In a comparison of this with other countries we have the
proof of primacy, which was given to Themistocles after the battle
of Salamis. Every general voted to himself the first reward of
valour, and the second to Themistocles. So ask the travelled
inhabitant of any nation, In what country on *earth would you
rather live?---Certainly in my own, where are all my friends,
my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and
recollections of my life. Which would be your second choice?
Afin qu'on dise un jour, selon mon espérance, Tout
homme a deux pays, le sien et puis la France!
THE first step in "a still more distinguished career" was Mr. Bacon's appointment as American Ambassador to France, in December, 1910. His selection was gratifying alike to his friends and to the public. The following clipping from a well-known weekly voices, I believe, the general opinion:
Last week President Taft sent to the Senate the names of three appointees as ambassadors. . . . The appointees were promptly confirmed. First on the list was the name of Hon. Robert Bacon . . . an admirable appointment. At a time when the question of our tariff relations with France is pressing we are sending thither a representative who, as former member of the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co. and later as Assistant Secretary and Secretary of State, has had valuable experience in business and in diplomacy. Personally a singularly winsome man and with a character of rare fidelity and conscientiousness, Mr. Bacon may be depended on to repeat the successes of his immediate predecessors as Ambassadors, General Horace Porter and Mr. Henry White. So admirable was the last named in this and other positions that the announcement of a change in our representation at Paris came as a surprise which was turned into a disappointment when it was disclosed that Mr. White was not to be promoted to London but was to be retired from a service in which he had shown remarkable efficiency for a quarter of a century.
Mr. White and Mr. Bacon represent thoroughly simplicity, straightforwardness, sincerity, breadth of vision, and grasp of detail.(91)
There was nothing eventful in Mr. Bacon's ambassadorship. The relations between France and the United States are proverbially friendly, and the ambassador is a success if matters go on as before his arrival. Mr. Bacon continued the great traditions, as Mr. White had done before him. The personality of the new ambassador, his unusual charm of manner, his knowledge of France and of things French, his admiration of its people consistent with respect and sympathy for other countries and peoples, quickly won for him the esteem of not only the French officials, and all classes of the people of France, but also the confidence, respect, and friendship of his colleagues of the diplomatic corps.
In addition to all this, Mr. Bacon made an individual and personal appeal to all classes. His love of and participation in sports appealed to their imagination., They liked to see an ambassador who could play polo or who could ride with the youngest of them in hunting. The French cavalry officer of his day was known as among the best riders of the world, and the French, proud of their own superiority in the field, appreciated the capability of the American representative.
Mr. Bacon had barely presented his credentials as ambassador, and entered upon his duties, when an opportunity of rendering service and of showing sympathy to the people of Paris presented itself. The Seine had been rising. The stream was swollen from the mass of waters reaching it above Paris; it was overflowing its banks and flooding the portions of the city in the neighbourhood of the river; ordinarily winding its way peaceably to the Channel, it was now moving with the force and destructiveness of a torrent. The last week of January and the first half of February were trying and dangerous. Paris had had floods before, but the men and women then living had not experienced any of such magnitude. One there had been in 1740, during the reign of Louis XV, and another under the Consulate, soon to be the Empire, of the Great Napoleon. They were much alike, as shown by the maps of the three printed in L'Illustration during the flood. "The same quarters," L'Illustration recalled, "are to-day covered by water; in the same streets the cellars of the houses are inundated, but then there was no metropolitan [underground electric railway] drowned; no lines of railroads submerged, no gas mains broken, no electric and telephone wires cut.(92)
Many of the inhabitants of houses in the flood regions escaped by boats from the upper stories, got under cover in other houses, if they were fortunate enough to be taken in, or fled to other portions of the city. Business was at a standstill in the invaded districts, boats threaded the streets in lieu of cabs and trams, and in the photographs of the time, the city wore in part the aspect of Venice except for the evidences of destruction and desertion which abounded.
But although communication within was impeded, without, the world was kept in touch, and nowhere was sympathy more marked than in the United States and in the American Colony in Paris.
On January 29th, Mr. Bacon cabled the Department of State:
Before receipt of yours, January 27, 2 P.M., I succeeded with much difficulty this morning calling Foreign Office, which practically evacuated on account of flood. Expressed deep sympathy of United States Government and people for dreadful calamities caused by flood, and asked if perfectly agreeable to French Government to receive contributions in aid of sufferers from American citizens, from whom I have received many offers by cable . . . Was assured such funds would be gratefully received and should be transmitted through Embassy to French Government.(93)
The next day, the 29th, the American Chamber of Commerce at Paris called a meeting of all Americans in the city. Mr. Bacon was requested to preside at the meeting, and did so. In the course of his opening remarks, he said:
I am assured that contributions from Americans in all parts of the world, or from anybody else, will be very gratefully received. There are many ways of contributing. The object of this meeting is not to suggest to anybody how contributions should be made, but, as the President will tell you, on their behalf, the Chamber of Commerce is ready to do anything it can to transmit any subscriptions, however small or large, direct to the Government of France, because it seems most advisable that our contributions should be made through the Government, leaving it for them to decide by what agencies or channels the distribution is to be made.
The French Government assured prospective contributors that their funds would be distributed as they wished, their wishes to be specified through the medium of the American Ambassador.
In a memorandum on the American Relief Fund, it is stated, confirming and elaborating the brief quotation from L'Illustration., that,
The damage and destitution caused within the city were particularly severe since the rising water not only actually overflowed its narrow artificial channel, but also backed up the sewer mains, crippling the drainage system of the city, stopped electrical power plants, and suspended traffic on the metropolitan and surface tramways. Several thousands of the inhabitants of Paris were rendered temporarily homeless, cut off from their customary food supplies, and, in many cases, deprived of former wage-earning. , , *
The spontaneity and promptness with which aid was offered were particularly appreciated by the French Government and people at a time when, partly on account of what had appeared an impending tariff war, public opinion in France seemed to be losing its traditional cordiality toward America.
The effect on Mr. Bacon's position as ambassador in the early days of his mission put at his disposition a capital of good will upon which he could draw, as circumstances suggested or required.
In a letter of February 19th to Mr. Bacon about the arrangements for Colonel Roosevelt's impending visit to Paris, Ambassador Jusserand said:
You did not need any outward circumstance to become at once popular in Paris. But if you had, the inundations were the sort of things to make you so. We know what you can do in waters [referring humorously to the swimming bouts in the Potomac, with Colonel Roosevelt and his intimates, of whom the French Ambassador and Mr. Bacon were in the first rank] and you were up to your best mark. All reports about you and Mrs. Bacon . . . agree and it is all praise, friendship, and sympathy.
Winter of 1910
DURING THE FLOOD 1910
An interesting, indeed a spectacular event of Mr. Bacon's embassy was the visit of Ex-President Roosevelt, the lion hunter, fresh from Africa, himself the greatest "lion" of them all. Mr. Roosevelt stayed at the Embassy. His address at the Sorbonne, advising the French to have bigger families in the future, went off well, and the French people cheered themselves hoarse over "Teddie," as they called him. The visit was a success, a pleasure to Mr. Roosevelt, and a comfort to Mr. Bacon, as ambassadors sometimes have a hard time of it with their distinguished countrymen who honour foreign capitals with their presence. Rarely are they as distinguished abroad as at home--a fact which must be concealed from them. The foreign officials must be impressed with the claims of the visitor, without raising a suspicion that they do not know---as they generally do not---the services of the stranger within their gates. But with Mr. Roosevelt there was no need of preparation of this kind; the only danger was that he should be roughly handled by the crowds which gathered wherever he went and threatened to kill him with kindness.
The Colonel had made up his mind to visit the wilds of Africa on a hunting and scientific trip. He carried out his plan to the letter, and for months the voice that filled the world was quiet. He enjoyed himself, however. Big game abounded, which he and his party " bagged", and the specimens sent home and to-day exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution would alone have justified the trip, if other reasons had been wanting. From time to time there was news of his movements, and as he was to strike the Nile and return to civilization through Egypt, the countries of Europe vied in friendly rivalry for a visit from the mighty hunter and the world-renowned statesman.
For the week April 21-28, 1910, to be spent in France, the Colonel naturally looked to the American Ambassador in Paris, and to the French Ambassador in Washington, M. Jusserand, who was to leave his post and greet him on the banks of the Seine. These two diplomats planned a week which would have been fatal to one less sturdy and determined than the Colonel.
Mr. Bacon received a characteristic letter, dated "On Safari, Nov. 25th, 1909",
The enclosed explain themselves; I have referred the writers to you and Jusserand; in all these matters I will do whatever you and Jusserand say---I include good Jusserand because it was he who got me to accept the Sorbonne invitation.
Moreover the pastor of the American church in Paris, a very good fellow, has written me on the same subject. Now, may I bother you by asking you to get him to call on you to talk it over? I do not want to write him what I want you to ask him. I heartily believe in the Y. M. C. A. work; the request [to address them] appeals to me strongly; but I must not accept a request from a factious or sectarian body. The French people who have any religion are overwhelming Catholic; and I ought not to accept unless this Paris Y. M. C. A. is predominantly Catholic---of course. I hope there are Protestants in it, too. Can you write on this point to Jusserand? . . .
In the end the invitation was refused. The Colonel's later experience in Rome doubtless convinced him as to the wisdom of the decision.
The rest of the letter deals with the disappointments incident to large, or, for that matter, to small, game,
Yesterday I missed a lion, and am covered with shame as with a garment. Two days ago I saw one of the finest sights anyone can see: the Nandi warriors killed a lion with their spears, two of them being mauled. . . .
I have killed some elephants for Fair Osborn's American Museum.(94)
In a few lines from Gondokoro, dated February 27, 1910, he again wrote Mr. Bacon---first of the visit, and then of a riding accident which Mr. Bacon had suffered, on the eve of his departure for Paris. The news of it had reached Mr. Roosevelt in Africa.
Now, thanks to the desires of the Kaiser, the King, the Nobel Prize people(95) I may have to arrive in Paris about April 20th; I'll wire you from Khartoum or Cairo. . . .
I look forward eagerly, my dear Bob, to being your guest; but I am greatly concerned to hear of your accident. But you take such chances that I wasn't surprised; I hope, but I don't believe that it will make you more cautious. You run more risks at home than I run in Africa.
Later, from the White Nile, March 10th, the Colonel recurred to the accident, saying,
You must have had a very severe fall. Poor Mrs. Bacon! With such a devil-may-care husband! I am glad my wife hasn't such fears to undergo. But I am also glad that my boy Kermit has shown a good deal of what I may call the Bacon spirit (of the father and sons) here in Africa.
Pending information regarding his plans, he himself voiced his preferences in a note of March 11th:
Of course I shall not make a single public speech save at the Sorbonne. . . . I should like to lunch with Coubertin;(96) and I should like very much to meet at informal (and therefore rather small) dinners, anywhere, such men as Deschanel,(97) Hanotaux,(98) etc. How big is the "Société des Conférences?" I should greatly like to meet such men as Michel(99) and Rene Bazin,(100) where I could talk with them, and not make a foolish speech at them. I must get time to see the Louvre.
In a letter of April 5th, from Rome, he begged his social managers to give him "an hour or two at the Louvre sometime," and promised them, to quote his own words, " I shall keep clear of the Rubens gallery, which I loathe, but there are some of the pictures which I must see."
To recur to his letter from the White Nile:
Am I expected to dine with my fellow members of the Institute?(101)
Of course I shall be glad to [do] so, if, as I gather from Jusserand, it is expected of me.
Aside from the Sorbonne, the Institut affair, and the President's dinner, if he wishes to give me one, do try to keep my engagements as far as possible informal; let me meet, at your house or elsewhere, the men really worth meeting (including if possible de la Gorce,(102) the historian . . . ) in such fashion that I can talk with them, be they hunters, men of letters, or public men. Do have d'Estournelles [de Constant](103) to see me.
From "Aboard the Ibis on the Nile," he wrote, on March 19th: "All right, I will expect to be received by the President Thursday or Friday." This was so that the Colonel should pay his respects to the Chief Magistrate of France, then President Fallières, before showing himself in public. He continued,
Judging from your telegram both the Institut and the Sorbonne will give me some kind of joint or several entertainments on Saturday as to the details of which I am totally indifferent. So arrange them to suit yourself. I also understand the President will "entertain" me (ugh! what awful Possibilities are embraced in the word "entertain") some day the following week before Thursday which is the day I leave.
As to the details of the programme, Bob, my wishes are yours. This is a mean way of shoving responsibility on to your shoulders and I know it will cause you anxiety; but upon my word I cannot tell what particular outfits you think I ought to be with; for at least here in Africa I am not as good a judge as you are in Paris.
But although leaving the details of the programme and the "outfits" to Mr. Bacon, he proceeded to state what he would personally like to do in Paris, if he were somewhat of a free agent. These little passages show the Colonel as he really was, and give a better picture of him than description second or third hand. The Colonel continued:
Let me lunch with Coubertin and have informal lunches and dinners with such people as you and Jusserand think I ought to meet. But don't put me down for any public dinners. Don't have me go to any dinner with members of the American Colony (I have not much use for American Colonists in Europe), and so far as possible let me see Mrs. Bacon and you and the rest of your family and the Jusserands privately just as often as you can. That is what I shall really enjoy. I will go anywhere you find my engagements will permit. I want to see the Louvre, Versailles, and a number of other places, and I want to visit certain book shops, so do let me have the mornings and evenings as free from outside interference as possible; so that I can do the attractive things I want, either with you, or with Jusserand, or with my own family, as events may decide. If you think you ought to have the Americans meet me at a reception at the Embassy, why that will be all right, but exercise your own judgment in the matter.
In a second letter of the same date, he said,
I have received your letter of March 8 with enclosures. . . .
Now you ask what I "really would like to do." . . . Personally, I should be very melancholy if I spent an evening at the Opera, but very probably Mrs. Roosevelt would like to go. . . . (104)
Now let me know if you think I have not given you a free enough hand or have not been sufficiently explicit. . . .
Colonel Roosevelt could hardly escape a speech in Egypt, through which he was reaching the outer world, and he would have to make an address in England, which he was to visit. In view of the advisory tone of these addresses, the concluding sentence of this letter, written long before the event, is particularly interesting, "To my intense amusement," he said, " the English Government is not only very polite, but most anxious that I shall use a didactic tone, both to their own people and the Egyptians."
The result of the interchange of cables and letters and of numerous conferences with the people in Paris is stated in Mr. Bacon's cable of April 2nd, to "Theodore Roosevelt, American Consulate, Naples,"
Thanks for letters. . . . Entire programme as follows: "Thursday call on President and Madame Fallières who offers box Théâtre Français Thursday evening. Friday visit Invalides, luncheon Coubertin, afternoon Louvre and American Club's dinner President at Elysée. Saturday Institut and Sorbonne. Sunday peace and Jusserand. Monday Carnavalet(105) luncheon Jusserand or Embassy, afternoon Bibliothèque Nationale. Dinner and reception at Embassy, although President offers his box Opera that night. Tuesday Saumur twelve hours, returning eight o'clock time for dinner with General Brugere(106) and Rochambeau Committee unless you prefer substitute luncheon next day Wednesday before going Versailles; dinner at Minister Foreign Affairs." Government wishes you lunch Versailles; Government also invites you all be their guests at hotel during your stay Paris but I have declined for you saying you were stopping Embassy. This is all pretty strenuous for you but I don't see how to cut it down and knowing your sense of humour and your pity for me I think you will have to stand it.
A like process went on in all countries visited by the distinguished traveller, and he needed a sense of humour as well as physical courage. These he had in abundance, as appears from his letter of April 5, 1910, written upon receipt of the cable:
Good heavens! But of course I stand pat and accept for everything. I very much doubt, however, whether Mrs. Roosevelt would be able to do all that you fix. For instance, after a day at Saumur I am sure that she cannot go to the Rochambeau Mission dinner if she is asked. But like the elder Mr. Welter's Thanksgiving turkey, I am old and tough, and I will be all right for everything. . . .
Like most things "final" the programme opened and closed until it was over. A letter from the distinguished American novelist, Mrs. Edith Wharton, and a telegram from Mr. Bacon introduced modifications. The Colonel's letter of April 10th deals with these things and an experience at Rome:
The enclosed letter explains itself. Mrs. Wharton certainly has a most attractive set of people whom she wants me to meet, and I should greatly like to meet them at a lunch or a tea.(107) Do tell her how much I should like to meet Victor Berard(108) in especial, as I have read with intense delight his great book (barring the Hebrew and Phnician texts with which it is cheerfully interspersed). I know you have made the programme pretty tight, but do leave enough for me to have a little leeway for such things as this tea at Mrs. Wharton's and for the few things we really ought to see. The day's trip to Saumur was the one thing that I felt a little doubtful about. If you cannot arrange for Mrs. Wharton's proposed lunch or tea, could you not have her and some of her proposed guests at a lunch at your house, or arrange to have Jusserand to have them at lunch if he cared to?
In a postscript in his own hand, he says:
I am pleased that you are doubtful about Saumur; please give it up at once; it would be interesting, but we lack the time. All your other arrangements are excellent; and our real enjoyment depends on our having a little leeway.
I have had an elegant row with the Pope, complicated by a side row with the Methodists, but I think the bulk of the American people are going to take my view; and if they don't, so much the worse for them for I followed the only proper course.(109)
The visit was a great success; the address at the Sorbonne was well received by those who heard it, criticised somewhat by those who failed to get in, and by some critics who feel that their mission in life is to criticise. The Colonel was unmoved by their shafts. He said in a letter of August 24th, after reaching home,
I tell you, Bob, I was dead right on the race suicide question. The census returns show that in a decade or two more we shall be alongside of France in this matter. Well, thank heavens! there are still plenty of the really best citizens of the type of Mrs. Bacon and Mrs. Roosevelt! I hope you and I, Bob, are fairly decent citizens, but it is our wives who give us our real cause for pride! And we have very nice children, too!
From Copenhagen, whither he and his party had gone, the Colonel wrote what is sometimes called a bread-and-butter letter, spiced with an amusing incident and a serious view of the future,
Do tell dear Mrs. Bacon that I look back upon my stay in the Embassy at Paris as a perfect oasis, especially the breakfasts. At the moment, I am writing in anything but a Christian spirit, because our baggage has thoughtfully gone by another train, and I bid fair to turn up at the palace to-night in what is called in Chicago a "business suit." Oh heavens! how I wish I were back at Sagamore Hill! This is a little ungrateful, as I am received everywhere here with as much wild enthusiasm as if I were on a Presidential tour at home; but I have too much to do, and I feel it is all foolishness anyhow, and I would like to be home. Where I have a definite thing to do, such as the lecture at the Sorbonne, why, it is all right; but I have exactly your feeling, that I want to be engaged in some real work, and not in a merely plush breeches form of entertainment.(110)
It has been said that Mr. Bacon's problems in arranging a programme for Colonel Roosevelt were duplicated in the other capitals which he honoured with his presence. One example of this may be instanced, as it concerns Mr. Bacon as well as his illustrious countryman.
Colonel Arthur Lee, one of their warmest friends, was trying to do in London what Mr. Bacon had done in Paris. Colonel Lee had written a letter to Mr. Bacon, asking if it would be agreeable if he should run over for a day or two to confer with them. The letter was overlooked in the hurry and bustle of the moment. Colonel Lee tried again:
I hope my letter of the 3rd reached you safely, but not having heard from you further, I am a little anxious lest the somewhat inconsiderate proposal I made, in response to your kind invitation, may not have been convenient. I asked if I might come to you for next Saturday night (23rd) in order to see Roosevelt on the Sunday. But since making that suggestion I have realized how hard driven you must be with the business of his visit---(I have a fellow-feeling about this!) and I am most anxious not to add to your trouble by getting in the way even for an unnecessary moment. At the same time I must see Roosevelt as he has now hung up the whole of his English programme until he can go through and revise it with me, and I get almost daily messages from him to this effect.
So I think I must go over to Paris on Saturday in any case, arriving there 6.45 P. M. Then unless it should really be perfectly and entirely convenient for you to put me up that night I shall go to my usual hotel and not appear until such time on Sunday as Roosevelt can see me. Please understand that I suggest this alternative solely out of sympathy with your troubles which must be crowding thick and fast upon you as the tornado approaches! So I really count upon you to tell me, without hesitation, which plan will suit your convenience best.
In any event, of course, please count me out of any entertainment or function on Saturday evening, as I should be of no use to any one there, and probably miserable into the bargain as my French is not even up to the standard of "Stratford-atte-Bowe."
Please don't bother to write---a brief wire addressed "Optimistic, London" is all that is necessary.
On this his letter, Mr. Bacon wrote in pencil, " Come by all means on Saturday as proposed." The "Optimistic" telegram was doubtless sent, as Colonel Lee---destined to become the Right Honourable Viscount Lee of Fareham, after serving as First Lord of the Admiralty in Mr. Lloyd George's Cabinet---was put up that night in the Embassy, already filled to overflowing.
Portrait by Laszlo, painted at the American Embassy after his return from Africa
With Colonel Lee came the distinguished portrait painter, de Laszlo, Hungarian by birth but British by naturalization. And notwithstanding the "final" programme, de Laszlo actually painted Colonel Roosevelt, the guest, and Mr. Bacon, the host. The portrait of Colonel Roosevelt, painted during hurried sittings in the early morning hours, before Paris was up and around, shows him worn and haggard, as he came from the wilds of Africa. Mr. Bacon's portrait shows the strain of worry and anxiety of those days, but it is Mr. Bacon as his family and friends knew him, and is the one chosen for Harvard University. Of the two men, de Laszlo wrote, in August, 1921:
Never shall I forget the hours I had he pleasure to spend in the late Robert Bacon's company. It was during the few days when the late President Roosevelt stayed in Paris with him. He had just returned from his glorious days in the various countries and Paris was thrilled with Roosevelt. It was then that I painted both the heads of Robert Bacon and, for him, Roosevelt. In the festival atmosphere of the American Embassy I had the sitting of the spontaneous, volcanic Roosevelt, and the distinguished Robert Bacon. .
I love, as a portrait painter and a man, to think of Robert Bacon. He was the manifestation of a noble gentleman with a great heart and a great soul; beloved by everyone who came into contact with him, the most popular representative of his great country. . . .
I am proud to have had the opportunity of painting him and that the replica of my portrait of him will hang on the walls. of Harvard University as an example of one of America's greatest citizens.
THERE is one incident during his ambassadorship of an official kind and yet of a personal nature which touched Mr. Bacon deeply at the time, and later during the stirring days of the war, and reveals the lasting impression which Mr. Bacon made upon the people of France.
The little city of Saint-Dié has a special interest for Americans, for in that place, in 1507, the name of America was given by a group of scholars to the New World. Four hundred years later the inhabitants of Saint-Dié decided to celebrate on July 16, 1911, the baptism of America. It had happened in this way.
A few years after the discovery of the West Indies by Columbus, one Amerigo Vespucci, if his story is to be believed, reached the coast of what proved to be a new continent, on June 16, 1497, eight days before John Cabot. Vespucci was in a way the most fortunate of adventurers, for the notoriety, and indeed, the fame that comes from publicity, is his. He has given his name, or, rather, a little group of scholars of Saint-Dié gave it, to the New World. It appears that the French text of one of two letters written by Vespucci describing his achievements had been sent from Lisbon to René II, Duke of Lorraine, a man of light and learning of that time. He turned it over to his chaplain and secretary, Vautrin Lud, who had in mind a collection of the views of the ancients on the subject of geography. He interested two scholars in the project: he sought and obtained the aid of two experts in geography, Mathias Ringmann and Martin Waldseemüller. They were all members of an academy or society called the Gymnasium Vosgense, founded by Vautrin Lud and in which he was the leading spirit. A printing press was at hand and installed in the house of Nicolas Lud, the nephew. Everything was ready for the step, which was taken in the little city of Saint-Dié and in the year 1507. A text of Ptolemy's geography was obtained, Amerigo's two letters had been published by two of their number, Ringmann and Basin. The undertaking was large and costly: it therefore occurred to them to issue a summary or prospectus, as it might be called. This they did under the title of "Cosmographiæ Introductio." In this little work, of but a few printed pages, it is said:
Now these parts are rather widely traversed and a fourth part was. discovered by Americus Vespucius (which will be learned from that which follows).
This is a statement of fact, and from this fact a conclusion is drawn. "I do not see why any one can rightfully oppose it being termed Amerigo, as if the land of Americus or America, by Americus the discoverer, a man of sagacious genius, since both Europe and Asia drew their names from their mothers."
To quote an English rather than a French writer of authority: "Here we have perhaps the first suggestion in a printed book that the newly discovered fourth part of the world should be called 'America, because Americus discovered it."(111)
A year later, that is in 1509, a map of the world was issued in Saint-Dié, which bore, for the first time, it is said, the name of America.
The people of Saint-Dié may have known of these things, but they were not impressed with the importance of the incident. With some Americans it was otherwise, and from the agitated new world the tranquil city of Saint-Dié was moved to celebrate the event. This they did the 14th, 15th, and 16th of July, 1911. The occasion was the placing of a plaque in the house which is still standing, in which the introduction to geography was printed, or as it is more figuratively expressed, in which America was "baptised," as stated in the inscription on the plaque:
The ceremony would have been incomplete without the presence of the American Ambassador. He was there. The occasion was one of those gracious and courteous acts of taste and feeling for which the French are noted. Portraits of Lud Ringmann and Waldseemüller were presented to the Government of the United States through its Ambassador.
In accepting them Mr. Bacon said:
The representative of the United States in France salutes with emotion these statues of Vautrin Lud, Chaplain of King René and the introducer of printing in Saint-Dié, of the erudite Hellenist and Latinist Mathias Ringmann, and of the Cosmographer, Martin Waldseemüller, which you have offered me for my Government. They are the statues of three men whose names are written in ineffaceable letters on the threshold of the Continent which was then recently discovered, but which was destined to become the theatre of such rapid and prodigious development that a French poet and thinker can say to-day with reason "The Old World is turning toward the New World."
At the dinner closing the ceremonies at which Mr. Bacon was the guest of honour he spoke more at length, "let himself out," if such an ordinary phrase can be applied to an ambassador extraordinary, and two passages from his address on this occasion found lodgment in the heart and memory of all present:
After French Lorraine had bent over our cradle to give us a name, it was greater France who threw her sword in the balance to give us independence. My presence in your midst is evidence that America does not forget and reserves forever a special place in her affections for the picturesque Vosgean city of Saint-Dié, and for beautiful France. . . .
This old and picturesque City of Saint-Dié, which has to-day extended to me such cordial and touching hospitality, was not only the place which held the baptismal font of the New World, but it was also a notable intellectual centre at a time when intellectual centres were not universal, and it had its share of influence in the great movement of intellectual expansion at the beginning of the sixteenth century.
For you of France, it recalls a brilliant past, of which so many cities in your beautiful country bear witness, a country whose long historic existence has been so rich in memorable events. For us Americans it evokes memory of a peculiarly unique event, and the image of Saint-Dié, where America received its name, holds a place in our hearts beside that of Versailles, where America contracted with France an indissoluble alliance!(112)
Years passed, France and the most civilized nations of Europe found themselves at war with Germany and its Allies, and what the people of Saint-Dié could not have dreamed in 1911 and Mr. Bacon himself could not have foreseen, the America baptised at Saint-Dié in 1507 entered the World War in 1917 on the side of its first and only ally.
A committee of Saint Dié-Amerique, 1507-1917, "organized to celebrate in an adequate manner the entry of America" into the war, prepared a report on -this historic event. In its opening paragraphs it quoted from Mr. Bacon's address three paragraphs in which he referred to the special claim which French Lorraine (it is all French to-day) has upon our affection: its meaning to France and the indissoluble alliance which America contracted at Versailles with France. It continued:
In these words Mr. Robert Bacon, Ambassador of the United States, greeted our City on July 16, 1911, the day of the commemoration of the Baptism of America. At that time, Saint-Dié celebrated an historical event too little known throughout the great American nation and even in France. For it was in the town of Saint-Dié, in the year 1507, that a Society of scholars, "Le Gymnase Vosgien," published a little book La Cosmographiæ Introductio, the preface to a new edition of Ptolemy, in which for the first time the name of America was printed and given to the New World.
At the festival in honour of this memory, Mr. Robert Bacon, enraptured and deeply touched by the tokens of affectionate sympathy with which he was surrounded, expressed his gratitude in an address which should be quoted in its entirety.
The Report next describes the suffering and devastation which Saint-Dié had endured:
Several years have passed . . . years of suffering and of sorrow for France, brutally attacked and invaded. Saint-Dié suffered the horrors of war---invasion, ruin, pillage, and seventy-six bombardments. The whizzing of the shells disturbed for months the great silence of the mountains, which formerly lent a frame of beautiful serenity to the erudite academy.
The Report then expresses the joy which the entry of America into the war has given to France and especially to Saint-Dié, and chronicles the creation of a committee adequately to commemorate this event, and the steps the committee had already taken:
When several weeks ago America realized that the cause of law and liberty awaited its supreme and decisive act, that the hour had finally come for her to place herself in the ranks of the Entente, then a great wave of enthusiasm and hope passed over France. One might have said that a ray of sunlight pierced the storm, and since the people have only one symbol, the flag, by which to voice their joyful faith, the flags of the two sister republics fluttered side by side in countless numbers on both shores of the Atlantic.
At Saint-Dié the sympathy was perhaps still greater. In a spontaneous movement of gratitude and admiration the Municipal Council immediately decided upon the creation of a committee, which by all possible means should endeavour to form an ever-closer bond between the city and the great friendly nation.
Already this Committee has proposed to give American names to the principal streets of the city. Already it has decided to extend hospitality from time to time, to the heroes of America, in order to acquaint them with the City of Baptism. By memorials of its past, by conferences, by visits to the American and Vosgian Museum, by the distribution of notices and illustrated cards, it will endeavour to stimulate more and more the sentiments of mutual esteem and sympathy.
In order to express its thought more fully, it has also founded a journal, the Review Saint-Dié-America, in which the past and present of the city will be set forth, in English and in French, in a limited text, accompanied by numerous illustrations.
Finally, animated by the most generous intentions, the Committee, in spite of its modest resources, will try to prove to the young and valiant American army, and to its leaders, how greatly France is moved at the thought of the struggle in which they are going to engage for a noble cause.
For the Committee:
The President and Secretary General:
A decree of the Municipal Council of Saint-Dié, dated May 24, 1917, gave the name of America to a street of the city.
The report and the decree were sent to Mr. Bacon as the former Ambassador of the United States, under date of June 1, 1917. At that very moment he was on the high seas as a Major of the United States Army, on his way to France, to make good, as he would have said, "in his humble person," the indissoluble alliance which America contracted with France, in the City of Versailles, in the war for American independence.
During the war and again afterward Mr. Bacon visited the stricken little French town which gave the name of America to the world. It was an experience which touched him deeply. The tranquil, peaceful Saint-Dié before the war was wrecked by numerous bombardments, and its people were scattered. Mr. Bacon took part in the movement to restore the stricken city and he became again in the eyes of the French people the personification of friendship between his country and theirs.
Unless in a crisis, the measure of a diplomat's service to his country is the atmosphere of good will which he creates, which insensibly slides into a friendly feeling, at least of the governing classes, for the country which he represents. How this good will and friendly feeling are engendered is a secret which each must divine for himself. It cannot be learned in books. It cannot be taught or communicated. It can only come from the man himself. Mr. Bacon did what diplomats ordinarily do: he gave dinners, receptions, musicals, and dances. He complied with all the social standards and requirements. He took an interest in the art of France, and established prizes for the Beaux-Arts; he took an interest in music and literature; he associated with their votaries. He did not restrict himself to any class or classes. He felt that he represented the American people to the people of France; he interested himself in them and tried to understand the problems of France, the life of the people, the spirit of France. But Mr. Bacon regarded his task as larger than that. He represented the United States to the diplomatic corps and their respective peoples. He wanted to make a good impression on his colleagues, not merely because he liked them and wanted to be liked in return, but because their opinions of him might affect. the attitude of their respective governments toward the United States. Many instances might be given of his relations to his colleagues. It is common knowledge that during the Russo-Japanese War the sympathy of the American people went out to Japan, which seemed to many to be courting destruction in challenging the redoubtable power of Russia. Whether the Russian people and the Russian Government had cause for offence at this attitude is unimportant in this connection. It is enough to say that the friendly relations between the United States and Russia were henceforward correct in form but unfriendly in fact.
A line from a letter written by Mrs. Bacon at the time states the situation: "The new Russian Ambassador, who, I hear, looks upon us as enemies (because Americans) has arrived, and last night Mr. Bacon dined with . . . to meet him . . . But the impression Mr. B. got from Isvolsky's manner was that it would take all our ingenuity to make a friend of him."(113)
In the course of time Mr. Isvolsky became one of Mr. Bacon's closest friends, and no foreign diplomat was a more constant caller at the Embassy or a more frequent guest than the distinguished Russian Ambassador.
Mr. Bacon regarded it as his duty not merely to make, but to keep, friends. In Washington, he was on the best of terms with the Latin-American representatives, who looked upon him as almost one of themselves. In Paris, Mr. Bacon convinced them that he was indeed one of them, and they came to share his view, that the American representatives formed, as it were, a group by themselves. They looked upon Mr. Bacon as the elder brother with whom they could advise; his time was always at their service and his house open to them on all occasions.
Their anniversaries were our anniversaries, and ours were theirs. On May 25, 1910, the Argentine Minister celebrated with Parisian colleagues the first hundred years of his country's independence. Mr. Bacon attended and spoke at the gathering: and he spoke from their point of view. The address is one that might have been written by an Argentinean or by a North American domiciled in Buenos Aires, intent upon showing that the principles for which his countrymen stand were shared by the people of Argentina; that although both drew from different sources, the outcome was largely the same, so that it could properly be said that all Americans had a common interest and a common pride in a growth and experience common to all.
We of the north are too prone to discover ourselves to our neighbours to the south and ask them to follow us, instead of attempting to discover in them reasons why we can face the future abreast. Here is the way Mr. Bacon continued his address and developed his point of view:
In no modern nations do we find traditions of independence more deep rooted than in the republics of South America. Long before the Puritan ancestors of the first New England colonists had conceived the religious dissent that led them across the seas in search of liberty the roots of South American independence are found in those ancient municipalities of Spain which survived invasions of Visigoths and Saracens, keeping alive, in the midst of currents of war and changing sovereignties, the principles of local self-government. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the period of discovery and conquest, Spain was a federation of self-governing communes and provinces whose independence was finally destroyed by the Hapsburgs.
This was the situation from which Mr. Bacon draws consequences not unlike those that flow from traditions in old New England:
When, therefore, in the 16th century, Charles V was stamping out freedom in Spain by military force, the adventurous colonists of Argentina brought with them to America their ancient principles and instincts of individual liberty, intensified by the conviction that the central government was inimical to those principles. Although, therefore, the thirteen colonies in North America, which revolted from England, were first to declare their independence, they were no more anciently nor truly inspired with the principles of freedom than the Spanish-American colonies of South America. The New England farmer who seriously but gladly forsook his plough for his musket in 1776 was brother in spirit to the "gaucho" of the Pampas who followed Belgrano at Tucuman. It is a tribute to our Constitution of 1787 that it should have been taken as their model by the Argentine patriots in the Constitutional Congress, when, on May 1, 1853, they framed the fundamental law of their new Republic.
The event, therefore, which we celebrate here to-day cannot fail to awaken responsive sympathy in all Americans, for the Sister Republics of the Western Hemisphere have shared a similar experience in the declarations of their independence from what were at the time arbitrary and tyrannical European sovereignties, and they stand together to-day for the principle of government by, for, and of the people.
Here is identity without priority, appreciation without condescension; a definite hope for a common future:
Is it not for them to broaden the principles which each has striven to perpetuate within its own borders in the relations of each Republic with its neighbours? Democracy should not be limited by political boundaries; there may be in sentiment an International Republic of democratic nations pledged to the same principles, actuated by similar motives, and, though mutually emulative and competitive, mutually respecting and supporting.
Modern means of communication and transport, particularly the miraculous achievements of aviation, have made national isolation impossible; it has long since ceased to be desirable. The Republics of North and South America are now as near together in space and time as were the citizens of the same state 75 years ago: it seems most fitting and natural that they should likewise draw together in sentiment.
With increased intercommunication the barriers of mutual ignorance which have in the past separated the nations of America must eventually disappear, and in their place become established bonds of understanding, intelligent fellowship, appreciation, and sympathy.
It has been well said that: "In isolation, men, communities, nations, tend back toward savagery. Repellent differences and dislikes separate them from mankind. In association, similarities and attractions are felt and differences are forgotten. There is so much more good than evil in men that liking comes by knowing."(114) Thus, then, as the ultimate expression of the independence won a hundred years ago, may come the linking together again of governments in an international public opinion mightier than armaments, animated by humanitarian ideals and dedicated to the maintenance of righteous peace.
But enough has been quoted of this address to show how Mr. Bacon reached a hand from the North to the brother of the South, and how he showed himself inspired by similar traditions, an advocate of the same form of government, and hopeful of a common future.
In 1910, 1911, and 1912, Mr. Bacon acted as host to his Latin-American colleagues in France on Washington's birthday. It was natural that he should speak more of the North than the South in the remarks which he made on these occasions. But he made his guests feel that it was a family gathering, because they were sons of America.
Some passages from his address delivered at the first of these luncheons, in 1910, may be given by way of sample. The English text, if Mr. Bacon originally prepared his remarks in English, has been lost, and the reader will have to put up with a somewhat free translation from Mr. Bacon's Spanish copy.
"A little more than a year ago, in Washington, it was my privilege," he said, "to bring together the representatives of Latin America at a dinner to celebrate the friendly and personal relations which I had the good fortune to maintain with them in the course of the interesting negotiations concluded by my great master Mr. Root to strengthen day by day the bonds which unite the Republics of the west as veritable sisters inspired by a common desire to obtain a mutual advantage. Then I addressed my guests as fellow citizens, and rightly, given the brotherly nature of our associations. Notwithstanding that more than a year has passed with its changes and vicissitudes, that foregathering seems as if it were a thing of yesterday, and I find it hard to convince myself that the luncheon of to-day is not the continuation of the other which I shall never forget. As I look upon the guests here assembled I do indeed see new faces, but not less kindly, and I feel as on the former occasion, among friends and more than friends---compatriots. I use this phrase with a great and peculiar pleasure., for we are all in very truth loyal children of a common country, nations under the benign stars of political independence and of personal liberty, taught by a common history, proud of the glorious deeds of the heroes and statesmen who have discovered our countries and formed our civilization, and animated by the unalterable purpose to prove ourselves worthy of the name of Americans."
Very briefly, and in passing, he mentions that it is Washington's birthday, that he may unite with the name of Washington the name of the two great founders of Latin-American liberty, San Martin and Bolivar.(115) Then, with characteristic tact, he associates the country, to which they were all accredited, with the occasion:
We are met in a country far from our firesides, but which all Americans cherish in their hearts, because la belle France has fought shoulder to shoulder with the Americans, across the sea in defense of the rights of man, and in the long course of years, has conquered the noble inheritance of liberty, united with equality and fraternity.
Mr. Bacon then referred to the effort on the part of enlightened Frenchmen, brothers and fellow-workers in the same field, who have sought to promote good will between the Old World and the New World of Columbus. He gracefully referred to the sad privilege it had been to make common cause with the Parisians in the days of the flood which had barely subsided, to share their fears and their suffering, and to rejoice in the passing of the tragedy. Then with the skill of sincerity he concluded with a toast "to Franco-American understanding," saying:
Gentlemen, I speak to you from the heart. I have spent a large part of my life in creating and strengthening the bonds of friendship and of confidence between the country which has sent me here as its representative and the Sister Republics of the West. If I could live my life over again, I should gladly devote it to the same purpose, convinced as I am that there is no higher mission than to advance the cause of peace in the world and of good will among its peoples. I am equally convinced that we should all work toward a common end, carrying into effect the aims and purposes for which the Society of France-Amérique---has been formed.
The third and last address on Washington's birthday, on the eve of his departure from France, pursues the same theme without, however, duplicating or suggesting the earlier ones. The anniversary which they are celebrating "is more than a national, more than an American, it is an international fête. Washington is destined forever to remain for all time the type of the Great Citizen, and for all time to serve as an example to our free Republics." And he continued:
To you, my friends and colleagues, who share with me the signal honour of representing America in this great and beautiful France, I thank you in the name of my country and from the bottom of my heart for joining me with such ardour in celebrating the anniversary of the birth of this great man whose memory the United States venerate and love, and will always cherish.
His glory is likewise yours, for America is one, and one in claiming its glories, whether they come from North, Central, or South America. . . .
In proposing a toast to the immortal memory of Washington, and to the memory of all your liberators, I ask you to raise your glasses and with me to drink to the day on which all the countries of America knowing one another better and because of that appreciating one another the more, shall march hand in hand in the path of progress toward the ideal of humanity, onward and ever forward toward liberty and toward the light!---America.
Mr. Bacon on these occasions spoke from a deep conviction and in the presence of men whose ears coveted commendation and whose eyes searched the heart of the speaker to see that his words rang true. They were delivered under great emotion, as Mr. Bacon stood before them for the last time as friend and colleague, for his days as Ambassador were numbered.
Mr. Peralta, Minister from Costa Rica, expressed the regret of his colleagues that they were to lose Mr. Bacon, saying:
It is with the most profound regret to-day that we leave this hospitable mansion, for we know that its illustrious host is soon to leave us. But, Mr. Ambassador, wherever you may go, our ardent sympathy will always follow you. We pray God that your presence in the Athens of the West and in Harvard University may be as pleasing to you as it will be profitable to your fellow-countrymen and to all who are interested in the development and prosperity of that great scientific centre.
Mr. Bacon had resigned. He only awaited his successor in order to take up his duties as Fellow of Harvard University to which he had been elected. Mr. Bacon's reason for withdrawal from the Paris post was purely personal. He coveted the position of Fellow of his University, and he could not be Ambassador of the United States in France and Fellow of Harvard University in Cambridge at one and the same time. He had rendered service in France, and it did not seem likely in 1912 that the American Ambassador would be called upon but two years later to face a crisis and render extraordinary service. Otherwise, he would undoubtedly have refused the Fellowship and stayed. As it was, he accepted. He had pleased the authorities at home, President Taft saying as early as July 15, 1910;
You are doing finely in Paris and we were never more satisfactorily represented there.
On January 2, 1912, Mr. Bacon sent a personal letter to the President, which gives the reasons for the step he was about to take:
The President and Fellows of Harvard, the Corporation so called, have made me a Fellow to fill the vacancy in their number caused by the death of Judge Lowell of Boston. This service to my Alma Mater I feel that I cannot decline, besides being naturally very proud to be given the honor of this---our Harvard "Blue Ribbon." This appointment is, as you know, one of active service for life, and, as there is much work to be done every week, the Corporation must be in close touch with Cambridge and live within easy reach. For this reason I am obliged most reluctantly to tender my resignation as your Ambassador to France.
"My regret is very sincere," he continued, after an expression of personal gratitude, "but you will understand better than anybody the strength of my associations and my loyalty to my college, and my unwillingness to decline the honour of her service." President Taft would indeed understand, because he was as devoted a son of Yale as Mr. Bacon was of Harvard.
Mr. Bacon had no intention of cutting himself off from the world and leading the life of a recluse. Service to any and every good cause, preferably public, was the passion of his life,
Although giving up the foreign service for this reason, I have a strong desire to take part at home, even in some small way, in the good work to be done there, whether it be civic, financial, or industrial. . . My resignation, of course, will be at your pleasure, and I feel sure that President Lowell, although he has been unable to delay longer my appointment, will be willing to excuse me until such time as it may be convenient for you to appoint my successor.
On January 12th, President Taft answered this personal letter by one written in his own hand,
I greatly regret accepting your resignation but I admit the weight of your reason for tendering it. I have a letter from President Lowell in which he insists that Harvard is entitled to divide with the Government your services. I yield.
I am glad you have been two years our representative in Paris. I am glad that you have enjoyed it. You have done everything well.
I hope and believe that your career at home will be equally successful and useful. I accept your resignation to take effect upon the appointment and qualification of your successor.
Two days later, on January 14th, Secretary of State Knox said in an official cable, in his own name and in behalf of the President:
We both deeply regret your decision and feel that your resignation will be a great loss to the diplomatic service.
The administration was in no hurry to have Mr. Bacon come home, and the authorities took time to find a worthy successor. In this they succeeded. When the choice had been made, President Taft wrote with his own hand the following letter, which shows what the relations of President and Ambassador may sometimes be,
The White House
Washington, Feb'y. 8, 1912.
MY DEAR BOB,
I have your note of the 25th of January. I have named Myron Herrick as your successor. I think he may wish to delay here a little longer than is usual in such cases; but do not you feel embarrassed by this. I think you will find that Herrick will be glad to take your house off your hands especially if you can let him have the furniture for a year. However you can open correspondence with him at once on the subject and know more definitely than I can tell you what the case is.
I am sorry to lose you, old man, but you are going into good work.
My warm regards to Mrs. Bacon in which Mrs. Taft joins me. Sincerely yours,
Wm. H. TAFT.
The Hon. Robert Bacon
President Taft's view was shared by other friends of Mr. Bacon, in different walks of life. The oldest of them , Colonel Roosevelt, wrote him from New York under date of January 22nd,
I am very glad you decided as you did. I think it was the only wise way to decide. You are an admirable ambassador, but there is any amount of work outside which is to my mind better worth doing, and which you can do; and which even the men fit to be first-class ambassadors cannot do. Of course I am personally very glad you are to be back on this side.
Mr. Charles D. Norton, who had been Secretary to President Taft, but who had betaken himself to Wall Street, wrote a few days later, on the 30th,
I have noted, with the rest of the world, your exchange of letters with the President, and I do most heartily congratulate you on stepping from the distinguished honours and the unsubstantial joys of the Diplomatic Service into the finest opportunity for service that can come to an American business man.
And on February 2nd, Mr. Frank D. Millet, the distinguished painter who was lost with the Titanic, from which fate Mr. Bacon escaped, he afterward said, as through a miracle, wrote in one of his last letters,
MY DEAR BACON:
While I was on the ocean, and a very turbulent ocean it was, too, your correspondence with the President was published and I did not see it until to-day.
Of course I must be glad that Harvard [Mr. Millet was of that college] will have the benefit of your services and of course I am very sorry that your activities in government work will necessarily cease. But I can conceive of no more useful work than that you will do in the Corporation of Harvard and for that I sincerely congratulate you on your decision and Harvard on its choice.
In the absence of an official residence the American representative---be he Ambassador or Minister--has to find his quarters, and take them subject to having them left on his hands, as he does not and cannot know when his mission will end. Mr. Bacon was fortunate in getting the lease of Mr. White's house, and in being able to hand it over to Mr. Herrick.
The news of Mr. Bacon's election as Fellow, coupled with the statement that he would have to resign, appeared in the Boston press on January 10th. He was asked by the Press if this were so and, as he said in a cable of the 11th, to the Secretary of State, "I have been obliged to-day to admit the truth of the statement to the Associated Press." This was annoying to Mr. Bacon for the double reason that the announcement of changes in the diplomatic service should come from the White House or Department of State, and that public statements of any kind were distasteful to him. However, the announcement was out and Mr. Bacon's anxiety was now to regularize the little incident as quickly as possible. He therefore continued,
I have written a personal letter to the President which should have been received yesterday. Will you kindly in my behalf ask the President's consent that the substance of my letter to him be given to the Press.
And he concluded,
I can only add to you, Sir, my sincere regret at leaving the service of the Department and my warmest thanks for your kindness and never-failing courtesy and consideration.
Secretary Knox at once complied, and gave out not merely Mr. Bacon's letter, but the text of the President's as well.(116) Therefore, everybody in Paris who read the papers knew that Mr. Bacon was shortly to leave, and everybody who took interest in foreign affairs or had met Mr. Bacon during the course of his Ambassadorship was anxious to do him honour. And of the many manifestations---to use the French expression of personal regard, good will, and friendship---one may be mentioned. It was a reception given to Mr. Bacon by the French group of the Interparliamentary Union for International Arbitration. Its members were members of the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
The reception was held on March 5, 1912, in the Senate Chapel. Some six or seven hundred guests were present, including Monsieur Raymond Poincaré, then and now President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs, former President Loubet, Monsieur Briand, former Premier, the sculptor Rodin, and other leaders in thought, art, literature, science, and politics. Baron d'Estournelles de Constant, as president of the group, welcomed Mr. Bacon. "You are," he said, "our friend," and amid great applause he continued, "you are a friend of France, and in consequence a friend of justice. You have never separated the two words. You, as we, are a believer in the coöperation of the two countries not only in the past but in the future. Our two Sister Republics will not be false to their destiny; they will remain associated to assure the triumph of right in the world."(117) He then announced that the sculptor, Rodin,(118) would present to Mr. Bacon, on behalf of the group, a bronze by Rodin himself, entitled "Une ombre de l'Enfer," from Dante's Inferno, and that the President of the Senate would offer Mrs. Bacon, on behalf of the group, a medal designed by the painter, Carrière.(119)
In his reply, which the report of the proceedings says was delivered in excellent French, Mr. Bacon naturally spoke of the bonds uniting the two countries, and never did ambassador speak more truly, although he could not know the truth of his words would be so soon demonstrated and that he himself would be called upon to make good his claim as a friend of France not merely in America, but in France.
"I associate myself," he said, "with all my heart with the sentiments which have been so admirably expressed by your eminent President, and, like him, I believe in the advantages to accrue through the association of the Sister Republics in their progress toward the ideal of humanity, toward greater liberty and light, for the triumph of right in the world, substituting the appeal to justice for the appeal to force.
"I have the intimate conviction that the clouds of distrust and skepticism will disappear, that a pure day is beginning to dawn and that in a near future we shall see the nations marching toward an international public opinion which is, no matter what people may say, the most effective sanction of international law.
"The title of friend of France which you award me, my dear President and friend, does more than touch me deeply. I am proud of it, for I have tried to merit it in the past and I can assure you that in leaving with greater regret that I know how to express, this marvellous Paris and your beautiful country, I do so a greater friend of France than the friend who came to you two years ago. Upon my return to my country I shall claim my place among those of my fellow citizens who have it at heart to be, in a certain sense, unofficial Ambassadors of France."(120)
The closing words of Monsieur Raymond Poincaré were also very happy in reference to Mr. Bacon's knowledge of and interest in France and the future relations of their countries:
Knowing you and visiting you in your own home, we have had the added pleasure of finding in you an enlightened lover of French literature and of French art, a student marvellously familiar with the slightest details of our national history, and you have proved without difficulty that your friendship for France rests upon a faithful and careful study of things French.
You will leave in Paris, Mr. Ambassador, a memory which will not be forgotten. In parting from you we have at least the consolation of feeling that upon your return to the great American Republic you will there, according to your own charming phrase, be an unofficial representative of French ideas.
Thus you will help us---and we thank you in advance---to maintain and to strengthen the relations of the two nations whose cordiality has never been denied and which can contribute effectively in the future to the peace of the world and the progress of civilization.(121)
Had it not been for a sense of kindly consideration and of honourable obligation to his successor, Mr. Bacon might never have reached home. As President Taft had said, Mr. Herrick was not ready to proceed to his post as early as was usual. The new Ambassador was anxious to meet and talk matters over with Mr. Bacon before the retiring Ambassador left. Mr. Bacon therefore put off his going, and cancelled at the very last moment his sailing on the Titanic, which was lost in mid-ocean on April 14, 1912. The details are given in a few sentences from Mr. Herrick's letter of April 22, 1912:
We dined for the first time in your old home and our new one tonight, en famille. We found the beautiful flowers that you and Mrs. Bacon were so thoughtful to send and the conversation for the dinner---in fact until I now find myself in your room---was of you, Mrs. Bacon, and your delightful daughter. We even loved the little dog, and I am sure that you never made or never will make a more complete conquest than you have of the Herrick family.
Of course you know that I've always thought you a most desirable citizen and have always admired Mrs. Bacon. It had not been my good fortune to know your daughter, but the vivid picture in my mind of you all on board the fated Titanic through a little selfishness on our part or through a little nervous fear of precedent has affected me more than I can tell you. It has compassed years of association and warmed our hearts with lasting affection for you all and our thoughts, hopes, and ambitions for the new life upon the threshold of which we are to-night are all lost in thanksgiving for your deliverance from the cruel sea and our prayers are for your safe voyage on La France. . . . Had fate decreed you and your lovely family to have sailed out on the Titanic, France would have held no happiness for us.
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