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plug so nearly out that the whole heavens were lighted with the blaze of the internal conflagration. [Laughter and applause.] The Frenchman said that the wise man resembled a pin, because his head prevented him from going too far; and that is precisely what we have in this country. These heads must be intelligent heads.
Then see what God has done for us. Every attempt to colonize this country failed until men came with the words conSCIENCE and Liberty in their mouths; [applause,] and see, as we develop, the wonderful inventive genius that has displayed itself. This nation would not be possible without the great inventions that have occurred within the last fifty years. We could not live here without the railroad; we could have no commerce. The condition of Western Illinois forty or fifty years ago, when they were reduced to a coon-skin currency and a semi-barbaric condition, illustrates what would be the condition of all our country but for these mighty inventions—the telegraph, the telephone, the railroad, the submarine telegraph,—all linking the nations of the world together.
But, my friends, above all things, we want to remember Bacon's definition of a man, “a man is what he knows;” and, if I were to add to it, I would say, "and is ready to fight for what he knows." Applause..] I shall no longer trespass upon your attention, [cries of "goon, go on,"] but I will conclude my hurried and discursive remarks by a quotation from one of the most beautiful of our American poets, whose every line deserves to be written in gold—that sweet Quaker poet, John G. Whittier, when he said:
“A school-house plant on every hill,
Start in the radiant woodlands dense,
Harvest the fields whereon they fought.”
Gentlemen :-I am called upon to respond to the sentiment, “The Loyal Governors of 1861." I should do this with pleasure, but my
arduous duties as chairman of the committee on reception
have so entirely occupied my time since your meeting that I have been unable to make the researches which the subject deserves. So it is not to be expected that I should make any extended remarks, and yet there is food for thought in the toast. An important element in the salvation of the Union was loyalty in the gubernatorial chair. If the governors of the several states had stood aghast at the thought of possible blood-letting before agitation should have ceased not only honor, but the republic itself would have been lost! But, as in other crises, men equal to the emergency were raised up. Massachusetts had one at the helm of the State who felt the force of the motto on her seal. There could never again be the smiling of placid peace except by the use of the sword. Pennsylvania had a governor who had been cradled amid her mountains, and who was firm in his determination to stand by the flag, and those states which had been formed in the Northwest under the grand provisions of the ordinance of 1787 were all true, and fitly represented in the magnetic and energetic war governor of Indiana. The State of Minnesota had just been emancipated from her territorial condition, and had taken her place in the ranks of the sovereign states. She was poor, but patriotic; she was young, but vigorous, and her people were eager to place themselves in the front rank of the defenders of the Union. Before me, in this large and intelligent assembly, I observe many gentlemen familiar with the affairs of government, who will appreciate the fact that states of the Union, which have passed through a territorial condition, stand in a more intimate relation to the mother government than do the original old thirteen commonwealths. So stood Minnesota and her executive in the month of April, 1861, when business growing out of these relations called me to the city of Washington. There was no mistaking the nervous and excited condition of the country on my journey to the Potomac, as of a fearful foreboding of trouble to come. For, as you know, some of the states had already withdrawn from the Union, and others were trembling in the balance. The president and the officials around him were full of anxiety, when, on the morning of Saturday, the 13th of April, flashed over the wires the news that Sumter had been fired upon. A
responsible duty seemed to devolve upon me as the executive of Minnesota. So, accompanied by Senator Wilkinson and Thomas J. Galbraith, then the agent of the Sioux Indians, who happened to
be in Washington, I went to the war department, where was found Secretary Cameron earnestly engaged in preparing papers in regard to these startling complications for presentation to the president. I said: "I have come to tender one thousand men for the defense of our flag.” The secretary quickly replied: “Write at once your offer, and I will carry it with the papers in hand to the president;" and so I did, and in a short time was informed that the offer had been accepted, which fact I wired to Minnesota with a call for a regiment, to which there was an instant response, and the famous First Minnesota sprang into existence. The gallant Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth regiments of infantry, besides cavalry and artillery, rapidly followed in their footsteps to the front. All this, my friends, upon the part of a State which, twelve years before, had scarcely men, women and babes sufficient to form two respectable regiments of infantry. The military records of the government show that Minnesota contributed twenty-five thousand men to sustain the life of the nation. Although it may appear egotisen, in the presence of the brave men of the Army of the Tennessee, I frankly confess that I do take pride in telling you of the prompt and efficient steps which our young State took in acknowledging her obligations to a government under whose fostering care she had grown.
THIRTEENTH TOAST:-“ The Loyal Volunteers.”
Mr. President aud comrades:-It was a subject for dispute in the schools, in those now far off days before the war, whether public spirit in a republic could take the place of allegiance in a monarchy. The adherents of the old systems of government who seemed incapable of learning as they were of forgetting, still adhered to the idea that there was something divine in the institutions established on just so much protection on the one hand from the Baron or the King, and just so much service on the other from the retainer or subject; and, as they thought, to expect men to become sovereigns over themselves and bear fealty to each other and their common body politic, was to demand an effect without a cause.
Neither time nor place now serve to discuss the reasons for or against this proposition. Suffice it to say that when the Chief
Magistrate of our nation on April 14th, 1861, appealed to the public spirit of the people of this republic for support, it responded with electric promptness and mustered the soldiers of the Union, as the rain drops in number, when the lightning pierces the hitherto silent but full-bosomed cloud.
The language of the first proclamation and call for troops was peculiar. The President summoned our loyal people in these words:
“I appeal to all loyal citizens to facilitate and aid this effort to maintain the laws and integrity of the National Union, and the perpetuity of popular governments; and repress wrongs that have long been endured."
The Union! How much of thought and of hope was in the word. In the national convention the Constitution and the Union were born from as great mental labor and heaven-inspired wisdom as time has ever known. The Union had been defended in debate by as great orators as modern nations have produced. Its purposes and hopes as exhibited through the Constitution had become the household treasure of he people. That people was a thinking and enlightened race; and the blessings they enjoyed in such great measures were traced by them with clearness of comprehension to their source in the freedom of popular government and the strength of the National Union.
The people of the free States loved their government. Not serving it as serfs; rot yielding a calculating support for a corresponding and measured protection; but obeying law as men who love their fellow men, who have achieved a common good by mutual dangers and labors, who found in their country a home for Freedom, a vantage ground for Humanity, and a hope for all Mankind. In this Union was strength; without it was weakness and degradation. The words of their poet had become their household prayer. “Thou too, sail on, oh Union, strong and great.”
The people were loyal to this Union and the flag, and the vol. urteers were but the exponent members of the millions at home ready to fill their places in the line as war might thin their ranks. They seized the nation's banner and the loyal array marched forth to victory or death.
Loyal; yes, beyond all expression. At what hour will you test their loyalty ? Shall it be when after the thunder was heard, of
batteries hostile to the Union rolling against Fort Sumter. Behold thousands are ready to fill the place of one. Loyally the sons of freedom stand to their arms and face to the South. Wife and babes and home are safe and honorable only in the Union; and with sad but loyal hearts they go forth to solemn battle for the Union.
Shall it be when the years have rolled by and augmented armies are still battling with apparent want of success against the Secessionists, and hearts are sad for fear the Union may yet be lost? The volunteer is loyal still. He hears the rebels shout as their Generals proclaim on treasonous report that the North begins to believe, after years of failure, the war must cease! He looks to his General and his flag, and catching inspiration anew from their promise and determination, he presses to the front, leaving it to other loyal men to restrain this disloyalty in the rear.
Will you test it when on the cloud-capped Mountain the rebel hosts are entrenched and all around the Ridge the serried ranks, with bristling bayonets and batteries hold as they deem an invincible position? Loyal and brave were the Union Volunteers through those long days: and most exalted in bravery and loyalty when over the ridge and batteries, and the rebel host they charge victoriously. Let hatred and ignorance cease to carp at their valor. If ye, ye foes of our Union, were brave beyond all men, why did ye not stay in those strong positions. If ye were right, why did not rather die than flee? That you men were brave is not denied, but you found on that field men who met your bravery and the mountains besides victoriously. The Loyal Volunteers conquered you there and eventually everywhere, because they were right.
They were loyal too when they quietly returned to home and peace, and resigned their arms to take up the implements of daily industry.
The volunteers who died live in loyal memory as those whose loyalty is sealed forevermore. They are freedom's now and fame's. They have and will forever keep their oaths.
The living volunteers are loyal still; true to their Country, the Constitution and the Flag; loyal to themselves, their homes, their posterity and to human freedom for all time and loyal to their officers.
Mr. President:-General Sherman, they are loyal to you, and cherish your exalted fame with reverence a part of your