind who have too often shown
themselves devoid of so much as the understanding of the words by which we
signify the qualities of duty, of mercy, of devotion to the right, of lofty
disinterestedness in battling for the good of others.

There have been other men as great and other men as good; but in all the
history of mankind there are no other two great men as good as these, no
other two good men as great. Widely though the problems of to-day differ
from the problems set for solution to Washington when he founded this
nation, to Lincoln when he saved it and freed the slave, yet the qualities
they showed in meeting these problems are exactly the same as those we
should show in doing our work to-day.

Lincoln saw into the future with the prophetic imagination usually
vouchsafed only to the poet and the seer. He had in him all the lift toward
greatness of the visionary, without any of the visionary's fanaticism or
egotism, without any of the visionary's narrow jealousy of the practical
man and inability to strive in practical fashion for the realization of an
ideal. He had the practical man's hard common sense and willingness to
adapt means to ends; but there was in him none of that morbid growth of
mind and soul which blinds so many practical men to the higher aims of
life. No more practical man ever lived than this homely backwoods idealist;
but he had nothing in common with those practical men whose consciences are
warped until they fail to distinguish between good and evil, fail to
understand that strength, ability, shrewdness, whether in the world of
business or of politics, only serve to make their possessor a more noxious,
a more evil, member of the community if they are not guided and controlled
by a fine and high moral sense.

We of this day must try to solve many social and industrial problems,
requiring to an especial degree the combination of indomitable resolution
with cool-headed sanity. We can profit by the way in which Lincoln used
both these traits as he strove for reform. We can learn much of value from
the very attacks which following that course brought upon his head, attacks
alike by the extremists of revolution and by the extremists of reaction. He
never wavered in devotion to his principles, in his love for the Union, and
in his abhorrence of slavery. Timid and lukewarm people were always
denouncing him because he was too extreme; but as a matter of fact he never
went to extremes, he worked step by step; and because of this the
extremists hated and denounced him with a fervor which now seems to us
fantastic in its deification of the unreal and the impossible. At the very
time when one side was holding him up as the apostle of social revolution
because he was against slavery, the leading abolitionist denounced him as
the "slave hound of Illinois." When he was the second time candidate for
President, the majority of his opponents attacked him because of what they
termed his extreme radicalism, while a minority threatened to bolt his
nomination because he was not radical enough. He had continually to check
those who wished to go forward too fast, at the very time that he overrode
the opposition of those who wished not to go forward at all. The goal was
never dim before his vision; but he picked his way cautiously, without
either halt or hurry, as he strode toward it, through such a morass of
difficulty that no man of less courage would have attempted it, while it
would surely have overwhelmed any man of judgment less serene.

Yet perhaps the most wonderful thing of all, and, from the standpoint of
the America of to-day and of the future, the most vitally important, was
the extraordinary way in which Lincoln could fight valiantly against what
he deemed wrong and yet preserve undiminished his love and respect for the
brother from whom he differed. In the hour of a triumph that would have
turned any weaker man's head, in the heat of a struggle which spurred many
a good man to dreadful vindictiveness, he said truthfully that so long as
he had been in his office he had never willingly planted a thorn in any
man's bosom, and besought his supporters to study the incidents of the
trial through which they were passing as philosophy from which to learn
wisdom and not as wrongs to be avenged; ending with the solemn exhortation
that, as the strife was over, all should reunite in a common effort to save
their common country.

He lived in days that were great and terrible, when brother fought against
brother for what each sincerely deemed to be the right. In a contest so
grim the strong men who alone can carry it through are rarely able to do
justice to the deep convictions of those with whom they grapple in mortal
strife. At such times men see through a glass darkly; to only the rarest
and loftiest spirits is vouchsafed that clear vision which gradually comes
to all, even the lesser, as the struggle fades into distance, and wounds
are forgotten, and peace creeps back to the hearts that were hurt.

But to Lincoln was given this supreme vision. He did not hate the man from
whom he differed. Weakness was as foreign as wickedness to his strong,
gentle nature; but his courage was of a quality so high that it needed no
bolstering of dark passion. He saw clearly that the same high qualities,
the same courage, and willingness for self-sacrifice, and devotion to the
right as it was given them to see the right, belonged both to the men of
the North and to the men of the South. As the years roll by, and as all of
us, wherever we dwell, grow to feel an equal pride in the valor and
self-devotion, alike of the men who wore the blue and the men who wore the
gray, so this whole nation will grow to feel a peculiar sense of pride in
the man whose blood was shed for the union of his people and for the
freedom of a race; the lover of his country and of all mankind; the
mightiest of the mighty men who mastered the mighty days, Abraham Lincoln.



[Footnote 2: Address delivered by Secretary Lane at the University of
Virginia, Feb. 22, 1912. Reprinted from the University of Virginia _Alumni
Bulletin_, and from _The American Spirit_, by Franklin K. Lane (Copyright,
1918, by the Frederick A. Stokes Co.). By permission of the author and of
the publishers.]

It has not been an easy task for me to decide upon a theme for discussion
to-day. I know that I can tell you little of Washington that would be new,
and the thought has come to me that perhaps you would be interested in what
might be called a western view of American tradition, for I come from the
other side of this continent where all of our traditions are as yet
articles of transcontinental traffic, and you are here in the very heart of
tradition, the sacred seat of our noblest memories.

No doubt you sometimes think that we are reckless of the wisdom of our
forebears; while we at times have been heard to say that you live too
securely in that passion for the past which makes men mellow but unmodern.

When you see the West adopting or urging such measures as presidential
primaries, the election of United States Senators by popular vote, the
initiative, the referendum and the recall as means supplementary to
representative government, you shudder in your dignified way no doubt, at
the audacity and irreverence of your crude countrymen. They must be in your
eyes as far from grace as that American who visited one of the ancient
temples of India. After a long journey through winding corridors of marble,
he was brought to a single flickering light set in a jeweled recess in the
wall. "And what is this?" said the tourist. "That, sir," replied the guide,
"is the sacred fire which was lighted 2,000 years ago and never has been
out." "Never been out? What nonsense! Poof! Well, the blamed thing's out
now." This wild Westerner doubtless typifies those who without heed and in
their hot-headed and fanatical worship of change would destroy the very
light of our civilization. But let me remind you that all fanaticism is not
radical. There is a fanaticism that is conservative, a reverence for things
as they are that is no less destructive. Some years ago I visited a fishing
village in Canada peopled by Scotchmen who had immigrated in the early part
of the nineteenth century. It was a place named Ingonish in Cape Breton, a
rugged spot that looks directly upon the Atlantic at its cruelest point.
One day I fell into talk with a fisherman--a very model of a tawny-haired
viking. He told me that from his fishing and his farming he made some $300
a year. "Why not come over into my country," I said, "where you may make
that in a month?" There came over his face a look of humiliation as he
replied, "No, I could not." "Why not?" I asked. "Because," said he,
brushing his hand across his sea-burnt beard, "because I can neither read
nor write." "And why," said I, "haven't you learned? There are schools
here." "Yes, there are schools, but my father could not read or write, and
I would have felt that I was putting a shame upon the old man if I had
learned to do something he could not do." Splendid, wasn't it! He would not
do what his father could not do. Fine! Fine as the spirit of any man with a
sentiment which holds him back from leading a full, rich life. Yet can you
conceive a nation of such men--idolizing what has been, blind to the great
vision of the future, fettered by the chains of the past, gripped and held
fast in the hand of the dead, a nation of traditionalists, unable to meet
the needs of a new day, serene, no doubt self-sufficient, but coming how
far short of realizing that ideal of those who praise their God for that
they serve his world!

I have given the two extremes; now let us return to our point of departure,
and the first question to be asked is, "What are the traditions of our
people?" This nation is not as it was one hundred and thirty-odd years ago
when we asserted the traditional right of Anglo-Saxons to rebel against
injustice. We have traveled centuries and centuries since then--measured in
events, in achievements, in depth of insight into the secrets of nature, in
breadth of view, in sweep of sympathy, and in the rise of ennobling hope.
Physically we are to-day nearer to China than we were then to Ohio.
Socially, industrially, commercially the wide world is almost a unit. And
these thirteen states have spread across a continent to which have been
gathered the peoples of the earth. We are the "heirs of all the ages." Our
inheritance of tradition is greater than that of any other people, for we
trace back not alone to King John signing the Magna Charta in that little
stone hut by the riverside, but to Brutus standing beside the slain Cæsar,
to Charles Martel with his battle-axe raised against the advancing horde of
an old-world civilization, to Martin Luther declaring his square-jawed
policy of religious liberty, to Columbus in the prow of his boat crying to
his disheartened crew, "Sail on, sail on, and on!" Irishman, Greek, Slav,
and Sicilian--all the nations of the world have poured their hopes and
their history into this great melting pot, and the product will be--in
fact, is--a civilization that is new in the sense that it is the blend of
many, and yet is as old as the Egyptians.

Surely the real tradition of such a people is not any one way of doing a
certain thing; certainly not any set and unalterable plan of procedure in
affairs, nor even any fixed phrase expressive of a general philosophy
unless it comes from the universal heart of this strange new people. Why
are we here? What is our purpose? These questions will give you the
tradition of the American people, our supreme tradition--the one into which
all others fall, and a part of which they are--the right of man to oppose
injustice. There follow from this the right of man to govern himself, the
right of property and to personal liberty, the right to freedom of speech,
the right to make of himself all that nature will permit, the right to be
one of many in creating a national life that will realize those hopes which
singly could not be achieved.

Is there any other tradition so sacred as this--so much a part of
ourselves--this hatred of injustice? It carries in its bosom all the past
that inspires our people. Their spirit of unrest under wrong has lighted
the way for the nations of the world. It is not seen alone in Kansas and in
California, but in England, where a Liberal Ministry has made a beginning
at the restoration of the land to the people; in Germany, where the citizen
is fighting his way up to power; in Portugal, where a university professor
sits in the chair a king so lately occupied; in Russia, emerging from the
Middle Ages, with her groping Douma; in Persia, from which young Shuster
was so recently driven for trying to give to a people a sense of national
self-respect; in India, where an Emperor moves a national capital to pacify
submerged discontent; and even in far Cathay, the mystery land of Marco
Polo, immobile, phlegmatic, individualistic China, men have been waging war
for the philosophy incorporated in the first ten lines of our Declaration
of Independence.

Here is the effect of a tradition that is real, not a mere group of words
or a well-fashioned bit of governmental machinery--real because it is ours;
it has come out of our life; for the only real traditions a people have are
those beliefs that have become a part of them, like the good manners of a
gentleman. They are really our sympathies--sympathies born of experience.
Subjectively they give standpoint; objectively they furnish background--a
rich, deep background like that of some master of light and shade, some
Rembrandt, whose picture is one great glowing mystery of darkness save in a
central spot of radiant light where stands a single figure or group which
holds the eye and enchants the imagination. History may give to us the one
bright face to look upon, but in the deep mystery of the background the
real story is told; for therein, to those who can see, are the groping
multitudes feeling their way blindly toward the light of self-expression.

Now, this is a western view of tradition; it is yours, too; it was yours
first; it was your gift to us. And is it impertinent to ask, when your
sensibilities are shocked at some departure from the conventional in our
western law, that you search the tradition of your own history to know in
what spirit and by what method the gods of the elder days met the wrongs
they wished to right? It may be that we ask too many questions; that we are
unwilling to accept anything as settled; that we are curious, distrustful,
and as relentlessly logical as a child.

     For what are we but creatures of the night
         Led forth by day,
     Who needs must falter, and with stammering steps
     Spell out our paths in syllables of pain?

There are no grown-ups in this new world of democracy. We are trying an
experiment such as the world has never seen. Here we are, so many million
people at work making a living as best we can; 90,000,000 people covering
half a continent--rich, respected, feared. Is that all we are? Is that why
we are? To be rich, respected, feared? Or have we some part to play in
working out the problems of this world? Why should one man have so much and
many so little? How may the many secure a larger share in the wealth which
they create without destroying individual initiative or blasting individual
capacity and imagination? It was inevitable that these questions should be
asked when this republic was established. Man has been struggling to have
the right to ask these questions for 4,000 years; and now that he has the
right to ask _any_ questions surely we may not with reason expect him to be
silent. It is no answer to make that men were not asking these questions a
hundred years ago. So great has been our physical endowment that until the
most recent years we have been indifferent as to the share which each
received of the wealth produced. We could then accept cheerfully the
coldest and most logical of economic theories. But now men are wondering as
to the future. There may be much of envy and more of malice in current
thought; but underneath it all there is the feeling that if a nation is to
have a full life it must devise methods by which its citizens shall be
insured against monopoly of opportunity. This is the meaning of many
policies the full philosophy of which is not generally grasped--the
regulation of railroads and other public service corporations, the
conservation of natural resources, the leasing of public lands and
waterpowers, the control of great combinations of wealth. How these
movements will eventually express themselves none can foretell, but in the
process there will be some who will dogmatically contend that "Whatever is,
is right," and others who will march under the red flag of revenge and
exspoliation. And in that day we must look for men to meet the false cry of
both sides--"gentlemen unafraid" who will neither be the money-hired
butlers of the rich nor power-loving panderers to the poor.

Assume the right of self-government and society becomes the scene of an
heroic struggle for the realization of justice. Take from the one strong
man the right to rule and make others serve, the right to take all and hold
all, the power to grant or to withhold, and you have set all men to asking,
"What should I have, and what should my children have?" and with this come
all the perils of innovation and the hazards of revolution.

To meet such a situation the traditionalist who believes that the last word
in politics or in economics was uttered a century ago is as far from the
truth as he who holds that the temporary emotion of the public is the
stone-carved word from Sinai.

A railroad people are not to be controlled by ox-team theories, declaims
the young enthusiast for change. An age that dares to tell of what the
stars are made; that weighs the very suns in its balances; that mocks the
birds in their flight through the air, and the fish in their dart through
the sea; that transforms the falling stream into fire, light, and music;
that embalms upon a piece of plate the tenderest tones of the human voice;
that treats disease with disease; that supplies a new ear with the same
facility that it replaces a blown-out tire; that reaches into the very
grave itself and starts again the silent heart--surely such an age may be
allowed to think for itself somewhat upon questions of politics.

Yet with our searchings and our probings, who knows more of the human heart
to-day than the old Psalmist? And what is the problem of government but one
of human nature? What Burbank has as yet made grapes to grow on thorns or
figs on thistles? The riddle of the universe is no nearer solution than it
was when the Sphinx first looked upon the Nile. The one constant and
inconstant quantity with which man must deal is man. Human nature responds
so far as we can see to the same magnetic pull and push that moved it in
the days of Abraham and of Socrates. The foundation of government is
man--changing, inert, impulsive, limited, sympathetic, selfish man. His
institutions, whether social or political, must come out of his wants and
out of his capacities. The problem of government, therefore, is not always
what should be done but what can be done. We may not follow the supreme
tradition of the race to create a newer, sweeter world unless we give heed
to its complementary tradition that man's experience cautions him to make a
new trail with care. He must curb courage with common-sense. He may lay his
first bricks upon the twentieth story, but not until he has made sure of
the solidity of the frame below. The real tradition of our people permits
the mason to place brick upon brick wherever he finds it most convenient,
safest and most economical; but he must not mistake thin air for structural

Let me illustrate the thought that I would leave with you by the
description of one of our western railroads. Your train sweeps across the
desert like some bold knight in a joust, and when about to drive recklessly
into a sheer cliff it turns a graceful curve and follows up the wild
meanderings of a stream until it reaches a ridge along which it finds its
flinty way for many miles. At length you come face to face with a great
gulf, a canyon--yawning, resounding and purple in its depths. Before you
lies a path, zigzagging down the canyon's side to the very bottom, and away
beyond another slighter trail climbs up upon the opposite side. Which is
our way? Shall we follow the old trail? The answer comes as the train
shoots out across a bridge and into a tunnel on the opposite side, coming
out again upon the highlands and looking into the Valley of Heart's Desire
where the wistful Rasselas might have lived.

When you or I look upon that stretch of steel we wonder at the daring of
its builders. Great men they were who boldly built that road--great in
imagination, greater in their deeds--for they were men so great that they
did not build upon a line that was without tradition. The route they
followed was made by the buffalo and the elk ten thousand years ago. The
bear and the deer followed it generation after generation, and after them
came the trapper, and then the pioneer. It was already a trail when the
railroad engineer came with transit and chain seeking a path for the great
black stallion of steel.

Up beside the stream and along the ridge the track was laid. But there was
no thought of following the old trail downward into the canyon. Then the
spirit of the new age broke through tradition, the canyon was leaped and
the mountain's heart pierced, that man might have a swifter and safer way
to the Valley of Heart's Desire.



[Footnote 3: Address at the Americanization Banquet, Washington, D. C., May
14, 1919. Reprinted by permission from _Proceedings of the Americanization
Conference_, Government Printing Office, 1919.]

You have been in conference for the past three days, and I have greatly
regretted that I could not be with you. You have been gathered together as
crusaders in a great cause. You are the missionaries in a new movement. You
represent millions of people in the United States who to-night believe that
there is no other question of such importance before the American people as
the solidifying and strengthening of true American sentiment.

I understand that your conference has been a success; and it has been a
success because, unlike some other conferences, it was made up of experts
who knew what they were talking about. But you know no one can give the
final answer upon the question of Americanization. You may study methods,
but you find yourselves foiled because there is no one method--no
standardized method that can always be used to deal correctly and truly
with any human problem. Bergson, the French philosopher, was here a year or
two ago, and he made a suggestion to me that seemed very profound when he
said that the theory of evolution could carry on as to species until it
came to deal with man, and then you had to deal with each individual man
upon the theory that he was a species by himself. And I think there is more
than superficial significance to that. It may go to the very heart and
center of what we call spirituality. It may be because of that very fact
the individual is a soul by himself; and it is for that reason that there
must be avenues opened into men's hearts that can not be standardized.

Man is a great moated, walled castle, with doors by the dozens, doors by
the score, leading into him--but most of us keep our doors closed. It is
difficult for people to gain access to us; but there are some doors that
are open to the generality of mankind; and as those who are seeking to know
our fellow man and to reach him, it is our place to find what those doors
are and how those doors can be opened.

One of those doors might be labeled "our love for our children." That is a
door common to all. Another door might be labeled "our love for a piece of
land." Another door might be labeled "our common hatred of injustice."
Another door might be labeled "the need for human sympathy." Another door
might be labeled "fear of suffering." And another door might be labeled
"the hope that we all have in our hearts that this world will turn into a
better one."

Through some one of those doors every man can be reached; at least, if not
every man, certainly the great mass of mankind. They are not to be reached
through interest alone; they are not to be reached through mind; they are
reached through instincts and impulses and through tendencies; and there is
some word, some act that you or I can do or say that will get inside of
that strange, strange man and reveal him to himself and reveal him to us
and make him of use to the world.

We want to reach, through one of those doors, every man in the United
States who does not sympathize with us in a supreme allegiance to our
country. You would be amused to see some of the letters that come to me,
asking almost peremptorily what methods should be adopted by which men and
women can be Americanized, as if there were some one particular
prescription that could be given; as if you could roll up the sleeve of a
man and give him a hypodermic of some solution that would, by some strange
alchemy, transform him into a good American citizen; as if you could take
him water, and in it make a mixture--one part the ability to read and write
and speak the English language; then another part, the Declaration of
Independence; one part, the Constitution of the United States; one part, a
love for apple pie; one part, a desire and a willingness to wear American
shoes; and another part, a pride in using American plumbing; and take all
those together and grind them up, and have a solution which you could put
into a man's veins and by those superficialities, transform him into a man
who loves America. No such thing can be done. We know it can not be done,
because we know those who read and write and speak the language and they do
not have that feeling. We know that we regard one who takes his glass of
milk and his apple pie for lunch as presumably a good American. We know
that there is virtue in the American bath. We know that there are
principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and in the
Constitution of the United States which are necessary to get into one's
system before he can thoroughly understand the United States; and there are
some who have those principles as a standard for their lives, who yet have
never heard of the Declaration of Independence or of the Constitution of
the United States. You can not make Americans that way. You have got to
make them by calling upon the fine things that are within them, and by
dealing with them in sympathy; by appreciating what they have to offer us,
and by revealing to them what we have to offer them. And that brings to
mind the thought that this work must be a human work--must be something
done out of the human heart and speaking to the human heart, and must
largely turn upon instrumentalities that are in no way formal, and that
have no dogma and have no creed, and which can not be put into writing, and
can not be set upon the press--to a thought that I have had in my mind for
some time as to the advancing of a new organization in this country--and,
perhaps, you will sympathize with it--I have called it, for lack of a
better name, "The League of American Fellowship," and there should be no
condition for membership, excepting a pledge that each one gives that each
year, or for one year, the member will undertake to interpret America
sympathetically to at least one foreign-born person, or one person in the
United States who does not have an understanding of American institutions,
American traditions, American history, American sports, American life, and
the spirit that is American. If you, upon your return to your homes, could
organize in the cities that you represent, throughout the breadth of this
land, some such league as that, and by individual effort, and without
formalism, pledge the body of those with whom you come in contact to make
Americans by sympathy and by understanding, I believe we would make great
progress in the solution of this problem.

I do not know what method can be adopted for the making of Americans, but I
think there can be a standard test as to the result. We can tell when a man
is American in his spirit. There has been a test through which the men of
this country--and the women, too--have recently passed--supposed to be the
greatest of all tests--the test of war. When men go forth and sacrifice
their lives, then we say they believe in something as beyond anything else;
and so our men in this country, boys of foreign birth, boys of foreign
parentage, Greek and Dane and Italian and Russian and Polander and
Frenchman and Portuguese, Irish, Scotch--all these boys have gone to
France, fought their fight, given up their lives, and they have proved, all
Americans that they are, that there is a power in America by which this
strange conglomeration of peoples can be melted into one, and by which a
common attachment can be made and a common sympathy developed. I do not
know how it is done, but it is done.

I remember once, thirty years or more ago, passing through North Dakota on
a Northern Pacific train. I stepped off the platform, and the thermometer
was thirty or forty degrees below zero. There was no one to be seen,
excepting one man, and that man, as he stood before me, had five different
coats on him to keep him warm; and I looked out over that sea of snow, and
then I said, "Well, this is a pretty rough country, isn't it?" He was a
Dane, I think, and he looked me hard in the eye and he said, "Young fellow,
I want you to understand that this is God's own country."

Every one of those boys who returned from France came back feeling that
this is God's own country. He knows little of America as a whole, perhaps;
he can not recite any provisions in the Constitution of the United States;
it may be that he has learned his English while in the Army; but some part
of this country is "God's own country" to him. And it is a good thing that
we should not lose the local attachments that we have--those narrownesses,
those prejudices that give point to character. There is a kind of breadth
that is shallowness; there is a kind of sympathy that has no punch. We must
remember that if that world across the water is to be made what it can be
under democratic forms, it is to be led by Democracy; and, therefore, the
supreme responsibility falls upon us to make this all that a Democracy can
be. And if there is a bit of local pride attaching to one part of our soil,
that gives emphasis to our intense attachment to this country, let it be. I
would not remove it. I come from a part of this country that is supposed to
be more prejudiced in favor of itself than any other section. I remember
years ago hearing that the Commissioner of Fisheries wished to propagate
and spread in these Atlantic waters the western crab--which is about four
times the size of the Atlantic crab--and so they sent two carloads of those
crabs to the Atlantic coast. They were dumped into the Atlantic at Woods
Hole, and on each crab was a little aluminum tablet saying "When found
notify Fish Commission, Washington." A year passed and no crab was found;
two years passed and no crab was found. And the third year two of those
crabs were found by a Buenos Aires fisherman, who reported that they
evidently were going south, bound around the Cape, returning to California.

A week or two ago I was addressing a Methodist conference in Baltimore, and
I told this story to a dear old gray-headed man, seated opposite me, who
was eighty-six years of age, who said he had been preaching there for sixty
years; and I said to him, "Do you come from Maryland?" He said, "Yes, sir."
He said, "I come from the Eastern Shore. Have you ever been there?" I said,
"No; I am sorry that I have never been on the Eastern Shore." He said,
"Never been there? Well, I am sorry for you." He said, "You know, we are a
strange people down there--a strange people." He said, "We have some
peculiar legends; some stories that have come down to us, generation after
generation; and while other people may not believe them, we do; and one of
the stories is that when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they fell
sick, and the Lord was greatly concerned about them, and he called a
meeting of his principal angels and consulted with them as to what to do
for them by way of giving them a change of air and improving their health;
and the Angel Gabriel said, 'Why not take them down to the Eastern Shore?'
And the Lord said, 'Oh, no; that would not be sufficient change.'"

And so, as you go throughout the United States, you find men attached to
different parts of our continent, making their homes in different places,
and not thinking often about the great country to which they belong,
excepting as it is represented by that flag; and every one of those local
attachments is a valuable asset to our country, and nothing should be done
to minimize them. When the boys come back from France, every one of them
says, "The thing I most desired while I was in France was to get home, for
there I first realized how splendid and beautiful and generous and rich a
country America was." We want to make these men who come to us from abroad
realize what those boys realized, and we want to put inside of their
spirits an appreciation of those things that are noble and fine in American
law and American institutions and American life; and we want them to join
with us as citizens in giving to America every good thing that comes out of
every foreign country.

We are a blend in sympathies and a blend in art, a blend in literature, a
blend in tendencies, and that is our hope for making this the supremely
great race of the world. It is not to be done mechanically; it is not to be
done scientifically; it is to be done by the human touch; by reaching some
door into that strange man, with some word or some act that will show to
him that there is in America the kind of sentiment and sympathy that that
man's soul is reaching out for.

This _is_ God's own country. We want the boys to know that the sky is blue
and big and broad with hope, and that its fields are green with promise,
and that in every one of our hearts there is the desire that the land shall
be better than it is--while we have no apologies to make for what it is.
This is no land in which to spread any doctrine of revolution, because we
have abolished revolution. When we came here we gave over the right of
revolution. You can not have revolution in a land unless you have somebody
to revolt against--and whom would you revolt against in the United States?
And when we won our revolution 140 years ago, we then said, "We give over
that inherent right of revolution because there can be no such thing as
revolution against a country in which the people govern."

We have no particular social theory to advocate in Americanization; no
economic system to advocate; but we can fairly and squarely demand of every
man in the United States, if he is a citizen, that he shall give supreme
allegiance to the flag of the United States, and swear by it--and he is not
worthy to be its citizen unless it holds first place in his heart.

The best test of whether we are Americans or not will not come, nor has it
come, with war. It will come when we go hand in hand together, recognizing
that there are defects in our land, that there are things lacking in our
system; that our programs are not perfect; that our institutions can be
bettered; and we look forward constantly by coöperation to making this a
land in which there will be a minimum of fear and a maximum of hope.



[Footnote 4: _From Have Faith in Massachusetts_, by Calvin Coolidge. The
selection is used by permission of, and by special arrangement with, the
Houghton Mifflin Co., the authorized publishers. Copyright, 1919, by
Houghton Mifflin Co. The address was delivered June 25, 1919.]

To come from the press of public affairs, where the practical side of life
is at its flood, into these calm and classic surroundings, where ideals are
cherished for their own sake, is an intense relief and satisfaction. Even
in the full flow of Commencement exercises it is apparent that here abide
the truth and the servants of the truth. Here appears the fulfillment of
the past in the grand company of alumni, recalling a history already so
thick with laurels. Here is the hope of the future, brighter yet in the
young men to-day sent forth.

     The unarmed youth of heaven. But o'er their heads
     Celestial armory, shield, helm and spear,
     Hung bright, with diamond flaming and with gold.[5]

[Footnote 5: _Paradise Lost_, IV, 1. 552.]

In them the dead past lives. They represent the college. They are the
college. It is not in the campus with its imposing halls and temples, nor
in the silent lore of the vast library or the scientific instruments of
well-equipped laboratories, but in the men who are the incarnation of all
these, that your college lives. It is not enough that there be knowledge,
history and poetry, eloquence and art, science and mathematics, philosophy
and ethics, ideas and ideals. They must be vitalized. They must be
fashioned into life. To send forth men who live all these is to be a
college. This temple of learning must be translated into human form if it
is to exercise any influence over the affairs of mankind, or if its alumni
are to wield the power of education.

A great thinker and master of the expression of thought has told us:--

     It was before Deity, embodied in a human form, walking among men,
     partaking of their infirmities, leaning on their bosoms, weeping over
     their graves, slumbering in the manger, bleeding on the cross, that
     the prejudices of the Synagogue, and the doubts of the Academy, and
     the pride of the Portico, and the fasces of the Lictor, and the swords
     of thirty Legions, were humbled in the dust.[6]

[Footnote 6: Macaulay's _Essay on Milton_.]

If college-bred men are to exercise the influence over the progress of the
world which ought to be their portion, they must exhibit in their lives a
knowledge and a learning which is marked with candor, humility, and the
honest mind.

The present is ever influenced mightily by the past. Patrick Henry spoke
with great wisdom when he declared to the Continental Congress, "I have but
one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience."
Mankind is finite. It has the limits of all things finite. The processes of
government are subject to the same limitations, and, lacking imperfections,
would be something more than human. It is always easy to discover flaws,
and, pointing them out, to criticize. It is not so easy to suggest
substantial remedies or propose constructive policies. It is characteristic
of the unlearned that they are forever proposing something which is old,
and, because it has recently come to their own attention, supposing it to
be new. Into this error men of liberal education ought not to fall. The
forms and processes of government are not new. They have been known,
discussed, and tried in all their varieties through the past ages. That
which America exemplifies in her Constitution and system of representative
government is the most modern, and of any yet devised gives promise of
being the most substantial and enduring.

It is not unusual to hear arguments against our institutions and our
government, addressed particularly to recent arrivals and the sons of
recent arrivals to our shores. They sometimes take the form of a claim that
our institutions were founded long ago; that changed conditions require
that they now be changed. Especially is it claimed by those seeking such
changes that these new arrivals and men of their race and ideas had no hand
in the making of our country, and that it was formed by those who were
hostile to them and therefore they owe it no support. Whatever may be the
condition in relation to others, and whatever ignorance and bigotry may
imagine such arguments do not apply to those of the race and blood so
prominent in this assemblage. To establish this it were but necessary to
cite eleven of the fifty-five signers of the Declaration of Independence,
and recall that on the roll of Washington's generals were Sullivan, Knox,
Wayne, and the gallant son of Trinity College, Dublin, who fell at Quebec
at the head of his troops--Richard Montgomery. But scholarship has answered
ignorance. The learned and patriotic research of men of the education of
Dr. James J. Walsh and Michael J. O'Brien, the historian of the Irish
American Society, has demonstrated that a generous portion of the rank and
file of the men who fought in the Revolution and supported those who framed
our institutions was not alien to those who are represented here. It is no
wonder that from among such that which is American has drawn some of its
most steadfast defenders.

In these days of violent agitation scholarly men should reflect that the
progress of the past has been accomplished not by the total overthrow of
institutions so much as by discarding that which was bad and preserving
that which was good; not by revolution but by evolution has man worked out
his destiny. We shall miss the central feature of all progress unless we
hold to that process now. It is not a question of whether our institutions
are perfect. The most beneficent of our institutions had their beginnings
in forms which would be particularly odious to us now. Civilization began
with war and slavery; government began in absolute despotism; and religion
itself grew out of superstition which was oftentimes marked with human
sacrifices. So out of our present imperfections we shall develop that which
is more perfect. But the candid mind of the scholar will admit and seek to
remedy all wrongs with the same zeal with which it defends all rights.

From the knowledge and the learning of the scholar there ought to be
developed an abiding faith. What is the teaching of all history? That which
is necessary for the welfare and progress of the human race has never been
destroyed. The discoverers of truth, the teachers of science, the makers of
inventions, have passed to their last rewards, but their works have
survived. The Phoenician galleys and the civilization which was born of
their commerce have perished, but the alphabet which that people perfected
remains. The shepherd kings of Israel, the temple and empire of Solomon,
have gone the way of all the earth, but the Old Testament has been
preserved for the inspiration of mankind. The ark of the covenant and the
seven-pronged candlestick have passed from human view; the inhabitants of
Judea have been dispersed to the ends of the earth, but the New Testament
has survived and increased in its influence among men. The glory of Athens
and Sparta, the grandeur of the Imperial City, are a long-lost memory, but
the poetry of Homer and Virgil, the oratory of Demosthenes and Cicero, the
philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, abide with us forevermore. Whatever
America holds that may be of value to posterity will not pass away.

The long and toilsome processes which have marked the progress of the past
cannot be shunned by the present generation to our advantage. We have no
right to expect as our portion something substantially different from human
experience in the past. The constitution of the universe does not change.
Human nature remains constant. That service and sacrifice which have been
the price of past progress are the price of progress now.

This is not a gospel of despair, but of hope and high expectation. Out of
many tribulations mankind has pressed steadily onward. The opportunity for
a rational existence was never before so great. Blessings were never so
bountiful. But the evidence was never so overwhelming as now that men and
nations must live rationally or perish.

The defences of our Commonwealth are not material but mental and spiritual.
Her fortifications, her castles, are her institutions of learning. Those
who are admitted to the college campus tread the ramparts of the State. The
classic halls are the armories from which are furnished forth the knights
in armor to defend and support our liberty. For such high purpose has Holy
Cross been called into being. A firm foundation of the Commonwealth. A
defender of righteousness. A teacher of holy men. Let her turrets continue
to rise, showing forth "the way, the truth and the light"--

     In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
     And with their mild persistence urge man's search
     To vaster issues.[7]

[Footnote 7: George Eliot's "O may I join the choir invisible."]



[Footnote 8: From _Scribner's Magazine_, May, 1917. Copyright, 1917, by
Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of the author and of the

The outstanding feature of our immigration policy has been its negative
character. The immigrant is expected to look out for himself. Up to the
present time legislation has been guided by conditions which prevailed in
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We have permitted the immigrant
to come; only recently has he been examined for physical, mental, and moral
defects at the port of debarkation, and then he has been permitted to land
and go where he willed. This was the practice in colonial days. It has been
continued without essential change down to the present time. It was a
policy which worked reasonably well in earlier times, when the immigrant
passed from the ship to land to be had from the Indians, or in later
generations from the government.

And from generation to generation the immigrant moved westward, just beyond
the line of settlement, where he found a homestead awaiting his labor.
These were the years of Anglo-Saxon, of German, of Scandinavian, of north
European settlement, when the immigration to this country was almost
exclusively from the same stock. And so long as land was to be had for the
asking there was no immigration problem. The individual States were eager
for settlers to develop their resources. There were few large cities.
Industry was just beginning. There was relatively little poverty, while the
tenements and slums of our cities and mining districts had not yet
appeared. This was the period of the "old immigration," as it is called;
the immigration from the north of Europe, from the same stock that had made
the original settlements in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia,
and the South; it was the same stock that settled Ohio and the Middle West,
Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.

The "old immigration" from northern Europe ceased to be predominant in the
closing years of the last century. Then the tide shifted to southern
Europe, to Italy, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Poland, and the Balkans. A new
strain was being added to our Anglo-Saxon, Germanic stock. The "new
immigration" did not speak our language. It was unfamiliar with
self-government. It was largely illiterate. And with this shift from the
"old immigration" to the "new," immigration increased in volume. In 1892
the total immigration was 579,663; in 1894 it fell to 285,631. As late as
1900 it was but 448,572. Then it began to rise. In 1903 it was 857,046; in
1905 it reached the million mark; and from that time down to the outbreak
of the war the total immigration averaged close on to a million a year, the
total arrivals in 1914 being 1,218,480. Almost all of the increase came
from southern Europe, over 70 per cent of the total being from the Latin
and Slavic countries. In 1914 Austria contributed 134,831 people; Hungary
143,321; Italy 283,734; Russia 255,660; while the United Kingdom
contributed 73,417; Germany 35,734; Norway 8,329; and Sweden 14,800.

For twenty years the predominant immigration has been from south and
central Europe. And it is this "new immigration," so called, that has
created the "immigration problem." It is largely responsible for the
agitation for restrictive legislation on the part of persons fearful of the
admixture of races, of the difficulties of assimilation, of the high
illiteracy of the southern group; and most of all for the opposition on the
part of organized labor to the competition of the unskilled army of men who
settle in the cities, who go to the mines, and who struggle for the
existing jobs in competition with those already here. For the newcomer has
to find work quickly. He has exhausted what little resources he had in
transportation. In the great majority of cases his transportation has been
advanced by friends and relatives already here, who have lured him to this
country by descriptions of better economic conditions, greater
opportunities for himself, and especially the new life which opens up to
his children. And this overseas competition _is_ a serious problem to
American labor, especially in the iron and steel industries, in the mining
districts, in railroad and other construction work, into which employments
the foreigners largely go.

How seriously the workers and our cities are burdened with this new
immigration from south and central Europe is indicated by the fact that 56
per cent of the foreign-born population in this country is in the States to
the east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio Rivers, to which at least
80 per cent of the present incoming immigrants are destined. In the larger
cities between 70 and 80 per cent of the population is either foreign born
or immediately descended from persons of foreign birth. In New York City
78.6 per cent of the people are of foreign birth or immediate foreign
extraction. In Boston the percentage is 74.2, in Cleveland 75.8, and in
Chicago 77.5. In the mining districts the percentage is even higher. In
other words, almost all of the immigration of the last twenty years has
gone to the cities, to industry, to mining. Here the immigrant competes
with organized labor. He burdens our inadequate housing accommodations. He
congests the tenements. He is at least a problem for democracy.

But the effect of immigration on our life is not as simple as the advocates
of restriction insist. It is probable that the struggle of the working
classes to improve their conditions is rendered more difficult by the
incoming tide of unskilled labor. It is probable too that wages are kept
down in certain occupations and that employers are desirous of keeping open
the gate as a means of securing cheap labor and labor that is difficult to
organize. It is also probably true that the immigrant is a temporary burden
to democracy and especially to our cities. But the subject is not nearly as
simple as this. The immigrant is a consumer as well as a producer. He
creates a market for the products of labor even while he competes with
labor. And he creates new trades and new industries, like the clothing
trades of New York, Chicago, and Cleveland, which employ hundreds of
thousands of workers. And a large part of the immigrants assimilate

In addition, the new stock from southern and central Europe brings to this
country qualities of mind and of temperament that may in time greatly
enrich the more severe and practical-minded races of northern Europe.

But it is not the purpose of this article to discuss the question of
immigration restriction or the kinds of tests that should be applied to the
incoming alien. It is rather to consider the internal or domestic policy we
have thus far adopted after the immigrant has landed on our shores. And
this policy has been wholly negative. Our attitude toward the immigrant has
undergone little change from the very beginning, when immigration was
easily absorbed by the free lands of the West. Even at the present time our
legislative policy is an outgrowth of the assumption that the immigrant
could go to the land and secure a homestead of his own; and of the
additional assumption that he needed no assistance or direction when he
reached this country any more than did the immigrants of earlier centuries.

Up to the present time, with the exception of the Oriental races, there has
been no real restriction to immigration. Our policy has been selective
rather than restrictive. Of those arriving certain individuals are rejected
by the immigration authorities because of some defect of mind, of body, or
of morals, or because of age infirmity, or some other cause by reason of
which the aliens are likely to become public charges. For the official year
1914, of the 1,218,480 applying for admission 15,745 were excluded because
they were likely to become a public charge; 6,537 were afflicted with
physical or mental infirmities affecting their ability to earn a living;
3,257 were afflicted with tuberculosis or with contagious diseases; and
1,274 with serious mental defects. All told, in that year less than 2 per
cent of the total number applying for admission were rejected and sent back
to the countries from which they came.

Our immigration policy ends with the selection. From the stations the
immigrants pass into the great cities, chiefly into New York, or are placed
upon the trains leaving the ports of debarkation for the interior. They are
not directed to any destination, and, most important of all, no effort is
made to place them on the land under conditions favorable to successful
agriculture. And this is the problem of the future. It is a problem far
bigger than the distribution of immigration. It is a problem of our entire
industrial life. For, while our immigrants are congested in the cities
agriculture suffers from a lack of labor. Farms are being abandoned. Not
more than one-third of the land in the United States is under cultivation.
Far more important still, millions of acres are held out of use. Land
monopoly prevails all over the Western States. According to the most
available statistics of land ownership, approximately 200,000,000 acres are
owned by less than 50,000 corporations and individual men. Many of these
estates exceed 10,000 or even 50,000 acres in extent. Some exceed the
million mark. States like California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, and other
Western States have great manorial preserves like those of England,
Prussia, and Russia which are held out of use or inadequately used, and
which have increased in value a hundredfold during the last fifty years.
These great estates are largely the result of the land grants given to the
railroads as well as the careless policy of the government in the disposal
of the public domain.

Here is one of the anomalies of the nation. Here is the real explanation of
the immigration problem. Here, too, is the division between the "old
immigration" and the "new immigration." For the "old immigration" from the
north of Europe went to the country. The "new immigration" has gone to the
cities because the land had all been given away and the only opportunity
for immediate employment was to be found in the cities and mining
districts. The "new immigration" from the South of Europe is as eager for
home-ownership as the "old immigration" from the north of Europe. But the
land is all gone, and the incoming alien is compelled to accept the first
job that is offered, or starve. It is this too that has stimulated the
protest on the part of labor against the incoming tide. For, so long as
land was accessible for all, the incoming immigrants went to the country,
where they could build their fortunes as they willed, just as they did in
earlier generations.

The European War has forced many new problems upon us. And one of these is
the relation of people to the land. Of one thing, at least, we may be
certain--that with the ending of the war there will be a competition for
men, a competition not only by the exhausted Powers of Europe but by
Canada, Australia, and America as well. Europe will endeavor to keep its
able-bodied men at home. They will be needed for reconstruction purposes.
There will be little immigration out of France; for France is a nation of
home-owning peasants and France has never contributed in material numbers
to our population. The same is true of Germany. Germany is the most highly
socialized state in Europe. The state owns the railways, many mines, and
great stretches of land. In England too the state has been socialized to a
remarkable extent as a result of the war. Russia and Austria-Hungary have
undergone something of the same transformation. When the war is over these
countries will probably endeavor to mobilize their men and women for
industry as they previously mobilized them for war. And in so far as they
are able to adjust credit and assistance to their people, they will strive
to keep them at home.

But that is not all. Millions of men have been killed or incapacitated.
Poland, Galicia, parts of Hungary and Russia have been devastated. Many
nobles who owned the great estates have been killed. Many of them are
bankrupt. Their land holdings may be broken up into small farms. The state
can only go on, taxes can only be collected if industry and agriculture are
brought back to life. And the nations of Europe are turning their attention
to a consciously worked out agricultural programme for putting the
returning soldiers back on the land. Not only that, but reports from
steamship and railroad companies indicate that large numbers of men are
planning to return to Europe after the war. The estimates, based upon
investigation, run as high as a million men. Poles and Hungarians are
imbued with the idea that land will be cheap in Europe and that the savings
they have accumulated in this country can be used for the purchase of small
holdings in their native country, through the possession of which their
social and economic status will be materially improved.

I have no doubt but that the years which follow the ending of the war will
see an exodus from this country which may be as great as the incoming tide
in the years of our highest immigration. Along with this exodus to Europe,
Canada will endeavor to repeople her land. Western Canada especially is
working out an agricultural and land programme. Even before the war her
provinces had removed taxes from houses and improvements and were
increasing the taxes upon vacant land, with the aim of breaking up land
speculation. And this policy will probably be largely extended after the
war is over. England, too, is developing a comprehensive land policy, and
is placing returning soldiers upon the land under conditions similar to
those provided in the Irish Land Purchase Act. It is not improbable that
the war will be followed by a breaking up of many of the great estates in
England and the settlement of many men upon the land in farm colonies, such
as have been worked out in Denmark and Germany. Even prior to the war
Germany had placed hundreds of thousands of persons upon the state-owned
farms and on private estates which had been acquired by the government for
this purpose. Over $400,000,000 has been appropriated for the purpose of
encouraging home-ownership in Germany during recent years.

All over the world, in fact, the necessity of a new governmental policy in
regard to agriculture is being recognized. Thousands of Danish agricultural
workers have been converted into home-owning farmers through the aid of the
government. To-day 90 per cent of the farmers in Denmark own their own
farms, while only 10 per cent are tenants. The government advances 90 per
cent of the cost of a farm, the farmer being required to advance only the
remaining 10 per cent. In addition, teachers and inspectors employed by the
state give instruction as to farming, marketing, and the use of coöperative
agencies, while the railroads are owned by the state and operated with an
eye to the development of agriculture. As a result of this, Denmark has
become the world's agricultural experiment-station. The immigration from
Denmark has practically ceased, as it has from other countries of Europe in
which peasant proprietorship prevails.

In my opinion, immigration to the United States will be profoundly
influenced by these big land-colonization projects of the European nations.
It may be that large numbers of men with their savings will be lured away
from the United States. As a result, agricultural produce in the United
States may be materially reduced. Even now there is a great shortage of
agricultural labor, while tenancy has been increasing at a very rapid rate.
And America may be confronted with the immediate necessity of competing
with Europe to keep people in this country. A measure is now before
Congress looking to the development of farm colonies, in which the
government will acquire large stretches of land to be sold on easy terms of
payment to would-be farmers, who are permitted to repay the initial cost in
installments covering a long period of years. Similar measures are under
discussion in California, in which State a comprehensive investigation has
been made of the subject of tenancy and the possibility of farm settlement.
Looking in the same direction are the declarations of many farmers'
organizations throughout the West for the taxing of land as a means of
ending land monopoly and land speculation. This is one of the cardinal
planks in the platform of the non-partisan organization of farmers of North
Dakota which swept the State in the last election. Every branch of the
government was captured by the farmers, whose platform declared for the
untaxing of all kinds of farm-improvements and an increase in the tax rate
on unimproved land as a means of developing the State and ending the
idle-land speculation which prevails.

If such a policy as this were adopted for the nation as a whole; if the
idle land now held out of use were opened up to settlement; if the
government were to provide ready-made farms to be paid for upon easy terms,
and if, along with this, facilities for marketing, for terminals, for
slaughter-houses, and for agencies for bringing the produce of the farms to
the markets were provided, not only would agriculture be given a fillip
which it badly needs but the congestion of our cities and the immigration
problem would be open to easy solution. Then for many generations to come
land would be available in abundance. For America could support many times
its present population if the resources of the country were opened up to
use. Germany with 67,000,000 people could be placed inside of Texas. And
Texas is but one of forty-eight States. Under such a policy the government
could direct immigration to places of profitable settlement; it could
relieve the congestion of the cities and Americanize the immigrant under
conditions similar to those which prevailed from the first landing in New
England down to the enclosure of the continent in the closing days of the
last century. For the immigration problem is and always has been an
economic problem. And back of all other conditions of national well-being
is the proper relation of the people to the land.



[Footnote 9: Address at the National Industrial Conference, Washington, D.
C., Oct. 16, 1919. By permission.]

The experience through which our country has passed in the months of war,
exhibiting as it has the willingness of all Americans without distinction
of race, creed, or class to sacrifice personal ends for a great ideal and
to work together in a spirit of brotherhood and coöperation, has been a
revelation to our own people, and a cause for congratulations to us all.
Now that the stimulus of the war is over the question which confronts our
nation is how can these high levels of unselfish devotion to the common
good be maintained and extended to the civic life of the nation in times of

We have been called together to consider the industrial problem. Only as
each of us discharges his duties as a member of this conference in the same
high spirit of patriotism, of unselfish allegiance to right and justice, of
devotion to the principles of democracy and brotherhood with which we
approached the problems of the war, can we hope for success in the solution
of the industrial problem which is no less vital to the life of the nation.
There are pessimists who say that there is no solution short of revolution
and the overturn of the existing social order. Surely the men and women who
have shown themselves capable of such lofty sacrifice, who have actually
given themselves so freely, gladly, unreservedly, as the people of this
great country have during these past years, will stand together as
unselfishly in solving this great industrial problem as they did in dealing
with the problems of the war if only right is made clear and the way to a
solution pointed out.

The world position which our country holds to-day is due to the wide vision
of the statesmen who founded these United States and to the daring and
indomitable persistence of the great industrial leaders, together with the
myriads of men who with faith in their leadership have coöperated to rear
the marvelous industrial structure of which our country is justly so proud.
This result has been produced by the coöperation of the four factors in
industry, labor, capital, management and the public, the last represented
by the consumer and by organized government. No one of these groups can
alone claim credit for what has been accomplished. Just what is the
relative importance of the contribution made to the success of industry by
these several factors and what their relative rewards should be are
debatable questions. But however views may differ on these questions it is
clear that the common interest cannot be advanced by the effort of any one
party to dominate the other, to dictate arbitrarily the terms on which
alone it will cooperate, to threaten to withdraw if any attempt is made to
thwart the enforcement of its will. Such a position is as un-American as it
is intolerable.

Almost countless are the suggested solutions of the industrial problem
which have been brought forth since industry first began to be a problem.
Most of these are impracticable; some are unjust; some are selfish and
therefore unworthy; some of them have merit and should be carefully
studied. None can be looked to as a panacea. There are those who believe
that legislation is the cure-all for every social, economic, political, and
industrial ill. Much can be done by legislation to prevent injustice and
encourage right tendencies, but legislation will never solve the industrial
problem. Its solution can be brought about only by the introduction of a
new spirit into the relationship between the parties to industry--a spirit
of justice and brotherhood.

The personal relationship which existed in bygone days is essential to the
development of this new spirit. It must be reëstablished; if not in its
original form at least as nearly so as possible. In the early days of the
development of industry, the employer and capital investor were frequently
one. Daily contact was had between him and his employees, who were his
friends and neighbors. Any questions which arose on either side were taken
up at once and readily adjusted. A feeling of genuine friendliness, mutual
confidence, and stimulating interest in the common enterprise was the
result. How different is the situation to-day! Because of the proportions
which modern industry has attained, employers and employees are too often
strangers to each other. Personal contact, so vital to the success of any
enterprise, is practically unknown, and naturally, misunderstanding,
suspicion, distrust, and too often hatred have developed, bringing in their
train all the industrial ills which have become far too common. Where men
are strangers and have no points of contact, this is the usual outcome. On
the other hand, where men meet frequently about a table, rub elbows,
exchange views and discuss matters of common interest, almost invariably it
happens that the vast majority of their differences quickly disappear and
friendly relations are established. Much of the strife and bitterness in
industrial relations results from lack of ability or willingness on the
part of both labor and capital to view their common problems each from the
other's point of view.

A man who recently devoted some months to studying the industrial problem
and who came in contact with thousands of workmen in various industries
throughout the country has said that it was obvious to him from the outset
that the working men were seeking for something, which at first he thought
to be higher wages. As his touch with them extended, he came to the
conclusion, however, that not higher wages but recognition as men was what
they really sought. What joy can there be in life, what interest can a man
take in his work, what enthusiasm can he be expected to develop on behalf
of his employer, when he is regarded as a number on a payroll, a cog in a
wheel, a mere "hand"? Who would not earnestly seek to gain recognition of
his manhood and the right to be heard and treated as a human being, not as
a machine?

While obviously under present conditions those who invest their capital in
an industry, often numbered by the thousand, cannot have personal
acquaintance with the thousands and tens of thousands of those who invest
their labor, contact between these two parties in interest can and must be
established, if not directly then through their respective representatives.
The resumption of such personal relation through frequent conference and
current meetings, held for the consideration of matters of common interest
such as terms of employment, and working and living conditions, is
essential in order to restore a spirit of mutual confidence, good will, and
coöperation. Personal relations can be revived under modern conditions only
through the adequate representation of the employees. Representation is a
principle which is fundamentally just and vital to the successful conduct
of industry. This is the principle upon which the democratic government of
our country is founded. On the battlefields of France this nation poured
out its blood freely in order that democracy might be maintained at home
and that its beneficent institutions might become available in other lands
as well. Surely it is not consistent for us as Americans to demand
democracy in government and practice autocracy in industry.

What can this conference do to further the establishment of democracy in
industry and lay a sure and solid foundation for the permanent development
of coöperation, good-will, and industrial well being? To undertake to agree
on the details of plans and methods is apt to lead to endless controversy
without constructive result. Can we not, however, unite in the adoption of
the principle of representation, and the agreement to make every effort to
secure the endorsement and acceptance of this principle by all chambers of
commerce, industrial and commercial bodies, and all organizations of labor?
Such action I feel confident would be overwhelmingly backed by public
opinion and cordially approved by the federal government. The assurance
thus given of a closer relationship between the parties to industry would
further justice, promote good-will, and help to bridge the gulf between
capital and labor.

It is not for this or any other body to undertake to determine for industry
at large what form representation shall take. Once having adopted the
principle of representation, it is obviously wise that the method to be
employed should be left in each specific instance to be determined by the
parties in interest. If there is to be peace and good will between the
several parties in industry, it will surely not be brought about by the
enforcement upon unwilling groups of a method which in their judgment is
not adapted to their peculiar needs. In this as in all else, persuasion is
an essential element in bringing about conviction. With the developments in
industry what they are to-day there is sure to come a progressive evolution
from autocratic single control, whether by capital, labor, or the state, to
democratic coöperative control by all three. The whole movement is
evolutionary. That which is fundamental is the idea of representation, and
that idea must find expression in those forms which will serve it best,
with conditions, forces, and times, what they are.



[Footnote 10: Reprinted from _John Stuyvesant, Ancestor_, by Alvin Johnson.
Copyright, 1919, by Harcourt, Brace and Howe, Inc. By permission of the
author and of the publishers.]

My uncle only by marriage, he is naturally the less intelligible and the
more intriguing to me. I can't say with assurance whether I feel absolutely
at home with him or not, but I think I do. Always he has treated me with
the utmost kindness. That he regards me exactly as a nephew of the blood,
he makes frequent occasion to assure me, especially on his birthday, which
we all make much of, since it is about the only day when we are chartered
to sentimentalize quite shamelessly over him. But behind his solemn face
and straight, quizzical gaze, I often detect a lurking reservation in his
judgment of me. He thinks, I believe, that I have not been altogether
weaned of the potentates and powers I abjured when I crossed the water to
become a member of his family. Not that he greatly cares. Potentates and
powers, emperors, kings, princes, are treasured words in his oratorical
vocabulary--he could not very well do without them. He is a democrat, and
he declares that in the presence of hereditary majesties, he would most
resolutely refuse to bend the knee. No doubt he would, and his instinct is
correct æsthetically as well as morally. It's a stiff knee he wears, and
you can't help smiling at the thought of the two long members of his leg,
tightly cased in striped trousers, arranging themselves in an obsequious
right angle. Erect and stiff, chest out, chin whiskers to front, eyes
blinking independently, my uncle is superb. Or when he raises his hat with
a large, outward gesture of his arm, bowing slightly from the shoulders, in
affable salutation. Or most of all, when his fists clench, his jaws display
big nervous knots, his eyes gleam with hard blue light in wrath over some
palpable iniquity, some base cowardice, some outrageous act of cruelty or

The mood of rage is, to be sure, infrequent with him, and he prides himself
in a self-control that forbids him to act upon it. Therefore, certain cocky
foreign fellows, upholders of the duty of fighting at the drop of the hat,
have charged that our uncle would place peace above honor. And some of us,
his nephews, are not exactly easy under the charge. It seems to reflect on
us. But most of us really know better. Our uncle hates trouble, and prefers
argument to fists. But nobody had better presume too much upon his distaste
for violence.

Pugnacity, declares my uncle, is a form of sentimentalism, and all
sentimentalism is despicable. This is a practical world. Determine the
value of what you are after and count the cost. And wherever you can,
reduce all items to dollars and cents. "Aha!" cry the hostile critics of
our house, "what a gross materialist!" And some, even of the nephews of the
blood, repeat the taunt behind our good uncle's back. At first I too
thought there might be something in it. But I was forced to a different
view by dint of reflection on the notorious fact that my uncle is far
readier in a good cause to "shell out" his dollars and cents than any of
his idealistic critics. Reduction of a problem to dollars and cents, I have
come to see, is just his means of arriving at definiteness. My uncle wants
to do a good business, whether in the gross joys of the flesh or in the
benefits of salvation. The Lord's cause, he thinks, ought to be as solvent
as the world's. A naïve view? To be sure, but not one that argues a base

This insistence of my uncle on definiteness, on the financial solvency of
every enterprise, does to be sure get on the nerves of many of us. He'll
drop into your studio, dispose his long, bony body in your most comfortable
chair and ruminate for hours while you work. You are immersed in a very
significant problem. You are at the point, we will say, of discovering how
to convey the sound of bells by pure color. "May I ask," he says finally,
"what in thunder are you trying to do?" You explain at length,
enthusiastically. He hears you through, with visible effort to suspend
judgment. You pause and scan his face for a responsive glow. He rises, pats
you gently on the shoulder. "My boy, I can put you into a good job down in
the stockyards. Fine prospects, and a good salary to begin with. I ran in
to see your wife and youngsters yesterday and they're looking rather
peaked. Not much of a living for them in this sort of thing, you know. Of
course it is mighty interesting. But don't you think you could manage to do
something with it in your free time?"

It can't be denied, in the matter of the family relation my uncle is
hopelessly reactionary. In his view almost the whole duty of man is to keep
his wife well housed, well dressed, contented, and his children plump and
rosy. To abate a tittle from this requirement my uncle regards as pure
embezzlement. You try to make him see the counterclaims upon you of
science, literature, art. "Yes, yes, those things are all very fine, but
will you rob your own wife and children for them?"

I wonder whether this myopia of my uncle is due to the fact that he is a
confirmed old bachelor, and all women and children are to him pure ideals,
as much sweeter than all other ideals as they are more substantial? He
poses, to be sure, as a depreciator of woman. "Just like a woman," "women's
frivolity," "useless little feminine trinkets," are phrases always on his
lips. But watch his caressing expression as he listens to the chatter of
Cousin Thisbe, the most empty-headed little creature who ever wore glowing
cheeks and bright curls. Let anybody get into trouble with his wife or
sweetheart, and my uncle straightway takes up the cudgels for the lady. The
merits of the case don't matter: a lady is always right, or if she isn't,
it's a mighty mean man who'll insist on it.

His nephews of the blood are firmly convinced that the reason why our uncle
is such a fool about women in general is because he has never been in love
with any woman in particular. Thus do members of a family blind themselves
with dogmas about one another. I, being more or less of an outsider, can
observe without preconceptions. Now I assert, in spite of his consistent
pose of serene indifference to particular charms, my uncle's temperament is
that of a man forever in love with somebody or other. He is strong, he is
simple, he is pure, and should he escape the dart? Depend on it, he has
fallen in love not once or twice, but often and often. And the
probabilities are, he has been loved, though not so often. And--this would
be an impious speculation if I were nephew of the blood--how has he
behaved, in the rare latter event? As a man in the presence of a miracle
done for his sole benefit. He has exulted, then doubted its reality, then
betaken himself to the broad prairie, where he is most at home, to cool his
blood in the north wind, and restore himself to the serenity, the freedom
from entanglements, befitting an uncle at the head of his tribe. This, you
say, is all conjecture, deduced from the behavior of those of his nephews
who most resemble him? No. Do you not recall that early affair of his, with
the dark vivacious lady--Marianne, I believe, was her name? Do you not
recall a later affair with a very young, cold lady from the land of the
snows? Do you not recall his maturer devotion to the noble lady of the
trident, his cousin? And--but I'll not descend to idle gossip.

As you can see, I do not wholly accept my uncle, as he is. I wish he
weren't so insistent upon reducing everything to simple, definite terms,
whether it will reduce to such terms or not. I wish he would give more
thought to making his conduct correct as well as unimpeachable. I'm for him
when his inferiors laugh at him, but I wish he would manage to thwart their
malicious desire to laugh. I wish he were less disposed to scoff gently at
my attempts to direct his education. Just the same, he is the biggest,
kindliest, most honest and honorable tribal head that ever lived. And you
won't find a trace of these reservations in the enthusiasm with which I
shall wish him many thousands of happy returns, next Fourth of July.



[Footnote 11: From _The Century Magazine_, June, 1901. Copyright 1901, by
Harper and Brothers, and published by them in 1915 in a volume entitled
_When a Man Comes to Himself_. By permission of the author and of the

It is a very wholesome and regenerating change which a man undergoes when
he "comes to himself." It is not only after periods of recklessness or
infatuation, when he has played the spendthrift or the fool, that a man
comes to himself. He comes to himself after experiences of which he alone
may be aware: when he has left off being wholly preoccupied with his own
powers and interests and with every petty plan that centers in himself;
when he has cleared his eyes to see the world as it is, and his own true
place and function in it.

It is a process of disillusionment. The scales have fallen away. He sees
himself soberly, and knows under what conditions his powers must act, as
well as what his powers are. He has got rid of earlier prepossessions about
the world of men and affairs, both those which were too favorable and those
which were too unfavorable--both those of the nursery and those of a young
man's reading. He has learned his own paces, or, at any rate, is in a fair
way to learn them; has found his footing and the true nature of the "going"
he must look for in the world; over what sorts of roads he must expect to
make his running, and at what expenditure of effort; whither his goal lies,
and what cheer he may expect by the way. It is a process of
disillusionment, but it disheartens no soundly made man. It brings him into
a light which guides instead of deceiving him; a light which does not make
the way look cold to any man whose eyes are fit for use in the open, but
which shines wholesomely, rather, upon the obvious path, like the honest
rays of the frank sun, and makes traveling both safe and cheerful.

There is no fixed time in a man's life at which he comes to himself, and
some men never come to themselves at all. It is a change reserved for the
thoroughly sane and healthy, and for those who can detach themselves from
tasks and drudgery long and often enough to get, at any rate once and
again, view of the proportions of life and of the stage and plot of its
action. We speak often with amusement, sometimes with distaste and
uneasiness, of men who "have no sense of humor," who take themselves too
seriously, who are intense, self-absorbed, over-confident in matters of
opinion, or else go plumed with conceit, proud of we cannot tell what,
enjoying, appreciating, thinking of nothing so much as themselves. These
are men who have not suffered that wholesome change. They have not come to
themselves. If they be serious men, and real forces in the world, we may
conclude that they have been too much and too long absorbed; that their
tasks and responsibilities long ago rose about them like a flood, and have
kept them swimming with sturdy stroke the years through, their eyes level
with the troubled surface--no horizon in sight, no passing fleets, no
comrades but those who struggle in the flood like themselves. If they be
frivolous, lightheaded, men without purpose or achievement, we may
conjecture, if we do not know, that they were born so, or spoiled by
fortune, or befuddled by self-indulgence. It is no great matter what we
think of them.

It is enough to know that there are some laws which govern a man's
awakening to know himself and the right part to play. A man _is_ the part
he plays among his fellows. He is not isolated; he cannot be. His life is
made up of the relations he bears to others--is made or marred by those
relations, guided by them, judged by them, expressed in them. There is
nothing else upon which he can spend his spirit--nothing else that we can
see. It is by these he gets his spiritual growth; it is by these we see his
character revealed, his purpose, and his gifts. Some play with a certain
natural passion, an unstudied directness, without grace, without
modulation, with no study of the masters or consciousness of the pervading
spirit of the plot; others give all their thought to their costume and
think only of the audience; a few act as those who have mastered the
secrets of a serious art, with deliberate subordination of themselves to
the great end and motive of the play, spending themselves like good
servants, indulging no wilfulness, obtruding no eccentricity, lending heart
and tone and gesture to the perfect progress of the action. These have
"found themselves," and have all the ease of a perfect adjustment.

Adjustment is exactly what a man gains when he comes to himself. Some men
gain it late, some early; some get it all at once, as if by one distinct
act of deliberate accommodation; others get it by degrees and quite
imperceptibly. No doubt to most men it comes by the slow processes of
experience--at each stage of life a little. A college man feels the first
shock of it at graduation, when the boy's life has been lived out and the
man's life suddenly begins. He has measured himself with boys, he knows
their code and feels the spur of their ideals of achievement. But what the
world expects of him he has yet to find out, and it works, when he has
discovered it, a veritable revolution in his ways both of thought and of
action. He finds a new sort of fitness demanded of him, executive,
thoroughgoing, careful of details, full of drudgery and obedience to
orders. Everybody is ahead of him. Just now he was a senior, at the top of
a world he knew and reigned in, a finished product and pattern of good
form. Of a sudden he is a novice again, as green as in his first school
year, studying a thing that seems to have no rules--at sea amid
cross-winds, and a bit seasick withal. Presently, if he be made of stuff
that will shake into shape and fitness, he settles to his tasks and is
comfortable. He has come to himself: understands what capacity is, and what
it is meant for; sees that his training was not for ornament, or personal
gratification, but to teach him how to use himself and develop faculties
worth using. Henceforth there is a zest in action, and he loves to see his
strokes tell.

The same thing happens to the lad come from the farm into the city, a big
and novel field, where crowds rush and jostle, and a rustic boy must stand
puzzled for a little how to use his placid and unjaded strength. It
happens, too, though in a deeper and more subtle way, to the man who
marries for love, if the love be true and fit for foul weather. Mr. Bagehot
used to say that a bachelor was "an amateur in life," and wit and wisdom
are married in the jest. A man who lives only for himself has not begun to
live--has yet to learn his use, and his real pleasure too, in the world. It
is not necessary he should marry to find himself out, but it is necessary
he should love. Men have come to themselves serving their mothers with an
unselfish devotion, or their sisters, or a cause for whose sake they
forsook ease and left off thinking of themselves. It is unselfish action,
growing slowly into the high habit of devotion, and at last, it may be,
into a sort of consecration, that teaches a man the wide meaning of his
life, and makes of him a steady professional in living, if the motive be
not necessity, but love. Necessity may make a mere drudge of a man, and no
mere drudge ever made a professional of himself; that demands a higher
spirit and a finer incentive than his.

Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in
him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit
for. It is only then that he knows of what he is capable and what his heart
demands. And, assuredly, no thoughtful man ever came to the end of his
life, and had time and a little space of calm from which to look back upon
it, who did not know and acknowledge that it was what he had done
unselfishly and for others, and nothing else, that satisfied him in the
retrospect, and made him feel that he had played the man. That alone seems
to him the real measure of himself, the real standard of his manhood. And
so men grow by having responsibility laid upon them, the burden of other
people's business. Their powers are put out at interest, and they get usury
in kind. They are like men multiplied. Each counts manifold. Men who live
with an eye only upon what is their own are dwarfed beside them--seem
fractions while they are integers. The trustworthiness of men trusted seems
often to grow with the trust.

It is for this reason that men are in love with power and greatness: it
affords them so pleasurable an expansion of faculty, so large a run for
their minds, an exercise of spirit so various and refreshing; they have the
freedom of so wide a tract of the world of affairs. But if they use power
only for their own ends, if there be no unselfish service in it, if its
object be only their personal aggrandizement, their love to see other men
tools in their hands, they go out of the world small, disquieted, beggared,
no enlargement of soul vouchsafed them, no usury of satisfaction. They have
added nothing to themselves. Mental and physical powers alike grow by use,
as every one knows; but labor for one's self alone is like exercise in a
gymnasium. No healthy man can remain satisfied with it, or regard it as
anything but a preparation for tasks in the open, amid the affairs of the
world--not sport, but business--where there is no orderly apparatus, and
every man must devise the means by which he is to make the most of himself.
To make the most of himself means the multiplication of his activities, and
he must turn away from himself for that. He looks about him, studies the
face of business or of affairs, catches some intimation of their larger
objects, is guided by the intimation, and presently finds himself part of
the motive force of communities or of nations. It makes no difference how
small a part, how insignificant, how unnoticed. When his powers begin to
play outward, and he loves the task at hand not because it gains him a
livelihood but because it makes him a life, he has come to himself.

Necessity is no mother to enthusiasm. Necessity carries a whip. Its method
is compulsion, not love. It has no thought to make itself attractive; it is
content to drive. Enthusiasm comes with the revelation of true and
satisfying objects of devotion; and it is enthusiasm that sets the powers
free. It is a sort of enlightenment. It shines straight upon ideals, and
for those who see it the race and struggle are henceforth toward these. An
instance will point the meaning. One of the most distinguished and most
justly honored of our great philanthropists spent the major part of his
life absolutely absorbed in the making of money--so it seemed to those who
did not know him. In fact, he had very early passed the stage at which he
looked upon his business as a means of support or of material comfort.
Business had become for him an intellectual pursuit, a study in enterprise
and increment. The field of commerce lay before him like a chess-board; the
moves interested him like the manoeuvres of a game. More money was more
power, a greater advantage in the game, the means of shaping men and events
and markets to his own ends and uses. It was his will that set fleets
afloat and determined the havens they were bound for; it was his foresight
that brought goods to market at the right time; it was his suggestion that
made the industry of unthinking men efficacious; his sagacity saw itself
justified at home not only, but at the ends of the earth. And as the money
poured in, his government and mastery increased, and his mind was the more
satisfied. It is so that men make little kingdoms for themselves, and an
international power undarkened by diplomacy, undirected by parliaments.

It is a mistake to suppose that the great captains of industry, the great
organizers and directors of manufacture and commerce and monetary exchange,
are engrossed in a vulgar pursuit of wealth. Too often they suffer the
vulgarity of wealth to display itself in the idleness and ostentation of
their wives and children, who "devote themselves," it may be, "to expense
regardless of pleasure"; but we ought not to misunderstand even that, or
condemn it unjustly. The masters of industry are often too busy with their
own sober and momentous calling to have time or spare thought enough to
govern their own households. A king may be too faithful a statesman to be a
watchful father. These men are not fascinated by the glitter of gold: the
appetite for power has got hold upon them. They are in love with the
exercise of their faculties upon a great scale; they are organizing and
overseeing a great part of the life of the world. No wonder they are
captivated. Business is more interesting than pleasure, as Mr. Bagehot
said, and when once the mind has caught its zest, there's no disengaging
it. The world has reason to be grateful for the fact.

It was this fascination that had got hold upon the faculties of the man
whom the world was afterward to know, not as a prince among merchants--for
the world forgets merchant princes--but as a prince among benefactors; for
beneficence breeds gratitude, gratitude admiration, admiration fame, and
the world remembers its benefactors. Business, and business alone,
interested him, or seemed to him worth while. The first time he was asked
to subscribe money for a benevolent object he declined. Why _should_ he
subscribe? What affair would be set forward, what increase of efficiency
would the money buy, what return would it bring in? Was good money to be
simply given away, like water poured on a barren soil, to be sucked up and
yield nothing? It was not until men who understood benevolence on its
sensible, systematic, practical, and really helpful side explained it to
him as an investment that his mind took hold of it and turned to it for
satisfaction. He began to see that education was a thing of infinite usury;
that money devoted to it would yield a singular increase, to which there
was no calculable end, an increase in perpetuity--increase of knowledge,
and therefore of intelligence and efficiency, touching generation after
generation with new impulses, adding to the sum total of the world's
fitness for affairs--an invisible but intensely real spiritual usury beyond
reckoning, because compounded in an unknown ratio from age to age.
Henceforward beneficence was as interesting to him as business--was,
indeed, a sort of sublimated business in which money moved new forces in a
commerce which no man could bind or limit.

He had come to himself--to the full realization of his powers, the true and
clear perception of what it was his mind demanded for its satisfaction. His
faculties were consciously stretched to their right measure, were at last
exercised at their best. He felt the keen zest, not of success merely, but
also of honor, and was raised to a sort of majesty among his fellow-men,
who attended him in death like a dead sovereign. He had died dwarfed had he
not broken the bonds of mere money-getting; would never have known himself
had he not learned how to spend it; and ambition itself could not have
shown him a straighter road to fame.

This is the positive side of a man's discovery of the way in which his
faculties are to be made to fit into the world's affairs and released for
effort in a way that will bring real satisfaction. There is a negative side
also. Men come to themselves by discovering their limitations no less than
by discovering their deeper endowments and the mastery that will make them
happy. It is the discovery of what they can _not_ do, and ought not to
attempt, that transforms reformers into statesmen; and great should be the
joy of the world over every reformer who comes to himself. The spectacle is
not rare; the method is not hidden. The practicability of every reform is
determined absolutely and always by "the circumstances of the case," and
only those who put themselves into the midst of affairs, either by action
or by observation, can know what those circumstances are or perceive what
they signify. No statesman dreams of doing whatever he pleases; he knows
that it does not follow that because a point of morals or of policy is
obvious to him it will be obvious to the nation, or even to his own
friends; and it is the strength of a democratic polity that there are so
many minds to be consulted and brought to agreement, and that nothing can
be wisely done for which the thought, and a good deal more than the
thought, of the country, its sentiment and its purpose, have not been
prepared. Social reform is a matter of coöperation, and, if it be of a
novel kind, requires an infinite deal of converting to bring the efficient
majority to believe in it and support it. Without their agreement and
support it is impossible.

It is this that the more imaginative and impatient reformers find out when
they come to themselves, if that calming change ever comes to them.
Oftentimes the most immediate and drastic means of bringing them to
themselves is to elect them to legislative or executive office. That will
reduce over-sanguine persons to their simplest terms. Not because they find
their fellow legislators or officials incapable of high purpose or
indifferent to the betterment of the communities which they represent. Only
cynics hold that to be the chief reason why we approach the millennium so
slowly, and cynics are usually very ill-informed persons. Nor is it because
under our modern democratic arrangements we so subdivide power and balance
parts in government that no one man can tell for much or turn affairs to
his will. One of the most instructive studies a politician could undertake
would be a study of the infinite limitations laid upon the power of the
Russian Czar, notwithstanding the despotic theory of the Russian
constitution--limitations of social habit, of official prejudice, of race
jealousies, of religious predilections, of administrative machinery even,
and the inconvenience of being himself only one man, and that a very young
one, over-sensitive and touched with melancholy. He can do only what can be
done with the Russian people. He can no more make them quick, enlightened,
and of the modern world of the West than he can change their tastes in
eating. He is simply the leader of Russians.

An English or American statesman is better off. He leads a thinking nation,
not a race of peasants topped by a class of revolutionists and a caste of
nobles and officials. He can explain new things to men able to understand,
persuade men willing and accustomed to make independent and intelligent
choices of their own. An English statesman has an even better opportunity
to lead than an American statesman, because in England executive power and
legislative initiative are both intrusted to the same grand committee, the
ministry of the day. The ministers both propose what shall be made law and
determine how it shall be enforced when enacted. And yet English reformers,
like American, have found office a veritable cold-water bath for their
ardor for change. Many a man who has made his place in affairs as the
spokesman of those who see abuses and demand their reformation has passed
from denunciation to calm and moderate advice when he got into Parliament,
and has turned veritable conservative when made a minister of the crown.
Mr. Bright was a notable example. Slow and careful men had looked upon him
as little better than a revolutionist so long as his voice rang free and
imperious from the platforms of public meetings. They greatly feared the
influence he should exercise in Parliament, and would have deemed the
constitution itself unsafe could they have foreseen that he would some day
be invited to take office and a hand of direction in affairs. But it turned
out that there was nothing to fear. Mr. Bright lived to see almost every
reform he had urged accepted and embodied in legislation; but he assisted
at the process of their realization with greater and greater temperateness
and wise deliberation as his part in affairs became more and more prominent
and responsible, and was at the last as little like an agitator as any man
that served the Queen.

It is not that such men lose courage when they find themselves charged with
the actual direction of the affairs concerning which they have held and
uttered such strong, unhesitating, drastic opinions. They have only learned
discretion. For the first time they see in its entirety what it was that
they were attempting. They are at last at close quarters with the world.
Men of every interest and variety crowd about them; new impressions throng
them; in the midst of affairs the former special objects of their zeal fall
into new environments, a better and truer perspective; seem no longer
susceptible to separate and radical change. The real nature of the complex
stuff of life they were seeking to work in is revealed to them--its
intricate and delicate fiber, and the subtle, secret interrelationship of
its parts--and they work circumspectly, lest they should mar more than they
mend. Moral enthusiasm is not, uninstructed and of itself, a suitable guide
to practicable and lasting reformation; and if the reform sought be the
reformation of others as well as of himself the reformer should look to it
that he knows the true relation of his will to the wills of those he would
change and guide. When he has discovered that relation he has come to
himself: has discovered his real use and planning part in the general world
of men; has come to the full command and satisfying employment of his
faculties. Otherwise he is doomed to live forever in a fools' paradise, and
can be said to have come to himself only on the supposition that he is a

Every man--if I may adopt and paraphrase a passage from Dr. South--every
man hath both an absolute and a relative capacity; an absolute in that he
hath been endued with such a nature and such parts and faculties; and a
relative in that he is part of the universal community of men, and so
stands in such a relation to the whole. When we say that a man has come to
himself, it is not of his absolute capacity that we are thinking, but of
his relative. He has begun to realize that he is part of a whole, and to
know _what_ part, suitable for what service and achievement.

It was once fashionable--and that not a very long time ago--to speak of
political society with a certain distaste, as a necessary evil, an
irritating but inevitable restriction upon the "natural" sovereignty and
entire self-government of the individual. That was the dream of the
egotist. It was a theory in which men were seen to strut in the proud
consciousness of their several and "absolute" capacities. It would be as
instructive as it would be difficult to count the errors it has bred in
political thinking. As a matter of fact, men have never dreamed of wishing
to do without the "trammels" of organized society, for the very good reason
that those trammels are in reality no trammels at all, but indispensable
aids and spurs to the attainment of the highest and most enjoyable things
man is capable of. Political society, the life of men in states, is an
abiding natural relationship. It is neither a mere convenience nor a mere
necessity. It is not a mere voluntary association, not a mere corporation.
It is nothing deliberate or artificial, devised for a special purpose. It
is in real truth the eternal and natural expression and embodiment of a
form of life higher than that of the individual--that common life of mutual
helpfulness, stimulation, and contest which gives leave and opportunity to
the individual life, makes it possible, makes it full and complete.

It is in such a scene that man looks about to discover his own place and
force. In the midst of men organized, infinitely cross-related, bound by
ties of interest, hope, affection, subject to authorities, to opinion, to
passion, to visions and desires which no man can reckon, he casts eagerly
about to find where he may enter in with the rest and be a man among his
fellows. In making his place he finds, if he seek intelligently and with
eyes that see, more than ease of spirit and scope for his mind. He finds
himself--as if mists had cleared away about him and he knew at last his
neighborhood among men and tasks.

What every man seeks is satisfaction. He deceives himself so long as he
imagines it to lie in self-indulgence, so long as he deems himself the
center and object of effort. His mind is spent in vain upon itself. Not in
action itself, not in "pleasure," shall it find its desires satisfied, but
in consciousness of right, of powers greatly and nobly spent. It comes to
know itself in the motives which satisfy it, in the zest and power of
rectitude. Christianity has liberated the world, not as a system of ethics,
not as a philosophy of altruism, but by its revelation of the power of pure
and unselfish love. Its vital principle is not its code, but its motive.
Love, clear-sighted, loyal, personal, is its breath and immortality. Christ
came, not to save himself, assuredly, but to save the world. His motive,
his example, are every man's key to his own gifts and happiness. The
ethical code he taught may no doubt be matched, here a piece and there a
piece, out of other religions, other teachings and philosophies. Every
thoughtful man born with a conscience must know a code of right and of pity
to which he ought to conform; but without the motive of Christianity,
without love, he may be the purest altruist and yet be as sad and as
unsatisfied as Marcus Aurelius.

Christianity gave us, in the fullness of time, the perfect image of right
living, the secret of social and of individual well-being; for the two are
not separable, and the man who receives and verifies that secret in his own
living has discovered not only the best and only way to serve the world,
but also the one happy way to satisfy himself. Then, indeed, has he come to
himself. Henceforth he knows what his powers mean, what spiritual air they
breathe, what ardors of service clear them of lethargy, relieve them all
sense of effort, put them at their best. After this fretfulness passes
away, experience mellows and strengthens and makes more fit, and old age
brings, not senility, not satiety, not regret, but higher hope and serene



[Footnote 12: A commencement address, reprinted from _The Spirit of
Indiana_, by William Lowe Bryan. Copyright, 1917, by the Indiana University
Bookstore. By permission of the author and of the publishers.]

Young ladies and gentlemen, your chief interest at present, as I suppose,
is in the occupations which you are about to follow. What I have to say
falls in line with that interest.

In the outset, I beg to remind you that every important occupation has been
made what it is by a guild--by an ancient guild whose history stretches
back in direct or indirect succession to the farthest antiquity. Every such
historic guild of artisans, scholars, lawyers, prophets, what not, rose,
one may be sure, to meet some deep social necessity. In every generation
those necessities were present demanding each the service of its share of
the population, demanding each the perpetuation of its guild. And because
in the historic arts and crafts and professions mankind has spent in every
generation all that it had of drudgery or of genius, it has won in _them_
its whole estate. The steel mill, the battleship, the court of justice, the
university--these and the like of them are not accidents, nor miracles of
individual invention, nor products of the vague longings and gropings of
society in general. They are each the product of a brotherhood, of
generations working to meet one social necessity, of an apostolic
succession of masters living in the service of one ideal. And so it is
these brotherhoods of labor, it is these grim brotherhoods covered with
grime and scars, that stand before you to-day inviting you to initiation.

The fact that an occupation can teach its far-brought wisdom to the men of
each generation makes civilization and progress possible. But this on one
condition, that many of the people and some of the best of them shall be
able to make that occupation their life business.

The law is not in a country when you have imported Blackstone's
Commentaries and the Statutes of Parliament. The law is in a country in the
persons of such lawyers as are there. It is there in John Marshall.

Religion is not in a country because we have built a church and furnished
it with cushions to sleep on once a week. It is there in Bishop Brooks and
Mr. Moody and the Salvation Army.

The steel business is not in Pittsburgh in an industrial museum where the
public may gad about on holidays. It is there in the men who earn their
living by knowing a little better each year how to make armor-plate.

All this ought to be a matter of course. But there are many who think that
science and art can be made to serve us at a cheaper price, that these
stern guilds will give up their secret treasures in extension lectures and
chautauqua clubs and twenty minutes a week in the public schools. History
will show, I think, that this is not true, that no art and no sort of
learning was ever vitally present among a people unless it was there as a
living occupation.

Learning has come to us in this sense only within the last quarter-century.
We were busy at other things before that. Our fathers were doing--as every
people must--what they had to do. They had to live, to establish a
government, and to maintain their fundamental faiths. They bent themselves
to these tasks with the energy of our breed. And the tasks have shaped our
national history and character. They gave us the Declaration of
Independence and the American farmer who takes for granted that its
principles are true. They gave us Chicago, the Amazon who stands yonder
with _I will_ written upon her shield and a throng of men who are fit to
serve her will. They gave us a Civil War--men who could fight it and
afterwards live together in peace. They gave us industry, law, democracy.
But not science, not art. These were not wholly absent, but they were
guests. They were here in the persons of a few men who in spite of all
difficulties did work at them as a life business.

In this far western village, for example, we had two men who brought here
the old English classical learning, two who more than fifty years ago had
been trained in the universities of Europe, and one whom the radical
instinct which set science going in the first place, called from a village
academy into membership in the international guild of scholars. What these
men did for sound learning and what they did through their pupils to uplift
every occupation in the State, it is wholly beyond our power to measure.
But one thing they could not do. They could not furnish to society more men
who should devote themselves to learning than society would furnish a
living for. And the bare fact is that there was a living for very few such
men in America in the days before the war. Within the past quarter-century
there has been a change in this respect so great that none fails to see it.
The millions that we have spent upon universities and high schools, the
vast plant of buildings and libraries and laboratories, fill the public eye
with amazement. But all this is the husk of what has happened. The real
thing is that these millions, this vast plant, these thousands of
_positions_ demanding trained men, have brought to life upon this ground
the guild of scholars. We do not need any more to exhort men to become
scholars. The spirit which was in Thales and Copernicus, in Agassiz and
Kirkwood, calls to the Hoosier farmboy in its own voice, and shows him a
clear path by which, if he is fit, he may join their great company.

And, if I am not mistaken, Art, which has also been a guest, is ready at
last to become a citizen. Why should it not? What is lacking? Yonder are
the works of art and the men who know. Here are the youths some share of
whom must by right belong to the service of Art. And here are the millions
which go to support men in every molehole of scientific research and other
millions spent stupidly and wantonly for whatever the shopkeepers tell us
is beautiful. We could not create these potential forces that make for art.
But if it is true that they are here, we can organize them, as David Starr
Jordan and the like of him less than twenty years ago organized the forces
that make for science. We can make a path through the school and the
university along which all the children of the State may go as far as they
will and along which those who are fit may enter the artist's life.

"The mission of society," says Geddes, "is to bring to bloom as many sorts
of genius as possible." And this it can do only when each sort of genius
has the chance to choose freely its own life occupation.

Here, as I think, is the program for our educational system--to make plain
highways from every corner of the State to every occupation which history
has proved good.


However, as matters actually stand at present, it is your good fortune to
have a wide range of occupations among which to choose.

It is no light matter to make the choice. It is to elect your physical and
social environment. It is to choose where you will work--in a scholar's
cloister, on a farm, or in the cliffs of a city street. It is to choose
your comrades and rivals. It is to choose what you will attend to, what you
will try for, whom you will follow. In a word, it is to elect for life, for
better or worse, some one part of the whole social heritage. These
influences will not touch you lightly. They will compass you with subtle
compulsions. They will fashion your clothes and looks and carriage, the
cunning of your hands, the texture of your speech, and the temper of your
will. And if you are wholly willing and wholly fit, they can work upon you
this miracle: they can carry you swiftly in the course of your single life
to levels of wisdom and skill in one sort, which it has cost the whole
history of your guild to win.

But there is, of course, no magic in merely choosing an occupation. If you
do nothing to an occupation but choose it, it can do nothing at all to you.
If you are an incorrigible lover of holidays, so that the arrival of a
working-day makes you sick, if every task thrust into your hands grows
intolerable, if every calling, as soon as you have touched its drudgery,
grows hateful--that is to have the soul of a tramp. It is to be stricken
with incurable poverty. You turn your back upon every company of men where
anything worth while is to be done. You shut out of yourself every wisdom
and skill which civilized work develops in a man. And you grow not empty
but full, choked with evil life. Wretched are they that hunger and thirst
after nothing good, for they also shall be filled. Herein is democracy,
that whether you are a beggar's son or the son of Croesus you cannot escape
from yourself--you cannot bribe or frighten yourself into being anything
else than what your own hungers and thirsts have made you.

It is somewhat better but far from well enough if you enter many
occupations, but stay in none long enough to receive thorough

It is so ordered that it is easy for most of us to make a fair beginning at
almost anything. In the rough and tumble of babyhood and youth we all
accumulate experiences which are raw material for any and every occupation.
So when one of them kindles in you a light blaze of curiosity, you have
only to pull yourself together, you have only to mobilize your forces, and
you are presently enjoying little successes that surprise and delight you
and that may give you the illusion of mastery.

Doubtless the World Soul knows his own affairs in ordering this so. For one
thing, the easy initial victories are fine baits, lures, by which youths
are caught and drawn into serious apprenticeship. For another thing, the
influence of each occupation upon society in general must be exercised
largely through men who carry some intelligence of it into other

But if a man flits from one curiosity to another, if for fear of being
narrow and with the hope of being broad, he forsakes every occupation
before it can set its seal upon him, if he is through and through
dilettante, jack-of-all-trades, he is a man only less poverty-stricken than
a tramp. He has the illusion of efficiency. He wonders that society
generally judges that he is not worth his salt, that on every battlefield
Hotspur curses him for a popinjay, that in every company of master workmen
met for council he is at most a tolerated guest. The judgment upon him--not
my judgment, but the judgment which the days thrust in his face--is this:
that when there is important work to be done he cannot do it. He is full of
versatility. He knows the alphabet of everything--chemistry, engineering,
business, law, what not. But with all these he cannot bridge the
Mississippi. He cannot make the steel for the bridge, nor calculate the
strength of it, nor find the money to build it, nor defend its interests in
court. These tasks fall to men whom twenty years' service in their several
callings have taught to speak for society at its best. And while their work
goes on its way, the brilliant man who refused every sort of thorough
training which society could give him, can only stand full of wonder and
anger that with all his versatilities he is left to choose between the
drudgery of unskilled labor and mere starvation.

There is another sort of man who will learn little in any occupation
because he is wholly bent upon being original. The past is all wrong, full
of errors, absurdities, iniquities. To serve apprenticeship is to
indoctrinate one's self with pernicious orthodoxies. We must rebel. We must
begin at the beginning. We must do something entirely new and
revolutionary. We must rely upon our free souls to see and to do the right,
as it has never been seen or done before. Some such declaration of
independence, some such combination of hopeless pessimism about all that
has been done, with confident optimism about what is just to be done, one
finds in men of every art, craft, and calling. We are to have perpetual
motion. We are to square the circle. We are to abandon our present
political and religious and educational institutions and get new and
perfect ones. Above all, the children must grow up free from the whole
array of social orthodoxies. We are to escape from the whole wretched
blundering past and by one bold march enter a new Garden of Eden.

There is something inspiring in this, something that stirs the youth like a
bugle, and something, as I believe, that is essential in every generation
for the purification of society. The past is as bad as anybody says it is,
woven full of inconsistency and iniquity. We _must_ escape it. We _must_
fight it. And it is no doubt inevitable that there should be some who think
that they owe it nothing but war.

And yet, for my part, I am convinced that this is a fatally one-sided view
of things. Is there in existence one great work of any sort which owes
nothing to the historic guild which does that sort of work? Is there one
great man in history who gave to the future without getting anything from
the past? The bare scientific fact is that no man escapes the tuition of
society. The crank does not escape. The freak does not escape. They miss
the highest traditions of society only to become victims of lower
traditions. Whether such a man have genius or the illusion of genius, it is
his tragic fate to have the best that he can do lie far below the best that
society already possesses.

If one will see what genius without adequate instruction comes to, let him
look at the case of the mathematical prodigy, Arthur Griffith. There is
what no one would refuse to call genius. There is originality, spontaneity,
insatiable interest, unceasing labor. And the result? A marvelous skill for
which society has almost no use, and a knowledge of the science of
arithmetic which is two hundred years behind that of the high school


But now that we have told off these three classes who will not learn what
society has to teach, we have happily left most of mankind; certainly, I
trust, most of you who have submitted to the instruction of society thus
far. And it is you who are willing to work and eager for the best
instruction that society can give, whom the question of occupations
especially concerns.

And here I beg to have you discriminate between the work to which one gives
his attention and the great swarm of activities physical and mental which
are always going on in the background.

A boy who is driving nails into a fence has for the immediate task of his
eyes and hands the hitting of a certain nail on the head. Meanwhile, the
rest of the boy's body and soul may be full of rebellion and longing to be
done with the fence on any terms and away at the fishing. Or instead of
that the whole boy may be full of pride in what he has done and of
resolution to drive the last nail as true as the first. Which of these two
things is the more important--the task in the foreground or the disposition
in the background--I do not know. They cannot be separated. They are both
present in every waking hour, weaving together the threads of fate.

A man's life is not wholly fortunate unless all that is within him rises
gladly to join in the work that he has to do.

It is, however, unhappily true that many good and useful men are forced by
circumstances to work at one thing, while their hearts are tugging to be at
something else. They have not chosen their tasks. They have been driven by
necessity. There must be bread. There are the wife and the children. There
is no escape. It is up with the sun. It is bearing the burden and heat of
the day. It is intolerable weariness. It is worse than that. It is tramping
round and round in the same hated steps until you cannot do anything else.
You cannot think of anything else. They sound in your dreams--those
treadmill steps arousing echoes of bitterness and rebellion. You cannot
escape from yourself. You cannot take a vacation. You may grow rich and
travel far and spend desperately, but the baleful music will follow you to
the end, the music of the work you did in hate. This is the tragedy of
drudgery, not that you spend your time and strength at it, but that you
lose yourself in it.

But at the worst this man is no such poverty-stricken soul as the crank,
the tramp, or the jack-of-all-trades. If his occupation was worth while,
those hated habits are far from deserving hate. If they are habits by which
a man may live, by which one may give a service that other men need and
will pay for, their value is certified from the sternest laboratory. The
drudge has a right to respect himself. He has the right to the respect of
other men and I give mine without reserve. I say that he who holds himself
grimly for life to a useful commonplace work which he hates, is heroic. It
is easy to be heroic on horseback. To be heroic on foot in the dust, lost
in the crowd, with no applause--that is the heroism which has borne up and
carried forward most of the work of civilization.


We honor the drudge, but deplore his fate. And yet there are many who
believe that there is in fact no other fate for any man; that every
business is in the long run a belittling business; that whether you are a
hodcarrier or a poet, as you go on in your calling, "shades of the
prison-house" will close upon you and custom lie upon you "heavy as frost
and deep almost as life."

Let us look at this deep pessimism at its darkest. The imperfect, that is
everywhere. That is all that you can see or work at. That is the warp and
woof of all your occupations and institutions, your politics, your science,
your religion. They are all nearly as bad as they are good. Your science
has forever to disown its past. Your politics demands that you shall be
_particeps criminis_ in its evil as the price of a position in which you
can exert any influence. Your historic church is almost as full of Satan as
of Christ. And when you have spent your bit of life in any of these
institutions or occupations, they are not perfect as you had hoped.

You emancipate the slaves and the negro question still looks you in the
face. You invent printing and then must say with Browning's Fust, "Have I
brought man advantage or hatched so to speak a strange serpent?"

You establish a new brotherhood for the love of Christ, and presently they
are quarreling which shall be chief or perhaps haling men to prison in the
name of Him who came to let the oppressed go free.

And you, yourself, for reward will be filled with the Everlasting Imperfect
which your eyes have seen and your hands have handled.

The essential tragedy of life, according to this deep pessimism, is not in
pain and defeat, but in the emptiness and vanity of all that we call

     Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the
     labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and
     vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.


I suppose that every man's faith is the outgrowth of his disposition, and
mine makes me believe that the truth embraces all the blackest of this
pessimism and also the victory over it. I admit and declare that our case
is as bad as anybody has found it to be. In a generation which soothes
itself with the assurance that there is no hell, I am one who fears that
its fire is leaping through every artery of society.

And yet I have never a doubt that there is a spirit which may lead a man
through any calling always into more of the life and freedom of the Kingdom
of God.

For one thing, it is necessary that your calling at its best, the best that
it has done, the best that it may do, should lay before you a program of
tasks, the first of them lying definitely before you and within your power,
the others stretching away into all that a man can do in that sort. This is
no treadmill. This is a ladder, resting on the ground, stretching toward

For another thing, you must delight in your work. Your heart and body must
be in it and not tugging to be away at something else. You do not then deal
out to each bit of work its stingy bit of your attention. You delight in
the thing. You hover and brood over it like a lover and lavish upon it the
wealth of uncounted hours.

The sure consequence is that you are not doing the same things over and
over and grooving the same habits deeper and deeper. Habits cannot stand in
this heat. They fuse and flow together. They are no longer chains. They are
wings. They lift you up and bear you swiftly and joyfully forward.

This is indeed the life of joy. You have the joy of efficiency. You have
the joy of doing the best you had hoped to do. And it may be that once and
again you will be set shaking with delight because something within you has
turned out a better bit of work than you had thought possible.

And if, besides all this, the background of feeling and will in you is
wholly right; if, by the grace of God, you have learned to work in delicate
veracity, stern against yourself, loyal to the Perfection whose veils no
man has lifted; if the far vision of that Perfection touches you with
humility, mans you with courage, and makes you leap glad to meet the tasks
which are set for you,--what is this but entrance here and now into the
Kingdom of God?

And if this crowning grace comes to you, as it may in any calling--it came
to Uncle Tom--you will not, I think, believe that all your hands have
wrought is vanity. You will not believe that the Logos who has called our
race out of the earth to behold and share in his creation is a dream, a
mockery of our despair, as we make the last useless turns about the dying
sun. But you will see that He knew the truth of things who said:

     My Father worketh hitherto and I work. The works that I do shall ye do
     also and greater works than these shall ye do because I go to the



[Footnote 13: By permission of the author, John Finley.]

In a book on "Roman Farm Management" containing translations of Cato and
Varro by a "Virginia Farmer" (who happens also to be an American railroad
president), there is quoted in the original Latin a proverb whose practice
not only gave basis for the proud phrase "_Romanus sum_" but also helped to
make the Romans "a people of enduring achievement." It is "_Romanus sedendo
vincit_." For, as this new-world farmer adds by way of translation and
emphasis, "The Romans achieved their results by _thoroughness_ and
_patience_." "It was thus," he continues, "they defeated Hannibal, and it
was thus that they built their farmhouses and fences, cultivated their
fields, their vineyards and their olive yards, and bred and fed their
livestock. They seemed to have realized that there are no shortcuts in the
processes of nature and that the law of compensations is invariable." "The
foundation of their agriculture," he asserts, "was the _fallow_"; and
concludes, commenting upon this, that while "one can find instruction in
their practice even to-day, one can benefit even more from their
agricultural philosophy, for the characteristic of the American farmer is
that he is in too much of a hurry."

This is only by way of preface to saying that the need in our educational
philosophy, or, at any rate, in our educational practice, as in
agriculture, is the need of the _fallow_.

It will be known to philologists, even to those who have no agricultural
knowledge, that the "fallow field" is not an idle field, though that is the
popular notion. "Fallow" as a noun meant originally a "harrow," and as a
verb, "to plough," "to harrow." "A fallow field is a field ploughed and
tilled," but left unsown for a time as to the main crop of its
productivity; or, in better modern practice, I believe, sown to a crop
valuable not for what it will bring in the market (for it may be utterly
unsalable), but for what it will give to the soil in enriching it for its
higher and longer productivity.

I employ this agricultural metaphor not in ignorance; for I have, out on
these very prairies, read between corn-husking and the spring ploughing
Virgil's _Georgics_ and _Bucolics_, for which Varro's treatises furnished
the foundations. And I have also, on these same prairies, carried Horace's
_Odes_, in the spring, to the field with me, strapping the book to the
plough to read while the horses rested at the furrow's end.

Nor do I employ this metaphor demeaningly. Nothing has so glorified for me
my youthful days on these prairies as the associations which the classics,
including the Bible, gave to them on the farm; and also in the shop, I may
add, for it was in the shop, as well as on the farm, that I had their
companionship. When learning the printer's trade, while a college student,
I set up in small pica my translation of the daily allotment of the
_Prometheus Bound_ of Aeschylus, and that dark and dingy old shop became
the world of the Titan who "manward sent Art's mighty means and perfect
rudiment," the place where the divine in man "defied the invincible gesture
of necessity." And nothing can so glorify the classics as to bring them
into the field and into the shop and let them become woven into the tasks
that might else seem monotonous or menial.

In a recent editorial in the _New York Times_ it was said that the men and
the times of Aristophanes were much more modern than the administration of
Rutherford B. Hayes. But this was simply because Aristophanes immortally
portrayed the undying things in human nature, whereas the issues associated
with this particular administration were evanescent. The immortal is, of
course, always modern, and the classic is the immortal, the timeless
distillation of human experience.

But I wander from my thesis which is that the classics are needed as the
_fallow_ to give lasting and increasing fertility to the natural mind out
upon democracy's great levels, into which so much has been washed down and
laid down from the Olympic mountains and eternal hills of the classical

In the war days we naturally ignored the _fallow_. We cultivated with
Hooverian haste. It was necessary to put our soil in peril of exhaustion
even as we put our men in peril of death. Forty million added acres were
commandeered, six billions of bushels of the leading cereals were added to
the annual product of earlier seasons. The land could be let to think only
of immediate defense. Crops only could be grown which would help promptly
to win the war. Vetch and clover and all else that permanently enriched
must be given up for war gardening or war farming. The motto was not
_Americanus sedendo vincit_ but _Americanus accelerando vincit_.

But on this day of my writing (the day of the signing of the peace) I am
thinking that in agriculture and in education as well, we must again turn
our thoughts to the virtues of thoroughness and patience--the virtues of
the fallow, that is, to ploughing and harrowing and tilling, _not_ for the
immediate crop, but for the enrichment of the soil and of the mind,
according as our thought is of agriculture or education.

Cato, when asked what the first principle of good agriculture was, answered
"To plough well." When asked what the second was, replied "To plough
again." And when asked what the third was, said "To apply fertilizer." And
a later Latin writer speaks of the farmer who does not plough thoroughly as
one who becomes a mere "clodhopper." You will notice that it is not sowing,
nor hoeing after the sowing, but ploughing that is the basic operation.

It is the sowing, however, that is popularly put first in our agricultural
and educational theory. "A sower went forth to sow." A teacher went forth
to teach, that is, to scatter information, facts:--arithmetical,
historical, geographical, linguistic facts. But the emphasis of the
greatest agricultural parable in our literature was after all not on the
sowing but on the soil, on that upon which or into which the seed fell,--or
as it might be better expressed, upon the _fallow_. It was only the fallow
ground, the ground that had been properly cleared of stones, thorns, and
other shallowing or choking encumbrances, that gave point to the parable.
It was the same seed that fell upon the stony, thorny, and fallow ground

There is a time to sow, to sow the seed for the special crop you want; but
it is after you have ploughed the field. There is a time to specialize, to
give the information which the life is to produce in kind; but it is when
you have thoroughly prepared the mind by its ploughing disciplines.

I have lately seen the type of agriculture practised out in the fields that
were the Scriptural cradle of the race. There the ploughing is but the
scratching of the surface. Indeed, the sowing is on the top of the ground
and the so-called ploughing or scratching in with a crooked stick comes
after. Contrast this with the deep ploughing of the West, and we have one
explanation at least of the greater productivity of the West. And there is
the educational analogue here as well. In those homelands of the race, the
seed of the mind is sown on the surface and is scratched in by oral and
choral repetitions. The mind that receives it is not ploughed, is not
trained to think. It merely receives and with shallow root, if it be not
scorched, gives back its meager crop.

There must be ploughing before the sowing, and deep ploughing if things
with root are to find abundant life and fruit. And the classics to my
thought furnish the best ploughs for the mind,--at any rate for minds that
have depth of soil. For shallow minds, "where there is not much depth of
earth," where, because there cannot be much root, that which springs up
withers away, it were perhaps not worth while to risk this precious
implement. And then, too, there are geniuses whose fertility needs not the
same stirring disciplines. There are also other ploughs, but as a ploughman
I have found none better for English use than the plough which has the
classical name, the plough which reaches the sub-soil, which supplements
the furrowing ploughs in bringing to the culture of our youthful minds that
which lies deep in the experience of the race.

There are many kinds of fallow as I have already intimated. The more modern
is not the "bare fallow" which lets the land so ploughed and harrowed lie
unsown even for a season, but the fallow, of varied name, where the land is
sown to crops whose purpose is to gather the free nitrogen back into the
ground for its enrichment. So is our fallowing by the classics not only to
prepare the ground, clear it of weeds, aerate it, break up the clods, but
also to enrich it by bringing back into the mind of the youth of to-day
that which has escaped into the air of the ages past through the great
human minds that have lived and loved upon this earth and laid themselves
down into its dust to die.

In New York City, a young man, born out upon the prairies, was lying, as it
was thought, near to death, in a hospital. He turned to the nurse and asked
what month it was. She answered that it was early May. He thought of the
prairies, glorified to him by Horace's _Odes_. He heard the frogs in the
swales amid the virgin prairie flowers as Aristophanes had heard them in
the ponds of Greece. He saw the springing oats in a neighboring field that
should furnish the pipes for the winds of Pan. He saw, as the dying poet
Ibycus, the cranes go honking overhead. And he said, "I can't die now. It's
ploughing time."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is "ploughing time" for the world again, and ploughing time not only
because we turn from instruments of war to those of peace, symbolized since
the days of Isaiah by the "ploughshares" beaten from swords, but because we
must turn to the cultivation with _thoroughness_ and _patience_ not only of
our acres but of the minds that are alike to have world horizons in this
new season of the earth.

Amos prophesied that in the day of restoration "the ploughman would
overtake the reaper." War's grim reaper is quitting the field to-day. The
ploughman has overtaken him. May he remember the law of the "_fallow_" and
not be in too great a hurry.



[Footnote 14: From _The Writing of English_, by John Matthews Manly and
Edith Rickert. Copyright, 1919, by Henry Holt and Co. By permission of the
authors and of the publishers.]

Do you like to write? Probably not. What have you tried to write? Probably

The "theme" is a literary form invented by teachers of rhetoric for the
education of students in the art of writing. It does not exist outside the
world of school and college. No editor ever accepted a "theme." No "theme"
was ever delivered from a rostrum, or spoken at a dinner, or bound between
the covers of a book in the hope that it might live for centuries. In a
word, a "theme" is first and last a product of "composition"--a laborious
putting together of ideas, without audience and without purpose, hated
alike by student and by instructor. Its sole use is to exemplify the
principles of rhetoric. But rhetoric belongs to the past as much as the
toga and the snuffbox; it is an extinct art, the art of cultivating style
according to the mannerisms of a vanished age.

Forget that you ever wrote a "theme," and ask yourself now: "Should I like
to write?" Of course you would--if you could. And you can. You have had,
and you will have, some experiences that will not be repeated exactly in
any other life--that no one else can express exactly as you would express
them. And the art of expressing what you have experienced, what you think,
what you feel, and what you believe, can be learned.

If you stop to consider the matter, you will realize that self-expression
is one of the laws of life; you do express yourself day after day, whether
you will or not. Hence, the more quickly you learn that successful
self-expression is the source of one of the greatest pleasures in life, the
more readily will you be able to turn your energy in the right direction,
and the more fun will you get out of the process. The kind of delight that
comes through self-expression of the body, through the play of the muscles
in running or hurdling, through the play of muscles and mind together in
football or baseball or tennis or golf, comes also through the exercise of
the mind alone in talk or in writing.

Remember always throughout this course, that you have something to
say--something peculiar to yourself that should be contributed to the sum
of the world's experience, something that cannot be contributed by anyone
but yourself. It may be much or it may be little: with that you are not
concerned at present; your business now is to find out how to say it; how
to clear away the obstacles that clog self-expression; how to give your
mind free swing; and how to get all the fun there is in the process.

The initial problems in learning to write are: How can you get at this
store of material hidden within you? and how can you know when you have
found it? Your experience, however interesting, is as yet very limited. How
can you tell which phases of it deserve expression, and which are mere
commonplace? The quickest way to answer this question is by reading.
Reading will tell you which phases of experience have been commonly treated
and which have been neglected. Moreover, as you read you will be surprised
to find that very often the features of your life which seem to you
peculiarly interesting are exactly those that are commonly--and even
cheaply--written about, while those which you have passed over as not worth
attention may be aspects of life that other people too have passed over;
they may therefore be fresh and well worth writing about. For instance,
within the last twenty-five years we have had two writers, Joseph Conrad
and John Masefield, writing of the sea as it has never been written of
before. Both have been sailors; and both have utilized their experience as
viewed through the medium of their temperaments in a way undreamed of
before. Again, within the last ten years we have had Algernon Blackwood,
using his imagination to apply psychology to the study of the supernatural,
and so developing a field peculiar to himself. Still again, H. G. Wells,
who began his career as a clerk and continued as a teacher of science, has
found in both these phases of his experience a mine of literary wealth; and
Arnold Bennett, born and educated in the dreariest, most unpicturesque,
apparently least inspiring, part of England, has seen in the very prosiness
of the Five Towns untouched material, and has given this an enduring place
in literature. In your imagination there may lie the basis of fantasies as
yet unexpressed; or in your experience, aspects of life that have not as
yet been adequately treated. As you read you will find that until recently
the one phase of life most exploited in literature was the romantic love of
youth; this was the basis of nearly all novels and of most short stories;
its presence was demanded for either primary or secondary interest in the
drama; and it was the chief source of inspiration for the lyric. But within
the last thirty years all sorts of other subjects have been opened up.
To-day the writer's difficulty is, not that he is restricted by literary
convention in his choice of material, but that he is so absolutely
unrestricted that he may be in doubt where to make his choice. He is, to be
sure, conditioned in two ways: To do the best work, he must keep within the
bounds of his own temperament and experience; and he should as far as
possible avoid phases of life already written about, unless he can present
them under some new aspect.

With these conditions in mind, you are ready to ask yourself: What have I
to write about? Let us put the question more concretely: Have you lived,
for instance, in a little mining town in the West? Such a little town, with
its saloons and automatics and flannel-shirted hero, stares at us every
month from the pages of popular magazines. But perhaps your little mining
town is dry, perhaps there has not been a shooting fray in it for ten
years, and all the young men go to Bible class on Sunday. Well, here is
something new; let us have it. Is New York your home? The magazines tell
you that New York is parceled out among a score of writers: the Italian
quarter, the Jewish quarter, the Syrian quarter, the boarding-houses, Wall
Street. What is there left? The suburbs? Surely not; and yet have you ever
seen a story of just your kind of street and just the kind of people that
you know? If not, here is your opportunity.

You have read about sailors, fishermen, farmers, detectives, Italian
fruit-peddlers, Jewish clothes-merchants, commercial travelers, financiers,
salesmen and saleswomen, doctors, clergymen, heiresses, and men about town,
but have you often read a thrilling romance of a filing clerk? How about
the heroism of a telephone collector? the humors of a street-car conductor?
The seeing eye will find material in the street car, in the department
store, in the dentist's waiting room, in college halls, on a lonely country
road--anywhere and everywhere. And the seeing eye is cultivated by a
perpetual process of comparing life as it is with life as it is portrayed
in literature and in art. In other words, to get material to write about,
you must cultivate alertness to the nature and value of your own
life-experience, and to the nature and value of all forms of life with
which you come into contact; but this you can never do with any degree of
success unless you at the same time learn how to read.

You may say that you know how to read. It is almost certain that you do
not. If by reading you mean that you can run your eye over a page, and,
barring a word here and there, get the general drift of the sense, you may
perhaps qualify as able to read. If you are set the task of interpreting
fully every phrase in an article by a thoughtful writer, the chances are
that you will fail. When only a small part of a writer's meaning has passed
from his mind to yours, you can hardly be said to have read what he has
written. On the other hand, no one can get out of written words all that
was put into them. What was written out of one man's experience must be
interpreted by another's experience; and as no two people ever have exactly
the same experience--no two people are exactly alike--it follows that no
interpretation is ever entirely what the writer had in mind. The ratio
between what goes into a book and what comes out of it varies in two ways.
Granted the same reader, he will take only to the limit of his capacity
from any book set before him: he may get almost all from a book that
contains but little, a good share of a book that contains much, but very
little of a book that is far beyond the range of his experience. Granted
the same book, one reader will barely skim its surface, another will gain a
fair idea of the gist of it, a third will almost relive it with the author.

The main point is that this varying ratio depends upon the amount of
life-experience that goes into the writing of a book and the amount of
life-experience that goes into the reading of it. For as writing is the
expression of life, so reading is vicarious living--living by proxy,
reliving in imagination what the author has lived before he was able to
write it. Hence, we grow _up to_ books, grow _into_ them, grow _out of_
them. Our growing experience of life may be measured by the books that we
read; and conversely, as we cannot have all experience in our own lives,
books are necessarily one of the most fruitful sources of growth in

This is true, however, only of what may be called vitalized
reading--reading, not with the eyes alone, nor with the mind alone, but
with the stored experiences of life, with the emotions that it has brought,
with the attitudes toward men and things and ideas that it has given--in a
word, with imagination. To read with imagination, you must be, in the first
place, active; in the second place, sensitive, and, because you are
sensitive, receptive. Instead, however, of being merely passively receptive
of the stream of ideas and images and sensations flowing from the work you
are reading, you must be alert to take all that it has to give, and to
re-create this in terms of your own experience. Thus by making it a part of
your imaginative experience, you widen your actual experience, you enrich
your life, and you increase the flexibility and vital power of your mind.

In order, then, to tap the sources of your imagination, you must learn to
experience in two ways: first, through life itself, not so much by seeking
experiences different from those that naturally come your way, as by
becoming aware of the value of those that belong naturally to your life;
and second, through learning to absorb and transmute the life that is in
books, beginning with those that stand nearest to your stage of
development. In the process of reading you will turn more and more to those
writers who have a larger mastery of life, and who, by their skill in
expressing the wisdom and beauty that they have made their own, can admit
you, when you are ready, to some share in that mastery.



[Footnote 15: An address delivered at the exercises held by the Cambridge
Historical Society in Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Feb. 22, 1919,
to commemorate the centenary of Lowell's birth. By permission of Professor
Perry and of the editor of the _Harvard Graduates' Magazine_. Copyright,
1919, by _The Harvard Graduates' Magazine_.]

Two Harvard men, teachers of English in the University of North Carolina,
have recently published a new kind of textbook for undergraduates.
Abandoning the conventional survey of literary types and the examination of
literary history in the narrow sense of those words, they present a program
of ideas, the dominant ideas of successive epochs in the life of England
and America. They direct the attention of the young student, not so much to
canons of art as to noteworthy expressions of communal thought and feeling,
to the problems of self-government, of noble discipline, of ordered
liberty. The title of this book is _The Great Tradition_. The fundamental
idealism of the Anglo-Saxon race is illustrated by passages from Bacon and
Raleigh, Spenser and Shakespeare. But William Bradford, as well as Cromwell
and Milton, is chosen to represent the seventeenth-century struggle for
faith and freedom. In the eighteenth century, Washington and Jefferson and
Thomas Paine appear side by side with Burke and Burns and Wordsworth.
Shelley and Byron, Tennyson and Carlyle are here of course, but with them
are John Stuart Mill and John Bright and John Morley. There are passages
from Webster and Emerson, from Lowell and Walt Whitman and Lincoln, and
finally, from the eloquent lips of living men--from Lloyd George and Arthur
Balfour and Viscount Grey and President Wilson--there are pleas for
international honor and international justice and for a commonwealth of
free nations.

It is a magnificent story, this record of Anglo-Saxon idealism during four
hundred years. The six or seven hundred pages of the book which I have
mentioned are indeed rich in purely literary material; in the illustration
of the temper of historic periods; in the exhibition of changes in language
and in literary forms. The lover of sheer beauty in words, the analyzer of
literary types, the student of biography, find here ample material for
their special investigations. But the stress is laid, not so much upon the
quality of individual genius, as upon the political and moral instincts of
the English-speaking races, their long fight for liberty and democracy,
their endeavor to establish the terms upon which men may live together in
society. And precisely here, I take it, is the significance of the pages
which Professors Greenlaw and Hanford assign to James Russell Lowell. The
man whom we commemorate to-night played his part in the evolution which has
transformed the Elizabethan Englishman into the twentieth-century American.
Lowell was an inheritor and an enricher of the Great Tradition.

This does not mean that he did not know whether he was American or English.
He wrote in 1866 of certain Englishmen: "They seem to forget that more than
half the people of the North have roots, as I have, that run down more than
two hundred years deep into this new-world soil--that we have not a thought
nor a hope that is not American." In 1876, when his political independence
made him the target of criticism, he replied indignantly: "These fellows
have no notion what love of country means. It is in my very blood and
bones. If I am not an American, who ever was?"

It remains true, nevertheless, that Lowell's life and his best writing are
keyed to that instinct of personal discipline and civic responsibility
which characterized the seventeenth century emigrants from England. These
successors of Roger Ascham and Thomas Elyot and Philip Sidney were
Puritanic, moralistic, practical; and with their "faith in God, faith in
man and faith in work" they built an empire. Lowell's own mind, like
Franklin's, like Lincoln's, had a shrewd sense of what concerns the common
interests of all. The inscription beneath his bust on the exterior of
Massachusetts Hall runs as follows: "Patriot, scholar, orator, poet, public
servant." Those words begin and end upon that civic note which is heard in
all of Lowell's greater utterances. It has been the dominant note of much
of the American writing that has endured. And it is by virtue of this note,
touched so passionately, so nobly, throughout a long life, that Lowell
belongs to the elect company of public souls.

No doubt we have had in this country distinguished practitioners of
literature who have stood mainly or wholly outside the line of the Great
Tradition. They drew their inspiration elsewhere. Poe, for example, is not
of the company; Hawthorne in his lonelier moods is scarcely of the company.
In purely literary fame, these names may be held to outrank the name of
James Russell Lowell; as Emerson outranks him, of course, in range of
vision, Longfellow in craftsmanship, and Walt Whitman in sheer power of
emotion and of phrase. But it happens that Lowell stands with both Emerson
and Whitman in the very centre of that group of poets and prose-men who
have been inspired by the American idea. They were all, as we say proudly
nowadays, "in the service," and the particular rank they may have chanced
to win is a relatively insignificant question, except to critics and

The centenary of the birth of a writer who reached three score and ten is
usually ill-timed for a proper perspective of his work. A generation has
elapsed since his death. Fashions have changed; writers, like bits of old
furniture, have had time to "go out" and not time enough to come in again.
George Eliot and Ruskin, for instance, whose centenaries fall in this year,
suffer the dark reproach of having been "Victorians." The centenaries of
Hawthorne and Longfellow and Whittier were celebrated at a period of
comparative indifference to their significance. But if the present moment
is still too near to Lowell's life-time to afford a desirable literary
perspective, a moral touchstone of his worth is close at hand. In this hour
of heightened national consciousness, when we are all absorbed with the
part which the English-speaking races are playing in the service of the
world, we may surely ask whether Lowell's mind kept faith with his blood
and with his citizenship, or whether, like many a creator of exotic, hybrid
beauty, he remained an alien in the spiritual commonwealth, a homeless,
masterless man.

No one needs to speak in Cambridge of Lowell's devotion to the community in
which he was born and in which he had the good fortune to die. In some of
his most delightful pages he has recorded his affection for it. Yonder in
the alcoves of Harvard Hall, then the College Library, he discovered many
an author unrepresented among his father's books at Elmwood. In University
Hall he attended chapel--occasionally. In the open space between Hollis and
Holden he read his "Commemoration Ode." He wrote to President Hill in 1863:
"Something ought to be done about the trees in the Yard." He loved the
place. It was here in Sanders Theatre that he pronounced his memorable
address at the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the
College--an address rich in historic background, and not without solicitude
for the future of his favorite humanistic studies--a solicitude, some will
think, only too well justified. "Cambridge at all times is full of ghosts,"
said Emerson. But no ghost from the past, flitting along the Old Road from
Elmwood to the Yard, and haunting the bleak lecture-rooms where it had
recited as a careless boy and taught wearily as a man, could wear a more
quizzical and friendly aspect than Lowell's. He commonly spoke of his life
as a professor with whimsical disparagement, as Henry Adams wrote of his
own teaching with a somewhat cynical disparagement. But the fact is that
both of these self-depreciating New Englanders were stimulating and
valuable teachers. From his happily idle boyhood to the close of his
fruitful career, Lowell's loyalty to Cambridge and Harvard was unalterable.
Other tastes changed after wider experience with the world. He even
preferred, at last, the English blackbird to the American bobolink, but the
Harvard Quinquennial Catalogue never lost its savor, and in the full tide
of his social success in London he still thought that the society he had
enjoyed at the Saturday Club was the best society in the world. To
deracinate Lowell was impossible, and it was for this very reason that he
became so serviceable an international personage. You knew where he stood.
It was not for nothing that his roots ran down two hundred years deep. He
was the incarnation of his native soil.

Lowell has recently been described, together with Whittier, Emerson, and
others, as an "English provincial poet--in the sense that America still was
a literary province of the mother country." To this amazing statement one
can only rejoin that if "The Biglow Papers," the "Harvard Commemoration
Ode," "Under the Old Elm," the "Fourth of July Ode," and the Agassiz elegy
are English provincial poetry, most of us need a new map and a new
vocabulary. Of both series of "Biglow Papers" we may surely exclaim, as did
Quintilian concerning early Roman satire, "This is wholly ours." It is true
that Lowell, like every young poet of his generation, had steeped himself
in Spenser and the other Elizabethans. They were his literary ancestors by
as indisputable an inheritance as a Masefield or a Kipling could claim. He
had been brought up to revere Pope. Then he surrendered to Wordsworth and
Keats and Shelley, and his earlier verses, like the early work of Tennyson,
are full of echoes of other men's music. It is also true that in spite of
his cleverness in versifying, or perhaps because of it, he usually showed
little inventiveness in shaping new poetic patterns. His tastes were
conservative. He lacked that restless technical curiosity which spurred Poe
and Whitman to experiment with new forms. But Lowell revealed early
extraordinary gifts of improvisation, retaining the old tunes of English
verse as the basis for his own strains of unpremeditated art. He wrote "A
Fable for Critics" faster than he could have written it in prose. "Sir
Launfal" was composed in two days, the "Commemoration Ode" in one.

It was this facile, copious, enthusiastic poet, not yet thirty, who grew
hot over the Mexican War and poured forth his indignation in an
unforgettable political satire such as no English provincial poet could
possibly have written. What a weapon he had, and how it flashed in his
hand, gleaming with wit and humor and irony, edged with scorn, and weighted
with two hundred years of Puritan tradition concerning right and wrong! For
that, after all, was the secret of its success. Great satire must have a
standard; and Lowell revealed his in the very first number and in one line:

     "'T aint your eppylets an' feathers
     Make the thing a grain more right."

Some readers to-day dislike the Yankee dialect of these verses. Some think
Lowell struck too hard; but they forget Grant's characterization of the
Mexican War as "one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a
weaker nation." There are critics who think the First Series of "Biglow
Papers" too sectional; an exhibition of New England's ancient tendency
towards nullification of the national will. No doubt Lowell underestimated
the real strength of the advocates of national expansion at any cost.
Parson Wilbur thought, you remember, that

     "All this big talk of our destinies
     Is half on it ign'ance an' t'other half rum."

Neither ignorance nor rum was responsible for the invasion of Belgium; but
at least one can say that the political philosophy which justifies forcible
annexation of territory is taught to-day in fewer universities than were
teaching it up to 1914. Poets are apt to have the last word, even in

The war with Mexico was only an episode in the expansion of the slave
power; the fundamental test of American institutions came in the War for
the Union. Here again Lowell touched the heart of the great issue. The
Second Series of "Biglow Papers" is more uneven than the First. There is
less humor and more of whimsicality. But the dialogue between "the Moniment
and the Bridge," "Jonathan to John," and above all, the tenth number, "Mr.
Hosea Biglow to the Editor of the Atlantic Monthly," show the full sweep of
Lowell's power. Here are pride of country, passion of personal sorrow,
tenderness, idyllic beauty, magic of word and phrase.

Never again, save in passages of the memorial odes written after the War,
was Lowell more completely the poet. For it is well known that his was a
divided nature, so variously endowed that complete integration was
difficult, and that the circumstances of his career prevented that steady
concentration of powers which poetry demands. She is proverbially the most
jealous of mistresses, and Lowell could not render a constant allegiance.
At thirty his friends thought of him, rightly enough, as primarily a poet:
but in the next fifteen years he had become a professor, had devoted long
periods to study in Europe, had published prose essays, had turned editor,
first of the _Atlantic_, then of the _North American Review_, and was
writing political articles that guided public opinion in the North. To use
a phrase then beginning to come into general use, he was now a "man of
letters." But during the Civil War, I believe he thought of himself as
simply a citizen of the Union. His general reputation, won in many fields,
gave weight to what he wrote as a publicist. His editorials were one more
evidence of the central pull of the Great Tradition; it steadied his
judgment, clarified his vision, kept his rudder true.

Lowell's political papers during this period, although now little read,
have been praised by Mr. James Ford Rhodes as an exact estimate of public
sentiment, as voicing in energetic diction the mass of the common people of
the North. Lincoln wrote to thank him for one of them, adding, "I fear I am
not quite worthy of all which is therein kindly said of me personally."
Luckily Lincoln never saw an earlier letter in which Lowell thought that
"an ounce of Frémont is worth a pound of long Abraham." The fact is that
Lowell, like most men of the "Brahmin caste," came slowly to a recognition
of Lincoln's true quality. Motley, watching events from Vienna, had a
better perspective than Boston then afforded. Even Mr. Norton, Lowell's
dear friend and associate upon the _North American Review_, thought in 1862
that the President was timid, vacillating, and secretive, and, what now
seems a queerer judgment still, that he wrote very poor English. But if the
editors of the _North American_ showed a typical Anglo-Saxon reluctance in
yielding to the spell of a new political leadership, Lowell made full
amends for it in that superb Lincoln strophe now inserted in the
"Commemoration Ode," afterthought though it was, and not read at the

In this poem and in the various Centennial Odes composed ten years later,
Lowell found an instrument exactly suited to his temperament and his
technique. Loose in structure, copious in diction, swarming with imagery,
these Odes gave ample scope for Lowell's swift gush of patriotic fervor,
for the afflatus of the improviser, steadied by reverence for America's
historic past. To a generation beginning to lose its taste for
commemorative oratory, the Odes gave--and still give--the thrill of
patriotic eloquence which Everett and Webster had communicated in the
memorial epoch of 1826. The forms change, the function never dies.

The dozen years following the Civil War were also the period of Lowell's
greatest productiveness in prose. Tethered as he was to the duties of his
professorship, and growling humorously over them, he managed nevertheless
to put together volume after volume of essays that added greatly to his
reputation, both here and in England. For it should be remembered that the
honorary degrees of D.C.L. from Oxford and LL.D. from Cambridge were
bestowed upon Lowell in 1873 and 1874; long before any one had thought of
him as Minister to England, and only a little more than ten years after he
had printed his indignant lines about

     "The old J. B.
     A-crowdin' you and me."

J. B. seemed to like them! A part of Lowell's full harvest of prose sprang
from that habit of enormous reading which he had indulged since boyhood. He
liked to think of himself as "one of the last of the great readers"; and
though he was not that, of course, there was nevertheless something of the
seventeenth century tradition in his gluttony of books. The very sight and
touch and smell of them were one of his pieties. He had written from
Elmwood in 1861: "I am back again in the place I love best. I am sitting in
my old garret, at my old desk, smoking my old pipe and loving my old
friends." That is the way book-lovers still picture Lowell--the Lowell of
the "Letters"--and though it is only a half-length portrait of him, it is
not a false one. He drew upon his ripe stock of reading for his college
lectures, and from the lectures, in turn, came many of the essays. Wide as
the reading was in various languages, it was mainly in the field of
"belles-lettres." Lowell had little or no interest in science or
philosophy. Upon one side of his complex nature he was simply a book-man
like Charles Lamb, and like Lamb he was tempted to think that books about
subjects that did not interest him were not really books at all.

Recent critics have seemed somewhat disturbed over Lowell's scholarship. He
once said of Longfellow: "Mr. Longfellow is not a scholar in the German
sense of the word--that is to say, he is no pedant, but he certainly is a
scholar in another and perhaps a higher sense. I mean in range of
acquirement and the flavor that comes with it." Those words might have been
written of himself. It is sixty-five years since Lowell was appointed to
his professorship at Harvard, and during this long period erudition has not
been idle here. It is quite possible that the University possesses to-day a
better Dante scholar than Lowell, a better scholar in Old French, a better
Chaucer scholar, a better Shakespeare scholar. But it is certain that if
our Division of Modern Languages were called upon to produce a volume of
essays matching in human interest one of Lowell's volumes drawn from these
various fields, we should be obliged, first, to organize a syndicate, and,
second, to accept defeat with as good grace as possible.

Contemporary critics have also betrayed a certain concern for some aspects
of Lowell's criticism. Is it always penetrating, they ask? Did he think his
critical problems through? Did he have a body of doctrine, a general thesis
to maintain? Did he always keep to the business in hand? Candor compels the
admission that he often had no theses to maintain: he invented them as he
went along. Sometimes he was a mere guesser, not a clairvoyant. We have had
only one Coleridge. Lowell's essay on Wordsworth is not as illuminating as
Walter Pater's. The essay on Gray is not as well ordered as Arnold's. The
essay on Thoreau is quite as unsatisfactory as Stevenson's. It is true that
the famous longer essays on Dante, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Dryden,
Milton, are full of irrelevant matter, of facile delightful talk which
often leads nowhere in particular. It is true, finally, that a deeper
interest in philosophy and science might have made Lowell's criticism more
fruitful; that he blazed no new paths in critical method; that he
overlooked many of the significant literary movements of his own time in
his own country.

But when one has said all this, even as brilliantly as Mr. Brownell has
phrased it, one has failed to answer the pertinent question: "Why, in spite
of these defects, were Lowell's essays read with such pleasure by so many
intelligent persons on both sides of the Atlantic, and why are they read
still?" The answer is to be found in the whole tradition of the English
bookish essay, from the first appearance of Florio's translation of
Montaigne down to the present hour. That tradition has always welcomed
copious, well-informed, enthusiastic, disorderly, and affectionate talk
about books. It demands gusto rather than strict method, discursiveness
rather than concision, abundance of matter rather than mere neatness of
design. "Here is God's plenty!" cried Dryden in his old age, as he opened
once more his beloved Chaucer; and in Lowell's essays there is surely
"God's plenty" for a book-lover. Every one praises "My Garden
Acquaintance," "A Good Word for Winter," "On a Certain Condescension in
Foreigners" as perfect types of the English familiar essay. But all of
Lowell's essays are discursive and familiar. They are to be measured, not
by the standards of modern French criticism--which is admittedly more deft,
more delicate, more logical than ours--but by the unchartered freedom which
the English-speaking races have desired in their conversations about old
authors for three hundred years. After all,

     "There are nine-and-sixty ways of constructing tribal lays
     And every single one of them is right."

Lowell, like the rest of us, is to be tested by what he had, not by what he

His reputation as a talker about books and men was greatly enhanced by the
addresses delivered during his service as Minister to England. Henry James
once described Lowell's career in London as a tribute to the dominion of
style. It was even more a triumph of character, but the style of these
addresses is undeniable. Upon countless public occasions the American
Minister was called upon to say the fitting word; and he deserves the
quaint praise which Thomas Benton bestowed upon Chief Justice Marshall, as
"a gentleman of finished breeding, of winning and prepossessing talk, and
just as much mind as the occasion required him to show." I cannot think
that Lowell spoke any better when unveiling a bust in Westminster Abbey
than he did at the Academy dinners in Ashfield, Massachusetts, where he had
Mr. Curtis and Mr. Norton to set the pace; he was always adequate, always
witty and wise; and some of the addresses in England, notably the one on
"Democracy" given in Birmingham in 1884, may fairly be called epoch-making
in their good fortune of explaining America to Europe. Lowell had his
annoyances like all ambassadors; there were dull dinners as well as
pleasant ones, there were professional Irishmen to be placated, solemn
despatches to be sent to Washington. Yet, like Mr. Phelps and Mr. Bayard
and Mr. Choate and the lamented Walter Page in later years, this gentleman,
untrained in professional diplomacy, accomplished an enduring work. Without
a trace of the conventional "hand across the sea" banality, without either
subservience or jingoism, he helped teach the two nations mutual respect
and confidence, and thirty years later, when England and America essayed a
common task in safeguarding civilization, that old anchor held.

This cumulative quality of Lowell's achievement is impressive, as one
reviews his career. His most thoughtful, though not his most eloquent
verse, his richest vein of letter-writing, his most influential addresses
to the public, came toward the close of his life. Precocious as was his
gift for expression, and versatile and brilliant as had been his
productiveness in the 1848 era, he was true to his Anglo-Saxon stock in
being more effective at seventy than he had been at thirty. He was one of
the men who die learning and who therefore are scarcely thought of as dying
at all. I am not sure that we may not say of him to-day, as Thoreau said of
John Brown, "He is more alive than ever he was." Certainly the type of
Americanism which Lowell represented has grown steadily more interesting to
the European world, and has revealed itself increasingly as a factor to be
reckoned with in the world of the future. Always responsive to his
environment, always ready to advance, he faced the new political issues at
the close of the century with the same courage and sagacity that had marked
his conduct in the eighteen-forties. You remember his answer to Guizot's
question: "How long do you think the American Republic will endure?" "So
long," replied Lowell, "as the ideas of its founders continue to be
dominant"; and he added that by "ideas" he meant "the traditions of their
race in government and morals." Yet the conservatism revealed in this reply
was blended with audacity--the inherited audacity of the pioneer. No line
of Lowell's has been more often quoted in this hall than the line about the
futility of attempting to open the "Future's portal with the Past's
blood-rusted key." Those words were written in 1844. And here, in a
sentence written forty-two years afterward, is a description of organized
human society which voices the precise hope of forward-looking minds in
Europe and America at this very hour: "The basis of all society is the
putting of the force of all at the disposal of all, by means of some
arrangement assented to by all, for the protection of all, and this under
certain prescribed forms." Like Jefferson, like Lincoln, like Theodore
Roosevelt at his noblest, Lowell dared to use the word "all."

Such men are not forgotten. As long as June days come and the bobolink's
song "runs down, a brook of laughter, through the air"; as long as a few
scholars are content to sit in the old garret with the old books, and close
the books, at times, to think of old friends; as long as the memory of
brave boys makes the "eyes cloud up for rain"; as long as Americans still
cry in their hearts "O beautiful, my country!" the name of James Russell
Lowell will be remembered as the inheritor and enricher of a great



[Footnote 16: _The Education of Henry Adams: an Autobiography._ Houghton
Mifflin Co., 1918. The selection is a part of an admirable critique in the
April, 1919, number of the _American Historical Review_. By permission of
the author and of the editors of the magazine. The article should be read
as a whole for a complete understanding of the critic's analysis.]

In 1771, Thomas Hutchinson wrote to one of his friends, "We have not been
so quiet here these five years ... if it were not for two or three Adamses,
we should do well enough." From that day to this many people have agreed
with the fastidious governor. But so far, an Adams or two we have always
had with us; and on the whole, although they have sometimes been
exasperating, they have always been salutary. During four generations the
men of this family have loved and served America as much as they have
scolded her. More cannot be said, except that they have commonly given, on
both counts, more than they have received. Theirs is therefore the
blessing, and ours the benefit.

Among other things, we have to thank them for some diaries and
autobiographies which have been notable for frank self-revelation. Henry
Adams would of course have stoutly denied that any such impertinence as
self-revelation was either intended or achieved in the _Education_. There
is no evidence that he ever kept a diary (all things considered, the burden
of proof is not on us!); but it is not to be supposed that he would have
published it in any case. A man who regarded himself as of no more
significance than a chance deposit on the surface of the world might indeed
write down an intimate record of his soul's doings as an exercise in cosmic
irony; but the idea of publishing it could hardly have lived for a moment
in the lambent flame of his own sardonic humor. He could be perverse, but
perversity could not well go the length of perpetrating so pointless a joke
as that would come to.

No, Henry Adams would not reveal himself to the curious inspection of an
unsympathetic world; but he would write a book for the purpose of exposing
a dynamic theory of history, than which nothing could well be more
impersonal or unrevealing. With a philosophy of history the Puritan has
always been preoccupied; and it was the major interest of Henry Adams
throughout the better part of his life. He never gained more than a faint
idea of any intelligible philosophy, as he would himself have readily
admitted; but after a lifetime of hard study and close thinking, the matter
struck him thus:

     Between the dynamo in the gallery of machines and the engine-house
     outside, the break of continuity amounted to abysmal fracture for a
     historian's objects. No more relation could he discover between the
     steam and the electric current than between the Cross and the
     cathedral. The forces were interchangeable if not reversible, but he
     could see only an absolute _fiat_ in electricity as in faith.

In these two forces the secret must lie, since for centuries faith had
ruled inexorably, only to be replaced by electricity which promised to rule
quite as inexorably. To find the secret was difficult enough; but

     any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured by
     motion, from a fixed point. Psychology helped here by suggesting a
     unit--the point of history when man held the highest idea of himself
     as a unit in a unified universe. Eight or ten years of study had led
     Adams to think he might use the century 1150-1250, expressed in Amiens
     Cathedral and the Works of Thomas Aquinas, as the unit from which he
     might measure motion down to his own time, without assuming anything
     as true or untrue except relation.... Setting himself to the task, he
     began a volume which he mentally knew as "Mont-Saint-Michel and
     Chartres: a Study in Thirteenth-Century Unity." From that point he
     proposed to fix a position for himself, which he could label: "The
     Education of Henry Adams: a Study in Twentieth-Century Multiplicity."
     With the help of these two points of relation, he hoped to project his
     lines forward and backward indefinitely, subject to correction from
     anyone who should know better. Thereupon, he sailed for home.

You are to understand, therefore, that the _Education of Henry Adams_ has
nothing to do really with the person Henry Adams. Since the time of

     the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of
     model, to become a manikin, on which the toilet of education is to be
     draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object
     of study is the garment, not the figure.... The manikin, therefore,
     has the same value as any other geometrical figure of three or four
     dimensions, which is used for the study of relation. For that purpose
     it cannot be spared; it is the only measure of motion, of proportion,
     of human condition; it must have the air of reality; it must be taken
     for real; it must be treated as though it had life. Who knows? Perhaps
     it had.

Whether it had life or not is, however, of no importance. The manikin is to
be treated impersonally; and will be indicated throughout in the third
person, not as the author's ego, but as a kind of projected and animated
geometrical point upon which cosmic lines of force impinge!

It turns out that the manikin had life after all--a good deal of it; with
the effect that as you go on you become more concerned with the manikin
than with the clothes, and at last find yourself wholly absorbed with an
ego more subtle and complex, at times more exasperating, yet upon the whole
more engaging, and above all more pervasive, than you are likely to come
upon in any autobiography of modern times. It is really wonderful how the
clothes fall away from the manikin, how with the best effort at draping
they in fact refuse to be put on at all. The reason is simple; for the
constant refrain of the study is that no clothes were ever found. The
manikin is therefore always in evidence for lack of covering, and ends by
having to apologize for its very existence. "To the tired student, the idea
that he must give it up [the search for philosophy-clothes] seemed sheer
senility. As long as he could whisper, he would go on as he had begun,
bluntly refusing to meet his creator with the admission that the creation
had taught him nothing except that the square of the hypothenuse of a
right-angled triangle might for convenience be taken as equal to something
else." On his own premises, the assumption that the manikin would ever meet
his creator (if he indeed had one), or that his creator would be concerned
with his opinion of the creation, is gratuitous. On his own premises, there
is something too much of the ego here. The _Education of Henry Adams_,
conceived as a study in the philosophy of history, turns out in fact to be
an _Apologia pro vitâ suâ_, one of the most self-centered and
self-revealing books in the language.

The revelation is not indeed of the direct sort that springs from frank and
insouciant spontaneity. Since the revelation was not intended, the process
is tortuous in the extreme. It is a revelation that comes by the way, made
manifest in the effort to conceal it, overlaid by all sorts of cryptic
sentences and self-deprecatory phrases, half hidden by the protective
coloring taken on by a sensitive mind commonly employing paradox and
delighting in perverse and teasing mystification. One can never be sure
what the book means; but taken at its face value the _Education_ seems to
be the story of a man who regarded life from the outside, as a spectator at
the play, a play in which his own part as spectator was taken by a minor
character. The play was amusing in its absurdity, but it touched not the
spectator, Henry Adams, who was content to sit in his protected stall and
laugh in his sleeve at the play and the players--and most of all at himself
for laughing. Such is the implication; but I think it was not so. In the
_Mont-Saint-Michel_[17] Adams speaks of those young people who rarely like
the Romanesque. "They prefer the Gothic.... No doubt, they are right, since
they are young: but men and women who have lived long and are tired--who
want rest--who have done with aspirations and ambitions--_whose life has
been a broken arch_--feel this repose and self-restraint as they feel
nothing else." The _Education_ is in fact the record, tragic and pathetic
underneath its genial irony, of the defeat of fine aspirations and laudable
ambitions. It is the story of a life which the man himself, in his old age,
looked back upon as a broken arch.

[Footnote 17: _Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres_, p. 7. [Author's note.]]

One is not surprised that a man of Henry Adams's antecedents should take
life seriously; but no sane man, looking upon his career from the outside,
would call it a failure. Born into a family whose traditions were in
themselves a liberal education, Henry Adams enjoyed advantages in youth
such as few boys have. It was at least an unusual experience to be able, as
a lad, to sit every Sunday "behind a President grandfather, and to read
over his head the tablet in memory of a President great-grandfather, who
had 'pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' to secure the
independence of his country." This to be sure might not have been an
advantage if it led the lad to regard the presidency as a heritable office
in the family; but it was certainly a great deal to be able to listen
daily, at his father's table, to talk as good as he was "ever likely to
hear again." This was doubtless one of the reasons why he got (or was it
only that it seemed so to him in his old age?) so little from Harvard
College; but at any rate he graduated with honors, and afterwards enjoyed
the blessed boon of two care-free years of idling and study in Germany and
Italy. For six years, as private secretary to his father on one of the most
difficult and successful diplomatic missions in the history of his country,
he watched history in the making, and gained an inside knowledge of English
politics and society such as comes to one young man in ten thousand.
Returning to America, he served for a time as editor of the _North
American_, and was for seven years a professor of history in Harvard
College. During the last thirty-five years of his life, he lived
alternately in Washington and Paris. Relieved of official or other
responsibility, he travelled all over the world, met the most interesting
people of his generation, devoted himself at leisure to the study of art
and literature, philosophy and science, and wrote, as an incident in a long
life of serious endeavor, twelve or fifteen volumes of history which by
common consent rank with the best work done in that field by American

By no common standard does such a record measure failure. Most men would
have been satisfied with the life he lived apart from the books he wrote,
or with the books he wrote apart from the life he lived. Henry Adams is
commonly counted with the historians; but he scarcely thought of himself as
one, except in so far as he sought and failed to find a philosophy of
history. It is characteristic that in the _Education_ he barely mentions
the _History of the United States_. The enterprise, which he undertook for
lack of something better, he always regarded as negligible--an episode in
his life to be chronicled like any other. But it is safe to say that most
of us who call ourselves historians, with far less justification, would be
well content if we could count, as the result of a lifetime of effort, such
a shelfful of volumes to our credit. The average professor of history might
well expect, on less showing, to be chosen president of the Historical
Association; in which case the prospect of having to deliver a presidential
address might lead him to speculate idly in idle moments upon the meaning
of history; but the riddle of existence would not greatly trouble his
sleep, nor could it be said of him, as Henry Adams said of himself, that "a
historical formula that should satisfy the conditions of the stellar
universe weighed heavily upon his mind." He would live out the remnant of
his days, an admired and a fêted leader in the scholar's world, wholly
unaware that his life had been a cosmic failure.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not likely that many readers will see the tragedy of a failure that
looks like success, or miss the philosophy-clothes that were never found.
And indeed we may all be well content with the doings of this manikin that
turns out to be so lively an ego. Henry Adams was worth a wilderness of
philosophies. Perhaps we should have liked the book better if he could have
taken himself more frankly, as a matter of course, for what he was--a man
of wide experience, of altogether uncommon attainments, of extraordinarily
incisive mental power; and if, resting on this assumption, he had told us
more directly, as something we should like to know, what he had done, what
people he had met and known, what events he had shared in or observed, and
what he thought about it all. This he does do of course, in his own
enigmatic way, in the process of explaining where and how he sought
education and failed to find it; and fortunately, in the course of the
leisurely journey, he takes us into many by-paths and shows us, by the easy
play of his illuminating intelligence, much strange country, and many
people whom we have never known, or have never known so intimately. When
this happens, when the manikin forgets itself and its education-clothes,
and merely describes people or types of mind or social customs, the result
is wholly admirable. There are inimitable passages, and the number is
large, which one cannot forget. One will not soon forget the young men of
the Harvard class of '58, who were "_negative to a degree that in the end
became positive and triumphant_"; or the exquisitely drawn portrait of
"Madame President," all things considered the finest passage in the book;
or the picture of old John Quincy Adams coming slowly down-stairs one hot
summer morning and with massive and silent solemnity leading the rebellious
little Henry to school against his will; or yet the reflections of the
little Henry himself (or was it the reflection of an older Henry?), who
recognized on this occasion "that the President, though a tool of tyranny,
had done his disreputable work with a certain intelligence. He had shown no
temper, no irritation, no personal feeling, and had made no display of
force. Above all, he had held his tongue."...

The number of passages one would wish to quote is legion; but one must be
content to say that the book is fascinating throughout--particularly
perhaps in those parts which are not concerned with the education of Henry
Adams. Where this recondite and cosmic problem is touched upon, there are
often qualifications to be made. The perpetual profession of ignorance and
incapacity seems at times a bit disingenuous; and we have to do for the
most part, not with the way things struck Adams at the time, but with the
way it seemed to him, as an old man looking back upon the "broken arch,"
they should have struck him. Besides, in the later chapters, in which he
deals with the dynamic theory of history, the problem was so vague, even to
himself, that we too often do not know what he wishes to convey. Apropos of
the Chicago Fair, which like everything else in his later years linked
itself to the business of the dynamo and the Virgin, he says: "Did he
himself quite know what he meant? Certainly not! If he had known enough to
state his problem, his education would have been completed at once." Is
this the statement of a fact, or only the reflection of a perversity? We do
not know. Most readers, at all events, having reached page 343, will not be
inclined to dispute the assertion. Yet we must after all be grateful for
this meaningless philosophy of history (the more so perhaps since it is
meaningless); for without it we should never have had either the
_Mont-Saint-Michel_ or _The Education of Henry Adams_--"books which no
gentleman's library" need contain, but which will long be read by the
curious inquirer into the nature of the human heart.

Henry Adams lies buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, in Washington. The casual
visitor might perhaps notice, on a slight elevation, a group of shrubs and
small trees making a circular enclosure. If he should step up into this
concealed spot, he would see on the opposite side a polished marble seat;
and placing himself there he would find himself facing a seated figure,
done in bronze, loosely wrapped in a mantle which, covering the body and
the head, throws into strong relief a face of singular fascination. Whether
man or woman, it would puzzle the observer to say. The eyes are half
closed, in reverie rather than in sleep. The figure seems not to convey the
sense either of life or death, of joy or sorrow, of hope or despair. It has
lived, but life is done; it has experienced all things, but is now
oblivious of all; it has questioned, but questions no more. The casual
visitor will perhaps approach the figure, looking for a symbol, a name, a
date--some revelation. There is none. The level ground, carpeted with dead
leaves, gives no indication of a grave beneath. It may be that the puzzled
visitor will step outside, walk around the enclosure, examine the marble
shaft against which the figure is placed; and, finding nothing there,
return to the seat and look long at the strange face. What does he make of
it--this level spot, these shrubs, this figure that speaks and yet is
silent? Nothing--or what he will. Such was life to Henry Adams, who lived
long, and questioned seriously, and would not be content with the dishonest
or the facile answer.



[Footnote 18: From _Up from Slavery_, by Booker T. Washington. Copyright,
1900, 1901, by Doubleday, Page & Co. By permission.]

One day, while at work in the coal-mine, I happened to overhear two miners
talking about a great school for coloured people somewhere in Virginia.
This was the first time that I had ever heard anything about any kind of
school or college that was more pretentious than the little coloured school
in our town.

In the darkness of the mine I noiselessly crept as close as I could to the
two men who were talking. I heard one tell the other that not only was the
school established for the members of my race, but that opportunities were
provided by which poor but worthy students could work out all or a part of
the cost of board, and at the same time be taught some trade or industry.

As they went on describing the school, it seemed to me that it must be the
greatest place on earth, and not even Heaven presented more attractions for
me at that time than did the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in
Virginia, about which these men were talking. I resolved at once to go to
that school, although I had no idea where it was, or how many miles away,
or how I was going to reach it; I remembered only that I was on fire
constantly with one ambition, and that was to go to Hampton. This thought
was with me day and night.

After hearing of the Hampton Institute, I continued to work for a few
months longer in the coal-mine. While at work there, I heard of a vacant
position in the household of General Lewis Ruffner, the owner of the
salt-furnace and coal-mine. Mrs. Viola Ruffner, the wife of General
Ruffner, was a "Yankee" woman from Vermont. Mrs. Ruffner had a reputation
all through the vicinity for being very strict with her servants, and
especially with the boys who tried to serve her. Few of them had remained
with her more than two or three weeks. They all left with the same excuse:
she was too strict. I decided, however, that I would rather try Mrs.
Ruffner's house than remain in the coal-mine, and so my mother applied to
her for the vacant position. I was hired at a salary of $5 per month.

I had heard so much about Mrs. Ruffner's severity that I was almost afraid
to see her, and trembled when I went into her presence. I had not lived
with her many weeks, however, before I began to understand her. I soon
began to learn that, first of all, she wanted everything kept clean about
her, that she wanted things done promptly and systematically, and at the
bottom of everything she wanted absolute honesty and frankness. Nothing
must be sloven or slipshod; every door, every fence, must be kept in

I cannot now recall how long I lived with Mrs. Ruffner before going to
Hampton, but I think it must have been a year and a half. At any rate, I
here repeat what I have said more than once before, that the lessons that I
learned in the home of Mrs. Ruffner were as valuable to me as any education
I have ever gotten anywhere since. Even to this day I never see bits of
paper scattered around a house or in the street that I do not want to pick
them up at once. I never see a filthy yard that I do not want to clean it,
a paling off of a fence that I do not want to put it on, an unpainted or
unwhitewashed house that I do not want to paint or whitewash it, or a
button off one's clothes, or a grease-spot on them or on a floor, that I do
not want to call attention to it.

From fearing Mrs. Ruffner I soon learned to look upon her as one of my best
friends. When she found that she could trust me she did so implicitly.
During the one or two winters that I was with her she gave me an
opportunity to go to school for an hour in the day during a portion of the
winter months, but most of my studying was done at night, sometimes alone,
sometimes under someone whom I could hire to teach me. Mrs. Ruffner always
encouraged and sympathized with me in all my efforts to get an education.
It was while living with her that I began to get together my first library.
I secured a dry-goods box, knocked out one side of it, put some shelves in
it, and began putting into it every kind of book that I could get my hands
upon, and called it my "library."

Notwithstanding my success at Mrs. Ruffner's I did not give up the idea of
going to the Hampton Institute. In the fall of 1872 I determined to make an
effort to get there, although, as I have stated, I had no definite idea of
the direction in which Hampton was, or of what it would cost to go there. I
do not think that any one thoroughly sympathized with me in my ambition to
go to Hampton unless it was my mother, and she was troubled with a grave
fear that I was starting out on a "wild-goose chase." At any rate, I got
only a half-hearted consent from her that I might start. The small amount
of money that I had earned had been consumed by my stepfather and the
remainder of the family, with the exception of a very few dollars, and so I
had very little with which to buy clothes and pay my travelling expenses.
My brother John helped me all that he could, but of course that was not a
great deal, for his work was in the coal-mine, where he did not earn much,
and most of what he did earn went in the direction of paying the household

Perhaps the thing that touched and pleased me most in connection with my
starting for Hampton was the interest that many of the older coloured
people took in the matter. They had spent the best days of their lives in
slavery, and hardly expected to live to see the time when they would see a
member of their race leave home to attend a boarding-school. Some of these
older people would give me a nickel, others a quarter, or a handkerchief.

Finally the great day came, and I started for Hampton. I had only a small,
cheap satchel that contained what few articles of clothing I could get. My
mother at the time was rather weak and broken in health. I hardly expected
to see her again, and thus our parting was all the more sad. She, however,
was very brave through it all. At that time there were no through trains
connecting that part of West Virginia with eastern Virginia. Trains ran
only a portion of the way, and the remainder of the distance was travelled
by stagecoaches.

The distance from Malden to Hampton is about five hundred miles. I had not
been away from home many hours before it began to grow painfully evident
that I did not have enough money to pay my fare to Hampton. One experience
I shall long remember. I had been travelling over the mountains most of the
afternoon in an old-fashioned stage-coach, when, late in the evening, the
coach stopped for the night at a common, unpainted house called a hotel.
All the other passengers except myself were whites. In my ignorance I
supposed that the little hotel existed for the purpose of accommodating the
passengers who travelled on the stage-coach. The difference that the colour
of one's skin would make I had not thought anything about. After all the
other passengers had been shown rooms and were getting ready for supper, I
shyly presented myself before the man at the desk. It is true I had
practically no money in my pocket with which to pay for bed or food, but I
had hoped in some way to beg my way into the good graces of the landlord,
for at that season in the mountains of Virginia the weather was cold, and I
wanted to get indoors for the night. Without asking as to whether I had any
money, the man at the desk firmly refused to even consider the matter of
providing me with food or lodging. This was my first experience in finding
out what the colour of my skin meant. In some way I managed to keep warm by
walking about, and so got through the night. My whole soul was so bent upon
reaching Hampton that I did not have time to cherish any bitterness toward
the hotel-keeper.

By walking, begging rides both in wagons and in the cars, in some way,
after a number of days, I reached the city of Richmond, Virginia, about
eighty-two miles from Hampton. When I reached there, tired, hungry, and
dirty, it was late in the night. I had never been in a large city, and this
rather added to my misery. When I reached Richmond, I was completely out of
money. I had not a single acquaintance in the place, and, being unused to
city ways, I did not know where to go. I applied at several places for
lodging, but they all wanted money, and that was what I did not have.
Knowing nothing else better to do, I walked the streets. In doing this I
passed by many food-stands where fried chicken and half-moon apple pies
were piled high and made to present a most tempting appearance. At that
time it seemed to me that I would have promised all that I expected to
possess in the future to have gotten hold of one of those chicken legs or
one of those pies. But I could not get either of these, nor anything else
to eat.

I must have walked the streets till after midnight. At last I became so
exhausted that I could walk no longer. I was tired, I was hungry, I was
everything but discouraged. Just about the time when I reached extreme
physical exhaustion, I came upon a portion of a street where the board
sidewalk was considerably elevated. I waited for a few minutes, till I was
sure that no passers-by could see me, and then crept under the sidewalk and
lay for the night upon the ground, with my satchel of clothing for a
pillow. Nearly all night I could hear the tramp of feet over my head. The
next morning I found myself somewhat refreshed, but I was extremely hungry,
because it had been a long time since I had had sufficient food. As soon as
it became light enough for me to see my surroundings I noticed that I was
near a large ship, and that this ship seemed to be unloading a cargo of
pigiron. I went at once to the vessel and asked the captain to permit me to
help unload the vessel in order to get money for food. The captain, a white
man, who seemed to be kind-hearted, consented. I worked long enough to earn
money for my breakfast, and it seems to me, as I remember it now, to have
been about the best breakfast that I have ever eaten.

My work pleased the captain so well that he told me if I desired I could
continue working for a small amount per day. This I was very glad to do. I
continued working on this vessel for a number of days. After buying food
with the small wages I received there was not much left to add to the
amount I must get to pay my way to Hampton. In order to economize in every
way possible, so as to be sure to reach Hampton in a reasonable time, I
continued to sleep under the same sidewalk that gave me shelter the first
night I was in Richmond. Many years after that the coloured citizens of
Richmond very kindly tendered me a reception at which there must have been
two thousand people present. This reception was held not far from the spot
where I slept the first night I spent in that city, and I must confess that
my mind was more upon the sidewalk that first gave me shelter than upon the
reception, agreeable and cordial as it was.

When I had saved what I considered enough money with which to reach
Hampton, I thanked the captain of the vessel for his kindness, and started
again. Without any unusual occurrence I reached Hampton, with a surplus of
exactly fifty cents with which to begin my education. To me it had been a
long, eventful journey; but the first sight of the large, three-story,
brick school building seemed to have rewarded me for all that I had
undergone in order to reach the place. If the people who gave the money to
provide that building could appreciate the influence the sight of it had
upon me, as well as upon thousands of other youths, they would feel all the
more encouraged to make such gifts. It seemed to me to be the largest and
most beautiful building I had ever seen. The sight of it seemed to give me
new life. I felt that a new kind of existence had now begun--that life
would now have a new meaning. I felt that I had reached the promised land,
and I resolved to let no obstacle prevent me from putting forth the highest
effort to fit myself to accomplish the most good in the world.

As soon as possible after reaching the grounds of the Hampton Institute, I
presented myself before the head teacher for assignment to a class. Having
been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did
not, of course, make a very favourable impression upon her, and I could see
at once that there were doubts in her mind about the wisdom of admitting me
as a student. I felt that I could hardly blame her if she got the idea that
I was a worthless loafer or tramp. For some time she did not refuse to
admit me, neither did she decide in my favour, and I continued to linger
about her, and to impress her in all the ways I could with my worthiness.
In the meantime I saw her admitting other students, and that added greatly
to my discomfort, for I felt, deep down in my heart, that I could do as
well as they, if I could only get a chance to show what was in me.

After some hours had passed, the head teacher said to me: "The adjoining
recitation-room needs sweeping. Take the broom and sweep it."

It occurred to me at once that here was my chance. Never did I receive an
order with more delight. I knew that I could sweep, for Mrs. Ruffner had
thoroughly taught me how to do that when I lived with her.

I swept the recitation-room three times. Then I got a dusting-cloth and I
dusted it four times. All the woodwork around the walls, every bench,
table, and desk, I went over four times with my dusting-cloth. Besides,
every piece of furniture had been moved and every closet and corner in the
room had been thoroughly cleaned. I had the feeling that in a large measure
my future depended upon the impression I made upon the teacher in the
cleaning of that room. When I was through, I reported to the head teacher.
She was a "Yankee" woman who knew just where to look for dirt. She went
into the room and inspected the floor and closets; then she took her
handkerchief and rubbed it on the woodwork about the walls, and over the
table and benches. When she was unable to find one bit of dirt on the
floor, or a particle of dust on any of the furniture, she quietly remarked,
"I guess you will do to enter this institution."

I was one of the happiest souls on earth. The sweeping of that room was my
college examination, and never did any youth pass an examination for
entrance into Harvard or Yale that gave him more genuine satisfaction. I
have passed several examinations since then, but I have always felt that
this was the best one I ever passed.



[Footnote 19: From _The Making of an American_, by Jacob A. Riis.
Copyright, 1901, by The Outlook Co. Copyright, 1901, by The Macmillan Co.
By permission of Mrs. Jacob A. Riis and of the publishers.]

When at last I got well enough to travel, I set my face toward the east,
and journeyed on foot through the northern coal regions of Pennsylvania by
slow stages, caring little whither I went, and earning just enough by
peddling flat-irons to pay my way. It was spring when I started; the autumn
tints were on the leaves when I brought up in New York at last, as nearly
restored as youth and the long tramp had power to do. But the restless
energy that had made of me a successful salesman was gone. I thought only,
if I thought at all, of finding some quiet place where I could sit and see
the world go by that concerned me no longer. With a dim idea of being sent
into the farthest wilds as an operator, I went to a business college on
Fourth Avenue and paid $20 to learn telegraphing. It was the last money I
had. I attended the school in the afternoon. In the morning I peddled
flat-irons, earning money for my board, and so made out.

One day, while I was so occupied, I saw among the "want" advertisements in
a newspaper one offering the position of city editor on a Long Island City
weekly to a competent man. Something of my old ambition stirred within me.
It did not occur to me that city editors were not usually obtained by
advertising, still less that I was not competent, having only the vaguest
notions of what the functions of a city editor might be. I applied for the
job, and got it at once. Eight dollars a week was to be my salary; my job,
to fill the local column and attend to the affairs of Hunter's Point and
Blissville generally, politics excluded. The editor attended to that. In
twenty-four hours I was hard at work writing up my then most ill-favored
bailiwick. It is none too fine yet, but in those days, when every nuisance
crowded out of New York found refuge there, it stunk to heaven.

Certainly I had entered journalism by the back door, very far back at that,
when I joined the staff of the _Review_. Signs of that appeared speedily,
and multiplied day by day. On the third day of my employment I beheld the
editor-in-chief being thrashed down the street by an irate coachman whom he
had offended, and when, in a spirit of loyalty, I would have cast in my lot
with him, I was held back by one of the printers with the laughing comment
that that was his daily diet and that it was good for him. That was the
only way any one ever got any satisfaction or anything else out of him.
Judging from the goings on about the office in the two weeks I was there,
he must have been extensively in debt to all sorts of people who were
trying to collect. When, on my second deferred pay-day, I met him on the
stairs, propelled by his washerwoman, who brought her basket down on his
head with every step he took, calling upon the populace (the stairs were
outside the building) to witness just punishment meted out to him for
failing to pay for the washing of his shirts, I rightly concluded that the
city editor's claim stood no show. I left him owing me two weeks' pay, but
I freely forgive him. I think I got my money's worth of experience. I did
not let grass grow under my feet as "city editor." Hunter's Point had
received for once a thorough raking over, and I my first lesson in hunting
the elusive item and, when found, making a note of it.

Except for a Newfoundland pup which some one had given me, I went back over
the river as poor as I had come. The dog proved rather a doubtful
possession as the days went by. Its appetite was tremendous, and its
preference for my society embarrassingly unrestrained. It would not be
content to sleep anywhere else than in my room. If I put it out in the
yard, it forthwith organized a search for me in which the entire
neighborhood was compelled to take part, willy-nilly. Its manner of doing
it boomed the local trade in hair-brushes and mantel bric-à-brac, but
brought on complications with the landlord in the morning that usually
resulted in the departure of Bob and myself for other pastures. Part with
him I could not; for Bob loved me. Once I tried, when it seemed that there
was no choice. I had been put out for perhaps the tenth time, and I had no
more money left to provide for our keep. A Wall Street broker had
advertised for a watch-dog, and I went with Bob to see him. But when he
would have counted the three gold pieces he offered into my hand, I saw
Bob's honest brown eyes watching me with a look of such faithful affection
that I dropped the coins as if they burned, and caught him about the neck
to tell him that we would never part. Bob put his huge paws on my
shoulders, licked my face, and barked such a joyous bark of challenge to
the world in general that even the Wall Street man was touched.

"I guess you are too good friends to part," he said. And so we were.

We left Wall Street and its gold behind to go out and starve together.
Literally we did that in the days that followed. I had taken to peddling
books, an illustrated Dickens issued by the Harpers, but I barely earned
enough by it to keep life in us and a transient roof over our heads. I call
it transient because it was rarely the same two nights together, for causes
which I have explained. In the day Bob made out rather better than I. He
could always coax a supper out of the servant at the basement gate by his
curvetings and tricks, while I pleaded vainly and hungrily with the
mistress at the front door. Dickens was a drug in the market. A curious
fatality had given me a copy of "Hard Times" to canvass with. I think no
amount of good fortune could turn my head while it stands in my bookcase.
One look at it brings back too vividly that day when Bob and I had gone,
desperate and breakfastless, from the last bed we might know for many days,
to try to sell it and so get the means to keep us for another twenty-four

It was not only breakfast we lacked. The day before we had had only a crust
together. Two days without food is not good preparation for a day's
canvassing. We did the best we could. Bob stood by and wagged his tail
persuasively while I did the talking; but luck was dead against us, and
"Hard Times" stuck to us for all we tried. Evening came and found us down
by the Cooper Institute, with never a cent. Faint with hunger, I sat down
on the steps under the illuminated clock, while Bob stretched himself at my
feet. He had beguiled the cook in one of the last houses we called at, and
his stomach was filled. From the corner I had looked on enviously. For me
there was no supper, as there had been no dinner and no breakfast.
To-morrow there was another day of starvation. How long was this to last?
Was it any use to keep up a struggle so hopeless? From this very spot I had
gone, hungry and wrathful, three years before when the dining Frenchmen for
whom I wanted to fight thrust me forth from their company. Three wasted
years! Then I had one cent in my pocket, I remembered. To-day I had not
even so much. I was bankrupt in hope and purpose. Nothing had gone right;
nothing would ever go right; and, worse, I did not care. I drummed moodily
upon my book. Wasted! Yes, that was right. My life was wasted, utterly

A voice hailed me by name, and Bob sat up looking attentively at me for his
cue as to the treatment of the owner of it. I recognized in him the
principal of the telegraph school where I had gone until my money gave out.
He seemed suddenly struck by something.

"Why, what are you doing here?" he asked. I told him Bob and I were just
resting after a day of canvassing.

"Books!" he snorted. "I guess they won't make you rich. Now, how would you
like to be a reporter, if you have got nothing better to do? The manager of
a news agency down town asked me to-day to find him a bright young fellow
whom he could break in. It isn't much--$10 a week to start with. But it is
better than peddling books, I know."

He poked over the book in my hand and read the title. "Hard Times," he
said, with a little laugh, "I guess so. What do you say? I think you will
do. Better come along and let me give you a note to him now."

As in a dream, I walked across the street with him to his office and got
the letter which was to make me, half-starved and homeless, rich as
Croesus, it seemed to me. Bob went along, and before I departed from the
school a better home than I could give him was found for him with my
benefactor. I was to bring him the next day. I had to admit that it was
best so. That night, the last which Bob and I spent together, we walked up
and down Broadway, where there was quiet, thinking it over. What had
happened had stirred me profoundly. For the second time I saw a hand held
out to save me from wreck just when it seemed inevitable; and I knew it for
His hand, to whose will I was at last beginning to bow in humility that had
been a stranger to me before. It had ever been my own will, my own way,
upon which I insisted. In the shadow of Grace Church I bowed my head
against the granite wall of the gray tower and prayed for strength to do
the work which I had so long and arduously sought and which had now come to
me; the while Bob sat and looked on, saying clearly enough with his wagging
tail that he did not know what was going on, but that he was sure it was
all right. Then we resumed our wanderings. One thought, and only one, I had
room for. I did not pursue it; it walked with me wherever I went: She was
not married yet. Not yet. When the sun rose, I washed my face and hands in
a dog's drinking-trough, pulled my clothes into such shape as I could, and
went with Bob to his new home. That parting over, I walked down to 23 Park
Row and delivered my letter to the desk editor in the New York News
Association, up on the top floor.

He looked me over a little doubtfully, but evidently impressed with the
early hours I kept, told me that I might try. He waved me to a desk,
bidding me wait until he had made out his morning book of assignments; and
with such scant ceremony was I finally introduced to Newspaper Row, that
had been to me like an enchanted land. After twenty-seven years of hard
work in it, during which I have been behind the scenes of most of the plays
that go to make up the sum of the life of the metropolis, it exercises the
old spell over me yet. If my sympathies need quickening, my point of view
adjusting, I have only to go down to Park Row at eventide, when the crowds
are hurrying homeward and the City Hall clock is lighted, particularly when
the snow lies on the grass in the park, and stand watching them awhile, to
find all things coming right. It is Bob who stands by and watches with me
then, as on that night.

The assignment that fell to my lot when the book was made out, the first
against which my name was written in a New York editor's books, was a lunch
of some sort at the Astor House. I have forgotten what was the special
occasion. I remember the bearskin hats of the Old Guard in it, but little
else. In a kind of haze, I beheld half the savory viands of earth spread
under the eyes and nostrils of a man who had not tasted food for the third
day. I did not ask for any. I had reached that stage of starvation that is
like the still centre of a cyclone, when no hunger is felt. But it may be
that a touch of it all crept into my report; for when the editor had read
it, he said briefly:--

"You will do. Take that desk, and report at ten every morning, sharp."

That night, when I was dismissed from the office, I went up the Bowery to
No. 185, where a Danish family kept a boarding-house up under the roof. I
had work and wages now, and could pay. On the stairs I fell in a swoon and
lay there till some one stumbled over me in the dark and carried me in. My
strength had at last given out.

So began my life as a newspaper man.



[Footnote 20: From _The Old Merchant Marine_, by Ralph D. Paine, in _The
Chronicles of America_ Series. Copyright, 1919, by the Yale University
Press. By permission of the author and of the publishers.]

One thinks of the old merchant marine in terms of the clipper ship and
distant ports. The coasting trade has been overlooked in song and story;
yet, since the year 1859, its fleets have always been larger and more
important than the American deep-water commerce nor have decay and
misfortune overtaken them. It is a traffic which flourished from the
beginning, ingeniously adapting itself to new conditions, unchecked by war,
and surviving with splendid vigor, under steam and sail, in this modern

The seafaring pioneers won their way from port to port of the tempestuous
Atlantic coast in tiny ketches, sloops, and shallops when the voyage of
five hundred miles from New England to Virginia was a prolonged and
hazardous adventure. Fog and shoals and lee shores beset these coastwise
sailors, and shipwrecks were pitifully frequent. In no Hall of Fame will
you find the name of Captain Andrew Robinson of Gloucester, but he was
nevertheless an illustrious benefactor and deserves a place among the most
useful Americans. His invention was the Yankee schooner of fore-and-aft
rig, and he gave to this type of vessel its name.[21] Seaworthy, fast, and
easily handled, adapted for use in the early eighteenth century when inland
transportation was almost impossible, the schooner carried on trade between
the colonies and was an important factor in the growth of the fisheries.

[Footnote 21: It is said that as the odd two-master slid gracefully into
the water, a spectator exclaimed: "See how she scoons!" "Aye," answered
Captain Robinson, "a schooner let her be!" This launching took place in
1713 or 1714. [Author's note.]]

Before the Revolution the first New England schooners were beating up to
the Grand Bank of Newfoundland after cod and halibut. They were of no more
than fifty tons' burden, too small for their task but manned by fishermen
of surpassing hardihood. Marblehead was then the foremost fishing port with
two hundred brigs and schooners on the offshore banks. But to Gloucester
belongs the glory of sending the first schooner to the Grand Bank. From
these two rock-bound harbors went thousands of trained seamen to man the
privateers and the ships of the Continental navy, slinging their hammocks
on the gun-decks beside the whalemen of Nantucket. These fishermen and
coastwise sailors fought on the land as well and followed the drums of
Washington's armies until the final scene at Yorktown. Gloucester and
Marblehead were filled with widows and orphans, and half their men-folk
were dead or missing.

The fishing-trade soon prospered again, and the men of the old ports
tenaciously clung to the sea even when the great migration flowed westward
to people the wilderness and found a new American empire. They were
fishermen from father to son, bound together in an intimate community of
interests, a race of pure native or English stock, deserving this tribute
which was paid to them in Congress: "Every person on board our fishing
vessels has an interest in common with his associates; their reward depends
upon their industry and enterprise. Much caution is observed in the
selection of the crews of our fishing vessels; it often happens that every
individual is connected by blood and the strongest ties of friendship; our
fishermen are remarkable for their sobriety and good conduct, and they rank
with the most skillful navigators."

Fishing and the coastwise merchant trade were closely linked. Schooners
loaded dried cod as well as lumber for southern ports and carried back
naval stores and other southern products. Well-to-do fishermen owned
trading vessels and sent out their ventures, the sailors shifting from one
forecastle to the other. With a taste for an easier life than the stormy,
freezing Banks, the young Gloucester-man would sign on for a voyage to
Pernambuco or Havana and so be fired with ambition to become a mate or
master and take to deep water after a while. In this way was maintained a
school of seamanship which furnished the most intelligent and efficient
officers of the merchant marine. For generations they were mostly recruited
from the old fishing and shipping ports of New England until the term
"Yankee shipmaster" had a meaning peculiarly its own.

Seafaring has undergone so many revolutionary changes and old days and ways
are so nearly obliterated that it is singular to find the sailing vessel
still employed in great numbers, even though the gasolene motor is being
installed to kick her along in spells of calm weather. The Gloucester
fishing schooner, perfect of her type, stanch, fleet, and powerful, still
drives homeward from the Banks under a tall press of canvas, and her crew
still divide the earnings, share and share, as did their forefathers a
hundred and fifty years ago. But the old New England strain of blood no
longer predominates, and Portuguese, Scandinavians, and Nova Scotia
"Blue-noses" bunk with the lads of Gloucester stock. Yet they are alike for
courage, hardihood, and mastery of the sea, and the traditions of the
calling are undimmed.

There was a time before the Civil War when Congress jealously protected the
fisheries by means of a bounty system and legislation aimed against our
Canadian neighbors. The fishing fleets were regarded as a source of
national wealth and the nursery of prime seamen for the navy and merchant
marine. In 1858 the bounty system was abandoned, however, and the fishermen
were left to shift for themselves, earning small profits at peril of their
lives and preferring to follow the sea because they knew no other
profession. In spite of this loss of assistance from the Government, the
tonnage engaged in deep-sea fisheries was never so great as in the second
year of the Civil War. Four years later the industry had shrunk one-half;
and it has never recovered its early importance.[22]

[Footnote 22: In 1862, the tonnage amounted to 193,459; in 1866, to 89,386.
[Author's note.]]

The coastwise merchant trade, on the other hand, has been jealously guarded
against competition and otherwise fostered ever since 1789, when the first
discriminatory tonnage tax was enforced. The Embargo Act of 1808 prohibited
domestic commerce to foreign flags, and this edict was renewed in the
American Navigation Act of 1817. It remained a firmly established doctrine
of maritime policy until the Great War compelled its suspension as an
emergency measure. The theories of protection and free trade have been
bitterly debated for generations, but in this instance the practice was
eminently successful and the results were vastly impressive. Deep-water
shipping dwindled and died, but the increase in coastwise sailing was
consistent. It rose to five million tons early in this century and makes
the United States still one of the foremost maritime powers in respect to
salt-water activity.

To speak of this deep-water shipping as trade coastwise is misleading, in a
way. The words convey an impression of dodging from port to port for short
distances, whereas many of the voyages are longer than those of the foreign
routes in European waters. It is farther by sea from Boston to Philadelphia
than from Plymouth, England, to Bordeaux. A schooner making the run from
Portland to Savannah lays more knots over her stern than a tramp bound out
from England to Lisbon. It is a shorter voyage from Cardiff to Algiers than
an American skipper pricks off on his chart when he takes his steamer from
New York to New Orleans or Galveston. This coastwise trade may lack the
romance of the old school of the square-rigged ship in the Roaring Forties,
but it has always been the more perilous and exacting. Its seamen suffer
hardships unknown elsewhere, for they have to endure winters of intense
cold and heavy gales and they are always in risk of stranding or being
driven ashore.

The story of these hardy men is interwoven, for the most part, with the
development of the schooner in size and power. This graceful craft, so
peculiar to its own coast and people, was built for utility and possessed a
simple beauty of its own when under full sail. The schooners were at first
very small because it was believed that large fore-and-aft sails could not
be handled with safety. They were difficult to reef or lower in a blow
until it was discovered that three masts instead of two made the task much
easier. For many years the three-masted schooner was the most popular kind
of American merchant vessel. They clustered in every Atlantic port and were
built in the yards of New England, New York, New Jersey, and
Virginia--built by the mile, as the saying was, and sawed off in lengths to
suit the owners' pleasure. They carried the coal, ice, lumber of the whole
sea-board and were so economical of man-power that they earned dividends
where steamers or square-rigged ships would not have paid for themselves.

As soon as a small steam-engine was employed to hoist the sails, it became
possible to launch much larger schooners and to operate them at a
marvelously low cost. Rapidly the four-master gained favor, and then came
the five-and six-masted vessels, gigantic ships of their kind. Instead of
the hundred-ton schooner of a century ago, Hampton Roads and Boston Harbor
saw these great cargo carriers which could stow under hatches four and five
thousand tons of coal, and whose masts soared a hundred and fifty feet
above the deck. Square-rigged ships of the same capacity would have
required crews of a hundred men, but these schooners were comfortably
handled by a company of fifteen all told, only ten of whom were in the
forecastle. There was no need of sweating and hauling at braces and
halliards. The steam-winch undertook all this toil. The tremendous sails,
stretching a hundred feet from boom to gaff could not have been managed
otherwise. Even for trimming sheets or setting topsails, it was necessary
merely to take a turn or two around the drum of the winch engine and turn
the steam valve. The big schooner was the last word in cheap, efficient
transportation by water. In her own sphere of activity she was as notable
an achievement as the Western Ocean packet or the Cape Horn clipper.

The masters who sailed these extraordinary vessels also changed and had to
learn a new kind of seamanship. They must be very competent men, for the
tests of their skill and readiness were really greater than those demanded
of the deep-water skipper. They drove these great schooners alongshore
winter and summer, across Nantucket Shoals and around Cape Cod, and their
salvation depended on shortening sail ahead of the gale. Let the wind once
blow and the sea get up, and it was almost impossible to strip the canvas
off an unwieldy six-master. The captain's chief fear was of being blown
offshore, of having his vessel run away with him! Unlike the deep-water
man, he preferred running in toward the beach and letting go his anchors.
There he would ride out the storm and hoist sail when the weather

These were American shipmasters of the old breed, raised in schooners as a
rule, and adapting themselves to modern conditions. They sailed for nominal
wages and primage, or five per cent of the gross freight paid the vessel.
Before the Great War in Europe, freights were low and the schooner skippers
earned scanty incomes. Then came a world shortage of tonnage and
immediately coastwise freights soared skyward. The big schooners of the
Palmer fleet began to reap fabulous dividends and their masters shared in
the unexpected opulence. Besides their primage they owned shares in their
vessels, a thirty-second or so, and presently their settlement at the end
of a voyage coastwise amounted to an income of a thousand dollars a month.
They earned this money, and the managing owners cheerfully paid them, for
there had been lean years and uncomplaining service and the sailor had
proved himself worthy of his hire. So tempting was the foreign war trade,
that a fleet of them was sent across the Atlantic until the American
Government barred them from the war zone as too easy a prey for submarine
attack. They therefore returned to the old coastwise route or loaded for
South American ports--singularly interesting ships because they were the
last bold venture of the old American maritime spirit, a challenge to the
Age of Steam.

No more of these huge, towering schooners have been built in the last dozen
years. Steam colliers and barges have won the fight because time is now
more valuable than cheapness of transportation. The schooner might bowl
down to Norfolk from Boston or Portland in four days and be threshing about
for two weeks in head winds on the return voyage.

The small schooner appeared to be doomed somewhat earlier. She had ceased
to be profitable in competition with the larger, more modern
fore-and-after, but these battered, veteran craft died hard. They harked
back to a simpler age, to the era of the stage-coach and the
spinning-wheel, to the little shipyards that were to be found on every bay
and inlet of New England. They were still owned and sailed by men who
ashore were friends and neighbors. Even now you may find during your summer
wanderings some stumpy, weather-worn two-master running on for shelter
overnight, which has plied up and down the coast for fifty or sixty years,
now leaking like a basket and too frail for winter voyages. It was in a
craft very much like this that your rude ancestors went privateering
against the British. Indeed, the little schooner _Polly_, which fought
briskly in the War of 1812, is still afloat and loading cargoes in New
England ports.

These little coasters, surviving long after the stately merchant marine had
vanished from blue water, have enjoyed a slant of favoring fortune in
recent years. They, too, have been in demand, and once again there is money
to spare for paint and cordage and calking. They have been granted a new
lease of life and may be found moored at the wharfs, beached on the marine
railways, or anchored in the stream, eagerly awaiting their turn to refit.
It is a matter of vital concern that the freight on spruce boards from
Bangor to New York has increased to five dollars a thousand feet. Many of
these craft belong to grandfatherly skippers who dared not venture past
Cape Cod in December, lest the venerable _Matilda Emerson_ or the
valetudinarian _Joshua R. Coggswell_ should open up and founder in a blow.
During the winter storms these skippers used to hug the kitchen stove in
bleak farmhouses until spring came and they could put to sea again. The
rigor of circumstances, however, forced others to seek for trade the whole
year through. In a recent winter fifty-seven schooners were lost on the New
England coast, most of which were unfit for anything but summer breezes. As
by a miracle, others have been able to renew their youth, to replace spongy
planking and rotten stems, and to deck themselves out in white canvas and
fresh paint!

The captains of these craft foregather in the ship-chandler's shops, where
the floor is strewn with sawdust, the armchairs are capacious, and the
environment harmonizes with the tales that are told. It is an informal club
of coastwise skippers and the old energy begins to show itself once more.
They move with a brisker gait than when times were so hard and they went
begging for charters at any terms. A sinewy patriarch stumps to a window,
flourishes his arm at an ancient two-master, and booms out:

"That vessel of mine is as sound as a nut, I tell ye. She ain't as big as
some, but I'd like nothin' better than the sun clouded over. Expect to
navigate to Africy same as the _Horace M. Bickford_ that cleared t'other
day, stocked for _sixty thousand dollars_."

"Huh, you'd get lost out o' sight of land, John," is the cruel retort, "and
that old shoe-box of yours 'ud be scared to death without a harbor to run
into every time the sun clouded over. Expect to navigate to Africy with an
alarm-clock and a soundin'-lead, I presume."

"Mebbe I'd better let well enough alone," replies the old man. "Africy
don't seem as neighborly as Phippsburg and Machiasport. I'll chance it as
far as Philadelphy next voyage and I guess the old woman can buy a new

The activity and the reawakening of the old shipyards, their slips all
filled with the frames of wooden vessels for the foreign trade, is like a
revival of the old merchant marine, a reincarnation of ghostly memories. In
mellowed dignity the square white houses beneath the New England elms
recall to mind the mariners who dwell therein. It seems as if their
shipyards also belonged to the past; but the summer visitor finds a fresh
attraction in watching the new schooners rise from the stocks, and the gay
pageant of launching them, every mast ablaze with bunting, draws crowds to
the water-front. And as a business venture, with somewhat of the tang of
old-fashioned romance, the casual stranger is now and then tempted to
purchase a sixty-fourth "piece" of a splendid Yankee four-master and keep
in touch with its roving fortunes. The shipping reports of the daily
newspaper prove more fascinating than the ticker tape, and the tidings of a
successful voyage thrill one with a sense of personal gratification. For
the sea has not lost its magic and its mystery, and those who go down to it
in ships must still battle against elemental odds--still carry on the noble
and enduring traditions of the Old Merchant Marine.



[Footnote 23: From _The Age of Big Business_, by Burton J. Hendrick, in
_The Chronicles of America_ Series. Copyright, 1919, by the Yale University
Press. By permission of the author and of the publishers.]

In many manufacturing lines, American genius for organization and large
scale production has developed mammoth industries. In nearly all the
tendency to combination and concentration has exercised a predominating
influence. In the early years of the twentieth century the public realized,
for the first time, that one corporation, the American Sugar Refining
Company, controlled ninety-eight per cent of the business of refining
sugar. Six large interests--Armour, Swift, Morris, the National Packing
Company, Cudahy, and Schwarzschild and Sulzberger--had so concentrated the
packing business that, by 1905, they slaughtered practically all the cattle
shipped to Western centers and furnished most of the beef consumed in the
large cities east of Pittsburgh. The "Tobacco Trust" had largely
monopolized both the wholesale and retail trade in this article of luxury
and had also made extensive inroads into the English market. The textile
industry had not only transformed great centers of New England into an
American Lancashire, but the Southern States, recovering from the
demoralization of the Civil War, had begun to spin their own cotton and to
send the finished product to all parts of the world. American shoe
manufacturers had developed their art to a point where "American shoes" had
acquired a distinctive standing in practically every European country.

It is hardly necessary to describe in detail each of these industries. In
their broad outlines they merely repeat the story of steel, of oil, of
agricultural machinery; they are the product of the same methods, the same
initiative. There is one branch of American manufacture, however, that
merits more detailed attention. If we scan the manufacturing statistics of
1917, one amazing fact stares us in the face. There are only three American
industries whose product has attained the billion mark; one of these is
steel, the other food products, while the third is an industry that was
practically unknown in the United States fifteen years ago. Superlatives
come naturally to mind in discussing American progress, but hardly any
extravagant phrases could do justice to the development of American
automobiles. In 1902 the United States produced 3700 motor vehicles; in
1916 we made 1,500,000. The man who now makes a personal profit of not far
from $50,000,000 a year in this industry was a puttering mechanic when the
twentieth century came in. If we capitalized Henry Ford's income, he is
probably a richer man than Rockefeller; yet, as recently as 1905 his
possessions consisted of a little shed of a factory which employed a dozen
workmen. Dazzling as is this personal success, its really important aspects
are the things for which it stands. The American automobile has had its
wild-cat days; for the larger part, however, its leaders have paid little
attention to Wall Street, but have limited their activities exclusively to
manufacturing. Moreover, the automobile illustrates more completely than
any other industry the technical qualities that so largely explain our
industrial progress. Above all, American manufacturing has developed three
characteristics. These are quantity production, standardization, and the
use of labor-saving machinery. It is because Ford and other manufacturers
adapted these principles to making the automobile that the American motor
industry has reached such gigantic proportions.

A few years ago an English manufacturer, seeking the explanation of
America's ability to produce an excellent car so cheaply, made an
interesting experiment. He obtained three American automobiles, all of the
same "standardized" make, and gave them a long and racking tour over
English highways. Workmen then took apart the three cars and threw the
disjointed remains into a promiscuous heap. Every bolt, bar, gas tank,
motor, wheel, and tire was taken from its accustomed place and piled up, a
hideous mass of rubbish. Workmen then painstakingly put together three cars
from these disordered elements. Three chauffeurs jumped on these cars, and
they immediately started down the road and made a long journey just as
acceptably as before. The Englishman had learned the secret of American
success with automobiles. The one word "standardization" explained the

Yet when, a few years before, the English referred to the American
automobile as a "glorified perambulator," the characterization was not
unjust. This new method of transportation was slow in finding favor on our
side of the Atlantic. America was sentimentally and practically devoted to
the horse as the motive power for vehicles; and the fact that we had so few
good roads also worked against the introduction of the automobile. Yet
here, as in Europe, the mechanically propelled wagon made its appearance in
early times. This vehicle, like the bicycle, is not essentially a modern
invention; the reason any one can manufacture it is that practically all
the basic ideas antedate 1840. Indeed, the automobile is really older than
the railroad. In the twenties and thirties, steam stage coaches made
regular trips between certain cities in England and occasionally a much
resounding power-driven carriage would come careering through New York and
Philadelphia, scaring all the horses and precipitating the intervention of
the authorities. The hardy spirits who devised these engines, all of whose
names are recorded in the encyclopedias, deservedly rank as the "fathers"
of the automobile. The responsibility as the actual "inventor" can probably
be no more definitely placed. However, had it not been for two
developments, neither of them immediately related to the motor car, we
should never have had this efficient method of transportation. The real
"fathers" of the automobile are Gottlieb Daimler, the German who made the
first successful gasoline engine, and Charles Goodyear, the American who
discovered the secret of vulcanized rubber. Without this engine to form the
motive power and the pneumatic tire to give it four air cushions to run on,
the automobile would never have progressed beyond the steam carriage stage.
It is true that Charles Baldwin Selden, of Rochester, has been pictured as
the "inventor of the modern automobile" because, as long ago as 1879, he
applied for a patent on the idea of using a gasoline engine as motive
power, securing this basic patent in 1895, but this, it must be admitted,
forms a flimsy basis for such a pretentious claim.

The French apparently led all nations in the manufacture of motor vehicles,
and in the early nineties their products began to make occasional
appearances on American roads. The type of American who owned this imported
machine was the same that owned steam yachts and a box at the opera. Hardly
any new development has aroused greater hostility. It not only frightened
horses, and so disturbed the popular traffic of the time, but its speed,
its glamour, its arrogance, and the haughty behavior of its proprietor, had
apparently transformed it into a new badge of social cleavage. It thus
immediately took its place as a new gewgaw of the rich; that it had any
other purpose to serve had occurred to few people. Yet the French and
English machines created an entirely different reaction in the mind of an
imaginative mechanic in Detroit. Probably American annals contain no finer
story than that of this simple American workman. Yet from the beginning it
seemed inevitable that Henry Ford should play this appointed part in the
world. Born in Michigan in 1863, the son of an English farmer who had
emigrated to Michigan and a Dutch mother, Ford had always demonstrated an
interest in things far removed from his farm. Only mechanical devices
interested him. He liked getting in the crops, because McCormick harvesters
did most of the work; it was only the machinery of the dairy that held him
enthralled. He developed destructive tendencies as a boy; he had to take
everything to pieces. He horrified a rich playmate by resolving his new
watch into its component parts--and promptly quieted him by putting it
together again. "Every clock in the house shuddered when it saw me coming,"
he recently said. He constructed a small working forge in his school-yard,
and built a small steam engine that could make ten miles an hour. He spent
his winter evenings reading mechanical and scientific journals; he cared
little for general literature, but machinery in any form was almost a
pathological obsession. Some boys run away from the farm to join the circus
or to go to sea; Henry Ford at the age of sixteen ran away to get a job in
a machine shop. Here one anomaly immediately impressed him. No two machines
were made exactly alike; each was regarded as a separate job. With his
savings from his weekly wage of $2.50, young Ford purchased a three dollar
watch, and immediately dissected it. If several thousand of these watches
could be made, each one exactly alike, they would cost only thirty-seven
cents apiece. "Then," said Ford to himself, "everybody could have one." He
had fairly elaborated his plans to start a factory on this basis when his
father's illness called him back to the farm.

This was about 1880. Ford's next conspicuous appearance in Detroit was
about 1892. This appearance was not only conspicuous; it was exceedingly
noisy. Detroit now knew him as the pilot of a queer affair that whirled and
lurched through her thoroughfares, making as much disturbance as a freight
train. In reading his technical journals Ford had met many descriptions of
horseless carriages; the consequence was that he had again broken away from
the farm, taken a job at $45 a month in a Detroit machine shop, and devoted
his evenings to the production of a gasoline engine. His young wife was
exceedingly concerned about his health; the neighbors' snap judgment was
that he was insane. Only two other Americans, Charles B. Duryea and Ellwood
Haynes, were attempting to construct an automobile at that time. Long
before Ford was ready with his machine, others had begun to appear. Duryea
turned out his first one in 1892; and foreign makes began to appear in
considerable numbers. But the Detroit mechanic had a more comprehensive
inspiration. He was not working to make one of the finely upholstered and
beautifully painted vehicles that came from overseas. "Anything that isn't
good for everybody is no good at all," he said. Precisely as it was Vail's
ambition to make every American a user of the telephone and McCormick's to
make every farmer a user of his harvester, so it was Ford's determination
that every family should have an automobile. He was apparently the only man
in those times who saw that this new machine was not primarily a luxury but
a convenience. Yet all manufacturers, here and in Europe, laughed at his
idea. Why not give every poor man a Fifth Avenue house? Frenchmen and
Englishmen scouted the idea that any one could make a cheap automobile. Its
machinery was particularly refined and called for the highest grade of
steel; the clever Americans might use their labor-saving devices on many
products, but only skillful hand work could turn out a motor car. European
manufacturers regarded each car as a separate problem; they individualized
its manufacture almost as scrupulously as a painter paints his portrait or
a poet writes his poem. The result was that only a man with several
thousand dollars could purchase one. But Henry Ford--and afterward other
American makers--had quite a different conception.

Henry Ford's earliest banker was the proprietor of a quick-lunch wagon at
which the inventor used to eat his midnight meal after his hard evening's
work in the shed. "Coffee Jim," to whom Ford confided his hopes and
aspirations on these occasions, was the only man with available cash who
had any faith in his ideas. Capital in more substantial form, however, came
in about 1902. With money advanced by "Coffee Jim," Ford had built a
machine which he entered in the Grosse Point races that year. It was a
hideous-looking affair, but it ran like the wind and outdistanced all
competitors. From that day Ford's career has been an uninterrupted triumph.
But he rejected the earliest offers of capital because the millionaires
would not agree to his terms. They were looking for high prices and quick
profits, while Ford's plans were for low prices, large sales, and use of
profits to extend the business and reduce the cost of his machine. Henry
Ford's greatness as a manufacturer consists in the tenacity with which he
has clung to this conception. Contrary to general belief in the automobile
industry he maintained that a high sale price was not necessary for large
profits; indeed he declared that the lower the price, the larger the net
earnings would be. Nor did he believe that low wages meant prosperity. The
most efficient labor, no matter what the nominal cost might be, was the
most economical. The secret of success was the rapid production of a
serviceable article in large quantities. When Ford first talked of turning
out 10,000 automobiles a year, his associates asked him where he was going
to sell them. Ford's answer was that that was no problem at all; the
machines would sell themselves. He called attention to the fact that there
were millions of people in this country whose incomes exceeded $1800 a
year; all in that class would become prospective purchasers of a low-priced
automobile. There were 6,000,000 farmers; what more receptive market could
one ask? His only problem was the technical one--how to produce his machine
in sufficient quantities.

The bicycle business in this country had passed through a similar
experience. When first placed on the market bicycles were expensive; it
took $100 or $150 to buy one. In a few years, however, an excellent machine
was selling for $25 or $30. What explained this drop in price? The answer
is that the manufacturers learned to standardize their product. Bicycle
factories became not so much places where the articles were manufactured as
assembling rooms for putting them together. The several parts were made in
different places, each establishment specializing in a particular part;
they were then shipped to centers where they were transformed into
completed machines. The result was that the United States, despite the high
wages paid here, led the world in bicycle making and flooded all countries
with this utilitarian article. Our great locomotive factories had developed
on similar lines. Europeans had always marveled that Americans could build
these costly articles so cheaply that they could undersell European makers.
When they obtained a glimpse of an American locomotive factory, the reason
became plain. In Europe each locomotive was a separate problem; no two,
even in the same shop, were exactly alike. But here locomotives are built
in parts, all duplicates of one another; the parts are then sent by
machinery to assembling rooms and rapidly put together. American harvesting
machines are built in the same way; whenever a farmer loses a part, he can
go to the country store and buy its duplicate, for the parts of the same
machine do not vary to the thousandth of an inch. The same principle
applies to hundreds of other articles.

Thus Henry Ford did not invent standardization; he merely applied this
great American idea to a product to which, because of the delicate labor
required, it seemed at first unadapted. He soon found that it was cheaper
to ship the parts of ten cars to a central point than to ship ten completed
cars. There would therefore be large savings in making his parts in
particular factories and shipping them to assembling establishments. In
this way the completed cars would always be near their markets. Large
production would mean that he could purchase his raw materials at very low
prices; high wages meant that he could get the efficient labor which was
demanded by his rapid fire method of campaign. It was necessary to plan the
making of every part to the minutest detail, to have each part machined to
its exact size, and to have every screw, bolt, and bar precisely
interchangeable. About the year 1907 the Ford factory was systematized on
this basis. In that twelve-month it produced 10,000 machines, each one the
absolute counterpart of the other 9,999. American manufacturers until then
had been content with a few hundred a year! From that date the Ford
production has rapidly increased; until, in 1916, there were nearly
4,000,000 automobiles in the United States--more than in all the rest of
the world put together--of which one-sixth were the output of the Ford
factories. Many other American manufacturers followed the Ford plan, with
the result that American automobiles are duplicating the story of American
bicycles; because of their cheapness and serviceability, they are rapidly
dominating the markets of the world. In the Great War American machines
have surpassed all in the work done under particularly exacting

A glimpse of a Ford assembling room--and we can see the same process in
other American factories--makes clear the reasons for this success. In
these rooms no fitting is done; the fragments of automobiles come in
automatically and are simply bolted together. First of all the units are
assembled in their several departments. The rear axles, the front axles,
the frames, the radiators, and the motors are all put together with the
same precision and exactness that marks the operation of the completed car.
Thus the wheels come from one part of the factory and are rolled on an
inclined plane to a particular spot. The tires are propelled by some
mysterious force to the same spot; as the two elements coincide, workmen
quickly put them together. In a long room the bodies are slowly advanced on
moving platforms at the rate of about a foot per minute. At the side stand
groups of men, each prepared to do his bit, their materials being delivered
at convenient points by chutes. As the tops pass by these men quickly bolt
them into place, and the completed body is sent to a place where it awaits
the chassis. This important section, comprising all the machinery, starts
at one end of a moving platform as a front and rear axle bolted together
with the frame. As this slowly advances, it passes under a bridge
containing a gasoline tank, which is quickly adjusted. Farther on the motor
is swung over by a small hoist and lowered into position on the frame.
Presently the dash slides down and is placed in position behind the motor.
As the rapidly accumulating mechanism passes on, different workmen adjust
the mufflers, exhaust pipes, the radiator, and the wheels which, as already
indicated, arrive on the scene completely tired. Then a workman seats
himself on the gasoline tank, which contains a small quantity of its
indispensable fuel, starts the engine, and the thing moves out the door
under its own power. It stops for a moment outside; the completed body
drops down from the second floor, and a few bolts quickly put it securely
in place. The workman drives the now finished Ford to a loading platform,
it is stored away in a box car, and is started on its way to market. At the
present time about 2000 cars are daily turned out in this fashion. The
nation demands them at a more rapid rate than they can be made.

Herein we have what is probably America's greatest manufacturing exploit.
And this democratization of the automobile comprises more than the acme of
efficiency in the manufacturing art. The career of Henry Ford has a
symbolic significance as well. It may be taken as signalizing the new
ideals that have gained the upper hand in American industry. We began this
review of American business with Cornelius Vanderbilt as the typical
figure. It is a happy augury that it closes with Henry Ford in the
foreground. Vanderbilt, valuable as were many of his achievements,
represented that spirit of egotism that was rampant for the larger part of
the fifty years following the war. He was always seeking his own advantage,
and he never regarded the public interest as anything worth a moment's
consideration. With Ford, however, the spirit of service has been the
predominating motive. His earnings have been immeasurably greater than
Vanderbilt's; his income for two years amounts to nearly Vanderbilt's total
fortune at his death; but the piling up of riches has been by no means his
exclusive purpose. He has recognized that his workmen are his partners and
has liberally shared with them his increasing profits. His money is not the
product of speculation; Ford is a stranger to Wall Street and has built his
business independently of the great banking interest. He has enjoyed no
monopoly, as have the Rockefellers; there are more than three hundred
makers of automobiles in the United States alone. He has spurned all
solicitations to join combinations. Far from asking tariff favors he has
entered European markets and undersold English, French, and German makers
on their own ground. Instead of taking advantage of a great public demand
to increase his prices, Ford has continuously lowered them. Though his
idealism may have led him into an occasional personal absurdity, as a
business man he may be taken as the full flower of American manufacturing
genius. Possibly America, as a consequence of universal war, is advancing
to a higher state of industrial organization; but an economic system is not
entirely evil that produces such an industry as that which has made the
automobile the servant of millions of Americans.



[Footnote 24: Reprinted, by permission of the author and of the publishers,
from _The Outlook_, April 25, 1917. Copyright, 1917, by The Outlook Co.]

"Traveling afoot"--the very words start the imagination out upon the road!
One's nomad ancestors cry within one across centuries and invite to the
open spaces. Many to whom this cry comes are impelled to seek the mountain
paths, the forest trails, the solitudes or wildernesses coursed only by the
feet of wild animals. But to me the black or dun roads, the people's
highways, are the more appealing--those strips or ribbons of land which is
still held in common, the paths wide enough for the carriages of the rich
and the carts of the poor to pass each other, the roads over which they all
bear their creaking burdens or run on errands of mercy or need, but
preferably roads that do not also invite the flying automobiles, whose
occupants so often make the pedestrian feel that even these strips have
ceased to be democratic.

My traveling afoot, for many years, has been chiefly in busy city streets
or in the country roads into which they run--not far from the day's work or
from the thoroughfares of the world's concerns.

Of such journeys on foot which I recall with greatest pleasure are some
that I have made in the encircling of cities. More than once I have walked
around Manhattan Island (an afternoon's or a day's adventure within the
reach of thousands), keeping as close as possible to the water's edge all
the way round. One not only passes through physical conditions illustrating
the various stages of municipal development from the wild forest at one end
of the island to the most thickly populated spots of the earth at the
other, but one also passes through diverse cities and civilizations.
Another journey of this sort was one that I made around Paris, taking the
line of the old fortifications, which are still maintained, with a zone
following the fortifications most of the way just outside, inhabited only
by squatters, some of whose houses were on wheels ready for "mobilization"
at an hour's notice. (It was near the end of that circumvallating journey,
about sunset, on the last day of an old year, that I saw my first airplane
rising like a great golden bird in the aviation field, and a few minutes
later my first elongated dirigible--precursors of the air armies).

I have read that the Scotch once had a custom of making a yearly pilgrimage
or excursion around their boroughs or cities--"beating the bounds", they
called it, following the boundaries that they might know what they had to
defend. It is a custom that might profitably be revived. We should then
know better the cities in which we live. We should be stronger, healthier,
for such expeditions, and the better able and the more willing to defend
our boundaries.

But these are the exceptional foot expeditions. For most urbanites there is
the opportunity for the daily walk to and from work, if only they were not
tempted by the wheel of the street car or motor. During the subway strike
in New York not long ago I saw able-bodied men riding in improvised barges
or buses going at a slower-than-walking pace, because, I suppose, though
still possessed of legs, these cliff-dwellers had become enslaved by
wheels, just like the old mythical Ixion who was tied to one.

I once walked late one afternoon with a man who did not know that he could
walk, from the Custom-House, down near the Battery, to the City College
gymnasium, 138th Street, and what we did (at the rate of a mile in about
twelve minutes) thousands are as able to do, though not perhaps at this
pace when the streets are full.

And what a "preparedness" measure it would be if thousands of the young
city men would march uptown every day after hours, in companies! The
swinging stride of a companionless avenue walk, on the other hand, gives
often much of the adventure that one has in carrying the ball in a football

Many times when I could not get out of the city for a vacation I have
walked up Fifth Avenue at the end of the day and have half closed my eyes
in order to see men and women as the blind man saw them when his eyes were
first touched by the Master--see them as "trees walking."

But the longing of all at times, whether it be an atavistic or a cultivated
longing, is for the real trees and all that goes with them. Immediately
there open valleys with "pitcher" elms, so graceful that one thinks of the
famous line from the Odyssey in which Ulysses says that once he saw a tree
as beautiful as the most beautiful woman--valleys with elms, hill-tops with
far-signaling poplars, mountains with pines, or prairies with their groves
and orchards. About every city lies an environing charm, even if it have no
trees, as, for example, Cheyenne, Wyoming, where, stopping for a few hours
not long ago, I spent most of the time walking out to the encircling mesas
that give view of both mountains and city. I have never found a city
without its walkers' rewards. New York has its Palisade paths, its
Westchester hills and hollows, its "south shore" and "north shore," and its
Staten Island (which I have often thought of as Atlantis, for once on a
holiday I took Plato with me to spend an afternoon on its littoral, away
from the noise of the city, and on my way home found that my Plato had
stayed behind, and he never reappeared, though I searched car and boat).
Chicago has its miles of lake shore walks; Albany, its Helderbergs; and San
Francisco, its Golden Gate Road. And I recall with a pleasure which the war
cannot take away a number of suburban European walks. One was across the
Campagna from Frascati to Rome, when I saw an Easter week sun go down
behind the Eternal City. Another was out to Fiesole from Florence and back
again; another, out and up from where the Saône joins the Rhone at Lyons;
another, from Montesquieu's château to Bordeaux; another, from Edinburgh
out to Arthur's Seat and beyond; another, from Lausanne to Geneva, past
Paderewski's villa, along the glistening lake with its background of Alps;
and still another, from Eton (where I spent the night in a cubicle looking
out on Windsor Castle) to London, starting at dawn. One cannot know the
intimate charm of the urban penumbra who makes only shuttle journeys by
motor or street cars.

These are near journeys, but there are times when they do not satisfy, when
one must set out on a far journey, test one's will and endurance of body,
or get away from the usual. Sometimes the long walk is the only medicine.
Once when suffering from one of the few colds of my life (incurred in
California) I walked from the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado down
to the river and back (a distance of fourteen miles, with a descent of five
thousand feet and a like ascent), and found myself entirely cured of the
malady which had clung to me for days. My first fifty-mile walk years ago
was begun in despair over a slow recovery from the sequelæ of diphtheria.

But most of these far walks have been taken just for the joy of walking in
the free air. Among these have been journeys over Porto Rico (of two
hundred miles), around Yellowstone Park (of about one hundred and fifty
miles, making the same stations as the coaches), over portages along the
waterways following the French explorers from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to
the Gulf of Mexico, and in country roads visiting one-room schools in the
State of New York and over the boundless prairie fields long ago.

But the walks which I most enjoy, in retrospect at any rate, are those
taken at night. Then one makes one's own landscape with only the help of
the moon or stars or the distant lights of a city, or with one's unaided
imagination if the sky is filled with cloud.

The next better thing to the democracy of a road by day is the monarchy of
a road by night, when one has one's own terrestrial way under guidance of a
Providence that is nearer. It was in the "cool of the day" that the
Almighty is pictured as walking in the garden, but I have most often met
him on the road by night.

Several times I have walked down Staten Island and across New Jersey to
Princeton "after dark," the destination being a particularly attractive
feature of this walk. But I enjoy also the journeys that are made in
strange places where one knows neither the way nor the destination, except
from a map or the advice of signboard or kilometer posts (which one reads
by the flame of a match, or, where that is wanting, sometimes by following
the letters and figures on a post with one's fingers), or the information,
usually inaccurate, of some other wayfarer. Most of these journeys have
been made of a necessity that has prevented my making them by day, but I
have in every case been grateful afterward for the necessity. In this
country they have been usually among the mountains--the Green Mountains or
the White Mountains or the Catskills. But of all my night faring, a night
on the moors of Scotland is the most impressive and memorable, though
without incident. No mountain landscape is to me more awesome than the
moorlands by night, or more alluring than the moorlands by day when the
heather is in bloom. Perhaps this is only the ancestors speaking again.

But something besides ancestry must account for the others. Indeed, in
spite of it, I was drawn one night to Assisi, where St. Francis had lived.
Late in the evening I started on to Foligno in order to take a train in to
Rome for Easter morning. I followed a white road that wound around the
hills, through silent clusters of cottages tightly shut up with only a slit
of light visible now and then, meeting not a human being along the way save
three somber figures accompanying an ox cart, a man at the head of the oxen
and a man and a woman at the tail of the cart--a theme for Millet. (I asked
in broken Italian how far it was to Foligno, and the answer was, "Una
hora"--distance in time and not in miles.) Off in the night I could see the
lights of Perugia, and some time after midnight I began to see the lights
of Foligno--of Perugia and Foligno, where Raphael had wandered and painted.
The adventure of it all was that when I reached Foligno I found it was a
walled town, that the gate was shut, and that I had neither passport nor
intelligible speech. There is an interesting walking sequel to this
journey. I carried that night a wooden water-bottle, such as the Italian
soldiers used to carry, filling it from the fountain at the gate of Assisi
before starting. Just a month later, under the same full moon, I was
walking between midnight and morning in New Hampshire. I had the same
water-bottle and stopped at a spring to fill it. When I turned the bottle
upside down, a few drops of water from the fountain of Assisi fell into the
New England spring, which for me, at any rate, has been forever sweetened
by this association.

All my long night walks seem to me now as but preparation for one which I
was obliged to make at the outbreak of the war in Europe. I had crossed the
Channel from England to France, on the day that war was declared by
England, to get a boy of ten years out of the war zone. I got as far by
rail as a town between Arras and Amiens, where I expected to take a train
on a branch road toward Dieppe; but late in the afternoon I was informed
that the scheduled train had been canceled and that there might not be
another for twenty-four hours, if then. Automobiles were not to be had even
if I had been able to pay for one. So I set out at dusk on foot toward
Dieppe, which was forty miles or more distant. The experiences of that
night would in themselves make one willing to practice walking for years in
order to be able to walk through such a night in whose dawn all Europe
waked to war. There was the quiet, serious gathering of the soldiers at the
place of rendezvous; there were the all-night preparations of the peasants
along the way to meet the new conditions; there was the pelting storm from
which I sought shelter in the niches for statues in the walls of an
abandoned château; there was the clatter of the hurrying feet of soldiers
or gendarmes who properly arrested the wanderer, searched him, took him to
a guard-house, and detained him until certain that he was an American
citizen and a friend of France, when he was let go on his way with a _bon
voyage_; there was the never-to-be-forgotten dawn upon the harvest fields
in which only old men, women, and children were at work; there was the
gathering of the peasants with commandeered horses and carts in the
beautiful park on the water-front at Dieppe; and there was much besides;
but they were experiences for the most part which only one on foot could
have had.

And the moral of my whole story is that walking is not only a joy in
itself, but that it gives an intimacy with the sacred things and the primal
things of earth that are not revealed to those who rush by on wheels.

I have wished to organize just one more club--the "Holy Earth" club, with
the purposes that Liberty Bailey has set forth in his book of the same
title (_The Holy Earth_), but I should admit to membership in it (except
for special reasons) only those who love to walk upon the earth.

Traveling afoot! This is the best posture in which to worship the God of
the Out-of-Doors!



[Footnote 25: From _Green Trails and Upland Pastures_, by Walter Prichard
Eaton. Copyright, 1917, by Doubleday, Page & Co. By permission of the
author and of the publishers.]

Anything which man has hewn from stone or shaped from wood, put to the uses
of his pleasure or his toil, and then at length abandoned to crumble slowly
back into its elements of soil or metal, is fraught for the beholder with a
wistful appeal, whether it be the pyramids of Egyptian kings, or an
abandoned farmhouse on the road to Moosilauke, or only a rusty hay-rake in
a field now overgrown with golden-rod and Queen Anne's lace, and fast
surrendering to the returning tide of the forest. A pyramid may thrill us
by its tremendousness; we may dream how once the legions of Mark Antony
encamped below it, how the eagles of Napoleon went tossing past. But in the
end we shall reflect on the toiling slaves who built it, block upon heavy
block, to be a monarch's tomb, and on the monarch who now lies beneath (if
his mummy has not been transferred to the British Museum). The old gray
house by the roadside, abandoned, desolate, with a bittersweet vine
entwined around the chimney and a raspberry bush pushing up through the
rotted doorsill, takes us back to the days when the pioneer's axe rang in
this clearing, hewing the timbers for beam and rafter, and the smoke of the
first fire went up that ample flue. How many a time have I paused in my
tramping to poke around such a ruin, reconstructing the vanished life of a
day when the cities had not sucked our hill towns dry and this scrubby
wilderness was a productive farm!

The motor cars go through the Berkshires in steady procession by the valley
highways, past great estates betokening our changed civilization. But the
back roads of Berkshire are known to few, and you may tramp all the morning
over the Beartown Mountain plateau, by a road where the green grass grows
between the ruts, without meeting a motor, or indeed, a vehicle of any
sort. A century ago Beartown was a thriving community, producing many
thousand dollars' worth of grain, maple sugar, wool, and mutton. To-day
there are less than half a dozen families left, and they survive by cutting
cord wood from the sheep pastures! We must haul our wool from the
Argentine, and our mutton from Montana, while our own land goes back to
unproductive wilderness. As the road draws near the long hill down into
Monterey, there stands a ruined house beside it, one of many ruins you will
have passed, the plaster in heaps on the floor, the windows gone, the door
half fallen from its long, hand-wrought hinges. It is a house built around
a huge central chimney, which seems still as solid as on the day it was
completed. The rotted mantels were simply wrought, but with perfect lines,
and the panelling above them was extremely good. So was the delicate
fanlight over the door, in which a bit of glass still clings, iridescent
now like oil on water. Under the eaves the carpenter had indulged in a
Greek border, and over the woodshed opening behind he had spanned a
keystone arch. Peering into this shed, under the collapsing roof, you see
what is left of an axe embedded in a pile of reddish vegetable mould, which
was once the chopping block. Peering through the windows of the house, you
see a few bits of simple furniture still inhabiting the ruined rooms. Just
outside, in the door-yard, the day lilies, run wild in the grass, speak to
you of a housewife's hand across the vanished years. The barn has gone
completely, overthrown and wiped out by the advancing forest edge. Enough
of the clearing still remains, however, to show where the cornfields and
the pastures lay. They are wild with berry stalks and flowers now, still
and vacant under the Summer sun.

The ruins of war are melancholy, and raise our bitter resentment. Yet how
often we pass such an abandoned farm as this without any realization that
it, too, is a ruin of war, the ceaseless war of commercial greed. No less
surely than in stricken Belgium has there been a deportation here.
Factories and cities have swallowed up a whole population, indeed, along
the Beartown road. It is easy to say that they went willingly, that they
preferred the life of cities; that the dreary tenement under factory grime,
with a "movie" theatre around the corner, is an acceptable substitute to
them for the ample fireplaces, the fanlight door, the rolling fields and
roadside brook. We hear much discussion in New England to-day of "how to
keep the young folks on the farm." But why should they stay on the farm, to
toil and starve, in body and mind? We have so organized our whole society
on a competitive commercial basis that they can now do nothing else. Those
ancient apple trees beside the ruined house once grew fruit superior in
taste to any apple which ever came from Hood River or Wenatchee, and could
grow it again; but greed has determined that our cities shall pay five
cents apiece for the showy western product, and the small individual grower
of the East is helpless. We have raised individualism to a creed, and
killed the individual. We have exalted "business," and depopulated our
farms. The old gray ruin on the back road to Monterey is an epitome of our
history for a hundred years.

But to pursue such reflections too curiously would take our mind from the
road, our eyes from the wild flower gardens lining the way--the banks of
blueberries fragrant in the sun, the stately borders of meadow rue where
the grassy track dips down through a moist hollow. And to pursue such
reflections too curiously would take us far afield from the spot we planned
to reach when we took up our pen for this particular journey. That spot was
the bit of sandy lane, just in front of Cap'n Bradley's house in old South
County, Rhode Island. The lane leads down from the colonial Post Road to
the shore of the Salt Pond, and the Cap'n's house is the first one on the
left after you leave the road. The second house on the left is inhabited by
Miss Maria Mills. The third house on the left is the Big House, where they
take boarders. The Big House is on the shore of the Salt Pond. There are no
houses on the right of the lane, only fields full of bay and huckleberries.
The lane runs right out on a small pier and apparently jumps off the end
into whatever boat is moored there, where it hides away in the hold,
waiting to be taken on a far journey to the yellow line of the ocean beach,
or the flag-marked reaches of the oyster bars. It is a delightful,
leisurely little lane, a byway into another order from the modernized
macadam Post Road where the motors whiz. You go down a slight incline to
the Cap'n's house, and the motors are shut out from your vision. From here
you can glimpse the dancing water of the Salt Pond, and smell it too, when
the wind is south, carrying the odour of gasolene the other way. The
Cap'n's house is painted brown, a little, brown dwelling with a blue-legged
sailor man on poles in the dooryard, revolving in the breeze. The Cap'n is
a little brown man, for that matter. He is reconciled to a life ashore by
his pipe and his pension, and by his lookout built of weathered timber on a
grass-covered sand drift just abaft the kitchen door, whither he betakes
himself with his spy glass on clear days to see whether it is his old
friend Cap'n Perry down there on number two oyster bar, or how heavy the
traffic is to-day far out beyond the yellow beach line, where Block Island
rises like a blue mirage.

Cap'n Bradley boasts a garden, too. It is just across the lane from his
front door. There are three varieties of flowers in it--nasturtiums,
portulacas, and bright red geraniums. The portulacas grow around the
border, then come the nasturtiums, and finally the taller geraniums in the
centre. The Cap'n has never seen nor heard of those ridiculous wooden birds
on green shafts which it is now the fashion to stick up in flower beds, but
he has something quite appropriate, and, all things considered, quite as
"artistic." In the bow of his garden, astride a spar, is a blue-legged
sailor man ten inches tall, keeping perpetual lookout up the lane. For this
flower bed is planted in an old dory filled with earth. She had outlived
her usefulness down there in the Salt Pond, or even, it may be, out on the
blue sea itself, but no vandal hands were laid upon her to stave her up for
kindling wood. Instead, the Captain himself painted her a bright yellow,
set her down in front of his dwelling, and filled her full of flowers. She
is disintegrating slowly; already, after a rain, the muddy water trickles
through her side and stains the yellow paint. But what a pretty and
peaceful process! She might not strike you as a happy touch set down in one
of those formal gardens depicted in _The House Beautiful_ or _Country
Life_, but here beside the salty lane past Cap'n Bradley's door, gaudy in
colour, with her load of homely flowers and her quaint little sailor man
astride his spar above the bright geraniums, she is perfect. No boat could
come to a better end. She's taking portulacas to the Islands of the Blest!

Miss Maria Mills, in the next house, never followed the sea, and her idea
of a garden is more conventional. She grows hollyhocks beside the house,
and sweet peas on her wire fence. But at the lane's end, where the water of
the Salt Pond laps the pier, you may see another old boat put to humbler
uses, now that its seafaring days are over, and uses sometimes no less
romantic than the Cap'n's garden. It is a flat-bottomed boat, and lies
bottom side up just above the little beach made by the lap of the waves,
for the tide does not affect the Salt Pond back here three miles from the
outlet. The paint has nearly gone from this aged craft, though a few flakes
of green still cling under the gunwales. But in place of paint there have
appeared an incredible number of initials, carved with every degree of
skill or clumsiness, over bottom and sides. This boat is the bench whereon
you wait for the launch to carry you down the Pond, for the catboat or
thirty-footer to be brought in from her moorings, for Cap'n Perry to land
with a load of oysters; or it is the bench you sit upon to watch the sunset
glow behind the pines on the opposite headland, the pines where the blue
herons roost, or to see the moon track on the dancing water. The Post Road
is alive with motors now, far into the evening. You get your mail from the
little post office beside it as quickly as possible--which isn't very
quickly, to be sure, for we do not hurry in South County, even when we are
employed by Uncle Sam--and then you turn down the quiet lane, past the
Cap'n's garden, toward the lap of quiet water and the salty smell. Affairs
of State are now discussed, of a summer evening, upon the bottom of this
upturned boat, while a case knife dulled by oyster shells picks out a new
initial. And when the fate of the nation is settled, or to-morrow's weather
thoroughly discussed (the two are of about equal importance to us in South
County, with the balance in favour of the weather), and the debaters have
departed to bed, some of them leaving by water with a rattle of tackle or,
more often in these degenerate days, the _put, put_ of an unmuffled
exhaust, then other figures come to the upturned boat, speaking softly or
not at all, and in the morning you may, perhaps, find double initials
freshly cut, with a circle sentimentally enclosing them. So the old craft
passes her last days beside the lapping water, a pleasant and useful end.

On the other side of the Big House from the pier, at the head of a tiny
dredged inlet, there is an old boathouse. It seems but yesterday that we
used to warp the _Idler_ in there when summer was over, get the chains
under her, and block her up for the winter. She spent the winter on one
side of the slip; the _Sea Mist_, a clumsy craft that couldn't stir short
of a half gale, spent the winter on the other side. Over them, on racks,
the rowboats were slung. There was a larger boathouse for the big fellows.
What busy days we spent in May or June, caulking and scraping and painting,
splicing and repairing, making the little _Idler_ ready for the sea again!
She was an eighteen-foot cat, a bit of a tub, I fear, but the best on the
Pond in her day, eating up close into the wind, sensitive, alert, with a
pair of white heels she had shown to many a larger craft. Surely it was but
yesterday that I rowed out to her where she was moored a hundred feet from
shore, climbed aboard, hoisted sail, and, with my pipe drawing sweetly, sat
down beside the tiller and played out the sheet till the sail filled; there
was a crack and snaffle of straining tackle, the boat leaped forward, the
tiller batted my ribs, the _Idler_ heeled over, and then quietly, softly,
as rhythmic as a song, the water raced hissing along her rail, the little
waves slapped beneath her bow--and the world was good to be alive in!
Surely it was but yesterday that the white sail of the _Idler_ was like a
gull's wing on the Pond!

But the white sail wings are few on the Pond to-day, and the _Idler_ lies
on her side in the weeds behind the boathouse. She had to make room for the
motor craft. She is too bulky for a flower bed, too convex for a bench. Her
paint is nearly gone now, both the yellow body colour and the pretty green
and white stripe along her rail that we used to put on with such care. Her
seams are yawning, and the rain water pool that at first settled on the low
side of her cockpit has now seeped through, and a little deposit of soil
has accumulated, in which a sickly weed is growing. Poor old _Idler_! One
day I got an axe, resolved to break her up, but when it came to the point
of burying the first blow my resolution failed. I thought of all the hours
of enthusiastic labour I had spent upon those eighteen feet of oak ribs and
planking; I thought of all the thrilling hours of the race, when we had
squeezed her into the wind past Perry's Point and saved a precious tack; I
thought of the dreamy hours when she had borne us down the Pond in the
summer sunshine, or through the gray, mysterious fog, or under the stars
above the black water. So instead, I laid my hand gently on her rotting
tiller, and then took the axe back to the woodshed. She will never ride the
waves again, but she shall dissolve into her elements peacefully, in sight
of the salt water, in the quiet grass behind the boathouse.

It seems to me that all my life I have had memories of old boats. One of my
earliest recollections is of _Old Ironsides_, in the Charlestown Navy Yard,
dismantled and decked over, but saved from destruction by Dr. Holmes's
poem. What thrilling visions it awoke to climb aboard her and tread her
decks! Acres of spinnaker and topgallants broke out aloft, cannon boomed,
smoke rolled, "grape and canister" flew through the air, chain shot came
hurtling, and the Stars and Stripes waved through it all, triumphant. The
white ironclads out in the channel (for in those days they were white)
evoked no such visions. Another memory is of a childhood trip to New
Bedford and a long walk for hours by the water front, out on green and
rotting piers where chunky, square-rigged whalers, green and rotting, too,
were moored alongside. The life of the whaler was in those days something
infinitely fascinating to us boys. We read of the chase, the hurling of the
harpoon, the mad ride over the waves towed by the plunging monster. And
here were the very ships which had taken the brave whalers to the hunting
grounds, here on their decks were some of the whale boats which had been
towed over the churned and blood-flecked sea! Why should they be green and
rotting now? They produced upon me an impression of infinite sadness. It
seemed as if a great hand had suddenly wiped a romantic bloom off my vision
of the world.

But it was not long after that I knew the romance of a launching. It was at
Kennebunkport in Maine. All summer the ship yards on either side of the
river, close to the little town and under the very shadow of the white
meeting house steeple, had rung with the blows of axe and hammer. The great
ribs rose into place, the sheathing went on, the decks were laid, the masts
stepped; finally the first rigging was adjusted. After the workmen left in
the late afternoon, we boys swarmed over the ships--three-masters, smelling
deliciously of new wood and caulking, and played we were sailors. When the
rope ladders were finally in place, we raced up and down them, sitting in
the crow's nest on a line with the church weather vane, and pretending to
reef the sails. It was an event when the ships were launched. The tide was
at the flood, gay canoes filled the stream along both banks, hundreds of
people massed on the shore. A little girl stood in the bow with a bottle of
wine on a string. An engine tooted, cables creaked, and down the greased
way slid the ship, with a dip and a heave when she hit the water that made
big waves on either side and set the canoes to rocking madly, while the
crowd cheered and shouted. After the launching, the schooners were towed
out to sea, and down the coast, to be fitted elsewhere. We boys followed
them in canoes as far as the breakwater, and watched them disappear. Soon
their sails would be set, and they would join the white adventurers out
there on the world rim.

Where are they now, I wonder? Are they still buffeting the seas, or do they
lie moored and outmoded beside some green wharf, their days of usefulness
over? I remember hoping, as I watched them pass out to sea, that they would
not share the fate of the unknown craft which lay buried in the sands a
mile down the coast. It was said that she came ashore in the "Great Storm"
of 1814 (or thereabouts). Nothing was left of her in our day but her sturdy
ribs, which thrust up a few feet above the sand, outlining her shape, and
were only visible at low water. On a stormy day, when the seas were high, I
used to stand at the head of the beach and try to picture how she drove up
on the shore, shuddering deliciously as each great wave came pounding down
on all that was left of her oaken frame. When I read in the newspaper of a
wreck I thought of her, and I think of her to this day on such occasions,
thrusting up black and dripping ribs above the wet sands at low water, or
vanishing beneath the pounding foam of the breakers.

If you take the shore line train from Boston to New York, you pass through
a sleepy old town in Connecticut where a spur track with rusty rails runs
out to the wharves, and moored to these wharves are side-wheel steamers
which once plied the Sound. It served somebody's purpose or pocket better
to discontinue the line, and with its cessation and the cessation of work
in the ship yards close by, the old town passed into a state of salty
somnolence. The harbour is glassy and still, opening out to the blue waters
of the Sound. Still are the white steamers by the wharves, where once the
gang planks shook with the tread of feet and the rumble of baggage trucks.
Many a time, as the train paused at the station, I have watched the black
stacks for some hint of smoke, hoping against hope that I should see the
old ship move, and turn, and go about her rightful seafaring. But it was
never to be. There were only ghosts in engine room and pilot house. Like
the abandoned dwelling on the upland road to Monterey, these steamers were
mute witnesses to a vanished order. But always as the train pulled out from
the station I sat on the rear platform and watched the white town and the
white steamers and the glassy harbour slip backward into the haze--and it
seemed as if that haze was the gentle breath of oblivion.

I live inland now, far from the smell of salt water and the sight of sails.
Yet sometimes there comes over me a longing for the sea as irresistible as
the lust for salt which stampedes the reindeer of the north. I must gaze on
the unbroken world-rim, I must feel the sting of spray, I must hear the
rhythmic crash and roar of breakers and watch the sea-weed rise and fall
where the green waves lift against the rocks. Once in so often I must ride
those waves with cleated sheet and tugging tiller, and hear the soft
hissing song of the water on the rail. And "my day of mercy" is not
complete till I have seen some old boat, her seafaring done, heeled over on
the beach or amid the fragrant sedges, a mute and wistful witness to the
romance of the deep, the blue and restless deep where man has adventured in
craft his hands have made since the earliest sun of history, and whereon he
will adventure, ardently and insecure, till the last syllable of recorded



[Footnote 26: Reprinted by permission from _Books and Things_, by Philip
Littell. Copyright 1919, by Harcourt, Brace and Howe, Inc.]

Much reading of interviews with returning travellers who had almost seen
Zeppelins over London, and of wireless messages from other travellers who
had come even nearer seeing the great sight, had made me, I suppose,
morbidly desirous of escape from a city where other such travellers were
presumably at large. However that may be, when Mrs. Watkin asked me to
spend Sunday at her place in the country, I broke an old habit and said I'd
go. When last I had visited her house she worshipped success in the arts,
and her recipe was to have a few successes to talk and a lot of us
unsuccessful persons to listen. At that time her æsthetic was easy to
understand. "Every great statue," she said, "is set up in a public place.
Every great picture brings a high price. Every great book has a large sale.
That is what greatness in art means." Her own brand of talk was not in
conflict with what she would have called her then creed. She never said a
thing was very black. She never said it was as black as the ace of spades.
She always said it was as black as the proverbial ace of spades. Once I
ventured to insinuate that perhaps it would be more nobly new to say "as
black as the proverbial ace of proverbial spades," but the suggestion left
her at peace with her custom. Well, when I got to her house last week, and
had a chance to scrutinize the others, they did not look as if she had
chosen them after any particular pattern.

Dinner, however, soon enabled us all to guess the model from which Mrs.
Watkin had striven to copy her occasion. I was greatly relishing the
conversation of my left-hand neighbor, a large-eyed, wondering-eyed woman,
who said little and seemed never to have heard any of the things I usually
say when dining out, and who I dare swear would have looked gratefully
surprised had I confided to her my discovery that in the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth. Before we were far gone with food the
attention of this tactful person was torn from me by our hostess, whose
voice was heard above the other voices: "Oh, Mr. Slicer, do tell us your
experience. I want _all_ our friends to hear it." Mr. Slicer, identifiable
by the throat-clearing look which suffused his bleached, conservative face,
was not deaf to her appeal. He had just returned from London, where he had
been at the time of the Zeppelin raid, and although he had not himself been
so fortunate as to see a Zeppelin, but had merely been a modest witness of
the sporting fortitude with which London endured that visitation, the
Zeppelin-in-chief had actually been visible to the brother of his
daughter's governess. "At the noise of guns," said Mr. Slicer, "we all left
the restaurant where we were dining, Mrs. Humphry Ward, George Moore,
Asquith, Miss Pankhurst and I, and walked, not ran, into the street, where
it was the work of a moment for me to climb a lamp-post, whence I obtained
a nearer view of what was going on overhead. Nothing there but blackness."
Instinctively I glanced at Mrs. Watkin, upon whose lips the passage of
words like "as the proverbial ace of spades" was clearly to be seen. "Of
course," Mr. Slicer went on, "I couldn't indefinitely hold my coign of
vantage, which I relinquished in favor of Mrs. Humphry Ward, to whom at her
laughing request George Moore and I gave a leg up. She remained there a few
moments, one foot on my shoulder and one on Sir Edward Carson's--she is not
a light woman--and then we helped her down, Asquith and I. When I got back
to my lodgings in Half-Moon Street I found that the governess's brother,
who had been lucky enough to see a Zeppelin, had gone home. I shall not
soon forget my experience." This narrative was wonderful to my left-hand
neighbor. It made her feel as if she had really been there and seen it all
with her own eyes.

Mr. Mullinger, who was the next speaker on Mrs. Watkin's list, and who had
returned from Europe on the same boat with Mr. Slicer, had had a different
experience. On the evening of the raid he was in a box at the theatre where
Guitry, who had run over from Paris, was appearing in the little rôle of
_Phèdre_, when the noise of firing was heard above the alexandrines of
Racine. "With great presence of mind," so Mr. Mullinger told us, "Guitry
came down stage, right, and said in quizzical tone to us: '_Eh bien, chère
petite folle et vieux marcheur_, just run up to the roof, will you please,
and tell us what it's all about, don't you know.' The Princess and I stood
up and answered in the same tone, 'Right-o, _mon vieux_,' and were aboard
the lift in no time. From the roof we could see nothing, and as it was
raining and we had no umbrellas, we of course didn't stay. When we got back
I stepped to the front of the box and said: 'The Princess and Mr. Mullinger
beg to report that on the roof it is raining rain.' The words were nothing,
if you like, but I spoke them just like that, with a twinkle in my eye, and
perhaps it was that twinkle which reassured the house and started a roar of
laughter. The performance went on as if nothing remarkable had happened.
Wonderfully poised, the English." And this narrative, too, was so fortunate
as to satisfy my left-hand neighbor. It made her feel as if she had been
there herself, and heard all these wonderful things with her own ears.

After that, until near the end of dinner, it was all Zeppelins, and I hope
I convey to everyone within sound of my voice something of my own patriotic
pride in a country whose natives when abroad among foreigners consort so
freely and easily with the greatest of these. No discordant note was heard
until the very finish, when young Puttins, who as everybody knows has not
been further from New York than Asbury Park all summer, told us that on the
night of the raid he too had been in London, where his only club was the
Athenæum. When the alarm was given he was in the Athenæum pool with Mr.
Hall Caine, in whose company it has for years been his custom to take a
good-night swim. "Imagine my alarm," young Puttins continued, "when I saw
emerging from the surface of the waters, and not five yards away from the
person of my revered master, a slender object which I at once recognized as
a miniature periscope. I shouted to my companion. In vain. Too late. A slim
fountain spurted fountain-high above the pool, a dull report was heard, and
the next instant Mr. Hall Caine had turned turtle and was sinking rapidly
by the bow. When dressed I hastened to notify the authorities. The pool was
drained by noon of the next day but one. We found nothing except, near the
bottom of the pool, the commencement of a tunnel large enough for the
ingress and egress of one of those tiny submersibles the credit for
inventing which neither Mr. Henry Ford nor Professor Parker ever tires of
giving the other. I have since had reason to believe that not one
swimming-pool in Great Britain is secure against visits from these
miniature pests. Indeed, I may say, without naming any names," ... but at
this moment Mrs. Watkin interrupted young Puttins by taking the ladies
away. She looked black as the proverbial.

October, 1915.

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