Page images

Mgr. Capel:- Mr. President of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee and friends of that Society, I am bound to say that I feel myself in what I may call a delicate position. I am of another nation, but thank God not of another blood, and a nation that has to be respected not only for its military achievements, but as a pioneer of civilization in many lands. That is my first difficulty in speaking to this toast. My second is my mixed blood; for my mother is Irish, and


father that was was an Englishman. I represent, then, the anomaly of a nation oppressed on one hand and the glory of the nation to which my father beionged. You will pardon me, before speaking to the toast, if I assure you that I have no prepared speech, and indulge in a few comments not of the sentiment that has been presented. But I am inspired by many things I have seen and heard in this country. If my grammar is hard, excuse me; my heart is right. Will you, then, allow me to say by way of introduction, that I am glad of this occasion, and before men who have fought a good fight, to express the pleasure I have found in what I have seen in this country. This is not merely the tribute of sympathy with a nation that has been generous in its hospi. tality, but I say it calmly, coolly and dispassionately, that you have a nation with a grandeur of the future which I can see in no other nation in the world. Pardon my frankness. Many honors have been awarded me, but none that I esteem so highly as this that is awarded me to-night, in the privilege of assuring you that I have been struck more than aught eise with the vigor of this nation as a people, and particularly with the vigor of the people of this Northwest. I cannot say that I liked New York. I was conscious that a man's respectability was measured by the size of his bank account. I had been led to expect much of the culture of Boston; that I should be addressed in the most classical of Greek and the most correct American, but I am impressed with the fact that Boston culture is the culture of superficiality. Baltimore struck me as a high-toned city, where one might find the acme of gentility; but I have found in your young and vigorous communities of this Northwest, more that impressed me with all these distinctions in my mind, and impressions of what I have seen. I must regard the honor you have conferred in according me the privilege of participation here to-night the largest honor yet conferred upon me in the United States, and in looking at this honor,

I am asked to speak to the toast of “The Victories of Peace.” First, I am struck with the grand thought that underlies your minutest details, the thought contained even in this sentiment. I cannot resist it, for it has been my lot to start under fire with all the panoply of war above me. I've watched the parting from home, and I have gone on the battlefield and watched the cool, collected thought of men in time of danger, and what glory there was, though no pain had settled on them. I have heard here tonight men of the North and men of the South, and I can imagine what it was for men of the South to meet in battle men of the North, but believed in all sincerity that they were fighting for the right. They fought, therefore, as heroes. There was your Grant and the honored heroes I see here to-night, but there is not one among you who will not say that Lee and Stonewall Jackson and a host of others were worthy of your steel. Whatever different estimates may be had of the war, there is certainly one grand point that has been gained. The war has done more to unify the nation than any other act that has occurred. People that were strangers have come to know each other upon the most intimate terms. As a Catholic priest, I may say that the war has linked together, more than anything else, the whole Catholic people, and you cannot appreciate what a power there is in this fact.

I look again on the soldier side of the question. No soldier fights because he likes to kill nen. Every soldier goes to war to support truth and justice and maintair, the liberty of the subject. I take it that such was your motive twenty years ago, as you were upholders and supporters of truth and justice. Where can you get such aid as from those that uphold the gospel of peace. The picture on the back of the menu card well expressed the thought that the object of war is not destruction, but the preservation of all that is good, true and beautiful. It is the office of the priest to teach virtue, uphold charity and do all that is conformable to law and order, and the soldier's duty is to uphold these by force; and you are anxious to have your people brought under law and order in the most advantageous way. The Catholic religion is laboring but for one purpose, and that to make the people honest, temperate, and supporters of law and order.

At this point the speaker paid a glowing tribute to the work of Bishop Ireland in the cause of temperance, the results of whose

labor he had never before seen equaled by one man. Continuing, he said that as an Englishman he was glad to be welcomed by his brethern. To be sure America was England's disobedient child, but England, however much she would have been ashamed to have been beaten by France or Germany, was not ashamed to be beaten by America, and was rather proud of her child for the powers it displayed. He had no hesitation in saying America would not be the child it is to-day under British rule. We are one blood, he concluded, and speak one language, and God forbid that anything should interfere with our friendly feelings one toward the other.

SEVENTH TOAST.-The Army of the Tennessee.

Response by General BELKNAP.

Mr. President, comrades, ladies and gentlemen: The Army of the Tennessee! There are not words enough in language to tell as should be told, the story of its deeds. Far down on the banks of the river which has its rise above us, its name is written in the blood of many of the best and bravest men. Upon the fields of the South are marked the memories of its work. Lookout Mountain tells the tale to Kenesaw, and the rivers, as they roll to the sea, bear in their names the mention of the marches this army made. Every day in the year, as it passes in the procession of time, bears in its calendar the names of some conflict where the men of this army fought and fell for the cause they loved. Where, from the hills of Vicksburg, came through its ranks the messenger of death; where against the batteries of Williams and Robinett, at Corinth, the flower of a most gallant Southern Army marched with a heroism that won the admiration of the men within the works; where on the field of Shiloh the trees of the forest to this day bear witness of the artillery which crashed among them; where at Kenesaw the light of many lives went out; where, at Atlanta, as the musketry began and the sounds of heavy guns came booming upon his ears, our young leader, in the perfect development of manly beauty, rode into action and gave to the list of the immortal dead McPherson's name, which itself cannot die; where on the march to the sea the unmarked mounds by the rivers and along the valley's and on the mountains, told of this

army's grandest march:-in all of these the story of its deeds will live; and rivers and trees and mountains, though voiceless, will hold within their keeping records which, though unwritten, will last as long as time. Nor will the names of its commanders die; Howard, with his empty sleeve, who joined it on July 28, 1864, when the enemy lay down in death in three lines marked with the precision of regiments on drill; Logan, whose loyal courage inspired his men and charmed them with magnetic power; McPherson, peerless among the young commanders of the war; Sherman, whose genius guided the movements of an army which thrilled at every mention of the leader's name; and Grant! Grant! Adverse winds may blow and friends be faithless, but history is secure. Greener than ever is his laurel wreath to-day; deeper than ever is the love this army bears him; and the record of his enduring fame is cut where it will stand forever on the rock of ages. In all the States of this proud land, and in countries far beyond the sea, the men who carried the musket in these ranks are found to do it honor. Endless glory is their due. Ambitious for promotion and yet at times hopeless; ready for work on march or fight; withstanding the dangers of disease and braving dangers of battle; marching to the skirmish line when they knew that in the lottery of that day's life some one of their number was drawn for death; with a strength of mind which nerves the will of the heroic soldier who, at first, shrinks from the crash of the battle, they laughed at that fearful zip which tells of the death which lurks in the sound of the minnie ball, and worked to win. When life was bright and full of hope and promise, their names were on our rolls. Marching from the Mississippi to the sea, they stood upon the sands washed by the breakers, and looking far beyond the blue Atlantic that rolled at their feet, told to other lands the coming end of rebellion. But to many of them there was no return save to the sound of muffled drums beneath a drooping flag. On all these marches were their graves. That instinctive desire to die among friends who loved them and whom they loved, seldom found fulfillment. Everywhere and with all classes this same hope rests. But the men of the Army of the Tennessee found their tombs on the fields where they fought, as leaving the side of their comrades they passed from glory to the grave. But the days of war are done. The flag of the confederate is folded, and over a united nation, over people living in peaceful communion, and over

a land made stronger by the recollection of dangers suffered in the past, waves, we hope forever, the flag of the free. Memories of the war may fail with speeding years and history be unkind, but the work done by the men who filled these ranks will live till time shall be no more.

Music by the Band.

EIGHTH TOAST. — The Unreturning Dead. Green be their Memory; They did not die in vain.

Response by Captain H. A. CASTLE.

Just twenty-three years ago, when the heresy of State rights, the atrocity of treason, and the multiplex crime of slavery had ripened into the hideous infamy of rebellion, the imperiled republic summoned her loyal sons to her defense. The response was sublime and electric. All that was golden in the life of man, all that was glorious in earthly heritage, was promptly offered and lavishly sacrificed. The flower of the generation's youth, rapt in unclouded visions of a career in this wonderful nineteenth century, putting the love of life and home behind them, sprang to the flaming front, and walled the line of cleavage with an abatis of bristling steel. Resolute manhood poured the garnered wealth of toilful years into the nation's yearning coffers. Benignant age anointed all the offerings with the christening of a fervent blessing. And brave womanhood, upon whose heart as on a silver tympanum the chimes of patriotism are ever sweetly ringing, screened the soul's anguish with brightening smiles, and bade the dear ones go, and dare, and die. Two million heroic names were inscribed upon the roll of honor, whereof, at the war's triumphant end the chronicles reported five hundred thousand“dead on the field of glory.” To the survivors, an unforgotten co-dedication joins with flooding memories of battle, march and camp, and of that quick and parting, when, at a flash, in commanding frequent proclamation to be made, that the recollection of that pecrless heroism has not perished. Considering the magnitude of their sacrifice and the boundless value of its results, we owe it to ourselves and to them to keep green the story of their noble deeds and their tragic death. Out of the brightness of earth they stepped. Out of homes where the tenderness of a mother's love enwrapped them like a white robe of sanctity. Out of rosy bowers' newly-wedded

« EelmineJätka »