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of even pardonable exaggeration. It falls far short of a plenary expression of the naked truth. In vindication of it, the manifest before us makes evidence at once cumulative and convincing. I ain addressing the survivors of the terrible Army of the Tennessee, and the stranger within your gates needs to be told that these are the men-the men who have experienced more of actual war, braved more of its perils, participated in more of its horrors, sustained severer and more protracted campaigning, done more hand-to-hand fighting, endured more camp privations, courted more opportunities to be killed, and what, for generous souls, is still more sacrificial, have displayed more of the courage requisite to kill, than any like number of men in the wide world to-day. Words have been said to have golden pencils; but anent the subject of your toast, more eloquent than any words, more golden than any parole testimony, is the presentation of the “American soldier" here to-night, in the living men who made up the undying Army of the Tennessee. There is not a man with the slightest suggestion of the mercenary about him. I cannot catch sight of soldier vest. There is not an eye answering mine this minute that has in it more than the soft luster born of the domestic disposition--not a brow bearing a wrinkle alien to civil solicitude. You have given me the "American soldier.” I give you the Army-of-the-Tennessee full of him, as being the realization of the ideal suggested by the terms of your toast, "American soldier.” With it we may challenge the world. Its like upon the face of this earth there is not and there never was. In comparison, I defy the living and compassionate the dead. Comparisons ! What business in comparison have the British beef-eaters of the British army committed to their unintelligible term of service of “twenty-one years?” What can you call up that is common to these men with the myriads that evolutionize under the French eagle? What feature of resemblance do they bear to the conscript bands that march mechanically in support of the integrity of the empire of the German Cæsars, not to mention the Cossack crowds doing desultory service in the semi-civilized realms of Russia? No; in the armies of the earth, that to day bristles in arms as never before it did, you have nothing to endure the thought of a comparison with the American soldier. Aye, and summon here the generations of the silent past, and I say to you the disentomed heroes of Marathon and Thermopylæ would be
unable to comprehend the character of this gathering-would be unable to catch the conception of the American soldier—a general in his own right, whose general is a soldier like himself. This language is unintelligible to any civilization but ours; to the American it is entirely vernacular. It is so because he is a free man, and as such the equal of any and of every other man. God and God's image renected in his fellow is the warrant unto him of human equality; God's holy kingdom renected in the “good land the Lord his God hath given him in inheritance,” is the
preponderating passion of the American's soul. For these he will live in blissful peace like Adam in the cool shades of Eden, and from under his “own vine and his own fig tree,” will he sight the glistening eyes of angels peering at him through the boughs; for these he will put the sword upon his thigh, and with the zeal of the olden Levite “ go through the camp from gate to gate and return, putting to death his brother, and his friend, and his neighbor.” This is the essence of American patriotism, and this is the constituent of the American soldier. It took material form for the first time at Lexington and Concord, and the war of the Revolution was virtually terminated when the burghers of those little towns and the farmers of Middlesex took from their wooden hooks their trusty fowling pieces, and not content with repelling the attack upon their homes, followed the flying detachment, and without a general-I might say without an officer-made an investment of Boston that would have conferred fame for any general who might have conceived, and made glory for the engineer who executed it. Time has since kept turning its untired wheel and changes inevitable have been wrought in the land-change historical, geographical and political. One institution has never changed—“The American Soldier.” In arms at his country's call, subservient to its least behest, he appears to day, as he has ever appeared, “ enlisted for the war," with his best blood ready to pour out free as wine for his country's emergency. The Amer. ican soldier makes no compromise with his country. Be it war of independence, war for sailors' rights, war for the acquisition of new territory, or war to correct a recalcitrant tribe-whatever America wants done, her free-born sons stand ready to do it, and in the execution of their country's will they never have been brought to act with inconsistency. Despite the heterogeneous populations that have been pouring in upon us for more than a
hundred years, the instincts of the American nation and the make
of the American soldier remain the same. There is no people on earth more strongly marked by individuality. It would be a most un-American proposition to make us all agree. But for all our individual views or personal prejudices, let the mighty issue of war once be raised and you can write the prophecy of the future in the history of the past; when “one mad, impassioned pulse alone, each wild emotion swayed, Columbia called her freeborn sons to lend her hope and aid.” The “hope and aid” are all as ready to-day as in the days of Lexington and Bunker Hill, and of the same kind, despite the diversified nature of our immigration.
We cannot be too proud of this; we cannot make too much of it, for the test of a civilization is its virtue of assimilation. A civ. ilization that does not assimilate is defective--something wrong in it. Ours sustains the test to a degree unprecedented in any other civilization past or present, for it makes American soldiers of the very men who come in quest only of American homes. Whatever they have been toward the governments they have left, they have, with no exception to take heed of, become most loyal to ours. I am, myself, I am proud to say, immediately descended from people who have been remarkable for anything but “loyalty to the government.” The English government had been at my ancestors for seven hundred years and never succeedeıl in making any of them loyal, save the few it hung: But here, the civil war had scarce broken out when I saw my family circle, first in the country round, to be decimated; and my good Irish mother with white lips and swollen eyes informed me that“this was the best government God ever made, and must be sustained if every child in that house had to die to do it.” It came her turn to greet the railway-carriage that carried home her dead, and I saw the speechless agony that acknowledged the untimely taking off of the first born, but no tear that coursed her cheek ran recalcitrant to the government. I am called an Irishman betimes and like the appellation, for it goes without saying, that if I am an Irishman, it is because I am an American. The country that could make my Irish mother the American she is ought not to be suspected of indifference to me. I would suspect my devotion to the land she loves if I did not hate the land she hated. And it is not only on American soil that this double man
ufacture of the American soldiers is in progress; it is going on the world around. Oppression is everywhere engaged in getting out the material. Our civilization, based upon the equality of man, is the birthright of all men. I have no fears that in the future more than in the past the men who may be enlightened and virtuous enough to avail themselves of it, will ever fail to defend it, even to the shedding of their hearts' best blood.
General Sherman:-I will now announce the
“O, never shall the land forget
Response by Hon. THOMAS W. PALMER.
There is nothing so eloquent as death. Ever recurring, ever imminent, ever present, it never becomes commonplace. It is the climax of every life, the tragedy, always new, although acted and reacted since being began. The sweetest chords are attuned to the requiem, the tenderest memories cluster round the pall. In the presence of death laughter congeals and ribaldry stands abashed.
It is the catastrophe before which monarchs bow, and from which the long suffering and the long expectant shrink. Universal, inscrutable, inevitable, no assurance makes it acceptable, and even faith and prophecy can reconcile us only in part to its decree.
In former times and among another people, the banquet was never considered complete unless a skeleton sat at the table as a monitor of mortality.
The toast to which I am to respond to-night, Mr. President, evokes no such spectral figure. The imagination conjures up no such apparition, as we speak in bated breath of the soldier dead. We see them rather as they came with the blessing of their mothers at their first enlistment--fair-haired or raven-locked; or buoyant as they marched away with the last kiss of the girls they loved upon their lips; or when as veterans, bronzed and travel. stained, they came home for a brief season. Their shadowy forms
people the air to-night, as the faintly outlined faces that relieve the dark background of the masterpieces of Salvator Rosa or Murillo.
It is not the survivors of the Army of the Tennessee alone, and their guests who are here to-night. Every loyal heart, stilled or beating, that belonged to it is here, drawn by that mysterious power which even death cannot destroy. Not only they, but the shades of the dead of the armies of the Republic are here, because the cause for which they died made them your brothers, and death cannot sever that bond which unites men who have striven and died for a common good, to those who live, commemorate and still strive to that end.
They are here to-night, and it thrills my heart to feel that they know, that, although grain ripens upon the fields they watered with their blood, that, although cannon and musketry are heard no more and trace of shot and shell are obliterated everywhere save in the breasts of kindred, their memories are still cherished and their deeds still recited. I speak not for the hireling, not for the freelance, not for the soldier of fortune who, like the gladiator, sold himself for the highest pay, the most sumptuous fare and the best surroundings, but for those who fought for their country and for mankind. I speak for men who valued life, but who felt that there were some things for which life might well be exchanged. I speak for men who looked at the flag, and looking, felt in rhythm of pulse beats, if not of words, that
“Out of Thine hand hast Thou fed us with pasture of color and song, Glory and beauty by birthright to Thee as Thy garments belong,
Out of Thine hands Thou shalt give us as surely deliverance from wrong." Of men who from a conviction of what their country's flag should be, and believing that such it was, have made it what it is. Of men whom freedom loved, with whom she dwelt; of men who slept beneath the shadow of her wing, to whom she whispered,
I knelt with Ziska's hunted flock,
My voice Majenta's charges sped. It matters little to them, serene and reposeful on their eternal camping grounds, that we should recall their rank. It recks them