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possess, and were they without population or with a population such as ours, it would perhaps be well to acquire them now, but will it not be better to postpone their acquisition until we have assimulated the vast numbers of new citizens so lately added to our population in the Southern States. If we succeed in that great task, we shall approach the acquisition of new regions with assurance of success. If we fail, we shall be confronted with difficulties greater than any we have yet overcome.
There are several other questions, comrades, concerning which I should be glad to have the benefit of your good judgment, but the time admonishes me that I have already detained you too long.
The most unhappy legacy which our civil war appears to have left behind it is neglect of the duties of citizenship; and until we purge ourselves of this sin it seems idle to discuss any questions of government whatever.
It is both strange and sorrowful that the high privilege of taking direct part in the government of one's country, a privilege for the possession of which great wars have been waged and whole nations laid waste, for which the best and bravest among men have freely poured out their blood, for which our forefathers almost within the memory of men now living staked their lives, their fortunes and their honor, should so soon have come to be regarded with such indifference that like the air we breathe we neither trouble ourselves to inquire whence it came nor whither it is going. Have we the right to complain of corruption in our politics, when the best of us subordinate the exercise of this high privilege to occupations and amusements which lead to no end except personal gain or enjoyment? Can we long satisfy our consciences or preserve our institutions if we studiously neglect or contemptuously disregard a duty so essential to their existence? Not thus did we who took active part in our civil war learn the obligations of duty. Whilst the world contemplates only the victory in battle as it contemplates the great successes of government, we know how the results were achieved, how the victory was won.
We know that not alone nor mainly to the bravery and good conduct of our troops in battle was the victory due, but to that careful attention to every detail of service, to that conscientious performance of the most trifling duty, which brought our armies to the battle in the best condition to win it.
Not to you, comrades, I am very sure can the charge of neglect of your duty as citizens be truly laid, and it may well be that to the precept and example of such as you the country must look to give renewed virtue and vitality to the institutions which your valor has preserved.
. Our Country! How every heart thrills at the words; how every hand is stretched forth to uphold and defend. Alas! that so soon after a triumphant struggle to maintain free government, we should be called upon, not to contemplate the glory we have won, but to consider the sins we are committing; not to paint bright pictures of future prosperity, but to cast about for the means to avert misfortune.
Second TOAST:—“ The President of the United States."
THIRD Toast:—“Our eminent Captains, our pre-eminent Soldiery."
Response by Major-General LOGAN.
The presiding officer stated that General Logan was quite sick, too ill to be present; though he had not given up being present until the last moment. He assured the members of General Logan's regret, and he knew that all at this board would join him in hearty sympathy for General Logan. Governor Beveridge read the response of General Logan.
It has been said that “distance lends enchantment to the view." This adage is true in many respects, but in none more so than in regard to the effect time and distance have upon the usual estimate of the conflicts of arms which often arise between nations or contending parties in the same nation, and especially is it true in respect to the effect these have upon our estimate of the actors in these conflicts. The prominence given in the modern history of Europe to the campaigns and battles of Napoleon I, is sufficient of itself to confirm the truth of my statement. Even yet, as the years roll away, the stern, sombre figure of Bonaparte seems to swell in magnitude, and the desert Island of St. Helena grows in interest with each receding decade, simply because it was his last abode. But conflicts of far less importance and magnitude than those which convulsed Europe at the opening of the present century, and leaders of far less prominence and genius than the hero of Austerlitz, grow more and more prominent on the pages of history as the increasing vista of years lengthens the view. Who has not read with deepest interest the recitals of the petty wars of the Bruce and Douglass? And to-day the mere sounding of these names causes every Scottish heart to swell with national pride, and justly, too; and my designation of their conflicts as "petty wars,” sounds like sacrilege even to American ears; yet when we consider the numbers engaged, as compared with other wars, they dwindle to insignificance, and the actors and the principle for which they contended alone stand out in bold relief. To-day the name of Richard Cour de Lion lives on every tongue in remembrance of his personal heroism in the conflicts with the barbarous Saracens, yet any one of these conflicts would dwindle to insignificance of compared with the battles of Murfreesboro, Lookout Mountain, etc.
If we move still further back in history, to the days of Cæsar and Alexander, we find the adage still holds good. Yet the armies of Macedonia and Persia, as led by Alexander and Darius, when combined, would scarcely have formed one wing of the armies in the great battles of the late rebellion; and the hosts of Cæsar and Pompey were perhaps still more insignificant in numbers.
It is, therefore, a true adage that "distance lends enchantment to the view," when applied to the actors in these great human conflicts.
I have heretofore, while standing beside the graves of our fallen heroes, made the statement that future generations and future historians alone will fully appreciate the magnitude of our great struggle, and the vast importance of the interests involved; and the more I read carefully the history of the past, and compare it with the present, the more firmly do I become convinced of the truth of the assertion. Nor do I speak thus by way of boast, or with any desire of self glorification, because we were participants in this great conflict of arms, but because I am borne out by the facts, and in simple justice to the living and the dead. Nor would I be understood as reflecting upon the valor and genius of those who entered the lists against the best interests of our nation, for while I deprecate the cause in which they engaged, and rejoice in the final result and salvation of our country, I accord to them
full merit for bravery and devotion to a mistaken cause, but at the present I speak only of our “eminent captains and pre-eminent soldiery.”
But aside from the almost universal disposition of the human mind to be thus affected in its estimate, there are special reasons why this should be the case in respect to great struggles like that through which we, as a nation, have so recently passed. And prominent among these we may mention, as sufficient to confirm our statement, the following: personal interests, personal feelings and individual predilections and prejudices are too strong to be wholly cast aside in making up our estimate of the conflict and actors.
No matter how liberal the historian of the present age may strive to be, yet he is apt to give one fact, especially if it be one of which he had personal knowledge, or in which he was a participant, too much prominence, while he gives to another too little; he is apt to estimate one leader or one division of the army too highly in proportion to another.
We, who were participants in the campaign of the Army of the Tennessee, can fully appreciate this fact; for while we desire with a full and hearty good will to accord full honor and glory to our comrades-in-arms in other departments, yet it is impossible for us to feel that deep, personal interest in the recital of the deeds of valor which occurred in those departments, that we do in regard to those in which we were actors. The same thing is more or less true in respect to the historian and biographer. Time must be given for the smoke and din of battle to blow away before the results can be fully known; and sufficient distance must be given for all the rills and branches from the various scenes to be gathered into one stream before we can learn fully its width and depth. Nay more, we must watch the stream as it rolls onward toward the ocean of futurity, before we can ascertain its force and calculate its effects.
The result of the conflict between the Normans and Saxons in the time of William the Conqueror, of England, was never properly understood and written out until the present century, and even then it remained for a Frenchman, Thierry, (I write from memory), first to present this in a proper philosophical light, and for the great novelist, Scott, to present it in glowing colors in his Ivanhoe. Can we expect then that a few years will suffice to properly estimate the magnitude and results of the mighty struggle which so recently convulsed one of the greatest nations of the earth? Can we expect even a few decades will enable us to properly appreciate the effect of the vast leap in the progress of human liberty, so recently taken? And if these can not be fully understood in all their bearings, we can not expect the actors in the great tragedy of the Western Continent will be properly estimated and appreciated until future generations, gathering all the facts and results, shall treat them philosophically and with impartiality. Years and years rolled on after the crusades of the Old World had closed ere their effect on the civilization of the Eastern Continent were fully understood; and to-day we are yet watching, with deep interest, the result of the Franco-Prussian war in its bearing upon the status of European nations, and calculating the effect of Bismarck's policy. Scientists tell us that force in the physical world, like matter, is indestructible, and that when checked in one direction or destroyed in one form, it will expend its power in another direction, or develop itself in another form. It would seem as though the same law governed human progress and mental power, and that the gathering storm which occasionally bursts like a hurricane upon social life and national existence, although scattered, was not lost, but in some different direction or new form continues to act. Wise statesmanship, therefore, will strive to divert this force into useful channels, that it may not retard human progress or national prosperity.
But it is of the patriotic hearts who braved the storm of disunion and rebellion I now speak. Shall I undertake to mention one by one our noble leaders, whose names appear on the roll of honor, some of whom lie sleeping in their graves, while others living have entered again the various walks and avocations of life. To attempt to recount the achievements of all of our eminent captains would require volumes, and to recite the brave deeds of our pre-eminent soldiers would swell the number to hundreds; and to tell the history of a few and leave the story of many untold, would appear to form a distinction which I feel unwilling to make. The history of the battle-fields down the valley of the Mississippi, along the march to the Atlantic shore, and of the Army of the Potomac, must be read by those who would learn these facts and names. Each chapter bristles with accounts of battles, which the reader in future ages will compare favorably with those which mark the