« EelmineJätka »
for officers to manage the affairs of the corporation, none but taxpayers should be permitted to vote, The amount of taxes required to constitute a voter should be so small that the comparatively poor man shall not be disfranchised. Under such a system it is claimed that no injustice would be done to any citizen, for the great principle contended for by the founders of this republic, viz: “no taxation without representation," the refusal of which led to the war of Independence, would not be violated. Put in force such a law, they say, and all our large cities will be well and honestly governed, and protection to life and property will be guaranteed to all.
Another evil is the lax and tardy administration of justice in our courts, especially in our criminal courts, and the imperfections of our jury system. The judiciary of the country, with few exceptions, is neither venal nor corrupt, but the laws regulating our system of jurisprudence are so faulty and inadequate that the obtaining of justice or the punishing of crime is slow and uncertain. I need but to refer to the recent trial of anarchists in Chicago, when it took three weeks to impanel a jury. So utterly bad is the system that intelligent and discriminating citizens are seldom secured as jurors.
In this, the third epoch in the history of this Republic, there are evils other than those I have alluded to, less prominent perhaps, but not less dangerous, to which I would call your attention did time permit; but I think I have given enough to convince any reasonable mind that we are encompassed by evils, social and political, so subtle and widespread that the welfare, if not the permanency of our Republic will be endangered, unless a radical change is effected. Before the late war it was generally believed that the only evils menacing our Republic were slavery and the right of secession as held by a number of states. The war destroyed slavery, and settled the question of the right of secession forever. I may be met by the common argument, that the education of the masses will in time certainly cure every evil now threatening the welfare of the Republic. But culture, untouched by high morality, has no redeeming power. The educated, when indolent, corrupt, and selfish are more dangerous to society than the illiterate. The stream is never purer than its source, and in a republic like this, the government is never better than the ma
jority of its citizens, for the moral quality of the majority will determine the character of the government.
I am not inclined to be a pessimist nor an alarmist, but I am fully convinced that unless a halt is called and a radical change is effected in the social and political conditions of our country this government will not be a democracy by the middle of the twentieth century. The tendency is clearly in the direction of a monarchy or dictatorship.
Says an American writer: “ It can readily be seen that in a certain state of things, the result of a majority of votes bringing about uncertainties as to protection of person and property, where the strong arm of the dictator would not be preferable to the weakness of a republic controlled by an indolent, thriftless, and profligate majority.”
From another American writer I quote as follows: “ There is no occasion for surprise that a day came in the history of nearly every extinct republic when patriotic and law-abiding citizens asked for a ruler, whether dictator or despot they cared not, provided he had the ability to command and to wield the power sufficient to bring order out of confusion.”
Professor Huxley, ten years ago, in an address delivered in Baltimore, when alluding to the rapidly increasing population and wealth of this country, said: “You and your descendants will have to ascertain whether this great mass will hold together under the forms of a republic, and the despotic reality of universal suffrage; whether state rights will hold out against centralization, without separation; whether centralization will get the better, without actual or disguised monarchy; whether shifting corruption is better than a permanent bureaucracy, and as population thickens in your great cities, and the pressure of want is felt, the gaunt specter of pauperism will stalk among you, and communism and socialism will claim to be heard. Truly America has a great future before her; great in toil, in care, and in responsibility; great in true glory if she be guided in wisdom and righteousness; great in shame if she fail.”
Says an able and discriminating American writer: “To make available these opportunities and possibilities there is needed the introduction of something in our social and political affairs not generally insisted upon. It is something that can quiet the conflict between capital and labor, which can make capital more
benevolent and labor more law-abiding, and in hard times more patient. It is something which can educate and develop the child so that he will become a national defender, rather than a national destroyer; something which can harmonize the naturally conflicting interests between the North and South, the East and West; something that can make each party and each territorial section a means of security to the common republic, instead of being a threatening factor in our National existence."
The somewhat somber picture I have drawn of the possible, if not probable, future of our Republic may be deemed a little exaggerated, but is there not enough evident to all to cause anxiety in the mind of every patriot? And yet, may we not cherish the hopeful trust that a kind Providence that has watched over and guided the destinies of this Nation from its infancy, and that gave to it in its hours of sorest need a Washington, a Lincoln, and a Grant, will raise up for it when the necessity comes some noble large-brained, and large-souled patriot, who will lead the Nation from under the portentious clouds that seem to be gathering over it, into the clear and genial sunlight of peace and prosperity?
But why should I, my comrades, consume this valuable hour in telling you what I believe to be the perils that threaten the permanency of our Republic? Simply because you are a part of the remnant of that grand army of patriots who, in the late rebellion, nobly vindicated the liberties of the Republic. [Applause.] With you were a million more on the battle line who, by their heroism and sacrifices, saved a great Nation from disunion and death, and in all the states of the great North were millions more of libertyloving and God-fearing men and women who, by day and by night, through four long years, by their sympathies, their prayers, and their good deeds for your comfort, upheld your hands and encouraged your hearts when on the tented field, on the weary march, and in the terrible hour of battle. To you and to them, more than to any others in this Nation, is intrusted the future of this Republic, to guard it with sleepless vigilance, and to shield it from any and every danger that may threaten it. [Applause.] My comrades, as the seasons come and go and the years
follow each other in quick succession, our numbers rapidly lessen, for we are “ all swiftly marching to the bivouac of God.” A quarter of a century ago we undertook the difficult task of suppressing the greatest rebellion of the age. A little over twenty years ago the
war ended, and our work was done. Nearly one-half a million of brave men, who went forth at their country's call in the name of God and liberty, to put down treason, fell in the deadly conflict or died of disease. Nearly one-half as many of those who were spared to return to their homes and loved ones have since gone to the eternal camping ground of the great beyond. How many more in the next two decades of years will be summoned to join their departed comrades, the great Father of all only knows. In view of this, and of the dangers that unquestionably threaten the welfare of our Republic, I implore you, by all the sacred memories of the past; by the blood of your fallen com. rades; by the ties that bind you to one another; by the love you bear those who are to come after you, and by your hopes for the future of your country, to stand steadfastly by the grand old flag of the Union, resolved to meet and to combat with unfaltering courage all the perils that may threaten the welfare and permanency of our great Republic. [Applause.]
The President:—Comrades, Colonel Jacobson, of Chicago, now desires to present something to you, which after he has presented it, I shall beg to take your vote upon, and we will then act accordingly.
“ Colonel Jacobson then presented to the Society, on behalf of the Chicago members, a beautiful banner, containing extracts from the speech of General Grant at the meeting in 1975, as follows: COMRADES:
It always affords me much gratification to meet my old comrades-in-arms of ten to fourteen years ago. We believed then, and believe now, that we had a government worth fighting for, and, if need be, dying for. In a republic like ours, where the citizen is the sovereign, and the official the servant, where no power is exercised except by the will of the people, it is important that the sovereign-the people-should possess intelligence. The free school is the promoter of that intelligence which is to preserve us as a free nation. If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.
“Encourage free schools.
*Resolve that either the state or nation or both combined, shall support institutions of learning sufficient to afford to every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education.
"Keep the church and the state forever separated. With these safe-guards, I believe the battles which created the Army of the Tennessee' will not have been fought in vain."
Colonel Jacobson said:
MR. PRESIDENT AND LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Our comrades who live in Chicago have allotted to me the great pleasure of presenting, in their behalf, this banner to the Society of the Army of the Tennessee.
Upon it will be found words full of wisdom written, as they deserve to be, in letters of gold. Through this banner, whenever we meet, General Grant will speak to us. His words and his acts had alike the same directness and both were the embodiment of uncommon common sense. Said he, in the Wilderness: “ What is the use of going down on the James river to fight General Lee. General Lee is right over there in the woods within five miles, where I can get at him early in the morning.” [Applause.]
While war made General Grant famous he loved peace. Upon an occasion which we all remember he electrified the Nation with the simple words: “Let us have Peace.” The words, upon this banner, are words which make for Peace. They tell us how we may forever preserve our Government, and how we may preserve it in peace.
The great advantage of self-government, for which it is to be prized above all others, is that it is a government of peace. The rule of the people means peace. The many are for peace and against war, because, upon them war piles all its burdens and all its sufferings. On the contrary, where the few rule, the very air is always full of war. The explanation is easy enough. War benefits and aggrandizes the few at the expense of the many. Nobles and princes, kings and potentates want fleets and armies, conquests and glory. Being able to do as we like, having our own affairs in our hands, knowing that if we dance we selves must pay the piper, we seek no conquests; we want no military glory. It is our aim to build up ourselves, not upon the ruins of other people's happiness, but by the peaceful, skillful and