« EelmineJätka »
the State of Michigan and the honored Mayor of this beautiful city, our thanks for their tender of their hospitality, for their kindness and their welcome. I know I speak the sentiment of every member of our Society, when I say we came to Detroit with the assurance, without any words or without any promises whatever, of a hearty welcome to this State and to this community. We knew it of old, and we knew that when we got to Detroit there was plenty, not only to eat and drink, but of that better welcome which gushes forth, like pure spring water, from the hearts of an honest people. Yes, Governor, we thank you. We honor your state, and recognize the fact that Michigan sent ninety thousand as brave men as ever trod shoe leather, who went forth to conquer—and they did conquer-side by side with us. They were our comrades in war, and they are our friends now in peace. And to you, Mr. Mayor, let me say this beautiful city of Detroit will ever remain in our memories as a bright, cherished spot, to be loved by us, to be venerated by us; and we will pass down to our children, so that they will transmit it, the memory of the merits of the good people of Detroit. We accept your wel. come in the spirit in which it has been offered. On the streets, everywhere, we read it with our eyes, and drink it in with the air. So, with thanks again for the welcome you have just tendered us, we will now proceed with the continuation of the pro. gramme, which has been placed in my hand by the local committee, and I call upon the band for music.
The President was followed by music as set in the programme, and, at the conclusion, introduced the orator of the evening, Col. onel Augustus Jacobson, who spoke as follows:
MR. PRESIDENT, COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Literature is still busy discussing the struggle in England more than two hundred years ago between Roundhead and Cav. alier. Englishmen write and print about it, and all the world reads; and this will continue so long as there shall be in the world any people who speak English. No living Englishman, if he could, would obliterate from the history of his country a struggle which in its day made England a land of weeping, wailing and sorrow, because through that struggle came the supremacy of
parliamentary government, which is every year more and more getting to be government by the people.
When the personal sorrows and sufferings of our war shall be those of a bygone generation, it seems to me that the sense of the people will be about this: The results of the war were worth all the war cost. As a boiler is tested to see to what extent it can carry steam, so the Union has been tested to see what strain it can stand. Sooner or later the testing had to be done. The Union men had no disposition to test the strength of the Union, and, besides, they alone could not have done it. The Confederates were essential to establish upon the present basis the Union and the Nation. Without them it could not have been done. In spite of themselves, every shot they fired helped to make imperishable the Union and the Nation. As Roundhead and Cavalier were essential to the making of England, so, in like manner, were Federal and Confederate essential to the making of the Union and the Nation. “Surely," it is written, “the wrath of man shall praise the Lord.”
Every Englishman glories in Prince Rupert and his troopers because they were gallant men. Every Englishman glories in the feats of arms of grim old Cromwell and his men, because they lifted up high the glory of England. Two hundred years have passed and millions of Englishmen know not whether their ancestors were on the side of king or commonwealth; but be. cause they were Englishmen, Rupert and Cromwell belong to them all. So will it be here. In the long centuries of a nation a war, even so great as ours, dwindles out of sight. Lee and Stonewall Jackson imagined themselves only Virginians. They were more than Virginians; they were Americans. The time will come when the cause for which they fought will be forgotten by the great mass of the people, and our descendants and their descendants will remember only that Lee and Stonewall Jackson and the men who followed them, and did daring and gallant deeds, were all Americans.
Coining together as we do to talk over what happened during the war, and the meaning of it all, nothing could be further from our thoughts than to stir up strife. We meet filled with the spirit of Appomattox. Metaphorically we continue to say with General Grant, “ Stop shooting. Take your horses and mules and go home, and do your spring plowing. We'll fire no salute in honor
of our victory. We'll not exult over the downfall of gallant men, always our countrymen, who were yesterday our enemies, but who are to-day our brethren.”
One of the most singular things in the world is the peculiar manner in which men reason when their money interests are at stake. I have read in some newspaper "that in 1680 an English clergyman of the name of Goodwin, made the following argument against Christianizing the negroes in Virginia:
“61. The negroes are not men. 2. If they are men they are PreAdamites, and therefore are not entitled to the promises of either covenant. 3. If they are the children of Adam, still they are born under the curse of Ham, and are not entitled to any spiritual privileges. 4. You can do them no good, for they are incapable of being made Christians. 5. If we should make them Christians, they would get such ideas of liberty and of their rights that they would murder us. 6. We should lose, besides, all their time Sundays. 7. We did not come out here to make Christians, but to raise tobacco and make money.”
The world over, human nature is the same and has always been the same.
You all remember Demetrius, who made silver shrines for the worship of the Goddess Diana and stirred up a riot against St. Paul; because Demetrius knew that if St. Paul prevailed there would be an end of the silver shrine business. The worship of Diana was money in the pocket of Demetrius. If the invisible God was to be worshiped, there would be no demand for silver shrines for Diana. Demetrius, therefore, made a taking speech to the men of his craft when he said to them: “Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.” But outdoors, among the people who had no money interest at stake, Demetrius and his fellow-craftsmen, whose pockets were at stake, said nothing about the danger to their pockets, for that would not have fired the Ephesian heart. Outdoors they put their wrath on the ground of danger to the worship of the glorious goddess Diana. We are told that Demetrius and the silversmiths were all full of wrath, and all, with one voice, about the space of two hours, cried out:
“ Great is Diana of the Ephesians."
In 1860 the Nation said to the South, you are maintaining a nuisance within your borders; but while you keep it within your borders it is none of our business. But not content with having
it within your own borders, you are trying to spread it over the Territories of the Union, and that we will not stand.
The South said: Slavery has equal rights with freedom in the Territories. Oh, no, said the Nation, slavery is local and sectional; freedom is National. Then the South said, “ state rights.” The Vation said state rights are all well enough in their place, but the laws of a state go only to the limits of the state, and when you get beyond the limits of your state and into the territory of the United States, you are in the territory of freedom for all men, and we will elect a President who will see to it that your nuisance shall be confined where it now is.
The South said: That which you call a nuisance is not a nuisance at all. It is a divine institution; the Creator of the Universe is the author of it. The Old Testament is full of it, and St. Paul sent back to his master the slave Onesimus, and bespoke for him, from his master, lenient treatment. So far from our peculiar institution being a nuisance it is a blessing; we are going to spread it all over the territories of the United States and bless the whole Nation with it, and if you elect Abraham Lincoln President we'll set up a government of our own, with our own blessed, divine institution for its corner-stone.
The meaning of all this was that with slavery shut up where it was blighting every foot of soil it touched, the price of slaves must go down With each additional acre of slave territory the price of every negro slave would rise. Additional slave territory meant money in the pockets of the owners of the slaves.
If St. Paul had had anything with any money in it for Demetrius, Demetrius would not have stirred up a riot against him, nor would Demetrius probably have cared much about the glorious goddess Diana. Like Demetrius and his silversmiths, the secessionists in 1861 rarely mentioned their pockets. Telling about danger to their pockets would not have fired the heart of those of the Southern people who had no money interest at stake. But as Demetrius and his silversmiths shouted, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians, so the secessionists, like unto Demetrius and his followers, full of wrath, and as with one voice cried: “ Great are state rights. Great are state rights and the guarantees of the Constitution.”
About a year after Washington had been inaugurated President of the United States, his friend, Dr. Stewart, of Virginia, wrote
to him that the belief was then spreading in Virginia that it was impracticable for the North and the South to live peaceably together under the same government. Washington replied to Dr. Stewart in March, 1790, and in his reply he put the subject of disunion in a nutshell. Among other things he said: "I am sorry such jealousies as you speak of should be gaining ground and poisoning the minds of the Southern people.
That there is a diversity of interests in the Union none has denied. That this is the case also in every state, is equally certain; and that it even extends to the counties of individual states, can be as readily proved. Instance the southern and northern parts of Virginia, the upper and lower parts of South Carolina. Have not the interests of these always been at variance? Witness the county of Fairfax. Have not the interests of the people of that county varied, or the inhabitants been taught to believe so?
These are well-known truths, and yet it did not follow that separation was to result from the disagreement. Common danger brought the states into confederacy; and on their union our safety and importance depend. A spirit of accomodation was the basis of the present Constitution. Can it be expected, then, that the southern or eastern parts of the empire will succeed in all their measures? Certainly not. And I will ask another question of the highest magnitude in my mind, to-wit, if the Eastern and Southern states are dangerous in union, will they be less so in separation? If self-interest is their governing principle, will it forsake them or be restrained by such an event? I hardly think it would. Then, independently of other considerations, what would Virginia, and such other States as might be inclined to join her, gain by a separation? Would they not, most unquestionably, be the weaker party?"
If this letter, printed in large type, could have been placed conspicuously, where it could be read by all, in the hall of every Southern state convention that met in 1861, there would have been passed fewer ordinances of secession. But at the South in 1861 full, fair, free and open discussion was not a characteristic of the agitation for disunion. “The whole South is in a state of revolution,” wrote General Lee on the 20th of April, 1861, three days before he took service under Virginia, "into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been dragged. And though I recog. nize no necessity for this state of things and would have foreborne