Page images

their conceptions of their country, of its needs and resources. Every step they took in the long marches from the temperate regions of their homes towards the strange and semi-tropical land, where they saw unwonted forms of life and growth, was a process of education. Every soldier who returned was a man broadened far beyond his former limitations. He had assisted in the conduct of great operations, carried on at limitless expense. He had seen that there are marvelous recuperative powers in nature and in man to repair the waste of torch and sword; powers, which will in a year often smooth down the desolation and destruction of a long campaign. And so, laying down the musket and taking up the ballot, he began the work of reorganization and restitution. In doing this, no backward steps were taken. Not one of the former agencies of misrule was resuscitated. The very idea of sectionalism vanished. Large views, continental in their scope, took the place of parochial contraction. The public lands were given to the immigrant. The railroads were endowed with them. The continent was spanned with the iron avenues of civilization, and the activities of the Atlantic States were poured overland into the bosom of the vast and solemn Pacific.

It is not easy to state distinctly the effect of the war upon foreign people. That it was very impressive is clear. The aspirations of the French people towards republican forms have been the creations of American success. The first French republic was its daughter. It was nourished by Thomas Jefferson, who was then our minister at Paris, and by Thomas Paine, who was a member of the French National Assembly. It fell, for it was premature. But immediately after our war had shown the world with convincing demonstration that our system is not a rope of sand, but one which contains ample powers of self-preservation, the second French republic rose like an exhalation from the ruins of foreign conquest and domestic rapine, and promises to stand permanently. But let us look still further. Africa is second only to Asia in

It has been darkened to the world, in the designs of Providence, from the beginning. It is traversed by great rivers, by lofty mountain ranges. It is rich in forests, plains, and minerals. It is densely populated. Some of its barbarous kings have been men of great political and military ability. God creates nothing in vain, suffers nothing to exist for no purpose. The seals which


have closed the great continent are breaking. The Suez canal has given easy access to its eastern coast. It is proposed to turn the waters of the Atlantic into their ancient bed, the desert of Sahara. Enlightened nations are exploring the Congo. The child is now living who will see that continent opened by war, by railroads, and its vast capacities for production enter into the channels of commerce, to minister to the needs and luxuries of the world. Its millions must either perish or be reclaimed from barbarism. But it has always been a characteristic of that race that contact with other races does not extinguish it. It flourishes under all circumstances. It has great powers of adaptation and imitation. There can be no doubt that the next conquest of humanity is to be in that dark continent. By what forces will the righteous subjugation be most powerfully assisted? We have in the United States seven millions of Christian people. They are citizens. Their children are learning to read and write. Compared with their kindred in the other continent they stand immeasurably higher. They are the advanced people of that innumerable race. It cannot be doubted that the United States will at the proper time take a most efficient part in the reclamation of Africa. The laws of commerce and the benevolent propensity of civilized States to aid in such work are alone sufficient to impel our people to this participation. We have seen how in the long processes of time a branch of the Aryan race has returned into India, bearing with it all the accumulations of unnumbered generations. It will be but a repetition of history when the African soldier, statesman, schoolmaster and missionary will visit the continent from which his ancestor was torn into a hopeless slavery, bearing with him the choicest products of civilization, as the agencies of regeneration. And in that future, when the world is fairly under the influence of all these, when the historian seeks for the cause which rendered this enormous reflex action possible, he will find it in a great war in another hemisphere, by which a race was disenthralled and raised from the gangs of slavery into the ranks of manhood,

Many other reflections press forward for expression, but the limitations of this occasion repress them. I have endeavored to show the mission of war in general, and of this war in particular; that its end is not mere conquest, nor personal glory; that its consequences are never ending; that it is in the great average of

human concerns beneficent; that it extirpates error; that it estab. lishes what it is good; that it makes nations.

I have said little of your battles, nothing of your personal glory. The battles are known to the world, your glory is secure. It was a sublime conception of the German poet Zedlitz, that before the statue of the great Napoleon in the Place Vendome the hosts of the Empire muster for review. While Paris sleeps, the disembodied cohorts of the dead conqueror break the marble calm of death and are marshalled upon the fields of air. The armies of twenty years stand embattled on that aerial plain. They come from the slime of the Nile, from the sands of Arabia, from the snows of Russia, from Alpine ice, from German plains, from the fields of Italy, from Spanish sierras, from the waves of Trafalgar. The imperial marshals are there: Murat, with his squadrons; Davout, with the victors of Auerstadt; Massena, with the famine. stricken defenders of Genoa; Macdonald, sword in hand and on foot at the head of the eighteen thousand immortals who broke the Austrian centre at Wagram; slaughtered Ney, with the apparition of the despairing Guard, which broke in vain in bloody surges upon the English squares at Waterloo. The spectres of auxiliary kings, their brows gold-bound with phantom crowns bestowed by him, career before their shadowy legions, and far off upon the confines of the night the phantasma of vanquished armies in full retreat is dimly seen upon a hundred fields. Martial music is faintly heard beneath the stars, and upon the spirit banners of the pallid and evanescent host as it sweeps in dark review before the bronze emperor, who has also taken a ghostly life, gleam the words "Ave Imperator! Morituri te salutant,” and then the armies of a lost cause melt into the air and the emperor becomes bronze again.

So, now and in all time, will the hosts of this army defile before the Genius of History. They rise, arms in hand, from the ancient river-beds, from the bivouac of the grave, from Vicksburg and Kenesaw, from every historic battlefield, from deadly forests and noisome prison pens. The living and the dead are there, the white man and his dusky comrade. The great generals are in their places. The peans of victorious music are heard again. The starry flag gleams among the constellations. This pageant fades from the Elysian fields, and History, taking up her pen, writes of that army the imperishable words, "Its cause was not

lost, for it was the cause of Liberty, my best beloved child. It fought the great battle of humanity and conquered, and is consecrated to the reverence of mankind."

Governor Davis was cheered many times during his address, having held his listeners to a very close attention, and as he concluded he received hearty applause.

The President:-Ladies and gentlemen, the night is very hot and although you want to encore our orator, you ought not to desire him to proceed again. [Laughter.] It is now, according to my watch, 10 o'clock; we have been sitting an hour and a half, but, according to our customary usage, we sometimes sit as long as two hours and a half. Now, the next thing in order is some music, which I will soon call for, after which I will permit any member of the Society who will speak the name fairly to call upon any other person in the audience who is a member of the Society also, or any person upon the stand, to speak a few minutes extemporaneously. There are gentlemen in the audience whom you may desire to call upon, and you can think the matter over among yourselves. This invitation is only to be given by members of our own Society to call upon other members of the Society to come to the stand and speak extemporaneously. And you can also call upon any member who is already upon the platform.

Before opening this little game—this little side-game-[laughter] which is sometimes attended with a good deal of fun, I call upon the Quartette to sing "Tenting on the Old Camp-Ground."

Song, as above.

Song-Battle Hymn of the Republic, by Miss Alice S. Mitchell, the audience joining the chorus.

General Fallows was called for a speech and General Sherman presented him, saying:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:-I introduce to you the Rev. Bishop or Major. General Fallows, I don't know which. [Laughter and applause.] General Fallows. MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

I feel like singing in my heart to-night, as I have been trying to sing with my lips, "Hallelujah, our God is Marching On."

He marches on in the sulphurous air and smoke of battle, as well as in the ways and modes of peace; and the able and philosophical and scholarly and comprehensive address we have listened to to-night has pointed us to the glorious truth that the war in which we were engaged was not waged in vain; that we have to-night a common country; that we have to-night a flag without a single star missing; that the war has been overruled by God for the permanent establishment of this republic upon the earth. [Applause.]

The question has been asked respecting the enduring nature of our institutions, it has been asked since the war even, respecting our country-are there signs of incipient or quick consumption in her? Has she still a cancerous affection in her blood? Is she dyspeptic? Is she rheumatic? Has she softening of the brain? Is there any disease of the heart? Well, to-night we are reassured on this point. There has been brought before the world a monument, which in its boldness of conception and in its coming grandeur of execution will not be surpassed upon the earth; it is the statue of liberty enlightening the world, to stand upon the gateway of our country at the metropolis of the nation. [Applause.]

Look at the conception of the artist; it is the conception of a woman of glorious form and bearing, standing as the outward and visible sign of that spirit of liberty we to-night revere. Look at her in the marvelous magnificence and the exuberance of her physical loveliness; see her with her eyes that have stolen their blue from the cloudless depths of this o’er-reaching sky; see her with her cheeks kissed in the ruddy glow of health by the ardent sun; see her with the charm of those templed waves and with the merry, winsome grace of that laughing water passing at her feet; see her with the superb strength of the hills in her shapely limbs; see her with her divine significance about the forehead, royal with the truth; see her with principles animating her as lofty and commanding as her towering mountains, with ideas as broad as those glorious prairies, with motives and patriotic loyalty and selfsacrificing, demanding like the resistless rush of her sea-seeking rivers; look at her, and then ask the question whether her lungs are not sound, whether her digestion is not good, whether her blood is not uncorrupted, whether her brow is not clear and her brain active and her heart beating warm and true.

« EelmineJätka »