Thus finished Mr. Motley’s long and successful diplomatic service at the Court of Austria. He may have been judged hasty in resigning his place; he may have committed himself in expressing his opinions too strongly before strangers, whose true character as spies and eavesdroppers he was too high-minded to suspect. But no caution could have protected him against a slanderer who hated the place he came from, the company he kept, the name he had made famous, to whom his very look and bearing— such as belong to a gentleman of natural refinement and good breeding— must have been a personal grievance and an unpardonable offence.
I will add, in illustration of what has been said, and as showing his feeling with reference to the matter, an extract from a letter to me from Vienna, dated the 12th of March, 1867.
. . . “As so many friends and so many strangers have said so much that is gratifying to me in public and private on this very painful subject, it would be like affectation, in writing to so old a friend as you, not to touch upon it. I shall confine myself, however, to one fact, which, so far as I know, may be new to you.
“Geo. W. M’Cracken is a man and a name utterly unknown to me.
“With the necessary qualification which every man who values truth must make when asserting such a negation,—viz., to the very best of my memory and belief,—I never set eyes on him nor heard of him until now, in the whole course of my life. Not a member of my family or of the legation has the faintest recollection of any such person. I am quite convinced that he never saw me nor heard the sound of my voice. That his letter was a tissue of vile calumnies, shameless fabrications, and unblushing and contemptible falsehoods, —by whomsoever uttered,—I have stated in a reply to what ought never to have been an official letter. No man can regret more than I do that such a correspondence is enrolled in the capital among American state papers. I shall not trust myself to speak of the matter. It has been a sufficiently public scandal.”
1867-1868. AEt. 53-54.
Last two volumes of the “History of the United Netherlands.”—General criticisms of Dutch scholars on Motley’s historical works.
In his letter to me of March 12, 1867, just cited, Mr. Motley writes:—
“My two concluding
volumes of the United Netherlands are passing
rapidly through the press. Indeed, Volume III. is entirely printed
and a third of Volume IV.
“If I live ten
years longer I shall have probably written the
natural sequel to the first two works,—viz., the Thirty Years’ War.
After that I shall cease to scourge the public.