Go Slow on Crimea
Why Ukraine Should Not Rush to Retake the Peninsula
IGNACE PADEREWSKI celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday on November 6.
His career as a musician is so well known, he is so universally recognized as an artist of genius, that it is hardly necessary even to refer to that side of him in an article dedicated to the period in which he suddenly sprang into fame as a statesman, except in so far as this is needful in order to explain how and to what degree his musical career assisted him to help his country at a most critical period of her history. Most of those who never came into contact with him during the Paris Conference, or in Warsaw during his term of office as Prime Minister, are probably unaware to what extent his international reputation as an artist enabled him to obtain his first personal contacts with statesmen in Washington, London and Paris. But above all things it was the force of his own remarkable personality, his candid faith in justice and righteousness, and resulting from these his powers of persuasion, which gave him such outstanding influence and helped so greatly to decide the fortunes of Poland both at Paris and Warsaw during the difficult days of the first intoxication of freedom, a time perilous not only for Poland but also for the other lands which received liberty at the greatly and very unjustly abused Paris Conference.
I write this advisedly. It is clear to anyone with a knowledge of the history and geography of Central and South Eastern Europe that, though some injustices were certainly committed in the various treaties made at Paris, these injustices literally weigh as nothing in the balance in comparison with those that were removed. The restoration of Poland as an independent country with free access to the sea is probably the best example of this assertion. And this was very largely the work of Paderewski.
It is not too much to say that the Polish nation, which attained the status of an important Power in Europe as far back perhaps as A.D. 1000 under Boleslav the Great, and up to the Renaissance developed both culturally and politically far more rapidly than its neighbors to the east, north and west, namely Russia and East and West Prussia, was before the Great War as completely wiped off the minds of men as it was off the map of Europe. Few people could tell what its boundaries had been in 1772 at the time of the first Partition between Prussia, Russia and Austria. Few knew anything about its history, except perhaps that some remembered vaguely that there had been a series of unsuccessful insurrections against Russia during the first seventy years of the nineteenth century. The general feeling, if it ever was formulated, was that the Poles were a restless, troublesome, intriguing race who might be happy if they would but give up their dreams of independence and reunion. Their cause, divided as they were between three great Empires of Europe, was hopeless. Frederick the Great was right when he said at the time of the Partition that there would never be war between Prussia, Russia and Austria because they had gone to communion together and divided the Host. The Chancelleries of Europe no longer discussed the Polish question. It had sunk into complete oblivion.
Then for Poland the great miracle happened. When the war broke out in 1914 there seemed as little hope as ever that it could bring her any benefit by way of a rectification of the flagrant injustice of the Partition. But little by little the three Great Powers which were fighting around and across her gradually staggered and fell. First Russia, the great steam roller, dissolved and weltered away under the hot blast of Prussian and Austrian cannons. Next came the turn of Austria. Finally on November 11, 1918, Germany also fell to pieces like a house of cards.
Long before this date, naturally, patriotic Poles had been busy preparing for the possibility of a restoration of at least some part of their country and their liberties. But their councils were, very naturally in the circumstances, divided. It was difficult for them to decide to unite in an appeal for help to the Allied Powers. Generally speaking, it may be said that the Russian Poles, looking for freedom from their oppressors the Russians, began to hope for assistance from the Central Powers in the event that these should be victorious (as most Continental neutrals believed they would be). The Austrian and German Poles, when their masters began to totter, commenced to approach representatives of the Entente with a view to obtaining some of the liberties which were being promised subject nations by the democratic Powers. Obviously divisions in Polish councils were bound to follow.
Among the groups of Polish patriots formed during the critical months in 1916-17 when the issue of the war hung in the balance was one called the "National Committee" whose chief was M. Dmowski, leader of the National Democrat Party. The Committee's aims, apart from reëstablishing their country's independence, were conservative, anti-socialist and nationalist.
It was at this point that Paderewski entered on the political stage. Various members of the Committee were chosen to represent it in the different Allied and Associated capitals. Dmowski as head of the National Committee at first remained in Warsaw. Piltz was put in charge in Paris, Sobanski in London and Skirmunt in Rome, while Paderewski went to the United States. He was chosen no doubt because through his musical tours he was better known in North America than any of his countrymen and because he could speak and write English. Paderewski believed that the moment of Poland's liberation was at hand. He felt that he could at one and the same time carry on propaganda for the starving and devastated areas of Poland which had passed from hand to hand during the war, make personal contacts with the principal politicians and leading business men of the United States, and deliver addresses explaining to all sorts and conditions of men the real nature of the complex Polish problem. "La patrie avant tout," he said. "L'art ensuite." In pursuit of his object he gave concerts for the benefit of the Polish devastated areas, and interlarded the numbers with addresses on the Polish situation. He was a great natural orator, but he also made a definite and close study of oratory as an art. In his tours back and forth across the American continent, addressing everywhere vast audiences at universities, in concert halls and theatres, collecting very large sums for Polish relief, he certainly, with the combined help of his music and his oratory, exercised a very exceptional influence. It is reported that one Senator, meeting him at an evening party, said: "I am told, Mr. Paderewski, that every time you play that fascinating instrument of yours (making a movement with his arms as though using the bow of a violin) you add another Province to Poland."
Colonel House, describing the situation in the Polish colony in America said: "When Paderewski reached America the entire situation was completely changed. He gave to the American Poles a single purpose, checking all futile and scattered desires. Having foreseen before others the part the United States was to play in the Great Tragedy, Paderewski never lost faith in the ultimate outcome. In what measure the efforts and sagacity of Paderewski were crowned by success may be gauged by the fact that towards the end of 1916 his countrymen in America, without dissent, chose him as their plenipotentiary, conferring upon him power of attorney to act for them and decide all political matters in their name or on their behalf."[i]
Paderewski won over to the Polish cause not only Colonel House but the more difficult personality of President Wilson.
One evening Paderewski played at the White House -- by exception, for the artist-statesman had given up playing privately. He played only Chopin. The President was not very musically inclined, but he was touched by some human chord and a conversation followed during which Paderewski was able to interpret to the President the shocking situation of Poland and make real to him the story of the Partition, that callous dismemberment of the living body of the Polish nation amongst its neighbors. The President's sympathy for the cause of Poland never changed, and bore good fruit later at the Paris Conference.
On January 8, 1917, Colonel House asked Paderewski for a detailed Memorandum on the Polish problem for submission to the President. Paderewski handed one to House, who left for Washington with it on January 11. On his return he informed Paderewski that, having almost committed the essential passages to memory, he had been able on more than one occasion to develop its arguments to the President, who declared he absolutely agreed with them. House concluded: "Today the President withdrew to his room. In solitude he is preparing his message. The bomb will explode in a few days' time."
In his message to Congress of January 22, President Wilson for the first time mentioned Poland. "Statesmen everywhere," he said, "are agreed that there should be a united, independent and autonomous Poland." It was, says Mr. Rom Landau, the first time in a hundred years that a leading statesman had dared to mention publicly the necessity for a new Poland.
Twelve months later President Wilson formulated and published his famous Fourteen Points. The thirteenth advocated a united independent Poland "with a free and secure access to the sea." This was all-important. It is true that other countries like Switzerland had existed for centuries without access to the sea. But the position of Poland is peculiar. She is a country of the first magnitude. Further, a strip of territory connecting her most westerly province with the Baltic Sea near Danzig (though that city itself is indeed overwhelmingly German) is hers by right of history, race, language and the sentiments of its inhabitants. This strip, now generally known as the "Polish Corridor," had been an integral part of Poland before the Partition.[ii] Unfortunately it divided the two German provinces of East and West Prussia. The problem was whether it was more unfair to agree that those two provinces should lack a land connection, or to deprive Poland of her seacoast and make her dependent on the good will of Germany for her power to import and export freely by sea.
The delegations of the Great Powers at Paris agreed without difficulty on giving the "Corridor" to Poland. It undoubtedly was Paderewski who convinced both Wilson and House of the justice and expediency of this measure. Today, the more one examines the problem from every side, the more it appears that the step was vital to a really independent Polish state, while at the same time was not of such a nature as to inflict any serious injury on Germany. The principal argument against it, that it looks ragged on the map, appeals only to those ignorant of the real circumstances. The Treaty insisted that free railway traffic between East and West Prussia must be maintained without interference by Polish Customs authorities. After some early trouble, I believe it may now be stated with confidence that the Polish Government fully realizes that it is not to its advantage to make difficulties for German traffic across the "Corridor."
When Paderewski left New York for Paris shortly after the Armistice he could feel satisfied that the main objectives of his work there had been accomplished. In Paris he conferred with members of the French Government, and also with Dmowski as to the future policy of the National Committee. From Paris he went on to London, where he at once went to see Arthur Balfour, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who was an old friend and who had already promised British support for an independent Poland.
Balfour pointed out, however, that Poland was in one respect in an unfortunate position. He did not see, he said, how she could be represented at the Peace Conference in which her fate would be decided. The British Government had recognized the National Committee as the responsible Polish Government. But they had not recognized the Polish Government then in being in Warsaw (that of Pilsudski), and the latest news from there was not reassuring. Yet it was necessary for Poland to be represented at the Conference. Mr. Balfour said with emphasis: "It is your task, Paderewski. I want you to go to Poland to unite the Polish hearts."
The Government which had been established in Warsaw was that of a most remarkable man and great patriot. Pilsudski, having fought on the Austrian side as a guerilla chief against Russia, being chief of the activist elements among the Socialists in Poland, and having a large armed following, had later in the war been imprisoned by the Germans. He was released by them on the eve of the Armistice, hurried back to Warsaw, organized an armed force to keep order, and arranged for the evacuation of the country by all German troops. He seized the reins of the administration and made himself de facto ruler of Poland, whatever the National Committee in Paris might say or do. He was the object of profound suspicion to the National Committee, and returned it with interest. It looked very much as if all the new hopes for Poland might be wrecked on this fatal antagonism.
It was to this state of things that Balfour alluded when he said it was Paderewski's task to go to Poland "to unite Polish hearts." Poland owes him a very great debt of gratitude for his wise foresight. Paderewski understood and promised to go, but said he would only go by sea via Danzig and Posen. For this it would be necessary for him to travel by a ship of the British Navy. At first Balfour hesitated; but Paderewski, scenting the importance that his arrival in a British ship would unquestionably give to his mission in Polish eyes, insisted. He was informed, after Balfour had had time to consult his colleagues, that he could start on December 21 by a small cruiser, the Concord, a name of good omen.
So on that day, in this vessel, M. and Madame Paderewski started on their fateful journey. The sea was rough and still sown with mines. In spite of cold and discomfort, Paderewski with all his accustomed sociability enjoyed greatly the talk which he had with Captain Paton and the officers of the Concord. One evening he was invited to the Wardroom and repaid their kindness by playing to them on their old tinkling half-crazy piano. It was hard work, he told me, for apart from its being out of tune, the hammers wouldn't work properly, the pedals stuck, and the ship rolled and twisted to avoid floating mines. It was a memorable experience for both the officers and the great musician. After it was over his audience clapped and cheered, but he said his hands and arms were stiff for days after and one leg felt as if it had been wounded. Nevertheless he enjoyed it all and always spoke of that journey with real gusto. I do not remember poor Madame Paderewska being quite so enthusiastic.
After touching at Copenhagen, to pick up Colonel Wade, British Military Attaché to Denmark, who was to accompany Paderewski to Warsaw and then act as British liaison officer with the Polish authorities, the Concord proceeded to Danzig and arrived there on Christmas Day, 1919. A few Poles came to greet the patriot on his arrival at the empty docks. Other leading Poles, such as M. Korfanty the deputy from Upper Silesia, met him in the town and all together went by special train to Posen. A German officer who did not wear the red socialist badges met him at a station half way, clicked his heels, saluted in the old way and told him that the train could only proceed if it went straight through to Warsaw without stopping. After a parley, however, it was arranged that they might stop at Posen.
The enthusiasm created by his arrival in Posen knew no bounds, and flags of all kinds were hung out, including some British, French and American and even a red one flown by the German Soldiers' Council. A scarcely perceptible revolution declared Posen Polish, and some students stuck an old straw hat over the pickelhaube of Bismarck's statue by the Imperial Castle and put a third-class one-way ticket in its hand. This was, I believe, the extent of ill treatment accorded by the Poles of the City of Posen to the German population after 137 years of foreign domination. Some may think that this was due to the freedom and the friendly rule which they had enjoyed. But those who read the history of the Bismarckian persecutions will think otherwise.
On January 3 Paderewski arrived in Warsaw and was met by a crowd displaying the wildest enthusiasm. The resurrected Polish flag was everywhere. Soldiers in new Polish uniforms were on the platforms. The whole town was transformed. This was glorious, but at the back of the mind of the artist-statesman brooded no doubt the thought "What sort of a man is the new dictator, General Joseph Pilsudski?" Would it be possible to work harmoniously with him and create that union of hearts which Mr. Balfour had urged on him and which was in that crisis necessary for the salvation of the country? This was the new task.
Pilsudski came of an old and noble but impoverished house, Polish by race but Lithuanian by long settlement. He had been banished as a conspirator to Siberia at nineteen. Released after five years, he became an active inspirer of revolution against the Tsarist Governments for the liberation of Poland, his life's dream. Mainly for this object he joined the activist Socialist Party, founded a secret socialist paper, was again arrested and imprisoned in the fortress of Warsaw, and escaped. He played hide and seek with the Russian police for some years till the Russo-Japanese war broke out. Then he organized a band of armed guerillas to hamper the Russian Government, often attacking trains conveying government money. On one famous occasion he captured 2,800,000 rubles. He always gave a receipt for what he took so that the officers of the convoy might not themselves be suspected of theft. His object was to make the Russian Government pay the cost of his campaign against them.
In 1914 he placed himself and his secret military organization at the disposal of Austria to fight his great enemies the Russians. He had considerable success. But friction developed between him and the Austrians and Germans and in July 1917 he was arrested by the Germans and imprisoned in the fortress of Magdeburg. Two days before the Armistice the Germans released him and sent him back to Warsaw. Here he gathered his old legionaries, re-organized the railway service under most difficult conditions, sent the leaderless German troops home (their commander General von Beseler having escaped down the Vistula), and placed himself at the head of the de facto Government of Poland.
The Allied and Associated Governments had recognized the National Committee in Poland as the true representatives of the country. The latter refused to treat with Pilsudski, whom they regarded in some sense as a usurper who had till recently been fighting against them and the Allies for the Austrians and Germans. No one in London or Paris knew anything about Pilsudski; his past life had been that of a revolutionary conspirator and it was quite impossible to say what line he would take now. He indeed protested friendliness for the Allied victors. But just as the National Committee regarded him with grave mistrust, so he did them, believing that they wished to oust him from his position of chief of the state. His very features were unknown to the Polish patriots in Paris and still more to the statesmen of the Entente. He was in fact a genuine mystery man. His guerilla successes were all that were known of him, and for these he had grown to be a sort of legendary hero among the Socialists -- whom the National Committee feared, incidentally, quite as much as the Russians!
Pilsudski was the exact reverse of Paderewski. His face was striking, with very deep set, keen eyes and dark eyebrows that met over the bridge of the nose, and with finely chiselled nose and decided chin. With his spare figure and in a plain grey uniform he looked every inch a conspirator soldier, and his silences and lack of all effort to please confirmed this impression.
Paderewski, on the other hand, was above all the artist and man of the world, carefully if rather unusually dressed, who loved, within reason, good living, good company and good talk to which he could contribute his full share. Both had this in common, that they adored their country above all. But they differed so deeply in everything else that after a time to work together and in daily contact became intolerable.
The first question which confronted Paderewski on his arrival was whether he would be able to charm the man of mystery into coöperating with the National Committee.
Mr. Rom Landau gives a graphic account of the first meeting of these two men whose coöperation was vital to Poland: "When both men rose after the long conversation Paderewski knew that no understanding was possible, and not merely because of a difference of political opinion. It was as though two planets had tried to revolve in the same orbit." The same evening Paderewski was informed that Prince Sapieha and some friends were preparing a coup d'état against the Socialist Government then in office. Paderewski would have nothing to do with it and left that night for Cracow. Whatever happened, he was not going to assist in creating a breach instead of a union of hearts.
The next night, about 3 a.m., General Szeptycki, Pilsudski's right hand man, arrived at Cracow, called on Paderewski in his hotel, and told him that the coup d'état had been suppressed and that Prince Sapieha and his friends had been arrested. Pilsudski was now asking Paderewski to return to Warsaw and form a Cabinet. Paderewski at once decided to accept, begged Madame Paderewska to have a cup of hot tea made for the General, and arranged to travel back with him in a special train. He became Prime Minister, with Pilsudski, the man of mystery, as head of the state and of the army. The union of hearts had been created, just as everything seemed to be falling to pieces.
I made an entry in my diary in Paris on January 15 to the effect that Poland was saved. This was perfectly true. Paderewski had somehow charmed Pilsudski into so much of the spirit of union as was necessary for the time being.
The first Parliament of resurrected Poland was opened with ceremony in Warsaw on February 10. Many splendid uniforms and ecclesiastical vestments were brought out for the occasion, but General Pilsudski wore only his old plain tunic of the first brigade of the Legions. There was an inclination in some quarters to criticize him, accuse him of intentionally exaggerated simplicity. I doubt this; it was just his nature to pay no attention to such things as clothes. His position as chief of the state was confirmed unanimously by Parliament, which also on February 20 passed a vote of confidence in Paderewski as Prime Minister.
Despite this, Paderewski's position was difficult, for he was undoubtedly expected to obtain from the Allied and Associated Governments in Paris much more than they could agree to give. There were some Polish parties which clamored for a Poland extending to the Black Sea and including Kiev, not understanding that anything of this kind would be the surest way to bring down ruin on their country. The population was also in terrible straits for all the necessities of life. The land had been devastated by the ebb and flow of the war as perhaps no other. Paderewski's personal influence with the President of the United States enabled him to arrange that Mr. Hoover be sent on a mission to Warsaw to plan for food supplies from America, and this strengthened the Prime Minister's position. But the situation remained very uneasy; communist propaganda was growing more active and there were disturbances, strikes and demonstrations.
Paderewski was no doubt glad when in April he was able to leave for Paris in order to take part in the Peace Conference as the principal Polish delegate. The atmosphere there was more congenial than that of the Seym, for in truth he was not made for the rough and tumble of parliamentary life.
Before that time, however, an International Commission[iii] was sent from Paris to Warsaw with two objectives. First, to report to the four principal Allied Powers whether the new state of Poland could be considered sufficiently established to be recognized de jure as well as de facto, so that Poland might be admitted to the Conference on the footing of a recognized state. Secondly, to endeavor to arrange armistices on the various fronts on which Poland was still fighting her enemies. It will seem incredible to most readers that at the time when the International Commission arrived at Warsaw, i.e. on Wednesday February 12, fighting of a serious character was still going on to the north-east against the Russian Bolsheviks, who had actually reached Vilna in Lithuania, and on the south-east, in Galicia, against the Ruthenes who were trying to seize Lemberg and establish an independent republic; while on the west fighting of a desultory character still continued with German forces near Posen, and in the Duchy of Teschen, on the south-west, with the Czechoslovaks.
The two-fold nature of the work to be done by the International Commission necessitated visits to nearly all these centres of disturbance, besides careful investigations into the local conditions throughout the country, especially in some of the greater towns -- Warsaw, Posen, Cracow, Lemberg, etc.
I give here the entry in my diary for the day of our arrival at Warsaw:
Wednesday 12th. February. At first Polish station a deputation with guard of honor, band, flags, speeches etc. M. Noulens, the French Delegate who is accompanied by his wife, made excellent speeches. Similar greetings in our honor occurred at each large town. One town, Novo-Radomsk, enjoyed the unenviable distinction of having passed seven times from one hand to another during the War. People at these stations looked very anaemic, ragged and poor. At Warsaw where we arrived about 4.30. p.m. the station was packed. M. Paderewski, the Prime Minister, came to greet us. Allied flags everywhere and lines of old Guild flags made the station quite bright. After speeches, a march past of a few soldiers, then the drive through the streets packed with thousands of people all cheering for the Allies as we drove at foot's pace in open motors. I felt that the people looked on us as in some sense saviors. Poland was beset on four fronts by Germans, Bolsheviks, Ukrainians and Czechs. We were expected to save them and bring them food, clothes, arms, etc. It is to be hoped that the Allies will decide to do something at last.
I well remember the impression Paderewski made on me that day. His marvelous halo of red gold hair turning grey, his pale face and clear cut features, his great fur coat, for it was very cold, and the graceful courtesy of his welcome. It was, strange to say, the first time I had ever seen him, for I had been a wanderer all my life and had never been in any city where he was giving concerts, so that it was my destiny to hear him speak in public long before I heard him play. But I realized immediately that he was what the Italians call simpatico in a high degree, and one of those people in whose presence it was pleasant to be.
Our drive at foot's pace through the dark slushy streets, lit here and there by arc lamps and made as gay as possible with Polish and Allied flags, the enthusiastic cheers of the crowds, the small urchins swarming like bees about and over our motor cars, the terrible poverty and hunger of the population and the feeling above all that we were actually living through and sharing in the resurrection of a nation which had lain in the tomb for nearly one hundred and fifty years, which even now could barely realize its own liberation, made that slow progress one of the most remarkable events of my life. It returns to me even now with extraordinary vividness.
We met Paderewski the following day, and occasionally dined with him. We heard him speak and realized that he was a consummate orator, speaking equally well in French and English. In Polish he was a really great orator, though not perhaps of the kind most suitable for a Parliament composed to a great extent of somewhat uncultivated people. I remember that when the Seym held a special session of welcome in honor of our Commission, the Prime Minister, who had made a most graceful and eloquent speech in French, repeated what he had said in Polish, possibly even more decoratively than in French, when from among the peasant members dressed in their picturesque costumes there came a voice "But this is not a concert." The House laughed. Paderewski was put out of his stride for a moment, then he laughed with the rest and continued unperturbed.
Occasionally when he was wound up in a speech he could be easily put off his train of thought by a sudden interruption. When a farewell banquet was given to the Commission on our return to Paris on March 29, among the sixteen speeches which were delivered in Polish, English, French and Italian, Paderewski's in French was of course the outstanding one. There was, however, one moment of uneasiness. When he was in the midst of one of his well-turned phrases the band at the far end of the hall struck up some national anthem. It was at once silenced, but not before it had effectively silenced Paderewski, who stood there for two or three minutes trying to recapture his train of thought. Then he shook his halo vigorously and said: "Vraiment la musique commence à m'embêter." ("Really, music is beginning to annoy me.") The whole room shook with laughter, he started off again with vigor and carried his speech to a triumphant conclusion.
Among the affairs of state which occupied his attention at that time there was none more pressing than the care for the unfortunates who during the war had been dragged off into Russia and Germany to work in factories, on railways or in mines. It was said the Russians had taken off upwards of a million and the Germans about seven-hundred thousand. Many of these were returning now, some maimed, all ragged and half starved. The Prime Minister organized a special service to look after them, in which Madame Paderewska took a most active interest. One day after lunching with the Paderewskis I was taken by Madame Paderewska to visit one of the refugee camps. The refugees were coming in daily and literally in thousands. They required food and clothing and medical relief of all sorts, and had then to be sent home. It was like moving a large army. Transport was not good, and troops had also to be supplied on the four fronts on which fighting was still continuing. But where to send them so as to make room for the next batches of returning refugees? There were countless numbers whose homes had been completely destroyed and who didn't know whether any of their relatives were left alive.
Paderewski gave freely with both hands, and Mr. Hoover's Relief Mission with funds from America saved incalculable numbers from death by cold and starvation. All this went on for months after the Armistice, and was taken for granted as a natural result of the war. There were still people willing to spend money on killing their neighbors rather than on saving their women and children from dying of starvation and cold.
Then again there was the great work to be done of reorganizing the different government departments, a task trebly difficult in Poland because there were three different systems of administration -- Russian, German and Austrian -- to be assimilated and harmonized. There was no doubt that those Poles who had been taught in the Prussian school were the most efficient. But each wanted to carry on his business in the way he knew and it was a formidable task to harmonize these conflicting elements.
Finally, Paderewski had to attend to the all-important Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to correspond with the foreign statesmen whom he knew and who now were in Paris, and to give instructions to the Polish Delegation there. He had no proper offices -- nothing but one floor of the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, where he also lived and slept. I was told he often kept important telegrams from Paris in boxes under his bed. All this no doubt resulted in confusion and made work far more troublesome, giving rise to complaints. These grew in volume after Paderewski's return from Paris following the signature of the Peace Treaty, and were to result at last in a complete breach with the man in the grey tunic of the Belvedere Palace who smoked cigarettes incessantly and threw the ashes on the floor.
Meanwhile Paderewski still had to finish his part in the councils at Paris, and receive what to him must have been the crowning honor in a life filled with distinctions, the right to sign at Versailles the treaty that brought his country back among living nations.
I wondered what his feelings must have been when I saw him walk up to the table in the centre of the great Salle des Glaces of the Palace of Versailles, on which lay the Treaty awaiting his signature. He could not have been wholly satisfied, because much that Poland had hoped for and expected had not been granted her; indeed he was venomously attacked and finally driven from his place as Prime Minister by those who thought he should have obtained more. But that is the common fate of those who follow the paths of reason and of peace. At the same time he must have known that what had been obtained had come largely owing to his efforts both in the United States and in Europe, and because at a most critical period the "Union of hearts" had come about through his action.
When he finally retired from Warsaw -- embittered no doubt, it could not be otherwise -- and returned to Morges and to music, I have pictured him to myself repeating the last wonderful verse of the great soliloquy which Browning has put into the mouth of Abt Vogler, the creator of the organ:
Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes her reign. I will be patient and proud, and soberly acquiesce.
Give me the keys. I feel for the common chord again, Sliding by semitones, till I sink to the minor, -- yes,
And I blunt it into a ninth, and I stand on alien ground, Surveying awhile the heights I rolled from into the deep;
Which, hark, I have dared and done, for my resting place is found, The C Major of this life: so, now I will try to sleep.
[i] "Ignace Paderewski, Musician and Statesman," by Rom Landau. New York: Crowell, 1934. p. 111.
[ii] Before the war the district returned Polish representatives to the Prussian Diet and the German Reichstag in a great majority, except in the two cities of Danzig and Bromberg.
[iii] Consisting of the following delegates: for France, M. Noulens, former Ambassador in Russia, and Gen. Niessel. For Great Britain, Sir Esme Howard and Gen. Carton de Wiart. For Italy, Signor Montagna and Gen. Romei. For the United States, Professor Lord and General Kernan.