REAL SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE
By Richard Harding Davis
MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY RONALD DOUGLAS MACIVER
ANY sunny afternoon, on Fifth Avenue, or at night in the table d'hote restaurants of University Place, you may meet the soldier of fortune who of all his brothers in arms now living is the most remarkable. You may have noticed him; a stiffly erect, distinguished-looking man, with gray hair, an imperial of the fashion of Louis Napoleon, fierce blue eyes, and across his forehead a sabre cut.
This is Henry Ronald Douglas MacIver, for some time in India an ensign in the Sepoy mutiny; in Italy, lieutenant under Garibaldi; in Spain, captain under Don Carlos; in our Civil War, major in the Confederate army; in Mexico, lieutenant-colonel under the Emperor Maximilian; colonel under Napoleon III, inspector of cavalry for the Khedive of Egypt, and chief of cavalry and general of brigade of the army of King Milan of Servia. These are only a few of his military titles. In 1884 was published a book giving the story of his life up to that year. It was called "Under Fourteen Flags." If to-day General MacIver were to reprint the book, it would be called "Under Eighteen Flags."
MacIver was born on Christmas Day, 1841, at sea, a league off the shore of Virginia. His mother was Miss Anna Douglas of that State; Ronald MacIver, his father, was a Scot, a Rossshire gentleman, a younger son of the chief of the Clan MacIver. Until he was ten years old young MacIver played in Virginia at the home of his father. Then, in order that he might be educated, he was shipped to Edinburgh to an uncle, General Donald Graham. After five years his uncle obtained for him a commission as ensign in the Honorable East India Company, and at sixteen, when other boys are preparing for college, MacIver was in the Indian Mutiny, fighting, not for a flag, nor a country, but as one fights a wild animal, for his life. He was wounded in the arm, and, with a sword, cut over the head. As a safeguard against the sun the boy had placed inside his helmet a wet towel. This saved him to fight another day, but even with that protection the sword sank through the helmet, the towel, and into the skull. To-day you can see the scar. He was left in the road for dead, and even after his wounds had healed, was six weeks in the hospital.
This tough handling at the very start might have satisfied some men, but in the very next war MacIver was a volunteer and wore the red shirt of Garibaldi. He remained at the front throughout that campaign, and until within a few years there has been no campaign of consequence in which he has not taken part. He served in the Ten Years' War in Cuba, in Brazil, in Argentina, in Crete, in Greece, twice in Spain in Carlist revolutions, in Bosnia, and for four years in our Civil War under Generals Jackson and Stuart around Richmond. In this great war he was four times wounded.
It was after the surrender of the Confederate army, that, with other Southern officers, he served under Maximilian in Mexico; in Egypt, and in France. Whenever in any part of the world there was fighting, or the rumor of fighting, the procedure of the general invariably was the same. He would order himself to instantly depart for the front, and on arriving there would offer to organize a foreign legion. The command of this organization always was given to him. But the foreign legion was merely the entering wedge. He would soon show that he was fitted for a better command than a band of undisciplined volunteers, and would receive a commission in the regular army. In almost every command in which he served that is the manner in which promotion came. Sometimes he saw but little fighting, sometimes he should have died several deaths, each of a nature more unpleasant than the others. For in war the obvious danger of a bullet is but a three hundred to one shot, while in the pack against the combatant the jokers are innumerable. And in the career of the general the unforeseen adventures are the most interesting. A man who in eighteen campaigns has played his part would seem to have earned exemption from any other risks, but often it was outside the battle-field that MacIver encountered the greatest danger. He fought several duels, in two of which he killed his adversary; several attempts were made to assassinate him, and while on his way to Mexico he was captured by hostile Indians. On returning from an expedition in Cuba he was cast adrift in an open boat and for days was without food.
Long before I met General MacIver I had read his book and had heard of him from many men who had met him in many different lands while engaged in as many different undertakings. Several of the older war correspondents knew him intimately; Bennett Burleigh of the Telegraph was his friend, and E. F. Knight of the Times was one of those who volunteered for a filibustering expedition which MacIver organized against New Guinea. The late Colonel Ochiltree of Texas told me tales of MacIver's bravery, when as young men they were fellow officers in the Southern army, and Stephen Bonsal had met him when MacIver was United States Consul at Denia in Spain. When MacIver arrived at this post, the ex-consul refused to vacate the Consulate, and MacIver wished to settle the difficulty with duelling pistols. As Denia is a small place, the inhabitants feared for their safety, and Bonsal, who was our charge d'affaires then, was sent from Madrid to adjust matters. Without bloodshed he got rid of the ex-consul, and later MacIver so endeared himself to the Denians that they begged the State Department to retain him in that place for the remainder of his life.
Before General MacIver was appointed to a high position at the St. Louis Fair, I saw much of him in New York. His room was in a side street in an old-fashioned boarding-house, and overlooked his neighbor's back yard and a typical New York City sumac tree; but when the general talked one forgot he was within a block of the Elevated, and roamed over all the world. On his bed he would spread out wonderful parchments, with strange, heathenish inscriptions, with great seals, with faded ribbons. These were signed by Sultans, Secretaries of War, Emperors, filibusters. They were military commissions, titles of nobility, brevets for decorations, instructions and commands from superior officers. Translated the phrases ran: "Imposing special confidence in," "we appoint," or "create," or "declare," or "In recognition of services rendered to our person," or "country," or "cause," or "For bravery on the field of battle we bestow the Cross——"
As must a soldier, the general travels "light," and all his worldly possessions were crowded ready for mobilization into a small compass. He had his sword, his field blanket, his trunk, and the tin despatch boxes that held his papers. From these, like a conjurer, he would draw souvenirs of all the world. From the embrace of faded letters, he would unfold old photographs, daguerrotypes, and miniatures of fair women and adventurous men: women who now are queens in exile, men who, lifted on waves of absinthe, still, across a cafe table, tell how they will win back a crown.
Once in a written document the general did me the honor to appoint me his literary executor, but as he is young, and as healthy as myself, it never may be my lot to perform such an unwelcome duty. And to-day all one can write of him is what the world can read in "Under Fourteen Flags," and some of the "foot-notes to history" which I have copied from his scrap-book. This scrap-book is a wonderful volume, but owing to "political" and other reasons, for the present, of the many clippings from newspapers it contains there are only a few I am at liberty to print. And from them it is difficult to make a choice. To sketch in a few thousand words a career that had developed under Eighteen Flags is in its very wealth embarrassing.
Here is one story, as told by the scrap-book, of an expedition that failed. That it failed was due to a British Cabinet Minister; for had Lord Derby possessed the imagination of the Soldier of Fortune, his Majesty's dominions might now be the richer by many thousands of square miles and many thousands of black subjects.
On October 29, 1883, the following appeared in the London Standard: "The New Guinea Exploration and Colonization Company is already chartered, and the first expedition expects to leave before Christmas." "The prospectus states settlers intending to join the first party must contribute one hundred pounds toward the company. This subscription will include all expenses for passage money. Six months' provisions will be provided, together with tents and arms for protection. Each subscriber of one hundred pounds is to obtain a certificate entitling him to one thousand acres."
The view of the colonization scheme taken by the Times of London, of the same date, is less complaisant. "The latest commercial sensation is a proposed company for the seizure of New Guinea. Certain adventurous gentlemen are looking out for one hundred others who have money and a taste for buccaneering. When the company has been completed, its share-holders are to place themselves under military regulations, sail in a body for New Guinea, and without asking anybody's leave, seize upon the island and at once, in some unspecified way, proceed to realize large profits. If the idea does not suggest comparisons with the large designs of Sir Francis Drake, it is at least not unworthy of Captain Kidd."
When we remember the manner in which some of the colonies of Great Britain were acquired, the Times seems almost squeamish.
In a Melbourne paper, June, 1884, is the following paragraph:
"Toward the latter part of 1883 the Government of Queensland planted the flag of Great Britain on the shores of New Guinea. When the news reached England it created a sensation. The Earl of Derby, Secretary for the Colonies, refused, however, to sanction the annexation of New Guinea, and in so doing acted contrary to the sincere wish of every right-thinking Anglo-Saxon under the Southern Cross.
"While the subsequent correspondence between the Home and Queensland governments was going on, Brigadier-General H. R. MacIver originated and organized the New Guinea Exploration and Colonization Company in London, with a view to establishing settlements on the island. The company, presided over by General Beresford of the British Army, and having an eminently representative and influential board of directors, had a capital of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and placed the supreme command of the expedition in the hands of General MacIver. Notwithstanding the character of the gentlemen composing the board of directors, and the truly peaceful nature of the expedition, his Lordship informed General MacIver that in the event of the latter's attempting to land on New Guinea, instructions would be sent to the officer in command of her Majesty's fleet in the Western Pacific to fire upon the company's vessel. This meant that the expedition would be dealt with as a filibustering one."
In Judy, September 21, 1887, appears:
"We all recollect the treatment received by Brigadier-General MacI. in the action he took with respect to the annexation of New Guinea. The General, who is a sort of Pizarro, with a dash of D'Artagnan, was treated in a most scurvy manner by Lord Derby. Had MacIver not been thwarted in his enterprise, the whole of New Guinea would now have been under the British flag, and we should not be cheek-by-jowl with the Germans, as we are in too many places."
Society, September 3, 1887, says:
"The New Guinea expedition proved abortive, owing to the blundering shortsightedness of the then Government, for which Lord Derby was chiefly responsible, but what little foothold we possess in New Guinea, is certainly due to General MacIver's gallant effort."
Copy of statement made by J. Rintoul Mitchell, June 2, 1887:
"About the latter end of the year 1883, when I was editor-in-chief of the Englishman in Calcutta, I was told by Captain de Deaux, assistant secretary in the Foreign Office of the Indian Government, that he had received a telegram from Lord Derby to the effect that if General MacIver ventured to land upon the coast of New Guinea it would become the duty of Lord Ripon, Viceroy, to use the naval forces at his command for the purpose of deporting General MacI. Sir Aucland Calvin can certify to this, as it was discussed in the Viceregal Council."
Just after our Civil War MacIver was interested in another expedition which also failed. Its members called themselves the Knights of Arabia, and their object was to colonize an island much nearer to our shores than New Guinea. MacIver, saying that his oath prevented, would never tell me which island this was, but the reader can choose from among Cuba, Haiti, and the Hawaiian group. To have taken Cuba, the "colonizers" would have had to fight not only Spain, but the Cubans themselves, on whose side they were soon fighting in the Ten Years' War; so Cuba may be eliminated. And as the expedition was to sail from the Atlantic side, and not from San Francisco, the island would appear to be the Black Republic. From the records of the times it would seem that the greater number of the Knights of Arabia were veterans of the Confederate army, and there is no question but that they intended to subjugate the blacks of Haiti and form a republic for white men in which slavery would be recognized. As one of the leaders of this filibustering expedition, MacIver was arrested by General Phil Sheridan and for a short time cast into jail.
This chafed the general's spirit, but he argued philosophically that imprisonment for filibustering, while irksome, brought with it no reproach. And, indeed, sometimes the only difference between a filibuster and a government lies in the fact that the government fights the gun-boats of only the enemy while a filibuster must dodge the boats of the enemy and those of his own countrymen. When the United States went to war with Spain there were many men in jail as filibusters, for doing that which at the time the country secretly approved, and later imitated. And because they attempted exactly the same thing for which Dr. Jameson was imprisoned in Holloway Jail, two hundred thousand of his countrymen are now wearing medals.
The by-laws of the Knights of Arabia leave but little doubt as to its object.
By-law No. II reads:
"We, as Knights of Arabia, pledge ourselves to aid, comfort, and protect all Knights of Arabia, especially those who are wounded in obtaining our grand object.
"III—Great care must be taken that no unbeliever or outsider shall gain any insight into the mysteries or secrets of the Order.
"IV—The candidate will have to pay one hundred dollars cash to the Captain of the Company, and the candidate will receive from the Secretary a Knight of Arabia bond for one hundred dollars in gold, with ten per cent interest, payable ninety days after the recognition of (The Republic of——) by the United States, or any government.
"V—All Knights of Arabia will be entitled to one hundred acres of land, location of said land to be drawn for by lottery. The products are coffee, sugar, tobacco, and cotton."
A local correspondent of the New York Herald writes of the arrest of MacIver as follows:
"When MacIver will be tried is at present unknown, as his case has assumed a complicated aspect. He claims British protection as a subject of her British Majesty, and the English Consul has forwarded a statement of his case to Sir Frederick Bruce at Washington, accompanied by a copy of the by-laws. General Sheridan also has forwarded a statement to the Secretary of War, accompanied not only by the by-laws, but very important documents, including letters from Jefferson Davis, Benjamin, the Secretary of State of the Confederate States, and other personages prominent in the Rebellion, showing that MacIver enjoyed the highest confidence of the Confederacy."
As to the last statement, an open letter I found in his scrap-book is an excellent proof. It is as follows: "To officers and members of all camps of United Confederate Veterans: It affords me the greatest pleasure to say that the bearer of this letter, General Henry Ronald MacIver, was an officer of great gallantry in the Confederate Army, serving on the staff at various times of General Stonewall Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart, and E. Kirby Smith, and that his official record is one of which any man may be proud.
"Respectfully, MARCUS J. WRIGHT, "Agent for the Collection of Confederate Records.
"War Records office, War Department, Washington, July 8, 1895."
At the close of the war duels between officers of the two armies were not infrequent. In the scrap-book there is the account of one of these affairs sent from Vicksburg to a Northern paper by a correspondent who was an eye-witness of the event. It tells how Major MacIver, accompanied by Major Gillespie, met, just outside of Vicksburg, Captain Tomlin of Vermont, of the United States Artillery Volunteers. The duel was with swords. MacIver ran Tomlin through the body. The correspondent writes:
"The Confederate officer wiped his sword on his handkerchief. In a few seconds Captain Tomlin expired. One of Major MacIver's seconds called to him: 'He is dead; you must go. These gentlemen will look after the body of their friend.' A negro boy brought up the horses, but before mounting MacIver said to Captain Tomlin's seconds: 'My friends are in haste for me to go. Is there anything I can do? I hope you consider that this matter has been settled honorably?'
"There being no reply, the Confederates rode away."
In a newspaper of to-day so matter-of-fact an acceptance of an event so tragic would make strange reading.
From the South MacIver crossed through Texas to join the Royalist army under the Emperor Maximilian. It was while making his way, with other Confederate officers, from Galveston to El Paso, that MacIver was captured by the Indians. He was not ill-treated by them, but for three months was a prisoner, until one night, the Indians having camped near the Rio Grande, he escaped into Mexico. There he offered his sword to the Royalist commander, General Mejia, who placed him on his staff, and showed him some few skirmishes. At Monterey MacIver saw big fighting, and for his share in it received the title of Count, and the order of Guadaloupe. In June, contrary to all rules of civilized war, Maximilian was executed and the empire was at an end. MacIver escaped to the coast, and from Tampico took a sailing vessel to Rio de Janeiro. Two months later he was wearing the uniform of another emperor, Dom Pedro, and, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, was in command of the Foreign Legion of the armies of Brazil and Argentina, which at that time as allies were fighting against Paraguay.
MacIver soon recruited seven hundred men, but only half of these ever reached the front. In Buenos Ayres cholera broke out and thirty thousand people died, among the number about half the Legion. MacIver was among those who suffered, and before he recovered was six weeks in hospital. During that period, under a junior officer, the Foreign Legion was sent to the front, where it was disbanded.
On his return to Glasgow, MacIver foregathered with an old friend, Bennett Burleigh, whom he had known when Burleigh was a lieutenant in the navy of the Confederate States. Although today known as a distinguished war correspondent, in those days Burleigh was something of a soldier of fortune himself, and was organizing an expedition to assist the Cretan insurgents against the Turks. Between the two men it was arranged that MacIver should precede the expedition to Crete and prepare for its arrival. The Cretans received him gladly, and from the provisional government he received a commission in which he was given "full power to make war on land and sea against the enemies of Crete, and particularly against the Sultan of Turkey and the Turkish forces, and to burn, destroy, or capture any vessel bearing the Turkish flag."
This permission to destroy the Turkish navy single-handed strikes one as more than generous, for the Cretans had no navy, and before one could begin the destruction of a Turkish gun-boat it was first necessary to catch it and tie it to a wharf.
At the close of the Cretan insurrection MacIver crossed to Athens and served against the brigands in Kisissia on the borders of Albania and Thessaly as volunteer aide to Colonel Corroneus, who had been commander-in-chief of the Cretans against the Turks. MacIver spent three months potting at brigands, and for his services in the mountains was recommended for the highest Greek decoration.
From Greece it was only a step to New York, and almost immediately MacIver appears as one of the Goicouria-Christo expedition to Cuba, of which Goicouria was commander-in-chief, and two famous American officers, Brigadier-General Samuel C. Williams was a general and Colonel Wright Schumburg was chief of staff.
In the scrap-book I find "General Order No. 11 of the Liberal Army of the Republic of Cuba, issued at Cedar Keys, October 3, 1869." In it Colonel MacIver is spoken of as in charge of officers not attached to any organized corps of the division. And again:
"General Order No. V, Expeditionary Division, Republic of Cuba, on board Lilian," announces that the place to which the expedition is bound has been changed, and that General Wright Schumburg, who now is in command, orders "all officers not otherwise commissioned to join Colonel MacIver's 'Corps of Officers.'"
The Lilian ran out of coal, and to obtain firewood put in at Cedar Keys. For two weeks the patriots cut wood and drilled upon the beach, when they were captured by a British gun-boat and taken to Nassau. There they were set at liberty, but their arms, boat, and stores were confiscated.
In a sailing vessel MacIver finally reached Cuba, and under Goicouria, who had made a successful landing, saw some "help yourself" fighting. Goicouria's force was finally scattered, and MacIver escaped from the Spanish soldiery only by putting to sea in an open boat, in which he endeavored to make Jamaica.
On the third day out he was picked up by a steamer and again landed at Nassau, from which place he returned to New York.
At that time in this city there was a very interesting man named Thaddeus P. Mott, who had been an officer in our army and later had entered the service of Ismail Pasha. By the Khedive he had been appointed a general of division and had received permission to reorganize the Egyptian army.
His object in coming to New York was to engage officers for that service. He came at an opportune moment. At that time the city was filled with men who, in the Rebellion, on one side or the other, had held command, and many of these, unfitted by four years of soldiering for any other calling, readily accepted the commissions which Mott had authority to offer. New York was not large enough to keep MacIver and Mott long apart, and they soon came to an understanding. The agreement drawn up between them is a curious document. It is written in a neat hand on sheets of foolscap tied together like a Commencement-day address, with blue ribbon. In it MacIver agrees to serve as colonel of cavalry in the service of the Khedive. With a few legal phrases omitted, the document reads as follows:
"Agreement entered into this 24th day of March, 1870, between the Government of his Royal Highness and the Khedive of Egypt, represented by General Thaddeus P. Mott of the first part, and H. R. H. MacIver of New York City.
"The party of the second part, being desirous of entering into the service of party of the first part, in the military capacity of a colonel of cavalry, promises to serve and obey party of the first part faithfully and truly in his military capacity during the space of five years from this date; that the party of the second part waives all claims of protection usually afforded to Americans by consular and diplomatic agents of the United States, and expressly obligates himself to be subject to the orders of the party of the first part, and to make, wage, and vigorously prosecute war against any and all the enemies of party of the first part; that the party of the second part will not under any event be governed, controlled by, or submit to, any order, law, mandate, or proclamation issued by the Government of the United States of America, forbidding party of the second part to serve party of the first part to make war according to any of the provisions herein contained, it being, however, distinctly understood that nothing herein contained shall be construed as obligating party of the second part to bear arms or wage war against the United States of America.
"Party of the first part promises to furnish party of the second part with horses, rations, and pay him for his services the same salary now paid to colonels of cavalry in United States army, and will furnish him quarters suitable to his rank in army. Also promises, in the case of illness caused by climate, that said party may resign his office and shall receive his expenses to America and two months' pay; that he receives one-fifth of his regular pay during his active service, together with all expenses of every nature attending such enterprise."
It also stipulates as to what sums shall be paid his family or children in case of his death.
To this MacIver signs this oath:
"In the presence of the ever-living God, I swear that I will in all things honestly, faithfully, and truly keep, observe, and perform the obligations and promises above enumerated, and endeavor to conform to the wishes and desires of the Government of his Royal Highness, the Khedive of Egypt, in all things connected with the furtherance of his prosperity, and the maintenance of his throne."
On arriving at Cairo, MacIver was appointed inspector-general of cavalry, and furnished with a uniform, of which this is a description: "It consisted of a blue tunic with gold spangles, embroidered in gold up the sleeves and front, neat-fitting red trousers, and high patent-leather boots, while the inevitable fez completed the gay costume."
The climate of Cairo did not agree with MacIver, and, in spite of his "gay costume," after six months he left the Egyptian service. His honorable discharge was signed by Stone Bey, who, in the favor of the Khedive, had supplanted General Mott.
It is a curious fact that, in spite of his ill health, immediately after leaving Cairo, MacIver was sufficiently recovered to at once plunge into the Franco-Prussian War. At the battle of Orleans, while on the staff of General Chanzy, he was wounded. In this war his rank was that of a colonel of cavalry of the auxiliary army.
His next venture was in the Carlist uprising of 1873, when he formed a Carlist League, and on several occasions acted as bearer of important messages from the "King," as Don Carlos was called, to the sympathizers with his cause in France and England.
MacIver was promised, if he carried out successfully a certain mission upon which he was sent, and if Don Carlos became king, that he would be made a marquis. As Don Carlos is still a pretender, MacIver is still a general. Although in disposing of his sword MacIver never allowed his personal predilections to weigh with him, he always treated himself to a hearty dislike of the Turks, and we next find him fighting against them in Herzegovina with the Montenegrins. And when the Servians declared war against the same people, MacIver returned to London to organize a cavalry brigade to fight with the Servian army.
Of this brigade and of the rapid rise of MacIver to highest rank and honors in Servia, the scrap-book is most eloquent. The cavalry brigade was to be called the Knights of the Red Cross.
In a letter to the editor of the Hour, the general himself speaks of it in the following terms:
"It may be interesting to many of your readers to learn that a select corps of gentlemen is at present in course of organization under the above title with the mission of proceeding to the Levant to take measures in case of emergency for the defense of the Christian population, and more especially of British subjects who are to a great extent unprovided with adequate means of protection from the religious furies of the Mussulmans. The lives of Christian women and children are in hourly peril from fanatical hordes. The Knights will be carefully chosen and kept within strict military control, and will be under command of a practical soldier with large experience of the Eastern countries. Templars and all other crusaders are invited to give aid and sympathy."
Apparently MacIver was not successful in enlisting many Knights, for a war correspondent at the capital of Servia, waiting for the war to begin, writes as follows:
"A Scotch soldier of fortune, Henry MacIver, a colonel by rank, has arrived at Belgrade with a small contingent of military adventurers. Five weeks ago I met him in Fleet Street, London, and had some talk about his 'expedition.' He had received a commission from the Prince of Servia to organize and command an independent cavalry brigade, and he then was busily enrolling his volunteers into a body styled 'The Knights of the Red Cross.' I am afraid some of his bold crusaders have earned more distinction for their attacks on Fleet Street bars than they are likely to earn on Servian battle-fields, but then I must not anticipate history."
Another paper tells that at the end of the first week of his service as a Servian officer, MacIver had enlisted ninety men, but that they were scattered about the town, many without shelter and rations:
"He assembled his men on the Rialto, and in spite of official expostulation, the men were marched up to the Minister's four abreast—and they marched fairly well, making a good show. The War Minister was taken by storm, and at once granted everything. It has raised the English colonel's popularity with his men to fever heat."
This from the Times, London:
"Our Belgrade correspondent telegraphs last night:
"'There is here at present a gentleman named MacIver. He came from England to offer himself and his sword to the Servians. The Servian Minister of War gave him a colonel's commission. This morning I saw him drilling about one hundred and fifty remarkably fine-looking fellows, all clad in a good serviceable cavalry uniform, and he has horses."'
Later we find that:
"Colonel MacIver's Legion of Cavalry, organizing here, now numbers over two hundred men."
"Prince Nica, a Roumanian cousin of the Princess Natalie of Servia, has joined Colonel MacIver's cavalry corps."
Later, in the Court Journal, October 28, 1876, we read:
"Colonel MacIver, who a few years ago was very well known in military circles in Dublin, now is making his mark with the Servian army. In the war against the Turks, he commands about one thousand Russo-Servian cavalry."
He was next to receive the following honors:
"Colonel MacIver has been appointed commander of the cavalry of the Servian armies on the Morava and Timok, and has received the Cross of the Takovo Order from General Tchemaieff for gallant conduct in the field, and the gold medal for valor."
Later we learn from the Daily News:
"Mr. Lewis Farley, Secretary of the 'League in Aid of Christians of Turkey,' has received the following letter, dated Belgrade, October 10, 1876:
"'DEAR SIR: In reference to the embroidered banner so kindly worked by an English lady and forwarded by the League to Colonel MacIver, I have great pleasure in conveying to you the following particulars. On Sunday morning, the flag having been previously consecrated by the archbishop, was conducted by a guard of honor to the palace, and Colonel MacIver, in the presence of Prince Milan and a numerous suite, in the name and on behalf of yourself and the fair donor, delivered it into the hands of the Princess Natalie. The gallant Colonel wore upon this occasion his full uniform as brigade commander and chief of cavalry of the Servian army, and bore upon his breast the 'Gold Cross of Takovo' which he received after the battles of the 28th and 30th of September, in recognition of the heroism and bravery he displayed upon these eventful days. The beauty of the decoration was enhanced by the circumstances of its bestowal, for on the evening of the battle of the 30th, General Tchernaieff approached Colonel MacIver, and, unclasping the cross from his own breast, placed it upon that of the Colonel.
"'(Signed.) HUGH JACKSON,
"'Member of Council of the League."
In Servia and in the Servian army MacIver reached what as yet is the highest point of his career, and of his life the happiest period.
He was general de brigade, which is not what we know as a brigade general, but is one who commands a division, a major-general. He was a great favorite both at the palace and with the people, the pay was good, fighting plentiful, and Belgrade gay and amusing. Of all the places he has visited and the countries he has served, it is of this Balkan kingdom that the general seems to speak most fondly and with the greatest feeling. Of Queen Natalie he was and is a most loyal and chivalric admirer, and was ever ready, when he found any one who did not as greatly respect the lady, to offer him the choice of swords or pistols. Even for Milan he finds an extenuating word.
After Servia the general raised more foreign legions, planned further expeditions; in Central America reorganized the small armies of the small republics, served as United States Consul, and offered his sword to President McKinley for use against Spain. But with Servia the most active portion of the life of the general ceased, and the rest has been a repetition of what went before. At present his time is divided between New York and Virginia, where he has been offered an executive position in the approaching Jamestown Exposition. Both North and South he has many friends, many admirers. But his life is, and, from the nature of his profession, must always be, a lonely one.
While other men remain planted in one spot, gathering about them a home, sons and daughters, an income for old age, MacIver is a rolling stone, a piece of floating sea-weed; as the present King of England called him fondly, "that vagabond soldier."
To a man who has lived in the saddle and upon transports, "neighbor" conveys nothing, and even "comrade" too often means one who is no longer living.
With the exception of the United States, of which he now is a naturalized citizen, the general has fought for nearly every country in the world, but if any of those for which he lost his health and blood, and for which he risked his life, remembers him, it makes no sign. And the general is too proud to ask to be remembered. To-day there is no more interesting figure than this man who in years is still young enough to lead an army corps, and who, for forty years, has been selling his sword and risking his life for presidents, pretenders, charlatans, and emperors.
He finds some mighty changes: Cuba, which he fought to free, is free; men of the South, with whom for four years he fought shoulder to shoulder, are now wearing the blue; the empire of Mexico, for which he fought, is a republic; the empire of France, for which he fought, is a republic; the empire of Brazil, for which he fought is a republic; the dynasty in Servia, to which he owes his greatest honors, has been wiped out by murder. From none of the eighteen countries he has served has he a pension, berth, or billet, and at sixty he finds himself at home in every land, but with a home in none.
Still he has his sword, his blanket, and in the event of war, to obtain a commission he has only to open his tin boxes and show the commissions already won. Indeed, any day, in a new uniform, and under the Nineteenth Flag, the general may again be winning fresh victories and honors.
And so, this brief sketch of him is left unfinished. We will mark it—To be continued.
BARON JAMES HARDEN-HICKEY
THIS is an attempt to tell the story of Baron Harden-Hickey, the Man Who Made Himself King, the man who was born after his time.
If the reader, knowing something of the strange career of Harden-Hickey, wonders why one writes of him appreciatively rather than in amusement, he is asked not to judge Harden-Hickey as one judges a contemporary.
Harden-Hickey, in our day, was as incongruous a figure as was the American at the Court of King Arthur; he was as unhappily out of the picture as would be Cyrano de Bergerac on the floor of the Board of Trade. Judged, as at the time he was judged, by writers of comic paragraphs, by presidents of railroads, by amateur "statesmen" at Washington, Harden-Hickey was a joke. To the vacant mind of the village idiot, Rip Van Winkle returning to Falling Water also was a joke. The people of our day had not the time to understand Harden-Hickey; they thought him a charlatan, half a dangerous adventurer and half a fool; and Harden-Hickey certainly did not under stand them. His last words, addressed to his wife, showed this. They were: "I would rather die a gentleman than live a blackguard like your father."
As a matter of fact, his father-in-law, although living under the disadvantage of being a Standard Oil magnate, neither was, nor is, a blackguard, and his son-in-law had been treated by him generously and with patience. But for the duellist and soldier of fortune it was impossible to sympathize with a man who took no greater risk in life than to ride on one of his own railroads, and of the views the two men held of each other, that of John H. Flagler was probably the fairer and the more kindly.
Harden-Hickey was one of the most picturesque, gallant, and pathetic adventurers of our day; but Flagler also deserves our sympathy.
For an unimaginative and hard-working Standard Oil king to have a D'Artagnan thrust upon him as a son-in-law must be trying.
James A. Harden-Hickey, James the First of Trinidad, Baron of the Holy Roman Empire, was born on December 8, 1854. As to the date all historians agree; as to where the important event took place they differ. That he was born in France his friends are positive, but at the time of his death in El Paso the San Francisco papers claimed him as a native of California. All agree that his ancestors were Catholics and Royalists who left Ireland with the Stuarts when they sought refuge in France. The version which seems to be the most probable is that he was born in San Francisco, where as one of the early settlers, his father, E. C. Hickey, was well known, and that early in his life, in order to educate him, the mother took him to Europe.
There he was educated at the Jesuit College at Namur, then at Leipsic, and later entered the Military College of St. Cyr.
James the First was one of those boys who never had the misfortune to grow up. To the moment of his death, in all he planned you can trace the effects of his early teachings and environment; the influences of the great Church that nursed him, and of the city of Paris, in which he lived. Under the Second Empire, Paris was at her maddest, baddest, and best. To-day under the republic, without a court, with a society kept in funds by the self-expatriated wives and daughters of our business men, she lacks the reasons for which Baron Haussmann bedecked her and made her beautiful. The good Loubet, the worthy Fallieres, except that they furnish the cartoonist with subjects for ridicule, do not add to the gayety of Paris. But when Harden-Hickey was a boy, Paris was never so carelessly gay, so brilliant, never so overcharged with life, color, and adventure.
In those days "the Emperor sat in his box that night," and in the box opposite sat Cora Pearl; veterans of the campaign of Italy, of Mexico, from the desert fights of Algiers, sipped sugar and water in front of Tortoni's, the Cafe Durand, the Cafe Riche; the sidewalks rang with their sabres, the boulevards were filled with the colors of the gorgeous uniforms; all night of each night the Place Vendome shone with the carriage lamps of the visiting pashas from Egypt, of nabobs from India, of rastaquoueres from the sister empire of Brazil; the state carriages, with the outriders and postilions in the green and gold of the Empress, swept through the Champs Elysees, and at the Bal Bulier, and at Mabile the students and "grisettes" introduced the cancan. The men of those days were Hugo, Thiers, Dumas, Daudet, Alfred de Musset; the magnificent blackguard, the Duc de Morny, and the great, simple Canrobert, the captain of barricades, who became a marshal of France.
Over all was the mushroom Emperor, his anterooms crowded with the titled charlatans of Europe, his court radiant with countesses created overnight. And it was the Emperor, with his love of theatrical display, of gorgeous ceremonies; with his restless reaching after military glory, the weary, cynical adventurer, that the boy at St. Cyr took as his model.
Royalist as was Harden-Hickey by birth and tradition, and Royalist as he always remained, it was the court at the Tuileries that filled his imagination. The Bourbons, whom he served, hoped some day for a court; at the Tuileries there was a court, glittering before his physical eyes. The Bourbons were pleasant old gentlemen, who later willingly supported him, and for whom always he was equally willing to fight, either with his sword or his pen. But to the last, in his mind, he carried pictures of the Second Empire as he, as a boy, had known it.
Can you not imagine the future James the First, barelegged, in a black-belted smock, halting with his nurse, or his priest, to gaze up in awestruck delight at the great, red-breeched Zouaves lounging on guard at the Tuileries?
"When I grow up," said little James to himself, not knowing that he never would grow up, "I shall have Zouaves for my palace guard."
And twenty years later, when he laid down the laws for his little kingdom, you find that the officers of his court must wear the mustache, "a la Louis Napoleon," and that the Zouave uniform will be worn by the Palace Guards.
In 1883, while he still was at the War College, his father died, and when he graduated, which he did with honors, he found himself his own master. His assets were a small income, a perfect knowledge of the French language, and the reputation of being one of the most expert swordsman in Paris. He chose not to enter the army, and instead became a journalist, novelist, duellist, an habitue of the Latin Quarter and the boulevards.
As a novelist the titles of his books suggest their quality. Among them are: "Un Amour Vendeen," "Lettres d'un Yankee," "Un Amour dans le Monde," "Memoires d'un Gommeux," "Merveilleuses Aventures de Nabuchodonosor, Nosebreaker."
Of the Catholic Church he wrote seriously, apparently with deep conviction, with high enthusiasm. In her service as a defender of the faith he issued essays, pamphlets, "broadsides." The opponents of the Church in Paris he attacked relentlessly.
As a reward for his championship he received the title of baron.
In 1878, while only twenty-four, he married the Countess de Saint-Pery, by whom he had two children, a boy and a girl, and three years later he started Triboulet. It was this paper that made him famous to "all Paris."
It was a Royalist sheet, subsidized by the Count de Chambord and published in the interest of the Bourbons. Until 1888 Harden-Hickey was its editor, and even by his enemies it must be said that he served his employers with zeal. During the seven years in which the paper amused Paris and annoyed the republican government, as its editor Harden-Hickey was involved in forty-two lawsuits, for different editorial indiscretions, fined three hundred thousand francs, and was a principal in countless duels.
To his brother editors his standing interrogation was: "Would you prefer to meet me upon the editorial page, or in the Bois de Boulogne?" Among those who met him in the Bois were Aurelien Scholl, H. Lavenbryon, M. Taine, M. de Cyon, Philippe Du Bois, Jean Moreas.
In 1888, either because, his patron the Count de Chambord having died, there was no more money to pay the fines, or because the patience of the government was exhausted, Triboulet ceased to exist, and Harden-Hickey, claiming the paper had been suppressed and he himself exiled, crossed to London.
From there he embarked upon a voyage around the world, which lasted two years, and in the course of which he discovered the island kingdom of which he was to be the first and last king. Previous to his departure, having been divorced from the Countess de Saint-Pery, he placed his boy and girl in the care of a fellow-journalist and very dear friend, the Count de la Boissiere, of whom later we shall hear more.
Harden-Hickey started around the world on the Astoria, a British merchant vessel bound for India by way of Cape Horn, Captain Jackson commanding.
When off the coast of Brazil the ship touched at the uninhabited island of Trinidad. Historians of James the First say that it was through stress of weather that the Astoria was driven to seek refuge there, but as, for six months of the year, to make a landing on the island is almost impossible, and as at any time, under stress of weather, Trinidad would be a place to avoid, it is more likely Jackson put in to replenish his water-casks, or to obtain a supply of turtle meat.
Or it may have been that, having told Harden-Hickey of the derelict island, the latter persuaded the captain to allow him to land and explore it. Of this, at least, we are certain, a boat was sent ashore, Harden-Hickey went ashore in it, and before he left the island, as a piece of no man's land, belonging to no country, he claimed it in his own name, and upon the beach raised a flag of his own design.
The island of Trinidad claimed by Harden-Hickey must not be confused with the larger Trinidad belonging to Great Britain and lying off Venezuela.
The English Trinidad is a smiling, peaceful spot of great tropical beauty; it is one of the fairest places in the West Indies. At every hour of the year the harbor of Port of Spain holds open its arms to vessels of every draught. A governor in a pith helmet, a cricket club, a bishop in gaiters, and a botanical garden go to make it a prosperous and contented colony. But the little derelict Trinidad, in latitude 20 degrees 30 minutes south, and longitude 29 degrees 22 minutes west, seven hundred miles from the coast of Brazil, is but a spot upon the ocean. On most maps it is not even a spot. Except by birds, turtles, and hideous land-crabs, it is uninhabited; and against the advances of man its shores are fortified with cruel ridges of coral, jagged limestone rocks, and a tremendous towering surf which, even in a dead calm, beats many feet high against the coast.
In 1698 Dr. Halley visited the island, and says he found nothing living but doves and land-crabs. "Saw many green turtles in sea, but by reason of the great surf, could catch none."
After Halley's visit, in 1700 the island was settled by a few Portuguese from Brazil. The ruins of their stone huts are still in evidence. But Amaro Delano, who called in 1803, makes no mention of the Portuguese; and when, in 1822, Commodore Owen visited Trinidad, he found nothing living there save cormorants, petrels, gannets, man-of-war birds, and "turtles weighing from five hundred to seven hundred pounds."
In 1889 E. F. Knight, who in the Japanese-Russian War represented the London Morning Post, visited Trinidad in his yacht in search of buried treasure.
Alexander Dalrymple, in his book entitled "Collection of Voages, chiefly in the Southern Atlantick Ocean, 1775," tells how, in 1700, he "took possession of the island in his Majesty's name as knowing it to be granted by the King's letter patent, leaving a Union Jack flying."
So it appears that before Harden-Hickey seized the island it already had been claimed by Great Britain, and later, on account of the Portuguese settlement, by Brazil. The answer Harden-Hickey made to these claims was that the English never settled in Trinidad, and that the Portuguese abandoned it, and, therefore, their claims lapsed. In his "prospectus" of his island, Harden-Hickey himself describes it thus:
"Trinidad is about five miles long and three miles wide. In spite of its rugged and uninviting appearance, the inland plateaus are rich with luxuriant vegetation.
"Prominent among this is a peculiar species of bean, which is not only edible, but extremely palatable. The surrounding seas swarm with fish, which as yet are wholly unsuspicious of the hook. Dolphins, rock-cod, pigfish, and blackfish may be caught as quickly as they can be hauled out. I look to the sea birds and the turtles to afford our principal source of revenue. Trinidad is the breeding-place of almost the entire feathery population of the South Atlantic Ocean. The exportation of guano alone should make my little country prosperous. Turtles visit the island to deposit eggs, and at certain seasons the beach is literally alive with them. The only drawback to my projected kingdom is the fact that it has no good harbor and can be approached only when the sea is calm."
As a matter of fact sometimes months pass before it is possible to effect a landing.
Another asset of the island held out by the prospectus was its great store of buried treasure. Before Harden-Hickey seized the island, this treasure had made it known. This is the legend. In 1821 a great store of gold and silver plate plundered from Peruvian churches had been concealed on the islands by pirates near Sugar Loaf Hill, on the shore of what is known as the Southwest Bay. Much of this plate came from the cathedral at Lima, having been carried from there during the war of independence when the Spanish residents fled the country. In their eagerness to escape they put to sea in any ship that offered, and these unarmed and unseaworthy vessels fell an easy prey to pirates. One of these pirates on his death-bed, in gratitude to his former captain, told him the secret of the treasure. In 1892 this captain was still living, in Newcastle, England, and although his story bears a family resemblance to every other story of buried treasure, there were added to the tale of the pirate some corroborative details. These, in twelve years, induced five different expeditions to visit the island. The two most important were that of E. F. Knight and one from the Tyne in the bark Aurea.
In his "Cruise of the Alerte," Knight gives a full description of the island, and of his attempt to find the treasure. In this, a landslide having covered the place where it was buried, he was unsuccessful.
But Knight's book is the only source of accurate information concerning Trinidad, and in writing his prospectus it is evident that Harden-Hickey was forced to borrow from it freely. Knight himself says that the most minute and accurate description of Trinidad is to be found in the "Frank Mildmay" of Captain Marryat. He found it so easy to identify each spot mentioned in the novel that he believes the author of "Midshipman Easy" himself touched there.
After seizing Trinidad, Harden-Hickey rounded the Cape and made north to Japan, China, and India. In India he became interested in Buddhism, and remained for over a year questioning the priests of that religion and studying its tenets and history.
On his return to Paris, in 1890, he met Miss Annie Harper Flagler, daughter of John H. Flagler. A year later, on St. Patrick's Day, 1891, at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Miss Flagler became the Baroness Harden-Hickey. The Rev. John Hall married them.
For the next two years Harden-Hickey lived in New York, but so quietly that, except that he lived quietly, it is difficult to find out anything concerning him. The man who, a few years before, had delighted Paris with his daily feuilletons, with his duels, with his forty-two lawsuits, who had been the master of revels in the Latin Quarter, in New York lived almost as a recluse, writing a book on Buddhism. While he was in New York I was a reporter on the Evening Sun, but I cannot recall ever having read his name in the newspapers of that day, and I heard of him only twice; once as giving an exhibition of his water-colors at the American Art Galleries, and again as the author of a book I found in a store in Twenty-second Street, just east of Broadway, then the home of the Truth Seeker Publishing Company.
It was a grewsome compilation and had just appeared in print. It was called "Euthanasia, or the Ethics of Suicide." This book was an apology or plea for self-destruction. In it the baron laid down those occasions when he considered suicide pardonable, and when obligatory. To support his arguments and to show that suicide was a noble act, he quoted Plato, Cicero, Shakespeare, and even misquoted the Bible. He gave a list of poisons, and the amount of each necessary to kill a human being. To show how one can depart from life with the least pain, he illustrated the text with most unpleasant pictures, drawn by himself.
The book showed how far Harden-Hickey had strayed from the teachings of the Jesuit College at Namur, and of the Church that had made him "noble."
All of these two years had not been spent only in New York. Harden-Hickey made excursions to California, to Mexico, and to Texas, and in each of these places bought cattle ranches and mines. The money to pay for these investments came from his father-in-law. But not directly. Whenever he wanted money he asked his wife, or De la Boissiere, who was a friend also of Flagler, to obtain it for him.
His attitude toward his father-in-law is difficult to explain. It is not apparent that Flagler ever did anything which could justly offend him; indeed, he always seems to have spoken of his son-in-law with tolerance, and often with awe, as one would speak of a clever, wayward child. But Harden-Hickey chose to regard Flagler as his enemy, as a sordid man of business who could not understand the feelings and aspirations of a genius and a gentleman.
Before Harden-Hickey married, the misunderstanding between his wife's father and himself began. Because he thought Harden-Hickey was marrying his daughter for her money, Flagler opposed the union. Consequently, Harden-Hickey married Miss Flagler without "settlements," and for the first few years supported her without aid from her father. But his wife had been accustomed to a manner of living beyond the means of the soldier of fortune, and soon his income, and then even his capital, was exhausted. From her mother the baroness inherited a fortune. This was in the hands of her father as executor. When his own money was gone, Harden-Hickey endeavored to have the money belonging to his wife placed to her credit, or to his. To this, it is said, Flagler, on the ground that Harden-Hickey was not a man of business, while he was, objected, and urged that he was, and that if it remained in his hands the money would be better invested and better expended. It was the refusal of Flagler to intrust Harden-Hickey with the care of his wife's money that caused the breach between them.
As I have said, you cannot judge Harden-Hickey as you would a contemporary. With the people among whom he was thrown, his ideas were entirely out of joint. He should have lived in the days of "The Three Musketeers." People who looked upon him as working for his own hand entirely misunderstood him. He was absolutely honest, and as absolutely without a sense of humor. To him, to pay taxes, to pay grocers' bills, to depend for protection upon a policeman, was intolerable. He lived in a world of his own imagining. And one day, in order to make his imaginings real, and to escape from his father-in-law's unromantic world of Standard Oil and Florida hotels, in a proclamation to the powers he announced himself as King James the First of the Principality of Trinidad.
The proclamation failed to create a world crisis. Several of the powers recognized his principality and his title; but, as a rule, people laughed, wondered, and forgot. That the daughter of John Flagler was to rule the new principality gave it a "news interest," and for a few Sundays in the supplements she was hailed as the "American Queen."
When upon the subject of the new kingdom Flagler himself was interviewed, he showed an open mind.
"My son-in-law is a very determined man," he said; "he will carry out any scheme in which he is interested. Had he consulted me about this, I would have been glad to have aided him with money or advice. My son-in-law is an extremely well-read, refined, well-bred man. He does not court publicity. While he was staying in my house he spent nearly all the time in the library translating an Indian book on Buddhism. My daughter has no ambition to be a queen or anything else than what she is—an American girl. But my son-in-law means to carry on this Trinidad scheme, and—he will."
From his father-in-law, at least, Harden-Hickey could not complain that he had met with lack of sympathy.
The rest of America was amused; and after less than nine days, indifferent. But Harden-Hickey, though unobtrusively, none the less earnestly continued to play the part of king. His friend De la Boissiere he appointed his Minister of Foreign Affairs, and established in a Chancellery at 217 West Thirty-sixth Street, New York, and from there was issued a sort of circular, or prospectus, written by the king, and signed by "Le Grand Chancelier, Secretaire d'Etat pour les Affaires Etrangeres, M. le Comte de la Boissiere."
The document, written in French, announced that the new state would be governed by a military dictatorship, that the royal standard was a yellow triangle on a red ground, and that the arms of the principality were "d'Or chape de Gueules." It pointed out naively that those who first settled on the island would be naturally the oldest inhabitants, and hence would form the aristocracy. But only those who at home enjoyed social position and some private fortune would be admitted into this select circle.
For itself the state reserved a monopoly of the guano, of the turtles, and of the buried treasure. And both to discover the treasure and to encourage settlers to dig and so cultivate the soil, a percentage of the treasure was promised to the one who found it.
Any one purchasing ten $200 bonds was entitled to a free passage to the island, and after a year, should he so desire it, a return trip. The hard work was to be performed by Chinese coolies, the aristocracy existing beautifully, and, according to the prospectus, to enjoy "vie d'un genre tout nouveau, et la recherche de sensations nouvelles."
To reward his subjects for prominence in literature, the arts, and the sciences, his Majesty established an order of chivalry. The official document creating this order reads:
"We, James, Prince of Trinidad, have resolved to commemorate our accession to the throne of Trinidad by the institution of an Order of Chivalry, destined to reward literature, industry, science, and the human virtues, and by these presents have established and do institute, with cross and crown, the Order of the Insignia of the Cross of Trinidad, of which we and our heirs and successors shall be the sovereigns.
"Given in our Chancellery the Eighth of the month of December, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-three, and of our reign, the First Year.
There were four grades: Chevalier, Commander, Grand Officer, and Grand Cross; and the name of each member of the order was inscribed in "The Book of Gold." A pension of one thousand francs was given to a Chevalier, of two thousand francs to a Commander, and of three thousand francs to a Grand Officer. Those of the grade of Grand Cross were content with a plaque of eight diamond-studded rays, with, in the centre, set in red enamel, the arms of Trinidad. The ribbon was red and yellow.
A rule of the order read: "The costume shall be identical with that of the Chamberlains of the Court of Trinidad, save the buttons, which shall bear the impress of the Crown of the Order."
For himself, King James commissioned a firm of jewelers to construct a royal crown. In design it was similar to the one which surmounted the cross of Trinidad. It is shown in the photograph of the insignia. Also, the king issued a set of postage-stamps on which was a picture of the island. They were of various colors and denominations, and among stamp-collectors enjoyed a certain sale.
To-day, as I found when I tried to procure one to use in this book, they are worth many times their face value.
For some time the affairs of the new kingdom progressed favorably. In San Francisco, King James, in person, engaged four hundred coolies and fitted out a schooner which he sent to Trinidad, where it made regular trips between his principality and Brazil; an agent was established on the island, and the construction of docks, wharves, and houses was begun, while at the chancellery in West Thirty-sixth Street, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was ready to furnish would-be settlers with information.
And then, out of a smiling sky, a sudden and unexpected blow was struck at the independence of the little kingdom. It was a blow from which it never recovered.
In July of 1895, while constructing a cable to Brazil, Great Britain found the Island of Trinidad lying in the direct line she wished to follow, and, as a cable station, seized it. Objection to this was made by Brazil, and at Bahia a mob with stones pelted the sign of the English Consul-General.
By right of Halley's discovery, England claimed the island; as a derelict from the main land, Brazil also claimed it. Between the rivals, the world saw a chance for war, and the fact that the island really belonged to our King James for a moment was forgotten.
But the Minister of Foreign Affairs was at his post. With promptitude and vigor he acted. He addressed a circular note to all the powers of Europe, and to our State Department a protest. It read as follows:
"GRANDE CHANCELLERIE DE LA PRINCIPAUTE DE TRINIDAD, 27 WEST THIRTY-SIXTH STREET, NEW YORK CITY, U. S. A.,
"NEW YORK, July 30, 1895.
"To His Excellency Mr. the Secretary of State of the Republic of the United States of North America, Washington, D. C.:
"EXCELLENCY.—I have the honor to recall to your memory:
"1. That in the course of the month of September, 1893, Baron Harden-Hickey officially notified all the Powers of his taking possession of the uninhabited island of Trinidad; and
"2. That in course of January, 1894, he renewed to all these Powers the official notification of the said taking of possession, and informed them at the same time that from that date the land would be known as 'Principality of Trinidad'; that he took the title of 'Prince of Trinidad,' and would reign under the name of James I.
"In consequence of these official notifications several Powers have recognized the new Principality and its Prince, and at all events none thought it necessary at that epoch to raise objections or formulate opposition.
"The press of the entire world has, on the other hand, often acquainted readers with these facts, thus giving to them all possible publicity. In consequence of the accomplishment of these various formalities, and as the law of nations prescribes that 'derelict' territories belong to whoever will take possession of them, and as the island of Trinidad, which has been abandoned for years, certainly belongs to the aforesaid category, his Serene Highness Prince James I was authorized to regard his rights on the said island as perfectly valid and indisputable.
"Nevertheless, your Excellency knows that recently, in spite of all the legitimate rights of my august sovereign, an English war-ship has disembarked at Trinidad a detachment of armed troops and taken possession of the island in the name of England.
"Following this assumption of territory, the Brazilian Government, invoking a right of ancient Portuguese occupation (long ago outlawed), has notified the English Government to surrender the island to Brazil.
"I beg of your Excellency to ask of the Government of the United States of North America to recognize the Principality of Trinidad as an independent State, and to come to an understanding with the other American Powers in order to guarantee its neutrality.
"Thus the Government of the United States of North America will once more accord its powerful assistance to the cause of right and of justice, misunderstood by England and Brazil, put an end to a situation which threatens to disturb the peace, re-establish concord between two great States ready to appeal to arms, and affirm itself, moreover, as the faithful interpreter of the Monroe Doctrine.
"In the expectation of your reply please accept, Excellency, the expression of my elevated consideration.
"The Grand Chancellor, Secretary for Foreign Affairs,
"COMTE DE LA BOISSIERE."
At that time Richard Olney was Secretary of State, and in his treatment of the protest, and of the gentleman who wrote it, he fully upheld the reputation he made while in office of lack of good manners. Saying he was unable to read the handwriting in which the protest was written, he disposed of it in a way that would suggest itself naturally to a statesman and a gentleman. As a "crank" letter he turned it over to the Washington correspondents. You can imagine what they did with it.
The day following the reporters in New York swept down upon the chancellery and upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was the "silly season" in August, there was no real news in town, and the troubles of De la Boissiere were allowed much space.
They laughed at him and at his king, at his chancellery, at his broken English, at his "grave and courtly manners," even at his clothes. But in spite of the ridicule, between the lines you could read that to the man himself it all was terribly real.
I had first heard of the island of Trinidad from two men I knew who spent three months on it searching for the treasure, and when Harden-Hickey proclaimed himself lord of the island, through the papers I had carefully followed his fortunes. So, partly out of curiosity and partly out of sympathy, I called at the chancellery.
I found it in a brownstone house, in a dirty neighborhood just west of Seventh Avenue, and of where now stands the York Hotel. Three weeks ago I revisited it and found it unchanged. At the time of my first visit, on the jamb of the front door was pasted a piece of paper on which was written in the handwriting of De la Boissiere: "Chancellerie de la Principaute de Trinidad."
The chancellery was not exactly in its proper setting. On its door-step children of the tenements were playing dolls with clothes-pins; in the street a huckster in raucous tones was offering wilted cabbages to women in wrappers leaning from the fire escapes; the smells and the heat of New York in midsummer rose from the asphalt. It was a far cry to the wave-swept island off the coast of Brazil.
De la Boissiere received me with distrust. The morning papers had made him man-shy; but, after a few "Your Excellencies" and a respectful inquiry regarding "His Royal Highness," his confidence revived. In the situation he saw nothing humorous, not even in an announcement on the wall which read: "Sailings to Trinidad." Of these there were two; on March 1, and on October 1. On the table were many copies of the royal proclamation, the postage-stamps of the new government, the thousand-franc bonds, and, in pasteboard boxes, the gold and red enamelled crosses of the Order of Trinidad.
He talked to me frankly and fondly of Prince James. Indeed, I never met any man who knew Harden-Hickey well who did not speak of him with aggressive loyalty. If at his eccentricities they smiled, it was with the smile of affection. It was easy to see De la Boissiere regarded him not only with the affection of a friend, but with the devotion of a true subject. In his manner he himself was courteous, gentle, and so distinguished that I felt as though I were enjoying, on intimate terms, an audience with one of the prime-ministers of Europe.
And he, on his part, after the ridicule of the morning papers, to have any one with outward seriousness accept his high office and his king, was, I believe, not ungrateful.
I told him I wished to visit Trinidad, and in that I was quite serious. The story of an island filled with buried treasure, and governed by a king, whose native subjects were turtles and seagulls, promised to make interesting writing.
The count was greatly pleased. I believe in me he saw his first bona-fide settler, and when I rose to go he even lifted one of the crosses of Trinidad and, before my envious eyes, regarded it uncertainly.
Perhaps, had he known that of all decorations it was the one I most desired; had I only then and there booked my passage, or sworn allegiance to King James, who knows but that to-day I might be a chevalier, with my name in the "Book of Gold"? But instead of bending the knee, I reached for my hat; the count replaced the cross in its pasteboard box, and for me the psychological moment had passed.
Others, more deserving of the honor, were more fortunate. Among my fellow-reporters who, like myself, came to scoff, and remained to pray, was Henri Pene du Bois, for some time, until his recent death, the brilliant critic of art and music of the American. Then he was on the Times, and Henry N. Cary, now of the Morning Telegraph, was his managing editor.
When Du Bois reported to Cary on his assignment, he said: "There is nothing funny in that story. It's pathetic. Both those men are in earnest. They are convinced they are being robbed of their rights. Their only fault is that they have imagination, and that the rest of us lack it. That's the way it struck me, and that's the way the story ought to be written."
"Write it that way," said Cary.
So, of all the New York papers, the Times, for a brief period, became the official organ of the Government of James the First, and in time Cary and Du Bois were created Chevaliers of the Order of Trinidad, and entitled to wear uniforms "Similar to those of the Chamberlains of the Court, save that the buttons bear the impress of the Royal Crown."
The attack made by Great Britain and Brazil upon the independence of the principality, while it left Harden-Hickey in the position of a king in exile, brought him at once another crown, which, by those who offered it to him, was described as of incomparably greater value than that of Trinidad.
In the first instance the man had sought the throne; in this case the throne sought the man.
In 1893 in San Francisco, Ralston J. Markowe, a lawyer and a one-time officer of artillery in the United States army, gained renown as one of the Morrow filibustering expedition which attempted to overthrow the Dole government in the Hawaiian Isles and restore to the throne Queen Liliuokalani. In San Francisco Markowe was nicknamed the "Prince of Honolulu," as it was understood, should Liliuokalani regain her crown, he would be rewarded with some high office. But in the star of Liliuokalani, Markowe apparently lost faith, and thought he saw in Harden-Hickey timber more suitable for king-making. Accordingly, twenty-four days after the "protest" was sent to our State Department, Markowe switched his allegiance to Harden-Hickey, and to him addressed the following letter:
"SAN FRANCISCO, August 26, 1895.
BARON HARDEN-HICKEY, LOS ANGELES, CAL.:
"Monseigneur—Your favor of August 16 has been received.
"1. I am the duly authorized agent of the Royalist party in so far as it is possible for any one to occupy that position under existing circumstances. With the Queen in prison and absolutely cut off from all communication with her friends, it is out of the question for me to carry anything like formal credentials.
"2. Alienating any part of the territory cannot give rise to any constitutional questions, for the reason that the constitutions, like the land tenures, are in a state of such utter confusion that only a strong hand can unravel them, and the restoration will result in the establishment of a strong military government. If I go down with the expedition I have organized I shall be in full control of the situation and in a position to carry out all my contracts.
"3. It is the island of Kauai on which I propose to establish you as an independent sovereign.
"4. My plan is to successively occupy all the islands, leaving the capital to the last. When the others have fallen, the capital, being cut off from all its resources, will be easily taken, and may very likely fall without effort. I don't expect in any case to have to fortify myself or to take the defensive, or to have to issue a call to arms, as I shall have an overwhelming force to join me at once, in addition to those who go with me, who by themselves will be sufficient to carry everything before them without active cooperation from the people there.
"5. The Government forces consist of about 160 men and boys, with very imperfect military training, and of whom about forty are officers. They are organized as infantry. There are also about 600 citizens enrolled as a reserve guard, who may be called upon in case of an emergency, and about 150 police. We can fully rely upon the assistance of all the police and from one-quarter to one-half of the other troops. And of the remainder many will under no circumstances engage in a sharp fight in defense of the present government. There are now on the island plenty of men and arms to accomplish our purpose, and if my expedition does not get off very soon the people there will be organized to do the work without other assistance from here than the direction of a few leaders, of which they stand more in need than anything else.
"6. The tonnage of the vessel is 146. She at present has berth-room for twenty men, but bunks can be arranged in the hold for 256 more, with provision for ample ventilation. She has one complete set of sails and two extra spars. The remaining information in regard to her I will have to obtain and send you to-morrow. I think it must be clear to you that the opportunity now offered you will be of incomparably greater value at once than Trinidad would ever be. Still hoping that I may have an interview with you at an early date, respectfully yours,
"RALSTON J. MARKOWE."
What Harden-Hickey thought of this is not known, but as two weeks before he received it he had written Markowe, asking him by what authority he represented the Royalists of Honolulu, it seems evident that when the crown of Hawaii was first proffered him he did not at once spurn it.
He now was in the peculiar position of being a deposed king of an island in the South Atlantic, which had been taken from him, and king-elect of an island in the Pacific, which was his if he could take it.
This was in August of 1895. For the two years following, Harden-Hickey was a soldier of misfortunes. Having lost his island kingdom, he could no longer occupy himself with plans for its improvement. It had been his toy. They had taken it from him, and the loss and the ridicule which followed hurt him bitterly.
And for the lands he really owned in Mexico and California, and which, if he were to live in comfort, it was necessary he should sell, he could find no purchaser; and, moreover, having quarrelled with his father-in-law, he had cut off his former supply of money. The need of it pinched him cruelly.
The advertised cause of this quarrel was sufficiently characteristic to be the real one. Moved by the attack of Great Britain upon his principality, Harden-Hickey decided upon reprisals. It must be remembered that always he was more Irish than French. On paper he organized an invasion of England from Ireland, the home of his ancestors. It was because Flagler refused to give him money for this adventure that he broke with him. His friends say this was the real reason of the quarrel, which was a quarrel on the side of Harden-Hickey alone.
And there were other, more intimate troubles. While not separated from his wife, he now was seldom in her company. When the Baroness was in Paris, Harden-Hickey was in San Francisco; when she returned to San Francisco, he was in Mexico. The fault seems to have been his. He was greatly admired by pretty women. His daughter by his first wife, now a very beautiful girl of sixteen, spent much time with her stepmother; and when not on his father's ranch in Mexico, his son also, for months together, was at her side. The husband approved of this, but he himself saw his wife infrequently. Nevertheless, early in the spring of 1898, the Baroness leased a house in Brockton Square, in Riverside, Cal., where it was understood by herself and by her friends her husband would join her. At that time in Mexico he was trying to dispose of a large tract of land. Had he been able to sell it, the money for a time would have kept one even of his extravagances contentedly rich. At least, he would have been independent of his wife and of her father. Up to February of 1898 his obtaining this money seemed probable.
Early in that month the last prospective purchaser decided not to buy.
There is no doubt that had Harden-Hickey then turned to his father-in-law, that gentleman, as he had done before, would have opened an account for him.
But the Prince of Trinidad felt he could no longer beg, even for the money belonging to his wife, from the man he had insulted. He could no longer ask his wife to intercede for him. He was without money of his own, with out the means of obtaining it; from his wife he had ceased to expect even sympathy, and from the world he knew, the fact that he was a self-made king caused him always to be pointed out with ridicule as a charlatan, as a jest.
The soldier of varying fortunes, the duellist and dreamer, the devout Catholic and devout Buddhist, saw the forty-third year of his life only as the meeting-place of many fiascos.
His mind was tormented with imaginary wrongs, imaginary slights, imaginary failures.
This young man, who could paint pictures, write books, organize colonies oversea, and with a sword pick the buttons from a waistcoat, forgot the twenty good years still before him; forgot that men loved him for the mistakes he had made; that in parts of the great city of Paris his name was still spoken fondly, still was famous and familiar.
In his book on the "Ethics of Suicide," for certain hard places in life he had laid down an inevitable rule of conduct.
As he saw it he had come to one of those hard places, and he would not ask of others what he himself would not perform.
From Mexico he set out for California, but not to the house his wife had prepared for him.
Instead, on February 9, 1898, at El Paso, he left the train and registered at a hotel.
At 7.30 in the evening he went to his room, and when, on the following morning, they kicked in the door, they found him stretched rigidly upon the bed, like one lying in state, with, near his hand, a half-emptied bottle of poison.
On a chair was pinned this letter to his wife:
"My DEAREST,—No news from you, although you have had plenty of time to write. Harvey has written me that he has no one in view at present to buy my land. Well, I shall have tasted the cup of bitterness to the very dregs, but I do not complain. Good-by. I forgive you your conduct toward me and trust you will be able to forgive yourself. I prefer to be a dead gentleman to a living blackguard like your father."
And when they searched his open trunk for something that might identify the body on the bed, they found the crown of Trinidad.
You can imagine it: the mean hotel bedroom, the military figure with its white face and mustache, "a la Louis Napoleon," at rest upon the pillow, the startled drummers and chambermaids peering in from the hall, and the landlord, or coroner, or doctor, with a bewildered countenance, lifting to view the royal crown of gilt and velvet.
The other actors in this, as Harold Frederic called it, "Opera Bouffe Monarchy," are still living.
The Baroness Harden-Hickey makes her home in this country.
The Count de la Boissiere, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, is still a leader of the French colony in New York, and a prosperous commission merchant with a suite of offices on Fifty-fourth Street. By the will of Harden-Hickey he is executor of his estate, guardian of his children, and what, for the purpose of this article, is of more importance, in his hands lies the future of the kingdom of Trinidad. When Harden-Hickey killed himself the title to the island was in dispute. Should young Harden-Hickey wish to claim it, it still would be in dispute. Meanwhile, by the will of the First James, De la Boissiere is appointed perpetual regent, a sort of "receiver," and executor of the principality.
To him has been left a royal decree signed and sealed, but blank. In the will the power to fill in this blank with a statement showing the final disposition of the island has been bestowed upon De la Boissiere.
So, some day, he may proclaim the accession of a new king, and give a new lease of life to the kingdom of which Harden-Hickey dreamed.
But unless his son, or wife, or daughter should assert his or her rights, which is not likely to happen, so ends the dynasty of James the First of Trinidad, Baron of the Holy Roman Empire.
To the wise ones in America he was a fool, and they laughed at him; to the wiser ones, he was a clever rascal who had evolved a new real-estate scheme and was out to rob the people—and they respected him. To my mind, of them all, Harden-Hickey was the wisest.
Granted one could be serious, what could be more delightful than to be your own king on your own island?
The comic paragraphers, the business men of "hard, common sense," the captains of industry who laughed at him and his national resources of buried treasure, turtles' eggs, and guano, with his body-guard of Zouaves and his Grand Cross of Trinidad, certainly possessed many things that Harden-Hickey lacked. But they in turn lacked the things that made him happy; the power to "make believe," the love of romance, the touch of adventure that plucked him by the sleeve.
When, as boys, we used to say: "Let's pretend we're pirates," as a man, Harden-Hickey begged: "Let's pretend I'm a king."
But the trouble was, the other boys had grown up and would not pretend.
For some reason his end always reminds me of the closing line of Pinero's play, when the adventuress, Mrs. Tanqueray, kills herself, and her virtuous stepchild says: "If we had only been kinder!"
WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL
IN the strict sense of the phrase, a soldier of fortune is a man who for pay, or for the love of adventure, fights under the flag of any country.
In the bigger sense he is the kind of man who in any walk of life makes his own fortune, who, when he sees it coming, leaps to meet it, and turns it to his advantage.
Than Winston Spencer Churchill to-day there are few young men—and he is a very young man—who have met more varying fortunes, and none who has more frequently bent them to his own advancement. To him it has been indifferent whether, at the moment, the fortune seemed good or evil, in the end always it was good.
As a boy officer, when other subalterns were playing polo, and at the Gaiety Theatre attending night school, he ran away to Cuba and fought with the Spaniards. For such a breach of military discipline, any other officer would have been court-martialled. Even his friends feared that by his foolishness his career in the army was at an end. Instead, his escapade was made a question in the House of Commons, and the fact brought him such publicity that the Daily Graphic paid him handsomely to write on the Cuban Revolution, and the Spanish Government rewarded him with the Order of Military Merit.
At the very outbreak of the Boer war he was taken prisoner. It seemed a climax of misfortune. With his brother officers he had hoped in that campaign to acquit himself with credit, and that he should lie inactive in Pretoria appeared a terrible calamity. To the others who, through many heart-breaking months, suffered imprisonment, it continued to be a calamity. But within six weeks of his capture Churchill escaped, and, after many adventures, rejoined his own army to find that the calamity had made him a hero.
When after the battle of Omdurman, in his book on "The River War," he attacked Lord Kitchener, those who did not like him, and they were many, said: "That's the end of Winston in the army. He'll never get another chance to criticise K. of K."
But only two years later the chance came, when, no longer a subaltern, but as a member of the House of Commons, he patronized Kitchener by defending him from the attacks of others.
Later, when his assaults upon the leaders of his own party closed to him, even in his own constituency, the Conservative debating clubs, again his ill-wishers said: "This is the end. He has ridiculed those who sit in high places. He has offended his cousin and patron, the Duke of Marlborough. Without political friends, without the influence and money of the Marlborough family he is a political nonentity." That was eighteen months ago. To-day, at the age of thirty-two, he is one of the leaders of the Government party, Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and with the Liberals the most popular young man in public life.
Only last Christmas, at a banquet, Sir Edward Grey, the new Foreign Secretary, said of him: "Mr. Winston Churchill has achieved distinction in at least five different careers—as a soldier, a war correspondent, a lecturer, an author, and last, but not least, as a politician. I have understated it even now, for he has achieved two careers as a politician—one on each side of the House. His first career on the Government side was a really distinguished career. I trust the second will be even more distinguished—and more prolonged. The remarkable thing is that he has done all this when, unless appearances very much belie him, he has not reached the age of sixty-four, which is the minimum age at which the politician ceases to be young."
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born thirty-two years ago, in November, 1874. By birth he is half-American. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill, and his mother was Jennie Jerome, of New York. On the father's side he is the grandchild of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, on the distaff side, of Leonard Jerome.
To a student of heredity it would be interesting to try and discover from which of these ancestors Churchill drew those qualities which in him are most prominent, and which have led to his success.
What he owes to his father and mother it is difficult to overestimate, almost as difficult as to overestimate what he has accomplished by his own efforts.
He was not a child born a full-grown genius of commonplace parents. Rather his fate threatened that he should always be known as the son of his father. And certainly it was asking much of a boy that he should live up to a father who was one of the most conspicuous, clever, and erratic statesmen of the later Victorian era, and a mother who is as brilliant as she is beautiful.
For at no time was the American wife content to be merely ornamental. Throughout the political career of her husband she was his helpmate, and as an officer of the Primrose League, as an editor of the Anglo-Saxon Review, as, for many hot, weary months in Durban Harbor, the head of the hospital ship Maine, she has shown an acute mind and real executive power. At the polls many votes that would not respond to the arguments of the husband, and later of the son, were gained over to the cause by the charm and wit of the American woman.
In his earlier days, if one can have days any earlier than those he now enjoys, Churchill was entirely influenced by two things: the tremendous admiration he felt for his father, which filled him with ambition to follow in his orbit, and the camaraderie of his mother, who treated him less like a mother than a sister and companion.
Indeed, Churchill was always so precocious that I cannot recall the time when he was young enough to be Lady Randolph's son; certainly, I cannot recall the time when she was old enough to be his mother.
When first I knew him he had passed through Harrow and Sandhurst and was a second lieutenant in the Queen's Own Hussars. He was just of age, but appeared much younger.
He was below medium height, a slight, delicate-looking boy; although, as a matter of fact, extremely strong, with blue eyes, many freckles, and hair which threatened to be a decided red, but which now has lost its fierceness. When he spoke it was with a lisp, which also has changed, and which now appears to be merely an intentional hesitation.
His manner of speaking was nervous, eager, explosive. He used many gestures, some of which were strongly reminiscent of his father, of whom he, unlike most English lads, who shy at mentioning a distinguished parent, constantly spoke.
He even copied his father in his little tricks of manner. Standing with hands shoved under the frock-coat and one resting on each hip as though squeezing in the waist line; when seated, resting the elbows on the arms of the chair and nervously locking and unclasping fingers, are tricks common to both.
He then had and still has a most embarrassing habit of asking many questions; embarrassing, sometimes, because the questions are so frank, and sometimes because they lay bare the wide expanse of one's own ignorance.
At that time, although in his twenty-first year, this lad twice had been made a question in the House of Commons.
That in itself had rendered him conspicuous. When you consider out of Great Britain's four hundred million subjects how many live, die, and are buried without at any age having drawn down upon themselves the anger of the House of Commons, to have done so twice, before one has passed his twenty-first year, seems to promise a lurid future.
The first time Churchill disturbed the august assemblage in which so soon he was to become a leader was when he "ragged" a brother subaltern named Bruce and cut up his saddle and accoutrements. The second time was when he ran away to Cuba to fight with the Spaniards.
After this campaign, on the first night of his arrival in London, he made his maiden speech. He delivered it in a place of less dignity than the House of Commons, but one, throughout Great Britain and her colonies, as widely known and as well supported. This was the Empire Music Hall.
At the time Mrs. Ormiston Chant had raised objections to the presence in the Music Hall of certain young women, and had threatened, unless they ceased to frequent its promenade, to have the license of the Music Hall revoked. As a compromise, the management ceased selling liquor, and on the night Churchill visited the place the bar in the promenade was barricaded with scantling and linen sheets. With the thirst of tropical Cuba still upon him, Churchill asked for a drink, which was denied him, and the crusade, which in his absence had been progressing fiercely, was explained. Any one else would have taken no for his answer, and have sought elsewhere for his drink. Not so Churchill. What he did is interesting, because it was so extremely characteristic. Now he would not do it; then he was twenty-one.
He scrambled to the velvet-covered top of the railing which divides the auditorium from the promenade, and made a speech. It was a plea in behalf of his "Sisters, the Ladies of the Empire Promenade."
"Where," he asked of the ladies themselves and of their escorts crowded below him in the promenade, "does the Englishman in London always find a welcome? Where does he first go when, battle-scarred and travel-worn, he reaches home? Who is always there to greet him with a smile, and join him in a drink? Who is ever faithful, ever true—the Ladies of the Empire Promenade."
The laughter and cheers that greeted this, and the tears of the ladies themselves, naturally brought the performance on the stage to a stop, and the vast audience turned in the seats and boxes.
They saw a little red-haired boy in evening clothes, balancing himself on the rail of the balcony, and around him a great crowd, cheering, shouting, and bidding him "Go on!"
Churchill turned with delight to the larger audience, and repeated his appeal. The house shook with laughter and applause.
The commissionaires and police tried to reach him and a good-tempered but very determined mob of well-dressed gentlemen and cheering girls fought them back. In triumph Churchill ended his speech by begging his hearers to give "fair play" to the women, and to follow him in a charge upon the barricades.
The charge was instantly made, the barricades were torn down, and the terrified management ordered that drink be served to its victorious patrons.
Shortly after striking this blow for the liberty of others, Churchill organized a dinner which illustrated the direction in which at that age his mind was working, and showed that his ambition was already abnormal. The dinner was given to those of his friends and acquaintances who "were under twenty-one years of age, and who in twenty years would control the destinies of the British Empire."