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"My business, connected with the railroad, renders it imperative for me to remain in Chicago to-day.
John McNULTA." We all regret his absence; but the committee have found one who will respond, in the Hon. R. H. Cochran. I call upon the Hon. R. H. Cochran, in accordance therewith, to respond to this toast. Ladies and gentlemen, give him your attention.
FIFTH TOAST_" The War as an Educator."
Response by Hon. R. H. COCHRAN.
The theme presented by this sentiment is so comprehensive of all there was of the war on both sides, in the camp and field and at home, in society and legislation, that an attempt to handle it with due time for preparation would be herculean.
It is due to you and to myself to remind you that at a late hour I am called as a substitute for the distinguished comrade to whom this sentiment was assigned, and only obedience to your call and a desire to show appreciation of the honor conferred, tempt me to attempt a presence here, sick as I really am, and tender an apology for a response.
War is a school wherein the process of education is rapid and impressive-where all are teachers, all are taught, mingling and moulding minds and opinions. Did time and occasion allow, it would be pleasant to draw upon memory for some of the amusing incidents of camp-fire and march, especially for the jokes and wit that set the camp aflame, dispelled nostalgia and even ameliorated the “yaller janders.” It would be funnier than English as She is Taught.”
I recall an instance of members of a provost guard assembled around a camp-fire at the end of a long day's march, during which some of the termagant natives had been met.
Camp-fire class:- What is a non-combatant? A. A chap that fights every day with his mouth, but never sees an armed foe.
Next.—The jaw bone of an ass.
Spell and define: Mule, mu-le; Mule, a brevet horse. Hazardous, haz-ard-ess, a female hazard.
Who is commander-in-chief ? A. The corporal of the guard.
What is a plain? A. A solitary cracker for supper! Next! Drunk on hospital whisky!
For strategic purposes, what is the most important cape? A. Kape your mouth shut.
Who is the most striking example of the importance to our country of a civilized, educated and patriotic Indian? A.-Tecumseh Sherman.
What should a good soldier most respect? A.–The orders of his superior. Next.-The hind legs of a healthy mule.
What is a redout? To be whipped twice under the lead of the same general.
Who began the war? Don't know; he didn't enlist-but I forbear.
That school most rapidly and enduringly educates wherein are secured the highest discipline and the most intensely concentrated attention and sympathy.
The war in which we took a part was the grandest in the history of the world. The participants and people on both sides were terribly in earnest, as the unprecedented sacrifices and percentages of battle losses attest. It involved questions, principles and results so vitally affecting individuals, states and nations, that its progress was an intense study, a world's problem, in the solution of which the hopes and fears, not only of the actors, but of all mankind, were concentrated or keenly enlisted.
It illustrated the sovereignty of intelligent civilians suddenly massed into armies intelligently led. It demonstrated that the highest sovereignty is the freeman's hope, nurtured in a freeman's home under the warming influences of an exalted sentimental patriotism. It taught us at a frightful cost, that in profoundest peace we must be alert and watchful of the tread of daily events; that life is but a warfare between the forces of truth and error, right and wrong, and that for a time, at least, each of these forces is equally potent if conscientious. It taught the necessity of a true education and a daily walk therein. It led us through tests of affiction, suffering and self-denial.
It carried us through dark seasons of common fears up the rugged hill-sides of common sacrifice to a new place on the mountain-side of knowledge, where friend and foe obtained a new view and conception of the inspiring and widening plain of broader liberties and better laws. It left us so far above where it found us that state lines, which had seemed as frowning walls and menaces, now seem as streaks of silver defining the various parts and har
moniously blending with the golden horizon that gloriously defines an exalted and exalting whole.
Exalted and exalting-so long as the lessons you taught are heeded. So long as it is admitted that the lost cause was wrong; that the cause for the Union was right-eternally right-and that “the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man ”are exemplified in “a government of the people, by the people and for the people," the whole people, each the equal of every other before the law every day in the year.
It was a war in which more of the high and holy hopes of the human heart, and fewer of its hates were intensely concentrated than any great war of modern times. How could it but educate? It gave us a new revelation of ourselves; it revealed to the old world the inherent forces of the new. It swept aside our system of slavery and it exalted American manhood. It decreed that capital shall not own labor and that the“ mudsill,” the “ mechanic" and the “ operator” as free men with free schools, free speech and free homes are the bed-rock of the best civilization. It taught the world that such men, when their homes and rights are assailed, become a soldiery who can make and meet an unmatched war; that though sovereigns in fact they in time of need can subject themselves to the discipline and leadership of trained fellowcitizens and sovereigns, such as Grant, Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan. It revolutionized our domestic institutions, our habits of thought, our conceptions of right and wrong, our finances, our mechanic arts, our home products and markets, our inter-state commerce, our means of communication and transportation. It gave us a new birth, a new light, and a new life. It taught the world that a veteran army of three to four million soldiers (counting both sides) could in a day dissolve into peaceful citizenship and industrial pursuits and recuperate so rapidly as to pay our debts, have our money at par or premium the world over and so much of it as to beget a quarrel among ourselves over a surplus. It taught France that Mexico was not a healthy place for forced visits, and it taught England that in the arbitration of the Alabama Claims, " the best way to do a thing is as good as any."
Yes, it revealed us to ourselves-each section to the other, every part to the whole and the whole “to all the world and the balance of mankind” as invincible and indivisible.
The President:-Ladies and gentlemen, we now come to the
Sixth TOAST.—“Our Dead."
“Their swords are rust-their good steeds dust;
I request you all to stand while Mrs. Ainsworth sings a prayer from “ Der Freischutz."
Mrs. Ainsworth having sang, the President continued:
Now, ladies and gentlemen, we come to the seventh toast, “ The Grand Army of the Republic,” the greatest organization of soldiers in America or on earth-over 400,000; I think 360,000 and odd at the last time I examined the reports. And to this magnificent subject Major Warner, of Missouri, has come from Washington to speak to you to-night. Give him your closest and earnest attention. I introduce to you Major William Warner, of Kansas City.
SEVENTH TOAST.—“ The Grand Army of the Republic.”
Response by Major WILLIAM WARNER. MR. PRESIDENT:
You have taken an advantage of me in a strange city. In one breath, you designate me as General, in the next as Major. My rapid promotion was thus followed by a sudden fall.
Yes, sir, I am proud of the rank of Major—there were many of us in the service, but few are left. You now rarely meet an old soldier of the lowly rank of Major, while the woods are full of Generals. The Majors died young; but the Colonels and Generals we have always with us.
It is hard on the good people of Toledo that they should be in: flicted with a speech from me at this time in the morning, yet it is better that they should suffer than that I should be prevented from the delivery of a speech, which, Mr. President, you have kindly informed them I came all the way from Washington to make.
Sir, there is no toast to which I would more cheerfully respond than that of 'The Grand Army of the Republic." It is a theme that recalls the heroic deeds of the actors in that mighty drama, “The Life of a Nation.” It recalls the most famous contest of modern times; it recalls four years of devastating civil war, followed by an abundant and smiling peace; it recalls the dark days when our citizens were engaged in deadly contest against each
other on a hundred well-fought battle-fields, followed by a united people returning thanks to “ Him who hath preserved us” a Nation. Thus my theme awakens. feelings of sadness and noble exultation, refined and clear from any feeling akin to bitterness.
In this spirit I shall respond to the toast assigned me.
The Grand Army of the Republic of '61 and '65 gave to the Vation its most illustrious generals, to society its best citizens, for “it is the majesty of a cause which makes not only great generals, but good men.” Never did general or army fight in a more majestic or holier cause than did the Grand Army of the Republic in the war of the Rebellion, a war that involved the life of the Nation, the preservation of the Union, the triumph of liberty and the death of slavery.
“Remember,” exclaimed the great Napoleon to his tried veterans, as he drew them up for battle under the shadow of the pyramids, “ remember, that from yonder heights forty centuries look down upon you." His was an army of invasion, disregarding the rights of citizen and nation in its onward march of conquest. Upon it forty centuries of oppression looked down, while every battle of the Grand Army of the Republic, from the firing upon the Union Alag at Fort Sumter to the surrender of Lee at Appomatox, was fought in the cause of human liberty. The friends of self-government in every clime and of every tongue earnestly prayed for its triumph in its heroic struggle " that a government of the people, by the people and for the people, should not perish from the earth.” The soldiers of the Revolution freed our fathers from British tyranny and established the Republic; the soldiers of the Mexican war gave us an empire; the soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic, by their dauntless courage, by their trials, by their sufferings, by their blood, preserved us a Nation of free men. The fathers declared : “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happi
That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.” It was not until the Grand Army of the Republic buried treason and slavery in the Potter's Field of nations, that these "self-evident truths” became living, vital principles, making all our citizens equal before the law, from the gulf to the lakes, and from ocean to ocean; making human slavery incompatible