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honor, that can befall any man is that he shall serve, that he shall serve the nation, serve his people, serve mankind; and looking back in history the names that come up before us, the names to which we turn, the names of the men of our own people which stand as shining honor marks in our annals, the names of those men typifying qualities which rightly we should hold in reverence, are the names of the statesmen, of the soldiers, of the poets, and after them, not abreast of them, the names of the architects of our material prosperity also.
Of recent years I have been thrown in contact with a number of college graduates doing good service to the country, and as I wish to make it perfectly evident what I mean by the kind of service which I should hope to have from you and which it seems to me worth while to render, I want to say just a word about two college graduates who have during the last five years rendered and are now rendering such services: Governor Taft in the Philippines, and Brigadier-General Leonard Wood, lately Governor of Cuba. When we acquired the Philippines and took possession for the time being of Cuba to train its people in citizenship, we assumed heavy responsibilities; so heavy that some very excellent persons thought we ought to shirk them. I hold that a great and masterful people forfeits its title to greatness if it shirks any work because that work is difficult and responsible. The difficulty and responsibility impose upon us the high duty of doing the work well, but they in no way excuse us for refusing to do it. We had to do the work and the question came of the choice of instruments in doing it. The most important and most difficult task after the establishment of order by the army in the Philippines was the establishment of civil government therein; and second only in importance to that came the administration of Cuba, during the
three years and over that elapsed before we were able to turn its government over to its own people and start it as a free republic. When tasks are all-important the most important factor in doing them right is the choice of the agents; and among the many debts of gratitude which this nation owes to President McKinley, no debt is greater than the debt we owe him for the choice of his instruments, such a choice as that of Taft, such a choice as that of Wood. We sent Taft to the Philippines; we sent Wood to Cuba; both of them as tested by the standard of our commercial life, poor men; each man with little more than his salary to keep himself and his family; each man to handle millions upon millions of dollars, to have the power by mere conniving at what was improper to acquire untold wealth,—and sent them knowing that we did not ever have to consider whether such opportunities would be temptations toward them; sent them knowing that they had the ideals of the true American and that, therefore, we did not have to consider the chance of such a temptation appealing to them.
Taft went to the Philippines to stay there; not only forfeiting thereby the certainty of brilliant rise in his profession on the bench or at the bar here if he had stayed, but at imminent risk to his own health; because he felt that his duty as an American made him go; that, as President McKinley told me of him, he had been drafted into the service of the country and he could not honorably refuse. We have seen in consequence the Philippine Islands administered by the American official who is at the head of the Government and by his colleagues in the interest primarily of their people, and seeking to obtain for the United States, for the dominant race, that spent its blood and its treasure in making firm and stable the government of those islands, the reward that comes from the consciousness of duty well done. Under Taft, by and
through his efforts, not only have peace and material well-being come to those islands to a degree never before known in their recorded history, and to a degree infinitely greater than had ever been dreamed possible by those who knew them best, but more than that, a greater measure of self-government has been given to them than is now given to any other Asiatic people under alien rule, than to any other Asiatic people under their own rulers, save Japan alone. That is an achievement of the past five years which I hold to be absolutely unparalleled in history; and when the debit and credit side of our national life is finally made up a long stroke shall be put to the credit side for what has been done in the Philippines under Taft and his associates.
In the same way Leonard Wood worked in Cuba. Put down there to do an absolutely new task, to take a people of a different race, a different speech, a different creed, a people just emerging from the hideous welter of a war, cruel and sanguinary, beyond what we in this fortunate country can readily conceive, to take a people down in the depths of poverty and misery, just recovering from suffering which makes one shudder to think of, a people untrained utterly and absolutely in self-government, and fit them for it; and he did it. For three years he worked. He established a school system as good as the best that we have in any of our States. He cleaned cities which had never been cleaned in their existence before. He secured absolute safety for life and property. He did the kind of governmental work which should be the undying honor of our people forever. And he came home to what? He came home to be thanked by a few, to be attacked by others-not to their credit, and to have as his real reward the sense that though his work had been done at pecuniary sacrifice to him, that though the demands upon him had been such as to eat into his private means, yet he had worthily and well done
his duty as an American citizen and reflected fresh honor upon the uniform of the United States Army.
I have chosen Taft and Wood simply as instances of what other men by the hundred have done, Americans who have graduated from no college, Americans who have graduated from all our different colleges, and especially by practically all those Americans who have graduated from the two great typical American institutions of learning-West Point and Annapolis. Taft and Wood and their fellows are spending or have spent the best years of their prime in doing a work which means to them pecuniary loss, at the best a bare livelihood while they are doing it, and are doing it gladly because they realize the truth that the highest privilege that can be given to any American is the privilege of serving his country, his fellow-Americans. As I am speaking to an audience with proper ideals, when I say that Taft and Wood have done all this service to their pecuniary loss I am holding them up not for pity but for admiration. Every man, every woman here, should feel it incumbent upon him or her to welcome with joy the chance to render service to the country, service to our people at large, and to accept the rendering of the service as in itself ample repayment therefor. Do not misunderstand me. The average man, the average woman must earn his or her living in one way or another, and I most emphatically do not advise any one to decline to do the humdrum, every-day duties because there may come a chance for the display of heroism.
I ask of you the straightforward, earnest performance of duty in all the little things that come up day by day in business, in domestic life, in every way, and then when the opportunity comes, if you have thus done your duty in the lesser things, I know you will rise level to the heroic needs.
AT CARSON CITY, NEVADA, MAY 19, 1903
Mr. Governor, Mr. Mayor, and you, my fellow-citizens :
It has been a great pleasure to be introduced in the more than kind words the Governor has used, because the Governor has been a genuine pioneer.
Here in this great western country, the country which it is what it is purely because the pioneers who came here had iron in their veins, because they were able to conquer plain and mountain, and to make the wilderness blossom, we are not to be excused if we do not see to it that the generation that comes after us is trained to have the sum of the fundamental qualities which enabled their fathers to succeed.
I want to say one special word to-day here in Carson City on a subject in which all of our people from the Atlantic to the Pacific take an interest, but which affects in especial the people of the States of the great plains and mountains and affects no State more than it does Nevada—the question of irrigation. Now as I say I do not regard that as in any way merely a question of the Rocky Mountain States, or of the great plains States, because anything which tends for the well-being of any portion of the Union is therefore for the well-being of all of it, and it was for that reason that I felt warranted in appealing to the people of the seaboard States on the Atlantic, to the people of the States of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley, to say that it was their duty