« PreviousContinue »
shall develop in them the largest capacity for performing the duties of American citizens.
"(3) To cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty."
Thus you see our first purpose is to rescue from oblivion the names of those of our ancestors who first made our nation possible, men who willingly offered themselves and all they possessed on the altar of their country; to whom nothing the world could give was worthy of a moment's thought in comparison with individual and national freedom. And to-day, as an organization we honor these revolutionary heroes by asking nothing of them for ourselves except that they prove themselves to have been true patriots, who with unfailing loyalty rendered material aid to the cause of American Independence. We do not question their rank or title. We merely ask did they serve, whether as officers or as common soldiers?
It is scarcely necessary to dwell on the fact that these patriots were not common men, nor might say common soldiers, fighting at the behest of a king as were their adversaries, though the latter may possibly have been as unflinching in the face of the enemy. To a great extent revolutionary soldiers were American born, descendants of American ancestors and inherited their spirit of independence; they had always known the value of self-government. They loved their country with the love of free men, and sovereigns not as subjects. They resisted the tyranny of the King almost with the feeling we ourselves would have were our rights as citizens encroached upon. American patriotism then, as now, was colored with the sense of human rights which nerved the arms of Americans then, as now, to fight only to conquer.
Though true patriotism does not mean only or even chiefly a willingness to fight or to die for one's country, that feeling must, of course, have a place in every patriot's breast. And it sometimes seems necessary that there should be war in order to demonstrate and cement firmly the patriotism of a nation. Moreover, the willingness to die for one's country is
the last feeling to perish and when it is dead the life of a nation is dead also. This patriotism in Americans has been most marvellously manifested the past year and has brought a crown of glory to our country. It has made us all glow with pride in our Government and in our army and navy. Moreover it is a pride which extends not alone to officers, civil and military, but to the brave men in the ranks of the regular army and to the brave boys who made up the rank and file of our volunteers.
Possibly other countries might have produced a Dewey, a Sampson or a Schley, since the responsibilities attached to the office of a military commander rests usually upon men of known valor and tends to educate and ennoble them. (Possibly, though, I am inclined to believe not probably, another nation might have produced a Hobson.) Possibly, though still less probably, another nation might have produced men who in civil office would have been as capable, conscientious, wise and valorous as President McKinley and his advisers, who met the country's emergency so promptly and with such wisdom, foresight and unselfishness, and who have gone forward so unswervingly in the path they deemed right, in spite of the continued criticism of their enemies and the confusion arising from the conflicting opinions of their friends.
But in what country can we find men like Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders; perhaps I may also say in what country can we find officers and a regiment as ready to act in an emergency and as fearless as the Tenth Cavalry and other troops of the regular army at Santiago. They were patriots, bred up in the love of liberty and independence, and with a love of country which does not mean merely the natural but somewhat animal attachment to soil and locality and certain physical environments. It means literally love for the institutions, for the governments, the higher essential elements of a nation of which man is the intrinsic part.
But I should fall short of my duty in honoring those who gathered laurels for us in the late war, did I forget the heroines of it, some of whom went to the front to render the services only to be rendered by tender hands which care for the sick and the dying; others tarried by the stuff and gathered it-money, provisions, necessaries of all kinds and forwarded it where it was most needed by the army. And, while I would not abate one jot or tittle from the honor due to the individual mothers and wives, sisters and daughters of the soldiers, nor from the noble women of the Red Cross, and of other less known organizations, yet their services and sufferings have been universally recognized and commended. But without withholding my credit from others, to whom have we, as Daughters of the American Revolution, more reason to be grateful, or upon whom have we more reason to bestow our emotions of pride and our sentiments of honor than upon our sister members and our sister Chapters all over this broad country, who without blaze of trumpets or much public recognition have given of their time and substance, of their services as nurses and otherwise most faithfully and abundantly to their country's cause? It would take too much time to relate all of the great achievements of the Daughters of the American Revolution War Relief Committee, and certainly the most skeptical will no longer venture to ask of what use is your Society, or what reason is there for the existence of these so-called patriotic organizations?
I cannot pass from this point without a word of a brave young life given in this war, whose sacrifice is a matter of pride and sorrow to the National Organization, and should be to every individual Daughter--that of Reubena Hyde Walworth, daughter of Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth, one of the founders of the Order. At the beginning of the war the young girl offered her services as a nurse; they were accepted and so faithfully and skillfully performed that the most difficult posts were assigned her; it was through her duties and in the midst of them that she was stricken with typhoid fever, from which she died a short time ago. We may pity, perhaps, yet we may envy the mother who while she weeps must feel the sweet satisfaction that her daughter, one so nearly a part of herself, should have a place among the garland of heroes woven in a cause, of which her part at least was so noble. I will not apologize for dwelling so long upon this heroine, for
she typifies the patriotism of American women, women especially who have generations of American blood in their veins, and I will emphasize what I have said by reading io you from the AMERICAN MONTHLY the beautiful tribute paid to this Daughter. (Here read the account.)
But great as it is, the patriotism resting upon the excitement of war and combat, of resistance to foreign invasion, or even of a struggle for the rights of humanity, is not of as high a kind as the patriotism which leads men and women to live for their country, to bend their energies towards those things which make for the Nation's welfare. In America this kind of patriotism displays itself in conserving the fundamental principles of a God-fearing democracy, a respect for the liberties and the rights of all.
The motto adopted by our forefathers, E Pluribus Unum, from many one-must surely have been the direct result of inspiration. It embodies in a nut-shell the American ideal, it represents the American spirit--the spirit of justice and of the brotherhood of men. It is true those who first used it thought of it chiefly, if not wholly, as an outward token of civil union, a union of states in a centralized government. Nevertheless we should never forget that it was a voluntary, not a compulsory yielding, each to the whole for the best good of all. And in this lay also the vital, spiritual essence which gives peculiar value to American patriotism.
To-day the greatest, perhaps the only real danger which can threaten our country is a forgetfulness of the American ideathe idea of unity and brotherhood which must perish in a selfishness either of individuals or classes or of political parties seeking their own aggrandizement regardless of the great general interests of the Nation.
To counteract this tendency to selfishness, to prevent this danger, as well as to develop, cultivate, in every way encourage the ideal spirit of American patriotism is the great work oi patriotic societies, perhaps especially of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Daughters of noble sires, who could more fitly keep alive the memory of ancestors, who were patriots in every sense, who suffered like the heroes they were, in every conceivable way, that their country, our country, might be free, and the people, all the people be protected in their inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Members of the New Albany Chapter, it is now my pleasant duty, as your Regent, to present to you, by the authority of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, this charter, the sign and seal of our association, as a Chapter with the National body. Cherish it now and hereafter, not only as a token of an outward alliance with a great patriotic institution, but also as an emblem of an inner spiritual union in behalf of American patriotism, which it is your province and your privilege to foster.
FORT GREENE CHAPTER (Brooklyn, New York).—The Fort Greene Chapter has just entered upon a new official year, with its second annual meeting, held December 14th, 1898. The election of officers showed the following result: Mrs. Samuel Bowne Duryea, Regent, re-elected; Mrs. Alice Morse Earle, Vice-Regent, re-elected; Mrs. Charles Hoyt, Treasurer; Mrs. John Shalton, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Charles H. Terry, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. E. W. Birdsall, Registrar, and Mrs. Thomas J. Barbour, Historian, re-elected. The members of the Safety Committee, all newly elected, are: Mrs. Alfred C. Barnes, Mrs. Henry Beam, Mrs. William C. Beecher, Mrs. Henry D. Atwater, Mrs. Dwight P. Clapp and Mrs. Albert Haley; besides the officers, ex-officio. The Fort Greene Chapter feels that everything seems encouraging in the outlook for the coming year. Our most efficient Regent, who is beloved by all, had felt that she must decline a re-election for this year on account of the pressure of other duties. Her work as our leader during the past year has been of such value to the Chapter, that we could not possibly spare her; and the members at last succeeded in persuading her to reconsider her decision, and all feel happy over the result.
Our Chapter has held eight business and eight social meetings during the past official year, and our work has been varied and interesting, always tending toward the furtherance