« PreviousContinue »
“ Alcalde and Citizens: To-day the flag of the United States floats as an emblem of undisputed authority over the island of Porto Rico, giving promise of protection to life, of liberty, prosperity, and the right to worship God in accordance with the dictates of conscience. The forty-five States represented by the stars emblazoned on the blue field of that flag unite in vouchsafing to you prosperity and protection as citizens of the American Union. ... I congratulate you all on beginning your public life under new auspices, free from governmental oppression, and with liberty to advance your own country's interests by your united efforts."
Now they are learning that “protection as citizens of the American Union” a delusion and a snare; ” that they are not citizens of the American Union,” and it was never intended that they should be; that the“ protection ” referred to was the protection of the citizens of the United States, in “the American Union,” against the people of Porto Rico. This is reading between the lines with a vengeance. The alcalde, in his innocence and simplicity, replied, in part:
'Porto Rico has not accepted American domination on account of force. She has suffered for many years the evils of error, neglect, and persecution, but she had men who studied the question of government, and who saw in America her redemption, and a guaranty of life, liberty, and justice. There we came willingly and freely, hoping, hand and hand with the greatest of all republics, to advance in civilization and progress, and to become part of the Republic, to which we pledge our faith forever.”
I can not dwell longer upon this painful proposition. I must call your attention to what Secretary Elihu Root, the great lawyer, the honest man, the representative Republican, upon these facts, said. He says:
“But the highest considerations of justice and good faith demand that we should not disappoint the confident expectation of sharing in our prosperity with which the people of
Porto Rico so gladly transferred their allegiance to the United States, and that we should treat the interests of this people as our own, and I wish most strongly to urge that the customs duties between Porto Rico and the United States be removed.”
Here you have the solemn promise made by General Miles when he conquered these islands, the promise relied upon by them, its construction by Mr. Root, Secretary of War, and the statement of that eminent Republican, that true patriot, William McKinley, when he said it is our "plain duty" to give these people free trade; and yet it is proposed that we shall act contrary to the advice of Davis, contrary to the advice of the delegates, contrary to the advice of Root, contrary to the advice of the President of the United States, in violation of our faith, and that by gentlemen who undertake to know more here than the men know there, about their cone dition and what ought in justice to be done.
There are two sides to this as a political proposition. I do not want to defend upon the stump—I hope there will be no occasion to do so~I do not want to defend upon the stump the proposition that the Republican party with its eyes open, with its attention, called to the fact, persisted in violating•the good faith of the Republic. Why, gentlemen here say that we are about to inaugurate a policy of colonial government. I want to ask the gentlemen in this House if they desire to signalize their entry upon a colonial government, in their very first act, by a breach of good faith. Do you remember the history of proud Spain? What is it? What is it that has characterized Spain ever since the sixteenth century, ever since Pizarro. rode ruthless and roughshod over Mexico, and the Duke of Alva filled the Netherlands with carnage, blood, butcheries, and indescribable horrors, in his infamous at
tempt to crush out the very beginning of civil and religious liberty? What is it that has characterized her and made her contemptible before every honorable nation upon the earth? It is her duplicity and her breaches of good faith.
Will the Republican party, in the teeth of the declaration of the Secretary of War and the President of the United States, signalize its embarkation upon that policy with its first act a breach of good faith? That policy upon the part of Spain, has made her for all time a “hissing and a by-word" and a reproach to all Christian peoples. I stand here, if I stand alone, as a member of the Republican party, the party that I love, the party that has done so much for the liberty and welfare and prosperity and development of the Republic, to enter my solemn protest against such an act.
Even under the guise of"good Samaritanism,” even under the guise of “philanthropy” or any guise or subterfuge of any sort, I can not and will not agree to it. I leave that for my friends to discuss and reflect upon. It is hardly worth while for a man who sits in the House, and happens to hear coming from persons, unduly and unnecessarily alarmed, a demand for this legislation, to shut his eyes and think that these things do not exist because he does not then see them. They are here; they will be with us; they will be like the Old Man of the Sea; they will cling to our backs throughout the next campaign and, I fear, through many others.
Porto Rico kneels to-day, weak, helpless, starving, with her hands held toward us in supplication. She pleads for the fulfilment of this promise. Her prayers may fall upon deaf ears that will not hear in this House, but there is one tribunal to which I fully believe they may confidently appeal-the enlightened, unselfish, Christian conscience of a great and free people.
(ENRY DRUMMOND, a distinguished Scotch theologian and biologist,
was born at Sterling, August 17, 1851; he was graduated at Edinburgh and in 1887 was appointed lecturer on natural science at the Free Church College, Glasgow, becoming full professor in 1884. He travelled in the Rocky Mountains, Central Africa, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere, and wrote several fascinating books relating his experiences. He also lectured with great success in the United States. The main object of his teaching was to reconcile evangelical Christianity with the doctrine of evolution. His “ Natural Law in the Spiritual World,” published in 1883, had an enormous sale on both sides of the Atlantic, and his lecture on Greatest Thing in the World" secured his fame as a great religious teacher. He died at Tunbridge Wells, after a long illness, March 11, 1897. Among his best-known works are Tropical Africa" (1888); Travel Sketches in Our New Protectorate (1890); The Ascent of Man (1894).
ADDRESS ON THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD
VERY one has asked himself the great question of an
tiquity as of the modern world: what is the summum
bonum—the supreme good? You have life before you. Once only you can live it. What is the noblest object of desire, the supreme gift to covet?
We have been accustomed to be told that the greatest thing in the religious world is Faith. That great word has been the key-note for centuries of the popular religion; and we have easily learned to look upon it as the greatest thing in the world. Well, we are wrong. If we have been told that, we may miss the mark. I have taken you, in the chapter which I have just read, to Christianity at its source; and there we have seen,
“The greatest of these is love." It is not an oversight. Paul was speaking of faith just a moment before. He says, “If I have all faith, so that I
can remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing." So far from forgetting he deliberately contrasts them, “ Now abideth Faith, Hope, Love,” and without a moment's hesitation the decision falls, “ The greatest of these is Love."
And it is not prejudice. A man is apt to recommend to others his own strong point-Love was not Paul's strong point. The observing student can detect a beautiful tenderness growing and ripening all through his character as Paul gets old; but the hand that wrote, “ The greatest of these is love," when we meet it first, is stained with blood.
Nor is this letter to the Corinthians peculiar in singling out love as the summum bonum. The masterpieces of Christianity are agreed about it. Peter says, “ Above all things have fervent love among yourselves.” Above all things. And John goes further, “ God is love." And you remember the profound remark which Paul makes elsewhere, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Did you ever think what he meant by that? In those days men were working their passage to Heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments, and the hundred and ten other commandments which they had manufactured out of them.
Christ said, I will show you a more simple way. If you do one thing, you will do these hundred and ten things, without ever thinking about them. If you love, you will unconsciously fulfil the whole law.
And you can readily see for yourselves how that must be so. Take any of the commandments. “ Thou shalt have no other gods before me." If a man love God, you will not require to tell him that. Love is the fulfilling of that law. « Take not his name in vain.” Would he ever dream of taking his name in vain if he loved him? “Remember the Sab
K—Orations. Vol. 25