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'48, were of the most practical sort; and in common with the American missionaries then there an exceptionally fine and devoted set of men of heart and brain -he made personal and pecuniary sacrifices in their aid, while their sympathisers in America talked much but did nothing. His efforts to secure a favorable reception in England and America for the remnant of the Polish Legion upon their dispersion from Turkey, won their warmest gratitude.
Most notable, however, was his handling of the "King case" in Athens, whither he was sent in 1852 on a special mission. He felt himself obliged to master the entire Greek code bearing on the question of religious toleration; to study the institutions and laws of the country, the exact relation of the municipal corporation to the State, and the legal responsibility of each; he had to examine a mass of documentary evidence, blindly written in the modern Greek manuscript character, "totally illegible and decipherable only inspiration-wise," as he afterward wrote.
The treatment of Mr. Marsh by our government was one of those instances of its not uncommon dishonorable neglect of honest work done by its servants. When his work was finished he sent in his bill of expenses, in accordance with Webster's directions, but it did not reach the department till after Webster's death. This account included no charge for extra service, only his own personal hotel bills, which were kept down to an unextravagant basis, and the expense of a single servant. The latter item was struck out by the precious economists at Washington as an "unnecessary luxury." The account lay unsettled for eight years. Just before its settlement Marsh wrote to his friend, Dr. Lieber: "At the age of fifty-nine I begin the world with a debt of ten thousand dollars in good new notes, and not a shil
Genge 8. Marsh
ling to pay it with!" Fortunately, the payment of this long-hung-up expense bill was sufficient to relieve him almost entirely from debt.
The Turkish (his first) mission was not the place most desired by him. A Boston paper recommended him as Minister to Berlin because he "could speak German. like a brick." When he reached the post he began at once the study of the Turkish language, and followed that with the Arabic and Persian. He could already converse in French, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish and Spanish; but he desired to have command of those other languages that he might form independent judgments, make investigations for himself, and not be obliged to depend upon others or interpreters.
In 1861 the mission to Italy came to him unsought from Lincoln, who was
moved by some of Mr. Marsh's influential friends. When Marsh heard that this mission had been reserved for Bryant, he asked the withdrawal of his name, saying that Bryant was the fitter man; but Bryant, when consulted, with equal courtesy declared that he would not take it, and that his influence would be given for Marsh. The Italian service began with the new kingdom of Italy, and through its long continuance-till his death at Vallombrosa in the summer of 1882-it was, like his personal influence in the court, as "efficient as it was wise and beneficent."
While so large a part of Mr. Marsh's long active life (born in 1801, at Woodstock, Vt., he lived to eighty-one) was spent in public service, and in the practice of an exacting profession, he pursued constantly his scholarly studies and researches. His "insatiate greed of knowing things" (the phrase is Donald G. Mitchell's) was manifest from his youth, and it never weakened till his death. His knowledge was abundant, thorough, exact. It covered letters, the arts, and science. His researches were most patient and exhaustive. His chief books"Lectures on the English Language," the English Language," "Origin and History of the English Language," "The Earth as Modified by Human Action"-are less read nowadays than they deserve to be. His Icelandic grammar of 1838 is forgotten; while his treatise on the camel, designed to demonstrate the value of that deserving animal in domestic and military service in the United States, lies dust-covered on the bookshelf. His rare collection of etchings and engravings, deposited by him in the Smithsonian Institution, in which he was so much concerned, long ago suffered injury and neglect; but his fine library, of twelve thousand volumes, valuable in choice editions of standard works in the literatures of the world, and especially
rich in the department of linguistics, is preserved intact in the University of Vermont.
ROBERT DALE OWEN
Spiritualist, diplomatist and Scotchman! This felicitous composite is too rare to be allowed to escape without a few words on the close connection between his official life and some of his strongest literary work. When Owen returned to this country in 1858, after five years' residence at Naples, as Minister to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, he set to work on as strange a task as ever resulted from the experiences of a foreign minister. The material for this, his first book on Spiritualism-" Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World "-he had secured in the intervals of treaty-making, partly by study and partly by observation; " and this, with his 'Debatable Land' (1872), remains the most respectable and impressive contribution to the subject that has ever proceeded from a believer in the reality of Spiritual phenomena."
Owen's early knowledge of his father's methods at New Lanark, and his training at the famous school at Hofwyl, both served to emphasize a natural inclination toward "a somewhat inconsiderate philanthropy;" and he advocated, during his life, a variety of unpopular theories. He is charged with being responsible for the lax divorce laws of Indiana, as a result of his contention for a fairer attitude of the law toward women. Horace Greeley entered into a lively tilt with him upon this subject, but Owen, like many another humane radical, believed that the hand of justice should not be stayed because its. sweep could not be kept within the precise bounds prescribed by conservative judgment. The results of such a man's life will always be uneven, but the balance is sure to be upon the right side.
John Bigelow was rather the journalist than the littérateur in diplomacy. While he had published a couple of books and numerous literary papers before his appointment to the consulship at Paris, in 1861, his most constant and regular writings had been for the periodical press, especially for the New York Evening Post during the free-soil agitation days, with Bryant. It was after he had sold his interest in the Post to Parke Godwin, Bryant's son-in-law, and his retirement from the paper, that the appointment came.
In Bigelow's case the most notable literary work was done during and after his diplomatic service. This covered the five years between 1861 and 1866, as consul in Paris through the Civil War period, as Chargé d'affaires upon the death of Minister Dayton in 1865, and as Minister to the close of 1866. Within this period he made that valuable contribution to our historical literature, the complete autobiography of Franklin, through his discovery and purchase of the original manuscript, which he subsequently published with his own introduction and notes in the volumes constituting the "Biography of Benjamin Franklin by Himself." This alone gives Bigelow an honorable place among our men of letters. As a diplomatist his services were especially excellent in that timely discovery at a critical period of the Civil War of the connivance of the French Government in a plot to furnish the Confederacy with four first-class ironclads, and his clever handling of the evidence by which the plot was thwarted. The story of this adventure told twenty and more years after in his "France and the Confederate Navy" is one of his most interesting writings in the lighter vein. His lives of Tilden and of Bryant well round out his literary career. While true, sometimes severely so, to the rules of eti
quette of his official positions, he was a companionable soul with those who came to enjoy his intimate acquaintance; and when he retired from the French mission, he was given a farewell dinner by the American residents in Paris, in the invitation to which the colony generally joined. It was a function which happened to be, and is so made a matter of record," the first of its kind ever paid to an American diplomat at any foreign court."
JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY
Two grim incidents in our diplomatic history form two equally grim episodes. in the life of John Lothrop Motley, a man signally equipped, one might suppose, for coping successfully with matters. involving ability, tact and delicacy. Perhaps an impulsive, truth-loving nature never attains to absolute discretion, and there is little question that, as between sincerity and discretion, the latter is the more urgent need in diplomacy.
Motley's method of preparation for the serious work of his life may well give pause to the upholders of system, although his warmest friends are willing to attribute some of the grave faults of his best work to his intellectual capriciousness as a youth. He read and studied whatever, wherever and whenever he willed, writing poems, dramas and sketches, now in imitation of Byron, then of Disraeli, or Bulwer, or Shakespeare, or Goethe. The ease with which he compassed these varying forms of expression, his personal beauty and his grace of manner, ought to have made him a popular hero among his college friends; but a tendency to arrogance and sarcasm, both of which were probably assumed in part to conceal great shyness, and a leaning toward Byronic cynicism, strongly tempered the admiration which he aroused. It must be remembered, however, that he entered college at thir
Humiliation came to him in 1839, on the absolute failure of his novel, "Morton's Hope"-a tale which can be read to-day with an interest which it could not possibly have had then, as a chapter in the psychological development of a historian.
teen, with a reputation for extraordinary in 1856, at his own expense, he had spent learning, about which he was really very ten years of unstinted toil over the accumodest. Two years in the universities of mulation and arrangement of his material. Berlin and Göttingen followed his course Motley was in England bringing out his at Harvard College, and a life-long friend- "History of the United Netherlands" in ship with Bismarck was one of the results 1860, and did this country an inestimable of these years. He came back to Boston service by sending two strong letters to in 1834 to study law, although he seems the London Times, setting forth the issues never to have practiced a profession for between the North and South and defendwhich his lack of the spirit of compromise ing vigorously the Union cause. He found would have sadly unfitted him. himself unable to stay away from home at this crisis, and returned in 1861, only to be appointed by Lincoln almost immediately as Minister to Austria, Mr. Burlingame's nomination having been unacceptable to that country on account of his expressed sympathy with Hungary and Sardinia. Motley's withdrawal from the diplomatic service, when called upon to affirm or deny the charges of one unknown M'Crackin, may have been ill-advised, but it was perfectly characteristic of him; it would have been quite impossible for him to tolerate an inquiry based on uninvestigated accusations, or to admit that, as a citizen of the United States, he had no right to express himself on national questions, in an unofficial capacity, to his friends. The episode added no special lustre to the administration of Andrew Johnson.
His Secretaryship of Legation at St. Petersburg, under Mr. Todd, began early in the winter of 1841, but the cost of living and the danger of transporting his family to so rigorous a climate, caused him to resign after a few months of service, and he came back to embark on new literary ventures. Between 1845 and 1847 he contributed to the North American Review several able papers of a critico-historical character, which inspired the confidence of his friends, and reversed the opinions of his former critics. Motley could not refrain, however, from one more essay in fiction, and in 1849 his second and last novel, "Merrymount," was announced. It was a gain over "Morton's Hope," but it pointed to no destiny as a novelist-historical or otherwise. In the meantime the project for a historical work of great proportions had gathered strength from the reception of his slighter attempts in this direction; and after exhausting all available sources in this country, he went to Europe in 1851, to gather information from original contemporaneous documents in the English, Dutch and Belgian archives.
When he published the "History of the Rise of the Dutch Republic" in London,
About two years later Motley accepted President Grant's offer of the English mission—an appointment that would have given him unmingled pleasure if he could have forgotten the mortifying termination of his first ministry.
The relation between his dismissal from this second post and the President's fury over the attitude of Motley's friend, Sumner, toward the San Domingo treaty, has been generally admitted to be that of effect and cause. No really plausible reason, much less a convincing one, hast ever been advanced by the enemies of Motley for this act of the governmentan act inevitably disastrous to a high