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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.
ling to pay it with !” Fortunately, the The treatment of Mr. Marsh by our payment of this long-hung-up expense government was one of those instances of bill was sufficient to relieve him almost its not uncommon dishonorable neglect entirely from debt. of honest work done by its servants. The Turkish (his first) mission was not When his work was finished he sent in the place most desired by him. A Boston his bill of expenses, in accordance with
paper recommended him as Minister to Webster's directions, but it did not reach Berlin because he “could speak German the department tiil after Webster's death. like a brick.” When he reached the post This account included no charge for extra he began at once the study of the Turkservice, only his own personal hotel bills, ish language, and followed that with the which were kept down to an unextrava- Arabic and Persian. He could already gant basis, and the expense of a single converse in French, German, Italian, servant. The latter item was struck out Swedish, Danish and Spanish; but he deby the precious economists at Washington sired to have command of those other as an “unnecessary luxury.” The account languages that he might form independlay unsettled for eight years. Just before ent judgments, make investigations for its settlement Marsh wrote to his friend, himself, and not be obliged to depend Dr. Lieber: “At the age of fifty-nine I be- upon others or interpreters. gin the world with a debt of ten thousand In 1861 the mission to Italy came to dollars in good new notes, and not a shil- him unsought from Lincoln, who was
George S. Marsh
moved by some of Mr. Marsh's influential rich in the department of linguistics, is
ROBERT DALE OWEN
the Two Sicilies, he set to work on While so large a part of Mr. Marsh's strange a task as ever resulted from the long active life (born in 1801, at Wood- experiences of a foreign minister. The stock, Vt., he lived to eighty-one) was material for this, his first book on Spiritspent in public service, and in the practice ualism—“Footfalls on the Boundary of of an exacting profession, he pursued con- Another World "-he had secured in the stantly his scholarly studies and re- intervals of treaty-making, partly by study searches. His “insatiate greed of know- and partly by observation; "and this, with ing things” (the phrase is Donald G. his · Debatable Land' (1872), remains the Mitchell's) was manifest from his youth, most respectable and impressive contribuand it never weakened till his death. tion to the subject that has ever proceeded His knowledge was abundant, thorough, from a believer in the reality of Spiritual exact. It covered letters, the arts, and phenomena." science. His researches were most pa- Owen's early knowledge of his father's tient and exhaustive. His chief books- methods at New Lanark, and his training “ Lectures on the English Language,” at the famous school at Hofwyl, both " Origin and History of the English Lan- served to emphasize a natural inclination guage,
,” “The Earth as Modified by Hu- toward "a somewhat inconsiderate philanman Action "-are less read nowadays than thropy;" and he advocated, during his they deserve to be. His Icelandic gram- life, a variety of unpopular theories. He mar of 1838 is forgotten; while his treat- is charged with being responsible for the ise on the camel, designed to demonstrate lax divorce laws of Indiana, as a result of the value of that deserving animal in do- his contention for a fairer attitude of the mestic and military service in the United law toward women. Horace Greeley enStates, lies dust-covered on the bookshelf. tered into a lively tilt with him upon this His rare collection of etchings and en- subject, but Owen, like many another gravings, deposited by him in the Smith- humane radical, believed that the hand of sonian Institution, in which he was so justice should not be stayed because its much concerned, long ago suffered injury sweep could not be kept within the preand neglect; but his fine library, of cise bounds prescribed by conservative twelve thousand volumes, valuable in judgment. The results of such a man's choice editions of standard works in the life will always be uneven, but the balance literatures of the world, and especially is sure to be upon the right side.
quette of his official positions, he was a
companionable soul with those who came John Bigelow was rather the journa- to enjoy his intimate acquaintance; and list than the littérateur in diplomacy. when he retired from the French mission, While he had published a couple of books he was given a farewell dinner by the and numerous literary papers before his American residents in Paris, in the inviappointment to the consulship at Paris, in tation to which the colony generally 1861, his most constant and regular writ- joined. It was a function which hapings had been for the periodical press, es- pened to be, and is so made a matter of pecially for the New York Evening Post record,“ the first of its kind ever paid to an during the free-soil agitation days, with American diplomat at any foreign court.' Bryant. It was after he had sold his interest in the Post to Parke Godwin, Bryant's
JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY son-in-law, and his retirement from the paper, that the appointment came.
Two grim incidents in our diplomatic In Bigelow's case the most notable lit- history form two equally grim episodes erary work was done during and after his in the life of John Lothrop Motley, diplomatic service. This covered the five a man signally equipped, one might supyears between 1861 and 1866, as consul in pose, for coping successfully with matters Paris through the Civil War period, as involving ability, tact and delicacy. PerChargé d'affaires upon the death of Min- haps an impulsive, truth-loving nature ister Dayton in 1865, and as Minister to never attains to absolute discretion, and the close of 1866. Within this period he there is little question that, as between made that valuable contribution to our sincerity and discretion, the latter is the historical literature, the complete autobi- more urgent need in diplomacy. ography of Franklin, through his discov- Motley's method of preparation for the ery and purchase of the original manu- serious work of his life may well give script, which he subsequently published pause to the upholders of system, although with his own introduction and notes in his warmest friends are willing to attribthe volumes constituting the “ Biography ute some of the grave faults of his best of Benjamin Franklin by Himself.” This work to his intellectual capriciousness as alone gives Bigelow an honorable place a youth. He read and studied whatever, among our men of letters. As a diplo- wherever and whenever he willed, writing matist his services were especially excellent poems, dramas and sketches, now in imiin that timely discovery at a critical period tation of Byron, then of Disraeli, or Bulof the Civil War of the connivance of the wer, or Shakespeare, or Goethe. The ease French Government in a plot to furnish with which he compassed these varying the Confederacy with four first-class iron- forms of expression, his personal beauty clads, and his clever handling of the evi- and his grace of manner, ought to have dence by which the plot was thwarted. made him a popular hero among his colThe story of this adventure told twenty lege friends; but a tendency to arrogance and more years after in his “France and and sarcasm, both of which were probably the Confederate Navy” is one of his most assumed in part to conceal great shyness, interesting writings in the lighter vein. and a leaning toward Byronic cynicism, His lives of Tilden and of Bryant well strongly tempered the admiration which round out his literary career. While true, he aroused. It must be remembered, sometimes severely so, to the rules of eti- however, that he entered college at thir
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 Humiliation came to him in 1839, on
this crisis, and returned in 1861, only to the absolute failure of his novel, “Mor- be appointed by Lincoln almost immediton's Hope”—a tale which can be read ately as Minister to Austria, Mr. Burlinto-day with an interest which it could not game's nomination having been unacceptpossibly have had then, as a chapter in the able to that country on account of his psychological development of a historian. expressed sympathy with Hungary and
His Secretaryship of Legation at St. Sardinia. Motley's withdrawal from the Petersburg, under Mr. Todd, began early diplomatic service, when called upon to in the winter of 1841, but the cost of liv- affirm or deny the charges of one unknown ing and the danger of transporting his M'Crackin, may have been ill-advised, but family to so rigorous a climate, caused him it was perfectly characteristic of him; it to resign after a few months of service, would have been quite impossible for him and he came back to embark on new liter- to tolerate an inquiry based on uninvestiary ventures. Between 1845 and 1847 he gated accusations, or to admit that, as a contributed to the North American Re- citizen of the United States, he had no view several able papers of a critico-his- right to express himself on national questorical character, which inspired the con- tions, in an unofficial capacity, to his fidence of his friends, and reversed the friends. The episode added no special opinions of his former critics. Motley lustre to the administration of Andrew could not refrain, however, from one more Johnson. essay in fiction, and in 1849 his second About two years later Motley accepted and last novel, “Merrymount," was an- President Grant's offer of the English nounced. It was a gain over Morton's mission-an appointment that would have Hope," but it pointed to no destiny as a given him unmingled pleasure if he could novelist-historical or otherwise. In the have forgotten the mortifying termination meantime the project for a historical of his first ministry. work of great proportions had gathered The relation between his dismissal from strength from the reception of his slighter this second post and the President's fury attempts in this direction ; and after ex- over the attitude of Motley's friend, Sumhausting all available sources in this ner, toward the San Domingo treaty, has country, he went to Europe in 1851, to been generally admitted to be that of gather information from original con- effect and cause. No really plausible temporaneous documents in the English, reason, much less a convincing one, has Dutch and Belgian archives.
ever been advanced by the enemies of When he published the “ History of the Motley for this act of the governmentRise of the Dutch Republic" in London, an act inevitably disastrous to a high