Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/77

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57
DRAMATIC MOMENTS

guillotine worked overtime to prove the equality of men. Some Americans still harbour the belief that the berth of the American diplomat is a sinecure. The opinion is prevalent among the smart dilettanti at home, that he lacks polish and power to deal with the corps of trained statesmen at the seats of the mighty. It is a safe guess that they never knew the part played by Gouverneur Morris at the most magnificent court in the world—that they never heard of the confidence and dependence placed upon the shoulders of the diplomat from Harlem when hell broke loose in Versailles and the mighty house of Bourbon, the seat of all splendour, glory, and power began to fall.

Under the savage attacks of the rising terror, ministers and cabinets fell in a day, and craven flight or the knife severed the hosts of false friends or staunch adherents from the side of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, darling of the romancers. And so it came that the last of the great feudal kings was sorely in need of an honest man, a keen counsellor, and