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with his heroic achievement of writing, under the sufierings of a fatal disease, the record of his life for the salvation of peace, and dedicating his work to the fraternal feeling of his countrymen.
This spirit of patriotism pays interest and premiums on its bonds in millions because it must, when its soldiers are fighting for its credit; and it pours into the laps of the old soldiers and their widows and orphans millions more, when its patriotic sons have made it able. The reward is not to the soldier. The soldier's reward was in the loyai discharge of his duty. The nation's reward, and that of all those who inherit its munificent results, is in a due appreciation of the service rendered and an effort to express it. However bountiful the acts of government may be, however acceptable in individual instances they may be considered, let us not reduce the patriotic sentiment that made us support our country to the basis of a pecuniary reward. It does not belong there. It can never be paid for. Our dead comrades cannot thus be paid, and we would scorn ourselves to accept anything on such a construction. It is not for us that these millions are spent so much as for those that are to come, that they may behold in this, as in the monuments that are raised and in the eulogies that are pronounced, the liberality and gratitude of a glorious Repubiic; the sentiment that will induce the son and the sons of sons through the coming generations to imitate not only the examples of the recent war, but those of our forefathers, who created as we sustained, the enduring fabric of constitutional liberty.
Above all is that reward that comes from the consciousness that we have done God's will.
In times of the war we soldiers always worked under and believed in the motto, “In God we trust.” Now we believe that God then trusted and now trusts in us.
Sixty TOAST.—“The Common Patriot.”
Response by JAMES WTCOMB RILEY.
While the common patriot seems never to expect, and certainly does not require the tribute such as may be paid him at the banquet board, it is all the more an honor, as I take it, when by general consent of the Army of the Tennessee a humble citizen and mere civilian is permitted to say something of him, anyhowthe common patriot. It is a commendatio: one can enter into with such heartiness, such genuine honesty, such sound affection for the subject of his theme.
The common patriot seems so accessible. A hero he is, indeed, forever within the reach and grasp and hand-shake of us all-in constant touch and hail - all unremoved from us by elevated office or isolated service, jealously barring him from us with guns and soldiery and fortress walls. The common patriot, thank heavens, is left to roam at large all up and down the land his presence glorifies. Everybody knows him, familiarly and affectionately, by his first name or his last. He is our next-door neighbor, and a better one, we often think, than he has himself.
As there is a type of actor so unqualifiedly excellent and perfect in his art that we cease entirely to regard his great gift critically, or to justly measure and appreciate his rare possession as anything but the most natural quality in the world; likewise we have this type of patriot so naturally fitted to the part, and without so natively endowed and capable and satisfactory is his simple presentation of his character that we are apt to overlook his very highest claims, to not only our prolonged applause, but our enduring gratitude as well.
This is the common patriot-not the exalted chieftain, charging at the front of battle, with his glittering sword waving onward to the very cannon's mouth, but the patriot of the advancing columns, with shattered right arm limp and useless at his side, the old flag caught and lifted with his left, and “the terrible battle hymn of the republic” upon his lips. The cominon patriotthere are regiments of him ; battalions and brigades; yea, rast, earth-shaking armies! It was the common patriot, in fact, who "somewhat grimly smiled " (think of that kind of a smile, 400,000 strong!)-it was he who, when called to arms, answered with his multitudinous presence, and who, when called to do and die for his stricken flag's sake, did and died; and yet in rallying legions, with the flag still overhead, received his marching orders, “ to the sea,” and thereupon invincibly marched to the sea.
Nor is it at all unlikely that the common patriot, aside from his God-given tendencies, has often found his model in such of his great Generals as Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and that illustrious line of men whose positive genius forced them on into the lead, even as at the Nation's head the common patriot found the typeperfect in the character of the immortal Lincoln. These all were of the type, in truth, that made and makes the common patriot a glorious title and a glorious personality to fulfill. Moreover, in his common role the patriot knew a rude freedom and independence which leadership, however loath, must needs relinquish all
One soldier even put the advantageous position of a private soldier over that of a commissioned officer by saying that there was, of course, no possibility of a private ever being reduced to the ranks. No; he proudly finds himself superior to all superiors, and so, as the redoubtable Chispa, he most cheerily “wags through the world, half the time on foot and the other half walking" So long as his country may be served and benefitted by one so humble as he counts himself, he is content to accept the lowliest duties of that service and to acquit the trust as the most unpretentious and matter of fact obligation possible for the patriot to pay. His country first and always, no matter as to his own personal weal or woe-a characteristic even that has been found accented in almost barbaric spirits of his kind. Such a one was Orderly Sam Cotterell, of whom the boys never tire of telling, whose utter loyalty and courage, yet defiance of all camp discipline, marked him in a most peculiar way. Ingloriously as Sam demeaned himself in some particulars, most gloriously he fought and bled and ultimately died with his eyes fixed proudly on the banner he had helped to rescue and redeem. Poor, unlettered, simple-minded Sam, through his ungovernable and sometimes wholly lawless temper, half the time under suspicion, if not in positive disgrace. At one time reduced to the ranks, his pay withdrawn, and under surveillance in the guard-house, he further italicized his ignoble fame by a terrible assault upon a fellow-prisoner, whose only offense upon examination seemed to be a special gayety of spirit and a love for song, with which melodious indulgence he was wont to beguile the weary hours of his sentence; and yet for his singing only had he been set upon by Sam and nearly slaughtered.
All his fellow-prisoners, and there were many, joined in the general testimony as to the victim's reputation for sterling innocence as well as cheeriness. Matters going decidedly against his “murderous assailant,” as Sam, the grim and sullen prisoner, found himself repeatedly referred to, he said: “Of course I didn't want to quite kill the cuss, nor I didn't, but when he jest kep' up that singin', and wouldn't shet up, like I warned him-wy, I had to shet his blame fool head for him—that was all!” “But
don't mean to say the simple fact of the man's singing incited you to such a pitch of frenzy, and to the commission of such a crime as might have resulted in sheer murder?” Sam was asked. “ Well, no." responded Sam, slowly, comprehending that his own position seemed never to have occurred to anybody but himself. “No, I didn't adzac'ly slug him for singin', but because his blank, blank singin' was a sowin' the seeds of sedition among the prisoners!” He continued with a sudden martial fervor and heroic spirit that shot him to his full length, while he thumped his patriotic bosom like a wet bass drum: “ It wasn't his singin',” he went on excitedly, “it was what he was a-singin'. The drafted conscript and substitute! It was what he was a singin'. He was a singin':
“Sixteen dollars a month to be shot at
Is the common soldier's pay;
Gets his eight dollars a day.” Simply a common patriot was Sam-a very common patriot, if you please, but a patriot, no less.
Wherever we may find this homely type repeated, invariably his origin will be found as common-place as that of Sam's. He was begotten of the love of home and the shriek and thump and rattle of a sheepskin band. In the political processions of his earliest youth the old flag glittered and fluttered in the sunshine and the wind seemed always to be laughing as though hysterically tickled over something it had promised on its honor not to tell. Its stars laughed, and its stripes laughed, and its red, white, and blue-all, all ran rippling into such an ecstasy of glee as caught his own breath as he leaned out from his mother's arms and shouted after it. Instantly he loved it, at first sight, as his father and his mother had before him, and as his children, in the far-off future years, would come to do. Therefore it is that the common patriot was raised to be an element in our country life and perpetuity as natural as the life principle of the Republic. In times of peace he may be found amid all pastoral scenes of unobtrusive industry, and toil. He is simple in his tastes and his ambitions, and is not fevered in either heart or brain. The homely comfort and content that pervaded the old home of his boyhood afford him his ideal of the home he would establish for his own and leave as blessed heritage to his children. He may not logically know it, or be able
so to demonstrate the simple proposition, but it was this innate love of his first home that brought about his love for the vast home of his country. His glory in his natural rights as part possessor of this universal freehold may not be gauged or measured, but something in rough estimate of its excess may be conjectured when we see him turn from his doorway at first signal of his country's peril and with a last fond kiss for the tearful wife and cooing babe, stoically blend and lose himself amidst the thronging rank and file of those who bravely march "to victory or the grave."
It sends a thrill of jubilance through heart and soul-it wipes away the rising tear and loosens all at once the knotted ache within the throat. And as he firmly catches step with the steadfast tramp, tramp, tramp of the onward-moving army the old fag laughs back again upon him, like a loving voice that speaks aloud and bids him fair and says: You are not going from
wife and child and home-you are going for them!” And may I offer yet another instance of the common patriot's
This from the homely fact of life itself, not alone conspiring in my neighborhood, but yours. The scene of it is set upon the farm-the old home place where a race of patriots has been reared. There is the old ancestral roof, with the old locusts looming all about it, with the old sweet blossoms on them, and the old bees droning there; the old door yard; the old porch, and the old dog sleeping in the sun; the old well-sweep, the little garden patch, and the old orchard just beyond, made sacred as the family burial ground. The old house is very full of quiet now. Sometimes an old man comes out and sits upon the porch and looks wistfully across the fields to where the road to town goes by. Sometimes an old women comes out and sits there with him, saint-like and silently. They see sometimes a neighbor driving by and know him by his horses; sometimes they see go by-in early morning generally-two, three, five, sometimes as many as a dozen different wag. ons, and then they know there is "a big day "in town. Maybe an old settlers' meeting, a political rally, or Decoration day. Vague rumors reach them of these alien affairs; but they are always interested to hear of them-especially of Decoration day-the more so since it seems to this old home-keeping couple, who have never attended this annual decoration service made so much of by the people of the town. Their Decoration day experiences the old man might sum up like this: