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  <TITLE>Burton J. Hendrick. The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page. 1922. Chapters 1-2.</TITLE>
<BODY BGCOLOR="#ffffff">
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2"><IMG SRC="images/sig.gif" WIDTH="288"
<br><br>THE earliest recollections of any man have great biographical
interest, and this is especially the case with Walter Page, for
not the least dramatic aspect of his life was that it spanned
the two greatest wars in history. Page spent his last weeks in
England, at Sandwich , on the coast of Kent; every day and every
night he could hear the pounding of the great guns in France,
as the Germans were making their last desperate attempt to reach
Paris or the Channel ports. His memories of his childhood days
in America were similarly the sights and sounds of war. Page was
a North Carolina boy; he has himself recorded the impression that
the Civil War left upon his mind.
  <br><br>&quot;One day,&quot; he writes, &quot;when the cotton fields
  were white and the elm leaves were falling, in the soft autumn
  of the Southern climate wherein the sky is fathomlessly clear,
  the locomotive's whistle blew a much longer time than usual as
  the train approached Millworth. It did not stop at so small a
  station except when there was somebody to get off or to get on,
  and so long a blast meant that someone was coming. Sam and I
  ran down the avenue of elms to see who it was. Sam was my Negro
  companion, philosopher, and friend. I was ten years old and Sam
  said that he was fourteen. There was constant talk about the
  war. Many men of the neighbourhood had gone away somewhere---that
  was certain; but Sam and I had a theory that the war was only
  a story. We had been fooled about old granny Thomas's bringing
  the baby and long ago we had been fooled also about Santa Claus.
  The war might be another such invention, and we sometimes suspected
  that it was. But we found out the truth that day, and for this
  reason it is among my clearest early recollections.
  <br><br>&quot;For, when the train stopped, they put off a big box
  and gently laid it in the shade of the fence. The only man at
  the station was the man who had come to change the mail-bags;
  and he said that this was Billy Morris's coffin and that he had
  been killed in a battle. He asked us to stay with it till he
  could send word to Mr. Morris, who lived two miles away. The
  man came back presently and leaned against the fence till old
  Mr. Morris arrived, an hour or more later. The lint of cotton
  was on his wagon, for he was hauling his crop to the gin when
  the sad news reached him; and he came in his shirt sleeves, his
  wife on the wagon seat with him.
  <br><br>&quot;All the neighbourhood gathered at the church, a funeral
  was preached and there was a long prayer for our success against
  the invaders, and Billy Morris was buried. I remember that I
  wept the more because it now seemed to me that my doubt about
  the war had somehow done Billy Morris an injustice. Old Mrs.
  Gregory wept more loudly than anybody else; and she kept saying,
  while the service was going on, 'It'll be my John next.' In a
  little while, sure enough, John Gregory's coffin was put off
  the train, as Billy Morris's had been, and I regarded her as
  a woman gifted with prophecy. Other coffins, too, were put off
  from time to time. About the war there could no longer be a doubt.
  And, a little later, its realities and horrors came nearer home
  to us, with swift, deep experiences.
  <br><br>&quot;One day my father took me to the camp and parade ground
  ten miles away, near the capital. The General and the Governor
  sat on horses and the soldiers marched by them and the band played.
  They were going to the front. There surely must be a war at the
  front, I told Sam that night. Still more coffins were brought
  home, too, as the months and the years passed; and the women
  of the neighbourhood used to come and spend whole days with my
  mother, sewing for the soldiers. So precious became woollen cloth
  that every rag was saved and the threads were unravelled to be
  spun and woven into new fabrics. And they baked bread and roasted
  chickens and sheep and pigs and made cakes, all to go to the
  soldiers at the front.&quot;(<A NAME="n1"></A><A HREF="Pagenotes.htm#1">1</A>)</BLOCKQUOTE>
<br><br>The quality that is uppermost in the Page stock, both in the
past and in the present generation, is that of the builder and
the pioneer. The ancestor of the North Carolina Pages was a Lewis
Page, who, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, left
the original American home in Virginia, and started life anew
in what was then regarded as the less civilized country to the
south. Several explanations have survived as to the cause of his
departure, one being that his interest in the rising tide of Methodism
had made him uncongenial to his Church of England relatives; in
the absence of definite knowledge, however, it may safely be assumed
that the impelling motive was that love of seeking out new things,
of constructing a new home in the wilderness, which has never
forsaken his descendants. His son, Anderson Page, manifesting
this same love of change, went farther south into Wake County,
and acquired a plantation of a thousand acres about twelve miles
north of Raleigh. He cultivated this estate with slaves, sending
his abundant crops of cotton and tobacco to Petersburg, Virginia,
a traffic that made him sufficiently prosperous to give several
of his sons a college education. The son who is chiefly interesting
at the present time, Allison Francis Page, the father of the future
Ambassador, did not enjoy this opportunity. This fact in itself
gives an insight into his character. While his brothers were grappling
with Latin and Greek and theology---one of them became a Methodist
preacher of the hortatory type for which the South is famous---we
catch glimpses of the older man battling with the logs in the
Cape Fear River, or penetrating the virgin pine forest, felling
trees and converting its raw material to the uses of a growing
civilization. Like many of the Page breed, this Page was a giant
in size and in strength, as sound morally and physically as the
mighty forests in which a considerable part of his life was spent,
brave, determined, aggressive, domineering almost to the point
of intolerance, deeply religious and abstemious---a mixture of
the frontiersman and the Old Testament prophet. Walter Page dedicated
one of his books(<A NAME="n2"></A><A HREF="Pagenotes.htm#2">2</A>)
to his father, in words that accurately sum up his character and
career. &quot;To the honoured memory of my father, whose work
was work that built up the commonwealth.&quot; Indeed, Frank Page
---for this is the name by which he was generally known---spent
his whole life in these constructive labours. He founded two towns
in North Carolina, Cary and Aberdeen; in the City of Raleigh he
constructed hotels and other buildings; his enterprising and restless
spirit opened up Moore County---which includes the Pine region;
he scattered his logging camps and his sawmills all over the face
of the earth; and he constructed a railroad through the pine woods
that made him a rich man.
<br><br>Though he was not especially versed in the learning of the
schools, Walter Page's father had a mind that was keen and far-reaching.
He was a pioneer in politics as he was in the practical concerns
of life. Though he was the son of slave-holding progenitors and
even owned slaves himself, he was not a believer in slavery. The
country that he primarily loved was not Moore County or North
Carolina, but the United States of America. In politics he was
a Whig, which meant that, in the years preceding the Civil War,
he was opposed to the extension of slavery and did not regard
the election of Abraham Lincoln as a sufficient provocation for
the secession of the Southern States. It is therefore not surprising
that Walter Page, in the midst of the London turmoil of 1916,
should have found his thoughts reverting to his father as he remembered
him in Civil War days. That gaunt figure of America's time of
agony proved an inspiration and hope in the anxieties that assailed
the Ambassador. &quot;When our Civil War began,&quot; wrote Page
to Col. Edward M. House---the date was November 24, 1916, one
of the darkest days for the Allied cause---&quot;every man who
had a large and firm grip on economic facts foresaw how it would
end---not when but how. Young as I was, I recall a conversation
between my father and the most distinguished judge of his day
in North Carolina. They put down on one side the number of men
in the Confederate States, the number of ships, the number of
manufactures, as nearly as they knew, the number of skilled workmen,
the number of guns, the aggregate of wealth and of possible production.
On the other side they put down the best estimate they could make
of all these things in the Northern States. The Northern States
made two (or I shouldn't wonder if it were three) times as good
a showing in men and resources as the Confederacy had. 'Judge,'
said my father, 'this is the most foolhardy enterprise that man
ever undertook.' But Yancey of Alabama was about that time making
five-hour speeches to thousands of people all over the South,
declaring that one Southerner could whip five Yankees, and the
awful slaughter began and darkened our childhood and put all our
best men where they would see the sun no more. Our people had
at last to accept worse terms than they could have got at the
beginning. This World War, even more than our Civil War, is an
economic struggle. Put down on either side the same items that
my father and the judge put down and add the items up. You will
see the inevitable result.&quot;
<br><br>If we are seeking an ancestral explanation for that moral ruggedness,
that quick perception of the difference between right and wrong,
that unobscured vision into men and events, and that deep devotion
to America and to democracy which formed the fibre of Walter Page's
being, we evidently need look no further than his father. But
the son had qualities which the older man did not possess---an
enthusiasm for literature and learning, a love of the beautiful
in Nature and in art, above all a gentleness of temperament and
of manner. These qualities he held in common with his mother.
On his father's side Page was undiluted English; on his mother's
he was French and English. Her father was John Samuel Raboteau,
the descendant of Huguenot refugees who had fled from France on
the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes; her mother was Esther Barclay,
a member of a family which gave the name of Barclaysville to a
small town half way between Raleigh and Fayetteville, North is
a member of this tribe to whom Page once referred a the &quot;vigorous
Barclay who held her receptions to notable men in her bedroom
during the years of her bedridden condition.&quot; She was the
proprietor of the &quot;Half Way House,&quot; a tavern located
between Fayetteville and Raleigh; and in her old age she kept
royal state, in the fashion which Page describes, for such as
were socially entitled to this consideration. The most vivid impression
which her present-day descendants retain is that of her fervent
devotion to the Southern cause. She carried the spirit of secession
to such an extreme that she had the gate to her yard painted to
give a complete presentment of the Confederate Flag. Walter Page's
mother, the granddaughter of this determined and rebellious lady,
had also her positive quality, but in a somewhat more subdued
form. She did not die until 1897, and so the recollection of her
is fresh and vivid. As a mature woman she was undemonstrative
and soft spoken; a Methodist of old-fashioned Wesleyan type, she
dressed with a Quaker-like simplicity, her brown hair brushed
flatly down upon a finely shaped head and her garments destitute
of ruffles or ornamentation. The home which she directed was a
home without playing cards or dancing or smoking or wine-bibbing
or other worldly frivolities, yet the memories of her presence
which Catherine Page has left are not at all austere. Duty was
with her the prime consideration of life, and fundamental morals
the first conceptions which she instilled in her children's growing
minds, yet she had a quiet sense of humour and a real love of
<br><br>She had also strong likes and dislikes, and was not especially
hospitable to men and women who fell under her disapproval. A
small North Carolina town, in the years preceding and following
the Civil War, was not a fruitful soil for cultivating an interest
in things intellectual, yet those who remember Walter Page's mother
remember her always with a book in her hand. She would read at
her knitting and at her miscellaneous household duties, which
were rather arduous in the straitened days that followed the war,
and the books she read were always substantial ones. Perhaps because
her son Walter was in delicate health, perhaps because his early
tastes and temperament were not unlike her own, perhaps because
he was her oldest surviving child, the fact remains that, of a
family of eight, he was generally regarded as the child with whom
she was especially sympathetic. The picture of mother and son
in those early days is an altogether charming one. Page's mother
was only twenty-four when he was horn; she retained her youth
for many years after that event, and during his early childhood,
in appearance and manner, she was little more than a girl. When
Walter was a small boy, he and his mother used to take long walks
in the woods, sometimes spending the entire day, fishing along
the brooks, hunting wild flowers, now and then pausing while the
mother read pages of Dickens or of Scott. These experiences Page
never forgot. Nearly all his letters to his mother---to whom,
even in his busiest days in New York, he wrote constantly---have
been accidentally destroyed, but a few scraps indicate the close
spiritual bond that existed between the two. Always he seemed
to think of his mother as young. Through his entire life, in whatever
part of the world he might be, and however important was the work
in which he might be engaged, Page never failed to write her a
long and affectionate letter at Christmas.
  <br><br>&quot;Well, I've gossiped a night or two&quot;---such is the
  conclusion of his Christmas letter of 1893 when Page was thirty-eight,
  with a growing family of his own---&quot;till I've filled the
  paper---all such little news and less nonsense as most gossip
  and most letters are made of. But it is for you to read between
  the lines. That's where the love lies, dear mother. I wish you
  were here Christmas; we should welcome you as nobody else in
  the world can be welcomed. But wherever you are and though all
  the rest have the joy of seeing you, which is denied to me, never
  a Christmas comes but I feel as near you as I did years and years
  ago when we were young. (In those years big fish bit in old Wiley
  Bancom's pond by the railroad: they must have been two inches
  long!)---I would give a year's growth to have the pleasure of
  having you here. You may be sure that every one of my children
  along with me will look with an added reverence toward the picture
  on the wall that greets me every morning, when we have our little
  Christmas frolics---the picture that little Katharine points
  to and says 'That's my grandmudder.'---The years, as they come,
  every one, deepen my gratitude to you, as I better and better
  understand the significance of life and every one adds to an
  affection that was never small. God bless you.
<br><br>Such were the father and mother of Walter Hines Page; they
were married at Fayetteville, North Carolina, July 5, 1849; two
children who preceded Walter died in infancy. The latter was born
at Cary, August 15, 1855. Cary was a small village which Frank
Page had created; in honour of the founder it was for several
years known as Page's Station; the father himself changed the
name to Cary, as a tribute to a temperance orator who caused something
of a commotion in the neighbourhood in the early seventies. Cary
was not then much of a town and has not since become one; but
it was placed amid the scene of important historical events. Page's
home was, &quot;almost the last stopping place of Sherman's army
on its march through Georgia and the Carolinas, and the Confederacy
came to an end, with Johnston's surrender of the last Confederate
Army, at Durham, only fifteen miles from his native village. Walter,
a boy of ten, his brother Robert, aged six, and the negro &quot;companion&quot;
Tance---who figures as Sam in the extract quoted above---stood
at the second-story window and watched Sherman's soldiers pass
their house, in hot pursuit of General &quot;Joe&quot; Wheeler's
cavalry. The thing that most astonished the children was the vast
size of the army, which took all day to file by their home. They
had never realized that either of the fighting forces could embrace
such great numbers of men. Nor did the behaviour of the invading
troops especially endear them to their unwilling hosts. Part of
the cavalry encamped in the Page yard; their horses ate the bark
off the mimosa trees; an army corps built its campfires under
the great oaks, and cut their emblems on the trunks; the officers
took possession of the house, a colonel making his headquarters
in the parlour. Several looting cavalrymen ran their swords through
the beds, probably looking for hidden silver; the hearth was torn
up in the same feverish quest; angry at their failure, they emptied
sacks of flour and scattered the contents in the bedrooms and
on the stairs; for days the flour, intermingled with feathers
from the bayonetted beds, formed. a carpet all over the house.
It is therefore perhaps not strange that the feelings which Walter
entertained for Sherman's &quot;bummers,&quot; despite his father's
Whig principles, were those of most Southern communities. One
day a kindly Northern soldier, sympathizing with the boy because
of the small rations left for the local population, invited him
to join the officers' mess at dinner. Walter drew proudly back.
<br><br>&quot;I'll starve before I'll eat with the Yankees,&quot; he
  <br><br>&quot;I slept that night on a trundle bed by my mother's,&quot;
  Page wrote years afterward, describing these early scenes, &quot;for
  her room was the only room left for the family, and we had all
  lived there since the day before. The dining room and the kitchen
  were now superfluous, because there was nothing more to cook
  or to eat. . . . A week or more after the army corps had gone,
  I drove with my father to the capital one day, and almost every
  mile of the journey we saw a blue coat or a gray coat lying by
  the road, with bones or hair protruding---the unburied and the
  forgotten of either army. Thus I had come to know what war was,
  and death by violence was among the first deep impressions made
  on my mind. My emotions must have been violently dealt with and
  my sensibilities blunted---or sharpened? Who shall say? The wounded
  and the starved straggled home from hospitals and from prisons.
  There was old Mr. Sanford, the shoemaker, come back again, with
  a body so thin and a step so uncertain that I expected to see
  him fall to pieces. Mr. Larkin and Joe Tatum went on crutches;
  and I saw a man at the post-office one day whose cheek and ear
  had been torn away by a shell. Even when Sam and I sat on the
  river-bank fishing, and ought to have been silent lest the fish
  swim away, we told over in low tones the stories that we had
  heard of wounds and of deaths and of battles.
  <br><br>&quot;But there was the cheerful gentleness of my mother to
  draw my thoughts to different things. I can even now recall many
  special little plans that she made to keep my mind from battles.
  She hid the military cap that I had worn. She bought from me
  my military buttons and put them away. She would call me in and
  tell me pleasant stories of her own childhood. She would put
  down her work to make puzzles with me, and she read gentle books
  to me and kept away from me all the stories of the war and of
  death that she could. Whatever hardships befell her (and they
  must have been many) she kept a tender manner of resignation
  and of cheerful patience.
  <br><br>&quot;After a while the neighbourhood came to life again.
  There were more widows, more sonless mothers, more empty sleeves
  and wooden legs than anybody there had ever seen before. But
  the mimosa bloomed, the cotton was planted again, and the peach
  trees blossomed; and the barnyard and the stable again became
  full of life. For, when the army marched away, they, too, were
  as silent as an old battlefield. The last hen had been caught
  under the corn-crib by a 'Yankee' soldier, who had torn his coat
  in this brave raid. Aunt Maria told Sam that all Yankees were
  chicken thieves whether they 'brung freedom or no.'
  <br><br>&quot;Every year the cotton bloomed and ripened and opened
  white to the sun; for the ripening of the cotton and the running
  of the river and the turning of the mills make the thread not
  of my story only but of the story of our Southern land---of its
  institutions, of its misfortunes and of its place in the economy
  of the world; and they will make the main threads of its story,
  I am sure, so long as the sun shines on our white fields and
  the rivers run---a story that is now rushing swiftly into a happier
  narrative of a broader day. The same women who had guided the
  spindles in war-time were again at their tasks---they at least
  were left; but the machinery was now old and worked ill. Negro
  men, who had wandered a while looking for an invisible 'freedom,'
  came back and went to work on the farm from force of habit. They
  now received wages and bought their own food. That was the only
  apparent difference that freedom had brought them.
  <br><br>&quot;My Aunt Katharine came from the city for a visit, my
  Cousin Margaret with her. Through the orchard, out, into the
  newly ploughed ground beyond, back over the lawn which was itself
  bravely repairing the hurt done by horses' hoofs and tent-poles,
  and under the oaks, which bore the scars of camp-fires, we two
  romped and played gentler games than camp and battle. One afternoon,
  as our mothers sat on the piazza and saw us come loaded with
  apple-blossoms, they said something (so I afterward learned)
  about the eternal blooming of childhood and of Nature---how sweet
  the early summer was in spite of the harrying of the land by
  war; for our gorgeous pageant of the seasons came on as if the
  earth had been the home of unbroken peace. (<A NAME="n3"></A><A
<br><br>And so it was a tragic world into which this boy Page had been
born. He was ten years old when the Civil War came to an end,
and his early life was therefore cast in a desolate country. Like
all of his neighbours, Frank Page had been ruined by the war.
Both the Southern and Northern armies had passed over the Page
territory; compared with the military depredations with which
Page became familiar in the last years of his life, the Federal
troops did not particularly misbehave, the attacks on hen roosts
and the destruction of feather beds representing the extreme of
their &quot;atrocities&quot;; but no country can entertain two
great fighting forces without feeling the effects for a prolonged
period. Life in this part of North Carolina again became reduced
to its. fundamentals. The old homesteads and the Negro huts were
still left standing, and their interiors were for the most part
unharmed, but nearly everything else had disappeared. Horses,
cattle, hogs, livestock of all kinds had vanished before the advancing
hosts of hungry soldiers; and there was one thing which was even
more a rarity than these. That was money. Confederate veterans
went around in their faded gray uniforms, not only because they
loved them, but because they did not have the wherewithal to buy
new wardrobes. Judges, planters, and other dignified members of
the community became hack drivers from the necessity of picking
up a few small coins. Page's father was more fortunate than the
rest, for he had one asset with which to accumulate a little liquid
capital; he possessed a fine peach orchard, which was particularly
productive in the summer of 1865, and the Northern soldiers, who
drew their pay in money that had real value, developed a weakness
for the fruit. Walter Page, a boy of ten, used to take his peaches
to Raleigh, and sell them to the &quot;invader&quot;; although
he still disdained having companionable relations with the enemy,
he was not above meeting them on a business footing; and the greenbacks
and silver coin obtained in this way laid a new basis for the
family fortunes.
<br><br>Despite this happy windfall, life for the next few years proved
an arduous affair. The horrors of reconstruction which followed
the war were more agonizing than the war itself. Page's keenest
inspiration in after life was, democracy, in its several manifestations;
but the form in which democracy first unrolled before his astonished
eyes was a phase that could hardly inspire much enthusiasm. Misguided
sentimentalists and more malicious politicians in the North had
suddenly endowed the Negro with the ballot. In practically all
Southern States that meant government by Negroes---or what was
even worse, government by a combination of Negroes and the most
vicious white elements, including that which was native to the
soil and that which had imported itself from the North for this
particular purpose. Thus the political vocabulary of Page's formative
years consisted chiefly of such words as &quot;scalawag,&quot;
&quot;carpet bagger,&quot; &quot;regulator,&quot; &quot;Union
League,&quot; &quot;Ku Klux Klan,&quot; and the like. The resulting
confusion, political, social, and economic, did not completely
amount to the destruction of a civilization, for underneath it
all the old sleepy ante-bellum South still maintained its existence
almost unchanged. The two most conspicuous and contrasting figures
were the Confederate veteran walking around in a sleeveless coat
and the sharp-featured New England school mar'm, armed with that
spelling book which was overnight to change the African from a
genial barbarian into an intelligent and conscientious social
unit; but more persistent than these forces was that old dreamy,
&quot;unprogressive&quot; Southland---the same country that Page
himself described in an article on &quot;An Old Southern Borough
&quot; which, as a young man, he contributed to the <I>Atlantic
Monthly. </I>It was still the country where the &quot;old-fashioned
gentleman &quot; was the controlling social influence, where a
knowledge of Latin and Greek still made its possessor a person
of consideration, where Emerson was a &quot;Yankee philosopher&quot;
and therefore not important, where Shakespeare and Milton were
looked upon almost as contemporary authors, where the Church and
politics and the matrimonial history of friends and relatives
formed the staple of conversation, and where a strong prejudice
still existed against anything that resembled popular education.
In the absence of more substantial employment, stump speaking,
especially eloquent in praise of the South and its achievements
in war, had become the leading industry.
<br><br>&quot;Wat&quot; Page---he is still known by this name in his
old home---was a tall, rangy, curly-headed boy, with brown hair
and brown eyes, fond of fishing and hunting, not especially robust,
but conspicuously alert and vital. Such of his old playmates as
survive recall chiefly his keenness of observation, his contagious
laughter, his devotion to reading and to talk. He was also given
to taking long walks in the woods, frequently with the solitary
companionship of a book. Indeed, his extremely efficient family
regarded him as a dreamer and were not entirely clear as to what
purpose he was destined to serve in a community which, above all,
demanded practical men. Such elementary schools as North Carolina
possessed had vanished in the war; the prevailing custom was for
the better-conditioned families to join forces and engage a teacher
for their assembled children. It was in such a primary school
in Cary that Page learned the elementary branches, though his
mother herself taught him to read and write. The boy showed such
aptitude in his studies that his mother began to hope, though
in no aggressive fashion, that he might some day become a Methodist
clergyman; she had given him his middle name, &quot;Hines,&quot;
in honour of her favourite preacher---a kinsman. At the age of
twelve Page was transferred to the Bingham School, then located
at Mebane. This was the Eton of North Carolina, from both a social
and an educational standpoint. It was a military school; the boys
all dressed in gray uniforms built on the plan of the Confederate
army; the hero constantly paraded before their imaginations was
Robert E. Lee; discipline was rigidly military; more important,
a high standard of honour was insisted upon. There was one thing
a boy could not do at Bingham and remain in the school; that was
to cheat in class-rooms or at examinations. For this offence no
second chance was given. &quot;I cannot argue the subject,&quot;
Page quotes Colonel Bingham saying to the distracted parent whose
son had been dismissed on this charge, and who was begging for
his reinstatement. &quot;In fact, I have no power to reinstate
your boy. I could not keep the honour of the school---I could
not even keep the boys, if he were to return. They would appeal
to their parents and most of them would be called home. They are
the flower of the South, Sir!&quot; And the social standards that
controlled the thinking of the South for so many years after the
war were strongly entrenched. &quot;The son of a Confederate general,&quot;
Page writes, &quot;if he were at all a decent fellow, had, of
course, a higher social rank at the Bingham School than the son
of a colonel. There was some difficulty in deciding the exact
rank of a judge or a governor, as a father; but the son of a preacher
had a fair chance of a good social rating, especially of an Episcopalian
clergyman. A Presbyterian preacher came next in rank. I at first
was at a social disadvantage. My father had been a Methodist---that
was bad enough; but he had had no military title at all. If it
had become known among the boys that he had been a 'Union man'---I
used to shudder at the suspicion in which I should be held. And
the fact that my father had held no military title did at last
become known!&quot;
<br><br>A single episode discloses that Page maintained his respect
for the Bingham School to the end. In March, 1918, as American
Ambassador, he went up to Harrow and gave an informal talk to
the boys on the United States. His hosts were so pleased that
two prizes were established to commemorate his visit. One was
for an essay by Harrow boys on the subject: &quot;The Drawing
Together of America and Great Britain by Common Devotion to a
Great Cause.&quot; A similar prize on the same subject was offered
to the boys of some American school, and Page was asked to select
the recipient. He promptly named his old Bingham School in North
<br><br>It was at Bingham that Page gained his first knowledge of Greek,
Latin, and mathematics, and he was an outstanding student in all
three subjects. He had no particular liking for mathematics, but
he could never understand why any one should find this branch
of learning difficult; he mastered it with the utmost case and
always stood high. In two or three years he had absorbed everything
that Bingham could offer and was ready for the next step. But
political conditions in North Carolina now had their influence
upon Page's educational plans. Under ordinary conditions he would
have entered the State University at Chapel Hill; it had been
a great headquarters in ante-bellum days for the prosperous families
of the South. But by the time that Page was ready to go to college
the University had fallen upon evil days. The forces which then
ruled the state, acting in accordance with the new principles
of racial equality, had opened the doors of this, one of the most
aristocratic of Southern institutions, to Negroes. The consequences
may be easily imagined. The newly enfranchised blacks showed no
inclination for the groves of Academe, and not a single representative
of the race applied for matriculation. The outraged white population
turned its back upon this new type of coeducation; in the autumn
of 1872 not a solitary white boy made his appearance. The old
university therefore closed its doors for lack of students and
for the next few years it became a pitiable victim to the worst
vices of the reconstruction era. Politicians were awarded the
presidency and the professorships as political pap, and the resources
of the place, in money and in books, were scattered to the wind.
Page had therefore to find his education elsewhere. The deep religious
feelings of his family quickly settled this point. The young man
promptly betook himself to the backwoods of North Carolina and
knocked at the doors of Trinity College, a Methodist Institution
then located in Randolph County. Trinity has since changed its
abiding place to Durham and has been transformed into one of the
largest and most successful colleges of the new South; but in
those days a famous Methodist divine and journalist described
it as &quot;a college with a few buildings that look like tobacco
barns and a few teachers that look as though they ought to be
worming tobacco.&quot; Page spent something more than a year at
Trinity, entering in the autumn of 1871, and leaving in December,
1872. A few letters, written from this place, are scarcely more
complimentary than the judgment passed above. They show that the
young man was very unhappy. One long letter to his mother is nothing
but a boyish diatribe against the place. &quot;I do not care a
horse apple for Trinity's distinction,&quot; he writes, and then
he gives the reasons for this juvenile contempt. His first report,
he says, will soon reach home; he warns his mother that it will
be unfavourable, and he explains that this bad showing is the
result of a deliberate plot. The boys who obtain high marks, Page
declares, secure them usually by cheating or through the partisanship
of the professors; a high grade therefore really means that the
recipient is either a humbug or a bootlicker. Page had therefore
attempted to keep his reputation unsullied by aiming at a low
academic record! The report on that three months' work, which
still survives, discloses that Page's conspiracy against himself
did not succeed for his marks are all high. &quot;Be sure to send
him back&quot; is the annotation on this document, indicating
that Page had made a better impression on Trinity than Trinity
had made on Page.
<br><br>But the rebellious young man did not return. After Christmas,
1872, his schoolboy letters reveal him at Randolph-Macon College
in Ashland, Va. Here again the atmosphere is Methodistical, but
of a somewhat more genial type. &quot;It was at Ashland that I
first began to unfold,&quot; said Page afterward. &quot;Dear old
Ashland!&quot; Dr. Duncan, the President, was a clergyman whose
pulpit oratory is still a tradition in the South, but, in addition
to his religious exaltation, he was an exceedingly lovable, companionable,
and stimulating human being. Certainly there was no lack of the
religious impulse. &quot;We have a preacher president, &quot;
Page writes his mother, &quot;a preacher secretary, a preacher
chaplain, and a dozen preacher students and three or more preachers
are living here and twenty-five or thirty yet-to-be preachers
in college!&quot; In this latter class Page evidently places himself;
at least he gravely writes his mother---he was now eighteen---that
he had definitely made up his mind to enter the Methodist ministry.
He had a close friend---Wilbur Fisk Tillett---who cherished similar
ambitions, and Page one day surprised Tillett by suggesting that,
at the approaching Methodist Conference, they apply for licensing
as &quot;local preachers&quot; for the next summer. His friend
dissuaded him, however, and henceforth Page concentrated on more
worldly studies. In many ways he was the fife of the undergraduate
body. His desire for an immediate theological campaign was merely
that passion for doing things and for self-expression which were
always conspicuous traits. His intense ambition as a boy is still
remembered in this sleepy little village. He read every book in
the sparse college library; he talked to his college mates and
his professors on every imaginable subject; he led his associates
in the miniature parliament ---the Franklin Debating Society---to
which he belonged; he wrote prose and verse at an astonishing
rate; he explored the country for miles around, making frequent
pilgrimages to the birthplace of Henry Clay, which is the chief
historical glory of Ashland, and to that Hanover Court House which
was the scene of the oratorical triumph of Patrick Henry; he flirted
with the pretty girls in the village, and even had two half-serious
love affairs in rapid succession; he slept upon a hard mattress
at night and imbibed more than the usual allotment of Greek, Latin,
and mathematics in the daytime. One year he captured the Greek
prize and the next the Sutherlin medal for oratory. With a fellow
classicist he entered into a solemn compact to hold all their
conversation, even on the most trivial topics, in Latin, with
heavy penalties for careless lapses into English. Probably the
linguistic result would have astonished Quintilian, but the experiment
at least had a certain influence in improving the young man's
Latinity. Another favourite dissipation was that of translating
English masterpieces into the ancient tongue; there still survives
among Page's early papers a copy of Bryant's &quot;Waterfowl &quot;
done into Latin iambics. As to Page's personal appearance, a designation
coined by a fellow student who afterward be came a famous editor
gives the suggestion of a portrait. He called him one of the &quot;seven
slabs&quot; of the college. And, as always, the adjectives which
his contemporaries chiefly use in describing Page are &quot;alert&quot;
and &quot;positive. &quot;
    <TD WIDTH="48%">
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<A HREF="images/Page02.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page02tn.jpg"
      WIDTH="113" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>
    <TD WIDTH="52%">
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<A HREF="images/Page03.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page03tn.jpg"
      WIDTH="111" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>
    <TD WIDTH="48%">
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<B><FONT COLOR="#0000ff">Fig. 2.</FONT></B><FONT
      COLOR="#0000ff"> Allison Francis Page (1824-1899), father of
      Walter H. Page</FONT></TD>
    <TD WIDTH="52%">
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<B><FONT COLOR="#0000ff">Fig. 3.</FONT></B><FONT
      COLOR="#0000ff"> Catherine Raboteau Page (1831-1897), mother
      of Walter H. Page</FONT></TD>
<br><br>But Randolph-Macon did one great thing for Page. Like many
small struggling Southern colleges it managed to assemble several
instructors of real mental distinction. And at the time of Page's
undergraduate life it possessed at least one great teacher. This
was Thomas R. Price, afterward Professor of Greek at the University
of Virginia and Professor of English at Columbia University in
New York. Professor Price took one forward step that has given
him a permanent fame in the history of Southern education. He
found that the greatest stumbling block to teaching Greek was
not the conditional mood, but the fact that his hopeful charges
were not sufficiently familiar with their mother tongue. The prayer
that was always on Price's lips, and the one with which he made
his boys most familiar, was that of a wise old Greek: &quot;O
Great Apollo, send down the reviving rain upon our fields; preserve
our flocks; ward off our enemies; and---build up our speech!&quot;
&quot;It is irrational,&quot; he said, &quot;absurd, almost criminal,
to expect a young man, whose knowledge of English words and construction
is scant and inexact, to put into English a difficult thought
of Plato or an involved period of Cicero.&quot; Above all, it
will be observed, Price's intellectual enthusiasm was the ancient
tongue. A present-day argument for learning Greek and Latin is
that thereby we improve our English; but Thomas R. Price advocated
the teaching of English so that we might better understand the
dead languages. To-day every great American educational institution
has vast resources for teaching English literature; even in 1876,
most American universities had their professors of English; but
Price insisted on placing English on exactly the same footing
as Greek and Latin. He himself became head of the new English
school at Randolph-Macon; and Page himself at once became the
favourite pupil. This distinguished scholar---a fine figure with
an imperial beard that suggested the Confederate officer---used
to have Page to tea at least twice a week and at these meetings
the young man was first introduced in an understanding way to
Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and the other writers
who became the literary passions of his maturer life. And Price
did even more for Page; he passed him on to another place and
to another teacher who extended his horizon. Up to the autumn
of 1876 Page had never gone farther North than Ashland; he was
still a Southern boy, speaking with the Southern drawl, living
exclusively the thoughts and even the prejudices of the South.
His family's broad-minded attitude had prevented him from acquiring
a too restricted view of certain problems that were then vexing
both sections of the country; however, his outlook was still a
limited one, as his youthful correspondence shows. But in October
of the centennial year a great prospect opened before him.
<br><br>Two or three years previously an eccentric merchant named Johns
Hopkins had died, leaving the larger part of his fortune to found
a college or university in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins was not an
educated man himself and his conception of a new college did not
extend beyond creating something in the nature of a Yale or Harvard
in Maryland. By a lucky chance, however, a Yale graduate who was
then the President of the University of California, Daniel Coit
Gilman, was invited to come to Baltimore and discuss with the
trustees his availability for the headship of the new institution.
Dr. Gilman promptly informed his prospective employers that he
would have no interest in associating himself with a new American
college built upon the lines of those which then existed. Such
a foundation would merely be a duplication of work already well
done elsewhere and therefore a waste of money and effort. He proposed
that this large endowment should he used, not for the erection
of expensive architecture, but primarily for seeking out, in all
parts of the world, the best professorial brains in certain approved
branches of learning. In the same spirit he suggested that a similarly
selective process be adopted in the choice of students: that only
those American boys who had displayed exceptional promise should
be admitted and that part of the university funds should be used
to pay the expenses of twenty young men who, in undergraduate
work at other colleges, stood head and shoulders above their contemporaries.
The bringing together of these two sets of brains for graduate
study would constitute the new university. A few rooms in the
nearest dwelling house would suffice for headquarters. Dr. Gilman's
scheme was approved; he became President on these terms; he gathered
his faculty not only in the United States but in England, and
he collected his first body of students, especially his first
twenty fellows, with the same minute care.
<br><br>It seems almost a miracle that an inexperienced youth in a
little Methodist college in Virginia should have been chosen as
one of these first twenty fellows, and it is a sufficient tribute
to the impression that Page must have made upon all who met him
that he should have won this great academic distinction. He was
only twenty-one at the time---the youngest of a group nearly every
member of which became distinguished in after life. He won a Fellowship
in Greek. This in itself was a great good fortune; even greater
was the fact that his new life brought him into immediate contact
with a scholar of great genius and lovableness. Someone has said
that America has produced four scholars of the very first rank---Agassiz
in natural science, Whitney in philology, Willard Gibbs in physics,
and Gildersleeve in Greek. It was the last of these who now took
Walter Page in charge.
<br><br>The atmosphere of Johns Hopkins was quite different from anything
which the young man had previously known. The university gave
a great shock to that part of the American community with which
Page had spent his life by beginning its first session in October,
1876, without an opening prayer. Instead Thomas H. Huxley was
invited from England to deliver a scientific address---an address
which now has an honoured place in his collected works. The absence
of prayer and the presence of so audacious a Darwinian as Huxley
caused a tremendous excitement in the public prints, the religious
press, and the evangelical pulpit. In the minds of Gilman and
his abettors, however, all this was intended to emphasize the
fact that Johns Hopkins was a real university, in which the unbiased
truth was to be the only aim. And certainly this was the spirit
of the institution. &quot;Gentlemen, you must light your own torch,&quot;
was the admonition of President Gilman, in his welcoming address
to his twenty fellows; intellectual independence, freedom from
the trammels of tradition, were thus to be the directing ideas.
One of Page's associates was Josiah Royce, who afterward had a
distinguished career in philosophy at Harvard. &quot;The beginnings
of Johns Hopkins,&quot; he afterward wrote, &quot;was a dawn wherein
it was bliss to be alive. The air was full of noteworthy work
done by the older men of the place and of hopes that one might
find a way to get a little working power one's self. One longed
to be a doer of the word, not a hearer only, a creator of his
own infinitesimal fraction of the product, bound in God's name
to produce when the time came.&quot;
<br><br>A choice group of five aspiring Grecians, of whom Page was
one, periodically gathered around a long pine table in a second-story
room of an old dwelling house on Howard Street, with Professor
Gildersleeve at the head. The process of teaching was thus the
intimate contact of mind with mind. Here in the course of nearly
two years' residence, Page was led by Professor Gildersleeve into
the closest communion with the great minds of the ancient world
and gained that intimate knowledge of their written word which
was the basis of his mental equipment. &quot;Professor Gildersleeve,
splendid scholar that he is!&quot; he wrote to a friend in North
Carolina. &quot;He makes me grow wonderfully. When I have a chance
to enjoy &AElig;schylus as I have now, I go to work on those immortal
pieces with a pleasure that swallows up everything.&quot; To the
extent that Gildersleeve opened up the literary treasures of the
past---and no man had a greater appreciation of his favourite
authors than this fine humanist---Page's life was one of unalloyed
delight. But there was another side to the picture. This little
company of scholars was composed of men who aspired to no ordinary
knowledge of Greek; they expected to devote their entire lives
to the subject, to edit Greek texts, and to hold Greek chairs
at the leading American universities. Such, indeed, has been the
career of nearly all members of the group. The Greek tragedies
were therefore read for other things than their stylistic and
dramatic values. The sons of Germania then exercised a profound
influence on American education; Professor Gildersleeve himself
was a graduate of G&ouml;ttingen, and the necessity of &quot;settling
hoti's business&quot; was strong in his seminar. Gildersleeve
was a writer of English who developed real style; as a Greek scholar,
his fame rests chiefly upon his work in the field of historical
syntax. He assumed that his students could read Greek as easily
as they could read French, and the really important tasks he set
them had to do with the most abstruse fields of philology. For
work of this kind Page had little interest and less inclination.
When Professor Gildersleeve would assign him the adverb <FONT
COLOR="#0000ff"><IMG SRC="images/Greek1.gif" WIDTH="25" HEIGHT="15"
ALIGN="MIDDLE" BORDER="0" ></FONT>, and direct
him to study the peculiarities of its use from Homer down to the
Byzantine writers, he found himself in pretty deep waters. Was
it conceivable that a man could spend a lifetime in an occupation
of this kind? By pursuing such studies Gildersleeve and his most
advanced pupils uncovered many new facts about the language and
even found hitherto unsuspected beauties; but Page's letters show
that this sort of effort was extremely uncongenial. He fulminates
against the &quot;grammarians&quot; and begins to think that perhaps,
after all, a career of erudite scholarship is not the ideal existence.
&quot;Learn to look on me as a Greek drudge,&quot; he writes,
&quot;somewhere pounding into men and boys a faint hint of the
beauty of old Greekdom. That's most probably what I shall come
to before many years. I am sure that I have mistaken my lifework,
if I consider Greek my lifework. In truth at times I am tempted
to throw the whole thing away. . . . But without a home feeling
in Greek literature no man can lay claim to high culture.&quot;
So he would keep at it for three or four years and &quot;then
leave it as a man's work.&quot; Despite these despairing words
Page acquired a living knowledge of Greek that was one of his
choicest possessions through life. That he made a greater success
than his self-depreciation would imply is evident from the fact
that his Fellowship, was renewed for the next year.
<br><br>But the truth is that the world was tugging at Page more insistently
than the cloister. &quot;Speaking grammatically,&quot; writes
Prof. E. G. Sihler, one of Page's fellow students of that time,
in his &quot;Confessions and Convictions of a Classicist,&quot;
&quot;Page was interested in that one of the main tenses which
we call the Present.&quot; In his after life, amid all the excitements
of journalism, Page could take a brief vacation and spend it with
Ulysses by the sea; but actuality and human activity charmed him
even more than did the heroes of the ancient world. He went somewhat
into Baltimore society, but not extensively; he joined a club
whose membership comprised the leading intellectual men of the
town; probably his most congenial associations, however, came
of the Saturday night meetings of the fellows in Hopkins Hall,
where, over pipes and steins of beer, they passed in review all
the questions of the day. Page was still the Southern boy, with
the strange notions about the North and Northern people which
were the inheritance of many years' misunderstandings. He writes
of one fellow student to whom he had taken a liking. &quot;He
is that rare thing, &quot; he says, &quot;a Yankee Christian gentleman.&quot;
He particularly dislikes one of his instructors, but, as he explains,
&quot;he is a native of Connecticut, and Connecticut, I suppose,
is capable of producing any unholy human phenomenon.&quot; Speaking
of a beautiful and well mannered Greek girl whom he had met, he
writes: &quot;The little creature might be taken for a Southern
girl, but never for a Yankee. She has an easy manner and even
an air of gentility about her that doesn't appear north of Mason
and Dixon's Line. Indeed, however much the Southern race (I say
race intentionally: Yankeedom is the home of another race from
us) however much the Southern race owes its strength to Anglo-Saxon
blood, it owes its beauty and gracefulness to the Southern climate
and culture. Who says that we are not an improvement on the English?
An improvement in a happy combination of mental graces and Saxon
force?&quot; This sort of thing is especially entertaining in
the youthful Page, for it is precisely against this kind of complacency
that, as a mature man, he directed his choicest ridicule. As an
editor and writer his energies were devoted to reconciling North
and South, and Johns Hopkins itself had much to do with opening
his eyes. Its young men and its professors were gathered from
all parts of the country; a student, if his mind was awake, learned
more than Greek and mathematics; he learned much about that far-flung
nation known as the United States.
<br><br>And Page did not confine his work exclusively to the curriculum.
He writes that he is regularly attending a German Sunday School,
not, however, from religious motives, but from a desire to improve
his colloquial German. &quot;Is this courting the Devil for knowledge?&quot;
he asks. And all this time he was engaging in a delightful correspondence---from
which these quotations are taken ---with a young woman in North
Carolina, his cousin. About this time this cousin began spending
her summers in the Page home at Cary; her great interest in books
made the two young people good friends and companions. It was
she who first introduced Page to certain Southern writers, especially
Timrod and Sidney Lanier, and, when Page left for Johns Hopkins,
the two entered into a compact for a systematic reading and study
of the English poets. According to this plan, certain parts of
Tennyson or Chaucer would be set aside for a particular week's
reading; then both would write the impressions gained and the
criticisms which they assumed to make, and send the product to
the other. The plan was carried out more faithfully than is usually
the case in such arrangements; a large number of Page's letters
survive and give a complete history of his mental progress. There
are lengthy disquisitions on Wordsworth, Browning, Byron, Shelley,
Matthew Arnold, and the like. These letters also show that Page,
as a relaxation from Greek roots and syntax, was indulging in
poetic flights of his own; his efforts, which he encloses in his
letters, are mainly imitations of the particular poet in whom
he was at the moment interested. This correspondence also takes
Page to Germany, in which country he spent the larger part of
the summer of 1877. This choice of the Fatherland as a place of
pilgrimage was probably merely a reflection of the enthusiasm
for German educational methods which then prevailed in the United
States, especially at Johns Hopkins. Page's letters are the usual
traveller's descriptions of unfamiliar customs, museums, libraries,
and the like; so far as enlarging his outlook was concerned the
experience does not seem to have been especially profitable.
<br><br>He returned to Baltimore in the autumn of 1877, but only for
a few months. He had pretty definitely abandoned his plan of devoting
his life to Greek scholarship. As a mental stimulus, as a recreation
from the cares of life, his Greek authors would always be a first
love, as they proved to be; but he had abandoned his early ambition
of making them his everyday occupation and means of livelihood.
Of course there was only one career for a man of his leanings,
and, more and more, his mind was turning to journalism. For only
one brief period did he again listen to the temptations of a scholar's
existence. The university of his native state invited him to lecture
in the summer school of 1878; he took Shakespeare for his subject,
and made so great a success that there was some discussion of
his settling down permanently at Chapel Hill in the chair of Greek.
Had the offer definitely been made Page would probably have accepted,
but difficulties arose. Page was no longer orthodox in his religious
views; he had long outgrown dogma and could only smile at the
recollection that he had once thought of becoming a clergyman.
But a rationalist at the University of North Carolina in 1878
could hardly be endured. The offer, therefore, fortunately was
not made. Afterward Page was much criticized for having left his
native state at a time when it especially needed young men of
his type. It may therefore be recorded that, if there were any
blame at all, it rested upon North Carolina. He refers to his
disappointment in a letter in February, 1879---a letter that proved
to be a prophecy. &quot;I shall some day buy a home,&quot; he
says, &quot;where I was not allowed to work for one, and be laid
away in the soil that I love. I wanted to work for the old state;
it had no need for it, it seems.&quot;

Revision as of 03:22, 26 November 2008


THE five years from 1878 to 1883 Page spent in various places, engaged, for the larger part of the time, in several kinds of journalistic work. It was his period of struggle and of preparation. Like many American public men he served a brief apprenticeship---in his case, a very brief one---as a pedagogue. In the autumn of 1878 he went to Louisville, Kentucky, and taught English for a year at the Boys' High School. But he presently found an occupation in this progressive city which proved far more absorbing. A few months before his arrival certain energetic spirits had founded a weekly paper, the Age, a journal which, they hoped, would fill the place in the Southern States which the very successful New York Nation, under the editorship of Godkin, was then occupying in the North. Page at once began contributing leading articles on literary and political topics to this publication; the work proved so congenial that he purchased---on notes---a controlling interest in the new venture and became its directing spirit. The Age was in every way a worthy enterprise; in the dignity of its makeup and the high literary standards at which it aimed it imitated the London Spectator. Perhaps Page obtained a thousand dollars' worth of fun out of his investment; if so, that represented his entire profit. He now learned a lesson which was emphasized in his after career as editor and publisher, and that was that the Southern States provided a poor market for books or periodicals. The net result of the proceeding was that, at the age of twenty-three, he found himself out of a job and considerably in debt.

He has himself rapidly sketched his varied activities of the next five years:

"After trying in vain," he writes, "to get work to do on any newspaper in North Carolina, I advertised for a job in journalism---any sort of a job. By a queer accident ---a fortunate one for me---the owner of the St. Joseph, Missouri, Gazelle, answered the advertisement. Why he did it, I never found out. He was in the same sort of desperate need of a newspaper man as I was in desperate need of a job. I knew nothing about him: he knew nothing about me. I knew nothing about newspaper work. I had done nothing since I left the University but teach English in the Louisville, Kentucky, High School for boys one winter and lecture at the summer school at Chapel Hill one summer. I made up my mind to go into journalism. But journalism didn't seem in any hurry to make up its mind to admit me. Not only did all the papers in North Carolina decline my requests for work, but such of them in Baltimore and Louisville as I tried said 'No.' So I borrowed $50 and set out to St. Joe, Missouri, where I didn't know a human being. I became a reporter. At first I reported the price of cattle---went to the stockyards, etc. My salary came near to paying my board and lodging, but it didn't quite do it. But I had a good time in St. Joe for somewhat more than a year. There were interesting people there. I came to know something about Western life. Kansas was across the river. I often went there. I came to know Kansas City, St. Louis---a good deal of the West. After a while I was made editor of the paper. What a rousing political campaign or two we had! Then---I had done that kind of a job as long as I cared to. Every swashbuckling campaign is like every other one. Why do two? Besides, I knew my trade. I had done everything on a daily paper from stockyard reports to political editorials and heavy literary articles. In the meantime I had written several magazine articles and done other such jobs. I got leave of absence for a month or two. I wrote to several of the principal papers in Chicago, New York, and Boston and told them that I was going down South to make political and social studies and that I was going to send them my letters. I hoped they'd publish them.

"That's all I could say. I could make no engagement; they didn't know me. I didn't even ask for an engagement. I told them simply this: that I'd write letters and send them; and I prayed heaven that they'd print them and pay for them. Then off I went with my little money in my pocket---about enough to get to New Orleans. I travelled and I wrote. I went all over the South. I sent letters and letters and letters. All the papers published all that I sent them and I was rolling in wealth I had money in my pocket for the first time in my life. Then I went back to St. Joe and resigned; for the (old) New York World had asked me to go to the Atlanta Exposition as a correspondent. I went. I wrote and kept writing. How kind Henry Grady was to me! But at last the Exposition ended. I was out of a job. I applied to the Constitution. No, they wouldn't have me. I never got a job in my life that I asked for! But all my life better jobs have been given me than I dared ask for. Well---I was at the end of my rope in Atlanta and I was trying to make a living in any honest way I could when one day a telegram came from the New York World (it was the old World, which was one of the best of the dailies in its literary quality) asking me to come to New York. I had never seen a man on the paper---had never been in New York except for a day when I landed there on a return voyage from a European trip that I took during one vacation when I was in the University. Then I went to New York straight and quickly. I had an interesting experience on the old World, writing literary matter chiefly, an editorial now and then, and I was frequently sent as a correspondent on interesting errands. I travelled all over the country with the Tariff Commission. I spent one winter in Washington as a sort of editorial correspondent while the tariff bill was going through Congress. Then, one day, the World was sold to Mr. Pulitzer

and all the staff resigned. The character of the paper changed."

What better training could a journalist ask for than this? Page was only twenty-eight when these five years came to an end; but his life had been a comprehensive education in human contact, in the course of which he had picked up many things that were not included in the routine of Johns Hopkins University. From Athens to St. Joe, from the comedies of Aristophanes to the stockyards and political conventions of Kansas City---the transition may possibly have been an abrupt one, but it is not likely that Page so regarded it. For books and the personal relation both appealed to him, in almost equal proportions, as essentials to the fully rounded man. Merely from the standpoint of geography, Page's achievement had been an important one; how many Americans, at the age of twenty-eight, have such an extensive mileage to their credit? Page had spent his childhood---and his childhood only---in North Carolina; he had passed his youth in Virginia and Maryland; before he was twenty-three he had lived several months in Germany, and, on his return voyage, he had sailed by the white cliffs of England, and, from the deck of his steamer, had caught glimpses of that Isle of Wight which then held his youthful favourite Tennyson. He had added to these experiences a winter in Kentucky and a sojourn of nearly two years in Missouri. His Southern trip, to which Page refers in the above, had taken him through Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana; he had visited the West again in 1882, spending a considerable time in all the large cities, Chicago, Omaha, Denver, Leadville, Salt Lake, and from the latter point he had travelled extensively through Mormondom. The several months spent in Atlanta had given the young correspondent a glimpse into the new South, for this energetic city embodied a Southern spirit that was several decades removed from the Civil War. After this came nearly two years in New York and Washington, where Page gained his first insight into Federal politics; in particular, as a correspondent attached to the Tariff Commission---an assignment that again started him on his travels to industrial centres---he came into contact, for the first time, with the mechanism of framing the great American tariff. And during this period Page was not only forming a first-hand acquaintance with the passing scene, but also with important actors in it. The mere fact that, on the St. Joseph Gazelle, he succeeded Eugene Field---"a good fellow named Page is going to take my desk," said the careless poet, "I hope he will succeed to my debts too"---always remained a pleasant memory. He entered zealously into the life of this active community; his love of talk and disputation, his interest in politics, his hearty laugh, his vigorous handclasp, his animation of body and of spirit, and his sunny outlook on men and events---these are the traits that his old friends in this town, some of whom still survive, associate with the juvenile editor. In his Southern trip Page called---self invited---upon Jefferson Davis and was cordially received. At Atlanta, as he records above, he made friends with that chivalric champion of a resurrected South, Henry Grady; here also he obtained fugitive glimpses of a struggling and briefless lawyer, who, like Page, was interested more in books and writing than in the humdrum of professional life, and who was then engaged in putting together a brochure on Congressional Government which immediately gave him a national standing. The name of this sympathetic acquaintance was Woodrow Wilson.

 <A HREF="images/Page04.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page04tn.jpg" WIDTH="72" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>

     <P ALIGN=CENTER> <A HREF="images/Page05.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page05tn.jpg"
     WIDTH="103" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD> 
     <P ALIGN=CENTER> Fig. 4. Walter H. Page in 1876, when he was a Fellow
     of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.</TD> 
     <P ALIGN=CENTER> Fig. 5. Basil L. Gildersleeve, Professor of Greek,
     Johns Hopkins University, 1876-1915</TD> 


Another important event had taken place, for, at St. Louis, on November 15, 1880, Page had married Miss Willia Alice Wilson. Miss Wilson was the daughter of a Scotch physician, Dr. William Wilson, who had settled in Michigan, near Detroit, in 1832. When she was a small child she went with her sister's family---her father had died seven years before---to North Carolina, near Cary; and she and Page had been childhood friends and schoolmates. At the time of the wedding, Page was editor of the St. Joseph Gazelle; the fact that he had attained this position, five months after starting at the bottom, sufficiently discloses his aptitude for journalistic work.

Page had now outgrown any Southern particularism with which he may have started life. He no longer found his country exclusively in the area south of the Potomac; he had made his own the West, the North---New York, Chicago, Denver, as well as Atlanta and Raleigh. It is worth while insisting on this fact, for the cultivation of a wide-sweeping Americanism and a profound faith in democracy became the qualities that will loom most largely in his career from this time forward. It is necessary only to read the newspaper letters which he wrote on his Southern trip in 1881 to understand how early his mind seized this new point of view. Many things which now fell under his observant eye in the Southern States greatly irritated him and with his characteristic impulsiveness he pictured these traits in pungent phrase. The atmosphere of shiftlessness that too generally prevailed in some localities; the gangs of tobacco-chewing loafers assembled around railway stations; the listless Negroes that seemed to overhang the whole country like a black cloud; the plantation mansions in a sad state of disrepair; the old unoccupied slave huts overgrown with weeds; the unpainted and broken-down fences; the rich soil that was crudely and wastefully cultivated with a single crop---the youthful social philosopher found himself comparing these vestigia of a half-moribund civilization with the vibrant cities of the North, the beautiful white and green villages of New England, and the fertile prairie farms of the West. "Even the dogs," he said, "look old-fashioned." Oh, for a change in his beloved South---a change of almost any kind! "Even a heresy, if it be bright and fresh, would be a relief. You feel as if you wished to see some kind of an effort put forth, a discussion, a fight, a runaway, anything to make the blood go faster." Wherever Page saw signs of a new spirit---and he saw many---he recorded them with an eagerness which showed his loyalty to the section of his birth. The splitting up of great plantations into small farms he put down as one of the indications of a new day. A growing tendency to educate, not only the white child, but the Negro, inspired a similar tribute. But he rejoiced most over the decreasing bitterness of the masses over the memories of the Civil War, and discovered, with satisfaction, that any remaining ill-feeling was a heritage left not by the Union soldier, but by the carpetbagger.

And one scene is worth preserving, for it illustrates not only the zeal of Page himself for the common country, but the changing attitude of the Southern people. It was enacted, at Martin, Tennessee, on the evening of July 2, 1881. Page was spending a few hours in the village grocery, discussing things in general with the local yeomanry, when the telegraph operator came from the post office with rather more than his usual expedition and excitement. He was frantically waving a yellow slip which bore the news that President Garfield had been shot. Garfield had been an energetic and a successful general in the war and his subsequent course in Congress, where he had joined the radical Republicans, had not caused the South to look upon him as a friend. But these farmers responded to this shock, not like sectionalists, but like Americans. "Every man of them," Page records, "expressed almost a personal sorrow. Little was said of politics or of parties. Mr. Garfield was President of the United States---that was enough. A dozen voices spoke the great gratification that the assassin was not a Southern man. It was an affecting scene to see weather-beaten old countrymen so profoundly agitated---men who yesterday I should have supposed hardly knew and certainly did not seem to care who was President. The great centres of population, of politicians, and of thought may be profoundly agitated to-night, but no more patriotic sorrow and humiliation is felt anywhere by any men than by these old backwoods ex-Confederates."

Page himself was so stirred by the news that he ascended a cracker barrel, and made a speech to the assembled countrymen, preaching to responsive ears the theme of North and South, now reunited in a common sorrow. Thus, by the time he was twenty-six, Page, at any rate in respect to his Americanism, was a full-grown man.



A few years afterward Page had an opportunity of discussing this, his favourite topic, with the American whom he most admired. Perhaps the finest thing in the career of Grover Cleveland was the influence which he exerted upon young men. After the sordid political transactions of the reconstruction period and after the orgy of partisanship which had followed the Civil War, this new figure, acceding to the Presidency in 1885, came as an inspiration to millions of zealous and intelligent young college-bred Americans. One of the first to feel the new spell was Walter Page; Mr. Cleveland was perhaps the most important influence in forming his public ideals. Of everything that Cleveland represented---civil service reform; the cleansing of politics, state and national; the reduction in the tariff; a foreign policy which, without degenerating into truculence, manfully upheld the rights of American citizens; a determination to curb the growing pension evil; the doctrine that the Government was something to be served and not something to be plundered---Page became an active and brilliant journalistic advocate. It was therefore a great day in his life when, on a trip to Washington in the autumn of 1885, he had an hour's private conversation with President Cleveland, and it was entirely characteristic of Page that he should make the conversation take the turn of a discussion of the so-called Southern question.

"In the White House at Washington," Page wrote about this visit, "is an honest, plain, strong man, a man of wonderfully broad information and of most uncommon industry. He has always been a Democrat. He is a distinguished lawyer and a scholar on all public questions. He is as frank and patriotic and sincere as any man that ever won the high place he holds. Within less than a year he has done so well and so wisely that he has disappointed his enemies and won their admiration. He is as unselfish as he is great. He is one of the most industrious men in the world. He rises early and works late and does not waste his time---all because his time is now not his own but the Republic's, whose most honoured servant he is. I count it among the most inspiring experiences in my life that I had the privilege, at the suggestion of one of his personal friends, of talking with him one morning about the complete reuniting of the two great sections of our Republic by his election. I told him, and I know I told him the truth, when I said that every young man in the Southern States who, without an opportunity to share either the glory or the defeat of the late Confederacy, had in spite of himself suffered the disadvantages of the poverty and oppression that followed war, took new hope for the full and speedy realization of a complete union, of unparalleled prosperity and of broad thinking and noble living from his elevation to the Presidency. I told him that the men of North Carolina were not only patriotic but ambitious as well; and that they were Democrats and proud citizens of the State and the Republic not because they wanted offices or favours, but because they loved freedom and wished the land that had been impoverished by war to regain more than it had lost. 'I have not called, Mr. President, to ask for an office for myself or for anybody else,' I remarked; 'but to have the pleasure of expressing my gratification, as a citizen of North Carolina, at the complete change in political methods and morals that I believe will date from your Administration.' He answered that he was glad to see all men who came in such a spirit and did not come to beg---especially young men of the South of to-day; and he talked and encouraged me to talk freely as if he had been as small a man as I am, or I as great a man as he is.

"From that day to this it has been my business to watch every public act that he does, to read every public word he speaks, and it has been a pleasure and a benefit to me (like the benefit that a man gets from reading a great history---for he is making a great history) to study the progress of his Administration; and at every step he seems to me to warrant the trust that the

great Democratic party put in him."

The period to which Page refers in this letter represented the time when he was making a serious and harassing attempt to establish himself in his chosen profession in his native state. He went south for a short visit after resigning his place on the New York World, and several admirers in Raleigh persuaded him to found a new paper, which should devote itself to preaching the Cleveland ideals, and, above all, to exerting an influence on the development of a new Southern spirit. No task could have been more grateful to Page and there was no place in which he would have better liked to undertake it than in the old state which he loved so well. The result was the Stale Chronicle of Raleigh, practically a new paper, which for a year and a half proved to be the most unconventional and refreshing influence that North Carolina had known in many a year. Necessarily Page found himself in conflict with his environment. He had little interest in the things that then chiefly interested the state, and North Carolina apparently had little interest in the things that chiefly occupied the mind of the youthful journalist. Page was interested in Cleveland, in the reform of the civil service; the Democrats of North Carolina little appreciated their great national leader and were especially hostile to his belief that service to a party did not in itself establish a qualification for public office. Page was interested in uplifting the common people, in helping every farmer to own his own acres, and in teaching the most modern and scientific way of cultivating them; he was interested in giving every boy and girl at least an elementary education, and in giving a university training to such as had the aptitude and the ambition to obtain it; he believed in industrial training ---and in these things the North Carolina of those days had little concern. Page even went so far as to take an open stand for the pitiably neglected black man: he insisted that he should be taught to read and write, and instructed in agriculture and the manual trades. A man who advocated such revolutionary things in those days was accused---and Page was so accused---of attempting to promote the "social equality" of the two races. Page also declaimed in favour of developing the state industrially; he called attention to the absurdity of sending Southern cotton to New England spinning mills, and he pointed out the boundless but unworked natural resources of the state, in minerals, forests, waterpower, and lands.

North Carolina, he informed his astonished compatriots, had once been a great manufacturing colony; why could the state not become one again? But the matter in which the buoyant editor and his constituents found themselves most at variance was the spirit that controlled North Carolina life. It was a spirit that found comfort for its present poverty and lack of progress in a backward look at the greatness of the state in the past and the achievements of its sons in the Civil War. Though Page believed that the Confederacy had been a ghastly error, and though he abhorred the institution of slavery and attributed to it all the woes, economic and social, from which his section suffered, he rendered that homage to the soldiers of the South which is the due of brave, self-sacrificing and conscientious men; yet he taught that progress lay in regarding the four dreadful years of the Civil War as the closed chapter of an unhappy and mistaken history and in hastening the day when the South should resume its place as a living part of the great American democracy. All manifestations of a contrary spirit he ridiculed in language which was extremely readable but which at times outraged the good conservative people whom he was attempting to convert. He did not even spare the one figure which was almost a part of the Southerner's religion, the Confederate general, especially that particular type who used his war record as a stepping stone to public office, and whose oratory, colourful and turgid in its celebrations of the past, Page regarded as somewhat unrelated, in style and matter, to the realities of the present. The image-breaking editor even asserted that the Daughters of the Confederacy were not entirely a helpful influence in Southern regeneration; for they, too, were harping always upon the old times and keeping alive sectional antagonisms and hatreds. This he regarded as an unworthy occupation for high-minded Southern women, and he said so, sometimes in language that made him very unpopular in certain circles.

Altogether it was a piquant period in Page's life. He found that he had suddenly become a "traitor " to his country and that his experiences in the North had completely "Yankeeized" him. Even in more mature days, Page's pen had its javelin-like quality; and in 1884, possessed as he was of all the fury of youth, he never hesitated to return every blow that was rained upon his head. As a matter of fact he had a highly enjoyable time. The State Chronicle during his editorship is one of the most cherished recollections of older North Carolinians to-day. Even those who hurled the liveliest epithets in his direction have long since accepted the ideas for which Page was then contending; "the only trouble with him," they now ruefully admit, "was that he was forty years ahead of his time." They recall with satisfaction the satiric accounts which Page used to publish of Democratic Conventions---solemn, long-winded, frock-coated, white-necktied affairs that displayed little concern for the reform of the tariff or of the civil service, but an energetic interest in pensioning Confederate veterans and erecting monuments to the Southern heroes of the Civil War. One editorial is joyfully recalled, in which Page referred to a public officer who was distinguished for his dignity and his family tree, but not noted for any animated administration of his duties, as "Thothmes II." When this bewildered functionary searched the Encyclopaedia and learned that " Thothmes II " was an Egyptian king of the XVII1th dynasty, whose dessicated mummy had recently been disinterred from the hot sands of the desert, he naturally stopped his subscription to the paper. The metaphor apparently tickled Page, for he used it in a series of articles which have become immortal in the political annals of North Carolina. These have always been known as the "Mummy letters." They furnished a vivid but rather aggravating explanation for the existing backwardness and chauvinism of the commonwealth. All the trouble, it seems, was caused by the "mummies." "It is an awfully discouraging business," Page wrote, "to undertake to prove to a mummy that it is a mummy. You go up to it and say, 'Old fellow, the Egyptian dynasties crumbled several thousand years ago: you are a fish out of water. You have by accident or the Providence of God got a long way out of your time. This is America.' The old thing grins that grin. which death set on its solemn features when the world was young; and your task is so pitiful that even the humour of it is gone. Give it up."

Everything great in North Carolina, Page declared, belonged to a vanished generation. "Our great lawyers, great judges, great editors, are all of the past. . . . In the general intelligence of the people, in intellectual force and in cultivation, we are doing nothing. We are not doing or getting more liberal ideas, a broader view of this world. . . . The presumptuous powers of ignorance, heredity, decayed respectability and stagnation that control public action and public expression are absolutely leading us back intellectually."

But Page did more than berate the mummified aristocracy which, he declared, was driving the best talent and initiative from the state; he was not the only man in Raleigh who expressed these unpopular views; at that time, indeed, he was the centre and inspiration of a group of young progressive spirits who held frequent meetings to devise ways of starting the state on the road to a new existence. Page then, as always, exercised a great fascination over young men. The apparently merciless character of his ridicule might at first convey the idea of intolerance; the fact remains, however, that he was the most tolerant of men; he was almost deferential to the opinions of others, even the shallow and the inexperienced; and nothing delighted him more than an animated discussion. His liveliness of spirits, his mental and physical vitality, the constant sparkle of his talk, the sharp edge of his humour, naturally drew the younger men to his side. The result was the organization of the Wautauga Club, a gathering which held monthly meetings for the discussion of ways and means of improving social and educational conditions in North Carolina. The very name gives the key to its mental outlook. The Wautauga colony was one of the last founded in North Carolina---in the extreme west, on a plateau of the Great Smoky Mountains; it was always famous for the energy and independence of its people. The word "Wautauga" therefore suggested the breaker of tradition; and it provided a stimulating name for Page's group of young spiritual and economic pathfinders. The Wautauga Club had a brief existence of a little more than two years, the period practically covering Page's residence in the state; but its influence is an important fact at the present time. It gave the state ideas that afterward caused something like a revolution in its economic and educational status. The noblest monument to its labours is the State College in Raleigh, an institution which now has more than a thousand students, for the most part studying the mechanic arts and scientific agriculture. To this one college most North Carolinians to-day attribute the fact that their state in appreciable measure is realizing its great economic and industrial opportunities. From it in the last thirty years thousands of young men have gone: in all sections of the commonwealth they have caused the almost barren acres to yield fertile and diversified crops; they have planted everywhere new industries; they have unfolded unsuspected resources and everywhere created wealth and spread enlightenment. This institution is a direct outcome of Page's brief sojourn in his native state nearly forty years ago. The idea originated in his brain; the files of the State Chronicle tell the story of his struggle in its behalf; the activities of the Wautauga Club were largely concentrated upon securing its establishment.

The State College was a great victory for Page, but final success did not come until three years after he had left the state. For a year and a half of hard newspaper work convinced Page that North Carolina really had no permanent place for him. The Chronicle was editorially a success: Page's articles were widely quoted, not only in his own state but in New England and other parts of the Union. He succeeded in stirring up North Carolina and the South generally, but popular support for the Chronicle was not forthcoming in sufficient amount to make the paper a commercial possibility. Reluctantly and sadly Page had to forego his hope of playing an active part in rescuing his state from the disasters of the Civil War. Late in the summer of 1885, he again left for the North, which now became his permanent home.