Page images

chasm of despair and misery. [Applause.) Enough. You understand me, and I understand you. I speak with your consent. Again in your name, and leaping beyond the confines of this audience, unbound by the limitations of the flowing rivers, in the name of the people of the entire State, I assume the authority, whether conferred upon me constitutionally or not, as Governor of the State, gentlemen of the Society of the Army of the Ten. nessee, in the name of liberty and in the name of God ard in the name of Illinois, I welcome you to the hospitality of this great State. [Great and continued applause.]

The President:-Ladies and Gentlemen: It affords me great pleasure to acknowledge the welcome which we have just heard so eloquently in words from Mr. Lundy, of this city, and the Governor of Illinois. I thank them personally and as President of the Society. You who listened to Governor Oglesby's impassioned words will remember that he is one of us. He has felt the sting of a bullet. He knows how a soldier feels, and when he stands upon his feet you can read it at the very ends of his fingers. [Applause.]

Mr. Lundy and Governor Oglesby: I thank you in the name of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee for the hearty wel. come you have given us and for the kindly greetings which meet us at every corner of your streets. The Army of the Tennessee is gone, passed into history, and of the few who are here to-night, known to me personally, but may be not to the audience, many commanded armies, some divisions, some brigades, some were staff officers. I remember them all; but it is very hard for me even at this time to see before me the old soldiers that marched and tramped with us through the South, yet each and every one of them is an epitome, is in himself a history, and he can tell the tale of the war better than I can, and better than any one who did not cross the Ohio during the war. The Army of the Tennessee took its name from the river Tennessee, just as the Army of the Potomac took its name from the river Potomac, the Cumberland from the Cumberland, the Ohio from the Ohio, the Mississippi from the Mississippi. We naturally divide into families in ordinary life. So armies take family names, and the Army of the Tennessee was that small body of men which, led by General Grant, went up the Tennessee river in the winter of 1961-62 and first fought at Henry and Donelson. At that time it was not known

as the Army of the Tennessee, but soon after it grew into a name, and then fought at Shiloh, afterwards at Vicksburg, and finally, after-I don't want to call it a defeat, because I know I might not convince some of my Cumberland friends—but after the shaking up they got at Chickamauga we went to their relief. [Laughter.] There General Grant assumed the great character which he afterwards carried to the end of the war. The battle of Chattanooga was fought by the Armies of the Cumberland, Ohio and Tennessee, and afterwards commenced the Atlanta campaign, which you all, even the children in the audience, must recall. We went to Atlanta, fighting for one hundred and twenty days, during which time, not for a minute, nor an hour, nor a day, was there an intermission of shot and shell and the sounds of battle—a battle of one hundred and twenty days' duration in which we were successful. Then to Savannah, and from Savannah northward until our enemy threw up the sponge and cried enough. [Applause.] The Army of the Tennessee does not boast of its history, for it was the first to say, “ Go home and behave yourselves and we will forgive you cheerfully.” I think the Army of the Tennessee, composed of sixty-five thousand of the best men in America, of which General Logan was the head [applause], was the first to say, “Go home; obey the laws of the place where you live, be good citizens and you shall be free from further prosecution or further punishment." They are under that ban still. The men who fought against us during the war are still paroled prisoners. Some of them seem to forget it. [Applause.] But we of the Army of the Tennessee do not wish to revive any such thoughts. We come here with kindness in our hearts, with charity to all, and malice to none, to exchange the greetings of old soldiers, to be thankful that we are still alive, and to meet our fellow-citizens in their prosperity and happiness; and if any word we may say or any deeds we may do will add to their happiness I believe that every member of the Army of the Tennessee that still survives will give them a helping hand and a cheering word. And now, my fellow-soldiers, in your name, as your mouth-piece, as your President, I again return thanks to the communities in which we now are—the city of Rock Island and the great State of Illinois. [Applause.]

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now take great pleasure in presenting

to you the orator of the evening, General Chetlain, and beg you will give him your close attention.



To the intelligent student, the history of the republics that have risen, flourished and declined, is full of interest. The idea of a government of the people has prevailed among civilized nations from the earliest times. The Grecians, Romans, Carthagenians of ancient times and the Italians and Dutch of a more recent date, acting upon that idea, founded governments republican in form. In modern times, a score of republics have sprung into existence, the Republic of the United States being the largest and most important. In history, all governments not monarchial have been called republics. The Greek, Roman and Dutch republics were nearly pure democracies. The founders of our republics, with a wisdom and foresight never before equaled, gave to the world a form of government purely democratic, with safeguards to insure the greatest good to the greatest number. Its central idea was that all men were created free and equal. Like many other republics, its independence was gained through great suffering and generous bloodshed. All its physical environments were favorable to the establishment of a permanent government of the people. The country occupied was isolated and embraced the finest part of the best continent on the globe. Its people, although of different nationalities, were for the most part simple in their tastes and modes of living, intelligent, industrious and moral to a degree seldom before known. Great prosperity was vouchsafed to the new Republic, and from a population of less than 4,000,000 at the time of its formation it rose in three-quarters of a century to nearly 40,000,000, with corresponding increase in material wealth. It is a remarkable fact that the founders of this model republic, having suffered oppression and injustice, and fully appreciating the value of personal liberty, should have formed a government based on the idea of liberty and equality, when a large part of its people were held as slaves and regarded as chattels by the organic law of several states. This incongruity

was the result of mutual concessions, but was ever after a source of bitter contention.

Two types of civilization took root on the same soil; one represented by the Puritan element, and occupying the Northern States, was irreconcilably opposed to human bondage, and from its traditions, education and modes of living, was especially adapted to a democratic government. The other, occupying the Southern States, represented various kinds of people, of different antecedents from the former, less simple in their tastes and manner of living, and, believing in the right of one man to hold his fellow in slavery, was better fitted for an oligarchy than a democracy. These two elements had become so interwoven in the social fabric of the country that it was difficult, if not impossible, to separate them, and by the union of the two was made possible the formation of the new government. As might have been foreseen, two such incongruous elements could not long continue in harmony under one flag. An “irrepressible conflict” soon began. The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted by Congress at the dictation of the slave-holding states, but its enforcement was often resisted by citizens of the free states, who regarded the law as unjust and iniquitous.

Population and material wealth in the free states increased more rapidly than in the slave states. New states were ad. mitted into the Union, the greater part of which were free states. The slave states, fearing that their power in the general government was being weakened, if not destroyed, became restless and discontented. Efforts were made by the representatives of the slave states in Congress to extend the institution of slavery into the new territories. This measure was strenuously opposed by the representatives of the free states. After a long contest the South was defeated, and slavery was restricted to the slave-holding states. Intense bitterness of feeling was aroused in the slave states. The free states were charged with bad faith, and with a determination to disregard all the sacred rights guaranteed to slave states by the Constitution. The election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency was used as a pretext for the slave states to secede from the Union, a right they claimed under the Constitution. State after state seceded, and a confederacy of these states was formed with slavery as its chief corner-stone. Soon after the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln Fort Sumter was fired

upon. With this overt act of treason and rebellion by the new confederacy, closed the first epoch in the history of the great American Republic.

The firing on Fort Sumter startled and aroused the North to action. The excitement everywhere was deep and intense. At once a call was made by President Lincoln for volunteers to suppress the rebellion. From the factory, the field, the workshop, and the counting-room came forth stalwart and patriotic men, ready to do and die, if need be, to save the Nation's life. Who can ever forget the response to that call, so prompt, so widereaching; so honest, so determined? A well organized army sprang into existence as if by magic. No such army was ever before seen, an army that contained so much of the intelligence; of the culture, of the skill of a nation. Soon began the most gigantic and terrible civil war the world has ever known. The South marshaled its forces to perpetuate its cherished institution and to gain its independence. The North, acting in pure selfdefense, threw its army of patriots into the breach to suppress an unjustifiable rebellion, to bring the rebels to submission, and to avenge the insult that had been offered the flag of the Nation. With a singular magnanimity the people of the North had no thought or intention of destroying slavery, the cause of the rebellion, nor of interfering in any way with an institution recognized by the organic law of the land. Battle after battle was fought in quick succession with varying and indecisive results.

The National government threw into the contest men and money without stint. Before the end of the second year of the war, however, it was feared at the seat of government that the people of the North, having become dissatisfied with the lack of success of the Union army in its operations against the rebels, would withhold the cheerful support they had given the government up to that time, and that a general draft would have to be resorted to to fill the depleted ranks of the army, and to meet the increased demand for troops. All will recollect those dark days, when the volunteer soldiers all along the battle line appealed to the loyal masses of the North to stand firm by the government, and to furnish all the men needed for a successful prosecution of the war. Again were the people of the North aroused, and again responded promptly and generously. It soon became evident that it would be necessary as a war measure to abolish slavery, the

« EelmineJätka »