Page images
PDF
EPUB

plishing that is that each man should work for others by working for himself, by developing his own capacity.

The steady way in which a man can rise is illustrated by a little thing that happened yesterday. I came down here over the Queen and Crescent Railroad, and the General Manager, who handled my train and who handled yours, was Mr. Maguire. I used to know him in the old days when he was on his way up, and he began right at the bottom. He was a fireman at one time. He worked his way straight up, and now he is General Manager.

I believe so emphatically in your organization because, while it teaches the need of working in union, of working in association, of working with deep in our hearts, not merely on our lips, the sense of Brotherhood, yet of necessity it still keeps, as your organization always must keep, to the forefront the worth of the individual qualities of a man. I said to you that I came here in a sense not to speak to you, but to use your experience as an object-lesson for all of us, an object-lesson in good American citizenship. All professions, of course, do not call for the exercise to the same degree of the qualities of which I have spoken. Your profession is one of those which I am inclined to feel play in modern life a greater part from the standpoint of character than we entirely realize. There is in modern life, with the growth of civilization and luxury, a certain tendency to softening of the national fibre. There is a certain tendency to forget, in consequence of their disuse, the rugged virtues which lie at the back of manhood; and I feel that professions like yours, like the profession of the railroad men of the country, have a tonic effect upon the whole body politic.

It is a good thing that there should be a large body of our fellow-citizens--that there should be a professionwhose members must, year in and year out, display those old, old qualities of courage, daring, resolution,

unflinching willingness to meet danger at need. I hope to see all our people develop the softer, gentler virtues to an ever-increasing degree, but I hope never to see them lose the sterner virtues that make men men.

A man is not going to be a fireman or an engineer, or serve well in any other capacity on a railroad long if he has a "streak of yellow" in him. You are going to find it out, and he is going to be painfully conscious of it, very soon. It is a fine thing for our people that we should have those qualities in evidence before us in the life-work of a big group of our citizens.

In American citizenship, we can succeed permanently only upon the basis of standing shoulder to shoulder, working in association, by organization, each working for all, and yet remembering that we need each so to shape things that each man can develop to best advantage all the forces and powers at his command. In your organization you accomplish much by means of the Brotherhood, but you accomplish it because of the men who go to make up that brotherhood.

If you had exactly the organization, exactly the laws, exactly the system, and yet were yourselves a poor set of men, the system would not save you. I will guarantee that, from time to time, you have men go in to try to serve for the nine months who prove that they do not have the stuff in them out of which you can make good men. You have to have the stuff in you, and, if you have the stuff, you can make out of it a much finer man by means of the association—but you must have the material out of which to make it. So it is in citizenship.

And now let me say a word, speaking not merely especially to the Brotherhood, but to all our citizens. Governor McMillin, Mr. Mayor: I fail to see how any American can come to Chattanooga and go over the great battlefields in the neighborhood—the battle-fields here in this State and just across the border in my mother's State of

Georgia-how any American can come here and see evidences of the mighty deeds done by the men who wore the blue and the men who wore the gray, and not go away a better American, prouder of the country, prouder because of the valor displayed on both sides in the contest —the valor, the self-devotion, the loyalty to the right as each side saw the right. Yesterday I was presented with a cane cut from the Chickamauga battle-field by some young men of northern Georgia. On the cane were engraved the names of three Union generals and three Confederate generals. One of those Union generals was at that time showing me over the battle-field-General Boynton. Under one of the Confederate generals--General Wheeler -- I myself served. In my regiment there served under me in the ranks a son of General Hood, who commanded at one time the Confederate army against General Sherman. The only captain whom I had the opportunity of promoting to field rank, and to whom this promotion was given for gallantry on the field, was Micah Jenkins, of South Carolina, the son of a Confederate general, whose name you will find recorded among those who fought at Chickamauga.

Two of my captains were killed at Santiago: one was Allyn Capron, the fifth in line who, from father to son, had served in the regular army of the United States, who had served in every war in which our country had been engaged; the other, Bucky O'Neill. His father had fought under Meagher, when, on the day at Fredericksburg, his brigade left more men under the stone wall than did any other brigade. I had in my regiment men from the North and the South; men from the East and the West; men whose fathers had fought under Grant, and whose fathers had fought under Lee; college graduates, capitalists' sons, wage workers, the man of means and the man who all his life had owed each day's bread to the day's toil. I had Catholic, Protestant, Jew, and Gentile under me.

Among my captains were men whose forefathers had been among the first white men to settle on Massachusetts Bay and on the banks of the James, and others whose parents had come from Germany, from Ireland, from England, from France. They were all Americans, and nothing else, and each man stood on his worth as a man, to be judged by it, and to succeed or fail accordingly as he did well or ill. Compared to the giant death-wrestles that reeled over the mountains round about this city the fight at Santiago was the merest skirmish; but the spirit in which we handled ourselves there, I hope, was the spirit in which we have to face our duties as citizens if we are to make this Republic what it must be made.

Yesterday, in passing over the Chickamauga battlefield, I was immensely struck by the monument raised by Kentucky to the Union and Confederate soldiers from Kentucky who fell on that battle-field. The inscription reads as follows: "As we are united in life, and they united in death, let one monument perpetuate their deeds, and one people, forgetful of all asperities, forever hold in grateful remembrance all the glories of that terrible conflict which made all men free and retained every star on the nation's flag.” That is a good sentiment. That is a sentiment by which we can all stand. And oh, my friends! what does that sentiment have as its underlying spirit? The spirit of brotherhood!

I firmly believe in my countrymen, and therefore I believe that the chief thing necessary in order that they shall work together is that they shall know one another—that the Northerner shall know the Southerner, and the man of one occupation know the man of another occupation; the man who works in one walk of life know the man who works in another walk of life, so that we may realize that the things which divide us are superficial, are unimportant, and that we are, and must ever be, knit together into one indissoluble mass by our common American brotherhood.

IX

AT MUSIC HALL, CINCINNATI, OHIO, ON THE

EVENING OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1902

Mr. Mayor, and you, my fellow-Americans :

I shall ask your attention to what I say to-night, because I intend to make a perfectly serious argument to you, and I shall be obliged if you will remain as still as possible; and I ask that those at the very back will remember that if they talk or make a noise it interferes with the hearing of the rest. I intend to speak to you on a serious subject and to make an argument as the Chief Executive of a nation, who is the President of all the people, without regard to party, without regard to section. I intend to make to you an argument from the standpoint simply of one American talking to his fellowAmericans upon one of the great subjects of interest to all alike; and that subject is what are commonly known as the trusts. The word is used very loosely and almost always with technical inaccuracy. The average man, however, when he speaks of the trusts means rather vaguely all of the very big corporations, the growth of which has been so signal a feature of our modern civilization, and especially those big corporations which, though organized in one State, do business in several States, and often have a tendency to monopoly.

The whole subject of the trusts is of vital concern to us, because it presents one, and perhaps the most conspicuous, of the many problems forced upon our attention by

« PreviousContinue »