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After an hour had been spent at the dinner, General Sherman again requested order, saying:
I want the servants gradually to draw out of the main hall and occupy positions against the sides of the building. If I am to preside, I am determined that every speaker shall have a fair chance; and, therefore, the servants must keep out unless they are called for, and they must move quietly and not obstruct the view of the speaker. When the speaker is upon the stand silence is politeness. Any noise is discord. Therefore, as the presiding officer to-night, I simply ask you, one and all, to give close attention whilst the speakers are on their feet. I will endeavor to give you plenty of time intervening between each speech to talk to each other and to listen to the music. There are seven toasts to which eminent men will respond. I think each one will take from twenty to twenty-five minutes. At all events they will average that. Now, allowing five minutes intermission for music and talking, figure it up and you will take about two hours and a half. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I bespeak of you the utmost attention, and I think we will promise you an entertainment equal to any which has preceded this.
I am delighted to see the ladies present, because I know they always exercise a good influence upon their male neighbors. And I also bespeak the music to be a little short-rather too short than too long. But allowing twenty minutes' average for the speeches, and five minutes intervening time of music and conversation, two hours and a half will bring us to one o'clock to-night, which is a reasonable hour for people such as we profess to be. I am accustomed to all night myself, but I do not think you have yet got New York fashions out West. I hope you have not.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, with this preface, with a few minutes to adjust your seats and, if you please, to move up a little nearer this way if you can, I will announce the first toast. Are you ready?
Ladies and gentlemen, I now announce the first regular toast of the evening, “The President of the United States.” This will be responded to by the Hon. James B. Angell, President of the Michigan Univerity of Ann Arbor, this state.
First TOAST—“The President of the United States.” Our country's welfare is our first concern, and who promotes that best, best proves his duty.”
Response by Hon. JAMES B. AngelL.
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
My speech will have but one merit of which I am sure, and that is, that of the twenty minutes assigned to me by your generous chairman I propose to give ten of them to the ladies, provided they will allow me to come down there and talk with them. I desire to express my thanks to the committee for the high honor they have done me in assigning me the pleasant duty of responding to this sentiment. I am sure you all profoundly regret, and I am sure no one so profoundly regrets as I, that our worthy Chief Magistrate himself is not present here to-night to respond to this sentiment in his felicitous manner. It seems to me that it would have been more appropriate if some one connected with him by official relations, had been chosen to represent him to night, my learned friend, for instance, the distinguished Judge of this district, or my eloquent young friend, the District Attorney. In truth, I have been somewhat puzzled to know why the committee should have pitched upon me for this duty. I have been able to think of but one explanation, and that is that they had heard of my early and brilliant record. For the benefit of strangers who come from abroad, it may be necessary for me to tell it myself. I was a member of a battery of artillery in my early years, and drilled for some weeks every night. The officers of that battery were men quick to discern military genius; and therefore at the end of two weeks they promoted me to the office of fourth corporal. They did not see, however, that modesty was sometimes combined with great military talent. I was set to reflecting upon the fact that at this rapid rate of promotion I might before long be called to the high responsibility of commanding the armies of the United States, and in sheer diffidence I resigned my position. But I did not escape all connection with military affairs in that way. It so happened that I was at that time editing the chief daily journal in Rhode Island, and it was my duty, of course, to endeavor to record the deeds of you gallant soldiers at the front. And I speedily found that this required more activity than it did to keep up with my gun when she was on the double-quick; for you soldiers of the Army of the Tennessee had that awkward way of winning victories faster than we could record them, and in that way I became very familiar with
the names of many of the gentlemen whom I have never seen until to-night, but into whose faces I am glad to look. Had I the files of that old paper here to-night I may say with all modesty that I could read eulogistic words concerning you from my pen, which I fear that even your modesty would hardly allow me to read. I believe that every loyal Englishman regards it as his first duty at every banquet to remember the Queen, whether he approves or disapproves the opinion of the cabinet that governs her action. He regards her as the representative, and in some sense the impersonation of the sovereignty of the nation. So we citizens, so you, citizen soldiers, may, I conceive, with equal propriety, remember, as you do, at these military festivities the President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the army and the navy. We leave our political predilections at the doors of the banqueting hall; and differing as we do in political opinion I do not doubt that every man here is ready to declare himself thoroughly devoted to the support of the Chief Magistrate of the United States at all times, and to aid him in the execution of the laws which tend to promote the prosperity or maintain the honor of this Nation. More than that, if the days of peril come again, every man is as ready now as he was twenty-six years ago to bare his breast to the foe to put down opposition to the laws and the Nation. Surely the recollection is vivid in the memory of every one here, of the days when the relations of one President -the great war president-to the armies of the United States were very close and intiinate.
Far out upon the front, face to face with the foe, you did not forget the paternal affection of Father Abraham for you all. You knew that in no exigency would supplies or needed reinforcements be lacking, if it was in his power to secure them. Discontented as you sometimes were, and not without reason I fear, with what your orator yesterday rather happily called the in-door generals at Washington, and the Secretaries of War at times, yet, I venture to say, that no one of you, even in the solitude and peril of the picket service, in the lonely watches of the night, failed to remember-and the recollection cheered your hearts--that there was one great, tender, loving heart, the heart of that anxious man at the White House, which was bleeding with concern for you. The affections of Abraham Lincoln for the men at the front, which was as tender as that of a mother for her child, was felt
throughout all our vast armies as at once a solace and an inspiration. And as we look back to those days through our tears, to the sad scenes of those terrible days, year by year i believe we all have an increasing sense of what a mighty power. in bringing that war to a successful issue, was the character. the great, manly, lovable character of Abraham Lincoln. We are giving one of the most valuable lessons in our brief history, not only to the monarchies of the Old World, but to the somewhat turbulent republics of Central and South America, and of Europe itself, by showing that the President of the United States, even though like Mr. Lincoln, he has millions of men under his control, or even like Grant, has led those armies to splendid victory, that our Pres. ident never menaces for a moment the cherished liberties and rights of this nation. For the armies are made up of the citizens of the Union. They make the Presidents. They limit their power by constitutional legislation. No one of the four generals whom we have elected to the Presidency have so much as thought for an instant of periling the frame-work of our Constitution. It was George Washington who led the armies through the revolution that consolidated the frame-work of that Constitution. It was the hero of New Orleans who vowed by the eternal that it should not be shattered, and drove the secessionists into silence and oblivion. It was Grant who, with you and such as you, saved this nation from yet greater perils than those of the days of Jackson and of Washington; who yet discharged the duties of his great civic trust with such fidelity and such modesty that the faint babble of Cæsarism was at once puerile and ridiculous.
No, thank God, the Executive of this Nation, from George Washington to Grover Cleveland, without an exception has shown that his simple duty is to execute the laws which the citizens make. He is to be the impersonation and the embodiment and representative of the sovereignty of this Nation, even in its hour of direct peril; and you, citizens, become soldiers, are the right arm of his power, the only source of his power, who stand ready at all times to deal fatal blows to all offenders. From Nashville to the sea, from Vicksburg to the Appomattox, from the center to the circumference of the land, through the crowded streets of our great cities, where desperate lawlessness at times rears its awful front, you sweep on a mighty phalanx, grinding to powder beneath your heavy tread all enemies of the Nation, whether they
be secessionists, rebels or red-handed anarchists or foreign foes. By your loyalty, by your bravery, by your respect for law, by your patriotic devotion to the country, our Chief Magistrate is, and, God helping us, ever will be, surrounded by a defense and defended by a power such as the Divinity that doth hedge a king does not afford.
The President:-Ladies and gentlemen, I will announce the second regular toast,“ Our Commanders.” On your programme you may find the name of General Thomas C. Fletcher. He telegraphed me last night that he was heart-broken, that he could not come to fulfill his office here to-night, and I know him personally, that he always comes when he can. General D. B. Henderson, of Iowa, on short notice, has agreed to assume the task. Ladies and gentlemen, I bespeak for him your kind and close attention, and I know that he will do justice to the subject, and I will willingly add five minutes to his time. “Our Commanders."
SECOND TOAST—“Our Commanders.”
Is it held
Response by Colonel HENDERSON.
I would willingly break General Fletcher's head as well as his heart, if I could. I am a substitute, and you have got to take substitute's service. It is a new role for me to play.
“Our Commanders.” What a toast to throw at a man at short notice. Mr. President, who were our commanders? Answering for the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, I will tell you. They were, first—always first-Abraham Lincoln. I belong to no army that does not recognize him as the commander. General Grant! General Sherman! General McPherson! Generals Howard and Logan, too!
These were our commanders. After twenty-five years have elapsed since their names were made illustrious, I am asked to come before the Society of the Army of the Tennessee to respond to this toast. Why, Mr. President, who can give birth to a new thought, or to a novel expression of an old thought touching any