Page images
PDF
EPUB

intelligent use of what we already own and have within our own borders. [Applause.] Never before in the world has there been a nation at once so powerful and so peaceful as ours. [Applause.) What the average American wants is in peace and plenty to live and labor and love. That we prize the government which enables us to do this is not to be wondered at.

The distance which our political system is ahead of even that of England is measured by the fact, that if the two millions of men who have just been enfranchised in England, had been on the coast of New England in 1620, they would then and there have been enfranchised two hundred and sixty-six years ago.

Before landing at Plymouth, the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, in order to avoid all possibility of lawlessness, entered into an agreement amongst themselves concerning the manner in which their settlement should be governed. In this agreement, each man pledged himself to submission and obedience to the laws that should be made in pursuance of it. The agreement reads like this: “In the Name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign, King James, having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do, by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civic body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most convenient for the general good of the colony. Unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

That agreement instituted a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It was the beginning of self-government in this country. It was the beginning of self-government in the world.

There were forty-one men on board of the Mayflower, and forty-one men signed the agreement for self-government. No man was excluded because he was ignorant or because he was poor or for any other reason whatever. That agreement is today the high water-mark of the world's statesmanship. [Applause.] What Gladstone is doing in England now, is only a

feeble imitation of what the Pilgrims did on the Mayflower. [Applause.

Self-government was easily possible for the forty-one men who landed on Plymouth Rock, because they were intelligent men. Had they been ignorant men, self-government would have been full of difficulty for them. Ignorance becomes lawless and riots under circumstances under which intelligence discusses and con. vinces others, or is itself convinced, and holds its peace. Ignorance is the arch enemy of self-government. If self-government is to flourish, ignorance must go. Self-government implies that as all men must rule, all men must be trained so as to be fit to rule. For its own preservation and perpetuation, self-government requires the highest possible elevation of all men. What fresh air and food are to the human body, the school and the printing press are to self-government. [Applause.] Untrained brain power is wasted brain power, and self-government cannot afford to let brain power be wasted. Any boy on the street, when trained, may be a possible benefactor of his race. Any boy on the street, when educated, may be a possible General Grant. Self-government requires that all the Abraham Lincoln's be brought out of the Kentucky log-huts, and set to stir the high chords in the Nation's breast. [Applause.]

The President:-Members of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, what is your pleasure with reference to the banner you see suspended before you? Are you prepared to receive it and take care of it and preserve it? Those who favor the proposition will say aye.

The vote was unanimous.

The President:-Colonel Jacobson: We accept that banner, and will undertake to guard and protect it as long as we live. Further we can not say. We all remember the speech very well, for we were present at Des Moines when General Grant made it, read it from the slips of paper on which he wrote it himself. It was written at the house of a friend of his in Des Moines, on little slips of paper which belonged to a note-book, and he read from those the words which are embellished there in gold letters. We now have undertaken a sacred duty, and I will instruct the Secretary to take the banner to Cincinnati and put it in the safest place we have.

The Rock Island Glee Club then sang an appropriate song.
The President:

-The Army of the Tennessee Society is famous for one thing, and that is for keeping good order. We concede to every member of the Society the right to call upon anybody on the stage, who is expected to make a short and interesting speech. The people who are here as our guests this evening, do not possess that privilege. They are perfectly welcome to cheer and encourage the speakers as much as they please, but to the Society alone is given the privilege of calling for persons who are upon the platform.

Calls were made for General Logan; who was introduced by the President and was received with applause. He spoke as follows:

MR. PRESIDENT, COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

At so late an hour as this, it seems to me that nothing can be said of an entertaining character, nor can a speech be extended to any length; but inasmuch as my name has been called, I will give to you a thought that came to my mind while the address of the orator of this occasion was being delivered. One or two sug. gestions made in that address, not coming from himself, perhaps, but having been suggested in papers by statesmen and others, caused me to reflect in reference to the history of our great country. While we see this old flag hanging there, and remember that it was the flag of our fathers, that the blue ground studded with stars represents the glory of the starry-decked plains of heaven, the red stripes the patriotic blood that was poured out by our sires to water the roots of the tree of liberty, the white stripes the purity, the virtue and the patriotism of the American people, and remember that by and through its inspiration and that of patriotic devotion, our fathers in the revolution fought for liberty, we still remember that our fathers were not wealthy. The majority of them were poor men. We remember too in that great struggle, that while we lost eleven thousand killed, wounded and missing and Great Britain lost twenty-six thousand, while we had thirteen men-of-war each and every one destroyed or captured, yet our fathers never faltered. So too in the war of 1912, in the twenty engagements of a naval character our people had grown in strength until we were successful in fifteen of them. Passing to the Mexican war and the trials through which we

have gone, it was not the millionaire that shouldered the musket And when I come to reflect that in the late war for the preserv'. tion of this grand government of ours, when I know that that oid starry emblem was borne by patriotic hands that came from the plow-handles and the work-shops, and from every avocation in life, it calls my mind to reflect that patriotism dwells in the cabin as well as in the castle; (applause) and I desire to say, merely as a thought suggested, that the remedy for the evils that are now upon this glorious land, that has been preserved by the two mil lion and a quarter of patriotic men that went forth to save this union for you and me and for future generations, that our troubles to-day are slight and the remedy for them is not in disfranchising the poor man. [Applause.] The remedy is in this: It is in the execution of the laws of this country against every man that violates them, no matter whether he be rich or poor. [Applause.]

There is too, another thought suggested; that of immigration from foreign shores to this land. I have no right to oppose immigration. My parents were from foreign shores; but I do insist that men who are pagans, that men who are not in a condition to assimilate themselves to our institutions, shall be excluded from our shores. [Applause.] I would carry it further than that, and I would say to my honorable friend, that in carrying it further there is a remedy for its abuse. Let the people of this land fill the congress of this country with men who are not demagogues but who are honest and not afraid to do that which is beneficial to their country. [Applause.] We have a right in this country, as every other government has, to say who shall come and who shall

go. Then let us say in our statute laws that no man shall come to this country unless he can give a certificate from the officials or from some one authorized to certify, that he is a man of good character in the country from which he comes. [Applause.] When the people that come to this country are required to come as honest men, as men devoted to our institutions, because they are better suited to their station than others, these difficulties will disappear. If men are good citizens, they can get credentials that will bear them across the briny deep and make them good citizens here, and to such men I would extend the right hand of fellowship. Many of our people perhaps have not examined this question, but for the last twelve or fifteen years, the penitentiaries and prisons of foreign countries, have been

opened provided the inmates were brought by agents to this country, and turned loose upon us. The insane asylums all over this land, have inmates who were in insane asylums before they left the country they came from, and who were brought here by agents of foreign governments and dumped upon the people of this country. Stop these things and then you have the remedy, and people that are here, whether they are American born or foreign born, if they violate the law, punish them for it and make good citizens out of them. [Applause.] I do not believe in the doctrine that because a man is poor he shall not vote. That was the doctrine of the oligarchies of the South when they stamped men under their feet because they were black. [Applause.] The doctrine that a man because he can not pay taxes shall have no privileges in this country would apply to some men very harshly. Do you think Grant could have paid taxes when he was made Colonel of the 21st Illinois regiment! [Laughter and applause.] There is not a poorer man in the land than he was-working I believe at a monthly salary in a tan-yard. Lincoln when he was twenty-one years old could not have paid taxes. This doctrine is not my friend's, but comes from English statesmen, and some who claim to be statesmen in our own land, and I only say these things because I do not wish it to go to the country that the Army of the Tennessee believes that a man, because he is not a tax-payer, shall not vote. [Applause.] I would like to know how many poor soldiers that carry a crutch to-day, or limp over this land, there are that can not pay taxes, that are as honorable and as brave and as true patriots as God ever breathed the breath of life into. No, Mr. President, that is not the remedy for our evils. That is not the remedy for anything, in a Republic. That is the first step to monarchy. That is the doctrine of the man of wealth, the aristocrat in England, the aristocracy of blood. In this country it would be an aristocracy of wealth which is a thousand-fold worse; and whenever that is undertaken in this country, then your troubles commence. The elective franchise has never been given to people in this or any other country and taken from them with cheerful submission; nor will they submit. I do not say this by way of criticism, but I say it by way of giving my own views on that subject. There was not a man that led the armies of the United States that gained your victories, who was not a poor man. [Applause.] I am the friend of the poor man in city

« EelmineJätka »