Page images
PDF
EPUB

FOURTH TOAST.-" The Statesmen and Statesmanship of the War. They made it possible for us to gather the fruits of our victories.

Response by General JOHN A. LOGAN.

General Logan was received with cheers.

MR. CHAIRMAN, COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

On last evening I was called upon unexpectedly to speak, and this morning, on looking at the papers, I was surprised to observe what these boys, the reporters, had put down as coming from me. I think I could have done better than they have done for me.

I trust you will allow me to-night to read what I wish to say in response to the toast which the President has just given you.

Mr. Chairman, the toast to which you have asked me to respond comprehends a subject, or subjects, to properly discuss which would consume hours, instead of the few minutes, beyond which, on an occasion of this sort, it is neither customary nor proper to go.

That there are statesmen – that there is statemanship - in these latter days of the life of our Republic, is susceptible of easy proof, despite the levity with which such propositions are usually received in this country. To ascertain the fact, we must, however, first get an idea of what statesmanship consists. What is it? Noah Webster defines it as “ The qualifications or employments of a statesman;" and a “ statesman,” he says, is “a man versed in the arts of government; especially one eminent for political abilities; a politician, one employed in public affairs.” If we look for the same lexicographer's definition of a “politician” we discover that he is a very much better sort of person than you and I, Mr. Chairman, have been accustomedfrom the manner in which the newspapers and others usually speak of him - to suppose; for he is described as “one versed in the science of government; a person skilled in, or devoted to, politics,” while the same eminent authority adopts Addison's definition of politics," as being "the science or the art of government, or the administration of national or public affairs; that part of ethics which consists in the knowledge or the practice of conducting the various affairs of a state or nation; political science; political economy."

It seems to me, sir, that some of these definitions, assuming their correctness, themselves need defining or explaining. I think the bulk of the people of our country use some of these terms, at least, in a sense differing from Webster's definitions, that, for instance, they generally use the word "statesmanship” as an equivalent för "state-craft;" which Webster agrees with them in defining to be “the art of conducting state affairs, state management," and that they not infrequently use it as describing a high, if not the highest, order of statesmanship. Thus, if a statesman not only plans, outlines and details, but also accomplishes some great feat in political ethics-affecting public policy in a manner satisfactory to the public conscience. The American public, I think, are very apt to exclaim: That is statesmanship!My own view of the true definition of statesmanship coincides with theirs, for if called upon to do so, I think I could not better describe my simple conception of it than as “the accomplishing, in public affairs, of that which is beneficial to the Nation.” This definition, I think, will hold good whether the statesmanship of the moment be demanded in its internal or external affairs. It is naturally selfish in its dealings with other nations, but not properly with that selfishness, commended, if not justified, by Hamilton and others, in some of their writings, which regards with not much sensibility or delicacy the interests and rights of others; nor with that even lower and more immoral, self-seeking, which impelled the pen of Frederick the Great, when, at an early period of that great warrior-statesman's career, he wrote to his minister, Podervils, concerning transactions with the people of Europe: "If anything is to be gained by being honest men, we shall be so, and if it is necessary to cheat, let us be rogues;” but, the rather with that nobler selfishness, which while seeking the highest gain to its own, not only avoids injuring other nations, but readily and gracefully assents to the reasonable advantaging of them also, For nations have no more right to do wrong than have individuals, as is substantially held by no less an authority than Burlamaqui, who also declares that “the reason of state, so often alleged to justify the proceedings and enterprises of princes, can not equally be admitted for this end, but inasmuch (in-so-far) as it is reconcilable with the common interest of nations, or, which amounts to the same thing, with the unalterable rules of sincerity, justice and humanity.” It was this sort of statesmanship—the

real statesmanship—which not alone conceived, but brought to a successful issue the unity and independence of the thirteen colonies, and which subsequently accomplished the union of the American States; and even as the true foundation of sovereignty has been correctly held to be the intimate union of power, wisdom and goodness, so it is upon a combination of those three divine qualities that our sovereign Nation stands to-day. When the fathers of the great American Republic died, statesmanship by no means died with them. It befell their sons of later days to exhibit a statesmanship not inferior to theirs in quality.

The Washingtons, Franklins, Adams, Jeffersons, Hamiltons, Madisons and Jays accomplished the independence and strengthening of this Nation; but Monroe, by the enunciation of the doctrine which bears his name, accomplished the independence of this American Continent from Continental Europe; and Jackson, by statemanship of the best fibre, stamped out nullification; Webster, in this as in other ways, showed great statemanship; and so did Clay. But the race did not die with these. Douglas was a statesman, whose trumpet call for the defence of the Union by arms, when all else had failed, accomplished much even after death had called his glorious soul away. And Seward, too, in many ways accomplished much. And Chase, the Robert Morris" of our civil war. But Lincoln rose to loftier heights and grander accomplishments than perhaps any in the long roll of illustrious names with which the century of our national life has been adorned. He was a born statesman—a great statesman. For the great statesman is not he who confines himself too closely to forms and methods and ways and means long established. These, indeed, have their value, and are not to be despised. Yet in an exigency of state, where a new and wider and more dangerous prospect opens with unprecedented conditions; when the ship of state is suddenly found to be “all at sea," without chart or compass, and even God's eternal stars are hidden by inky clouds ridden by the spirits of the storm, then it is that the born statesman, inspired by the very peril before which others may well quail and cower, rises to the occasion, challenges the responsibility, le:rps to the fluttering helm, and with a firm hand and resolute

eye and earnest faith in the Father of all, steers her safely through all danger into a haven of safety. Such a statesman as this was Lincoln. His latter day statesmanship consisted in ac

complishing for the benefit of his Nation—what? Its preservation As a N n! Ind more than this, his statesmanship accomplished that which was and is beneficial to a race, the emancipation from human bondage of millions of African slaves. All this he had conceived, perhaps, long years before, but he lived to accomplish it by that combination of power, wisdom and goodness, which thus enabled him to perpetuate, as it did the fathers to found, this Nation. The true statesman, then, is not he who, like Henry the Fourth of France, amiably “wished that he might see a fowl in the pot of every peasant in his kingdom," but rather him who can work its accomplishment, and set the poor man's pot a-boiling.” And it is due, therefore, the latter day statesmanship of such modest workers as Morrill, of Vermont, and Kelley, of Pennsylvania—following tenaciously in the pathway made by the fathers of protection to labor from Washington to Clay—that this Nation has had the happiness of witnessing not alone days of plenty--still, thank God, largely with us—when butter and sugar, tea and coffee, meat, and even turkey, are seen on the poor man's dinner table in America, while in many of the countries of Europe meat is a luxury rarely attainable—but that while capital is secure, while labor is rewarded as well as respected throughout the land.

One word more. That we have had statesmanship and states. men in these latter days worthy of the elder days of the Nation, I think none can gainsay, but the end of these is not yet. The field for statesmanship is wide and ever widening. There are statesmen in the land to-day, and there will be statesmen to-morrow. They will bring to the front great questions, and accomplish great things for the nation. They will see to it that the glorious banners of protected American industry shall not trail in the dust, nor the blessings of peace and plenty, which still crown this favored land with sweet contentment, be sacrificed before the commercial juggernaut of the English system. They will take care that American education, adequately assisted from the surplus in the national treasury, shall enlarge the boundaries of its ennobling influences until, from Alaska to Texas, it gather within its sacred circle every American child. And they will also see to it that the priceless jewel of a protected ballot—that precious political heritage and safeguard of our Republican liberties--filched and hidden as it may have been by unholy hands, its lustre dimmed and glory tarnished, shall yet be restored in all its pristine purity

and splendor to its proper place as the choicest gem in the dazzling coronet of American freedom. And sir, it may as well be understood first as last, that until that restoration is accomplished, they will never relax their efforts-never, never, never!

At the close of General Logan's response, a short intermission was had which was improved by the company in social converse. When they had again taken their seats, General Sherman said: We will vary the proceedings a little here. John T. Raymond, well known to you all upon the stage, will recite to you now a

short poem.

Mr. Raymond, being introduced, said:

GENERAL SHERMAN, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

Some years ago, as you may remember, there was a slight misunderstanding between the North and the South. It occurred some twenty or twenty-five years ago. There was a Sergeant Tilman Joy, of Spunky Pint, Illinois, who served through the whole campaign, and went home, taking with him a faithful negro who had been with him during the campaign. When he arrived at home, the citizens rose en masse and demanded the expulsion of this “cullud gemmen.” They appointed a committee to wait on Sergeant Tilman Joy. They did so, and this is Sergeant Tilman Joy's reply to the committee:

I reckon I git your drift, gents,

You ’low the boy shan't stay;
This is a white man's country;

You're Democrats, you say;
And whereas, and seein', and wherefore,

The times being all out of jint,
The nigger has got to mosey

From the limits o' Spunky Pint!
Let's reason the thing a minute;

I'm an old fashioned Dimocrat too,
Though I laid my politics out of the way,

For to keep till the war was through.
But I came back here allowin'

To vote as I used to do,
Though it gravels me like the devil to train

Along o'such fools as you.
Now dog my cats if I kin see,

In all the light of the day,

« EelmineJätka »