« PreviousContinue »
HENRY WATTERSON (1840)
MONG the phrases widely current in the American political
world is that of “ Tariff for revenue only," a Democratic
slogan which has formed the war-cry in more than one hardfought battle for the Presidency, and which is credited to the fertile brain of Henry Watterson, one of the ablest among Western editors. As a counterpoise against tariff for protection, this phrase has had a telling effect in political and economical argument.. Watterson began hir career as a newspaper writer in Washington, returning to his paternal home in Tennessee at the outbreak of the Civil War, and serving in the Confederate army. Since 1868 he has been known as the able and trenchant editor of the Courier Journal, of Louisville. An old-line Democrat of the Jefferson and Jackson school, he has steadily worked for this wing of his party. Watterson is eloquent and popular as an orator, both in the political and lecture field, and in the lighter vein of the “after-dinner” speech.
A VISION OF AMERICAN HISTORY
[One of Watterson's choicest efforts in oratory is his oration delivered October 21, 1892, at the dedication of the Columbian World's Fair in Chicago. From this fine address we select one of the most eloquent passages.]
We look before and after, and we see, through the half-drawn folds of time, as though through the solemn archways of some grand cathedral, the long procession pass, as silent and as real as a dream. The caravals, tossing upon Atlantic billows, have their sails refilled from the East, and bear away to the West; the land is reached, and fulfilled is the vision whose actualities are to be gathered by other hands than his who planned the voyage and steered the bark of discovery; the long-sought golden day has come to Spain at last, and Castilian conquests tread upon one another
fast enough to pile up perpetual power and riches. But even as simple justice was denied Columbus, was lasting tenure denied the Spaniard.
We look again, and we see in the far Northeast the Old World struggle between the French and English transferred to the New, ending in the tragedy upon the heights above Quebec; we see the sturdy Puritans in bell-crowned hats and sable garments assail in unequal battle the savage and the elements, overcoming both to rise against a mightier foe; we see the gay but dauntless Cavaliers, to the southward, join hands with the Roundheads in holy rebellion. And lo, down from the green-walled hills of New England, out of the swamps of the Carolinas, come faintly to the ear, like far-away forest leaves stirred to music by autumn winds, the drum-taps of the Revolution; the tramp of the minute-men, Israel Putnam riding before; the hoof-beats of Sumter's horse galloping to the front; the thunder of Stark's guns in spirit battle; the gleam of Marion's watchfires in ghostly bivouac ; and there, there in serried, saint-like ranks on Fame's eternal camping-ground stand,
“ The old Continentals
In their ragged regimentals,
Yielding not,” as, amid the singing of angels in Heaven, the scene is shut out from our mortal vision by proud and happy tears.
We see the rise of the young republic, and the gentlemen in knee breeches and powdered wigs who made the Constitution. We see the little nation menaced from without. We see the riflemen in hunting shirt and buckskin swarm from the cabin in the wilderness to the rescue of country and home; and our hearts swell to see the second and final decree of independence won by the prowess and valor of American arms upon the land and sea.
And then, and then,-since there is no life of nations or of men without its shadow or its sorrow,—there comes a day when the spirits of the fathers no longer walk upon the battlements of freedom ; and all is dark; and all seems lost save liberty and honor, and, praise God! our blessed Union. With these surviving, who shall marvel at what we see to-daythis land filled with the treasures of earth; this city, snatched from the ashes to rise in splendor and renown, passing the mind of man to preconceive ? Truly, out of trial comes the strength of man ; out of disaster comes the glory of the state.
THE PURITAN AND THE CAVALIER To tell you the truth, I am afraid that I have gained access here on false pretences; for I am no Cavalier at all; just plain Scotch-Irish ; one of
those Scotch-Irish Southerners who ate no fire in the green leaf and has eaten no dirt in the brown, and who, accepting, for the moment, the terms Puritan and Cavalier in the sense an effete sectionalism once sought to ascribe them-descriptive labels at once classifying and separating North and South; verbal redoubts along that mythical line called Mason and Dixon, over which there were supposed by the extremists of other days to be no bridges—I am much disposed to say, “A plague o' both your houses!"'
Each was good enough and bad enough in its way, whilst they lasted ; each in its turn filled the English-speaking world with mourning; and each, if either could have resisted the infection of the soil and climate they found here, would be to-day striving at the sword's point to square life by the iron rule of Theocracy, or to round it by the dizzy whirl of a petticoat! It is very pretty to read about the Maypole of Virginia and very edifying and inspiring to celebrate the deeds of the Pilgrim Fathers. But there is not Cavalier blood enough left in the Old Dominion to produce a single crop of first families, whilst out in Nebraska and Iowa they claim that they have so stripped New England of her Puritan stock as to spare her hardly enough for farm hands. This I do know from personal experience, that it is impossible for the stranger-guest, sitting beneath a bower of roses in the Palmetto Club at Charleston, or by a mimic log-heap in the Algonquin Club at Boston, to tell the assembled company apartparticularly after ten o'clock in the evening! Why, in that great, final struggle between the Puritans and the Cavaliers—which we still here sometimes casually mentioned, although it ended nearly thirty years ago—there had been such a mixing up of Puritan babies during the two or three generations preceding it that the surviving grandmothers of the combatants could not, except for their uniforms, have picked out their own on any field of battle!
Turning to the Cyclopædia of American Biography, I find that Webster had all the vices that are supposed to have signalized the Cavalier, and Calhoun all the virtues that are claimed for the Puritan. During twenty years three statesmen of Puritan origin were the chosen party leaders of Cavalier Mississippi: Robert J. Walker, born and reared in Pennsylvania ; John A. Quitman, born and reared in the good old State of Maine. That sturdy Puritan, Slidell, never saw Louisiana until he was old enough to vote and to fight; native here—an alumnus of Columbia College—but sprung from New England ancestors. Albert Sydney Johnston, the most resplendent of modern Cavaliers—from tip to toe a type of the species; the very rose and expectancy of the young Confederacy–did not have a drop of Southern blood in his veins; Yankee on both sides of the house, though born in Kentucky a little while after his father and
mother arrived there from Connecticut. The Ambassador who serves our Government near the French Republic was a gallant Confederate soldier and is a representative Southern statesman ; but he owns the estate in Massachusetts where his father was born, and where his father's fathers lived through many generations.
And the Cavaliers, who missed their stirrups, somehow, and got into Yankee saddles? The woods were full of them. If Custer was not a Cavalier, Rupert was a Puritan. And Sherwood and Wadsworth and Kearny, and McPherson and their dashing companions and followers ! The one typical soldier of the war-mark you !—was a Southern, not a Northern, soldier ; Stonewall Jackson, of the Virginia line. And, if we should care to pursue the subject farther back, what about Ethan Allen and John Stark and Mad Anthony Wayne—Cavaliers each and every one? Indeed, from Israel Putnam to “Buffalo Bill,” it seems to me the Puritans have had rather the best of it in turning out Cavaliers. So the least said about the Puritan and the Cavalier-except as blessed memories or horrid examples—the better for historic accuracy.
If you wish to get at the bottom of facts, I don't mind telling youin confidence--that it was we Scotch-Irish who vanquished both of you ; some of us in peace, others of us in war-supplying the missing link of adaptability, the needed ingredient of common sense, the conservative principle of creed and action, to which this generation of Americans owes its intellectual and moral emancipation from frivolity and pharisaism, its rescue from the Scarlet Woman and the mailed hand, and its crystallization into a national character and polity, ruling by force of brains and not by force of arms.
HE Adams family, as was said in a former sketch, has been
notable in the history of oratory and patriotism. It has two
Presidents to its credit, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams, father and son, both famous statesmen and ardent patriots. Later in the line we meet with Charles Francis Adams, the able statesman and diplomatist, and his son, of the same name; the latter a cavalry soldier in the war, later on a railroad commissioner and arbitrator, and always a true scion of his patriotic ancestry. He was elected president of the Union Pacific Railway in 1884, and became presiding officer of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1895. While all the distinguished men of the family have won reputation as orators, the one now under consideration is certainly not the least eloquent among them. In 1883, in his address entitled, “A College Fetich," he sharply criticised the American system of higher education, stirring up the adherents of the system to an acrimonious discussion of his strongly expressed views
THE VETERANS OF GETTYSBURG [On the 4th of July, 1869, the sixth anniversary of the greatest battle of the Civil War, Mr. Adams delivered an oration at Quincy, Massachusetts, on this subject, which is looked upon as his masterpiece, though he has other eloquent speeches to his credit. We give the patriotic peroration of this admirable address, following a most animated description of the hasty march to Gettysburg.]
It is said that at the crisis of Solferino, Marshal McMahon appeared with his corps upon the field of battle, his men having run for seven miles. We need not go abroad for examples of endurance and soldierly bearing. The achievement of Sedgwick and the brave Sixth Corps, as they marched upon the field of Gettysburg on that second day of July, far excels the vaunted efforts of the French Zouaves.