"THE first intimation I had that the French government was going to quit Paris was during the memorial service for Pope Pius X held at Notre Dame. The Spanish ambassador sat next to me and he asked me if I knew that the government was getting ready to leave and that the diplomatic corps would go also. I had heard nothing of this and I was rather dumfounded. I frankly did not believe it and I told him so; but as soon as the ceremony was over I went to the Foreign Office and put the question straight to Monsieur Delcassé. After some hesitation he told me that it was true and that the government would leave the evening of September 2nd. A train for the diplomatic corps would probably start about the same time.
"I did not want to go to Bordeaux and made up my mind I would not if I could manage it, so I cabled the Department saying that in the event of the government's quitting Paris I believed I could better attend to the responsibilities I had assumed by remaining. A reply dated August 29th informed me 'The Department will be guided by your judgment as to whether the embassy should remain in Paris or follow the government.' I went at once to the Foreign Office and told Monsieur Delcassé I intended to remain. He seemed much pleased. I then cabled the Department that my proposal to stay in Paris had been cordially received by the Foreign Minister, who agreed that many interests would be served by this action. Bryan answered August 31st, 'As you are on the ground, exercise your own judgment as to whether you will remove the embassy to Bordeaux or remain in Paris.'
"In talking over my action afterward it was natural that previous examples of similar decisions should be recalled, but I did not think of them at the time. Gouverneur Morris remained in Paris all during the Terror in 1793 and he was the only envoy---as far as I know---that did. He also had lent Louis XVI a sum of money about whose repayment he had a spirited correspondence with Louis XVIII later on, and the honors of the controversy were decidedly on Morris's side. Then, Mr. Washburne stayed on during the Commune in 1871, when almost everybody else had left, and he seems to have had no reason to regret it. I was not thinking of these precedents at all, though I am glad I was led to follow the tradition they established. It only goes to show that Americans have not much changed in their ideas during a century and a quarter.
"When Sir Francis Bertie heard I was staying, he came in to see me and asked if I would take over his embassy's archives and look after the British in Paris; then the Serbian minister and the Japanese ambassador made similar requests. I believe it was Kellogg---an expert in such matters---who said that with so many 'interests' concentrated in my hands, the Attorney General might try to dissolve me on the ground of being a trust.
"President Poincaré sent me a note on September 1st asking that I come to the Élysée the next day. He naturally had been informed by Delcassé of my intention to stay in Paris, and when I arrived he said he had requested me to come in order that he might thank me in the name of his government for my decision. I could see that he was laboring under a strong emotion. The step being taken by the Cabinet was desperately painful to him, based as it was upon the reasoned belief that in a few days the Germans would enter Paris. We of course talked of this eventuality, and he told me that the government had become cognizant of the German plan to destroy the city section by section until France yielded unconditionally. This, he said, would never be done. It was better that the capital be laid in ashes than that France surrender. The town would be defended to the last ditch, whatever the outcome. These were brave words, but there was a note of despair in them.
"I now discussed with him the plan I had been evolving in my mind for saving the museums, historical buildings, and great works of art from destruction by the Germans. What he had just said about their threat to burn the city by sections until the government surrendered increased my desire to find some way of saving what was irreplaceable. Monsieur Poincaré was deeply moved, for the thought of Paris falling into the Germans' hands was tearing at his heart, and he saw in my remaining, and in my determination to go the limit in trying to save the city's treasures, a hope which perhaps was the first he had felt during the preceding days of anguish. He thanked me in terms which I will not repeat but can never forget.
"The next day I had a large number of posters printed bearing this inscription, and I had a notice put in the Herald requesting all American citizens to come to the embassy between September 4th and 7th in alphabetical categories to get them:
The United States Ambassador gives notice that the building in Paris situated at is occupied by Mr. ........, an American citizen, and hence is
UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT The Ambassador therefore asks that the Americans living in said building be not molested and that its contents be respected. MYRON T. HERRICK.
"These I proposed to have them paste on all their houses. I moreover intended, in case the Germans reached the outskirts of the city and demanded its surrender, to go out and talk with their army commander and, if possible, the Kaiser. My reasoning was this: I was the official representative of the German government in Paris, a position I had accepted at their request; I therefore had a right to demand that they see me; the United States was the one neutral country whose power was sufficient to influence German policy; the vast collections of art treasures in Paris were a part of the world's patrimony and as such their preservation was important to us and to the whole civilized world, Germany included; their deliberate destruction for military and political ends was an injury to Americans almost to the same extent as to Frenchmen; I therefore felt justified in trying to give them our protection as against the in-rushing troops and, as American ambassador, to represent to the Kaiser how my country would view their willful destruction.
"I informed Mr. Bryan of this conversation with Monsieur Poincaré, but I refrained from saying anything about the idea I had evolved (and which I had not confided to Poincaré) of going out to see the German army commanders in case they reached the city. That left our Secretary of State free to disavow me if he chose to. But I would have had my say, and perhaps time would have been gained.
"On Wednesday night [September 2, 1914] the government left on a special train, the diplomatic corps following immediately on another. Mrs. Herrick and I went to the station to see them off. I shall never forget the picture presented by that train-load of ambassadors, ministers, secretaries, women, babies, servants, dogs, cats, birds, and a collection of baggage that reminded me of a gypsy camp. There were no sleeping cars. It seemed to me it would have taken most of the sleeping cars in Paris to give each one a berth. And then, it was so much easier to solve all questions of rank by giving every soul of them the same accommodations. Of course it was easy enough for my wife and myself to smile inwardly at all this, since we were going back home to comfortable beds; but to my colleagues, who were used to being very thoroughly taken care of on all occasions, the whole business was detestable. And they said so freely.. However, it wasn't my war! Ten days after, when I went out to the front with Lépine and saw the refugees with their cows, pigs, and children all mixed up in the same cart, I could not help recalling the scene. There was no use refusing to have a little fun, even if a war was on.
"At the station Sir Francis Bertie said, 'You did play a nasty trick on the Spanish ambassador!'
"I expressed the surprise I sincerely felt.
"'You didn't know,' he inquired, 'that the King ordered him to stay in Paris if you did? His trunks were all packed and he wanted to go and now he has to stay.' Sir Francis thought it a good joke, and he loved jokes, especially on a colleague. Who doesn't?
"This explained a small matter which had occurred a few days back. On my arrival at the chancery one day, Bliss informed me that the Spanish ambassador had just beep there and regretted missing me. He had, however, explained to Bliss that he had come in to offer a friendly suggestion, which was that if the diplomatic corps left I would be severely criticized if I did not accompany them. I now saw what must have laid behind that visit which Bliss related to me.
"How King Alfonso could have divined or indeed anticipated my intentions, I do not know to this day. In any case when he heard all about what had occurred he brought his representative home. The new envoy, the Marquess of Valtierra, came to see me as soon as he got to Paris, and in the course of the visit he told me that he suspected his election was due to a conversation he had had with the King when the move to Bordeaux was announced.
"'Where do you think our ambassador ought to be, in Paris or in Bordeaux?' His Majesty asked.
"'In Paris, sire,' the general replied (he was not a diplomat, he was a soldier); 'your ambassador should be the instrument, not the ornament, of your government.'
"When I got home that night I found the following note from Baron Ishii:
AMBASSADE IMPÉRIALE DU JAPON
Paris, 2 Sept. 1914.
MY DEAR COLLEAGUE:
I cannot begin this letter without repeating to you my warmest personal thanks for the very cordial friendship with which you met my request with regard to the protection of the Japanese interests in Paris in case of my temporary absence.
The arrangement which we arrived at, subject to the approval of our respective governments, has now been sanctioned by them, and I beg to address to you the accompanying despatch for the sake of formality. The Japanese remaining here will be only two or three and I hope will not have to trouble you much.
Hoping Mrs. Herrick and yourself will be doing well in spite of the onerous duty devolving upon you and of the painful days you will have to pass, I beg to remain, my dear Colleague,
Yours most sincerely,
"The next day Wedel-Jarlsberg, the Norwegian minister, came to see me. I was surprised at his being in Paris, but he told me he had no intention of leaving. I inquired if he had asked the consent of his government. He said if he did that they would tell him to conform to what the others were doing. He would therefore merely announce that he was remaining and see what the reply would be. Wedel then asked if Mrs. Herrick and I would dine with him that evening. He said he had always wanted to give a dinner and invite the whole diplomatic corps and now was his chance! I accepted, and as Baron Wedel had the best cook in Paris---still has, in my opinion---we ate a good dinner and also had a most amusing talk about the various little incidents that had occurred among our colleagues in connection with this hegira. It was a pleasant change from all the impending tragedy that necessarily filled everybody's thoughts. Mrs. Herrick was the only lady present. The Danish minister was there, having stayed over to keep an engagement that day with his dentist, but the dentist had fled. The Swedish chargé was also present and the Spanish ambassador, who had received imperative orders not to leave. We transacted a little business in the form of a telegram I agreed to send our government and which is quoted on page 119. That was our last diplomatic dinner in over four years."
On September 8th, in the very middle of the Battle of the Marne, whose decisive significance only a few in Paris were in a position to seize, Mr. Herrick wrote to his children:
"I am unchanged in my belief that the Germans will enter Paris ere long....
"To-night I have a telegram from Gerard in Berlin telling me that the German General Staff advise all Americans to leave Paris via Rouen and Havre, soon. All the tourists have gone and many of the residents, and I have been advising everyone to go. I cannot believe that they will destroy Paris in face of the approach of the Russian armies to Berlin and Vienna. The telegram came in clear, so I suppose that, like the dropping of bombs, it is intended to terrorize us.
"I went out to-day about forty kilometers and came to the rear of the Allied forces in battle. There were about one thousand wounded in a village we passed. Our hospital is sending out in the morning to bring in as many as possible.
"The new Spanish ambassador called on me this afternoon and I took tea with him at five o'clock. He is a fine old fellow, a general.
"I would not in the least mind what is before me if your mother were out of Paris. She is not at all frightened but such scenes are not for women as fine as she is, and really not for men and women of any kind; but as long as men revert to savagery, we must have war and desolation. Then I think about you and the darling little boys and wish that Mr. Sharp were duly installed."
To understand the situation which confronted Mr. Herrick on the departure of the French government from Paris, a rapid glance at the military situation is necessary.
On August 26th the fate of Paris seemed sealed. The right wing of the German armies under Von Kluck was moving by forced marches due south upon the city. On this date General Gallieni was given command of the fortified region of Paris, having three corps of the active army assigned him for this purpose, in addition to reserve formations.
A rumor got abroad that Paris was to be considered as an open, that is unfortified, town, in order to save it from bombardment. This led Gallieni to consult Monsieur Millerand on that question and he was informed that the city was to be defended à outrance.
"Do you know what that may mean?" inquired Gallieni. "I might have to blow up public buildings and historical monuments, and destroy bridges---such as the Pont de la Concorde, for instance."
The Minister of War merely repeated, "You will defend Paris to the last ditch," and Gallieni went to work. The armament and garrison of the forts were reinforced, trenches dug, chevaux-de-frise and other obstructions placed to cover the approaches to the city, and active reconnaissances by land and air organized. Gallieni then posted on the walls a proclamation of a few lines: "The government has left Paris for the purpose of giving a new impulse to the country's defence. I have been charged with defending Paris against the invader. I will carry out this duty to the bitter end." Another notice gave the hours of departure of free trains placed at the disposal of the inhabitants. He wanted as few non-combatants as possible left to care for when the city was attacked or besieged.
By September 3rd the French and British armies had fallen back behind the Marne. Maunoury's army, which was the main body of the force assigned to Gallieni for the defence of Paris, was operating on their extreme left flank. That day news came that Von Kluck's army was no longer moving due south on Paris but had changed its line of direction to the southeast, thus avoiding Paris. This act was in accordance with orthodox military theory, which teaches that the true objective of an army should be the enemy's forces and not any geographical point, however important. It was following this general law that Grant struck always at Lee's army rather than at Richmond; Lee's army defeated, Richmond must fall, did fall.
But just as Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, with Lee's approval, violated military teaching, ran a great risk and achieved a marvelous victory, so Gallieni saw in Von Kluck's change of direction the possibility of dealing him a vital blow by taking a decision equally hazardous and unorthodox, namely to strip the fortified town he was defending of all its soldiers and march out to attack in the open.
Monsieur Poincaré himself has related the interview which, the day previous, he had with Mr. Herrick concerning the protection of museums, monuments, and works of art in Paris:
"He alone had announced his intention of remaining in Paris," said Monsieur Poincaré; "I wished to thank him, and I made a rendez-vous with him for Wednesday. When he came into my office, his expression, usually so gay, was clouded with sadness and at our first words his frank, fearless eyes filled with tears. 'No...' he said, 'I shall not leave Paris. Some defender of the law of nations ought to stay. Who will protect your museums, your monuments, your libraries? I can speak in the name of the United States, and have no fear---I will find a way to prevent pillage and massacre!'
"I told him of my grief at leaving and I swore to him that we would fight on till victory came. 'I know it,' he answered; and for my part I have no doubts of that victory; France cannot perish.'
"Each sentence he spoke seemed to come from his inmost soul, and if I had not already known his affection for us, I would have realized then that we had no such sure and devoted friend as he."
On September 4th, at dawn, General Gallieni sent out his aviators with orders to report by 10 A. M. what direction the German columns were following. They confirmed the news of September 3rd---the Germans had obliqued off to the southeast. He immediately informed Maunoury of his intentions. His army, reenforced by the 45th Algerian Division, was to assail Von Kluck's right flank. These orders given, Gallieni telephoned to General Joffre to explain the new situation that had arisen and the attack he contemplated. The cooperation of the British being essential, Gallieni went to see Marshal French to ask it.
General Joffre, who had been waiting for a favorable moment to make his contemplated counter-offensive, saw that this time had come, and the next morning, September 5th, at 2:35 o'clock, he sent to all his armies the famous order, saying, "A battle is about to be engaged on which depends the safety of the country---every effort must be made to attack and drive back the enemy. Troops which cannot advance any further must at any cost hold on to the ground they have conquered, and die in their tracks rather than yield a foot."
That same day Maunoury moved his troops into position for battle. He asked Gallieni, "If I should be completely overwhelmed, what is to be my line of retreat?" The general answered with one word, "None" (néant). The next day, September 6th, he attacked Von Kluck, and the Battle of the Marne, stretching from Paris to the eastern frontier, commenced.
Had Gallieni been mistaken in his tactical conception, had Maunoury failed to crumple the enemy's flank, hardly a soldier would have been left to defend Paris, and the capital would have fallen like ripe fruit into the Germans' hands.
The next day, September 7th, a powerful column attempted to envelop Maunoury's left flank. It was then that Gallieni gathered seven hundred of the taxicabs of Paris and loaded them with troops which, entering the fight early the next morning, warded off this danger.
The battle last five days without a respite. By September 11th the Germans, definitely beaten, were retreating across the Aisne. Paris was saved.
The most interesting tribute ever made to the French soldier, curiously enough, comes from General von Kluck. This story was related to me by General Mangin and has since appeared over his signature. Talking to a Swedish gentleman several years after the battle, Von Kluck had this to say: "If you want to know the material reasons for our failure, read the newspapers of those days. They will tell you of the lack of ammunition and the failure of our commissariat. All that is exact. But there is another reason which is entirely decisive for it caused the others to manifest themselves, and that is the capacity of the French private to 'come back.' This quality evades the most careful calculation. That men will stand fast and get killed is a well-known fact, discounted for every battle; we accept that Companies X, Y, or Z will be annihilated to a man without yielding an inch of ground and that so many minutes can be counted upon before this can be effected; we can draw useful conclusions from such data. But to suppose that men half dead with fatigue and lying worn out on the ground could, when the bugle sounded, seize their guns and attack like demons, is a thing which we never thought to see, a possibility which never entered into the calculations of our war colleges."
Little of the events that have just been related was immediately known in Paris. Indeed, the officers fighting at Chalons had no idea of what was taking place at Meaux and those on the Ourcq were wholly ignorant of what was passing around Nancy. During these days Mr. Herrick wrote to his son:
The French are enthusiastic about driving the Germans back for two days, but I fear they have not succeeded in breaking the German lines and that the army will soon be joined by that of the Crown Prince, in which event they will be calling upon us in Paris within a few days....
Last evening one of the officers came in to tell me that near Meaux there were about a thousand wounded people who were suffering and receiving no attention. I called up Mr. Benét and Mr. Carroll and others, who went out with the ambulances and brought in thirty-four this morning, without the formality of obtaining permission or anything. This afternoon, they are leaving to get some English officers....
I have had a strong desire to drive out and see what is taking place, but we are so crowded with things that we have little time for other than the pressing affairs of the hour....
Last night when I told your mother of the telegram we had from Berlin, advising us to leave, she was a little disturbed. This morning at luncheon she said she had taken a sleeping powder and passed the night very comfortably, otherwise, she might have dreamed of invasions!
The great battle is going on, and upon its issue will depend whether we have the Teutons as guests or not. If the French are beaten, I expect they will reduce the forts and come into the city. At any event, we are preparing for them., I have six Jackies up from the Tennessee! They are nice-looking boys, and are on guard at the embassy because of the valuables we have in the safes in the basement. One of them is from Oklahoma, one from Wisconsin, one from Connecticut, one from New York, and I have not yet met the other two. I like the lads. They seem much pleased to be in Paris, and their first visit promises to be quite exciting, as exciting as if they had arrived "in the season."
I went with James Gordon Bennett to the church to-day and quietly helped to baptize him. I think I am getting along very well. I passed the plate on Sunday, baptized Bennett to-day, and to-morrow shall assist at his wedding. He faces matrimony and the invasion of the Germans with equal fortitude.
It depends now on the next few days whether the Germans enter Paris. If the Allies are defeated then the town will be besieged. In that event you might not hear from us for a few days, but do not be worried. Should anything happen to us, be always sure that we could not have avoided this danger.
By September 14th, however, the fact that the Germans had been definitely checked was known. They were no longer on the Marne but had been driven back to the Aisne, whence they gave no signs of moving in either direction. For six weeks Mr. Herrick had been hard at it in his office and when this respite came he decided to take a look at things on the outside. He wrote a letter to his son on September 14th:
Saturday morning I went with Lépine, the celebrated Prefect of Police of Paris, and some officers in a military automobile to Meaux; there we called on the Bishop, and then drove to the other side of the Marne across a bridge which had been temporarily repaired after having been blown up by the Germans in their retreat....
We brought our lunch with us, and a woman who kept a little hotel gave us some vivid accounts of the occupation by the Germans; she brought out some liqueurs after lunch and we asked her how it happened that she had these wines; she said she had hidden them in the ash pile and had hidden her daughters in the cellar....
There were thirty German wounded in a schoolhouse.
From that place we drove on in the direction of Soissons where a big battle took place yesterday; we met very many refugees returning to their homes in the villages, a sorry-looking lot. We met French wounded coming back, also many of the German wounded and some British.
At a little village we saw three British Tommies; all had been slightly wounded but not badly enough to lay up. They said they were staying there because they had buried their colonel in the garden of the chateau. We had cigarettes and newspapers and things for them which were very gratefully received....
At a cross-road where we stopped, the proprietor of a little shop showed us a small box which had been pried open and they said their stocks and bonds had been taken away. While we were waiting there, some British scouts on motorcycles came up and said that down the road in the forest there was an ambulance that had been fired upon by some snipers, whose idea was, no doubt, to dispose of the wounded and take the ambulance to escape by its means. just at that moment a little automobile squad came up, went into the wood, and shot the five Germans. When they told us, I asked them if the Germans had been taken prisoners. They said that men who shot at an ambulance could not be taken prisoners.
A little further on we met a taxicab which had evidently been "requisitioned" by a farmer who did not know how to drive an automobile; in it were five calves who were sticking their heads out of the windows, and a cow hitched behind; they were making very slow progress and a woman and two boys seemed to enjoy the humor of the scene.
At a bridge, of which one span had been blown off, we saw an automobile partly out of the water: three German officers hastily fleeing from a hot fire had not noticed that the bridge was broken and had dropped down fifty feet. They were under the automobile. I asked the men if they were trying to get the bodies out; they said, no, they were trying to get the automobile.
We now took a circuit; we had started for La Ferté but we found that some of the bridges were blown up and that we could not get across, so we went back to Meaux and Dammartin and from Dammartin to Betz. This road for some thirty miles had been the scene of the fiercest battle, and the field was strewn with dead horses; we saw many fresh mounds where soldiers were buried, and on both sides of the road, with their faces turned up to the sky, were lying dead German soldiers waiting to be buried. At Betz, where we arrived at about sundown, quantities of arms, guns, and ammunition had not yet been gathered up from the field; one of the hottest fights had taken place there; the people said ten thousand Germans had been killed. I do not think there were quite so many as that but the number was very large. It was a gruesome sight.
It was raining very hard. We returned to Paris at high speed, most of the time at fifty miles an hour, and sometimes the road was very rough. As we drove on we saw enormous motor trucks carrying supplies and ammunition, bearing the signs of firms in London. These motor trucks had been requisitioned in England and they were immense affairs carrying tremendous loads. I was greatly impressed by the excellent organization displayed in everything. We met many wagons, drawn by eight or ten horses, carrying ammunition to the front; it was a great sight, and all the way to Paris we were constantly meeting wagons, trains, and trucks; everything well organized and moving with perfect regularity, as it has been all the time.
At one place where we stopped there were two English soldiers who said they had fought all the way back from Belgium; there had been about twelve hundred men in their regiment and when they at last were separated there were only three hundred left.... These boys were with the French soldiers; we gave them cigarettes, chocolate, etc., and I asked the two English lads if they were in need of money; they answered that they had just one franc between them which they were saving up. I gave them an English sovereign, at which they were very happy. The boys said they had been told by their colonel that it would be necessary for them to be made a sacrifice, and they said: "It gave us a jolly shiver and we said our prayers; when we found that we were not dead we shook hands with ourselves." The English soldiers are fine-looking fellows.
Then we drove into Paris, being constantly stopped by the sentries. Lépine was in the automobile back of us and I was with the officers in front; we had to slacken speed well before we came up with the sentries, because if your automobile goes full speed and comes up abreast of them they are liable to fire upon you. The French soldier who was driving was a good bluffer; he did not have the password but be had all his papers; they demanded the password but he cried out in every instance: "C'est la voiture de l'Ambassadeur des États-Unis " and in nearly every instance they gave way and saluted. The one back of us simply cried out "Lépine," whom they all knew.
You would hardly recognize to-day the approaches to Paris. Everywhere they have thrown out breastworks, trees have been felled, chevaux-de-frise laid down, roads barricaded with pavés, and all sorts of obstructions set up.
I was quite nervous about being kept out so late because of your mother, who naturally was rather anxious. I arrived at about ten o'clock, soaking wet and tired; I changed my clothes, had a hot bath and a good dinner, and felt very much refreshed. This trip was the first rest I have really had since the war; it was most inspiriting and invigorating....
Sunday, General Gallieni and Aristide Briand asked me to go with them to visit the hospitals, the Val de Grace and Saint-Martin. Their staff accompanied us. They were pleased to show me how the German prisoners were being taken care of exactly the same as the French, receiving every attention. They said to one German officer: "Now that you are wounded and helpless here, you are no longer an enemy, you are only with friends where you are being nursed back to health." "We shall never be friends," he replied. "I am always your enemy."
After we had finished the visit to the French military hospitals, I said to the party---we had started about eight, it was then about ten---"go with me now to the American Ambulance. I shall not advise them of your coming, we shall take them by surprise." We arrived there and found everything spick and span as I expected; Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt, Mrs. George Munroe, and many others, in nurse's uniform, received us and we found the hospital and the officers in perfect order.' There were German, Algerian, French, and English soldiers....
This hospital, which it was my pleasure to initiate and which caused me some anxiety in the beginning, is going to prove one of the blessings of the situation. It is in the hands of the best physicians in the world, Dr. Blake and others caring for the wounded in a masterful way. All want to go there; its reputation has already gone abroad in the army.
The tension has now been a great deal relieved in Paris. There was a period when we feared it was only a question of days when it would be invested, and people wore solemn faces, because the French had determined to defend Paris by the outer and inner forts and in that case the chances were that the town would be destroyed or very much damaged. While the danger of invasion of this city has not passed, it is now quite far away and the next two or three days will determine whether the Germans will come here at all. I am inclined to think now they will not.
I feel from the way things look in America that I should be there with you now. I suppose our fortune will be very much reduced, but that we can accept with fortitude, because that is of little consequence when you think of the terrible calamity that has befallen the people of Europe.
At this time Mr. Herrick received a letter from the President, dated August 27, 1914:
MY DEAR MR. AMBASSADOR:
I have a friend in France, Mr. Lloyd d'Aubigné, 25 bis, rue de Brancas, Sèvres, the brother of a very dear chum of mine over here (the American form of the name being Dabney) and he has fallen upon very hard fortune in these war times, because he is a teacher of singing by profession---was once in the Grand Opera himself---and naturally singing lessons are suspended in these days of stress, particularly because his pupils were chiefly from this side of the water. He is in no special trouble or danger now, of course, but I wanted to give his name and address to the embassy so that if the war should girt Paris about he would not be forgotten in the round-up and succor of Americans.
May I not express my warm appreciation of the way in which you have been handling a very difficult and trying situation? All who return from Paris speak your praise.
Cordially and sincerely yours,
"I tried to find M. d'Aubigné," said Mr. Herrick, "but his house was closed and no one knew where he had gone. I wrote to the President to tell him this and 1 seized the opportunity offered to thank him directly for having permitted me to remain in Paris instead of going to Bordeaux, and for his complimentary references to my work."
On September 10th the President again wrote to him:
MY DEAR MR. AMBASSADOR:
Thank you for your letter of August twenty-eighth. I hope you fully understand our plan and wish with regard to Mr. Sharp. It is as far as possible from being our wish to shorten your stay or interrupt the admirable work you are doing in Paris. We merely thought that it was fair to Mr. Sharp to let him go and see what arrangements he could make for himself personally and that while he was there it would make his stay more interesting and tolerable if he as a private individual could be of some assistance to you.
Everybody speaks in warmest praise of what you have done in this critical and perplexing time.
Cordially and sincerely yours,
Mr. Herrick wrote to Mr. Wilson from Paris on September 24th:
"I was very much touched and gratified to receive your letter of September 10th, for which I thank you.
"I think it hardly possible for you to appreciate the value of the profound satisfaction with which your statement as to this crisis being no child's play was received here. In this connection I am enclosing you an article from the Figaro of this morning.
"There is no doubt that all these warring nations expect and desire that the United States should in the end play a great rôle and exert a restraining influence in the peace settlements. Any movement to mediate at the present time is bound to prove abortive. The French temperament is such that premature suggestions of settlement and of peace, though prompted by high purposes on the part of neutrals, are looked upon with suspicion and regarded as unfriendly in intent.
"It would seem that the Battle of Battles now being fought is destined to be most important and decisive in this terrible war. Should the Allied forces be vanquished, it is probable that the Germans will return to Paris. The spirit of the armies, their confidence and determined purpose, is reflected by the people here."
"THE day after the government left for Bordeaux General Gallieni, the military governor of Paris, came to call on me, bringing a staff officer with him, Joseph Reinach, I think it was. He told me he wished me to understand that he and his headquarters were at my disposal, and if I wanted anything, to telephone him and it would be done. He was extremely kind. We talked a little about the situation at the front, of which he gave me some idea. The Germans were near Compiègne to the north and were crossing the Marne to the east. The general explained all this in a perfectly businesslike fashion, making few comments and no predictions. I do not know whether the conception of the great surprise attack on the German flank he was going to order two days later was then in his mind; in any case, he said nothing about it.
"In getting up to leave, Gallieni remarked in a casual way, 'I wonder if you would like to take a drive with me? We can get a little fresh air and perhaps I might show you some of the arrangements for the defence of the city.' I accepted with alacrity. His car and mine were in front of the chancery. Mine was that little open victoria I was so fond of Gallieni suggested that we take it instead of his army car, so we started off with my little fox terrier, Billy, sitting on the box by the chauffeur. The general gave the directions as to the route to follow. We didn't see any forts or any defences or any soldiers, but we went through the most populous quarters of Paris---what in New York would be the East Side. In fact, it was the east side of Paris, the Faubourg. Saint-Antoine and out in that direction.
"The streets were very quiet, terribly quiet, but we were recognized; at least the general was; people took off their hats and many cheered. When we got back to the chancery, Gallieni said he hoped I would forgive him if he had appeared to play a little trick on me, but he wanted the population of Paris to see me, see us together. It would encourage them after the gloomy feeling which followed the government's departure.
"The next day I went over to the building opposite the Invalides where Gallieni had his headquarters and returned his call. After that there was constant communication between us, and anything I wanted was done immediately. The staff officer we most often saw or telephoned to was Joseph Reinach or, as Bliss always called him, 'Polybe.' That was the name he signed to the articles he wrote every day in the Figaro telling about the operations. Another was Monsieur Doumer, now president of the French Senate.
"During the Battle of the Marne Lord Robert Cecil came to see me, bringing with him his sister. She had heard that her son had been killed near Villers-Cotterêts; she could get no confirmation and they wanted to go there and try to find out something for themselves. Lord Robert said there were no British authorities in Paris to whom they could apply for a permit, not even a consul; could we do anything? Bliss called up 'Polybe,' we gave Lord Robert one of our requisitioned American cars, and in a few hours he and his sister had their pass and were en route. He was rather impressed.
"The British G.H.Q. asked us to furnish them a daily list of all British officers and men who had been taken to the hospitals of Paris or who had died there. This was not easy, but one of my officers was finally ordered to visit every hospital in the region twice a day. A card index was made, and we could give accurate information about any man in five minutes. Lord Robert, on returning from the front, examined this system and obtained authority from his government to create a similar one. This he did with a large staff which he ably directed; eventually he took all the British work off our hands.
"One day 'Polybe' called up to say that General Joffre requested my military attaché to make a visit to the front and see for himself how the Germans made war. Bliss also wanted to go on the trip. This being readily agreed to, he and Colonel Cosby started with a staff officer for Chalons, stopping at Joffre's headquarters at Châtillon. What they saw they repeated to me, and it seemed loathsome. However, we were not used to these German practices at that time and the impression was vivid. Unfortunately, as the war went on, everybody got blunted with the daily repetition of old horrors and the invention of new ones. It was at this time that the Germans gained for themselves the appellation of Hun, and I only wish that now, after all these years have elapsed, some proof could be found which would enable the world to revise the judgment it then passed on a great nation's conduct.
"While at Joffre's headquarters, Bliss and Cosby, by mere chance, rescued Richard Harding Davis, Fisher Wood, and one of our army officers who had permits to visit the front but had gone far beyond the line set down for them. They had been arrested and brought in as possible spies. We got them out, but they really did not seem to understand that they had been in a serious fix.
"At this time Mr. Bryan was much agitated for fear the American Hospital in Paris was not strictly neutral. He cabled to know whether it was caring for German wounded there as well as Allied. You see, the newspaper correspondents were crying for copy to cable, and as they were not allowed to send much news of what was going on at the front, they filled up with stories about work at the hospital---how all wounded British officers were sent there, how efficient it was, what great service it was rendering the French, etc.
Excellent propaganda for the hospital but disturbing to Mr. Bryan's sentiments about neutrality.
"When his telegram came, unfortunately there was not a German case in the Ambulance, so before replying I sent for Lieutenant Greble and told him it would be a good thing to have some German wounded there before night. He started out in an automobile for the front, picked up three Germans somewhere near Meaux, and started back. When he got halfway home, near Claye I think it was, one of the wounded men died. Greble laid him out on the side of the road, knowing he would be found and buried, and hurried back with the other two to the American Hospital, reporting to me their safe arrival. I immediately telegraphed Mr. Bryan that wounded Germans were being cared for in our Ambulance. These two men were well nursed, and recovered. They never knew what probably saved their lives.
"There was a curious sequel to this incident. When the French discovered this dead German so near to Paris, they did not know what to make of it. No fighting had taken place so close by and it gave rise to all sorts of theories at military headquarters. When I got wind of this I told Gallieni how it happened.
"I last saw the general when he came to bid me good-bye at the station on my departure late in November. I attended the unveiling of his statue on the Esplanade des Invalides in 1927, and as I sat there all these tragic times came back to me. What a strange thing is the military profession! Here was a man whose whole life had been spent preparing for one supreme moment. Fortunately, when it came he was ready.
"These recollections of Gallieni make me think of another great general whose death in all the fulness of his magnificent vigor caused me the deepest sorrow. I mean Mangin. I did not meet him till my return to France after the war. It was he who conceived and carried through the beautiful idea of the monument which all admire in the Place des États-Unis, erected to the honor of America's volunteers in the Great War. His speech on that occasion is one of the finest tributes ever made by a soldier to comrades of another land.
"Three years later I was led to look up his history---not his work during the war, for everybody is acquainted with that, but what he did in Africa long years before, and the kind of people he came from. His grandfather had ten children, several of whom were soldiers; his father, like himself, had eight. His eldest brother was killed in Tonkin, the third son was killed in Mauretania, the fourth died of fever on his way to Tonkin, and the fifth was mobilized as a sergeant in Africa in 1914. It was to him that the general, his brother, sent the following telegram: 'I am asking that you be sent at once to France, for when fighting is on, no Mangin must be absent.' He came, was wounded, cited three times in orders, and, the war over, returned to Senegal, where he died of his wounds.
"Such a recital deserves a place along with the story of Paul Jones or Nathan Hale, and I like to remember that in one of the greatest battles of the war, where our troops took a decisive part, they were commanded by General Mangin."
The eight children left by the general in 1925 had almost no means of support, and a committee was formed to raise a fund to educate them. When Mr. Herrick heard of this he wrote the following letter:
MY DEAR MARSHAL JOFFRE:
The untimely death of General Mangin has brought vividly to the minds of the whole world the patriotic service which he so faithfully and unselfishly gave to his country) and which, undoubtedly, served to shorten his life. The universal wave of sympathy and affection which has welled up will find expression in a spontaneous response to the appeal made by you and your noble committee for funds to educate his eight children and establish them in life. It is no charity, but rather an opportunity, loyally to care for the legitimate wards of a grateful nation. Therefore, my dear Marshal, permit me, as an admirer and friend of this great soldier, to make a small contribution to this purpose, and, also, to add that it is not possible for the distinguished gentlemen who compose this committee to know the depths of the confidence and affection in which they are held, not alone by their own countrymen, but by countless millions outside.
I am, as ever,
Your admiring and faithful friend,
MYRON T. HERRICK.
In addition to taking care of German and Austrian interests, including soon those of Turkey, Mr. Herrick fell heir, after the diplomatic corps established themselves in Bordeaux, to all the nationals of Great Britain, Japan, Serbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, etc., etc. The representative of Liberia, with some naïveté, tried to make him a sort of Liberian minister, but this the State Department could not permit. The services he and Mrs. Herrick rendered to all these people were thoroughly appreciated and handsomely acknowledged. The following letter from the British ambassador is an example:
October 4th, 1914
I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that Sir Henry Austin Lee has, by direction of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, returned to Paris to look after the interests of British Subjects there. The Consulate General is also to be re-opened, and Mr. Pyke is proceeding to Paris in the capacity of Acting Consul General.
I have received instructions from Sir Edward Grey to convey to you the most cordial thanks of His Majesty's Government for the trouble taken by you in caring for British interests and their high appreciation of the great kindness shown by you to British Subjects needing assistance.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant,
The Honourable Myron T. Herrick.
The next day, Sir Francis (afterward Lord) Bertie, supplemented this with a personal note:
For I think that to judge by your friendship to me you will allow me so to designate you, I am very grateful to you for your letter of October 2nd, most kind as regards myself and very interesting in other respects.
I have written to you officially to thank you on behalf of His Majesty's Government for all you have done for British Subjects during the absence at Bordeaux of the whole Embassy staff, and while expressing to you my gratitude for all you have done I tender to you all my apologies for the situation created and which gave your staff and your consular officers work which ought never to have been thrown on them.
If you dropped down in Bordeaux with no knowledge of what is going on north of Paris you would imagine that it was a time of peace and that there were military manoeuvres in the neighbourhood, for the town is full of soldiers and military automobiles, carts, etc. The shops are all open and the streets gay.
There are many wounded in the hospitals and I fancy that the arrangements are not first-rate; but as to that you will no doubt hear or have heard from Mr. Garrett.
There is already talk of a return to Paris next month; but unless and until the Germans have all been driven out of France it would be foolish to move from here for they might return to the neigbbourhood of Paris and a second flight of the Government would be more than "regrettable."
My best respects and remembrances to Mrs. Herrick from
The Queen also wrote her thanks to Mrs. Herrick:
Buckingham Palace, London.
October 11, 1914.
DEAR MRS. HERRICK:
I have heard from various sources how exceedingly kind and thoughtful Mr. Herrick and you have been to the English people in Paris during this trying time, and I feel that I must write and let you know how deeply grateful the King and 1 are to you both for what you have done, and are doing, for their relief and comfort. I recall with pleasure our recent visit to Paris and the opportunity it gave me of meeting you both and I can assure you that this friendly and sympathetic action on the part of you and your husband is very highly appreciated both by the King and me, as well as by all the people of this country.
Yours very sincerely,
To this Mrs. Herrick replied:
"I have Your Majesty's letter and both the Ambassador and I are deeply touched by the kind words it contains. We feel that we are undeserving of such high praise, for our action was but the natural response to an irresistible appeal of the human heart. Who could witness unmoved the suffering of England's brave soldiers and not try to relieve the anxiety of their grief-stricken parents? Truly, this dreadful war touches and saddens the lives of all of us."
Many times Mr. Herrick advanced money from his own pocket to diplomats unable to get funds from home. On September 17th the Paraguayan chargé d'affaires wrote him a long letter of thanks for $4,000 which he had loaned him when Paris was threatened.
"There was no time to lose," he says, "if I wished to prevent the detention in Paris of Paraguayan citizens during a possible siege and bombardment. It was at this moment that Your Excellency resolved to take upon yourself the responsibility to come to my aid, and ordered your bank to advance the amount I needed."
The files are full of letters from all countries expressing the gratitude of people for services rendered to their kind. The largest number are from Great Britain.
And then there were annoyances, small and great. On September 30th, the ambassador wrote to the State Department saying:
"On Sunday the 27th instant I made an inspection of the embassies placed in charge of the United States, visiting the German, British, Japanese, and Austro-Hungarian embassies in succession. I found these buildings together with their courts and gardens in perfect order, in all cases guarded by the police. At the German embassy I was much surprised to see that the American flag was flying over the portico of the building where it was visible from the upper windows on the opposite side of the street, although not from the street itself. As there was no sign of an American flag when the embassy was inspected on two previous occasions, I asked the caretaker left in charge on whose orders and by what authority he had raised the flag; he replied that Baron von Schoen, the German ambassador, had before leaving directed him to do so.
"When this matter was informally discussed at the Foreign Office, the Minister of Foreign Affairs thought that an American flag over the German embassy might have a provocative effect upon the populace and would imply that the authorities were unable to afford adequate protection. Baron von Schoen also at the last interview I had with him had made a request for an American flag which I declined. Under the circumstances, therefore, I cannot regard this incident as other than a distinct breach of faith on the part of the German ambassador, as it was explicitly understood at the time of his departure that I could not authorize the display of the American flag over the German embassy unless instructed to do so by the Department of State."
The relief which Mr. Herrick experienced when the Germans had been halted and Paris saved showed itself in his desire to write to his old friends. He wanted to share with them his immense happiness and feel them closer, after living such long days with the thought hanging over him that possibly he might never see them again. On September 15th he wrote to his old partner and friend, Mr. Parmelee, as follows:
MY DEAR JAMES:
I very greatly appreciate your letter to which I should have replied long before. As a matter of fact, I have written almost no personal letters, except to Parmely, and these were very fragmentary. However, through him you have probably known something of our movements and of the situation here. It is only now since yesterday, when the immediate danger seems to be passed, that we realize the dreadful depression caused by the apparently pending doom of Paris. As you know, the Germans were really at the city gates and for a time little doubt was entertained but that they would enter. All these days an awful pall was hanging over the town. You would see it on the faces of the people; there was an anxious, haunted look, and the only signs of mirth were shown by the little children, who did not understand and were playing in the streets.
The turning back of the enemy produced no joyous outburst; the anxiety was too great and too deep; but the faces of the people have changed and Paris seems to assume some signs of activity. Almost all the shops are closed, there are no motor-busses, very few people in the streets, the Champs Élysées deserted, the Bois closed and the preparations for the defense at the gates still continue. The streets are unlighted at night and the city is in absolute darkness excepting for the searchlights hunting for aeroplanes; but the people are quiet and calm and seem to appreciate that this is the crucial trial upon which depends the very existence of France. And now there is a feeling in their hearts that they will triumph.
We could not help but share that gloom, for we love Paris. Then there was always an element of personal danger involved, but we were all too much occupied to think about it. Meanwhile we had provided food and accommodation for a good many people in case we should have to offer them a shelter and keep them during a siege; we had also prepared to store and guard in our cellars several millions of valuables and money for the bankers. We have a row of safes in the cellar. Our flag might of course have saved the embassy.
I would never have thought it possible to accomplish the work we have had to do. I have probably thirty people to help and the ballroom at the embassy is an office fully occupied and we have been able to do everything that came in our way on time. The care of the property of our countrymen, the relief work, the many cables sent to all parts of Europe and to and from Washington, the many questions which demanded prompt decision have much concerned me, but I am constrained to believe that so far none or few mistakes have been made. Bliss, Frazier, Laurence Norton, et al. have been at the chancery until after twelve o'clock every night since the war, except three or four times.
I have been over the battlefield, as I have written to Parmely, and am going again in a day or two. In their steady retreat, the French fought facing two or four Germans to one, and to look over the field is a most ghastly spectacle which I cannot attempt to describe. Such a scene of carnage! It is well that the newspapers were repressed, for I think it is not possible to publish the details of such horrible deeds.
The decisive battle may soon be fought which will determine whether I can leave France. I am looking forward with more pleasure than you can imagine to our return to our native land. I appreciate fully what has been taking place in America, that some fortunes have been cut in half and that others have disappeared: but that does not seem to concern me, for we shall have enough, and to reduce the scale of living and the point of view toward life and make a general readjustment will, I think, be better for our citizenship. I am willing to take my chances with the rest of them. I think it will be a good thing for us, both you and me, to do some hard work and planning again. We have Parmely with us and together we can pull things around.
The American Ambulance is doing fine work. The English have to-day said that their officers must not be taken elsewhere. As the representative of the British government, I am now looking after them in a way. I have a list of all hospitals and get the names of wounded English in them and am the means of communicating between England and Paris. Then add to this the Germans, the Austrians, the Serbians . . . and you will see the work grows instead of lessening.
Bliss went to bed to-day, Frazier is tired out, Harry Dodge and Laurence Norton look as pale and tired as the others. But fortunately I am now in fine health and able to do the work needed. The horror of it all! Can it be that this is really 1914, the age when civilization has reached the highest peak!
Shall we advance or shall we go back? This is the question which is being solved as barbarians solved it in biblical times, only science has provided instruments of warfare whereby blood flows faster. But with all, the old savage instincts seem to be as near the surface as ever.
On September 16th he wrote to his son:
"This letter is very scrappy and fragmentary, and not very well put together; however, it keeps you advised of our doings.
"Mr. Sharp came in to-day and spoke about the future.
"I told him that as far as I was concerned the place was his at any time, that I was only remaining because the President had requested it; and then I asked him if he had any idea as to when he would like to come. He said 'about October 1st,' and I then suggested that we had better cable the government to that effect. He seemed pleased, and said he would do so. I cabled at the same time, saying that Mr. Sharp had called and suggested that he would like to take over the embassy about October 1st, and that therefore I would endeavor to sail on the France on the 26th instant, subject to the approval of the Department.
"While there seems to be a probability that the Germans will not come to Paris, the war is far from finished, in fact just begun! We should feel perfectly delighted to go, were it not for the great responsibilities here, and the knowledge that on my departure the work will fall back on the boys who are tired and overworked. The whole force has been perfectly fine in every possible way.
"I cannot begin to tell you the great number of touching things that are said and written and telegraphed about the work here. Such appreciation is full compensation for all the trials and perplexities that beset one.
"The usual grind has gone on for the last few days with nothing very special. I sent Whitney Warren with Major Cosby and Major Henry to Rheims in order that Warren might observe the Cathedral. They left on Saturday morning and have not yet returned, and as I hear that the Germans have been bombarding the Cathedral again I am a little uneasy as they are going into the dangerous zone. If they are not back to-day I may have to put a tracer on them, as they may have been arrested. Within the firing line, sentinels are so excited that they do not take the time to look at the papers of prowlers. In two or three instances I have had the persons released (whose papers were all right) as soon as I found out they were arrested. The French officials apologized for arresting them, but that does not assuage the feelings of the prisoners when they have had bad accommodation and are within their rights. Richard Harding Davis was one of the aggrieved ones, although he is a good soldier and does not mind; he talks back and wins his way out. I think he rather enjoys being arrested.
"Yesterday Billy [NOTE: his dog] and I walked to the chancery between 10:30 and 11 A. M., passing the Prince of Monaco's house. A little later Frazier and I started to make the rounds of the embassies that are in my charge, visiting the German first. We passed again near the Prince's house. About ten minutes later a bomb was thrown from a German 'Taube,' killing an old man and badly injuring a little girl playing in the street about two hundred yards from the chancery. There was a big hole in the middle of the street, precisely where we passed; all the glass in the Prince's house was smashed and the iron shutters pierced; stone in all buildings near by chipped and many windows broken, etc. If it was the intention of the bomb-throwers to excite public sentiment in the United States, I think they would have been eminently successful had the bomb dropped when Frazier and I were passing, for you know our people love their officials dead much more than living.
"Mr. and Mrs. John Drexel are coming to luncheon to-day. I got them out of trouble lately; they were arrested coming back from Vichy. They have given five thousand francs for the American Ambulance. Mrs. H. E. Huntington has given thirty thousand francs for the same purpose.
"Our people came back from Rheims all right, and I enclose a clipping from the New York Herald of to-day as it gives an account of the damage done to the Cathedral. It is a great pity. Last year Colonel Mott, Laurence, and I visited Rheims on the occasion of an aviation meeting and we had so much admired the Cathedral. Warren, Cosby, and Major Henry stayed three nights in Rheims. The city was bombarded every afternoon and there was an attack on the town which was repulsed by French infantry. I think that their nights were not very restful. They said that eighteen citizens had their hands tied behind their backs and were shot without any reason being given for it. They gave other details but I cannot go into them now. They also said that every day the women and children of Rheims had to take luncheon and go into the country while the bombardment went on, returning in the evening.
"The American Ambulance is cutting a very considerable figure in this crisis. It is growing in importance on account of its efficiency and willingness to serve. While it did not occur to me at the beginning, I believe that from a diplomatic point of view, when the war is over, it will do more for our good relations with France and England than one could ever have expected. It touches the hearts of the French and English, who are most enthusiastic about it.
"The Reverend Dr. Watson is really performing a very great service; he is conducting the relief organization at the Church and is one of the leading factors of the American Ambulance. The people of Ohio, especially of Akron, would be glad to know that his ministrations to the poor and the unfortunate are far-reaching and practical. He has won the admiration and respect of all classes and works in harmony with all.
"And so the war goes on, since the great battle is raging and upon its issue all will depend; during this time there is a great tension here in Paris which permeates the whole population. The spirit of the Allied forces is fine and their courage great. They are certain that they will win, and this is the spirit which helps most to win battles. This is the nineteenth day of the battle."
A letter from the embassy messenger on reaching London October 1st informs Mr. Herrick:
"Arrived in London with the despatches and the wounded officers you wished me to take charge of. On the train I met Lord Esher, who had been to the front to see General French and to look over the situation in Paris. I mention it so as to be able to tell you that I never heard such praise as he bestowed on you, on the American Embassy in Paris and the American Ambulance. He said that he would let them know in London the way the Americans were handling the situation and that you were doing as much for the English as you were for your own countrymen."
On September 26th Mr. Wilson wrote:
"Thank you sincerely for your fetter of September 5th with its enclosure. Your conduct and discretion, not only in the matter of remaining at Paris, but also in all the matters you have had to handle in these days of supreme difficulty, have reflected the greatest credit upon you and I hear nothing but comments of the most complimentary kind from those who have been in a position to know. I send you my most cordial thanks and greetings."
November 4th, to his son:
"I asked Mr. Bacon when he left here to try to find someone to finance the hospital extension to the extent of $200,000. He has been able to arrange it through Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney. We will be able now to have a hospital under the auspices of the Belgians that will receive mostly Belgian wounded, but will of course admit wounded of all nations. This does not lessen the need for money, but simply enlarges the scope of the work.
"It looks now as though the Allies would prevent the Germans from entering Dunkirk, and in that event I think we need not expect them in Paris; should they take Dunkirk and Calais they may not come here, but it would prolong the war and make it very uncomfortable.
"Lord Rothermere and Lord Murray dined with us on Sunday. I sent them out with one of our service automobiles to look for the grave of young Pearson, the son of Lord Cowdray. Two young army officers accompanied them.
"I am going on Monday to Limoges and elsewhere to inspect detention camps, hospitals, and prisoners. We sent 2,300 interns through the lines to Switzerland from the detention camps yesterday; more to follow.
"I had a cipher cable from Morgenthau, our ambassador in Constantinople, yesterday afternoon for Rifaat Pasha, the Turkish ambassador to France at Bordeaux, and transmitted it to him there. Of course I did not know what was in the message, but I see by the papers this morning that he left Bordeaux yesterday. So we have probably seen the last of Rifaat, whom we sincerely regret, as well as his wife. They were very nice; you know them. They had become good friends of ours. The entry of Turkey adds a new chapter to the war; where and how it will all lead would be difficult to tell.
"The German ambassador to Constantinople said to your mother at a dinner last summer while visiting here: 'My government gives me a summer palace, a winter palace, and a yacht, all of which costs it more than a hundred thousand dollars a year. We think it worth while.' So it would seem. He is a very able man, evidently capable of carrying out the Kaiser's wishes.
"I recall also that Baron von Schoen wanted me to enter into an agreement with them to bring about a settlement of the Mexican troubles. Mr. Paul von Schwabach of the Deutsche Bank of Berlin came here to assist. I said that I was quite willing to talk with them and to know their plans. The first suggestion of the plan was the recognition of Huerta. I told them that we need not go further; my government had decided that Huerta must go, and whether this policy was agreeable to me or not was of little consequence, as it was my duty to aid in accomplishing what my President and government desired. They said that they believed that the majority of our people were in favor of the recognition of Huerta. I replied that I was certain that the President having once decided that he would not recognize Huerta, the majority of the people would not be in favor of his withdrawing from the position taken, right or wrong. That ended the conference.
"Sir Henry Austin Lee and his wife, the Spanish ambassador and his two sons, lunched here yesterday. The Spanish ambassador is an old soldier, and thinks that there is no doubt that the Allies will win in the end, but he is not sanguine for the present; he fears the German reinforcements of four army corps, which may be able to break through the lines. I am inclined to think that with the spirit which exists among the Allies this will not happen; the pressure is terrible and it is a question of endurance.
"I am receiving many supplies to distribute, goods, money, etc., and am planning to organize a central bureau in order to keep a record of the supplies and material coming to France.
"Mr. Coffin sent $5,000 for the Ambulance. Mabel Boardman has sent $25,000. I am glad Agnes [NOTE: his daughter-in-law] is forming a committee; there is no limit for this work except the need for money. Dr. Du Bouchet is going to Havre to arrange a hospital for the Belgians. I gave him a letter for the Belgian Foreign Minister.
"While I do not mind this foolish talk about my being a candidate for the Presidency, you should say to my friends that I would not accept the nomination if it should be offered to me.
"I should like to be with you and working with you, for I am sure the responsibilities of this time are very great and I should share them with you, but as long as the situation is so strained here, to leave would be desertion.
"I received a very nice letter from Ambassador Jusserand yesterday.
"For some strange reason we received no election returns until late last night, about eleven o'clock, except a telegram which Clarence Mackay sent to Charlie Carroll, in which he said there was a rapid landslide and that I was to be a candidate in 1916. Of course there is no objection to having them talk of me for a candidate; it is all very pleasant, but it has no allurement for me. I would rather spend a month at Catalina Island than be President.
"Philippe Bunau-Varilla has just called; he has been made a major and is building bridges. He tells me that he has built four bridges over the Marne and one over the Oise. Stephen, his son, who fought at the front until recently, has returned here in charge of the aeroplanes which protect Paris. His son-in-law, Vicomte de Rancougne, Gisèle's husband, is a prisoner at Darmstadt.
"I have several evidences of the President's reluctance in letting me go. I leave with more sadness than I can possibly tell you.; however, the idea of being home soon is a joy which we greatly anticipate.
"The cable from the President and the one to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and all things relating to the change are most delicate and touching and complimentary to me and I have no word of complaint for anybody.
"I have just received the book on Farm Credits and it seems to be all right. I believe it to be a fundamental work on the subject. I send you a few cards, so you can send copies to several of my friends.
"A telegram which I received from Washington is most considerate and I greatly appreciate it. I realize that the President's hand is being forced. I do not care to stay, but to go on my own free will would be desertion.
"The work of receiving and distributing money and supplies is growing so rapidly that it is overwhelming the embassy and taking all of our time. I am therefore organizing a Relief Clearing House.
"The Turkish affairs which have been placed in my hands are giving us a lot of work. Our office force, large as it is, is now entirely inadequate.
"The lesson that we may learn from this breakdown in European civilization is that we may end in a few years by becoming a creditor nation if we will think more, talk less, and save more; for we have the brains, the energy and the people."
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