Imágenes de páginas
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed]




Y the election of Woodrow Wilson to be its president, Princeton has, for the first time in thirty-four years, one of its own graduates at the head of its affairs. Dr. Wilson is, moreover, representative of what is best in Princeton,-the Princeton re-created by McCosh, and admirably developed by Patton, out of the old Princeton. which the Civil War had so terribly crippled. He also represents one of the most important elements in the life of that old ante-bellum Princeton, the Southern man who once dominated the student life. Woodrow Wilson is a Virginian, with that inborn love of the study of statecraft which has been the heritage of so many Virginians from Madison and Henry to the present day.

But he is a great deal more than the product of a State or a section. His education represents many phases. He studied, first, at a North Carolina college; he took his academic degree at Princeton, his law degree at the University of Virginia, and his doctorate of philosophy at Johns Hopkins. He practiced law in Atlanta, He practiced law in Atlanta, Ga.; he taught history at Bryn Mawr, in Pennsylvania; and then at Wesleyan, in New England. While there he began to be known as a public lecturer all over New England, in its most intellectual centers. With that openness of mind which is one of his chief characteristics, he absorbed from North and South what was best. With this cosmopolitan education and training, he is to-day the product of no section, -he is a representative American.

Though his education has been so varied, there has been no haphazard in his career. Every step that he has taken has been one of conscious choice, leading to a definite, logical end. No one who knew him intimately in his undergraduate days had any doubt about his aim in life, or, what is more remarkable, had they any doubt of his ultimate achievement. That a boy under twenty should so impress other boys under twenty is not unusual; but that his whole career should be an abundant fulfillment of the boy's ideal is the remarkable thing.

This choice of the best thing for his own purpose was the marked quality of Wilson in his student days. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he had very definite ideas as to what part of the curriculum would help him to do it. He worked hard at the thing he wanted and let the rest go. What relative rank in class this system

of selection might bring him did not interest him in the least. He practiced the elective system in his own career ten years before Princeton had much of it in the curriculum.

Those who knew him well soon learned what he was driving at. He proposed to "study government and write about it." He knew that a necessary part of the preparation for it would be the study of law; but whether he should find the best opportunity to make himself a writer on Institutions through the practice of law, or through public life, or through teaching, he did not know. Of one thing he was sure, if the practice of law did not give him the opportunity to write about government, by the application of law he would abandon it.

He also knew that not only must he be a good writer, but a good speaker and debater, if he was to make public affairs his career. Government is a device of men, and human nature is back of it and always present in its application. He showed an early intolerance for mere book knowledge; he wanted to understand the workings of men in the mass and indi. vidually. This science of government interested him because it was intensely human, and because he was himself intensely human. There never was a bit of the prig or " dig" about him. He was a marked man intellectually, but made no bones about it. He knew every kind of man in the class, and every kind of man knew him, and most of them liked him,-unless they were stupid or insincere. He was so intolerant of duplicity and impatient with stupidity that those people stayed out of his way.

[ocr errors]

He gathered around him a coterie of men who were interested in similar questions, and they debated them vigorously. In the literary Hall he was always ready for a debate, and in the actual machinery of the government of that often unruly body of two hundred men he took the liveliest interest. A society founded by James Madison in his undergraduate days would naturally furnish a favorite forum for his mind. One thing we soon found out,-and that was that, although Wilson was always ready for debate, he would never argue on a side which he did not believe. And so when the preliminary contest for the greatest debating honor of the course came the Lynde debate-and Wilson drew the side of a question in which he did not believe,

he instantly withdrew from. the competition. He was easily the best debater we had, and it was giving up a certainty, but he never hesitated. He did not believeand that was enough.

There was one question that he never tired of arguing; when all other topics failed, and a lively tilt was wanted, some one would broach the question of Cabinet government as opposed to Committee government. I don't think we cared much about the question, one way or the other, but it was fun to hear Wilson argue it. We could always draw fire also with Burke, Brougham, Bagehot, or Chatham. He used to read their speeches out loud in Potter's woods, in order to get the swing of their style. And to-day, if you will read Wilson's books, or hear him make a speech, you will see the part that those great Englishmen played in the making of his own style.

It is often easy to write this sort of thing about a man after the fact, and make it fit his achievements. But in this case it is a matter of record in black and white. His essay on Cabinet Government was written and accepted by the International Review while he was an undergraduate. The old Nassau Lit. contained his famous essay on Earl Chatham, which is good reading to-day, and several hundred men will vividly recall his brilliant oration on Richard Cobden.

There was a definiteness of purpose, a maturity of achievement, about Wilson's undergraduate days which make them worth recalling. Moreover, he was always a good fellow, interested in every phase of college life,-president of the athletic association, editor of The Princetonian, a leader in social affairs, and the most loyal classmate and friend.

It was natural that, after graduating in 1879, Wilson should return to his native State, to the


Photographed last month especially for the REVIEW OF REVIEWS by Pirie MacDonald, New York. PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON, OF PRINCETON.

University of Virginia, to study law. There he left the same record of vigorous clearness in the pursuit of his aim as at Princeton. He practiced law in Atlanta, Ga., in 1882-83, in the same office with a man of congenial literary tastes. The net result of that experiment was the conviction that for him at least the way to a knowledge of the science of government, and the opportunity to write about it, did not lie through the routine of law. But the experience has left with him a flexibility of mind, an easy adjustment to all kinds of audiences, and a fund of anecdote which unite to make him one

of the most effective and graceful of after-dinner speakers, and a ready man in the emergencies of public life.


When he abandoned law practice, in 1883, he went to Johns Hopkins University, and found a stimulating atmosphere of vigorous mental life, the inspiration of which was original research." Here he had the opportunity, as Fellow in His tory, to perfect his knowledge and polish his style in preparation for the final draft of his first book, at which he had been working since his undergraduate days. When completed it immediately found a publisher, and served also as the thesis on which Johns Hopkins granted him his Ph.D.

This book on "Congressional Government" (1885) was the first attempt that any one had made to describe the actual workings of our system in practice as developed from the theory of the Constitution. There was a literary charm about its style and a fine moral enthusiasm in its argument that immediately made him a far larger audience than a book on politics is apt to gain. The book remains, after seventeen years, the standard authority on the subject, and was the acknowledged basis of Mr. Bryce's chapters on committee government. Wilson was not yet thirty years of age, but gained at a bound a recognized place, not only among students of politics, but as a man of letters.

His next book, "The State" (1889), was a feat of scholarship, and by the breadth of its subject and the necessity for condensation, allowed little opportunity for the graces of style,except for that supreme grace of clearness. was the first book in English to present the workings of all constitutional governments as they are carried on at the present day, and it has held its place ever since as a college text-book.




In the writing of history he first showed his skill in Division and Reunion," a sketch of the period from 1829 to 1889, and a few years later he produced a brilliant popular biography of George Washington" (1897). These books have led up to his " Colonies and Nations,' "History of the People of the United States," an elaborate work, in four volumes, which he has just completed, and which will be published this fall. The chapters from it which have appeared in Harper's show that he has written a history that is fascinating in style and scholarly in matter. It is the first important history of the United States written by a Southerner,—but it is not a Southern history. It represents all the elements that have gone to the making of this great country. The New England point of view has heretofore dominated our historical writers. Professor Wilson's point of view is broadly American.

[ocr errors]

Two volumes, collected from various periodicals, An Old Master" (1893) and "Mere Literature" (1896),-show Wilson's versatility, lightness of touch, and quality as an essayist.

Admirable as his achievement has been as scholar, historian, and essayist, it would not of itself designate him as the ideal man to be president of a university. Along with it goes a wonderful success as a teacher for a period of seventeen years. As lecturer on Administration at Johns Hopkins, for ten years, he was brought in contact with a picked body of students from all over the country, many of whom are now profes sors in the leading universities. At the same time he was lecturing on Constitutional Law at the New York Law School, before men of an entirely different cast of mind; and his elective classes at Princeton, since 1890, have been the largest in that institution. He has been in constant demand as a public lecturer for many years.

In purely executive work he has shown force, diplomacy, and acuteness as a member of the most important committees in the Princeton faculty. All his life he has studied executive problems, and his fitness for executive work has been so marked for years that he has received invitations from many important institutions to be their president. It was told on the Princeton campus the other day that one of the political parties had asked him, months ago, to run for State Senator, and recently a Western newspaper pointed him out as the right kind of man to be a candidate for President of the United States.

That is the man whom President Patton, with the intellectual acuteness which he always exhibits, designated as his successor and the trustees unanimously elected. Princeton has never grown more rapidly than under Dr. Patton's presidency. It has been reaching out in many directions toward what is best in the modern system of education. Schemes have been started that as yet are formless, and Dr. Patton, with wonderful clearness, recognized in Woodrow Wilson the man to guide them to efficient completeness. At forty-five, Dr. Wilson takes up the great task with vigor, and a reasonable hope of years of successful labor. He knows the leading men and the best methods in universities here and abroad; the loyal body of Princeton alumni (and none are more loyal) throughout the country know him personally and trust him; and the undergraduates welcome him with cheers.

He has a great task, but he also has a great courage. And back of it lies the superb equip. ment founded on years of single-minded, persistent training in the science of government, leading up to this opportunity for applying it to the needs of Princeton University.



[The following article was mailed from England on June 11,-some days before the news of King Edward's serious illness and resulting operation.-THE EDITOR.]

HE conclusion of peace in South Africa, on

effacement of the Boer republics, has been welcomed with relief by everybody. The public had long been sick of the war. The King was most anxious to have the war out of the way before his coronation. The Boers were almost at the end of their resources, and so,-in May, 1902,-a surrender was arranged which might have been carried out twelve months earlier, if Mr. Chamberlain had supported Lord Kitchener, instead of ridiculing him, when he attempted to come to terms with General Botha. For more than eighteen months the war has dragged on solely because of the utter distrust of the Boers in the good faith of They believed that the British Government. Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Milner were mere tools in the hands of Mr. Rhodes.. They passionately protested that every effort they had made to avert the war had always been thwarted by Lord Milner or Mr. Chamberlain, and hence it was impossible to trust their promises, even if, as Mr. Fischer said, "They swore on a sackful of Bibles." They believed in Sir Redvers Buller, and of late they learned to place confidence in Lord Kitchener. But Lord Roberts abruptly destroyed Buller's chance of arranging peace by insisting on unconditional surrender, and Mr. Chamberlain paralyzed Lord Kitchener by contemptuously repudiating the terms on which the latter had almost made peace with General Botha. But in March Mr. Rhodes died, and about the same time the King's impatient anxiety to have peace before the crowning induced Mr. Chamberlain and his colleagues to give Lord KitcheLer another chance. This time the negotiations The Boers, having were crowned with success. to deal at last with one whom they could trust, agreed to abandon a struggle which they had waged with such astonishing resolution for two years and seven months.


The formula became master of the situation. was, "Give up your independence and you can have what conditions of peace you like;" to which the reply was, "Let us retain our independence and you may have any guarantees you like in the shape of the voluntary cession of this, that, or the other prerogative of sovereignty.' It was in vain that it was pointed out to them that a British self-governing colony like Australia more real independence, or Canada had far "What security." coupled with the right of secession, than the Transvaal ever possessed. they asked, "have you to offer that we shall have the rights of an Australia or a Canada? Remember that a British Government promised us three times over representative government when we were first annexed, and after four years they placed us under the rule of the soldier, Sir Owen Lanyon. Once bit, twice shy."


More than eighteen months ago, conditions substantially identical with those now agreed npon were informally submitted to President Kruger and the Boer delegates in Holland. They failed because of the rooted distrust which prevailed until Mr. Rhodes died and Lord Kitchener


It remains to be seen whether the confidence which has at last been established in Lord KitchThe terms of ener will be justified by events. peace are declared by many unthinking perSuch a judg sons to be amazingly generous. ment is superficial, and will be reversed on reflection. The three millions sterling given as a free grant is merely the acceptance of the responsibility to meet the obligations entered into by the governments of the republics when they commandeered private property at the early The Boer governments isstages of the war. sued notes and gave receipts, which became part When the of the floating debt of the republics. republics were annexed, the annexing government took over the debts of the conquered states. One of the first charges upon the so-called free grant will be the repayment of the gold seized by the Transvaal Government belonging to the When all the mine owners of Johannesburg. obligations thus incurred have been met, there will be little or no surplus for the compensation of the sufferers from the policy of devastation adopted to bring the war to a close. The rebuilding of the ruined farms, and the replenishing of the stock driven off or killed by the devastating columns, are to be provided out of loans advanced to the Boers by the English

« AnteriorContinuar »