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culture, the economy of the South revolutionised, rebellion put down and the cause of freedom advanced. In this he had taken his part. As to himself, he had become as much of a democrat as was possible, but he had remained individual,' not seeing or taking things quite in the usual way.' Altogether an attractive character, still in process of development.
The training in youth fitted both men for useful public careers, but no opportunity to exercise their ability offered. Diplomacy has not been a 'career' under the American Government, and has established no system of promotion or of permanency. To be a Secretary of Legation for a few years is not enough, when neither advance in office nor public favour abroad or at home is to be expected. The army in peace offered no place for one who was not by nature fitted to be a soldier, loving his profession and mindful of possible wars to come; and the army of the United States, on its peace establishment, gave little room even for the true soldier. The two young men, politically inclined, bad passed some of their best years in positions of responsibility, conscious of exerting some power and influence over others. Both entertained the idea of continuing this influence and of becoming, like their ancestors, leaders of policy and servants of the public. Nevertheless from this time their paths diverged widely.
The war had settled the question of Union of the States, and had raised conditions and problems of government of the highest importance. Had Lincoln lived, Charles Francis Adams, the elder, would have been Secretary of the Treasury. In view of that possibility both the sons studied national finance, Henry through English experience under the Bank Restriction Act, Charles through the confusion of taxation, currency, and speculative fever before his eyes. The general condition of the country must first be improved; and the railroads and questions of transportation constituted the vital factor in that improvement. With good judgment Charles Adams selected that as his field, and began with a study of the recent history of the Erie Railroad, a shocking example of the sacrifice of a public utility to the unmeasured greed of stock-gamblers. If
such abuse of power were allowed to persist, it would mean the overthrow of free institutions. His exposure of the scandal rendered great service, advanced reform, and brought deserved reputation. Massachusetts led the way by creating a State Railroad Commission, appointing Mr Adams a commissioner. In ten years of office, most of the time as chairman and writer of the reports, he gave it such a standing that similar commissions in other States studied it as a model. His principle was simple-publicity, 'an appeal to an enlightened public opinion, based on facts elicited by a fair-minded public investigation.' He carried this principle into every phase of railroad administration, and sought to establish general rules which could produce order and a sense of responsibility in railroad management, and thus win the confidence of the investor. It was a notable achievement, and constitutes his chief contribution to practical administration.
He was essentially a 'reformer' and a battling one, eager to attack an abuse, fertile in suggestion for correcting it. The element of popularity never seems to have entered his mind; the existence of the abuse once proved, that was enough. For more than thirty-five years, in the slow correction of conditions left by the war, no progressive movement failed to enlist his sympathy and active participation. The list would be a long one-currency, tariff, civil-service reform, taxation, liberal republicanism, third or independent parties, antiimperialism in national affairs; schools, park systems, university administration, and town government in local matters. To each he contributed, and so came to be classed among the small number of men who could be counted upon when action outside of party promised improvement, and when independence required courage and sacrifice. In all this activity he never ran for office, and rarely enjoyed the pleasurable reaction of immediate success.
As neither business nor reform movements monopolised his energy, he turned to the writing of historyhis natural avocation as it proved. He had the historical mind. He represented a type different from the older school of Massachusetts historians, better equipped for the monograph than for general history. Accuracy, a
grasp of principle, a breadth of judgment, and a vigorous expression give to his historical work a personal impress unmatched, and the same qualities made him a good biographer. Under the title “Three Episodes of Massachusetts History' he wrote the history of a locality-the town of Quincy, Massachusetts—a model of its kind. His side studies to that work—the tragedy of Ann Hutchinson and the comedy of Morton of Merrymountas well as a Life of Richard Henry Dana, proved his capacity to interpret character. President of an historical society that was suffering from an absence of initiative, he so invigorated it as to place it again in the first rank of such bodies. It would be difficult to define his influence and even to indicate in how many directions he exerted it.
The individual note made itself felt in what he wrote. The earlier Adamses were described by their opponents as 'contrary-minded'; and the quality was handed down to their descendants. But it was not destructive criticism only, for Mr Adams could frame a new presentation, equal to the old, if not better. An instance is to be found in his whole-hearted acceptance of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy. The time was come to recognise the end of the Civil War, to lay aside the remains of bitter memories, and to accept the full result of the conflict; but few in the North could make even the first advance to a better understanding, fearing a political recoil on their fortunes. Mr Adams took the highest stand possible. He recognised the right of the South to secede, because the American constitution had not decided whether sovereignty resided in State or Nation. Lee sacrificed all to maintain his allegiance to Virginia ; and Mr Adams asserted he would have done the same himself under the like conditions. He defended Lee's plan of campaign, and refused to admit that he was defeated in the field. It was the blockade of the South, and the failure of the South to compel intervention through the cotton famine in Lancashire, that defeated the Army of Virginia. The man who had rested under the stigma of traitor, who represented all that the political orator of the North dwelt upon as offensive and criminal in the war, Mr Adams accepted as a great soldier and a man of the highest character. A fine tribute to a former enemy, it involved a re-examination of the leading
features of the war and a condemnation of the policy of reconstruction that followed peace.
During the war both of the brothers had speculated upon their futures and the part they wished to play. Charles, with more direct and practical decision, believed his opportunity was in literature and politics, using the term in its best sense; Henry looked to a residence in Washington, connexion with public men, a reform movement and journalism. If Henry seriously entertained hope of public employment and of helpful criticism in Washington the trend of events destroyed it. The presidency of Grant and the policy of the Republican party reduced attempted reform in administration to a farce. An assistant professorship in Harvard University, to teach mediæval history, was offered and taken with reluctance. With the appointment came the editorship of the North American Review,' then the organ of intellectual America, having a circulation pitiably small but an influence much beyond its circulation. Here at least was action, though Henry persisted in proclaiming his own unfitness to teach, and the 'Review'imposed labour while preventing him from writing. As a teacher he gained a following, but at the end of five years he resigned his chair in the University and returned to Washington. Here he could be an observer and could write history.
Of his ‘History of the United States during the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison, it is not possible to speak too highly. It was the first American history to have an adequate foreign background, bearing out his theory: 'For history, international relations are the only sure standards of movement, the only founda tion for a map.
For this reason, Adams had always insisted that international relation was the only sure base for a chart of history.' In applying this principle he delved in European archives; he wrote biographies of Albert Gallatin and John Randolph of Roanoke, as side-studies; and he accumulated a great body of unused material. It all resulted in a brilliantly written essay in nine volumes on a political chapter of American history, at once accepted as authoritative and well-nigh final. Incidentally, in following the tortuous foreign policy of Jefferson and Madison, deceived and played with as they
were by Canning and Napoleon, he offered a full defence of the policy of John Adams, at the time rejected by the people and derided by the political leaders of all parties.
He had no further interest in American history, unless it were in geology; and there no opportunity offered. American science is practical; and to Henry Adams that was its least inviting aspect. Occupied he must be, and there revived in him an interest in mediæval history, not as mere antiquarian research but as a study with a distinct end in view. The first conception was almost whimsical. If mind is a form of energy, it should be measurable as all other forms of energy aré.
As social progress is largely controlled by mind, cannot the movement be established and accelerated, or retardation laid down on a scale? To chart in terms of force finance, politics, physics, and philosophy, were it possible, would place an instrument of incalculable efficiency in the hands of the historian. Man as a force must be measured by motion, from a fixed point.
* Eight or ten years of study had led Adams to think he night use the century 1150-1250, expressed in Amiens Cathedral and the Works of Thomas Aquinas, as the unit from which he might measure motion down to his own time, without assuming anything as true or untrue, except relation. The movement might be studied at once in philosophy and mechanics. Setting himself to the task, he began a volume which he mentally knew as Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres : a Study of Thirteenth-Century Unity.” From that point he proposed to fix a position for himself, which he could label: “The Education of Henry Adams: a Study of TwentiethCentury Multiplicity." With the help of these two points of relation he hoped to project his lines forward and backward indefinitely, subject to correction from any one who should know better.'
His · Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres 'formed the first section of his plan. As a tourist-an ignorant tourist, who may attempt an explanation, while confessing his impotence in the face of what he does explain-he sets out from the Mount to go to Chartres on a pilgrimage that in time and space produces an impressive picture of a world-epoch. The purpose was to get, on the way, not technical knowledge; not accurate information; not
Vol. 237.-No. 471.