Robert Bacon: Life and Letters


It is difficult for any one who knew Robert Bacon well to write about him with such reserve as will commend itself to strangers. To his friends only superlatives seem adequate. To them what he was seems infinitely more than the record of any career could possibly be. It was a distinguished and useful career, yet his usefulness consisted not merely in what he did but still more in the impression produced by his persuasive and compelling personality and his intense convictions upon the great events in which he played a part.

His life began in the year before the American Civil War and it ended in the year after the great World War. It covered a period of extraordinary development and change throughout the world--a period in which consciously or unconsciously the whole world was in motion and when directing influences for good or evil were potent beyond experience. He was born on the shore of Massachusetts Bay and he received from an unbroken line of Puritan ancestors, by direct succession, the essential underlying qualities of character which have made the spirit and developing force of Puritan New England such an amazing formative power in the life of this continent. He was educated at Harvard and in later life was long an elected overseer of the University, and finally he became a fellow, one of the little group of five who with the President and Treasurer constitute the College Corporation and direct its affairs. He became a banker in Boston and then a banker in New York. He was made Assistant Secretary of State and then Secretary of State and then Ambassador to France, and finally an officer of the American Army in France. These things came to him without any intriguing or wire-pulling or pushing or use of influence. They followed his qualities naturally; they were the by-products of strenuous labour for others unselfishly directed with little or no thought of self, inspired by sympathy, friendship, loyalty, love of country, humanity, idealism.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Garden City, NY
Publication year:
  • 1923


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