T. BENTLEY MOTT
FRIEND OF FRANCE
HOME AND OFFICIAL LIFE
FORTUNATELY Mr. Herrick was a sound sleeper, for he so frequently went out to dinners and banquets that he rarely got to bed early. But then he really enjoyed this side of life. He ate heartily, drank a glass or two of red wine with his meals, and smoked a big cigar afterward. During the last years of his life he always had breakfast brought to his room. He read the papers, discussed the arrangements for the day with Madame Salambier, who during both his terms managed his household, often saw his private secretary, and then he would dress.
His doctor had some trouble at first to obtain this concession in the matter of "taking it easy" in the morning; the ambassador yielded as much to circumstances as to advice, for he complained to the day of his death that they never gave him anything for breakfast worth going downstairs for! No buckwheat cakes, no hot biscuits, sausages that were only such in name, oatmeal that was glue, bacon and eggs dishonored as only a great French chef could dishonor them. His cook was one of the best in Paris, but Mr. Herrick was firmly convinced that this man was contemptuous of any dish that was not strictly French and too proud to learn. He had three men to assist him in the kitchen who might have been less haughty, but such was the ambassador's petulance over this matter that I do not believe he ever saw one of them in his life, except when he started home on his annual holiday; then all the servants were assembled, he would shake each one by the hand, and give him an extra month's wages. A wider gulf than language separates the French from the Anglo-Saxon, and that is---what to eat for breakfast and where to eat it!
When Mr. Herrick could bring one or two visiting Americans home with him to a meal his enjoyment of them was contagious, especially if they were men who had done something in life and could tell a good story about it. One day in 1928 Mr. Charles Schwab came to lunch. Such a guest would put the ambassador in the highest spirits, and if others less human were at the table they would slowly fade into the distance, however distinguished they might be. The morning I speak of, Mr. Schwab and Mr. Herrick traded stories for an hour. Schwab said he had refused 100,000,000 offered him by the Germans to throw up his munitions contract with the British. When he went into the war he put all he had in him toward winning it. A lot of foreign governments decorated him; ours sued him for $25,000,000.
Sam, the porter of his private car, was a genius of hospitality. Schwab had Admiral Jellicoe as his guest at one time, and he impressed upon Sam the need of putting a bit of formality into his usual picturesque politeness. A few hours later be discovered Sam in the admiral's stateroom showing him bow to shoot craps!
The ambassador countered with several stories about his colored messenger when he was governor. The auditor once brought him bills for two hundred dollars in long-distance calls to Tilly Blue in Cleveland. Tilly turned out to be the messenger's sweetheart. He explained that he called up in the governor's name because "I gits through quicker."
Schwab complained of his unending annoyances with the government when he was building the Lexington. Mr. Herrick was reminded by this of his only connection with naval affairs. He was nine years old and had been reading Two Years Before the Mast. Moreover, a hopeless love affair was gnawing at his vitals. So he started on foot for Lake Erie, sixteen miles away, to enlist in the navy. When night fell he became less enthusiastic about the sea but more hungry. However, he went to bed under a straw-stack, and the next day plodded on. He came to "Ma Brown's" house and got a meal. He also repaired her leaking duck-pond, as he had seen it done at home when ground hogs had bored through. By way of reward she notified his father. The next day a buggy drove by him, stopped and turned. It was his father, who, pointing to the seat, merely said, "Hop in, son," and the navy lost a recruit.
Mr. Herrick used to stay with Edison in New Jersey. He once repeated to me the detailed account Edison had given him long years ago of the first time he heard his voice come back to him over the phonograph. The words were "Mary had a little lamb." He had been experimenting for hours, had forgotten to eat, and when he heard these sounds feebly but unmistakably repeated, he almost fainted. He was so frightened he said to himself, "If I am going to die, this thing must be known first." He left the house feeling dizzy, stumbled into a friend's office and told him what had happened. "If I fall ill, remember what I tell you. It can be done. It has been done."
Edison and Mr. Herrick were traveling together in England just after the former became so famous. They had been discussing Burbank's recent discoveries, when an English newspaper reporter, who had been following Edison and pestering him for an interview, asked him if he would not tell him what new invention he was then working at. "Well," replied Edison, "you might say that I am now in the midst of a new cheap process for electric lighting. I am going to cross a honey-bee with a lightning bug."
When Mr. James Stillman retired from business he came to live in Paris. He and the ambassador were already frlends and the latter enjoyed telling stories on the old banker, who, he said, "was a wolf in New York, but here he is a lamb, full of goodness, charity, and generosity. One of the earliest interviews I ever had with him was over the troubles of a copper company. Before we had finished I laughingly said, 'I have learned something new on this visit to New York. Out West we are content to fool the public, but here you rob each other.'
"During one of my conferences in his office a subordinate came in, and Stillman was so rough to him that I hated to see the poor fellow's humiliation, and I got quite angry. After he had gone out of the room, I said to Stillman, 'If you had spoken to me like that, even if I was your hired man, I believe I would have knocked you down.'
"Stillman did not like what I said, and properly so. It was none of my business. When I got back to the hotel I wrote him a friendly note by way of implying regret at my hastiness. I said I was sorry to find him in such a very nervous state, and I ventured to suggest that he take a vacation.
"Quite a long time after that Mrs. Herrick and I were asked to the marriage of Stillman's daughter with Percy Rockefeller. At the house, Mr. Stillman took my wife to one side and said, 'Do you know, Mrs. Herrick, your husband once saved my life. Just in the nick of time he suggested to me to go on a vacation. If I had not taken that advice I would not be here this minute.'"
Mrs. Herrick died nearly three years before the ambassador came to France on his second mission, and his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Parmely Herrick, presided over the embassy. Her husband spent several months of each year in Paris and their presence, with their little son, gave Mr. Herrick the home life without which he was absolutely miserable. He detested eating a meal alone, and, in fact, I never knew him to do so. He played bridge with great enjoyment after dinner, putting a good deal of the poker spirit into his bidding. Every Fourth of July about three thousand people came to the embassy for the afternoon reception. In the last years this was a severe ordeal, for fully half of them wanted to say something to the ambassador and he really wanted to talk to them all. He enjoyed it, but three such hours on end was a great strain on any man and no rest was possible when it was over. For a banquet and a speech were still ahead of him.
It took many years to bring Mr. Herrick to put his foot down in the matter of these annual dinners on national holidays and exact that they be conducted according to the rules of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He enjoyed going to them and he was perfectly willing to make a speech, but it offended his sense of fair play to see old friends like Marshal Foch or Marshal Joffre or Monsieur Briand obliged to sit till midnight in a close room filled with tobacco smoke while eight or ten speeches were made in a language they did not understand. It depleted him, and he knew that to their exhaustion must be added a mortal ennui. It was not his idea of hospitality, and before he died he saw this weary custom modified.
Young Mrs. Herrick loved and knew furniture and pictures, and when at last the embassy in the Avenue d'Iéna was bought, she gave herself unsparingly to its decoration.
If it is an unusually charming home, delightful to live in and perfect for entertaining, the credit is all hers. Fortunately she was there to second her father-in-law in his love of company. He liked gay surroundings and she was his excuse or his collaborator in gratifying this desire. I doubt if any other house in Paris ever saw, year in and year out, as many people entertained at dinner and luncheon as did his.
As has already been mentioned, the question of war debts comes up regularly about every two years in Paris. Society people have a wonderful capacity for getting re-excited over this old story, as though it had not already been threshed out ad nauseam in every Franco-American drawing room during the last ten years. (I fear we are about to start in on a new one of these poisonous periods.) During the last one, a lady at dinner having nailed Mr. Herrick to the cross on the debt question, he told her this story: A Negro went to court to get a divorce from his wife. The judge asked him what his grounds were. The darkey answered, "She's too 'stavagant, jedge. Wit's a dollar here, and two dollars dar, an' five dollars 'nuther time, 'n I just can't 'ford it no longah." "What does she do with all that money?" asked the judge. "I dunno, sah; I ain't give her nun yit."
In 1924 a distant relative wrote to the ambassador asking if he would send her some details as to the early history of the family. To this he replied:
"My own family in America went to the West from Beverly Farms. My great-grandfather lived in Watertown, New York, and organized the first Presbyterian Church in that place. My grandfather was a soldier in the War of 18 12 and at the Battle of Sacketts Harbor was made a prisoner and taken to Canada. His name was Timothy. After his release, he walked out to Ohio and located in Lorain County, making a clearing in the forest, building a log cabin, and salting down his venison. He then returned to Watertown for his family.
"I have visited Beau Manor Park, in Leicestershire, England, several times and have talked with Mrs. Perry Herrick, widow of William Herrick, who died during the war. The relics of Robert Herrick are in this house and a great number of Herricks are in the crypt of the church at Leicester which was built by William Herrick. The founder of the Herrick family's fortunes in England was a goldsmith and, as history recounts in the archives of the British Museum, 'was knighted for boring a hole through the Queen's great diamond, so that she might wear it on her neck.' This Queen was Elizabeth.
"Like you, I am deeply interested in the history of the family and am rather proud of its honorable record through centuries."
Mr. Herrick liked Porfirio Diaz and thought his wife charming. During 1912-1914 they used to come to the embassy often. The ambassador once asked him why he got out of Mexico. "You were an old hand at putting down revolutions; what was the difficulty with your last one?"
"It was disgust and an ulcerated tooth," replied the general. "I think, as you say, I could have handled the troubles, but I was sick of abuse. I was even accused of giving California to the United States. Then that tooth nearly drove me crazy, and in a fit of pain, irritation, and anger, I gave up and resigned."
"I know some people who would have traded a good many millions against that tooth," remarked the ambassador.
Few people could make out Mr. Herrick's writing, including himself. A lady once wrote him, I enjoyed every word of your letter, especially the parts I could read." He wrote to me from the White House in December, 1928:
"I agree with you that I shall probably never write my memoirs, for in my days of convalescence I have proven that I was of so much less consequence than a worm that what I would write about myself would not interest anybody.
"Parmely and Agnes are at Mr. Mellon's and we all go home for Christmas. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and Georgette and love.
M. T. H.
"P.S. As the fellow said who was convalescing, 'I am all right, only in that accident I lost my mind; it's funny but I don't miss it a bit!'"
Most of us can call to mind examples of great personal charm emanating from men or women having not a single trait of physical beauty. This quality Mr. Herrick possessed, and had his face been unprepossessing, the attraction be exerted would probably have been the same. But he was unusually fortunate in his external attributes. He had a graceful and commanding figure, crowned by a head of rare nobility, whose curly hair was still thick and hardly gray at seventy-four. His features were finely chiseled, and his jaw was cut with the square strength that marks the face of a Mangin or a Pershing. His eyes were full of the frankest kindliness. When he spoke they lit up with a sparkling vivacity behind which almost always lurked a faint twinkle that rippled up from a sense of humor ever lying just beneath the surface. He produced upon a stranger seeing him for the first time an immediate impression of aristocratic distinction.
No man was ever more natural. He must have realized his charm, for a thousand newspaper reports of interviews and editorials had described it; but no petty vanity ever led him consciously to put it forth. It surrounded him like a bracing atmosphere which all who came near him breathed and responded to without even knowing it. This unconscious influence seemed to go on increasing with his age, as did the strength and animation of his countenance. The photographs of 1928 shine with a finer light, exhale a firmer purpose, than those taken in the flush of his maturity, when governor of Ohio.
One of the great sculptors of Europe, Landowski, after watching him a long time at a ceremony, once exclaimed to me, "What a head! How I would like to carve those features!", and it is sad to think that Rodin was about to begin his bust when that great artist died.
He had the reputation of being one of the best-dressed men in Europe, but I think he would have been surprised had anyone told him so. Like his manners and all that went to make up the outer man, his clothes gave the impression of a wholly unstudied appropriateness. He never spoke of them, never seemed to know what he or the person with whom he was speaking had on. He habitually dressed with a rapidity I never have seen equalled---not even at West Point; but when he came down for dinner, golf, or a day in the office, there was such a comfortable harmony as between him and what he wore that only a deliberate inspection revealed the completeness of every detail. Alfred Anson once gave him a most hideous and unbecoming hat to play golf in; I took the liberty of telling him my opinion of it, but he continued to wear it because Anson had given it to him.
THE TOMB OF LAFAYETTE
INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH
The only time he ever spoke or bothered about dress was when he had to go to some official function in the daytime arrayed in evening clothes, following the French custom. This, like all Americans in the diplomatic service, he loathed. He made unending jokes about the matter but he never got used to it.
In nothing did he more resemble Franklin than in the pleasure he took in the society of women, or the charm which, in his seventies, he exerted upon them. No tinge of the flirtatious ever marked these relations and it was perhaps because of this that he was so admired by all that was best and most brilliant in Paris society. For jealousy never stepped in to mar the delight his conversation brought these women. Like all properly constituted men he was most happy and stimulated by those who were pretty, and it is altogether remarkable that he should have remained so wholly unspoiled by the adulation they showed him to the day of his death. All classes and all nationalities brought him this tribute. Duchesses adroitly flattered him, the wives of the great sought out his society, the humblest women acquaintances considered him a personal friend; and young girls frankly adored him.
He was not above being amused by a dish of gossip, provided it left no acid taste on swallowing; but he always preferred the society of women whose charm proceeded from amiability rather than from their beauty. For they left him with renewed confidence in this so-called wicked world and with a stronger belief in the persistence of womanly virtues. The brilliant talk which excited a laugh at somebody's expense he never much enjoyed. His love of the amusing, his own innumerable contributions to the humor of his generation, did not lead him to witticisms that could wound their target.
An incredibly large number of visitors came to see him. The waiting room at the chancery was usually full of people who wanted "merely to shake hands." That they often stayed for much more than this formality was the ambassador's own fault. He never knew how to get rid of visitors, because he rarely wanted to. He always extracted some pleasure even from bores; they saw it and stayed. After the new embassy was ready for occupancy he fell into the excellent habit of receiving the more important callers in his library there, and this saved much of his time.
I have heard many old-fashioned American men say, "I never take any important decision without first talking it over with my wife." I do not know whether this is a conventional way of paying a compliment to one's spouse or how frequently it is the expression of a literal fact. Mr. Herrick used to say it and he lived up to it. I do not doubt that even in affairs of state one of the forms his reflection took was to go over the matter with Mrs. Herrick.
Under no circumstances that I could at any time discover did she ever "interfere." She had considerable timidity which she struggled against, and those who did not know her well could be misled as to the sound judgment and shrewd observation which lay behind this manner. But from the very start in their married life her husband had learned to rely upon her fearlessness in looking facts in the face and upon the wisdom of her counsel. He has often told me of critical moments when he followed her advice and found it good; he has never related any occasion on which an unfortunate decision was made because of her.
They were a most completely united couple. Each was wholly content to be with the other; neither had ever bored the other in forty years. She was the first girl he fell in love with; they waited over two years to be married; he gave his heart to her then, and all of it remained in her keeping until the end.
He liked to talk about her and her singing and how pretty she was and all the fun and flirting and jealousy and despair of that summer at Wellington when they became engaged. Three weeks before he died he had periods of depression he could not shake off. Moreover, he did not feel well. Nothing interested him. On these occasions, sitting by his bed, I would start some recollection of Mrs. Herrick. Then we would revert together to the early days of their marriage. In a little while he was full of animation and would go on for half an hour telling me of his wife with keen enjoyment.
Mrs. Herrick was not very fond of visiting. Perhaps she had had too much of it in her life. She once told me she was going to write a book, but she had only gotten as far as the title; it was to be called, The Prevention of Cruelty to Guests, or How to Be Happy Though Visiting.
She died in 1918. Mr. Herrick never recovered from the feeling of despair and loneliness her loss brought him. Coming after the tragic death of his eldest grandson it was one of the causes which induced a temporary breakdown. His return to the congenial occupations of his second ambassadorship and the increasing sense of his usefulness to America and to France furnished the stimulant which restored his confidence and pushed him to new endeavors. This softened the sense of his bereavement; but he missed Mrs. Herrick every day of his life and he spoke of her unceasingly and with infinite tenderness.
The total chancery force of the American embassy in Paris, officers, staff, and employees, numbers 102 persons. This does not include the consul general's establishment, which comprises fifty-five more. The work of the chancery is divided amongst four offices: that of the ambassador, with his private secretary and the counselor and secretaries of embassy; the military attaché's office; the naval attaché's office, and that of the commercial attaché. All of these at present are housed in one building, the consul general's office being apart. The counselor might be called the ambassador's chief of staff. When the latter is present the counselor supervises the work, relieves his chief from as much detail as possible and, as chargé d'affaires, replaces him when absent from the country. He is the ambassador's right-hand man and consultation between them is constant on all important matters.
It can be seen how essential it is, not only that the counselor have ability, but that he be the sort of man with whom the ambassador likes to work. It was this consideration which led Mr. Herrick, when he came back to France, to ask the State Department to assign Mr. Sheldon Whitehouse for that post. He had served with him as second secretary during his previous term, he knew and liked him, and be wished to make sure of this most important member of his official family.
Each ambassador, of course, arranges the routine of his office to suit himself. Some prefer that almost all business should go through the counselor, others like immediate contact with their subordinates. Mr. Herrick preferred the latter system, and he was accessible always to members of his staff and did a great deal of work directly with them. It may have taken more of his time, but he liked to be in close touch with everybody around him.
The old saying about no man being a hero to his valet did not apply to Mr. Herrick. The closer we got to him and the longer this contact lasted, the more we all admired as well as loved him. He expected a good deal from us, but he really gave us all far more than we ever were able to bring to him. If occasion arose, he stoutly defended us; if we made a slip he was the first to forget it. He was not afraid of responsibility and backed up subordinates who shouldered theirs. The feeling of affection and of pride which every clerk and messenger felt toward their ambassador was a commentary upon his attitude to them.
The immense pleasure he took in playing golf, especially during the last eight years, arose in part from the proof it afforded him whenever the fatigues of his office and doubts about his health had diminished his self-confidence---that he was still a pretty stout fellow. For a man who had learned the game late in life, he played quite well, and one year when he and Captain Johnson, the naval attaché, won the diplomatic cup, he was frankly delighted. He often beat Laurence Norton or myself, and the effect would last for forty-eight hours. I am sure this proceeded from the stimulation given to his waning confidence in the physical machine. He greatly liked the story I have repeated to him more than once of Turenne, who could not stop the shaking of his hands and the chattering of his teeth when he went into battle: "You are trembling, are you, you filthy carcass!" he cried; "well, if you knew where I was going to take you in a few minutes you would tremble worse than that!"
The ambassador's private establishment was kept down to the smallest scale he and Mrs. Herrick considered in keeping with proper dignity, for he disliked mere display. But it sounds large enough. There were twenty-three servants in the house. A chef and three aids were in the kitchen, a butler, his assistant, and three footmen took care of the dining and reception rooms. Walter Blanchard, who has been mentioned before, was the ambassador's valet, and he never left him wherever he went for even one night. The household was managed by Madame Salambier during both his missions, and Mr. Herrick had for her a great affection.
The business of sending out invitations and acknowledging those received, keeping track of visits and of cards that were left, of recording and returning them, was on a scale that few can imagine. It is surprising that more mistakes and omissions were not made, in spite of all precautions. Many Americans who come to Paris are convinced that it is their duty to call at their embassy---at least they often clearly indicate that this is their motive in performing that courteous act. Pleasure given or received, high privilege, or self-interest, would seem never to have much part (for we are above all a conscientious race!). Many held the ambassador to a strict accounting for the return of these civilities, and if a mistake by chance occurred, they soundly berated any members of his staff they happened to meet for their presumed share in such grave delinquencies. If only these critics could know the effort that is made and the organization required for reciprocating these attentions they would be more tolerant of inevitable errors.
A formal dinner, however large, gave no trouble of any kind to Mr. Herrick, other than his being consulted as to who would go with whom and what persons he particularly desired to have invited. His household was admirably organized for attending to all the details of such an affair without disturbing him. As likely as not he would reach home just in time to dress and look over the list of guests. The dining room comfortably seats thirty persons, and dinners or luncheons of this size were frequent. On special occasions fifty could dine.
Mr. Herrick had a good time at his own parties. He was in his element, for he hoped he was bestowing pleasure and he knew he was receiving it. None of the usual preoccupation of a host distracted him from the entire enjoyment of his guests, and this was one of the reasons why such easy gayety always prevailed at his table.
Official life in capitals such as London and Paris differs greatly from what we are accustomed to see in Washington. There the government people and the diplomats make up society and the residents are only an adjunct. But in Paris it is the other way round, and the diplomatic corps is only a small part of the social world. This adds to both the liberty and privacy of an ambassador and his family. The newspapers rarely publish anything about the dinners, receptions, etc., he gives, unless a notice is sent to them or is authorized. The tradition of the French press has always been to respect the privacy of individuals who prefer it, and this still obtains, even in what concerns the most eminent personalities; indeed, it especially applies to them.
A few years ago General Pershing came to Paris with the expressed intention of working on his book; he intimated that he wished to be invited nowhere and he asked that his incognito be respected. But of course he went to see his old friends Marshal Foch and Marshal Pétain. The latter remarked, "You will agree, I hope, that we are disciplined, as well as polite, in France. I am not going to ask you to dinner, and not one word about you has appeared in any French paper since you expressed the wish to be let alone."
Every country under the sun has its colony in Paris. Most of these colonies count in their ranks numbers of families having wealth or importance at home. Contrary to the prevailing idea, the British who live in France are far more numerous than the Americans. The Argentinian, Chilean, and Brazilian colonies are large and comprise many families of great fortune. The members of every embassy and legation on arriving thus find themselves caught in the hospitable temptations offered by compatriots, when it is in the interest of their official business to avoid these contacts and seek acquaintances and friendships amongst the French. Our ambassador has more calls made upon him by his colony than any other chief of mission, and when we add to these residents the tens of thousands who come on a visit every year, it can be imagined what the demands upon his time and attention must be. Indeed, there are many Americans who firmly believe that their ambassador is sent to France for the express purpose of looking after their interests or pleasure and that relations with the French government and French people could hardly be considered his chief concern.
HE BUYS AN EMBASSY
IN 1924, when the franc had dropped till it was worth only twenty-seven to the dollar, Mr. Herrick suddenly bought $200,000 worth of francs and purchased a house. In a week the franc had risen so rapidly that he stood to make a large sum unless, as he hoped and intended, the United States government should take the bargain off his hands. This it did, and thanks to Mr. Herrick's maneuver, the United States owns an embassy in Paris to-day. The correspondence between the ambassador and Mr. Madden, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, merits a place in the annals of American diplomatic history.
It begins with a speech Mr. Madden made in 1923:
"This is the 4th day of March. We are going out of existence as a Congress in a few hours more, and yet we come here at this late hour of the night, or early hour of the morning, to provide palatial quarters for American representatives in a European city. We passed an act not very long ago providing not to exceed $150,000 for any embassy building anywhere in the world. This bill here proposes to double the limit of cost as to Paris. A $150,000 house is big enough for any American to live in anywhere in the world. I am opposed to these bills, and I am opposed to these princes of finance being sent abroad as American ambassadors because of the contributions they make to campaign funds, Democrats and Republicans alike. I want to see the time come when America will take its place as the foremost nation in favor of ambassadors who have brains, and I do not want the dollar to be the only qualification for appointment to ambassadorial positions. I want the man to be educated; I want him to be a gentleman; I want him to be a thorough American representative of America, fit in all the phases of American life.
"I do not want him to live in such palatial quarters that I, as an humble, common, every-day American, if by any chance I should find myself in Paris, would not dare to call upon him because of the luxury with which he is surrounded. I want to find myself, when I approach an embassy of America in Paris or elsewhere, at least on equal terms with the man who occupies the place. When I go abroad, if I should choose to call upon the American representative, I want to call upon a man who has the time to take off from cutting coupons from his bonds to give me consideration. I do not want an American ambassador to be so skilled in finance that he has no time for diplomacy."
When Mr. Herrick read this speech he sent to Mr. Madden a long statement full of statistics. These are not now interesting but a few of the sentences interspersed may be:
"I have read your remarks on ambassadors and embassies in the closing session of the Sixty-seventh Congress. I would not attempt to change your opinion on the desirability of government-owned embassies had not the bill introduced by Mr. Fairchild become a law. However, since there is now available $300,000 for the purchase of an embassy and chancery in Paris, I am writing this letter in the hope of relieving some of your apprehensions as to the wisdom of this appropriation. It is not any part of my purpose to attempt to change your poor opinion of ambassadors, for if any of them have been useful to their country in the past, or should chance to render any real service in the future, the record alone will suffice.
"Whatever prejudices one might have against providing suitable houses for ambassadors and ministers, I think you will agree with me that it is good business judgment for the United States to own its office buildings. As to the desirability of a government-owned residence for ambassadors, I believe you will agree that the millennium for which you long, 'When America will take its place as the foremost nation in favor of ambassadors who have brains,' and who do not rely upon 'the dollar as the only qualification for appointment to ambassadorial positions,' will be brought about sooner by providing ambassadors with suitable homes. For it seems to me that this is the only way in which 'ambassadors with brains,' who have been too much occupied with affairs of state to earn a competence, can meet the actual requirements of their positions.
"I cannot conceive of an American ambassador 'with brains' having so little self-respect that he would be willing to be a mere sponge: on this point, however, I need not dwell, for, as a Congressman in Washington, you are familiar with official and semi-official social amenities. Official life does not vary much from private life in this respect, except perhaps that it is more exacting."
This correspondence concluded, as such things so often do, with reconciliation and congratulations. A year later, happy in his success, Mr. Herrick wrote to Mr. Madden to announce it, and the latter replied:
"I think you made a very good bargain, and of course it was splendid of you to put your own money up to close the matter, pending the red tape which it is necessary to go through here before official consummation of any bargain is possible. Notwithstanding our former correspondence, I have always had an idea that we should have adequate facilities for the transaction of our business in important countries like France, England, Germany, etc., and I am glad to know that we are moving toward that end. I told my friend Houghton, after looking over several properties with him while in Berlin, that if he could find something which his judgment told him would fit the case I should be very glad to cooperate from this end of the line."
What led to his buying the Grévy house Mr. Herrick related as follows:
"On April 27th, 1922, I called the attention of the Department to the property of No. 2 avenue d'Iéna. I revived the question in 1924, and as a result of my efforts a letter was obtained from the owners offering to hold the property for sale from March 5th to April 5th, 1924, for the sum of 5,400,000 francs. In the meantime the franc was steadily declining, two other countries were negotiating for the house, and a longer option was not feasible. Therefore, when the dollar had reached 27, I decided to buy francs on my own responsibility and take up the option.
"I made this personal commitment for the sole purpose of obtaining what I believed to be an unusual bargain for my country. In fact, this house which cost a million dollars I bought for $200,000. Inconceivable as it seems, the French as a rule do not measure the franc by the dollar or pound yardstick. Therefore, the family was content to receive about the same number of francs for the property as was originally invested."
There are two incidents which Mr. Herrick does not relate, but they throw a sidelight on the transaction. When he had decided definitely to buy the house, he arranged for a meeting with the representatives of the Grévy estate, who came to the embassy accompanied by Mrs. Wilson, President Grévy's daughter, Baron Cerise, and the other heirs.
The ambassador took out of his desk the option which had been signed on March 4th. "The value of the franc," he said, "has so depreciated since you signed this paper that it does not seem fair to hold you to the obligation. As you know, I want to buy your house with my own money, but I hope it will be taken over by my government. However, the transaction must offer no possible grounds for criticism. It must not be alleged by anybody that the United States has taken advantage of an option signed by you when the value of the franc was so much higher; I therefore tear it up"---which he did. "Now, ladies," the ambassador continued, "there no longer exists an option, but if you want to sell your house for the price named in it, I will buy it."
The family conferred together for a few minutes and then President Grévy's daughter said: "We are anxious to divide my father's estate at once, and your offer makes it possible. Moreover, I would greatly prefer that this house become the American embassy than to see it put to any other use, so we accept your proposal."
The purchase of 5,400,000 francs by Mr. Herrick also had an unexpected influence upon exchange, which had closed in a panic on March 10th. When he telephoned his bankers to buy $200,000 worth of francs for his account at the next morning's opening, the exchange clerk asked whether he should follow the market and buy gradually so as to obtain the best rates.
"No," replied Mr. Herrick, "I want you to place my order at the opening of the exchange."
"Is this to be considered a secret, Mr. Ambassador?"
"Not at all."
"Very well, sir. Good-bye."
As soon as the Paris Bourse opened and a single block of 5,400,000 francs was bought for the account of the American ambassador, rumors that the United States government was backing the franc ran like wildfire among speculators in exchange, with results which can readily be imagined. Those who were long on dollars rushed to sell them and the franc rose immediately. The Secretary of State cabled Mr. Herrick: "Reports from Berlin published here assert that you are speculating in francs. What reply shall I make?" The Matin came out with an article stating that the United States ambassador had scotched the speculators' ring, and one might have supposed that, single-handed, Mr. Herrick had stopped the franc on its downward plunge. Of course such was not the case; but buying enough francs to pay for that house, and buying them when and as he did, unquestionably had an enormous effect upon the market.
No idea of personal advantage animated Mr. Herrick in this operation. He could easily stand the expense of paying his own rent (which amounted to exactly his salary), and spending money never gave him any pain. In all the trouble and annoyance he voluntarily assumed during a number of years over this house question, he was moved by his strong feeling for the dignity and prestige of the United States, and also, doubtless, by his old innate desire to create something---create something permanently useful and do it well. He really never expected to occupy the house he took the grave risk of buying, but he liked the idea of seeing his successor walk into a suitably appointed embassy on his arrival and not be obliged to start out house hunting.
However, Mr. Herrick was uncertain whether a government-owned embassy and a large salary did not present some possible dangers to our diplomatic service. "You can see," he said, "that if, in addition to a well-furnished house, a suitable salary were given ambassadors, it would make it easier, indeed it might create a temptation, to appoint politicians who were merely seeking well-paid jobs. Of course, I know that wealthy men are not more capable than others and a man who was poor might make a better ambassador than one who was rich. But the question does not present itself just that way. Look at it in the light of experience. Our Presidents have constantly appointed as ambassadors men who have made their mark in the affairs of our country, and there will always be a large supply of such Americans, ready ---as Taft said to me---'to go on a holiday.' That is, a holiday in which they would spend a lot of money they had made and do a great deal of work, yet have the holiday just the same: the best kind of a holiday.
"Such men, if really first class, command the confidence of our business people; and that is a great asset. They are also in immediate contact with the affairs of our country and have a wide personal acquaintance with the men conducting them. They may not be trained diplomats but they are trained men, and if they have created a fair fortune by their own efforts they probably are pretty keen fellows. If the President prefers to go outside the regular 'service men' for some of his diplomatic appointments, he has a wide field to select from in the vast body of our able and successful men of affairs, and he need not give these places as a reward to what are frequently described as 'greedy politicians.' These probably would have had as little experience in business as in diplomacy."
The difficulties of keeping house with Uncle Sam probably are little known to the public. Nothing in history records that this gentleman was ever married, and that may account for his peculiarities when it comes to those little problems which have to be daily solved in every household. As proprietor of a handsome residence in Paris, he had some responsibilities that he was not used to.(1)
For instance, coal had to be bought to heat the place while the workmen were altering it, and a janitor had to be hired to take care of it. Who was going to pay for these things? Up to that time no such matters had ever engaged the attention of Washington, since the ambassador paid for everything out of his own pocket---rent, heat, light, concierge, servants, and all the rest of it. These matters soon got themselves settled, but that they could arise may be news to people who know nothing of the domestic complications of their own government.
The house Mr. Herrick bought has now been the permanent home of the American embassy for four years, and with each season its charm and suitability for its purpose grow more and more evident. It faces streets on three sides; it overlooks the Trocadéro Gardens and the Seine; it is protected from any possibility of commercial invasion and is perfectly accessible. It constitutes an extraordinary acquisition.
He wrote to the Department in 1924, "Although it will not be possible to make these premises available for use during my term, I feel that my experience here would give me rather a good understanding of the needs of our government as far as its embassy and chancery are concerned." Happily no such injustice was allowed to be committed. Those unseen forces he so often liked to talk about (he sometimes called himself a Peter Ibbetson) saw to that, and he had the satisfaction of living for four years in this house and of seeing it grow into a beautiful home. I doubt if any ambassador ever loved an official residence as Mr. Herrick loved his. It was even hard for him to remember that it was not his very own. He had schemed and plotted for it, worked for it, bought and paid for it, altered and modernized it, furnished it. In every sentimental sense it was his, and the last smile that fortune shed upon one she loved was to let him die in it.
His enthusiasm about the place and the idea it represented was contagious; he would talk about it and take visitors to see it long before the plasterers were gone, and many of his friends who wanted to show their affection for him did it by making very handsome gifts for its ornamentation. These will remain there, a lasting proof of Mr. Herrick's extraordinary power to create in others the desire to advance whatever he had undertaken. Some of the most important of the presents came from Mr. Whitelaw Reid, Mr. Edward Tuck, Mr. Ogden Mills, Sir Joseph Duveen, Mrs. Templeton Crocker, Mr. Thomas Lamont, Mr. and Mrs. George Widener, Mrs. Hamilton Rice, Mrs. Vincent Astor, Mrs. John Ridgely Carter, Mr. Charles A. Coffin, Mr. George Blumenthal, Dr. and Mrs. Homer Gage, and Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Saltonstall.
1. This and the two following paragraphs are taken from an article I wrote for the Saturday Evening Post.
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. A LETTER TO PRESIDENT HARDING
MR. HERRICK'S interest in politics and love for the Republican party made him an active participant in every campaign and a respected adviser in the party's councils. Nothing can more readily illustrate this sentiment than a letter he wrote to Mr. Harding in 1923, and for that reason, long as it is, I quote most of it. He had been away from home two years, the pre-convention campaign was still distant, and one might have supposed that he had little call to bother himself about an election so far off. But he did. He wanted the Republicans to make sure of winning and he determined to suggest the value of certain issues which were far from local and which might escape consideration on the part of leaders taking a more narrow view. He felt that his distance gave him a perspective which those closer to the picture might not have.
May 9, 1923
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
I have lately seen a good many prominent Americans fresh from home and they have naturally given me their views regarding the political outlook. The consensus of their opinion seems to be that there is not at present any outstanding issue which the Republican party can safely present to the people. I mean an issue which, while avoiding the danger of dividing our leaders, is at the same time so simple as to be readily understood by everybody, and one having in it that moral essence so dear to every American heart.
These conversations have led me to look over the declarations which you and Mr. Hughes have made from time to time regarding Russia. The soundness of the position you both took has been amply proved by subsequent events; nevertheless I believe you will agree with me that, however unassailable your views were and however clear their statement, you would never have had all our people in agreement with you if your policy toward Russia and your method of stating it had not contained an appeal to the fundamental conception of right and wrong existing in the great mass of American voters. It was this which caught and held our people, and left them indifferent to the demand for Soviet recognition put forward by certain commercial interests and some demagogues.
On this side of the water your statements of principle regarding Russia have met with success exactly in proportion as the persons concerned were in the habit of being influenced in their judgments by moral conceptions rather than by commercial ones. For example, the policy of the British government has always been deeply influenced by considerations affecting the balance of power and the commerce of the British Isles, to the exclusion, or to the diminution, of consideration of pure morality. For centuries the British government has been maintained along these lines, and for the last fifty years the German government has been run in close imitation.
This has certainly not been the case with ourselves, and to a very great extent it has not been the case with France. However, I have no intention of making a historical essay, because I believe it unnecessary to endeavor to prove to you things which your own study of history and your vast experience in present-day affairs have made evident to you. Suffice it to say that in no foreign country has your attitude toward Russia met with a more universal and comprehending sympathy than in France. I believe that this is not all chiefly due to the fact that Russia owes large sums to France and that your conception of Russia's duty involves, among other things, the payment of those sums; I believe that problems such as these are viewed by the majority of Frenchmen on their merits, and with very much the same conception of what is right and wrong as exists in the mind of the average American.
The present policy of the Soviet government to destroy all religion, the recent manifestation of that policy in executing Catholic bishops and priests, have furnished a conspicuous proof that your pronouncements regarding that government were not in any way exaggerated. I think this point can be a good deal insisted upon, and not only the Catholics but all religious people would be with you. As a proof of this, please note the immediate effect which the recent religious persecutions in Russia have had in England, where expediency has prevailed from the very beginning and every compromise made for the benefit of trade. These religious persecutions have suddenly turned all England against Russia, barring only the labor unions. The Anglo-Saxon mind had been dull and indifferent to this whole subject until there developed this definite design in Russia to destroy all spiritual and intellectual life. Nothing save the apprehension of strengthening the Labor party prevents immediate withdrawal of the British Trade Mission from Russia, and I believe it will be done presently in spite of that fact.
All this leads me up to the point I wish to make, which is, that among the campaign issues to be presented to the people, I think a great deal of stress could be laid on the unswerving attitude of the administration with regard to the Russian problem. I will go even further and say that we can make a very powerful appeal to popular sentiment in presenting the conduct of all our foreign affairs in the light of high-minded justice rather than touch upon its commercial aspect ---and the two need not be at all in conflict. As long as we have been right, why not see that this is better known and understood?
I recognize that foreign affairs, while much talked of and filling a good deal of space in our newspapers, do not appeal to local politicians, affect state issues, or get votes for local candidates; but when it comes to the administration as a whole, I think that a great deal can be made of the moral side of our international relations and of the high standard which has governed the policy of the President and his Secretary of State in handling these matters.
At the risk of making this letter too long, I am going to relate something drawn from our recent history. In 1898, when Dewey's victory was telegraphed to Judge Day, then Secretary of State, he was staying in my house. He immediately said: "Unfortunately there is nothing we can do but give those islands back to Spain." This was the first idea of most people; indeed, holding colonies seven thousand miles away was so extravagant a proposal, involving such new and unknown responsibilities, that no mere advantage to commerce would ever have rendered the idea popular.
But presently, some accurate thinkers began to declare that we had no choice, and that plain honesty required that we keep the islands; whereupon the Democrats howled "Imperialism." But McKinley, undisturbed by all this noise, took quiet counsel of level-headed men and finally decided we had no right to return the islands to Spain; and he said so. To our great surprise, his decision was soon supported by popular opinion, which, enlightened as to the facts, quickly realized that to do otherwise than as McKinley proposed was unrighteous and cowardly. The public's way of seeing things has not changed.
I presume that at the present moment, and especially with returning prosperity, most people at home are sick of the Reparations dispute, the Ruhr, and kindred topics; nevertheless, discussions of these questions will continue, and it seems to me that the simplest and most effective attitude for the Republican party to take regarding them is to maintain that the present situation between France and Germany is a mere continuation of the contest which started in 1914. The instruments employed in the present war---for war it is---differ from those used before November, 1918, but the underlying principle of the fight is exactly the same; it remains essentially a moral struggle, a contest between right and wrong, and the attitude which the Republican party should maintain and can defend, during the next months, is exactly the one which it took and finally carried into successful action from 1914 to April, 1917. The leaders of our party regarded the war between Germany and the Allies as a moral one, and they demanded our intervention on moral grounds; and it was on these grounds that the American people did finally intervene and brought the first phase of the struggle to a successful conclusion.
I believe that political expediency, apart from other reasons, demands that the second phase be viewed from the same angle and met with the same arguments. This might not suit some business men (and please remember I am one), but it would satisfy the mass of voters by its simplicity and its appeal from the commercial to the moral. It would also give every speaker who wanted to touch on this subject perfectly safe ground on which to stand, and from which he would have every advantage in attack. Moreover, it is easier to defend a policy which is continuous than one which changes, halts, or seems reversed.
Of course, I know we cannot make our campaign on foreign policy alone or chiefly, but we are bound to be attacked on this point as on others, and I am convinced that we have in Russia and in the Reparations question not only good ground on which to stand, but safe topics on which our readers can talk to the average audience. It is very easy to assail a man upholding commercial interests, however respectable they be, but I have yet to see in our country the defenders of a moral issue put to rout.
You will remember that the great power of Bryan's appeal in 1896 lay in his making free silver a sentimental rather than a commercial issue and we beat him at his own game by a better appeal of the same sort---the appeal for sound money and plain honesty. . . .
Of course there can never be another campaign like the one of the "Three H's(1) but it is because of these memories that I presume to make some suggestions to my old friend of all the years. It is as important that you win this election as it was for McKinley to win his.
1. This refers to the 1903 election of Herrick, Hanna, and Harding.
THE SOVIET RULE IN RUSSIA
TO MR. HERRICK'S pity for the Russian people, his horror at the deliberate destruction of life and waste of property, was added a grave fear of the danger which the Soviet disease presented to healthy countries. The action of our government in refusing to have any relations with the Bolsheviks and Mr. Hughes's statement of the reasons were to him a source of considerable pride. He was fond of comparing our attitude with that taken by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany, and he saw, not without satisfaction, that all these countries had failed to gain anything by recognizing the Soviet rule. But he knew how gravely opinion was divided in France, where Russia's repudiation had hit the poorer class of investors, and he noticed with concern the then unchecked progress of Communism in a land he loved next to his own. He therefore determined to express his opinion on the subject, but in such a way as could give no grounds for the accusation that he was mixing himself up in a French political controversy.
Memorial Day of 1927 was approaching and he chose this time to state his views. It was strictly an American occasion, held in an American cemetery; he would be addressing his own compatriots and invoking the memory of our own dead. To such an audience he was at liberty to say what he chose about Bolshevism and the present rulers of Russia.
After paying a tribute to our soldiers who had fallen in the war and thanking the French for the share they took in honoring their graves throughout the national territory, the ambassador proceeded:
"There never was a time in history when this question of preventing war has been studied so earnestly as now. Modern methods of scientific research are being applied to it just as they are applied to the scourge of cancer, and this in itself is a hopeful sign. The Twentieth Century can best work with Twentieth Century tools, whether the effort be directed toward increasing the sum of human enjoyment or toward diminishing our inherited instincts for violence and conflict.
"In a speech last February I quoted Lincoln's dictum that the United States could not exist half slave and half free, and I added that I believed the world could not go on half civilized and half bolshevik. I said then, and I believe now, that 'the people in every country have got to choose between order and anarchy, between honesty and thievery, between every-day virtue and crime. Either we believe in orderly society or we don't; if we do we ought to use all the power within us to defend and advance it.' Since I used these words, like everybody else, I have been forced by events to think more and more about this matter....
"For a hundred and fifty years civilized peoples have tenaciously struggled, not merely for political freedom, but for the widest diffusion of human happiness; and just at the very moment when they had reason to believe that this long contest had at last been crowned with success, they find themselves faced with the most oppressive, the most immoral, the most calculatingly cruel despotism that history records. That the masters of this new tyranny profess to speak in a great people's name deceives nobody, and need not be taken into consideration by the most hide-bound legalist. When in any properly policed community the man with hydrophobia is rushing about the public streets, you first shut him up and then you try to cure him; what he himself has to say on the subject of his malady, nobody bothers about so long as he is still at large and biting people.
"... We have no thought of attacking the Soviet regime; what it does in Russia is its own affair; but we do refuse to give it the means of poisoning us. We intend to protect our country as vigorously from Bolshevism as our ancestors defended it against oppression, and the fact that a government secretly sends against us the germs of a loathsome malady instead of openly despatching armies does not make the invasion less felonious or alter our duty to repel it. . . ."
This speech made a great furore in France. Some of the papers carried extracts from it for several days, and of course the revolutionary press attacked Mr. Herrick violently. He was thoroughly satisfied with the sum total of the results, and it may well be that the French government was not displeased. By a curious coincidence it was the very next day that the British government broke off relations with Russia.
AMERICAN AND FRENCH SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT
MR. HERRICK once commented upon the burdens which French statesmen have to shoulder and he made a comparison between the French system and our own: "We are used to thinking of our President as the hardest-worked man in the universe, but he is spared at least one enormous source of worry and fatigue which I should think would wear out any man who was trying to govern France. Imagine if any day in the year our Congress, by an adverse vote on any act of the President, could cause him to resign! Yet that is just the situation which confronts the French prime minister all the time. And then, every French congressman is free to 'interpellate' the government on any of its acts or even, indirectly, on its intentions. Our President, if he chooses, can sit still and smile at anything a congressman or senator may say about him; but the French premier has got to appear on the floor and answer. If what he says is not satisfactory to a majority of the members and they express this sentiment by a vote, he is obliged to resign.
"It must absorb a prodigious amount of Monsieur Poincaré's energy to merely make sure each week that he is not going to be turned out of office. If you add this uncertainty to all his other cares, plus the executive work he has to do, it would seem enough to kill the strongest man. That the mortality is so small only goes to show that you can get used to anything. For French prime ministers seem to thrive on the regime and live to the ripest old age, unimpaired in vigor and enthusiasm. One of the reasons for this may be the fact," Mr. Herrick added with a twinkle in his eye, "that they never waste any time taking exercise! That single lesson in golf which Lloyd George gave to Briand some years ago has doubtless settled the matter of outdoor sports for French cabinet officers during the next twenty-five years.
"Of course I think our system is best. We spend a huge amount of time, energy, and money over an election, but once it is finished, our President settles down to four years of office, and the country knows what it can expect during that period. In France, they are in a turmoil all the time, and even if this doesn't kill off their statesmen, which is a happy fact, it can't be good for the country's business. Our congressmen are expected to vote the laws and, of course, try to get reelected; but a French congressman's chief concern seems to be to pull down the cabinet in power or else to prop his shoulder against a tottering one.
"A clever Frenchman once told me that his country had imported most of its free institutions from England---such as parliamentary government and the jury system---but somehow it had omitted to bring over the habits which make them work comfortably across the Channel. There must be some truth in this. In any case, I am glad the French Republic did not exist when we got our independence, for otherwise Franklin, Jefferson, and others who had filled themselves up with French political doctrines might have put some of them into our Constitution and made our government unstable by having our President insecure. Nevertheless, there is this to be said: criticize as one may the French system and the complications which arise from their dozen or more political groups, we have to acknowledge that almost any other country would have succumbed under it. That France goes right on in spite of carrying this weight is only another proof of what a virile, persistent race the French are. They say we waste enough money in one year to run any ordinary government and leave something to spare. I can answer this with just as good an exaggeration: the French Parliament wastes enough political energy in one session to run our Congress for six. If we are reckless over money they are prodigal with time and eloquence."
RELATIONS WITH HIS GRANDSON
MR. HERRICK'S love of children and young people has been already referred to. Nobody knew better than he how to make companions of the boys and girls about him, and his intimate business and sporting relations with his grandson, from his earliest age onward, form a charming picture of this side of his character. The youngster wrote him from school when quite a little boy that he needed capital to enable him to go into business with a chum. To this his grandfather replied, in a very serious letter, proposing himself as a partner. The firm was formed and lasted a number of years. The ambassador's valet kept the books, and distributed the profits when the boy arrived on his holidays. Part of the capital consisted of the twenty-dollar gold pieces derived by "the firm" from directors' meetings, and all advances made to it by the senior member were set down and interest charged; but the "profits," by an ingenious method of bookkeeping, always found their way into the pocket of the junior partner.
Here is a letter that was written from the White House when Mr. Herrick was staying with President Coolidge in October, 1926:
"I just received a telegram from your Daddy and Mamma which reminds me this is my birthday. You see I am not quite as anxious for birthdays as you are. I am going to-day to Philadelphia to spend to-morrow with the Drexel Pauls, then to New York to attend a New York Life Board meeting, in order to get another 'yellow boy' for my partner. You see I do not neglect the partnership.
"I must go now, for Walter says that I should get out if I am to meet my engagements."
In February, 1927, he writes to his grandson from London where he had "flown over for a few days":
"I started for here by aeroplane 12 M. yesterday; landed at Lympe, just this side of the Channel, at 2 P. M. on account of fog. Came up by train, arrived at 5 P. M. Record fog on the Channel. We rose 5500 feet above the clouds, beautiful sight, bright sunshine and a sea of white, billowy clouds below. Wish you had been with me. I came over for a few days and am with the Houghtons in the new embassy. I think I will get you a nice light-running aeroplane so you can fly over for week-ends with me.
"I dined with the Balsans Wednesday and Louis came in and asked all about you; wants to see you. I told him that he is invited to come to the U. S. to visit you....
"I wonder if the little calendar that I sent you arrived. I motored 3600 kilometres on my trip to the Riviera and thought so often of my dear boy and longed for his company."
On January 25, 1929, having just left his grandson in America, he writes:
". . . It was a satisfaction to find you so improved and going on so splendidly each year. It is a satisfaction beyond anything that you can ever appreciate unless some day you are situated as I am with a splendid boy to absorb your thoughts, love, and affection. Leaving for Europe so soon after my attack I appreciated was an experiment and a hazard, but I could not abide the thought of postponing my sailing and remaining at the farm and seeing you return to school. That would have left me in a very desolate situation. "As it was, we arrived in New York and though the day there was rather severe and tiring I got through it very well. The voyage across the ocean was perfect as far as weather and sunshine was concerned and I therefore arrived here in good condition.... Dr. Maurange says it is necessary for me to be quiet and really have a convalescence from the 'flu' here, inasmuch as I had had none over there. I am therefore going through a rather unpleasant experience. I am spending part of the time at home in bed rather well sunk, but am quite sure that I shall be out of it ere long.
"As I look out of my window this afternoon and see the sun well up in the sky at four o'clock, I am encouraged to think that the days are lengthening and that it will not be very long now when I can begin to count the days before I shall see my good old 'pard' again."
In later letters he says:
"I am so pleased with your letters, so proud of you for your good work. Enclosed I send you a little dividend check from the partnership. It is difficult to do hard work (and you are doing hard work) but the rewards make up many fold for every earnest effort. I wasted a lot of precious time when I was a youngster and afterward. One can only store away things in one's mind when young....
"I saw the Duchess of Trémoille last evening at dinner and she inquired most particularly for you. I will give her a good account of you. She says that the little Duke has grown tall like you and wants to see you when you come next time ......
Again, on February 19, 1929, he says:
" ... I often try to picture just how you fill in all of your time, what you do and what you think, and whether you are happy. I also try to imagine what your life is to be. Of course you will have some hard roads to travel, but I want to see you prepared for them. I wish that my daily life and work brought me all the time into some natural contact with you. It seems rather hard that the one person whom I love more than all others, with one exception, I am destined, by the nature of things, to see so little of.
"How fine it would be if you were one of my secretaries! Every day in the next room---all the time interested in the same things---having our fun together.
"How little we seem to be able to direct and control our own lives! Still, there may come a time yet when we shall be near each other and interested in the same things.
"The embassy seems to be a sort of a flu hospital. Mrs. Paul was ill one week, then Mrs. Parker Gilbert, then Mr. Parker Gilbert. The flu left its mark on me and it has taken a long time to convalesce; but I am getting on.
"Love no end, my dear boy and Pard."
Six days before he died Mr. Herrick wrote a letter to the head-master of St. Paul's school about this boy which one wishes could be read by every youngster in our land and by every youngster's father too:
Paris, March 25, 1929.
DEAR DR. DRURY:
I cannot sufficiently thank you for your kindness and courtesy in keeping me advised of the progress of my boy, Parmely, Jr. Two years ago I feared that he might not succeed in obtaining his diploma from St. Paul's School and I told him that, in that event, I should feel very much like resigning my post, as the incentive for my work there came largely from my hopes in him.
Last summer I told him that it was important now, and especially after he entered Harvard, to begin to plan for his future occupation in life, and that I could see for him more difficulties in the way to success than I encountered at his age. He was quite surprised and said: "I can't see how you figure that out, Pop!" "Well," I said, "it is just this way. When I was at your age complete success in life seemed to mean simply making a fortune, but in your case a fortune would not mean success because you will already have a sufficient fortune from the beginning and Mark Twain said that if one had accumulated enough to pay his bills he might as well gather suspender buckles after that. Therefore, in your case, my boy, you will have to justify your existence and make a place in the world for yourself by following another road, and the outcome depends on you alone. If you fail in this you will be a slacker. If your Daddy and I carry on as well in the future as we have in the past, you have got something of a background and will have something to live up to and you will have to equal or surpass all that if you are to succeed . . . and it is a hard job for you, my boy."
He looked very serious and from some things he said to me afterward I saw that he was quite concerned over this problem of his. I told him that if our country grew to be a great nation it was because from its birth its citizens put country before their business and personal affairs, but that there was a change in this attitude after the Civil War, when the greatest ability of the country was drawn into business, which was placed before country; but that now, since our position had changed so in relation to the world since the Great War, it became necessary for the young men to emulate once more the Fathers of their country and again place the nation first and business and personal affairs afterwards, and that we could not succeed as a nation in fulfilling our destiny, in justifying the great obligations and responsibility that had been placed upon us, in any other way.
You will pardon me for taking up your valuable time in talking about this boy but I am sure you will forgive me, as you know how much he means to me. In this connection it seems to me that your position at the head of that great school which is performing such a fine service to our country has grown tremendously in importance in these recent years. The destiny of our nation lies in the hands of just such youngsters as are under your care and guidance, and of the generation or two that will follow them; with teachers like yourself forming these boys I do not think that there need be any fear for the future, for I am sure it is exactly the things which I have been reciting here which are being inculcated into their minds. In my humble opinion, it will be upon their thorough understanding of these principles that our country's success in the next fifty years will depend-and it seems to me that these are going to be crucial years with us....
Hoping I shall see you during my visit to America this year, and with sincerest regards to you and Mrs. Drury, I am, as always,
Your faithful friend,
MYRON T. HERRICK.
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