Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biographical Sketch
THE time is not yet for an authoritative biography of Henry Cabot Lodge. Bishop Lawrence in this volume has not undertaken to write one. He calls his hook “A Biographical Sketch.’ It is exactly that. He dedicates it ‘to the happy memory of two friends, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge.’
The author has Mr. Roosevelt much in mind in writing of Mr. Lodge. One of the most significant portions in the book is the chapter covering the friendship of these two. The particularly significant suggestion in the chapter is of the debt which Roosevelt owed to Lodge — not for things done, but for counsel given or for brakes applied. ‘Would Theodore have been what he was,’ asks Bishop Lawrence, ‘without the wise counsel and the self-restraint of Cabot?' It is plainly in the author’s mind that, from the beginning of the friendship between these two men, Mr. Lodge was a wise counselor and Mr. Roosevelt an appreciative pupil. He quotes a letter from Mr. Roosevelt to Mr. Lodge in 1900: ‘You are the only man whom in all my life I have met who has repeatedly and in every way done for me what I could not do for myself and nobody else would do.’
The author’s discussion of this, one of the most interesting of all American political friendships, is presented with a free hand and the swing of understanding. When he vent ures into the more troubled areas of the World War and the League of Nations, the result is less persuasive. It may be that when the final establishment of Mr. Lodge in history comes, the chapter on the League of Nations will stand less in the foreground than it does to-day. Mr. Lodge’s political life was long, varied, colorful, and important.
Sketching the career of his subject, the author starts with the stock and youth of Mr. Lodge, gives glimpses of his life in his boyhood home, in school, in college, and of his beginnings in politics. Readers will notice that in the second line of the first chapter he refers to him as Cabot. Lodge. Nowhere in the book, excepting once, does he use either his full name or his first name, Henry. Yet, outside of the circle of his intimate acquaintances, be was almost invariably called by his full name, Henry Cabot Lodge. Few called him Cabot. The only member of the Senate in recent years ever to address him by either of his given names always greeted him as Henry.
Bishop Lawrence presents a pleasing picture of Mr. Lodge. His effort is less to marshal the facts in his career than to set. forth for the reader a sympathetic comprehension of his character. This he effectively does. Readers who wish to learn details of Senator Lodge’s life, who wish to analyze his acts and methods, who wish to glimpse his eloquence and Scholarship, will not find these things here. They will find an earnest presentation of one good man’s lifelong friendship and esteem for another.
EDWARD ELWELL WHITING