THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
The Coming American Monarchy?Fooling a Mesmerizer
I Perceived Thit Simn
[Dictated December i*. iqo6.]
AS regards the coming American monarchy: It
was before the Secretary of State had been
L heard from that the chairman of the ban
"In this time of unrest it is of great satisfaction
that such a man as you. Mr. Root, is chief adviser
of the President."
Mr. Root then got up and in the most quiet and
orderly manner touched off the successor to the San
Francisco earthquake. As a result, the several State
governments were well shaken up and considerably
weakened. Mr. Root was prophesying. He was
prophesying, and it seems to me that no shrewder
and surer forecasting has been done in this country
for a good many years.
He did not say in so many words that we are
proceeding in a steady march toward eventual and
unavoidable replacement of the Republic by mon
archy; but I suppose he was aware that that is the
case. He notes the several steps, the customary
steps, which in all the ages have led to the consolida
tion of loose and scattered governmental forces into
formidable centralizations of authority; but he stops
there, and doesn't add up the sum. He is not un
aware that heretofore the sum has been ultimate
monarchy, and that the same figures can fairly be
depended upon to furnish the same sum whenever
and wherever they can be produced, so long as
human nature shall remain as it is; but it was not
needful that he do the adding, since anyone can do
it; neither would it have been gracious in him to
In observing the changed conditions which in the
course of time have made certain and sure the even
tual seizure by the Washington Government of a
number of State duties and prerogatives which have
been betrayed and neglected by the several States,
he does not attribute those changes and the vast
results which are to flow from them to any thought
out policy of any party or of any tx>dy ofjdreamers
or schemers, but properly and rightly attributes
them to that stupendous power,?Circumstance,?
which moves by laws of its own, regardless of parties
and policies, and whose decrees are final, and must
be obeyed by all?and will be. The railway is a
Circumstance, the steamship is a Circumstance, the
telegraph is a Circumstance. They were mere hap
penings; and to the whole world, the wise and the
foolish alike, they were entirely trivial, wholly in
consequential; indeed silly, comical, grotesque. No
man. and no party, and no thought out policy said.
" Behold, we will build railways and steamships and
telegraphs, and presently you will see the condition
and way of life of every man and woman and child
Copyright. ltOt. by Harper A Brother*. All Ri^ht* Reserved.
aons Was *' Willing" Me with All Hi< Might.
in the nation totally changed; unimaginable changes
of law and custom will follow, in spite of anything
that anybody can do to prevent it.'
Knows What He Talk* About
?"PHE changed conditions have come, and Circum
stance knows what is following, and will follow.
So does Mr. Root. His language is not unclear,
it is crystal:
Our whole life has swung away from the old State cen
ters, and is crystallizing about national centers.
. . . . The old barriers which kept the States as
separate communities are completely lost from sight.
. . . . That [State] power of regulation and control
is gradually passing into the hands of the national Govern
Sometimes by an assertion of the interstate commerce
power, sometimes by an assertion of the taxing power, the
national Government is taking up the performance of
duties which under the changed conditions the separate
States are no longer capable of adequately performing.
We are urging forward in a development of business and
social life which tends more and more to the obliteration
of State lines and the decrease of State power as compared
with national power.
It is useless for the advocates of State rights to inveigh
against . the extension of national authority in
the fields of necessary control where the States themselves
fail in the performance of their duty.
He is not announcing a policy; he is not fore
casting what a party of planners will bring about;
he is merely telling what the people will require and
compel. And he could have added?which would
be perfectly true?that the people will not be moved
to it by speculation and cogitation and planning,
but by Circumstance, that power which arbitrarily
compels all their actions, and over which they have
not the slightest control.
The end is not yet.
It is a true word. We are on the march; but at
present we are only just getting started.
If the States continue to fail to do their duty as
required by the people?
. . constructions of the Constitution will be found
to vest the power where it will be exercised: in the national
I do not know whether that has a sinister meaning
or not, and so I will not enlarge upon it, lest I should
chance to be in the wrong. It sounds like ship
money come again; but it may not be so intended.
Can't* Help Being Born So
UUMAN nature being what it is. I suppose we must
expect to drift into monarchy by and by. It
is a saddening thought; but we cannot change our
nature: we are all alike, we human
beings: and in our blood and bone,
and ineradicable, we carry the seeds
out of which monarchies and aristoc
racies are grown: worship of gauds,
titles, distinctions, power. We have
to worship these things and their
possessors,?we are all born so, and
we cannot help it. We have to be
despised by somebody whom we re
gard as above us, or we are not
happy; we have to have somebody
to worship and envy, or we cannot
In America we manifest this in
all the ancient and customary ways.
In public we scoff at titles and
hereditary privilege; but privately
we hanker after them, and when we
get a chance we buy them for cash
and a daughter. Sometimes we get
a good man and worth the price;
but we are ready to take him any
way, whether he be ripe or rotten,
whether he be clean and decent, or
merely a basket of noble and sacred
and long descended offal. And when
we get him the whole nation publicly
chaffs and scoffs,?and privately
envies,?and also is proud of the
honor which has been conferred upon
us. We rim over our list of titled
purchases every now and then in the
newspapers, and discuss them and
caress them, and are thankful and
Like all the other nations, we wor
ship money and the possessors of it
?they being our aristocracy, and we
have to have one. We like to read
about rich people in the papers; the
papers know it, and they do their
best to keep this appetite liberally fed.
They even leave out a football bull fight now and
then to get room for all the particulars of how, ac
cording to the display heading, "Rich Woman Fell
Down Cellar?Not Hurt." The falling down the
cellar is of no interest to us when the woman is not
rich; but no rich woman can fall down cellar and
we not yearn to know all about it and wish it was us.
In a monarchy the people willingly and rejoic
ingly revere and take pride in their nobilities, and
are not humiliated by the reflection that this humble
and hearty homage gets no return but contempt
Contempt does not shame them; they are used to
it, and they recognize that it is their proper due
We are all made like that In Europe we easily
and quickly learn to take that attitude toward the
sovereigns and the aristocracies; moreover, it has
been observed that when we get the attitude we go
on and exaggerate it, presently becoming more
servile than the natives, and vainer of it. The next
step is to rail and scoff at republics and democracies.
All of which is natural; for we have not ceased to
be human beings by becoming Americans, and the
human race was always intended to be governed by
kingship, not by popular vote
I suppose we must expect that unavoidable and
irresistible Circumstances will gradually take away
the powers of the States and concentrate them in
the central Government, and that the Republic
will then repeat the history of all time and become
a monarchy; but I believe that if we obstruct these
encroachments and steadily resist them the mon
archy can be postponed for a good while yet.
Coming of the Mesmerizer
[Dictated December i, 1906.]
AN exciting event in our village (Hannibal) was
the arrival of the mesmerizer. I think the year
was 1850. As to that I am not sure; but I know the
month?it was May; that detail has survived the
wear of fifty-five years. A pair of connected little
incidents of that month have served to keep the
memory of it green for me all this time; incidents of
no consequence, and not worth embalming, yet my
memory has preserved them carefully and flung away
things of real value to give them space and make
them comfortable. The truth is, a person's memory
has no more sense than his conscience, and no
appreciation whatever of values and proportions.
However, never mind those trifling incidents; my
subject is the mesmerizer now.
He advertised his show, and promised marvels.
Admission as usual: twenty-five cents, children and
Negroes half price. The village had heard of mes
merism in a general way, but had not encountered
it yet. Not many people attended the first night;
xml | txt