"WE HAD all lunched with Mrs. Bernard Carter that 21st of May in 1927," said Mr. Herrick one day when the subject of Lindbergh's famous flight was being discussed. "Afterward we went out to see Tilden play in one of the tennis matches. Information had come in the morning that Lindbergh had started, but I confess it did not mean much to me. Probably that was because Rodman Wanamaker had been bombarding me with telegrams announcing Byrd's departure, and my attention was entirely diverted from the youngster who, so I read in the papers, had started from California on his way to Paris. California seemed a long way from the goal for any kind of a start. Nevertheless, I had made up my mind to go out to Le Bourget and wait for his arrival as soon as I had some indication to go on.
"During the tennis match a telegram was brought me saying that Lindbergh had passed over Valencia in Ireland. It seemed a little too good to be true, but we hurried home, had a quick dinner at half-past six, and started for the field. It was a good thing we did not delay another quarter of an hour, for crowds were already collecting along the road and in a short time passage was almost impossible. News had already reached Paris that Lindbergh had been surely sighted, and the whole population seemed bent upon being at Le Bourget to see him land. When we arrived there we were escorted to the big pavilion at one end of the field and found it full of people. These were mostly 'Americans,' that is, South Americans. The open-sesame that night with police and aviation officials was the words 'I'm an American,' and our Southern neighbors had no reason for insisting upon which end of our continent they came from. Some of them, moreover, were our excellent friends, diplomats and others, and I carried away from Le Bourget visible souvenirs of their enthusiasm when Lindbergh landed. Many of the ladies kissed me on both cheeks, leaving rich traces of their emotions. For in the matter of red for the lips, Buenos Aires has nothing to learn from New York: Paris alone seems a bit backward.
"We had been at our post of observation only a little while, when a silvery plane circled the field and landed. Many thought it was the ship from Strasbourg which was due about that time, but an official whispered to me that it could not be so, the color was not right and that it must be our man. It was, and in a moment pandemonium broke loose---not the pandemonium the newspapers always tell about at political conventions, but the real thing. I certainly never witnessed any occasion like it. Soldiers and police were swept away, the stout fence demolished, and the crowd surged toward the aeroplane. That is when the kissing began. Then a little man in white kid gloves, bearing a tiny 'bokay' all fixed up in a white paper petticoat, came forward and presented his offering to me. I had noticed him there, looking so quiet and comical. He tried to make a speech, but of course not a word could be distinguished. He had brought the flowers for Lindbergh but his emotion got the better of him and he gave them to me instead. I never knew who he was.
"Presently---I have no notion of time as far as that night is concerned---a man half torn to pieces managed to get up to the terrace where I was and handed me an aviator's helmet. This man turned out to be a New York Herald reporter, who was close by when the ship landed, and to whom Major Weiss had given the helmet with orders to take it to me. This was done to deceive the crowd and get them clear of Lindbergh and his ship. The ruse succeeded, and it only goes to show how quickly aviators have to think and act. The crowd rushed off after him, believing it was Lindbergh, and they nearly annihilated him in their enthusiasm. I went out on the balcony, where a searchlight began to play on me, and waved the helmet to the crowd below. They went wild with enthusiasm.
"Then after about two hours one of the French officers put us in his car and drove us to Major Weiss's office across the field. Here we found Lindbergh in a little room with a few chairs and an army cot. They told him who I was. I shook hands with him, and he handed me some letters he had brought. Three of them were from Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, one addressed to me, one to Mr. Houghton, and the third, I forget to whom. These three were letters of introduction; the others were from people who had asked him to take them, thinking it was an interesting idea to send mail across the ocean in a day's time.
"I learned later that among the first to reach Lindbergh were Major Weiss, Sergeant Détroyat, and civil pilot Delage. Under cover of the diversion created by sending the reporter through the crowd with the helmet, these men slipped Lindbergh across the field to Major Weiss's little office at its far end. Here they put out the lights so as to conceal his presence from the crowd, which now surged madly in various directions looking for him. It was to this office that Colonel Denain took us.
"After shaking hands with Lindbergh and introducing him to my son and daughter-in-law I said, 'Young man, I am going to take you home with me and look after you.' He came up a little closer, saying, 'I can't hear you very well; the sound of the motor is still in my ears.' I repeated my invitation; to which he replied, 'I should like to, sir; thank you very much.' Then he added, 'I want to go over to my ship first and shut the windows; I left them open and they will not know how to put them in.' I of course assented to this.
"While we were talking, one of the Frenchmen politely pushed a chair up and suggested that Lindbergh sit down. 'Thank you,' he replied, 'I have been sitting.' I perceived, then and there, that he was a boy who did not waste words. Somebody else wanted him examined by a doctor. It appears they had one out there for the purpose, but he was not on hand at that moment. Lindbergh absolutely refused to be bothered with any doctor. He was perfectly calm and did not seem fatigued; his face was rosy and not at all drawn.
"I then said to Major Weiss, 'Let us go down to our cars and get started.' As I spoke in English he probably misunderstood what I said, for when he, Détroyat, and Delage went out with Lindbergh, as I thought to close those windows, they never came back. Instead of taking him to his ship they bundled him immediately into their car and started off to Paris by roads known only to them. They had but one thought and that was to get him safely away from the crowd. I did not see him again until I got to the embassy some hours later. Lindbergh did not speak French and the officers spoke little English. However, on their way through the city he made his guides understand that he wished to stop at the Unknown Soldier's tomb. So a halt was made at the Arc de Triomphe. Lindbergh got out of the car and stood uncovered for a long time. The officers say he finally swayed a little, as though the fatigue of all he had been through was making itself felt. They then drove to the chancery in the Rue de Chaillot, thinking that was my residence. The policeman on duty told them where the embassy was; they went there, turned Lindbergh over to my servants, said good-night to him and left.
"My wanderings at Le Bourget trying to re-find Lindbergh are not worth relating, except for our experience at the hangar where they had sheltered the Spirit of St. Louis. The commandant of the field, Colonel Poli-Marchetti. was with us, and in our search for Lindbergh we went to this place. A sentinel was inside, apparently with everything tightly bolted. The officer called to him and ordered him to open. He flatly refused. The officer then told him who he was, giving his name and rank and ordering him severely to come out. Still the soldier refused. I was thoroughly tired by now, but this revived me. I knew what was going on in that sentinel's head, for the colloquy reminded me of a darkey butler who was calling out the names at a reception in San Francisco. Three guests arrived together and one of them said, 'Announce Mr. Bean, Mr. Pease, and Mr. Oyster.' The darkey looked at him a second and said, 'You can't fool me; I bin at this business too long!'
"Nobody, not even his colonel, could fool that sentinel and get hold of Lindbergh's ship.
"After this our much-irritated guide took us back to the pavilion; but no Lindbergh. However, I had already sent a telephone message to the embassy telling the butler to have a room ready and something to eat for him, so that on his reaching there he was taken care of.
"We at last arrived also, having given up the search at Le Bourget; but it took what seemed hours to work our way through the crowds that filled the road. I found Lindbergh sitting on the edge of his bed, dressed in a bathrobe, my pajamas and slippers. They told me he had eaten an egg and drunk some bouillon, refusing the chicken and other things offered him.
"The street in front of my house was now full of newspaper men (it must have been about three o'clock). They had learned at Le Bourget that I was taking him to the embassy and had telephoned the news to Paris. I suggested that if he was not worn out, he let them all come in for a minute. To this he replied that he had a contract with the New York Times engaging him to give an exclusive interview to that paper, and he could not violate its terms. On hearing this, Parmely went downstairs and had a talk with Mr. Carlisle MacDonald, who represented the Times in Paris. He told MacDonald that this thing seemed too big an affair to be made the exclusive news of any one paper and asked him to consent to having Lindbergh see all the reporters. MacDonald showed himself the high-class man he is, took the responsibility of waiving his paper's rights, and all the journalists came up to hear what Lindbergh would tell them. The New York Times approved of MacDonald's decision, which also was worthy of the great tradition of that paper. Nobody would expect anything less from Mr. Ochs.
"While he was talking to the reporters about the flight, he constantly said what 'we' did: 'We were flying over such a place; the fog began to thicken and we decided,' etc., etc. I finally asked him, 'What do you mean when you say we?' He replied, 'Why, my ship, and me.'
"At last the newspaper men left---or were shoo-ed out---and at four o'clock Lindbergh went to sleep, saying that there was no use to call him as he was sure to be up and ready at nine o'clock.
"In the morning the crowd began to gather at an early hour, and the presents commenced to arrive. Then the letters and the newspaper men. Finally, at two o'clock, we waked him. He seemed to think it was about eight. I had had inquiries made by telephone as to the Spirit of St. Louis, and the report came back that everything was satisfactory and the ship safe in the hangar. That relieved Lindbergh immensely.
"One of Lindbergh's remarks that most deeply impressed me was this reply to some congratulatory comment of mine upon his great feat. He said: 'You must remember, Mr. Ambassador, how much easier it is to fly from New York to Paris than it would be from Paris to New York.'
"The first thing we did was to pay a visit to Madame Nungesser. She was in a pitiful state of emotion over the loss of her son and begged Lindbergh to find him for her. A large crowd had assembled around the house and we had some difficulty making our way through it. Several girls tried to kiss him. He was scared to death. Coming back we drove through the Rue de la Paix. 'Why, look at all those American flags everywhere,' he exclaimed. When I told him they were hung out in his honor he couldn't believe it.
"A dinner had been long ago arranged for that evening at the embassy. Fortunately it was a rather young affair and I hoped it would give Lindbergh some pleasure. I had seen enough of him by this time to want to give him any enjoyment I could. He was not able to get into my clothes or Parmely's, but Blanchard, my valet, with practiced eye measured his figure and soon appeared with two suits he had borrowed somewhere. He came down to dinner looking perfectly normal and comfortable in his borrowed evening clothes. He seemed to me normal and comfortable in every situation. He was so natural that nothing surprised him and he surprised nobody. It was only when we stopped to think, that the whole affair seemed so extraordinary. My daughter-in-law had asked some fifty people to come in after dinner to meet him and every one of them wanted his autograph. So, pads and pencils were brought, and he smilingly wrote for them all.
"That night, my dog Max, who always slept in my room, having made Lindbergh's acquaintance, decided he was a better man than I was and went in and passed the night on Lindbergh's bed, with his head on his pillow. You can't beat a dog's instinct---not a good dog's!
"The next day serious business began. The President wanted to see him, Monsieur Poincaré wanted to see him, the Aero Club arranged a reception, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate both invited him to pay them a visit and suspended their sitting to receive him; a medal was struck in his honor, the city of Paris gave him a reception, he was decorated, fêted, and adored. He deserved it all, and it was fine to see him bearing himself throughout like the charming young gentleman he is. But all the time he was thinking about his ship and he wanted to see her more than he wanted anything else. So, one morning he got up at half-past four and drove to Le Bourget and tinkered for an hour or so. Then he borrowed a French plane and sailed out once more in the air, doing some terrifying stunts. The people at Le Bourget, especially the French pilots who understood what was going on, were extremely frightened at seeing him do these hair-raising tricks in the air, for they knew how dangerous it was, and they felt their responsibility if an accident occurred while he was flying one of their planes. It is true he had asked if the ship they lent him was suitable for stunt flying, and they said yes; but I learned afterward that they never expected him to do any such tricks as he performed there, and which only very special planes are built to stand. The anxiety of these officers was intense and they made repeated signals for him to come down; but he either did not see them or did not choose to interrupt his enjoyment. I have an idea this was the happiest morning of his stay in Paris.
Review a French air regiment at Le Bourget. "A good deal has been said and written," says Mr. Herrick, "about my coaching him [Lindbergh] on official occasions. There is almost no truth in any of it."
"While we were talking," says Mr. Herrick [he is speaking of the memorable night at Le Bourget after Lindbergh had landed], "one of the Frenchmen politely pushed a chair up and suggested that Lindbergh sit down. 'Thank you,' replied Lindbergh, 'I have been sitting.
"When I went out to Le Bourget I had no plan of any kind regarding Lindbergh, not even the idea of asking him to stay in my house. I hardly even dared to expect his arrival. I merely went to the flying field on the chance that he would be successful in his attempt and I wanted to be on hand to congratulate him. But when I saw the crowd and the confusion and danger, and above all, when I looked at this fine boy and realized all at once what he had done and what he had been through, it naturally came into my head to take him home with me.
"A good deal has been said and written about my coaching him on all these official occasions, telling him what to say, and all that. There is almost no truth in any of it. I naturally told him who the people were we were going to see, what the occasion was about, and things of that sort. But I never told him what to say. He did not need to be told, as was demonstrated on every occasion. Whenever he was called upon to reply to the really wonderful speeches that were made to him by the greatest orators in France, it seemed to me that he always said exactly the right thing in exactly the right way. Even if I had had any misgivings on this subject, it would have been inexcusable on my part to diminish any of the freshness of his boyish charm by suggestions which would have hampered him in selecting his thoughts or pressing them.
"But he was very quick to seize an idea that occurred in conversation and use it to advantage. His second day in Paris we lunched with that famous old aviator, Monsieur Blériot. A very pretty scene occurred here. The guests passed their menu cards to Blériot and Lindbergh, asking for their autographs. Then, as there were several of the most renowned French pilots present, they passed these cards for them also to sign. All refused, saying with one accord that they were unworthy to put their signatures beside two such names.
"We left this luncheon to go to the Chamber of Deputies. During the drive Lindbergh asked me what would take place there. I told him what it probably would be, adding that he would have to say something in reply to the addresses which would surely be made to him. I advised him---I think it is the only time---to wait quietly until all the applause, which would doubtless greet him when he stood up, had entirely ceased. 'Then,' I said, 'when you can hear a pin drop, begin.'
"Something now brought up Franklin's name---his statue, the street called after him, I forget what it was. I told Lindbergh about my great predecessor's interest in balloons when he was here. He liked that and asked me several questions. I then told him the story of someone's asking Franklin what was the use of a balloon, and his reply, 'What is the use of a new-born baby?'
"When we got to the French House of Representatives every one of the members, I believe, was there. They gave him a great ovation; the Speaker made an eloquent address all in his praise, everybody wanted to shake hands with him, and there was enough enthusiasm to upset an old head. When he got up to reply there was long applause. He stood perfectly quiet and waited. He waited so long I became anxious lest he had stage-fright. For remember, this was the first speech of his life, and the room was charged with emotion. Finally he began, with perfect self-possession. His whole manner was quiet, simple, natural. After thanking everybody he said he was glad he had had the good fortune to make the flight successfully and he hoped it would be repeated frequently. He knew that it was natural for people to ask what use it could be, but the same question was put to Franklin in regard to balloons---and here he told the rest of my story. 'I suppose,' he concluded, 'when Mr. Blériot flew the Channel eighteen years ago they asked this question again. I hope that what I have managed to do will have its practical value just as what Mr. Blériot did has been followed by a daily air express between London and Paris.'
"This is the nearest I ever came to advising Lindbergh what to say. He seized the little story which I had related without premeditation, and applied it in a way which was appropriate, instructive, and agreeable to his audience. It was just one of the numerous things which went to prove what a very complete young fellow he was.
"Lindbergh's speeches were merely the unornamented statement of what he was thinking about, and in reading them now they sound so easy and natural that anyone except an experienced public speaker would say that their delivery was a very simple thing. Old hands at speechmaking of course know that this is exactly the most difficult part of the business.
"I believe it would be well to insert here this speech at the reception given him by the city of Paris in the Hôtel de Ville on May 26th. It is a fair example of all the others and it shows that several days of replying to addresses had not injured his method."
The following is the speech Mr. Herrick refers to. Four others by various officials had preceded it:
I cannot adequately express my appreciation of the honor which you are doing me and my country to-day. I think I have already said everything I have to say with respect to my flight but I want to express one remaining desire. I hope my flight is but the precursor of a regular commercial air service uniting your country and mine as they never have been united before. That is my hope to-day as I believe Blériot hoped his flight across the English Channel in 1909 would be the forerunner of the commercial aviation of to-day; and I believe that if those gallant Frenchmen, Nungesser and Coli, had landed in New York instead of me here in Paris, that would also be their desire.
"I have one regret, and that is that New York was not able to accord to these brave Frenchmen the same reception that Paris has accorded to me."
"There was one other occasion on which I gave him advice, if explaining a situation a man does not understand, is giving advice. That was with regard to his visit to London. He had been asked by a well-known English aviator to stay at his house, and it was natural that he should have been willing to accept. But I felt that for every reason, for him as well as for us all, it was preferable that he stay at our embassy. I bad a talk over the telephone with Mr. Houghton on the subject and he was altogether fine about it. Confirmed in my previous judgment by this conversation, I explained the situation to Lindbergh and he immediately agreed to my idea and gratefully accepted Mr. Houghton's offer.
"To have Lindbergh as his guest at that moment was a serious inconvenience to the ambassador, as he was on the eve of sailing for America; but he did it---did it to protect him and give his visit official recognition.
"Two tiny incidents that took place in my house tell more of how people really felt than any number of orations. A dressmaker came one morning to fit some clothes on my daughter-in-law. Lindbergh was upstairs in the hall at the time. So, to give this good woman pleasure, Agnes said, 'Come out here and you can meet Captain Lindbergh.' He spoke to her in his usual charming fashion, and after that it appears that no more fitting could be done. In the first place the excellent creature wept with emotion, and when that was over she stuck pins into Agnes as much as into the dress she was making.
"Then my valet brought a tailor around to measure him for some clothes. Blanchard asserts that his hands shook so he had much trouble taking the measures and writing them down. I have heard that this man has made a little fortune through having been Lindbergh's tailor.
"All the story of Lindbergh's days in Paris has been written and re-written, and I mention only the things which came under my personal observation and which seem to have some historical interest. As one looks back on it, there is one general fact which stands out and measures the importance of the event. For more than a week the ambassador to France and almost his entire staff were busy night and day attending to nothing except matters which concerned a young American citizen who a few days before had never been heard of. It was not a question of whether we wanted to do it or did not want to do it, it had to be done. For the moment I decided to take him to my house all the rest followed inevitably. There was no escape. Of course nobody wanted to escape; we were all charmed with him and delighted that things had turned out as they did. I merely record the inevitableness of it all. There were forty million people in France, not to speak of the rest of Europe, and a hundred and twenty million at home, to whom Lindbergh was of more importance at that moment than kings, presidents, or politics. As governments and ambassadors are the servants of the people, we should have been a stupid lot to show indifference where they were so passionately interested, even if we had been tempted to; and I repeat, there was no temptation whatever in that direction.
"There was also another consideration which soon became apparent to my mind. At the very moment Lindbergh started from America, we were in one of those periods of petulant nagging and quarreling between the French and ourselves which have flared up and died down more than once since the Armistice. I have lived through enough of these nasty equinoctial storms not to let them worry me very much, for not all the newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic can ever seriously affect the solid basis of our mutual feelings. But I hate this bad weather and like to see it clear up.
"Within ten hours after Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget all these clouds were rolling away, and in another twenty-four the sun was shining brilliantly. Here was serious matter or an ambassador to ponder. Providence had interposed in he shape of this boy, and if I did not seize the occasion offered I was not worth my salt. But I did not make the opportunity; I only took advantage of it. Lindbergh made it. And now, when more than a year has passed, we are still drawing the dividends, both France and America. Isn't it a sort of lesson to us both? The next time bickering starts up, I hope it will be remembered how easily the last was dissipated. We will not have another Lindbergh to drop down out of the sky to help us, but we might have sense enough to invent one just for the occasion.
"The French people's interest in Lindbergh, first in his feat and later in his personality, was absolutely spontaneous. No earthly power could have created the outburst of enthusiasm which began with his arrival and never abated one jot or tittle during his entire stay. It was all the more remarkable, coming right on top of the natural disappointment and intense sorrow at Nungesser and Coli being lost. Moreover, lies had been published here and believed, intimating that our weather bureau had deliberately failed in its duty. The feeling was so strong that I cabled the Department suggesting that no flight be undertaken from our side until this unpleasant excitement had died down; unfortunately, instead of following my suggestion quietly and discreetly, it was given out to the papers, and when copied over here, while redounding to my credit with the French, was taken by them as proof of bad taste and evil intentions across the water.
"How is it, then, that under these unpropitious conditions, Lindbergh's arrival created such instant enthusiasm and sympathetic acclaim in all of France? I leave the scientific analysis of this question to the experts in mass psychology. For me the explanation lies, first, in the immediate response which Frenchmen make to any brave act. A gallant race themselves, courage excites their instant admiration and sweeps away all prejudices. But apart from this, I find a deeper reason in the latent feeling of admiration which exists in the hearts of the French for us Americans. Many of them had read the abuse of us and had joined in the criticism, but inside they really did not believe it. The instinct of the race was on our side, and justly so. Therefore, in the presence of the decisive and amazing fact of Lindbergh's landing, this sentiment burst the bonds of an artificially excited prejudice, and in acclaiming this boy the people of France knew they were also expressing their innate love for their old friend, America. And they were glad of an excuse to do so."
Mr. Herrick was fond of flying long before he knew Lindbergh, but since the extraordinary friendship which grew up between the two men and the trips he has taken with the famous pilot, he has liked the air more and more. " I think it is a good idea," he would say, "to do some flying in this world as a preparation for the next." This friendship, during the last year of Mr. Herrick's life, had developed into something quite unusual; it forms an interesting commentary upon the characters of both men.
One is just fifty years older than the other. At first Mr. Herrick thought of Lindbergh as a charming boy who had done a marvelous act and incidentally rendered a great service to his country. Lindbergh probably not only felt a deep gratitude to Mr. Herrick for his kindness and hospitality, but also responded to the influence of hi wonderful nature. But as time went on, the distance which separated the two, through age, occupations, and training, grew less and less, until finally they actually met on the common ground of personality. I don't think Mr. Herrick was much older than Lindbergh except in the mere matter of years; and I imagine that Lindbergh did not feel himself much younger than Mr. Herrick. The two simply grew to be very great pals, with a thousand points of contact which sprung from the similarity of their characters. Mr. Herrick told me more than a year ago that Lindbergh was a perfectly mature man, for all his youthful appearance; that he knew exactly what he was about, and that nothing short of death would stop him. I have no doubt that if I could consult Colonel Lindbergh he would say that Mr. Herrick seemed to him a young man just getting agreeably mature, and that old age would never overtake him. It never did; only death.
I was saying he loved to fly. In 1920 when he was in Paris before returning here as ambassador, he used the air constantly for traveling; he went by aeroplane to England and sailed home from there. Three years ago he told me he was going to hop over for a night with Mr. Houghton in London. "I don't want anybody to know I am gone and I intend to take an airship. It will save time and I shall enjoy the voyage." I argued with him in vain, even pointing out that the method he was choosing for the journey would be sure to give his visit a wide publicity. Seeing him immovable, I urged that, at least, if it was foggy he would not leave. He seemed to agree to this, but when he got to the aviation field and found the fog was so thick that the pilot did not want to start, Mr. Herrick over-persuaded him and they took off. When they got beyond Dover, the fog was worse and the pilot made a forced landing in an open field. The ambassador finally arrived in London by train. But the experience did not prevent his flying back to Paris two days later. He seemed surprised that this quiet trip incognito had been featured in all the papers and cabled to America.
In matters like this he was as incorrigible as a boy. He was afraid of nothing for himself, but only worried about those who were dear to him.
THIS expression constantly occurs in Mr. Herrick's letters, speeches, and conversations, from the close of the war until his death. It was to him no vague phrase describing a mere aspiration; on the contrary, to use his own words, "it is a power as real as credit or a business man's reputation. When the Armistice was signed, the moral authority of the United States was the greatest force existing in the world. Properly used it could have quickly restored confidence and brought about order where these were tottering. It was not misused, as power so often has been; in fact, it was so little exerted that it fell into decay as any force will do when rarely called upon. This decline has been harmful to other nations as well as to ourselves. It came about through a variety of causes our own political quarrels, Mr. Wilson's loss of prestige at home, his illness, resulting in leaving our government without a head, hard times for a while, and Europe's bickerings. It is an unending pity that this should have occurred. The world needed leadership, a pilot, and they all looked to us to furnish it. We refused. That is, we refused politically, and the guidance our government would not give, our financial men began to furnish. For guidance of some kind there had to be, a coordinating force to oppose the rising chaos. And thus our moral authority became to a certain extent replaced by our financial authority, until, in the minds of the European masses, the chief power of the United States now stands based upon money, instead of being based upon the old belief in our disinterestedness.
"I have said repeatedly and I still maintain that the great mass of our people are to-day the same idealists---that is, practical idealists---that they were ten years ago; just as ready for sacrifice in a big cause, just as willing to help. The great trouble is that other nations no longer believe this. They think we have changed, have become hard, selfish. That is what has injured our moral credit. It is exactly the same thing in banking. If from any cause confidence is upset, everybody knows the result."
Mr. Herrick was not content with deploring the damage suffered by America's authority: he did all he could to protect it, and some of his most courageous acts were inspired by this solicitude. On the one hand he endeavored to convince Europeans that we were still a generous and high-minded people, and he tried to show his own countrymen that it was a mistake to permit other nations to believe that we were indifferent to their claims upon our sympathy and selfishly careless of what might happen to them so long as our own profit was secure. "As a business man," said Mr. Herrick, "I say that to allow such a belief to exist is the worst kind of business, and as a political man, I maintain that if we belong to the family of great, civilized nations we have got to accept our share of the family's burdens."
This sentiment about America's moral authority in the world was only another expression of his passionate love of his country. The ten years he spent abroad intensified this feeling. He believed not only that our material welfare and power would go on increasing, but that the confidence of other countries in the purity of our motives would be restored to the 1918 level.
In 1926, in his Thanksgiving Day address, he touched upon this question in the following way;
"The United States has not the slightest desire for the Throne of the Universe or any other throne; it has not the faintest wish to play an imperial rôle on any portion of this planet; it has no ambition to rule a foot of earth outside of what it now controls. We have refused time and again the opportunity to seize wealth and power which no rival would have disputed and which our friends would have hailed as perfectly natural and justified acquisitions.
"Now I would not have you imagine that because of these things I think we ought to pat ourselves on the back, say what extraordinarily virtuous people we are, and sit down in smug contemplation of our superiority over others. Every country over here is the inheritor of a long tradition, in which the words 'conquest,' 'domination,' 'world empire' unremittingly recur, written in blood across the face of their history. From Alexander to Napoleon, and so on down to the recent German dream of world empire, the story of their ambitions has always been the same. How natural, then, that highly educated Europeans, bred in this intellectual atmosphere, should judge our nation's motives by the unbroken rule of their long history.
"I know perfectly well that the European's misconception of our affairs is fully equaled by the American's apparent indifference to his, and neither help the men whose business it is to come to difficult agreements. At the same time, I feel it is an important part of my duties to try to make Frenchmen understand America; and when I see motives which are so very simple utterly distorted, I am led once more to beseech the men who guide opinion over here to study us more carefully before they judge us so lightly.
"It really is not difficult. We chiefly ask now, as always before, simply to be let alone. We know perfectly well that this, in the nature of things, is not quite possible. We are, perforce, by reasons of the war, brought into closer and closer contact with the rest of the world. We have more than once quit the plow to shoulder a musket for a cause that offered no particular profit to ourselves; we will doubtless do it again, since we are what we are. But between these jobs we ask to be pestered as little as may be by our friends; as for our enemies, if we have any, we can take care of them without assistance. But please do not talk to us about the imperial rôle we seek to play or the throne of the universe we have started out to conquer."
MR. HERRICK gave a library to the town of Wellington where he had gone to school as a youth, and it was inaugurated, with appropriate ceremonies; but I have found no such interesting account of them as his sister Mary, Mrs. Arthur B. Smith, has given of his visit to the little village where he was born and spent his early boyhood, and which, as he says, seemed to him then a great metropolis. A few years before be died, his friends and neighbors invited him to come out to Huntington and see them. He accepted joyfully, and they got up a meeting at "the Center" in his honor. Mrs. Smith thus tells us about it:
"The band stand on the park's lawn was resplendent with bunting and flowers. The Laborie Hotel was almost eclipsed by a great flag all down its front, while 'General Merchandise, Boots, Shoes, Saddlery, Farm Implements, etc.,' held up its head to the near-by Baptist Church, flying the national colors from its white steeple. The almost deserted Congregational Church floated a tribute from its belfry; under the trees in the park were long trestle tables covered with Huntington's best linen, decorated with mysterious mounds (later to be revealed as cakes) and towering bouquets of country-bred flowers. It was like a real Fourth of July with a candidate for the Senate as orator.
"Friends of his childhood, friends of his parents, and some who remembered well the grandparents, old neighbors who call him by the name they knew best, 'Myron,' were all there. It was sweet and homely, a thing to tighten one's throat, and many a smile of greeting was brightened by a tear of remembrance. He had come from the great world of men of affairs and accomplishment to the old simplicity of home in the country of his birth, one of them again.
"Out of respect to the conventions he must sit in the band stand---speakers' stand---and somebody must bid him welcome officially. There were no eulogies; they were out of place. When it came his turn he said:
"'I can't stand up here and make a speech to you; you all know me too well, and besides I'd forget what I was trying to say. As I look over your faces I find myself thinking like this: There is a boy I played with, and fought with; and there, sitting right there now, is the first girl I ever loved. She was the most beautiful creature in the world. It nearly finished me when she married another fellow without even consulting me, after she had promised to wait until I got big enough to marry her myself. I made up my mind I was through with women forever. Later I learned to value her wisdom and to change my own mind, but it took a long while.
"'This village looks familiar, only it isn't nearly so big as it used to be. In my day it was really a great metropolis. I'm sure there were many more large stores. The old Laborie Hotel with its balcony looks the same as it did when Rosell and I came with Grandfather Herrick on General Training days. There always hung from that gallery to the ground the most beautiful flag in the world; the parlors of the hotel were thronged with great men and handsome women; all along the main street there were stands where slabs of delicious gingerbread could be had for very reasonable sums; there was much hard cider which the old soldiers of 1812 seemed to enjoy, but we were not allowed; everybody was so happy and gay.
"'There is the place where there was a boot and shoe shop. Father took us each year to have our supply of boots made;---sometimes we had red-tops. They were very handsome; we saved them for Sunday, and always went barefoot in summer. It was so much less trouble, besides being much more economical. There used to be very rich men who lived in large, fine houses all along these roads. Some of them are still here, and they are still fine. Probably the greatest adventure of my life happened right here in Huntington. I think I'll tell you about it, for it is a strange thing that the echo, I think you'd call it, of that day has followed me all through my life.
"'You all remember we lived two miles and a half east of the Center in the little old log house Grandfather Herrick built when he came into this country. But you don't know that it was a beautiful house; one of the most interesting houses I ever knew. Mother papered the whole living room with pictures and literary gems cut from the New York Ledger. There was always a lovely flower garden, and we had all sorts of pets, including a pair of flying squirrels. Just across the road was the center of culture and the debating society---the schoolhouse.
"'Father came home from town one day and said he had bought some sheep of Old Mase Smith. There sits Young Mase now, and Father thought the boys, meaning Rosell and me, could go next day and bring the sheep home. Mother said it was too long a trip; it would be about three miles and a half each way. While they talked it over Rosell and I urged that we were big and strong. My brother must have been about eleven and so I was about eight. It was decided we could go if we were very careful to keep in the road and would take all day for it.
"'There was great excitement in the morning; we hurried around to prepare for our long and perilous journey; there were woods on both sides of the roads then most of the way to town. A tremendous responsibility rested upon us to get the sheep home by night. Mother put up a grand luncheon; we got our last instructions, called our dog, Old Fury, and set out. We were perfectly happy, and so gay as we pranced and pretended we were circus horses, while Old Fury chased chipmunks and all kinds of game. In no time we had covered a mile, and went in to Mr. Holland's to get a drink, and incidentally to spread the news of our enterprise. I can hear Mr. Holland exclaim, "Well, I declare!" Mrs. Holland gave us fresh, warm milk and seed cookies and off we started again; everything was just too perfect---no hurry, plenty of time to peel off our clothes and have a swim in the "crick"---dog and all. Then we decided if we ate our luncheon it would be much less trouble, so with Old Fury's help we finished that and were free lances to enter town unencumbered to look over all the places of business to our heart's desire. Right there disaster overtook us: Old Fury got into a terrible fight with a mean boy's big dog. His life seemed to hang by a thread when the storekeeper came to his rescue, and we got him off not badly damaged but chastened. We hastened out of town toward Mase Smith's where we fetched up about noon, at one of those grand, big houses.
"'When we made our errand known, Mrs. Smith called her husband and they had quite a serious talk. We began to wonder what we'd do if they decided to keep the sheep. Mrs. Smith said it was a long trip for such little fellows and we must be very tired, and where were we going to get our dinner? We admitted a little weariness, but said we had eaten dinner; she seemed a bit inquisitive and asked about the dinner; again we said we weren't hungry, we had eaten dinner. Then tactfully she said she knew boys could always find room for a little more and we must come right in and have dinner with them; they were just sitting down; then after we had a good rest Mr. Smith would go with us through town to see that we got started home all right with the sheep. That dinner was probably the finest ever cooked.
"'Finally we got the sheep and, with Mr. Smith's and Old Fury's help, we herded them through the traffic here at the Center and set out for home. It all looked very simple as we spatted our feet in the dust and realized we were on our own now. As the road stretched out and the afternoon grew hotter our feet burned; we got thirsty and tired. The sheep became unruly for Old Fury had got careless and trotted, panting, behind; things looked different.
"'All at once Rosell braced up---you see he was the real head of the expedition---and I think it sort of came over him; he said, "I tell you what! Let's play we are soldiers. You and I will be the generals and the sheep will be our men; we are going on a long march to fight a big battle. I know a tune I'll play, and we'll march." With that he took a little mouth organ out of his pocket and began to play. It was the most inspiring music I ever heard, and how he did play! I can see him now, with his curly hair flying and his straight little body, leading. I forgot I was tired or hot; we spanked our feet down to the rhythm of our march; the sheep got in line and Old Fury raced back and forth right over the backs of the sheep. On and on we fairly flew. When I could get my breath I asked Rosell what was the name of that tune; I'd heard him play it, but never thought much about it. "Oh, that's 'Bony- part's March.' It's the tune he played when he marched with his soldiers over the Alps and licked Europe! Mother taught it to me a long time ago."
"'Behold! The first thing we knew, we were home with all the sheep---not one missing, just as the sun went down into the tops of the trees. Father said it was perfectly splendid, but of course he knew we could do it. Mother looked us over anxiously, as I remember it. In no time sleep overcame us, and then---it was the next day.
"'I never forgot the tune my brother played. There have been times of stress and discouragement through life, and every time when it seemed too much to bear, across the years have come to me those notes of exaltation and high courage. I've heard that little piping as plainly as I did that day, and it never failed to bring new strength for endeavor. I never knew what it really was except that he called it "Bonypart's March," and I thought he had made that up himself.
"'You remember early in the World War the Pope died of a broken heart, people said, because the world would not listen to his pleas for peace. There was a memorial service in the great Cathedral of Paris and all the diplomatic corps attended. Already the German planes were flying overhead and life was uncertain; it was a time of great apprehension, for nothing seemed to stay the onrush of the German hordes toward the very heart of France. As we came out of the Cathedral we paused on the steps and there we heard in the distance, coming nearer and nearer, the tramp, tramp of marching men; and then we heard them singing as marching soldiers do. Someone exclaimed, "Mon Dieu! It is the Midi! They sing the Marseillaise. We are saved!" There I heard again the notes of exaltation that had been sung by the troops of the Midi as they rallied to Napoleon. Now they sang as they came to the rescue of beloved Paris.
"'Back across the years I saw the road in the forest and two weary, tow-headed urchins, with chins high, marching ahead of a flock of sheep to the piping of Bonaparte's March.'"
WHEN the first approach of hot weather suggests to Americans the delights of the country or the charm of a trip abroad, Paris is at the height of its social season. While this officially closes during the last days of June, it is not until the middle of July that "society" has definitely departed and left the town to working people and foreign tourists.
May and June are the busy months for all, and among its other vast activities Paris then becomes a veritable matrimonial mart. Nothing similar to it exists in any part of our land. It is during this period that nearly all the matches are made, and the business is conducted without concealment or reserve. There are even well-known brokers who accept or, indeed, propose, the rapid and effectual management of these affairs. Fathers and mothers who live in some secluded château all the year, when their boy or girl arrives at the age when getting married is the next logical step in life come to the capital in search of a suitable partner for their child, and innumerable little dancing parties (bals blancs or bals mixtes, as they are called) are arranged expressly so that supply may meet demand. This annual fixture in the social life of France is one of the reasons why Paris is so full of old French families from the country at precisely the moment when Americans, flying from heat or craving fresh excitement, seek the luxury of its hotels, the shade of its leafy restaurants, or the excitement of its race courses, a bare ten minutes from one's home. None of this affected the ambassador directly, of course, but as a setting for his life and a feeder to his occupations during the months which just preceded his annual visit home, the scene has some significance. For if all of France makes its rendezvous in Paris during the spring, much of America does so as well, and Mr. Herrick's house and office were the crossroads where a great deal that was important in both these currents met. One who has not experienced it can imagine only with difficulty all that is concentrated within these sixty days and nights of ceaseless official and private dinners, congresses, banquets, and calls. And very serious business is the origin or the result of many of them.
However youthful a man's mind and feelings may remain, at seventy-four the physical machine calls for care. Even this concession to old age Mr. Herrick's buoyant confidence ever refused to make. He arrived home in July, 1927, after all the fatigue to mind and body induced by a Paris season such as I have just described. He went to see the President in Washington, and then, instead of taking a comfortable train to Cleveland, he yielded to his love of seeing the country from a motor car and made the trip from Washington to Cleveland in one day. This brought on an illness necessitating an urgent operation under conditions none too good. He recovered, took care of himself for a while, and in January, 1928, returned to France to take up his work. Until the following August he never stopped. I think the only real rest he got was during four days when he was marooned on Mr. Eugene Higgins's yacht in the harbor of Ajaccio. We had run over for a night in Corsica, but the hospitality of that island is perfectly served by the weather which habitually prevails around it. You can get in but you often cannot get out. That is what happened to us, and as it was too early to tour in the mountains we stayed quietly on board waiting for the blow to cease. Mr. Herrick declared he would like it to continue for a month. He was really tired and this was the first comfortable chance he had had to realize it.
During his visit home in the autumn of 1928 he seemed to get gradually a new lease on life, and he was joyfully preparing to sail when he was taken with the prevailing epidemic of influenza. On January 1st his death was thought imminent, but he rallied, and in spite of much dissuasion he sailed for France on January 11th as he had intended. His installation in the embassy he loved so much, his embassy, seemed to take a load off his mind. Whatever now happened to him, he felt safe. He was never at any time in the least disturbed by the thought of dying, but I do think, to use his own expression, it would have "annoyed" him to die anywhere else than here.
He now took up the threads of his work, received a great many people, went out to dinners, made two speeches on February 22nd, and gradually grew stronger after the strain of bronchitis and the depression following on grippe. During this time I spent an hour or two every morning with him. One day he said, "Do you know, something has happened to me in the night. I hadn't much cared whether I got better or not; it really seemed so little worth while. But now I want to get well, and it's a fine feeling." From this day on he grew stronger and stronger physically; at no time had his mental powers or his will appeared diminished. He played golf whenever the weather was good and he did much work.
Marshal Foch's death distressed him poignantly. They were sincerely fond of each other, and it was a fine sight to see the two old gentlemen together, each so young in spirit to the last. Both supplemented the difficulties of language by gestures to which they alike were so prone. Each seemed to feel in the other a force he could count upon without the formality of asking and which needed no words for comprehension.
The morning after the marshal breathed his last , Mr. Herrick went to take a farewell look at his friend lying as he had died, with his old military cloak thrown over his feet. He was affected even more than he allowed to be seen, and something within him whispered that ere long he too would start out upon that "long, long trail" he now so often spoke about.
The day before the marshal's funeral I had worked most of the morning on this biography with Mr. Herrick. Knowing all the arrangements for the ceremony and what it implied to those who, like himself, represented the head of states allied in the war, I urged him to leave the reviewing stand when the troops and delegations began the long process of marching past. I was sure it was useless to suggest that he do not follow behind the body from Notre Dame to the Invalides. That would have hurt his pride; moreover, it would have been a waste of breath.
For five hours he was marching or standing, and much of the time uncovered. He returned home, fatigued, like all of us, and hungry; but nothing more. The next morning he seemed in excellent condition. To my inquiries, he answered, "I was really not very tired, but I got too warm before we reached the reviewing stand at the Invalides. The man I felt most sorry for was the Prince of Wales. If I had been obliged to wear that bearskin hat I imagine I would have fallen by the way. I don't believe he enjoyed it, either."
"The Prince," he added, "said something during one of the halts which impressed me very much. I remarked that probably nothing like this funeral had ever been seen before---in modern times at least. Quiñones(1) interposed, 'Unless it was when King Edward died.' 'No,' said the Prince to Quiñones, 'I don't agree with you. At my grandfather's funeral there was the sight of a great empire mourning, but here it is the whole world."'
As the sun was shining, Mr. Herrick proposed that we have a game of golf when the day's work was over. This we did. He returned home very fit and went out to a dinner party. The next morning, Thursday, he told me he had a busy day before him and lamented that he could not find the time to play another match. He put in a long afternoon at the chancery. The following day, Friday, I found him in bed, hopping mad. "I have got a cold," he said. "That wretched cough I had in Cleveland has come back, and I suppose it is only sensible to stay where I am. Don't go away, we will do some work and then have lunch up here, if you are free."
In spite of these good resolutions he went out during the afternoon with Mr. Cameron Forbes, but he dined in his room. The next day he had fever and in the evening severe spasms of coughing. On Sunday morning the doctor pronounced his condition very serious. A few minutes before five o'clock his daughter-in-law came into his room, and walking to the window said, "What a beautiful Easter Sunday! "
"Yes, for those who can be out-of-doors to enjoy it," he replied. "This miserable cough breaks me to pieces."
"Don't talk that way," said Mrs. Herrick. "You have pulled through much worse things than this and you will soon be all right."
"Do you really think so?" he inquired; "well, I will do my best."
Mrs. Herrick went out of the room to order tea sent up. She had hardly left when Madame Salambier came rushing to fetch her back. As she ran into the sick-room, the doctor put his finger on his lips and slowly shook his head. She went to the ambassador's side and took his hand. He gave it a little squeeze, smiled, turned his head on his pillow and quietly died.
His dog Max, who rarely left him, had climbed on his bed just before the end and licked his hand. He then slunk away and hid in the cellar, refusing to budge or eat until the funeral was over. That night he went back and slept in his master's room.
Mr. Armour, the counselor of the embassy, was in the country. I went at once to the Élysée to inform the President, then to Monsieur Poincaré's house and to the Foreign Office.
Five days later, on Easter Sunday morning, Mr. Herrick died.
It was Easter Sunday and practically everybody was out of town. But Monsieur Poincaré was at home, and on hearing the news he evinced the deepest emotion. At the Foreign Office I was soon surrounded by a group of officials whose affliction was only too visible.
Shaking hands with the ambassador Is Monsieur Briand; immediately behind Mr. Herrick's left shoouder, Monsieur Painlevé.
Taken at the funeral of Marshal Foch, Tuesday, March 26, 1929.
Callers immediately began to arrive to express their sympathy, and for several days this mournful procession continued. Such unanimity of sorrow and praise for any foreigner as was manifested by the entire French press had never before been witnessed, and some of the obituaries were touching in their eloquence. It was everywhere felt that a very dear friend had departed, and the whole of France was mourning him.
Mrs. Parmely Herrick was alone in Paris, her husband having sailed only two weeks before. She desired that the funeral be conducted with the greatest possible simplicity, asked that no flowers be sent and that all pomp be avoided. She knew that this was in accord with Mr. Herrick's wishes. But the French government desired to send his body home in a cruiser and to line the streets with troops from the embassy to the church. Moreover, Monsieur Poincaré manifested the wish to make an oration over the body of his friend, while the Spanish ambassador desired to speak for the diplomatic corps. General Pershing was therefore asked to express the thanks of the family and of his countrymen for such unusual marks of sympathy.
To carry out these arrangements, the members of the government, the marshals, generals, and admirals, the diplomatic corps, and representatives from the large number of associations which had made a request to be permitted to attend the funeral, were invited to come to the embassy, where they were received by Mrs. Herrick, and then all assembled in the large drawing room. Here the speeches were made in an atmosphere of intense feeling. The procession was then formed and marched to the Church of the Holy Trinity, which was the ambassador's place of worship, and the burial service read. In the evening the body was taken to the station, where Monsieur Briand, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and many representatives of the government came to pay a last tribute. Accompanied by members of the embassy and the government it was then transported to Brest and placed on board the Tourville, Captain Abviel commanding. Mr. W. W. Schott, the ambassador's private secretary, accompanied his chief home. A cabin had been arranged as a chapel and sentinels stood guard over the body until it arrived in New York. As the coffin left the church for the railway station a great palm-leaf of massive silver was placed on it in token of love from the city of Paris.
Outside of Brest, the British battle cruiser, Hood, accompanied by eight destroyers, appeared, ran up the American ensign and fired a salute. The Tourville hoisted the British flag at the fore and the American flag at half-stay on the yardarm, and returned the salute. The destroyers then passed in review with rails manned and fired a salute.
On Sunday at 5 P. M., one week after the ambassador's death, all the officers of the Tourville assembled around his bier in silent prayer, after which they filed by the coffin. When the ship arrived off Nantucket the American cruisers Marblehead and Cincinnati arrived and escorted her into port. At Quarantine the remains were taken to the quarterdeck with military honors and a guard mounted. Representatives of the government and of the state of New York here came aboard, and the Tourville proceeded to the French Line pier, salutes being exchanged on passing Fort Jay.
At the dock, Mr. and Mrs. Parmely Herrick, the French ambassador, the President's representative, the mayor of New York, many government, state, and city officials, Colonel Lindbergh, and other friends received the body, which was escorted along Fifth Avenue to the Grand Central Station by a regiment of U. S. Infantry, four companies of blue-jackets and marines and a detachment of sailors from the Tourville. A special train conveyed the remains to Cleveland, where Governor Cooper, of Ohio, with the city officials received them. All flags were half-masted, the City Hall was closed , and during five minutes work ceased and a deep silence hung over the whole city. Services in the cathedral were conducted by Bishop Leonard, after which the funeral procession marched through a vast throng to the family tomb in Lakeview Cemetery. Here he was finally laid to rest among his own. But, as General Pershing said, "He died as he would have preferred to die, in France and at his post of duty; he goes back to America as he would have liked to go, with the flags of both countries floating over him; and," the general added, "when the Tourville quits these shores to-morrow in the long farewell his spirit wafts to France, there will be pledged once more to her the legacy of his love, and to America the pious duty of its perpetuation."
A few weeks before he died, Mr. Herrick wrote a letter which, as we read it now, seems to come to us across the mists of immortality, sent from the unknown shore he knew he was approaching. It is addressed to Mr. Squire, but it seems meant for all of his friends:
Nothing has saddened me more in a long time than your telegram telling me of Judge Sander's death. What a vista of the past the dear judge's going opens up for you and me, for it was immediately after my meeting with you that I made the judge's acquaintance the rosy-cheeked boy who came to seek his fortunes in Cleveland; and from that time on, almost from the beginning, as with you, dear Andrew, commenced our lifelong association and friendship. Dickens or Thackeray could have made a marvelous tale of the lives of any one of us three, interwoven as they were with the growth of a new city and a new country.
What an interesting thing it would be if we three could sit down at a table with a map of the period corresponding to our age at that time, and mark out the course that civilization has taken from then on up to the present day! Well, we have lived all that time and we have seen the wisdom as well as the folly of mankind and we have followed the devious course of that upward trend through the years in its so-called progress. That it is progress I do not question. However, it does seem to me to-day, as my mind runs casually back over it, that it will still require an indefinite time before human understanding will be able to grasp the ultimate end and purpose of it all. Be that as it may, I suppose there is little left for you and me to do other than to keep our noses on the map and follow the course and conjecture all we may; and after all our conjectures I assume that we will all arrive at about the same conclusion: that with all its ills, ups and downs, grief and joy, we are glad to have had the opportunity to make the journey and we are loath to lay down our burdens; for as we grow older they seem to become more and more burdens-isn't that so?
In somewhat the same strain is a letter written to Mrs. Griffiths three years before:
"I cannot find words to tell you how I admire the great work that you and your Association have done over here. I suppose that the most satisfaction comes from what one contributes rather than from what one achieves for oneself---I mean contributes not only in money but chiefly of oneself. This does not seem so in our halcyon days when we are fighting our own battles and righting our own wrongs. But there comes a time in our lives when we can almost see the end of the road that we have so gayly traveled and the beginning of 'the long, long trail.' It is then that we consider more what we have put into the lives of others than what we have taken out of life for ourselves."
It is too soon for anyone to attempt to estimate the value of Mr. Herrick's work as a public servant, much less to speak of his place in history, and those who were closest to him would be the least qualified for such a task. The charm which enveloped him when alive and the grief which followed upon his death would magnify the picture or cast a cloud upon their vision. But even now the elements for a first appreciation of the reasons for his success may be gathered from the opinions of his contemporaries, and these must have their weight when a more careful balance is sought to be struck.
Thousands of Americans have been as successful in business and as admired for their sterling integrity, and hundreds have conducted the diplomatic affairs entrusted to them with equal ability. He has to his credit no peace confirmed or war avoided, and yet for fifteen years he has held a unique place in the history of a great country, where he continues to be revered by all its citizens. We must seek, then, deeper down than mere accomplishment for the causes which bring his present fame and may decide its permanence.
He had that quality of character without which the most powerful intellects have been frustrated in their purposes, and yet which, all alone, has been at times sufficient for the greatest undertakings. The preeminent essence of his nature, apart from the rockbound strength and simple courage lying at the foundation of all such men, was its limpid transparency. In all that he said, one seemed to be looking into the bottom of his soul and, looking, to perceive there only what was wise, helpful, and kind. But added to this transparency was a corresponding power on his part to gaze through and across immediate men and events to wider fields beyond.
There was no text which appealed to him so much as the words of Paul to the Corinthians: "The things which are seen are temporal, the things which are not seen are eternal, " for they expressed with divine authority a truth which, in groping, human fashion, he had perceived for himself and unconsciously acted upon all his life. The capacity to catch glimpses of eternal verities made of this hard-working American business man a modern brother to the prophets and poets of all time and lit the lamps of a glowing spirituality which never ceased to illumine his road through a Twentieth Century landscape. Such a union of the sage's vision with efficiency in practical affairs marks the unusual note in an otherwise richly endowed and noble nature. Without it he probably never would have left so profound an impress upon many millions of people.
His legacy to his countrymen lies, therefore, chiefly in the example of his character. A perception of its spiritual significance comes to them at a moment when they are most ready to appreciate the rare value of this quality, while the glamor wrought about his name by the admiration of a great foreign people happily attracts an added attention and throws national pride into scales already weighted with approval. This pride may well be given full rein, for every quality he had, whether of heart or brain, was the unaltered product of his native soil, and everything in him which excites the interest of Americans lies easily within the effort of their imitation. Indeed, it is a matter worth insisting upon that Mr. Herrick's long residence in France left upon him so little of the imprint of French ideas, habits, or culture. He returned to America in 1929 the same man that sailed in 1912, and in this respect he widely differed from Franklin, Jefferson, Monroe, or Gouverneur Morris. He brought much to France, he took nothing away except her love and gratitude.
It is therefore all the more remarkable that he should have been penetrated with so deep a feeling for the French people and so ardent an appreciation of their splendid basic qualities. He understood and admired them as a great critic may understand and admire a book which he could not write or a painting he could not reproduce. It never occurred to him to imitate anything that was French or to suggest the adoption at home of any ideas or practices essentially characteristic of that nation. French thrift, French family life and love of children, French passion for the soil and ceaseless labor in its cultivation, he admired and often talked about; but he hoped to see whatever his own people lacked in these respects ameliorated in their own way. He rejected all idea of imitation.
His love of France was so genuine, his efforts to serve her so sincere, that they induced an affection for his person which is now passing into a cult for his memory. But he looked at her always through American eyes, unclouded by the incense with which a generous people had enveloped him. The French saw in him America as they would like to have her be; he showed them his country as he sincerely thought she was. The instinct of a people and the vision of a prophet here met in fortunate conjunction and time has already shown that neither was at fault. No nation ever received more disinterested devotion, and none has ever proved itself more grateful.
When time, as it must, has cooled the warmth of this still-glowing affection, and when the memory of events in which Mr. Herrick figured is not so fresh to every mind, those Frenchmen who may go forth to seek the foundations for the fame of their devoted friend and the springs of all his actions will find them only by searching deep in the soil of his native land. He was first of all a great American. The opportunity came, and he showed himself also a great ambassador.
1. The Spanish Ambassador, Quiñones de Léon.
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