National Geographic : 1914 Nov
bert Gallatin and James A. Bayard to act in conjunction with John Quincy Adams in the negotiations; but the Sen ate refused to confirm the nomination of Gallatin on the ground that he still held the Secretaryship of the Treasury, and so the peace proposals fell to the ground and the war was fought out. When Alexander II freed the serfs of Russia the United States Congress passed a com plimentary resolution and sent it to St. Petersburg by a special envoy. The in cident pleased the Tsar greatly, and a little later he returned the compliment with interest. His minister to Washing ton, intimate friend of Slidell and Ben jamin, did all that he could to prevent secession, but after Fort Sumter was fired on Russia came out for the Union. In 1863 the English Government had become seriously stirred as a result of the war. What happened to our trade when the present war broke out was small in comparison with what our civil war did for Great Britain. Hun dreds of thousands of people in the textile mills were thrown out of work because American cotton was not to be had. Intervention was openly discussed. Gladstone had hailed Jefferson Davis as a man who had made a nation, and even Lord Palmerston was inclined to lend ear to suggestions of forcing a peace in some way. Finally the English government sounded France with reference to a sort of enforced mediation. About this time, however, a Russian fleet made an osten tatious visit to the port of New York and the social functions that accompanied the visit put England on notice as to where Russia stood, and England's interest in stopping the war suddenly ceased. FINAL IMPRESSIONS There are conditions in Russia which a visitor from the land of free schools, free speech, and a free press finds it difficult to understand; the deplorable rarity of good schools, making it a sore trial for a poor man to get his son edu cated; the arrival of his American news paper, with often half a page stamped out by the censor in ink so black that it is impossible to decipher a single letter; the timidity, nay fear, of some people of being overheard when talking frankly on political subjects; the enormous power concentrated in the hands of one indi vidual. But other writers have written with needless emphasis and length on these unpleasant themes, and it is not nec essary to discuss them here. The purpose of this article has been to set forth the immensity of the great land empire, in size four times larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest; to visual ize some of the common sights and cus toms among a kindly and noble race by the use of many unposed photographs; to show the tremendous vitality and fe cundity of the Russian people, more than half of whom lived in bondage in the lifetime of thousands of our readers; and to explain the youth of Russia as a na tion, showing how she threw off her for eign yoke in the same quarter century that Jamestown was founded and the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth, and how she is in some respects younger even than the United States, for our ancestors brought from England and Holland in stitutions wrought through centuries of hard testing, and a blood and brain trained for self - government through many, many generations. But with all the ignorance and poverty of the masses in Russia in the past, the leaven of national intelligence has begun to work. The government is following the example of our own country in try ing to take the gospel of good farming to the peasantry, showing the peasant how to make wholesome butter and more per cow; showing him how to grow more bushels of wheat and rye and oats to the acre; bringing him better blood for his horses and his cattle and his sheep. The progress of the times has also brought the moving picture and the telephone and the railroad into a thousand remote communities, and has set to work forces that inevitably will spell the doom of illiteracy and ignorance and make Russia in fact the land of unlimited possibilities. HENRY GANNETT, The Loved and Honored President of the National Geographic Society, Died at His Home in Washington, November 5, 1914. An appreciation of his life will appear in an early number of the National Geographic Magazine.