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EXPLANATORY NOTES

The breadth of Adams’s reading and the number and variety of his connections
are reflected in the unusually wide range of references in the Education. It would
be impractical to gloss every item here, but the notes that follow identify the
major (and sometimes the minor) figures and events that play a central role in
Adams’s account. A useful adjunct to the present edition is that edited by Ernest
Samuels, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973.

5 Editor’s Preface: written by Henry Adams; found in a sealed packet con-
taining a corrected copy of the privately printed 1907 edition with the ini-
tials ‘H.C.L.’ added to the preface with the puzzled approval of Senator
Henry Cabot Lodge, who was instructed by Adams in a letter of 1916 to
publish a posthumous edition. Lodge, a friend and former student of
Adams’s at Harvard, was also president of the Massachusetts Historical
Society in whom Adams had vested the copyright.

“Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres”: Adams’s study of Gothic architecture,
published in 1904. Adams is here rationalizing the composition of the
Education; however, it grew out of Mont-Saint-Michel and was not planned
simultaneously with it.

St. Augustine’s “Confessions”: Adams believed that St Augustine’s
Confessions (397–401) was his chief literary model. To William James on 17
February 1908 he wrote that among autobiographies, ‘I think St.
Augustine alone has an idea of literary form—a notion of writing a story
with an end and an object, not for the sake of the object, but for the form,
like a romance’ (Lett. vi. 119–20).

6 “A Letter to American Teachers”: a short book by Adams focusing on the
second law of thermodynamics and entropy as applied to history.

severe illness: Adams suffered a stroke on 24 April 1912 which left him par-
tially paralysed for several months. On his recovery he continued his ex-
tensive correspondence and undertook new research on the medieval
chanson. He wrote no more for publication, however.

1914: World War I began on 28 June 1914 when Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian
Serb, shot and killed Archduke Ferdinand of Austro-Hungary in Sarajevo.
By 3 August 1914 Germany declared war on France and the next day
German troops entered Belgium. 1914 seemed to confirm Adams’s most
pessimistic predictions. The war ended on 11 November 1918.

Henry Cabot Lodge: Adams affixed Lodge’s name to the preface as well as
the date, September 1918. Adams had written the preface in 1916, as he ex-
plained in a letter to Lodge dated 1 March 1916. Lodge had read the pre-
face and assented to the attachment of his name. He also respected Adams’s
wish to exclude any illustrations, especially portraits.

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7 Jean Jacques Rousseau . . . ‘I was a better man!’ ”: Rousseau’s Confessions ap-
peared 1764–70. The translation appears to be Adams’s own.

Benjamin Franklin: (1706–90), American statesman, inventor, author,
printer, and scientist. His unfinished Autobiography, much admired for its
literary style and moral inspiration, was begun in 1771 and first published
in its entirety in 1868.

misfit of the clothes: use of the mannequin and image of the tailor recalls the
‘clothes philosophy’ of Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, a favourite text of
Adams’s in his youth. Also see Ch. XXVII of the Education.

8 February 16, 1907: the date of Adams’s sixty-ninth birthday, suggesting
that he might have intended the book as a kind of birthday message to his
friends. A similarly symbolic date appears in the preface to his Letter to
American Teachers of History in 1910 on the occasion of his seventy-second
birthday.

9 John Hancock: (1737–93), the first signatory to the Declaration of
Independence and the first governor of the state of Massachusetts.

Beacon Hill: location of the State Capitol and the symbolic centre of old
Boston; State Street was the financial centre of the city.

troglodytic: characteristic of cave-dweller, especially of prehistoric times.

John Adams: second president of the United States and the great-grand-
father of Henry Adams, John Adams (1735–1826) returned from London
in 1789 after four years’ service as American minister to England. He had
earlier served in France, helping to negotiate the Treaty of Paris ending the
Revolutionary War. He was elected president in 1797 after serving as
Washington’s vice-president. When president, he appointed his son, John
Quincy Adams, minister to Berlin. After his defeat as president by Thomas
Jefferson in 1801, he returned to Washington as a congressman.

10 Gargantua-Napoleon-Bismarck: Gargantua: the giant in Rabelais’s comic
masterpiece Gargantua et Pantagruel (1552). Napoleon: (1769–1821),
Corsican-born graduate of the École Militaire; conqueror of Austria,
Piedmont, and Egypt who returned to France in 1799 to lead a coup and
declare himself first consul; crowned emperor in 1804 in Notre Dame
Cathedral. Reversals on several military fronts and a failing alliance led to
his exile in 1813 to Elba, from which he later escaped and returned to
France in 1815, forcing Louis XVIII to flee to Holland. He was defeated,
however, by Wellington at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 and later exiled to the
island of St Helena, where he died. Bismarck: (1815–98), Count Otto von
Bismarck, often called ‘the Iron Chancellor’, was first a Prussian legislator
who in 1859 was minister to St Petersburg and then Paris. He became
prime minister under Wilhelm I of Prussia; his expansionist military policy
led to the defeat of Denmark and then Austria and the reorganization of
Germany under Prussian leadership. He provoked the Franco-Prussian
War (1870–1), leading to the defeat of Napoleon III and Bismarck’s ap-
pointment as chancellor of the new German empire. Although he shaped

422 Explanatory Notes

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imperial Germany at the end of the nineteenth century, a conflict with the
new German emperor, Wilhelm II, caused his resignation of the chancel-
lorship in 1890.

Notre Dame: leading Gothic cathedral of Paris located on the Île de la Cité,
built on the ruins of two earlier churches, predated by a Gallo-Roman tem-
ple dedicated to Jupiter. The foundation stone was laid in 1163 and the altar
consecrated in 1189; the western façade was completed in 1250, the date
also for the finished twin Gothic towers. The spire was added during nine-
teenth-century renovations. The three great rose windows date from the
thirteenth century.

Boston and Albany Railroad: the railway was extended from Boston to
Quincy in 1846.

11 his brothers: Henry Adams was the third of five brothers (there were also
two sisters): John Quincy (1833–94); Charles Francis (1835–1915); Henry
Brooks (1838–1918); Arthur (1841–46); Brooks (1848–1927). His sisters
were Louisa Catherine (1831–70) and Mary (1846–1928).

12 Cromwellian: Political references are to the struggles of the colony against
the British Crown and the short-lived dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell, the
English Puritan leader.

greatest grandmother: Edith Squires married the first Henry Adams in
England before emigrating to the Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1633.

14 Adams grandfather . . . Brooks grandfather: Adams grandfather: John Quincy
Adams (1767–1848), sixth president of the United States, who resided on
a 7-acre tract in Quincy, Massachusetts, 7 miles south of Boston and bor-
dering on the sea. The land was purchased by John Adams in 1787. In 1817
John Quincy Adams returned to the USA after helping to negotiate the
Treaty of Ghent in 1814 and then serving as minister to England. He was
elected president in 1825 and served until 1829. Brooks grandfather: reput-
edly the wealthiest man in New England, Peter Chardon Brooks (1767–
1849) made his fortune as a merchant and then turned to real estate, repre-
senting to his grandson Henry the power and influence of commerce in
Boston.

15 both died in 1848: Adams is incorrect: Peter Chardon Brooks died on 1
January 1849 as he notes at the opening of Ch. II.

17 President Polk: President James Polk’s support of the annexation of Texas
as a slave state angered John Quincy Adams, who objected to the Southern
expansionist policy. Polk was president from 1845 to 1849.

19 President Quincy: Josiah Quincy (1772–1864), president of Harvard
College from 1829 to 1845, was actually only five years younger than John
Quincy Adams, not ten as Henry Adams writes.

The Madam: Louisa Catherine Adams, wife of President John Quincy
Adams. Henry Adams worked on her voluminous memoirs in 1869 with
the thought of their publication. He discontinued the editing when he was
appointed to Harvard to teach in 1870.

Explanatory Notes 423

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20 Romney portrait: George Romney (1734–1802) was a favourite painter of
the British aristocracy. His portraits of women were especially flattering.

Abigail: Abigail Smith Adams (1744–1818), an early American advocate of
rights for women and wife of John Adams, second President of the United
States. Her letters were edited in two volumes by her grandson, Charles
Francis Adams, Henry Adams’s father.

21 Federalist Party: Federalist president John Adams was defeated for re-
election by Thomas Jefferson in 1801. John Quincy Adams, the president’s
son, was then minister to Berlin, but was recalled home after his father’s
defeat.

Cent Jours: the ‘hundred days’ from 20 March 1815 to 28 June 1815 was the
period of Napoleon’s return to power in France after his exile on the island
of Elba. He was defeated at Waterloo on 18 June 1815.

Court of the Regent: the Prince of Wales (1762–1830) ruled as prince regent
for nine years after his father, George III (1738–1820), became ill in 1811.
On his father’s death in 1820, he became George IV.

back to Congress in 1833: The date is wrong, indicating Adams’s occasional
inaccuracy. John Quincy Adams was elected in 1830 to the 22nd Congress
and took his seat in 1831.

22 the battle of Bunker Hill: the bloodiest engagement of the entire American
Revolution. It took place on 17 June 1775 and was actually fought not on
Bunker Hill but on nearby Breed’s Hill.

hurt himself: John Quincy Adams suffered a slight stroke on 20 November
1846. He was back in his seat in Congress, however, by 12 February 1847.
He had a second stroke on the floor of the House of Representatives on 21
February 1848 and died on the 23rd.

Dr. Parkman: Dr George Parkman (1790–1849), prominent Bostonian who
donated the site of the Harvard Medical College.

P. P. F. Degrand: (d. 1855), originally a Philadelphia banker.
23 Stuart portraits: Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828), American portrait painter ac-

claimed for his portrait of George Washington. Studied in London under
Benjamin West. He also did portraits of John Adams and John Quincy
Adams.

Dr. Lunt: Revd William Parsons Lunt (1805–57) delivered the funeral ora-
tion at the commemorative services for John Quincy Adams on 11 March
1848.

Buckminster: John Stevens Buckminster (1784–1812), one of the first
Unitarian ministers in Boston and important contributor to biblical
scholarship in the United States.

Channing: William Ellery Channing (1740–1842), the most influential
spokesman of the Unitarian movement.

Faneuil Hall: Boston gathering-place for patriotic meetings before the
Revolution, known as ‘the cradle of liberty’.

424 Explanatory Notes

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Edward Everett: (1794–1865), brother-in-law of Henry Adams’s mother
and a famous Unitarian preacher and congressman, minister to England,
and president of Harvard from 1846 to 1849.

Sam Adams’s father: (1689–1748), a first cousin of President John Adams’s
father, John Adams (1691–1761). Consequently, Sam Adams was a second
cousin of President John Adams.

State Street: the financial centre of Boston and chief support of the most
conservative elements in the Federalist party.

25 Andrew Jackson: President of the United States from 1829 to 1837, Jackson
defeated John Quincy Adams in a notorious campaign. Earlier, in the elec-
tion of 1824, Jackson won the larger popular vote but lost out to Adams in
the electoral college.

26 Quincy: the ancestral home of the Adamses which symbolized the political
ideals of the family, including a strong moral opposition to the pro-slavery
views of the conservative leaders of the State Street financial district.

Mr. Webster: Daniel Webster (1782–1852), senator from Massachusetts
after 1827 who in 1834, with Henry Clay, formed the Whig party out of
Republican followers of John Quincy Adams and the Democrats opposed
to Jackson’s abolition of the National Bank.

Mr. Seward: William Henry Seward (1801–72), senator from New York
known for his strong anti-slavery attitude who nevertheless supported the
Whig compromise candidates in 1848 and 1852. By 1860 Seward had be-
come the leader of the new Republican party.

27 a fair parallel: In 1776 John Adams declared his support with the American
Revolutionists against England.

29 Dr. Palfrey . . . O. W. Holmes: Dr. Palfrey: (1796–1881), family friend of the
Adamses who was also a congressman and historian. As editor of the North
American Review, he encouraged Henry Adams to write his first article for
the quarterly. President Walker: John Walker (1794–1874) was professor of
religion and after 1853, president of Harvard. R. W. Emerson: Ralph Waldo
Emerson (1803–82), foremost New England poet and essayist born in
Boston, educated at Harvard; in 1829 became pastor of a Unitarian church
in Boston but had to resign because of his controversial views. In 1833 trav-
elled to Europe where he met and befriended Thomas Carlyle; became the
leading spokesperson of the Transcendental movement. In his Journals he
criticized John Quincy Adams as ‘a bruiser [who] loves a melee . . . He is an
old roué who cannot live on slops, but must have sulphuric acid in his tea.’
Journals, ed. William H. Gilman and J. E. Parsons (Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard Univ. Press, 1970), viii. 339. Boston ministers: All of these clergy-
men were influential in the growth of Unitarianism between 1800 and
1835. The first Unitarian congregation in the USA was established in 1782
at King’s Chapel, Boston. Theodore Parker: (1810–60), founded the Con-
gregational Society of Boston where he celebrated Transcendentalism, as
well as radical social and political reform. Brook Farm: From 1841 to 1847

Explanatory Notes 425

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an experiment in cooperative community living near West Roxbury,
Massachusetts. philosophy of Concord: The philosophic and literary move-
ment which flourished from approximately 1836 to 1860 in Concord under
the leadership of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ticknor: George Ticknor (1791–
1871), the first Smith Professor of French and Spanish at Harvard and au-
thor of a massive history of Spanish literature. Prescott: William Hickling
Prescott (1796–1859), historian of the conquest of Mexico and Peru. Long-
fellow: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82), author of Hiawatha
(1855) and the most popular American poet of the nineteenth century.
Born in Maine and educated at Bowdoin College, he developed his skill as
a translator; accepted post at Harvard after study in Europe. ‘Paul Revere’s
Ride’ appeared in an 1863 collection, Tales of a Wayside Inn. Motley: John
Lothrop Motley (1814–77), Boston-born historian and author of The Rise
of the Dutch Republic, was also minister to Austria and England. He suc-
ceeded Charles Francis Adams as minister to England in 1869. President
Ulysses S. Grant recalled Motley from London in July 1870; failing to re-
sign, however, Motley was dismissed in December. Adams made use of this
incident in his anonymously published novel, Democracy (1880), in his por-
trayal of Nathan Gore. O. W. Holmes: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–94),
leading Boston literary figure as poet and novelist, author of Autocrat at
the Breakfast Table (1858) and father of Justice Holmes (see n. to p. 51,
below).

29 Mr. Winthrop: Robert Charles Winthrop (1804–94), descendant of the first
governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, was appointed senator to succeed
Daniel Webster when he became secretary of state. Defeated by Charles
Sumner in 1851.

Mr. Garrison: William Lloyd Garrison (1805–79), vitriolic editor of the
abolitionist paper the Liberator who attacked the constitution as a slave-
holder’s document and advocated a division of the Union.

30 Mr. Wendell Phillips: (1811–84), prominent Boston abolitionist and sup-
porter of Garrison.

Mr. Edmund Quincy: (1808–77), reformer and author closely associated
with Garrison and frequent contributor to anti-slavery publications.

set up a party of his own: ironic since Charles Francis Adams did not estab-
lish the Free Soil party, although he played an important role in its organ-
ization.

three: . . . Charles Sumner: Dr. John G. Palfrey: see note to p. 29 above.
Richard H. Dana: (1815–82), Boston lawyer and author of Two Years Before
the Mast, also active in Free Soil politics and defender of fugitive slaves.
Charles Sumner: (1811–74), elected to US Senate on Free Soil ticket and
the eloquent leader of New England opposition to ‘Slave Power’. He be-
came active in the impeachment proceedings against President Johnson.

William M. Evarts: (1818–1901), Boston-born New York lawyer active in
Republican politics who failed to win election to the Senate in 1861 but
later served as attorney general for a period in 1869 and then as secretary of

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state from 1877 to 1881. Henry Adams became a close friend when Evarts
was sent to London in 1863 to serve as legal adviser to Adams’s father, the
minister.

Edmund Burke: (1729–97), Dublin-born English statesman and political
philosopher whose 1775 speech on conciliation with the American colonies
made him a well-known name in the United States. Author of Philosophical
Inquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful (1756), which established the founda-
tion of aesthetics in England, and the influential Reflections on the French
Revolution (1790), popular throughout Europe. Adams owned a nine-
volume set of his work.

31 Beacon Street: centre of fashionable Boston running down Beacon Hill
from the State House.

Russell: George R. Russell (1816–90), Free Soil leader and aspirant for
Congress who withdrew from the race of 1858 to allow the nomination of
Henry Adams’s father.

Mr. Lodge: John Ellerton Lodge (1807–62), Boston merchant and father of
Henry Cabot Lodge.

32 newspaper: the Boston Daily Whig began publication six months before
Henry Adams’s father became editor and one of the owners.

“Works”: Works of John Adams (10 vols., Boston, 1850–6), ed. Charles
Francis Adams, who also wrote the Life contained in vol. 1.
Novanglus and Massachusettensis: pseudonym with which John Adams
signed his controversial articles in the Boston Gazette replying to the loyal-
ist essays signed ‘Massachusettensis’.

Ciceronian: the reference is to Cicero’s De Republica, a dialogue on the best
form of government.

Peter Harvey: (1810–77), Whig politician. The other contributors repres-
ented wealthy Bostonian families. See note p. 46.

33 Louis Philippe . . . Carlyle: Louis Philippe: (1773–1850), king of France
1830–48, a liberal monarch. Guizot. François Guizot (1787–1874), his-
torian and first minister of France who opposed parliamentary reform. de
Tocqueville: Count Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59), French historian and
political scientist; author of Democracy in America (2 vols., 1835–40), the
result of his 1831 visit to America initially to study the prison system; fo-
cused on the success of the democratic experiment so that France might be
better prepared for the transition to democracy. Robert Peel: (1788–1850),
British statesman and Tory prime minister from 1834–5, 1841–6. Was sec-
retary for Ireland (1812–18), then home secretary (1822–7, 1828–30), car-
rying through Catholic Emancipation Act. Also reorganized the London
police force. Macaulay: Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800–59), historian
best known for his History of the Roman Empire and History of England.
Member of parliament who supported the reform bill for extending the
vote. John Stuart Mill: (1806–73), empiricist philosopher, social reformer
and economist, remembered as the author of On Liberty (1859), and his

Explanatory Notes 427

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Autobiography (1873), as well as political essays and studies of political
economy. Carlyle: Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), author of Sartor Resartus,
which argued for the spiritual regeneration of society, and Heroes and Hero-
Worship. He was an early hero for Adams, who owned a number of his books
including The French Revolution, Past and Present, and Sartor Resartus. The
last of these echoes throughout the Education.

33 Karl Marx: (1818–83), German-born founder of communism who studied
law, history, and philosophy in Bonn and Berlin; author of the Communist
Manifesto (1848); settled in London in 1849 where he studied economics.
His major work, Das Kapital, appeared in 1867 as an extended critique of
the capitalist system.

“Were half the power . . . no need of arsenals or forts”: Longfellow, ‘The Arsenal
at Springfield’, published in Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems in 1845.

34 Octavius Frothingham: (1822–95), a Unitarian minister who later became an
independent clergyman and author of Transcendentalism in New England.

35 “Hosea Biglow”: protagonist of James Russell Lowell’s Biglow Papers (first
series 1847), whose rhymed ‘Epistles’ satirized the war with Mexico and
the evils of slavery.

37 yellow-legs: American shore-birds.

40 brother Charles: Charles Francis Adams, jun. (1835–1915), attended the
Boston Latin School and went on to Harvard and then read law. He fought
in the Civil War, becoming a colonel of the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a
black regiment. After the war he married; following a lengthy European
honeymoon, he returned to develop a specialty in railroads and their re-
form. By 1869 he was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Railroad
Commissioners, becoming chair in 1872. Within six years, he became chair
of government directors of the Union Pacific Railroad and by 1884, presid-
ent of the railroad. Within six and a half years, his railroad career ended as
the company faced financial crises. Adams, however, remained an investor
and speculator, making enormous fortunes in real estate, largely bought in
Kansas City. He developed a strong interest in history and became the first
president of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the author of several
minor histories of Massachusetts communities. His biography of his father
appeared in 1900; his autobiography in 1916.

Henry Higginson: (1834–1919), became a leading Boston financier and
philanthropist; founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881.

41 Turenne: (1611–75), a noted soldier who fought under Richelieu and
Mazarin and in 1660 became marshal general of France.

Henri IV: (1553–1610), King of Navarre, became King of France in 1589
and did much to reconcile Catholic and Protestant factions. He was assas-
sinated in 1610.

Fugitive Slave Law: Passed as part of the Compromise of 1850, the law pro-
vided for exclusive federal jurisdiction over runaway slaves. The day after

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its passage, the young Henry Adams witnessed a Boston mob trying to save
a runaway slave; they failed and he was taken to the wharf by a battalion of
US soldiers. The crowd was held back by the state militia.

Stamp Act: This stamp tax of 1765 required revenue stamps to be attached
to all documents and newspapers and was the first act of parliament to tax
American commodities directly for revenue purposes. It became one of the
major American grievances leading to the American Revolution.

Tea Tax: This levied an import duty on tea and led to the Boston Tea Party
of 1773 when demonstrators, disguised as Indians, dumped three tea car-
goes into the harbour.

Boston Massacre: occurred on 5 March 1770 when British soldiers fired on
a mob, killing four and wounding others. Captain Preston and the soldiers
were charged with murder. John Adams was asked to defend them and ob-
tained an acquittal from the jury. These episodes helped to precipitate the
American Revolution.

42 unfinished square marble shaft: the Washington monument, begun in 1848
but not completed until 1884.

43 Johnson blood: Refers to Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775–1852), who mar-
ried John Quincy Adams. She was Henry Adams’s grandmother.

Clay: Henry Clay (1772–1852), Virginia-born statesman who moved to
Kentucky, a leading figure in the passage of the Missouri Compromise of
1820 and the Compromise of 1850. A moderate on the slavery issue and re-
membered for his remark, ‘I had rather be right than be President.’

Calhoun: John Caldwell Calhoun (1782–1850), South Carolina statesman
who served as vice-president under President John Quincy Adams and a
leading political philosopher for the Southern states. Advocated dual sov-
ereignty. Adams’s recollection is wrong: Calhoun died late in March, two
months before Adams arrived in Washington.

Conklinian: Roscoe Conkling (1829–88), a senator from New York and a
Republican machine politician, flamboyant in manner and an eloquent
speaker, who was disliked by Adams for his opposition to civil-service re-
form. Later, one of the sources of Adams’s satire of Senator Ratcliffe in his
successful 1880 novel, Democracy.

44 President Taylor: Zachary Taylor (1784–1850), visited by Henry Adams
and his father on 4 June 1850, one month before the president’s death.
Confirming the account of the shabby condition of the White House is the
diary of Charles Francis Adams, Henry Adams’s father.

Free Soil Party: the Free Soil ticket of Martin van Buren and Charles
Francis Adams did not win a single state but their candidacies split the
Democratic ticket in New York, giving the state’s electoral vote to the Whig
candidate, General Zachary Taylor.

Nathaniel Gorham: (1738–96), president of the Continental congress, 1786
and the grandfather of Henry Adams’s mother on her mother’s side.

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44 Mount Vernon: George Washington’s Virginia estate, which has become a
national monument; Adams used it fictionally in his 1880 novel, Demo-
cracy.

45 John Marshall: (1755–1835), chief justice of the Supreme Court, 1801–35,
who fashioned its role in interpreting the constitution and established the
doctrine of judicial review.

46 Peter Harvey: (1810–77), a wealthy Boston merchant who served in both
houses of the Massachusetts legislature and was a close friend of Daniel
Webster.

Thurlow Weed: (1797–1882), publisher of the Albany Journal, 1830–63, be-
coming one of the most influential anti-slavery editors and politicians in
the Northeast.

Henry Wilson . . . Anson Burlingame: Henry Wilson: (1812–75), abolitionist
and US senator from Massachusetts; vice-president (1873–5), during
Grant’s second term. John B. Alley: (1817–96), congressman from
Massachusetts, 1859–67. Anson Burlingame: (1820–70), congressman from
Massachusetts, 1855–61, minister to China, 1861–7.

George S. Boutwell: (1818–1905), governor of Massachusetts, 1851–2, then
secretary of the treasury under Grant, 1869–73.

47 Tammany Hall: Tammany societies (named for a Delaware Indian chief
who supposedly welcomed William Penn) were patriotic societies that
flourished during the American Revolution. Only the New York society
lasted, with headquarters at Tammany Hall. It influenced the Democratic
party and represented party machinery and political corruption.

Caleb Cushing: (1800–79), first a Whig then a Democrat, who was later
nominated by Grant to become chief justice; his previous record prevented
his confirmation, however.

50 no one took Harvard College seriously: the Adamses consistently criticized
the intellectual life of Harvard College, although one of them usually
served on the examining committees or Board of Overseers.

51 Alexander Agassiz: (1835–1910), son of the great Swiss geologist who
taught at Harvard, later a successful geologist and mining engineer and
author of Coral Reefs of the Tropical Pacific (1903).

Phillips Brooks: (1835–93), Episcopal clergyman; noted rector of Trinity
Church in Boston, 1869–91, and a second cousin of Henry Adams. An out-
standing pulpit orator, he preached the sermon over Lincoln’s body at
Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1865. Author of ‘O Little Town of
Bethlehem’.

H. H. Richardson: Henry Hobson Richardson (1838–86), distinguished
American architect from New Orleans who attended Harvard and would
later design the side-by-side homes of Henry Adams and his wife, and John
Hay and his wife at the corner of Sixteenth and H Streets fronting
Lafayette Square in Washington, completed in 1886. The actual address

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was 1603 H Street and a photograph of the building appears in Lett. iv.
136. Clover Adams, Henry’s wife, included a portrait photograph of
Richardson in her collection. He was the most popular architect in America
in the post-Civil War period. In 1885 architects throughout the country
voted on what they considered to be the ten best buildings in America: five
of them were by Richardson. For details of his life and career see James F.
O’Gorman, Living Architecture, (1997).
O. W. Holmes: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841–1935), author of Common
Law (1881) and justice of the US Supreme Court from 1902 to 1925.

52 son of Colonel Robert E. Lee . . . the two others: William ‘Roony’ Henry
Fitzhugh Lee (1837–91). Benjamin D. M. Jones and James May were the
two others.

N. L. Anderson: Nicholas Longworth Anderson (1838–92), from a promin-
ent Cincinnati family, rose to become a major general in the Union Army
by the close of the Civil War.

Light Horse Harry: Henry Lee (1756–1818), hero of the American
Revolution.

54 bos primigenius: literally, ‘original ox’.
General Winfield Scott: (1786–1866), commanding general of the US
Army, 1841–61. An expedition of 1,500 soldiers was sent to Utah in 1857 to
re-establish Federal control of the territory and protect non-Mormons
from violence.

what no student cared or needed to know: a characteristic exaggeration by
Adams. His history courses at Harvard were immensely popular and he
was considered a fine teacher.

55 “Capital”: another slip of Adams’s satire; vol. 1 of Marx’s Capital appeared
in German in 1867, nine years after Adams graduated from Harvard. The
first English translation was 1886; the date of Adams’s own copy is 1887.

Auguste Comte: (1798–1857), founder of Positivism, a school of nineteenth-
century philosophy, and author of the influential Positivist Philosophy (6
vols., 1830–42), translated into English in 1853. Comte believed that human
knowledge progressed through three stages: the theological, the meta-
physical, and then the positive which rejects the search for absolutes and
employs the scientific method based on reason and observation. John
Stuart Mill’s Auguste Comte and Positivism (1865) popularized the philo-
sophy in America and England. One who followed his ideas was called a
Comteian.

Louis Agassiz: (1807–73), Swiss palaeontologist whose work on fossil fish
published in 1840 profoundly influenced geological thought; professor at
Harvard who taught Adams and the chief opponent of Darwin’s theories in
America.

56 James Russell Lowell: (1819–91), succeeded Longfellow as professor of
belles-lettres and as the leading poet in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Later
became US minister to Spain and to England.

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56 Matthew Arnold: (1822–88), Adams, long an admirer of Arnold’s Culture
and Anarchy, first met the author in London 1879. In the autumn of 1883,
Arnold visited the Adamses in Washington during his American lecture
tour—to the displeasure of Clover.

Ernest Renan: (1823–92), French philosopher and historian whose work
was influenced by German culture. Appointed professor of Hebrew at the
Collège de France but his controversial La Vie de Jésus (1863) delayed his
confirmation until 1870. Published a series of studies on the origins of
Christianity.

Balzac: Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), French novelist known for his
powerful multi-volume account of French society at every level: Le
Comédie humaine. Two of the titles in the series are Le Père Goriot and
Illusions perdues.
Second Empire: (1852–70), led by the autocratic Napoleon III, it collapsed
with the defeat of the French in the Franco-German War of 1870.

57 the Concord faith: Emersonian transcendentalism, a philosophy of moral
idealism and intuition which argued that true reality was spiritual.

dark days of 1856: a period of bitter controversy over the extension of slav-
ery marked by warfare in Kansas in which John Brown, the militant aboli-
tionist who led the raid on Harper’s Ferry (1859), participated.

as Mr. Emerson justly said: Adams changes Emerson’s emphasis. See ch. VI
of Nature by Emerson, who stressed ‘a noble doubt’ on the reality of the
universe and the outward existence of nature.

58 President Walker: James Walker (1794–1874), notable Unitarian minister
and president of Harvard, 1853–60.

President Felton: Cornelius Felton (1807–62), professor of Greek and
president of Harvard, 1860–2.

John La Farge . . . John Hay: John La Farge: (1835–1910), New York artist
famous for his mural paintings and stained-glass windows including those
in Trinity Church, Boston, was a lifelong friend and travelling companion
of Adams (whose niece later married La Farge’s son). Noted for his pre-
impressionist landscapes and flowers, he later revived the art of stained-
glass windows in America; two examples were in the Washington home of
John Hay, Adams’s closest friend and neighbour. Adams recreates La Farge
as the artist Wharton in his 1884 novel, Esther. Augustus St. Gaudens:
(1848–1907), Irish-born American sculptor raised in New York who
trained in Paris. Among his well-known works are the Shaw Memorial on
Boston Common, the equestrian statue of General Sherman in New York
and the seated Lincoln in Chicago. Commissioned in 1886 by Adams to
create the statue commemorating his wife’s grave at Rock Creek Cemetery,
Washington. Considered to be the foremost American sculptor of his time.
Clarence King: (1842–1901), distinguished geologist and mining engineer
who made and lost fortunes. Graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School at
Yale. In 1867 at the age of 25 he successfully lobbied for a bill authorizing

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geological survey of a 100-mile-wide corridor along the new western rail-
road. In 1878 published Systematic Geology and in 1879 was made director
of the new bureau of the US Geological Survey. His volume Mountaineering
in the Sierra Nevada (1872) is a minor literary classic. A dazzling and ro-
mantic member of the ‘Five of Hearts’, the elite social group surrounding
the Adamses in Washington, King also led a double life: his common-law
marriage to a black woman in New York was one of the best-kept secrets of
his intimate friends. He appears as George Strong in Adams’s 1884 novel,
Esther. For an early account see Thurman Wilkins, Clarence King (1958).
John Hay: (1838–1905), author, journalist, diplomat and secretary of state
for Theodore Roosevelt. Studied law in Lincoln’s office in Illinois and
came to Washington to serve as assistant private secretary to Lincoln. His
friend John Nicolay was Lincoln’s private secretary. Published the popular
Pike Country Ballads in 1871 with the popular poems, ‘Jim Bludso’ and
‘Little Breeches’. In 1896 became ambassador to Britain; two years later
was appointed secretary of state. Adams’s closest male friend with whom
he built his unique side-by-side home in Washington, designed by H. H.
Richardson. With King and the Adamses, Mr. and Mrs Hay made up the
‘Five of Hearts’.

61 Class Oration of 1858: in his speech Adams offered high-minded criticism
of materialistic success. An editorial in the Springfield Republican of 1869
recalled its absence of distinction except for its ‘irony and cynicism’. For an
account see HA I, 51.

62 Hasty Pudding: exclusive Harvard club known for its theatrical extravag-
anzas. Adams played the role of Sir Anthony Absolute in Sheridan’s
The Rivals (1755) and of Sir Robert in George Coleman’s Poor Gentlemen
(1801).

Council of Trent: 1563, the supreme meeting of the Roman Catholic church
which condemned the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation.

63 Civil Law: system of Roman law originating with the Institutes of Justinian
upon which the continental legal systems were based.

64 November, 1858: Adams misremembers again. He sailed from New York on
29 September 1858, arriving in Liverpool eleven days later; he reached
Berlin on 22 October.

pons asinorum: ‘bridge of asses’, a term applied to the proposition in plane
geometry that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are equal, so named
from the difficulty of beginners in mastering it.

G. P. R. James: (1801–60), popular British novelist and historian who was
also for many years a British consul in the USA. Industrious writer of his-
torical romances, which numbered over 100, he was perhaps best known
for Richelieu (1829) and Agincourt (1844). Thackeray, among others, paro-
died him.

65 Charles the First . . . to see his army defeated: the Royalist army was defeated
on Rowton Heath by Cromwell’s armies on 24 September 1645. Charles I
was tried for treason and beheaded on 30 January 1649.

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65 Black District: also known as the ‘Black Country’, was northwest of
Birmingham and was considered the heart of industrial England.

Professor Bowen: Francis Bowen (1811–90), philosopher and political eco-
nomist, hostile to positivism and socialism.

his Satanic free-trade majesty John Stuart Mill: John Stuart Mill advoc-
ated free trade and laissez-faire economics. He was also a Liberal re-
former in British politics and popularizer of positivism. See above, note to
p. 33.

the Strand: at that period, a fashionable main road in central London run-
ning from Charing Cross at Trafalgar Square to Fleet Street, once the
centre of London’s newspapers.

Dr. Johnson: Dr Samuel Johnson (1709–84), distinguished writer, poet,
lexicographer, and man of letters, the subject of James Boswell’s great Life
of Johnson (1791).

Piccadilly: then the most fashionable shopping and social area of London,
bordering on Green Park.

66 Ostade: Adriaen Van Ostade (1610–85), Dutch painter and engraver. A
pupil of Frans Hals, he chose his subjects from everyday life.

Teniers: David Teniers (1610–90), a prolific Flemish painter who settled in
Brussels; best known for his scenes of peasant life in the tradition of
Brueghel. With Van Ostade, represented rural scenes and rural life.

Duke of Alva: (1508–82), Spanish governor of occupied Netherlands,
hated for his cruelty.

Rubens: Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), German-born Flemish painter
from Antwerp known for full-bodied figures in his secular as well as religi-
ous paintings. His triptych, Descent from the Cross, is in the Antwerp
Cathedral. Commissioned by Marie de’ Medicis of France and, later,
Philip IV of Spain to paint a series of works. In 1629 he became envoy to
Charles I of England, completing a number of new paintings.

Malmsey: sweet Madeira wine popular in England.

67 Pandects: compendium in fifty volumes of Roman civil law made by order
of Emperor Justinian in the sixth century; they soon became the most
important body of Roman civil law.

68 Heine: Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), German Jewish Romantic poet and
essayist whose first book of poems appeared in 1821. His revolutionary
opinions forced him to go into voluntary exile in Paris after the 1830 revo-
lution and he turned from poetry to politics in his writing, commenting
often on French and German culture.

South Carolinian cane: during Sumner’s Senate speech of 22 May 1856
denouncing the Kansas-Nebraska bill, he was confronted by Preston S.
Brooks, a South Carolinian congressman and one of the authors of the bill,
who charged him with libelling his state and beat him unconscious.

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Robert Apthorp: (d. 1884), prominent Bostonian father of William Apthorp,
Boston musical expert.

Ober-tertia: upper third form; Adams wrote an essay on his experiences in
this form which appeared posthumously as ‘Two Letters on a Prussian
Gymnasium’, American Historical Review, 3 (Oct. 1947), 59–74.

69 disgusting: in 1858, with a population of half a million, Berlin was one of the
most unsanitary cities in Europe, with open sewers, public pumps, and
basement slums.

Linden: Unter den Linden was a broad avenue of palaces, museums, em-
bassies, government ministries, the opera, and university buildings.

71 Haus-frauen: housewives.
72 “Tannhäuser”: Adams first heard Wagner’s opera during his stay in Berlin

in the winter of 1858–9.

“Götterdämmerung”: the third opera in Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung;
Adams heard it when he attended the Bayreuth festival devoted to
Wagner’s work in July 1901 where the entire Ring cycle was performed. He
did not enjoy Wagner’s work but acknowledged its importance.

Thüringen: a forest in central Germany with a 70-mile range of low-wooded
mountains.

73 his three companions . . . B. W. Crowninshield: John Bancroft: John Chandler
Bancroft (1835–1901), son of the historian George Bancroft and cousin of
Adams’s future wife, Marian ‘Clover’ Hooper. James J. Higginson: (1836–
1911), a classmate of Henry Adams’s brother Charles and Henry’s chief
companion in Berlin. B. W. Crowninshield: Benjamin Crowninshield
(1837–92), a classmate of Adams’s and one of his friends from Harvard
who crossed to Liverpool with him.

“Warte . . . Ruhest du auch!”: ‘Just wait! soon | Thou too shall rest’; from
Goethe’s poem ‘Wanderer’s Nightsong’, written 6 September 1780 in his
hand on the wall of a small shooting lodge on the Gichelhahn, the highest
of the hills around Ilmenau.

Sistine Madonna: by Raphael (1483–1520), was then owned by the Dresden
gallery.

Correggio: (1489–1534), head of the celebrated Parma school of painting in
Italy. At least four of his paintings were owned by the Dresden gallery.

74 war on Austria: in 1858 Napoleon III and Count Cavour of Italy, premier
under King Victor Emmanuel, secretly agreed to provoke war with Austria
to liberate the provinces of Lombardy and Venetia.

Guelph or Ghibelline: the two warring parties in fourteenth-century
Florence, the Guelphs representing the papal faction, the Ghibellines sup-
porting the German emperor. For a short while Dante was a leader of the
Guelphs.

75 Machiavelli: Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527), statesman and political
philosopher in the service of the Medici of Florence; author of The Prince
(1513), a treatise on effective rule without the bother of morality or mercy.

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75 a sister: Louisa Catherine (1831–70), seven years older than Henry Adams
and first-born of the children. She married Charles Kuhn, a member of a
prominent Philadelphia family, in 1854 and moved to Italy. Her accidental
death in Italy caused much grief for Henry Adams, who describes her final
days in Ch. XIX of the Education.

76 Garibaldi’s Cacciatori: The Cacciatori delle Alpi, the Alpine hunters of
Garibaldi (1807–82), a volunteer force of 3,000 men organized in 1859 by
the Italian patriot leader.

the charming patriot: Mrs Kuhn.
Austrian Jägers: Austrian riflemen and soldiers originally formed from
huntsmen who carried their own weapons.

77 Frau Hofräthin von Reichenbach: wife of the botanist-geologist Heinrich
Reichenbach (1793–1897).

“The Initials”: a romantic novel by the expatriate English Baroness
Tautphoeus concerning the adventures of a young English woman who
comes to Germany to learn the language and customs but is baffled by
German society.

Raphael Pumpelly: (1837–1923), longtime friend of Adams, geologist and
explorer who in 1859 took charge of silver mines in Arizona, then Apache
territory.

Clarence King: actually a student at the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale
at the time. His observations of the Digger Indians occurred in 1864 when
he was with the geological survey of California. See above, note to p. 58.

78 sent him to Congress: Charles Francis Adams expressed surprise at the broad
popular support that made his election to Congress in the fall of 1859 a tri-
umph.

Boston Courier: the six letters from Italy signed H.B.A. appeared sporadic-
ally between 30 April and 13 July 1860.

80 Rienzi . . . Aurelian: Rienzi: Cola di Rienzi (1313–54), a popular leader who
overthrew the aristocracy in 1347 but himself became a tyrant; he was mur-
dered by a Roman mob. Garibaldi: Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807–82), Italian
patriot and soldier, leading figure in the Italian Risorgimento. Tiberius
Gracchus: (163–133 bce), popular tribune who sponsored land reforms but
was murdered by senatorial opposition during an election riot. Aurelian:
(212–275 ce), Roman emperor known as the Restorer of the Roman
Empire; was murdered by an officer cabal. Adams’s arrangement of figures
avoids a chronological sequence.

ruins of the Capitol: this passage comes from the first printed version of
Edward Gibbon’s unfinished Autobiography, which Adams owned. The
quotation in Murray is actually from a later interpolation in the
Autobiography and differs slightly from the passage Adams cites. Gibbon’s
dates are 1737–94.

Santa Maria di Ara Coeli: the altar of Heaven, a church built on the site of

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the pagan temple of Juno where according to legend Augustus Caesar an-
nounced the birth of Christ. Gibbon sat on the steps of the church con-
templating the fate of Rome.

81 Tacitus: (55–120 ce), orator and Roman historian during Rome’s imperial
successes; known for his concise and vivid prose style.

Cavour: Count Camillo Cavour (1810–61), Italian premier, friend of
Garibaldi.

Hamilton Wilde: (1827–84), expatriate Boston portraitist and genre painter.
Robert Browning: (1812–89), English poet with whom Adams became ac-
quainted. ‘Pippa Passes’ was his popular poetic drama which appeared in
1841.

82 Saint Francis: St Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), ascetic, mystic, and poet,
founder of the Franciscan order and much admired by Adams as the ex-
emplar of the unselfish life of intuitive faith. See ‘The Mystics’, Mont-
Saint-Michel and Chartres.
William Story: William Wetmore Story (1819–95), expatriate New Eng-
land sculptor whose studio in Rome was a favourite meeting-place for,
among others, Browning, Hawthorne, and James (who in 1903 published
William Wetmore Story and His Friends). Adams visited Story as early as
1860 and continued to call whenever in Rome, including a stop during his
honeymoon in 1873.

Mommsen: Theodore Mommsen (1817–1903), German historian and
archaeologist, professor of ancient history at Berlin, author of three-
volume history of Rome.

Chandler: Joseph Ripley Chandler (1792–1880), American minister in
Naples at the time.

Captain Palmer: James Shedden Palmer (1810–67), who subsequently
served under Admiral Farragut during the Civil War.

Prince Caracciolo: the revolutionary Prince Francesco Caracciolo
(1752–99), an admiral under Ferdinand IV of Naples who tried to prevent
the landing of the British and Sicilian fleet in 1799; as a result, he was
hanged by order of Nelson.

83 Dumas: Alexandre Dumas (1802–70), French author of immensely pop-
ular historical novels including The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three
Musketeers.
Spartacus: (d. 71 bce), Roman slave leader in the unsuccessful gladiatorial
rebellion against Rome.

Condottiere: a leader of mercenary soldiers hired by Italian states in the
wars of the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.

84 July heat: should read ‘June heat’. By 1 July Adams was in Paris.
more he did not seek: Adams exaggerates his limited knowledge of French.
He studied French at Harvard and had been tutored in it by his father. He
also wrote a series of lengthy letters to his family from Paris in French.

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86 Blackstone: Sir William Blackstone (1723–80), whose Commentaries on the
Laws of England (1765–68) formed the standard introduction to the study
of common law in England and America.

Wide-Awakes: supporters of Lincoln joined together into Wide-Awake
Clubs to organize militant processions. They were soon absorbed into regi-
ments of volunteers.

87 Old House: the mansion of John Adams in Quincy built in 1737 and pur-
chased in 1787. Seven acres of farm land surrounded it.

“Quantula sapientia mundus regitur!”: Adams quotes only a portion of the
full phrase from Count Axel Gustafsson Oxenstiern (1583–1654). It reads,
‘Behold my sons, with how little wisdom the world is directed.’

88 Israel Washburn: (1813–83), representative from Maine and a key figure in
the organization of the Republican party in 1854.

89 Preston King . . . Henry J. Raymond: Preston King: (1806–65), Republican
senator from New York. Henry Winter Davis: (1817–65), Baltimore lawyer
and independent political leader, representative in Congress, 1855–61, and
an anti-secessionist. Owen Lovejoy: (1811–64), clergyman and anti-slavery
congressman from Illinois, 1857–64, brother of Elijah Lovejoy; was
lynched in 1837 by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois. Henry J. Raymond:
(1820–69), editor, politician, and co-founder of the New York Times, 1851,
and a New York political leader. He replaced invective and partisan re-
porting with fairness and impartiality. He said that when he wrote a sen-
tence he could not help seeing how it was only partially true before he got
to the end.

Benton: Thomas Hart Benton (1782–1858), senator and congressman from
Missouri, Democratic leader in Congress, supporter of Andrew Jackson
and spokesman for westward exploration and expansion.

Clay: Henry Clay (1772–1852), see note to p. 43, above.
bouffe: farcical.
Godkin: Edwin Lawrence Godkin (1831–1902), Irish-born journalist who
edited the Nation from its founding in 1865 as a vehicle of political reform.
Malvolio: conceited and self-important steward of Olivia in Shakespeare’s
Twelfth Night; his vanity makes him the victim of various jokes in the play.

91 Hildreth: Richard Hildreth (1807–65), Boston historian and author of
History of the United States (6 vols., 1849–56). Despite Hildreth’s claim,
Adams was friendly with him.

92 concentrated education: Adams again deprecates his role in public affairs.
On 9 December 1860 he wrote to his brother from Washington: ‘it’s a great
life; just what I wanted; and as I always feel that I am of real use here and can
take an active part in it all, it never tires.’ Lett. i. 204.

93 General Winfield Scott: (1786–1866), military hero and presidential candid-
ate in the election of 1852 for the Whig party. He lost to Franklin Pierce.
Became commander in chief of the army, retiring in 1861, after experien-

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cing every military crisis since the War of 1812 including the wars with
England, Mexico, and the Indians.

94 wandering between two worlds: from Matthew Arnold’s ‘Stanzas from the
Grand Chartreuse’ (1852, 1855).

95 Horace Gray: (1828–1902), prominent Boston lawyer, a Free Soiler and
Republican and friend of the family. Became a justice of the US Supreme
Court in 1881.

“My Lords and Gentlemen”: allusion to Blackstone’s Commentaries; see the
Introductory lecture and this common form of address.

96 Minister to England: Charles Francis Adams, Henry Adams’s father, was
commissioned minister to England on 20 March 1861.

Time had passed!: reference to a comic episode in Robert Greene’s 1594 play
The Honorable History of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay.

97 Secretary of State: William H. Seward, secretary of state from 1861 to 1870.
Charley Wilson: Charles Lush Wilson (d. 1878), editor of the Chicago Daily
Journal.
Assistant Secretary: Benjamin Moran (1820–86), an important official in
the legation whose extensive journal from 1857 to 1874 reveals his disap-
proval of young Adams’s social ambitions.

April 13: Fort Sumter surrendered to the Confederates on 13 April 1861.
Admiral Dupont: Samuel Francis Dupont (1803–65), commander of the
South Atlantic blockading squadron, 1861–3.

98 1778: On the 1778 mission to France, John Adams found he could achieve
little since the affairs of the American commission were confused. He was
sent back to France a year and half later as a peace negotiator but quarrelled
with Benjamin Franklin, who outranked him as minister. But by 1782,
Adams singlehandedly succeeded in getting Holland to give diplomatic
recognition to the United States and in 1783 played an important part in
negotiating the treaty of peace at Paris.

Cassius M. Clay: (1810–1903), liberal Kentucky statesman active in the
anti-slavery movement. He embarrassed Minister Adams by publicly de-
nouncing British policy. Privately, Henry Adams referred to him and to
Anson Burlingame as ‘noisy jackasses’.

99 Tiberius Palmerston: Henry John Temple (Viscount Palmerston) (1784–
1865), British prime minister 1855–8, 1859–65. The arrogance of Palmer-
ston is likened to that of the notorious emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero.

100 Jefferson Davis: (1808–89), from Mississippi, Davis was secretary of war
under President Franklin Pierce and became the aristocratic president of
the Confederate States, 1861–5. Educated at West Point, the US military
academy, he was a soldier, congressman, and secretary of war, 1853–7. Led
the States’ Rights party in the Senate and supported slavery. Imprisoned
for two years at the end of the Civil War and pardoned in the amnesty of
1868.

Explanatory Notes 439

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100 Gladstone: William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98), British statesman, chan-
cellor of the exchequer under Aberdeen (1852–5) and Lord Palmerston
(1859–66); prime minister for a number of terms beginning in 1868.
Established a system for national education (1870) and succeeded in insti-
tuting a scheme of parliamentary reform. Wrote a number of books on re-
ligion and Classical literature. The quotation is from Lord Morley’s The
Life of W. E. Gladstone, which Adams read in 1903.
John Russell: Lord John Russell (1792–1878), an eminent and progressive
British statesman and historian who became foreign secretary under
Palmerston in 1860. He was prime minister 1846–52 and 1865–67. He be-
came an earl in 1861. His Recollections and Suggestions appeared in 1875.

102 “Quel chien de pays!”: ‘what a beastly country!’
“Que tu es beau aujourd’hui, mon cher!”: ‘how handsome you are today, my
dear fellow.’

Miss Burdett Coutts’s: (1814–1906), wealthy spinster who married at 67;
noted for her philanthropy and social influence. Created a baroness in
1871.

Duchess Dowager of Sutherland: Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Leveson-
Gower (1806–68), mistress of the wardrobe and intimate friend of Queen
Victoria; her London residence, Stafford House, St James Place, was an
important social centre. In 1853, a famed protest of English ladies against
American slavery was issued at her home.

103 battle of Bull Run: the first battle of Bull Run, 21 July 1861, barely 30 miles
from Washington, was a rout of the inexperienced Union volunteers, who
fled in panic across the Potomac. Only the disorganization and exhaustion
of the Confederate soldiers prevented their overrunning the city.

Mason and Slidell: James Murray Mason (1798–1871) and James Slidell
(1793–1871) were two Confederate agents, one on his way to London, the
other to Paris, arrested by the USS San Jacinto, which stopped the British
mail ship Trent, on which they were sailing, in November 1861. The
English furore over the boarding of a neutral ship abated when the USA
released the agents in December 1861. Mason had been a US senator,
1848–61, and author of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Slidell was a US
senator from Louisiana, 1853–61.

Monckton Milnes: (1809–85), became Baron Houghton in 1863; member of
parliament, poet, socialite, literary patron, dilettante, and biographer of
Keats. Fryston Hall was the family home. At Cambridge he was a close
friend of Tennyson and Hallam and knew Thackeray. He influenced the
queen to appoint Tennyson Poet Laureate in 1850. Adams enjoyed his
company and social occasions.

104 William E. Forster: (1818–86), woollen manufacturer, member of parlia-
ment, associated with John Bright and William Cobden in support of the
North; opposed to recognition of the Confederacy. In the Life of the Right
Honourable William Edward Forster (1888) and The Life, Letters and

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Friendships of Richard Monckton Milnes (1890), both by T. Wemyss Reid,
Adams is depicted as receiving the news calmly.

the Prince Consort sickened and died: Prince Albert (1819–61). Married
Queen Victoria in 1840. His death on 14 December 1861 plunged the
Queen into mourning.

Trent Affair: the arrest in November 1861 of two confederate agents on
board the British mail ship Trent. See note on Mason and Slidell, p. 103.
He had written . . . New York Times: Adams’s thirty-two letters appeared
between 7 June 1861 and 4 January 1862.

a long account . . . published in the Boston Courier: 16 December 1861, repr.
American Historical Review, 51 (Oct. 1945), 74–89.
a long, satirical leader in the London Times: the Times editorial was followed
the next day by an even more sarcastic editorial in the London Examiner.
Adams was vulnerable because of his patronizing comments on British
social conventions.

Joe Parkes: (1798–1877), Birmingham lawyer, politician who acted as an
intermediary between the Whigs and the Radicals during the agitation over
the reform bill; later became a parliamentary solicitor in London.

105 Commodore Wilkes: Charles Wilkes (1798–1877), commander of the San
Jacinto which boarded the Trent. (See note on Mason and Slidell, p. 103.)
“Surtout point de zèle!”: ‘above all, beware of zeal!’
Mr. Delane: John Thaddeus Delane (1817–79), influential editor of the
London Times.
Russell Sturgis: (1805–87), Massachusetts-born banker and senior partner
of Baring Brothers, leading London bankers.

bankers . . . Baring: George Peabody: (1795–1869), Massachusetts-born
merchant who moved to England in 1837 and became a London banker.
Junius Morgan: (1813–90), international banker born in Boston; from
1864–90 headed J. S. Morgan & Co., international banking firm. Father
of J. P. Morgan (1837–1913), international financier. Joshua Bates:
(1788–1864), Massachusetts-born head of Baring Brothers, London bank-
ing institution. Adams partial to the firm since it helped the USA during
the War of 1812. Thomas Baring: (1799–1873), member of Baring Brothers
and member of parliament 1833–7 and 1844–73.

106 The Copperhead: derogatory epithet applied to Northern sympathizers
with the Confederacy; from the deadly Copperhead snake, which strikes
without warning.

Pall Mall: fashionable walk in London frequented by high society which
was largely hostile to the North in the Civil War.

débâcle: collapse. Disasters at the two battles of Bull Run and subsequent
military miscalculations appeared to spell defeat for the North.

107 Silenus: satyr-like companion of Dionysus in Greek mythology whose wor-
ship was marked by orgiastic revels and whose laugh evoked a sensualist.

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108 Henry Brougham: (1778–1868), lawyer and one of the founders of the
Edinburgh Review; member of parliament, lord chancellor, 1830–4, and
prominent figure in public life known for his volubility in debate.

Hayward: Abraham Hayward (1801–84), essayist and raconteur whose co-
pious contributions appeared in various nineteenth-century periodicals in-
cluding the Quarterly Review. He published books on Lord Chesterfield,
whist, and The Art of Dining.
Venables: George Stovin Venables (1810–80), barrister and essayist; con-
tributed to the Saturday Review.
Henry Reeve: (1813–95), journalist with The Times of London and later
editor of the Edinburgh Review, 1855–95.
daughter of Dr. Arnold to marry him: in 1850 Forster married Jane Martha
Arnold, sister of Matthew Arnold and daughter of Dr Thomas Arnold,
Anglican priest who became headmaster of Rugby and later Regius
Professor of History at Oxford.

109 John Bright: (1811–89), leader of the Anti-Corn Law League and advocate
of parliamentary reform and free trade.

Richard Cobden: (1804–65), member of parliament and a strong advocate of
free trade and low tariffs.

Shaftesbury clique: Anthony Ashley Cooper (1801–85), seventh Earl of
Shaftesbury, philanthropist and one of a group of upper-class social re-
formers who thought slavery was not the issue of the Civil War and that the
North could not defeat the South. The Emancipation Proclamation was not
issued by Lincoln until 1863, largely as a political and military expedient.

Duke of Argyll: George Douglas Campbell, Duke of Argyll (1823–1900),
member of the House of Lords and prominent in the Liberal party; out-
spoken on many public questions. Married Elizabeth Leveson-Gower,
daughter of the Duchess of Sutherland.

Frederick Cavendish: Lord Frederick Cavendish (1836–82), private secret-
ary to Lord Granville, president of the privy council; assassinated by
political terrorists the day he took office as chief secretary of Ireland.
Devonshire House was the family home.

Lyulph Stanley: Edward Lyulph Stanley (1839–1929), from a distin-
guished family of landed aristocrats; became a Liberal politician active in
educational reform.

110 Lorne: Marquis of Lorne, John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845–
1914), son of the eighth Duke of Argyll.

Sir Charles Trevelyan: (1806–86), governor of Madras, 1859–60, finance
minister of India, 1862–65, known as a supporter of social reform and as a
philanthropist. One of Adams’s closest friends was Sir Charles’s son,
George Otto Trevelyan, who was to become famous as the biographer of
Lord Macaulay, his uncle.

Sir Charles and Lady Lyell: Sir Charles Lyell (1797–1875), leading English
geologist, author of the revolutionary Principles of Geology (1830–3), sym-

442 Explanatory Notes

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pathetic to the United States during the Civil War; he figures importantly
in Chapter XV of the Education. Adams, who became a friend of Lyell’s, re-
viewed the two-volume revised tenth edition of the Principles in the
October 1868 issue of the North American Review. Entitled ‘The Principles
of Geology’, the review was signed Henry Brooks Adams.

Tom Hughes: (1822–96), English reformer and politician, supporter of the
North in the Civil War and best known as the author of Tom Brown’s School
Days (1857) about life at Rugby under Dr Arnold.

111 escape of the rebel cruisers: the Confederacy had two ships built in England;
they both escaped in 1862 before any pressure could be put on the British
government by the United States to prevent their departure.

McClellan: General George Brinton McClellan (1826–85) was appointed
general-in-chief of the Union armies by Lincoln in November 1861 but
loss of confidence in his abilities meant reassignment as general of the
Army of the Potomac in March 1862. He was further discredited for his
failure to capture Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, in a battle
lasting from April to July 1862.

second Bull Run: fought 29–31 August 1862, a disastrous defeat which can-
celled the gains made by the Union armies in Virginia during the preced-
ing year. Union casualties (15,000) were double those of the Confederates.

112 Army of the Potomac: Charles Francis Adams, jun., was a first lieutenant in
the First Massachusetts Cavalry and was sent to South Carolina on occu-
pation duty. In August 1862 he was transferred to the Army of the Potomac
and saw active duty as a captain at Antietam, Gettysburg, and other battles.
He rose to the rank of colonel of the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a black
regiment, and left the service as a brevet brigadier general.

Capuan comforts: Capua was an ancient and strategic Italian city on the
Appian Way, noted for its luxury.

Consul Dudley: Thomas Haines Dudley (1819–93), US consul at Liverpool
1861–72; in 1893 he reported that 130 steamers had left England to run the
Union blockade of the South.

113 Sir Henry Holland: (1788–1873), distinguished physician and author,
physician to Queen Victoria and adviser to many individuals of note in the
first half of the nineteenth century.

Mrs. Frank Hampton: Sally Baxter Hampton (1833–62). Thackeray met
her in New York in 1852. She married Frank Hampton and moved to
Charleston, South Carolina, where she died. Ethel Newcome, partly based
on Sally Hampton, is the heroine of Thackeray’s 1853–5 novel, The
Newcomes.

114 boorish Scotch jibes of Carlyle: most likely an allusion to Carlyle’s ‘The
American Iliad in a Nutshell’, a short fictional dialogue published in
Macmillan’s Magazine, 8 (Aug. 1863), 301. Carlyle had no faith in demo-
cracy, as seen in his ‘Shooting Niagara and After’ (1867).

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115 famous memorandum of August 12, 1850: in her memorandum, the Queen
demanded of Palmerston that he not alter or modify measures that she had
sanctioned.

Baron Brunnow: Philipp Brunnow (1797–1875), Russia’s permanent am-
bassador to Great Britain, 1840–54, returned to London in 1858.

“C’est une peau de rhinocère!”: ‘He has the skin of a rhinoceros.’
Lady Palmerston: born Emily Mary Lamb (1787–1869), she married
Palmerston at the age of 52, two years after the death of her first husband.
Their residence, Cambridge House, at 94 Piccadilly, received so many
visitors that a second gate was cut in the wall to allow the carriages to
stream through.

116 Borthwick: Sir Algernon Borthwick (1830–1908), proprietor of the Morn-
ing Post.
Congress of Vienna: assembled in 1814 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars to
reorganize and repartition Europe. It became a symbol of cynical statecraft.

117 Lady Jocelyn: (1819–80), Frances Elizabeth Jocelyn, youngest daughter of
Lady Palmerston by her first husband, the 5th Earl of Cowper; married
Lord Jocelyn in 1841.

General Butler’s famous woman-order at New Orleans: Benjamin Franklin
Butler (1818–93), Union military commander in New Orleans after its sur-
render in 1862 ordered that women who publicly insulted his officers
should be treated as common prostitutes; in response Jefferson Davis,
president of the Confederacy, decreed that if General Butler should ever be
captured he was to be hanged.

118 bêtise: piece of stupidity.
119 Stirling of Keir: Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (1818–78), Spanish scholar,

historian, and member of parliament.

120 Laurence Oliphant: (1829–88), first secretary of the British legation in
Japan, 1861, and author of the witty and satirical novel Piccadilly (1870).
He came under the influence of the American mystic, Thomas Lake
Harris, resigned his seat in parliament in 1868 and followed Harris to New
York State. He finally broke with Harris, however, and resumed his writing
and travelling.

The Owl: founded by Sir Algernon Borthwick of the Morning Post and
others, began publication in 1864, two years after this gathering.

Robert Louis Stevenson: (1850–94), Scottish novelist, essayist, and poet,
author of Treasure Island (1882), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and
Kidnapped (1886). Adams met him in 1890 in Samoa, where Stevenson
spent his last years. On their meeting see HA II, 28 ff.
Algernon Swinburne: (1837–1909), poet of sensuous verse; often censured
for the pagan spirit of his poetry. The poems Adams heard recited appeared
in Poems and Ballads (1866). During his third year at Oxford, Swinburne
read modern history with Professor William Stubbs.

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121 Voltaire: (1694–1778), French sceptic and writer whose satirical Candide
(1758) was a favourite of Adams.

Dante: Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), a politically active Florentine and
principal poet of the Italian Renaissance, author of Vita nuova (c. 1293), a
series of lyric poems, linked by a prose narrative, which describe his pas-
sion for his youthful love, Beatrice. Banished from Florence in 1309 be-
cause of political intrigue and supposed opposition to the Pope and Charles
of Valois, Dante began a period of wandering, finally settling in Ravenna.
During his exile he completed the Divina commedia (Divine Comedy),
started c. 1307. In the poem, Dante is a figure guided by Virgil through Hell
and Purgatory; Beatrice, however, guides him in the final volume, Paradiso.
The epic elevated vernacular Italian from daily language into art.

Villon: François Villon (1431–?), French lyric poet who often celebrated
the conditions of his fellows students of the Latin Quarter in Paris, al-
though he had to flee after fatally wounding a priest in a street brawl. After
a pardon, he returned, and wrote a series of poems, culminating in the long
poetic sequence, ‘Le Grand Testament’ (1461).

Victor Hugo: (1802–85), French Romantic poet and novelist, author of
Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Misérables; his finest poem is thought to be La
Legende des siècles.
his most appreciative listener: Richard Monckton Milnes, Baron Houghton.
The slightly misquoted lines are from poems by Milnes published in A
Selection from the Works of Lord Houghton (1868).
The story of his first day: when Swinburne visited Professor William Stubbs,
also a clergyman, at his country parsonage, it was a Sunday, but Swinburne
was excused from church to rest from his journey. Swinburne donned a
scarlet dressing gown with matching slippers and watched the parishioners
head to church. They found him so striking a figure that they gathered in
front of his window and forgot about the service until Stubbs rang the
church bell a second time.

122 Encke’s comet: a sensational comet whose orbit was first calculated by
Johann Franz Encke (1791–1865), a German astronomer. Adams used
Encke’s star maps when studying astronomy.

Alfred de Musset: (1810–57), French lyric poet and playwright; thought by
many to be the finest French love poet because of his expression of the
Romantic temperament. In 1833 he met George Sand and a stormy ro-
mance ensued which his series Nuits (Nights, 1835–7) describes.

123 Walter Savage Landor: (1775–1864), English author of elaborate and sculp-
tured poetry and prose; treated historical and exotic themes, as in his
Imaginary Conversations, a prose work, and Gebir, an epic poem.
Geneva Conference: an 1872 meeting in which the USA advanced claims for
indemnity against England for damage to American shipping by the
Confederate raider Alabama, the ship built in England and known as ‘No.
290’. Charles Francis Adams, Henry Adams’s father, represented the
United States and successfully negotiated a settlement of $15 million.

Explanatory Notes 445

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123 “Quant à moi, je crois en Dieu!”: ‘as for me, I believe in God!’
“Chose sublime! un Dieu qui croit en Dieu!”: ‘how sublime! a God who be-
lieves in God!’

Pickering’s: Basil Montague Pickering (1836–78), Swinburne’s first pub-
lisher.

Moxon: Poems and Ballads (1866) was published by the firm that took over
the business of Edward Moxon (1801–58), British poet and publisher, re-
taining his name. Reaction to Swinburne’s controversial volume was ex-
treme because of its sensuous themes and imagery.

124 never met again: Adams is incorrect. He and Swinburne met in July 1864 at
a breakfast party at Monckton Milnes’s home.

Ashley: Anthony Evelyn Ashley (1836–1907), English biographer of Lord
Palmerston.

128 Bethell: Richard Bethell (1800–73), 1st Lord Westbury, became Baron
Westbury and lord chancellor in 1861, presiding over the House of Lords
and heading the British judiciary system. He also became a leading mem-
ber of Palmerston’s cabinet.

Disraeli: Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81), leading statesman and political
novelist whose work had been read by the young Henry Adams. In parlia-
ment he criticized Lord Russell’s foreign policy during the Civil War.
Served two terms as prime minister.

Lord Robert Cecil: (1830–1903), statesman and political writer, opponent of
Palmerston’s government, influential writer on finance for the Quarterly
Review.
Declaration of Paris: adopted in 1856 at the conclusion of the Treaty of
Paris which ended the Crimean War. The Declaration attempted to settle
the maritime rights of nations in wartime. The United States belatedly
moved to subscribe to the Declaration in 1861 but negotiations broke down
when England proposed that the ban against privateering in the document
should not apply to the Confederates on the grounds that the war was an
internal dispute.

Lord Selborne: Roundell Palmer (1812–95), became solicitor general of
England in 1861 and attorney general in 1863; in 1872 he was created the
1st Earl of Selborne.

Lord Granville: George Leveson-Gower (1815–91), diplomat and states-
man, leader of the House of Lords during Liberal ministries after 1855.

129 Hegel’s metaphysical doctrine of the identity of opposites: Hegel (1770–1831),
the distinguished German philosopher, believed in a system in which
thought and being moved in an endless continuum of thesis, antithesis, and
synthesis. Adams provisionally applied this idea to the paradoxes he saw in
human behaviour.

Collier’s: Robet Porrett Collier (1817–86), counsel to the Admiralty, 1859;
solicitor general, 1863–6; attorney general, 1868–71; author of various
legal works.

446 Explanatory Notes

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132 Granville’s “Life”: Lord Edward Fitzmaurice, The Life of Granville (1905).
133 Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln announced the preliminary

Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet on 22 September 1862, five days
after the battle of Antietam; it was to take effect on 1 January 1863.

137 The cat’s-paw theory: based on the fable of the monkey who used a cat’s paw
to draw chestnuts from the fire. The suggestion is that Palmerston was the
monkey and used Russell to save the situation precipitated by Gladstone.

Sir George Grey: (1799–1882), home secretary under Palmerston and
Russell.

139 Henry James: (1843–1916), distinguished New York-born novelist and
short-story writer who became a close friend of Adams’s. Best known for
his fascination with European culture in works like Daisy Miller (1879),
Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Wings of the Dove (1902), and The
Ambassadors (1903). His account of his return to America after an absence
of twenty years, The American Scene (1907), appeared the year Adams
began to circulate his privately printed version of the Education.

James received one of these copies for comment and revision, Adams
telling him in a letter of 6 May 1908 that ‘the volume is a mere shield of pro-
tection in the grave. I advise you to take your own life in the same way, in
order to prevent biographers from taking it in theirs.’ In the same letter,
Adams added that he intended the Education to be ‘a completion and math-
ematical conclusion from the previous volume about the Thirteenth
Century,—the three concluding chapters of this being only a working out
to Q.E.D. of the three concluding chapters of that.’ Lett. vi. 136.

140 Punch: the satirical illustrated weekly London magazine founded in 1841.
141 nearly as dead as any of them: at the time of writing this, Adams was nearly

67, and, although vigorous for his years, enjoyed posing as a man for whom
life was virtually over. He sustained this pose until his death at 80 in 1918.

143 Rams: colloquial term for iron-clad warships with heavy prows for piercing
an enemy ship. A shipyard in Liverpool had contracted to build two such
ships for the Confederate navy.

October, 1862: Russell, as foreign minister, sought to betray Adams and the
American legation by proposing mediation and diplomatic recognition of
the Confederacy.

1815: Adams refers to the Congress of Vienna, which represented the
success of the old-world statecraft by restoring the status quo through the
arbitrary decisions of a few powerful statesmen. The error was in their
inability to recognize the United States as a new world power.

144 Lairds: William Laird and Son, shipbuilders at Birkenhead, the seaport of
Liverpool.

145 Vicksburg: chief city on the Mississippi between Memphis and New
Orleans and of great strategic importance during the Civil War. The siege
of the city began under Grant on 18 May 1863 and by 4 July the garrison of
37,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered.

Explanatory Notes 447

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145 Gettysburg: the decisive battle of the Civil War, 1–3 July 1863, where
General Meade defeated General Lee. The Union troops suffered 23,000
dead, the Confederates, 31,000.

1813: fifty years earlier, 1813 opened with the Americans triumphant
through a series of morale-boosting naval victories over the British, al-
though they were less successful on land. A century earlier in 1763, there
was a far greater turning-point in American history: the Treaty of Paris,
ending the Seven Years’ War and eliminating France as a threat to the
American colonies.

as the files of the Times proved: Charles Francis Adams, as minister, and his
son, as secretary, constantly complained in letters of the unwillingness of
The Times to report news which was contrary to its position regarding the
Confederacy.

147 “It would be superfluous . . . this is war!”: the famous remark is in a note
Charles Francis Adams wrote to Earl Russell, 5 September 1863, as a cul-
mination of a series of protests. Although Adams did not know it, Russell
had already, on 2 September, ordered that the ships be detained.

148 four generations: a verbal slip for ‘three’; the notables of the three gen-
erations were John Adams as Revolutionary leader against England and
envoy to the peace negotiations; John Quincy Adams as negotiator of the
Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812; and Charles Francis Adams, as
minister to England. Henry Adams was himself a member of the fourth
generation.

Lord North: Frederick North (1732–92), prime minister under George III,
offered a conciliatory peace proposal in November 1777. But it came too
late: the American alliance with France had already been concluded. Lord
North resigned after Burgoyne’s surrender with his army at Saratoga on 17
October.

George Canning: (1770–1827), foreign secretary 1807–9, whose intransi-
gence helped to push the two nations towards war.

149 Geneva Conference in 1872: where Charles Francis Adams was the Amer-
ican arbitrator. The award amounted to $15 million in gold. (See note to
p. 123, above.)

155 went to see Sothern act Dundreary: Edward Askew Sothern (1826–81),
English comic actor famous for his portrayal of the fatuous Lord
Dundreary in the comedy Our American Cousin. The long Dundreary side-
whiskers set a male fashion for many years.

157 Lord Brougham: Lord Henry Peter Brougham (1778–1868). A reference to
his sustained attack in parliament against the notorious Orders in Council
which were a main cause of the War of 1812.

Lord Stanley: Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, Earl of Derby
(1815–91).

Fowell Buxton: Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (1837–1915) entered parlia-
ment in 1865, serving three years; he later became president of the anti-
slavery league in England.

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Richmond Government: Richmond, Virginia was the capital of the Con-
federacy, formerly known as the Confederate States of America.

158 Cockburn: Sir Alexander James Edmund Cockburn (1802–80), chief jus-
tice of the Queen’s Bench and controversial British representative in the
Alabama Claims arbitration.

159 Lindsay: William Schaw Lindsay (1816–77), member of parliament.
Laird’s of Liverpool designed the first iron-clad ships and was their chief
manufacturer.

Mr. Roebuck: John Arthur Roebuck (1801–79), member of parliament for
Sheffield for thirty years who introduced a motion proposing that England
enter negotiations with the great powers (principally France) to recognize
the Confederacy. France sought a weakened USA so it could extend
French influence into Mexico.

161 Professor Beesly: Professor Edward Beesly (1831–1915), professor of his-
tory at University College, London who wrote a series of ‘Letters to the
Working Class’.

made a report: Adams’s report to William Seward, dated 27 March 1863,
eventually appeared in the New England Quarterly, December 1942.

162 Sir Francis Doyle: (1810–88), poet who became professor of poetry at
Oxford in 1867, although his background was law and he held various gov-
ernment appointments, becoming in 1869 commissioner of customs. He
was best known for his ballads.

Sir Robert Cunliffe: (1839–1905), an affable baronet active in Liberal
Unionist politics; one of Adams’s oldest English friends and a favourite
companion.

163 the ten-pound voter: a qualification for voting for those who did not own real
estate, admitting to the vote those paying an annual rent of at least £10.

Newman: John Henry Newman (1801–90), left the Anglican priesthood for
the Roman Catholic church and became a cardinal in 1879. Author of the
famous autobiography Apologia pro vita sua (1864), he also wrote influen-
tial works on educational and moral questions.

Ruskin: John Ruskin (1819–1900), the most influential art critic of his time
who also published on economics and sociology. Modern Painters (5 vols.,
1843–60) profoundly altered the assessment of painting and sculpture dur-
ing the nineteenth century. His other important texts include The Stones
of Venice (1851–3), Lectures on Architecture and Painting (1854), works of
social criticism, Unto this Last (1860) and Sesame and Lilies (1865), and an
autobiography, Praeterita. In 1869 he became the first Slade Professor of
the Fine Arts at Oxford.

164 Henry Reeve: (1813–95), editor of the Edinburgh Review, 1855–95.
Frank Palgrave: Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–97), art and literary critic
as well as poet and anthologist. Chapter XIV of the Education presents a de-
tailed portrait of Palgrave. Close friend of Arnold and Tennyson, the latter

Explanatory Notes 449

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helping him with his Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics published in
1861, an immediate nineteenth-century classic. In 1885 he was elected to
the chair of poetry at Oxford which he held until 1895.

164 Mrs. Grote: Mrs Harriet Grote (1792–1878), known for her love of brightly
coloured clothing. On seeing her with a rose-coloured turban, the writer
Sydney Smith remarked, ‘Now I know the meaning of grotesque.’ Her
husband George Grote was a disciple of John Stuart Mill and a distin-
guished historian of Greece.

Grotius: Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), statesman and learned jurist.
Puffendorf!: Samuel Pufendorf (1632–94), occasionally spelt Puffendorf,
was the most noted student of Grotius’s work on international law.

Forain: Jean Louis Forain (1852–1931), famous for his satirical etchings of
the French bourgeoisie.

“Greville Memoirs”: Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville (1794–1865) kept
an insider’s diary while clerk of the privy council which he bequeathed to
Henry Reeve. When the first section was published, covering the years
1814–37, the queen accused him of disloyalty.

165 saurians of the prime: allusion to Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’
(1797–8) and meaning extinct primeval lizard-like monsters.

166 American Peer of the Realm: in the British peerage, a nobleman of one of the
following ranks: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron. As a private secret-
ary to the minister, Adams both understood and took pleasure in the
formalities of nobility and presentations at court.

167 Balmoral: the royal residence in Scotland, acquired in 1852.
168 Lady Margaret Beaumont: Lady Margaret de Burgh Canning (d. 1888),

first wife of Wentworth Beaumont. Adams continued his friendly acquaint-
ance with the Beaumonts into the 1900s.

Lord Lyndhurst: John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst (1772–1863),
British jurist and statesman, son of the famous American-born painter
John Singleton Copley. One-time member of parliament.

Lord Campbell: John Campbell, Baron Campbell (1779–1861), member of
parliament who became chief justice of the Queen’s Bench and was lord
chancellor, 1859–61. One should note that although the chapter title is
dated 1864, the events in the chapter range between 1861 and 1865.

169 General Dick Taylor: Richard Taylor (1826–79), son of President Zachary
Taylor, was a Confederate general in the Civil War, settling afterwards in
Washington.

Devonshire House: in Piccadilly, London, the palatial residence of the Duke
of Devonshire.

Mme. de Castiglione: Virginia Verases, Contessa di Castiglione (1835–99).
After her marriage in 1854 to Conte Francesco di Castiglione, she exercised
great influence at the court of Napoleon III in Paris from 1856 until 1870
when he was deposed.

450 Explanatory Notes

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Stafford House: London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Suther-
land.

170 Arthur Pendennis: semi-aristocratic hero of Thackeray’s novel, The History
of Pendennis (1848–50). He begins his career as an idle and conceited uni-
versity man but slowly reforms his ways.

Barnes Newcome: unattractive snob in Thackeray’s novel The Newcomes
(1853–5).

171 Patti . . . Gretchen: Patti: Adelina Patti (1843–1919), coloratura soprano
who made her London début at Covent Garden. Cherubino is Count
Almaviva’s page in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Gretchen is the
German diminutive of Margaret, Faust’s love in Goethe’s Faust, called
Marguerite in Gounod’s opera Faust—which role Patti sang at Covent
Garden in 1863.

172 Renan’s Christ: Joseph Ernest Renan (1823–92), French historian and
philosopher. His Life of Jesus (1863) rejected the claim of divinity for Jesus
and was widely denounced. See note to p. 56, above.

Jowett: Benjamin Jowett (1817–93), Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford
and famous for his translations of the Dialogues of Plato (1871),
Thucydides (1881), the Politics of Aristotle (1885), and Plato’s Republic
(1894). In 1870 he became master of Balliol College, Oxford and later vice-
chancellor of the university.

Milman: Henry Hart Milman (1791–1868), English clergyman and pro-
fessor of poetry at Oxford, noted for his History of Christianity under the
Empire (1840).
Froude: James Anthony Froude (1818–94), noted writer on English history,
contributor to numerous Victorian periodicals and editor of Fraser’s
Magazine, 1860–74. Author of a twelve-volume history of England (1856–
70) and the four-volume Life of Thomas Carlyle (1882).
Bishop Wilberforce: Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (1805–73), son of anti-
slavery leader William Wilberforce, dramatically routed at the 1860 meet-
ing of the British Association for the Advancement of Science by Thomas
Huxley when he attacked Darwin’s Origin of Species.

174 Charles Milnes Gaskell: (1842–1919), author and politician, member of
parliament, 1885–92, became one of Adams’s closest English friends with
whom he maintained a long and important correspondence.

James Milnes Gaskell: (1810–73), member of parliament, 1832–68, lord of
the treasury 1841–6. Friend of Adams’s with whom he later travelled to
Rome.

William Everett: (1839–1910), Adams’s cousin as son of Edward Everett. A
graduate of Harvard and Trinity College, Cambridge, taught Latin at
Harvard the same years Adams taught history; US congressman, 1893–5.

175 Heptarchy: the period of the early English kingdoms from the coming of
the Anglo-Saxons in 449 to the union of the kingdoms in 829.

Explanatory Notes 451

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175 Arthur Hallam: (1811–33), intimate friend of Tennyson’s who died un-
expectedly at the age of 22. Commemorated by Tennyson in his elegy, In
Memoriam (1850).
Manning: Henry Edward Manning (1808–92), prominent member of the
Oxford Movement until his conversion to the Roman Catholic church; be-
came Archbishop of Westminster in 1865 and a cardinal in 1875.

176 Wynns of Wynstay: Charles Watkins Wynn (1755–1850), politician and
friend of the poet Southey, member of parliament 1831–50; Sir Henry
Wynn (1783–1856), his younger brother, diplomat and private secretary in
1801 to Lord Granville of the foreign office.

Wenlock Abbey: Wenlock Abbey, the remains of a great monastic order of
Cluniac Benedictines founded in 1017. Adams visited the abbey, owned by
his friends the Gaskells, in early October 1864.

Wenlock Edge and the Wrekin: in Shropshire, where to the southwest of
Much Wenlock rises the ridge of Wenlock Edge and to the north, the isol-
ated hill of the Wrekin, a remnant of pre-Cambrian geological formations.

177 The Cornice in vettura: Cornice: variant spelling of Corniche, roads cut
spectacularly through the cliffs above the French and Italian Rivieras on
the Mediterranean sea. vettura: a carriage drawn by horses.

178 Cora Pearl: courtesan of Napoleon III’s Second Empire who died in
poverty in Paris.

at loggerheads with the Senate: over reconstruction policy: Johnson wanted
to carry out the moderate policy of Lincoln but met bitter opposition from
the Radical Republicans under Thaddeus Stevens, who pushed through a
civil rights bill early in 1866 over Johnson’s veto.

179 Charles Adams: see note to p. 40 above.
180 Portland Place: No. 54 Portland Place was the residence of the American

minister during the later years of their stay. They earlier resided at nearby
No. 5 Upper Portland Place.

181 Turner: Joseph M. Turner (1775–1851), distinguished English landscape
painter and watercolourist best known for his abstract canvases filled with
light and colour. Representative works include The Fighting Temeraire
(1839) and Rain, Steam and Speed (1844). Adams, like Ruskin, greatly ad-
mired his paintings and later acquired two of his works, one a watercolour.

Sir Christopher Wren: (1632–1723), the most famous English architect,
whose most celebrated structure is St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Was
professor of astronomy at Oxford and a founder of the Royal Society.
Following the Great Fire of London of 1666, Wren worked feverishly to re-
build the city and reputedly built fifty-two churches. He designed the new
St Paul’s in 1669.

Sotheby’s: famous London auction house and art dealers founded by John
Sotheby in Covent Garden in 1744. It transferred to the Strand in 1803.
Coin collecting was the hobby of Henry Adams’s father; his son enlarged

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the collection and then bequeathed it to the Massachusetts Historical
Society.

William Hunt: (1824–79), American painter and follower of the French
artist Millet. Henry and William James both studied with Hunt at Newport
shortly before the Civil War.

182 Old Sir Francis: Sir Francis Palgrave (1788–1861), English historian and
son of Meyer Cohen, a Jew, who became a Christian convert in 1823.
Author of the History of Normandy and England (1851–64). His distin-
guished sons, noted a few lines down, were Francis Turner Palgrave
(1824–97), editor of the Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics (1864);
William Gifford Palgrave (1826–88) who became a Jesuit missionary in
Syria and Arabia, although he left the Jesuits in 1865 and published a nar-
rative of his journey; Sir Reginald Palgrave (1829–1904), an authority on
banking and economics; Sir Robert Harry Palgrave (b. 1827), also an au-
thority on banking.

Holman Hunt: William Holman Hunt (1827–1910), a leading Pre-
Raphaelite painter noted for his portrait of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, with
whom he once shared a studio. Among his best-known works are The Light
of the World (1854) and The Scapegoat (1856). His memoir, Pre-
Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1905), is a useful record.

John Richard Green: (1837–83), historian celebrated for his popular and
readable Short History of the English People (1874). A London clergyman,
he subsequently became librarian to the archbishop of Canterbury at
Lambeth Palace. He and his wife became favourites of Henry Adams after
Adams’s marriage in 1872 to Marian ‘Clover’ Hooper (1844–85) and their
wedding journey to England, the continent, and Egypt.

183 Thomas Woolner: (1825–92), poet and sculptor, member of the Pre-
Raphaelite Brotherhood, formed in 1848 to advocate the direct study of
nature liberated from the academic rules developed under Raphael.

Stopford Brooke: (1832–1916), English clergyman who wrote a Primer of
English Literature (1876) and A History of English Literature (1892).

Christie’s: leading London auction house and art dealer founded by James
Christie in 1766.

Sir Anthony Westcomb: (d. 1752), spelled with a final ‘e’ in the Sotheby’s
catalogue, one of the first collectors of drawings in England. The Sotheby’s
sale catalogue of drawings for 5 July 1867 lists two drawings by Rembrandt
but one by Raphael. Presumably, the drawing attributed to Raphael was in
one of the two lots listed under ‘Miscellaneous’.

184 “Take it down to Reed”: to George W. Reed (1819–87), keeper of prints and
manuscripts at the British Museum and an expert on Italian engravers of
the fifteenth century.

Parnasso: a reference to the fresco in one of the Raphael rooms in the
Vatican representing a crowd of poets and musicians on mount Parnassus.

Explanatory Notes 453

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185 Marc Antonio: Marcantonio Raimondi (1475–1534), one of the major
Italian engravers of the Renaissance, who made engravings of works of
Raphael, Dürer, and others.

Libri: Guglielmo Libri (1803–69), mathematician, historian of Italian
mathematics, and bibliographer, who published a catalogue of books on
Italy. He was a political refugee living in London.

186 “Or questo credo . . . non hai piu dolore”: ‘Now this I well believe that an
(elleria?) | Offends you so much that it has affected your heart. | Because
you are great you have not your wish; | You see and you no longer believe
in your valor. | All jealousies have already passed: | You are of stone: and
you no longer suffer pain.’ (trans. Professor J. Fucilla, Northwestern
University).

Whistler: James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), American ex-
patriate artist trained in St Petersburg, associated with the French
Impressionists, resident of England where his wit and eccentricities made
him noticed. Fascinated by the Japanese print, he none the less replaced
contrasting colours with a pervading grey tone, generating controversy
over his flamboyant and unusual treatment of line and colour. At the centre
of a celebrated lawsuit in 1878 resulting from Ruskin’s condemnation of
Whistler’s paintings exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in London.
Whistler sued when he read the following by Ruskin: ‘[I] never expected to
hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the
public’s face.’ The highly publicized trial resulted in a pyrrhic victory for
Whistler, who was awarded only a farthing in damages. The publicity, how-
ever, was inestimable. See Whistler’s The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
(1890).

187 Buckle: Henry Thomas Buckle (1821–62), British historian, pioneer in the
use of statistical and sociological data for historical prediction. Author of
History of Civilization in England (1857–61).
Kinglake: Alexander William Kinglake (1809–91), travel writer and his-
torian who wrote an eight-volume history of the Crimean War.

Silas Wegg: character of dubious virtue in Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend
(1865) who is employed by Mr Boffin to read to him from the ‘old familiar
Decline-and-Fall-off-the-Rooshan-Empire’.

Monkbarns: Jonathan Oldbuck, laird of Monkbarns, the eponymous anti-
quary of Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Antiquary
Captain John Smith: (1579–1631), English adventurer and writer, presid-
ent of the colony of Virginia, 1608–9. Adams’s article disproved Smith’s
account of his rescue by Pocahontas.

189 Charles Norton: (1827–1908), American author and professor of history of
art at Harvard, 1874–98. He edited the North American Review with James
Russell Lowell, 1864–8. Among his books were Church Building in the
Middle Ages (1876), a translation of Dante (1891), and an edition of the
letters of Carlyle and Emerson (1883). He also helped to found The Nation
in 1865.

454 Explanatory Notes

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190 Tyndall: John Tyndall (1820–93), English scientist and popular lecturer
involved for many years in a controversy over glacier motion based on in-
vestigations he did with Thomas Huxley in the Alps. He also did research
on heat, light, and sound. His works include The Glaciers of the Alps (1860),
Mountaineering (1861), and Fragments of Science (1871).
Huxley: Thomas Huxley (1825–95), English biologist and palaeontologist
who advocated applying the scientific method to all questions. Popularizer
of Darwin’s ideas. His degree was in medicine but by 1854 he was named
professor of natural history at the School of Mines. Became president of
the Royal Society in 1883 and was recognized as England’s foremost bio-
logist; he also coined the term ‘agnostic’. Among his books were Man’s
Place in Nature (1863), Science and Morals (1886), and Evolution and Ethics
(1893).

Marxist: a follower of Karl Marx (1818–83), author of The Communist
Manifesto (1848); see notes to pp. 33, 55, above.

191 Comteist: one who identified with the positivist philosophy of Auguste
Comte (1798–1857).

“Principles”: Sir Charles Lyell’s tenth edition of his Principles of Geology,
which incorporated Darwin’s theory of evolution, appeared in 1866.
Adams, who reviewed the book, was sceptical of Darwin’s ideas at this time.

193 Terebratula: a genus of brachiopods (molluscoida) which includes many
living and some fossil pieces.

Catherine Olney in “Northanger Abbey”: a mistake for Catherine Morland,
the heroine of Jane Austen’s satire of Gothic fiction, Northanger Abbey,
written in 1797 but not published until 1818.

Ludlow Castle: twelfth-century ruin in Ludlow, Shropshire.
Stokesay: a castle near Shrewsbury.
Boscobel: mansion in Shropshire famed as the house where in a secret
chamber Charles II took refuge in 1651.

Uriconium: a rich Roman city near Wrekin Hill whose ruins were being un-
covered.

Roman Campagna: the undulating plain that surrounded Rome which con-
tained towns and villas.

Marches: the border regions of England and Wales.
194 Cader Idris: a mountain in northwestern Wales.

Caer Caradoc: a mountain in Shropshire.
Caractacus: king of ancient Britain, c.50 ce.
Offa: King of Mercia, c.757–96.
Sir Roderick Murchison: (1792–1871), Scottish geologist associated with
Lyell and author of The Silurian System (1838), which described the
Silurian horizon of the Paleozoic era.

Cambrian: the earliest geological period of the Paleozoic era.

Explanatory Notes 455

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194 Severn: second longest river in England, which rises in Wales and crosses
the plain of Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

La Fontaine: Jean de la Fontaine (1621–95), French poet and dramatist
renowned for his Fables (12 vols., 1668–94).
“ . . . qu’un homme”: from the dedicatory poem-fable to the Duke of Bur-
gundy, ‘The Companion of Ulysses’: ‘Everything considered, I maintain in
conclusion | that villain for villain | It is better to be a wolf than a man.’

195 Limulus: the horseshoe or king crab, thought to be a survivor of a genus of
one of the earliest geological periods.

Cestracion Philippi: the so-called Port Jackson shark. For Adams’s scientific
views see William Jordy, Henry Adams: Scientific Historian (1952).
Paley: William Paley (1743–1805), English theologian; his famous analogy
of God as the inferred watchmaker occurs in his Natural Theology (1802).

196 Athanasian creed: a creedal affirmation attributed to Athanasius (296–373
ce) used in Greek, Roman, and Anglican churches.

Bluebeard: a popular story by Perrault, translated from the French into
English c. 1729. Tells of a wicked rich man whose disfigured face is covered
by a blue beard. He obtains the hand of Fatima, who is warned not to open
the door to his treasury while he is away. She does and discovers the bodies
of his previous mistresses. On his return he discovers her crime and orders
her death but she is rescued.

197 restrict currency: As a war measure in 1862, the US government issued
paper money, treasury notes called ‘greenbacks’ not redeemable in specie,
i.e. gold coin. The notes were made legal tender for the payment of obliga-
tions and became fiat money. At one point, however, they dropped to 35
cents (in gold) on the dollar. They were not redeemable in specie until 1879.

198 The editor accepted both: ‘British Finance in 1816’ appeared anonymously in
the North American Review for April 1867; ‘The Bank of England Restric-
tion 1797–1820’ appeared anonymously in October 1867.

199 Pierpont Morgan: (1837–1913), leading American international banker.
Rockefellers: John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), founder of Standard Oil
Company and one of America’s richest men who became one of its fore-
most philanthropists.

William C. Whitney: (1841–1904), successful New York lawyer who be-
came a financier and, between 1885–89, secretary of the navy; also a noted
socialite and sportsman. John La Farge completed two remarkable stained-
glass windows (‘Spring’ and ‘Autumn’) for Whitney’s home, designed by
Stanford White, at Old Westbury, Long Island. Adams admired the win-
dows when he viewed them in a New York studio in 1903 (Lett. v. 436).
William McKinley: (1843–1901), governor of Ohio, president of the US,
1897–1901.

Mark Hanna: (1837–1904), Ohio industrialist, leader of the Republican
hierarchy in the state and political boss of national influence. Rescued his

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friend William McKinley (elected US president in 1897) from bankruptcy
and successfully manœuvred his nomination for the presidency. Appointed
a US senator in 1897 by the governor of Ohio to replace John Sherman,
who became secretary of state; resigned in 1898, to be replaced first by
William R. Day and then by Adams’s closest friend, John Hay, that same
year. Later, Hanna became an adviser to Theodore Roosevelt. He, along
with Hay, Adams, McKinley, and William Randolph Hearst all have
prominent roles in Gore Vidal’s novel of America at the end of the nine-
teenth century, Empire (1987).
Richardson: Henry Hobson Richardson. See note to p. 51, above.
La Farge: John La Farge. See note to p. 58, above.

200 November, 1858: Adams is wrong by a month. It was October 1858.
201 Brevoort House: a fashionable New York hotel.
202 a belated reveller, or a scholar-gipsy like Matthew Arnold’s: reference to two

poems by Arnold: ‘The Strayed Reveller’ (1849) and ‘The Scholar Gipsy’
(1853). The latter contains the lines appropriate to Adams’s mood: ‘ . . .
this strange disease of modern life, | With its sick hurry and divided aims.’

officers of the customs: Adams’s comparison is anachronistic, more appro-
priate to 1900 than to 1868, since Jewish immigration from Russian Poland
was negligible in 1868. The pogroms in Russia and Russian Poland in 1881
prompted the wholesale emigration of impoverished Jews to America.
Adams’s anti-semitic views, more prevalent in his correspondence than in
the Education, date from the 1890s when he was exposed to the French anti-
semitic movement which culminated in the Dreyfus affair, a scandal con-
cerning a Jewish officer falsely accused of treason in 1894 but vindicated
and pardoned in 1906.

Desbrosses Street: a commercial street leading to a New York ferry.
Fifth Avenue: in 1868, the New York street with the most palatial and
fashionable town homes.

Commodore Vanderbilt: Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877), began life as a
boatman, becoming a steamship and railroad magnate and a wealthy Wall
Street financier.

Jay Gould: (1836–92), American capitalist who from humble beginnings be-
came a figure of great affluence and influence, notorious for his acquisition
and manipulation of railroads. He was the one who forced Charles Francis
Adams, jun., Henry Adams’s brother, from the presidency of the Union
Pacific Railroad.

204 Back Bay: reclaimed land of the inner harbour in Boston, a project started
in 1856 and completed in 1886.

205 brother John . . . wrong side: John Quincy Adams II (1833–94) was elected to
the Massachusetts legislature in 1869 on the Democratic ticket and became
leader of the party in the state. He was an unsuccessful candidate for
governor on two occasions and in 1872 at a splinter convention was nomin-
ated for vice-president of the USA but received only one electoral vote.

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205 Newport: Newport, Rhode Island, at this period the most fashionable sum-
mer resort in the USA, favoured by politicians, writers, businessmen, and,
of course, the wealthy.

the Ant and Grasshopper: the opening poem in the Fables (1668) of Jean de la
Fontaine. A moral fable of the industrious ant who laid up provision for the
winter and the improvident grasshopper who sang all summer.

Edward Atkinson: (1827–1905), prominent Boston insurance executive and
liberal economist who wrote on social and economic reform.

206 Horace Greeley: (1811–72), journalist, author, and politician who in 1841
founded the New York Tribune which had tremendous influence on polit-
ical thought; he strongly supported the abolition of slavery. He led the
Republican party during the Civil War and in 1872 was nominated for
president but suffered a crushing defeat.

Charles A. Dana: (1819–97), journalist and writer, assistant secretary of
war, 1863–4, and part owner of the New York Sun in 1868, bringing a pop-
ular style to journalism.

Bennett: James Gordon Bennett (1795–1872), founded the New York
Herald in 1835. In 1869 he sent Stanley on the African expedition to find
Livingstone.

207 William Cullen Bryant: (1794–1878), popular American poet and journal-
ist who became editor and part owner of the Evening Post in 1829. Adams
did in fact contribute a number of pieces to the Nation and the Evening
Post. Bryant’s first book, Poems (1821), contained the much admired
‘Thanatopsis’, written when he was 17. In 1871 he translated Homer into
blank verse.

General Sherman: William Tecumseh Sherman (1820–91), born in Ohio,
famous in the Civil War for his ‘march to the sea’ from Atlanta to Savannah,
Georgia in 1864.

208 President Andrew Johnson: (1808–75), succeeded to the presidency on the
assassination of Lincoln in 1865. A self-taught and self-made man who
began life as a tailor in a small Tennessee mountain village. His supposed
indulgence of the defeated South led to strong criticism from New
England. Impeachment proceedings against him in 1868 failed but his ad-
ministration was already discredited when Adams met him.

209 Hugh McCulloch: (1805–95), lawyer and banker. As secretary of the treas-
ury, he recommended a return to the gold standard after the Civil War but
was stopped by Congress.

210 Frank Walker: (1840–97), Boston-born statistician and political econom-
ist. In 1868 appointed superintendent of the 1870 census; subsequently
president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

211 Judge Curtis: Benjamin R. Curtis (1809–74), associate justice of the US
Supreme Court, 1851–7.

Marshall’s school: John Marshall (1755–1835), chief justice of the US
Supreme Court, (1801–35) who established the supremacy of the court on

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constitutional matters. The ‘legal tender’ case dealt with the legality of the
‘greenbacks’ issued during the Civil War; their market value fluctuated
with the activity of speculators. The government was committed to their
functioning as legal tender but at a trial of 1871 the Supreme Court held
that they were unconstitutional and not legal; at a second decision in 1871,
after two new justices were appointed, the Court reversed itself.

the Chief Justice: Salmon Portland Chase (1808–73), secretary of the treas-
ury, 1861–4; chief justice of the Supreme Court, 1864–73.

213 La Fayette Square: the park just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the
White House with a massive statue of President Andrew Jackson in the
centre and one of the French general Lafayette, a hero of the Revolutionary
War, in one of the corners. The symbolic centre of Washington and where
Henry Adams and John Hay would build their homes.

Mr. Clark Mills’s . . . Andrew Jackson: Clark Mills (1815–83), American
sculptor who created the statute of Andrew Jackson on a rearing horse
which dominated Lafayette Square. The enormous bronze made Adams
think of the prancing wooden horses often found in the nursery. The front
window of Adams’s home on the square, built in 1886, would face the over-
powering figure.

Sam Hooper: (1808–75), prominent merchant, congressman, and ally of
Secretary of the Treasury Chase during the Civil War.

214 Mr. Mullett: A. B. Mullett (1834–93), American architect influenced by the
ornamental architecture of Napoleon III’s Paris; designed the State, War,
and Navy Buildings in Washington, the last a colossal version of a French
chateau.

Sam Ward: (1814–84), socialite, financier, and lobbyist who was called
‘King of the Lobby’; an influential intimate of statesmen.

Smithsonian: Smithsonian Institute, scientific and historical museum ori-
ginally consisting of a red-brick castle-like structure on the Mall in
Washington founded in 1846 as a result of a gift from the Englishman
James Smithson. John Quincy Adams, noted for his promotion of science,
laboured for eight years after he left the presidency, to establish the
museum in Washington.

215 friends on the press . . . Sam Bowles: Nordhoff: Charles Nordhoff (1830–
1901), journalist and managing editor of the New York Evening Post. Murat
Halstead: (1829–1908), editor and publisher of the Cincinnati Commercial.
Henry Watterson: (1840–1921), editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Sam Bowles: (1826–78), editor and publisher of the Springfield Republican.

216 Moorfield Storey: (1845–1929), Massachusetts lawyer and writer on legal
and social reform; became co-editor with Sam Hoar (1845–1904) of the
American Law Review in 1873.
Dewey: George Dewey (1837–1917), a lieutenant commander in the navy;
in 1898 he would become ‘the hero of Manila Bay’, destroying the Spanish
fleet in the Philippines.

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217 he printed it in April: ‘American Finance, 1865–1869’ appeared anonym-
ously in the Edinburgh Review, 129 (April 1869), 504–33.

218 the same review: ‘The Session’, ‘Civil Service Reform’, North American
Review, 108 (April 1869), 610–40; 109 (Oct. 1869), 443–76.
1870: in that year Adams became editor of the North American Review,
which was then a struggling quarterly. He resigned in 1877. The change he
refers to actually started with the founding of the Atlantic Monthly (1858),
the Nation (1865), and Harper’s Weekly (1857).
Bret Harte: (1836–1902), American short-story writer, novelist, poet, and
humorist; well known for his colourful short stories about the far West,
such as ‘The Outcasts of Poker Flat’ which appeared in 1868 in the Over-
land Monthly from San Francisco, which he edited. From 1878 to 1885 he
served as US consul in Germany and Scotland. He finally settled in England.

According to Lowell . . . forever on the Throne: from James Russell Lowell’s
poem ‘The Present Crisis’, which in the original reads ‘Truth forever on
the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.’

219 “Let us have peace”: said by Ulysses S. Grant (1822–85) on accepting nom-
ination for the presidency, 29 May 1868.

221 Hamilton Fish: (1808–93), governor of New York, 1848–50; later, US
senator and secretary of state, 1869–77.

Jacob D. Cox: (1827–1900), governor of Ohio, 1866–8, secretary of the in-
terior, 1869–70. Introduced the merit system in his department which led
to his resignation in 1870 under pressure of corrupt politicians.

222 Adam Badeau: (1831–95), author, soldier, diplomat; military secretary of
General Grant until March 1869; became consul general at London and
authored several studies of Grant.

Rawlins: John Aaron Rawlins (1831–69), army chief of staff under Grant;
briefly secretary of war from March to September 1869.

223 “The best way . . . execute it”: a paraphrase of this statement from Grant’s
inaugural address in 1869: ‘I know no method to secure repeal of bad or
obnoxious laws so effectual as their strict execution.’

226 fatal to two of his brothers: Adams’s unstable uncle George committed
suicide in 1829; his improvident uncle John died after a long illness in 1834.
John Quincy Adams, their father, lived in Washington from 1817 to 1825 as
secretary of state and from 1825 to 1829 as president; he retained his resid-
ence in Washington while a congressman until his death in 1848.

227 inclination of the eliptic: an allusion to the 23.5 degree tilt of the axis of the
earth to the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun, a tilting which ac-
counts for the changes in the seasons in the northern and southern hemi-
spheres and the difference in climate.

attempt of Jay Gould to corner gold: reference to Gould’s manipulation of
the stock of the Erie Railroad, of which he was president. He attempted to
purchase the available gold coin and bullion on the American market to

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command a monopoly price from persons whose contacts required pay-
ment in gold. The ‘corner’ was broken when the government released $4
million in government-owned gold and sold it on the market.

228 âme damnée: a soul damned to Hell.
Jim Fisk: (1834–72), financier and associate of Jay Gould who, although
‘betrayed’ by Gould in the conspiracy, suffered no loss in the bankruptcy of
the Erie Railroad stock.

229 hitched his wagon . . . to the star of reform: allusion to Emerson, who wrote in
his essay ‘Civilization’, Society and Solitude (1870), ‘hitch your wagon to
a star’.

230 drive them from public life: as in the case of John Adams, who was defeated
for re-election by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, and John Quincy Adams,
who was defeated for re-election by Andrew Jackson of Tennessee.

231 Grant’s policy: Seward, in the preceding term, had begun negotiations for
the purchase of the Danish West Indies (now the US Virgin Islands); it was
finally acquired by the USA in 1917 for $25 million. The Bay of Samana is
located on the island of Santo Domingo.

232 Bancroft Davis: John Chandler Bancroft Davis (1822–1907), diplomat and
legal authority, assistant secretary of state at this period.

Talleyrand: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (1754–1838), French states-
man who served as minister of foreign affairs under Napoleon, then helped
restore the Bourbon dynasty; renowned for his skill in diplomacy.

Cardinal de Retz: (1614–79) whose vivid memoirs, depicting the court and
courtiers of Louis XIV, was one of Adams’s favourite books. The allusion
is to de Retz’s forming a judgment about a newly elected pope from the fact
that the pope-elect had used the same pen for two years; Adams used this
incident before, in his History (i, ch. 7).

233 Spaulding: Elbridge Gerry Spaulding (1809–97), banker and congress-
man. After the New York banks stopped payment in gold in 1862 he intro-
duced a bill for the issuance of irredeemable treasury notes, the so-called
‘greenbacks’, which would be legal tender for the payment of debts. It was
adopted as a desperate war measure in 1862.

235 Colonel Mulberry Sellers: the self-deluded character in the dramatization of
the satirical novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day (1873) by Mark Twain
and C. D. Warner.

236 a review . . . North American: ‘The Session’, North American Review (July
1870), 29–62. The article was reprinted in the Chicago Times and other
American papers.

237 David Wells: (1828–98), noted economist, US commissioner of revenue,
1866–70.

Sunset Cox: Samuel Sullivan Cox (1824–89), popular Democratic con-
gressman from New York, who earned his name when, as an editor in
Columbus, Ohio, he had written a florid description of a sunset.

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237 Maurice de Guérin: (1810–39), French Romantic poet and writer of poetic
prose whose work Centaur appeared in 1845. He was noted for his intense
feeling for nature. Arnold wrote an essay on his work in which the phrase
‘vast bosom of Earth’ appears. Adams seems to provide a freer reading of
the phrase than Arnold.

239 the rebellion: the American Civil War.
Prince of Wales: the second child of Queen Victoria; later became Edward
VII, known for his sybaritic taste and behaviour. His father, Prince Albert,
died in 1861; the young prince married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in
1863.

240 Marlborough House: the London residence of the Prince of Wales. Horse-
racing and gambling were his passions. Although he did not become king
until 1901 at the age of 60, the prince was much before the public and a
popular speaker.

the Royal Exchange: the London stock exchange, located near the Bank of
England.

241 the power of Erie: the Erie Railroad management in New York.
He and his brother . . . running greater risks every day: allusion to the out-
spoken and critical articles in the North American Review by Charles
Francis Adams, jun., ‘Chapters of Erie’, and Henry Adams’s ‘Sessions’ and
‘The Legal Tender Act’.

Bagni di Lucca: a famous health spa some 60 miles northeast of Pisa, in the
mountains area of northwestern Tuscany in Italy.

his sister: Louisa Catherine (Adams) Kuhn. See note to p. 75, above.
243 Ouchy: the port of Lausanne on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

affiches: posters, often the fastest way to convey news or political views.
244 Meyerbeer: Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791–1864), German composer noted

for his elaborately staged operas.

Thiers and Gambetta: Louis Adolphe Thiers (1797–1877), French states-
man and historian, leader of the Liberal opposition against Napoleon III’s
imperialistic policies. Leon Gambetta (1838–82), French lawyer and
statesman of Jewish origin, popular leader of the opposition who escaped
from Paris during the German siege and organized two armies to continue
the war.

President Eliot: Charles William Eliot (1834–1926), became president of
Harvard in 1869, Henry Adams’s father having declined the honour a short
time before.

246 Westminister Review . . . his article on the Gold Conspiracy: ‘The New York
Gold Conspiracy’, Westminister Review, 94 (ns 37) (Oct. 1870), 411–36.
Unsigned; repr. and rev. in Chapters of Erie (1871); repr. and further rev. in
Historical Essays (1891).
Professor Gurney: Ephraim Whitney Gurney (1829–86). It was at Professor
Gurney’s home that Adams met his future wife, Marian Hooper (1843–

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1885), the sister of Gurney’s wife. Gurney was then tutoring Marian in
Greek. Adams and Marian became engaged on 27 February 1872 and were
married on 27 June 1872.

247 Abram Hewitt: (1822–1903), philanthropic steelmaker and a noted states-
man who supported political reform. Elected Democratic mayor of New
York, although when he broke with the Democratic Tammany Hall, he was
defeated in a bid for re-election in 1888.

248 Mr. Sherman’s legislation: John Sherman (1823–1900), US senator and au-
thor of the famous Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890.

Senator Pendleton: George Hunt Pendleton (1825–89), US senator who se-
cured passage of his pioneering civil service reform bill in 1883 providing
for federal civil service exams.

the Garfields . . . Whitneys: Garfield: James Abram Garfield (1831–81),
twentieth president of the United States, shot and fatally wounded July
1881. Elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1859, he left to fight in the Civil
War until 1863 when he entered Congress, becoming leader of the
Republican party. Died in September 1881, two months after being shot.
Arthur: Chester Alan Arthur (1830–86), succeeded to the presidency after
the assassination of Garfield. New York state politician who was Garfield’s
choice for vice-president. Remained president until 1885 but was not re-
nominated for the election of 1884 by his party because of his independent
nature. Frelinghuysen: Frederick Freylinghuysen (1817–85), secretary of
state, 1881–5; friend of Adams’s who at one point offered to appoint Adams
to the diplomatic mission to Central America at Guatemala City; Mrs
Adams dissuaded Frelinghuysen from making the offer official. Blaine:
James Gillespie Blaine (1830–93), a brilliant and controversial politician
who three times sought the nomination for president; nominated by the
Republicans but defeated in 1884 by Grover Cleveland, who succeeded
Chester Arthur in 1885. Bayard: Thomas Francis Bayard (1828–98),
Democratic senator from Delaware, secretary of state, 1885–98, under
Cleveland, ambassador to England, 1893–97, and a leading opponent of
free coinage of silver. Adams was friendly with him. Whitney: see note to
p. 199, above.

249 four dollars a day: Adams’s salary was $2,000 a year, from which $300 or
$400 were deducted for rent of his rooms.

251 J. R. Dennett: (1838–74), critic and editorial writer for the Nation.
Chauncey Wright: (1830–75), scientist-philosopher, evolutionary natural-
ist, and lecturer on psychology, forerunner of William James.

Francis Wharton: (1820–89), educator and writer of legal treatises, then
professor of canon law at a seminary in Cambridge.

John Fiske: (1842–1901), American historian, lecturer on philosophy at
Harvard, 1869–71, exponent of Darwinian evolution and scientific posit-
ivism.

252 Torrey: Henry Warren Torrey (1814–93), who taught at Harvard from
1844 to 1886.

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252 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: historical compilation by various monks carried
down to the middle of the twelfth century; written in Old English.

Venerable Bede: (673–735 ce), noted scholar and ecclesiastical historian of
medieval England who wrote chiefly in Latin. Considered the most learned
man of his time. His two greatest works were The Ecclesiastical History of
England and De Natura Rerum. He spent most of his career at Jarrow in
Northumberland.

Lamarck: Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829), French naturalist whose
theory of biological evolution prepared the way for Darwin.

Linnaeus: Carolus Linnaeus (1707–78), Swiss naturalist who devised fa-
mous Linnaean system of botanical classification of genera and species.

253 Sir Henry Maine: (1822–88), English jurist and legal writer whose works
were used by Adams in his courses at Harvard.

Tylor: Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917), English anthropologist, author
of two-volume Primitive Culture (1871) which argued that primitive na-
tions represented the early stages of mankind’s progress. Became first pro-
fessor of anthropology at Oxford, 1896–1909.

McLennan: John Ferguson McLennan (1827–81), Scottish social historian
noted for his studies of the historical evolution of marriage.

The college expected . . . teaching: Adams taught at Harvard 1870–2, 1873–7.
He was on leave for the academic year 1872–3, travelling in Europe with his
wife on their honeymoon. He taught courses in the history of Europe from
987 ce, medieval history and medieval institutions, English constitutional
and legal history, American colonial and early national history, and various
graduate seminars, including one on Anglo-Saxon law.

257 William James: (1842–1910), leading American psychologist and philo-
sopher, author of Principles of Psychology (1890), Varieties of Religious
Experience (1902), and Pragmatism (1907); brother of the novelist Henry
James.

258 obliged to scribble . . . the Popes: Adams contributed twenty-two reviews and
review articles to the North American Review.
Edward the Confessor: (1004–66), king of England, so called because of his
ascetic nature; built the Westminister Abbey Church in London, de-
stroyed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. He had strong Norman
sympathies and appears in a detail of the famous Bayeux Tapestry. After
Edward’s death, William of Normandy led the successful Norman con-
quest of 1066.

Boniface VIII: (1228–1303), famous pope who proclaimed the temporal as
well as the spiritual sovereignty of the papacy.

259 Frank Emmons: (1841–1911), geologist who worked under the direction of
Clarence King. One of Adams’s oldest friends from Quincy; invited Adams
out west in 1871 to join the geological survey.

J. D. Whitney: (1819–96), professor of geology at Harvard and author of
various important reports on geological and mineralogical surveys.

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260 wapiti: an American elk.
264 Twenty Years After (1892): the shift from Chapter XX to XXI marks a

twenty-year gap in Adams’s narrative, eliminating his literary and social
successes in Boston and Washington, his two important European jour-
neys taken with his wife, her tragic suicide on 6 December 1885, and sub-
sequent travels to Japan and the South Seas. For these events see HA I and
BD. In addition to several reviews and articles he published in the North
American Review, Adams produced the following works during this
twenty-year period: The Life of Albert Gallatin (1879), Democracy: An
American Novel (1880), a biography of John Randolph (1882), Esther: A
Novel (1884), and a History of the United States During the Administrations
of Jefferson and Madison (9 vols., 1889–91). On why Adams eliminated the
years 1872–92 from his Education, see HA II; BD; William Merrill Decker,
The Literary Vocation of Henry Adams (1990), ch. 2. Adams included a por-
trait of his wife as Esther Dudley in his 1884 novel, Esther.

265 the Hunts: William Morris Hunt (1824–79), noted American painter of
portraits and landscapes, introduced the paintings of Millet and the
Barbizon school to Boston. His younger brother Richard Morris Hunt
(1828–95) became a popular architect for the new millionaires; he special-
ized in elegant chateaux. The Biltmore at Asheville, North Carolina is an
example of his work.

McKim: Charles McKim (1847–1909), American architect, his most
significant work the Boston Public Library; also designed important build-
ing for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, which Adams visited.

Stanford White: (1853–1906), architect associated with McKim and noted
for his adaptation of Renaissance styles; designed the foundation and head-
stone for St Gaudens’s statue, the Adams Memorial, in Rock Creek
Cemetery. White’s career suddenly ended when he was shot in New York
by Harry K. Thaw, jealous over an alleged romance between White and
Thaw’s wife.

Clarence King, John Hay, and Henry Adams: allusion to the ‘Five of Hearts’,
formed by the three men and the wives of Hay and Adams.

life was complete in 1890: the mental illness and subsequent suicide of his
wife Marian ‘Clover’ Hooper on 6 December 1885 broke his life in halves,
Adams later said, and led him to talk of his ‘posthumous’ existence for
years after. Adams’s father died in 1886 and his mother in 1889.

265 in hospital: Adams was in hospital for the removal of a wen (a benign seba-
ceous tumour on the skin) on his shoulder ‘which I feared might make me
look like a camel if I left it alone’ (Lett. iii. 576, 1 December 1891). The
gloom was deepened by his realization of the hopelessness of his attach-
ment to Elizabeth Cameron, the wife of his friend, Senator James Donald
Cameron. Their intimacy continued to the end of Adams’s life.

266 the South Seas: Adams left New York on 16 August 1890 and arrived in
Samoa on 7 October; Tahiti on 4 February 1891; Fiji Islands, 15 June;
Australia, 31 July; Ceylon 5 September; he landed in France on 9 October

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1891. One of his accomplishments from his stay in Tahiti was a privately
printed history of the people of the island based on the oral traditions
which he collected and published as Memoirs of Marau Taaroa Last Queen
of Tahiti (1893, rev. 1901). Adams’s letters from the South Seas are among
the liveliest he wrote. La Farge’s Reminiscences of the South Seas (1901) pre-
sents a charming picture of their travels and their life among the islanders.

267 George Bancroft: (1800–91), noted American historian and statesman, au-
thor of the multi-volume History of the United States (1834–76), resigned as
minister to Germany in 1874 and resided after in Washington as ‘dean’ of
American historians. Bancroft was a relative of Mrs Adams and took an
interest in the historical work of Adams.

“Life” of Lincoln: John Hay and John G. Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln: A
History (10 vols., New York, 1890).

268 palms of Vailima: Vailima was a 400-acre plantation on a mountain shelf
near Apia in Samoa where Adams visited Stevenson and his wife in a small
house in a jungle clearing just before they built a manor house.

269 Calvin Brice: (1845–98), rich railroad magnate and able senator from Ohio,
1890–7.

Mr. Cleveland: Grover Cleveland (1837–1908), president of the USA
1885–9, 1893–7, the first Democrat to be elected president since the Civil
War, formerly reform governor of New York, noted for his conservatism
but also his honesty.

Mr. Harrison: Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901), president of the USA
1889–93. Ineffectual and an unlikely heir to his grandfather, William
Henry Harrison, president in 1841. Benjamin Harrison was aloof and
dignified, which was popular with neither the people nor the politicians.
One Republican leader always advised callers on the president to wear
overcoats—so they would not catch cold.

270 party loyalty: Hay had served under President Lincoln, a Republican, as as-
sistant private secretary, and he continued his Republican associations. His
business interests as an associate of his father-in-law, Amasa Stone, a
Cleveland railroad magnate, linked him to Ohio Republicans, especially
after the suicide of Stone in 1883 made Hay and his wife millionaires.

Carl Schurz: (1829–1906), German-born political reformer, brigadier gen-
eral in the Civil War, senator from Missouri and secretary of the interior
under President Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877–81.

Nicolay: John G. Nicolay (1832–1901), Illinois journalist who became
Lincoln’s private secretary and later worked with Hay in publishing
Lincoln’s writings and the ten-volume Abraham Lincoln: A History.

271 “A la disposicion de Usted!”: ‘At your disposal!’
272 Hayes: Rutherford B. Hayes (1822–93), nineteenth president of the USA,

1877–81, disliked by Adams and by others for his seriousness. The former
governor of Ohio preferred to offer office on the basis of merit rather than
favour, which did not please his party. William M. Evarts was his secretary

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of state, John Sherman his secretary of the treasury—both men familiar to
Adams.

273 “History” of Jefferson and Madison: History of the United States During the
Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (9 vols., New York,
1889–91): A privately printed version of six copies of the first volume ap-
peared in 1884. Adams began research on the project in the late 1870s and,
although some 2,000 sets of the history were sold by Charles Scribner and
Sons, he was disappointed with the overall sales.

Credit was shaken: the collapse in 1891 of Baring Brothers bank in London,
resulting from the firm’s risky investment in an Argentinian loan, led to a
worldwide financial recession and led to the depression of 1893. Adams’s
conservative investments, however, were not greatly affected by the shifts
on the stock market.

274 Frank Parkman: Francis Parkman (1823–93), noted American historian,
author of The California and Oregon Trail (1849) and a series of books on
the French presence in America. He and Adams were friends.

three serious readers: a characteristic piece of self-depreciation. His pub-
lisher Charles Scribner felt that the nine volumes met with ‘exceptional
success’ in the USA. Approximately 2,000 sets were originally published
and sold, although this fell short of Adams’s expectations. The two other
serious readers of his draft volumes were George Bancroft and Charles
Francis Adams, jun.

275 he was passing . . . underground: a humorous reference to King’s activities as
a mining engineer and prospector.

276 the bronze figure: The seated figure, shrouded in a cowled robe and bearing
no inscription, was placed over the grave of Marian Adams as a memorial
to his wife. Some tourist books refer to it as ‘Grief ’; Adams himself once
wrote that ‘his own name for it is “the Peace of God” ’. Adams would be
buried there in 1918. The monument cost approximately $25,000, a figure
that scandalized many.

Kamakura Daibuts: great bronze image of Buddha called the Dai Butsu at
Kamakuru in Japan.

277 Deeside: he spent the summer with his late wife’s five young nieces at a
lodge at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. A few years earlier, their mother, Ellen
Hooper Gurney, wife of Professor Ephraim Gurney and sister of Marian
Adams, had also committed suicide.

278 society favorites . . . Edward Wolcott: Tom Reed: Thomas Brackett Reed
(1839–1902), speaker of the House of Representatives and most powerful
political figure in Washington; displayed autocratic domination of the
House through parliamentary rules which he devised. Bourke Cockran:
(1854–1923), Tammany Hall politician of Irish origin and US congress-
man known as a mesmerizing orator. Edward Wolcott: (1848–1905), US
senator from Colorado, opponent of the single gold standard.

Senator Cameron: Senator James Donald Cameron (1833–1918),
Pennsylvania-born capitalist and politician, president of the North Central

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Railroad, 1863–74. Secretary of war under President Grant, 1876.
Republican senator from Pennsylvania from 1877 to 1897.

279 Mrs. Cameron: Elizabeth Sherman Cameron (1857–1944), second wife of
Senator Cameron. Supposedly the most beautiful young woman in
Washington, Elizabeth Cameron was 21 when she married in 1878; she
later became Henry Adams’s most intimate friend after his wife’s death and
a frequent social companion in Paris until World War I ended his annual
trips abroad. His letters to her are personal and deeply moving.

Mrs. Lodge: Anna Cabot Mills Lodge (1850–1915), socialite wife of
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge also favoured by Adams.

Cabot Lodge: Henry Cabot Lodge (1850–1924), from a prominent Boston
family; US senator and later chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee; editor of the North American Review, 1876–79; a conservative
and nationalist Republican who later became an enemy of Woodrow
Wilson and the League of Nations. Lodge had been a graduate student of
Adams’s at Harvard and his assistant editor at the North American Review.
They remained close friends until Adams’s death.

Theodore Roosevelt: (1858–1919), governor of New York, US civil service
commissioner, 1889–95, president of the USA, 1901–8, aggressive reform
statesman: Adams disapproved of his impulsiveness and egotism but re-
mained on good terms with him by maintaining a diplomatic silence. He
supposedly received copy No. 1 of the privately printed 1907 version of the
Education.
Cecil Spring Rice: Sir Cecil Arthur Spring Rice (1859–1918), popular and
witty British diplomat who in 1887 became acquainted with Adams and
grew to be one of his favourites, carrying on an extensive political corres-
pondence; appointed ambassador to the USA in 1913; recalled in 1918.

Havana: swept up in Clarence King’s enthusiasm for Cuba, Adams became
an active supporter of Cuban independence movements and on his return
to Washington from Cuba, worked to free Cuba from Spain.

280 Albert Gallatin: (1761–1849), Pennsylvania statesman, secretary of the
treasury under Jefferson, 1801–9, and under Madison, 1809–13; greatly
admired by Adams. His biography, written by Adams, appeared in 1879,
accompanied by a two-volume compilation of his papers.

281 the question of silver: the hotly debated question of whether or not interna-
tional trade should be carried on with settlement of balances only in gold or
alternatively in gold and silver, at a fixed ratio of silver to gold. The finan-
cial depression of 1893 made the question acute. Adams was ambivalent on
the issue. For a discussion of this topic see HA III, ch. 4.
Dana Horton: Samuel Dana Horton (1844–95), American economist and
early advocate of bimetallism, a form of international settlement based on
a fixed ratio between gold and silver.

282 Dr. Johnson: the allusion is to a famous anecdote about Johnson, who when
challenged to refute the theory of Bishop George Berkeley that particular

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objects exist only in the perceiving mind kicked a stone in the road to
‘prove’ that it was real.

283 the community . . . a beggar: reference to the disastrous panic and depression
of 1893. The investments of the Adamses were not in serious danger.

284 his brother Brooks . . . the same perplexities: Brooks Adams was working on
the manuscript of his Law of Civilization and Decay (1895), which also at-
tacked the capitalists as usurers and attempted to construct a history of the
moral decay of society as a result of the rise of a usurious society, much the
way Ezra Pound would do in the 1930s through his use of Social Credit.

286 Burnham: Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846–1912), prominent Chicago
architect whose firm designed the first skyscraper. He was the directing
architect for the 1893 Chicago Exposition and author of the Burnham plan
for the city of Chicago.

Paestum: ancient Greek city in southern Italy displaying some of the most
imposing ruins in the Hellenic world.

Girgenti: ancient Greek city near the south coast of Sicily with ruins con-
sidered to be among the most beautiful of the ancient world.

287 what amount of force . . . erg: watt: standard unit of electrical energy. ampère.
standard unit of electrical current. erg: standard unit of work done in a
mechanical system.

288 Senator Jones: John Percival Jones (1829–1912), English-born mine owner,
elected senator from Nevada and champion of bimetallism.

Moreton Frewen: (1853–1924), English friend of Adams and well-known
advocate of bimetallism. The vote for repeal occurred on 30 October 1893.

bystander’s spirit: Adams took more than a bystander’s role in the silver
fight. Evidence suggests that he helped to write a speech for Senator
Cameron against the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.

289 1800 and 1828: the elections respectively of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew
Jackson, two spokesmen for a democracy of independent farmers and
urban dwellers.

290 among the earliest wreckage had been the fortunes of Clarence King: King’s
ventures in speculative mining made him vulnerable to stock-market
collapse. The crash of 1893 created great mental stress for him, leading to
his temporary hospitalization. Ironically, Alexander Agassiz had made a
fortune from his connection with the Calument and Hecla mines in the
Michigan peninsula, which included Henry Adams among its investors.

the gulf of bankruptcy: Adams’s investments, never at serious risk, provided
him with an annual income of from $25,000 to $50,000 in a period of little
taxation. The Education was originally addressed to an élite that was con-
siderably more wealthy than Adams.

291 examples of success . . . William C. Whitney: the prominent financier was one
of President Cleveland’s closest advisers; his Washington home and Fifth
Avenue mansion were centres of international society. One of his sons

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married the daughter of Adams’s closest friend, John Hay. See note to p.
199, above.

292 the Cuban rebellion: Adams’s home in Lafayette Square became a meeting-
place of representatives of the Cuban revolutionists. The historical report
in support of recognition of the Cuban republic, which Adams wrote for
Senator Cameron, was submitted to the Senate on 21 December 1896, but
no action was taken on it. Adams first went to Cuba in March 1888 with
Theodore Dwight.

293 Hallett Phillips: William Hallet Phillips (1853–97), prominent Washington
lawyer who collaborated with Adams in the Cuban revolutionary intrigue
and travelled with him to Cuba in February 1893.

Iddings: Joseph Paxton Iddings (1857–1920), an associate of Clarence King
in the US Geological Survey and involved in the geological survey of
Yellowstone Park, 1883–93; became professor of petrology at the Univer-
sity of Chicago in 1895.

294 Worthington Ford: (1858–1941), friend and economic consultant of Henry
Adams, director of the Bureau of Statistics in the State Department; after
1893 he became chief statistician in the Treasury Department; in 1897,
chief of the manuscript division of the Boston Public Library, returning to
Washington as chief of manuscripts for the Library of Congress. Between
1909 and 1929, he was editor of the Massachusetts Historical Society and
helped to prepare the Education for publication in 1918; his two-volume
edition of the letters of Henry Adams appeared in 1930 and 1938.

Elisée Reclus: (1830–1905), leading French geographer, author of a monu-
mental universal geography in nineteen volumes; leader with Prince
Kropotkin of the anarchist movement.

295 massacres . . . Armenia: Massacres of Christian Armenians by the Turks
began in 1894. In a single massacre of 1896 an estimated 6,000–7,000
Georgian Armenians were killed. The total number of victims ranged from
20,000 to 50,000.

Cuba: The Cuban war with Spain resumed in 1895 until American inter-
vention in 1898 ended Spanish rule.

South Africa: the Boer War, which saw the Transvaal Republic and the
Orange Free State seek to throw off British rule, began in October 1899.

Manchuria: failure of the Chinese Boxer Rebellion in 1900 allowed Russia
to establish a protectorate over Manchuria until her defeat in the Russo-
Japanese War of 1904–5.

296 Mme. de Sévigné: (1626–96), notable intellectual of the French court, fa-
mous for her brilliant letters on the court and culture addressed to her
daughter and written between 1669 and 1694. Published in 1725, the book
was one of Adams’s favourites. He visited her country estate, Les Rochers,
near Vitré, in August 1895.

Abigail Adams: see note to p. 20 above.

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Mont-Saint-Michel: array of fortified abbey buildings surmounted by a
Romanesque-Gothic church on a rocky islet of western France connected
by a causeway to the mainland. The party went on to visit the cathedral at
Chartres, the most famous Gothic cathedral in France where, as Adams
wrote, ‘after thirty-five years of postponed intentions, I worshipped at last
before the splendor of the great glass Gods’—the famous stained glass win-
dows which he would describe in his 1904 work, Mont-Saint-Michel and
Chartres (Lett. iv. 312). He made the trip to Normandy in August 1895.

297 pulque: an alcoholic liquor fermented from a Mexican plant.
Churriguerresque: in the extravagant style of the Spanish architect Jose
Churriguera (1650–1725), royal architect to Charles II.

to elect McKinley . . . start the world anew: the election of McKinley over
William Jennings Bryan in 1896 marked the power of big business in
American politics. After the panic of 1893 came an era of prosperity at
home and expansion abroad through ‘dollar diplomacy’. John Hay, a liberal
contributor to the Republican party, was rewarded with the ambassador-
ship to Great Britain.

298 Rockhill: William Woodville Rockhill (1854–1914), diplomat and amateur
geologist, author of Diary of a Journey through Mongolia and Tibet (1894),
assistant secretary of state, 1894–7. He was a member of Adams’s Washing-
ton circle. In 1897 Rockhill was appointed minister to Greece, Romania,
and Serbia, headquartered in Athens.

299 embêtement: stupid annoyance.
300 “Even a fool, . . . when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise”: King Solomon,

Prov. 17:28.

“A voir . . . faiblesse”: Alfred de Vigny, ‘La mort du loup’, Les Destinées
(1843).

“temporary torturing flame”: Byron, Prophecy of Dante (1819), iii. 186–7,
190.

“Silent . . . the best are silent now!”: from Arnold’s poem ‘Stanzas from the
Grand Chartreuse’ (1855), ll. 113–14. Arnold visited the monastery, high
in the French Alps near Grenoble, in 1851.

301 Tannhäuser: legendary hero-knight of Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser. Having
sinned in the cave of Venus, Tannhäuser wanders as a pilgrim to Rome to
seek absolution. It is denied to him and he wanders back to the castle of the
Landgrave of Thuringia, the Wartburg, in Germany. There, the saintly
Elisabeth, who loves him, makes her dying prayer for him and his pilgrim’s
staff bursts into bloom to symbolize his being saved.

302 the Nile: Adams had been down the Nile on a wedding journey with his wife
in 1873.

Spencer Eddy . . . sinking of the Maine: Spencer Eddy (1874–1939) was pri-
vate secretary to Ambassador Hay and subsequently a member of the State
Department and diplomat. Eddy told the party of the sinking of the battle-

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ship Maine on 15 February 1898 in Havana harbour with the loss of over
260 lives.

303 summer of the Spanish War: the Spanish American War, 20 April 1898 to 1
October 1898, in which the USA defeated Spanish fleets at Santiago, Cuba,
and Manila Bay in the Philippines, gaining an overseas empire.

Germany as the grizzly terror: reference to the anti-British feeling in
Germany with the onset of the Boer War in South Africa, German sympa-
thies being with the Boers. At the same time, Germany adopted a expansive
naval program in 1897 to threaten British naval supremacy.

305 Cardinal Wolsey: Thomas Wolsey (1475–1530), leading privy councillor of
Henry VIII and, as archbishop of Canterbury, the autocrat of the church.
He was instrumental but unsuccessful in asking the Pope to grant Henry
VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. His repentance for political mis-
takes did not save him from charges of treason, although he died before the
trial.

306 he took office at cost of life: Hay’s last years were weakened by chronic and
debilitating prostate cancer; he died in 1905.

307 St. Francis: Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), noted Italian monk, an ascetic
and mystic who founded the order of Franciscans, dedicated to humility
and poverty. Adams refers to him as ‘the nearest approach the western
world ever made to an oriental incarnation of the divine essence’ in ch. I of
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. Adams was attracted to his mystical pan-
theism, as seen in ch. XV of Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. Adams was
ironically sceptical towards pure rationality.

308 HIC JACET . . . PRIMO EXPLICUIT SOCNAM: ‘Here lies | the Lilliputian writer
| The barbarian scholar | Henry Adams | Son of Adam and Eve | Who
first explained | [the law of] Soc.’ Sac and Soc were certain rights of legal
jurisdiction belonging to the lord of the manor in feudal England. The doc-
toral essays of three of Adams’s graduate students and Adams’s own essay,
‘Anglo-Saxon Courts of Law’, were published by Adams in Essays in Anglo-
Saxon Law (1876).
Rudolph Sohm: (1841–1917), German legal scholar whose treatise Pro-
cedure de la Lex Salica was favourably reviewed by Adams in the North
American Review, April 1874.

309 photographs: Adams assembled a large collection of photographs of
churches and details of church architecture.

the chance arrival of John La Farge: the artist was appointed a tutor at
Harvard in 1871. He did not commence his important murals and stained
glass for Trinity Church in Boston until 1876. See also note to p. 58 above.

cha-no-yu: hot tea-water.

310 Humphreys Johnston: (1857–1941), studied art with La Farge and became
noted for his symbolic paintings and the valuable art collection in his home
in Venice.

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the Boer War was raging: the war began in October 1899, with peace arriv-
ing on 31 May 1902. At the conclusion of the war, the two defeated re-
publics were annexed to the Cape Colony as part of the British empire.

311 Mr. Chamberlain: Joseph Chamberlain (1836–1914), colonial secretary of
England, who advocated imperial consolidation. Adams had admired him
as a progressive politician and was on friendly terms with him.

312 With Hay’s politics . . . Adams had nothing whatever to do: characteristically
modest, since the two friends constantly discussed foreign policy, in which
Hay regarded Adams as an authority. See HA III, 408–10.
Samuel J. Tilden: (1814–86), lawyer, Democratic party politician, re-
former, and 1876 candidate against Rutherford B. Hayes for the presid-
ency. Tilden actually had the popular majority in the tight race but a
specially formed electoral commission favoured Hayes.

313 Pauncefote: Sir Julian (later Baron) Pauncefote (1828–1902), British am-
bassador to the USA, 1893–1902, who worked out with Hay the Hay–
Pauncefote Treaty (1901) which provided for equal access by all nations to
the proposed Panama Canal, while granting the United States the right to
fortify and protect (effectively to control) the area.

a dozen or more volumes: refers to his nine-volume History of the United
States and biographies of Gallatin and John Randolph.
Clan-na-Gael: revolutionary organization of American Irish which aimed
to overthrow the British rule in Ireland.

Count Cassini: (1835–?), Russian ambassador at Washington, 1897–1904;
had previously been stationed in Peking and after leaving Washington was
sent to Madrid. In 1913, he was reported to be living in Paris, presumably
in self-exile, which might explain why his name was omitted from the
Soviet Encyclopedia.
Von Holleben: (1835–1906), German ambassador to Washington.

314 s = : a gravitational formula of falling bodies, s being the distance
travelled by a falling object, g, the acceleration of of gravity at the surface of
the earth (32 feet per second), t the elapsed time of the fall in seconds.
Kepler: Johann Kepler (1571–1630), German astronomer who discovered
the laws of planetary motion which provided the basis of Newton’s work.

Newton: Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), discoverer of the universal law of
gravitation. He symbolized for Adams the intellectual potential of
mankind, hence his repeated statement that the problems of the world
required the appearance of a new Newton.

315 Simon Newcomb: (1835–1909), professor of mathematics and astronomy at
Johns Hopkins University.

Willard Gibbs: Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839–1903), professor of mathemat-
ical physics at Yale and a pioneer theoretician of physical chemistry. Gibbs
set out the ‘Rule of Phase’ in his important work, On the Equilibrium of
Heterogenous Substances (1876–8). In 1909, Adams tried to apply this con-

gt2
2

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cept to history. Oliver Wolcott Gibbs (1822–1908) was a distinguished
chemist and colleague of Adams at Harvard in the 1870s. Adams acknow-
ledges his confusion of these two scientists in his correction of Willard for
Wolcott outlined in detail by Ernest Samuels in his edition of the Education
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973), appendix B, table 2, p. 528.

315 Langley: Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834–1906), American astronomer
and inventor of the aeroplane, the first successful unmanned flight occur-
ring in 1896.

“Concepts of Modern Science,” . . . Judge Stallo: John Bernhard Stallo
(1823–1900), emigrated from Germany to study chemistry and physics
and became a professor at St John’s College, Fordham, New York; he then
studied law and was appointed a judge in Cincinnati; US minister to Italy
in 1885. Published The Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics in 1882, es-
sentially an essay in epistemology.

316 Rasselas: disenchanted hero of the philosophical romance Rasselas (1759)
by Samuel Johnson. A young prince eager to experience the world,
Rasselas escapes the Happy Valley with his sister and mentor Imlac, travel-
ling to Cairo where he learns that romance can quickly lead to dis-
illusionment. Further travels confirm that only in Happy Valley are their
expectations met. A critique of eighteenth-century optimism, Rasselas re-
mains a corrective to those who overvalue the ideal.

Trocadero: Palais du Trocadero, an immense building near the Eiffel tower
constructed for the exhibition of 1878. It became a fashionable residential
district.

317 Great Exposition of 1900: the Exposition of 1900 opened on 15 April in
Paris and ran for seven months. It was the largest then held in Europe and
was marked by the construction of several important buildings, notably the
Grand Palais and the Petit Palais. Its influence was instrumental on Adams
because of its display of dynamos in the ‘machine gallery’ of the Champs de
Mars, where Adams sat ‘by the hour over the great dynamos, watching
them run as noiselessly and as smoothly as the planets, and asking them—
with infinite courtesy—where in Hell they are going. They are marvel-
lous.’ (Lett. v. 169; also see Lett. v. 152).

Lord Bacon: Francis Bacon (1561–1626), lord chancellor of England, es-
sayist, and philosopher; author of The Advancement of Learning (1605) and
Novum Organum (1620). His political posts included solicitor general, at-
torney general, privy counsellor, and lord keeper. Complaints of bribery,
however, led to his arrest, imprisonment, and banishment from parliament
and the court. Later pardoned, he died in debt.

“Comedy of Errors”: Shakespeare’s comedy of 1594 dealing with two sets of
identical twins, one set named Antipholus, who separate (one going to
Ephesus, the other to Syracuse), and the other set named Dromio, twin
slaves. Confusions are unravelled only at the conclusion, in which
Ephesians and Syracusans are united.

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Daimler: Gottlieb Daimler (1834–1900), German engineer, invented one of
the first high-speed combustion engines, patented 1887; pioneer developer
of the automobile.

318 great hall of dynamos: Adams had first become interested in the dynamo at
the Chicago Exposition of 1893, writing to John Hay that he ‘labored
solemnly through all the great buildings and looked like an owl at the dy-
namos and steam-engines’ (Lett. iv. 134). Earlier models of the dynamo had
already been used for limited lighting and power since the 1850s. In Mont-
Saint-Michel and Chartres, Adams cited the dynamo in ch. XVI when dis-
cussing Thomas Aquinas’s concept of God as ‘a Prime Motor which
supplies all energy to the universe’ (LA 686). Adams is here describing the
hall of dynamos or ‘machine gallery’ at the Champs de Mars. See note to p.
317, above.

his own rays: Langley, with the aid of the bolometer which he had invented,
was able to measure the intensities of invisible heat-rays in the infra-red
spectrum.

319 Kelvin: Baron Kelvin (1824–1907), British mathematician and physicist
noted for discoveries in thermodynamics and electrodynamics. Professor
of natural philosophy at Glasgow (1846–99).

Marconi: Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937), physicist and inventor of radio
telegraphy at Bologne in 1895 through the conversion of electromagnetic
waves into electricity; in 1898 he transmitted signals across the English
Channel and in 1901 across the Atlantic. Shared the Nobel Prize for
Physics in 1909.

Branly: Edouard Branly (1846–1940), French physicist; inventor in 1890
of the Branly ‘coherer’ for detecting radio waves.

X-rays: also called Roentgen rays after their discovery in 1895 by Wilhelm
Roentgen (1845–1923), the rays being produced by a high-voltage dis-
charge in a vacuum tube.

320 Copernicus: (1473–1543), Polish astronomer, founded modern astronomy
by proving the daily rotation of the earth and its rotation around the sun.

Galileo: (1564–1642), Italian astronomer and physicist who discovered the
principle of falling bodies, developed the refracting telescope, and sup-
ported the theories of Copernicus for which he was condemned by the
Inquisition for heresy.

Constantine: Constantine the Great (280?–337 ce), Roman emperor who
was persuaded to adopt Christianity in 313; invoked the Council of Nicaea
in 325 which issued the Nicene Creed.

Venus . . . by way of a scandal: reference to venereal disease indirectly de-
rived from Venus, the goddess of love. The cult of the Virgin Mary was
largely rejected in the Protestant New England of Adams’s boyhood.

Sir Lancelot: allusion to the legendary hero of Chrétien de Troyes’s
Lancelot (twelfth century) crossing a sword bridge to enter a castle and

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rescue Guinivere. Adams discusses this and other romances of Chrétien de
Troyes in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.

320 Lourdes: celebrated shrine in southwestern France, dedicated to the Virgin
Mary; said to be the site of a miraculous visitation of the Virgin to a peasant
girl in 1858.

321 Diana of the Ephesians: virgin goddess mother, worshipped in antiquity at
her shrine at Ephesus on the west coast of Asia Minor under the Greek
name of Artemis.

“Quae quoniam . . . sola gubernas”: Lucretius (c. 99–55 bce), from On the
Nature of Things, i. 21: ‘Since you alone govern the nature of things.’
“Donna, . . . volar senz’ ali”: ‘Lady [Virgin Mary], thou art so great and
hast such worth, that if there be who would have grace yet betaketh not
himself to thee, his longing seeketh to fly without wings’, Dante, Paradiso,
xxxiii, trans. Carlyle-Wicksteed. ‘Virgin of the Schools’ refers to medieval
scholastic philosophers.

at the Louvre and at Chartres: allusion to the notable paintings of the Virgin
at the Louvre in Paris, including Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks, and to the
stained-glass windows and sculptures honouring the Virgin at the
Cathedral of Our Lady at Chartres. See chs. V–X of Adams’s Mont-Saint-
Michel and Chartres.

322 Herbert Spencer: (1820–1903), British evolutionary philosopher renowned
for his application of evolutionary principles to sociology. His main work
was the nine-volume System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862–93) which
united biology, psychology, sociology, and ethics. He was the leading
advocate of ‘Social Darwinism’.

Walt Whitman: (1819–92), distinguished American journalist, essayist,
and poet whose frank sexual imagery in Leaves of Grass (1855) added a new
vitality to poetic language, although the book was not well received when it
first appeared. His Democratic Vistas (1871) criticized the decline of moral
consciousness in the country and pointed to a new artistic class to orient the
nation.

American art . . . sexless: most distinctions of masculine and feminine
gender had been lost to English and American speech, hence the comment
on language. American schooling had become largely co-educational by
1905, with the same curriculum for males and females.

St. Gaudens’s General Sherman: St Gaudens’s equestrian statute of
Sherman was afterwards removed to its permanent site in Central Park,
New York City, in 1903; a companion statue of Sherman by St Gaudens
was unveiled that same year in Washington.

323 folle: excessive.
“I darted . . . monuments of superstition”: Samuels, in a lengthy note, sug-
gests that Adams is likely conflating a passage from Gibbon’s French
journal with his memory of a passage from the autobiography itself. The
journal, dated 21 February 1763, reads differently from Gibbon’s Memoirs

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(1796); Adams imagines Gibbon before Amiens cathedral. See Ernest
Samuels’ edition of the Education (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973),
653 n. 34.

Isis: Egyptian goddess who absorbed the attributes of all the ancient female
deities as earth and mother goddess, commonly represented with cows’
horns. Edfu, south of Luxor, is the site of the best-preserved temple in
Egypt and was first visited by Adams in 1873 and again in 1898.

324 Louis XI: (1423–83), a pious but machiavellian king of France who often
dressed like a pilgrim and favoured an old worn hat decorated with a figure
of a saint.

Benvenuto Cellini: (1500–71), Italian sculptor and goldsmith who worked
under Michaelangelo and was a protégé of the Medicis. His vivid auto-
biography was much admired.

Cnidos: ancient city in Asia Minor, site of the most famous statue of
Aphrodite by the elder Praxiteles. The original has been lost but copies
exist, the finest in the Vatican.

Grand Chartreuse: Arnold’s ‘Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse’ recalls
his 1851 visit to the monastery of the Carthusian monks. Significant
portions of their prayers invoke the Virgin. The text was one of Adams’s
favourite poems. See note to p. 300, above.

325 Zeno: Zeno of Citium (335–263 bce), probably the Greek philosopher,
founder of the Stoic school.

Thomas Aquinas: (1225–74), Italian scholastic philosopher and the most
important Catholic theologian of the Middle Ages, author of the Summa
Theologiae and founder of Thomism. Subject of the final chapter of Mont-
Saint-Michel and Chartres. Entered the Dominican order of mendicant
friars against the wishes of his family; captured by his brothers and im-
prisoned for a year; made his way to Cologne to become a pupil of Albertus
Magnus and the went to Paris, where he taught until summoned by the
pope to teach at a series of Italian centres. Canonized in 1323. He attempted
to reconcile Aristotle’s scientific rationalism with Christian doctrines of
faith and revelation.

Montaigne: Michel de Montaigne (1533–92), French essayist, courtier, and
sceptical philosopher who spoke only Latin until the age of 6. Studied law,
became a city councillor and then mayor of Bordeaux. Inherited the family
estate and lived the life of a gentleman varied by visits to leading cities of
Europe. His Essais (1572–80, 1588) express his efforts to understand new
ideas and personalities of his time. Quoted by Shakespeare, imitated by
Bacon.

Pascal: Blaise Pascal (1623–62), French mathematical scientist and philo-
sopher whose Pensées explored differences between science and religion.
He invented a calculating machine in 1647 and later the barometer and the
syringe. Discussed frequently and sympathetically by Adams in Mont-
Saint-Michel and Chartres.

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326 thousands of pages: rhetorical emphasis by Adams, whose chief calculations
related to foreign trade, international balance of payments, and inter-
national production of coal and iron from statistics supplied from his
friend Worthington Ford of the US Bureau of Statistics.

327 Rodin: Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), the celebrated French sculptor whose
works were considered daringly suggestive in their nudity. His sculpture
Le Penseur (The Thinker), in front of the Panthéon in Paris, was completed
in 1904. Adams visited his studio a number of times.

Besnard: Paul Albert Besnard (1849–1934), French impressionist painter,
was noted at the time for his unconventional technique.

Mme. de Pompadour: (1721–64), brilliant and witty chief mistress of Louis
XV who also gained political influence and financial power. Installed at
Versailles, she assumed control over public affairs; founded the royal
porcelain factory as Sèvres and was patroness of architecture, the arts, and
literature.

Mme. du Barry: (1746–93), a beautiful adventuress who married Comte
Guillaume du Barry before becoming the official royal mistress of Louis
XV in 1769; guillotined during the French Revolution.

Maria Theresa: (1717–80), archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary
and Bohemia. Reference is to a set of mementoes of Napoleon, his son, and
his nephew as well as of Frederick the Great of Prussia and of Maria
Theresa. Frequenting the auctions of art dealers was a popular activity of
French society.

The drama acted at Peking: an allusion to the Boxer Rebellion in China
when anti-European feeling reached a crisis, leaving many Europeans be-
sieged in Peking legations after the murder of the German ambassador on
20 June 1900. Only at the end of the summer did an international force re-
solve the situation.

328 his purpose: Adams’s private correspondence indicates serious reservations
concerning the actual effectiveness of Hay’s diplomacy.

329 Root: Elihu Root (1845–1937), American lawyer and statesman, secretary
of war in the cabinets of McKinley and Roosevelt. He reorganized the
army and created the general staff.

culbute: a somersault, downfall, or catastrophe.
330 Aaron Burr: (1756–1836), American politician, vice-president under

Thomas Jefferson; killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel; involved in a
mysterious conspiracy to seize control of the Spanish southwest for which
he was tried for treason and acquitted, an episode recounted in Adams’s
History of the United States.
William B. Giles: (1762–1830), US senator, later governor of Virginia and a
political enemy of John Quincy Adams.

Sir Forcible Feebles: in Shakespeare’s 2 Henry IV, iii. ii, Falstaff character-
izes one of the recruits as ‘most forcible feeble’.

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331 Non dolet, Paete!: ‘Paete, it does not hurt!’—the words of Arria, the wife of
A. Caecina Paetus, condemned to die by the emperor Claudius. Arria stabs
herself to set the example for her husband.

Faraday’s experiments: Michael Faraday (1791–1867), English physicist
and chemist who discovered electromagnetic induction in 1831 and proved
the polarity of an electrical charge, discoveries which led to the invention of
the dynamo.

332 Mme. Curie: (1867–1934), Polish-born French physicist and chemist who
discovered radium in 1898 in collaboration with her husband Pierre.

333 Mask of Comus: Comus, a Masque, presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634 by
John Milton (1608–74), a pastoral play with music by Henry Lawes.

Walcott: Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850–1927), geologist and palaeontol-
ogist, director of the US Geological Survey and a friend of Adams’s. At this
point Adams is furthering his doubts concerning the theory of evolution
and Lyell’s uniformitarianism.

334 Croll: James Croll (1821–90), Scottish geologist and climatologist whose
views of glaciation caused by eccentricity of the earth’s orbit Adams at-
tacked in 1867.

Geikie: James Geikie (1839–1915), Scottish geologist, author of The Great
Ice Age (1874) and Prehistoric Europe (1881).

335 Suess: Eduard Suess (1831–1914), Austrian geologist and palaeontologist,
author of Antlitz der Erde (The Face of the Earth, 3 vols., 1885–1901).
Cossack ukase: Cossacks, privileged landowners in Czarist Russia. A ukase
is (in Russian) an authoritarian edict or proclamation having the force of
law.

Lord Kelvin: William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, whose mid-nineteenth-
century paper on the age of the earth denied the claim of Lyell and the
Uniformitarians that the earth was several thousand million years old. In
1848, Kelvin proposed his absolute scale of temperature independent of
the properties of any particular substance and in 1851 rationalized the dy-
namical theory of heat with the principle of the conservation of energy.

Ignoramus . . . Ignorabimus: ‘we do not know’, ‘we shall never know’, the de-
claration of Du Bois-Reymond, renowned German physiologist of French
descent, in his famous Berlin lecture of 1884 on the limits of science.

336 Limulus and Lepidosteus: Limulus, a horseshoe or king crab of the American
coast, thought to be a living survivor of a genus found in one of the oldest
geological strata; Lepidosteus, large pike-like genus surviving from Eocene
and Miocene geological periods.

337 Teufelsdröckh: the hero-philosopher of Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus (1833–4),
who had also stood at the North Cape in the course of his wanderings and
encountered a Russian smuggler.

Joe Stickney: Joseph Trumbull Stickney (1874–1904), New England
poet who studied in Paris and became one of the ‘Harvard exiles’ in Paris;

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companion of George ‘Bay’ Cabot Lodge (1873–1909), also a Harvard
poet, son of Henry Cabot Lodge. In 1911, at the request of the family,
Adams wrote a biography of ‘Bay’ Lodge, who died at 36.

337 “Louise”: a new opera (1900) in the naturalist mode by Gustave
Charpentier (1860–1956).

Mounet Sully: Jean Mounet Sully (1841–1916), popular French actor.
Théatre Français: the distinguished state theatre of France, home of La
Comédie Français. Molière established the nucleus of the company in
1658, and it quickly became the principal theatre company of the country.
With its repertoire of neo-classic tragedies and French comedies, it was
renowned for its formal acting and stylized staging which only gradually
became more expressive.

338 Baireuth: or Bayreuth, a town in Bavaria, Germany and home of the oper-
atic composer Richard Wagner (1813–83). In 1876 Wagner’s patron, King
Ludwig of Bavaria, built a theatre in Bayreuth especially designed for the
production of his operas. Adams was in Bayreuth with the Lodges from 25
July to 3 August 1901, and he had mixed feelings about the experience: ‘I
got more pleasure, by far, from the regular theatrical performances. I felt
my Wagner much better in bits. Too much of him, or of any other artist,
gives dyspepsia. . . . My conviction that such a monstrosity of form is
simply proof of our loss of artistic sense, is stronger than ever.’ Lett. v. 272.
Ternina: Milka Ternina (1864–1941), celebrated singer of Wagnerian
opera much admired by Adams and his friends for the passionate abandon
of her performances.

339 Fluch-motif: curse motif from Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung.
Pantheon: grandiose memorial near the Latin Quarter containing the tombs
of Rousseau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and other well-known Frenchmen.

“Grane, mein Ross”: ‘Grane, my horse’, on which Brünnhilde rides into
Siegfried’s funeral pyre.

Frau Wagner and the Heiliger Geist: following Wagner’s death in 1883, his
widow Cosima Wagner and her son Siegfried directed the annual festival of
Wagner’s music and operas at Bayreuth with absolute adherence to
Wagner’s elaborate stagecraft. The ‘Heiliger Geist’ or Holy Ghost figures
in the last opera, Parsifal.
Hegel and Schopenhauer: Georg Friedrich Hegel (1770–1860), German
idealist philosopher and phenomenologist whose analysis of historical
development consisted of thesis, countered by antithesis, leading to syn-
thesis which in turn served as thesis for the next opposition in the dialect-
ical process. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), the German philosopher
of pessimism, understood man as controlled by Will, a non-rational force
which made for never-ending conflict and tension.

340 Kropotkin: Prince Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921), Russian geographer and
explorer but most famous as a revolutionary anarchist and author of
Modern Science and Anarchism (1903).

480 Explanatory Notes

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342 Khirgis: also Kirghiz, a nomadic Mongolian-Tartar people inhabiting
southeastern Russia, western Siberia, and Russian central Asia.

Wallace: Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace (1841–1919), British journalist;
author of a two-volume study of Russia (1877).

Gorki: Maxim Gorky (1868–1936), pseudonym of A. M. Peshkov, Russian
writer of realistic stories of the working class; his drama The Lower Depths
(1903) depicted the outcasts of society.

Mr. de Witte: Count Sergey Yulyevich Witte (1849–1915), Russian minis-
ter of finance, 1892–1906; progressive statesman who reformed the cur-
rency to attract foreign capital.

Prince Khilkoff: (d. 1909), Russian engineer, worked in the USA and
Venezuela; supervised the development of the Trans-Siberian railway.

343 “Moi? . . . peindre”: from ‘La Besace’ (‘The Wallet’). Jupiter, who has sum-
moned his subjects to hear their complaints, invites the monkey to speak
first: ‘I? Why not? | Have I not four feet as well as the others? | My face so
far has not offended me; | But as for my brother the bear, he’s only a rough
draft; | Nothing, take my word for it, that anyone would paint.’

344 Freeman: Edward Augustus Freeman (1823–92), English historian whose
History of the Norman Conquest Adams had reviewed critically in the North
American Review, January 1872 (unsigned).

345 an attempt on the life of President McKinley: on 6 September 1901, five
months after his inauguration for a second term, McKinley was shot by an
anarchist. The president died on 14 September and the vice-president,
Theodore Roosevelt, took office at the age of 43.

hourly reports . . . the faults of the solar system: Atlantic cables brought
news instantaneously, without regard to the time zones—in contrast to
newspapers, published only in the morning or afternoon according to local
time.

346 ne plus ultra: no more beyond, go no further, the culmination.
347 Mr. de Plehve: Vyacheslav Plehve (1846–1904), director of Russian state

police and minister of the interior from 1902; his preference for military
expansion to counter de Witte’s gradual economic penetration of the east
and his brutal policy in Armenia, Poland, and Lithuania and encourage-
ment of pogroms against the Jews led to his assassination: he was killed by
a bomb thrown by a revolutionary terrorist on 28 July 1904.

348 Three hideous political murders: Lincoln in 1865; Garfield in 1881;
McKinley in 1901.

the accidental death of . . . Del Hay: (1877–1901), the son of John Hay who
fell to his death from a college window during a class reunion at Yale.

Ça vous amuse, la vie?: ‘So you find life amusing?’ The quotations in this
paragraph are from the letters of John Hay to Henry Adams found in
Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, 3 vols., ed. Clara Hay (com-
piled by Henry Adams) (Washington, 1908). Hay died in 1905.

Explanatory Notes 481

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349 Lucius Seneca: (?4 bce–65 ce), famous Roman philosopher and writer;
councillor of the emperor Nero, although the emperor accused him of
treason and commanded him to take his own life.

Nero Claudius: (37–68 ce), Roman emperor notorious for the cruelty of his
reign.

Power is poison: an echo of Lord Acton’s phrase, ‘Power tends to corrupt;
absolute power corrupts absolutely’ in a letter to Bishop Mandell
Creighton, 1887.

353 treaty rights: allusion to the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty of 1850, superseded in
1901 by the Hay–Pauncefote Treaty which gave the USA exclusive control
of the proposed Panama Canal.

354 Canada alone could give trouble: reference to the dispute over the Alaska–
Canada boundary.

England assumed the task: the traditional rivalry between England and
France eased with the Anglo-French Convention of 1904 permitting the
development of an ‘Atlantic system’ which Adams advocated to Hay.

Jaurès and Bebel: Jean Léon Jaurès (1859–1914), French socialist politician
and editor, killed by an assassin; August Bebel (1840–1913), German Social
Democratic statesman and writer on socialism.

355 the Mikado: ‘Mikado’ Mutshito, reign name Meiji (1852–1912), emperor of
Japan from 1867 to 1912.

356 one drifted back . . . Bois de Boulogne: the Paris apartment of the Camerons,
which was frequently lent to Adams and where he did a great deal of writ-
ing, was at 23, Avenue du Bois de Boulogne.

Reynolds Hitt: (1876–1938), third secretary of the legation, Paris, later to
become second secretary of the legation in Berlin. At this period Adams
was completing Mont-Saint-Michel and reading widely in science.

357 vis a tergo: force from behind.
ennui: boredom.
“So passes . . . venom”: from section XXVI, ‘Misere de l’homme’, Pensées of
Blaise Pascal, 1670 edition. The translation appears to be by Adams him-
self.

“If goodness . . . breast”: concluding lines to George Herbert’s ‘The Pulley’.
St. Bernard: Bernard of Clairvaux (1091–1153), founder of the Cistercian
monastery of Clairvaux, France, noted theologian and, as a mystic, an op-
ponent of rationalist philosophy. He initiated the Second Crusade. The
opposition between St Bernard and Aquinas condenses the discussion
Adams provides in chs. XV and XVI in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.
The final three chapters of the book explore the parallels between the
dilemmas of medieval Christian philosophy and modern scientific theory.

358 Energetik of the Germans: a term adopted by a school of German natural sci-
entists which conceives the fundamental essence of things to be energy.

482 Explanatory Notes

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Haeckel: Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919), German biologist and
monistic philosopher. Adams carefully studied the French version of
Haeckel’s Weltratsel (1899), translated as Les Énigmes de l’Univers (1902).
Adams refers to him several times in last two chapters of Mont-Saint-
Michel and Chartres.
Ernst Mach: (1838–1916), Austrian physicist and philosopher of science
who privileged sensory experience and stressed the transitional nature of
scientific knowledge, although he ultimately upheld a monistic view of the
world.

359 1450: the year Pope Eugenius IV called a general council to reaffirm the
doctrines of the Roman church, temporarily uniting eastern and western
branches of the church.

360 Hartmann: Eduard von Hartmann (1842–1906), German philosopher,
author of The Philosophy of the Unconscious (1869), which asserted the pri-
macy of the Will.

361 as Mephistopheles said of Marguerite: allusion to Goethe’s Faust, Part I,
where the remorseful Faust, after seducing Gretchen, hears from the cyn-
ical Mephistopheles that Gretchen was not the first woman to be seduced.
Marguerite appears in Gounod’s opera based on Goethe, and Adams may
have confused the two.

ynxh́: Greek for ‘psyche’, mind.
362 Welsh rarebit: melted cheese, mixed with beer or ale, on toast.

binary stars: double stars which revolve around one another. Astronomy
was one of Adams’s enthusiasms.

363 to fix a position for himself: Adams’s correspondence reveals that the writing
of the second work grew out of the first and that they were not planned
simultaneously.

364 Vis Inertiae: Latin term in physics meaning the force of inertia, a property
of matter resistant to change of motion, today commonly called inertia.

Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), third president of the USA,
1801–9, and a central figure in Adams’s History of the United States.
Studied law, joined the Revolutionary party and took a prominent role in
the first Continental Congress, drafting the Declaration of Independence.
Later, governor of Virginia, minister to France, and secretary of state.
Vice-president under John Adams, succeeding him to the presidency in
1801.

Gallatin: Albert Gallatin (1761–1849), subject of a biography by Henry
Adams. See note to p. 280, above.

Madison: James Madison (1751–1836), fourth president of the USA,
1809–17, another central figure in Adams’s History. Entered politics in
1776, playing a major role in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, be-
coming known as ‘the father of the Constitution’. Collaborated in writing
the Federalist Papers. Secretary of state under Jefferson and president for
two terms.

Explanatory Notes 483

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364 Michael Herbert: (1857–1903), served as British ambassador to the USA
until his death in 1903.

365 Speck von Sternburg: Baron Hermann Speck von Sternburg (1852–1908),
German ambassador to the USA, 1903–8.

366 Lamsdorf: Count Vladimir Lamsdorf (1845–1907), Russian statesman,
minister of foreign affairs who tried to promote peaceful negotiations with
Japan over Manchuria and Korea, but failed.

J. Q. Adams: President Madison had sent Adams to St Petersburg as the
American minister in 1809 at the moment when the Czar decided to break
with Napoleon. Adams had broken with his own party, the Federalists, in
order to support Jefferson’s policies, action which cost him re-election to
the Senate in 1808. However, the success of his mission to Russia in devel-
oping American commerce led to his appointment as one of the negotiators
of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 and then to appointment as minister to
England. In 1817 he became secretary of state under Monroe and in 1825,
president.

1862: when Adams was in London as private secretary to his father, minis-
ter to England. In 1863, when war threatened over Poland, Russia sent
fleets off New York and San Francisco to be ready to attack British com-
merce, a move that was interpreted as aid to the North.

367 vis nova: new force or energy.
369 Bessie: Matilda Elizabeth (Davis) Lodge, wife of George Cabot ‘Bay’

Lodge. As a result of their marriage (on 8 August 1900), ‘Bay’ left Paris for
Boston, much to Adams’s regret.

371 Clerk Maxwell’s perfect gas: James Clerk Maxwell (1831–79), British physi-
cist whose research related to the ‘kinetic theory of gases’: at a given tem-
perature the product of the pressure and the volume should be constant in
a perfect gas.

Dames or Daughters: Colonial Dames and Daughters of the American
Revolution, women’s patriotic societies.

ephemera: the ephemera or mayfly undergoes extreme transformations in its
very short lifetime, which in some species is less than a day.

372 Eocene: the first geological period in which mammals appeared.
373 Marguerite: allusion to the female protagonist in Gounod’s opera Faust

(1859), Gretchen in Goethe’s play.

375 Wolcott Gibbs: Oliver Wolcott Gibbs (1822–1919), distinguished chemist
who was a colleague of Adams’s at Harvard in the 1870s.

Karl Pearson: (1857–1936), English scientist and mathematician. The
Grammar of Science (1899) was considered a classic; Adams heavily marked
his copy of the second edition (1900), read in 1903. Pearson is regarded as
the founder of statistics as applied to biological and social science. In 1902
he established Biometrika, a leading journal of statistical theory.
Willard Gibbs: the reference to Williard Gibbs was inserted as a correction
in the Thayer copy but not adopted by the editors of the 1918 edition. See

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note to p. 315, above, and ‘Note on the Text’ for a discussion of this error by
Adams.

376 Sir William Crookes: (1832–1919), chemist, president of the Royal Society;
discovered thallium; separated uranium-X from uranium. In June 1899, in
the Smithsonian Institution Reports, he declared that mankind was on the
brink of an unseen world.

“elementary textbook”: the passages are from the first edition of Pearson’s
The Grammar of Science (1899).

377 “One God . . . moves”: the final lines of the Epilogue of Tennyson’s In
Memoriam (1850).
1893: Adams here incorrectly dates the discovery of Roentgen rays as 1893;
they were discovered in 1895.

378 Civitas Dei: alludes to St Augustine’s work, The City of God, in twenty-two
volumes (412–27).

Civitas Romae: the Roman state. Adams explains the relations of these
terms in Ch. XXXIII of the Education.
Ostwald: Wilhelm Ostwald (1853–1932), German physical chemist and
inventor. Adams read his Vorlesungen über Naturphilosophie (1902). For a
list of other scientific books studied and annotated by Adams at this time,
see Ernest Samuels, The Education of Henry Adams (Boston: Houghton
Mifflin, 1973), 673 n. 16.

379 M. Poincaré: Jules Henri Poincaré (1854–1912), eminent French mathem-
atician and physicist with an interest in astronomy. Did important work on
differential equations and the theory of orbits. Chaos theory originated in
part in an 1889 paper of his on real differential equations and celestial
mechanics. Published several books on the philosophy of science and sci-
entific method.

“[In science] we are led . . . shall not become impossible”: the passages, trans-
lated by Adams, are from Poincaré’s La Science et l’Hypothèse (1902), ch.
VIII.

381 Zeno and his arrow: Zeno (490–430 bce), Greek philosopher who argued in
one of his paradoxes that since an arrow is at rest at every instant of its flight
it is therefore at rest in the whole of its flight.

382 310: a round number chosen by Adams for the year 312 ce, the date of the
battle of the Milvian Bridge at Rome which signalled the defeat of the
pagan system and the victory of the Christian order.

Arthur Balfour announced: (1848–1930), English philosopher and states-
man whom Adams knew. Among his positions were chief secretary for
Ireland, first lord of the treasury, and leader of the House of Commons. As
foreign secretary under Lloyd George he was responsible for the Balfour
Declaration (1917), which promised Zionists a homeland in Palestine. The
reference is to Balfour’s presidential address before the British Association
on 17 August 1904, entitled ‘On the Future of Science’.

Explanatory Notes 485

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382 “All that we win . . . nature.”: the author of this epigram has not been
identified.

383 nacre: mother-of-pearl.
“Alma Venus . . . studeo!”: from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura: ‘Life-giving
Venus, who beneath the gliding stars of heaven fills with your presence the
sea that bears our ships and the land that bears our crops. . . . Since you
alone govern the nature of things and nothing comes forth into the shores
of light nor is glad or lovely without you, I crave your help.’

384 Helmholz: Herman Helmholz (1821–94), German scientist whose research
in physiological optics was significant but is cited here for his work regard-
ing theories of electromagnetic induction and the distribution of energy in
mechanical systems.

385 Viceroy Alexeieff: General Mikhail Alexeyev (1857–1918), Russian general;
the Czar’s viceroy in the Far East.

386 blague: humbug or nonsense. Adams was on friendly terms with Count
Cassini but his sympathies lay with the Japanese in part because of his
confidential relationship with the Japanese emissary Baron Kentaro
Kaneko.

Brooks: Brooks Adams was now a prominent writer on public affairs who
admired Theodore Roosevelt and was one of the president’s close but
unofficial advisers.

Miss Chamberlain: Mary Edicott Chamberlain, American-born daughter
of the British liberal statesman, Joseph Chamberlain, a longtime acquain-
tance of Adams’s.

quos ego: literally, ‘whom I’. A Latin rhetorical device of breaking off a re-
mark to convey a threat, as if overcome by emotion. From Neptune’s out-
burst against the disobedient winds in Virgil’s Aeneid, i. 135.

387 last great triumph: Hay’s policy to preserve the territorial integrity of China
and to keep China open to trade with all nations was confirmed by the
Anglo-Japanese alliance which assisted the Japanese defeat of the Russians
in the war of 1904–5.

388 Sargent: John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), American portrait painter and
muralist born in Florence who completed a painting of Hay in February
1903. Sargent began the portrait in the intervals when President Roosevelt
was not available for the sittings required to complete his official White
House portrait, which Sargent was also painting. Adams thought the
portrait of Hay ‘good, of course, since it is Sargent, but also fairly like a
gentleman’ (Lett. v. 462).
Shawnee: a Native American tribe from Oklahoma.
John Hay . . . on its shores: born in Salem, Indiana, in 1838; spent his youth
in Warsaw, Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi. As a law student in
Springfield, Illinois, he met Lincoln and in 1861 accompanied him to
Washington as his assistant private secretary. See note to p. 58, above.

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St. Louis Exposition: the World’s Fair was held in St Louis in 1904 to celeb-
rate the centennial of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France.
Adams deprecates St Louis for rhetorical effect in order to praise the
Exposition. He went there to accompany Secretary of State John Hay, who
represented the president.

389 Emir Mirza: an allusion to Joseph Addison’s ‘Visions of Mirza’, Spectator,
159, where the essayist pretends to have read the visions in an oriental man-
uscript in Cairo, one of great misery, the other of great beauty.

390 the Virgin: for Adams’s description of the remarkable beauty of the
Cathedral of Notre Dame (Our Lady) at Coutances, see Mont-Saint-
Michel and Chartres, ch. IV.
Fête Dieu: Corpus Christi day, an important festival honouring the
Eucharist (the sacrament of bread and wine) commemorating the death of
Christ in the Roman Catholic church.

to buy an automobile: In order to ease his research in visiting the cathedrals
of France, Adams ‘bought an automobile, a very pretty Mercedes, 18 h.p.,
and hoped to live in it, but, to my great relief and satisfaction, the inspector
delays for weeks to give me a number, and the chauffeur always has a reason
for sending the machine to the shops. Between them I am quite happy, and
never have to go out-doors.’ To a friend he confided, ‘[I] mount the popu-
lar machine of the day . . . and pound about the world, like any other idiot,
sitting en panne on the top of every solitary hill in France and in the centre
of every crowded street in Paris.’ Lett. v. 596, 594.

391 “Both were faiths and both are gone.”: Arnold, ‘Stanzas from the Grand
Chartreuse’, l. 84. The line correctly reads, ‘For both were faiths, and both
are gone.’

star-showers thrown: quoted from Shelley’s ‘Stanzas. Written in Dejection.
Near Naples’ (1818).

392 One dared not . . . one’s glass: Adams habitually carried binoculars for view-
ing stained-glass windows. Champagne is an ancient province north of
Paris; Touraine, an old province along the Loire near Tours.

leibwache: German for bodyguard.
Fouquet: Jean Fouquet (c. 1146–80), court painter of Louis XI, master illu-
minator of religious books; his altarpieces and portraits created a sensation
when exhibited in Paris in 1904. Adams evidently attended the show.

Pinturicchio: Bernardino di Betti (1454–1513), Italian painter of religious
frescoes and altarpieces noted for the minuteness of finish of the heads.

culp: from the Latin, ‘mea culpa’, I am guilty.
Thibaut of Champagne: Thibaut IV, count of Champagne and king of
Navarre (1201–56), most famous of the early French lyrical or courtly
poets. Cited frequently by Adams in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.
Sieur de Joinville: Jean de Joinville (c. 1224–1317), famous for his intimate
chronicle of the reign of King Louis IX (Saint Louis). A native of the

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province of Champagne, of which Troyes was the capital. Cited through-
out Adams’s Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.

393 Hippodrome: an allusion to the destruction and sacking of Constantinople
in the Fourth Crusade (1202–4). In imagination Adams was recalling not
only the actors in Jean de Joinville’s chronicle but also those from Troyes
who figured in Geoffroy de Villehardouin’s Conquest of Constantinople
(1198–1207), an eyewitness account by one of the leaders. French cru-
saders and Venetian allies abandoned religious objectives in order to de-
stroy their commercial rivals, whose city was the capital of the Eastern
Christian empire. Among the trophies carried off from the monumental
Hippodrome were the four bronze horses which stand atop St Mark’s
Cathedral in Piazza San Marco, Venice.

Church of St. Pantaleon: one of the numerous Renaissance churches in the
city of Troyes, St. Pantaleon being especially noted for its sixteenth-
century stained-glass and its multitude of sixteenth-century statues.
Adams discusses the history of Troyes in ch. XI of Mont-Saint-Michel and
Chartres.
the square . . . a right-angled triangle: a reference to the Pythagorean the-
orem that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angle triangle is equal to
the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

Groombridge: Stephen Groombridge (1755–1832), astronomer and West
India merchant whose Catalogue of Circumpolar Stars was published in
1838, the year of Adams’s birth; it recorded his discovery of star No. 1830,
the swiftest moving of all observed stars at that time.

397 Emperor Diocletian: (245–313 ce), Roman emperor who ordered a general
persecution of Christians in 303 in an attempt to strengthen the pagan state
religion.

399 In hoc signo vinces!: ‘with this sign you shall conquer.’
Theodosius: (346–95 ce), famous Roman general and emperor of the East;
accepted the ecclesiastical authority of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.

Turgot: Robert Jacques Turgot (1727–81), French statesman and econom-
ist; presented his idea of social development in The Successive Advances of
the Human Mind (1750), where he stated that ‘All epochs are fastened to-
gether by a sequence of causes and effects, linking the condition of the
world to all the conditions that have gone before it.’

400 Alaric: (376?–410 ce), famous king of the West Goths who had served
under Theodosius; he subsequently turned against Rome and sacked the
city in 410.

Bishop Augustine of Hippo: St Augustine (354–430 ce), author of the City of
God and the Confessions. Latin father of the Catholic church who studied in
Carthage and later, in 383, taught in Rome and Milan. Baptized by St
Ambrose in 386 following his conversion to Christianity. Returned to
Africa in 396 as Bishop of Hippo. He was killed in the Vandal invasion of
Hippo.

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401 Sancta Sofia: a masterpiece of Byzantine church architecture, built by the
emperor Justinian, converted into a Muslim mosque in 1453 after the fall of
Constantinople, which marked the end of the Eastern Roman empire.

Justinian: (483–565 ce), the best-known Byzantine emperor, whose great-
est contributions were the codification of Roman law (the Justinian Code)
and his military victories which extended the empire and hence
Christianity.

Nicephoras Phocas: (912–69), emperor of the Eastern Roman empire
(963–9), distinguished as a military leader in the wars with the Saracens.

two new natural forces: gunpowder and the compass.
402 the Crescent: the symbol of Mohammedanism or Islam.

Manichean doctrine: theological doctrine of Persian Mani which taught that
the world was the scene of a struggle between the forces of darkness and
light. It was declared heretical in the fifth century.

the compass: The first known reference to the compass in Europe was in the
twelfth century, although legend has it that it appeared earlier in China.

gunpowder: an inflammable substance said to have been invented by
Callinicus of Heliopolis, who used it in Constantinople to set fire to enemy
ships. Use by Byzantine Greeks was common in the Middle Ages. The first
European reference to gunpowder is in a Florentine document of 1326.

403 St. Jerome: (c.340–420 ce), important church father who made the Latin
(Vulgate) translation of the Bible. The parallel with Bunyan is fanciful,
although St Jerome’s effort to establish correct readings of the text meant
that he had to travel widely through the near East to consult biblical
scholars.

Giordano Bruno: (1548–1600), Italian philosopher and scientist who chal-
lenged all dogmatism and rejected the possibility of absolute truth.
Originally a Dominican friar, he became too unorthodox to remain in the
order; travelled widely in Europe. His championship of Copernicus
brought him into conflict with the Inquisition: he was arrested in 1592 in
Venice and after a seven-year trial was burned at the stake as a heretic.

“Nature . . . weights”: Aphorism III, concerning ‘The Interpretation of
Nature’, in Francis Bacon, Magna Instauratio (1620). The second sentence
misquotes a passage from Aphorism CIV which reads ‘the understanding
must not therefore be supplied with wings, but rather hung with weights to
keep it from leaping and flying’.

404 “Neither . . . work is done”: Francis Bacon, Aphorism II in Magna
Instauratio (1620).
“Non fingendum . . . ferat”: ‘Not by supposition or mere thought but by in-
quiry learn what nature does and makes.’ The Latin passage was added by
Adams for the 1918 edition; it comes from Bacon, De Dignitate et Augmentis
Scientiarum (1623), the enlarged Latin version of his Advancement of
Learning (1603).

Explanatory Notes 489

Adams, H. (2009). The education of henry adams : Education of henry adams. Oxford University Press USA – OSO.
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405 Priestley: Joseph Priestley (1733–1804), English clergyman and scientist,
discoverer of oxygen. Spent the last ten years of his life in the United
States.

Jenner: Edward Jenner (1749–1823), discoverer of vaccination against
smallpox, first attempted in 1796.

Fulton: Robert Fulton (1765–1815), American engineer who designed the
first practical steamboat in 1807. In his History of the United States, Adams
quotes Fulton’s account of how his steamboat had been widely ridiculed
and called ‘Fulton’s folly’.

407 Leonids and Perseids: Leonids: a meteor shower in the constellation Leo oc-
curring annually about 14 November. Perseids: a meteoric shower in the
constellation Perseus occurring annually about 12 August.

perfect comet . . . 1843: the Great Comet of 1843, one of the most spectacu-
lar recorded, had a tail estimated to be 200,000 miles in length.

408 Laplace: Pierre Laplace (1749–1827), French astronomer and mathem-
atician. His discovery of the cause of the great inequality in the orbits of
Saturn and Jupiter was considered a brilliant advance in physical astro-
nomy.

Newcomen’s engines: Thomas Newcomen (1663–1729), with two co-
workers, invented the atmospheric steam engine, patented in 1705, used to
pump water into mines.

Volta: Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), Italian physicist renowned for his re-
search in electricity. Invented the voltaic cell generating electricity through
chemical action, the origin of the electric storage battery. The electric ‘volt’
as a unit of measurement is named after him.

Dalton: John Dalton (1766–1844), English chemist; perfected the atomic
theory of matter about 1804 and in 1810 published A New System of
Chemical Philosophy.

409 Boerhaave: Hermann Boerhaave (1668–1738), Dutch physician and scien-
tist who published pioneering studies of new botanical species and intro-
duced the modern system of clinical instruction in medicine.

Louis XIV: (1638–1715), king of France, 1643–1715, sometimes known as
the ‘Sun King’ for the splendour of his reign. His court was known
throughout Europe for its encouragement of art and literature, although
his military ambitions and vast expenditures nearly bankrupted the
country.

Huygens: Christian Huygens (1629–95), Dutch physicist and astronomer
who discovered the rings of Saturn and developed the wave-theory of light.

William Harvey: (1578–1657), English physician and physiologist who dis-
covered the system for blood circulation in the body described in Essay on
the Motions of the Heart and the Blood (1628).
Tycho Brahe: (1546–1601), Swedish astronomer who in 1573 discovered
variations in the motions of the moon and other features of the planets as

490 Explanatory Notes

Adams, H. (2009). The education of henry adams : Education of henry adams. Oxford University Press USA – OSO.
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recorded in astronomical tables. With unprecedented accuracy, he ob-
served the stars and planets in an effort to correct these errors.

410 Newton’s comet: Newton used the Great Comet of 1680 to demonstrate the
accuracy of his orbital theories.

411 the ocean-steamer: 1838, the year of Adams’s birth, marked the feasibility of
transatlantic steamship crossings; the first Cunard ship to make the cross-
ing to Boston was the Britannia in 1840.
Daguerreotype: the first successful photographic process was invented by
Louis Daguerre (1789–1851), a French scene painter and inventor, in 1839.
Adams, with his wife Clover, developed a persistent fascination with pho-
tography.

412 Pontic Seas: the Black Sea. From Shakespeare’s Othello, iii. iii. 451–3: ‘Like
to the Pontic sea | Whose icy current and compulsive course | Ne’er feels
retiring ebb.’

413 1964: Adams’s choice of date is prophetic: if he had returned that year, he
would have discovered that the World’s Fair was being held in New York.
He would likely have attended yet another exposition and would no doubt
have been absorbed by the display of new inventions and complex advances
in science.

414 Kant’s . . . four antinomies: in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Kant
(1724–1804) explained that an antinomy consists of two contradictory
philosophical statements, a thesis and an antithesis, each of which is prov-
able by logical demonstration. The four antinomies are: (1) The world is
finite in time and space; the world is infinite in time and space. (2) Every
composite substance consists of simple parts; nothing simple exists any-
where. (3) Causality does not explain all phenomena; all phenomena occur
entirely according to the laws of nature. (4) As part of the world or as its
cause, there is an absolutely necessary being; there is no absolutely neces-
sary being.

415 Nunc Age: ‘now follow through, now act’, literally in Latin, ‘now go.’
Battle of Trusts: the battle over regulation of the power of trusts to do harm.
In 1904 Roosevelt’s attorney general successfully prosecuted the Northern
Securities Company, a railroad holding company, as a combination in re-
straint of trade. Armed with the Supreme Court ruling, Roosevelt obtained
twenty-five additional indictments.

417 perihelion: point of a planet’s or comet’s orbit nearest to the sun.
Captain Scott: Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912), British explorer whose
expedition in the Discovery surveyed large areas of the Antarctic; in 1912 he
reached the South Pole but died with four companions during the arduous
return journey.

Purun Dass: a character in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Miracle of Purun
Bhagat’, a story in which the prime minister voluntarily becomes a home-
less religious mendicant (Second Jungle Book, 1905).

419 Nervi: an Italian winter resort near Genoa.

Explanatory Notes 491

Adams, H. (2009). The education of henry adams : Education of henry adams. Oxford University Press USA – OSO.
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419 Nauheim: famous health resort and spa near Frankfurt, Germany, which
would become the setting for Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier (1915).
“The rest is silence!”: Shakespeare, Hamlet, v. ii. 368.
Hay was dead: John Hay died on 1 July 1905.

320 1938: an ironic yet prescient choice since that year Germany annexed
Austria and Chamberlain supposedly bought ‘peace in our time’ by means
of the Munich Agreement of September 1938. Within a year, World War II
would begin. In a letter of 27 June 1904, Adams provided another unusu-
ally prophetic forecast: ‘If I could live to the end of my century—1938—I
am sure I should see the silly bubble explode. My age is the first that was
ever absolutely lunatic, and whether I alone imagined it . . . or a half-dozen
of us, the absurdity of the dream screams aloud . . . . Out of a mediaeval,
primitive, crawling infant of 1838, to find oneself a howling, steaming, ex-
ploding, Marconing, radiumating, automobiling maniac of 1904 exceeds
belief ’ (Lett. v. 592).

492 Explanatory Notes

Adams, H. (2009). The education of henry adams : Education of henry adams. Oxford University Press USA – OSO.
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