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CHARLES EMORY SMITH (1842
EDITOR, CABINET OFFICER AND ORATOR
HE distinguished member of President McKinley's Cabinet
with whom we have now to deal, has kept himself long and
fully in the public eye, alike as journalist, as diplomat, and as Cabinet official. A native of Connecticut, he was an editor in Albany for the fifteen years from 1865 to 1880, and since the latter date has been the ruling spirit of the Philadelphia Press, the oldest and ablest exponent of the Republican party in the Quaker City. In his diplomatic service Mr. Smith was Minister to Russia 1890-92. In 1898 he was appointed Postmaster-General, resigning in 1902, in consequence of the demands of his editorial duties. As a Cabinet officer he won high praise for the merited efficiency of the postal service. The free rural delivery was developed during his administration of the postoffice department. Mr. Smith is ready and capable as an orator, alike on social occasions and in cases of graver demands.
THE ADVANTAGES OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS [Mr. Smith can, on occasion, be very amusing as an after-dinner orator, as evidence of which we make the following selection from his remarks at the thirteenth annual dinner-in 1893—of the New England Society of Pennsylvania, of which he was then the president. He very neatly contrasts the hardships of the Pilgrim Father and the modern legislator.]
If the Pilgrim Fathers were not the sweetest warblers, they at least never wobbled. They always went direct to their mark. As Emerson said of Napoleon, they would shorten a straight line to get at a point. They faced the terrors of the New England northeast blast and starved in the wilderness in order that we might live in freedom. We have literally turned the tables on them, and patiently endure the trying hardships of this festive board in order that their memories may not die in forgetfulness.
CHARLES EMORY SMITH
We can never forget the hardships which they were forced to endure, but at the same time we must recognize that they had some advantages
They escaped some of the inflictions to which we have been compelled to submit. They braved the wintry blast of Plymouth, but they never knew the everlasting wind of the United States Senate. They slumbered under the long sermons of Cotton Mather, but they never dreamed of the fourteen consecutive hours of Nebraska Allen or Nevada Stewart. They battled with Armenian dogmas and Antinomian heresies, but they never experienced the exhilarating delights of the Silver debate or throbbed under the rapturous and tumultuous emotions of a Tariff Schedule.
They had their days of festivity. They observed the annual day of Thanksgiving with a reverent, and not infrequently with a jocund, spirit; but advanced as they were in many respects, they never reached that sublime moral elevation and that high state of civilization which enable us in our day to see that the only true way to observe Thanksgiving is to shut up the churches and revel in the spiritual glories of the flying wedge and the triumphal touchdown. Their calendar had three great red-letter days of celebration : Commencement day, which expressed and emphasized the foremost place they gave to education in their civil and religious polity; Training or Muster day, which illustrated the spirit and the skill which gave them victory over the Indians and made them stand undaunted on Bunker Hill under Warren and Putnam until above the gleaming column of red-coats they could look into the whites of the enemies' eyes ; and Election day, upon which, with its election sermon and its solemn choice of rulers, they acted out their high sense of patriotic duty to the Commonwealth.
We are deeply concerned in these days about the debasement of the ballot-box. Perhaps we could find a panacea in the practice of our Pilgrim Fathers. They enacted a law that the right of suffrage should be limited to church members in good standing. Suppose we had such a law now, what a mighty revolution it would work either in exterminating fraud or in promoting piety! “Men and Brethren !” said the colored parson, “two ways are open before you, the broad and narrow way which leads to perdition, and the straight and crooked way which leads to damnation." We have before us now the two ways of stuffed ballot-boxes and empty pews, and our plan is to change the stuffing from the ballotboxes to the pews. I am not altogether sure which result would be accomplished; but it is quite clear that if the law of our Fathers did not destroy corruption in politics, it would at least kindle a fresh interest in the church.
JOSEPH B. COGHLAN (1844
AN ORATOR FROM DEWEY'S FLEET
NOWN as a sea-captain, and not at all as an orator, Joseph B.
Coghlan, one of Dewey's officers at the great naval battle of
Manila Bay, won a degree of prominence in the domain of after-dinner oratory at New York, in 1899 ; his telling story of how Dewey taught a lesson to the German admiral spreading like wildfire through the country. This one speech is well worth preserving both for its intrinsic interest and as an example of the style adapted to a speech which includes a good story. Captain Coghlan, born at Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1844, graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, in 1863, and saw service on the Sacramento during the remainder of the war. Subsequently he rose slowly in rank, being made commander in 1882, and captain in 1896. As such he was in command of the Raleigh, which was a part of Commodore Dewey's squadron at Hong Kong, when the war with Spain began, and played his part in the memorable, most effective and illustrious affair in the waters of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898.
The event referred to in the following brief speech was one that for the time being excited as much irritation in the United States as in the fleet before Manila. Germany sent to Manila Bay after Dewey's victory a far larger fleet than any other nation, and the actions of the admiral gave rise to the suspicion that an intention was entertained of interfering in the settlement of the Philippine question. This was especially the case after the German gunboat Irene prevented the insurgents from attacking the Spaniards on Grande Island, in Subic Bay. This was considered by many in the United States as little short of an act of war. Throughout the blockade of Manila the German admiral acted with what seemed discourtesy to the Americans,
and Admiral Dewey, though he bore it with seeming disregard, was no doubt irritated by it. This is evident in the culminating incident, as described below.
DEWEY AT MANILA (Captain Coghlan's one appearance as an orator was at the banquet given April 21, 1899, at the Union League Club of New York, to himself and the other officers of the Raleigh, then in port at that city. His racy and telling story of the interview between Dewey and the messenger of the German Admiral von Diedrichs, was read with much interest and amusement throughout the country, and helped to enhance the reputation of the gallant Dewey.]
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE UNION LEAGUE: I thought I came here on the condition that I was to do no talking. I get scared to death when called upon to speak, and sometimes I don't say what I want to. So you will excuse me for everything out of the way
that I say tonight. I was almost breathless as I listened to your president's speech. The more he spoke the more I thought : “For God's sake, can he mean us ?” As he went on I recognized the name of our beloved chief, Admiral Dewey; I knew he was simply patting the admiral over our shoulders, and I thought to myself: “He can't do too much of that to suit me.” We feel that we may be congratulated on our home-coming ; not for what we have done, but for having served under Admiral Dewey. We love him and give him all the credit for what was done by the American fleet at Manila. If we thought it was possible by accepting this kind reception to-night to take away from him one iota of this credit, we would feel that we were doing wrong.
We were with Dewey from the start to the finish, and on each day we learned more to love and respect him, that the honor was safe in his hands, and that nothing in which he was engaged but would redound to the credit of our country. During the days after the great fight was over, he suffered the most outrageous nagging ; on, on it went, day after day, rubbing clean through the flesh to the bone, but he always held himself and others up. I tell you it was magnificent. I must tell you of an incident which I think will be of interest. Our German friend, Admiral von Diedrichs, sent an officer to complain of the restrictions placed upon him by Admiral Dewey. I happened to be near by at the time, and I overheard the latter part of the conversation between this officer and our chief. I shall never forget it, and I want the people of the United States to know what Admiral Dewey said that day.
“Tell your admiral,” said he, “his ships must stop where I say." “But we fly a flag,” said the officer. “Those flags can be bought at half a dollar a yard anywhere,” said the Admiral, and there wasn't a bit of fun
in his face when he said it either. Any one can fly that flag,' he continued. "The whole Spanish fleet might come on with those colors if they wanted to. Therefore, I must and will stop you. Tell your admiral I am blockading here. I am tired of the character of his conduct. I have made it as lenient as possible for him. Now the time has arrived when he must stop. Listen to me. Tell your admiral that the slightest refraction of these orders by himself or his officers will mean but one thing. Tell him what I say—it will mean war. Make no mistake when I say it will mean war. If you people are ready for war with the United States, you can have it in five minutes."
I am free to admit that the admiral's speech to that officer took my breath away.
As that officer left to go back to his ship, he said to an American officer whose name I do not recall : “I think your admiral does not exactly understand.” “Oh, yes he does,” said the American officer. “He not only understands, but he means every word he says.” That was the end of that bosh. After that the Germans didn't dare to breathe more than four times in succession without asking the admiral's permission.
The North and the South fought together at Manila Bay, as they did in Cuba ; and, I tell you, together they are invincible. Not only is our country one to-day, but I tell you the English-speaking race is one also." The English people are with us heart and soul, and they were with us before we went to Manila, as I will show you. On the wharves at Hong Kong, before we started for Manila, strange officers met us and introduced themselves, which you will agree is a very un-English proceeding. They wished us all manner of luck. One said to me: “ By Jove, if you fellows don't wipe them out, don't come back to us, because we won't speak to you." Afterward, when we went back to Hong Kong, one of those
English officers said to me: By Jove, we never gave you credit for style; but my! you can shoot!
And now that is all that I have to say, except to ask a favor. I want you to join me in drinking the health of our chief, Admiral Dewey.