Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/47

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27
IN AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

Benjamin Franklin, whom Matthew Arnold called the incarnation of sanity and clear sense, and of whom Sir Samuel Romilly said:

"Of all the celebrated persons whom in my life I have chanced to see, Dr. Franklin, both from his appearance and conversation, seemed to me the most remarkable, * * * he impressed me with an opinion of him as one of the most extraordinary men that ever existed."

Not only was he an extraordinary diplomat, but one of the most successful. Those who believe that written rules and precedents bound in calfskin constitute diplomacy—or that a great ambassador is a kind of sharp special pleader sent out to drive as shrewd a material bargain as possible with the "enemy"—would do well to read the procedure of this father and master of all American statecraft. His enormous strength, carped at by all petty partisans of his time, consisted in an attitude toward his opponents so obviously fair and sympathetic, so generously conciliatory and humanly honest, that he quickly became not