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The motion to refer the matter to the officers of the Society as a special committee was then put and carried unanimously. The Society then adjourned.
L. M. DAYTON, Recording Secretary.
The Society and invited guests assembled, marched to the dininghall to the music of the U. S. Band from Ft. Snelling, were seated as assigned, and called to order by the President at 8:50 o'clock. About three hundred and fifty in all participated, seated at four long tables.
General Sherman was seated at a table raised on a dais at the the head of the hall, at his right being Ex-Secretary of War Ramsey, Mayor O'Brien, Colonel Dayton, General McNulty and General Sanborn; on his left were seated Governor Hubbard, Senator Sabin, Major Plunket, General Hammond and General Smith.
At the request of the President, Bishop Ireland pronounced grace.
The dinner was all that could be wished, and was enjoyed until 10:30 o'clock, when the President called attention, saying: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
The time has arrived when we should give our attention to the toasts prepared for this occasion. I regret that two or three of our speakers are absent; however, we will take up the list in its exact order, and I ask the audience to remain as quiet as possible, as this is not a good hall for hearing. We always commence our banquets by a toast to the President of the United States. He was nominally our commander-in-chief in war, as the head of the nation.
The Society of the Army of the Tennessee is rich in members, as it numbers on its rolls ex-Presidents, cabinet officers and a great many high officials. I am told by the committee that General Gresham, a great favorite among the members of the Army of the Tennessee, who was wounded terribly in the fight before Atlanta, and who has lived an honorable life in Indiana, and is now Postmaster-General of the United States, cannot be here; he finds that everybody in this country is writing letters, and he holds himself responsible to see that those letters reach their destination; therefore he finds his time fully occupied in Washington.
So the committee was compelled to cast around for some other person, either an ex. President or a cabinet officer, but, as they found none, they took the next best one they could find-one who expects to be President-certainly a cabinet officer-and who hails from the kingdom of Missouri, and the county of Pike. [Laughter.] I was a little amused to-day in reading the newspaper, to see what fame is. “Dve” is a good name, but Dyer is better; now I think we understand what military fame is—to be killed on the battle-field, and have your name pelled wrong in the newspapers. [Laughter.]. Dyer, your name is spelled wrong in the newspaper, but not on the bill of fare—I wrote it myself; and I call upon General Dyer, from the State of Missouri, to respond to the
First TOAST—“ The President of the United States."
I thank you, Mr. President, for your kind allusion to the State from which I come, and especially with reference to the county from which I come, and I am glad to know that some gentleman, distinguished in the military service of the country as well as in civil life, had been selected to respond to the first toast of this evening-a most appropriate toast, and one that is always drank at the meeting of the army officers, wherever they may be—"The President of the United States"-[applause]—the commander of all the forces upon the land and upon the sea, in peace or in war, whose orders to the soldiers that are true to the country are always obeyed without a question. [Applause.] But, not being distinguished either in military or civil life, having led an humble life in the county of Pike—from whence Joe Bowers cameslaughter] - I should not be expected, on an occasion like this, to make a speech that would be as acceptable to you, Mr. President, and the ladies and gentlemen here assembled, as speech that would have been made by General Gresham, the Postmaster-General of the United States, or by my distinguished fellow-citizen, Major William Warner, of Kansas City, whose name appears upon this bill of fare to-night; so that, in this mistake, if it be a mistake of yours, in calling upon me to respond to this toast to-night, Warner's name, which is upon the bill of fare, and all others in the room will suffer also.
A voice:–He will give you credit, too.
Colonel Dyer:-He will get no credit, I am sure, but I am willing to say that, having been chosen to fill his shoes upon this occasion, if there is a failure, I am perfectly willing that he himself shall enjoy that failure [laughter] by not being here to-night.
Mr. President, with the number of toasts that are to be responded to to-night, with the distinguished gentlemen who are to respond to them, I certainly will not be expected to keep you waiting but a few minutes.
The officer, more than the man, is the one that we are called to respond to. He is the highest officer in the government of the United States, but, while the highest officer and the chief executive of this country, he is a servant of those who make him the President of the United States; and so framed is our constitution that, for any crime of high misdemeanor, of which he may be found guilty, a remedy is given, by conferring upon the people's representatives in the Lower House of Congress the power to present articles of impeachment against him before the Senate of the United States, there to be tried for those crimes and misdemeanors, and, if found guilty, of removing him from the high office which the people of this country have entrusted to him. It is a government of law—the President of the United States himself must obey it, as we must obey him,— by virtue of the same constitution which makes him the President of the United States. Wherever that officer's name is mentioned, and whoever may, for the time, fill the office of President, his name and his office are respected by every soldier that carries a musket, and by every seaman upon every sea, and upon every ship that floats the flag of the United States. [Applause.] It is a respected office—it is the highest office in the gift of the people, and should be filled by only those whose ability and statesmanship may guide us safely between any rocks that may turn up, on either side of the ocean. [Applause.] The captain of this noble ship should have enlarged public views, and should be a wise statesman, capable of guiding it and directing it in all the waters in which that ship may float, and, inasmuch as he is the head of this government, the representative through whom the people of this country must speak, he should be the embodiment of Americanism and of national unity in this land of ours. [Applause.] Wherever our flag floats, whether upon waters within our own country, or upon foreign waters; whether in the extreme North
or the extreme South, wherever that flag floats it should be honored and respected; and one of the duties of the chief executive of this country, is to enforce the laws of the country, and to see that the humblest citizen of the United States is protected, wherever he may be, [applause,] whether at home or abroad, whether within our boundary lines or beyond them, wherever the right of an American citizen has been interfered with, he, as the chief executive of this country, sworn to enforce the constitution and the laws of the country, ought to protect him; and, whether that flag floats over him in the Southern or the Northern portion of this country; whether it float over him in the Southern portion of the world, or the Arctic regions of the North, every citizen has a right to its protection; and it is the duty of every soldier that is under it, whether in the naval or military service of the country, to see that those rights are given to him, and the executive officer of the country, the President of the United States, is the chief officer to enforce these rights of American citizens everywhere.
Now, Mr. President, speaking of this office, I hope to see the day comc, in the life that I may yet be permitted to live, when there shall be but one term for the presidency. [Applause.] I hope to see that term extended from four to six years, and that he who is once elected President of the United States may not aspire to that office thereafter, [applause] but that, after his term of office shall have been ended, and he shall have retired from this high position to which the American people have elevated him, he shall not retire an humble citizen, as it were, with many dependent upon his own resources and his own means for support, but the country, that thought well enough of him to make him President, shall retire him upon a pension. [Prolonged applause.]
I am not here to speak of the various men who have filled this exalted position, but the one who comes into our minds whenever the presidential office is mentioned is he, who was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen;" [applause] and the long line of those who have followed him with distinguished services and brilliant records in behalf of the country, during the several periods of time they have served it, comes to our minds also. But here, among these men, here among you, some of you that are growing grey, and have grown grey in the last fifteen or twenty years, there comes a name that is sweet