Page images
PDF
EPUB

What you've got to do with the question

Ef Tim shall go or stay.
And furder than that I give notice,

Ef one of you tetches the boy,
He can check his trunks to a warmer clime

Than he'll find in Illanoy.
Why, blame your hearts, just hear ine!

You know that ungodly day
When we left Vicksburg Heights, how ripped

And torn and tattered we lay.
When the rest retreated I staved behind,

For reasons sufficient to me –
With a rib caved in, and a leg or a strike,

I sprawled on that damned glacee.
Lord! how the hot sun went for us,

And biled and blistered and burned !
How the rebel bullets whizzed round us

When a cuss in his death grip turned!
Till along toward dusk I see a thing

I couldn't believe for a spell:
That nigger — that Tim - was a crawlin' to me

Through that fire-proof, gilt-edged hell.
The rebels seen him as quick as me,

And the bullets buzzed like bees,
But he jumped for me and shouldered me;

Though a shot brought him once to his knees;
But he staggered and packed me off,

With a dozen stumbles and falls,
Till safe in our lines he dropped us both,

His black hide riddled with balls.
So, my gentle gazelles, thar's my answer,

And here stands Banty Tim;
He trumped death's ace for me that day,

And I'm not going back on him!
You may rezoloot till the cows come home,

But ef one of you tetches the boy,
He'll wrastle his hash to-night in hell,

Or my name's not Tilman Joy!

The President: -I would like to see you enjoy yourselves as much as possible, and you may take a quiet laugh whenever you can. [Applause.] We now come to the

Fifth Toast.—Our Boys.— Will they appreciate the cost of

their inheritance, and defend the old flag, if occasion arise, with the heroism of their fathers? "

Response by General RICHARD J. OGLESBY.

Governor Oglesby was received with cheers as he rose to respond. He spoke as follows:

MR. PRESIDENT, COMRADES:

After the inimitable recitation of the poem by one of the greatest actors of modern times, inspired by a Pike County, Illinois Democrat, which came into life through the inimitable genius of an Illinois Republican called John Hay, I fear my toast will fall upon the ears of impatient and unwilling listeners. [Oh, no. Oh, no.]

At the request of the Governor, General Sherman again read the toast, Governor Oglesby saying he could not see well enough to read it. This occasioned laughter, after which the Governor proceeded.

To properly and fairly answer that question, three pronged as it is, would require an liour; a fair square hour to each prong of the triangle. [Laughter.] I will be reasonable with you, and promise not to take more than half that time. [Laughter.]

Our boys! Why this is a phrase with which you are all familiar, and as our indulgent and long-suffering President said to me to-day: "Oglesby, 'Our boys' was never invented until the late war, and by the term 'Our boys' we always meant 'our soldier boys.' The boys in blue'".

Can it be this toast means the same men, or does it more probably mean the boys to come after us? Our descendants? Probably it means not the "boys in blue," but our descendants. God only knows whether they will or not; I don't. [Laughter.] If it means “the boys in blue.” Yes, yes, yes. [Cheers.] They appreciate the cost of their inheritance, for they know precisely what it did cost. In dollars? Can the toast, Mr. President, mean in dollars? Well, if in dollars, five thousand millions. Four thousand millions already paid by us. It can not be any heavy burden—that oiher thousand million. I don't estimate the $346,000, 000 greenbacks, as the statement of the public debt habitually does in this account. I don't consider that a debt. I never did. Aye, comrades and boys in blue, that was your gift to the modern

financial system of the world. The world never knew, before you created the greenback, that such an invention lay concealed in the brain of man. You brought it to life. It is not a debt. It is the lawful money of the land, and I hope in God's name, to last as long as gold and silver. [Applause.] It is no part of the public debt, and ought not to be restated in it. Republicans and Democrats alike, are constantly restating it, and it is not right. It is the lawful money of the land; made the lawful money by your blood, and the blood of your dead comrades. [Cheers.] Besides that, only about a thousand million remains-a bagatelle. It is not worth considering, even in the serious moments of banqueting hours like these. [Laughter.] We leave no inheritance of the public debts to the boys. It will all be paid before we shall all die. It couldn't have been dollars, then. Will they appreciate the cost of their inheritance? Aye, Boys of the Future we intend to leave you a glorious government, covered by a shining banner, upon which shall be no stain of public credit discredited before the world. We intend to hand down to our children, girls and boys alike, a great, glorious Nation, with a beautiful flag, with not a dollar of indebtedness to nation or man upon the globe. We will wipe it out before our final account shall be settled. [Applause.] Do they mean some other cost? What it has cost from the days of Washington and Hancock, Jefferson, and Madison and Monroe, and blessed old Samuel Adams, and “Old John," all the way down through the trying hours, when we have had to build up this structure of republic government, a free government, a democratic government. All the perils, all the weary hours of woe we have had, to establish the rights of man upon this continent-do they mean that? The sleeping and waking hours of Lincoln, the meditations of the purest and best hearts that ever throbbed against the ribs of man, the toils of the soldier in the field, the leadership of the great departed general and his compeer, upon my right and left to-night, patriots equal with him in intensity of devotion to the cause; does the toast mean that? Does it mean to count the value of the cost in tears and blood? Oh, God! can it be that? Can it be that? That it has cost to give this government stability, to give it power and place amid the nations of the world; does the toast mean that? Aye, if it means that; I say to our boys, I say to our descendants, I say to all who shall follow us in the long course of

time, God in heaven can judge better than the living whether you will be able to appreciate the cost of your inheritance. [Applause.] If you shall have liberty; if you shall care for the rights of man; if you shall care for equal justice; if you shall care for beautiful and sublime virtue, and love liberty better than tyranny, as your forefathers and now fathers did and do, then, boys in blue, you will probably appreciate the cost of your inheritance. [Applause.] If you shall lose sight of moral honesty, purity of life, simplicity of institutions, fair dealing and perfect equality between man and man; if you shall become oblivious to the fact that the poor, humble, toiling, obscure man in the race of life is your equal, and as good as you, standing in his rights before God and man side by side with Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant; if you shall understand the rights of the common man, black or white, white or black, red, or any other color, if these principles will sink deep into your young hearts, and you will come to learn and know the rights of man, you will probably appreciate the cost of your inheritance. [Applause.]

If these wholesome and commonplace lessons of virtue shall escape you, God only knows whether you will or not. [Laughter.] This Republic can not stand, ladies; this Republic will not stand, gentlemen, except upon the basis of the equal right of the lowest with the equal right of the highest. [Applause.] What are we, gathered here to-night in this banqueting hall, with all our glee and all our burning patriotism? What are we but specimens of the common country far away and out of sight? We come together for an hour, in good temper, in beautiful deport

ladies and gentlemen alike, honoring the occasion-fair woman, by your sweet and delicious presence, and you men, remainder of the Army of the Tennessee. Oh, blessed Army! Oh, grand Army of liberty! well worthy to stand by and be protected by this shield of the immortal Washington, whose fame rises before me like an image of beauty, perpetually rising and rising, based on the pedestal of immortality. [Applause.] Oh! it is no trifling thing to have a Republican Government; no trifling affair to have a government of the people. Sixty millions to-night, in a few brief years to be seventy-five millions, hustling and jostling against each other in all the various costumes and colors of Amer. ican society. Seventy-five millions of people, some honorably struggling for fame, some for fortune, some for place, some for

power, some to keep alive, and, above all, the beautiful shining cross of the Savior of mankind—all hoping to go forward in the race of life to the goal of prosperity. Seventy-five millions of people right upon our heels. You have just settled the question, comrades, just the other day. In the brief hours of a quarter of a century you have settled the question of the power of the people to quell riot and subdue civil war. You have just settled that. Can you

and I, living and old men, assume that all is settled? I agree with Logan, that statesmanship has not perished with the past. Statesmanship is not extinct this very hour. Statesman. ship will come wherever patriotism throbs in the human heart. The man of thought, the man of virtue—not the tinsel man-no! no!—the man of thought, the man of heart, the man of virtue, a m.an like Abraham Lincoln, sprung from the bosom of the poor common people (applause]—those are the men who will perpetuate statesmanship. [Applause] Statesmanship can not depart from the country until public virtue shall have gone. When public virtue shall depart from the midst of our people, then statesmanship will depart, but not until then. Aye, Comrades! Br.ve Men! brave soldiers all about me--oh! when shall I see such a sight again! When shall I meet representatives like these in the brave days of the civil war? How long can you last ? In the natural order of things, how long can you last? Are you to be the last of the heroes of the Republic? Great God! le. not this solemn and unpleasant thought penetrate our breasts for a moment! No, no; and your examples taught by the fireside, in tire pathway through the forest, on the open fields of our broad prairies-your examples and your precepts will descend to your boys, and they will catch inspiration from your worthy lives, and try to live as you have lived—worthy of their country, by giving to their country their best love and their best efforts. The flaglet it wave.

It has waved and will wave. I never heard any man talk so beautifully about the flag, much as that subject has been discoursed upon, as I did in the Capitol of our own State in 1874, when this man on my right hand, (General Sherman) no orator, with no pretense of oratory, discoursed upon it. [Applause.] Forster was there, who was in the ministry of Gladstone, a member of the British House of Parliament, and he sat not very far from me. He was an able man, and an excellent critic, an educated man. Speaking to me across a banqueting

« EelmineJätka »