See William II. KINGS. You are quite right about my preferring a beetle to a throne; that is, if you use the word "beetle" as including a field-mouse or a weasel. I would not say this aloud, because an order; but I wonder if you remember the conversation between Glendower and Hotspur, when Glendower says, ‘I can call spirits from the vasty deep,' and Hotspur answers, 'So can I, and so can any man; but will they come?' " I think he did not entirely understand the quotation, and he reiterated that he would have ordered it to be a sea-level canal and would have listened to no protests from engineers. (To David Gray, October 5, 1911.) Saturday Evening Post, December 26, 1931, p. 5.
See William II.
You are quite right about my preferring a beetle to a throne; that is, if you use the word "beetle" as including a field-mouse or a weasel. I would not say this aloud, because I have been awfully well treated by kings; but in modern days a king's business is not a man's job. He is kept as a kind of national pet, treated with consideration and distinction, but not allowed to have any say in the running of the affairs of the national household. (To Charles G. Washburn, March 5, 1913.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 308; Bishop II, 260.
____________. I do not mean that he fails to serve a useful purpose, just as the flag serves a useful purpose. Only a very foolish creature will talk of the flag as nothing but a bit of dyed or painted bunting, because it is a symbol of enormous consequence in the life and thought of the people. Similarly, the king may serve a purpose of enormous usefulness as a symbol, and I have no question that for many peoples, it would be a misfortune not to have such a symbol, such a figurehead. I am not speaking of the king from the standpoint of his usefulness to the community, which I fully admit; I am merely saying that from his own standpoint, if he is a man of great energy, force and power, it must be well-nigh intolerable to have to content himself with being simply king in the figurehead or symbol fashion. (To Sir George Otto Trevelyan, October 1, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 250- 251; Bishop II, 214.
____________. Kings and such are fundamentally just as funny as American politicians. (To H. C. Lodge, September 14, 1905.) Lodge Letters II, 200.
The doctrine of the divine right of kings, which represented the extreme form of loyalty to the sovereign, was vicious, unworthy of the [English] race, and to be ranked among degrading superstitions. It is now so dead that it is easy to laugh at it; but it was . . . a real power for evil. (1900.) Mem. Ed. XIII, 301; Nat. Ed. X, 199.
It would be very attractive to be a king with the power of a dictator, and the ability to wield that power, to be a Frederick the Great, for instance, or even a man like the old Kaiser William, who if not exactly a great man yet had the qualities which enabled him to use and be used by Bismarck, Moltke, and von Roon. But the ordinary king—and I speak with cordial liking of all the kings I met—has to play a part in which the dress parade is ludicrously out of proportion to the serious effort; there is a quite intolerable quantity of sack to the amount of bread. If he is a decent, straight, honorable fellow, he can set a good example—and yet if he is not, most of his subjects, including almost all the clergymen, feel obliged to be blind and to say that he is; and he can exercise a certain small influence for good on public affairs in an indirect fashion. But he can play no part such as is played by the real leaders in the public life of to-day, if he is a constitutional monarch. (To Sir George Otto Trevelyan, October 1, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 250; Bishop II, 214.
See also Presidency; Royalty.
I need not dwell upon the fact so patent as the widespread indignation with which the American people heard of the dreadful outrages upon the Jews in Kishineff. I have never in my experience in this country known of a more immediate or a deeper expression of sympathy for the victims and of horror over the appalling calamity that has occurred. It is natural that while the whole civilized world should express such a feeling, it should yet be most intense and most widespread in the United States; for all the great Powers I think I may say that the United States is that country in which from the beginning of its natural career most has been done in the way of acknowledging the debt due to the Jewish race and of endeavoring to do justice to those American citizens who are of Jewish ancestry and faith. (At White House, June 15, 1903.) Simon Wolf, The Presidents I Have Known. (Washington, 1918), p. 193.
He is a strong man, but exceedingly bumptious, and everlastingly posing as a strong man. . . . Kitchener is a very powerful fellow, just about as powerful as Leonard Wood but nothing like as attractive personally, and nothing like as modest. He suddenly attacked me on the subject of the Panama Canal, saying that it was a great mistake not to have made it a sea-level canal. I at first answered in a noncommittal way, but he kept on the subject and in a very loud voice repeated that it was a great mistake, that it was very foolish on our part, not to have had it a sea-level canal, and he could not understand why we did not build one. I said that our engineers on the ground reported that there were altogether too many difficulties and too few advantages in a sea-level canal, to which he responded: "I never regard difficulties, or pay heed to protests like that; all I would do in such a case would be to say, 'I order that a sea-level canal be dug, and I wish to hear nothing more about it.' " I answered, "If you say so, I have no doubt you would have given such an order; but I wonder if you remember the conversation between Glendower and Hotspur, when Glendower says, ‘I can call spirits from the vasty deep,' and Hotspur answers, 'So can I, and so can any man; but will they come?' " I think he did not entirely understand the quotation, and he reiterated that he would have ordered it to be a sea-level canal and would have listened to no protests from engineers. (To David Gray, October 5, 1911.) Saturday Evening Post, December 26, 1931, p. 5.
The effect of this decision was not merely the absolute nullification of the antitrust law, so far as industrial corporations were concerned, but was also in effect a declaration that, under the Constitution, the National Government could pass no law really effective for the destruction or control of such combinations. This decision left the National Government, that is, the people of the nation, practically helpless to deal with the large combinations of modern business. The courts in other cases asserted the power of the Federal Government to enforce the antitrust law so far as transportation rates by railways engaged in interstate commerce were concerned. But so long as the trusts were free to control the production of commodities without interference from the general government, they were well content to let the transportation of commodities take care of itself—especially as the law against rebates was at that time a dead letter; and the court by its decision in the Knight case had interdicted any interference by the President or by Congress with the production of commodities. It was on the authority of this case that practically all the big trusts in the United States . . . were formed. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 486-487; Nat. Ed. XX, 418-419.
See also Interstate Commerce; Northern Securities Case.
The Know- nothing Movement in every form is entirely repugnant to true Americanism and this is, perhaps, especially the case when it is directed not merely against American citizens of foreign origin, but also against even native- born Americans of a different creed. We Americans give to men of all races equal and exact justice. That has been our boast as a nation ever since the day when the Puritan of Massachusetts and the Catholic of Maryland sat in the same hall and signed the same Declaration of Independence. On the roll of honor where we have engraved the names of the nation's statesmen and soldiers, patriots and commonwealth- builders, no distinction is known of creed or of race origin, nor even of birthplace. (At Boston, Mass., November 1893.) Mem. Ed. XV, 34-35; Nat. Ed. XIII, 276.
On this trip—here while visiting this castle [Count Wiltczek's, near Vienna], just as at Cairo—I was helped for the first time in my life by the fact that I had always gratified my thirst for useless information. I have never demanded of knowledge anything except that it shall be useless. Now this means that while I know nothing that the average scholar does not know, yet that I know a good deal as to which the average politician or man of affairs is abysmally ignorant; and as naturally my life has been chiefly led among politicians and men of affairs, when it was not led among frontiersmen, there are a great many things I have studied about which I have rarely or never had a chance to speak. . . . Until I went abroad this time I doubt if I had ever derived the slightest benefit, however small, from such things as a knowledge of Moslem travels in the thirteenth century, or Magyar history, or the Mongol conquests, or the growth of the races of Middle Europe and the deeds of their great men. On this occasion, however, my knowledge of these things really added to my pleasure, and brought me into touch with people. For instance, Wiltczek hugely enjoyed finding that, besides a general interest in sport and in mediæval ways and customs, I had taken it for granted that his family, if not Czeck, was of Polish origin, and descended from the Piasts and from Boleslav the Glorious; that when he showed me a portrait of Batory, I was familiar with that Hungarian king of Poland and his wars against Ivan the Terrible; that I knew the details of Rudolph's fight with Ottocar of Bohemia; and so on and so on. (To Sir George Otto Trevelyan, October 1, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 256; Bishop II, 219.
See also Education; Exploration; Scholarship; University.
See Northern Securities case.
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