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Now, Madam President and Madam Chairman, I have a large number of the Siate Regents' report engrossed here, but it seems to me that at this particular time it would be invidious to take any and not to take all; and therefore I would simply like, with your permission, to go over the States which have sent in their reports, and to allow this large audience the pleasure of reading these reports in the AMERICAN MONTHLY MAGAZINE, which we are most happy to have circulated, in its war issue. You will have an opportunity-you Daughters will not only read of what you liave done yourselves and your sister Societies, but can give your friends and your fellow-citizers an opportunity of knowing what done; and therefore I hope that the war issue will be a success, and that every one within sound of my voice to-night will have a copy of the war issue of the AMERICAN MONTHLY MAGAZINE, to read these reports which you have not time to read to-night. I will just read over the States, the State Regents of which have reported: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Indian Territory, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming. I think in almost every case the State Regent herself has reported. I thank you very much for you attention. [Applause.]
Music_"Blue and Gray."
PRESIDENT GENERAL. "The Work of the Soldier in the War.” I have the honor of presenting to the friends and the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered here to-night, the Hon. John L. Griffith, of Indiana.
Mr. GRIFFITH: Ladies and Gentlemen: It is fitting that this celebration should be held under the auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, descended as its members are from the brave men and women who counted no sacrifice too great for the achievement of our independence. The spirit which thrilled them still animates their descendants, and takes this organization to high and beneficent uses. In their own way, which is God's appointed way, the women of this land, through all of our history, have, with patient fidelity, unselfish patriotism, and lofty heroism, performed their full part at each crisis in our national life. From the time of Martha Washington down to the present hour they have never faltered or failed when their country demanded sacrifice and devotion. With tears in their eyes, but with pride in their hearts, they have bade their loved ones good-bye as they went forth to battle, and have inspired them to give their last full measure of strength to flag and country. Through their gentle ministrations they have softened the hardships of war and brought sweet solace to the soldiers' bed of pain and anguish. When we recall the heroes of the Spanish-American War, let it not be forgotten that among the volunteers were hundreds, aye, thousands, of noble women who, like Clara Barton and Helen Gould, like Margaret L. Chandler and Anna Bouligny, voluntarily surrendered themselves to the cause of humanity. [Applause.) We are naturally a peace-loving people, and long for the time when all international differences may be settled by arbitration. [Applause.] The provocation must be great before we will resort to arms. All our wars but one have been wars of principle-to establish our independence, to maintain inviolate the decks of our ships, to preserve the integrity of the Union, and to confer the gift of freedom upon the stricken people of another land. The only memorable wars are the wars of principle. These are read with passionate interest, and never lose their pathos and their glory. Those who engaged in them won eternal applause. They showed their indifference to the selfish considerations which colored the actions and shaped the conduct of the great masses of men. We never tire of singing their praises, and erect statues to their memories, and strike off medals in their honor.
The literature of a people crystalizes about its strong men, its valiant leaders, its lofty heroes. Without them there would be no Iliad, no Odessy, no stirring epic, or noble ode. The American volunteer soldier fights from conviction, not from coercion. He is self-reliant, but has none of the vulgar self-confidence which struts and boasts, but seldom achieves. He has been trained to habits of industry and to the arts of peace. He would much prefer to follow his usual avocations, but can take no pleasure nor see any profit in them in the hour of national peril. The justice of a cause must appeal to him before he will take up arms in its behalf. When convinced that he is contending for what is just and right, for what is unchangeable and eternal, he is invincible. He cannot be utilized to fasten oppression or extend iniquity. He is never a soldier of fortune, always a soldier of principle. He is grim and patient, resourceful and masterful. He does not fight with a jest or an oath on his lips, but with a deep consciousness of the serious nature of the business in which he is engaged, a consciousness which can only come to the man who smites for God and conscience and country. [Applause.] He is the incarnation of that spirit of liberty which in this century has broadened the English suffrage, freed the Russian serfs, liberated the German Parliament, united Italy, founded the French republic and made citizens out of chattels in our own country.
This is the kind of a man the American volunteer soldier is, inspiring in us glorious memories of Trenton, and Saratoga, and Yorktown,
of Gettysburg, and Donelson, and Mission Ridge. Back of him are the Magna Charta and the Boston tea party, the Declaration of Independence, and the New England town meeting. Back of him are free speech and free schools and a free church. Back of him are all the energizing, vitalizing influences which make this beloved land of ours the hope of mankind. He is a lineal descendant of the minute men at Lexington, of the brave Continentals who tracked the snow with their blood at Valley Forge, and of the immortal ones who followed Grant and Sherman and Sheridan to victory. [Applause.] Our thoughts turn lovingly and reverently at this time to our first great volunteer soldier, the matchless Washington. [Applause.) Giving no heed to criticism or slander, turning neither to the right nor to the left, without haste and without rest, he went about his appointed tasks. He asked for no other reward than the approval of his own conscience and the commendation of his countrymen whom he had served so faithfully and well. When peace was concluded, he gladly laid down his sword and hoped to spend the remainder of his days in the quiet beauty of Mount Vernon. If it can be said of any man that had he not lived the course of history would have been different; if it can be said of any man to believe in national rather than provincial politics is to be something more than a political patriot; if to look at things in a large way and not judge them by shifting and evanescent standards; if to insist upon the maintenance of the loftiest national ideals; if to do these things intelligently, persistently, unceasingly, without variableness or shadow of turning while standing in the white light of public scrutiny as the greatest teacher of his generation; if to do these things a man must be a true American, then the name of Washington must be written large, high up on the roll of honor as that of our greatest American. [Applause.]
That this spirit still survives is shown by the fact that within ninety days after the declaration of war with Spain we gathered together an army of over 200,000 men, furnished it with arms, ammunition and provisions, transported it long distances, sent portions of it to Cuba, Porto Rico and Manila, sank two Spanish navies, caused two Spanish armies to surrender, and compelled Spain to sue for peace before she had won a battle, sunk a warship, or captured a flag. [Applause.] The schoolboy of a hundred years hence, when he reads this brilliant recital will verify again and again the statements of the historian, so incredible will it seem to him that so much could have been accomplished in so short a time. The volunteer soldiers of '98 were the pride of our young manhood, with the dawn in their faces and valor and constancy in their hearts. They responded as promptly as their fathers and forefathers had responded in '76 and '61, asking no questions, making no bargains, striking no balance to ascertain if it would pay. An outburst of patriotic devotion swept all over the land, showing how profoundly the heart of our people had been touched by the story of Cuba's wrongs. For every one who went to the front a hundred were eager to follow and grieved that the high privilege, was denied to them.
Our volunteer soldiers came from the factory and shop and farm, from the bench and bar and pulpit, from school and college and university, from all pursuits and professions, from all classes and conditions of men, The rich vied with the poor in patriotic ardor. The cowboy of the plains and the petted darling of luxury fought with equal determination and valor; they jointly endured hardship, privation and suffering. All sectional lines were obliterated. The men of Virginia and South Carolina [Applause) were as eager to test their loyalty as the men of Connecticut and Massachusetts. [Applause.] The sons of men who had fought each other so bravely at Chickamauga more than thirty years ago camped on that old battleground, wearing the same uniform [Applause), serving the same country, and reverencing the same flag. [Applause.] From the moment that the "Maine" was destroyed, we were again a united people, thank God, and mighty in our strength. (Great applause.) We no longer sing "Marching through Georgia"-we have changed the chorus of the old song, and our hearts leap with joy as we sing “Marching with Georgia.” [Applause.)
The flag means more to-day than it ever did before. It stands for justice and truth, for mercy and valor, for high resolve and lofty achievement. In it are woven the hopes and fears, the prayers and tears of a Christian people. It is the visible, the sacred emblem of all that America represents to mankind. Thousands have been willing to die to keep the name of this republic up to the world and our flag in the heavens. Back of it stands persecution for religion's sake; the “Mayflower” and Plymouth Rock; and the Declaration of Independence, improved political institutions, hgher morality and all that goes to make loyalty a sacred duty, a joy and a pleasure. The men who bore it to the front in the recent war, when they brought it back the white was purer, the blue deeper, the red more brilliant, and the stars, with their lustre undimmed, had gathered an added glory. [Applause.]
No deadlier war was ever waged than our war with Spain. Political conceptions and processes as antagonistic as those of Spain and the United States could not continue indefinitely only seventy miles apart. The struggle for supremacy must have come sooner or later. The destruction of the "Maine" was only a tragic incident in the march of events. The cry of the oppressed came to us from a neighboring shore, and we could not turn a deaf ear to the appeal without forfeiting our self-respect, proclaiming to the world that we were unworthy of leadership among nations. The object and character of it impressed all those who engaged in it.
And what shall I say of the heroism displayed? The men who rode with the six hundred, the old guard at Waterloo, were not braver than the heroes of El Caney, Cavite and San Juan. The Rough Riders, with the daring Wood and the gallant Roosevelt at their head (Applause] took the enemy's fire with the same self-possession that they would have marched out on dress parade. In every engagement, from the humblest private to ranking officer, not a man hesitated or wavered. They poured out their blood not sparingly, as a miser does his gold, but freely as water on the Nation's altar. The names of Fish, of Capron, of Morrison and Bailey, of all the brave ones who died so far from home, will be cherished forevermore in our heart of hearts. They tell of golden deeds which shall speed far widening down the track of time, and stir the soul of those yet to come with echo of their glory, and make all hearts play pilgrim with their gratitude. Fighting Joe Wheeler and Fitzhugh Lee [Applause), both of them true Americans; Shafter; and (to Colonel Herbert] may I invade your province just a moment and add Dewey, and Sampson, and Schley? And that brave and sagacious man, who wears on his brow the crown of statemanship, and on his breast the cross of valor, President McKinley. [Applause, great and prolonged.) What signal service, one and all, they rendered, proving not only efficient, but sufficient at all times and in all emergencies. Our soldiers and sailors fought for something more than the freedom of Cuba. They fought for a new America. By the trend of events, by the march of destiny, by the onward sweep of God's beneficent and mighty purposes, we have crossed the threshold of a larger national life; we have assumed new duties and responsibilities; we have lost the security, and at the same time the narrowness, of our former isolation, and have been suddenly listed into an atmosphere of world politics. We are no longer content to look through our little national window and see the ships of other nations go by, bearing tidings of peace and gladness, of hope and joy, to all mankind, but we feel that the obligation rests upon us to scatter the blessings of liberty far and wide. [Applause.]
It is not characteristic of a strong people to shrink from a task because it is difficult or the issue uncertain. We should at this time cultivate that fine quality of patience displayed by our volunteer soldiers when they were compelled to linger in camp for long and weary weeks instead of engaging in active service as they so ardently desired. We have never failed in anything we have undertaken. We have confidence in our ability and courage to solve wisely the delicate and complex problems of the future as they arise. We may not be able to convert the Malay into a university man in this generation, or for many generations to come [Laughter], but we can at least establish a stable government in the Philippines and determine later what our policy is to be concerning the islands
We who have reaped and garnered bring the plow,
And draw new furrows neath the healthy sun,