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CARL SCHURZ (1829 )

THE ABLE ADVOCATE OF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM

ORE than half a century has passed since the European Revolution of 1848, which spread throughout the continent, and ended with the exile of many of its ablest and most progressive sons. Prominent among those from Germany who sought the land of liberty beyond the seas was Carl Schurz, who eame to the United States in 1852, finding a new home in Wisconsin. In this country he has been free to express his progressive sentiments, and has been very active in political labors. His career here began in 1856, with speeches in German in favor of Fremont. In 1860, having learned English, he canvassed several States for the election of Lincoln, and won a high reputation as an orator. He was rewarded by being appointed Minister to Spain, and in 1862 he entered the army as brigadier-general, and fought through two years of the war. Removing to St. Louis in 1868, Missouri sent him to the United States Senate, and under President Hayes he served in the Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior. As a public speaker Mr. Schurz is plain and direct in style, not given to ornamental language, yet strong and effective. He is an able writer, his “Life of Henry Clay ” in especial being regarded as a classic of its kind. He has also written a “Life of Abraham Lincoln.”

AMNESTY FOR THE CONQUERED

[The orations of Carl Schurz cover a wide range of time and subjects. Old as he has grown to-day, he preserves his fluency as a speaker. In selecting from his many speeches, however, we go back to that period after the war, when the question of amnesty for the South was before Congress, and give Schurz's eloquent and humane views upon this subject. The contrast which he pictures between the conditions of the two sections is animated and striking, and his plea for mercy to the subjected one of the most forcible that could be made.]

This picture represents the President delivering an address to a popular audience in Philadelphia at the ~5: ‘Dedication of the Boys' new High School. His addresses are always thoughtful and rich in forceful § utterances. He is one of the most cultured and polished speakers of all the Presidents.

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CARL SCHURZ 189

Sir, I have to say a few words about an accusation which has been brought against those who speak in favor of universal amnesty. It is the accusation resorted to, in default of more solid argument, that those who advise amnesty, especially universal amnesty, do so because they have fallen in love with the rebels. No, sir, it is not merely for the rebels I plead. We are asked, Shall the rebellion go entirely unpunished 2 No, sir, it shall not. Neither do I think that the rebellion has gone entirely unpunished. I ask you, had the rebels nothing to lose but their lives and their offices 2 Look at it. There was a proud and arrogant aristocracy, planting their feet on the necks of the laboring people, and pretending to be the born rulers of this great republic. They looked down, not only upon their slaves, but also upon the people of the North, with the haughty contempt of self asserting superiority. When their pretentions to rule us all were first successfully disputed, they resolved to destroy this republic, and to build up on the corner-stone of slavery an empire of their own, in which they could hold absolute sway. They made the attempt with the most overwhelmingly confident expectation of certain victory. Then came the Civil War, and after four years of struggle their whole power and pride lay shivered to atoms at our feet, their sons dead by tens of thousands on the battlefields of this country, their fields and their homes devastated, their fortunes destroyed ; and, more than that, the whole social system in which they had their being, with their hopes and pride, utterly wiped out; slavery forever abolished, and the slaves themselves created a political power before which they had to bow their heads; and they, broken, ruined, helpless, and hopeless in the dust before those upon whom they had so haughtily looked down as their vassals and inferiors. Sir, can it be said that the dellion has gone entirely unpunished 2

You may ject that the loyal people, too, were subjected to terrible sufferings; that their sons, too, were slaughtered by tens of thousands; that the mourning of countless widows and orphans is still darkening our land; that we are groaning under terrible burdens which the rebellion has loaded upon us; and that, therefore, part of the punishment has fallen upon the innocent. And it is certainly true.

But look at the difference. We issued from this great conflict as conquerors; upon the graves of our slain we could lay the wreath of victory; our widows and orphans, while mourning the loss of their dearest, still remember with proud exultation that the blood of their husbands and fathers was not spilled in vain ; that it flowed for the greatest and holiest and at the same time the most victorious of causes ; and when our people labor in the sweat of their brow to pay the debt which the rebellion has loaded upon us, they do it with the proud consciousness that the heavy

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price they have paid is infinitely overbalanced by the value of the results they have gained ; slavery abolished ; the great American Republic purified of her foulest stain ; the American people no longer a people of masters and slaves, but a people of equal citizens; the most dangerous element of

disturbance and disintegration wiped out from among us, this country put

upon the course of harmonious development, greater, more beautiful, mightier than ever in its self-conscious power. And thus, whatever losses, whatever sacrifices, whatever sufferings we may have endured, they appear before us in a blaze of glory. But how do the Southern people stand there 2 All they have sacrificed, all they have lost, all the blood they have spilled, all the desolation of their homes, all the distress that stares them in the face, all the wreck and ruin they see around them—all for nothing, all for a wicked folly, all for a disastrous infatuation ; the very graves of their slain nothing but monuments of a shadowy delusion ; all their former hopes vanished forever; and the very magniloquence which some of their leaders are still indulging in, nothing but a mocking illustration of their utter discomfiture | Ah, sir, if ever human efforts broke down in irretrievable disaster, if ever human pride was humiliated to the dust, if ever human hopes were turned into despair, there you behold them.

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