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Sixth Toast:—“The Regular Army." Our teachers in war; our defenders in peace.
Response by General John Pope.
MR. PRESIDENT AND COMRADES:—I had hoped, indeed, I had fully intended, to enjoy this reunion at least to the full; to look and listen, and not to speak. You have determined otherwise. The toast you assign me is not a novel one; indeed, it has been ably and eloquently responded to so many times that there is little new left to say, and that little had better be said by some one not so prejudiced as an army officer. As you seem to insist on my speaking, you must excuse, if you do not concur in some sentiments which have long been in my mind, and which I am not sorry to have the opportunity to express before such an assemblage. And first let me say that
Amid the ever-changing circumstances which surround in our widely separated homes; in the infinite diversity of occupations and pursuits in which we have engaged since the war ended; in the ever-shifting objects and interests which now engross us, we of the Army at least have reason to thank God that the strong ties of affection which bind together the comrades who fought side by side on so many bloody fields still remain steadfast and unchanged. No bond ever so united men to each other as the attachment formed during the stirring scenes of war and cemented by a common peril, a common interest and a common suffering. No newer attachment can ever displace the feeling based on such a foundation—not even the newly discovered affection for our brethern of the Lost Cause, which our political agriculturists are lauding so loudly and cultivating with such assiduous disinterestedness. The days of conciliation and reconciliation have long been upon us, and many there be who even maintain that the time has come when the saint and the sinner should be alike honored in this land of ours. It may be so, but let us, comrades, at least, be careful that the artificial Aowers which we are permitted, rather than invited, to scatter over the remains of those who fell in a cause so righteously lost, be not suffered to impare the sweet odor of the more natural flowers which we yearly strew over the graves of those who lie buried that their country might live. Let us remember the solemn legacy these dead men have bequeathed to us, consecrated by their blood and sanctified with their lives, to maintain among ourselves and to transmit to their and our descendants the results they laid down their lives to achieve. They would wish, as we do, that the bitter feelings engendered by the war should be buried deep beneath the monuments we erect to their memory, but they could not wish, as we who reverence their memory should not, that the result for which they so freely poured out their blood should be entombed there likewise. They would desire, as we do, that every effort be made to bring about an honest and wholesome reconciliation with those of our countrymen who have sinned so grievously against us and their country, but they would protest, as we should protest, against the maudlin sentimentality and political quackery which would confound right with wrong; which would teach us to honor alike the cause which was just and the cause which was unjust, and which would reduce us to that condition of mental and moral idiocy that we shall reverence the memory of the man who died in arms to destroy his country equally with the memory of the man who died in arms to defend it.
No reconciliation based upon such confusion of the moral sense can ever bring forth good fruit, nor can any people or any Government dare encourage it, without destroying that lofty sentiment of patriotism which is their only safeguard, and under the influence of which so many thousands of our best and bravest marched with intrepid souls to an untimely and a cruel death.
Let us not be deceived in this matter either by ourselves or by others. It is in no sense a question of party politics, or I should not have introduced it here. It was well said but lately by a distinguished officer, in my hearing, “that the men who fought out this war faithfully are above criticism for any party associations or for any opinions on public questions which they may choose to adopt.”
To whatever political party, however, we may now belong, we all know well what we fought for: to maintain constitutional government and to enforce respect for law upon those who warred on both. The distinction between the cause we maintained and the spirit in which we maintained it, and the cause of our adversaries and the purpose with which they upheld it, is broad and deep; no less, indeed, than the difference between American constitutional government and Mexican anarchy.
It is not surprising that the people of the free States, bred up in reverence for constitutional government and respect for law and order, should have been loth to believe and hard to convince that war was upon our theshold on such an issue. But war did come, and if we fail now to learn the lessons it taught us, we shall commit a sin against humanity and a crime against our posterity forever. So long as any considerable portion of our people maintain the fatal heresy that armed resistance is justifiable when elections are unsatisfactory, this Government is in danger.
When we forget, or cease to assert and to insist upon the vital distinction between our cause and that of the rebels, or the difference in the respect due to the men who fought on our side and those who fought on theirs, the days of the Republic will be numbered.
And now, comrades, I tender you my grateful thanks for this cordial welcome, not in my own name only, but in the name of the whole of the army. Scattered as they are over the vast plains and mountains of the West, isolated from all friends and all the scenes of interest and excitement which are the daily experience of the more favored, they live of necessity mainly on the recollections of the past, and the painful feeling has begun to grow up among them that they are not only passing out of the affections but out of the memory, also, of the comrades by whose side, in times past, they faithfully stood on many a hard fought field. I shall be doubly welcome when I return to them, bearing from this assemblage of soldiers the message which I can safely conveythat they are not only not forgotten, but that they are still dear to the memory and near to the hearts of their old comrades-in
General Pope was many times during his speech vociferously applauded and as he closed was given a round of cheers.
Music by the Band.
Seventh TOAST:—“ The Vavy.'" Behind its iron walls the country's honor is safe.
Response by Hon. J. B. GRINNELL. The Hon. A. E. Borie Ex-Secretary U. S. Navy was expected to be present and had assented to respond to the toast, but failing to be present Mr. Grinnell took his place.
MR. PRESIDENT:-The reason why I was called upon to respond is because I have a seafaring name, although not myself a sailor, nor ever “scuttled a ship or cut a hawser thread.” I am a farmer, and as I always tell the truth, I knew not that I should be called upon to speak until I entered the dining-room door to-night.
We look upon the army and navy as brothers; they are brothers, and are always ready to take each other's hands. Those of you who have seen at the table of Senator Grimes the navy officers can speak of them as gentlemen-the noblest of gentlemen.
So far as I know, there was no jealousy between the army and navy. In Congress were voted appropriations to the one as willingly as the other. The old tar has a heart to welcome the one who carried a bayonet and sword. How many of the navy are now sleeping with the sea weed as their shroud, and the coral reef their pillow, and the ceaseless refrain of the ocean their funeral dirge. The American sailor is a gentleman; he carries the flag of our commerce, and wherever he carries that flag it is honored for the nation it represents. I hope to live long enough to see that our nation shall be too mighty in justice to need a vessel on the sea to assert our rights or defend our honor.
In this connection I will not forget our Senator Grimes, the champion of the navy, as Chairman of the Naval Committee in the Senate.
You will welcome the sailor as you meet in your reunions.
You will neither be forgotten in time to come, although you may pass away.
Music by the Band.
Eighth TOAST:—“The Army of the Tennessee."
Response by General J. A. WILLIAMSON.
Mr. PRESIDENT AND COMRADES OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:—No higher compliment could be paid to any man than to be called upon by one of the great Generals of the Army of the Tennessee, now the commander of all the armies of the United States, to respond to the toast without notice.
Would to God I were able to do justice to that great Army in the remarks I shall make.
Although I was familiar with the services of the Army of the Tennessee, having participated in its marches, its battles and its victories, I can not undertake to recount them, even in brief outline, on an occasion of this kind. The task would be too great for a much more ambitious and aspiring orator than myself.
To tell of the achievements of that Grand Army is a task worthy of a Homer, a Virgil or a Xenophon. Of the commanders of that victorious arıny, Grant was the Ulysses, Sherman the Agamemnon, McPherson the Hector, Logan the Ajax, and Howard the Christian Soldier.
Of how we loved and revered the great cominander who organized that army, and those who succeeded him in command of it, I will not here undertake to speak, except as to McPherson, who gloriously fell while leading it to victory.
Of him I can say that he loved and devoted himself to the army as Hector loved and devoted himself to Troy, and was loved
army as Hector was loved by Andomache, or with such love as a young mother feels for her first-born. I can say no more without going into details, which this occasion will not permit.
I am thankful that I was a soldier in the Army of the Tennessee, and would be no less so if I had only had the privilege of carrying a musket in its ranks with the brave men who won its victories, and who are now the best citizens of the Great Republic.
Music by the Band.
Song by Captain CHURCH—“Old Shady."
Ninth Toast:-“ The Army of the Cumberland."
To respond to this toast General Jeff. C. Davis had been assigned, but not being able to remain to the banquet, the President, General Sherman, selected General Charles F. Manderson to fill the place.
MR. PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF THE Society OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:—It is a matter of deep regret to me, as it must be to you, that the distinguished soldier selected by your committee is not present with us to-night to respond to the toast to the Army of the Cumberland. Identified closely with its history, adding by the vigorous use of his good sword greatly to its glory, no better man could have been chosen to respond to this sentiment than he who supplemented his splendid record and gallant service during the war, by the most earnest endeavors