|I have a letter from President Lowell in
which he insists that Harvard is entitled to divide with the
Government your services. I yield.
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT.
MR. BACON never lost interest in Harvard College and the noble University, of which in his own days the college became a part. Commencement Day was not with him a day of beginning life and of ending relations with the college, as is often the case. It was the commencement of service to the college and university which became larger, more varied, and more important as the years brought wisdom and wealth and opportunity. Mr. Bacon appreciated and cherished the position of Fellow of Harvard University, not merely because of its distinction in academic circles, but because it was one of service to his university. "The condition of a nation," Mr. Bacon once said, "can be judged very accurately by the conditions existing at its typical colleges. When we know what and how the young men of a country are taught and the attitude they assume toward the acquisition of knowledge, we can form a conception of the spirit of a people which will not be far from the truth."(122)
Mr. Bacon devoted himself with characteristic zeal to the details of the administration of the college and university. A few words should be said on the subject.
The president and members of the various Harvard faculties discuss questions of academic policy, and are an advisory body or assembly to the President. We President and Fellows, seven in number, form the corporation of the college and the governing Board. They also form a cabinet or council to the President, in which he has deservedly great influence, but not a deciding vote. The Overseers are composed of alumni of the college or university, and are elected by their fellow alumni. Of this body Mr. Bacon was for eighteen years a member---from 1889 to 1901 and from 1902 to 1908. The plans and measures of the President and Fellows are submitted to the Overseers, where they are considered and confirmed in most, if not all cases. The Fellows meet on Mondays throughout the college year. Mr. Bacon made it a habit to spend several days of every week in Boston and Cambridge in touch with the administrative officers and the teachers of the University, in order that he might obtain at first hand information which would be useful to him and to his colleagues in the performance of their duties. This activity on his part was greatly appreciated. Indeed it was found to be of such benefit to the university that his successor was chosen with the understanding that he should emulate Mr. Bacon in this respect.
This fact is enough in itself to demonstrate the value of Mr. Bacon's services as Fellow, but a word from President Lowell,(123) the best qualified of all persons to judge, will be appropriate:
He gave more time than any other member, was full of energy, promoting new things and aiding old ones; always full of life and geniality: bringing to bear with simplicity and sympathy his wide knowledge of men and experience of affairs.
The work of a Fellow is behind closed doors and it does not reach the public. This was particularly the case with Mr. Bacon, who kept out of the papers as much as possible; and who preferred to send a short telegram instead of a letter, if the former would serve the purpose. President Lowell has recently looked up the records of the University and writes that "from Mr. Bacon himself there is little but telegrams about his acceptance of the place on the Corporation and his resignation of it later."(124)
In the course of the letter, already quoted, President Lowell took occasion to speak at some length of Mr. Bacon and his services as Fellow:
Although he was not on the Board a great many years, they were large and various. His greatest special, tangible services were in connection with the Engineering School, the School of Business Administration, and above all, the University Press. Before others he saw very clearly the necessity for a university, of the publication of scholarly works that could not have a popular sale. He therefore offered to guarantee for a number of years a certain sum for the expenses of a Harvard University Press, and himself became a member of the Board of Syndics to conduct its operations. This was characteristic of him. When he saw something to be done he not only saw it, but took an active part in it by giving both money and time. . . .
He devoted time without stint to the University; was constantly coming to Cambridge; talking with me, with the professors, and with everybody. Gentle and conciliatory, but very clear in his views, he exerted by his good sense just the kind of influence that a member of the Corporation can beneficently exert; and indeed, it was not merely by giving money and time, but by the spirit that he put into things and by his high sense of public duty that he strengthened the sentiment of a great institution which exists for the public good.
Mr. Bacon gave of his time and thought to Harvard, and many are the items among his papers to show that he gave generously of his money. He shunned publicity in this, as in other matters, to such a degree that few knew the extent of the guarantees which he assumed and of the sums which from time to time he advanced to meet a temporary need of the college or university.
While Mr. Bacon was interested in the university as a whole, he had no desire to create a fund or erect a building which should bear or perpetuate his name. Nevertheless, he founded a Chair in the medical school in honour of a classmate, Dr. Henry Jackson, of Boston.(125) He proposed the beautiful site for the "'80 gate," and supplied the money to such an extent that it was well nigh a personal gift. This gift now adorns the college grounds in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the graduation of the Class of 1880, of which Colonel Roosevelt and he were the most distinguished members. Their two names are now appropriately inscribed on tablets at the sides. He was also the inspiration of the Harvard Press, which his generosity made possible.
These are merely samples of a few of his many unknown benefactions. "Do what good Thou canst unknown; and be not vain of what ought rather to be felt, than seen," as Mr. Bacon's spiritual guide and constant companion puts it in Some Fruits of Solitude.(126) Mr. Bacon's chief interest, however, was in the human side of the University, especially the teachers and their welfare.
When Bishop Lawrence, then President of the Harvard Alumni, proposed an endowment fund for the University, it was, as Bishop Lawrence has said, Mr. Bacon who suggested that the fund should be for the teachers, not for brick and mortar or even for scholarly or scientific equipment. The statement of the aims and purposes of the proposed endowment fund voiced Mr. Bacon's views. It is in part:
Harvard College needs large endowment for the support of its teaching force. The primacy of Harvard University is due not first to its age, traditions, or able administration, but to its noble line of teachers.
Harvard College is that part of Harvard University which deals with languages, literature, philosophy, history, political science, economics, fine arts, architecture, music, mathematics, and pure science. The College was the first part of the University to be created, and still is the very heart of the University; it is the Alma Mater which receives the sons of old Harvard from their homes and leads them into the noble spirit and high traditions of the College. Upon its teaching depends the thorough work of the Graduate and Professional Schools. That the teachers in Harvard College should be the best in the land; that the older teachers should be free from the cares of a straightened income and anxiety for their families when strength fails; that the younger teachers should see before them reasonable promotion in work and salary; that they should be able to give themselves completely to their work; and that the best men should not be drawn away to other Colleges (as a few have been, and unless there is an Endowment, others will be) by the offer of larger salaries, is essential to the primacy of Harvard and the culture of the sons of Harvard.
The Endowment fund was for, two million five hundred thousand dollars.(127) The amount was raised, Bishop Lawrence saying of Mr. Bacon's part in it;
Ever since he undertook the raising of a million dollars in New York for Harvard I have had an increasing admiration for his unselfishness, public spirit, and devotion.(128)
President Lowell once said "One of the striking things" about Mr. Bacon was that "he never spared himself." To illustrate this, he mentions that Mr. Bacon sat up all night and engaged a special train so as not to miss the reception planned for South American delegates who were visiting Harvard in 1916. This is true, but it is not all the truth. Mr. Bacon and a close friend had spent the evening together, and separated, one to take the midnight train from New York to Boston, the other the midnight train to Washington. Perhaps the guest had stayed longer than he should, and although he caught his train, the host missed his. Mr. Bacon had promised to be at Harvard to greet his South American friends. When he reached the railroad station, he felt for his cheque book which he had forgotten in his hurry. He thereupon drove to his house, got a cheque, returned to the station, engaged a locomotive, sat up with the driver, and kept his engagement.
"He was, indeed," as President Lowell says, "an extraordinary combination of well-nigh romantic sentiment with business training and good judgment."(129)
The address which Mr. Bacon had prepared for the occasion and actually delivered was a plea for pan-Americanism and for helpful coöperation. It was in keeping with those which he had delivered as Ambassador in Paris, in South America, and earlier still in Washington. As on these occasions, it was in Spanish.
"Members of the Scientific Congress, Brothers of America," he began; with "Brothers of the Continent" he ended, and in between he said:
I cannot find words to express the pleasure it gives me to welcome you here in this hall of Harvard University. I shall never forget your kindness to me and the cordiality of your reception when I visited South America as the representative of the Carnegie Endowment, coming to you with a special message from your devoted friend, Mr. Elihu Root. With the courtesy that is proverbial of your polite race, you received me in the halls of your great institutions of learning, some of them older even than Harvard, which is the oldest institution of learning in North America, and with the hospitality for which you are noted you welcomed me at your homes and made me feel that I was not a stranger but a friend.
We of this country have much to learn from you, particularly in politeness and courtesy, but I wish to assure you that although we may not always know how to express it, there is a real and warm welcome for you in our hearts.
It is extremely gratifying to see in your presence here the example of that exchange of visits of representative men, which formed one of the principal subjects dealt with in the instructions which Mr. Root gave me when I visited your country, an exchange of the intellectual opinion which was to embrace also the exchange of professors and students. . . .
The regular and periodic exchange of professors and students, which we hope will be inaugurated, will make general the knowledge of institutions and of the contributions of each nation to the common good; the visits of representative men will tend to create and promote social intercourse and the knowledge of each other, but the relations of nations, considered as nations, depend upon an agreement, understanding, and dissemination of just principles of law and their application to disputes that are bound to arise among members of the same family.
It needs no argument that a law to affect all must be made by all, that is to say, that it must be the result of coöperation. The law of nations is not the law of any one nation; it is not made by any one nation. It is not imposed by any one nation; it cannot be changed by any one nation. Each nation is equal in and under the law, with equal rights and subject to the same duties, for rights and duties are correlative terms.
Just as municipal or national law rests upon the sanction of public opinion, so international law rests upon international opinion. . . .
Never before, I believe, were our countries so close together. Never was the necessity more apparent for us to recognize that we are bound together by ties of history and nature. It behooves us to maintain and strengthen this solidarity which, by reason of its twofold origin, unites inseparably the nations of the new continent in the past, in the present, and in the future.
Brothers of the Continent, from the bottom of my heart I welcome you to Harvard.
Mr. Bacon's service as Fellow was broken by a trip to South America, which took part of his vacation in 1913 and three months of the fall from the University. He cabled from Paris, on September 15, 1913, to President Lowell, saying:
I find it necessary in order to carry out Root's plans and wishes for my South American trip to leave next Sunday, via Lisbon direct for Rio. Otherwise must give up going altogether which most unwilling to do unless you feel it all important my being Cambridge October instead of early December. Please cable frankly your opinion and prospects of scientific school.
To which President Lowell cabled laconically as well as frankly:
Go by all means. Nothing more about scientific school.
His service as Fellow was also interrupted by frequent visits to France before our entry into the war. He said in a cable to President Lowell, from Paris, on December 25, 1914:
Merry Xmas to you all, asking your forbearance, believing as I do this war for ideals and principles as much ours as England's or France's, denying as I do the right of President to impose upon me false neutrality or doubtful silence, something impelling me remain here although so little I can do except sympathize with these bleeding suffering friends, wishing you all A Happy New Year.
Our entry into the war finally led him to cable President Lowell from France:
With resignation please accept my respectful and affectionate greetings to President and Fellows, heartfelt thanks for all their kindly consideration. It is wrench to sever my official connection with Harvard and give up the honour of being their associate.
|It is in human nature that injuries as well
as benefits received in times of weakness and distress, national
as well as personal, make deep and lasting impressions; and those
ministers are wise who look into futurity and quench the first
sparks of misunderstanding between two nations which, neglected,
may in time grow into a flame, all the consequences whereof no
human prudence can foresee, which may produce much mischief
to both, and cannot possibly produce any good to either.
Letter of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, dated December 22, 1779, to R. BERNSTORF, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Denmark.
THROUGHOUT life, Mr. Bacon was interested in Spain and things Spanish. He studied the language in and out of college.. He read it fluently and pronounced it correctly. He had a gift for spoken language, being musical by nature, with a sensitive and finely tuned ear accustomed to sounds, and a trained voice. He kept up his Spanish, and had occasion from time to time to practise it. Especially was this true during his service in the Department of State.(130) He did not obtrude his knowledge of Spanish upon the representatives of Latin-American countries. He suggested a word when English or French failed them, and allowed them to drop into Spanish if they so desired. The result can be divined. With the representatives of Central America, Mr. Bacon was very much like a big brother and Father-confessor combined. When he ceased to be Secretary of State, he gave a farewell dinner to the Latin-American representatives at his home in Washington, on Sixteenth Street, at which some outsiders closely associated with Latin America were present-Mr. Elihu Root, by them the most admired of American statesmen, Mr. William Elroy Curtis, first Secretary of the Pan-American Bureau, Mr. John Barrett, then Director General of the Pan-American Union as it is now called, and a few others. Mr. Bacon pleased them mightily by rising at the close of the dinner and taking a gracious and affectionate leave of them in an admirably turned speech in Spanish.
Mr. Bacon was thus ideally qualified for a mission of good will to the Latin-American countries, and he allowed himself to be persuaded to undertake a purely private mission in the interest of peace and better understanding, at the instance and under the auspices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
This Institution was created in 1910 by Mr. Andrew Carnegie to advance the cause of international peace. Mr. Bacon's friend , Mr. Root, was and fortunately still is President of this Endowment. Mr. Root was anxious to have an American of distinction pay a visit to Latin America, to explain to his friends the aims and purposes of the new organization and to obtain their coöperation with the Endowment, in its endeavours in behalf of friendly relations and international peace.
In his letter of instructions to Mr. Bacon of July 20, 1913, Mr. Root stated the purpose and nature of the visit in a single sentence:
The object of this mission, which you have already gratified us by promising to undertake, is to secure the interest and sympathy of the leaders of opinion in South America in the various enterprises for the advancement of international peace which the Endowment is seeking to promote, and by means of personal intercourse and explanation to bring about practical coöperation in that work in South America.(131)
These several purposes of the Endowment fall naturally into three groups, and they have been apportioned to Divisions of Intercourse and Education, of Economics and History, and of International Law.
Mr. Root, in taking up the reasons which led the Trustees to urge Mr. Bacon to go, wrote:
The methods and details of activity on the part of each of the divisions you will find indicated in a series of monographs, which will be handed to you herewith. From these you will perceive two things: first, that it is the purpose of the trustees, not that the trust organization shall become a missionary seeking to preach the gospel of peace or directly to express its own ideas to the world, but rather to promote and advance in each country and in all countries the organization and activity of national forces in favour of peace. It is not so much to add a new peace organization to those already existing in the world as it is to be a means of giving renewed vigour to all the activities which really tend in a practical way toward preventing war. and making peace more secure. Second, that in aid of the work of each of these three divisions an extensive and effective organization has been perfected in Europe as well as in America, including a great number of the most eminent and highly respected statesmen, publicists, and leaders of modern thought.(132)
Mr. Root suggests, by way of example, a number of ways in which coöperation might be possible:
(a) The formation of national societies of international law to be affiliated with the American Institute of International Law; (b) the presentation to the different governments of the opportunity to participate in the proposed Academy of International Law at The Hague by providing for the sending on the part of each government of a representative student to that academy, if organized. You will notice that the organization of such an academy to bring together students from the whole world under the leaders of thought in international law each summer depends very largely upon the question whether the governments of the world feel the need of such an institution sufficiently to give it their formal support by sending a representative student. (c) The appointment of national committees for the consideration of contributions to the programme of the next Hague Conference and making arrangements for the intercommunication of such committees among all the American countries. (d) The establishment of national societies for international conciliation to be affiliated with the parent Association for International Conciliation at Paris. (e) To arrange for systematic furnishing of data for the work of the Division of Economics and History in accordance with the programme laid down at Berne by the congress of economists in the summer of 1911. (133)
Mr. Root's letter of instructions was written for a special purpose; but like all of his letters, it is illuminated by the genius of the man and abounds in wisdom born of a large experience and contact with diverse phases of life. The closing lines of the instructions to Mr. Bacon should be read and pondered by persons interested in good causes where the work to do is so manifold:
The trustees of the Endowment are fully aware that progress in the work which they have undertaken must necessarily be slow and that its most substantial results must be far in the future. We are dealing with aptitudes and impulses firmly established in human nature through the development of thousands of years, and the utmost that any one generation can hope to do is to promote the gradual change of standards of conduct. All estimates of such a work and its results must be in terms not of individual human life, but in terms of the long life of nations. Inconspicuous as are the immediate results, however, there can be no nobler object of human effort than to exercise an influence upon the tendencies of the race, so that it shall move, however slowly, in the direction of civilization and humanity and away from senseless brutality.(134)
"It is to participate with us," Mr. Root said in conclusion, "in this noble though inconspicuous work that we ask you to invite our friends in South America with the most unreserved and sincere assurances of our high consideration and warm regard."
The trip was a hurried one, but it was carefully planned. The immediate object was achieved, in that the men of light and leading in the countries visited were found ready to coöperate with their friends of the English-speaking Republic in the straight, narrow, and very long path that leads to International Peace. That way was bottomed upon "better relations" between and among the American Republics and all other countries. He put the faith that was in him in the title of his Report to his fellow Trustees(135) For Better Relations with Our Latin American Neighbours: A Journey to South America.
Mr. Bacon's report abounds in keen observation and wise reflection. It sketches in a few passages the policy which he believed the United States should pursue toward Latin America. It is some thirty or forty pages in length, and was his longest venture in the field of letters. It is carefully planned, written with great simplicity of language and dignity of thought, sympathetic, and full of interest.
Immediately prior to the trip to South America, Mr. Bacon, his wife and daughter, had visited the Philippines, where his son, Elliot C. Bacon, later a Captain of Artillery in the American Expeditionary Forces in France, was acting as Secretary to Governor General Cameron Forbes of the Philippines. He did not return to the United States, but proceeded to Japan, China, and thence by the Trans-Siberian Railway to Paris. He spent a fortnight in preparation for the journey to South America, sailing for Brazil from Lisbon on September 23rd. In less than three busy months he visited Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, and Panama, returning to New York by way of New Orleans, covering in all 50,000 miles.
The visit to the South American Republics was the occasion of intense, unremitting activity on the part of those associated with him. There was an overwhelming amount of detail to be mastered in the matter of preparation and but little time could be allotted to the widely separated capitals: four days in Rio de Janeiro, the same length of stay in Buenos Aires, two days in Montevideo, four or five days in Santiago, a little less than a week in Lima. Schedules for trains and steamers had to be kept. There was not a moment for *idleness, repose, or sightseeing. In each capital two or three addresses were to be made; official receptions attended; personal visits to and conferences with leaders of opinion; social engagements planned in advance by the hospitable people to whom Mr. Bacon was going.
In every capital it was necessary to confer with the leading authorities on international law, to form a committee which should be in turn the basis of a National Society of International Law. Selections for this committee required the most careful diplomatic consideration.
Much of the advance preparation was done on the long sea voyage from Lisbon; on the steamer from Rio to Buenos Aires; on the special car of the President of the Argentine Republic in which the party journeyed across the Pampas to the Andes; on the steamship from Valparaiso to Callao; in hotels. Every minute was fully occupied with work. Mr. Bacon allowed himself no personal relaxation until after the last of the South American countries had been visited. Much of his time was taken up with visits and social affairs, which, however, he turned to his advantage, and he listened when he would have preferred to talk of his mission. He felt constrained to do so, because, as he said to one of his party, after a lengthy conference with a distinguished internationalist in Buenos Aires, "The best way to make a man listen to you is to show a disposition to listen to him."
Mr. Bacon had a deep sense of the importance and responsibility of his mission. He was careful to have it clearly understood that the visit was unofficial and that he came in a private capacity, as the representative of the Carnegie Endowment. The South Americans knew him as their friend, and as far as they were concerned they made the mission official, and they gave to him the full measure of official welcome which they would have accorded a visiting member of a government whom they were anxious to receive.
Mr. Bacon spent a great deal of time and thought in the preparation of his addresses. He was insistent upon expressing fully the purpose of his mission in language which could not be misunderstood. He was careful in the extreme that no ill-considered phrase should offend the sensibilities of these friendly, confiding, sensitive, and, as one of them has said, "not very forgetting people."'(136)
Mr. Bacon endorsed joyfully the address which Mr. Root had delivered at Rio and the address on laying the cornerstone of the Pan-American Building at Washington.
In the first address Mr. Root, speaking in behalf of the United States and surrounded by the twenty-one Americas, solemnly said:
We wish for no victories but those of peace; for no territory except our own; for no sovereignty except sovereignty over ourselves. We deem the independence and equal rights of the smallest and weakest member of the family of nations entitled to as much respect as those of the greatest empire; and we deem the observance of that respect the chief guaranty of the weak against the oppression of the strong. We neither claim nor desire any rights or privileges or powers that we do not freely concede to every American republic. We wish to increase our prosperity, to expand our trade, to grow in wealth, in wisdom, and in spirit, but our conception of the true way to accomplish this is not to pull down others and profit by their ruin, but to help all friends to a common prosperity and a common growth, that we may become greater and stronger together.
In the second, Mr. Root said at Washington on May 11, 1908, again speaking as Secretary Of State in behalf of the United States:
It is too much to expect that there will not be controversies between American nations to whose desire for harmony we now bear witness; but to every controversy will apply the truth that there are no international controversies so serious that they cannot be settled peaceably if both parties really desire peaceable settlement, while there are few causes of dispute so trifling that they cannot be made the occasion of war if either party really desires war. The matters in dispute between nations are nothing; the spirit which deals with them is everything.
Mr. Bacon to the end of his life believed that the peace of the world could only be bottomed on the Root Doctrine and the Root spirit, without which nations should not be expected to submit their differences to the cold and passionless decision of a court of justice.
Mr. Bacon felt that the views of his chief should be brought within the compass of a single phrase, if they were to attract attention, impress the thought, and influence the practice of nations. He often said that the sentence from the cornerstone address should have been cut in letters of gold in the façade of the Pan-American Building. His other great friend, Mr. Roosevelt, was of the same opinion. The trip to South America offered the opportunity of proclaiming the doctrine and driving it home if he could only put it in a word or two. His Secretary, Mr. Hereford, tells how this was done.
"Mr. Bacon spent much time," he says, "on the steamer from Lisbon to Rio in the effort to define accurately the policy enunciated by Mr. Root, or as Mr. Bacon expressed it, 'The Root Doctrine.' At first this definition took the form of about three typewritten pages. Even then I remember it seemed to me to be remarkably condensed. But Mr. Bacon was not satisfied. He tried again and it took the form of a single page. Patiently he laboured to cut out all of the detailed elaboration and to reduce it to the actual basic essentials---the lowest common denominator. At last he showed me with a smile this truly remarkable phrase of eight words, 'a doctrine of kindly consideration and honourable obligation.'
"I may exaggerate," Mr. Hereford concludes, "but I cannot recall, in any reading that I have done, coming across a phrase that said so much in so few words."
This is the language of kindly consideration; it is not the language of exaggeration, for Mr. Bacon's fine phrase really sums up what is fundamentally necessary in the foreign policy of any nation.
An outstanding feature of Mr. Bacon's trip was that he addressed his message to the people with whom he spoke in their own language or in French, with which most of them were familiar. Very few Americans have ventured to make addresses in South America in any language but English, and Mr. Bacon's course in using a tongue which all his auditors understood appealed to them strongly and pleased them greatly. It was to a large extent responsible for the success of his mission. The ease and grace with which he read his addresses were remarkable. French he spoke admirably and was fresh from Paris, where his fluency in French had been an inestimable asset. Spanish he understood, and spoke when the occasion seemed to require it.
With Portuguese he had hitherto had almost nothing to do. Yet he prepared himself so that his enunciation was distinct and excellent. Mr. Bacon had, however, made up his mind to speak to his Brazilian friends in their mother-tongue. He had a few days in Lisbon before the steamer would leave port on its western voyage. He haunted the bookshops, he laid in a store of Portuguese newspapers, he procured a Portuguese grammar, a dictionary of the language of Camoens, and he purchased the works of that distinguished gentleman to read on the steamer. He studied the grammar, he thumbed the dictionary, he devoured the newspapers, he clung to Camoens. Within two weeks the miracle was done! Upon his arrival, a reception was given to the party by the American Ambassador at Rio de Janeiro to a small but very select gathering. Appearing for the first time in South America, Mr. Bacon read an address of which the body was in French but the beginning in Portuguese, a language with which he was supposed to be unfamiliar and which is difficult of pronunciation. "I am sure, Gentlemen," Mr. Bacon began, and continued in Portuguese:
that you will pardon me if, instead of speaking in my own language in acknowledgment of your kind expressions of welcome, which have moved me profoundly, I say a few words of thanks in your beautiful tongue, with the assurance that though these words may be poorly expressed, they come from my heart.
I know it must appear presumptuous for me to address you in Portuguese, but I must ask your kind indulgence for two reasons. First of all , I must refer to the very high esteem I have always cherished for the noble Portuguese traditions, which but recently have been refreshed in my mind by my stay in Lisbon, whence I have just arrived. There, at the foot of the statue of the great Camões, I recalled the memory of that distinguished Brazilian, whose eloquent words and writings first developed my sense of appreciation for the beauties of the "Lusíads" and the charm of the "Rimas." I refer to my illustrious and gentle friend, Joaquim Nabuco, sage, poet, and statesman, whom I learned to know and love during an intimacy of four years in Washington and whom I was proud to call a friend.
Another reason that I offer as the inspiration for my addressing you in your beautiful language is that on the eve of my departure from the United States, at the banquet where I was able to greet my esteemed friend, your Ambassador, Mr. Domicio da Gama, I had the great pleasure to find myself seated at the side of your illustrious Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Mr. Lauro Müller, who, with that gentleness and charm of manner so natural to your race and country, spoke to us in very good English My compatriots will never forget the pleasure that the presence of Doctor Müller produced, nor the distinguished honour conferred upon us by your country when it appointed him to return the visit of our esteemed friend, Elihu Root. For us of the University of Harvard, it was especially gratifying to have him accept our diploma and thus become a member of our Harvard family.
I have the honour of having been sent to Brazil by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, of which Mr. Root is the heart and soul. The message that I bring from him is a message of good will, which, as expressed by that eminent author and jurist, Dr. Ruy Barbosa, truly meets with the "sanction of American opinion," but it is particularly a message of regard and esteem from Elihu Root for his good friends here. This mission affords me greater pride and pleasure than any other entrusted to me during my entire life.
And how can I begin to express my feelings at the first sight of this wonderful city, the magic city of Rio de Janeiro? For, in spite of all that has been said or written about its beauty and its bewitching grandeur, it surpasses my most extravagant dreams. It is incomparable and I envy you the continual pleasure and inspiration, the force and courage that you must derive from it.
Again, Gentlemen, I assure you of my most profound gratitude for the cordial reception and the distinguished honour that you have accorded me.(137)
The eyes of his hearers opened wide in astonishment and delight, and he was roundly applauded. The effect was instantaneous and lasting. Two days later, Mr. Ruy Barbosa, introducing Mr. Bacon at a reception at the National Library of Rio de Janeiro, said:
The very first time we heard him, the day before yesterday, at the American Embassy, through the delightful hospitality of Mr. Morgan, the distinguished diplomat whose charm is irresistible, he surprised us with an address, the introduction to which was delivered in our own language fluently and correctly, with but slight trace of a foreign accent, as if he had long been accustomed to express himself in our tongue. With exquisite grace and without effort, inspired only by natural earnestness, he revealed to us those miracles of which courtesy and benevolence are capable in the mind of a son of that race of the United States, that in its type combines the virtues, aptitudes, and talents of all others.(138)
In Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile, and Lima, Mr. Bacon repeated the triumph of Rio de Janeiro and for the same reasons: he addressed each audience in its "beautiful tongue," and the words which he spoke came from the heart. In all these cities and the countries of which they are the capitals, the addresses were published in full in the principal newspapers, where again, for the same reasons, they attracted the widest public attention.
Mr. Bacon spared no pains to make his speeches worthy of the occasion, and he laboured at them often until the very moment of their delivery, going over them with a blue pencil, eliminating here, adding there, and reading them aloud to perfect his pronunciation of difficult or important passages. For him each occasion of public speaking was an ordeal of highly nervous tension, and this tension was increased by the necessity of delivering his remarks in a foreign language. The tension, however, was never apparent to his audiences. The calmness of the speaker and his quiet good humour gave no hint of the nervous energy which had been expended.
One incident of the trip will serve to illustrate how nerve-racking the occasions were, and how complete was Mr. Bacon's control of his temper. It happened in Buenos Aires at the residence of John W. Garrett, the American Minister, where Mr. and Mrs. Bacon and Miss Bacon were guests. The automobile was at the door to take Mr. Bacon to the University where his first and most important address was to be delivered. There were many changes to be made, and he sat with his secretary, going over each word in a feverish desire to reach the end in time. There were constant interruptions: a servant would come to announce the automobile; another person would enter the room on another errand, and so it went on until it seemed impossible that human nerves could stand it. Mr. Bacon's calmness vanished. "I'll knock down the next person who opens that door," he exclaimed. The words were on his lips when the door opened and Mrs. Bacon entered. Mr. Bacon looked up and---smiled. "What is it, Mother?" he asked, so gently that Mrs. Bacon never suspected the storm which had swept the room but a moment before. He seemed to have forgotten the speech, the corrections to be made, the waiting audience, and to have time and thought only for the woman who stood before him.
In an interview published in the Evening Post(139), Mr. Bacon touched the high spots of his trip and gave to the public some of the views which he later elaborated for the fuller report. Almost the opening sentences of the interview are, "It is difficult to exaggerate the manifestations of friendliness for the United States which were exhibited in every country. In spite of misrepresentations and misunderstandings, caused nearly always by our ignorance of the real conditions in South America, we have no truer friends anywhere in the world than in these sister republics of the same continent. They welcome every opportunity to testify their regard for us."
How to maintain this friendliness, how to increase it by enlightening the ignorance which threatens it, to correct the misrepresentations and to remove the misunderstandings; those were the larger purposes which Mr. Bacon had in mind, and the specific objects of his mission were as a means to these ends. In its larger aspects, the Report turns around Mr. Root as the centre and the source of light and inspiration, not only to Mr. Bacon, but to a whole continent. This he states in no uncertain terms in the interview:
The visit to South America made by Mr. Root in 1906, when he was Secretary of State, has had an enduring effect in bringing about a better understanding between the Latin republics and the United States. That visit is vividly remembered and constantly referred to in the speeches and writings of the brilliant representatives of public opinion throughout South America. To it, perhaps, more than to any other single circumstances is to be attributed the present attitude toward us; for Mr. Root, as will be remembered, by his doctrine of sympathy and understanding, of kindly consideration and honorable obligation, was able to allay or eradicate the suspicion and distrust of our motives that had been slowly engendered.(140
Everywhere Mr. Bacon noted progress. "Some of these republics," he said, "are advancing so rapidly that each succeeding year will mark an important change. The people have been beset by obstacles greater than those that confronted our forefathers, and but little understood by us here, but, in spite of them, they have forged ahead until the civilization of their larger centres compares favourably with the older civilization of Europe." And they are apparently unspoiled by prosperity. "The rapid material development of their wonderful countries," Mr. Bacon said, "has in no way blunted their lofty idealism, and nowhere can there be found men more willing or more able to work together for a common, humanitarian purpose. All that is suggestive of social progress makes an immediate appeal to their sympathies."(141)
Mr. Bacon closed the interview in a way as pleasing to the people whom he had the good fortune to visit as it was typical of his good judgment, tact, and courtesy. "There is," he said, "great and substantial benefit to be derived from an acquaintance with our South American neighbours., of whom too many of us are, unfortunately, profoundly ignorant. The representative men and women of these countries have all the charm and grace and intellectual culture for which the Latin races are famous. Their warm-hearted hospitality is proverbial. Personally, I shall never forget, nor can I adequately express my appreciation of, the kindness and courtesy of their welcome."(142) In a few paragraphs of what he calls his preliminary report, Mr. Bacon states the general results of his mission, leaving the details of each of the countries visited for the larger and final account. That even the most casual reader may have these results in summary form, and thus be able to appreciate the success of Mr. Bacon's visit, with the aims and purposes of which they are already familiar, a few paragraphs are given with an omission of a phrase or two:
On every side the invitation to our friends in South America to cordial and sympathetic union with the Trustees in the various enterprises which the Endowment is seeking to promote, met with enthusiastic response.
The proposed exchange of visits of representative men was most heartily approved and might be put into execution without delay ... . .
It was my good fortune to be in Lima while the Pan-American Medical Congress was in session, and at the opening meeting of that body of scientists, to hear one of the speakers, Doctor Cabred, refer with appreciation to the work of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. I was deeply impressed by the fact that these men, gathered together from the American republics for a common, humanitarian purpose, well represented the "international mind," and I took the liberty of suggesting to the President of the Congress, Doctor Odriozola, the possibility of selecting from the Congress representatives who might be willing to visit the United States in connection with the exchange of visits proposed by the Endowment.
The way has been prepared for the formation of national societies for conciliation to be affiliated with the Association for International Conciliation in Paris and New York. . . .
Societies of International Law to be affiliated with the American Institute of International Law have either been actually formed or are in process of formation in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, and Lima.
I had the honour of presenting to the Governments of the countries which I visited the opportunity to participate in the proposed Academy of International Law at The Hague, and of calling their attention to the necessity of appointing national committees for the consideration of contributions to the programme of the next Hague Conference and making arrangements for the intercommunication of such committees among all the American countries.
The representatives of the several Governments with whom I talked were receptive without exception. The proposed Academy of International Law at The Hague made an immediate appeal to their sympathy and interest and they also expressed their appreciation of the importance of the early appointment of national committees to discuss contributions to the programme of the next Hague Peace Conference.
In all the principal addresses I took the opportunity to describe the work of the Division of Economics and History of the Endowment, and to bespeak for it the assistance of our friends in South America in arranging for the systematic furnishing of data in accordance with the programme laid down at Berne . . . . (143)
Of the final report of his journey, "For Better Relations with Our Latin American Neighbours," the first part, given over to preliminary observations, will be found most interesting, as Mr. Bacon not only explains the relations of the United States to the other Republics of the American continent, but states the policy which in his opinion the United States should pursue in the future. His fundamental thesis is, that "by history even more than by nature the countries of the North and South American continents are bound closely together."(144) How are they to be kept together? In answer to this question, Mr. Bacon naturally turns to the past and refers in first instance to Henry Clay, who espoused the cause of the Spanish colonies then in arms against the mother country, advocated the recognition of their independence, and predicted the prosperous future into which all have not yet entered, but into which we hope they will all enter in the fullness of time. He passes to Mr. Blaine's proposal for Pan-American Conferences, attributing to President Garfield's statesmanship---"the first of those Pan-American Conferences which are now held regularly."(145) "History," Napoleon is reported as saying, "is agreed fiction." It may turn out that the idea was original neither with Mr. Blaine nor President Garfield, whose Secretary of State he was, and that some less known but farsighted statesman suggested it. However that may be, the fact is that Mr. Blaine signed the note for the call of such a conference in 1881. The conference he called met in 1889 at Washington, when he was Secretary of State under President Harrison.
Of these conferences, four had met before the World War and a fifth of the series would have convened in Chile approximately in 1915 if that calamity had not occurred. Probably nothing has done more than these conferences, meeting in the course of every few years, to make the American States feel their oneness, even if they do not always act as a unit. One of the reasons Mr. Bacon found admirably stated in general terms by Mr. Roque Saenz Peña, a delegate to the First Pan-American Conference and President of Argentina during Mr. Bacon's visit to that country. In the course of an address to the conference, that distinguished, hard-headed, and practical statesman said:
The truth is that our knowledge of each other is limited. The Republics of the North of this continent have lived without holding communication with those of the South, or of the Center. Absorbed, as they have been, like ours in the organic labor of their institutions, they have failed to cultivate with us closer and more intimate relations.(146)
Of the value of Mr. Root's services, Mr. Bacon has this to say, after quoting Dr. Saenz Peña:
While I am confident that this true explanation of our mistakes is accepted by the discerning statesmen of our sister republics, it has been only natural that the apparent and often actual neglect of our opportunities to cultivate a better understanding of our neighbors, our ignorance of their affairs and our seeming national indifference to their progress should have tended to engender on their part sentiments of resentment, distrust and suspicion. Mr. Root's historic visit to South America in 1906 has been responsible, more than any other single factor, for the correction of these impressions of us. Our people at large have not even a faint conception of the great service Mr. Root has done them by his sympathetic attitude and by his repeated utterances of our national policy, but this service is recognized in all parts of South America, where he is regarded with the deepest affection and respect.(147)
Omitting for the present the specific objects of Mr. Bacon's mission, with which he follows this passage, the latter portion of the preliminary observations takes up and completes his views on the larger problems.
In speaking or in thinking of the Republics of South America we are exceedingly apt to fall into the error of regarding them as a whole. The ten separate states are as distinct as the separate countries of Europe; the peoples constituting them differ in race, habits, and ideals; their governments, though retaining the same basic form, are really often quite dissimilar. We shall never go very far toward improving our relations with the Latin-American Republics, either in the matter of intellectual intercourse or of commerce, until we have made ourselves familiar with the separate nations and by study or actual contact learned to make the necessary distinctions between them. A true understanding of our neighbours can come only with a knowledge of their separate histories, of their heroes, of the epics of valour and perseverance of each Republic and of the races from which they have sprung, native and European.(148)
Nevertheless, the peoples of South Am America are alike in many respects and have certain admirable qualities in common. As Mr. Bacon says:
Although error springs from regarding the South American nations as a whole, certain characteristics are, in greater or less degree, common to all of these peoples. They are hospitable, courteous, sensitive, proud, and intensely patriotic. Whoever goes among them with a disregard of these traits is sure to produce a bad impression upon them. We of northern climes are traditionally more brusque, and brusqueness is foreign and offensive to these descendants of the polite races of the Iberian Peninsula. Their sensitiveness causes them to resent criticism, although they accept most readily suggestions prompted by a sincere friendship but an attitude of superiority, too often assumed by unthinking persons of other nations, can beget only their suspicion, distrust, and contempt.(149)
Mr. Bacon notes that in every country he visited he "found sentiments of warmest friendship for the United States," and that the occasional opinions to the contrary were "practically negligible in comparison with the earnest desire for the friendliest relations between our countries whåich one hears expressed by the real leaders of opinion everywhere." Yet Mr. Bacon sounds a note of warning:
It behooves the people of this country, however, to conduct themselves toward their Latin-American neighbours with such consideration and fairness that no cause for suspicion may arise. It has been decreed by our geographical position and historical association that our destinies shall not be separate. Such has been the view of our own statesmen from the time of Monroe and such was the opinion of those early great leaders of South American independence. I believe that this opinion is held by the South American leaders of to-day, not in any sense of political alliance and, certainly, in no degree in a manner to involve the sovereignty of any state concerned, but as a matter of policy necessitated by our proximity to each other, our isolation from other continents and our common ideals of liberty. We must all, I think, admit the force of the argument for our interdependence, but each American nation should be scrupulously careful in respecting the rights and sentiments of the others.(150)
How should we Americans of the North act toward the Americans of the South? To this question Mr. Bacon has a ready answer:
For our conduct we cannot do better than to remember and follow the sentiments of John Quincy Adams expressed in a special message to the House of Representatives, explaining his action in appointing delegates to the Conference held in Panama:
"The first and paramount principle upon which it was deemed wise and just to lay the cornerstone of all our future relations with them (our sister American republics) was disinterestedness; the next was cordial good will to them; the third was a claim of fair and equal reciprocity."(151)
Add to John Quincy Adams' paramount principle Mr. Root's doctrine of sympathy and understanding, of kindly consideration and honourable obligation, and we have, in Mr. Bacon's opinion, a perfect policy "for better relations with our Latin-American neighbours."
In the spring of 1914, after the preparation of his report of his visit to our southern neighbours, Mr. Bacon was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment, under whose auspices(152) he made his journey from which he brought back good tidings from the promised land. Indeed, he was so impressed with what he saw that he was bold enough to say, or was farsighted enough to prophesy, "it must strike any one who visits South America that it is the country of the future."(153)
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