*************** 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. ***************
MODERN AMERICAN PROSE SELECTIONS
BYRON JOHNSON REES PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AT WILLIAMS COLLEGE
NEW YORK HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE 1920
THE PLIMPTON PRESS NORWOOD MASS U. S. A.
PAGE PREFACE vii
_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
TO 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.
MODERN AMERICAN PROSE SELECTIONS
[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.
FRANKLIN K. LANE
[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 steel.
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.
FRANKLIN K. LANE
[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.
ADDRESS AT THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS
[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.
[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.
[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.
[Footnote 7: George Eliot's "O may I join the choir invisible."]
OUR FUTURE IMMIGRATION POLICY
FREDERIC C. HOWE
[Footnote 8: From _Scribner's Magazine_, May, 1917. Copyright, 1917, by Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of the author and of the publishers.]
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 rapidly.
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.
A NEW RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAPITAL AND LABOR
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR.
[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 peace.
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 oppression.
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 soul.
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.
WHEN A MAN COMES TO HIMSELF
[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 publishers.]
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 fool.
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 maturity.
EDUCATION THROUGH OCCUPATIONS
WILLIAM LOWE BRYAN
[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 apprenticeship.
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 occupations.
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 graduate.
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 victory.
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 heaven.
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 Father.
[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 world.
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 alike.
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.
WRITING AND READING
JOHN MATTHEWS MANLY AND EDITH RICKERT
[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 "themes."
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 experience.
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.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
[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 historians.
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 politics.
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 celebration.
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 lacked.
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 tradition.
THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS
[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 Rousseau,
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_ 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 scholars.
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.
THE STRUGGLE FOR AN EDUCATION
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
[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 repair.
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 expenses.
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.
JACOB A. RIIS
[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 hours.
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 wasted.
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.
RALPH D. PAINE
[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 era.
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. 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.
[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 moderated.
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 dress."
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.
THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE
BURTON J. HENDRICK
[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 mystery.
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 circumstances.
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 game.
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!
WALTER PRICHARD EATON
[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 time.
[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.